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 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: Inauguration events 27AD

My notes for these two sessions, 19th and 26th May, are contained in a mind map which you are welcome to explore, follow this link.


Survey of the Bible: Exile (586-536BC)

Bob Lewington took today’s class. Reading Psalm 115: especially the verses about idols. The dates of the Exile are given by Hendriksen as 586BC (fall Of Jerusalem) until 536BC (fall of Babylon).

Crowns and thrones may perish, kingdoms rise and wane,
But the church of Jesus constant will remain.
Gates of hell can never gainst that church prevail;
We have Christ’s own promise, and that cannot fail….

Matt 24:35 Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass. The wonderful solidity of Christ’s kingdom!

597-586 Zedekiah: a bad king: And he did [that which was] evil in the sight of the LORD, as his fathers had done: he departed not from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat (2 Kings 15:9).

There were actually quite a few ‘exiles’ incurred by the Assyrians and the Babylonians.

Initially some presumptuously thought their exile would be short, in spite of Jeremiah’s message to them to settle down where they were. Jehoiakim even cut and burned God’s message from Jeremiah! (Jeremiah 36) How hard are people’s hearts! When the temple was sacked, they lapsed into hopelessness! (Psalm 137). God sent Ezekiel to inspire the exiles (Ezek 33-36), and Daniel intercedes for them.  Thus followed a season of revived hopefulness. But even that led to sinful indifference with many who chose to stay in exile rather than return to help restore Jerusalem.

Hendriksen says that the exile can be viewed as serving three purposes:

  1. Punishment for sin: we linked with this morning’s sermon which emphasised the holiness of God.
  2. Purging and sanctification for the remnant
  3. God’s people were a blessing to those whom they dwelt amongst

Micah 5:7  And the remnant of Jacob shall be in the midst of many people as a dew from the Lord, as the showers upon the grass, that tarrieth not for man, nor waiteth for the sons of men

We need heavenly dew as we dwell as dew amongst the world.


Survey of the Bible: Fall of Samaria and Jerusalem (722-586 BC)

We sang 291 ‘How sweet the name of Jesus sounds’
Revolutionary times and domination for Judah – hard to imagine and a cause for doubt. Assyrian exile – 3 deportations. 1&2 was the 10 tribes, 3rd included Judah. Babylonian exile – 4 deportations
Isaiah 39 Hezekiah, blessed and delivered but pride arose in his heart: ‘my house’, ‘my treasures’
2 Chron 32 ‘his heart was lifted up’ – severe punishment? Severe sin. We can become proud if blessed! Perverse! See Matthew Henry: blessed Paul needed a thorn in the flesh to help him cope with the revelations given him. How we need to watch over our spirits when others look upon our possessions, it must be in the region of grieving the Spirit. Irony in the punishment upon the sin.
Manasseh’s wicked reign coincided with the rise of Assyria’s Empire. But his repentance was as famous, even in his old age, the mirror image of his father.
We ought not to look to a man. Hezekiah, as a king, was a bad example of godliness. The aggravation of sin! How stupid sin is, pride here – where does that emerge from.
The Lord is a Jealous God, we can measure the seriousness of sin by God’s reaction to it: the fall, the flood, etc.
Calvary itself is the best ‘view’ to get a sense of the seriousness of sin and the holiness of God.
Manasseh repented but the consequences are still in place – sin casting a long shadow.
2 Chron 36:14-17 ’till there was no remedy’ – We face a similar circumstance – as the church and nation descends into ever deeper godlessness. The grace of God sent messengers – those prophets came in a marked concentration during this period. Looking forward – the gospel thread is apparent in the prophecies of course.
Helpful books: Gareth Crossley’s OT, and Alec Motyer’s. We should understand scripture in order to read it. Challenge to read background and context of a book.
Jeremiah’s theme is the certainty of judgement and yet the eternity of God’s love. Jer 7:32-34 vs Jer 29:10-14
‘The terror of law and of God, with me can have nothing to do; my Saviour’s obedience and blood hide all my transgressions from view’.
In Jeremiah we also have the gospel foreshadowed in the way the law is written on the fleshy tables of the heart and it is here that we must guard grieving the Spirit with our pride and other such heart sins.
Looking for the Saviour in the Old Testament, we were reminded, that the Lord as well as Jeremiah wept over the temple’s destruction, both were also accused of treason.


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:

Read the rest of this entry »