Dispensationalism & the rapture

Dr. Ben Witherington is professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. This is an excellent synopsis of where “Left Behind” came from, and it is NOT the Bible. For the exegesis of the supposed ‘Rapture’ passage in 1 Thessalonians see: https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

Coffee with the King

See this excellent 7-minute video discussing the origins of Dispensationalism and the idea of a secret rapture, from NT Professor Ben Witherington III.

http://www.patheos.com/blogs/bibleandculture/2014/10/08/the-rapture-uncaged/

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I want to be LEFT BEHIND

I want to be Left Behind, by James Michael Jones–reblogged below this text and my comments.

36 “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only. 37 But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 38 For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark, 39 and did not know until the flood came and took them all away, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 40 Then two men will be in the field: one will be taken and the other left. 41 Two women will be grinding at the mill: one will be taken and the other left. 42 Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. 43 But know this, that if the master of the house had known what hour the thief would come, he would have watched and not allowed his house to be broken into. 44 Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.  Matthew 24

[Text highlighted to show the parallel: …took…taken…]

[The other clear parallel between the days of Noah and the days of the coming of the Son of Man: people will be going about their normal business.]

Yes, some scholars see the “taken” as being “to judgment.”  Robert H. Mounce (New International Biblical Commentary), sees this as parallel with the ‘”taken away” by the flood’ (v. 39). Others think it is ‘left for judgment (e.g. NICNT) [This seems to be based on some presupposition rather than on the context which seems to be blatantly ignored]. But the two differing views do not detract from the key point–“The coming of Jesus marks a complete and permanent division” (Leon Morris) “. . . the decisive moment.” “The sayings emphasize the completely unexpected nature of the Man’s coming” (AB).
THIS is the Parousia, the Second Advent, the final judgment, (vv. 27, 29-31, 44), not some secret “beam me up Scotty!” fiction. This context leaves “Left Behind” out in the cold. [The enigmatic saying about the vultures receives a variety of educated guesses.] And the context of the primary passage which is distorted to fit the modern “Rapture” doctrine also leaves the fiction behind. https://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/05/11/second-coming-rapture-vs-scripture-christian/

Forgiveness Factor

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Left Behind will be released in theaters soon. One of the verses used to describe the Rapture is Matthew 24:40. It states: “Then two men will be in the field; one will be taken and one left.” According to supporters of the Left Behind series of books and films, no one wants to be ‘left behind’.

If you read Tim LaHaye’s book “Left behind” and watch the first “Left Behind” film, you do NOT want to be left behind. However, did Jesus believe the ones left behind had it bad? Read Jesus’ remarks in Luke 17:34-37 and you tell me. “‘I tell you, in that night there will be two in one bed. One will be taken and the other left. There will be two women grinding together. One will be taken and the other left.’ And they said to Him, ‘Where, Lord?’ He said to them, ‘Where the corpse…

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Good Friday–Dying for the Ungodly

jesus-on-cross

Romans 5

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, . . . the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous man; though perhaps for the good man someone would dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.

We, as Christians, need to hold onto a keen awareness of the facts to which Paul points us in Romans 5.

Christ died for the ungodly (v. 6).

While we were sinners, Christ died for us (v. 8).

Even while we were enemies, . . . (v. 10)!

Accepting this sharpens our hearing as we listen to the words of our Lord:  “ But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you,  so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.”–Matthew 5

Christ tells us to imitate our Father.

 “But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you,  bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. . . .  and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men.  Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.”–Luke 6

What resources do we have to obey? The gift given when we were reconciled. Romans 5 tells us that   “the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Adolf Schlatter writes, “The ungodly were loved by the one who did the will of God.  The act of love by which he unites the ungodly with himself, at the same time is the act of obedience by which he does the will of God. Hence his love originates from God’s love. He has demonstrated the extent to which God values the person and intently unites him with himself, in that Christ died for the ungodly.” (Romans, p. 123f)

Thus, we (who were loved even as enemies) trust and obey and praise God for Good Friday! You might like to read Charles Spurgeon’s reflections on this day. See April 10 in his Morning and Evening book and read some of the days before and after. (You can find this to read on-line.) Spurgeon truly understood the effects and implications of Good Friday, both in what Christ did for us, and what He calls us to do for others.  Spurgeon Quotes Here

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Love…When Basics Become Heresies

Love, Prayer, and Forgiveness: When Basics Become Heresies

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140 pp., Now, also in Ebook $3

For NOOK or PC, (Link)                        For Kindle or PC                          Smashwords

“…an excellent piece…one that many Christians need to hear”–R.C. Sproul, (February 13, 1939 – December 14, 2017, Soli Deo Gloria)

The book (is)…an astringent corrective of misinterpreted love.” – Vernon Grounds, late Chancellor, Denver Seminary

“Sometimes really great books are written by unknown authors; this is one of them.”The Determined Christian

Be Equipped to explain the difference between God’s word and the World’s view. 

Your Family and Neighbors Need Someone Who Can Explain to them the Difference.

Be a Disciple, a student of God’s word.

***

How do we harmonize the assurance that “God is love” with the assertion that “Our God is a consuming fire”? Most of us never think about such problems, and in the end our idea of love is indistinguishable from that of the world around us. –Leon Morris

***

C o n t e n t s

Introduction ……………………………………………………………..11
Chapter One:
Love and Obedience ………………………………………….21
Chapter Two:
Prayer and Exhortation ………………………………………39
Chapter Three:
Forgiveness and Repentance……………………………….63
Chapter Four:
Sin and Silence …………………………………………………91
Chapter Five:
Revival and Holiness ……………………………………….115

[These posts  are excerpts from the book: Exhortaton…do right; Heart and Mind; The Love Chapter; Of Ponds and Pitfalls; Repentance and Forgiveness ]

Now, also, available in E Book format for Nook, Kindle, or from Smashwords for 3 dollars.

140 pages

[Note:  You do NOT Need a Kindle or Nook.  You can read on your PC or Laptop]

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The Short Review: Buy this book!

The Long Review:

My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge . . .cont. at ‘Blogger review’ link

End NOTES to the Book:

Notes to Text

Introduction

1. Chuck Colson, “Promises Without Principle,” Breakpoint, December 2000,

p.12. Available from Prison Fellowship Ministries, Breakpoint Magazine Services,

P.O. Box 1550, Merrifield, VA 22116, or http://www.breakpoint.org or Phone (800) 995-8777.

2. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, Paperbacks ed., 1961), pp. 115-16.

3. Barna Research Online, “The Year’s Most Intriguing Findings,” 17 December 2001.

4. Tim Weiner, “US is No. 1,” San Jose Mercury News, 13 March 1991.

5. Online see abortionfacts.com; barna.org, archives, “Church Attendance”; divorcemag.com; guttmacher.org, “Country Abortion Rates”; umich.edu, “1995-1997 World Values Survey.”

6. Pulpit Helps 27, no. 2 (February 2002):1.

7. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica I, 1, 8. Quoted in Donald G. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, vol. 1, God, Authority, and Salvation (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 1978), p. 57.

8. Martin Luther, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. John Dillenberger (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1961), p. xxii.

9. Ibid., p. xxiv.

10. Ibid., p. 343.

11. Ibid.

12. Bloesch, Essentials of Evangelical Theology, 1:59.

13. E. J. Carnell, The Case for Biblical Christianity, ed. Ronald H. Nash (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1969), p. 33.

Chapter One

1. Leon Morris, Testaments of Love: A Study of Love in the Bible (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1981), p. 2.

2. e.g. Erich Fromm, Carl Rogers. See Paul Brownback, The Danger of Self-Love, Chicago: Moody, 1982; Paul C. Vitz, Psychology as Religion: The Cult of Self-Worship, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

3. I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), p. 444.

4. Blaise Pascal, Pensees, no. 100.

5. W. F. Albright and C. S. Mann, Matthew (The Anchor Bible, Garden City, N. Y.:Doubleday, 1979), p. vi.

6. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Chicago:Moody, 1980), 1:466.

7. Colin Brown, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975-78), s.v. “heart.”

8. Charles C. Adams, The Specter of Individualism, “Plumbline” transcript (Sioux Center, Ia.:KDCR radio, 1 May 2000), p. 2.

9. Augustine, Confessions (trans. Pusey) 4. 1.

10. Pascal, Pensees, no. 81.

11. A. W. Tozer, The Root of the Righteous (Camp Hill, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1986), p. 8.

12. Marilyn Hickey, “Ask Marilyn,” Charisma, June 1984, p. 17.

13. Elisabeth Elliot, “Gateway to Joy,” air date 8 February 2001. (Good News Broadcasting Assn. Tapes may be ordered at (800) 759-4569.)

14. Augustine, City of God (trans. Dods) 14. 28.

15. Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together, trans. John W. Doberstein (New York: Harper & Row, 1954), p. 34.

16. Ibid., p. 35.

17. Elton Trueblood, A Place to Stand (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), p. 56.

18. Morris, Testaments of Love, p. 273.

19. F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 53.

20. A. W. Tozer, The Pursuit of God (Harrisburg, Pa.: Christian Publications, 1948), p. 70.

Chapter Two

1. C. S. Lewis, The Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan, Paperbacks ed., 1961), p. 20.

[It is a tragic symptom of the unthinking Christians of our day that some would reject this  book because of these citations from Mormon literature.  These quotes were given as examples of when “Prayer becomes Heresy.”]

2. “The Plan of Our Heavenly Father,” Study Guide 1 (Corp. of the Pres. of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 1986), p. 5.

3. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 8 vols. (Salt Lake City: Deseret Book Co., 1980), 6:305.

4. Deseret News, 14 November 1859.

5. History of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, 6:306.

6. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 3d ed., 14 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 1:397.

7. John N. Oswalt, The Book of Isaiah: Chapters 1-39 (NICOT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), pp. 97-98.

8. Chuck Colson, “Triumph of the Therapeutic,” Breakpoint, October 2000, p.17.

9. David F. Wells, Losing Our Virtue: Why the Church Must Recover Its Moral Vision (Grand Rapids and Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1998), p. 4.

10. H. G. Wood, Christianity and Civilization (New York: Macmillan, 1943) p. 61. Quoted in D. Elton Trueblood, Philosophy of Religion (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1973), p. 171.

11. John MacArthur, “The Discipline of God’s Children,” tape GC 2331. Available from Word of Grace Tape Library, P. O. Box 4000, Panorama City, CA 91412.

12. Colin Brown, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975-78), s.v. “exhort.” Henceforth cited as NIDNTT.

13. Charlotte Holt Clinebell, Counseling for Liberation, ed. Howard J. Clinebell, Jr., Creative Pastoral Care and Counseling Series (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1976), p. 21.

14. Ibid., p. 31.

15. NIDNTT, s.v. “exhort.”

16. Ibid.

17. Clinton Morrison, An Analytical Concordance to the Revised Standard Version of the New Testament (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1979), see index.

18. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982), p. 260.

19. John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the Christian Life, trans. Henry J. Van Andel (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1952), p. 11.

20. Ibid., pp. 18-19.

21. Daily Mail, 10 May 1999.

22. Ibid.

23. F. F. Bruce, The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to the Ephesians (NICNT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984), p. 345.

24. Ibid., p. 348.

25. Ibid.

26. John Woolman, The Journal and Major Essays of John Woolman, ed. Phillips P. Moulton (New York: Oxford University Press, 1971), p. 53.

27. Ibid., p. 95.

28. Ibid., p. 54.

29. Ibid., p. 35.

30. Ibid., p. 33.

31. Thomas A. Bailey, The American Pageant: A History of the Republic, 3d ed., 2 vols. (Boston: D. C. Heath and Co., 1966), 1:73.

32. Woolman, Journal, p. 52.

33. Charles Colson, Breakpoint Newsletter, n.d.

34. United Press International, 12 December 1995.

Chapter Three

1. Geoffrey W. Bromiley, gen. ed., The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 4 vols. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979-88), s.v. “forgiveness.” Henceforth cited as ISBE.

2. F. F. Bruce, The Book of Acts, rev. ed. (NICNT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1988), p. 70.

Chapter Three (cont.)

3. J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs

(Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1993), p. 245.

4. On this verse, F. F. Bruce writes, “Table-fellowship included the Eucharist . . . but was by no means confined to it; it constituted one of the most solemn bonds of brotherhood. Within the Christian community an unwarranted breach of table-fellowship was almost tantamount to a denial of the gospel truth (Gal. 2.11ff.); where it was warranted . . . it was bound to be taken seriously and was calculated to be one of the surest ways of bringing a delinquent church member to acknowledge the error of his ways.” See 1 and 2 Corinthians, NCBC, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; London: Marshall, Morgan, & Scott, 1980.

5. Frank E. Gaebelein, gen. ed., The Expositor’s Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1981), 12:275.

6. Martin Luther, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. John Dillenberger (Garden City, N. Y.: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1961), p. 72.

7. R. Laird Harris, Gleason L. Archer, Jr., and Bruce K. Waltke, eds., Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, 2 vols. (Chicago: Moody, 1980), 2:909.

8. Colin Brown, ed., The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, 3 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1975-78), s.v. “reconciliation.” Henceforth cited as NIDNTT.

9. ISBE, s.v. “repent.”

10. Leon Morris, The Gospel According to Matthew (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1992), p. 149.

11. The Interlinear Greek-English New Testament, trans. Rev. Dr. Alfred

Chapter Three (cont.)

Marshall (Great Britain: Samuel Bagster & Sons, 1958), p. iii.

12. I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), p. 867.

13. Christianity Today 45, no.6 (23 April 2001): 28.

14. Victor Parachin, “Letting Go: Ten Guidelines to Help You Forgive,” Journey, March/April 2000, p. 7.

15. Ibid.

16. Becky Beane, “Forgiveness” tract, p. 14. Article originally published by Prison Fellowship Ministries in Jubilee, Spring 1998. Please Note: To be fair to the writer, she does say that “reconciliation . . . requires repentance.” She just does not see the biblical condition of repentance as preceding forgiveness. Like so many, she uses forgiveness more broadly than the Bible does, using it synonymously for fruits like love and mercy.

17. ISBE, s.v. “forgiveness.”

18. C. E. B. Cranfield, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on The Epistle to the Romans, 2 vols. (ICC, Endinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1975), 1:256-57.

19. Ibid., 1:267.

20. Ibid., 1:258.

21. Ibid.

22. NIDNTT, s.v. “conversion.”

23. Ibid., s.v. “forgiveness.”

24. Ibid., s.v. “reconciliation.”

25. ISBE, s.v. “reconcile.”

26. Morris, Matthew, p. 116.

27. A. Noordtzij, Leviticus, trans. Raymond Togtman (BSC, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982), p. 199.

28. Marshall, Luke, p. 642.

29. Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (NICNT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), p. 432.

30. NIDNTT, s.v. “conversion.”

31. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 3d ed., 14 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 5:149.

32. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, rev. and unabridged ed. (New York: Macmillan, Paperbacks ed., 1963), p. 47.

33. Marshall, Luke, p. 641.

34. Ibid., p. 642.

35. Ibid., p. 643.

36. C. S. Lewis, The Silver Chair (New York: Macmillan Co., 1953), pp. 142-43.

Chapter Four

1. Norval Geldenhuys, Commentary on the Gospel of Luke (NICNT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), p. 402.

2. Ibid., p. 403.

3. I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978), p. 867.

4. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 3d ed., 14 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 3:12.

5. Martin Luther, Martin Luther: Selections from His Writings, ed. John Dillenberger (Garden City: N. Y.: Doubleday, Anchor Books, 1961), p. 371.

6. Ibid., p. 293.

7. Ibid.

8. John Calvin, Golden Booklet of the Christian Life, trans. Henry J. Van Andel (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1952), p. 11.

9. Ibid., pp. 16-17.

10. J. I. Packer, Concise Theology: A Guide to Historic Christian Beliefs

(Wheaton: Tyndale House, 1993), p. 180.

11. John Calvin, A Harmony of the Gospels: Matthew, Mark and Luke, trans. T. H. L. Parker, eds. Torrance & Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972) 2:71-72.

12. F. F. Bruce, The Epistles of John (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979), p. 69.

13. Packer, Concise Theology, pp. 242-43.

14. Ibid., p. 242.

15. Ibid., p. 163.

16. Deitrich Bonhoeffer, The Cost of Discipleship, rev. and unabridged ed. (New York: Macmillan, Paperbacks ed., 1963), p. 47.

17. Ibid., p. 55.

18. I. Howard Marshall, Kept by the Power of God (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1969), pp. 212-13.

19. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion (trans. Beveridge) 3. 3. 1.

20. Anonymous, “Don’t Blame Divorce’s Victims,” Christianity Today

21. Tim Stafford, “The Church’s Walking Wounded, “ Christianity Today 47, no. 3 (March 2003): 68.

22. Editorial, “The Christian Divorce Culture,” Christianity Today 44, no. 10 (4 September 2000): 47.

23. Christianity Today

24. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 3d ed., 14 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 6:303.

Chapter Five

1. John Wesley, The Works of John Wesley, 3d ed., 14 vols. (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 2:133.

2. F. F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews, rev. ed. (NICNT, Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), pp. 348-9.

3. Wesley, Works, 3:212-13.

4. John Calvin, The Epistle of Paul The Apostle to the Hebrews and The First and Second Epistles of ST Peter, trans. Wm. B. Johnston, eds. Torrance & Torrance (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989) 12:195.

5 John Piper, World 18, no. 48 (13 December 2003): 51.

6. Wesley, Works, 3:212.

7. Ibid., 3:144.

8. Ibid.

9. Ibid., p. 198.

10. Ibid., p. 205.

11. Ibid., p. 224.

12. Ibid., p. 206.

13. William Law, A Serious Call to a Devout and Holy Life, ed. and abr. John W. Meister, for. D. Elton Trueblood (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1955), p. 7.

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“Happiness is not to be found by dancing after any heathen god of love. Happiness is found by looking up to where a more terrible but a more tender God of love hangs, not on Olympus but on Calvary.”–G.K. Chesterton

Christ’s Coming: 1 Thessalonians vs. ‘Left Behind’

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First Thessalonians 4: The Coming of the Lord

1But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep. 15 For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming* of the Lord, will not precede those who have fallen asleep. 16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord. 18 Therefore encourage one another with these words. (English Standard Version)

Thessalonians is one of the earliest books of the New Testament. (Some think the earliest. F.F. Bruce suggested the possibility that Galations preceded it. But overall, James was probably the first.) Understandably, these new Christians in this new church had questions and misunderstandings that needed answers.

As v. 15  shows, (with refference to those who are still alive) this section answers questions about “the coming* of the Lord,”  parousia* in Greek. SEE Footnote. It begins in v. 13, the key verse of the context,  with Paul addressing their concern about fellow Christians who have already died. Were these who had died now at some disadvantage? What hope did those who still live have for them when Christ returns?

Verse 14 points to Jesus’ death and resurrection, the central theme of Christian hope concerning those who have died.

See 1 Corinthians 15 where Paul addresses the question of the resurrection. Christ’s resurrection was the first fruits, and the resurrection of Christians is the final harvest, v.23 “at His coming (parousia)” when “we shall all be changed—in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet” (verse 52).

Verse 15 gives the key point of this passage (addressing the concerns of the Thessalonians) that, when Christ returns,  the living Christians have no advantage over those who have died.

Verse 16 describes, in familiar terms (for us who have the NT), Christ’s return (parousia). This is no secret event.

This Coming is described in the same terms as other passages about the Lord’s coming:

“For the Lord himself will descend from heaven with a cry of command, with the voice of an archangel, and with the sound of the trumpet of God….in the clouds…”

Acts 1 “…a cloud took him out of their sight….’This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.'”

Dan 7 “…with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man”

Rev 1 “…Behold, he is coming with the clouds, and every eye will see him…”

Mark 13 “…then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. 27And then he will send out the angels and gather his elect from the four winds, from the ends of the earth to the ends of heaven…”

Verse 17 pictures the “we” who are still alive as following those who have died “to meet the Lord in the air…”

To meet [apantasin] the Lord… “When a dignitary paid an official visit (parousia) to a city in Hellenistic times, the action of the leading citizens in going out to meet him and escort him back on the final stage of his journey [to that city] was called the apantesis” (F.F. Bruce,I &2 Thessalonians, WBC).  R.C. Sproul vivdly describes this historical usage by Paul–starting at 10:20 mark, here. 

See N.T. Wright speak of this, here.

Verse 18  (This is no gnostic revelation of some new doctrine of a secret ‘rapture’.) The whole point of this passage is to encourage each other in the hope given to us regarding death through Christ’s death and resurrection.

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*Parousia. In the NT, parousia, with reference to Christ, refers exclusively to Christ’s Second Advent, his Second Coming, “…the coming of Christ at the end-time for the general resurrection, last judgment and the creation of the new heaven and earth.”--The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, s.v. “present” (II:899ff).

See two other posts: 1) NT Prof. Ben Witherington on origins of ‘rapture theory’ and 2) on the text of Mat. 24, “…taken and the other left”–the opposite of ‘rapture’ teaching. Here –I Want to be Left Behind. 

Yeshua Ha’Mashiach: Crucified

crucifixion

Isaiah 52:13ff

“Behold, my servant [Targ. adds “the Messiah”] will accomplish his purpose;

he will be high and lifted up, and very exalted.

Just as many were appalled over you–

his appearance was a disfigurement from the human

and his form from that of humanity–

so he will startle many nations…

He was despised, a rejection of people,

a man of pain, one who knows sickness

and like a hiding of face from him,

he was despised, and we did not pay attention to him.

But surely it was our sickness he carried,

our pains he bore.

But we considered him stricken,

smitten of God and afflicted.

But he was pierced through for our rebellion,

crushed for our iniquities;

the punishment for our peace was on him,

and his welts made healing  for us

All of us, like sheep we go astray,

each one to his own way we have turned;

but the Lord has caused to fall on him

the inquity of us all.

 From NICOT, Isaiah, by Prof. John Oswalt, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary.

High and lifted up are used in combination four times in this book (and no where else in the OT). In the other three places (66:1; 33:10; 57:15) they describe God….The same point may be made concerning exalted….only God can be lifted up. Is it here than being said that the nation of Israel [the explanation of some for ‘servant’] will be exalted to the place of God? Is it a prophet of Israel? In each case the answer must be no.  This is the Messiah or no one.”

53:7 …Like a sheep…

“the only extended metaphor in this poem involves sheep, the primary animals of sacrifice.”

“the Servant will be exalted to highest heaven…because it was all in order to carry the sin of the world away to permit God’s children to come home to him….redemption.”

“The text must still be read through the eyes of faith, but with that faith the mystery is no longer about how it is possible for sinful humans to have a healthy and whole relationship with God.  The only mystery is how God could love us like that.”

Xcross

 

 

Other Pascha/Easter posts Here

I John 2: Teachers versus False Teaching

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But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. (2:27, NKJV)

 

This verse, taken out of context, has been foolishly used by some Christians to reject the need for teachers in the Church and even to promote false teaching. But as Ephesians 4 tells us, Christ “gave some to be…teachers, for the equipping of the saints…”

 

Continuing from the last post [Who are “They”?], we now have the primary context in mind, along with some sense of the spirit of those times. The immediate context of this verse (2:27) begins at verse 18:  “…many anti-Christs have come…” Among them are  “they” who “went out from us” (v. 19).

 

In contrast to these apostates (with their ‘new’ knowledge), “you have an anointing from the Holy One and you know all things” (v. 20).

 

In the Gospel of John (16:13), Jesus told his disciples that when “the Spirit of truth comes, He will guide you into all truth…”

 

In this epistle, John reminds his hearers that they already “know the truth” (2:21), and that they are to allow that truth to remain in them which they “have heard from the beginning” (v. 24; cf. 1:1,2). [That teaching of the Apostles.]

 

Verse 26 tells us “these things I have written concerning those who try to deceive you”  [with new ‘knowledge’], which brings us, now, to this post’s opening verse about needing no one to teach them (v. 27).

 

In contrast to these false teachers who present new teaching/knowledge which puts forth a lie about Christ, John’s fellow Christians “know” what “is true” from the “beginning.” They have “no need” for these new teachers.

 

In his Explanatory Notes, Wesley makes the vital point: “Ye need not that any should teach you, save as that anointing teacheth you – Which is always the same, always consistent with itself. But this does not exclude our need of being taught by them who partake of the same anointing.” [underline, mine]

 

And Calvin says, point blank: “Absurdly, then, do fanatical men lay hold on this passage, in order to exclude from the Church the use of the outward ministry.” [of teaching]

john-apostle

I John: Who Are “They”?

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 But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you…(2:27).

 The First Epistle of John vividly illustrates the key role that context commands as we seek to understand the text.  Those Christians to whom John wrote knew, first hand, that context.  For us, understanding requires a little homework.

Our first step, in the study of any of the epistles, should be to read the whole letter through.  As we do that in 1 John, we come to the key clue, which clarifies the context, “They went out from us…”(2:19).

 Now, we need to seek some understanding of the spirit of those times.  Cerinthus, a contemporary of John at Ephesus, shows us the ideas that were in the air.  “Cerinthus, believed the spiritual Christ entered into a human (physical) Jesus at the time of his baptism (in the form of a dove) and left the human Jesus before the crucifixion. History reveals that Cerinthus lived in Ephesus toward the end of the first century, which was also where the aged apostle John lived. Irenaeus (AD 130–200) tells us that John specifically directed his Gospel against Cerinthus (e.g., John 1:14; 20:19–31).″
http://www.equip.org/PDF/JAJ210.pdf

The dualistic world view of that day [spirit=good/superior vs. matter=evil/inferior, i.e. matter is that which was created, e.g. flesh, body; thus “Creator” became an inferior diety. Marcion rejected the God of the OT] led to full blown Gnosticism in the following centuries with its docetic view of Jesus ( (dokeo—to seem). He only ‘seemed’ to be Christ. “Docetists, claimed that Jesus had only the appearance of flesh, without substance or reality (like a phantom). (‘Docetism’ comes from a Greek word, dokeo, meaning ‘to seem’ or ‘to appear.’) Jesus’ suffering and death on the cross, they said, was not real, for the body was not real.” 

This ‘Christianized’ spirit of the times, which developed into a more formal Christian Gnosticism by the mid-second century, emphasized an intuitive, special knowledge (gnosis) of mysteries, which separated out the true believers and gave them true salvation.

 Thus, as we read John’s letter, note his emphasis, starting in the first two verses, on the original, apostolic teaching “from the beginning” which his fellow Christians have received. John stresses the physical reality, e.g. “…our hands have handled.”  This stands in contrast to the new claims and new ways of those who “went out” from them.

Note the key verses, which test the doctrine of this new teaching:

Who is a liar but he who denies that Jesus is the Christ?…(2:22).

By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, (4:2).

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God,…(5:1).

 The ‘liars’ denial led to new ways.  Denial of the Incarnation, results in denial that “…the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin”(1:7). For those with this ‘new’ knowledge, sin is no longer of consequence.  This is merely a concern of the inferior, created order. So, as you read through John, note his repeated emphasis on sin.

   And as you read, underline all the times he uses “know” and “Jesus” to help you see his emphasis.  Then, see if you understand the opening verse (2:27) at the top of this post. We will look at that in the next post.

john-the-apostle

 

Luke 2: The Shepherds’ Faithfulness

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“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you, who is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

 “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”

 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

rembrandt-adoration-of-the-shepherds

 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

It will be wonderful to be glorifying and praising God in our gatherings during Christmas week. In this very familiar passage of Scripture, there is one line that seems unfamiliar, at least if we judge by our actions.

“…When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child…”

How many have heard us spreading that word during this Holy Season?

We have many wonderful works of art depicting the Angels and the Shepherds, and of the Shepherds at The Manger Scene. But how hard it is to find just one that depicts the shepherds sharing the Good News of  our Saviour’s birth.

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May we find ourselves in this picture.

Thinking outside the box (link)

The Kingdom of God: In Your Midst (Not ‘within’)

“…behold, the kingdom of God is in the midst of you.” Luke17:21 English Standard Version [also RSV, NASB, NIV, CSB]

The kingdom of God is God’s reign; his rule.  It is both present and future; inaugurated with the ministry of Christ but not yet consummated. As in the title of George Eldon Ladd’s book, it presently is  The Presence of the Future.

In Christ, the kingdom has come near (Mat, 12:28; Luke 21:31, etc.). Some enter it; some do not (Mark 10:23ff.). See the ISBE, s.v. Kingdom of God

As the forerunner before Christ’s ministry, John the Baptist cried, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!

Jesus began his ministry with those same words, following the temptation in the wilderness (Mat. 4:17).

In Luke, in response “to the Pharisee’s question, ‘When is the kingdom of God coming?’, Jesus can therefore answer, ‘The kingdom of God  is in the midst of you” (Lk. 17:20f.; not as AV ‘is within you’).”The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology, s.v. King.

[Jesus is not telling the Pharisees that the Kingdom of God is ‘within’ them. He warns them, “The tax collectors  and the harlots go into the Kingdom of God before you” (Mat. 21:31).  And he rebukes them, “You shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither enter yourselves, nor allow those who would enter to go in (Mat. 23:13).]

I. Howard Marshall, in The New International Greek Testament Commentary on Luke, states that “nowhere else is the kingdom regarded as something internal….A different translation is demanded, and is not difficult to find. With a plural noun entos means ‘among, in the midst of’ …Such a meaning gives good sense. Jesus is speaking of the presence of the kingdom of God among men, possibly as something within their grasp if they will take hold of it.”