Various Bible Thoughts

October 27, 2009

I’m a bit restless in my spirit today.  Perhaps too much focus on the Bible, and added time on Bible Prophecy websites and message boards, can lead to some burnout — or impatience.  It seems that so much is happening in the world, all the events associated with Israel and the Middle East and the decline of America, that surely Jesus’ return must come soon.  Along with this I find less and less interest in the things of this world, just wanting to be “outta here,” with the Lord in glory at the Rapture.  So every day is exciting — to see anew how God’s word in unfolding in actual history — and yet the suspense continues; and meanwhile life just keeps on going by at its normal pace, with most people unconcerned and consumed by the trivial things of life.  I keep hearing about harder times to come upon America, and yet personally we have not experienced anything unusual, at least not yet.

The more I read my 12-list daily readings, the more and more obvious the Bible is concerning Israel–God’s great concern for Israel throughout all time, and God’s great future plans for national Israel.  My mind–finally uncluttered from the brainwashing drivel of the local pastor, that had trained my mind to think in past, historical terms only–now sees what the texts state in their normative, plain meaning.  Now that I’m on my second or even third readings through the Bible, since March (day 223), the passages are becoming that much more familiar.  Here is a sampling from recent readings:

Romans 11:28-29:  As far as the gospel is concerned, they are enemies on your account; but as far as election is concerned, they are loved on account of the patriarchs, 29for God’s gifts and his call are irrevocable.
Romans 15:8-9:  For I tell you that Christ has become a servant of the Jews on behalf of God’s truth, to confirm the promises made to the patriarchs 9so that the Gentiles may glorify God for his mercy, as it is written:
Hebrews 9:28 — so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him.
Nehemiah 9 tells us that the people (now returned to the land) were slaves within it; that return simply doesn’t do justice, to “fulfill” the prophetic texts that speak of a great restoration.

The OT prophets, especially Jeremiah and Ezekiel are filled with the theme of Israel’s judgement followed by later restoration.  Ezekiel 36 and especially Ezekiel 37 are so obvious — no wonder the local preterist pastor ignored so much of Ezekiel 37; the plain meaning is clear.  I’m now up to Ezekiel 41 in my list 11 readings, and the chronology of events and meaning of Israel, from Ezekiel 36 to this point is unmistakeable.

John MacArthur said it well in his 2007 Shepherd’s Conference message.  The following is quoted at Dr. Tim White’s blog:

Now all that leads us to this: if you get Israel right you will get eschatology right. If you don’t get Israel right you will never get eschatology right. Never. And you’ll migrate from one view to another just depending on the last book you read or the last lecture you heard . . . . If you get eschatology right it’s because you get Israel right. You get Israel right when you get the Old Testament covenants and promises right. You get the Old Testament covenants and promises right when you get the interpretation of Scripture right. You get interpretation of Scripture right when you’re faithful to a legitimate hermeneutic and God’s integrity is upheld. Get your hermeneutics right, you’ll get the Old Testament promises right. Get promises right, you’ll get Israel right. Get Israel right, you’ll get eschatology right. The Bible calls God the God of Israel over 200 times. The God of Israel. There are over 2,000 references to Israel in Scripture, not one of them means anything but Israel. Not one of them, including Romans 9:6 and Galatians 6:16 which is the only two passages that amillennialists go to trying to convince us that that cancels out the other 2,000. There is no difficulty in interpreting those as simply meaning Jews who were believers; the Israel of God. Israel always means Israel, never means anything but Israel. Seventy three New Testament uses of Israel always mean Israel.

Through some googling for Bible resources, I came across a good reference website:  Precept Austin.  This site upholds the conservative evangelical, premillennial, literal hermeneutic standard, and has links, by Bible book, to many online resources, such as commentaries and sermons.  As the author notes, he does include links to the older, covenant theology commentaries such as Matthew Henry and John Gill.  Yet he notes the caution to use with these, as especially concerning prophetic texts where they spiritualize and apply the texts to the New Testament Church.  But the majority of the links provided are to trustworthy teachers.  The MP3 sermons from Believers Chapel (S. Lewis Johnson and Dan Duncan) are listed, as well as the text and/or audio from many other preachers.  Here I learned a few more names of good Bible teachers, to possibly consider for further study:  W.A. Criswell, Ray Stedman and Thomas Constable.

As I’ve learned recently, I’ll never run out of good Bible teachers and teachings.  The vast amount of good Bible study material now available on the Internet, from many different churches and ministries, is just amazing.  Yes, the Internet also hosts a lot of bad teaching, but also much good teaching.  Among the trustworthy names on my list now (though haven’t listened to everything from all of these names):  John MacArthur, S. Lewis Johnson, Dan Duncan, Bruce Blakey, Steve Lawson, Lance Quinn, Erwin Lutzer, David Jeremiah, W. A. Criswell, Ray Stedman, and Thomas Constable.  Add to that the writings of 19th century preachers C. H. Spurgeon and J. C. Ryle.

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