0
Extending biblical, theological training to the world's untrained pastors and church leaders
0

 Kevin 2017-2019 OTS Class Notes

Recap 01 Old Testament Survey (Kevin) 11-16-2017

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

It was great to be back together as we officially started our journey through the Old Testament together. I hope you all have a great Thanksgiving week off with family and friends!

Our goals for last Thursday night were:

  • that we understand the significance of studying the Old Testament

  • that we commit to the hard work of studying Old Testament

  • that the Lord stirs our hearts to seek the personal lessons he has for each of us from the Old Testament

Summary of Thursday, November 16th:

  1. Reading various passages from the Old and New Testaments, we looked at the goals for OT Survey on page 8 of the manual.

  2. There are two big ideas that we should see in Old Testament:

    • The LORD’s dealing with His chosen people Israel. “Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians.”(Ex. 6:6-8)

    • The LORD’s dealing with all the people of the earth; “…that they would know that He is the LORD and there is none other.” (1Kings 8:59-60: Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem)

  3. We mentioned that we could not fully understand the NT without the OT and that books like Galatians and Hebrews show the importance of the Old Testament in interpreting the New Testament.

  4. On pp. 16-17 of your manual we referenced the “Tanakh”, the Jewish bible. We also discussed how we got the Old Testament.

  5. We covered the time periods of the Old Testament on pp. 19-21. You will want to keep referencing these pages as we “place” each OT book in its historical context.

  6. Using passages like 2 Timothy 3:14-15, we discussed, “Why study the Old Testament”, on p. 23.

As an intro to Genesis, chapters 1-11 next week, review p. 25 on the relationship between the Old and New Testaments and look at the Theology and Theme of the Old Testament on pp. 28-29.

Assignment for Thursday, November 30th: 

  • We will study Genesis chapters 1-11.

  • From Gen.1-11, be sure and have TWO of the passages in the assignment on p. 38 done. We trust you will have read the entire book of Genesis by class next week.

  • List at least four things we would not know if Genesis 1-11 were not in Scripture.

  • In terms of World View, look up the definition of the words, “objective” and “subjective”. Be able to comment on how one’s world view is influenced by those two perspectives. p. 23-24

As we study the Old Testament together, may the LORD grant us all a more accurate understanding of who He is, His activities in the lives of His people, and the wonders of His ways.

Lord willing, I will see you next Thursday. May the Lord bless your time with family and friends over Thanksgiving!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 02 Old Testament Survey (Kevin) 11-30-2017

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work and good interaction on Genesis, chapters 1-9 on Thursday night. We are on our way! Just think, in just over a year from now you will have read and studied all 66 books of the Bible!

Big Idea to remember: Genesis is the book of beginnings; of mankind (chapters 1-11) and of the nation of Israel (chapters 12-50). Allen Ross says this about the theology of Genesis; “One could say that God is the subject of Genesis. Since the text is usually cast in the form of biography, however, the subject matter is more often about human choices and actions in the light of what is known about God”.

Last night we discussed the four events of Genesis 1-1; Creation, Fall, Flood, and we got right up to the Nations which we will cover in Chapter 11. We will also study the four persons of Genesis 12-50; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

Review:
Look In your manual on page 8 at goal numbers 5 and 6 for the course, Old Testament Survey. Reading Rom.15:41Cor.10:11-12; and Heb.12:1, we note that all that is written in the Old Testament is for our instruction, encouragement, endurance and hope. Concerning the relationship of the two Testaments, Augustine said, “New in the Old concealed, Old in the New revealed.” We must have both. As we go through the books of the Old Testament, we pray that you will be amazed and encouraged to see New Testament passages you may have read for years become much clearer and more meaningful to you.

Our specific goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the four events of Genesis 1-11 and their significance (We will get to Event #4 on Dec. 7th)

  • that we respond to the LORD as our maker

  • that we stand in awe of God’s power and grace as expressed in the four events of chapters 1-11; humbled as we see the Fall, ultimately grateful for Christ’s redeeming work.

Event #1: Creation of the heavens the earth and of Adam and Eve: Chapters 1-2
Significance: As those made in His image and as stewards of the earth He made, we are accountable to our creator.
Event #2: The Fall of Man: Chapters 3-5
Significance: As a result of Adam’s disobedience, sin enters the world and the human race; with that incursion comes immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death. See spiritual death pictured in Isaiah 59:2, Adam’s physical death in Gen. 2:16-175:5 and both in Rom. 6:23. Man is corrupted and stands in need of redemption.
Event #3: The Flood: Chapters 6-9
Significance: The LORD judges the human race and begins afresh with a group of eight people rescued from the wrath of the flood. Where sin increased, grace was evident as well in the graphic picture of physical salvation in the ark. God promises never again to destroy the earth by flood, the next judgement will be by fire. See 2 Pet. 3:7-12
Event #4: The Nations: Chapters 10-11
Significance: Sin “matures” as men determine to arrogantly build a “stairway to heaven.” God judges them, confuses language and scatters the nations. To this day we continue to have to translate information in order to communicate with one another! In light of the tower of Babel in 11:1-9, Allen Ross states: “God opposes any enterprise that is characterized by pride and collective disobedience. Or from the other side: “Those who exalt themselves in disobedience to God may expect the judgment of God”.

Praise Him that though the wages of sin is death, (i.e. separation from God), the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 6:23

Your Assignment for Thursday, December 7th, 2017:

  • Notice the second division of the chart on page 34: “four persons”. We will use this to guide our discussion of the remainder of the book.

  • If you have not finished reading Genesis, make sure to read it all before the next class.

  • Remember to do your assignment on p. 38

Thank you for your work and for investing the time to learn the Word of God.

Lord willing I will see you Thursday, as we look at the patriarchs we will meet in the pages of Genesis, and one day in heaven; Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

BTCL Recap from December 7th, 2017 – Genesis Chapters 10-50

Dear Northside BTCL Class,

I hope that you are all enjoying a blessed season of celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Let’s intentionally take time in the coming days to meditate on the incarnation; The Eternal Son taking on flesh to redeem those the Lord would call. What an incredible thought!

I also wanted to let you know that all class audio should now be posted if you need to catch up on a class you missed. Just go to: http://btcp.us/2017-northside-btcl-teacher-kevin-bacon/

If prompted log in with the password: student

As we continue studying the Old Testament, keep in mind the two big ideas/purposes in the Old Testament:

  1. That the Lord’s people, Israel, might know that He is the LORD their God who brought them up from the land of Egypt. (note use of “LORD”) Ex. 6:6-7

  2. That all the people of the earth might know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. Note the context of Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple recorded in 1 Kings 8:59-60; (see also Ex 8:10; 9:14, the account of Moses speaking to Pharaoh as an illustration of the 1 Kings idea; and see the carry over in the NT in Lk 2:32)

Big Idea to remember: Genesis is the book of beginnings; of mankind (chapters 1-11) and of the nation of Israel (chapters 12-50).

On November 30th, we discussed the four events of Genesis 1-9; Creation, Fall, Flood, and Nations. On Thursday December 7th we completed the discussion of the Table of Nations and the Tower of Babel in Ch. 10-11. We then discussed the four persons of Genesis 12-50: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. As you read and studied you certainly saw “the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” in the lives of these four followers of YHWH.

Review:
Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the significance of the four people in Genesis 12-50

  • that we imitate the good traits and turn from the bad traits we see in Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph

  • that we increase our awe of God as He unfolds the story line of faith in these men and the preservation of the line through which the Messiah would come

Abraham: Chapters 12-24 “Father of the Nation of Israel”, Name changed from Abram “exalted father” to Abraham “father of a multitude”.
Significance: The Abrahamic Covenant; Three elements in 12:1-3. His response in 15:6. Quoted three times in the New Testament: Rom.4:320-23Gal.3:6James 2:25.
Lessons from his life:

Good – Faith-filled man, bold, listened to his wife when God told him to do so, called the friend of God.
Bad – Liar, poor leader of his wife, listened to his wife when he should not have.Isaac: Chapters 25-26 “Child of Promise, continuing the covenant line”
Significance: Abrahamic covenant reaffirmed to him in Gen. 26:2-5.
Lessons from his life:
Good – prayed believing God, worshiped the LORD.
Bad – Liar, poor leader of his wife.Jacob: Chapters 27-36 “Deceiver”, Name change, from “he who supplants” to “he who struggles with God”.
Significance: a changed man after meeting the LORD “face-to-face”
Lessons from his life:
Good – Loyal, hard working, understood deferred gratification, courageous after name change.
Bad – Deceiver, coward early on until a fight with the Lord. Negative and despairing at times.

Note: the promise to Abram in 12:2-3 is reaffirmed to him in 12:7; 15:5-21; 17:4-8; 18:18-19; 22:17-18; to Isaac in 26:2-4; to Jacob in 28:13-15; 35:11-12; 46:3. See study note at 12:2-4.

Joseph: “Preserver of the covenant line”, chapters 37-50
Significance: His name means, “he adds”, or “YHWH increases”. Joseph is the man the Lord used to prevent the famine in the land from destroying the line of Jacob/Israel, i.e. the covenant line from Abraham, Isaac, Jacob. God caused the Israelites to increase from 70 people when Joseph was second in command in Egypt to “an exceedingly large number so that the land was full of them” at The Exodus. (Ex. 1:5)
Lessons from his life:
Good – Consistent, courageous, faithful with that which belonged to others, compassionate.
Bad – only possibly early in life when he is either naive or arrogant.

Think about applicational statements that flow from the life of this remarkable servant of YHWH:

1) How did Joseph (at age 17) respond to his brothers’ negative work behavior? (37:2)

– He valued integrity over filial acceptance and reported their behavior to his father.

2) How did Joseph behave as he worked as a slave? (39:2-6)

– He worked hard with integrity and respect for the authority placed over him.

3) How did Joseph respond to fleshly temptation from Potiphar’s wife? (39:6-19)

– v8 Integrity

– v9 Respect of authority

– v10 Perseverance

– V10 Avoiding temptation to the best of his ability

4) How did Joseph respond to being imprisoned? (39:20-23)

– Hard work and integrity

5) How did Joseph respond when talking with Pharaoh? (Gen 41)

– He did not show undue disrespect but he also did not grovel or beg for freedom (41:15-16)

– He corrected Pharaoh and asserted that only God could provide the answers Pharaoh wanted. This may have been particularly bold since Pharaoh’s considered themselves to be divine. (41:16)

– He did not commend himself or try to use the dream interpretation to his own advantage.

6) How did Joseph respond once he had power and freedom?

– He worked with integrity and focused on the plan to store up grain for hard times.

– He did not pursue his own agendas (*note his brothers came due to the famine. Joseph did not summon or entice them to come to Egypt).

– He did not seek revenge on:

• his brothers

• the Ishmaelite slave traders

• Potiphar or his wife

• the prison warden

• the cupbearer

7) How did Joseph respond when his brothers arrived in Egypt? (Gen 42-50)

– He was very emotional

– He took his time before revealing himself to them

– Most importantly he completely forgave them and recognized that God had used their evil actions for His own good.

Your Assignment for Thursday, January 4th, 2018:

  • Read the book of Exodus and complete at least one “central truth” assignment on page 47

  • Come ready to discuss how God delivered His chosen people Israel from bondage in Egypt and guided them on their way to the Promised Land.

Thank you for your work. As we study together, may the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ grant us increased knowledge of Him that we may live lives that bring honor and glory to Him.

Lord willing, I will see you in 2018!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

BTCL Recap from 1-5-2017 – Exodus

Dear BTCL Class,

Assignment for Thursday, January 11th:

  • Send me via e-mail one of your summary statements for a key passage from Exodus. This is found on p. 47 in your manual.

  • come to class having read the introduction and the book of Leviticus in your NIV Study Bible, and pages 51-56 in your OTS manual.

  • in the assignment section on page 55, do at least one of the “Central Truth” passages

  • note the comparison chart on manual page 56

  • note the key verse of the book, 19:2. Look up the word “holy” in an English dictionary.

  • pray that the Lord will make our class time effective

REMEMBER: if you missed class you can catch up by listening to the audio at http://btcp.us/2017-northside-btcl-teacher-kevin-bacon (password is “student”)

Please let me know if you have problems accessing a particular class recording and I will check into it.

It was great to be back with you Thursday night as we studied the book of Exodus, “The EXIT from Egypt”.

In the Old Testament we see the LORD [YAHWEH] as Revealer of Himself, Ruler of the creation, Redeemer of His people Israel, and Restorer of the broken relationship between God and man. Note in your introduction to Old Testament Survey that two themes emerge from the 39 books:

1. That the Lord’s people, Israel, might know that He is the LORD their God who brought them up from the land of Egypt. (note use of “LORD”) Ex. 6:6-7

2. That all the people of the earth might know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. Note the context is Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple recorded in 1 Kings 8:59-60; (see also Ex 8:109:14 the account of Moses speaking to Pharaoh as an illustration of the 1 Kings idea); and see the carry over in the NT in Lk 2:32.

Review – Our goals for last Thursday night were:

  • that we understand God’s miraculous deliverance of His people Israel as portrayed in the book of Exodus

  • that in light of His holiness, we change our behavior when we are displeasing to Him

  • that we grow in our fear of the Lord, that is, our reverential awe of Him that leads us to trust in Him and obey Him (keeps us from sin).

Theme of the book: “God’s miraculous redemption of His people from bondage to slavery and sin”

We looked at the three sections of the book:

1. Chapters 1-11: Bondage: Joseph’s descendants were “too numerous for us”. Moses is God’s chosen instrument as a prophet to Israel, to Pharaoh, and as the leader of the Exodus.

Big idea: Exodus 3:7147:14-11:10 The LORD responds to the suffering of His people, reveals Himself to Moses, and rebukes Pharaoh.

2. Chapters 12-18: Redemption: The LORD passes over those with blood on the sides and tops of the doorposts, parts the Red Sea (Sea of Reeds), and provides for his people. (Manna (Bread), Quail (Meat), and Water)

Big Idea: Exodus 12:73114:30: The lamb is slain, blood applied, deliverance accomplished.

Note the cross-reference in 1 Cor. 5:7, where we see that, “Christ our passover lamb has been sacrificed”.

3. Chapters 19-40: Revelation: The Law of God is given, the glory of God is revealed, the worship of God is established.

Big idea: Exodus 19:5-8 and 24:7: Israel accepts the offer of the Mosaic Covenant and God’s presence is with them; as noted by the descent of His glory in Exodus 40:34-38.

To show the locations of each of these three sections of the book refer to the map near Exodus 14 in your NIV Study Bible and Color Map #3 in the back of your NIV Study Bible.

Note as well the ideas of the Prophet (who represents God to the people) and the Priest (who stands to represent the people to God). Moses was predominantly the former; Aaron was predominantly the latter. The Lord Jesus fulfills both roles as a Prophet like Moses (Acts 3:22) and as our High Priest (Heb. 9:11). When we get to New Testament Survey, we will see the other two roles or offices that the Lord fills.

Lord willing, I look forward to seeing you Thursday, as we study “Offerings and feasts/Levites and priests” in the book of Leviticus.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 05 Old Testament Survey (Leviticus) 1-11-18

Dear BTCL Class,

Assignment for Thursday, January 18th, 2018:

  • Have the book of Numbers and manual pages 57-62 read before class.

  • Review the chart on Numbers on page 58

  • Complete at least one of the Central Truth assignments on page 61 of your manual and send it to me via e-mail

Thank you for your work on Leviticus as we studied the book concerning “the Israelite believer’s worship and walk before their holy God.” As one commentator said, “it was the first book studied by a Jewish child, yet is often one of the last books of the Bible to be studied by a Christian”.

We noted that in Hebrews, the concepts of atonement and sacrifice for sin in the New Testament are grounded in the Old Testament. Certainly, “the New Testament in the Old concealed, the Old in the New revealed”.

Recap of Leviticus sometimes known as “Exodus…the Sequel”, or in Walk Thru the Bible terms, “Offerings and Feasts … Levites and Priests”:

Our goals for the night:

  • that we understand the significance of the priesthood and the sacrificial system

  • that we treat God as holy and live as holy people

  • that we worship the Lord Jesus for his sacrifice for us

In terms of the ongoing story line of the journey of the children of Israel from bondage in Egypt to freedom and possession of the Promised Land of Canaan, Leviticus is a “break in the action” where at Sinai the Hebrews are given instructions on worshipping the LORD and walking uprightly before him. They spend close to a year (11 months and 5 or 6 days for the exact amoung us) at Sinai; in terms of the biblical text, from Exodus 19:1 until Numbers 10:11.

Big Idea of chapters 1-10: The worship of the LORD required right-standing before Him; this right-standing was gained by blood sacrifice administered by the priesthood.

Big Idea of chapters 16-27: God’s people were to be a separated people who walked uprightly before Him. In this section is the day of atonement, or “Yom Kippur”, the day of covering.

Key passage for the book: Lev.18:1-5

Key verse for the book: Lev.19:2 “Be Holy for I the LORD your God am holy.”

Hebrews 10:19-25 shows the application for us as New Testament believers. In Hebrews, because of our confident direct access we have through the sacrifice of Christ, our great high priest, we are exhorted to:

  • draw near to God

  • hold to the hope we profess

  • consider how to spur one another to love and good deeds

  • not forsake meeting together

  • encourage one another.

Additional Resources:

THE PURPOSE OF THE SACRIFICIAL SYSTEM and REGULATIONS

Further commentary on slavery in the Old Testament

Lord willing, I look forward to seeing you on Thursday, January 18th. Keep up the good work!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 06 Old Testament Survey (Numbers) 1-25-18

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work on Numbers last night. Next week we finish our study of the Pentateuch. Keep up the good work you are all doing in these foundational books.

Assignment for Thursday, February 1, 2018:  

Next week we will study the book of Deuteronomy: on the Plain of Moab, “East of the Jordan”,  Key word: “Remember”

  • before class, have the book of Deuteronomy read along with pages 63-68 in the manual

  • do the “central truth” passages in the assignment on page 67

Recap of Numbers:

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the discipline of Lord on His people Israel and their leaders

  • that we treat the LORD as the one who is worthy of reverential awe

  • as displayed in the events of Numbers, that we love Him for His word and ways; even given the fact that from our perspective, they seem harsh to us.

Review of first four books:

The “geographical prepositional” tour of the Pentateuch.

Genesis: down to Egypt See: Abram in Gen. 12:10; Jacob (and Joseph) 46:3 Key word: “Beginnings”

Exodus: out of Egypt See: Moses in Ex.6:6-813 Key word: “Exit”

Leviticus: at Mt. Sinai See: “for the Israelites”, Lev. 27:34 Key words: “Offerings and feasts/Levites and priests; holy worship of and walk with YHWH”

Numbers: in the desert See: “In the desert”, Num.14:29 Key word: “Wanderings”

After the year (11 months and 5/6 days) the children of Israel spent at Mount Sinai where, in the book of Leviticus, they are given instruction on the sacrificial system and the priesthood, the book of Numbers picks up the action chronologically and event-wise as the nation picks up and moves toward the land promised to Abraham in Genesis chapters 12 and 15. So we move from “offerings and feasts/Levites and priests” in Leviticus to the book of “wanderings”. As noted in your intro to Numbers in the NIV Study Bible, the book in Hebrew is titled “in the desert”.

The book can be roughly divided geographically:

  • preparing to leave Sinai, chapters 1-10:10;

  • the 38+ year journey in the desert, chapters 10:11-22:1; and

  • the encampment in the land of Moab chapters 22:2-36.

We looked at the offenders, the sin they committed, and the consequences of those sins:

11:1-4, 14:1-4: The people  –  Grumbling and rebellion to against God and His authority  –  Death/no entry to Promised Land

12:1ff:  Miriam and Aaron  –  Rebellion against Moses as God’s given leader  –   Leprosy and death before entering

16:1ff:  Korah  –  Rebellion  –  Death that was immediate

20:1ff:   Moses  –  Struck Rock twice  –  Not allowed to physically enter the promised land. (See Matt.17)

Look at 1 Cor.10:1-13 noting that the lessons for us as New Testament believers are clear and profound to, “keep us from setting our hearts on evil things as they did.” 1 Cor.10:6. The issues cited in the passage include:

  • idolatry

  • sexual immorality

  • testing the Lord in the wrong sense

  • grumbling (lack of faith in the LORD)

Note that the “main teachings” for each of the Old Testament books are basically central truths from selected passages. The purpose in the assignment of finding these is to establish timeless truths good for all people in all places for all times. Thus, we are learning how to move from Observation to Interpretation to Application. The central truths lead each of us to specific ways to apply the Word of God to our lives.

Interesting Notes related to Balaam:

Note that Balaam is described as one who resorted to sorcery in Num. 24:1. He was one who was a “prophet for hire”, Num. 23:7Dt. 23:4-5. He was put to death as part of the conquest of Canaan and is said to have practiced divination. Josh.13:22.

Using the rule of interpretation we learned in Bible Study Methods, “compare Scripture with Scripture”, we look at Scripture to interpret Scripture. When we look in the New Testament, we see that Balaam “loved the wages of wickedness”, 2 Pet. 2:15. He is also used as a warning to godless men in Jude 11.

Finally, in Rev. 2:14-17, he is described as one who taught Israel to sin by eating food sacrificed to idols and by committing sexual immorality. (See Num. 25:1-3)

In Bible Study Methods we learned: “To make sure that we have a full understanding of God’s perspective on an Old Testament character, never interpret that character without looking at what the New Testament passages say about him or her.”

Summary: Paraphrasing the NIV summation of the book in the introduction to Numbers: The book teaches that God disciplines His errant people, but His grace is renewed, His promises maintained, and His redemptive purposes will not be thwarted.”

I have attached several maps to this recap e-mail for your reference. Hopefully they will help you in locating some the places mentioned in the books we have studied so far and to get a good “lay of the land”.

Lord willing, I will see you Thursday.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 07: Deuteronomy (Old Testament Survey) 2-1-18

Dear BTCL Class:

Assignment for Thursday, February 8, 2018:

  • If, like Moses, you knew that your death was imminent, what three truths about the Lord would you want to instill in those you love? In other words, if you were writing your “Deuteronomy” or your “2nd Timothy”, what three things would you want to leave with them that they would in turn REMEMBER?

  • read the book of Joshua and the appropriate pages in the manual

  • do at least one of the “central truth” passages in the assignment on page 75

Thank you for your work on Deuteronomy. We have now finished the Pentateuch and will now move to the historical book of Joshua as we follow the movement of God’s people into the land of promise in the conquest.

Review:

Our goals for the class last night were:

  • that we understand the significance of the restatement of the word of God given to the new generation as they prepared to go in and possess the land promised to Abraham

  • that we realize there are blessings for obedience and consequences for disobedience and that we love and obey the Lord because of what He has done for us

Look back at the first four books of the Pentateuch and cross-reference each into the New Testament:

Genesis: the book of 4 events and 4 people cross-referenced to Gal. 3:6

Exodus: the book of bondage, redemption, and revelation cross-referenced to Acts 7:30-32

Leviticus: the book of holy worship and holy walk of the people of God cross-referenced to 1Pet. 1:16

Numbers: the book of wanderings in the desert cross-referenced to Heb.11:24-28

The theme of Deuteronomy is: REMEMBER, i.e. remember from where I have brought you, remember the rebellion of your fathers during the journey; remember the Word of the Lord to His chosen people. Deuteronomy is quoted or alluded to 100+ times in the New Testament. The Lord Jesus quoted the book often including His encounter with Satan in the temptation account in Matthew’s gospel.

Theologically, Deuteronomy is basically a restatement and reaffirmation of the Covenant between the LORD and the children of Israel. Remember that the book of Deuteronomy is essentially Moses preaching three long sermons to a generation that was not alive or too young at the time to realize the importance of the Law when it was given in Exodus. One way to view Deuteronomy is as “Second giving of the Law”. Remember that the Mosaic Covenant is a conditional one whereas the main covenant with Abraham was an unconditional one.

Geographically, we noted that in Deuteronomy the children of Israel were camped on the plain of Moab, just across from Jericho. That is they were trans-Jordan, on the East bank of River Jordan. As a point of reference, today we hear a lot in the news about the West Bank, i.e. the West Bank of the Jordan River; In Deuteronomy, the children of Israel are on the other side of the Jordan.

Atmospherically, someone has compared Deuteronomy to 2 Timothy in the New Testament. While in 2 Timothy the Apostle Paul gives his son in the faith his passionate plea for personal fervency and effective ministry, in Deuteronomy Moses passionately gives the new generation of Israelites a restatement of the Law, readying them to cross into the land, take possession of it and live in it.

 Several key passages and concepts that are major contributions of the book to God’s revelation of Himself in scripture:

– 4:6-7 The great Shema, “Hear oh Israel, the LORD your God is one, and you shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your mind, and all your strength.”

– 7:6-7; 14:2 Why Israel was chosen to be the Lord’s representative among all people

– 8:1-5 How the Lord led, humbled and tested Israel in the wilderness

– 18:15ff The test of a true prophet of the Lord

– 11:26; 27:1-14; 29;1-2,12-14 The ratification of the Mosaic Covenant, including the instructions to be followed after entering the promised land concerning Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim

– 30:11-20 In response to their love for Him and obedience to Him, the Lord reiterates His promise to give Israel many years in the land He promised to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

– 34:9-12 The death of Moses and the transfer of leadership to Joshua

This coming Thursday, we are off to the promised land with Joshua and Caleb! Will they pass the test after being re-instructed in Deuteronomy?

You are each a blessing to have in class.



_______________________________________________________________

Recap 08 Old Testament Survey (Joshua) 2-8-2018

Dear Northside BTCL Class:

Thank you for your work on Joshua last night. This coming Thursday, February 15th, we will study Judges and Ruth.

Your Assignment for Thursday, February 15:

  • Read the books of Judges and Ruth and the appropriate pages in your manual; make note of the “7 cycles of sin”

  • Find the central truth in one of the passages in Judges in the assignment on page 80 and write the one sentence asked for in Ruth on p. 86.

  • Find a current example of someone “doing what is right in his own eyes” and come prepared to discuss.

Our goals for last night were:

That we learn about the conquest of the Promised Land (i.e. the land promised to Abraham and his descendants in the Abrahamic Covenant)
That we would be challenged repent of sin in our lives, put away any “idols”, and serve God alone wholeheartedly.
Remember the two big themes of the Old Testament:

1. The LORD’s dealing with His chosen people Israel: “Then you will know that I am the LORD your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians”. Ex. 6:6-8

2. The LORD’s dealing with all the people of the earth: “ . . . so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.” Solomon’s prayer in 1 Kings 8:59-60

The “geographical prepositional” tour of the Pentateuch . . . and Joshua:

Genesis: down to Egypt See: Abram in Gen. 12:10; Jacob (and Joseph) 46:3 Key word: Beginning

Exodus: out of Egypt See: Moses in Ex.6:6-813 Key word: Exit

Leviticus: at Mt. Sinai See: “for the Israelites”, Lev.27:34 Key word: Levites and priests/Offerings and feasts

Numbers: in the desert See: “In this desert”, Num.14:29 Key word: Wanders

Deuteronomy: on the Plain of Moab See: “East of the Jordan”, Dt.1:5 Key word: Second law/Remember

Joshua: into the promised land See: Joshua in Josh. 1:2 Key word: Conquers

The three divisions of Joshua are: Preparing for Conquest, Chapters 1-5; Conquering the Land, 6-12; Dividing the Land, 13-24.

Joshua is the first of the 12 historical books that we will cover next after the Pentateuch. It is “pre-exilic” history along with Judges, Ruth, 1&2 Samuel, 1&2 Kings, and 1&2 Chronicles. The pre-exilic books specifically record the history that occurred before and up to the Babylonian Captivity and destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 B.C.

Because Moses dies at the end of Deuteronomy, we spent some time setting the context for Joshua as the new leader. We discussed how Joshua had been Moses’ aide and second in command. The leadership transition is complete, and God uses Joshua to lead the Hebrew nation across the Jordan river and into the Promised Land. Note that the waters did not part until the priests put their feet in the water as a step of faith.

We looked at the incident with Rahab (note the New Testament evaluation of her in Heb. 11:31 and James 2:25). Rahab softened and opened her heart to the Lord. She is in the line of the Lord Jesus, see Matt.1:5.

They enter the Land near the middle of the country coming from the region of Moab in the east and heading west. First they experience victory at Jericho followed by their only defeat at Ai because of sin in the camp. After dealing with the sin of Achan, they experience victory at Ai.

Timeless Truth: our personal sin often carries with it greater consequenses than we realize and can make us ineffective in our service to the Lord.

After entering at the middle, the campaign first goes south and then north. Even though they won 31 of 32 battles in their campaign, they did not destroy all the people as God had commanded. The remaining peoples will be a continual problem to them.

From Chapter 8 we saw the renewal of the Mosaic covenant at Mt. Ebal and Mt. Gerizim. This was to keep the commitment Moses required in Dt. 27:12-13, “When you have crossed the Jordan . . .”

We looked at the ethical issue in Chapter 9 when the children of Israel failed to consult the Lord and were tricked by the deception of the Gibeonites. After making a “treaty of peace”, Joshua kept his word to the Gibeonites not to kill them; this despite their deception and the desire on the part of the Israelites to kill them. Once again we see Joshua willing to stand and do what is right against overwhelming opposition. Witness his actions here and in Numbers chapter 13 where he and Caleb are the only two of the twelve spies that said the Israelites should go into the promised land.

Timeless Truth: It does not matter what others say or do, we are responsible to honor the Lord and our word.

They divide the land among the 12 tribes, including the 2 1/2 tribes east of the Jordan, establish six cities of refuge and 48 cities for the priests which include the six cities of refuge.

Concluding the night we looked at the challenge of choice Joshua issued to all the tribes of Israel in chapter 24:14ff. “Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness . . .But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve . . . But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.”

Timeless Truth seen in Joshua’s life now plainly stated to the people: Regardless of the choices of others, we are responsible to choose to serve the LORD.

What a great and motivating challenge for each of us!

This coming Thursday we will continue to see the Lord’s work with the chosen people and His testimony to the nations around Israel.

It is a blessing to take this journey through the Scriptures with each of you.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 09 Old Testament Survey (Judges – Ruth) 2-15-2018

Dear BTCL Class:

Thank you for your work on Judges and Ruth Thursday night.

This coming Thursday, February 22, we will not meet as we have a break scheduled. We will resume class on March 1st when we will cover 1 and 2 Samuel.

Please be prepared for class by reading the books and the appropriate pages in the manual. Answer one of the “central truth” questions on pages 93 and 99.

Recap of Monday, February 15th, 2018:

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Rom.12:2

We could summarize the theme of the “dark ages” of Israel’s history by the statement in Judges 17:6 and Judges 21:25,

“In those days Israel had no king; everyone did as he saw fit.” And we could add . . . except Ruth and Boaz, who did what was right in God’s eyes.

Our goals for the night:

  • That we understand that sin pollutes us and can lead to the downward spiral of sin just as it did in Israel

  • That we as servants of the Lord Jesus jettison and turn from any sin or “other god” that will lead to our downward spiral

  • That we see that it is possible to live godly lives in the midst of an ungodly world

George Barna has stated: “The average born-again, baptized, churchgoing person has embraced elements of Buddhism, Hinduism, Judaism, Islam, Mormonism, Scientology, Unitarianism and Christian Science—without any idea they have just created their own faith.” (George Barna and Mark Hatch, Boiling Point: It Only Takes One Degree (Ventura: Regal, 2001), 187.)

So too the children of Israel absorbed sinful elements of the cultures around them in violation of the warnings given them in Lev. 18:1-5. They forsook the covenant they had made with the LORD at Sinai in Ex. 19-24, about 1445 BC, renewed with Him on the plain of Moab in Dt. 29, and renewed again at Shechem about 1405 BC under Joshua’s leadership in Josh. 24.

In the book of Judges, we noted the two contrasting themes we see in the book:

  1. The faithfulness and grace of the Lord toward the people of Israel, and

  2. The faithlessness and sinfulness of the people of Israel in a perverted response to his grace.

To demonstrate these two themes, we can look at the New Testament corollary in 2 Tim. 2:11-13, “…when we are faithless…he is faithful still”.

Look at Judges 3:7-11 as an example of the cycle of sin, servitude, supplication, and salvation that is found in the Judges book chart. The seven cycles all follow the pattern. We also noted that Gideon’s statement in 8:23 captured what should have been the case during the 300+ years of the judges. “I will not rule over you, nor will my son rule over you. The LORD will rule over you.”

God used a series of Judges who were simply people that He raised up who were faithful to do what He told them to do. Through them He led the people of Israel out of captivity and back to faithfulness for a time. But without strong God appointed leadership acting in faith the people faltered again every time.

God raised up leaders like Othniel, Ehud, Deborah/Barak, Gideon, Jephthah, etc. They put their faith in God and His deliverance and led the people to periods of peace/obedience which lasted for a generation or more.

As we examined Samson, the last judge in the book (and chronologically), it seems that even the quality of the judges is getting worse. God uses Sampson to deliver the people from Philistine oppression but he is far from a godly and faithful example. Samson is a weak, strongman!

Judges ends with the epilogue of chapters 17-21. Even thought these events occurred earlier in the time of the judges it points out how the nation of Israel, God’s chosen people, were quick to abandon Him and His ways.

One person summed up the book of Judges this way:

In Judges, the tragic ending after the “Seven Cycles of Sin”, is “Everyone did as he saw fit”. The King James version renders Judges 21:25, “…and every man did that which was right in his own eyes.” The LORD and His Word were no longer the standard, but each person became his own god. We see the same thing in our culture today: “What is true and/or right for you is not necessarily true or right for me.”

Ruth is a particularly bright spot in the dark ages of Israel’s history from about 1380BC to 1050BC. We see the concept of a kinsman-redeemer in the book as well as the ethically upright Boaz and the determined faithful woman Ruth. As we mentioned we could also see the them of the book as Naomi being bereft and then blessed by the LORD as faithful people obeyed the LORD and His commands. Ruth’s real “claim to fame” is that in Matthew 1:5 she is in the line of the Lord Jesus as David’s great-grandmother. She and Rahab, both Gentiles, are women who came to faith in the one true God Yahweh and both appear in the genealogical line of our Lord Jesus. Both are real-life illustrations of God’s grace and offer of salvation to all people.

You can contrast the books of Ruth and Judges this way:

Ruth                                        Judges

Faithfulness                           Unfaithfulness

Blessing                                   Discipline

Self-less                                   Selfish

Obey God’s laws                    Do your own thing

Belief by a “foreigner”          Idol worship by God’s chosen people

Love Story                               War Story: war between Israel and God; Israel and other nations; and finally, at war with themselves

Application:

We can be “Ruths and Boazes” in our culture. Paul puts it to Titus like this: “For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say ‘No’ to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope – the glorious appearing of our great God and savior, Jesus Christ who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good.” Tit. 2:11-14

I am grateful for each of you. Lord willing, I will see you on March 1st as we study the books named for the the last of the judges who is also a prophet and who presides over the transition to a monarchy in Israel.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 10 Old Testament Survey (1-2 Samuel) 3-1-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work on 1st and 2nd Samuel. I know that was a lot of content but we are now over 1/3 of the way through the Old Testament!

Your Assignment for March 8th, 2018:

  • In order to put 1st & 2nd Kings in perspective chronologically, review the time periods numbered 1 through 7 on pp. 20-21 in your manual.

  • In your Bibles read the introductions and the books of 1st and 2nd Kings and the related pages in the manual, pp. 101-114

  • On pp. 105 and 112, pick one of the passages on each page and find the central truth for the passage.

Recap of 1st and 2nd Samuel:

Our goals for the night were:

  • To learn about the three persons in the books including: Samuel, Saul, and David,

  • Track through the major events covered, and

  • To see the LORD’s faithfulness to His Word and His covenant to bring to the nation of Israel blessings for obedience and adversity for disobedience.

Note the overlap of coverage of events in 2nd Samuel and 1st Chronicles and the events of 1st Kings and 2nd Chronicles. See the diagram comparing the content of the books on p. 127 in your manual. We will cover the life of David again in 1st Chronicles.

Whereas the books of Samuel and Kings record the events, so to speak, from man’s perspective, the books of Chronicles give us the divine commentary on the events and the people. Thus, we cannot get the full picture of David or Solomon if we do not read Kings and Chronicles.

Note that the prayers of Hannah in 1 Sam. 2 and David in 2 Sam. 22 serve like bookends to the two books. Look also at Mary’s prayer in Luke 1:46-55 and compare it to Hannah’s prayer

After Israel’s request for a king note the two big ideas of Israel’s rejection of the LORD as king over them and the Lord’s rejection of Saul as the earthly ruler of Israel. See: 1 Sam. 8:17;10:19;12:17-19 for the former and 1 Samuel 13:12-1428:16-181 Chron.10:13-14 for the latter.

We looked at the three sections of 1 Samuel: Samuel, in ch. 1-8, Israel’s last Judge and first Prophet; Saul, in ch. 9-15, Israel’s choice as king; and David, in ch. 16-31, God’s choice for the king of Israel. David who looked like the “second string king” was actually the “first string”… from God’s perspective.

Compare and contrast key characters in the story including Samuel, Saul, and David. You will find “good, bad, and ugly” from each. (Note that Dt. 17:14ff gives the warnings to Israel concerning the king that they so want to have.)

 

Hannah

Eli

Good mother

Bad father

Sacrificed her best

His sons mocked the Lord’s sacrifice

Assertive through faith

Complacent

Put God before her son

Put sons before God

Samuel’s life glorified God

Eli’s sons lost the ark

Spiritual

Did not recognize God’s voice when He spoke

Samuel

Hophni and Phinehas

Dedicated

Wicked

Chosen, brave

No regard for the Lord

Genuinely dedicated

Did not know the Lord

Servant attitude, holy

Selfish with offering; slept with women

None of God’s Word unheeded (3:19)

Did not listen to Eli

Raised in the temple

Contemptible

Heard God speak

Did not honor the ark

Abigail

Nabal

Intelligent and beautiful

Surly and mean

Generous

Selfish

Intercedes with hospitality

Inhospitable

Sober and well reasoned

Drunk, foolish

David marries

David wants to kill

Jonathan

Saul

Used weapons to protect

Used weapon to kill

“Brotherly Love” story

“War” story

Secure

Appointed king; insecure

Faithful; no fear

Unfaithful; afraid of David

Killed in battle

Killed himself

Served humbly

Ruled selfishly

Common sense covenant with David

Foolish and impatient; did not keep his word

In synch with God’s plan

Rebelled against God’s plan

David in 1st Samuel

Brave and confident

Only one who volunteered to fight Goliath

Loyal, relationship oriented

Sinned but quick to repent

Sought after the Lord

Conqueror

Man after God’s own heart

Very patient

Respectful of King Saul’s authority

Humble

In light of 2nd Samuel and the books we will cover next, review the four covenants we are emphasizing in our survey:

The Abrahamic Covenant about 2000 BC, (Gen.12,15,17)

The Mosaic Covenant about 1445 BC, (Exodus 20-24)

The Davidic Covenant about 1000 BC, (2 Samuel 7)

The New Covenant about 600 BC, (Jer. 31)

Note Ps. 89:34-37 and Lk.1:31-33. We discussed that the Lord Jesus is the fulfillment of the promise to David that the throne of his kingdom will be established forever. We look to the literal reign of the Lord Jesus in the Millennial Kingdom as the ultimate fulfillment of this promise.

May the Lord continue to instill His Word in us and effectively use us to minister to others. As well, may the Covenant Keeper continue to grant us wisdom and willing hearts to serve Him.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 11 Old Testament Survey (1-2 Kings) 3-8-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

As we continue our study in the Historical Books of the Old Testament, remember the following two big ideas:

Big OT Idea #1: That the Lord’s people, Israel, might know that He is the LORD (note: LORD = “Yahweh” Ex. 6:6-7) their God who brought them up from the land of Egypt and . . .

Big OT Idea #2: That all the people of the earth might know that the LORD is God and that there is no other. This is from Solomon’s prayer of dedication of the Temple recorded in 1 Kings 8:59-60; Note also: Ex 8:109:14; and Lk 2:32 that carries this same idea over to the New Testament.

Recap of Thursday night:

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the historical division of the Kingdoms of Israel (10 tribes in the north) and Judah (2 tribes in the south)

  • that we see the significance and consequences of a divided heart toward the LORD

  • that we choose to be people of God with whole hearts for Him

1 Kings:  Solomon’s divided heart led to the divided Kingdoms of Israel and Judah; that division taking place in 930 BC.  Your manual’s summary applicational statement for 1 Kings on p. 104 is: “A heart divided between the way of God and the ways of the world leads to disobedience, sin, and a divided life that is not pleasing to God.”

Rather than follow the LORD’s direction in Deut. 17:14-20, Solomon multiplied horses, wives, silver and gold; all ultimately to his detriment.

How do we keep our hearts set on the Lord Jesus and him alone? The keys to this pursuit are the simple spiritual disciplines of bible study, prayer, fellowship, witnessing, and worship. Rather than divided hearts, may we all develop full hearts for the Lord Jesus according to His enabling and lavish grace administered by the Holy Spirit.

2 Kings: The fall of Israel and their subsequent deportation to Assyria in 722 BC, and the final fall of Judah and exile to Babylon in 586 BC were the two big events of 2 Kings. Your manual’s Theme and Purpose statement on p. 111, states, “(this was) a direct result of God’s judgment of sin and disobedience to His Word.”  That is, the children of Israel violated the covenant they had made with the LORD in Ex.19:8, and in Deut. 27-30

Note the results of the forced resettlement of Israel initiated by Assyria as described in 2 Kings 17:24-2832-39.

Note as well, though Manasseh was possibly the most wicked of the kings of the Southern Kingdom of Judah, in 2 Chronicles 33:1-20, we get some amazing additional information on him. What did Manasseh do in v. 12ff?

If you look at some of the occurrences of the name “Elijah” in the New Testament using your NIV Study Bible you will find that he is quite a key and central biblical figure. Yet according to James 5:17-18 he was a man just like us. In terms of application from this passage, an “I will statement” could be something like: “I will pray and address the Lord concerning . . . ( fill in the blank).  “Lord you know that I am a weak man/woman like Elijah was: I am courageous one minute, and a coward the next.  Yet, I know you listened to Elijah’s earnest prayers and answered him, therefore, I ask you to . . . (you fill in the blank) . . . and I expect you to answer according to your will and purposes.”

Assignment for Thursday, March 15, 2018:

  • Read 1 and 2 Chronicles

  • Do one passage for each book from the assignment on pages 111 and 125

  • Compare and contrast some of the parallel passages in 1-2 Chronicles with the corresponding passages in 1-2 Kings. Note differences and additional information and come prepared to discuss these in class.

One final item:

A  question that might arise on the Davidic Covenant is that if the covenant is unconditional, why does it seem conditional in some passages like 2 Sam.7:141 Kings 2:48:259:4-5?

Here is a good excerpt from Dr. Tom Constable’s Notes on 2 Samuel 7:

“Note that God did not promise that the rule of David’s descendants would be without interruption. The Babylonian captivity and the present dispersion of the Jews are interruptions (cf. Romans 9-11). Indeed, Jesus taught that the Jews would experience domination by Gentile powers during “the times of the Gentiles” (Luke 21:24), namely, from the time Gentiles assumed sovereignty over Israel’s affairs (i.e., Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.) until Jesus Christ restores sovereignty to Israel (i.e., when He returns to rule at His second advent). Even though the present State of Israel enjoys a limited measure of sovereignty, Gentiles still dominate its affairs, and a Davidic king is not leading it. However, the privilege of ruling over Israel as king would always belong to David’s descendants.”

Further, as Walter Kaiser explains, “The “breaking” or conditionality can only refer to personal and individual invalidation of the benefits of the covenant, but it cannot affect the transmission of the promise to the the lineal descendants. This is why God would staunchly affirm His fidelity and the perpetuity of the covenant to David in spite of succeeding rascals who wold appear in his lineage. For in that case, He “finds fault with them” but not with His Abrahamic-Davidic-New Covenant.”

Each of you is a blessing to the class.

See you Thursday, Lord wiling.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 12 Old Testament Survey (1-2 Chronicles) 3-15-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

On Thursday, March 22nd we will conclude the books of history by covering Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. The following Thursday, March 29th, we will begin our four-week study in the books of Poetry: Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon.

The assignment  for this coming Thursday’s class, is:

  • Read the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther

  • Read your BTCP manual pp. 129-150

  • Choose one of the passages on each of the assignment pages (p. 137, 143, and 148) and state the central truth of the passage in one sentence.

Our goals for last night were:

  • That in additon to the more purely historical account of Kings (most likely written for Judah as they were about to go into exile) we gain greater understanding of the Lord’s perspective on Israel’s entire history from the Chronicler (who is writing to those returning from exile some 70 years later).

  • That we see the contributing factors to a divided heart

  • That forsaking those things that lead to a divided heart, we commit to develop a whole heart for the Lord

In summary: We want to understand the LORD’s faithfulness to His Word as He communicated His perspective to the exiles who were returning from Babylon to Judah concerning the events which occurred during the reigns of David/Solomon and the subsequent kings of Judah.

Note that David, although he was sinful and imperfect, never once sought to worship any other God. He was wholly devoted to YHWH the God of Israel. When he was confronted with his sin he admitted that it was against God and God alone that he had transgressed. (Psalm 51, especially v. 4) Note in the Psalm the progression from self to others to the covenant people as a whole.

The 1 Chronicles applicational message is: “God blesses those who seek to know and serve Him with a whole heart.” (p. 118 in your manual)

In 2 Chronicles, the chronicler observed Solomon’s good beginning and the ways God used him in building the Temple and the nation of Israel during its golden age without focusing on his decline. We know from 1 Kings that he ended up as the king with 1/2 a heart for the Lord. He violated the commands of Deuteronomy 17 and squandered a position of great responsibility.

We then tracked through God’s perspective on the King’s of Judah (1 and 2 Kings had more focus on the Kings of Israel) seeing that only a few seemed to be mostly good, all were mixed, and most were bad. Josiah towards the end was one of the best along with some of his predecessors like Jehoshaphat and Hezekiah.

The 2 Chronicles applicational message on p. 124 of your manual is: “If worship of God is not the central focus of our lives, then disorder and chaos will result.”

By way of reminder: the three kings of the united monarchy were:

Saul, the man with no heart for God. David the man with a whole heart for God. Solomon the man with 1/2 a heart for God (or a heart led astray from God).

For 1&2 Chronicles a summary principle (good for all people, in all places, at all times) might be stated:

We need to remember the Word of the Lord; when we sin we should repent of our sin and return in obedience to the Lord Jesus and remain faithful to Him and His Word, keeping Him central in our lives.

I look forward to seeing you again on this coming Thursday night, Lord willing.

Kevin

P.S. We discussed Jerusalem and the Temple Mount in class and I thought you would find the following article quite interesting in terms of the current archeological and political issues surrounding them.



_______________________________________________________________

Recap 13 Old Testament Survey (Ezra-Esther-Nehemiah) 3-22-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for your work in class Thursday night, March 22nd, as we surveyed Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, we are now 1/2 way through Old Testament Survey!

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the story line of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther and the faithfulness of the LORD as recorded in these books.

  • that we learn from their examples to increasingly trust the Lord in times of external and internal opposition.

In terms of the chronology of the the Old Testament story line, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, are the last books. They are all post-exilic, a term that we will see again as we study the prophets of the Old Testament. As there were three deportations of Judah to Babylon in 605 BC, 597 BC and 586 BC, there were also three returns from exile; one under Zerubbabel in 538 BC, one under Ezra in 458 BC, and one under Nehemiah in 444 BC. (Ezra records the first two, Nehemiah records the final one).

Jewish historians site five to seven key events in the nation of Israel:

“5 key events plus 2 in the life of the people of Israel”

  1. The call of Abraham: Gen. 12

  2. The Exodus and giving of the law: Exodus, the book and Exodus 20

  3. The building of the Temple in Jerusalem: 1 Kings 6

  4. The Exile to Babylon and the destruction of the Temple in 586BC: 2 Kings 25, Book of Jeremiah and Lamentations (Remembered on the “Ninth of Av” in the Jewish calendar)

  5. The destruction of the 2nd Temple in 70AD. (This is the temple rebuilt by Ezra and refurbished later by Herod the Great)

  6. The Holocaust in 1939-1945AD

  7. The establishment of Israel as a state in 1948 AD (celebrated in May)

We have already studied four of those events and this week discussed the building of the second Temple by Zerubbabel. Of course, events 6 and 7 are not included in the Old Testament.

God used a secular leader of Persia, Cyrus, to issue the decree to rebuild the Temple. Also note that Cyrus was prophesied about by name in Is. 44:28 and 45:1.

Look at the following passages to give yourself an overview of the historical context: Jer. 25:8-12, the exile to Babylon and Jer. 29:10-14, the return from the exile. The reason for the exile is recorded in Deut. 4:25-31.

In the book of Ezra, as Zerubbabel sought to rebuild the Temple in Jerusalem and Ezra sought to reform/restore the people, we saw the significance of the Word of God in Ezra’s life; Ezra 7:8-10. As an application, think of how we can pray that we might see the Lord’s hand on each of us as His hand was on Ezra as we undertake the work He has for us.

Note that in the 57-58 year gap between chapters 6 and 7 of Ezra is where the events portrayed in Esther take place in Persia.

In Ezra 7 we saw Ezra reform/restore the people through reading, explaining, and applying the Word of God.

We next overviewed Esther, as her story falls in the 57-58 year gap, 515 BC-458 BC (See chart on p. 131 in your manual). We looked at God’s providence in the life of HIs chosen people, as even in captivity, He protected His people and the line of the Messiah. We also saw that God was fulfilling his promise made back in Exodus 17:14 to “blot out the memory of Amalek from under heaven“. We noted the courage of Esther to risk her life for her people. We also  noted God’s sovereignty in the book in protecting His people.

In Nehemiah, as he led the people to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, we saw his responses to both internal and external opposition. We noted that Nehemiah was a man of prayer and action. We discussed that Nehemiah was a leader who planned well and understood how to motivate people and finish projects. We discussed how we as God’s people are to respond to opposition. Also note the many significant prayers in both Ezra and Nehemiah, note especially the prayer in Nehemiah 9. Try reading this aloud.

As we see God’s faithfulness expressed in his providence and power as He delivers Judah from exile in Babylon, we want to follow the examples of these Godly people, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, and we are challenged to trust the Lord to work out his providential plan for our lives.

Your assignment for next Monday, August 24th:

  • read the introductory pages to the Poetic Books in your manual, pages 151-152

  • read the Introduction to the book of Job and the book itself in your NIV Study Bile as well as the appropriate pages in the manual for the book, pages 153-162

  • select one passage from the list on page 159 and write the central truth of the passage.

In the midst of opposition, may the Lord grant each of us wisdom from His Word and courage to increasingly trust Him.

Kevin

P.S. Follow up to a few other issues raised in class:



_______________________________________________________________

Recap 14 Old Testament Survey (Job) 3-29-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for a good class on Thursday night as we began our four-week section on the Poetic Books in Old Testament Survey.

Assignment for Thursday, April 12th, 2018

Recap of the intro to poetical books and Job, from March 29th:

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we understand the theology of Job, i.e. that the suffering of a “righteous” man is allowed by God for His purposes

  • that we humble ourselves before Him and trust Him in the midst of suffering

  • that, from the book of Job, we see practical applications in our ministry to others

Intro to the Poetical books:

Note the material in manual pages 151-152:

  • Job is most likely set during the Patriarchal Period of Old Testament history

  • the other books of poetry: Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon are set during the United Kingdom period

  • rather than rhyme, Hebrew poetry uses parallel structure as its “meter”

  • figures of speech are used to convey literal truth to the hearers/readers, i.e. figurative language is the vehicle for conveying literal truth about God, man, and the creation.

Summary words/phrases associated with the books of poetry from Walk Thru the Bible and others:

Job – Sovereignty

Psalms – Worship/God’s Hymnbook

Proverbs – Wisdom

Ecclesiastes – Vanity/Emptiness of Life apart from God

Song of Solomon – A Love Song/Intimacy in Marriage

Study of Job:

Roy Zuck subtitles Job: “The Mystery of Unmerited Misery”. We noted that references to Job are scant with two in the Old Testament, Ezek. 14:1420; and one reference in the New Testament to the character Job in James 5:11 and one quote from the book in 1 Cor. 3:19.

Satan, the fallen angel, is introduced in Job 1:6 and following. We discussed the “accuser of the brethren”; note that he is only allowed by the LORD to attack Job. All affliction is under the control of God and He will use it for His purposes in the lives of those who serve Him. In Job’s case and through the book we gain perspective on man’s response to suffering and a window into the spiritual world.

(For dealing with Satan, see the” related passages” section on page 161 of the manual, Zech. 3:1-5, and see Jude 1:9)

We could begin a discussion of Job by defining a syllogism; i.e. an argument or form of reasoning in which two statements or premises are made and a conclusion is drawn from those premises. In the chart on Job on p. 155, the SUMMARY under chapters 4-14 shows the syllogism of Job’s three friends:

A.  A righteous man does not suffer

B.  Only the wicked are judged

C.  Job is suffering and under God’s judgment, therefore he must have sinned

Then an application: Job should turn from sin to God (i.e. Job should repent)

One could simply state it this way:

A.  The righteous do not suffer

B.  Job is suffering

C.  Therefore Job is unrighteous

Repent Job!

We examined the accusations from the three friends and noted that they began well, “weeping with those who weep” as described in Rom. 12:15, but then began an assault on Job from their perspectives:

  • Eliphaz: experience guides his remarks as he comes from a “super-spiritual” perspective. See 4:15.

  • Bildad: tradition guides him. See 8:8

  • Zophar: assumption guides him as the legalist/moralist. See 11:6.

  • The fourth commentator, Elihu, gives a more detached theological perspective and is not really part of the “lynch party” out to get Job.

  • As the story develops, Job moves from questioning God to accusing Him. We certainly can come before Him with our questions but not our condemnation. Or as someone has said: Ok to question but not ok to deny Him.

  • Job is put in his place by the LORD’s two speeches in chapter 38-41, and after hearing from his creator, Job responds in humility.

  • “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” Romans 11:33-36 sums the idea up for us: “Who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has been his counselor?”

The bottom line for the book: God’s word gives perspective in times of suffering. As well, there are mysteries in this life that will not be made plain until we are with the Lord. As Paul says in 1 Cor. 13:12 “For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.” KJV

And as the Psalmist said:

One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: that you, O God are strong, and that you, O Lord, are loving. Psalm 62:11

Applications from Job:

  • When we are suffering, we can be honest with the Lord and question Him but we are in error to accuse Him.

  • We can trust Him to use suffering for His purposes in our lives.

  • When others are suffering, we need to weep with them, be people of few words, and be careful with our pat answers.

  • When we suffer, we should pray for those who accuse us wrongly.

I hope you all enjoy having Joe Crum as your guest teacher on April 12th! I look forward to seeing you on Thursday April 19th, Lord willing. Thanks for your prayers for Brad Swenson and me as we travel to Nepal and India.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 15 Old Testament Survey (Psalms) 4-12-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Better late than never, I hope! I have been slow to recover from my trip to Nepal and India. I came back sick and then my back went out Friday. I am just now getting back to normal and trying to catch up! I have posted audio for a previous class covering Psalms for those of you who couldn’t make it last Thursday since Joe did not have a way to record the class.

Thank you for those who could make it and participate last Thursday night with Joe Crum as you studied the Psalms. It is indeed good to see the Lord’s faithfulness as portrayed in the Psalms.

“I remember your ancient laws, O LORD,

and I find comfort in them.

Indignation grips me because of the wicked,

who have forsaken your law.” Ps.119:52-53

Assignment for Thursday, April 19, 2018:

Be prepared this week as we continue in the books of poetry and study Proverbs.

Review:

In our study of Job where we asked the question, “Why do we worship God . . . for what we can get from Him, or simply for who He is?” This week we moved to Psalms where we looked at Why and How we are to appropriately approach and worship God.

We saw in the Psalms the heart response of the writers as they laid their lives and emotions totally open before God. Someone in a previous BTCL class once remarked, “They seem to picture a relationship with God in the raw.” Well said!

Our objectives were:   

  • that we know from the Psalms how we are to respond to the Lord in worship and praise

  • that we approach Him in accordance with who He is

  • that, in light of who He is, we look at our lives to see what we need to change

  • that we understand how to use the Psalms in our ministry to others

As Alan Ross says:  “Of all the books in the Old Testament the Book of Psalms most vividly represents the faith of individuals in the Lord.  The Psalms are the inspired responses of human hearts to God’s revelation of Himself in law, history, and prophecy.”

The books of history give us the basis of our faith, the poetic books give us the windows into the practice of our faith, the books of prophecy give us the outcome of our faith. History focuses on the past, poetry draws our focus up to God, and prophecy focuses on the future. Note the fact that the Psalms are written for God’s glory: See: Ps. 41:1372:18-1989:52106:48150:6.

Book 1:  Psalm 1 and Psalm 33.  In Psalm 1, we see the choices we all make, that is whether to be a man/woman who follows there Lord, verses 1 – 3, or be numbered among the wicked, verses 4 – 5. We could draw application from 33:16-22, as we pray for the potential candidates in elections, we can ask that  candidates for President, U.S. senate, U.S. house of representatives, governor or other offices place their trust in the proper place– in the Lord and realize their accountability before Him for governing. We can also pray for God’s people that we would put our trust in the Lord rather than the government.

Book 2:  Psalm 51 and 66.  In terms of how to use Psalm 51 with a new believer, A former BTCL student had a good statement:  “I can sit with someone who has sinned in a grievous way, and pray through this Psalm with him.” Make sure to look at the key word, “then” in verse 13.  It makes it clear that we must make sure that we are clean before the Lord before we minister to others.

In this very personal Psalm, we saw David’s deep expression of grief at his own sin. Note in contrast to Psalm 66, here in Psalm 5, the focus moves from personal to corporate, that is from David’s desire to be clean before the Lord to his desire for the nation he served to honor the Lord.

In Psalm 66, note way the Psalmist responded to the Lord by moving from the big picture of “all the earth” in verses 1 – 4, to what the Lord had done for the chosen people, verses 8 – 12, to the personal declaration of the Psalmist in verses 13 – 20.

Book 3:  Psalm 84.  Consider the perspective of the Psalmist as he expressed his love for the Lord in verse 10: “Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; . . . ”  (think back to the courts in the temple)

Book 4: Psalm 90.  Look at this Psalm of Moses and note that he recalled the Lord’s faithfulness in the past to the people of God. Moses emphasizes the eternality of the Lord, “from everlasting to everlasting you are God”. Next he declares that the Lord controls the life/death of all men, and he describes the temporary nature of men. “Teach us to number our days.”

Book 5:  Psalm 119:.9-16.  Note that in these 8 verses, the Word of God is mentioned 9 times!  Thus emphasizing the significance of the Word of God in appropriately praising Him and not sinning against Him.

Note that the “Psalter”, the collection of Psalms, begins with, ” Blessed is the man…” in Psalm 1, and the collection ends with “Praise the LORD”, in Psalm 150. This shows where the focus moves in the book; from man to the LORD.

By way of Applicational Summary, note that the Psalms are:

1. for our personal use, for example, Psalm 51 and Psalm 22

2. for us to use in our ministry to others, Psalm 103

3. for our use corporately as we evaluate music used in worship.

As we worship the Lord Jesus Christ, may we do so in accordance with who He is and in light of what He has done for us.

Truly He is our help in ages past, our hope for years to come.

I look forward to seeing you again on Thursday

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 16 Old Testament Survey (Proverbs) 4-19-2018

Dear BTCL Class:

Thank you for your work on Proverbs last night.

Recap of Thursday, April 19, 2018: Proverbs

Our objectives for the night were:

  • that we understand that God has given us information in the book of Proverbs that helps us to live life wisely

  • that we turn to Him for wisdom and that we change foolish behavior that is uncovered as we read Proverbs

  • that we appropriately fear the LORD, that is that we develop “an attitude of awe, reverence, adoration, confidence, thankfulness, love, and appropriate fear of Him” (adapted from Robert Strimple)

Review of Proverbs: Key word: “Wisdom”. Synopsis, “Wise up and live.” (Quoting Sid Bussell)

We read Proverbs 1:1-7 and discussed the fear of the LORD in verse 7. We did not take the time to look them up, but New Testament cross-references are: Acts 5:119:3110:3519:172 Cor 5:11Eph. 6:5Phil. 2:121Pe. 1:172:17Rev. 14:715:419:5. A contrast is given in 1 Pet. 3:14, (speaking of those who do harm to believers) “Do not fear what they fear”, i.e. fear the Lord not men.

As well, in Isaiah’s prophecy in Isa. 11:1-3, the Messiah is seen as one who, “will delight in the fear of the LORD”. Even the Lord Jesus feared the LORD. We can compare this to a quote from Jerry Bridges, “There was a time when committed Christians were known as God-fearing people. But somewhere along the way we lost it. Now the idea of fearing God, if thought of at all, seems like a relic from the past.”

Look at the structure of the book. After the purpose is stated in Prov. 1:1-710 different warnings are given from Prov. 1:8-7:27. We looked at the Personification of Wisdom in Proverbs 8 and  9:1-12 and of Folly in Proverbs 9:13-18. In the interpretive process the context of Prov. 8:1 is key to recognizing the use of a figure of speech that represents a thing or an abstraction (like wisdom) as a person. We also looked at the contrasts inherent in many of the Proverbs especially those in the main section attributed to Solomon directly.

We can sum up the “noble woman” passage, Proverbs 31:10-31, with one word, “others”, i.e. she is described as one who lives her life in fear of the Lord and in service to others. (Proverbs 31:30).

Read Job 28:12-28, where Job laments and asks the question, “But where can wisdom be found?” He gives the answer in verse 28. Also note James 3:13; “Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom.”

Assignment for Thursday, April 26, 2018: Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon

  • read the introductions and books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon

  • read the appropriate pages in your course manual, pp. 181-191

  • choose one passage from the list on page 184 and write the central truth of the passage

  • do the assignment on page 190

As we seek to reflect the character of God, may we be a people who, by the wisdom and enablement He supplies, apply knowledge to life and thus exhibit to others lives that are pleasing, productive, and honoring to Him.

See you next Thursday night,

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 17 Old Testament Survey (Song of Songs – Ecclesiastes) 4-26-2018

Dear BTCL Class:

We are making good progress and believe it or not we will finish our Survey of the Old Testament in less than two months!

Recap of Thursday, April 26, 2018: Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes

Our objectives for the night were:

  • to grow in our understanding of figurative language used in the poetical books

  • to see God’s endorsement of the enjoyment of the sexual union in marriage

  • that given the mysteries and unanswered questions of life, we choose to live life fully “under the sun” and under God’s providential plan

  • that we, as believers in the Author of life, stand counter to the meaninglessness modeled and communicated by our culture; that we live lives that are meaningful rather than meaningless, because of our creator and redeemer.

Review of Solomon’s Song of Songs:

It is interesting to note that the Song of Solomon is still read by Jews today as a Passover reading.

It is helpful to view the Song of Songs as a four part short story with part three being a dream. We noted that this book presents one aspect of life, the romantic and sexual relationship between a husband and wife, to which the Creator gives meaning. Review some of the key Scriptural teaching on marriage such as Gen. 2:24Mal. 2:13 – 16Mt. 19:1 – 61 Cor. 6:15-20, and 1 Cor. 7:1-9Eph. 5:22 – 23, and Heb.13:4 ; these help fill out the picture of marriage and healthy sexuality, from God’s perspective.

I also mentioned a good resource for understanding this book in the series of sermons by Tommy Nelson, Pastor of Denton Bible Church. You can find those here: http://dbcmedia.org/sermons/love-song-a-study-in-the-song-of-solomon/ These messages are especially good for those to whom you minister that are considering marriage, or are engaged to be married.

Why would the Lord include Song of Songs in Scripture? Dennis has a good way of looking at this. Ask the question: What would we not know if this were not in scripture? With Song of Songs, we would not have the healthy, and yes passionate, view of the sexual aspect of marriage.

Review of Ecclesiastes:

Key words: Meaningless, Vanity, Emptiness, Enigma.

Synopsis: Though full of mystery, life can be meaningful when one is rightly related to his Creator.

Ask yourself, “what do people normally seek out of life to find meaning and purpose in life?”  We can come up with a list of pursuits including things such as: knowledge, leisure and pleasure, career, accomplishment, fame, status, sex, wealth, and relationships. Amazingly, Solomon pursued these as well and as he looked back on his life with aged eyes concluded that all is meaningless without God. All his endeavors came up lacking in an ultimate sense. We saw how he built his case from both experience and observation.

As Augustine, some 400 years after Christ, said, “There is a God-shaped vacuum in each man’s heart that can only be filled by God Himself.” Solomon says it this way: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end…..” Ecc. 3:11. Also look at Acts 17:24-27 as a cross-reference where the author, Luke, picks up the same idea through Paul speaking in Athens. “God did this (created man and appointed where men should live) so that men would seek Him and perhaps reach out for Him and find Him…”

Some other key words and phrases from the book of were, “under the sun” Ecc. 1:9, “under heaven” Ecc.3:1, and “meaningless” or “mystery” Ecc. 1:2.

The phrases “Under heaven” or “under the sun”, were used 32 times in the book. Of the 38 times it is used in all of the NIV, “meaningless” was used 35 times in Ecclesiastes.

We can also look at New Testament passages to find some resolution for the issues and questions that Solomon raises in Ecclesiasties:

Eph. 1:1-711-123:8-11Rev. 21:1-5. These passages show that our lives are meaningful because of His plans for His people, and because of His work in us individually. And finally, 1 Cor. 13:12 “Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face…” All the mysteries of life will be made plain when we are with the Lord.

Praise the Lord that he has given us life and our lives have meaning and purpose! The Lord Jesus said it this way in John 10:10, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life and have it to the full.”

We can conclude our discussion of Ecclesiastes by:

  • answering the question: “What is the chief end of man?” “The chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” Life without Him … ultimately meaningless; a life with Him gives work, leisure, and relationships meaning and purpose. Solomon was right, apart from God, life can be meaningless, but with Him, it is abundant and everlasting.

  • looking at Job 28:12-28, where Job laments and asks the question, “But where can wisdom be found?” He gives the answer in verse 28. It is to the Lord we must look for answers to the apparent meaningless of life and the enigmas that surround us.

Assignment for Thursday, May 4, 2018: Intro to Prophets and Isaiah

  • Read the appropriate pages in your course manual, pp. 193-198 for the Intro to Prophets, and pp. 199-206 for Isaiah.

  • Read the introduction to the book of Isaiah in addition to the book itself.

  • Choose one passage from the list on p. 204 and write the central truth of the passage.

Be aware that this is a big chunk of reading and start today! Thank you for your diligence in the Word of God!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 18 Old Testament Survey (Isaiah) 5-3-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Assignment for Thursday, May 10, 2018:

– Read the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations
– Choose one of the Jeremiah passages from the assignment on p. 212 and state the central truth of the passage;
– Do the Lamentations assignment on p. 220

It was good to be with you Thursday night as we introduced the Prophetic Books and looked specifically at the book of Isaiah.
It is remarkable how often passages from the book of Isaiah show up in our culture. Note that Is.2:4 is depicted, believe-it-or-not, on a wall outside the U.N. … yes that is United Nations headquarters in New York City!

While the three pre-exilic books of Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Lamentations, give us insights concerning the judgement that came on Judah and Jerusalem, the exilic books of Ezekiel and Daniel will give us the perspective of what God wanted those who were actually in exile in Babylon to know.

Recap of Intro to the prophets and the book of Isaiah:
Our goals for the night were:
– that we understand the nature of prophecy including the concepts of a true and a false prophet
– that we understand the basic structure and content of Isaiah
– that we praise the Lord for our great salvation brought about through the promised Messiah

Intro to the prophets, “The Nevi’im”: (Remember that the “Jewish Bible is known as the Tanakh, and is made up of the Law, “Torah”; the Prophets, “Nevi’im”; and the Writings, “Ketuvim”.)

From Wikipedia: “Tanakh is an acronym of the first Hebrew letter of each of the Masoretic Text’s three traditional subdivisions: Torah (“Teaching”, also known as the Five Books of Moses), Nevi’im (“Prophets”) and Ketuvim (“Writings”)—hence TaNaKh. The name “Mikra” (מקרא), meaning “that which is read”, is another Hebrew word for the Tanakh”.

  1. Look back at some of the special rules for interpreting prophecy introduced in our Bible Study Methods course on pp. 71-73:
    – Foreshortening: example of Is. 61:1-2 and Lk. 4:17-21
    – Near and far application: example of Is. 7:14 and Matt. 1:22-23
    – Partial fulfillment of a prophecy: example of Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:17-21 and Rev.6:12-14

  2. Hints for interpreting prophecy: (see pp. 71-73 in your Bible Study Methods and Rules of Interpretation course manual.)
    – There can be a long time between the giving of the prophecy and its fulfillment: example of Is. 40:3, Mal. 3:1-3, and Matt. 3:3
    – Look at the elements of the prophecy that are “already-fulfilled” and those “yet-to-be-fulfilled”: example of Is. 44:28 and Ezra 6:3

  3. In 700 B.C. Is. 44:28 says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd and will accomplish all that I please; he will say of Jerusalem, “Let it be rebuilt,” and of the temple,“Let its foundations(D be laid.”’ This is 152 years before Cyrus’ decree! It is not until 538B.C. as mentioned in Ezra 6:3. In the first year of King Cyrus, the king issues a decree concerning the temple of God in Jerusalem: “Let the temple be rebuilt as a place to present sacrifices, and let its foundations be laid. It is to be sixty cubits[a] high and sixty cubits wide”

  4. The ideas of a true prophet and false prophets from Dt. 18:14-22 and Jer.1:9-10 (p. 194)

  5. The significance of Old Testament prophecies, specifically from Isaiah, in the New Testament: examples in Matt. 3:1 of John the Baptist, and Matt.1:22 of the Lord Jesus. Isaiah is used by New Testament authors 85+ times.

  6. There is a pattern repeated in Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and Zephaniah of: (1) judgement on Israel, (2) judgement on the Gentile/surrounding nations, (3) consolation for Israel. (See “Literary features” at intro to Ezekiel in your NIV Study Bible)

Look at God’s eternal plan poetically declared in Is. 46:10. Please note our privileged position as New Testament believers in that plan, Mt. 13:171 Pet. 1:10-12. Take a look at a first century common person’s (Martha’s) understanding of the “last day”, i.e. the coming Messiah and the resurrection; Jn. 11: 17-27. Also note that Acts 1:6 gives us insight into the expectation of the Lord to usher in a physical/political kingdom. The book of Isaiah played a major role in the development of these ideas.

Key words: Holiness/Justice, Grace/Glory, The Holy One of Israel, and “ in that day”.

  1. We looked at the structure of Isaiah presented in the chart on pp. 199 and 200 and noted that the book has two main sections:

    • Condemnationof God for sin, chapters 1-39, and Consolation of God for salvation, chapters 40-66. Israel groaned under the condemnation and gloried in the promise of salvation. The historical section of chapters 36-39 is a microcosm of Isaiah’s ministry and deals with the prophet’s interaction with King Hezekiah.

  2. We noted that as in presenting the gospel, so with Israel, sin must be addressed before salvation and blessing can come.

  3. From a previous BTCL class, here are central truths students found from several passages:From: Isaiah 6:1-13
    1. The LORD is holy and full of glory (v 1-3)
    2. Isaiah’s reaction to the LORD – fear, awe, reverence (v 4-5)
    3. Isaiah’s response to the LORD – commitment to deliver the LORD’s message ((v 8)
    4. the LORD’s discipline / wrath on Judah is just and thorough and only when He determines it is complete may Judah receive His mercy and grace (v 9-13)From: Isaiah 9:1-7: “The hope of all peoples, Jews and Gentiles alike, is found in the birth of the coming Messiah.”

    From: Isaiah 11:1-16 Our central truth was “There will come a spirit filled man (Messiah) who will come to redeem and unite his people.”

    From Isaiah 53:1-12 The coming One (Messiah) is the sinless suffering servant of the Lord who will bear the sins of all men in order to effect redemption. (Statement from p. 205 in your manual)

    Highlighted Distinctive features of Isaiah from p. 206:
    – The virgin birth
    – “I am a man of unclean lips”…”send me”
    – Messiah as suffering servant
    – light of revelation to the Gentiles

    – we might add the phrase, “The Holy One of Israel”, to the distinctive features.

Take look at these New Testament passages:
Rom. 3:19-24, to show that all are condemned, Jew and Gentile alike, and that righteousness comes only through faith in the One who was to come, and has come, Jesus Christ.
1 Pet. 2:18-25, to show that he himself bore our sins in his body, fulfilling the prophecy of Is. 53.

Read the words of the following hymn which sums up much of what we see in Isaiah about the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ:

Come Thou Long-expected Jesus

Come thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set Thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in Thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth Thou art;
Dear Desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.

Born Thy people to deliver,
Born a Child and yet a King.
Born to reign in us for ever,
Now Thy gracious kingdom bring.
By Thine own eternal Spirit
Rule in all our hearts alone;
By Thine all-sufficient merit
Raise us to Thy glorious throne.

Thank you for your diligence in studying the word of God.

Each of you is a blessing. See you Thursday, Lord willing as we cover Jeremiah and Lamentations.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 19 Old Testament Survey (Jeremiah-Lamentations) 5-10-2018

Dear BTCL Class:

Thank you for your working through Jeremiah with me Thursday night.

Assignment for Thursday, May 17, 2018:

  • Please read the book of Ezekiel, the related pages in your BTCP manual, and do the assignment on p. 229 in preparation for class.

Our goals for Jeremiah and Lamentations were:

  • That we understand from the book of Jeremiah and Lamentations, that the LORD will not allow sin to go unpunished forever, yet is merciful even in judgment. “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished.” Ex. 34:6-7a

  • That we be challenged to turn from sin and all that is displeasing to God in our lives.

  • That we realize that an idol is anything in which we put our trust or give our ultimate devotion to other than the Lord Jesus.

By way of Review:

Look at the covenants on p. 198 of your manual and note that Jeremiah 34:14-22 has a reference to the Davidic and Abrahamic covenants. Also note that Judah’s exile was due to breaking the Mosaic Covenant, Jer. 11:8Jer. 22:9; their continued idolatry, Jer. 32:34; and their provoking the LORD by the continued wickedness of the people of Israel/Judah, their kings, officials, priests, and false prophets, Jer. 32:31.

 

 

The book of Jeremiah: 

  1. From the chart on p. 197 we see the contemporaries of Isaiah: Amos, Hosea, and Micah; and Jeremiah’s contemporaries, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, and Nahum.

  2. We looked at the book charts on pp. 207-208 and saw the four sections of the book; Jeremiah’s call, his sermons to Judah, his messages to the Gentile nations, and the picture of the fall of Jerusalem.

Here is some of what we find about the prophet from the book of Jeremiah:

1.  The Man:

  • he was passionate in his relationship with the LORD, 20:7-18

  • for prophesying judgement on the kings of Judah, the people of Jerusalem and for his delivery of the Lord’s message, he was beaten, 20:2

  • he was persecuted and thrown into a cistern, 38:1ff (nasty)

  • he was angry with the Lord, 12:1-4; 20:7-18

  • he trusted the Lord, 20:14

2.  Jeremiah’s message:

  • Judah is idolatrous, forsaking YHWH, “ . . . and (she) followed other gods and served and worshipped them” , 7:30-34; 16:10-13

  • Judah has forsaken the Mosaic Covenant, 22:9 (note: to forsake the Lord’s Word is to forsake the Lord Himself)

  • Idolatry and all the sin associated with it (including infanticide) will lead to the devastation of the nation, 19:1-6

  • warned of disaster and slaughter, 19:7-9; 24:8-10

  • instructed Jerusalem to surrender to Babylon and go into exile, 21:8-10

  • warned false prophets of the Lord’s judgment on them and warned the people against their false prophecies, 23:15-16

  • reconfirms the Davidic Covenant, 33:17

  • promises the New Covenant, “ . . . they will all know me . . . I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.” 31:31-35

3.  His Ministry:

  • he ministered the Word of the Lord to Judah “This is what the LORD says . . .” Phrase used 146 times in Jeremiah!

  • to the kings of Judah (the last 5 on the chart near page 500 in your NIV, Josiah, Jehoahaz, Jehoiakim, Jehoiachin, and Zedekiah.

  • he was ignored yet was faithful

  • he had direct ministry to Zedekiah as he warned him of false prophets and their hollow reassurances, 27:12-15

4.  Jeremiah’s Unique Contribution:

  • his twelve sermons, 2:1 – 3:5; 3:6 – 6:30; 7:1 – 10:25; 11:1- 12:17; 13:1 – 13:27; 14:1 – 15:21; 16:1 – 17:27; 18:1 – 20:18; 21:1 – 23:8; 23:9 – 23:40; 24:1 – 24:10; 25:1 – 25:38

  • the New Covenant, 31:31-33

  • his “heavy message” leavened with hope

  • his message of the coming complete destruction of Jerusalem

Jeremiah hits on the two big themes of the Old Testament:

  • To his chosen people, “That you might know that I the LORD your God who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians”. Ex. 6:7

  • That all the people of the earth might know that the LORD is God and there is no other. 1 Kings 8:59-60.

Jeremiah deals with both of these themes as the Lord declares through the prophet that Judah will go into exile in Babylon and that Jerusalem, including the temple will be burned. The nations the Lord uses to discipline Judah will also be dealt with in judgement. All nations are dealt with according to their actions and so they will know that the LORD He is God.

The Book of Lamentations:

Jeremiah looks back at the destruction of the City of David, Jerusalem. In chapters 1 and 2, he looks around, in chapter 3 he looks up, in chapter 4 he looks back at Judah’a sin (the cause of destruction), in chapter 5 he looks ahead with a prayer for restoration.

In the midst of the grief and heaviness of the books of Jeremiah and Lamentations, there is hope. Lamentations 3:22-23 states this well: “Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.”

The writer of Hebrews sums well what we see in the man Jeremiah as well:

“And what more shall I say? I do not have time to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel and the prophets, who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, and gained what was promised; who shut the mouths of lions, quenched the fury of the flames, and escaped the edge of the sword; whose weakness was turned to strength; and who became powerful in battle and routed foreign armies. Women received back their dead, raised to life again. Others were tortured and refused to be released, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Some faced jeers and flogging, while still others were chained and put in prison. They were stoned; they were sawed in two; they were put to death by the sword. They went about in sheepskins and goatskins, destitute, persecuted and mistreated— the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.”  Hebrews 11:32-40

The best New Testament picture of the heart of Jeremiah is that of the Lord Jesus, six centuries after Jeremiah, weeping over Jerusalem as he sees the impending rejection of him by the chosen people.  “Oh Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.” Matt. 23:37

Truly, great is the Lord’s faithfulness toward us. May we have the courage and heart of Jeremiah to proclaim the Lord’s Word and minister to the people God places before us.

See you on Thursday for Ezekiel, Lord willing!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 20 Old Testament Survey (Ezekiel) 5-17-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Reminder: No class on Thursday, May 24th, 2018.

We will meet next on Thursday, May 31st when we will cover the book of Daniel.

Thank you for working through Ezekiel with me last night.

Assignment for May 31, 2018: We will study the book of Daniel:

1. Read pp. 231-238 in the manual

2. Read the book of Daniel

3. Choose one of the passages on p. 236 and write the central truth you see in the passage (You can send this to me via e-mail for feedback)

Our goals for Thursday night were:

  • [Application for them]

    • That we understand YHWH’s message to the Jews in exile through the prophet Ezekiel: God’s glory departed from them because of their gross sin against Him

    • God would yet restore and redeem them as a people, both in the near future (70 years) and the far future (Millennial Kingdom)

  • [Application for us]

    • That we turn from anything in our lives that dishonors the Lord

    • That we live lives that bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ

    • That we live our lives in holy expectation of Christ’s return and the Kingdom He will bring

Recap and Overview:

There were three main deportations from Judah to Babylon: (1) Daniel was part of the first deportation in 605 B.C. See: Dan. 1:1-7. (2) Ezekiel was likely a part of the second deportation in 597 B.C. See: 2 Kings 24:10-16. (3) 832 males deported in 586 B.C. when the temple was destroyed. See: Jer. 52:29.

There were three returns to Judah from the exile in Babylon: (1) under Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar, to restore the temple, 538 B.C. See Ezra 1-6 (focus on 1:11-2:2). (2) under Ezra to reform the people, 458 B.C. See Ezra 7-10 ( focus on 7:6-9). (3) under Nehemiah, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 444 B.C. See: Nehemiah 2:1-12. (See also the chart near Ezra 2 in your NIV)

The Deportations and Returns are mentioned on p. 129 in your manual.

While Jeremiah prophesied before and during the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel was an exilic prophet/priest in Babylon among the exiles from Judah. While Jeremiah had focused on the spiritual and material restoration after the exile, Ezekiel focused on the re-establishment of the religious system and the temple both after the exile and in the future Millennial Kingdom.

For over 22 years, 593-571 B.C. Ezekiel ministered to the people in exile. He delivered the Lord’s message explaining the reasons for the exile, and gave them the Lord’s message of hope and encouragement; many of his prophesies depict the temple that is to be built for the Millennial Kingdom.

The book is built around three main visions: page 225 in your manual.

1. Glory of God revealed in chapter 1

2. Glory of God rejected in chapter 11

3. Glory of God returning in chapter 43

When Israel rejected God by sin and disobedience, His glory departed from the Temple, eventually from Jerusalem, and thus the Land. God’s glory represented His provision, protection, and presence. In Ezekiel’s vision in chapter 10, he saw God’s glory leaving the temple in Jerusalem. Dennis defines the glory of the Lord as: “the full weight of the manifestation of His Holy character and perfections”. (See page 225 in the paragraph summarizing Chapters 1-3.)

Note: the glory of the Lord is not said to have come into Ezra’s rebuilt temple. Biblically, the next coming of the of the Lord to the temple is when the Lord Jesus Christ enters the confines of the temple during his earthly ministry, see Jn. 2:14-22. However, in this instance His glory was veiled in the incarnation.

1. The glory of the Lord in Tabernacle: Ex. 40:34-38

2. The glory of the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem: 1 Kings 8:10-11

3. The departure of the glory of the Lord from the Temple: Ezek. 8:49:310:18-1911:23.

4. The glory of the Lord in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ: Jn. 1:142:12-18

5. The Lord now in the New Testament era is being glorified in/through the Church: Eph. 3:21 (corporate manifestation via a Godly remnant)

6. The glory of the Lord now in the New Testament era is reflected in the lives of individual believers: 2 Cor. 3:7-1112-18 (individual manifestation via “cracked clay vessels”)

7. The glory of the Lord returns to the Millennial Temple: Ezek. 43:2-444:4 (48:35)

8. The final and eternal manifestation of the glory of the Lord in the eternal state: Rev. 21:9-11

The final statement of the book in 48:35 gives us our application for the night. The text states that the name of the city of Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of Christ will be, “THE LORD IS THERE”. Until He comes again to reign, because of our stewardship of the truth through our words and our deeds, may it be said of us as individual believers and in the churches where we worship that the LORD IS THERE.

The following can be used to summarize the man Ezekiel, his ministry, message, and his unique contribution: 

The Man

1. Name means God will strengthen

2. Son of Buzi

3. One of Jewish exiles who settled at Tel-Abib on the banks of the Kebar river (canal).

4. Probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin’s captivity in 597 B.C.

5. Received visions and communicated with signs and sermons

6. A priest

7. Was married and lost his wife, signifying to the exiles the loss they would soon endure of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

His Ministry

1. Sent to stubborn, rebellious people whether they listened or not

2. A watchman

3. To give warning

4. If he did not warn of coming judgment because of their wickedness, he would be judged

5. God will deliver

6. During exile to Jews in exile

7. Remained true to convictions

8. Compelled people to hear him and wrestle with pressing issues

His Message

1. Warned God was against Jewish exiles because of their detestable ways

2. Warned Jews of impending danger if they did not repent

3. They would know, “I am the Lord,” used 65 times

4. Prophesied 1/3 will die of the plague or famine, 1/3 will fall by the sword, and 1/3 will be scattered

5. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (33:11)

6. We are responsible for our own sin

Unique Contribution

1. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked

2. Prophet of individual responsibility

3. Vision of dry bones as the resurrection of the nation of Israel

4. Watchman

5. Portrait of Satan’s Fall

6. Visions of God’s glory, glory of God departing the temple, glory of God returning to the temple

7. Slay those without God’s mark +

8. New temple in Millennial Kingdom

Left over issue from class: 

How do we know Ezekiel is talking about a rebuilt temple in the Millennial Kingdom as opposed to a rebuilt temple after returning from exile. This helpful article is excerpted from – Norman Geisler, “When Critics Ask”. He deals with a “spiritual” vs “literal” interpretation of the temple, but the reasoning applies to the question.

———

EZEKIEL 40-48 – How can these prophecies be understood literally when the NT declares that the sacrificial system has been abolished by Christ’s death?

PROBLEM: Ezekiel seems to predict that, in the Messianic period, the sacrificial system used by the Jews before the time of Jesus will be reinstated (chaps. 40-48). However, the NT in general and the Book of Hebrews in particular is emphatic in declaring that Christ has by one sacrifice forever done away with the need for animal sacrifices (10:1-9).

SOLUTION: There are two basic interpretations of this passage of Scripture. Some take it spiritually and others view it literally.

First, some argue for a spiritual interpretation that these sacrifices are not to ‘be understood literally, but only as symbols or foreshadows of what was fulfilled in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice on the Cross (Heb.1:1-2). They give the following reasons for their view.

1. The NT teaches that Christ fulfilled and abolished the OT sacrificial system and priesthood (Heb. 8:8-10).

2. The Book of Revelation describes the Heavenly City of the future with no temple or sacrifices, only Christ the Lamb (21:22-27).

3. Ezekiel portrays the Gentiles as excluded from Israel’s temple, which is contrary to the NT teaching that Jew and Gentile are one in Christ (Gal. 3:28Eph. 2:12-22).

4. The NT speaks of the church as a spiritual Israel in which OT predictions are fulfilled (Gal. 6:16Heb. 8:8-10).

Those who object to this view point out, first, that this violates the normal, historical-grammatical way to interpret the text. Further, it illegitimately reads NT meaning back into the OT text, rather than understanding the OT text as it is written. They also argue that the sacrifices predicted by Ezekiel could be pointing back to the Cross, just as the OT ones pointed forward to it.

The literal interpretation looks to an actual restoration of the temple and sacrificial system, just as Ezekiel predicted it, to be fulfilled during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (Rev. 20). They support their position with the following points:

1. Ezekiel presents a highly detailed description, with numerous measurements, and historical scenes that do not fit with a spiritual interpretation.

2. If this passage is spiritualized, then on similar grounds most of the OT prophecies could be spiritualized away, including the obviously literal ones about Christ’s first coming, which we know from their fulfillment were literal. The same, then, applies to His second coming.

3. The Bible distinguishes between Israel and the Church (1 Cor. 10:32Rom. 9:3-4). Promises unique to Abraham and his literal descendants, such as the Promised Land (Gen. 12:1-3), are not fulfilled in the Church, but remain yet to be fulfilled in the future (Rom. 11Rev. 20).

4. The picture in Revelation 21 is not that of the millennium (Rev. 20), but of the eternal state that follows it. Ezekiel’s prediction (40—48) will be fulfilled in the millennium. Later, in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no temple or sacrifices.

5. The sacrifices mentioned by Ezekiel have no atoning significance. They are merely memorial in nature, looking back to the accomplished work of Christ on the Cross, much as the Lord’s Supper does for believers today.

6. The rest of Ezekiel’s prophecy will be fulfilled in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-7) as He sits on a literal throne with His 12 apostles sitting on 12 literal thrones in Jerusalem (Matt. 19:28). If so, then there is no reason not to take the prophecy about the sacrifices as literal too.

7. The OT did not foresee how Jew and Gentile would be joined together (cf. Eph. 3:4-6), but it did envision that the Gentiles would be blessed (Isa. 11:10-16). Ezekiel’s presentation does not exclude this later revelation (cf. Col. 1Dear

8. The Book of Hebrews speaks only of abolishing animal sacrifices as in an atoning sense, not in a memorial sense.

Thank you for your work in Old Testament Survey; we only have four weeks left to finish the Old Testament! You are to be commended for your eagerness to learn and sticking with the class!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 20 Old Testament Survey (Ezekiel) 5-17-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Reminder: No class on Thursday, May 24th, 2018.

We will meet next on Thursday, May 31st when we will cover the book of Daniel.

Thank you for working through Ezekiel with me last night.

Assignment for May 31, 2018: We will study the book of Daniel:

1. Read pp. 231-238 in the manual

2. Read the book of Daniel

3. Choose one of the passages on p. 236 and write the central truth you see in the passage (You can send this to me via e-mail for feedback)

Our goals for Thursday night were:

  • [Application for them]

    • That we understand YHWH’s message to the Jews in exile through the prophet Ezekiel: God’s glory departed from them because of their gross sin against Him

    • God would yet restore and redeem them as a people, both in the near future (70 years) and the far future (Millennial Kingdom)

  • [Application for us]

    • That we turn from anything in our lives that dishonors the Lord

    • That we live lives that bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ

    • That we live our lives in holy expectation of Christ’s return and the Kingdom He will bring

Recap and Overview:

There were three main deportations from Judah to Babylon: (1) Daniel was part of the first deportation in 605 B.C. See: Dan. 1:1-7. (2) Ezekiel was likely a part of the second deportation in 597 B.C. See: 2 Kings 24:10-16. (3) 832 males deported in 586 B.C. when the temple was destroyed. See: Jer. 52:29.

There were three returns to Judah from the exile in Babylon: (1) under Zerubbabel and Sheshbazzar, to restore the temple, 538 B.C. See Ezra 1-6 (focus on 1:11-2:2). (2) under Ezra to reform the people, 458 B.C. See Ezra 7-10 ( focus on 7:6-9). (3) under Nehemiah, to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem, 444 B.C. See: Nehemiah 2:1-12. (See also the chart near Ezra 2 in your NIV)

The Deportations and Returns are mentioned on p. 129 in your manual.

While Jeremiah prophesied before and during the fall of Jerusalem, Ezekiel was an exilic prophet/priest in Babylon among the exiles from Judah. While Jeremiah had focused on the spiritual and material restoration after the exile, Ezekiel focused on the re-establishment of the religious system and the temple both after the exile and in the future Millennial Kingdom.

For over 22 years, 593-571 B.C. Ezekiel ministered to the people in exile. He delivered the Lord’s message explaining the reasons for the exile, and gave them the Lord’s message of hope and encouragement; many of his prophesies depict the temple that is to be built for the Millennial Kingdom.

The book is built around three main visions: page 225 in your manual.

1. Glory of God revealed in chapter 1

2. Glory of God rejected in chapter 11

3. Glory of God returning in chapter 43

When Israel rejected God by sin and disobedience, His glory departed from the Temple, eventually from Jerusalem, and thus the Land. God’s glory represented His provision, protection, and presence. In Ezekiel’s vision in chapter 10, he saw God’s glory leaving the temple in Jerusalem. Dennis defines the glory of the Lord as: “the full weight of the manifestation of His Holy character and perfections”. (See page 225 in the paragraph summarizing Chapters 1-3.)

Note: the glory of the Lord is not said to have come into Ezra’s rebuilt temple. Biblically, the next coming of the of the Lord to the temple is when the Lord Jesus Christ enters the confines of the temple during his earthly ministry, see Jn. 2:14-22. However, in this instance His glory was veiled in the incarnation.

1. The glory of the Lord in Tabernacle: Ex. 40:34-38

2. The glory of the Lord in the Temple in Jerusalem: 1 Kings 8:10-11

3. The departure of the glory of the Lord from the Temple: Ezek. 8:49:310:18-1911:23.

4. The glory of the Lord in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ: Jn. 1:142:12-18

5. The Lord now in the New Testament era is being glorified in/through the Church: Eph. 3:21 (corporate manifestation via a Godly remnant)

6. The glory of the Lord now in the New Testament era is reflected in the lives of individual believers: 2 Cor. 3:7-1112-18 (individual manifestation via “cracked clay vessels”)

7. The glory of the Lord returns to the Millennial Temple: Ezek. 43:2-444:4 (48:35)

8. The final and eternal manifestation of the glory of the Lord in the eternal state: Rev. 21:9-11

The final statement of the book in 48:35 gives us our application for the night. The text states that the name of the city of Jerusalem during the Millennial reign of Christ will be, “THE LORD IS THERE”. Until He comes again to reign, because of our stewardship of the truth through our words and our deeds, may it be said of us as individual believers and in the churches where we worship that the LORD IS THERE.

The following can be used to summarize the man Ezekiel, his ministry, message, and his unique contribution: 

The Man

1. Name means God will strengthen

2. Son of Buzi

3. One of Jewish exiles who settled at Tel-Abib on the banks of the Kebar river (canal).

4. Probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin’s captivity in 597 B.C.

5. Received visions and communicated with signs and sermons

6. A priest

7. Was married and lost his wife, signifying to the exiles the loss they would soon endure of the city of Jerusalem and the Temple.

His Ministry

1. Sent to stubborn, rebellious people whether they listened or not

2. A watchman

3. To give warning

4. If he did not warn of coming judgment because of their wickedness, he would be judged

5. God will deliver

6. During exile to Jews in exile

7. Remained true to convictions

8. Compelled people to hear him and wrestle with pressing issues

His Message

1. Warned God was against Jewish exiles because of their detestable ways

2. Warned Jews of impending danger if they did not repent

3. They would know, “I am the Lord,” used 65 times

4. Prophesied 1/3 will die of the plague or famine, 1/3 will fall by the sword, and 1/3 will be scattered

5. God takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked (33:11)

6. We are responsible for our own sin

Unique Contribution

1. God has no pleasure in the death of the wicked

2. Prophet of individual responsibility

3. Vision of dry bones as the resurrection of the nation of Israel

4. Watchman

5. Portrait of Satan’s Fall

6. Visions of God’s glory, glory of God departing the temple, glory of God returning to the temple

7. Slay those without God’s mark +

8. New temple in Millennial Kingdom

Left over issue from class: 

How do we know Ezekiel is talking about a rebuilt temple in the Millennial Kingdom as opposed to a rebuilt temple after returning from exile. This helpful article is excerpted from – Norman Geisler, “When Critics Ask”. He deals with a “spiritual” vs “literal” interpretation of the temple, but the reasoning applies to the question.

———

EZEKIEL 40-48 – How can these prophecies be understood literally when the NT declares that the sacrificial system has been abolished by Christ’s death?

PROBLEM: Ezekiel seems to predict that, in the Messianic period, the sacrificial system used by the Jews before the time of Jesus will be reinstated (chaps. 40-48). However, the NT in general and the Book of Hebrews in particular is emphatic in declaring that Christ has by one sacrifice forever done away with the need for animal sacrifices (10:1-9).

SOLUTION: There are two basic interpretations of this passage of Scripture. Some take it spiritually and others view it literally.

First, some argue for a spiritual interpretation that these sacrifices are not to ‘be understood literally, but only as symbols or foreshadows of what was fulfilled in Christ’s all-sufficient sacrifice on the Cross (Heb.1:1-2). They give the following reasons for their view.

1. The NT teaches that Christ fulfilled and abolished the OT sacrificial system and priesthood (Heb. 8:8-10).

2. The Book of Revelation describes the Heavenly City of the future with no temple or sacrifices, only Christ the Lamb (21:22-27).

3. Ezekiel portrays the Gentiles as excluded from Israel’s temple, which is contrary to the NT teaching that Jew and Gentile are one in Christ (Gal. 3:28Eph. 2:12-22).

4. The NT speaks of the church as a spiritual Israel in which OT predictions are fulfilled (Gal. 6:16Heb. 8:8-10).

Those who object to this view point out, first, that this violates the normal, historical-grammatical way to interpret the text. Further, it illegitimately reads NT meaning back into the OT text, rather than understanding the OT text as it is written. They also argue that the sacrifices predicted by Ezekiel could be pointing back to the Cross, just as the OT ones pointed forward to it.

The literal interpretation looks to an actual restoration of the temple and sacrificial system, just as Ezekiel predicted it, to be fulfilled during Christ’s millennial reign on earth (Rev. 20). They support their position with the following points:

1. Ezekiel presents a highly detailed description, with numerous measurements, and historical scenes that do not fit with a spiritual interpretation.

2. If this passage is spiritualized, then on similar grounds most of the OT prophecies could be spiritualized away, including the obviously literal ones about Christ’s first coming, which we know from their fulfillment were literal. The same, then, applies to His second coming.

3. The Bible distinguishes between Israel and the Church (1 Cor. 10:32Rom. 9:3-4). Promises unique to Abraham and his literal descendants, such as the Promised Land (Gen. 12:1-3), are not fulfilled in the Church, but remain yet to be fulfilled in the future (Rom. 11Rev. 20).

4. The picture in Revelation 21 is not that of the millennium (Rev. 20), but of the eternal state that follows it. Ezekiel’s prediction (40—48) will be fulfilled in the millennium. Later, in the new heaven and the new earth, there will be no temple or sacrifices.

5. The sacrifices mentioned by Ezekiel have no atoning significance. They are merely memorial in nature, looking back to the accomplished work of Christ on the Cross, much as the Lord’s Supper does for believers today.

6. The rest of Ezekiel’s prophecy will be fulfilled in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ (Rev. 20:1-7) as He sits on a literal throne with His 12 apostles sitting on 12 literal thrones in Jerusalem (Matt. 19:28). If so, then there is no reason not to take the prophecy about the sacrifices as literal too.

7. The OT did not foresee how Jew and Gentile would be joined together (cf. Eph. 3:4-6), but it did envision that the Gentiles would be blessed (Isa. 11:10-16). Ezekiel’s presentation does not exclude this later revelation (cf. Col. 1Dear

8. The Book of Hebrews speaks only of abolishing animal sacrifices as in an atoning sense, not in a memorial sense.

Thank you for your work in Old Testament Survey; we only have four weeks left to finish the Old Testament! You are to be commended for your eagerness to learn and sticking with the class!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 22 Old Testament Survey (Hosea-Joel-Amos-Obadiah) 6-7-2018

Dear BTCL Class:

Our goals for Thursday night were:

  • that we understand God’s love for His people as expressed in His discipline of them

  • that we grasp the fact that His faithfulness does not depend upon ours

  • that we grow in our appreciation for the character of God

By looking at p. 197 we see that Obadiah was a contemporary of Joel and Jonah; and Amos was a contemporary of Hosea and Micah. Hosea, Joel, Amos, and Obadiah were all pre-exhilic.

Obadiah and Joel seem earlier than Hosea and Amos.

Hosea: Key word: “A Wife of Unfaithfulness”

As a picture of Israel’s unfaithfulness to God and the Mosaic covenant, God commanded Hosea to marry a woman who would be unfaithful to him. Hosea was the last prophet to Israel before her fall to Assyria in 722 B.C.

Hosea and his wife Gomer, had two sons and a daughter (although the 2nd and 3rd child may not have been Hosea’s). Their names are important to understanding what God was communicating through Hosea to the people of the Northern tribes of Israel.

1. The first son was named Jezreel which means “God scatters”. God was planning to scatter the Israelites, some to Assyria and bring some Assyrians to Israel. This resulted in mixed marriages producing the despised Samaritans of the New Testament.

2. The daughter was named Lo-ruhama which means “no compassion”. God was going to show no compassion in His judgement of Israel.

3. The youngest son was named Lo-ammi which means “not my people”. God pronounced that His people, due to breaking their covenant with God and their unfaithfulness to Him, were no longer considered by God to be His people.

As a picture of His redeeming Israel after the judgement, God commanded Hosea to go redeem Gomer after her unfaithfulness.

The text reveals that God’s case against Israel included the following:

1. No faithfulness

2. No kindness

3. No knowledge of God (4:1)

4. Injustice

5. Immorality (4:2)

6. Stopped giving heed to the Lord (4:10)

7. Idolatry (4:12, 17)

8. Spiritual harlotry (4:12)

9. Defilement (5:3)

10. Pride (5:5)

11. Foreign alliances (5:13)

12. Failure to confess sins and turn to God (5:15)

Remember that after the split of the kingdom into Israel and Judah, from the beginning of his reign, Jeroboam set up golden calf worship at Bethel and Dan for the Northern tribes, see 1 Kings 12:25 – 33. He did not want the people to return to Jerusalem, worship the true God, and take Rehoboam as their king. Worshipping golden calves and idols was the unfaithfulness and prostitution for which God was judging them.

In Deuteronomy chapters 27 through 30 God had said that if the Israelites obeyed God then He would bless them according to the covenant and if they disobeyed Him they would suffer the consequences under the covenant. We can see the promises of Deut. 27 – 30 implemented in the book of Hosea.

Hosea 13:6 sums up the attitude of the Lord toward wayward Israel. “When I fed them, they were satisfied; when they were satisfied, they became proud; then they forgot me.”

The timeless truth is plain: Once enriched by his blessing and provision, God’s people often forget the Lord who blessed and provided for them. Perhaps a prayer of application might be: “Lord Jesus, you have blessed me with life and life anew. Please guard me from pride, self-sufficiencey, and arrogance, knowing that what follows is my forgetting you.”

Remember 2 Tim. 2:13, that, “…if we are faithless, we will remain faithful, for he cannot disown himself.” Yahweh (YHWH) remained and remains faithful, even when His people, Old Testament or New Testament, are not faithful to Him.

Joel: Key word: “Locusts”

In Joel’s prophecy to Judah around 835 B.C., 230 years before the 605 B.C. invasion of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar. We looked at the concept of “the day of the LORD”. As Dennis indicates, “The Day of the Lord”, is a technical term indicating:

1. God’s judgement on Israel by Assyria in 722 B.C.

2. God’s judgement on Judah by Babylon in 586 B.C.

3. God’s judgement on wicked nations in history.

4. God’s judgement on unbelieving individuals at the time of their death.

5. God’s judgement and wrath poured out against sin in the 7-year Great Tribulation period preceding the second coming of Christ

– That following the punishment and disciplining for sin of that day, those who repent would be restored and experience God’s abundant blessings.

The “Day of the Lord” can be any day on which God comes to settle accounts with people or nations because of sin. One author (Bob Chisholm) states that, “…generally speaking, ‘the day of the LORD’ is an idiom used to emphasize the swift and decisive nature of the Lord’s victory over His enemies on any given occasion”. He continues, “(From other passages outside Joel) “the day of the LORD” will be a lengthy time period including both judgment and blessing. It will begin soon after the Rapture (depicted in 1 Thess. 4:13-18) and will include the seven-year Tribulation, the return of the Messiah, and the making of the new heavens and new earth.”

In Joel chapter 1, because locusts create such total destruction wherever they go, there was a literal locust plague used to depict judgement. Chapter 2 is about a a future symbolic locust invasion, and in the case of this book it depicts the coming Babylonian exile. Chapter 3 depicts a far future symbolic locust invasion. In this case it is the Tribulation followed by the second coming of Christ before the Millennial Kingdom.

The Valley of Jehoshaphat may be the valley mentioned in Zechariah 14:4, that is created by the splitting of the Mount of Olives as the Lord Jesus returns at the end of the Tribulation period and sets foot on that mountain.

Amos: Key word: “Plumb line”

Amos was not a “professional” prophet but had a special call from God to go from Judah to the Northern kingdom of Israel and speak God’s message of judgement to those who had forgotten God in times of material and political prosperity. One of his primary focuses of condemnation of Israel was related to their lack of justice and oppression of the poor. He delivered his messages from 767-753 B.C.

Israel was guilty of exactly what Deut. 8:10-14 had predicted (similar to Hosea 13:6). (After you enter the Promised Land) 8:10 “When you have eaten and are satisfied, praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. 11 Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day. 12 Otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, 13 and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, 14 then your heart will become proud and you will forget the LORD your God, who brought you out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.”

For the book of Amos note that a key passage is in 7:7-9, as Amos is shown the imagery of the plumb line to indicate that after being built “true to plumb”, Israel had now violated God’s standards, is “out of plumb” and would therefore be destroyed. Interestingly, the same imagery is used in 2 Kings 21:13, to indicate the judgement that the Lord will bring on Jerusalem in 586 B.C., a century after Amos’ prophecy to Israel. Even though the reforms of godly king Josiah, 640-609 B.C., would stay the hand of judgement for a season, Judah would suffer the same fate as that of her “sister” Israel. (See: Ezek. 23:18)

Obadiah: Key word: “My brother’s keeper”

Obadiah is a unique book. The prophecy is not directed to either Israel or Judah but to Edom. In Gen. 12:3, God said that those who bless Israel will be blessed and those who curse Israel will be cursed. Does that statement still apply today? The answer is yes. We can see in Num. 20:14-21 that Edom did not allow the Israelites to pass through their land in route to the Promised Land. Thus, Edom, and her people who descended from Esau, is/are condemned for the treatment of their “brother” Israel.

Edom was severely judged for that and for standing by “aloof” when Jerusalem was destroyed by Babylon and Judah was taken into exile. Edom actually rejoiced in the misfortune of their brothers. The study note for Obadiah 12-14 also points us to Ezekiel 35 and Psalm 137 for further descriptions of that for which Edom was being judged. The predicted destruction of Edom is total. We learn that we are not to “…look down on our brother in the day of his misfortune”. We also learn from the judgement of Edom and throughout Scripture that Gen. 12:3 still applies today. Of course this does not mean a “carte blanch” approval of all the modern state of Israel does. It does mean that we bless the descendants of Abraham.

Concluding thoughts:

As we continue in the Minor Prophets a couple of things are becoming clear: The Lord will discipline His people for their sin against Him; and that it is He (God Himself) who will restore them and make them right after he has corrected them. The prophets are setting the people up to have the right attitude and longing for redemption.

There is a weariness that sets in over the course of studying the prophets. That is a good thing. We want to be thirsty, even as God’s people in the first century were thirsty, for the living water that only the Lord Jesus can bring.

Keep reading and thank you for all of your work as we head to the finish line of Old Testament Survey!

Assignment for Thursday, June 14, 2018:

  • Read the books of Jonah Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk.

  • Read the appropriate pages in the manual

  • For each of the books, look at the appropriate assignment and:

    • For Jonah on p. 269, Dennis asks for an interpretive statement. How would you follow with an applicational one?

    • For Micah, on p. 274, choose one passage and state the central truth you see.

    • For Nahum, answer the questions in the box on p. 280

    • For Habakkuk, answer the questions on p. 286.

May the Lord continue to weave His truth in all of us as we study His word together.

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 23 Old Testament Survey (Jonah-Micah-Nahum-Habakkuk) 6-14-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

Thank you for making it to class Thursday night! I enjoyed our time together as we studied the books of Jonah, Micah, Nahum, and Habakkuk.

Housekeeping:

Next Thursday, June 21st, is our last Old Testament Survey class! We are almost ready to move on to, “ … the Old in the New revealed … ” New Testament Survey beginning Thursday, August 2nd, 2018. I will bring NT Survey manuals for you to pick up this coming Thursday.

If you want a PDF of the NT Survey manual in order to make your own notebook or as an electronic reference, let me know.
The course cost is the same as Old Testament Survey, $75. Let us know if you need a 1/2 scholarship, or if you would like to contribute to a scholarship for another student. Of course, any alums of BTCL can repeat any BTCL courses at no charge.

To get in sync: 

A good way to be in sync with an Old Testament timeline and what is happening in the prophets, go to pp. 20-21 in your manual. Also, on p. 313 is a good chart comparing the Major and Minor prophets.

If you wondered about the relationship of Israel and Judah after the 120-year United Kingdom (1051BC-931BC),  became the Divided Kingdom (931BC-722BC). Carl Laney in his excellent. “Concise Bible Atlas” states the issue well:

Highlights of the Divided Monarchy: The political history of the divided monarchy falls into four main periods, characterized by (1) conflict, (2) alliance, (3) parallel independence, and (4) Assyrian domination.

1. The Period of Conflict:  931-875 BC (1 Kings 12:1-16:28)

Although the Lord’s intervention prevented the outbreak of hostilities immediately following the rebellion by Jeroboam (1 Kings 12:24), the spirit of mutual toleration did not last long. The biblical record record indicates that “there was war between Rehoboam and Jeroboam continually” (1 Kings 14:30). The first sixty years of the divided monarchy were characterized by military conflict between the Northern Kingdom (Israel) and the Southern (Judah).

2. The Period of Alliance:  874-835 BC (1 Kings 16:29-2 Kings 11:16)

A period of alliance between Israel and Judah began when Jehoshaphat, king of Judah, made peace with Ahab, king of Israel (1 Kings 22:44).  The two kingdoms then carried on several joint military campaigns (1 Kings 22:1-362 Kings 3:1-27).

3. The Period of Parallel Independence:  835-740 BC (2 Kings 11:17-15:26)

During this period, the kingdoms experienced an occasional clash (2 Kings 14:8-14), but for the most part each tolerated the other’s existence and grew very powerful.  The later portion of this period has been regarded as the “golden era” for both Israel and Judah.

The highlight of this period was the great territorial expansion undertaken by both kingdoms.

4. The Period of Assyrian Domination:  740-722 BC (2 Kings 15:27-17:41)

It was under the leadership of Tiglath-pileser III (754-727 BC) that the kingdom of Assyria grew to become an empire that eventually swallowed up the petty kingdoms of Aram and Israel.

….the days of Israel were numbered. It was roughly during this period that Amos, Hosea, and Micah rebuked Israel’s apostasy and called the nation to repentance.

The end (i.e. capture/exile of Israel) was precipitated when Hoshea, king of Israel, joined Egypt in a revolt agains Assyria and refused to pay the annual tribute.  In response, Shalmaneser V (of Assyria) (727-722 BC) marched on the Northern Kingdom and besieged Samaria for three years (2 Kings 17:1-5).  Sargon II (722-705 BC) succeeded Shalmaneser and finalized the capture of Samaria.  He then exiled 27,290 of the citizens of Israel to the distant regions of the Assyrian Empire and repopulated Samaria with idolatrous foreigners (2 Kings 17:24-33), standard practice for Assyria. (Thus we see in the repopulation of Israel the beginnings of the hatred of the “Samaritans” of the Gospels).

The captivity of Samaria brought the period of the divided monarchy to an end.  The people of the Northern Kingdom had broken the covenant. (i.e. the Mosaic Covenant)  They had taken the path of death and adversity rather than the way of life and prosperity (Deut. 30:15-20).  Having broken the stipulations of the covenant (2 Kings 17:7-23), they inherited the consequent judgment (Deut. 28:15-68), including exile from the Promised Land.  Would Judah learn from this lesson or continue the sinful ways of her fallen sister to the North?

Our goals for Thursday, June 14th, were:

  • that we understand the mercy and justice of God as seen in these four prophets

  • that we neither test the Lord by our sin, nor take his mercy for granted

  • that we stand in awe of the One who both saves sinners and judges sin

Review:

Jonah: Key word: “Dove” 782 – 753 BC – Prophet to Nineveh

Since we spent a good bit of time in Jonah during Bible Study Methods, we did not spend much time in class on his prophecy. We see from the last bullet point on p. 269, The Gospel and salvation are not exclusively for the Jews but for the Gentiles as well. Note the key verse in 2:8. “Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.”

Jonah can be contrasted with Paul in the New Testament, the difference is that Paul was a willing Messenger to the gentiles while Jonah was unwilling. Nineveh was a wicked city. (1:2, 4:11) and Jonah wanted to see it punished. Since, however, God is Just, Holy, Sovereign, and Righteous, He gave them a chance to repent by sending Jonah at just the right time.

Disobedience is costly by nature. Jonah’s personal disobedience cost him because not only did he have to pay a fare for a sea voyage he would never complete (1:3), he also had to take a ride in the belly of a fish.

Amazingly, the city of Nineveh responded to his message making Jonah one of the most confusing people in the Old Testament because any other prophet or messenger of God would be delighted that his hearers yielded to his message. From Jonah we learn that God expects complete obedience from those who know Him; we cannot run from Him.

Compare Jonah 3:1-5, with Romans 10:9 – As Jonah and Paul did, believers are to preach (communicate) the Word of the Lord and trust God with the response, be it negative or positive.

Note that Jonah’s message was to the Gentile Ninevites, Paul’s message in Romans was to the Jews/Gentiles in the geographical sphere of Rome. Jonah was a reluctant messenger, Paul a willing one.

As New Testament believers, our message is the same as Paul’s in Rom. 10:9 and in Acts 20:21, “I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance, and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ”.

From a former BTCL class, here is an example of an applicational statement: “By your enablement Lord, rather than my thoughts or opinions, I will communicate your Word concerning the Lord Jesus. I will do so with gentleness and reverence to those who do not know you”.

Micah: Key word: “Who is like YHWH” 735-700BC – Prophet to Judah, The Southern Kingdom has their “day in court”.

Micah’s name is profound. “Who is like YHWH” or “Who is like the LORD”.  He prophesied at a time of great wickedness in Judah, his message centered on the coming Messiah and what is expected by those who claim to have the true religion. Even though the people (Chapter 1-2) and their leaders (Chapter 3) had been characterized by failure and disobedience God was planning to send His Messiah (Chapter 4-5). The book ends with a fitting description in 7:18, “Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance.” In other words, in spite of the continuous failure of his people, God is still able to forgive and pardon sins. From Micah, we learn about the Messiah’s birth place, the power of the Spirit, and that God expects us to act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him.

Interestingly, after the Lord Jesus heals a paralytic in Mt. 9:2-8Mark 2:7, and Lk.5:21 the Pharisees and teachers of the law accused the Lord of blasphemy and questioned, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” They saw the issue but failed to recognize the principle from Micah . . . Who is like God? . . . God alone.

Micah 6:6-8 – Outward acts of sacrifice do not put us in right relationship with God, instead we are saved by grace through faith. Having entered into a relationship with God by faith God requires that believers “act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with Him”. As New Testament believers we have the indwelling Holy Spirit to enable us to do this consistently as we rely on Him.

An applicational statement could be something like: “Knowing that you value the actions and attitudes of treating others justly, with mercy, and walking in humility with you, Lord, I will value those things as well and not believe that any external religious practices excuse my ignoring them”.

James echoes the theme of Micah; “What good is it, my brothers, if a man claims to have faith but has no deeds?” James 2:14

Nahum: Key word: “Comfort” 663-612 BC – Prophet to Nineveh

The name of the village of Capernaum in the Gospels, literally means “village or city of comfort”. Some think it is named after “Nahum” the prophet and a good way to remember the prophet is to think of the Lord Jesus who, after his rejection in his hometown of Nazareth, made Capernaum the center of his ministry in Galilee. He brought comfort . . . in person, to the city of Capernaum. Note in the life of the Lord Jesus, Lk. 4:14ff, the event that occurred in Nazareth prompted his move to Capernaum.

Back to Nahum; The Assyrians (Ninevites) were convicted by the message of Jonah (782 – 753 BC) but a century plus later, Nahum prophesied their destruction at the hands of the Babylonians. This was a message of comfort for Judah because the Assyrians were gruesome, cruel and brutal to the people they conquered. God’s judgment against them was a breath of fresh air to the Jews. The message of Nahum reminds us that God is good, slow to anger, a refuge in times of trouble but he will not let sin and disobedience go unpunished (Nahum 1:3-7). Paul reminds us not to take revenge but leave room for God’s wrath (Romans 12:19).

We talked about anger, which from man’s perspective is often based on “feeling”, and God’s wrath, which is his “holy anger”—the settled disposition toward sin. (See manual page 279 under Chapter 1)

Here is a good example of archeology confirming the biblical text. Until its discovery in 1845-1854, many scholars questioned the existence of Nineveh. The site has now been extensively excavated with finds including the great palace of Assyrian king Sargon II, 722-705 BC, who is mentioned in Isaiah 20:1. Also found in 1849-1851, is the 71-room palace of Sennacherib who ruled Assyria from 705-681BC. In 701BC he brought tribute from King Hezekiah of Judah back to Nineveh. See: 2 Kings 18:13ff.

Nineveh was destroyed in 612 BC, possibly by a manmade flood, see Study Note at 2:6. There were 12 specific prophecies concerning the destruction of Nineveh that came to fruition. As an example in 1:9 and 14, Nineveh’s destruction would be final. As one author stated, “Many cities of the ancient Near East were rebuilt after being destroyed, (e.g. Samaria, Jerusalem, Babylon), but not Nineveh.” And in your NIV Study Note at 3:19, “…within a few centuries it was covered with windblown sand. So that ‘great city’ (Jonah 1:23:2) fell in 612 BC, never to rise again–all in fulfillment of God’s word through his prophet Nahum.” From the book of Nahum, there are 12 specific prophecies concerning Nineveh that have been fulfilled!

Comparing Nahum 1:14 with Jonah 3:10 – We see that while unrepentant unbelievers deserve destruction due to their vile ways, the Lord will have compassion on anyone who turns from their evil ways and to Him in faith.

An application statement could be something like: “Realizing the the Lord is compassionate to anyone who turns to Him in repentance and faith, I will not shy away from communicating His truth to…(fill in the blank)”.

Habakkuk: Key word: “Embracer” 607 BC – Prophet to Judah, “The Man on the Watchtower”.

Habakkuk’s name means, “to fold ones hands, or to embrace”. One author notes, “But is it to be considered active or passive? Is he an “embracer’ or the ’embraced’? That is, in the active sense, did Habakkuk finally embrace YHWH’s message that he would discipline Judah with the wicked Babylonians; did he embrace God’s people to comfort them. Or, in the passive sense, was Habakkuk embraced by the Lord as his child and messenger? While intriguing, we certainly see that he is a prophet who confronts the Lord God and lives to tell about it. Thus, both the active and passive aspects are true.

We noted that Habakkuk, like Job, had complaints toward the Lord. Basically, Habakkuk complained that the Lord did not hear or answer him in 2:2 then complained that He answered in a way that displeased Habakkuk in 2:5-17.  The prophet told the Lord what to do and how to do it!  We do the same thing, do we not?

Like Job, Habakkuk had a change of attitude . . . once he realized who is in charge. See 3:1-2 and rest of chapter.

Note that Habakkuk 2:4b is quoted three times in the New Testament: See: Rom. 1:17Gal. 3:11Heb. 10:37-38. In the NT uses, the first two passages deal with salvation/justification, (our standing before God), and the last deals with sanctification (our walk with God)

A timeless principle from Habakkuk 3:17-19 could read:  “Like Habakkuk we may not understand what the Lord is doing or why He is, “doing it this way”, yet believers can absolutely trust Him and be confident in the fact that He indeed knows what He is doing.”

Summary statement: With the possible exception of Jonah, these prophets were great men of faith. As the writer of Hebrews notes in 11:34, “… the world was not worthy of them.”  The lessons they bring us are often hard to apply, and of course impossible to implement apart from the enablement of the Holy Spirit.

Assignment for Thursday, June 21, 2018:

  • Review the chart on p. 313.

  • Read the books of Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi and the accompanying pages in the manual.

  • Do the assignments on pp. 292, 298, 305 (pick one passage in each of these), and 310.

  • I look forward to being with you Thursday, Lord willing, as we wrap up our Survey of the Old Testament!

Kevin

_______________________________________________________________

Recap 24 Old Testament Survey (Zephaniah-Haggai-Zechariah-Malachi) 6-21-2018

Dear BTCL Class,

YOU MADE IT! We have finished our 2nd course and you have studied the entire Old Testament; something very few Christians have done. Thank you for your work on finishing the course. Truly, the Lord has taught us much in these 24 weeks together, and we praise him for that!

On Thursday, we had the last four books in the Old Testament, the Minor Prophets: Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and Malachi. When we meet again on Thursday August 2nd, we will use the last prophet of these four to catapult ourselves 400+ years in time to the New Testament Era and the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Assignment for Thursday, August 2, 2018: (You have a few weeks to work on this one!)

  • Please read pp. 7-27 in your BTCP New Testament Survey manual

  • In your NIV Study Bible, between the books of Malachi and Matthew, study the chart “From Malachi to Christ” and read the article, “The Time Between the Testaments”

  • If you weren’t there Thursday night to pick us a New Testament Survey Manual we can mail you one. You can also obtain a PDF version of the manual by e-mailing a request to matt@btcp.com

  • Payment for the next class be made via cash or check at any of the next several classes or online at: http://btcp.us/payments/

Post OT Survey Assignment:

By the third week in New Testament Survey, August 16th, 2018, please turn in a one-page (or less) statement stating the truth, principle, Old Testament character, book, or subject that impacted you the most as we worked our way through the Old Testament. Also tell us why it was most significant for you.

Review of Thursday, June 21, 2018:

Our goals for the night were:

  • that we see God’s faithfulness as a continuing theme in the last four Old Testament prophetic books

  • that, as we wait for his Son to return, we respond to the Lord’s faithfulness by obeying His Word and passing it on to others.

Zephaniah: Key word: “Day of the LORD” or “Sheltered from the day of wrath”

The emphasis in Zephaniah, the pre-exilic prophet was the coming “Day of the Lord”. The 3 chapters have 2 main divisions: (1:1 – 3:8) Judgement and (3:9 –  20) Blessings. Zephaniah prophesied to Judah about 20 years before the first exile to Babylon in 605 BC. There is a far-sighted look at future devastation and destruction in Zeph 1:2-3which most likely occurs at the end of the Tribulation and before the restoration of the Millennium. The earth, however, is not destroyed completely until the end of the Millennium (Rev. 2:1 and 2 Pet. 3:10-12). As Dennis notes on the chart on p. 290 at Zeph. 3:9-10, the purpose of God’s judgement is to punish or to purify.

We discussed the fact that Zephaniah was of privileged position. There are others in the Old and New Testaments that realized and used their place of influence to serve the Lord. Several examples would be: Joseph, Moses, Daniel. Also see Lk. 8:3Phil. 4:22.

Zephaniah was telling Judah how they should prepare for God’s coming wrath, i.e. his wrath wrought via the Babylonians who will invade Judah and destroy Jerusalem. Zeph. 2:3 is the key verse for application: “Seek the Lord all you humble of the land, you who do what he commands. Seek righteousness, seek humility; perhaps you will be sheltered on the day of the Lord’s anger.”

For good insight on, “ the day of the LORD”, or “the day of His wrath”, see the study note at Is. 2:11Rev. 6:1716:14.  Also look at your Index to Study Notes for a very helpful list of notes on the concept. As well, there is an overview on p. 249 in your manual.

A definition of wrath is, “God’s settled disposition toward sin” (See p. 279 in your manual). Generally, God’s wrath is more punishment and His discipline is more corrective. God’s wrath applies to sinful unbelievers as in Rom. 1:18-32. His wrath, however, is satisfied toward believers, Rom.5:91 Thess. 1:101 Thess. 5:9. Rather than expressing wrath, He disciplines believers as a father does a son. The purpose is loving correction for believers. However, there is a sin unto death for believers. We see the concept of God purifying his people repeated in the New Testament in Acts 5, as Ananias and Sapphira lie to the Holy Spirit and are struck dead for that sin. Another example would be when a believer takes communion in an unworthy manner as in 1 Cor. 11:27-30. It says some are sick and some even sleep (literally: have died). Sickness and death resulted from believers failing to examine themselves before taking part in communion ( i.e. taking it in an unworthy manner) and failing to recognize the body and blood of the Lord represented in the elements.

We see in John 3:16-21 and John 3:36 that for the believer, God’s wrath is placed on Christ, but for the unbeliever, God’s wrath abides on him/her. We have the wonderful task of telling people that they may be sheltered from God’s wrath by accepting the loving gift of forgiveness through His Son.

Haggai: Key word: Temple 

The emphasis of Haggai is his role in encouraging the re-building of the temple after the exile to Babylon. The remnant of Judah that returned to Jerusalem around 538- 536 BC (the first return), had laid the foundation of the temple and begun to rebuild when opposition and difficulties arose. We learn in Ezra 1-4 that after Cyrus issued the decree for the Jews to return to Jerusalem and re-build the temple that they experienced opposition and the building stopped, literally “came to a standstill”. Note the chart on page page 131 of your manual is helpful for setting the historical context of Haggai; note also the 16 year gap from the laying of the foundation in 536 BC to the resumption of the work in 520 BC. That is a long time for the “hammers to be silent”.

With the use of four messages,  Haggai exhorted the returnees to resume their task of re-building the temple:

1. Rationalize no more the sin of neglecting the temple and realign your priorities  1:1-1:15

2. Resume your task   2:1-2:9

3. Recall that God will bless obedience   2:10-2:19

4. Remember that God will finally prevail   2:20-2:23

By way of application, consider your own priorities in relation to the Lord and His will for you. We should consider how we neglect the priorities of God in our own lives and what we put ahead of Him. For example, the believer should be making time with God a matter of “first importance”. Matt.6:28-33 tells us to, “seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness.” This takes a plan and decisions of the will regarding our priorities and time.

Zechariah: Key word: “Messiah” or the LORD remembers (Zechariah’s name means, “Yahweh remembers”)

The fourteen chapters have three main divisions. In the first six verses of the book the returning remnant is admonished not to be like their fathers but to return to God, and God will return to them. The bulk of the book, 1:7-8:23, is made up of eight visions and four messages. In 9:1-14:21, we learn about prophecies concerning the first and second advent of Christ. Zechariah contains more Messianic prophecies than any other book except Isaiah.

Some of those prophecies with their fulfillments are:

Zechariah’s Prophecies              New Testament Fulfillment

Zechariah 3:8………………………. Mark 10:45

Zechariah 6:12-13…………………. Heb. 7:23-28

Zechariah 9:9-10…………………..Mt. 21:1-11Jn. 12:15

Zechariah 10:4………………………Eph. 2:201 Pet. 2:6

Zechariah 11:12-13………………. Mt. 27:1 – 10

Zechariah 12:10-11………………. John 19:31-3720:27

Zechariah 13:7……………………. Mt. 26:31Mk. 14:27

Malachi: Key word, My Messenger, or, “Hearts of Stone”

Malachi was the last Old Testament prophet. He prophesied during the time of Nehemiah, about 100 years after the first return of exiles from Babylon in 538 BC. His ministry dates about 430-400 BC. Unlike the other post-exilic prophets, Malachi concentrated almost exclusively on the spiritual condition of the people. The Jews had again lapsed into sin and disobedience, and the leaders were corrupt.

Even though Malachi only has four chapters, there are five divisions. In 1:1-5, God makes clear His sovereign choice of Israel. In 1:6-2:17, He condemns Israel for sin. The prophet condemned the priesthood and the returning Jews for marrying “daughters of foreign gods” and mistreating the wives of their youth by divorcing them. We learned from 2:16 and the surrounding context that the LORD hates divorce. We can look at Mt. 19:1-12 to see how Jesus views divorce. These sins are indicative of the “hearts of stone” of God’s people.

In 3:1-6, a messenger is predicted to come that will prepare the way for the Messiah. We know that messenger to be John the Baptist. In 3:7-15, God asks the question, “Will a man rob God?” and goes on to explain how Judah has done so by failing to bring the full tithes into the Temple storehouse that were required by the Mosaic Law. Finally, in 3:16-4:6, Malachi again tells of the certainty of judgement to come in the “Day of the Lord”.

In preparation for the beginning of New Testament Survey, here are some of the “Big Picture” items from the Old Testament: 

  • the two pronged theme of the Old Testament as seen in Ex. 6:6-7, “Then you will know that I am the LORD, who brought you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians”; and in 1 Kings 8:59-60…”so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the LORD is God and that there is no other.”

  • the four major covenants of the Old Testament

  • the glory of the Lord and the concept of His presence among His people

  • the significance of the First Temple, its construction, use, destruction, and the building of the Second Temple

  • the sacrificial system that foreshadowed Christ as our High Priest’s sacrifice for us

  • YHWH’s disciplining of His people as they rebelled against Him, the One who gave them life and identity as His chosen nation

  • the initial and developing expectations in Israel of the coming “suffering servant” (i.e. the Messiah) who would save His people (and the gentiles) from their sins

  • You can also look at the “Most Significant Chapters of the Old Testament” on pp. 315-321 for a concise review.

Each of you is an important part of the class and it is a privilege to be your teacher. Onward to the New Testament!

Kevin