Isaiah 66, in Depth

The Principles of the Prophets are the themes of the Bible.

Isaiah 66, Verse by Verse

In this study we will go verse by verse, as opposed to an overview by color, which we did here. If you are not yet aware of the colors of the Principles of the Prophets, take a look at that study.

God continues speaking from Isaiah 65. But as the last chapter of Isaiah, the message is compacted and summarized. This is why all of the Principles glow in this section.

We begin with a reference to Heavens Declare. And then he refers to the House David desired to build for him, reminding them again that it was man’s idea to have a Temple made of stone. God’s plan was always to dwell with his people in the New Heavens and the New Earth. And that House is established, made of those who are humble, contrite, and tremble at his word.

As opposed to the people who have gone DOWN then UP, we see those whose sacrifices and offerings are disgusting to him. Those who have Chosen their own ways, whose Pleasure are abominations to God. The Suffering (Fears) they had experienced in this life–perhaps the fears they sought to waylay by offering heartless and pagan offerings–will come upon them.

Why? Why does God promise them fearful suffering?

Because when he spoke, they didn’t care. They kept going along the way they wanted, following the ways of the world and the Wisdom of the Wise. Their choices were categorized by unpleasing to God. On the other hand, there is another group of people. This group fears God in the right way. They tremble at God’s word. They have gone DOWN in repentance and worship, so they have found forgiveness (in Christ) and are walking with God in Covenant.

But the ones who are in a Covenant with God, have now become a target for the Haters. They are mocked for their trust in God, which should be expected. But those who hope in God are reminded that God’s vengeance is coming, from within the Temple. Recompense in due measure. The Measuring God who is building his Kingdom is also measuring the deeds of the wicked.

Wisdom tells us that timing is everything. Heavens Declare as well that labor leads to birth and that without labor a birth will not come about. The timing and rhythm of life tells us that even though it seems God is not bringing vengeance, it will indeed come. “Who has heard such a thing? Who has seen such things?” This is not Wisdom of the Wise. It’s something very different that interferes with the recompense.

The delivery of a SON right here, at the end of Isaiah, brings to remembrance the prophecies of the boy-who-would-be-born.** The last chance for them.

The Incarnation and Atonement of the new Jerusalem, God’s heavenly kingdom (Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22) is reflected in mother-love terminology.

Purple, remember, is the big PLAN of the Ancient of Days. He is bringing it about. In one day the Incarnation came to earth, and in one day, the Incarnate Son bore the sins of God’s People. Here the Church is being referred to, the initiation of the Church Age that burst-forth on Pentecost.

The children being brought forth is yellow, a Separation Filter. “Her children” refers to all that are members of the New Jerusalem. Christ said he would lose “not a one,” so ultimately, those who are her children will be separated out from those who are not. And likewise, no one will be shut out who must be a part of the Kingdom: “Shall I…not cause to bring forth? Shall I…shut the womb?”

“Drinking deeply with delight from her glorious abundance” is the true joy of every member of Zion.

Peace like a river, an overflowing stream…Heavens Declare again the truths of God. Being carried upon the hip and bounced upon her knees, being comforted. These are the Plan and the Covenant love of God, in spite of the troubles we have that we need comforting from. True Joy comes from the hand of the Lord. But his enemies, likewise, will get something different from his hand.

So after the Incarnation and Atonement, we are looking again at God’s enemies. Fire is coming. The warning is here. Anger, fury, rebuke and fire. The Measuring God will enter into judgment, he will look at the books upon which were written all of the deeds of every man. It will not go well for many people.

We have one group, those who disregard the Law of God, who go forward doing their own thing, following the Wise ideas of pagan nations, abominations eating pigs and mice. They are in one group together. In spite of this, in spite of their works and thoughts being like this, because judgment is coming, he says “I will set a sign among them.”

They get another chance! They are clumped in a group, they’re on the path for doom, but that New Jerusalem that’s being built, those who have survived the bullies, will be sent to them. The nations far and near, will meet with the Survivors–those who are declaring his glory. God’s Covenant people will be found all around the world declaring his glory among the nations.

And what do we see? We see people “all your brothers” coming with them to God. They are bringing people to the New Jerusalem. “On horses and in chariots and in litters and on mules and on dromedaries” is reminiscent of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. God’s people have gone and brought them.

From the perspective of God’s people each will say, “I was only doing my duty,” (Luke 17:10). The deeds of obedience, the following of the Great Commission, was an offering to the Lord.

Here we see again the Architect’s plan to build Jerusalem, we see the house of the Lord and the vessels in the house. God’s new system is being set up, using the Survivors and the Brothers from the Nations. God’s New Jerusalem is being built upon the promise of the Son that would be born, and the Nation-from-all-nations that happened in a day.

He begun this section by mentioning heaven and earth, he ends by reminding us of the New Heavens and the New Earth. But the new one is eternal. The one not built by human hands, the one Abraham was looking forward to (Hebrews 11). And the never-ending Name.

The next verse shows that we have already entered into this Kingdom. Every month and every week we come and worship before him. The Sabbath was a sign of the Covenant, it was a reflection of commitment to keeping the Covenant. Likewise, the Ten Commandments, as a reflection of natural law, required the weekly day of devotion. Sabbath, not sacrifice, was the sign of devotion. (And the same expectation carried into the New Covenant).

The ending verse of Isaiah is a horror to Christians in particular.

Jesus himself referred to this verse, clearly showing this was about hell awaiting those who had not taken all the chances they had been given.

The idea of going out to look at the rebels, who are an abhorrence to all flesh, repels us.

For one of the functions of hell, and this verse in particular, is to propel God’s people to go into the nations to “compel” our friends to Christ.

This last verse of Isaiah also warns those who are waiting for judgment that there still is time.
As long as it is called today. Repent. Come to Christ, as long as there’s time.


Click to download a Free Rainbow Scaffold Chart of ISAIAH 65 and 66.

**(See Separation Filters in Isaiah 7 | Isaiah 8 | Isaiah 9).


All quotes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

Isaiah 66 reveals Principles of the Prophets

It was in Isaiah that I first noted the repeated themes I’ve been showing here on my blog. The message God burdened Isaiah with was the same one every other prophet spoke, and the same message given by Christ and his apostles. The Principles of the Prophets are the themes of the Bible.

Isaiah by Colored Highlight

Take a look at Isaiah 66. Skimming down below, look at all the colors. Each verse tags one or more of the themes we’ve been discussing, and each color is addressed!


What Does This Mean?

While Isaiah’s message in this chapter is HUGE, and goes into depth on each of the Principles, we will discuss a verse or two under each category to show you how it works. (For a more advanced study, CLICK HERE.)

But as the Book of Isaiah touches on the theme, it builds the concept, giving facets uniquely apropros for the time it was delivered to the world.

The Who of God

Dark Blue: The Character of God

Who God is and how God is are shown by his self-declarations and his deeds, especially understood through the Bible.

Ex:  Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the LORD.
But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word (vv1-2).

The whole Bible is filled with a self-revelation of God, and as you see above, while it is substantially telling us the Character of God, it simultaneously taps into Grey/Light Green/Green/Light Blue. This is what makes Isaiah 66 so fundamental for understanding the Principles of the Prophets. The interwoven truths of Scripture: This is who God is and what he requires of man.

 

Purple: The Purpose of God

The Eternal Plan of the Ancient of Days is found in time words in the Bible: terms like “everlasting,” “for generations,” “age to age” reflect this plan from the beginning.

Ex: For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.
As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem” (vv.12-13)

“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire” (v 15).

God’s purpose is single-fold, yet it has many facets. He intends to bring about a New Heavens and a New Earth populated with his people. This world, and all the good and bad we face, is all for this one purpose: “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven” (Matt 6:10), see Temple below.

In Isaiah we see God bringing comfort and peace to those who have become His People, and we see him dealing righteously and justly with those who continued in this life to reject Him and his offer of peace.

 

Green: Architect God

He weighs and measures our deeds and sets forth the plumb line in conscience and his Word. Green is for the Temple he is building, and the measuring methods he uses to test humanity for membership in that Temple.

Ex: The sound of an uproar from the city!
A sound from the temple!
The sound of the LORD,
rendering recompense to his enemies!” (v 6).

“For as the new heavens and the new earth
that I make
shall remain before me, says the LORD,
so shall your offspring and your name remain” (v 22).

“For behold, the LORD will come in fire,
and his chariots like the whirlwind,
to render his anger in fury,
and his rebuke with flames of fire.
For by fire will the LORD enter into judgment,
and by his sword, with all flesh;
and those slain by the LORD shall be many” (v 15-16).

Temple: The OT Temple was a shadow of the Temple God would build in his body and the body of Christ. Believers are the temple of God (1 Cor 6:19), as Christ’s body was also the Temple of God (John 2:19). God’s eternal Kingdom will remain forever, when death and rebellion have been destroyed.

Methods: Fire is commonly known to test the quality of metals, like gold. When we see Yahweh as an “unquenchable fire,” we will be pressed into two camps–those who dread and those who love. As his “offspring” (Acts 17:28), “begotten of God” (John 1:13), we have no fear of the fire of God, for Christ has borne our judgment (Isaiah 53). But Yahweh’s flames of rebuke and judgment meet others with a vastly different result (Rev 6:16).

Orange: Covenant God

Covenant is both a reflection of the Character of God and a Separation Filter. Yahweh keeps his people under his faithful, loving care, and his people will respond to him likewise in a committed, faithful way (John 14:15). To understand Covenant you must understand ancient Suzerain Treaties.

The Covenant is also a Separation Filter. Professing believers will show their love, in particular in the way they use their time, talents, and life (Eph 2:10). God-haters and atheists are given God’s people in the world as a test, and how they treat the Church reveals their heart toward God.

Ex: GOD: “As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the Lord shall be known to his servants,
and he shall show his indignation against his enemies”
(v. 13).

LOVERSRejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her (v.5)

And from them I will send survivors to the nations, to Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, who draw the bow, to Tubal and Javan, to the coastlands far away, that have not heard my fame or seen my glory. And they shall declare my glory among the nations. And they shall bring all your brothers from all the nations as an offering to the LORD (vv. 19-20).

From new moon to new moon,
and from Sabbath to Sabbath,
all flesh shall come to worship before me,
declares the LORD (v. 23).

HATERS“Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame” (v. 5).

In the whole counsel of Scripture there are certain undeniable facts:

First, Yahweh is with his people in a unique way. He is their protector and defender, he is their comfort and their joy.

Secondly, people who know Yahweh run to him in times of distress or times of joy, and live in a way that pleases him, the Sabbath or day-of-worship being a unique demonstration of that covenant-commitment.

And thirdly, God’s people become targets to haters because of their status with God (Is 66:5 & Ps 53:4).

Consequently, God will repay those who touch the “apple of his eye” (Ps 17:8, Zech 2:8). These are the three ways Covenant works: by God, toward God, against God.

Light Green: Heavens Declare

All things in nature find their source in the creative mind of God, so all aspects of science and reason are intended to teach us the character and nature of God, often as analogies.

Ex: “Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool;
what is the house that you would build for me,
and what is the place of my rest?
All these things my hand has made,
and so all these things came to be,
declares the Lord”
(vv 1-2a)

“He who slaughters an ox is like one who kills a man;
he who sacrifices a lamb, like one who breaks a dog’s neck;
he who presents a grain offering, like one who offers pig’s blood;
he who makes a memorial offering of frankincense, like one who blesses an idol”
 (v. 3).

The created order declares the greatness of God. “By his hand” they have been made, and the more we know of the universe the greater we realize God is. Considering nature teaches us about God (Rom 1:20).

Killing a man, breaking a dog’s neck these are things we naturally cringe from, since they are written on our conscience as wrongs. Oxen, lambs, grain and frankincense are nice things that would normally be associated with a good gift. But in these verses we see that the analogies of nature make a strong point as to God’s disgust with offerings without the necessary relationship (see v.2b below)

Light Blue: Up is Down

The only way to know God is by going down. God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. He requires humility and repentance, both requiring a submission to the manner God requires.

Ex: “But this is the one to whom I will look:
he who is humble and contrite in spirit
and trembles at my word”
(v 2b)

The way to switch from Hater to Lover, from damned to blessed, is by going down. Return, repent, kneel, confess.

Repentance and confession of sins, falling at the feet of God who will judge you and asking for pardon by the blood of Jesus, if it is authentic and lasting, moves you from death to life.

“Kiss the Son, lest he be angry” (Ps 2:12). This theme is the point of everything. This is why bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people.

Each of us is being given a chance, every human who ever lived was given this chance (Rom 1:18-32).

Life gives us this chance, every Separation Filter (see below) gives us this chance to go Down.

The way UP (to God) is DOWN (in humility) and the way DOWN (to hell) is UP (in pride and self-sufficiency).

The Whys of Life

Yellow: Separation Filters

Life sorts people into two groups by their choices, and specific opportunities are given to force that choice, proving what that person is. General Separation Filters are those that clearly differentiate between two groups. Often we see Yellow with another color.

Ex: “‘These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them,
because when I called, no one answered,
when I spoke, they did not listen;
but they did what was evil in my eyes
and chose that in which I did not delight.’

Hear the word of the Lord,
you who tremble at his word”
(vv 4-5a)

Here two groups are mentioned: those who have chosen their own ways and those who tremble at his word. While there is a heavy reference to Wisdom of the Wise (see below), we see the decisions they are making and the results that are sure to come. On the other hand, we see that God makes a differentiation with those who fear him.

Red: Wisdom of the Wise

How we answer the big questions and how we weigh the ungodly principles of this world sift us into a self-serving life or a deeper faith and trust of God’s Word.

Ex: “Your brothers who hate you
and cast you out for my name’s sake
have said, ‘Let the Lord be glorified,
that we may see your joy’;
but it is they who shall be put to shame”
(v 5b).

Here those mocking God’s people reflect the stunted reasoning of their world. They make fun of God’s Covenant people who hope in God’s glory.But this hostile thought process proves they are no friend of God. In earlier verses, the reference to doing things the way the nations do things, especially with regard to sacrificing to idols, reveals them bending to popular “wisdom” that is not wisdom.

 

Pink: Pleasure

Good things in this world either pull us away into idolatry or draw us to God as the source of all joy and contentment.

Ex: “These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations” 
(v. 3b).

Rejoice with Jerusalem, and be glad for her,
all you who love her;
rejoice with her in joy,
all you who mourn over her;
that you may nurse and be satisfied
from her consoling breast;
that you may drink deeply with delight
from her glorious abundance.”

For thus says the LORD:
“Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river,
and the glory of the nations like an overflowing stream;
and you shall nurse, you shall be carried upon her hip,
and bounced upon her knees.

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem.
You shall see, and your heart shall rejoice;
your bones shall flourish like the grass;
and the hand of the LORD shall be known to his servants,

and he shall show his indignation against his enemies” (vv 10-14).

The first group delights in their abominations, the second group is comforted and flourishes because they are trusting in God, rejoicing with God’s “Jerusalem,” or heavenly kingdom (Gal 4:26, Heb 12:22).

 

Brown: Suffering

Pain and suffering in this world either push us into an atheistic anger against God or into a deeper trust of his ways.

Ex: “These have chosen their own ways,
and their soul delights in their abominations;
I also will choose harsh treatment for them
and bring their fears upon them” (vv. 3-4).

As one whom his mother comforts,
so I will comfort you;
you shall be comforted in Jerusalem (v 13).

“And they shall go out and look on the dead bodies of the men who have rebelled against me. For their worm shall not die, their fire shall not be quenched, and they shall be an abhorrence to all flesh” (v 24).

The Biggest Big Question is why we have to live in a suffering world. Believers suffer so they can turn to God for comfort.

In Isaiah 65, God repeated the either/or warnings to the nations and to those not following in the Covenant.

In Isaiah 66 we see the end result of their life of bad decisions. We no longer see suffering sifting them anymore. No more chances remain. Instead, we see that suffering they experienced was a message of impending judgment they never took to heart. And this is the last verse of Isaiah.


(For a more advanced study, CLICK HERE.)


All quotes from The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles, 2016. Print.

Happy Thanksgiving: Are You Content?

thankfulness-creates-gratitude-which-generates-contentment-that-causes-peace-todd-stockerRemember the essence of Thankfulness:
WLC Question 146: Which is the tenth commandment?
Answer: The tenth commandment is, Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbor’s.

Question 147: What are the duties required in the tenth commandment?
Answer: The duties required in the tenth commandment are, such a FULL CONTENTMENT WITH OUR OWN CONDITION, and such a charitable frame of the whole soul toward our neighbor, as that all our inward motions and affections touching him, tend unto, and further all that good which is his.

from Westminster Larger Catechism

The Persians at the GATE

The Name

Caesar Augustus, of Bethlehem Nativity fame, 15th_century_map_of_Turkey_regiondied in 14 AD, when Jesus was a teenager.

Archelaus, besides being the son in law of Herod the Great (of Nativity infamy) was also the Last King of Cappadocia. A Roman vassal, he was active in the political game, so when Caesar Augustus died, he renamed his city after the dearly departed. It thus became Caesarea in Cappadocia.

Cappadocia played a great role in the growth of Christianity. During the half-century after Christ, the Apostles went to and fro on the earth, preaching and teaching and writing. The Scrolls they left behind became the Bible we have today.

The Persecutions

In the post-Apostolic times, that is, after John died in 90 AD, the next generation of church leaders went forward with the Scrolls left by the Apostles. They hid the scrolls, and they hid themselves, in caves as they faced the persecutions over the next 250 years.

64 AD

  • Nero
  • Domitian
  • Trajan
  • Hadrian
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Septimus Severus
  • Maximinus the Thracian
  • Decius
  • Valerian
  • Diocletian
  • Galerius

313 AD

With the signing of the Edict of Milan in 313 the widespread persecution of Christians ended. Then when the Arabs invaded in about 1080, it was renamed Kaisariyah, an Arabic form based on the Latin (Kaisar=Caesar, meaning emperor). And as you know, Kaiser is the German (Dutch-root) name for emperor.

Now the town is called Kayseri.

Enter the Persians

In Trunk of Scrolls, the characters have concern over the “Persians at the gate.” The Persians and Byzantines were always at odds with each other. In fact, a war broke out between the two soon after the events described in Trunk of Scrolls.

What is interesting is how the Persians won. Especially today.

A few days ago, I heard from an Iranian (Persian) believer about an Iranian Christian refugee church in Kayseri. One of several Iranian refugee churches in the town.

–>This ONE CHURCH has more Christians in it
than TOTAL Christians in many big Turkish cities.

Finding this out floored me. The Persians at the Gate.

The Byzantines slowly left the “fold.” The beginning of the end was the Schism of 1054, but even before this the Monophysite Controversy weakened them. They did not understand the significance of Church unity on the Identity of Christ, which set the stage for a weakening empire and a slipping faith.

RaviZachariasSome people say that theology is not important. They say that God doesn’t care what you believe as long as you love Jesus. Or they say that theology divides but the Spirit unifies.

In fact, the Spirit of God divides the church by his WORD. Truth and error are separated when compared with Scripture. And Scripture principles are what “theology” is in the first place.

Theology, or the “Study of God,” means knowing who God is, what He is, how He is, what He does, what He wants from us. These are all that theology is the study of.  There is a GREAT difference between the God of Persia (Zoroaster) and the God of the Bible.

The Persians got what the land of Anatolia lost.

ACTION POINT: What about YOU? Do you care to know God for Who He IS? Studying a comprehensive catechism, like the Westminster Shorter Catechism, can help you be grounded in Truth. The truth can set you free. Please share your experiences or thoughts about this in the comments below.

Review of The Facade by Michael Heiser

Missing “Crucial” Detail: the Cross of Christ

I looked at The Facade on two levels. The first is the storyline and craft. I am glad to have read this book. It presents a fictional scenario for the alien/demon connection in end-time events. I was engaged completely in the storyline. The plots and subplots worked well, and I especially liked how the documentation of the Roswell/Paperclip/experimentation theories worked into the plot but also informed the readers. The final scene persuaded me to not buy the sequel.

The second level I want to address is the message. The book presented the view of demons supported by church fathers in the early years, namely that demons were unholy offspring of angels with women. This is unsupported in Scripture. John Calvin addressed this idea in his Genesis commentary: “That ancient figment, concerning the intercourse of angels with women, is abundantly refuted by its own absurdity; and it is surprising that learned men should formerly have been fascinated by ravings so gross and prodigious.” When you start to bring into the dialogue extra-biblical sources, you compromise the principle of Sola Scriptura and open yourself up to misunderstanding and heresy.

Another and stronger objection I have to the message has to do with a premise that is unfounded: demons killing Christians, directly. Men can kill Christians. Demons no doubt have given rise to all the persecutions of Christians since Stephen. Demons can stir in men the desire and malice to kill. But to give a freedom to demons in fiction that they do not have in life undermines the victory that Christ wrought on our behalf (and undermines the integrity of the book’s premise). Christians are immune from them. And Christians are safe under the hand of a God through whom every demon must get permission for any act, i.e. the Book of Job.

The reason Scripture is void of any but a cursory explanation of the hierarchy or inner-workings of the demon world, is that it is God’s business. How he uses angels or manipulates demons in the answer of our prayers is a mystery the Bible clearly leaves unanswered. It is not really important, in the big scheme of things. We may wonder. But the obvious silence on the matter means that there are more important things to be thinking about. Our business.

Not, is a demon on my shoulder whispering for me to commit adultery, but rather, “God, give me help to overcome this temptation!” Not, what demon is blocking our church’s evangelism efforts, but rather, “God, bring salvation to our town. Give the believers strength and wisdom in their evangelism.” We should not give undue attention to the demonic realm. We should know it’s there, and remember “greater is He that is in me than he that is in the world.” So even if we come across someone that is demon/alien-possessed, we address Christ in the matter, “Jesus, I ask you to free this man from his chains.”

The most important point to remember is “undue attention” is what the prince of demons wanted in the first place, why he fell. My biggest problem with The Facade is that there is no Jesus Christ whose death brought victory and safety to his bride. The cross did nothing, in this scenario.

I recommend reading The Facade, and then following it up with this book, Chuck Lowe’s Territorial Spirits and World Evangelisation.

A quote from the above book says regarding Paul, in his epistles of Ephesians and Colossians, “First, he insists, the power of Satan has already been decisively broken …. We need not fear Satan’s power: Christ has much greater power and far higher authority …. Nor need we fear Satan’s vengeance …. Nor need we fear Satan’s dominion over the world …. Secondly, all this was done without our help or involvement …. The war has been won, and it has been won without us” (p57).

The main character of The Facade, Brian, is supposed to be a Presbyterian. He would have known this if he were a catechized Presbyterian. I agree that aliens are demons in modern garb. It’s great that this has been tackled in a religious scenario. However, the fiction it is preaching alongside the real facts of the alien “problem” creates a heresy. It declares that the author does not fully understand the implications for Christians in this field.

The testimonies of former victims on the Alienresistance website, praised in his acknowledgements, should have been enough to teach the author that the only way to rid oneself of alien influence is the name of Jesus.

Solus Christus

Solus Christus. This means “In Christ Alone.” Only by Christ’s intervention. Only by the Coming-Between of Christ can we even hope for salvation. We cannot come on our own. We need that High Priest who has the right to come into the holy place, not by the blood of bulls, but by His own holy blood.

As are the other “Solas,” this stands in juxtaposition to the teachings of the Medieval Catholic Church.The belief then was that the Church (and in particular the new priesthood of the Pope and those under him) is the go-between for Man and God–the way that Moses was a go-between.

Protestant Christians believe otherwise. Christ opened the way for believers to directly enter into the holy of holies (thus the tearing of the curtain from top to bottom ). Christ is our Mediator.

He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, thus obtaining eternal redemption.  Hebrews 9:12

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 1 Tim 2:5

What is it that Christ did?  He took my place.  His blood was shed for me.

1. I SINNED, and the consequence for that sin is swift, immediate DEATH.

Q-What is sin?  A-Sin is any want of conformity unto or transgression of the Law of God. (WSC #14) In other words, sins of omission and sins of comission.  Sins of forgetting to do right, and sins of doing wrong.

Jesus upped the ante by telling how detailed God is in viewing sin.  If you even CONSIDER doing it, it’s sin.

For the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6:23)

2.  JESUS TOOK MY PLACE.  

He lived a righteous life.  Knowing how detailed God is in judging even the motives and intentions of the heart, it is amazing to know he “was tempted in all ways, but without sin.”  (Heb 4:15)  He died for those “given to him” before the creation of the world.  He was resurrected, opening up the way to God.  (Rom 8:11 )  Wow!

3.  FAITH IN THAT ACT…

Faith alone brings about what is called “vicarious atonement,” which means “the death He died He died for me.”  And faith proves itself through works. (James 2:14) Anyone who believes that Christ died for them, cares to live in a way conformed to that life and death.  The Holy Spirit living in us brings about the holy life God desires.

He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time, but it has now been revealed through the appearing of our Savior, Christ Jesus, who has destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel. (2 Tim 1:9-10)

In Christ alone my hope is found;
He is my light, my strength, my song;
This cornerstone, this solid ground,
Firm through the fiercest drought and storm.
What heights of love, what depths of peace,
When fears are stilled, when strivings cease!
My comforter, my all in all—
Here in the love of Christ I stand.

In Christ alone, Who took on flesh,
Fullness of God in helpless babe!
This gift of love and righteousness,
Scorned by the ones He came to save.
Till on that cross as Jesus died,
The wrath of God was satisfied;
For ev’ry sin on Him was laid—
Here in the death of Christ I live.

There in the ground His body lay,
Light of the world by darkness slain;
Then bursting forth in glorious day,
Up from the grave He rose again!
And as He stands in victory,
Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me;
For I am His and He is mine—
Bought with the precious blood of Christ.

No guilt in life, no fear in death—
This is the pow’r of Christ in me;
From life’s first cry to final breath,
Jesus commands my destiny.
No pow’r of hell, no scheme of man,
Can ever pluck me from His hand;
Till He returns or calls me home—
Here in the pow’r of Christ I’ll stand.

“In Christ Alone”
Words and Music by Keith Getty & Stuart Townend
Copyright © 2001 Kingsway Thankyou Music

 

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana want to “please God.” Byziana soon comes to the dead end that “I cannot please Him,” and she acts accordingly.  Marcellus, meanwhile, struggles with the big question of “How do I live a consecrated life?”  He sees monks living on pillars, he sees vicious theological struggles between leaders of the church, he reads the Scrolls but sees the Church teaching things that do not match the simplicity of Scripture.  The book is a story of Marcellus and Byziana both learning what it means that Christ was our Mediator.  Why was it that he had to come to earth as man?

Sola Scriptura

LIFE WITH NO BIBLE

What would the world be like with no Scripture?  Can you imagine, there actually was a time when God’s word was spoken into hearts only.  From the time of Adam until the giving of the law on Mount Sinai (sometime between 1600-1300 BC), there was no written record of God’s testimony to Man.

And it changed after God spoke audibly to the Children of Israel, and then took a stone and wrote with His own finger the Ten Commandments.  After this basis was written, Moses began writing the Penteteuch.  Then we have the History books and Poetry books, and the Prophetical writings of the Old Testament.

When the time was right, God sent His Word to earth in the flesh.

Once a Bible professor asked our class, which is more important:  Jesus or the Bible.  What do you think?

Consider this.  If Jesus is the Word of God, and the Bible is the Word of God, in a sense, they are equal.

It makes me cringe to think of the times I have put my Bible on the floor, or stacked things on top of it, or left it on the shelf gathering dust.

DIET OF WORMS

The year was 1521, Martin Luther, one of the lucky ones, knew Greek and Hebrew so he could read the Bible, and know what the Bible said.  He found that over the years a lot of Church leaders had neglected Scripture for the traditions of Popes and decisions of Councils before them.  His life was one big STOP SIGN held out to them.  He wanted them to know that Scripture was sufficient.  Scripture in its interaction with the common man’s intellect.

They took him to Worms, and held him on trial.  “Do you recant?” they asked him.  He looked at his books. They wanted him to deny that they were true. They wanted him to disown what he had written.  He apologized for the ones in which he was rude and disrespectful to others.  But regarding the rest he said,

“Unless I am convinced by Scripture and plain reason – I do not accept the authority of the popes and councils, for they have contradicted each other – my conscience is captive to the Word of God. I cannot and I will not recant anything for to go against conscience is neither right nor safe. God help me. Amen.”

This site includes a primary account of the Diet of Worms.

In the same way, we need to trust the Bible to direct us how we may glorify God and enjoy Him forever.

WHAT RULE?

Catechism Q2:

Q. 2. What rule hath God given to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him?

A. The Word of God, which is contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, is the only rule to direct us how we may glorify and enjoy him.

FINAL AUTHORITY

When we say Sola Scriptura, we are saying that the Bible is our final authority, and it is enough.  We don’t need other books, other people, other conferences, in order to KNOW truth.  Other books, people, conferences can help us grow in our relationship with God.  But our final authority and SOURCE for knowing God is the Bible Only.

What about the Creeds?  What about the foundational doctrines of the church, like the dual-nature of Christ, like the Trinity?  DId those not come from Councils?

Yes.  We also believe in church–the importance of going, of encouraging each other, of praying for one another.  We believe in the Preaching of the Word, that the pastor has a unique message for the church each time he preaches.  We are intimately aware of the need for others involved in our lives to teach and instruct.  But Sola Scriptura means that if it is not specifically taught in Scripture, it is not authoritative.  Trinity is a word that is not in Scripture. But the triune nature of God IS in Scripture.  The Councils that depended upon Scripture alone, through the reasonings of Biblical passages, are considered by Protestant Christians to be authoritative for our lives.  The others are not.  For example, if the evidence is extra-biblical–like some

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus, Byziana and his family are some of the rare common people who actually know how to read, and who actually have Scripture scrolls that they can read whenever they want.  When they depend upon the Scrolls, they find their relationship with God grows and their peace and joy in life grows.  When Byziana reads Leo’s Tome, she understands from Scripture that the nature of Christ was dual–God and man.

Soli Deo Gloria

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WHAT*S IT ABOUT?

Sola Deo Gloria means “All For the Glory of God.” It’s an attitude about life.

1) It’s not all about me.

2) It’s not all about mankind.

3) It’s not all about nature.

4) It’s not all about aliens, or something ‘out there’ that eludes us.

I exist for one purpose.  That is, “I” exist for a purpose that God determined.  As His creature, I am subservient to Him. So whatever He wants for me I can either DO or NOT DO.  If I figure it out, and DO it, I’m sure it will go well for me. If I decide to NOT DO.  Well, I would guess that if a creator makes something that “doesn’t work right” he’s going to decide to not use it.

What is my purpose?  Oh, the eternal question.  “WHY AM I HERE?”

Back to the Catechism questions:

Q1-What is the chief end of Man?

A1-Man’s chief end is to glorify God and to enjoy Him forever.

The purpose of mankind is to glorify God.  More than that, there’s a bonus. We get to benefit from that as well.  We get to enjoy Him, and that eternally!  Pretty good deal, if I figure it out, and if I DO it.

But of course, we can only start down that road if God Himself calls us, so it’s up to Him in the first place.

BUT IF IT*S ALL ABOUT GOD

Then the reason I live today…the way I work…the way I talk to my family…the choices I make…need to fall in line with what honors God, with what brings Him that GLORY that is due Him.

If it’s all about God, we are required to look at the world through the perspective of God.  And so it’s essential that we read the Bible.  It’s essential that we live according to it.

IN THE BOOK: TRUNK OF SCROLLS

Marcellus and Byziana soon find out just how powerful God is, and how weak they are.  What can they do to get out from under–what seems to be–the wrath of God?  If all is for the glory of God, if it is all about God, then what role to the small insignificant people have on this earth?  How can we know?  These are some BIG QUESTIONS rattling the faith of our main characters in Trunk of Scrolls.