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Posts Tagged ‘dabar’

Elijah The Widow And Divine Election 1 Kings 17

Posted by Job on January 4, 2012

But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, [a city] of Sidon, unto a woman [that was] a widow.

In Luke 4:26-27, our Lord and God Jesus Christ tells us that God sent Elijah to a Gentile widow woman as opposed to a member of His elect nation. When His fellow Jews were reminded of this fact, they became enraged at Jesus Christ and attempted to murder Him. The reason – or the context – was that Jesus Christ challenged their presumptuous attitude towards God and their standing with Him; an attitude that was due to their faithlessness. Israel had placed their trust in the intellectual knowledge that they were the children of Abraham, as opposed to spiritual revelation concerning God’s nature. Hence is the difference between mere belief – which followers of Jesus Christ in in Name only possess (see the goats of Matthew 25:31-46) – and saving faith. The former is artificial, is the product of human reason and emotion, and does not endure until the end. A great example of this is the case of Simon the sorcerer in Acts 8:9-24, who made a human response to the gospel of Jesus Christ and the miracles worked in His Name – the Bible text says that he believed and was baptized – but never experienced new birth, as the apostle Peter testified that his heart was not right and he needed to experience true repentance. (Opponents of the so-called Lordship Salvation doctrine need to take note of Simon Magus). The latter is given only by God, and it always produces true repentance and legitimate salvation from which none can fall away.

Hence we should not be surprised that God sent Elijah to this widow woman. For though Israel was God’s elect nation, not all of Israel was elected unto eternal salvation. An example of this is Judas Iscariot, a Jew whom the Bible explicitly states is eternally damned to hell fire. Further, it is also clearly plain from the Bible that those elected by God unto salvation are not limited to national Israel. This is true of both New Testament times and Old Testament times. The signs are there that God sent Elijah to this widow woman because she was an elect Gentile, and hence a true daughter of Abraham and part of spiritual Israel, Israel of God as described by Paul in Galatians 6:16.

First, consider that this woman knew of God’s nature. In 1 Kings 17:12, this woman swore by God using Yĕhovah ‘elohiym chay, meaning as YHWH lives. By giving an oath upon this divine attribute, she recognized the God of Israel as the living God. Now contrast this with Darius, the pagan king of Medo-Persia during the time of Daniel. He referred to the God of Israel as the living God in Daniel 6, but he did not use the divine name (instead he used a more generic term for deity), further Darius was a polytheist, meaning that he believed in other gods (as evident by Daniel 6:7). Note that the decree of Darius in Daniel 6:25-28 commanded that everyone worship the God of Daniel, but (despite the claims of VeggieTales) did not command that YHWH be worshiped exclusively. Worship of other deities was still allowed, and in a polytheistic nation like Medo-Persia, it was obviously going to happen. Yet this widow woman made no reference to other gods, including the false deities of her own country and people. Thus, the knowledge of God of this widow woman exceeded that of King Darius.

Second, this woman obeyed the commandments of God. She knew that Elijah was an Israelite, and suspected him to be a prophet. When Elijah told her to feed him first with her last portion of food, and then feed herself and her son, against all reason and human nature, she obeyed God’s prophet, and through that action obeyed God Himself. She did this obedience through faith, even though it was yet in a seed form. And again, contrast the faithful obedience of this Gentile woman to the faithless rebellion of national Israel (save for the faithful remnant reserved for God by God’s divine decree) and also of those who claim to be Christians but are not like the goats of Matthew 25:31-46.

Third, this woman was aware of her sin condition before God, and it vexed her to a condition of penitence. This is in contrast with the self-righteousness of the Pharisees and Essenes in the time of Jesus Christ, and of Christians who believe in Jesus Christ only through the power of their own flesh (again i.e. Simon Magus). We know this because when her son died, the first thing that she attributes this great calamity to was her own sin (1 Kings 17:18)! She did not blame God directly by accusing Him, or blame Him indirectly by attributing this tragedy to the unfairness of life, but she asked if God sent His prophet to her to bring about the death of her son as punishment for her sins! And in this, she did not deny being sinful, nor did she deny the propriety of God’s punishing her for her sins!

In all of Israel, was there anyone who had this type of knowledge of the holiness of God, the sinfulness of man, and how sin has its wages, which is death? And how could anyone, whether Jew or Gentile, have this awareness except by divine revelation? And be not deceived, the knowledge of one’s sinful condition that causes true repentance comes only by Holy Spirit conviction! The Holy Spirit convicts the sinner of his sin, gives the sinner the faith to believe the gospel, and then regenerates the sinner. We see in this narrative that this woman already knew of God and His nature, already knew of her sinfulness (and hence God’s holiness) and already knew of the dire consequences. Now we are beginning to see why God’s prophet was sent to this Gentile woman!

Finally, this woman sees the power of God, the revelation of God, through a miracle: the resurrection of her son. Now keep in mind: national Israel had seen the mighty works of God before and rebelled anyway, including virtually everyone who came out of Egypt. That generation perished in the desert because they lacked true God-given faith, and as a result fell away and tried to stone Moses and go back to Egypt! And in Elijah’s time, Israel SAW God miraculously expose and defeat the prophets of Baal, yet they (again save a remnant that God reserved to Himself, see Romans 11:4 and 1 Kings 19:18) soon began serving Baal again anyway! So where the non-elect have God revealed to them to no lasting positive effect (i.e. those who do not respond to the preaching of the gospel of Jesus Christ) because of their faithless condition, this woman responded by saying that Elijah is a prophet of God and that the word of the Lord in his mouth was true.

Please do not walk away believing that this woman merely attested that Elijah was a reliable fortune-teller and wonder-worker after the fashion of not a few pagans. This woman spoke “dabar Yĕhovah peh ’emeth.” Ignore peh which only refers to Elijah being God’s vessel. Instead, focus on dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth. This means “the word of God is truth.” Again, she explicitly stated YHWH, the divine Name, which refers to the Holy Trinity and not merely God the Father (as some, including the Jehovah’s Witnesses cult and the equally false modern Judaism religion, mistakenly believe). “Dabar” means “word.” As we know from John 1 – and the apostle directly translated “dabar” into “logos”, and we know this from his citation of Old Testament texts – “dabar Yĕhovah” means “the Word of God.” The Word of God is none other than Jesus Christ. Emeth means “truth.” Hence when this woman exclaimed  dabar Yĕhovah ’emeth she stated “the Word of God is truth”, or “Jesus Christ is truth.” Thus, this woman bore witness of Jesus Christ, a true personal witness that could have only come by the Holy Spirit, and this is so both the Old Testament and New Testament dispensations (for lack of a better term).

Do you doubt? Well, emeth does not only mean “truth” or “true.” It can also mean “faithful.” So, who is referred to in the Bible as “faithful and true”? Why Jesus Christ in Revelation 3:14 and19:11. This Gentile woman in essence referred to two of the Names of Jesus Christ given in the Holy Spirit-inspired scriptures: the Word of God and Faithful and True!

So, she knew of God and His attributes. She obeyed God because of this belief. She knew of God’s holiness and her sin, of the consequences of this sin, and was truly repentant because of it. And she believed in – and publicly testified of – Jesus Christ. The only thing that this woman lacked from the salvation process given in the New Testament was those things that had not yet come to pass (the incarnation and passion of Jesus Christ) and yet her words lacked even less than many conversion techniques and pitches common in evangelical Christianity today! Hence, this widow woman was an Old Testament saint. And it was to this Old Testament saint, whose status as such was by the election and predestination of God the Father from the foundation of the world, that God’s prophet was sent despite her not being a member of national Israel. And therefore this widow woman was an Old Testament example of the New Testament doctrine given in Romans 10:12-13, Galatians 3:28-29, and Colossians 3:11.

For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye [be] Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond [nor] free: but Christ [is] all, and in all.

Be not deceived: though Elijah was not sent to a member of national Israel, he was definitely sent to a member of spiritual Israel. Whether Jew or Gentile, it is imperative that one must be a member of spiritual Israel so that one can reign forever with Jesus Christ in New Jerusalem and avoid the wrath certain to come to those who are not members of this spiritual nation. If you wish to join Israel of God but do not know how, please read:

The Three Step Salvation Plan

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Posted in Bible, Calvinism, discernment, election, evangelical, evangelical christian, faith, Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ, Judaism, predestination, Reformed, salvation, soteriology, Y'shua Hamashiach, Y'shua Hamashiach Moshiach, Yeshua Hamashiach | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Regarding Tim Challies And Online Discernment Ministries

Posted by Job on April 14, 2009

Christian blogger and author Tim Challies has a couple of posts on up discernment ministries, Fighting Fire with Fire and Evil as Entertainment. I have to say that I disagree with his basic stance, “the basic encouragement was to avoid reading watchblogs.” Instead, my stance is that spiritually mature Christians will by definition do good work because they are following God’s Spirit and not themselves. So, if you are going to follow online discernment ministries, make sure that the ministry is operated by someone who is born again, spiritually mature, has the proper motivations, and a good reputation. Of course, the same goes for any ministry or minister that you lend yourself to.

That said, Challies’ articles caused me to think about the online discernment ministry phenomenon a bit more, particularly as to their existence and the nature thereof. A few points – or more accurately a series of thoughts related to the same point – came to mind.

1. Challies – and many others – voiced the concern that a lot of the online discernment ministries are unbalanced, in that they offer only negative, only positive. I have noticed this myself, and further have noted that for some of these bloggers, the “original content” is negative, while their attempts to provide positive content comes from elsewhere. For instance, when they are speaking against some movement or pastor, it is their own words, but when it is a devotional or sermonette, it is the words of MacArthur or Spurgeon.

The reason for this appears to be that many of these bloggers feel that they are qualified to expose error but unqualified to teach. This is actually backwards. First, edifying activities like teaching takes priority over everything else, and scripture is clear on this. Second, the threshold of knowledge and maturity for exposing and contending against error should be HIGHER than it is for giving truth. If you want to give truth, all you have to do is talk about what a Bible verse means. What a Bible verse means to you. Post a song, poem, or devotional that you have written. Do an online prayer/meditation journal. Talk about your testimony and the testimony of other Christians that you know. Relate what your pastor preached about on Sunday,or what was discussed in your Bible study. Things like that. Sound boring? Good. To be a bit crude and somewhat misleading on purpose, the more boring the better. Those are spiritual things, and only people who are truly interested in spiritual things and being edified will read them. The point is that any born again believer that is determined to edify the body of Jesus Christ over the Internet will find a way of doing so, and it requires no special theological or seminary training, no specific gift, no ordination, etc. 

By contrast, say you want to denounce a doctrine or a pastor.

A) Are you absolutely certain that what you are saying is true? You have to back up your charges with evidence.

B) What is the basis of your disagreement with this doctrine/pastor? You have to provide ironclad evidence from a literal interpretation of scripture that is supported by the rule of faith and is supported by the opinions of other born again believers, meaning that you are not going after another professed Christian based on some innovation or private interpretation of scripture.

C) You cannot simply undermine the other pastor or doctrine. You have to provide the alternative, the truth, and justify it with scripture.

D) What is your motivation? Is it to defend Jesus Christ and His gospel? Or is it merely to oppose a denomination, movement, or doctrinal system that you are not a member of and have some grievance against? Are you judging by appearances or external standards, or by spiritual ones?

E) Are you accountable? Do you give scripturally based opposing views a fair hearing, and do you admit mistakes? 

F) Are you prudent? By that I mean do you know which battles to fight and which to leave alone? Do you know when to leave a battlefield and move on? 

G) Are you contentious? This means are you in the business of provoking fights, or fighting for fighting’s sake?

H) Is it bearing fruit? Are you changing not only minds, but hearts? Are you not only correcting the errors of Christians, but reaching the lost? Or is it merely an echo chamber of people who agree with you?

The main point is that exposing and opposing error is a more difficult job requiring more maturity, more knowledge, purer motives, and a higher standard than teaching. Bottom line: if you are not qualified to teach, then you have no business being a heresy hunter or discernment minister. More to the point: if your desire to combat and expose heresies is greater than your desire to teach and edify, then you have no business being a heresy hunter or discernment minister. 

Now some sites use the falsehoods that they encounter as jumping off points to provide some good teaching and edifying. While that is better, it is still wanting. Truth is not so only in the context of or when measured against a lie. Take all the lies away, and the truth is still the truth, because Jesus Christ is truth. The irony of Pontius Pilate asking Jesus Christ “What is truth?” was that the Truth incarnate was standing before Pilate’s very eyes, and Pilate because of the hardness of his heart would not recognize or submit to it and bow before and serve it!

John 1:5 says “And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” So put the truth out there, whether it be teaching, preaching, exhortation, comfort, worship, praise, prayers, meditations and ruminations on the Bible, testimonies etc. and it will overcome the lies in the hearts and minds of those who are after the truth. Above all, it is faith. You have to have faith that if you keep giving the truth of Jesus Christ, God will use it to help someone somewhere somehow. Believe Isaiah 55:11 when it says regarding the word of God, dabar, which John translated into logos in John 1:1 and elsewhere: “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.”

Of course, the same applies to heresy hunting. If you expound truth in the course of heresy hunting, then Isaiah 55:11 and John 1:5 applies to that truth as well. However, the truth given by teaching and edification will do a greater good than the truth given by heresy hunting in the same way that there is more edification in interpretation and prophesying than there is in tongues. As 1 Corinthians 14 says, earnestly seek the best gifts. Also, there is a higher bar to clear in giving truth in heresy hunting than there is in teaching. It requires more spiritual maturity, a better command of scripture, more accountability, more research, and it also exposes the person to more temptation. The exposer of heresies and heretics must constantly examine himself for pride, bitterness and purity of motive. Again, if you are not qualified to teach, and by this I mean teach in the absence of needing some lie or liar as your sounding board, then you are not qualified to be a discernment minister or a heresy hunter.

Evidence of this, again, is in scripture. In the gospels, the apostles, in their attempts to combat falsehoods, did nothing but make mistakes. They wanted Jesus Christ to rain down fire from heaven on the Samaritans. They tried to prevent children from coming to Jesus Christ. When various people came to Jesus Christ to be healed, they tried to drive them off. They tried to stop the ministry of a man who was doing works in the Name of Jesus Christ because the man refused to follow them (which some point to as an early manifestation of denominationalism).  So when it came to combating error, they were hopeless, more likely to be a cause of error than a cure for it. But when it came to giving truth, bearing witness to Jesus Christ and bringing others to Him, THAT they could do, and they did so even before Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection and the coming of the Holy Spirit. 

So, again, I am not saying that we should not patronize the heresy hunters and discernment ministers. I am only saying that we should be judicious, to test and try them in our hearts. Ask yourself “would I accept this person as a teacher of righteousness and truth?” If not, move on to someone else who DOES propagate the Truth of Jesus Christ for Jesus Christ’s sake, and if that person happens to expose a movement, heresy, or false preacher in the process, so be it.

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