Let's be reasonable with one another, shall we?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Israel, the Israel "of Israel", the Gentile, and the Church

Update: Revised Drawing

I have really gotten off on a tangent!
I wanted to visually show how I see this verse, Romans 9:6, and how it looks in relation to the present program and purposes of God... whereby He is revealing His righteousness through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. (Romans 3) He is creating in Himself one new man from the two... that He might reconcile them both to God in one body... (Eph. 2) This is the Church.

There is no millenium in this picture. Notice that the defining characteritic of the church is the blue hat. It doesn't matter what nation you come from. You must be born again by grace through faith and you need the blue hat. Note that there are no yellows in the church. You must have faith - being from the nation Israel alone will get you nowhere in Christ's church.

The church is not Israel and it is not the Israel "of Israel" because there are gentiles in the church. The Israel "of Israel" is part of the church in this present time, but it is not the whole church.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Israel "of Israel"

I have become fixated on this verse in the last two days:

For they are not all Israel who are of Israel (Romans 9:6)
Say a fellow named John moved to US 5 generations ago. No one could understand his last name, but he was very smiley - that was a charactersitsic of him, so the immigration officials called him "John Smiley" - they changed his last name to "Smiley" based upon a charcteristic of his. All his descendants are "Smileys." Not all of them have proved to possess that same characteristic, though. I could say, "Not all Smileys are smiley." I think this verse is like that! What do you think?

It seems to be saying that there is a part of Israel that is special. The bigger group - physical Israel, has a special group - "Spritual Israel" within it. Some of "Spritual Israel" are OT saints and some are those who are responding to the Messiah at present. All of this group "Spiritual Israel" have faith. Not all of physical Israel have faith, they are not all "prince of God."

This drawing so far has nothing to do with gentiles, but only with "Israel." I have an expanded version of this drawing that I will post tomorrow. But this is how I see the specific pharse "For they are not all Israel who are of Israel."

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Romans 9

I am looking at Romans 9. In the first several verses, Paul is saying that he loves his countrymen, the Israelites. He is here speaking in generalities of the nation Israel. He is sad that many have rejected Christ. He says that to them pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises and that through them Christ came. He does not equivocate on this. This is basic. He then goes on:

6 But it is not that the word of God has taken no effect. For they are not all Israel who are of Israel, 7 nor are they all children because they are the seed of Abraham; but, “In Isaac your seed shall be called.” 8 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. 9 For this is the word of promise: “At this time I will come and Sarah shall have a son.”
"For they are not all Israel who are of Israel."
This is a play on words in which Paul uses the word "Israel" in two senses ... one as a proper name (the first) and one in its meaning (the second). Paul speaks of Israel as his countrymen in general. But not all of these are "of Israel." The Hebrew word "yiśrâ'êl" means "he will rule as God." More simply put, "All of this nation will not rule as God." This is still pretty basic. He says that this is butressed by the fact that merely being a result of Abraham mating with a woman was not the being "the seed" ... because Abraham had offspring from other than Isaac. (Ishmael, etc) The "seed of Abraham" in the biblical sense were the physical seed, but it was that which was promised. (Not the creative engineering of Sarah re: Hagar) The physicality of this can't be denied, but it is not merely physical.

Help out if you can, but try not to jump ahead.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Protocol Plan of God?

Summarized as follows:

1.) A right thing done in a wrong way is wrong.
2.) A wrong thing done in a right way is wrong.
3.) A wrong thing done in a wrong way is wrong.
4.) Only a right thing done in a right way is right!

I found this on another blog in the comments and I thought it was kind of interesting to reflect upon. Good to keep in mind for me.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Water on the Loose!

The first passage below is about God’s people, Israel, and how they were trying to fill themselves up with that which was not satisfying ... as they denied the one true God. I see a picture of a person pouring water into a broken pitcher. The water will escape them, they will have nothing. It is a picture of utter frustration. On the other hand, the fountain of living water (which figure of speech Jesus expands in the passage from John) is “springing up.” Not only does the fountain provide water for the one with it, it also flows out from him to others. What a contrast!

13 “ For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns - broken cisterns that can hold no water. (Jeremiah 2)

13 Jesus answered and said to her, “Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, 14but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.” (John 4)

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Bible Trivia

I read today that the Bible is the most shoplifted book. That surprises me.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Will Geese Be Judged By God?

As I was on my morning walk today, I saw some geese (there are a lot of geese that hang around my neighborhood). They were flying overhead in that V-formation and making a lot of noise. I watched for a moment as the sun shone on this spectacle. I said under my breath, “How awesome!”

The animals do things by “instinct.” These geese, for example, they fly in this formation. Did they sit down and plan what would be the best way to fly? Of course not. They don’t know why they do it – they have no idea of the brilliance of it aerodynamically … they just do it. This is God at work in creation. He has designed the animals to do these kinds of things. They do them.

Why isn’t man like that? In one sense I suppose we are. We all sleep. We all eat. There are certain things that we do and there is no way we can not do them. If we are underwater, we will struggle to the top to get breath. God designed us to eat and breath and sleep … and we do these. Try as we might to rebel, we can’t put off these basic needs. But, there are certain things that we don’t do that God has designed us to do – like how children are to obey their parents, but often don’t. Or … how people are supposed to have basic respect for other people and don’t. Or .. like how some mothers even kill their children. Read Romans chapter 1. You get the idea – we are not doing what we were designed to do. We are not this well-oiled machine. Mankind is not ‘flying right,’ so to speak.

Why is this? The only answer I can come up with also has to do with how we are designed. Our Creator made us with the ability to reason and decide. With this capacity, Eve chose to disobey God, throwing us all into this state in which our own wills continue to go against God’s perfect design – man having fellowship with God by means of willing hearts. But we can’t blame our sins on Adam and Eve. The ability we each have to choose is why we are going to be held accountable for our own actions. (But praise God for the mercy that is in Christ!)

I do not see that animals will be judged. They are not free moral agents as man is. Is this not what it means when the Bible says we are made in the image and likeness of God? While this is a higher plane of existence than animals experience ... to whom much is given, much will be required. It is hard for us to do as we were designed to do now that we have a fallen nature, but in Christ, we receive a new nature that can walk as God designed. Geese fly in a V-formation because they do what they were designed to do. It is an awesome display and a reminder of the Lord’s hand on creation (Colossians 1:17.) Man, who has the ability to operate on a different level than simple ‘instinct’, when he walks in the new nature with God, in restored fellowship, can be an even more glorious sight.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Profile Change?

I just changed my profile page.

I can't keep up with all the comments on the post below.
This time I can't even say I have read them all ... yet.
I do intend to read each and every one. :~)

Monday, August 13, 2007

Called and Chosen

We talked about this passage in our church class yesterday:
1 And Jesus answered and spoke to them again by parables and said: 2 “The kingdom of heaven is like a certain king who arranged a marriage for his son, 3 and sent out his servants to call those who were invited to the wedding; and they were not willing to come. 4 Again, he sent out other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, “See, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and fatted cattle are killed, and all things are ready. Come to the wedding.”’ 5 But they made light of it and went their ways, one to his own farm, another to his business. 6And the rest seized his servants, treated them spitefully, and killed them. 7 But when the king heard about it, he was furious. And he sent out his armies, destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. 8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy. 9 Therefore go into the highways, and as many as you find, invite to the wedding.’ 10 So those servants went out into the highways and gathered together all whom they found, both bad and good. And the wedding hall was filled with guests.11 “But when the king came in to see the guests, he saw a man there who did not have on a wedding garment. 12 So he said to him, ‘Friend, how did you come in here without a wedding garment?’ And he was speechless. 13 Then the king said to the servants, ‘Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’ (Matthew 22)

The following verse was presented as a difficult text:

14 “For many are called, but few are chosen.”

I am aware of different appraoches to this verse in particular and this text as a whole. I haven't found any that adequetely answer this: who are the "chosen" referred to in the passage right before the difficult verse? What do you think?

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Aint no Thing but a Chicken Wing?

I went to Applebees Restaurant with my daughter yesterday.
I ordered an appetizer platter that had several items on it.
The least appetizing was an item called "boneless chicken wings".
(I don't care much for bar-b-que chicken wings.)

When the platter arrived, I took one on my plate anyway.
I wondered what to expect - would it be all those little pieces of chicken that you typically find on a wing ... all pressed together, breaded ... and coated with sauce?

I cut it with my fork.
I was surpised to see solid white meat.
I cut it the other direction.
More solid white meat.

"Hmmm ... " I said to myself "...they must have gotten a nugget mixed in with this batch."
(It was yummy, by the way)

I took another one and cut it with my fork.
Same thing - solid white meat through and through - no matter what direction I sliced it.
All 5 of them were the same.

By the time I was done eating them, I figured it out.
They were not wings at all.
I had been eating chicken breast nuggets ...
... called "boneless wings."

I asked my waiter about it. "How are these 'chicken wings'?"
He admitted that he had tasted them before and he thought they were made from chicken breasts.

The waiter said he thought they called them "wings" because it "sold" them to the public.
(Funny - as I said, I actually don't like chicken wings - I prefer chicken breasts.)
He said I should write the corporate office of Applebees and tell them that they had the wrong name for this dish.
Such a nice young fella.

So ... I ate chicken breast nuggets which were called "boneless chicken wings."
I wondered - "How would they take the bones out of a chicken wing ... and how would it look and taste?"
I suppose I will never know.

This whole thing was very disconcerting.

Words mean something to me!

Friday, August 10, 2007


Below is a passage of Scripture that I just love. A woman is caught in adultery and she is about to be stoned for it. Jesus shuts the mouths of all her accusers in a very interesting way. I wonder what he wrote on the ground.

7 So when they continued asking Him, He raised Himself up and said to them, “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” 8 And again He stooped down and wrote on the ground. 9 Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one, beginning with the oldest even to the last. And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw no one but the woman, He said to her, “Woman, where are those accusers of yours? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

I have found the teaching of repentance and then faith a little perplexing since I learned of it. Some teach that sinners must be willing to go and sin no more before they are believers. The condition for faith is: "are you ready to give up your sin" or "would you like to trade that which you love - whatever sin - for the forgiveness of God?" As I look at the story of the woman caught in adultery, I see that Jesus, when telling her to go and sin no more, had already spoken those wonderful words of life to her: "neither do I condemn you." THEN he said, "go and sin no more." Did He ask her if she was ready to commit her life to Him before He was willing to remove condemnation? Did she have to repent and then be justified?

Surely we should not ask the unregenerate if they are willing to give up x y or z sin before they have even come to faith. This would be getting the order of things mixed up a bit.

Repent! This is a message for the believer. We have the power to do this, Christian brother and sister, because we have Christ in us, the hope of glory. His Spirit gives us the power to live the Christian life. We have His life within us; the unregenerate do not. They need to step into a relationship with God by grace through faith FIRST. This is called receiving a gift in the New Testament.

The woman who Jesus did not condemn ... was then told to repent of her sin. We should likewise repent as Jesus does not condemn us, those of us who are His children. He has given us His life and His regenerating power. Repentance is a message for us.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

The Earnest Contender

The Earnest Contender has some mixed thoughts in his latest post, but in the end, they are very encouraging indeed. He is embracing replacement theology!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Will We Ever Be “Of One Mind”?

About a year and a half ago, I read a comment by a blogger named Todd. It really stuck in my mind – I thought it was very powerful. Funny, as I was just looking at it, I see that no one ever responded to him. Perhaps we were all left speechless at his wisdom. Or maybe not. It was over at the Head of the Moor on this post. I think if you click here you can see the exact comment in its entirety. Here is just part of it that I actually think of often to this day:

That there are no theological systems today that have been constructed nearly sufficiently to meet the standard of Christ that will present His children on earth to the world as being of one mind in Him. There's no system that's been made that does not divide Christians. (–Todd)

Will we ever be “of one mind”?

I have been thinking about that question for a while now. KC has some thoughts related to this as well. Does anyone else ever feel grieved over how at odds we in the church seem to be with one another at times? I don’t always feel so at odds with other Christians, but with a few people at my church lately … and definitely on the blogosphere, it is really evident that we are not of one mind – not at all.

Some might say that the problem is that there are those in the church who really aren’t of the church – they are tares, they are not true believers, and that is why we are not of the same mind. I am sure this is true about there being people in the church who aren’t truly converts, but I don’t believe that is the cause of the trouble that I am looking at. I think these fights go on between real live true believers, born-again. The New Testament has a lot to say about being of one mind. I know we are to earnestly contend for the faith, but somehow we are supposed to be of one mind.

1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. (Philippians 2)
8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. (1 Peter 3)
5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 15)
11 Finally, brethren, farewell. Become complete. Be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace will be with you. (2 Corinthians 13)
You know, if we did like Peter said and had compassion for one another … loved one another … were tenderhearted … or at least courteous, maybe we could work on that “one mind” thing. (One finger pointing out, four pointing back at myself).

This happened once in recent history on a blog, on a post over at the Unashamed of Grace blog, actually. I read a comment from Tim and thought he meant something that I found foreign or "hard to digest". I posted about the idea and commented back and forth with him about it. As we talked, I figured out that our understanding wasn't really all that different after all. It was really a great moment for me. I like to come to an understanding with other Christians. Toward the end of the comment thread, he said something so beautiful, I felt like I wanted to frame it and hang it on the wall. (You could go and look and be blessed by it as well) Then, he ended the discussion this way:

Too often people think they disagree, when in reality they are simply failing to communicate properly because of prejudice or differing semantics.
"For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him?"
Thank God, who has given us the Spirit, which "searcheth all things" so that we can truly be of one mind with Him. (- Tim)


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