Thursday, January 28, 2021

The Nature of God

This is a quick reference guide to what the Bible states about the nature of God. 

Many religious groups have a false understanding of the nature of God. The Jehovah’s Witnesses teach that Jesus is not God. The Mormons and Hindus teach that there is more than one true God. The Muslims teach that Jesus is only a man. The Oneness Pentecostals teach that Jesus is His own Father. However, let us look at what the Bible proclaims about who God is. 

First, God is beyond our full comprehension. After all, He is infinite, and we are finite. Still, there are many things He has revealed about Himself. Unless otherwise indicated, the following verses are from the King James Version (KJV).

 

Overview

1. God is incomparable. 

2. There is, has always been and forever will be only one true God.

3. 

A) The Father is God. 

B) The Son, Jesus, is God. 

1a) While maintaining His divine nature, the Son set aside his divine prerogatives and became a man, having two natures: God and man

C) The Holy Spirit is God. 

1a) The Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Son, is a personal being; rather than an impersonal thing.

4.

A) The Father is not the Son. 

B) The Son is the Holy Spirit. 

C) The Holy Spirit is not the Father.

 

 

Overview with Bible references

1. God is incomparable. 

  • To whom then will ye liken God? or what likeness will ye compare unto him?  (Isaiah 40:18)
  • To whom will ye liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be like? (Isaiah 46:5)
  • See also Isaiah 46:9; Exodus 15:11, Psalm 89:6, Jeremiah 10:6; 2 Samuel 7:22; 1 Chronicles 17:20; Jeremiah 10:6

2. There is, has always been and forever will be only one true God.  

The Bible uses the terms “god” and “gods” to refer to false gods, who “…by nature are not gods” (Galatians 4:8).   Jesus, in John 10:34-35, quoting from Psalm 82, refers to powerful people as gods. Satan is called the god of this world in 2 Corinthians 4:4. Pointing out that idols are referred to as gods, Paul states, “…there be gods many, and lords many…” (1 Corinthians 8:5). Still, the Bible is unquestionably clear, there is only one true God. 

 

  • See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any that can deliver out of my hand. (Deuteronomy 32:39)
  • Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord, and my servant whom I have chosen: that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me. (Isaiah 43:10)
  • Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, and his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; and beside me there is no God. (Isaiah 44:6)
  • Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? yea, there is no God; I know not any. (Isaiah 44:8)
  • Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like me, (Isaiah 46:9)
  • As concerning therefore the eating of those things that are offered in sacrifice unto idols, we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one. (1 Corinthians 8:4)
  • See also Deuteronomy 4:35, 39; Psalm 86:10; Isaiah 45:5, 14, 21; 2 Kings 19:19; John 17:3; 1 Timothy 1:17

 

3. 

A) The Father is God. 

  • God the Father... (John 6:27)
  • See also John 8:54; Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; Galatians 1:1, 3; Philippians 2:11

 

B) The Son, Jesus, is God. 

Old Testament 

  • 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. (Matthew 1:23; a fulfillment of Isaiah 7:14)
  • For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty [gibbor] God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6) 

Note: The Lord (YHWH), is said to be the mighty [gibbor] God (e.g. Isaiah 10:21; Jeremiah 32:18)

  • The burden of the word of the Lord [YHWH] for Israel, saith the Lord [YHWH], which stretcheth forth the heavens, and layeth the foundation of the earth, and formeth the spirit of man within him. 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. (Zechariah 12:110

John’s Gospel 

  • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was GodThe same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:1-3, 14) 

Note: Because some false religious groups falsely state that John 1:1 says that the word was “a” god, below are several translations/ versions of John 1:1b: 

  1. “…και θεος ην ο λογος” (1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament)
  2.  “…and God was the word.” (1395 Wycliffe Bible)
  3. “…and the worde was God.” (1525 The Tyndale Bible)
  4. “…and that worde was God.” (1568 The Bishops Bible)
  5. “…and that Word was God.” (1599 Geneva Bible)
  6. ” ...and the Word was God.” (English Standard Version)
  7. “...and the Word was God.” (New American Standard Bible)
  8. “...and the Word was God.” (New King James Version)
  9. “...and the Word was God Himself.” (Amplified Bible)
  10. ” ...and the Word was God.” (American Standard Version)
  11. “...and the Word was God;” (Young's Literal Translation)
  12. ” ...and the Word was God.” (Darby Translation)
  13.  ...and the Word was God.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  14. ” ... and the Word was God.” (New International Version)
  15. “...and the Word was God.” (New International Version – UK)

Note the following commentary on John1:1 from Greek scholar, John Macarthur:

According to the rules of Greek grammar, when the predicate nominative (God in this clause) precedes the verb, it cannot be considered indefinite (and thus translated “a god” instead of God) merely because it does not have the article. That the term God is definite and refers to the true God is obvious for several reasons. First, theos appears without the definite article four other times in the immediate context (vv. 6, 12, 13, 18; cf. 3:2, 21; 9:16; Matt. 5:9). Not even the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ distorted translation of the Bible renders the anarthrous theos “a god” in those verses. Second, if John’s meaning was that the Word was divine, or a god, there were ways he could have phrased it to make that unmistakably clear. For example, if he meant to say that the Word was merely in some sense divine, he could have used the adjective theios (cf. 2 Peter 1:4). It must be remembered that, as Robert L. Reymond notes, “No standard Greek lexicon offers ‘divine’ as one of the meanings of theos, nor does the noun become an adjective when it ‘sheds’ its article” (Jesus, Divine Messiah [Phillipsburg, N.J.: Presb. & Ref., 1990], 303). Or if he had wanted to say that the Word was a god, he could have written ho logos en theos. If John had written ho theos en ho logos, the two nouns (theos and logos) would be interchangeable, and God and the Word would be identical. That would have meant that the Father was the Word, which, as noted above, would deny the Trinity. But as Leon Morris asks rhetorically, “How else [other than theos en ho logos] in Greek would one say, ‘the Word was God’?” (The Gospel According to John, The New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1979], 77 n. 15).

Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, John chose the precise wording that accurately conveys the true nature of the Word, Jesus Christ. “By theos without the article, John neither indicates, on the one hand, identity of Person with the Father; nor yet, on the other, any lower nature than that of God Himself” (H. A. W. Meyer, Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Gospel of John [Reprint; Winona Lake, Ind.: Alpha, 1979], 48).

(MacArthur, John. The MacArthur New Testament Commentary on John 1-11. Moody Publishers, 2006)

  • No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father's side, he has made him known. (John 1:18 ESV)
  • Therefore the Jews sought the more to kill him, because he not only had broken the sabbath, but said also that God was his Father, making himself equal with God (John 5:18)
  • Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I amThen took they up stones to cast at him: but Jesus hid himself, and went out of the temple, going through the midst of them, and so passed by. (John 8:58-59) 

Note: Because some false religious groups falsely state that Jesus simply said, “…I have been” rather than, “…I am” in John 8:58, below are several translations/ versions of John 8:58: 

  1. “…εγω ειμι” (1881 Westcott-Hort New Testament)
  2.  “…I am.” (1395 Wycliffe Bible)
  3. “…I am.” (1525 The Tyndale Bible)
  4. “…I am.” (1568 The Bishops Bible)
  5. “…I am.” (1599 Geneva Bible)
  6. ” …I am.” (English Standard Version)
  7. “...I am.” (New American Standard Bible)
  8. “...I AM.” (New King James Version)
  9. “...I Am.” (Amplified Bible)
  10. ” ...I am.” (American Standard Version)
  11. “...I am;” (Young's Literal Translation)
  12. ” ...I am.” (Darby Translation)
  13. ” ...I am.” (Holman Christian Standard Bible)
  14. ” …I am!” (New International Version)
  15. “...I am!” (New International Version – UK)

Note: Exodus 3:14 states, “And God said unto Moses, I AM THAT I AM: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM hath sent me unto you.” The Septuagint, a Greek translation of the Old Testament that dates prior to the birth of Christ, renders the Hebrew phrase for “I AM” in Exodus 3:14 as “ego eimi.” In John 8:58, this is the same phrase, the same Greek words Jesus uses, translated as “I am”. The Jewish people’s reaction to Jesus’s statement, ‘took they up stones to cast at him’, shows they understood He was claiming to be God. Jesus never denied this understanding, but continually affirmed it. 

  • I and my Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone him. Jesus answered them, Many good works have I shewed you from my Father; for which of those works do ye stone me? The Jews answered him, saying, For a good work we stone thee not; but for blasphemy; and because that thou, being a man, makest thyself God. (John 10:30-33)
  • And Thomas answered and said unto him, My LORD and my God. Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. (John 20:28-29)

Other the New Testament passages

  • Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. (Acts 20:28)
  • Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen. (Romans 9:5)
  • ...lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them... the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:4, 6

Note: Isaiah 42:8 states, “I am the LORD: that is my name: and my glory will I not give to another, neither my praise to graven images.” See also Isaiah 48:11

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8) 
  • In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; (Colossians 1:14-19)

Note: The term “firstborn” refers to the preeminence of Jesus. Manasseh was born to Joseph first, but Ephraim, his younger brother, was “firstborn” due to his position as given by Jacob/Israel (Genesis 48:13–20, Jeremiah 31:9). Also, consider Psalm 89:27 where it is recorded, “Also I will make him my firstborn, higher than the kings of the earth.”

  • For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily (Colossians 2:9)
  • And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory. (1 Timothy 3:16)
  • Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; (Titus 2:13)
  • God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high: (Hebrews 1:1-3)
  • But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom. Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows. And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands: They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they all shall wax old as doth a garment; And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail. (Hebrews 1:8-12)

Note: Verses 8-9 quote from Psalm 45:6-7. Verses 10-12 quote from Psalm 102:25-27, which is a prayer to the Lord (YHWH). This prayer is applied to Jesus. 

  • our God and Savior Jesus Christ: (2 Peter 1:1, NKJV)

Note the following commentary on 2 Peter 1:1 from Greek scholar, Dr. John Macarthur: "The Greek construction has only one article before this phrase, making the entire phrase refer to the same person. Thus, Peter is identifying Jesus Christ as both Savior and God." (MacArthur, John. The MacArthur Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 1997

  • And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

 

Other demonstrations of the Deity of Jesus

The following are titles, terms and proclamations made about the one true God that are applied to Jesus.

 

The first and the last is the Almighty

  • I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the ending, saith the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty. I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. (Revelation 1:8; 22:13)
  • See also Isaiah 41:4; 44:6; 48:12

Jesus is the first and the last

  • And unto the angel of the church in Smyrna write; These things saith the first and the last, which was dead, and is alive; (Revelation 2:8)
  • And when I saw him, I fell at his feet as dead. And he laid his right hand upon me, saying unto me, Fear not; I am the first and the last: I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell and of death. (Revelation 1:17-18)

 

God alone is the Creator

  • Thus saith the Lord, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the Lord that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself; (Isaiah 44:24)
  • Mine hand also hath laid the foundation of the earth, and my right hand hath spanned the heavens: when I call unto them, they stand up together. (Isaiah 48:13)
  • Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created. (Revelation 4:11)
  • See also Genesis 1:1; Nehemiah 9:6; Psalm 95:5-6; 102:25 Isaiah 42:5; Isaiah 40:12-14, 28; 66:2; Malachi 2:10; Hebrews 3:4
    1. Note also: Though He alone is the Creator, God uses plural pronouns when discussing creating. “And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness…” (Genesis 1:26). Man is made in the image of God, not in the image of angles or other heavenly beings (cf. Genesis 1:27; 5:1; 9:6; 1 Corinthians 11:7; James 3:9).

Jesus is the Creator 

  • All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3)
  • He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. (John 1:10)
  • For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)
  • See also Hebrews 1:2, 10

 

God alone is to be worshiped [Greek: proskuneo]

  • Then saith Jesus unto him, Get thee hence, Satan: for it is written, Thou shalt worship [proskuneo] the Lord thy God, and him only shalt thou serve. (Matthew 4:10) 
  • And I John saw these things, and heard them. And when I had heard and seen, I fell down to worship [proskuneo] before the feet of the angel which shewed me these things. Then saith he unto me, See thou do it not: for I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them which keep the sayings of this book: worship [proskuneo] God. (Revelation 22:8-9)
  • See also Deuteronomy 5:7-9; Acts 10:25-26; Romans 1:25

Jesus received worship [Greek: proskuneo]

  • And, behold, there came a leper and worshipped [proskuneo] him, saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. (Matthew 8:2)
  • And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship [proskuneo] him. (Hebrews 1:6)
  • See also Matthew 2:1-2, 10-11; 9:18; 14:33; 15:25; 28:9, 17; Mark 5:6; Luke 24:52; John 9:35-38; Philippians 2:9-11; Revelation 5:8-14

 

____________________________________________

Shepherd-

  • God: “The Lord [YHWH] is my shepherd…” (Psalm 23:1; See also Psalm 80:1; Genesis 49:24)
  • Jesus: The ‘one Shepherd’ (John 10:11-16) and the ‘Chief Shepherd’ (1 Peter 5:4; see also Hebrews 13:20). 

 

­­­­­

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Savior- 

  • God (besides Him there is none): Hosea 13:4; Isaiah 43:11; 45:21-22; Luke 1:47; 1 Timothy 2:3; 4:10; Titus 2:10
  • Jesus: Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 4:12; Titus 1:4; 2:13; 2 Peter 1:1; 3:18; 1 John 4:14

 

Judge of all-

  • God: Genesis 18:25; Psalm 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 66:16; Hebrews 12:23; 13:4
  • Jesus: “For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son:” (John 5:22; see also Acts 10:42; 17:31; Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; 2 Timothy 4:1)

 

 

The Rock-

  • God: 
  • “Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; he is my defence; I shall not be greatly moved. He only is my rock and my salvation: he is my defence; I shall not be moved.” (Psalm 62:1-2, 6
  • For who is God save the Lord? or who is a rock save our God?” (Psalm 18:31; see also 2 Samuel 22:2, 47; Psalm 18:2, 46; 28:1; 31:3; 42:9; 71:3; 92:15)

 

  • Jesus: 
  • And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” (1 Corinthians 10:4; see also Romans 9:33; 1 Peter 2:8)

 

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Prepare the way of the Lord (YHWH), prepare the way before Me-

  • The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord [YHWH], make straight in the desert a highway for our God. (Isaiah 40:3
  • Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: and the Lord [Adonai], whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: behold, he shall come, saith the Lord [YHWH] of hosts. (Malachi 3:1) 

Jesus-

  • And thou, child [John the Baptist], shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways; (Luke 1:76) 
  • As it is written in the prophets, Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight(Mark 1:2-3)
  • See also Matthew 3:3; 11:10; John 1:23

 

  • Omnipotence (all-powerful): John 14:13-14; Philippians 3:21
  • Omniscience (all-knowing): John 16:30; 21:17
  • Omnipresence (present everywhere at once): Matthew 18:20; 28:20
  • Immutable (unchanging): Hebrews 13:8
  • Eternal: Isaiah 9:6; Micah 5:2 
  • Power to raise Himself from the dead: John 2:19 
  • Prayed to: John 14:13-14; Acts 7:59; 1 Corinthians 1:2; 2 Corinthians 12:8; 1 John 5:13-15
  • Honored as the Father is: Jesus stated in John 5:23, “That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.”
  • All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you. (John 16:15)
  • Forgave sins: Matthew 9:6; Luke 5:24

 

1a) While maintaining His divine nature, the Son set aside his divine prerogatives and became a man, having two natures: God and man 

  • Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made Himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:5-8) 
  • Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)
  • See also 1 Corinthians 15:21. 

In His incarnation, Jesus…

  • said the Father was greater [Greek: meizon] than Him (John 14:28) Note: The Father being greater than the Son doesn’t negate the fact that they are of the same nature. In 1 Corinthians 14:5 it is recorded, “…he who prophesies is greater [meizon] than he who speaks with tongues…” yet he who prophesies is of the same nature as he who speaks with tongues. In Luke 22:27 Jesus says, “For whether is greater [meizon], he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth.” (See also John 13:16)
  • was born (Galatians 4:4)
  • was dependent on the Father (John 5:19, 30)
  • was made lower than the angels (Hebrews 2:9)
  • didn’t exercise omniscience (Mark 13:32)
  • grew (Luke 2:40)
  • increased in wisdom and stature (Luke 2:52)
  • was under the law (Galatians 4:4)
  • was tempted (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 4:15
  • prayed to the Father (John 17)
  • offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears (Hebrews 5:7)
  • wept (John 11:35)
  • got thirsty (John 19:28)
  • got hungry (Matthew 4:2)
  • got tired (John 4:6) 
  • slept (Mark 4:38)
  • had and still has a body of flesh and bones (Luke 24:39) 
  • submitted to the will of the Father (John 5:30; 6:38; 1 Corinthians 15:28
  • marveled (Matthew 8:10)
  • said His soul was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death (Matthew 26:38)
  • said His soul troubled (John 12:27)
  • was troubled in spirit (John 13:21)
  • groaned in the spirit, and was troubled (John 11:33)
  • had reverence/ godly fear (Hebrews 5:7)
  • died (Romans 5:8; 1 Corinthians 15:1-5)

 

C) The Holy Spirit is God. 

  • Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  • But Peter said, Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Ghost, and to keep back part of the price of the land? Whiles it remained, was it not thine own? and after it was sold, was it not in thine own power? why hast thou conceived this thing in thine heart? thou hast not lied unto men, but unto God. (Acts 5:3-4)

1a) The Holy Spirit, like the Father and the Son, is a personal being, rather than an impersonal thing.

The Holy Spirit…

  • has a mind (Romans 8:27)
  • can be grieved (Isaiah 63:10; Ephesians 4:30)
  • loves (Romans 15:30)
  • bears witness (Romans 8:16; 1 John 5:6; John 15:26-27) 
  • is a witness (Acts 5:32)
  • testifies (John 15:26)
  • can be lied to (Acts 5:3-7)
  • has an awareness of goodness (Acts 15:28)
  • appoints overseers (Acts 20:28)
  • can forbid (Acts 16:6)
  • searches all things (1 Corinthians 2:10)
  • is referred to using masculine pronouns (John 16:13–14)
  • has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11) 
  • can have fellowship/ communion (2 Corinthians 13:14)
  • has knowledge (1 Corinthians 2:11)
  • intercedes (Romans 8:26)
  • teaches (John 14:26)
  • speaks and hears (John 16:13; see below for more)

 

The following are examples of the Holy Spirit speaking throughout the Scriptures. It’s important to note, these examples are from historical narratives (i.e. they’re not parables or proverbs). 

  • Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot. (Acts 8:29)
  • While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. (Acts 10:19-20)
  • As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. (Acts 13:2) 
  • Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; (Hebrews 10:15-16)
  • See also 2 Samuel 23:2; Acts 11:12; 21:11; 28:25–26; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:7-8; Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22; 14:13; 22:17

 

4. 

A) The Father is not the Son. 

  • Jesus and the Father count as two witnesses (John 8:17-18)
  • Jesus came to do the will of the Father, not His own (Matthew 26:39; Luke 22:42; John 5:30; 6:38)
  • The Father and Son conversed (Matthew 11:25-26; 27:46; Mark 15:34; Luke 3:22; 23:46; John 11:41-42; 12:28; 14:16; 17; Hebrews 5:7)
  • Jesus makes intersession to the Father (Romans 8:34; 1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 7:2)
  • Plural pronouns (e.g. we, us, our) are used in reference to the Father and Son (John 14:23; John 17:11, 21-22; note also, plural pronouns are used in references to God: Genesis 1:26; 3:22; 11:7; Isaiah 6:8)
  • Jesus’s doctrine was not His own, but the Father’s (John 7:16-17)
  • The Father was greater than Jesus (John 14:28)
  • Jesus wasn’t alone because the Father was with Him (John 8:16, 29; 16:32)
  • Jesus spoke not of Himself but of the Father (John 12:49-50: 14:10)
  • Jesus came from/ was sent by the Father and was returning/ going to Him (John 5:36; 8:16, 42; 12:49; 13:3; 14:28; 16:10, 16, 27-31; 17:11, 24; 18:11; 20:17; 1 John 4:9)
  • The Father gave to the Son (Matthew 11:27; 28:18; John 3:35; 5:22, 36; 6:37; 10:29; 12:49; 13:3; 18:11; Revelation 1:1; 2:27)
  • Jesus is at the right hand of the Father (Acts 7:55-56; Matthew 22:43-48; 26:64; Mark 13:35-37; 14:62; Luke 20:41-44; Acts 2:32-35; 5:31; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 3:1; Hebrews 1:3; 10:12: 12:2; 1 Peter 3:22)
  • See also Isaiah 53:6; 10; Matthew 17:5; Mark 9:7; 13:32; Luke 9:35; John 8:54; 15:24, 26; 16:26 18:11 Acts 2:22; 10:38; 1 Corinthians 15:28; Philippians 2:9; Hebrews 1:5, 8-9; 5:4-5; 2 Peter 1:17-18

 

B) The Son is not the Holy Spirit. 

  • John 14:16-17, 26; 15:26

C) The Holy Spirit is not the Father. 

  • John 15:26

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Is it Biblical to Lead a Person in a Sinner's Prayer?

Jesus is never recorded in Scripture leading anyone in a “Sinner’s Prayer,” nor are His disciples. Instead, Jesus (Matthew 3:2; 4:17; Mark 1:15; Luke 5:32; 13:3-5; 24:47), the twelve (Mark 6:12), Peter (Acts 2:38; 3:19) and Paul (Acts 16:30-31; 17:29-30; 20:21; 26:20) told people to repent and believe. We should do what they did. Many modern day “evangelical” types (Pat Robertson, Joel Osteen etc.) lead people in a “Sinner’s Prayer” as a means to supposedly lead them to Christ. For the most part, these evangelicals will tell people it’s not about the prayer or the words, but then, if that’s true, why is there such a strong focus on it. Granted, a person who is convicted by God and has their eyes opened, will likely call on the name of the Lord in prayer and I’m not against a contrite person doing this (Psalm 51; Romans 10:9-13; Luke 6:45). However, we should follow the example of Christ and his disciples and tell people to repent and believe, not try to lead them in a prayer. Sadly, many people look to a “Sinner’s Prayer” for assurance of salvation, not solely to God through the work of Christ. Eternal life in Christ is a free gift received by faith (Romans 6:23; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Premillennialism Vs. Amillennialism

This is a discussion that Phil Ballmaier and I (Marcus Mattingly) have been having concerning the Millennial Reign of Christ. Phil believes in Amillennialism; that there will be no future earthly reign of Christ. I believe in Premillennialism; that there will be a future earthly kingdom.

Mattingly: “And they sang a new song, saying, ‘Worthy are You to take the book and to break its seals; for You were slain, and purchased for God with Your blood men from every tribe and tongue and people and nation. ‘You have made them to be a kingdom and priests to our God; and they will reign upon the earth.’” (Revelation 5:9-10). It doesn’t say they ‘are’ reigning upon the earth, but rather ‘they will reign upon the earth.’ Read all of Zechariah 14. Consider Ezekiel 34:23-31; 37:24-28; Jeremiah 23:3-8; Psalm 72:8-16; Isaiah 11. You still haven’t told me where the resurrected martyrs of Revelation 20 are?

Ballmaier: Alright man, Revelation 5:9-10, let's see what I can do:

I. Literal vs. Allegorical Interpretation
Are you taking the whole chapter litterally???
If so, then what about the names of Christ?
Is He litterally a physical lion?
Is He litterally a a root?
What about His discription???
Does He litterally have seven horns?
Does He litterally have seven eyes?
Of course not, this is a vision
Tell me, is He litterally a physical lamb?
The point is this: Just like me, you are FORCED to take some things figuratively. You ARE NOT taking everything litterally.

II. Context of This Passage is the Worthiness of the Lamb in
His Judgment
The scroll and its seals represent judgment upon the
earth
When you view verse 10, you MUST do so in light of the
judgment to come.
Lets do a litteral rendition of vs. 10:
"And have made (past tense) them (elect) 'a kingdom' and
priests to our God, and 'a kingdom' shall reign (some
render this as "they reign" as in present tense) on the
earth."
In light of context, I would say that this is referring to the judgment to come when we shall also judge angels (see 1 Cor. 6)
Also, we are already reigning and overcoming the world, but not yet reigning in a sense of judgment... at the last day the judgment will come... this will be a ONE DAY event not a 1000 year event!

I say this because:

III. What is the Earth referring to?
Can this really imply a 1,000 yr reign?
I would say no, because of vs. 13b: "Blessing and
honor and glory and power be to Him who sits on
the throne, And to the Lamb, forever and ever."
Notice, it does not say He shall reign for a 1,000 yrs first
and then in heaven forever and ever.

Also, this millenium, is it this age or the age to come?
If this is suppose to be the age to come, what about
death, evil?

No where in the New Testament do we find anything but
eternal benefits attached to this phrase "the age to
come."

You MUST take "earth" to be figurative unless you can provide me with sound biblical answers to my questions :)

Mattingly: Yes indeed, we both take some things literally and some things figuratively. "When the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense; therefore, take every word at its primary, ordinary, usual, literal meaning unless the facts of the immediate context, studies in the light of related passages and axiomatic and fundamental truths, indicate clearly otherwise.” (Dr. D. A. Waite; I don’t really know anything about this guy, but this quote’s veracity is not dependent on the man who first said it). You might not admit it, but you usually follow this rule. That is unless of course it fails to fit with your theology. You know Jesus is not a literal root or a literal lion because you know He’s a man. It doesn’t make common sense to think He‘s a root or a lion. Let’s just look at the “new song“ of Revelation 5:9-10. It appears to be quite literal. Christ was literally slain. Was he not? He is literally worthy. Is He not? He literally purchased men with His blood. They are from every tribe, tongue, people and nation. However, you stop at the final passage when it says “they will reign on the earth“ and say that’s figurative. That’s not consistent my friend. I could only find one translation (ASV) that said “they reign upon earth.“ Every other translation I looked at included “shall” (KJV, NKJV, ESV, Amplified, Young's Literal Translation) or “will“ (NIV, NASB, CEV, Holman Christian Standard Bible) indicating future tense. However, even the ASV includes “shall” in Revelation 20:6, “they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.” This sure does sound similar to Revelation 5:10: “And have made us kings and priests to our God; And we shall reign on the earth.” What is the figurative meaning of earth in Revelation 5:10? What does it represent? The word “earth” is used 6 times in Revelation 5 (translated from the same Greek word every time). Why would you take it literally every time but one? It makes common sense to take it as the “earth” every time.As we covered last night you do take many parts of this passage in a literal sense. “The age to come” or “the world to come” (KJV) refers to the “time to come.” Apparently, it commonly refers to the eternal state (Luke 18:30; 20:35). Concerning the 1,000 years, let’s take this one thing at a time. Let’s start with the reality that Christ will reign on the earth. We’ll get to the length of His reign (1,000 years) after first establishing that He will reign. Add Acts 1:6-8 to the list. What will you do with Zechariah 14? We should do a verse-by-verse study of Ezekiel 40-48.

Ballmaier: Well there you have it... guess I lost... just kidding... lol.Look the thing is who ever that guy is... I do not think he has a proper understanding of hermeneutics. You cannot do that with apocolyptic language... as for your understanding of the greek, I would ask you this... how come many greater men who know greek way better than you don't see that passage the same way??? Just food for thought... chances are that if you have not taken a lot of semesters of greek and know how to interpret whole passages in greek than you are hardly qualified to be quoting greek... so lets keep the conversation in english. Secondly, even if you want to argue for a reign on earth, what kind of earth??? Where a glorified Christ is reigning yet there is evil, and sin, and death??? Or is it the new heavens on the new earth. If you want to make a case for an earth, I would say fine, but it will not be the earth you are thinking about. It will be the earth that is made new in glory. That is a reign that does not last for 1000 but forever and ever. Marcus, Jesus never came to give Israel an earthly kingdom back... that is why many of the Jews back then hated Him. He came for a heavenly and spiritual kingdom. Both Jew and Gentiles... the True Israel of God. When you imply what I know you are implying you are UNDERMINING the New Covenant.I have not had time to go through all of your passages... but you should really quote one at a time. You still got to tell me what kind of earth you THINK this is refering to... a partially renewed earth??? a glorified earth??? is there death??? is there a litteral political power??? (Even though He is the King of kings and Lord of lords reigning over all the nations)"My friend" you have a lot more qualifying to do than I do... but I will get to that Zachariah passage as well as the Revelation passage... but probably not until after the weekend... I have a lot to study as it is... but I will talk to you more about it tonight or tomorrow.

Mattingly: The first part of your first sentence was right. The only thing I mentioned about the Greek was that the “earth” of Rev. 5:10 was the same “earth” in the Greek as the other five that are mentioned in Revelation 5. Yet, you take all, but the one in Rev 5:10 literally. How do you determine what is literal and what is figurative in Revelation? Jesus came as the Lamb of God, but that doesn’t negate the reality that He will come again to reign. He will fulfill “all” that was written about Him (Luke 24:25-27). Don’t make the mistake some in the first century made by only looking at half of what the Scripture says concerning Christ. Zechariah 14 should help answer some of your questions about the earth. Take God at His word even if you cannot understand how He’s going to accomplish what He has said.

Mattingly: What is the common theme in these verses? Isaiah 11; Ezekiel 34:11-31; 36:16-38, 37:11-28; 39:21-29; Amos 9:11-15

Ballmaier: Marcus, I love how you quoted Amos 9:11-15, you should check out Acts 15... lol... dude, you gotta stop interpreting the New Testament with the Old... (psss its the other way around man). ;)

Mattingly: Do the “Gentiles who are called by My name” in Amos 9:12 refer to natural gentiles? If so, would you agree that the “captives of My people Israel” refers to natural Israel?

Ballmaier: Marcus, right now I do not have answers for you on some of these passages, and I do not know when I will have to time to actually study these out. I know this: That even in some of the cross references in my Bible the New Testament writers do not interpret all these passages the same way you do. Amos 9 is a clear case and point example. Also you should look at Acts 13 which gives a very interesting interpretation on some of these verses in Isaiah 11.

We talked about Ezekiel 36 yesterday, and you had to PRESUME that this chapter is a reference to a millenial reign??? lol sorry man that's rediculous. No where in the text does it suggest that... and notice the word "forever" or "forevermore" that keeps coming up in that passage does not suggest a period of 1,000 years sorry man... I am just taking that passage litterally because I "believer the Bible."

We march over to Ezekiel 37 and again I see a reference not once in the whole text to a period of 1,000 years. lol Not there man, just not there... just taking that passage litterally I suppose... and then the famous battle of Gog and Maggog in Ezekiel 39... the SAME battle as in Revelation 20 only different perspectives on it. You have to PROVE to me that these are not the same battles.

Here is something to think about:In Revelation 19:17-21 if you take that litterally like you claim you are really backing yourself into a corner. Why??? All the people on earth are wiped out! lol So who is left for a 1000 year reign that you take to be litteral in Revelation 20??? Are there some survivors??? If so, where in the text does it suggest that??? Sorry I guess I just take this litterally... "I just believe the Bible." So then here is a problem man:

Going back to the battle of Gog and Maggog in Ezekiel 39... my question to you is this: If all the population is wiped out in Revelation 19, then where do these nations come in??? Did they miraculously survive the judgment of Christ on the earth and now they are coming back for revenge in Revelation 20??? lol Where or how can you assume some of this??? These are things you have to reconcile.

You say you just "believe the Bible." The problem is that when you go by your line of thinking (which Darby and Scofield before you did) then you run into problems when coming to Revelation.

I would submit to you this: That due to the Apocolyptic language of Revelation that these are visions that John is seeing and they are not in any chronological order. We call it progressive parallelism. The idea is that these visions are in a sense happening at the same time, but you are seeing an unfolding of layers. In other words you are seeing in Revelation 12, 19, and 20 a "re- telling" of the same event from different camera angles. That the battle in Ezekiel 39 is the same battle in Rev 19 and 20.

Like the Gospels: Four accounts from different perspectives on the same event... a re- telling of the life of Christ. Each gives you a little bit different of an insight to the same events. (Matthew, Mark, and Luke very similar being the synoptic Gospels). Anyways... I was able to ramble on fo a while... yay. I will eventually get to all of these passages.

As I sum it up, a few things to take away from my little speech here ;) :

1- No mention of a 1,000 year period in ANY of the passage you just referenced.

2- Some of the Apostles in Acts see a few of these things differently then perhaps you do (Acts 13, Acts 15);

3- Again, how do the NT writers interpret OT prophecies???

4- If Christ wipes out the earth in Rev 19, then who is left to re- populate the earth in your 1000 year reign in chapter 20???

5- No where in Rev 20 does it say that Christ is reigning on earth, in fact you can make a case that He is reigning from heaven!

6- Where in the Scriptures can you make a case for a re- ferbreshed earth anywhere???

Let me know your thoughts man... be interested to see what you think and how you answer these questions.

All I am saying is that there is a reason why I take some of these things figuratively in one sense... because I just do not want to presume more on the text then there is in the actual text if that makes sense lol :)

Mattingly: Phil, I too don’t have all the details figured out, but I’m going to take God at His Word. I’m sure many people in the first century didn’t see how the Messiah would be a suffering sacrifice (Isaiah 52-53), a reigning King (Ezekiel 37:24) and not to mention God. We just have to believe in what God has declared. Concerning what you wrote: I couldn’t find any reference to Is. 11 in Acts 13. Ezekiel 36 doesn’t use the word “forever,“ but it does say that Israel will ‘never again bear the reproach of famine among the nations.’ When will this be? By the way, I don’t believe Ez. 36 is solely talking about the Millennial Reign of Christ. Look at the end of the battle of Gog in Ezekiel 39. Read Ezekiel 39:12-15 to see the clean up. I can’t see how you believe Revelation 12 and 20 are retelling the same event. To answer your questions…1. God only has to state something once for it to be true. In the case of 1000 years, Revelation 20 states that six times.2. In Acts the Apostles seem to have interpreted “Israel” to mean natural Israel. 3. Exegetically and correctly, thus they believed that Christ would ‘restore the kingdom to Israel’ (Acts 1:6). 4. I don’t think all people will be wiped out in Revelation 19. As it is written, “it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem”(Zechariah 14:16). However, even if you insist that all the wicked will be wiped out that still leaves the righteous who lived through the tribulation. 5. Read Rev 20. ‘they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years’(v. 4) and ‘they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’(v. 6). Where will the resurrected martyrs be reigning from? 6. Christ will reign on the earth. Do you not believe that “…the LORD shall be King over all the earth. In that day it shall be—’The LORD is one,’ And His name one.” (Zechariah 14:9) It’s recorded Zechariah 14 “And in that day His feet will stand on the Mount of Olives, Which faces Jerusalem on the east. And the Mount of Olives shall be split in two, From east to west…Then you shall flee through My mountain valley…And the LORD shall be King over all the earth.…Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited…And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the LORD of hosts, on them there will be no rain…Yes, every pot in Jerusalem and Judah shall be holiness to the LORD of hosts…” (Zechariah 14: 4-5, 9, 11, 16-17, 21) When do you believe this will take place? Ezekiel 37:21-22, 25 states “Then say to them, ‘Thus says the Lord GOD: “Surely I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, wherever they have gone, and will gather them from every side and bring them into their own land; and I will make them one nation in the land, on the mountains of Israel; and one king shall be king over them all; they shall no longer be two nations, nor shall they ever be divided into two kingdoms again. Then they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt; and they shall dwell there, they, their children, and their children’s children, forever; and My servant David shall be their prince forever.” Note it says ‘they shall dwell in the land that I have given to Jacob My servant, where your fathers dwelt.’ It says ‘dwelt’ not “dwell.” Is that not the land of Israel? When do you believe this will take place? Here is a portion of the Psalm I was telling you about that seems to be talking about the Reign of Christ. “He shall come down like rain upon the grass before mowing, Like showers that water the earth. In His days the righteous shall flourish, And abundance of peace, Until the moon is no more. He shall have dominion also from sea to sea, And from the River to the ends of the earth. Those who dwell in the wilderness will bow before Him, And His enemies will lick the dust. The kings of Tarshish and of the isles Will bring presents; The kings of Sheba and Seba Will offer gifts. Yes, all kings shall fall down before Him; All nations shall serve Him. For He will deliver the needy when he cries, The poor also, and him who has no helper. He will spare the poor and needy, And will save the souls of the needy. He will redeem their life from oppression and violence; And precious shall be their blood in His sight.” (Psalm 72:6-14)

Ballmaier: Marcus: Wow, there is a lot here... let's see if I can sort through some of these things.At least you are willing to admit that you do not have all the details figured out, so I guess I too can come to that confession as well. I do not know all the minute details nor do I have it all figured out. That is thing... one of the keys in end times is to leave it slightly open- ended, because it is a subject where the mystery will not be solved till the final consummation. So, therefore, I can say that I am pretty confident that the Amillenial position is the correct one, but like any other position it has its problems as well. Acts 13:23 is a reference to Isaiah 11:1 where it talks of Jesus coming from the seed of David. Now in the immediate context of the sermon in Acts 13 he is talking primarily of actual National Israel. However, I would ask you to move onto the remainder of that sermon. Acts 13, particularly the last half of it, is an excellent example of how the NT writers and preachers understood OT prophecies. In Acts 13, there are OT prophetical references, observe: Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, Psalm 16:10, Habakuk 1:5, Isaiah 42:6 and Isaiah 49:6. Look at how the writer or preacher here interprets these old testament prophecies in the fulfillment of the New Testament church (both elect Jews and elect Gentiles)Your question on Ezekiel 36? You know man, I don't know what to tell you on that one... some Reformers might take Israel here to be spiritual Israel, and I think that they have grounds look at the following verses:"But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, in Isaac your seed shall be called.That is, those who are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God; but the children of the promise are counted as the seed." (Romans 9:6,7) Marcus, who are the children of promise here???"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the ISRAEL OF GOD." (Galatians 6:16) Who are the Israel of God Marcus???You talk about land man... what about Hebrews 12:22??? "But you HAVE COME to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the HEAVENLY JERUSALEM, to an innumerable company of angels." (Hebrews 12:22)Marcus, is this NT writer who is addressing Jewish believers here, interpreting physical land??? Or is he interpreting these OT promises to be a spiritual fulfillment in the New Testament church???Finally, in dealing with your question on Ezekiel 36 I want to address Jesus Christ as being the TRUE ISRAEL. Look at two specific verses and I will move on after explaining where I am coming from :) "When Israel was a child, I loved him, And our of Egypt I called My son." (Hosea 11:1) Now Marcus, if you didn't have the New Testament yet, you might make a wrong conclusion about this verse, but look at how Matthew interprets this verse, go to Matthew 2:14-15:"When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt, and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet saying, "OUT OF EGYPT I CALLED MY SON." Now Marcus, is Matthew interpreting this to mean for a future political prosperity for the nation of Israel or the incarnation account being the fulfillment of this prophecy???Even if you want to take Ezekiel 36 to be litteral landmass and political and national Israel, Marcus when do you see this being fulfilled???

Alright, lets see if I can crack the mystery of Ezek 39... now I will readily admit that like you I don't completely have all of the details worked out, but I do want to mention a few things here.

First off: The events of Ezek 39 and Rev 20 can be the same event only told from different camera angles. What do I mean by this??? Well through out Scripture the Bible retells the same event from different perspectives. Look at the life of Jesus in the gospels. You have four different camera angles focusing on the same event. Yet we conclude that even though there are some details that are not shared among these four gospels, but unique to the writer's perspective, yet we know this is not four different accounts, its one account looked at from four different perspectives:

In Matthew: Jesus is portrayed as the Lion of the tribe of Judah, therefore we get a glimpse of the kingdom and Jesus as the King of kings.

In Mark: Jesus is portrayed as a servant, and this is a book that focuses on His miracles.

In Luke: Jesus is portrayed as the Son of Man, and it is here that we really get a glimpse of His humanity. Here we see His childhood described in a lot more detail which the other Gospels do not give us.

In John: Jesus is portrayed as the Son of God, here John writes to show His diety.

Yet the same account told from 4 different perspectives.

Another example is how Judas was killed. The gospels tell us that he hung himself. However in Acts, Luke writes how his entrails gushed out.(see Acts 1:18) Does this mean that these are two different Judas's and two different deaths???

Lets now go to Ezek 39 and look at a few things in comparison with Rev 12, Rev 19, and Rev 20. I will give you this Marcus, the "clean up" is very interesting man, no doubt, however, why can't this still be the same battle??? We could just be seeing specific details in Ezek 39 that Rev 20 does not give us. Now lets do a comparison here...

Marcus I would like you to compare Ezek 39:17-20 with Rev 19:17-18. Notice how the birds come and eat the flesh of the men of this battle. Now okay, I know that Gog and Magog are not mentioned in Rev. 19, but these two nations are mentioned in Ezek 39 and Rev 20 causing problems.

Also, look at Rev 12 for a moment, look at verse 9:
"So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who DECEIVES THE WHOLE WORLD; he was cast to the earth and his angels were cast out."

Compare this verse with Rev 20:3:

"and he cast him into the bottomless it, and shut h im up, and set a seal on him, so that he should DECEIVE THE NATIONS no more till the thousand years were finished. But after these things he must be released for a little while."

Compare this verse with Rev 20:7-8:

"Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison and will go out to DECEIVE THAT NATIONS which are in the four corners of the earth, God and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea."

Notice that we have several comparisons in these texts, to suggest that this could be one big final battle before the end, only told from different camera angles, each giving us a little peace of the puzzle.

Also as to the survivors of Rev 19 battle... look at verse 18:

"that you may eat the flesh of kings, the flesh of captains, the flesh of mighty men, the flesh of horses and for those who sit on them, and the flesh of ALL PEOPLE, free and slave, both small and great." Marcus if you take this litterally, can there truly be any survivors left???

Okay, wow... I still got a lot more to go here... you loaded that last response lol :)

First off, to your first challenge: "Doesn't God only have to say something once for it to be true???" Okay fine, however, the Bible does say that He owns "all the cattle on a thousand hills." He said that once... does it mean that He only owns all the cattle on just a thousand hills??? Of course not man, you have poetical language there, and apocolyptic language is very similar to poetical language. Plus in light of all the comparisons I just made with four chapters from Scripture I can make a strong case that "1,000" is a symbolic number. Also, the number "10" in the Bible often refers to bountiful... 10 to the 3rd power is "1,000." This could just symbolize an "ultimate fulfillment."

Secondly: In reference to Acts 1, this is a classic example of proof texting. First off, we know that the disciples were at one point looking for a physical kingdom, but you have to remember that they were not yet baptized with the Holy Spirit, and didn't receive the full revelation of these promises until Pentacost. Look at some of the sermons preached by the Apostles after Acts 1, it doesn't indicate that they were still looking for a political/national kingdom. Read Galatians, it doesn't look like Paul was looking for a political/national kingdom. What about Peter in His first epistle 1 Peter 2:9:

"But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, A HOLY NATION, HIS OWN SPECIAL PEOPLE, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;" Marcus, you would be dishonest with yourself if you said that Peter was only talking to Jews here... he is obviously addressing the church (elect Jews and elect Gentiles)

Third, in Revelation 20, nowhere can you find our Lord's throne being anywhere on earth. Can you find that in that text??? Can't you make a case that His throne is in heaven??? Look at Hebrews 12:1-2 Where is He seated there??? When Paul talks about us being raised with Christ and seated in the heavenlies... is that physical or spiritual??? Where would we be seated if that was physical??? Can't you make a case here that in Rev 20 He is reigning from heaven with the martyrs through out the centuries (their souls, not yet physical bodies) and those saints on earth who are "seated with Him in the heavenly places???"

Fourthly: Zachariah 14... It opens with these words: "Behold, the day of the Lord is coming," Which day of the Lord is this??? Compare this phrase "the day of the Lord" with the following passages: Isaiah 13:9-16, Isaiah 24 (although this phrase is not mentioned here, it definately has parallels with Isaiah 13), Joel 2:1-11, 1 Thessalonians 5:1-10, 2 Peter 3:10-13, also look at Isaiah 66:14-24 (even though it does not reference this term "day of the Lord" I believe it definately has some relevance to our conversion topic here.)

Now in light of all of those verses, look at Zachariah 14:

Does the Day of the Lord happen before or after the 1,000 year reign of Christ according to your theology???

If it does, how do you reconcile this man??? Can you really take it to be litterally or do you have to take some of these things figuratively??? I am using the NT to interpret the OT, that is the clear to interpret what is unclear.

Ezekiel 37:21,22,25: The term 1,000 years is no where to be found here, however, the term "forever" is found here. So again I interpret the OT with the NT, or the clear with the unclear. Go back to a few verses here: I will hit 3 quick things that I think are so important: 1- Who is the nation??? 2- What is this land??? 3- What is the nature of this nation (there are STILL two branches being the natural and the grafted in... I do get that man)

1- The nation: Go to 1 Peter 2:9: "But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." Here the Apostle is referring to the church, oh and that temple you make such a big deal about... look at what he says in 1 Peter 2:4-5:

"Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as LIVING STONES, are being built up a SPIRITUAL HOUSE, A HOLY PRIESTHOOD, to offer up SPIRITUAL SACRIFICES acceptable to God through Jesus Christ." Based on this passage Marcus is Peter taking Ezek 40-48 to be a litteral temple or a spiritual one???

2- What is this land? Go to Hebrews 12:22: "But you have come to Mount Zion adn to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are REGISTERED IN HEAVEN, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect... (Hebrews 12:22-23) Marcus, is the writer here hoping for physical land or a heavenly inheritance??? Its spiritual man, not physical. Abraham was looking for a city not made with hands whose builder and maker is God. Does the writer interpret that to be physical or spiritual land???

3-The nature of this nation: First it is a spiritual nation going back to 1 Peter 2:9, but we DO have two branches, the natural comprised of elect Jews, and the grafted in comprised of elect Gentiles. Now we know this from Ephesians 2:11-22, and Romans 4:13-25, and Galatians 3, and Romans 9:6-13

All I am doing man is using the clear (NT) to interpret the unclear (OT) and this is proper hermeneutics.

Finally man, Psalm 76, I will admit I do not have a good answer for this one... but I do want you to compare this Psalm with the Song of Mary which she sings in Luke 1:47-55, and there seem to be some comparisons, especially Psalm 76:17 with Luke 1:48. Again, the fulfillment could simply just be in Christ being the True Israel. You can make a case if I apply this same principle of interpreting the unclear with the clear, that I can make a case that this has a spiritual fulfillment in the Church... but again there are some verses in this text that would make it difficult to do so... however, I think I have given you plenty to study for our next talk on this and your next response on facebook. I hope I can give you better answers on this Psalm in our next talk... its just getting late for me now... lol... I am tired and have to go to bed... peace out dude :)

Mattingly: Phil,
This is fun stuff. More people should do it.

First off, it’s important to have a first century mindset when interrupting the New Testament. It seems that it was virtually universally accepted in the first century that there would be an earthy kingdom of the Messiah. Yet, can you name one passage that explicitly says there will be no future earthly kingdom? You show me passages that say there is a heavenly kingdom, but that doesn’t negate the fact that there will be an earthly one anymore than verses about Jesus’ humanity negates His divinity. Furthermore, when Jesus spoke with people who believed there would be a kingdom He didn’t correct their belief, He did correct their belief of when it would be however. Consider Luke 19:11-27, Luke 24:21-27 and Acts 1:6-8 (make sure to read this one with verses 4 and 5 in mind). Furthermore, Christ ruling the nations and the saints with him is seen as a future event. We see things like ‘he who overcomes, and keeps My works until the end, to him I will give power over the nations’ (Revelation 2:26-27), ‘He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron’ (Revelation 19:15), ‘we shall reign on the earth’ (Revelation 5:10), ‘they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’ (Revelation 20:6), ‘in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel’ (Matthew 19:28 see also Luke 22:30) ‘If we endure, We shall also reign with Him’ (2 Timothy 2:12) and ‘Do you not know that the saints will judge the world?’ (1 Corinthians 6:2).

Consider what the early church fathers said concerning these things. I don’t affirm everything they wrote, but this I like.

Justin Martyr (who lived till about 165) stated in his “Dialogue with Trypho, “But I and others, who are right-minded Christians on all points, are assured that there will be a resurrection of the dead, and a thousand years in Jerusalem, which will then be built, adorned, and enlarged, [as] the prophets Ezekiel and Isaiah and others declare.” He then quoted a portion of Isaiah 65. Then partially cited 2 Peter 3:8 as further evidence of the thousand years. Then he went on to state “And further, there was a certain man with us, whose name was John, one of the apostles of Christ, who prophesied, by a revelation that was made to him, that those who believed in our Christ would dwell a thousand years in Jerusalem; and that thereafter the general, and, in short, the eternal resurrection and judgment of all men would likewise take place.”

Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (died 202) was apparently a disciple Polycarp who was a disciple of John (the one who recorded Revelation 20). Irenaeus recorded in book 5 of “Against Heresies” “But when this Antichrist shall have devastated all things in this world, he will reign for three years and six months, and sit in the temple at Jerusalem; and then the Lord will come from heaven in the clouds, in the glory of the Father, sending this man and those who follow him into the lake of fire; but bringing in for the righteous the times of the kingdom, that is, the rest, the hallowed seventh day; and restoring to Abraham the promised inheritance, in which kingdom the Lord declared, that "many coming from the east and from the west should sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob."

Tertullian (died 220) a defender of the Trinity recorded “But we do confess that a kingdom is promised to us upon the earth, although before heaven, only in another state of existence; inasmuch as it will be after the resurrection for a thousand years in the divinely-built city of Jerusalem…”(Against Marcion, book 3).

Concerning what you wrote, I don’t have a problem with Acts 13. Jews means natural Jews in that passage and Gentile mean non-Jews. The Old Testament was constantly interpreted the way it was written. Concerning “not all Israel” being “Israel,” that is true, not all natural Israel (descendents of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob) is Spiritual Israel. Many were broken off because of unbelief. Apparently, ‘God has given them a spirit of stupor.’
That however, does not mean that natural Israel isn’t natural Israel. God’s word made promises to Israel that will come to pass. Would you not agree that even in the O.T. not all Israel was Israel? Jesus came with a major focus on natural Israel (Matthew 10:5-6; 15:23-28). You cited Romans 9:6-7, which is by the way, good proof that a person isn’t merely saved because he is a Jew. That however, doesn’t mean God is finished with natural Israel. As Paul goes on to state in Romans 11 “I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite, of the seed of Abraham, of the tribe of Benjamin. God has not cast away His people whom He foreknew.” Note, Paul calls them “His people…whom He foreknew.” In Romans 11:25 he goes on to say ‘I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in.’ God’s not done with natural Israel. By the way, Jesus even referred to the Jews who were going to hell as “sons of the kingdom” (Matthew 8:12).

Concerning Hebrews 12:22, there is a spiritual baptism, but that doesn’t negate the physical baptism. Because we raise spiritual that doesn’t negate that we shall raise physically. Because we were made to ‘sit together in the heavenly places’ (Ephesians 2:6) in a spiritual sense doesn’t mean that we won’t sit down in heavenly places in a literal sense. Because there is a heavenly and spiritual land (Hebrews 11:16; 12:22), that doesn’t negate the earthly land. As far I know there is never a passage in Hebrews citing an O.T. land verse that spiritualizes it. The writer doesn’t cite Ezekiel 36 and then say this is speaking of the heavenly Jerusalem. The heavenly things are a reality, but that doesn’t negate the earthly things.

Concerning Hosea 11:1, Jesus is a son of Israel and by natural birth a child of Israel. That doesn’t mean every passage that speaks of Israel or even all of Hosea 11 is speaking of Jesus. Just read Hosea 11:1 and 2: “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son. As they called them, So they went from them; They sacrificed to the Baals, And burned incense to carved images.” Clearly, this whole passage isn’t about Jesus.

Ezekiel 36 will be fulfilled in the last days. I believe this will be done after the fullness of the Gentiles has come in (Romans 11:25). Consider Luke 21:24: “And they will fall by the edge of the sword, and be led away captive into all nations. And Jerusalem will be trampled by Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled.”

Concerning parallel passages, often seemingly parallel passages in Scripture that at a surface level glance seem to be the same event turn out to be with closer examination not the same at all. The genealogies of Jesus in Matthew 1:1-16 and in Luke 3:23-38 are similar, but not the same genealogy. Jesus driving out the money changers in John 2:11-16 and in Matthew 21:12-13 have many similarities, but two different events. Jesus’ teaching of the Lord’s prayer/ disciple’s prayer in Matthew 6:9-13 and in Luke 11:1-4 took place on two different occurrences. They sound the same though. There are many more examples.

Concerning Ezekiel 38-39, God says “You shall fall upon the mountains of Israel, you and all your troops and the peoples who are with you; I will give you to birds of prey of every sort and to the beasts of the field to be devoured. You shall fall on the open field; for I have spoken…” (Ezekiel 39:4-5). Then God warns that He will send fire on the land of Magog and those who live in security in the coastlands. “And I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in security in the coastlands…” (Ezekiel 39:6). However, Revelation 20:9 says “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” The birds and beast “devoured” the attackers in Ez 39, but fire from heaven “devoured” the attackers in Revelation 20. Then Ezekiel 39 says “Then those who dwell in the cities of Israel will go out and set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and bucklers, the bows and arrows, the javelins and spears; and they will make fires with them for seven years.” Ezekiel 39:11-12 goes further to say “It will come to pass in that day that I will give Gog a burial place there in Israel, the valley of those who pass by east of the sea; and it will obstruct travelers, because there they will bury Gog and all his multitude. Therefore they will call it the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the house of Israel will be burying them, in order to cleanse the land.” After the so-called battle of Ez 39, there will be a burning of weapons for seven years. The path of future travelers will be hindered by the burial place of Gog, the burial place of Gog being called the place the Valley of Hamon. Gog and ‘seven months the house of Israel will be burying’ the dead. This doesn’t sound like the end of the world. From what Revelation 20:11 says, it looks like after fire consumes the enemies the Great White Throne Judgment begins. I thought you believed this as well. After all, Satan has been cast into the lake of fire, then verse 11 says ‘Then I saw a great white throne,’ but wait Revelation 20:1 begins with the words ‘Then I saw,‘ but you don’t believe that means the event that follows comes next chronologically. My question to you is, what happens after the so-called battle, the end of the world or at least seven more years of life on earth? This is not a rhetorical question. Something else, neither Rev 20:7-10, nor Ezekiel 39 mention Christ coming back as you believe He will do at that time. It just makes more sense to read it as is, that Christ returned in Revelation 19 and will be here during Revelation 20. By the way, what do you believe ‘the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate‘ (Ezekiel 38:8) are? Ezekiel 38-39 doesn’t match with Revelation 20:7-10. Revelation 20:7-10 is the end and Ezekiel 38-39 is not. Consider also Zechariah 14, we see “For I will gather all the nations to battle against Jerusalem; The city shall be taken, The houses rifled, And the women ravished. Half of the city shall go into captivity, But the remnant of the people shall not be cut off from the city.” The city is taken and the people cut off. Then Christ comes (v. 3-4). In the final battle of Revelation 20 we see “They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them.” A battle isn‘t even mentioned. How do you reconcile these two? Further, Zechariah 14:16 says: “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.”

Revelation 19 and 20 are not a retelling of the same event. In Revelation 19:20 ‘the beast was captured, and with him the false prophet’ and they are then cast into the lake of fire. In Revelation 20 they are still in the lake of fire. “The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are…” (Revelation 20:10).

Revelation 12:9 and Revelation 20:3 are not parallel passages just because they both mention Satan and use the word “deceive.” Rev. 12:9 speaks of Satan being cast to the earth with his angels after losing a war in heaven and that Satan ‘deceives the whole world.’ Revelation 20:2-3 speaks of Satan being bound by an angel in the ‘bottomless pit’ having a ‘seal’ set on him so that ‘he should deceive the nations no more till the thousand years were finished.’

Concerning ‘the cattle on a thousand hills,‘ Psalm 50:10 says: “For every beast of the forest is Mine, And the cattle on a thousand hills.” We know everything belongs to God because all of scripture declares that. Something else you said “does it mean that He only owns all the cattle on just a thousand hills???” No of course not, the passage doesn’t say “only.” That was imposed on to the verse. Unfortunately , that happens a lot that when we discuss Limited Atonement. You take a passage like John 10:15 where Jesus said ‘I lay down My life for the sheep’ and then you take the passage as if the word ‘only’ ‘singularly,’ ‘exclusively’ or ‘solely’ were in it. As if Jesus said “I lay down My life for the sheep only.” What are you saying “1,000 years” means? You mentioned “ultimate fulfillment.” Would that mean at the end of the “ultimate fulfillment,” Satan will be released to deceive the nations? Can you give me an example from Scripture when “year” is used with a number (and is not a simile) in which it isn’t a literal amount of time?

You said that ‘in Revelation 20, nowhere can you find our Lord's throne being anywhere on earth.‘ This is similar to your criticism that Ezekiel 37 doesn’t specifically mention the “1,000 years.” Every passage doesn’t restated every detail. It’s like you mentioned concerning the Gospels, they each give bit information. As you had put it when discussing Revelation “…each giving us a little peace of the puzzle.” Take all of Scripture. Nevertheless, I would say Revelation 20 makes clear that Christ will be here. In Revelation 19 He returns, then as I said before, Revelation 20 says ‘they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years’(v. 4) and ‘they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years’(v. 6). Where will the resurrected martyrs of Revelation 20 be reigning from? It says they “reign with Him.”

Consider Revelation 20:4 in the ESV “Then I saw thrones, and seated on them were those to whom the authority to judge was committed. Also I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for the testimony of Jesus and for the word of God, and those who had not worshiped the beast or its image and had not received its mark on their foreheads or their hands. They came to life and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.” If they were “souls” who were martyred in Christ because their witness to Jesus they were already alive spiritually. This is speaking of a physical resurrection. That is so clear based on the context. Consider the next verse “The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended. This is the first resurrection.” Note also that there seems to be two groups in Revelation 20:4, one in the first sentence, then the resurrected martyrs in the rest of the passage.

The “bottomless pit” (also translated as the “deep” and the “abyss”) is a literal place. Legion didn’t want to go there in Luke 8:31. Paul spoke about it in Romans 10:7. It’s mentioned in other places in Revelation such as 9:1-2, 9:11, 11:7 and 17:8. This is a real place where Satan will really be bound. Right now he is going about deceiving the world. Read Revelation 19:12; Acts 5:3; 26:18; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 7:5; 2 Corinthians 2:11; 4:3-4; 11:14; 1 Thessalonians 2:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 1 Timothy 1:20; 2 Timothy 2:25-26; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:19. He appeared to be more bound in the Old Testament when he couldn’t so much as attack Job without direct permission from God.

Concerning 1 Peter 2:9, I agree completely that God‘s elect are a special people meaning they are God’s people. Nonetheless, I point again to Romans 11. Yes, the natural Jews as a whole have rebelled against their God and their Messiah, but does that change God’s plan? Is God done with the natural nation of Israel? Romans 11:25-27 says “ For I do not desire, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. And so all Israel will be saved, as it is written: ‘The Deliverer will come out of Zion, And He will turn away ungodliness from Jacob; For this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins.’” Be consistent with this passage. Don’t take the first mentioned ‘Israel,’ the mention of ‘Zion’ and the ‘Gentiles’ as natural and the second mention of ’Israel’ and then ’Jacob’ (who, as we know is Israel) as spiritual. Consider the next verse, “Concerning the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but concerning the election they are beloved for the sake of the fathers.“ Paul does talk about spiritual Israel, but this portion is evidently referring to the natural Israel, whom God isn’t finished with. Read chapters 9-11.

Concerning 1 Peter 2:4-5, you asked “Based on this passage Marcus, is Peter taking Ezek 40-48 to be a literal temple or a spiritual one?” This passage isn’t even talking about Ezekiel’s Tempe. It’s one thing to not know what Ezekiel’s Tempe is or will be, but it’s another to try and make it out to be something it’s clearly not. 1 Peter 2:4-5 is clearly speaking of spiritual things. Examine Ez 40-48.

Concerning the Day of the Lord, consider 2 Thessalonians 2. Paul doesn’t seem to think it will be the very end of world, nor did the Thessalonians. Paul wrote and told them that it had not yet come, which if the Day was automatically the end of the world, that would be obvious. You cited Isaiah 24 concerning the Day of the Lord. That passage ends by saying “…For the LORD of hosts will reign On Mount Zion and in Jerusalem And before His elders, gloriously.”

Concerning Ezekiel 36-37, who were these passage written to and about? As we have gone over, the context is clearly talking to and about the natural Nation of Israel.

Concerning the Hebrew word for “forever,“ John Macarthur notes on Micah 4:7 (which speaks of Christ‘s reign from Zion)that it doesn’t also mean “without end,” but “signifies a long , indefinite period of time, the length of which is always determined by the context.” Consider the use of “forever” in Genesis 13:15; 1 Chronicles 22:10; 23:13; 28:4; Joel 3:20.

Psalm 72, Isaiah 11, Zechariah 14, Ezekiel 36-37 Amos 9:11-15; and Revelation 20 are clear. Remember, when the plain sense of Scripture makes common sense, seek no other sense.

Love u