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In the Gospel of John we have the prayer of Jesus.  He communed often with his Father which we read in the gospels (Lk.6:12;Mt.14:23). But we are not told what our Lord Savior prayed for. So the prayer as given in the gospel of John is special for the intimacy of Father-Son relationship it gives us. Considering he had not much time left it requires our special attention. Jesus was concerned about those whom God had entrusted under this care.

Here we need to take a few steps back in order to place it in proper context of his earthly ministry. God is love and he sent his Son so whosoever believed in him should have everlasting life. God has infinite agencies to get his Will done. Leading to the Advent the Spirit has been busy indeed. A clue of this is the ministry of prophets notably Isaiah who had spoken of the coming of Messiah, his passion and Millennial Reign so on. Then we have John the baptist who was anointed specially for preparing the way. (Here we have the prophesy of Isaiah ‘Voice in the wilderness’) The epistle of Apostle Peter  speaks of the  Holy men of old who were informed by the spirit of Christ about the salvation that were to come. Coming closer the Advent we read of the Angelic host that appeared to the shepherds announcing the birth of Jesus. This was similarly part of the divine plan. News about the coming of Messiah was not only for the palace but for the hovels as well. We can infer from the Samaritan woman (mentioned in Jn.4) the coming of Messiah had gained currency among people in Samaria . Why God had caused these several incidents across the passage of time and all classes in Palestine. Coming of salvation was not for a few.  It is the jump off point and the Great Commission of Jesus was the signal,’Go!. It was intended to touch the ends of the earth.  Jesus did not have to travel east or west but principle of Association between God the Father and Son worked through the so many disciples shall achieve it. Now we can appreciate the words of Jesus, ” I sent you to reap what you have not worked for. Others have done the hard work, and you have reaped the benefits of their labor (Jn.4:38-NIV)”. Jesus sent the apostles and the other disciples 70 in number for spreading the gospel. Whosoever believed in him were saved. Jesus came into his own but ‘his own did not received him not (Jn.1: 11) Great many who rejected him were content with Law of Moses and were complacent.

Predestination according to the Will of his Father was entrusted with the Son .”The Father loves the Son and has placed everything in his hands (Jn.3:35-NIV).  This is what St Paul terms as Mystery of his Will (Ep.1:9-12).

When we read that God had placed everything in his hands, it is not merely a few but the whole mankind. It ties up with the nature of God and when He sent his Son with a mandate we have this  word, “For God so loved the world…(Jn.3:16). Those who hated the light lest they be shown what they really are would not receive the Son. neither would they who are self-righteous of whom were the elders of the local synagogues.

Without this whole world included in his divine Plan the theological concept of free will  divine quality of love of God would not run as natural and transparent as existing between the Father and the Son. Perfection of the Father is exemplified in the rain that He sends for the good and evil alike; the sun shines on all since God’s faith is stronger than man’s wisdom. He first trusted in the Son and he as Servant-King was willing to reconcile all to his Father.

Whoever received the Son by Association is adopted into the family quality of which is light. Children of light and children of darkness are settled by response of man.

Calvinism bases limited atonement on this basis John 17:9 where Jesus in prayer interceded for the ones given Him, not those of the entire world; Acts 20:28 and Eph. 5:25-27 which state that the Church was purchased by Christ, not all people; and Isaiah 53:12 which is a prophecy of Jesus’ crucifixion where he would bore the sins of many (not all). (Calvinistcorner.com/Tulip) ‘Calvin interpreted the Scripture literally and his doctrine of Predestination is wrong. Like the buttons of a shirt front if one is out of place all the other naturally would be misplaced. Unlimited Election by the same token seriously suffers on account of it. So is Total Depravity. Without free will man shall not come to the light lest their works of darkness be reproved. For those who confess God is righteous to forgive them. Fullness of the atoning work of the Son is the key. Even those who have been called and made sons of God need to make sure their election(Make your calling and election sure’ we are warned.). Those who reject the light grow deeper into a worse condition. Despite of sexual permissiveness the world cannot get enough. The naturalness of love when debased (examples of which is a social phenomena of our times) do spiral into violent brutal bestial perverseness. They are so addicted. It is what happens to anyone who hold the truth in unrighteousness (Ro.1:20) . If it is the case of an individual what about the churches?  Look what s making news in the American churches to which Calvinism made a phenomenal impact. Has it given a good role model? Earlier activism of evangelicals was to condemn abortion and gay life style. When churches have come loose from the teachings  of Jesus and become self-satisfied what animates the Christians now? The churches that blanched at the idea of a gay pastor now brazenly defend a pedophile and child molester. They even (as the pastor in an interview with CNN the other day) speak of grace and the pastor from Alabama defended that the man had not been found guilty? The culprit against whom the victims have spoken does not feel he needs grace and outrageously defends himself as an example of  white evangelicalism; He has support from churches.  What is behind this? At this rate much more perverseness shall be tolerated under specious reasons and the congregation shall simply accept it.

Benny

 

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In the gospel of Luke we read of the genealogy of  Jesus. Adam was the son of God. (Lk.3:38). God breathed into the nostrils of Adam and he became a living soul. God is a Spirit. (Jn4:23). The significance of God in endowing man with his breath is a kind of regeneration. Man’s innate ability to access the spirit within is a faculty whereby he can take measure of the times as well as his kind. “For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God (1 Co.2:11-NIV)”. We are to honor him in spirit as well as in truth. Fall of Adam lay in that he let neither his faculty to know spirit of God or truth of God override his own will. In one sense he was of God but by his action ie disobedience he let the spirit of Satan beguile him.. In one passage we read how Peter offended his master and he rebuked  by calling him Satan. What is he but a liar and false accuser. In not acknowledging truth that Jesus represented and by obstructing his mission with misplaced sympathy he was letting Satan get the better of him. Anyone who refuses truth and truth from being made manifest is of Satan   ‘..For thou savourest not the things that be of God but those that be of men (Mt.16:23). When Calvin say salvation is not for everyone to hope for but for some, is it from reading of the Word with the spirit of man or with the spirit of God?

We need to remember that the selfsame apostle of Jesus astonished him by correctly referencing him from where he came. What did Jesus say then?Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven (Mt.16-17-NIV). Peter’s confession affixed his faith when he uttered it. Tongue is a small member but what you say and how you say it brings your whole being, -body, soul and spirit is put on the line. Tongue is a symbol serving as a sign for believer. With this we confess unto salvation. By same token unto damnation. Why Satan is a great deceiver or a Liar? It is by mouth he gives a false slant to holy things. Remember how concerned he was for Jesus after he fasted 40 days? He quoted from the Psalms and he wanted to make Jesus fall. But no, Jesus would have none of it. It was the same false solicitude that prompted Peter to tell Jesus “Never, Lord!” he said. “This shall never happen to you!(Mt.16-22-NIV)”

God is a Spirit and when God sent his Son the spirit that worked in him was the spirit of Christ (that of the overcomer). It is with such spirit he could remain his beloved Son, true to  the voice from heaven that testified it. He was indeed the beloved one. Spirit provides for every child of God the selfsame spirit with which to overcome the world. If Peter could confess the truth he also stands in danger of being beguiled by Satan. Indwelling spirit is our guarantee that we shall draw strength from study of the Word. It is part of the armory of God our Redeemer Lord has put at our disposal. It is with which we overcome the world. Instead what do we see in a phenomenon of modern times? Prosperity theology is a sign of it. This feel-good Christianity in which having a form of godliness but denying the power thereof reveals what spirit is working in them. Gift of God is indeed provided for the whole world (whosoever believes in him Jn.3:16) but we are to make sure we are indeed the elect. The over-comers are the saints foreordained for glory and it is what St Paul qualifies as ‘mystery of his will’. This is the efficacy of the atoning work of Jesus Christ whose fulness stamps us as such. We are through him part of Alpha and Omega.

Benny

(text a reprint from Guide to His Word)

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The Bible is a God document. When we speak of it as inspiration of God it is understood that the Holy Spirit has had a role in making the Book for our instruction. Instruction in righteousness to be precise.

My thesis for both Marginalia and the Immanuel Factor are consistent. Jesus Christ is the centre of gravity in the narrative account no matter whether the narrative is approached from that of God the Father or of the Son.

The task of the Spirit is however to create a mode, on the same rationale as the parables of Jesus. Parable can be taken for a narrative. Literal interpretation of the Scripture similarly serves a purpose but in order to be instructed in righteousness one has to be inspired, meaning one discern it spiritually.

Having explained the purpose of a mode let me say such a mode shall have different layers in its significance. Symbols for example invest in natural objects the power to double for heavenly realities: not the objects themselves but the spiritual aura it casts about is what the Spirit aims at. These are spiritually discerned. Then there are also substitutionary symbols of which we shall discuss here.

The Holy Spirit works as a Herald, Paraclete, Counsellor and one who leads a believer since he is the Spirit of truth. In whichever capacity his narrative account is true and validated by the Power and Wisdom of God.

What is a sign?

For anyone who reads through the Scripture it shall become apparent that a sign is quiet something else than in its normal usage. A rainbow is a natural phenomenon and it can be explained as such. But when God sets a bow in the cloud its significance changes altogether. After he judged the earth he makes a covenant with Noah and ‘as a token between me and the earth (Ge.9:13)’ he sets the rainbow for all to see. Here was a sign, a token. What does it signify?

A sign stands for the sovereignty of God and as such it reveals certain aspects of his godhead. By bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly he made an example of his wrath. St Peter while touching upon it tells that he made an example of the consequences of living ungodly as they did. Only eight persons including Noah were delivered from the deluge (2 Pe.2; 5-6). A sign therefore brings to our remembrance of his judgment. He assured Noah that the covenant was with him ‘and with your seed after you (Ge.9:9).’ Having made the covenant he said, “And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember…(9:16).” God is omnipotent and his Wisdom and Power are far beyond our comprehension. When he remembers it is understood it is not in the usual sense of the word. There is no absent-mindedness or forgetting. The sign is lifted out of its natural context to indicate his mercy. Proof of it was the eight delivered out of the flood.

Whenever signs are employed it indicates God’s mercy as well as judgment. Take the case of Prophet Ezekiel. When God gives him charge as witness to the people he has to lay on the left side according to the number of days it is significant for the iniquity of Israel shall be substituted in that symbol. (Ez.4:4-6). His action is emblematic. An emblem is willed by God to indicate events willed by Him to prick the national consciousness of Israel. Substitutionary symbol of Ezekiel to lie in so many days as to represent a period is an exception from his ministry as a minister of God. This is made more clear from the example of the Prophet Hosea. The book attributed to the prophet covers the events from 753-715 B.C.

At a period when their wickedness was peaking God commanded Prophet Hosea to speak to the people. This was an era of dramatic change for the twin kingdoms of Israel and Judah as well as for the surrounding nations of the ancient Near East. In the case of Prophet Hosea we read that Lord commanded the prophet thus: “Go take unto thee a wife of whoredoms…for the land hath committed great whoredom (Hos.1:2-3).” As a sign the prophet’s choice has to be completely in obedience to God’s command. Who shall determine the choice of the sign but God? What man does as a sign is according to will of God. He or she is accountable only to God. What it boils down to is this: God shall judge according to His measure. Any human yardstick is imperfect. God struck Miriam with leprosy over her controversy with Moses. She judged Moses for taking the Kush woman to wife. One may ask: why did not God punish Aaron? He was in his priestly office a sign, a symbol for God. (Ex.4:15).

 

Now we shall examine two apostles who doubled as substitutionary symbols: Simon Peter and Judas Iscariot .Jesus Christ knew that Simon Peter was vulnerable and he reveals to him during the Last Supper. “Simon, Simon! Behold, Satan hath desired to have you, that he may sift you as wheat. But I have prayed for you…(Lk. 22:31-32). It is clear that he is referring to his role after he is resurrected.

Let us see Peter as a substitutionary symbol: he had to fulfil what Jesus had predicted of the one who would deny him thrice that night. Also significant is his succeeding verse: “When thou art converted strengthen thy brother (vs.31).” He had to fulfil the traditional role as an apostle. Where Apostle Peter overcame the temptation Judas Iscariot fell. Did not Jesus foresee the role of Judas Iscariot as on of the twelve and the one who would betray him? Foreknowledge of God comes into his selection of instruments to reveal his sovereignty.

Jesus was aware of his role as substitutionary symbol. “…The Son of man indeed goeth as it is written of him; but woe to that the man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! Good were it for that man if he had never been born (Mk.14:21).” A clue to this we have in the Gospel of John and during the Last Supper we read that Jesus turned to Judas and said, “What thou doest, do quickly (Jn.13:17). He was referring to the symbolic role whereby the Word was to be fulfilled. Against this his (Judas’) fall owed to his covetousness that led him step by step to distance from the Master and lack of sympathy for his kingdom of Heaven. In his service he discovered he was more realist than believe in an idea that his master stood for. Having betrayed his master he realized to his abject dismay his conscience was all too real. His suicide rounded off the Word concerning his substitutionary symbolism.

The Immanuel Factor is available through Amazon.com.

Benny

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The Burning Bush-collage  from the cover.

The book is available through Amazon

As Epub/kindle available from Nov.7

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Predestination is a theological term. For a Christian it is made real by faith. When we accept Jesus Christ as our Savior Lord we became what was foreordained: it means that we believed the Will of God as concerning him included us as well. By faith we inherit eternal life instead of condemnation. From that time on life for a Christian is life hid in Christ. His reality takes in realities of heaven as well. Ep.2: 4-7 It is the Will of God which St Paul in his epistle to the Ephesians writes as “ordained that we should walk.. (vs.10, 8-9)”

When John pointed to him and cried “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world (Jn.1:29).” we recall what occurred before his birth was announced to the ageing Elizabeth. In the appointed time he was filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his Mother’s womb as was foreordained (Lk.1:15). In short foreknowledge of John the Baptist owed to God. The Bible tells us in so many manner our place in the Mind of God as determined before. The many symbols the Holy Spirit use in the Scripture signifies their role.

Let us consider our own body with that of the Son of man. Before the worlds began God the Father willed a body for his Son. The Spirit refers to it as a symbol. Body as a symbol. He is the Lamb slain (Re.8:13). As he is so are we in this world. We have a natural body and we bear certain relation to the symbol indicating our earthly reality has its heavenly antecedents. Therewith we have the boldness to say, “We shall also bear the heavenly (1 Co.15:49).”

For a child of God the body has two functions: one is at a physical plane and the other as a type: It is God’s will and pleasure to give all living things a body which we may, for the purpose on hand call it as natural body. It has its counter part in a spiritual body. When St Paul writes juxtaposing earthy realities with heavenly glory in his epistle to Corinth (1 Co.15:38-50) he is setting down earthly realities vis-à-vis heavenly realities. Also significant is the manner the Spirit brings unity to the scriptural narrative by sustained symbolism. The Lamb slain was the emblem in the eternal Mind. Redemption of man depends on his vicarious death. The brazen serpent in the wilderness in turn foreshadows the manner of death which is on the cross. The Lord taking up Elijah into heaven by a whirlwind (2 Ki.2:9-11) is a forerunner of the resurrection of Jesus and his Ascension(Ac.1:11) Such sustained symbolism serves same service as rhyme pattern of songs in the ancient world as aid to memory. In spiritual terms it applies to every believer where he stands because of his belief in the vicarious death and resurrection of God the Son.

The body with which the Son of man came to the world was natural that we read that he experienced hunger and thirst as every other. God had willed God the Son would perfect his Will in his body but the symbol would never alter. It is a symbol applying to us and for eternity. Therein we trace what God had determined concerning us through the Son (Ro.8:29)”.

“There are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit and the water and the blood: and these three agree in one (1 Jn.5:8).” God has sealed us and the Spirit is our surety that on the day of resurrection we shall be received by him. 2 Co.1:22; Ep. 1:14.

When we accepted Jesus Christ as our Saviour we witnessed it by three things. Baptism by water signified that we are dead to the world. It also indicates that the price was the blood of Jesus shed for every believer, which by faith made it personal. Indwelling Spirit is also part of the personal equation we created in the process.

“For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God (Col.3:3). This is how we consider our body as having died to the world and its corruption. The body shall die once but on a symbolic plane it shall continue as ever because it is hid with Christ in God. In order to make a distinction between the two we shall consider the body of our spiritual life that oversees our newness of life is our inner man.

In Peter’s epistle we are told that the hidden man is incorruptible (1 Pe.3:4; Ep.3: 16)

Cain murdered Abel for he was angry that God had no respect for his offering. When God says, “The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me,” indicates God hears the dead just as well the living. For God is ‘not of the dead but of the living; for all live unto him.’ (Lk.20:38,32)

Analogy of Inner man to natural man is similar to Seth filling in place of his dead brother Abel. His descendants were considered as righteous line-, and not Cain or his progeny, into which Jesus shall be included. The Spirit witnesses to us our part in the genealogy of the family of Special Relationship. God adopted us in Jesus and symbol of it is in the indwelling Spirit. Being led by it we grow in knowledge of Jesus who speaks ‘better things than that of Abel (He.12:24).’

This leads to the reality of Christians in terms of body: They have a natural body that shall be dissolved. They also have a spiritual body that is incorruptible.

When we accept Jesus as our savior we have abundant life or life plus. Since our spiritual body is hid in Christ, meaning we are in heavenly places. That is our hope. “We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. It enters the inner sanctuary behind the curtainHe.6:19-NIV).”

benny

(reprinted from Guide to His Word / post of Nov.2, 2017)

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Without fully touching on the nature of God one cannot understand the theological term of Predestination. Let me quickly run through what these are.

The Will of God cannot run contrary to His attributes Power and Wisdom, dimension of which is infinite. Thus  where his Wisdom touches an abstract idea of love it cannot be conceived as apart from his will. His love is evident in his creation calendar. First He made all that were needful for man and on the sixth ‘day’ He observed, “…Behold it was very good.(Ge.1:30)” God entrusted the creatures under the care of Adam after he had endowed him with his living breath. He inducted him into service as it were. Naturally we see God trusted in his stewardship when God brought His creation to him and  left choice of their names(Ge.2:19) to him.  God’s trust in his own Power and Wisdom working through him is unmistakeable( When Calvin makes Total Depravity as a central plank in his doctrine he is undermining God’s sovereign Power and Wisdom. Liberality of God in such gifts we can conclude are examples of Love in expression.

Man’s moral choice, whether killing a life form,- be it plants or animals, was not altogether any new element introduced. Adam correctly exercised it when found no helpmeet among animals. It is part of his Gift, wisdom and is entered under the divine Will. What is death to us? Dissolution of physical reality that the body holds for us. Whereas death holds altogether a different significance to Him. It cannot be otherwise, seeing Power and Wisdom are inextricably woven into the Will. Also significant is the testimony of Jesus who speaks of his Father thus. “You do err, not knowing the scriptures…God is not the God of the dead but of the living (Mt.22:29-32)”. I shall cite another example. God gave double of everything Job had lost  (Jb.42:10) He had seven sons and three daughters before Satan afflicted him. In the end when God blessed he was given the same number and not double mind you, of children. His children who were dead to him were already in the presence of God.( Jb.42:13),

Holy Spirit reveals God by the generic term  Elohim in the Creation Account. From John’s account we know God the Son was also present (Jn.1:3-4,1)  God is the Father of lights. Jesus Christ is revealed as the light of men. The spirit in extending God’s attributes make the Will envelop the whole cosmos to give it space. Trust that God extended to Adam connects with Jesus symbol of which is light*. This natural phenomena is not in terms of light having to travel light years but in terms of man’s power and wisdom howsoever is limited. Inspiration of the Holy Spirit is to render a believer overcome his physical limitations. Some Bible scholars have erred in ascribing double predestination,

God’s gifts and calling are without repentance. As Just God his Power and Wisdom he scattered liberally and in sending his Son with a clear mandate (‘whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have eternal life’) is in harmony with His nature.  Just as He entrusted Adam with naming the creatures He left judgment to the Son since His Fullness is in the Son. (For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell-Col.1:19-KJV) .Jesus expressed divine Will in no uncertain terms. ’Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.’(Mt.18: 14) He also proved with his life.

Core Will is a term to explain Will of God in  totality.  This is necessary owing to our finite understanding of time. Divine Will commands certain attitudes and conduct from man. It has a finite time frame. Man is judged on this basis. Whatever judgment God determines on these has a Time frame,

In order to demonstrate predestination in working and how we are part of eternal plan of God let me quote two passages one from the Epistle to the Hebrews and the other from the Book of Job.

Speaking of Melchicedec, the King of Salem St Paul states that Abraham gave him a tenth part of all in tithes. He goes on to add, ‘And verily they that are of the sons of Levi, who receive the office of the priesthood, have a commandment to take tithes of the people according to the law…’

“For he (Levi) was yet in the loins of his father, when Melchicedec met him.(He.7: 10)”.

Now for the other.

When the Lord finally confronted Job out of a whirlwind he asked, ‘…Where was thou when I laid the foundation of the earth? Declare, if thou hast understanding (Jb.38: 4)’. Levi was in the loins of Abraham when he paid tithes to the King of Salem. By the same token when God laid the foundation of the earth we were all dead in sins because of Adam, and without a ray of hope. We have been preordained in his Will for punishment. But in obeying the Son and by our faith we have received grace. He blotted out the writing against us and nailed to the cross. (Col.2: 14). This is what St Paul terms as ‘mystery of his Will’ (Ep.1: 9) the key to which is the atoning work of the Son.

As a result we figure as overcomers in Core Will, which ‘he hath purposed in himself’. Thus by the blood of Christ Jesus God shall establish us children of obedience in Core Will.

All that required for such a turn around was our faith, which comes from hearing the Word. “…Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God (Ro.10: 17)”. This is the kind of faith that death cannot silence.  Cain slew Abel but his blood could catch the ear of God.

God cannot deny himself. His divine Love spreads outwards through his Son and as Jn.3:15-16 makes it clear the call is to even the little ones. Predestination when man interprets it relying on authority,  as lawyers and scribes in the time of Jesus did, is narrowed. Jesus castigated them. The same spirit works still.

Consider this verse. “Notwithstanding they (sons of Eli) hearkened not the voice of their father, because the Lord would slay them (1 Sa.2:25) As mentioned in the example of Job we were all under condemnation because of Adam. Also the verse in the gospel of Luke clues us in the condemnation abides with those who reject the counsel of God by rejecting the Son( Lk.7:29-30)

Because of our faith we were justified through his Son unto salvation. In rejecting the Son is tantamount to a state where we are rejecting God the Father . All authority is given to the Son (Jn.5:22,27). God is the Will while the Son is fulfillment. The Spirit in setting down two narratives from the Father and the Son respectively made the sons of Eli foreordained as it were, because they rejected the counsel of their father.

  • The Spirit tags persons with qualities in this case light. Glory of Adam in the presence of God is light. When he chose to step out of God’s Will he felt naked meaning his glory left him. It connects to Jesus in whom was the light of men. Thus the Spirit informs us of Children of light and of darkness.

benny

 

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