Friday, December 17, 2010

Romans 11:11-21

Romans 11:11-21

David Q. Santos

Romans 11:11–21 (NKJV) 11 I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall? Certainly not! But through their fall, to provoke them to jealousy, salvation has come to the Gentiles. 12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness! 13 For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry, 14 if by any means I may provoke to jealousy those who are my flesh and save some of them. 15 For if their being cast away is the reconciling of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead? 16 For if the firstfruit is holy, the lump is also holy; and if the root is holy, so are the branches. 17 And if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive tree, were grafted in among them, and with them became a partaker of the root and fatness of the olive tree, 18 do not boast against the branches. But if you do boast, remember that you do not support the root, but the root supports you. 19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off that I might be grafted in.” 20 Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear. 21 For if God did not spare the natural branches, He may not spare you either.
The book of Romans is arguably the most profound and theologically rich book of the Bible. It is the closest document the New Testament offers as a systematic theology. It is also an apologetic letter to the Church of Rome from the Apostle Paul; its thesis being “the just will live by faith.” In chapters 1-8 of the book of Romans Paul argues 1) the reality of universal guilt and separation from God. 2) Justification and the freedom that comes with it through faith in Jesus Christ. 3) Power for living a sanctified life free from sin. 4) And the promise of eternal glorification without condemnation.

Throughout this epistle Paul has been dealing with potential objections that his arguments might produce. Paul, in chapters 9-11, deals with a potential objection that could have come up; and ironically, has become one of the longest running theological debates in Christendom. Dr. Arnold Fruchtenbaum described the importance of Romans 9-11 when he wrote, “Crucial to any study of Israelology are chapters 9 through 11 of Paul’s epistle to the Romans where the apostle details God’s relationship to Israel in light of Israel’s rejection of the Messiah. These three chapters touch on both Israel past and Israel future, but most of it deals with Israel present.”[1] It is in these three chapters that the Bible student will find conclusive evidence for the future of national Israel.

That debate is whether or not God still has a future for Israel as a nation. The covenant view is that the church is the new Israel and has absorbed and replaced national Israel. In opposition to that view stands dispensational theology which holds that God still has a future for national Israel which is a distinct entity from the church. Fruchtenbaum summarized this when he wrote, “If it is possible to summarize Covenant Postmillennialism on this issue, it would be; the Jews have been cast off, and the Church, the New Israel, is now the people of God.”[2]

Millard Erickson wrote, “the church is the new Israel. It occupies the place in the new covenant that Israel occupied in the old.”[3] And Louis Berkhof wrote, “In essence Israel constituted the Church of God in the Old Testament”[4] It can be seen through these examples that the future of Israel is a sticking point in theology. Charles Ryrie noted that the central point of this debate in his book Dispensationalsim. He wrote,

This [the distinction between the Church and Israel] is probably the most basic theological test of whether or not a person is dispensationalist, and is undoubtedly the most practical and conclusive. The one who fails to distinguish Israel and the Church consistently will inevitably not hold to dispensational distinctions; and one who does will.[5]
This critical passage begins with a question; “I say then, have they stumbled that they should fall?” (Rom. 11:1) Paul then exclaims that God has not cast away Israel using himself as an example to illustrate that for the time being there is a spiritual remnant of believing Israel that has seen Jesus for who he is and come into the church. Paul enhanced this illustration with the Biblical example of Elijah whom God had to remind that there was a remnant that had been set aside and preserved. Paul concluded that thought with the clear statement that “Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of grace.” (Rom. 11:1-5)

Paul using himself and Elijah as the examples explained that there is a spiritual remnant of Israel in the church. The rest of Israel was blinded by God. (Rom. 11:7-10) In verse eleven Paul asks if they have stumbled that they should fall; which has a strong negation rendered “Certainly not!” In the next four verses Paul explains that through the fall of Israel, the Gospel has gone to the Gentiles with the purpose of making Israel (ethnic Jews) jealous.

In verse twelve Paul makes an important statement, “12 Now if their fall is riches for the world, and their failure riches for the Gentiles, how much more their fullness!” The “their” (αὐτός),[6] used three times in this verse, has the antecedent of the fallen in verse eleven which is national Israel who rejected Jesus; which is the reason for the fall. When national Israel is restored to its fullness the Gentiles and the world will both be blessed even more than they are now as the Gospel goes out to the Gentile world. Walvoord explains the comparison that Paul uses between the “fall” and the “fullness” of Israel. It states,

He then goes on to compare their fall with their fullness: “Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fullness?” (Rom 11:12). In other words, if the blindness which has fallen upon Israel nationally during this present age was the occasion for great blessing for the Gentiles, the “fullness” of Israel will bring a richness of blessing which will be “much more.” Now, obviously, there can be no fullness of Israel if they have no future. Their fullness will come when the present condition of blindness is lifted.[7]
The contrast that Paul uses between Israel’s fall and their future fullness provides rich ground to work with when considering the reality of Israel’s future. And when compared to the entirety of Scripture there should be no question that God is not finished with national Israel yet. Even A.W. Pink stated, “That Israel as a nation will be actually and literally restored is declared again and again in the Word of God.”[8] Paul describes the removal of Israel’s blindness as a mystery in Romans eleven verses twenty-five to twenty-seven. Dr. Walvoord was a prolific writer on this subject. In his 1944 article Eschatological Problems V:Is the Church the Israel of God he wrote about the very passage and problem here.

The classic passage found in Romans eleven deals specifically with the problem before us. Has God no program for Israel as such? Paul raises the question himself: “I say then, Hath God cast away his people?” (Rom 11:1). He goes on to answer in the negative, indicating that at the time of the writing of Romans there was a remnant out of Israel saved by grace who had their part in the church. Unbelieving Israel is declared to have been blinded: “What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded” (Rom 11:7). He speaks of this blinding as their “fall,” which, because of the present privilege of Gentiles to receive the Gospel and salvation on the same terms as Israel, becomes “the riches of the Gentiles” (Rom 11:12).[9]
The restoration of Israel takes place only when the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. (Rom. 11:25) At that point all of Israel will be saved. (Rom. 11:26) This passage can only be describing a future even for national ethnic Israel. It is national Israel that Paul was describing in 11:7-9 as being given a spirit of stupor and eyes that should not see. It should be pointed out rather emphatically that Paul does not blur the lines between Gentiles and Israel. Nor does he ever blur the lines between Israel and the church; in fact he maintains that the church is a new creation apart from Jews and Gentiles yet in existence simultaneously with both.

That Israel’s restoration results in great blessing to the whole world may be seen from the following quotations—“And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men” (Mic. 5:7). “Israel shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit” (Isa. 27:6). [10]
Continuing through Paul’s explanation, Paul uses another example to make his point. In verse sixteen he describes a lump of dough. The principal is that “because the firstfruit offering represented the entire portion, the entire piece of dough could be said to be holy, set apart to God.”[11] Paul’s point is that Israel is the first fruit is holy therefore the whole thing is holy. Israel is the firstfruit that has not been cast off forever. Fruchtenbaum elaborates,

Paul begins by giving the illustration and the principle (Romans 11:16). The connecting for, if, or now provides the reason for believing in a future national restoration. The illustration is that of the firstfruit and the root which refer to Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and the Abrahamic Covenant. They are holy because God separated and consecrated them for a divine purpose. Israel as a nation is the lump and the branches. [12]
The final section to be discussed here is verses seventeen through twenty-one. Paul uses the illustration of the olive tree which represents the covenantal promises made to Israel. Some of the natural branches have been broken off of this tree; which describes the blinding in part of Israel. It also explains how some wild branches were grafted into these promises; which describes Gentiles being added to the blessings of the covenants. But the final division is a warning to Gentiles against becoming prideful over this grafting in. The warning is that these unnatural wild branches can still be removed.

It seems that covenant theology has become prideful of its position in Christ; scoffing and mocking the promises of God and denying the future that the wife of Yahweh holds in her destiny. It is not for the clay to instruct the potter on what the creation is going to be made into. Believers must remember that God is the potter and they are the clay.

Works Cited
Berkhof, L., Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938)
Erickson, Millard J., Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998).
Fruchtenbaum, Arnold G., Israelology Part 3 of 6, Chafer Theological Seminary Journal Volume 5, 4 (Fountain Valley, CA: Chafer Theological Seminary, 1999).
__________ Israelology : The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, Rev. ed. (Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries, 1994).
Ryrie, Charles, Caldwell. Dispensationalism. (Chicago, IL. Moody Bible Institute. 2007).
Pink, Arthur Walkington, The Redeemer's Return (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2005).
Walvoord, John, Eschatological Problems V:Is the Church the Israel of God?, Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 101, 404 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1944).
John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible. (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1997).
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology : The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, Rev. ed. (Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries, 1994), 71.



[2] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology : The Missing Link in Systematic Theology, Rev. ed. (Tustin, Calif.: Ariel Ministries, 1994), 43.



[3] Millard J. Erickson, Christian Theology, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1998), 1053.



[4] L. Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 572.



[5] Charles Ryrie, Caldwell. Dispensationalism. (Chicago, IL. Moody Bible Institute. 2007). 46.



[6] αὐτός is personal pronoun in its third person genitive plural masculine form αὐτῶν



[7] John Walvoord, Eschatological Problems V:Is the Church the Israel of God?, Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 101, 404 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1944), 409-10.



[8] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Redeemer's Return (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2005).



[9] John Walvoord, Eschatological Problems V:Is the Church the Israel of God?, Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 101, 404 (Dallas, TX: Dallas Theological Seminary, 1944), 409.



[10] Arthur Walkington Pink, The Redeemer's Return (Bellingham, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 2005).



[11] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible. (Nashville, Thomas Nelson, 1997), 1714.



[12] Arnold G. Fruchtenbaum, Israelology Part 3 of 6, Chafer Theological Seminary Journal Volume 5, 4 (Fountain Valley, CA: Chafer Theological Seminary, 1999), 45.

Survey of the Biblical Covenants

Survey of the Biblical Covenants

David Q. Santos

Long before the church, God bound Himself to a group of people who became known as Israel. God made Israel His bride when He made a covenant with Abraham. This marriage covenant was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob (who was known as Israel as well). Israel prepared herself to be the wife of God during her time in Egypt. While the family grew into a nation the Promised Land was prepared for the bride. The land of Israel and the city Jerusalem were the wedding gifts given to Israel by her Husband.

The trouble is God desired to have a faithful wife who would keep herself pure. Israel, time and time again proved to be an idolatrous nation. Idolatry and disobedience governed the nation’s history with glimpses of faithfulness. Those periods of faithfulness often arose from struggles or being put under the oppression of the enemies of the nation. Though God had every right to cast away this unfaithful nation out He did not. This principal is illustrated on many occasions in scripture including the progressive and continuing nature of the covenants given to the nation.

Throughout Biblical history God has made several covenants that have helped to define God’s interaction and revelation with humanity in that particular dispensation. There are seven covenants; one being conditional but most unconditional. The first covenant is the Edenic or Protoevangelium (first gospel) which was given to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:15. The second is the Noahic Covenant from Genesis 9. The third is the Abrahamic covenant that begins in Genesis 12:1-3; 13:14-18; 15:1-21; 17:1-27; 18:1-18; 22:1-19; 26:23-25; 35:9-15. The fourth is the Mosaic covenant that begins in Exodus chapter 19-24. The fifth is the Palestinian Covenant which is an unconditional enlarging of the Abrahamic covenant found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10. The sixth is the Davidic covenant from 2 Samuel 7 which establishes David and his lineage as the rightful kings of Israel and Judah and extending the covenant of Abraham to David's lineage. Finally, the seventh, is the New Covenant which is predicted by Jeremiah the prophet in Jeremiah 31:31-34. Non-dispensationalists like Charles Hodge argue against the literal fulfillment of the covenants to national Israel because as Hodge wrote, “The literal interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies relating to the restoration of Israel and the future kingdom of Christ, cannot by possibility be carried out…”[1]

The covenants define God’s relationship to mankind and His promises to them. The covenant given to Eve in the Garden of Eden was the first promise. It was the beginning of the redemption of fallen man. The Noahic covenant was given to all of creation. God promised to never again destroy the world with a flood (Gen. 9:11). Beginning with the Abrahamic Covenant God used these covenants or contracts to define His relationship with a particular people.

The Abrahamic & Palestinian Covenant:

The Abrahamic Covenant defines the relationship between God and Israel and is the beginning of the progressive promises given to the nation. In the words of Walvoord, “the Abrahamic Covenant was intended to be interpreted literally as indicated in its partial fulfillment and the frequent prophetic revelation of Israel’s glorious future and repossession of the land.”[2] “A literal interpretation of the Abrahamic Covenant involves the permanent existence of Israel as a nation and the fulfillment of the promise that the land should be their everlasting possession.[3] Pink wrote, “Regeneration or non-regeneration affected the salvation of individuals among them, but it did not affect the covenant relationship of the people as a whole.”[4] Pink rightly observes that the covenant with Israel is everlasting and unbreakable. He also points out that the covenant relates to the people as a whole while salvation is an individual matter.

Genesis 12:1-3 Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: 2 And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: 3 And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.
There are dual promises in this passage that can be seen. Verses 1 and 2 illustrate the promises that are given to Abraham. In those verses he is given a land and is promised to be blessed and his name made great. In verse 3 the promise is to those outside of the nation of Israel, who will also be blessed as illustrated by the phrase “all families of the earth be blessed.” The only condition on this promise is that Abraham leaves his father’s house and goes to the land that would be shown to him. Ryrie wrote on this passage,

“To the land.” I.e., Canaan. Abraham was still in Haran when this call, originally given to him in Ur (Acts 7:2), was reiterated.

“a great nation” When God made this promise, Abraham had no son. The reference is to the Jewish nation, i.e., the descendants of Abraham through Isaac and Jacob.

“I will bless you, and make your name great.” This promise was fulfilled in Abraham’s temporal blessings (13:2; 24:35), spiritual blessings (21:22), and fame (23:6; Isaiah 41:8).

“in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed” This promise was fulfilled in the coming of Abraham’s seed, Christ (Gal. 3:8, 16).[5]
The promise is given to Abraham that the entire land that he was shown would be given to him and his seed forever. In Genesis 13:14-15 God shows Abraham the physical borders of the land that had been promised. This lends credence to the dispensational position that this passage and the other related to the Abrahamic Covenant are to be interpreted as literal. It would suggest that “seed of Abraham” in this passage is to be understood as his physical descendents. The historical-grammatical method of interpretation and the normative language demands this is the physical descendants, Israel, being spoken of. In the next passage, Genesis 15:18-21, the borders of the Promised Land are given in great detail. Walvoord argues that “The weakness of the Amillennial [and preterist] position is shown by examination of their exegesis of such passages as Genesis 15:18-21, where the exact boundaries of the promised land are given, and the kindred passage in Genesis 17:7-8 where the covenant is called everlasting and the land is promised as an everlasting possession.”[6] While many conservative non-dispensationalists reject the claim that they “spiritualize scripture”, their theological view forces them to spiritualize this and other passages. This specific land promise is intended to be viewed literally as an everlasting promise to the nation of Israel.

Genesis 15:2-4 is a key passage in the development of the Abrahamic covenant. It illustrates that the promise of literal physical land was given to the literal physical seed or descendents of Abraham. Later this promise was confirmed to Isaac and Jacob as well. Abraham understood the customs of the time. He knew that his heir would be Eliezer who was a gentile from Damascus. But God did not want to offer this inheritance to just anyone. It was to be recognized that God had given Abraham a son who would be the heir. In the last days it will also be understood that Israel has been restored to its land by the hand of God. Walvoord made clear distinctions between the covenant promises to Abraham’s physical seed and the promises contained in the covenant that are to the entire world. He wrote,

The promises to Abraham, to Abraham’s seed, and to “all families of the earth” are to be distinguished clearly. It breeds utter confusion to ignore these Scriptural divisions and to muddle the whole by reducing it to a general promise. Not only should these distinctions be observed, but it should be carefully noted what is left out of the covenant. While Abraham is personally justified by faith because of his trust in God’s promise concerning his seed, it is obvious that the Abrahamic Covenant itself is not the gospel of salvation even though the promised blessing anticipated the gospel (cf. Gal. 3:8).[7]
The literal normal reading of these passages as the original readers would have viewed them is that natural-national Israel is promised a specific piece of real estate. Pentecost wrote, “The eternal aspects of this covenant, which guarantee Israel a permanent national existence, perpetual title to the land of promise, and the certainty of material and spiritual blessing through Christ, and guarantee Gentile nations a share in these blessings, determine the whole eschatological program of the Word of God.”[8] The land portion of this covenant is reconfirmed by Moses as he was about to pass away and allow Joshua to take the nation into the land of Canaan. Deuteronomy 28:1-30:10 contains the record of this account. Moses predicts that the nation will fall away from God and thus will be taken out of the land. But, when they turned to God they would be returned to the land. This has been the theme of the history of the nation Israel since its conception; at the exodus from Egypt led by Moses. Non-dispensational scholars have a large hurdle to jump over when Israel is discussed since Israel has been restored to at least part of its land and has become a nation once again. Non-dispensational scholars prior to the 1948 restoration of the nation of Israel, such as Louis Berkhof, in his 1939 systematic theology, argued that dispensational premillennialism could not be accurate since Israel was indeed not a nation.[9] Dispensational scholars who had been arguing that Israel would be restored as a nation against what seemed to be an impossibility were vindicated in 1948 when Israel became a nation against the historical backdrop of World War II and the attempted genocide of God’s chosen people. Arguing with the authority of literal interpretation of prophetic passages, the dispensational position was proven. For example, John Walvoord wrote,

The covenant in respect to spiritual blessings on the seed of Abraham and “all the families of the earth” is the theme of the prophets who picture not only blessing on the Gentiles through Christ but the re-gathering and blessing upon the nation Israel (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-37).[10]
Although some still deny that it was God’s hand that restored the nation of Israel to her land as predicted in Ezekiel chapter 37. The death and destruction of WWII and the concentration camps and burial pits were giving rise to the restoration of the nation, were the fulfillment of the dry bones rising as the prophet spoke to them and God breathed life into them. While the world mourned for the incredible loss of this group of people that have been persecuted since the exodus; God chose to take action and restore the nation at that low point. Just as was predicted, the nation of Israel was reborn. God was still working among Israel and will continue; even until the nation’s full restoration in the millennial kingdom where Christ will rule and reign on earth.

In modern history we have witnessed the creation of the political state of Israel in Palestine, the persecution of Jews as such in Europe, the continued teachings of Orthodox Judaism as well as its reformed counterparts. Anyone in the face of such overwhelming evidence for recognition of the physical seed of Abraham in the world today who in effect denies them right and title to the name Israel is shutting his eyes to some very plain facts. One of the greatest of modern miracles has been the preservation of the identity of Israel as a race and nation, a fact which has been the stumbling stone for the Amillennial denial of Israel’s future.[11]
Joshua 21:43-45 And the LORD gave unto Israel all the land which he sware to give unto their fathers; and they possessed it, and dwelt therein. 44 And the LORD gave them rest round about, according to all that he sware unto their fathers: and there stood not a man of all their enemies before them; the LORD delivered all their enemies into their hand. 45 There failed not ought of any good thing which the LORD had spoken unto the house of Israel; all came to pass.

The book of Joshua records an interesting passage that seems to suggest that there was a fulfillment of the covenants that Joshua would have been under. One must first ask whether or not an everlasting covenant can ever be fulfilled. The word everlasting of course suggests that it cannot ever be finished. The Hebrew word for “everlasting” is used in Genesis in eight instances. The word is ‘owlam (עולם) means forever.[12] The usage of the phrase “everlasting covenant” uses the same word as “everlasting hills” (Gen 49:26) or even “everlasting God” (Gen 21:33). If the covenant is as everlasting as God then it could not be conditional. The Bible knowledge commentary explains this passage,

Not one of His promises failed. This did not mean that every corner of the land was in Israel’s possession, for God Himself had told Israel they would conquer the land gradually (Deut. 7:22). Neither do these concluding statements ignore the tragedies that would develop during the period of the Judges, but those would be Israel’s fault, not God’s. Yet the unfaithfulness of Israel in no way impugned the faithfulness of God. Paul affirmed this fact in his words to Timothy, “If we are faithless, He will remain faithful, for He cannot disown Himself” (2 Tim. 2:13).

Some theologians have insisted that the statement in Joshua 21:43 means that the land promises of the Abrahamic Covenant was fulfilled then. But this cannot be true because later the Bible gives additional predictions about Israel possessing the land after the time of Joshua (e.g., Amos 9:14-15). Joshua 21:43 therefore, refers to the extent of the land as outlined in Numbers 34 and not to the ultimate extent as it will be in the messianic kingdom (Gen. 15:18-21). Also though Israel possessed the land at this time it was later dispossessed, whereas the Abrahamic Covenant promised Israel that she would possess the land forever (Gen 17:8).[13]

The Bible is clear that Israel will possess the land after the time of Joshua. So the covenant is not complete though it is no fault of God’s. God, no doubt, did fulfill His promises. But just as foretold and recorded in biblical history, Israel was taken out of the land when they were disobedient and in order to continue the covenant the nation is always restored to the land. In addition, the book of Judges illustrates that the Israelite nation did not fully occupy the land (Judges 1:27-30). This covenant is unconditional just as the gift of salvation is. This land is given to Israel as a wedding gift just as the Bride of Christ will receive her gifts as well.

The Davidic Covenant:

2 Samuel 7:12-16 And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: 15 But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. 16 And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.
The Abrahamic and Palestinian Covenants are both reconfirmed and expanded with the promises given in the Davidic Covenant. “The eschatological implications of the Abrahamic covenant lie in the words land and seed… In the next of Israel’s great covenants made with David, God is enlarging and confirming the seed promises.”[14] There are five provisions to this covenant.[15]

1. David is to have a child, yet to be born, who shall succeed him and establish his kingdom.
2. This son (Solomon) shall build the temple instead of David.
3. The throne of his kingdom shall be established forever.
4. The throne will not be taken away from him (Solomon).
5. David’s house, throne, and kingdom shall be established forever.

Among conservative theologians, the opinion is unanimous that Christ fulfills the Davidic Covenant,[16] and is an important aspect of Christology.[17] The problem is not one of whether or not Christ fulfills this covenant; but rather one of how He fulfills this covenant. Non-dispensational writers argue that this covenant is fulfilled in the present age with Christ at the right hand of God. Dispensational writers argue that Christ fulfills the promise by His return and righteous reign on earth during the millennium.[18]

The literal fulfillment of this covenant is difficult for some to believe primarily due to the passage of time from when it was originally given. The literal view was even more difficult to accept prior to the 1948 establishment of a Jewish nation called Israel by the authority of prophetic passages found in Ezekiel. Walvoord wrote in 1945; prior to the reestablishment of the nation of Israel, “There are, however, obvious difficulties in interpreting the Davidic covenant in a literal way and expecting a literal fulfillment. The covenant was given almost three thousand years ago, and history has not contained any continuous development or continued authority of the political kingdom of David.[19] Presently, there is a nation of Israel in existence waiting for its Messiah to be revealed to them since they missed Him in His first coming but will come under His rule when He returns. This covenant’s nature and relationship requires a literal fulfillment.

There are alternate passages from the scripture that confirm this essential principal of God’s plan. The concluding chapter of the book of Amos contains one such passage. This book was written in about 755 BC.[20] Chapter 9:1-10 describes Amos’ vision of destruction that will come to Israel. In this passage the Lord promises to sift the house of Israel among all nations. Verses 11-15 conclude the book on a much brighter note for the nation.

Amos 9:11-15 In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old: 12 That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. 13 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed; and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt. 14 And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and inhabit them; and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof; they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them. 15 And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the LORD thy God.
“In that day” refers to the “Day of the Lord.” Previous references in Amos to “that day” had spoken of it as a day of darkness and destruction (Amos 2:16; 3:14; 5:18-20; 8:3; 9, 11, 13).[21] At that time the tent or tabernacle of David will be restored to the days of old. “As in the days of old” reflects the nostalgia of Israel’s people for the glory days of the kingdoms of David and Solomon.”[22] Verses 13-14 describe specific blessings of prosperity that will be part of the complete restoration of Israel to her land. Verse 15 is the essential verse. It promises that the nation would be restored to the land never to be removed from it again. The conservative literal interpretation of this verse demands that Israel be returned to the land and not be removed again (cf. Gen. 13:14-15; 17:7-8; Deut. 30:1-5; 2 Sam. 7:10; Jer. 30:10-11; Joel 3:17-21; Micah 4:4-7). The land will be inhabited by the nation of Israel, the physical seed of Abraham (cf. Ezek. 37:25; Joel 3:20; Zech 14:11). This could not have been fulfilled in history for the nation was removed to Assyria, Babylon, and then dispersed by the Romans in 70 AD.

The current nation of Israel is the only possible fulfillment of this prophetic passage. If the Lord returns during this inhabitation of the land of Israel then they will receive the fullness of the blessings promised as the nation to go into the millennial kingdom and receive the new covenant predicted by Jeremiah. It is interesting to compare aspects of the modern nation of Israel to this passage. They certainly seem to be receiving portions of the blessings promised by Amos. The nation is a strong world power in agricultural exports including fruit and flowers.

The New Covenant:

Jeremiah 31:31-34 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: 33 But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.
Jeremiah 31:31-34 contains the New Covenant with Israel. This is a passage that confirms the continuation of the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This passage describes a relationship between man and God not experienced since before the fall of man. Jeremiah begins this passage by saying that “days come.” In Jeremiah, this phrase introduces a special occasion of divine intervention in history.[23] The covenant that is being contrasted to this passage is the Mosaic covenant which had stipulations to be followed in detail. “The Old Covenant demanded adherence to stipulations (see Ex 19:1-23:33) which the people were unable to keep.”[24]

Verse 32 identifies that the Exodus from Egypt was in fact when God took that family out of Egypt and made it a nation and was also when God took the nation as a wife. The Lord, through Jeremiah, proclaims that as His wife, they had been adulterous through history. While many non-dispensational writers offer this passage as being fulfilled in the church the language and context only allow for a literal fulfillment to natural Israel in the literal millennial kingdom. This covenant will be fulfilled in a “period of universal knowledge of the Lord.” (verse. 34)[25] The view of a literal millennial interpretation of this passage is supported by its context. This covenantal promise follows the prediction of the time known as Jacob’s trouble (Jeremiah 30:7). The “time of Jacob’s trouble and the “seventieth week of Daniel” are synonymous with the time period prior to the second coming of Jesus Christ. The present age of grace does not fulfill the provisions given in this prophetic passage if a literal interpretation is employed.

The New Testament has much to say about the New Covenant. It confirms that Jesus’ blood is the blood of the New Covenant (Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24; Luke 22:20; 1 Corinthians 11:25). In addition Jesus is clearly portrayed as the minister of the New Covenant (2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:15, 12:24). “The New Covenant is the ‘better covenant’ of [Hebrews 8:6]. This covenant was made with Israel and Judah, yet the church enjoys the spiritual blessings of this covenant now.”[26] Jesus’ blood is compared to that of the sacrifices made with the blood of bulls in Hebrews 9:11-14. Hebrews sets forth the “superiority of Christ’s service as Mediator of the New Covenant.”[27] The non-dispensationalist, having already decided that there is not to be a literal fulfillment of the Abrahamic-Davidic kingdom, interprets this passage in a manner that suggests that the New Covenant spoken of allows for the spiritualization of prophetic passages; changing Israel into the Church. A closer examination of the New Covenant teachings in the New Testament reveals that this passage does not negate the literal interpretation and fulfillment of the earthly kingdom.

The general teaching of the New Testament passages bearing upon the New Covenant is that the new covenant has been made possible by the sacrifice of Christ. Attention is drawn to this central aspect in passages dealing with the Lord’s Supper… Whether the church of the present age or Israel is in view, the new covenant provides a basis in grace for forgiveness and blessing secured by the blood of Jesus Christ… On this all conservative theologians agree whether premillennial, Amillennial, or postmillennial. The difference in point of view is occasioned by the question of whether the new covenant promised Israel is being fulfilled now, in the present inter-advent age, as the amillenarians contend, or whether Israel’s new covenant will be fulfilled after the second coming of Christ in the millennial kingdom, as the premillenarians contend. Most premillenarians (Darby excepted) would agree that a new covenant has been provided for the church, but not the new covenant for Israel.[28] [The Amillenarian] states that the passage “declares that this new covenant has been already introduced.” A careful reading of the passage will reveal it makes no such statement. It declares a “better covenant” than the Mosaic covenant has been introduced (Heb. 8:6), but it does not state here or anywhere else that this better covenant is “the new covenant with the house of Israel,” or that Israel’s new covenant has been introduced. Allis (an amillenarian) not only reads in statements which are not to be found in this passage, but also ignores the argument of the writer of Hebrews.[29]
The argument of the book of Hebrews is that the Mosaic Covenant is at an end. The writer of Hebrews does not argue that the provisions of the New Covenant were in full effect in this age. Hebrews 12:24 is a unique reference to “new covenant.” This verse uses a reference meaning “recent” in relation to Jesus as being the mediator of this covenant. Verses 24-25 argue not to turn away from Christ, who was on earth, and is now mediating a recent covenant. “[This] Reference is apparently to the covenant with the church and not to Israel’s new covenant. Hebrews 9:15 likewise declares that Christ is the Mediator of ‘a new covenant,’ which is true, of course, both for a covenant with the church or a covenant with Israel.”[30] Olander explains the nature and fulfillment of the new covenant by writing;

The new covenant (Jer. 31:31-34; Heb. 8:8-12) did not go into effect until the death of Christ (Heb. 10:10-18, esp. 17). The fact that the new covenant is in effect does today not mean it is fulfilled or is being literally (Jer. 31:31-34) can only fulfill this covenant literally. The Scriptures are very clear, and preserved perfectly in Hebrew, that His new covenant is made exclusively with the house of Israel and the house of Judah (Jer. 31:31). This was never an expression for any other group or people (church) other than the nation Israel, the Jews.
The Lord most likely preserved it this way so that [no] one else could lay claim to a fulfillment except His covenant people, Israel, the Jews. To overlook this or bypass it is nothing more than willful rejection of what is in the text. The Text is perfectly clear. The epistle to the Hebrew does nothing more than support this completely.[31]
The New Covenant will be fulfilled when Jesus returns in Glory with His unveiled bride; at which time “every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God” (Romans 14:11).

Work cited
Berkhof, Louis, Systematic Theology: The Last Things. (Grand Rapids Michigan. Baker Books. 1996). 107.
Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. (Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997), 1473.
Olander, David E, The Importance of the Biblical Languages. Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie. (Fort Worth TX. Tyndale Seminary Press. 2008), 76.
Pentecost, J. Dwight, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology. (Zondervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids, Michigan), 1958. 71.
Pink, Author W. A Study of Dispensationalism. http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Dispensationalism/dispensationalism.htm , Chapter 1
Ray, Charles, Basic Distinctives of Dispensational Systematic Theology. Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie. (Fort Worth TX. Tyndale Seminary Press. 2008), 59.
Rogers, Cleon L. Jr., The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels. (Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra 150. Oct-Dec 1993), 458.
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell, The Ryrie Study Bible. (Chicago, Moody Press. 1978), 24
Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. (Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999), H5769.
Walvoord, John F. The Abrahamic Covenant and Premillennialism. (Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. Oct-Dec 1951-Oct-Dec 1952), 422.
_____ The Fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. (Dallas Texas, Bibliotheca Sacra, 1945), 154.
_____ The New Covenant with Israel, (Dallas, Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept. 1953), 196.
Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, Old Testament, (Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 364-365.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
[1] Charles Ray, Basic Distinctives of Dispensational Systematic Theology. Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie. (Fort Worth TX. Tyndale Seminary Press. 2008), 59.



[2] John F Walvoord. The Abrahamic Covenant and Premillennialism. (Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. Oct-Dec 1951-Oct-Dec 1952), 422.



[3] Ibid, 414



[4] Pink, Author W. A Study of Dispensationalism. http://www.pbministries.org/books/pink/Dispensationalism/dispensationalism.htm , Chapter 1



[5] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, The Ryrie Study Bible. (Chicago, Moody Press. 1978), 24



[6] Walvoord, Abrahamic Covenant, 421.



[7] Walvoord, Abrahamic Covenant, 418.



[8] J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology. (Zondervan Publishing House. Grand Rapids, Michigan), 1958. 71.



[9],Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology: The Last Things. (Grand Rapids Michigan. Baker Books. 1996). 107.



[10] Walvoord, Abrahamic Covenant, 28.



[11] Ibid, 139.



[12] Strong’s Bible Dictionary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. (Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 1999), H5769.



[13] Walvoord, John F. and Roy B. Zuck. The Bible Knowledge Commentary, An Exposition of Scriptures by Dallas Seminary Faculty, Old Testament, (Colorado Springs, Colorado. Cook Communications Ministries, 2004), 364-365.



[14] Pentecost, 100.



[15] John F Walvoord, The Fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant. (Dallas Texas, Bibliotheca Sacra, 1945), 154.



[16] Ibid, 155.



[17] Cleon L Rogers. Jr., The Davidic Covenant in the Gospels. (Dallas Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra 150. Oct-Dec 1993), 458.



[18] Walvoord, Fulfillment, 156.



[19] Ibid, 158.



[20] Nelson’s NKJV Study Bible. (Thomas Nelson Publishers. Nashville TN. 1997), 1473.



[21] Walvoord, Bible,1451.



[22] Nelson’s NKJV, 1488.



[23] Ibid, 1282.



[24] Ibid, 1283.



[25] John F Walvoord, The New Covenant with Israel, (Dallas, Texas. Bibliotheca Sacra. July-Sept. 1953), 196.



[26] Nelson’s NKJV, 2088-2089.



[27] Walvoord, Bible, 801.



[28] Walvoord, Covenant, 199-200.



[29] Ibid, 202.



[30] Walvoord, Covenant, 203.



[31] David E Olander, The Importance of the Biblical Languages. Dispensationalism Tomorrow & Beyond: A Theological Collection in Honor of Charles C. Ryrie. (Fort Worth TX. Tyndale Seminary Press. 2008), 76.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Ancient Gospel Texts Redated

The Garima Gospels are one of the Christian world's oldest and most exquisite treasures. Until recently, scholars had always assumed that the two 10-inch-thick volumes, which are written on goat skin and brightly illustrated, dated back to the early 11th century. But recent carbon-testing may show what the monks believed all along: the books are among the oldest gospels in existence. C-14 dating has put the creation of the two books to somewhere between 330 and 650, making them a close contender to being the most ancient complete Christian texts. The only major collection of scripture that is known to be older is the Codex Sinaiticus, a copy of the Bible hand-written in Greek which dates back to the third century.

Read the rest of the article HERE

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Genetic study sheds light on Jewish diaspora

Genetic study sheds light on Jewish diaspora from BBC



Here is an interesting article. Science has illustrated that much of the Jewish population of today has maintained its heritage and genetic connection to its ancient Hebrew roots. This is just another example of how God has preserved his people Israel. It should also remind us how He preserves His spiritual children; believers in Jesus Christ.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

TEXAS SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS BRING BALANCE, DESPITE CRITICS - by khouse (Chuck Missler)

TEXAS SOCIAL STUDIES STANDARDS BRING BALANCE, DESPITE CRITICS

The brouhaha over the new Texas social studies standards has not died down. The Texas Board of Education may have passed the revised standards, but the debate continues around the country. In fact, the liberal backlash has already started encouraging other states to pull away from the Texas standards, which the press has spun for months as the nefarious work of Christian conservatives to force their right-wing agenda into Texas textbooks.

On May 16th, The Guardian's headline claimed, "Texas schools board rewrites US history with lessons promoting God and guns."

"Texas textbooks rewrite history" declared the student newspaper of DePaul University on May 31st.

Michael Bimbaum of The Washington Post offers some balance with his May 22 headline: "Texas board approves social studies standards that perceived liberal bias."

After months of media attention, including one solid month of receiving feedback from the public, the Texas State Board of Education (SBOE) on May 21st approved revisions to its state standards for social studies - revisions that focus on America's great documents and exceptional individuals and organizations.

After California, Texas purchases more textbooks than any other state, which means its standards could influence publishers who sell textbooks, not just to Texas, but to all states in the union. In response to Texas' controversial standards, the California Senate passed bill SB1451 on Friday May 28 requiring the California State Board of Education to review the content of textbooks and other instructional materials. The review will report any subject matter it considers influenced by the Texas standards and out of line with California's standards.

"Disturbing" New Standards?

According to the critics, the new social studies standards work to promote the ideologies of the Christian Right. According to the standards' supporters, however, the purpose of the revisions is to combat the liberal rewriting of history and give students a more balanced view of their American heritage.

"Liberal fringe efforts to complicate, obfuscate, and denigrate our heritage and history must be rejected," said Jonathan Saenz, director of legislative affairs at the Liberty Institute.

Answering Complaints:

"There is a battle for the soul of education," said Mavis Knight, a liberal member of the Texas education board. "They're trying to indoctrinate with American exceptionalism, the Christian founding of this country, the free enterprise system..."

Ms. Knight's statement reveals her bias. One hundred years ago teaching those things was not considered "indoctrination" but simply "general education."

One writer from The Washington Post lamented on May 22nd that the goal of the Texas SBOE was "to minimize the legitimate role of the brilliant Thomas Jefferson; improperly explain the meaning and importance to the country’s development of the phrase "separation of church and state"; incorrectly say that the McCarthyism of the 1950s was vindicated; require that that the United States be referred to as a "constitutional republic" rather than "democratic..."

Unfortunately, the author is not alone in her alarm, and the errors in her statement must be answered:

Thomas Jefferson:

In fact, the standards not only have retained Thomas Jefferson, but require students to study the Declaration of Independence, Jefferson's most important piece of work. Students will now be required to recite the first paragraph of the Declaration every year during the school's Freedom Week:



"We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness--That to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed."



Regarding "proper" explanations of the phrase "separation of church and state" - America has been battling over that one for decades. In the past, educators have felt obliged to avoid focusing on the religious faith that has permeated American history, sidestepping documents that sound too "Christian." The revised standards encourage students to read documents like The Mayflower Compact, the first governing document of Plymouth Colony. Critics of the revised standards see the inclusion of The Mayflower Compact as an underhanded way of forcing Christianity on students, but the hard reality is that the colonists were dedicated Christians, and this was their first governing document. The fact that certain people regard the Mayflower Compact as dangerous reading material reveals their bias against America's religious history.



McCarthyism:

Critics of the standards have consistently focused on a single sentence (among the multitudes of pages of standards) in which McCarthy is said to be vindicated. Here's what the standards actually say:



"...describe how McCarthyism, the House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC), the arms race, and the space race increased Cold War tensions and how the later release of the Venona Papers confirmed suspicions of communist infiltration in U.S. government "



The standards do not vindicate McCarthy's methods, but treat McCarthyism as one factor that increased Cold War tensions. The Venona Project, in which Soviet messages were obtained and decoded, did reveal spies in the US government working for the Soviets, in addition to Canadian, Australian, and British spies. Along with McCarthyism, the Venona Project is a part of US history.



Constitutional Republic:

The revised standards refer to America as a constitutional republic and not a democracy, because America is in fact a constitutional republic and not a democracy.



The Slave Trade:

An additional major complaint about the revised standards involves one line in the 8th Grade standards, in which the term "slave trade" is removed and is replaced with "Atlantic triangular trade" to the horror of critics. To hear this reported, it would seem the Texas SBOE members wanted to pretend slavery never existed and wanted to use "Atlantic triangular trade" as a euphemism for "slave trade."



Despite what half the country now thinks, students in Texas will be taught about the slave trade. In the context, the revised standards say, "explain reasons for the development of the plantation system, the Atlantic triangular trade, and the spread of slavery;" Historically, the slave trade was one prong of a bigger picture - the Atlantic triangular trade - and the expanded standards reflect the bigger picture.



Other Controversial Changes:

-"Capitalism" has been replaced with the term "free enterprise" throughout the standards to avoid the negative connotation of "capitalist." ("You know, 'capitalist pig!'" said Republican board member Terri Leo.) However, at the beginning of the standards for each affected grade there is a note, "Students identify the role of the U.S. free enterprise system within the parameters of this course and understand that this system may also be referenced as capitalism or the free market system."



-Students in the 8th grade will be required to analyze Abraham Lincoln's first and second inaugural address and his Gettysburg Address, including his "ideas about liberty, equality, union, and government", and contrast them with the ideas that Jefferson Davis presented in his inaugural address.



-Students will have to compare and contrast the phrase "separation of church and state" with the actual words of the Constitution.



-High school students in US History since 1877 will be encouraged to discuss the, "solvency of long term entitlements such as Social Security and Medicare."



While some may disagree with them, these standards cannot reasonably be considered "disturbing."



A Multitude Of Good Things:

Despite the criticisms, the revised standards do some excellent things. They require students to read The US Constitution and Bill of Rights, along with the Declaration of Independence. They encourage students to read primary documents, biographies, poetry and songs of great Americans rather than the legends, fictional stories, and even Roman myths that were previously in the standards. The standards have added the names of dozens of great Americans, some well known like Patrick Henry and others less well known, like Wentworth Cheswell, the Revolutionary War patriot who rode North to warn the colonists the night that Paul Revere rode West. Cheswell was a free-born black man and is considered the first African American elected to public office.



If It's Diversity You Want:

"They can just pretend this is a white America and Hispanics don’t exist," said Democrat Mary Helen Berlanga in March.



The new Texas standards absolutely do not promote only white males. The additional names in the standards include a wide variety of African Americans, Hispanics, and American Indians, both men and women. One major purpose of the new standards is to focus on heroes in American history who can inspire students and draw their admiration, and throughout the grades, those Americans come from a variety of genetic and cultural backgrounds.



For instance, first graders already were required to learn about Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison. They will now also be taught about Garrett Augustus Morgan, a black inventor who holds the patent for the first traffic light. Morgan is famous for having used his respiratory protective hood invention (an early gas mask) to save the lives of people trapped in a tunnel filled with deadly fumes.



Along with Thurgood Marshall, John Hancock, and Theodore Roosevelt (these last two were also newly added) second graders now get to learn about Irma Rangel, the first female Mexican American legislator. Also in the second grade, Amelia Earhart and Robert Fulton are joined by great African Americans George Washington Carver and W. E. B. DuBois. Carver is renowned as an inventor and scientist who developed a multitude of products from peanuts. DuBois was the first African American graduate of Harvard and a civil rights activist. Note to the critics: DuBois was not particularly conservative in his politics.



Starting in the third grade, students will be required to study the Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence every year during Freedom Week. According to the third grade standards, "The study of the Declaration of Independence must include the study of the relationship of the ideas expressed in that document to subsequent American history, including the relationship of its ideas to the rich diversity of our people as a nation of immigrants, the American Revolution, the formulation of the U.S. Constitution, and the abolitionist movement, which led to the Emancipation Proclamation and the women’s suffrage movement."



Third graders will also learn about Benjamin Banneker, a free African American astronomer, mathematician, farmer and surveyor who predicted solar and lunar eclipses and published a series of almanacs that ran for six years from 1792 through 1797.



Fourth graders among other things, will "summarize the significant contributions of individuals such as Texians William B. Travis, James Bowie, David Crockett, George Childress, and Sidney Sherman; Tejanos Juan N. Seguín, Plácido Benavides, and Francisco Ruiz; Mexicans Antonio López de Santa Anna and Vicente Filisola; and noncombatants Susanna Dickinson and Enrique Esparza."



From Kindergarten through High School, classrooms will honor significant Americans from all walks of life. Poets and artists, scientists and great thinkers, men and women of many skin shades are included.



Balance:

The Texas standards have become more balanced, despite the attacks of the critics. Yes, seventh graders will be required to learn about the evangelical movement of the late 20th century; they will also have to learn about the Populists, women's suffrage, agrarian groups, and labor unions. Ronald Reagan and President Barack Obama are both included, and the Cherokee Trail of Tears is there as well.



The new Texas standards do not ignore the troubled times in America's history or her struggles, but they still promote America as a great country filled with remarkable people. Anybody who has a true gripe with the standards should look through them carefully and not attack based on a few lines taken out of context by those with their own agendas.



The standards will be used in classrooms beginning in the 2011-2012 school year after teachers have had time to be trained.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Psalm 2 by David Q. Santos

Psalm 2:


David Q. Santos

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.
In John chapter five Jesus confronts the Pharisees and Sadducees . He scolds them for not recognizing Jesus as the long awaited Messiah. The Pharisees were exceedingly meticulous in every detail of the Law of Moses.[1] With all this knowledge of scripture they would not accept Jesus for who He was; the Son of God, and the long awaited Messiah. Throughout scripture Jesus is pointed too; there are both pictures and prophesies that speak of his coming. To anyone who truly understands the scriptures the identity of Christ should be obvious.

Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
In the book of Acts the Boreans were given the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They responded by going to the scripture and studying it. They determined that the Gospel was of God by authenticating what they were told by the scripture. In studying the scripture the Boreans must have gone to the Pentateuch or the law first. They most definitely searched the words of the prophets. They most definitely found the messianic passages found in the Psalms. Throughout the psalms the messiah is spoken of. The psalms give many amazing prophesies about the person of and signs of the Messiah.

There are 15 Psalms classified as Messianic Psalms. These are psalms 2, 8, 16, 22, 23, 24, 31, 40, 41, 45, 68, 69, 102, 110, and 118. Out of this group of Psalms two have the distinction of being the Psalms that are quoted or alluded to more frequently than any other in the New Testament. Psalm 2 and Psalm 110 were each quoted or eluded to 14 times.

While each of these Psalms are used in the New Testament 14 times Psalm 2 has three times more separate verses spoken of. Verses 1, 2, 7, 8, 9, and 11 are used in the New Testament.[2] Those verses do not include the multiple times that the 2nd psalm is alluded to in the book of Acts. The book of Acts attributes this psalm to David while also providing evidence that the book of Psalms was in the same form in the apostolic day as it is today.[3] That being the case the Pharisees that were staunch adversaries of Jesus must have read Psalm 2 verse 7 which says, “I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee.” David Malick points to seven verses in the New Testament where Jesus is spoken of as the Son of God. They are; Mathew 3:17, 17:5, Mark 1:11, 9:7, Luke 3:22, 9:35, and John 1:49.[4]

The first of those six verses are God’s testimony of who Jesus really was. When Jesus was baptized by His forerunner John the Baptist in the Jordan River the sky opened up and a voice spoke of Jesus saying, “This is my Son in whom I am well pleased.”(Mathew 3:13-17, Mark 1:9-11, and Luke 3:21-23). It is easy to surmise that the Pharisees knew about this event. Jesus points out to the religious leaders, during a typical discourse with them, that God the Father had “bore witness” of him (John 8:18). But even with their great knowledge of scripture they ignored the testimony of the Father.

Some chose to reject Jesus as Messiah because they were seeking the Christ that was spoken of in verse 8 and 9 of the second Psalm. They were seeking the Messiah that we know will be the second coming of Jesus. The Church awaits His triumphant return where every knee will bow and every tongue confess (Romans 14:11).

Psalm 2 has four divisions. The first division is verse 1-3. The second division is verses 4-6. The third division is found in verses 7-9. The fourth and final division is found in verses 10-12.

1 ¶ Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? 2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, 3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us.
The first three verses of this Psalm describe the state of the world at the time of Christ’s return. The rulers of the earth have set their nations in an uproar. The kings of the world have set their nation’s will against the Lord. One of the most striking New Testament parallel to this portion of the second psalm is found in the Book of Revelation. Revelation 11:18 paints a picture of the world in future times. It says, “And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth.”

Mathew Henry makes an important point of this section. He says, “Princes and people, court and country, have sometimes separate interests, but here they are united against Christ; not the mighty only, but the mob, the heathen, the people, numbers of them, communities of them.”[5] It is not only the ruling class that are set against the Lord but also the common people.

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. 5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. 6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.
Verse 4 is the Lord’s reaction to the uproar of man. Verses 5 and 6 are God’s reply to the plans of the rulers of the world.[6] These verses describe in human terms God’s reaction to the world setting their minds against Him. In verse four He sits in the heavens and laughs at man’s attempt to change His will. The reaction is to set His righteous wrath against them and set His king as ruler. This king is Jesus Christ. He will be ruling from Jerusalem with a rod of iron (psalm 2:9, Revelation 2:27, 12:5, and 19:15).

7 ¶ I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. 8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. 9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel.
The psalmist now spoke of God’s affirmation of the king to show by what right the king rules. The decree refers to the Davidic covenant in which God declared that He would be Father to the king, and the king would be His son. So when David became king, God described their affiliation as a Father-son relationship. So the expression “son” took on the meaning of the messianic title.[7] 2 Samuel 7:14 is a pivotal verse when studying this psalm. It says, “I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men:” “He shall be my Son” is a phrase that recognizes the Davidic covenant. The phrase “Thou art my Son;” is an important one to understand. In the book of Acts 13:33 Paul illustrates the fulfillment of this phrase. He said, “God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.” The JFB commentary makes the outstanding point that the phrase in Acts 13:33 “raised up” does not refer to the resurrection but to the anointing as messiah and fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant.[8]

Further, to satisfy us that his kingdom is well-grounded upon his sonship, we are here told what his sonship is grounded on: this day have I begotten thee which refers both to his eternal generation itself, for it is quoted (#Heb 1:5) to prove that he is the brightness of his Father’s glory and the express image of his person.[9]

Verse 9 is a powerful verse that appears three separate times in the Book of Revelation (2:27, 12:5, and 19:15). Mathew Poole writes of this phrase, “And he shall rule them with a rod of iron: an iron rod either signifies a right rod, that will not be easily bent and made crooked; or a severe rod, which is most probably the sense: see #Ps 2:9 Ps 12:5. The words by the psalmist are applied to Christ, and to the church, #Re 12:5: to particular saints here, who rule the nations either in Christ their Head, or with Christ as their Chieftain, with the word of God powerfully convincing the world of sin and righteousness.”[10]

10 ¶ Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. 11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. 12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
The fourth and final division of this psalm is an exhortation of the psalmist. It is in essence the Gospel message. The psalmist seems to plead with the nations to wisely serve the Lord with fear. Proverbs 9:10 tells us that the fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. Mathew Henry wrote of this portion of the second psalm,

“We have here the practical application of this gospel doctrine concerning the kingdom of the Messiah, by way of exhortation to the kings and judges of the earth. They hear that it is in vain to oppose Christ’s government; let them therefore be so wise for themselves as to submit to it.” He goes on to say, “The Father is angry already; the Son is the Mediator that undertakes to make peace;” He concludes by writing, “In singing this, and praying it over, we should have our hearts filled with a holy awe of God, but at the same time borne up with a cheerful confidence in Christ, in whose mediation we may comfort and encourage ourselves and one another. We are the circumcision, that rejoice in Christ Jesus.”

The Pharisees and Sadducees of the first century missed Jesus both in scripture and in person. However, that will not be the case for the rulers that set themselves against God in the Day of the Lord. When Jesus comes this time He will come as the Lion of the Tribe of Judah. He will take up his rod of Iron and rule from the Holy Hill of Zion.

This second psalm serves to show us two sides of Jesus. One is the wrath on those that seek to place themselves on His throne. They will be broken into pieces with a rod of iron like a potter’s vessel. But if we accept our gift of salvation we can see the other side of Christ. We can be wise and kiss the Son of God who died to shed His blood for us and wash away the sins that we all have. When we accept Christ we are seen by God as pure.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Acts 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

WORK CITED

Copeland, Mark A. Executable Outlines, Psalm 2: 2004. http://www.ccel.org



Gill, John. John Gill’s Expositor: The Introduction to Psalm 2. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



Henry, Mathew. Mathew Henry Commentary Psalm 2. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



Jamieson, Fausset, Brown. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



Malick, David. The Book of Psalms. http://www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/psa/ps-intr.htm



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



The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Smith’s Revised Bible Dictionary 1999, “Babylon”. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



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







--------------------------------------------------------------------------------



[1] The Online Bible Millennium Edition Version 1.2. Smith’s Revised Bible Dictionary 1999, “Pharisees”. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



[2] Malick, David. The Book of Psalms. http://www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/psa/ps-intr.htm.



[3] Gill, John. John Gill’s Expositor. The Online Bible Millinium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



[4] Malick, David. The Book of Psalms. http://www.bible.org/docs/ot/books/psa/ps-intr.htm



[5] Henry, Mathew. Mathew Henry Commentary Psalm 2:3. The Online Bible Millinium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



[6]Copeland, Mark A. Executable Outlines, Psalm 2: 2004. http://www.ccel.org



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



[8] Jamieson, Fausset, Brown. Jamieson, Fausset, Brown Commentary. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



[9] Henry, Mathew. Mathew Henry Commentary Psalm 2. The Online Bible Millennium Edition, version 1.2. Winterbourne Ontario, Canada. 2001



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

Monday, May 24, 2010

Prayer to Satan during MTV telecast - sign of the times?

http://www.onenewsnow.com/Perspectives/Default.aspx?id=724962

During last month's MTV music video awards ceremony, actor Jack Black urged the audience join hands and pray to "dear dark lord Satan." In his prayer, the actor prayed that the musicians and nominees would have "continued success in the music industry." The awards program was broadcasted on the MTV network (a subsidiary of the Viacom Corporation) throughout the country through cable and satellite television.


The Radio City Hall audience readily acquiesced to Black's invitation to pray to the devil. In a video posted on YouTube, Black encouraged the large audience to join in by saying, "let me see those horns." Black, dressed in a "muscle suit" continued by asking the awards ceremony audience to join hands during "the prayer." He then held hands with actress Leighton Meester while he prayed aloud.

Black's prayer went basically unnoticed among most conservative and Christian media circles -- perhaps because they feel the comedian was simply joking as he displayed his contempt for Christianity with the prayer invocation. In fact, this would be in keeping with Black's previous behavior.

In 2008 he participated in a video that mocked supporters of California's marriage initiative, Proposition 8. In commenting on that video, the Culture and Media Institute (CMI) said Black "appears as Jesus rebuking the Proposition 8 supporters while munching on a shrimp cocktail and saying that the Bible condemns eating shellfish too. Then he [Black] reels off some scripture references without context to suggest that the Bible is self-contradictory and unreliable." In their press release (December 4, 2008), CMI described Black as "an anti-Christian bigot."

Others claim last month's public "prayer" to Satan was just a publicity stunt to promote the new heavy metal video game, "Brutal Legend."

But regardless how one looks at Black's actions, it sets a dangerous precedent. Author and King's College professor Paul McGuire labels Black's prayer to Satan as "just the tip of the iceberg of what is happening in our nation and in the entertainment industry." The conservative commentator contends that "although it is hidden, Satanism is one of the fastest growing religions in America." He adds: "We can expect to see Satanists demanding and getting the same rights as any other religion."

Former Hollywood actor Bob Turnbull says Black's prayer to the "dark side" was "pathetic and sick," which shows a "heartbreakingly sad" side of Hollywood's culture. Turnbull, also known as the "Chaplain of Waikiki," knows a little something about Hollywood. In the '60s and '70s, he appeared in a number of well-known movies (The Little People, Camelot, Tora Tora Tora) and television shows (Hawaii Five-0, Petticoat Junction, My Three Sons, Bob Hope Chrysler Theater, Another Life).

Phil Magnan, director of BFamilyAdvocates.com, chimes in, wondering if Black "really knows what he is invoking or has any idea how destructive Satanism really is."

Radio talk-show host Jesse Lee Peterson has a different take on Black's prayer. Peterson is instead at odds with MTV, the network that hosts the awards. He says it is "disturbing that MTV continues to promote the most degenerate and base programs on its network....[They] intentionally air programming designed to seduce and corrupt the minds and hearts of America's youth" (like Sex...with Mom and Dad, among others).

Ultimately, McGuire believes there could be some encouraging signs to come. While he affirms his belief that the level of darkness will continue, the Christian author strongly believes that simultaneously Americans will "see a revival among the youth similar to the Jesus Movement in the '70s."

James L. Lambert, a frequent contributor to OneNewsNow.com and author of Porn in America, is a licensed nationwide real-estate mortgage loan sales agent and can be contacted through his website.

Opinions expressed in 'Perspectives' columns published by OneNewsNow.com are the sole responsibility of the article's author(s), or of the person(s) or organization(s) quoted therein, and do not necessarily represent those of the staff or management of, or advertisers who support the American Family News Network, OneNewsNow.com, our parent organization or its other affiliates.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Joseph in Egypt: Part VI

This article was published in the Summer 2003 issue of Bible and Spade.


We do not know how many years Joseph served as Egypt’s Vizier (Prime Minister). It is very interesting that he evidently held two key title, Vizier and Chief Steward of the King. This relatively unusual in Egyptian history.

Significantly, the best known examples come from the Middle Kingdom, exactly the period of Joseph’s career. While none of the known officials holding these two posts can be identified with Joseph, it is probable that he was the first to do so and set a precedent.

Two deaths are recorded near the end of the Book of Genesis, that of Jacob and of Joseph himself. Both men were embalmed, or mummified. Today, the popular view is that this was a mysterious process about which we know little or nothing. Such is not the case. With the large number of mummies preserved in museums, we would be poor scientists indeed if we could not reconstruct this procedure. What then were the basics of mummification? (see Adams 1984, and on the popular level, Davis 1986)

Two things were essential to the mummification process. First, the body was dried. A great deal was accomplished in this regard by the naturally dry climate of Egypt. I remember seeing a photograph of a Roman soldier who had died in Egypt and who had been buried in the sand without any kind of embalming treatment at all. His hair was well preserved, as were his teeth, and there was a good deal of skin remaining, too. The Egyptians aided this natural drying process, however. They packed the body with a powdery substance called natron (basically sodium carbonate and sodium bi-carbonates). This chemical is found naturally in several locations in Egypt (Lucas 1962:263ff.).

View the rest of the article HERE

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Joseph in Egypt: Part V

This article was published in the Spring 2003 issue of Bible and Spade.


The specific Egyptian titles granted to Joseph by Pharaoh have been discussed at great length by modern scholars. The key verse is Genesis 45:8, which mentions three titles held by Joseph. The Hebrew text of course does not give the Egyptian form of these three titles. Hence, years of scholarly debate have arisen over the exact Egyptian renditions of the Hebrew words or phrases.

Of the three titles that Joseph held, let us begin with the one obvious title, and then move on to the two more complex and problematical titles.

Lord of Pharaoh’s House

Genesis 45:8 states that Joseph was made Lord of all of Pharaoh’s House. This title has an exact Egyptian counterpart, which is normally translated into English as “Chief Steward of the King.”

The main job of the Chief Steward was the detailed supervision of the King’s personal agricultural estates, the number of which would have been vast. This fits well with Joseph’s advice regarding the coming years of plenty and the following years of famine. As Chief Steward, Joseph would be well placed to prepare for the coming famine during the years of more abundant production.

It is interesting to observe that another specific responsibility of the Chief Steward was to take charge of the royal granaries, where the agricultural wealth of the nation was stored. As the person in charge of these great storehouses, Joseph was ideally placed for carrying out his suggestion to store food during the good years for the bad.

On the practical side, two things can be learned from Joseph’s post as Chief Steward.

First, note how God had prepared him for his task. No one starts out in life at the top of the ladder. We all must learn the ropes, so to speak, from the ground floor up. Joseph had been steward of the estates of Potiphar. This job was very much like that of Chief Steward of the King, but on a much smaller scale. Joseph without doubt received on-the-job training as Potiphar’s steward, which stood him in good stead when he later was promoted to the same job in the King’s household.

As Potiphar’s steward, Joseph did his job faithfully. We are told that all that Potiphar owned prospered under the stewardship of Joseph. Joseph evidently learned well. He was therefore ready when the Lord allowed him to become Chief Steward for all of Egypt.

View the rest of the article HERE

Monday, May 3, 2010

Joseph in Egypt: Part IV

This article was published in the Winter 2003 issue of Bible and Spade.


In Genesis 41, Joseph meets the king of Egypt. As we saw in our last article, he had been prepared for this encounter by being cleaned up and shaved, in true Egyptian fashion. He was now ready to meet the most powerful and important man on earth.

Before we consider this meeting however, a word on the title Pharaoh is necessary. This term means literally “Great House,” and refers to the palace establishment of Egypt. As the years passed, the title “Pharaoh” began to be used when speaking of the king, the main inhabitant of the palace and the head of Egypt’s government.

If we date Joseph to the Middle Kingdom period of Egyptian history, as I believe it is correct to do, an apparent problem arises. At this early stage of Egyptian history, the title Pharaoh was not used to refer to the king in direct address; such use begins only in Egypt’s powerful 18th Dynasty in about 1400 BC, some 300 years after the time of Joseph.

We must remember, however, that Joseph did not write the account we have in Genesis; Moses did. Moses of course lived much later than Joseph, in about 1400 BC. During his time, the title Pharaoh was beginning to be used as a form of direct address for the king of Egypt. It is important to note that Moses does not use Pharaoh followed by a proper name. This practice was only instituted in the late period of Egyptian history, as is correctly reflected in Jeremiah 44:30, where “Pharaoh Hophra” is mentioned.

But let us turn to the events surrounding the actual meeting between Joseph and the king, most probably Sesostris II of Dynasty 12. As all of us will recall from our own study of the Scriptures, Pharaoh had had a dream. His magicians (the Hebrew in Genesis 41 is an accurate translation of the Egyptian word for a magician) could not tell the meaning of his dream.

View the rest of the article HERE

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Joseph in Egypt: Part III

This article is the third in a series of six parts published in Bible and Spade.


As all who are familiar with the Biblical account will remember, Joseph, while still in the household of Potiphar, was falsely accused of adultery with the wife of his master and thrown into prison. The normal punishment for adultery in ancient Egypt was death; the fact that Joseph did not suffer execution is interesting and perhaps indicates that Potiphar doubted the veracity of his wife, who had made the accusation. In any case, Joseph spent time in an Egyptian prison.

The Biblical mention of Joseph serving time in a prison is noteworthy in itself. To us in the 20th century, serving time in a prison as punishment for a crime seems quite natural. But in the ancient world, this was not the case. The death penalty, a fine, or even bodily mutilation were the usual means of making people suffer for their crimes in the ancient Near East.

Prisons were rare in the ancient world. To see this, one need only look at the Old Testament Law. There is nothing there about serving a prison sentence for any sin or crime, and in fact there is nothing Biblically or archaeologically that would lead us to believe that the Hebrews even had prisons as we know them. The importance, then, of the prison sentence of Joseph is that the author of the book of Genesis is recording correct information, for Egypt was one of the few nations in the ancient Near East that had prisons in the classical sense of the term.

We are very fortunate to have an Egyptian papyrus, translated and published by the Egyptologist W. C. Hayes, that deals at length with Egyptian prisons (Hayes 1972). We have mentioned it also deals with Asiatic slaves in Middle Kingdom Egypt. Let us look at what this papyrus tells us about prisons and prison life in Egypt in the days of Joseph (Hayes 1972:37–42).

View the rest of the article HERE

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Scriptures released in 10 more languages

http://mnnonline.org/article/14155

Scriptures released in 10 more languages


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Posted: 27 April, 2010

Topics in this story:audio scripture, faith comes by hearing, gospel, languages

Faith Comes By Hearing often distributes these Proclaimers which contain audio Scriptures in a particular language. (FCBH photo)

International (MNN) ― Often around the world, people have literally no access to Scripture in their own language. For some, even when they are given the Bible in their own language, they do not have the ability to read it.

For those who have the Bible translated into their own language but are illiterate, it would seem impossible to access the Word without tracking someone down to read it to them. Faith Comes By Hearing has been working on a solution for over 35 years.

Faith Comes By Hearing puts a voice to Scripture, producing audio Bibles for the poor and illiterate across the globe. Just last week, the ministry released 10 more Audio New Testaments, providing the opportunity for people to hear the Truth of the Gospel, some for the first time.

The Audio New Testaments were recorded and released in these languages: Chatino de Tataltepec, Chinateco de Sochipan, amd Mixe de Atitlan, all native of Mexico; Datooga, in Tanzania; Dutch, in Suriname; Malay Bahasa in Malaysia; San (Samo) in Burkino Faso; Desano in Columbia; Indonesian (Shellabear) in Indonesia; and Wolaitta in Ethiopia.

These new releases have the potential to reach more than 56.3 million people. Pray that all of the people represented in these 10 languages would now have access to the Scriptures, be it through solar-powered Audio Bibles or free downloads. Pray that each one of them would hear the Word and respond to its power through the One and Only God.

To listen to Audio Scripture daily in your own language, visit faithcomesbyhearing.com. The ministry presents the Gospel in 443 languages in 508 recordings, most of which are available online.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Preaching God as a farmer brings Truth to people, healing to land

http://mnnonline.org/article/14149

Preaching God as a farmer brings Truth to people, healing to land


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Posted: 26 April, 2010



Topics in this story:aim, farmers, lesotho, shepherds

Lesotho (MNN) ― The small country of Lesotho is generally more prosperous than many

African countries, but it has been unable to stand up to the pressure resulting from poor farming methods.

Lesotho is currently facing what Africa Inland Mission is calling a "dire farming crisis." Each time it rains, the water seems to erode away more of the land, pushing soil down into gullies and creating worse and worse conditions for farming. Land, a normal form of inheritance in Lesotho, is falling further and further from workability.

Not only is the land suffering from natural causes, but it has also been deprived of caring human touch. AIM missionaries report that farming is seen as a lowly profession in Lesotho, so the land is often approached with destructive behavior rather than with tender care.

Based on the belief that God Himself was the first farmer (i.e. the Garden of Eden), AIM missionary August Basson has made strides to overturn this farming dilemma. He has begun preaching on God's relationship to farming, ensuring people that "the way we view ourselves has an effect on how we deal with the land, and it all goes back to our right relationship with the Creator."

With a program Basson calls "Farming God's Way," people's perceptions of farming are changing, and better farming methods are being implemented. As people begin to understand how God sees them, they are learning stewardship, and, more importantly, are being transformed by the Truth.

AIM is also working among another marginalized group in Lesotho: shepherds. AIM has been creating schools for shepherds in Lesotho for the past ten years, which has resulted not only in the education of many boys, but in the salvation of some.

AIM missionary John Barry sees the shepherds of Lesotho as a ministry ripe with potential--not just for the shepherds to be ministered to, but for the shepherds to do the actual ministering. He acknowledges that God, the Good Shepherd, has a heart for shepherds, and hopes to see Him use these men to spread the Gospel through oral Bible stories as they wander across the country.

God is doing great things in these marginalized groups in Lesotho. Pray that the farmers would be blessed by their hard work and that they would understand the benefits of living God's way. Pray that the shepherds would respond to the message of Jesus Christ and would be inspired to be, as Barry puts it, "shepherds of men."

About this Organization■News for This Organization■Profile Page

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Africa Inland MissionPhone: 1-800-254-0010

Fax: (845) 735-1814

Web site P.O. Box 178

Pearl River, NY10965



About Lesotho



Population: 2,066,000

People Groups: 13

Unreached Groups:

1 (8%)

Primary Language: English

Primary Religion: Christianity

Evangelical: 8.2%

More News About Lesotho

Info About Lesotho

Data from the Joshua Project

THE DEATH OF THE AMERICAN CONSTITUTION

Here is an audio series that everyone should get and distrubute to their churches.

http://scofieldministries.blogspot.com/2010/04/free-to-all-churches.html

Joseph in Egypt: Part II

This article is the second in a series of six parts published in Bible and Spade.


Joseph began life in Egypt as a slave (Gn 39:1). As we saw in Part I of this study, these events in the life of Joseph should be dated to the great Middle Kingdom period of Egyptian history (2000–1782 BC).

It is important to note that during the Middle Kingdom, slavery as an institution of society flourished in Egypt, Evidence from Egyptian texts, indicates that at this time in Egypt’s history, the number of Syro-Palestinian slaves in bondage in the Nile Valley was growing constantly (Aling 1981:30, note 14). While some of these Asiatic slaves must have been prisoners of war captured by the Egyptian army in raids to the north, the majority certainly was not obtained by violence (Aling: 30). Most of the slaves were female; prisoners of war would have been predominantly male. Also, there are no Egyptian records of any major wars being fought by Egypt in Syria-Palestine in the Middle Kingdom. It is best to conclude that most of the Asiatic slaves entered Egypt just as Joseph did, through the slave trade. This, however, brings up an interesting question: why is there no written evidence at all of a slave trade between Syria-Palestine and Egypt?

View the rest of the article HERE

Friday, April 23, 2010

BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW AND THE PITFALL OF EVOLUTION by David Q. Santos

BIBLICAL WORLDVIEW AND THE PITFALL OF EVOLUTION

David Q Santos

The follower of Jesus Christ is called to a life that is lived by a Biblical standard. Scripture provides authoritative direction for all matters of life. From ethical living to fulfilling the great commission the Bible tells Christians how to live. The believer’s first responsibility (after saving faith of course) is to find out what God has said about life. It is critical that the believer study the Bible (2 Tim 2:15) for spiritual growth. Scriptural knowledge should be like a pair of lenses over the believer’s eyes. Everything should be seen through these lenses.

The concept of a Biblical worldview is an important one that begins with what one believes about the Bible and directly guides how a Christian will live. A high view of Scripture will yield a high view of a personal God. Gary Stewart explained the importance of this issue when he wrote,
How do you view God? The answer is very important because the way a person views God and the quality of the relationship with God will be significant factors in how one deals with stress and crisis. Throughout the Psalms, we read of the human emotions that accompany the broad spectrum of circumstances in the psalmists’ and our own lives. There we find joy and sadness, fear and pain, exuberance and depression, victory and defeat, hope and despair. The emotions expressed in the Psalms are as diverse as the events that generated them. What sustained the writers throughout the course of these events was personal faith and a biblical worldview—the ability to view life in accordance with God’s divine perspective (see Pss. 102, 116, and 121). These same supports are available to us today.[1]
Stewart’s statement that a Biblical worldview is “the ability to view life in accordance with God’s divine perspective” is a good statement. A true Biblical world view seeks God’s perspective; past, present, and future. One could ask what a Biblical world view is. James Smith finds seven points that are included in a Biblical worldview in Genesis chapter one. He wrote,

The greatness of God is indicated in the fact that he was here when it all began. The implications of the first verse of the Bible are staggering. Here the Bible throws down the gauntlet to a number of “isms” which are antithetical to the Biblical worldview…

1. God exists. Thus atheism is opposed. The Hebrew word for God (’elohim) is used over 2500 times in the Old Testament. The word conceives of God as the one who by his nature and his works rouses man’s fear and reverence. ’Elohim emphasizes the power and transcendence of God.

2. Only one God exists. The verb in verse 1 is singular necessitating the conclusion that the world was created by one God. Thus polytheism is opposed.

3. The pluralistic unity of the Godhead is suggested by the fact that the word for God (’elohim) is plural while the verb is singular. Later revelation will make clear that the one God manifests himself as Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Thus Unitarianism is opposed.

4. The universe had a beginning. Matter is not eternal. Thus materialism is opposed.

5. God is distinct from nature, for he created the heavens and earth. Thus pantheism is opposed.

6. Since God created the material universe he is obviously superior to it and therefore in control of it. Thus the doctrine of fatalism is opposed.

7. In creating the material universe God, a non-material being, of necessity had to interact with the material realm. Thus the doctrine of dualism is opposed.[2]
Many of these points are under attack by Biblical critics. Some are being downplayed in teaching and preaching. And worse yet, some are even being denied from pulpits around the world. The Bible teaches that there is a single personal living God who exists eternally as three persons. This God created everything out of nothing. Paul Helsheth finds four assumptions that are fundamental to having a Biblical worldview. He wrote,

What, then, are the fundamental assumptions of the biblical worldview, the assumptions that are nurtured by the theological disciplines and that constitute the foundation of education that is distinctly and consistently Christian? According to conservative Reformed scholars, the assumptions that inform the ability to reason rightly include, but are not limited to, the following four:[3]

1. The Creator-creature distinction. Scripture teaches that God spoke the universe into existence (Gen 1) and “upholds all things by the word of his power” (Heb 1:3). [4]

2. Creation is the “theater” of God’s glory. Scripture teaches that “the whole earth is full of God’s glory” (Isa 6:3) because every aspect of the created order “is declaring the work of his hands” (Ps 19:1; cf. Ps 8:3–4; Rom 1). [5]

3. The unregenerate “cannot understand” the things of the Spirit. Just as Paul makes clear in 1 Cor 1 and 2 that the wisdom of God is “foolishness” to those who are perishing, so too he demonstrates in Rom 1 that the unregenerate worship and serve creatures rather than the Creator because they are blind to the true significance of what they can rationally perceive in the created order. [6]

4. Those who are “spiritual” are the appraisers of “all things.” Whereas those who are “devoid of the Spirit” are without the ability to see reality for what it objectively is, those who are “indwelt, renewed, enlightened, [and] directed by the Holy Spirit”76 are, according to 1 Cor 2:15 and 16, the “appraisers of all things” because they have “the mind of Christ.” [7]

This author believes that the single highest hurdle for maintaining a Biblical worldview is the acceptance of the creation account as found in the book of Genesis. Alan Branch affirmed this point when he wrote that “Fundamental to the biblical worldview is a cosmology which affirms the world is neither ‘divine’ (pantheism) nor an extension of the divine (panentheism). The doctrine of creation ex nihilo is closely related to the truth of God the Father found in Scripture as opposed to God as ‘mother’ in pagan religions.”[8] To hold any other view than God creating the world out of nothing (ex nihilo) in seven days is to move away from Biblical truth. MacArthur makes this same point writing, “Creation ex nihilo is the clear and consistent teaching of the Bible. Evolution was introduced as an atheistic alternative to the biblical view of creation.”[9] He also explains the infiltration of evolution into the world,

Thanks to the theory of evolution, naturalism is now the dominant religion of modern society. Less than a century and a half ago, Charles Darwin popularized the credo for this secular religion with his book The Origin of Species. Although most of Darwin’s theories about the mechanisms of evolution were discarded long ago, the doctrine of evolution itself has managed to achieve the status of a fundamental article of faith in the popular modern mind. Naturalism has now replaced Christianity as the main religion of the Western world, and evolution has become naturalism’s principal dogma.[10]

As the world continues to move away from the belief in any supernatural creator (especially the God of the Bible) it becomes more important for a Christian to be founded in truth. Morris explained by writing, “That the theory of evolution, as an all-embracing worldview, is a philosophy of profound importance that must be reckoned with is becoming increasingly evident as its influence penetrates more and more deeply into every phase of modern life.”[11] Some might say that this is not an important issue. But evolution is a faith killer. Ken Ham quotes a college professor who wrote, “After 30 years of ministry on a secular campus I have concluded the number one reason Christians lose their faith is the teaching of evolution as an inarguable fact. The same professors invariably attack the reliability of the Bible.”[12] Evolution is the inroad for critics of Christianity to attack the Bible and a Biblical worldview.

The theory of evolution has grown in its scope. “Evolution is not merely a biological theory, but is rather a full-blown cosmology. The whole structure of modern public education, from kindergarten through the postgraduate schools, both in content and methodology, is built around the evolutionary framework.”[13] Evolution is a giant theory that defines the modern humanistic worldview. All state-run education permeates evolutionary teaching and anti-Christian views. Morris adds,

A Christian, therefore, simply cannot avoid confronting this issue of evolution. It now permeates every aspect of secular life, and most areas of religious life as well. Small wonder that many professing Christians and the institutions with which they are associated (churches, schools, seminaries, publications, missions, etc.) have long since capitulated to evolution, and have tried to adapt their theology and Biblical exegesis to modern evolutionary science and social philosophy.[14]
The contrast between the Biblical worldview and evolutionary naturalism is obvious to anyone who is examining Scripture in its normal, plain, and literal fashion; taking it as face value. The belief is to say that God used normal language to transmit His special progressive revelation. “The worldview expressed in Genesis 1–4 is not just different from its counterpart in the literature of the ancient world; it is opposed to it.[15] Opposite to the Bible is naturalism. “Naturalism is the view that every law and every force operating in the universe is natural rather than moral, spiritual, or supernatural. Naturalism is inherently anti-theistic, rejecting the very concept of a personal God.”[16] Evolutionists of today are not content to believe what they wish. They often find it necessary for everyone else to believe the same as they do. Evolution is not scientific fact, rather, it is a religion with its own set of apologetics. “Modern naturalism is often promulgated with a missionary zeal that has powerful religious overtones.”[17]

Because of this zeal and supposed fact even some Christian leaders have fallen to the falsehood of evolution. “Many who should know better—pastors and Christian leaders who defend the faith against false teachings all the time—have been tempted to give up the battle for the opening chapters of Genesis.”[18] Failing to maintain a Biblical worldview of creation is not a small matter. This doctrine is the basis for a high view of God. It is also directly related to other doctrines such as the fall of man and the depravity of man. These doctrines are crucial for a right view of anthropology and doctrines of salvation. “Evolution, on the other hand, not only must deny creation, but must also deny the Fall, and therefore also the necessity of redemption.”[19] To deny the creation is a path to a watered down false Gospel and the loss of a true Biblical worldview.


Work Cited
Arnold, Bill T., Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998).

Branch, Alan, “Radical Feminism and Abortion Rights: A Brief Summary and Critique,” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9, 2 (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 2004; 2005).

Ham, Ken, Number One Reason Christians Lose Their Faith, (Answers In Genesis), http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2007/11/04/number-one-reason-christians-lose-their-faith, accessed 12/24/2009.

Helsheth, Paul Kjoss, “Christ-Centered Bible-Based and Second-Rate? ‘Right Reason’ As the Aesthetic Foundation of Christian Education,” Westminster Theological Journal Volume 69, 2 (Westminster Theological Seminary, 2007; 2008).

MacArthur, John, “Creation: Believe It Or Not,” Master's Seminary Journal Volume 13, 1 (The Master's Seminary, 2002; 2005).

Morris, Henry M., “Seven Reasons for Opposing Evolution,” Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 122 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965; 2002).

Smith, James E., The Pentateuch, 2nd ed. (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1993).

Stewart, Gary, Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia : Are They Ever Right?, BioBasics series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publicationi, 1998).
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[1] Gary Stewart, Basic Questions on Suicide and Euthanasia : Are They Ever Right?, BioBasics series (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publicationi, 1998), 32–33.

[2] James E. Smith, The Pentateuch, 2nd ed. (Joplin, Mo.: College Press Pub. Co., 1993). Gen 1:1-23

[3] Paul Kjoss Helsheth, “Christ-Centered Bible-Based and Second-Rate? ‘Right Reason’ As the Aesthetic Foundation of Christian Education,” Westminster Theological Journal Volume 69, 2 (Westminster Theological Seminary, 2007; 2008), 397–400.

[4] Helsheth, 397–398.

[5] Ibid, 398.

[6] Ibid, 399.

[7] Ibid, 399.

[8] Alan Branch, “Radical Feminism and Abortion Rights: A Brief Summary and Critique,” Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood Volume 9, 2 (Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, 2004; 2005), 23.

[9] John MacArthur, “Creation: Believe It Or Not,” Master's Seminary Journal Volume 13, 1 (The Master's Seminary, 2002; 2005), 16.

[10] Ibid, 5–6.

[11] Henry M. Morris, “Seven Reasons for Opposing Evolution,” Bibliotheca Sacra Volume 122 (Dallas Theological Seminary, 1965; 2002), 254.

[12] Ken Ham, Number One Reason Christians Lose Their Faith, (Answers In Genesis), http://blogs.answersingenesis.org/blogs/ken-ham/2007/11/04/number-one-reason-christians-lose-their-faith, accessed 12/24/2009.

[13] Morris, 254.

[14] Ibid, 255.

[15] Bill T. Arnold, Encountering the Book of Genesis (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998) 49.

[16] MacArthur, 6.

[17] Ibid.

[18] Ibid, 11.

[19] Morris, 256.