33 minutes | Apr 8, 2020
The Prodigal Son
In this episode, Brother Jonathan goes through the parable of the prodigal son and discusses parables in general. The Prodigal Son S4EP4 Remnant Bible Fellowship Intro Today we are going to be talking about the parable of the prodigal son, and we’ll also be discussing some things about parables in general. About Parables A “parable” is not an allegory. This is one way that the early church got away from handling the scriptures well. If you read some of the interpretations by some early Christian writers, like Augustine or Clement of Alexandria, you see that they distorted the scriptures by using an allegorical method of interpretation. Using that method, you can make the text say anything that you want. That is not what the parables are for or how they are to be interpreted. The word “parable” comes over into English from the Greek word “parabole”. In BDAG, the two entries define it as “something that serves as a model or example pointing beyond itself for later realization, type, figure (Heb. 9:9); a narrative or saying of varying length, designed to illustrate a truth especially through comparison or simile, comparison, illustration, parable, proverb, maxim.” In the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament which was probably the version of the OT used by Christ and the Apostles, the Greek word “parabole” was translated from the Hebrew word “mashal”. In Holladay’s Concise Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the Old Testament, the entry for this word has “saying of any of various categories; proverb; wisdom saying; mocking song”. You see that this is slightly different from what we think of in English as a “parable”. There are a wide range of forms that fall into the category of parable. In Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart’s excellent book on the basics of hermeneutics, “How to Read the Bible for all its Worth”, they say this: “The first thing one must note is that not all the sayings we label as parables are of the same kind. There is a basic difference, for example, between the Good Samaritan (true parable), on the one hand, and the Leaven in the Meal (similitude), on the other, and both of these differ from the saying, “You are the salt of the earth” (metaphor), or “Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?” (epigram). Yet all of these can be found from time to time in discussions of the parables.” (“How to Read the Bible for all its Worth”, Fee and Stuart, 2nd edition, 1993, p. 137) Its easy to see this when you sit down and read through the parables and see how they are different. Some are stories and some are just sayings maybe a sentence or two long. When you begin to think of the parables with the proper understanding their purpose becomes clearer. Their purpose is to provoke a response from the intended audience. This is why context is so important. You cannot separate passages of scripture of any kind from their intended audience or historical/grammatical context and come to the right interpretation. This is how people end up thinking that they have to wear artificial headcoverings, or do foot-washing as an ordinance, or something that is truly heretical—which headcoverings and foot-washing are not. Sometimes in the gospels we do have parables that are recorded for us without their original context. This is normal considering the practice of the day. It was not uncommon for parables and sayings to be repeated at various times in diverse situations. This is why we see the gospel-writers place some of the parables and sayings in different places. They are simply using normal rhetorical practices of the day. In addition to that, the Lord most likely repeated these things numerous times. We shouldn’t think that Jesus said everything that He said only once. He traveled and preached the message of the Kingdom of God in many places for a number of years. But the purpose of the parable is seen in understanding its context and intended audience. We’ll see this as we go through the text of the prodigal son. The Text The first thing that you must do when studying a passage, especially a parable, is to examine its context. So, with the parable of the prodigal son, which starts at Luke 15:11, we are going to start at v.1. “Now all the tax collectors and the sinners were coming near Him to listen to Him. Both the Pharisees and the scribes began to grumble, saying, "This man receives sinners and eats with them." (Luk 15:1-2) This is the beginning of the context for the following three parables given by Jesus. All three of the parables are Jesus’ response to the grumbling of the scribes and Pharisees about Jesus sitting with the non-religious Jews. The tax collectors were especially hated by the Jews; and not just the religious Jews. Tax collectors, sometimes translated as ‘publicans’, were Jews that opted to work for Rome, whether directly or through a contractor, to receive taxes from the Jews. They were seen as traitors to Israel for working for a pagan king to exact taxes from their own people. The situation made it so that many could be less than honest in their exacting from the people. The tax collectors would mark up the price that they would take from the people to increase their profit margin. This is referred to as “tax-farming”. As a result, many would get very wealthy. An example of this is the man Zacchaeus. You see here a contrast though in the response of the people, and this gives us the three reference points for the next three parables of Jesus’ response. The three reference points are Jesus (who receive sinners who come to Him), the sinners (who are coming to Him), and the scribes and Pharisees (who grumble about Jesus receiving the sinners who come to Him). We will be able to understand the next three parables in light of this situation. “So He told them this parable, saying,” (Luk 15:3) Jesus begins to respond to the religious leaders’ grumbling. The Greek word “de”, a conjunction of lesser force than “kai”, is translated here as “so” in English to make clear that Jesus is indeed responding to them with these parables. “"What man among you, if he has a hundred sheep and has lost one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the open pasture and go after the one which is lost until he finds it? "When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. "And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and his neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!' "I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance.” (Luk 15:4-7) This parable begins with a man who has a modest flock of sheep—one hundred sheep is a smaller flock than usual. When one of them goes astray, he intentionally leaves the others to go and find it. He then rejoices when he finds it and brings it back. He then celebrates with others that the sheep has been safely brought back. Jesus then ends with the statement that there is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine “righteous” persons who don’t. This last statement by Jesus pretty well explains the meaning of the parable. The Father seeks the sinners who go astray. He rejoices when they return to Him. It is God the Father’s desire that sinners be saved and He himself is seeking them to return to Him. This is consistent with the rest of scripture. The Jews, knowing the scriptures, would’ve understood the message. In the prophets God repeatedly used the illustration of lost sheep going astray as sinners. Likewise, it is stated in many places that the Lord desires people to be reconciled to Him. The scribes and Pharisees though were self-righteous and felt that they had no need of repentance. The last statement by Jesus, “have no need of repentance,” may be an ironic jab at the Pharisees and scribes who saw themselves this way. This is more clear in the parable of the prodigal son. “All of us like sheep have gone astray, Each of us has turned to his own way; But the LORD has caused the iniquity of us all To fall on Him.” (Isa 53:6) “"My people have become lost sheep; Their shepherds have led them astray. They have made them turn aside on the mountains; They have gone along from mountain to hill And have forgotten their resting place.” (Jer 50:6) In Ezekiel 34 we see that the Lord is angry with the “shepherds”, or the religious leaders, of that day because they were leading the people away from God. He then goes on to talk about how he will seek them out though they were led astray. “For thus says the Lord GOD, "Behold, I Myself will search for My sheep and seek them out. "As a shepherd cares for his herd in the day when he is among his scattered sheep, so I will care for My sheep and will deliver them from all the places to which they were scattered on a cloudy and gloomy day. "I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries and bring them to their own land; and I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the streams, and in all the inhabited places of the land. "I will feed them in a good pasture, and their grazing ground will be on the mountain heights of Israel. There they will lie down on good grazing ground and feed in rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. "I will feed My flock and I will lead them to rest," declares the Lord GOD. "I will seek the lost, bring back the scattered, bind up the broken and strengthen the sick; but the fat and the strong I will destroy. I will feed them with judgment.” (Eze 34:11-16) “"Or what woman, if she has ten silver coins and loses one coin, does not light a lamp and sweep the house and search carefully until she finds it? "When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbors, saying, 'Rejoice with me, for I have foun
18 minutes | Mar 18, 2020
That's Your Interpretation!
In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about how to answer someone when they tell you: Well that's just your interpretation! That’s Your Interpretation S4EP4 Remnant Bible Fellowship The Argument You are talking to someone about something regarding a passage of scripture, could be doctrinal, practical, or maybe you are witnessing to them, and they retort back: “Well, that’s your interpretation!” As though that somehow makes you wrong or invalidates what you said. Assess the Person Figure out where they are coming from. Do they honestly believe what they’re saying? Is it a philosophical problem? deconstructionism Is it just an excuse? Are they just saying this to get away from the meaning of the passage? Is there an ulterior motive? How to Answer Counter-argue with an example. “If written documents don’t have a fixed and understandable message then how does texting work? Or emails? Or letters?” Or literally any other written document (books, novels, etc.) Do they live consistent with what they’re saying? Explain why they are wrong. Documents are written with an intended meaning from the author. Grammar, historical context, the lexical definition of words, all constrain the meaning of the text. Restate the correct interpretation. Give the reasons for your interpretation to be the correct one.
15 minutes | Feb 17, 2020
Have we lost the original text of the Bible?
In this episode, Brother Jonathan answers this very common question. Have we lost the original text of the Bible? S4EP2 Remnant Bible Fellowship Introduction One of the most common questions or arguments that is brought up by people wanting to invalidate the Bible is the idea that the original text of the Bible has been lost either by transmission or translation. A lot of people repeat this idea without doing any actual research. People blindly believe this idea, because no one who actually does an investigation into the data believes it. For example, one of the leading textual critics, atheist/agnostic Bart Ehrman, who authored the book “Misquoting Jesus”, which has turned more people against the Bible than most books, had this to say in the appendix: “Essential Christian beliefs are not affected by textual variants in the manuscript tradition of the New Testament.” So, from one of the leading critics of the Bible you have heard up front that there is not a single cardinal doctrine of Christianity that is affected by the differences, or variants, of the manuscripts underlying the Bible. What is a ‘variant’? Let me tell you. Variants A variant happens when someone who is copying a manuscript (a handwritten copy of the New Testament whether partial or whole) makes an error in copying or a correction. Then, what results is that you now have two manuscripts that differ. Later, someone copies that same manuscript and another person copies the other. Now you have four manuscripts that read differently, because most likely when they copied again there was a new variant added also. This happens many times over. So, what do you think? Do all those variants add up to a completely different text, thus forever hiding what the original New Testament said? Not at all. For one thing, this view assumes that there is no one who is double-checking these things. We know for a fact that this is not true. The early Christians wrote about how they noticed some of these copying errors and talked about it. Another thing is that they still had the one they copied originally. Yes, the originals wore out after time because of the incessant copying and circulating of them, but that doesn’t mean that the text was lost. Here’s an example for you. A professor of a college class with one-hundred students gives a copy of the Gettysburg Address to everyone. Their assignment is to hand copy it word-perfect. They all come back and turn their copy in. The teacher collates them all and checks them. Errors were made. In fact, everyone made at least one error. What does this mean? Well, for one thing, do you think that every single student made the same exact error in the same exact places? No. Each student would make individual errors. This also would prove that no one cheated. There was not one person who just superseded everything and erased everyone else’s copies and substituted his own. It is the fact that each student’s work had its own variants that proves that there was no mass control or revision done. You could easily gather all the papers, note the differences, and where they all agreed you would know was right. And where there were oddball variants that didn’t match any of the others you would know that that student just goofed there. This is what the situation of the New Testament is like. We have all these copies with variants, but they agree the overwhelming majority of the time. But, let’s consider what type of variants there are. Types of variants There are roughly 300 to 400,000 variants in the New Testament manuscripts. That sounds like a depressingly large number. That’s more than there are words in the New Testament. But guess what? 99.75% of those variants don’t affect the translation at all. Less than one-half of one percent of these affect how the text is translated at all. It’s usually things like a name of a person or place is spelled differently. A large number of variants is because there was no standard understanding of how to spell John’s name. So the smallest number of variants are the ones that are both meaningful (that is, they affect meaning in some way) and viable (that is, actually possible). But what constitutes ‘meaningful’? Well, when I say meaningful what I mean is that it affects that translation in some way. But when you start looking through these you see that most are trivial or insignificant. Like how do you spell Bethesda? Or, in Mark 9:29, does Jesus mention just praying does he add fasting? People like Bart Ehrman will often use examples like the pericope of the woman caught in adultery in John 8 or the last twelve verses of Mark as examples of textual issues. They imply that these are normal. That’s completely false. Most textual variants are spelling issues, then you have word order issues (which rarely affects translation in Greek), and you also have a choice of this word or that word. For example, sometimes the manuscript said “Jesus did this or that” and another says “the Lord did this or that”. Either way you know who its referring to. Does it affect meaning? Yes. Does it affect doctrine. Not at all. Doctrines such as the deity of Christ and whether or not the early Christians believed that Jesus was the Son of God are not affected at all by these variants. What the Bible says about salvation is not affected. Whether or not Jesus is going to return and how is not affected. Christianity is not affected at all by anything in the manuscript tradition. Those who say that it is are speaking from ignorance or just simply lying to you. What about translation? It’s more common to hear that the text has been lost by the constant translating. Those who say this actually don’t know what translating is. You take the meaning from these words over here and bring their meaning over into another language. Languages have rules you know. We have bilingual or trilingual people that we meet in everyday life. Ask them if meaning is lost. Yes, sometimes nuances particular to a language is hard to convey, but its not lost. Especially since we have the text as it was written. Not a single doctrine is affected. Perspective Let me put it this way. No, we don’t have the actual physical original copies of the New Testament text. But we have about 6,000 copies of it in the exact same language. If you expand that to include other languages then you get up to around 25-26,000 copies. That is miraculous by secular historical standards. The differences between these copies, as we already talked about, are minor and insignificant. Some important texts passages that explicitly state the deity of Christ, for example, are exactly the same in every single manuscript. We have manuscripts that are within decades of when the New Testament was completed. Over 100 in the second century alone. We have a fragment of the gospel of John that is from the first century. That gospel was written in the 90s AD. That’s single digit year difference. But, setting all that aside we have the writings of the early Christians, sermons, homilies, lectionaries, etc. They did not have the gift of brevity. Sometimes they quote almost whole chapters. With these quotations alone we can reconstruct the New Testament in its entirety. They also verify that the Christians back then believed the exact same gospel message that is preached today. They believed in the deity of Christ. They believed in saved by grace through faith. Some of these were written by the disciples of the apostles themselves. In short, we know what the original text said and we know what the original Christians believed. Conclusion Now, does that validate that church on your corner? No. Just because we have the text of the Bible doesn’t mean that people follow it or obey it. But I’ll tell you one thing, when I started reading the Bible I saw that my home church and many around me were not getting what they believed from the Bible. They were just propagating what others told them. If you want to know what God said, just go get a Bible and start reading. Start in Matthew. Jesus said that we must repent of our sins (that is acknowledge them and turn from them) and follow Him because we believe that He died for our sins according to the scriptures. In closing, I will read the passage from scripture that was written by the Apostle Paul in 55 ad. Scholars acknowledge that this passage is based on an early Christian confession from the time immediately following the resurrection of Jesus—about 33-4 ad. “Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand, by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep; then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles; and last of all, as to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.” (1Co 15:1-8) You have no excuse for not believing that the text of the Bible is original.
38 minutes | Feb 13, 2020
Can Women Teach?
In this episode, Brother Jonathan answers a question about women in ministry. Can Women be Pastors? S4EP3 Remnant Bible Fellowship Intro Experience over Word Many women who become pastors or preachers do so on the basis of their own subjective experience and not on the basis of God’s Word. Most say something along the lines of “well God lead me to this” or “I was called”. The fact of the matter, as we’ll see later, is that that’s not possible. The Word of God says the opposite. There are some people who go farther than that and they simply ignore the scriptures as being authoritative. This happens usually in one of two ways: (1) they believe the Spirit can lead contrary to the written word, or (2) they believe that this is a cultural thing that is not to be continued today. The Holy Spirit is the author of the scriptures. “ for no prophecy was ever made by an act of human will, but men moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God.” (2Pe 1:21) The Words of God are spiritual themselves. “"It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.” (Joh 6:63) Christians are led by the Spirit of God (Rom. 8:14). Jesus said that for us to remain in Him, or abide in Him, we are to keep His commandments: “"If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. "My Father is glorified by this, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be My disciples. "Just as the Father has loved Me, I have also loved you; abide in My love. "If you keep My commandments, you will abide in My love; just as I have kept My Father's commandments and abide in His love.” (Joh 15:7-10) We are specifically told that if someone does not consent to the teachings of Jesus that they are false teachers. “If anyone advocates a different doctrine and does not agree with sound words, those of our Lord Jesus Christ, and with the doctrine conforming to godliness, he is conceited and understands nothing; but he has a morbid interest in controversial questions and disputes about words, out of which arise envy, strife, abusive language, evil suspicions, and constant friction between men of depraved mind and deprived of the truth, who suppose that godliness is a means of gain.” (1Ti 6:3-5) Quite simply, if someone does not yield themselves to the words of scripture then they have exalted themselves above it. This is the mark of another spirit and a false teacher. When someone believes that the Spirit of God is going to contradict Himself by telling us to do one thing, but then telling individuals to do something completely different and ignore the first thing, that’s simply confusion and spiritual deception. The second thing brought up sometimes is that of cultural context. Some venture to say that Paul is merely going by cultural norms at the time because the average woman in the first century was uneducated and therefore shouldn’t teach. Very simply…no. Paul nowhere makes that appeal. On the contrary, he appeals to the divine order of creation—which we’ll look at later particularly. Paul in other places does quite clearly appeal to culture, such as in the case of headcoverings in 1 Corinthians 11. Several times in that passage he appeals to culture and subjective judgment instead of doctrine or divine commandment. Even in the NASB there is a serious mistranslation that makes it kind of ambiguous. In 1 Corinthians 11:16 the word translated “other” should be translated “such”. There is no reason other than the subjective judgment of the translators that it is translated that way. But several times Paul makes clear that it’s a cultural issue of appropriateness and not a divine commandment. Paul does no such thing with this issue. There is a divine order that he appeals to and that’s it. Not to Teach? “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint.” (1Ti 2:11-15) There are two things that Paul says he does not allow a woman to do in v.12: “to teach” or “exercise authority”. “didaskw” – BDAG “to tell someone what to do, instruct; to provide instruction in a formal or informal setting, teach.” “auqentew” – BDAG “to assume a stance of independent authority, give orders to, dictate to.” Some people try to conflate these two ideas together to say that they form a hendiadys—when two words separated by a conjunction express the same idea. This is where some think that Paul is merely saying that a woman should not authoritatively teach, that is, without being under an authority like a pastor herself but that she can do lay-teaching in Sunday school or home bible studies. This fails for one notable reason. The two words, in the original, are several words apart. If this was intended to form a hendiadys they would be side-by-side. So a woman is being told to not teach at all and not just that she can’t be a pastor/preacher/teacher in a position. Regarding that, the first thing to ask is “what should they not teach?” Is this regarding any subject at all, or just teaching biblical content? Bill Mounce in his commentary on the Pastoral Epistles had this to say: “Paul does not identify what it is that women may not teach… [didaskein] in the PE [Pastoral Epistles] is used in a positive sense of teaching the truth of the gospel (1 Tim. 4:11; 6:2; 2 Tim 2:2)… the cognate noun [didachē], “teaching,” occurs twice in the PE, both times describing the gospel message. The cognate [didaskalia], “teaching,” occurs fifteen times in the PE, and every time except one (1 Tim 4:1, referring to doctrine of demons) it refers to the gospel (1 Tim 1:10; 4:6, 13, 16; 5:17; 6:1, 3; 2 Tim 3:10, 16, 4:3; Titus 1:9; 2:1, 7, 10)… the overwhelming use of the word group in the PE is to describe the positive teaching of the gospel, often (as the context shows) by a person in authority (especially 2 Tim 2:2; 1 Tim 5:17; Titus 1:9; c.f. 1 Tim 3:2).” - (William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, in Word Biblical Commentary, vol. 46, ed. by Bruce Metzger, Ralph P. Martin, and Lynn Allan Losie (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 2000), 124-125.) [Brackets mine] So the context for the use of the Greek word in the Pastoral Epistles indicates that what is being spoken of is biblical content. That means that a woman is not being banned from speaking about a particular skill or profession that they know. (e.g. accounting, literature, science, etc.) A woman is particularly banned from teaching biblical content to men. This should seem like common sense. Since a woman is not inferior in essence or worth, they are co-heirs with us male believers in the exact same salvation, then it makes sense that it is not just some arbitrary command for a woman to “sit down and shut up”. That idea is absent from the scriptures. On the contrary, Paul acknowledges that women should indeed teach at certain times in particular ways: “Train up a child in the way he should go, Even when he is old he will not depart from it.” (Pro 22:6) Women are obviously included in general commandments about raising children. I don’t know of anyone that would disagree. “She opens her mouth in wisdom, And the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.” (Pro 31:26) “Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage [or ‘train’] the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure, workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.” (Tit 2:3-5) It’s clear then that women are free to teach things other than biblical content, and they are also free to teach other women. What should be their demeanor then? Paul tells us in the context and gives us a reason why. “A woman must quietly receive instruction with entire submissiveness. But I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority over a man, but to remain quiet. For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. But women will be preserved through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self-restraint. [soundness of mind; self-control]” (1Ti 2:11-15) There are a couple of words to emphasize here. In v.11 Paul says that a woman must “quietly” receive instruction. He then mentions it again in v.12 saying “but to remain quiet”. He sets this in contrast to her teaching and exercising authority over men. The Greek word used for quietness is “hJsuciva” meaning “state of quietness without disturbance, quietness, rest; state of saying nothing or very little, silence” (BDAG). It is the same word used in 2 Thessalonians 3:12: “Now such persons we command and exhort in the Lord Jesus Christ to work in quiet fashion and eat their own bread.” (2Th 3:12) The second word to look at is where Paul says that they are to be quiet with entire “submissiveness”. The Greek word here is “uJpotaghv” and it has the sense of “the state of submissiveness, subjection, subordination, as opposed to setting oneself up as controller” (BDAG). It’s translated in the NASB as “obedience” in 2 Corinthians 9:13, and as “subjection” in Galatians 2:5. It is also used again in 1 Timothy 3:4 when describing the qualifications for a bishop/pastor/elder (synonyms) when Paul says that they ought to have their childre
23 minutes | Jan 15, 2020
Do all paths lead to God?
In this episode, Brother Jonathan answers the questions, "Do all paths lead to God?" Do all paths lead to God? S4EP1 Remnant Bible Fellowship Intro There are many ways to restate this question. Are all religions the same? Do all religions worship the same God? Does everybody go to heaven no matter what they believe—you know…except the really bad people like Hitler. The fact is though that many people assume that propositions like these are true without ever really examining them or thinking them through. Most people accept these things as axiomatic, or self-evident, without ever applying a healthy dose of skepticism. Most people do not apply the same level of criticalness and skeptical analyzing to their own views as they do to opposing viewpoints. But if we care about what is true, as opposed to just what makes us comfortable, then we must do that. We must examine our own views in light of logical reasoning, philosophy, and evidence. If something, be it a worldview/religion/philosophy, is true then it must bear witness to reality. For example, have you ever looked at a picture of Mount Rushmore—you know, the mountain in the USA that has the faces of four past presidents carved into it—and immediately thought, “Wow, isn’t it amazing that time plus matter plus chance resulted in such amazing likenesses of these men?” No, you’ve never thought that. But in fact, if you believe in Darwinian evolution then you believe that the actual heads, and minds, of those men is a result of time plus matter plus chance. Do you see what I mean? Exactly how much skepticism have you applied to your own views? But let’s consider the question at hand, do all paths lead to God? Do all religions end up at the same destination? Do they all worship the same God? Logically Well, let’s consider it logically. I believe that most people agree with those statements because they really don’t know what many religions believe. Let me contrast some of these beliefs really quick for you: About God Islam believes that there is one god, but no trinity. Jehovah’s Witnesses deny the trinity, and believe Jesus is the angel Michael. Mormons believe in millions of gods. Because man grows up to be a god too. They just believe that there is one main god over our planet. Deists believe in a distant deity or force that has no intimate interaction with the world. Hinduism believes in millions of expressions of god. They don’t believe in a personal knowable god, but simply that god is a mystical impersonal force called Brahman. Atheism denies that any god exists anywhere at any time. Agnosticism is a veritable “I don’t know.” But they live like god doesn’t exist. Authority/revelation Islam believes the Koran and the Hadith. Jehovah’s Witnesses created their own version of the Bible which doesn’t follow any of the original language manuscripts in existence. They also have magazines and materials produced by the Watchtower Society which are updated and changed as they need to. Mormons have multiple books written by their prophet Joseph Smith. They also have prophets that change things today as they see fit. Deists believe that this distant god has never revealed himself to mankind in any way. You have to think your way to god. Hindus accept the Vedas, Upanishadas (Vedanta), and the epics, Ramayana and Mahabharata, are seen as scriptures. The Bhagavad-Gita is often studied as a key text. Atheism generally believes that man is the ultimate authority over himself. Agnosticism, generally, doesn’t really acknowledge any authority but what is pragmatically useful. Man Islam believes that man is able to do good by himself but that he still needs help. JWs believe that man is free to do good works. Mormons believe that men and women are the literal spiritual offspring of Heavenly Father God and that we are reborn on earth and need to re-attain our godhood. Deists believe that man is a rational being who directs his own destiny. Hinduism believes that men are part of Brahman, individually as atman. The physical reality doesn’t exist and is a false distinction. You just have to realize that you are part of god, Brahman. Atheism believes that man is simply a result of time plus matter plus chance. Given enough time particles become people. Man is just another animal no more valuable than pond scum or algae. Agnosticism, generally, believes the same as atheists. Sin Islam believes that sin is breaking Allah’s commandments, but that man is not necessarily born with sin. JWs believe that physical death forgives all your sins. Mormons believe that sin is disobeying God and other commandments outside the Bible. Deists believe that morals are relative and vary from person to person. There is no absolute morality. Hinduism vaguely identifies sin as bad deeds. Though, to them, there is no absolute standard of right or wrong. Atheists hold that there is no absolute standard of right and wrong but do not live that way, and when they do they are Adolf Hitler. If there are no absolutes why whine and complain if someone stole your car, murdered your children, or raped your wife? It’s not consistent with what they say. Agnostics believe as is pragmatically useful for them. Salvation Islam believes that man can earn salvation by doing good works, if your good outweighs your bad then you go to heaven. There is no way to know this though. JWs believe that you earn your own salvation and that there is no eternal hell. Mormons believe that all people except Satan and the demons, and apostate Mormons, will inherit one of the three levels of glory in heaven. Some deists believe in an afterlife or need of some kind of redemption, but not many. Hinduism believes that salvation is breaking the cycle of samsara and achieving oneness with Brahman. Atheists believe that man doesn’t need any kind of redemption and that with enough education, money, and time, man can create his own heaven on earth. This is of course why the world is getting better and better every day. Notwithstanding all evidence to the contrary. Agnostics usually respond with an “I don’t know”. I can go on and on and on describing the beliefs of Wicca, Buddhism, Zoroastrianism, whatever, but the question you have to ask yourself is can they ALL be true simultaneously? The only logical answer is no. Christianity and Islam cannot both be simultaneously true because Christians believe they only get to heaven because of what Jesus did on the cross. Islam believes that you earn your way to heaven. Hinduism and Judaism cannot both be simultaneously true because Hinduism believes that there is no personal knowable God. Judaism believes that God is personal and knowable. Atheism and ANY religion cannot be simultaneously true. Wicca and most other religions cannot be simultaneously true. New Ageism and Christianity, Islam, or Judaism cannot be simultaneously true. New ageism and Hinduism teach that you are god and Christianity, Islam, and Judaism say that you send you to hell. Zoroastrians are dualists, most other religions are not. The fact of the matter is that if you believe ANY religion or philosophy then you exclude all others. People think that some religions like Hinduism believe that all are true, that’s false. Hinduism believes that everyone is part of Brahman no matter what they believe. That’s very different. You have to think logically. If I say “the car is red” and you say “the car is not red”, then we cannot both be right. But this is exactly what some people believe without reason or evidence. Religions say that god is this way or that way. That is a propositional statement. The contradictory one cannot be simultaneously true. Not at least according to logical or science. To accept all is to deny all. The basic truth that you must understand is that if you accept all religions then you must deny all of them simultaneously. If you accept naturalism then you deny God’s existence. If you accept the idea of there being a hell then you deny any religion that denies its existence. There can be no such thing as the COEXIST movement’s ideology without compromising every single religion’s exclusive truth claims. You ought rather to call it ERRADICATE or COMPROMISE. Besides, we all do coexist because we all exist together right now on the same planet at the same time. What those who care about what is true cannot do is affirm everything. I’m sorry. That’s not something that a rational person can do. That’s not something that a scientific person can do. The real question So the real question that you must ask yourself when you are confronted with a religion or philosophy is: is it true? Can you prove that? It’s not about how you feel. Every time you are corrected about something you’re going to feel some kind of uneasiness. It’s not about what something is asking of you. If God exists the implications of His existence affect not only your daily life but your eternal destiny. You are going to spend a lot more time after you die than before you die, and nothing that you do in this world, nothing that you earn materially, not even necessarily your family or friends, are going to walk through death’s door with you to accompany you. Is that bleak? It shouldn’t be. Not if you’ve investigated the truth claims of those who believe that there is a God. So how do you prove a religion is true or not? I’ve done a three-part series on this in detail if you want to look those episodes up “One good reason to believe”, “from ‘god’ to God”, and “Defending the Resurrection”. Let me sum it up here though. In all of human history there is only a single religion that has set forth a single, objectively verifiable, historical event as the crux upon whether or not it is true. There is only one. Atheism can’t even prove how everything came from nothing or how chaos led to the
48 minutes | Dec 11, 2019
Leprosy and the Law
In this episode, brother Jonathan discusses the role of the Law of Moses, leprosy, and what it pictured. Leprosy and the Law Introduction My goal in this episode is not to discuss at-length what leprosy is, how it is to be identified, or to do exegesis on those passages in Leviticus. My goal is to give you information that will help you to understand some of the reasons for why those passages from the Law of Moses are recorded for us New Testament Christians, and to help you understand their purpose. So we’ll be considering the Law of Moses as a whole first and what role it plays for us who are under the New Covenant in Christ’s blood. The Law of Moses The Law of Moses has been explained to contain three different parts: The Ceremonial Law (or Spiritual Law) which contains the ordinances of sacrifices, tabernacle setup, priesthood, feasts, sabbaths, dietary restrictions, etc. The Civil Law (or Social Law) which contained the laws and punishments for Israel as a sovereign nation. These are things such as punishment for breaking the seventh-day sabbath and adultery, etc. The Moral Law is classified as those things which show the morality of God’s own character and nature. Since God is the same yesterday, today, and forever, His morals and character never change. (Mal. 3:6; Heb. 13:8) These commandments are repeated under the new covenant in Christ’s blood. We do not obey them because they were part of the law of Moses: we obey them because they have been carried over as part of the New Covenant (or testament). Christians are not under the ceremonial or civil law of Moses. If we believe that we are justified by any part of the Law of Moses then we have rejected our salvation that is by grace through faith and have been severed from Christ. “You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.” (Gal 5:4) We are not under any dietary laws or restrictions. Matthew 15:10-20; Acts 10:14-15; Romans 14:17; 1 Timothy 4:4-5. In fact, if we believe that we are accountable to ANY PART of the Law of Moses for salvation—in the sense that we are required to do it in order to be saved—then we are accountable to keep the entire law of Moses. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law.” (Gal 5:1-3) You can only be “under the law” or “not under the law”. There is no middle-ground where you can pick and choose which commandments you get to be accountable to—as some cults teach. Christians are still under the moral law of God. This is why we are commanded again in the New Testament to not lie, steal, kill, commit adultery, etc. “"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.'"” (Mar 10:19) “Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. For this, "YOU SHALL NOT COMMIT ADULTERY, YOU SHALL NOT MURDER, YOU SHALL NOT STEAL, YOU SHALL NOT COVET," and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, "YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF." Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” (Rom 13:8-10) The one commandment of the decalogue (the ten commandments) that we are never commanded to keep is the seventh-day Sabbath (Saturday). On the contrary, we are told that we are not required to observe it. “Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day-- things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Col 2:16-17) “But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? You observe days and months and seasons and years. I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.” (Gal 4:9-11) Early in the church the question was raised about whether or not believers had to keep any part of the Law of Moses. In Acts 15 is recorded the first church council where the Apostles clearly stated that believers did not have to keep any part of the Law of Moses. This included the seventh-day Sabbath. Some of the early Christians—being Jewish—still observed the Law of Moses to not offend the Jews to whom they were trying to preach the gospel. At the same time though, they did not preach that you had to keep it. It was not any part of salvation. Paul talked about how they did it to not offend the Jews so that he may have greater effectiveness preaching the gospel to them. “For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.” (1Co 9:19-23) I am emphasizing this to you because there is a widespread movement to turn people back to observing the seventh-day Sabbath. It is commonly called the “Hebrew roots movement”. Also, the group called the “Seventh Day Adventists”. Both of these groups are followers (whether they know it or not) of the same groups called “judaizers” that used to follow Paul the Apostle around trying to teach that the new Christians needed to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses. (Acts 15:1; Gal. 2:4, 12-13) Be careful to not fall into this deception which is designed to overthrow the gospel. Several very quick points about these groups’ errors: The Hebrew Roots movement picks and chooses which commands from the Law they keep. This is a fundamental denial of what the scriptures say. We are told clearly, which verses I already read, that if you believe you are accountable to ANY part of the Law then you are required to keep it all. This is because you have chosen to seek to be justified by the Law and not by faith in the sacrifice and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Seventh Day Adventists were birthed from a man named William Miller who falsely prophesied that Christ would return before March 21 1844. This obviously didn’t happen. Later, three groups came together to form what is known now as the Seventh Day Adventists: Hiram Edson taught the (false) doctrine of the sanctuary and Christ’s final ministry in the holy of holies, Joseph Bates provided the (false) doctrine of the seventh-day worship, the Sabbath, and Ellen G. Harmon White provided (false) visions and prophesies to confirm these things. It is important to understand that both of these groups are dangerous cults that lead people away from salvation. They are not to be considered brethren or just another “denomination”. Their teaching fundamentally denies the gospel and teachings of Jesus Christ. Remember what Paul had to say about the Judaizers to the Galatians: “I am amazed that you are so quickly deserting Him who called you by the grace of Christ, for a different gospel; which is really not another; only there are some who are disturbing you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to what we have preached to you, he is to be accursed! As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to what you received, he is to be accursed!” (Gal 1:6-9) Christians gather together on Sunday out of memorial for the resurrection of Jesus on Sunday, the first day of the week. (Matt 28:1; Mark 16:1-2; Luke 24:1) They also began gathering throughout the week, most notably on Wednesday, for more fellowship. There is no commandment that tells us to gather on particular days. We are only commanded to have fellowship with other brethren (Heb. 10:25) to strengthen each other, worship and pray together, and instruct one another. It was the Roman Catholic Church that later created the notion of Sunday being the “new Sabbath” for Christians. This was done several centuries after the apostles had died and has no place in scripture. There is nothing wrong with regularly gathering on Sunday, or any day, but we must not falsely say that it is a “new Sabbath”. If we did, then some young believers may be led to thinking that Christians indeed do have to keep the Sabbath as described in the Law of Moses. That would lead them astray and into deception. So we must be careful to make the distinction clear. Old Testament Pictures The things in the Law of Moses are actually pictures (symbols, shadows) of things to come. This is what we call “typology”. All throughout the Old Testament God left illustrations and examples for us to benefit from today. These teach principles that God wanted us to understand, pictures of new testament doctrines, and are sometimes even earthly pictures of things that are in Heaven. “Now these things happened to them as an example, and they were written for our instruction, upon whom the ends of the ages have come.” (1Co 10:11) “For whatever was written in earlier times was written for our instruction, so that through perseverance and the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.” (Ro
60 minutes | Nov 21, 2019
The Everyday Christian Life
In this episode, Brother Jonathan discusses the two points that constitute the everyday Christian life. How do we live every day? S3EP26 Remnant Bible Fellowship Introduction I was asked by a friend to do an episode on the everyday Christian life. How it works and what it looks like. I spent a couple of days just thinking about the topic and concluded that I believe most, if not all, of the daily Christian life can be covered under two main points. It may seem to be overly-simple, but I honestly believe that the entire Christian life may flow from these: Love Jesus Christ Deny yourself So let’s discuss these broadly and then try to think about them practically. Love Jesus Christ “"If you love Me, you will keep My commandments…He who has My commandments and keeps them is the one who loves Me; and he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and will disclose Myself to him… Jesus answered and said to him, "If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father's who sent Me.” (John 14:15, 21, 23-24) If you have ever learned about Islam you may have heard about the dedication that they have to imitating their prophet Muhammad. If they are raised in Islam, from a child they are memorizing large portions of the Qu’ran in a language that most of them don’t understand (Arabic), they memorize prayers in a language that most of them don’t understand which they recite several times a day, they learn and imitate every aspect of Muhammad’s life and practice from the Qu’ran and the Haddith. They even have laws about how they go to the bathroom—for example they have to enter the bathroom with their left foot because Muhammad said so. It is their commitment to imitating their prophet’s life and ways that makes me believe that they love him. Whenever I consider my own commitment to Jesus Christ their dedication strongly convicts me. It convicts me because Muslims follow a false prophet, a false god, and they’re doing it in their own strength. Christians, on the other hand, follow the resurrected Son of God who died for them, the true and living God who created the universe and gave His Son for them before they knew Him, and have the indwelling Holy Spirit. I remember an illustration, I believe it was used by E.M. Bounds, that a man was awakened in the morning by the sound of a baker who was already at work by 5:30. He said that he was convicted because his master (Jesus Christ) deserved greater service than that baker’s master (his employer). So what we’re mainly talking about when we say “love Jesus Christ” is being dedicated to Him, His person, and His teachings. We ought to be followers of Christ. The very act of conversion is giving up on yourself and becoming committed to Jesus. “Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body.” (1Co 6:19-20) “"I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me.” (Gal 2:20) Being a disciple of Jesus Christ means that we have chosen to give ourselves to His teachings. You see many of us think about salvation in terms of a spiritual transaction of Christ paying for our sins and redeeming us from the penalty for our sins, but we often don’t think of our salvation in terms of discipleship. Even that word “disciple” has a very different meaning today than it did in the days of Jesus. In ancient times among some groups disciples would memorize every word of their master/teacher. It was common knowledge that if you were a “disciple” of a certain teacher you were an accurate and trustworthy source of that teacher’s very words. That is sadly not the norm for the professed disciples of Jesus of Nazareth today. It is much easier to learn what you are supposed to believe (regarding doctrine)—though most don’t even do that—than to truly be focused on imitating Christ’s own dedication to the Father in our personal/private life and time. Nevertheless, we should speak the words of God, meditate on them, study them, pray about them, and live by them. Yet even if we stop there that’s not enough. We can do all of those things without really loving God. People do it all the time. If we just think about being a Christian as a checklist that we perform—you know, check off the boxes of daily reading and prayer—then we fail at the start. It’s been said before, and it’ll be repeated until it’s not true anymore, we are ready to commit our abstract futures to God’s control but not really our everyday life. “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, WHO COMMITTED NO SIN, NOR WAS ANY DECEIT FOUND IN HIS MOUTH; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously; and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness; for by His wounds you were healed.” (1Pe 2:21-24) “"Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.” (Mat 11:28-29) Many of us will correctly think of following Jesus Christ’s words, but very few of us think about actually imitating His actual example. Yet that is exactly what Peter just said “leaving you an example for you to follow His steps”. When I say that I do mean that we should pay attention to context. We can’t just go throw over tables just because Jesus did. We must pay attention to context and the intention of the Gospel writers when they record events and actions. Jesus fasted 40 days but that doesn’t mean that God wants you to. The very essence of God saving you is that you died to your old life. If you want to be a follower of Jesus Christ, if you want the blood of Christ to cleanse you of your past sins and the Spirit of God to come into your life and change you from the inside out then you have to give up on yourself, your life, your desires, your dreams, your hopes, all of it. I’m not saying that God is going to make you miserable or send you to the Siberian wilderness to live in a hut, but what I’m saying is that if He mentioned it your response is “Yes Lord.” This segues very nicely to the next point. Deny Yourself “For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died; and He died for all, so that they who live might no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf.” (2Co 5:14-15) “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God.” (Rom 6:11-13) “Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.” (Rom 12:1-2) It’s very easy when you first become a Christian, at least if you were truly converted, to just dive-in to following Jesus. In my circle we kind of refer to it as the “honeymoon with Jesus” phase. What happens over time though is that we slowly become distracted with other stuff. This is especially true as you approach middle-age. Young people in their teens and early twenties have no real fixed life usually so they are pretty free, but as you get older and get married, have children, buy a house, worry about different kinds of insurance, etc., you begin to have your eyes and attention continually focused on guiding your life. Therein lies the problem. You’re getting established in this world and your slowly losing sight of the fact that you can’t keep anything in this world. I’m not saying that working to do better in your career is bad, or that loving and enjoying family and friends is bad, or even that wanting a nicer house is bad. I’m only pointing out the distraction that comes sometimes when we slowly begin to focus again on what we want in this world as opposed to what Jesus wants. The two will sometimes overlap for sure, but sometimes He wants us to do the harder thing, or the weirder thing. Being a missionary is contrary to the American dream of a suburban middle-class life. Dick Brogden has some very good messages about this with the Live Dead ministry. I don’t know enough about them to endorse them but he has very good things to say nonetheless. If we want to know Jesus intimately, if we want to be children of God, or if we just want the Christian life to “work” we have to deny ourselves. I’m not just talking about not sinning either. That’s the easy way to think of self-denial. That’s the lowest bar that we have: don’t sin. Yes that is self-denial because your flesh wants to do ungodly things, but our lives are supposed to be more than that. If you are not lying, lusting, committing sexual immorality, or idolatry, yet you still are guiding your own life by your will you are still sinning. We are to be living sacrifices for Jesus C
62 minutes | Oct 10, 2019
Baptism in the Holy Spirit
In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about common mistakes made in understand and seeking the Baptism in the Holy Spirit. Baptism in the Holy Spirit S3EP25 Remnant Bible Fellowship Matthew 3:11-12 “"As for me, I baptize you with water for repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, and I am not fit to remove His sandals; He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire. "His winnowing fork is in His hand, and He will thoroughly clear His threshing floor; and He will gather His wheat into the barn, but He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire."” (Mat 3:11-12) Stating the Issue If there is an issue that divides people—other than salvation issues—it is anything having to do with the Spirit of God. Some denominations teach Cessationism (the teaching that the gifts of the Spirit have ceased), and others teach Continuationism (the teaching that the gifts of the Spirit continue to this day). Some teach that there is no baptism in the Holy Spirit and some teach that there is. Sometimes these divides are on denominational lines, and other times denominations are divided within themselves. For example, Baptists almost totally teach Cessationism; but there are some Baptists that still teach that there is a baptism in the Holy Spirit. That can happen especially in the Baptist denomination because they are generally independent unless they have become part of an association or convention. Here in the passage that we’re talking about in this episode, we first encounter the phrase “baptism with the Holy Spirit”. The Greek preposition used in the phrase is “en”, but it is almost always translated as “with” instead of “in”. Generally though, people mix-and-max the phraseology. That might not be very exact theologically but that’s generally what most people do. The main controversy over the term “baptism in/with the Holy Spirit” is twofold: (1) What is the baptism in the Holy Spirit; and (2) When does it occur? There are other questions that follow, but this sums up the main point. There are several interpretations that have support. What all agree on though is that it involves an experience of the person with the Holy Spirit Himself. How to define that and when it occurs are the main dividing points. Also, after that is answered there are questions that follow: To whom does this experience belong, how do you know it happened, when does it happen, etc. The Options John W. Wyckoff summed up the choices pretty well in Stanley Horton’s “Systematic Theology”: “One possible position is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a part of the conversion-initiation experience, with no special evidence such as speaking in tongues…The second possible position is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit is a part of the conversion-initiation experience and it is always accompanied by the special evidence of speaking in tongues. This is the position of some Oneness Pentecostal groups. The third possible position is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit usually follows regeneration, but the experience is not accompanied by speaking in tongues. This is the position of some Wesleyan Holiness groups such as the Church of the Nazarene. The fourth possible position is that the baptism in the Holy Spirit usually follows regeneration and is always accompanied by the special evidence of speaking in tongues. This is the position of Pentecostals such as the Assemblies of God.” (p. 425) Now, I want you to notice a problem here with how this is stated by Wyckoff. There are several things assumed in his description of the possible interpretations. That’s probably because this chapter was written for an Assemblies of God systematic theology textbook. I personally can think of a number of other options, but some in particular that I think need consideration. What most people call the “baptism in the Holy Spirit” is one of any number of possible experiences with the Holy Spirit after conversion. Tongues can be an evidence of the experience, but not always. These are generally the main dividing lines of interpretation about this issue. Before I start talking about what I believe can be confidently said to be true or false I want to discuss my personal experiences with this issue good and bad. My Experiences My conversion. I was an IFB. I attended an IFB Bible Institute and an IFB Bible College. I was taught cessationism and that any “manifestation” was either demonic or just an act from a fleshly-minded person. I was corrected by reading the scriptures and prayer. I realized that manifestations of the Spirit were biblical and I began seeking how to understand them. I got confused by the many contrary teachings about the issue. I got disillusioned. What is Certainly Wrong Cessationism is absolutely false. Biblically, there is no defense for Cessationism. Remember that cessationism is the teaching that the gifts of the Spirit, or manifestations of the Spirit in general, have ceased because the canon of scripture has been completed. I was taught this, and it is complete nonsense. This is an interpretation that was created to explain why certain things weren’t seen in certain circles. Now, I am not a Pentecostal. I have never identified as Pentecostal, but I used to be a cessationist and now I am not. Let me give you several reasons why this is not a biblical teaching: It violates the basic rule of biblical interpretation: A text cannot mean for you what it did not mean for its original audience. What that means is, the scriptures do not mean something for its original audience, like “don’t do this”, and today that same scripture means for you “go ahead”. The only exceptions would be things that are cultural (rare) or possibly prophetic texts from the Old Testament. Gordon Fee talked about his briefly in his book “How to Read the Bible for All its Worth” (2nd edition): “You will recall from chapter 1 that we set out as a basic rule the premise that a text cannot mean what it never could have meant to its author or his or her readers. This is why exegesis must always come first. It is especially important that we repeat this premise here, for this at least establishes some parameters of meaning. This rule does not always help one find out what a text means, but it does help to set limits as to what it cannot mean.” “For example, the most frequent justification for disregarding the imperatives about seeking spiritual gifts in 1 Corinthians 14 is a particular interpretation of 1 Corinthians 13:10, which states that “when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away” (RSV). We are told that the perfect has come, in the form of the New Testament, and therefore the imperfect (prophecy and tongues) have ceased to function in the church. But this is one thing the text cannot mean because good exegesis totally disallows it. There is no possible way Paul could have meant that—after all, his readers did not know there was going to be a New Testament, and the Holy Spirit would not have allowed Paul to write something totally incomprehensible to them.” (pp. 64-65) The early Christian writers recorded the exact opposite. Prophecy, divine healing, casting out devils, etc., all these things occurred AFTER the closing of the canon for hundreds of years. John Wesley wrote a sermon in the mid-1700s defending the idea that these things have continued throughout church history in its entirety. A.W. Tozer was quoted as saying that there is not a single verse in the NT that teaches that spiritual gifts have ceased. Most cessationists still claim that other spiritual gifts have continued. That is, they claim that the gifts which cannot be substantiated or verified have continued; but the “sign” gifts have ceased. I honestly say that most teach this because it is what they have been told or because they use it to justify their own denominations. Most cessationists can only cite examples from the NAR or the Prosperity gospel movement as examples of tongues or these things when there are many outside of these movements that accept them as well—they’re just not Baptist or reformed. Most cessationists associate people like David Wilkerson or Leonard Ravenhill with heretics like Kenneth Copeland or Benny Hinn simply because they’re ignorant. They presuppose the perfection of their own church’s doctrine and therefore condemn all others as inferior. I know, because that’s what my church’s pastors, preachers, and teachers did, and I learned it from them. The bias of Cessationists is clearly seen when they use as a reason for justifiably denying spiritual gifts the example of the radicalist snake-handling churches. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard that from Baptists. But this cuts both ways because if that is a justifiable reason to deny the doctrine of continuationsim then I can certainly deny Eternal Security because of the adulterers, fornicators, liars, etc., who claim to be Christian because of that false doctrine. The fact of the matter is that Cessationism cannot provide one single text from the New Testament that can exegetically be shown to TELL Christians that spiritual gifts would stop before the second coming of Christ. It is therefore, by definition, unbiblical. Tongues being necessary is certainly wrong. It cannot be shown scripturally that tongues are a necessary manifestation of being filled with the Spirit of God. The only thing that can be made clear is that it may manifest if you are filled with the Spirit. There is no single, consistent, pattern in the book of Acts that gives us that picture. On some occasions we are told that a person was filled with the Spirit and tongues is not mentioned at all. There is no text that tells us it will always happen or that it is a sign of it. On the contrary, it is usually described in conjunction with the gift of prophecy. “But when they believed Philip p
32 minutes | Sep 26, 2019
In this episode Brother Jonathan talks about Baptism. What is it, who is supposed to be baptized, when, and how. Also discussing whether to re-baptize and should children be baptized. On Baptism S3EP24 Remnant Bible Fellowship Intro In the last episode that I talked about Baptism there were some things that I didn’t talk about regarding baptism. So I wanted to do a brief episode just talking very straightforward about baptism: what is it, who is to be baptized, when are they to be baptized, and how. What is baptism really? As we looked at the last time I talked about baptism, “Matthew 3:3-6 and Baptism”, baptism is simply an outward expression of your profession of faith in Christ. It is not the cause of receiving the Spirit of God, and it is not an instrument of grace. The only kind of grace that you receive in baptism is the grace from obeying the commandment of God. People can be established in the Lord before they are baptized. My wife was very young when she was converted and her family did not have a regular fellowship. They didn’t live in an area where there were sound churches. So my wife was never taught about the necessity of baptism and she was never really given the opportunity for a number of years. After some time though, when they were visiting out-of-state, a friend of her parents baptized her at his fellowship. This doesn’t mean that she wasn’t saved or that she didn’t grow, but it certainly wasn’t ideal. The early Christians so closely associated believers’ baptism with your profession of faith that it was common to not be allowed to fellowship or partake in communion unless you had been baptized. The only exception was if you gave your life for Christ before you were saved. That obviously showed a profession of faith in Jesus Christ. Who is to be baptized? The next question that should be asked is who exactly is supposed to be baptized? “"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."” (Mat 28:19-20) In some translations the word underlying “make disciples” is instead translated as “teach”. It’s the verb form of the word for “disciple”. So some translations will translate it as “go ye therefore and teach” and others will have “go therefore and make disciples”. It has the same meaning though. Someone who follows and adheres to the teachings of someone is their disciple. This is the great commission. It, in essence, encapsulates our marching orders as Christians. It also explains why we baptize: It’s a commandment from God. We are to go and make disciples out of all the nations of the earth. These disciples are to be baptized and then they are to be taught how to be a follower of Jesus Christ. It is disciples who are to be baptized. We see this in the pattern of the history of the early Christians in the book of Acts. “Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Act 2:37-41) “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:12-16) You see that in these passages that it is those who believe the gospel who are to be baptized. These are called disciples. By believing the gospel and following through with baptism you are committing yourself to the teachings of Jesus Christ and the salvation that only He can provide. When are they to be baptized? “So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.” (Act 2:41) “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:12-16) “So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;” (Act 9:17-18) “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.” (Act 10:44-48) “A woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple fabrics, a worshiper of God, was listening; and the Lord opened her heart to respond to the things spoken by Paul. And when she and her household had been baptized, she urged us, saying, "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and stay." And she prevailed upon us.” (Act 16:14-15) “and after he brought them out, he said, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" They said, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." And they spoke the word of the Lord to him together with all who were in his house. And he took them that very hour of the night and washed their wounds, and immediately he was baptized, he and all his household.” (Act 16:30-33) “Crispus, the leader of the synagogue, believed in the Lord with all his household, and many of the Corinthians when they heard were believing and being baptized.” (Act 18:8) “It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 19:1-5) When we read these passages we see that it was usually right after they believed the gospel they were baptized. It should be as soon as someone demonstrates that they understand the gospel, and that they are putting their trust in Christ alone for salvation, that they should seek to be baptized as soon as possible. How are they to be baptized? “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Mat 3:5-6) “John also was baptizing in Aenon near Salim, because there was much water there; and people were coming and were being baptized” (Joh 3:23) We see from these two passages that there was much water required for baptism. Now, these passages are referring to John’s baptism of repentance and not to believer’s baptism, but the only difference that we can discern is that of purpose. John’s baptism was under the Law of Moses for people who were repenting and confessing their sins to God in preparation for the coming of the Messiah. Believers’ baptism is an outward show that you believe the gospel and are putting your trust in Christ alone for salvation. (I said this in the last episode that I talked about baptism) The early Christians got very much out of whack when it came to baptism. Especially by the time of the Catholic church being formed. It was due to the influence of pagan and Greek philosophical thought that baptism started to be seen as a means of receiving the grace of God. But this is not what the NT teaches or the earliest Christian writers. Here is a passage from the Didache which is believed to be a first century document recording teaching from the apostles to new gentile converts from paganism. “Regarding baptism. Baptize as follows: after first explaining all these points, baptize in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, in running water. But if you have no runnin
37 minutes | Sep 18, 2019
In this episode, brother Jonathan continues going through the gospel of Matthew. Matthew 3:7-10 S3EP23 Remnant Bible Fellowship “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? "Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance; and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, 'We have Abraham for our father'; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham. "The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” (Mat 3:7-10) “But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, "You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come?” (Mat 3:7) It’s important to understand who these two groups are because they are mentioned regularly in the gospels. These two groups arose after the time of Ezra. The Pharisees came from the scribes and the Sadducees came from the priests. After the corruption of the Maccabees the Pharisees gained controlling influence of the nation even though the High Priests were of the Sadducees. The Pharisees Name means “separatists” They accepted the oral tradition as authoritative. They held to a balanced view between free will and God’s sovereignty. They believed in the immortality of the soul. They believed in reward and punishment after death. The Sadducees They didn’t believe that the oral law was authoritative or binding. They were more literal in their interpretation of the Mosaic law than the Pharisees. They were very exacting in Levitical purity. They attributed all to free will. They didn’t believe in either a resurrection or of immortality of the soul. They denied the existence of angels, demons, or the existence of a spiritual world. “brood of vipers” is meaning that they were the offspring of vipers. “Brood” is translated sometimes as “generation”. Vipers were a particularly offensive thing to call someone at the time. To call someone the offspring of vipers was to be extra offensive. “who warned you to flee from the wrath to come” – You see that in John’s preaching about the coming Messiah and the coming Kingdom there was understood that Judgment was coming also. Implied in John’s pronouncing of the coming Messiah was all the statements made by God through the prophets of the Day of the Lord and how the righteous would be rewarded and the wicked would be punished. Keep in mind though the timing that we had talked about with the Already but not yet of the Kingdom of God. “Therefore bear fruit in keeping with repentance;” “Therefore” shows that John is continuing his remarks to the Pharisees and Sadducees and whether or not they were intending to change also. They were coming to partake of his baptism and he was addressing the true purpose of this baptism which was repentance. So his remarks can be taken as saying to them “If you really want to flee from the wrath to come sincerely then do this…” “bear fruit” – John and Jesus both use the illustration of a tree and its fruit to symbolize a change in a person’s actions or outward deeds that show whether or not someone has truly turned to following God. This idea is consistent with the rest of the New Testament: “"Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for the tree is known by its fruit. "You brood of vipers, how can you, being evil, speak what is good? For the mouth speaks out of that which fills the heart. "The good man brings out of his good treasure what is good; and the evil man brings out of his evil treasure what is evil.” (Mat 12:33-35) “Little children, make sure no one deceives you; the one who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous;” (1Jn 3:7) “By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: anyone who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.” (1Jn 3:10) “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, this he will also reap. For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life.” (Gal 6:7-8) “in keeping with repentance” – A change in one’s life, or how one lives and does things, is the result of true repentance. The Jewish understanding of repentance is not simply a “change of mind” like some people have falsely concluded based on an incorrect understanding of the Greek word ‘metanoia’. It is the OT idea of “turning” or “returning” to God. You can see this idea very clearly in how Christ refers to the repentance of the Ninevites: “"The men of Nineveh will stand up with this generation at the judgment, and will condemn it because they repented at the preaching of Jonah; and behold, something greater than Jonah is here.” (Mat 12:41) Now if you compare what the book of Jonah says that the Ninevites did when they heard Jonah’s preaching you see what God means by repentance. “Then Jonah began to go through the city one day's walk; and he cried out and said, "Yet forty days and Nineveh will be overthrown." Then the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast and put on sackcloth from the greatest to the least of them. When the word reached the king of Nineveh, he arose from his throne, laid aside his robe from him, covered himself with sackcloth and sat on the ashes. He issued a proclamation and it said, "In Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let man, beast, herd, or flock taste a thing. Do not let them eat or drink water. "But both man and beast must be covered with sackcloth; and let men call on God earnestly that each may turn from his wicked way and from the violence which is in his hands. "Who knows, God may turn and relent and withdraw His burning anger so that we will not perish." When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented concerning the calamity which He had declared He would bring upon them. And He did not do it.” (Jon 3:4-10) You see it says that “when God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then God relented…” God considers repentance to involve a true turning from wicked ways. This change in how you live is the fruit that you ought to bear when there is legitimate repentance. That’s why John instructs that if they are truly minded to escape the wrath of God that is coming they ought to bear fruit in keeping with repentance. “and do not suppose that you can say to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham for our father’; for I say to you that from these stones God is able to raise up children to Abraham.” John now attacks an idea that surely some of the prideful Jewish religious leaders were leaning on: the idea that as the people of God the Jews didn’t need to have that same change as the Gentiles did. Remember that John’s very call for the Jews to be baptized just as the Gentiles was a call to them that they were just as impure and unclean in the sight of God as the Gentiles who they considered to be dogs. They needed the same kind of change in them that the Gentiles needed. This certainly upset them. In fact, Jesus hammered this same point to the Jews by pointing out that even in the OT God did miracles for certain Gentiles and ignored the Jews at times. This of course led to them trying to kill Him. “And He said, "Truly I say to you, no prophet is welcome in his hometown. "But I say to you in truth, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the sky was shut up for three years and six months, when a great famine came over all the land; and yet Elijah was sent to none of them, but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. "And there were many lepers in Israel in the time of Elisha the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian." And all the people in the synagogue were filled with rage as they heard these things; and they got up and drove Him out of the city, and led Him to the brow of the hill on which their city had been built, in order to throw Him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, He went His way.” (Luk 4:24-30) The Jews were very prideful about the idea that they were the people of God. The gospel offended them the same way that it offends people today. Church people are some of the hardest people to reach. They go to church, they learn morality, and they believe that they are good people for doing so. My wife was just chewed out the other day by a church person for this very reason. Nevertheless, just as Christ said about the Laodiceans they are poor, wretched, miserable, and blind. They will not seek God because of pride. The idea of stones being brought up by John has intrigued me for years. It’s like he is contrasting their high view of themselves because they believe themselves special because they physically descend from Abraham, and John’s like, “That’s nothing, because God could turn even this simple rocks into children of Abraham!” Meaning that their being “chosen” is nothing hard for God to do. It also always encouraged me that if God could turn stones into children of Abraham then he can certainly make me into one. “The axe is already laid at the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.” There are several times in the OT where the imagery of a tree for a person or nation is used: “'The tree that you saw, which became large and grew strong, whose height reached to the sky and was visible to all the earth and whose foliage was beautiful and its fruit abundant, and in which was food for all, under which the beasts of the field dwelt and i
131 minutes | Sep 12, 2019
Book Review: "Concealed from Christians for the Glory of God"
In this episode, brother Jonathan reviews a book as requested from a listener.
55 minutes | Aug 29, 2019
Matthew 3:3-6 and Baptism
In this episode, Brother Jonathan continues to go through the book of Matthew. He takes time to talk about Baptism and whether or not is a means/instrument of grace. Remnant Bible Fellowship S3EP21 Matthew 3:3-6 and Baptism Intro We are picking up where we left off in Matthew 3:3. Like I said before, as we go through Matthew I will be stopping at times to focus on the first mention of certain subjects, or when I think the passage fits for a topical lesson. Today, we’ll be talking about baptism. Let’s look at where we are in Matthew first: “Now in those days John the Baptist *came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." For this is the one referred to by Isaiah the prophet when he said, "THE VOICE OF ONE CRYING IN THE WILDERNESS, 'MAKE READY THE WAY OF THE LORD, MAKE HIS PATHS STRAIGHT!'" Now John himself had a garment of camel's hair and a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Mat 3:1-6) So, last time we were in Matthew we talked about the Kingdom of God/Heaven. This is what John was preaching: the kingdom is at hand, and the King is coming. Get ready by repenting of your sins! Matthew points out that John’s role as the forerunner of the Messiah was a fulfillment of prophecy. He references the passage from Isaiah 40:3. That’s pretty straightforward. We’ll talk about this when we consider his role as Elijah which was to come at a later time so we’ll pass over it for now. We read though that part of John’s ministry was baptizing the people who came to him. “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Mat 3:5-6) So, John was preaching about righteousness and he was calling people to repent of their sins. As an outward sign of their repentance they were being baptized. The word “baptize” comes from the Greek word which means “dip, immerse”. The word “baptize” has come over into English by way of transliteration instead of translation. So when you see the word “baptism” you should think about dipping or immersion. Let’s consider a couple of things first about baptism before looking at Christian baptism. Baptism was not original with Christians. The Jews at some point started to baptize proselytes from the gentiles. This makes sense given all of the washings in the Law of Moses. Pre-Christian Baptism Jewish-Proselyte Baptism Gentile converts to Judaism were expected to do three things: Be circumcised (if you were a man) Be baptized Offer sacrifice In the Law of Moses there were diverse washings so the imagery of being purified by washing in water was nothing new to the Jews. Those who partook in this baptism were subject to the Law of Moses. They were committed to living as a Jew. Baptism of John John was the “forerunner” who “prepared the way of the Lord”. His message was to “repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand”. His baptism was a baptism of repentance. The people repented of their sins and prepared themselves to receive the coming Messiah and His kingdom. “Then Jerusalem was going out to him, and all Judea and all the district around the Jordan; and they were being baptized by him in the Jordan River, as they confessed their sins.” (Mat 3:5-6) His baptism, for the Jews, was an open confession that even though they were children of Abraham they needed to be forgiven for their sins and be cleansed. The point was: you are on equal footing with the Gentiles. Both need God’s forgiveness. Those who followed John’s baptism prepared themselves for the coming Messiah, but still needed to believe on Him when He came. They lived under the Law of Moses, but according to how they had been instructed by John. This is why when the disciples of John in Acts 19 heard the gospel they needed to be baptized in the name of Jesus. “It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, "Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?" And they said to him, "No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit." And he said, "Into what then were you baptized?" And they said, "Into John's baptism." Paul said, "John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus." When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 19:1-5) Christian Baptism Christian baptism supersedes both of these past expressions in its meaning and purpose. Christians baptize mainly because Christ commanded us to. “"Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."” (Mat 28:19-20) In this commandment, which is generally referred to as “the great commission”, there is a connection made between baptism and becoming/making disciples. If we are to take what’s said at face value we are being told to go and “make disciples” and baptize “them”. You baptize the disciples that you make. That’s what is stated. I emphasize that because the biggest controversy in Christianity (or should I say religion) is whether or not baptism (the actual dipping of someone in water) is the means by which grace is imparted to the believer. If you read a good bible dictionary or encyclopedia you’ll see things like “instrument of grace” being discussed when you look up baptism. To simplify it, the question is: how is the spirit of God imparted to a believer? Apart from water baptism is a person born of the spirit? This is the question that divides denominations from cults. Why is this important? Let me briefly lay out why this is an important question to answer, because it’s very easy for the average believer who is not a teacher or preacher to dismiss it as unimportant. It really is about whether or not a temporal/material thing like water, or methodology (how, where, why, or when you are baptized), has to do with one’s relationship with God. Does God care if we are dipped in water? What about if we are just sprinkled with water instead of being immersed? Does it have to be done by a certain person like an ordained minister of a particular denomination? Or, does it have to be in a particular place? These may sound like irrelevant questions but these were things that the early Christians grappled with. You have to contextualize the issue somewhat too. In the first century, paganism was the norm. Greek philosophy had many ideas about form, substance, particulars, the boundless, matter, etc., that had shaped many Gentiles’ minds about how they interpreted and viewed things. Many of these ideas led directly to ideas in the Middle Ages like the Roman Catholic teaching of transubstantiation or alchemy. You cannot underestimate the impact that Greek philosophy had on the world. In addition to that, the Law of Moses had many commandments regarding ritual purity and ceremonial cleansing in certain circumstances. When Aaron was preparing to be the High Priest he was commanded to bath himself first. It was a small leap from any of these backgrounds to ask these kinds of questions, especially when God commanded us to baptize. His very command shows an importance. I believe that the easiest way to settle this matter is to just look at the evidence in the book of Acts—because it’s an authoritative early record of the beginning of the Christian church. Also, we can take a look at what one of the earliest, if not THE earliest, extra-biblical document of Christianity says on the matter. Book of Acts on Baptism We could begin by considering the apostles themselves as an example but some people would reply that they shouldn’t count because (according to them) it was under a different dispensation. So we’ll stick with just the book of Acts. “But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed. Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.” (Act 8:12-16) In this passage, the Samaritans had believed the gospel and not received the Spirit of God. They had been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus though. So, baptism was not the instrument of grace here. There was a time period between them believing and receiving the spirit of God that was not because they weren’t baptized. “While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message. All the circumcised believers who came with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they were hearing them speaking with tongues and exalting God. Then Peter answered, "Surely no one can refuse the water for these to be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we did, can he?" And he ordered them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to stay on for a few days.” (Act 10:44-48) In this passage, the gentiles which had gathered at Cornelius’ house received the Spirit of God the
93 minutes | Aug 22, 2019
Discussing Advice for Dating and Marriage
In this episode, Brother Jonathan and his wife Ashley discuss things that they would advise young Christians about regarding dating, looking for a spouse, and marriage.
47 minutes | Aug 15, 2019
Leaving the King James Only Camp
In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about why he is officially leaving the King James Only Camp.
58 minutes | Aug 8, 2019
"The Boys" Anti-Christian Episode
In this episode, Brother Jonathan discusses an episode of the Amazon Prime show "The Boys" and its Anti-Christian propaganda.
27 minutes | Jul 25, 2019
The Parable of the Sower
In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about the parable of the sower. Remnant Bible Fellowship S3EP17 The Parable of the Sower (Matthew 13:1-9, 18-23; Mark 4:1-9, 13-20; Luke 8:4-15) Introduction Jesus uses everyday symbols that were common to illustrate heavenly truths. He continuously says, “the kingdom of heaven is like…”. The meaning of the parables is only truly understood by those who draw close to Jesus and become a part of His disciples, His “inner circle”. “He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear. For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.” (Mat 13:11-17) “ And he spake many things unto them in parables, saying, Behold, a sower went forth to sow;” (Mat 13:3) In other parables Jesus likens the “end of the world” as being like a time of harvest. “The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.” (Mat 13:39) But He says that the present time is a time of sowing, or planting, and preparing for that harvest. “And when he sowed, some seeds fell by the way side, and the fowls came and devoured them up: Some fell upon stony places, where they had not much earth: and forthwith they sprung up, because they had no deepness of earth: And when the sun was up, they were scorched; and because they had no root, they withered away. And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprung up, and choked them: But other fell into good ground, and brought forth fruit, some an hundredfold, some sixtyfold, some thirtyfold. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Mat 13:4-9) This sower does not plow his field first and he sows indiscriminately—everywhere. There may be some applications that we can take from this before even getting to the interpretation: The sower must sow widely to insure a good harvest. Not all ground will yield good fruit. The fruitful soil yields enough to make up for the useless soil. “Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side.” (Mat 13:18-19) We have some of the symbols interpreted. The Sower is casting abroad the “word of the Kingdom”. Luke plainly states it: “Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.” (Luk 8:11) The ground is man’s heart. The type of ground illustrates the different ways that people receive the word of God. The “wayside” hearer is someone who doesn’t understand the Word. “Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.” (Luk 8:12) If the person had received the Word then they would “believe and be saved” Luke says. This person hears the Word and it goes in one ear and out the other. This type of hard-heartedness is attributed to Satan. Paul had said: “But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.” (2Co 4:3-4) This person is never converted. “But he that received the seed into stony places, the same is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.” (Mat 13:20-21) Luke is much more brief in his account, “They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.” (Luk 8:13) This is a shallow commitment. The heart is compared to dirt that is very rocky or shallow dirt over a rock. The “stony-places” hearer is someone who receives the Word but does not allow the Word to truly change them. They haven’t truly embraced the Christian life and what it means to follow Jesus. Because of this, when they are persecuted, or get into trouble for the Word of God, or the name of Jesus, they are unwilling to endure it. Christians are told that we must endure suffering and persecution if we will be saved in the end. “But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.” (Mat 24:13) “And ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.” (Mat 10:22) “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. And these things will they do unto you, because they have not known the Father, nor me.” (Joh 16:1-3) This person is converted, but does not continue long. “He also that received seed among the thorns is he that heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he becometh unfruitful.” (Mat 13:22) “And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word, And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.” (Mar 4:18-19) “And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.” (Luk 8:14) The “thorny-ground” hearer is a person who hears the Word, receives the Word, and gradually other things become more important than the Word. They slowly fall away. The types of things mentioned that cause them to fall away are: Cares of this world Deceitfulness of riches The lusts of other things Pleasures of this life This is very similar to what we are told about temptation elsewhere in the NT: “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” (1Jn 2:16) Jesus warned the Ephesians to not lose their first love—Him. “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” (Rev 2:4-5) Jesus’ commandment for those who had lost their first love was for them to repent and do the first works again. Jesus, and His Word, was no longer the first priority and they needed to make Him the first priority again. Luke includes saying, “…and bring no fruit to perfection.” The word underlying “perfection” here means “bear fruit to maturity”. It’s not speaking of the quality of the fruit per se, but the fact that this person didn’t continue bearing fruit until the time it was needed. This person embraces the gospel, but gradually other interests—wealth, security, family, and the like—choke it out of first place. This person is not saved in the end. It actually is a description used by Jude to describe false prophets even: “These are spots in your feasts of charity, when they feast with you, feeding themselves without fear: clouds they are without water, carried about of winds; trees whose fruit withereth, without fruit, twice dead, plucked up by the roots;” (Jud 1:12) “But he that received seed into the good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.” (Mat 13:23) “And these are they which are sown on good ground; such as hear the word, and receive it, and bring forth fruit, some thirtyfold, some sixty, and some an hundred.” (Mar 4:20) “But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.” (Luk 8:15) This “good-ground” hearer is described several ways: They understand the message. They receive it. They bear fruit. They keep it, or hold fast to it. They do this with patience. This person hears the message of the gospel and, contrary to the others, understands the implications of the message. Jesus’ Word becomes the priority of their lives and they cling to God’s Word and allow it go deep into their hearts and minds. Exhortations Just like the sower, we must spread the Word of God widely and without discrimination to ensure that we will reap anything. We don’t know the state of the heart of the people we are speaking to. There is nothing obvious beforehand that tells us anything. We need to expect that some will not care at all about what we say (those by the wayside). Some will at first receive joyfully but will not endure for very long—they won’t allow anything to
22 minutes | May 30, 2019
Kingdom of God: Already, But Not Yet
In this episode, Brother Jonathan talks about the already, but not yet aspect of the Kingdom of God.
24 minutes | May 29, 2019
In this episode, Brother Jonathan continues going through the book of Matthew. Remnant Bible Fellowship S3EP15 Matthew 2:3-23 When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. (Mat 2:3) You can see why Herod was troubled. Here were these very notable and influential men coming and asking, in essence, where the real king of the Jews was. Herod the Great was a very jealous man who even killed several of his own sons. Before his death he gathered some prominent Jewish men and put them in prison and ordered them to be put to death after he died so that there would be weeping in Jerusalem. It was an order that was not obeyed. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born. And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet, And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Mat 2:4-6) It is interesting to me that the Magi, wise men, did not know where the Messiah would be born. They knew enough of prophecy to know that He would be born, that He would be King of the JEWS, and that a star would be associated with His birth. It’s interesting to me that they didn’t know where He would be born because Micah the prophet tells us. The scribes knew this passage and told Herod and them. It was written in Micah 5:2: “But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.” Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also. (Mat 2:7-8) Herod’s inquiry into the time the star appeared would allow Herod to estimate the age of the child. This enables him to know which children to kill. Herod pretends to want to worship the new King also and sends the wise men on their way. There is contrast going on here by Matthew that seems to be intentional: The Jewish (self-proclaimed) “king” wants to kill Jesus, the true King. The religious leaders know where the Messiah is to be born, but weren’t aware of His arrival like the Magi, and DID NOT join the Magi to go worship Him. It was pagan Gentiles who were notified, searched for, and worshipped the Jewish Messiah. When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. (Mat 2:9-10) It’s clear that the star had disappeared, maybe not long after they had initially seen it. Now that they were approaching Bethlehem it reappeared to guide to the exact place where Jesus was. The wise men are psyched and rejoicing because it was God Himself who was directing them. This star could only have been something supernatural. This behavior itself shows us. It was not a natural object. Bethlehem was actually only 6 miles from where Herod’s palace was in Jerusalem. You can walk that in less than two hours. The religious leaders didn’t come. On a clear night they say that you could’ve SEEN Bethlehem from Herod’s palace. That’s how close it was. And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh. And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.” (Mat 2:11-12) So we notice that it was a house and not a stable and manger. Enough time had elapsed for Joseph to find residence. Jesus wouldn’t have been a newborn at this time. Gold, frankincense, and myrrh were standard Eastern gifts. Some have suggested some typology, or OT pictures, here. Their falling down and worshipping was more than Jews would’ve allowed for a mortal ruler, possibly more than the Persians would’ve commonly thought also. This already implies divinity being recognized in Jesus. The fact that the Magi had to be warned by God suggests that they were a little naïve about Herod. At the very least, they certainly didn’t know his character. “And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him. When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt: And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.” (Mat 2:13-15) “Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently enquired of the wise men.” (Mat 2:16) Herod finds out that the wise men, the magi, are not going to come tell him where the infant Messiah is. He’s furious and sends soldiers to kill every child two years old and under. This would be because of his asking the wise men when they saw the star. “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying, In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.” (Mat 2:17-18) Matthew references Jeremiah 31:15. Rachel, the beloved wife of the patriarch Jacob, was buried in Bethlehem. Ramah was six miles to the north of Jerusalem and Bethlehem was six miles to the south of it. When the Babylonians came through and destroyed Jerusalem, they lead the Jewish exiles out on a road that went through Ramah. Some Jewish rabbis actually talked about Rachel weeping for the exiles that were led to captivity. Matthew kind of applies some Jewish interpretive method here, called gezerah shewah, to say that as Rachel wept over the Jewish exiles she now weeps over this slaughter that happens much closer. But, Jeremiah also goes on to ascribe hope to the situation which culminates in the new covenant. “But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life. And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee: And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.” (Mat 2:19-23) The Lord, in His wisdom, guides Joseph to settle in Nazareth. A very obscure place. It was a conservative, politically insignificant town. This would allow Jesus to grow up relatively without notice. The name “Nazarene” has been much argued about. Some people try to say that it was a typological reference to Samson, but that appears strained and unlikely. The best answer is that Matthew is using a play on words. This was common in Jewish interpretation and application of scriptures at times. The Hebrew word “nazir” means “holy to God”. An appropriate place and application to the place where the Messiah grew up.
42 minutes | May 22, 2019
Psychology or God's Word?
In this episode, Brother Jonathan asks two questions: Is Psychology Scientific? And, Is it Effective? With numerous quotations from secular psychologists these two questions are answered. Psychology or God’s Word? S3EP14 Remnant Bible Fellowship Introduction There are ultimately only two ways of looking at the world and mankind: God’s way, or some other way. Everything that is not God’s way is incorrect. God is the one who made the world and all things in it, including human beings. If God made man in His own wisdom and power then we should take it as a matter of fact that God is correct in His description and handling of man and man’s issues. To say anything else is to call God a liar, incompetent, non-existent, or evil. The Real Issue The real issue behind psychology is sufficiency: is what God said really sufficient for us in our life and eternity? We have been promised all that we need: “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2Pe 1:3-4) The part that troubles me most about this issue is that it’s main argument comes very close to what Satan himself said in the garden of Eden: “Yea hath God said…?” His very first act of deception recorded in the scriptures was to convince people that God’s Word was not sufficient or correct. Anything that resembles this line of thinking therefore shows its origin. In one sense, the issue of psychology is very similar to the issue of the theory of evolution. There is a great deal of indoctrination that happens in the modern world without our knowledge. In cartoons about dinosaurs it always begins with “millions of years ago”, and in horror/thriller movies the ‘person of reason’ is a psychiatrist or an academic atheist/agnostic. These things associate in our minds reason or science with these ideas. So we grow up already thinking of them as reasonable. We have been programmed by the culture and this is exactly what the Lord tells us to overcome. We are told to change our minds and how we think: “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Rom 12:2) “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph 4:22-24) “For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.” (Rom 8:6) “Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” (1Pe 1:13-16) There is a way that God sees things and describes them and there is a way that the world sees things and explains them. When we come to a point of decision we are going to choose one or the other. When you are challenged you are going to default to the one you actually believe: God or the world. When I look at the Grand Canyon I see evidence of the worldwide flood of Noah. When an unbeliever looks at the Grand Canyon they see evidence of millions of years. When I see someone who delights in adultery I see a wicked person who is living after the flesh. When the world sees the same things they may not like it but they consider things like: were they justified? What was their motive? Or, who are you to judge? The world does this because it doesn’t believe God’s Word which says it is wicked. In every opinion or choice we make we are going to place faith in either what God says or what some human says. A Fundamental Problem There are almost 500 psychotherapeutic approaches and thousands of techniques. At the heart of every one of these schools of thought is the opinion of one person who thought they knew how to explain what’s wrong with you and how to fix you apart from God. The question you have to ask is: what is the authoritative opinion of what man is supposed to be like? Everyone knows that man has problems, but who is the person who can legitimately, objectively, and authoritatively declare what a healthy human mind is supposed to look like? Any answer that is not “God” is a denial of His authority, creation, and power. This goes back to what I was saying when I said if you accept psychology then you must alter your view of God to be either a liar, incompetent, non-existent, or evil. If God exists then He is the absolute authority of man and His opinion is law and true. If we accept any view of man that is contradictory to God’s Word then we must necessarily deny God in some sense. This can be seen most clearly in how we describe man’s nature. There are really only three common views: Tri-partite – Body, Soul, and Spirit (Biblical) Bi-partite – Body and Mind Naturalistic – Body only Is Psychology Scientific? “With the decline of religion and the growth of science in the eighteenth century, the cure of (sinful) souls, which had been an integral part of the Christian religions, was recast as the cure of (sick) minds, and became an integral part of medical science.” (Thomas Szasz. The Myth of Psychotherapy. Garden City: Doubleday/Anchor Press, 1978, p. xxiv.) “In plain language, what do patient and psychotherapist actually do? They speak and listen to each other. What do they speak about? Narrowly put, the patient speaks about himself, and the therapist speaks about the patient. In a broader sense, however, both also speak about other persons and about various matters of concern to their lives. The point is that each tries to move the other to see or do things in a certain way. That is what qualifies their actions as fundamentally rhetorical. If the psychotherapist and his patient were not rhetoricians, they could not engage in the activity we now conventionally call ” (Thomas Szasz. The Myth of Psychotherapy. Garden City: Doubleday/Anchor Press, 1978, p. 11.) A little over fifty years ago in the US there was no state licensing, no insurance reimbursements (less than forty years ago), no uniform graduate programs, and no Bible college, Christian university, or seminary programs promoting psychotherapy. In California psychologists were first licensed in 1958 and Marriage and Family therapists in 1964. “The field of psychology today is literally a mess. There are as many techniques, methods and theories around as there are researchers and therapists. I have personally seen therapists convince their clients that all of their problems come from their mothers, the stars, their bio-chemical make-up, their diet, their life-style and even the “kharma” from their past lives.” (Roger Mills, “Psychology Goes Insane, Botches Role as Science,” The National Educator, July 1980, p. 14.) One science writer contends that: “… there exists in psychology no systematic body of laws or principles, no basic units of analysis, and not even a commonly accepted methodology for investigating behavior from which credible deductions about the unobservable events could be made.” (Henry D. Schlinger, Jr., “Of Planets and Cognitions: The Use of Deductive Inference in the Natural Sciences and Psychology,” Skeptical Inquirer, Vol. 22, No. 5, p. 51.) “In attempting to evaluate the status of psychology, the American Psychological Association appointed Sigmund Koch to plan and direct a study which was subsidized by the National Science Foundation. This study involved eighty eminent scholars in assessing the facts, theories, and methods of psychology. The results of this extensive endeavor were then published in a seven volume series entitled Psychology: A Study of a Science. Koch describes the delusion from which people have been suffering in thinking about psychology as a science: ‘The hope of a psychological science became indistinguishable from the fact of psychological science. The entire subsequent history of psychology can be seen as a ritualistic endeavor to emulate the forms of science in order to sustain the delusion that it already is a science.’” (Psychoheresy, Bobgan, pp. 103-4) “Koch says: “Throughout psychology’s history as ‘science,’ the hard knowledge it has deposited has been uniformly negative.”12 (Italics his.) He contends that much of psychology is not a cumulative or progressive discipline in which knowledge is added to knowledge. Rather, what is discovered by one generation “typically disenfranchises the theoretical fictions of the past.” Instead of refining and specifying larger generalizations of the past, psychologists are busy replacing them. He adds, “I think it by this time utterly and finally clear that psychology cannot be a coherent science.” (Psychoheresy, Bobgan, p. 104) ‘One reason why psychotherapy cannot legitimately be called a coherent science is because it attempts to deal with deep human complexities that cannot be directly observed or consistently predicted.’ (p.105) Dr. Gordon Allport says: “The Individual, whatever else he may be, is an internally consistent and unique organization of bodily and mental processes. But since he is unique, science finds him an embarrassment. Science, it is said, deals only with broad, preferably universal, laws…. Individuality cannot be studied by science, but only by history, art, or biography.” The fact of the matter
30 minutes | May 22, 2019
Brother Jonathan continues going verse by verse through the book of Matthew. Remnant Bible Fellowship S3EP13 Bible Study through Matthew “So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.” (Mat 1:17) The number of generations is only meaning those included by Matthew in the genealogy. It was common for genealogies to skip generations as long as there was a connection (grandfather to grandson, etc.). Matthew has emphasized Abraham and David as key points in the genealogy because of the covenants promised through them: Abrahamic covenant – “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” (Gal. 3:13-16) Davidic covenant – “And when thy days be fulfilled, and thou shalt sleep with thy fathers, I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build an house for my name, and I will stablish the throne of his kingdom for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son. If he commit iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men, and with the stripes of the children of men: But my mercy shall not depart away from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I put away before thee. And thine house and thy kingdom shall be established for ever before thee: thy throne shall be established for ever.” (2Sa 7:12-16) Both of these titles for Jesus were pointing to Him as the Messiah. The “anointed one” of God who was going to be the King of the Jews. “carrying away into Babylon” – This had happened around 586 b.c. during the time of the prophets Daniel and Ezekiel. God had warned the Israelites for hundreds of years about what would happen if they didn’t serve Him. He sent prophets to warn them, He sent plagues and enemies to chastise them, and they refused to listen as a nation. “And it shall come to pass, that as the LORD rejoiced over you to do you good, and to multiply you; so the LORD will rejoice over you to destroy you, and to bring you to nought; and ye shall be plucked from off the land whither thou goest to possess it. And the LORD shall scatter thee among all people, from the one end of the earth even unto the other; and there thou shalt serve other gods, which neither thou nor thy fathers have known, even wood and stone.” (Deu 28:63-64) “And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. And it shall come to pass, when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the LORD, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and will make it perpetual desolations.” (Jer 25:11-12) “In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem.” (Dan 9:2) “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat 1:18) “espoused” – Jewish espousal custom was different than what we think of as an “engagement” in western culture. If you were espoused to someone and they died you were considered a widow. Espousal was a legally binding procedure with witnesses, documentation, and a prenuptial agreement. It could only be broken by divorce proceedings. “she was found with child” – At this point she was about 3 or 4 months pregnant having spent three months with her cousin Elizabeth as we read in Luke 1:35, 56. “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” (Mat 1:19-20) “her husband” – Notice that Joseph, though the wedding ceremony hasn’t happened yet, is already referred to as her husband. “a public example” – Joseph, as well as others for sure, believed that Mary had committed adultery. The punishment under the law for this was very serious. “If a damsel that is a virgin be betrothed unto an husband, and a man find her in the city, and lie with her; Then ye shall bring them both out unto the gate of that city, and ye shall stone them with stones that they die; the damsel, because she cried not, being in the city; and the man, because he hath humbled his neighbour's wife: so thou shalt put away evil from among you.” (Deu 22:23-24) At this time, public stonings for adultery were not actually being carried out. Possibly because of Roman control. The religious leaders had to ask Pontius Pilate for permission to have Christ executed. There were certain things that happened though: She could be divorced and forfeit her dowry and any bride price must be paid back to the groom. She would almost certainly never be married again. This was a very serious matter that made sure that she would live in poverty the rest of her life. Her family would be greatly shamed and the groom’s family would be greatly dishonored. “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” (Mat 1:21) “JESUS” – This was a common Hebrew name. It’s the same name as the “Joshua” who succeeded Moses after his death. The Hebrew form is “Yeshua”. When it is translated over into Greek it becomes “Iesous”. When this is translated into our English language it becomes “Jesus”. The name means “Yahweh/Jehovah saves”. This is understood to be prophetic about the child. It was showing what He would accomplish. He was going to save His people from their sins. Notice the pronoun use by Matthew. His name will be Yeshua (Jehovah saves) for HE shall save his people from their sins. Jehovah is the one who saves Matthew applies this to Jesus saying it is HE who will save. Matthew is pointing out that Jesus is God. The OT prophets point out that there is only one Savior. “I, even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.” (Isa 43:11) “Tell ye, and bring them near; yea, let them take counsel together: who hath declared this from ancient time? who hath told it from that time? have not I the LORD? and there is no God else beside me; a just God and a Saviour; there is none beside me.” (Isa 45:21) “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” (Zec 12:10) “Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” (Mat 1:22-23) Oftentimes, an OT passage or prophecy had a direct historical application and then a future ultimate fulfillment. This was how Hebrew prophecy worked. There would be a pattern or “type” given in a true historical setting, and then this pattern would occur once or multiple times until a true ultimate fulfillment happened. Because of this there is a long line of pictures that prophetically pointed to what Christ would do and accomplish throughout the OT. This enabled the Jews, and us also now, to be able to look back and identify God’s hand in these things. Matthew consistently points out when something about Jesus life or ministry is fulfilling an OT prophecy or passage. His point in writing his gospel is to show that Jesus is the Jewish Messiah. Here he references Isaiah 7:14 and applies it to Jesus being born of a virgin. There is debate—especially by Jewish rabbis—about how Matthew applies this verse from Isaiah. (Read Isaiah 7:1-14) “Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14) The immediate historical fulfillment was probably Isaiah’s own son cf. Isa 8:1-4. But we are told that Isaiah’s children were for “signs”: “Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.” (Isa 8:18) Even in the context Isaiah again uses the name Immanuel: “And he shall pass through Judah; he shall overflow and go over, he shall reach even to the neck; and the stretching out of his wings shall fill the breadth of thy land, O Immanuel.” (Isa 8:8) Next, Isaiah uses a phrase that is directly applied to Christ elsewhere by other apostles: “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread. And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.” (Isa 8:13-14) “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone,