I received the following question:

I have a question for you.  We have recently been studying/discussing the meaning and definition of “sin.”  Does the definition change between the Old Testament, the Gospel Period, the Acts period, and now in the Dispensation of Grace?

The definition I’ve been given is “missing the mark.”  Appropriate, but kind of vague.

My main question has to do with Christ Jesus.  It focuses on sin, particularly referring to II Corinthians 5:20 & 21  –  (20. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  21. For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.)

Since Jesus “knew no sin”, it has been suggested that his only sin was the fact that he died.  Can the unavoidable reality of death be a sin?  I have a hard time accepting this concept.  I lean towards the belief that death is the consequence of the original sin, not a sin itself.

Good to hear from you! Very good question. I will answer as best I can. Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

One of my joys in the past year has been attending a women’s Bible study class, led for 46 years by a godly woman.  We have been studying the Book of Jeremiah, a prophet who remained steadfast for forty years in the face of rejection and persecution.  Israel was in decline–much like I believe America is now.  This week she gave us a few guidelines for praying for leaders.  Pray, of course, for strength and wisdom for godly leaders.  Ja. 5:16 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that you may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.
But there is a place for imprecatory prayer for evildoers/ evil leaders.  She used as an example David’s prayer against Ahithophel who had defected to Absalom in 2 Samuel 15:31.  Here are her suggestions: Read the rest of this entry »

I received the following question:

Nathan, you make a distinction between “the” new covenant as opposed to “a” new covenant, but II Cor. 3:6 says “the” new covenant.  It would be difficult to convince a covenant theology guy that at least when this was written, this is not “the” new covenant of Jer. 31.

The phrase “the new covenant” in II Corinthians 3:6 is inaccurate. In Luke 22:20, the phrase is he kaine diatheke, “the new covenant.” The same is true in I Corinthians 11:25, he kaine diatheke, “the new covenant.” In II Corinthians 3:6, it is kaines diathekes, “(a) new covenant.” There is no “the” in the text. It is like Hebrews 8:8, diatheken kainen, “(a) covenant new.” Hebrews 9:15 is the same, diathekes kaines, “(a) covenant new.” Hebrews 12:24 is different, diathekes neas, “(a) covenant new.” Only the Lord uses the emphatic “THE new covenant.”

The idea is of a new agreement. Since the Lord is the Mediator of THE new covenant of Jeremiah 31, it is difficult to say that the apostles were also mediators of it. The fact that the agreement they were mediating was not that of Jeremiah 31 is clear from the fact that none of the truths of the covenant of Jeremiah 31 came to be in the Acts period.

I Samuel 31

1. Now the Philistines fought against Israel; and the men of Israel fled from before the Philistines, and fell slain on Mount Gilboa.

Now our attention is drawn back from David and his men to King Saul and his army. Remember that we have just seen David’s activities, and that probably on this very same day and at nearly the same time he was slaughtering the Amalekites, a vastly superior force, and winning back his captives without a single loss to him or his men. Saul and the Israelite army are also facing a vastly superior force. Saul, however, has lost the favor of the LORD through his long unfaithfulness and stubborn disobedience. Therefore, the LORD does not help him, and it is the Philistines who are victorious in Saul’s war. The men of Israel flee from the Philistine army, and those who do not flee fall down slain in Mount Gilboa, the place where the Philistines were camped. This is what typically happens to a greatly outnumbered force, when the LORD is not on the side of the smaller force! Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 30 Continued

16. And when he had brought him down, there they were, spread out over all the land, eating and drinking and dancing, because of all the great spoil which they had taken from the land of the Philistines and from the land of Judah.

The former slave brings David down to where the Amalekites were camping. David finds them spread out in a very large camp over all the land. They are in the midst of eating and drinking and dancing in celebration of their successful raids against the Philistines and Judah. While these two nations were at war with each other, these Amalekites had sneaked into their lands and taken from them great spoil, enriching themselves. Thus David finds them celebrating, in disarray and not ready for battle. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 30

1. Now it happened, when David and his men came to Ziklag, on the third day, that the Amalekites had invaded the South and Ziklag, attacked Ziklag and burned it with fire,

In order to make the long trip back to their home in Ziklag, David and his men would have probably headed west to the Mediterranean Sea and then traveled down the coast southward back to Philistia. It seems that they make the long journey in two days, no doubt hurrying both to get away from the angry Philistine lords, and to get out of Israel where they still were fugitives. This must have been a difficult journey, and the thought of the comforts of home that awaited them must have sustained them after the frightening journey with the Philistine army and the near-disaster of almost having to fight their own people.

Yet when David and his men get back to their home in Ziklag, they find no such happy welcome as they were anticipating. We learn that the Amalekites had conducted a raid while the Israelite and Philistine armies were busy facing each other. Remember that David, while telling his new master Achish that he was invading Judah, had been making systematic attacks on various towns of the Amalekites, leaving none alive to bring back word to Achish of his true policy. Word of this had not reached Philistia, yet it seems that the Amalekites had somehow learned the truth of these deadly invasions, and have traced the cause back to the land of the Philistines, and even to David and the city of Ziklag. Thus when the armies of Israel and the Philistines, along with David and his forces, are busy facing each other in battle, they use the opportunity to take their revenge.

Thus the Amalekites had invaded the southern part of Judah, perhaps because it had formerly been David’s home, and also David’s own town of Ziklag in Philistine territory. Thus the town is completely burned with fire when David and his men arrive. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 29

1. Then the Philistines gathered together all their armies at Aphek, and the Israelites encamped by a fountain which is in Jezreel.

The Philistines apparently move their forces now, and all their lords come together and pitch their camp at Aphek. Aphek means “Fortress” or “Enclosure,” and was a traditional camp for them, as we saw they gathered there before in I Samuel 4:1: “Now Israel went out to battle against the Philistines, and encamped beside Ebenezer; and the Philistines encamped in Aphek.” There were apparently two “Aphek”s in Israel, and this one was in the tribe of Issachar, near Jezreel. This is where the Israelites choose to camp: by a fountain in Jezreel. Jezreel means “God Plants,” and was a city in Israel on the northwest spur of Mount Gilboa. Read the rest of this entry »

thedead02I Samuel 28 Continued

15. Now Samuel said to Saul, “Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?”
And Saul answered, “I am deeply distressed; for the Philistines make war against me, and God has departed from me and does not answer me anymore, neither by prophets nor by dreams. Therefore I have called you, that you may reveal to me what I should do.”

Here we have a difficulty. We know Yahweh specifically forbade going to mediums. We can read of this prohibition three times in the law. First, in Leviticus 19:31.

31. Give no regard to mediums and familiar spirits; do not seek after them, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Next, in Leviticus 20:6.

6. And the person who turns to mediums and familiar spirits, to prostitute himself with them, I will set My face against that person and cut him off from his people.

Here, we read that those who sought after mediums and familiar spirits would be cut off from Yahweh’s people. This was a harsh penalty, but it was necessary to discourage the people from ever indulging in this false and wicked practice. Finally, the prohibition is repeated in Deuteronomy 18:10-12. Read the rest of this entry »

I Samuel 28

1. Now it happened in those days that the Philistines gathered their armies together for war, to fight with Israel. And Achish said to David, “You assuredly know that you will go out with me to battle, you and your men.”

Now it so happens that the Philistines in those days gather their armies together and prepare for war, getting ready for another fight with Israel. Their war with Israel has been going on for a long time, going all the way back to before the time of Samson the judge. This is just another battle in the ongoing war. Yet David is now caught on the wrong side!

Achish plans to take David, his new servant, with him to the battle. Remember, he thinks that David has been killing Israelites all the time he has been with him, so he does not figure that this will be much of a step for David. Yet the reality is that David has not been attacking Israel at all, but rather has been attacking Israel’s enemies and doing good for his own people. Yet Achish does not know this, and so naturally thinks that David will be eager and willing to join him in the war.

Achish informs David that he expects him and his men to join him in the battle. Now David is caught in his own lie. He can have no excuse for not wanting to fight his own people, since he has lied to Achish and told him that he is already doing that. If he says anything now, the truth will come out that he has not been attacking his own people at all. Yet if he goes along with Achish, he might be forced to fight with his own people after all, and that was the last thing David wanted to do. Thus David’s plans and schemes to hide among the Philistines, all without the LORD’s advice and guidance, have now brought him to the brink of disaster. If he fights with the Philistines against Israel, his own people will know it and consider him a traitor. Their likelihood of ever accepting him as king then is very small. The LORD must step in to help David, or he will have planned himself right out of the throne. Read the rest of this entry »

ibelieve02I received the following letter:

Hello Sir,

I found your website and I have a few questions if you have time. (They should be fairly quick response if you have the time)

1.) Are you an “Acts 28er” as in you believe the body Christ started at Acts 28:28?

2.) Do you believe God preserved His exact words?

3.) Which Hebrew and Greek texts contain the exact words of God? (if answered yes to #2)

4.) Which translation is most reliable to the most reliable manuscripts?

5.) What do you think of this post “M.A.D. Baptist” http://av1611studyblog.blogspot.com/p/water.html

If you do not have time then that is fine. Just know I have no desire to initiate a debate, I will not respond back accept to “thanks” to ensure that doesn’t happen.

Grace and Peace,

I would be happy to answer your questions as best I can. Read the rest of this entry »


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