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The Q&A Series: Part 4

As some of my readers may know, there are public websites out there which allow subscribers to ask questions on various subject to which other subscribers can then post answers to. I joined on a lark, but found there are a lot of people seeking answers to deep spiritual questions out there. I’ve decided that some of these bear repeating to my readers, so this series will show you a question that a real person has asked on the Internet and my response. Enjoy.

Question. Why were the idolatrous, polytheistic, uncircumcised, pork eating pagan Romans able to crush the circumcised Jews who worshiped the one true God, and desecrate the Holy of Holies?

Image result for sack of jerusalem

Arch of Titus

My Answer. The Bible explains it.

God’s deal with the Jews as His special people was conditional upon their obedience to Him. As long as the Jews obeyed God, God would keep them in their land and protect them. If they fell into disobedience, the deal was off.

Israel fell into disobedience almost immediately after the Law was given and the contract dried (see Judges). But God did not immediately destroy them for two reasons.

1) He is a gracious God. He wanted to send messengers (see the Prophets) to warn them and perhaps turn them back to Him.

2) He made a promise to Abraham (see Genesis) that was unconditional that through his people He would bring the Messiah (see Hebrews) who would save people from their sins.

Eventually, however, after many centuries of off-again, on-again obedience, the Jews turned away from Him completely (except for a remnant) and God sent the Assyrians to conquer the northern kingdom and the Babylonians later to conquer the southern kingdom. (See 1&2 Chronicles). The Israelites were taken bound into slavery or forced assimilation in these foreign countries.

God, however, told them this would only be a temporary punishment for Judah, the tribe from which He’d promised the Messiah. (See the Prophets) This tribe, captured in Babylon, would return to possess the land once again so that the Messiah could come. God also told them that if they obeyed this Messiah they could remain in the land. Otherwise they’d be dispersed again, this time for good (until the end of days). (see the Prophets)

Well they did return and rebuilt Jerusalem and the Temple. (see Ezra, Nehemiah) In due time (around 400 years later) Jesus the Messiah did come to his people, but by and large (except for a few) they did not receive him nor believe in him. (see the Gospels)

Before Jesus died for the sins of the world, he told his disciples that since the Jewish nation by and large rejected him, God would turn against Israel very soon and destroy Jerusalem and the Temple. This is when he warns them to “head fer the hills!” when the Romans come, because God won’t deliver his disobedient people again. (See Matthew 24)

Indeed, in 70 A.D. the Romans did invade and did sack Jerusalem and destroyed its Temple, forcing the Jews to flee into the nations, dispersing them to this day (for even though many Jews are in Jerusalem, any Zionist will tell you the work is not done). (see Josephus)

For those Jews who accepted Jesus as the Messiah, they are no longer Jews (as we are no longer barbarians) but all are one in Christ Jesus our Lord. We are one people and one nation in the Lord Christ, and await a heavenly Jerusalem that will come down to us after Jesus has judged the living and the dead. (see Paul’s letters, especially Romans).

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Posted by on April 29, 2017 in Q&A Series

 

The Q&A Series: Part 3

As some of my readers may know, there are public websites out there which allow subscribers to ask questions on various subject to which other subscribers can then post answers to. I joined on a lark, but found there are a lot of people seeking answers to deep spiritual questions out there. I’ve decided that some of these bear repeating to my readers, so this series will show you a question that a real person has asked on the Internet and my response. Enjoy.

Question:20121228_immanuel
Is Isaiah 7:14 a failed prophesy of Jesus as the messiah? Now I’m no scholar, but I can clearly see that the prophesy foretells the birth of someone named Emmanuel…not Jesus.

When it says that he shall be called Emmanuel which means God With Us, it means that people will call Him that, which they did (and do). In Isaiah 9:6 it lists a whole host of other names by which He shall be called later, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father, Wonderful Counselor, etc.

My Answer:
Just as a man today might be called by many names, titles and nicknames, so was the Christ. After all, He is God Incarnate, so one name isn’t going to define Him.

Even in the OT, Yahweh goes by many descriptive names (Yahweh-Raphe, Yahweh-Tsidekenu, etc.)

Messiah just means “Chosen One.” A kind of champion or special servant. Cyrus the Great was a messiah, in the fact he was God’s chosen one to send His people back to their homeland, and an example of The Messiah to come, that is Jesus Christ.

You see this all over the OT. God taking mortal men and using them as a type or foreshadowing of Christ, to set an example for His people. “This guy is going to save you by sending you back to the promised land, remember this, because I’m sending another One like this who will send you back to me forever.” That’s obviously a paraphrase, but you do see similar language ALL over the prophets. There’s an immediate fulfillment of God’s plan (deliverance from a drought, a plague, captivity, etc.) and a future promise of complete fulfillment (the Christ and His atonement for us).

Hebrews 10:1, Colossians 2:17 and Hebrews 8:5 show us that much of what is recorded in the OT were there only as types and shadows of the reality to come, that is Christ.

The temple and its sacrifices, for example, could never make man right with God. Why then these sacrifices? To show man a type or foreshadowing of what was to come in Christ, so that when it came man would recognize it and believe.

In John 5:39 Jesus himself explains that the point of the OT Scriptures was to point mankind to Himself. To prepare us for His coming. In Galatians 3 starting in verse 19, Paul goes into detail explaining that the entire point of the Law (i.e. the OT) was to point us to Christ. The Law was not an end to itself, as many of the Jews believed.

Whew! Sorry for the long response. In short, Emmanuel is not a failed prophecy, Jesus was (and is) called this because He was “God With Us.” It’s just one of many “titles” or “nicknames” that the true Messiah would be honored with. Also, Cyrus was referred to as God’s messiah because he was a man chosen by God to deliver His people from bondage, but there are messiahs and there is The Messiah, that is the Christ, who God chose from before the foundations of the world itself to free us from the bondage of sin and death. All the “messiahs” of old were but types and shadows to foreshadow the coming of the True Messiah. (And coincidentally, this is also why Jesus of Nazareth has many more names and titles besides Messiah, to distinguish him from other “messiahs.”)

I hope that helps! Keep searching the Scriptures!

 
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Posted by on April 8, 2015 in Q&A Series

 

The Q&A Series: Part 2

As some of my readers may know, there are public websites out there which allow subscribers to ask questions on various subject to which other subscribers can then post answers to. I joined on a lark, but found there are a lot of people seeking answers to deep spiritual questions out there. I’ve decided that some of these bear repeating to my readers, so this series will show you a question that a real person has asked on the Internet and my response. Enjoy.

cropped-13110327_236912cfd7_b.jpgQuestion:
How authentic is the Bible?

My Answer:
As an historical document? Very.

First, you’ve got to realize the Bible is a collection of 66 separate documents, or slightly less if you consider the books that are two-parters.

Most of the documents are written by different people from vastly different walks of life. It’s authors include kings, shepherds, poets, fishermen, and others. They are all separated by vast spans of time as well. Some are hundreds and even thousands of years apart.

So, from a historical point of view, it’s not really fair to judge “the Bible” as a single document or work, because it’s not.

Nevertheless, each of those 66 books has the same or more authenticity than any manuscript of its age. We have thousands and thousands of manuscripts backing it up with only minor variations that are usually nothing more than spelling or grammatical errors.

There is a host of archaeological evidence that also supports the Biblical narrative as well as other contemporary historians and their works, such as Josephus.

If it is held to the same standard as similar documents of its age, each of the books of the Bible holds firm as authentic, or at least as authentic as anything else we consider authentic from that period.

The only reason people dismiss it isn’t because of a lack of evidence or authenticity, but because the Bible goes on to make some pretty audacious claims about humanity and God and sin and redemption.

Unlike, for example, Homer’s Odyssey or Plato’s Republic, the Bible makes claims that demand a response from the reader. Either you believe it and therefore must follow it or you disbelieve it and therefore must somehow discredit it to justify your unbelief.

Since humans don’t want to believe in a God who owns them and holds them accountable for their misdeeds, many humans choose to disbelieve the Bible and therefore will do anything at all to discredit it, even if that means abandoning any sense of integrity and holding the Bible to unrealistic standards that no historian would impose upon any other document.

 
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Posted by on April 3, 2015 in Q&A Series

 

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The Q&A Series: Part 1

As some of my readers may know, there are public websites out there which allow subscribers to ask questions on various subject to which other subscribers can then post answers to. I joined on a lark, but found there are a lot of people seeking answers to deep spiritual questions out there. I’ve decided that some of these bear repeating to my readers, so this series will show you a question that a real person has asked on the Internet and my response. Enjoy.

translators_bibleQuestion:
“Even with so many experts and knowledge, why are there so many controversies in the translation of biblical texts (including apocryphal)?”

My Answer:
It really depends on what you mean by “experts” and “controversies.”

Among honest scholars of both Hebrew and Greek, there are few real controversies out there, and most of them have nothing to do with translation, but with “was this in the original MS or not?” There are not many texts in dispute, but any decent Bible will have each of them marked and notated somehow (usually in parenthetical or marked with asterisks).

As far as translation, the so-called “controversies” arise mainly from the fact that we are dealing with languages both ancient and dead.

Koine Greek is an especially complex (and beautiful) language, ever so much more than English. A Greek word in and of itself has a myriad of layers and meanings that can only be deduced from context clues and cultural cues. Usually, we’ve got enough of both to know what the author was trying to say, but sometimes the cultural context is all but non-existent and sometimes the context isn’t totally clear. Nevertheless, even in these cases,  there is almost always enough information to get a really good approximation. Then there are a few examples where there simply is no English equivalent for a Greek word.

Hebrew, by contrast, is a much simpler language and is more easily understood than Koine Greek, but complications arise simply because the style of Hebrew and the MS its contained in are so old. We are talking stuff that was recorded more than 2,000 years ago here. The cultural context for most of it is pure guesswork for some cases.

In the end though, it’s mostly just academic stuff for the intellectuals to have a friendly debate over coffee. One thing that must be emphasized to people who struggle with the fact that a few select passages are in dispute or that this or that word is unclear is that no Church doctrine is dependent on any disputed text. That means you can take or leave any disputed text or unclear wording we still haven’t pinned down yet and it won’t change the message of the Bible. Someone who believes that the story of the woman caught in adultery is canon is no more or less a Christian than the one who believes its apocryphal. All the important, key texts that define doctrine are not in dispute at all.

As for “experts,” you might want to be careful about them. Not all who write books about this subject or do TV interviews are actually trained in Hebrew or Greek or know anything academically about the subject. For the most part, the only people seriously studying the Bible, its cultures, and its languages are the people who believe in it (with some exceptions). Most of the people claiming that there is a controversy in Scripture big enough to crack the Church in half are just blowhards who heard what they wanted to hear from an academic they didn’t understand and then spun it out of the stratosphere.

 
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Posted by on April 2, 2015 in Q&A Series

 

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