1 Samuel 19:20 – The New Testament Disciples Were a Company of Prophets

[Emphasis added in the following verse:]

1 Samuel 19:20 Then Saul sent messengers to take David, but when they saw the company of the prophets prophesying, with Samuel standing and presiding over them, the Spirit of God came upon the messengers of Saul; and they also prophesied.

The disciples about whom we read in the New Testament gathered in assemblies where all of them could prophesy (1 Corinthian 14:1, 5, 31).  The “word of the Lord had come to them” (John 1:1, 11-12) and they were all prophesying.

The word “company” in this 1 Samuel verse in the Septuagint is the same word translated as “church” in the New Testament.  No wonder.

The people of God walk the path of the prophets.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in The People of God | Leave a comment

“And the Word of the Lord Came to Me Saying…”

A well-known refrain of Israel’s prophets was, “And the word of the Lord came to me saying…” or some variation thereof.

Now all of us who have heard the account of Jesus Christ can say the same thing.  For indeed Jesus was the word of the Lord (John 1:1) which came to us (1 John 5:20).

Therefore, let us – like the prophets – heed the word which we have heard.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

SL005 – More on the Four Gospels

The Bible is an ancient text of timeless truths for a modern age. Our goal in this podcast (Scriptural Literacy) is to become more familiar with the Bible so that we might read it profitably.

This week’s episode is an extended discussion of last week’s episode about the four gospels: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

The teaching is a little over an hour and is divided into four segments of roughly 15-20 minutes each.

Segment 1 of 4 starts at 00:00 – More on the Gospels

Part of the reason for this additional week on the Gospels is because I did not do a good enough job last week; part is because there is so much in them to cover.  They are important!
Here’s how we’re going to cover the structure of the Bible (at the rate of one subject per week):  Gospels, Psalms, Acts, Prophets (major), Prophets (minor), Epistles, Pentateuch, History, and Wisdom.  These are nine natural divisions into which the Bible’s books can be divided.

The Gospels are the most explicit about Christ: what He said and did.  Therefore, they are the cornerstone of the structure of the house that is the Bible.

Know how to dip into the Bible; find safe landing zones; and draw strength.

Segment 2 of 4 starts at 16:08 – Question: Why Don’t the Gospels Tell More of Jesus’ Childhood?

Paul grew up in Tarsus and didn’t know Jesus during earthly ministry – so far as we know.  It fell primarily to the original twelve apostles to carry the message about Him to Jews scattered all over the world.

Jesus’ family (Jude and James, his brothers…and, of course, Mary) seemed estranged from Him during His earthly ministry (Luke 8:19-21), but came around by the time He was raised from the dead (Acts 1:14).

What is in secular literature about Jesus is limited (www.jesusoftestimony.com); the primary responsibility for telling His story would fall to men specially chosen by Him.

The apostles were witnesses chosen ahead of time by the Lord Himself.  They had the character necessary for the difficult task that would be assigned to them: to tell the truth about what they saw and heard.  It was a simple task, but a most difficult one.

The apostles were sent from the Lord on earth,  just as the prophets had been sent from the Lord in heaven.  Thus the prophets and apostles may be both be considered as the Lord’s spokesmen.

Essentially, the apostles were saying that “this” (i.e. the New Testament) is “that” (i.e. the Old Testament).  In other words, the New Testament was testimony of how the Old Testament prophecies about Messiah were fulfilled – how God’s promises were kept.

Segment 3 of 4 starts at 34:36 – More Distinctions Between the Four Gospels

The apostles probably wrote their originals on papyrus.  In any case, they have not survived.  However, we have more than enough copies to know what they wrote.

Tatian the Assyrian (120-180 AD) produced the Diatessaron (160-175) – a harmony of the four gospels.

Twenty years after Tatian’s harmony, Irenaeus (early 2nd Century to 202 AD; a hearer of Polycarp who was a disciple of John) expressly proclaimed the authoritative character of the four gospels.  He compared the four gospels to the four winds.

The work of Papias dated 96-120 by most modern scholars; Papias provides the earliest extant account of who wrote the Gospels. Eusebius preserves two verbatim excerpts from Papias on the origins of the Gospels, one concerning Mark and then another concerning Matthew.

A few more distinctives about the four gospels:

Matthew: Sermon on the Mount, the Golden Rule, the Lord’s Prayer
Mark: Read what Papias said about it being Peter’s unordered recollections
Luke: He’s pulling together various accounts from various people
John: He began before the birth, before creation itself

Harmonies of the Gospels are available today, but they really don’t appeal that much.  People usually want to read the Gospels as they were originally written.

Segment 4 of 4 starts at 55:10 – The Meanings of the Word “Gospel”

The “gospel” is good news.  Not “I’ve got good news and bad news.”  God has solved death.  And the cure is not worse than the disease.

Everyone believes. You either believe the Gospels are true; or you believe they are false.

It’s a Jewish Gospel; to the Gentiles, it’s foolishness.  Except for the God-fearing ones.

(The notes in this post do not coincide exactly with the audio teaching.  There are some points being made in the text here that are not mentioned there, and vice versa.  This is not intentional.  It’s just a function of my limitations.  If this raises questions in your mind, please ask them in the comments below.  Thanks.)

 

Posted in Podcast | Leave a comment

Jesus Came To Be a King

In 2 Samuel 7 (see 2 Samuel 7:1-29), God spoke through Nathan the prophet to King David.  God promised that He would raise up one of David’s descendants and establish his kingdom.  David acknowledged in verse 19 (2 Samuel 7:19) that this promise would be filled in the distant – not immediate – future.

In Psalm 2, David prophesies of the coming of that descendant and his kingdom.  In the psalm, God is saying, “I have installed My king upon Zion, my holy mountain” (Psalm 2:6) This was the mountain of heaven (Hebrews 12:22), and thus the reorientation to a “kingdom of heaven” (also known as “the kingdom of God”) would begin.

In Psalm 89:27, God says He will make His anointed one “the highest of the kings of the earth.”

In John 18:37, Pontius Pilate asks Jesus if He is a king.  Jesus replies positively, but Pilate thought a king who “bore witness to truth” was a strange king indeed.  In John 19:12, when Pilate is looking for an excuse to release Jesus, the Jews cry out, “Everyone who makes himself out to be a king opposes Caesar.”  In verse 14 (John 19:14), Pilate presents Jesus to the Jews and says, “Behold, your king!” and orders Him crucified.

Jesus was subsequently crucified as “King of the Jews” – a sign to that effect having been placed on His cross.

In Acts 17:7, hostile Thessalonian unbelievers attacked believers before city authorities by shouting the accusation, “they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

And, of course, Jesus was called the “king of kings” in the last book of the Bible (Revelation 17:14 and 19:16).

Jesus came to reign as king – just as God had promised He would.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

Paul Did Not Take His Stand on Visions He Had Seen

[Emphasis added in the following passage:]

Colossians 2:18 Let no one keep defrauding you of your prize by delighting in self-abasement and the worship of the angels, taking his stand on visions he has seen, inflated without cause by his fleshly mind,
Colossians 2:19 and not holding fast to the head, from whom the entire body, being supplied and held together by the joints and ligaments, grows with a growth which is from God.

These words are taken from a letter written by Paul – the same Paul who had a vision of Christ.  Paul’s vision was recorded three separate times by Luke in the book of Acts (in chapters 9, 22, and 26).  In his letters, however, Paul never makes extended reference to this experience.  On the contrary, he took his stand on the Scriptures and on the traditions passed down (1 Corinthians 15:1-8) from the earliest disciples of Christ.  Yes, Paul had seen the Lord, but he had a more sure word of testimony (2 Peter 1:19) and was not about to lose sight of it.

Therefore, if anyone had an opportunity to “take his stand on visions he had seen,” Paul was one of them.  Yet he did not do this. Neither therefore should we.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in The Apostles, The Bible | Leave a comment

The Twofold Confession of Jesus as “Christ” and “Son of God” in Psalm 2 and the New Testament

Psalm 2 is that notable place  in the Old Testament where the Scripture speaks of God’s Anointed (i.e. Christ) as God’s Son.  (See especially verses Psalm 2:2, 7, 12.)  Consider the numerous twofold confessions that this has spawned in the New Testament!  Here are just some of of those occasions where Jesus is referred to as Christ and Son of God in the same breath:

Matthew 16:16

Luke 4:41

John 11:27

John 20:31

2 Corinthians 1:19

1 John 2:22-23

1 John 3:23

1 John 5:20

2 John 1:3

When you consider that “Christ” is a synonym for “the king of Israel,” verses like the following can also be seen as echoes of this twofold confession:

John 1:49

Colossians 1:13

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted.

Posted in Jesus Christ | Leave a comment

The Greatest Commandment Cannot Be Understood Apart from the Second Greatest

When Jesus was asked in Mark 11:28 “What commandment is foremost of all?” He answered with not one, but two commandments:

Mark 12:28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?”
Mark 12:29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD;
Mark 12:30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’
Mark 12:31 “The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.”
Mark 12:32 The scribe said to Him, “Right, Teacher; You have truly stated that HE IS ONE, AND THERE IS NO ONE ELSE BESIDES HIM;
Mark 12:33 AND TO LOVE HIM WITH ALL THE HEART AND WITH ALL THE UNDERSTANDING AND WITH ALL THE STRENGTH, AND TO LOVE ONE’S NEIGHBOR AS HIMSELF, is much more than all burnt offerings and sacrifices.”
Mark 12:34 When Jesus saw that he had answered intelligently, He said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” After that, no one would venture to ask Him any more questions.

(The all capital letters refer to the fact that Jesus is quoting Deuteronomy 6:4-5 as the great commandment and Leviticus 19:18 as the second.)  Note that the questioner did not ask “What are the two greatest commandments?”  Rather, he simply asked, “What is the greatest commandment?”

The other synoptic gospels convey a similar pattern in reporting this exchange (or similar exchanges).  In Matthew 22:36 the question comes as “Teacher, what is the great commandment in the Law?”  Again, Jesus’ response comes in twofold fashion and He adds this coda:  “On these two commandment depend the whole Law and the Prophets.”  In Luke’s version (Luke 10:25ff), the answer is also given in dual form.

Jesus seems to be saying that the greatest commandment cannot be properly understood without including the second greatest along with it.

Thus the apostle John could write:

1 John 4:21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.

We should be certain therefore, that we cannot be truly and properly loving God if we are not loving each other.  Thus John also said:

1 John 4:20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.

Thus the greatest commandment cannot be understood apart from the second greatest.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Posted in Jesus Christ, The Ways of God | Leave a comment

Hosea 8:12 – How Many Times Has He Got to Say It?

Hosea 8:12 Though I wrote for him ten thousand precepts of My law,
They are regarded as a strange thing.

There are over 30,000 verses in the Bible.  Therefore, God was not exaggerating when He spoke these words through the prophet Hosea.

You can understand God’s frustration when He has given us thousands upon thousands of “precepts” and yet we who claim allegiance to the Bible act like it’s a strange thing.  That is, we act like it’s a foreign concept to love our neighbor, turn the other cheek, seek the good of others more than ourselves, and so on.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in The Bible, The Word of God | Leave a comment

2 Samuel 5:2 (1 Chronicles 11:2) – Christ or the Trinity?

2 Samuel 5:2 “Previously, when Saul was king over us, you were the one who led Israel out and in. And the LORD said to you, ‘You will shepherd My people Israel, and you will be a ruler over Israel.’”

(1 Chronicles 11:2 says practically the same thing.)

Even those Trinitarians who seek godliness know that the Son is the One who takes the lead and gets things done.  Thus, even though Trinitarians proclaim the Father, it is the Son who the faithful ones follow.  No one knows the Father except through the Son anyway (Matthew 11:27).  Devotion to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3) has always been what has advanced the kingdom of God.

The organized church has always had within its shadow those who truly sought the kingdom of God.  These souls brought down the blessings of heaven upon us not because they were part of the organized church, but rather in spite of the fact that they were part of the organized church.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. 

Posted in Christ versus Trinity | Leave a comment

Zechariah 12:10 – Looking on the One We Have Pierced

[Emphasis is added in the following verses to show their connection.]

Zechariah 12:10 “I will pour out on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the Spirit of grace and of supplication, so that they will look on Me whom they have pierced; and they will mourn for Him, as one mourns for an only son, and they will weep bitterly over Him like the bitter weeping over a firstborn.

*****

Revelation 1:7 BEHOLD, HE IS COMING WITH THE CLOUDS, and every eye will see Him, even those who pierced Him; and all the tribes of the earth will mourn over Him. So it is to be. Amen.

The “all caps” in Revelation 1:7 above are the translators’ way of telling us that the writer is quoting the Old Testament; in this case, Daniel 7:13.  However, the writer is also alluding to Zechariah 12:10, which is obvious when the verses are juxtaposed as they are above.

In the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, we see God “pierced,” for God was in Christ.  Thus when we look upon the one we have pierced, we are looking upon God; and when we look upon God, we are looking upon the one we have pierced.

The purpose of this blog is to proclaim Jesus Christ in terms familiar to those who read the Bible, and to help others become more familiar with the Bible. For those unfamiliar with the Bible, see the blog A Nonchurchgoer’s Guide to Jesus and His Kingdom.

Scripture quotations taken from the NASB, unless otherwise noted. (In the NASB New Testament, quotations of the Old Testament are rendered in all capital letters in order to make them easier to identify.)

Posted in Jesus Christ, The Prophets | Leave a comment