March - Reading 14

Discussion in 'Bible Reading Plan 2016' started by Clint Kritzer, Mar 14, 2002.

  1. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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  2. Helen

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    Barry and Helen here

    Matthew 25:31-46

    BARRY: There are two widely accepted interpretations of this passage as mentioned by the editors of the NIV. Their succinct notes are as follows: "1. It will occur at the beginning of the earthly millennial kingdom (vv.31, 34). Its purpose will be to determine who will be allowed to enter the kingdom (v. 34). The criterion for judgment will be the kind of treatment shown to the Jewish people ('these brothers of mine', v. 40) during the preceding great tribulation period. Ultimately, how a person treats the Jewish people will reveal whether or not he is saved (vv. 41, 46)."

    Then there is the other interpretation: "2. The judgment referred to occurs at the great white throne at the end of the age (Rev. 20:11-15). Its purpose will be to determine who will be allowed to enter the eternal kingdom of the saved and who will be consigned to eternal punishment in hell (vv. 34, 46). The basis for judgment will be whether love is shown to God's people (see 1Jn. 3:14-15)."

    Two comments also seem necessary to put these interpretations in context.. First, away back in Genesis 12:3 God had said to Abram "I will bless those who bless you, and curse those who curse you. This covenant was only conditional upon Abram getting out of his country, away from his kindred, away from his father's house, and into the land God would show him (Gen. 12:1). Abram fulfilled those conditions, and the covenant was passed on to Isaac and Israel. This covenant is in effect even today, and from this passage in Matthew continues right through the Tribulation.

    The question may be asked why should an individual's treatment of the Jewish people determine whether or not they come into the Millennial Empire. The reason is that the Tribulation is called described in these terms in Jeremiah 30:7 "Alas! For that day is great, so there is none like it; it is the time of Jacob's trouble, but he shall be saved out of it." Clearly the Jews will be a specific target for attack in those days, and in a way that will be even worse than the Holocaust.

    Paul states in Galatians 3: 7-9 that "those who are of faith are blessed with believing Abraham." It therefore probably follows that those who stand for Christ during that Tribulation period will suffer a similar fate, as indeed happened during the Holocaust also. This may well be described in the context of Daniel 7:21, 25 where the antichrist "made war against the saints and prevailed against them, until the Ancient of Days came, and the judgement was made, and the saints of the Most High possessed the kingdom". This comment has parallels with the one in Matthew 25.

    HELEN: Wow! I've been reading most the afternoon and he asked me to come in and read this and right now my name is only on by courtesy, so I should add something…!

    OK - one of the ways this parable of the sheep and goats is used is by those who say that your works determine your eternal fate. And I admit the parable may seem at this like first glance. But, consider the following: sheep and goats are different from the start. The sheep, therefore, are simply doing what sheep do and the goats are simply doing what goats do. This is in line with Christ's words that out of the heart come both words and actions. What you do and say expresses who you are. You cannot make yourself into someone different by doing and/or saying certain things. This effectively negates all religions but the Christian religion when viewed in this light.

    Romans 9:1-18

    BARRY: The centrality of the Jewish people in God's Plan is again in evidence in this passage. Paul is not denying the election of the nation of Israel in 9:6, but, as the NIV editors point out, Paul is "stating that within Israel there is a separation, that of unbelieving Israel and believing Israel.. Physical descent is no guarantee of a place in God's family." That is why there is Paul's reference to the Israel of faith.

    The question arises as to why God rejected Esau, but loved Jacob. To find the answer, look at the two different characters that they were. Esau was someone who trusted in his own self-sufficiency, and did not need God's blessing to help him get along. By contrast, Jacob, despite his trickery, knew he needed God's blessing, although he was prepared to use trickery to get it. He would not let God go until he had been blessed (Gen. 32:26). God can work with someone like Jacob, but Esau's attitude precluded God from acting in his life. The Lord could foresee these different characters and incidents before the birth of these twins, and passed His verdict accordingly.

    As for the situation with Pharaoh, God had specifically stated "I have 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." With the arrival of the 80-year-old Moses in Pharaoh's court, Pharaoh was given a choice as to how that purpose might be achieved. He could go God's way, release the Children of Israel, and probably become one of the most famous Pharaoh's in history with God's blessing on him and his country; or he could refuse to let God's people go and suffer ignominious defeat. In the event, the Exodus account mentions the FIRST 5 times that Pharaoh hardened his own heart. When God saw that consistent reaction, He did not over-ride Pharaoh's will, but worked with it, and enhanced it. Finally, God Himself finished the job and hardened Pharaoh's heart permanently. As Luke 19:26 states " to everyone who has will be given, and to him who has not, even the little he has will be taken away from him." Pharaoh's ability to co-operate with God was removed when he decided not to, reminding one of the servant who buried his talent. Proverbs also states "He who is often reproved and hardens his neck will suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy." This is a serious matter for us all.

    May the Lord give us wisdom to see things in the way that He sees them at all times.

    Barry and Helen
     
  3. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Helen -

    Let that boy get his own screen name! LOL Just kidding, I appreciate the input from both of you.

    Good evening all -

    Tonight we finish our reading of the Book of Numbers. Chapter 33 gives us a synopsis of the trek of the Israelites from Egypt to the plains of Moab. You guessed it, I have a map: http://scriptures.lds.org/biblemaps/2

    I wish to add to Barry and Helen's comments on Matthew that the message I glean from the parable tonight is summed up well in the scripture itself, that being how we treat each other is how God will judge our treatment of Him. It's as basic as that. Other ancient cultures had myths of their gods visiting earth in disguise to wander among the mortals. God has no need to disguise Himself, but He certainly knows how we treat our neighbor. So when do we see God hungry, thirsty, a stranger, needing clothes, sick, or in prison? Every day bretheren! We were all made in the image of the Creator. We're all responsible to Him.

    May God bless you

    - Clint
     
  4. Clint Kritzer

    Clint Kritzer
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    Sunday School lesson – 12/4/05

    Romans 9:1-29

    Paul had raised the question of the Jewish situation at the beginning of the Letter with the proposition of the “Jews first” in verses 1:16 and 2:9-10. He then returned to the subject of the position of the Jews in the development of the Gospel in 3:18 where the question of faithlessness is raised. At that point in his diatribe Paul was addressing the subject of justification and the subject of the Jewish question was put aside. Now in chapter 9 the issue is brought back to the forefront and the Apostle analyzes with much more specificity the nature of the Jewish nation and the Jewish individual in light of the revelation of the Gospel.

    It should be noted at the outset of this study exactly what the historic setting was under which the Jewish members of Paul’s audience found themselves. That there were Jews in the congregation is undeniable as Paul spends much time and text addressing them. Judas Maccabeus, the Jewish revolutionary and leader who led his people to a brief period of autonomy had forged an alliance with Rome requesting that they recognize the independent state of Palestine. Less than a century later, however, Pompey conquered Judea and brought back many prisoners of war, many of whom were soon freed, and by 50 BC the city of Rome had a large Jewish population.

    In 31 AD a crisis arose when the Emperor Tibereus learned that four Jews had misappropriated funds that a Roman woman convert had donated to the Jerusalem Temple. In retribution, about four thousand Jews were exiled to die in Sardinia. The other Jews were not allowed to return until 31 AD. Soon after in 49, the Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews from Rome because he accused them of constant rioting “at the instigation of Chrestus.” Most Christian scholars conclude that the name “Chrestus is a Gentile variation of “Christus,” or Christ. This expulsion is also mentioned in the Scriptures in Acts 18:2 where Paul meets Aquila and Priscilla, two Jewish Christians who were victims of that expulsion.

    By the writing of Romans, however, the Jewish community had once again begun to grow in Rome. Though much of Christendom at this time was Jewish converts, the audience in Rome was probably mostly Gentile. The Jews in Rome were likely the Hellenistic Jews who had migrated back to a hostile city. It is primarily these people to whom Paul now speaks.

    Romans 9:1-5 Introduction: Israel’s Unbelief

    Paul had once before mentioned Israel’s advantage in 3:1-2 but Paul elaborates more fully now. The decided advantage of the Jews provided by God set against the unfaithfulness of the Jewish people as a corporate entity presents a crisis for Paul and he responds with anguish. For any of Paul’s opponents who may have accused him of anti-Semitism, this Passage would have laid those claims to rest. Paul even wished (literally Greek: prayed) that he could sacrifice his own salvation if it would bring the rest of his ethnic group to a saving knowledge of the Gospel. His statements here are very close to those of Moses in Exodus 32:32 as he plead for the Israelites. Paul even addresses them as his “brethren,” a word typically used by Paul to denote Christians. Paul expresses his earnestness in that he speaks the truth in Christ from a conscience led by the Holy Spirit.

    The Apostle names seven elements that gave the Jews a spiritual advantage over the Gentiles. They are (1) sonship (adoption), (2) glory, (3) covenants, (4) law-given, (5) worship, (6) promises, and (7) patriarchs (fathers).

    Sonship was given to Israel when the Law was given (Exodus 4:22-23). Glory was the presence of the Lord among the people of Israel (Exodus 40:34). The Covenant (or covenant by some manuscripts) are primarily the Sinaiatic but also could include the Noahic, Abrahamic, Davidic and New. The law was given to apply the covenant relationship to daily life but it also brought them to the knowledge of sin. Worship (or service) refers to the liturgy of the Temple. The Promises reached back to the time of Abraham and pointed towards the coming Messiah. The patriarchs or fathers were important as they were the predecessors of the Messiah. Here the term “concerning the flesh” refers to the physical nature of Jesus.

    The final phrasing of verse 5 has been translated various ways. As the original Greek had no punctuation, translators are left with the task of deciphering the phrasing of the manuscripts. Some have felt that a period should be inserted, making the final phrase a benediction: God who is over all be blessed forever. Others such as the KJV insert a comma making the sentence a statement that Christ is God. Whether the statement is a declaration of Christ’s divinity or not is of no consequence in this matter as the point is made abundantly clear in a myriad of New Testament Passages.

    Romans 9:6-13 Election and God’s Promise

    Another point made in a variety of New Testament Passages is that heredity has nothing to do with one’s state of salvation. Though the idea of a Jew being damned to hell was foreign to most of the pious Jews of Jesus’ day, John the Baptist warned the crowds that God could make children of Abraham from stones and Jesus told the Pharisees that they were children of the devil and not of the Patriarch.

    Now the question must be addressed, if God is sovereign, and the Jews were His chosen people, had the word of God failed. Had not God promised Abraham that it would be his seed through whom the world would be blessed? Paul’s point is that the word of God had not failed, even if every Jew in the world had rejected Christ. The promise had been fulfilled in Christ and it is through Christ alone that election occurs.

    To illustrate his point, Paul states the words of God to Abraham in Genesis 21:12 where Abraham is told that it was through Isaac his seed would be named. Recall that in the account Abraham had already had a child by Hagar, Sarah’s handmaid. Therefore, lineage to Abraham was secondary to the Lord bestowing the promise. Ishmael was not the seed God had foretold. He was the result of Abraham and Sarah’s floundering faith.

    Paul’s opponents may have then argued that Ishmael was the son of a slave and therefore disqualified for election. Paul answers this unstated objection with a second Old Testament example in the sons of Isaac. Jacob and Esau were both sons of Isaac and Rebekah. They were in fact twins. Yet before they were born, before they committed good acts or bad acts, Rebekah was told that Jacob, the child born second, would master over Esau.

    Paul then quotes Malachi in the phrase, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” While the love of God for Esau is easily understood, the hate for Esau bears some commentary.

    Franz Jehan Leenhardt, former professor of theology at the University of Geneva, contends that “love” and “hate” are synonymous with “choosing” and “leaving aside.” Others agree with that commentary and state that a very fair paraphrasing of the sentence would be “I preferred Jacob to Esau.” Bear in mind also that by the time of the writing of Malachi, Jacob and Esau were long dead and the names refer to the nations that descended from the men. Esau was the father of Edom.. Nonetheless, Paul’s point is made that genetic lineage was no guarantee of being an heir of God’s promise to Abraham.

    Romans 9:14-18 Election and God’s Justice

    There is no end to the variety of reaction to these verses. The question of God’s justice was raised in 3:5 but dismissed as a human way of thinking and inconsistent with God being a just Judge of the world. Returning to the diatribe style consistent throughout Romans, Paul embarks on an explanation of God’s plan of election.

    It is somewhat evident that Paul is moving through Jewish history as he moves from the story of Jacob to the Pharaoh in Exodus. Just as God spoke to Moses and revealed to him a plan for the salvation of Israel, so the Scriptures God personified, spoke to Pharaoh. The specific reference here in Exodus 9:16. The effect of Pharaoh’s resistance to God was to serve two purposes. First it was to display God’s power in the Exodus event and secondly to proclaim His name to all the earth.

    It is an incorrect assumption to interpret verse 18 as stating that God causes an evil disposition in any man, including Pharaoh. Though at times in Exodus the hardening of Pharaoh’s heart is attributed to God, in other instances it is attributed to Pharaoh himself. God’s word to Pharaoh had the same effect as the Law. The Law brought about consciousness to sin that was already present. God’s word to Pharaoh brought about hardness that was already there. As Dale Moody states in the 1970 Broadman Commentary, “the sun that hardens the clay melts the butter.”

    Just as God’s word hardened Pharaoh’ heart when he resisted, so too did it harden the hearts of those who rejected Christ when they were called. The final answer to God’s justice is that not only is He just; He is just and merciful.

    continued
     
  5. Clint Kritzer

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