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NT Use of the OT — Test Your View!

September 23, 2009 Leave a comment

NT Use of the OT — Test Your View!
Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view

You seem to be most closely aligned with the Single Meaning, Multiple Contexts and Referents view, a view defended by Darrell L. Bock in the book “Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” (edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde, Nov. 2008). This view affirms the singular nature of the meanings intended by the OT and NT authors when OT texts are cited in the NT. In spite of this essential unity in meaning, however, the words of the OT authors frequently take on new dimensions of significance and are found to apply appropriately to new referents and new situations as God’s purposes unfold in the larger canonical context. Often, these referents were not in the minds of the OT authors when they penned their texts. For more info, see the book, or attend a special session devoted to the topic at the ETS Annual Meeting in Providence, RI (Nov. 2008); Walter C. Kaiser Jr., Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns will all present their views.

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Bible Reading Observations, Day 188

September 22, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m now up to day 188 in the Horner Bible Reading plan, the point at which I have completed all 12 of my lists.  I’ve now restarted List 2 (the Pentateuch), and read the first two chapters of Genesis — as part of my reading revisions, to read an extra chapter from List 2 to shorten its duration.

From my recent readings I consider the following:

  • Matthew 4 is such a great, clear presentation of Jesus as the Messiah, the King, to His people.
  • Psalm 37 and Matthew 5 speak of the land promises, as in Psalm 37:9 — “For the evildoers shall be cut off, but those who wait for the Lord shall inherit the land.”  Psalm 37:11 is also interesting, since Jesus makes a similar statement in Matthew 5:5

Psalm 37:11 —   “But the meek shall inherit the land and delight themselves in abundant peace.”
Matthew 5:5 — “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

As I’ve heard mentioned (either from S. Lewis Johnson or Spurgeon), that verse about the meek inheriting the earth makes no sense except in a literal fulfillment of a kingdom on earth.  The meek certainly do not inherit anything in this life — often troubles and oppression.  The verse also means more than just heaven, but inheriting “the land” or “the earth.”

  • Revelation 3:10 makes the first reference, in the book of Revelation, to “those who dwell on the earth,” a reference to unbelievers who will experience the great day of judgment.  My Bible Software program (The Word) has a cross-reference here, to the next mention of this phrase in Revelation 6:10.

List 8 is now in 1 Samuel, and recently I read the account of the ark among the Philistines and its subsequent return to Israel.  Such reading is timely, for just two days ago I also read a Spurgeon sermon, “Christ Our Passover” (number 54), in which Spurgeon notes the many parallels between the Passover lamb described in Exodus 12.  He comments thus on the instruction to spread the blood on the top parts of the door (and not on the threshold):

The first aspect in which a sinner views Jesus is that of a lamb slain, whose blood is sprinkled on the door-post and on the lintel. Note the fact, that the blood was never sprinkled on the threshold. It was sprinkled on the lintel, the top of the door, on the side-post, but never on the threshold, for woe unto him who trampleth under foot the blood of the Son of God! Even the priest of Dagon trod not on the threshold of his god, much less will the Christian trample under foot the blood of the Paschal Lamb.

And now from today’s readings:

List 8 (1 Samuel 6) mentions Beth-Shemesh as the place where the Philistines returned the ark to.  List 9 (2 Chronicles 25) makes reference to this same place, in verse 21, as a place belonging to Judah and where a battle was fought between the Judah and Israel (the northern tribes).  No deep spiritual significance, of course, only a note that these Old Testament places were real geographical places with plenty of history and meaning for those who lived there; and that the Bible is not only concerned with vague and non-physical things but also with the details of people and places.

List 12 — Revelation 4 — gives a fitting praise to our creator God, a praise that hearkens back to Genesis 1, fresh on my mind from today’s List 2.

Revelation 4:11 — “Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power,   for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.”

The Dilemma of the Partial-Preterist: Inconsistency

September 21, 2009 Leave a comment

Here I refer to “partial-preterists,” those Christians who reject the futurist view of scripture yet recognize that Christ has not yet returned.

Such an individual rejects the futurist view, citing the common preterist objection: the Revelation text says that these things must soon take place (Revelation 1:1). Therefore, since 2,000 years have since happened, these words could not possibly have been referring to still future events. So, since the text says these events must soon take place, the events described must have happened in the first century.

Yet the partial-preterist recognizes that Christ has (obviously) not yet returned–so that part, the return of Christ, is still future even though the events have already happened. Only problem is, the same book of Revelation also tells us that Christ Himself is soon returning:

  • Revelation 22:12 — “Behold, I am coming soon!”
  • Revelation 22:20 –He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

So which is it? Past or future? The partial-preterist on the one hand says that the “these things” to come soon must have already occurred, but on the other hand says that Christ’s promised “Yes I am coming soon” really wasn’t all that “soon” since 2,000 years have passed. The position ends up confused by this obvious inconsistency. If both the events (“what must soon take place”) and the return of Christ are said to occur soon, then either 1) BOTH the events and Christ’s return did occur in the first century, or 2) the human definition and understanding of “soon” is incorrect and neither the events nor Christ’s return has yet happened. These are the only two logical conclusions. Consider the two texts together, the prologue to Revelation (Revelation 1) and the epilogue (Revelation 22), and the clear meaning is that the “what must soon take place” is connected to Christ’s return, that all of the events go together.

The full-preterist (hyper-preterist) deals with the full implications of the dilemma logically, and opts for choice number 1. At least such people are consistent in recognizing that “coming soon” in the text must refer to both the events and Christ’s return. The futurist is likewise consistent, and opts for choice number 2: the human definition and understanding of “soon” is incorrect and therefore neither of the “soon” predicted things have yet happened.

In this textual consideration, the futurist recognizes the doctrine of imminence, that Christ could return at any time — and its corollary, that from God’s perspective a day is as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day (2 Peter 3:8).

A side note here: to those scoffers who then would apply that verse to an interpretation of Genesis 1’s “day,” I would point out that the context of 2 Peter 3 is quite clear. Peter’s words about “a thousand years are like a day” are specifically in the context of the surrounding verses, which answer the scoffers who say “where is His promised coming?” — the very reasoning of preterists who conclude that “soon” could not mean 2,000+ years.

The inconsistencies of the partial preterist position continue to astound me. Simple logic should explain that the “coming soon” must refer both to the events and Christ’s return. So either both the “coming soon” events have already happened, or they haven’t. How can one say that the one promise of “coming soon” must have happened in the first century, but that the other “coming soon” event has an entirely different meaning?

Categories: preterism Tags:

Horner Bible Reading Plan: Six Months Later

September 17, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve now been following the Horner Bible Reading Plan for six months, sticking to it on a daily basis with few exceptions. Now at day 183, I’m nearing the end of Deuteronomy (List 2), the last list to complete. When I restart with Genesis in a few days, I plan to try reading two chapters a day, at least in the easier narrative chapters.

Retention of all this reading comes gradually, yet after several reads through shorter lists such as Proverbs and the New Testament Acts and Epistles, I note and recall many more details (that went unnoticed with once-a-year readings), such as the following:

  • Colossians (chapter 2) makes reference to a church in Laodicea; this reminds me of Revelation 3, the church in Laodicea a generation later.
  • Proverbs has many statements echoed in the New Testament. Proverbs 25:6-7 speaks to a matter Jesus mentioned, to not seek the highest place of honor at the table. Proverbs 25:14 is a clear mention of something later said in Jude 12.

Proverbs 25:14 (NIV) — Like clouds and wind without rain is a man who boasts of gifts he does not give.

Jude 12 — speaking of the false teachers, says “They are clouds without rain, blown along by the wind”

  • Similarities and contrasts in Paul’s letters to, in list 3, the Corinthians, versus the Philippians and Thessalonians of list 4. One really gets a feel for Paul’s heart, his affection for the Phillipians, and his care for (and frustration with) the immature Corinthians. Paul writes similar things to the Thessalonians and Corinthians; compare 1 Thessalonians 2:5-9, and 1 Corinthians 9 (including verses 12 and 15).

One Old Testament “connection” that could only come from a combination of different readings: on the same day I read Judges 20 (list 8), the destruction of most of the tribe of Benjamin, I also read 2 Chronicles 14 (list 9), which details a military event that includes many Benjamites. A good combination of readings to show that indeed the tribe of Benjamin recovered from its near-destruction several centuries earlier.

Great Spurgeon Preaching

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I continually am amazed and in wonder at Spurgeon’s words, still with us 150 years later. I also find in Spurgeon great words of comfort, no matter what I’m feeling in my daily walk with God and my experiences.

Here are some excerpts from a Spurgeon sermon I read this week, Sermon number 50: The Holy Ghost–The Great Teacher:

And, verily, the Christian man feels an intense longing to bury his ignorance and receive wisdom. If he, when in his natural estate panted for terrestrial knowledge, how much more ardent is the wish to unravel, if possible, the sacred mysteries of God’s Word! A true Christian is always intently reading and searching the Scripture that he may be able to certify himself as to its main and cardinal truths. I do not think much of that man who does not wish to understand doctrines; I cannot conceive him to be in a right position when he thinks it is no matter whether he believes a lie or truth, whether he is heretic or orthodox, whether he received the Word of God as it is written, or as it is diluted and misconstrued by man. God’s Word will ever be to a Christian a source of great anxiety; a sacred instinct within will lead him to pry into it; he will seek to understand it.
. . .
Curiosity is strong; if you tell them they must not pluck the truth, they will be sure to do it; but if you give it to them as you find it in God’s Word, they will not seek to “wrest” it. Enlightened men will have the truth, and if they see election in Scripture they will say, “it is there, and I will find it out. If I cannot get it in one place, I will get it in another.” The true Christian has an inward longing and anxiety after it; he is hungry and thirsty after the word of righteousness, and he must and will feed on this bread of heaven, or at all hazards he will leave the husks which unsound divines would offer him.

. . .
The true child of God will not be led into some truth but into all truth. When first he starts he will not know half the truth, he will believe it but not understand it; he will have the germ of it but not the sum total in all its breadth and length. There is nothing like learning by experience. A man cannot set up for a theologian in a week. Certain doctrines take years to develop themselves. Like the aloe that taketh a hundred years to be dressed, there be some truths that must lie long in the heart before they really come out and make themselves appear so that we can speak of them as that we do know; and testify of that which we have seen. The Spirit will gradually lead us into all truth. For instance if it be true that Jesus Christ is to reign upon the earth personally for a thousand years, as I am inclined to believe it is, if I be under the Spirit, that will be more and more opened to me, until I with confidence declare it. Some men begin very timidly. A man says, at first, “I know we are justified by faith, and have peace with God, but so many have cried out against eternal justification, that I am afraid of it.” But he is gradually enlightened, and led to see that in the same hour when all his debts were paid, a full discharge was given; that in the moment when its sin was cancelled, every elect soul was justified in God’s mind, though they were not; justified in their own minds till afterwards. The Spirit shall lead you into all truth.

Now, what are the practical inferences from this great doctrine? . . .
Another inference is this whenever any of our brethren do not understand the truth let us take a hint as to the best way of dealing with them. Do not let us controvert with them. I have heard many controversies, but never heard of any good from one of them. We have had controversies with certain men called Secularists, and very strong arguments have been brought against them; but I believe that the day of judgment shall declare that a very small amount of good was ever done by contending with these men. Better let them alone, where no fuel is the fire goeth out; and he that debateth with them puts wood upon the fire. So with regard to Baptism. It is of no avail to quarrel with our Paedo-baptist friends. If we simply pray for them that the God of truth may lead them to see the true doctrine, they will come to it far more easily than by discussions. Few men are taught by controversy, for

“A man convinced against his will, is of the same opinion still.”

Pray for them that the Spirit of truth may lead them “into all truth.” Do not be angry with your brother, but pray for him; cry, “Lord! open thou his eyes that he may behold wondrous things out of thy law.”

Categories: C. H. Spurgeon Tags:

Bible Reading and Some Good Blogs

September 9, 2009 Leave a comment

I’m now up to Day 175 in the Horner Bible reading plan. At this point, I really don’t keep track of the day number, since I can’t match any number in the reading to that day. Now I’m on my second round through Psalms, so I calculate the day number based on the current psalm number plus 150. The only list left to finish is List 2, the Pentateuch, and I’m working through Deuteronomy.

For a few brief observations from the daily readings: the history readings especially bring out the rampant idolatry. Judges 17 verses 5 and 12 talk about the people making up their own self-styled worship. 2 Chronicles 11:13-15 has a similar case, the people of northern Israel doing their own worship in the days of Jeroboam. The next day’s reading brings out general idol worship, again in Judges and 2 Chronicles–and in Acts 19, the idolatry of Ephesus in the 1st century. Idolatry is also a common theme in the 2 readings from the prophets, although at the moment I’m getting a break from those subjects. Isaiah 40 is very hopeful for the future. Zechariah 11 is more about judgement (the flock marked for slaughter) and the First Coming prophecy about the 30 pieces of silver, such a low price they esteemed Him.

On to other matters…. in the current blog world, Biblical Christianity has a good blog, “Good men = good views? Yes, and not necessarily… respectively.” Another good recent blog is Fred Butler’s 12th in the “Studies in Eschatology” series: Apocalypticism and the book of Revelation in which he points out how Revelation has many differences from the non-canonical apocalyptic literature and we can’t use that excuse, that Revelation is just apocalyptic stuff, to avoid biblical exegesis.

S. Lewis Johnson Teaching From Genesis 19

September 4, 2009 Leave a comment

I’ve been listening to S. Lewis Johnson’s “Genesis” series, which he preached in 1979. I’ve now completed the study for Genesis 19, and here are a few important points.

This chapter deals with a “carnal Christian,” Lot, and the consequences of his worldliness, including in his own family. It’s a familiar narrative passage, but here are a few things of special note.

SLJ notes that the angels seem much more reluctant to go home with Lot than they had with Abraham. They readily came to Abraham’s tent in Genesis 18; but it seems that they would prefer to stay in the town square than with Lot.

Lot does show great hospitality, one evidence of the fact that he was a righteous man (2 Peter 2), but his worldly life compromises his witness to the world. He had evidently selected unbelieving men to marry his daughters. When Lot later tried to warn them of the coming destruction, their disbelief again reflects Lot’s worldly character, he was the type of person not to be taken seriously.

The words from the men of Sodom to Lot, in verse 9 (“This fellow came here as an alien, and now he wants to play the judge! We’ll treat you worse than them.”), show that the believer trying to get ahead in the world never really does fit in as well as he would like to think. S. Lewis Johnson says it well:

It is obvious that while he been there and evidently he had a place and position, deep down within they did not really like Lot. There was something about Lot that made him different, and even in his worldliness, there was that basic commitment to the promises given to Abraham and they figured that out.

That is why, incidentally, a worldly believer never is able to accomplish what he thinks he will accomplish. He thinks that by mingling with the world, he will be an influence upon them. But he is not an influence upon them and the one who is hurt is he himself.

Lot is the object of great mercy, and his life is spared on account of his relation to Abraham, as mentioned in verse 29 (So when God destroyed the cities of the plain, he remembered Abraham, and he brought Lot out of the catastrophe that overthrew the cities where Lot had lived.) Yet throughout the account Lot clearly does not appreciate the great mercy, as he is continually reluctant, to the point that the angels have to take charge. After that, Lot is still trying to wheedle out any more concessions, such as the part about fleeing to the small town of Zoar rather than to the mountains.

S. Lewis Johnson’s remarks about homosexuality in America are interesting, coming from the viewpoint of 1979. The situation is far worse now than 30 years ago, yet even then homosexuality was being championed as a great alternative lifestyle. He quotes from a cover story in Time magazine, “How Gay is Gay,” in which was told the line that 10 percent of the population is homosexual, and that many popular cultural items in our lives (disco and disco lights, long hair, even Adidas running shoes) came from homosexuals and then to the broader society. SLJ makes the important observation, from Romans 1, that increasing homosexuality in a nation is itself a judgement from God–not a sign of future possible judgement, but the actual judgment itself:

So when we look at increasing homosexuality in our society, we do not say, “Well if this continues, we are liable to experience the judgment of God.” According to Paul, the increase in homosexual practices is the judgment of God. It is upon us because of our apostasy from divine truth and so when we see this pervading our society, we are not a society that is moving toward judgment, but we are a society that is already under judgment and moving toward the final cataclysmic destruction of the society as we know it when the Lord Jesus Christ comes at his second advent to the earth.