Many well-meaning preachers and teachers who have taught the Word of God for years are finding out that certain passages do not mean what they thought they meant; either due to a lack of education, inappropriate training, misunderstanding, misinterpretation, or even a presumption concerning what the English appears to say, when the Greek means something different.
This essay is not meant to be an indictment of any individual, denomination, or organization; but is presented in light of the fact that the author has also been guilty of teaching all of the below documented Scriptural misapplications or misrepresentations; therefore, this essay is meant to shed the light of correction concerning the teaching of God’s precious Word, not accusation.
This essay attempts to address these difficult areas by meeting two pertinent goals:
Goal 1) Attempts to address the goal of feeding believers the “Word of God,” but more importantly by empowering them to be able to feed themselves by presenting tools for believers to learn in order to become better fishermen themselves, by going deeper than simply reading the plain text of the English translation (which can sometimes be misunderstood in the transition according to the diversity of the grammar from Greek into English, or due to a lack of knowledge concerning idioms, Figures of Speech, or cultural insights), into actually studying the language of the “Word of God;” in an effort to explore the meat of the Word with the intention of “rightly dividing the word of truth.”1
And in so doing, hopefully also aid in creating a greater desire to search out (as the Bereans who: “… searched out the Scriptures daily, whether those things be so” ~ Acts 17:11) God’s Word in more detail, even if only to dispute those things which are presented on this website which may seem unusual or new.
Goal 2) Deals with misused, abused or misunderstood Scriptures; specific examples (located on the second essay of this series, “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth… ~ Part 2“, see the section entitled: “Areas of Abuse” ~ Link), which exhibit incorrect and inappropriate application of passages, used many times outside of their contextual application, or grammatical narrative; wherein the Word of God has not been “rightly divided” (broken down, defined and understood).
This second goal of identifying the specific type of interpretation mistakes related to particular Scriptures, which have either been used by misapplication, or have been misunderstood; are presented so that they will not be replicated concerning other Scriptures.
In an effort to address this first goal, the method used is presenting the following commonly held beliefs and insights concerning hermeneutics (means: “the study of Biblical interpretation”), which pertain to considerations concerning fundamental rules of Protestant interpretation.
Also listed are specific credible Biblical tools, such as; Commentaries, Dictionaries, Word Studies, and other resources (please see the “Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth… ~ Addendum Page”, Addendum #1 entitled: “Bible Study Resources” for an expanded list, including: Bible Commentaries, Bible Encyclopedias, Bible Dictionaries, Hebrew & Greek Word Studies, Interlinears, Lexicons, Grammatical Code Resources, Hermeneutical volumes, Theological Dictionaries, Bible Surveys, Biblical Doctrine Editions, Cultural Insights Guides; references on: Typology, Figures of Speech, Biblical Symbols, and Biblical Counseling Manuals ~ Link); all meant to aid in gaining knowledge in order to apply an orthodox (means: “right opinion,” or “correct thinking”, and is understood as “the accepted or traditional historic Christian faith, made up of its doctrines“) Biblical exegesis (means: an in-depth systematic examination of a text ~ Greek: “to draw out”) of God’s Word, especially in regards to Greek Grammar of the New Testament, which will be an area of major consideration in this essay and blog site.
The rules of grammar for Greek are different from those in the English, creating problems in sentence structure where words become difficult to translate as they relate to each other, and still maintain their original meaning.
Linguistics, while complicated, can assist us in untangling the differences between the sentence structure and meaning of the original language and translation into the English.
We must also understand that there are some Greek (as well as Hebrew, Aramaic, and Latin) words which do not exist in the English, which therefore necessitate more English words in attempting to convey their meaning, hence the reason for lexicons, dictionaries, and Word Studies.
Linguistics is the scientific study of language, with sub-fields such as phonetics which is concerned with the sounds of languages, phonology which concerns itself with the way sounds are used in individual languages.
Pragmatics, studies the interaction between language and the contexts in which it is used. Synchronic linguistics studies a language’s form at a fixed time in history, past or present.
Grammar is the branch of linguistics dealing with the form and structure of words or morphology, and their interrelation in sentences, called syntax which concerns the structure of phrases and sentences, and semantics (which is most important to us), which addresses the study of the meaning of words.
Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth ~ Defined
This essay is primarily concerned with the semantics of a word or phrase, as well as the use of synonyms (synonyms are simply words having the same or nearly the same meaning as another word; or more technically, they are “expressions that serve as a figurative or symbolic substitute for the word“), which are understood within the culture that they are used in to maintain the same meaning as other words, such as in the above example found in 2 Timothy 2:15 in the use of the expression, “the word of truth,” which is a synonym for the “Scriptures” or the “Word of God“ (as well as Acts 20:27, which literally refers to the “whole counsel of God“), which are a synonym for what we refer to as “The Holy Bible.”
It is in rightly dividing (or to be more current: “in correctly understanding and applying“) God’s Word, “the Bible” that this essay is wholly committed.
The following essay, as well as all the essays on this blog site are not sermons. They are lessons which are topical in nature, while also Expositional Presentations (in regards to the true meaning of “Expositional Presentations” ~ see: “Teaching Styles” located below under the heading: “Preface ~ Presuppositions“) to the extent that they “dig deep into God’s Word,” defining what God’s Word says on these subjects.
They are not meant to take the place of sermons preached or teaching done in Bible studies (see below concerning: “The Difference between Preaching and Teaching“).
Key to the Text
Within these essays, grammatical terms,such as: verbs, nouns, verbal nouns, prepositions, conjunctions, participles; as well as: tense, mood, voice, person, number, case, gender, are identified by the use of non-italicized and non-bold light blue font. Foreign language words (Hebrew, Greek, Aramaic, and Latin) are shown in italicized and bold light blue fonts. Endnote reference numbers are displayed in bold light blue small fonts, in superscript.
The author’s writing style and teaching method indulges in run-on sentences, colored text for emphasis; and (mammoth parentheses, which are presented in gray font [the use of parentheses within parentheses are done in brackets identified in violet font]).
The use of expansive Endnotes at the bottom of each essay are sometimes meant to be a lesson in itself.
The author seeks to teach about many different subjects, while presenting information on a singular topic. This type of teaching is also subject to repetitious presentations, in order to foster remembrance (as per: Phil. 1:3; 2 Pet. 1:12-13, 3:1-2); all in an effort to display the congruence found in God’s Word as seen across the spectrum of sixty-six books which are a single volume (2 Tim. 3:16; 2 Pet. 3:1-2; Acts 20:27), with a single author; God, concerning His Will for man (Heb. 4:12-13; 2 Tim. 3:15-17); all in the desire to aid in pointing out the Biblical reasons for having faith in the God of the Bible, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Part 1 – Index
First ~ A Word of Explanation (Faith by the Book, Experience, Thinking, Emotions, Love, Heart, Mind, The Mind Must Interpret), Preaching & Teaching Styles (Presentation Styles: 1) Anecdotal Preaching – 2) Biographical Preaching – 3) Topical Preaching – 4) Expositional Preaching – 5) Textual Preaching, An Example of a Textual Sermon, The Difference Between Preaching and Teaching, Is There a Wrong Way to Preach or Teach, Teaching ~ Always, The Author’s Writing Method, The Author’s Teaching Style).
Foundational Rule (“Self-deceit,” “But Why,””Religious Self-deceit,” “Christian Self-deceit”), Foundational Principle (“Matthew 22:37,” “Hebrew 11:16,” “2 Timothy 3:16,” “A Carnal Believer,” “Total Commitment,” “Time”), Integrity, True Faith in God’s Word, and a Summation.
A Short Theological Glossary, The Preeminence of Christ (“What Jesus Said of Himself,” “Specifically Concerning Christ’s Preeminence,” “Regarding Christ and the Law,” “Concerning Jesus’ Place in the Old Testament Scriptures,” “Place Jesus in the Middle of It”), Context ~ Immediate & Biblical (“Ingenious Design,” “1) Immediate Context” – “2) Biblical Context:” “A) Consistency” – “B) Application” / “An Apparent Contradiction,” “Pacifism,” “Self-Defense,” “The Law”), Intended Applicant, Mandated Conditions, Perspicuity [~ Noting the clarity concerning the subject matter according to the amount of Scripture on the subject], Frequency, the Law of First Mention [~ Noting where a specific word in its original language is first used in the Bible concerning its intended meeting], Object Lessons (“Expositional Consistency,” “Typology,” “Common Biblical Examples,” “A Biblical Example Concerning Christ,” “Why Aren’t There Specific Passages Defining Typology,” “Many Types – Only One Meaning,” “A Few Examples of Typology,” “Shadows”), Figures of Speech (“The Power of The Past,” “Words and Their Power,” “Dumbing Down of America,” “Lost Knowledge,” “Archaic Examples of Figures of Speech,” “Biblical Example,” “General Introduction,” “Examples Concerning Jesus”), Comparison & Contrast, Prophecy, Dual Fulfillment (“An Example of Dual Fulfillment”), Multiple Fulfillment, Biblical Use of Numbers (“The Number 1,” “The Number 2,” “Common Symbolisms of Numbers in the Bible,” “A Final Thought Concerning Symbolism”), Allegorical Interpretation, All of God’s Word, and finally Adding to God’s Word.
(Part 2 of this series is a separate article entitled:
“Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth… ~ Part 2“)
- Doctrine Corrected by Linguistics – Biblical Word Meanings According to Grammar
- Gaining Greater Meaning – Out of the Text, According to word Nuances
- Misapplication – Applying Text outside of its Context, Changing the Meaning of Words
- Misapplication – Applying Text outside of its Context, Generalizing What Is Specific
- Biblical Words – Which in the English have Changed in their Meaning
- Un-Biblical Expressions – Given Biblical Weight
- Expressions & Axioms – Not Found in the Bible
It is this author’s primary presupposition that by analyzing God’s Word and identifying the internal inexplicable, enigmatic, unfathomable, and incomprehensible insights that are found in and below the text, will lead to the only conceivable explanation that this book could not have been engineered by human contrivance. Therefore, the only rational conclusion is that the Bible is divinely designed and authored by God (men were the scribes, using their own words that were engrafted by the Holy Spirit, something only God could do), and that if God wrote a book this proves His existence. And that due to the infallibility of this book – it is solely worthy as the only guide for our daily walk.
And based on this infallible “Word of God;” faith (faith – there is no other single virtue known to man that pleases God [Heb. 11:6], therefore, it is faith that deserves our unending attention in learning how to please God more and more) is achieved by reading and studying it (salvation starts with God’s Word [“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever” ~ 1 Peter 1:23] and grows with God’s Word, as seen in…). Romans 10:17 states:
“Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by [through] the Word of God“
This verse can only lead to one conclusion concerning the subject of faith; that it must be based upon God’s Word as opposed to experience.
Experience can be misunderstood, deceitful, and inconsistent; yet God’s Word is none of these.
Experience is subjective at its best, and misleading at its worst.
It is only when experience is based solely upon God’s Word, and not human interpretation or intuition, that experience can be utilized Biblically and spiritually (“for we walk by faith, not by sight” ~ 1 Cor. 5:7).
We must understand that God has always directed that we utilize our minds by thinking in order to rationally approach God’s Word (Heb. 8:10-11 ~ please see “heart” below).
And that as faith is to be built upon God’s Word, God demands that we lean not upon human logic, but upon His Word; which is spiritually rational, as opposed to humanistically logical.
To sum it up, God has given us a brain to utilize, up until the point where He tells us to step out in faith in opposition to the rationality He has built into us (Prov. 11:14; 3:1-7).
We are never to think (to determine, make choices) with our emotions (nor are we to feel with our brains – like robots), emotions do not act, they are a reaction.
Emotions are never meant to lead us, they are to influence; yet, never master us.
They work by responding.
It is in understanding the difference between the initiation of a thing, as compared to the response to a thing (the prefix, “re” added to the word it precedes, means: “back,” or “again,” or “do back;” which in the case of a verb is to act in response to something, or to act in opposition to something – which is the opposite of a verb such as, “act,” or “perform,” which initiates something in the first place, as opposed to react in the second place) that becomes important concerning the difference between thinking and feeling.
Jesus commanded (in the Greek it is in the imperative) that we love one another (Joh. 13:34, 15:12). Jesus was NOT telling us to feel the emotional response of love for other people, because this would indicate that they had done something that was deserving of us loving them in response.
No, Jesus was NOT telling us to re-act in love; He was demanding that we act in love – that we do acts of love (that of putting someone’s well-being before our own – sacrificially).
Emotions are responses to stimulation and environment, they are not wicked on their own; wickedness comes when the human mind interprets the emotions (Jer. 17:9), and defines them according to the fallen nature of sinful man (Eph. 4:22).
It is the mind of man that is corrupt from the fall, this is why as Christians we are to put on the “mind of Christ” (Phil. 2:5), with the law of God written on our minds (Rom. 7:25), as it is written in God’s Word (Rom. 6:17).
To do acts of love is to choose to sacrificially put someone else’s well-being else before ourselves (this is the actual definition what love does – how it functions – how to do it, not just how it feels – that to do acts of love is to choose to sacrificially put someone else’s well-being else before ourselves), which is plainly seen in such passages as 1 John 3:16, which states:”
“Hereby perceive we the love of God, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren.”
This verse teaches us that the proof of God’s love is that He sacrificially put us first, which is also what He wants us to do for others, especially with other Christians (Galatians 6:10), as seen here.
This type of sacrificial giving is also seen in the one verse that the whole world knows, John 3:16, which states:
“for God so loved the world he gave his only begotten son“
The first thing we should notice is that one of the verbs (there are five verbs in this verse – it should be obvious that Greek grammar is unlike English concerning sentence structure) in this verse is “gave” (it should also be noteworthy that the word for “world” is the Greek word: kosmos, which is a metonym [a metonym is a word which is a substitution of an attribute or feature for the name of the thing itself, such as “world” in place of the socialist system of man] ~ The point is that man and his social system, which were corrupted and had no value in themselves that were NOT worthy of God’s love, because Rom. 5:10 states that at this time, “when we were enemies” of God, we did not deserve His love), which is the act that God did for the world, and the thing He gave, His Son – who is far beyond the value of what He was traded for; the greater given for the lesser – sacrificially.
This is the act of love, which is separate from the emotion of feeling love in response to what somebody has done, or who they are (a perceived value).
We are not to be led by our emotions, we are to be led by the actions we choose with our minds, then comes emotions (as icing on the cake), and then and only then should we enjoy the feeling of the response of emotions which gives life its zeal.
The feeling of the emotional response of love is a natural aftermath of having placed something before us, having committed to it before ourselves wherein we are invested in it and therefore experience the emotional response of love for the thing that we have placed before ourselves, and sacrificed for; hence the expression, “the object of our affection,” in reference to the thing that we love.
It is this that explains the never ending love of a mother, even for a murderous son, which we cavalierly refer to as nurturing love. It is the height of arrogance and pride to think there was anything in us that was worthy of God’s love, or in consideration of the value of the Son in contrast.
God chose to love us first, which created in us a value only because of the prize that He traded in exchange; the most precious thing in God’s realm, His Son.
As love appears to be related to the “heart“ (Hebrew: leb [H3820] ~ Greek: kardia [G2588]) this is an aspect that we should review. We need to understand the difference between the use of the word “heart” in the Bible, as compared to the way that we in the English-speaking world understand the word “heart.”
In God’s Word, our emotions are not defined by the use of the word “heart.” Both Testaments never utilize the word “heart” – solely concerning the emotions (see our essay entitled: “THE HEART AND THE MIND ~ WHAT THE BIBLICAL WORD “HEART’ MEANS (NOTABLE WORK)” ~ Link).
Biblically speaking, in both the Hebrew and Greek languages the word “heart” always entails the total internal part of man.
First, and primarily, the mind; next the emotions; and last the “seat of the will,” discretion; where choices are made between rational or sometimes emotive deliberations.
Concerning the word “heart,” Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the Old Testament and New Testament Words, states:
kardia (G2588), “the heart” (Eng., “cardiac,” etc.), the chief organ of physical life (“for the life of the flesh is in the blood,” Lev. 17:11), occupies the most important place in the human system. By an easy transition the word came to stand for man’s entire mental and moral activity, both the rational and the emotional elements.
In other words, the heart is used figuratively for the hidden springs of the personal life. “The Bible describes human depravity as in the ‘heart,’ because sin is a principle which has its seat in the center of man’s inward life, and then ‘defiles’ the whole circuit of his action, Matthew 15:19, Matthew 15:20. On the other hand, Scripture regards the heart as the sphere of Divine influence, Roman 2:15; Acts 15:9.
The heart, as lying deep within, contains ‘the hidden man,’ 1 Peter 3:4, the real man. It represents the true character but conceals it” (J. Laidlaw, in Hastings’ Bible Dictionary).
As to its usage in the NT it denotes (a) the seat of physical life, Acts 14:17; James 5:5; (b) the seat of moral nature and spiritual life, the seat of grief, John 14:1; Roman 9:2; 2 Corinthians 2:4; joy, John 16:22; Ephesians 5:19; the desires, Matthew 5:28; 2 Peter 2:14; the affections, Luke 24:32; Acts 21:13; the perceptions, John 12:40; Ephesians 4:18; the thoughts, Matthews 9:4; Hebrews 4:12; the understanding, Matthew 13:15; Romans 1:21; the reasoning powers, Mark 2:6; Luke 24:38; the imagination, Luke 1:51; conscience, Acts 2:37; 1 John 3:20; the intentions, Hebrews 4:12, cf. 1 Peter 4:1; purpose, Acts 11:23; 2 Corinthians 9:7; the will, Romans 6:17; Colossians 3:15; faith, Mark 11:23; Romans 10:10; Hebrews 3:12.
The heart, in its moral significance in the OT, includes the emotions, the reason and the will.
A simple example of the reasoning (mental / mind) aspect of the heart is seen in Psalms 119:11 (as well as: Matt. 9:4; Mar. 2:6; Luk. 24:38; Heb. 4:12) which states:
“thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee”
Emotions do not function using terminology, or store and retain words; but rather pictures, or scenes. Emotions do not use reasoning, and are not related to rational memory, or the logic of examination and determination; and are not based upon rational conclusion (as stated before, the emotions work on a different level, a responsive level where meaning is determined according to events that happen or words spoken, yet never in an analytical manner. Definition is according to the mind wherein the emotions need translation and interpretation, yet solely for those purposes; as opposed to rationality which can be based solely upon logic); it is with the mind that words are retained and understood, not the emotions.
In the above verse, the Hebrew word for “hid” (Hebrew: tsaphan [H6845]), is a verb that means: “to hide,” “treasure,” “store-up,” “protect,” or “esteem something of value.”
It is a word that refers to the use of the mind. It does not mean to handle something casually, but to handle it intricately and carefully. The idea of this Scripture is to treat God’s Word with the highest regard within your mind, to the extent that you regard it carefully, considering the choices that you make so as not to sin against God.
It is in the power of the Holy Spirit, in one of His capacities to remind us of God’s Word, as well as to teach us and guide us (John 14:26; 16:13); wherein we are to consider our actions and choices in light of God’s Word, considering the value that it holds in our lives. This is just one Scripture which presents God’s Word concerning the value it should hold as we think upon it.
The Mind Must Interpret
Beyond this aspect concerning the mind, is the consideration of how the mind is utilized as the prime tool of interpretation and understanding in regards to everything that we as individuals say or do. At the most primeval level, the use of any Scripture mandates the use of the mind in figuring out what:
1) Individual words mean, then the use of our
2) memory in retaining them, and the
3) logic of rationality in understanding how the words fit together to bring a summation of what the verse truly entails.
It is with the full faculty of our minds that we comprehend what the words in this verse say to us. While the understanding of any verse may cause a response – an emotional feeling, this does not apply if the mind is not first functioning adequately.
Without the mind, the use of the emotions is no more human, but animal in its manifestation, where pure emotions without common intellectual rationality would doom any specie, therefore God creates within animals instincts in order to protect them because of this lack of rationality – and when an attempt to connect man with animals is made concerning a commonality, where the animal’s brain is less intelligent, the outcome is always atheism as is seen in evolution.
Therefore, it is with the mind that man thinks and understands. It is with the mind that God communicates meaning, and it is with the mind that God teaches us His Word. Yet, when God empowers men to teach His Word (Rom. 10:14-15), it is the art of teaching that necessitates our attention, as there are different ways of teaching and preaching God’s Word.
Before explaining the author’s peculiar style of teaching, the following information concerning teaching and preaching styles might be informative.
Preaching & Teaching Styles
Hermeneutics (Hermeneutics is a branch of theology that deals with principles of in-death [exegesis ~ see glossary below], systematic examination in order to determine the intended meaning of the passage through specific principles of interpretation) is not to be confused with the “Styles of Presentation” when it comes to preaching and teaching. The styles of presentation are NOT forms of interpretation in themselves, though there CAN be certain presuppositions that are held within individual styles.
Concerning Preaching and Teaching styles (which we will address here as synonymous concerning presentation styles only, though there are definable differences between the two which we will address in the next paragraph), some suggest that there are five major methods (This subject is subjective in that there are different views which postulate different titles defining different methods of presentation styles, which all hinges upon your source. Many denominations or seminaries maintain different groups or types, identified by different names; yet similarities and crossovers of types do emerge to display a consistent grouping which are considered here, yet only in a concise presentation.), while others submit that there are four.
Regarding those that postulate five styles or methods of preaching, these maybe summed up as seen in the following:
1) Anecdotal Preaching ~
Anecdotal presentations are sometimes referred to as a storytelling type of presentation, and should not be confused with what is sometimes referred to as a narrative presentation as seen in the books of Ruth and Esther.
Anecdotal presentations normally involve the use of illustrations or stories; yet this particular method of presentation displays no practical teaching directly from the Bible, and while talking about the Bible, via stories or passages from the Bible, it does not teach from the Bible in any depth.
And while God or the Bible may be referred to often, they are used used as a tool to rationalize the over-riding premise of the presentation. They use the Bible to validate their presentation, rather than use the presentation to explain what the Word of God says and means.
Anecdotal preaching is more like storytelling; and many times centers around an emphasis on the moral of the story. However, it is a poor utilization of time and energy, and is more like a tool of entertainment, as opposed to teaching.
This form of preaching presupposes that the preacher is the agent, instead of the Holy Spirit; and the story becomes the focus of attention, rather than God’s Word. Many preachers utilize this form of preaching because of the notoriety they can gain as great orators, who tell great stories.
This type of presentation takes much less time in preparation, and demands far less due to the lack of commitment necessary as compared to studious preparation, wherein a thorough exegesis by its very nature is difficult and challenging, while also very time consuming.
This type of presentation demands much less of the audience, wherein it is a form of entertainment which does not challenge the audience to think through complicated issues, nor consider questions that may cost them something, perhaps even demanding a commitment.
These types of presentations suggest that the Bible makes promises without any conditions, grants petition without any commitment, bestows glory without a bloody cross, and offers salvation without a death.
Summarization: This form of presentation may APPEAR to be practical when used in a secular event, a campfire or from a vaudevillian stage; yet has no place coming from behind a pulpit of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Unfortunately, this form of preaching is currently found in many Orthodox churches which do not teach the Word of God, or in those Churches that present a social gospel (“Social Justice” ~ see the next paragraph: “NOTE” ); both of which are more literally spiritually dead, than Biblically alive.
2) Biographical Preaching ~
Biographical presentations are biographies of persons; and normally – but not always – draw upon moral lessons from the person’s life.
These can be excellent teaching tools when examining biblical characters and the truths that can be found in God’s Word as lived out in the lives of those that God chooses to present within His Word.
Noting the similarities between Isaac as he was presented by his father as a sacrifice, how that 2 men accompanied them to the foot of the hill of Golgotha, the same place our Savior was executed, with Isaac carrying the wood upon his back, who was approximately 30 years old (I have no doubt he was 33 years old at this time) at this time that he submitted to the will of his father, along with the dozens of other similarities that can be found played out in the life of Isaac, or even Joseph as a type of deliverer; these are not only beneficial, but necessary to be taught behind the pulpit of Jesus Christ.
These kinds of biographical lessons displaying a foreshadowing of the gospel of Jesus Christ are meant to build faith in the life of the believer.
Examinations of David and his failures; and the victories as seen in his faith in God, of the lives of the prophets as they trusted God, even unto their death. When biographies are taken from the Bible, and maintain the integrity of the language used in order to display object lessons that God intends, this is when biographies are at their best.
However, one of the main problems with biographical presentations is that IF they focus on an individual outside of the Bible, it can very easily become man centered, rather than God centered, and can present characteristics and traits which the Bible may not emphasize, such as seen in “Social Justice,” when presenting someone like Martin Luther King or Mother Theresa as examples – Jesus Christ is our true example, and He alone knows when and how to apply God’s Word in a correct manner concerning any subject, especially concerning justice.
SIDENOTE: “Social Justice” is a perversion of Christianity that is a Marxist-based form of socialism; where they openly state that Jesus taught the forced “taking from the rich to give to the poor.” Yet, it is they’re teaching concerning Biblical doctrine that is an abomination; they do not believe in individual salvation, but corporate salvation; which does not believe or teach the atonement, salvation by grace through faith alone, and most importantly the deity of Jesus Christ.
They use Christian words, yet they mean something totally different than what the Word of God says; they use terms that sound right, however, if you do your research and find where they define these terms, you discover how they completely pervert Biblical meaning. Social Justice is a devilish perversion which leads people to hell in the afterlife, and unBiblical beliefs and behavior in the temporal life.
Many current ministers present this form of un-Christian heresy, such as: Jim Wallis, President Obama’s spiritual advisor, and Rev. Jeremiah Wright of Black Liberation Theology, Obama’s pastor of 20 years; Tony Campolo; Brian McLaren; and many others who sound biblical, yet as God’s Word says have left the faith to serve the flesh enticed by doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1) concerning what appears to be right, humanistic and biblically depraved.
It is this author’s belief that there is no presentation style which should be based upon anything but the Word of God, the Bible; once ministers choose to use sources outside of their Bible as their MAIN points of reference, it is no longer Biblical preaching or teaching, but man centered.
Summarization: This form of presentation should always be solely concerning Biblical characters in order to maintain a Biblical, as well as sound presentation wherein God’s Word is the source text. This form of presentation can be a good topical study; yet, presented in an expositional manner (digging in the subject matter for specific purposes), with numerous Biblical citations and references.
3) Topical Preaching ~
Topical presentations are at their best when they consist of in-depth examinations of subjects, doctrines or words; with numerous Biblical cross-references using different books of the Bible in order to give a full dimensional Biblical perspective concerning the topic.
This form can many times be the best example of utilizing the “whole counsel of God“ (all of God’s Word) concerning presenting a topic. This is the presentation style utilized in the New Testament (except where a narrative is presented, such as the book of Acts, and in small sections intermittently throughout the epistles).
When we speak about topical presentation, we speak about it as it is properly executed, as it is meant to be presented. We do not include those forms wherein the Biblical text is not paramount; that is to say when a topic is introduced, then there is an attempt to find and even misuse Scriptures to validate a certain man-centered presupposition.
This form of preaching can be abused when used superficially, or according to the whim of an undisciplined preacher; or by a carnal minister who camps out on one particular subject to his own benefit: such as prosperity, wealth, or healings.
These type of preachers; avoid main doctrines of the Bible, as well as those subjects which are more uncomfortable. Because of these reasons this form of preaching style CAN become an affront to the gospel of Jesus Christ; and due to this, has been opposed for the last hundred years by some excellent Bible teachers because of the abuse that it has suffered at the cost of under-feeding the sheep of God, “the whole counsel of the Word of God.”
When topical presentations are abused, D. Martyn Lloyd Jones, made the following comment:“
I do not approve of the method whereby you take a subject like ‘spiritual depression’ and then think and work it out for yourself, and then look for texts which will be convenient pegs on which to hang these thoughts of yours on the subject. That is what I am opposing. The matter should always be derived from the Scriptures, it should always be expository.”(D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, “Preaching and Preachers” (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1972, pp. 196)
It is only when the Holy Spirit is allowed to lead the teacher, wherein he solely uses the Word of God, based upon what the Word of God says specifically and meticulously, according to the grammar; it is then that God is glorified within any form of presentation that is used.
As is common in any adversarial disagreement, proponents will describe their opposition in extreme definitions that profits their own presentation (proponents of Expository preaching are skilled in misrepresenting topical presentation). However, when the opposition is allowed to present their own merits, by defining their own form of presentation, many of these “straw-men” presuppositions fall away.
Summarization: Topical teaching or preaching does not normally utilize a single key proof text, though it may; but does consist of numerous Biblical references which is important, and more often than not, can be much more in-depth than other forms of teaching methods.
For these reasons, when it is used correctly, it can be an excellent form of teaching subjects in-depth, using many books of the Bible, and therefore present a subject within a complete Biblical context is presented.
However, it is when it is misused that the presenter can eisegete (which means: “to interject meaning into the text not originally contained,”) the Word of God, instead of properly exereting (which means: “to draw out” the meaning of the text, which is the opposite of “to eiseget“) it.
4) Expositional Preaching (Expository Presentation) ~
Expositional presentation is normally contrasted with that of topical presentation (which is done below in more detail), and can be simply explained as:
Expositional preaching and teaching concentrate on a specific range of text, then discusses the topics covered therein. Whereas, Topical preaching and teaching concentrate on a specific topic, then utilizes Biblical references in order to address that topic.
The word “expositional,” comes from the Latin exponere (Greek: ektithemi), which means: “to put or set forth,” “to draw out,” “to exhibit,” “to expound,” “to expose,” or “to explain;” which means to systematically draw out the meaning of the text, and give details in order to make the passage clear and understandable, to expose the meaning of the verse to the audience.
The theological understanding of this word mandate’s that it centers on teaching God’s Word, not story-telling, not speaking about Christianity or a denomination or its creeds; or anything else that is done behind the pulpit or in Bible studies which is not Bible centered, and therefore God centered.
Expositional preaching is what preaching and teaching is meant to be; opening up the Word of God, to His glory, communicating His Will by digging deep into His Word.
This author believes expositional teaching and preaching is mandatory concerning any Christian preaching or teaching according to its classical meaning, expositional preaching and teaching will develop the meaning from the text itself, rather than other passages in the form of multiple Bible references.
However, most current conservative ministers do not follow this example, but in an effort to display the whole counsel of God” using a multiplicity of Bible passages in reference form to define and develop the text at hand (this form of presentation is actually an aspect of “Textual Preaching” and teaching, as discussed next).
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, in his excellent book: “Preaching & Preachers“ (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1972, pp. 64 & 66), states concerning isolating Scripture from other Scripture, in the form of reference while presenting an expositional (expository) sermon, when he states:“
Each message, which arises out of a particular text or statement of the Scripture, must always be a part or an aspect of this total body of truth. It is never something in isolation, never something separate or apart. The doctrine in a particular text, we must always remember, is a part of this greater whole -the truth or the Faith. That is the meaning of the phrase ‘comparing Scripture with Scripture.’ We must not deal with any text in isolation; all our presentation of a sermon should be controlled by this background of systematic theology“
AN ERROR CONCERNING EXPOSITIONAL PRESENTATION:
It has been incorrectly taught that expositional preaching or teaching is “a presentation of passages as they were sequentially laid out in the Bible, proceeding from book to book, via chapter by chapter, according to verse by verse, sequentially or chronologically; which is not a definition of expositional presentation.
Whereas, we never see Paul teach passage by passage from the Old Testament as it was sequentially or chronologically written, how can we interpret Acts 20:27 to mean what Paul was referring to was a sequential or chronological presentation, especially when he himself never displayed this type of teaching – we can’t.
There are no lengthy or notable examples of sequential or chronological teaching of the Old Testament seen in the New Testament, except for Steven”s Old Testament Bible study as given in Acts chapter 7.
Hence, to demand that this type of sequential or chronological presentation is the only correct style of teaching, is unbiblical; because it is not commanded in the Bible, and it is without example in the Bible as well (Please see the first paragraph, starting with “…our primary call is to deliver this whole message, this ‘whole counsel of God…,” as found in the book: “Preaching & Preachers,” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, page 67).
One passage that has been used to advance presentations of passages as they were sequentially or chronologically written in the Bible is found in Isaiah 28:10, which States:
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little.”
However, this is NOT specifically stating that there must be a sequential or chronological presentation of God’s Word when teaching the Bible by proceeding from book by book, chapter by chapter, according to verse by verse.
According to Isaiah the subject matter is concerning the fact that God’s presentation and revelation to man is meant to be a systematic, logical presentation wherein doctrines are not left out, but presented in a manner that God would seek for us to understand them; one precept upon another, cross-referencing God’s Word with itself, throughout the Bible.
This verse entails presenting Scripture that reinforces Scripture, and doctrine that reinforces doctrine; presented in a method that builds in its complexity from simple to intricate, in a uniform and understandable manner.
God has always laid out a systematic rationale (not humanistic or humanly logical – however there are NO inconsistencies or contrivances as far as God is concerned, His logic is beyond our own, it always makes sense when He lays it out; and when seen with Spiritual eyes, enabled by the Holy Spirit), where Scripture builds upon Scripture according to God’s design concerning any doctrine. To mandate that a sequential presentation is what is meant by Isaiah 28:10, this is reading into the Scripture.
A good example of how a New Testament book which both has allusions and references from the Old Testament, WITHOUT using a sequential or chronological presentation can be found in the 404 verses of the book of Revelation, where there are 200 references, and 800 allusions55 to Old Testament passages; which are parts of Scriptures taken from the Old Testament that are weaved together in a non-sequential or chronological order, and presented by Jesus Christ in the book of God’s Revelation to Him, to be given to “His servants,” with John as the scribe.
SIDENOTE: “Allusions” are three word, four word, five word, or more word combinations which are tied together in such a way that is commonly understood by the speaker and the hearer concerning the source of the reference, and there meaning.
A good example would be if two Christians were talking, and one said to the other: “for God so loved the world;” they would both understand that the reference was to John 3:16, and therefore they would understand the context of anything else said in relation to these six words.
They would both understand that they were speaking about Jesus dying on the cross; these six words would be the key to understanding the whole conversation and without that key, and the understanding of what the key meant, any outside hearers who were not Christians and MOST IMPORTANTLY did not know the Scriptures, would not understand what the two believers were speaking about – the Gospel / salvation.
These types of allusions found in the book of Revelation; explains why many people misunderstand this book because you must understand all of the Old Testament to fully understand the idioms and allusions that the book of Revelation references – this is the key to understanding the book.
SIDENOTE: This has become a current problem in the Church these days, many preachers and teachers orientate themselves to presenting the Bible according to the application of (that which is pragmatic to…) the hearer, many of the Old Testament books don’t present themselves with what would seem to be applications that would be relevant to the current audience (that which is pragmatic to…).
This type of “person centered” (pragmatic) reasoning leads to whole congregations not understanding many of the books of the Bible due to them not appearing to be relevant, and therefore not being taught them. We are God’s servants, His children, and we are to read His book because of His direction to do so, and not because of its application to our lives; we are not to be problematic (pragmatic) or relevant oriented, we are to be God oriented.
We must understand that a presentation of passages as they were sequentially or chronologically laid out in the Bible, proceeding from book to book, via chapter by chapter, according to verse by verse is NOT synonymous with Expositional Teaching.
A short technical definition of “Expositional Preaching” or Teaching is:
Expositional preaching or teaching is a systematically methodical and meticulous presentation that is thorough and comprehensive, which centers solely on a Biblical text, in which God is glorified.
Another short definition of “Expositional Preaching” or Teaching is:
Expository preaching is a form of preaching that details the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture. It explains what the Bible means by what it says. Exegesis is technical and grammatical exposition, a careful drawing out of the exact meaning of a passage in its original context.
While the term exposition could be used in connection with any verbal informative teaching on any subject, the term is also used in relation to Bible preaching and teaching. (Perry, Simon. “How Biblical is Expository Preaching?”)
Summarization: Concerning this controversy, we should hear the words of the great scholar Merrill F. Unger, which are:
“It is a mistake to impose to narrow of a definition upon expository preaching. In the minds of many, this type of pulpit ministry consists simply of a series of sermons expounding some book or books of the Bible. While this is undoubtedly an important method of expository approach, it is only one.
Moreover, the tendency closely to confine pulpit exposition inevitably leads to monotony of treatment, discouragement in the cultivation of the expository method, and eventually abandonment of it altogether.
There is no reason why true expiratory preaching should be confined to a single method of dealing with the Scriptures. To be the refreshing and adaptable vehicle for expounding the body of revealed truth that it ought to be, it should be unrestricted in employing all of the standard homiletical procedures.
The important consideration is that the expository sermon be not only biblical, that is, based strictly upon the Bible, but also biblically instructive and challenging in the sense of expounding the Scriptures as a coherent and coordinated body of revealed truth and bringing that truth to grips with the human will and conscious.
If the homiletical discourse meets these essential requirements of being expository, there is no reason why it may not take the form of the topical or textual sermon, or the form of a Bible reading or running commentary, as well as paragraph-by-paragraph, chapter-by-chapter, book-by-book exposition.” (In his book: “Principles of Expository Preaching, pp. 489).
Please see Endnote #66 for further thoughts regarding chronological presentations of God’s Word.
5) Textual Preaching ~
Textual presentations are where a single passage (“proof text”) of the Bible is used as a jumping-off point to address a particular subject (or thesis).
The subject matter will be within the proof-text, yet the sermon will not be centered around the main points of the passage as a whole, but upon the subject matter itself within the passage.
An Example of a Textual Sermon:
The proof text of the sermon is 1 Corinthians, chapter 13, and thus addressed the subject of “love.”
1) It is started by presenting the proof text as a definition of love which rightly appears beyond human ability (which has been pointed out that this chapter is a description of Jesus – the perfect example of love).
2) The Greek word used here for “love” is agape, which is the noun form of the word, and mainly is used concerning God’s type of love.
3) Next, we present an overview of the chapter, considering by many to be the epitome of love, as it presents:
the utter necessity of love ~ verses 1-3;
the moral Excellency of love ~ verses 4-7;
the abiding supremacy of love ~ verses 8-13.
4) Next we move to Luke 11:43, to present (Greek:) agapao love, which is the verb form of this word, and normally thought of as a type of love which is godly, yet we discover in this passage that Jesus is referring to the Pharisees that “love the uppermost seats.” From this text we learn that this verb form of the word “love” is not necessarily a godly type of love, but actually means: “to be totally given over to,” and can be very worldly as this passage exhibits.
5) Next, we go to John 3:16 were the same verb form of the word (Greek: agapao) is used concerning God’s love for man, which would display a philanthropic example of the same word – this would open up the opportunity to go over the true meaning of the four different Greek words (though actually 5 forms – in that agape and agapao are two different forms of the same word for love) found in the Greek for love (1. agapao [verb], agape [noun]; 2. philo; 3. storge; and 4. eros – pointing to the fact that eros– love, which is sexual love is never used in the New Testament).
6) Then we address how the grammar of these words change their meaning, such as the difference between the verb and noun of agap…, and the inflections found in different passages – such as seen between Matthew 3:17 (wherein it speaks of God talking about “my beloved Son“) and Matthew 5:44 (wherein it speaks about “love thy enemies”), and how diverse the application can be, yet the commonalities are the same.
7) Then go to 1 John 3:16 which is the perfect display of love as seen in Jesus dying on the cross for the sin of the world, explaining that the essence of the act, which is: “sacrificial.”
8) Then we move to the rest of 1 John developing the love that Christians should “do,” especially as seen in 1 John 3:11, where in the Greek it is in the imperative (while explaining the Greek rules of grammar: that an imperative is a command, though it may not sound like it in the English, as seen in such passages as Romans 12:10, which states: “be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love,” yet is made more clear due to the use of the word “command,” as seen in passages such as John 13:34 & 15:12, 17), when it states: “that we should love the one another.”
Explaining that what is meant here is that of “doing” love, not “feeling” (emotional response) love. Then display that we are commanded as Christians to sacrificially put others else before ourselves, as compared to worldly love which is that of an emotional response, based upon what others do for us, or the value we place in them.
9) Next, we perhaps present examples concerning Jesus stories from the Gospels (such as the lost coin, the lost sheep, the field with the great treasure, or the prodigal son), concerning the value God placed in man, which was never merited.
10) Next, we go to Matthew 6:1, wherein Christ advised that when we are to give our “alms“ (Greek: eleemosune: “deeds,” “charity,” “money given to the poor”), which are “acts of love” (which can be seen in act of giving gifts), that we are to do philanthropically, which would literally necessitate that they be done in secret, according to Jesus direct command, as seen in verses 1 to 4 (encapsulated in verse 3, which states: “let not thy left hand know what thy right hand doth“); which might lead to a short discourse concerning “public giving,” such as passing the plate, or even the true motivations of our behaviors (with perhaps an examination of Acts chapter 5 concerning the event with Ananias and Sapphira).
11) Then finally, we move to Romans 8:28-39 which addresses God’s love for His Children, and His ability to keep His own, wherein eternal security becomes prominent; which then becomes a good place to go back to 1 Corinthians chapter 13 in regards to this chapter being a perfect illustration of Jesus – “as God’s perfect display of love,” as He is the perfect exhibit of these qualities.
This is an example of a hour long sermon the author has given which was an expositional presentation, yet more correctly it was a Textual sermon (this is only a rough outline, with written outline notes given to the listeners because of the complexity of the presentation so that audience could follow along, and be able to do self study at home), that was expositional in nature.
Many pastors, which are extreme proponents of expositional presentation actually teach using the textual method of presentation (many Calvary Chapel pastors), though they are unaware.
Summarization: There are similarities between textual preaching and expositional preaching. Textual preaching may take a segment or section of passages, usually all referring to a single subject, yet it will use this as a jumping off point in order to utilize other passages in a holistic presentation manner.
In a sense, a textual sermon is a high breed of a topical and expositional sermon, taking large passages of Scripture without addressing whole chapters or books, and many times is used as a series. Some have suggested that a textual sermon is a miniature expositional presentation.
The Difference Between Preaching and Teaching
There are direct and substantial differences between the Greek words which are translated into the English words: preaching and teaching, as seen in Matthew 11:1; Colossians 1:28; and 2 Timothy 1:11 (to name only a few); which all list the two Greek words side-by-side, WITHOUT a conjunctive (such as: “and”), indicating that the two words are not synonymous in anyway, but are separate in meaning and usage.
Preaching (Greek: kerusso G2784; translated: “preaching,” which means: “to proclaim,” “to publish,” most prominently: “to herald”) as utilized in the Bible as proclaiming new information as a herald does, which would be synonymous with presenting the Gospel to the lost (Matt. 4:17, 23; 9:35; 10:7, 27; Romans 10:14). Whereas
teaching(Greek: didasko G1321; translated: “teaching,” which means: “to learn,” “instruction by word-of-mouth,” “educating a pupil,”) is further educating the believers of whatever belief system the teacher propagates (Gal. 6:6; Eph. 4:11-12; Col. 3:16), yet it is always orientated to a student, one that knows the subject
Concerning Christianity, the teacher and the preacher are both proclaimers of God’s Word, but their areas of service are different.
1) Preaching ~ To the one is presented as to the unbeliever, the unlearned; proclaiming the Gospel, something new.
2) Teaching ~ To the other is presented the Word of God as a believer, the one that already has knowledge, yet given greater depth concerning God’s Word.
In the Bible the words preaching and teaching are used concerning Christianity, Judaism, and false beliefs and religions.
The question is not what is presented, but to whom it is presented.
Which is why during a Sunday morning church service, where there are believers and unbelievers in attendance, the pastor can be both preaching and teaching; using passages of the Bible in accordance with motivation towards salvation for the unsaved, as well as passages which lend greater meaning of understanding of God’s Word for those that are believers.
What is unfortunate is that the word “preaching” has come to be understood as any public speaking concerning God’s Word, rather than as it is specifically utilized from God’s Word, which has to do with the presentation of God’s Word to unbelievers. (Therefore, please excuse any generic usage of the word “preaching” in this essay, as I too am susceptible to this kind of abuse.)
Is There a Wrong Way to Preach or Teach
Concerning presentation styles, and before seeking which style may be better than others; the first question should perhaps be is there a wrong way to preach or teach. I believe the answer is – yes.
More and more, many pastors are using Sunday sermons to talk, tell stories, thus Anecdotal presentations. They spend all their time doing anything but in-depth teaching concerning God’s Word.
They may take a verse, without examining the meanings of the words, and spend an hour giving stories, analogies, and emotional centered contrivances in order to stir the audience, and give a great presentation. However, this is man-centered, and has more to do with the ego of the presenter, than it does the presentation of God and His Word.
However, in light of the above comment, and concerning the differences between preaching and teaching, this begs the question: “who says the pastor must do teaching, which is geared towards the believer; when the pastor’s goal may be that of “preaching” to the unbelieving, wherein the use of storytelling, rather than teaching might be more appropriate?”
The differences is this, when the church is assembled, such as a Sunday morning service, there is no doubt that unbelievers are in attendance; yet the main function is that of a presentation to believers wherein teaching is to be the overriding platform of the presentation – wherein preaching will be interwoven.
It is in understanding that when God’s Word is taught, the Gospel is and must be presented as well (concerning this, please see the statements by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones surrounding the heading: “Interrelated and Inter-dependent” in his book: “Preaching & Preachers,” page 63-64); therefore when the Word of God is being taught, preaching is also accomplished wherein faith is presented from which salvation is gleaned as seen in Romans 10:17, which declares:
“so then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
As does 1 Peter 1:23, which states:
“Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”
The point is you cannot teach without preaching, though you can preach without teaching.
Pastors that say that Sunday morning services should always be an evangelical outreach to the unsaved – are wrong.
However, when we speak about teaching God’s Word this is not to say that it is to be high-minded, and so deep that the common man cannot understand and learn, while sitting next to a member of the church.
There is a way of teaching which is expositional, where words are defined and meaning are rendered repetitiously (REPETITION IS BIBLICAL~ see: Philippians 3:1; Titus 3:8; 2 Peter 1:12-13; 3:1-2), so that the first-time attendee can understand what is being said, even as deep truths are presented.To answer the question: “who says the pastor must teach,” the answer is Jesus.
Prior to Jesus’ crucifixion, He laid the responsibility of pastoring the church in Jerusalem to Peter when He stated in John 21:15-17, “feed my sheep” – three times (there are a lot of these verses, wherein the meaning is not obvious. Peter denied Christ publicly 3 times, which is why Christ asked him 3 times publicly if he loved Christ – if you examine the Greek words used, you would know that Jesus asked Peter if he “Loved” him, and Peter responded that he “liked” him, which gives greater understanding to the situation – this is what teaching uncovers, but preaching does not).
What should be obvious is that Jesus did not say: “produce sheep,” He said “to feed” them, which is synonymous with teaching them, which is necessary for spiritual growth, pastors are never told to “produce” or “make” sheep (believers), they are told to “make” disciplines – students, “teach all nations (Matthew 28:19-20).
Sheep produce sheep, this is the ministry of the church, not the pastor, according to Ephesians 4:11-12, which states:
“And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ”
This very plainly states that the leadership of the church is responsible “for the perfecting of the saints,” or more literally in the Greek “the maturing [completing] of the saints,” spiritually speaking.
It is the saints, the believers that are responsible “for the work of the ministry,” which is “for the edifying,” or more literally in the Greek, “for the growth of the body of Christ – the Church.”
This is why Christ said in Matthew 28:19-20:
“Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”
Notice He did not say go make believers of all men, but to go “and teach all nations” (in the literal Greek this verse says: “then having gone, disciple all nations...”) and “Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have command you;” pastors and ministers are to teach, and when they do – they will be preaching.
Teaching ~ Always
Concerning Ephesians 4:11, what is not obvious in the English, but is a fact in the Greek; is that the expression “pastors and teachers” is not a reference to two individuals, or individual tasks, but to one individual, pastors conducting one task – that of teaching.
It literally says in the Greek, “teaching pastors.”
In Koiné Greek, when two nouns are connected with the conjunctive, (Greek: kia), “AND,” with one of the nouns having the definite article, “THE,” and the other not having the definite article; then both of the nouns are of the same in essence, and are equal and therefore synonymous.
And if these conditions are not met exactly, then the two nouns are speaking about two different subjects that are not the same in essence, and are not synonymous (an example of this is seen in comparing Eph. 4:11 as opposed to Rom. 8:17 & Acts 6:8; in which the nouns are not the same in essence, nor synonymous; even though in the English these nouns appear to be speaking about the same thing – they are not).
The point is that you cannot separate teaching from that of pastoring – a pastor cannot say that his calling is NOT teaching; to do so is in direct contradiction to Ephesians 4:11-12, and therefore is un-Biblical, and he is in error.
As Christ displayed by Him appointing Peter as the pastor of the church, it is a pastor’s responsibility to feed (see Acts 20:28-32) – teach the believers so that they grow spiritually, which is also the job description contained in Ephesians 4:11-12; so that the Church – the members will do the work of the ministry (Greek: diakonia, meaning “service”).
As was said, sheep produce sheep, pastors do not.
This is not to say that a pastor, as a sheep himself does not produce other sheep, he does and he should – this is referred to as personal evangelism (or what is commonly called witnessing – yet a preacher does not witness from the pulpit, he teaches when he preaches). And it is during the teaching of the Word of God that the preaching of the Gospel is embedded (Acts 28:31) within the sermon that the unbeliever should be drawn to salvation as the Word is being taught.
Yet, to say concerning the position of the pastor, the local leader of the Church of believers; that it is his responsibility to grow the church is Biblically incorrect, and fosters the wrong presupposition that the church members are spectators, rather than members who hold responsibility.
The devil has been trying for centuries to convince the church that they are merely “the audience,” “spectators of a artful presenter;” in order to emasculate the Church of Jesus Christ.
It is by attempting to make sure that the body of Christ is not thoroughly equipped by being taught the Word of God that Satan endeavors to foil God’s plan. It is for this reason that Paul states 2 Timothy 3:16-17 (see below under “Foundational Principle,” for a further treatment of this passage):
“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”
The Author’s Writing Method
The author’s writing method (which includes the author’s abuse of run-on sentences, with many comma splices [perhaps like Paul according to Peter, as in 2 Pet. 3:16]; mammoth parentheses, toned down in gray type for the convenience of the reader, which are lessons in themselves; and the exploitation of repetition [as practiced by Peter and Paul ~ Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2]; as well as the overuse of emphasis in regards to using italics, underlying, bold, and colored fonts) is unusual in that it seeks to teach about many different subjects, within many diverse areas, while presenting information on a singular topic.
There is a thought within Christian Philosophies of Education, that the human mind is so ingeniously created that it can learn many different things while addressing a singular theme.
This is the premise behind the presentation style of the essays produced by this ministry, which has been analogized as going down many rabbit trails while on a long journey.
The Author’s Teaching Style
The author’s teaching style is first and foremost a classical expositional presentation style, which according to the classical meaning of expositional teaching is (to reiterate):
An in-depth examination wherein the Biblical text is meticulously, methodically, thoroughly, comprehensively, and systematically investigated and presented, wherein the Word of God is the final source and guide, and the final purpose is the glorification of God (Isa. 43:7), and the presentation of His Will (Heb. 13:21; Philp. 2:13) as seen in God’s Word. And what must be also understood is what expositional teaching is not.
It is not a strictly speaking only a presentation of passages examined as they were sequentially written in the Bible, proceeding from book to book, via chapter by chapter, according to verse by verse. Rather than the term’s true meaning, which is that of “exposing” and “expounding” the text under consideration.
Even though it is understood as well that a sequential or chronological presentation is an excellent tool because it protects against those that would teach topically, avoiding subjects that are uncomfortable, and those that camp out on themes that they personally enjoy (such as: wealth, prosperity, & healing), and unfortunately in the process under-feed the sheep.
However, concerning the classical definition concerning expositional presentation, it is incorrect to say it must be a sequential presentation of the Scripture. It is the classical form that this author strives to present.
Therefore, it is understood that it is possible to present expositional teaching in a topical manner, and as stated in the introduction; this essay, as well as all the essays on this blog site are not meant to be sermons (see the statements surrounding “A sermon is not a essay,” in the book: “Preaching & Preachers,” by D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1972, pp. 70), nor to take the place of Bible Study; but to motivate people to the study of God’s Word.
It is the sincere desire and pray of the author that the essays presented within this blog site will be used for research as a starting point. Because it is when the child of God starts to dig deep into God’s Word, unearthing it’s power (Heb. 4:12-13), exercising Biblical judgment (Heb. 5:11-14) according to God’s Word, that he begins to: “rightly divide the Word of God.”
How to Approach God’s Word
Foundational rules are those standards wherein a basis of understanding is established prior to a presentation; and are necessary in order that meaning and clarity are conveyed.
Within Christianity there are many descending views concerning Biblical Interpretation (with the author’s presented below), the first standard of this essay is the Biblical doctrine that any and every Scripture has only one meaning meant by God, and cannot be twisted to say something else without doing violence to the text. 2 Peter 1:20, states:
“Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation”
The Greek grammar of this text makes it plainly clear that there is not a way of defining the Bible diverse from its original meaning; there is only one way of defining God’s Word, and that is according to what God purposely designed it to say.
This is the true and only understanding of 2 Peter 1:20, in that there is no individual or private interpretation allowed for any biblical text, in spite of the fact that this Scripture has been twisted many times to try to prove the opposite.
Therefore, it is our responsibility as believers and stewards of God’s Word to attempt to come to as actuate as possible an understanding of every Scripture, and what God means to convey in them.
This author acknowledges up front he will make mistakes within this website, yet we are all called to walk in the light we have (Isa. 2:5; Joh. 12:35 ~ 1 John 1:7), and as such, it is our responsibility as God’s children to seek to completely and thoroughly understand what He would say to us in His Word.
Therefore, it is necessary that we all take ownership of our own presuppositions, biases, frame of references, and prejudices; before attempting to interpret anything in God’s Word. Understanding our own weaknesses (if we do not take ownership of our weaknesses [by admitting them], they will take ownership of us [by keeping us blind of them and thereby keep controlling us]) concerning the things that we hold to and believe, as well as those things that win sway over our own discretion; must be a priority addressed prior to any or all investigation of God’s Word.
It has been said that humans are never comfortable with being wrong. Yes, there are people that can make statements concerning past error, however the past wrong is past, and NOW they are right. It is the ability to admit we are wrong in the present that takes character.
We Must Be Right That
It is this innate requirement within the human psyche that humans must feel that they are right. And therefore in order to propagate this false feeling of correctness human beings have learned to rely upon self-delusion, more prominently known as denial.
“Denial” has been defined as: “Don’t Even kNow I Am Lying – to myself.” Denial is simply a politically correct way of saying “deceit,” and the most deadly form of deceit is self-deceit. Self-deceit is what every criminal must master to rationalize why his wrong behavior was and is actually right.
Self-deceit is what every human being must indulge in an order to justify a wrong committed. Self-deceit is such an intricate part of the fallen nature that even believers become ensnared by it.
Self-deceit is so strong that we as humans unknowingly establish whole patterns of self-deceit, sometimes referred to as “Thinking Errors,” wherein these ways of fooling ourselves become entrenched patterns which become so ingrained that we can do some of the most trouble things using these corrupt justifications: by these “Thinking Errors” (patterns of sinful thinking).
This explains the Nazi movement, where individuals joined in the most barbaric form of horrific and sinful behaviors, from ridicule to destruction of business and personal property, to torture and murder and under the leadership of Hitler; with many calling themselves Christians, even conducting these atrocities just before attending church services and religious celebrations.
This also explains the behaviors of followers of China’s Chairman Meow, or Russia’s Stalin, who committed such evil, millions of people followed these mass-murderers, having found ways of justifying trouble atrocities, all by the use of “Thinking Error,” which is simply a humanistic way of saying self-deceit.
As stated before, it is this necessity to feel that one is right that facilitates the requirement of self-denial wherein the human brain finds patterns of thinking that can rationalize what would normally be considered sinful or unhealthy behavior.
It is referred to in the Bible as pride, wherein the human must elevate self in this demand to be right in feel right about self. It is this human fundamental condition of the fall wherein pride is the foundation that every other sin is built upon.
Pride is simply preoccupation with self. Every sin that is ever done is to promote self and is built upon this fundamental premise of pride. It is the opposite of humility wherein pride is easily identified.
Humility has seen in those that would admit their sins take them to the cross and confess them before God seeking not only to be delivered from the penalty but the bondage of sin that humility is best seen in the life of the believer.
But Why This Need to be Right?
Yet what is unseen is the other side of the coin concerning why humans have a drive to be right. It is due to God’s design that humans strive to be right and to do right – without this need to feel right, we as the human race would be so much more worse off, we could not keep from destroying ourselves; making our race extinct in the process.
Having worked with incarcerated individuals, this author has never met a criminal that did not have a justification for every crime they ever committed; this is due to God’s wisdom in creating use with this obsession to be right. However, because of our fallen nature we have no ability to fulfill this obsession; therefore, we attempt to self-deceive ourselves in order to maintain some kind of sanity – as perverse as it is.
Self-deceit is the reason why sincerity holds no value when it comes to doing the wrong thing, because some of the worst violations of humanity have been committed in complete sincerity, yet only made possible by self-deceit.
The Pharisees of Jesus day believed that sin was only possible as a behavior, an outward action; this allowed religious self-deceit to permeate their every action from the inside – hidden. This is why they could take the 613 Levitical laws and transform them into thousands of moral codes
You Have Heard It Said…
known as the “spoken law,” as the Pharisees called it, rather than the “written law,” which was recorded in the Torah. This is why Jesus stated when confronting the Pharisees about this: “you have heard it said…” (Matt. 5:21, 27, 33, 38, 43) in referring to their man-made traditions, as compared to “it is written” (Matt. 2:5; 4:4, 6, 7, 10;11:10; 21:13; 26:24,31; to name only a few), when Jesus was addressing God’s Law; pointing out the difference between the two.
There “spoken” man-made laws are what Jesus was referring to when he spoke about them making void the word of God by their tradition (literal Greek), as found in Matthew 15:3,8; and Mark 7:8-9. Christian Self-deceit
It is easy to point out self-deceit in others, or to attempt to state that believers are exempt from this kind of self-deceit. However, the very act of trying to say that believer’s are exempt is a display of self-deceit.
If Christians are not susceptible to self-deceit, explain why we have so many contradictory doctrines, whole denominations which contend other denominations are in error – the answer is self-deceit. And If Christians are not susceptible to self-deceit why are we warned so many time in the Bible to “be not deceived,” when those spoke to are believers.
It is our responsibility, as Christians and Children of God to attempt to become more comfortable, with being uncomfortable; by admitting (admitting our “faults one to another”~ Jam. 5:16) when we are wrong, rather than simply hiding it (which man has done from the beginning, when Adam and Eve hid from God after they sinned).
We must learn to own our own mistakes, and therefore gain the ability to correct them. It has been wisely said:”Good judgment comes from experience, and experience comes from bad judgment.”
Therefore, when we undertake any Scripture, it should be in order to find God’s truth, not simply to support our own beliefs, and be willing to question our own presuppositions in the process.
It is this type of courage that the believer must engage in when studying God’s Word in order to rightly divide God’s Word, according to what God has meant for the text to say, because no Scripture is of any private or individual interpretation; it is only according to God’s interpretation, not our own private one – this is what 2 Peter 1:20 means in the Greek, not how it has been twisted in understanding according to the English.
Whereas, “foundational rules set standards in order to guarantee clarity in conformity,” “a principle has been described as a descriptive comprehensive and fundamental law, doctrine, or assumption.”
Thus, it is in consideration of the following principle that all believers should obtain to aspire, that of a commitment to God’s Word, which mirrors their love, admiration and commitment to Him.
In Matthew 22:37, Jesus gave a summation of The Law (“The Torah”), when He presented the Shema (which is the Hebrew word for: “hear,” as in: Sh’ma Yisrael, meaning: “Hear Israel“), the greatest commandment to Israel (and is the daily prayer of the Jews, and the summation of God’s mandate for them) as recorded in Deuteronomy 6:4-6, which is:
“Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
Jesus was validating the essence of how a saved “Believer” (Luk. 10:26-27) should feel about God. If this is the description of how we sanctify (“set apart”) God in our lives (1 Pet. 3:15); therefore, how can we rationalize a half hearted pursuit concerning God’s Word.
If we supposedly search after God with all of our being, then how can we justify spending so little time and effort searching out God’s Word? How easy it can become to spend time in prayer, where no scholastic or academic discipline is necessary, yet lack the discipline that diligent Bible study mandates.
It has been wisely said that a barometer of a born-again believer’s commitment can be seen in how hard they dig into God’s Word, displaying a sound understanding of the value it holds.
“But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”2
What is less clear in the English translation of this verse is its full meaning. What is NOT being said here is that those that diligently seek God to receive a reward for doing so in return for the effort, receive a temporal reward.
Seeking a reward, for the sake of the reward is the mindset of (the “name it and claim it” abusers) of the world, and antithetical to God’s teaching on the subject.
Any parent that reinforces a motivation of this type with their child, that the child should seek the parent only for what the parent can give them (rewards) is teaching materialism, as well as manipulation to the child.
This is not the same as seeking God for eternal salvation: one is physical and the other is spiritual; one is of the flesh and is temporal, where the other is eternal and of the Spirit; one is Spiritual survival, where the other is physical bartering.
A good parent desires the love of the child; understanding that the child loves the parent because of the parent loved the child first (“We love him, because he first loved us.” ~ 1 John 4:19), and it is the love that the parent shows the child, that the child responds to, as opposed to any gifts that the parent may give.
We seek God, because God loves first (as well as the influence of the Holy Spirit), which is completely different than seeking God for anything He can give us on the Earth.
The idea of Hebrews 11:16, is that the individual understands that seeking God diligently, means to seek God’s Will, and not merely seeking to know about God. There are many in the world that seek through knowledge to understand a god, attempting to find him in Eastern religion and many cults.
However, it is a different matter to seek to not just know who God is, but to serve Him, fulfilling His Will above our own.; this is what “diligently seek him” means, it is this kind is seeking of God, that of seeking to do His Will that is the kind of behavior that creates a relationship with God that is beneficial and rewarding in itself; as opposed to manipulative in attempting to garner a gift.
This necessitates spending time in God’s Word
One of the witnesses of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is how an individual approaches the Word of God. The Holy Spirit utilizes God’s written Word and creates within the Believer an understanding of the importance of God’s revelation, and confirms that this is not a dry dead document, but in reality is (as Heb. 4:12-13 says is) alive and functioning within the life of the Believer .3
Therefore, this foundational principle concerns our commitment in studying God’s Word, it is a commitment that must far exceed any other commitments in life.
This also displays the perception that the person understands that the Bible is the Word of God, not a religious document, not a code of ethics, not some words that are hearsay concerning a divine creator, nor even a record of God’s interventions upon earth; but that the Bible is God’s inspired revelation to man.
2 Timothy 3:16
This revelation of God to man can be easily seen in such passages as 2 Timothy 3:16, however, this passage not only deals with the inspiration of Scripture, that of the word of God being “God breathed;” but also its function concerning the application of God’s Word in the believer’s life, when it states:”
“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine [teaching ~ “what is right”], for reproof [correcting wrong doctrine ~ “what’s wrong”], for correction [correcting wrong behavior ~ “how to get it right”], for instruction [teaching right living ~ “how to stay right”] in righteousness.“4
A Carnal Believer
This is not to say that there aren’t Christians that don’t study the Word of God, because there are many believers that fit within this unfortunate description (many times they are referred to as: “carnal” – “even as unto babes in Christ” ~ 1 Cor. 3:1-2; some are even perpetual in the carnality of their walk, never growing concerning the meat of the word ~ Heb. 5:11-14), suffering defeat in their daily walks due to an indulgence in the flesh as compared to walking in the power of the Spirit. Yet, this type of defeated life is never meant for the believer, for we are told in Colossians 3:23:
“and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord, and not unto men“
In order to maintain contextual continuity we must realize that Paul starts the 3rd chapter of Colossians affirming that we are to set our sights upon Christ as Savior and Lord, placing our affections upon Him ~ with the chapter ending concerning rewards that we receive.
The conclusion Paul comes to is seen in verse 23, but this is because of verse 17, which states:
“And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him“
What this means is that everything that we say and do should be done with Christ in mind, and therefore everything we should do, we should do to our fullest ability, never half hardy, lazy, or incomplete.
This is not teaching excellence for the sake of excellence, this is teaching excellence for the Kingdom of God. The greatest display of excellence is seen in the ability of a believer to “die to self,” 5 as opposed to the world which glorifies self.
The excellence this Scripture speaks of is doing the best we can, every time; yet always for the glory of God. This is never displayed so clearly as when it is seen in how a believer handles the Word of God.
The most valuable commodity anyone has is time. This is because it is the only thing that can never be renewed, and that once spent, it is lost forever.
This is why the reflection that we hold concerning God’s Word is seen in the time that we commit to studying it, as well as the lengths that we go to understand it.
It is unfortunate that this even needs to be said, but there are many immature Christians that abuse God’s Word simply to validate their own point of view as referred to above, and when the error of their way is pointed out to them, they frequently display an “Ends Justify the Means,” type of mindset.
Yet this is never the way that God does things. He always does the right thing, the right way. This explains why God could not simply forgive sin without punishment because this would violate the integrity of God’s righteousness and justice, a price had to be paid, by a sinless representative of mankind (Rom. 5:12-21).
It is to this extent that the eternal Word of God (Joh. 1:1-4), became man, and paid our price for sin ~ because of God’s iniquity. Wherefore, how can we ever attempt to do “the wrong thing even for the right reason,” and still believe we are representing Christ in the effort?
It must also be understood that the reason why some of the biblical misunderstandings listed below still continue is because the underlying principle is normally solid and correct, yet the particular verse used to make the case for the principle doesn’t support it, however, this never legitimizes the wrong use of Scripture.
Therefore, in supporting any teaching we must find the correct verses in attempting to make a case for a particular biblical principle or doctrine. There is never a correct reason to misrepresent any passage in God’s Word.
True Faith in God’s Word
It is in allowing God’s Word to say exactly what it says, and therefore what God desires to be said, that we display faith in God, and in the fact that He knows what He’s doing, even if we do not understand.
If we feel the compulsion to add to His Words, we display an arrogant and presumptuous mindset that does not hold true faith in God, or His ability; which lends itself to the supposition that God somehow needs our help clarifying a particular issue. It is for these reasons that we must accurately and therefore “rightly divide” the Word of God.
The point of these foundational truths is that when studying God’s Word, it should be crucial to attempt to understand exactly what God desires to say in any given passage specifically as compared to generally; and thoroughly as compared to superficially – and as a priority of our lives, (this author falls short of these truths far to offend – it is in grace and faith that we seek to meet these principles on a daily basis, yet only in His power; while always in our desire).
Defining God’s Word exactly as He intended displays true Christian integrity, and real Biblical faith. Not only as individuals exhibiting the power of God, to His glory in our lives by our good works5 (“Having your conversation honest… may by your good works… glorify God…” – conversation means: “life style” ~ 1 Peter 2:12), but as believers trusting in God and what He has said in His Word, which brings new life (“being born again … by the word of God” ~ 1 Peter 1:23), setting the “Lord God” as Supremely above everything else (sanctify), in our heart’s, holding fast to hope, and able to articulate that hope (1 Peter 3:15), living out the power of God in your lives during the fiery trials, even rejoicing (1 Peter 4:12-13), displaying the power of God’s living Word Hebrew 4:12-13), fully committed in our time and resources; “a living sacrifice“ (Romans 12:1), dying to self (Luke 9:23), but living for God (1 Peter 4:6)..
A Short Theological Glossary
Before proceeding in this section, a few word definitions would be appropriate. The following theological terms are actually much simpler than they appear; it is because many of the words are transliterated (see below) from other languages, that they sound intimidating.
Angelology Is the study of angels.
Anthropology Is the study of man.
Anthropomorphism Is describing human
attributes to nonhuman things,
such as using emotional type words
or human characteristics in describing
God’s motivations, actions, or
His very being, (noun).
~ Anthropomorphize is the verb.
Antinomianism (Greek) anti (meaning: “against“)
nomos (meaning: “law“), refers to the
doctrine that states that it is not
necessary for Christians to preach
and/or obey the moral law of the OT.
Apologetics Is a branch in theology that presents a defense of the validity of Christian as
truth, and it’s doctrines as legitimate
primarily in a deductive systematic
(Greek: apologia, “to make a defense”)
Apostle “One sent with delegated authority”
(also had to have “…seen Jesus
Christ our Lord” ~ 1 Cor. 9:1).
Appistamalology Is the study of how
people come to Christ.
Bibliology Is the study of the Bible.
Christocentricity Is the fact that all Scripture
are Christ centered (Joh. 5:39).
Christology Is the study of Christ.
Christophanies Is the pre-incarnate (O.T.)
appearances of Jesus.
Ecclesiology Is the study of the church.
Eisegete Is to place meaning into a
text which is not originally or
inherently present in the text
to begin with. It is to
interject meaning not originally
contained, and is the opposite
of exegete, which is “to draw out”
the meaning of the text.
Epistemology Is the study of knowledge,
how we know things,
its scope and limits.
Eschatology Is the study of future
Ethnology Is the study of cultures.
Etiology Is the study of the cause or
origin of a disease.
Etymology Is the study of the origin
of words or linguistics.
examination of a text.
(Greek: “to draw out”)
. Plain Meaning: Is the study
of what the scripture means.
. Technically: In the process of exegesis,
a passage must be viewed in its
historical and grammatical
context with its time/purpose of
writing taken into account.
This is often accommodated by asking:
• Who wrote the text, and who is the
• What is the context of the text, i.e.
how does it fit in the author’s
larger thought process, purpose,
or argument in the chapter
and book where it resides?
• Is the choice of words, wording,
or word order significant in this
• Why was the text written (e.g. to
correct, encourage, or explain, etc.)?
(Theopedia) ~ Exegete or Exegetical
Expositional Preaching Is A kind of preaching that expounds upon the meaning of a
. particular text. Plain Meaning: Is the study of what the
. scripture says. ~ Expository.
Heretical Is an opinion or doctrine held in complete opposition to an Orthodox
. position which undermines a foundational truth concerning an
. essential belief.
Hermeneutics Is a branch of theology that deals with principles of in-depth (exegesis),
. systematic examination in order to determine the intended meaning of a
. passage through specific principles of interpretation. There are different
. hermeneutical approaches, such as the: Allegorical Method, Literalistic
. Method, Naturalistic Method, Neo-Orthodox Interpretation Method,
. Devotional Interpretation Method, Ideological Interpretation Method,
. and the Grammatical-Historical Method. Plain Meaning: Is a study
. of the methods and techniques of biblical interpretation. ~ Hermeneutical
Heterodoxy Is any opinion or doctrine at variance with what is considered an
. orthodox position, yet does not undermine a foundational truth
. concerning an essential belief. ~ Heterodoxical
Heteropraxy Pertaining to people who do not follow the teachings of their religion.
Homily A sermon given to an assembled audience (Greek: homilia; means:
. “conversation,” “discourse“), some say to edify on a practical matter,
. others say a massage with a personal application.
Logy Is Greek for “study” or “science.”
Omnipotent “All powerful, visible & invisible.”
Omnipresent “Existing everywhere all at once, non-locality.”
Omniscient “All knowing.”
Ontological Argument Is an argument for the existence of God based upon the
. meaning of the term “God.”
Orthodoxy Means: “right opinion,” or “correct thinking”, and is understood
. as the accepted or traditional historic Christian faith, made up
. of its doctrines.
Paterology Is the study of God the Father (“Theology Proper”).
Pelagianism Is the belief that there was no original sin, and man can work
. out his own salvation.
Pharisee “A separated one.”
Pneumatology Is the study of God the Holy Spirit.
Prophet “One who speaks for another” ~ “interpreter”
. (As per Dr. William Smith , “The English word, ‘prophet’
. comes from the Greek prophetes (profetes)[G4396], which
. signifies, in classical Greek, one who speaks for another,
. especially one who speaks for a god, and so interprets his will
. to man; hence, its essential meaning is “an interpreter”. The
. use of the word in its modern sense as “one who predicts”
. is post-classical. The larger sense of interpretation has not,
. however, been lost. In fact, the English word has been used
. in a closer sense“).
Propitiation “Covering” (Greek: hilasterion), “the lid of expiation,”
. (Greek: epithema “a cover”) from the Hebrew: kapporet
. (Exo. 25:10-22; Lev. 16:2; Heb. 9:2-10). It is the greatest word
. of love in Scripture, because it displays how far God would go
. to redeem man by covering man’s sin. Sin cannot be simply
. forgotten, or just set aside. Sin is opposition to God and His
. Will, & cannot be tolerated. God’s justice could not allow
. sin to go without punishment, man took himself out from
. under God’s protection when he chose to NOT obey; because
. of his lack of faith in God (we obey because we trust God –
. it is only natural to obey God if we trust what He says – only
. a fool sticks his hand in fire after God has warned him, of the
. harm, obedience is the natural fruit of faith. Faith should
. be our motivation, & it is our motivation that God is concerned
. with – obedience for the sake of obedience [such as Pharisees],
. can be manipulation, yet obedience because of faith sets up a
. relationship, which is what God wants), this is what Adam gave
. up, a relationship based upon faith. Being part of God’s family
. means God protects & covers us; after man’s fall, this covering
. was withdrawn,*now through faith in Jesus’ atoning death on
. the cross, having paid the price for our sin, we are adopted back
. into God’s family, and made righteous by Christ’s blood. God’s
. covering of man’s sin cost Him the most valuable thing in existence,
. the life of His Son. This is the price of our covering, & proof of
. God’s love. (*God always protects His Own, which includes
. before they respond in faith, God is always the Master of His
. Creation; He is Supreme in all, thus His covering does not
. mean others are without protection.)
Redemption “Freed by a ransom having been paid” ~ in regards to a market
. slave (1 Joh. 5:19; Joh. 12:31; Eph. 2:2,3; Col. 2:14; Heb. 2:14, 15;
. 1 Pet. 1:18,19).
Romanize To take a word from a foreign alphabet and transliterate it in
. to the Latin alphabet, which makes up what we know as our
. English letters.
Sanctification “To set aside.”
Satan “Adversary,” (Greek: satanas) from the verb (Hebrew) saTan,
. “to lie in wait.” (herban ~ Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).
Semi-Pelagianism Is the belief that man did not totally fall, and man can work in
. his salvation.
Sin (Greek: hamarthia [G266], “to miss the mark” as in archery).
Soteriology Is the study of salvation.
Sovereign “Accountable only to one’s self.”
Teleology Is the study of the meaning, goal & purpose of the world.
Tanach Is the Hebrew Old Testament (Hebrew: Tanakh).
Theocracy Is a form of government which god/God is recognized as the civil ruler.
Theodicy Is a system of natural theology aimed at seeking to reconcile divine
. justice (a good God) and allowing evil to exist (the existence of evil
. in the world).
Theology Is the study of God (Greek: Theos = God).
Theology Proper Is the study of the doctrine of God.
Theonomy Is a system of natural theology that reconciles divine justice &
. evil in world.
Theophany Is a theological term used to refer to either a visible or auditory
. manifestation of God. ~ Theophanies
Torah Literally: “the law.” Refers to books of Gen. – Deu.,
. (Greek: “Pentateuch) ” meaning: “five.”
Translation The act of conveying the meaning of a word in one language
. by producing the same meaning in another language. The primary
. goal is that of transmission of meaning only, not the word itself or
. the use of the original word alphabet; hence, the translation is not
. about spelling, but meaning.
Transliteration The representation of letters from one language alphabet
. (written symbols) to another language alphabet. Whereas,
. translation deals with conveying meaning, transliteration
. has to do with reproducing words. Due to this, doing
. transliteration can become complicated. Wikipedia gives a good
. explanation as follows: “Transliteration is the practice of converting
. a text from one writing system into another, systematically. From
. an information-theoretical point of view, transliteration is a
. mapping from one system of writing into another, word by word,
. or ideally letter by letter. Transliteration attempts to use a
. one-to-one correspondence, and to be exact, so that an informed
. reader should be able to reconstruct the original spelling
. of unknown transliterated words. To achieve that objective,
. transliteration may define complex conventions for dealing
. with letters in the source script [which do not exist in the
. other language], which do not correspond with letters in
. a goal script. Transliteration is opposed to transcription,
. which specifically maps the sounds of one language to the
. best matching script of another language. Most systems
. of transliteration attempt to map the letters of the source
. script to the letters pronounced similarly in the goal script.
. [part of the problem is that many language alphabets do not
. have corresponding letters that match with other language
. alphabets], the Greek language is written in the 24-letter
. Greek alphabet, which overlaps with, but differs from, the
. 26 letter version of the Roman alphabet, in which English
. is written.” (Wikipedia) An example of the problem can be
. can be seen as follows: In the Anglo-Saxon language there is
. a letter ∂ (it would be pronounced “eth” in English), which
. does not exist in Modern English. To transliterate this letter,
. we use the digraph <th>. Therefore, when we write out the
. Anglo-Saxon word, “∂aes,” when it is transliterated, it would
. be thaes in English.
Transgression “Crossing over the line.”
The Preeminence of Christ
For the Christian, the first and primary rule of Biblical interpretation (“hermeneutics”) centers on the relationship of “The Word of God,” the Bible to Jesus Christ, referred to as the preeminence (meaning: “above and beyond everything else in importance” – pre [“before”], eminent [“importance”]) of Jesus Christ (Heb. 2:10), in both the Old and New Testaments, as Creator (Col. 1:16) and Lord (Phil. 2:9-11); that He far and above fulfills the Will of the Father (Joh. 8:28); and deserves to be preeminent in our lives.
Jesus Said of Himself
Found in John 5:39,
“you search the Scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they that speak of me.”
Hebrews 10:7, which quotes Psalms 40:7, which is a Messianic passage, states:
“Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me.”
It is these, among many other Scriptures that instruct us that the Scripture centers on the person of Jesus Christ, as the only begotten Son of the Father (2 Pet. 1:17).
It is in understanding His preeminence (Rom. 11:36) in fulfilling the Will of the Father, that allows the salvation of all of mankind (Acts 5:31), yet concerning salvation man is not the focus of attention, God is (1 Pet. 4:11; man is created for God’s glory ~ Isa. 43:7); and it is Jesus Christ in which God reveals Himself to man (Joh. 14:9), and Christ Jesus by whom God the Father is glorified (Col. 3:17).
Specifically Concerning Christ’s Preeminence
Colossians 1:16, states:
“For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him”
Ephesians 1:20-23, states:
“Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”
Concerning Christ and the Law
Matthew 5:18, states:
“Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.”
Concerning Jesus’ Place in the Old Testament Scriptures
Luke 24:27, Jesus states concerning Himself:
“And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.”
And Again, Luke 24:44-47, when it states:
“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. And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, “Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, “and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem“
Another example of this is seen in John 1:45, which states:
“Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him, of whom Moses in the law, and the prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”
As well as John 12:16, states:
“His disciples did not understand these things at first; but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things were written about Him and that they had done these things to Him.”
And John 15:25, states:
“But this happened that the word might be fulfilled which is written in their law, `They hated Me without a cause.”
Acts 1:16, states:
“Men and brethren, this scripture must needs have been fulfilled, which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus.”
Acts 8:35, states:
“Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture[which was Isa. 53:7], and preached unto him Jesus.”
Acts 10:43, states:
“To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”
Acts 13:27-37, states:
“For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him. And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. But God raised Him from the dead. He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. And we declare to you glad tidings that promise which was made to the fathers. God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: `You are My Son, today I have begotten You.’ And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: `I will give you the sure mercies of David.’ Therefore He also says in another Psalm: `You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’ For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.”
Acts 26:22-23, states:
“Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.”
Acts 28:23, states:
“And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening“
Romans 1:1-3, states:
“Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God which He promised before through His prophets in the Holy Scriptures, concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who was born of the seed of David according to the flesh, and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead. “
Hebrews 1:1-3, states:
“In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word. After he had provided purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven.”
Other notable scriptures concerning Christ’s preeminence are: John 1:1, 14, 29; 5:46, 47; Acts 2:16-36; 3:18; John 14:6 with 17:7; and Hebrews 4:13.
Place Jesus in the Middle of It
It has been wisely said that if any passage appears to be mysterious or difficult to comprehend, simply place Jesus in the middle of the passage; and according to the blessing of the Holy Spirit, relevance will be unearthed the understanding of the passage.
As will be discussed later, God uses many different forms of object lessons to convey meaning, Such as: types (“the lamb of God,” “the lion of the tribe of Judah“), shadows (the Tabernacle, Feast Days), numbers (6 the number of man, 7 the number of completeness), and symbolism as seen in colors ( blue, purple, red), raw building material (gold, bronze, wood, hay and stubble); “Figures of Speech,” which are readily employed, which are normal words used in the abnormal manner in order to render meaning and emphasis.
Therefore, there are passages in God’s Word that use these different forms of object lessons, yet always in some manner pointing to Jesus Christ as He is the center of all creation. Hence, God uses literally everything in His Word to display Jesus Christ (Joh. 5:39); even such as things as Jesus’ two appearances on Earth which are pictorials which display His role of Redeemer (Job 19:25), of Israel, who has two main functions:
1) That of the Kinsman–Redeemer (Num. 5:6-8; Ruth 3:12-13, 4:1, 4:6, 4:8) who purchases his fellow Kinsman (Heb. 2:17) out of slavery with His own blood (Rev. 1:5; Heb. 9:28; 13:12), and is also able to keep us (Jud. 1:24), as typified by Jesus’ first coming; and His second role as:
2) The Goal, the “Revenger in Blood,” (Num. 35:2; Deut. 19:6) who would revenge when a kinsmen was murdered (such as when man was murdered by the scheme of the Devil, which is continued by his followers, which Christ referred to as his children ~ Joh. 8:44), seeking justice in delivering punishment (Jud. 1:15; Joh. 5:22, 27; Acts 17:31), as typified by Jesus’ second coming.
It is in understanding that everything in the Bible is meant to symbolize and identify the Messiah, His mission, and destiny; which is seen in everything that God has communicated to man. From all the articles of the Tabernacle, to the 7 Feasts of Israel, to even the place names, and personal name of individuals who played out God’s message in the drama of their own lives.
Jesus Christ was the “burning bush” to Moses (Exo. 3:2), as He was also the “Captain of the Lord’s Host” to Joshua (using the same type of expression: “Loose thy shoe from off thy foot; for the place whereon thou standest is holy” to Joshua as recorded in Josh. 5:15; as God also said to Moses as recorded in Exodus 3:5 ~ using the same expression with Joshua as a point of identification as Joshua was fully aware of Moses’ encounter with God), and when Jesus (as recorded in the 8th chapter of John) said the famous “I AM” statement – the Jews understood this renowned Hebrew expression as it is found in Exodus 3:14 (Hebrew: hayah asher hayah and in the Greek: ego eimi).
Jesus, making sure that there was no confusion concerning His statement, stated that He is eternal, as seen in Him claiming to be older than Abraham, as recorded in John 8:58 (Jesus used the “I’ am” statement 7 times concerning His mission as the Messiah, the Redeemer of mankind as seen in: Johe 6:35, 8:12, 10:7, 10:11, 11:25, 14:6, 15:1).
Jesus was well understood to be claiming deity, that He was the voice that came out of the burning bush, which they all understood to be God, which is why the Jews took up stones to stone Him.
NOTE: It should be noted that the Pharisees always drew attention to when Christ claimed to be divine, because they would pick up stones to stone Jesus for blasphemy, which was according to the law (Lev. 24:16); which included the blasphemy of claiming to be divine.
Jesus was symbolized as THE brazen serpent held up in the desert (Joh. 3:14), THE rock not made with hands (Dan. 2:45 ~ Rom. 9:33), THE rock that gave forth water (1 Cor. 10:4), THE Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world (Joh. 1:29, 36), and many more symbols and typologies (both addressed later).
It is in understanding that Jesus Christ is the center of God’s creation (Rom. 11:36; Eph. 1:20-22; Col. 1:16); everything in God’s Word points to Him, holding Him preeminent in all things.It has been mistakenly said that God’s Word is a book about salvation, which implies that man is the main focus as the recipient of that salvation.
And whereas salvation is a underlying theme, it is not what is to be preeminent, Jesus Christ is. It has also been taught that man’s purpose is to be fulfilled in his life, which is synonymous with man living to satisfy himself5, or even have a good life, or even to provide fellowship for God (which is a side benefit to both).
However, man’s purpose is to glorify God as recorded in Isaiah 43:7, which states:“Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”
It is the preeminence of Jesus Christ that is the theme and reason for God’s Word, as well as all of creation.
Context ~ Immediate & Biblical
The problem of contextual abuse has two different forms, where context is meant to be maintained, and integrity should be preserved, that of:
God has so ingeniously designed His Word that there is not simply a chapter that deals with one doctrine, then another chapter that deals with yet another doctrine; or where a particular subject is organized in a particular area of the Bible, in a particular book. If this was the case, then editing any subject out of the Bible would be easy; however, this is quite the opposite from God’s design.
God has distributed text concerning any specific doctrine over the whole spectrum of the Bible so that if any book is removed from the Bible, the Bible still addresses any doctrines taught in that specific book, in yet another book.
There are passages and chapters which appear to be the masterpiece (Magnum opus) on any subject, such as 1 Corinthians 13 being the “love chapter”, or Hebrews Chapter 11 being the “heroes of faith” chapter. However, these are not the only passages which thoroughly address these subjects; God has interwoven the subject of love and faith through all of His Word. God interweaves all of these different doctrines thoroughly through His Word, both in the Old Testament and the New Testaments, as Isaiah 28:10 states how doctrine is taught in God’s Word (see verse 13):
“For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little”
Many times understanding an issue that seems somewhat vague is made clear according to other passages in the Bible on that same subject, which mandates cross-referencing any doctrine or issue in the Bible to gain the widest perspective; therefore, the most intrinsic details God wishes to communicate in His Word are never lost due to deleting or maliciously editing certain books.
The question of context has always been difficult to address due to a couple of reasons. For one, addressing a singular topic within a passage by isolating it from the rest of the passage is common, and while appearing to address the plaintext in order to be time sensitive concerning the amount of time allowed during a teaching session; it is sometimes the un-obvious connection that a text has with previous or following text that becomes a casualty of brevity.
Also, it is in consideration of the following points that we must keep in mind when maintaining the integrity of meaning, wherein:
“the veracity of the text is preserved according to the context, in order to avoid pretext.”
1) Immediate Context~ As stated, isolating a portion of a verse from the context of the whole passage may render it more easily misused or abused in situations or events unrelated or outside of the intended immediate context for which the passage was initially meant. When a single verse is isolated from a paragraph addressing a specific subject or the chapter it is a part of, rather there is an obvious connection or not.
It must be remembered there is a reason that the Holy Spirit connects verses (and sets the chronology of), issues, doctrines, and even “trains of thought” within God’s Word, and taking a verse out of context may disturb the purpose the Holy Spirit intended.
2) Biblical Context~ Also as stated above, there is the concern of Biblical context, which deals with the congruence of a passage when isolated from the rest of the Bible and presented singularly, when God meant for it to be connected to other passages on the same subject. The following must be taken into account concerning the Bible as a whole document, as opposed to individual books.
A) Consistency ~ From man’s point of view these 66 books were written independently, yet from God’s perspective5b all 66 books are one complete message from Him; this is one of the internal proofs of the divine origin of the Bible(and should be a reason for building our faith according to Rom. 10:17; 1 Pet. 1:23), as God and God alone is the only one that could present a consistent message without contradiction through 40 different writers from many diverse occupations and backgrounds, written from 3 different continents (in 3 languages, mainly Hebrew and Greek, with some Aramaic), over almost 1700 years.
B) Application ~ This is why each text of Scripture must agree with every other text of Scripture on the same subject if it is to be understood correctly, because if there seems to be a contradiction, then this implies that either the two text are dealing with different subjects (meaning we must have an apples and oranges situation), or there is a diverse application to one of the texts (please see the heading entitled: “Faith ~ Its Application“~ Link, you will see that application makes an immense difference in approaching the [noun form] word “faith,” wherein when the definite article [“THE”] is used, the application of the word “faith”has to do with Christianity as a religious system or teaching, as opposed to the [noun form] word “faith” in which there is no definite article, which is an action [rather a verbal noun or according to the case] performed by an individual believer ~ it is the grammar that identifies the proper application of the noun form of the word “faith” ~ application is necessary for the correct usage of a word).
The point is, by misapplication (see sections 3 & 4 of Part 2 of this essay for specific Biblical passages that have been abused due to misapplication), many Scripture verses can be used to say the opposite of what they are meant to convey – which has been done far too many times.
An Example: An illustration of this can be seen in the proper application of civil imperatives that God gave to Israel to follow concerning the societal governing of man, where God speaks about “an eye for an eye,” and that any man that “sheds the blood of another, shall have his own blood shed“ (Exo. 21:24; Lev. 24:20; Deut. 19:21), yet Jesus seems to either contradict or change this concerning His teaching of “turning the other cheek” (please see the below Endnote 5c concerning a 1st century perspective on “Turning the Other Cheek” ~ Matt. 5:39; Luk. 6:29), as presented in the “Sermon on the Mount,” recorded in the 5th to 7th chapters of Matthew.
Due to misapplication there are various liberal religious organizations and persons which attempt to say that Jesus reinterpreted or changed God’s meaning from the Old Testament, or as some cults have taught that the Old Testament God was different than the New Testament God.
Due to a lack of proper application concerning these differences, there are various liberal religious organizations that display their misunderstanding of the “Sermon on the Mount” by insisting that Jesus was teaching pacifism
These individuals are first and foremost primarily, “pacifists” (Rather: Deontological or Consequentialist) that use Jesus to propagate their worldview which appears to them as morally right, yet how moral is it to turn the other cheek, when the cheek that you are turning is your wife’s, son’s, or your daughter’s – in situations where you as a father are to defend your home and family from an invader that enters your home and you are not willing to stop him from harming your family, Biblically you are to lay down your life in protection of them, as opposed to just using them to promote your own belief system.
The same is true even for a stranger that is being attacked, or what about a young girl who is being raped, how immoral is pacifism then. And while the issue of war is normally the moral high ground of pacifists, especially wars like Vietnam; yet, how immoral would it have been to have allowed Hitler to become a world conquer (a great expression which is based upon the insight that fallen man is evil is: “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” ~ Edmund Burke).
Pacifists drop names like Tenzin Gyatso (the 14th & current Dalai Lama), Martin Luther King, William Penn, Mohandas K. Gandhi, Siddhartha Gautama (commonly known as the Buddha); yet, have you ever noticed that this current brand of pacifists must have audiences to parade their belief system, they work crowds utilizing emotionalism and rhetoric that inflame, and most notably their demeanor and presence display pride and arrogance, moral superiority and condescension; all the while exhibiting a hypocrisy in that they are aggressive and forceful, that they “power-thrust” in regards to their confrontational style (which is not submissive, benevolent, or loving, displaying anger and intimidation; characteristics antithetical to their pacifistic beliefs.).
These individual’s religion is really pacifism. How surprised are they going to be when Christ returns to destroy the enemies of Israel (the 2nd Coming ~ 2 Thess. 2:8), and the blood of His warfare is as high as the bridle of the horse (Rev. 14:20) He is riding (and who was that Man of God [The Warrior ~ “Captain of God’s Army” – meaning God’s top General] that Joshua ran into [Josh. 5:13-15] that demanded worship [Josh. 5:15 ~ the same as the burning bush in Exo. 3:5; Acts 7:33] and had a sword in His hand – If it was not [a Christophanies] a pre-incarnate Old Testament appearances of Jesus – who was it, because no Angel ever demanded worship except for one that we know of, namely Lucifer ~ please see the below Endnote 5d for a full listing of “Christ’s Pre-incarnate Appearances in the Old Testament“), yet the way they address this is again by misapplication. It is the lack of the proper application of the tools of interpretation, they say the above Scriptures are only figurative, not literal; which is a common tool of self-deceit (which is addressed below*).
In addressing the apparent contradiction between the Old Testament right of self-defense and Jesus’ teachings, let us consider Luke 22:36, however, first in gaining perspective we should examine Jesus words as recorded in Matthew 10:5-11, which states:
“These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, or silver, nor brass in your purses, nor script for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat. And into whatsoever city or town he shall enter, andenquire who in it is worthy; and there abide till ye go thense.”
In this event Jesus sent out the 12 disciples (which is not the same occasion as recorded in Luke 10:1-11, concerning the sending of the 70 – the 12 disciples were sent to the Northern areas, whereas the 70 were sent to the southern areas, along the route that Jesus was taken to Jerusalem) and told them not to take any day-by-day essentials, which included: “gold,” “silver,” or “brass;” which were used for financial needs.
This verse also states for them to not take certain belongings in regards to the journey of getting to a city, such as carrying a “script“ (Greek: pera [G4082], meaning a “wallet” or more likely in this context a “pouch,” which is what is presumably meant here as the pouch would be synonymous with a satchel for carrying personal belongings and other necessities, since they were already told to not carrying a purse), “neither two coats” (Greek: chiton [G5509], meaning a “coat,” which is one of two garments worn, this one [a coat] is a tunic or “shirt” worn next to the skin, with the outer coat referred to as a cloak – and since this verse states: “neither two coates” it would seem to be stating that they were to; “take no change of dress”), “neither shoes,” and “nor yet staves” (Greek: rhabdos [G4464], meaning a “rod,” or “staff”).
The stave could mean a staff for walking, or a rod for beating, such as in self-defense; but in this context where a disciple was to stay local once they arrived at a city, it would make better since that the direct application was that of a walking staff. However, it must also be understood that the implied application concerning not carrying a staff would have also made them unable to defend themselves.
On this occasion it appears that the Lord had a special assignment (while also teaching them to trust Christ’s ability to keep them safe and secure – later they would be hurt and suffer lose for Him, but not now) for the 12 disciples wherein they were not allowed to even provide for their own self-protection, as they went to the Jews only, yet after the resurrection He would give them a different standing order (in Matt. 28:19), and advise them to “go ye therefore, and teach all nations…”.
We understand from the Lord’s prayer, as recorded in John 17:12; that Jesus was protecting them while He was on the Earth (in the power of the Holy Spirit); however, just before His crucifixion, the Lord gave them new guidelines as recorded in Luke 22:35-36, which states:
“And he said unto them, when I sent you without purse, and script, and shoes, lacked ye any thing? And they said, nothing. Then said he unto them, but now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.”
This passage is very straightforward concerning the Lord presenting to the disciples that they were not just allowed, but commanded to defend themselves. There are those that would attempt to make this passage figurative, as in an allegory or metaphor.
Yet, the Lord Himself makes this impossible by referring to the prior literal situation where He sent them both out without provision and that now by contrast they were told to make preparations for taking care of themselves, as well as defending themselves; because He was being taken out of the world and would no longer be there to protect them (we know that God would protect them, yet the situation would be different – while Jesus was on the earth the disciples were never harmed – as stated before, this 3 and half year object lesson was to teach them to trust in Him, because after Jesus would leave the earth they would undergo pain and suffering, but do so in faith – God can use a weapon in our hands to defend us, the same as God can use doctors to heal us).
The language in Luke 22:35-36, in no way allows for Jesus to be figurative concerning verse 35, which He connects to verse 36 by contrast, and then to do so by making it a figurative rather than literal. There is no way according to this passage to make Jesus’ words figurative and maintain the integrity of Scripture.
The Leviticus law directly implies the right of self-defense as a natural remedy to violence, and we must keep in mind that Jesus said that He did not come to “destroy the law but to fulfill it” (Matt. 5:17), Jesus did not come to contradict what God the Father had our already stated; to do so would display an inconsistency in God.
When Jesus was teaching about “turning the cheek,” it is defined within a narrow margin concerning how a believer was to love their enemies, however, there are no carte blanche statements concerning this subject – it is obvious that we are to be led by the Holy Spirit, in a case by case situation in order to determine when we are to turn the cheek, and when we are to defend ourselves.
There are no direct New Testament teaching wherein self-defense is denied or condemned. And concerning the right of governmental ability to take life, rather in the defense of others, or as punishment, these are different applications which God has given directives in His Word concerning the responsibility of leaders to punish wrongdoers and therefore rule in righteousness and justice.
These are 2 different applications of the principal of addressing violence, and due to a misapplication of Scripture individuals not holding the context of God’s Holy Word have come to a wrong conclusion that passivity is Biblical (see Psa. 82:4; Prov. 24:11; Eze. 33:6; Deut. 19:1-13; 22:8; Exo. 21:12-15; 21:29-31; for a few examples).
As briefly referred to above, when individuals attempt to present a figurative interpretation* of any Scripture, they do so at great violence to God’s Word. An abuse Biblical context by misapplication is to state that the text is figurative, and not meant to be taken literal.
Literal Interpretation by those in the Bible referring to Other Bible Writers
It must always be remembered that “when any (& every) biblical writer refers to a previous Scripture in the Bible (Daniel referring to Jeremiah; Jesus referring to Moses, Isaiah, and all the prophets; and all of the New Testament writers referring to the Old Testament) they always utilized a literal interpretation, never figurative” – God means what He says, and says what He means.
When figurative language is used, or Figures of Speech are presented; there are clear indicators in the grammar (with modifiers such as: “as,” “like”), or the rhetoric is such that there is no question concerning the applications of the words being used (see: “Figures of Speech” below). Yet, when there are not any of these internal evidences indicating otherwise, Scripture is always to be taken as literal.
This is why Luke 22:36 (“Then said he unto them, But now, he that hath a purse, let him take it, and likewise his scrip: and he that hath no sword, let him sell his garment, and buy one.“) can only be taken as literal, Jesus instructed His disciples that they had the ability and right of self-defense, and to say otherwise is an obvious mishandling of God’s Word.
Forgiving your enemies does not mean that we are to be unopposed to evil, allowing innocent people to suffer, and wrong doers’ free reign – this is promoting evil.
Therefore, it is in approaching Scripture according to the complete Biblical context as a whole (literal Greek: “… the whole counsel of God” ~ Acts 20:27), as well as its individual passage in context, and not simply isolating a sentence, that we must pursue in order to maintain contextual integrity. To do otherwise invites misapplication, as well as distortion in the twisting of Scripture, which is never valid, even if the conclusion appears correct.
It is deceitful to state that a Scripture says something that it does not even if the conclusion is Biblical, as seen in other Scriptures. If the conclusion is Biblical, God will have it somewhere in His Word; and to attempt to manipulate God’s Word is an insult on His character, and displays a lack of faith in God’s ability to communicate what He knows is most important.
Many times problems occur by naïvely taking a Scripture out of its context and applying it to something unrelated. However, sincerity is never an excuse for mishandling God’s Word; it is the issue of God’s integrity that becomes the victim when this is done.
The Intended Applicant
It is in understanding that sometimes we must consider who the text is written to, and if there is a global application that may be made. When God is speaking to a specific person, and the text does not indicate that it is a global principle that can be used by everyone, then to attempt to appropriate this text for ourselves is nothing less than theft.
This is unequivocally a form of robbery, and God will not be held captive by us misappropriating for ourselves what is not meant to be ours. As will be discussed concerning abused verses below, “Making General What is Specific” is un-Biblical as well as unwise; yet is in common practice within many churches today. 2 Corinthians 1:20, states:
“For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.“
However, this does not say that we can claim any promises we want, those promises are: “unto the glory of God by us.” However, it is His Glory that is in view, whereas the promises made in Christ Jesus are assured – they are yes.
God the Father will fulfill all of His declaration to do as the Son has promised – this has to do with trusting all that Jesus has said will be done as promised, not that we can claim any specific promise we desire, we will have all that Jesus promised according to His Word, in which certain promises were made to certain people, or certain promises were contingent upon conditions.
We cannot pull promises out of plain air whenever we choose – and we cannot make general what is specific in God’s Word, anymore than we can make specific what is general. We must allow God’s Word to say what it says, not twist it.
Those that engage in this type abuse ask; is not the scripture true: “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Heb. 13:8)?
Yes is the answer. However, this verse cannot be abused to mean that Jesus must treat everyone the same, taking away His ability to be specific concerning certain individuals; nor that He will give the same promises to everyone alike. If God has no freedom to deal differently with different individuals (simply because we judge it to be unfair, then we display that we forget the parable of the “Potter and the clay” ~ Rom. 9:21, we lower God to our standards, rather than trusting in His ability to be just in all matters), then the blessing of the church could not be specific as compared to the blessing of Israel (they both have very diverse promises, blessing, rights, and are treated different as God decides). It is in incorrectly handling God’s Word that we misappropriate anything promised to anyone else, and thereby lift a promise out of its context and apply it where it is not meant to be applied.
There is also the issue of conditions that may be connected with any global promise made in God’s Word. Such as, salvation is offered to all men, yet there is a condition that must be met; that of faith in Christ Jesus, and all that the Scripture has to say about Him, and His atoning work on the cross.
One of the many passages which defines salvation according to the gospel is found in 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, which states:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures“
This passage by Paul says specifically and concisely what the gospel is (the “good news”) in 3 parts:
These are the fundamentals of what one must have faith in concerning salvation, yet we must also note that after the first, and third declarations, is the affirmation that these things were done, “according to the Scriptures.” This condition that what Christ did was “according to the Scriptures” stands at the first, and of the last concerning these 3 declarations. What this means is that not only these 3 things make up the gospel, but all of the Scriptures which are connected with these 3 things.
This means that when Jesus said in John 14:9, “… he that hath seen me hath seen the father,” along with the many other assertions that Jesus made concerning His deity (John 12:45; 14:7, 20; Col. 1:15; Phil. 2:6; Heb. 1:3); these are part of the gospel referred to in the 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 passage, because it was “according to the Scriptures“, concerning Jesus’ “good news of salvation.”
The point is, we can’t isolate the gospel and say it’s only the belief that Jesus died, was buried, and resurrected on the third day; and then attempt to say that none of the rest of the Bible has any relevance. Because God in His infinite wisdom mandates that these 3 pivotal points stand on the foundation of all of God’s Word. It is in understanding that faith in Jesus Christ is according to God’s Word.
Up front, let me say that it is solely faith in Jesus Christ that saves an individual, yet we must understand what that faith means. There is an immense difference between mere belief, which is cognitive (mental) only (see: Jam. 2:19); and faith (“which is to lean the body upon” ~ this is what the original Hebrew word meant concerning faith, it was to put all of a man’s weight upon it, as he would put his weight upon the staff when he was wounded or ill ~ it does not mean the same as to hold the staff in the hand, there was a behavior associated with faith which is wholehearted) which is to believe wholeheartedly. God allows for His children to crawl before they stand, and to stand before they run.
It is God that will keep those that He has drawn to Himself, yet there comes a point where the Spirit of God which indwells within the believer teaches him according to God’s Word those things in God’s Word, and the importance that they hold in the life of the believer.
Therefore, when there is a promise to all believers(it is global), and there are conditions attached; those conditions must be met in order to claim the promise, otherwise God is a liar – and we know that this is not true. One example is the global promise to all believers found in 1 John 5:14, which states: “And this is the confidence that we have in him, that, if we ask any thing according to his will, he heareth us” ~ the condition here is that what is asked for must be according to God’s Will.
Let the clear things of the Scripture dictate the less clear things. Many of the problems which stem out of misinterpretation, as well as unbiblical doctrines; can be seen in the practice of utilizing an unclear text, which appears to contradict the majority of text on the subject – which are clear.
Eternal security is an excellent example of this hermeneutical principle. Please see the below Endnote 5e for proofs supporting “Eternal Security.” (See: http://www.theopedia.com/Clarity_of_Scripture)
To repeat, the issue of perspicuity (the subject of the clarity of Scripture concerning a doctrine, as opposed to passages that are not as clear), which is rule that we follow the greater volume of unambiguous Scripture, rather a few arbitrary conflicting passages (we are to define a doctrine based upon what is clear, obvious, and understandable; rather than what is less clear, contradictory and confusing), is not just wise; it is Biblical (Deut. 30:11-14; Psa. 19:7-9; 119:105, 130; 2 Cor. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:15-16; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 1 Pet. 1:3-4; 1:16-21).
We must remember that any ambiguousness is because of the translation into the English, the Greek does not hold any arbitrary meaning (this is not to say there is not room for debate; however liberal scholars always find ways to twist the Greek as well as English teachers that do the same).
Commonly referred to as the “Repeatable’s of God;” emphasize the importance of noting the frequency for which God treats any subject, which further displays the importance He wishes to convey concerning that particular subject (and volume counts; such as: Psalms 119, which is the longest chapter [volume wise] in the longest book [volume wise] of the Bible, and which deals primarily with the “Word of God;” this displays God’s concern in regard to the importance of God’s Word ~ If you can’t trust what He says, how can you trust what He will do).
Notice when all four gospels present the same event (it is common to have a passage in only one book); this emphasis is there for a reason – it must be very important.
To reiterate, the issue of frequency (the subject of the amount of Scripture concerning a doctrine) concerning eternal security is clear and overwhelming, and to attempt to make salvation conditionally based upon a few scriptures which SEEM to APPEAR to mandate the ability to lose our salvation is unwise and un-Biblical (as it is the lucidity of the major; rather than questionability of the few that is important).
As a wise parent, God uses clarity and emphasis, by way of repetition; concerning that which is a priority, as compared to that which is not (Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2).
Commonly referred to as “The Law of First Mention,” emphasizes the importance of the first time that a word is used in the Bible in gaining a fuller, more complete and clear insight into the full meaning of the word, in all its shades of nuance. With the aid of a concordance, and a good Bible dictionary, anyone can utilize this tool.
For a suggestion on where to start, a few words that can benefit from this type of treatment are: love (KJV: “lovest,” Gen. 22:2 ~ where love is first connected with “sacrificial giving” of Isaac, also see 1 John 3:16), faith (Deut. 32:20 ~ which first uses the word faith in the negative, indicating man’s need – faith always has to do with need or want, faith is even a gift of God based upon man’s need), naked (Gen. 2:25 ~ where the man and woman were brought together in union, naked, totally exposed in order to facilitate ultimate intimacy), sacrifice (Gen. 31:54 ~ where sacrifice costs something and was used to bring together those in conflict ~ Romans 5:10), redeemer (Job 19:25 ~ Job may be one of the greatest exercisers of faith of all times, not counting Jesus, yet Job’s faith was that God was in control, and that his Redeemer had made him right before God and will vindicate him, thus connecting redemption and faith), and many more. It is looking beyond the superficial in understanding the richness of God’s choices in words He uses that should draw out attention as well.
In the Bible, God’s wisdom is manifested in that He not only used language to communicate with man; but He continually utilized object lessons as well.
Object lessons are teaching tools that reinforce lessons and insights God is teaching by utilizing such techniques as the drama of people’s lives. This type of tool creates depth and can make the lesson easier to understand and remember than conventional teaching tools.
When God created physical existence, He ordered creation in such a way that it resembles (which the Bible refers to as “types,” or “shadows”) things in the spiritual (heavenly) realm (diminution) as seen in Hebrews 8:5; 10:1. Furthermore, God habitually used object lessons by orchestrating men’s lives to play out and illustrate His message, hence they are living object lessons.
Living object lessons go beyond words, beyond language, beyond perception, beyond culture, beyond time, beyond the limitations of audio-visual experience; to impact people in a deeply spiritual manner.
General Examples of these object lessons are: names (such as: Abraham [meaning: “father of a multitude,” from Abram, meaning father], Isaac [meaning: “laughter”], Jacob [meaning: “supplanter,” ~ all the before mentioned name translations are according to Dr. William Smith]…), relationships (like fathers and sons as an insight into the relationship of God the Father and Jesus. Husbands & wives, concerning the relationship of Jesus Christ and the Church), roles (such as: Kings, priests, servants, and slaves as representatives displaying the roles of Jesus, believers, and fallen man’s natural state). The natural laws and sciences of limitation (exhibiting deterioration, decay, commonly referred to as the “Laws of Nature,” wherein the entropy laws portray how sin functions within God’s creation). Utilizing seasons; growth, sowing & reaping concerning reciprocity and the demand of justice (wherein sin cannot simply be forgiven, but must be atoned for). Things (such as: the materials of the tabernacle – colors, skins, metallurgy, wood, numbers, dates), the design of the animals (illustrated by people seen as sheep, the lion of the tribe of Judah, wolves as false prophets, and goats for unbelievers), events (as seen in the crossing of the Red Sea, the Jordan, the order of the rebuilding of the Temple), and situations (wherein Moses strikes the rock, a lack of faith that Israel displayed in murmuring, and the Son of man lifted up like the brazen serpent), along with rhetorical devices (like: language, grammar, & Figures of Speech), and many other types of object lessons; meant to be tools for our learning (1 Cor. 10:6, 11; Heb. 8:5).
Time does not permit for a competent examination of all of the Biblical characters whose lives played out the realities which God wished to display in order to teach truth. Everyone from Joseph, who displayed attributes, lived out events, concerning a type of Messiah; to the wandering of Israel concerning believers pilgrimage in this world, concerning the trials and tribulations encountered in the desert as well as the Promised Land in reference to faith.
And the lives and events of the prophets which serve to be a prophetic play depicting God’s relationship with Israel (Isaiah, Ezekiel [Eze. 4:1, 4, 9, 5:1], Hosea [Hos. 1:2, 4, 6-9], just to name a few), as well as the lives of Ruth, Naomi and Boaz, displaying Christ as the Redeemer of mankind as seen in the Kinsman-Redeemer (1st coming as the Lamb of God), as well as the Avenger Blood, the Goel and Savior of Israel (as seen in His 2nd coming, to save Israel and to extract judgment upon His enemies), while also displaying His relationship with the church (Ruth a Gentile bride, and His relationship with Israel, as seen in Naomi for whom Boaz[a type of the redeemer of Israel] redeems the land).
There are many other examples ranging from the Feasts of Israel to the dreams of Daniel to symbols of gold, silver, brass, blood, wine, water, fire, thorns, and much more. One very large display of object lessons is referred to as expositional consistency.
Expositional Consistency is a term that theologians use in regards to idioms in the Bible which consistently display repetitive meanings and patterns.
Expositional Consistency is the recurring use of uniform idioms (either symbols or rhetoric) throughout Scripture, both in Hebrew and Greek; in symbolizing something in order to create an object lesson, which enhances details in producing clarity.
The website, “All About God,” states:type (an example), or Biblically speaking a “shadow;” is meant to generate greater detail and precision in identifying something or someone in the future (Heb. 8:5; 1 Cor. 10:11; Rom. 15:4; 1 Cor. 10:6).
Hebrews 3:1-6 ~ Illustrates that God created the role of the earthly priest as an object lesson to later help identify Jesus’ role as the intercessor and Redeemer of mankind.
Hebrews 8:4-5 ~ Describes how God caused the tabernacle to be fashioned specifically concerning its materials and construction in order to convey greater details in describing Jesus Christ as our substitutionary sacrifice, advocate, and the perpetuation to God in providing salvation to humanity (also see: 1 Cor. 10:4; Heb. 4:11; Heb. 10:1; & Col. 2:17).
Hebrews 8:4-6 states:
“For if he were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount. But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
A substance, principle or reality may have be more than one typological symbol or idiom used as a model or illustration which God wishes to communicate, yet there is never an inconsistency in using the same typological idiom in representing something else, that would create confusion concerning the symbolic representation.
These symbols utilized within Expositional Consistency are a form of what is commonly referred to as a “Figure of Speech,” where language is utilized in a diverse sense to convey more than the simple direct meaning.
There are many different types of rhetorical devices, the Romans and Greeks listed over 217 different forms of these rhetorical devices. A few very well-known examples of biblical Figures of Speech are types and “shadows.”
Bible Concordance – The Principle of Expositional Constancy – One of the most important uses for a Bible Concordance is the study of Bible structure and integration. The entire Bible (66 books written by 40 authors over a period of approximately 1,600 years) tells the story of the world’s Redeemer. Every story, every genealogy, every number, every page, every detail speaks of the Messiah, Jesus Christ.
One of the compelling evidences for the Divine authorship of the Bible is a principle known as the “Expositional Constancy.” You can get a good understanding of what this means using an exhaustive Bible concordance. For example, using a concordance, take the term “Rock” or “Stone” and search for every usage of the word from Genesis 1 through Revelation 22.
We discover that all uses of those words tie together, the climax being 1 Corinthians 10, where the Apostle Paul elaborates: “Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea; and were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea; And did all eat the same spiritual meat; and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ” (1 Cor. 10:1-4).
We may never truly comprehend the depths of God’s Word this side of heaven, but with a good Bible Concordance we can at least take our Bible study to a whole new level.6
Moses Deliverer (Heb. 3:5-6)
Red Sea Baptism
Pillar: cloud, fire Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 10:2)
Manna Bread of Life (Rev. 2:17)
Smitten Rock Living Water (1 Cor. 10:4)
Rock/Stone Jesus Christ (a or the ~ Dan. 2:34-35, 45; Rom. 9:32-33;
. 1 Cor. 10:4; Eph. 2:20; 1 Pet. 2:8)
Animals/Beasts Kingdoms of the World (Dan. 7:3, 5-7, 11-12, 17, 19, 23; 8:4)
Colors Purple & Blue ~ Affluence / Royalty (Est. 8:15; Jer. 10:9;
. Mar. 15:17; John 19:2)
. Red ~ Blood / Redemption (Exo. 26:14; Num. 19:2)
Precious Metals Gold ~ Kingship (Rev. 4:4),
. Silver ~ Redemption (Lev. 27:3, 6),
. Brass ~ Judgment (Exo. 38:2; Num. 21:9)
A good example is the reference to “The Lion concerning the tribe of Judah” (Gen. 49:9).
The Jews understood that Jacobs prophecy (Gen. 49:8-12) concerning his 4th son, Judah was a prophecy that the kingship of Israel would always come from the tribe of Judah (Gen. 49:10 ~ “the scepter shall not depart from Judah“), until the ultimate savior, the Messiah of Israel would arrive (Gen. 49:10b ~ “nor a lawgiver from between his feet, and tell Shiloh [“the peaceful one” ~ always understood to be the Messiah] come“).
As stated, there are over 300 of these illusions, titles, and object lessons singularly to do with Christ, they are meant to be descriptions in order that the Messiah would be recognizable when He arrived.
“And the Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove upon him, and a voice came from heaven, which said, Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.”
In a bodily shape – This was a real visible appearance, and was doubtless seen by the people. The dove is an emblem of purity and harmlessness, and the form of the dove was assumed on this occasion to signify, probably, that the spirit with which Jesus would be endowed would be one of purity and innocence.
The “Holy Spirit,” when he assumes a visible form, assumes that which will be emblematic of the thing to be represented. Thus he assumed the form of “tongues,” to signify the miraculous powers of language with which the apostles would be endowed; the appearance of fire, to denote their power, etc., Acts 2:3.
Why Are There Not Specific Passages Defining Typology
Many times concerning the subject of typology, where things are utilized as symbols of yet other things, there is always a point of singularity, or else it would make no sense. Yet, it is common that the reference is not made according to verbiage, but is seen in application.
There is no text that states that silver is representative of redemption, yet we see that God utilizes the Temple’s Silver shackle as the only monies utilized in redemption of males and females (Lev. 5:15; 27:3, 6; Deut. 22:19;).
We also see that Silver is utilized in the construction of the tabernacle without reference to why silver, or why gold, or certain colors or materials were used. However, there was a specific design that God demanded that Moses follow which indicated a particular purpose for everything that was used (Heb. 8:4-6).
The words: approximate, somewhat, and almost, are not words that God utilizes. God corners Himself (in order to prove Himself as God, for it is God only who knows the ending from the beginning ~ Isa. 46:10) concerning His prophecies, it is by His specificity and the exactness of His pronouncements that displays that it is He alone that is God.
When God is vague it is to hide something on purpose so that at a later point identification can be made, yet it is mysterious at the point it is uttered, and until it is meant to be understood.
Every piece of the tabernacle had a symbolic meaning that God built into the design (Exo. 25:9), wherein He didn’t feel the obligation to explain it to us, yet upon close examination these meanings become obvious. Even with the things that God left out of the tabernacle, which is evidence of His use of object lessons as tools for our learning.
There is no flooring in the tabernacle, only God’s earth to walk upon. This is symbolic of the fact that before God we cannot stand upon our own creation, we stand upon the grace of God on the earth that He made. We also should notice that there are no windows in the tabernacle.
The reason for this is the only light is that of the light stand which is symbolic of righteousness connotatively, and denotatively of the righteousness of Jesus Christ. The only righteousness; is the righteousness of Christ. The only perception, is according to God’s law, His righteousness; as the compared to man’s attempt at righteousness, of producing his own type of light.
This attempt is indicative of religion where man attempts to bring God down to his level, as opposed to Christianity where God stoops down to man. Another small example concerning the tabernacle, can be seen in the wooden planks that are utilized in the structure and the wall surrounding it, which are made of Acacia8 (Hebrew: “shittim“) wood according to Exodus 26:15 (“the thorn bush of the desert,” is a thorn bush which can grow into a tree, and was the thorn bush of the curse in Gen. 3:18, burning bush for Moses Exo. 3:2; used to construct the tabernacle altar of burnt offerings, Exo. 38:1,6; was used to build the Ark of the covenant [the bottom part only, not the top – the mercy seat which was pure gold], Exo. 25:10; and it was used as the crown of thorns placed upon Christ’s head, Matt. 27:29) that is then covered in silver, symbolic of Christ living as a man, being cut down in His prime, killed, yet covered in silver as in the boards used to construct the tabernacle, depicting His atoning death for mankind; and gold depicting His Kingship when covered with gold concerning the construction of the Ark of the Covenant.
The top piece that is placed on the Ark (which is always listed as a separate piece of furniture of the tabernacle), and is called the Mercy Seat, which is made of pure gold. The Ark of the Covenant (the bottom piece only) is wood covered in gold, and is the bottom part of a sarcophagus which was built without a cover, because the occupant would not be housed there, but freed (Christ).
The top piece is temporarily placed over it, the “Mercy Seat,” which is an actual seat made of pure gold symbolizing Christ divinity an ruler-ship as King, a seat to rule from.
The Mercy Seat is placed on top of the Ark of the covenant in the same way that Christ divinity is above his atoning death as a God/man (man in attributes, God in essence). It is this same wood that is the thorn bush which is a symbol of the curse; hence it was the curse that was placed on Christ’s head at His crucifixion.
And concerning the burning acacia bush, they are common in the desert due to lightning strikes; but what attracted Moses was a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. Lastly, “the serpent on the pole” (Num. 21:8-9) which Christ spoke about in John 3:14, and was symbolic of Him as a snake is also symbolic of sin, and the snake was made of brass which is symbolic of judgment, and the snake was lifted up on a cross, where it was seen of all those that would look in faith, in the same way that Christ was lifted up as the atonement of mankind, bearing the sins of the world, yet resurrected 3 days later, not consumed.
It is in understanding that there may be many different types or symbols, yet none of these symbols will represent anything else; displaying that God may use many different types of metaphors for a given representation, but never in concert with others, or in conflict of itself.
Many Types – Only One Meaning
There may be many different substances used to convey or symbolize one particular thing or person, yet the diversity is due to what God is attempting to convey in that particular typology, wherein the typology shares a symbolism which can be understood; and therefore expand the meaning. An example can be seen in the Holy Spirit, as follows:
During the crossing of the wilderness, the Holy Spirit was represented by the “fire at night,” and a “cloud during the day” concerning the Israelites in the wilderness. The fire was representative of God’s (pure) protection during the night and illumination during darkness, and the cloud was reminiscent of His loftiness above and beyond them, and of God’s care in providing shade during the heat of the day.
In the Old Testament, “oil” was a symbol of the Holy Spirit concerning the anointing of God upon people and things (Exo. 29:7, 21; 30:25, 31). Oil was used as a medicinal salve for healing (Luk. 10:34), as well as a fuel in lamps (Exo. 27:20) for seeing during darkness (in spite of an incorrect translation, candles were never used in the lamp stands; only oil).
The Holy Spirit can be represented by a “dove,” when God wants to make a connection with Noah and the ark, and His providential care for man (Gen. 8:9) and by extending this typology to display His providential care of His Son when Jesus was baptized (Matt. 3:16; Mar. 1:10; Luk. 3:22; Joh. 1:32 ~ you notice the usage of the word: “like” in all 4 accounts, indicating that there was an outward appearance as a dove, yet something that indicated that this was far more than an animal, perhaps analogous to the way angels looked whenever they could be mistaken as man by unbelievers [in Sodom ~ Gen. 19:1-5], yet affirmed as Angels by believers [Abraham in the plains of Mamre ~ Gen. 18:1-3] – they appeared to have the ability to hide who they are or present who they are. How God does this is up to Him, yet confusing to us).
The Holy Spirit is also symbolized by “cloven tongues” of fire (symbolized as a purifying agent) during the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:3); displaying God’s involvement in the articulation that is seen (this wasn’t a indisputable miracle), proving beyond a shadow of a doubt concerning God’s involvement in the act (individuals who spoke in the dialect of Galilee, in the area of Judea; were speaking foreign languages. This is somewhat analogous to hearing a Texan speak French, no matter how well he spoke French you know that he wasn’t from Paris by the dialect that he displayed), and also seen in a representation of the power of God witnessed as fire.
An example of this can be found concerning the use of the word “no.” When a child attempts to touch something that they are not supposed to, it is common to say “no” while swatting their hand. This is how they start to understand what the word “no” means because of the negative connection it has with being swatted, which is uncomfortable.
Yet, “no,” may have many different applications dealing with different people in different situations. If after fighting cancer for years, your doctor says that you no longer have cancer; then the word “no” has a different meaning.
If we in attempting to communicate use different symbols to represent different meaning in different applications, why would we not allow God the same ability in communicating with us using different symbolisms for the same subject in order to convey different aspects of a subject.
Typology, as it is referred to (or symbolism) has been known and taught to the Hebrews (as well as every civilization since the time of the garden), and found in many of their teachings for thousands of years, yet God has felt no compulsion to define these in His Word; any more than God feels any compulsion to define Himself or defend Himself.
Many times we must take things at face value, because God is the potter and we are the clay, and how fortunate that many of these object lessons He takes the time to explain to us, while we are still on the potter’s wheel.
A Few Examples of Typology
Is Symbolic of the temporary dwelling place of the Soul – Tabernacle (tent) ~ Concerning the word “tabernacle,” which was used concerning Jesus’ life on earth, as found in John 1:14; there are within the grammar valuable insight which aid us in understanding other Scriptures. (also see: Joh. 2:21; 1 Cor. 6:19-20; 2 Cor. 5:1, 4; concerning our physical [temporary] bodies being the Temple, or dwelling place of the Holy Spirit).
In Koiné Greek, verbs ending in “oo” indicate that “what already exist on the inside is then displayed on the outside” (which is not the same as asserting that what is seen on the outside creates what is on the inside, in fact it is antithetical to this).John 1:14, which speaks about Jesus incarnation, states that He “tabernacled” (Greek: skennoo), also translated: “dwelt among us.” As seen from above, with this Greek verb ending in “oo“, it indicates that “what already exist on the inside is displayed on the outside.”
The verb is used here concerns Jesus being made flesh, in regards to Him displaying in His behavior (on the outside ~ in regards to the use of the word tabernacled among men, we are forced to focus Christ’s behavior), that which had already existed in His essence – His Holiness as the only begotten Son of God, the “Word” (Greek: Logos: “the literal communication”) of God, Personified.
Matthew 17:2, regarding the Transfiguration of Christ, where the word: transfigure (Greek: metamorphoo), means to change the appearance or form, yet it does not denote the change of the substance of that thing, but simply its appearance (with the use of this word, transfigure, we are forced to focus on Christ’s physical appearance).
Ephesians 3:16, concerning the word: strengthened (Greek: krataioo), concerns the believers who have been strengthened on the inside by the Holy Spirit which should be exhibited on the outside. What we must also understand concerning this word, strengthened (noticed that it is past tense in the English), is that in the Greek grammar, it is in the passive voice, meaning that the person receives the power from another, not from themselves; and that it is in the aorist tense, meaning that the action occurred in the past (it occurred “Once & for all.” The action occurred or was made possible when Jesus died on the cross, giving the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to indwell the believers according to salvation as adopted sons of God) and it is in the indicative mood, meaning that it is a complete certainty(A reality ~ it is a done deal, completed).
Therefore, with this in mind, what this verse indicates is that by becoming a believer and therefore having the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, there is power available to the believer which indwells on the inside and should be displayed on the outside. This is what true witnessing is all about; this is what 1 Peter 3:15 also alludes to.
James 2:21, concerning the word: justified (Greek: dikaioo) which speaks about Abraham’s justification according to faith as displayed in Genesis chapter 22, his willingness to sacrifice his son according to God’s direction. Yet, according to the use of this type of verb, Abraham was simply displaying on the outside what had already occurred on the inside.
This is why there is no contradiction between the teachings of Paul and James concerning faith because in Ephesians 2:8 and Romans 4:3-5, Paul is referring to when Abraham received his salvation, quoting Genesis 15:6 (around age 80); and James is referring to Abraham displaying his faith forty years later (around age 125 to 135) with undoubtedly the hardest testing of his faith within his lifetime.
Bosom / Breast
Is Symbolic of the place of Love – Affection – Intimacy ~ The bosom refers to the chest between the arms, hence the breast; idiomatically this was a place of intimacy where people would hold their babies and loved ones close to their breast, this is where the idea of the “heart” being the seat of emotions originated, wherein the Bible the “heart” is never in reference to the emotions singularly (please see above under the heading: “Preface,” sub-heading: “Heart” ~ and for a more further treatment of the subject see the “Faith?” dropdown page, under “Faith Part 1,” Endnote 15, entitled: “Heart & Mind” ~ Link), but the heart in both Hebrew and Greek refers to the inner man, always the mind first, then the emotions, then the “seat of the will” where discretion occurs between the reason of the mind, and the feelings / emotions (Gen. 16:5; 2 Sam. 12:8; Isa. 40:11; Luke 16:22; Joh. 1:18; 13:23).
Is Symbolic of Life ~ Especially Concerning Man’s Creation (Gen. 2:7) ~ The word is related to the Spirit (Gen. 2:7; 7:15; Eze. 37:9; John 20:22; 2 Tim. 3:16).
Are Symbolic of the Main Channel God Uses ~ “faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God“9(Matt. 13:9,15,16,43; Joh. 5:24; Rom. 10:14, 17; 2 Tim. 4:16, 17; Heb. 3:7-8; 3:15; 4:7 [Psa. 95:7]; Jam. 1:19; Rev. 1:3; Rev. 3:20; Rev. 2:7,11,17,29; 3:6,13,22; 13:9).
Are Symbolic of the Main Channel Satan Uses ~ Which explains the strength of pornography (Gen. 3:6,7; 9:22, 23; 12:15; 16:4,5; 21:9 Num. 32:9; Josh. 7:21; Judg. 11:35; 14:1; 16:1; 2 Sam. 6:16; Acts 12:3; 16:19).
Is Symbolic of Kingship ~ (Rev. 1:13; 4:4; 14:4).
Is Symbolic of Redemption ~ (Exo. 30:11-16; 21:32; 26:19; 27:17; Num. 10:2; Matt. 27:3-9).
Is Symbolic of Judgment ~ Because brass was the only metal that didn’t melt from fire and was therefore used for holding fire for sacrifices and judgment.
Since the first creation of cities, walls were used to protect the inhabitants, with the great men of the city meeting in the gates of the city, its most vulnerable part.
Hence, the gates of the city was a reference to the meeting place of the rulers of that city, it should be noted that the gates of the city were made of brass, which symbolized that the gates of the city were where judgment was rendered, according to the strength of the leaders of the city (Exo. 27:2,3; 39:39; Psa. 107:16; Isa. 45:2; 2 Chron. 12:10; 4:16; 4:9; Rev. 1:15).
Is Symbolic of Death ~ Myrrh is a bitter gum and costly perfume which had to be crushed (which is what myrrh means: “to crush”) to obtain it’s sent and potency. It exudes from a certain tree or shrub in Arabia and Ethiopia, or is obtained by incisions made in the bark: as an antiseptic it was used for embalming.
It was also an ingredient in perfume (Psa. 45:8), prominent in Song of Solomon, etc. It was also an ingredient in holy anointing oil for priests (Exo. 30:23) and the purification of women(Esth. 2:12).
Because it was used in embalming (Joh. 19:39) and was a gift of the Magi at Christ’s birth (Matt. 2:11); this explains why the 3 gifts given to Christ at His birth are myrrh, frankincense, and gold. Gold spoke about His kingship and power, frankincense was used by priest and spoke of His priesthood and intersession, myrrh was derived from being crushed, and primarily used in burial, and spoke of His death and humility. Jesus is a King and a Priest, who died for the sins of the world.
Is Symbolic of the anointing of God ~ Specifically the anointing of the Holy Spirit (1 Sam. 16:13; 16:1; 2 Kings 9:6; Heb. 1:9; 1 Joh. 2:27).
Is Symbolic of that which Purifies – It Preserves(and by extension, it judges) ~ One insight concerning salt which is sometimes overlooked concerns Lot’s wife, who looked back at Sodom after fleeing, displaying a special regard for it. Concerning this event, the Hebrew phrase for “looked back behind,” indicates that she held high regard for Sodom and regretted having left it.
Essentially, her heart was still in Sodom, this is why she was preserved in salt(judgment), in the state of looking back at the object of her love, the sinful city of Sodom. Due to the purity issue concerning the symbolism of salt, there is also the idea of judgment, both of Lots wife, and concerning Christ’s use of the word regarding what the church was meant to be, a pure example, displaying judgment (please see the “Faith? Part 1” dropdown page, the article entitled: “Judging / Discernment” located in the Endnotes 3 ~ Link) concerning that which was sinful (Matt. 5:13; Mar. 9:50; Luke 14:34; Col. 4:6. Gen. 19:26).
Is Symbolic of Righteousness – Which gives Sight ~ It must also be remembered concerning Expositional Consistency that as light symbolizes righteousness, those does those symbols which work in unison with it, such as lamp stands, which are containers of oil which fuel the production of light (biblically speaking, lamps were not candle stands in that wax was not utilized. Actually, lamps stands were vessels that held oil with the wick that was lit and produced the light. The light was produced by the fire that consumed the wick because the wick was saturated with oil, the stand it’s self was a vessel which contained the oil [a type of the Holy Spirit] which in essence produced light), as seen in Revelation 1:20, where we are told that churches are symbolized as lamp stands, and churches are made of individual believers which hold the light in them, the oil / symbolic of the Holy Spirit, displays righteousness.
The idea is there is a consistency within this idiom, which is yet another internal proof of the divine consistency concerning God’s authorship of the Bible. In John 15:1-7, Jesus speaks about God the Father being the husbandman, Himself being the vine, and believers being the branches in Him.
What is amazing about this symbolism is how it is also seen concerning the Menorah (oil light stand) of the Tabernacle (God’s instructions concerning its production mandated that the artistry displayed a single vine in the center, with 3 branches on each side attached at the base yet separating up at the top, displaying that the branches were a part of the vine, yet independent), which was to be made out of pure gold (displaying its kingship), which according to God’s instruction was to be beaten out of one piece of gold, when there were actually 7 sections (if we remember that symbolically the number of man is 6, and that symbolically the number of God, where He is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ is 1, which would explain why there is 1 vine, and 6 branches; which combined is seen in the number 7 which symbolizes completeness, which is what we are in Christ as the church).
We know according to Hebrews 8:5, that the design and every detail of the Tabernacle were made to be examples, examples of what? (see our essay concerning “The Tabernacle,” and how that every part of its construction held a symbolism concerning Jesus Christ ~ When Jesus said in John 5:39, “you search the Scriptures for in them ye seek life, it is these that speak about me,” He really wasn’t kidding, everything in the Bible speaks of Him, either directly or symbolically, and the Tabernacle is a good example).
The Menorah of the Tabernacle fits precisely into Jesus’ teaching in John chapter 15 concerning Himself in the church, with the lamp stands symbolizing being containers of righteousness, holding light and reflecting the light (light, which symbolizes righteousness also is alluded to in giving spiritual sight, which is what God’s Word does [Psa. 119:105] with the illumination of the Holy Spirit [Joh. 16:13; 14:6]. See Psa. 97:11, which states: “light is sown for the righteous.” See Joh. 1:9, Matt. 4:16; 5:14, 16; Luk. 2:32; 16:8; Joh. 5:35; Rev. 21:23).
Is Symbolic of Sin ~ On two occasions Jesus and Paul both alluded to sin as leaven. Jesus warned (Matt. 16:11-12; Mar. 8:15 & Luk. 12:1, 13:21) about the leaven of the Pharisees; and Paul referred to leaven as sin directly (1 Cor. 5:6-9; Gal. 5:9). According to these 6 passages which refer to 4 different events, both Jesus and Paul exhibit the symbolism of leaven as sin.
Also, among the Feasts of Israel, leaven was not allowed (except for the middle Feast, the Feast of Pentecost; which was done as a foreshadowing of sin ~ see our essays on the “Feast of Israel” to gain greater perspective) as it was symbolic of sin as well, which is why during Passover they were not allowed to bake with it, but why; what are the common denominators between sin and leaven, that aids in creating a pictorial that it is easy to understand.
Leaven corrodes (brings decay and death) from the inside of whatever it possesses (it works from the inside, out; hidden – only seen in the change displayed of the object), completely changing it, and filling it with air (In the Hebrew, the chief word translated “vanity,” “vanities” is “hebhel,” and means: “breath of air, or of the mouth.” It simply means void of substance, filled with air, we get our expression “filled with hot air,” from this as leaven creates heat as it creates a void of air), making it void, or vain.
It makes whatever it possesses fill up to appear to be much bigger than it is in reality – it is an illusion. Yet, it does so by corrupting, utilizing the process of dying to do so. It takes very little to affect a substance that is much larger.
And it cannot be taken out once it has infected its host. For these reasons leaven was understood by the Hebrews to be symbolic of sin, and you will notice that it symbolizes pride better than any other idiom. To the Hebrew, pride was synonymous with sin.
Another form of these object lessons, which is also a Figures of Speech, are “shadows,” which are representations of something yet future (as well as representations of things in heaven, which is beyond time), which are current objects or events similar in some manner; which serve as an example so that identification can be made with something that will occur yet to come.
As the name implies, a shadow is vague concerning the thing that it represents, and is seen prior to the arrival of the object it represents (much like a shadow on the ground reaches a destination before the subject is represents). The following Scriptures address shadows in the Scripture.
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday [The Feast of Israel], or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.” (Col. 2:16-17)
“Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.” (Heb. 8:5)
“For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.” (Heb. 10:1)
Figures of Speech
Typically, the above listed types of Rhetorical Devices (including object lessons) are referred to as a sub-domain of Figures of Speech.
Figures of Speech have always been tools of rhetoric (“study of the technique and rules for using language effectively”) which man has utilized in communicating thoughts and ideas; as well as classic tools of persuasion.
During the last century, with the lack of emphasis placed upon the pursuit of knowledge (as opposed to the progressive pursuit of “how knowledge is acquired”) especially concerning history within our educational system, the use of Figures of Speech have become overlooked, but was prominent at the turn-of-the-century, where the value of rhetorical devices was held in highest esteem.
The Power of The Past
A simple examination of the complexity of the English language can be seen during the time of Shakespeare (known as: Early Modern English [1500-1800 AD], which was more complicated than our current Late modern English. Early Modern English is therefore more elegant and precise in its delivery than our simplified current vernacular. This is seen in the beauty and elegance of literature produced between the sixteenth and eighteenth century, as compared to the street gutter verbiage which is common in everyday speak) up until the tragic influence of John Dewey’s “Progressive Education” (where “what” was taught became secondary to “how” it was taught, where emphasis was taken away from values and norms, with the Bible taken out of schools as a textbook, and the enlightenment of evolution, psychology, and secular humanism became entrenched in the United States educational system) exhibit the extreme sensitivity that was used in common communication, where education maintained such high standards, in which Figures of Speech and other rhetorical devices were commonly understood.
Up until this time, the importance of proper vocabulary and grammar were considered essential in the ability to communicate specifically and appropriately with others. They understood the proper need to speak honestly and exactly, as opposed to the loathsome attempt to speak vaguely and arbitrarily wherein dishonesty and criminality is more easily achieved.
The Devil understands that if he can change not only the meaning of words, but change how words are utilized, moving from a place of exactness to vagueness would aid him in polluting and diluting the Word of God. God does not speak in vague generalities, He speaks specifically. And even when God speaks mystically, as from behind a veil, (to hide something in plain sight) He does so deliberately and exactly, not arbitrarily. God may not mean for the president reader to understand what He has said, yet whatever God does, it is done specifically, even if that is to hide something in plain sight, only to be uncovered later.
And concerning prophecies, which are sealed up to the end-time, even then it is not the arbitrary understanding that God would seek to put forth, it is that the exact meaning of those words that are meant to be understood. God and almost, don’t mix. God does things exactly and specifically, or He doesn’t do them in all.
A person does not get saved, sorta, or almost, or halfway. It is man that attempts to teach that salvation that can be lost by a person that never gained it in the first place (this explains why Jesus used the expression of being “born again,” because a believer does not get himself saved, anymore than a child gets himself born).
Words and Their Power
It is when a culture loses the purity of their words, that the ability to communicate is contaminated in a way that more easily hinders the propagation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is why missionaries, when going to foreign lands attempt to translate the Word of God into the language of the locals, so that they will have the living Word of God at their own disposal, and the ability to utilize it in the most specific way possible.
A good example that highlights the importance of words is seen in field of law, where attorneys use words to their own benefit, and the best attorneys are those who master their vocabulary. The practice of law has been ridiculed because of the many abuses and injustices that are seen, simply because of the artful use of words as they relate to the rule of law, and the practice of attorneys. Or speak with a medical student who must memorize the thousands of words concerning their field in order to become doctors.
The expression, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me,” is only true if the words that are spoken are meant to be coupled with action, and the action is not delivered. It is a fallacy that teaches our children that words have no meanings. Ask a defendant who stands before a judge waiting to hear the words “innocent,” how important that word is.
Or, how a cancer patient who is waiting to hear the doctor use the word: “remission.” Or, how harmful it is when a parent doesn’t use the word “love,” when talking about how they feel about their children to them, or the word “responsibility,” when attempting to connect behavior to consequences. Or, how important it is for a child to hear the words, “I’m sorry,” “I was wrong,” or “forgive me,” when a parent should be modeling proper character.
Or, perhaps the most important words of all, “Jesus died for your sins.”
Words are the most powerful things we have in our interaction with each other. Words translate ideas from one person to another, without words we cannot function as a society, sharing innovations, or even in spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. It is only when words are muted without the power that they are intended to be coupled with that they become invalid. When a parent warns a child concerning negative behavior, and then fails to couple the action with those words, it is then that the parent’s words do more harm than good.
Dumbing Down of America
It is in the dumbing down of America that Satan has sought to make the gospel impotent. And how amazing is it that he uses our own educational system in this process. During the last 300 years, of the over 100 universities which originated in America, only a few were created for secular purposes. Originally, universities were established to educate ministers and those in the clergy, with trade schools teaching trade; and financial institutions training their own, as well as other apprentice and novice programs used by industry to promote within its own. It was when the universities introduced Liberal Arts, which they started to move away from their Christian roots; until today when Christianity is all but vacant from most universities and collegiate institutions.
See what happens when you go on to a university and speak about Jesus Christ, what you’ll witness is an arrogant intellectualism which is hostile to the gospel. What we fail to understand is that during the “Rationalism” of the seventeenth and eighteenth century, ungodly intellectualism (The Enlightenment) moved into Christendom, with the German schools of theology (Tubingen School) moving from “Lower Criticism,” (Textual Criticism) which focused on understanding what God wanted to say in His Word (by establishing the original or “correct reading” of the text; as opposed to “Higher Criticism,” which questioned the origin of the text), to “Higher Criticism” which attempted to validate a human authorship of the Bible, at the expense of the supernatural. Where God was no longer God, who reached down to man, but became an intellectual pursuit – void of power and personhood. As this new “Higher Criticism,” coupled with many un-Biblical pursuits permeated through the universities, atheist and agnostic were produced becoming professors, that came out of this movement and moved to seats of power; and they only promoted those who held the same damnable beliefs.
So when those liberals ask, “what is the proof that the media has a liberal bias,” simply explain that those individuals who run our media corporations could not obtain their position without going through those educational institutions which promoted only those who held the same liberal viewpoints as professors and deans. Therefore, is it any wonder that those that were mandated to achieve college degrees, after 4 more years of indoctrination and rhetorical regurgitation of liberal anti-God teaching, would propagate the same ungodly liberalism.
Therefore, in light of all these facts, is it any wonder that Christianity has no place in our institutions of higher learning, and that many of the academic pursuits which gave greater understanding concerning God’s Word are now dead. It is mainly due to the emergence of the Internet that some of these lost insights, such as Figures of Speech, have reemerged.
Yet, in spite of the fact that we are currently ignorant of many of these tools of communication, their history, or how they function within our language, these Figures of Speech are common within our current vocabulary.
It is when these “play on words;” where words are used in an unusual manner to relay a particular meaning, diverse from their normal everyday meaning, that we display the ingenuity that God created within us (as He also displays concerning the construction of His Word), reflecting His desire and ability to communicate on a multiplicity of levels.
Some 20th & 21st century American examples of Figures of Speech, which are by type; idioms (A phrase or expression that means something different from what the words actually say. An idiom is usually understandable to a particular group of people. For example, using “over his head” for “doesn’t understand”), such as:
“I will get you back,” “I just died a little inside,” “I’m going to give you a piece of my mind,” “I have the upper hand,” “I am feeling blue,” “Break a leg,” “I have butterflies in my stomach,” “A close call,” “See eye to eye,” “Keep your fingers crossed,” “On the other hand,” “Can you give me a hand,” “Can you keep an eye of this,” “To make ends meet,” “Make yourself at home,” “I am getting cold feet,” “Make up your mind,” “Red tape,” “Take it easy,” “To lose track,” “When push comes to shove,” “Feeling under the weather,” “To wear many hats,” “To eat one’s words,” “Words fail me,” “Freak out,” “Far out,” “Dig it,” “Groovy,” “Hip,” “Bad,” “I’m going to cap you.”
Archaic Examples of Figures of Speech
It is when a word or expression is used in a manner which is inconsistent with its normal literal usage, that the reader or listener understands that something different is being said than what is normally expressed by the word. The following expressions are ones that we utilize currently, but which originated from England in the 15th and 16th century, with the original meaning forgotten. The following10 type of Figures of Speech are known as an Aphorisms (one of over 200 types of Figures of Speech recorded), which are sayings, or adages of the truth, or an opinion associated, or displayed which are connected with a particular behavior or activity.
Don’t Throw the Baby out with the Bathwater
People took their yearly baths in May in a bathtub that was filled with hot water. The man of the house bathed in the clean water, first. The sons took baths next, then the women, children, and last of all, the babies. By that time the baby was washed, the water was so dirty you could actually lose them in it.
The idea behind this expression was that when a suggestion was made, or a subject was being decided upon, that simply because one part was not working, that it did not mean that other parts within it were worth discounting as well.
It’s Raining Cats and Dogs
During the time, houses had thatched roofs. They were made of thick straw piled high with no wood underneath. Many times there would be two stories with patios on the second floor as a place to retreat during the hot summer days. Also, the patios were used many times by household pets as sleeping quarters. It was not uncommon during hard rains to see through the house window, a dog, or a cat falling, as they would venture onto the straw of the thatched roof, which became very slippery they would slide off and fall to the ground.
The idea behind this expression was that the rainfall was very hard.
During this time only rich homeowners could afford wooden or slate floors, with the poorer residents having only dirt as their floor.
The idea behind this expression was that the individual was very poor.
In the winter, slate floors of wealthy homeowners would get slippery when they got wet. So, they started to spread thatch on the floor to keep their footing. As the winter wore on, they would keep adding it until; when the door was opened it would start falling outside. Then, they put a piece of wood on the entry that was called a threshold.
The idea behind this expression was that the area underneath the front doorway was given the name threshold because of the border meant to hold back the thatch.
Peas Porridge Hot, Peas Porridge Cold, Peas Porridge in the Pot Nine Days Old
In many homes, there was a big kettle that hung over the fire, and every day, the fire was lit, and food (mostly vegetables, and occasionally meet) was added to the pot. People would eat the stew for dinner and then leave the leftovers in the pot to get cold overnight, and then start all over again the next day. Sometimes, the pot would have food in it that had been in there for a month.
Bring Home the Bacon
Poverty, having been prominent, many families could only afford leftover pieces of a pig, and the ham roast or bacon was very costly, therefore a man that made enough money to be able to bring bacon home displayed that he made a good income.
The idea behind this expression was that being able to afford bacon was a sign of wealth.
Chew the Fat
While entertaining guests, it was common to cut off bits of pork to share with the guest in chew on during conversation.
The idea behind this expression was that of sharing conversation with a guest.
If people had money, there plates were made of pewter. However, most people didn’t have pewter plates, but had trenchers. These were pieces of wood with the middle scooped out like bowls. The wooden pieces weren’t washed very often, and subsequently would get worms in the wood. After eating off the trenchers with worms, people would get trench mouth.
In a large household with servants, the bread was divided according to status in the home. The workers would get the burnt bottom of the loaf, the family would get the middle, and guest would get the top or the upper crust as a sign of generosity. In rich families, the family members only ate the upper crust, as it was the most desired cut of the bread.
The idea behind this expression was that the affluent and persons of privilege deserved the upper crust and were so named after.
Wake, Graveyard Shift, Saved by the Bell, and Dead Ringer
People drank out of lead cups, and when they drink ale or whiskey, the combination would sometimes produce an intoxicant that would render them unconscious, creating shallow breathing, and a light heartbeat. A town relocated a cemetery, and in the process a casket broke open with the inhabitant displaying a look of absolute terror on her face, with her hands outstretched, and the inside of the lid of the coffin with scratch marks.
The townspeople, fearful of ever been buried alive, developed a routine to safeguard them against this possibility.First the dead body of a family member would be placed on the kitchen table for a couple of days, family members gathered around and ate and waited to see if the person would wake up. That’s where the custom of the “Wake” came from. Also, a hole was cut in the coffin with a string placed around the wrist of the deceased, and run up through the ground and connected to a bell on a pivot, so that if an individual woke up in a coffin, they could ring the bell and alert people that they were alive.
This is where we got the term “Saved by the Bell” and if a person looked just like the deceased, they were called a “Dead Ringer,” indicating that they actually were the person who had been thought to be deceased, and had apparently woken up and rung the bell to save their life. One other precaution taken by the townspeople was to place someone in the graveyard to stay awake all night and listen for any bell bells ringing. The individual hired for this would be said to work the “Graveyard Shift.”
In the past, nice beds were made of a wooden frame with leather strands running back and forth in order to cradle the sleeper while still having the ability to afford movement. However, after time leather strands were apt to pull apart allowing for the individual to fall through the floor below.
The thought behind this expression was that of wishing someone a good night’s sleep without interruption by having tight strands and not falling through them.10
It is in understanding the biblical use of Figures of Speech (used by all cultures and people groups; especially the Romans, Greeks, and Hebrews as seen in the Bible), by God to communicate truth, that greater understanding is gained concerning these rhetorical devices. One example can be seen in understanding the meaning behind the expression “whitened sepulchers” used by Jesus in Matthew 23:27, which states:
“Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.”
What is insightful (note the figurative language: “like.” This will be cover later under the heading: “Allegorical Interpretation”) about this expression, “whitened sepulchers,” is that it referenced the time of the mandatory attendance to 3 of the feasts of Israel by every able-bodied male, from all over the known world to congregate at Jerusalem in order to give sacrifices. The law had mandated that any one that touched a dead body or the tomb of a dead body was unclean and could not come into the city or Temple for a week.
And with certain sepulchers being part of a rock formation which was unknown by a visitor, the priest would make sure that bright whitewash was used on all the sepulchers just before the feast so they would be easily identified and no one would come in contact of them and not be able to fulfill the requirements of the feast.
Therefore, when Jesus referred to the Pharisees as hypocrites and whitened sepulchers He was referring to the fact that contact with them would pollute the individual (see Luk. 11:44), while the hypocrites appeared to be righteous on the outside; they were full of falsehood on the inside.
The point was for those Pharisees that taught the Law, Jesus said follow what they said, but do not follow their behavior (Matt. 23:3); for a person to be in close contact with a Pharisee, and start to mimic those behaviors of hypocrisy, this is the pollution that Jesus warned people to avoid.
According to the introduction written by E. W. Bullinger, D. D., in his classic work: “Figures of Speech Used in the Bible,”11 he states:
A Figure of Speech is a designed and legitimate departure from the laws of language, in order to emphasis what is said. Hence in such Figures we have the Holy Spirit’s own marking, so to speak, of His own words. This peculiar form or unusual manner may not be true, or so true, to the literal meaning of the words; but it is more true to their real sense, and truer to truth.13
Figures are never used except for the sake of emphasis. They can never, therefore, be ignored. Ignorance of Figures of Speech has led to the grossest errors, which have been caused either from taking literally what is meant as figurative14 or from making figurative what was literal15.
As an example of the needed understanding of Figures of Speech all one must do is turn to the book of Genesis 3:14-15:
“And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life: And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”
By interpreting these figures literally as meaning “belly,” “dust,” “heel,” “head,” we lose the volumes of precious and mysterious truth which they convey and intensify. It is the truth that is literal, while the words employed are figurative. Without the understanding of the true meanings of these words, one would miss the prophetic references to Jesus Christ.
In 1898, Dr. Bullinger documented more than 217 separate types of figures utilized by the Greeks and Romans, as well as other Semite cultures including the Hebrews during the time that the Bible was written, 28 different types of Figures of Speech are listed below with brief explanations.11
• Similes (or, resemblance, a declaration that one thing resembles another).
• Syncrisis (or, repeated Simile, a repetition of a number of resemblances [Parathesis, Comparatio]).
• Metaphors (or, Representation, a declaration that one thing is [or represents] another, Comparison by representation).
• Hypocatastasis (or, Implication, a declaration that implies the resemblance or representation. Comparison by implication).
• Allegory (or, continued Metaphor and Hypocatastasis, continued representation and implication).
• Parabola (or, Parable: i.e., continued Simile, comparison by continued resemblance).
• Apologue (or, Fable, a fictitious narrative used for illustration [Fabula]).
• Parœmia (or, Proverb, a wayside saying in common use [Proverbium], there are 5 types).
• Type (A figure or ensample of something future, called the antitype).
• Symbol (A material subject substituted for a moral or spiritual truth).
• Ænigma (or, Enigma: i.e., a Dark Saying, a truth expressed in obscure language).
• Polyonymia (or, many names, an application of Enigma to the names of persons or places).
• Gnome (or quotation, there are 3 groupings with a total of 11 subject types).
• Amphibologia (or, double meaning, a word or phrase susceptible of two interpretations).
• Eironeia (or, Irony, the expression of thought in a form that conveys its opposite. There are 3 groupings and 5 types).
• Oxymoron (or, Wise-folly, A wise saying that seems foolish [Acutifatuum]).
• Idioma (or, Idiom, The peculiar usage of words and phrases [Idiotismos], there are 11 types).
• Prosopopœia (or, Personification, things represented as persons [Personificatio, Personæ Fictio, Confornatio], 6 types).
• Antiprosopopœia (or, Anti-Personification).
• Anthropopatheia (or, Condescension, there are 3 groupings with a total of 12 types).
• Antimetathesis (or, Dialogue, transference of speakers [Polyprosopon]).
• Association (or, inclusion, when the writer or speaker associates himself with those whom he addresses).
• Apostrophe (A turning aside from the direct subject-matter to address others [Prosphonesis, Aversio], 4 groupings that total 5 types).
• Parecbasis (or, Digression, A turning aside from one subject to another [Digressio, Parabasis, Ecbolie, Aphodos]).
• Metabasis (or, Transition, a passing from subject to another [Transitio, Interfactio]).
• Epanorthosis (correction, recalling what is said, to correct by after-thought [Diorthosis, Epidorthosis, Metanœa, Correction] 3 types).
• Amphidiorthosis (or, double correction, a setting both hearer and speaker right by a correction which acts both ways).
• Anachoresis (or, Regression, a return to the original subject after a digression [Regressio, Epanaclesis]).11
Examples Concerning Jesus
Another example of Figures of Speech can be seen in God using names and titles to identify and describe the Messiah, such as: The Seed of the woman,16Shiloh,17 The Stone of Israel,18 The Peace Offering,19 The Captain of the host of the Lord,20 The Rock of my Salvation,21 The Light of Men,22 My Shield,23 My Glory,24 The Lifter Up of Mine Head,25 My Fortress,26 My Shepard,27 A Stranger and An Alien,28 God’s Firstborn,29 The Branch of the Lord,30 The Child,31 A Sanctuary,32 Wonderful,33Counsellor,34 The Mighty God,35 The Prince of Peace,36 A Rod of the Stem of Jesse,37 Shadow from the Heart,38 The Lamb of God,39 The Messiah,40 Savior,41 Bread of life,42 The Foundation,43 The Word of life,44 The Resurrection,45 The Holy One,46 The Alpha and Omega,47The Way, The Truth and The Life.48 This is only 3349 of the 333 known allusions to Jesus Christ, concerning: His preexistence, His Person, His Human Birth, His Life, His Teaching, His Mission, His Death, His Resurrection, His Return, His Rule on earth and in heaven, His Glory, His Preeminence, and His Deity.
Comparison & Contrast
The use of Comparison and contrast is a very insightful tool that can produce clarity whenever there are multiple Scriptural passages which appear to be speaking about one event or situation, but might be speaking about 2 separate events or situations. Whereas by the use of Comparison and Contrast it can be determined if these different passages are referring to one single event, or because of the differences there are indeed two events or situations occurring.
The reason this is not listed as one of the 217 specific Figures of Speech, is because it is somewhat diverse in that comparison is used to display contrast, not similarity. Whereas, say: metaphors are comparisons that show how two things that are not alike in most ways, yet are similar in one important way.For example, it is by using Comparison and Contrast that a determination can be made concerning the validity to the Rapture (please the below Endnote 54 concerning the origin of the word, and its Scriptural basis, as well as other information concerning Biblical studies).
If the Scriptural references which appear to be addressing the Second Coming display differences from each other, where they contradict each other, then it is obvious that there are two separate events being described, not just one. And since there are no other event except for the Rapture (the word Rapture is used for the sake of identity purposes only, as most people understand the event according to this word which is taken from the Latin Vulgate, by Jerome [AD 347-420] translation of the Bible), which could explain a second coming of the Lord, then the Rapture must be the explanation.
The Rapture has been taught since the time of Christ in spite of the detractors assertions of it is a 18th-century creation (by John Nelson Darby and/or Margaret Mc Donald).
The Rapture was taught and found in the writings of Barnabas (AD 1st Century), a friend of Paul; Irenaeus (AD 115-202), a disciple of Polycarp; Hippolytus of Roman (AD 170-236); Ephraem the Syrian, of Nisibis (AD 306-373), and others. It is the use of Comparison and Contrast that authenticates the existence of the Rapture beyond that of singular passages which are definitely the 2nd Coming, proving that there are two separate and distinct events, some of these are:
Rapture Second Coming
Translation of believers No translation
Translated saints go to heaven Translated Saints return to earth
Earth is not judged Earth judged
Eminent – any moment Follows defined predicted signs
Not in the Old Testament Predicted in the Old Testament
Affects believers only Affects all men
Before the day of wrath Concludes the day of wrath
No reference to Satan Satan bound
Jesus comes for his own Jesus comes with his own
Jesus comes in the air Jesus comes to earth (Mount of Olives)
Jesus comes to claim his bride Jesus comes with his bride
Only His own see him Every eye shall see him
Great tribulation begins Millennium begins
Church believers only Old Testament saved raised later55
One of the primary ways that God uses to validate that the Bible is authored by Himself, is the use of prophecies (The word prophecy means: “to speak for another,” and may involve yet future events, but not necessarily. See Part 2 of this series which addresses II Pet. 1:20, concerning prophecy and John the Baptist) of yet future events before they happen. For it is only God that “declares the end from the beginning,” as stated in Isaiah 46:9-10, which says:
“Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, 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”
Yet, in so doing God foretells His plans in advance wherein His enemies would be aware, therefore God uses diverse methods of presenting prophecies which seem hidden from most viewers, yet with the illumination of the Holy Spirit are made known.
One of the ways in which God has chosen to hide in plain sight His foretelling of the future is called Dual Fulfillment, in which a prediction is made concerning the future, however; the event occurs not once, but twice; therefore creating confusion concerning when these events will occur, how they will occur and therefore confuses any common predictors.
And in some cases the two occurrences don’t seem to be relative at all, with only partial commonality; until such time as both events have transpired. Then in retrospect there is no doubt concerning the validity of both predictions, and at the same time God has made other specific mandates concerning these which go far beyond the possibility of any coincidence.
What we must understand is that it is man’s assertion that prophecies are meant to tell us the future, yet in the overwhelming majority of instances, God intends not that man would know the future, but that once these events unfold exactly as He stated, man would gain faith in God, as it is only God that can foretell future. It is man that continually attempts to profit from his relationship with God in temporal matters (such as knowing the future, and even claiming to be a prophet); yet God looks for man to benefit in ways that are not so intrinsic at the time, but much more pertinent in the long run.
For God’s type of faith comes based upon our awareness of God’s foreknowledge, that in retrospect is confirmed, and is much more important than any convenience of knowing what the future holds. There are times where God has chose to warn men, such as Jesus in the books of Luke and Matthew concerning the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 Ad, and concerning warning the Jews in Jerusalem at the time of the Great Tribulation. Yet, it is in fulfilling Romans 10:17, which God is most concerned, which states:
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”
It is therefore with this in mind that God, in a majority of cases foretells man concerning the future, so that faith based upon God’s Word alone, will grow based upon God validating His Word, and creating a concrete foundation for faith. For many today in the church base their faith upon their own experience, and emotions; yet this does not fulfill what God has required faith to be based upon, and is fragile and creates many other problems will not leave the Believer to a grounded maturity in Jesus Christ.
It is unfortunate and readily apparent that those that base their faith upon their own experiences, or the experience of others, display a carnality concerning the trials and tribulations that are part of humanity, and yet also meant as tools of growth for the believer.
An Example of Dual Fulfillment
Hosea 1:11 is a good example of a dual fulfillment in that this passage speaks about Israel coming out of Egypt, yet, Matthew 2:15 quotes this as a fulfilled prophecy concerning the Messiah as well. Another example is Daniel’s prophecy concerning the Abomination which creates Desolation, quoted in Daniel 9:27, which was literally fulfilled by Antiochus Epiphanes on December 16, 167 B.C., yet, almost 200 years later, Jesus spoke about it as yet a future event, recorded in Matthew 24:15; indicating a 2nd fulfillment of this prophecy in Daniel, to take place at the start of the Great Tribulation (3.5 years into the 7 years).
Acts 2:16, records the birth of the church, with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit. In response to individuals attributing the speaking of tongues to drunkenness, Peter quotes Joel 2:28, concerning God pouring out his spirit upon all flesh, which he states is currently happening, and yet we also know from prophecy in Scripture will also occur over 2000 years later, the fulfillment of the last days.
Application #1: The letter is addressed to 7 local churches that existed at that time.
Application #2: The letter, as it is laid out is addressed to the church (as a whole) as it has existed from its conception until its retraction (why these 7 churches, and why in this order; where is the church of Corinth, Antioch, Jerusalem – these 7 churches lay out a perfect history of the church from the day of the Ascension until the prophetic fulfillment of Rom. 11:25, when the church is “snatched up” – which we refer to as the Rapture).
Application #3: Each one of the 7 churches is an example of the way that any given church will function at any given time, as seen in the reference to “let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” (plural – it was written to the “churches,” not the Church of… – There are 7 different ways that a church can function as addressed and seen in this application ~ observe any church today in America and they will function the same as one of the 7 churches did).
Application #4: The last application is to the individual person who is a believer, those members of His church that make up the church individually, one by one; hence the expression “he that hath an ear, let him hear…” Notice where Jesus is concerning the last church, He is on the outside, knocking to be let in – the church is so far from Him, that He comes to individuals rather than the church as a whole (“if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” Rev. 3:20).55
Therefore, we should always understand that even when addressing local and biblical context, there may be dual fulfillment wherein God has hidden in plain sight His message to His people. God may choose to speak to us in different ways it is in always remembering who is the Potter and who is the clay that we should stay mindful.
SIDENOTE: This can be illustrated in the following story. There is an old story concerning Jesus speaking to a man, and the man becoming healed, and those that witnessed this miracle started the “Speak and be Healed” ministry. Later, Jesus touched a man, and the man became healed, and those that witnessed that miracle started the “Touch and be Healed” ministry. And even later, Jesus spit upon some dirt, made mud and placed it on a man’s eyes, with the man becoming healed; and those that witnessed that last miracle started the “Spit and be Healed” ministry.
The point is all three groups had witnessed miracles at the hand of Jesus and were correct in understanding that Jesus could use all three different methods in healing people, yet when they placed Jesus in the box by demanding that it was only the way that they had witnessed, that was appropriate for the healings, they deviated from the truth. This is a constant problem for believers, and may be one of the reasons there are so many denominations. The Potter has no responsibility to function according to what the clay considers to be orthodox.
Biblical Use of Numbers
This is one of those subjects where it is obvious that within the Bible God repetitively uses numbers as a form of symbol, as He does utilizing everything to the benefit of the edification of the reader. Yet, this is also one of these areas that appears (the foundation of the word “appears” is perception, not fact) more subjective because what sometimes appears apparent is only superficial concerning the meaning of numbers (in actuality the subject is not subjective, our lack of insight creates the confusion).
Quite often when dealing with difficult issues, where due to the complexity or abstraction of the material, rash assumptions are made that are later invalidated; with the subject matter disregarded completely, with the loss of greater emphasis, or clarity.
Therefore, we must guard against dismissing a subject simply because of confusion, which is proverbially speaking – our tendency to: “throw out the baby with the bathwater,” wherein we lose the benefit of a particular subject simply because of our ignorance, misapplication or misunderstanding.
The complexity of the issue concerning the use of numbers in the Bible has more to do with the difference between Eastern train of thought, and western train of thought; than that of simple mathematics or application. This becomes more evident if we undertake a short examination of the numbers 1, and 2.
The Number 1
As God is independent, sovereign, not necessitating or needing anything else; complete in Himself; therefore the number 1 is a good representation of the sovereignty which God alone holds. Every other number is contingent upon yet other numbers – not so in the case of the number 1, it is sovereign (one definition is: “Accountable only to one’s self“). 1 is a number that stands alone completely independent, not made up of any other numbers, nor needing any other numbers. It is an appropriate number when it comes to man’s perception of God.
We have come to understand the concept of the Trinity (wherein the word is not used in the Bible, yet the concept is apparent and validated thoroughly within Scripture), whereas God is singular concerning His title (we must remember that God is not a name it is a title, the same as King is not a name, nor President as well), as well as essence, we have come to understand that God is seen in 3 individual persons, that of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.However, “we must acknowledge that a finite man should have trouble, actually in reality, an inability in defining an infinite God; and are humbled in the attempt.”
Therefore, when it comes to God’s revelation of Himself to man, for the first 4000 years of recorded history God reveals Himself to be like none other (Isa. 43:10-11), singular in all of existence, and therefore does not speak of His personage (until as seen in Christ ~ 1 Pet. 1:20).
God’s relationship to man is that of Creator and creation, it is not personal (when it comes to humanity. He chose to establish singular relationships with Abraham, and individually with His offspring until Abraham’s family became a nation, but even then God did not hold personal relationships with man, as a whole [notable exceptions are seen in the Bible such as Moses & David], God utilized Priests which were go-betweens, liaisons because of man’s sinfulness) God does not share His Name publicly (and this is seen in how the Jews hid the name of God to the extent they don’t even know what it is now. And He only gave it out on a personal basis, not to be given to humanity at large).
It is for this reason that many refer to the God of the Old Testament in contrast to the revelation of God in Christ Jesus as seen in the New Testament, because of this limited perspective that God gives concerning Himself, hence the number 1 representing Him as THE Sovereign of the universe, makes perfect sense.The venerated prayer of the Jews (those that follow the Torah), the Shema (Hebrew: sh’ma, which means “hear,” which is the first word of the declaration), which Jesus refers to as the greatest commandment (Matt. 22:37; Mar. 12:29-31; Luk. 10:27;), found in Deuteronomy 6:4-5, states:“
Hear, O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord: And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.”
This is God’s declaration concerning Himself, that He is “One Lord,” and whereas there are mild hints concerning the specificity of God’s personage seen in the Old Testament, such as the plural noun used concerning the creation in Genesis 1:1; these are used so that in retrospect when God would choose in time to reveal Himself personally concerning Him being 3 Persons, this could be seen as a validation of the doctrine of the Trinity.
The point is prior to God’s revelation of Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, we see Him as behind a veil, when we see Him utilizing the number 1 concerning Himself (“I am God and there is none like me” ~ Isa. 46:950). The number 1 is symbolic of God concerning His essence, yet when the definite article, “THE” is used in reference to specificity (denotative), individually (whereas God’s plural declaration of Himself is connotative – general); and it is combined with the word “Holy” to create special emphasis in the expression “The Holy One;” we should understand that there is something very different taking place by the attention that God draws to this particular expression.
The reason for this special attention is that this expression is used concerning God’s revelation of Himself in a particular way in the person of Jesus Christ. It is a more intimate revelation, a more personal giving of information; it is not speaking in vague generalities. This expression is not distant or formless, but specific (which is what holy means – separate) denotatively.
It is specific concerning God’s revelation of Himself as never seen before. This is the basis of the idea of having a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, wherein God made it possible not only to know of Him and worship Him, but to have an intimate relationship with Him due to the atoning death of His Son. The revelation of Jesus Christ, is the revelation of God to man, unknown since man’s fall, because of man’s sin. Habakkuk 1:13 states:
“Thou art of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, and holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth the man that is more righteous than he?”
Man lost his ability to have a personal relationship with God through the fall, which mandated that God became distant; yet through the blood of Jesus Christ we can now have a personal relationship with God unhampered by our sin nature. It is when the definite article, “THE” is combined with the word “Holy,” that we understand God’s Word is speaking denotatively of Jesus Christ This expression, “The Holy One” is singularly used of Jesus as seen numerous times in the Old Testament51 as well as the New Testament52 evidenced by Act 13:35 (which is quoting Psa. 16:10), which states:
“Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption“
Jesus stated concerning Himself being the revelation of God to man in John 14:9,”…he that hath seen me hath seen the father...,”
And Hebrews 1:36 states concerning Christ:
“Who being the brightness of his (God the Father’s) glory, and the express image of his person (God the Father) …”.
Therefore, in conclusion, we understand that Biblically speaking when there is a symbolization connected with the number 1, it concerns God connotatively (generally), yet when the number 1 is specific (“THE”) it referrers to Jesus denotatively, therefore either way the number 1 maybe seen in connection with God.
Within our Western train of thought (or “philosophy” ~ Many have argued that the distinction between Eastern and Western schools of philosophy are arbitrary and purely geographic and to a certain extent, Eurocentric. Certain scholars have argued the distinction is not arbitrary and geographic, but based upon exact linguistic and hermeneutical considerations) this multi-level attempt of reasoning may seem somewhat arbitrary or confusing, yet within the Eastern way of thinking (based upon linguistic analysis of traditional Eastern writings) this type of insight is consistent.
The Number 2
Perhaps the best example of how misapplication and misunderstanding concerning the use of numbers in the Bible can occur as seen in the number 2, where it is commonly stated that the number 2 represents the number of witness, yet this is somewhat incorrect. To begin with, the number 2 affirms that there is a difference – it displays that there is separateness, that there is another.
While one affirms that there is not another, 2 pronounces there is; therefore there is inconsistency, or opposition, or diversity. The difference maybe for good, or maybe for evil. The number 2 takes a twofold coloring, according to the context. It is the 1st number by which we can divide by another, and therefore in all its usage we may trace this fundamental idea of division or difference.
1 is an excellent example concerning validating something, wherein it is the 1st number of division, it can also be the 1st number of establishment. It is said that the number 2 is also utilized as being necessary for any adequate witness according to the Scripture, this is because of its inability to be divided, its independence, and therefore it’s further ability to be united.
If 2 individuals, which are independent by nature, both attest of the validity of a thing, then there may be the assumption that there is truth in what they witnessed concerning. 2 testimonies may be different, but yet one may support another and their by their combined strengthen corroborate the other, thus this is why Jesus (John 8:17-18) said:
“the testimony of 2 men is true. I am one that bears witness of myself, and the Father that sent me bear witness of me”
God the Father bore witness of Jesus through the miracles that God the Father exhibited according to the desire of the Son, through the ministration of the Holy Spirit ~ Joh. 8:17-18. And it is written in the law: “at the mouth of 2 witnesses, or 3 witnesses,” shall the matter be established (Num. 35:30; Deut. 17:6; 19:15; Matt. 18:16; 2 Cor. 13:1; 1 Tim. 5:19; Heb. 10:28).
What you will notice is that the Scripture does not say that 2 witnesses affirm a thing, but that a thing can be affirmed by 2 or 3, therefore indicating that it is not the sole number of 2 that is necessary for a witness, but the minimum number of 2 that is necessary – this therefore validates the concept that the number 2 is not explicit concerning an adequate witness, but is the minimal number necessary.
The number 2 is connotatively (generally) utilized concerning an adequate witness, because there is no denotative number. The Scripture authenticates the resurrection of Jesus Christ not with the minimum number, but with well over 500 witnesses which had seen the resurrected Christ (1 Cor. 15:6). This is utilized so that the resurrection is beyond accusation.
Therefore, in conclusion, we understand that the number 2 speaks about division, yet when the 2 are combined it speaks of unity, which creates an adequate witness. The law and the prophets hung upon “2 commandments” (Matt. 22:40), thus displaying the unity concerning God and His Word concerning the what is the greatest commandment of the law, recorded in Matthew 22:37-39:
“Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
It is easy to see that there is further sophistication concerning the usage of numbers, far beyond the simplification that is listed below. What is listed below is a generic identification of the uses of numbers in the Scripture (please see the below Endnote53 for further study).
Common Symbolism of Numbers in the Bible
1 = Deity ~ God / “The Seen” – God’s Attributes = Jesus (God is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ), especially seen when the definite article (“THE”) is used such as “The Holy One” (Psa. 16:10 ~ Acts 13:35; Mar. 1:24; Luk. 4:34; Acts 2:27, 3:14, 13:35 ).
2 = Division ~ or ~ When Combined Creates an Adequate Witness (Deut. 17:6; Joh. 8:17).
3 = Deity ~ God/ “The Unseen” – God’s Essence = The Trinity (Gen. 1:1; 1 Joh. 5:7).
4 = Training / Testing (testing is the essential tool used in training ~ 1 Pet. 1:6-7; Jam. 1:2-4). 40 is testing maximized (4×10 ~ Num. 13:25, 14:33-34; 1 Kings 19:4-8; Matt. 4:2). 40 is also training maximized (4×10 ~ Acts 7:30; Exo. 34:27-28).
5 = Grace (Exo. 2:3, 9, 27, 37; 7:1, 18 [Exo. 13:18 & Josh. 1:14, LXX has “in groups / ranks of 5”] Mar. 6:38-44; Luk. :13-16).
6 = Man (Gen. 1:26-31; Gen. 31:41; Exo. 16:26; 20:9; 21:2; 23:10; Num. 35:6).
7 = Completion (Gen. 2:1-3; 5:24; Rev. 3:1; 4:5; 5:6; 8:2; [Satan is complete evil, with complete evil power of the Earth ~ Rev. 12:3] 21:9).
8 = New Beginning (Gen. 21:4; Matt. 28:1; Joh. 20:26; 1 Pet. 3:20).
9 = Judgment (Gen. 5:5; Num. 29:26; Jud. 4:9).
10 = Maximization (Exo. 34:28; Matt. 25:1, 28; 1 Cor. 4:15; 14:19; Jud. 1:14 [ Dan. 7:10]; Rev. 5:11 [Dan. 7:7, 20,24] 12:3; 13:1; 17:3, 7, 12, 16).
Other examples concerning the number 10, is the number 40 (4 is testing x 10 which is maximization) which is maximized testing, understanding that testing is a form of training. Whereas the number 10 is utilized for the maximum strength of government, adding to the number of a witness creates the maximum witness, as seen in 12 tribes, concerning Israel and 12 apostles, concerning the church.
The number 66 is the witness (“2”) of the man (“6”), whereas 666 (Rev. 13:18) is man attempting to be God(“3”). 1 is the number of Christ, when combined with 6 the number of man, renders the number 7, displaying Christ’s completeness.
The number 24 is utilized twice in the Bible, once concerning the priesthood of the Temple, and then again concerning the 24 elders in heaven who are Kings and priests, which is only seen concerning the church (in regards to a group).
God always kept the priesthood and kingship separate, by example when King Saul performed the priestly duty and he disobeyed God (keeping the prohibited spoils of war and more), the kingship was taken away from him.
There are only 3 exceptions to this rule of combining the priesthood and kingship, the first was Melchizedek, the King of Salem (Jeru-salem is Hebrew for: “house of peace”), which was a prophetic type concerning the Messiah. The second was Jesus, and the last is the church.
Therefore the number 24 being utilized for the priest of Israel and for the church; which received the full blessing of kingship, as well as priesthood, makes sense.It is in understanding that according to God’s Word, numbers hold value, painting pictures, and creating greater nuance concerning what God would seek to reveal to man.
Yet, caution must also be held concerning any propensity toward mysticism in this pursuit.
A Final Thought Concerning Symbolism It is in consideration of Proverbs 25:2, which states:“
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
As the priesthood of man was a foreshadowing of Christ’s priestly duty in being the intercessor for man, making God approachable by sinful man because of Jesus dying for man’s sins, the essence of the priesthood (beyond that of an arbitrator or a liaison ~ Heb. 10:10,2), was fulfilled in Christ as a priest forever according to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Heb. 7:21).
And we which make up the body of Christ, the church; within the adoption as sons (saints ~ “separated ones,” yet not separated from sin, as much as “separated to God”) are given the blessing of being “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood” (1 Pet. 2:9), who according to the blessing of Jesus Christ are not only priest, but are also made King’s, as seen in the Scripture which says: “and hath made us Kings and priests unto God and his father” (Revelation 1:6).
Therefore, with this in mind we as believers in Jesus Christ, the church hold the honor of kingship in searching out matters, that according to the Scripture, those things that God normally hides from the eyes of men.But it is only in the power of the Holy Spirit, that same anointing power which empowered the man
Jesus (though divine in essence, taking on the limitations – attributes of the flesh), that we can approach such complexities as the symbolism of numbers and other forms of typologies within God’s Word, yet also in humility.
This is the type of subject where some individuals can become obsessed with the object, at the expense of their concentration and focus on the object maker. (The term, “numerology,” used here is strictly in a scientific manner, for the sake of clarification and expediency. The word numerology is not used in its cultic depiction, nor is it used in reference to kabbalistic literature, or as referred to in Gematria, which has been utilized by Jews for thousands of years, functions differently than mathematics.)
We understand that these Figures of Speech, prophecies, and other forms of rhetorical devices; are to be used alongside, and with the literal meaning of the passage, and that we can never use these tools instead of the literal meaning, or in place of the literal meaning, which would be to allegorize the Scripture, making it figurative (thus taking away its meaning) and thus potentially make mute concerning it’s intended meaning without obvious indications to do so. God may choose to use a figurative application on top of the literal, but not in place of it, unless He uses direct figurative language communicating this (such as the words: “like,” “as,”).
Or makes it obvious that the literal is impossible, not according to human logic, but in what appears to be indifference to what God’s Word has previously stated (A clue that God has hidden a deeper secret within the text is what appears to be a contradiction within itself, or according to what God’s Word has previously stated, or according to the essence of who God betrays Himself as. This is not to say that God as the Potter cannot determine to do things which appear to be inconsistent with prior proclamations, yet He does so because they are different situations; and we must understand that He is the boss. If God kills a person, He is not violating one of the 10 Commandments; He is fulfilling His sovereign justice. But the point to be understood is that apparent contradictions are there to gain our attention, not as skeptics, but as believers understanding that this is a signpost indicating a buried treasure. Thus Figures of Speech and other rhetorical devices are used for this purpose), such as in the case of Figures of Speech.God always says what He means, and means what He says, and there is no record of an individual in the Old Testament or New Testament, when referring to previous Scripture, ever displaying an allegorical interpretation (figurative) of the text. Men of God have always understood that God was literal (Daniel referring to Jeremiah; Jesus referring to Moses, Isaiah, and all the prophets; and all of the New Testament writers referring to the Old Testament books and writers) in what He communicates.
All of God’s Word
When approaching any doctrine or Biblical issue, it is in cross referencing; and therefore validating God’s consistency within His Word that can be most fruitful in laying a Biblical foundation on all theological doctrines. As a wise teacher of Scripture, Paul always presented all of God’s Word, rather than isolated portions, as he stated in Acts 20:27.
“For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.”
The safeguard of utilizing all of God’s Word, the complete Bible, is that IF God exhibits an exception to any standard that He has set, or presented something new for the apostles to disclose, He did so in such a way that Scripture validated itself. Nowhere is this better seen than Paul’s Revelation concerning the mystery57 of the Church in the Old Testament, one of 7 mysteries59 named in God’s Word. Paul presents the mystery of the church in Ephesians 1:9-1260 and if the church was hidden, this would mandate that the “Rapture” of the church would be hidden as well, which Paul also addresses.61
Adding to God’s Word
We must realize that the canon of Scripture is complete, that God has finished His Revelation concerning His written Word to mankind, according as it has been “once delivered,” meaning completely finished; “unto the saints,” as recorded in Jude 1:3, which states:“
Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”
There are many false prophets that seek to add to God’s Word, rather they introduce a new teaching, a new understanding; or a “word of knowledge,” a “word of wisdom;” or anything else which seeks to add to or modify Biblical teaching concerning God’s Word. This is adding to God’s Word, and condemned by God both in the Old and New Testaments as seen in the book of Deuteronomy, as well as the book of Revelation (which adds a special punishment for anyone who attempts to add to or take from the prophecy of this book):
“Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God which I command you.” (Deut. 4:2)“
“For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” (Rev. 22:18-19)
1. II Timothy 2:15 –“Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed,rightly dividing the word of truth.”
2. Hebrews 11:6 – “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”
Many people read this passage, and what they focus in on is the idea of “reward,” (of getting…), with the reward being primary, and God secondary. What they mistakenly see is the idea of an exchange, they see themselves as exchanging faith with God, so that He will give them what they ask for, the things they desire. Therefore, faith becomes something to barter with, rather than an issue of trust. Yet, this is not what Biblical faith is. We must remember we are NOT saved by faith, we are saved by GRACE, made accessible by faith. Biblical faith is believing and trusting in God to the point that if God takes everything away, the believer trusts that God has done so, for the ultimate good of the believer, because God has something better in mind for the person.
3. Hebrews 4:12-13 ~ “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercingeven to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discernerof the thoughts andintents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight:but all things are naked andopened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.”
4. Other Passages which maintain the Divine Inspiration of Scripture: Deuteronomy 4:2; Isaiah 55:10-11; 1 Corinthians 2:13; 14:37; 2 Corinthians 5:19-20; 1 Thessalonians 2:4, 13; 2 Thessalonians 2:14-15; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:20-21; 3:1-2, 15-16; Jude 1:3; Revelation 1:1-3; 22:9, 18.
5. Something to Think About
An inscription on a cathedral in Lubeck, Germany, states:
Thus speaketh Christ our Lord to us:
Ye call Me Master and obey Me not.
Ye call Me Light and see Me not.
Ye call Me Way and walk Me not.
Ye call Me Life and choose Me not.
Ye call Me Wise and follow Me not.
Ye call Me Fair and love Me not.
Ye call Me Rich and ask Me not.
Ye call Me Eternal and seek Me not.
Ye call Me Noble and serve Me not.
Ye call Me Gracious and trust Me not.
Ye call Me Might and honor Me not.
Ye call Me Just and fear Me not.
If I condemn you, blame Me not.
Man is so limited by the sin nature that even the born-again believer is plagued with a sinful perception, wherein reality is beyond his comprehension. The following are a few examples of the difference between our perception and God’s perception.
1) When one reads the first three chapters of the book of Revelation, which is the revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His servants (Revelation 1:1), beyond being amazed that Jesus truly did write (dictated to John, the same as most of the New Testament books were dictated by their writers) part of the New Testament; is that these seven letters to seven churches draw on the fact, that even within the church our perspectives are warped.What you will find is that those churches that thought they were doing quite well, were actually doing miserably, and those churches that perceive themselves so negatively, Christ commands them as having done better than they expected. This displays the fact that we humans, even when filled with the Holy Spirit and submissive to God’s leading, are still so tainted by the sin in our flesh, that we can’t see clear enough to perceive reality many times.
2) Another example of warped perspective can be seen in the blessing of God’s provision for the Israelites as they crossed the desert to the Promised Land. Whenever God refers to the bread like material that He left for them day after day, God first calls it “bread from heaven,” (Exo. 16:4; Joh. 6:31) yet the Hebrews referred to it as: manna. What we miss in our English translations is that the Hebrew word for manna actually means: “what is it,” in Hebrew (Exo. 16:15), and is a derogatory term. From God’s perspective this was a blessing that daily He provided for them, yet in the arrogance of their sinful perspective they saw it as something derogatory.
3) Yet another example can be seen in Daniel 2:1-45, where God gives Nebuchadnezzar a dream about four world empires. When God gives Nebuchadnezzar this dream according to his own perception, in an idiom that he would understand according to earthly values and a carnal perspective.The dream centered on a man made out of precious metals descending in value from his head to his toe. Yet, in chapter 7 of Daniel, God gives Daniel, the man of God, a dream of the same world empires. However, now God features them as wild animals. God will speak to us in a language that we understand, and what we see in the first vision is an ungodly King seeing man in his greatness, yet in the second vision we see a godly man shown that these kingdoms are actually wild beast. The point is it’s the same God, the same future kingdoms; yet God displays the imagery differently according to who he gives the dream too. There’s a lesson in this for us, God’s perspective is always different than our own.
4) One last example which displays the diversity between our human perspective and God’s perspective can be seen in the last hour of a man’s life. According to our perspective, what you do in your life, those 60 or 70 years; will tell the most about who you are, and what your priorities were.Yet Jesus gave a parable (Matt. 20:1-16) about workers that started work at different times in the day, with them all receiving the same pay. Many misunderstand the point of the story. The point was no matter how many years you serve the Lord, or even if you’ve only known Him a short time before your death, we all get the same reward of eternal salvation. With God there are no greater or lesser amounts of salvation. God in His Word displays time and time again that His priorities are different than our own. That if a man pushes a broom diligently for God, according to God’s Will for that man, he will not receive a smaller reward than Billy Graham received if Billy followed God’s Will as well. It is we humans that live with inflated egos and perceptions clouded by pride; that Judge un-righteously and ungodly, according to our sensual pleasures, and carnal perceptions.
Perhaps one of the individuals that will be most shocked by their contribution to God’s kingdom is the thief on the cross (Luk. 23:39-43). In the last hour of his life he gained salvation. His act of faith was calling Jesus Lord and verbally defending Jesus, and for this Jesus told him that he would be with Him that day. Yet, how many untold thousands of people in their last drawing breaths, having lived a life of debauchery and sin, yet in the last few moments of their life surrendered all to Jesus, having understood that they could follow the example of the thief on the cross. What we see when we look upon the thief is the 30 or so years of criminality, what God see’ is one hour of submission, surrender and faith.
5c. What about Forgiveness as in Turning the Cheek
Matthew 5:38-41 ~“Ye have heard that it hath been said, an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth. But I say to you, that ye resist not evil: but whosoever shall smite thee on the right cheek, turn to him the left also. And if any man will sue the act the law, and take away thy coat, let him have thy cloak also. And whosoever shall compel thee to go a mile, go with him twain.”
An eye for an eye
The problem that we have in understanding this passage is our lack of awareness that it had become common during that period of time, that if a Jew (wealthy & powerful prominent individuals) had felt that he had been wronged and suffered loss at the hands of another, rather than following Gods ordained system of law (Deuteronomy 19:18-21) which dictated that a local magistrate would investigate the situation and render justice in the form of any prescribed punishment according to the law of God, the Jews would revenge themselves, which meant that it was no longer a system of justice, but of vengeance.
Therefore what Christ is NOT saying here is to disregard the law, which contained a criminal justice system concerning the punishment of criminal behavior (Matt. 7:12; Rom. 3:31). What Christ is saying here is that believers are not to revenge themselves upon perpetrators, but being willing to forgo what had become the standard of the day, which was to retaliate when one was wrong. Christ is indicating that we should forgive those that offend us.
Resist not evil, but whosoever shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other
It had become common that if a Jew felt humiliated or shamed by another, in return they would strike a person upon the cheek which in itself was viewed as a humiliation. This was usually done with an audience, in front of others as a display of shame and ridicule. The physical pain was minimal and not meant to address or correct negative behavior, but it was the humiliation of the act that was the point of the offense.
The very act of slapping another person on the face was an act of condescension, displaying pride and arrogance, and therefore considered evil in itself. The Greek phrase used here (me antiste naitoi pone roi), would be more literally translated: “resist not him that is evil,” which concerning the grammar is in the infinitive (second aorist active), an indirect command; which could place the emphasis either on “the evil man,” or “the evil deed,” but either way this plays the assumption of the definite article (“the“) in the English, which indicates not that Christ is saying to allow evil to permeate our society, without resisting it according to God’s law (1 Tim. 1:8).
But that on any individual basis, when a believer is minimally assaulted physically, and (to the real issue at hand) is humiliated or shamed, which is evil or done by an evil person; don’t retaliate, or defend yourself physically. We must keep in view that the issue here is not so much the physical contact, but the humiliation and shame intended. This also doesn’t say that we don’t question or defend ourselves verbally. Jesus displayed this Himself when He was slapped (as a sign of humiliation and ridicule) by one of the Temple officer’s while being questioned by the High Priest (Joh. 18:19-23), and Jesus responded by verbally defending himself and saying, “If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil: but if well, why smitest thou me?”
The point is that Jesus is not presenting a pacifist doctrine here. As believers we are always to fight against evil, and those that promote it, otherwise we would violate the very law which God had given to man as a reference concerning what was good, which always mandated fighting and punishing what was evil. Jesus was not contradicting the law, He did not come to change the law but to fulfill it (Matt. 5:17; Luk. 24:44) by dying for the sins of the world (2 Cor. 5:21). The point was not that we are all forgiven, but that our punishment was paid by Jesus, but the point is there had to be punishment (1 Joh. 2:2; Rom. 3:25; 1 Joh. 4:10) that the justice of God would be upheld (Romans 3:25).
Therefore what Christ is saying is that if a (small) offense is committed against you, such as being shamed by another (to reiterate, which is what being stricken on the cheek meant to the Jews, striking on the cheek was considered a non-punishable offense, one of questioning another’s integrity by publicly shaming them), take the offense and don’t revenge yourself, show honor and character in the face of humiliation.
If any man will sue thee at the law
First, and most importantly, what Jesus indicates here is that you are guilty in this litigation, and that your accuser wins against you, according to the legal conclusion against you in that the court determines to: “take away thy coat.” The law was very specific concerning the loss of personal property, especially if it was the essentials, such as a personal wardrobe (which are many consisted of the clothes on their back).Jesus is here referring to a common occurrence of his day, wherein an individual would utilize their (tunic) inner garment as collateral for a purchase, and after being found guilty of not having fulfilled your part of the bargain, be prepared to surrender your outer garment as well. Because of the essential nature of the need of clothing, such as the tunic, in Hebrew law, the only way that your adversary could seize your tunic was because you used it as collateral for a loan and default on the loan.
It was common that if an individual conducted a street transaction (bartering) and did not have the items with them (which in a case where coinage was not used or available, bartering by using animals or other intrinsic articles was common), they would leave as collateral something of greater value with the person, such as their interior coat / tunic. This is seen when Judah doesn’t have the price of bartering (“a kid of the flock”) to pay Tamar, but uses as collateral (pledge) his signet, both bracelets and his staff.
Therefore what Christ is saying is if you lose litigation, indicating that you are wrong, be prepared to pay not just your obligation but even more in recompense, which in this case would be to allow the claimant to have your outer cloak as well, which was more expensive.
Whoever shall compel thee to go a mile
The expression “shall compel” was a specific terminology of Persian origin (a Figure of Speech, a current American cultural expression would be like saying “the few, the proud, …”, which would set the stage for the understanding that the reference was a expression concerning “…the Marines”), and was utilized concerning a royal standing command that was as a Royal law of the kingdom, throughout the conquered lands of Persia (from which the Jews had many times been under, such as Cyrus), and was understood that one of the officers of the King’s court could demand that a local citizen would personally escort them during their journey for a distance of up to 1 mile in aiding them during their travels. Whereas verbal instructions concerning directions could be misunderstood (“go straight for 1 mile, then turn right at where Farmer Joe’s barn used to be”), having a local citizen personally take you to your destination became necessary.
Therefore the point that Christ is making is that when it comes to our civil commitments (whether they seem righteous or not), we should be willing to not only fulfill the requirement of the law, but sacrifice even more than required. Believers, as citizens are not only to meet their requirements, but to exceed them (see Endnote #6 for further insights and sources).
A final thought
It is amazing to consider that due to a lack of understanding concerning cultural issues of the (Biblical) times, that when believers do not study (studying is far more than simply reading, it is using credible Biblical dictionaries, encyclopedias, commentaries, word studies, and being fed by Spirit and guided Bible teachers; and more. If we love God with our whole being [Mar. 20:30], why would we do less) God’s Word, that what they perceive superficially ends up being much different than the reality that is presented.
Concerning Matthew 5:38-41, these 3 short verses hold tremendous insights and immense meaning.
First, do not revenge yourself, but allow the Powers that God has ordained (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17) to administer justice. ~ Be a forgiving person
Second, if someone shames, humiliates, or ridicules you; do not revenge yourself, but show honor and character by not reiterating the same back. ~ Be a humble person
Thirdly, if you have been found legally guilty, and rightly so, be prepared to suffer for your wrongs into pay back even more than what seems fair. ~ Be a righteous person
Fourthly, concerning your civil commitments; be willing to not simply meet your requirements, but to exceed them as well. ~ Be a good neighbor and good citizen, therefore be a good example.
5d. Christ’s Pre-incarnate Appearances (Christophanies) in the Old Testament ~ His Theophanies
The following is an excerpt from the acclaimed theologian and scholar; Dr. Herbert Lockyer’s book “All the Doctrines of the Bible,” concerning Christ’s pre-incarnate appearances in the Old Testament.
The most striking Old Testament preparation for Christ’s Advent, however, were those wonderful theophanic appearances. These pre-incarnate manifestations of His were designed to prepare the world for Christ’s more permanent abode in human flesh. Biblical scholars identify “The angel of the Lord” – “The angel of his presence” – “The angel of the Covenant” (Gen. 22:14; 31:11, 13; Exo. 14:19; Isa. 63:9; Mal. 3:1), as Christ, the Son of God, in pre-incarnate manifestation. ‘His incarnation is the center by reference to which all angelic ministrations are best understood.’
His Manifestation in Eden (Gen. 3:15)
The pre-existent Christ as God, spoke of Himself as the coming Seed of the woman. As God He was the promised; as the God-Man, He became the promise, (see Gen. 3:22-24; Exo. 6:3, 5; Jud. 1:14, 15; 2 Thess. 1:7, 8).
His Manifestation to Hagar (Genesis 16:7-14)
This is the first time the angel is named. Four times over we have the title, “The angel of the Lord,” “Jehovah”. Here we have Him seeking the miserable outcast – a prophecy of His coming redemptive mission (see Joh. 4:14).
His Manifestation to Moses (Exo. 3:2, 6, 14; 23:20, 21; Acts 7:38)
Typical deliverances were wrought by “The angel of his presence,” who was no ordinary angel because of His exercise of divine prerogatives, the manifestation of divine preferences, and the claiming of homage due to Deity alone.
His Manifestation to Abraham (Gen. 18:1; 22:11-13; 26:2, 5, 24, 25)
One of the three heavenly visitors entertained by Abraham repeatedly assumed, and received, the name of Jehovah with honor due only to Him. Both Abraham, and his son, Isaac, were the recipients of promises from the Lord of Glory.
His Manifestation to Jacob (Gen. 28; 32:24-32; 48:15, 16; Hos. 12:4, 5)
The angel, who redeemed Jacob from all evil was no common celestial messenger, but “the angel of the covenant” Himself who, at different periods of the patriarchs life, visited him with words of reassurance
His Manifestation to Joshua (Josh. 5:13-15)
As Joshua succeeded Moses as the leader of Israel, the same mysterious Personage appeared, this time as “the captain of the host of the Lord.” Joshua had to learn that he was subordinate to another Leader worthy of adoration and worship.
It must always be remembered that angels never allowed themselves to be worshipped by man (Rev. 19:10; 22:8-9), the only notable exception was Lucifer, who because of this pride became Satan.
His Manifestation to Manoah (Judg. 14:15-23; Isa. 9:6)
As the Omniscient One, the angel appeared to Manoah foretelling the birth and character of an extraordinary son, Sampson. Here we have a visible revelation of divine majesty and a forgleam [“foreshadow”] of the character of the coming Messiah.
His Manifestation to Isaiah (Isa. 6:1-13; Joh. 12:39-41; see Eze. 1:1-28)
In his pre-Incarnate appearance to prophets, Christ came as the Revealer of God. The words and burdens communicated to Isaiah, and others, came from “The angel of his presence” Isaiah’s Savior (Isa. 63:8-10).
His Manifestation to Zachariah (Zachariah 1:8-13; 2:8-11; 3:1-10; 6:12-15)
The Prophet Zachariah describes a glorious Person, intimately acquainted with the counsels of the Most High, and as presiding over world affairs, directing, vindicating and interceding as no ordinary angel could do. This Person exhibited the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and omnipotence. God’s name was in Him (Exo. 23:21).
Other evidence of Christ pre-existence are hinted at in Daniel 3:25 (RV), John 1:15; 6:22; 1 Peter 1:10, 11; Psalms 110:1; judges 6:12; 1 Corinthians 10:4, 9; Exodus 14:19; Colossians 1:16.
Source: ALL THE DOCTRINES OF THE BIBLE, Herbert Lockyer, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI 49502, USA, 1964-1975.
. Eternal Security.
“give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand” John 10:28
“give” ~ (Greek: didomi) is in the Present Tense: It is a verb that is A Continuous Action – It Never stops.
“eternal” ~ (Greek: aionios) is in the Accusative Case: It is a noun that indicates the extent of time or space required by something. The accusative is used with the oath never ~ (Greek: oudepote) “no“, “not“, “neither…at any time” (Joh. 4:14)
“any” ~ (Greek: Tis) a pronoun: “An enclitic“ [describes a word that depends on the preceding word] indefinite pronoun; some or any person or object, any (man, thing, thing at all), (every) man.
“pluck” ~ (Greek: Harpazo) a verb: “to seize“, “carry off by force“, “to claim for one’s self eagerly“, “to snatch out or away” ~ (The same word for Rapture, translated: “caught up” in KJV ~ 1 Thess._4:13-17)
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God” Ephesians 2:8
“saved” ~ (Greek: sesosmenoi, literally: “have been saved”)
Perfect Tense: The Action is Completed in the Past, with results in the Present
Participle Mood: Indicating a Full Completion, a Reality
Passive Voice: Subject Receives the Action
Second Person: Applies to the Person Reading It, Who Meets the Conditions
Plural Number: All May Receive, If Conditions Met, No Exceptions
What this means is that the phrase “have been saved” is broke down as follows:
1. It is a (Periphrastic) Participle Mood (PPM), which means; it is used to complete the idea of the main verb, it is called supplementary. An example is, the statement “he is destroying,” is changed to “he has destroyed completely,” when the verb is changed to a PPM. In the above key text, it reinforces the concept of being completely saved, with no possibility of being or becoming unsaved.
The participle is a verbal adjective having tense and voice like a verb, and case, gender, and number like an adjective. Participles function as adjectives, adverbs, substantives, and verbs.
The Nominative Case means that the verb is the topic (the focus, theme, and issue) of the sentence. Salvation is the focus of attention in the text: not “grace” (though, it is how salvation is obtained), not “faith” (though, it is the vehicle that delivers salvation), not “yourselves” (though, people are the ones being saved), not “the gift” (though, that’s what salvation is), not “of works” (though, that is how not to get saved), not “lest anyone should boast” (though, that is why God will not let salvation be worked for).
The focus of this verse is God’s free unmerited gift of salvation to those that will believe. Salvation is not a trade for faith, though one must have faith to receive salvation. Because salvation is the focus and there are no conditions, the person that obtains it cannot lose it; and those that have obtained it, have done so due to a response in faith to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
2. It is in the Perfect Tense, which is an action that took place in the past, the results of which have continued to the present. It has no exact equivalent in the English, but it is understood as a past completion with the results effecting the present. Concerning this text, once gained, salvation cannot be lost.
3. It is in the Passive Voice, meaning that the one being saved did nothing to become saved. The action of the verb was done by someone else; in this case, God. God and God alone saves, the subject of the verb (man) has no power to save it’s (him) self.
4. It is in the Second Person, meaning what is being said is intended for the reader, the person who hears or is reading this passage, the person who meets the conditions in the passage. Therefore, the person reading or hearing this passage, which lives by faith; shall (was-is-will) be saved.
5. It is in the Plural Number, meaning what is being said is meant for all who read it. God wants all of those who read this passage, who meets the conditions of this passage to know they are saved, though by no act of their own, but by His grace alone.
Positionally, the believers are made “alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised … up with Him, and seated … with Him in the heavenly places, in Christ Jesus.” (Eph 2:5-6).
However, functionally, they are still here on earth, living out their lives; living out their salvation, which is guaranteed with a seal (a promise that cannot be broken, positive proof of ownership), which is the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Eph_1:13-14; Eph_4:30).
“When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, it is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost” John 19:30
“finished” ~ (Greek: tetélestai, literally: “paid in full”) is in the:
Perfect Tense: The Action is Completed in the Past (Results in the Present)
The perfect tense in Greek describes an action which is viewed as having been completed in the past, once and for all, not needing to be repeated, while having ramifications in the present. Jesus’ last cry from the cross, tetélestai (“It is finished“) is a good example of the perfect tense used in this sense, namely “It [the atonement] has been accomplished, completely, once and for all time.”
Indicative Mood: Mood of Certainty (A Reality)
The indicative mood is a simple statement of fact. If an action really occurs or has occurred or will occur, it will be rendered in the indicative mood.
Number: Singular (Applies to a specific person) Meaning that salvation applies to the person that meets the conditions of being a believer, having exercised faith.
The Greek word tetélestai is not a singular word, but is actually a phrase in the English commonly translated, “it is finished.” Generally (connotatively) speaking, this translation is adequate, yet specifically (denotatively) this rendering in the English is incomplete. It was a common expression used at the time of Jesus.
If a worker had completed an assignment he would report back to his master, tetélestai. When an artist or writer had completed painting or manuscript, it was said that they had tetélestai. If the agreed-upon price of a piece of land was paid and the transaction was completed, a deed of trust was witnessed by both parties with tetélestai written from corner to corner.
The Hebrews did not incarcerate individuals for violations of the law (a violation of any of the 10 Commandments was death by stoning); it was the Romans that understood the value of incarceration as a deterrent. When an individual convicted of a crime had served their “debt to society” (the same as: The “ordinance of debt” ~ Col. 2:14), the Romans would give them the written court document of their conviction, their “debt to society,” with tetélestai written from corner to corner in order to prove that they hadn’t escaped, but had paid the price for their crime.
Four days before Passover, the same day that Jesus presented himself as the Messiah, commonly referred to as the “triumphant entry,” the priest would examine all of the lambs that would be offered for the individual families to guarantee they were without spot (outward imperfection ~ received after birth) or blemish (inward imperfection ~ tainted blood line), if the animal was validated for sacrifice the priest would say, tetélestai.
All of these transactions and situations were “finished,” yet more specifically they were completed wholly, 100%, without exception. When Jesus died on the cross some might say that He finished the vinegar brought to His mouth, or that He finished his assignment, or that he finished his life, or that he finished His last breath. Specifically, tetélestai has always understood to fully mean “paid in full,” or “completed to the utmost concerning the transaction.”
When Jesus gave Himself on the cross, He fully met the righteous demands of a Holy law; Christ paid our debt in full. None of the Old Testament sacrifices could take away sins; their blood only covered sin temporarily. But the Lamb of God shed His blood to pay in full for our redemption (Joh. 1:29), and His blood alone could takeaway the sins of the world completely and permanently, as the word tetélestai means (Heb. 9:24-28), Jesus “paid in full” the price of our salvation.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39
7 Difficulties for the believer that cannot separate us from Him.
(Paul experienced them all – 2 Corinthians 11:23-28)
Tribulation (thipsis):“pressure or distress” (Paul used frequently in 2 Cor)
Distress (stenochoria): “narrowness,” as in being “pressed in,” “hemmed in,” “crowded“
Persecution (diogmos): “chased or pursued” (10x in NT, always about Gospel)
Famine (limos) (12x in NT, the God of Elijah looks after His own)
Nakedness (gunnotes) 1 Cor_4:11
Peril (kindunos): “in jeopardy or danger” (8x in one verse = 2 Cor_11:26) (1x 1 Cor_15:30)
Sword The world hates the Saints, and the use of swords is a fast and easy way to eradicate them.
IS THERE ANYTHING NOT MENTIONED – WHAT THEN CAN SEPARATE US FROM HIS LOVE – NOT EVEN OURSELVES (“nor any other creature” ~ including man, as seen in Mar. 16:15; Rom. 1:25; 8:19-21; 2 Cor. 5:17; Col. 1:23)
“Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you [in accordance with #5 below], and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.” John 15:16
Salvation Depends upon God the Father
1. Upon His sovereign purpose (Eph. 1:11-12; Heb. 6:17-20)
2. Upon His solemn promise (Rom. 4:16)
The promise that those who believe will be saved is confirmed everywhere in Scripture: (Gen. 15:6; Joh. 3:16; Acts 16:33; Rom. 4:23-24)
3. Upon His infinite power (Christ death has rendered God free to save us, in spite of moral imperfection. 1 Joh. 2:2). He has purposed to keep us saved (Joh. 6:37-40; John 10:28-29; Joh. 5:24)
4. Upon His “much more” love (Rom. 5:6-10; Rom. 11:29; Rom. 8:32; Rom. 8:38-39; Rom. 9:10-13)
5. Upon His Answer to the prayer of His Son ~ The Father always answers prayer of His Son (John 17:11-12, 15, 20, 24; 11:42).
The title that Jesus uses seven times, and is most dear to His heart, concerning the believer is: “those whom thou hast given me“ (Joh. 17:2; Joh. 17:6 (2x); Joh. 17:11; Joh. 17:12; Joh. 1:1).
“In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise” Ephesians 1:13
“sealed” ~ (Greek: sphragizo): “to set a seal of protection & ownership.” It was used concerning setting the seal of Christ’s tomb (Matt. 27:66), and used for ‘setting boundary markers”. A broken seal indicated that the protection was not adequate. The believer is sealed: (Eph. 1:13-14; 4:30), and it is impossible to be unsealed, or break God’s seal (even by the person who is sealed themselves). The same word was used concerning the law for the Kings of Medo-Persians, in which the King could not break His own seal (see: Dan. 6:12; Est. 8:8).
“Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts.” 2 Corinthians 1:22
“earnest” ~ (Greek: arrabon): “pledge“ (2 Cor. 1:22), “a legal concept in which a first installment, which secures a legal claim prior to consummation is made,” “a down payment,” “evidence of good faith” (Gen. 38:17).
“And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.” Romans 8:23
The indwelling of the Holy Spirit is God’s pledge, as a down payment “first fruits” of God’s sealing of salvation according to the adoption (see; Rom_8:23).
“fruit” ~ Scripture is void of the concept that one can be a believer, and then become a nonbeliever; any more than a person could produce fruit, and then not produce fruit. There are many different analogies utilized in God’s Word that indicates that either a person is saved or they are not saved, and that there is not a progression from one to the other, from unsaved to saved, from goats to the sheep, from children of the devil to children of God. And it is not at the time of the altar call that is the fulcrum of one’s spiritual life.
Within our own dimensionality we have a hard time understanding how God could predestine a person before the foundation of the earth to be his child. All we need to know at this point is that the proof in the pudding is the tasting. And that for the individual who makes a confession of Christ, from the vantage point of our perception, it is the fruit that is under God that proves up their salvation on our plane. Yet it is God, and God alone, that knows these details.
“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” John 3:3
“born again” ~ The idiomatic language that the Holy Spirit uses is for a purpose. When Christ says that we are “born again,” it is for a purpose, and is meant as a description. We have nothing to do with our physical birth, and it is impossible to undo it.
It either happens or it doesn’t happen, but either way it is beyond our control. Again, once you are born it is impossible to be unborn, and if you say this is just misuse of the word, then you imply that the Holy Spirit misuses the vernacular.
“By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” Romans 5:2
“access” & “wherein we stand” ~ The Word “access” is in the perfect tense, meaning it started in the past, and is completed permanently, never to be stopped. Which means that we have access to God by faith permanently, completed in the past never changeable in the future. The expression “wherein we stand,” is one Greek Word and it is in the Greek present tense, meaning that it takes place now and continues on indefinitely.
Which means that this grace in which we stand is also permanent; working within our lives on a daily basis? According to this Scripture there is no way that once salvation is gained it can be lost, otherwise these verbs would not be in the perfect, and present tense.
The point that these specific words that Paul used according to the direction of the Holy Spirit do not allow in any way, shape, or form, for the discontinuance of salvation once it has been gained. The grammar does not allow for gaining access by faith unto God’s grace and then losing it, it is a permanent situation.
“the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church” Ephesians 5:23
love – the marriage of Christ and the church – the believer ~ The Bible teaches that marriage, the relationship of a husband and a wife as a synonym for the relationship between Jesus and the church. The husband is to love the wife and lay down his life for her, and the wife is to submit to the husband. Submission is always based upon faith (trust).
If a wife truly believes that her husband loves her, her ability to submit because of faith in that love is fortified. Yet, if the wife does not feel secure believing her husband truly loves her, her faith is minimal in him putting her first.
Believers must fully comprehend their eternal security based upon Jesus’ death upon the cross for them in particular, as opposed to the unbiblical teaching that their behavior must warrant their salvation and Jesus’ love. Salvation starts and ends with Jesus Christ, it is the faith of this fact that we as believers must comprehend in order to fully walk in faith on a daily basis.
It is in understanding the love that Jesus has for the believer, that eternal security holds its power. Repeatedly, the New Testament speaks about the love that Jesus has for His followers and the love that the Father has for Him; and therefore, for the followers of Christ as well.
This is why Jesus repeatedly refers to the love of the Father for Him, and that the Father would love us because we love Jesus, and it is in conceiving and believing that God truly loves us as individuals, the same as a husband is to love his wife; that we become secure enough in that love, that we can fully trust Him and everything He does to, and through us; this is the basis of Biblical faith.
Therefore, we repeat again; that we must fully comprehend our relationship and standing with God, and that this love that He has for us, holds us for eternity, it is then and only then that we can be secure in anything and everything God allows to come into our life, based upon our complete and utter faith in Him because of his love for us.
Summation in regards to Perspicuity (clarity) and Frequency (repetition)
It is in consideration of the above briefly listed scriptures, that a clear picture concerning salvation can be perceived due to the volume of text. It is in understanding that man’s responsibility concerning salvation is that of responding in faith to the gospel according to the Scripture (1 Cor. 15:1-4), and that man in no way earns his own salvation (Rom. 3:20). Justification is the legal act of God imputing the righteousness of Jesus Christ upon us as believers, according to Jesus’ atoning death on the cross, dying for our sins and taking our place (Rom. 3:24).
Salvation is paid for completely, 100 %, without lacking anything, according to the substitutionary death of Jesus Christ (Rom. 4:25). Because of this, since there is nothing whatsoever we can do to earn salvation, there is nothing whatsoever we can do to un-earn it, we cannot lose what we did not gain – it is a gift from God. Faith is not the qualifying condition of salvation, grace is; faith is the prerequisite to grace; however, faith is even a gift from God (Eph. 2:4-9).
Therefore, we cannot lose our salvation: we cannot be unborn, we cannot be unsealed, or un-adopted, or become an un-children of God (Rom. 8:16-17, 21; Gal 3:26 ~ “For ye are all children of God by faith in Christ Jesus”).
To reiterate from above, the issue of Frequency (the subject of the amount of Scripture concerning a doctrine) concerning eternal security is clear and overwhelming, and to attempt to make salvation conditionally based upon a few scriptures which SEEM to APPEAR to mandate the ability to lose our salvation is unwise and un-Biblical (as it is the lucidity of the major; rather than questionability of the few that is important).
The issue of Perspicuity (the subject of the clarity of Scripture concerning a doctrine, as opposed to passages that are not as clear), which is rule that we follow the greater volume of unambiguous Scripture, rather a few arbitrary conflicting passages (we are to define a doctrine based upon what is clear, obvious, and understandable; rather than what is less clear, contradictory and confusing), is not just wise; it is Biblical (Deut. 30:11-14; Psa. 19:7-9; 119:105, 130; 2 Cor. 1:13-14; Phil. 3:15-16; 2 Tim. 3:14-17; 1 Pet. 1:3-4; 1:16-21). We must remember that any ambiguousness is because of the translation into the English, the Greek does not hold any arbitrary meaning (this is not to say there is not room for debate; however liberal scholars always find ways to twist the Greek as well as English teachers that do the same).
As a wise parent, God uses clarity and emphasis, by way of repetition; concerning that which is a priority, as compared to that which is not (Phil. 3:1; Tit. 3:8; 2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1-2).
The point is; when something is clear and repeated enough; it cannot be so easily twisted, without thoroughly distorting the Greek, and / or always at the expense of Biblical integrity (that of using “ALL of God’s Word” [Acts 17:11], not just a couple of isolated verses which are hard to understand, such as: Hebrews 6:4-6 and Hebrews 10:26-27; which mean something completely different than some define them ~ please see our essay entitled: “Eternal Security ~ Some Main Points,” found on the “Resource Center” dropdown page, under “Achieved Essay“).
There is no doctrine more important to man than the subject of salvation in regards to Biblical faith, and God’s ability and trustworthiness in saving man, and doing so completely (commonly referred to as “Eternal Security”), no matter how much it defies common sense (common sense tells us we get what we deserve, yet this displays pride and arrogance concerning salvation, because one deserves it – NO ONE). Titus 3:5, states:
“Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he has saved us, by the washing of regeneration, renewing of the Holy Spirit“
In the Greek, the expressions: “by the washing of regeneration,” and the “renewing of the Holy Spirit” are not conditions, but are promises presented as means to the conclusion of salvation (the Greek makes it very clear, both are administered by God, not by man); there are NO hidden conditional clauses within this sentence.
We are saved because of God’s mercy, wherein He does all of the saving, leaving nothing – NOT A THING to us.
7. ALBERT BARNES’ NOTES ON THE BIBLE, Albert Barnes, (1798-1870), e-Sword.net.
8. The Acacia seyal (the gum-arabic tree) is also called the “shittah” tree (Isa. 41:19), its wood is called shittimwood(Exo. 26:15, 26 25:10,13,23,28) etc. It is like the hawthorn, a gnarled and thorny tree.
9. Romans 10:17, 1 Peter 1:23
10. Unknown Internet source.
11. FIGURES OF SPEECH USED IN THE BIBLE, E. W. Bullinger, D. D., Baker Book House, Grand Rapids,MI 49546, USA, 1898, 1999.
12. I Corinthians 2:13; I Thessalonians 2:13; II Timothy 3:16; II Peter 1:21.
13. Though this may be a departure from the usual manmade composition of language and correct grammar,yet it is God who makes laws, which He is far above, and steps outside of to show Himself, prove Himself, and do of His own good will, He is exempt.
A good example of is the law of primogeniture (the right of the first born to inherit the blessing of the family). Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, and Joseph, were not the first-born. Yet, God in showing His sovereignty and in creating a typology chose them above the firstborn, to show His hand in the affairs of men, and to exhibit His sovereign Lordship.
14. A rationale for killing Muslims during the dark ages was Christ’s teaching concerning cutting off body parts ifit causes you to sin in a way that would send them to hell (Matt. 5:29; 18:9). The forgone conjecture was that killing unbelievers was sending them to purgatory where salvation was available as compared to allowing them to multiple in number and in so doing spreading their satanic religion. This was the rationality of some of the Crusaders as they murdered Muslim Men, women, and children in the Holy Land – sick.
15. Such as seen in: Amillennialism, where the complete distortion of many of teachings and whole books of the Bible, like the books of Revelation, Daniel, I and II Thessalonians, and parts of the Gospels; as well as Gods future dealings with Israel are disputed by stating that they were figurative events, rather than literal.They say that there is no 1000 year reign of Christ on earth in defiance of Revelation 20:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7. They steal the blessings promised as yet still met for Israel, stating that the Church has taken her place, and do so in complete defiance of Romans 11:25-32, as well as many Old Testament prophecies concerning Israel.
16. Gen. 3:15
17. Gen. 49:10
18. Gen. 49:27
19. Lev. 3:1
20. Josh. 5:14
21. II Sam. 22:47
22. John 1:4
23. Psa. 3:3
24. Psa. 3:3
25. Psa. 3:3
26. Psa. 18:2
27. Psa. 23:1
28. Psa. 69:8
29. Psa. 89:27
30. Isa. 4:2
31. Isa. 7:16
32. Isa. 8:14
33. Isa. 9:6
34. Isa. 9:6
35. Isa. 9:6
36. Isa. 9:6
37. Isa. 11:1
38. Isa. 25:4
39. John 1:29
40. John 4:25
41. I John 4:14
42. John 6:35
43. I Cor. 3:11
44. I John 1:1
45. I John 11:25
46. Mark 1:24
47. Rev. 1:8
48. John 14:6
49. NAMES Of CHRIST, T. C. Horton & Charles E. Hurlburt, Moody Press, Chicago, 1994.
50. Exodus 9:14, 29; 15:11; Deuteronomy 32:31; 33:26; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Chronicles 17:20;Psalm 9:16; 83:18; 86:8; 89:6-8; Isaiah 40:25; 46:9; Jeremiah 10:6-7.
51. Kings 19:22; Job 6:10; Psalm 16:10; 71:22; 78:41; 89:18; Isaiah 1:4; 5:19, 24; 10:17,20; 12:6; 17:7; 29:19,23; 30:11,12,15; 31:1; 37:23; 40:25; 41:14,16,20; 43:3,14,15; 45:11; 47:4; 48:17; 49:7; 54:5; 55:5; 60:9, 14; Jeremiah 50:29; 51:5; Ezekiel 39:7; Hosea 11:9; Habakkuk 1:12; 3:3.
52. Luke 4:34; Mark 1:24; Act 2:27; 3:14; 13:35; 1 John 2:20 (remember that the mind of Christ is reflected by the Holy Spirit)
53. NUMBER IN THE SCRIPTURE, “It’s Supernatural Design and Spiritual Significance,” E.W.Bullinger, Kregel Publications, Grand Rapids, MI 49501, USA, 1890 / Reprint in 1967.
54. The Rapture
56. Revelation 2 & 3 Insights
Seven Key Elements55 A key aspect to understanding the letters to the 7 churches is to grasp the structure of their design. A careful examination of the letters reveals seven key elements in their design.
1. The meaning of the name of the church being addressed (see below);
2. The title of Jesus, each chosen relevant to the message to that particular church;
3. The commendation of things that have been done well;
4. The “criticism” of things that need attention;
5. The exhortation, specific to the condition of the particular church;
6. The promise to the “overcomer” included with each letter;
7. The key phrase, “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches.”
The Meaning of Names of the Churches:
Epheses: The Desired One (“maiden of choice”, “darling”)
Smyrna: Myrrh (“Death”)
Pergamos: Mixed Marriage (“compromise,” the mix of spiritual & carnal, world & church, as seen in the Roman Catholic Church)
Thyatira: Daughter (formally Semiramis)
Philadelphia: Brotherly Love
Laodicea: People Rule
Once the basic structure is evident, one also notices that two of the letters, Smyrna and Philadelphia, have no Criticism, Element 4. That’s encouraging for them. Also, two of the letter, Sardis and Laodicea, have no Commendation, Element 5. That’s rather grim.55
57. Mystery~ The Greek word that is translated into the English word: “mystery” is musterion. Vines 58states concerning it, “In the NT it denotes, not the mysterious (as with the Eng. word),but that which, being outside the range of unassisted natural apprehension, can be made known only by divine revelation, and is made known in a manner and at a time appointed by God, and to those only who are illumined by His Spirit (Mar. 4:11, Luk. 8:10).
In the ordinary sense, a“mystery” implies knowledge withheld; its Scriptural significance is truth revealed. Hence the terms associated with the subject are: “made known,” “manifested,” “revealed,” “preached,” “understand,” and “dispensation.”
58. VINE’S EXPOSITORY DICTIONARY OF OLD AND NEW TESTAMENT WORDS,W. E. Vine, Ellis Enterprises Inc., Oklahoma City, OK 73120, USA, 1988, Electronic Media.
59. The Seven Mysteries in God’s Word55
60. Ephesians 1:9-12 –“Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: 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: That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”
Ephesians 3:1-6 –“For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel.”
Ephesians 3:4-8 –“And by referring to this, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ, which in other generations was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed to His holy apostles and prophets in the Spirit; to be specific, that the Gentiles are fellow heirs and fellow members of the body, and fellow partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel, of which I was made a minister, according to the gift of God’s grace which was given to me according to the working of His power. To me, the very least of all saints, this grace was given, to preach to the Gentiles the unfathomable riches of Christ.”
61. I Corinthians 15:51-54 – “Behold, I shew you a mystery; we shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump [Shofar –ram’s horn]: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory.”
1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 – “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump [Shofar – Ram’s horn] of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.”
62. Other Problems with Chronological Presentations
One of the real problems with a chronological examination of any given book of the Bible is that as seen within the Bible itself when a speaker would teach what a previous writer of the Bible stated, it was done without the time restraints we now have, and cannot be mimicked in the current church where the minister has perhaps at the most 40 minutes a week to dig deep in to anyone Scripture.
The point is, the flow is missing in this particular type of presentation due to a lack of time.
Do we remember that when Paul preached to those in emphasis, he started at 6 PM preach till midnight when Eutychus fell out of the window, healed the boy, then continued to preach until 6 AM in the morning, meaning He preached for 12 hours straight. (Which is the time that the first century church would meet, when the day would start at 6 PM which is when they started their services. We know this from the church fathers who recorded that the first century church followed the Hebrew custom of meeting at the start of the day which was at sunset.)
In this manner Paul could preach through a book of the Bible in one sitting, doing so chronological, yet at the same time in great depth.
Yet in 21st-century America where pastors spoil their congregation by only mandating 40 minutes of attention per week, it is arrogant for the same pastors to think they can teach chronologically in the same manner that Paul did whereas the attendees were made to endure with such discipline and commitment, which today is nonexistent.
Part of the other problem is if a preacher would spend three to six months going through one book of the Bible, that necessitates that during that time they have NOT presented the “whole counsel of God,” the complete Bible. The congregation is not being fed a stable diet of all of God’s Word. Again, due to the limitation of 40 minute chunks of time you cannot do justice to a chronological exposition of any text wherein you dig deep both grammatically and historically, into major portions of the Bible.
And lastly there can be a limitation of the Holy Spirit whenever a pastor has his own agenda, which mandates he spend all of his time attempting to go through one book, many times covering limited doctrines, which give no lead way to a response of the Holy Spirit to teach on another doctrines located elsewhere in the Scripture.
Whenever you hamstring the Holy Spirit because of your own presuppositions, mandating that there is only one way to present God’s word; which is not even taught in God’s word, can you call this righteous. Where do we ever see a chronological presentation given in the New Testament regarding the Old Testament, only one major portion is ever seen and that was presented by Stephen in the 7th chapter of Acts.,
Now, again this would not be the case if you would allowed to teach for longer periods of time where you could cover greater amounts of Scripture.
So let those who think that chronological presentation is the only biblical means of presentation, demand that their congregation show the same commitment and be willing to undergo 3 or 4 hours of Bible study. I know this is possible, because I have conducted Bible studies that ran anywhere from 2 to 6 hours, with attendees coming and going at their will, where we ate and broke bread together following the example of the New Testament church.
“The difference between ‘involvement’ and ‘commitment’
is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast:
the chicken was ‘involved’ – the pig was ‘committed’.”