Archive for the ‘Trinity’ Category

Is God a SadoMasochist?

April 9, 2013

Is the cross just a sick and depraved act? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Recently, this video was brought to my attention. Be warned that it does contain strong profanity for all interested as well as some disturbing images. I put it up here just so that readers can make sure I have given an accurate representation of the video. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YXXgUpv7APE

Now lately, I’ve spent much time blogging about how we have the gospel wrong. We have taken a part of it, forgiveness, which is an important part, and made it the whole deal.

When John the Baptist and Jesus showed up teaching the gospel, most people were not thinking about forgiveness. The Jewish system already had a way set up where you could receive forgiveness and there was no major need to replace it. Of course, some did come for forgiveness as Jesus was showing how forgiveness would work in the Kingdom, but Jesus did not preach an unheard of concept. All the Jews knew about forgiveness.

Jesus taught something greater. He taught that the plan of Israel was coming to a fruition. God was about to act to rectify the problem. What problem is that? It is the problem of sin and evil and death. Our teaching today tends to ask about the cross “What does it do for me?” It is foreign for us to think about the rest of the world.

So in replying to the producer of the vid, who based on his name I will just call BD for short, we will need to keep this in mind. Nowhere is there any material about the kingdom of God in the video, or about the problem of evil, or anything about the story of Israel.

Note also something else important that never shows up in the video. Never do we see an argument against the existence of God. We do not see an argument that shows that the resurrection did not happen. It is as if BD just wants to hit us with an emotional attack and make us not think about the real claim. If God exists and if Jesus did rise, then Christianity is true and that must be dealt with.

So let’s deal with some errant concepts that show up.

BD has a terrible rendition of the Trinity where the Son is the reincarnation (How can there be a reincarnation without a first incarnation) of the Father. However, he also uses the classic Bill Maher type of argumentation where God sends Himself to sacrifice to Himself, Himself to solve the problem that He Himself created.

If BD does not want to be a Christian. Fine. If he wants to think the Trinity is nonsense. Fine. Yet in all of this, at least get the concept right. If someone wants to be an atheist, at least seek to be an informed atheist. When I see a misrepresentation of the Trinity in this way I automatically know this is someone who doesn’t know what he’s talking about. A good library would have volumes that would help give BD some understanding of the Trinity even if he doesn’t believe in it.

BD also wishes to point out that some people have suffered worse than Jesus. This is not being denied. But so what? BD assumes the worst part of the crucifixion was the pain of the cross. Of course the cross was physically painful, but it was more designed to be socially painful. It was designed to shame the criminal before others and thus give the notion to anyone else watching that “Maybe you don’t want to do what this guy did.”

Furthermore, Jesus being shamed was said thus to be a traitor to Rome and to be under the curse of YHWH. This is what makes the resurrection so important. The resurrection is the vindication of the claim of Jesus to be the King of Israel. It is God raising Him up so He can rule, since a dead king cannot rule the Kingdom of God. It is a reversal of the shame and God giving Jesus the place of highest honor.

So what about that sacrifice? How could it be a sacrifice if Jesus knew He was coming back? When something was offered to God, God could do with it what He wanted. Jesus had to face shame and death as it was entirely to take on the full curse for us. (If you remember, Genesis 3 has a little something about a curse) In facing death and shame head on, Jesus is able to overcome them for us. He is able to rectify the problems of evil, death, and sin.

This is why the story of Israel is so important. Genesis 3 is not an accidental test. It sets the whole tone of the Bible from then on. It’s not the case that the story of Abraham has nothing to do with that. The story has everything to do with it. Abraham’s role is to help restore that which was lost. Over and over, man fails at the attempt to rule as God desires, until finally Jesus comes who is able to do that.

Well couldn’t God just forgive? Not exactly. God is the greatest good and thus has the greatest honor. If God decides He won’t punish sin, then He is not treating Himself as the greatest good. He is being inconsistent. If He does this just for us, then it is akin to idolatry.

God must be just. That must mean there must be some punishment given for sin. BD wishes to make it be that God delights in punishing us. If that was the case, then one wonders why forgiveness would be offered at all. If God just wanted to punish us, He could have been eternally just and never sent Jesus and no one could say “You’ve done wrong.” God is under no obligation to forgive anyone or even provide a way of forgiveness.

Of course, BD has the idea of Hell as a torture chamber. Is he truly unaware that there are many different views of Hell, including ones that see it as eternal conscious torment, that are not torture chamber motifs? This includes my own view that sees Heaven and Hell as not physical locations, but as relational realities. The same sun that melts wax hardens clay. The love of God that melts the hearts of the repentant hardens the hearts of those opposed.

In conclusion, we note that BD has not given any arguments against the central truths of Christianity but has chosen to speak (Quite ignorantly) of the parts he does not understand. Once again, if someone wants to be an atheist, be one, but at least be informed in your atheism.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Scripture and the Words of Christ

January 27, 2012

How did the early church view the Words of Jesus? Let’s talk about it on Deeper Waters.

Last night I was reading Ken Bailey’s latest book “Paul Through Mediterranean Eyes.” It’s a fascinating look at 1 Corinthians and I urge everyone to read it. What I was reading was about 1 Corinthians 9 and something was said that was one of those things we know already, but we don’t really think about until it hits us right between the eyes..

Last night, I wrote about the Jewishness of Jesus and how startling He was to His contemporaries. Later as I read, I was reading Bailey’s thoughts on 1 Corinthians 9 and in there he stated that the words of Jesus were being seen immediately on par with the words of Scripture.

That is something we think about and is fairly obvious to us in some ways. If Jesus was truly God in the flesh and Scripture is that which God says, then it would follow that whatever Jesus said would be Scripture. What is amazing is that this was such a quick recognition. It wasn’t the case that we had to wait until Nicea and then people started looking back and thinking “You know, all those things Jesus said, I’m starting to think maybe he was even YHWH in the flesh!”

The idea of Jesus being YHWH was not a development that came with paganism. It came right out of a Jewish milleu. Paul is being entirely consistent with his Jewish tradition. Note also that Bailey points out that in 1 Corinthians 9, Paul does not really say he became a Gentile. Instead, he says that he became like one not under the Law, save the law of Christ. Why? Paul can’t become a Gentile because he is a Jew and that is something that will never change.

Now of course Paul can stop following Jewish customs, although he will follow them if it will help someone come to the gospel. Today there are people who can abandon Judaism altogether and become atheists, but yet they still realize that even while atheists, they are still Jews. Some of them even still follow the rules of kosher eating as atheists.

The point is that Jesus was given this high place immediately. The last of the prophets before John the Baptist that had come was Malachi and that was about 400 years before Christ. The Heavens had been silent. It is my belief that God was wanting people to think about the time He had been silent for 400 years before sending Moses. Now, He was to send the prophet like Moses but greater than Moses. The people would be truly free from slavery.

Everything from Malachi and earlier that we have in the Old Testament was seen as authoritative Scripture and that would not be taken lightly. Notice what the 1st century Jewish historian Josephus says about the Old Testament in “Against Apion”.

For we have not an innumerable multitude of books among us, disagreeing from and contradicting one another, [as the Greeks have,] but only twenty-two books, which contain the records of all the past times; which are justly believed to be divine; and of them five belong to Moses, which contain his laws and the traditions of the origin of mankind till his death. This interval of time was little short of three thousand years; but as to the time from the death of Moses till the reign of Artaxerxes king of Persia, who reigned after Xerxes, the prophets, who were after Moses, wrote down what was done in their times in thirteen books. The remaining four books contain hymns to God, and precepts for the conduct of human life. It is true, our history hath been written since Artaxerxes very particularly, but hath not been esteemed of the like authority with the former by our forefathers, because there hath not been an exact succession of prophets since that time; and how firmly we have given credit to these books of our own nation is evident by what we do; for during so many ages as have already passed, no one has been so bold as either to add any thing to them, to take any thing from them, or to make any change in them; but it is become natural to all Jews immediately, and from their very birth, to esteem these books to contain Divine doctrines, and to persist in them, and, if occasion be willingly to die for them

And yet, immediately the words of Christ are given such a position and we can often take them so lightly. We have heard the gospel stories so much that often times we do not have the amazement of them that we know that we should have. Let us not lose sight of this. The words of Jesus are the words of God Himself and if we take God seriously, we must take Jesus seriously. Perhaps if we do not take Jesus seriously, we should question if we are doing the same for God.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

Jesus The Jew

January 26, 2012

Does it matter that Jesus was a Jew? Let’s talk about it today at Deeper Waters.

For those who don’t know, I’ve taken a new job on the night shift and since I work by myself or with one another, I have found that I can listen to the radio or to podcasts. I have been playing much of N.T. Wright who frequently speaks about the relation of Jesus to Second Temple Judaism. What makes this interesting for me is that a lady I work back there with who doesn’t mind hearing this is Jewish and not Messianic.

This is something that gets me pondering as I hear this. What does it mean to say that Jesus is Jewish? How does an understanding of Judaism at the time help us with understanding the New Testament? Do we really need to bother with all that stuff in the Old Testament to understand the New?

To begin with, imagine reading the gospels without knowing what comes prior. How confusing it would be! Matthew opens up with a genealogy that assumes you know about the persons of the Old Testament. Mark opens up with Scriptural fulfillment and Scripture quoted. Luke starts with talking about the priestly system. John has a wonderful prologue where within Jesus is seen as greater than Moses.

All of this assumes an understanding of the Old Testament. What about Jesus in particular? What we want to do is consider Jesus in light of his relationship to YHWH. Jesus shows up with the claim to be YHWH in the flesh and begins doing numerous miracles to back this claim. What on Earth is supposed to be done with this man?

Well we could shut him up as insane and if we found someone making similar claims today that would be our first thought. The Jews could not do that however because this man showed all signs of being in his right mind. He was doing numerous miracles which does not come along with insanity.

Maybe we can best him in debate! Yet at every turn, Jesus humiliates his opponents. With lines like “Have you not read?” he displays their ignorance in that which they ought to be experts on. His mind is fully rational and despite all attempts to show otherwise, those who seek to best him end up being bested themselves.

These claims however simply cannot be true. It cannot be true that a man like this is YHWH in the flesh! He does not keep the law! He works with sinners! He is lowly and disgraceful. He attends all these parties where tax collectors and prostitutes are present and he tells people to work on the Sabbath.

Within a Greek system, the idea of a man being a god and doing miracles would be unusual, but would be tolerable. Paul and Barnabas were mistook for Zeus and Hermes. Jesus is not in this system however. Jesus is in a system loyal to YHWH and while there could be openness to multiple persons being in YHWH, it wasn’t set in stone and to think YHWH would become flesh?!

Then Jesus also claims that he is the long awaited Messiah. I can think about what that means to a Jew today, but what about back then? The first thought would have been about freedom from Rome. Surely the Messiah will come to set us free. The Messiah can overcome the Roman Empire. We will enter the Davidic Kingdom once more when Messiah comes.

Messiah did not come at the head of an army. He did not come with much pomp and grandeur. There is nothing in Jesus that ever suggests that He is a military genius. He simply travels around with a bunch of ragtag followers, most of whom were going nowhere in society to begin with.

This is the Messiah?

Yes he was. What does it mean when we think about that today? I listen to Wright and I wonder what a Jewish mind is thinking when they hear about Jesus who is Lord and Savior and being worshiped as God. It is no scandal for us to do that, but let us never lose sight of the fact that it sure sounds scandalous. For the Jew listening, it likely is.

This gets us to the crucifixion. With the claims that Jesus made and how he showed no signs of insanity, I can only conclude one of two things is true. Either what Jesus said was false and the crucifixion was the most righteous act of all that put to death the most wicked man who ever lived, or what Jesus said was true, and the crucifixion was the most wicked act of all putting to death the most righteous man who ever lived.

There is no middle ground.

Now as it was then, Jesus is someone that people have to respond to and something has to be said about Him. Perhaps some of the Christ myth idea is reactionary to this, but also failing to account the awesomeness of this figure thinking that anyone could just make him up. If you’ll believe that, you will believe anything else. Ultimately, this is the case. What will the person who denies all of Jesus and His claims believe? It is not that they will believe nothing. The problem is that they will believe anything else.

It should not be a surprise that even our calendar system is based on this man and as He refused to stay dead 2000 years ago, so He refuses to stay dead today. Jesus was the true revolutionary of all time. It is not the case that Jesus turned the world upside down however. The reality is He turned it right-side up and we would hardly today recognize a world where Jesus never existed.

If we are to appreciate Jesus more however, I urge us also to not just think about Him as man and God, important and essential as both of those are, but let us think about him as a Jew in a Jewish system and may we never look at Him the same way again.

In Christ,
Nick Peters

The Trinity and the Father

February 4, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the Ocean of Truth. We’ve gone through the Bible and seen the doctrine of the Trinity. Now we’re seeing the outworking. I’m thinking tomorrow unless things change I could begin going through the doctrine of God and as my guide, be using the Summa Theologica of Thomas Aquinas so be prepared to dive even deeper. First, I give my prayer requests for you. I ask for prayers for my Christlikeness. I’m noticing how many problems in my life are actually self-fulfilling prophecies. Well it’s all part of God shaping me to be the man that I need to be. I also ask for prayers concerning my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life. For now, let’s study the Trinity and the Father.

Most of us can see how we need to understand the doctrine of the Son and the doctrine of the Spirit in relation to the Trinity. After all, that’s where our disagreement is with the heretics. Everyone agrees when they approach the Scripture that the Father is God. What can we learn however about the Father by studying the doctrine of the Trinity?

For one thing, we learn that the Father has always been the Father by studying the doctrine of the Trinity. It was not essential to the nature of the Father that he create. Being creator is not a necessary attribute of God, although we could say having the power to create would be a necessary attribute. Because God has an ability it does not mean that he has to act on that ability for it to be there.

Being a creator is an attribute that is describing how God relates to the creation and not how he is in himself. It is not essential to the existence of the Father that he be the creator of the Deeper Waters blogger. Since, however, I exist, he does have some relation to me and one such relation is that of the Deeper Waters blogger.

What about being Father? Is that essential to God? If we have just the Father, then it is not. Now we could say the Son is created, but it is at that point that either God becomes relational or else God was relational and he had a lack within himself that needed to be filled and if he had a lack, I see no reason why we should think of him as God.

Without that love going on, God would have many attributes, but he could not be seen as a loving Father. It is because there has always been a Son that the Father has always been the Father. If we do not have an eternal Son, then we do not have an eternal Father. To deny the Son is in essence then, as John says, to deny the Father.

If we change our doctrine of the Son, it follows that our doctrine of the Father will change. Naturally, if we have a good doctrine of the Father, we will have a good doctrine of the Son. You either accept the Trinity then or you reject God as he is entirely. Your choice.

The Trinity and the Holy Spirit

February 3, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back once again to Deeper Waters where we continue to dive into the ocean of truth. We’ve finished up our Trinitarian Commentary so now we’re just looking at some ramifications of the doctrine of the blessed Trinity. First, my prayer requests. I ask for your continued prayers as I continue along on Christlikeness. Things seem to be going better today, but I am becoming also more aware of how fall short I am falling and need to change. Second, I ask for prayers for my financial situation as I believe I came across an extra hurdle today. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third related area in my life. God knows. Let’s talk about the Holy Spirit now.

I am not a Pentecostal, but it has been said that one thing we can learn from the Pentecostal movement is “don’t forget the Holy Spirit.” The Holy Spirit has often been called the silent person in the Trinity. The Father we all know about all throughout the Old Testament. The Son is there, but he makes a major appearance in a unique way in the New Testament. The Holy Spirit is all throughout, but not in the most prominent way.

We have times where the Spirit is present such as the Spirit filling the leaders of Israel so they can prophecy. Also, we have the Spirit coming and filling the temple so that the priests cannot enter and do their work. This is referred to as the Shekinah glory. The Spirit’s first mention however comes as early as Genesis 1:2 as an active participant in the creation.

In the New Testament, we have the Spirit being treated as God in that Ananias and Sapphira are guilty of lying to the Spirit which is equated with lying to God. We also have him sending out Paul and Barnabas in Acts 13. Jesus warned the Pharisees about blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and Paul told the Jews in Acts 28 that they were resistant to the Holy Spirit. Stephen said the same in Acts 7.

The Holy Spirit then was an understood aspect in Judaism to some extent. This does not mean that they had a full-blown doctrine of the Holy Spirit, but they did understand the concept of such a person as the Holy Spirit even if he didn’t have ontological equality with God. However, it could be easy to say that the Holy Spirit is in a way the manifest presence of God somewhere, though still a person in his own right of course.

Maybe you’re like me and you’re not Pentecostal. That’s okay. You need to learn a lesson from our Pentecostal brothers and sisters as do I. We need a doctrine of the Holy Spirit. This doesn’t mean that you have to start talking about baptism of the Spirit and speaking in tongues, though you should have some stance on that. Before you talk about what the Spirit does however, you need to know who he is and for that, you need the doctrine of the Trinity. Let us not neglect a primary issue, who the Holy Spirit is, over a secondary issue, what he does in the lives of believers in relation to spiritual gifts.

The Trinity and Jesus

February 2, 2010

Welcome back everyone to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of Truth. We’ve just completed a Trinitarian Commentary and are briefly looking at some ramifications of the truth of the doctrine of the Trinity. Before we get to that, I’d like to mention my prayer requests. First, I ask for your prayers for my Christlikeness. Today and yesterday have been kind of rough for me on my progress, yet I believe I am still maintaining an inner attitude that is keeping me going stronger than I would be before. Two step forward. One step back. The second area I ask for prayer in is my finances. Finally, I ask for prayer in a third related area of my life. For now, let’s get to our topic.

One question that every worldview has to deal with now is what to do with Jesus. Muslims make him the greatest prophet before Muhammad. They affirm that he was sinless, born of a virgin, and the Messiah of Israel, but they deny that he was the Son of God and to say he is fully God as we have been is to commit the sin of shirk.

Jews can have mixed attitudes. Some do see him as a good teacher. Others see him as a great blasphemer. (I would actually consider the latter to be more consistent if one denies the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.)

Hindus can claim him as a great avatar. In Buddhism, he can be a Bodhissatva. In Mormonism, he is the spirit-brother of Lucifer. In Watchtower doctrine, he is the son of God, but he is not God himself and is not the second person of the Trinity. For an atheist, he can be a really great teacher, but in no way deity.

What to do with this figure? It seems every religion now needs to say something about him. Christians have given their answer for centuries. He has full ontological equality with God. He is the second person of the Trinity. He is the Lord and Savior of the world. He is the messiah. We do not deny he was a great teacher and pinnacle of morality, but we see him as so much more. If he was simply a great teacher and a pinnacle of morality, we would honor him of course, but not worship him.

The Trinity gives us our answer. Is Jesus fully God? Well, the texts of Scripture teach us that he is. Yet at the same time, we also know that he is not the Father or the Holy Spirit. To add to the mystery, we know that there is one God. There are three persons who can be called God then and there is one God.

The Trinity is the answer. I am a thinker who does try to examine every idea and the more I examine this, every time I come back to the doctrine of the Trinity. This is something I have to agree that the church got right. I stand by the church fathers in this regard and the creeds. I, as a Protestant, unite with my RCC and EO brothers and sisters. We worship one God in Trinity.

The Trinity and Ethics

February 1, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. We’ve talked about the Trinity for awhile and I’d like to look deeper at what that means for us as Christians. I’d also like to break off of this some and then just get into a look at the doctrine of God in classical theism. Thus, for those wondering about how we get our ideas of God and our understanding of him, hopefully you’ll get something out of this. I do ask for my usual prayer requests first. The first is that I will be a more Christlike man and have the rough edges I see in my heart worn away. The second is that I will get the help I need for my finances. Finally, I ask for prayers in the third related area of my life. For now, let’s get to the blog.

How do we treat our fellow human beings? Are they objects or persons in their own right? I do agree with Immanuel Kant on this in that he said that persons should not be treated as means to an end but rather they should be treated as ends themselves. Now someone might say “Well I used the cashier at the grocery store to ring up my purchases.” True, but Kant would say to never forget that that cashier is a person as well and don’t treat them as just an object.

Could we learn that from the doctrine of the Trinity as well?

In the relationship of the Trinity, you see the Father glorifying the Son. You see the Son glorifying the Father. You see the Spirit giving glory to both. All the persons of the Trinity have a selfless love for each and each loves the other for the sake of the other.

The Trinity should teach us that God is relational in his very essence and so ought we to be. We ought to relate to one another the way the persons of the Trinity relate to each other. Yes, each person fulfills certain roles for the other, but they do so out of love for the other.

If we have an arian concept of God, then we can say that God is creating out of  a lack of love in himself. There is no one for him to love and so God creates man fulfilling a lack in himself. In the Trinity however, there is already abundant love and love that is overflowing. Man is not created because God was lonely, but man was created because God is happy and God wishes to spread that happiness and creates man to invite him to join in the dance.

What would it mean if we each sought the good of the other as a person and not as an object? How would employer and employee relationships change? How would student/teacher relationships change? How would parent/child relationships change? How would relationships with the man on the street change?

The observant reader should notice I left one relationship out.

How would husband and wife relationships change?

Cohabitation has proven a problem for people today as marriages tend to not last that have cohabitation before marriage. Now I know there are some that do, but cohabitation is generally an impediment. Why? Each person is being treated as a test object. Consider the analogy of “Well would you buy a car without taking it for a test drive?” No. Most of us wouldn’t. In this case however, there is one question.

Which of you is the car and which of you is the driver?

You see, if you take the car back to the lot, the car won’t be mourning. It won’t be asking what it did wrong. It won’t have a feeling of rejection. The human being is different. What does it mean to say that you rejected another human being because they did not bring about the happiness that you desired? Did you ever consider thinking about their happiness instead?

A true marriage will have each seeking the happiness for the sake of the other. Now there’s nothing wrong with telling your spouse what you desire if they want to know how to please you, which they should, but your main focus should be on the desires of your spouse before your own desires. The husband is to love as Christ loved the church. He gave himself up for her. The wife is to love as the church loves Christ. She submits to him and seeks to serve and please him. Now I know a lot of women balk at the idea of submission, but it is biblical and it is not to be used as a whip by men. If you have a good and godly husband, submission will not be a pain. It will be a pleasure as he will help you in Christlikeness.

Let us then learn to be Trinitarian in our ethics and not Arian in them. We are Trinitarians. We live accordingly.

The Trinity in The Bible

January 31, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the Ocean of Truth. We’ve just finished our Trinitarian Commentary so I thought we should go and take a look at how our whole project went overall. First though, I ask for my usual prayer requests. I first off ask that you pray for me for my continued Christlikeness and that I won’t have as much anxiety and worry in my life. Second, I ask for prayers in my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life.  God knows. For now, let’s see what we learned in our look through the Bible.

I certainly hope you learned a lot. I know I did. We’ve been through several verses and seen how they point to the doctrine of the Trinity. Even if a verse did not teach the whole Trinity with great strength, we found that there were several pieces that went together and helped form this doctrine.

That’s something that needs to be remembered in this. We are not talking about a doctrine that is just one verse in the whole of Scripture that settles everything. Too often in our studies of the Bible, we think there ought to be one verse that settles everything. In reality, that is rarely the case and the more important the doctrine, the more Scripture we will need.

However, a comment on a recent blog had the commenter pointing to Col. 1:15 and Rev. 3:14 and saying that Jesus was created. The problem is that those are verses that we have to explain. Sure. Of course, we also saw that those verses can be explained and they form a coherent whole. However, it’s the Arian or the modalist that has to explain several other verses.

The reason is that this is a systematic doctrine. It’s formed not by looking at one verse, but seeing the whole tapestry of Scripture. What does the Bible say about who God is? What does the Bible say about who Jesus is? What does the Bible say about who the Holy Spirit is? When we get through all of these questions, we find the Trinity is there. The church did this right. We can try to re-invent the wheel all we want, but we will end up with the Trinity also.

So what do we do? From here, we learn about what the Trinity means. Does God tell us who he is for no reason? Is the Trinity going to be a doctrine that we just use to beat up Jehovah’s Witnesses regularly? Or rather, is the doctrine of God going to be something dynamic in our lives that changes how we live everyday?

Tomorrow, I would like to start looking at that some in to how the doctrine of the Trinity relates to us. What difference will it make in our lives? After all, if we learn a doctrine, that’s good, but if the doctrine doesn’t make any change in our lives, it’s only a means for increasing our arrogance.

We will start tomorrow.

Come Lord Jesus

January 30, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. It looks like we’re coming to the final part of our Trinitarian Commentary tonight. Isn’t that amazing? We’ve gone through the whole Bible to try to understand the Trinity. I do ask for your prayers first off. First, my continued Christlikeness as I am coming across more bumps on the road that need to be handled. Second, I ask for prayers with my financial situation. Finally, I ask for prayers in a third area in my life that everything will work out as it ought. For now, let’s get to the text. We’re going to the final verses of the Bible. Revelation 22:20-21.

20He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming soon.”
Amen. Come, Lord Jesus.

21The grace of the Lord Jesus be with God’s people. Amen.

Come Lord Jesus. Those are words that Christians have said for years. They are words that we say still today. They are the hope of Christians in that this Jesus who came and dwelt among us will one day come and bring about the final end of the battle between good and evil. He will take us to be where he is.

He is Lord. Let us think about that as we close this book. The last words of the book of Revelation and of the Bible as a whole end on a prayer. May it be so. May it be that the Lord Jesus will come soon. May it be that the promises he’s made for the faithful come to pass.

Who is it that came and dwelt among us? John told us that the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word became flesh and dwelt among us. We beheld his glory. That was a wonder that gripped John as he wrote the prologue to his gospel.

John saw that glory leave. He was there at the empty tomb. He wrote about how he touched and saw and heard the risen Christ. He could not leave behind his awe of who it was that dwelt. One who bears the nature of YHWH, the second person of the Trinity, came and dwelt among the creation.

His coming marked the defeat of evil in the form of sin. His return is to mark it in judgment. The first time brought justification and sanctification for sinners. The second time it will bring our glorification. He will take us to be with him so we may be where he is.

How can we learn from this? Every Christian can look forward to what’s coming. This is the ultimate wedding. This is the marriage of the Lamb. This is Christ and his church together for all eternity. This is the honeymoon experience that never ends.

As we close up our look through the Bible and the doctrine of the Trinity for now, let us finish with the same request. He dwelt among us and died for us so that we may be where he is. Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

Final Alpha and Omega

January 29, 2010

Hello everyone and welcome back to Deeper Waters where we are diving into the ocean of truth. It’s hard to believe we’re almost done looking at the book of Revelation. Tonight, we’re going to be looking at verses 12-13. Before that, I ask for my prayer requests. First, I ask for my prayers with my Christlikeness. I am really learning a lot of things now and being shaped more into the man that I think I need to be. Second, I ask for prayers with my financial situation. Third, I ask for prayers in a third related area of my life that I do think is going well now. For now, let’s get to Revelation 22:12-13.

12“Behold, I am coming soon! My reward is with me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. 13I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End.

There can be no doubt that this is Jesus speaking. We never hear anything about the Father coming. Instead, the hope of the church was to see the coming of Christ. While it is impromptu within the passage as the speaker changes from John to the angel to this speaker, based on prior passages, we can be sure this speaker is Jesus.

What’s interesting is how he describes himself. He says he is the Alpha and the Omega. Have we seen that before? Yes! Look at Revelation 1:8

“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.”

And recently we covered Revelation 21:6

He said to me: “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life.

This would be enough to show that the Son is fully God in nature, but we can also look at the other title he gave to himself alongside that, the first and the last.

We saw that used of the church of Smyrna in Revelation 2:8.

“To the angel of the church in Smyrna write:These are the words of him who is the First and the Last, who died and came to life again.

But more interesting is Revelation 1:17

When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last.

But let’s see what he says after that.

I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades.

Which gets me to something we’ve been hinting at since the first mention of this idea. This is a great technique to use on Jehovah’s Witnesses. Go to the first two Alpha and Omega passages and ask them who the Alpha and Omega is. In the end, see that the Alpha and Omega is also the First and the Last. Then ask “When did Jehovah die?”

The question presents a problem for Jehovah’s Witnesses. It doesn’t for Christians. We serve the one who is fully God and fully man, the alpha and omega, the first and the last.


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,062 other followers