Editors’ note: This is the first installment in a new series that analyzes perplexing passages of the Bible.
If a group of Christians sat down to list perplexing passages, it wouldn’t take long for someone to mention Matthew 24:15-16: “So when you see standing in the holy place ‘the abomination that causes desolation,’ spoken of through the prophet Daniel—let the reader understand—then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains.”
The reasons for uncertainty are easy to list. What is an abomination? What abomination does Jesus have in mind? One that belongs to his generation, or one from the last days? What is the connection between the prophecies of Daniel and Jesus? Who is “the reader,” and what should he or she understand? In what sense should readers “flee to the mountains”? Should they obey literally or metaphorically?
As always, the first step is to read the text in literary, cultural, historical, and canonical contexts. Then we analyze the structure of the passage and do the necessary lexical and grammatical work. We begin with the key phrase, “abomination of desolation.”
The term “abomination” (Hebrew toevah and siqqus) appears more than 100 times in the Old Testament and just a few times in the New Testament. An abomination is normally a great sin, commonly worthy of death. Readers immersed in current debates about sexual ethics may first think an abomination is a sexual sin. Indeed, Scripture calls sexual sins like adultery, homosexuality, and bestiality abominations (e.g., Leviticus 18:22, 29-30). But more often throughout the Bible “abomination” refers to major covenant violations, especially idolatry (in Deuteronomy alone, see 7:25, 13:6-16, 17:2-5, 18:9-12, 27:15, 32:16). In the historical books, “abomination” always describes idolatry, often with child sacrifice (1 Kings 11:7, 2 Kings 23:13). Abomination also refers to idolatry in the prophets, including Daniel 9 and 11. (Daniel uses siqqus, a term that always appears in connection with idolatry.)
Read the entire answer here.
“This is an eternal and unalterable law of God’s appointment, that whoever will learn His mind and will, as revealed in Scripture, must be humble and lowly, renouncing all trust and confidence in themselves. The knowledge of a proud man is the throne of Satan in his mind. To suppose that persons under the predominancy of pride, self-conceit and self-confidence can understand the mind of God in a due manner is to renounce the Scripture, or innumerable positive testimonies to the contrary” (Owen).
The Lord Jesus declared that heavenly mysteries are hid from the wise and prudent, but revealed unto babes (Matthew 11:25). Those who assume an attitude of competency, and are wise in their own esteem, remain spiritually ignorant and unenlightened. Whatever knowledge men may acquire by their natural abilities and industry is nothing unto the glory of God, nor to the eternal gain of their souls, for the Spirit refuses to instruct the haughty. “God resisteth the proud” (James 4:6)— “He draws up against him, He prepares Himself, as it were, with His whole force to oppose his progress. A most formidable expression! If God only leaves us unto ourselves, we are all ignorance and darkness; so what must be the dreadful case of those against whom He appears in arms?” (John Newton). But, blessed be His name, He “giveth grace unto the humble”—those of a childlike disposition.
Arthur W. Pink-Interpretation of the Scriptures
Available in ePub, .mobi and .pdf formats
HT: Nathan Stockwell & Sovereign Grace Baptist Church of Silicon Valley; and posted with permission. Book titled The Justification of Knowledge by Robert L Reymond originally published in 1976 by P&R Publishing Co. P O Box 817, Phillipsburg, N.J. 08865 www.prpbooks.com
This book was originally written as a syllabus for an introductory course in Christian apologetics for students at Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis. As I wrote, it was my awareness that it was to perform a classroom function that lay behind my decision to provide a good many quotations from the writings of Benjamin B. Warfield, Cornelius Van Til, Gordon H. Clark, Edward John Carnell, Francis Schaeffer, and others. I felt then it was the quickest way to introduce ministerial students to the apologetic systems of these important thinkers. As this work goes forth to a wider audience, I am still convinced that there is value in permitting an apologist to speak for himself. The reader is assured that the apologist is not being misrepresented, and in turn he gains an immediate firsthand acquaintance with the apologist. Therefore, while I have eliminated some quotations (and comments upon them) from the material which was used in the classroom, I have decided to let other original material remain.
No apologies are offered for the references to the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms. I am convinced that the system of doctrine contained therein is scriptural. It will help the non–Presbyterian reader, perhaps, to remember that Covenant Theological Seminary is committed confessionally to the Westminster standards, which will explain my readiness to quote from them.
While doubtless I have been influenced, either positively or negatively, to some degree by my reading of all the men mentioned above (and others, no doubt, too), I do not regard myself as an uncritical disciple of any of them, a fact which this book will bear out. I have tried to listen always and finally to the teachings of Holy Scripture and to evaluate each man I analyze in the light of God’s revealed truth. In the interests then of objectivity and of truth, I would request that what I have written not be “categorized” or rejected before the reader has studied the teaching in the many Scripture passages to which I refer. It is by the teaching of Scripture that I am to be judged; if I am wrong on my understanding of Scripture, I will happily rethink my position. On the other hand, if I have understood the teaching of Scripture correctly, then the reader should accede to the suggestions I espouse and not set the book aside as only my own reflections. If there is strength in this book at all, I believe that it springs not from my arguments per se but from the degree that it reflects a right understanding of the revealed Mind of the one living and true God found in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments. I would suggest that the reader truly interested in understanding me make the effort to look up the Bible verses to which I refer and to think about them. No matter what he finally concludes, he cannot but be the richer for his labors I would like to express my appreciation to Mr. Charles H. Craig, owner–publisher of the Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company, for his continuing interest over many years in providing Reformed literature to the Christian and non–Christian reading public. My appreciation also goes to Mrs. June Dare, a seminary secretary for her patience and helpful criticisms throughout the typing of this work. Finally, to the Christian apologists mentioned and analyzed herein I must express the tremendous debt I owe them. All of them have been my teachers in one sense or another, though none of them should be held responsible for what I write here.
One final word to readers new to the subject of Christian apologetics: I would urge you to read in addition to this book the following books (as do my students in the seminary): Varieties of Apologetic Systems by Bernard Ramm, An Introduction to Christian Apologetics by E. J. Carnell, Jerusalem and Athens, edited by E. R. Geehan, The Philosophy of Gordon H. Clark, edited by R. H. Nash, and The God Who Is There, Escape From Reason, and He Is There and He Is Not Silent, all three by Francis Schaeffer. They are indispensable reading in the field of apologetics.
Dr. Reymond was associate professor of theology and apologetics at Covenant Theological Seminary, Saint Louis, Missouri. His other published works include Introductory Studies in Contemporary Theology and several monographs in the Biblical and Theological Studies series which he edits for the International Library of Philosophy and Theology, Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing Company. He is an ordained minister of the Reformed Presbyterian Church, Evangelical Synod, and has pastored churches in Tennessee, Georgia, and Missouri.
Church History (Updated)
The audio of Dr. White’s lectures on church history from this past week are online. Here are links to each lecture:
The video for each lecture is now online here
Thank you Flatirons Baptist Church for hosting this series of lectures.
If James wet your appetite for church history, you may want to check out Silent Witnesses: Lessons on Theology, Life, and the Church from Christians of the Past, by Garry J. Williams or Carl Trueman’s Histories and Fallacies: Problems Faced in the Writing of History.
Source [Alpha & Omega Ministries]
We shall divide God’s gifts into five classes. First, we shall have gifts temporal; second, gifts saving; third, gifts honorable; fourth, gifts useful; and fifth, gifts comfortable. Of all these we shall say, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”
1. In the first place then, we notice Gifts Temporal. It is an indisputable fact that God hath not, in temporal matters, given to every man alike; that He hath not distributed to all His creatures the same amount of happiness or the same standing in creation. There is a difference.
Mark what a difference there is in men personally (for we shall consider men chiefly); one that is born like Saul, a head and shoulders taller than the rest — another shall live all his life a Zaccheus — a man short of stature. One has a muscular frame and a share of beauty; another is weak, and far from having anything styled comeliness. How many do we find whose eyes have never rejoiced in the sunlight, whose ears have never listened to the charms of music, and whose lips have never been moved to sounds intelligible or harmonious. Walk through the earth and you will find men superior to yourself in vigor, health, and fashion, and others who are your inferiors in the very same respects. Some here are preferred far above their fellows in their outward appearance, and some sink low in the scale and have nothing about them that can make them glory in the flesh. Why hath God given to one man beauty and to another none? to one all his senses, and to another but a portion? Why, in some, hath He quickened the sense of apprehension, while others are obliged to bear about them a dull and stubborn body? We reply, let men say what they will, that no answer can be given except this, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.” The old Pharisees asked, “Did this man sin or his parents, that he was born blind?” We know that there was neither sin in parents nor child, that he was born blind, or that others have suffered similar distresses, but that God has done as it has pleased Him in the distribution of His earthly benefits, and thus hath said to the world, “Is it not lawful for me to do what I will with mine own?”
Mark, also, in the distribution of mental gifts, what a difference exists. All men are not like Socrates; there are but few Platos; we can discover but here and there a Bacon; we shall but every now and then converse with a Sir Isaac Newton. Some have stupendous intellects wherewith they can unravel secrets — fathom the depths of oceans — measure mountains — dissect the sunbeams, and weigh the stars. Others have but shallow minds. You may educate and educate, but can never make them great. You cannot improve what is not there. They have not genius, and you cannot impart it. Anybody may see that there is an inherent difference in men from their very birth. Some, with a little education do surpass those ‘who have been elaborately trained. There are two boys, educated it may be in the same school, by the same master, and they shall apply themselves to their studies with the same diligence, but yet one shall far outstrip his fellow. Why is this? Because God hath asserted His sovereignty over the intellect as well as the body. God hath not made us all alike, but diversified His gifts. One man is as eloquent as Whitefield; another stammers if he but speaks three words of his mother tongue. What makes these various differences between man and man? We answer, we must refer it all to the Sovereignty of God, who does as He wills with His own.
Note, again, what are the differences of metz’s conditions in this world. Mighty minds are from time to time discovered in men whose limbs are wearing the chains of slavery, and whose backs are laid bare to the whip — they have black skins, but are in mind vastly superior to their brutal masters. So, too, in England; we find wise men often poor, and rich men not seldom ignorant and vain. One comes into the world to be arrayed at once in the imperial purple — another shall never wear aught but the humble garb of a peasant. One has a palace to dwell in and a bed of down for his repose, while another finds but a hard resting place, and shall never have a more sumptuous covering than the thatch of his own cottage. If we ask the reason for this, the reply still is, “Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight.”
So, in other ways you will observe in passing through life how sovereignty displays itself. To one man God giveth a long life and uniform health, so that he scarcely knows what it is to have a day’s sickness, while another totters through the world and finds a grave at almost every step, feeling a thousand deaths in fearing one. One man, even in extreme old age, like Moses, has his eye undimmed; and though his hair is grey, he stands as firmly on his feet as when a young man in his father’s house. Whence, again, we ask, is this difference? And the only adequate answer is, it is the effect of Jehovah’s Sovereignty. You find, too, that some men are cut off in the prime of their life the very midst of their days — while others live beyond their threescore years and ten. One departs before he has reached the first stage of existence, and. another has his life lengthened out until it becomes quite a burden; we must, I conceive, necessarily trace the cause of all these differences in life to the fact of God’s Sovereignty. He is Ruler and King, and shall He not do as He wills with His own?
We pass from this point — but before we do we must stop to improve it just a moment. O thou who art gifted with a noble frame, a comely body, boast not thy self therein, for thy gifts come from God. O glory not, for if thou gloriest thou becomest uncomely in a moment. The flowers boast not of their beauty, nor do the birds sing of their plumage. Be ye not vain ye daughters of beauty’; be not exalted ye sons of comeliness; and O ye men of might and intellect, remember, that all you have is bestowed by a Sovereign Lord: He did create; He can destroy. There are not many steps between the mightiest intellect and the helpless idiot — deep thought verges on insanity. Thy brain may at any moment, be smitten, and thou be doomed henceforth to live a madman. Boast not thyself of all that thou knowest, for even the little knowledge thou hast has been given thee. Therefore, I say, exalt not thyself above measure, but use for God what God has given, thee, for it is a royal gift, and thou shouldst not lay it aside. But if the Sovereign Lord has given thee one talent, and no more, lay it not up in a napkin, but use it well, and then it may be that He will give thee more. Bless God that thou hast more than others, and thank Him also that He has given thee less than others, for thou hast less to carry on thy shoulders; and the lighter thy burden the less cause wilt thou have to groan as thou travels on towards the better land. Bless God then if thou possessest less than thy fellows, and see His goodness in withholding as well as in giving.
Charles H. Spurgeon-Sermon-Divine Sovereignty-Delivered May 4 1856
[From the website]
Welcome to Daily Dose of Greek!
The site has three main functions: 1.You can learn Greek “from scratch” or review fundamentals with the twenty-five video lectures posted in the “Learn Greek” section. Lectures are keyed to D. A. Black’s Learn to Read New Testament Greek, 3rd ed.
2.The 2-minute “Daily Dose” video, to which students can subscribe via email. Five days per week, subscribers will be sent a link to 2-minute video in which I talk through a single Greek verse.(Notice: Our “Daily Dose” emails will officially begin September 29th. Please feel free to sign-up now. Then, on Monday, September 29th, you will begin to receive your “Daily Dose of Greek!”).
3.Under the “Resources” section of the webpage, you will find additional links and resources to aid in learning and using Greek.
Please continue to visit this site. We will always try to add resources in order to help you better read the Bible in the original Koine Greek.
Go to this site to sign up for emails or watch the videos.