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Archive for the ‘Bible study’ Category

First some facts as on 2012 : according to Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary  there exist roughly 43,000 Christian denominations worldwide in 2012. That is up from 500 in 1800 and 39,000 in 2008 and this number is expected to grow to 55,000 by 2025. It also estimates that a new Christian denomination is formed every 10.5 hours, or 2.3 denominations a day. (Ack: churchrelevance.com).

With such denominations mushrooming we need understand that the Second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ is drawing nearer. So at every nook and corner of the globe assemblies of believers are engaged in planting churches and preaching the word of God. So let us take a charitable view of these local assemblies are the work-shops in which ministers of God winning souls for the Redeemer Lord. None of these is the Church or Bride but artisans of God doing their best.  We should not certainly forget they do yeoman service not only engaged in saving souls but also fighting insidious force of heresies. Our Lord Jesus predicted of such false prophets who would come as wolves in sheep’s clothes. Marginalia is a guide for those who who shall know the truth. Truth shall surely make children of God free. Marginalia is my service and I believe God has given a ministry to serve the Word to His glory.

Whatever revelations my book contain as such I claim nothing of my own but how the Holy Spirit revealed on daily basis to buttress the inerrancy of the Word with what grace He has poured into my life. It took three full months to write the initial draft and another one year to make it to the present shape.

I shall post the blurb I have added to the book.

“Christianity has been bedevilled by controversies from the Apostolic Age to the present. Among the early converts those who came from Judaism favoured an interpretation that sat well with their Jewish upbringing.  It was like putting the new religion in old wine skins so to speak. The world ecumenism of our own times would have the person and deity of Jesus pass the test of sceptic and believer alike. Either way it is less than the Word made flesh. One cannot photoshop Jesus Christ to please all. The aim of this book is to present him of whom we read as thus ‘ it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell (Col.1:19)’.

This concise guide to the Bible is presented from two standpoints of God the Father and the Son. The Holy Spirit has set these two as single narrative where the Will or Intent of God is shown as coming from the Son since he is the Image of the ‘Invisible God(Col.1:15)’

Coherence in the Scripture is the work of God the Spirit and maintained so the Son of man ‘is before all things and by him all things consist’.  Adam is thus an antitype of Jesus who is qualified as the last Adam. He is the spiritual rock; and bread from heaven. The entire scriptural unity testifies this: the Bible is from God to man.

In short Marginalia: a concise guide to the Bible favours a faith based approach to understand the word of God. Faith as St Paul says comes from ‘hearing by the word of God (Ro.10:17).” ”

benny

 

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By 27 June my book Marginalia shall be available for Kindle, Google Play Apple iBooks Kobo,Barnes&Noble Bibliotheca etc., It is priced at $3.99

Marginalia is in two volumes. It is a concise guide to the Bible.The first volume has 112 pages.

The cover shows the vision of the Woman Clothed with the Sun from the Book of Revelation (chapter12).

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(Here I am posting an excerpt from my third book which is under way. In two months I hope to complete the first draft-b)

Kingdom of God

 

 

“The Lord hath prepared his throne in the heavens; and his kingdom ruleth over all (Ps.103:19)”

 

‘The Lord hath prepared his throne…’ The expression ‘his throne in the heavens’ is not as simple as it would seem. Heaven itself is his throne. This is what we read in the book of Isaiah, ‘Heaven is my throne…(Is.66:1-NIV).’ A question arises then as to why mention a throne at all? The most satisfactory explanation would be that King David predicted it as a throne of Judgment as distinct from his habitation. “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away…(Re.20:11)” When we study the Word we find several instances in which the Spirit isolates a specific object from the whole, like a tissue sample as it were, and gives it certain treatment in order to explain spiritual commentary on the whole. Adam and Eve in the Garden is one; another instance is the collapse of the building project on the plains of Shinar, which is called the Tower of Babel. The Spirit first reveals physical lineaments be it a garden or a ziggurat in order to enlighten us the underlying spiritual aspects of each in relation to the whole. Firstly we need approach it as a specific feature say the Garden of Eden and as such it is representational in nature. Secondly wherever the Spirit gives physical objects his focus there shall also be a spiritual basis found. Consequently the episode of Adam and Eve represents mankind elsewhere. Their fall has a spiritual basis and it makes the whole culpable as well; similarly the wellspring of pride, the motivating factor in the undertaking of such gigantic scale can be traced to the revolt of angels who left their first estate. The Spirit while casting light on events occurring on the earth switches to heaven. When such shunting occurs repeatedly we need understand the intent of the Spirit.

In order to get the best of our study from the book of Revelation we need to understand this principle of inversion. This is drawn from music: the process of reversing the relative positions of the notes of a musical interval, chord, or phrase. In another book we had explained inversion in a mode, an example for which we have this quote from our Lord Jesus Christ. “So the last will be first, and the first will be last (Mt.20:16-NIV).” Spirit bases it in on a well-established principle in that man who relies on his own wisdom resists the wisdom from above which is free. Before God he is last in estimation. All honour and glory be to God, Amen. The Spirit organizes the narrative therefore according to the mind of God and in the manner the Son of man fulfilled it. The theological term of emptying process ‘kenosis’ by which God the Son became flesh is but an example.

 

Coming back to the key verse the throne is an inversion of the whole heavens. The spiritual significance therefore is not in the throne itself but as a symbol for the sovereignty of God. As the sweet psalmist of Israel writes, ‘his kingdom ruleth over all.’

From the creation account to the last book the Spirit belabours this truth for our understanding. Take for example the dream of Nebuchadnezzar: the stone that smote the image became a great mountain and filled the whole earth (Dan.2:35). Physical objects like rock or throne in the Spirit’s usage carries spiritual significance as well. Jesus Christ is the spiritual rock; he proved to be the stone of stumbling for his nation; and he also is the rock upon which his church is being founded. And this foundation is in heaven. In the book of Daniel the rock represents the kingdom of his dear Son that fills the earth (Col.1:13). If articles double for spiritual counterweight what we are to make of the vision of the seven golden lampstands? The Spirit in setting forth the testimony of Jesus Christ elucidates the mystery of the stars in his hand and the lampstand as follows, “The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches…(Re.1:20). Churches are watched over by angels; so are kingdoms of the earth. If such angels are pressed in service for the Lord God it is equally conceivable that cohorts of Satan shall work behind the kingdoms of the earth where God is not worshiped. In the book of Daniel we read that ‘the prince of the kingdom of Persia withstood me …but lo, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me…(Dan.10:13) If the heaven represents throne of God and the earth his foot stool what are these angels but under the sovereignty of God? We shall come to it by and by.

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Just one point

Joseph who was the first son born to Rachel, and the eleventh son of Jacob. The name Joseph signified May God add to me another (Ge.30:24). Rachel meant thereby to imply that the name was drawing attention not for itself but  something looking to future. Joseph is by all accounts an antitype of Jesus. For example we have the sons of Jacob selling  their brother to the Ishmaelite-Midianite caravan for 20 pieces of silver. Consider Jesus was betrayed for 30 pieces, which of course is higher in value that owes to exchange rates of the time. “And they (chief priests) covenanted with him (Judas Iscariot) for thirty pieces of silver (Mt.26:15)”Jesus came unto his own, and his own received him not(Jn.1:11).

benny

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(This is an excerpt from my book Marginalia, a Concise Guide to the Bible- amended)

Numbers:

In Bible numbers have many uses. We see it used for rhetorical purposes. ’For three transgressions of Damascus, and for four, I will not turn away the punishment thereof…(Am.1: 4).This is not what we shall discuss here. Nor are we seeking any mystical system that owes to the School of Pythagoras.

Then what are numbers for? The Holy Spirit communicating with man uses mathematical concept that he can well understand. These in the Spiritual parlance are often used as symbols. We shall see the Spirit tagging ministry and fulfillment of deeds wrought through human agencies  with corresponding numbers.

Miracle of multiplying loaves:

When we examine the miracle of Jesus feeding the multitude we find that the fragments that remained were twelve baskets full (Mt.14:20).This seemingly minor detail is repeated in all the four gospels.(Jn.6:13;Lk.9:17). In the gospel of St. Mark we read the fragments of the fishes were also part of these 12 baskets (Mk.6:43). One may wonder if frugality of saving food items that are noted for their perishability is so significant to find mention in synoptic gospels? This has however a deep spiritual significance. Our free will offerings are precious in the Lord’s sight. Testimony of the Son of man in feeding the multitude was a testimony noted in heaven as well!

In the twelve stones that Joshua placed in the River Jordan where the feet of the priests bearing the ark stood, also the Holy Spirit places similar emphasis. It is an everlasting memorial. Our service to the Lord nothing of it shall be lost and death cannot dispel its sweet savour (Ro.12:1).

The numbers are used to represent specific groups. These groups also carry theological significance.

Jesus chose twelve disciples who were to spread the gospel about the kingdom of heaven among the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Later we read that he went to preach in their cities as well(Mt.11:1). Even after Judas betrayed him and forfeited his place among them we read that a substitute was found by so the number twelve remained intact. The number 12 designates the Son. ( In brackets I shall give what is to be taken with caution:  One is  God 1+2: 3 trinity and 12 the Son as reconciliation principle.)

It is the designated number for God the Son on the earth. The number is as significant as the Almighty God is symbolized by One. (Ac.1:29). Also interesting to note is the fact all the disciples gathered in the upper room on that occasion were twelve tens,-one hundred and twenty. Ministry of Jesus as the Son of man represented kingdom of heaven. He was sent by his Father for a specific purpose (Jn.3:16). His father represented the Kingdom of God into which his own kingdom must be subsumed at a later date.

Multiples of twelve bear a theological tag on the earth as well as in the City of God. Such groups of 12 in multiples of ten designate the City of God. It is not difficult to understand the significance of an hundred forty and four thousand that stood with the Lamb on the mount of Sion (Re.14:1). They were redeemed from the earth for the Kingdom of God. The symbolism of the mount, lamb and number adds to our understanding. In the new earth and the new heaven we have the city of God and the scale is given as “according to the measure of a man, that is of the angel Re.21:17” Needless to say the man is like angels in resurrection Mt.22:30)

The number 4 is the tag that connects divine intervention over the history of nations. In the Book of Zechariah we have a sign of 4 carpenters who were sent ‘to fray them (the horns)…to cast out the horns of the Gentiles, which lifted up their horn over the land of Judah to scatter it(Zech.1:21).’ In another place an angel from the Lord reveals four chariots to the prophet, who asks him what do they represent. They are four spirits of the heavens that stand before the Lord of hosts. “Thus speaketh the Lord of hosts… he(the Branch) shall build the temple of the Lord(Zech.6:12-13). We get a telescoping view of the nations of the world being pressed into the temple-building to which Jesus Christ is the head(Zech.6:15). The number signifies cardinal directions which are echoed in the heavenly host that serve the Lord God(Re.4:2-3). Also noteworthy are the four beasts that are placed there to praise the Lord God Almighty without ceasing.

Thus we may conclude the number 4 speak of heavenly agencies who either stand as a memorial before the Lord or as enforcers of the God of hosts.

This number also refers to the manner the tribes camped during their wanderings in the wilderness. In the book of Numbers thy were to pitch their tents in their designated places about the tribe of Levi (Nu.2:17). Again we see the number 4 applied to angels who stood on the corners of the earth.(Re.7:1) The beasts and the elders are tagged by the number to indicate sovereignty of God over the earth and the fullness thereof. They are memorial unto God representing man and the creatures of the earth.

In the Book of Apocalypse we read of the 24 elders which are 6 groups of 4 each and their roles are different from the twelve apostles or the tribes of Israel.

Let us turn our attention from apostles to another group of seventy. The same number we first read as the elders upon whom God distributed some of the spirit resting on Moses (Nu.11:24)

In the gospel of St. Luke we read that Jesus appointed as a second wave seventy other disciples whom he sent two by two and their message was specific: the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.(Lu.10:1,9).

Perfect Atonement

On one occasion Jesus fed a crowd of four thousand. We read of that what was remaining filled seven baskets( Mt.15:32-38; Mk.8:1-9).An interesting point to note is that the number of baskets same as the number of loaves offered to Jesus. In his rebuke of his disciples for their lack of understanding (Mk.8:16-21) we may infer that there is more to it than simple telling of a miracle. Seven is perfection associated with God. And he (God) rested on the seventh day from all his work… (Ge.2: 2). The seven in this case symbolizes his broken body on the cross, the perfect atonement he could offer us. (This is reprinted from my blog Guide to His Word-selected)

benny

 

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A schematic representation to denote the end times

The wheel within a wheel in its working indicates a globe.

The earth has to be redeemed first and this shall be known the Millennial reign of Jesus Christ . His kingdom on the earth merging with that of God is signified by the vision. He shall usher the new earth and the heavens. Nations of them which are saved …bring their glory and honor to it (Re.21:24) .nations of the earth are represented  by the living creatures. The Number 4 always denote God’s agency for example as the 4 carpenters in the book of Zachariah(1:21-22).

Jesus Christ is the last Adam and he is indicated by the Man among the four creatures. ‘When he ascended up on high…and gave gifts unto men( Ep.4:8, Ps.68:18). The first Adam by disobedience brought curse and the last Adam brings a remnant of all nations to glory. (for further reading check out Guide to His Word-Ezekiel: Vision by the River Chebar)

benny

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