Monday, 30 May 2011

Note to Five-Point Calvinists

Saving-faith is not a 'work' - it is one of those things a person can 'do' which isn't actually in itself doing anything. It does result in doing something though, after it has saved us.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Matthew Chapters 1-3 Explanatory Notes

Chapter 1
[1] The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

A book - or scroll - containing Jesus Christ's genealogy was evidently in existence, and Matthew inserts it here.

The genealogy shows that Jesus Christ was born in the family-line of David and of Abraham. The Scriptures prophesied that the Messiah (Hebrew for, Christ) would be born in the line of both Abraham and David.

[2] Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;
[3] And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram;
[4] And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon;
[5] And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;
[6] And Jesse begat David the king; and David the king begat Solomon of her that had been the wife of Urias;
[7] And Solomon begat Roboam; and Roboam begat Abia; and Abia begat Asa;
[8] And Asa begat Josaphat; and Josaphat begat Joram; and Joram begat Ozias;
[9] And Ozias begat Joatham; and Joatham begat Achaz; and Achaz begat Ezekias;
[10] And Ezekias begat Manasses; and Manasses begat Amon; and Amon begat Josias;
[11] And Josias begat Jechonias and his brethren, about the time they were carried away to Babylon:
[12] And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;
[13] And Zorobabel begat Abiud; and Abiud begat Eliakim; and Eliakim begat Azor;
[14] And Azor begat Sadoc; and Sadoc begat Achim; and Achim begat Eliud;
[15] And Eliud begat Eleazar; and Eleazar begat Matthan; and Matthan begat Jacob;
[16] And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

Jesus is called the Christ - He is the fulfillment of Israel's promised Messiah.

[17] 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.
[18] 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.

Mary was a virgin when she gave birth to Jesus.

[19] Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.
[20] 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.
[21] And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Jesus means, Saviour. He came to save His people, meaning Israel.

[22] Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
[23] 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.

The verse in Isaiah is a direct prophecy about Mary, not about Isaiah's wife - because Isaiah's wife was not a virgin when she gave birth. The prophecy had only one fulfillment. Mary is the only virgin in Scripture who ever gave birth.

The title, Emmanuel, meaning, God with us, shows the divinity of Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is God with us.

[24] Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife:
[25] And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.

Joseph was a good man!

Chapter 2

[1] Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
[2] Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.

God gives signs in the heavens.

[3] When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
[4] And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
[5] And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
[6] 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.

Jesus fulfilled the prophecy which had stated that the Messiah would be born in the city of Bethlehem.

Jesus is the prophesied Governor who would rule God's people, Israel.

[7] Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, inquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
[8] 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.
[9] 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.
[10] When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
[11] 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.
[12] And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.

God sometimes warns us through dreams. But not all dreams come from God.

[13] 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.
[14] When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
[15] 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.

This isn't a case of a predicted event being fulfilled twice, because the Old Testament Scripture which said, "Out of Egypt have I called my son" was not actually a prophetic prediction of the future. Rather, it was a prophetic explanation of the past. What happened to Jesus took place after the same pattern. Therefore the word "fulfilled" refers not only to the fulfillment of direct prophetic predictions, but also to the fulfillment of the mere Scriptural pattern of a past event.

[16] 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 inquired of the wise men.
[17] Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremy the prophet, saying,
[18] 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.
[19] But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
[20] 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.
[21] And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
[22] 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:
[23] 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.

Jesus fulfilled numerous direct prophetic predictions, and Old Testament patterns. Therefore we know that He is the promised Messiah.

Chapter 3

[1] In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea,
[2] And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.
[3] For this is he that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight.
[4] And the same John had his raiment of camel's hair, and a leathern girdle about his loins; and his meat was locusts and wild honey.
[5] Then went out to him Jerusalem, and all Judaea, and all the region round about Jordan,
[6] And were baptized of him in Jordan, confessing their sins.
[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

There was a day of wrath to come.

[8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:
[9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.

Being an ethnic Jew - a descendant of Abraham - was no guarantee that a person would escape the wrath of God. The requirement was repentance.

[10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

If a person has truly repented, there will be fruit to show for it. If such fruit is not evident, they would be thrown into everlasting fire.

[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:
[12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

Jesus will do all these things in His day.

[13] Then cometh Jesus from Galilee to Jordan unto John, to be baptized of him.
[14] But John forbad him, saying, I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?
[15] And Jesus answering said unto him, Suffer it to be so now: for thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness. Then he suffered him.
[16] And Jesus, when he was baptized, went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him:
[17] And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.

Being the Son of God, shows Jesus to be divine.

Freewill and Sovereignty

Freewill gives us the ability to choose between options - but not the ability to set the options themselves.

We are free to choose either to believe or to doubt - but it was God who sovereignly chose that those would be our two options.

Immediately After the Tribulation

"Immediately after the tribulation of those days" meant immediately covenantally, more so than immediately by the calendar. It meant there was nothing else of significance to happen in between the tribulation and His coming.

But what was that tribulation? Was it the suffering of the Jews in AD70 only? Is it a future 'Great Tribulation'? It was indeed the suffering of the Jews - but it is also the "distress upon the nations" which has been happening ever since and which will continue until He comes!

Therefore His coming will occur immediately after the tribulation of those days - in every sense immediately after - both covenantally and by the calendar. We just don't know how many calendar pages that tribulation will take up. During that whole time, the Gospel will also continue to be preached among all nations - and then the end shall come.

Monday, 16 May 2011

List of Successful Predictions by End-Times Experts

The following is a list of successful predictions by end-times experts:

Keep looking...

There's got to be one here somewhere...

Well, this is embarrassing...

Okay - we couldn't find one. But not to worry - they'll soon make another one up - wish them luck this time!


The kingdom of God would build during the days (plural) of (all) four kings. Not only in the day of the fourth king. But in the days of those kings (Daniel 1-2). This speaks of the kingdom as a growing thing, not as a single incident.

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Prayers that Work

In order to learn how prayer works, sometimes it helps to first learn how it isn't intended to work.

I know Jesus said, "Whatever you desire, when you pray, believe you receive it, and you shall have it." But that principle wasn't intended to dethrone other divine principles equally revealed in God's Word.

For example, a virgin might pray to have a baby. She might believe she's received. She might even confess it. But she still needs a husband! That's a divine principle - no woman (with the exception of Mary) ever conceived without a husband - and the principle of prayer can't dethrone it, can't bypass it.

Or, a 13 year old might desire to become a pastor. But he still has to wait until he grows up. When the time comes, he will also have to meet the character requirements. Plus God might choose him to be an evangelist instead! The principle of prayer needs to submit to other divine principles, such as: timing, appropriateness, prerequisites, and God's choice.

We see this with healing too. It seems many think we can just pray for anyone else's healing whenever we want - and believe, and expect to see them healed. Oh really? If that's the case, why couldn't Jesus do many mighty miracles in His own hometown of Capernaum?

Most of Jesus' healing miracles were done in an environment where His teachings had first been accepted. If that's not part of the recipe, then we could just clear-out all the hospitals through our prayer, without even visiting the sick or witnessing to them.

Jesus also explained that prayers will be answered whenever two or three agree together in prayer. So when someone asks you to pray for the healing of brother or sister so-and-so, do you know for sure that the sick person is actually agreeing and believing with you? If that isn't important, we could just pray for all the sick of the world to be healed in an instant, in one prayer.

I'm sure there were many infirmed at Lystra. But there was one crippled man, and the Bible says that when he heard Paul speak, Paul saw that he had faith to be healed. So Paul ministered healing to him - to that one individual. We are not told of any others healed in the same occassion. Paul saw faith. When someone asks you to join a prayer-chain for a certain sick person interstate who you don't even know - can you say you've seen faith in that person, in the same way that Paul saw faith in the cripple at Lystra and ministered exclusively to him?

Friday, 13 May 2011

Past and Future in Matthew 24

Note to Full-Preterists:

The theme of God coming with His saints to judge the world, was first written by Enoch, before the Law was given. Therefore the coming day of judgment spoken of by Enoch was not a past, localized, temporary judgment against Jerusalem, but a future, worldwide and eternal judgment.

The Temple and city were desolated in AD70 - but the end of the world and the coming of the Lord is yet for an appointed day.

The angel was able to give a timeframe in which the desolations of the Jews would be accomplished, and it apparently came to pass - but of the timing, the day of His coming, and of the end of the world, the angel could not answer. Only the Father knows. 

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Delayed not Failed Fulfilment

The Prophets foresaw the sufferings of Christ and the glories that should follow. Daniel was one who mentioned Messiah the Prince being cut-off but not for Himself, and Daniel also mentioned the saints possessing the kingdom. Jesus was indeed cut off and entered into His glory. His kingdom is coming, though it has been delayed that more may be saved. The delay does not disprove Jesus' identity as the Messiah. Jesus said the kingdom cometh not with observation, but it is within you. He shall come with every eye to see Him. All the other prophecies were fulfilled in the first century, apparently including the abomination of desolation in the holy place, proving Jesus to be the Messiah.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Unknown Tongues Are Still Valid Today

If the purpose of tongues was exclusively for a sign to Jews, then the Holy Spirit should have made sure that He only ever gave a person utterance to speak in a tongue that was known by Jews in the audience.

But instead, irrespective of the fact that the word [unknown] was not in the Greek text of I Cor.14, it is evident that it often happened in Bible-times that the Holy Spirit gave utterance in a tongue that was not known by anyone in the audience - not even by Jews in the audience.

If that was not the case, then Paul would not have said of a person who speaks with a tongue, that " man understandeth him...". He would never have needed to urge the speaker to "...pray that he may interpret..." In fact, there should never have been any need for the supernatural gift of "...the interpretation of tongues..." in the first place.

So it's quite Scriptural for a tongue to sometimes be unknown to the audience. It could be a tongue "...of men..." known elsewhere, or it could be a tongue "...of angels...", or it could be what Jesus called " tongues..."

And the Bible does not say that tongues have ceased. If tongues have ceased, then prophecy should have ceased also - but the Book of Revelation describes prophesying taking place right up until the end! And Joel prophesied that people would see visions and prophesy and that there would be signs and wonders, right up until the day of the Lord.

Plus, the canonization of the New Testament wasn't the event that enabled Paul to finally "...know even as I am known..." He already knew everything that was later compiled into the New Testament canon - because he himself had written most of it! "That which is perfect..." is therefore probably none other than the coming of the Lord and His kingdom, when God's will is finally perfectly done on earth as it is in heaven, and when we shall see face to face.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


What does the Bible mean by predestination?

My premise is that Bible-predestination simply means that it had always been God's plan to grant salvation to those who BELIEVE IN JESUS - irrespective of ethnicity and without the works of the Law.

It had always been God's plan that the Church - comprising of everyone who believes in Jesus, irrespective of ethnicity and without the works of the Law - would emerge as the true people of God.

Terms like predestination, election, foreknowledge, calling, choosing and ordaining to eternal life, were used in order to defend the validity of the good news that salvation is by faith alone.

Such terms defended against the mistaken notions of the Judaizers who were seeking to infiltrate the first-century Church and insist that believers should start keeping Moses' Law - for salvation by faith had always been God's intention, even before the Law was given.

Such terms also defended against the opposite notion that God's promises to the Hebrew forefathers had been ruled ineffective, or that salvation was no longer available to Jewish individuals - for God had already stated that receiving His promise would not be dependent upon ethnicity nor the works of the Law but upon another basis of His own choosing - namely, the basis of faith in Jesus.

Salvation by faith didn't make ineffective God's promise to the Hebrew forefathers, and neither was it unjust - for such a plan had always been foreseen and stated to the fathers in the Old Testament Scriptures.

The message of the Gospel - and the emergence of the Church, as the people of God - on the basis of faith in Jesus, irrespective of ethnicity and without the works of the Law - was no mistake or afterthought: it is the very plan that God had promised all along to the forefathers in the Scriptures.

Because salvation by faith irrespective of ethnicity and without the works of the Law is the very message that God had always promised, foreseen, elected, predestined and foreseen, the early believers in Jesus in the first century could therefore rest assured that despite the taunts of the Judaizers, their confidence in Jesus would eventually yield what it was promising - resurrection from the dead and salvation in the day of judgment - eternal salvation - eternal life - and entry into the kingdom of God.

Predestination was a defence of the message of salvation by faith.

Now let's look at numerous texts, and seek to understand them in that light: (this blog post will be added to over time...)

Who Are the Elect?

Titus 1:1
"...the faith of God's elect..."

Who are God's elect? All ethnic Jews? Those who keep Moses' Law? Those who believe! God has elected that it is those that believe who shall be saved - irrespective of ethnicity or the works of the Law. Hence, the faith of God's elect.