Survey of the Bible 24. Passion-Assension 30 AD

Pastor Dewi Higham took this class. Compared with some of our survey studies, this 47 days is short in time but very long on significance, with the death, resurrection and ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ being central to our gospel message and history itself.

What a struggle to get a man to get the gospel! We compared the ‘hosana’ of the crowds with the with the weeping of the Lord in Luke 19:41
The place of sorrow in the Christians heart. Mourning for sin. We must live at His very feet. That is a place of agitation and peace! The agitation is a compulsion to strive for godliness and service, the peace is that which passes knowledge and reaches deeper than the greatest distress.
On Monday of passion week a lot is said! It includes the cursing of a fig tree. Puzzling miracle – a picture of Israel. This many favored nation but here it isguilty of barrenness again. How careful are we of the ‘inside of the cup’? Some (antinomian) groups have said that you can look terrible on the outside so long as the inside is right but we do not find that in scripture. Inside and outside are important!
2nd cleansing of the temple. God can bless or curse as he wishes.
Once saved saved forever but backsliding should frighten us. Many tests will come of genuine conversion.
Tuesday – revival amongst the Jews of today hoped for – taking a slightly differently to Hendricksen. Destruction of Jerusalem and the end of the world spoken of but these events are on the same time-line and idea-line. Wednesday was the day of the blood money
Thursday and Friday so much was said!  John 13 -16 the upper room. Passover lamb, washing feet… Real historical events, real symbolic meaning, real power, real effects reaching right across time. Real sin needed a real saviour.
Wrestling in prayer. trial(s) overnight, 9am Friday crucified, the apparent triumph of enemies. Hours of darkness. Although he said, ‘ it is finished ‘ but the final humiliation was the burial.
Saturday a quiet day. That is about all we had time to cover.


Survey of the Bible 23. Perean Ministry 29-30 AD

Today we sung ‘Have you heard the voice of Jesus’ before considering the scriptures relating to this period of Jesus ministry on earth. Perea is located just north and east of the Dead Sea, although one of the most significant events actually took place in Bethany, the other side of the Jordan, i.e. the raising of Lazarus.

We looked at the material relating to that period found in all four gospels: Matt 19:1-20:34; Mark 10; Luke 9:51-19:27; John 10:40-12:11

We noted that there was an example of the type of supposed contradiction that some who hate the Bible like to point out in comparing Matt20:20 v’s Mark 10:35 Who was it that asked for a place at Jesus side? James and John or their mother? The text allows for both to be true.

We observed that Mark 10 is very similar to Matthew 19, but mentioned 10:45, which reads: ’10v45 For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.’ There was clear proof that the Saviour understood his purpose and linked with Old Testament prophesy, particularly Is 53.

Apart from that, the class considered the parables which Jesus gave at this time across in a significant number of the chapters of Luke especially. It seemed appropriate therefore to look at the parable as a form of discourse and how we can and should approach them when we read them in our Bibles. We came up with a series of eight items to help focus the mind when dealing with parables:

  1. Context (audience, what prompted it, other parables and how they relate to each other),
  2. Content
  3. Lesson/Crux – and are there many or one main point to the parable,
  4. Interpretation/application,
  5. Concealment – to what extent and why?,
  6. Conviction – i.e. purpose of the parable – one of which being to aid conviction of sin,
  7. Name/precis the parable – can help us get our mind around it,
  8. What does it reveal about God?

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After applying this set of questions to Luke 14, we turned briefly to consider the doctrine of the Person of Christ from his conversation with Martha in John 11. The young man who asked Jesus, ‘Good Master, what good thing must I do to have eternal life?’ was certain that eternal life is earned through doing ‘good things’. When Jesus tells us, ‘I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:’, he is linking eternal life with himself. Ephesians 2:4-6 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”

In the mystic union of Christ and his own his resurrection is our resurrection, his ‘quickening’ makes ours so certain that Paul can write as if it has already happened.


Survey of the Bible 22. ‘Retirement’ and latter Judean Ministry 29 AD

In the previous class it became increasingly clear that Jesus was not offering political salvation but individual salvation and spiritual, people still today do not want to hear about their spiritual need and find the gospel unpalatable.
April in the year 29 Jesus enters the ‘retirement ministry’ as Hendriksen calls it. He goes to Phoenicians. Mark 7:24-30 fulfilling Simeon’s prophesy (Luke 2:25-38).

‘He went to his own but his own received him not’ (John1:11), but these Gentiles put the Jews to shame: was faith like her’s found in all Israel? She responds in the way God expects. God calls us sinners and we, at Tabernacle, are used to that but it is offensive to the people unused to it. But we come to God unworthy of even so much as a crumb, yet knowing that crumb would be grace enough. Mark 7 and 8:
We discussed the irony that Jesus charged them to not tell anyone about him and they did, whereas we are told to speak and are reluctant! But of course both are disobedient! His time had not yet come but also they misinterpret the signs.

Jesus takes the blind man by the hand v23: what must that have been like?! Trusting the Saviour to lead us blind. That is how we must go, trusting our whole soul into his care and leading. This two-stage healing was not a case of ‘trial and error’. The first stage was at least ‘better than nothing’, like conversion we are not perfected and so we have to go on honestly with God, admitting we need further grace.
God is not constrained to a few methods. Theology comes into focus gradually for many converts.
Still north in Caesarea Phillippi, Mark 8:27 is a partial revelation that he is the Messiah. From here we see him speaking of his sufferings. Matt 16 – Peter did not like that. Perhaps because of what it implied about his own life. The Catholics like this because Peter was thought to be the first appointed pope and those in succession. The most basic inspection of the way the words were framed in the original showed that Jesus is the Rock 1 Peter 2:4-8 is written by Peter who did not draw attention to himself there. ‘Petra’ only refers to Christ. Catholics counter that Matt 16:19 shows that Peter gets the keys! But in Matt 18:18 now he is speaking to all the apostles, so it is not just that Peter alone has the keys – ie. preaching the gospel and church discipline and government, for example, whether to loose or retain the moral and ceremonial law for the Church – they had the authority to take that kind of decision.


Survey of the Bible 11: Assyria rises, Samaria falls (736-722 BC)

Alex Hutter led today’s doctrine class. We sang ‘Great Providence of Heaven’. Most of the study was concerned with 2 Kings 15.

We looked at the way that the kings of Israel were corrupt, often being assassinated, with Israel eventually being vanquished by Assyria and any semblance of their identity as God’s people becoming irrecoverably polluted. Meanwhile Judah operated separately, even wicked king Ahaz being allowed to continue the Davidic line and the threats to that countered by God to preserve His promise to David.

There were a number of points of doctrine that emerged from this theme. Firstly, that God keeps His word – He means what he says. This is so different to the vacillating of men. Jehu had been promised the throne until the fourth generation and that is exactly what happened:

10     And Shallum the son of Jabesh conspired against him [Zachari’ah], and smote him before the people, and slew him, and reigned in his stead.
12     This was the word of the LORD which he spake unto Jehu, saying, Thy sons shall sit on the throne of Israel unto the fourth generation. (see 2 Kgs. 10.30) And so it came to pass.

These thoughts showed something of the outworking of a correct view of God’s sovreignty and man’s responsibility. The decree of God was ordained from the foundation of the world but the mess of Israel’s kings was clearly the product of their own sin. We see our own modern society reflecting exactly what God’s word in Romans says will become of us if we reject God as generation follows generation and even ‘respectability’ is flouted and abject sin insinuates further into every aspect of life. Christians must take their position as God’s children seriously and avoid grieving the Spirit. Sin’s consequences are devastating: what a mess that Israel became. A long time before the Lord Jesus met the Samaritan woman, it could have been said:

Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. John 4:22

We touched on the importance of the church and Christians to walk closely with God, not to settle for living ‘at ease in Zion’ – there is too much at stake.


Survey of the Bible 10: Uzziah (786BC-736BC)

With Hendriksen as our guide, we take our focus on two aims:

  1. Trace the Christ in the old testament
  2. Become more date-conscious

1. Dawn of history to the Flood (4004-2328 BC)
2. Flood to call of Abraham (2328-2094 BC)
3. Call of Abraham to Descent to Egypt (2094-1879 BC)
4. Descent to Egypt to the Exodus (1879-1449 BC)
5. The Exodus to Joshua’s death (1449-1388 BC)
6. Death of Joshua to King Saul (1388-1052 BC)
7. Saul, David Solomon (1052-932 BC)
8. Rehoboam and Jereboam (932-722 BC) 210 years
9. Omri and Hazael (886-786 BC) 100 years Alliances between Is and Judah
10. Uzziah (786-736)  50 years “The glamor years”

1700 years from Creation (4000BC) to Flood (2300BC)
1000 years each from Abraham (2000BC) to David (1000BC) to Christ.
Exodus was 1450BC

Mike Taylor’s charts are helpful:

  1. Timeline: Prophets in the Reigns of Kings of Judah and Israel
  2. Major Events in the Reigns of the Kings
  3. The Messages of the Prophets

Read 2 Chronicles 26

Q. Why does Hendriksen focus on this section of the survey?
52 year-long reign?
Notable godliness?

Q. Having read the chapter, what was Judah like in those days?
Take a look in Amos
Amos 2:4 Thus saith the LORD; For three transgressions of Judah, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof; because they have despised the law of the LORD, and have not kept his commandments, and their lies caused them to err, after the which their fathers have walked:

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Survey of the Bible: 8 Rehoboam and Jereboam (932-722 BC)

With Hendriksen as our guide, we take our focus on two aims:

  1. Trace the Christ in the old testament
  2. become more date-conscious

1. Dawn of history to the Flood (4004-2328 BC)
2. Flood to call of Abraham (2328-2094 BC)
3. Call of Abraham to Descent to Egypt (2094-1879 BC)
4. Descent to Egypt to the Exodus (1879-1449 BC)
5. The Exodus to Joshua’s death (1449-1388 BC)
6. Death of Joshua to King Saul (1388-1052 BC)
7. Saul, David Solomon (1052-932 BC)
8. Rehoboam and Jereboam (932-722 BC)

1700 years from Creation (4000BC) to Flood (2300BC)
1000 years each from Abraham (2000BC) to David (1000BC) to Christ.
Exodus was 1450BC

Last week we usefully compared Saul and David, observing the parallel lives they led… up to a point. What was the fault line?

David has that tremendous promise about the throne, 2 Sam 7:12-29
Many psalms point to Christ: 8,16,22,31 etc.
Recommend Bonar’s book on the psalms, currently re-published by Tentmaker.

Intertribal warfare to the Fall of Samaria

The actual scene of the split was Israel’s justifiable claims of being over-burdened – Rehoboam foolishly heeds the council of the young friends instead of the wise advisers – 1 Kings 12.

Fault-lines there for a while, Ishbosheth installed as the puppet of Abner (2 Sam 2)
And when David falls (2 Sam 12) and the curse on his line is pronounced: Now therefore the sword shall never depart from thine house (2 Sam 12:10)
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