God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 4 – Summarizing the Centrality of Christ


Suggested Pre-Reading: God’s Oracles Center Around Christ 3


It has crossed my mind that perhaps the cart has been put before the horse. We have discussed how Christ is central to the New Testament, the Old Testament, and the five major covenants of God. But we have not talked a lot about “the Christ”. So herein is a brief summary of the Christ, serving as the conclusion to our study of the principle that God’s oracles center around Him.

The foundation for the Christ is laid when the prophet Nathan gives King David these words from God:

Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever. (2 Samuel 7: 16)

God promised David an eternal throne. Over the course of time the prophets made it clear that the eternal throne would be occupied not by an endless succession of kings, but by one ultimate king.

…I will raise up for David a righteous Branch; and He will reign as king and act wisely and do justice and righteousness in the land. (Jeremiah 23: 5)

There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom…(Isaiah 9: 7)

But with righteousness He will judge the poor, and decide with fairness for the afflicted of the earth; and He will strike the earth with the rod of His mouth, and with the breath of His lips He will slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11: 4)

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them. (Ezekiel 37: 24)

One like a Son of Man was coming, and He came up to the Ancient of Days and was presented before Him. And to Him was given dominion, glory and a kingdom, that all the peoples, nations and men of every language might serve Him. His dominion is an everlasting dominion which will not pass away; and His kingdom is one which will not be destroyed. (Daniel 7: 13 – 14)

Yes, it is He who will build the temple of the LORD, and He who will bear the honor and sit and rule on His throne. Thus, He will be a priest on His throne, and the counsel of peace will be between the two offices. (Zechariah 6: 13)

Because the prophets clearly told of a coming king from the line of David, one might think that the most frequent rabbinic name ascribed to this anticipated man would be “Melek ben David”, meaning King Son of David. But the rabbis did not call Him that; instead, they referred to Him as “Mashiach ben David”, meaning Messiah Son of David. To understand why the rabbis called this man Messiah, one needs to know what Messiah means:

The word Messiah comes from a Hebrew term that means “anointed one.” Its Greek counterpart is Christos, from which the word Christ comes…In Old Testament times, part of the ritual of commissioning a person for a special task was to anoint him with oil. The phrase “anointed” one was applied to a person in such cases.1

In the Old Testament there are many messiahs. Saul was anointed as king of Israel. David was anointed as king of Israel. God anointed the Gentile king Cyrus to allow the Jews to return to Israel. This concept of an anointed one, which had general usage, took on a new specific usage because of the prophecies about the son of David. The son of David was commissioned by God to be a king. He would be a king, not just of Israel, but the entire world. He would bring about a universal utopia, the likes of which this world has never seen. He would teach the world the commands of God. There would be mass conversion to the God of Israel. The accomplishments of this man would be exceeded by no one. Therefore, this person was not “an” anointed one, but “the” anointed one. That is why the rabbis called him Mashiach ben David. That is why we call Him Jesus Christ.

The magnitude of the messianic vision of the prophets makes it easy to conclude that the Christ is at the center of all of God’s oracles. How could a man commissioned to do all of the things the prophets said not be the primary character of God’s story? How could someone who single-handedly ushers in the utopia we all yearn for not be the central figure of the Biblical narrative? We would do well to remember the words of Jesus, Mashiach ben David, spoken to rabbis who, though waiting for Messiah, thought that the laws and commands of God were the central figures of the Biblical narrative:

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me…John 5: 39

The Bible is about Jesus of Nazareth, the Anointed One. Of this, we can be certain.


1 Nelson’s New Illustrated Bible Dictionary (Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1995)

Christian Celibacy + Suicidal Despair = Matthew Vines’ False Teaching

In response to the SCOTUS ruling on gay marriage, pastor Kevin DeYoung published an article called “40 Questions For Christians Now Waving Rainbow Flags”. The purpose of the article was to challenge Christians to derive their worldview from Scripture rather than the ideas of American secular culture. Matthew Vines, a “gay Christian” who does not believe the Bible prohibits same-sex marriage, released his own 40 questions as a response.

I wanted to briefly comment on Vines’ questions 7 – 10, because they focus on the topic of celibacy. Since I lived a span of 12 years from the time I became a Christian to the time I got married, the topic of Christian celibacy is something I am very familiar with. As I read Vines’ questions, I was disappointed by his myopic handling of the topic. The questions are:

7. Do you accept that lifelong celibacy is the only valid option for most gay people if all same-sex relationships are sinful?

8. How many gay brothers and sisters in Christ have you walked with on the path of mandatory celibacy, and for how long?

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

10. Has mandatory celibacy produced good fruit in the lives of most gay Christians you know?

Notice how Vines limits the focus of the doctrine of Christian celibacy to “gay Christians”. The fact of the matter is this doctrine impacts various types of Christians:

  • Those who never marry
  • Those who divorce and are single again
  • Widows or widowers who remain unmarried
  • Those with spouses who have a physical impairment that prevents them from participating in sexual intercourse
  • Those who are apart from their spouses for extended periods of time, due to job or other circumstances (deployed military, etc.)

Any Christian who fits into the list above is in a situation that requires what Matthew Vines calls “mandatory celibacy”, but which I think is more aptly called “God-ordained celibacy”. Through his questions Vines insinuates that God-ordained celibacy can lead to suicidal thoughts. This is not a light thing to say. Nor is it an easy thing to prove. Anyone familiar with root-cause analysis understands that “correlation does not imply causation”. In other words, if a survey is performed of gay Christians and they blame celibacy for their suicidal thoughts, this does not actually prove that celibacy is the cause. This just proves that those surveyed blamed celibacy.

If we step away from the emotional argumentation of Vines and look at the issue Biblically, we must first acknowledge that contemplating suicide to escape one’s struggles is sinful. To truly consider suicide is to truly consider murdering yourself, and murder is unequivocally a sin in Scripture. Since contemplating suicide is sinful, Matthew Vines is arguing that God-ordained celibacy has caused gay Christians to sin. One must ask, in light of this serious accusation, whether the Bible holds the position that following God’s good law can cause someone to sin. This is what Paul wrote:

Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except through the Law; for I would not have known about coveting if the Law had not said, “YOU SHALL NOT COVET.” But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me coveting of every kind; for apart from the Law sin is dead. I was once alive apart from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; and this commandment, which was to result in life, proved to result in death for me; for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful. (Romans 7: 7 – 13)

According to the apostle it is impossible for God’s law to cause us to sin. Rather, sin is distinct from the law, and it produces desires in us opposed to God’s law. When we act on such desires, and fail to live by God’s law, it is not the law’s fault, but it is our fault because of sin.

What then is the response to gay Christians struggling with sin, even the sin of suicidal despair?

The response is not to change God’s law, which is what Vines is attempting to do by advocating for same-sex marriage. By altering God’s words and endorsing behaviors God has not approved, Vines is hurting the very people he is trying to help. Rather than ministering to them in their sin, and reminding them of their hope in the gospel, Vines has eliminated the category of sin altogether, and has instructed gay Christians that their suicidal feelings are derived not from sinful natures, but from an oppressive church that has denied marriage to same-sex couples.

The response to a Christian dissatisfied with the life God has given them, and the commands God has given them, is to call them to repent and remind them of the promises of the gospel. There are not many promises a Christian has in this life from God. Are we promised money? No. Are we promised health? No. Are we promised a spouse? No. If we are able to marry, are we promised a life of never-ending sexual satisfaction? No. We are promised that God will use all things for the good of those whom He has called. And we are promised that one day, the pain and misery of this life will be over, and we will dwell forever with God in peace, because Jesus Christ has bore the penalty for our sins and has reconciled us to God.

The eternal promises of God through Jesus Christ help us endure whatever the day brings. These are the promises that have helped many a Christian endure a martyr’s death. Surely these gospel promises are good enough to help Christians living with God-ordained celibacy, whether they be homosexual or heterosexual singles, divorcees, widows or widowers, or the physically afflicted.

In conclusion, I suppose the whole of this article is my answer to Vines’ ninth question.

9. What is your answer for gay Christians who struggled for years to live out a celibacy mandate but were driven to suicidal despair in the process?

God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 3 – The Five Major Covenants Teach the Centrality of Christ


Suggested Pre-Reading: God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 2


The Bible contains five major covenants, or promises, from God:

Name Details
Noahic Covenant God promised to never again destroy humanity by flood
Abrahamic Covenant God promised to bless all the nations through Abraham
Israelite Covenant God promised to bless Israel if they obeyed His law and to curse them if they didn’t
Davidic Covenant God promised to set one of David’s offspring (the Messiah) on the throne as king forever
New Covenant God promised to usher in the Messianic kingdom and write His law on peoples’ hearts (unlike the Israelite Covenant in which the law was written on stone)

Each of the five covenants has Messianic implications. To put it another way, each of the five main promises of God are best understood in relation to the Messiah and His kingdom. Consider the words of the prophet Ezekiel, which link the fulfillment of the Davidic Covenant to the start of the New (Everlasting) Covenant:

My servant David will be king over them, and they will all have one shepherd; and they will walk in My ordinances and keep My statutes and observe them…David My servant will be their prince forever. I will make a covenant of peace with them; it will be an everlasting covenant with them. (Ezekiel 37: 24 – 26)

The link between the covenants and the Christ was noticed by far more than the prophet Ezekiel. The authors of the New Testament also commented on the five covenants and interpreted them in light of the Messiah:

Covenant New Testament Reference
Noahic For when they maintain this, it escapes their notice that by the word of God the heavens existed long ago and the earth was formed out of water and by water, through which the world at that time was destroyed, being flooded with water. But by His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men. (2 Peter 3: 5 – 7)
Abrahamic Therefore, be sure that it is those who are of faith who are sons of Abraham. The Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, “All the nations will be blessed in you.” So then those who are of faith are blessed with Abraham, the believer. (Galatians 3: 7 – 9)
Israelite Now if perfection was through the Levitical priesthood (for on the basis of it the people received the Law), what further need was there for another priest to arise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be designated according to the order of Aaron? For when the priesthood is changed, of necessity there takes place a change of law also…For the Law, since it has only a shadow of the good things to come and not the very form of things, can never, by the same sacrifices which they offer continually year by year, make perfect those who draw near. (Hebrews 7: 11 – 12, 10: 1)

Davidic After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after My heart, who will do all My will.’ From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus…(Acts 13: 22 – 23)

New (Everlasting) For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion sought for a second. For finding fault with them, He says, “Behold, days are coming, says the LORD, when I will effect a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah; not like the covenant which I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; for they did not continue in My covenant (Hebrews 8: 7 – 9)

As we can see by these New Testament teachings, each of the covenants relate to Jesus the Messiah in their own particular way. Jesus will judge humanity with fire, akin to how God judged humanity with water in the days of Noah. The nations have been blessed through Abraham because it is the gospel of one of his descendants (Jesus) that has gone out to the world and brought unbelievers into the household of God. The Israelite Covenant demonstrated that humanity by its own power could never achieve righteousness through obedience, and it pointed to the need for a greater covenant in which God supplied everything necessary for salvation – this was fulfilled by Jesus and the New Covenant. Jesus and the New Covenant were also the means by which God fulfilled His promise to David, to provide him an everlasting throne and kingdom.

Just as the New Testament is about Jesus, just as the Old Testament is about Jesus, so too are the five major covenants about Jesus. We should expect this, because it is consistent with what God wants us to know. God wants us to know and believe in Jesus Christ, and He has engineered the whole of Scripture, including His five main covenants, to testify to Jesus and our need for a Savior.

Translogic = Desiring Things Other Than God

Unless you have been living under a rock in recent weeks, you are aware that Bruce Jenner “became” Caitlyn Jenner, Rachel Dolezal pretended to be black, and Dylann Roof committed racially motivated murders. You may not be aware that One Hand Jason cut off his own hand with a power tool, in order to be disabled.

In terms of cultural labels, Bruce Jenner is transgender, Rachel Dolezal is transracial, One Hand Jason is transabled, but Dylann Roof, he is a racist murderer. Except for babies in the womb, America does not support the taking of human life, and therefore Roof is simply a cold-blooded killer. He has no trans-label.

Although Dylann Roof appears to be the odd man out, he is actually just like the other three. Each one of these people had within themselves a desire to do or be something, and they acted upon that desire. Bruce wanted to become a girl, so he took the steps. Rachel wanted to be black, so she took the steps. Jason wanted one hand, so he took the steps. Dylann wanted to kill people, so he took the steps.

This hailstorm of chaos and confusion, caused by these four people acting upon their wicked desires, is the fruit of a culture that has abandoned God. Only God is able to authoritatively decree which desires are good and which desires are bad. Whenever humanity takes into their own hands the authority to declare good from bad, it will be self-serving and full of hypocrisy and inconsistency. Do you remember when the Colorado woman cut a baby out of the womb of another? She was not charged with murder for political reasons – if cutting a living baby out of the womb can result in a charge of murder, then wouldn’t abortion also be murder? Since America will not allow abortion to be murder, the woman was charged with something less than her crime deserves.

These types of stories will only continue to increase, for America shows no signs of stopping in their rebellion against God. People will continue to pursue their wicked desires, no matter where they may be led. The comfort we as American Christians have, living in this dark time, is that we too were once slaves to our desires. We too once acted upon our desires with no thought of God. Yet by the power of the Holy Spirit we were granted faith to believe in Jesus Christ, we were given power to resist our evil desires, and we were given power to desire to live for God in accordance with His good commandments. Since we have received forgiveness for our sins, we know many others can too. We must never forget that God came for the sinner, not the righteous. God did not come for a culture of light, but He came to shine brightly in a culture of darkness. God did not save us so that we might flee a wicked culture, but He saved us so that we might share His gospel with the wicked culture.

But God will not be mocked forever. He will judge the actions of all the unrepentant sinners who refuse His grace and forsake His law. To all such people we can apply the rebuke of God through the prophet Jeremiah, when he said to Israel

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots? Then you also can do good who are accustomed to doing evil. (Jeremiah 13: 23)

No, the Ethiopian cannot change his skin. No, the leopard cannot change his spots. Therefore, no, man cannot do good.

Do you need proof that man cannot do good and is unable to administer justice outside of God? Consider the hypocrisy of secular jurisprudence and ethics:

  • If you are a man who pretends to be a woman, you are a hero.
  • If you are a white woman who pretends to be black, you are a liar.
  • If you are a pregnant woman who aborts her baby, you are a champion of rights.
  • If you are a young man who takes the life of another, you are a murderer.
  • If you act upon your sexual desires for a member of the same-sex, you are brave.
  • If you refuse to sell a gay couple a wedding cake, because you don’t recognize gay marriage as a legitimate concept, you are a coward and intolerant and worthy of having your business shut down.

Only in a culture ruled by translogic can these contradictory and hypocritical ideas coexist. As Jesus said, the natural desires of the human heart are wicked, and we know from experience that a culture of wickedness has no desire to maintain any sort of logical consistency.

For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. These are the things which defile the man…(Matthew 15: 19 – 20)

We are most certainly living in a defiled culture. This defiled culture will not be made clean through translogic. Rather, in accordance with the logic of the gospel, it can only be made clean through the blood of Jesus of Nazareth. Only the blood of Jesus has the power of washing away our sins.

God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 2 – The Old Testament Implicitly Teaches the Centrality of Christ


Suggested Pre-Reading: God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 1


It is clear that the New Testament was written to document the words and deeds of Jesus and to declare him to be the Christ. It is not as clear that the Old Testament was written to set the stage for Jesus of Nazareth. On the surface, the Old Testament is an account of the nation of Israel, beginning with God’s creation of Adam and ending with the return of the Jews from the exile. Beneath the surface, the story being told is about a great king who would come from the nation of Israel and rule the world in righteousness.

Although Christians should read the Old Testament and learn how it points to Christ, many do not do so, finding a cover to cover reading intimidating. For those intimidated by the Old Testament, there is a summary of the whole story found in the ninth chapter of Nehemiah. The summary, provided in full at the end of this article, was written after the return of the exiles from Babylon and covers from the beginning of creation to the return of the exiles. If the summary proves to be intimidating, one can focus on the following excerpt, which captures the essence of the Old Testament:

You are just in all that has come upon us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.
For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law
Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.
But they, in their own kingdom,
With Your great goodness which You gave them,
With the broad and rich land which You set before them,
Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.

Nehemiah 9: 33 – 35

God was very good to Israel, over and over and over. Their response to God’s goodness was sin and a refusal to obey the commandments God gave them. For nearly one thousand years, from Moses to the end of the exile, the Law proved incapable of changing the hearts of the people. The promised blessings of the Mosaic Covenant were not enough to inspire godliness, and the promised curses of the Mosaic Covenant were not enough to prevent sin. Something greater than the Law of Moses was needed, to cause the people to trust and obey God. If the Law of Moses was to remain the primary administration, why not think that Israel would remain in a perpetual state of sin and rebellion and exile?

It is viewing the Old Testament in this way – as a chronicle of Israel’s perpetual disobedience – that enables one to see how the story is dependent upon the Christ. Israel’s inability to obey the covenant of Moses is resolved by the prophetic promise of Jesus and His new covenant. Consider the words of Isaiah, who wrote of a great king from the line of David who would rule in righteousness.

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. (Isaiah 9: 6 – 7)

Consider the words of Jeremiah, prophesying that a new covenant would be made, in which the law of God would be written on the hearts of men, rather than on tablets of stone.

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.” (Jeremiah 31: 31 – 33)

The promise of a savior-king, enacting a covenant in which He by divine power changes the hearts of His people and atones for their sin, is is the exact solution needed for a people who continually proved incapable of obeying the law by their own power. If the prophecies regarding Christ are removed from the Old Testament, the story started in the Old Testament has nowhere to go. For one thousand years the law failed to produce godly people, and unless that law were replaced with something better, there is no reason to think anything would change.

Our conclusion then, in light of all that has been said, must be that Jesus is central to all that is going on in the story of Israel. If by removing Christ from the Old Testament the story has nowhere to go, what other conclusion is there to draw?


Old Testament Summary In Nehemiah 9: 5 – 37

O may Your glorious name be blessed
And exalted above all blessing and praise!

You alone are the LORD.
You have made the heavens,
The heaven of heavens with all their host,
The earth and all that is on it,
The seas and all that is in them.
You give life to all of them
And the heavenly host bows down before You.

You are the LORD God,
Who chose Abram
And brought him out from Ur of the Chaldees,
And gave him the name Abraham.

You found his heart faithful before You,
And made a covenant with him
To give him the land of the Canaanite,
Of the Hittite and the Amorite,
Of the Perizzite, the Jebusite and the Girgashite—
To give it to his descendants.
And You have fulfilled Your promise,
For You are righteous.

You saw the affliction of our fathers in Egypt,
And heard their cry by the Red Sea.

Then You performed signs and wonders against Pharaoh,
Against all his servants and all the people of his land;
For You knew that they acted arrogantly toward them,
And made a name for Yourself as it is this day.

You divided the sea before them,
So they passed through the midst of the sea on dry ground;
And their pursuers You hurled into the depths,
Like a stone into raging waters.

And with a pillar of cloud You led them by day,
And with a pillar of fire by night
To light for them the way
In which they were to go.

Then You came down on Mount Sinai,
And spoke with them from heaven;
You gave them just ordinances and true laws,
Good statutes and commandments.

So You made known to them Your holy sabbath,
And laid down for them commandments, statutes and law,
Through Your servant Moses.

You provided bread from heaven for them for their hunger,
You brought forth water from a rock for them for their thirst,
And You told them to enter in order to possess
The land which You swore to give them.

But they, our fathers, acted arrogantly;
They became stubborn and would not listen to Your commandments.

They refused to listen,
And did not remember Your wondrous deeds which You had performed among them;
So they became stubborn and appointed a leader to return to their slavery in Egypt.
But You are a God of forgiveness,
Gracious and compassionate,
Slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness;
And You did not forsake them.

Even when they made for themselves
A calf of molten metal
And said, ‘This is your God
Who brought you up from Egypt,’
And committed great blasphemies,

You, in Your great compassion,
Did not forsake them in the wilderness;
The pillar of cloud did not leave them by day,
To guide them on their way,
Nor the pillar of fire by night, to light for them the way in which they were to go.

You gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
Your manna You did not withhold from their mouth,
And You gave them water for their thirst.

Indeed, forty years You provided for them in the wilderness and they were not in want;
Their clothes did not wear out, nor did their feet swell.

You also gave them kingdoms and peoples,
And allotted them to them as a boundary.
They took possession of the land of Sihon the king of Heshbon
And the land of Og the king of Bashan.

You made their sons numerous as the stars of heaven,
And You brought them into the land
Which You had told their fathers to enter and possess.

So their sons entered and possessed the land.
And You subdued before them the inhabitants of the land, the Canaanites,
And You gave them into their hand, with their kings and the peoples of the land,
To do with them as they desired.

They captured fortified cities and a fertile land.
They took possession of houses full of every good thing,
Hewn cisterns, vineyards, olive groves,
Fruit trees in abundance.
So they ate, were filled and grew fat,
And reveled in Your great goodness.

But they became disobedient and rebelled against You,
And cast Your law behind their backs
And killed Your prophets who had admonished them
So that they might return to You,
And they committed great blasphemies.

Therefore You delivered them into the hand of their oppressors who oppressed them,
But when they cried to You in the time of their distress,
You heard from heaven, and according to Your great compassion
You gave them deliverers who delivered them from the hand of their oppressors.

But as soon as they had rest, they did evil again before You;
Therefore You abandoned them to the hand of their enemies, so that they ruled over them.
When they cried again to You, You heard from heaven,
And many times You rescued them according to Your compassion,

And admonished them in order to turn them back to Your law.
Yet they acted arrogantly and did not listen to Your commandments but sinned against Your ordinances,
By which if a man observes them he shall live.
And they turned a stubborn shoulder and stiffened their neck, and would not listen.

However, You bore with them for many years,
And admonished them by Your Spirit through Your prophets,
Yet they would not give ear.
Therefore You gave them into the hand of the peoples of the lands.

Nevertheless, in Your great compassion You did not make an end of them or forsake them,
For You are a gracious and compassionate God.

Now therefore, our God, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who keeps covenant and lovingkindness,
Do not let all the hardship seem insignificant before You,
Which has come upon us, our kings, our princes, our priests, our prophets, our fathers and on all Your people,
From the days of the kings of Assyria to this day.

However, You are just in all that has come upon us;
For You have dealt faithfully, but we have acted wickedly.

For our kings, our leaders, our priests and our fathers have not kept Your law
Or paid attention to Your commandments and Your admonitions with which You have admonished them.

But they, in their own kingdom,
With Your great goodness which You gave them,
With the broad and rich land which You set before them,
Did not serve You or turn from their evil deeds.

Behold, we are slaves today,
And as to the land which You gave to our fathers to eat of its fruit and its bounty,
Behold, we are slaves in it.

Its abundant produce is for the kings
Whom You have set over us because of our sins;
They also rule over our bodies
And over our cattle as they please,
So we are in great distress.

A Conversation with Bob Enyart On Open Theism


Doctrine Via Dialectic: Examining Biblical truths by means of fictitious conversations.

This conversation is inspired by Bob Enyart, who in a debate with James White stated that time has eternally existed with God and that God does not know the future. You are encouraged to listen to the debate, located at the bottom of this post, to learn more about the unbiblical doctrine of open theism.


Blogger: So in your debate with James White you declared that time is uncreated?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: And this is important to your position on open theism, because it allows you to state that God has eternally lived in sequence?

Enyart: Yes, that is right.

Blogger: And God living in sequence is important because it allows you to state that God does not know the future, and the future is open?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: So let us look a little deeper then, at this notion of God having always lived in sequence.

Enyart: Okay.

Blogger: You believe that God thinks, right?

Enyart: Of course.

Blogger: And you stated in the debate that God thinks new thoughts?

Enyart: Yes.

Blogger: So, if we had a timeline, we could plot the times in which God thought new thoughts.

Enyart: Theoretically, yes, we could place God’s new thoughts onto a timeline.

Blogger: We could then follow the timeline backwards, and in doing so we would see the sum total of God’s thoughts reducing as we work backwards in time.

Enyart: Yes, you are correct. If God thought a new thought today, and His total thoughts were X, then yesterday His total thoughts would be X-1.

Blogger: And so logically, does it not follow, that we would reach a point on that timeline when God only had one thought?

Enyart: I perceive you are trying to trap me.

Blogger: How so?

Enyart: If I were to say that God eternally existed in sequence but that His thoughts could not be reduced to one, you would likely accuse me of being inconsistent. However, if I were to say His thoughts could be reduced to one, I would be in an even more difficult position.

Blogger: I am not trying to trap you, but you are right about being in a difficult position. If you admit that God’s thoughts could be reduced to one, then not only do you have to defend that position, but you have to address whether it was possible for God to have had zero thoughts at some point in eternity past.

If you are going to deny that God’s thoughts could be reduced to one, then you have to somehow defend the position that despite living eternally sequential, God had an unknown amount of thoughts, greater than one, that did not occur sequentially. You would then also have to account for God, at some point and time, beginning to think new thoughts in sequence.

Enyart: I’m not sure how to proceed from here. I am certainly not going to address this issue right now.

Blogger: I guess our conversation is over, then. I must point out your argument is terribly ironic, since in your debate with James White you accused reformed theology of deriving their attributes of God from Greek philosophy rather than the Bible. This whole concept of God living eternally in sequence and thinking new thoughts and not knowing the future sure seems to be philosophical to me, rather than Biblically based.



God’s Oracles Center Around Christ: 1 – The New Testament Explicitly References The Centrality of Christ

The Christian ought to believe that God’s oracles center around Christ because Jesus, the Christ, explicitly said that very thing. In an encounter with the Pharisees, recorded by the disciple John, Jesus dispelled the notion that the primary function of Scripture is to teach the law of God so that one could be righteous through holy living.

You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me…For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me, for he wrote about Me. (John 5: 39, 46)

After His resurrection from the dead, Jesus made another explicit statement about the Christ-centered message of Scripture, during a conversation with His disciples.

Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, and He said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.” (Luke 24: 44 – 47)

The author of Hebrews told us that God’s oracles climaxed with the coming of Christ.

God, after He spoke long ago to the fathers in the prophets in many portions and in many ways, in these last days has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. (Hebrews 1: 1 – 2)

Prior to Jesus, God spoke to Israel through a series of prophets, and the prophets looked ahead to the coming of the Christ. When Jesus came, the prophets ceased, for the Messiah had been revealed, and their message was no longer needed. All that was needed was for the words and deeds of the Messiah to be written down for posterity, and that has happened thanks to the authors of the New Testament.

Believing that Jesus is the main focus of the Bible is key to accurately reading and comprehending the Bible. One of the easiest things to do is to forget that the book is primarily about Jesus. When one does this, when one forgets, the book often becomes about the reader. The reader goes to Scripture to extract principles for living a better life, just like the Pharisees did in Jesus’ day. This narcissistic reading can even happen when reading about Jesus – instead of focusing on the glory of Jesus and giving Him due praise, the reader instead studies the words and deeds of Christ, merely so they can try to mimic those qualities in their own life and become “a better person”.

Thankfully, the Holy Spirit gave us explicit references in Scripture, which prove the primacy of Christ, to help guard our hearts and minds as we approach God’s holy word. Since God desires His people to worship Him in spirit and in truth, we must read Scripture, the revealed word of God, accurately. As we increase in our comprehension of the Biblical narrative, and as we increase in our comprehension of our own sinful nature, we will learn that it is impossible to please God through our living of His law. It is only because of what Christ has done on our behalf, by dealing with our sin, that we can be pleasing to God. The redemption of mankind through the sacrificial death of Jesus of Nazareth is what the oracles of God all point to, in one way or another. The apostle Paul summarizes this great work well:

He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5: 21)

To rightly understand the gospel of grace, and not turn it into a gospel of works, one must understand that Jesus stands in the center of all of God’s revealed truths.

God Reveals His Oracles: 4 – How God Has Given Specific Revelation


Suggested Pre-Reading: God Reveals His Oracles: 3


Even though God gives to all of us a general understanding of His eternal power, divine nature, and moral character, by writing such things on our hearts, it was God’s good pleasure to choose long ago a specific group of people to receive His detailed oracles; truths about God, man, and the events of history. God even told these people about future events before they happened, such as the death of the Jewish Messiah and the subsequent destruction of Jerusalem.1 Thankfully, these chosen people wrote down the divine words, so that we could have them today. One must keep in mind that due to limited technology, the only two ways the ancients could give us God’s words were in writing or by means of an oral tradition. Without a doubt, a written tradition is far superior to an oral one, and so the ancients preserved for us God’s words using the best method available.

Now who were these people who God chose to write down His oracles? They were the Israelites – the Jews. God personally established the nation of Israel by delivering the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob from slavery in Egypt, and by using the man Moses to help lead them. One of the promises God gave to the nation through Moses was to provide a line of prophets who would dispense holy truth. Moses recorded this promise:

“The LORD said to me, ‘They have spoken well. I will raise up a prophet from among their countrymen like you, and I will put My words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. It shall come about that whoever will not listen to My words which he shall speak in My name, I Myself will require it of him.” (Deuteronomy 18: 17 – 19)

God spoke to Israel over the centuries through various prophets. God did not speak with other nations in the same way; the relationship between God and Israel was unique. This uniqueness was attested to by the apostle Paul:

Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God. (Romans 3: 1 – 2)

So these Jews, who at the time were the only people entrusted with the oracles of God, wrote God’s words down for posterity. Over the course of time a portion of their many writings were collected and bound together as one book – this book today is called the Bible. The Bible is a library consisting of sixty-six books from some forty authors, whose writings occurred over the span of more than one thousand years. Despite the multiplicity of authors and span of time, the Bible is a cohesive narrative with discernible plots and themes. This should be expected, since God was the one giving the words to be written down. The Bible is the key source of information about God and man, and it says of itself:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3: 16 – 17)

Now, what is the main point of the Bible? Since God has gone to the effort of inspiring words to be written, and binding them together in a singular book, what is the message of this book that God wants us to know? The answer to these questions is the focus of the next series, which will discuss the essential Christian principle “God’s Oracles Center Around Christ”.

As we move on to the next principle, regarding Christ, let us summarize in three key points what has been discussed over the course of this series on divine revelation, points which are an orthodox Christian perspective on divine revelation.

  1. God must speak to us, if we are to know anything specific about Him.
  2. God could choose to speak to all people or to some people.
  3. God chose the Jewish people to be the recipients of His specific divine instruction, and their words have come down to us today in the form of the Bible.

The Christian must be convinced of these three things, and they must cling to the notion that the edifice of all true Christian doctrine is built upon the foundation that the Bible is the divinely revealed word of God.


1 Book of Daniel, Chapter 9 Verse 26: “Then after the sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off and have nothing, and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary…” These words were written approximately 500 years in advance of Jesus’ death and the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome.

Revisiting Creational Monotheism

In fairness to John Mark Comer, whose sermon Yahweh Elohim caused much controversy two years ago, and which was the basis of my blog post Creational Monotheism = Polytheism = Henotheism, I wanted to say I was recently made aware that he posted the statement below (click it to enlarge) in light of the controversy:

comer_response

It is somewhat hard to listen to his sermon, which seems to be teaching polytheism and which has many disconcerting particulars, and reconcile it with his post-sermon comments, which state he is a monotheist. If someone says contradictory things, which of the things that they say do you believe? I know for myself, I would want to listen to more of Comer’s sermons to determine whether he has a habit of truth obfuscation or whether he is, on average, a good teacher.

At the very least, his teaching on creational monotheism, if not a heretical discourse on polytheism, is extremely confusing and full of error. It warranted the controversy. The entire premise of the sermon is based on an equivocation of the term monotheism. Most people would assume monotheism means belief in one god. But Comer redefines contemporary monotheism as belief in one God with no belief in any other spiritual beings. And then he teaches creational monotheism in response to his audience’s lack of belief in spiritual beings other than God.

It should be obvious that if there is a deficient understanding in the existence of other spiritual beings, the answer is not to teach “creational monotheism”, but to simply teach from Scripture and demonstrate that there are other spiritual beings. The belief in spiritual beings is a basic tenet of Christianity – it is not advanced technical doctrine. Randy Alcorn, writing on the unnecessary controversies resulting from creational monotheism, says it well:

Monotheism isn’t the problem, failure to recognize the reality of supernatural evil powers is the problem…1

To all the monotheists who teach creational monotheism, please throw away the doctrine and quit causing strife.

1 http://www.epm.org/resources/2014/Jun/25/ive-heard-some-pastors-say-they-believe-one-true-g/

God Reveals His Oracles: 3 – How God Has Spoken To All Men


Suggested Pre-Reading: God Reveals His Oracles 2


As we think about the two ways God reveals His truths – either to all men or to some men – it is perhaps difficult to conceive how God might speak, or might have spoken, a truth to all men. Certainly in our lifetime there has been no booming voice from heaven, loud enough for everyone on earth to hear. And we are all aware that there are atheists, who claim to disbelieve in God altogether. If God has spoken a message to all men, how could there be atheists? If God has spoken truth to all men, how has He done so?

The Christian answers these questions by turning to God’s revealed truths in the Bible. The Bible, which records the truths God has revealed to certain men, tells us through Paul’s letter to the Romans that God has spoken certain truths to everyone.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. (Romans 1: 18 – 21)

From this passage we learn that God made two of His attributes evident to all men:

  1. Eternal Power
  2. Divine Nature

These two attributes of God were revealed through His creation. Creation is so magnificent that it undeniably originates, not from nothing, but from an eternally powerful and divine Being. The evidence of a God-created universe is so overwhelming, that to deny it is to commit intellectual suicide. Paul wrote his words nearly two thousand years ago to a people with far less technology and scientific knowledge than us today. How much more so should we as modern people see the creation pointing to the Creator.

Now in addition to God’s eternal power and divine nature, we are instructed that God has revealed a moral law to all men through the conscience:

For when Gentiles who do not have the Law do instinctively the things of the Law, these, not having the Law, are a law to themselves, in that they show the work of the Law written in their hearts, their conscience bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them…(Romans 2: 14 – 15)

Here Paul is discussing how Gentiles (unbelievers) will be judged by God, since they were not the recipients of God’s divinely revealed Law that was given to Moses. The answer Paul gives is that God has given every man a conscience, and this conscience intuitively knows when certain things are good and certain things are bad. There are certain things that people know are right and wrong, and it doesn’t matter whether the government allows it or not. People know that there is a moral law that transcends legislation.

So there are three things revealed by God to all men – God’s eternal power, God’s divinity, and God’s moral character. It is worth noting that the Declaration of Independence of the United States of America affirms each of these three revelations.

We hold these Truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights…

The men who wrote and signed that document acknowledged that there is a God who is Creator, and that there are certain rights God has given to men. If God has given man the right to life, then murder is wrong. If God has given man the right to the property he acquires, then stealing is wrong. So there are laws given by God which are unchangeable. Even if a government were to say that murder is okay, it would not be. Even if a government were to say stealing is okay, it would not be. All of our consciences know that the government is not the ultimate authority in determining what is right or wrong. Otherwise, there could be no condemnation of Nazi Germany and other such government-led atrocities.

To conclude, we have learned that God has divinely ensured every human being receives three general truths about God’s nature. Everyone knows intuitively of God’s power and moral character. But this basic knowledge of God is not sufficient for knowing God in any real and personal way. To truly know God, He must give us far more specific and detailed revelations about Himself. In the next post we will begin to look at the Christian claim of God’s specific revelations being contained within the pages of the Bible, and why the Bible should be viewed as authentic and other religious writings as false.