Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Old Testament

Christ in the Old Testament: VanGemeren on Calvin and Daniel

The search for Christ in the Old Testament continues unabated.  This is a good thing.

For this brief post – I would like to point out a recent article published by Willem A. VanGemeren entitled “Christocentricity and Appropriation in Calvin’s Exposition of Daniel.”

The article was published in our own Torch Trinity Journal (volume 19) which hasn’t been posted online yet.  I can email you the article if you would like (c.rata@ttgu.ac.kr).

VanGemeren engages a bit in the introduction with the Westminster Seminary hermeneutic (see more recently Seeing Christ in All of Scripture) and then talks about Calvin’s interpretation of the Old Testament – especially as it pertains to the book of Daniel.

I highly recommend the article.  For a brief critique (yes – it has drawn criticism already) see the post by my colleague Nate Shannon here.

VanGemeren shows that Calvin was NOT a ‘Judaizer,’ but rather a careful interpreter of Scripture very much concerned with ‘appropriation’ and obedience.  He specifically applied the book of Daniel to himself and his fellow persecuted Christians who were in exile away from France.

Here are some worthy quotations from VanGemeren:

We cannot understand Jesus except in the context of the Bible as a whole.  To detach Jesus from this story is to create a mythical figure.  In his teaching and in his action he speaks and acts as the one who brings the story of God’s dealing with Israel to its point of crisis and decision. (p. 233)

John Calvin (JC) understood that the only way to serve Christ is to have a heart aflame for the GOSPEL.  (p. 234)

Fulfillment is a movie rather than a still picture. (p. 239)

CALVIN saw in Daniel a type of Christ. The prefiguration is shown in Daniel’s walk with God, his obedience to him, his confidence in God’s ability to raise him from the dead [note that Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den = like a grave], and in his witness to earthly powers. (p. 247)


Before There Was Time, Before There Was Space…

I recommend Bible Mesh for a well done introduction to the Bible.  Their first era (Creation) starts with the following words: “Before there was time, before there was space, there was God! And God spoke time and space into being.  He spoke galaxies into being, …and on one  planet he spoke life….

Interestingly enough, towards the end of his monumental Tractatus, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the leading analytical philosopher of the twentieth century, conceded, ‘The solution of the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time.’85

Looking at the issue from a scientific angle, Michael Behe goes a significant step further: ‘As we reach the end of this book [Darwin’s Black Box], we are left with no substantive defence against what feels to be a strange conclusion: that life was designed by an intelligent agent.’86

Today, the enlightened scientific community tells us that the universe created itself from nothing!  I will let you choose which is the more sensible and logic choice.

Blanchard, John (2011-08-05). Does God Believe in Atheists? (Kindle Locations 6989-6993). Evangelical Press. Kindle Edition.


The Blessedness of Wisdom

I posted some notes on Proverbs 3:13 here.

ENJOY and feel free to send me your comments!


Link

A New Website for My Beloved Hebrew Students

Due to my boundless love (chesed) for my Hebrew students I decided to start another website.  It is called One Proverb a Day and it is found here.

The intention is to provide 366 proverbs in Hebrew for students to read and memorize [YES – memorize!].  Also – I will provide notes on grammar and pronunciation, and some basic comments on the content (mostly based on Waltke and Bridges).

Because I do not know how to deal with the Hebrew well (help anyone?) in wordpress, all the files will be available for download in PDF form.  Those versions should be much better than what appears in the wordpress website!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and if you would like to contribute to this project!

Cristian


The Boundaries of Love

I recently read a story about a group of about eleven women who were asked if they were faithful to their husbands. Only one answered in the affirmative. Another one of them was also faithful, but was too ashamed to raise her hand to acknowledge that.

This is the kind of culture in which we live, a culture in which people are ashamed of fidelity. Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary is correct when he says that “we are an adulterous generation.” And this is confirmed by a spokesman of Generation X: We are the first generation in which adultery is now not an issue. We have so little expectation of monogamy or of faithfulness, adultery is just no big deal.” Gladly, that is not true of his entire generation, but it does seem increasingly true of the culture at large.

However, in this context of unfaithfulness, when society considers adultery the modern/sophisticated (even mature) way to live, the Bible is again countercultural by insisting that the mature is the one who lives in obedience to God. And God’s word on this issue is very clear and direct: You shall not commit adultery! In an “adulterous generation” we are called to faithfulness in marriage.

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Bono on Grace

Here is a great interview of Bono from The Poached Egg.

http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2010/09/bono-interview-grace-over-karma.html.

 


Preaching the Ten Commandments Today

These days, following the lead of our pastor Daniel Kim, we are preaching through the ten commandments at Hallelujah English Ministry. In Hebrew it is actually the ten words (עֲשֶׂ֖רֶת הַדְּבָרִֽים).

I just started another website to post some material related to this. You can find the new website here Preaching the Ten Commandments.

When I heard about the intention of the senior pastor I was not very excited. I never preached from the ten commandments and I was planning to continue my preaching through Genesis (the Isaac story), and later from Ecclesiastes. However, since pastor Steve Chang started preaching through the ten commandments while I was in the hospital (he preached through the first four), I had to continue when I came out, especially since he left for his sabbatical.

As I started preparing for my sermons I realized that there was a lot of wisdom in preaching through the ten commandments, as they reflect the character of God and as the law functions as a mirror that should lead us to God and the cross. (Of course – the law has other functions: map/guide, muzzle/restrain etc).

So far – I find these books the most useful for my preparation (my time is limited, partly because of my knee injury):

Keeping the Ten Commandments by J. I Packer – this is a good and brief introduction to the commandments from a great contemporary theologian.

 

Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Ryken – this is the best resource for teaching/preaching I have found so far. It is very insightful and informed!!! He gives very good guidelines for understanding OT law and has a very good grasp of the Reformed catechisms (Heidelberg and Westminster) and of today’s culture.

 

Words from the Fire by Albert Mohler – this is also very insightful, but I find Ryken better.

You can get all of these 3 books on KINDLE (as I did), and that makes it much easier to take notes. If you can only afford two (or have limited time), go for the first two.

Two more books look useful, but I have not been able to access one of them in time though I wish I had it (it is not available in Kindle):

How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments by Edmund Clowney. I do not have access to this, but knowing Clowney’s theology and preaching I am sure it would be very useful. See the first review on Amazon for a good idea about this book.

The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society also looks good (and I found it in my library), but I have not had very much time to look at this and I haven’t used it (almost) at all in my preparation. However, it seems worth looking at especially for its chapter on Jonathan Edwards etc.

My sermons (from the 5th commandment on) can be found here. They are from the early (10 a.m.) service because the second one is not recorded anymore. However, starting in March we will have only one service at 11:30 am.

Again – some material/notes for preaching the ten commandments should be poster here: Preaching the Ten Commandments.


Charles Bridges on Wisdom Literature – Proverbs 8

I love Charles Bridges on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes . They are true classics.

Of course – his understanding of Wisdom is fully Christological. The following is an excellent example from Proverbs 8.

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Creation and Evolution – Waltke’s View and Consequences

Bruce Waltke is one of the best known scholars in Old Testament studies. I heard him speak, I read some of his writing, and I like him a lot. At 79 he still keeps going by teaching OT in various places (it looks like he is moving to Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, FL)!

I am writing this brief blog just to draw attention to the fact that Waltke has weighed in on the issue of theistic evolution. This weighing in has led to his departure (he was NOT forced to resign as some outlets suggest) from RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL) and to a flurry of blogs.

These blogs shed additional light on this most important issue for Christianity in the 21st century: latest info, John Hobbins, and Justin Taylor. John Hobbins has the links to many bloggers who discussed this topic.

It remains to be seen where this story will go and what its impact will be in the evangelical world!


Donald J. Wiseman – In Memoriam

The great British Orientalist Donald Wiseman was called home.  He played a very important role in the early development of the Tyndale House and had great contributions to biblical scholarship and the study of the ancient Near East. [This information was obtained from Tyndale House]

Here is a photo of Professor Wiseman from ancient Nimrud:

Wiseman next to Agatha Christie at ancient Nimrud

Left to right: Donald Wiseman stands next to his good friend
Agatha Christie, her husband Max Mallowan, and Neville Chittick,
while carrying out archaeological excavation at Nimrud.

There are many things I did not know about Professor Wiseman.  Thus, I had no idea that he was a recipient of the USA Bronze Star Medal for his valor in World War II… Read the tribute below and become wiser/better! (more…)