Posted by: biblestudyseattle | May 19, 2022

Elihu

Toward the end of the book of Job, Elihu appears (Job 32-37). After Job’s three friends discuss his predicament at great length, Elihu offers his perspective. His two main points are that God does no wickedness and that Job is not perfect. Toward the end of his comments, Elihu starts to sound like God (who answers starting in chapter 38). Elihu was a great lead in to God’s message in a way that John the Baptist prepared the people for Messiah.

“Look, in this you [Job] are not righteous.
I will answer you,
For God is greater than man.
Why do you contend with Him?” Job 33:12-13

“Therefore listen to me, you men of understanding:
Far be it from God to do wickedness,
And from the Almighty to commit iniquity.
For He repays man according to his work,
And makes man to find a reward according to his way.
Surely God will never do wickedly,
Nor will the Almighty pervert justice.” Job 34:10-12

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | May 11, 2022

Unforgivable?

“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God.” Hebrews 10:26-27

Some Christians are afraid they may have crossed this line of no return. But our God is not a gotcha God! Any who go that far will have had ample time to turn back just as Pharoah did. The key to the timing is in the previous verses:

“And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.” Hebrews 10:24-25

That Day is the Sabbath Day when Messiah will reign.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | May 5, 2022

Looking Back

What will it be like when we look back over thousands of years of human history in the Kingdom of God? Will Job be mad?

Then Job replied to the Lord:

“I know that you can do all things;
    no purpose of yours can be thwarted.
You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my plans without knowledge?’
    Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,
    things too wonderful for me to know.

“You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;
    I will question you,
    and you shall answer me.’
My ears had heard of you
    but now my eyes have seen you.
Therefore I despise myself
    and repent in dust and ashes.” Job 42:1-6

Job lost everything except his life and wife. By the end of his life he regained double everything he started with. But wait until he learns how many million people his story has encouraged! Jesus describes it thus:

“Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy.  A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world.  So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.” John 16:20-22

The future is bright! But first we must endure many trials. We will all have had a taste of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil and we will avoid evil like the plague!

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | April 26, 2022

Judgment or no?

“Very truly I tell you, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be judged but has crossed over from death to life.” John 5:24

“You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.” Romans 14:10

Which is it? Those who are pure will not be judged in the negative sense, therefore the first statement is true under certain conditions. We can’t forget that judgment can be positive. The gold metal winner at the Olympics has been judged – the best!

Another way to look at this is to look at all statements about judgment in the bible and then make a conclusion. Just as experiments are more robust with more data, so our theology will be more robust if we consider the whole bible and not just one sentence. We will all be judged, but those who pass the final test will feel no negative judgment and everlasting life!

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | April 6, 2022

Out of the Grave

“Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: My people, I am going to open your graves and bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of Israel.  Then you, my people, will know that I am the Lord, when I open your graves and bring you up from them.  I will put my Spirit in you and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will know that I the Lord have spoken, and I have done it, declares the Lord.’” Ezekiel 37:12-14

“When your people ask you, ‘Won’t you tell us what you mean by this?’ say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am going to take the stick of Joseph—which is in Ephraim’s hand—and of the Israelite tribes associated with him, and join it to Judah’s stick. I will make them into a single stick of wood, and they will become one in my hand.’  Hold before their eyes the sticks you have written on and say to them, ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will take the Israelites out of the nations where they have gone. I will gather them from all around and bring them back into their own land.  I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel. There will be one king over all of them and they will never again be two nations or be divided into two kingdoms.  They will no longer defile themselves with their idols and vile images or with any of their offenses, for I will save them from all their sinful backsliding, and I will cleanse them. They will be my people, and I will be their God.

“‘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.  They will live in the land I gave to my servant Jacob, the land where your ancestors lived. They and their children and their children’s children will live there forever, and David my servant will be their prince forever.  I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant. I will establish them and increase their numbers, and I will put my sanctuary among them forever.  My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.  Then the nations will know that I the Lord make Israel holy, when my sanctuary is among them forever.’” Ezekiel 37:18-28

God is going to bring back the Israelites out of their graves to live peacefully in the land under one prince – David. This is a prophecy I’ve never heard discussed in a church. The church teaches that faithful people go to heaven and the earth will be burned up. But God hasn’t abandoned the Israelites. They will once again multiply as they did in the days of Moses in Goshen to the chagrin of the surrounding peoples. ‘Egypt’ will once again be envious.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | April 4, 2022

Outward Show

“Once, on being asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The coming of the kingdom of God is not something that can be observed, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is in your midst.” Luke 17:20-21

Much like first century Jews, twenty first century Christians want a strongman to come and remove the bad guys. But Jesus will come as quietly the second time as he did the first. The fireworks most people think of as the second coming will come later. The Jews will finally get their Messiah ben David, but it will be at a horrible time.

“So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand— then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.  Let no one on the housetop go down to take anything out of the house.  Let no one in the field go back to get their cloak.  How dreadful it will be in those days for pregnant women and nursing mothers!  Pray that your flight will not take place in winter or on the Sabbath.  For then there will be great distress, unequaled from the beginning of the world until now—and never to be equaled again.

“If those days had not been cut short, no one would survive, but for the sake of the elect those days will be shortened.  At that time if anyone says to you, ‘Look, here is the Messiah!’ or, ‘There he is!’ do not believe it.  For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  See, I have told you ahead of time.

“So if anyone tells you, ‘There he is, out in the wilderness,’ do not go out; or, ‘Here he is, in the inner rooms,’ do not believe it.  For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.  Wherever there is a carcass, there the vultures will gather.

“Immediately after the distress of those days

“‘the sun will be darkened,
    and the moon will not give its light;
the stars will fall from the sky,
    and the heavenly bodies will be shaken.’

“Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. And he will send his angels with a loud trumpet call, and they will gather his elect from the four winds, from one end of the heavens to the other.

“Now learn this lesson from the fig tree: As soon as its twigs get tender and its leaves come out, you know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see all these things, you know that it is near, right at the door.  Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away.” Matthew 24:15-35

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 28, 2022

Sin & Death

“For the wages of sin is death.” Romans 6:23

“for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

All have sinned so all will die, but what about Jesus? If he had not died by crucifixion, would he have lived forever? Jesus was the unique admixture of perfect seed and imperfect egg.

Although Jesus did not sin, his body was a blend of the perfect and imperfect. He ate corrupted food from a corrupted world. He did not have access to the Trees of Life. Of course, God could have worked a miracle to sustain him. It was necessary for Jesus to experience our fallen world (and body) so that he could relate to us.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 21, 2022

Heaven’s Wars & Temple

“And war broke out in heaven: Michael and his angels fought with the dragon; and the dragon and his angels fought,” Revelation 12:7

How can there be war in heaven? Isn’t heaven a perfect place?

“Then the temple of God was opened in heaven, and the ark of His covenant was seen in His temple.” Revelation 11:19

“who serve that which is a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, even as Moses is warned of God when he is about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern that was showed thee in the mount.” Hebrews 8:5-6

There is a Temple in heaven? And the earthly Temple was a copy of the heavenly one? Does that mean that there were sacrifices at the heavenly Temple? Does that mean that there was/is death in heaven? Will the second death be a possibility in heaven?

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 18, 2022

The End of God’s Sabbath

When God finishes resting on his Seventh Day of creation will it be an ordinary first day of the week or a Jubilee? If God’s days of creation are 7,000 years apiece then we will have another, Eighth, Day or creation of 7,000 years. But what if it is a Jubilee? Will the New Creation have to wait another 7,000 years? 49 years of 7,000 years is 343,000 years. If it is a 7,000 year Jubilee it will still be a 1,000 year Jubilee based on the 1,000 year-long ‘days’. Will the regeneration of all things take longer than we think? There’s no sure way to know.

“and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things, about which God spoke by the mouths of His holy prophets from ancient times.  Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your countrymen; to Him you shall listen regarding everything He says to you.” Acts 3:20-22

This scripture suggests that God’s end of rest will not be a Jubilee.

Posted by: biblestudyseattle | March 14, 2022

Conundrums

“Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.” Revelation 20:6

Is this verse saying the church will be immortal upon entrance to heaven?

“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” 2 Corinthians 5:10

“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,” Hebrews 9:27

“My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment.” James 3:1

“For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God;” 1 Peter 4:17

We will all be judged, especially believers. How then, if we are immortal, can we be judged? Some might say we are judged in this life, but what about matters that aren’t resolved? Paul assented to the stoning of Stephen. He was deeply mortified by his sin, yet there was no resolution during his life: Stephen was already dead. Since both of these men are part of the true church of saints, how can there be resolution if they are both now immortal? Paul must repent and Stephen must forgive. Or another way of looking at it: how can there be any disharmony in the Risen Bride of Christ? There must be another step. That’s why there may be some doubt about instant immortality of the church. Another consideration is the judgment in heaven:

“Do you not know that the saints will judge the world? And if the world will be judged by you, are you unworthy to judge the smallest matters?  Do you not know that we shall judge angels?” 1 Corinthians 6:2-3

How can we judge that which we do not know? Don’t we first need experience in that realm (heaven)? Mustn’t the saints spend considerable time in heaven before they become qualified to judge angels? Is there a possibility of failure? Is second death only in operation on earth and not in heaven?

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