Author: Matt Sherro

Yeshua (A Note From the Complete Jewish Study Bible)

Yeshua (A Note From the Complete Jewish Study Bible)

Yeshua was a common alternative form of the name Y’hoshua or Joshua in later books of the Hebrew Bible and among Jews of the Second Temple period. The name corresponds to the Greek spelling Iesous, from which through the Latin Iesus comes the English spelling Jesus.

The first letter in the name Yeshua (Jesus) is the yod. Yod represents the “Y” sound in Hebrew. Many names in the Bible that begin with yod are mispronounced by English speakers because the letter was transliterated in English Bibles with the letter “J” rather than “Y.” This is because in early English, the letter “J” was pronounced the way we pronounce “Y” today. All proper names in the Hebrew Bible were transliterated into English according to their Hebrew pronunciation; but when English pronunciation shifted to what we know today, these transliterations were not altered. Thus, such Hebrew place names as Ye-ru-sha-la-yim, Ye-ri-cho, and Yar-den have become known to us as Yerushalayim, Jericho, and Jordan. Hebrew personal names such as Yo-nah, Yi-shai, and Ye-shu-a have become known to us as Jonah, Jesse, and Jesus.

The Hebrew spelling of Yeshua appears in some later books of the Hebrew Bible, once for Joshua the son of Nun, and twenty-eight times for Joshua the High Priest and other priests called Jeshua—although these same priests are also given the spelling Joshua in the books of Haggai and Zechariah. Yeshua differs from the usual Hebrew Bible spelling of Joshua (Y’hoshua), found two-hundred eighteen times in the Hebrew Bible. It also differs from the Hebrew spelling Yeshu, which is found in Ben Yehuda’s dictionary and used in most secular contexts in modern Hebrew to refer to Jesus of Nazareth, though the Hebrew spelling Yeshua is generally used in translations of the New Testament into Hebrew and used by Hebrew-speaking Christians in Isra’el. The name Yeshua is also used in Israeli Hebrew historical texts to refer to other people called Joshua recorded in Greek texts, such as Jesus ben Ananias and Jesus ben Sira. The name Yeshua means “The Lord’s Salvation” or “Cry Out to the Lord for Help.”

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

The 7 Churches in Revelation (used by permission of Turning Point)

This week’s lesson is the 7 Churches in Revelation. The notes you will find today are from my pastor, David Jeremiah.  You can find the notes and additional resources at http://www.davidjeremiah.org/site/articles/seven-churches-of-revelation-bible-study.aspx

While exiled on the island of Patmos, the apostle John received a revelation from Jesus Christ that we now call the book of Revelation. In this vision, Christ gave John seven messages for seven first-century churches in Asia Minor. Read on to discover why Christ wanted to speak to these seven churches and what the messages mean for us today. Watch and listen to these messages here.

1. EPHESUS: THE LOVELESS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:1-7)

The church of Ephesus had many positive qualities; Christ commended them in five specific ways—they were dynamic, dedicated, determined, disciplined, and discerning (Revelation 2:2-3). But verse 4 reveals where they went wrong. “Nevertheless, I have this against you, that you have left your first love.” Everything about the Ephesian church looked good on the outside, but inwardly they had heart trouble. Their devotion to Christ was waning.

If you find yourself in this place with your relationship with Christ, here is a three-part formula on how to return to your first love.

Remember

“Remember therefor from where you have fallen” (Revelation 2:5).

If we have left something or someone, the first step is to remember where we started.

Repent

The next logical step after remembering where we started and realizing where we are now is to repent. This means to reverse course and go in the opposite direction. “. . . repent . . .” (Revelation 2:5).

Repeat

Repeating to the original good works will help you get back to the place where you began. “. . . do the first works” (Revelation 2:5). Return to what you did when you first became a Christian—the spiritual disciplines that kept you close to Christ and motivated to follow Him.

2. SMYRNA — THE SUFFERING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:8-11)

Christians in developed countries today think little about being persecuted for their faith. But there are churches in the world where such persecution is a daily reality. Such was the case for the ancient church in Smyrna. They suffered because of pressure, poverty, and persecution (Revelation 2:9). Christ’s words to that church can prepare all believers for what might come.

Be Fearless

“Do not fear any of those things which you are about to suffer” (Revelation 2:10). Because Christ is Lord over all of life’s circumstances, we have nothing to fear. Paul wrote that there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:35-39). Fear is a natural human response, but we live supernatural lives through the power of Christ in us.

Be Faithful

“Be faithful until death, and I will give you the crown of life” (Revelation 2:10). Given the intensity of the persecution in Smyrna, I believe Christ was saying, “Yes, you may lose your life for My sake, but be faithful until the end.”

3. PERGAMOS — THE COMPROMISING CHURCH (REVELATION 2:12-17)

Pergamos was nicknamed “Satan’s City.” The Christians in Pergamos were surrounded by pagan beliefs and practices. In spite of their faithfulness in some areas, the Christians in Pergamos had compromised their faith in others. They had allowed idolatry to creep into their congregation.

Satan is still employing the strategy he used in Pergamos: What you can’t curse and crush, you can corrupt through compromise.

Wherever two or three are gathered together in Christ’s name, Satan will be there to try to corrupt the truth.

Speak the Truth in Love

Christians should not be combative or antagonistic. Wherever corruption or compromise tries to gain a foothold, we need to be vigilant, sober, and on guard and speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15).

Remember the Lesson from Pergamos

Guard against the dilution of true doctrine by false teaching and authoritarian leaders. If that makes us intolerant in the eyes of some, then so be it. Christ will commend us just as He did Antipas, His “faithful martyr.”

4. THYATIRA — THE ADULTEROUS CHURCH (REVELATION 2:18-29)

There are Christians and churches today who feel a need to be relevant and all-inclusive when it comes to spiritual and moral boundaries. The ancient church in Thyatira must have felt that way as well. This church allowed an immoral individual to lead many others away from Christ (Revelation 2:20). What does Christ say to a church that is tolerating immorality in her midst?

THE THREAT OF DISTRESS (REVELATION 2:22)

When the prophetess refused the chance to repent, Christ warned of His judgment: “Indeed I will cast her into a sickbed.” Whether taken figuratively or literally, we should take those words as a warning. God is holy and will not abide rebellion forever. As Hebrews 10:31 says, “It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”

The Threat of Death (Revelation 2:22-23)

This warning is not just to the prophetess but also to “those who commit adultery with her.” They would find themselves in “great tribulation” unless they repented of their immorality.

The Message to the Christians (Revelation 2:24-25)

The message for those that stood their ground and did not engage in the cult of immorality is to “Hold fast what you have till I come” (verse 25.)

The Message to the Conquerors (Revelation 2:26-29)

This is a message to those who would choose to remain faithful to Christ “until the end”. Christ promised that they would reign and they would be raptured.

5. SARDIS — THE DEAD CHURCH (REVELATION 3:1-6)

With this church there are no commendations; Christ begins immediately with a denunciation: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.” The church was full of what we today would call “nominal Christians”—Christians in name only. Christ gives five specific directions for the church that is dead.

  • Be Sensitive to the Inroads of Sin in the Church (verse 2)
  • Be Supportive of Those Who Remain True to Christ in the Church (verses 2, 4)
  • Be Submissive to the Control of the Holy Spirit in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Subject to the Authority of God’s Word in the Church (verse 3)
  • Be Sorry and Repent for the Sin of the Church (verse 3)
There is hope for those that do what Christ has directed. He promises eternal life for those that repent and submit to Him (Revelation 3:5).

6. PHILADELPHIA — THE FAITHFUL CHURCH (REVELATION 3:7-13)

Christ commended the church in Philadelphia for four things: they have an open door, they have a little strength, the have kept the Word of God, and they have not denied the Lord. If we want to be commended by Christ like this church, we will go through open doors of ministry, depend on His strength, and be true to Him and to His Word. What does this mean for us today?

The Potential of the Local Church

If Christ is present and the church is committed to Him, there is going to be a door of opportunity for ministry. Every church should pray for those doors to be recognized, opened, and walked through.

The People of the Local Church

Many churches today think there are too few people, there is too little money, there are too few gifts, and there are too few opportunities. Remember this simple truth: When we are weak or little, Christ is strong and big. Building the Church of Jesus Christ is not up to us. We depend on the head of the Church to give His Body the strength we need.

The Principles of the Local Church

In verse 8, Christ summarizes three principles that apply to every Church: open doors for ministry, depending on Christ’s strength, and keeping the Word of God. Being faithful to God’s Word will lead to open doors for ministry and depending on Christ’s strength since they are both taught in the Bible. When the Word of God is the first priority, everything else will fall into place.

The Priorities of the Local Church

Because the Church of Jesus Christ is His Church, we are to boldly identify with Christ regardless of the cost. We must proclaim Christ as the Bible does—the only name whereby we can be saved (Acts 4:12).

7. LAODICEA — THE LUKEWARM CHURCH (REVELATION 3:14-22)

The church in Laodicea was lacking in every way. It was a compromising, conceited, and Christless church and Christ said that it made Him sick (Revelation 3:16). Today’s Church should take note; those words may apply to us as well. We would be well advised to apply this counsel to our lives and churches today.

The Prescription for Spiritual Poverty

The Laodiceans were rich, but their riches were worldly, not spiritual. They needed spiritual wealth which can only come through Christ (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Nakedness

Nakedness in Scripture is a metaphor for defeat and humiliation, therefore Christ counsels them to procure “white garments” from Him that the shame of their nakedness might be covered (Revelation 3:18).

The Prescription for Spiritual Blindness

The only salve for spiritual blindness is repentance and submission to the Lord Jesus Christ, asking Him for the fullness and wisdom of His Spirit to restore our spiritual sight.

The Prescription for Spiritual Compromise

There is only one word of counsel for the spiritually compromised: “Therefore be zealous and repent” (Revelation 3:19). God doesn’t love us only when we are doing the right things. He loves us all the time and He wants us to repent when we need to.

God loves us too much to leave us the way we are.

The Prescription for Their Christlessness

Christ has this to say for any without Him: “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me” (Revelation 3:20). When Christ is moved to the margins and pushed outside the Church altogether, He stands knocking and seeking to be invited back in.

Freed By Grace

Freed By Grace

Lately I have noticed that a number of my Calvinist friends are anathematizing Arminians for teaching something that they do not actually teach. Before I continue, I want to make clear that I am Calvinist, all five points but I am also a former adherent to Arminianism and I am currently a member of the Society of Evangelical Arminians. Why would I, a self admitted Calvinist, be there? Discussion; it is hard to understand someone’s point of view if you will not talk to them and so I pursue friendships with Arminians of both stripes, Evangelical and Wesleyan. I digress…

Many of my brethren go off on tangents regarding things they think Arminians teach that are not actually to be found in Arminian doctrine. In this case, they claim that Arminians teach that man has a free will to choose Christ. This is not quite correct. As a point of reference, when I refer to Arminian Soteriology, I will be referencing the document, the FACTS of Salvation (http://evangelicalarminians.org/the-facts-of-salvation-a-summary-of-arminian-theologythe-biblical-doctrines-of-grace/) , by the excellent theologian Brian Abasciano. Permit me a rather large quote from Brian,

“We speak of the will of man being freed by grace to emphasize that people do not have a naturally free will when it comes to believing in Jesus, but that God must graciously take action to free our wills if we are going to be able to believe in his Son whom he sent for the salvation of all. When our wills are freed, we can either accept God’s saving grace in faith or reject it to our own ruin. In other words, God’s saving grace is resistible, which is to say that he dispenses his calling, drawing, and convicting grace (which would bring us to salvation if responded to with faith) in such a way that we may reject it. We become free to believe in Jesus and free to reject him. The resistibility of God’s saving grace is clearly shown in Scripture, as some of the passages already mentioned testify. Indeed, the Bible is sadly filled with examples of people spurning the grace of God offered to them. In Isaiah 5:1-7, God actually indicates that he could not have done anything more to get Israel to produce good fruit. But if irresistible grace is something that God dispenses, then he could have easily provided that and infallibly brought Israel to bear good fruit. Many passages in the Old Testament talk about how God extended his grace to Israel over and over again but they repeatedly resisted and rejected him (e.g., 2 Kgs 17:7-23; Jer 25:3-11; 26:1-9; 35:1-19). 2 Chronicles 36:15-16 mentions that God’s persistent reaching out to his people, which was rejected, was motivated by compassion for them. But this could only be if the grace he extended them enabled them to repent and avoid his judgment yet was resistible since they did indeed resist it and suffered God’s judgment. Nehemiah 9 presents a striking example of Old Testament testimony to God continually reaching out to Israel with his grace that was met with resistance and rejection. We do not have space to review the entire passage (but the reader is encouraged to do so), but will quote some key elements and draw attention to some important points. Nehemiah 9:20a says, “You [God] gave your good Spirit to instruct them [Israel]” and is followed by an extensive catalogue of gracious divine actions toward Israel in vv. 9:20b-25. Then 9:26-31 says,

26 Nevertheless, they were disobedient and rebelled against you and cast your law behind their back and killed your prophets, who had warned them in order to turn them back to you, and they committed great blasphemies. 27 Therefore you gave them into the hand of their enemies, who made them suffer. And in the time of their suffering they cried out to you and you heard them from heaven, and according to your great mercies you gave them saviors who saved them from the hand of their enemies. 28 But after they had rest they did evil again before you, and you abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they had dominion over them. Yet when they turned and cried to you, you heard from heaven, and many times you delivered them according to your mercies. 29 And you warned them in order to turn them back to your law. Yet they acted presumptuously and did not obey your commandments, but sinned against your rules, which if a person does them, he shall live by them, and they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck and would not obey.30 Many years you bore with them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear. Therefore you gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands. 31 Nevertheless, in your great mercies you did not make an end of them or forsake them, for you are a gracious and merciful God.

The text affirms that God gave his Spirit to instruct Israel (9:20a) and that God sent his prophets and warned Israel for the purpose of turning them back to him. God purposed his actions to turn Israel back to him/his Law, yet they rebelled. This shows God allowing his purpose to not come to pass because of allowing human beings a choice of whether to yield to his grace or not. Intriguingly, the word translated “bore” in Neh 9:30 uses a Hebrew word that usually means something like “draw, drag, pull” and gets translated in the Greek translation of the Old Testament used by the early church with the same word used in John 6:44a (“No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him”). A better translation of Neh 9:30 would be, “Many years you drew them and warned them by your Spirit through your prophets. Yet they would not give ear.” The text speaks of a resistible divine drawing that seeks to bring people to the Lord in repentance. Stephen also furnished a good example of the resistibility of grace when he said to his fellow Jews, “You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did not your fathers persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it” (Acts 7:51-53). Luke 7:30 tells us that “the Pharisees and the lawyers rejected the purpose of God for themselves.” And Jesus, who spoke to people for the purpose of saving them (John 5:34), yet found that they refused to come to him to have life (John 5:40), and who came to turn every Jew from their sin (Acts 3:26; see the treatment of this text under “Atonement for All” above), yet clearly found that not every Jew believed in him, lamented over his people’s unwillingness to receive his grace, saying, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you would not!” (Luke 13:34; see further Ezek 24:13; Matt 23:37; Rom 2:4-5; Zech 7:11-14; Heb 10:29; 12:15; Jude 4; 2 Cor 6:1-2; Ps 78:40-42).

Arminians differ among themselves about some of the details of how God’s prevenient grace works, probably because Scripture itself does not give a detailed description. Some Arminians believe that God continually enables all people to believe at all times as a benefit of the atonement. Others believe that God only bestows the ability to believe in Christ to people at select times according to his good pleasure and wisdom. Still others believe that prevenient grace generally accompanies any of God’s specific movements toward people, rendering them able to respond positively to such movements as God would have them. But all Arminians agree that people are incapable of believing in Jesus apart from the intervention of God’s grace and that God does bestow his grace that draws toward salvation on all morally responsible people. With respect to the gospel, seventeenth century Arminian Bishop, Laurence Womack, well said, “on all those to whom the word of faith is preached, the Holy Spirit bestows, or is ready to bestow, so much grace as is sufficient, in fitting degrees, to bring on their conversion.”

The concept of “freed will” raises a broader question of whether human beings have free will generally, apart from the realm of pleasing the Lord and doing spiritual good (again, people are not free in this area unless God empowers them). The Arminian answer is yes. People have free will in all sorts of things. By this we mean that when people are free with respect to an action, then they can at least either do the action or refrain from doing it. People often have genuine choices and are therefore correspondingly able to make choices. When free, the specific choice someone makes has not been efficiently predetermined or necessitated by anyone or anything other than the person himself. In fact, if the person’s action has been rendered necessary by someone else, and the person cannot avoid doing the action, then he has no choice in the matter and he is not free in it. And if he does not have a choice, then neither can it properly be said that he chooses. But Scripture very clearly indicates that people have choices and make choices about many things (e.g., Deut 23:16; 30:19; Josh 24:15; 2 Sam 24:12; 1 Kings 18:23, 25; 1 Chron 21:10; Acts 15:22, 25; Phil 1:22). Moreover, it explicitly speaks of human free will (Exod 35:29; 36:3; Lev 7:16; 22:18, 21, 23; 23:38; Num 15:3; 29:39; Deut 12:6, 17; 16:10; 2 Chron 31:14; 35:8; Ezra 1:4, 6; 3:5; 7:16; 8:28; Ps 119:108; Ezek 46:12; Amos 4:5; 2 Cor 8:3; Philemon 1:14; cf. 1 Cor 7:37) and attests to human beings violating God’s will, showing that he does not predetermine their will or actions in sin. Furthermore, the fact that God holds people accountable for their choices and actions implies that those choices and actions were free. Nevertheless, it is important to note that Arminians do not believe in unlimited free will. There are many things in which we are not free. We cannot choose to fly by flapping our arms for example. Nor do we deny that our free actions are influenced by all sorts of causes. But when we are free, those causes are resistible and we have a genuine choice in what we do and are not caused necessarily to act in a certain way by God or anyone or anything other than ourselves.

Finally, the concept of freed will also implies that God has ultimate and absolute free will. For it is God who supernaturally frees the will of sinners by his grace to believe in Christ, which is a matter of God’s own free will and sovereignty. God is omnipotent and sovereign, having the power and authority to do anything he wants and being unconstrained in his own actions and will by anything outside of himself and his own judgment (Gen 18:14; Exod 3:14; Job 41:11; Ps 50:10-12; Isaiah 40:13-14; Jer 32:17, 27; Matt 19:26; Luke 1:37; Acts 17:24-25; Rom 11:34-36; Eph 3:20; 2 Cor 6:18; Rev 1:8; 4:11). Nothing can happen unless he either does it or allows it. He is the Almighty Creator and God of the universe to whom we owe all love, worship, glory, honor, thanks, praise, and obedience. Therefore, it is good for us to remember that behind human freed will stands the One who frees the will, and that this is a matter of his glorious, free, and sovereign grace, totally unmerited on our part, and provided to us by the love and mercy of God. Praise his holy name!”

In candor, I do not find in needful to elaborate on what our learned commentator has written. Instead, I would like to summarize/paraphrase:

  • Both the Calvinist and the Arminian believe that man is under Total Depravity (T in TULIP and T in FACTS)
  • Both would believe that it is in act of God’s grace that allows man to come to Christ.
  • Our Arminian brethren believe that the Holy Spirit has freed the individual’s will to respond to the Gospel Call
  • We disagree on whether or not grace is resistible but we do not disagree that it is God who elects and the Holy Spirit who administers the act of grace.
  • Calvinists and Arminians agree that nothing can happen unless God either does it or allows it.
  • We agree that God is the Almighty Creator and God of the universe to whom we owe all love, worship, glory, honor, thanks, praise, and obedience.
  • Like Calvinists, all Arminians agree that people are incapable of believing in Jesus apart from the intervention of God’s grace and that God does bestow his grace that draws toward salvation on all morally responsible people

There are points of Arminian doctrine that I vehemently disagree with, perhaps even to the point of calling them heterodox but I am loath to call them heretical. The charge of heresy is the most serious charge that can be leveled because true heresy damns the soul eternally and I do not find that the Arminian position on salvation meets the level of damnable heresy, I just disagree with it.

 

At the end of the day, there will be Arminians in Heaven and I hope to get close enough to the Throne of Grace to meet Tozer and some of his brethren. If we forget that Arminians also have a place in Heaven, we insult the very One who died to redeem them unto Himself.

 

Until next time, grace to you.

A Brief Intro to Prevenient Grace

A Brief Intro to Prevenient Grace

In response to some things I have seen on social media lately, I want to address Prevenient Grace. We will deal with three primary questions: What is Prevenient Grace? Is Prevenient Grace a biblical idea? Is Prevenient Grace distinctly an Arminian doctrine?

Let’s begin with a definition of Prevenient Grace. We will quote the definition found at Theopedia.

“Prevenient grace refers to the grace of God in a person’s life that precedes conversion (or salvation). The word “prevenient,” considered an archaic term today, was common in the King James English and simply means to “go before” or “precede.” Likewise, it is sometimes called “preventing” grace (from prevenient) with the same meaning.

  • In Reformed Theology, it is the particular grace which precedes human decision — a salvific grace prior to, and without reference to, anything we have done.
  • In Arminianism and Wesleyanism, it is a grace that offsets the noetic effects of the Fall, restores man’s free will, and thus enables every person to choose to come to Christ or not. There are two forms of this view:
    • Universal prevenient grace — This grace is extended to every person.
    • Individualistic prevenient grace — This grace is only extended to those who come under the intelligent hearing of the gospel, and not to every person.

We can see, already, that Prevenient Grace is a doctrinal position of both Calvinists (Reformed Theology) and our Arminian brethren. Permit me to expand for a moment on the Calvinist side of things: Prevenient Grace is, literally, grace that is preceding, but preceding what? This is actually the grace that we refer to as being irresistible. God, in an act of preceding grace, elects, calls, and regenerates those whom He has chosen.”

 

In Arminian Soteriology, Prevenient Grace is referred to in the F of the F.A.C.T.S of salvation. The Arminian Theologian would say that we are freed by the Grace of God to respond with an act of our own volition and “choose” to respond to the Gospel call.

 

The sad irony is that most of my teaching brethren do not know their theology well enough to realize that the two perspectives are so closely related that they are most likely two halves of the same sandwich…

 

In both Calvinism and Arminianism, saving grace is 100% a choice and act of God. In both cases Prevenient Grace precedes regeneration and justification. The major question, and point of disagreement, is the effect of Prevenient Grace on the will i.e. does Prevenient Grace restore man’s free will and thus allow said grace to be resisted or is Prevenient Grace irresistible as the Calvinist teaches.

 

As a Calvinist, I do not believe grace can be resisted. Since it is antecedent to salvation and a corollary of election, Prevenient Grace cannot be resisted.

 

Prevenient Grace is entirely Biblical and it is not a distinctly Arminian doctrine. For further study, I would refer you to the Foundations of Doctrine Series.

Lord’s Day Preparation: Psalm 47:1=4

Lord’s Day Preparation: Psalm 47:1=4

In returning to our Lord’s Day Preparation, we turn to Psalm 47:1-4 (NASB). A psalm triumphant and joyful, it reminds us to celebrate the Lord with vigor

“O clap your hands, all peoples; Shout to God with the voice of joy. For the Lord Most High is to be feared, A great King over all the earth. He subdues peoples under us And nations under our feet. He chooses our inheritance for us, The glory of Jacob whom He loves.”

Though primarily speaking of Elect Israel, the Psalmist reminds us that we celebrate God primarily for His sovereignty. The Lord is Melech ha’Olam (King of all the Earth). He is our strength, our elector and redeemer. It is the Lord who is a mighty warrior, subduing the enemies of His people. The Psalmist tells us that God chooses our inheritance for us and we know that the Lord Himself is our inheritance.

Let us pray:

Father, we celebrate your presence among us. You are our glory and the lifter of our heads. It is our joy to be the sheep of your pasture and to serve You, our glorious King.

Rapture vs Glorious Appearing

Rapture vs Glorious Appearing

Differences Between Our Blessed Hope (the Rapture) and the Glorious Appearing (2nd Coming)

 

Before we look at some differences between the Rapture and the 2nd Coming, we need to look at 2 terms that the Bible uses for the event we call the Rapture of the Church.

 

The first is paralambano: Dr. Mounce provides some excellent information for us

Dictionary:

παραλαμβάνω

Greek transliteration:

paralambanō

Simplified transliteration:

paralambano

Principal Parts:

παραλήμψομαι, παρέλαβον, -, -, παρελήμφθην

Numbers

Strong’s number:

3880

GK Number:

4161

Glossary:

to take with; take charge of; to receive, accept

Definition:

pr. to take to one’s side; to take, receive to one’s self, Mt. 1:20; Jn. 14:3; to take with one’s self, Mt. 2:13, 14, 20, 21; 4:5, 8; to receive in charge or possession, Col. 4:17; Heb. 12:28; to receive as a matter of instruction, Mk. 7:4; 1 Cor. 11:23; 15:3; to receive, admit, acknowledge, Jn. 1:11; 1 Cor. 15:1; Col. 2:6; pass. to be carried off, Mt. 24:40, 41; Lk. 17:34, 35, 36

 

The 2nd is harpazo. Again learning from Dr. Bill Mounce:

Dictionary:

ἁρπάζω

Greek transliteration:

harpazō

Simplified transliteration:

harpazo

Principal Parts:

ἁρπάσω, ἥρπασα, -, ἤρπακμαι, ἡρπάσθην ορ ἡρπάγην

Numbers

Strong’s number:

726

GK Number:

773

Glossary:

to catch, steal, carry off

Definition:

to seize, as a wild beast, Jn. 10:12; take away by force, snatch away, Mt. 13:19; Jn. 10:28, 29; Acts 23:10; Jude 23; met. to seize on with avidity, eagerly, appropriate, Mt. 11:12; to convey away suddenly, transport hastily, Jn. 6:15

 

I would add 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17. We will be harpazo (caught away to meet the Lord in the air.)

 

Objections to the Rapture:

 

A very common objection is that the word Rapture is not in the NT. That isn’t accurate. Rapture is the anglicization of the Latin, rapturus which is the translation of harpazo from Greek to Latin. If you look to the notes above, there are at least 7 instances of harpazo in the NT.

Another objection is that Dispensationalist teach an “escapist rapture.” No kidding. Exactly where is the “blessed hope” for a believer who is going to go through the tribulation. Of course Christians will escape the time of wrath. (1Th. 1:101Th. 5:9). Let us not forget that the tribulation is “even the time of Jacob’s trouble but he shall be saved out of it (Jeremiah 30:7)”

Rapture Second Coming
Christ comes for His own (John 14:3; 1Th. 5:28; 2Th. 2:1). Christ comes with His own (1Th. 3:13; Jude 1:14; Rev. Rev. 19:14+).1
Christ comes in the air (1Th. 4:17). Christ comes to the earth (Zec. 14:4; Acts 1:11).2
Christ claims His bride (1Th. 4:16-17). Christ comes with His bride (Rev. 19:6-14+).3
Removal of believers (1Th. 4:17). Manifestation of Christ (Mal. 4:2).4
Only His own see Him (1Th. 4:13-18). Every eye shall see Him (Rev. 1:7+).5
Tribulation begins (2Th. 1:6-9). Millennial Kingdom begins (Rev. 20:1-7+).6
Saved are delivered from wrath (1Th. 1:101Th. 5:9). Unsaved experience the wrath of God (Rev. 6:12-17+).7
No signs precede rapture (1Th. 5:1-3). Signs precede Second Coming (Luke 21:11, Luke 21:15).8
Focus is Lord and Church (1Th. 4:13-18). Focus is Israel and kingdom (Mat. 24:14).9
World is deceived (2Th. 2:3-12). Satan is bound so he cannot deceive (Rev. 20:1-2+).10
Believers depart the earth (1Th. 4:15-17).11 Unbelievers are taken away from the earth (Mat. 24:37-41).12
Unbelievers remain on earth. Believers remain on earth (Mat. 25:34).13
No mention of establishing Christ’s Kingdom on earth. Christ has come to set up His Kingdom on earth (Mat. 25:31, Mat. 25:34).14
Christians taken to the Father’s house (John 14:1-3). Resurrected saints do not see the Father’s house (Rev. 20:4+).15
Imminent—could happen at any moment.  Cannot occur for at least 7 years.16
Precedes the career of the man of sin. (2Th. 2:1-3). Terminates the career of the man of sin (Rev. 19:20+).

 

Notes

1 Thomas Ice and Timothy J. Demy, The Return (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1999), 101-102.

2 Ibid.

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

5 Ibid.

6 Ibid.

7 Ibid.

8 [Ibid.] [J. Dwight Pentecost, Things to Come: A Study in Biblical Eschatology (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1958), 207]

9 Ice, The Return, 101-102.

10 Ibid.

11 A critical problem for the posttribulational rapture view is its inability to explain the Sheep and Goat Judgment of Matthew Mat. 25:31-46. If all believers are caught up during the Second Coming of Christ at the end of the Tribulation, then only unbelievers are left upon the earth. Yet when Jesus gathers the nations upon His arrival and kingdom (Mtt. Mat. 25:31) sheep are found in their midst. These sheep demonstrate their faith by their works and enter the Millennial Kingdom. When did they come to faith if all the faithful were caught up to meet Him at His return? The solution is found in recognizing the sheep as saints which came to faith after the Rapture of the Church and survive the Tribulation to populate the Millennial Kingdom. See Who Populates the Millennial Kingdom?

12 Richard L. Mayhue, “Why a Pretribulational Rapture,” in Richard L. Mayhue, ed., The Master’s Seminary Journal, vol. 13 no. 1 (Sun Valley, CA: The Master’s Seminary, Spring 2002), 247.

13 Ibid.

14 Ibid.

15 Tim LaHaye and Thomas Ice, Charting the End Times (Eugene, OR: Harvest House Publishers, 2001), 112.

16 Ibid.

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship: Palm Sunday Reading

Preparing Our Hearts to Worship: Palm Sunday Reading

This week’s Lord’s Day Preparation will be a little different. Instead of a Psalm and devotional thought, we are going to provide the portion of Luke’s Gospel which recounts Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem to begin Passion Week. I encourage you to meditate on this Scripture and to offer thanks to the Lord for the blessing of redemption.

 

Luke 19:28-44English Standard Version (ESV)

The Triumphal Entry

28 And when he had said these things, he went on ahead, going up to Jerusalem. 29 When he drew near to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount that is called Olivet, he sent two of the disciples, 30 saying, “Go into the village in front of you, where on entering you will find a colt tied, on which no one has ever yet sat. Untie it and bring it here. 31 If anyone asks you, ‘Why are you untying it?’ you shall say this: ‘The Lord has need of it.’” 32 So those who were sent went away and found it just as he had told them. 33 And as they were untying the colt, its owners said to them, “Why are you untying the colt?” 34 And they said, “The Lord has need of it.” 35 And they brought it to Jesus, and throwing their cloaks on the colt, they set Jesus on it. 36 And as he rode along, they spread their cloaks on the road. 37 As he was drawing near—already on the way down the Mount of Olives—the whole multitude of his disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen, 38 saying, “Blessed is the King who comes in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!” 39 And some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, rebuke your disciples.” 40 He answered, “I tell you, if these were silent, the very stones would cry out.”

 

Let us pray:

Jesus, we have no words fitting to thank you for taking our punishment at Calvary. Your grace can’t be measured and we will, forever, marvel that you would come into your creation to redeem a people unto yourself. As we prepare to celebrate your death and resurrection, may we always remember that it is only by grace that we are allowed to enter into your kingdom and may we always be grateful. Amen

 

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

ESV Pastor’s Bible Review

 

If there is one organization that is committed to resourcing the local church, and especially pastors, it is Crossway. Crossway publishes dozens of different editions of the ESV Bible, Commentaries and other academic texts. Now, they have brought to the market, in a single volume, the ideal resource for the minister who is always on the move, the ESV Pastor’s Bible.

Note: Crossway provided this Bible for review free of charge in exchange for an honest review.

A word from Crossway about the ESV Pastor’s Bible

“About the ESV Pastor’s Bible

A pastor depends on the wisdom of Scripture for all aspects of ministry. What truths can be relied upon in seasons of celebration and in those of sorrow? What does the Bible have to say to us about marriage, sickness, and death? The ESV Pastor’s Bible was designed to help pastors draw wisdom from God’s Word for specific situations requiring pastoral care, such as baptisms, weddings, hospital visits, or funerals. In the front matter, back matter, and throughout the text, the Pastor’s Bible contains excerpts written by pastors offering practical help for crafting a sermon, planning a special service, leading congregational prayer, conducting premarital counseling, visiting the sick, and resolving conflict within the church. Compiled under the guidance of seasoned pastors R. Kent Hughes and Douglas Sean O’Donnell, this substantial but portable edition is a great all-in-one resource for the on-the-ground pastor.

Features:

  • Double-column, paragraph format
  • 2 daily Bible reading plans
  • Excerpts from experienced pastors
  • Smyth-sewn binding
  • Packaging: Slipcase”

I am reviewing the cloth over board edition. Admittedly, I find the existence of this version to be a little odd; I almost never see a pastor carrying a hardcover Bible. I suspect this edition is offered for bi-vocational pastors who may be on a tight budget and it is good that Crossway is considering the pastor who needs an excellent resource but may have limited dollars to commit to gathering resources.

Paper, Font, Readability

I am quite impressed with this Bible’s readability. The font is a generous 9-point and is considered by some of Crossway’s competitors to be a large print font. The Pastor’s Bible finds itself in between the ESV Thinline Reference Bible (8-point) and the Large Print Thinline (10.5-Point). Overall, it is very comfortable on the eyes.

 

Part of the ease of use comes from the paper, it is just a little bit off-white and very opaque. Add to that the fact that Crossway’s printer uses a very deep and rich black and you get one of the easiest text blocks to read. Circling back for a second, the “off-whiteness” of the paper plays a very important role in why this Bible is so easy to read- there is no glare. Here in Arizona, the afternoon sun is very bright and severe which makes reading crisp white pages a bit of a challenge and with the particular paper in use, here, I wonder if maybe someone from Crossway has spent some time in the Southwestern U.S.

Binding, Ribbons, and Cover

There are 3 cover options available: Genuine Leather, Cloth over Board, and TrueTone. Because of the sewn binding, and one of the 3 cover options should last for a very long time.

Crossway provides two ribbons, one for Old Testament and one for New

Minister’s Helps

Located in between the New Testament and the Old, you will find a section of Pastor’s helps. Essentially, what Crossway has done is to take a Minister’s Service Manual and put it right into the middle of the Bible. There are sample weddings, sample funerals, baptisms (infant & believer’s), communion services, etc.

Here is a list of the helps you will find:

Invocations. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Prayers of Confession . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Announcements of Assurance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Historical Christian Creeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Baby Dedication. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Infant Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Liturgy for Believer’s Baptism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Communion. . . . . . . . . . .. . . . . . . . Wedding Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Funeral Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Graveside Service. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Benedictions. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

 

It would be hard to overstate how useful theses resources are. In addition, you will find helpful articles for pastors covering such topics as praying for the sick and cultivating discipling relationships.

 

Overall Thoughts

I really like the ESV Pastor’s Bible. I think it is one of the more useful tools Crossway has produced and I highly recommend to any pastor.

 

 

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

CBP Classic Study Bible Review

 

If you’re a Baptist, and chances are good that you are, you have probably heard of the Classic Study Bible albeit under its other name, the Old Scofield Bible. First published in 1909, the Scofield Reference Bible has been a mainstay in Baptist and other circles and for good reason; the Scofield and the Thompson Chain Reference, which came out around the same time, are the oldest “study” Bibles available and the longest currently in production. What sets the Scofield apart it that it was the first that offered commentary on the Bible.

I mentioned in a previous review that Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is an endeavor of the local church in Michigan and that they offer their Bibles at cost, which is a marvel in today’s money driven society. I have had a small amount of interaction with CBP staff and I found them to be knowledgeable, friendly, and generally seemed like the people you want to eat fried chicken with (It’s the official bird of Baptists, fried chicken). A note before we get into the review: CBP did not provide this Bible for review nor did they solicit a review; this is my own endeavor.

 

THE REVIEW

Translation Choice

CBP publishes in a single English translation, the King James Version (KJV). Even though I read other translations besides just the KJV, I am pleased to see CBP specialize in a single translation; I find it makes for better overall quality because you can focus on providing what customers need rather than vetting a translation. One point about the choice of KJV: Many people say that the KJV is not copyrighted in the US and so makes for a better translation choice. This is actually incorrect; The US honors the Crown Copyright in the United Kingdom (Elizabeth II currently holds the copyright and granted letters patent to Cambridge) even though to try to enforce it would be a logistical nightmare. When you see the term Authorised Version or Authorised King James Version, you see that because the Official King James Version is being used as is the case here.

Leather Cover

As was the case with the Thompson Chain that I reviewed earlier, the Classic Study Bible came to me in black ironed calfskin. There is an alternate choice of Top Grain Cowhide but, in my opinion, the calfskin is to be preferred. You may order in black, brown, burgundy, read, two-tone (black and brown) and thumb indexing is an option. I have no clue where CBP gets their leather but it is some of the softest most luxurious leather you will ever touch; I love the feel of it.

Two other publishers offer the Classic KJV Study Bible, Oxford University Press, the original publisher and copyright holder of the Classic KJV Study Bible and Barbour Books, neither of which offer calfskin. Barbour offers hardback and bonded leather while OUP offers bonded or Genuine Leather (read pigskin). That fact, alone, would be reason enough for me to endorse the CBP version over the others but lets continue.

Paper and Font

CBP offers a much larger font vs OUP and Barbour. OUP and Barbour use an 9-point font for the text and an 8-point for the notes while CBP offers the following for font size: Bible Text – 10 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt, Footnotes – 9 pt. I have both of the other versions and I can tell you with absolute certainty that this version will replace the other two.

CBP’s paper is bright white and very opaque making this Bible very easy to read indeed. The black is rich, deep, and bold and the red jumps off the page. Many publishers screw up the red and you end up with pink; I am happy to say that this is not the case here. The red is exquisitely done.

Sewn Binding

This is one feature that is non-negotiable for me; I live in Arizona and a glued binding would melt if I happened to forget it in my car. A sewn binding guarantees a lifetime of use and also guarantees that it will lay flat anywhere you open the text. The fact that CBP can deliver a sewn binding on every Bible they sell tells me that other publishers have no excuse.

Bonus Feature: Wide Margins

This is not advertised as a wide-margin edition but it has wide margins anyway. Why is this bonus feature important? It is in the margins that your Bible truly becomes yours. All of your study notes, perhaps some prayers and so on; it all goes here and makes your Bible uniquely yours. It is true that there are literally millions of Classic Study Bibles around the world, from all three publishers, but no two are identical and the wide margins guarantee that.

Important Features of the Classic Study Bible

Why do you want a Classic Study Bible? It offers you

  • An unparalleled, subject-based topical chain reference system that will enable you to follow major themes throughout the entirety of Scripture
  • Enlightening introductions, complete outline subheadings and a complete chronology for each book of the Bible
  • Illuminating, same-page explanatory notes
  • Comprehensive indexes to annotations and subject chain references which permit thorough topical study
  • A detailed study Bible concordance with integrated subject index and dictionary of Scripture proper names
  • 12 pages of accurate, full-color Bible maps (with index of places and natural features) that illustrate the biblical world

Final Thoughts

Buy this Bible. Do it today. If you have never seen the inside of a Scofield, you are missing out and that is irrespective of how you view Dispensational Theology. The Classic KJV Study Bible from CBP is the best edition of the Scofield Reference Bible that is available today. To say anything else is gilding the lilly.

 

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

CBP Large Print Thompson Chain Bible Review

 

 

Thompson Chain Reference Bible (TCR). It is one of the top two pure study Bibles that you can buy today. When I say it is a pure study Bible, I mean that it is free of any commentary and comes as close to not having any denominational bias as is possible, which is an amazing feat because Fran Thompson was a Methodist Minister.  The TCR has been around for a little over an hundred years and my family has trusted TCR for almost 60 of those years. My grandfather studied and taught from a TCR and, even though it is not my primary preaching Bible, I also study from the TCR; nearly every pastor that I know references it as well. We will talk about why TCR is preferable in a minute. Since we are doing our first review of a Bible from Church Bible Publishers, I want to give you some background and then we will talk about the features of the Bible. (Note: CBP did not provide this Bible and they did not solicit this review.)

Based in Cadillac, Michigan, Church Bible Publishers (CBP) is a true not for profit Bible publisher. CBP sells their Bibles at cost to make it more readily available to average Christians. In addition to making high quality, low cost Bibles available, CBP also provides Bibles for jail/prison ministry and they also support World Missions/Bearing Precious Seed to provide Bibles overseas. I would liken CBP to my dear friends at the Trinitarian Bible Society and I would love to see them cooperate since they have the same stated goals and both publish some amazing editions of the KJV Bible.

Now the review…

 

Translation Choice

CBP only publishes the King James Version of the Bible. Because they use the Cambridge Text Block and not the Oxford, they can rightfully say that they publish the Authorised Version (I used the Anglican spelling on purpose as Cambridge is Her Majesty’s publisher and holds letters patent to print the KJV.) I will say two things about the choice to only print KJV and I am sure that I will anger some of you in so saying: 1. I am not a King James Onlyist which means I do read other translations. 2. I am grateful that CBP has chosen to only publish the KJV. If you are scratching your head right now, those are not contradictory statements. I love the KJV and read from it often but I also read other translations. More importantly, when you focus on a single translation, you can focus more on putting a quality, enjoyable product into the hands of your customers. I say, regularly, that the entire Bible experience should be a joy and that includes the choice of translation and publisher.

Cover Material

The Large Print TCR that I was able to acquire is bound in black ironed calfskin. “Ironed” means that the grain has been pressed out and that it is very smooth. To give you an example of how smooth, I told a friend it is like touching your face after a professional hot lather shave. It is luxuriously soft and nearly as touchable as velvet or silk. I love the way the leather feels and smells. There is nothing quite like a nice leather and CBP has found excellent stock.

Binding

All CBP Bibles have a sewn binding; this fact is so important that I endeavor to not purchase any Bibles that have a glued binding. By using a sewn binding you guarantee some very important things will happen. You guarantee that the Bible will last a lifetime (my grandfather’s Thompson lasted him 40 years and 17 years later it is still going strong for me. You also guarantee that the book itself will open and lay flat regardless of where you open the Bible.

Paper and Ink

The paper is a crisp white and gloriously opaque. I am not sure how CBP does it, but it looks as though they have a darker ink that is much easier on the eyes. Even in the severe Arizona sun, I had no issues reading my TCR.

Price-point

The large print TCR is listed as $85.00 USD on the CBP website. This is important because it is nearly $30 lower in cost than the top tier offering from Kirkbride, the normal publisher of the TCR and Kirkbride does not even offer calfskin.

Warranty

Not finding any warranty information on the website or in the Bible itself, I called CBP to ask about the warranty. It was explained to me that they handle each warranty claim on a case by case basis to ensure that each customer has the best overall experience possible.

TCR Edition and Features

CBP is printing the 5th Improved Edition of the Thompson Chain. Each TCR includes the following features:

* Over 100,000 topical references * Over 8,000 Chain Topics * Updated Archaeological Supplement with photos and maps * Outline studies of each book of the Bible * Journey maps and Bible harmonies * Biblical Atlas * Bible Book Outlines

Detailed Features of a TCR (From my review of the NASB hardcover)

  1. Every Thompson Chain Bible has over 8,000 completed chain topics. These topics take every important verse of scripture and codify it into topics that can be traced from Genesis to Revelation. Operating under the principle that Scripture interprets Scripture, these chains take you through each topic in such a way as to allow the Bible to illuminate itself and guide you into deeper understanding of the Bible.
  2. Outline Study/Analysis of each Book. In the Helps Section, found in the back of the Bible, every book of the Bible is presented in outline form. Each outline serves as an excellent guide to expository study of the Bible.
  3. Updated Archaeological Supplement. The Archaeological Supplement brings the Bible to life in a new and exciting way. Each article is keyed to the Thompson Chain Reference System allowing you to see how recent discoveries support and affirm the truths of the Bible.
  4. Character Outline Studies. Character studies not only highlight the major players of the Bible, they also provide background information as to the condition of the society at their time, and how the character relates to God and to redemptive history.
  5. Harmony of the Gospels. The Harmony of the Gospels Supplement is as straightforward as it is useful. Each story from the life of Christ is listed along with the corresponding passages from the Gospels. This is an excellent resource for an in-depth study of the life of Christ.
  6. Portraits of Christ.  Portraits of Christ provide 7 different views of the Lord’scharacter as seen by Isaiah, Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, and Revelation.
  7. Bible Atlas (13 maps). Many of the maps in the Bible Atlas are keyed to the Thompson Chain. You not only get to picture the lands of the Bible, you can also easily trace the journey of many of the key players.

 

 

Product Specifics

Weight 3.60 lbs
Dimensions 10.75 x 8 x 1.5 in
Products Bibles
Size Large Size
Cover Type Ironed Calfskin
Cover Styles 1 Piece
Cover Colors Black
Features Concordance, Large Print, Maps with Index, Red Letter, Self-pronouncing text, Study Bible
Font Size Bible Text – 9 pt, Center Reference – 6-7 pt
Margin Size Bottom – 0.25″, Inside – 0.5″, Outside – 0.625″, Top – 0.5″
Thumb Indexed No
Add Gift Box No

Final Thoughts and should you buy this Bible?

How could I not recommend that you buy this Bible? The TCR is one of the best study Bibles that you can buy and, unless Cambridge, Allan, or Schuyler release one in goatskin, this is the best TCR you can get. TCR is also available from CBP in a “midsize” which we would normally call the standard size TCR, no doubt in the same high quality leather. If you want the best study tool you can have and you want it in a format that will last a lifetime, this is the TCR that you want.