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Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday Worship?

Who changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday Worship? By Jack Kettler

Did the Roman Catholic Pope change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday worship? In this study, we will seek to answer that question and why the day of worship changed for a majority of Christians to Sunday. If it was not the Pope, are there Scriptural arguments for this day change? If the day of worship changed, are there Sabbath requirements attached to Sunday?

When did Christians start meeting on Sunday? A cursory look at the New Testament.

“On the first day of the week, when we were gathered together to break bread, Paul talked with them, intending to depart on the next day, and he prolonged his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7 ESV)

“On the first day of the week” along with the direction given in Corinthians by Paul, “On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come” (1Corinthians 16:2 ESV). Act 20:7 and 1Corinthians 16:2 is Scriptural evidence that the Church had begun to observe the weekly celebration of the Resurrection on the first day of the week.

Let us consider the claims of two Roman Catholic leaders:

What does the Roman church say is the sign of its authority? On January 18, 1563, “the Archbishop of Reggio made a speech in which he openly declared that tradition stood above the Scriptures because the church had changed the Sabbath into Sunday—not by a command of Christ, but by its own authority” (Canon and Tradition, p. 263). http://biblelight.net/bssb-1443-1444.htm

Additionally, the Catholic Mirror of Baltimore, Maryland, published a series of 4 editorials, which appeared in that paper September 2, 9, 16, and 23, 1893 as the expression of the Papacy to Protestantism, and the demand of the Papacy that Protestants shall render to the Papacy an account of why they keep Sunday and also of how they keep it. (Rome’s Challenge: Why Do Protestants Keep Sunday?) http://biblelight.net/chalng.htm

It should be noted that; just because the Roman Catholics claim they changed the Sabbath to Sunday does not prove anything. This claim has to be evaluated scripturally and historically.

Are these two claims valid? Did the Roman Papacy change the day of worship from Saturday to Sunday? First off, not only is this claim dubious, it is a historical impossibility because of the fact that the Papacy did not exist until sometime after the First Council of Nicaea, which convened in AD 325.

The Roman Church may dispute this, but appeals to historical evidence become increasingly flimsy prior to this council for an established and recognized papal system. The Eastern Churches and Coptic Churches show no acceptance of a papal system during the first three centuries of Church history.

The Seventh Day Adventists also take issue with Sunday worship, connecting it with the Roman Church or to Emperor Constantine.

Contrary to this claim that Sunday worship was a Roman Catholic invention, the early church in the East met on Sunday as the day of worship. The Eastern Orthodox Churches have observed Sunday worship from the 1st century.

For example, consider the Eastern Orthodox Worship by Rev. Alciviadis C. Calivas, Th.D.

Rev. Alciviadis says the following:

“The most important day for the Christian community was and continues to be the First day of the Jewish week. For the people of the Old Covenant the First Day was a memorial of the first day of creation, when God separated the light from the darkness. For the people of the New Covenant the first day includes this and much more. The first was the day when the empty tomb was first discovered and the risen Lord made His first appearances to His followers. The first was the day of the Resurrection of Christ and the beginning of the new creation brought about by His victory over death. By the end of the first century the Church gave to this special day of Christ’s resurrection a distinctly Christian name: the Lord’s Day (Kyriake hemera) (Rev. 1: 10).

The Lord’s Day (Sunday) is a Christian institution. It is the Christian festival, founded upon Christ’s resurrection. It is “the day which the Lord has made” (Ps. 117:24). It is a day of rejoicing and holy convocation, when no one is permitted to fast or kneel in sorrow or in penance. In 321 A.D. St. Constantine, the first Christian Emperor, declared it a day of rest. Long before him, however, Christians were already known to observe the day with special solemnity, treating it as a holy day devoted to spiritual things. As a day of rest, the Lord’s Day is not to be abused as a day of idleness and inactivity. For the faithful, it is always a day for participation in the communal worship of the Church, for Christian fellowship, for the service of God through works of charity, for personal quiet and meditation, and for the discovery and enjoyment of God’s presence in us, and in the people and the world that surround and touch our lives.” (1) (Underlining emphasis mine)

Not only do the Eastern Orthodox Christians worship on Sunday, the Syriac, Armenian, and Coptic Christians also worship on Sunday. The Roman Church has never had much influence in the East. The Eastern Churches have always opposed the supremacy of the Bishop of Rome. Thus, it is doubtful that Sunday worship in the East was because of the dictates of a Roman Pope.

According to Wikipedia, It was not until the 4th century, the Roman Church started officially worshipping on Sunday. Historically, the Roman Church was a Johnny come lately to the day change for church worship.

Justin Martyr (ca. 100-ca. 165), who lived at approximately 100 to 165 AD, wrote on the issue of Sunday worship enlightens us historically:

“And on the day called Sunday, all who live in cities or in the country gather together to one place, and the memoirs of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as time permits; then, when the reader has ceased, the president verbally instructs, and exhorts to the imitation of these good things. Then we all rise together and pray, and, as we before said, when our prayer is ended, bread and wine and water are brought, and the president in like manner offers prayers and thanksgivings, according to his ability, and the people assent, saying Amen; and there is a distribution to each, and a participation of that over which thanks have been given, and to those who are absent a portion is sent by the deacons. And they who are well to do, and willing, give what each thinks fit; and what is collected is deposited with the president, who succors the orphans and widows and those who, through sickness or any other cause, are in want, and those who are in bonds and the strangers sojourning among us, and in a word takes care of all who are in need. But Sunday is the day on which we all hold our common assembly, because it is the first day on which God, having wrought a change in the darkness and matter, made the world; and Jesus Christ our Savior on the same day rose from the dead. For He was crucified on the day before that of Saturn (Saturday); and on the day after that of Saturn, which is the day of the Sun, having appeared to His apostles and disciples, He taught them these things, which we have submitted to you also for your consideration.” (2)

The writings of the early church Father Justin Martyr point to the celebration of the Lord’s Day on the first day of the week, Sunday; Revelation 1:10.

This flies in the face of the Roman Church’s assertions.

There are other indications of Sunday worship early in Church history. For example:

The Didache:

“1. But every Lord’s Day do ye gather yourselves together, and break bread, and give thanksgiving after having confessed your transgressions, that your sacrifice may be pure.” (3)

According to the Didache, Sunday worship started early in church history.

The Didascalia:

“The apostles further appointed: On the first day of the week let there be service, and the reading of the Holy Scriptures, and the oblation, because on the first day of the week our Lord rose from the place of the dead, and on the first day of the week he arose upon the world, and on the first day of the week he ascended up to heaven, and on the first day of the week he will appear at last with the angels of heaven.” (4)

According to the Didascalia, Sunday worship started with the apostles.

St. Ignatius, AD 1491 1556:

“If, therefore, those who were brought up in the ancient order of things have come to the possession of a new hope, no longer observing the Sabbath, but living in the observance of the Lord’s Day, on which also our life has sprung up again by Him and by His death.” (5)

Note: The Didache or The Teaching of the Twelve Apostles is a brief Christian thesis, dated by scholars to the late first or early 2nd century

Note: Didascalia Apostolorum (or just Didascalia) is a Christian treatise. The Didascalia introduces itself as written by the Twelve Apostles at the time of the Council of Jerusalem. However, scholars agree that it was a composition of the 3rd century,

As an aside, what about Emperor Constantine? Did he change the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday as some Seventh Day Adventists claim? This claim does not hold up since Christians were already meeting on Sunday, since the time of the Apostles. Constantine did make a decree regarding worship on Sunday, thus making it easier for Christians to worship on Sunday, which they were already doing.

As noted, Constantine’s decree recognized the three hundred years Christian practice and expanded Christian freedom by allowing them to keep their shops closed:

“On the venerable Day of the Sun let the magistrates and people residing in cities rest, and let all workshops be closed.” (6)

This decree by Constantine protected and guaranteed the civil freedom of Christians for their already ongoing practice.

Where did the Protestant Reformers stand on the Saturday Sabbath and Sunday worship?

To start, the burden of proof is on those who maintain the Lord’s Day is the Christian Sabbath Day, and the day was moved from Saturday to Sunday.

The burden of proof for this will now be met:

During the Reformation, the Protestant theologians did not blindly import theology and practices from the Roman Church. They reformed the church by looking at Scripture and binding themselves to the Scriptures as the final court of appeal. During the counter-reformation Counsil of Trent, the Roman Church made many false assertions attempting to undermine Protestant theology. This undermining happened when Roman leaders, as seen above, claimed that the Papacy changed the Sabbath from Saturday to Sunday.

The Scriptural proof of the day change:

The Older Covenant delineated Saturday as the Sabbath, and it was to be eternal.

How did the Protestant Reformers deal with the eternal covenants in the Old Testament?

The Scriptural basis for discontinuity, continuity, and its relevance to the issue at hand:

In the Old Testament, we have specific ordinances and covenants that are to be everlasting. For example, “the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant.” Why did the Protestant Reformers call the faithful to worship on Sunday instead of Saturday, when the Scriptures seem to make Saturday the permanent day?

To start, we should note that the Hebrew word “forever,” “olam” can be translated in different ways. Some examples being: forever, perpetual, everlasting, eternal, permanent. The word “forever” does not necessarily mean never-ending in scripture, but can also be understood to mean as lasting only as long as a time or age.

Upon closer examination of the Hebrew word ‘olam, we can raise the question; does this mean that a practice commanded in Scripture will last forever? First, we can admit that it is possible when dealing with the usage of ‘olam, that a practice mentioned may last forever. However, the context of a passage is important when making this determination.

Admitting that ‘olam may mean forever does not invalidate the fact the there are numerous indicators that ‘olam can also be used to describe a practice that will end or change forms going from the Older Covenant into the New.

In particular, ‘olam is used regarding ordinances in the Older Covenant which were to be kept by the people of Israel and not carried over into the New Covenant Church practice in their Older Covenant forms.

It should be noted that there are significant discontinuities and continuities in redemptive history when moving from the Older Covenant into the New Covenant era. In addition, the typological significance of Christ in the Old Testament is where types are prefigured or symbolized. This Christological typology is an interpretive factor in some of the following verses.

Examples of the time limitations of ‘olam:

“Then his master shall bring him unto the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or unto the doorpost, and; his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and he shall serve him forever.” (Exodus 21:6)

In this passage, ‘olam stresses permanence and that the man would be a servant forever. This verse is explicit in conveying the idea of a limitation of time. The prima facie limitation in this verse is the life span of the servant.

Another example is the Feast of Unleavened Bread, which was typological:

“So you shall observe the Feast of Unleavened Bread, for on this same day I will have brought your armies out of the land of Egypt. Therefore, you shall observe this day throughout your generations, as an everlasting ordinance.” (Exodus 12:17)

The discontinuity is that the New Covenant Church no longer celebrates the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The continuity is that this Feast is fulfilled in Christ.

Consider the Passover:

“Now this day will be a memorial to you, and you shall celebrate it as a feast to the Lord; throughout your generations, you are to celebrate it as a permanent ordinance.” (Exodus 12:14)

The discontinuity is that the New Covenant Church no longer celebrates the Passover feast. The continuity is that all of the Older Covenant feasts, including the Passover, find fulfillment in the Lord’s Supper.

Then there is the example of circumcision:

“And 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. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. And God said unto Abraham, Thou shalt keep my covenant therefore, thou, and thy seed after thee in their generations. This is my covenant, which ye shall keep, between me and you and thy seed after thee; every man child among you shall be circumcised.” (Genesis 17:7-10)

The discontinuity is that circumcision is no longer required in the New Covenant. The continuity is that circumcision is replaced by baptism in the New Covenant era as the mark of the covenant.

Now to the Key text in this argument.

The Sabbath Day was to be kept on the seventh day:

“Therefore, the children of Israel shall keep the Sabbath, to observe the Sabbath throughout their generations as a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.” (Exodus 31:16-17)

“ἄρα apoleipetai ἀπολείπεται (sabbatismos, a Sabbath rest) τῷ λαῷ λαῷ Θεοῦ.” (Hebrews 4:9)

“So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9 ESV)

The discontinuity is that the day has been changed to the First Day of the week in celebration of the resurrection of Christ. The continuity is that God’s people are to still honor Him by resting for our labors after six days of work Hebrews 4:9. In the Greek text, the word for “rest” in Hebrews 4:9 is sabbatismos, which means “a Sabbath rest.”

Young’s Literal Translation captures the text from Hebrew 4:9 perfectly:

“There doth remain, then, a sabbatic rest to the people of God.” (Hebrews 4:9)

Consider Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary entry on (Hebrews 4:9), and the sabbatic rest:

“9. Therefore—because God “speaks of another day (see on [2548] Heb. 4:8).

Remaineth—still to be realized hereafter by the “some (who) must enter therein” (Heb. 4:6), that is, “the people of God,” the true Israel who shall enter into God’s rest (“My rest,” Heb. 4:3). God’s rest was a Sabbatism, so also will ours be.

A rest—Greek, “Sabbatism.” In time, there are many Sabbaths, but then there shall be the enjoyment and keeping of a Sabbath-rest: one perfect and eternal. The “rest” in Heb. 4:8 is Greek, “catapausis;” Hebrew, “Noah”; rest from weariness, as the ark rested on Ararat after its tossings to and fro; and as Israel, under Joshua, enjoyed at last rest from war in Canaan. But the “rest” in this Heb. 4:9 is the nobler and more exalted (Hebrew) “Sabbath” rest; literally, “cessation”: rest from work when finished (Heb. 4:4), as God rested (Re 16:17). The two ideas of “rest” combined, give the perfect view of the heavenly Sabbath. Rest from weariness, sorrow, and sin; and rest in the completion of God’s new creation (Re 21:5). The whole renovated creation shall share in it; nothing will there be to break the Sabbath of eternity; and the Triune God shall rejoice in the work of His hands (Zep 3:17). Moses, the representative of the law, could not lead Israel into Canaan: the law leads us to Christ, and there its office ceases, as that of Moses on the borders of Canaan: it is Jesus, the antitype of Joshua, who leads us into the heavenly rest. This verse indirectly establishes the obligation of the Sabbath still; for the type continues until the antitype supersedes it: so legal sacrifices continued till the great antitypical Sacrifice superseded it, As then the antitypical heavenly Sabbath-rest will not be till Christ, our Gospel Joshua, comes, to usher us into it, the typical earthly Sabbath must continue till then. The Jews call the future rest “the day which is all Sabbath.’” (7)

Preliminary Conclusions:

As seen in these examples of the translation of ‘olam as forever, perceptual, everlasting, eternal, and permanent, we can conclude that there are qualifiers attached that guide our understanding of these passages. In each of these passages, the substance remained, yet the outward form changed, moving from the Older Covenant into the New Covenant. The Sabbath Day is eternal, yet the day of observance changed to Sunday.

The Reformers, on the other hand, looked at continuities and discontinuities in Scripture and concluded that the practice of the early Christians meeting on the first day of the week (Sunday) was a case of a real discontinuity in Scripture.

The Reformed hermeneutic presumes that unless the New Testament sets aside an Old Testament practice as in the case of the dietary laws, we presume the Scriptural command to still be in force, taking into consideration legitimate discontinuities as seen above. If the continuity discontinuity motif is not maintained, it can be alleged that there are contradictions in Scripture.

A Scriptural deduction from the Reformed argument:

1. In light of what has been said above, the first day of the week came to be known as the “Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:10), and has been the day on which the church gathered with the blessing of the Apostles (Acts 20:7).

2. On the day in which Jesus had been raised from the dead, the risen Lord Himself, chose the first day of the week on which to manifest himself to his disciples when they were gathered together (John 20:19, 26).

Supplemental evidence:

From Sabbath to Lord’s Day: A Biblical, Historical and Theological Investigation by D. A. Carson.

In this work, Carson notes:

“1. The early church met on the Lord’s Day to commemorate Jesus’ Resurrection (Bauckham, 232-245): All four gospels emphasize Jesus’ resurrection on the first day of the week. Though it cannot be proven that this was the reason established for Sunday worship, early Christians did connect gathering on the first day of the week with the Lord’s resurrection (Bauckham, 236, 240).

2. By the end of the first century, “Lord’s Day” is seen to be a technical term already in use about the first day of the week/Sunday, the Christian gathering day (Revelation 1:10; see Bauckham, “Lord’s Day,” 222-232).

3. By the middle of the second century, Lord’s Day worship gatherings are the universal practice of the church (Bauckham, “Lord’s Day,” 230).” (8)

A Reformed exposition of the day change by Professor John Murray on The Pattern of the Lord’s Day:

“The Sabbath as a creation ordinance for all time.

If we accept, the witness of Scripture there can be no question that the weekly Sabbath finds its basis in and derives its sanction from the example of God himself. He created the heavens and the earth in six days and “on the seventh God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it” (Gen. 2:2, 3). The fourth commandment in the Decalogue sets forth the obligation resting upon man and it makes express appeal to this sanction. “For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exod. 20:11).

Many regard this Sabbath institution as a shadow of things to come and, therefore, as an ordinance to be observed, has passed away because that of which it was a shadow has been realized in the full light of the new and better covenant. At this point, suffice it to ask the question: has the pattern of God’s work and rest in creation ceased to be relevant? Is this pattern a shadow in the sense of those who espouse this position? The realm of our existence is that established by creation and maintained by God’s providence. The new covenant has in no respect abrogated creation nor has it diminished its relevance. Creation both as action and product is as significant for us as it was for Israel under the old covenant. The refrain of Scripture in both Testaments is that the God of creation is the God of redemption in all stages of covenantal disclosure and realization. This consideration is invested with greater significance when we bear in mind that the ultimate standard for us is likeness to God (cf. Matt. 5:48; 1John 3:2, 3). And it is this likeness, in the sphere of our behaviour, that undergirds the demand for Sabbath observance (Exod. 20:11; 31:17).

The Redemptive Pattern

It is noteworthy that the Sabbath commandment as given in Deuteronomy (Deut. 5:12-15) does not appeal to God’s rest in creation as the reason for keeping the Sabbath day. In this instance, mention is made of something else. “And remember that thou wast a servant in the land of Egypt, and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through a mighty hand and an out-streched arm: therefore the Lord thy God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day” (Deut. 5:15). This cannot be understood as in any way annulling the sanction of Exodus 20:11; 31:17. Deuteronomy comprises what was the reiteration of the covenant made at Sinai. When the Sabbath commandment is introduced, Israel is reminded of the earlier promulgation: “Keep the Sabbath day to sanctify it, as the Lord thy God hath commanded thee” (Deut. 5:12). And we should observe that all the commandments have their redemptive sanction. The preface to all is: “I am the Lord thy God which have brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exod. 20:2; cf. Deut. 5:6). So what we find in Deut. 5; 15 in connection with the Sabbath is but the application of the preface to the specific duty enunciated in the fourth command. It is supplement to Exodus 20:11, not suspension. We have now added reason for observing the Sabbath. This is full of meaning and we must linger to analyze and appreciate.

The deliverance from Egypt was redemption. “Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed” (Exod. 15:13). It is more than any other event the redemption of the Old Testament. It is the analogue of the greater redemption accomplished by Christ. The Sabbath commandment derives its sanction not only from God’s rest in creation but also from redemption out of Egypt’s bondage. This fact that the Sabbath in Israel had a redemptive reference and sanction bears directly upon the question of its relevance in the New Testament. The redemption from Egypt cannot be properly viewed except as the anticipation of the greater redemption wrought in the fullness of time. Hence, if redemption from Egypt accorded sanction to the Sabbath institution and provided reason for its observance the same must apply to the greater redemption and apply in a way commensurate with the greater fullness and dimensions of the redemption secured by the death and resurrection of Christ. In other words, it is the fullness and richness of the new covenant that accord to the Sabbath ordinance increased relevance, sanction, and blessing.

This redemptive reference explains and confirms three features of the New Testament.

1. The Retrospective Reference

Jesus rose from the dead on the first day of the week (cf. Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1). For our present interest the important feature of the New Testament witness is that the first day of the week continued to have _distinctive religious significance_ (cf. Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2). The only explanation of this fact is that the first day was the day of Jesus’ resurrection and for that reason John calls it “the Lord’s day” (Rev. 1:10). The first day took on a memorial significance appropriate to the place the resurrection of Christ occupies in the accomplishment of redemption and in Jesus’ finished work (cf. John 17:4) as also appropriate to the seal imparted by the repeated appearance to his disciples on that day (cf. Matt. 28:9; Luke 24:15-31, 26; John 20:19,26). When Christ rose from the dead he was loosed from the pangs of death (cf. Acts 2:24), he entered upon life indestructible (cf. Rom. 5:10; 6:9, 10), became a “life-giving Spirit” (1Cor. 15:45), and brought “life and immortality to light” (2Tim. 1:10). In a word, he entered upon the rest of his redeeming work. All of this and much more resides in the emphasis, which falls upon the resurrection as a pivotal event in the accomplishment of redemption. The other pivot is the death upon the cross. The sanctity belonging to the first day of the week as the Lord’s Day is the constant reminder of all that Jesus’ resurrection involves. It is the memorial of the resurrection as the Lord’s Supper is the memorial of Jesus’ death upon the tree. Inescapable, therefore, is the conclusion that the resurrection in its redemptive character yields its sanction to the sacredness of the first day of the week just as deliverance from Egypt’s bondage accorded its sanction to the Sabbath institution of the old covenant. This is the rationale for regarding the Lord’s Day as the Christian Sabbath. It follows the line of thought, which the Old Testament itself prescribes for us when it appeals to redemption as the reason for Sabbath observance. The principle enunciated in Deuteronomy 5:15 receives its verification and application in the new covenant in the memorial of finalized redemption, the Lord’s Day.

2. The Manward Reference

Under this caption, we have in mind our Lord’ saying: “The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mark 2:27, 28).

The title our Lord uses to designate himself is one that belongs to him in his messianic identity, commission, and office. The lordship he claims is, therefore, redemptively conditioned; it is his lordship as Mediator and Saviour. As such, in accord with his own testimony, he is given all authority in heaven and earth (cf. John 3:36; Matt. 28:18). So every institution is brought within the scope of his lordship. Since he exercises this lordship in the interests of God’s redemptive purpose, it is particularly true that institutions given for the good of man are brought within the scope of his lordship and made to serve the interests of the supreme good which redemption designs and guarantees. It is this governing thought that is applied in the text to the institution of the Sabbath. The accent falls upon the beneficent design of the Sabbath – it was made for man. “Therefore the Son of man is Lord” of it.

When Jesus speaks of the Sabbath, he is specifying the institution defined by the fourth commandment, and he asserts his lordship over it in precisely this character. There is not the slightest intimation of abrogation. For it is the Sabbath in that identity over which he claims to be Lord. Too frequently this text is adduced in support of an alleged relaxation of the requirements set forth in the commandment as if Jesus on this ground were, in the exercise of his authority, defending his disciples for behaviour that went counter to Old Testament requirements. This totally misconstrues the situation in which the words were spoken. Jesus is defending his disciples against the charge of desecration brought by the Pharisees (cf. Mark 2:24). But in doing so he shows by appeal to the Old Testament itself (cf. Matt. 12:4, 5; Mark 2:25, 26) that the behaviour of his disciples was in accord with what the Old Testament sanctioned. It was not deviation from Old Testament requirements that our Lord was condoning but deviation from pharisaical distortion. He was condemning the tyranny by which the Sabbath institution had been made an instrument of oppression. And he did this by appeal to the true intent of the Sabbath as verified by Scripture itself. Of special interest is the relation of the redemptive sanction of the fourth commandment to the claim of Jesus on this occasion. The lordship over the Sabbath is, as observed, redemptively conditioned and thus only within a redemptive design can his lordship of the Sabbath be understood. This is to say that the Sabbath ordinance in its beneficent character comes to full expression within the realm of our Lord’s mediatorial lordship. The Sabbath is not alien to redemption at the zenith of its realization and blessing. As made for man it continues to serve its great purpose in that administration that achieves the acme of covenant grace. This Jesus’ word seals to us – “the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath”.

3. The Prospective Reference

“There remains therefore a Sabbath keeping for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9)

The context of this passage is all-important for its interpretation and for appreciation of its implications. At verse 4 there is quotation of Genesis 2:2: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” This, of course, refers to God’s – own – rest. At verse 5 there is allusion to the rest of Canaan and quotation of Psalm 95:11 (cf. also vs. 3 and 3:11) in reference to the failure of too many to enter into it (cf. Psalm 95:10). The remarkable feature of verse 5 as of Psalm 95:11 is that this rest of Canaan is called God’s rest (“my rest”). Why this characterization? It is not sufficient to say that it was the rest God provided. The proximity of reference to God’s own rest in verse 4 requires more than the thoughts of mere provision by God. We cannot say less than that God calls it his rest because the rest of Canaan was patterned after God’s rest – it partook of the character of God’s rest. The same kind of identification appears in verse 10 with reference to the rest that remains for the people of God. “For he that has entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his.” So the rest of Canaan and the rest that remains for the people of God are called God’s rest because both partake of the character of God’s own rest in resting from his creative work on the seventh day. Here is something highly germane to the present topic.

It is clear that the rest of Canaan and the rest that remains for the people of God are redemptive in character. Since they are patterned after God’s rest in creation, this means that the redemptive takes on the character of that rest of God upon which the Sabbath institution for man originally rested and from which it derived its sanction. We cannot but discover in this again the close relation between the creative and the redemptive in the Sabbath ordinance and the coherence of Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15. We are reminded again that likeness to God governs man’s obligation and is brought to its realization in the provisions of redemption. In the consummation of redemption, the Sabbath rest of God’s people achieves conformity to the fullest extent. “For he who has entered into his rest, he also has ceased from his own works, as God did from his” (cf. Rev. 14:13). The Sabbath institution in all its aspects and applications has this prospective reference; the whole movement of redemption will find its finale in the Sabbath rest that remains. The weekly Sabbath is the promise, token, and foretaste of the consummated rest; it is also the earnest. The biblical philosophy of the Sabbath is such that to deny its perpetuity is to deprive the movement of redemption of one of its most precious strands.

Redemption has a past, a present, and a future. In the Sabbath as “the Lord’s Day,” all three are focused. In retrospect, it is the memorial of our Lord’s resurrection. In the present with resurrection joy, it fulfils its beneficent design by the lordship of the Son of man. As prospect, it is the promise of the inheritance of the saints. With varying degrees of understanding and application, it is this perspective that dictated the observance of the Lord’s Day in catholic, protestant and reformed tradition. Shall we forfeit in institution so embedded in redemptive revelation and recognized as such in the history of the church of Christ? In the faith and for the honour of the Sabbath’s Lord may we answer with a decisive, no! In devotion to him may we increasingly know the joy and blessing of the recurring day of rest and worship.” (9)

John Murray answers the argument that Romans 14:5 ends the fourth commandment in the New Covenant era:

“APPENDIX D

ROMANS 14:5 AND THE WEEKLY SABBATH

The question is whether the weekly Sabbath comes within the scope of the distinction respecting days on which the apostle reflects in Romans 14:5. If so then we have to reckon with the following implications.

1. This would mean that the Sabbath commandment in the decalogue does not continue to have any binding obligation upon believers in the New Testament economy. The observance of one day in seven as holy and invested with the sanctity enunciated in the fourth commandment would be abrogated and would be in the same category in respect of observance as the ceremonial rites of the Mosaic institution. On the assumption posited, insistence upon the continued sanctity of each recurring seventh day would be as Judaizing as to demand the perpetuation of the Levitical feasts.

2. The first day of the week would have no prescribed religious significance. It would not be distinguished from any other day as the memorial of Christ’s resurrection and could not properly be regarded as the Lord’s day in distinction from the way in which every day is to be lived in devotion to and the service of the Lord Christ. Neither might any other day, weekly or otherwise, be regarded as set apart with this religious significance.

3. Observance of a weekly Sabbath or of a day commemorating our Lord’s resurrection would be a feature of the person weak in faith and in this case he would be weak in faith because he had not yet attained to the understanding that in the Christian institution all days are in the same category. Just as one weak Christian fails to recognize that all kinds of food are clean, so another, or perchance the same person, would fail to esteem every day alike.

These implications of the thesis in question cannot be avoided. We may now proceed to examine them in the light of the considerations which Scripture as a whole provides.

1. The Sabbath institution is a creation ordinance. It did not begin to have relevance at Sinai when the ten commandments were given to Moses on two tables (cf. Gen. 2:2, 3; Exod. 16:21–23). It was, however, incorporated in the law promulgated at Sinai and this we would expect in view of its significance and purpose as enunciated in Genesis 2:2, 3. It is so embedded in this covenant law that to regard it as of different character from its context in respect of abiding relevance goes counter to the unity and basic significance of what was inscribed on the two tables. Our Lord himself tells us of its purpose and claims it for his messianic Lordship (Mark 2:28). The thesis we are now considering would have to assume that the pattern provided by God himself (Gen. 2:2, 3) in the work of creation (cf. also Exod. 20:11; 31:17) has no longer any relevance for the regulation of man’s life on earth, that only nine of the ten words of the decalogue have authority for Christians, that the beneficent design contemplated in the original institution (Mark 2:28) has no application under the gospel, and that the lordship Christ exercised over the Sabbath was for the purpose of abolishing it as an institution to be observed. These are the necessary conclusions to be drawn from the assumption in question. There is no evidence to support any of these conclusions, and, when they are combined and their cumulative force frankly weighed, it is then that the whole analogy of Scripture is shown to be contradicted by the assumption concerned.

2. The first day of the week as the day on which Jesus rose from the dead (Matt. 28:1; Mark 16:2, 9; Luke 24:1; John 20:1, 19) is recognized in the New Testament as having a significance derived from this fact of Jesus’ resurrection (Acts 20:7; 1 Cor. 16:2) and this is the reason why John speaks of it as the Lord’s day (Rev. 1:10). It is the one day of the week to which belongs this distinctive religious significance. Since it occurs every seventh day, it is a perpetually recurring memorial with religious intent and character proportionate to the place which Jesus’ resurrection occupies in the accomplishment of redemption. The two pivotal events in this accomplishment are the death and resurrection of Christ and the two memorial ordinances of the New Testament institution are the Lord’s supper and the Lord’s day, the one memorializing Jesus’ death and the other his resurrection. If Paul in Romans 14:5 implies that all distinctions of days have been obliterated, then there is no room for the distinctive significance of the first day of the week as the Lord’s day. The evidence supporting the memorial character of the first day is not to be controverted and, consequently, in this respect also the assumption in question cannot be entertained, namely, that all religious distinction of days is completely abrogated in the Christian economy.

3. In accord with the analogy of Scripture and particularly the teaching of Paul, Romans 14:5 can properly be regarded as referring to the ceremonial holy days of the Levitical institution. The obligation to observe these is clearly abrogated in the New Testament. They have no longer relevance or sanction and the situation described in Romans 14:5 perfectly accords with what Paul would say with reference to religious scrupulosity or the absence of such anent these days. Paul was not insistent upon the discontinuance of ritual observances of the Levitical ordinances as long as the observance was merely one of religious custom and not compromising the gospel (cf. Acts 18:18, 21; 21:20–27). He himself circumcised Timothy from considerations of expediency. But in a different situation he could write: “Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ will profit you nothing” (Gal. 5:2). Ceremonial feast days fall into the category of which the apostle could say: “One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike”. Many Jews would not yet have understood all the implications of the gospel and had still a scrupulous regard for these Mosaic ordinances. Of such scruples we know Paul to have been thoroughly tolerant and they fit the precise terms of the text in question. There is no need to posit anything that goes beyond such observances. To place the Lord’s day and the weekly Sabbath in the same category is not only beyond the warrant of exegetical requirements but brings us into conflict with principles that are embedded in the total witness of Scripture. An interpretation that involves such contradiction cannot be adopted. Thus the abiding sanctity of each recurring seventh day as the memorial of God’s rest in creation and of Christ’s exaltation in his resurrection is not to be regarded as in any way impaired by Romans 14:5.” (10)

Reformed Confessional support for the Sunday is the Christian Sabbath:

The Westminster Shorter Catechism asks which day of the seven has God appointed. The Shorter Catechism in Q.59 puts it this way:

“Q.59. Which day of the seven has God appointed to be the weekly Sabbath?

A. From the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, God appointed the seventh day of the week to be the weekly Sabbath; and the first day of the week ever since, to continue to the end of the world, which is the Christian Sabbath.”

Westminster Confession of 1646: Of Religious Worship and the Sabbath Day

“Chapter XXI. Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day with Scriptural proofs

I. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all, is good, and doth good unto all, and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served, with all the heart and with all the soul, and with all the might, (Rom 1:20; Act 17:24; Psa 119:68; Jer 10:7; Psa 31:23; Psa 18:3; Rom 10:12; Psa 62:8; Jos 24:14; Mar 12:33). But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture, (Deu 12:32; Mat 15:9; Act 17:25; Mat 4:9-10; Deu 15:1-20; Exd 20:4-6; Col 2:23).

II. Religious worship is to be given to God, the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; and to Him alone, (Mat 4:10; Jhn 5:23; 2Co 13:14); not to angels, saints, or any other creature, (Col 2:18; Rev 19:10; Rom 1:25): and, since the fall, not without a Mediator; nor in the mediation of any other but of Christ alone, (Jhn 14:6; 1Ti 2:5; Eph 2:18; Col 3:17).

III. Prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, (Phl 4:6); is by God required of all men, (Psa 65:2): and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, (Jhn 14:13-14; 1Pe 2:5); by the help of His Spirit, (Rom 8:26); according to His will, (1Jo 5:14); with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance, (Psa 47:7; Ecc 5:1-2; Hbr 12:28; Gen 18:27; Jam 5:16; Jam 1:6-7; Mar 11:24; Mat 6:12, 14-15; Col 4:2; Eph 6:18); and, if vocal, in a, known tongue, (1Co 14:14).

IV. Prayer is to be made for things lawful, (1Jo 5:14); and for all sorts of men living, or that shall live hereafter, (1Ti 2:1-2; Jhn 17:20; 2Sa 7:29; Rth 4:12): but not for the dead, (2Sa 12:21-23; Luk 16:25-26; Rev 14:13); nor for those of whom it may be known that they have sinned the sin unto death, (1Jo 5:16).

V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, (Act 15:21; Rev 1:3); the sound preaching, (2Ti 4:2); and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, (Jam 1:22; Act 10:33; Mat 13:19; Hbr 4:2; Isa 66:2); singing of psalms with grace in the heart, (Col 3:16; Eph 5:19; Jam 5:13); as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God, (Mat 28:19; 1Co 11:23-29; Act 2:42): beside religious oaths, (Deu 6:13; Neh 10:29); vows, (Isa 19:21; Ecc 5:4-5); solemn fastings, (Joe 2:12; Est 4:16; Mat 9:15; 1Co 7:5); and thanksgivings upon special occasions, (Psa 107; Est 9:22); which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner, (Hbr 12:28).

VI. Neither prayer, nor any other part of religious worship, is now, under the Gospel, either tied unto, or made more acceptable by any place in which it is performed, or towards which it is directed, (Jhn 4:21): but God is to be worshipped everywhere, (Mal 1:11; 1Ti 2:8); in spirit and truth, (Jhn 4:23-24); as, in private families, (Jer 10:25; Deu 6:6-7; Job 1:5; 2Sa 6:18, 20; 1Pe 3:7, Act 10:2); daily, (Mat 6:11); and in secret, each one by himself, (Mat 6:6; Eph 6:18); so, more solemnly in the public assemblies, which are not carelessly or wilfully to be neglected, or forsaken, when God, by His Word or providence, calleth thereunto, (Isa 56:6-7; Hbr 10:25; Pro 1:20-21, 24; Pro 8:34; Act 13:42; Luk 4:16; Act 2:42).

VII. As it is the law of nature, that, in general, a due proportion of time be set apart for the worship of God; so, in His Word, by a positive, moral, and perpetual commandment binding all men in all ages, He hath particularly appointed one day in seven, for a Sabbath, to be kept holy unto Him, (Exd 20:8, 10-11; Isa 56:2, 4, 6-7): which, from the beginning of the world to the resurrection of Christ, was the last day of the week, (Gen 2:2-3; 1Co 16:1-2; Act 20:7); and, from the resurrection of Christ, was changed into the first day of the week, which, in Scripture, is called the Lord’s Day, (Rev 1:10); and is to be continued to the end of the world, as the Christian Sabbath, (Exd 20:8, 10; Mat 5:17-18).

VIII. This Sabbath is then kept holy unto the Lord, when men, after a due preparing of their hearts, and ordering of their common affairs beforehand, do not only observe an holy rest, all the day, from their own works, words, and thoughts about their worldly employments and recreations, (Exd 20:8; Exd 16:23, 25-26, 29-30; Exd 31:15-17; Isa 58:13; Neh 13:15-19, 21-22); but also are taken up, the whole time, in the public and private exercises of His worship, and in the duties of necessity and mercy, (Isa 58:13; Mat 12:1-13).”

The Westminster Catechism and Confession one of Protestantism’ greatest confessions understand the Saturday Sabbath changed to Sunday along with its Sabbath significance.

Conclusion with a summary of Scriptural reasons for the day change:

1. The Lord rose from the dead on the first day of the week, Matthew 28:1; Mark 16:2; Luke 25:1; and John 20:1, 19, 26.

2. In the book of Acts, we learn more about Sunday, the day of Christ’s resurrection. “And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.” (Acts 20:7)

3. In 1Corinthians 16:1-2, Paul tells us that not only in Corinth but all the churches of Galatia met upon the first day of the week. Moreover, the apostles commanded the observation of this day rather than any other day for Sabbath services.

4. Regarding Sunday, the first day of the week, it can be said: this day is sanctified to be holy to the Lord above any other day, and therefore it has the Lord’s name upon it and consequently is called the Lord’s day, as is manifest from Revelation1:10.

In answer to the opening questions, the Roman Catholic assertion that the Papacy changed the Saturday Sabbath to Sunday worship does not hold up historically, nor most importantly, biblically.

Quotes from Protestant theologians:

“And we may boldly say that a man does not love the Lord Jesus Christ who does not love the entire Lord’s Day.” – Robert Murray M’Cheyne

“It is not too much to say that the prosperity or decay of organized Christianity depends on the maintenance of the Christian Sabbath.” – J.C. Ryle

“To profane the Sabbath is a great sin; it is a willful contempt of God … This is to despise God, to hang out the flag of defiance, to throw down the gauntlet, and challenge God himself.” – Thomas Watson

“If we possess any measure of the true spirit of devotion, this sacred day will be most welcome to our hearts.” – A.A. Alexander

“Every decree of God is eternal; therefore it cannot depend upon a condition which takes place only in time. (2) God’s decrees depend on his good pleasure (eudokia) (Mt. 11:26; Eph. 1:5; Rom. 9:11. Therefore, they are not suspended upon any condition outside of God. (3) Every decree of God is immutable (Is. 46); Rom. 9:11).” – Francis Turretin (1623-1687)

“Christ took the Sabbath into the grave with him and brought the Lord’s Day out of the grave with him on the resurrection morn” – B. B. Warfield, (“The Sabbath in the Word of God,” Selected Shorter Writings Vol. 1, (Nutley, NJ:

Presbyterian and Reformed, 1970), p. 319.

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. Rev. Alciviadis C. Calivas, Th.D., Encountering Christ in Worship, https://www.goarch.org/-/orthodox-worship

2. Justin Martyr, The First Apology of Justin, Chap. 67, pp. 354, 355.

3. Didache Chapter XIV.11, Christian Assembly on the Lord’s Day, 14 [A.D. 70]).

4. Didascalia Apostolorum, (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1929), Chapter 2.

5. Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians, Chapter IX.

6. (Constantine, March 7, 321. Codex Justinianus lib. 3, tit. 12, 3; translated in Philip Schaff’s, History of the Christian Church), Vol. 3, p. 380, note 1.

7. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1405-1406.

8. R. J. Bauckham, “Lord’s Day,” in From Sabbath to Lord’s Day, ed. D. A. Carson, pages 221-250.

9. John Murray, The Sabbath, The Pattern of the Lord’s Day, (United Kingdom, Lord’s Day Observance Society), out of print.

10. John Murray, The Epistle to the Romans, vol. 2, The New International Commentary on the Old and New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1968), 257–259.

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: http://www.thereligionthatstartedinahat.com/

Additional Resources on the change of the day from Saturday to Sunday:

Honoring Jesus as Sabbath King: Historical-redemptive arguments for a Sunday-Sabbath
by Richard A. Ostella

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What does the Bible say about Homosexuality?

What does the Bible say about Homosexuality? By Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. Today many so-called evangelistic churches are open to marrying people of the same sex. In the name of tolerance and love, age-old biblical standards are being swept aside. Being open and asking questions has taken the place of doctrinal certainty.

Doctrinal uncertainty about homosexuality is shocking in light of the numerous warnings in the Scriptures about homosexuality. How many of those that are taking a new tolerant view of homosexuality have read the Bible in its entirety? The problem is not with biblical clarity on this issue but with willful biblical illiteracy. Biblical ignorance is not an excuse that will work on judgment day.

What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Is homosexuality a sin?

Answer: In some people’s minds, being homosexual is as much outside one’s control as the color of your skin and your height. On the other hand, the Bible clearly and consistently declares that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1–13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26–27; 1Corinthians 6:9). *

The Scriptures:

“Thou shalt not lie with mankind, as with womankind: it is abomination.” (Leviticus 18:22)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on the passage from Leviticus:

“Thou shall not lie with mankind as with womankind, By carnal knowledge of them, and carnal copulation with them, and mixing bodies in like manner: this is the sin commonly called sodomy, from the inhabitants of Sodom, greatly addicted to it, for which their city was destroyed by fire: those that are guilty of this sin, are, by the apostle, called “abusers of themselves with mankind”, 1 Corinthians 6:9, it is abomination; it is so to God, as the above instance of his vengeance shows, and ought to be abominable to men, as being not only contrary to the law of God, but even contrary to nature itself, and what is never to be observed among brute creatures.” (1)

Moses continues:

“If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:13)

The next entries are from the Apostle Paul:

“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 1:27 ESV)

From the Pulpit Commentary on Romans 1:27:

“Verse 27. – And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet. By the “recompense” (ἀντιμισθίαν) is meant here, not any further result, such as disease or physical prostration, but the very fact of their being given up to a state in which they can crave and delight in such odious gratifications of unnatural lust. It is the ἀντιμισθία τῆς πλάνης αὐτῶν, the final judgment on them for going astray from God. And surely to the pure-minded there is no more evident token of Divine judgment than the spectacle of the unnatural cravings and indulgence of the sated sensualist.” (2)

“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.” (1Corinthians 6:9 ESV)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1Corinthians 6:9:

“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.” (3)

“The sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine.” (1Timothy 1:10 ESV)

Again from Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 1Timothy 1:10:

“The two next terms express violaters of the seventh commandment, whether by fornication, adultery, incest, sodomy, or any beastly lusts.

Men-stealers; the word signifieth such as carry men into captivity, or make slaves of them in the first place; it signifies also any stealing of men. It is probable the first of these is the man-stealing principally intended, being the most common sin by pirates at sea, and soldiers at land; yet not excluding any other stealing of men from their relations, which he instanceth in, as one of the highest violations of the eighth commandment. By liars, he meaneth such as knowingly speak what is false, especially to the prejudice of others.

By perjured persons he means such as swear falsely. And cause it would be too long to reckon up all kinds of sinners, he comprehends them all in a general phrase, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine, that is, the holy and pure truth of God, that is not corrupted, but judges aright of good and evil:

for these he saith the law is made, that is, to deter from such crimes, or to condemn for them; but not to terrify such who either never were guilty of such flagitious crimes, or if they have been guilty, yet are now washed, and sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God, as the apostle speaks, 1Corinthians 6:11. The law (as the apostle here saith) was never made to terrify, or to condemn and affright, these, for, Romans 8:1: There is no condemnation to those that are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.” (4)

Jude the brother of James declares:

“Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire.” (Jude 1:7)

Comments:

The New Testament passages along with the Levitical passages considered thus far, if taken at face value are overwhelming in answering the question of our study. What we have seen to this point on homosexuality seems irrefutable. The Bible states that homosexual activity is a sin.

In hermeneutics, the literal interpretation or face value reading of a text is usually correct. It is also similar to an approach known as Occam’s razor. This principle says a simpler solution is more likely to be correct. If the reader has read pro-homosexual interpretations of the Scriptures, the simpler face value interpretation is discarded. See the link below for interaction with pro-homosexual interpretations of biblical texts with theologian Greg Bahnsen.

From Strong’s Lexicon:

From a previous, study the definition of sexual immorality comes from the Greek word porneia. Porneia can also be translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It can include adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between unmarried individuals, and homosexuality.

Sexual immorality Πορνεία (Porneia) Strong’s Greek 4202: Fornication, whoredom, met: idolatry. From porneuo; harlotry; figuratively, idolatry.

The reader is encouraged to obtain the following book.

Selections from Homosexuality A Biblical View by Greg Bahnsen:

From the preface

“Historically Christians have taught that people do not have an unlimited right to do with their bodies as they please. Such a view is undermined today by defenders of three discernible and outspoken factions in our culture: feminists, abortionists, and homosexuals. Ethical questions pertaining to this last group are examined in the present study. While specific variations within sexual identity and orientation are recognized, the general term homosexual will be used here for any person, male or female (thus including lesbians), who engages in sexual relations with members of the same sex or who desires to do so. Homosexuality is an affectional attraction to or active sexual relation with a person of the same sex.

The ironic problem with the modern discussion of homosexuality is its virtually uncritical perpetuation of cultural prejudices — despite its espoused open mindedness and neutralized bias. Certain questionable assumptions in ethics, the human sciences, and political thought have misled our society toward tolerance for homosexuality in personal, ecclesiastical, and civil spheres. Study of the Scriptures should bring one to contest those popular assumptions and has convinced me that homosexuality ought to be challenged in all three of these areas. Individuals should disapprove of and oppose homosexuality rather than making it a civil right. We must equally insist that individuals not take a holier-than-thou attitude toward homosexual sin, that churches faithfully proclaim the goodness of deliverance to homosexuals, and that the state not persecute them by entrapment, invasion of privacy, or intentionally selective and uneven attention.”

From Chapter Two

“God’s verdict on homosexuality is inescapably clear. His law is a precise interpretation of the sexual order of creation for fallen man, rendering again His intention and direction for sexual relations. When members of the same sex (homo-sexual) practice intercourse with each other (expressed by the idiom “to lie with,” shakar eth), they violate God’s basic creation order in a vile or abominable fashion. Throughout Leviticus we see God’s absolute standards for purity; in the sexual realm one may not profanely use the creation of God, “uncovering the nakedness” of man, woman, or beast indiscriminately. Sexual relations must be conducted within God-given boundaries.

What was revealed in the creation account and the history of Sodom has been confirmed in statutory form. The Lord will not tolerate homosexuality. However, it is not surprising that those who suppress the implications of sexual differentiation at creation and who reinterpret the sin of Sodom have also attempted to mitigate the condemnation of God’s law regarding homosexuality.

Some attempts are hardly worth refuting. We are told that love is the only issue in any sexual relationship, and therefore it would be submitting to a double standard of morality for the Christian to condone heterosexual love-making and condemn homosexual love-making. As their argument goes, God surely would not expect the manner of attaining sexual gratification to be made important, setting down a standard that commends one sexual preference while condemning another. Such a rationale not only ignores the specific revelation of God in Leviticus 18:22 and 20:13, where it is clear that God does indeed regard the specific manner of one’s sexual gratification to be morally important, but also it easily can be reduced to absurdity (e.g., “surely God would not have a double standard regarding the attainment of money, distinguishing between work and theft”).

New Testament confirmation of the Old Testament ethic regarding homosexuality.

For this reason God gave them over to degrading passions; for their women exchanged the natural function for that which is unnatural, and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error . . . And although they know the ordinance of God, that those who practice such things [the sins listed in verses 28-31] are worthy of death, they not only do the same, but also give hearty approval to those who practice them.

In this context, Paul was teaching that the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against those who turn from their proper relationship to the Creator; suppressing the truth of God, they resort to various forms of idolatry, serving the creature with darkened minds and foolish reasoning. In response, God gives them over to impure lusts and the dishonoring of their bodies specifically, to homosexuality, which in turn stimulates further depravities. Men who give up God and His law are eventually given up by God to wander in morally polluted practices that become a way of life. Specifically, the penalty for man’s rebellion against the true service to God is homosexuality, which Paul described with reinforcing disapprobation as “impurity,” “dishonoring of the body,” “degrading passions,” “indecent acts” (or “shameless deeds”), “error,” the “improper” activity of a “depraved mind.” Homosexuality exchanges the natural use of sex for unnatural sexual practices, thereby evidencing immoral perversion in the most intimate of human relations and being “worthy of death.” The best commentary on this teaching is found in the Old Testament, upon which Paul drew heavily.

Scripture’s most obvious condemnation of homosexuality as intrinsically immoral is found in this Romans passage. Nevertheless, there are those who seek to evade its straightforward indictment. In the first place there are those who maintain that Paul did not single out homosexuality as especially offensive among sins; it is not taken up as a subject in its own right but merely dealt with incidentally among the results of a perverted relationship to God presented simply as part of a broader pattern of pagan excesses.”

From Chapter Four

“An ever-increasing flow of rhetoric from unorthodox churchmen maintains that homosexuality should be normalized and that the church should side with homosexuals as an oppressed minority. The propaganda can get quite heavy in this regard: “homosexuals are the scapegoats for fears felt by the majority in the church,” “homosexuality is at base a heterosexual problem (inability to cope with one’s own inverted feelings),” “a condemning church and society are to blame for the promiscuity among homosexuals,” “homosexual marriage should not be precluded simply because there is no possibility of conception,” “it is a pitiful irony that the agency for proclaiming God’s gracious and loving activity should behave so ungraciously and unlovingly toward people who simply have a different sexual orientation,” and so on. These and similar charges are part of a campaign launched on the persuasive force of emotion rather than substantial exegesis, ethical reasoning, and good arguments. The aim of such accusations is, as many authors admit, to convince opponents of homosexuality that they are in fact the guilty party, persecutors of healthy and brave people who want only the normal rights of any human beings and acceptance in the church.

In contrast to such delusive personal opinions, Paul clearly and authoritatively placed homosexuals outside the kingdom of God. In 1Corinthians 6:9, 10 he wrote: “Do not be led astray; neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” Paul was very specific. Whereas all the other sins on this list are simply repeated from 1Corinthians 5:9-11 (a similar catalogue of sins), the sins of sexual immorality are amplified into specific forms: fornication, adultery, and homosexuality. And the latter category of sexual immorality is further detailed: Paul excluded from God’s kingdom both malakoi and arsenokoitai. The former (literally meaning “soft, gentle,” and in moral contexts “yielding, or remiss”) refers to those who allow themselves to be homosexually misused, taking the passive role; the latter is in the masculine gender and is a compound from the words for “male” and “bed” (English transliteration, “coitus,” from its Greek euphemism), thereby referring to men who have intercourse with men; it is analogous to the Old Testament reference to men who go to bed with (“lie with”) other males — i.e., those who take the active role in a homosexual relation.

Paul introduced this list of those who are excluded from God’s kingdom with the phrase, “do not be led astray.” This seems to have been a technical expression used by Paul to charge Christians not to participate in the sins of pagans. It parallels Old Testament passages such as Leviticus 18:24-30, where God’s people were instructed not to practice the abominations that characterized reprobate nations. “Do not be led astray,” indicates that it is precisely in such matters, as this that men deceive themselves, rationalizing that God cannot mean His moral demands seriously. This fundamental error is encountered increasingly today in the form of ingenious but wayward defenses of homosexuality.

It must be concluded that practicing homosexuals should not be admitted to the church and, even more certainly, to its ordained offices. Rather the church must declare with Paul, “The body is not for immorality, but for the Lord.” The bodies of those who belong to Christ are members of Christ, temples of the Holy Spirit, and they are bought with a redemptive price; therefore, Christians must flee immorality and glorify God in their bodies. Since homosexuals give manifest evidence that they are unsubmissive to these requirements and commit abominable sins against their own bodies, they cannot make a credible profession of faith in the Savior without repentance from and repudiation of this sin.

To those supporters of homosexuality who argue, contrary to Paul’s teaching in 1Corinthians 6, that homosexuals deserve to be accepted as such into the church and that Paul’s condemnation of them is not to be taken seriously today, we must point out Paul’s further warning in 1Corinthians 14:37-38. Anyone who does not recognize the things, which Paul wrote as the Lord’s commandment, is himself not recognized by the Lord, nor is he a spiritual man. By this, the church can know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error: the one who genuinely knows God will listen to the apostles, and the one who is not from God will not listen. As apostolic doctrine is a mark of the church of Christ, those modern assemblies that admit practicing homosexuals to membership and ordination jeopardize their Christian status — the very charge they level against churches that obey the apostolic instruction and “ungraciously” refuse admission to unrepentant homosexuals.

In conclusion, the response of the church to the homosexual must be that of Paul in Romans 12:1, 2, urging them by the mercies of God to present their bodies as living and holy sacrifices to God, not conformed to this world but transformed by the renewing of their minds, so that they may prove the good, acceptable, and perfect will of God. To that end, the church excludes unrepentant homosexuals and evangelizes them, showing the gospel to be the basis of forgiveness before God as well as the power of ethical renewal. When converted by God’s grace, the homosexual must be wholeheartedly received by the church as a person for whom Christ died, and the church must exercise the same care and admonition toward him as for all repentant sinners. Encouraging the converted homosexual in his new life includes instruction in the means of grace, active Christian fellowship, and informed and practical pastoral counsel.

In short, the church must both express strong disapproval of homosexuality as a vile sin and engage in an effort to bring God’s powerful and good news to bear on the lives of homosexuals. Here as always the Christian must strive in sincerity to speak Christ’s full Word as from God, manifesting the knowledge of Him in every place, and thus being either an aroma from death to death or an aroma from life to life.” (5)

In closing:

Jesus never directly addressed the subject of homosexuality. To use this silence as an argument in support of homosexuality is to use a fallacious argument, namely, an argument from silence.

Jesus did speak to a topic that has implications on a relevant lifestyle question, that of marriage:

“And he answered and said unto them, have ye not read, that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female, And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?” (Matthew 19:4-5)

In Matthew 19:4-5 Jesus is quoting from Genesis 1:27, 2:24.

Can someone genuinely repent from homosexuality and live life as a heterosexual or as a single person living chaste and struggling with acknowledged unwanted sexual desires? 1Corinthians 6:11 must be consulted for an answer to this question. In 1Corinthians 6:9 Paul mentions “the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality” inherit the kingdom of God.

Then Paul says:

“And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.” (1Corinthians 6:11)

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible get right to the point on the phrase “And such were some of you:”

“And such were some of you, not all, but some of them; and of these everyone was not guilty of all these crimes; but some had been guilty of one, and others of another; so that they had been all committed by one or another of them. The Corinthians were a people very much given to uncleanness and luxury, without measure (i), which was the ruin of their state: and among these wicked people God had some chosen vessels of salvation; who are put in mind of their former state, partly for their present humiliation, when they considered what they once were, no better than others, but children of wrath, even as others; and partly to observe to them, and the more to illustrate and magnify the grace of God in their conversion, pardon, justification, and salvation; as also to point out to them the obligations that lay upon them to live otherwise now than they formerly did.” (6)

In conclusion, we believe that Paul is speaking the Word of God; and it is possible by the goodness of God, which leads men to repentance (Romans 2:4) that a sexually immoral person can be changed and live a pure life.

Notes:

1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Leviticus, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 279.

2. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Romans, Vol.18., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 13.

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

4. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 774-775.

5. Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality A Biblical View, (Phillipsburg, New Jersey, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing CO.), pp. 5-6; 36-37; 48-49; 87-89; 98-99.

6. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1Corinthians, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 117.

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

For more study:

* Homosexuality https://www.gotquestions.org/homosexuality-Bible.html

Recommended Reading:

Greg Bahnsen, Homosexuality a Biblical View

Interaction with pro-homosexual interpretations with theologian Greg Bahnsen Use the following link to down load Homosexuality a Biblical View See; 4.The Response of the Church https://veritasdomain.files.wordpress.com/…/homosexuality-g…

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, an English professor’s journey into the Christian faith

Rosaria Champagne Butterfield, Openness Unhindered

Rosaria Butterfield’s website is at https://rosariabutterfield.com/

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What does the Bible say about Fornication?

What does the Bible say about Fornication? By Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. Unfortunately, among young people today in nondenominational evangelistic churches, biblical reasons from abstaining for sex before marriage are said to be unclear.

Doctrinal uncertainty like this is shocking in light of the numerous warnings in Scripture about sexual immorality. How many of those saying such a thing have read the New Testament in its entirety? The problem is not with biblical clarity on this issue but with willful biblical illiteracy. Biblical ignorance is not an excuse that will work on judgment day.

The Scriptures:

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

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

“For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries (μοιχεῖαι moicheiai), sexual immorality (πορνεῖαι porneiai), thefts, false witness, and blasphemies.” (Matthew 15:19)

“Flee fornication (πορνείαν porneian). Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication (πορνεύων porneuōn) sinneth against his own body.” (1Corinthians 6:18)

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

“But sexual immorality (Πορνεία Porneia), and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints.” (Ephesians 5:3)

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

Glossary of terms and entries from Strong’s Lexicon:

Definition of fornication: Fornication is voluntary sexual intercourse between two people not married to each other. In contemporary usage, the term is often replaced with extramarital sex.

Fornication πορνείαν (porneian) Strong’s Greek 4202: Fornication, whoredom, met: idolatry. From porneuo; harlotry; figuratively, idolatry.

Definition of adultery: Voluntary sexual intercourse between a married person and someone other than that person’s current spouse.

Adultery ἐμοίχευσεν (emoicheusen) Strong’s Greek 3431: To commit adultery (of a man with a married woman, but also of a married man). From moichos, to commit adultery.

Definition of sexual immorality:

Sexual immorality comes from the Greek word porneia. Porneia can also be translated as “whoredom,” “fornication,” and “idolatry.” It is primarily used of premarital sex. It can include adultery, prostitution, sexual relations between unmarried individuals, and homosexuality

Sexual immorality Πορνεία (Porneia) Strong’s Greek 4202: Fornication, whoredom, met: idolatry. From porneuo; harlotry; figuratively, idolatry.

Synonyms for fornication:
Adultery, illicit intercourse, unlicensed intercourse, promiscuousness, extramarital sex, premarital sex, carnality, unchastely, lewdness, licentiousness, unfaithfulness, whoredom, harlotry, prostitution, and concubinage.

Clarifying comments:

Fornication refers to sexual relations outside of marriage whereas; the term sexual immorality is broader and covers many illicit sexual practices. Whenever the Scriptures call believers to flee from sexual immorality, it includes premarital sex.

The Scriptures tell believers to “flee,” to “put to death,” and speaking of sexual sins, “let it not be once named among you.” The apostle Paul calls sexual sins “the works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19. Paul clearly says, “For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Romans 8:13).

Fornication, Fornicator – 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; 1Corinthians 5:1; 1Corinthians 6:13, 1Corinthians 6:18; 2Corinthians 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,” 1Corinthians 5:9-11; 1Corinthians 6:9; Ephesians 5:5, RV; 1Timothy 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. (1)

Now for an outstanding overview of sexual immorality!

Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology – Immorality, Sexual:

Immorality, Sexual

Interpersonal activity involving sex organs that does not conform to God’s revealed laws governing sexuality. The account of creation (Gen 1:1-28) includes reproductive activity as an essential part of the developmental scheme. This important function is given special prominence in the narrative describing the creation of woman (Gen 2:21-24). In a process cloaked in mystery, God takes an aspect (Heb. sela, improperly translated “rib” in many versions) of Adam and fashions it into a genetic counterpart that is specifically female, and which matches Adam’s maleness for purposes of reproducing the species. Adam and Eve are thus equal and complementary to one another, of the same physical and genetic composition apart from the slight difference that governs the characteristic nature of male and female fetuses. God tells them to “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill all the earth and subdue it” (Gen 1:28).

In normal males, the sex drive is a powerful biological and emotional force that is often difficult to control satisfactorily, particularly when it expresses itself in aggressive terms. But in the early narratives dealing with human family life there are no specific regulations for sexual behavior apart from the statement that Eve’s husband will be the object of her carnal desires (Gen 3:16). As the world’s population grows, so do the human misdemeanors (Gen 6:5-6), which seem to include mixed marriages (Gen 6:2) and possible sexual perversions, although the latter are not mentioned explicitly. At the same time there are certain situations of a sexual nature that are to be avoided by followers of the Lord. The shame associated with the exposure of male genitalia and the penalties that might accrue to observers (Gen 19:22-25) illustrates one form of prohibited sex-related activity. This represents the beginning of later Jewish traditions that held that nakedness was shameful.

In the patriarchal age, homosexuality was a prominent part of Canaanite culture, as the incident involving Lot in Sodom illustrates (Gen 19:1-9). So rampant was sexual perversion in that place that in later times the name of the city became synonymous with homosexual behavior. God’s judgment upon such a perversion of sexuality was to destroy the city and its corrupt inhabitants.

When God entered into a covenant relationship with the Israelites on Mount Sinai (Exod. 24:1-11), his intent was to assemble and foster a select group of human beings who would be obedient to him, worship him as their one and only true God, and live under his direction in community as a priestly kingdom and a holy nation (Exod. 19:6). Holiness demands adherence to certain stringent rules regarding worship and general conduct, but also requires a complete commitment of will and motive to the Lord’s commandments.

Because of the gross promiscuity of surrounding nations, whose behavior the Israelites are warned periodically to avoid, the covenant Lord reveals through Moses a collection of strict regulations that are to govern Israelite sexuality and morality. If these directives are followed, the individual and the community alike can expect blessing. But if the Israelites lapse into the immoral ways of nations such as Egypt and Canaan, they will be punished. God’s keen interest in the sexuality of his chosen people has two objectives: to exhibit Israel to the world as a people fulfilling his standards of holiness, and to ensure that, in the process, they enjoy physical, mental, and moral health.

The pronouncements on sexuality given to Moses while the Israelites are encamped at Mount Sinai occur in two separate places in Leviticus (18:6-23; 20:10-21). It should be remembered that Leviticus (the “Levite” book) comprises a technical priestly manual dealing with regulations governing Israelite worship and the holiness of the covenant community. God had chosen the covenant nation to be an illustration to pagan society of how individuals can become as holy as God through implicit faith in him and continuous obedience to his commandments. By setting out guidelines for the priests to teach to the Israelites, God promulgates explicitly a catalog of what is, and is not, acceptable social, moral, and spiritual behavior. In the distinctions between clean and unclean that occur in various parts of the priestly handbook, the emphasis is on that purity of life that should characterize God’s people. Enactments of this kind are unique in the ancient world, and only serve to demonstrate the seriousness of God’s intent to foster a people that can indeed have spiritual fellowship with their Lord because they reflect his holy and pure nature as they walk in the way of his commandments.

A closer look must now be taken at the regulations governing sexuality. In Leviticus 18:6-23, the matter is approached by the use of denunciations to describe immoral behavior. These fall into two groups, one dealing with carnal associations among people closely related by blood (consanguinity), and the other governing the sexual behavior of persons related through marriage (affinity). Accordingly a man is prohibited from copulating with his mother or any other wife belonging to his father; a sister or half-sister, a daughter-in-law or a granddaughter, an aunt on either side of the family, a woman and her daughter or her son’s daughter or daughter’s daughter, a wife’s sister as a rival wife, a neighbor’s wife, and a woman during the menses. Homosexuality is castigated as reprehensible morally, and bestiality is condemned summarily. Everything forbidden had already led to the moral defilement of the nations surrounding Israel, and for these perversions they are to fall under divine judgment (v. 24).

Homosexuality is described in the Mosaic legislation in terms of a man lying with a man “as one lies with a woman” (Lev. 18:22; 20:13), that is, for purposes of sexual intercourse. The practice originated in humanity’s remote past, and appears to have formed part of Babylonian religious activities. The Canaanites regarded their male and female cultic prostitutes as “holy persons,” meaning that they were dedicated specifically to the service of a god or goddess, not that they were exemplars of moral purity in society. While general condemnations of homosexuality occur in Leviticus, none of the pagan Near Eastern religions thought it either necessary or desirable to enact comparable legislation, since for them such activities were all part of normal religious life in temples or other places of cultic worship.

In general, homosexuality in Mesopotamia is not documented to any extent in surviving tablets, but that it was a widespread problem in the Middle Assyrian period (1300-900b.c.) is indicated by the fact that legislation from that time stipulates that an offender, when caught, should be castrated. This judicial sentence, when compared with the Hebrew prescription of death (Lev 20:13), shows that in Mesopotamian society the offense was regarded as a secondary civic infraction. While homosexuality seems to have been a recognized part of Hittite life, their laws nevertheless prescribe execution for a man who sodomizes his son.

Hebrew tradition, in contrast, is emphatic in condemning homosexuality, even though some Israelites succumbed to it. In Deuteronomy 23:18, male cultic prostitutes, and perhaps homosexuals also, are castigated as “dogs,” which is most probably the significance of the term in Revelation 22:15. Since the dog was generally despised by the Hebrews as an unclean animal, serving much the same scavenging purpose as the vulture (1Kings 22:38), the disparaging nature of the allusion is evident.

Bestiality, defined in terms of a man or woman having sexual relations with an animal (Lev 18:23; 20:15-16), is stigmatized in the Mosaic enactments as a defilement for a man and a sexual perversion for a woman. It appears to have been fairly common in antiquity (Lev 18:24), being indulged in by the Mesopotamians, Egyptians, and Hittites.

The shorter list of prohibited relationships in Leviticus 20:10-21 deals with many of the same offenses, but also prescribes punishments for such violations of Israel’s moral code. Thus a man who commits adultery with his neighbor’s wife is to be executed, along with his sexual partner. This is also the penalty for a man who defiles his father’s wife or his daughter-in-law, because such activity constitutes sexual perversion as defined by God’s laws. Homosexuality is once again condemned, and the sexual perverts sentenced to death. The marriage of a man, a woman, and her mother is deemed wicked, and the offenders sentenced to be burned with fire so as to expunge completely the wickedness of the act from the holy community. Bestiality, condemned already as a perversion, is regarded as a capital offense, which includes the animal also.

The marriage of a man with his sister from either side of the family is declared a highly immoral union, and the participants are to be put to death. The same is true of a man and a woman engaging in sexual activity during the woman’s menstrual period. Such blood is considered highly defiling, and a gross violation of the purity that God desires as the norm for Israel’s social behavior. The seriousness with which God assesses his holiness is reflected in the severe penalties prescribed for the infractions listed above. The phrase “their blood will be on their own heads” is a euphemism for capital punishment. Sexual relations between a man and his aunt, or between a man and his brother’s wife, are regarded as dishonoring the legal spouses, and are accorded the lesser sentence of childlessness. In some cases, however, this is tantamount to causing the death of the family, a prospect that few Hebrews could contemplate with equanimity. In Deuteronomy 25:5-10, the law allows a man to marry his deceased brother’s childless wife so as to rear a son for his brother’s family, but this is very different from a man marrying his brother’s wife while her legal husband is still alive.

There are important reasons why these enactments were part of ancient Hebrew law. Moral purity and spiritual dedication were fundamental requisites if the chosen people were to maintain their distinctive witness to God’s power and holiness in society. The prohibitions reinforced the traditional emphasis on family honor, since the family was the building block of society. It had to be maintained at all costs if society was to survive. Any marriage relationship that was too close would have exerted a devastating effect on community solidarity by provoking family feuds that could last for centuries.

Serious problems would also have arisen through inter marriage when the result of such unions was the concentration of lands and riches in the hands of a few Hebrew families. For modern observers, however, the greatest danger by far would have resulted from the pollution of the genetic pool because of inbreeding. The bulk of the relationships prohibited by the legislation involved first and second degrees of consanguinity, that is, parent-child and grandparent-grandchild incest. Coition within the forbidden degrees of family relationships generally results in genetic complications when offspring are produced. Recessive genes often become dominant and endow the fetus with various kinds of diseases or congenital malformations. This seems to have been the force of the Hebrew tebel [l, b, T], a word that occurs only in Leviticus 18:23 and 20:12. It comes from balal [l; l’ B], meaning “to confuse,” and conveys aptly the genetic upheaval that occurs in many cases of inbreeding, since God’s rules for procreation have been upset. Only in a few instances does close inbreeding produce beneficial effects by removing recessive lethal genes from the genetic pool. (This may have happened in the case of ancient Egyptian royalty.) Nevertheless, even in such instances, inbreeding diminishes the energy and vigor of species that are normally outbred, and reinforces the wisdom and authority of the Mosaic legislation.

When God entered into a covenant relationship with the Israelites he furnished them with certain fundamental regulations engraved in stone to symbolize their permanence. These “Ten Commandments,” as they are styled, contain certain injunctions of a moral character dealing with adultery, theft, false witness, and covetous behavior (Exod. 20:14-19).The last three offenses are social in character, involving the community of God to a greater or lesser degree. But the commandment prohibiting adultery deals with an act of a highly personal nature, occurring between normally consenting adults, which violates the “one flesh” character of marriage.

The fact that a commandment deals specifically with this form of behavior seems to indicate that adultery was common among the ancient Hebrews. At all events, adultery was understood as sexual intercourse between a man and another man’s wife or betrothed woman. Similarly, any act of coition between a married woman and a man who was not her husband was also regarded as adultery. Certain exceptions to these stringent rules were tolerated in Old Testament times, however. A man was not considered an adulterer if he engaged in sexual relations with a female slave (Gen 16:1-4), a prostitute (Gen 38:15-18), or his wife’s handmaid with the spouse’s permission (Gen 16:4). Nor was a man deemed to be in an adulterous relationship if he happened to be married to two wives.

The traditions banning adultery, made specific in the Decalog, were enshrined deeply in Israel’s national life. The prophets warn that divine judgment will descend upon those who practice it (Jer. 23:11-14; Ezek. 22:11; Mal 3:5). The Book of Proverbs, however, takes more of a social than a specifically moral view of adultery, ridiculing it as a stupid pattern of behavior that leads a man to self-destruction (6:25-35). The prophets use the term figuratively to describe the covenant people’s lack of fidelity to the high ideals of Mount Sinai. The prophets view the covenant as equivalent to a marriage relationship between God and Israel (Isa 54:5-8). Any breach of the covenant, therefore, is an act of spiritual adultery (Jer. 5:7-8; Ezek. 23:37).

In his teachings Jesus stands firmly in the traditions of the Mosaic law and prophecy by regarding adultery as sin. But he extends the definition to include any man who lust sin his mind after another woman, whether she is married or not. It is thus unnecessary for any physical contact to take place, since the intent is already present (Matt 5:28). By this teaching Jesus demonstrates that, under the new covenant, motivation is to be considered just as seriously as the mechanical act of breaking or keeping a particular law. The motivation of a believer should always be of the purest kind, enabling obedience to God’s will freely from the heart, and not just because the law makes certain demands.

Whereas the female is cast in an inferior, passive role in the Old Testament sexual legislation, Jesus considers the woman as equal to the man in his teachings about divorce and remarriage. In consequence the woman has to bear equal responsibility for adultery. Much discussion has taken place about Christ’s return to the strict marriage ideals of Genesis 2:24 (Mark 10:6) and the explanatory clause “except for marital unfaithfulness” (Matt 5:32; 19:9), which allows for remarriage after divorce and which does not occur in either Mark 10:11 or Luke 16:18.

Before New Testament technical terms are discussed, it is important to realize that Christ was directing his teaching at the new age of grace, which in his death was to render Old Testament legal traditions ineffective. The Mosaic Law was specific about the conditions under which divorce could occur. The wife had fallen into disfavor because her husband had found something unclean or indecent about her, and therefore he was entitled to divorce her. Jesus teaches that this procedure was allowed by God as a concession to human obduracy (Matt 19:8), even though the Creator hated divorce.

In New Testament times, only the man was able to institute divorce proceedings. It was in reality, however, a rare occurrence, and at that mostly the prerogative of the rich, since poor men could not afford another dowry or “bride price” for a subsequent marriage. The accused woman was protected under the law to the extent that her husband’s accusations had to be proved. Thus some scholars have seen the Matthean explanatory clause as indicating immorality as the sole ground for divorce, following the contemporary rabbinical school of Shammai, and not for some purely frivolous cause, as the school of Hillel taught. If this explanation is correct, Jesus was addressing a Jewish controversy that had no bearing on God’s marriage ideals in the age of grace, and which Mark and Luke consequently ignored because the exception did not apply to their audiences of Christian believers.

The most common term in the New Testament for sexual immorality is porneia [porneiva], and its related forms pornos [povrno] and porneuo [porneuvw]. An emphatic form of the verb, ekporneuo [ejkporneuvw], “indulging in sexual immorality, occurs in Jude 7. These words have been translated variously into English, some renderings for an immoral person being “who remonger,” “fornicator,” “loose liver,” and “sexually immoral.” The term pornos [povrno] refers to a man who engages in coition with a porne [povrnh], or female prostitute. The extended description of wanton immorality in Romans 1:24-32 discusses women spurning natural sexual relationships for unnatural ones, that is, indulging in lesbian activities of the kind practiced at Lesbos in pagan Greek religious ceremonies. The males are described as inflamed with lust for one another, and this leads to indecent and immoral behavior. In 1Corinthians, 6:9 the sexually immoral are classified as adulterers, male prostitutes, and homosexual offenders. In 1Timothy 1:10, sexually immoral people are described comprehensively as adulterers and perverts.

The New Testament contains far less teaching about sexual immorality than the Old Testament, on which Christian morals and ethics are based. The Mosaic Law condemned adultery, but placed less emphasis on prohibiting some other sexual offenses. In the end, disregard for the Mosaic enactments brought Israel to ruin and this made it important for the Christian church to distinguish carefully, among other matters, between adultery as a sin and porneia [porneiva], which was a fatal perversion.

The New Testament requires believers to deny physical and spiritual lusting after people and false gods, and to conduct their behavior at a high moral and spiritual level. Sexual activity is to be confined to the marriage relationship, and if a married man or woman has sexual intercourse with someone other than the spouse, that person has committed adultery. To be most satisfying for the Christian, sexual activity must reflect the values of self-sacrificing love and the unity of personality to which the Christian’s reconciliation to God by the atoning work of Jesus brings the believing couple. R. K. Harrison (2)

In closing:

There is no excuse for someone to plead ignorance of the biblical teaching on sex outside of marriage, i.e. fornication.

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

2. Walter A. Elwell, Editor, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 367-371.

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: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

Counting the Cost of Sexual Immorality by Randy Alcorn https://www.epm.org/…/counting-the-cost-of-sexual-immorality
Paul Washer | 1 Thessalonians 4:1-3 | Abstain from Sexual Immorality | https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQPRp2K8LjA

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A Christian Review of Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich”

A Christian Review of Napoleon Hill’s “Think & Grow Rich” by Jack Kettler

This book is challenging to review in light of the amalgamation of truth and error contained therein.

In this review, I will cover the biblical admonitions regarding the obtaining of wealth, a brief biological sketch of Napoleon Hill, followed by a survey of his ideas on business success. The reader will be amazed at some of Hill’s brilliant and at the same time, common sense ideas of obtaining wealth.

To begin this review, I would be negligent as a Christian, not to mention the Biblical admonitions against the “deceitfulness of riches” Matthew 13:22 and our Lord’s warning that “you cannot serve God and Mammon” Luke 16:13. As Christians, we are instructed to “seek first the Kingdom of God” Matthew 6:33. In case there is any confusion at this point, I do not equate money as being evil. The distinction I see is stated by the apostle Paul when he tells us, “For the Love of Money is the root of all evil” 1Timothy 6:10.

If the reader is to take anything away from this review, it should be how to approach the topic of gaining wealth and success and excellence in business by being fully aware of the personal motives behind this desire. Have you been influenced by the ways of this world? Consider this: “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world and lose his soul?” Mark 8:36.

As Christians, we should desire success and excellence in our endeavors not only to be a witness for Christ but also to bring glory to God. The Bible gives us instructions on life, if followed will not lead to poverty. Negatively, we are neither to be a “sluggard” Proverbs 20:4 nor “to love sleep” Proverbs 20:13. Positively: “…diligent hands bring wealth” Proverbs 10:4 “The plans of the diligent lead to profit…” Proverbs 21:5. Finally, from Proverbs 31:10-31, is the praise given to the noble or virtuous woman.

I see several positive guidelines for achieving success and excellence in business in Napoleon Hill’s book. Conversely, there are sections and material in Hill’s book that are antithetical to Christian beliefs and practice that the reader should be aware of.

First, I will offer the briefest biographical sketch and then a survey of some of the positive material in the book. In the concluding section, I will point out some of the biblically speaking problematic areas of Hill’s theories. This review is limited to Hill’s book “Think & Grow Rich” and not to his work in future years, although I will comment on it.

Napoleon Hill was born on Oct. 26, 1883 and died Nov. 8 1970. Hill is best known as the author of one of the best-selling books of all time called “Think & Grow Rich.” Napoleon Hill is the father of what can be described as personal success or motivational literature. Hill’s biographer, Michael J. Ritt, Jr., tells us that he was born in poverty in a one-room cabin in the town of Pound Virginia, a rural area. At the age of 13, he began writing for small-town newspapers. He used his earnings as a reporter to enter law school but had to drop out for monetary reasons.

The turning point in his career happened with his assignment, to write a series of articles about famous men and to interview the wealthy industrialist Andrew Carnegie. Hill learned that Carnegie believed the process of success could be explained in a simple formula that could be learned and put into practice by the average person. Carnegie was impressed with Hill and subsequently commissioned him and provided him with letters of reference so that he could interview over 500 successful men and women to discover and publish this formula for success. This project went on for 20 years and culminated in Hill becoming an advisor to Carnegie and the publication of “Think & Grow Rich.” The knowledge obtained from the interviews with the leaders of industry is where you find the value of Hill’s book.

It is impressive how many of Hill’s ideas are used as quotes for practical encouragement.

Some of the more common quotations of Napoleon Hill are:

· “Think and grow Rich”

· “Desire is the starting point of all achievement, not a hope, not a wish, but a keen pulsating desire which transcends everything”

· “Your big opportunity may be right where you are now”

· “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way”

· “A goal is a dream with a deadline”

· “Lack of loyalty is one of the major causes of failure in every walk of life”

· “Perseverance: The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those that fail”

· “Every adversity carries with it the seed of an equivalent or greater benefit”

· “Thoughts mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and burning desires are powerful things”

· “The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those which fail”

· “First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination”

· “If you’re not learning while you’re earning, you’re cheating yourself out of the better portion of your compensation “

· “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed”

Much of Hill’s book is an analysis of how capitalism works. Hill believed that he had discovered a principle that allows the regular everyday people to achieve success. Hill called his success teachings “The Philosophy of Achievement” and he considered freedom, democracy, and capitalism, to be important causative factors in his discovery.

Hill’s ideas would not work in a Marxist or a centralized planned economy because the tyrannical regulation and taxation would destroy anyone’s ability to strive for success since the fruits of success would be given to others who would squander it since it had no intrinsic value to them. Hill believed in personal honesty and in not cheating your fellow man or employees. The cheat or dishonest person would eventually be seen for what he is. A leader has to be one of moral and ethical integrity.

Hill believed that you achieve success by doing superior quality work, treating your customers as number one at all times, and how anyone can become successful if they overcome their personal shortcomings. Hill also incorporates a lot of good, practical business advice, like finding new opportunities created by what we would call today as disruptive technologies.

Also, key, according to Hill, is having a written business plan and not deviating from it, along with not being afraid to make mistakes as long as you grow and learn from the mistakes. If you find your strategy to be in error, you must be able to reformulate your plans. Hill believed that most people never succeed simply because of a lack of ambition or self-discipline. Relating to discipline, Hill said, “If you do not conquer self, you will be conquered by self.”

The beginning of Hill’s philosophy began first with a thought; hence the title “Think & Grow Rich.” To start, you formulate a plan mentally. It involves desire, belief, and passion, (absolutely essential for success) auto-suggestion, (a controversial area of his research) obtaining specialized knowledge, (very helpful) using the imagination, (parts of this are very controversial) organized planning, (very helpful) decision making, persistence, the mastermind group, (portions of this section is very helpful) the last three areas transmutation, the subconscious mind and finally the brain is also quite controversial and unproven. One thing is certain; ideas most certainly do have consequences. In this respect, business success beginning first with an idea is difficult to question.

As said, there are many positive ideas in “Think & Grow Rich” such as organized planning and finding a group of people who think like you and then turning those plans into reality. Hill was a believer in the fact that all successful people were successful because they are able to find like-minded people who think as they do and who could be recruited into a business venture with them. Then their abilities, talents, and passion could be utilized for the benefit of the business venture. Hill is saying, “Don’t hang around with people who don’t think as you do.” Stay away from negative people since their negativity will affect you. Our parents were correct in warning us against hanging around with the wrong crowd.

Hill’s business success ideas focused on goal setting and making sure that decisions are carried through with consistency. In the area of responsibility, it means that you are responsible for your outcomes, and it is important that failures are not something to become fixated. Everyone has failures, and we should learn from them, including figuring out what caused them to happen. Most failures involve a breakdown of vision, or a failure to plan to take advantage of a new situation that may have arisen. An individual that is focused on success should not fixate on failure. We can learn from our mistakes and grow. Mistakes can be turned into successes.

Hill’s ideas on leadership are well thought out. His eleven points on the attributes of leadership are excellent, and exactly the traits you would hope any business leader would have. Likewise, the ten major causes of the failure of leadership are also very perceptive. His 31 significant causes of failure are points that are surprisingly accurate reasons for every person who tries and fails in business. His 28 questions for self-analysis are helpful to avoid self-deception. However, his teaching on transmutation of sexual energy has probably offended or shocked many as sounding sexist. It is accurate, according to Hill, that sexual energy can be turned into creative energy and not simply wasted in vain physical affairs.

A recap of positive things from “Think & Grow Rich:”

· “Failing to plan is planning to fail”

· “Perseverance: The majority of men meet with failure because of their lack of persistence in creating new plans to take the place of those that fail”

· “A quitter never wins, and a winner never quits”

· “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed”

· “The man who does more than he is paid for will soon be paid for more than he does.”

Hill’s philosophy of success in this book was grounded in the real world to a large extent, as can be seen by his statement that: “Riches do not respond to wishes. They respond only to definite plans, backed by definite desires, through constant persistence,” and “Great achievement is usually born of great sacrifice, and is never the result of selfishness.”

As the reader works their way through the book, they will see that much of Hill’s work boils down to setting goals, and making sure that important decisions are acted upon, thus ensuring your success. Hill is saying that you must put your plans into action. Hill was a believer that a group of people on the same wave-length and positively focused is substantially greater than a group of disorganized individuals.

Of all the successful leaders Hill interviewed, all of them attributed their success to being able to see opportunities, and most importantly, in finding people who can be delegated to help achieve success. It is not enough to work hard; one must also find like-minded people, and inspire them to work hard as a team on getting things done.

This idea of recruiting and inspiring individuals so that they be delegated various responsibilities reminds me of what J. Paul Getty once wrote, “I would much rather receive 1% of the efforts of 100 men than 100% of my own.” Much of the material in Hill’s book has been tremendously helpful for those individuals involved with network marketing. To illustrate this, Hill said, “It is literally true that you can succeed best and quickest by helping others to succeed.” Those involved in the Network Marketing industry will understand and appreciate this concept.

In the first part of this review, thus far, I covered the biblical admonitions regarding the obtaining of wealth, a brief biological sketch of Napoleon Hill, followed by a survey of his ideas on business success. Now in this section of the review, I will cover the negative and outright dangers in Hill’s philosophy. In addition, I will provide two appendixes, which will answer an anticipated question plus documentation of Hill’s progression into increasingly non-biblical thought.

The Dangers found in Hill’s ideas:

Hill’s idea of auto-suggestion and visualization, especially in the area of steps to stimulate your subconscious mind into obtaining a certain amount of money, will strike many people as bizarre. It seems a little weird to visualize a stack of cash and repeating to yourself day and night that you are going to get it. It appears that this idea by Hill may have set the stage for the “name it and claim it” movement in charismatic circles. Hill, at least as of the writing of this book, did see not this visualization process as disconnected or separate from the real world of offering hard work and quality service in exchange for money. Therefore, unless you were willing to follow time-tested real-world business preparation, no amount of visualizing money, and saying you are going to get it will work.

We can say with certainty that the teaching of the Bible in this area could be stated as: you make plans to achieve a goal and then first start by placing them in God’s hand and asking for the fulfillment of these plans to happen according to His will. Hill’s auto-suggestion technique at this point in his life may be a device for mental discipline in the area of goal setting. If so, I would not have a problem with the concept if reformulated utilizing the teaching of Scripture on discipline and framed in biblical prayer rather than a rote mental exercise.

In the Bible, we are taught to discipline our minds and to be diligent. We are to bring our petitions before God on a daily basis. This would include asking God’s blessings on our business endeavors. In contradiction, Hill’s ideas on auto-suggestion, visualization, and his imaginary council meetings are where a number of dangerous errors started developing in his philosophy. In my opinion, these ideas are nothing short of spiritual blasphemy.

Along this line of thinking, as Hill’s ideas on auto-suggestion and visualization developed into increasingly unbiblical areas, which included contact with invisible spiritual beings, I have concluded that in the end, Hill was promoting outright idolatry by his technique of auto-suggestion and visualization. In Scripture, we are taught to set our affection upon the Lord God and Him only. As stated at the beginning of this review as Christians, we are instructed to “seek first the Kingdom of God” Matthew 6:33. It seems as though in Hill’s work, he was promoting seek first material wealth!

One of the most demonstratively false and dangerous things in the book is Hill’s idea that:

“Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”

This is a serious biblical error. In the Garden, the Serpent convinced Adam and Eve that they could become gods. No amount of conceiving and believing will ever make a finite person into a god. In fact, this lie of Satan is the chief lie that all human presuppositions start with. Since Hill was allegedly a Christian, it is unfortunate that he did not qualify many of his ideas with biblical limitations. Since he failed to do this, one has to question Hill’s understanding of the Christian Faith

In addition, another problematic area for a Christian is where Hill moves into some really strange and unproven ideas. He talks about a universal type of energy and powers such as telepathy, which can be supposedly used to reach into higher consciousness, and getting in touch with the minds of the great leaders in history. Hill’s imaginary counsel of leaders during the evening is an area that is where I believe he let his imagination run completely wild. He claimed that these evening meetings were purely imaginary. Some researchers believe that this practice by Hill bordered on the occult. There is strong evidence that in his future writings, he did move into what can be called Spiritism or Occultism. From a Christian perspective, Hill’s time could have been much better spent in prayer, seeking that his desire for success would truly bring glory to God.

Hill was supposedly a Christian and said that his book was not a course on religion, nor meant to interfere with a person’s faith. In spite of his disclaimers, Hill’s use of the term infinite intelligence rather than God is evidence that he had parted from any belief he may have had in the Christian Faith. Even if he had used the term God, it would not be possible to fit the biblical concept of God into some of his thoughts on the subject of obtaining success. Hill seems to see this infinite intelligence as some force that permeates the cosmos and in which all great minds are connected. This seems strikingly similar to the philosophy of idealism, a concept or theory in which all reality is ultimately reduced to a universal mind.

As stated earlier, Hill is considered the father of the positive thinking movement. This movement has led to all manner of wild speculations and metaphysical assertions, which by their very nature, are often unproven and usually unbiblical. Some followers of Hill’s theories on auto-suggestion have developed this into what appears to be nothing more than magical secret incantations to obtain material wealth and developing relationships and following the guidance of your inner-self. Developing and following guidance from your inner-self is the door-way into occultism and spiritism or in another sense, a sign of a mental disorder.

In the closing section of his book, some of his views discussed in the Six Ghost of Fear are interesting and reflect reality for many people. However, Hill denigrates the biblical concept of divine justice in this section the fear of death, which was for me, was another tip-off that Hill’s belief system was far removed from the Christian Faith.

A section from Walter Elwell’s Evangelical Dictionary has this to say that is relevant to a Christian analysis of positive thinking and thus to portions of Hill’s work:

“Theologically, positive thinking encourages a form of humanism that has often led to the development of heretical movements along the lines of New Though, Christian Science, and a variety of semi-Christian groups today. It overlooks biblical teachings about sin and the sovereignty of God to emphasize the essential goodness of humanity and the ability of people to solve their own problems through faith in their own abilities. In its Christianized form this self-faith is mediated through reference to Christian symbols, which upon closer examination are devoid of their original meaning.” (1)

The above quotation gets to the crux of the matter on the dangers inherent in the positive personal empowerment movement. We learn in Scripture that God is a sovereign God and any philosophy of personal empowerment or achievement that denigrates this has to be spoken against. If the vocation and calling you have is in business, you should strive for excellence and success all with the vision and goal of doing what is pleasing to God and for His Glory. We should always preface our plans in prayer asking first for God’s will to be done.

In fairness, Hill’s formula for business success in the book under review should not be understood simply as repeating some mantra about obtaining wealth. Hill does a fair job of guarding against this type of simplistic understanding by qualifying and stressing the necessity of planning, focusing on goals, obtaining specialized knowledge, surrounding yourself with like-minded business partners, and constant persistence and hard work. In reality, much of the book is about self-discipline, and how to prepare yourself for leadership is no easy task, yet this has been seen in all successful business leaders. This is where the value of the book for business leaders is found.

If you approach the book with some practical caution and especially biblical awareness, there are some good things you can learn from this book. On the other hand, there are certainly dangers involved with an uncritical acceptance of Hill’s philosophy of success. In this writer’s opinion, Hill should have cut about one-third of the speculative philosophy of success out of “Think & Grow Rich” and just dealt with what he learned from his interviews with successful business leaders.

A new edition needed:

It would be a good project if an abridged version of “Think & Grow Rich” could be edited and released which just contained the wisdom gleaned the 500 successful business leaders minus the unbiblical speculative philosophy. Because of the errors and the seeds of even more serious deviations from biblical truth, I can give only a very limited and qualified positive review of certain sections of “Think & Grow Rich.” Hill in my opinion was clearly a genius, yet in the end instead of glorifying God, he exalted his own finite mind. As in cases as Hill’s you have what can be described as genius run amok.

Appendix one covers documentation on how Hill moved into the occult, which seems to be the case as evidenced in his later works. It is a tragedy for someone such as Hill, who articulated so well what is involved in real-world business success to discredit himself with his involvement in occultism and spiritism ultimately. Hill, in his later books, claimed to be given information from spirit guides or ascended masters (in reality demons). Appendix two deals with my response to an anticipated question about this review.

As Christians, we are commanded by God to stay away from this type of communication. For example:

“And the soul that turneth after such as have familiar spirits, and after wizards, to go a whoring after them, I will even set my face against that soul, and will cut him off from among his people… A man also or woman that hath a familiar spirit, or that is a wizard, shall surely be put to death: they shall stone them with stones: their blood shall be upon them.” (Leviticus 20:6, 27)

Appendix one:

Material from The Christian Expositor (TCE) dialogue with one of their readers about where Hill taught things about his communication with the ascended spiritual masters.

“28th April, 2004 – TCE replies:

Thank you for your inquiry and we apologize for the delay in replying.

The answer to your questions can be found in the book in question: ”Grow Rich with Peace of Mind.”

Depending on the version read (probably between pages 158 to 162), you will find the following statements:

“Now and again I have had evidence that unseen friends hover about me, unknowable to ordinary senses. In my studies I discovered there is a group of strange beings who maintain a school of wisdom which must be ten thousand years old, but I did not connect them with myself. Now I have found there is a connection. I am not one of them! – but I have been watched by them. Here is how I found this out. I finished this book. I was alone in my study and all was very still. A voice spoke. I saw nobody. I cannot tell you whence the voice came. First it spoke a password known to few men that riveted my attention.”…. “I have come,” said the voice, “to give you one more section to include in your book…. I whispered; “Who are you?” In a softened voice, which sounded like chimes of great music, the unseen speaker replied: “I come from the Great School of the Masters. I am one of the Council of Thirty-Three who serve the Great School and its initiates on the physical plane…. The School has Masters who can disembody themselves and travel instantly to any place they choose …. Now I knew that one of these Masters had come across thousands of miles, through the night, into my study.”

“You have earned the right to reveal a Supreme Secret to others,” said the vibrant voice. “In the journey through life there is a Jungle of Life, a Black Forest through which every individual must pass alone. In the Black Forest he overcomes enemies and his own inner opposition and turmoil. … And now I shall name the enemies who must be met and conquered in the journey… The foremost is fear.” He went on to name intolerance, egotism, lust, anger and hatred and a total of 26 enemies. …”Know that one who seeks earnestly to conquer these twenty-six lurking enemies becomes an Initiate of the Great School. We know him, and he has access to the mind of a Master.” The Master concluded after another pause in the deep silence, and said: “He will not only understand the true purpose of life, but also he will have at his command the power to fulfill that purpose without having to experience another incarnation on this earthly plane. And the Masters of the Great School, on this earthly plane and all other planes, will rejoice at his triumph and will bid him God speed toward his own mastership.” … The voice ended. I began to hear little sounds of the world around me, and I knew the Master had returned to the Great School of the Masters.

Hill made similar statements in chapter two of the book “The Master Key to Riches” when he unconditionally represents ‘Eight Princes’ as distinct entities and (page 28) “my friends who have done most for me in preparing my mind for the acceptance of riches. I call them the Eight Princes. They serve me when I am awake and they serve me while I sleep.”

He further states on page 29, “My greatest asset consists in my good fortune in having recognized the existence of the Eight Princes….” Hill opens the chapter by saying that you can call them other names beside “princes” but he specifically gives them attributes of distinct beings that can impute knowledge and have powers to affect physical events. Hill states that Andrew Carnegie “was blessed with the services of the Eight Princes. The Prince of Overall Wisdom served him so well that he was inspired not only to give away all his material riches, but to provide the people with a complete philosophy of life through which they too might acquire riches.” He communicated with these beings every day expressing gratitude to each one for the named function. The exact words he used in addressing these beings are given on pages 27 through 29.

Hill refers to his communication as a “ceremony” on page 30 where he states: “Observe that I ask for nothing from the Princes, but I devote the entire ceremony to an expression of gratitude for the riches they have already bestowed upon me.” He gives further credit to theses beings: “The Princes know my needs and supply them!… Yes, they supply all of my needs in overabundance.” While discussing the philosophy of life that the princes gave, he states: “It supports all religions yet it is a part of none!”

Hill has stated in other books that he rejected the religion of his youth and believes that he is not associated with any religion but has knowledge that “supports all religion”. He states, in his early writings, that he never met these beings face to face. In other books, however, he describes how beings actually materialized in front of him and talked with him. He is clearly communicating with spiritual beings and pays some kind of homage to them, thus practicing a very old religion currently called by many “New Age” religion.

In about 1937 he wrote “Think and Grow Rich” and was communicating with an “imaginary cabinet” made up by himself of nine individuals who were long dead. He imagined them talking to himself. He claimed that knowledge came from them that he was not able to get from just thinking. He wrote (page 216) in ‘Think and Grow Rich’: “In these imaginary council meeting I call on my cabinet members for the knowledge I wished to contribute, addressing myself to each member in audible words. . . ”

“The Master Key to Riches”, was copyrighted in 1967 by Hill and he had now, apparently, stopped talking to an “imaginary cabinet” and was talking with actual unseen beings. So Hill’s journey into communication with these spirits apparently began at least as early as his 1937 book and was continued into the creation of “Grow Rich With Peace of Mind”.

Yours sincerely TCE”

This material by “TCE” is extremely damming to Hill, documenting thoroughly his descendent into spiritism after writing “Think & Grow Rich.”

Appendix 2:

I fully anticipate a question to rise along the lines of: how can I review and say anything positive about a book that contains serious errors and the seeds of even more error?

“This is a good and fair question. As Christians, we are to be conversant and to be able to speak accurately about the issues of our day. In doing this, we must be able to accurately state positions that we disagree. This requires reading and studying material; we may have substantial disagreements. As a Christian, I do not like to have my position misrepresented or misunderstood. We should be careful to extend the same courtesy to others. If there are truths stated in an author’s work, we should be able to thank and show appreciation for the things we see as true.

For example, in the area of philosophy, Christian apologists should read and be conversant in the Greek philosophy of Plato and Aristotle. Plato and his student Aristotle were two of the most brilliant minds who have ever lived. Their philosophy was so persuasive that modern philosophers have never been able to escape the ideas of these original Greek thinkers fully.

Platonic and Aristotelian philosophies are false; they nevertheless, were formally correct at various points. Plato, in particular, was formally correct in beginning his reasoning process, starting from the world of eternal ideas and moving to and interpreting the temporal earthly forms in terms of the eternal. The Christian presuppositionalist argues in a similar process.

Returning to my anticipated question, can a Christian encourage people to read Plato and Aristotle? Of course, they can, as long as qualified, much like my review of Hill’s book. I trust this digression helps answer any questions that may be raised about my review of Hill’s book.”

In closing:

As stated, this book has been difficult to review because of the mixture of truth and error. Like it or not, Hill’s book has been a classic book on starting and being successful in business and, therefore, cannot be dismissed out of hand. The book is a business classic. It is unfortunate that in Hill’s case, he promoted wildly speculative unbiblical ideas in portions of the book, thus creating controversy. As said, in this respect, Hill’s book is a challenging amalgamation of truth and error. His future books, as can be seen from the “TCE” letter, are biblically speaking, completely unusable, and spiritually dangerous.

Notes:

1. Walter A. Elwell, Editor, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 863.

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: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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The Triune nature of God and the Deity of Christ

The Triune nature of God and the Deity of Christ by Jack Kettler

Part One, an Introduction:

It is has been rare to find someone who could accurately state the Christian doctrine of the triune nature of God and at the same time, reject it. It speaks volumes when someone denies a position without understanding the position that is being rejected. If someone cannot state an opposing position, that individual does not understand it. The common reason for many in rejecting the triune nature of God is that they claim not to understand or comprehend that kind of being. If God is God and we are men, it should not surprise us that we cannot wholly comprehend God. If we could do this, then God would be nothing more than a finite entity.

On this line of reasoning about an easy to understand God, C.S. Lewis noted:

“If Christianity were something we were making up, of course we would make it easier. But it is not. We cannot compete in simplicity with people who are inventing religions. How could we? We are dealing with fact. Of course anyone can be simple if he doesn’t have any facts to bother about.” (1)

The standard for rejecting a belief should not necessarily be an inability to comprehend it entirely. Why? For example, almost no one can understand or comprehend how their brains function. It could be asked, why not reject our brains? In this respect, many individuals are operational rationalists. Rationalism is a philosophy where human reason becomes the ultimate standard of truth. For the Christian, the Bible is our standard of truth. Rejecting rationalism does not mean that Christians are irrational for believing in the triune nature of God. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It should be noted that epistemology is the study of how we know things. There are three theories of gaining knowledge, 1. Empiricism (a view that experience, especially the senses, is the only source of knowledge), 2. Rationalism (a belief that appeals to man’s independent reason as a source of knowledge) and 3. Dogmatism or scripturalism (all knowledge must be contained within a system and deduced from its starting principles, in the Christian case, the Bible). The Bible is the Christian’s starting principle or presupposition.

The triune biblical nature of God can be stated as three propositions:

1. There is only one God

2. There are three equally divine, distinct and eternal Persons called God

3. Therefore, these three equally divine and eternal Persons are the one God

Louis Berkhof’s Systematic Theology correctly defines the doctrine of God’s triune nature. The belief is stated likewise in a series of propositions:

1. There is in the Divine Being but one indivisible essence;

2. In this one Divine Being there are three Persons or individual subsistences, Father,

3. Son, and Holy Spirit;

4. The whole undivided essence of God belongs equally to each of the three persons;

5. The subsistence and operation of the three persons in the divine Being is marked by a certain definite order;

6. There are certain personal attributes by which the three persons are distinguished. (2)

The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father; the Son is not the Spirit; and the Father is not the Spirit. God is not one person who manifests or reveals himself in three different modes, or three gods who are one in purpose. There is only one God in essence, who truly exists as three divine persons. These three persons are God, the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.

The magisterial Westminster Confession of Faith summarizes this conception of the Godhead:

“In the unity of the Godhead there are three persons, of one substance, power and eternity; God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. The Father is of none, neither begotten nor proceeding; the Son is eternally begotten of the Father; the Holy Ghost eternally proceeding from the Father and the Son.” (3)

Part 2, Scriptural proofs that defend this conception of God.

The following Scriptures demonstrate that there is a plurality of persons in the Godhead; in other words, you see more than one divine person in each passage listed:

Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7; Isaiah 6:8; 48:16; 61:1-2; Jeremiah 23:5-6; Zechariah 10:12; Matthew 28:19; Luke 4:18-19; John 1:1-3; John 14:23; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:2; Hebrews 1:8-10; Hebrews 3:7-11; 1 Peter 1:2; and 1 John 2:24

Yet, the Bible makes it indisputable that there is only one God:

“Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.” (Deuteronomy 6:4)

“…I am he: before me there was no God formed. Neither shall there be after me, I, even I, am LORD, beside me there is no saviour.” (Isaiah 43:10)

“…I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me, there is no God.” (Isaiah 44:6)

“Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any?” (Isaiah 44:8)

The Bible teaches the Father is God in the following verses:

“To all that be in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father, and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:7)

“Grace be unto you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1Corinthians 1:3)

“Grace be to you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.” (2Corinthians 1:2)

The Father is Jehovah:

In Exodus 3:13, 14 God (Elohim) reveals Himself as the “I Am” or Jehovah the Lord.

The Father is both Jehovah and Elohim:

“These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the LORD [Jehovah] God [Elohim] made the earth and the heavens.” (Genesis 2:4)

“And the LORD [Jehovah] God [Elohim] planted a garden Eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.” (Genesis 2:8)

“And Moses said unto God, Behold, when I come unto the children of Israel, and shall say unto them, The God (Elohim) of your fathers hath sent me unto you; and they shall say to me, What is his name? What shall I say unto them? And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he Said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [Jehovah] hath sent me unto you.” (Exodus 3:13.14)

The Son is proved God by the following verses:

“But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.” (Hebrews 1:8)

“For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.” (Colossians 2:9)

“And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.” (1John 5:20)

“Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

Jesus is Jehovah:

“Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say you, before Abraham was, I am.” [Jehovah] (John 8:58)

Jesus is using the divine name from Exodus 3:14. The Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) uses (Ego eimi) for Jehovah (I AM) in this verse. John 8:58 in the Greek uses the same formulation (Ego eimi). It is inescapable that Jesus is Jehovah.

“That unto me [Jehovah] every knee shall bow…” (Isaiah 45:23)

“That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Philippians 2:10)

The New Testament in Philippians 2:10 tells us that this verse from Isaiah speaks of Jesus. Jesus is Jehovah.

The following passage speaks of Jehovah:

“Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.” (Psalms 68:18)

The next verse from Ephesians speaks of Jesus with the wording from Psalms 68:18. This makes Jesus Jehovah.

“Wherefore he saith, when he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men.” (Ephesians 4:8)

Jeremiah the prophet records:

“I the LORD search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.” (Jeremiah 17:10)

What does the New Testament teach about Jesus that identifies him with Jehovah whom Jeremiah spoke? Consider what John says in Revelation 2:23:

“…I am he, which searcheth the reins and hearts: and I will give unto every one of you according to your works.” (Revelation 2:23)

In addition, consider the following claim of Christ:

“I and my Father are one.” (John 10:30)

“Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him.” (John 10:31)

Why did the Jews do this? Because Jesus was claiming to be Jehovah God this verse.

This is why the Jews said:

“The Jews answered him; saying, for a good work we stone thee not; bur for blasphemy: and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God.” (John 10:33)

The Holy Spirit is called God in the following verses:

“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? …thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God.” (Acts 5:3-4)

“Know you not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?” (1Corinthians 3:16)

“Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, Today if ye will hear his voice, Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness.” (Hebrews 3:7, 8)

As seen clearly from Acts 5:3-4 the Holy Spirit is a person who can be lied to. In John 14:26 the Holy Spirit is sent to teach the apostles and bring things to their remembrance. This is proof that the Holy Spirit is an intelligent member of the Godhead, hence a person.

The Holy Spirit is Jehovah:

Now the Lord [Kyrios] is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord [Kyrios] is, there is liberty. (2Corinthians 3:17)

The Greek word Kyrios is used in the Septuagint (Greek translation of the Old Testament) to translate Jehovah. Kyrios is translated in English with the word “Lord.”

God is the creator. All three persons are involved in creation:

“But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him, and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.” (1Corinthians 8:6) (Father)

“All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3) (Son)

“The spirit of God hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life.” (Job 33:4) (Spirit)

All three persons share the attributes of deity. For example, all three persons are omniscient:

“Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.” (Acts 15:18) (Father)

“And he said unto him, Lord thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee.” (John 21:17b) (Son)

“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, and the deep things of God.” (1Corinthians 2:10) (Spirit)

All three persons are omnipotent:

“And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” (Revelation 19:6) (Father)

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, all power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.” (Matthew 28:18) (Son)

“And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee:… For with God nothing shall be impossible.” (Luke 1:35, 37) (Spirit)

All three persons are omnipresent:

“Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? Saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24) (Father)

“…and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world, Amen.” (Matthew 28:20) (Son)

“Wither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalms 139:7) (Spirit)

The Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit are all eternal:

“But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith.” (Romans 16:26) (Father)

“Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever.” (Hebrews 13:8) (Son)

“How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit…” (Hebrews 9:14) (Spirit)

All three persons of the Trinity dwell in us. Only God can do this:

“Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love me, he will keep my words: and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.” (John 14:23) (Father)

“That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye being rooted and grounded in love.” (Ephesians 3:17) (Son)

“Even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.” (John 14:17) (Spirit)

All three persons of the Trinity were involved in the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Only God can raise the dead:

“Paul, An apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead.)” (Galatians 1:1) (Father)

“Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up…. But he spoke of the temple of his body.” (John 2:18-20) (Son)

“For Christ also hath once suffered for sin, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” (1Peter 3:18) (Spirit)

We see all three persons at the baptism of Christ. These are persons, not modes of existence:

“And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:16-17)

We see all three persons at the Great Commission:

“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.” (Matthew 28:19)

We see all three persons in Paul’s letter:

“The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Ghost, be with you all. Amen.” (2Corinthians 13:14)

There is one God Deuteronomy 6:4 and Jesus is YAHWEH.

Yahweh, the god of the Israelites, whose name was revealed to Moses as four Hebrew consonants (YHWH) called the Tetragrammaton. The Tetragrammaton became the Latinized name Jehovah.

In the Old Testament, “Yahweh” is translated, “LORD” in all capital letters.

In Exodus, 3:14 God uses “I AM” and “Yahweh” interchangeably. This is why “I am” is a legitimate way to translate the name “Yahweh.”

In light of Deuteronomy 6:4, consider the following titles that are used for God and Jesus:

God the Creator:

“The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” (Job 33:4 ESV) All Scriptures in section are from the English Standard Version.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The LORD is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah 40:28)

“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.” (Genesis 1:1)

Jesus the Creator:

“All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (John 1:3)

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities – all things were created through him and for him.” (Colossians 1:16)

Jesus is being compared to the angels, “And, “You, Lord, laid the foundation of the earth in the beginning, and the heavens are the work of your hands; they will perish, but you remain; they will all wear out like a garment, like a robe you will roll them up, like a garment they will be changed. But you are the same, and your years will have no end.” (Hebrews 1:10-12)

God the Savior:

“They forgot God, their Savior, who had done great things in Egypt.” (Psalms 106:21)

“For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior. I give Egypt as your ransom, Cush and Seba in exchange for you.” (Isaiah 43:3)

“Declare and present your case; let them take counsel together! Who told this long ago? Who declared it of old? Was it not I, the LORD? And there is no other god besides me, a righteous God and a Savior; there is none besides me.” (Isaiah 45:21)

Jesus the Savior:

“They said to the woman, “It is no longer because of what you said that we believe, for we have heard for ourselves, and we know that this is indeed the Savior of the world.” (John 4:42)

“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

“And we have seen and testify that the Father has sent his Son to be the Savior of the world.” (1John 4:14)

God the King:

“But the LORD is the true God; he is the living God and the everlasting King. At his wrath the earth quakes and the nations cannot endure his indignation.” (Jeremiah 10:10)

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6)

Jesus the King:

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” (Matthew 2:1-2)

“And Pilate asked him, “Are you the King of the Jews?” And he answered him, “You have said so.” (Luke 23:3)

“So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘this man said, I am King of the Jews.’” (John 19:21)

God the Judge:

“Far be it from you to do such a thing, to put the righteous to death with the wicked, so that the righteous fare as the wicked! Far be that from you! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do what is just?” (Genesis 18:25)

“Let the nations stir themselves up and come up to the Valley of Jehoshaphat; for there I will sit to judge all the surrounding nations.” (Joel 3:12)

“And to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.” (Hebrews 12:23)

Jesus the Judge:

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil.” (2Corinthians 5:10)

“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom.” (2Timothy 4:1)

God the Great I Am:

“God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (Exodus 3:14)

“See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god beside me; I kill and I make alive; I wound and I heal; and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.” (Deuteronomy 32:39)

Jesus the Great I Am:

“Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I am.” (John 8:58)

“I am telling you now before it happens, so that when it comes to pass, you will believe that I am He.” (John 13:19”

God the Rock:

“For you have forgotten the God of your salvation and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge; therefore, though you plant pleasant plants and sow the vine-branch of a stranger.” (Isaiah 17:10)

“For who is God, but the LORD? And who is a rock, except our God?” (2Samuel 22:32)

Jesus the Rock:

“And all drank the same spiritual drink. For they drank from the spiritual Rock that followed them, and the Rock was Christ.” (1Corinthians 10:4)

“For it stands in Scripture: “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone, a cornerstone chosen and precious, and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame. So the honor is for you who believe, but for those who do not believe, the stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone, and ‘A stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense.’ They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.” (1Peter 2:6-8)

God the Shepherd:

“The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures.

He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake. Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Psalms 23)

Jesus the Shepherd:

“I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.” (John 10:11)

“Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant.” (Hebrews 13:20)

God the Light:

“Your sun shall no more go down, nor your moon withdraw itself; for the LORD will be your everlasting light, and your days of mourning shall be ended.” (Isaiah 60:20)

“The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalms 27:1)

Jesus the Light:

“The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world.” (John 1:9)

“Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

God the First and Last:

“Thus says the LORD, the King of Israel and his Redeemer, the LORD of hosts: “I am the first and I am the last; besides me there is no god.” (Isaiah 44:6)

“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.” (Isaiah 48:12)

Jesus the First and Last:

“When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. But he laid his right hand on me, saying, “Fear not, I am the first and the last.” (Revelation 1:17)

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (Revelation 22:13)

Part 3, a Conclusion:

Jesus is God, the Bible teaches that there are three persons who are called God, and yet the Bible is emphatic that there is only one God.

In conclusion, theologian Norman Geisler summarizes this conclusion:

•All three Persons possess the attribute of omnipresence (that is, all three are everywhere-present): the Father (Matthew 19:26), the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the Holy Spirit (Psalm 139:7).

•All three have the attribute of omniscience: the Father (Romans 11:33), the Son (Matthew 9:4), and the Holy Spirit (1Corinthians 2:10).

•All three have the attribute of omnipotence (that is, all three are all powerful): the Father (Jeremiah 32:27), the Son (Matthew 28:18), and the Holy Spirit (Romans 15:19).

•Holiness is ascribed to each of the three Persons: the Father (Revelation 15:4), the Son (Acts 3:14), and the Holy Spirit (John 16:7-14).

•Eternity is ascribed to all three Persons: the Father (Psalm 90:2), the Son (Micah 5:2; John 1:2; Revelation 1:8, 17), and the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 9:14).

•Each of the three Persons is individually described as the truth: the Father (John 7:28), the Son (Revelation 3:7), and the Holy Spirit (1John 5:6).

•As well, each of the three is called Lord (Romans 10:12; Luke 2:11; 2Corinthians 3:17), everlasting (Romans 16:26; Revelation 22:13; Hebrews 9:14), almighty (Genesis 17:1; Revelation 1:8; Romans 15:19), and powerful (Jeremiah 32:17; Hebrews 1:3; Luke 1:35).

Indeed, the Holy Spirit was present at the same time, revealing that they coexist. Further, the fact that they have separate titles (Father, Son, and Spirit) indicate that they are not one person. Also, each member of the Trinity has special functions that help us to identify them. For example, the Father planned salvation (John 3:16; Ephesians 1:4); the

Son accomplished it on the cross (John 17:4; 19:30; Heb. 1:1-2) and at the resurrection (Rom. 4:25; 1 Cor. 15:1-6), and the Holy Spirit applies it to the lives of the believers (John 3:5; Ephesians 4:30; Titus 3:5-7). The Son submits to the Father (1 Cor. 11:3; 15:28), and the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son (John 16:14). (4)

A further response to rationalist critics of God’s triune nature Geisler says:

Critics make a point of computing the mathematical impossibility of believing there is a Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Godhead, without holding that there are three gods. Does not 1+1+1=3? It certainly does if you add them, but Christians insist that the triunity of God is more like 1x1x1=1. God is triune, not triplex. His one essence has multiple centers of personhood. Thus, there is no more mathematical problem in conceiving the Trinity that there is in understanding 1 cubed (13). (5)

Confessional support from Westminster Larger Catechism Q&A 8-11

Q. 8. Are there more Gods than one?

A. There is but one only, the living and true God.

Q. 9. How many persons are there in the Godhead?

A. There be three persons in the Godhead, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one true, eternal God, the same in substance, equal in power and glory; although distinguished by their personal properties.

Q. 10. What are the personal properties of the three persons in the Godhead?

A. It is proper to the Father to beget the Son, and to the Son to be begotten of the Father, and to the Holy Ghost to proceed from the Father and the Son from all eternity.

Q. 11. How doth it appear that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father?

A. The Scriptures manifest that the Son and the Holy Ghost are God equal with the Father, ascribing unto them such names, attributes, works, and worship, as are proper to God only.

John Calvin on Gregory of Nazianzus an Eastern Church Patriarch on the Trinity:

“Again, Scripture sets forth a distinction of the Father from the Word and of the Word from the Spirit. Yet the greatness of the mystery warns us how much reverence and sobriety we ought to use in investigating this.

And that passage in Gregory of Nazianzus vastly delights me:

‘I cannot think on the one without quickly being encircled by the splendor of the three; nor can I discern the three without being straightway carried back to the one.’”

“Let us not, then, be led to imagine a trinity of persons that keeps our thoughts distracted and does not at once lead them back to that unity. Indeed, the words “Father,” “Son,” and “Spirit” imply a real distinction – let no one think that these titles, whereby God is variously designated from his works, are empty – but a distinction, not a division, The passages that we have already cited [e.g., Zechariah 13:7] show that the Son has a character distinct from the Father, because the Word would not have been with God unless he were another than the Father, nor would he have had his glory with the Father were he not distinct from the Father. . . .” (6)

Therefore, there is only one God, and He is triune in nature.

“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. C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity, (New York, New York, MacMillan, 1952), p. 129.

2. Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1979), pp. 87-89.

3. The Westminster Confession Of Faith Chap. II, 3. 1646.

4. Norman L. Geisler, Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, pp. 731-732.

5. Norman L. Geisler, p. 732.

6. Calvin, John, Institutes of the Christian Religion, (Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1960), Book 1 Chapter 17, p. 141-142.

“To God, only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever. Amen.” (Romans 16:27) And “heirs according to the promise.” (Galatians 3:28, 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: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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What does the Bible say about the Flood?

What does the Bible say about the Flood? By Jack Kettler

As in previous studies, we will look at definitions, scriptures, lexical, and commentary evidence for the purpose to glorify God in how we live. When looking at the text of Scripture in Genesis, we see that the flood was a worldwide event. Our Lord Jesus Christ himself referred to the flood, which came and destroyed the world of Noah’s day. The writer of Hebrews calls Noah one of the examples of faith. The apostle Peter mentions Noah and the flood. The flood was a real event in human history. At the end of this study, there is a link to Answer in Genesis for more research.

The Flood: God’s judgment on humankind for its moral depravity and sinfulness by means of an historical flood which wiped out the entire population of the world except for Noah and his family, as recorded in chapters 6-8 of Genesis; also called the Great Flood, the Great Deluge, or the biblical flood. *

The Scriptures:

“And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation. Of every clean beast, thou shalt take to thee by sevens, the male and his female: and of beasts that are not clean by two, the male and his female. Of fowls also of the air by sevens, the male and the female, to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth. For yet seven days, and I will cause it to rain upon the earth forty days and forty nights; and every living substance that I have made will I destroy from off the face of the earth. And Noah did according unto all that the Lord commanded him. And Noah was six hundred years old when the flood of waters was upon the earth. And Noah went in, and his sons, and his wife, and his sons’ wives with him, into the ark, because of the waters of the flood.” (Genesis 7:1-7)

“And the flood was forty days upon the earth; and the waters increased, and bare up the ark, and it was lift up above the earth. And the waters prevailed, and were increased greatly upon the earth; and the ark went upon the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed exceedingly upon the earth; and all the high hills, that were under the whole heaven, were covered. Fifteen cubits upward did the waters prevail; and the mountains were covered. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and of every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man: All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land, died. And every living substance was destroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man, and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were destroyed from the earth: and Noah only remained alive, and they that were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty days.” (Genesis 7:17-24)

“This is like the days of Noah to me: as I swore that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so I have sworn that I will not be angry with you, and will not rebuke you.” (Isaiah 54:9 ESV)

“For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark.” (Matthew 24:38)

“Just as it was in the days of Noah, so will it be in the days of the Son of Man. They were eating and drinking and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed them all.” (Luke 17:26-27 ESV)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Luke 17:27:

“They did eat, they drank,…. That is, the inhabitants of the old world ate and drank, not merely in a common way, with moderation, and for the support and comfort of life, which is not blameworthy, nor inconsistent with religious exercises; but they lived in an extravagant and luxurious manner; they indulged their sensual appetites, and put away the evil day far from them, that Noah told them of:

they married wives, they were given in marriage; not as should have been done by professors of religion among themselves; but the sons of God, or professors of the true religion, the posterity of Seth took them wives of the daughters of men, of the wicked, of the seed of Cain; and very likely gave their daughters in marriage to the sons of men; see Genesis 6:2 and so they went on in a secure manner, notwithstanding all the remonstrances, warnings, and threatenings of God, by his servant:

until the day that Noe entered into the ark; which he had built by divine direction, for the saving of himself and family, and the creatures that were with him, from the waters of the flood; and this was in the six hundredth year of his life, in the second month, the month of October, and in the seventeenth day of that month; Genesis 7:11

and the flood came and destroyed them all; all the inhabitants of the earth, every living substance, men, cattle, creeping things, and fowls of the heaven; all but Noah, and his wife, and his three sons, and their wives, and the creatures that were with him in the ark: the flood came not of itself, or by chance, or through the influence, or by the concurrence of second causes merely; though these were used, ordered, and directed by the first cause of all things; but it came by the power of God, according to his will; he brought it on the world of the ungodly; see 2 Peter 2:5 The mode of expression is Jewish; it is said of Cain, who is supposed by the Jews to have lived till the flood, “the flood came”, and washed him away.” (1)

“By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house; by which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith.” (Hebrews 11:7)

From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Hebrews 11:7:

7. warned of God—the same Greek, Heb. 8:5, “admonished of God.”

Moved with fear—not mere slavish fear, but as in Heb. 5:7; see on [2585] Heb. 5:7; Greek, “reverential fear”: opposed to the world’s sneering disbelief of the revelation, and self-deceiving security. Join “by faith” with “prepared an ark” (1Pe 3:20).

By the which—faith.

Condemned the world—for since he believed and was saved, so might they have believed and been saved, so that their condemnation by God is by his case shown to be just.

Righteousness, which is by faith—Greek, “according to faith.” A Pauline thought. Noah is first called “righteous” in Ge 6:9. Christ calls Abel so, Mt 23:35. Compare as to Noah’s righteousness, Ezekiel 14:14, 20; 2Pe 2:5, “a preacher of righteousness.” Paul here makes faith the principle and ground of his righteousness.

Heir—the consequence of sonship which flows from faith.” (2)

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly.” (2Peter 2:5)

From the Pulpit Commentary on 2Peter 2:5:

“Verse 5. – And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person; rather, as in the Revised Version, the ancient world, but preserved Noah with seven others. “The eighth” is a common classical idiom (generally with the pronoun αὐτός) for with seven others. Mark the close parallelism with 1Peter 3:20, where, as here, the apostle impresses upon his readers the fewness of the saved. A preacher of righteousness. The Old Testament narrative does not directly assert this; but “a just man and perfect,” who “walked with God” (Genesis 6:9), must have been a preacher (literally, “herald”) of righteousness to the ungodly among whom he lived. Josephus, in a well-known passage (‘Ant.,’ 1:03, 1), says that Noah tried to persuade his neighbours to change their mind and their actions for the better. Bringing in the Flood upon the world of the ungodly. The Revised Version renders, when he brought a Flood upon the world. In the Greek, there is no article throughout this verse. In verse 1 the ungodly are represented as bringing upon themselves swift destruction; here God brings the punishment upon them. The same Greek verb is used in both places. In one place St. Peter gives the human, in the other the Divine, aspect of the same events (comp. Clement I, 7 and 9).” (3)

“Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished.” (2Peter 3:6)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on 2Peter 3:6:

“Whereby, by which heavens and water, mentioned in the former verse, the fountains of the great deep being broken up, and the windows of heaven opened, Genesis 7:11. Or, by the word of God, as the principal cause, and the water as the instrumental, which, at his command, was poured out upon the earth both from above and below.

The world; the earth, with all the inhabitants of it, eight persons excepted. This the apostle allegeth against the forementioned scoffers, who said that all things continued as they were, when yet the flood had made so great a change in the face of the lower creation.” (4)

From Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology on the Flood:

Terminology. The Genesis flood is denoted in the Old Testament by the technical Hebrew term mabbul [2Peter 3:6).

Extra biblical Parallels. Ancient flood stories are almost universal (up to 230 different stories are known). Floods are by far the most frequently given cause for past world calamities in the folk literature of antiquity. The stories nearest to the area of the dispersion at Babel are the closest in detail to the biblical account.

Four main flood stories are found in Mesopotamian sources: the Sumerian Eridu Genesis (ca. 1600 b.c.), the Old Babylonian Atrahasis Epic (ca. 1600 b.c.), the Gilgamesh Epic (Neo-Assyrian version, ca. eighth to the seventh centuries b.c.), and Berossus’ account (Babylon, third century b.c.).

The Unity of the Genesis Flood Account. The detailed chiastic literary structure of Genesis 6-9 argues for the unity of the flood narrative instead of small textual units (J and P) as suggested by the Documentary Hypothesis. A close reading of the flood narrative as a coherent literary whole, with particular attention to the chiastic structure, resolves apparent discrepancies in the Genesis account.

Theology of the Flood. Theology as History: The Historical Nature of the Flood. In the literary structure of the flood narrative the genealogical frame or envelope construction (Genesis 5:32, 9:28-29) plus the secondary genealogies (Genesis 6:9-10, 9:18-19) are indicators that the account is intended to be factual history. The use of the genealogical term toledot [6:9) as throughout Genesis (13 times, structuring the whole book), indicates that the author intended this narrative to be as historically veracious as the rest of Genesis. A number of references in the Book of Job may allude to the then-relatively-recent flood (9:5-8; 12:14-15; 14:11-12; 22:15-17; 26:10-14; 27:20-22; 28:9; 38:8-11). The occurrence of the flood is an integral part of the saving/judging Acts of God in redemptive history, and its historicity is assumed and essential to the theological arguments of later biblical writers employing flood typology.

The Motive or Theological Cause of the Flood . In contrast with the ancient Near Eastern flood stories, in which no cause of the flood is given (Gilgamesh Epic) or in which the gods decide to wipe out their human slaves because they are making too much noise (Atrahasis Epic and Eridu Genesis), the biblical account provides a profound theological motivation for the flood: humankind’s moral depravity and sinfulness, the all-pervading corruption and violence of all living beings (“all flesh”) on earth (Genesis 6:1-8,11-12 ), which demands divine punishment.

The God of the Flood (Theodicy). The theological motivation provides a divine justification (theodicy) for the flood. In contrast to the other ancient Near Eastern stories, in which the gods are arbitrary, acting out of unreasoning anger, selfishness, and caprice, seeking to deceive the people and not inform them of the impending flood, the biblical picture of the God of the flood is far different. God extends a probationary period during which his Spirit is striving with humanity to repent (Genesis 6:3). God warned the antediluvian world through Noah, the “preacher of righteousness” (2Peter 2:5; cf. 1 Peter 3:19-20).

God himself makes provision for the saving of humankind (Genesis 6:14-16). He “repents”—he is sorry, moved to pity, having compassion, suffering grief (Genesis 6:6). God takes up humanity’s pain and anguish (Genesis 6:6; 3:16-17). The divine act of destruction is not arbitrary. God “destroys” what humanity had already ruined or corrupted; he mercifully brings to completion the ruin already wrought by humankind.

The God of the biblical flood is not only just and merciful; he is also free to act according to his divine will, and he possesses sovereign power and full control over the forces of nature (in contrast to the weakness and fright of the gods during the flood, according to ancient Near Eastern stories). Yahweh’s omnipotent sovereignty seems to be the theological thrust of Psalm 29:10, the only biblical reference outside Genesis employing the term mabbul [מַבוּלּ]: “Yahweh sat enthroned at the flood.”

The choice of divine names throughout the flood narrative, instead of indicating separate sources, seems to highlight different aspects of God’s character: the generic Elohim when his universal, transcendent sovereignty or judicial authority is emphasized; and the covenant name Yahweh when his personal, ethical dealings with Noah and humankind are in view.

Human Moral Responsibility. The portrayal of humanity’s moral depravity as the cause of the flood highlights human responsibility for sin. Noah’s response of faith/faithfulness (Hebrews 11:7 ) underscores that accountability to God is not only corporate but individual: Noah found “favor” in God’s sight, he was “righteous,” “blameless,” and “walked together” in personal relationship with God (Genesis 6:8-9 ); he responded in implicit obedience to God’s commands (Genesis 6:22; 7:5,9; cf. Ezekiel 14:14,20).

Eschatological Judgment. When God announced the coming of the flood to Noah he said, “I have determined to make an end of all flesh” (Genesis 6:13). The “eschatological” term qes (end) later became a technical term for the eschaton. The divine judgment involved a period of probation (Genesis 6:3), followed by a judicial investigation (“The Lord saw” Genesis 6:5; “I have determined,” Genesis 6:13; RSV), the sentence (Genesis 6:7), and its execution (the bringing of the flood, Genesis 7:11-24). The New Testament recognizes the divine judgment of the Genesis flood as a typological foreshadowing of the final eschatological judgment.

The Noahic Covenant. The word berit [Genesis 6:18; 9:8-17), and the covenant motif is an integral part of the flood narrative. The Noahic covenant comes at God’s initiative, and demonstrates his concern, faithfulness, and dependability. He covenants never again to send a flood to destroy the earth. This covenant promise flows from the propitiatory animal sacrifice offered by Noah (Genesis 8:20-22).

Unlike the other biblical covenants, the Noahic covenant is made not only with humankind but with the whole earth (Genesis 9:13) including every living creature (Genesis 9:10, 12, 15, 16), and is thus completely unilateral and unconditional upon the response of the earth and its inhabitants. The sign of this everlasting covenant is the rainbow, which is not primarily for humankind, but for God to see and “remember” the covenant he has made with the earth (Genesis 9:16).

The Flood Remnant. The flood narrative contains the first mention in the biblical canon of the motif and terminology of remnant: “Only Noah and those who were with him in the ark remained [saar]” (Genesis 7:23). The remnant who survived the cosmic catastrophe of the flood were constituted thus because of their right relationship of faith and obedience to God, not because of caprice or the favoritism of the gods, as in the extra biblical ancient Near Eastern flood stories.

Salvific Grace. God’s grace is revealed already before the flood in his directions for the building of the ark to save those faithful to him (Genesis 6:14-21 ); and again after the flood in his covenant/promise never again to destroy the earth with a flood, even though human nature remained evil (Genesis 8:20-22; 9:8-17).

But the theological (and literary, chiastic) heart of the flood account is found in the phrase “God remembered Noah” (Genesis 8:1). The memory theology of Scripture does not imply that God has literally forgotten; for God to “remember” is to act in deliverance (see Exodus 6:5). The structural positioning of God’s “remembering” at the center of the narrative indicates that the apex of flood theology is not punitive judgment but divine salvific grace.

Numerous thematic and verbal parallels between the accounts of Noah’s salvation and Israel’s exodus deliverance reveal the author’s intent to emphasize their similarity. Various references in the psalms to God’s gracious deliverance of the righteous from the “great waters” of tribulation, may contain allusions to the Genesis flood (Psalm 18:16; 32:6; 65:5-8; 69:2; 89:9; 93:3; 124:4).

Flood Typology. The typological nature of the flood account is already implicit in Genesis. Isaiah provides an explicit verbal indicator that the flood is a type of covenantal eschatology (54:9), along with several possible allusions to the flood in his descriptions of the eschatological salvation of Israel (24:18; 28:2; 43:2; 54:8). The prophets Nahum (Nahum 1:8) and Daniel (9:26) depict the eschatological judgment in language probably alluding to the Genesis flood.

The New Testament writers recognize the typological connection between flood and eschatology. The salvation of Noah and his family in the ark through the waters of the flood finds its antitypical counterpart in New Testament eschatological salvation connected with water baptism (1 Peter 3:18-22 ). The flood is also a type of the final eschatological judgment at the end of the world, and the conditions of pre-flood morality provide signs of the end times (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; 2Peter 2:5, 9; 3:5-7).

Universality of the Flood. One of the most controversial aspects of flood theology concerns the extent of the flood. Three major positions are taken: (1) the traditional, which asserts the universal, worldwide, nature of the deluge; (2) limited flood theories, which narrow the scope of the flood story to a particular geographical location in Mesopotamia; and (3) nonliteral (symbolic) interpretation, which suggests that the flood story is a nonhistorical account written to teach theological truth. Against the third interpretation, we have already discussed the historical nature of the flood. Of the two first positions, the limited flood theories rest primarily on scientific arguments that set forth seemingly difficult physical problems for a universal flood. These problems are not insurmountable given the supernatural nature of the flood; numerous recent scientific studies also provide a growing body of evidence for diluvial catastrophism instead of uniformitarianism. Only the traditional universalist understanding does full justice to all the biblical data, and this interpretation is crucial for flood theology in Genesis and for the theological implications drawn by later biblical writers.

Many lines of biblical evidence converge in affirming the universal extent of the flood and also reveal the theological significance of this conclusion: (1) the trajectory of major themes in Genesis 1-11 creation, fall, plan of redemption, spread of sin is universal in scope and calls for a matching universal judgment; (2) the genealogical lines from both Adam (Genesis 4:17-26; 5:1-31) and Noah (Genesis 10:1-32; 11:1-9) are exclusive in nature, indicating that as Adam was father of all preflood humanity, so Noah was father of all postflood humanity; (3) the same inclusive divine blessing to be fruitful and multiply is given to both Adam and Noah (Genesis 1:28; 9:1); (4) the covenant (Genesis 9:9-10) and its rainbow sign (Genesis 9:12-17) are clearly linked with the extent of the flood (Genesis 9:16,18); if there was only a local flood, then the covenant would be only a limited covenant; (5) the viability of God’s promise (Genesis 9:15; cf. Isaiah 54:9) is wrapped up in the universality of the flood; if only a local flood occurred, then God has broken his promise every time another local flood has happened; (6) the universality of the flood is underscored by the enormous size of the ark (Genesis 6:14-15) and the stated necessity for saving all the species of animals and plants in the ark (Genesis 6:16-21; 7:2-3); a massive ark filled with representatives of all nonaquatic animal/plant species would be unnecessary if this were only a local flood; (7) the covering of “all the high mountains” by at least twenty feet of water (Genesis 7:19-20) could not involve simply a local flood, since water seeks its own level across the surface of the globe; (8) the duration of the flood (Noah in the ark over a year, Genesis 7:11-8:14) makes sense only with a universal flood; (9) the New Testament passages concerning the flood all employ universal language (“took them all away” [ Matthew 24:39]; “destroyed them all” [Luke 17:27]; Noah “condemned the world” [Hebrews 11:7]); and (10) the New Testament flood typology assumes and depends upon the universality of the flood to theologically argue for an imminent worldwide judgment by fire (2Peter 3:6-7).

The theology of the flood is the pivot of a connected but multifaceted universal theme running through Genesis 1-11 and the whole rest of Scripture: creation, and the character of the Creator, in his original purpose for creation; uncreation, in humankind’s turning from the Creator, the universal spread of sin, ending in universal eschatological judgment; and re-creation, in the eschatological salvation of the faithful remnant and the universal renewal of the earth. Richard M. Davidson (5)

In closing:

“The LORD sitteth upon the flood; yea, the LORD sitteth King forever.” (Psalm 29:10)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on Psalm 29:10:

“The Lord sitteth upon the flood,…. Noah’s flood; which is always designed by the word here used, the Lord sat and judged the old world for its wickedness, and brought a flood upon them, and destroyed them; and then he abated it, sent a wind to assuage the waters, stopped up the windows of heaven, and the fountains of the great deep, and restrained rain from heaven; and he now sits upon the confidence of waters in the heavens, at the time of a thunder storm, which threatens with an overflowing flood; and he remembers his covenant, and restrains them from destroying the earth any more: and he sits upon the floods of ungodly men, and stops their rage and fury, and suffers them not to proceed to overwhelm his people and interest; and so the floods of afflictions of every kind, and the floods of Satan’s temptations, and of errors and heresies, are at his control, and he permits them to go so far, and no farther;

yea, the Lord sitteth King for ever: he is King of the whole world, over angels and men, and even the kings of the earth; and he is also King of saints, in whose hearts he reigns by his Spirit and grace; and the Gospel dispensation is more eminently his kingdom, in which his spiritual government is most visible; and this will more appear in the latter day glory, when the Lord shall be King over all the earth; and after which the Lord Christ will reign with his saints here a thousand years, and then with them to all eternity, and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” (6)

From Strong’s Lexicon:

“over the flood;

לַמַּבּ֣וּל (lam·mab·būl)

Preposition-l, Article | Noun – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 3999: 1) flood, deluge. 1a) Noah’s flood that submerged the entire planet earth under water for about a year. Some think Noah’s flood was only local. However, the description of it found in Gen. 6 through 8 makes this patently absurd. If it was local, Noah had 120 years to migrate out of the area to safe ground! Why waste all that effort building a ship? He only had to move less than 1500 feet a day to reach the farthest point on the globe! With the possible exception of Ps 29:10, this word always refers to Noah’s flood. The real reason for insisting on a local flood is the acceptance of evolution with its long geological ages. Most holding that view are not willing to allow a global worldwide flood to have happened less than 5000 years ago. To admit such eliminates the need for the geological ages for most of the geological column would have been rapidly laid down by Noah’s flood.” (7)

God’s covenant with Noah:

“And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there anymore be a flood to destroy the earth.” (Genesis 9:11)

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

Notes:

1. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Luke, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 486.

2. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1433.

3. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, 2Peter, Vol.22., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 44.

4. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 926.

5. Walter A. Elwell, Editor, Baker’s Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House), p. 261-263.

6. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Psalms, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 327-328.

7. KJV Bible with Comprehensive Strong’s Dictionary (3 in 1): [Illustrated]: KJV Bible with Strong’s markup, Strong’s dictionary with Lexicon definitions, Bible word index [Kindle Edition] 152552-152559.

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: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

For more study:

* http://www.rebecca-writes.com/…/theological-term-of-the-wee…

Answers in Genesis the Flood https://answersingenesis.org/the-flood/

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What is the Gospel?

What is the Gospel? By Jack Kettler

Concisely:

“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures.” (1Corinthians 15:1-4 ESV)

Definitions

The Gospel is the good news that we have forgiveness of sins through Jesus. Specifically, the gospel is defined by Paul in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.”

The gospel comes from God (Galatians 1:10-12), is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), is a mystery (Ephesians 6:19), and is a source of hope (Colossians 1:23), faith (Acts 15:7), life (1Corinthians 4:15), and peace (Ephesians 6:15). *

The Gospel:

The word gospel literally means “good news” and occurs 93 times in the Bible, exclusively in the New Testament. In Greek, it is the word euaggelion, from which we get our English words evangelist, evangel, and evangelical. The gospel is, broadly speaking, the whole of Scripture; more narrowly, the gospel is the good news concerning Christ and the way of salvation. **

Synonyms for Gospel:

Christian teaching, Christ’s teaching, the life of Christ, the word of God, the good news, Christian doctrine, the New Testament, the writings of the evangelists

From Strong’s Lexicon:

Gospel

εὐαγγέλιον (euangelion)

Noun – Accusative Neuter Singular

Strong’s Greek 2098: From the same as euaggelizo, a good message, i.e. the gospel.

Commentary selections on each verse from 1Corinthian 15:1-4:

Consider the excellent entry on 1Corinthians 15:1 from Barnes’ Notes on the Bible:

“Moreover – But (δὲ de). In addition to what I have said or in that which I am now about to say, I make known the main and leading truth of the gospel. The particle δὲ de is “strictly adversative, but more frequently denotes transition and conversion, and serves to introduce something else, whether opposite to what precedes, or simply continuative or explanatory” – Robinson. Here it serves to introduce another topic that was not properly a continuation of what he had said, but which pertained to the same general subject, and which was deemed of great importance.

I declare unto you – (Γνωρίζω Gnōrizō). This word properly means to make known, to declare, to reveal Luke 2:15; Romans 9:22-23; then to tell, narrate, inform Ephesians 6:21; Colossians 4:7, Colossians 4:9; and also to put in mind of, to impress, to confirm; see the note at 1Corinthians 12:3. Here it does not mean that he was communicating to them any new truth, but he wished to remind them of it, to state the arguments for it, and to impress it deeply on their memories. There is an abruptness in our translation, which does not exist in the original. Bloomfield.

The gospel – See the note at Mark 1:1. The word here means the “glad announcement,” or the “good news” about the coming of the Messiah, his life, and sufferings, and death, and especially his resurrection. The main subject to which Paul refers in this chapter is the resurrection, but he includes in the word gospel. Here, the doctrine that he died for sins, and was buried, as well as the doctrine of his resurrection; see 1Corinthians 15:3-4.

Which I preached unto you – Paul founded the church at Corinth; Acts 18:1 ff. It was proper that he should remind them of what he had taught them at first; of the great elementary truths on which the church had been established, but from which their minds had been diverted by the other subjects that had been introduced as matters of debate and strife. It was fair to presume that they would regard with respect the doctrines, which the founder of their church had first proclaimed, if they were reminded of them; and Paul, therefore, calls their attention to the great and vital truths by which they had been converted, and by which the church had thus far prospered. It is well, often, to remind Christians of the truths, which were preached to them when they were converted, and which were instrumental in their conversion. When they have gone off from these doctrines, when they had given their minds to speculation and philosophy, it has a good effect to “remind” them that they were converted by the simple truths, that Christ died, and was buried, and rose again from the dead. The argument of Paul here is, that they owed all the piety and comfort, which they had to these doctrines; and that, therefore, they should still adhere to them as the foundation of all their hopes.

Which also ye have received – Which you embraced; which you all admitted as true; which were the means of your conversion. I would remind you, that, however that truth may now be denied by you, it was once received by you, and you professed to believe in the fact that Christ rose from the dead, and that the saints would rise.

And wherein ye stand – By which your church was founded, and by which all your piety and hope has been produced, and which is at the foundation of all your religion. You were built up by this, and by this only can you stand as a Christian church. This doctrine was vital and fundamental. This demonstrates that the doctrines that Christ died “for sins,” and rose from the dead, are fundamental truths of Christianity. They enter into its very nature; and without them there can be no true religion.” (1)

Matthew Poole’s Commentary captures the apostle thought nicely from 1Corinthinas 15:2:

“By which also ye are saved; by the believing, receiving, of which doctrine, you are already in the way to salvation (as it is said, John 3:18: He that believeth on him is not condemned; and John 3:36: He hath everlasting life, and shall be eternally saved): but not unless ye persevere (for that is meant by keeping in memory the doctrine which I have preached unto you); and this you must do, or your believing will signify nothing, but be in vain to your souls.” (2)

The Pulpit Commentary summarizes 1Corinthians 15:3 well:

“Verse 3. – First of all; literally, among the first things; but this idiom means “first of all.” It does not occur elsewhere in the New Testament, but is found in Genesis 33:2, 2Samuel 5:8 (LXX.). This testimony to the Resurrection is very remarkable, because:

1. It is the completest summary.

2. It refers to some incidents, which are not mentioned in the Gospels.

3. It declares that the death and resurrection of Christ were a subject of ancient prophecy.

4. It shows the force of the evidence on which the apostles relied and the number of living eye witnesses to whom they could appeal.

5. It is the earliest written testimony to the Resurrection; for it was penned within twenty-five years of the event itself.

6. It shows that the evidence for the Resurrection as a literal, historical, objective fact was sufficient to convince the powerful intellect of a hostile contemporary observer.

7. It probably embodies, and became the model for, a part of the earliest Creed of the Church. For our sins, literally, on behalf of. The passage is remarkable as the only one in which “on behalf of” is used with “sins” in St. Paul. In 1Corinthians 1:13 we are told that he died” on behalf of us” (Romans 5:8; see 2Corinthians 5:21; 1Peter 2:24). The expressions involve the image of Christ as a Sin Offering for the forgiveness of sins. According to the Scriptures. The chief passages alluded to are doubtless Isaiah 53:5, 8; Daniel 9:26; Psalm 22; Zechariah 12:10; together with such types as the offering of Isaac (Genesis 22.) and the Paschal lamb, etc. Our Lord had taught the apostles confidently to refer to the Messianic interpretation of the Old Testament prophecies (Luke 24:25, 46: Acts 8:35; Acts 17:3; Acts 26:22, 23; John 2:22; John 20:9; 1 Peter 1:11).” (3)

Contemplate Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on 1Corinthians 15:4:

“And that he was buried,…. That is, according to the Scriptures; for as he died and rose again according to the Scriptures, he was buried according to them; which speak of his being in hell, in “sheol”, in the grave, and of his making his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, Psalm 16:10 and which had their accomplishment through Joseph of Arimathea, a rich man, who begged the body of Jesus, wrapped in linen, and laid it in his own new tomb. And besides these Scripture prophecies of his burial, Jonah’s being three days and three nights in the whale’s belly was a type of it, and according to which our Lord himself foretold it, Matthew 12:40. Now since this was prophesied of, and typified, and had its actual accomplishment, it was very proper for the apostle to take notice of it, both to confirm the certainty of Christ’s death, and the truth of his resurrection, which his death and burial are mentioned, in order to lead on to, and next follows:

And that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures: that he should rise again from the dead was very plainly hinted or expressed in several prophecies which speak of the rising of his dead body, of its not being left in the grave so long as to see corruption; and which therefore could not be in it more than three days; and of his lifting up his head after he had drank of the brook by the way; of his ascension to heaven, and session at the right hand of God, which suppose his resurrection, Isaiah 26:19. And that he should rise again the third day, is not only suggested in Hosea 6:2 but was prefigured by the deliverance of Isaac on the third day after Abraham had given him up for dead, from whence he received him, in a figure of Christ’s resurrection; and by Jonah’s deliverance out of the whale’s belly, after he had been in it three days. The Jews take a particular notice of the third day as remarkable for many things they observe (e), as

“Of the third day Abraham lift up his eyes, Genesis 22:4 of the third day of the tribes, Genesis 42:18 of the third day of the spies, Joshua 2:16 of the third day of the giving of the law, Exodus 19:16 of the third day of Jonah, Jonah 1:17 of the third day of them that came out of the captivity, Ezra 8:15 of the third day of the resurrection of the dead, as it is written, Hosea 6:2 “after two days will he revive us, in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight”.”

From which passage, it is clear, that they under stood the prophecy in Hosea of the resurrection of the dead; and it is observable, that among the remarkable third days they take notice of, are the two instances of Isaac’s and Jonah’s deliverances, which were Scripture types of Christ’s resurrection. From which observations they establish this as a maxim (f), that

“God does not leave the righteous in distress more than three days.”’

That Christ did rise again from the dead, in pursuance of those prophecies and types, the apostle afterwards proves by an induction of particular instances of persons who were eyewitnesses of it.” (4)

What does a man need to do in light of the gospel message?

Paul declares the following concerning man’s condition, “As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one…that every mouth may be stopped, and the entire world may become guilty before God” Romans 3:10, 19. This is a sinner’s condition. This condition of sin must be acknowledged in humility. Paul goes on to say, “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” Romans 6:23. All humanity has earned the wages of death. God in his mercy gives the gift of eternal life based upon the work of Christ. The only thing that humankind has earned and deserved is death. Eternal life comes as a gift. If the confession sin and the accepting the work of Christ on one’s behalf is real, this confession will agree that there was and is absolutely nothing in a man that caused God to give this gift. Jesus Christ gets all the glory and praise.

Gospel presentation for sinners:

The basics of the gospel message might be presented like this:

God is perfect and holy and He requires nothing less than His own perfection. But, we are not able to attain His holiness. He doesn’t lie, cheat, or steal, but we do these things. Therefore, there’s a judgment upon us because we have broken the Law of God, we have sinned by lying and cheating and stealing. This judgment is eternal damnation. However, God the Father loves us so much that He sent God the Son, Jesus, who died on the cross as a sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. He died on the cross and physically rose from the dead three days later. This proves that His sacrifice was acceptable to the Father. Therefore, if you want to receive what Jesus has done to remove the wrath of God the Father, then you must receive Him and His sacrifice by faith. Would you like to pray and ask Jesus to forgive your sins against God? * From CARM

The results of gospel conversion:

The converted sinner will attempt to do as the writer of Hebrews sets forth: “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2). The repentant sinner will look to Jesus by giving him the glory in all things. God is the one that gives the gift of faith. The sinner is saved by grace and even the faith is a gift. Ephesians 2:8 says, “And that not of yourselves.” What is not of yourselves? Faith! Did the sinner choose Christ and exercise faith on his own apart from God and His divine working? Who gets the glory? Christ or the sinner? Why does a sinner choose to believe? Ephesians 1:4, 5 supplies the answer: “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” Was this salvation in the sinner’s hands to choose or reject? If this were the case, could not the sinner glory in himself? How can that be so? Because the sinner would have done something, others had not done. The following verse tells us that it is, “according to the good pleasure of his will.” “So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy” (Romans 9:16). Salvation is by Grace and not of works!

Hymns about Grace:

When I stand before the throne,
Dressed in beauty not my own,
When I see Thee as Thou art,
Love Thee With unsinning heart Robert Murray McCheyne

1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee;
let the water and the blood,
from thy wounded side which flowed,
be of sin the double cure;
save from wrath and make me pure.

2 Not the labors of my hands
can fulfill thy law’s demands;
could my zeal no respite know,
could my tears forever flow,
all for sin could not atone;
thou must save, and thou alone.

3 Nothing in my hand I bring,
simply to the cross I cling;
naked, come to thee for dress;
helpless, look to thee for grace;
foul, I to the fountain fly;
wash me, Savior, or I die.

4 While I draw this fleeting breath,
when mine eyes shall close in death,
when I soar to worlds unknown,
see thee on thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
let me hide myself in thee. Augustus Toplady

Quotes on Grace:

“Even if we have thousands of acts of great virtue to our credit, our confidence in being heard must be based on God’s mercy and His love for men. Even if we stand at the very summit of virtue, it is by mercy that we shall be saved.” – St. John Chrysostom

“The nature of the Divine goodness is not only to open to those who knock. But also to cause them to knock and ask.” – Augustine

“We ought always to beware of making the smallest claim for ourselves.” – John Calvin

“Grace alone makes the elect gracious; grace alone keeps them gracious; and the same grace alone will render them everlastingly glorious in the heaven of heavens.” – Augustus Toplady

“You may be quite certain that if you love God it is a fruit, not a root.” – C.H. Spurgeon

“We are not born again by repentance or faith or conversion: we repent and believe because we have been born again.” – John Murray

“As grace led me to faith in the first-place, so grace will keep me believing to the end. Faith, both in its origin and continuance, is a gift of grace.” – J.I. Packer

“Regeneration, however it is described, is a divine activity in us, in which we are not the actors but the recipients.” – Sinclair Ferguson

“Without the Holy Spirit there would be no new birth, no illumination, no understanding or affection for the gospel, and thus no faith — in other words, no Christians.” – J.W. Hendryx

“To make human action the cause of divine blessing is to overturn the whole nature of salvation.” – Iain Murray

In closing, the Word of God:

“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, 1Corinthians, Vol. 3 p. 2770.

2. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 592.

3. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, 1Corinthians, Vol.19., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 484.

4. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1Corinthians, 9 Volumes, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 351-352.

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: http://www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

* CARM Theological Dictionary https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/ctd/g/gospel.html https://carm.org/how-to-present-gospel-properly

** What is the gospel? At GOT Questions https://www.gotquestions.org/what-is-the-gospel.html

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