Wednesday, 9 November 2011

A Day is Like a Thousand Years

"But do not let this one fact escape your notice, beloved, that with the Lord one day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like one day."
(2 Peter 3:8)


Sometimes I think about unusual things and today was no exception. I thought to myself: "What if each 1000 year period of history corresponded to a day of creation?" The dates are only rough, but let's try this out and see if it works.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Born of water and the Spirit (part 2)


One thing I missed out in my brief consideration of the meaning of John 3:5 is the Exodus typology which runs throughout the section. It provides further support to the idea that the watery birth referred to in verse 5 is baptism.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

An outline of the Book of Revelation

This post is quite long. If you're worried it might bore you, then Nyan cat will make everything better.

In this post, I am doing little better than summarising James B. Jordan's "The Vindication of Jesus Christ". Anyone who wants to borrow this excellent guide to the apocalypse from me is welcome to.

Introduction

Chapter 1 - John sees a vision of Christ and the seven churches.

Chapters 2-3 - Seven letters to the seven churches in the province of Asia. The "angel" of each church may be the representative bishop.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Born of water and the Spirit

"Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he cannot enter into the kingdom of God."
(John 3:5)


What could Jesus be referring to when he mentions new birth by "water"? Some have suggested that natural birth is in view, but this seems unlikely given that this was not a normal way of referring to childbirth at the time. "Born of woman and the Spirit" would have done a much better job if that was all that Jesus had in mind!

Monday, 1 August 2011

The Kingdom of Christ

"Then the mother of the sons of Zebedee came to Jesus with her sons, bowing down and making a request of Him. And He said to her, "What do you wish?" She said to Him, "Command that in Your kingdom these two sons of mine may sit one on Your right and one on Your left." "
(Matthew 20:20-21)

What does she think of when she imagines her sons either side of Christ when he comes in his kingdom? Maybe something like this:

Saturday, 23 July 2011

A New Heaven and a New Earth

"Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth..."

[See Ezekiel 40-48, which provides a background for this passage, though it is pretty long]


Many commentators have simply assumed that the "new heaven and the new earth" referred to in John's apocalypse is a description of the state of the world after the second coming of Christ. I'm not convinced that this is the only meaning of the passage. The language of a "new heaven and earth" is clearly borrowed from Isaiah 65-66, which is referring to a new social order - one in which all nations will worship the God of Israel, but where death will still exist. So it can't simply be a depiction of the eternal state. Rather, it seems to me that the passage is also about the church age prior to the consummation.

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Friday, 24 June 2011

His dominion will be from sea to sea

"Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion!
Shout in triumph, O daughter of Jerusalem!
Behold, your king is coming to you;
He is just and endowed with salvation,
Humble, and mounted on a donkey,
Even on a colt, the foal of a donkey.

I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim
And the horse from Jerusalem;
And the bow of war will be cut off.
And He will speak peace to the nations;
And His dominion will be from sea to sea,
And from the River to the ends of the earth."
(Zechariah 9:9-10)

This prophecy is clearly about Jesus, but is it about his first or his second coming? In particular, is verse 10 ("I will cut off the chariot from Ephraim...") a result of his first or second coming? Some would drive a wedge between verses 9 and 10, insisting that Christ has dominion over all the earth only after his second coming. But this seems forced to me. Consider also this passage from Malachi 4:

Wednesday, 8 June 2011

Join up the dots...

"The LORD God said to the serpent...

And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your seed and her seed;
He shall bruise you on the head,
and you shall bruise him on the heel."
(Genesis 3:14-15)

"Then a champion came out from the armies of the Philistines named Goliath, from Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span [over ten feet tall]... he was clothed with scale-armour...
And David... struck the Philistine on his forehead."
(1 Samuel 17:4-5, 19)

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

The Parable of the Wheat and the Tares

This parable can be found in Matthew 13:24-30 and its explanation is given in 13:36-43. It is often assumed that this parable is about the end of the world and the final judgment. My aim will be to demonstrate that this is not Jesus's main concern in the parable.

"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field." (v24)

The man is Jesus, as in all the other parables in Chapter 13, and the good seed is Israel, whom He planted in the world as his own people after the exile:

"I will appoint a place for My people Israel, and will plant them, so that they may dwell in their own place and not be moved again" (1 Chronicles 17:9)

Saturday, 7 May 2011

Should small children be allowed to take communion?

Most Christians who have a view on the matter would probably answer no, citing 1 Corinthians 11:27-28,

"Therefore whoever eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner, shall be guilty of the body and the blood of the Lord. But a man must examine himself, and in so doing he is to eat of the bread and drink of the cup."


Since smaller children are unable to "examine themselves", it is argued, it is not appropriate for them to take communion. This argument dissolves when the passage is examined in context, which I shall attempt to do now.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

The Glory of the New Covenant

" 'Behold, days are coming,' declares the LORD, 'when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,' declares the LORD.

'But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days', declares the LORD, 'I will put bacon within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'

They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, 'know what to eat,' for they will all know what to eat, from the least of them to the greatest of them, declares the LORD, for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.' "

(Jeremiah 31:31-34)

Mmm... bacon

Friday, 29 April 2011

The Spirit as the essence of God

The bible says that "God is Love" (1 John 4:8,16), but it also says that "God is Spirit" (John 4:24).

The Spirit is the love of God who binds the Father and the Son together and who is himself a third person.

Peter Leithart spots this in Calvin.

Can you hear the sea?

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Because today is silly Tuesday...

Tomorrow will be ridiculous Wednesday. You can see where this is going, can't you?

Monday, 28 March 2011

The sweetness of knowing Christ

I have just recently finished going through the book of Proverbs. The beginning was great, but once you hit chapter ten, you get these endless lists of pithy sayings and it pretty much carries on like that until the end of the book. It was pretty tough going at times, but last night I finally hit the final chapter. And what a chapter! It ends with a description of the perfect wife.

Since Christ is the Wisdom of God, the righteous heroine of Proverbs (see for example chapters one and eight), the righteous woman depicted in this chapter is probably also a depiction of Christ. Being betrothed to Christ is the greatest privilege any man (or woman!) can ever know.

Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Israel and the Church

How do the people of God in the Old and New testaments relate to one another? There are three popular views on this, which I shall vastly oversimplify here:

Dispensationalism - God has two peoples, one in the Old testament (Israel) and one in the New testament (the Church). The promises made to Israel in the Old Testament will be fulfilled literally during a thousand-year reign of Christ in the future.

New Covenant Theology - God has two peoples, but the promises made to Israel were ultimately fulfilled spiritually in the Church, which is a greater Israel. There was always a remnant of true believers under the Old Covenant and the Church is the continuation of this true, believing remnant.

Covenant Theology - God has one people, called Israel in the Old Testament and the Church in the New Testament. The only difference between the two is that the levitical priesthood have been replaced with a greater high priest, Jesus, resulting in a change of law and the inclusion of the gentiles.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Is the bible inherently true?

The bible is the truth and the Word of God and is 100% true and reliable for all purposes. More than that, the bible is not only true with regard to certain 'matters of faith', it's true in every area of life that it chooses to address. However, the bible is not true or authoritative in and of itself. So in other words, the bible is not inherently true.

This is because the bible's authority and truth is derived from Jesus Christ who is "the truth" and "the Word of God". Similarly, the gospel is called "the truth" and "the Word of God". So the bible, understood apart from its central message, the gospel of Jesus Christ, is utter nonsense, a bit like this:

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Talking dogs

Does what it says on the tin.

Friday, 11 February 2011

Noah was a righteous man, it's a shame about the rest of us

I've been thinking about the story of Noah's ark recently and it struck me that on the surface, the passage seems to suggest that being a good person is the key to salvation. There is that crucial part of the story where it says:

"Noah found favour in the eyes of the LORD... Noah was a righteous man, blameless in his time"
(Genesis 6:8-9)

So salvation is only for good people? Read on...

Saturday, 29 January 2011

What's wrong with sex before marriage?

Now in putting up a title like that, it may appear that I am being legalistic and judgemental. From the outset I should state that we are saved by the Grace of God alone. That is, God has sent his son to suffer the judgement that we deserve so that we can come into a relationship with him. The views presented here are only relevant for Christians, for those who have responded to what God has already done for them in Christ.

Marriage is a very special thing in the eyes of God, a marvellous gift from God to human beings. The first and most crucial bible passage about marriage is Genesis 2:24, which speaks of the creation of marriage.

"For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh."

Sunday, 23 January 2011

Mittens!

It's Mittens, the crime-solving cat!

Thursday, 20 January 2011

Is God all-knowing? (2)

Let's have a closer look at the passages mentioned in my previous post to see if we can resolve this apparent contradiction, but without reading any preconceived ideas about God into the passage. The first passage concerns someone called "the LORD God" who is present in the garden of Eden with Adam and Eve as a phyical person (Genesis 3:8). The second passage concerns someone called simply "the LORD", a physical person who appears to Abraham along with with two angels (Compare Genesis 18:2, 18:22 & 19:1). This LORD (or LORD God) is the one who banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden and who rains down burning sulphur on Sodom and Gomorrah.

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Is God all-knowing?

God's knows everything. Or does he? Read the following verses from the book of Genesis:

"Then the LORD God called to the man, and said to him, "Where are you?" " (3:9)

"I will go down now, and see if they have done entirely according to its outcry, which has come to Me; and if not, I will know." (18:21)

This is a tricky one. Many Christians have suggested that on the basis of verses like this, God cannot be all-knowing. This position is called "Open Theism" and is supported by folks like Clark Pinnock and Greg Boyd. A more traditional view is that these verses are just examples of God 'play-acting' as a human, that is, condescending to us. However, if this is true, isn't God being deceptive in presenting himself this way? Surely we can trust the revelation that God has given us of himself.

On the other hand, there are many passages which seem to portray God as having perfect knowledge of the future. Read Isaiah 41:21-26 & 44:6-8 and you'll see what I mean. How do we reconcile these two very different conceptions of God?

And on a totally unrelated note...

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

The blog is back!

I got bored of not having a blog, so I'm back with a new layout. And with this new layout will come a new mood. There will from now on be more serious and sustained reflection on the journey that is life. This youtube video aptly demonstrates the kind of thing you can expect to come: