Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Commentary On Exodus 6:3

[Exodus] 6:3 By my name the Lord. The account of the patriarchs contains references to God as "God Almighty" as well as the Lord (Gn 17:1-2; 28:3; 35:11; 12:8; 49:18). This verse could suggest (especially as translated in the RSV) the Lord as an appellative designation for God was unknown prior to the time of Moses. This interpretation, however, is not necessarily the meaning of v. 3. A translation that gives due consideration to the Biblical connotation of the word name (cf. 3:14 note) would read as follows: I appeared to Abraham, to Issac, and to Jacob by the manifestation of as God Almighty but by my name manifesting myself as the Lord (YHWH) I did not make myself known to them. This rendering does not preclude the possibility that the patriarchs were familiar with the word Lord as an appellation of God. The context supports this interpretation. The following verses stress the fact that in God's dealings with the patriarchs He had not revealed Himself as fully as the God of the "covenant" (4) as He was about to do in fulfilling the promise made to the fathers: "I will take you for my people" (7). By leading them out of Egypt and and constituting them as a nation in the lad which He "swore to give to Abraham, to Issac, and to Jacob" (8), He would make Himself known to Israel in actions by which He had not revealed Himself to the patriarchs and which they only knew as promises of the covenant. Centuries later God continued to speak about the revelation of His name in the same way: "They shall know that my name is the Lord." (Jer 16:21). The Book of Ezekiel has the oft-repeated refrain: "They [or you] shall know that I am the Lord." (Eze 6:7; 10, 13; 7:4, 9, 27; etc.)"

Martin Franzmann and Walter H. Roehrs, Concordia Self-study Commentary [commentary on Exodus], p. 65

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Biblical Dilemma For Catholic Eucharist Theology

        "As sacrifice, the Eucharist is also offered in reparation for the sins of the living and the dead and to obtain spiritual or temporal benefits from God." (CCC # 1414)

        Interestingly, Hebrews 9:8-9 tells us that sacrifices and gift offerings cannot perfect the conscience of the worshiper:

        "The Holy Spirit is signifying this, that the way into the holy place has not yet been disclosed while the outer tabernacle is still standing, which is a symbol for the present time. Accordingly both gifts and sacrifices are offered which cannot make the worshiper perfect in conscience."

         The Mass causes the atonement of Jesus Christ to be just like the repetitive Old Testament sacrifices which cannot bring about the perfection of our souls. It is not consistent with the presentation of His work in Hebrews as to the reason for it being superior.

Saturday, January 11, 2020

The New Testament As We Have It Today Accurately Conveys What The Apostles Wrote

"The situation with New Testament textual criticism is entirely different: Virtually no conjectural emendation is required because of the great wealth, diversity, and age of the materials we have.5 Most New Testament scholars would say that there are absolutely no places where conjecture is necessary. Again, this is because the manuscripts are so plentiful and so early that in almost every instance the original New Testament can be reconstructed from the available evidence.

For example, Kurt and Barbara Aland, the first two directors of the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster, Germany (Institut für neutestamentliche Textforschung or INTF) co-authored one of the standard textbooks on NT textual criticism. At the INTF, over 90% of all Greek NT manuscripts are on microfilm. For the past forty-five years, the Institute has been more influential than any individual, school, or group of scholars anywhere else in the world for determining the exact wording of the original NT. In short, they know their stuff. Hear the Alands: “…every reading ever occurring in the New Testament textual tradition is stubbornly preserved, even if the result is nonsense…any reading ever occurring in the New Testament textual tradition, from the original reading onward, has been preserved in the tradition and needs only to be identified.”6

The Alands go so far as to say that if a reading is found in one manuscript it is almost surely not authentic: “The principle that the original reading may be found in any single manuscript or version when it stands alone or nearly alone is only a theoretical possibility.”7 Further, “Textual difficulties should not be solved by conjecture, or by positing glosses or interpolations, etc., where the textual tradition itself shows no break; such attempts amount to capitulation before the difficulties and are themselves violations of the text.”8 Their opinions in these matters should be considered as that of expert witnesses. Further, it is shared by most others in the discipline.9

What are the implications of the non-need to guess about the wording of the original? Only that in virtually every instance the original reading is to be found somewhere in the manuscripts...Further, since the original reading is not something to be merely guessed at, we have an actual database—the pool of variants found in the manuscripts—that can be tested for any theological deviations."

J. Ed Komoszewski, M. James Sawyer, Daniel B. Wallace, Reinventing Jesus: What the Da Vinci Code and Other Novel Speculations Don't Tell You, p. 106-107

A Few Insights On Philippians 2:10 As It Relates To The Deity Of Jesus Christ

        "that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth." (Philippians 2:10)

        One observation that should be made regarding this passage is how it clearly parallels Exodus 20:4-5 ("in heaven above...in the earth beneath...in the water under the earth). The earliest Christians, being Jewish, included an indirect reference to the commandment forbidding the worship of false gods in a hymnal.

        Thus, in Philippians 2:10, the entirety of creation is presented as worshiping Christ in the manner that God Himself would be worshiped. Isaiah 45:23 was also applied to Him in this passage ("That to Me every knee shall bow...). Moreover, the Apostle Paul quoted that text from Isaiah in Romans 14:11 when referring to God. He firmly believed that Jesus is to be worshiped as God in the flesh.

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Commentary On 1 John 4:10

Herein is love,.... The love of God, free love, love that cannot be matched: herein it is manifested, as before; this is a clear evidence of it, an undoubted proof, and puts it out of all question:

not that we loved God: the love of God is antecedent to the love of his people; it was when theirs was not; when they were without love to him, yea, enemies in their minds, by wicked works, and even enmity itself, and therefore was not procured by theirs; but on the contrary, their love to him is caused by his love to them; hence his love, and a continuance in it, do not depend on theirs; nor does it vary according to theirs; wherefore there is good reason to believe it will continue, and never be removed; and this shows the sovereignty and freeness of the love of God, and that it is surprising and matchless:

but that he loved us; that is, God; and so the Syriac version reads, "but that God himself loved us". The Vulgate Latin version adds, first, as in 1 John 4:19; the instance of this love follows:

and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins: this is a subordinate end to the other, mentioned in 1 John 4:9; for, in order that sinful men may possess everlasting life and happiness, it is necessary that their sins be expiated, or atonement be made for them, which is meant by Christ's being a propitiation for them; that the justice of God should be satisfied; that peace and righteousness, or love and justice, should be reconciled together; and kiss each other; and that all obstructions be removed out of the way of the enjoyment of life, which are brought in by sin; and that the wrath of God, which sin deserved, be averted or appeased, according to our sense apprehension of it; for otherwise the love of God people is from everlasting, and is unchangeable, never alters, or never changes from love to wrath, or from wrath to love; nor is the love of God procured by the satisfaction and sacrifice of Christ, which are the effects of it; but hereby the way is laid open for the display of it, and the application of its effects, in a way consistent with the law and justice of God. This phrase is expressive of the great love of Christ to his people, and of his substitution in their room and stead; and so it is used among the Jews for a substitution in the room of others, לרוב אהבתו, "to express the greatness of love"F21

Gill, John. "Commentary on 1 John 4:10". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible".
https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/1-john-4.html. 1999.

Commentary On 1 John 2:2

And he is the propitiation for our sins. Mark the ‘and’ which here once more introduces a new thought intended to obviate perversion. Though Christ is not said to be a ‘righteous Advocate,’ yet His advocacy must represent a righteous cause. He pleads His own atonement; that is Himself, for He ‘is’ in His Divine-human Person the propitiation: the advocacy is distinct from the atonement, is based upon it, and appeals to it.

The word propitiation occurs only here and in chap. 4 throughout the New Testament: it is really the counterpart of the ‘blood of Jesus His Son’ in chap. 1 John 1:6, the administration of the atonement coming between them in chap. 1 John 1:9. Christ is in the New Testament ‘set forth as a propitiation in His blood’ (Romans 3:25): a sacrificial offering that, as on the day of atonement to which it refers, averted the wrath of God from the people. He also as High Priest made atonement or ‘propitiation for the sins of the people’ (Hebrews 2:17). which is here, as in the Septuagint, ‘propitiated in the matter of sins’ the God of holiness. Uniting these, He is in the present passage Himself the abstract ‘propitiation’ in His own glorified Person. His prayer for us, issuing from the very treasure-house of atoning virtue, must be acceptable; and, uttered to the Father who ‘sent Him’ as the propitiation (chap. 1 John 4:14), is one that He ‘heareth always’ (John 11:42).

It is then added: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world. And why? First, because the apostle would utter his generous testimony, on this his first mention of the world, to the absolute universality of the design of the mission of the ‘Lamb of God who taketh away the sin of the world:’ his last mention of it, the second time he says ‘the whole world,’ will be of a severer character (chap. 1 John 5:19). Secondly, he thus intimates that the proper propitiation, as such, was the reconciliation of the Divine holiness and love in respect to all sins at once and in their unity, while the advocacy based upon it refers to special sins: on the one hand, no other atonement is necessary; on the other, that must avail if penitence secures the advocacy of Him who offered it once for all. Lastly, as we doubt not, the apostle thus ends a discussion, the fundamental object of which was to set forth universally and in general the way in which the Gospel offers to all mankind fellowship with the light of God’s holiness.

Schaff, Philip. "Commentary on 1 John 2:4". "Schaff's Popular Commentary on the New Testament". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/scn/1-john-2.html. 1879-90

Saturday, January 4, 2020

A Few Thoughts On Gospel Genre And Why It Matters

"If we are searching for a literary model readily available for our Gospel authors—three of whom were Jews—then we might ask why we would look to the broader Greco-Roman context when “much closer to hand is the Hebrew Bible” (Reading the Gospels Wisely, 26).

Or, as Loveday Alexander has argued, “It is to the biblical tradition, surely, that we should look for the origins of the ‘religious intensity’ of the gospel narratives and their rich ideological intertextuality with the biblical themes of covenant, kingdom, prophecy, and promise—all features hard to parallel in Greek biography” (“What is a Gospel,” 27-28).

So, while our gospels may be similar to Greco-Roman biography in terms of structure, they are indebted to the Old Testament in terms of their narrative. And when we consider the narrative features of the four gospels, it quickly becomes clear that they are stories of God’s eschatological, redemptive, covenant-fulfilling, activity through the person of Jesus of Nazareth.

Or, put differently, they are not merely history—which would be implied by the bios genre—but are, in fact, redemptive history. As Jonathan Pennington has observed, “This is good news, not just a biography!” (Reading the Gospels Wisely, 31)."

https://www.michaeljkruger.com/what-is-a-gospel-anyway-a-few-thoughts-on-gospel-genre-and-why-it-matters/

Tim Staples On Mary Being Queen Of Heaven

  • Discussion:
          -Catholic apologist Tim Staples wrote an article attempting to substantiate from Scripture the notion of Mary being queen of heaven, resorting to Old Testament typology. Quite simply, the purpose of this article is to show that his claims are vacuous. Following are a handful of excerpts alongside with a critique:

          "It can be difficult for us in the modern Western world to understand ancient monarchical concepts. But first-century Jews understood the notion of the kingdom that Jesus preached because they lived it. They knew that a kingdom meant that there was a king. And, in ancient Israel as in many nearby cultures, if there was a king there was a queen mother."

          The above statements are valid on their own accord, but the conclusions do not logically follow. What has been argued has been assumed rather than proven.

          "In the New Testament, the inspired author of Hebrews 1:8-9 quotes verses 6-7 of this very text [Psalm 45:1-9] as referring to Christ, his divinity, and his kingship. But immediately following those verses is another, lesser-known, prophecy that speaks of Mary. Who is this woman of whom the Lord said, “I will cause your name to be celebrated in all generations; therefore the peoples will praise you forever and ever”? Not one of Solomon’s wives fit the prophetic description."

          Texts such as Ephesians 5 and Revelation 20 employ imagery of a bride to a king when speaking of the church. There are also passages in the Old Testament offering the same description of the relationship of God to Israel (Ezekiel 16:8-21; Hosea 1:1-3). Mary is never given such a description in the Bible.

          "Most every Christian—indeed most of the world beyond Christendom—knows the name of the Mother of God—Mary—who in fulfillment of this prophetic text said, “All generations shall call me blessed” (Luke 1:48)."

           We can agree that Mary is blessed among women for the reason of her being used by God in a unique fashion. But Tim Staples argues in a circle as to how or what manner she should be blessed.

          If the Roman Catholic Church is correct in proclaiming that Mary is the queen of heaven, then how come Scripture never mentions her as being exalted at the right hand of God as it does with Jesus Christ on multiple occasions (Luke 22:69; Acts 5:31; 7:55-56; Romans 8:34; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 8:1; 10:10-13; 12:2)? How come Mary is nowhere mentioned as reigning next to God?

Friday, January 3, 2020

The Charismatic Mishandling Of Mark 16:9-20

        Mark 16:9-20 does not necessarily support continuationism, since it still does not address whether what Jesus spoke of was something for the foundation laying period of the church during the time of the apostles.

        The Apostle Paul said to test all things and to hold fast to that which is good (1 Thessalonians 5:21). If Mark 16:9-20 proves that various sign gifts such as speaking in tongues and casting out demons are meant for today, then what about the handling of snakes and consumption of poison?

        We have no record of Christians remaining unharmed when dealing with snakebites and drinking venom. That could very well be a reference to Paul's encounter with barbarians in the Book of Acts. A different perspective is given by New Testament scholar James R. Edwards in his commentary on Mark 16:18:

        "The word for "snake" is the Greek word ophis, which means a generic snake or serpent, although not necessarily poisonous, as does the Greek word echidna (so Acts 28:3-6).29 Given the reference to poisonous drink immediately following, one would have expected the latter word in v. 18. The word ophis is, however, the same word used in Genesis 3 (LXX) of the temptation of the serpent. This raises the question whether the image of "picking up snakes in their hands" cannot be understood metaphorically, that is, that in the age of salvation the curse of the serpent has been overcome."

        There also is the dispute as to whether Mark 16:9-20 is part of the original text of the gospel narrative in the first place. The New English Translation has this technical footnote on the text of Mark 16:9-20:

        "tc The Gospel of Mark ends at this point in some witnesses (א B sy sa arm geomss Eus Eus Hier), including two of the most respected mss (א B). This is known as the “short ending.” The following “intermediate” ending is found in some mss: “They reported briefly to those around Peter all that they had been commanded. After these things Jesus himself sent out through them, from the east to the west, the holy and imperishable preaching of eternal salvation. Amen.” This intermediate ending is usually included with the longer ending (L Ψ 083 099 579 pc); k, however, ends at this point. Most mss include the “long ending” (vv. 9-20) immediately after v. 8 (A C D W [which has unique material between vv. 14 and 15] Θ ƒ 33 M lat sy bo); however, Eusebius (and presumably Jerome) knew of almost no Greek mss that had this ending. Several mss have marginal comments noting that earlier Greek mss lacked the verses. Internal evidence strongly suggests the secondary nature of both the intermediate and the long endings. Their vocabulary, syntax, and style are decidedly non-Markan (for further details, see TCGNT 102-6). All of this evidence indicates that as time went on scribes added the longer ending, either for the richness of its material or because of the abruptness of the ending at v. 8. (Indeed, the strange variety of dissimilar endings attests to the likelihood that early scribes had a copy of Mark that ended at v. 8, and they filled out the text with what seemed to be an appropriate conclusion. All of the witnesses for alternative endings to vv. 9-20 thus indirectly confirm the Gospel as ending at v. 8.) Because of such problems regarding the authenticity of these alternative endings, 16:8 is usually regarded today as the last verse of the Gospel of Mark. There are three possible explanations for Mark ending at 16:8: (1) The author intentionally ended the Gospel here in an open-ended fashion; (2) the Gospel was never finished; or (3) the last leaf of the ms was lost prior to copying. This first explanation is the most likely due to several factors, including (a) the probability that the Gospel was originally written on a scroll rather than a codex (only on a codex would the last leaf get lost prior to copying); (b) the unlikelihood of the ms not being completed; and (c) the literary power of ending the Gospel so abruptly that the readers are now drawn into the story itself. E. Best aptly states, “It is in keeping with other parts of his Gospel that Mark should not give an explicit account of a conclusion where this is already well known to his readers” (Mark, 73; note also his discussion of the ending of this Gospel on 132 and elsewhere). The readers must now ask themselves, “What will I do with Jesus? If I do not accept him in his suffering, I will not see him in his glory.” For further discussion and viewpoints, see Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views, ed. D. A. Black (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2008); Nicholas P. Lunn, The Original Ending of Mark: A New Case for the Authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 (London: Pickwick, 2014); Gregory P. Sapaugh, “An Appraisal of the Intrinsic Probability of the Longer Endings of the Gospel of Mark” (Ph.D. diss., Dallas Theological Seminary, 2012).sn Double brackets have been placed around this passage to indicate that most likely it was not part of the original text of the Gospel of Mark. In spite of this, the passage has an important role in the history of the transmission of the text, so it has been included in the translation."

Thursday, January 2, 2020

Can We Rebuke Or Bind Satan In The Name Of Jesus?

        Scripture does not speak of Christians being able to rebuke the devil. There are no examples of or instructions as to how we can do such in the New Testament epistles. Not even Micheal the Archangel put himself in a position to rebuke Satan (Jude 9). That is something which God Himself does (Zechariah 3:2).

        The devil is a reality who oppress us. The same is true of demons. However, their knowledge of things and power are certainly not unlimited. Not every perceived spiritual attack is directly caused by Satan. He can only do as God permits him. What Scripture tells us to do is draw near to God (James 4:7-8). If we do that, then the devil will flee from us because God draws near to those who seek after Him.

         We are to put on the armor of God (Ephesians 6:10-18). That Pauline passage employs imagery of the armor that Roman guards wore. Our chief concern in this life should be serving God and not continually rebuking or binding the devil. We must turn to the guiding principles provided in God-breathed Scripture (Matthew 4:1-11; 2 Timothy 3:16-17).