The Tactics of and The Theology of Christian Resistance

The Tactics of and The Theology of Christian Resistance A review                 by Jack Kettler

The Tactics of Christian Resistance and The Theology of Christian Resistance

Tyler, Texas Geneva Divinity School Press, both books published in1983

Christianity & Civilization Series

Edited by Gary North

A two-book review by Jack Kettler

The Editor’s Bio:

“Gary Kilgore North is an American paleo-libertarian writer, Austrian School economic historian, and leading figure in the Christian reconstructionist movement. North has authored or co-authored over fifty books on topics including Reformed Protestant theology, economics, and history.” – Wikipedia

About these books, John W. Whitehead’s comments are apropos:

“Conflict between Christ and Caesar is not inevitable: in fact, Jesus specifically commanded His disciples to ‘render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar’s’ (Matt. 22:21). Conflict becomes inevitable when the secular authority – Caesar – demands for himself honors that belong only to God…. In modern America, the state does not openly claim divine worship; but in effect, it is seeking to make itself the center of all human loyalties, the goal of all human aspirations, the source of all human values, and the final arbiter of all human destiny. In so doing, without using the language of revelation, it is claiming to be divine…” – John W. Whitehead, “Christian Resistance in the Face of State Interference”

The Editor’s introduction:

“THE question of resistance to a lawfully constituted authority is a very difficult one today, and it has been from the beginning. The New Testament unquestionably establishes the fact that disobedience to political authority is valid under those conditions where the civil government is attempting to suppress the preaching of the gospel (Acts 5:29). To deny this is to deny the history of the church. On the other hand, obedience to the authorities (plural) is required by Paul. Christians from the beginning have had to answer questions like these:

What constitutes a lawfully constituted authority?

Who are “the powers that be” (plural)?

Must we obey every command of “Caesar”?

May we disobey an authority “unilaterally” (autonomously)?

What constitutes the gospel, which must always be preached?

What constitutes unlawful infringement on preaching? Lawful?

What are the lawful modes of disobedience? Unlawful?

What if these authorities are not unanimous?

Is a victorious invading army to be obeyed?

How long does it take for an invader to become legitimate?” (Second, vol. page vii)

Reviewer’s comments:

A review of these two books from 1983 is necessary in light of the recent intrusion of the state into the domains of the church, family, and business. The present interference by the state is ostensibly warranted in the name of preventing the contraction of the almost yearly flu/virus. Citizens who question the state of emergency are denounced; churches are deemed none essential and closed. How is the Church to respond, submit, or resist?

The issue of Christian resistance and how and when it can be applied has been a Biblical issue since Abraham misled Pharaoh in Genesis chapter 12. Abraham was justified in tricking Pharaoh in Genesis. Are Christians today justified in resisting the state’s unbiblical solutions to a supposed health care emergency? If so, on what grounds? Hence, there is a need for a fresh look at the two volumes in review to explore the Biblical parameters of resistance.

These two books are a symposium of Christian scholars and thinkers in many ways is timeless. Their relevancy has not diminished. These two volumes should be seen as a whole, not two separate symposiums, but one. Today as many times, the Church and State clash.

Some of the notable Reformed scholars who participate in this symposium are:

Francis Nigel Lee; Louis DeBoer; Rousas John Rushdoony; Douglas F. Kelly, Francis A. Schaffer; Alan Stang; Michael R. Gilstrap; and Pieter Jongeling.

Other notable contributors are Paul M. Weyrich, Lawrence D. Pratt; Otto J. Scott; and Herbert Schlossberg, Archie P. Jones; and John W. Whitehead.

These contributors and others not listed in this review are not to be classified as cultural quietistic pietists. With its head in the sand approach, the ostrich has never been much of a deterrent to political tyranny. God ordains the end of all things and the means to bring about the end.

For example, someone may say God will provide all my needs, therefore sitting at home and watch as God provides. “How long wilt thou sleep, O sluggard? When wilt thou arise out of thy sleep?” (Proverbs 6:9). In most circumstances, God ordains that you work, and this is how God provides.

Thus, working at a job is the ordinary means to bring about God’s end, of providing your needs. The same is true in the cultural sphere. Sit quietly and wait or be proactive to bring about the desired end. The cultural quietist may be the cause of an unintended self-fulling prophecy of defeat.

You can be an ostrich, or you can use the Bible in resistance against tyrants. “Resistance to tyrants is obedience to God.” – John Knox.

Thankfully, the men participating in this two-volume symposium are in the tradition of John Knox.

The goal of a reviewer is to get the reader to read the book. There is probably no better way than to list the contributors and the chapter titles. This reviewer would purchase the two books under review from just looking at the chapter titles and authors.

The First Volume, The Tactics of Christian Resistance

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION By Gary North ix

PART I: FUNDAMENTAL STRATEGIES OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

THE CHRISTIAN MANIFESTO OF 1984

By Francis Nigel Lee – 1

THE FUNDAMENTAL BIBLICAL TACTIC FOR RESISTING TYRANNY

By Louis DeBoer – 13

RELIGIOUS LIBERTY VERSUS RELIGIOUS TOLERATION

By Rousas John Rushdoony – 32

REBELLION, TYRANNY, AND DOMINION IN THE BOOK OF GENESIS

By James B. Jordan – 38

THE NEW COMMUNITY

By Herbert Schlossberg. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. – 81

APOLOGETICS AND STRATEGY

By Gary North and David Chilton – 100

 

PART II: DEFENSIVE TACTICS OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

THE ESCALATING CONFRONTATION WITH BUREAUCRACY

By Gary North – 141

TERMITE TACTICS; OR, HOW TO BE A 98-POUND SAMSON

By Wayne C. Johnson – 191

RESISTANCE TACTICS OF AZARIAH AND OF PAUL

By Wayne C. Sedlak – 201

COMPUTER GUERRILLAS

By A. Richard Immel – 210

MISSION: UNDERCOVER RADIO

By Harry Caul – 223

WHO MAKES CHURCHES TAX-EXEMPT?

By Douglas F. Kelly – 229

CITIZENS’ PARALEGAL LITIGATION TACTICS

By Michael R. Gilstrap, – 233

 

PART III: OFFENSIVE TACTICS OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

A CHRISTIAN ACTION PLAN FOR THE 1980s

By Pat Robertson – 304

THE CHURCH AS A SHADOW GOVERNMENT

By Ray R. Sutton – 313

TITHING: FINANCING CHRISTIAN RECONSTRUCTION

By James B. Jordan – 355

TACTICS OF RESISTANCE USED BY THE PROTESTANT REFORMERS

By Otto J Scott – 371

THE USE OF MONEY: A Sermon

By John Wesley – 390

LEVERS, FULCRUMS, AND HORNETS

By Gary North – 401

TOOLS OF POLITICAL RESISTANCE

By Lawrence D. Pratt – 432

POLITICAL RESISTANCE TACTICS

By Paul M. Wryrich – 449

HOW TO LOBBY

By Connie Marshner – 459

Dr. Nigel Lee sets forth the ultimate objective of resistance, and this objective may sum up the goal of both books as a whole:

“Consistent Christians are truly human and seek to oppose Satan and all his inhuman works. They do not seek to form a separate party opposed to the rest of mankind, but when they stand up for the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, while the progressive non-Christians are converted and become Christians, the remnant, the non-progressive non-Christians, reactionarily cling to their sins and sink even deeper into their Satanic alienation from true humanity. Consistent Christians are the vanguard of the true humanity, the new creation, and seek to persuade all men to become consistent Christians. Non-Christian men are inconsistent men. Only by becoming consistent Christians do inconsistent men become consistent men. Only by dedicating their lives to the Lord Jesus Christ, that most human of all men, can humanistic men become truly human.” (First, vol. page 3)

In the next volume, The Theology of Christian Resistance

TABLE OF CONTENTS

EDITOR’S INTRODUCTION

By Gary North – vii

PART I: THE CONFLICT OF CHRISTIANITY WITH HUMANISM

CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE IN THE FACE OF STATE INTERFERENCE

By John W Whitehead – 1

CONFLICTING WORLD VIEWS: HUMANISM VERSUS CHRISTIANITY

By Francis A. Schaeffer – 14

WHAT THE WAR IS REALLY ABOUT

By Alan Stang – 24

 

PART II: PRINCIPLES OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

‘CONFIRMATION, CONFRONTATION, AND CAVES

By Gary North – 40

RAHAB’S JUSTIFIABLE LIE

By Jim West – 66

PACIFISM AND THE OLD TESTAMENT (an extended

Review of four recent books)

By James B. Jordan. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . – 75

NATURAL LAW AND CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE TO TYRANNY

By Archie P. Jones – 94

WHAT’S WRONG WITH HUMAN RIGHTS?

By T. Robert Ingram – 133

THE COUNTERPRODUCTIVITY OF NOT LINKING CHRISTIANITY AND POLITICS:

A REPLY TO SENATOR MARK HATFIELD

By Joseph C. Morecraft III – 148

 

PART III: THE HISTORY OF CHRISTIAN RESISTANCE

THE EARLY CHURCH AND PACIFISM (an extended review

Of Jean-Michel Hornus’s It is Not Lawful For Me To Fight)

By Allen C. Guelzo – 161

THE LESSER MAGISTRATES from Institutes of the Christian Religion (1559)

By John Calvin – 170

JOHN CALVIN’S THEOLOGY OF RESISTANCE

By Michael R. Gilstrap – 180

DEFENSIVE WAR IN A JUST CAUSE SINLESS, A Sermon (1775)

By David Jones – 218

AND GOD DEFEND THE RIGHT: THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION AND THE LIMITS OF CHRISTIAN OBEDIENCE

By M. E. Bradford – 233

THE DUTCH-AMERICAN GUERILLAS OF THE AMERICAN REVOLUTION

By William Marina and Diane Cuervo – 242

THE DEBATE OVER FEDERAL SOVEREIGNTY, A Selection from the Alien and Sedition Laws of 1798 and the Virginia and Kentucky Resolutions of 1798-99 – 266

ON RECONSTRUCTION AND THE AMERICAN REPUBLIC

By Tom Rose – 285

THE STRUGGLE FOR THE HEART OF THE DUTCH NATION

By Pieter Jongeling – 311

Unless the reader is so heavenly minded to be any earthly good, the chapter titles and authors should put these two volumes at the top of a must get book list.

In the conclusion of this review, and the first essay, the second volume, John Whitehead’s analysis of what is at stake is spot-on:

“ONE sure sign of judgment-upon both the church and society – is increasing state interference in the affairs of the church and Christian institutions. We see it everywhere today. It is as if the church is on the eve of being carried off into Babylon. Clearly, in the face of such government entanglement, we need to consider Christian resistance; that is, the proper Christian response to illegal acts of the state.

The Church Is At War

It is definitely time to shed the naive idea that the modern humanistic state exists to perpetuate good government. It is there to perpetuate itself at all costs. No bureaucracy works itself out of a job.

It is also time to shed the idea that Christians can simply go about their business looking neither to the left nor to the right, and somehow be freed from the woes to come. Every true Christian is on an eventual collision course with the modern technological state, and he should be prepared for it.

It must also be realized that the technological state has no need for an active church. Indeed, it requires a silent church. There is no room for God in such a state. Certainly, Christians are not here on earth to work out a peace pact with Satan. At a time when men are crying “peace, peace” we are assured that there is no peace.

Christianity, it must be remembered, is at war even in a world of peace. Christ said He came to bring not peace but a sword (Matt. 10:34). Much too often, the modern church has sought peace and compromise with the world. As a consequence, the church has compromised and allowed the tide of humanism to roll over society and encompass it. Nowhere has this been more true than in the Christian community’s silence and acquiescence to the ever growing power and unconstitutionality of the federal and state governments and their agencies. The state is abusing its power. It is up to the Christian community, which knows that the state is not absolute, to stop it.” (Second, vol. page 1, 2)

During the Protestant Reformation, there was much political turmoil. Tyrannical leaders like Mary Queen of Scots were resisted. Tyrants were not unique to the time of Protestant Reformation leader John Knox. Some of the world’s worst tyranny happened during the Twentieth Century. Professor R. J. Rummel labeled the Twentieth Century the century of “democide” in his book “Death by Government.” Contrary to the interpretation of Romans 13:1, 3-4 by some, governments do not always bring judgment against evildoers.

Today, state governments are forcing churches to jump through silly meaningless inconsistent hoops, interfering in worship services, outright banning church services. All because of the election flu, not a pandemic as it is still called in the media, but rather, a psychological warfare operation (PSYOP).

The Scripture warns us in the Ninth Commandment not to lie, nor to receive, or countenance a lie, including falsehoods propagated by the governing authorities. The two volumes under review do an extraordinary job of contrasting the humanistic state’s agenda over and against the Church’s mission. The two volumes do a remarkable job of mapping out strategies of resistance.

These books are particularly relevant to John MacArthur; the pastor of Grace Community Church is fighting back against this political (PSYOP). As said earlier, God has ordained to the end of all things, but also the means to bring about the end. MacArthur could sit there looking at Christ’s closed down Church or fight back. Pastor MacArthur is fighting back with the President’s attorney, a devout Christian, and Colorado girl, Jenna Ellis. John MacArthur heroically is fighting back in order to be a means to achieve an end. Unfortunately, other Christian leaders have chosen to hunker down rather than reprove the state for violating King Jesus’s domain.

In volume, one, in the Editor’s introduction, on pages xii – xxiii chronicles many examples from the recent history of shocking abuse by wicked governing authorities of Christians and other minorities.

Unless one is asleep at the wheel, you will want to have these books in your library. Do not be a cultural quietist. The freedoms we have for political dissent came with a price. In the U.S., the constitution, while not perfect, nevertheless, is a product of Christian civilization. Let us not squander this product while quietly awaiting an end to an authoritarian crackdown on the Church.

The cultural quietist approach almost certainly will allow abortion on demand, the eventual overrunning of private and Christian homeschooling, and the possible taxation to the destruction of many churches. The origin of the word Protestant appears in the16th century; thru German or French from Latin protestant – (protesting), from Latin protestari (protester). Historically, Protestants have resisted tyranny by holding up Scripture as the law they will submit too.

Thankfully, the Christian men who participated in this symposium were not culturally quietist neo-Protestants.

These two books are more relevant than ever. As a special bonus for reading this review, the reader will find below two links to download both books in PDF format. –end of review.

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

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

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:

The Tactics of Christian Resistance https://www.garynorth.com/TACTICS_OF_CHRISTIAN_RESISTANCE.pdf

The Theology of Christian Resistance

http://garynorth.com/TheologyCR.pdf

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A Biblical Geocentric challenge to Heliocentrism

A Biblical Geocentric challenge to Heliocentrism                                          By Jack Kettler

The challenge to heliocentrism in this study rests on two prongs or pillars. The first pillar is lengthy and builds an important and necessary case of Biblical sufficiency. The second pillar is short and follows from the first pillar. If Biblical sufficiency is successfully defended, then the burden of proof that heliocentrism must meet is likewise upheld.

In this study, it is maintained that Biblical cosmology is geocentric. Historically until after the lifetime of John Calvin and Martin Luther, geocentrism was the norm. The challenge to heliocentrism is that its case must be made from the Bible.

First prong:

The Sufficiency of Scriptures

“The self-evident testimony of the Scriptures is that they are sufficient. The Scriptures are completely adequate to meet the needs of the believer. This teaching is all over the face of the Scriptures. The believer can have confidence in the Scriptures. God’s Words are described as “pure,” “perfect,” “a light,” and “eternal.” This conclusion is one that can be drawn from or deduced from the Scriptures by good and necessary consequence.

For example, consider the testimony from the following passages:

The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever. (Psalms 12:6-7)

For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven. (Psalms 119:89)

Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path. (Psalms 119:105)

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the Lord are true and righteous altogether. (Psalms 19:7-9)

Because the Scriptures are true, they are “righteous altogether.” Moreover, if the law of God were incomplete, the conversion of the soul would be tenuous at best. The necessary biblical conclusion is that the Scriptures are complete. And, as will be seen, Mormonism teaches that believers can become unconverted.

The Scriptures have more to say along this line of reasoning:

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:26)

This promise of Christ to his apostles tells us that the Holy Spirit will teach them “all things,” and bring to their remembrance all things that he said unto them. This is a promise by God to the apostles that important information (i.e., revelation) would be given to them. It is a justifiable biblical conclusion that this revelation would be complete and sufficient because Jesus said “all things.” The wording “all things” is used in a qualified sense, but admitting this in no way contradicts the conclusion that this apostolic revelation (now Scripture) would be anything less than complete and sufficient. The “all things” pertain to whatsoever God intended to reveal, including His revelation necessary for salvation.

Along this same line of thinking, consider Paul’s ministry to the church. Did Paul leave anything out of his words to the church?

Listen to the apostle:

And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, from house to house… For I have not shunned to declare to declare unto you all the counsel of God. (Acts 20:20, 27)

Paul did not believe that God’s Word was insufficient. This is proved by his use of the phrase “all the counsel of God.” Paul believed that he had this counsel for the Church. This whole “counsel of God” was the same message that Moses and the prophets spoke. See Acts 26:22 for proof of this; “Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come…” The Scripture tells us that what is written will lead us to God that we might have life. This would again be tenuous at best if parts of Scripture have been lost, corrupted, or were insufficient.

Consider the further testimony of Scripture:

But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and believing ye might have life through his name. (John 20:31)

But the word of the Lord endureth for ever, And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you. (1 Peter 1:25)

It is clear that Peter had confidence in God’s Word. The Scriptures were given so that we might obtain life, and they endure forever. The believer does not need anything more than the written Word of God. In the next verse notice how God says; “All Scripture is given that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

The implications of this for the doctrine of the sufficiency of the Scriptures are enormous:

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Greek word translated “inspiration” means “God-breathed,” or that God is the source of the Scriptures. God’s inspiration of the Scriptures sets them apart from all other writings of men. They came from him. God used men to write His Word in the Bible. He did it in such a way as to make sure that what was written was exactly what He intended or designed. This means the Scriptures are divinely inspired.

What if the Scriptures were incomplete? If the Scriptures were incomplete, the “man of God” would never be able to “be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Paul’s instruction here would not be true if portions of the Scriptures were lost or some other standard needed. That is because the Scriptures are connected to this process of the perfecting of the man of God.

In a similar fashion, the next verse clearly sets forth the sufficiency of Scripture:

Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. (Matthew 5:17)

Jesus said that the least part of the law would not pass away. One implication is that nothing would be lost. If the least is to be preserved, then surely, the weightier things will not be lost. Consequently, we can have confidence that God’s Word is complete. There are not books missing from the Bible nor do we need some kind of nebulous oral tradition interpreted exclusively by church leaders.

The next passage from Isaiah warns us about those who will go beyond Scripture:

To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them. (Isaiah 8:20)

Isaiah sets God’s word forth as the standard. In preparation for the close of the apostolic era, like Isaiah, Paul sets forth the Scriptures as the objective source that must be the final court of appeal.

By apostolic command, believers are bound to the written word:

Now brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit, so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying, Do not go beyond what is written…. (1 Corinthians 4:6) (NIV)

In the Tyndale New Testament Commentary on First Corinthians, Leon Morris makes the following comment about the above verse:

“not beyond what is written” was a catch-cry familiar to Paul and his readers, directing attention to the need for conformity to Scripture.

Leon Morris, The Tyndale New Testament Commentary 1 Corinthians, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Inter-Varsity Press, and Eerdmans, 1983), p. 78.

The above passage in First Corinthians clearly condemns all forms of extra-biblical revelation including an oral tradition that is allegedly on par with the written Word of God. There is no need to go beyond Scripture. Why? Because it is, complete.

The biblical tests of a prophet found in Deuteronomy 12:32 – 13:4; Deuteronomy 18:20-22; and Isaiah 8:20 clearly set forth Scripture as the standard and a sufficient guide. Remember, Jesus used this standard to stop the mouths of His adversaries when He said, “Have ye never read” in Mark 2:25 regarding David’s actions. What did the Pharisees say in response to this? Nothing! Some religions actually teach that you are supposed to pray about the purported prophet and his message, then see if it rings true by getting a confirming sensation after prayer. The Old Testament believer in contrast was to compare the purported prophet and his message with what had been revealed and written by God in His Word.

In the book of Galatians, Paul continues this same pattern for testing purported revelation:

But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you that that ye have received, let him be accursed. (Galatians 1:8-9)

Expectantly the reader has discerned the clear pattern in Scripture. This pattern is appealing to what has been written. As mentioned previously, when Christ said, “It is written” this denotes finality and certainty because there was nothing more authoritative than God’s Word. It should be noted that Christ’s commentary on the Scriptures is infallible; ours is not.

The Apostle Paul follows this same pattern of appealing to Scripture:

And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. (2 Timothy 3:15)

The written word is the standard and it has not changed. Consider the importance of the following verse:

…which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of the truth. (1 Timothy 3:15) (NIV)

The church is very important. How is this so? The church today, like a pillar or foundation, defends and supports the gospel. How does the church do this? (1) By “Holding forth the word of life…” Philippians 2:16; (2) by “…rightly dividing the word of truth” 2 Timothy 2:15; (3) by “teaching all nations…” Matthew 28:19; (4) and by “guarding the good deposit” 2 Timothy 1:13-14 (NIV).

The church should do these things with all the resources in its power. These tasks would be impossible if Scripture were incomplete or corrupted. Why? Because you could not know if you were “holding forth the word of life” or the word of men. God commands us to “rightly divide the word of life.” God would not command us to rightly divide something, which we did not possess. Why? If we did not possess the Scriptures, it would be an impossibility to rightly divide them. The biblical conclusion is that Scripture has been preserved. Listen to the apostle Peter:

…by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (1 Peter 1:23)

Can anything be clearer? Peter is not talking about anything other than the written Scriptures.

Peter goes on to say:

According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue. (2 Peter 1:3)

As Peter instructs us, there are a great number of spiritual blessings that God has given us. We can have confidence that “all things” would have to include Scripture as one of those things. There is not any limitation expressed here because the passage is dealing with what God has given us for salvation. Consequently, we have confidence in the sufficiency of Scripture.

Consider the following examples on Jesus’ view of the accuracy of the Old Testament Scriptures and their prophetic fulfillment concerning himself, Matthew 26:31; Matthew 26:54; Mark 9:12, 13; John 13:18 John 17:12. Jesus referred to Old Testament individuals in the following verses: John 8:56 (Abraham); Luke 17:26-32 (Noah and Lot); Matthew 3:3 (Isaiah); and in Luke 4:24-27 (Elijah and Elisha). The case is irrefutable: Jesus believed in the reliability of the written Word of God. Consequently, the believer can have confidence in the reliability and trustworthiness of Scripture. Reliability and sufficiency go hand in hand. An insufficient or incomplete document is not reliable.

There is no evidence that Jesus believed the Scriptures to be anything less than complete. The tremendous spiritual corruption of Israel in Christ’s day, which culminated in the destruction of the Jewish nation in 70 A. D. (Matthew 23:34-36) did not affect the Old Testament canon. The canon was intact in Christ’s day, and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls confirms the accuracy of the Hebrew Masoretic Text used by the King James translators many centuries later. In reality, there is virtually no difference between the First Century copies of Old Testament Dead Sea copies and the Masoretic text that is one thousand years older.

The New Testament books were brought into the canon of Scripture as the church bore testimony to the fact that our present New Testament books claimed to be by their very nature the Word of God. The testimony of the Holy Spirit bore witness by and with the Scriptures in the hearts of men in this process. This was not a process where the church, as a divinely inspired entity, determined what the canon of Scripture would be. The Scriptures themselves bore this testimony of their inspiration.

Some teach that the church in and of itself made this decision. However, the Word of God does not depend upon man or the church. The Scriptures do not come from the church. They come from God. The Scriptures do not need our confirmation to be true. Their truthfulness is independent of man and even the church. There is more manuscript evidence for New Testament revelation than any other writing from antiquity. Therefore, we can have the same confidence that alleged corruption during the New Testament Church Age did not alter the New Testament canon of Scripture in any way. God is LORD of heaven and earth. He is Sovereign and “none can stay his hand…” (Daniel 4:35). Preserving His Word is a small matter for Him.

The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are the infallible Word of God and a sure rule of faith. In addition, they are the final court of appeal to settle religious disputes, and the Bible includes everything we need to know to receive salvation and to live a godly life.” (1)

Second prong:

Scripture is the best interpreter of Scripture. And, the plain statements of Scripture is the best explanation of a text.

Hermeneutical Principles by R. C. Sproul:

Sacra Scriptura sui interpres

Scripture is to interpret Scripture. This simply means that no part of Scripture can be interpreted in such a way to render it in conflict with what is clearly taught elsewhere in Scripture. For example, if a given verse is capable of two renditions or variant interpretations and one of those interpretations goes against the rest of Scripture while the other is in harmony with it, then the latter interpretation must be used.

Since it is assumed that God would never contradict Himself, it is thought slanderous to the Holy Spirit to choose an alternate interpretation that would unnecessarily bring the Bible in conflict with itself. The analogy of faith keeps the whole Bible in view lest we suffer from the effects of exaggerating one part of Scripture to the exclusion of others.

Interpreting the Bible Literally

The literal sense offers restraint from letting our imagination run away in fanciful interpretation and invites us to examine closely the literary forms of Scripture. The term literal comes from the Latin litera meaning “letter.” To interpret something literally is to pay attention to the litera or to the letters or words being used. To interpret the Bible literally is to interpret it as literature. That is, the natural meaning of a passage is to be interpreted according to the normal rules of grammar, speech, syntax and context.” (2)

The challenge to heliocentrism is similar to other challenges:

  1. The Mormon example:

When talking with Mormons, who want to convert someone, it can be said, to surrender sincerely held beliefs and adopt theirs, the case will have to come from the Bible since that is the standard.

  1. The Darwinian example:

Likewise, the Darwinian must prove their case from Scripture.

  1. The challenge to Heliocentrism:

The heliocentric case must be proved from Scripture. No outside interpretive grid can be imposed upon Scripture.

Objections to this challenge:

Some may say the Bible is not a textbook on science, and because of this, the proponent of heliocentrism must be free to bring in outside sources to interpret the Bible. The Bible may not be a textbook on science, but everything it says relevant to science is correct. The Scriptures present a geocentric cosmology, as attested to by John Calvin, Martin Luther, and many others. Heliocentrism is read into Scripture rather than exegeted from the Scripture.

Has accommodation or compromise happened before?

The accommodation to science happened and led to a reinterpretation of Scriptures when it came to Darwinism. Accommodation occurred in such areas as the gap theory, debates on the length of Biblical days, the different theories regarding the interpretation of Genesis account of creation such as the Literary Framework Interpretation, or the Revelatory Day Interpretation, etc.

Today, unless one believes in heliocentrism, they are ridiculed and blacklisted. Geocentrism, young-earth creationism take the Scriptures literally, and surrendering this approach to an extra-biblical interpretive scheme have enormous world-view consequences.

If heliocentrism cannot be proven from the Scriptures, what does that say? The ball is in the heliocentric court; their case is waiting to be proved.

The following is an exercise in questioning assumptions:

The only proof of planetary motion is one of assumptions.

A selection from The Problem of Motion by Gordon H. Clark:

“Newton, as has been said, failed to extricate science from the difficulty because he assumed that the meaning of motion was known to all. On this assumption he proceeded to discuss particular forms of motions. The futility of this procedure is clear enough to philosophers, but perhaps scientists wonder why ancient puzzles should be allowed to hinder modern science. For the reason something, as brief as possible, should be said about two important Newtonian laws, the law of inertia and the law of gravitation. The first of these asserts that a moving body continues indefinitely in a straight line unless subjected to an impressed force; and the second is an attempt to explain the curvilinear motion of the planets.

Now, the best known of all Newton’s pronouncements is the one that reveals his failure to explain planetary motion. The law of gravitation expresses with mathematical accuracy the forces necessary to change the rectilinear or inertial motion of a planet into an elliptical path. But when one asks the question, what impresses these forces? Newton replies, Hypotheses non fingo. Cajori, Newton’s recent editor, has collected some of Newton’s letters (Principia, Appendix, not 6, pp. 632-635) in which he clearly expresses the limitations of his mathematical law. Gravity, newton declares, is not a property of bodies; if it were, one body would act on another at a distance, and this is manifestly absurd; indeed, “We are ignorant of the essential properties of matter.” Mathematics only measures the quantity of the force; it says nothing about what impresses the force. Newton himself thought it possible that God impresses this force; but this theological opinion is obviously not a part of experimental science. Therefore, science has failed to show what forces the planets out of a rectilinear path.

Now, finally, what is the value of the law of inertia? This law states that a moving body continues in a straight path unless compelled to change by an impressed force. The difficulty with this law is well known. To determine a straight line a fixed point is needed. If a hawk in search of a meal flies always toward another bird, and the other bird is darting hither and yon, the hawk obviously does not fly in a straight line. And if a rocket could be fired so as always to be pointing to the moon, it would not describe a rectilinear path. The determination of a rectilinear path requires a fixed objected in absolute space. But there are no fixed objects. The “fixed” stars are not fixed. Hence, the law of inertia has no application. It is completely impossible to discover a body moving in a straight line.” (3)

As Clark has noted, “Newton himself thought it possible that God impresses this force; but this theological opinion is obviously not a part of experimental science.”

Therefore:

“O Timothy, keep that which is committed to thy trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called: Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.” (1 Timothy 6:20-21)

Geocentric cosmology was clear enough to John Calvin:

“[The Christian is not to compromise so as to obscure the distinction between good and evil, and is to avoid the errors of] those dreamers who have a spirit of bitterness and contradiction, who reprove everything and prevent the order of nature. We will see some who are so deranged, not only in religion but who in all things reveal their monstrous nature, that they will say that the sun does not move, and that it is the earth which shifts and turns. When we see such minds, we must indeed confess that the devil possess them, and that God sets them before us as mirrors, in order to keep us in his fear. So it is with all who argue out of pure malice, and who happily make a show of their imprudence. When they are told: “That is hot,” they will reply: “No, it is plainly cold.” When they are shown an object that is black, they will say that it is white, or vice versa. Just like the man who said that snow is black; for although it is perceived and known by all to be white, yet he clearly wished to contradict the fact. And so it is that they are madmen who would try to change the natural order, and even to dazzle eyes and benumb their senses.” (4)

While not using the word heliocentrism, Calvin said that it is the devil who is it.

In addition, Calvin said:

“The heavens revolve daily and, immense as is their fabric, and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion–no disturbance in the harmony of their motion…. How could earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God’s hand?  By what means could it maintain itself unmoved, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?” (5)

Calvin’s cosmology was based upon the Bible its self, not extra-Biblical smuggled in to interpret the Bible.

The Westminster Confession of Faith 1.6 says:

“The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man’s salvation, faith, and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.”

Therefore, the Mormon quest for godhood, Darwinism, and Heliocentrism are nothing more than “traditions of men.”

A review from a previous study. Inconvenient observations for heliocentrists:

“Redshifts would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central Earth… This hypothesis cannot be disproved.” – Edwin Hubble in The Observational Approach to Cosmology

“If the Earth were at the center of the universe, the attraction of the surrounding mass of stars would also produce redshifts wherever we looked! This theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations.” – Paul Davies in Nature, an English physicist

“The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is simply incorrect” – Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Yale University, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University

“When you look at CBM map, [cosmic microwave background (CMB)] you also see that the structure is…correlated with the plane of the Earth around the sun. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.” – Lawrence Krauss (2006) Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist

“The relation of the two pictures [geocentricity and heliocentricity] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is “right” and the Ptolemaic theory “wrong” in any meaningful physical sense.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis

“Red shift in the spectra of quasars leads to yet another paradoxical result: namely, that the Earth is the center of the Universe.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science

“In other words, assuming the cosmological red shift hypothesis, the quasars…are arrange on 57 spherical shells with Earth in the center. This is certainly an extraordinary result. Some of the possibilities that we shall consider to accommodate this result may be disturbing, but we must consider these possibilities dispassionately.

(1) Coincidence in distances could be possible if there were clustering. However, an examination of the coordinates of the various members of individual groups show that in most cases there is no such correlation. Hence, this explanation has to be ruled out.

(2) Quasars may be arranged like atoms in a crystal lattice, with the Earth being either at an empty lattice site or at a suitable interstitial site. Should that be the case, one would expect some pattern or regularity in the directions of quasars belonging to a certain group. No such evidence is found and this possibility must also be abandoned.

(3) The Earth is indeed the center of the Universe. The arrangement of quasars on certain spherical shells is only with respect to the Earth. These shells would disappear if viewed from another galaxy or a quasar. This means that the cosmological principle will have to go. Also, it implies that a coordinate system fixed to the Earth will be a preferred frame of reference in the Universe. Consequently, both the Special and the General Theory of Relativity must be abandoned for cosmological purposes.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science

“A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth’s movement. The results were always negative.” – Henri Poincare, French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science

“Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest…” – Henrick Lorentz, Dutch physicist

“No physical experiment has ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” – Lincoln Barnett, editor at Life Magazine

“This hypothesis (of a central Earth) cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome and would only be accepted as a last resort.” “We disregard this possibility. The unwelcome position of a favored location must be avoided at all costs.” “Such a favored position is intolerable.” – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer

“The pendulum has swung all the way and started to come back on the Copernican principle.” – Max Tegmark, physicist, cosmologist and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Also, consult https://thereligionthatstartedinahat.org/2020/07/31/did-the-sun-stand-still-in-joshua-1013-14/

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

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

Notes:

  1. Jack Kettler, The Religion that Started in a Hat, (Maitland, Florida, MCP Books.20160, pp. 45-48.
  2. R.C. Sproul, Knowing Scripture, Abridgement is from Chapter 3: Hermeneutics: The Science of Interpretation, (Downers Grove, Illinois, IVP 2009) pp. 41.
  3. Gordon Clark, The Problem of Motion, The Gordon Review Winter 1958.
  4. John Calvin, “Sermon on 1 Corinthians 10:19-24”, Calvini Opera Selecta, Corpus Refomatorum, Vol 49, 677, trans. by Robert White in “Calvin and Copernicus: the Problem Reconsidered,“ Calvin Theological Journal 15 (1980), p233-243, at 236-237.
  5. John Calvin, Commentary on the Psalms 93:1 Vol. VI, see also Commentary on Joshua 10:12, Vol. IV and Psalm 148:3, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979).

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

For more study:

The Problem of Motion by Gordon H. Clark

http://gordonhclark.reformed.info/the-problem-of-motion-by-gordon-h-clark/

Science and Truth by Gordon H. Clark

http://trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=19

The Philosophy of Science and Belief in God by Gordon H. Clark

https://sheepishdiscernments.wordpress.com/2014/01/01/gordon-h-clark-the-philosophy-of-science-and-belief-in-god/

The Bible and the Idolatry of Science by Ronald L. Cooper http://www.trinityfoundation.org/journal.php?id=344

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Did the Sun stand still in Joshua 10:13-14?

Did the Sun stand still in Joshua 10:13-14?                                                                               By Jack Kettler

“Then spake Joshua to JEHOVAH in the day when JEHOVAH delivered up the Amorites before the children of Israel, and he said in the sight of Israel, Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon; and thou, Moon, in the valley of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the people had avenged themselves upon their enemies. Is not this written in the book of Jasher? So the sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and hasted not to go down about a whole day. And there was no day like that before it or after it that JEHOVAH hearkened unto the voice of a man: for JEHOVAH fought for Israel.” (Joshua 10:12-14)

What does this passage mean? Is it literal? If so, is modern cosmology wrong? This study is not for one easily offended or governed by emotions. The purpose is to challenge prevailing theories.

John Calvin on Joshua 10:13:

“13. And the sun stood still, etc. The question how the sun stood in Gibeon, is no less unseasonably raised by some than unskillfully explained by others. For Joshua did not subtlety place the sun in any particular point, making it necessary to feign that the battle was fought at the summer solstice, but as it was turning towards the district of Ajalon as far as the eye could discern, Joshua bids it stay and rest there, in other words, remain above what is called the horizon. In short, the sun, which was already declining to the west, is kept from setting.

I do not give myself any great anxiety as to the number of the hours; because it is enough for me that the day was continued through the whole night. Were histories of that period extant, they would doubtless celebrate this great miracle; lest its credibility, however, should be questioned, the writer of this book mentions that an account of it was given elsewhere, though the work which he quotes has been lost, and expounders are not well agreed as to the term Jazar. Those who think Moses is meant, insist on referring the example, which is here given to general predictions. As Moses applies this name to the chosen people, it is more congruous to hold that commentaries on the events in their history are meant. I, for my part, understand by it either God or Israel, rather than the author of a history.”

  1. And there was no day like that, etc. We read in Isaiah and in the Sacred History, that the course of the sun was afterwards changed as a favor to King Hezekiah. (Isaiah 38:5-8) For to assure him that his life was still to be prolonged fifteen years, the shadow of the sun was carried back over ten degrees on which it had gone down. It is not, therefore, absolutely denied that anything similar had ever been conceded to any other person, but the miracle is extolled as singular. The rendering of the word sm, by obeyed, as adopted by some, I reject as too harsh. For although it is said in the Psalm, that the Lord does according to the desire of his servants, which may be held to be equivalent to obeying, it is better to avoid anything which seems to give a subordinate office to God. Simply, therefore, the excellence of the miracle is praised, as nothing like it had been seen before or had happened after. The second clause of the verse celebrates the kindness and condescension of God in hearing Joshua, as well as his paternal favor towards the people, for whom he is said to have fought.” (1)

There is nothing in Calvin’s comments that indicates he did not take the passage as anything but literal. The cosmology in Calvin’s time was different from modern cosmology. The modern commentator has to import a different cosmology and try to reinterpret the text accordingly.

There are verses that refer to the Sun as rising and setting every day while not one verse that ever refers to the Earth as moving. Has modern cosmology become an interpretive grid imposed upon biblical cosmology?

As we look at the following passages, are they nothing more than figures of speech? In the following survey of Scriptures, there are examples of historical, poetical, and didactic genera’s of literature. An interpreter needs to be aware of the rules for different genera. If, for example, the following list of Scriptures were all-poetical, it would be easier to say that figures of speech account for what is seen. However, three genera’s are covered, making it problematic for a speech figure to be a solution to all the passages.

The following passages have a literal way to interpret them. If they are purely figurative, what insights does the reader gain for not taking them as literal? How would one rephrase these Scriptures to represent heliocentric cosmological truth? Why would God not solve the problem of interpretation by using a heliocentric model? If cosmology is geocentric, there is no problem in not taking the passages as anything but literal.

A small sampling of Scriptures relevant to Joshua 10:12-14:

“The sun was risen upon the earth when Lot entered into Zoar.” (Genesis 19:23)

“But Moses’ hands were heavy; and they took a stone, and put it under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.” (Exodus 17:12)

“And when the sun is down, he shall be clean, and shall afterward eat of the holy things; because it is his food.” (Leviticus 22:7)

“And on the east side toward the rising of the sun shall they of the standard of the camp of Judah pitch throughout their armies: and Nahshon the son of Amminadab shall be captain of the children of Judah.” (Numbers 2:3)

“Then Moses severed three cities on this side Jordan toward the sunrising.” (Deuteronomy 4:41)

“And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, what is sweeter than honey? And what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, if ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.” (Judges 14:18)

“And when all the people came to cause David to eat meat while it was yet day, David sware, saying, so do God to me, and more also, if I taste bread, or ought else, till the sun be down.” (2 Samuel 3:35)

“And there went a proclamation throughout the host about the going down of the sun, saying, every man to his city, and every man to his own country.” (1 Kings 22:36)

“And Hezekiah answered, it is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees.” (2 Kings 20:10)

“So we laboured in the work: and half of them held the spears from the rising of the morning till the stars appeared.” (Nehemiah 4:21)

“He can command the sun not to rise.” (Job 9:7)

“The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose.” (Ecclesiastes 1:5)

“A Psalm of Asaph. The mighty God, even the LORD, hath spoken, and called the earth from the rising of the sun unto the going down thereof.” (Psalm 50:1)

“For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.” (Isaiah 13:10)

“Behold, I will bring again the shadow of the degrees, which is gone down in the sun dial of Ahaz, ten degrees backward. So the sun returned ten degrees, by which degrees it was gone down.” (Isaiah 38:8)

“So shall they fear the name of the LORD from the west, and his glory from the rising of the sun. When the enemy shall come in like a flood, the Spirit of the LORD shall lift up a standard against him.” (Isaiah 59:19)

“She that hath borne seven languisheth: she hath given up the ghost; her sun is gone down while it was yet day: she hath been ashamed and confounded: and the residue of them will I deliver to the sword before their enemies, saith the LORD.” (Jeremiah 15:9)

“And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.” (Amos 8:9)

“And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, it is better for me to die than to live.” (Jonah 4:8)

“Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you, that ye shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets, and the day shall be dark over them.” (Micah 3:6)

“Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.” (Nahum 3:17)

“The sun and moon stood still in their habitation: at the light of thine arrows they went, and at the shining of thy glittering spear.” (Habakkuk 3:11)

“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 1:11)

“That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” (Matthew 5:45)

“And at even, when the sun did set, they brought unto him all that were diseased, and them that were possessed with devils.” (Mark 1:32)

“Now when the sun was setting, all they that had any sick with divers diseases brought them unto him; and he laid his hands on every one of them, and healed them.” (Luke 4:40)

“Be ye angry, and sin not: let not the sun go down upon your wrath.” (Ephesians 4:26)

“For the sun is no sooner risen with a burning heat, but it withereth the grass, and the flower thereof falleth, and the grace of the fashion of it perisheth: so also shall the rich man fade away in his ways.” (James 1:11)

A small sampling of theologians relevant Joshua 10:12-14:

Augustine:

“Let not the philosophers, then, think to upset our faith with arguments from the weight of bodies; for I don’t care to inquire why they cannot believe an earthly body can be in heaven, while the whole earth is suspended on nothing. For perhaps the world keeps its central place by the same law that attracts to its center all heavy bodies.” (2)

“For an eclipse of the sun had also happened; and this was attributed to the divine power of Romulus by the ignorant multitude, who did not know that it was brought about by the fixed laws of the sun’s course.” (3)

“This he said either of those things of which he had just been speaking–the succession of generations, the orbit of the sun, the course of rivers, –or else of all kinds of creatures that are born and die.” (4)

“What is there so arranged by the Author of the nature of heaven and earth as the exactly ordered course of the stars? What is there established by laws so sure and inflexible? And yet, when it pleased Him who with sovereignty and supreme power regulates all He has created, a star conspicuous among the rest by its size and splendor changed its color, size, form, and, most wonderful of all, the order and law of its course! Certainly that phenomenon disturbed the canons of the astronomers, if there were any then, by which they tabulate, as by unerring computation, the past and future movements of the stars, so as to take upon them to affirm that this which happened to the morning star (Venus) never happened before nor since. But we read in the divine books that even the sun itself stood still when a holy man, Joshua the son of Nun, had begged this from God until victory should finish the battle he had begun; and that it even went back, that the promise of fifteen years added to the life of king Hezekiah might be sealed by this additional prodigy. But these miracles, which were vouchsafed to the merits of holy men, even when our adversaries believe them, they attribute to magical arts; so Virgil, in the lines I quoted above, ascribes to magic the power to “Turn rivers backward to their source, and make the stars forget their course.” (5)

Chrysostom:

“For He not only made it, but provided also that when it was made, it should carry on its operations; not permitting it to be all immoveable, nor commanding it to be all in a state of motion. The heaven, for instance, hath remained immoveable, according as the prophet says, “He placed the heaven as a vault, and stretched it out as a tent over the earth.” But, on the other hand, the sun with the rest of the stars, runs on his course through every day. And again, the earth is fixed, but the waters are continually in motion; and not the waters only, but the clouds, and the frequent and successive showers, which return at their proper season.” (6)

John Calvin:

“The heavens revolve daily, and, immense as is their fabric and inconceivable the rapidity of their revolutions, we experience no concussion — no disturbance in the harmony of their motion. The sun, though varying its course every diurnal revolution, returns annually to the same point. The planets, in all their wanderings, maintain their respective positions. How could the earth hang suspended in the air were it not upheld by God’s hand? By what means could it maintain itself unmoved, while the heavens above are in constant rapid motion, did not its Divine Maker fix and establish it?” (7)

God “laid the foundations of the earth, that it should not be removed, forever” (Psalm 104:5). “Here the prophet celebrates the glory of God, as manifested in the stability of the earth. Since it is suspended in the midst of the air, and is supported only by pillars of water, how does it keep its place so stedfastly that it cannot be moved? This I indeed grant may be explained on natural principles; for the earth, as it occupies the lowest place, being the center of the world, naturally settles down there.” (8)

“I beseech you to tell me what the foundation of the earth is. It is founded both upon the water and also upon the air: behold its foundation. We cannot possibly build a house fifteen feet high on firm ground without having to lay a foundation. Behold the whole earth founded only in trembling, indeed poised above such bottomless depths that it might be turned upside down at any minute to become disordered. Hence there must be a wonderful power of God to keep it in the condition in which it is.” (9)

Martin Luther

“Luther called Copernicus an upstart astronomer and referred to him as a fool who wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.

Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters… It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night… We Christians must be different from the philosophers in the way we think about the causes of things. And if some are beyond our comprehension like those before us concerning the waters above the heavens, we must believe them rather than wickedly deny them or presumptuously interpret them in conformity with our understanding.” (10)

“People gave ear to an upstart astrologer who strove to show that the earth revolves, not the heavens or the firmament, the sun and the moon. Whoever wishes to appear clever must devise some new system, which of all systems is of course the very best. This fool [or ‘man’] wishes to reverse the entire science of astronomy; but sacred Scripture tells us that Joshua commanded the sun to stand still, and not the earth.” (11)

Matthew Poole:

“Eccl. 1:5: “The sun is in perpetual motion, sometimes arising, and sometimes setting, and then arising again, and so constantly repeating its course in all succeeding days, and  years, and ages; and the like he observes concerning the winds and  rivers, ver. 6,7.” (12)

John Owen:

“Ps. 19: “The visible heavens are thus a revelation of God, the sun bringing by His circlings successive day and night in turn.” (13)

A.W. Pink:

“Writing on Joshua 10:13, John Gill said, ‘How this is to be reconciled with the Copernican system or that with this, I shall not inquire.’ Wise man not to pretend to understand what has not been divinely revealed. Wiser still in refusing to allow the theorizing’s of a Prussian astronomer to cast doubt on what He has made known, or to suggest an interpretation which ‘harmonizes’ the same with the hypothesis of ‘science falsely so called’ (1 Timothy 6:20).” (14)

Definitions:

The geocentric model is a description of the Universe with Earth at the center. Under the geocentric model, the Sun, Moon, stars, and planets all orbited Earth. – Wikipedia

Heliocentrism is the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun at the center of the Solar System. Historically, heliocentrism was opposed to geocentrism, which placed the Earth at the center. – Wikipedia

Questions:

 What triggered the literal interpretation of the above verses to change to non-literal interpretation? Could scientific and social acceptability be a factor?

For example, when the scientific community accepted the theory of evolution, many Bible teachers accommodated this theory and adjusted their Bible interpretation to find social acceptance. Did this same type of accommodation happen in the area of cosmology?

Is the Bible without error in all that it teaches? In the above verses regarding the Sun and Stars moving and the Earth not moving. Is God using human language in such a way to accommodate how humans, in their limited understanding, understood the creation? If so, why would God not correct human misunderstanding and set forth the heliocentric view if it is correct? If the Holy Spirit moved the writers of Scripture when they wrote the Word of God, why would God allow them to write false or misleading information to accommodate human ignorance?

The preponderance of the totality of Scripture sets forth a geocentric cosmology along with the Earth being the center of God’s creation. Was it an accommodation to science that led to a reinterpretation of the above Scriptures? The learned doctors of the Church cited above understood poetic literature and rules for its particular genera of allowing for the use of figurative language.

In addition, geocentrists would ask, “How deceptive of God to speak in such a manner unless He meant what he said.” Calvin and others got their understanding of the simple reading of Scripture. Are the Scriptures in error? Since Calvin and other church leaders got their understanding of the Sun moving and the Earth stationary from the Bible, was God teaching falsehood? Were Calvin and Luther deceived or ignoramuses in the area of biblical teaching and science?

How can one be sure of cosmology? Inconvenient quotes:

“I pause to note that one may scan Einstein’s writings in vain to find mention of the Sagnac or Michelson-Gale experiments. The same can be said of general physics textbooks and of the 1971 McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of Science and Technology. … Such an oversight in these distinguished encyclopedias constitutes a stinging indictment of professional scientific reporting.” – Dean Turner, editor of Einstein Myth and the Ives Papers

“Whether or not the motion of the Earth in space can be made perceptible in terrestrial experiments…all attempts of this nature led to a negative result.” – Albert Einstein, German-born theoretical physicist, developed the theory of relativity

“I can construct for you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations. You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds.” – George Ellis (1995) George Ellis is a famous astronomer who has authored books with Stephen Hawking.

“People need to be aware that there is a range of models that could explain the observations, for instance, I can construct you a spherically symmetrical universe with Earth at its center, and you cannot disprove it based on observations.” Ellis has published a paper on this. “You can only exclude it on philosophical grounds. In my view there is absolutely nothing wrong in that. What I want to bring into the open is the fact that we are using philosophical criteria in choosing our models. A lot of cosmology tries to hide that.” W. Wayt Gibbs, Profile: George F. R. Ellis, Scientific American, October 1995, Vol. 273, No.4, p. 55.

“I have come to believe that the motion of the Earth cannot be detected by any optical experiment.” – Einstein, theoretical physicist

“Redshifts would imply that we occupy a unique position in the universe, analogous, in a sense, to the ancient conception of a central Earth… This hypothesis cannot be disproved.” – Edwin Hubble in The Observational Approach to Cosmology

“If the Earth were at the center of the universe, the attraction of the surrounding mass of stars would also produce redshifts wherever we looked! This theory seems quite consistent with our astronomical observations.” – Paul Davies in Nature, an English physicist

“The new results are either telling us that all of science is wrong and we’re the center of the universe, or maybe the data is simply incorrect” – Lawrence Krauss, theoretical physicist and cosmologist, Yale University, Arizona State University, Case Western Reserve University

“When you look at CBM map, [cosmic microwave background (CMB)] you also see that the structure is…correlated with the plane of the Earth around the sun. That would say we are truly the center of the universe.” – Lawrence Krauss (2006) Lawrence Krauss is a theoretical physicist

“The relation of the two pictures [geocentricity and heliocentricity] is reduced to a mere coordinate transformation and it is the main tenet of the Einstein theory that any two ways of looking at the world which are related to each other by a coordinate transformation are entirely equivalent from a physical point of view. Today we cannot say that the Copernican theory is “right” and the Ptolemaic theory “wrong” in any meaningful physical sense.” – Sir Fred Hoyle, an English astronomer who formulated the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis

“Red shift in the spectra of quasars leads to yet another paradoxical result: namely, that the Earth is the center of the Universe.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science

“In other words, assuming the cosmological red shift hypothesis, the quasars…are arrange on 57 spherical shells with Earth in the center. This is certainly an extraordinary result. Some of the possibilities that we shall consider to accommodate this result may be disturbing, but we must consider these possibilities dispassionately.

(1) Coincidence in distances could be possible if there were clustering. However, an examination of the coordinates of the various members of individual groups show that in most cases there is no such correlation. Hence, this explanation has to be ruled out.

(2) Quasars may be arranged like atoms in a crystal lattice, with the Earth being either at an empty lattice site or at a suitable interstitial site. Should that be the case, one would expect some pattern or regularity in the directions of quasars belonging to a certain group. No such evidence is found and this possibility must also be abandoned.

(3) The Earth is indeed the center of the Universe. The arrangement of quasars on certain spherical shells is only with respect to the Earth. These shells would disappear if viewed from another galaxy or a quasar. This means that the cosmological principle will have to go. Also, it implies that a coordinate system fixed to the Earth will be a preferred frame of reference in the Universe. Consequently, both the Special and the General Theory of Relativity must be abandoned for cosmological purposes.” – Y.P. Varshni in Astrophysics and Space Science

“A great deal of research has been carried out concerning the influence of the Earth’s movement. The results were always negative.” – Henri Poincare, French mathematician, theoretical physicist, engineer, and philosopher of science

“Briefly, everything occurs as if the Earth were at rest…” – Henrick Lorentz, Dutch physicist

“No physical experiment has ever proved that the Earth actually is in motion.” – Lincoln Barnett, editor at Life Magazine

“This hypothesis (of a central Earth) cannot be disproved, but it is unwelcome and would only be accepted as a last resort.” “We disregard this possibility. The unwelcome position of a favored location must be avoided at all costs.” “Such a favored position is intolerable.” – Edwin Hubble, American astronomer

“The pendulum has swung all the way and started to come back on the Copernican principle.” – Max Tegmark, physicist, cosmologist and a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

“There was just one alternative; the earth’s true velocity through space might happen to have been nil.” – Arthur Eddington, English astronomer, physicist, and mathematician

Is modern science logical?

Science and a simple syllogism:

Major Premise: It is self-evident the Earth moves around the sun.

Minor Premise: No interferometer has ever measured such movement.

Conclusion: Earth moves, matter shrinks, time dilates, and neither ether nor absolute motion exist. Everything is relative. Case closed.” – Robert A. Sungenis

Consider the movie “The Principle?” “The Principle” is a 2014 American independent film produced by Rick Delano and Robert Sungenis. “The Principle” rejects the Copernican principle and supports the long-superseded notion that Earth is at the center of the Universe.

Anyone who wants to make some money?

This challenge is simple. Anyone who can provide qualified experimental proof that the Earth revolves around the Sun will be paid $100,000.

Dismissing this challenge or laughing this off is not proving the heliocentric theory.

The $100,000 Heliocentric Challenge

“The theory of relativity is a mass of error and deceptive ideas violently opposed to the teachings of great men of science of the past and even to common sense.” – Nikola Tesla, Serbian-American inventor, electrical engineer, mechanical engineer

“Thus, general relativity brings about its own downfall by predicting singularities.” – Stephen Hawking, theoretical physicist

Watch the movie trailer “Journey to the Center of the Universe.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=CbR06vDYPWg

Watch the movie trailer “The Principle.”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8cBvMCucTg

Order both films here!

It is time for Occam’s razor:

William of Ockham (c. 1287–1347), was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. How does his philosophical razor work? The simplest explanation is usually the right one. Alternatively, amid opposing suppositions, the one with the least assumptions should be selected.

What does this have to do with gocentricity? Can anyone understand or explain Einstein’s special theory of relativity? What about Einstein’s idea of curved space? Did Einstein make up the Special Theory of Relativity as a mathematically theoretical construct to cover up the fact that no known empirical experiment could prove that the Earth is moving?

Experimentations that disprove Einstein are Airy’s experiment, the Michelson-Gale’s experiment, the Michelson-Morley experiments and Sagnac’s experiment are observational experiments that show every time they are done that the Earth is not moving and that there is a substance called aether that moves. Light travels as a wave. This means that light is moving through something that generates the waves, hence aether.

How far does Einstein’s theory of relativity go? Does it displace absolutes? In regards to Occam’s razor, biblical teaching is simply straightforward and true. Moreover, after considering the many quotes for top physicists, can one be certain of heliocentricity? Why are many Christians opposed to the Earth’s unique place in the Universe? Why is it that non-Christians scientists are talking about things like the so-called “axis of evil,” (proving the Earth is the center of the universe) and lack of observational experiments proving that the earth supposedly moves?

A simple man’s questions:

For the heliocentrist, what empirical evidence can be provided that contradicts the Sun, Moon and Stars not moving and the Earth is stationary? Pictures from books or movies are not empirical scientific evidence. What were the results of Sagnac’s experiment? What were the results of Airy’s starlight experiment, or Michelson-Gale’s interferometer experiment and the famous Michelson-Morley interferometer experiment? Why are these experiments absent from textbooks on physics?

The heliocentric theory alleges that the Earth is spinning around its axis at 1,000 miles per hour, revolving around the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour and the Milky Way galaxy at 500,000 miles per hour. Suppose the Earth spins at a constant velocity dragging the atmosphere in such a manner as to cancel centrifugal, gravitational, and inertial forces perfectly. Why do we not feel any evidence of this rapid motion?

Is gravity a solution?

How is it that gravity is strong enough to drag miles of Earth’s atmosphere along, but weak enough to allow little bugs, birds, clouds, smoke, flying kites and planes to travel freely undiminished in any direction? If gravity is so strong to keep water from coming out of the oceans, why can one swirl a glass of water around at substantially less than 1,000 miles per hour, and why does not gravity keep the water from spilling out of the glass? If the Moon’s gravity is strong enough to act upon the Earth’s oceans and cause the tides, then why does it not act upon our atmosphere in the same way?

If the Earth is traveling around the Sun, why do the constellations not change over the course of thousands of years? Why do we always see Orion’s belt and the Big Dipper? Does not this prove that the stars are fixed in their course?

How does air travel work with an Earth spinning 1,000 miles an hour from East to West? How would North to South military artillery or sniper shots work with the Earth spinning at this speed? At 1,000 miles per hour, 16 miles per minute, ¼ mile per second airplanes would crash on North to South runways.

If the Earth rotates on its axis at 1,000 miles per hour revolving around the Sun at 67,000 miles per hour, and the Milky Way Galaxy moving even faster, why is there no observable stellar parallax, (A stellar parallax is a parallax on an interstellar scale: the apparent shift of position of any nearby star or another object against the background of distant objects) specifically bearing in mind that all the other stars and galaxies are revolving around each other and the Earth as well.

Links for more study:

Almagest Ephemeris Calculator

GEOCENTRICITY’S CRITICS REFUSE TO DO THEIR HOMEWORK

A Special Chalcedon Position Paper by Martin G. Selbrede

Scientists know that Earth is the center of the Universe! Part 1

Scientist know the Earth is at the center of the Universe Part 2

In conclusion:

“He can command the sun not to rise.” (Job 9:7) Can God do this? What does this mean if modern cosmology is true?

Special bonus feature:

NASA ADMITS WE NEVER WENT TO THE MOON

“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 Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Joshua, Volume IV, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), pp. 153-155.
  2. Augustine, City of God, (New York, Modern Library), Bk XIII, Chapter 18 p. 425.
  3. Augustine, Chapter 15 p. 88.
  4. Augustine, Chapter 13 p. 394.
  5. Ibid. Chapter 8 p. 776.
  6. John Chrysostom, Homilies to Antioch, Homily XII (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans publishing, vol. 9 Reprinted 1978), p. 418.
  7. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries Volume V1, Psalms, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, Reprinted 1979), pp. 6-7.
  8. John Calvin, pp. 148-149.
  9. Ibid. p. 469.
  10. Martin Luther, Luther’s Works. Vol. 1. Lectures on Genesis, ed. Janoslaw Pelikan, (Concordia Pub. House, St. Louis, Missouri, 1958), pp. 30, 42, 43.
  11. Helmut T. Lehmann and Theodore G. Tappert, Luther’s Works Table Talk, (Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg Fortress Publ., 1967), pp. 358-359.
  12. Matthew Poole, A Commentary on the Holy Bible, Ecclesiastes, Vol. II (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Publ., reprint), p. 279.
  13. John Owen, Biblical Theology: The Nature, Origin, Development, and Study of Theological Truth (Morgan, PA: Soli Deo Gloria Publ., 1994 reprint), p. 38.
  14. A.W. Pink, Gleanings in Joshua, 13. (Chicago, Moody Press), Joshua 10:1-43. p. 974.3 (EPUB)

 

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

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What about the Regulative Principle of worship and wearing masks? An Opinion

What about the Regulative Principle of worship and wearing masks? An Opinion     by Jack Kettler     

 

What is the regulative principle of worship?

The Westminster Confession of Faith (WCF) 21.1 says:

“But the acceptable way of worshiping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped 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.”

In everyday language, the church may not require the members to do anything not authorized by Scripture. Unusual requirements may not be forced upon Christians in the public worship of God. Scripture limits the church’s power. Meaning, the church cannot command what Scripture does not command. The imposition of humanly devised requirements is forbidden. Where is the wearing of masks mandated in Scripture? Nowhere. Therefore, a church cannot require members to wear masks during worship services.

What about the state, can it impose requirements for worship that the church cannot?

In Colorado, for example, the state legislature handed the governor virtually unlimited dictatorial powers during the current state of emergency, almost impossible to rescind. With the current one-party state rule in the state, there is no chance that this will change in the near future. The churches in Colorado suffer under an unrepentant homosexual who is drunk with power, classifying pot shops as essential and churches non-essential.

As stated, on the starting question, a church that bound by the regulative principle cannot impose the wearing of masks during worship. How ironic, the church cannot, yet the state can. This is a quagmire of shocking proportions. The only way out of this quagmire for a church is outright non-compliance. There are churches who have taken this course of action and have not been molested by the state, probably because of the bad optics of arresting pastors and church members.

The current COVID-19* psychological operations (PSYOP) have neutralized most churches coming to the November elections. Instead of talking about biblical election issues, church members are cleaning hymnbooks, door handles, and jumping through endless compliance hoops with no end in sight. The virus state of emergency, like the on-going time-share industry fees for assessments and maintenance, this will probably never end. Now that the precedent has been set, the next flu or virus will allow the government to launch into action.

* The COVID-19 is a real virus. The national panic is completely unjustified since the average age of death from the virus is 80 years of age and usually involves underlying health issues. One doctor said that at this point, the virus is all about politics.

The majority of pastors cannot be faulted for not recognizing how the initial virus emergency has been highjacked and turned into a (PSOP) against the Republic. The efficacy of face masks, the manipulation of detection tests for the virus, and death counts have all been exposed by presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Rush Limbaugh. He makes the case the test counts are being manipulated and exploited for political purposes and, most parts are outright fraudulent. For example, 300 hundred testing sites in Florida have turned in 100 percent positive tests for the virus. This was hundred percent positive testing was exposed an independent news channel. In addition, the majority of so-called news sites are participating in this scandal.

On the church front, pastors are starting to awaken to the exploitation of this virus, leading to the destruction of the church. John MacArthur, the senior pastor of Grace Community Church in California, has said his church will reopen. MacArthur said, “The State Does Not, Should Not Have the Authority to Close Churches.” In addition, the governor of California who is also drunk with power has banned singing in churches.

MacArthur said regarding the current state virus over-reach:

“As pastors and elders, we cannot hand over to earthly authorities any privilege or power that belongs solely to Christ as head of His church. Pastors and elders are the ones to whom Christ has given the duty and the right to exercise His spiritual authority in the church (1 Peter 5:1–4; Hebrews 13:7, 17)—and Scripture alone defines how and whom they are to serve (1 Corinthians 4:1–4). They have no duty to follow orders from a civil government attempting to regulate the worship or governance of the church. In fact, pastors who cede their Christ-delegated authority in the church to a civil ruler have abdicated their responsibility before their Lord and violated the God-ordained spheres of authority as much as the secular official who illegitimately imposes his authority upon the church.”

MacArthur continues:

“Therefore, in response to the recent state order requiring churches in California to limit or suspend all meetings indefinitely, we, the pastors and elders of Grace Community Church, respectfully inform our civic leaders that they have exceeded their legitimate jurisdiction, and faithfulness to Christ prohibits us from observing the restrictions they want to impose on our corporate worship services.”

“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: www.TheReligionThatStartedInAHat.com

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

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

“For rulers are not a terror to good works, but the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.” (Romans 13:1, 3-4)

“Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20)

Romans 13:1, 3-4, teaches that believers submit to rulers who punish evil. Many times, rulers are promoters of evil deeds and often persecute the righteous. Did Hitler, for example, punish evil? Are believers unwittingly calling evil rulers who promote evil, good? If so, how can this contradiction be resolved? Is an individual who says the Hitler punished evil, when in reality, he punished good, fall under Isaiah’s woe?

A survey into the thoughts of various leaders in hopes to shed light on this dilemma: 

An example of how one tyrant exploited what can be called the quiet submission view Romans 13:

“The Protestants haven’t the faintest conception of a church. You can do anything you like with them – they will submit. These pastors are used to cares and worries…

They learnt them from their squires….

They are insignificant little people, submissive as dogs, and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them. They have neither a religion that they can take seriously nor a great position to defend like Rome.” (1)

During the time of this tyrant, there was a small confessing Church, but for the most part, the vast majority of Christians remained in a quiet posture of submission, hoping things would eventually get better. In this historical case, things went rapidly from bad to worse as the Church of that day withdrew from culture and hunkered down, hoping they would not be noticed.

Historical quotations that are relevant to the submission of ungodly magistrates:  

Martin Luther:

“Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments… I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience. Here I stand. God help me! Amen.” (2)

Martin Luther was a German professor of theology, composer, priest, Augustinian monk, and a seminal figure in the Protestant Reformation. Luther was ordained to the priesthood in 1507. -Wikipedia

John Calvin:

“The Lord, therefore, is King of kings. When He opens His sacred mouth, He alone is to be heard, instead of all and above all. We are subject to the men who rule over us but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him, let us not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity, which they possess as magistrates – a dignity to which no injury is done when it is subordinated to the special and truly supreme power of God.” (3)

“… [the Apostle] speaks here of the true, and, as it were, of the native duty of the magistrate, from which however they who hold power often degenerate.” (4)

John Calvin was a French theologian, pastor and reformer in Geneva during the Protestant Reformation. – Wikipedia

In Calvin, there is seen a distinction of the magistracy in general and individual magistrates. Calvin makes this distinction when he speaks of the “native duty of the magistrate.” Calvin makes it clear that “We are subject to the men who rule over us, but subject only in the Lord. If they command anything against Him, let us not pay the least regard to it, nor be moved by all the dignity they possess as magistrates.”

John Knox on Romans 13:

“First, the Apostle affirms that the powers are ordained of God [for the preservation of quiet and peaceable men, and for the punishment of malefactors; whereof it is plain that the ordinance of God] and the power given unto man is one thing, and the person clad with the power or with the authority is another; for God’s ordinance is the conservation of mankind, the punishment of vice, the maintaining of virtue, which is in itself holy, just, constant, stable, and perpetual. But men clad with the authority are commonly profane and unjust; yea, they are mutable and transitory, and subject to corruption, as God threateneth them by His Prophet David, saying: ‘I have said ye are gods, and every one of you the sons of the Most Highest; but ye shall die as men, and the princes shall fall like others.’ Here I am assured that persons, the soul and body of wicked princes, are threatened with death. I think that so ye will not affirm is the authority, the ordinance and the power, wherewith God endued such persons; for as I have said, as it is holy, so it is the permanent will of God. And now, my Lord, that the prince may be resisted and yet the ordinance of God not violated, it is evident; for the people resisted Saul when he had sworn by the living God that Jonathan should die….

“And now, my Lord, to answer to the place of the Apostle who affirms ‘that such as resists the power, resists the ordinance of God,’ I say that the power in that place is not to be understood of the unjust commandment of men, but of the just power wherewith God has armed His magistrates and lieutenants to punish sin and maintain virtue. As if any man should enterprise to take fromt he hands of a lawful judge a murderer, an adulterer or any malefactor that by God’s law deserved death, this same man resisted God’s ordinance, and procured to himself vengeance and damnation because that he stayed God’s sword to strike. But so it is not if that men in the fear of God oppone themselves to the fury and blind rage of princes; for so they resist not God, but the devil, who abuses the sword and authority of God.” (5)

John Knox was a Scottish minister, theologian, and writer who was a leader of the country’s Reformation. He was the founder of the Presbyterian Church of Scotland. – Wikipedia

Knox is likewise clear that an ungodly “prince may be resisted and yet the ordinance of God not violated.”

George Buchanan on Romans 13:

“Paul, then, is not concerned here with those who act as magistrates but with magistracy itself, that is, with the function and duty of those who are set over others; and he is not concerned with any particular type of magistracy, but with the form of every lawful magistracy. His argument is not with those who think that bad magistrates ought to be restrained, but with those who reject the authority of all magistrates….In order to refute their error Paul showed that magistracy is not only good but also sacred, the ordinance of God, indeed, expressly established to hold groups and communities of men together in such a way that the would recognise the blessings of God towards them and refrain from injuring one another.”

Buchanan goes on and says concerning the magistrate of Romans 13:

“But of a true and lawful magistrate, who is the earthly representative of the true God.” (6)

More from Buchanan on Romans 13:

“Paul wrote this in the very infancy of the church, when it was necessary not only to be above reproach, but also to avoid giving any opportunity for criticism to those looking even for unjust grounds for making accusations.  Next, he wrote to men brought together into a single community from different races and indeed from the whole body of the Roman Empire.” (7)

George Buchanan was a Scottish historian and humanist scholar. According to historian Keith Brown, Buchanan was “the most profound intellectual sixteenth century Scotland produced.” His ideology of resistance to royal usurpation gained widespread acceptance during the Scottish Reformation. – Wikipedia

Buchanan also says regarding Romans 13 “Paul, then, is not concerned here with those who act as magistrates but with magistracy itself.” The idea that Paul is speaking of is how the magistracy should be, not how a magistrate may be.

The Westminster Confession of Faith on submission to the state:

God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to His Word… So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

Because the powers, which God hath ordained, and the liberty which Christ hath purchased, are not intended by God to destroy, but mutually to uphold and preserve one another, they who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical, resist the ordinance of God. (8)

The confession is clear; the believer “shall oppose any lawful power, or the lawful exercise of it, whether it be civil or ecclesiastical…”

As the progressive reign of Christ unfolds in history, believers must call magistrates to repentance. 

“For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet.” (1 Corinthians 15:25)

How does 1 Corinthians 15:25 and Roman 13:1-7 work together?

That question can be answered by considering the book Messiah the Prince: Or, The Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ by William Symington. Consider this description of Symington’s work:

“Often Christians focus on Jesus’ role as Prophet or Priest but leave unaddressed his role as King over all men and nations. William Symington, a 19th century Reformed Presbyterian, and Scottish pastor, wrote Messiah the Prince to examine the particular significance of Jesus Christ as King.

Revelation 1:5 says that Christ is the “prince of the kings of the earth.” What obligations does this place upon the civil magistrate? What obligations might this place upon the people who are governed, including those people who vote for their civil magistrate? Of what significance is the truth that the One who was the atoning sacrifice for His people (the Priest) and the one who spoke and taught the Word in its fullness (the Prophet) is also the Ruler of all (the King)? What might it mean when Jesus said, “Make all nations My disciples”?

Symington answers these questions is a way that will push some modern Christians past their comfort zone. He makes that case that Christ is reigning now and that all nations must answer to Him, and it is the Church’s responsibility to make that call on the nations, their governors and their governed.” – Description by Goodreads

Comments:

According to Symington, it is the “Church’s responsibility to make that call on the nations, their governors and their governed.” How does this work out with the prevailing view of quiet submission to authorities’ view of Romans 13? In contrast to the quiet view, William Symington argues in his “Messiah the Prince…” that Christ is Head of the Church, and Lord of all creation, including civil governments. Symington makes the case that Christ’s authority encompasses all men and nations. Therefore, civil magistrates can be challenged, resisted, and called to repentance.

If Symington is correct, Christ is the King of the nations; all magistrates must bow before Him!

Paul essentially says in Romans 13, because the magistrate does good to you, and is a terror towards evil-doers, you owe them obedience. The obedience is conditioned upon three things that are inescapable in the text:

  1. For [because] rulers are not a terror to good works, but the evil. (verse 1)
  2. For [because] he is the minister of God to thee for good. (verse 3)
  3. For [because] he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (verse 4)

Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance:

And, as, because, for

A primary particle; properly, assigning a reason (used in argument, explanation or intensification; often with other particles) — and, as, because (that), but, even, for, indeed, no doubt, seeing, then, therefore, verily, what, why, yet.

The participle “because” is a legitimate substitution in lieu of “for.”

If Paul did not condition his argument on the state’s prosecution of evil, why did he bring this subject into the argument?

If the Church is to make that call on the nations, the quiet submission view of Romans 13 must be false. The standard quiet submission view of Romans 13 cannot possibly be true because this would mean, according to that view, the government situation in pagan nations says they are fulfilling Paul’s description of a government that prosecutes evil. Therefore, Romans 13 must be telling us how civil government optimally should be, not how it is. If this is true, then there are limits upon the believer’s submission to wicked rulers. Obedience in Romans 13 is conditioned. John Knox made this clear in his tirade against tyrants. See The First Blast of the Trumpet Against the Monstrous Regiment of Women.

Therefore, Romans 13:1, 3-4 tells us how a God-fearing government should work, not how many pro-homosexual, pro-child killing governments operate. Romans 13 sets forth the standard. It does not endorse governments that do evil or argue that a government doing evil is doing good. To believe that a government that promotes abortion on demand, sexual deviancy, theft and redistribution, and idol promotion (statism) does good is to believe in contradictions and fall under the condemnation of Isaiah’s woe.

Did Hitler, Stalin, Mao, Pol Pot execute wrath against evil-doers, were they a terror against evil? To maintain so is to believe Scripture is contradictory. All that can be said is that even an evil government is better than complete anarchy or no government. However, in Pol Pot’s Cambodia, complete anarchy may have been better and is very different from contradictorily saying that an evil government is doing good and opposing evil when it is not.

Can the state be a false god?

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me. Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.” (Exodus 20:3, 5-6)

To answer the above question, of course, the state can. Trust the government from the cradle to the grave is statist idolatry. Submitting children to forced indoctrination in government schools and forced vaccinations have always been exempt on the ground of a conscience submitted to Scripture. This exemption did not appear out thin air, battles had to be fought, and ungodly magistrates had to be opposed. The quiet submission view does not win battles.

In conclusion, consider William Symington’s thoughts on the limits of Romans 13:

“Without confounding all moral distinctions it is impossible to suppose that the lawfulness of a power depends solely on the fact of its existence. People say, if a government exists them it must be of God. The Bible says no such thing, and if the Bible did say such a thing, it would be contradicting its own principles of purity, equity and judgment?” – William Symington (9)

Symington is in agreement with the conclusion of this study, namely, that, wicked, unjust laws and statues can be resisted without doing violence to Romans 13.

John Knox’s position on Romans 13 was in agreement with Symington. Would Knox be kicked out of the Presbyterian Church today for his theology of resistance to tyrants?

To repeat Luther:

“Unless I am refuted and convicted by testimonies of the Scriptures or by clear arguments… I am conquered by the Holy Scriptures quoted by me, and my conscience is bound in the word of God: I cannot and will not recant anything, since it is unsafe and dangerous to do anything against the conscience. Here I stand. God help me! Amen.”

Thankfully, Luther and Calvin were not quiet submission men! If they were, the Protestant Reformation and the American War for Independence would never have happened.

To back this up about the American War for Independence:

It is no wonder that King James I once said: “Presbyterianism agreeth with a monarchy like God with the Devil.” In England, the War for Independence was referred to as the “Presbyterian Rebellion.”

A Hessian captain (one of the 30,000 German mercenaries used by England) wrote in 1778, “Call this war by whatever name you may only call it not an American rebellion; it is nothing more or less than a Scots-Irish Presbyterian rebellion.”

In contrast, today, it appears that many evangelical leaders “are insignificant little people… and they sweat with embarrassment when you talk to them.”

We need more men like John Knox!

Are Romans 13:1, 3-4, and Isaiah 5:20 contradictory? If Paul’s argument in Romans 13 is qualified, then no. However, if it were maintained that the magistrate who does evil and does not execute wrath against evil-doers is still supposedly doing good, this would fall under Isaiah’s woe.

As seen from the quotes, like those of our forefathers in the faith of old, Christians today can resist unbiblical laws that violate Scripture.

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

Notes:

  1. Adolf Hitler as quoted in Herman Rauschning, The Voice of Destruction, (London, 1940); cited in Joseph Carr, The Twisted Cross, (Huntington House Inc., 1985), p. 202.
  2. Martin Luther, quoted by Philip Schaff, History of the Christian Church, (Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1910), Volume VII, pp. 304-305.
  3. John Calvin, Institutes of the Christian Religion, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., 1989), Book IV, Chapter XX: 32.
  4. John Calvin, Commentaries on the Epistle to the Romans, (Baker Book House, reprinted 1993), pp. 478-479.
  5. John Knox as quoted In Roger Mason, ed., On Rebellion, pp. 191-92.
  6. Buchanan, A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship Among the Scots, ed. Roger Mason, p. 113.
  7. Buchanan, A Dialogue on the Law of Kingship Among the Scots, ed. Roger Mason, p. 121.
  8. Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XX: 2, 4.
  9. William Symington, as quoted in Unconditional Obedience to Government? By Ronald Hanko, Protestant Reformed Church

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

For more study:

William Symington, D.D., Messiah the Prince or The Mediatorial Dominion of Jesus Christ, (Edmonton, Canada, Still Waters Revival Books, Reprint Edition January 1990 from the 1884 edition) online addition https://www.covenanter.org/reformed/2017/8/15/messiah-the-prince-or-the-mediatorial-dominion-of-jesus-christ

BIBLICAL CIVIL GOVERNMENT VERSUS THE BEAST; AND, THE BASIS FOR CIVIL RESISTANCE By Greg Price, Copyright Oct., 1996 http://www.swrb.com/newslett/actualNLs/bibcg_gp.htm

The Christian and Civil Government By Pastor John Weaver

The Christian and Civil Government, by Pastor John Weaver, is a theological treatise on Romans 13. It explains the Christian’s responsibility and relationship to civil government. It sets forth civil government as it has been ordained by God. Likewise it exposes corrupt, unbiblical and ungodly civil government. The book emphasizes obedience to God in the realm of civil government. The chapters include:

  1. The Institution of Government
  2. The Covenantal Nature of Government
  3. The Purpose of Government
  4. Are We Bound to Obey Government When Contrary to the Word of God?
  5. Is Usurped Authority Legitimate?
  6. The Degrees of Resistance to Tyranny
  7. The Pastor as Magistrate
  8. Statism is Idolatry
  9. A Friend of Christ or Caesar?

Although primarily a Biblical textbook on government, there are many historical facts and perspectives interwoven throughout The Christian and Civil Government. $11.00 Post Paid: Pastor John Weaver P. O. Box 394, Fitzgerald, Ga. 31750 This book is also available at Amazon.

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Introduction to the Marriage Covenant

Introduction to the Marriage Covenant                                                           by Jack Kettler

This study will look at the biblical basis of marriage and the divine plan for marriage. As will be seen, there is significant development of the marriage institution in redemptive history. This study is merely an introduction to the subject of marriage.

Old Testament Scriptures:

“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” (Genesis 1:27-28)

“And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore, shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.” (Genesis 2:22-24)

The first thing to note is that God is the creator of male and female. Secondly, it is God’s plan for them to multiply or reproduce. Third, God creates the woman out of the man.

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers perfectly explain verse 24 of Genesis 2:

“(24) Therefore shall a man leave . . . These are evidently the words of the narrator. Adam names this new product of creative power, as he had named others, but he knew nothing about young men leaving their father’s house for the wife’s sake. Moreover, in Matthew 19:5, our Lord quotes these words as spoken by God, and the simplest interpretation of this declaration is that the inspired narrator was moved by the Spirit of God to give this solemn sanction to marriage, founded upon Adam’s words. The great and primary object of this part of the narrative is to set forth marriage as a Divine ordinance. The narrator describes Adam’s want, pictures him as examining all animal life, and studying the habits of all creatures so carefully as to be able to give them names, but as returning from his search unsatisfied. At last, one is solemnly brought to him who is his counterpart, and he calls her Ishah, his feminine self, and pronounces her to be his very bone and flesh. Upon this, “He who at the beginning made them male and female “pronounced the Divine marriage law that man and wife are one flesh.” (1)

New Testament Scriptures:

“Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.” (Matthew 19:6)

From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Matthew 19:6:

“5. And said, for this cause—to follow out this divine appointment.

shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?—Jesus here sends them back to the original constitution of man as one pair, a male and a female; to their marriage, as such, by divine appointment; and to the purpose of God, expressed by the sacred historian, that in all time one man and one woman should by marriage become one flesh—so to continue as long as both are in the flesh. This being God’s constitution, let not man break it up by causeless divorces.” (2)

“Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it… So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.” (Ephesians 5:25; 28)

The Pulpit Commentary on Ephesians 5:25:

“Verse 25. – Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for her. The husband’s duty to the wife is enforced by another parallel – it ought to correspond to Christ’s love for the Church. This parallel restores the balance; if it should seem hard for the wife to be in subjection, the spirit of love, Christ-like love, on the part of the husband makes the duty easy. Christ did not merely pity the Church, or merely desire her good, but loved her; her image was stamped on his heart and her name graven on his hands; he desired to have her for his companion, longing for a return of her affection, for the establishment of sympathy between her and him. And he gave himself for her (comp. ver. 2), showing that her happiness and welfare were dearer to him than his own – the true test of deep, real love.” (3)

There is a clear parallel between husbands and wives and Christ and His Church. This parallel alone makes the marriage covenant more than a mere social contract.

“Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach.” (1Timothy 3:2 ESV)

One notable development in the New Covenant is the abandonment of polygamy that was seen in the Older Covenant. In some instance in church, history polygamy has been tolerated depending on unique situations.

Comments on contracts and covenants:

A deal or contract is between two humans and agreed upon with legal measures to enforce such agreements.

In contrast, marriage is far more than a human social contract; it is a divinely instituted covenant.

What is a covenant? It is a contract between two parties with God as a witness.

In light of this, Christian marriage does not make two people mere associates like business partners; they are joined together and recognized as one with God and His Church are the witnesses.

Since marriage is a covenantal agreement, in many ways, it mirrors a church membership or baptismal covenant.

The following entry on marriage provides much-needed material on marriage and development in redemptive history.

Marriage from Fausset’s Bible Dictionary:

“The charter of marriage is Genesis 2:24, reproduced by our Lord with greater distinctness in Matthew 19:4-5; “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.” The Septuagint, and Samaritan Pentateuch reads “twain” or “two” in Genesis 2:24; compare as to this joining in one flesh of husband and wife, the archetype of which is the eternally designed union of Christ and the church, Ephesians 5:31; Mark 10:5-9; 1 Corinthians 6:16; 1Corinthians 7:2. In marriage, husband and wife combine to form one perfect human being; the one is the complement of the other. Christ makes the church a necessary adjunct to Himself. He is the Archetype from whom, as the pattern, the church is formed (Romans 6:5). He is her Head, as the husband is of the wife (1Corinthians 11:3; 1Corinthians 15:45). Death severs bridegroom and bride, but cannot separate Christ and His bride (Matthew 19:6; John 10:28-29; John 13:1; Romans 8:35-39).

In Ephesians 5:32 translated “this mystery is great,” i.e. this truth, hidden once but now revealed, namely, Christ’s spiritual union with the church, mystically represented by marriage, is of deep import. Vulgate wrongly translated “this is a great sacrament,” Rome’s plea for making marriage a sacrament. Not marriage in general, but the marriage of Christ and the church, is the great mystery, as the following words prove, “I say it in regard to (eis) Christ and in regard to (eis) the church,” whereas Genesis 2:24 refers to literal marriage. Transl. Ephesians 5:30, “we are members of His (glorified) body, being (formed) out of (ek) His flesh and of His bones.” Adam’s deep sleep wherein Eve was formed out of His opened side, symbolizes Christ’s death, which was the birth of the spouse, the church (John 12:24; John 19:34-35). As Adam gave Eve a new name, ‘ishah, “woman” or “wife” the counterpart of iysh, “man” or “husband,” so Christ gives the church His new name; He, Solomon, she, the Shulamite (Song of Solomon 6:13; Revelation 2:17; Revelation 3:12).

The propagation of the church from Christ, as that of Eve from Adam, is the foundation of the spiritual marriage. Natural marriage rests on the spiritual marriage, whereby Christ left the Father’s bosom to woo to Himself the church out of a lost world. His earthly mother as such He holds secondary to His spiritual bride (Luke 2:48-49; Luke 8:19-21; Luke 11:27-28). He shall again leave His Father’s abode to consummate the union (Matthew 25:1-10; Revelation 19:7). Marriage is the general rule laid down for most men, as not having continency (1Corinthians 7:2; 1Corinthians 7:5, etc.). The existing “distress” (1Corinthians 7:26) was Paul’s reason then for recommending celibacy where there was the gift of continency. In all cases his counsel is true, “that they that have wives be as though they had none,” namely, in permanent possession, not making idols of them.

Scripture teaches the unity of husband and wife; the indissolubleness of marriage save by death or fornication (Matthew 5:32; Matthew 19:9; Romans 7:3); monogamy; the equality of both (iysh) and (ishah) being correlative, and she a “help-meet for him,” i.e. a helping one in whom as soon as he sees her he may recognize himself), along with the subordination of the wife, consequent on her formation subsequently and out of him, and her having been first to fall. (1Corinthians 11:8-9; 1Timothy 2:13-15.) Love, honor, and cherishing are his duty; helpful, reverent subjection, a meek and quiet spirit, her part; both together being heirs of the grace of life (1Peter 3:1-7; 1Corinthians 14:34-35). Polygamy began with the Cainites. (See LAMECH; DIVORCE; CONCUBINE.) The jealousies of Abraham’s (Genesis 16:6) and Elkanah’s wives illustrate the evils of polygamy. Scripture commends monogamy (Psalm 128:3; Proverbs 5:18; Proverbs 18:22; Proverbs 19:14; Proverbs 31:10-29; Ecclesiastes 9:9).

Monogamy superseded polygamy subsequently to the return from Babylon. Public opinion was unfavorable to presbyters and women who exercise holy functions marrying again; for conciliation and expediency sake, therefore, Paul recommended that a candidate should be married only once, not having remarried after a wife’s death or divorce (1Timothy 3:2; 1Timothy 3:12; 1Timothy 5:9; Luke 2:36-37; 1Corinthians 7:40); the reverse in the case of young widows (1Timothy 5:14). Marriage is honorable; but fornication, which among the Gentiles was considered indifferent, is stigmatized (Hebrews 13:4; Acts 15:20). Marriage of Israelites with Canaanites was forbidden, lest it should lead God’s people into idolatry (Exodus 34:16; Deuteronomy 7:3-4). In Leviticus 18:18 the prohibition is only against taking a wife’s sister “beside the other (namely, the wife) in her lifetime.”

Our Christian reason for prohibiting such marriage after the wife’s death is because man and wife are one, and the sister-in-law is to be regarded in the same light as the sister by blood. Marriage with a deceased brother’s wife (the Levirate law) was favored in Old Testament times, in order to raise up seed to a brother (Genesis 38:8; Matthew 22:25). The high priest must marry only an Israelite virgin (Leviticus 21:13-14); heiresses must marry in their own tribe, that their property might not pass out of the tribe. The parents, or confidential friend, of the bridegroom chose the bride (Genesis 24; Genesis 21:21; Genesis 38:6). The parents’ consent was asked first, then that of the bride (Genesis 24:58). The presents to the bride are called mohar, those to the relatives’ mattan. Between betrothal and marriage all communication between the betrothed ones was carried on through “the friend of the bridegroom” (John 3:29). She was regarded as his wife, so that faithlessness was punished with death (Deuteronomy 22:23-24); the bridegroom having the option of putting her away by a bill of divorcement (Deuteronomy 24:1; Matthew 1:19).

No formal religious ceremony attended the wedding; but a blessing was pronounced, and a “covenant of God” entered into (Ezekiel 16:8; Malachi 2:14; Proverbs 2:17; Genesis 24:60; Ruth 4:11-12). The essential part of the ceremony was the removal of the bride from her father’s house to that of the bridegroom or his father. The bridegroom wore an ornamental turban; Isaiah 61:10, “ornaments,” rather (peer) “a magnificent headdress” like that of the high priest, appropriate to the “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:6); the bride wore “jewels” or “ornaments” in general, trousseau. He had a nuptial garland or crown (Song of Solomon 3:11, “the crown wherewith His mother (the human race; for He is the Son of man, not merely Son of Mary) crowned Him in the day of His espousals”); and was richly perfumed (Song of Solomon 3:6). The bride took a preparatory bath (Ezekiel 23:40). This is the allusion in Ephesians 5:26-27; “Christ loved … gave Himself for the church, that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church not having spot.”

The veil (tsaip) was her distinctive dress, covering the whole person, so that the trick played on Jacob was very possible (Genesis 24:65; Genesis 29:23); the symbol of her subjection to her husband’s power, therefore called “power on her head” (1Corinthians 11:10). (See DRESS.) Our “nuptials” is derived from nubo, “to veil one’s self.” She also wore girdles for the breasts (“attire,” kishurim) which she would not readily forget (Jeremiah 2:32). Also a gilded or gold “crown” or chaplet (kullah), a white robe sometimes embroidered with gold thread (Revelation 19:8; Psalm 45:13-14) and jewels (Isaiah 61:10). Late in the evening the bridegroom came with his groomsmen (“companions,” Judges 14:11; “children of the bride chamber,” Matthew 9:15), singers and torch or lamp bearers leading the way (Jeremiah 25:10), the bride meantime with her maidens eagerly awaited his coming.

Then he led the bride and her party in procession home with gladness to the marriage supper (Matthew 25:6; Matthew 22:1-11; John 2:2; Psalm 45:15). The women of the place flocked out to gaze. The nuptial song was sung; hence in Psalm 78:63 their maidens were not praised in nuptial song (Hebrew) is used for “were not given in marriage,” margin. The bridegroom having now received the bride, his “friend’s joy (namely, in bringing them together) was fulfilled” in hearing the bridegroom’s voice (John 3:29). Song of Solomon 3:11, the feast lasted for 7 or even 14 days, and was enlivened by riddles, etc. (Judges 14:12.) The host, not to wear was an insult to him that provided wedding garments. Large water pots for washing the hands and for “purifying” ablutions were provided (Mark 7:3).

These had to be “filled” before Jesus changed the water into wine; a nice propriety in the narrative, the minor circumstances being in keeping with one another; the feast being advanced, the water was previously all emptied out of the water pots for the guests’ ablutions (John 2:7). Light is thrown upon Egyptian marriages by a translation of an Egyptian contract of marriage, by Eugene Revillout. It is written in the demotic character upon a small sheet of papyrus, No. 2482, Cat. Egyptien, Musee du Louvre. It is dated in the month of Choiach, year 33 of Ptolemy Philadelphus, and the contracting parties are Patina, son of Pchelkhous, and the lady, Ta-outem, the daughter of Rehu. The terms of the deed are singular as to the dowry required on both sides, together with the clauses providing for repudiation.

After the actual dowry is recited, the sum being specified in shekels, the rights of the children which may hereafter come from the marriage, as well as the payment of the mother’s pin-money, are secured by the following clause: “thy pocket money for one year is besides thy toilet money which I give thee each year, and it is your right to exact the payment of thy toilet money and thy pocket money, which are to be placed to my account, which I give thee. Thy oldest son, my oldest son, shall be the heir of all my property, present and future. I will establish thee as wife.” Practicing in marriage law in Egypt was one of the priestly functions; for at the conclusion the contract states that, “the writer of this act is … the priest of Ammon Horpneter, son of Smin.” The bridegroom was exempted from military service for a year (Deuteronomy 20:7; Deuteronomy 24:5).

Women in Scripture times were not secluded as now, but went about married and single with faces unveiled (Genesis 12:14; Genesis 24:16; Genesis 24:65). Some were prophetesses, as Miriam, Deborah, Huldah, Anna, and took part in public concerns (Exodus 15:20; 1 Samuel 18:6-7; Abigail, 1Samuel 25:14-25). The duties of husband and wife are laid down (Ephesians 5:22-33; Colossians 3:18-19; Titus 2:4-5; 1Peter 3:1-7). Brawling wives stand in contrast to the model wife, God’s gift (Proverbs 19:13; Proverbs 21:9; Proverbs 21:19; Proverbs 27:15; Proverbs 31:10-31). (On the spiritual harlot, see BEAST and ANTICHRIST.) Woman, harlot, bride, and ultimately wife, i.e. Christ’s church in probation, the apostate church, and the glorified church, form the grand theme of the Bible from first to last. Israel had God for her “husband,” she became a harlot when she left Him for idols (Isaiah 1:21; Jeremiah 2:20; Jeremiah 3:1; Jeremiah 3:6; Jeremiah 3:8; Jeremiah 3:14).

Again, Jehovah is to reunite Israel to Him as His earthly bride, as the elect church is His heavenly bride (Isaiah 54:5, etc.; Isaiah 62:4-5; Hosea 2:19; 2 Corinthians 11:2; Revelation 19:7; Revelation 21:2; Revelation 21:9; Revelation 22:17). The Father prepares for His Son the marriage feast (Matthew 22:1-14). The apostate church, resting on and conformed to the godless world is the harlot riding on the beast and attired in scarlet as the beast. God’s eternal principle in her case as in Israel’s and Judah’s shall hold good, and even already is being illustrated in Rome’s being stripped by the world power; when the church sins with the world, the world the instrument of her sin shall be the instrument of her punishment (Ezekiel 23; Revelation 17:1-5; Revelation 17:16-18).” (4)

KJV Dictionary Definition: marriage:

“MAR’RIAGE, The act of uniting a man and woman for life; wedlock; the legal union of a man and woman for life. Marriage is a contract both civil and religious, by which the parties engage to live together in mutual affection and fidelity, till death shall separate them. Marriage was instituted by God himself for the purpose of preventing the promiscuous intercourse of the sexes, for promoting domestic felicity, and for securing the maintenance and education of children.

Marriage is honorable in all and the bed undefiled. Heb.13.

  1. A feast made on the occasion of a marriage.

The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king, who made a marriage for his son. Matt.22.

  1. In a scriptural sense, the union between Christ and his Church by the covenant of grace. Rev.19.”

The Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter XXIV:

“SECTION I:

Marriage is to be between one man and one woman: neither is it lawful for any man to have more than one wife, nor for any woman to have more than one husband, at the same time. [1]

Scripture Proof Texts 1. Gen. 2:24; Matt. 19:4-6; Rom. 7:3; Prov. 2:17.”

This section of the confession represents New Covenant redemptive history development and is the doctrinal position of conservative Reformed Churches.

In closing:

In light of recent ungodly trends in the society and the courts, churches should twice before performing marriages for those who are not members of the church. Doing this may put a church in an untenable position if refusing to perform same-sex marriage contracts.

“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. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Genesis, Vol.1, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 22.
  2. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 935.
  3. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Ephesians, Vol.20., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 212.
  4. Fausset, Andrew Robert M.A., D.D., Marriage, Fausset’s Bible Dictionary, 1878

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

For more study:

Something Greater Than Marriage; A Response to the Supreme Court’s Same-Sex Marriage Decision: https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/article/something-greater-than-marriage/

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The usage of the term last days in Scripture

The usage of the term last days in Scripture                                                     By Jack Kettler

In Scripture, in both the Old Testament and the New Testament, the phrase “last days,” and its similar expressions, “latter days,” “afterwards,” and “time of the end,” “last time” appears in several places. Does this expression all refer to the same event in history? The study on this topic will be a brief introductory look at the phrase “last days” and its variants. The list of Scriptures surveyed in this study is abbreviated.

Old Testament Scriptures:

“And Jacob called his sons and said, “Gather together, that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days.” (Genesis 49:1)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible from Genesis 49:1:

“And Jacob called upon his sons … Who either were near at hand, and within call at the time Joseph came to visit him, or if at a distance, and at another time, he sent a messenger or messengers to them to come unto him:

and said, gather yourselves together; his will was, that they should attend him all together at the same time, that he might deliver what he had to say to them in the hearing of them all; for what he after declares was not said to them singly and alone, but when they were all before him:

that I may tell you that which shall befall you in the last days; not their persons merely, but their posterity chiefly, from that time forward to the coming of the Messiah, who is spoken of in this prophecy, and the time of his coming; some things are said relating to temporals, others to spirituals; some are blessings or prophecies of good things to them, others curses, or foretell evil, but all are predictions delivered out by Jacob under a spirit of prophecy; some things had their accomplishment when the tribes of Israel were placed in the land of Canaan, others in the times of the judges, and in later times; and some in the times of the Messiah, to which this prophecy reaches, whose coming was in the last days, Hebrews 1:1 and Nachmanides says, according to the sense of all their writers, the last days here are the days of the Messiah; and in an ancient writing of the Jews it is said (x), that Jacob called his sons, because he had a mind to reveal the end of the Messiah, i.e. the time of his coming; and Abraham Seba (y) observes, that this section is the seal and key of the whole law, and of all the prophets prophesied of, unto the days of the Messiah.” (1)

As Gill notes, this promise finds its fulfillment in the time of the Messiah.

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house

Shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills;

And all nations shall flow to it.” (Isaiah 2:2)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah 2:2:

“(2) It shall come to pass in the last days.—The three verses that follow are found in almost identical form in Micah 4:1-3, with the addition of a verse (Micah 4:4) which describes the prosperity of Judah—every man sitting “under his vine and his fig-tree,” as in the days of Solomon. Whether (1) Isaiah borrowed from Micah, or (2) Micah from Isaiah, or (3) both from some earlier prophet, or (4) whether each received an independent yet identical revelation, is a problem which we have no adequate data for solving. Micah prophesied, like Isaiah, under Ahaz, Jotham, and Hezekiah, and so either may have heard it from the other. On the other hand, the prophecy of the destruction of Jerusalem, on which these verses follow, in Micah 3:12 appears from Jeremiah 26:18 to have been spoken in the days of Hezekiah. On the whole, (3) seems to have most to commend it.

For “in the last days” read latter or after days; the idea of the Hebrew words, as in Genesis 49:1; Numbers 24:14, being that of remoteness rather than finality. For the most part (Deuteronomy 4:30; Deuteronomy 31:29) they point to the distant future of the true King, to the time of the Messiah.” (2)

As Ellicott notes, this passage also finds fulfillment in the time of the Messiah.

“The fierce anger of the Lord will not turn back until he has executed and accomplished the intentions of his mind. In the latter days you will understand this.” (Jeremiah 30:24)

From Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament on Jeremiah 30:24:

“Further explanation of the deliverance promised to Zion. – Jeremiah 30:18. “Thus saith Jahveh: Behold, I will turn the captivity of the tents of Jacob, and will take pity on his dwellings; and the city shall be built again upon its own hill, and the palace shall be inhabited after its own fashion. Jeremiah 30:19. And there shall come forth from them praise and the voice of those who laugh; and I will multiply them, so that they shall not be few, and I will honour them, so that they shall not be mean. Jeremiah 30:20. And his sons shall be as in former times, and his congregation shall be established before me, and I will punish all that oppress him. Jeremiah 30:21. And his leader shall spring from himself, and his ruler shall proceed from his midst; and I will bring him near, so that he shall approach to me; for who is he that became surety for his life in drawing near to me? Saith Jahveh. Jeremiah 30:22. And ye shall become my people, and I will be your God.”

The dwellings of Israel that have been laid waste, and the cities that have been destroyed, shall be restored and inhabited as formerly, so that songs of praise and tones of joy shall resound from them (Jeremiah 30:18.). “The captivity of the tents of Jacob” means the miserable condition of the dwellings of Jacob, i.e., of all Israel; for “to turn the captivity” has everywhere a figurative sense, and signifies the turning of adversity and misery into prosperity and comfort; see on Jeremiah 29:14. Hitzig is quite wrong in his rendering: “I bring back the captives of the tents of Jacob, i.e., those who have been carried away out of the tents.” That “tents” does not stand for those who dwell in tents, but is a poetic expression for “habitations,” is perfectly clear from the parallel “his dwellings.” To “take pity on the dwellings” means to “restore the dwellings that have been destroyed” (cf. Jeremiah 9:18). The anarthrous עיר must not be restricted to the capital, but means every city that has been destroyed; here, the capital naturally claims the first consideration. “Upon its hills” is equivalent to saying on its former site, cf. Joshua 11:13; it does not mean “on the mound made by its ruins,” in support of which Ngelsbach erroneously adduces Deuteronomy 13:17. ארמון in like manner stands, in the most general way, for every palace. על־משׁפּטו does not mean “on the proper place,” i.e., on an open, elevated spot on the hill (Hitzig), neither does it mean “on its right position” (Ewald); both of these renderings are against the usage of the words: but it signifies “according to its right” (cf. Deuteronomy 17:11), i.e., in accordance with what a palace requires, after its own fashion. ישׁב, to be inhabited, as in Jeremiah 17:6, etc. “Out of them” refers to the cities and palaces. Thence proceeds, resounds praise or thanksgiving for the divine grace shown them (cf. Jeremiah 33:11), and the voice, i.e., the tones or sounds, of those who laugh (cf. Jeremiah 15:17), i.e., of the people living in the cities and palaces, rejoicing over their good fortune. “I will increase them, so that they shall not become fewer,” cf. Jeremiah 29:6; “I will bring them to honour (cf. Isaiah 8:22), so that they shall not be lightly esteemed.” – In Jeremiah 30:20. The singular suffixes refer to Jacob as a nation (Jeremiah 30:18). “His sons” are the members of the nation; they become as they were previously, in former times – sicut olim sub Davide et Salmonoe, florentissimo rerum statu. “The congregation will be established before me,” i.e., under my survey (תּכּון as in Psalm 102:29), i.e., they shall no more be shaken or moved from their position.” (3)

According to the commentators, this passage finds immediate fulfillment when the events occur, and secondly, the passage looks forward to the time of the Messiah.

“But there is a God in heaven that revealeth secrets, and maketh known to the King Nebuchadnezzar what shall be in the latter days. Thy dream, and the visions of thy head upon thy bed, are these.” (Daniel 2:28)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Daniel 2:28:

“Here the prophet gives God entirely all the glory, proving all the powers on earth to come short in it, it being one of God’s peculiar prerogatives to reveal secrets. Yea, in great humility he denies himself to have any share in it, as also Daniel 2:29.

What shall be in the latter days: observe here the prophet’s wisdom in this discovery, he doth not fall abruptly upon the dream, but first prepares this lofty king for it in general, and by degrees he doth labour to win him to the knowledge of the true God.

  1. By this his power; and,
  1. By his gracious favour to the king, in revealing to him the greatest secret in the world about the change of kingdoms and governments, and touching the power of Christ’s kingdom over all in the latter days. See Daniel 2:44.” (4)

Poole sees the fulfillment of this passage too in the time of the Messiah.

“But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” (Daniel 12:4)

“Now it shall come to pass in the latter days that the mountain of the LORD’s house

Shall be established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and peoples shall flow to it.” (Micah 4:1)

“Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king; and shall fear the Lord and his goodness in the latter days.” (Hosea 3:5)

From Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary on Hosea 3:5:

“5. Afterward—after the long period (“many days,” Ho 3:4) has elapsed.

return—from their idols to “their God,” from whom they had wandered.

David their king—Israel had forsaken the worship of Jehovah at the same time that they forsook their allegiance to David’s line. Their repentance towards God is therefore to be accompanied by their return to the latter. So Judah and Israel shall be one, and under “one head,” as is also foretold (Ho 1:11). That representative and antitype of David is Messiah. “David” means “the beloved.” Compare as to Messiah, Mt 3:17; Eph 1:6. Messiah is called David (Isa 55:3, 4; Jer 30:9; Eze 34:23, 24; 37:24, 25).

fear the Lord and his goodness—that is, tremblingly flee to the Lord, to escape from the wrath to come; and to His goodness,” as manifested in Messiah, which attracts them to Him (Jer 31:12). The “fear” is not that which “hath torment” (1Jo 4:18), but reverence inspired by His goodness realized in the soul (Ps 130:4).

the latter days—those of Messiah [Kimchi].” (5)

The commentators conclude this phrase “the latter days” finds fulfillment in the times of the Messiah.

“And it shall come to pass afterward, [that] I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions.” (Joel 2:28)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Joel 2:28:

“(28) I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh.—Holy Scripture is itself the interpreter of this most weighty promise. St. Peter’s quotation and application of it in the Acts is its commentary. “Afterward “—LXX., after these things becomes in the apostle’s mouth—“in the last days”—i.e., in the Christian dispensation, when, after the punishment of the Jews by the heathen, their king came—“my Spirit”—St. Peter renders “of my spirit,” after the LXX., indicating the gifts and influences of the Holy Ghost—“upon all flesh”—i.e., without distinction of race or person—“they of the circumcision were astonished because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.” The outward manifestation of these gifts, as shown on the Day of Pentecost, in accordance with this prediction, was gradually withdrawn from the Church; the reality remains.” (6)

Ellicott explains how this verse looks forward to the inauguration of the New Covenant.

In the Old Testament passages, the “last days,” and the similar phrases find their fulfillment in the ending of the Old Jewish covenant order and the institution of the New Covenant by the Lord Jesus Christ. The phrase “last days” does not necessarily mean the end of history.

New Testament Scriptures:

“As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3 ESV)

This two-part question is asking about the near term (great tribulation of 70AD coming in judgment) and long-term events (the second coming at the end of history).

“This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2Timothy 3:1)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on 2Timothy 3:1 is brilliant:

“(1) This know also.—Better rendered, But know this. The Apostle had warned Timothy (2Timothy 2:3-13) not to allow fear of oncoming peril and trouble to paralyse his efforts in the Master’s cause, for the Lord’s true servant should never lose heart, and then had proceeded (2Timothy 2:14-26) to detail how these efforts of his were to be directed, showing him how his teaching should stand in contrast with that of the false teachers. St. Paul now (2Timothy 3:1), having told him that although there was no reason to fear, yet warns him that grave dangers to the Church would surely arise, and that God’s servants, like Timothy, must be prepared to combat.

In the last days.—The majority of commentators have referred “the last days” here spoken of to the period immediately preceding the second coming of the Lord—a day and an hour somewhere in the future but hidden, not merely from all men, but from the angels, and even from the Son (Mark 13:32).

It seems, however, more in accordance with such passages as 1John 2:18 : “Little children, it is the last time”—where the present, and not an uncertain future is alluded to—to understand “the last days “as that period, probably of very long duration, extending from the days of the first coming of Messiah—in which time St. Paul lived—to the second coming of Christ in judgment. The Jewish Rabbis of the days of St. Paul were in the habit of speaking of two great periods of the world’s history—“this age,” and “the age to come.” The former of these, “this age,” including all periods up to Messiah’s advent; the latter, “the age to come,” including all periods subsequent to the appearance of Messiah. We find the same idea embodied later in the Talmud (treatise “Sanhedrim”) 6,000 years are mentioned as the duration of the world, 2,000 years, waste or chaos, 2,000 years under the law, 2,000 years the days of Messiah.” This last period, “the days of Messiah,” are often alluded to by the Hebrew prophets under the expression, “in the last days”—literally, in the end of days. (See Isaiah 2:2; Hosea 3:5; Micah 4:1.) The words of 2Timothy 3:5, “from such turn away,” would require certainly a strained interpretation if we are to suppose that the “last days” referred to a time immediately preceding the end, or, in other words, the last period of the Christian era. The sad catalogue of vices is, alas, one with which all ages of the Church of Christ has been too well acquainted. The Christian teacher has no need to look forward to a future time of deeper iniquity, when in the Church of the living God will be found those who will deserve the dreary titles of this passage. The Church of his own age will supply him with examples of many such, for “In a great house . . . are there not only vessels of gold and silver, but also of wood, and earth, and some to honour and some to dishonour.” (7)

Ellicott argues convincingly “The words of 2Timothy 3:5, “from such turn away,” would require certainly a strained interpretation if we are to suppose that the “last days” referred to a time immediately preceding the end, or, in other words, the last period of the Christian era.” So “last days” in Timothy must be interpreted as the whole Christian era and not a short period.

“Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts.” (2Peter 3:3)

“Hath in these last days spoken unto us by [his] Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.” (Hebrews 1:2)

Again from Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Hebrews 1:2:

“(2) Hath in these last days . . .—Better, at the end of these days spake unto us in a Son. The thought common to the two verses is “God hath spoken to man”; in all other respects the past and the present stand contrasted. The manifold successive partial disclosures of God’s will have given place to one revelation, complete and final; for He who spake in the prophets hath now spoken “in a Son.” The whole stress lies on these last words. The rendering “a Son” may at first cause surprise, but it is absolutely needed; not, “Who is the Revealer?” but, “What is He?” is the question answered in these words. The writer does not speak of a Son in the sense of one out of many; the very contrast with the prophets (who in the lower sense were amongst God’s sons) would be sufficient to prove this, but the words which follow, and the whole contents of this chapter, are designed to show the supreme dignity of Him who is God’s latest Representative on earth. The prophet’s commission extended no farther than the special message of his words and life; “a Son” spoke with His Father’s authority, with complete knowledge of His will and purpose. It is impossible to read these first lines (in which the whole argument of the Epistle is enfolded) without recalling the prologue of the fourth Gospel. The name “Word” is not mentioned here, and the highest level of St. John’s teaching is not reached; but the idea which “the Word” expresses, and the thought of the Only Begotten as declaring and interpreting the Father (John 1:18; also John 14:10; John 14:24) are present throughout. There is something unusual in the words, “at the end of these days.” St. Peter speaks of the manifestation of Christ “at the end of the times” (1Peter 1:20); and both in the Old Testament and in the New we not unfrequently read “at the end (or, in the last) of the days.” (See 2Peter 3:3; Jude 1:18; Numbers 24:14; Daniel 10:14, &c.) The peculiarity of the expression here lies in “these days.” The ages preceding and following the appearance of Messiah are in Jewish writers known as “this world” (or, age) and the “coming world” (or, age); the “days of Messiah” seem to have been classed sometimes with the former, sometimes with the latter period; but “the end of these days” would be understood by every Jewish reader to denote the time of His appearing.” (8)

Ellicott again is brilliant in his analysis of “last days” being the age of the Messiah.

“How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts.” (Jude 1:18)

“Last time” as we see in Jude, likewise must be understood as an age. What Jude is saying has relevance for the whole Christian era, not for only a few years preceding the Second coming of Christ.

The phrase the “last days” and its variations can be understood as beginning in the first century. In most cases, these “last days” are inaugurated by Christ’s first coming and continue until His second coming.

Last Days from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of NT Words:

“A — 1: ἔσχατος

(Strong’s #2078 — Adjective — eschatoses’-khat-os)

“last, utmost, extreme,” is used (a) of place, e.g., Luke 14:9,10 , “lowest;” Acts 1:8 ; 13:47 , “uttermost part;” (b) of rank, e.g., Mark 9:35 ; (c) of time, relating either to persons or things, e.g., Matthew 5:26 , “the last (farthing),” RV (AV, “uttermost”); Matthew 20:8,12,14 ; Mark 12:6,22 ; 1 Corinthians 4:9 , of Apostles as “last” in the program of a spectacular display; 1 Corinthians 15:45 , “the last Adam;” Revelation 2:19 ; of the “last” state of persons, Matthew 12:45 , neuter plural, lit., “the last (things);” so Luke 11:26 ; 2 Peter 2:20 , RV, “the last state” (AV, “the latter end”); of Christ as the Eternal One, Revelation 1:17 (in some mss. ver. 11); 2:8; 22:13; in eschatological phrases as follows: (a) “the last day,” a comprehensive term including both the time of the resurrection of the redeemed, John 6:39,40,44,54 ; 11:24 , and the ulterior time of the judgment of the unregenerate, at the Great White Throne, John 12:48 ; (b) “the last days,” Acts 2:17 , a period relative to the supernatural manifestation of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost and the resumption of the Divine interpositions in the affairs of the world at the end of the present age, before “the great and notable Day of the Lord,” which will usher in the messianic kingdom; (c) in 2 Timothy 3:1 , “the last days” refers to the close of the present age of world conditions; (d) in James 5:3 , the phrase “in the last days” (RV) refers both to the period preceding the Roman overthrow of the city and the land in A.D. 70, and to the closing part of the age in consummating acts of gentile persecution including “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (cp. verses James 5:7,8 ); (e) in 1 Peter 1:5 , “the last time” refers to the time of the Lord’s second advent; (f) in 1 John 2:18 , “the last hour” (RV) and, in Jude 1:18 , “the last time” signify the present age previous to the Second Advent.

Notes: (1) In Hebrews 1:2 , RV, “at the end of these days” (AV, “in these last days”), the reference is to the close of the period of the testimony of the prophets under the Law, terminating with the presence of Christ and His redemptive sacrifice and its effects, the perfect tense “hath spoken” indicating the continued effects of the message embodied in the risen Christ; so in 1 Peter 1:20 , RV, “at the end of the times” (AV, “in these last times”).

B — 1: ὕστερον

(Strong’s #5305 — Noun Neuter — husteronhoos’-ter-on)

the neuter of the adjective husteros, is used as an adverb signifying “afterwards, later,” see AFTER , No. 5. Cp. the adjective, under LATER.

Note: In Philippians 4:10 the particle pote, “sometime,” used after ede, “now, already,” to signify “now at length,” is so rendered in the RV, AV, “(now) at the last.” (9)

In closing:

In interpreting, the meaning of “the last days” and similar phrases have not been the easiest task for commentators. Sometimes the meaning is looking to end of the Old Testament period, the New Testament age, and the end of history. At other times, the immediate fulfillment when the events occur provides the best understanding. In eschatology, everyone wants to have a nice and tidy system. Unfortunately, as history has shown, this is not the case. History is littered with the failed predictions of men.

What we do know that the Lord Jesus Christ shall come again. “Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ.” (Titus 2:13)

“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, Genesis, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 811.
  2. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol.4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 421.
  3. Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament Jeremiah, Vol. 4, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 10-11.
  4. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Daniel, vol. 2, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 815-816.
  5. Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 769.
  6. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Joel, Vol.5, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 443.
  7. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, 2Timothy, Vol.8, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 232.
  8. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Hebrews, Vol.8, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 283.
  9. W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), p. 640-641.

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

For more study:

The Last Days According to Jesus by R.C. Sproul https://www.ligonier.org/learn/series/last_days_according_to_jesus/crisis-in-eschatology/

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John the Baptist, was he Elijah?

John the Baptist, was he Elijah?                                                                       By Jack Kettler

Who was John the Baptist? Was he a prophet? A messenger? Why did he not say whom he was when asked by the Pharisees?

In this study, we will look at these questions and see what the Scriptures say.

First, clearing up the confusion that sometimes exists between Elijah and Elisha:

  1. Elisha was the successor to Elijah.
  2. Elijah tutored Elisha for approximately eight years.
  3. Elias in the New Testament is not referring to Elisha.

Introduction to the Old Testament prophet Elijah:

“And Elijah came unto all the people, and said, how long halt ye between two opinions? If the LORD be God, follow him: but if Baal, then follow him. And the people answered him not a word.” (1Kings 18:21)

The Old Testament predictions of a coming prophet:

“The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” (Isaiah 40:3)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Isaiah 40:3:

“(3) The voice of him that crieth . . .—The laws of Hebrew parallelism require a different punctuation: A voice of one crying, In the wilderness, prepare ye . . . The passage is memorable as having been deliberately taken by the Baptist as defining his own mission (John 1:23). As here the herald is not named, so he was content to efface himself—to be a voice or nothing. The image is drawn from the march of Eastern kings, who often boast, as in the Assyrian inscriptions of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal (Records of the Past, i. 95, vii. 64), of the roads they have made in trackless deserts. The wilderness is that which lay between the Euphrates and Judah, the journey of the exiles through it reminding the prophet of the older wanderings in the wilderness of Sin (Psalm 68:7; Judges 5:4). The words are an echo of the earlier thought of Isaiah 35:8. We are left to conjecture to whom the command is addressed: tribes of the desert, angelic ministers, kings and rulers—the very vagueness giving a grand universality. So, again, we are not told whether the “way of Jehovah” is that on which He comes to meet His people, or on which He goes before and guides them. The analogy of the marches of the Exodus makes the latter view the more probable.” (1)

“Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.” (Malachi 3:1)

From the Pulpit Commentary on Malachi 3:1:

“Verse 1. – Behold, I will send (I send) my messenger. God answers that he is coming to show himself the God of judgment and justice. Are they ready to meet him and to bear his sentence? Who this “messenger” is disputed. That no angel or heavenly visitant is meant is clear from historical considerations, as no such event took place immediately before the Lord came to his temple. Nor can Malachi himself be intended, as his message was delivered nearly four, hundred years before Messiah came. The announcement is doubtless founded upon Isaiah 40:3, and refers to the same person as the older prophet mentions, who is generally allowed to be John the Baptist, the herald of Christ’s advent (Matthew 11:10; John 1:6). Prepare the way before me. The expression is borrowed from Isaiah, loc. cit. (comp. also Isaiah 57:14; Isaiah 62:10). He prepares the way by preaching repentance, and thus removing the obstacle of sin, which stood between God and his people. Whom ye seek. When ye ask, “Where is the God of judgment?” Shall suddenly come to his temple. The Lord (ha-Adon) is Jehovah, as in Exodus 23:17; Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 3:1, etc. There is a change of persons here, as frequently. Jehovah shall unexpectedly come to his temple (τὸν ναὸν ἑαυτοῦ) as King and God of Israel (comp. Ezekiel 43:7). There was a literal fulfilment of this prophecy when Christ was presented in the temple as an infant (Luke 2:22, etc.). Even the messenger of the covenant. He is identified with the Lord; and he is the covenant angel who guided the Israelites to the Promised Land, and who is seen in the various theophanies of the Old Testament. The Divinity of Messiah is thus unequivocally asserted. In him are fulfilled all the promises made under the old covenant, and he is called (Hebrews 9:15) “the Mediator of the new covenant.” Some render,” and the Messenger,” etc., thus distinguishing the Angel of the covenant from the forerunner who prepares the way. But this is already done by the expressions, “My Messenger,” and “the Lord.” Whom ye delight in. Whose advent ye expect with eager desire.” (2)

“Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.” (Malachi 4:5-6)

The following entry from the renowned International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE) on Elijah will provide a helpful additional detailed look at the Prophet.

Elijah in the New Testament from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

“Malachi (4:5) names Elijah as the forerunner of “the great and terrible day of Yahweh,” and the expectation founded upon this passage is alluded to in Mark 6:15 parallel Luke 9:8; Matthew 16:14 parallel Mark 8:28 parallel Luke 9:19; Matthew 27:47-49 parallel Mark 15:35, 36. The interpretation of Malachi’s prophecy foreshadowed in the angelic annunciation to Zacharias (Luke 1:17), that John the Baptist should do the work of another Elijah, is given on the authority of Jesus Himself (Matthew 11:14). The appearance of Elijah, with Moses, on the Mount of Transfiguration, is recorded in Matthew 17:1-13 parallel Mark 9:2-13 parallel Luke 9:28-36, and in Matthew 11:14 parallel Mark 9:13 Jesus again identifies the Elijah of Malachi with John the Baptist. The fate of the soldiers of Ahaziah (2Kings 1) is in the mind of James and John on one occasion (Luke 9:54). Jesus Himself alludes to Elijah and his sojourn in the land of Sidon (Luke 4:25, 26). Paul makes use of the prophet’s experience at Horeb (Romans 11:2-4). In James 5:17, 18 the work of Elijah affords an instance of the powerful supplication of a righteous man.” (3)

The New Testament Scriptures on John the Baptist:

“And as they departed, Jesus began to say unto the multitudes concerning John, What went ye out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went ye out for to see? A man clothed in soft raiment? Behold, they that wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses. But what went ye out for to see? A prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet. For this is he, of whom it is written, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. Verily I say unto you, among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: notwithstanding he that is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:7-11)

“For all the prophets and the law prophesied until John. And if ye will receive it, this is Elias, [Elias, (Ἠλίας, Greek) (Elijah English) Strong’s 2243] which was for to come.” (Matthew 11:13-14)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Matthew 11:14:

“(14) This is Elias. — The words of Malachi (Malachi 4:5) had led men to expect the reappearance of the great Tishbite in person as the immediate precursor of the Christ. It was the teaching of the scribes then (Matthew 17:10; John 1:21), it has lingered as a tradition of Judaism down to our own time. A vacant chair is placed for Elijah at all great solemnities. Even Christian interpreters have cherished the belief that Elijah will appear in person before the Second Advent of the Lord. The true meaning of the words of Malachi had, however, been suggested in the words of the angel in Luke 1:17, “He shall go before Him in the spirit and power of Elias,” and is here distinctly confirmed. The words “if ye will (i.e., are willing to) receive it” imply the consciousness that our Lord was setting aside a popular and strongly-fixed belief: “If you are willing and able to receive the truth that John was in very deed doing the work of Elijah, you need look for no other in the future.” (4)

“And his disciples asked him, saying, why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise, shall also the Son of man suffer of them.” (Matthew 17:10-13)

At this point, the disciples did not fully comprehend who Jesus was. That is why they asked Jesus the question about Elias/Elijah.

“As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judaea, and they of Jerusalem, and were all baptized of him in the river of Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camel’s hair, and with a girdle of a skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; And preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water: but he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost.” (Mark 1:2-8)

In these passages, Mark describes the work of John and his message to the people of Israel.

“But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother’s womb. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” (Luke 1:13-17)

“He said, I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Esaias.” (John 1:23)

Why did John deny the following when questioned by the priests and Levites? 

“And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ. And they asked him, What then? Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No.” (John 1:19-21)

From Matthew Poole’s Commentary on John 1:21:

“John was at Bethabara when these messengers came to him, John 1:28. They asked him if he were Elias. The Jews had not only an expectation of the Messias, but of Elias to come as a messenger before him, according to the prophecy, Malachi 4:5; as appeareth, Matthew 17:10 Mark 9:11; of which they had a gross conception here, that Elias should come out of heaven personally, or at least that his soul should come into another body, according to the Pythagorean opinion. Now the meaning of the prophecy was, that one should come like Elias; and this was fulfilled in John, Luke 1:17, as our Saviour tells us, Matthew 17:12 Mark 9:13; but they asked the question according to that notion they had of Elias. To which John answereth, that he was not; neither that Elias that ascended in a fiery chariot to heaven; nor any body informed with Elias’s soul: and thus the words of our Saviour, Matthew 17:12 Mark 9:12, are easily reconciled to this text. They go on, and ask him if he were

that prophet, or a prophet. Some think that they meant the Prophet promised, Deuteronomy 18:18; but that was no other than Christ himself, which he had before denied himself to be; nor doth it appear from any text of Scripture that the Jews had any expectation of any other particular prophet; but it is plain from Luke 9:8, that they had a notion that it was possible one of the old prophets might rise again from the dead, for so they guessed there concerning Christ. But others think that the article in the Greek here is not emphatical, and they only asked him if he were a prophet; for the Jews had a general notion, that the spirit of prophecy had left them ever since the times of Zechariah and Malachi; which they hoped was returned in John the Baptist, and about this they question him if he were a prophet. To which he answereth, No; neither that Prophet promised, Deuteronomy 18:18, nor yet any of the old prophets risen from the dead; nor yet one like the prophets of the Old Testament, who only prophesied of a Christ to come; but, as Christ calls him, Matthew 11:9, more than a prophet, one who showed and declared to them a Christ already come; for the law and the prophets prophesied but until John; the law in its types foreshowing, the prophets in their sermons foretelling, a Messiah to come; John did more. His father indeed, Luke 1:76, called him the prophet of the Highest; but there prophet is to be understood not in a strict, but in a large sense, as the term prophecy is taken, Romans 12:6. And the term prophet often signifieth one that revealeth the will of God to men; in which large sense John was a prophet, and yet more than a prophet in the stricter notion of the term; and in that sense no prophet, that is, no mere prophet: so, Numbers 11:19, Moses tells the people they should not eat flesh one, or two, or five, or ten, or twenty days, because they should eat it a whole month together.” (5)

John the Baptist was not the Prophet Elijah reincarnated. Nevertheless, he was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Elijah.

Jesus identifies and explains who John is:

“And he will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just, to make ready for the Lord a people prepared.” (Luke 1:17 ESV)

It is essential that the reader can see the distinction that John was a prophet, but not “that prophet.” As Poole notes, “That Prophet promised,” Deuteronomy 18:18; was none other than Christ himself. That is why John emphatically denied it that he was “that prophet.”

Another reason why Jesus and John were seemingly cryptic in dealing with the Jewish leaders:

“And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables? He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Matthew 13:10-17)

God in His Sovereignty had not opened the hearing and eyes of all of the people of Israel.

“And many resorted unto him, and said, John did no miracle: but all things that John spake of this man were true.” (John 10:41)

From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on John, 10:14 provides an edifying closing commentary of John and his witness to the Christ:

“And many resorted to him, … From all the parts adjacent, having heard of his being there, and of the fame of him; and many of them doubtless personally knew him; these came to him, some very likely to be healed by him, others to see his person and miracles, and others to hear him preach:

and said, John did no miracle; though it was now three years ago, yet the name, ministry, and baptism of John, were fresh in the memory of men in those parts; and what they say one to another, was not to lessen the character of John, but to exalt Jesus Christ, and to give a reason why they should receive and embrace him; for if John, who did no miracle, who only taught and baptized, and directed men to the Messiah, was justly reckoned a very great person, and his doctrine was received, and his baptism was submitted to, then much more should this illustrious person be attended to; who, besides his divine doctrine, did such great and amazing miracles; to which they add, though John did no miracle to confirm his mission, ministry, and baptism,

but all things that John spake of this man, were true; as that he was greater than he, was the Lamb of God, yea, the Son of God, the Saviour of the world, and true Messiah, who should baptize men with the Holy Ghost and with fire.” (6)

In Closing:

To answer the question at the beginning of this study, John was a prophet and a messenger. John fulfilled Isaiah’s prophesy (Isaiah 40:3) by coming in the spirit and power of Elijah (Luke 1:17).

Parallels between Elijah, John, Elisha, and Christ:

  1. Elijah prepared the way for Elisha, (1Kings 19:16; 2Kings 2:6-8).
  2. Elisha had a double portion of Elijah’s spirit, (2 Kings 2:9).
  3. Elisha did more miracles than Elijah did.
  4. Elijah was a type of John the Baptist (Isaiah 40:3, John 1:23).
  5. Elisha was a type of Christ (Luke 4:27).*

*Shortlist of parallels between Elisha and Jesus to reach this conclusion:

  • Both received the Holy Spirit at the Jordan River (2 Kings 2:7-15; John 1:28)
  • Both cleansed lepers (2Kings 5; Mark 1:40-45)
  • Both healed the sick (2Kings 4:34-35; Mark 8:22-25)
  • Both raised the dead (2Kings 4:1-7; Luke 7:11-17)
  • Both had treacherous disciples, (Gehazi 2 Kings 5:20 and Judas Matthew 26:14-16)

“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. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Isaiah, Vol.4, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 521.
  2. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Malachi, Vol.14., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 39.
  3. Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘ELIJAH,’” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), p. 933.
  4. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Matthew, Vol.1, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 66.
  5. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, John, vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 281.
  6. John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, John, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), 2011, p. 355.

 

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

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What does turn to him the other cheek mean?

What does turn to him the other cheek mean?                                                By Jack Kettler

This study will look at turning the other cheek. Is Jesus literal in this passage? If not, how do we understand it?

Years ago in Portland, Oregon, in a Christian ministry that worked with street people, an unusual event occurred. An individual came into the outreach center and asked who believed this passage about being smitten on the cheek. He asked people to stand up and then proceeded to punch everyone in the face to see if they would turn the other cheek. These Christians did this and were punched in the face.

Were these Christians correct in their course of action?

“And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other, and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also.” (Luke 6:29 KJV)

A parallel passage to this in Matthew:

“But I say to you, do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well.” (Matthew 5:39-40 ESV)

Old Testament parallel passages:

“They have gaped upon me with their mouth; they have smitten me upon the cheek reproachfully; they have gathered themselves together against me.” (Job 16:10 KJV)

“Let him give his cheek to the one who strikes, and let him be filled with insults.” (Lamentations 3:30 ESV)

From Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers on Lamentations 3:30:

“(30) He giveth his cheek . . . —  The submission enjoined reaches its highest point—a patience like that of Job 16:10; we may add, like that of the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:39.) It was harder to accept the Divine chastisement when it came through human agents. Not so had Jeremiah once taught and acted (Jeremiah 20:1-6; Jeremiah 28:15). (Comp. Isaiah 1:6.)” (1)

In Jewish culture, striking a person’s cheek was a way to shame an individual into submission.

Old Testament background and context. Why a backhanded slap?

The only way you can hit a person on the right cheek is with the back of the hand. Striking a person on the right cheek with the right hand would require using a backhanded motion.

In Hebrew idiom, being slapped on the right cheek was an insult. It does not mean a physically fighting blow. A slap like this was not an aggressive action to start a fight; it was a rebuke or slap of discipline. The right cheek being slapped with a backhand is a message reminding the person that they are inferior, in the case of a slave or servant.

Offering someone your left cheek means that you are submissive to the action of the superior.

Jesus and the disciples were Jews, so they were familiar with Hebrew idioms.

Other considerations, the Judaic background:

Written in Talmudic Israel (c.190 – c.230 CE). Bava Kamma (First Gate) belongs to the fourth order, Nezikin (The Order of Damages) and discusses the civil matters, largely damages and compensation.

Two different renditions of Mishnah Bava Kamma 8:6:

  1. “If someone slaps another person, he must pay two hundred zuzim. If it was backhanded, he must pay four hundred zuzim. If someone flicks a person’s ear, pulls his hair, spits so that it lands on him, strips his cloak off, or pulls off a woman’s headscarf in public, [the perpetrator] must pay four hundred zuzim.”
  2. “If a man cuffed or [punched] his fellow he must pay him a sela [4 zuz]. Rabbi Judah says in the name of Rabbi Jose the Galilean, One hundred zuz. If he slapped him, he must pay 200 zuz. If [he struck him] with the back of his hand he must pay him 400 zuz.”

(Mishnah Bava Kamma 8:6)

This Talmudic Jewish law took openly humiliating another person very serious. The backhanded slap resulted in twice the penalty imposed on the striker. The double penalty was imposed even without personal injury. It was the public humiliation, which caused the double penalty. The event described in the Bava Kamma seems to be different from a master using a backhanded slap to discipline a servant.

With this Old Testament and Judaic background, we will now examine the text from Luke on being slapped:

In expositing these passages from Luke and Matthew, we will seek to understand how to apply this Scripture.

From the older Pulpit Commentary on Luke 6:29:

“Verse 29. – And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other. This and the following direction is clothed in language of Eastern picturesqueness, to drive home to the listening crowds the great and novel truths he was urging upon them. No reasonable, thoughtful man would feel himself bound to the letter of these commandments. Our Lord, for instance, himself did not offer himself to be stricken again (John 18:22, 23), but firmly, though with exquisite courtesy, rebuked the one who struck him. St. Paul, too (Acts 23:3), never dreamed of obeying the letter of this charge. It is but an assertion of a great principle, and so, with the exception of a very few mistaken fanatics, all the great teachers of Christianity have understood it.” (2)

According to this commentary, the smiting on the cheek was not to be taken literally.

Next, we will consider two entries from a contemporary commentary.

From William Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary on Matthew 5:38-42:

“38–42. You have heard that it was said, An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth. But I tell you, Do not resist the evil-doer; but to him that slaps you on the right cheek turn the other also. And if anyone wishes to go to law with you and take your shirt, let him take your robe also. And whoever forces you to go one mile, go with him two. To him that asks (anything) of you give, and from him that wants to borrow of you do not turn away. In Exod. 21:24, 25 we read, “… eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.” Lev. 24:20 adds “fracture for fracture”; Deut. 19:21, “life for life.” This was a law for the civil courts, laid down in order that the practice of seeking private revenge might be discouraged. The Old Testament passages do not mean, “Take personal revenge whenever you are wronged.” They mean the exact opposite, “Do not avenge yourself but let justice be administered publicly.” This is clear from Lev. 24:14, “Take the blasphemer out of the camp; and let all who heard him lay their hands upon his head, and let all the congregation stone him.” Cf. Deut. 19:15–21.

The Pharisees, however, appealed to this law to justify personal retribution and revenge. They quoted this commandment in order to defeat its very purpose. Cf. Matt. 15:3, 6. The Old Testament repeatedly forbids personal vengeance: “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people; you shall love your neighbor as yourself; I am Jehovah” (Lev. 19:18). “Do not say, I will repay evil. Wait for Jehovah, and he will save you” (Prov. 20:22). “Do not say, as he has done to me so will I do to him; I will pay the man back according to what he has done” (Prov. 24:29).

What then did Jesus mean when he said, “Do not resist the evil-doer; but to him that slaps you,” etc.? When Christ’s words (verses 39–42) are read in the light of what immediately follows in verses 43–48, and when the parallel in Luke 6:29, 30 is explained on the basis of what immediately precedes in verses 27, 28, it becomes clear that the key passage, identical in both Gospels, is “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27). In other words, Jesus is condemning the spirit of lovelessness, hatred, yearning for revenge. He is saying, “Do not resist the evil-doer with measures that arise from an unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting, vindictive disposition.”

Once this is understood it becomes evident that “to turn the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is filled with the spirit not of rancor but of love. Rom. 12:19–21 presents an excellent commentary.

Something similar holds with respect to the person who threatens by means of a lawsuit to take away someone’s “shirt,” the tunic worn next to the body, as payment for an alleged debt. Note that not the person whom Jesus is addressing is suing but his opponent is (cf. 1 Cor. 6:1). Rather than resentfully to contest this lawsuit, says Jesus, allow the plaintiff to have the outer robe also. This robe was considered so indispensable that when taken as a pledge it had to be returned before sunset, since it also served as a cover—often the poor man’s only one—during sleep (Exod. 22:26, 27; Deut. 24:12, 13; Ezek. 18:7; and Amos 2:8). In summary: we have no right to hate the person who tries to deprive us of our possessions. Love even toward him should fill our hearts and reveal itself in our actions.

The first verb in “Whoever forces you to go one mile.…” refers to the authority to requisition, to press into service. It is a loanword from the Persian language, which in all probability borrowed it from the Babylonian. The famous Persian Royal Post authorized its couriers whenever necessary to press into service anyone available and/or the latter’s animal. There must be no delay in the dispatch and delivery of the king’s decrees, etc. Cf. Esther 3:13, 15; 8:10. As happens frequently, so also here, the verb gradually acquired the more general meaning of compelling someone to render any kind of service. It is used in connection with Simon of Cyrene who was compelled to carry Christ’s cross (Matt. 27:32; Mark 15:21). Now what Jesus is saying is that rather than to reveal a spirit of bitterness or annoyance toward the one who forces a burden upon a person, the latter should take this position with a smile. Did someone ask you to go with him, carrying his load for the distance of one mile? Then go with him two miles!

Similarly, when someone in distress asks for assistance, one must not turn a deaf ear to him. On the contrary, says Jesus, give, not grudgingly or gingerly but generously; lend, not selfishly, looking forward to usury (Exod. 22:25; Lev. 25:36, 37), but liberally, magnanimously. Not only show kindness but love kindness (Mic. 6:8; cf. Deut. 15:7, 8; Ps. 37:26; 112:5; Prov. 19:17; Acts 4:36, 37; 2 Cor. 8:8, 9).

Biblical illustrations of the spirit, which Jesus here commends:

  1. Abraham, rushing to rescue his “brother” Lot (Gen. 14:14 ff.), though the latter had earlier revealed himself to be a rather avaricious nephew (Gen. 13:1–13).
  2. Joseph, generously forgiving his brothers (Gen. 50:19–21), who had not treated him very kindly (37:18–28).
  3. David, twice sparing the life of his pursuer King Saul (1 Sam. 24 and 26).
  4. Elisha, setting bread and water before the invading Syrians (2 Kings 6).
  5. Stephen, interceding for those who were stoning him to death (Acts 7:60).
  6. Paul, after his conversion, writing Rom. 12:21; 1 Cor. 4:12; and 1 Cor. 13; and putting it into practice!
  7. Above all, Jesus himself, praying, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Luke 23:34; cf. Isa. 53:12, last clause; Matt. 11:29; 12:19; and 1 Peter 2:23).” (3)

From William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary on Luke 6:29, we read:

“Even more strikingly Jesus adds 29a. To the one who strikes you on the cheek offer also the other (cheek). What did he mean? That his words were not intended to be taken literally follows from his own reaction when he was struck in the face (John 18:22, 23). In fact, those who insist on interpreting every saying of Jesus literally get into difficulty again and again (Matt. 16:6–12; John 2:18–21; 3:3–5; 4:10–14; 6:51–58; 11:11–14).

What, then, did Jesus mean? When his words are read in the light of what immediately precedes in verses 27, 28, and when Matthew’s parallel (5:39 f.) is read in the light of what follows in verses 43–48, it becomes clear that the key passage, identical in both Gospels, is, “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27). In other words, Jesus condemns the spirit of lovelessness, hatred, yearning for revenge. He is saying, “Do not resist the evildoer with measures that arise from an unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting, vindictive disposition.” Once this is understood it becomes clear that “turning the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is not filled with the spirit of rancor but with the spirit of love. Rom. 12:19–21 presents an excellent commentary.

Jesus continues: 29b… and from the one who takes away your outer garment do not withhold your undergarment. Instead of being filled with bitterness and the lust for retaliation, show the very opposite attitude. Let him who deprives you of your robe take your tunic (worn next to the skin) also; and conversely (with Matt. 5:40), if anyone wishes to go to law with you and take your tunic (or shirt), let him take your robe also. Here again Rom. 12:19–21 shows what is meant.” (3)

Hendriksen demonstrates the passage in Matthew and Luke must be understood spiritually.

Additional thoughts on how to understand the Matthew and Luke texts: 

  1. What may have been in mind here was a slap with the backside of the right hand. Such a hit would not be used to inflict harm but instead, shame. A slap like this is what a superior would do to disgrace a disobedient servant. The backhanded slap would put the servant in his place. Turning the cheek would be an acknowledgment of submission to the superior.
  2. Another possibility is that by turning the other cheek, the person struck would put the striker in an indefensible place. He cannot repeat the backhand, because the one slapped face is now turned. The master does not want the slave to solicit sympathy, so he would not hit the servant who turned the cheek again with the other hand.
  3. Jesus is prohibiting the human predisposition to seek personal vengeance. Accordingly, based upon this understanding, we see that in Matthew and Luke, Jesus taught His disciples not to retaliate against personal insult by turning the cheek.

In closing, from the New Testament commentary entries in this study, we can conclude:

“Whoever forces you to go one mile …” Matthew 5:41 refers to the authority to press someone into a task or service. If an authority figure asks you to carry his load for one mile, then go with him for two miles. Going the extra mile has the same effect as turning the cheek. It diffuses the situation.

If need be, we are to respond to injury without revenge by tolerating the act without accelerating the situation, leading to more harm. As Hendriksen notes, turning the cheek is not literal but spiritual. We do not give in to hatred and revenge. Turning the other cheek means to accept mistreatment and insults without retaliating or seeking revenge. This interpretation is consistent with many teachings in Scripture.

For example:

“A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” (Proverbs 15:1 ESV)

As an aside, it does not mean that Christians have no recourse in the courts of law. As noted in the Mishnah Bava Kamma 8:6, penalties or fines could be levied against an aggressor.

We can conclude that the Christians in the Portland, Oregon street ministry were naïve in their understanding of Scripture. It would be of interest to see how these individuals and their understanding of those prior events today; including the aggressive person who propagated the violence.

A more prudent course of action would have been two or three males on staff reframing the attacker while others called the police in order to stop the disturbance. I would surmise that this course of action has been implemented in many mission centers around the country that work with homeless and street people.

 Notes:

  1. Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Lamentations, Vol.5, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 191.
  2. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Luke, Vol.16., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 147.
  3. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Matthew, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1984), pp. 309-311.
  4. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Luke, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1984), p. 349.

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

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The use of titles by ministers

The use of titles by ministers                                                                            by Jack Kettler

This study will look at titles and the Christian ministry. Are they appropriate? Matthew 23:9-10 will be the primary texts considered. Of primary interest will be the use of “father” in verse 23:9,   and instructor. Other translations instead of “instructor” have leader, teacher, guide, and master in verse 23:10.

Are these titles appropriate? At first, glance, when consulting Scripture, it appears not.

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven. Neither be called instructors, for you have one instructor, the Christ.” (Matthew 23:9-10 ESV)

What does “father” mean in Matthew 23:9? Consider the following commentary entry:

From the Pulpit Commentary on Matthew 23:9:

 

“Verse 9. – Your father. This was the title given to eminent teachers and founders of schools, to whom the people were taught to look up rather than to God. It was also addressed to prophets (2Kings 2:12; 2Kings 6:21). In ver. 8 Christ said, “be not called;” here he uses the active, “call not,” as if he would intimate that his followers must not give this honoured title to any doctor out of complaisance, or flattery, or affectation. Upon the earth. In contradistinction to heaven, where our true Father dwells. They were to follow no earthly school. They had natural fathers and spiritual fathers, but the authority of all comes from God; it is delegated, not essential; and good teachers would make men look to God, and not to themselves, as the source of power and truth.” (1)

Can a title be used in a different way to not bring undue attention to oneself?

If the use of father is forbidden, then it appears we have the Scriptures pitted against each other.

For example:

“And call no man your father on earth, for you have one Father, who is in heaven.” (Matthew 23:9 ESV)

“For though you have countless guides in Christ, you do not have many fathers. For I became your father in Christ Jesus through the gospel.” (1Corinthians 4:15 ESV)

How do we explain this?

Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges on 1Corinthians 4:15:

 

“5. Yet have ye not many fathers] we have here an interesting example of the fact that the spirit rather than the letter of Christ’s commands is to be observed, and that one passage of Scripture is not to be strained so as to contradict another. ‘Call no man your father on earth,’ says Christ (St Matthew 23:9): that is, as explained by the present passage, [1Corinthians 4:15] in such a spirit as to forget Him from whom all being proceeds.

In Christ Jesus I have begotten you] i.e. because Jesus Christ dwells in His ministers, and their work is His. Cf. Ch. 1 Corinthians 3:5-9.” (2)

Was Jesus speaking literally in Matthew 23:9?

Christians call their earthly dads “father.” The nation’s founders are called the “founding fathers.” In these two cases, are we violating Matthew 23:9, which says to “call no man your father on earth?”

Consider two other cases in Scripture where individuals are called “father” with no apparent rebuke.

In the Old Testament, there is the case of Elisha:

“And Elisha saw it, and he cried my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces.” (2Kings 2:12 KJV)

In the New Testament, there is the case of Abraham:

“Then he cried and said, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame.’ But Abraham said, ‘Son, remember that in your lifetime you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but now he is comforted and you are tormented.” (Luke 16:24-25 KJV)

Thus far, it appears that if we follow the spirit of what Christ teaches, there are exceptions to a total prohibition on the use of the title “father.” There is a condemned way and an accepted way to use this title of “father.”

Moving on to Matthew 23:10, where the warning against titles is expanded:

“Neither be ye called masters: (καθηγηταί) for one is your Master, even Christ.” (Matthew 23:10 KJV)

As in Matthew 23:9, you have the using of titles condemned as in “Neither be ye called masters: (καθηγηταί) for one is your Master, even Christ.” (Matthew 23:10 KJV)

In Matthew 23:10, the forbidding of titles is expanded. As can be seen from the various translations, καθηγηταί also means leader, teacher, instructors, and guide, master.

From the Strong’s Concordance:

kathégétés: a teacher

Original Word: καθηγητής, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: kathégétés

Phonetic Spelling: (kath-ayg-ay-tace’)

Definition: a teacher

Usage: a leader, teacher, guide, master.

Matthew Poole’s Commentary on Matthew 23:10 explains this text quite well:

“Ver. 8-10. It is most certain that our Saviour doth not here forbid the giving of the titles of masters and fathers to his ministers, for then Paul would not have given himself the title of father, 1 Corinthians 4:15; nor called the Galatians his little children, Galatians 4:19: nor called Timothy his son, and himself his father, Philippians 2:22; nor called himself a doctor of the Gentiles, 1Timothy 2:7 2Timothy 1:11. That which he forbids is,

 

  1. An affectation of such titles, and hunting after them.

 

  1. Rem tituli, the exercise of an absolute mastership, or a paternal, absolute power; so as to require any to believe things because they said them, or to do things because they bid them, without seeing the things asserted, or first commanded, in the word of God.

 

For in that sense God alone is men’s Father, Christ alone their Master. Pastors and teachers in the church are all but ministers, ministers of Christ to publish his will and to enjoin his laws; nor must any be owned as masters and fathers, to impose their laws and doctrines. This is twice repeated, because such is the corruption of human nature, that it is very prone, not only to affect these swelling titles, but also to exercise these exorbitant authorities.” (3)

From Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Matthew 23:10:

“Neither be ye called masters – That is, leaders, guides, for this is the literal meaning of the word. It refers to those who go before others, who claim, therefore, the right to direct and control others. This was also a title conferred on Jewish teachers.

 

Neither of these commands forbids us to give proper titles of civil office to men, or to render them the honor belonging to their station, Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:7; 1 Peter 2:17. They prohibit the disciples of Jesus from seeking or receiving mere empty titles, producing distinctions among themselves, implying authority to control the opinions and conduct of others, and claiming that others should acknowledge them to be superior to them.” (4)

As we see from Poole and Barnes, Matthew 23:10 does not forbid the use of titles to Christ’s ministers. What do the warnings about titles mean?

From William Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary on Matthew 23:9-10:

 

“Over against this vice of pomposity, so characteristic of many a Pharisee or scribe, Jesus commends the virtue of humility: 8–10. But as for yourselves, do not let the people call you rabbi, for One is your Teacher, and all of you are brothers. And do not call anyone on earth your father, for One is your Father, the One in heaven. And do not let the people call you leaders; for One is your Leader, namely, Christ. Those who think that Jesus is here condemning the idea of an apostolic office are clearly mistaken. Was it not the Master himself who instituted the office? See 10:1, 5, 40; 18:18; John 20:21–23. Cf. Acts 1:15–26; 6:1–6; 13:1–3; 14:23; 20:28; Rom. 1:1; 1 Cor. 1:1; 9:1, 2; 2 Cor. 1:1; 12:12; Gal. 1:1; Philem. 8, 9. In the light of both the preceding and the following context the statement is justified that what Jesus is here condemning is the yearning for rank, for special recognition above one’s fellow members. He is declaring that he alone is their Teacher. “The Father in heaven” alone is their Father; Christ alone, their Leader. It is not wrong, of course, to address one’s immediate male ancestor as “father.” However, here in 23:9 Jesus is not speaking about physical or earthly fatherhood, but about fatherhood in the spiritual sphere.

The warning was necessary. Many a Jew must have envied the man who was called “rabbi” (loosely translated, “teacher”); or, if a member of the Sanhedrin was addressed as “father” (Acts 7:2); or, if already departed from this earthly scene, having left behind him an illustrious memory, was referred to by the same title (Rom. 4:12; 1 Cor. 10:1; James 2:21). The epithet “leader” or “guide,” ascribed perhaps—this is not certain—to a beloved and highly honored teacher, sounded alluring. So Jesus is saying that the attention of his followers must not be fixed on human titles and distinctions but on God in Christ, worthy of all reverence, praise, and honor.

The objection may be raised, however, that Paul, by implication, calls himself the “father” of the Corinthians and of Timothy, and even the “mother” of the Galatians (respectively in 1 Cor. 4:15; 1 Tim. 1:2, and Gal. 4:19). However, to state a fact is one thing; to yearn for distinctions and honors above one’s fellowmen, and unrelated to the glory that is due to Christ, is something different. It is the latter that Jesus condemns. It is clear from the Corinthian context that it was only “in Christ Jesus” that Paul had begotten the Corinthians through the gospel. So also it was only in a secondary sense that Paul could call himself Timothy’s father. He calls Timothy “(my) genuine child in faith,” and, according to Paul’s teaching, faith is God’s gift (Eph. 2:8). As the context makes very plain (see 1Tim. 1:12), Paul thanks Christ Jesus for having enabled him to be of service. Finally, also in the Galatian passage the emphasis is not on Paul but on Christ: “My dear children, for whom I am again suffering birth-pangs until Christ be formed in you.” There is therefore nothing in any of these passages that can be considered to be in conflict with Matt. 23:8–10.” (5)

 

John Calvin on Matthew 23:9-10:

 

“9. And call no man on earth your Father. He claims for God alone the honor of Father, in nearly the same sense as he lately asserted that he himself is the only Master; for this name was not assumed by men for themselves, but was given to them by God. And therefore it is not only lawful to call men on earth fathers, but it would be wicked to deprive them of that honor. Nor is there any importance in the distinction, which some have brought forward, that men, by whom children have been begotten, are fathers according to the flesh, but that God alone is the Father of spirits. I readily acknowledge that in this manner God is sometimes distinguished from men, as in Hebrews 12:5, but as Paul more than once calls himself a spiritual father, (1 Corinthians 4:15; Philippians 2:22,) we must see how this agrees with the words of Christ. The true meaning therefore is that the honor of a father is falsely ascribed to men, when it obscures the glory of God. Now this is done, whenever a mortal man, viewed apart from God, is accounted a father, since all the degrees of relationship depend on God alone through Christ, and are held together in such a manner that, strictly speaking, God alone is the Father of all.

 

  1. For one is your Master, even Christ. He repeats a second time the former statement about Christ’s office as Master, in order to inform us that the lawful order is, that God alone rules over us, and possess the power and authority of a Father, and that Christ subject all to his doctrine, and have them as disciples; as it is elsewhere said, that Christ is the only head of the whole Church, (Ephesians 1:22).” (6)

In closing:

From the commentary and Scriptural evidence, it does not appear that the mere use of the word “father” or other titles is a problem. It is the misuse of the title when used to exalt oneself or used to manipulate, and control other men.

This warning against titles must be understood as those using a title like the Pharisees. To be seen of men. Using a title as a means of control over others. Binding men’s conscience to them rather than the Word of God.

Another consideration:

The Greek form of the word “clergy” is “kleros. “Kleros” refers to a group of people in 1Peter 5:2-3. In 1Peter, we learn where the elders are exhorted to “be shepherds of God’s flock that is under their care.

From Strong’s Concordance:

kléros: a lot

Original Word: κλῆρος, ου, ὁ

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine

Transliteration: kléros

Phonetic Spelling: (klay’-ros)

Definition: a lot

Usage: (a) a lot, (b) a portion assigned; hence, a portion of the people of God assigned to one’s care, a congregation.

The Greek form of the word “laity” is “Laos,” which Strong gives the number 2992 and defines it as “people.”

Laity/Clergy, the Laos/Kleros are both the people of God.

Rather than an outright ban on the use of titles, Matthew 23:9-10 is a warning to the overseers of Christ’s Church not to exalt themselves or to Lord it over the people of God. It is the misuse of titles, not the use of titles themselves, which are the problem.

 

“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. H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew, Vol.15., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 397.
  2. The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Text Courtesy of BibleSupport.com. https://biblehub.com/commentaries/cambridge/1_corinthians/.
  3. Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Matthew, vol. 3, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 108-109.
  4. Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Matthew, Vol.1, p. 385-385.
  5. William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Matthew, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1984), pp. 824-825.
  6. John Calvin, Calvin’s Commentaries, Matthew, Volume Vol.3, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House Reprinted 1979), p. 80.

 

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

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