The Avenger and Redeemer: The Great Hero

The_Avengers-1

Sounds like a video game title, right? It would make a great plot for one. Imagine a hero that rescues people from trouble and destroys the enemy. Oh wait, that’s already been done! The Bible has all the original plots.

Did you know that the Hebrew word for Avenger and Redeemer are the same? Turn to Joshua 20. There you will read about a family member who “avenges” the death of his relative. This relative is called “the avenger of blood.”

Modern sensitivities are appalled at such a thought, however, this law is a just law. In Ancient Israel a man could only be sentenced to death at the mouth of two or three witnesses. Once convicted, the “State” didn’t carry out the execution, a family member of the victim did.

—One Title, Two Aspects

We are very familiar with the function of a Redeemer. But we have a hard time connecting a Redeemer with an Avenger. Our Lord is both.

He not only redeems us from sin, but He destroys the enemies. Both redeeming and avenging are acts of love.

Israel: God REDEEMED them with the Passover lamb, but on the gods of Egypt He brought His VENGEANCE.

Believers: God REDEEMS us through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3), but He also AVENGES us of our enemies with an age-abiding destruction (2 Th. 1).

Mankind: God REDEEMS the descendants of Adam from death, but He also AVENGES us by destroying the last enemy, death (1 Cor. 15:20-28).

—The Book of Ruth

One of the qualifications of a Redeemer is that He has to be ONE OF US. God is called our Redeemer. The book of Ruth is the book of the Redeemer. In Ruth God lays out the requirements of a Kinsman-Redeemer:

In Ruth 2:1 he’s a Kinsman. Cp. John 1:14; Hebrews 4:14
In Ruth 2:3 he’s of the Kindred of the one he’s redeeming. Cp. Acts 17:26
In Ruth 2:20 he’s near of Kin. Cp. “Came near” in Luke 10:33
In Ruth 2:20 he’s the next Kinsmen. Cp. Job 19:25
In Ruth 3:9, 12 he’s the near Kinsman.

What does this Kinsman do? In Ruth 3:13 the “part, or job of a Kinsman” is to restore the dead to an inheritance. See Ruth 3:9-10.

What do we do? Let Him do His job. Ruth 3:18. For He alone can Redeem, for He says:

“Thus saith the LORD the King of Israel, and his REDEEMER the LORD of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God…I have blotted out, as a thick cloud, thy transgressions, and, as a cloud, thy sins: return unto me; for I have REDEEMED thee…Thus saith the LORD, thy REDEEMER, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself…” Isaiah 44:6,22,24

—A Redeemer Doesn’t Farm Out His Work

The Companion Bible sheds light on the role of a Kinsman-Redeemer. The marginal note for “Avenger” in Numbers 35:12 says:

“Heb. Goel, to redeem, to ransom…Goel, when used in this connection, means to avenge bloodshed, as here; both were the duties of the next of kin, the kinsman. Our Goel not only redeems us from all evil, but avenges us of all our enemies. Romans 8:31-34.”

Just as God didn’t allow the Redeemer/Avenger in Israel to farm out his job to the state, even so God didn’t farm out His Redeeming work to another. God Himself is our Savior. God Himself is our Redeemer. God Himself is our Avenger.

All hail our Redeemer and Avenger!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

A Short History of Worship, Brains, and Muscle: The World’s Preparation For Christ

Brain-Muscle

The ancient world worshiped false gods. The desire to worship something is God implanted. The Adversary took advantage of that desire and introduced idols to man. Man fell for it. The gods included animals, objects in nature, and glorified men. The gods of the past were recycled from culture to culture. The gods of Sumer, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, and Persia were very similar.

Then came the Greeks. Homer, believed to be a blind singing poet, taught his people about the Olympian gods. Homer’s theology was embraced by the Greeks from around 700 to 500 BC. The gods were said to live on Mount Olympus. The chief of the gods was Zeus. Zeus resembled the Babylonian god Marduk. The Olympian gods were associated with forces in nature like the Egyptian and Mesopotamian gods were. For instance, Apollo was associated with the sun, Poseidon with the sea, and Artemis with the moon.

There were Greek goddesses too. These super-chicks were personifications of qualities or things. For instance, Athena was the goddess of wisdom, Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and love, and Hera was the goddess of marriage. This last “babe” was Zeus’s wife.

But corrupt religion never satisfies the longing of the human heart. Around 500 BC the religion of Homer started to wane. That’s when the Philosophers came on the scene. They were the first people who were bold enough to question the Olympian gods. These philosophers recognized that Zeus and his buddies were nothing more than human beings created and deified by Homer’s wild imagination. In the sixth century BC Xenophanes mocked Greek polytheism and anthropomorphism.

Socrates was executed because he told the youth to question the gods. He was accused of poisoning young minds. Plato was a student of Socrates. Plato recognized that there is an underlying order in the universe. He was moving in the direction of Scripture truth, but he never fully arrived. Plato thought the gods were so ridiculous he banished them from his ideal Republic. Aristotle was a student of Plato. Aristotle went even further than Plato. Aristotle not only recognized an order in the universe, but he concluded that there had to be a single being running it.

But philosophy didn’t answer the longings of the human heart either. The gods were replaced by the human mind as an object of worship. The Greeks replaced “know Zeus” with “know thyself.”

Then comes Alexander the Great. Alex was a personal student of Aristotle. He applied Philosophy by force and conquered the world. Alex kicked the bucket when he was 33 and his kingdom was divided into four regions. As a result of Alex’s conquests Greek culture spread around the world, however, the new Greek faith started to wane. Greek philosophy made people curious and inquiring, but with all their inquiries they were never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. The old gods were dead and were replaced with the Aristotles and the Alexanders of the world, but the Greek curiosity wouldn’t allow them to hold this faith without a measure of doubt.

From the death of Alexander in 323 till the birth of Christ the people felt lost. The gods were the foundation of the ancient world, but now they were gone. The new gods were wandering aimlessly in philosophical thought.

Then came Rome. Rome conquered the Greeks. But the conquered Greeks became the teachers of their new Roman masters. Greek wisdom was now combined with Roman law and energy. Neither could this combination solve man’s need. But there was a bright spot. Roman conquests united North, South, East, and West with a common language, culture, and laws. With walls between ancient nations broken down, thinkers like Virgil and Cicero began to see a common humanity. A sanctified eye is thrilled to see that these acts of Providence were God’s way of preparing the world for the unifying message of God’s love and the sacrifice of Jesus Christ – the message that unites mankind!

This is the world into which Jesus Christ enters. He is the answer to man’s desire to worship and think clearly. With Thomas we can worship Him as our Lord and our God. With John we can call Him the Word of God. He’s the logos longed for by the philosophers. Jesus Christ isn’t the distant God of the Philosophers, neither is He an unstable human character like the gods of Mt. Olympus. Jesus Christ is the mediator between God and men, He’s the perfect representation of God and the perfect expression of what man was designed to be.

God gave man the desire to worship and to use his brains. But these desires unaided by God’s revelation only lead to corruption. The truth about God and human reasoning were corrupted as a result of the tower of Babel. With this new “faith” human behavior became corrupt too – see Romans 1:18-32.

Phillip Schaff makes an amazing observation:

Notwithstanding this essential apostasy from truth and holiness, heathenism was religion, a groping after “the unknown God.” By its superstition it betrayed the need of faith. Its polytheism rested on a dim monotheistic background; it subjected all the gods to Jupiter, and Jupiter himself to a mysterious fate. It had at bottom the feeling of dependence on higher powers and reverence for divine things. It preserved the memory of a golden age and of a fall. It had the voice of conscience, and a sense, obscure though it was, of guilt. It felt the need of reconciliation with deity, and sought that reconciliation by prayer, penance, and sacrifice. Many of its religious traditions and usages were faint echoes of the primal religion; and its mythological dreams of the mingling of the gods with men, of demigods, of Prometheus delivered by Hercules from his helpless sufferings, were unconscious prophecies and fleshly anticipations of Christian truths. This alone explains the great readiness with which heathens embraced the gospel…

The elements of truth, morality, and piety scattered throughout ancient heathenism, may be ascribed to three sources.

In the first place, man, even in his fallen state, retains some traces of the divine image, a knowledge of God, however weak, a moral sense or conscience, and a longing for union with the Godhead, for truth and for righteousness. In this view we may, with Tertullian, call the beautiful and true sentences of a Socrates, a Plato, an Aristotle, of Pindar, Sophocles, Cicero, Virgil, Seneca, Plutarch, “the testimonies of a soul constitutionally Christian,” of a nature predestined to Christianity.

Secondly, some account must be made of traditions and recollections, however faint, coming down from the general primal revelations to Adam and Noah.

But the third and most important source of the heathen anticipations of truth is the all-ruling providence of God, who has never left himself without a witness. Particularly must we consider, with the ancient Greek fathers, the influence of the divine Logos before his incarnation, who was the tutor of mankind, the original light of reason, shining in the darkness and lighting every man, the sower scattering in the soil of heathendom the seeds of truth, beauty, and virtue.

The flower of paganism…appears in the two great nations of classic antiquity, Greece and Rome. With the language, morality, literature, and religion of these nations, the apostles came directly into contact, and through the whole first age the church moves on the basis of these nationalities. These, together with the Jews, were the chosen nations of the ancient world, and shared the earth among them. The Jews were chosen for things eternal, to keep the sanctuary of the true religion. The Greeks prepared the elements of natural culture, of science and art, for the use of the church. The Romans developed the idea of law, and organized the civilized world in a universal empire, ready to serve the spiritual universality of the gospel. Both Greeks and Romans were unconscious servants of Jesus Christ, “the unknown God.”

These three nations, by nature at bitter enmity among themselves, joined hands in the superscription on the cross, where the holy name and the royal title of the Redeemer stood written, by the command of the heathen Pilate, “in Hebrew and Greek and Latin.”

God allowed the Greeks and the Romans to reach the greatest civilization possible without God. They developed religion, science, art, and law like no other people before. The Greeks thought the hardest, the Romans fought the hardest. But brains and muscles combined couldn’t solve man’s problems. God allowed man to develop and exhaust all his resources to prove that man doing his best apart from God can’t save the world.

Jesus Christ changed everything. Romans 1 -3 demonstrates the folly of idolatry and provides salvation through Jesus Christ. First Corinthians 1-4 demonstrates the follow of human wisdom and provides true wisdom through Jesus Christ Who is the wisdom of God.

The Greeks looked on foreigners as morons, the Romans looked on foreigners as enemies to be conquered. Rome means “force”, yet Christ is the “power” of God. Christ alone will bring in a universal empire which will never be destroyed. Christ’s kingdom is based on the worship of the true God, godly wisdom, and godly power. What Greece and Rome couldn’t do, Christ will accomplish:

“And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of thy times, and strength of salvation: the fear of the LORD is his treasure.” Isaiah 33:6

“Let he who boasts boast in the Lord.” When we worship Christ we worship God. When we hear Christ we hear God. Christ is the answer to man’s desire to worship and think correctly. True worship, brains, and muscle are found in Christ.

All hail the wise Conqueror of the world, the Logos, the King of kings, the power of God, the wisdom of God, Jesus Christ our Lord!

Let me conclude with an article I wrote called: “The Desire of Nations.”

The most important event in history is the coming of the Savior into the world. Mankind’s deepest longings were answered in Christ.

Man longs to hear from God. How’s that fulfilled?
Christ is The Prophet. He speaks to man for God. That’s why he’s called the “logos.”

Man longs for a mediator with God. How’s that fulfilled?
Christ is the Great High Priest.

Man longs to serve God. How’s that fulfilled?
Christ is The King. As King He directs our service.

Christ is so important that our calendars acknowledge Him as the center of History. We use the terms BC and AD. The former means “Before Christ.” The latter is “Anno Domini” which means, “in the year of our Lord”.

The years before Christ came into this world were the countdown to His birth. The years after document His influence till God’s goal is reached. The History of the World before Christ was preparation. The years since are progress toward the goal.

Christ came in the fullness of time, the perfect time. The world had been properly prepared. The preparation period proved that man needed redemption. Christ came and accomplished it.

No wonder Christ is called “the desire of all nations.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gnostic Christianity – Correction Notice

In my article on “Gnostic Christianity” I made a mistake that totally changed the meaning of the article. In the first paragraph I wrote:

“The Gnostic faith saw the universe in two parts, spirit and matter. Matter was good, spirit was bad.”

Ooops! That’s dyslexia at its finest! It changes the whole meaning of the article. What I meant to say is:

“Matter was bad, spirit was good.”

The article now reflects this change.

Thanks for your patience. Thanks to Aaron Welch for the catching it!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Gnostic Christianity

The early Christians carried some of their baggage with them into their new faith, especially Gnosticism. The Gnostic faith saw the universe in two parts, spirit and matter. Matter was bad, spirit was good. This philosophy infected Christian doctrine. They reinterpreted the Scriptures through Gnostic lenses. This infection helped produce the teaching of the immortality of the soul and the after-life doctrines.

Here’s how Gnostic Christianity goes: Since the soul survives the death of the body (an unscriptural term), you have to put the soul somewhere. Thus came the theology that says departed souls go to heaven, hell, or purgatory. God created a good place called heaven, and a not so good place called earth. If you behaved in the not so good place you went to a better place when you died, heaven; if you didn’t behave in the not so good place you went to an even worse place when you died, purgatory or hell.

This is why the teaching of resurrection and a restored earth has vanished from Christian teaching. Christian teaching has followed the Gnostic idea that matter is bad. Death has become a portal to a better life for some and a horrible life for others. Notice that: death is a “life” somewhere else. The fact that most can’t see the irony in that statement is proof that the Adversary has focused most of his energy on confusing the issues of life and death.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Religion: Evolutionary Development?

The religions of the Ancient world are not the products of evolution. Evolutionary historians treat religion as phases of development in human worship. This isn’t true. The religions of the ancient world were corruptions of an original faith, they were a degeneration.

Ancient religions are a “darkening of the original consciousness of God, a deification of the rational and irrational creature, and a corresponding corruption of the moral sense, giving the sanction of religion to natural and unnatural vices.”

The Apostle Paul tells us exactly what he thinks about Ancient religions in Romans 1:18-32. They are the result of not giving God the glory or thanking Him. When man departs from God he doesn’t go to atheism, he gets religion.

Take a look at Greece. The religion of Greece is praised as a religion of beauty. Yet their degeneracy is evident to anyone who knows the history of Greece.

The Greeks didn’t know what sin was, as a result, they didn’t know what holiness was. To the Greeks, sin is merely a lack of understanding and an offense against people. Many times sin was the fault of the gods! The gods made them sin! For instance, “Infatuation”, or Moral Blindness is a daughter of Jove this goddess is the source of bad behavior on earth.

Homer doesn’t’ believe in a Devil, instead, he gave the Greek gods devilish characteristics. Homer’s gods were Super-Greeks. They were men and women who displayed in deified form the vices and virtues of the common Greeks. Homer and his buddies worshiped these cartoon characters.

I wonder how much damage Greek thinking has infected Christian thinking? Has sin been replaced by a mistake? Are people no longer sinners, but poor victims?

The Greek ideas about sin nullify the need of a Savior. There’s no need for a cross, for a death, for a burial, for a resurrection, or an ultimate salvation of all. Christ isn’t necessary for a degenerate religion.

Romans 1:1-3:20 shows us the problem – sin.
Romans 3:21-5:11 shows us the cure – redemption.
Romans 5:12-8:39 shows us God’s way of holiness – Reckoning and presenting.

Degenerate religion doesn’t recognize Romans 1:1-3:20, as a result, there’s no need for Romans 3:21-5:11, therefore, Romans 5:12-8:39 isn’t even on their radar.

Let’s not turn back to idols from the living and true God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Serve Man and Worship God

The person who serves man worships God best. The person who worships God serves man best.

That’s God’s love in action. This is the lesson of Ephesians 5:1-2.

Christ gave Himself for us – He served man.
He did it as an offering to God – He worshiped God.

The mere philanthropist serves man and ignores God. The mistaken religious man serves God and ignores man. Neither one are motivated by God’s love.

Walk in love beloved for love is of God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Imperium in imperio – An Empire Within An Empire

The Church in Paul’s day had a wonderful testimony. Sure, they had their problems, we all do. They were known for what they believed and what they did. Their actions pointed others to the Savior.

The Just shall LIVE by faith. As a result, their faith was spoken of throughout the whole world. In other words, their faith was clothed with action. Salvation isn’t merely an inward thing, it manifests itself outwardly when we obey the mandates of our Creator.

This is where the early Church ran into trouble. The churches were self-governed. This led to conflict with Rome. Rome labeled them as “Imperium in imperio,” an “empire within and empire.” Why? Because they took care of the poor, widows, orphans, and held court for matters of justice (1 Co. 6). These courts were known for being just. Unbelievers were so impressed that they went to them to try their cases. The humanistic courts were useless. The Roman courts were much like ours today, unjust, backed-up, and lacking in righteousness.

The believers in Paul’s day knew justice and practical matters. They understood how to apply justice in business and other practical matters. How did they know these things? They had God’s word, all of it. They weren’t looking to retreat from society. They didn’t have an escape mentality. They believed that “Jesus is the answer” to everything – salvation, death, resurrection, and yes, family, business, economics, politics, and anything else you can think of.

They wouldn’t have dreamed of sending the poor to the Roman bread line with their “bread and circuses” program! They took care of the people themselves.

There was a place in the Roman empire where 50-thousand believers were taking care of 100-thousand poor people – without “government funds.” These believers “taxed” themselves to help others. They took care of the basic social functions: education and welfare.

These believers didn’t separate from the world or other believers. On the contrary, they met regularly for teaching and encouragement. They actually made a difference in their SOCIETY. Their separation was their faith and their actions – not location. They were DIFFERENT – that’s Biblical “separation.”

How are we doing? Are we “different?” Is ours an intellectual faith, or, a living thing?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Bible #11 God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Dominion

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
28 And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.

We now come to the crown of God’s creation, man. God delights in man – Proverbs 8:31. He is the last of God’s creation.

Man is created last for two reasons:

First – to keep him humble. God is the creator. That means He’s in charge. We read in Job 38:4

“Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth? declare, if thou hast understanding.”

Second – to keep us confident in God. We have a special role. God saved the best for last.

Man is special. I pointed out previously how God speaks differently when He creates animals:

“Let the waters bring forth…”

“Let the earth bring forth…”

Up till now God has been commanding His creation. But when it comes to man we read:

“Let us make…”

Note that we have two plurals here. Elohim is plural, and “Us” is plural. Once again we have the plural of majesty. Here it’s doubly emphasized when God creates man. Man is the crown of His creation. His majesty is demonstrated in man. Man is to represent God.

Some think the plural means that three persons in a “Godhead” are having a conference. Others think God is consulting with angels. I am not comfortable with either scenario. I don’t think it fits Scripture.

God’s Sovereignty and Man’s Dominion

Image and likeness. Our Lord used this term “image” in a very interesting way. One day someone brought a coin to Him. The coin had Caesar’s image on it. This means the coin represented Caesar in all his power and majesty. The coin wasn’t Caesar, it was a representation of Him.

Man is God’s image. God is the Creator. God owns everything. That means He is over all, He is Sovereign.

God created this world for man. He entrusted it to man. He delegated partial ownership to man. God owns it all, man has limited ownership. God told man to exercise dominion. That means we are to develop His resources under Him, to subdue them.

When we seek to operate outside of Him, He corrects us. When we do our own wills instead of His, God brings us back in line through correction. This is how World History has proceeded. God will bring the whole world around through corrective measures. God’s corrective measures are to set things right.

This is what is meant by God’s Sovereignty. This is what is meant by man’s dominion.

Genesis three hasn’t altered man’s commission. God created man upright (Eccl. 7:9), and in righteous and holiness of the truth (Eph. 4:24). True, sin has marred this. This is why believer’s are transformed into the same image from glory to glory.

Total Depravity

“And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness, after his image; and called his name Seth.” Genesis 5:3

This verse is made much of by those who promote total depravity. Scripture never talks about “fallen” man or a “fallen” image.

If you compare Genesis 5:3 with Genesis 9:6 and James 3:9 you will see that man never lost the image of God after he sinned. Image and likeness are interchangeable terms. Just compare Genesis 1:26-28 with Genesis 5:1-2 and you will see the terms are interchangeable. Man is the image and likeness of God in the sense that he was given DOMINION over the earth. It has to do with the role God assigned him. God is in charge of everything – He delegated authority to man. That’s what image and likeness is about.

Genesis 5:3 is God’s way of saying that Adam’s children were after his kind. Like begets like. That’s the point. It has nothing to do with a “fallen image.”

Total depravity is not a Biblical doctrine. Neither is the “fallen image” doctrine. These doctrines are fruits of a false holiness philosophy.

Some think that image and likeness refers to man being “a trinity.” The reasoning goes like this: “since God is a trinity, man must be a trinity too.” Augustine taught the human “trinity” doctrine. Just read “The City of God.” Aristotle taught it too. This teaching is a package deal with “total depravity.” I don’t see it.

The Meaning of “Adam”

It’s been said that Adam means “red earth,” or something like that. But let me make a suggestion. When you read through Genesis you will notice that when a person is named there’s a reason for it. For instance, Eve was called Eve because she is “the mother of all living.” Eve means life. When Cain was born Eve said: “I have GOTTEN, or AQUIRED a man from the LORD.” Cain means “gain.” Noah means rest. And on and on throughout Genesis. The names were suitable to the roles people played.

Seeing that each person is named in such a fashion, isn’t a little strange Adam should merely mean “red-earth?”

I think the key to understanding the meaning of Adam’s name is the surrounded words. Those words are image, likeness, and dominion. This is man’s role on the planet. This will be ultimately fulfilled in our Lord Jesus Christ. Christ will have dominion over all. See 1 Cor. 15:20-28.

So Adam’s name is suitable to the exalted role God has assigned him and his descendants. Let’s live up to that name!

Details Left Off: Divine Titles

Notice in verse 27 Moses repeats three times that God created man. This is enforcing the truth that man is a special creation.

Created he them. “Them” refers to Adam and Eve. The details of Eve’s creation are given in Genesis two. Genesis one doesn’t give us all the details. God give us the basics. In chapter two God gives details He doesn’t tell us in Genesis one.

These differences in details can be explained by the use of Divine titles:

Genesis 1:1 – 2:3 – God
Genesis 2:4 – 25 – LORD God.

The titles speak volumes. This is why details are expanded in chapter two. God gives details suited to the name He uses. We will talk about that in another paper.

God Creates Families To Change The World

Be fruitful. This is why the “them” is referring to Adam and Eve. Two men can’t propagate the race. In Genesis five we read that God called Adam and Eve – Adam. She took his name. They were one.

As we stand on the threshold of Scripture we see the importance of families. Man’s dominion over the earth requires stable families. Man is the image and glory of God. Woman is the glory of the man. God begins with families. World blessing begins in a faithful home. Genesis provides an example of this principle:

God raised up a man – Abraham – chapter 12.
He and his wife start a family.
They teach them the way of the Lord – chapter 18.
His family eventually effects a nation.
That nation is to bless the world.

May God raise up loving families to exercise dominion under God on this earth.

Ussher’s chronology says this was Friday, October 28th, 4004 BC.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Just Shall Live By Faith

The Just Shall Live By Faith…

What comes to mind when you read the above passage?

Now that you thought about that verse, let’s look at it again. Notice carefully the verse doesn’t say the just shall BE SAVED by faith.

Now read it again.

This passage is a quote of Habakkuk 2:4. It’s quoted in the New Testament three times. Romans 1:17, Galatians 3:11, and Hebrews 10:38.

In each occurrence the word “Live” is used. Not once is the word “Saved” used.

We have a distorted view of what salvation means. We have limited it to one thing. The word “salvation” means more than “salvation from sin and its consequences.” Salvation means life, victory, service, and joy here and now.

We are justified by the faith of Jesus Christ. He LIVED a life in obedience to God. He LIVED by every word the proceeded out of the mouth of God.

Living by faith (Romans 1:16-17) is the opposite of holding the truth in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18-20). Living by faith (Hebrews 10:38a) is the opposite of drawing back to a wasted life (Hebrews 10:38b). Living by faith is putting God’s word into practice in every area of life. It’s the opposite of retreat!

There’s a teaching that says that everything in this life is essentially useless. The best we can do is just get by and wait for the Lord to take us away. The ancient Egyptians taught this as well. This life is meaningless, only the next one counts.

God didn’t deliver us so that we can do nothing but think about our deliverance. God freed us to LIVE. We are justified to LIVE.

Faith is an active thing. If faith isn’t active, the object of our faith is pretty pathetic. But our faith is in God and His Son Jesus Christ. This faith is real because our God is real. Faith leads to action. Faith is dynamic, not static.

God speaks to us through His word. God’s word doesn’t speak to just one area of our life, does it? Does God’s word apply to one area of your life and not another?

The Bible is God’s word. It speaks to our personal and family lives, to our churches, states, schools, business, entertainment, politics, charity, economics, and anything else in life. We can’t claim to believe in God’s sovereignty and the Lordship of Jesus Christ while limiting His authority to a small corner of our lives.

Let’s LIVE by faith. Let’s unleash the word of God on the world. God’s word is powerful. Why would we need such power in a perfect world? It’s needed for this one! There’s not one problem on this earth that God can’t fix.

The just shall LIVE by faith. Man shall not LIVE by bread alone, but by every word that comes from God’s mouth.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Is Heaven Our Future Home? (Cntd.) What is Heaven?

I have come to the conclusion that the earth, and not heaven, is the future home of the redeemed. I will give you my convictions in this paper. This is in no way exhaustive. Could I be wrong? Sure.

If you’re looking for a “teacher” who thinks he’s always right, you’ve come to the wrong place. I am appealing to students like me.

Most won’t settle matters by the Word of God. Most have their favorite teacher’s quotes on their computer. When they deal with doctrinal matters they just hit copy and paste. That’s what passes off as Bible study today. The partisan followers delude themselves into thinking that this method is “giving adversaries a doctrinal whipping.” Being an expert in the writings of a monthly magazine is not the same as being a student of the Word of God.

The Hebrew word for heaven is: shamayim – it occurs 419 times (Youngs)

The Greek word for heaven is: ouranos – it occurs 284 times (Youngs)

By looking at the concordance you can examine every occurrence of the word and its context. It is my opinion that when you examine every occurrence of the word you will come to the conclusion that the teaching that heaven is our home doesn’t come from the Scriptures.

Let me repeat, the majority view, the popular view, held by just about every religion, isn’t found in the Scriptures. That’s according to my research.

God’s revelation is progressive. He’s revealed things line by line. There are instances where God’s past revelations were superseded by later ones. For instance:

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

Then a few years later He said:

35 And he said unto them, When I sent you without purse, and scrip, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, Nothing.
36 Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.

Note the change. One revelation canceled out a previous one.

How does this apply to heaven? In Psalm 37 we read this:

9 For evildoers shall be cut off: but those that wait upon the LORD, they shall inherit the earth.
11 But the meek shall inherit the earth; and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.

In these passages God talks about the place where the redeemed will be blessed. Some say this only applies to Israel. Those who say that need to prove that those who aren’t part of Israel have a destiny that’s different.

What was Melchizedek’s destiny? How about Abimelech? How about Job?

The Psalmist says that those who are blessed of God will be given a portion on this earth.

I know the Lord will bless me in the future. Where will He bless me? I believe it’s on this earth. Many will have different blessings depending on their service. But that doesn’t mean certain ones will enjoy those blessings in a different sphere. No matter how great our blessings are, they will still be enjoyed on this earth.

Back to the matter of progressive revelation. Is Psalm 37 God’s final word about man’s future home?

Many years later our Lord spoke about this matter. But He never altered the words of Psalm 37. Listen to our Lord:

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

From Psalm 37 to Matthew 5 God never altered the future home of His redeemed. If nothing has changed since Matthew 5, we must say that earth is the future home of God’s redeemed.

Has there been an alteration since our Lord spoke? I used to think so. But then I studied the word “heaven.”

The Hebrew word for heaven means “height.” It’s something that’s over and above. Read Genesis 1 for the first occurrences. The Greek word has the same meaning.

These words are applied to any place, person, or thing that’s above. In Luke 15 we read,

“I have sinned against heaven.”

That meant he sinned against God. Heaven is put for God. He is above all. (See Bullinger’s Figures of Speech)

The Hebrew word “shamayim” is used for God and earthly rulers. It’s used for people in high places. The word “heaven” has more than one meaning. It refers to the place where the birds fly, where the sun is, to God, and rulers.

The Greek word “ouranos” means to “raise up.” It’s just like the Hebrew word. We saw how it was used for God in Luke 15. The man didn’t sin against the planets or the sky, he didn’t sin against the birds or Mars, he sinned against God.

Ouranos in the plural is used of celestial beings. In Ephesians 4:10 we read:

“He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.”

If that refers to “places,” then Christ ascended outside all “places.” That’s a little strange, isn’t it? So what does this passage mean?

Man is a little lower than the angels. Read Psalm 8. Thus, it’s proper that angels can be referred to as the heavens, or the “raised up ones.” Christ ascended over and above the angels! This fits the context. Christ isn’t above all “places,” He’s above “beings.”

This word is also used in Acts 2:5 and Colossians 1:23 for earthly rulers. Read those passages carefully. Heaven is put for “men in high places.” See also Jeremiah 14:22.

Heaven has to do with that which is exalted. In Ephesians 1:4 we read:

3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

The word “heaven” here is an adjective with the prefix “epi.” This makes it more intensive. An Adjective gets its meaning from the word or words which it qualifies.

The KJV supplies “places.” The idea here is “high places” or “exalted beings.” We are blessed with every spiritual blessing among exalted beings. Believers are future aristocracy. It’s not about heading due north, but about position – in my opinion.

Our Lord said to Nicodemus:

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

I was taught that this meant,

“If I told you things concerning Israel and their earthly calling, and you don’t believe, how shall you believe if I tell you about things concerning heaven and the body of Christ?” No, that won’t do.

This passage can be paraphrased as follows:

“If I told you basic things, and you don’t believe, how shall you believe, if I told you more advanced things.”

Heavenly things here means “advanced things.”

This is food for thought. Get out the Concordance. There will be more to come in the future. I hope this stirs you to search and see.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment