Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Bible study’

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

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

IMG_4435.jpg

The Burning Bush-collage  from the cover.

The book is available through Amazon

As Epub/kindle available from Nov.7

Read Full Post »

A companion volume to Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible is available.  For details follow the link  https://www.createspace.com/7618327

benny

Read Full Post »

 

God as Omnipresent and Omnipotent. His sovereignty over the earth is evident in his creation.

The river from Eden branching into four heads (Ge.2:10) is an illustration. The creation account clearly states that God had not caused it to rain upon the earth (vs.5). The Spirit clues us that not natural causes but God is the Prime Mover. We read in the last book of the Bible :there was ‘a pure river of water of life proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb(Re.22:1)’ and it goes like straight as an arrow. The river from Eden forms four heads compassing different lands.

The number four has significance to which I shall come by and by.

God sets his Will in a series chains of events where man and his actions do count. Adam’s disobedience in eating of the fruit informs us nature is also a component or divine instrument. ‘Cursed is the ground for thy sake.’ Weirder climate and one-percenters of today did not spring out of nothing but are the result of accumulated effect of chains of cause and effect.

In fulfilling divine Will nations of the world are the living canvass wherein man is placed and chains of events are the means to build up his faith or correct him. His individual life shall bear the lights and shadows cast by the immediate context in which he is placed. The example of Ruth amply bears out this truism. During the time the Judges ruled Israel there was a famine. Although Ruth being a Moabite and outside the promise of God made to the House of Israel, she was predestined to glory. She is the matriarch from whose womb the Messianic Promise would stream forth.

The eternal verity of Mercy is unchangeable but His authority is affixed in the many chains of events, too complex for any man to control. In its working we only need compare the role of volcanoes. These are upheavals of the earth causing many hiccups but renewing the face of the earth. God’s sovereignty assures His children the greatest good not according to any time frame of man but in his Time. Sorrows are like the birth pangs a woman undergoes before the birth never thought of once she holds the baby to her bosom. A child of God bonded with God through the redemptive work of the Son never need concern of whatever happens. Ruth suffered her share of misfortunes but when God had put these under the heading of Mercy her case was unlike anything that she had imagined. What does Isaiah say? “Sing, O barren that thou didst not bear;… (Is.54:1)

In the Will of God nothing is created for itself. The earth is not singly created but in context of the heaven. If we examine the earth in detail we shall see the Lord God first set up whatever appurtenances needful for the wellbeing of Adam.

Mathematics and counting of numbers hold relevance only for man. The Alien shall have his own system of counting. When the Spirit uses numbers it with the intent of sharing the divine Will in a manner man can find use for. So what is the significance of the number 4? In the Book of Zechariah we read of four chariots (Zec.6:1) four artisans, four horns(1:18,21) These are instruments appointed by God. It is clear from so many clues how God establishes his sovereignty of history of nations.

This is adapted and modified for this blog.

Marginalia, a concise guide to the Bible is available in print and as e-book/Kindle from Amazon.com

Benny

Read Full Post »

BookCoverPreview.jpg

 

BookCoverPreview-1.jpg

 

Read Full Post »

The Parable of the Prodigal Son is an illustration of God’s long-suffering nature. He gives sinners a long rope upon which some hang themselves while some, like the younger son in the parable came to realize, just the right time to find way home. Consider God as the father and here we are talking of a share the son could claim as his. God allows his material blessings for each according to his ability. The same we find while God distributed manna from His storehouse. ‘…every man according to his eating (Ex.16:18).’ Compare this with the Parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus(Lk.16:19-31) and we shall see what is the significance of material wealth.

Wealth is a blessing indeed. But without God such blessings can turn contrary. The son realized without the Father his lot was suddenly thrown into misery. The younger son having to satisfy with hunger with husks is one of the most pathetic scenes one could conjure up! But God in mercy uses it to open his eyes.  What did it bring to mind? “He remembered of his patiently awaiting father and decided that it was to his parental solicitude he ought to appeal. Yes he had made a dent in the material wealth created by his sire. But love that overlooked all faults of the son was yet untried. The parable reveals the son was warmly received by the father. He puts on the best robe on the son who came back from the dead.  His righteousness is what God the Father offers to every sinner who repents.

Not so lucky was the dives who wined and dined on a grand scale never minding the sign of God had set right at the gate. Lazarus was indeed a sign for the dives as the husks of grain were for the boy.

Wealth indeed is a blessing from the Lord. But we need consider our roles. God as the maker of heaven and the earth has the right to call to account how his gifts have been put to use by every one of us. No man has come with the right to enjoy wealth not belonging to him and not having justify his actions. We need not consider how wealth is created and how man tries to hold on to privileges and wealth by stealth that over the years have become a precedent. But before God  no such man made laws, of the nation can save anyone who has proved to be bad stewards. At best we are his stewards as the many parables of Jesus Christ illustrate.

God always sets signs and symbols on the material objects that man often fails to acknowledge. Rock from which the children of Israel drank was not merely rock but holds a spiritual side. Manna similarly from heaven signified something much more than the article themselves. In these two parables we can see the Spirit relying on the husks and the beggar to teach the persons concerned something profound.

Death is the last stop before hell for those who felt no conscience prick about spending wealth with such impudence and boast over what they were not entitled to use solely for their own enjoyment. The rich man  did not bring wealth at birth and neither did he care if the wealth of others passing through his hands entitled him to carry blessings as well beyond the land of the living. When we are given gifts we need accept where they are from and set before us a warning: our accountability to God and our fellowmen shall confront us one day..

Internal evidence suggests both were Jews and observed the commandments of Moses. What the younger son wasted was material aspects of his (Father’s) living. Diaspora of Jews scattered the nation of Israel to four corners of the earth and in one such places the younger son being cast into dire straits joined to a citizen who tended the swine. It was in such a circumstance he awoke himself to the spiritual aspects of his father. Love of God is one such quality material wealth throws up.

Before we move on we need consider an aspect of spiritual life not often dwelt upon. The Prodigal Son among the swine delineates how tenuous our connection in the world is and being tempted all about us. The son had to eat whatever came in hand in order to satisfy hunger. ‘Being unequalled yoked’ with ungodly in the world how often we see children of God is constrained to live like every other in order to be as one among them. Certain cultural baggage that a believer carries around is unnecessary and often a drag on his spiritual life. There was a coarsening aspect wealth brings on people that the five brothers of the dives would not have listened to him had he gone to warn them of what agony awaited them. “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead (Lk.16:31). If wealth has deadened the soul what awaits man?

(reprinted from Guide To His Word)

benny

Read Full Post »

I have completed Marginalia the book at last. Writing the basic ideas in a book form took some three months but it took almost one year before I could say,’I am done with it.’ It has some 75,000 words, with additional Notes and Glossary at the end.

I shall give a description in 250 words or so.

1.Description

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 the old wine skins so to speak. The World Ecumenism of our own times would have the light of knowledge of the Word under a bushel.

Either way it is less than the divine Intent.

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.

Jesus Christ of whom we read as thus ‘ it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell (Col.1:19) is also the Word. 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).

2.

Key Features

  1. Time element The book reconciles God’s Time with many other time frames that cover the history of Israel, earthly ministry of the Son of man etc., This has a direct bearing on understanding the significance of the other two points (2 Pe.3:8)
  2. Focus is on Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit achieves this by using typology. Thus creation account of Eve predicts the death of Jesus and the founding of Church. Adam is antitype for Jesus. The tabernacle in the wilderness prefigures New Jerusalem in the last book. Christ as the head and the Church as his body.
  1. Articulated prophecies: The book offers a more coherent explanation of prophecies than other books. God set Jonah as a sign for Nineveh. Unknown to the prophet he was also a sign for Jesus as to the type of death he would undergo. Prophecies are articulated by which there is bar placed as in the east of Garden, cherubims holding a flaming sword. These are signs that demarcate time frames from God’s Time.

 

Finally choice of the title Marginalia is to highlight the manner God the Spirit has reorganized two narratives from the Father and from the Son. It is like supplying marginal notes on the Will of God. Holy Spirit also places markers as it were, which we find from the following example. In the upper room where the Apostles cast lots for a substitute St. Peter quotes from the Psalms 69:25. Another way the Spirits clarifies passages is by placing signposts for other passages. The best explanation on the nature of a spiritual body can be found in the sign God gave Gideon (Jud.6:36-39)

Healing of the bitter waters has a bearing on Prophet Elisha healing the land with ‘salt in a new cruze’. Here the emphasis is on regeneration whereas at Marah the wood is a token for the cross. This in turn leads to the living waters, which Jesus promises the Samaritan woman. It speaks of abundant life. It is a clear proof while the scriptures are written by human hands under varying circumstances, period of time the Prime Mover is the same: Spirit is the Inspirer (2Ti.3:16-17).

benny

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »