Posted by: biblestudyseattle | September 11, 2019

Beatitudes and Victors

Have you ever read the Beatitudes and thought that the meek get one gift, the peacemakers another, etc.?  Or are these describing different attributes of a saint and therefore all the rewards apply?  Similarly, if we take Revelation 2-3, we might see that different Christians through the Christian age get different benefits.  Or is it a composite of the overcomers that all the benefits apply?  To the church at Ephesus it says, “I will give the victor the right to eat from the tree of life, which is in God’s paradise.”  Revelation 2:7.  To the church at Smyrna it says, “The victor will never be harmed by the second death.”  Revelation 2:11.  To the church at Pergamum it says, “I will give the victor some of the hidden manna.  I will also give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name is inscribed that no one knows except the one who receives it.”  Revelation 2:17.  To the church at Thyatira it says, “The one who is victorious and keeps My works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations—and he will shepherd[t] them with an iron scepter; he will shatter them like potteryjust as I have received this from My Father.   I will also give him the morning star.”  Revelation 2:26-28.  To the church at Sardis it says, “In the same way, the victor will be dressed in white clothes, and I will never erase his name from the book of life but will acknowledge his name before My Father and before His angels.”  Revelation 3:5.  To the church at Philadelphia it says, “The victor: I will make him a pillar in the sanctuary of My God, and he will never go out again. I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God—the new Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God—and My new name.”  Revelation 3:12.  To the church at Laodicea it says, “The victor: I will give him the right to sit with Me on My throne, just as I also won the victory and sat down with My Father on His throne.”  Revelation 3:21

These victory passages show that the overcomers have many rewards.  The first reward is eating from the tree of life.  This destroys the idea that Christians receive instant immortality at death.  Immortals do not need to eat.  The third reward is similar – the hidden manna, much like the manna that the Israelites ate while wandering about the wilderness with Moses – symbolic of the Millennial Reign.  The second reward speaks of escaping the second death, again in the Millennial Age.  The later rewards speak of reigning with Messiah and being a part of God’s temple.  This speaks of the Millennial Age and also the ages beyond.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | September 9, 2019

Suffering

No matter who we are, we all experience suffering of one sort or another.  We all age and we all die.  No matter how saintly we are.  God wants us to experience this so that we will not choose death in Act 2 of our lives.  Once we’ve burnt our finger on the stove, we will be careful not to do that again!  In Act 2, God will grant us access to the trees of life if we repent and forgive.  “Then he showed me the river of living water, sparkling like crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb down the middle of the broad street of the city. The tree of life was on both sides of the river, bearing 12 kinds of fruit, producing its fruit every month. The leaves of the tree are for healing the nations,”  Revelation 22:2

Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and may enter the city by the gates.  Outside are the dogs, the sorcerers, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying.”  Revelation 22:14-15

Notice that only those that ‘wash their robes’ get to eat.  This means repenting and forgiving.  The evil ones will not be allowed to eat, leading to aging and eventually to second death.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | August 19, 2019

Prophecy Everywhere

Some prophecy seems obvious, like Daniel or Revelation.  What is less appreciated is that large portions of the old testament are prophecy.  Some are of the opinion that all the stories are also prophecy.  Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, the Exodus, Ruth, Samson, Esther, Saul, David, Solomon, etc.; all these stories and more are prophecies.  Esther has a couple references to the third day, which pictures restitution in the third day from Christ – 3,000 years.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | August 19, 2019

The New Creation

Six days of work followed by a Sabbath day of rest is the pattern for the whole bible.  YHWH sets the example.  “So the heavens and the earth and everything in them were completed.  By the seventh day God completed His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done.   God blessed the seventh day and declared it holy, for on it He rested from His work of creation.”  Genesis 2:1-3  He has 7,000 years of rest before he starts creating anew, which is several centuries future to us.  In this regard, any christian restored to life in heaven now is not yet truly a new creation.  That must wait.  “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  2 Corinthians 5:17-18

“Neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything; what counts is the new creation.”  Galations 6:15

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea no longer existed.  I also saw the Holy City, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice from the throne:

Look! God’s dwelling is with humanity,
and He will live with them.
They will be His people,
and God Himself will be with them
and be their God.”  Revelation 21:1-3

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | July 23, 2019

Storming Heaven

In the mid 1600s there was a schism in Russia over worship.  Reforms had been made which many did not like.  Disputes about instrumental music and making the sign of the cross with two or three fingers caused many to flee.  In fact, about 20,000 were burnt at the stake for keeping the old style of worship.  Did these people secure themselves a place in heaven?  Does God really care whether there’s instruments in worship or how many fingers one uses to make the sign of the cross?  No.  We cannot force God’s hand.  What really counts is the heart.  Paul says, “If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.”  1 Corinthians 13:3.  Conversely, look at David.  He was an adulterer and a murderer.  Yet God is going to set him over all Israel and the world!  “‘My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd. They will follow my laws and be careful to keep my decrees.”  Ezekiel 37:24  Or look at Paul.  He was a murderer.  Yet he became perhaps the greatest Christian.  Both Paul and David repented.  Rank in heaven is not primarily about giving one’s life to the flames.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | June 23, 2019

Joseph’s bones

 Then Joseph said to his brothers, “I am about to die. But God will surely come to your aid and take you up out of this land to the land he promised on oath to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.”  And Joseph made the Israelites swear an oath and said, “God will surely come to your aid, and then you must carry my bones up from this place.”  Genesis 50:24-25

Why did Joseph demand his bones be taken to Israel?  It’s probably prophetic of the resurrection where people’s bones will be returned to them.  Egypt is also symbolic of the worldly condition, and YHWH does not want us to stay there.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | May 31, 2019

This Generation

Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”  Matthew 24:34

Much ink has been spilled on the meaning and timing of this verse.  Upon much consideration, it appears to us that the emphasis is not on the timing, with the exception of Jesus’ direct audience, who would experience the destruction of the temple in 70AD and the ensuing persecution.  We think the sense is: “Truly I tell you, this generation (humans) will not pass until…”

Jesus said, “As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.”  Matthew 24:37  The question is, what aspect of the days of Noah?  Race could be a major component.  As Noah’s flood was cleansing the earth from angelic/human hybrids, so in our day we see much genetic experimentation.  Perhaps in several generations humanity will be severely compromised??  We don’t know.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | April 30, 2019

Tamar

Tamar sometimes gets a bad rap.  She’s one of four women listed in Matthew’s chapter 1 geneology of Jesus.  Sometimes Rahab gets a bad rap for being a prostitute.  Ruth is universally recognized as a saint.  It would seem these four women are listed for a reason – they’re all saints.  Tamar’s ‘marriage’ to Judah seems weird and icky at first glance.  Genesis 38 tells the story.  For starters, Judah should’ve never married a Canaanite woman.  Noah said, “Then he cursed Canaan, the son of Ham:

“May Canaan be cursed!
    May he be the lowest of servants to his relatives.”  Genesis 9:25

What exactly happened is not recorded, but it must have been very bad.  Judah’s wife died, as did his two elder sons.  Judah got a wife for Er, but evidently not from the Canaanites.  After Judah instructed Tamar to go back and live with her father, it became clear that Judah would have no heirs.  So Tamar came up with a plan to have children for Judah and preserve his line without Canaanite blood.  This is why Tamar is a saint.  She took a very awkward position to preserve the line that ultimately lead to the Messiah!

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 26, 2019

Revisiting Joseph

The story of Joseph takes up a full 14 chapters of Genesis (37-50).  It is widely recognized that Joseph’s life parallels Jesus’ in many ways, probably more ways than people realize.  The obvious part is Joseph being rejected by his brothers who then decide to kill him.  Reuben convinced his brothers to lower him into a cistern (Genesis 37:21,22). Not all the brothers want to kill Joseph. Not all the Jews wanted to kill Jesus. Some of the leaders like Nicodemus were secret followers. But Joseph is lowered into the well then rescued out. Similar to Jesus death and resurrection. He then is sold off to a far country. Like Jesus going to heaven. Genesis chapter 38 is a bit of a mystery, but it seems to show the Jews almost apostasy in between the first and second visits of the Messiah. Chapter 39 resumes with Joseph being bought into a prominent house and succeeding wildly. But then Potiphar’s wife causes trouble. Perhaps Jesus had success then trouble when he went back to heaven(??) Some will find this a heretical thought since we are told that, “I also pray that you will understand the incredible greatness of God’s power for us who believe him. This is the same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God’s right hand in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 1:19-20
This interpretation could be wrong. But it’s very interesting that Joseph apparently has trouble 2+ years. “Some time later….” Genesis 40:1 and “Two full years later, Pharaoh dreamed that he was standing on the bank of the Nile River.” Genesis 41:1 After this, Joseph is put at Pharoah’s right hand. According to Moses, “For you, a thousand years are as a passing day.” Psalm 90:4 and “I am requiring you to bear Israel’s sins for 390 days—one day for each year of their sin.” Ezekiel 4:5 So, a day=year=thousand years. 2+ years is 2000+ years. When Joseph was placed on the throne, he was given a wife, the daughter of a priest. When Jesus is placed on the throne, he will be given a wife from the line of priests, the church. Then Joseph immediately went to work during the seven years of plenty, gathering wheat into the storehouses. “He is ready to separate the chaff from the wheat with his winnowing fork. Then he will clean up the threshing area, gathering the wheat into his barn but burning the chaff with never-ending fire.” Luke 3:17 This represents Christians being gathered to heaven in preparation for the seven years of want. During the famine the Jews will be desperately missing the Christians. This will cause the Jews to seek out the blessing, but Joseph will not reveal himself until all brothers are present. When all the brothers are present (including the church(priests) and bride’s helpers(Levites)), then Joseph(Jesus) will dramatically reveal himself to the Jews and the Jews only. He will invite them to live in the best of the land to ride out the famine of no Christians. Then they will miraculously multiply, eventually causing the ire and envy of the surrounding peoples. This will then result in their being chased out of ‘Egypt’. They will be surrounded. “And when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then you will know that the time of its destruction has arrived. Then those in Judea must flee to the hills. Those in Jerusalem must get out, and those out in the country should not return to the city.” Luke 21:20-21 Jesus will miraculously come to their rescue. “Watch, for the day of the Lord is coming when your possessions will be plundered right in front of you! I will gather all the nations to fight against Jerusalem. The city will be taken, the houses looted, and the women raped. Half the population will be taken into captivity, and the rest will be left among the ruins of the city.

Then the Lord will go out to fight against those nations, as he has fought in times past. On that day his feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, east of Jerusalem. And the Mount of Olives will split apart, making a wide valley running from east to west. Half the mountain will move toward the north and half toward the south. You will flee through this valley, for it will reach across to Azal. Yes, you will flee as you did from the earthquake in the days of King Uzziah of Judah. Then the Lord my God will come, and all his holy ones with him.” Zechariah 14:1-5 After Jesus rescues them, taking them safely through the Red Sea (while destroying evil Pharoah), they will try to enter the promised land, but some will prove unfaithful. Then there is 40 years (1000 years) of delay until they finally make it to the promised land (heaven). The story of Joseph (spanning through Moses) tells the whole story of redemption from the cross of Jesus to the great Jubilee, 4,000+ years.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 15, 2019

All Powerful

Is God all powerful, all knowing, all loving?  According to the Southern Baptist Convention:

In the Baptist Faith and Message (Article II.A.), Southern Baptists confess that God is all of these things: “all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all wise.” We believe these attributes properly describe the character of God, because that is how the inspired Bible presents Him. Unfortunately, some people have downplayed or denied one or more of these attributes of God. They have difficulty reconciling the Bible’s presentation of God with their own limited and uninspired observations.  (http://www.sbclife.net/article/1700/god-the-father-%E2%80%94-all-powerful-knowing-loving-and-wise)

This is based on Isaiah:  “Do you not know? Have you not heard? Yahweh is the everlasting God, the Creator of the whole earth. He never grows faint or weary; there is no limit to His understanding. He gives strength to the weary and strengthens the powerless.”  Isaiah 40:28-29

It doesn’t actually say God is all powerful.  It seems to say he is all knowing.  It’s silent on love.  While the creator of the whole earth is certainly extremely powerful, does that mean he controls everything?

This author thinks not.  If people and animals and angels have true free will, then by definition they aren’t controlled.  But God in his wisedom has put strict limits on our freedom.  I might will to jump over a tree, but gravity prevents me.  I might wish to do something diabolical, but God has the power to kill me.  “But the Lord considered it evil for Onan to deny a child to his dead brother. So the Lord took Onan’s life, too.”  Genesis 38:10

It is like parents and children.  When children are little, parents have to physical power to overpower the child if necessary.  This does not negate their free will, it just overwhelms it.  This answers to the question of evil.  God has allowed some evil into the universe, else true love is not truly free.  We might not like the arrangement, but Paul counsels:

“Are we saying, then, that God was unfair? Of course not!  For God said to Moses,

“I will show mercy to anyone I choose,
    and I will show compassion to anyone I choose.”

So it is God who decides to show mercy. We can neither choose it nor work for it.

For the Scriptures say that God told Pharaoh, “I have appointed you for the very purpose of displaying my power in you and to spread my fame throughout the earth.”  So you see, God chooses to show mercy to some, and he chooses to harden the hearts of others so they refuse to listen.

Well then, you might say, “Why does God blame people for not responding? Haven’t they simply done what he makes them do?”

No, don’t say that. Who are you, a mere human being, to argue with God? Should the thing that was created say to the one who created it, “Why have you made me like this?”  When a potter makes jars out of clay, doesn’t he have a right to use the same lump of clay to make one jar for decoration and another to throw garbage into?  In the same way, even though God has the right to show his anger and his power, he is very patient with those on whom his anger falls, who are destined for destruction.  He does this to make the riches of his glory shine even brighter on those to whom he shows mercy, who were prepared in advance for glory.  And we are among those whom he selected, both from the Jews and from the Gentiles.”  Romans 9:14-24

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