Does a Christian owe allegiance to a gang of robbers who call themselves the government?

Does a Christian owe allegiance to a gang of robbers who call themselves the government? By Jack Kettler

The aim of this essay is how an individual can opt-out of a social contract. First, this can be done by repudiating one’s citizenship. Second, if the administrators of the contract, i.e., the federal governing authorities, break the contract. The essay will not directly address the question regarding submission to the state, city, and county authorities. The essay will touch on the ineffectiveness of voting when the system becomes corrupted. Also addressed will be the right of the people to lawfully resist a corrupt government.   

Re: The Nov. 3rd election and prima facie evidence of voting fraud by election officials in six battleground states:

Approximately 75 million or more voters have become disenfranchised as a result of not one court in the land agreeing to an evidentiary hearing in which evidence can be presented by the Trump legal team to prove the case of massive election official’s voter fraud. This leaves the aggrieved party, the voters, without recourse. Hence, the following proposition.

A Logical Proposition:

·         Our government contract is built upon the consent of the governed.

·         The election process is how the continuation of this process of reaffirming the contract continues.

·         If the governing bodies cannot ensure a fair election, the consent of the governed is null and void.

·         If the elected politicians no longer keep their oath of office, the contract is likewise nullified.

“The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.” 10th Amendment

Joe Biden said his team has created:

“the most extensive and inclusive voter fraud organization in the history of American politics.”

 With this election stolen, how can any future election be trusted? With criminals running the government, is it even possible to root out and fix election processes?

 The American system of government is different from a Monarchy, Parliamentary, or some other type of government that has an ongoing transition of power. It is a constitutional social contract. The Bible does not directly reference this form of government.

 The Social Contract in history:

“One of the most powerful ideas in the modern world is the social contract doctrine. According to this theory, at one time, in the early history of mankind, society did not exist. All men lived in a state of anarchism. Every man was his own law and state, and men lived in a world without any ties between men other than of their own choosing. This state of nature proved to be limiting, inconvenient, and dangerous, and so men came together to subscribe to a social contract whereby all would be governed. Every man would surrender some freedom in return for mutual protection and a great security under a coercive contract which would give civil freedom to replace anarchic freedom.

All modern political systems are now in crisis. Humanism has triumphed the world over. In some areas, ancient forms of paganism have eroded, with resulting political instability. In the West, the age of revolution is being followed by an era of dissolution.” (1)

 Objections to the Social contract theory:

 1.      It is based on a historical fiction.

2.      The social contract is not worth the paper it’s not written on.

3.      How can a group of idiots voting for a moron or law bind another person who did not vote for it?

4.      How can people hundreds of years ago bind people today into a contract they did not approve?

 The American system is contractual:

 A contract can be broken or reaffirmed by the parties to the contract. If the contract is reaffirmed, biblically speaking, the citizen is to show allegiance. If the contract is not renewed, the former governing authorities are not owed allegiance.

 The political contract is similar to a Church membership covenant. Both are voluntary. There are provisions to opt-out of both.

 What if an outlaw motorcycle gang overthrows the existing government and now calls itself the government? Just because a group of individuals call themselves the government does not make it so.

 We do not owe allegiance to the gang of criminals who claim they are the government any more than one owes allegiance to a highwayman robber. It may be prudent to pay taxes just like one would pay a highwayman money so as to not get shot. In the recent theft of the Nov. 3rd election, the new alleged rulers are imposters, in essence, a gang of robbers.

 The conclusion of this proposition is that individuals are free from the contract if voting is corrupted to the point of citizens can no longer trust the process. Voting reaffirms the contract.

 Consider an insight into not voting when the system can no longer guarantee a fair election process:

“Voting is not an act of political freedom. It is an act of political conformity. Those who refuse to vote are not expressing silence. They are screaming in the politician’s ear: ‘You do not represent me. This is not a process in which my voice matters. I do not believe you.’” – Wendy McElroy

 Common sense analysis of voting and politicians:

1. “Every election is a sort of advance auction sale of stolen goods.

2. A good politician is quite as unthinkable as an honest burglar.

3. A politician is an animal which can sit on a fence and yet keep both ears to the ground.

4. Democracy is a pathetic belief in the collective wisdom of individual ignorance.

5. Democracy is also a form of worship. It is the worship of jackals by jackasses.

6. Democracy is the art and science of running the circus from the monkey cage.

7. Democracy is the theory that the common people know what they want, and deserve to get it good and hard.

8. Every decent man is ashamed of the government he lives under.

9. If a politician found he had cannibals among his constituents, he would promise them missionaries for dinner.

10. For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong.

11. The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.

12. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart’s desire at last, and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron.” – H.L. Mencken, Henry Louis Mencken was an American journalist, essayist, satirist, cultural critic, and scholar of American English. He commented widely on the social scene, literature, music, prominent politicians, and contemporary movements. Wikipedia

 What can be said about the usurpers to the Constitution?  

“But whether the Constitution really be one thing, or another, this much is certain – that it has either authorized such a government as we have had, or has been powerless to prevent it. In either case it is unfit to exist.” – Lysander Spooner, No Treason: The Constitution of No Authority, Lysander Spooner was an American individualist anarchist. He was also an abolitionist, entrepreneur, essayist, legal theorist, pamphletist, political philosopher, Unitarian, writer and a member of the First International. Wikipedia

 This quote by Spooner does not necessarily speak to the Constitution per se. It can speak of the administrators of the contract who have failed to ensure those who are governed by their guarantee.   

 The most well-known expression of a people’s right to “dissolve the political bands” written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles, and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to affect their Safety and Happiness… it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation….” – Thomas Jefferson, Thomas Jefferson was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He had previously served as the second vice president of the United States between 1797 and 1801. Wikipedia

 As stated by the Constitutional Law Foundation in more detail. Intergenerational Justice in the United States Constitution, The Stewardship Doctrine:

“Perhaps the most fundamental of the several inalienable rights recognized by the founders was the right of re-constitution. That right was understood to rest at the foundation of consensual government; its recognition was deemed essential to the security of all other rights. The Declaration of Independence contains the most famous formulation of the right:

“[T]o secure [inalienable] rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. . . .  [W]henever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government . . ..” f175

Operating for the most part out of a contractarian tradition of political philosophy, the founders believed that the legitimacy of a government derived from the consent of its citizens. f176 If and when such consent should no longer be forthcoming, a legitimate political system must allow for its own expiration.

The founders often characterized this right to “alter or abolish” government in generational terms; a legitimate government must earn the consent of every generation subject to its jurisdiction. Some governmental forms were thought to be irredeemably incompatible with the principle of intergenerational consent – hereditary monarchies for example. In Common Sense, Tom Paine argued that “hereditary succession as a matter of right is an insult and an imposition on posterity.” f177

Democratic republics, while somewhat more protective of posterity’s sovereignty, could also pose threats. The drafters of the early state constitutions, recognizing the possibility that the political systems they created might one day be perverted, repeatedly and emphatically reminded their descendants of their right to begin anew:

“whenever the ends of government are perverted, and public liberty manifestly endangered, and all other means of redress are ineffectual, the people may, and of right ought, to reform the old, or establish a new government. The doctrine of non-resistance against arbitrary power, and oppression, is absurd, slavish, and destructive of the good and happiness of mankind.” f178

The idea was sometimes formulated, per Sidney, in terms of the need for a “frequent recurrence to fundamental principles.”f179 Some states also took notice of a form of re-constitution explicitly endorsed by Locke: f180 the right to repatriate and “form a new state in vacant countries.” f181

References to the right of re-constitution cropped up repeatedly during the ratification debates. In the Federalist papers, Alexander Hamilton affirmed the right of re-constitution as originally articulated in the Declaration. f182 While antifederalist agitators complained that the lack of a bill of rights left no institutional safeguard for future generations’ unalienable rights, federalists such as Noah Webster warned that a Bill of Rights would itself violate posterity’s sovereign right of re-constitution.” (2) f183

The excerpts from the following book are relevant when the governing power breaks the contract with the people. This book was popular during the time of the War for Independence. The insights of this book are valid today; just insert federal officials in place of King. Much of what is said in the book provide grounds to sever a relationship with governing authorities that have gone bad. The case is made in this work why Christians can lawfully resist and fight against political tyrants.

 Commenting on Vindiciae contra Tyrannos:  

“Despite its brevity, the Vindiciae’s sharp defense of the right of subjects to resist unjust or ungodly rulers even to the point of armed rebellion helped shape the political theories of John Locke in England and the American Founding Fathers.

Its arguments on the rights and responsibilities of rulers and subjects continue to be relevant today as we consider the limits of the power of the government and the rights of citizens to oppose governmental overreach.” – Dr. Glenn Sunshine, (Ph.D., University of Wisconsin, Madison), the founder and president of Every Square Inch Ministries, is professor of history at the Central Connecticut State University, a Research Fellow of the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty, and a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview.

 Vindiciae contra Tyrannos: A Defence of Liberty against Tyrants Or of the lawful power of the prince over the people and of the people over the prince.

 Being a treatise written in Latin and French by Junius Brutus, and translated out of both into English. 1648  “…But here presents itself another question the which deserves to be considered, and amply debated in regard of the circumstance of time. Let us put the case that a king seeking to abolish the law of God or ruin the church, that all the people or the greatest part yield their consents, that all the princes or the greatest number of them make no reckoning; and notwithstanding, a small handful of people, to wit some of the princes and magistrates, desire to preserve the law of God entirely and inviolably and to serve the Lord purely: what may it be lawful for them to do? if the king seek to compel those men to be idolaters, or will take from them the exercise of true religion? We speak not here of private and particular persons considered one by one, and which in that manner are not held as parts of the entire body; as the planks, the nails, the pegs are no part of the ship, neither the stones, the rafters, nor the rubbish are any part of the house: but we speak of some town or province which makes a portion of the kingdom, as the prow, the poop, the keel and other parts make a ship; the foundation, the roof and the walls make a house. We speak also of the magistrate which governs such a city or province. …

… In these days there is no rhetoric more common in the courts of rules, than of those who say all is the king’s. Whereby it follows, that in exacting anything from his subjects, he takes but his own, and in that which he leaves them, he expresseth the care he hath that they should not be altogether destitute of means to maintain themselves. This opinion has gained so much power in the minds of some rulers, that they are not ashamed to say that the pains, sweat and industry of their subjects is the proper revenue, as if their miserable subjects only kept beasts to till the earth for their insolent master’s profit and luxury. And indeed, the practice at this day is just in this manner, although in all right and equity it ought to be contrary. Now we must always remember that kings were created for the good and profit of the people, and that those (as Aristotle says) who endeavor and seek the welfare of the people are trusty kings; whereas those that make their own private ends and pleasures the only butt and aim of their desires, are truly tyrants.

It being then so that every one loves that which is his own, yea that many covet that which belongs to other men, is it anything probable that men should seek a master to give him frankly all that they had long labored for, and gained with the sweat of their brows? May we not rather imagine that they chose such a man on whose integrity they relied for the administering of justice equally both to the poor and rich, and which would not assume all to himself, but rather maintain every one in the fruition of his own goods? Or who, like an unprofitable drone, should suck the fruit of other men’s labors, but rather preserve the house for those whose industry justly deserved it? Briefly, who, instead of extorting from the true owners their goods, would see them defended from all ravening oppressors? What I pray you skills it, says the poor country man, whether the king or the enemy make havoc of my goods, since through the spoil thereof I and my poor family die for hunger? What imports it whether a stranger or home-bred caterpillar ruin my estate, and bring my poor fortune to extreme beggary; whether a foreign soldier, or a sycophant courtier, by force or fraud, make me alike miserable? Why shall he be accounted a barbarous enemy, if thou be a friendly patriot? Why he a tyrant if thou be a king? Yea, certainly by how much parricide is greater than manslaughter, by so much the wickedness of a king exceeds in mischief the violence of an enemy.

If then therefore, in the creation of kings, men gave not their own proper goods to them, but only recommended them to their protection; by what other right then, but that of freebooters, can they challenge the property of other men’s goods to themselves?…

First, the law of nature teacheth and commandeth us to maintain and defend our lives and liberties, without which life is scant worth the enjoying, against all injury and violence. Nature hath imprinted this by instinct in dogs against wolves, in bulls against lions, betwixt pigeons and sparrow-hawks, betwixt pullen and kites, and yet much more in man against man himself, if man become a beast: and therefore he who questions the lawfulness of defending oneself, doth as much as in him lies question the law of nature. To this must be added the law of nations, which distinguisheth possessions and dominions, fixes limits, and makes out confines, which every man is bound to defend against all invaders. And, therefore, it is no less lawful to resist Alexander the Great, if without any right or being justly provoked, he invades a country with a mighty navy, as well as Diomedes the pirate which scours the seas in a small vessel. For in this case Alexander’s right is no more than Diomedes his, but only he hath more power to do wrong, and not so easily to be compelled to reason as the other. Briefly, one may as well oppose Alexander in pillaging a country, as a thief in purloining a cloak; as well him when he seeks to batter down the walls of a city, as a robber that offers to break into a private house. There is, besides this, the civil law, or municipal laws of several countries which governs the societies of men by certain rules, some in one manner, some in another; some submit themselves to the government of one man, some to more; others are ruled by a whole communalty; some absolutely exclude women from the royal throne, others admit them; these here choose their king descended of such a family, those there make election of whom they please, besides other customs practiced amongst several nations. If therefore, any offer either by fraud or force to violate this law, we are all bound to resist him, because he wrongs that society to which we owe all that we have, and would ruin our country, to the preservation whereof all men by nature, by law and by solemn oath, are strictly obliged: insomuch that fear or negligence, or bad purposes, make us omit this duty, we may justly be accounted breakers of the laws, betrayers of our country, and contemners of religion.  Now as the laws of nature, of nations, and the civil commands us to take arms against such tyrants; so, is there not any manner of reason that should persuade us to the contrary; neither is there any oath, covenant, or obligation, public or private, of power justly to restrain us; therefore the meanest private man may resist and lawfully oppose such an intruding tyrant. …

… This, of which we have spoken, is to be understood of a tyranny not yet firmly rooted, to wit, whilst a tyrant conspires, machinates, and lays his plots and practices. But if he be once so possessed of the state, and that the people, being subdued, promise and swear obedience; the commonwealth being oppressed, resign their authority into his hands; and that the kingdom in some formal manner consent to the changing of their laws; for so much certainty as then, he hath gained a title which before he wanted and seems to be as well a legal as actual possessor thereof, although this yoke were laid on the people’s neck by compulsion, yet must they quietly and peaceably rest in the will of the Almighty, who, at his pleasure transfers kingdoms from one nation to another. Otherways there should be no kingdom, whose jurisdiction might not be disputed. And it may well chance, that he who before was a tyrant without title, having obtained the title of a king, may free himself from any tyrannous imputation, by governing those under him with equity and moderation. … For after promise of performance, it is too late to repent. And, as in battles every one ought to give testimony of his velour, but, being once taken prisoner, must faithfully observe covenants, so it is requisite, that the people maintain their rights by all possible means; but, if it chance that they be brought into the subjection of another’s will, they must then patiently support the dominion of the victor. So did Pompey, Cato, and Cicero and others, perform the parts of good patriots then when they took arms against Caesar, seeking to alter the government of the state; neither can those be justly excused, whose base fear hindered the happy success of Pompey and his partakers’ noble designs. Augustus himself is said to have reproved one who railed on Cato, affirming that he carried himself worthily and exceedingly affected to the greatness of his country, in courageously opposing the alteration which his contraries sought to introduce in the government of the state, seeing all innovations of that nature are ever authors of much trouble and confusion.

Furthermore, no man can justly reprehend Brutus, Cassius, and the rest who killed Caesar before his tyrannical authority had taken any firm rooting. And so there were statues of brass erected in honour of them by public decree at Athens, and placed by those of Harmodius and Aristogiton, then when, after the dispatching of Caesar, they retired from Rome, to avoid Mark Anthony and Augustus their revenge. But Cinna was certainly guilty of sedition, who, after a legal transferring of the people’s power into the hands of Augustus, is said to have conspired against him. …

… if a prince outrageously over-pass the bounds of piety and justice, a neighbor prince may justly and religiously leave his own country, not to invade and usurp another’s, but to contain the other within the limits of justice and equity; and if he neglect or omit his duty herein, he shows himself a wicked and unworthy magistrate. If a prince tyrannize over the people, a neighbor prince ought to yield succour as freely and willingly to the people, as he would do to the prince his brother, if the people mutinied against him. Yea, he should so much the more readily succour the people, by how much there is more just cause of pity to see many afflicted, than one alone?”

 In closing:

 The contract has been broken! There is no human contract that is binding. The current contract is null and void.  “That whenever any form of government becomes destructive to these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their safety and happiness.” – Thomas Jefferson

 Jefferson was most certainly thinking and referencing Vindiciae contra Tyrannos.

 How to trust in government can be restored:

“The only good bureaucrat is one with a pistol at his head. Put it in his hand and it’s good-bye to the Bill of Rights.” – H.L. Mencken

 Politicians must be added to this list. By far, this is the only proposed solution to fed gov corruption that could possibly work short of a national spiritual revival.

 In the meantime, the doctrine of the local magistrate can provide relief. How does this work? For example, in Colorado, the Weld commissioners and the sheriff have said they will not enforce unconstitutional tyrannical laws imposed on the state by a wicked unrepentant, people of faith hating governor. The lower magistrates stand between the people and a higher wicked magistrate, thus giving the people relief. The lower magistrate doctrine is happening already on a county basis and even at the state level, for example, South Dakota.

 Furthermore, see the pamphlet, The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstruous Regiment of Women. John Knox was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country’s Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. Wikipedia

 Does a Christian owe allegiance to a gang of robbers who call themselves the government? No, unless you want to legitimize criminals.

As an aside, Presbyterians were known as the “fighting Protestants” historically. Not so much today. Misinterpretations of Romans 13:1-7 have neutralized many people of faith.

 “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” (2 Timothy 2:15)

 “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28-29)

 Notes:

 1.      R. J. Rushdoony, Systematic Theology in Two Volumes (Vallecito, CA: Ross House Books, 1994), p. 403.

2.      The Constitutional Law Foundation, https://www.conlaw.org/Intergenerational-Intro.htm

 Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

 For more research:

 See this author’s:

 Romans 13 and the Limits of submission to the Church or State

 Does Romans 13:1, 3-5 contradict Isaiah 5:20?

 @ The Religion That Started in a Hat Use the search bar to find these titles.

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A sample Bible study on Romans 1:1

A sample Bible study on Romans 1:1                                                               By Jack Kettler

Exegeting a text using the Grammatico-Historical-Hermeneutical Method:

What is the Grammatico-Historical-Hermeneutical Method?

This method of interpretation focuses attention not only on literary forms but also on grammatical constructions and historical contexts, out of which the Scriptures were written. It is solidly in the ‘literal schools’ of interpretation and is the hermeneutical methodology embraced by virtually all conservative evangelical Protestant exegetes and scholars.

Exegesis, the interpretive Norm:

Exegesis (from the Greek ἐξήγησις from ἐξηγεῖσθαι’ to lead out’) is a critical explanation or interpretation of a text, especially a religious text. Traditionally the term is used principally for an exegesis of the Bible; however, in contemporary usage, it has broadened to mean a critical explanation of any text, and the term “Biblical exegesis” is used for greater specificity. The goal of Biblical exegesis is to explore the meaning of the text, which then leads to discovering its significance or relevance.

Exegesis includes a wide range of critical disciplines: textual criticism is the investigation into the history and origins of the text, but exegesis may involve the study of the historical and cultural backgrounds for the author, the text, and the original audience. Other analysis includes classification of the type of literary genres present in the text and an analysis of grammatical and syntactical features in the text itself.

Approaching the text with hermeneutic concerns:

Greek hermeneuo, “to explain, interpret,” the science of Bible interpretation. Paul stated the aim of all true hermeneutics in 2Timothy 2:15 as “rightly dividing the word of truth.” That means correctly or accurately teaching the Word of truth. This is the goal of this study.

The passage to study:

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God.” (Romans 1:1 ESV)

What is the genre of the passage?

The Pauline letters or epistles like Romans, Ephesians, and James and are Didactic.

Biblical didacticism is a type of literature that educates the reader in soteriology, ethics, ecclesiology, and eschatology teachings. The letter was originally written in Koine Greek.

What are the time and place references in the passage?

From the book of Acts and the Corinthian letters by Paul provides evidence that the book Romans was written in Corinth on Paul’s third missionary journey. The most common date of the book is 60 A.D. At this time in history, Israel was under the political domination of Rome.

Translating the entire passage from the Greek and analyzing keywords is optional and depends on questions the Christian disciple has about the text. In this study, the whole verse will be examined in its interlinear form, and then each word and phrase will be examined in more detail using the Strong’s Concordance.

Using the Nestle Greek New Testament 1904 with “Strong’s numbers” included in yellow:

Paul     A servant   of Christ   Jesus     a called     apostle     having been set apart   for   [the] gospel   of God

Παῦλος  δοῦλος    Χριστοῦ    Ἰησοῦ,     κλητὸς     ἀπόστολος    ἀφωρισμένος            εἰς     εὐαγγέλιον    Θεοῦ,

3972      1401        5547         2424        2822          652                873                      1519      2098          2316

Paulos   doulos   Christou     Iēsou        klētos       apostolos    aphōrismenos          eis      euangelion   Theou

From the Strong’s concordance on Paul

Paulos: (Sergius) Paulus (a Roman proconsul), also Paul (an apostle)

Original Word: Παῦλος, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: Paulos

Phonetic Spelling: (pow’-los)

Definition: (Sergius) Paulus (a Roman proconsul), also Paul (an apostle)

Usage: Paul, Paulus.

Strong’s Concordance on servant

doulos: a slave

Original Word: δοῦλος, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Adjective; Noun, Feminine; Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: doulos

Phonetic Spelling: (doo’-los)

Definition: a slave

Usage: (a) (as adj.) enslaved, (b) (as noun) a (male) slave.

Strong’s Concordance on Christ

Christos: the Anointed One, Messiah, Christ

Original Word: Χριστός, οῦ, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: Christos

Phonetic Spelling: (khris-tos’)

Definition: the Anointed One, Messiah, Christ

Usage: Anointed One; the Messiah, the Christ.

Strong’s Concordance on Jesus

Iésous: Jesus or Joshua, the name of the Messiah, also three other Isr.

Original Word: Ἰησοῦς, οῦ, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: Iésous

Phonetic Spelling: (ee-ay-sooce’)

Definition: Jesus or Joshua, the name of the Messiah, also three other Isr

Usage: Jesus; the Greek form of Joshua; Jesus, son of Eliezer; Jesus, surnamed Justus.

Strong’s Concordance on called

klétos: called

Original Word: κλητός, ή, όν

Part of Speech: Adjective

Transliteration: klétos

Phonetic Spelling: (klay-tos’)

Definition: called

Usage: called, invited, summoned by God to an office or to salvation.

Strong’s Concordance on apostle

apostolos: a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle

Original Word: ἀπόστολος, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: apostolos

Phonetic Spelling: (ap-os’-tol-os)

Definition: a messenger, one sent on a mission, an apostle

Strong’s Concordance on set apart

aphorizó: to mark off by boundaries from, i.e. set apart

Original Word: ἀφορίζω

Part of Speech: Verb

Transliteration: aphorizó

Phonetic Spelling: (af-or-id’-zo)

Definition: to mark off by boundaries from, set apart

Usage: I rail off, separate, and place apart.

Usage: a messenger, envoy, delegate, one commissioned by another to represent him in some way, especially a man sent out by Jesus Christ Himself to preach the Gospel; an apostle.

Strong’s Concordance on for

eis: to or into (indicating the point reached or entered, of place, time, fig. purpose, result)

Original Word: εἰς

Part of Speech: Preposition

Transliteration: eis

Phonetic Spelling: (ice)

Definition: to or into (indicating the point reached or entered, of place, time, purpose, result)

Usage: into, in, unto, to, upon, towards, for, among.

Strong’s Concordance on gospel

euaggelion: good news

Original Word: εὐαγγέλιον, ου, τό

Part of Speech: Noun, Neuter

Transliteration: euaggelion

Phonetic Spelling: (yoo-ang-ghel’-ee-on)

Definition: good news

Usage: the good news of the coming of the Messiah, the gospel; the gen. after it expresses sometimes the giver (God), sometimes the subject (the Messiah, etc.), sometimes the human transmitter (an apostle).

Strong’s Concordance on God

theos: God, a god

Original Word: θεός, οῦ, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine; Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: theos

Phonetic Spelling: (theh’-os)

Definition: God, a god

Usage: (a) God, (b) a god, generally.

Commentary Evidence:

Is there a keyword in the text that needs a better explanation? If so, this is where commentary help can be valuable. In this passage from Paul, two items were of interest. These two issues were (1.) Paul was calling himself a bondservant (δοῦλος). What does this mean? In addition, (2.) What does set apart mean?

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Romans 1:1:

“Paul – The original name of the author of this Epistle was “Saul.” Acts 7:58; Acts 7:1; Acts 8:1, etc. This was changed to Paul (see the note at Acts 13:9), and by this name he is generally known in the New Testament. The reason why he assumed this name is not certainly known. It was, however, in accordance with the custom of the times; see the note at Acts 13:9. The name Saul was Hebrew; the name Paul was Roman. In addressing a letter to the Romans, he would naturally make use of the name to which they were accustomed, and which would excite no prejudice among them. The ancient custom was to begin an epistle with the name of the writer, as Cicero to Varro, etc. We record the name at the end. It may be remarked, however, that the placing the name of the writer at the beginning of an epistle was always done, and is still, when the letter was one of authority, or when it conferred any special privileges. Thus, in the proclamation of Cyrus Ezra 1:2, “Thus saith Cyrus, king of Persia,” etc.; see also Ezra 4:11; Ezra 7:12. “Artaxerxes, king of kings, unto Ezra the priest,” etc. Daniel 4:1. The commencement of a letter by an apostle to a Christian church in this manner was especially proper as indicating authority.

A servant – This name was what the Lord Jesus himself directed His disciples to use, as their general appellation; Matthew 10:25; Matthew 20:27; Mark 10:44. And it was the customary name which they assumed; Galatians 1:10; Colossians 4:12; 2 Peter 1:1; Jude 1:1; Acts 4:29; Titus 1:1; James 1:1. The proper meaning of this word servant, δοῦλος doulos, is slave, one who is not free. It expresses the condition of one who has a master, or who is at the control of another. It is often, however, applied to courtiers, or the officers that serve under a king: because in an eastern monarchy the relation of an absolute king to his courtiers corresponded nearly to that of a master and a slave. Thus, the word is expressive of dignity and honor; and the servants of a king denote officers of a high rank and station. It is applied to the prophets as those who were honored by God, or especially entrusted by him with office; Deuteronomy 34:5; Joshua 1:2; Jeremiah 25:4. The name is also given to the Messiah, Isaiah 42:1, “Behold my servant in whom my soul delighteth,” etc., Isaiah 53:11, “shall my righteous servant justify many.” The apostle uses it here evidently to denote his acknowledging Jesus Christ as his master; as indicating his dignity, as especially appointed by him to his great work; and as showing that in this Epistle he intended to assume no authority of his own, but simply to declare the will of his master, and theirs.

Called to be an apostle – This word called means here not merely to be invited, but has the sense of appointed. It indicates that he had not assumed the office himself, but that he was set apart to it by the authority of Christ himself. It was important for Paul to state this,

(1) Because the other apostles had been called or chosen to this work John 15:16, John 15:19; Matthew 10:1; Luke 6:13; and,

(2) Because Paul was not one of those originally appointed.

It was of consequence for him therefore, to affirm that he had not taken this high office to himself, but that he had been called to it by the authority of Jesus Christ. His appointment to this office he not infrequently takes occasion to vindicate; 1Corinthians 9:1, etc.: Galatians 1:12-24; 2Corinthians 12:12; 1Timothy 2:7; 2Timothy 1:11; Romans 11:13.

An apostle – One sent to execute a commission. It is applied because the apostles were sent out by Jesus Christ to preach his gospel, and to establish his church; Matthew 10:2 note; Luke 6:13 note.

Separated – The word translated “separated unto,” ἀφορίζω aphorizō, means to designate, to mark out by fixed limits, to bound as a field, etc. It denotes those who are “separated,” or called out from the common mass; Acts 19:9; 2Corinthians 6:17. The meaning here does not materially differ from the expression, “called to be an apostle,” except that perhaps this includes the notion of the purpose or designation of God to this work. Thus, Paul uses the same word respecting himself; Galatians 1:15, “God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,” that is, God designated me; marked me out; or designed that I should be an apostle from my infancy. In the same way, Jeremiah was designated to be a prophet, Jeremiah 1:5.

Unto the gospel of God – Designated or designed by God that I should make it “my business” to preach the gospel. Set apart to this, as the special, great work of my life, as having no other object for which I should live. For the meaning of the word “gospel,” see the note at Matthew 1:1. It is called the gospel of God because it is his appointment; it has been originated by him, and has his authority. The function of an apostle was to preach the gospel Paul regarded himself as separated to this work. It was not to live in splendor, wealth, and ease, but to devote himself to this great business of proclaiming good news, that God was reconciled to people in his Son. This is the sole business of all ministers of “religion.” (1)

Barn’s Commentary explains adequately about Paul calling himself a bondservant. Likewise, Vincent’s Word Studies thoroughly explains the meaning of being set apart.

From Vincent’s Word Studies on Romans 1:1:

“Superscription (Romans 1:1, Romans 1:2)

Dr. Morison observes that the superscription is peerless for its wealth of theological idea.

Paul (Παῦλος)

A transcript for the Latin paulus or paullus, meaning little. It was a favorite name among the Cilicians, and the nearest approach in sound to the Hebrew Saul. According to some, both names were borne by him in his childhood, Paulus being the one by which he was known among the Gentiles, and which was subsequently assumed by him to the exclusion of the other, in order to indicate his position as the friend and teacher of the Gentiles. The practice of adopting Gentile names may be traced through all the periods of Hebrew history. Double names also, national and foreign, often occur in combination, as Belteshazzar-Daniel; Esther-Hadasa; thus Saul-Paulus.

Others find in the name an expression of humility, according to Paul’s declaration that he was “the least of the apostles” (1Corinthians 15:9). Others, an allusion to his diminutive stature, and others again think that he assumed the name out of compliment to Sergius Paulus, the deputy of Cyprus. Dean Howson, while rejecting this explanation, remarks: “We cannot believe it accidental that the words ‘who is also called Paul,’ occur at this particular point of the inspired narrative. The heathen name rises to the surface at the moment when St. Paul visibly enters on his office as the apostle of the heathen. The Roman name is stereotyped at the moment when he converts the Roman governor.”

A servant (δοῦλος)

Lit., bondservant or slave. Paul applies the term to himself, Galatians 1:10; Philippians 1:1; Titus 1:1, and frequently to express the relation of believers to Christ. The word involves the ideas of belonging to a master, and of service as a slave. The former is emphasized in Paul’s use of the term, since Christian service, in his view, has no element of servility, but is the expression of love and of free choice. From this standpoint, the idea of service coheres with those of freedom and of sonship. Compare 1Corinthians 7:22; Galatians 4:7; Ephesians 6:6; Philemon 1:16.

On the other hand, believers belong to Christ by purchase (1Corinthians 6:20; 1Peter 1:18; Ephesians 1:7), and own Him as absolute Master. It is a question whether the word contains any reference to official position. In favor of this, it may be said that when employed in connection with the names of individuals, it is always applied to those who have some special work as teachers or ministers, and that most of such instances occur in the opening salutations of the apostolic letters. The meaning, in any case, must not be limited to the official sense.

Called to be an apostle (κλητὸς ἀπόστολος)

As the previous phrase describes generally Paul’s relation to Christ, this expression indicates it specifically. “Called to be an apostle” (A.V. and Rev.), signifies called to the office of an apostle. Yet, as Dr. Morison observes, there is an ambiguity in the rendering, since he who is simply called to be an apostle may have his apostleship as yet only in the future. The Greek indicates that the writer was actually in the apostolate – a called apostle. Godet, “an apostle by way of call.”

Separated unto the gospel of God (ἀφωρισμένος εἰς εὐαγγέλιον Θεοῦ)

Characterizing the preceding phrase more precisely: definitely separated from the rest of mankind. Compare Galatians 1:15, and “chosen vessel,” Acts 9:15. The verb means “to mark off (ἀπό) from others by a boundary (ὅρος).” It is used of the final separation of the righteous from the wicked (Matthew 13:49; Matthew 25:32); of the separation of the disciples from the world (Luke 6:22), and of the setting apart of apostles to special functions (Acts 13:2). Gospel is an exception to the almost invariable usage, in being without the article (compare Revelation 14:6); since Paul considers the Gospel rather as to its quality – good news from God – than as the definite proclamation of Jesus Christ as a Savior. The defining elements are added subsequently in Romans 1:3, Romans 1:4. Not the preaching of the Gospel, but the message itself is meant. For Gospel, see on superscription of Matthew.” (2)

In conclusion:

The notes from the Geneva Study Bible provides an excellent summary review of Romans 1:1:

“Paul, {1} a {2} {a} servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an {b} apostle, {c} separated unto the gospel of God,

(1) The first part of the epistle contains a most profitable preface down to verse six.

(2) Paul, exhorting the Romans to give diligent heed to him, in that he shows that he comes not in his own name, but as God’s messenger to the Gentiles, entreats them with the weightiest matter that exists, promised long ago by God, by many good witnesses, and now at length indeed performed.

(a) Minister, for this word servant is not taken in this place as set against the word freeman, but rather refers to and declares his ministry and office.

(b) Whereas he said before in a general term that he was a minister, now he comes to a more special name, and says that he is an apostle, and that he did not take this office upon himself by his own doing, but that he was called by God, and therefore in this letter of his to the Romans he is doing nothing but his duty.

(c) Appointed by God to preach the gospel.”

A final step in researching a passage is to find a sermon on the verse.

For example:

Greetings from an Apostle Romans SermonRomans 1:1-7 by J. Ligon Duncan

Romans: The Man and the Message Sermons Romans 1:1 by John MacArthur

Introduction Sermon Text: Romans 1:1-7 by R.C. Sproul

Dr. Sproul discusses the use of “bondservant” by Paul and the meaning of the phrase “gospel of God” and its relationship to the scriptures. Dr. Sproul discusses Paul’s use of the trinity. The introduction starts the discussion of being called and what that calling is. See link below for this free sermon series.*

A notable quote:

John Calvin said of Romans, “When any one understands this Epistle, he has a passage opened to him to the understanding of the whole Scripture.”

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Romans, Vol. 2 p. 1982-1984.

2.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 1-3.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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Are Christians supposed to live communally?

Are Christians supposed to live communally?                           By Jack Kettler

As a young Christian, my wife and I lived in a Christian communal ministry for seven years that worked with street people. We practiced food, clothing sharing (to a degree), transportation, all income, and jobs were communally shared. On the job situation, not everyone could do the same tasks for various reasons, like physical strength requirements. The ministry was not dependent on outside donations; it was self-funding by the work of everyone’s hands. The income was put into a common pot and distributed accordingly. Sometimes the accordingly was not so accordingly.    

At the time in the early 1970s, most of the participants in this street people ministry thought to some degree they were fulfilling the description of the Christians in the book of Acts 2:44 by having “all things in common.” If it was good enough for the early church, it should be good enough for us today was the thinking.

In this study, we will look at three texts from the book of Acts. From a cursory reading of the texts, there appears to be some level of communal sharing. Was this practice the norm for the church of all ages? How extensive was having all things in common? Was it an unusual time in history based on a soon to be prophetic fulfillment that necessitated such practice?

Two crucial texts from the book of Acts:

“And all who believed were together and had all things in common.” (Acts 2:44 ESV)

“Now the full number of those who believed were of one heart and soul, and no one said that any of the things that belonged to him was his own, but they had everything in common.” (Acts 4:32 ESV)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary provides helpful information on the Act 2:44 text:

“All that believed were together; not that they lived together in one house or street, but that they met (and that frequently) together in the holy exercises of their religion; and that manner of some, which St. Paul speaks of, Hebrews 10:25, to forsake the assembling of themselves together, was a sin not yet known in the church. (Text highlighting mine)

And had all things common; this was only at that place, Jerusalem, and at that time, when the wants of some, and the charity of others, may well be presumed to be extraordinary; and there is no such thing as community of goods here required or practised. Christ’s gospel does not destroy the law; and the eighth commandment is still in force, which it could not be, if there were no propriety, or meum and tuum, now; nay, after this, the possession which Ananias sold is adjudged by this apostle to have been Ananias’s own, and so was the money too which he had received for it, Acts 5:4. And these all things which they had in common, must either be restrained to such things as everyone freely laid aside for the poor; or that it speaks the extraordinary charitable disposition of those new converts, that they would rather have parted with anything, nay, with their all, than that any of their poor brethren should have wanted.” (1)

Pool notes that it was only in Jerusalem that individual communal sharing was practiced. It was not church-wide. Many people traveled to Jerusalem for the various feasts and temple rights. Often Jerusalem was filled to overflowing with countless numbers of people. When the events at Pentecost occurred, it was manifest that extraordinary. This Pentecost was a unique event in God’s plan of salvation. Upon the startling conversion of so many on a single day, there was confusion on what to do. God was doing something remarkable. Many of the new converts chose to stay and be part of this extraordinary outpouring of the Holy Spirit. Those that stayed watched as the numbers of new believers increased daily. Those that remained looked for directions from the apostles. New Christians were added to the church each day. Many of the new converts did not have a place to stay and were running out of food. This background of events explains the instructions of the apostles on sharing were given at this time.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers likewise provides some additional historical context of Acts 4:32:  

“(32) And the multitude of them that believed.—literally, and the heart and the soul of the multitude of those that believed were one. Of the two words used to describe the unity of the Church, “heart” represented, as in Hebrew usage, rather the intellectual side of character (Mark 2:6; Mark 2:8; Mark 11:23; Luke 2:35; Luke 3:15; Luke 6:45, et al.), and “soul,” the emotional (Luke 2:35; Luke 12:22; John 12:27, et al.). As with most like words, however, they often overlap each other, and are used together to express the totality of character without minute analysis. The description stands parallel with that of Acts 2:42-47, as though the historian delighted to dwell on the continuance, as long as it lasted, of that ideal of a common life of equality and fraternity after which philosophers had yearned, in which the rights of property, though not abolished, were, by the spontaneous action of its owners, made subservient to the law of love, and benevolence was free and full, without the “nicely calculated less or more” of a later and less happy time. The very form of expression implies that the community of goods was not compulsory. The goods still belonged to men, but they did not speak of them as their own. They had learned, as from our Lord’s teaching (Luke 16:10-14), to think of themselves, not as possessors, but as stewards.” (2)

Observations:

The book of Acts and its particular genera of literature. The Bible uses many literary forms. For instance, the Bible uses genera’s such as; law, historical narrative, wisdom, poetical, gospel, didactic letters, or epistles, predictive, and apocalyptic literature to reveal the Word of God. The book of Acts has been classified as a historical narrative. This use of the genera of a historical narrative does not mean that we do not learn essential things about doctrine, but as a rule, it is different from the Pauline Epistles that are classified as didactic or instructional. Because the disciples met in an upper room in the book of Acts, it does not follow that all Christians must meet in upper rooms.

The point of this concern about genera is vital to the way Acts is understood in the three texts under consideration. The communal sharing we see in Acts is a historical, descriptive narrative, not a didactic or instructional dogmatic moral teaching binding on all Christians. The situation in the early church was unique. It was not the norm or pattern for all of the church. The model seen in Acts may very well have some applications in later church history.

For example:

1.      In times of war and famine.

2.      For Reformed Churches, there are synods, presbyteries, and general assemblies. Every church, at times, gets to host elders in their homes and supply food for the event. These types of events are not the norm for everyday church life.

3.      In addition, just like the book of Acts, sharing housing and supplying food for church-wide events is not permeant, and it is voluntary.

4.      Church ministries can run food and clothing banks to assist the poor among us.

5.      Other church support ministries such as overnight missions where food, beds, showers, and gospel preaching happens.

6.      There are hundreds of more applications for the church to serve that good be added to the above list. 

From the texts in Acts in this study, it can be gleaned as a principle that Christians are to love each other. Why is that? The apostle John tells us: 

“By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” (John 13:35 ESV)

More textual support and a closer look at Acts 4:34:

The text itself provides clues to how to understand the passage. It should be noted that the verb tenses in Acts 2 and 4 do not teach that all the property of the early Christians was sold by way of a permanent contractual sale. If someone had an extra house or a field not in use, the owners could voluntarily bring the proceeds of their sale to the apostles for distribution to the destitute believers. 

Consider the NIV translation of Acts 4:34:

“From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, and brought money from the sale, and brought it to the apostles’ feet.” (Acts 4:34 NIV)

“There was not a needy person among them, for as many as were owners of lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold.” (Acts 4:34 ESV)

The NIV on Acts 4:34b-35 states, “From time to time, those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales and put it at the apostles’ feet.”

Craig L. Blomberg comments on the verb tenses:

“Again we have a rash of imperfect verbs here, this time explicitly reflected in the NIV’s “from time to time.” The periodic selling of property confirms our interpretation of Acts 2:44 above. This was not a one-time divesture of all one’s possessions. The theme “according to need,” reappears, too. Interestingly, what does not appear in this paragraph is any statement of complete equality among believers.” (3)

The Church in Jerusalem was not one big commune. There was an overflow of new believers creating logistical problems. It is evident in the text, “from time to time,” as there was need; people sold what they had to provide for others.

The passages in Acts does not say that all of your property must be sold and shared with everyone. Some people sold all or part of their property as they could. This sharing was voluntary. The apostles made the needs known to the growing early church congregation. Church members responded as the Holy Spirit moved them.

If so, it would contradict other teachings of Christ. Four examples will be cited that are contrary to the idea that the church is supposed to be communal.

The first two examples:

1. In the parable of the talents, we are told how the first servant receives five talents, and the second servant received two, and a third servant gets one. The faithful servants increased their talents and met the master’s approval.

2. Also, Paul, who said, “and because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked, for they were tentmakers by trade.” (Acts 18:3 ESV)

What about Ananias and Sapphira?

“But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira, his wife, sold a possession, and kept back part of the price, his wife also being privy to it, and brought a certain part, and laid it at the apostles’ feet. But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? Why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? Thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” (Acts 5:1-4 KJV)

A third example:

3. Rather than support the idea of communal living, it is a persuasive case against it. Verse 4 supplies the answer, “Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? And after it was sold, was it not in thine own power?” Ananias and Sapphira were under no command to sell their property and give it away. The judgment that fell upon them was because of their deceptive lying. Much like modern politicians, they were boasters, a type of pharisaism, doing things to be seen of men.

A fourth example, inheritance and corporation laws:

4. If this alleged early church communal sharing was now the church norm, this new doctrine has virtually repudiated Old Covenant inheritance laws and the subsequent development in the area of corporations and corporate law. The modern corporation is where income and housing, farms, buildings can be passed on to inheritors, and corporate business partners and the church can pass on its wealth to the future. Like inheritance laws, corporate law is connected to Christ; these laws did not just spring out of thin air. The Advent of Christ, Corpus Christi, is earth-shattering by its implications for doctrinal development.

A more in-depth look at corporations and their ability like inheritance laws to pass on wealth:

“What the corporation doctrine has enabled men to do is to transcend the limitations of their time and life-span. . . . Granted that corporations are not necessarily good (nor necessarily bad), it still remains true that the concept of the corporation has been important in history by giving continuity to the works of men.” – R.J. Rushdoony

Is there a contradiction in Scripture?

If the distribution and sharing in the books of Acts were mandatory, this would be a violation of the Eighth Commandment, which says, “Thou shalt not steal.” Forced redistribution at the hands of the fed or state government and even the church is theft. Inheritance laws, corporate laws that enable men to transcend the limitations of time and life span are good. The limited communal sharing in the book of Acts does not set aside or contradict the previous laws.       

Engel’s Gnomen provides a reasonable explanation of what was going on in the book of Acts church at this time:”

“Acts 4:34. Οὐδὲ γὰρ ἐνδεής τις, for neither was there any in need) so it ought to be in our days, even without goods being; in common,—a state of things which is suited only to the highest perfection (flower) of faith and love.—πωλοῦντες, selling) they laid out their wealth to good account, before that the Romans devastated the city. As the Israelites made gain from the Egyptians, so did the Christians from the Jews. [38]

[38] Viz. by selling their lands, which the Roman invasion would soon make worthless to the Jews.—E. and T.” (4)

Historical context and the coming Roman judgment on Jerusalem: 

This section enters into the genera of apocalyptic and is speculative.

Could there be a Scriptural reason for the unique situation in Jerusalem during the 1st Century that led to the particular kind of sharing of goods and the selling of property because specific prophecies were nearing fulfillment?

Consider Matthew’s instructions:

“Then let them which be in Judaea flee into the mountains: Let him which is on the housetop not come down to take anything out of his house: Neither let him which is in the field return back to take his clothes. And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!  But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the Sabbath day.” (Matthew 24:16-20 KJV)

If the interpreter takes a partial preterist approach to Scripture, the Matthew text is a warning the early church to prepare to flee from Judea and Jerusalem because of the coming tribulation.

Luke warned the early church:

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, and then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter there into. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.” (Luke 21:20-22 KJV)

Early Church father commentary:

“The members of the Jerusalem church by means of an oracle, given by revelation to acceptable persons there, were ordered to leave the city before the war began and settle in a town in Peraea called Pella.” (5)

If the Christians in Jerusalem followed the prophetic advice from Matthew and Luke, they were spared from the great tribulation of 70AD that came upon the Jews. This Christian exodus from Jerusalem probably numbered in the thousands. 

The Christians did flee and were saved:

“[As] Vespasian was approaching with his army, all who believed in Christ left Jerusalem and fled to Pella, and other places beyond the river Jordan; and so they all marvellously escaped the general shipwreck of their country: not one of them perished.” (6)

The seemingly communal mindset and individual sharing may have been set against the coming military invasion by the Roman armies and impending destruction of Jerusalem in 70AD. Therefore, the situation we see described in the three texts from Acts may have had additional special prophetical and historical considerations from Matthew and Luke, for example.

In regards to the initial question about Christians living communally, the answer is no. Certain things, like the voluntary sharing that happened, have been continued in ministries for the poor and other exceptional cases like war, famines, and floods.   

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Acts, Vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 391.

2.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Acts, Vol. 7, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 25.

3.      Craig L. Blomberg, Neither Poverty nor Riches, (Downers Grove, IL, Intervarsity Press, 1999), p. 162, 165.

4.      Johann Bengel, The Gnomon of the New Testament, (Edinburg, T &. T Clark). p. 555.

5.      Eusebius, (Grand Rapids, MI, Eerdmans, reprint 1979), Book III, 5:4, p. 138.

6.      The New Testament with a Commentary and Critical Notes, 6 vols. (Nashville: Abingdon Press, n.d.), 5:228–29.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

For more study:

 “What the corporation doctrine has enabled men to do is to transcend the limitations of their time and life-span. . . . Granted that corporations are not necessarily good (nor necessarily bad), it still remains true that the concept of the corporation has been important in history by giving continuity to the works of men.” – R.J. Rushdoony

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Studies vis-à-vis God’s covenantal promises

Studies vis-à-vis God’s covenantal promises                        By Jack Kettler

This study will focus on the promises God gave in His covenants. In addition, this study will touch on how some of the covenants were conditional while others were unconditional. This study is an introductory overview.

What is a promise?

Definition of promise from the King James Dictionary:

“PROM’ISE n.

1. In a general sense, a declaration, written or verbal, made by one person to another, which binds the person who makes it, either in honor, conscience or law, to do or forbear a certain act specified; a declaration which gives to the person to whom it is made, a right to expect or to claim the performance or forbearance of the act. The promise of a visit to my neighbor, gives him a right to expect it, and I am bound in honor and civility to perform the promise. Of such a promise, human laws have no cognizance; but the fulfillment of it is one of the minor moralities, which civility, kindness and strict integrity require to be observed.” (1)

We can say the promises of God in Scripture are explicit pledges that God Himself made. God is the guarantor that the promises will be fulfilled.

Conditional and Unconditional covenants defined in simple terms:

A conditional covenant is an agreement between two or more parties that involves obligations to be satisfied.

An unconditional covenant is an agreement between two or more parties that involves no obligations to be satisfied.

The Scriptural basis for the Adamic Covenant is in Genesis 2:16-17:

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “you may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17 ESV)

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Genesis 2:17 explains this covenant:

“17. thou shalt not eat of it … thou shalt surely die—no reason assigned for the prohibition, but death was to be the punishment of disobedience. A positive command like this was not only the simplest and easiest, but the only trial to which their fidelity could be exposed.” (2)

This covenant with Adam was conditional. Adam was required to obey the terms of the covenant, which involved a promise and a penalty. This covenant effected all of Adam’s posterity. See Romans 5:12-21.

God’s promise in the Adamic covenant is in Genesis 3:15:

“I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” (Genesis 3:15 ESV)

In Genesis, 3:15, we have what is known as the Proto-Evangelium or the first gospel, in which God promises that the seed of the woman (Christ) would destroy Satan.

The Scriptural basis for the Noahic Covenant is in Genesis 9:8-17:

“8 Then God said to Noah and to his sons with him, 9 “Behold, I establish my covenant with you and your offspring after you, 10 and with every living creature that is with you, the birds, the livestock, and every beast of the earth with you, as many as came out of the ark; it is for every beast of the earth. 11 I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” 12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant that I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for all future generations: 13 I have set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be a sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant that is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh. And the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 When the bow is in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.” 17 God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant that I have established between me and all flesh that is on the earth.” (Genesis 9:8-17 ESV)

The Pulpit Commentary explains Genesis 9 verse 11 regarding God’s covenant:

“Verse 11. – And I will establish my covenant with you. Not form it for the first time, as if no such covenant had existed in antediluvian times (Knobel); but cause it to stand or permanently establish it, so that it shall no more be-in danger of being overthrown, as it recently has been. The word “my” points to a covenant already in existence, though not formally mentioned until the time of Noah (Genesis 6:18). The promise of the woman’s seed, which formed the substance of the covenant during the interval from Adam to Noah, was from Noah’s time downwards to be enlarged by a specific pledge of the stability of the earth and the safety of man (cf. Genesis 8:22). Neither shall all flesh – including the human race and animal creation. Cf. כָּל־בָּשָׂר mankind (Genesis vi 12), the lower creatures (Genesis 7:21) – be cut off any more by the waters of a flood. Literally, the flood just passed, which would no more return. Neither shall there anymore be a flood (of any kind) to destroy the earth. Regions might be devastated and tribes of animals and men swept away, but never again, would there be a universal destruction of the earth or of man.” (3)

God’s Covenant with Noah is an unconditional covenant.

God’s promise of the Noahic covenant is in Genesis 9:11: 

“I establish my covenant with you, that never again shall all flesh be cut off by the waters of the flood, and never again shall there be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11 ESV)

The promise to Noah was that never again would God judge the world by flood. Moreover, God would keep His promise made in Genesis 3:15 regarding the coming Messiah.

The Scriptural basis for the Abrahamic Covenant is in Genesis 15:7-21:

“And he said to him, “I am the Lord who brought you out from Ur of the Chaldeans to give you this land to possess.” But he said, “O Lord God, how am I to know that I shall possess it?” He said to him, “Bring me a heifer three years old, a female goat three years old, a ram three years old, a turtledove, and a young pigeon.” And he brought him all these, cut them in half, and laid each half over against the other. But he did not cut the birds in half. And when birds of prey came down on the carcasses, Abram drove them away. As the sun was going down, a deep sleep fell on Abram. And behold, dreadful and great darkness fell upon him. Then the Lord said to Abram, “Know for certain that your offspring will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs and will be servants there, and they will be afflicted for four hundred years. But I will bring judgment on the nation that they serve, and afterward they shall come out with great possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you shall be buried in a good old age. And they shall come back here in the fourth generation, for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet complete.” When the sun had gone down and it was dark, behold, a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch passed between these pieces. On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your offspring I give this land, from the river of Egypt to the great river, the river Euphrates, the land of the Kenites, the Kenizzites, the Kadmonites, the Hittites, the Perizzites, the Rephaim, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Girgashites and the Jebusites.” (Genesis 15:7-21 ESV)

The Pulpit Commentary explains how in verse 17, the burning lamp, coming from the smoking stove is an emblem of Divine presence: 

“Verse 17. – And it came to pass, that, when the sun went down, – literally, and it was (i.e. this took place), the sun went down; less accurately, ἐπεὶ δὲ ὁ ἤλιιος ἐγένετο πρὸς δυσμὰς (LXX.), which was the state of matters in Ver. 12. Here the sun, which was then setting, is described as having set – and it was dark, – literally, and darkness was, i.e. a darkness that might be felt, as in Ver. 12; certainly not φλὸξ ἐγένετο (LXX.), as if there were another flame besides the one specified in the description – behold a smoking furnace, – the תַּנּוּר, or Oriental furnace, had the form of a cylindrical fire-pot (cf. Gesenius, p. 869; Keil in loco) – and a burning lamp – a lamp of fire, or fiery torch, emerging from the smoking stove: an emblem of the Divine presence (cf. Exodus 19:18) – that passed between those pieces – in ratification of the covenant.” (4)

Additional Scriptures regarding the Abrahamic covenant:

“Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art northward, and southward, and eastward, and westward: For all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed forever.” (Genesis 13:14-15 ESV)

“And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then shall thy seed also be numbered.” (Genesis 13:16 ESV)

“I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee.” (Genesis 17:7 ESV)

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Genesis 17:7:

“Next, the spiritual part of the covenant comes into view.” “To be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.” Here we find God, in the progress of human development, for the third time laying the foundations of a covenant of grace with man. He dealt with Adam and with Noah and now be deals with Abraham. “A perpetual covenant.” This covenant will not fail, since God has originated it, notwithstanding the moral instability of man. Though we cannot as yet see the possibility of fulfilling the condition on man’s side, yet we may be assured that what God purposes will somehow be accomplished. The seed of Abraham will eventually embrace the whole human family in fellowship with God.” (5)

The Abrahamic Covenant is an unconditional covenant. God’s promise to make Abraham’s seed into a nation and bless all of the nations of the earth through his ancestry is an unconditional promise from God. See Genesis 22:15-18. The requirement of circumcision came after the promises were made to Abraham and were not dependent upon this obligation.

God’s guarantee that His promises to Abraham would come true was based upon His own honor.

The writer of Hebrews explains:  

“For when God made a promise to Abraham, since he had no one greater by whom to swear, he swore by himself, saying, “Surely I will bless you and multiply you.” (Hebrews 6:13-14 ESV)

God’s promise found in the Abrahamic covenant is in Genesis 22:18:

“In thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” (Genesis 22:18 ESV)

The Scriptural basis for the Mosaic Covenant is in Leviticus and Deuteronomy:

“If you walk in my statutes and observe my commandments and do them, then I will give you your rains in their season, and the land shall yield its increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:3-4 ESV)

From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Leviticus 26:3:

“Le 26:3-13. A Blessing to the Obedient.

3. If ye walk in my statutes—In that covenant into which God graciously entered with the people of Israel, He promised to bestow upon them a variety of blessings, so long as they continued obedient to Him as their Almighty Ruler; and in their subsequent history that people found every promise amply fulfilled, in the enjoyment of plenty, peace, a populous country, and victory over all enemies.” (6)

In addition, God says:

“And if you faithfully obey the voice of the Lord your God, being careful to do all his commandments that I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings shall come upon you and overtake you, if you obey the voice of the Lord your God. Blessed shall you be in the city, and blessed shall you be in the field. Blessed shall be the fruit of your womb and the fruit of your ground and the fruit of your cattle, the increase of your herds and the young of your flock. Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl. Blessed shall you be when you come in, and blessed shall you be when you go out. “The Lord will cause your enemies who rise against you to be defeated before you. They shall come out against you one way and flee before you seven ways. The Lord will command the blessing on you in your barns and zin all that you undertake. And he will bless you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you. The Lord will establish you as a people holy to himself, as he has sworn to you, if you keep the commandments of the Lord your God and walk in his ways. And call the peoples of the earth shall see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they shall be afraid of you. And the Lord will make you abound in prosperity, in the fruit of your womb and in the fruit of your livestock and in the fruit of your ground, within the land that the Lord swore to your fathers to give you. The Lord will open to you his good treasury, the heavens, to give the rain to your land in its season and to bless all the work of your hands. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow. And the Lord will make you the head and not the tail, and you shall only go up and not down, if you obey the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you today, being careful to do them, and if you do not turn aside from any of the words that I command you today, to the right hand or to the left, to go after other gods to serve them.” (Deuteronomy 28:1-14 ESV)

God gives these covenant promises with conditions attached, namely, obedience. The Mosaic covenant was a conditional covenant.

For example:

“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation. These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel.” (Exodus 19:5-6 ESV)

God’s promise of the Mosaic covenant is in Leviticus 26:5:

“Then I will give you rain in due season, and the land shall yield her increase, and the trees of the field shall yield their fruit.” (Leviticus 26:4 KJV)

The conditional aspect of this covenant does not mean that the Mosaic covenant was not gracious on God’s part. Without the law, it would be impossible to identify sin. “…Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known sin. For I would not have known what it is to covet if the law had not said, “You shall not covet.” (Romans 7:7 ESV)

The Scriptural basis for the Davidic Covenant is in 2Samuel:

“Now, therefore, thus you shall say to my servant David, ‘Thus says the Lord of hosts, I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, that you should be prince over my people Israel. And I have been with you wherever you went and have cut off all your enemies from before you. And I will make for you a great name, like the name of the great ones of the earth. And I will appoint a place for my people Israel and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and be disturbed no more. And violent men shall afflict them no more, as formerly, from the time that I appointed judges over my people Israel. And I will give you rest from all your enemies. Moreover, the Lord declares to you that the Lord will make you a house. When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be to him a father, and he shall be to me a son. When he commits iniquity, I will discipline him with the rod of men, with the stripes of the sons of men, but my steadfast love will not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away from before you. And your house and your kingdom shall be made sure forever before me. Your throne shall be established forever.” (2Samuel 7:8-16 ESV)

The comments from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on 2Samuel 7:16 are helpful:

“(16) Established. — Two different Hebrew words are so translated in this verse. The first is the same word as that used in 2Samuel 7:12-13, while the second is translated sure in 1Samuel 2:35; Isaiah 55:3, and would be better rendered here also made sure.

Before thee.—The LXX has unnecessarily changed this to before me. The thought is, that David is now made the head of the line in which shall be fulfilled the primeval promise “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head.” This was originally given simply to the human race (Genesis 3:15); then restricted to the nation descended from Abraham (Genesis 22:18, &c); then limited to the tribe of Judah (Genesis 49:10, comp. Ezekiel 21:27), and now its fulfilment is promised in the family of David.” (7)

This covenant with David is unconditional.

God’s promise of the Davidic covenant is in 2Samuel 7:16:

Your throne shall be established forever.” (2Samuel 7:16 ESV)

The Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary correctly points out that verse 16 points to a greater son of David:

“13. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever—this declaration referred, in its primary application, to Solomon, and to the temporal kingdom of David’s family. But in a larger and sublimer sense, it was meant of David’s Son of another nature (Heb. 1:8). [See on [270]1Ch 17:14.]” (8)

All of the previous covenants find their fulfillment in the New Covenant.

The Scriptural basis for the New Covenant:

Old Testament predictions:

“And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.” (Ezekiel 36:26-27 ESV)

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, my covenant that they broke, though I was their husband, declares the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.” (Jeremiah 31:31-34 ESV)

New Testament fulfillment:

“And this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (Romans 11:27 ESV)

“But as it is, Christ has obtained a ministry that is as much more excellent than the old as the covenant he mediates is better, since it is enacted on better promises.” (Hebrews 8:6 ESV)

“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15 ESV)

The promises of the New Covenant are based on Christ’s perfect obedience. Therefore, these promises are secure, not for anything accomplished by the believer, but because of what Christ has accomplished. Therefore, the New Covenant is unconditional.

The covenants in the Old Testament find their fulfillment in the New Covenant. For that reason, a comprehensive overview of the New Covenant is in order.

The New Covenant from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

“Covenant, the New

(berith chadhashah, Jer. 31:31; he diatheke kaine, Heb. 8:8,13, etc., or nea, Heb. 12:24: the former Greek adjective has the sense of the “new” primarily Heb. 1:1-14y in reference to quality, the latter the sense of “young,” the “new,” primarily in reference to time):

1. Contrast of “New” and “Old”–the Term “Covenant”:

The term “New” Covenant necessarily implies an “Old” Covenant, and we are reminded that God’s dealings with His people in the various dispensations of the world’s history have been in terms of covenant. The Holy Scriptures by their most familiar title keep this thought before us, the Old Testament and the New Testament or Covenant; the writings produced within the Jewish “church” being the writings or Scriptures of the Old Covenant, those within the Christian church, the Scriptures of the New Covenant. The alternative name “Testament”– adopted into our English description through the Latin, as the equivalent of the Hebrew berith, and the Greek diatheke, which both mean a solemn disposition, compact or contract–suggests the disposition of property in a last will or testament, but although the word diatheke may bear that meaning, the Hebrew berith does not, and as the Greek usage in the New Testament seems especially governed by the Old Testament usage and the thought moves in a similar plane, it is better to keep to the term “covenant.” The one passage which seems to favor the “testament” idea is Heb. 9:16-17 (the Revisers who have changed the King James Version “testament” into “covenant” in every other place have left it in these two verses), but it is questionable whether even here the better rendering would not be “covenant” (see below). Certainly, in the immediate context “covenant” is the correct translation and, confessedly, “testament,” if allowed to stand, is an application by transition from the original thought of a solemn compact to the secondary one of testamentary disposition. The theological terms “Covenant of Works” and “Covenant of Grace” do not occur in Scripture, though the ideas covered by the terms, especially the latter, may easily be found there. The “New Covenant” here spoken of is practically equivalent to the Covenant of Grace established between God and His redeemed people, that again resting upon the eternal Covenant of Redemption made between the Father and the Son, which, though not so expressly designated, is not obscurely indicated by many passages of Scripture.

2. Christ’s Use at Last Supper:

Looking at the matter more particularly, we have to note the words of Christ at the institution of the Supper. In all the three Synoptists, as also in Paul’s account (Mt 26:28; Mark14:24; Lu 22:20; 1Co 11:25) “covenant” occurs. Matthew and Mark, “my blood of the (new) covenant”; Lk and Paul, “the new covenant in my blood.” The Revisers following the critical text have omitted “new” in Matthew and Mark, but even if it does not belong to the original MS, it is implied, and there need be little doubt that Jesus used it. The old covenant was so well known to these Jewish disciples, that to speak of the covenant in this emphatic way, referring manifestly to something other than the old Mosaic covenant was in effect to call it a “new” covenant. The expression, in any case, looks back to the old and points the contrast; but in the contrast, there are points of resemblance.

3. Relation to Exodus 24:

It is most significant that Christ here connects the “new” covenant with His “blood.” We at once think, as doubtless the disciples would think, of the transaction described in Ex 24:7, when Moses “took the book of the covenant, and read in the audience of the people” those “words,” indicating God’s undertaking on behalf of His people and what He required of them; “and they said, All that Yahweh hath spoken will we do, and be obedient,” thus taking up their part of the contract. Then comes the ratification. “Moses took the blood (half of which had already been sprinkled on the altar), and sprinkled it on the people, and said, Behold the blood of the covenant which Yahweh hath made with you concerning all these words” (verse 8). The blood was sacrificial blood, the blood of the animals sacrificed as burnt offerings and peace offerings (Ex 24:5-6). The one half of the blood sprinkled on the altar tells of the sacrifice offered to God, the other half sprinkled on the people, of the virtue of the same sacrifice applied to the people, and so the covenant relation is fully brought about. Christ, by speaking of His blood in this connection, plainly indicates that His death was a sacrifice and that through that sacrifice His people would be brought into a new covenant relationship with God. His sacrifice is acceptable to God and the virtue of it is to be applied to believers–so all the blessings of the new covenant are secured to them; the blood “is poured out for you” (Lu 22:20). He specifically mentions one great blessing of the new covenant, the forgiveness of sins—“which is poured out for many unto remission of sins” (Mt 26:28).

4. Use in Epistle to the Hebrews:

This great thought is taken up in Hebrews and fully expounded. The writer draws out fully the contrast between the new covenant and the old by laying stress upon the perfection of Christ’s atonement in contrast to the material and typical sacrifices (Heb. 9:11-23). He was “a high priest of the good things to come,” connected with “the greater and more perfect tabernacle.” He entered the heavenly holy place “through his own blood,” not that of “goats and calves,” and by that perfect offering He has secured “eternal redemption” in contrast to the temporal deliverance of the old dispensation. The blood of those typical offerings procured ceremonial cleansing; much more, therefore, shall the blood of Christ avail to cleanse the conscience “from dead works to serve the living God”– that blood which is so superior in value to the blood of the temporal sacrifices, yet resembles it in being sacrificial blood. It is the blood of Him “who, through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish unto God.” It is the fashion in certain quarters nowadays to say that it is not the blood of Christ, but His spirit of self-sacrifice for others, that invests the cross with its saving power, and this verse is sometimes cited to show that the virtue lies in the surrender of the perfect will, the shedding of the blood being a mere accident. But this is not the view of the New Testament writers. The blood-shedding is to them a necessity. Of course, it is not the natural, material blood, or the mere act of shedding it, that saves. The blood is the life. The blood is the symbol of life; the blood shed is the symbol of life outpoured–of the penalty borne; and while great emphasis must be laid, as in this verse it is laid, upon Christ’s perfect surrender of His holy will to God, yet the essence of the matter is found in the fact that He willingly endured the dread consequences of sin, and as a veritable expiatory sacrifice shed His precious blood for the remission of sins.

5. The Mediator of the New Covenant:

On the ground of that shed blood, as the writer goes on to assert, “He is the mediator of a new covenant, that a death having taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were under the first covenant, they that have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance” (Heb. 9:15). Thus, Christ fulfils the type in a twofold way: He is the sacrifice upon which the covenant is based, whose blood ratifies it, and He is also, like Moses, the Mediator of the covenant. The death of Christ not only secures the forgiveness of those who are brought under the new covenant, but it was also for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, implying that all the sacrifices gained their value by being types of Christ, and the forgiveness enjoyed by the people of God in former days was bestowed in virtue of the great Sacrifice to be offered in the fullness of time.

6. “Inheritance” and “Testament”:

Not only does the blessing of perfect forgiveness come through the new covenant, but also the promise of the “eternal inheritance” in contrast to the earthly inheritance, which, under the old covenant, Israel obtained. The mention of the inheritance is held to justify the taking of the word in the next verse as “testament,” the writer passing to the thought of a testamentary disposition, which is only of force after the death of the testator. Undoubtedly, there is good ground for the analogy, and all the blessings of salvation, which come to the believer, may be considered as bequeathed by the Saviour in His death, and accruing to us because He has died. It has, in that sense, tacitly to be assumed that the testator lives again to be His own executor and to put us in possession of the blessings. Still, we think there is much to be said in favor of keeping to the sense of “covenant” even here, and taking the clause, which, rendered literally, is: “a covenant is of force (or firm) over the dead,” as meaning that the covenant is established on the ground of sacrifice, that sacrifice representing the death of the maker of the covenant. The allusion may be further explained by a reference to Ge 15:9-10,17, which has generally been considered as illustrating the ancient Semitic method of making a covenant: the sacrificial animals being divided, and the parties passing between the pieces, implying that they deserved death if they broke the engagement. The technical Hebrew phrase for making a covenant is “to cut a covenant.”

There is an interesting passage in Herodotus iii. 8, concerning an Arabian custom which seems akin to the old Hebrew practice. “The Arabians observe pledges as religiously as any people; and they make them in the following manner; when any wish to pledge their faith, a third person standing between the two parties makes an incision with a sharp stone in the palm of the hand, nearest the longest fingers of both the contractors; then taking some of the nap from the garments of each, he smears seven stones placed between him and the blood; and as he does this he invokes Bacchus and Urania. When this ceremony is completed, the person who pledges his faith binds his friends as sureties to the stranger, or the citizen, if the contract is made with a citizen; and the friends also hold themselves obliged to observe the engagement”– Cary’s translation.

Whatever the particular application of the word in Ge 15:17, the central idea in the passage is that death, blood-shedding, is necessary to the establishment of the covenant, and so he affirms that the first covenant was not dedicated without blood, and in proof quotes the passage already cited from Ex 24:1-18, and concludes that “apart from shedding of blood there is no remission” (Ex 24:18).

7. Relation to Jeremiah 31:31-34:

This new covenant established by Christ was foretold by the prophet Jeremiah, who uses the very word “new covenant” in describing it, and very likely Christ had that description in mind when He used the term, and meant His disciples to understand that the prophetic interpretation would in Him be realized. There is no doubt that the author of He had the passage in mind, for he has led up to the previous statement by definitely quoting the whole statement of Jer. 31:31-34. He had in Jer. 7:1-34 spoken of the contrast between Christ s priesthood “after the order of Melchizedek” (verse 11) and the imperfect Aaronic priesthood, and he designates Jesus as “the surety of a better covenant” (verse 22). Then in Jer. 8:1-22, emphasizing the thought of the superiority of Christ’s heavenly high-priesthood, he declares that Christ is the “mediator of a better covenant, which hath been enacted upon better promises” (verse 6). The first covenant, he says, was not faultless, otherwise there would have been no need for a second; but the fault was not in the covenant but in the people who failed to keep it, though perhaps there is also the suggestion that the external imposition of laws could not suffice to secure true obedience. “For finding fault with them he saith, Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” The whole passage (Jer. 8:1-22 through Jer. 12:1-17) would repay careful study, but we need only note that not only is there prominence given to the great blessings of the covenant, perfect forgiveness and fullness of knowledge, but, as the very essence of the covenant — that which serves to distinguish it from the old covenant and at once to show its superiority and guarantee its permanence–there is this wonderful provision: “I will put my laws into their mind, and on their heart also will I write them: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people.” This at once shows the spirituality of the new covenant. Its requirements are not simply given in the form of external rules, but the living Spirit possesses the heart; the law becomes an internal dominating principle, and so true obedience is secured.

8. To Ezekiel:

Ezekiel had spoken to the same effect, though the word “new covenant” is not used in the passage, chapter 36:27: “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them.” In chapter 37 Ezekiel again speaks of the great blessings to be enjoyed by the people of God, including cleansing, walking in God’s statutes, recognition as God’s people, etc., and he distinctly says of this era of blessing: “I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them” (verse 26). Other important foreshadowings of the new covenant are found in Isa 54:10; 55:3; 59:21; 61:8; Ho 2:18-23; Mal 3:1-4. We may well marvel at the spiritual insight of these prophets, and it is impossible to attribute their forecasts to natural genius; they can only be accounted for by Divine inspiration.

The writer to the Hebrews recurs again and again to this theme of the “New Covenant”; in 10:16, 17 he cites the words of Jeremiah already quoted about writing the law on their minds, and remembering their sins no more. In Heb. 12:24, he speaks of “Jesus the mediator of a new covenant,” and “the blood of sprinkling,” again connecting the “blood” with the “covenant,” and finally, in Heb. 13:20, he prays for the perfection of the saints through the “blood of an eternal covenant.”

9. Contrast of Old and New in 2Corinthians 3:

In 2Cor. 3 Paul has an interesting and instructive contrast between the old covenant and the new. He begins it by saying that “our sufficiency is from God; who also made us sufficient as ministers of a new covenant; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the Spirit giveth life” (3:5, 6). The “letter” is the letter of the law, of the old covenant, which could only bring condemnation, but the spirit, which characterizes the new covenant, gives life, writes the law upon the heart. He goes on to speak of the old as that “ministration of death” which nevertheless “came with glory” (3:7), and he refers especially to the law, but the new covenant is “the ministration of the spirit,” the “ministration of righteousness” (3:8, 9), and has a far greater glory than the old. The message of this “new covenant” is “the gospel of Christ.” The glory of the new covenant is focused in Christ; rays forth from Him. The glory of the old dispensation was reflected upon the face of Moses, but that glory was transitory and so was the physical manifestation (3:13). The sight of the shining face of Moses awed the people of Israel and they revered him as leader specially favored of God (3:7-13). When he had delivered his message he veiled his face and thus the people could not see that the glow did not last; every time that he went into the Divine presence he took off the veil and afresh his face was lit up with the glory, and coming out with the traces of that glory lingering on his countenance he delivered his message to the people and again veiled his face (compare Ex 34:29-35), and thus the transitoriness and obscurity of the old dispensation were symbolized. In glorious contrast to that symbolical obscurity, the ministers of the gospel, of the new covenant, use great boldness of speech; the veil is done away in Christ (Ex 3:12 ff). The glory which comes through Him is perpetual, and fears no vanishing away.” Archibald McCaig (9)

Conclusions:

In the Adamic Covenant Genesis 3:15, Noahic Covenant Genesis 9:11, Abrahamic Covenant Genesis 15:17, Davidic Covenant 2Samuel 7:16, and the New Covenant Ezekiel 36:26-27; Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 11:27; Hebrews 8:6; Hebrews 9:15, God makes promises, and takes the responsibility to fulfill the requirements and provisions for these covenantal promises. God fulfills the conditions of the covenant on behalf of His people through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      The King James Dictionary, (Published by followers of Jesus Christ for the promotion of the knowledge of God), p.144.

2.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 19.

3.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Genesis, Vol.1., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 143.

4.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Genesis, Vol.1., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 221-222.

5.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Genesis, Vol. 1, p. 304.

6.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 107.

7.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, 2Samuel, Vol. 2, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 463.

8.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 233.

9.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘COVENANT, ‘” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), p. 731-733.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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Devotional Ideas for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Devotional Ideas for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

A Theological Test relevant to a traditional Christmas song and Isaiah’s teaching in 9:6:

What would you say to a heretical theological modalist who says in regards to Isaiah 9:6, when referring to Jesus as the “Everlasting Father,” do you really believe that Jesus is the Everlasting Father? Fellow Christian, do you believe that Jesus is the Everlasting Father? We sing this in our Christmas carols. I am quite certain many Christians would be at a loss to answer this question. The following article will help the believer to answer this challenging question.

Isaiah 9:6 a devotional apologetic Re: “Everlasting Father”

https://thereligionthatstartedinahat.org/2020/09/17/isaiah-96-a-devotional-apologetic-re-everlasting-father-2/

With family and friends read Christmas Poems

The Journey of The Magi by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sorefooted, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

The Cultivation of Christmas Trees by T.S. Eliot

There are several attitudes towards Christmas,
Some of which we may disregard:
The social, the torpid, the patently commercial,
The rowdy (the pubs being open till midnight),
And the childish – which is not that of the child
For whom the candle is a star, and the gilded angel
Spreading its wings at the summit of the tree
Is not only a decoration, but an angel.

The child wonders at the Christmas Tree:
Let him continue in the spirit of wonder
At the Feast as an event not accepted as a pretext;
So that the glittering rapture, the amazement
Of the first-remembered Christmas Tree,
So that the surprises, delight in new possessions
(Each one with its peculiar and exciting smell),
The expectation of the goose or turkey
And the expected awe on its appearance,

So that the reverence and the gaiety
May not be forgotten in later experience,
In the bored habituation, the fatigue, the tedium,
The awareness of death, the consciousness of failure,
Or in the piety of the convert
Which may be tainted with a self-conceit
Displeasing to God and disrespectful to children
(And here I remember also with gratitude
St. Lucy, her carol, and her crown of fire):

So that before the end, the eightieth Christmas
(By “eightieth” meaning whichever is last)
The accumulated memories of annual emotion
May be concentrated into a great joy
Which shall be also a great fear, as on the occasion
When fear came upon every soul:
Because the beginning shall remind us of the end
And the first coming of the second coming.

A Song for Simeon by T.S. Eliot

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and

The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;

The stubborn season has made stand.

My life is light, waiting for the death wind,

Like a feather on the back of my hand.

Dust in sunlight and memory in corners

Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Grant us thy peace.

I have walked many years in this city,

Kept faith and fast, provided for the poor,

Have taken and given honour and ease.

There went never any rejected from my door.

Who shall remember my house,

where shall live my children’s children

When the time of sorrow is come?

They will take to the goat’s path, and the fox’s home,

Fleeing from the foreign faces and the foreign swords.

Before the time of cords and scourges and lamentation

Grant us thy peace.

Before the stations of the mountain of desolation,

Before the certain hour of maternal sorrow,

Now at this birth season of decease,

Let the Infant, the still unspeaking and unspoken Word,

Grant Israel’s consolation

To one who has eighty years and no to-morrow.

According to thy word,

They shall praise Thee and suffer in every generation

With glory and derision,

Light upon light, mounting the saints’ stair.

Not for me the martyrdom, the ecstasy of thought and prayer,

Not for me the ultimate vision.

Grant me thy peace.

(And a sword shall pierce thy heart,

Thine also).

I am tired with my own life and the lives of those after me,

I am dying in my own death and the deaths of those after me.

Let thy servant depart,

Having seen thy salvation.

Handel’s Messiah

Handel’s Messiah has been described by the early-music scholar Richard Luckett as “a commentary on [Jesus Christ’s] Nativity, Passion, Resurrection and Ascension”, beginning with God’s promises as spoken by the prophets and ending with Christ’s glorification in heaven.

For adults and teenagers, watch and listen to Handel’s Messiah by London Philharmonic (Complete Concerto/Full)

With your family and friends read Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem

Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest,
And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”

15 When the angels had gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds began saying to one another, “Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 So they came in a hurry and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 When they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 The shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them. (Luke 2:20 NASV 1995)

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What is Envy?

What is Envy?                                                                             By Jack Kettler

This study will focus on the sin of envy and related sins. Some things that are warned against in Scripture have, at times, positive connotations. As will be seen, with the sin of envy, it never has a positive meaning in Scripture.

Question: What does the Bible say about envy?

Answer: A simple definition of envy is “to want what belongs to someone else.” A more thorough description of envy is ‘a resentful, dissatisfied longing for another’s possessions, position, fortune, achievements, or success.’” *

Biblical distinctions are helpful and necessary for understanding God’s Word.

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God.” (Colossians 1:9-10 NKJV)

In this study, we will heed the apostle’s exhortation!

Scriptures on envy and similar sins such as covetousness, and jealousy will be examined.

We will start with the latter two:

Covetousness

“Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house; thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.” (Exodus 20:17 KJV)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Exodus passage explains that God’s law is concerned, with not only outward acts, but primarily with thoughts of the heart or the inward motions of the heart: 

“The coveting here forbidden is either,

1. The inward and deliberate purpose and desire of a deceitful or violent taking away of another man’s goods; but this is forbidden in the eighth commandment. And it is hard to conceive that St. Paul should think that this command did not forbid such a practice, Romans 7:7, which even the better sort of heathens esteemed a sin, whose words are, that they who are withheld from incest, or whoredom, or theft, only from a principle of fear, are guilty of those crimes; especially seeing the Old Testament Scriptures, which doubtless he diligently studied, do so plainly condemn evil purposes of the heart, as Leviticus 19:17 Deuteronomy 9:4, 5 15:7, 9, &c. Or,

2. The greedy desire of that which is another man’s, though it be without injury to him. Thus, Ahab sinned in desiring Naboth’s vineyard, though he offered him money for it, 1 Kings 21:2. Or rather,

3. Those inward motions of the heart, which from the fountain of original corruption do spring up in the heart, and tickle it with some secret delight, though they do not obtain tie deliberate consent of the will. For seeing this law of God is spiritual and holy, Romans 7:12, 14, and reacheth the thoughts, intents, and all the actual motions of the heart, as is apparent from the nature of God, and of his law; and seeing such motions are both the fruits of a sinful nature, and the common causes of sinful actions, and are not agreeable either to man’s first and uncorrupted nature, or to God’s law; they must needs be a swerving from it, and therefore sin. And this is the reason why this command is added as distinct from all the rest.” (1)

Poole explains how the commandment was drawing attention to the inward motions of the heart. Sin starts in the heart.

In addition, to strength this, Jesus says:

“But I say unto you, that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” (Matthew 5:28 KJV)

Jealousy

“For jealousy makes a man furious, and he will not spare when he takes revenge.” (Proverbs 6:34 ESV)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers explains jealously in Proverbs 6:34:

“(34) For jealousy is the rage of a man.—that is jealousy is furious, and cannot be appeased by bribes.” (3)

“Wrath is cruel, anger is overwhelming, but who can stand before jealousy?” (Proverbs 27:4 ESV)

Envy

“For wrath killeth the foolish man, and envy slayeth the silly one.” (Job 5:2 KJV)

“Fret not yourself because of evildoers; be not envious of wrongdoers!” (Psalm 37:1 ESV)

“Let not your heart envy sinners, but continue in the fear of the LORD all the day.” (Proverbs 23:17 ESV)

From the Pulpit Commentary on Proverbs 23:17 we learn:

“Verse 17. – Let not thine heart envy sinners, when thou seest them apparently happy and prosperous (comp. Proverbs 3:31; Proverbs 24:1, 19; Psalm 37:1; Psalm 73:3). The Authorized Version, in agreement with the Septuagint, Vulgate, Arabic, and other versions, takes the second clause of this verse as an independent one: but it seems evidently to be constructionally connected with the preceding, and to be governed by the same verb, so that there is no occasion to insert “be thou.” But be thou in the fear of the Lord all the day long. Jerome, corrected, would read, Non aemuletur cor tuum peccatores, sed timorem Domini tota die, As Delitzsch and Hitzig, followed by Nowack, have pointed out, the Hebrew verb, קָנָא (kana), is here used in two senses. In the first clause, it signifies to be envious of a person: in the second, to be zealous for a thing, both senses combining in the thought of being moved with eager desire. Ζηλοτυπέω is used in this double sense, and aemulor in Latin. So the gnome comes to this – Show your heart’s desire, not by envy of the sinner’s fortune, but by zeal for true religion, that fear of the Lord which leads to strict obedience and earnest desire to please him.” (2)

A couple of more passages should suffice:

“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” (1Corinthians 13:4 KJV)

“Envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:21 ESV)

In a number of biblical passages, envy and jealousy are used interchangeably.

For many, the words covetousness, jealousy, and enviousness are almost synonymous. There are however, sometimes subtle and important distinctions. 

For example, the following contemporary definitions are helpful to see the subtle distinctions. These definitions come from an online dictionary:

Covet – “To feel strong or immoderate desire for that which is another’s.”

Jealous – “Fearful or wary of being supplanted; apprehensive of losing affection or position.”

Envy – “A feeling of discontent and resentment aroused by and in conjunction with desire for the possessions or qualities of another.” http://www. The freedictionary.com/envy

In order to help recognize certain distinctions, it can be asked, can covet, jealous, and envy ever be used in a positive sense, first in normal language and then in Scripture?   

Covet

“I covet your prayers.” Positive use of the word. We even see the word covet used positively in Scripture:

“But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.” (1 Corinthians 12:31 KJV))

Jealous

“He is jealous for the things of God.” Positive use. God is jealous of His name. Likewise, we see that jealous can be used positively in Scripture:

“For thou shalt worship no other god: for the LORD, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Exodus 34:14 KJV)

Envy

“Hey, bro, I envy you for your beautiful children.” Positive use. No There is no Scriptural positive use of the word.

In this example, the usage is a kudos in the sense that what a friend has is good, and you wish you could have something comparable.

This example of envy is a strained use of the word and is actually a degradation or deconstruction of the word.

As seen, covet and jealous can be used positively in a biblical context. Envy, however, cannot be used positively unless watering down or reversing the meaning. There is no positive use of envy in Scripture.

Envy is unabashedly destructive. While envy can be a stimulus for some people, you have to ask, is this a good type of drive for success?  

Paul in Corinthians, says no to envy:

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant.” (1Corinthians 13:4 ESV)

Digging Deeper:

A more detailed look at the biblical meaning of these words from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

Covet

kuv’-et (‘awah; zeloo, “to desire earnestly,” “to set the heart and mind upon anything”): Used in two senses: good, simply to desire earnestly but legitimately. e.g. The King James Version 1 Cor. 12:31; 14:39; bad, to desire unlawfully, or to secure illegitimately (batsa`; epithumeo, Ro 7:7; 13:9, etc.); hence, called “lust” (Mt 5:28; 1Co 10:6), “concupiscence”
 (the King James Version Ro 7:8; Col 3:5).

Covetousness

kuv’-et-us-nes: Has a variety of shades of meaning determined largely by the nature of the particular word used, or the context, or both. Following are some of the uses: (1) To gain dishonestly (batsa`), e.g. the King James Version Ex 18:21; Ezekiel 33:31. (2) The wish to have more than one possesses, inordinately, of course (pleonexia), e.g. Lu 12:15; 1Th 2:5. (3) An inordinate love of money philarguros, the King James Version Lu 16:14; 2Ti 3:2; philarguria, 1Ti 6:10), negative in Heb. 13:5, the King James Version.

Covetousness is a very grave sin; indeed, so heinous is it that the Scriptures class it among the very gravest and grossest crimes (Eph. 5:3). In Col 3:5 it is “idolatry,” while in 1Co 6:10 it is set forth as excluding a man from heaven. Its heinousness, doubtless, is accounted for by its being in a very real sense the root of so many other forms of sin, e.g. departure from the faith (1Ti 6:9-10); lying (2Ki 5:22-25); theft (Jos 7:21); domestic trouble (Pro. 15:27); murder (Ezekiel 22:12); indeed, it leads to “many foolish and hurtful lusts” (1Ti 6:9). Covetousness has always been a very serious menace to mankind, whether in the Old Testament or New Testament period. It was one of the first sins that broke out after Israel had entered into the promised land (Achan, Jos 7:1-26); and also in the early Christian church immediately after its founding (Ananias and Sapphira, Ac 5:1-42); hence, so many warnings against it. A careful reading of the Old Testament will reveal the fact that a very great part of the Jewish law–such as its enactments and regulations regarding duties toward the poor, toward servants; concerning gleaning, usury, pledges, gold and silver taken during war–was introduced and intended to counteract the spirit of covetousness.

Eerdmans maintains (Expos, July, 1909) that the commandment, “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house” (Ex 20:17), meant to the Israelite that he should not take anything of his neighbor’s possessions that were momentarily unprotected by their owner. Compare Ex 34:23 ff. Thus, it refers to a category of acts that is not covered by the commandment, “Thou shalt not steal.” It is an oriental habit of mind from of old that when anyone sees abandoned goods which he thinks desirable, there is not the least objection to taking them, and Ex 20:1Ex 7:1-25b is probably an explanation of what is to be understood by “house” in Ex 20:17a.

Examples of covetousness: Achan (Jos 7:1-26); Saul (1Sa 15:9, 19); Judas (Mt 26:14-15); Ananias and Sapphira (Ac 5:1-11); Balaam (2Pe 2:15 with Jude 1:11).” William Evans (4)

Jealousy

jel’-us-i (qin’ah; zelos): Doubtless, the root idea of both the Greek and the Hob translated “jealousy” is “warmth,” “heat.” Both are used in a good and a bad sense–to represent right and wrong passion.

When jealousy is attributed to God, the word is used in a good sense. The language is, of course, anthropomorphic; and it is based upon the feeling in a husband of exclusive right in his wife. God is conceived as having wedded Israel to Himself, and as claiming, therefore, exclusive devotion. Disloyalty on the part of Israel is represented as adultery, and as provoking God to jealousy. See, e.g., De 32:16,21; 1Ki 14:22; Ps 78:58; Ezekiel 8:3; 16:38,42; 23:25; 36:5; 38:19.

When jealousy is attributed to men, the sense is sometimes good, and sometimes bad. In the good sense, it refers to an ardent concern for God’s honor. See, e.g., Nu 25:11 (compare 1Ki 19:10; 2Ki 10:16); 2Co 11:2 (compare Ro 10:2). In the bad sense it is found in Ac 7:9; Ro 13:13; 1Co 3:3; 2Co 12:20; Jas 3:14, 16.

The “law of jealousy” is given in Nu 5:11-31. It provided that, when a man suspected his wife of conjugal infidelity, an offering should be brought to the priest, and the question of her guilt or innocence should be subjected to a test there carefully prescribed. The test was intended to be an appeal to God to decide the question at issue.” E. J. Forrester (5)

Envy

en’-vi (qin’ah; zelos, phthonos): “Envy,” from Latin in, “against,” and video, “to look,” “to look with ill-will,” etc., toward another, is an evil strongly condemned in both the Old Testament and the New Testament. It is to be distinguished from jealousy. “We are jealous of our own; we are envious of another man’s possessions. Jealousy fears to lose what it has; envy is pained at seeing another have” (Crabb’s English Synonyms). In the Old Testament it is the translation of qin’ah from kana‘, “to redden,” “to glow” (Job 5:2, the Revised Version (British and American) “jealousy,” margin “indignation”; in Isa 26:11 the Revised Version (British and American) renders “see thy zeal for the people”; Pro 27:4, etc.); the verb occurs in Ge 26:14, etc.; Nu 11:29 the King James Version; Ps 106:16; Pro 3:31, etc.; in the New Testament it is the translation of phthonos, “envy” (Mt 27:18; Ro 1:29; Ga 5:21, “envyings,” etc.); of zelos, “zeal,” “jealousy,” “envy” (Ac 13:45), translated “envying,” the Revised Version (British and American) “jealousy” (Ro 13:13; 1Co 3:3; 2Co 12:20; Jas 3:14,16); the verb phthoneo occurs in Ga 5:26; zeloo in Ac 7:9; 17:5, the Revised Version (British and American) “moved with jealousy”; 1Co 13:4, “charity (the Revised Version (British and American) “love”) envieth not.”

The power of envy is stated in Pro. 27:4: “Who is able to stand before envy?” (the Revised Version (British and American) “jealousy”); its evil effects are depicted in Job 5:2 (the Revised Version (British and American) “jealousy”), in Pro. 14:30 (the Revised Version, margin “jealousy”); it led to the crucifixion of Christ (Mt 27:18; Mark

15:10); it is one of “the works of the flesh” (Ga 5:21; compare Ro 1:29; 1Ti 6:4); Christian believers are earnestly warned against it (Ro 13:13 the King James Version; 1Co 3:3 the King James Version; Ga 5:26; 1Pe 2:1). In James 4:5 “envy” is used in a good sense, akin to the jealousy ascribed to God. Where the King James Version has “The spirit that dwelleth in us lusteth to envy,” the Revised Version (British and American) reads “Doth the spirit which he made to dwell in us long unto envying?”; the American Revised Version, margin “The spirit which he made to dwell in us he yearneth for even unto jealous envy”; compare Jer. 3:14; Ho 2:19 f; or the English Revised Version, margin “That spirit which he made to dwell in us yearneth (for us) even unto jealous envy.” This last seems to give the sense; compare “Ye adulteresses” (Ho 2:4), the American Revised Version, margin ‘That is, who break your marriage vow to God.’” W. L. Walker (6)

Contemporary assessments and deductions:  

Thus far, we have seen three types of sin, covetousness, jealousy, and envy. Sin is sin, yet envy has stood out as particularly immoral. Envy is the coveting of another person’s benefits, belongings, or skills given to them by God, thus making it a direct sin against God in addition to sinning against another person.   

It is nothing new to see sin covered or dressed up to look like righteousness. The mass of fallen humanity are experts in justifying their sins.

Motivated by Envy:

Politicians, in particular, are some of the leading experts on how to commit theft motivated by envy and make it look respectable; for example, “it is for the children” ploy never gets old. Political envy is ostensibly, a Robin Hood maneuver, stealing from the rich to give to the poor. The poor who are the supposed the recipients of the theft are just as envious, and go along and cheer the theft of others. 

The Politics of Envy:

R. J. Rushdoony captures how politicians are agents of envy in his book, Larceny in the Heart:

In the online description of the book, Larceny in the Heart we read:

“Why are the most successful and advanced members of society often deemed to be the criminals? In a word – Envy. The envious man finds superiority in others intolerable, and he wishes to level and equalize all things. Many sociologists and social scientists turn this hatred and resentment into “virtue” under the guise of “social science” by calling it a demand for fraternity and equality…” From the Amazon book description

In his earlier book, The Roots of Inflation, Rushdoony makes an astute observation about larceny:

“The larceny is, of course, disguised as charity, a concern for the social welfare, a humane public policy, a Square Deal, a New Deal, a New Frontier, and so on and on. Larceny is bad enough, but theft in the name of righteousness is the ultimate in hypocrisy and self-deception.” (7)

Rushdoony quotes Helmut Schoek, from his book on Envy: a theory of social behaviour, in which he describes the fruits of envy:

“Envy demands the leveling of all things, because the envious man finds superiority in others intolerable. He sees it better to turn the world into hell rather than to allow anyone to prosper more than himself, or to be superior to him. Envy negates progress.” (8)

Perceptively, Rushdoony explains how envy is involved the first sin of Adam and Eve:

“Of course, envy has deep roots in history and is an aspect of man’s original sin. First of all, the tempter, in approaching Eve, played on the difference between God and man as an evil. God, he held, is trying to prevent man from reaching a position of equality with Him. “God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:5).” (9)

In closing:

Envy is characterized by the deceitful craving of what others have, and harbors resentment towards God when He blesses someone else.

St. Augustine called envy “the diabolical sin.” (De catechizandis rudibus 4, 8: PL 40,315-316)

Envy is hatred towards God. Historically envy is one of the seven deadly sins. All sin is deadly. Do not let the seeds of envy take root in your heart.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Exodus, Vol. 1, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 160.

2.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Proverbs, Vol. 9, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 442.

3.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Proverbs, Vol. 4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 314.

4.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘COVET, COVETOUSNESS, ‘” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), p. 733.

5.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘JEALOUSY,’” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), p. 1572.

6.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘ENVY,’” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), p. 955.

7.      R. J. Rushdoony, The Roots Of Inflation, (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books, 1982), p. 4.

8.      R. J. Rushdoony, The Roots Of Inflation, (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books, 1982), p. 33.

9.      R. J. Rushdoony, The Roots Of Inflation, (Vallecito, CA, Ross House Books, 1982), p. 34.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

For more study:

* https://www.gotquestions.org/Bible-envy.html

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What does the Bible say about inheritance and succession?

What does the Bible say about inheritance and succession?                      By Jack Kettler 

An exercise in “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Proverbs 27:17:

“The proverb expresses the gain of mutual counsel as found in clear, well-defined thoughts. Two minds, thus acting on each other, become more acute.” (1)

According to the Bible Concordance on inheritance at the BibleHub.com/concordance online, the word inheritance has 263 occurrences in Scripture.

Two questions:

What is Biblical inheritance? Are the laws of the Old Testament on inheritance still binding?

What do the Scriptures say?

The law of inheritance in the following verses:

“And you shall speak to the people of Israel, saying, ‘If a man dies and has no son, then you shall transfer his inheritance to his daughter.” (Numbers 27:8 ESV)

“If a man has two wives, the one loved and the other unloved, and both the loved and the unloved have borne him children, and if the firstborn son belongs to the unloved, then on the day when he assigns his possessions as an inheritance to his sons, he may not treat the son of the loved as the firstborn in preference to the son of the unloved, who is the firstborn, but he shall acknowledge the firstborn, the son of the unloved, by giving him a double portion of all that he has, for he is the firstfruits of his strength. The right of the firstborn is his.” (Deuteronomy 21:15-17 ESV)

“A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.” (Proverbs 13:22 NKJV)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Proverbs 13:22:

“A good man leaveth an inheritance to his children’s children… He not only has a sufficiency for the present support of himself and family; but is so prospered and succeeded, as to leave an inheritance after him; and which is continued to and enjoyed, not only by his immediate offspring, but theirs also; for being got honestly, it wears well; see Proverbs 13:11;

and the wealth of the sinner is laid up for the just; the riches which wicked men get are laid up in the purposes of God for good men; and in his providence they are translated from the one to the other: so the riches of the Egyptians were designed for the Israelites, and by the providence of God were put into their hands; see Job 27:16.” (2)

Breaking the word down lexically:

Strong’s Concordance Hebrew:

5159. nachalah – possession, property, inheritance

5158b, 5159. nachalah. 5160.

Short Definition: Possession, property, inheritance.

Transliteration: nachalah

Phonetic Spelling: (nakh-al-aw’)

Short Definition: inheritance.

3425. yerushshah – possession, inheritance

Transliteration: yerushshah

Phonetic Spelling: (yer-oosh-shaw’)

Short Definition: possession. Heritage, inheritance, possession.

Strong’s Concordance Greek:

2817. kleronomia – an inheritance

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: kleronomia

Phonetic Spelling: (klay-ron-om-ee’-ah)

Short Definition: an inheritance

2816. kleronomeo – to inherit

Phonetic Spelling: (klay-ron-om-eh’-o)

Definition: I inherit, obtain (possess) by inheritance, acquire.

Inheritance biblically defined from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

“INHERITANCE

in-her’-i-tans (nahalah, “something inherited,” “occupancy,” “heirloom,” “estate,” “portion”): The word is used in its widest application in the Old Testament Scriptures, referring not only to an estate received by a child from its parents, but also to the land received by the children of Israel as a gift from Yahweh. And in the figurative and poetical sense, the expression is applied to the kingdom of God as represented in the consecrated lives of His followers. In a similar sense, the Psalmist is represented as speaking of the Lord as the portion of his inheritance. In addition, to the above word, the King James Version translations as inheritance, morashah, “a possession,” “heritage” (Deuteronomy 33:4 Ezekiel 33:24); yerushshah, “something occupied,” “a patrimony,” “possession” (Judges 21:17); cheleq, “smoothness,” “allotment” (Psalm 16:5); kleronomeo, “to inherit” (Matthew 5:5, etc.); kleronomos, “heir” (Matthew 21:38, etc.); kleronomia, “heirship,” “patrimony”, “possession”; or kleros, “an acquisition” “portion,” “heritage,” from kleroo, “to assign,” “to allot,” “to obtain an inheritance” (Matthew 21:38 Luke 12:13 Acts 7:5; Acts 20:32; Acts 26:18 Galatians 3:18 Ephesians 1:11, 14, 18; Ephesians 5:5 Colossians 1:12; Colossians 3:24 Hebrews 1:4; Hebrews 9:15; Hebrews 11:8 1 Peter 1:4).

The Pentateuch distinguishes clearly between real and personal property, the fundamental idea regarding the former being the thought that the land is God’s, given by Him to His children, the people of Israel, and hence, cannot be alienated (Leviticus 25:23, 28). In order that there might not be any respecter of persons in the division, the lot was to determine the specific piece to be owned by each family head (Numbers 26:52-56; Numbers 33:54). In case, through necessity of circumstances, a homestead was sold, the title could pass only temporarily; for in the year of Jubilee every homestead must again return to the original owner or heir (Leviticus 25:25-34). Real estate given to the priesthood must be appraised, and could be redeemed by the payment of the appraised valuation, thus preventing the transfer of real property even in this case (Leviticus 27:14-25). Inheritance was controlled by the following regulations:

(1) The firstborn son inherited a double portion of all the father’s possession (Deuteronomy 21:15-17);

(2) The daughters were entitled to an inheritance, provided there were no sons in the family (Numbers 27:8),

(3) In case there were no direct heirs, the brothers or more distant kinsmen were recognized (27:9-11); in no case should an estate pass from one tribe to another.

The above points were made the subject of statutory law at the instance of the daughters of Zelophehad, the entire case being clearly set forth in Numbers 27; Numbers 36.” Frank E. Hirsch (3)

Comments:

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia does an excellent job of biblically defining inheritance laws and their range, thus answering question number one.

Inheritance laws served the purpose of the passing of wealth to the next generation and enabled families to preserve their wealth. The laws of inheritance in the Old Testament undergird modern laws of succession. Modern laws of inheritance did not just appear out of thin air. Like many laws in the modern world, inheritance laws have their origin in Old Testament case laws, i.e., murder, rape, theft, perjury, etc.

A contemporary definition of inheritance:

Inheritance is money or objects that a beneficiary receives when a benefactor dies.

In contrast to this modern definition, biblical inheritance is connected to blood or familial relations.

Family Inheritance laws in the New Testament:

The New Testament does not address physical inheritance laws. The New Testament deals with spiritual inheritance. Not addressing the topic of family birthright succession does not invalidate or repudiate the principle of Old Testament inheritance laws. According to sound hermeneutical principles, The Old Testament law stays in force unless specifically set aside like the dietary laws and the gentiles (See Mark 7:19; Acts 11:9). To bolster this assertion, consider that the New Testament does not address bestiality. Who would argue that this silence is a repudiation of a moral law? The New Testament silence is not enough for a law to be set aside.

Therefore, to answer question number 2, Old Testament laws and biblical principles are still in force unless the New Testament specifically sets them aside like the sacrificial animal laws and the ceremonial temple laws.

Two examples of the New Testament emphasis on spiritual inheritance:

“In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who works all things after the counsel of his own will.” (Ephesians 1:11 KJV)

“Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant.” (Hebrews 9:15 ESV)

Comments:

There is no greater blessing than to see your children have the genuine fruits of regeneration.  

Our study is not over. Enter the doctrine of incorporation in history.

Additional advances in the doctrine of succession or inheritance:

R. J. Rushdoony says that the doctrine of incorporation is one of history’s most important doctrines. The doctrine of incorporation does not replace Old Testament inheritance laws; it supplements the Old Testament laws of succession.

Rushdoony has this to say concerning corporations:

“The church thus, as the original and true corporation has an earthly as well as a supernatural life…. (p. 229)

The influence of the concept or doctrine of incorporation or the corporation went beyond the state into the world of commerce. The business corporation echoes whether or not it knows it, the Biblical doctrine of the church. Two things may be said at this point. First, it goes without question that the doctrine of the corporation has, in humanistic hands, been greatly abused and misused. However, this should not lead us into overlooking a second fact, namely, that the concept of the corporation has given continuity to man’s activities in one sphere after another. Medieval and modern institutions have a continuity and history unlike anything in the non-Christian world. What the corporation doctrine has enabled men to do is to transcend the limitations of their life-time and life-span. Men can create and develop a business, a school, or an agency whose function lives beyond themselves. This has been a very revolutionary and Biblical fact…. (p. 230)

Granted that corporations are not necessarily good (nor necessarily bad), it still remains true that the concept of the corporation has been important in history by giving continuity to the works of men. Among other things, the original corporation, the church, has given a new meaning to time. Time is now time in terms of Christ, B.C. Before Christ, or A.D., Anno Domini, the year of our Lord, in Christ…. (p. 231)

The development of corporations in Western history has been very important. Many Christian corporations were established during the medieval era to carry on specific Biblical duties and to organize people for common action to meet a specific Christian need or function. Attempts at statist control were also common…. (p. 231)

In the United States, virtually total freedom existed for generations for all kinds of corporations. The incorporation of a church or Christian agency of any kind was simply a legal formality notifying the state of the existence of such a body and its immunity from statist controls. In recent years, the statists have turned that notification into a form of licensure and control. The matter can be compared to filing a birth certificate. When the birth of Sarah Jones is recorded by her parents and doctor, permission for Sarah Jones to exist is definitely not requested; rather, a fact is legally recorded. Similarly, in American law religious trusts, foundations, or trusts did not apply for the right to exist but recorded their certificate of birth, their incorporation. The current Internal Revenue Service doctrine is that the filing is a petition for the right to exist. This turns the historic position, and the First Amendment, upside down. It asserts for the federal government the “right” to establish religion and to control the exercise thereof. As a result, a major conflict of church and state is under way. At the same time, many abuses of the concept of a church corporation prevail. Some organizations sell “ordinations” as pastors and priests to enable men in the evasion of income taxes. This kind of abuse does not invalidate the integrity of a true church, nor is it a legitimate reason for the entrance of the state into the life of valid churches. Then too, because of the intrusion of the federal and state governments into the sphere of church incorporation, some are advocating disincorporation by churches. Given the vulnerability of the church as an incorporated legal entity to statist controls, we should not forget the total vulnerability with disincorporation. In some court cases, the results are proving to be especially disastrous. If our weapons against an enemy prove to be somewhat defective, does it make sense to throw away those weapons and to disarm ourselves?” (p. 231, 232) (4)

Comments:

The genius of the doctrine of incorporation is that it makes stronger the ability to pass on wealth to the future without being restricted to birthright inheritance from blood relatives. Incorporation now allows righteous ministries to pass on godly blessings to future generations.

We can be thankful the God in His Word has given directives to His people on preserving His blessing upon families and individuals. With the advent of Christ, we now see through corporations, additional ways to store and protect the wealth God has provided. This wealth can be passed on to our godly offspring enabling them to build upon the success of diligent parents. Godly children do not have to start dirt poor.

The state and its laws:

Modern inheritance tax laws are revolutionary, and Marxist, and a threat to the biblical family inheritance.

Rushdoony explains this in The End Game of Humanistic Law:

“In economics, redistributive legislation in Marxist countries means the open transfer of land and wealth from private ownership to the state as the trustee of all the people. In the democratic nations, the same redistributive goal is achieved by a variety of means, most notably the inheritance tax and the income tax. In the United States, 75% of all farms, businesses, and activities are wiped out by the death of the owner because of the confiscatory nature of the inheritance tax. The income tax works annually to redistribute wealth, as does the property tax, and a variety of other taxes. In fact, the goal of taxation can no longer be said to be the maintenance of civil order and justice; rather, its goal is social revolution by means of taxation. Taxation has indeed become the new and most effective method of revolution; it is the reactionary redistributionists who still think in terms of the armed overthrow of existing orders. The more liberal ones know that taxation is the more efficient means of revolution.” (5)

Inheritance laws are tools to preserve wealth! 

How are inheritance laws tools? Gary North explains:

“Inheritance is inter-generational. Each generation is supposed to leave an inheritance to the next generation. This inheritance is comprehensive. It involves worldviews. There is competition in history among people who hold rival worldviews. One way that adherents of a worldview can increase the influence of their worldview is to build an economic inheritance. The heirs will be able to use this capital asset to extend the worldview. This means that every inheritance is supposed to be confessional. Covenant keepers are not supposed to subsidize rival worldviews with the capital they leave behind…

The Bible makes it clear that righteous men leave an inheritance to their grandchildren. It also says that wealth is accumulated in order for righteous people to inherit it. The righteous will inherit the earth (Psalm 37:29). This means that they will inherit enormous responsibility. This is eschatologically certain. It is a prophecy. Jesus confirmed it. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:5). The meaning is not that wimps will inherit the earth. It means that people who are meek before God will exercise dominion. This means that covenant keepers must strive for mastery in their fields. They must therefore strive for success. This is a moral requirement. It is not optional…

Inheritance is basic to every social system. There has to be succession. We are mortal. We will be replaced. The question of who will replace us, and what they will do when they replace us, are major issues.” (6)

In Closing:

“He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich. He who gathers in summer is a wise son; He who sleeps in harvest is a son who causes shame.” (Proverbs 10:4-5 NKJV)

From Adam Clarke’s Bible Commentary on Proverbs 13:22:

“A good man leaveth an inheritance – He files many a prayer in heaven in their behalf, and his good example and advices are remembered and quoted from generation to generation. Besides, whatever property he left was honestly acquired, and well-gotten goods are permanent. The general experience of men shows this to be a common case; and that property ill-gotten seldom reaches to the third generation. This even the heathens observed. Hence:

De male quaesitis non gaudet tertius haeres.

The third generation shall not possess the goods that have been unjustly acquired.” (7)

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Proverbs, Vol. 6 p.103.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Proverbs, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 243.

3.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, Entry for Inheritance, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp.1468.

4.      R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction, Incorporation, (Vallecito, California, Chalcedon, 1984), pp. 229-232.

5.      R. J. Rushdoony, Roots of Reconstruction, Law as Redistribution, (Vallecito, California, Chalcedon, 1984), p 1014.

6.      Gary North, Chapter 21: Dominion and Inheritance, (Dallas, Georgia, Point Five Press), p 187-189.

7.      Adam Clarke, Clarke’s Commentary, Proverbs, (Concord, NC, Wesleyan Heritage Publications), p. 67.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

For more study:

Dominion Covenant: Genesis by Gary North

Tools of Dominion: The Case Laws of Exodus by Gary North

Leviticus: An Economic Commentary by Gary North

Sanctions and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Numbers by Gary North

Inheritance and Dominion: An Economic Commentary on Deuteronomy by Gary North

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Are you Woke? What is the Woke movement? A fact sheet.

Are you Woke? What is the Woke movement? A fact sheet.                         By Jack Kettler 

An exercise in “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Proverbs 27:17:

“The proverb expresses the gain of mutual counsel as found in clear, well-defined thoughts. Two minds, thus acting on each other, become more acute.” (1)

What is a definition of Woke?

Woke is a term that has come into the mainstream from what can be called African American English. It is a term, which refers to an awareness of social justice and in particular racial issues. The “woke” movement began in the African American community and the acceptance of black liberation theology, another name for Marxism. The movement has expanded into other perceived social justice areas. In brief, “woke” is the term used to explain an awakening to issues of race, gender, and sexual injustice.

Supposedly historic Christians have been ignorant and in the dark about these issues. In reality, traditional Christians have dealt with these issues as individual sins rather than group rights or identity politics. 

Is woke-ism a new fad like the Emergent Church Movement? Promoters of woke-ism are progressively theologically liberal on issues like LGBTQ rights, the environment, and racial inequality, and see themselves as social justice warriors. From the inroads this movement has made into evangelicalism, woke-ism has the hallmarks of faddism.

If you read the Christian contemporary woke leaders it becomes quickly apparent they only have a superficial knowledge of the Bible. Proponents of woke-ism and historic traditional Christian apologetics have substantial differences as proof. Woke-ism operates on assumptions, which are not too be questioned they are supposedly self-evident. If you do not agree with the assumption, you are not “woke.” How convenient and how circular.  

Woke-ism made possible by Post-Modern thought:

Up until the mid-twentieth century post, enlightenment or modernist thinking was still dominant. As evident from the ministries like that of Francis A. Schaeffer and L’abri in Switzerland.  Christians during this time were concerned with the intellectual validation and defense of the Christian faith. 

Postmodernism cannot be better explained than by Gene Edward Veith, Jr.:

“In postmodernism, the intellect is replaced by will, reason by emotion, and morality by relativism. Reality is nothing more than a social construct; truth equals power. Your identity comes from a group. Postmodernism is characterized by fragmentation, indeterminacy, and a distrust of all universalizing (worldviews) and power structures (the establishment). It is a worldview that denies all worldviews (“stories”). In a nutshell, postmodernism says there are no universal truths valid for all people. Instead, individuals are locked into the limited perspective of their own race, gender or ethnic group. It is Nietzsche in full bloom.

Although postmodernists tend to reject traditional morality, they can still be very moralistic. They will defend their “rights” to do what they want with puritanical zeal. Furthermore, they seem to feel that they have a right not to be criticized for what they are doing. They want not only license but approval. Thus, tolerance becomes the cardinal virtue. Under the postmodernist way of thinking, the principle of cultural diversity means that every like-minded group constitutes a culture that must be considered as good as any other culture. The postmodernist sins are being judgmental, being narrow-minded, thinking that you have the only truth, and trying to enforce your values on anyone else. Those who question the postmodernist dogma that “there are no absolutes” are excluded from the canons of tolerance. The only wrong idea is to believe in truth; the only sin is to believe in sin.” (2)

Post-Modern thought gave up on these pursuits, abandoning theological and intellectual precision. The adherents of woke-ism have abandoned historic church confessions and the biblical theology of sin and the need for redemption.

There is nothing in woke-ism literature about repenting from individual sins unless you are white, conservative, a capitalist, and heterosexual. Woke-ism is progressive, a movement of the political and theological left. 

Instead, the investigator finds assertions about social injustice that are based upon nothing more than unproven assumptions and appeals to selective data, which are not to be questioned.

As said earlier, if the assumptions are questioned, the critic is dismissed as not being “woke.” The “woke-er” argues in a circle, themselves, being the standard of interpretation. With this spectacular intellectual decline, the stage is set for a massive rise in new cultic groups forming on nothing more than following a slick lip artist leader who can arouse the emotions.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Proverbs, Vol. 6 p.103.

2.      Gene Edward Veith, Jr., Postmodern Times, p. 195-196. Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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Is it possible to be a pious Christian and be involved in politics?

Is it possible to be a pious Christian and be involved in politics?       By Jack Kettler 

An exercise in “As iron sharpens iron, so a man sharpens the countenance of his friend.” (Proverbs 27:17 NKJV)

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Proverbs 27:17:

“The proverb expresses the gain of mutual counsel as found in clear, well-defined thoughts. Two minds, thus acting on each other, become more acute.” (1)

What is a definition of piety?

Piety is reverence for God in order to fulfill religious responsibilities.

What is false piety?

False piety manifests itself as pharisaism, hypocrisy, religiosity, sanctimoniousness. An expression of false piety can be living in the desert, gazing at the navel, in other words, separation from the sinful world, and seeking a deeper spiritual life free from this world, since the external physical world is allegedly sinful.  

The case of two Christian leaders:

A brief Abraham Kuyper bio:

In 1886, Abraham Kuyper led the break from the State Church, establishing the Reformed Churches in the Netherlands. Kuyper’s close association with Herman Bavinck, professor of systematic theology at the seminary, came about during this period.

In 1901 Kuyper became prime minister of his homeland, a position he held for four years.

Kuyper’s copious writings include some 16,800 Standard editorials, nineteen major convention addresses, sermons, the Encyclopedia of Sacred Theology (1898), Lectures on Calvinism at Princeton University (1898), and The Work of the Holy Spirit (1900).

A brief John Knox Witherspoon bio:

John Knox Witherspoon was a Scottish-American Presbyterian minister and a Founding Father of the United States. He became president of the College of New Jersey, now Princeton. He was a signer of the Declaration of Independence and participated in the Continental Congress.

He was such a stanch Calvinist that he won the nicknames “Scotch Granite” and “John Knox redivivus,” Witherspoon was a serious and graceful preacher so gifted with a superior memory that he did not take notes into the pulpit.

Were Kuyper and Witherspoon pious?

Both men who were publically recognized theologians went through numerous theological examinations for ministerial and teaching positions. Can it be shown that either man was accused of being impious for their political activity? If so, there should be plenty of recorded minutes from church assemblies to document this.

If Kuyper and Witherspoon were not pious, those who believe this should provide an assessment of where they went wrong.

Questions a deeper life pietist may ask:

First, it can be alleged that politics is dirty, unspiritual, and second, given the number of people are going to hell, how can anyone waste time with politics.

To the first objection, so what!

In addition, fighting theological heresies, occultism, and paganism can be dirty also. Pastoral counseling can get muddy.

To the second objection, this is a false dilemma fallacy. Responding to this with a question, given the number of people going to hell, how can anyone go to work, help children with homework, engage in recreational or competitive sports, mow the lawn, etc., etc.

The false pietist limits the choices to just two, saving people from hell or politics. In reality, the Bible requires believers to be involved in numerous choices or activities such as going to work, education of your children, treating your employees or employer biblically, etc.      

Ultimately, all political issues are spoken of directly in Scripture or by implication. According to an irrefutable principle of Scripture, there is no neutrality. This issue of neutrality covers every area of life. Every issue must be decided biblically; therefore, involvement in politics is spiritual.

The next abbreviated entry, answers both of the above pietistic objections. The entry is from Francis A. Schaeffer on the errors of Pietism and the roots of pietism, Platonism.

An excerpt from chapter one, The Abolition of Truth and Morality by Francis A. Schaeffer on false piety and its defective view of Christianity:

“There are various reasons but the central one is a defective view of Christianity. This has its roots in the Pietist movement under the leadership of P. J. Spener in the seventeenth century. Pietism began as a healthy protest against formalism and a too abstract Christianity. But it had a deficient, “platonic” spirituality. It was platonic in the sense that Pietism made a sharp division between the “spiritual” and the “material” world — giving little, or no, importance to the “material” world. The totality of human existence was not afforded a proper place. In particular, it neglected the intellectual dimension of Christianity.

Christianity and spirituality were shut up to a small, isolated part of life. The totality of reality was ignored by the pietistic thinking. Let me quickly say that in one sense Christians should be pietists in that Christianity is not just a set of doctrines, even the right doctrines. Every doctrine is in some way to have an effect upon our lives. But the poor side of Pietism and its resulting platonic outlook has really been a tragedy not only in many people’s individual lives, but in our total culture.

True spirituality covers all of reality. There are things the Bible tells us as absolutes which are sinful — which do not conform to the character of God. But aside from these the Lordship of Christ covers all of life and all of life equally. It is not only that true spirituality covers all of life, but it covers all parts of the spectrum of life equally. In this sense there is nothing concerning reality that is not spiritual.” (2)

In conclusion:

“Just because you do not take an interest in politics doesn’t mean politics won’t take an interest in you!” – Pericles

The way politics may take an interest in you is if a wicked politician comes to power and decides to steal what you own through taxation, or land appropriation, and take your sons to fight in his army.

We should pray that God would raise up pious political leaders who are well schooled in theology like Kuyper and Witherspoon.

“If we as Christians do not speak out as authoritarian governments grow from within or come from outside, eventually we or our children will be the enemy of society and the state. No truly authoritarian government can tolerate those who have real absolute by which to judge its arbitrary absolutes and who speak out and act upon that absolute.” – Francis August Schaeffer, How Should We Then Live? The Rise and Decline of Western Thought and Culture

“If there is no final place for civil disobedience, then the government has been made autonomous, and as such, it has been put in the place of the living God.” – Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto

True piety is Godly. False piety is truncated spirituality and often hypocritical, i.e., pharisaical.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) and “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

Notes:

1.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Proverbs, Vol. 6 p.103.

2.      Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Manifesto, (Westchester, Illinois, Crossway Books (1991) p. 213.            

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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What does the Bible say about pornography?

What does the Bible say about pornography?                    By Jack Kettler

What is pornography? What does the Bible say about it? There has been much said on this topic. This study will serve and an introduction of biblical teachings on this subject. Lexical evidence will be looked at to understand word origins.  “…in 2002 the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that large sections of the 1996 Child Pornography Prevention Act, including the depiction of virtual child porn, were overly broad and unconstitutional. Free speech advocates and pornographers had challenged the legality of the act, and six of the nine justices sided with them…”

Today pornographers have free reign. The federal courts routinely strike down any attempt to stop even the vilest pornography sites under the auspices of free speech. Culturally, this has been disastrous.

The first question, what is pornography?

Pornography is a noun.

It is printed or pictorial material having the explicit depiction or exhibition of sexual organs, and activity intended to provoke sensual feelings.

The word pornography is composed of two Greek words. The first is porne, meaning “harlot,” which is akin to the word pernanai, meaning, “to sell.” The second word is graphein, meaning, “to write.” (1)

Today most pornography is called “cyberporn,” or Internet pornography, and is found all too easily on the Internet, hence the name.  

The Bible does not reference pornography explicitly. However, as will be seen, the viewing of pornography is in conflict with Bible morality.

Second, what does the Bible say about it? Several biblical passages will be surveyed. 

“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall not commit adultery (moicheuó). But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28 ESV)

Strong’s Concordance 1939. Epithumia

Epithumia: desire, passionate longing, lust

Original Word: ἐπιθυμία, ας, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: epithumia

Phonetic Spelling: (ep-ee-thoo-mee’-ah)

Definition: desire, passionate longing, lust

Usage: desire, eagerness for, inordinate desire, lust.

 The text in Matthew 5 says, “looks at a woman,” which involves the “lust of the eyes” (1John 2:16). The lust of the eyes is the yearning to have those things, which have visual allure. In King David’s case, it was the lust of his eyes that led to adultery (2Samuel 11:2-4).

 A standard definition of lust is a powerful sexual desire.

 In addition, there is a visual component and attraction involved in the lust of the eyes leading to adultery, which makes this passage relevant to pornography.     

 Strong’s Concordance 3431. Moicheuó

Moicheuó: to commit adultery

Original Word: μοιχεύω

Part of Speech: Verb

Transliteration: moicheuó

Phonetic Spelling: (moy-khyoo’-o)

Definition: to commit adultery

Usage: I commit adultery (of a man with a married woman, but also of a married man).

“Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen. For this reason, God gave them up to dishonorable (atimia) passions (pathos). For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (Romans 1:24-27 ESV)

 The reader will note the highlighted text involves pathos (lust), which necessarily involves the lust of the eyes; hence, the visual connection to pornography.  

 Strong’s Concordance 819. Atimia

Atimia: dishonor

Original Word: ἀτιμία, ας, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: atimia

Phonetic Spelling: (at-ee-mee’-ah)

Definition: dishonor

Usage: disgrace, dishonor; a dishonorable use.

 Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance 3806. Pathos

Inordinate affection, lust.

From the alternate of pascho, properly, suffering (“pathos”), i.e. (subjectively) a passion (especially concupiscence) – (inordinate) affection, lust.

 Lust is the result of visual stimuli that are turned into sexual desire. Visual images and lust are inseparable. This understanding is why biblical texts involving lust are relevant to the issue of pornography.

“Know you not that your bodies are the members of Christ? Shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of a harlot? God forbid. What? Know ye not that he which is joined to a harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh. But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit. Flee fornication (porneia). Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Corinthians 6:15-20 KJV)

 “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication (porneia), uncleanness (akatharsia), lasciviousness.” (Galatians 5:19 KJV)

 Porneia is rendered as sexual immorality in many translations and covers both adultery and fornication. The reader will note the connection to pornography as the word porneia unpacked lexically. 

 Strong’s Concordance 4202. porneia

Porneia: fornication

Original Word: πορνεία, ας, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: porneia

Phonetic Spelling: (por-ni’-ah)

Definition: fornication

Usage: fornication, whoredom; met: idolatry.

 Strong’s Concordance 167. akatharsia

Akatharsia: uncleanness

Original Word: ἀκαθαρσία, ας, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: akatharsia

Phonetic Spelling: (ak-ath-ar-see’-ah)

Definition: uncleanness

Usage: uncleanness, impurity.

 Digging deeper from Vine’s Dictionary. Fornication, Fornicator from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:  “Fornication, Fornicator

[A-1, Noun, G4202, porneia]

is used

(a) of illicit sexual intercourse, in John 8:41; Acts 15:20, Acts 15:29; Acts 21:25; 1 Corinthians 5:1; 1 Corinthians 6:13, 1 Corinthians 6:18; 2 Corinthians 12:21; Galatians 5:19; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 4:3; Revelation 2:21; Revelation 9:21; in the plural in 1 Corinthians 7:2; in Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9 it stands for, or includes, adultery; it is distinguished from it in Matthew 15:19; Mark 7:21;

(b) metaphorically, of “the association of pagan idolatry with doctrines of, and professed adherence to, the Christian faith,” Revelation 14:8; Revelation 17:2, Revelation 17:4; Revelation 18:3; Revelation 19:2; some suggest this as the sense in Revelation 2:21.

[A-2, Noun, G4205, pornos]

denotes “a man who indulges in fornication, a fornicator,” 1 Corinthians 5:9-11; 1 Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5, RV; 1 Timothy 1:10, RV; Hebrews 12:16; Hebrews 13:4, RV; Revelation 21:8; Revelation 22:15, RV (AV, “whoremonger”).

[B-1, Verb, G4203, porneuo]

“to commit fornication,” is used

(a) literally, Mark 10:19; 1 Corinthians 6:18; 1 Corinthians 10:8; Revelation 2:14, Revelation 2:20, See

(a) and

(b) above;

(b) metaphorically, Revelation 17:2; Revelation 18:3, Revelation 18:9.

[B-2, Verb, G1608, ekporneuo]

a strengthened form of No. 1 (ek, used intensively), “to give oneself up to fornication,” implying excessive indulgence, Jude 1:7.” (2)

 Easton’s Bible Dictionary states regarding the word porneia:

“…much of the behavior that is fairly acceptable in our culture is exactly what Paul would term ‘porneia.’ Sexual immorality. Like what? Like premarital sex. Like sex outside of marriage. Like pornography. Like prostitution.” (3)

 “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” (Colossians 3:5 ESV)

 Sins associated with pornography can be:

 ·         Sexual nakedness (Genesis 9:21-23)

·         Forbidden to uncover nakedness (Leviticus 18:9)

·         Adultery (Leviticus 18:20)

·         Bestiality (Leviticus 18:23)

·         Homosexuality (Leviticus 18:22)

·         Incest (Leviticus 18:6-18)

·         Rape (Deuteronomy 22:23-29)

·         Prostitution (Deuteronomy 23:17-18)

 In closing:

 Looking at pornography is engaging in sexual immorality and falls under the understanding of the Greek word porneia. Pornography falls under a fundamental category of sin that all humans will experience, “the lust of the eyes” (1John 2:16).

 The consequences of viewing pornography can be long-lasting physical and relationship damage similar to the addiction to alcohol.

 More importantly than physical damage:

“Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality, nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” (1Corinthians 6:9-10 ESV)

 From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1Corinthians 6:9-10:   “That by the kingdom of God is here meant the kingdom of glory, the happiness of another life, is plain, because he speaketh in the future tense; this kingdom, he saith,

the unrighteous, that is, those who so live and die,

shall not inherit. If we take the term unrighteous here to be a generical term, the species, or some of the principal species, of which are afterwards enumerated, it signifieth here the same with notoriously wicked men. But if we take it to signify persons guilty of acts of injustice towards themselves or others, it cannot be here understood as a general term, relating to all those species of sinners after enumerated; for so idolaters cannot properly be called unrighteous, but ungodly men.

Be not deceived, (saith the apostle), either by any false teachers, or by the many ill examples of such sinners that you daily have, nor by magistrates’ connivance at these sins.

Neither fornicators; neither such as, being single persons, commit uncleanness with others (for here the apostle distinguisheth these sinners from adulterers, whom he mentioneth afterward).

Nor idolaters, nor such as either worship the creature instead of God, or worship the true God before images.

Nor adulterers, nor such as, being married persons, break their marriage covenant, and commit uncleanness with such as are not their yokefellows.

Nor effeminate persons; nor persons that give up themselves to lasciviousness, burning continually in lusts.

Nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor such as are guilty of the sin of Sodom, a sin not to be named amongst Christians or men.

Nor thieves; nor such as take away the goods of their neighbours clandestinely, or by violence, without their consent or any just authority.

Nor covetous; nor persons who discover themselves excessively to love money, by their endeavours to get it into their hands any way, by oppression, cheating, or defrauding others.

Nor drunkards; nor persons that make drinking their business, and use it excessively, without regard to the law and rules of temperance and sobriety.

Nor revilers; nor persons that use their tongues intemperately, railing at others, and reviling them with reproachful and opprobrious names.

Nor extortioners, nor any such as by violence wring out of people’s hands what is not their due. None of these, not repenting of these sinful courses, and turning from them into a contrary course of life, shall ever come into heaven.” (4)

 General Scriptural commands to avoid sexual immorality:

 ·         Make a covenant with your eyes (Job 31:1)

·         Flee fornication (1Corinthians 6:18)

·         Thinking on things, which are pure (Philippians 4:8)

·         As a man thinks in his heart, so is he (Proverbs 23:7)

·         Must make no provision for the flesh (Romans 13:14)

·         Sexual immorality not to be named (Ephesians 5:3)

·         Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (1Peter 2:11) “To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) And “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 29)

For More Study, addiction to porn and its consequences:

How Porn Changes the Brain at https://fightthenewdrug.org/how-porn-changes-the-brain/

This study does not minimize the clear biblical violations of sexual immorality at the heart of porn addiction. Like in alcohol addiction, there are physical consequences (liver damage) that result from the addition.

Notes:

1.      Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary, copyright 1981 by G. & C. Merriam Co., 888.

2.      W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), p. 455.

3.      Matthew George Easton Easton’s Bible Dictionary, Entry on “Fornication,” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary is in the public domain).

4.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, 1Corinthians, vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 556.

Mr. Kettler has previously published articles in the Chalcedon Report and Contra Mundum. He and his wife Marea attend the Westminster, CO, RPCNA Church. Mr. Kettler is the author of the book defending the Reformed Faith against attacks, titled: The Religion That Started in a Hat. Available at: THERELIGIONTHATSTARTEDINAHAT.COM

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