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?

Image

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.

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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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Survey of the Bible 5: The Exodus to the Death of Joshua

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)

Through a broad-brush survey

  • Tracing the ‘golden thread’ Christ in the Old Testament
  • Become more date conscious

Highlights from previous sessions in this series?

  1. The Lord is not a despot: obedience to God was optional to Adam and Eve: they obeyed God because he ‘said so’,and to continue in that would have been an act of the highest moral value.
  2. “God’s assessment of the antediluvian race is one of the most dismal on record.  According to verse 5 the wickedness of men was “great in the earth.“  But even more disheartening than that, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”  This is striking contrast to the language of Gen 1:31: “God saw everything that He had made, and… it was very good.”
  3. Call of Abraham – haphazard life, interfering in strange ways. Yet he obeyed and believed God. We have to be willing to be expendable, or overlooked..
  4. Moses – 10 plagues – many of these were unleashed on that which the Egyptians idolised, e.g. the sun.

Last time we covered 430 years – period between Israel entering and leaving Egypt.
This time is a little over 60 years!
Date of the Exodus? 1450 BC

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Survey of the Bible: 1 Dawn of history to the Flood

The golden thread – the coming Christ

Luke 24:27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.
Acts 3:18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.
John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me…
46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me.
Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
1 Pet 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
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Question 7 – the decrees of God

QUESTION 7. What are the decrees of God?
ANSWER: The decrees of God are his eternal purpose, according to the counsel of his will, whereby, for his own glory, he hath foreordained whatsoever comes to pass.

The decrees of God

What characterises the Decrees of God?
Wisdom Eph 3:9-11 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  Eph 3:11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: one other there….? Eternal
Effectual Is 46:9 I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:
Unchangable Job 23:13 But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? and what his soul desireth, even that he doeth. Why so? Because of he is faithful and true.
Acts 4:27-28. For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.
Unconditional Acts 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
What else from this verse? Comprehensive: which also means that it includes contingent events… Proverbs 16:33 The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.
Berkhov says: ‘its [God’s decrees] execution does not depend on any action of man but even renders such action certain’. (p42 Summary of Christian Doctrine)

2 Kings 13:14 Now Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died. And Joash the king of Israel came down unto him, and wept over his face, and said, O my father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. 15 And Elisha said unto him, Take bow and arrows. And he took unto him bow and arrows. 16 And he said to the king of Israel, Put thine hand upon the bow. And he put his hand upon it: and Elisha put his hands upon the king’s hands. 17 And he said, Open the window eastward. And he opened it. Then Elisha said, Shoot. And he shot. And he said, The arrow of the Lord’s deliverance, and the arrow of deliverance from Syria: for thou shalt smite the Syrians in Aphek, till thou have consumed them. 18 And he said, Take the arrows. And he took them. And he said unto the king of Israel, Smite upon the ground. And he smote thrice, and stayed. 19 And the man of God was wroth with him, and said, Thou shouldest have smitten five or six times; then hadst thou smitten Syria till thou hadst consumed it: whereas now thou shalt smite Syria but thrice.

Objections?

Doctrine of Decrees of God are inconsistent with the moral freedom of man

God has decreed that man is responsible for his actions. We may not be able to reconcile these

It makes people lazy in seeking salvation

Man does not know what God has decreed concerning him: Deut 29:29 The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.
God has not only decreed our eternal end but also the means. Therefore the end is the result of the decreed means, it should encourage not dissuade us to seek God – TODAY!

It makes God the author of sin

“The decree merely makes God the author of free moral beings, who are themselves the authors of sin. Sin is made certain by the decree, but God does not Himself produce it by His direct action… it is a mystery which we cannot fully solve.” (Berkhov p43)

Psalm 33:11. The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.
Daniel 4:35 And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?
Acts 15:18 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.
Ephesians 1:11. In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will.
Ephesians 2:10. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
Romans 9:22-23. What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: and that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory.
Romans 11:33. O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!

How are the means and the ends decreed?

God uses means to accomplish his decrees:

2Thes2:13 But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

Can you give examples of how God’s decreed means and his decreed ends are connected?

Fisher: From the preservation of Paul, and those who were with him in the ship; God had decreed to preserve them all, Acts 27:24; yet lawful means were to be used; the shipmen must not get leave to flee out of the ship, otherwise the rest cannot be saved, as Paul tells the centurion and the soldiers, ver. 31.

How is are the decrees of God concerning the sending of Christ into the world to save us revealed in the Bible?

Is 7:14  Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
This prophesy was a sign to Ahaz and others of his time because it implied the survival of the Jews so that Messiah could come.
Jews and others object that ‘virgin’ here should be translated as ‘young maiden’ – i.e. not a miraculous birth. But Matthew Poole asserts:
1. This word is always used for a virgin in the Old Testament
2. Why would it be a remarkable sign, as was required of Ahaz to ask for if it were simply a woman that was meant and not also someone who conceived miraculously?
3. That ‘shall call’ signifies the naming of the child by the mother, he having no human father whose duty this would have been.

Immanuel – God and man meeting in one person! John 1:14 ‘And the Word was made flesh’ – text is not bound to refer to the personal name but his nature and office.

A glimpse into the eternal counsels of God

The Father and the Spirit involved in appointing Christ

Is 42 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
2 He shall not cry, nor lift up, nor cause his voice to be heard in the street.
3 A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth.
4 He shall not fail nor be discouraged, till he have set judgment in the earth: and the isles shall wait for his law.
5 Thus saith God the Lord, he that created the heavens, and stretched them out; he that spread forth the earth, and that which cometh out of it; he that giveth breath unto the people upon it, and spirit to them that walk therein:
6 I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
7 To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.

Is 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;


Further thoughts on Question 6: The Trinity

We began with singing, ‘God is in his temple’, alluding to this morning’s sermon on Haggai and the glory of the temple because of the presence of Christ. The Christian is himself a ‘temple’ too…

What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (1 Cor 6:19)

 

This section of questions deal with the nature of God, Q4 asks ‘What is God?’, Q5, Are there more Gods than one? The ‘unity of God’. Q6 How many persons are there in the Godhead?
Building on these about the nature of God, we then enter the area of the works of God. But first we gave more time to talking about the Trinity, which was rather truncated last time around.

Councils of Nicea (325 AD) – the Son co-essential with the Father – and Constantinople (381 AD) assert the deity of the Holy Spirit.
The creeds are used by some, especially Charismatics, to say that the church has always somehow given too little attention to the Holy Spirit. But the controversy of the day was concerning the person of Christ and that affected salvation so this featured strongly in the early credal statements. Since then we have further controversy and so we have larger statements of doctrine, such as the Westminster Confession, etc. But the Person of the Holy Spirit clearly wants to exalt Christ:

Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

John 16:13

Picking up James Fisher’s questions, we asked whether it was possible to be a Christian without holding to the doctrine of the Trinity. Although reluctant to be harsh in this matter, this doctrine is bound up in our view of salvation because of the need for the Three to be involved as God and the Son to be both fully man and fully God. Confusion in this area is understandable but rejecting the teaching altogether is a serious symptom of a lack of willingness to come under the clear teaching of the scriptures.

Q. 37. Could the Trinity of persons, in the unity of essence, have been discovered by the light of nature?
A. By no means: for then it would be no mystery, seeing divine mysteries are such secrets, as the wisdom of man could never have found out, Matt. 11:27 All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him. 1 Cor. 2:9, 10, 14.9 But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. 10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. 11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. 13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. 14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
Q. 29. Is it proper to say, that the Father is the fountain of the Deity?
A. The expression is dangerous, and now used by adversaries in an unsound sense, to exclude self-existence and independency from the Son and Holy Ghost, and therefore is to be avoided.
Q. 38. Is it OK to explain the doctrine of the Trinity by natural illustrations? [lawful to explain this mystery by natural similitudes?]
A. No; for there is no similitude amongst all the creatures, that has the remotest resemblance to this adorable mystery of the three one God. By making similes or comparisons of this kind, men have become vain in their imaginations, and their foolish minds have been darkened, Rom. 1:21-26 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, 23 And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen. 26 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature:; and therefore, as this doctrine is entirely a matter of faith, it becomes us to adore it, without prying curiously into what is not revealed.
Q. 39. If we say that there are 3 persons in the Godhead, does this mean they are separate or divided, or that division is possible? [Does the asserting of three persons in the Godhead, with distinct personal properties, infer any separation, or division, in the divine essence?]
A. No; for the persons in the Godhead are not separated, but distinguished from one another, by their personal properties. As the unity of the essence does not confound the persons, so neither does the distinction of persons imply any division of the essence, 1 John 5:7.
Q. 41. How is our worship to be directed to this three-one God?
A. We are to worship the Father, in Christ the Son, by the Spirit; and thus, when we pray, we are to ask the Father, in the name of the Son, by the Holy Ghost, Eph. 2:18 and 5:20.
Q. 42. Will not this mystery be more fully known and displayed in heaven?
A. Yes; for, says Christ, “at that day ye shall know, that I am in my Father,” John 14:20; 1 John 3:2 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
Q. 43. How are we comforted by this doctrine of the Trinity?
A. That the gift of eternal life, in the promise and offer of the gospel, to sinners of mankind, is attested by the three famous witnesses in heaven, who are above all exception, 1 John 5:7, 11; and consequently, that a portion infinitely rich, is insured by the covenant of grace to all those who believe, when it makes over all the three persons to them, as their God, Jer. 31:33. But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts