24: FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 24

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

Genesis 12:1-3. This passage contains the basic structure of the Abrahamic Covenant. This covenant is essential for every Christian to understand because ALL of YHWH’s plans for human history (and His character) hinge on its fulfillment. There are 3 categories of the promise: 1) Land, 2) Seed/Offspring, 3) Worldwide Blessing.

Genesis 15:1-21. Both the Seed (v.1-6) and Land (v.7-21) promises are made into a covenant with YHWH calling Abram to ratify the covenant by sacrificing animals. Only YHWH passes through the pathway in between them, showing the unconditional nature of the covenant with Abram. The covenant’s fulfillment rests upon YHWH alone.

Genesis 17:1-8. YHWH reveals Himself as “El Shaddai” meaning “the all-abundant One who steps up in times of special urgency and by his power meets human need.”[1] This is the first that God has revealed about Himself outside of “Elohim” (God) and “YHWH” (LORD). This name is reiterated in key places were the covenant is stressed (28:3; 35:11; 48:3-4; 49:25). In enacting the covenant (v.2, 4), YHWH changes Abram’s name to Abraham. We are told that this covenant will carry over to Abraham’s descendants and that it is everlasting in nature (v.7-8).

Genesis 25:19-34. Isaac’s life does not occupy much of Scripture. There is his birth (21:1-8), sacrifice (22:1-19), search for a bride (ch. 24), and then the narrative moves to Jacob. Gen 25:19-26 deals with the Lord’s prophecy over Jacob and Esau and their birth, while v.27-34 deals with a particular incident that shows each man’s character: Jacob is cunning, while Esau is thoughtless and negligent. Hebrews 12:16 calls Esau “immoral” and “godless.” In an act of dramatized weakness, Esau makes a bargain, exchanging his firstborn rights for food from Jacob. The word “despised” in 25:34 can mean that he “undervalued” his birthright.

Hebrews 12:15-17

Genesis 28:1-4. Though Jacob deceived his father into blessing him as the firstborn due to his mother’s coercion (Gen 27:6-13), Isaac holds fast to the blessing and sends Jacob away to find a wife from one of their kin (Gen 28:1-2). Esau had married two of the pagan Hittite women of the land, diluting the gene pool (Gen 26:34). In v. 3-4, Isaac pronounces the Seed/Offspring and Land blessings upon Jacob before he leaves.

Genesis 28:13-22. While traveling to Paddan-aram, Jacob dreams of a ladder going into heaven with angels ascending and descending (v.10-12). The Lord God reveals Himself personally to Jacob (v.13). In v.13b-14, YHWH reiterates the Land, Seed, and Blessing promises respectively, as well as the promise to bring Jacob back to the land of Canaan (v.15). Jacob names the place “Bethel” meaning “house of God.” His vow in v.20-22 shows that he did not comprehend YHWH’s words in v.13-15.

Genesis 31:13. While the events that surround Jacob’s time in Paddan-aram span 20 years, YHWH fulfills His promise to bring Jacob back to Canaan in this one verse. YHWH identifies Himself as the “God of Bethel,” in connection with Jacob’s renaming of Luz in 28:20-22.

Genesis 32:24-30. Jacob wrestles with an angel (Hos 12:3-4), though the incident likens his wrestling to God Himself. Jacob’s name is changed to “Israel” which means “struggles with God.” In v.28, we are told that Jacob struggled with God and man and prevailed. This could be prophetic, seeing Israel’s role as a nation in the future End Times.

Hosea 12:2-4

Genesis 35:9-15. Jacob/Israel returns to Bethel after entering again into the land and reconciling with Esau. YHWH speaks to him about the Seed and Land promises. Israel commemorates this by building an altar.

Genesis 37:1. Jacob once again resides in the Promised Land.

With the Abrahamic Covenant hangs the fate of all known existence. As Romans 9:1-13 shows, God will bring about the promise of a Deliverer as He sees fit, not allowing His Word to fail.
YHWH is El Shaddai, meeting the needs of His people in order to bless them as He accomplishes His divine purposes in history!

Romans 9

[1] Eugene H. Merrill, Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2006), p.84.

23: Foundational Frameworks Part 23a - Election 2

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

Salvation-Chart_2017 small.png

The Biblical Doctrine of Election-New Testament “Problem” Passages

There are 3 tenses of “salvation” regarding the Christian’s life in relation to YHWH God. -CHART

Ephesians 1:1-5. This passage has been greatly abused by reading something into the text that it does not say (eisegesis). It is important to note that there is no punctuation in 1:3-14. 

First, note that the audience is made up of redeemed people (1:1). It is often perpetuated that the NT authors “weren’t really sure” of the conversion of their audience. This is preposterous considering the contents of each letter and the level of persecution against Christianity. Being a Christian was NOT popular (see Hebrews).

Second, notice the personal pronouns used: “our,” “us,” & “we.” This means that Paul was including himself, and since each of the pronouns used is plural, these blessings are corporate in nature.

Third, does the verse say “just as He chose us to be in Him,” or “just as He chose us in Him?” If it is referring to a “choosing unto justification salvation,” it should read that “He chose us to be in Him,” but that is not what it says. Those “chosen” are already “in Him.”

Fourth, “He predestined us to adoption as sons” is in 1:5. Is the “adoption as sons” in the past, present, or future? (See Rom 8:23).

Fifth, this corporate choosing is unto what? ____________________

From this we can conclude that this is not regarding people being chosen for heaven or hell, but chosen for a task, ministry, calling, or vocation in the same manner as we saw in the Old Testament.

Romans 8:29-30. This is commonly known as “The Golden Chain of Redemption/Salvation,” and is used to “prove” that God predestines some people to heaven according to His good pleasure. Let’s make some observations of the text and the context.

First, Romans is neatly divided up into segments with chapters 5-8 dealing with sanctification salvation and glorification salvation. What is not under consideration is the believer’s justification salvation, which was addressed from 3:21-5:1. In the overall structure of the book, the common understanding of this referring to justification makes no sense. (Also, Paul never uses “salvation” to refer to justification in Romans.)

Second, chapter 8 tells us how to avoid bondage to sin as described in chapter 7. Reading through chapter 8 one gets a clear picture that avoiding bondage to sin (as a Christian) involves suffering and the need for perseverance (8:13,17,23,25). This comes only by walking in the Spirit (8:2,4,5, 6, 13).

Third, there are two conditions found in 8:28. All things work for good for those who:
1) “love God,” which not every believer does; otherwise Jesus would not have had to command the 11 disciples to love Him by keeping His commandments (John 14:21).
2) “are called according to His purpose.” God’s purpose is that the believer would be conformed to the image of Christ so that Jesus would be the “firstborn” among our brothers and sisters.

In context, the one who loves God and is persevering through suffering is the one whom the Lord uses to exalt Christ as being preeminent among other Christians. Through suffering and perseverance, this believer is growing and being fashioned into a greater representation of the Savior on Earth. This growth is observed by others and encourages them to exalt Christ Jesus our Lord. 

“Firstborn” is a term that would be very familiar to those with a Jewish background. The firstborn would receive a double-inheritance. Suffering and perseverance brings about a great reward as promised in Rom 8:17

This leads to the “calling” of that person for this reward. The person is then “justified” to receive it, which should not be confused with justification salvation. The word may be better translated “vindicated,” which is an acceptable rendering of this word, meaning that a “favorable verdict” has been reached on this suffering saint’s behalf. “Glorification” speaks to reigning with

Christ as referred to in Rom 8:17 and is the fulfillment of the “adoption of sons” in Rom 8:23

Finally, from 8:31-39, we find a reaffirmation of the fact that believers are on the side of God who serves as our Divine Provider (v.31-32). We see that no charge can be brought against us because all sin has been paid for and Jesus alone is the Judge, the only One with the right to condemn (v.33-34). From 8:35-39 Paul makes the case that nothing that this world will throw at us in the midst of suffering can separate us from God’s love because we are in Christ permanently. Everything from v.31-39 serves as an encouragement for the believer to press on even when times are hard. Not even death can annul God’s love for His children.

2 Thessalonians 2:13-15. Starting in 2:1-2, we see that the context leading up to the passage in question concerns the “coming of our Lord Jesus Christ,” and “our gathering together to Him,” also called “the day of the Lord,” meaning the rapture of the Church. 

Paul then addresses the “man of lawlessness/son of destruction” (2:3). At the moment, the Holy Spirit retrains the revealing of the “man of lawlessness” (2:6-8). When Christ comes again to the Earth, He will make an end of this man (2:9). This occurs at the end of the Great Tribulation. The personal responsibility of those who rejected the truth is found to be on their heads (2:10) and they perish as a result. Because of their rejection in hardening themselves to the love of God and refusing to be saved, God puts them under a delusion (2:11-12). 

Moving into 2:13, the word “chosen” may immediately jar us, but let’s consider the whole context before we make a premature judgment that God has chosen people for justification salvation. 

What “salvation” is Paul referring to in 2:13? _____________________

Notice that the “means” of getting to this “salvation” is through “sanctification,” which means “dedication to the Lord, consecration, purification,” being derived from the word that we get “holy” from (hagios- “set apart”). 

How this sanctification is accomplished is twofold. 

First, Paul mentions the “Spirit” being the Holy Spirit that indwells every born-again person. Second, Paul mentions “faith in the truth,” which we can understand as believing in God’s Word. It is the believer’s dedication to the Spirit and the Word that brings him or her to the “salvation” that being referred to. (The Spirit & the Word are the only necessary ingredients for one’s sanctification.) 

In 2:14 we get even greater clarification. “It was for this…” meaning this “salvation,” that God called them “through our gospel” for a reason: “that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Notice the condition used: “may gain,” meaning that we may not gain “the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The “salvation” that Paul is speaking of is glorification salvation, which by dedicated adherence to the Spirit and the Word, one “gains” as an end to the means that the believer undertook in this life. This would be the equivalent to entering into Life richly so as to receive an inheritance. 

2 Peter 1:2-11. In 1:2-3, Peter is praising God for His provision of everything we will ever need to live a godly life. In 2:4 he mentions “precious and magnificent promises,” which by holding fast to them, we can “become partakers of the divine nature,” meaning that faithfulness leads to greater intimacy with the Lord. This comes by rejecting the power of sin in our lives, due to worldly lusts, and our thinking being changed in light of these “precious and magnificent promises.”

In 2:5, the opportunity to partake is something that is earned through faithfulness to the truth. We are told to “supply” (“add, furnish”) certain qualities to ourselves (2:5-7). Peter states that IF these qualities are ours and IF they are increasing, we will be fruitful (2:8)! If we do not seek these, we are not operating as one who understands what Christ has provided for us (2:9). We are then called to be diligent concerning God’s “calling” and “choosing” of us (2:10). Why?

Notice that “practice” (“works”) is emphasized in 2:10. This practice keeps us from loosing our footing in the race so that we will have a rich entrance into the kingdom “abundantly supplied for you” (2:11).

“Election” is to a task, ministry, vocation, or calling. Christians have been called to greater intimacy through faithfulness to Christ and His Word. 

Defense of Free Grace Theology

23: FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 23 - Election

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

The Biblical Doctrine of Election- Election has become a battleground for many Christians, sparking carnal attitudes and hostile responses at every point of disagreement. We must remember two things: 1. the Bible gives us our theology, 2. We are to operate in love.

Abram leaves his hometown for a land that he did not know. This is the first mention of the concept of election. Genesis 12:1-3 shows the Land, Seed, & Blessing promises. While the words “elect,” “election,” or “chosen” are not used here, the concept is present. 

Nehemiah 9:7 states that “YHWH ‘bâchar’ Abram.” This word means “choose.”

Q: What was Abram chosen to?

The Law of First Mentions: “The first time a doctrine is mentioned typically defines a core element of that concept that is not lost as the progressive revelation in the Bible unfolds. The doctrine grows and develops, but the core concept remains the same.” Genesis 12:1-3 gives the first mention of the concept of “election,” with Nehemiah 9:7 verifying the Genesis passage as pertaining to “election.”

Traditionally, “election” has been taught as God’s choice of certain individuals for either Heaven or Hell based on nothing involving the individual (good or bad that they might do). It is God’s choice and He does as He sees fit. God’s choice was made before the individuals were born. It does not matter how many times someone hears the Gospel; If they are not “elect,” they will never believe because God has made it impossible for them to believe. It has been concluded 

that being spiritually “dead” is the same as being physically dead. God must “make them alive” (meaning “regenerate them”) and then give them faith as a “gift” so that they CAN believe. Ultimately, God controls who is saved and who is damned. 

Numbers 16:1-7. In v.2, “chosen” is quari meaning “called, summoned” while “chosen” in v. 5 and “choose” in v. 7 are yibhar which is derived from bâchar (Neh 9:7) meaning “choose.” Reading to the end of the chapter, Moses and Aaron were chosen by YHWH over Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. This is not about eternal salvation.

Deuteronomy 18:1-5 speaks of the choosing of the tribe of Levi.

Q: What was the tribe of Levi chosen to?

1 Samuel 10:24. Saul is the one “whom the Lord has chosen.” The same word (bâchar) is used.

Q: What was Saul chosen to?

In 2 Samuel 6:1, David assembles 30,000 “chosen” men. This is the same word (bâchar) but the idea doesn’t seem to be merely “chosen,” but “choice” men, meaning “preferable” which is a possible definition of this word. Even if the meaning is “those who have been chosen,” the idea is still the same. 

2 Samuel 6:21. David is clear that the Lord “chose” him over Saul. Again, the same word is used.

Q: What was David chosen to?

The word bâchar first occurs in Genesis 6:2 where the sons of God took of the daughters of men, “whomever they chose.”

Q: What were the daughters of men chosen to?

Isaiah 42:1-4. A “Servant” is identified as the “Chosen One.” We can conclude that this is Messiah.

Q: What is Messiah chosen to?

We can see that Abram, the Levites, Saul, David, David’s men, the daughters of men, and the Messiah were all chosen to a task, vocation, calling, or mission to fulfill. They were not chosen to go to Heaven or Hell when they died.

Additional Resources
Genesis 18:19
Luke 9:34-35

Strong's Exhaustive Concordance
The Strongest Strong's Exhaustive Concordance

22: Foundational Frameworks Part 22

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God's self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

Offerings and altars play a significant role throughout Scripture. in Genesis 3:21, the Lord kills two animals in order to properly cloth Adam and Eve. In Genesis 4:3-5 we see that both Cain and Abel brought offerings to the Lord, one being accepted, one rejected. In Genesis 8:20, Noah builds an altar and worships YHWH with sacrifices. Genesis 12:7-8 records Abram building altars to YHWH. We are told that Abram ”called upon the name of the Lord,” meaning that he worshiped YHWH. Genesis 22:9 involves Abram building an altar to sacrifice his son. These passages demonstrate that worship, offerings, and altars are all connected, expressing the deepest convictions of what one considers as true.

Today, offerings and altars are deeply ingrained into every one of us. We all feel the need to offer something. understanding of good and evil, desiring controlled by the fear of being rejected. Everyone has an inherent to be accepted. When someone and often does something wrong, a sense of guilt shows itself through the conviction of the conscience, the verbalization of an apology, the feeling of remorse, or an act of contrition in order to repay the damage done. We all live according to an altar and we all submit some sort of offering for the sake of acceptance. 

This is what is known as someone's worldview. A worldview involves how one perceives and interprets the world around them. It is the basis for one's convictions about reality. 

While we deal with these concepts on an ethical level, the underlying problem of the matter is actually spiritual. Try asking your neighbor what they believe about life after death. Chances are, you will get some response that considers their good works against their bad works. This is "living by the scales," weighing one's eternity by their actions. But this isn't just true for pagans. Every world religion holds to this concept. When a claim is brought against them, they ultimately appeal to all of the good that they have done in order to gain a "pass" in eternity. They simply are ”not as bad" as other people. Common examples would be ”karma" and Islam. Christians encourage such things as ”keeping the Ten Commandments," they place someone before the scales.

Eternal justice does not work this way. Every person has the penalty of death, the consequences of sin, and debt before the Most High God. This is astronomical in proportion, death. What we have, we don't want! bringing physical and spiritual

In Genesis 22, God provides a substitute in place "perfectly just," God must punish sin. He cannot of Isaac. Being ignore it or dismiss it. God is also perfectly loving, not wishing that any would perish in the Lake of Fire. A substitute punish us. is how God can punish sin, and not God's provided substitute is the Lord Jesus Christ. Because He is perfect, keeping God's Law perfectly, He has no guilt. He is righteous. He takes our sin, law-breaking, and guilt upon Himself and provides or us His guiltless righteousness. He dies as our substitute, taking our sin upon Himself. We live because of His death, and by faith in Him, we are perfect in God's sight, having the very righteousness of Christ. What we desperately provided freely.

Front-Loading- Requiring a portion of personal payment in order for one to be accepted before God. i.e. Christ is not enough.

Back-Loading- One's performance will evidence or prove that the payment was truly made. i.e. We aren't sure until we see change.

Colossians 2:13-14, shows that the offering of Christ has cleared the sin debt, penalty of sin, and consequences of being without grace of God is found in the power of the cross.

Additional Resources

Leviticus 17:11

21: Foundational Frameworks Part 21 - Believing God in Crisis

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 21

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

Genesis 21:1-7. After 24 years sojourning in the Land, and having the promise regarding the Land, the Offspring, and the Blessing (Gen 12:1-3), the Lord opens Sarah’s womb and she conceives in her old age. The child of promise arrives. They name him “Isaac,” which means “laughter” stemming from the comments that were made by both Abraham (Gen 17:17) and Sarah (Gen 18:11-15) in response to the unlikely nature of God’s promise. 

Sarah’s response to giving birth to a child in her old age is complete and utter joy (Gen 21:6)! When she tells of the promise that YHWH made and fulfilled to her, those who hear will be joyful as well (21:7). The gossiping, shaming, and condescension would stop (much like Elizabeth’s response in Luke 1:25). 

The name “Sarah” means “mother of nations” being changed from “Sarai” meaning “princess” (Gen 17:15). “Abram” meant “exalted father,” being changed to “Abraham” meaning “father of a multitude” (Gen 17:4-5). 

Genesis 22:1-3. Moses records a test. The child of promise had come, but now YHWH was asking for this same child to become an offering before Him at the hands of Abraham. God describes Isaac as “your son, your only son, whom you love” (“āhab,” meaning to love with a deep emotional attachment or desire). Abraham makes the necessary preparations, takes two of his men, and sets off to Mount Moriah, which would become Mount Zion, the place where King Solomon would build the first temple (2 Chr 3:1). Abraham is silent in response to YHWH’s command. 

How could God ask this of Abraham? For a moment, let’s put ourselves in his sandals. Would you offer up your child? What are your options?
     A. Obey God and lose the child that you had longed for, or
     B. Refuse to obey God, keep the child, and suffer the consequences of disobedience.
Both choices are deeply troubling. They are burdensome. God allows for such things, and will often call us to the impossible so that we can see Him work. This increases our trust and glorifies His name. He can and will give us more than we can bare, leaving us no other option to turn to Him (this should not be confused with 1 Corinthians 10:13).

Genesis 22:4-8. When they arrive at the location, Abraham instructs his servants that he and the boy will return to them. Why do we not read of Abraham’s emotional state? The narrative is missing any drop of turmoil or concern on Abraham’s part. When asked by Isaac (who has done an inventory of their gear), Abraham instructs his son regarding the Lord’s provision: “ “God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son” (Gen 22:8).
*Abraham is obeying what the Lord has asked, trusting Him for the necessities (Lamb) and the eventual outcome (salvation/rescue)!

Genesis 22:9-14. The altar is built, the items sorted, and Isaac is bound and placed upon it. Just as Abraham was to slay Isaac, the Lord calls out, stopping him. He states that now He “knows” that Abraham fears YHWH. Was this something that YHWH was unable to tell apart from this incident? Yes!
God is omniscient. He knows all things. He knows all things that will happen and could happen, both actual and potential. Nothing is hidden from His sight. However, God does not know everything experientially. He has never committed sin. He does not know how that feels. This is something that He has not experienced. Verse 14 shows the personal nature of YHWH who knows all things and is not confined by time, and yet walks beside Abraham in time through this ordeal. This concept should not surprise us, for in time and experience, God never knew what it was to die until the cross of Christ. 

When Abraham looks up, he finds that the Lord has provided a ram for the sacrifice to be offered. Instead of Isaac, the ram would be offered in his place, as a substitute, unto YHWH. This is foreshadowing to the substitution of Christ on behalf of sinners. We are told “The Lord Will Provide” (YHWH-jireh) becomes the name of this place.

Genesis 22:15-19. The angel of the Lord appears again to Abraham. We have further evidence that this is the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ due to the personal reference in v. 16 stating “By Myself…” In reading verses 16-18, we get the sense that the Abrahamic Covenant is conditioned upon Abraham’s obedience in being willing to sacrifice his son and not upon the unconditional act of YHWH in passing through the sacrificed animals in Genesis 15:17. How should we understand this? Is this a contradiction?

YHWH’s promise to Abraham consists of Land, Blessing, and Offspring (Gen 12:1-3). This covenant/contract is one regarding Abraham’s line and not so much Abraham himself. The Land would be inherited by His people, namely the nation of Israel. The Blessing would come through Jesus Christ, not Abraham. The Offspring are what come out of Abraham, he is not the fulfillment of the Offspring Promise himself. If Abraham would have withheld his son, his only son from sacrifice, the Promise would continue because it is unconditional in nature and rests upon YHWH alone to fulfill it. The blessings associated with that covenant promise would pass Abraham by and move on to his son Isaac. However, Abraham was faithful, thus the blessings are to be enjoyed by him.

Let’s stop and ask the question: What was going through Abraham’s mind that would lead him to move forward in offering up his son as a sacrifice that he would personally slaughter without any hint of emotional turmoil, anger, bitterness, refusal, or attitude on Abraham’s part?

Hebrews 11:17-19. The author of Hebrews reveals Abraham’s thought process to us. When picking up the knife to slay his son, Abraham was thinking about resurrection! He “considered” (“logizomai” meaning “to calculate, to give careful thought”- BDAG) that God’s Word was so certain, so sure (as plainly seen in the v. 18 quote of Genesis 21:12 which says, “through Isaac your descendants shall be named”), that YHWH would go to the lengths of raising Isaac from the dead in order to keep His Word. The lack of turmoil and anguish in the Genesis narrative is not because Abraham is a mindless robot unable to do anything but what God commands him. It is because he has been brought to the place in his thinking to where what God says has trumped everything else in his life’s circumstances that would seemingly come against it. God’s Word never fails, and death cannot deny its prevailing truthfulness.

It is this event that James draws from to demonstrate a beneficial (profitable) faith. “You see that faith was working with his works, and as a result of the works, faith was perfected; and the Scripture was fulfilled which says, ‘And Abraham believed God, and it was reckoned to him as righteousness,’ and he was called the friend of God” (Jas 2:22-23). Abraham was justified by faith in Genesis 15:6 before YHWH. His faith was vindicated before men in Genesis 22 when he trusted YHWH beyond the bounds of human rationality. Abraham’s works were done in faith of what God had said and in doing so, his faith matured.

In thinking biblically, God’s Word trumps all things that are seen and unseen, thought through, rationalized, and presumed, whether death, disease, famine, or pain. God’s Word is always true. 

 

20: Foundational Frameworks Part 20 (Updated)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK - PART 20

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.
God declares one righteous by faith alone, apart from works.

In justifying Abram, notice that YHWH asks for no commitment or change in behavior. It is by God’s grace, through Abram’s faith alone that he is declared righteous by YHWH.

Genesis 15:7-21. The Land Promise is reiterated (v.7). When Abram questions this 2nd promise (v.8), YHWH calls for a collection of animals, which are cut in half and placed opposite of one another to make a pathway. YHWH alone is taking on the full responsibility of seeing this covenant through to its completion (v.17). The division of the animals symbolizes the punishment one would incur for failing to fulfill the promise (v.9-10). It is at this moment in time that YHWH condescends, making a covenant/contract agreement with Abram (v.18). It is startling that Abram has no responsibility in the contract except to receive the blessings as YHWH fulfills it.

YHWH reveals the event of the coming Egyptian captivity, the exodus, His judgment on Egypt for their treatment of Israel (15:13-14; See also Gen 12:3), and the boundaries of the Land Promise (15:18b-21).

Genesis 16:1-3. While Genesis 12:1-6 was Abram’s inquiry into the offspring promise of YHWH, Genesis 16:2 serves as Sarai’s inquiry. We can hear the impatience in Sarai’s words, blaming the Lord for her barrenness. The word “prevented” in v.2 is asāra meaning “restrain, arrest, lock up, hold back” (BDB). Was the promise of God a certain thing? Did He really mean what He said? Since Sarai was not mentioned in the promise, could this offspring come from someone else? Hagar, who was acquired while Abram and Sarai were in unbelief in Egypt (Gen 12:10-16) is put forth as a means of perpetuating the seed of Abram. While this practice may seem detestable to western eyes, it was commonplace in the Middle East, even being condone by the Code of Hammurabi. Regardless of its accepted practice, it is an act of unbelief before YHWH and it overlooks the Pre-Fall Institution of Marriage being between one man and one woman (Gen 1:26-28; 2:23-25). Abram “listened” to Sarai rather than YHWH, showing a failure to set the course for his home as its leader. This took place ten years into their sojourning in the Land.

Note the profound lesson: bitterness is a sure catalyst to unbelief.

Genesis 16:4-6. Upon conceiving, Hagar’s view of her mistress changed, having acquired something that she could not. The word “despised” means “small, insignificant, accursed, to belittle” (BDB) and is used in the first occurrence of Genesis 12:3. This demeanor sends Sarai into a rage, blaming Abram for her decision. Sarai again brings the Lord into this, calling for His judgment in the matter.

We are told that Sarai dealt “harshly” with Hagar. This word could mean anything from humiliation to violence. Regardless, she flees.

Genesis 16:7-15. The angel (messenger) of the Lord is the pre-incarnate Christ. “I will greatly multiply your descendants” (v.10) would never be left to an angel, but God alone. She is directed to return to the camp and is given a great promise of offspring. The child will be named “Ishmael” meaning “the Lord hears” to commemorate Hagar’s cries to YHWH and His response to her situation. Verse 12 is most important! It displays the attitude of the nation that would come from him (12a), the action that he would take (12b), the reaction he would receive (12c), and the location of dwelling (12d). Keep in mind, when Scripture makes a prediction about someone, it can be fulfilled at a much later date when they have become a nation.

Ishmael is the father of the Arab Nations, which are largely Muslim and have settled in the east- Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Afghanistan, etc.

Genesis 16:16-17:1. It is deeply disturbing to see that YHWH did not talk with Abram for 13 years. The silence was deafening as Abram raised Ishmael, not realizing that the promise was yet to be fulfilled.

Additional Resources:
Logos Passage List

19: FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 19 - Justification

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 19

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good. Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Genesis 15:1-6. When Abram believed YHWH’s offspring promise and illustration (v.5), “He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (v.6).

Though Abram did not know how the specifics would be fulfilled, he trusted what God said. “Faith” is no different for us today. We all have a doctor who we don’t really know, who diagnoses us with an illness that we cannot spell, prescribes us medication that we cannot pronounce, and yet we swallow it for results that we do not yet see. In some way, we all live by faith. The point is the Object of our faith, not the faith itself.

The word “reckoned” means “to assign value, impute, to regard, to esteem” someone as something. The “it” refers to the faith that Abram had in God’s promise. Abram was now “credited with” righteousness. “Righteousness” deals with the idea of vindication and is a legal term referring to one’s acquittal of all guilt and condemnation before the Creator/ Judge of all things. Abram was cleared of all wrong in his standing before God. This does not mean that Abram never sinned after Genesis 15:6 (as seen in Gen 16:2-4; 20:1-18). However, it does mean that Abram stood in a position of spotless perfection before the Almighty.

This passage establishes the doctrine of justification. Charlie Bing writes, “justification is God’s legal act by which an unrighteous sinner who believes in Jesus Christ as Savior is declared righteous before God, because Christ’s righteousness is imputed to him.”1

Romans 3:19-28- Paul’s treatise on justification by faith alone.

YHWH is.jpg

Questions that are often asked in relation to justification

Q: How can a sinful person be made right with God?

A: Faith in Christ

Q: Doesn’t someone have to be a good person, believe the right things, and seek to live a good life in order to be right in God’s sight?

A: No. It is by faith alone- simply believing what God has said. In our Dispensation of the Church Age, our faith is a firm conviction in the fact that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the Living God who died for our sins and rose again (John 20:31; Rom 3:22-24).

Q: Isn’t that too easy, that God only requires “faith alone in Jesus Christ alone?”

A: What else would we bring to our salvation to make it more complete? What part of the requirement did Jesus miss? When something more than believing in Christ is required, we are saying that Jesus’ perfect work was imperfect, or lacking in some way. His remark upon the cross that “It is finished” (Jn 19:20) means “paid in full.” His sacrifice was a complete, sufficient payment for the sins of the world. “Faith” does not save us; it is simply the channel by which the perfect work supplied by Jesus is imputed/credited to us.

Q: Why does justification matter?

A: First, the assurance of salvation. God’s accepts us is based on the perfect work of Christ. God has subtracted our guilt and the penalty for sin and has added a right standing that cannot be taken away. This is certain glorification, the “hope of the glory of
God” (Rom 5:2). (Romans 5:1-4)

Second, we have an unshakable foundation for Christian growth. Being accepted in Christ, we do not work for God’s favor. Rather, we already have God’s favor in Christ, therefore we serve joyfully!

Third, we have peace with God (Rom 5:1), a present reality. We are no longer in rebellion against Him, but stand blameless on His side.

Fourth, open access to God’s presence (grace) at any time (Rom 5:2).

Fifth, in a position to actually handle trials (Rom 5:3).

Sixth, the opportunity for an approved standing at the Bema. “Proven character” speaks to Jesus’ approval due to perseverance (Rom 5:4).

Seventh, the opportunity to be delivered from God’s wrath by living out Christ’s LIFE! (Rom 5:9-10; See 1:18; 2:5). 

1 Charles C. Bing, “The Doctrine of Justification,” GraceNotes, no. 74.

18: Foundational Frameworks Part 18 - Faith

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 18

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Genesis 15:1-6. Abram is in a difficult position. YHWH has made a promise to give him offspring, but he is old and understands that his child-bearing years have probably passed him (or Sarai) by. Abram knows that it is the Lord alone who opens the womb. He fears that his inheritance will go to Eliezer (15:2), but YHWH reaffirms that his heir will come from his own loins. YHWH gives an illustration to reassure Abram. 

Abram is to look up at the stars (15:5). Could he count them? In the same way, he would have an innumerable amount of offspring. Abram’s response to this promise defines “faith” for us. “Then he believed in the Lord; and He reckoned it to him as righteousness” (15:6). This is the first mention of the word “believed,” meaning “confirm, support, sure, firm, established, verified, reliable.”
Abram was convinced of the object in question. 

God’s Word is the object of Abram’s faith. His conviction that what God said was true was met with YHWH declaring him as being “righteous” in His sight. Notice that the issue is not the QUALITY of Abram’s faith, but the trustworthiness of the OBJECT of his faith.

We actually see that Abram believed God when YHWH called him to leave Ur (Heb 11:8-10), but it is Gen 15:6 that is meant to capture our attention about the subject. This “first mention” of “believe/faith” is no different from how we should understand this word in the New Testament. 

If we were to look for a biblical definition of what “faith” means, Hebrews 11:1 would suffice: “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Two words have been placed in boldface type for our examination.

First, “assurance” is the word hupostasis meaning “guarantee of ownership/entitlement, title deed” (BDAG). It is translated as “confidence” in 2 Cor 9:4; 11:17 and “assurance” in Heb 3:14. The idea is that “faith” is a “firm confidence.” The second word under consideration is “conviction” being elenchos meaning “proof, evidence, conviction.” Thus, we see that “faith” is confidence and conviction in something. Other uses for “faith” would include “persuasion” (peithō, Acts 26:28), “reasoning” (Acts 18:4), and “believe” (John 3:16; 5:24). 

Faith is not a gift from God. Eph 2:8-9 is often used to promote the idea that God gives certain individuals faith as a gift and not others. In Greek, this is grammatically impossible. The demonstrative pronoun “that” is neuter, while “faith” and “grace” are feminine. “A rule of Greek grammar is that a demonstrative pronoun should agree with the gender of its antecedent.” Clearly, it does not. The supplied notation by the NASB translators gives the proper direction of thinking: Salvation is a gift from God. Why? Because He is not obligated to save anyone, yet He does, and that is grace!

How are People Saved? Chafer writes, “The Word of God is the agency by which faith is generated” (Sys. Theo. Vol. 1, p. 121). This is seen throughout the Bible. Romans 10:17; 1 Peter 1:23; James 1:18; John 5:24 are all clear that one must hear the Word, then they can believe. This has great implications on the importance of missions.

Salvation is by God’s grace and is all God’s work. This is communicated to us through His Word. “Faith” is a response to hearing the Word. When we believe God’s Word, He seals us for glory. This is the Order of Salvation (Eph 1:13).

17: Foundational Frameworks Part 17

 

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Bibe Atlas

Genesis 11:27-32. Terah had three sons: Abram, Nahor, & Haran. Haran dies in Ur of the Chaldeans (v.28). Joshua 24:2 tells us that Abram and Terah lived “beyond the Euphrates” and that Terah worshipped other gods. Acts 7:2-3 tells us that YHWH told Abram to leave his family and his country while he was still in Mesopotamia. Terah dies in Haran (Gen 11:32). There may be a good reason why.

Genesis 12:1-3. YHWH speaks to Abram. There is no indication that Abram had any previous history with YHWH, especially with his surroundings in Ur full of pagan idolatry. The call of Abram also begins a new dispensation, with YHWH “pulling back” from dealing with the whole world, and choosing one man through whom He would fulfill His plan. This is also the first glimpse into what would become the Abrahamic Covenant in Genesis 15. 

The promises unconditionally made to Abram are:
1. LAND- YHWH has real estate allotted for Abram and his offspring.
2. SEED- YHWH will multiply Abram’s offspring into mass proportions.
3. BLESSING- Abram’s line would be a blessing to the whole world.

All of history rests upon the fulfillment of these three promises. Their role in prophecy cannot be ignored. Hebrews 11:8-10 tells us that Abram went because he believed what God had told him. The problem was that he was to go with just Sarah and no one else. Both Terah (Abram’s father) and Lot (v.4) tagged along. Terah dies in Haran before they ever reach the LAND, and Lot’s presence causes disruption and conflict (Gen 13:1-13; 19:30-38, which gave way to the Ammonites and the Moabites, both being people that would cause Israel great trouble in the future). 

Notice that those who bless Abram (later Israel) will be blessed, but those that curse Abram will be cursed. The word “curse” occurs twice in v.3, with the first time being kalal meaning “belittle, to treat lightly, to hold in contempt.” The second use is aor meaning “to bind under a curse, to ban.”

There is a stern warning against treating Abram and his descendants lightly.

Genesis 12:4-9. Abram, Sarai, & Lot take all of their belongings into the land of Canaan. We are told that the Canaanites inhabited the land (v.6b) and that the promise of the LAND is reiterated to Abram, to which he erects two altars: 1 at the “oak of Moreh,” and one in Bethel. Abram worships YHWH in response to His great promises.

Genesis 12:10-13:4. There are two interesting points within these verses. First, due to a famine, Abram leaves the land that YHWH promised to him, and to which Abram responded in worship. Second, Abram lies about Sarai being his wife, which unleashes the hand of God upon Pharaoh. We have no record of Abram worshipping YHWH until Genesis 13:4, when he returns to the land. 

When God fulfills His Word, we must respond in worship!

The Dispensation of Promise
1. Responsibility- Israel is to be a blessing to the world (Gen 12:2b). Also, mankind is to bless Israel (Gen 12:3). Each command is separate having no contingency upon the other to be obeyed.
2. Failure- Israel leaves the Land for Egypt with YHWH’s blessing (Gen 46:3-4). Egypt enslaves Israel, bringing about the curse that YHWH promised (Gen 12:3). This was foreknown by YHWH (Gen 15:13-14).
3. Judgment- Egypt is judged so that their gods are made a laughing stock among the nations. Their record of history “disappears” for a time due to YHWH bringing their destruction (Ex 1-14).
4. Grace- YHWH does not annihilate the nation of Egypt. In fact, the Lord will “make Himself known to Egypt” and they will sacrifice unto Him after He sends them a Savior (Isa 19:21-22). Egypt will one day be called “God’s people” (Isa 19:25). How profound is His mercy!

Additional Resources:

Acts 17

Bible Atlas

16: Foundational Frameworks Part 16 - The Tower of Babel & Humanism

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 16

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

*Some of the notes are from the previous lesson. The Lord convicted me that teaching about the promise of His covenant with Noah and the incident in Babel would be too much. I have added some additional material to this lesson for better understanding.

Genesis 11:1-9. Man had one language (“lip”) and vocabulary. The declaration made is to build a city, a tower, and to make a name for themselves. The motivation: “otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (v.4b). This is the beginning of organized religion, being humanism, and is marked as a direct affront to the Most High God, characterized by the overflow of pride. (See Gen 9:1, 7). 

In 10:8-10, Nimrod is listed as a mighty hunter whose kingdom was Babel. This is the same region, later known as Babylon, and today is known as Iraq. If you are familiar with the name “Marduk,” this is the “god-form” that Nimrod supposedly took on after his death.  

Despite man’s efforts upward, YHWH must still “come down” to man (v.5). While man must “build” with bricks and mortar, YHWH creates out of nothing. Being one people and language, only the beginning of the evil that they would devise had become known. YHWH intervenes, dividing the languages, to save mankind from their self-serving humanism. The Human Government had failed to govern itself, allowing for Self to become the center of worship. 11:8 explains 10:11, why Nimrod left Babel and went to Assyria.
YHWH always overcomes man’s schemes to accomplish His purpose.

Humanism- “Secular humanism… attempts to see the worth of humans apart from any appeal to God. Thus humanists often suggest that value is completely intrinsic to the individual.”

On the website americanhumanist.org, we read, “Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without theism and other supernatural beliefs, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.”

The American Humanists Association’s by-line: “Good without a God.”

If YHWH determines what is good and right, how can one be good and right without Him? Would “TRUTH” not be up for interpretation? Ex. “As long as you don’t harm another person, you should do what you want.”
Says who?
Who made us the determiners of truth?

The Dispensation of Human Government
1. Responsibility- Man is to “be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Gen 9:7). Man is to judge good and evil, employing the death penalty if necessary (Gen 9:6).
2. Failure- Man neglects to judge evil, allowing for the building of a tower that is meant to establish man’s place as deity (Gen 11:4). This violates the responsibility to fill the earth because everyone is gathered in one place (Gen 11:2).
3. Judgment- YHWH scatters the people, confusing their languages (Gen 11:9).
4. Grace- YHWH narrows the focus of His mission by selecting a pagan from Ur named Abram with which to make His goodness known to the Earth (Gen 12:1-3).

15: Foundational Frameworks Part 15 - The Noahic Covenant and the Dispensation of Human Government

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 15

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Genesis 9:1-17. This is the Noahic Covenant. This covenant (contract) is unconditional, meaning that the fulfillment of it rests upon YHWH alone despite the unfaithfulness of the other parties involved, which (in this case) is the whole world. This contract is initiated by God’s grace, not human merit. YHWH personally describes the depravity of man’s condition (8:21). The Lord reiterates the command to fill the earth (v.1, 7). The fear of man is now in every animal (that’s why squirrels run away!), yet animals are now acceptable for food provided that one strains all of the blood (life) from the animal (See Genesis 4:10; Lev 17:11, 14; Deut 12:23). The Lord communicates that something must die so that we may live.

YHWH commands capital punishment for beast and man (9:6). This begins the new dispensation of Human Government. 

YHWH makes a contract with the world, stating that He will never again destroy the world through a global flood (v.9-15). This was alluded to before the Flood in Genesis 6:18. The rainbow is given as a reminder to all that God has promised mercy in spite of their corrupt and depraved natures. In a sense, this is a divine peace treaty, offered by the dominant king after a crushing victory.

Q: Will man govern his fellow man according to YHWH’s standards?

Genesis 11:1-9. Reading Ch. 10 would be beneficial because Ch. 11 fills in the gaps one finds when reading. Man had one language (“lip”) and vocabulary. The declaration made is to build a city, a tower, and to make a name for themselves. The motivation: “otherwise we will be scattered abroad over the face of the whole earth” (v.4b). This is the beginning of organized religion, being humanism, and is marked as a direct affront to the Most High God, characterized by the overflow of pride. (See Gen 9:1, 7). 

In 10:8-10, Nimrod is listed as a mighty hunter whose kingdom was Babel. This is the same region, later known as Babylon, and today is known as Iraq. If you are familiar with the name “Marduk,” this is the “god-form” that Nimrod supposedly took on after his death.  

Despite man’s efforts upward, YHWH must still “come down” to man (v.5). While man must “build” with bricks and mortar, YHWH creates out of nothing. The tense used in v.5 shows that the city and tower were already completed. Being one people and language, only the beginning of the evil that they would devise had become known. YHWH intervenes, dividing the languages, to save mankind from their self-serving humanism. The Human Government had failed to govern itself, allowing for Self to become the center of worship. 11:8 explains 10:11, why Nimrod left Babel and went to Assyria.
YHWH always overcomes man’s schemes to accomplish His purpose.

The Dispensation of Human Government
1. Responsibility- Man is to “be fruitful and multiply; Populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it” (Gen 9:7). Man is to judge good and evil, employing the death penalty if necessary (Gen 9:6).
2. Failure- Man neglects to judge evil, allowing for the building of a tower that is meant to establish man’s place as deity (Gen 11:4). This violates the responsibility to fill the earth because everyone is gathered in one place (Gen 11:2).
3. Judgment- YHWH scatters the people, confusing their languages (Gen 11:9).
4. Grace- YHWH narrows the focus of His mission by selecting a pagan from Ur named Abram with which to make His goodness known to the Earth (Gen 12:1-3).

 

14: Foundational Frameworks Part 14 (Sept. 10, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 14

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Genesis 7:1-15. Due to Noah’s righteousness in that corrupt age, the Lord provided a way of rescue for him and his family. The animals collected were 7 clean males and 7 clean females, and then 1 unclean male and 1 unclean female. The unclean were for repopulating the Earth, while the clean were for offering sacrifices to YHWH (Gen 8:20-21a). In v. 11, Moses records the exact date when Noah entered the ark according to Noah’s age. Moses is recording a historical event that is meant to be embraced, and even checked out according to its validity. We also see that water comes forth from two different directions. There is no evidence in Scripture that it had ever rained on the Earth before this time.

Genesis 7:16-24. The Lord closes the door of the ark. The water came forth for 40 days and nights, and prevailed for 150 days (7:24). The notion that this was a “local flood” is dispelled by v. 20, stating that the waters rose 22.5 feet higher than the tallest mountain peak. This would explain why the ark never collided with anything. We are told twice (v.21-22) that everything died.

Genesis 8:1-5. YHWH uses wind to begin evaporation. The “fountains of the deep” and the “flood gates of the sky” were closed after the 40 days (v.2). After 150 days, the water began to decrease (v.3). The ark comes to rest on Mt. Ararat, a range of mountains whose highest peak is 17,000 feet. After this, it took another 72 days for the mountain peaks around them to be visible. In all, the release of water lasted 40 days and nights, but the time that it took to subside was 5 months. 

Genesis 8:6-16. Finally, Noah could open the window. Doing so, he releases a raven (v.7) and then a dove three different times, yielding three different results, with the last being that the dove did not return (v.12). Noah then removed the covering of the ark, but remained, waiting another 57 days until the Lord commanded him to leave (v.13-15). 

Genesis 8:17-22. Once again, God commands for the Earth to be filled with offspring from both humans and animals. Most significant is Noah’s actions once he is off the ark… He worships! 

Noah builds an altar to the Lord and sacrifices the clean animals that he brought along with him. “Burnt offerings” were a voluntary offering. We are not sure what the specifics may have been before the Law, but a burnt offering involved the person laying their hand upon the head of the animal who became an atonement on the person’s behalf. The animal was then slain, skinned, and cut into pieces. Then the sacrifice was burned completely, but slowly, from morning until evening. This offering was considered an offering for consecration.

What is the present-day significance of the judgment of the flood?

 

IMG_20170513_114932.jpg
 

13: Foundational Frameworks Part 13 (Sept. 3, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 13

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Review: Man’s God-given directive was to “rule” (have dominion) over all of God’s creation (Gen 1:28). Mankind misused this responsibility, deciding to “rule” on a matter apart from God’s command (Gen 3:1-7). This choice resulted in a forfeiture of rulership, allowing for Satan to assume a ruling capacity in the world (Matt 4:8-9; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4; Eph 2:2). The “offspring” of Eve that would “bruise” Satan’s head is an immediate threat to his rulership. Therefore, Satan seeks to pollute the gene pool in order to thwart the promise of YHWH.

The entire narrative of human history is about the coming reign of the Kingdom of God, with Jesus Christ as its rightful king, to restore and reclaim what is rightfully His. This is the theme of Scripture.

Genesis 6:1-4. The multiplication of men is from the genealogy of Genesis 5 (“sons and daughters”). The “sons of God” are angels and not the sons of Seth’s line. 

Some deny this strange union because of verses like Matt 22:30 and Mark 12:25, stating that angels do not “marry,” but the context shows the time that Jesus is speaking about is the “resurrection” of men and that men will not marry after that time, but will be like the angels “in heaven.” Those angels that have stayed true to YHWH do not marry. Those who have rebelled, as seen in Gen 6:1-4, are awaiting judgment (2 Peter 2:4; Jude 6).

The pronouncement of YHWH in 6:3 gives the human race 120 years before He brings about judgment. Verses 4 & 5 give the supernatural and natural reasons for the coming judgment, respectively. This 120 years gives ample time to repent.

Moses notes that the Nephilim were on the Earth before and after the Flood. How is this possible considering only 8 people would be delivered from the coming judgment?
The word “Nephilim” means “fallen ones,” and are the result of the sexual union between fallen angels and human women. The KJV records them as “giants,” which is from the Septuagint. The idea (in Greek thought) is that the Nephilim were Titans, being half man and half god. Being men of “renown” means that they were an offspring with a reputation, one that merited judgment. 

How could such copulation take place? It is nothing out of the ordinary to understand that fallen angels can inhabit human beings. Because we are not really exposed to such a concept until Ezekiel and Daniel, it may seem foreign early on. However, the Bible is clear that demonic influence is behind much of the world’s powers and that sexual perversion is often linked to the demonic.

Their presence after the Flood may be in similarities, meaning that it was not the same race as the Nephilim before the Flood, but giants who were deemed Nephilim because it is the closest thing that could draw association. Otherwise, we must conclude that Satan sought to pollute the gene pool at another juncture after the Flood. (For more on the Nephilim, post-Flood, see Num 13:33; Deut 1:28; 2:10-11, 21; 9:2; Josh 11:21-22; 14:12, 15).

Genesis 6:5-9. Moses writes of the spiritual condition of humanity in those days. Living according to one’s conscience had failed. Everyone desired evil at their core (See also 6:11-12). V. 6 shows YHWH’s personal sorrow over mankind’s choice to sin continually. The notion that YHWH is “sorry” should not lead us to think that He is regretting His act of creation, but has regret over the choices of mankind. This word is translated as “repent” or “regret” in some versions. Some find this troubling because of verses like Num 23:19; 1 Sam 15:29; and Psa 110:4. However, the context of each passage will clear up any misconceptions, showing YHWH as making a pronouncement that He will not change His mind about. Here, He is “grieved” over man’s sin (also v.7).

In verse 7, YHWH pronounces a judgment. He cannot hide sin, nor disregard it. Sin must be brought to justice. 

Noah is different from the rest of the world. He “found favor” in God’s sight, meaning that God had grace on Noah. We learn that Noah “walked with God” much like Enoch did. This is shocking because it is Noah’s conduct that sets him apart and it is Noah’s conduct that causes him to “find favor” with YHWH (See also Ezekiel 14:12-20).

Immediately, we may object to this notion, but we must remember that they are operating in the Dispensation of Conscience where each man is to govern his life according to good or evil. The world was choosing evil and was meriting destruction. Noah was choosing to abide by his conscience and the Lord looked favorably (graciously) upon him. This situation has nothing to do with “heaven and hell” issues. We are talking about the physical loss of life as a result of rejecting divine truth from a gracious Creator. 

Some believe that the declaration that Noah was “righteous” and “blameless” (6:9) does not just speak to his conduct and actions, but also to the fact that his gene pool had not been polluted by the heinous evil that was taking place.

Genesis 6:10-17. YHWH provides 2 of 3 “divine assessments” regarding the condition of the Earth in v. 11-12 (The other being 6:5). YHWH tells Noah of the judgment to come and calls him to build a barge, as the dimensions would entail. God decrees that everything must die due to the rampant perpetuation of sin. With Noah, only one way is provided for salvation (escape, deliverance, rescue).

Genesis 6:18-22. Here we have the 1st mention of the word “covenant.” When we hear or see “covenant,” always think “contract.” YHWH is going to make a contract with Noah (Gen 9:8-17). YHWH tells him to gather food for himself and that two of every kind of animal will inhabit the ark with him, being male and female.

Noah believes YHWH. He does all that YHWH tells him to do.

Q: Where would we be in this account? Going into the ark or going into destruction?

Q: Do we sin too easily? Do we rarely struggle against temptation, choosing instead to fall into it? 

The Lord is looking to be gracious to His children, as He was to Noah for his faithfulness. 

The Dispensation of Conscience

1. Responsibility- Man is to live according to his conscience, now that he knows good and evil (Gen 3:22).
2. Failure- “every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5b, also v. 11-12).
3. Judgment- YHWH will bring a worldwide flood to destroy everything (Gen 6:13, 17).
4. Grace- YHWH spares Noah and His sons, as well as two of every kind of animal (Gen 6:18-20). 

 

12: Foundational Frameworks Part 12 (August 27, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 12

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Names in Scripture are significant. “Jesus” means “YHWH is salvation,” and “Barnabas” means “son of encouragement” (Acts 4:36). But what if God wanted to use the names of the generations of men to reinforce His promise to save?

Genesis 5:1-32. Each of the names used are significant.
Adam means _____________.
Seth means ________________________________________.
Enosh means _______________________________________.
Kenan means _______________________________________.
Mahalalel means ____________________________________.
Jared means ________________________________________.
Enoch means _______________________________________.
Methuselah means __________________________________.
Lamech means ______________________________________.
Noah means ________________________________________.

Putting these names together, we get a message. This is not a “Bible code,” nor is it straying from the literal meaning of the text, nor does it violate the single-sense of Scripture. This pattern is no different from the Psalms that have been written with every line beginning with a sequential letter from the Hebrew alphabet (Psa 9, 10, 34, 37, 111, 112, 119, & 145).
This chapter shows us the results of death, the longing for deliverance, and the promise of God remaining steadfast despite the amount of time that had transpired. 

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11: Foundational Frameworks Part 11 (August 20, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 11

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person, separating us from God.

Every problem has a communication breakdown at its core.

God has communicated His standard in the Atonement.
The problem is SIN. Adam’s solution was to hide, and then hide some more. Hiding is never the solution to sin. Sin must be dealt with accordingly in the direction of the One offended by it.
YHWH, though offended, shows how to sufficiently handle sin by bringing forth the blood of two animals. Sin requires Atonement. 

There are 3 points that God makes about the nature of atonement:
Substitution- Something living dies in place of the guilty party.
Propitiation- The offering satisfies the demands of a holy God.
Forgiveness- The debt has been met and is no longer an issue.

Atonement is always by blood. The blood is the Life (Gen 9:4; Lev 17:11, 14; Deut 12:23).

YHWH is communicating atonement to all of civilization by sacrifice. It is the only means whereby one can be reconciled to God. YHWH will not compromise His standards.

While the “blood of bulls and goats can never take away sins” because they must be continually offered (Heb 10:4), it does not change the fact that this is what God required at the time.

This has everything to do with Cain and Abel.
Remember, we are now in the Dispensation of Conscience.

Genesis 4

Genesis 4:1-4a. The 1st offspring of Eve is reflective of the promise made in Genesis 3:15. Eve “has assumed that Cain, her first child, was the promised God-Man. That she quickly realized her mistake is evident at the birth of Cain’s brother whom she names Abel, meaning ‘vanity.’” It seems that God communicated the requirement of an offering because both brothers bring something. The difference between their offerings is in the details! The “fat portions” are the “choice parts” -See Leviticus 3:16-17.

Genesis 4:4b-7. There has been much debate as to why Abel’s offering was acceptable and Cain’s was not. We find 2 reasons:
1. Abel’s offering was in keeping with God’s pattern for atonement in Genesis 3:21. God is communicating! Death is the price for sin. Blood (life) is the only means of sufficient payment.
2. Hebrews 11:4 tells us that Abel submitted his offering “by faith.” This shows us his conviction about the offering. Faith is “believing what God has said to be true.”

YHWH speaks as a loving Father to Cain, encouraging obedience. Cain is silent. YHWH warns of danger.

Genesis 4:8-16. Cain kills his brother. 1 John 3:11-12 reveals why. When asked, Cain shirks responsibility. The “life-blood” of Abel testifies to Cain’s guilt before YHWH. Cain is banished from God’s presence and from his family. Fearing for his life, God graciously marks him as untouchable with a sign.

Genesis 4:17-24. Cain’s choice had far-reaching consequences. His offspring became inventors of instruments and highly skilled in working with metals, but they also became increasingly violent, rejecting their conscience and establishing a legacy of evil. Lamech violates God’s marriage design, kills a man, and boasts about his notorious nature. Cain’s descendants were technically proficient but morally defunct.

Genesis 4:25-26. Adam & Eve are blessed with Seth, whose line shows that humanity had not totally rid themselves of reverencing YHWH. 

The phrase, “call upon the name of the LORD (YHWH)” is often used to signify a cry for deliverance out of calamity or distress. This can be seen in 2 Samuel 22:4, 7; Psalm 18:3, 6; 99:6; 118:5; Romans 10:10

Sin destroys relationships, even for years to come. It should never be regarded lightly.

Application:
-Obey God’s Word. Disregard leads to destruction.

-Our relationship with YHWH has nothing to do with others. Keep your eyes on Him.

-Anger is irrational when we have not followed His Word. Obeying Him clears the conscience and leaves a solid testimony with joy.

 

10: Foundational Frameworks Part 10 (August 13, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 10

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person.

Adam & Eve have gone from “very good” to spiritually dead.
Q: How is man’s “image and likeness” corrupted by sin?
1. MIND- Defiled! Moral and ethical judgments are made apart from a Divine standard. We see this in “You only live once” (YOLO) or “If it feels good, do it!” Responsibility and accountability are exchanged for “victimization,” “blame-shifting,” and excuses.
2. FEELINGS- Subjective over objective, (or in being like Satan) vanity overcomes sanity. Feelings rule our decision-making. This is most clearly seen in the refusal to forgive.
3. WILL- God allows us to make decisions, but these decisions are ruled by sin and self. “Self” is the authority, replacing a fear of the Lord (Prov 1:7).
4. BODY- Death is now the body’s promised end. This occurs by disease, accidents, murder, or simply by giving out.
Being “in Adam,” ALL (everyone except Jesus) are guilty of sin.

Genesis 3:8-24

Genesis 3:8-13. YHWH’s question is not a failure in omniscience and omnipresence, but draws attention to Adam’s current, self-inflicted state of being- separated from the One he had previously conversed with freely. Their view of God became diminished. YHWH must now deal with them as sinners. Adam and Eve respond with “victimization!” Ultimately, God is blamed. 

Genesis 3:14-19. Excuses are insufficient. Each party is held accountable according to YHWH’s standards. The serpent’s offspring are not “snake people,” but demons involved in a spiritual battle (warfare) with mankind. V. 15b points to Christ as God’s solution to sin. The context shows us that this “Seed” must be both physical and spiritual.
In the curse, women will now have pain in bringing forth children (affecting the family) and will seek to usurp the position of leadership in the marriage (affecting the marriage). The “desire” of v. 16b is not friendly but sinister! In v. 17-19, the ground will fight against man (affecting labor/work). 

Genesis 3:20-24. YHWH brings about the 1st physical death, seeing that their sin needed “blood atonement,” as well as the need for proper covering. Adam & Eve could not sufficiently cover themselves. God had to pay the debt and provide the covering. God saves because He is, as He has always been, man’s Provider.
The break in the sentence in 3:23 is abrupt. The conclusion being reached is horrible to utter. We might say, “Perish the thought!” If they were to eat of Tree of Life, being in their sinful state, they would be perpetually sinful without any hope of redemption. They are expelled from the garden for their own good, keeping them from an irreversible eternity of always sinful and never dying. The “sword” is first mentioned, being an instrument of death.

DISPENSATION OF INNOCENCE- Created without sin or shame.
A) Adam was told not to eat (Gen 2:17)- RESPONSIBILITY
B) They ate of the tree (Gen 3:6)- FAILURE
C) Cursed enemy, childbearing & marital problems, cursed ground & difficulty in work (Gen 3:16-19)- JUDGMENT
D) YHWH personally cloths Adam & Eve (Gen 3:21)- GRACE
*God cannot allow for sin to go unresolved. The very nature of grace is that another pays the price that MUST be paid.
DISPENSATION OF CONSCIENCE- They now know good & evil.
A) Man is to live by his conscience (Gen 3:22)- RESPONSIBILITY

09: Foundational Frameworks Part 9 (July 30, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 09

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.
Sin originates within a person.

Genesis 3:1-7

Genesis 3:1a. Satan manifests himself to Eve. The Hebrew word is “nachash” Hebrew does not originally have vowels, so the consonants would be “n-ch-sh.” The meaning could vary:
“nachash” meaning “snake” (noun)
“nochesh” meaning “the diviner” (verb)
“nachash” meaning “copper/bronze” (noun used descriptively)
We know from Isaiah 14:12; Ezekiel 28:13; 2 Corinthians 11:14 that Satan is a radiant figure. “Lucifer” = “light-bearer,” “shining one.”

Genesis 3:1b. Satan questions ___________ _____________. The idea that the Creator of language was somehow deficient in properly communicating with His creation is absurd.

Genesis 3:2-3. Eve is a victim of miscommunication. Either Satan’s query confused her, or what she received from Adam was flawed. Regardless, her response misrepresented the truth altogether.

Genesis 3:4-5.  Satan lies! Every lie that he tells has an inkling of truth. Which part is true and which part is a lie?

Genesis 3:6. Three reasons are given for Eve’s choice. God reveals to Moses the thought process of Eve! Compare this with Genesis 2:9. What do we learn?

The choice for Eve was to:

  1. Believe what God had said, or
  2. Believe was Satan was saying.

Only one could be right. There are not “many truths.”

Genesis 3:7. “they knew they were naked”- Heb. “e-rom” meaning “naked, bare.” VERY different from Gen 2:25, “a-rom” meaning “naked, lightly dressed.” What happened?

Man and woman had never known fear, shame, and guilt before. The reactions we have to these emotions is to hide, and/or to try and provide a means of acceptability for ourselves. 

This results in covering up (“suppress”) the truth. 

Fig leaves are the best that man can come up with to cover himself. It is man’s first attempt at “being right” with God, being completely insufficient in what it is seeking to accomplish.

Anytime we conjure our own covering or seek to cover up the truth, we demonstrate ___________________.

 

08: Foundational Frameworks Part 8 (July 23, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 08

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.

There are two prominent passages that deal with the Adversary of YHWH Elohim (the LORD God). The first provides his origin, privilege, and personal responsibility. The second displays his pride.

Ezekiel 28:11-13. As noted in Part 03, this passage is difficult to interpret because of its address to the “king of Tyre” (v.11), and the qualities of “blamelessness” and “perfection” that are ascribed, with the subject’s location being “in Eden, the garden of God” (v.13), which had long since been removed by the flood. We are also told that this being was “created” (v.13) and not eternal. While a literal king may be in view, Satan would be the influence behind his throne.

Note the physical brilliance and luminance that this creature has been given. He is also exceedingly intelligent (v.12b). 

Ezekiel 28:14-16a. This “anointed cherub” was a guard, having responsibility before God, being placed by Him in that position (v.14). Clearly, something other than a human being is in mind. “Blameless” in v.15 does not mean perfect but “complete, free of blemish.” Only God is perfect. 

Verse 15 reveals something pivotal that is often overlooked:

Sin originates within a person.

The NASB notes that he was “internally filled” with violence. This means that it was found to be at the center of his being. 

The word “sin” means “missing a goal, mark, or expectation.” Sin can only be understood in light of the moral declarations of YHWH Elohim.

Ezekiel 28:16b-19. God issues immediate judgment, casting this cherub away from the “mountain of God” and being “banished” (“destroyed”- NASB, ESV, NKJV) from the “stones of fire.”

The reason for this expulsion is that vanity had eclipsed sanity. This angel will be put on public display and humiliated before the “kings” (v.17), which are faithful believers at the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Satan will be banished forever (Rev 20:7-10).

Isaiah 14:12-15. While addressing the “king of Babylon” (v.4), v.12-15 show a shift in the subject being addressed. Just as with Ezekiel 28:11-19, we see that Satan is in view, being the elohim behind the king of Babylon. “Babylon” is today known as Eastern Iraq/Western Iran. Anyone that has paid attention to history or current events can easily see the satanic influence coming from this part of the world.

Satan pronounces five “I will” statements, all of which originate in his heart (v.13). Each is bursting with pride and discontentment regarding his position before YHWH. As seen before, Satan is “thrust down” (v.15), losing his privileged position.

It is this loss of authority that fuels Satan’s hatred for YHWH, which also fuels his schemes against the first man and woman in the Garden of Eden.

If Satan is the enemy of God, he is our enemy as well. We are told in 1 John 3:7-8 that Jesus Christ came to destroy the works of the devil. He alone is the divine solution to this supernatural problem.

 

07: Foundational Frameworks Part 7 (July 16, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 07

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.
Man is a responsible agent, held to a moral standard.

Genesis 2:18-20. God makes a moral declaration concerning Adam’s relational condition. In the Hebrew, “not good” is placed at the beginning of the sentence for emphasis. 

Adam is given the opportunity to exercise his right of dominion in naming the animals. God named the Day, Night (Gen 1:5), Heavens (Gen 1:8), Earth (Gen 1:10), and Man (Gen 5:2). 

Despite his furry companions, there is not a helper found among the existing creation that is considered “fit” (“suitable, that which corresponds to”) him.

Genesis 2:21-22. Woman is a part of man. (This does not mean that every man now has one less rib!) The use of the term “helper” throughout the remainder of the Old Testament is largely in reference to the Lord God (1 Chron 12:18; Psa 118:7; Hos 13:9).

Q: What is a “divine institution?”
A God-ordained system that was mandated before the Fall.

Divine Institution #3- MARRIAGE- Intimacy is Mandated

Genesis 2:23-25. Woman is God’s solution to man’s lonliness.

The Law of First Mentions- The first time a concept or word is mentioned in Scripture serves as the basis for how that concept or word should be understood.

In this situation it is clear that:
1) Marriage is between those of the opposite sex (v.23)
2) Marriage is one-to-one in its inception (v.24-25)
3) Marriage is apart from the father and mother (v.24)
4) Marriage is a “cleaving” (“joining”) of the man to the woman (v.24)
5) Marriage is signified, not by a ceremony or official document, but by consummation.
6) In marriage, nudity is acceptable and to be enjoyed (“not ashamed”- v.25)
7) It is the model of one man and one woman that Jesus affirms (Matthew 19:4-6)

One of the greatest tragedies of the past 1500 years is that the Church has been silent on the subjects of sexual intercourse and sexuality.
The result has been rampant fornication, teenage pregnancy, a rise in STD’s, abusive priests, pregnant nuns, paralyzed wives, guilt-ridden husbands, homosexuality, pornography, and many other distortions and perversions of what God has made as “good.”

“Jesus declared us ‘salt of the earth’; we can’t remove society’s only preservative without expecting the meat to rot.”

If the Church is not around to tell God’s perspective on sex, how will anyone ever understand the beauty and truth about it?

Paul addresses this situation in 1 Corinthians 7:1-9.

 

06: Foundational Frameworks Part 6 (July 9, 2017)

FOUNDATIONAL FRAMEWORK. PART 06

Foundational Truths: The Bible is God’s self-revelation.
God is the Eternal, Sovereign Creator; all that He creates is good.

Genesis 2:1-17

Genesis 2:1-3. God rests from His work. God is pictured as a laborer. The 7th day is “set aside” from common use.

Genesis 2:4-7. “Toledoth” structure introduced. God’s proper name is used- YHWH. Found 6,823 times in the OT. His name could mean: “I AM,” or “I cause to be.” Jews avoided using YHWH, opting for Elohim or Adonai (Lev 24:16).

Genesis 2:8-14. YHWH creates a perfect environment to establish responsibility for His special creations. Two trees are mentioned. 

Q: What is a “divine institution?”
A God-ordained system that was mandated before the Fall.

Divine Institution #2- LABOR- Responsibility Mandated

Genesis 2:15. Adam is to “cultivate” (“tend, serve”) and “keep” (“watch, preserve, protect”) the garden. Food is in abundance. Only 1 prohibition is given (v. 17).

Genesis 2:16-17. God shown to be a loving Father in 3 ways.
1. He encourages freedom (“any tree of the garden…eat freely”).
2. He sets boundaries (“you shall not eat…”).
3. He spells out the consequences for violating the boundaries (“you will surely die”).
This is a good model for parents of every generation.

Responsibility has been placed into the hands of man. He has been commissioned with a task, supplied with everything that he needs to be successful, and given one requirement in avoiding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

DEATH is the consequence for disobeying God’s command(s). DEATH always means “separation,” never cessation. There are three types of DEATH that would take place if Adam disobeyed:

1). Spiritual- Man’s spirit would be separated from God.
2). Physical- Man’s spirit would be separated from his body.
3). Eternal- Man’s spirit, soul, & body would be separated from God forever.

What is a Dispensation? -A “a period of time during which man is tested in respect of obedience to some specific revelation of the will of God.” -Scofield Reference Bible
-A dispensation reveals the way that God desires to run the economy of history during that particular period.
-A dispensation always involves God’s relationship to man.

Within a Dispensation, a pattern can be found…
1. Responsibility- Man is accountable to uphold or fulfill something
2. Failure- Man fails at upholding his responsibility
3. Judgment- God holds man responsible for his failure
4. Grace- God lavishes favor upon man despite his failure

FIRST DISPENSATION- INNOCENCE    
Adam and Eve are sinless. God fellowships with them perfectly. Having “dominion” (Gen 1:26, 28) is God’s mission for man on Earth. This may be because Satan has rebelled and God is using “lesser creatures,” inviting them to be his viceroys on the Earth.

Fulfillment of this brings God glory and His glory is the chief pinnacle of all history and eternity!
The responsibility before man is abstaining from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil.