Posts Tagged Israel

Hebrews Bible Study-Week 2

I know it’s been three weeks since I published Hebrews Bible Study-Week 1, but the first Wednesday of the month our church has a church-wide Night of Worship, so there was no meeting that Wednesday. The second Wednesday, we had several out, either sick or ministering out of town, so last Wednesday was actually just our second real week of study.

We picked up on the theme of a lawyer building a case from Week 1. The author is making the case for “the Son.” In chapters 1 & 2, the Son is depicted as greater than the angels, which in the ancient Jewish culture would have been extremely significant. Now, in chapter 3, the Son is depicted as greater than Moses. This would have been just as significant, if not more so, than being greater than the angels given Moses’ status in the Jewish tradition.

Also, we are introduced to the Son, and the author for the first time asserts that Jesus is the Son. We are advised to guard against hard hearts, which are the result of unbelief, so that we may enter God’s rest, unlike the Israelites in the days of Moses. We also learn that sin lies. The very nature of sin is deception, which goes hand-in-hand with unbelief and hard hearts.

Chapter 4 confirms that the promise to enter His rest is still available, and this is one instance in which we are permitted to fear – the fear of not entering God’s rest. Actually, this is also one of the few things in scripture for which we are encouraged to labor. Thus, we are to rest from our works, but work to enter into that rest. A beautiful and thought-provoking paradox that makes perfect sense.

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Hebrews Chapter 4-Study Notes

These are my study notes for Hebrews Chapter 4. I don’t know if they will make much sense to anyone else, but if they are helpful to anyone feel free to use them.

The scripture references and discussion notes should have aligned with the appropriate scriptures, but I lost that somehow when I loaded the table into my blog. On the left is, obviously, the Bible text, the center column contains the scriptures I referenced or wanted to reference, and the right-hand column has discussion topics.

Hebrews 4 (NASB)

1 Therefore, let us fear if, while a promise remains of entering His rest, any one of you may seem to have come short of it.

2 For indeed we have had good news preached to us, just as they also; but the word they heard did not profit them, because it was not united by faith in those who heard.

3 For we who have believed enter that rest, just as He has said,
“AS I SWORE IN MY WRATH,
THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST,”
although His works were finished from the foundation of the world.

4 For He has said somewhere concerning the seventh day: “AND GOD RESTED ON THE SEVENTH DAY FROM ALL HIS WORKS”;

5 and again in this passage, “THEY SHALL NOT ENTER MY REST.”

6 Therefore, since it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly had good news preached to them failed to enter because of disobedience,

7 He again fixes a certain day, “Today,” saying through David after so long a time just as has been said before,
“TODAY IF YOU HEAR HIS VOICE,
DO NOT HARDEN YOUR HEARTS.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, He would not have spoken of another day after that.

9 So there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God.

10 For the one who has entered His rest has himself also rested from his works, as God did from His.

11 Therefore let us be diligent to enter that rest, so that no one will fall, through following the same example of disobedience.

12 For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

13 And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are open and laid bare to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do.

14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.

15 For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.

16 Therefore let us draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.

Scripture Refs.: 4:4-11 – Exodus 20. The Ten  Commandments, included is the command to rest. Discussion Notes: 4:1-3-“promise remains of entering His rest” – fear falling short of rest.

4:3-His works finished.

4:6-“failed b/c of disobedience” – entire generation died before entering promised land.

4:7-11-“Today”-promise is available today, right now for us to enter into His rest.

— “let us be diligent to enter that rest” – What are we to work for? To enter into rest.

4:15-Again, tempted in every way, yet w/o sin.

4:16-we are to draw near w/ confidence, SO that we can receive mercy and grace.

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John Bolton has a Good NYT Op-Ed Piece on the Israel-Iran Standoff

John Bolton has a nice op-ed piece on the whole Israel and Iran nuclear standoff that’s worth reading.

His conclusion:

Absent Israeli action, prepare for a nuclear Iran.

To which, I can only say, “Well, duh!”

I don’t mean to make light of the situation, and, in this instance, I agree with Mr. Bolton. But, this is one we should have all seen coming from a mile away

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I’ve Got to Give My Readers a lot of Credit

I’ve got to give my readers a lot of credit for being such an insightful and discerning bunch. The best evidence for this is found in the comments (and a little reading between the lines):

Post – Number of Comments to Date:

So much for trying to get you guys involved in current events. It’s arguments, silly facebook quizzes, and spur of the moment theological questions from now on.

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Hamas Says Israel is Distributing Gum to Boost Sex Drive of Youth in Gaza

This is even funnier than the Jerusalem Post story about the KKK leader who was apprehended in Israel I wrote about this morning.

Hamas is accusing Israel of distributing chewing gum that boosts the sex drive of youth in the Gaza Strip. While I suspect the Israeli government would love for young men in Gaza to take a “chill pill,” I doubt this is what they had in mind. I think in the long run it would be counterproductive.

There has been no official comment from the IDF, but a military source called the allegations “absurd.”

But, I will say this, the next time I’m in Israel forget the olive oil, wine, and souvenirs, I’m stocking up on gum.

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KKK Leader Arrested In, Of All Places, Israel

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that a high-ranking member of the Ku Klux Klan, who is wanted on charges in the US, was arrested in, of all places, Tel Aviv, Israel.

Mickey Louis Mayon, who was arrested Monday, is one of America’s 100 Most Wanted for assault, setting fire to vehicles belonging to federal agents, and other violent crimes. Apparently, Mayon fled to Israel in 2007 using a one-way ticket.

Perhaps this was his attempt at voluntary rehabilitation.

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Will There Be an End-Times Revival?

In a friendly discussion with my blogging buddy Polycarp over at The Church of Jesus Christ on his post Charismatic Movement: Alive or Dead?, we each agreed to write posts about whether there will be an end-times revival.

You can find his excellent post here, wherein he very skillfully maintains there will not be an end-times revival. Surprisingly, however, despite my task of demonstrating that there is scriptural authority for an end-times revival, I must confess that there is not much in his post I disagree with, other than the ultimate conclusion, of course.

I think a few issues get confused when discussing this subject matter thereby creating distinctions, whether with or without real differences. First of all, I agree with Polycarp that the last days will be very difficult:

[Paul to Timothy] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. 2 Timothy 3:1 (KJV)

I do not, however, see these (difficult times and end-times revival) as being mutually exclusive. Whether you believe we are in the midst of the last days or not, I think most would agree that these are perilous times and that there is a considerable revival taking place right now in places like South America, China and other parts of Asia and Africa. So, both are indeed possible.

I think, too, the term “revival” is used loosely suggesting some sort of spiritual resurrection, which I firmly believe will happen (more on that in a moment), but it also gets used to suggest some worldwide mass coming to Jesus. I’m less comfortable with the latter because I’m not entirely sure scripture goes that far, but I don’t negate the possibility. Therefore, to the question of whether the end-times revival will be worldwide or include mass numbers, I must simply answer, “I don’t know.”

With that in mind, the most widely used scripture to support the notion of an end-times revival is found in Joel 2:

28 It will come about after this That I will pour out My Spirit on all mankind; And your sons and daughters will prophesy, Your old men will dream dreams, Your young men will see visions.

29″Even on the male and female servants I will pour out My Spirit in those days. The Day of the LORD

30″I will display wonders in the sky and on the earth,

Blood, fire and columns of smoke.

31″The sun will be turned into darkness

And the moon into blood Before the great and awesome day of the LORD comes.

32″And it will come about that whoever calls on the name of the LORD will be delivered…

My friend correctly points out that in Acts 2 Peter applies this passage in Joel to the outpouring of the Holy Spirit experienced by Peter and the others on the day of Pentecost. However, I see this as the beginning of the outpouring referenced in Joel and not the end.

In support of this, it seems that Joel 2:31 is a parallel prophecy to Revelation 6:12 where, “The sun turned black like sackcloth made of goat hair, the whole moon turned blood red…” (NIV), which suggests to me that the outpouring of the Holy Spirit began, and did not culminate, at Pentecost. The culmination to come “before the great and awesome day” when the Lord comes.

Moreover, I find no where in scripture where this outpouring comes to an end. Lastly, at the time of Pentecost, Peter had no indication yet that the Gentiles were some how going to be a part of God’s plan. His encounter with Cornelius and strange bedclothes had yet to occur, and He specifically addresses “Men of Judea” and “Men of Israel.”

Thus, the pouring out on all mankind, while appropriate to Peter’s sermon as the beginning of said outpouring, must have been still future in its completion.

I have always found that on questions of church theology, the book of Romans seems to provide most of the answers. On this question of theology, Romans 11 I think provides the clearest instruction.

First, and as an aside, albeit an important one, Paul cites Joel  2:32 in eliminating the distinction between Jew and Gentile in Romans 10:13. It is apparent that Paul viewed Joel’s prophecy as continuing and still future.  More importantly, Paul explains:

11 I say then, they did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous. 12 Now if their transgression is riches for the world and their failure is riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their fulfillment be!…15 For if their rejection is the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance be but life from the dead?

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-so that you will not be wise in your own estimation-that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and so all Israel will be saved; just as it is written…” (NASB)

If Israel’s rejection of Christ meant my reconciliation, what must their acceptance be? Paul equates it to life from the dead. That sounds like a revival to me. I would love to be around when, “all Israel will be saved.”

Admittedly, I think there are a lot of when, where, and how’s that need to be worked out, but it seems to me that the end-times revival is the answer to the falling away, apostasy and lawlessness to come. Jesus instructs us, “This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:14 (NASB)

All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to Jesus, and we are to:

19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that [He] commanded [us]; and lo, [He] is with [us] always, even to the end of the age.” Matthew 28:19 (NASB)

I see it this way: the prophecied gloom and doom are the symptoms, the end-times, worldwide revival we are charged with carrying is the cure. Sure, some folks will not take their medicine, ignore their ailments, or seek help elsewhere, but among those who find Jesus, there will most definitely be revival.

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