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Archive for May, 2014

700k

On May 21st, 2014 around 5 PM Pacific Standard Time we hit a milestone on our blog of 700,000 hits.

I’m thankful for the other two bloggers who blog with me here on Veritas Domain.

I can speak for the group that we are thankful for all of you who have read our blog and/or fellowshipped with us over the years!  We are thankful to God.

I think this might be a good time for some news on our blog:

First off, we will continue to blog on here with posts related to apologetics, Christian worldview, Reformed theology, Presuppositional apologetics and the Bible.  We will continue with our blog series, our book reviews and posting of good resources online.  Our intent is always to equip God’s people and also evangelize the lost, for the glory of God.

Secondly, while it’s still up in the air we might have some revision of the look of the website sometime late July and August.

Thirdly we praise the Lord that we made the list of Jared Moore’s Top 250 Christian Blog for 2013-2014 as a blog that was barely grafted in.  Check out his page for the other top 250 Chrisitan blogs!

Josh-5

Fourthly, we have been on the Social Media scene now for almost a year, be sure to connect with us on Facebook and Twitter to stay connecgted!

 

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 For Exposition of Jonah Part 4 click HERE

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Jonah 1:17-2:10

Introduction: We pick up from last week with part two of our look at Jonah 1:17-2:10 to see what it teaches us about praying in response to God’s grace.

Establish the need: Do you know what a prayer of responding to God’s grace look like?

 Purpose: To see the four characteristics of what a prayer responding to God’s grace looks like so we can truly commune with God.

In addition we will add a fifth point to emphasize the foundation of our response rest on God’s grace and not the other way around.

OUTLINE

Grace driven prayer begins with remembering God in your trials (v.5-7a, 1:17)

Grace driven prayer desires God’s presence again (v.4, 7b)

Grace driven prayer confesses sin (v.3, 8)

Grace driven prayer involves involve our will (v.2, 9)

God’s mercy and salvation before our prayer of confession (v.17, 10)

 (NOTE: Last week we went over points 1-3, in this post we focus on points 4-5)

 

IV. Grace driven prayer involves our will (v.2, 9)

Passage:and he said,“I called out of my distress to the Lord, And He answered me.  I cried for help from the [c]depth of Sheol;You heard my voice.”

AND

But I will sacrifice to You With the voice of thanksgiving.  That which I have vowed I will pay.  Salvation is from the Lord.”

Proof:

i.      In verse 2, “I called out” literally is “I cry out.”

      1. Later in the same verse same Hebrew verb is being stated but translated in the NASB as “I cried” and specifically “for help
      2. One can imagine one’s will and passion behind this cry for help when one is facing the possibility of drowning.

ii.      Jonah’s desire for a future action:

      1. But I will sacrifice to You” (v.9a)
      2. That which I have vowed I will pay.”(v.9a)

iii.      Jonah wishes one day to present sacrifice “With the voice of thanksgiving” (v.9) which obviously require one’s volition to freely do this task.

Practice:

i.      It is not enough to give lip service to God’s grace; rather God’s grace should drive our will into action!

ii.      Do you see fruits in your life in light of your understanding of the Gospel, God’s grace and Jesus Christ as Savior?

iii.      If you don’t see fruit, then study God’s grace more intensely so that you will love Him and truths about Him will change your will by the working of the Holy Spirit.

 

V. God’s mercy and salvation before our prayer (1:17, 10)

Passage: 17 [a]And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.

AND

10 Then the Lord commanded the fish, and it vomited Jonah up onto the dry land.

Proof:

i.      Right away God allowed a great fish to ensure Jonah didn’t drown (1:17)

ii.      Then after “Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights” (1:17) we read 2:10 of Jonah being brought back to “dry land.”

iii.      Both instances it was the Lord behind it as both verses emphasize with “appoint” and “command.

iv.      One COMMENT: “and it vomited Jonah up” (v.10) was probably God’s merciful way of humbling Jonah with his dangerous pride since the OT consistently portray vomiting negatively in places like Leviticus 18:25-28, 20:22, Isaiah 19:14, 28:8, Jeremiah 25:27, etc(Youngblood, Location 2269).

Practice: Ultimately, it’s not our prayers that bring God’s grace since God’s grace happens even before our prayers; do you therefore pray prayers of thanksgiving for His grace?

 NEXT: Exposition of Jonah Part 6

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Return of the Kosher Pig , by Tzahi Shapira

 
Pick up your copy of “Return of the Kosher Pig” over at Amazon

This is a book written by a Jewish Rabbi name Itzhak Shapira who spent years studying rabbinic Jewish texts and came to the conclusion that Jesus is the Messiah.  The main thesis of the book is that within the traditions of Judaism, the Messiah is understood as someone who is more than a mere man; some sources even suggest that the Messiah possesses divine authority.  Throughout the book the author reminds his readers that he is not arguing that everyone within Judaism accepts the idea that the Messiah is more than a man; instead he argues that the belief in the supernatural origin and character of the Messiah has historically been within the bounds of orthodox Judaism and should not be dismissed as a heretical belief.  Along the way the author also argues that the fulfillment of these characteristics of the Messiah has been fulfilled in the person and work of Jesus of Nazareth.

Before we look at the strength and weaknesses of the book, it is important to make a comment about the controversial title of the book.  My initial reaction to the title was whether or not this was design to provoke and offend.  The author makes it clear in the introduction that he’s not out to offend other Jews unnecessarily, and the tone of the rest of the book affirms that.  What Shapira is trying to do is to play on the Hebrew word “return” and “pig,” which share the same Hebrew consonantal roots.  The title of the book also play on the Rabbinic concept that some held that the Messiah will be rejected like a pig as unkoshered, but one day will return and acknowledged as the Messiah.

STRENGTH

This book will help Christians become familiar with the development of rabbinic traditions from the time of Jesus onwards.  Throughout the book the author regularly footnotes what certain Hebrew phrases mean and the glossary in the back of 300 Hebrew phrases will prove to be helpful for the Gentile readers.  I also appreciate that in the beginning of the book the author defines and discusses essential facets of rabbinic Judaism over the last two thousand years.

Whether or not you agree with the author, one can appreciate that in the beginning of the book he makes it clear what his theological methods are.  Since Shapira desire for his Jewish audience to come to know Jesus as their Messiah he adopts the Jewish hermeneutical system call PARDES which is the Hebrew acronym for P’Shat, Remez, Drash and SodP’Shat refer to the literal reading of the Scriptures, with the other three moving on from the literal and direct level of the text.  These four interpretative methods are explained in the book and the author makes it known that he will adopt this Rabbinic framework in approaching the question of the Messiah.  Non-Jews will no doubt find it fascinating to learn of the hermeneutical approach of Rabbinic Judaism.  I appreciated also that the author stresses the literal interpretation of the Bible comes first before employing the other three methods.

The book is well documented, with hundreds of footnotes.  I am amazed at how many Jewish sources the author cited.  As a result of reading this book, I was able to do some further research including looking up the portion of the Talmud that talks about the Messiah in Sanhedrin 98a.  It is a plus any time a book helps points the reader to the primary sources for further study.

The best part of the book are the moments the author deal with the literal interpretation of the Jewish Scripture and draw out from it what it teaches concerning the Messiah.  In addition I appreciated the discussion of the evidence for Jesus Christ involving the Stone Messianic references that I first learned about from Gregory Harris’ book The Stone and the Glory.  There are some excellent literal prophecies that were fulfilled by Jesus—and that should move us to worship if we know Him!

WEAKNESS

At times the book was too speculative in its argumentation.  For instance, the author uses the PARDES method beyond the literal interpretation yielded some strange fruits. Take for example how the author allegorizes the donkey in Zechariah 9:9.  Contextually the Messiah is to ride on according to this passage.  The author took “donkey” to mean “the world” since the Hebrew word for donkey and “substance” share the same root (199).  This commits the exegetical word study fallacy by appealing to etymology.  Then on page 205 the author tells us that bread represents a spark of heaven and is referring to resurrected spirit even though he doesn’t establish his case from the Hebrew Scripture.  This is followed by page 206 that tells us “that the feminine manifestation of God represents the part of that God that we can see and remain alive” (206).  The Bible never indicates God’s revelation to us is His feminine manifestation.  I also wasn’t too thrill about the counting of the numerical value of certain Hebrew words to show the value was equal to another Hebrew word; we never see this kind of hermeneutical ploy used by anyone in the Bible to make sense of the Jewish Scripture.  Again, as I said earlier it is way too speculative.  A book full of these interpretative gymnastic is distracting; I think it would have served the cause better and have the case stronger if the authors just stuck to the literal interpretation and the collobration of those interpretation from Jewish rabbinic sources.

At times the author could have done a better job explaining what he was quoting or who it was he was quoting from and why is it that it is important (note, he certainly does this at times but could do it more).  The list of Jewish Rabbis in the back of the book wasn’t helpful when you are reading through the book and wondering who this or that Rabbi was since the Rabbis were not listed in alphabetical order but according to their time period.

NOTE: I received this book for free from the publisher Messianic Jewish Publishers through Cross Focused Reviews in exchange for my honest opinion. The thoughts and words are my own and I was under no obligation to provide a favorable review.

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  • Was God” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος; literal translation is “God was the Word”)
    • Recap of grammar background (predicate nominative, comes first before the subject nominative)
      • θεὸς (“God”).  The predicate is “God.”
      • ὁ λόγος appears in each of the three clauses (subject of this clause is “The Word”) is the subject (also in the nominative): the Word (3x).
      • Between the predicate nominative and the subject is a linking verb (“was”).
      • Predicate usually follows the linking verb.  You see that in the English translation.  In the Greek, the predicate comes first.  WHY?  Because…
      • There is special emphasis when the predicate nominative is first.  The fact that God is first in the sentence emphasizes that the Word is God in nature, essence, and attributes.
      • Also, since there is no definite article (“the”) before “God” it does show that the Word is not the same person as the Father, but the Word is equal in essenceattributes, quality, & nature to the Father.
      • Moreover, the structure of the third clause, “theos en ho logos” (θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος), demands that it is translated as “the Word was God.”
        • That is corroborated by the fact that “the Word” is preceded by an article; thereby making it a subject (that is why our English translations shows the Word being “the Word”…being translated first).  This prevents Sabellianism (Modalism) whereby God the Father is perceived to be the Word.  The Word (second person of the Trinity) is not the Father and the Father is not the Word.
        • Verses in the Book of John that describes Jesus Christ as being the same as God the Father in essence and nature, but different in person-hood (John 8:56-59 (cf. Exo. 3:13-14); 10:28-33; 14:6-11; 1 John 5:20; (also John 8:23; 3:12-13; 5:17-18).  This complements the third clause in John 1:1 (“The Word was God”). Jn 20:28, “Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!”
      • And ἦν (ēn), the imperfect ([stresses continual existence from the past time] of εἰμί), which is a linking verb, appears three times in verse 1.
        • In the beginning was the Word,
        • And the Word was with God,
        • And God was the Word [literal translation, but a good translation would be the other way around]
        • Saying that he was “a god” undermines the imperfect tense (“was”).  That fact that the tense of the verb is in the imperfect tense indicates that Jesus was not “a god” but was God who existed before time and the God that was never created.  The Word cannot be created because He is eternal.  That is why we believe in the pre-existence of Christ.
      • Secondly, λόγος is coordinated with God; thus it is distinguishable that the Son is a different person from the Father (see Heb. 1:8-9).  Three persons, but one God.
      • Although θεὸς is anarthrous (has no article), it does not mean one should translate θεὸς ἦν ὁ λόγος  (theos ēn ho logos) “the Word was a god,” as the Jehovah’s Witnesses’ New World Translation suggests.  It is evident in many occasions that when John uses θεὸς without an article (John 1:6, 12, 13, 18), it is in reference to God the Father (thus, still definite). If the Jehovah’s Witness want to translate as “a god” whenever they see θεὸς as anarthrous, then they should translate those verses that has to do with God in John 1:6, 12, 13, 18 as they would with John 1:1.
      •  You could still have a definite predicate noun in this construction, placed before the verb, to be anarthrous (that is, to have no article) (D.A. Carson, The Gospel According to John, 117).  Therefore, contextually, God is still definite.
        • Please see New World Translation on the following verses:
          • John 1:6, “There came a man who was sent as a representative of God; his name was John.”
          • John 1:12, “However, to all who did receive him, he gave authority to become God’s children.”
          • John 1:13, “And they were born, not from blood or from a fleshly will or from man’s will, but from God.”
          • John 1:18, “No man has seen God at any time; the only begotten God who is at the Father’s side is the one who has explained Him.”
        • Please see the UBS (4th edition) Greek translation of the above verses and pay attention θεοῦ which is anarthrous (without a definite article before θεοῦ).  The JW is not consistent because they did not translate θεοῦ (God) as “a god” as they did with John 1:1 (“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was a god.”).  They are applying bad translation principles.
          • John 1:6, Ἐγένετο ἄνθρωπος, ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ Ἰωάννης·
          • John 1:12, ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,
          • John 1:13, οἳ οὐκ ἐξ αἱμάτων οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος σαρκὸς οὐδὲ ἐκ θελήματος ἀνδρὸς ἀλλʼ ἐκ θεοῦ ἐγεννήθησαν.
          • John 1:18, θεὸν οὐδεὶς ἑώρακεν πώποτε· μονογενὴς θεὸς ὁ ὢν εἰς τὸν κόλπον τοῦ πατρὸς ἐκεῖνος ἐξηγήσατο
        • Implications
          • Clearly you see the inconsistencies and contradictions of the New World Translation regarding the word θεὸς (Theos) when it is anarthrous.  Context can not be ignored  here.  Clearly John is referring to more than one person.  The other person who is the Word is not a god, but God.
          • In John 1:1, the Apostle John wants to distinguish the Father from the Son.  He is not separating them ontologically in the area of deity because we see the Trinity as one God (Deuteronomy 6:4; cf. 1 Corinthians 8:5-6).  But he is separating them ontologically in terms of persons (three different persons, but one God).
          • And clearly John is not saying that Jesus is a god because that would violate Scripture’s understanding of the role of God as creator and the One who is our only object of worship.  No one can be worshipped, but God alone.  We are monotheists (Trinity).
  • In other words, if Jesus was a god, then He cannot be worshipped nor can He be the agent of creation.  The main role of worship and creation is limited only to God.  No angel nor “a god” (which does not exist) can be worshipped or have the power to create.
    • Glory:
      • Isaiah 42:8, “I am the Lord, that is My name; I will not give My glory to another, Nor My praise to graven images.”
    • Worship:
      • Acts 10:25-26, “When Peter entered, Cornelius met him, and fell at his feet and worshiped him. 26 But Peter raised him up, saying, “Stand up; I too am just a man.”
      • Revelation 19:9-10, “Then he *said to me, “Write, ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the marriage supper of the Lamb.’” And he *said to me, “These are true words of God.” 10 Then I fell at his feet to worship him. But he *said to me, “Do not do that; I am a fellow servant of yours and your brethren who hold the testimony of Jesus; worship God. For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”
      • Revelation 5
      • Matthew 2:2; John 9:38; John 8:24; Luke 5:12 (‘worship’ is proskuneo)
      • Luke 5:8, But when Simon Peter saw that, he fell down at Jesus’ feet, saying, “Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man!”
      • Hebrews 1:6, “And when He again brings the firstborn into the world, He says, “AND LET ALL THE  ANGELS OF GOD WORSHIP HIM.”
    • Even in His incarnation, He did not cease to be God
      • Even though He emptied Himself  (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • (Philippians 2:7; Mark 13:32) by becoming the suffering Servant, the bond-servant (slave); and choosing not to exercise some of His independent attributes, He was still fully God.
      • Amazing Grace!
  • Quote: Benjamin B. Warfield said:

‘And the Word was with God.’  The language is pregnant. It is not merely coexistence with God that is asserted, as of two beings standing side by side, united in local relation, or even in a common conception. What is suggested is an active relation of intercourse. The distinct personality of the Word is therefore not obscurely intimated. From all eternity the Word has been with God as a fellow: He who in the very beginning already ‘was,’ ‘was’ also in communion with God. Though He was thus in some sense a second along with God, He was nevertheless not a separate being from God: ‘And the Word was’ –still the eternal ‘was’ –‘God.’ In some sense distinguishable from God, He was in an equally true sense identical with God. There is but one eternal God; this eternal God, the Word is; in whatever sense we may distinguish Him from the God whom He is ‘with,’ He is yet not another than this God, but Himself is this God. The predicate ‘God’ occupies the position of emphasis in this great declaration, and is so placed in the sentence as to be thrown up in sharp contrast with the phrase ‘with God,’ as if to prevent inadequate inferences as to the nature of the Word being drawn even momentarily from that phrase. John would have us realize that what the Word was in eternity was not merely God’s coeternal fellow, but the eternal God’s self” (Benjamin Breckenridge Warfield, The Person and Work of Christ, 53).

  • Quote: James White said:

The Beloved Apostle walks a tight line here. By the simple ommission of the article (“the”, or in Greek, ho) before the word for God in the last phrase, John avoids teaching Sabellianism[1], while by placing the word where it is in the clause, he defeats another heresy, Arianism, which denies the true Deity of the Lord Jesus. A person who accepts the inspiration of the Scriptures can not help but be thrilled at this passage” (http://vintage.aomin.org/JOHN1_1.html).

  • Quote:  The bonafide Greek scholar AT Robertson says this about the last clause in John 1:1:

And the Word was God (kai theos en ho logos). By exact and careful language John denied Sabellianism by not saying ho theos en ho logos. That would mean that all of God was expressed in ho logos and the terms would be interchangeable, each having the article. The subject is made plain by the article (ho logos) and the predicate without it (theos) just as in John 4:24 pneuma ho theos can only mean “God is spirit,” not ‘spirit is God.’  So in 1 John 4:16 ho theos agape estin can only mean ‘God is love,’ not ‘love is God’ as a so-called Christian scientist would confusedly say. For the article with the predicate see Robertson, Grammar, pp. 767f. So in John 1:14 ho Logos sarx egeneto, ‘the Word became flesh,’ not ‘the flesh became Word.’  Luther argues that here John disposes of Arianism also because the Logos was eternally God, fellowship of the Father and Son, what Origen called the Eternal Generation of the Son (each necessary to the other). Thus in the Trinity we see personal fellowship on an equality” ( A. T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament, vol. 5, 4-5).

  • Quote: F.F. Bruce on NWT:

It is nowhere more sadly true than in the acquisition of Greek that ‘a little learning is a dangerous thing.’ The uses of the Greek article, the functions of Greek prepositions, and the fine distinctions between Greek tenses are confidently expounded in public at times by men who find considerable difficulty in using these parts of speech accurately in their native tongue….Those people who emphasize that the true rendering of the last clause of John 1:1 is ‘the word was a god,’  prove nothing thereby save their ignorance of Greek grammar” ( F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments, 60-61).

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Videos of Christian Answers to Hard Questions by Westminster Theological Seminary As a busy pastor discipling God’s people I see the need for books that are short, concise, biblical and hard hitting as a resource in training up God’s people to have a Christian worldview (among other things of course). I have found that the series of booklet titled “Christian Answers to Hard Questions” written by various faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary to be quite helpful in that regards.  I have reviewed some of them in the past on our blog and Lord willing next week I’ll be reviewing several more of these works.  (I will also link my reviews on here under each booklet for those who may wish to bookmark this) You can order them as a set from WTS Bookstore at 50% off by clicking HERE. Eight of nine works have already been published; the one still not available is on the topic of Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design. The following below are videos related to each of these wonderful little booklets.  I think these videos are also helpful!

Christian Interpretations of Genesis 1

Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress

Christianity and the Role of Philosophy

Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint

(My Review)

Should You Believe in God?

Rev. Dr. K. Scott Oliphint

(My Review)

Was Jesus Really Born of a Virgin?

Rev. Dr. Brandon Crowe

The Morality of God in the Old Testament

Rev. Dr. Gregory Beale

(My Review)

Did Adam Exist?

Rev. Dr. Vern Poythress (My Review)

How Did Evil Come Into This World?

Rev. Dr. WilliamEdgar (My Review)

How Can I Know?

Rev. Dr. David Garner (My Review)

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These are links related to Presuppositional apologetics between May 15th-19th, 2014.  We’re posting these a little earlier than usual in light of upcoming posts this week.

1.) Random Theology: Presuppositionalism Made Simple

2.) How Can I Know For Sure?

3.) Gratitude for Francis Schaeffer

4.) Answering Objections to Presuppositional apologetics Video with Jason Petersen and Dustin Segers

5.) Presuppositional Apologetics Message: John MacArthur

6.) A FUNY and Devastating Critique of Presuppositional Apologetics?

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Alpha Omega Ministries

The video below is a debate between Christian apologist James White debates Islamic scholar Yusuf Ismail.

It is on the topic: Is the Quran a Reliable Record of the Teachings of Muhammad?

The debate took place on October 1, 2013 in South Africa.

I appreciate Dr. White’s contribution towards apologetics dealing with Islam.

Enjoy!

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