II Samuel 13

1. After this Absalom the son of David had a lovely sister, whose name was Tamar; and Amnon the son of David loved her.

Now the trouble God promised as David’s punishment starts. We will see from where this trouble comes, and it will be even as the LORD said: trouble will come on David out of his own household. When we think of it, this only makes sense. When power and thrones are part of the picture, jealousy and murder and other terrible crimes often follow. All one has to do is look at the history of any longstanding dynasty and one will see that this is so. Moreover, David had made this even more likely in his household by basically having rival families. Since he had multiple wives, he therefore was the father of multiple families: one family with one wife being related to but not the same as another family by another wife. Full siblings can have difficulty enough with each other in a royal court, but with half siblings and rival mothers, things can only get worse. David was setting up his family for chaos by the unwise practice of taking so many wives, completely contrary to the LORD’s command to kings. Read the rest of this entry »

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II Samuel 12 Continued

14. However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the LORD to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.”

Though the LORD has taken away David’s sin, this does not mean that there will not be consequences. Moreover, these consequences must come because David by this deed has given great occasion to the enemies of Yahweh to blaspheme. That is what the current, Hebrew text reads. Yet this is one of the places where the Sopherim, the self-proclaimed “wise ones,” decided to edit Scripture and changed the text from what it originally read. What Nathan actually told David is that he had greatly blasphemed Yahweh. He had indeed caused Yahweh’s enemies to blaspheme, it is true, for David had been identified with Yahweh as His anointed king and therefore as His representative on earth. Anything he did that was amiss, and particularly something as awful and foul as this, would cause these enemies to speak against Yahweh. Yet it is also true that Yahweh was in relationship with David, and David’s every action reflected his attitude towards the One Who had stooped to work with him and love him as Yahweh had done. For him to shove Yahweh behind his back, to spit on His laws and mock His justice, was not just for David to cause others to blaspheme, but also for him to blaspheme Yahweh himself. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 12

1. Then the LORD sent Nathan to David. And he came to him, and said to him: “There were two men in one city, one rich and the other poor.

In His displeasure, the LORD sends Nathan to David. Nathan is the familiar prophet we already read about in chapter 7. He was the one David sent for when he was thinking about the fact that he lived in a settled house and the ark of God was in a temporary tent. David wanted to build a temple for the LORD. Nathan at first spoke his own thought that David should go ahead, but the LORD quickly straightened him out and sent him back to give David the real message. Now, he is the one whom the LORD sends to rebuke David and express to him His displeasure at his sin. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question from a reader:

I know that I have heard Mr. Sellers say many times that there were “no secret believers in the Acts period”.

I also have heard him say and write that “In the Acts period every believing Israelite became a mediator in some manner.” (SB017) What I am wondering is where specifically are these ideas coming from? Is it Mark 16:17-18, “and these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover“? Were the “signs that follow them” what made them manifest to everyone else? Did they walk around with some icon of a cross or a star of David floating around above their heads? I know that is a ridiculous thing to say, of course they didn’t have that, but what was it? What if they weren’t actively performing the miraculous feats listed in Mark 16? Suppose they were just walking down the main street, would all passersby know that they were identified with the Lord Jesus Christ simply by observing them? I think I’m misunderstanding something here, although I don’t doubt or deny the claim that “there were no secret believers in the Acts period.” Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

I am studying the Acts 28 position (coming from a Mid acts position). I am studying all I can about the Acts 28 position. As I first want to study essentials, I want to know more about your vision concerning the unbelievers’ destination. I can’t find this information easily on any of the Acts 28 sites. Can you please inform me more concerning this issue?

Hope you can help me in this?

Thanks for your time and help,

Greetings,

I am happy that you are examining the Acts 28 position. Though you do not say whether or not you are leaning toward it or away from it, I do pray that you will give it a fair consideration in the light of Scripture. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 11 Continued

5. And the woman conceived; so she sent and told David, and said, “I am with child.”

It seems that after this illicit union Bathsheba returns home. Yet that is not the end of the matter, for she conceives from this union, and sends to tell David. It is interesting that she does not go herself. We wonder who her chosen messenger was? Of course, it does not really matter.

Her message is brief, yet its import David will immediately understand. Her husband is off at the war, and so he will know quite well that this child is not his. If she is caught in adultery, she will be put to death. Yet the law does not just prescribe this penalty for her, but for him as well. The death penalty was for both the adulterer and the adulteress, as Leviticus 20:10 makes clear. Of course, she could always shield David and refuse to say who the father of her child was, but her message to David makes it rather clear that she is not planning on doing this. She wants David to shield her. She has no intention to shield him. She wants him to know that she will not be afraid to take him down with her if he does not do something to rescue her! Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 11

1. It happened in the spring of the year, at the time when kings go out to battle, that David sent Joab and his servants with him, and all Israel; and they destroyed the people of Ammon and besieged Rabbah. But David remained at Jerusalem.

Now we come upon one of the saddest chapters in the Bible, and certainly the saddest one in the life of the great King David, yet still this is a chapter from which we can learn much. We might almost wish that David’s life had come to an end early and unexpectedly, rather than that he lived to darken his reputation and shame the character of his God, as we read him doing in this chapter. Read the rest of this entry »

II Samuel 10 Continued

4. Therefore Hanun took David’s servants, shaved off half of their beards, cut off their garments in the middle, at their buttocks, and sent them away.

An older and more experienced king may not have been taken in by the spiteful lies of these counsellors. Hanun, however, as a young and impressionable king, believes their slanderous accusations. Thus, in supposed retaliation for what he believed to be David’s attempt to spy on him, he subjects David’s ambassadors to malicious humiliation.

First he shaves off half their beards. I suppose this would not seem so humiliating to us. If your beard was wrecked this way, you would probably just shave it off altogether. Yet in that time all men wore beards, so it was disgraceful not to have a beard. To finish cutting it off, then, would not really remove the humiliation. Then as a second act of spite, they cut their garments in the middle to expose their buttocks. Then, in this disgraceful state, they send David’s ambassadors away. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

If you have time, I have a question concerning the resurrections. There will be those resurrected and allowed to live in the kingdom that haven’t necessarily been a believer in this dispensation, but they also have not rejected God. If they submit to, and accept the expectations of the kingdom as it bursts on the scene, and if they can keep up with the advancing responsibilities as the kingdom moves forward from the head (ear) stage to the full grain in the head (full corn in the ear) stage, they will be allowed to live in the kingdom. If they do not submit, continue to submit, or do not keep up with the advancing restraints of the kingdom, they will not be allowed to continue to live in the kingdom.

Revelation 20:6 says that the second death has no power over those who are part of the first resurrection. If someone is part of the first resurrection by being allowed to enter into the kingdom, but then fails to remain submissive and obedient, they are again put to death. Wouldn’t these be found unworthy and their names not found in the Book of Life? Would they not be judged negatively at the white throne judgement of Revelation 20 and therefore, subject to the second death? Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Whereas we can read that Silas was also a Roman citizen, apart from perhaps those other relatives Paul greets in several passages, were those ‘50,000’, ‘100,000’ or ‘200,000’ Jews living in Rome (Spain, Italy or wherever) Roman citizens? Do we have an exact Biblical quotation indicating this fact? Or were they simply immigrant foreigners like the many Greeks and other many gentiles who lived in Israel who were plain immigrant foreigners themselves?

And, yes, I would like to praise and pinpoint your emphasis that Cornelius was a Roman who had become proselytized and a believer in the only One God of the Jews. However, he lived in Caesarea which, as you yourself highlight, was an international city.

I hope we are communicating on this issue.

I do not know the criteria the Romans had for granting citizenship to those who moved into their city. I was assuming that Jews who lived there for quite some time would have been considered as Roman citizens. Read the rest of this entry »