Friday, November 22, 2013
Here is just one example:
“But He was wounded for our transgressions. He was bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement for our peace was upon Him and by His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:5)
It was fulfilled here:
“Then he released Barabbas to them. And when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified.” (Matthew 27:26)
Here is another example:
“I gave My back to those who struck Me and My cheeks to those who plucked out the beard. I did not hide My face from shame and spitting. (Isaiah 50:6)
It was fulfilled here:
“Then they spat in His face and beat Him. And others struck Him with the palms of their hands." (Matthew 26:6)
Regarding Isaiah 53, going back to Isaiah 53:2, it says:
"He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him."
That is talking about the Messiah.
Isaiah 49:3, 'servant' cannot mean literally national Israel, since in verse 5 this "servant" has a mission to Israel. The Messianic servant is the ideal Israel through whom the Lord will be glorified. I was going to type more, but since you keep entering comments, you make me feel rushed, so I'm not going to spend much more time here now. There are many verses dealing with this subject in general, and it would take a good bit of time to try to cover it all, but I have a lot of things to do, so I need to be going.
In Isaiah 4:2, it talks about the "Branch of the Lord." This is a Messianic title related to the "shoot" (53:2) and "Branch" descended from David.
"A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit." (Isaiah 11:1)
In the next verse of Isaiah 53, it says this:
"He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain. Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem."
Compare this to Isaiah 49:7:
"This is what the Lord says—the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel—to him who was despised and abhorred by the nation, to the servant of rulers: “Kings will see you and stand up, princes will see and bow down, because of the Lord, who is faithful, the Holy One of Israel, who has chosen you.”
Also compare it to Psalm 22:6:
"But I am a worm and not a man, scorned by everyone, despised by the people."
Then, going on to Isaiah 53:4:
"Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted."
Compare that to Matthew 8:17:
"This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: “He took up our infirmities and bore our diseases.”
In relation to this, look at Isaiah 1:5-6:
"Why should you be beaten anymore? Why do you persist in rebellion? Your whole head is injured, your whole heart afflicted. From the sole of your foot to the top of your head there is no soundness—only wounds and welts and open sores, not cleansed or bandaged or soothed with olive oil."
I already mentioned Isaiah 53:5, so let's go on to 53:6, in order to look at the surrounding verses, instead of just the one verse.
"We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all." (Isaiah 53:6)
Compare this to Psalm 119:176:
"I have strayed like a lost sheep. Seek your servant, for I have not forgotten your commands."
Also compare Jeremiah 50:6:
“My people have been lost sheep; their shepherds have led them astray and caused them to roam on the mountains. They wandered over mountain and hill and forgot their own resting place."
And compare Jesus' parable in Luke 15:3-7:
"Then Jesus told them this parable: “Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home. Then he calls his friends and neighbors together and says, ‘Rejoice with me; I have found my lost sheep.’ I tell you that in the same way there will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who do not need to repent."
Also compare this to Ezekiel 34:1-6:
"The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them."
Isaiah 9:6-7 – “For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His ever expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!”
And this is quoted in Matthew 12:18-21:
“Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he has brought justice through to victory. In his name the nations will put their hope.”
Isaiah 53, also known as the “Suffering Servant,” has been long understood by the historical Rabbis of Judaism to speak of the Redeemer who will one day come to Zion.
The Babylonian Talmud says: "The Messiah, what is his name? The Rabbis say, The Leper Scholar, as it is said, ‘surely he has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him a leper, smitten of God and afflicted...'" (Sanhedrin 98b).
Midrash Ruth Rabbah says: "Another explanation (of Ruth 2:14): He is speaking of king Messiah; ‘Come hither,' draw near to the throne; ‘and eat of the bread,' that is, the bread of the kingdom; ‘and dip thy morsel in the vinegar,' this refers to his chastisements, as it is said, `But he was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities.'"
The Targum Jonathan says: "Behold my servant Messiah shall prosper; he shall be high and increase and be exceedingly strong."
The Zohar says: "’He was wounded for our transgressions,' etc....There is in the Garden of Eden a palace called the Palace of the Sons of Sickness; this palace the Messiah then enters, and summons every sickness, every pain, and every chastisement of Israel; they all come and rest upon him. And were it not that he had thus lightened them off Israel and taken them upon himself, there had been no man able to bear Israel's chastisements for the transgression of the law: and this is that which is written, `Surely our sicknesses he hath carried.'"
The great (Rambam) Rabbi Moses Maimonides says: "What is the manner of Messiah's advent...there shall rise up one of whom none have known before, and signs and wonders which they shall see performed by him will be the proofs of his true origin; for the Almighty, where he declares to us his mind upon this matter, says, `Behold a man whose name is the Branch, and he shall branch forth out of his place' (Zechariah 6:12). And Isaiah speaks similarly of the time when he shall appear, without father or mother or family being known, He came up as a sucker before him, and as a root out of dry earth, etc....in the words of Isaiah, when describing the manner in which kings will harken to him, At him kings will shut their mouth; for that which had not been told them have they seen, and that which they had not heard they have perceived."
Unfortunately, modern Rabbis of Judaism believe that the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53 refers perhaps to Israel, or to Isaiah himself, or even Moses or another of the Jewish prophets. But Isaiah is clear - he speaks of the Messiah, as many ancient rabbis concluded.
The second verse of Isaiah 53 confirms this clarity. The figure grows up as “a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground.” The shoot springing up is beyond reasonable doubt a reference to the Messiah, and, in fact, it is a common Messianic reference in Isaiah and elsewhere. The Davidic dynasty was to be cut down in judgment like a felled tree, but it was promised to Israel that a new sprout would shoot up from the stump. King Messiah was to be that sprout.
Beyond doubt, the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah 53 refers to Messiah. He is the one highly exalted before whom kings shut their mouths. Messiah is the shoot who sprung up from the fallen Davidic dynasty. He became the King of Kings. He provided the ultimate atonement.
Isaiah 53 must be understood as referring to the coming Davidic King, the Messiah. King Messiah was prophesied to suffer and die to pay for our sins and then rise again. He would serve as a priest to the nations of the world and apply the blood of atonement to cleanse those who believe. There is One alone to whom this can refer, Jesus Christ!
Those who confess him are his children, his promised offspring, and the spoils of his victory. According to the testimony of the Jewish Apostles, Jesus died for our sins, rose again, ascended to the right hand of God, and he now serves as our great High Priest who cleanses us of sin (Hebrew 2:17; 8:1). Jesus, the Jewish Messiah, is the one Isaiah foresaw.
Rabbi Moshe Kohen Ibn Crispin said, “This rabbi described those who interpret Isaiah 53 as referring to Israel as those "having forsaken the knowledge of our Teachers, and inclined after the `stubbornness of their own hearts,' and of their own opinion, I am pleased to interpret it, in accordance with the teaching of our Rabbis, of the King Messiah. This prophecy was delivered by Isaiah at the divine command for the purpose of making known to us something about the nature of the future Messiah, who is to come and deliver Israel, and his life from the day when he arrives at discretion until his advent as a redeemer, in order that if anyone should arise claiming to be himself the Messiah, we may reflect, and look to see whether we can observe in him any resemblance to the traits described here; if there is any such resemblance, then we may believe that he is the Messiah our righteousness; but if not, we cannot do so.”
Here is another example that addresses your original question of verses in the Old Testament that talk about a Suffering Messiah:
“All who see Me ridicule Me. They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying, ‘He trusted in the Lord. Let Him rescue Him. Let Him deliver Him, since He delights in Him!’” (Psalm 22:7-8)
It was fulfilled here:
“When they had twisted a crown of thorns, they put it on His head, and a reed in His right hand. And they bowed the knee before Him and mocked Him saying, ‘Hail, King of the Jews!’” (Matthew 27:29)
“In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. ‘He saved others,’ they said ‘but he can’t save Himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. He trusts in God. Let God rescue Him now if He wants…’” (Matthew 27:41-43)
Not only did the New Testament authors realize that God is a Triune Being, but even Genesis 1:26 implies this:
“Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
"Us" cannot mean the angels, because God made man in His image, not in the image of angels. Not only that, but angels do not create humans.
In Genesis 1:1, the Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" is used. In Genesis 1:26, 3:22, 11:7 and Isaiah 6:8, the plural pronoun for “us” is used. The word "Elohim" and the pronoun “us” are plural forms, definitely referring in the Hebrew language to more than two. This denotes the aspect of plurality in God.
Christians believe in one God, Who is unique from any creature in that He is a Triune Being, consisting of three Persons. Not persons like human beings are persons, because with human beings, one person = one being. But not all beings are the same. Fish don't have feathers or fur, and birds do not have gills or scales. Man was made in God's image, but that doesn't mean man is exactly like God in every way. Man is not omniscient, omnipresent, or omnipotent. Man does not live outside of the confines of time and space. Man is flesh and blood, whereas God is not. Similarly, God is a Being consisting of three Persons. The only reason we call them "Persons" is because that is the closest term we can use to understand the concept. Just like we call Jesus the "Son" of God, even though Jesus is not God's biological son, contrary to what the Mormon cult believes, and contrary to what Muslims mistakenly think that Christians believe. "Son" is more of a spiritual son than a biological son, and is just the closest term we have to understand that concept. The same applies to calling God "Father." God does not have any biological children; neither does He have a wife.
Going on, Isaiah 48:16 mentions the Holy Spirit:
"Draw near to me, hear this: from the beginning I have not spoken in secret, from the time it came to be I have been there.” And now the Lord God has sent me, and his Spirit."
Isaiah 61:1 also mentions the Holy Spirit:
"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."
In fact, in Isaiah 48:16 and 61:1, the Son is speaking while making reference to the Father and the Holy Spirit. 48:16 says, "from the beginning I have not spoken in secret," and "from the time it came to be [the beginning] I have been there." 61:1 talks about the Son/Messiah and says, "the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor; he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound."
Luke 4:14-19 makes reference to this:
"And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all. And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
And in verse 21, guess what Jesus says?
"He began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”
Jesus was claiming that Isaiah 61:1 was talking about Him!
And in verses 23-29, it says:
"Jesus said to them, “Surely you will quote this proverb to me: ‘Physician, heal yourself!’ And you will tell me, ‘Do here in your hometown what we have heard that you did in Capernaum.’” “Truly I tell you,” he continued, “no prophet is accepted in his hometown. I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way."
Did you get that? Jesus' point was that when Israel rejected God's messenger of redemption, God sent Him to the Gentiles---and so it will be again if they refuse to accept Jesus. For example, in Luke 10:13-15, Jesus says: “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the miracles that were performed in you had been performed in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago, sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more bearable for Tyre and Sidon at the judgment than for you. And you, Capernaum, will you be lifted to the heavens? No, you will go down to Hades."
Back to Luke 4, because of Jesus' condemnation of Israel and favorable attitude toward Gentiles, the Jews tried to throw Jesus off a cliff! But because Jesus' time had not yet come (i.e., to die on the cross for men's sins), Jesus was able to merely walk right through the murderous crowd!
Going on, Matthew 28:19 lists the Persons of the Trinity:
"Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."
2 Corinthians 13:14 also mentions the Persons of the Trinity:
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all."
Jesus said there is only one God:
"How can you believe if you accept praise from one another, yet make no effort to obtain the praise that comes from the only [monos] God?" (John 5:44)
"After Jesus said this, he looked toward heaven and prayed: "Father, the time has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you. For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him. Now this is eternal life: that they may know you, the only [monos] true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent. I have brought you glory on earth by completing the work you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your presence with the glory I had with you before the world began." (John 17:1-5)
Notice that in the above verses, Jesus refers to God as "Father" and calls Him "the only true God," yet He also refers to Himself as the Son, and says that the Father has given Him authority over all people to grant eternal life!
In both John 5:44 and John 17 (above), the word "monos" is used to describe God, which means "alone."
However, in the following verses, the word "hen" is used instead:
"The foremost is, 'Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one [hen] Lord." (Mark 12:29)
"I and the Father are one [hen]." (John 10:30)
In the New Testament, this is the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew word for 'one.' In Matthew 19:5, Jesus quotes Genesis 2:24 about a husband and wife becoming one flesh; the word used is 'hen.' Jesus prays that believers will be one, even as He and the Father are one. He did not mean their persons would be fused together; it means spiritually united. They are not one Person, but in nature they are unified. The God of the Old Testament is a united one. The God of the New Testament is a united one. This is what is meant by God being one.
In the Old Testament, teachings were focused on God being one in contrast to the polytheism of the nations that surrounded Israel. There are statements that speak of the plurality of this *one* God in the Old Testament record.
However, it is only when we come to the New Testament that this one in unity is explained.
Where John 10:30 says, "I and my Father are one," this is not a numerical one. Jesus is not saying He is the Father. They are not one person, but in nature they are unified. It actually reads "we are one" in Greek. The first-person plural 'esmen' means ‘we are.’ Again, this is a unity in nature, not a numerical statement.
The word 'one' in Greek is 'Hen,' and it is a neuter nominative, so it refers to one in essence and nature and kind. In John 10:30, it is saying that Jesus is deity just as the Father is. He went on to explain that he is the Son of God, and the Pharisees understood his claim of making himself out to be equal with the Father. That's why, in John 10:31, it says that the Jews took up stones to stone Jesus.
In the Old Testament, God is described as one. Deuteronomy 6:4 says, "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Or, "The Lord our God is one Lord.") The phrase "one Lord" is preceded in the Hebrew by 'elohenu;' it is "our God is one." The word for 'one' is not a numerical one, but is actually a united one. The Hebrew word for 'one' is 'echad,' which comes from the root word 'achad,' which means 'to unify or collect together' (the intensive reflexive form signifying 'to unite'). If this was meant to be a strict numerical statement, the Holy Spirit would have had Moses use the word 'yachid,' which means an absolute one; single; only one. 'Yachid' is used twelve times in the Scriptures; but not once is it used for YHWH God!
An example of this 'united one' is Genesis 1:5, where evening and morning are called one day (a combination of two parts to make one). They are both considered a day, yet we can distinguish them as different phases.
Another example is Genesis 2:24, where Adam and Eve become one flesh. Here, two personalities come together in marriage and become one---not one person, but one in unity. God sees them as one, even though they are not physically fused together like Siamese twins. So, if we say 'echad' in Deuteronomy 6:4 ("one") means a numerical one, then Siamese twins would be the only consideration for our understanding of Genesis 2:24 for man and wife becoming one flesh.
Other instances of 'echad,' which is also used for "one" in Deuteronomy 6:4 to describe God, is Genesis 11:6, where the people are one; or Ezra 2:64, where the whole assembly of Israel is like one.
Yet another example is Numbers 13:23, where, according to their view, when the spies went over into the land of Canaan, they brought back "one" grape (Hebrew: 'eschal echad.') It says that two of them carried it on a pole between them, along with pomegranates and figs. Why would they bring just one grape? Was one grape really that huge? Can anyone actually think it was a numerical statement? But in fact, it means a 'cluster' of grapes.
Other examples are Psalm 133:1, where the brethren is to dwell as one (in unity); 1 Samuel 3:17, where they are called one company; 2 Samuel 2:25, one troop; 1 Kings 7:42, one tribe; and in 1 Kings 11:13, Israel is called one nation.
Yet another example of 'echad' for "one" is Ezekiel 37:17, where Ezekial is told to put two sticks together, so that combined, they become 'one' stick, showing that the nation would be unified. In all these examples, it is not a strict singular meaning. This same word is applied to the 'one' God, and is clearly used as a compound unity.
The word for a strict single is 'yachid.' It's used in Genesis 22:2: "Take thy one and only son." This can also be used for God's only Son being unique and one-of-a-kind.
God is above and beyond all of us. None of us can fully and completely comprehend God. If we could, then He wouldn't be God. There is one and only one God. God eternally exists in three distinct Persons. In other words, God is said to be three Persons in one essence, nature, or being. The Father is God, the Son is God, and the Holy Spirit is God. The Father is not the Son, the Son is not the Father, the Father is not the Spirit. Jesus is not a lesser deity than the Father. The Father, Son and Holy Spirit are co-equal in nature. However, the Holy Spirit glorifies the Son and the Son glorifies the Father. The Trinity is not 1 + 1 + 1 (= 3) , but rather 1 x 1 x 1 (= 1).
Monday, November 18, 2013
Wednesday, November 13, 2013
The Bible says, "And the LORD God commanded the man, "You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die." (Genesis 2:16,17 NIV)
So, before Adam and Eve ate of the tree, they apparently did not have the knowledge of good and evil. But once they ate of it, the Bible says, "The man has now become like one of us, knowing good and evil." (Genesis 3:22 NIV)
The word "knowledge" in the Hebrew is 'Yada' and it means to know, to perceive, to perceive and see, find out and discern, to discriminate, distinguish, to know by experience, to recognize, admit, acknowledge, confess, or to consider.
So, in man's original state, he did not have the knowledge of good and evil. Yet those are attributes that you would normally associate with God. So, if Adam had the Holy Spirit in him, then surely he would have the knowledge of good and evil.
Therefore, it would follow that Adam did not have the Holy Spirit in him, though he did live in a state of sinless perfection. Adam lived in a state of innocence, not knowing the difference between good and evil.
The Holy Spirit gives spiritual wisdom. So again, if he had the Holy Spirit, don't you think he would have the knowledge of good and evil?
In fact, Adam may not have even had a conscience, because a conscience is what tells us the difference between wrong and right. And he had no awareness of that, since he didn't have the knowledge of good and evil.
At the new birth, a person is given the Holy Spirit to deal with the need for victory over sin. Adam, before the fall, didn't have any sin to deal with, so therefore he didn't need the indwelling Holy Spirit.
Friday, November 8, 2013
The Hebrew word ruwach is used to designate God’s Spirit in the Old Testament, and sometimes it's also used to designate man’s spirit. However, when God breathed life into Adam, a different word is used, which is neshamah, which means "breath," according to Strong's. This word is used in association with giving life to a human soul. So Genesis 2:7 does not use ruwach, but rather neshamah.
When God created Adam, He breathed into him the “breath of life” and Adam became a living soul (Genesis 2:7). The Hebrew word "nephesh" is the word translated "soul" in Genesis 2:7. The Hebrew word nephesh, although translated as "soul" in some older English Bibles, actually has a meaning closer to "living being"...a living, breathing conscious person, rather than to an immortal soul. According to Genesis 2:7, God did not make a body and put a soul into it like a letter into an envelope of dust; rather he formed man's body from the dust, then, by breathing divine breath into it, he made the body of dust live. In other words, the dust did not embody a soul, but it became a soul—--a whole creature. So, in other words, God gave that body of dust life. Though it's a very poor comparison, it's sort of like the story of Frankenstein, when lightning hit that dead body and it came to life.
1 Corinthians 15:45 says, "And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." The Greek word for "quickening" is "zoopoieo" (Strong's Number 2227), whose word usage includes "life-giving." The Greek-English New Testament shows the literal translation from the Greek as being, "So also it has been written: became The first man Adam - soul 'a living;' the last Adam - spirit 'a life-giving.'" Matthew Henry's Commentary says, "The first Adam was made a living soul, such a being as ourselves. The second Adam is a quickening Spirit..." The first part of the word 'zoopoieo,' which is zoo, or zoe, means “life” in the sense of resurrection life. As a resurrected person (“spirit”), our Lord will “quicken” people or make alive in the resurrection. The second part, 'poieo,' means “to make,” in the sense of produce, construct, form, or fashion. It is equivalent to the Hebrew ‘asah, which means “to make” or “produce by labour.” ‘Asah is used in reference to the manufacture or construction of any thing. Putting these two parts together, we have the basic sense of zoopoieo, “to make alive with resurrection life,” or “to construct alive with resurrection life.”
1 Corinthians 15:45-49 says that He was resurrected from the dead through the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) as the second Adam, and, according to 1 Corinthians 15:20-28, that He will reign on the earth during the Messianic Kingdom until its end when all things return back to the Father.
John 5:26 says, "For as the Father has life in Himself: so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself."
So the Scriptures make a specific distinction between the spirit that animated the first Adam’s soul, “the breath (neshamah) of life” from the Father, and the “quickening” life-giving Holy Spirit (Ruach HaKodesh) of the Father that animated His Son’s soul.
Jesus was given life as a human, by the Holy Spirit, therefore His life force as a man is God’s Spirit. The Breath of Life – (neshamah) that we inherit from our parents was never intended to give eternal life. The longevity that was imparted to Adam and Eve was actually through their diet, the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:22) [Remember there were two trees, the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil, and the Tree of Life, and they were never told not to eat of the Tree of Life until after the Fall, when the angel guarded it with a flaming sword]. When we receive salvation, we receive the Holy Spirit, which enables our souls to have the same life as Jesus, which is eternal. When God created Adam, He breathed into his nostrils the breath of life (neshamah) and Adam became a living soul. This breath of life was never designed to impart eternal life to its bearer. When Adam and Eve disobeyed Him, they were denied access to the Tree of Life, which was the source of food that maintained their longevity (Genesis 3:22).
In the present ministry of the Ruach HaKodesh (Holy Spirit) by whose indwelling the believer is enabled to live a godly life (Ezekiel 36:26-27), the Holy Spirit is called Ruach HaKodesh, not just Ruach. Ruach HaKodesh means the 'Holy Spirit' or 'Holy Ghost' in Luke 3:16 and 11:13, Ephesians 1:13 and 4:30, 1 Thessalonians 4:8, Titus 3:5, 1 Corinthians 6:9 and Jude 1:20. "Kodesh" is an adjective meaning 'holy.' HaKadosh is a substantive that means "The Holy One," as in Ha-Kadosh baruch hu, or "the Holy One, blessed be He." Ruach HaKadosh would mean "the spirit of the holy one" as in a saint; it is not used for the Holy Spirit. Ruach HaKo'desh means "the holy Spirit" just like har ha-ko'desh means "the holy mountain," and admat ha-ko'desh means "the holy land," and ir ha ko'desh means "the holy city." Ruach Elohim means the spirit of God, found in Matthew 3:16 and 12:28, Romans 8:9,14 and 15:19, 1 Corinthians 2:11,14 and 3:16 and 7:40 and 12:3, Ephesians 4:30, and 1 John 4:2.
From Strong's, the most often-documented word used for "spirit" in the Hebrew Bible is ‘ruwach’ - roo’-akh. Strong (1986: 142). The most common word used in the Hebrew Bible for "soul" is ‘nephesh’ - neh’-fesh. Strong (1986: 105). The most used word for "spirit" in the New Testament is ‘pneuma’ - pnyoo’mah. Strong (1986: 78). The most common world for "soul" in the New Testament is ‘psuche’ - psoo-khay. Strong (1986: 106).
So, in conclusion, the Holy Spirit is not same as the breath of life that God breathed into man.
Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Yes. Isaiah and other books prophesy about how the Messiah would suffer and die and be glorified, so the Old Testament prophets, and those who believed them, looked forward to the coming Christ. The Old Testament Scriptures contained, for them, the gospel message, and faith in that message was how people got saved back then, even though Jesus had not died yet.
The Bible says:
"Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into." (1 Peter 1:10–12)
So the “prophets...who prophesied” longed for the arrival of an era of grace. The “Spirit of Christ” within them was witnessing through them and to them before the work of Christ had occurred, giving them a gospel message that talked about the coming, sufferings, and glory of the future Messiah. So even before the completion of the New Testament, the Old Testament served as the Scripture for Israel, and contained the gospel message.
Acts 3:18 says, "But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled." So the gospel theme was in the Old Testament. It continues through verse 24 and says, in part, "...Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before... which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began."
So the gospel message of salvation was preached in the Old Testament, and faith in that gospel message is how people got saved, even though Jesus had not died yet. Paul explained in Romans 4 that salvation has always been, and will always be, by God’s grace, and received through faith alone. Genesis 3:15 promised that Someone would come to clear up the sin problem created by our first father Adam. As the Seed of the woman, He would be the one to battle and defeat the serpent. Even Abel understood the nature of a bloody sacrifice and the death of a substitute, and because of his faith in God, he was regarded by God as righteous (Hebrews 11:4). God has just one covenant of grace, not two, which was promised right after the fall in Genesis 3:15 proclaiming that the seed of the woman would crush the seed of the serpent.
Saturday, November 2, 2013
The Bible says prior to salvation, all people are dead in sin--spiritually dead (Ephesians 2:1-3). In this state of death, the sinner is utterly unable to respond to any spiritual stimulus and therefore unable to love God, obey Him, or please Him in any way. Scripture says the mind of every unbeliever "is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so; and those who are in the flesh cannot please God" (Romans 8:7-8). That describes a state of total hopelessness: spiritual death.
The effect of all this is that no sinner can ever make the first move in the salvation process. This is what Jesus meant in John 6:44, when He said, "No one can come to Me, unless the Father who sent Me draws him."
This is also why the Bible repeatedly stresses that salvation is wholly God's work.
-In Acts 13:48 we read, "And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed."
-Acts 16:14 tells us that Lydia was saved when, "... the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul."
-Romans 8:29-30 states, "For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the first-born among many brethren; and whom He predestined these He also called; and whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified."
-Ephesians 1:4-5,11 reads, "Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him. In love He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will ... also we have obtained an inheritance, having been predestined according to His purpose who works all things after the counsel of His will."
-Ephesians 2:8 says even our faith is a gift from God.
-In 2 Thessalonians 2:13, the apostle Paul tells his readers, "God has chosen you from the beginning for salvation."
-Second Timothy 1:9 informs us that God "has saved us, and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity."
If God's choice of the elect is unconditional, does this rule out human responsibility? Paul asks and answers that very question in Romans 9:19-20. He says God's choice of the elect is an act of mercy. Left to themselves, even the elect would persist in sin and be lost, because they are taken from the same fallen lump of clay as the rest of humanity. God alone is responsible for their salvation, but that does not eradicate the responsibility of those who persist in sin and are lost--because they do it willfully, and not under compulsion. They are responsible for their sin, not God.
The Bible affirms human responsibility right alongside the doctrine of divine sovereignty. Moreover, the offer of mercy in the gospel is extended to all alike. Isaiah 55:1 and Revelation 22:17 call "whosoever will" to be saved. Isaiah 45:22 and Acts 17:30 command all men to turn to God, repent and be saved. First Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 tell us that God is not willing that any should perish, but desires that all should be saved. Finally, the Lord Jesus said that, "the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out" (John 6:37).
In summary, we can say that God has had a special love relationship with the elect from all eternity, and on the basis of that love relationship chosen them for salvation. The ultimate question of why God chose some for salvation and left others in their sinful state is one that we, with our finite knowledge, cannot answer. We do know that God's attributes always are in perfect harmony with each other, so that God's sovereignty will always operate in perfect harmony with His goodness, love, wisdom, and justice.
(Thanks to John MacArthur for this information.)
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
If man comes to Christ through only free will, and not through the sovereign election of God, then that means when you (if you are a Christian) witness to someone, if they do not accept Christ, it is at least partially your fault, because if you had done a better job presenting the gospel, they might have come to Christ. So therefore, their eternal damnation could be in part because you did not do a good job evangelizing. So therefore, from that perspective, we are partially responsible for someone's salvation or damnation. If the lost person is free to choose or reject the gospel, and if it is completely up to them alone, then if the Christian who is witnessing to them doesn't present the gospel in a way that persuades that lost person to want to accept it, then that Christian presenting the gospel is at least partially at fault, because if they had done a better job, that lost person might have been saved. When a Christian witnesses to people and presents the gospel to them, and people do not respond – if that Christian really thought that it really depended on them (the fact that the lost person didn’t respond), it is feasible that the Christian could possibly even become extremely depressed and, in guilt and anguish...well, I could even imagine an extreme instance where a Christian who believed that, might even go home and pull out a knife and plunge it into their heart because they were such a failure, and because that lost person, or those lost people, going to Hell would be partially their fault, because their gospel presentation was not compelling enough.
On the other hand, if salvation is up to God's sovereign election, then when we witness to someone, all we are responsible for is to tell them, and we don't have to worry about the outcome, because that is up to God.
Ultimately, the salvation of souls depends upon the Lord God, and he has graciously given us the opportunity of being instruments in the accomplishment of his work. We (if we are born again, regenerated Christians whose lives have been radically transformed by the power of the Holy Spirit) are called to partner with Him and share in the great and glorious work of the Great Commission. We get the easy part (telling), and He does the rest. No higher calling could any individual ever have than being a co-worker with the Lord.
Sunday, October 27, 2013
"And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God's possession—to the praise of his glory." (Ephesians 1:13-14)
The Greek word translated "deposit" (arrabon) speaks of a down payment that was made to secure a purchase. The moment you were saved, the Spirit of God became the down payment on God's final installment of your eternal glory. In modern Greek, arrabon includes the idea of an engagement ring, a deposit securing something in the future. The Holy Spirit is our guarantee that Christ will come again and take us with Him. In that sense, we can view the Holy Spirit as God's engagement ring to his Church, a sign of His deep love and His guarantee to keep His promises. Jesus and His Father give us a guarantee of His promise to marry us. If that marriage in Heaven does not happen between Him and us, then God did not honor His guarantee. So, if a person can lose their salvation, then God is a liar.
Christ purchased us. If He purchased us, He owns us, and we cannot get out of it. Therefore, a person cannot lose their salvation, because Christ bought them. He did not purchase every single person, for if He did, then every single human being would go to Heaven. He only purchased the Elect. And if He purchased us, then our belonging to Him has to do with Him, not with us. “It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy.” (Romans 9:16)
Salvation is the work of God, not of man. It has to do with the sovereignty of God. The fact that salvation is the work of God, and not of man, works to the praise and glorification of God. But if it is up to man, then it works to the praise of man.
Thursday, October 24, 2013
I have not posted any blog article here for the last seven months. But yesterday, a Facebook Friend prompted me to write a new blog article, so here I go. I will also try to schedule several new blog articles every few days, at least for a few weeks or so, as well. One thing that theologians and Christians have disagreed on for centuries, I think, is Free Will vs. Predestination, or Election vs. Free Will, or Calvinism vs. Arminianism. Well, I'm going to devote the next few blog articles on this, and I know that there are many Christians who will disagree with me. But then, I've learned that, no matter who the person is, if you spend enough time with them, you will eventually disagree over something. No two people on this earth agree on every single subject; eventually, they will disagree on something. And when it comes to the things of God, even though a born again or regenerated Christian knows God personally, no human being understands God's nature to its fullest extent. Otherwise, God would not be God. God is unique and unequaled. So, with that in mind, let's proceed.
I used to believe that God 'elects' or 'chooses' some for salvation simply because He knows the future, and He knows who will accept Him and who will reject Him. However, if I could look fifty years into the future and see who will be President then, and say that I will elect and choose who will be President fifty years from now, it's really not me electing or choosing him, just because I merely know who will be elected and who the people will vote for fifty years from now. My knowing who will be elected to be President fifty years from now is not the same thing as my choosing and electing and controlling who will be President fifty years from now. Therefore, mere foreknowledge is not the same as choosing or electing. Knowing what will happen in the future is not the same as causing it to happen.
I now believe that, if God chose no one to be saved, then everyone would go to Hell, and God would be perfectly justified in allowing that to happen, because we all fully deserve Hell, so that would be completely fair to send everyone to Hell.
However, God is not only just and righteous; He is also love. So, to demonstrate His grace, mercy and love (for His glory), He chose a remnant to be saved.
In the Bible, a remnant was always saved...for example, only Noah's family was saved, while the rest of humanity was drowned in the Flood. Only the Jews were chosen in the Old Testament, while all other nationalities were left to follow after their false gods.
If God allowed all men to be saved, then there would be no real justice, because there would be no real and true and final punishment for sin. However, if God sent all men to Hell, then He would not be loving.
So, He chose some to demonstrate His love/mercy/grace upon, and some to demonstrate His justice on. On the surface, it seems unfair to us, but we need to remember that God is sovereign, He owns us all, and He can do with us as He pleases. And He is perfectly just to allow any or all of us to go to Hell if He wants, because all of us are wicked and rebellious sinners. So He has no obligation to do even the slightest good for any of us. Yet He sends rain on the just and the unjust, and He saves some of us, even though He is not obliged to.
The way I look at it is that all of us, as fallen, corrupted, rebellious sinners, were headed for Hell. But God, demonstrating His love, chose some of us to be saved from Hell. The others are left to their own free will, and free will, left to its own, will reject God every time, because the heart is wicked and deceitful above all things, and those who are dead in trespasses and sins are unable to have saving faith in Christ, because they are spiritually dead, and a dead person is unable to do anything. The spiritually dead, lost person is also blinded by the god of this world (Satan) and cannot see the Truth, and therefore, will never accept Christ. To accept Christ would be to submit to a Being (God) Who is the Ultimate Authority, and a person in rebellion against God is never going to submit to God, because they are in rebellion. Only the Holy Spirit can open that blind person's eyes, and therefore, it takes intervention by God to enable them to accept Christ. And God never fails, because God is all-powerful.
The offer of salvation is extended to all: “whosoever will.” But God chose some for salvation and left others in their sinful state. The Bible is full of instances where God chose a remnant. God saves some, and leaves the others alone, leaving them in their own rebellion. Anyone is free to come to Christ if they choose, but God insures that a remnant will indeed come to Him, and the rest He leaves up to their own free sinful will, but in that sinful free will, they reject Him.
"For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will — to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves." (Ephesians 1:4-6)
"In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will." (Ephesians 1:11)
"And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified." (Romans 8:28-30)
"Not only that, but Rebekah’s children were conceived at the same time by our father Isaac. Yet, before the twins were born or had done anything good or bad—in order that God’s purpose in election might stand: not by works but by him who calls—she was told, “The older will serve the younger.” Just as it is written: “Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated.” What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.” Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden. One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use? What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory—even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles?" (Romans 9:10-24)