Why did Jesus curse the fig tree in Mark 11:12-14?

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree in Mark 11:12-14?                   By Jack Kettler

“And on the morrow, when they were come from Bethany, he was hungry: And seeing a fig tree afar off having leaves, he came, if haply he might find anything thereon: and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves; for the time of figs was not yet. And Jesus answered and said unto it, no man eat fruit of thee hereafter forever. And his disciples heard it. (Mark 11:12-14)

A mocker or scoffer of the Gospel may accuse Jesus of being mad at a tree. What is the significance of what Jesus did? Was this cursing of the tree a warning? If so, to whom?

Some Dispensationalists advocate the idea that there is a double meaning in this passage, and there will be a restoration of the nation of Israel in the “futuristic end times” along with a re-built temple and animal sacrifices.See Rapture and the Fig Tree Generation *

A parallel passage occurs in Matthew:

“And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward forever. And presently the fig tree withered away.” (Matthew 21:19) 

Specifically, on Mark 11:14, Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary explains the significance of the cursing of the fig tree:

“11:12-18 Christ looked to find some fruit, for the time of gathering figs, though it was near, was not yet come; but he found none. He made this fig-tree an example, not to the trees, but to the men of that generation. It was a figure of the doom upon the Jewish church, to which he came seeking fruit, but found none. Christ went to the temple, and began to reform the abuses in its courts, to show that when the Redeemer came to Zion, it was to turn away ungodliness from Jacob. The scribes and the chief priests sought, not how they might make their peace with him, but how they might destroy him. A desperate attempt, which they could not but fear was fighting against God.” (1)

 From Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible on the Matthew 21:19:

“And when he saw a fig tree, … In the Greek text it is “one fig tree”, one remarkable fig tree: he must see a great many, as he went along; for a large tract of the Mount Of Olives was full of fig trees, and therefore called “Bethpage”: and notice has been taken already of the figs of Bethany: but he saw none that had such large and spreading leaves as this; for it was the time when the fig tree was just budding, and putting forth its leaves: wherefore he took notice of it; and though it was “afar off”, as Mark says, yet being hungry, he made up to it, expecting, from its promising appearance, to find fruit on it. This fig tree was “in the way”; by the road side, and probably had no owner; was common to anybody, and so no injury was done to any person by losing it: he came to it,

and found nothing thereon but leaves only: Mark says, “he came, if haply he might find anything thereon”; which must be understood of him as man; for as he hungered as man, so he judged and expected as man, from the appearance of this fig tree, that he might find fruit upon it; and which is no contradiction to his deity, and his having the Spirit of God, as the Jew (t) objects; and especially since, as Bishop Kidder (u) observes, such an expectation is attributed to God himself, in Isaiah 5:2 and it may be added, and with regard to that people, of which this fig tree was an emblem, and designed by Christ to be considered as such in what he did to it. The same evangelist further observes, “and when he came to it, he found nothing but leaves, for the time of figs was not yet”. The word “yet” is not in the original text; which last clause is a reason, either why he found no fruit, or nothing but leaves upon it, because it was not a time, or season of figs: it was not a good fig year, so Dr. Hammond interprets it; and yet though it was not, since this tree was so very flourishing, fruit might have been expected on it: and also, it furnishes out a reason why Christ took so much pains to go to it, seeing there were very few figs to be had elsewhere, and this bid very fair to supply him with some in this time of scarcity: or else, as a reason why, besides its promising appearance, he expected fruit upon it, because the time of figs, that is, of the gathering of the figs, was not come: in which sense the phrase is used in Matthew 21:34; and is Bishop Kidder’s interpretation of the passage: and since therefore the time was not come for the ingathering of the figs, none had been taken off of it, the more might be expected on it. This sense would be very probable, did it appear that figs were usually ripe about this time; but the contrary seems manifest, both from Scripture, which represents the fig tree putting forth its leaves, as a sign the summer is nigh, Matthew 24:32 and from the Talmudists, who say (w), that the beginning of leaves, or putting forth of the leaves of trees, is in the month Nisan, the month in which the passover was kept, and so the then present time of the year; and who, from this time, reckon three times fifty days, or five full months before the figs are ripe (x): so that these words are rather a reason why Christ did not expect to find figs on other trees, which he saw in great abundance as he passed along, because the time of common, ordinary figs being ripe, was not come; and why he particularly expected to find some on this tree, because it being full of leaves, appeared to be of a different kind from other fig trees: and was either of that sort which they call , “Benoth Shuach”, as Dr. Lightfoot conjectures which were a kind of white figs that were not ripe till the third year (y). This tree put forth its fruit the first year, which hung on it the second, and were brought to perfection on the third: so that when it was three years old, it had fruit of the first, second, and third year on it: this being such a tree, by its being full of leaves, when others had none, or were just putting out, fruit, of one year, or more might have been expected on it, when it had none at all, and therefore was cursed: or it might be one of that sort which brought forth fruit twice a year; for of such sort of fig trees we read in the Jewish writings (z): and therefore though it was not the time of the common figs being ripe, yet this being one of the seasons, in which this tree bore ripe fruit, and being so very flourishing, might reasonably be expected from it: but there being none,

he said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever; or, as it is expressed in Mark, “no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever”: for if none grew on it henceforward, no man could hereafter eat of it. Both expressions design the same thing, the perpetual barrenness of the fig tree:

and presently the fig tree withered away: immediately, upon Christ’s saying these words, its sap was dried up, it lost its verdure; its leaves were shrivelled and shrunk up, and dropped off, and the whole was blasted. This tree was an emblem of the Jews: Christ being hungry, and very desirous of the salvation of men, came first to them, from whom, on account of their large profession of religion, and great pretensions to holiness, and the many advantages they enjoyed, humanly speaking, much fruit of righteousness might have been expected; but, alas! he found nothing but mere words, empty boasts, an outward show of religion, an external profession, and a bare performance of trifling ceremonies, and oral traditions; wherefore Christ rejected them, and in a little time after, the kingdom of God, the Gospel, was taken away from them, and their temple, city, and nation, entirely destroyed.” (2)

 In conclusion:

 There is nothing in this teaching of Jesus in Matthew and Mark to indicate a double fulfillment of the judgment coming upon the Jewish nation’s unfaithfulness in the 1st Century and then repeat it at some point in the future with a re-built temple.  

 Jesus uses the example of the fig-tree as a warning to the unfaithful of that generation. The fig-tree was a symbol of the fate that would come upon the Old Testament covenantal people of God. At that time, the nation and the temple were destroyed, and the gentiles were graphed into God’s covenant (Romans 11:11-31). In the future, it is expected that many of God’s Old Testament covenant people will be graphed back into the covenant (Romans 11:11-24). 

 “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.      Matthew Henry, Concise Commentary, Mark, (Nashville, Tennessee, Thomas Nelson), p. 1575.

2.     John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, Matthew, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 624-626.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Help in Understanding Theological Definitions, a primer

Help in Understanding Theological Definitions, a primer                                By Jack Kettler

In this primer, general categories of theology along with brief definitions will be considered. Plus, helpful recommendations for more research, both in print and online resources. 

Theology: This is the study of God.

Apologetics: This is a division of theology that defends the faith against objections.

Biblical Theology: “Biblical Theology is that branch of Exegetical Theology which deals with the process of the self-revelation of God deposited in the Bible.” – Geerhardus Vos

Hermeneutics: This is the study of the general principles of Biblical interpretation.

Historical Theology: This is the discipline that studies the interpretation of Scripture and the theological formulation of the church in the past.

Confessional Theology: This is an attempt to understand God’s revelation in Scripture aided by that harmony of the church through the years using, for example, the Westminster Confession of Faith.

Eschatology: This is a branch of study within theology that seeks to understand the last things.

Soteriology: This is the study of salvation, from whence it comes, the role that both God and man have in attaining the salvation of mankind.

Systematic Theology: This is the attempt to organize the doctrines of the Christian faith in a logical order, starting with the doctrine of God, man’s creation and sin, the person and role of Christ in salvation, the church, and the last things. 

Practical Theology: This is an attempt to integrate theological study with practical living and sanctification. 

Pastoral Theology: Seeks to help pastors, function their pastoral role as ministers of Christ.

Homiletics: This is the art of preaching, involving sermon preparation and the method of delivery

Print Sources:

Dictionary of Theological Terms by Alan Cairns

Westminster Dictionary of Theological Terms by Donald McKim

Baker’s dictionary of theology Editors, Harrison, Bromiley, and Henry 

Online definitions:

Dictionary of Theology by Matt Slick

https://carm.org/uncategorized/b-dictionary-of-theology/

Rebecca Writes Definitions in alphabetical order

http://rebecca-writes.com/theological-terms-in-ao/

Got Questions: What are the definitions of some common theological terms? https://www.gotquestions.org/theological-definitions.html

Monergism – Articles, MP3s & Resources on the Historic Christian Faith

https://www.monergism.com/

Reformed Answers

http://reformedanswers.org/

Reformed.ORG A treasure trove of articles on the Christian Faith.

In closing:

“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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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An Addendum to The Religion that Started in a Hat

Introduction

Why an addendum? The Religion that Started in a Hat was 600 pages. Adding 200 hundred more pages would make the size of a new addition unworkable. This addendum will cover among other things some of the favorite Mormon proof texts such as: 

 ·         What are the Urim and Thummim?

·         What are the two sticks in Ezekiel 37:15-17?

·         What did Paul mean in 2 Corinthians 12:2 about the third heaven?

·         Whom are the other sheep mentioned in John 10:16

·         James 1:5, Wisdom and Knowledge, is there a difference?

·          Can a man be a god now, or in the future? An analysis of John 10:34

Enjoy, and may this addendum be truly helpful.

An Addendum to The Religion that Started in a Hat

Chapters

Chapter One: Platonism and Jeremiah 1:5

Chapter Two: Isaiah 45:5 an Exposition Utilizing Rational Thought

Chapter Three: Can a man be a god now, or in the future? An analysis of John 10:34

Chapter Four: James 1:5, Wisdom and Knowledge, is there a difference?

Chapter Five: The Image of God in man

Chapter Six: What does the Bible mean when it says partaking of the divine nature in 2 Peter 1:4?

Chapter Seven: What is a Biblical Prophet?

Chapter Eight: What are the Urim and Thummim?

Chapter Nine: What are the two sticks in Ezekiel 37:15-17?

Chapter Ten: What did Paul mean in 2 Corinthians 12:2 about the third heaven?

Chapter Eleven: Whom are the other sheep mentioned in John 10:16

Chapter Twelve: Test the Spirits

Chapter Thirteen: Polytheism and philosophical absurdities

Chapter Fourteen: Leaving Mormonism: Why Four Scholars Changed Their Minds

Chapter Fifteen: What is the Gospel?

Chapter Sixteen: A testimony

Recommended reading

Scriptural IndexAcknowledgments

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Does Philippians 2:7 teach that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity?

Does Philippians 2:7 teach that Jesus emptied Himself of His divinity?      By Jack Kettler

“But emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7 ESV)

Philippians 2:7 has been a perplexing passage to some. The passage does say what Jesus emptied himself of during the time of his Incarnation. Because of this, speculation has arisen.

One misconception of this passage says Jesus emptied Himself of His Deity; in other words, Jesus ceased to be God during the period of His Incarnation. An idea like this would make Jesus merely a man.

An additional misunderstanding that would follow from the error is that Jesus would be a fallible human being with human limitations such as not knowing the future.

The examination of the Philippians text will involve lexical and commentary entries along with confessional conclusions.

Digging deeper from Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:

“Empty

A — 1: κενόω

(Strong’s #2758 — Verb — kenoo — ken-o’-o)

“to empty,” is so translated in Philippians 2:7, RV, for AV, “made … of no reputation.” The clauses which follow the verb are exegetical of its meaning, especially the phrases “the form of a servant,” and “the likeness of men.” Christ did not “empty” Himself of Godhood. He did not cease to be what He essentially and eternally was. The AV, while not an exact translation, goes far to express the act of the Lord (see GIFFORD on the Incarnation). For other occurrences of the word, see Romans 4:14; 1 Corinthians 1:17; 9:15; 2 Corinthians 9:3. In the Sept., Jeremiah 14:2; 15:9.

A — 2: σχολάζω

(Strong’s #4980 — Verb — scholazo — skhol-ad’-zo)

from schole, “leisure,” that for which leisure is employed, such as “a lecture” (hence, “the place where lectures are given;” Eng., “school”), is used of persons, to have time for anything and so to be occupied in, 1 Corinthians 7:5; of things, to be unoccupied, empty, Matthew 12:44 (some mss. have it in Luke 11:25). See GIVE (oneself to).

B — 1: κενός

(Strong’s #2756 — Adjective — kenos — ken-os’)

expresses the “hollowness” of anything, the “absence” of that which otherwise might be possessed. It is used (a) literally, Mark 12:3; Luke 1:53; 20:10,11; (b) metaphorically, of imaginations, Acts 4:25; of words which convey erroneous teachings, Ephesians 5:6; of deceit, Colossians 2:8; of a person whose professed faith is not accompanied by works, James 2:20; negatively, concerning the grace of God, 1 Corinthians 15:10; of refusal to receive it, 2 Corinthians 6:1; of faith, 1 Corinthians 15:14; of preaching (id); and other forms of Christian activity and labor, 1 Corinthians 15:58; Galatians 2:2; Philippians 2:16; 1 Thessalonians 2:1; 3:5 . The synonymous word mataios, “vain,” signifies “void” of result, it marks the aimlessness of anything. The vain (kenos) man in James 2:20 is one who is “empty” of Divinely imparted wisdom; in James 1:26 the vain (mataios) religion is one that produces nothing profitable. Kenos stresses the absence of quality, mataios, the absence of useful aim or effect. Cp. the corresponding adverb kenos, “in vain,” in James 4:5, the noun kenodoxia, “vainglory,” Philippians 2:3, the adjective kenodoxos, “vainglorious,” Galatians 5:26, and the noun kenophonia, “vain,” or “empty,” babblings, 1 Timothy 6:20; 2 Timothy 2:16.” (1)

A sampling of other translations:

“But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men.” (Philippians 2:7 KJV)

“Rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.” (Philippians 2:7 NIV)

“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form.” (Philippians 2:7 NLT)

“But emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].” (Philippians 2:7 AB)

Commentary entries:

The Pulpit Commentary explains it like this:

“Verse 7. – But made himself of no reputation; rather, as R.V., but emptied himself; not, he indeed, of the Godhead, which could not be, but of its manifestation, its glory. This he did once for all, as the aorist implies, at the Incarnation. The word “emptied” involves a previous fullness, “a precedent plenitude” (Pearson on the Creed, 2:25). The Divine majesty of which he emptied himself was his own, his own rightful prerogative; and his humiliation was his own voluntary act – he emptied himself. “He used his equality with God as an opportunity, not for self-exaltation, but for self-abasement” (Alford). “Manebat plenus, John 1:14, et tureen perinde se gessit ac si esset” (Bengel). And took upon him the form of a servant; rather, as R.V., taking the form. The two clauses refer to the same act of self-humiliation regarded from its two sides. He emptied himself of his glory, taking at the same time the form (μορφήν as in Ver. 6, the essential attributes) of a servant, literally, of a slave. Observe, he was originally (ὑπάρχων) in the form of God; he took (λαβών) the form of a slave. The Godhead was his by right, the manhood by his own voluntary act: both are equally real; he is perfect God and perfect Man. Isaiah prophesied of Christ (Isaiah 49 and Isaiah 52; comp. Acts 2:33, in the Greek or R.V.) as the Servant of Jehovah; he came to do the Father’s will, submitting his own will in all things: “Not as I will, but as thou wilt” (comp. Matthew 20:27, 28; Mark 10:44, 45). And was made in the likeness of men; translate, becoming, or, as R.V., being made (aorist participle). This clause is another description of the one act of the Incarnation he was God, he became man. Form (μορφή) asserts the reality of our Lord’s human nature. Likeness (ὁμοίωμα) refers only to external appearance: this word, of course, does not imply that our Lord was not truly man, but, as Chrysostom says (‘Hom.,’ 8:247), he was more. than man; “We are soul and body, but he is God and soul and body.” The likeness of men; because Christ is the Representative of humanity: he took upon him, not a human person, but human nature. He is one person in two natures. As Bishop Lightfoot says, “Christ, as the second Adam, represents, not the individual man, but the human race.” Philippians 2:7” (2)

Vincent’s Word Studies does an excellent job of explaining the Greek:

“Made Himself of no reputation (ἑαυτὸν ἐκένωσεν).

Lit., emptied Himself. The general sense is that He divested Himself of that peculiar mode of existence which was proper and peculiar to Him as one with God. He laid aside the form of God. In so doing, He did not divest Himself of His divine nature. The change was a change of state: the form of a servant for the form of God. His personality continued the same. His self-emptying was not self-extinction, nor was the divine Being changed into a mere man. In His humanity He retained the consciousness of deity, and in His incarnate state carried out the mind which animated Him before His incarnation. He was not unable to assert equality with God. He was able not to assert it.

Form of a servant (μορφὴν δούλου)

The same word for form as in the phrase form of God, and with the same sense. The mode of expression of a slave’s being is indeed apprehensible, and is associated with human shape, but it is not this side of the fact which Paul is developing. It is that Christ assumed that mode of being which answered to, and was the complete and characteristic expression of, the slave’s being. The mode itself is not defined. This is appropriately inserted here as bringing out the contrast with counted not equality with God, etc. What Christ grasped at in His incarnation was not divine sovereignty, but service.

Was made in the likeness of men (ἐν ὁμοιώματι ἀνθρώπων γενόμενος)

Lit., becoming in, etc. Notice the choice of the verb, not was, but became: entered into a new state. Likeness. The word does not imply the reality of our Lord’s humanity, μορφή form implied the reality of His deity. That fact is stated in the form of a servant. Neither is εἰκών image employed, which, for our purposes, implies substantially the same as μορφή. See on Colossians 1:15. As form of a servant exhibits the inmost reality of Christ’s condition as a servant – that He became really and essentially the servant of men (Luke 22:27) – so likeness of men expresses the fact that His mode of manifestation resembled what men are. This leaves room for the assumption of another side of His nature – the divine – in the likeness of which He did not appear. As He appealed to men, He was like themselves, with a real likeness; but this likeness to men did not express His whole self. The totality of His being could not appear to men, for that involved the form of God. Hence the apostle views Him solely as He could appear to men. All that was possible was a real and complete likeness to humanity. What He was essentially and eternally could not enter into His human mode of existence. Humanly He was like men, but regarded with reference to His whole self, He was not identical with man, because there was an element of His personality which did not dwell in them – equality with God. Hence the statement of His human manifestation is necessarily limited by this fact, and is confined to likeness and does not extend to identity. “To affirm likeness is at once to assert similarity and to deny sameness” (Dickson). See on Romans 8:3.” (3)

William Hendriksen’s New Testament Commentary on Philippians is one of the best entries from a modern commentator:

 “7a. Accordingly, the apostle continues: who, though existing in the form of God. … But what is meant by existing in God’s form? In the paragraph under study two words — morphe (μορφή), that is, form, and schema (σχῆμα), that is, fashion — occur in close connection: “existing in the form of God … recognized in fashion as a human being. Now this very transition from form to fashion would seem to point to a difference in meaning. Besides, from several New Testament passages in which one or the other or both of these words occur, generally as component elements in verbs, it is evident that in these given contexts morphe or form refers to the inner, essential, and abiding nature of a person or thing, while schema or fashion points to his or its external, accidental, and fleeting bearing or appearance.

  What Paul is saying then, here in Phil. 2:6, is that Christ Jesus had always been (and always continues to be) God by nature, the express image of the Deity. The specific character of the Godhead as this is expressed in all the divine attributes was and is his eternally. Cf. Col. 1:15, 17 (also John 1:1; 8:58; 17:24).

  This thought is in harmony with what the apostle teaches elsewhere: 2 Cor. 4:4; Col. 1:15; 2:9 (and cf. Heb. 1:3).

  A closely related question, namely, “Is Paul speaking here in Phil. 2:5–8 about the pre-incarnate or about the incarnate Christ?” is not difficult to answer. The two must not be separated. The One who in his pre-incarnate state exists in a manner equal to God is the same divine Person who in his incarnate state becomes obedient even to the extent of death, yes, death by a cross. Naturally, in order to show the greatness of our Lord’s sacrifice, the apostle’s starting-point is the Christ in his pre-incarnate state. Then follows of necessity Christ in his incarnate state. This strongly reminds one of 2 Cor. 8:9, “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor.” One might compare this transition to what is found in the Gospel of John, Chapter 1:

  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was face to face with God, and the Word was God. He himself was in the beginning face to face with God … And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us as in a tent, and we beheld his glory.”

  Thus, though existing in the form of God, he did not count his existence-in-a-manner-equal-to-God something to cling to but emptied himself.

  He did not regard it as something that must not slip from his grasp. On the contrary, he … and here follow the two words that have given rise to much discussion and dispute: emptied himself.

  The question is: of what did Christ Jesus empty himself? Surely not of his existence “in the form of God.” He never ceased to be the Possessor of the divine nature. “He could not do without his deity in his state of humiliation.… Even in the midst of his death he had to be the mighty God, in order by his death to conquer death” (R. C. H. Lenski).

  The text reads as follows:

  “Christ Jesus … though existing in the form of God, did not count his existence-in-a-manner-equal-to-God something to cling to, but emptied himself.”

  The natural inference is that Christ emptied himself of his existence-in-a-manner-equal-to-God.

  On the basis of Scripture, we can particularize as follows:

      (1) He gave up his favorable relation to the divine law

    While he was still in heaven no burden of guilt rested upon him. But at his incarnation he took this burden upon himself and began to carry it away (John 1:29). And so he, the spotlessly righteous One, who never committed any sin at all, “was made to be sin in our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in him” (2 Cor. 5:21). This is basic to all the rest.

      (2) He gave up his riches

    “… because for your sake he became poor, though being rich, in order that you through his poverty might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

  He gave up everything, even himself, his very life (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45; John 10:11). So poor was he that he was constantly borrowing: a place for his birth (and what a place!), a house to sleep in, a boat to preach from, an animal to ride on, a room in which to institute the Lord’s Supper, and finally a tomb to be buried in. Moreover, he took upon himself a debt, a very heavy debt. His debt, voluntarily assumed, was the heaviest that was ever incurred by anyone (Isa. 53:6). One so deeply in debt is surely poor!

      (3) He gave up his heavenly glory

    Very keenly did he feel this. That is why, in the night before his crucifixion, out of the very depths of his great heart he uttered the prayer: “And now Father, glorify thou me in thine own presence with the glory which I had with thee before the world existed” (John 17:4).

  From the infinite sweep of eternal delight in the very presence of his Father he willingly descended into this realm of misery, in order to pitch his tent for a while among sinful men. He, before whom the seraphim covered their faces (Isa. 6:1–3; John 12:41), the Object of most solemn adoration, voluntarily descended to the realm where he was “despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief” (Isa. 53:3).

      (4) He gave up his independent exercise of authority

    In fact, he became a servant, the servant, and “even though he was a Son, learned obedience by what he suffered” (Heb. 5:8). He said: “I do not seek my own will, but the will of him who sent me” (John 5:30; cf. 5:19; 14:24).

    Impatiently we voice an objection, namely, “But if Christ Jesus actually gave up his favorable relation to the divine law, riches, glory, and independent exercise of authority, how could he still be God?”

  The answer must be that he, who was and is and ever remains the Son of God, laid aside all these things not with reference to his divine nature but with reference to his human nature, which he voluntarily took upon himself and in which he suffered all these indignities.

  In his Commentary on this passage Calvin reasons as follows: It was the Son of God himself who emptied himself, though he did it only with reference to his human nature. This great Reformer uses the illustration: “Man is mortal.” Here the word “Man” refers to man himself, man in his entirety, yet man’s mortality is ascribed to the body only, not to the soul.

  Further than this we cannot go. We stand before an adorable mystery, a mystery of power, wisdom, and love!

       7b. It has become clear by this time that the clause, “He emptied himself” derives its meaning not only from the words which immediately precede it (namely, “he did not count his existence-in-a-manner-equal-to-God something to cling to”) but also from those that follow, namely, as he took on the form of a servant. In fact, this clause, “he emptied himself,” “includes all the details of humiliation which follow, and is defined by these” (Vincent). In the likeness of a human being taking on the form of a servant, so that he was recognized in looks and manners as a human being, humbling himself and thus becoming obedient to the extent of death; yes, death by a cross — all this is included in “he emptied himself.” When he laid aside his existence-in-a-manner-equal-to-God, he in that very act took upon himself its very opposite (that is, as to his human nature).

  The type of reasoning which we have here in verses 6–8 is not at all similar to that which goes on in the mind of a child who is building with blocks, each block being a unit in itself, separate from all the rest. On the contrary, it is telescopic reasoning: the various sections of the telescope, present from the start, are gradually drawn out or extended so that we see them.

    Hence, he emptied himself by taking the form of a servant. “He emptied himself by taking something to himself” (Müller). Moreover, when he became a servant, he was not play-acting. On the contrary, in his inner nature (the human nature, of course) he became a servant, for we read, “He took on the form of a servant.” (Read what was said previously with respect to the meaning of the word form in distinction from fashion.) This is great news. It is, in fact, astounding. He, the sovereign Master of all, becomes servant of all. And yet, he remains Master. The text cannot mean that “he exchanged the form of God for the form of a servant,” as is so often asserted. He took the form of servant while he retained the form of God! It is exactly that which makes our salvation possible and achieves it.

  It was, moreover, the form of a servant — and not that of a slave — which he took upon himself. From the very beginning of his incarnation he was the thoroughly consecrated, wise and willing servant pictured by Isaiah (42:1–9; 49:1–9a; 50:4–11; and 52:13–53:12), the spontaneously acting servant who resolutely fulfills his mission, so that with reference to him Jehovah said: “Behold, my servant, whom I uphold; my chosen, in whom my soul delights.”

  The passage under study has as its starting-point the very beginning of this servant-career, the point where Christ took the form of a servant. But it implies, of course, that he remained servant to the very end of that career. Of his earthly mission it has been truly said, “The only person in the world who had the right to assert his rights waived them” (Wuest). It was Christ Jesus who said, “I am in the midst of you as one that serves” (Luke 22:27). In the very act of being servant to men (Matt. 20:28; Mark 10:45), he was accomplishing his mission as servant of Jehovah. We see him, Jesus, the Lord of glory … with a towel around his waist, pouring water into a basin, washing the feet of his disciples, and then saying to them:

  “Do you know what I have done to you? You call me Teacher and Lord, and you say (this) correctly, for (that is what) I am. If therefore, I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash each other’s feet, for I have given you an example, in order that just as I did to you, so also you should do” (John 13:12–15).

    And that is exactly Paul’s point. He is saying to the Philippians and to us, “Follow the example of your Lord” (see verse 5).

  Never did any servant serve with more unswerving loyalty, unwavering devotion, and unquestioning obedience than did this one.

  Paul continues, and became like human beings (or more literally, “in the likeness of human beings having become”). When Christ took the form of a servant, he, who from all eternity had the divine nature and who continues to have it unto all eternity, took upon himself the human nature. Accordingly, the divine Person of the Christ now has two natures, the divine and the human (John 1:1, 14; Gal. 4:4; 1 Tim. 3:16). But he assumed that human nature not in the condition in which Adam had it before the fall, nor in the condition in which Christ himself now has it in heaven, nor in the condition in which he will reveal it on the day of his glorious return, but in its fallen and therefore weakened condition, burdened with “the results” of sin (Isa. 53:2).

  Surely, that human nature was real, and in so far just like that of other human beings (Heb 2:17). But though it was real, it differed in two respects from that of other men:

  (1) His, and only his, human nature from its very conception was joined in personal union with the divine nature (John 1:1, 14); and

  (2) Though it was burdened with the results of sin (hence, subject to death), it was not sinful in itself. Therefore, this passage “in the likeness of human beings having become,” and the similar one, “God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh” (Rom. 8:3) must be read in the light of Heb. 4:15, “One who was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin.” There was likeness, similarity. There was no absolute, unqualified identity.” (4)

In closing:

To repeat two previous passages:

First, The New Living Translation uses a dynamic writing style that, in many cases, is helpful in understanding the passage.

“Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being. When he appeared in human form.” (Philippians 2:7 NLT)

Second, the Amplified Bible uses brackets and inserts words in between the brackets that clarify the text. Even the King James translators inserted words into a passage to clarify the text. Usually, italicized wording is used as in the King James version. In the Philippians passage, the Amplified Bible’s inserted words do an excellent job of clarifying the text. The brackets make it more explicit that these words are not in the original text.   

“But emptied Himself [without renouncing or diminishing His deity, but only temporarily giving up the outward expression of divine equality and His rightful dignity] by assuming the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men [He became completely human but was without sin, being fully God and fully man].” (Philippians 2:7 AB)

As seen, there is nothing in the Philippians passage that would contradict the teaching that Christ had two natures during His Incarnation, both human and fully divine.

The Protestant Belgic Confession is concise in explaining this: 

The Belgic Confession – Article 19 – The Two Natures in the One Person of Christ:

“ARTICLE 19

We believe that by this conception the person of the Son of God is inseparably united and joined with the human nature, so that there are not two sons of God, nor two persons, but two natures united in one single person. Each nature retains its own distinct properties: His divine nature has always remained uncreated, without beginning of days or end of life (Hebrews 7:3), filling heaven and earth. His human nature has not lost its properties; it has beginning of days and remains created. It is finite and retains all the properties of a true body. Even though, by His resurrection, He has given immortality to His human nature, He has not changed its reality, since our salvation and resurrection also depend on the reality of His body.

However, these two natures are so closely united in one person that they were not even separated by His death. Therefore, what He, when dying, committed into the hands of His Father was a real human spirit that departed from His body. Meanwhile His divinity always remained united with His human nature, even when He was lying in the grave. And the divine nature always remained in Him just as it was in Him when He was a little child, even though it did not manifest itself as such for a little while.

For this reason, we profess Him to be true God and true man: true God in order to conquer death by His power; and true man that He might die for us according to the infirmity of His flesh.”

The Westminster Confession – Chapter 8 – Of Christ the Mediator, Sections 1-8, along with Scriptural proofs is comprehensive:

“Section 1.) It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man;(1) the Prophet,(2) Priest,(3) and King;(4) the Head and Saviour of His Church;(5) the Heir of all things;(6) and Judge of the world;(7) unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed,(8) and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.(9)

(1) Isa 42:1; 1Pe 1:19,20; Jn 3:16; 1Ti 2:5 (2) Ac 3:22 (3) Heb 5:5,6 (4) Ps 2:6; Lk 1:33 (5) Eph 5:23 (6) Heb 1:2 (7) Ac 17:31 (8) Jn 17:6; Ps 22:30; Isa 53:10 (9) 1Ti 2:6; Isa 55:4,5; 1Co 1:30

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Section 2.) The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance and equal with the Father, did, when the fulness of time was come, take upon Him man’s nature,(1) with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof, yet without sin;(2) being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance.(3) So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion.(4) Which person is very God, and very man, yet one Christ, the only Mediator between God and man.(5)

(1) Jn 1:1,14; 1Jn 5:20; Php 2:6; Gal 4:4 (2) Heb 2:14,16,17; Heb 4:15 (3) Lk 1:27,31,35; Gal 4:4 (4) Lk 1:35; Col 2:9; Ro 9:5; 1Pe 3:18; 1Ti 3:16 (5) Ro 1:3,4; 1Ti 2:5

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Section 3.) The Lord Jesus, in His human nature thus united to the divine, was sanctified and anointed with the Holy Spirit above measure;(1) having in Him all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge;(2) in whom it pleased the Father that all fulness should dwell:(3) to the end, that being holy, harmless, undefiled, and full of grace and truth,(4) He might be thoroughly furnished to execute the office of a Mediator and Surety.(5) Which office He took not unto Himself, but was thereunto called by His Father;(6) who put all power and judgment into His hand, and gave Him commandment to execute the same.(7)

(1) Ps 45:7; Jn 3:34 (2) Col 2:3 (3) Col 1:19 (4) Heb 7:26; Jn 1:14 (5) Ac 10:38; Heb 12:24; Heb 7:22 (6) Heb 5:4,5 (7) Jn 5:22,27; Mt 28:18; Ac 2:36

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Section 4.) This office the Lord Jesus did most willingly undertake,(1) which that He may discharge, He was made under the law,(2) and did perfectly fulfil it;(3) endured most grievous torments immediately in His soul,(4) and most painful sufferings in His body;(5) was crucified, and died;(6) was buried, and remained under the power of death, yet saw no corruption.(7) On the third day He arose from the dead,(8) with the same body in which He suffered;(9) with which also He ascended into heaven, and there sitteth at the right hand of His Father,(10) making intercession;(11) and shall return to judge men and angels at the end of the world.(12)

(1) Ps 40:7,8; Heb 10:5-10;Jn 10:18; Php 2:8 (2) Gal 4:4 (3) Mt 3:15; Mt 5:17 (4) Mt 26:37,38; Lk 22:44; Mt 27:46 (5) Mt 26; Mt 27 (6) Php 2:8 (7) Ac 2:23,24,27; Ac 13:37; Ro 6:9 (8) 1Co 15:3,4,5 (9) Jn 20:25,27 (10) Mk 16:19 (11) Ro 8:34; Heb 9:24; Heb 7:25 (12) Ro 14:9,10; Ac 1:11; Ac 10:42; Mt 13:40,41,42; Jude 6; 2Pe 2:4

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Section 5.) The Lord Jesus, by His perfect obedience and sacrifice of Himself, which He, through the eternal Spirit, once offered up unto God, hath fully satisfied the justice of His Father;(1) and purchased, not only reconciliation, but an everlasting inheritance in the kingdom of heaven, for all those whom the Father hath given unto Him. (2)

(1) Ro 5:19; Heb 9:14,16; Heb 10:14; Eph 5:2; Ro 3:25,26 (2) Da 9:24,26; Col 1:19,20; Eph 1:11,14; Jn 17:2; Heb 9:12,15

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Section 6.) Although the work of redemption was not actually wrought by Christ till after His incarnation, yet the virtue, efficacy, and benefits thereof, were communicated unto the elect in all ages successively from the beginning of the world, in and by those promises, types, and sacrifices, wherein He was revealed and signified to be the Seed of the woman, which should bruise the serpent’s head, and the Lamb slain from the beginning of the world being yesterday and today the same, and for ever.(1)

(1) Gal 4:4,5; Ge 3:15; Rev 13:8; Heb 13:8

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Section 7.) Christ, in the work of mediation, acteth according to both natures, by each nature doing that which is proper to itself:(1) yet, by reason of the unity of the person, that which is proper to one nature is sometimes in Scripture attributed to the person denominated by the other nature. (2)

(1) Heb 9:14; 1Pe 3:18 (2) Ac 20:28; Jn 3:13; 1Jn 3:16

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Section 8.) To all those for whom Christ hath purchased redemption, He doth certainly and effectually apply and communicate the same;(1) making intercession for them;(2) and revealing unto them, in and by the Word, the mysteries of salvation;(3) effectually persuading them by His Spirit to believe and obey; and governing their hearts by His Word and Spirit;(4) overcoming all their enemies by His almighty power and wisdom, in such manner and ways as are most consonant to His wonderful and unsearchable dispensation.(5)

(1) Jn 6:37,39; Jn 10:15,16 (2) 1Jn 2:1,2; Ro 8:34 (3) Jn 15:13,15; Eph 1:7,8,9; Jn 17:6 (4) Jn 14:16; Heb 12:2; 2Co 4:13; Ro 8:9,14; Ro 15:18,19; Jn 17:17 (5) Ps 110:1; 1Co 15:25,26; Mal 4:2,3; Cor 2:15

“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.      W. E. Vine, An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words, (Iowa Falls, Iowa, Riverside Book and Bible House), p. 355.

2.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Philippians, Vol. 20., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 60.

3.      Marvin R. Vincent, Word Studies In The New Testament, (Mclean, Virginia, Macdonald Publishing Company), p. 432-434. 4.      William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Philippians, Colossians, and Philemon, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Baker Book House, 1984), pp. 108-110.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Why did Jesus tell the disciples to buy a sword in Luke 22:36?

Why did Jesus tell the disciples to buy a sword in Luke 22:36?                   By Jack Kettler

“Then said he unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.” (Luke 22:36)

Why did Jesus instruct the disciple to do this? What purpose would one use a sword?

Strong’s Concordance on the word sword:

machaira: a short sword or dagger

Original Word: μάχαιρα, ας, ἡ

Part of Speech: Noun, Feminine

Transliteration: machaira

Phonetic Spelling: (makh’-ahee-rah)

Definition: a short sword or dagger

Usage: a sword.

According to the Strong’s Lexicon, a knife could be translated from machaira.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible on Luke 22:36 provides an answer:

“But now – The Saviour says the times are changed. “Before,” he sent them out only for a little time. They were in their own country. Their journeys would be short, and there was no need that they should make preparation for a long absence, or for encountering great dangers. But “now” they were to go into the wide world, among strangers, trials, dangers, and wants. And as the time was near; as he was about to die; as these dangers pressed on, it was proper that they should make provision for what was before them.

And he that hath no sword – There has been much difficulty in understanding why Jesus directed his disciples to arm themselves, as if it was his purpose to make a defense. It is certain that the spirit of his religion is against the use of the sword, and that it was not his purpose to defend himself against Judas. But it should be remembered that these directions about the purse, the scrip, and the sword were not made with reference to his “being taken” in the garden, but with reference “to their future life.” The time of the trial in Gethsemane was just at hand; nor was there “time” then, if no other reason existed, to go and make the purchase. It altogether refers to their future life. They were going into the midst of dangers. The country was infested with robbers and wild beasts. It was customary to go armed. He tells them of those dangers – of the necessity of being prepared in the usual way to meet them. This, then, is not to be considered as a specific, positive “command” to procure a sword, but an intimation that great dangers were before them; that their manner of life would be changed, and that they would need the provisions “appropriate to that kind of life.” The “common” preparation for that manner of life consisted in money, provisions, and arms; and he foretells them of that manner of life by giving them directions commonly understood to be appropriate to it. It amounts, then, to a “prediction” that they would soon leave the places which they had been accustomed to, and go into scenes of poverty, want, and danger, where they would feel the necessity of money, provisions, and the means of defense. All, therefore, that the passage justifies is:

1. That it is proper for people to provide beforehand for their wants, and for ministers and missionaries as well as any others.

2. That self-defense is lawful.”

Men encompassed with danger may lawfully “defend” their lives.” (1)

According to Barnes, self-defense is the reason Jesus said to buy a sword. If this is the correct interpretation, are there other passages in Scripture that support the idea of self-defense?

The following passages teach directly or by implication, self-defense:

“If a thief be found breaking up, and be smitten that he dies, there shall no blood be shed for him. If the sun be risen upon him, there shall be blood shed for him; for he should make full restitution; if he has nothing, then he shall be sold for his theft.” (Exodus 22:2-3)

“And it came to pass from that time forth, that the half of my servants wrought in the work, and the other half of them held both the spears, the shields, and the bows, and the habergeons; and the rulers were behind all the house of Judah. Those who built on the wall, and those who carried burdens, loaded themselves so that with one hand they worked at construction, and with the other held a weapon. Every one of the builders had his sword girded at his side as he built. And the one who sounded the trumpet was beside me.” (Nehemiah 4:16-18)

“But thus, saith the LORD, Even the captives of the mighty shall be taken away, and the prey of the terrible shall be delivered: for I will contend with him that contendeth with thee, and I will save thy children.” (Isaiah 49:25)

“When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace.” (Luke 11:21)

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” (John 15:13)

“Then Simon Peter having a sword drew it, and smote the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear. The servant’s name was Malchus.” (John 18:10)

Moreover, Jesus, far from rebuking Peter, said:

“Then said Jesus unto Peter, put up thy sword into the sheath: the cup which my Father hath given me, shall I not drink it?” (John 18:11)

In principle, Jesus would not be against his servants fighting to protect him:

“Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” (John 18:36 ESV)

In Israel, it was not unusual for Jesus to direct the disciples to buy a sword.

For example: 

The Bible Gateway lists 406 places in the Bible that contain the word “sword.” Of these, 373 are in the Old Testament, and 33 in the New Testament.

Not all instances of a sword involve warfare. Sometimes sword is used figuratively, as in the next two passages:

“So, He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24)

“In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (Revelation 1:16)

In the following two passages, sword in used symbolically:

“So, He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.” (Genesis 3:24)

“In His right hand He held seven stars, and out of His mouth came a sharp two-edged sword; and His face was like the sun shining in its strength.” (Revelation 1:16)

There are many examples of a sword being used illustratively, as in the following passage:

“And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.” (Ephesians 6:17)

Even with these examples, the use of a sword for warfare, which God commanded and blessed, was common, as seen in the subsequent two instances:

“I shall also grant peace in the land, so that you may lie down with no one making you tremble. I shall also eliminate harmful beasts from the land, and no sword will pass through your land. But you will chase your enemies and they will fall before you by the sword; five of you will chase a hundred, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand, and your enemies will fall before you by the sword.” (Leviticus 26:6-8)

“They utterly destroyed everything in the city, both man and woman, young and old, and ox and sheep and donkey, with the edge of the sword.” (Joshua 6:21)

Self-defense in Old Testament Israel was not unusual at all. It is taken for granted even to this day. For example:

From the Jerusalem Post, in Ask the Rabbi: The right to self-defense:

“The right to self-defense is well established within Jewish law as manifested by the law of rodef (the pursuer). The sages contended that the verse “You shall not stand idly by the blood of your neighbor” (Leviticus 19:16) not only demands saving a friend from drowning or other dangerous situations but further dictates that one stop an assailant from committing murder (Sanhedrin 73a). This right was extended to both onlookers and threatened victims alike and was also applied in cases of sexual assault. The status of rodef was further applied to a fetus whose mother is endangered by the pregnancy, thereby mandating an abortion, even as the fetus certainly has no malicious intent (CM 425:2-3).” (2)

 In closing:

 “He trains my hands for war, so that my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” (Psalm 18:34 ESV)

 The case for passivism is unable to be proven from Scripture, even if trying to make the case alone from the New Testament. Jesus did not teach a total passivism, as illustrated by the text from Luke 22:36.

 “Arms in the hands of citizens may be used at individual discretion for the defense of the country, the overthrow of tyranny, or private self-defense.” – John Adams

 “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.      Albert Barnes, THE AGES DIGITAL LIBRARYCOMMENTARY, Barnes’ Notes on the Bible, Luke, Vol. 1, p. 975-976.2.      SHLOMO BRODY, Jerusalem Post, Ask the Rabbi: The right to self-defense, December 3, 2010, https://www.jpost.com/jewish-world/judaism/ask-the-rabbi-the-right-to-self-defense

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Was America founded as a Christian nation?

Was America founded as a Christian nation?

Which came first, the constitution or states? The states created the constitution as an administrative tool to work out the difference between the states. The states gave a limited amount of authority to the federal government. The real power was in the states and people. A similar question, which came first the people or did the state? As a limited administrative tool, the federal government and “Roberts Rules of Order” would not need to be declared Christian.

The states in early America were essentially nation-states. The states entered into the contract with full knowledge and assurance that they could withdraw from the contract. Moreover, as late as the time of the “War of Northern Aggression,” General Lee, when offered the command of the Union Army, said no, and that his loyalties were with Virginia, which supports the idea that the real power was the states.  

The debates between the founders, much like the debates at the Constitution Convention, were similar. It would have not even entered their minds, much like the framing of the “Bill of Rights.” Some thought it unnecessary to add the “Bill of Rights” since it was self-evident. The thought-forms of the day were thoroughly Christian. When God was mentioned, it was self-evident that the God of the Bible was being referenced.   

The 1790 naturalization law recognized a framework for becoming a citizen, and it did not implement a standard oath for the country, leaving the naturalization procedure wide-ranging from state to state for more than 100 years. The oath that is taken today did not come into existence until the 1950s.

As seen from historical, legal, and the views of Presidents, the modern view of the nation and was referred to as Christian.           

The 17th century was the nation’s actual founding of the nation, and Christianity was born out in the colonial charters. For example:

Nine of the 13 colonies had established churches, and all required officeholders to be Christians—or, in some cases, Protestants.

The First Charter of Virginia:

“We, greatly commending, and graciously accepting of, their Desires for the Furtherance of so noble a Work, which may, by the Providence of Almighty God, hereafter tend to the Glory of his Divine Majesty, in propagating of Christian Religion to such People, as yet live in Darkness and miserable Ignorance of the true Knowledge and Worship of God.…”

Instructions for the Virginia Colony (1606)

“Lastly and chiefly the way to prosper and achieve good success is to make yourselves all of one mind for the good of your country and your own, and to serve and fear God the Giver of all Goodness, for every plantation which our Heavenly Father hath not planted shall be rooted out.”

John Hancock, Governor of Massachusetts, is another example of Christianity in the colonies:

1.      “He also called on the State of Massachusetts to pray in 1791 . . .

2.      that all nations may bow to the scepter of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and that the whole earth may be filled with his glory.

3.      that the spiritual kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be continually increasing until the whole earth shall be filled with His glory.

4.      to confess their sins and to implore forgiveness of God through the merits of the Savior of the World.

5.      to cause the benign religion of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ to be known, understood, and practiced among all the inhabitants of the earth.

6.      to confess their sins before God and implore His forgiveness through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

7.      that He would finally overrule all events to the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom and the establishment of universal peace and good will among men.

8.      that the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ may be established in peace and righteousness among all the nations of the earth.

9.      that with true contrition of heart we may confess our sins, resolve to forsake them, and implore the Divine forgiveness, through the merits and mediation of Jesus Christ, our Savior. . ..  And finally, to overrule all the commotions in the world to the spreading the true religion of our Lord Jesus Christ in its purity and power among all the people of the earth.”

Other interesting tidbits:

·         King George himself reportedly referred to the War for Independence as “a Presbyterian Rebellion.”

·         British Major Harry Rooke was principally correct when he confiscated a presumably Calvinist book from an American prisoner and remarked that “[i]t is your G-d Damned Religion of this Country that ruins the Country; Damn your religion.” Douglass Adair and John A. Schutz, eds., Peter Oliver’s Origin and Progress of the American Rebellion (Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1961), p. 41; Paul Johnson, A History of the American People (New York: HarperCollins, 1997), p. 173; John Leach, “A Journal Kept by John Leach, During His Confinement by the British, In Boston Gaol, in 1775,” The New England Historical and Genealogical Register, Vol.19 (1865), p. 256.

Legal Opinions:

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is their duty – as well as privilege and interest – of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay, First Chief-Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court.

“Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers, and it is the duty, as well as the privilege and interest, of our Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” – John Jay.

“I verily believe Christianity necessary to the support of civil society. One of the beautiful boasts of our municipal jurisprudence is that Christianity is a part of the Common Law … There never has been a period in which the Common Law did not recognize Christianity as lying its foundations.” – Supreme Court Justice Joseph Story, Harvard Speech, 1829

“Our laws and our institutions must necessarily be based upon and embody the teachings of the Redeemer of mankind. It is impossible that it should be otherwise; and in this sense and to this extent our civilization and our institutions are emphatically Christian… This is a Christian nation.” – United States Supreme Court, Church of the Holy Trinity v. the United States, 1892

“The real object of the First Amendment was not to countenance, much less to advance Mahometanism, or Judaism, or infidelity by prostrating Christianity; but to exclude all rivalry among Christian sects and to prevent a national ecclesiastical establishment which should give a hierarchy the exclusive patronage of the national government.” – Joseph Story appointed to the court by James Madison.

Is the United States a Christian nation?

The United States has the largest Christian population globally and, more specifically, the largest Protestant population in the world, with nearly 230 to 250 million Christians and, as of 2019, over 150 million people affiliated with Protestant churches. So, in a qualified way, yes.

 James Madison (Architect of the U.S. Constitution & Co-Author of the Federalist Papers)

“We have staked the whole future of American civilization, not upon the power of government, far from it. We have staked the future of all of our political institutions upon the capacity of each and all of us to govern ourselves, to control ourselves, to sustain ourselves according to the Ten Commandments of God.” – James Madison.

Congress, U.S. House Judiciary Committee, 1854

“Had the people, during the Revolution, had a suspicion of any attempt to war against Christianity, that Revolution would have been strangled in its cradle… In this age, there can be no substitute for Christianity… That was the religion of the founders of the republic and they expected it to remain the religion of their descendants.”

“The great, vital, and conservative element in our system is the belief of our people in the pure doctrines and the divine truths of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.” – Congressional record 1854

John Adams:

“As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.” – John Adams Treaty of Tripoli.

Did Adams write this? If so, what did Adams mean? How did he understand “Founded on the Christian religion” the same as one might today?

The phrase from article 11 was added in the Treaty of Tripoli (1797) by the negotiating Ambassador, hoping it would placate the Muslims when they read it in the Treaty. The negotiators wrote it and, Adams signed it, so yes, it was like he signed.

However:

·         A new Treaty was eventually negotiated in 1805. The second Treaty did not repeat Article 11. The renewed Treaty takes precedence over the early Treaty.

·         Therefore, Adam’s above quote should no longer be used as evidence that the country was not founded as a Christian nation.

What was the thinking on this wording, and how it might be understood:

The wording “founded on the Christian religion” may have meant that the government was an agent of the church, which was not accurate.

Nearly every nation in Europe was “founded on some version of the Christian religion,” Italy and France on Catholicism, the Germanic states on Lutheranism. However, in America, there was no national state “establishment of religion.”

The founders were well aware of what it was like under a state church. Puritans and Presbyterians experienced persecution at the hands of state churches in England, Scotland, and the Netherlands.

Adam’s son had this to say:

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

The Treaty of Paris of 1783 formally created and established the USA as a sovereign nation, and that was negotiated and signed by Adams, Franklin, and Jay, that begins with:

In the Name of the most Holy & undivided Trinity.

What happened to Adams? He signed this.

Other sayings by Adams:

“I have examined all, as well as my narrow sphere, my straitened means, and my busy life would allow me; and the result is, that the Bible is the best book in the world.” – John Adams

“The Christian religion is, above all the religions that ever prevailed or existed in ancient or modern times, the religion of wisdom, virtue, equity and humanity.” – John Adams

“The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty.” – John Adams

“The general principles on which the fathers achieved independence were the general principles of Christianity. I will avow that I then believed, and now believe, that those general principles of Christianity are as eternal and immutable as the existence and attributes of God.

The Holy Ghost carries on the whole Christian system in this earth. Not a baptism, not a marriage, not a sacrament can be administered but by the Holy Ghost. . .. There is no authority, civil or religious – there can be no legitimate government but what is administered by this Holy Ghost. There can be no salvation without it. All without it is rebellion and perdition, or in more orthodox words damnation.

Suppose a nation in some distant region should take the Bible for their only law book and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. . .. What a Eutopia – what a Paradise would this region be! “I have examined all religions, and the result is that the Bible is the best book in the world.” – John Adams

Adams’ son:

“Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the World, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day. Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior? That it forms a leading event in the Progress of the Gospel dispensation? Is it not that the Declaration of Independence first organized the social compact on the foundation of the Redeemer’s mission upon earth? That it laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity and gave to the world the first irrevocable pledge of the fulfillment of the prophecies announced directly from Heaven at the birth of the Saviour and predicted by the greatest of the Hebrew prophets 600 years before.” – John Quincy Adams July 4th, 1837

“I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others, to be read at all ages, and in all conditions of human life; not to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day, and never to be intermitted, unless by some overruling necessity.” – John Quincy Adams

“The Declaration of Independence laid the cornerstone of human government upon the first precepts of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

“The highest glory of the American Revolution was this: it connected, in one indissoluble bond, the principles of civil government with the principles of Christianity.” – John Quincy Adams

In 1832, Noah Webster published his History of the United States, in which he wrote:

“The brief exposition of the constitution of the United States, will unfold to young persons the principles of republican government; and it is the sincere desire of the writer that our citizens should early understand that the genuine source of correct republican principles is the Bible, particularly the New Testament or the Christian religion.” – Noah Webster

“The religion which has introduced civil liberty is the religion of Christ and His apostles, which enjoins humility, piety, and benevolence; which acknowledges in every person a brother, or a sister, and a citizen with equal rights. This is genuine Christianity, and to this we owe our free Constitutions of Government.” – Noah Webster

“The moral principles and precepts contained in the Scriptures ought to form the basis of all of our civil constitutions and laws…. all the miseries and evils which men suffer from vice, crime, ambition, injustice, oppression, slavery and war, proceed from their despising or neglecting the precepts contained in the Bible.” – Noah Webster

“When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed on your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers just men who will rule in the fear of God. The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty.” – Noah Webster

Congress printed a Bible for America and said:

“The United States in Congress assembled … recommend this edition of the Bible to the inhabitants of the United States … a neat edition of the Holy Scriptures for the use of schools.” – United States Congress 1782

Other quotes. What do they mean?

“I do not believe that the Constitution was the offspring of inspiration, but I am as satisfied that it is as much the work of a Divine Providence as any of the miracles recorded in the Old and New Testament.” – Benjamin Rush Signer of the Declaration 

“The Bible is the rock on which our Republic rests.” – American president Andrew Jackson

“The fundamental basis of this nation’s law was given to Moses on the Mount. The fundamental basis of our Bill of Rights comes from the teachings which we get from Exodus and St. Matthew, from Isaiah and St. Paul.” – Harry S. Truman

“This is a Christian nation.” – Harry Truman, President

“The United States is founded on the principles of Christianity.” – Franklin D. Roosevelt, President

Founding Father, George Washington:

“My ears hear with pleasure the other matters you mention. Congress will be glad to hear them too. You do well to wish to learn our arts and ways of life, and above all, the religion of Jesus Christ. These will make you a greater and happier people than you are. Congress will do everything they can to assist you in this wise intention; and to tie the knot of friendship and union so fast, that nothing shall ever be able to lose it.” – George Washington, speech to the Delaware Indian Chiefs, May 12, 1779.

“It is the duty of all nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor.” – George Washington 1789 Thanksgiving Proclamation

“To our constant prayers for the welfare of our country, and of the whole human race, we shall esteem it our duty and happiness to unite our most earnest endeavors to promote the pure and undented religion of Christ; for as this secures eternal felicity to men in a future State, so we are persuaded that … where righteousness prevails among individuals the Nation will be great and happy. Thus, while just government protects all in their religious rights, true religion affords to government its surest support.” – George Washington to the Synod of the Dutch Reformed Church in North America, November 19, 1789

Thomas Jefferson:

“God who gave us life gave us liberty. Can the liberties of a nation be secure when we have removed a conviction that these liberties are the gift of God? Indeed, I tremble for my country when I reflect that God is just, that His justice cannot sleep forever.” – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

“The Christian religion is the best religion that has ever been given to man” – Thomas Jefferson, Jefferson Memorial

John Witherspoon:

SIGNER OF THE DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE; RATIFIER OF THE U. S. CONSTITUTION; PRESIDENT OF PRINCETON

“If you are not reconciled to God through Jesus Christ – if you are not clothed with the spotless robe of His righteousness – you must forever perish.” – John Witherspoon

“He is the best friend to American liberty who is the most sincere and active in promoting true and undefiled religion, and who sets himself with the greatest firmness to bear down profanity and immorality of every kind. Whoever is an avowed enemy of God, I scruple not to call him an enemy to his country.” – John Witherspoon

Note:

The official name of The Pledge of Allegiance was adopted in 1945. The most recent alteration of its wording came on Flag Day (June 14) in 1954, when the words “under God” were added.

Reformed leaders such as John Knox, George Buchanan, and Samuel Rutherford of Scotland, Stephanus Junius Brutus and Theodore Beza of France, and Christopher Goodman and John Ponet of England argued that inferior magistrates must resist unjust rulers and even permitted or required citizens to do so.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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What Does the Bible Say? Volume 5

What Does the Bible Say? Volume 5

Description

Volume 5 of this multi-volume series will cover, “What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel? Who is a Virtuous Woman? Can a Christian woman work outside the home? What does the Bible say about the Flood? Was it universal? Does the Bible forbid the use of alcohol?                                                                      

Chapter One: The internal testimony of the Holy Spirit and the connection to the Word of God.

Chapter Two: Who is a Virtuous Woman? Can a Christian woman work outside the home?

Chapter Three: What Happens to Those Who Never Hear the Gospel?

Chapter Four: Heresy, what the Bible says.

Chapter Five: What does the Bible say about Adiaphora? Adiaphora, a Study in Liberty and its Boundaries.

Chapter Six: What does the Bible say about the flood?

Chapter Seven: What are unjust statutes and oppressive decrees?

Chapter Eight: What does God say about the death penalty and capital punishment?

Chapter Nine: Does the Bible forbid the use of alcohol?

Chapter Ten: The Will of God, what is it and how can it be known?Other books by the author: 

The Religion That Started in a Hat

The Five Points of Scriptural Authority: A Defense of Sola Scriptura

1 Corinthians 15:29 Revisited: A Scriptural based interpretation

Christian Apologetics in the marketplace of ideas

Studies in Soteriology: The Doctrines of Grace Magnified

Doctrinal Disputations

What Does the Bible Say? Vol. 1-4

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Who or what is the Leviathan in Job 41:1?

Who or what is the Leviathan in Job 41:1?                                                      By Jack Kettler

“Canst thou draw out leviathan with a hook? or his tongue with a cord which thou lettest down?” (Job 41:1)

Is the leviathan a real creature or mythical? Some scholars think the leviathan to be a crocodile or a large whale. There is much scholarly disagreement. In addition, Job also mentions Behemoth, a powerful land animal whose “bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like bars of iron” (Job 40:18). However, Leviathan will be the focus of this study. In this study, other passages that mention leviathan will be consulted along with lexical, commentary encyclopedic entries.

From Strong’s Lexicon:

Leviathan.

לִוְיָתָֽן׃ (liw·yā·ṯān)

Noun – masculine singular

Strong’s Hebrew 3882: 1) leviathan, sea monster, dragon 1a) large aquatic animal 1b) perhaps the extinct dinosaur, plesiosaurus, exact meaning unknown ++++ Some think this to be a crocodile, but from the description in Job 41:1-34 this is patently absurd. It appears to be a large fire breathing animal of some sort. Just as the bomardier beetle has an explosion producing mechanism, so the great sea dragon may have an explosive producing mechanism to enable it to be a real fire breathing dragon.

“May those curse it who curse the day, those who are ready to arouse Leviathan.” (Job 3:8 NKJV)

“None is so fierce that dare stir him up: who then is able to stand before me?” (Job 41:10)

In Job 41:10, the imagery of the leviathan is descriptive of the authority and power of God.

Matthew Poole’s Commentary comments on Job 41:10 explain this passage correctly:

“That dare stir him up, when he sleepeth or is quiet. None dare provoke him to the battle.

To stand before me; to contend with me his Creator, as thou, Job, dost, when one of my creatures is too hard for him.” (1)

Other passages that mention the leviathan:

“Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.” (Psalm 74:14)

In Psalms 74:14, God’s authority is displayed by destroying the leviathan.

“There go the ships: there is that leviathan, whom thou hast made to play therein.” (Psalm 104:26)

In Psalms 104:26, the leviathan is seen to be created by God.

“In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.” (Isaiah 27:1)

In Isaiah 27:1, the leviathan is descriptive of powerful and wicked kings.

Leviathan from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia:

“le-vi’-a-than (liwyathan (Job 41:1-34), from [~lawah, “to fold”; compare Arabic

name of the wry neck, Iynx torquilla, abu-luwa, from kindred lawa, “to bend”):

(1) The word “leviathan” also occurs in Isa 27:1, where it is characterized as “the swift serpent …. the crooked serpent”; in Ps 104:26, where a marine monster is indicated; also, in Ps 74:14 and Job 3:8. The description in Job 41:1-34 has been thought by some to refer to the whale, but while the whale suits better the expressions denoting great strength, the words apply best on the whole to the crocodile. Moreover, the whale is very seldom found in the Mediterranean, while the crocodile is abundant in the Nile, and has been known to occur in at least one river of Palestine, the Zarqa, North of Jaffa. For a discussion of the behemoth and leviathan as mythical creatures, see EB, under the word “Behemoth” and “Leviathan.” The points in the description which may well apply to the crocodile are the great invulnerability, the strong and close scales, the limbs and the teeth. It must be admitted that there are many expressions which a modern scientist would not use with reference to the crocodile, but the Book of Job is neither modern nor scientific, but poetical and ancient. – Alfred Ely Day” (2)

KJV Dictionary Definition: leviathan:

“LEVI’ATHAN, n. Heb.

1. An aquatic animal, described in Job 41, and mentioned in other passages of Scripture. In Isaiah, it is called the crooked serpent. It is not agreed what animal is intended by the writers, whether the crocodile, the whale, or a species of serpent.

2. The whale, or a great whale.” (3)

Political implications of Leviathan. Enter John Locke and Thomas Hobbes:

Both Thomas Hobbes and John Locke believed in social contract theories. Hobbes claimed for government absolutism. He used the leviathan’s metaphorical form in his social contract theory, giving virtually unlimited power to the state, which was to be feared. In contrast, Locke believed in parliamentary constitutionalism and limited government. Locke believed that if the social contract is violated, the people have the right to cast off the government. John Locke is echoed by Thomas Jefferson later in the founding of America. In the English Civil War, Hobbes supported the king, while Locke supported Parliament. In the American War for Independence, both Lockean and Hobbesian social contract theories were in play.

Thomas Hobbes on government and his leviathan theory:

“For by art is created that great LEVIATHAN called a COMMONWEALTH, or STATE (in Latin CIVITAS), which is but an artificial man, though of greater stature and strength than the natural, for whose protection and defence it was intended; and in which the sovereignty is an artificial soul, as giving life and motion to the whole body; the magistrates and other officers of judicature and execution, artificial joints; reward and punishment (by which fastened to the seat of sovereignty every joint and member is moved to perform his duty) are the nerves, that do the same in the body natural; the wealth and riches of all the particular members are the strength; salus populi (the people’s safety) its business; counsellors, by whom all things needful for it to know are suggested unto it, are the memory; equity and laws, and artificial reason and will; concord, health; sedition, sickness; and civil war, death.” (4)

Hobbes naively believed in the goodness of government taking the form of an absolute monarchy because of the limitations of mankind. Hobbes was a humanist of his time and not a follower of the Lord Jesus Christ. In the American colonies’ fight for independence, Locke’s ideas won the day. In response to Hobbes’s use of leviathan to represent government absolutism, John Locke wrote his Two Treatises of Government.

In contrast with Hobbes, Locke was a Christian. Locke’s beliefs were based upon the messianic reign of Christ. He believed that Christian doctrine must be defined by Scripture, which justifies resisting an evil absolutist monarchy.

The danger of Hobbes and his ideas about leviathan government exposed:

“Against Leviathan: Government Power and a Free Society” (5)

For those within the history of a Lockean/Jeffersonian view of history, leviathan has become synonymous with a monstrous tyrannical government.

In closing:

From antiquity, Pliny the Elder’s Natural History a possible solution to the historicity of leviathan:

“The bones of this monster, to which Andromeda was said to have been exposed, were brought by Marcus Scaurus from Joppa in Judaea during his aedileship and shown at Rome among the rest of the amazing items displayed. The monster was over forty feet long, and the height of its ribs was greater than that of Indian elephants, while its spine was 1-1/2 feet thick.” (6)

Did Japanese fishermen find the remains of a plesiosaur?

“In April 1977, the Japanese fishing trawler Zuiyo-maru operating off the coast of New Zealand snagged a large carcass at a depth of about 1,000 feet. The carcass was brought to the surface and onto the ship. The dead creature was about 33 feet long and weighed about 4,000 pounds.” (7)

Crocodiles and whales do not seem to satisfy the imagery of the leviathan portrayed in Scripture. It is possible that the leviathan was a surviving dinosaur.  

The image of the leviathan struck fear into the hearts of men. God used this image of a terrible sea monster to remind man of his weakness.

Christ’s Crown, His Kingship, and Covenant take this fear away.   

“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.      Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Holy Bible, Job, Vol. 1, (Peabody, Massachusetts, Hendrickson Publishers, 1985) p. 1027-1028.

2.      Orr, James, M.A., D.D. General Editor, “Entry for ‘Leviathan,” International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans, reprinted 1986), pp. 1868-1869.

3.      The King James dictionary contains over 11,000 definitions https://av1611.com/kjbp/kjv-dictionary/kjv-dictionary-index.html

4.      Thomas Hobbes, Leviathan, (London, Printed for Andrew Crooke, 1651), (Introduction, 1, p.3-4).

5.      David Gordon, The State Eviscerated, Mises Review 10, No. 4 (Winter 2004) by Robert Higgs, https://mises.org/library/against-leviathan-government-power-and-free-society-robert-higgs

6.      As Quoted in Bill Cooper’s, The Authenticity of the Book of Jonah, Amazon Digital Services, Inc., 19.

7.      Dr. Tommy Mitchell, “Didn’t a Fishing Boat Find a Dead Plesiosaur?” September 7, 2010, https://answersingenesis.org/creationism/arguments-to-avoid/didnt-a-fishing-boat-find-a-dead-plesiosaur/ Picture of the remains of the creature at weblink

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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How do we understand Elijah mocking God’s enemies 1 Kings 18:27

How do we understand Elijah mocking God’s enemies 1 Kings 18:27?       By Jack Kettler

“And it came to pass at noon, that Elijah mocked them, and said, cry aloud: for he is a god; either he is talking, or he is pursuing, or he is in a journey, or peradventure he sleepeth, and must be awaked.” (1 Kings 18:27)

How is this passage to be understood? Is Elijah mocking non-believers a contradiction in Scripture? Mocking can also be translated to ridicule and taunt. Synonymous with ridicule would be to laugh at or make fun of a promoter of false gods. Synonymous with taunting would be to criticize.

“At noon, Elijah began making fun of them. Pray louder! he said. Baal must be a god. Maybe he’s daydreaming or using the toilet or traveling somewhere. Or maybe he’s asleep, and you have to wake him up.” (1 Kings 18:27 Contemporary English Version)

For example, it can be asked:

“But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)

Is Elijah in violation of this teaching of Jesus?

Or conversely, can Elijah be used as a model for interacting with pagans today?

From the classic Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament on the Kings passage:

“As no answer had been received before noon, Elijah cried out to them in derision: “Call to him with a loud voice, for he is God (sc., according to your opinion), for he is meditating, or has gone aside (שׂי, secessio), or is on the journey (בּדּרך, on the way); perhaps he is sleeping, that he may wake up.” The ridicule lies more especially in the הוּא אלהים כּי (for he is a god), when contrasted with the enumeration of the different possibilities which may have occasioned their obtaining no answer, and is heightened by the earnest and threefold repetition of the כּי. With regard to these possibilities we may quote the words of Clericus: “Although these things when spoken of God are the most absurd things possible, yet idolaters could believe such things, as we may see from Homer.” The priests of Baal did actually begin therefore to cry louder than before, and scratched themselves with swords and lances, till the blood poured out, “according to their custom” (כּמשׁפּטם). Movers describes this as follows (Phnizier, i. pp. 682,683), from statements made by ancient authors concerning the processions of the strolling bands of the Syrian goddess: “A discordant howling opens the scene. They then rush wildly about in perfect confusion, with their heads bowed down to the ground, but always revolving in circles, so that the loosened hair drags through the mire; they then begin to bite their arms, and end with cutting themselves with the two-edged swords which they are in the habit of carrying. A new scene then opens. One of them, who surpasses all the rest in frenzy, begins to prophesy with signs and groans; he openly accuses himself of the sins which he has committed, and which he is now about to punish by chastising the flesh, takes the knotted scourge, which the Galli generally carry, lashes his back, and then cuts himself with swords till the blood trickles down from his mangled body.” The climax of the Bacchantic dance in the case of the priests of Baal also was the prophesying (התנבּא), and it was for this reason, probably, that they were called prophets (נביאים). This did not begin till noon, and lasted till about the time of the evening sacrifice (לעלות עד, not עלות עד, 1 Kings 18:29). המּנחה עלות, “the laying on (offering) of the meat-offering,” refers to the daily evening sacrifice, which consisted of a burnt-offering and a meat-offering (Exodus 29:38.; Numbers 28:3-8), and was then offered, according to the Rabbinical observance (see at Exodus 12:6), in the closing hours of the afternoon, as is evident from the circumstances which are described in 1 Kings 18:40. as having taken place on the same day and subsequently to Elijah’s offering, which was presented at the time of the evening sacrifice (1 Kings 18:36).” (1)

 The example of Elijah seems to be out of character with general exhortations in Scripture such as:

 “Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” (Colossians 4:6)

 In line with Colossians, when someone hurls ad hominem attacks our way, we should not respond in kind.

 The Apostle Paul presents a case similar to Elijah in the New Testament:

 “Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom, therefore, ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

 Did the Apostle Paul violate his teaching in Acts 17, where he called the Athenians superstitious and ignorant? 

 Speaking the truth at times requires bluntness:

 “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18 ESV)

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

 How to understand Elijah and Paul in an apologetic context:

 Back to 1 Kings 18:27, in another setting, Elijah and the false priests of Baal can be understood as a philosophical worldview apologetic debate. In presuppositional apologetic debates, the Christian will assume the opponent’s view for the sake of argument and then reduce it to the logical conclusion, absurdity. If we see Elijah’s and Paul’s rejoinder to the priests of Baal and the Athenians in this light, both are early forms or examples of a worldview debate.

 Elijah’s mocking in a modern apologetic context:

 There is a large unusual religious group located in the Rocky Mountains. They believe that their God is a man with a physical body, and who can only be in one place at a time. In addition, they believe this God has a father God above him along with great grandfather Gods, on and on. 

 In the tradition of Elijah, it can be asked how does this god with a body travel and how fast. Does he travel like superman and use a cape? Does he use a spaceship? How does this god communicate with the other gods in his family? An intergalactic phone system? Do these gods have family reunions? Where?

In addition, this god has goddess wives. Do goddess wives cook and clean? Does the god with a body have sex with his goddess wives? If this man-god had 1000 wives, how long could he spend with each wife each day?   

“Answer not a fool according to his folly, lest thou also be like unto him. Answer a fool according to his folly, lest he be wise in his own eyes.” (Proverbs 26:4-5)

Ellicott’s Commentary for English Readers comments are right to point:

“(5) Answer a fool according to his folly. — As his folly deserves, sharply and decisively, and in language suited to his comprehension.” (2)   

The Hebrew word for the word fool is “nabal” and means senseless. According to God, the fool has no sense and why “The fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’” (Psalm 14:1).

“The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.” (Ecclesiastes 10:12)

A fool can include all types of people, such as prostitutes and politicians.

In closing:

 To answer a starting question, no, Elijah did not violate the teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44. The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5:44 is in general; there are exceptions.

 For example:

 Jesus’s condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees documented in Matthew 23:1-39 and Luke 11:37-54 show obvious exceptions to the general teaching in Matthew 5:44.

 If Elijah’s mocking or making fun is seen in an apologetic context, the question of sinful mocking disappears. Instead, Elijah’s example is a brilliant use of worldview apologetics.

 “And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent.” (Acts 17:30) 

 “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.      Keil-Delitzsch, Commentary on the Old Testament, 1 Kings, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Reprinted 1985), p. 245.

2.      Charles John Ellicott, Bible Commentary for English Readers, Proverbs, Vol.9, (London, England, Cassell and Company), p. 498-499.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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Psalm 110:1, a devotional

Psalm 110:1, a devotional                                                                    By Jack Kettler

“A Psalm of David. The LORD [יְהוָֹהYhvh yeh-ho-vaw’] said unto my Lord [אֲדֹנָיAdonay], sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” (Psalm 110:1)

Psalm 110 is foundational in the Christian faith. Moreover, the persons of the Godhead and Christ’s reign as Prophet, Priest, and King are proclaimed.

From Spurgeon’s Treasury of David, there are several important insights into this passage:

“Psalm 110:1

“The Lord said unto my Lord” – Jehovah said unto my Adonai: David in spirit heard the solemn voice of Jehovah speaking to the Messiah from of old. What wonderful intercourse there has been between the Father and the Son! From this secret and intimate communion spring the covenant of grace and all its marvellous arrangements. All the great acts of grace are brought into actual being by the word of God; had he not spoken, there had been no manifestation of Deity to us; but in the beginning was the Word, and from of old there was mysterious fellowship between the Father and his Son Jesus Christ concerning his people and the great contest on their behalf between himself and the powers of evil. How condescending on Jehovah’s part to permit a mortal ear to hear, and a human pen to record his secret converse with his co-equal Son! How greatly should we prize the revelation of his private and solemn discourse with the Son, herein made public for the refreshing of his people! “Lord, what is man that thou shouldst thus impart thy secrets unto him.”

Though David was a firm believer in the Unity of the Godhead, he yet spiritually discerns the two persons, distinguishes between them, and perceives that in the second he has a peculiar interest, for he calls him “my Lord.” This was an anticipation of the exclamation of Thomas, “My Lord and my God,” and it expresses the Psalmist’s reverence, his obedience, his believing appropriation, and his joy in Christ. It is well to have clear views of the mutual relations of the persons of the blessed Trinity; indeed, the knowledge of these truths is essential for our comfort and growth in grace. There is a manifest distinction in the divine persons, since one speaks to another; yet the Godhead is one.

“Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies they footstool.” Away from the shame and suffering of his earthly life, Jehovah calls the Adonai, our Lord, to the repose and honours of his celestial seat. His work is done, and he may sit; it is well done, and he may sit at his right hand; it will have grand results, and he may therefore quietly wait to see the complete victory which is certain to follow. The glorious Jehovah thus addresses the Christ as our Saviour; for, says David, he said “unto my Lord.” Jesus is placed in the seat of power, dominion, and dignity, and is to sit there by divine appointment while Jehovah fights for him, and lays every rebel beneath his feet. He sits there by the Father’s ordinance and call, and will sit there despite all the raging of his adversaries, till they are all brought to utter shame by his putting his foot upon their necks. In this sitting he is our representative. The mediatorial kingdom will last until the last enemy shall be destroyed, and then, according to the inspired word, “cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God even the Father.” The work of subduing the nations is now in the hand of the great God, who by his Providence will accomplish it to the glory of his Son; his word is pledged to it, and the session of his Son at his right hand is the guarantee thereof; therefore, let us never fear as to the future. While we see our Lord and representative sitting in quiet expectancy, we, too, may sit in the attitude of peaceful assurance, and with confidence await the grand outcome of all events. As surely as Jehovah liveth Jesus must reign, yea, even now he is reigning, though all his enemies are not yet subdued. During the present interval, through which we wait for his glorious appearing and visible millennial kingdom, he is in the place of power, and his dominion is in no jeopardy, or otherwise he would not remain quiescent. He sits because all is safe, and he sits at Jehovah’s right hand because omnipotence waits to accomplish his will. Therefore, there is no cause for alarm whatever may happen in this lower world; the sight of Jesus enthroned in divine glory is the sure guarantee that all things are moving onward towards ultimate victory. Those rebels who now stand high in power shall soon be in the place of contempt, they shall be his footstool. He shall with ease rule them, he shall sit and put his foot on them; not rising to tread them down as when a man puts forth force to subdue powerful foes, but retaining the attitude of rest, and still ruling them as abject vassals who have no longer spirit to rebel, but have become thoroughly tamed and subdued.” (1)

What is the time period that Christ sits at the right hand of the Father? Mark, in his gospel, answers this question.

“So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God.” (Mark 16:19)

This sitting at the right hand of the Father is happening now. Christ’s reign is likewise happening now. It is the Father who put the enemies under Christ’s rule.

Psalm 110:1 and the following passage from 1 Corinthians 15:25 are inseparable.

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

Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible explains the reign of Christ:

“For he must reign…. That is, Christ must reign; he is set as King over God’s holy hill of Zion; he is King of saints; he is made and declared to be both Lord and Christ; he is exalted at the right hand of God as a Prince, where he sits and rules and reigns; and his sitting at God’s right hand is here explained by his reigning, for reference is had to Psalm 110:1 he must reign because it is the unalterable will, and unchangeable decree and purpose of God, that he should reign; and because he has promised it, and prophesied of it; and because the state and condition of his people require it, who otherwise could not be saved, nor dwell safely: and so he must and will,

till he hath put all enemies under his feet; and made them his footstool; meaning either all the elect of God, who in a state of nature are enemies in their minds, by wicked works, to himself and to his Father; whom he conquers by his grace, subdues their rebellious wills, of enemies makes them friends, brings them to his feet, and to a subjection to his sceptre, to his Gospel and ordinances; and he must reign till he has brought every elect soul into such an obedience to himself: or rather antichrist and his followers, and all wicked and ungodly men, with Satan and his angels; who will be destroyed with the breath of his mouth, and the brightness of his coming; and will be cast down by him into hell, and there be ever objects of his wrath and vengeance: and till all this is done he must reign; not that he shall cease to reign afterwards, but that he shall reign notwithstanding these enemies of his and his people, who would not have him to reign over them; and will reign until they are subdued or destroyed; and when they are entirely vanquished and overcome, who can doubt of his reigning then? or what, or who will there be to hinder it? The Alexandrian copy, and others, read, “his enemies”; and so, do the Syriac and Ethiopic versions.” (2)

 While brief, the Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary adds something of significance:

“25. must—because Scripture foretells it.

till—There will be no further need of His mediatorial kingdom, its object having been realized.

enemies under his feet — (Lu 19:27; Eph 1:22).” (3)

 What is meant by the term “mediatorial kingdom”?

 From the Westminster Confession Chapter 8.1 explains Christ’s mediatorial reign:

“i. It pleased God, in His eternal purpose, to choose and ordain the Lord Jesus, His only begotten Son, to be the Mediator between God and man, the Prophet, Priest, and King, the Head and Savior of His Church, the Heir of all things, and Judge of the world: unto whom He did from all eternity give a people, to be His seed, and to be by Him in time redeemed, called, justified, sanctified, and glorified.”

Scriptural evidence of the present reality of Christ’s kingdom?

“…the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” (Matthew 3:2)

“But if I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then the kingdom of God is come unto you.” (Matthew 12:28)

“Verily I say unto you, there be some standing here, who shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.” (Matthew 16:28)

“Who has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” (Colossians 1:13)

What are the implications of Christ’s mediatorial reign, both spiritual and political?

In closing, the awesome article by David Hall and Christ’s reign that answers the above question:

David Hall

Apr 14, 2016

“Allusions to Reformation themes abounded in early American sermons. The Waldensians, the eradication of the French Huguenots, Luther, Calvin, and Zwingli were all referred to in Samuel Davies’ 1756 sermon, “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ.”

The Calvinist college at Princeton, where Edwards had once presided and where James Madison would later be educated, became a hive for anti-hierarchical theory. A line of distinguished presidents contributed to Princeton’s reputation as an educational laboratory for Calvinistic republicanism. Samuel Davies (1724-1761) assumed that presidency in 1759. Taking the helm of this strategic college shortly after the death of the college’s third president, Jonathan Edwards, Davies straddled the watersheds of the Great Awakening and the Revolutionary War. His political Calvinism, which apparently fit well with that of Jonathan Witherspoon, is evident in his sermon, “God the Sovereign of all Kingdoms.” Davies maintained that “the Most High is the sole disposer of the fates of kingdoms” because of his divine perfections. Argued Davies: “How shall this [goodness] be displayed in this world, unless he holds the reins of government in his own hands, and distributes his blessings to what kingdom or nation he pleases? . . . His power is infinite, and therefore the management of all the worlds he has made, is as easy to him as the concerns of one individual.” [1] God was not a remote “unconcerned spectator” but ruled by his active providence. Active providence, by implication, led to an active citizenry.

In his 1756 “The Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories of Jesus Christ,” Davies inquired about the nature and properties of Christ’s kingship. While many honorific titles were attributed to Christ, the office of King was assigned to him in both Old and New Testaments. The regal “character and dominion of our Lord Jesus” was a theme that spanned the pages of Scripture. Of course, Davies pointed out, the rule of Christ was not an earthly one, but nonetheless all earthly sovereigns were required to submit to his sovereignty. Since Christ had “an absolute sovereignty over universal nature,” he had superiority over any earthly ruler, and no earthly ruler was absolute.

Christ’s reign was absolute and supreme; he overrules and controls all political powers, “disposes all the revolutions, the rises and falls of kingdoms and empires . . . and their united policies and powers cannot frustrate the work which he has undertaken.” Sunday after Sunday, early American congregations heard that the key difference between the reign of Christ and the reign of any human ruler was the “universal extent of the Redeemer’s kingdom.” In contrast to his universal empire, the “kingdoms of Great-Britain, France, China, and Persia, are but little spots of the globe.” The laws of Christ’s kingdom were perfect, but earthly laws were not.

Davies praised “the ever-memorable period of the Reformation” for advancing liberty and diminishing persecution. He also decried the fact that Protestants were still being tortured and persecuted in France. He reminded Americans to appreciate, among the noble witnesses of God, the precursors to the Reformation, including Luther, Calvin, Zwingli, and the martyrs from France. While he lamented the lack of piety in his own day, he also noted in one sentence two phrases that would be yoked in the Declaration of Independence twenty years later: “The scheme of Providence is not yet completed, and much remains . . . [one day] the time shall be no more; then the Supreme Judge, the same Jesus that ascended the cross, will ascend the throne, and review the affairs of time.”

In his 1758 “Curse of Cowardice,” Davies preached another classic political sermon, this time to the Hanover (Virginia) County Militia from the OT. That sermon began by enumerating a list of grievances (including reference to “rapacious” hands and the “usurpation [by] Arbitrary powers”). Sermons like this commonly itemized civil governors’ moral violations of covenants. At the same time, Davies also reminded his listeners that, in the outworking of his Providence, God occasionally brought people to war. To fail to respond because of cowardice was to beg for the curse on Meroz described in Judges. It was a line of reasoning made previously in Stephen Marshall’s sermon to the British Parliament (1641). American political sermons, thus, were not novel—they stood on the shoulders of a long line of Puritans and other Reformers who intensely applied Scripture to their own times.

Davies exhorted soldiers in 1758 to turn to religion in order to keep themselves “uncorrupted in the midst of Vice and Debauchery.” They were to acknowledge God’s Providence in all situations. In language similar to that used later in congressional proclamations, Davies reminded his listeners that they walked before the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. He concluded by calling for “A THOROUGH NATIONAL REFORMATION” that would begin with individual listeners.

Davies articulated the common view of depravity embraced by the early Princetonians, i. e., that sinners were inactive, listless, insensible to the things of God, and utterly unable to quicken themselves. He preached, “The innate depravity and corruption of the heart, and the habits of sin contracted and confirmed by repeated indulgences of inbred corruption, these are poisonous, deadly things that have slain the soul; these have entirely indisposed and disabled it for living religion.” As a good Calvinist, Davies traced this sinful nature to Adam’s fall.

Davies’ Diary from that period mentions two figures central to this period. Years before he assumed the presidency of Princeton, Davies knew of Witherspoon, whose “Ecclesiastical Characteristics,” a “Burlesque upon the highflyers under the ironical name of Moderate Men,” had caused a stir in 1754. Davies liked the work and compared its humor to that of Dean Swift. Also, Davies read Montesquieu’s The Spirit of Laws in December 1753 and called it “an ingenious Performance with many new and valuable Sentiments.”[2] The seeds of Calvinistic politics were watered by many gardeners.

Davies, one of those gardeners, exhorted his Princeton students, including future signer of the Declaration of Independence Benjamin Rush, that the union of “public spirit” and religion made a man useful. These two components of human life were inseparable. He charged Rush and others: “Public spirit and Benevolence without Religion is but a warm Affection for the Subjects to the Neglect of the Sovereign, or a Partiality for the Children in Contempt of their Father who is infinitely more worthy of Love. And Religion without Public Spirit and Benevolence is but a Sullen, Selfish, sour and malignant Humour for Devotion unworthy that sacred name.” [3]

Davies also influenced Patrick Henry, who listened to his preaching from age eleven to twenty-two. Henry, whose own oratory bears striking resemblance to that of Davies, based his stirring cadences on what he had certainly heard Davies assert (as Buchanan and Rutherford had earlier)—namely, that the British constitution was “but the voluntary compact of sovereign and subject.” [4]

Davies’ sermons mentioned above may be found at: http://consource.org/document/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ-by-samuel-davies-1756-5-9/. His “Mediatorial Kingdom and Glories” is available in Ellis Sandoz, Political Sermons of the American Founding Era (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 1998).

[1] Cited in Morton H. Smith, Studies in Southern Presbyterian Theology (Jackson, MS: Presbyterian Reformation Society, 1962), 51.

[2] The Reverend Samuel Davies Abroad, The Diary of a Journey to England and Scotland, 1753-1755, George W. Pilcher, ed. (Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1967), 40.

[3] Cited in John Kloos, “Benjamin Rush’s Public Piety,” American Presbyterians 69:1 (Spring 1991), 51. The original was a 1760 “Religion and Public Spirit, A Valedictory Address.” Another of Davies’ students was the Rev. John Lathrop, who spread the Calvinistic-Princetonian views from the pulpit of Boston’s Old North Church beginning in 1768. See Alice M. Baldwin, The New England Clergy and the American Revolution (Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 1928), 112.

[4] C. H. Van Tyne, “Influence of the Clergy, and of Religious and Sectarian Forces, on the American Revolution,” American Historical Review, vol. 19 (1913-1914), 49. Davies’ son (William Davies) was head of the war department of Virginia during Patrick Henry’s life. See William Wirt Henry, Patrick Henry: Life, Correspondence, and Speeches (1891, rpr. Harrisonburg, VA: Sprinkle Publications, 1993), vol. 2, 134.” (4)

 David Hall’s Bio:

“David W. Hall has served as the Senior Pastor of Midway Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Powder Springs, Georgia since 2003. Previously, he served as Pastor of the Covenant Presbyterian Church in Oak Ridge, Tennessee (1984-2003) and as Associate Pastor at the First Presbyterian Church in Rome, Georgia (1980-1984).

His undergraduate degree from the University of Memphis (BA, 1975) was in philosophy. After completion of his undergraduate studies, David Hall studied at Swiss L’Abri and then enrolled at Covenant Theological Seminary in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating in 1980. He later earned a Ph.D. in Christian Intellectual Thought from Whitefield Theological Seminary. He was ordained in 1980.

In addition to pastoring, David Hall is the author or editor of over 20 books and numerous essays, and co-editor, with John L. Carson, of To Glorify and Enjoy God: A Commemoration of the Westminster Assembly, published by the Trust.

David Hall, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ”

 In conclusion:

 “The LORD [Κύριος – Jehovah] said unto my Lord [Κυρίῳ – Adonai], sit thou on my right hand, till I make thine enemies thy footstool?” (Matthew 22:44)

 Jesus in Matthew is quoting the Greek Septuagint in this text. The Pulpit Commentary elucidates this passage exceptionally well: 

“Verse 44. – The Lord said unto my Lord (Psalm 110:1). The quotation is from the Septuagint. But neither this nor our English Version is an adequate rendering of the original, where the word translated “Lord” is not the same in both parts of the clause, more accurately, the solemn beginning of the psalm is thus given: “Utterance [or, ‘oracle’] of Jehovah to my Lord (Adonai).” The psalmist acknowledges the recipient of the utterance as his sovereign Lord; this could be no earthly potentate, for on earth he had no such superior; Jewish tradition always applied the term unto the Messiah, or the Word. The prediction repeats the promise made by Nathan to David (2 Samuel 7:12), which had no fulfilment in his natural progeny, and could be regarded as looking forward only to the Messiah. Sit thou on my right hand. Thus, Messiah is exalted to the highest dignity in heaven. Sitting at God’s right hand does not necessarily imply complete Divine majesty (as Hengstenberg remarks), for the sons of Zebedee had asked for such a position in Messiah’s earthly kingdom (Matthew 20:21); but it denotes supreme honour, association in government, authority second only to that of Monarch. This is said of Christ in his human nature. He is “equal to the Father, as touching his Godhead; inferior to the Father, as touching his manhood.” In his Divine nature he could receive nothing; in his human nature all “power was given unto him in heaven and earth” (Matthew 28:18). Till I make (ἕως α}ν θῷ) thine enemies thy footstool; ὑποπόδιον τῶν ποδῶν σου. This is the Septuagint reading. Many manuscripts here give ὑποκάτω τῶν ποδῶν σου Τιλλ Ι πυτ τηινε ενεμιεσ υνδερνεατη τηψ φεετ. Some few have both ὑποπόδιον and ὑποκάτω. Vulgate, Donec ponam inimicos tuos scabellum pedum tuorum. The complete subjection of all adversaries is denoted (comp. 1 Corinthians 15:25-27; Hebrews 1:13); and they are subjected not merely for punishment and destruction, but, it may be, for salvation and glory. The relative particle “till” must not be pressed, as if Christ’s session was to cease when his victory was completed. We have before had occasion to observe that the phrase, ἕως οῦ, or ἕως α}ν, asserts nothing of the future beyond the event specified. As St. Jerome says of such negative phrases, “Ita negant praeteritum ut non ponant futurum” (comp. Matthew 1:25; Matthew 5:26; Matthew 18:34). Of Christ’s kingdom there is no end. Matthew 22:44” (5)

“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.      Charles Haddon Spurgeon, The Treasury of David Volume 2, (Nashville, Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1984), p. 460.

2.      John Gill, Exposition of the Old and New Testaments, 1 Corinthians, (Grace Works, Multi-Media Labs), p. 26-27.

3.      Jamieson, Fausset and Brown, Commentary on the Whole Bible, (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Zondervan, 1977) p. 1222-1223.

4.      David Hall, Christ’s reign, Alliance for Confessing Evangelicals, https://www.placefortruth.org/blog/the-mediatorial-kingdom-and-glories-of-jesus-christ

5.      H. D. M. Spence and Joseph S. Exell, The Pulpit Commentary, Matthew, Vol. 15., (Grand Rapids, Michigan, Eerdmans Publishing Company reprint 1978), p. 367.

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 books defending the Reformed Faith. Books can be ordered online at www. JackKettler .com

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