Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Luke – Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Instructor’s Note: Last semester we left off at chapter 12:24. We now pick up where the Apostle Peter is no longer the center of the goings on; the Apostle Paul is primary to Acts 13-28. This term will mention Paul’s missionary trips to the Gentiles, but mostly discuss the issues of those days when Paul made his missionary travels. It isn’t a study to trace his three “missionary” trips establishing new communities of Gentile believers, but more to the historical facts of why and where he went and where he avoided going.

An aside note…Just as the first half of the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic (Greek) and the second half Hebrew, the Book of Acts is the message in the first half to the Jews and the second half is to the Gentile/Greeks.acts

Acts 12:25-16:5

In this part, Luke describes how the gospel spread through more countries and by who; such as the connection with King Solomon in 945 B.C. and Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian official almost 1,000 years later. It ends like this: ‘So, the Christians became stronger in their faith and more believers joined together daily.’ The people who joined were believers, not outsiders. This means those in The Way (Christians) in worship and discipleship were not the lost but those who were there to learn something beyond their salvation moment.

Acts 16:6-19:20

We learn from this portion of Acts how the good news about Jesus reached Europe. Paul started a new church in Corinth, a city in Greece. To its name-sake we get 1 & 2 Corinthians. He also started a new church in Ephesus; i.e. the Book of Ephesians. Ephesus was a very important city. It was in the same territory that is Turkey today. It is near Greece but mostly separated by the Aegean Sea. This part ends like this: ‘In this manner, the Lord’s message (to the believers) continued to increase in power and it spread widely.’

Acts 19:21-28:31

In the final part of our Acts study this semester, Luke tells us that Paul reached Rome. When the book ends, Paul is in prison under house arrest. There, ‘he preached boldly about God’s kingdom. He taught the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ and nobody tried to stop him.’ In other words, he brought many to a belief in Christ than sent them to a church of other believers to be disciples (learners) per living a life in Christ; i.e. To Be & To Live (be-liever) growing daily in knowledge and understanding.be a believer

When the book ends, Paul is in Rome. The Romans had arrested him. Luke does not say what happened to Paul next but he remained with him. So, many scholars conclude that Luke completed Acts very soon after this. Also, he said nothing about Emperor Nero. He killed many Christians in AD 64. Luke had likely finished the book in AD 62. We do not know the exact date. It only makes sense if Luke had not already written Acts, he would have included Paul’s execution under the sword of Nero; the firebug of Rome.rome fire

Nero Biography

Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius’ heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius’ death and Nero’s nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero’s early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. He reigned from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.

JIV NOTE: As a disciple; i.e. bible student, know that names mentioned in the bible are for reasons far beyond the knowledge of their names. The same is true of places and things. These persons, places and things help archeologists, historians, and even militaries trace diggings, research, and tactics. In a very real sense it is like the Hansel and Gretel “story.” These persons, places and things have markers that can be traced back to their origins. Praise God!

AHA MOMENT: The Rest of the Bible Facts not found in the bible; Job, Issachar, and Zebulon

After the Assyrian dispersion of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel around 720 B.C., tribes migrated north, west and east; Kazar/Kazak Empire. To the distant northeast we find a tribe even older than the Israeli Tribes; one that claims to descend from Job. Today they are called the Abii or Lob (Job) tribes…in *Siberia.

*NOTE: From where do most historians claim the American Indian migrated when crossing the land-bridge between Alaska and Russia? ANS: Siberia, so that implicates the American Indian.

Extra Bonus AHA MOMENT: Shortly after the Northern Tribes of Israel were dispersed by Assyrians a people by the names Asakarta or Sagartii (Issachar) appeared in the Zagros Mountains between Iran and Iraq. British geographers discovered in a territory close by the name, of a clan of people who called their land Zabulistan (Zebulon?).

So much more but this is for an advanced study at a later date. The Bible is not a manuscript for a religion. It is traceable historical facts.

“The bulk of the Finns and Estonians are Israelite, but the Karelians are Japhetic but live within the lands of Israeli in Scandinavia. The Karelians live in an eastern province of Finland. They descended from Japheth (son of Noah)”

Descendants of Issachar settled in western Finland and Estonia (Sources: Eino Juttikala and Kauko Pirinen, A History of Finland, 1974. p.13; W.R Mead, Finland, 1968, p. 56)

 

Dr. jStarkRev. Dr. Jstark
May, 2018

Acts Part 1

The Book of Acts: Part one of a 12 article Series (Chapter 1-12)

If bibleone is reading through the bible chapters 1-12, and in whatever time period as his or her goal might be, most will read right past the context within the content these chapters found in Acts. One’s initial conclusion would be…it is all about the Apostle Peter coming out of his pre-crucifixion shyness. Not even close.

Acts comes in two parts:   Part one is Apostle Peter centered on the original church. Part two is centered on Saul becoming Paul who becomes the missionary church builder for Gentiles of the near east and the northern Mediterranean area. This is the surface read through the bible conclusion. We will write about the facts, history and issues behind the rather obvious…Peter, chapters 1 -12 and Paul, chapters 13 – 28. It is fascinating as most will conclude in this series s/he did not know. In Acts we also read a bit about Mary however this is not a series of articles about the nostalgic Peter, Paul, and Mary of the 1960s music fameJ.

Acts, just as was the Book of Luke is written to someone by the name Theophilus. This is someone close to Luke or with whom he is quite acquainted. Theophilus means “Friend of God.” This name in and of itself may suggest a secondary reason for the writing of Luke’s Books. Luke may be writing to the general population of new Christian churches and believers identifying them as “friends of God.” Whatever it is we do not hear of this word or name being used again in the Bible.

Acts 1; 1 & 2 identify the context of this book. Luke specifically points out to Theophilus that he expressed in his first letter (book of Luke) to him that he has dealt with all that Jesus began to do and teach. The word “all” in the above verse is the Greek word pas. PAS means to exclude nothing according to both Strong and Thayer dictionaries. It doesn’t mean is that everything Jesus did while on earth is recorded in Luke and Acts. It is written AS CONCERNING ALL THINGS JESUS DID WHILE ON EARTH. It is what Jesus taught and new believers should exemplify; the standards by which we are to live or the “whole” of our denomination called Christianity. If we believe it means “to BE and LIVE these standards.”  Easily put…Luke and Acts set our goals of life as Christians, not the world. It isn’t a WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) but WDJD (What Did Jesus Do).

Hebrews 10:25 underscores this WDJD attitude and practice. It reads: “not forsaking our own assembling [i.e. the church] together, as the custom of some is, but exhorting one another; and so much the more, as ye see the day drawing nigh.” NOT forsaking our own assembling together. This is standard #1 for the church. Egkataleipō (forsake) is very specific and is the absolute-tense in the Greek. It means to NOT miss gathering with other believers; do not abandon.

However we must also remember that the same bible instructs us in Colossians 2:16… Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days. This means Be-Livers can meet anytime, anywhere but do not forsake meeting with fellow believers. Keep Acts 1, Hebrews 10, and Colossians 2 in context as they totally relate to the same thing; us as be-livers. This gives us a very clear picture of what God expects in exchange for HIS salvation package.

apocalypse-Note in the Hebrew 10:25 passage where it reads: [ESV] “…as we see the (end) Day drawing nigh.” How can one know the end days are drawing night? This too is explained in the bible with hints galore in today’s news casts from around the world. Even telecasts can be seen as events unfold in real time. Doesn’t it appear at all odd that God always knew the day was coming when we can be informed simultaneously with live news from any corner of the earth? If we study the Bible we will see these “hints” of end time drawing nigh. If we remain ignorant then guess who is to blame for not knowing yet alone not understanding the signs of the times [Matthew 24:3-31]?

  1. Let no man therefore judge you in meat or drink, or in respect to a holy day or the new moon or the Sabbath days; (Colossians)
  2. Forsake not the gathering together with other be-livers; (Hebrews)
  3. Even more so as we move even closer to the end time. (Matthew)

It should be a simple reminder but only to those who are already students of the Bible…The Book of Acts picks up right where the Book of Luke ends. Somehow the Book of John got between them. They were once one book called Luke-Acts. Luke’s Gospel describes only the beginning of Jesus’ work while on earth while he was present on earth. Acts describes the continuation of the Gospel and the work of Jesus through the Holy Spirit and continues to our present day.

In the Book of Acts Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, instructs the apostles regarding what to do in His absence. In Luke Jesus gives direct instructions to the disciples and people around him.

Even walking day and night with Jesus after three years on earth, the disciples (Apostles) still asked a dumb question of Jesus just prior to Jesus ascent into heaven. Acts 1:6…Lord, will you [now] at this time restore the Kingdom of Israel?” Restore the Kingdom of Israel???? Jesus simply replies that it is not for them to know the time of the restoration of Israel. This statement alone should assure us it will happen, but not then. It is both eminent and imminent.

When Jesus ascends into heaven “to prepare a place for be-livers,” the Holy Spirit is not yet on earth in indwelling men. This begins at Pentecost ten days later. We discuss this in our next article.

A very distinct and short outline of the Book of Acts comes right out of Acts 1:8

…ye shall be my witnesses in (A) Jerusalem, in all (B) Judaea and Samaria, and unto the (C) uttermost part of the earth. 

A, B, & C outline the Book of Acts… first to Jerusalem (Peter), then to Judea (Philip), then to the rest of the world (Paul)

  1. Acts 1-7 describes the gospel being taught in Jerusalem (1st church)
  2. Acts 8-12 is the spread of the gospel to Judah & Samaria
  3. Acts 13-28 is to the ends of the earth

WOW one may say. Well neither did this author know this until he studied the Word of God. Reading through the bible in a given time span makes the goal “reading through the bible” in that determined time span. Studying the bible has no limit of time. It becomes a way of life. One more time; Be-Livers.belIEVERS2

 

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A Study in Acts-the History

Historical Information on Acts

Dr. jStark

Bible School 2017-2018

The great German composer Ludwig van Beethoven is still remembered around the world for his beautiful and skillful compositions. But as wonderful as his musical scores are in themselves, his works are even more impressive when we learn that Beethoven suffered progressive hearing loss that began when he was a young man. In fact, it is astounding to realize that Beethoven wrote many of his greatest works when he was entirely deaf. Knowing the background of Beethoven’s life makes his music all the more impressive.

In important ways, appreciating the Scriptures is similar to appreciating Beethoven. It isn’t difficult to see the power and clarity with which the various books of the Bible proclaim God’s revelation. But when we learn about the backgrounds of the writers of the Bible, their world, their lives and their purposes, our understanding and appreciation of the Scriptures becomes much deeper.

Acts of the Apostles: Critical verse to this study of Acts is in Hebrew 10:25 (last line…”*as we see the end time day drawing nigh”) *”as” (hosos) means:  how much; how many; whoever.

History and Background Information

Luke wrote two, possibly three New Testament books: Luke, Acts and possibly some of Hebrews. Acts is the second of these books. At the end of the gospel of Luke Jesus says “that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” In the Book of Acts he picks it up where he leaves it off in Luke. We see the fulfillment of Christ’s words as the apostles carry the gospel to the world. See Luke 24:48-53. Luke is the third of the four Gospels. Matthew, Mark, and Luke are called synoptic gospels.

The Book of Acts is the FIRST account of the original church. In brief it covers the period of time between Jesus’ resurrection and the death of the Apostle Paul. Often Luke reverts to the inclusive or plural pronoun “we” in his writing. This is probably when he references him and Paul with others who may be present at that time. Some try to discredit Luke as author when all Luke is doing is including himself and probably Paul.

According to legend, Paul died by execution at the time when “firebug” Roman Emperor Nero was looking for a scape goat per the burning of parts of Rome. He started with the Apostle Paul then continued by accusing the new sect of religion called “THE WAY;” i.e. Christians. The Romans originally saw Christianity as an offshoot of Judaism since the original “church” consisted of Jews (Israelites). They identified themselves as The Way.”

Dictionary: The “Way” with a capital “W” was the early name for followers of Jesus. Considered a sect of Judaism, later in Acts 11 it is replaced with the term “Christian.” The first of only six biblical references, all in Acts, occurs as Saul obtained letters to arrest members of the “Way” in Damascus, immediately after stoning “Way” follower Stephen in Jerusalem. (Acts 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 22:4, 24:14, 24:22)

This by itself reminds me of Matthew 16 per our understanding or lack of it… (Matthew 16:2, 3; NASB)
turkey-red sky
The Pharisees and Sadducees came up, and testing Jesus, they asked Him to show them a sign from heaven. But He replied to them, “When it is evening, you say, ‘It will be fair weather, for the sky is red.’ And in the morning, ‘There will be a storm today, for the sky is red and threatening.’ Do you know how to discern the appearance of the sky, but cannot discern the signs of the times?

This reminds me of a man who once came up and asked for a Word for him from God. While acknowledging the request the reply was almost spontaneous. Turning to the man asking for “a word” I replied… “God said, ‘Ask him yourself but don’t forget to listen to what He tells you.’”

We will follow an outline of Acts provided in small sections with an applicable article with each section of the building outline in this new study. Acts is the ORIGINAL Acts of the Apostles Peter then Paul, the early church, and the acts of the early church. Today’s church is a far thing from what the early church did. This too will be discussed; sometimes in detail. For now, let’s begin with:

OUTLINE of ACTS: (Part 1)

  1. It appears that Luke set out to show in two volumes how redemption came to mankind.
      1. Luke relates the coming of a Redeemer who died for our sins, rose in triumph, and looked to the time when mankind might share in salvation. Luke 24:46­-47.
      2. Volume II (Acts) takes up the narrative at that point and shows how over a period of about 30 years the gospel went from Jerusalem to Rome.
      3. The Gospel he wrote tells about the things “Jesus began both to do and to teach.” Acts 1:1.
      4. Acts tells what Jesus brought about through the Holy Spirit’s continuation of his work. Acts 1:8; cf. John 16:13.
  1. Based on volume/content, Luke, not Paul, wrote over one ­fourth of the entire New Testament.
  2. The Acts of the Apostles is a crucial part of Holy Scripture.
      1. It tells of the establishment of the church.
      2. It describes the growth (amid frequent perils) of the church and records the gospel’s amazing spread through the Roman Empire.
      3. It gives inspiring accounts of great persons who loved not their lives unto death; people who loved Jesus more than life itself.

Why does Jesus call God “Father?”

In the synoptic Gospels, Matthew, Mark and Luke, this identity of Jesus addressing God as father is given well over 100 times. In the Book of John, also synoptic, it is used 60 plus times. We are taught in the Lord’s Prayer to use this identity of father in “Our Father…” But why? We often hear of the triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. If Jesus and the Holy Spirit is in fact a part of a triune God, meaning three-in-one, then how can Jesus become the son of God? How could God create himself? Why would Jesus consistently call him Abba-father?

Many people, including seminarians ever think upon these things. JIV Note: Don’t confuse assumption with faith or doctrine. God is Spirit (John 4:24) and we must worship him in spirit. In a previous post we discussed “Our Father” and the fact that God created man with body, mind, spirit and soul. Click here to read this article. If God is spirit and created mankind with spirit, he metaphorically or literally fathered all. (You decide if it is metaphor or literal; circle your choice)

Let’s take a brief look at this. If something is an unknown biblical factor, it cannot add to our confidence in Jesus Christ. Understanding is at the lower end of the human Learning Pyramid; i.e. Awareness – Understanding – Convinced – Conviction – Desire – Action. This is a study in and of itself but here is the very short version and explanation.

The greater one’s understanding of something the more likely s/he will be convinced of its actuality instead on one’s perception or their personal reality. (This too is an article discussed in another article in this website) Once convinced of possibilities we have but three choices. Two of them are excuses, not reasons once there is a personal understanding. One can opt to Ignore, reject, or accept. It is at this point humans will DESIRE to either move on, the first two options, or take the third option desiring to do something with this gained knowledge. This takes us to the action level. We take a given learning situation and apply it to our life.

In the Old Testament the use of the word “father” is remarkably missing, Where it is found it is usually within a context or single scenario. This is how Robert Stein puts it:

“Throughout the Bible we find God portrayed as a Father. This portrayal, however, is surprisingly rare in the Old Testament. There God is specifically called the Father of the nation of Israel ( Deut 32:6 ; Isa 63:16 ; [twice] 64:8 ; Jeremiah 3:4 Jeremiah 3:19 ; 31:9 ; Mal 1:6 ; 2:10 ) or the (metaphorical) Father of certain individuals ( 2 Sam 7:14 ; 1 Chron 17:13 ; 22:10 ; 28:6 ; Psalm 68:5 ; 89:26 ) only fifteen times.” (emphasis mine)

http://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/bakers-evangelical-dictionary/fatherhood-of-god.html Robert H. Stein; Fatherhood of God

Other than in the Lord’s Prayer where Jesus answers a disciple’s question, “teach us how to pray,” Jesus identifies God as his FATHER, not our father. This is a very personal identity. So how, when or where did this identity originate? Go to the Bethlehem record found in Luke 1 and Matthew 1.

This article is not intended to tell the Christmas narrative. We are researching and discussing the term “father” in its relationship to God the “father.” We read in Matthew 11:18… (ESV)

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.

So much content is skipped in this verse. First, Matthew is looking back at the birth of Jesus; “when his (Jesus’) mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph.” Matthew is looking back at this event in history. He is actually explaining to the Jews that Jesus is within the bloodline and DNA of King David and that HE is the promised Messiah of Isaiah prophecy. Both Joseph, the adoptive father of Jesus, and Mary, his earthly mother, are from the Tribe of Judah and a blood-relative of King David. This is important to the Jewish leadership of that day as this is the birth-line from which they expect their Messiah. Matthew targets Jews.

In the Book of Luke, a book targeted to the Gentiles, he does not attempt to make this connection. He makes the connection with Adam, the first human. Luke begins with current names and genealogically lists names from current to back Adam; i.e. son to father DNA. Matthew does just the opposite, he begins with King David and shows that Jesus has a legal right to the throne of King David; i.e. father to son DNA. Matthew targets the message to the Jews and Luke targets his message to the Gentiles; same message but different beginning points.

Matthew 11:18 also points out that Joseph refrained from, as this verse states (ESV) “before they came together.” That means, before they consummated their marriage. Why? Mary was already pregnant via God the Holy Spirit… “…she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit” (ESV). This is the reason Jesus always identified himself as the Son of God. Mary conceived through God the Holy Spirit. This is why he always called God, ‘Father.’ He was actually his “only begotten son.” John 3:16.

Now that you know the rest of the Bible Story (history), and evidence has been provided not through an opinion but through the Bible itself, this puts all of us in the Learning Pyramid at “desire.” Each one of us is left with Ignore – Reject – Accept; our only three choices. If one ops for either of the first two, s/he puts destiny (not eternity however) in human hands. If one opts for the third choice, accept, then destiny and eternity is put into Gods hands. Are you in good hands?

Action is the top level of the Learning Pyramid. After learning facts we still have the options of ignore, reject, or accept, that is, to remain ignorant via denial; say it means nothing to you by rejection of facts; Accept Jesus Christ for who he is! Of course, this is a choice. Exactly the way God intended it to be. It is called a Free Will (Romans 9:16).

Using cellphone outdoors while crossing the street.As a friend once commented in a home Bible study, we can opt to ignore the oncoming traffic, reject the fact that crossing the street at this time is deadly, or, accept the facts and use one’s choice to act(ion) accordingly.

Merry Christmas.

jStark3Rev. Dr. Jstark
December, 2015

The Earth Was Without “form and void”

(Genesis 1:2 – The Gap proven)gapaha

How might God (Trinity: Father, Son and Holy Spirit) create something that is less than excellent when in its original created form? When we read the second verse of Genesis 1 in the Holy Word of God, we can easily ask this question, but not easily conclude. We will likely be left conjecturing if doing anything other than reading a few words as a devotional or in one of our races to “read through the bible” in a year. This is why it is critically important to STUDY the Word of God; not just read it. To “study through the bible” requires dedication and certainly more than a year.

Sadly, this is the limit, content without context, of far too many so-called Bible studies; i.e. read a few verses then have a surface discussion of only the obvious, then share several “my opinions” without additional bible support of those personal opinions. Usually the discussion just reiterates or echoes the obvious. In the above example from Genesis 1:2 the discussion question would be something like… “what is form and void? What does it mean to be without?” This is a discussion type that usually takes a group of would-be bible studies to the land of nowhere. To get the rest of a bible passage we venture into STUDY; sometimes word-by-word study.

Too often one assumes that every verse or passage in the Bible is sequential without even considering that there might be a gap (time lapse) between them. Has any of us ever told a story or relived an incident in life and left out details within our sequence of events? What about the part that is left out? Might it influence or change one’s conclusion?

Example: Where were you? Answer: I was at the store. Missing or the gap in this store venture… “I also stopped over to see _____, then grabbed something to eat at a quick stop.” Would any of this additional information left out of the original change or influence YOUR analysis or conclusions of the events? Of course it would. Would the summary of “I was at the store” be the truth? Yes! It is a summary, but not an unabridged review of events.

Realizing this human example may be weak, it does make the point that additional information would help with a better conclusion. The Bible does not record every event in every historical discussion within its pages. That would require volumes; an entire library, not one bound book called the bible. This is also why 11 Timothy 2:15 tells us:

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth (NIV)

Let’s now apply study and show ourselves approved of correctly handling the word of the truth; the gap between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2. Let’s also realize that there was a time people didn’t understand algebra, calculous or physics (Hebrew or Greek). That is, until s/he takes the time to “STUDY” and grow his or her knowledge one piece of new information at a time.

Genesis 1:1 states that “God created the Heavens and the earth… in the beginning.” This slight detour is not part of this blog, but it is part of this thought and study process. What does “in the beginning” mean to you? What does God and author of this Holy Spirit inspired book, penned by Moses, intend it to mean? It certainly doesn’t mean the beginning of God; Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They are eternal.

First, the heaven being referred to in this verse is shâmeh in the Hebrew; the skies and universe above and within our sight; telescope and Hubble space craft included. It means the beginning of when earth, the heavenly bodies we can see that surround us today were created. This all had a beginning. It will also have an end if we study the bible books of Revelation, Ezekiel, minor Prophets, Daniel, Matthew, Luke and other scripture.

Matthew 24:25 Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (NIV)

Now that we better understand the words “in the beginning” and the “heaven” in Genesis 1:1, let’s increase our awareness and understanding by offering convincing knowledge of why there is very likely a GAP between 1:1 and 1:2.

a focus on Genesis 1v1, that God created.

We communicate via words be they written or spoken. Even signing is a form of words and communication. The Bible is written for us to study and understand. One does not walk into a foreign language class and immediately understand without background and study of that language. This is true of the Bible; we must examine it; not just read it and express opinions without something to back up the opinion.

The creation of earth in a perfect state and before v2 that tells us it “was without form and void,” requires a bit of bible searching. Let’s go to Job 38. Job is being challenged by God himself. One question God asks of Job is (38:4) “where were you when I laid the foundation?” This questioning continues through verse 6. Then in Job 38:7 we get proof that the earth was originally created as a site to be seen: “…while the morning stars sang together and all the angels shouted for joy.” In Job 38 God is talking about the creation of our known universe and the heavenly bodies were amazed. This simply does not fit with “without form and void” as we find recorded in Genesis 1:2.

The Hebrew helps our understanding much better than do most translations: Morning stars (bôqer kôkâb) are the elite princes or angels of heaven; “sang together and *all (kôl) the angels shouted for joy.”

Not hidden but often missed is additional insight(s) into the heavens and earth of Genesis 1. First, in Job 38:7 the heavenly beings are rejoicing over the laying of the foundation and creation of the earth. If this creation was little more than dull, void, and without form, why would the prince angels and angels of heaven SHOUT with joy (amazement)? Second, the word “all” in this passage is kôl in the Hebrew. kôl according to Strong, #3605 means: the whole; any (totally inclusive). Therefore the angels and the prince angels mentioned have to be the entirety of God’s angelic creation. This also points out that Lucifer and his 1/3 of the heavenly stars (angels) he pulled with him when cast out of heaven were still amongst the heavenly bodies; not yet cast out of heaven [to earth]. On a graph it would look like the following:

God creates earth – all the angels rejoice and are amazed – Lucifer, an angel, is part of “all”

Logically and without one earning a degree in theology, we can conclude that God’s perfect creation in Genesis 1:1 somehow became a waste land in v2. Who might have an interest in wasting it? The answer is too simple but explains much. Lucifer, the “morning light and most beautiful of prince angels,” became Satan once he rebelled against God. He claimed that the earth was his domain when he tried to tempt Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-11) by offering him the world’s kingdoms if he would only bow and worship him (Satan). He roams to and fro upon the earth seeking whom he may devour (Job 1:7; 2:2). He wants to destroy anything beholding to or created by the God-head.

What Satan destroyed between verse 1:1 and 1:2 God redesigned beginning in verse 3 by “shedding light” upon this now formless void. The 2nd verse of Genesis 1 begins, depending on the translation being read, with words like: the [ESV], and [KJV], now [NIV], when [ISV], and etc. Let’s go directly to the Hebrew Old Testament; i.e. the Tanakh. It reads (v2): (reading left to right – translated Hebrew)… והארץ(earth) היתה(became) תהו(desolate) ובהו(empty)

“Earth became desolate, empty”…

Note a couple of things. There is no prefixed word like now, the, when, etc. in the original text of the Tanakh. Also the second word is “became.” This suggests earth in verse 2 is not what it was created to be in verse 1 when all of heaven rejoiced. Something happened between verse 1 and verse 2. JIV (Jim’s Introspective View): Satan was cast out of heaven to earth and he promptly made a mess of God’s creation; a vindictive attitude toward even his own creator.

Here us how the Summarized Bible puts it… (cut and pasted from e-Sword)

“Gen. 1 (v2) is not a history of the original creation, but of a reconstruction following a cataclysmic judgment which had befallen the original creation.

  1. Gen_1:1 Original creation.
  2. Gen_1:2 Its destruction.
  3. Gen_1:3 and on, Reconstruction.”

Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown Commentary puts it this way:

…the earth was without form and void — or in “confusion and emptiness,” as the words are rendered in Isa_34:11. This globe, at some undescribed period, having been convulsed and broken up…

One might easily dismiss researching this topic on his or her own as it is “too complicated.” The same argument is given for only reading and not studying any scripture. All that means to this author is that one is not interested enough to do the work. This brings us back to 11 Timothy 2:15… right? Christianity is not a religion. It is a way of life and how can one determine or be convinced s/he is doing this without reading the manual?

jStark3

Rev. Dr. Jstark
November 12, 2015

But there is one thing you lack….(Mark 10:21; NIV)

BLOG – August 26, 2015jStark3

But there is one thing you lack….(Mark 10:21; NIV)

Here is a passage that has a very broad application to major single item issues in our lives. The bible records that a rich young ruler approached Jesus and asked “what must I do to inherit eternal life?”

The Rich Young Man (Mark 10:17-27; ESV)

17 And as he was setting out on his journey, a man ran up and knelt before him and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” 18 And Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. 19 You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’” 20 And he said to him, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.” 21 And Jesus, onethinglooking at him, loved him, and said to him, “You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” 22 Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

23 And Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How difficult it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” 24 And the disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how difficult it is to enter the kingdom of God! 25 It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” 26 And they were exceedingly astonished, and said to him, “Then who can be saved?” 27 Jesus looked at them and said, “With man it is impossible, but not with God. For all things are possible with God.”

This is not a passage that condemns wealth. Job, Abraham, Jacob, and others in scripture were very wealthy individuals; many camels, sheep, servants… It is about the possessions or in this situation the one possession that keeps us from living a full life with God. I recall a similar situation when preaching at a church many years ago. The preacher was ticking off a list of sins and an elderly lady sitting in the front row was vocally agreeing with each sin he identified. It goes something like this:

There are some here today who need to get certain sins out of their life. There are those here who have wondering eyes (amen mumbled the lady in the front row); those who seek wealth more than God (again she mumbled amen but a bit louder). There are those who cheat (Yes! Amen says the lady now audible to others). There are those who have tempers (Amen; now loud enough for those a few rows back). Some here have not supported the church as they should (now with a bit of a shout… Amen). There are those who have secret sins (Amen). Someone here is a compulsive liar (AMEN ). Someone here is an over-the-fence gossiper. With that the lady in the front row shouts out…”Now you are getting too personal!

It was the one sin for which she felt was excusable and okay since it was her practice in life and unwilling to give it upa gossiper; “there is one thing…“ To keep this story parallel to our passage in Mark, she agreed with hearty amen’s to the other listed wrongs and wasn’t guilty of those other sins (in her opinion that is). But there was one sin she felt was too much to give up and in her opinion was justifiable.

The rich young man in Mark 10 (also found in Luke 18:18-23 & Matthew 19:16-22) asked Jesus what must he do to inherit eternal life. There is nothing in any of the passages found in Matthew, Mark or Luke to indicate he was not sincere. He knew Jesus was the Messiah, good teacher, and sent from God. He wanted to be a follower of Christ like the other disciples.

Jesus then listed (v19) a few laws of Judaism (10 Commandments); the young man replies…”all these I have kept since I was a boy (v20; NIV) Then comes the zinger; the point we all need to consider in our personal lives, worship, and faithfulness to our salvation. In verse 21 Jesus looks (emblepō; to fix one’s eye upon) him in the eyes and says… “One thing you lack,” (v21a; NIV) “go and sell everything you have and give it to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven. Then, come and follow me.”

Note that Jesus didn’t tell him that he would never again have treasures or that he would no longer possess wealth. Jesus told him… “you will have treasures in heaven.” The word ‘treasures’ in the Greek is thēsauros; a coffer, box, or storehouse in which valuable things are deposited/stored. By deduction this suggests that his exchange of wealth on earth is but a deposit box for the wealth he would have in the storehouse of God in heaven.

Like the amen-lady in the story told on page one of this article, he was unwilling to “give up that one thing” that was too close to his heart; she: gossiping; him: wealth. It isn’t like he sacrificed much to live within the laws of Judaism. We are not told about this other than he has upheld these laws since a bay. This obedience to the laws made him a recognized, respected and good man in Jewish society and culture. This goodness is a given in his life since childhood. He sincerely wanted to follow Jesus, but on his own terms; willing to follow but wanted to keep one hand on his earthly security of treasures or desires. He was not willing to empty his earthly coffer of one particular thing in order to follow Jesus Christ; One thing you lack.

It isn’t a matter of giving up wealth or any one-thing, but it is a position or attitude of the heart. We can be more sincere than the pastor or leadership of a great or small church yet still covet one thing in life that seems too much to give up so Christ can completely fill and fulfill our life on earth. Maybe that one thing is telling an exaggerated story, a lustful eye, watching questionable movies, that drink that takes us to the red-eye of the wine, unwillingness to share in and nurture the growth of a child (Greek: pahee-dee’-on; a child or immature Christian), bear false stories, gossip, adultery, not giving due honor to those who deserve it whether it is earned or not, speeding, etc.

We should make a ‘study-note’ that in this situation it is but an example of other one-things we are not willing to surrender in order to follow God. Buying into political correctness does not assure it is correct with God just as is looking past evils, speeding, filing almost correct taxes, the white lie, not using our spiritual gift in church, and the like. Not leaving a tip worthy of being called a tip at a restaurant is NOT a sin but is politically incorrect, anti-culture and it is being judgmental or perhaps selfish. I have seldom met a wealthy waiter or waitress; often: the poor.

Before we are tempted to use this opportunity to begin staring in the face of incorrect political correctness go back to v21; ”Jesus looked at him and loved him.” This is agapaō love. It means Jesus loved him. I found this definition of two types of love:

There are generally two types of love spoken about in our New Covenant. The first is the Greek word phileō; it means a brotherly love, to be a friend, to have affection for. This is the most common type of love that we experience in this world and it’s an emotional love that occurs in almost every person to some degree. Whether they’re saved or unsaved, the average person today readily has this phileō, this emotional type of love within them.

The other Greek word for love is agape (ah-gah-pay) and sometimes agapaō. This is a much rarer type of love that only comes from our Father in Heaven through His Son Jesus Christ. Agape / agapaō love is the love of Jesus shining forth from his and our heart. It’s that divine love that’s related to being obedient to God’s Word. (John 14:23) Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves (agape) me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love (agape) him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

The wealthy young ruler desired to follow Christ and Jesus loved (agape/agopao) him; not for his willingness but for his being a person for whom Jesus Christ was soon to die on Calvary and pay the debt of sin. “For God so loved the (entire ) world that he gave his only begotten son.”(emphasis mine). Here in the life of the rich young man seeking to follow Jesus on earth, we have a very familiar phrase that is often used by God the Father and his son Jesus Christ when making a promise or covenant. It goes like this; If you_________, then I (God-head) will ______________. In the case of this young man, it was a matter of giving up, not an easily identified sin, but something that he held more personal and of value than a fulfilled walk with Jesus. It was not the wealth, but his unwillingness to give up the “ONE THING” that kept him from Christ fulfilling His plan for his life… ours too.

Does the reader of this blog have just one inner secret of issue in life that keeps him or her from a closer walk with Christ? If there is, it is _(confidential)______                              _____________________ ?