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CPH Blog

BIBLICAL STUDIES: Short Deeper Discoveries In the Bible 

The Messiah

May 28, 2022

The Old Testament contains numerous prophecies and images indicating that both the Davidic and the Abrahamic Covenants will find their final fulfillment in one man—who is also God’s own Son. The sovereign Son of David, who will restore the kingdom, and the sacrificial Son of Abraham, who will redeem the people, is one and the same!

This one man, foreseen in numerous passages throughout the Old Testament, is known in the Hebrew language of the Old Testament as the Messiah, or literally “Anointed One” (e.g., see Dan. 9:25–26). The New Testament was written in Greek. Thus, when the New Testament writers referred to the Anointed One, they did not use the Hebrew term Messiah, but the equivalent Greek term Christ. Both are accurate. Neither term is more or less accurate or more or less spiritual. The Spirit-inspired word of the New Testament is “the Christ.”

Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 25.

Prophet, Priest, and King​

May 28, 2022

 In Bible times, the great leaders of God’s people normally held one of three offices. Three kinds of people were publicly anointed—prophets, priests, and kings. A prophet was one who represented God and spoke his message to the people. A priest, on the other hand, represented the people and brought sacrifices before God on the people’s behalf. Matthew showed that Jesus, as the Christ or “Anointed One,” fulfilled both the priestly and prophetic roles. However, Matthew placed his greatest emphasis on Jesus’ role as the king.

Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 25.

Virgin Birth Significance

May 27, 2022

Jesus’ miraculous conception, or virgin birth, is significant in Scripture. First, with God as his Father, he did not inherit Adam’s sin nature, as have all other men and women in the world who have two human parents. Thus, he could be the “spotless lamb,” the unblemished sacrifice that would satisfy God’s judgment of sin. Anything less than perfect is not good enough as payment for our sin. Jesus was sinlessly perfect.

Second, because Jesus is God, his becoming a human, his perfect life, and his sacrificial death are actions of God involving himself personally in the solution to our problem. God did not just sit back and shout “I love you!” from the heavens. Nor did he send someone else as a messenger or servant to do the work. God himself became one of us! Only God himself could satisfy his own standards of perfection. Only God could offer himself as a full payment that would satisfy his own righteous demands, fully appeasing his own wrath against our sin. God, the judge, passed the death sentence against us; then God, the Savior, came down to stand in front of us and absorb that sentence himself. This could not have happened if Jesus had been born of a human father.

Third, because Jesus is human, he qualifies as a representative of the human race, a mediator, before God (see Heb. 4:14–5:3; also Rom. 5:12–21). It would have been meaningless for a nonhuman to die for the human race, because he would have had no connection or identity with those for whom he died. In order for Jesus the Christ to die in our place, he had to be one of us. This point of identification is critical to the success of God’s plan. Without a human mother, Jesus could not have carried out God’s plan to redeem (buy back) his own people. Nor could he have done it without a divine Father.

Stuart K. Weber, Matthew, vol. 1, Holman New Testament Commentary (Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 2000), 25–26.

The Righteous One Is a Guide to Life While the Foolish One Cannot Save His Own Life

May 29, 2022

Proverbs 10:21 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

21 The lips of the righteous feed many,

but fools die for want of heart.

The lips of the righteous feed many: Just as lips were used in verses 18-19 to refer to words and speech, so it is with verses 21 here, but leaning more specifically toward words of counsel, advice, or instruction. The Hebrew verb (רָעָה raah) that is rendered feed means giving food to, providing food for a flock, or caring for any need for a flock such a grazing pasture, to be a shepherd with authority over his flock. In this case, the metaphor is basically saying that a righteous person who is in a position of leadership (e.g., a king), who offers words of counsel, advice, or instruction will be of benefit (feed) to those people who hear (obey) them.

But fools die for want of heart: Fools: The Hebrew adjective here (אֱוִיל evil) refers to a foolish person who lacks good judgment. A person who is a fool, simpleton, i.e., a person without understanding, often by stubborn will and stupid behavior. The Hebrew idiom want of heart (בַּחֲסַר־לֵב bachasar-leb) refers to a person who lacks or has an inadequate amount of good sense. The heart (לֵב leb) in this equation is the locus of a person's thoughts, mind, volition, emotions, and knowledge of right and wrong (conscience). A Hebrew noun (כְּסִיל kesil) refers to one who hates knowledge as he lacks good judgment. Their character is stupidity and rudeness, that is, one who completely lacks understanding, who is rebellious in his ways. Foolishness: (אִוֶּלֶת ivveleth) The foolishness of the foolish one, who has the trait of acting stupidly or rashly because he is devoid of wisdom or understanding, the Hebrew noun focusing on the evil behaviors which occur in this state. The fool is incapable of taking care of himself or others because he has want (lack) of heart; he lacks good sense and understanding, so he dies, as does anyone who would be so stupid to listen to him.

The righteous one is a blessing to those who heed his words of counsel, advice, or instruction. How does the righteous one feed (guide) many? The Hebrew verb (רָעָה raah) that means to gibe food to is used here conveys the idea of shepherding. It has the thought of guiding as well as nourishing, just as the shepherd of ancient times took care of his sheep. (1 Samuel 16:11; Psalm 23:1-3; Song of Solomon 1:7) This metaphor represents perfectly how a righteous person, with his words of counsel, advice, or instruction, can also guide others to the path of righteousness. His speech nourishes (feeds) those who listen to (obey) him. This results in many people hearing his voice, and so leading happier, more satisfying lives. Later inspired words of the Son of God and New Testament authors speak of these righteous ones receiving eternal life.

What, though, of the foolish one? Because he is in want of heart, meaning he lacks good sense, judgment, and understanding, which results in his having no good motive or concern about the consequences of his decisions that impact his life. He simply does whatever he wants, unaware or uncaring about the consequences of his decisions until they are upon him; then, he says, “why me.” Hence, he himself is a revolving door of selfish, self-centered bad decisions, which cause him to suffer the penalties of his actions. While the righteous one is busy guiding others to life with his words of counsel, advice, or instruction, the foolish one, in want of heart, cannot even keep himself alive. Put more bluntly; the righteous, wise one guides others to life; the fool, who is empty-headed and empty-hearted, leads others as well as himself to destruction.

EPHESIANS 1:4: How is it that Adam and Eve were blamed for their actions before the foundation of the world (predestination) when they had not been created yet? Doesn’t that violate God’s principle of justice?

May 28, 2022

EPHESIANS 1:4: How is it that Adam and Eve were blamed for their actions before the foundation of the world (predestination) when they had not been created yet? Doesn’t that violate God’s principle of justice?

This is not a case of predestination, as the doctrine of predestination is unbiblical. Scriptures like that speak of certain ones as being “chosen according to the foreknowledge of God,” ‘chosen before the founding of the world,’ ‘foreordained us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ’? (1 Pet. 1:1, 2; Eph. 1:3-5, 11) Because of Scriptures such as these, Christian leaders such as Augustine, Martin Luther, and John Calvin taught that Adam and Eve were predestined to disobey God before being created. Therefore, all their future generations were chosen beforehand, making them destined for either salvation or eternal torment. We will take a moment to define the key terms in this order adoption, foreordain, and finally foreknowledge.

 Adoption: (υἱοθεσία huiothesia) The Greek noun is a legal term that literally means “adoption as a son,” which means to take or accept a son or daughter who is not naturally such by relationship, including full inheritance rights. The apostle Paul mentions adoption several times about those with a new status as called and chosen by God. These ones were born as offspring of the imperfect Adam, were formerly in slavery to sin. Through purchase through Jesus’ life as a ransom, many have received the adoption as sons and daughters becoming heirs with the only-begotten Son of God, Jesus Christ. – Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:5.

Foreordain: (προορίζω proorizō) The Greek noun has the sense of deciding beforehand, determining something ahead of time or before its occurrence. God’s ability to foreknow and foreordain is plainly stated in the Bible. For how God can decide beforehand, determine something ahead of time or before its occurrence, see footnotes on foreknowledge in Acts 2:23 and 1 Pet. 1:2. – Ac 4:28; Ro 8:29-30; 1Co 2:7; Eph 1:5, 11.

Foreknowledge: (πρόγνωσις prognōsis) The Greek noun simply means to plan in advance, have knowledge beforehand, what is known beforehand, that which is known ahead of time or before a particular temporal reference. (Acts 2:23; 1 Pet. 1:2) If we accept the equation that foreknowledge equals foreordain, sin is the result, not the result of Adam’s choice, but of God’s choosing, which should make us feel uncomfortable. Foreknowledge does not equal foreordain. It is better to understand that God knows in advance what choice people will freely make. The free decisions of human beings determine what foreknowledge God has of them, as opposed to the reverse. The foreknowledge does not determine the free decision; it is the free decisions that determine the foreknowledge. In this, we can distinguish what we might call Chronological Priority and Logical Priority. Chronological priority would mean that Event “A” [God’s knowledge], as it relates to time, would come before Event “B” [the event God foreknows]. Thus, God’s knowledge is chronologically prior to the event that he foreknows. However, logically speaking, the event is prior to God’s foreknowledge. In other words, the event does not happen because God foreknows it, but God foreknows the event because it will happen. The event is logically prior to the foreknowledge, so he foreknows it because it will happen, even though the foreknowledge is chronologically prior to the event.

We can see foreknowledge in this as the foreshadowing of something. When you see the shadow of someone coming around the corner of the building, you see their shadow on the ground before you see the person. You know that person is about to come around the corner because of their shadow, but the shadow does not determine the person; the person determines the shadow.

God’s foreknowledge is like the foreshadowing of a future event. By seeing this foreshadowing, you know the events will happen, But the shadow does not determine the reality; the reality determines the shadow. Therefore, we should think of God’s foreknowledge as the foreshadowing of things to come. Therefore, just because God will know something will happen, this does not prejudice or remove the freedom of that happening.

In fact, if the events were to happen differently, God’s foreknowledge would be different as well. An illustration of this is as an infallible barometer of the weather. Whatever the barometer says, you know what the weather will be like because it is infallible. However, the barometer does not determine the temperature; the weather determines the barometer’s findings. Thus, God’s foreknowledge is like an infallible barometer of the future. It lets him know what the future will be, but it does not constrain the future in any way. The future will happen anyway the free moral agent wants it to happen. However, the barometer will track whatever direction the future will take.

Suppose this is the timeline . . . . . . . . . . Let us place an event “E” on the timeline, i.e., Judas’ betrayal of Jesus. Let us suppose God is back here in time, and by his foreknowledge (the dotted line), he knows that “E” will happen (Judas will betray Jesus). How does God’s knowledge about “E” constrain “E” from happening? How can God’s knowing “E” will occur make “E” occur?

If you were to erase the line and say God does not have foreknowledge of the future, how has anything changed? How would “E” (Judas’ betrayal) be affected if you erased God’s foreknowledge of it? “E” (Judas’ betrayal) would occur just the same; it would not affect anything at all.

Therefore, the presence of God’s foreknowledge really does not prejudice anything about whether “E” will occur or not. What we need to understand is this, if Judas (“E”) were not to betray Jesus, then God would not have foreknown Judas’ betrayal (“E”) of Jesus because it would not have been on the timeline. In addition, as long as that statement is true, “E” being able to occur and not occur, God’s foreknowledge does not prejudice anything concerning “E’s” occurrence. – Attribution: Much of this information is borrowed from a Dr. William Lane Craig video.

And you being dead in the trespasses and your sins, (Ephesians 2:1)

May 29, 2022

Dead (νεκρός nekros) here is not the ending of all functions of life, thus, the opposite of life. (Deut 30:15, 19) The sense here is spiritually dead, which is characterized by a lack of spiritual life or vitality; being completely indifferent toward the things of God. The pertains to being unable or unwilling to respond to any inclination, being unable, unwilling, ineffective, dead, powerless. This spiritually dead condition illustrates perfectly the spiritually dead condition of the world, those alienated from God, so Jesus could say, “leave the dead to bury their own dead,’ and the apostle Paul could refer to the woman only concerned with sensual satisfaction, “she who is self-indulgent is dead even while she lives.” (Lu 9:60; 1Ti 5:6; Eph 2:1) And so Paul could speak of physical death “For one who has died has been set free from sin.” (Rom. 6:7) Therefore, we can see how Paul is also saying that a Christian’s being released from sin (Ro 6:2, 11) and from the judgment of the Mosaic Law (Rom. 7:2-6) spiritual death is also compared to death. The Christian has died to his former sinfulness and sinful state. He is still alive physically and is now freed from his former ways, he can now go from being a slave to sin to following Christ, now set free from sin, having become a slave of righteousness. – Rom. 6:18-20; Ga 5:1.