Wednesday, May 25, 2011

John 1:1c Four Words, Perfectly ordered, perfectly chosen.



One of the motivations spurring me onwards in the study of Koine Greek was a friend and Co-Worker.  Let's just call him JW for this post. (Jehovah Witness)    Certainly not my main or only motivation but one of them was his challenge to me that the phrase found in John 1:1c is only correctly translated in the New World Translation as "and the word was a god."    His contention is that the greek phrase:  "kai theos en ho logos" lacks the definite article "ho" in front of the word theos.   In other words without the "the" in front of "God" in the original language you must supply the indefinite article "a."

Even without an understanding of the Greek New Testament JW could easily be answered.   Jesus prayed that  Father would restore the glory he had with him before the world was.  Yet in the OT we read that God will not share his glory with another.  Thomas fell down and worshipped the resurrected Jesus Christ crying my Lord and my GOD.   God is the creator of all things, Jesus declared to be the creator.  I and the Father are one. You have seen the Father you have seen me.  Before Abraham was I AM.   Jesus is the high priest in Hebrews who is without beginning of days or end of life. God calls him God in Hebrews chapter 1. Demons acknowledge his deity.  The JW position is ridiculous.  They do greatly err not knowing the scriptures nor the power of GOD.

In John 1:1 c, God has given us four words so precise and in such perfect order as to at the same time destroy both arianism and sabellianism, and then uphold and reveal Trinitarian truth and then finally to gloriously proclaim the deity of Jesus Christ.

Theos -GOD
En - was

Ho - the

Logos - word

Literally in this order and word for word: "God was the word."

Had the word order been changed to "ho logos en theos" the JW could perhaps be justified in saying the best translation is "The word was a god."   We learned this in first year Greek.   Without the "ho" the beginning student would be required to supply the indefinite article "a or an."  So as JW said "theos" should be "a god" unless there is more to the story, and there is.  As with all serious studies, you don't learn everything you need to know in the first year.
So the word order, "ho logos en theos" supports arianism, the denial of the deity of Jesus Christ.  But that is not the word order we find in John 1:1c.

What if the "ho" would have been supplied as the JW insists is necessary in order to show the deity of Jesus Christ as follows:

"Ho theos en ho logos."   Translated literally as "The God was the word."  But this teaches sabellianism, the denial of the trinitarian doctrine of three distinct persons in the ONE Godhead.  Sabellianism asserts that sometimes God is manifest as the Father and sometimes the Son and sometimes the Spirit.  Maybe in progressive order but always asserting that The Father is the Son and the Son is the Spirit and the Spirit the Father.  Sabellianism teaches that these are not three separate persons within the one Godhead but just different modes of appearing. "Ho theos en ho logos," teaches sabellianism because in Greek it says All that THE GOD is so also is THE SON.  Everything about THE GOD is also about THE SON. THE GOD THE FATHER AND THE GOD THE WORD ARE ONE AND THE SAME no distinction of personhood allowed.  But no "ho" in front of "theos" is found in John 1:1c for holy scriptures do not teach us Sabellianism.

Divinly Inspired and beautifully arranged these four words destroy arianism and sabellianism and declare plainly the full deity of the eternal Word, Jesus Christ.

Theos en ho logos,  we identify the subject of the clause as logos because this word does have the definite article "ho" proceeding, so "ho logos", the word, is the subject of the clause.   "Theos", God,  without the article but coming first in the clause for emphasis and according to good greek grammar asserting something about the quality or essence of ho logos, the word.   We have therefore plainly and correctly translated:  "THE WORD WAS GOD."  In very essence the word, Jesus Christ, was and is God.

FOUR WORDS perfectly chosen, perfectly arranged and ordered, and beautifully breathtaking,  amazing divine verbal plenary inspiration!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Meet me at the Brook: Enjoy the Rap

Enjoying the works of Thomas Brooks, and in view that he always reminds me to "meet me at the Brook"  Mike sent me the following , Enjoy.
Drop that base line homie.
top of the morn to ya !
meet me @ tha brook,  
scripture be given my flesh some left hooks, 
I tried to fight my self, but the Spirit said go back to the book, 
grabbed my bible and took a look,
opened up to isaiah 58, I was like yo, what a fresh stream, 
the word be cuttin like a lazer beam, (nah I mean) 

Then a thought occured to me, what a fool I be,  
I love toilet water over the livin stream - 
that flows from tha King He be, 
man is there any help fo me, 
the flesh brings death ta me, 
drinkin from THA WELL brings life ya see.
if I could just- 
find discipleship help,(whats this?)  
swiped cat named Brooks off the shelf, 
he discussed things that I felt,
his teachin be far reachin, steeped in holy writ, 
unlike false teachas who only give ya a tid bit,
those wolfs who be thinkin they hot, 
when they really not, 
need stay away from the goats ,
I dont say this ta boast,
But if you want a fresh drink , 
somethin to make ya feel n think, 
somethin that a make ya say , 
ooh false doctrine that stinks,
Caup a copy of the works of brooks , 
open up n take a look :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

Meet me at the Brook: Smooth Stones from Ancient Brooks

Meet me at the Brook!  That is meet me in a book by Thomas Brooks.  I picked up a copy of Smooth Stones from Ancient Brooks.  This book is a collection of sentences penned by Thomas Brooks and collected by Charles Spurgeon.   For an excellent review of this book click here.

Consider Spurgeon's first choice:

Christ often takes the crown off his own head, and puts it upon the head of faith ; witness such passages as these, which are frequent in Scripture: "Thy faith hath saved thee," Luke 7:50. " Thy faith hath made thee whole," (Matthew, ix. 22). And no wonder that Christ crowns faith, for of all graces, faith takes the crown off a man's own head, and puts it upon the head of Christ. 

Very helpful to me. Have you never wondered instead of ascribing to Faith, why didn't Jesus say, "I have made thee whole," or "I have saved thee?"  Brooks answers for us pointing out that Faith will take the crown off my head and because my whole dependence relies on him - nothing on me - Faith crowns CHRIST.  Christ the object of my faith.  Faith removes the crown from my head and properly exalts Christ the supreme.  Faith takes from me and falls upon JESUS.  No Faith in faith here.  Faith is set upon Jesus not upon self.  Jesus be crowned.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Meet me at the Brook...... Rom 8:28

My good brother in Christ, Mike, quite often sings a little ditty as he meets me in the hallway of our work.  He sings, "meet me at the Brook."   That's all, the whole song. "Meet me at the Brook."  Short, but I LOVE IT.  Mike's  words and tune sometimes continuously ring in my head so catchy is the tune and so wonderful the subject to which he refers.  There is a kind of a RAP sound to it.   Mike is referring not to some stream somewhere but actually to the puritan, Thomas Brooks.   Mike owns  the Complete Works of Thomas Brooks.  Very cool.  I have only Precious Remedies and now Spurgeon's, Smooth Stones from Ancient Brooks.   Last I spent time with Mike we poured through the index and volumes of the Complete Works, and found the following on Romans 8:28.  Having read this little excerpt several times now I commend it wholly for your consideration.

Twelfthly and lastly, If thou art a holy person, if thou art one that hast that real holiness without which there is no happiness, then know for thy comfort that all things shall work together for thy good: Rom. viii. 28, 'And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to his purpose.' All the afflictions, and all the temptations, and all the desertions, and all the oppressions, and all the oppositions, and all the persecutions that befalls a godly man shall work for his good, Rev. ii. 10. Every cross, every loss, and every disease that befalls the holy man shall work for his good; every device, every snare, every method, every depth, every stratagem, and every enterprise of Satan against the holy man shall work for his good ; they shall all help to make him more humble, more holy, more heavenly, more spiritual, more faithful, more fruitful, and more watchful, 2 Cor. xii. 9, 10; every day of prosperity, and every night of adversity shall work for the holy man's good ; every storm and every calm, every bitter and every sweet, every cross and every comfort, shall work for his good that is holy, Hosea ii. 5-7. When God gives a mercy, that shall work for his good ; and when God takes away a mercy, that shall work for his good; when God gives him large commons, that shall work for his good; and when God cuts his commons short, that shall work for his good ; yea, and all the falls and all the sins of the saints shall work for their good. As I get hurt by my graces, so I get good by my sins, said famous Mr. Foxe. Oh the care, the fear, the watchfulness, the tenderness, the zeal, the revenge, that God raises in the souls of his saints by their very falls! 2 Cor. vii. 8-13. Oh the hatred, the indignation, and the detestation that God raises in the hearts of his children against sin, by their very falling into sin! Oh what love to Christ, what thankfulness for Christ, what admiration of Christ, what cleaving to Christ, what exalting of Christ, and what drawing from Christ, are saints led to by their very falls! Oh what exercise of grace, what increase of grace, what magnifying of grace, what liftings up of divine power, and what a high price are holy men led to set upon the precious blood of Christ, and all by their falls! It is the glory of God's holiness that he can turn spiritual diseases into holy remedies, and soul poisons into heavenly cordials; that he can prevent sin by sin, and cure falling by falling. One calls that 8th of the Romans and the 28th verse the blind man's promise; and I may call it the lame man's promise that is holy, and the deaf man's promise that is holy, and the dumb man's promise that is holy, and the needy man's promise that is holy, and the sick man's promise that is holy, and the languishing man's promise that is holy, and the dying man's promise that is holy. Oh the comfort, oh the sweet, oh the content, oh the satisfaction that this promise hath afforded to many a precious saint, when other promises have not been at hand! Christian, what though friends and relations frown upon thee, what though enemies are plotting and conspiring against thee, what though wants, like an armed man, are ready to break in upon thee, what though men rage and devils roar, what though sickness be in thy family, and death stands every day at thy elbow, yet there is no reason for thee to fear or faint, because all these things shall work for thy good. Yea, there is wonderful cause of joy and rejoicing in all the afflictions and tribulations that comes upon thee, considering that they shall all work for thy good. Christians! I am afraid, I am afraid, that you do not run so often as you should to the breasts of this promise, nor draw that sweetness and comfort from it that it would yield, and that your several cases may require. And thus I have done with this use of comfort and consolation to all God's holy ones. You see what comfort, what consolation, yea, what strong consolation, waits upon all God's sanctified ones. I have been the longer upon this use, because the times require it, and the condition of God's people calls for the strongest cordials, and the choicest and the sweetest comforts.  click here to read online -  Note also the that I have added links to the complete Works of Thomas Brooks over on the right of this blog.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Reading the Classics Together at

 Excitement afoot!  There's a new opportunity to read a book!  Tim Challies has announced an upcoming READ-THE-CLASSICS-TOGETHER project over on his blog.  Several times I've particpated  in Challies' reading group, reading  a few classics myself including:  Mortification of Sin by Owen, Spurgeon by Dallimore, Seven Last Sayings of the Saviour on the Cross by Pink, Redemption Accomplished and Applied by John Murray.  The experience is valuable.   Challies' reviews, the multitude of comments from various co-readers, and the thinking required to make a comment of your own all contribute to gaining more than normal when reading a book. 

But what book  will Challies choose?  How does Challies choose?  I don't know. He made a suggestion, Robert Murray M’Cheyne by Andrew Bonar.   But then asked, "what do you want?"  The responses?  Wow, amazing interest.  Everybody wants to read a book.  Reading through the comments there are some great suggestions.   By far the most requested is Christianity and Liberalism by J. Gresham Machen.  But
it's Tim's blog, not a democracy, so we'll have to wait and see what title wins out.   If it is Machen, I'm in.

I was really amazed at all the wonderful and truly Classic suggestions.  

Some of the other titles with repeated requests are:

Bondage of the Will by Martin Luther
Life Together by Bonhoeffer
Confessions by Augustine
Institutes by John Calvin
Sovereignity of God by Pink
Pilgrim's Progress by John Bunyan

All great choices.  Waiting excitedly to see which book wins.  As of 6:15pm on 5/6/11 there are 112 comments all expressing their own hopes for the next book for Reading the Classics Together.

click here to read Tim Challies' post

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

BLOG COMMENDATION: From Russia With Love

I'd like to bring another wonderful blog to your attention - From Russia with Love.   The blog is authored by Natalie, wife of Jon and mother of "Jojo" and "Nay-nay."  Not only can I call them my friends but also by God's grace we have a sense that we labor together with them.  We here in the in the states, praying and supporting - They in Russia building up the church of God in Jesus Christ.

At Natalie's blog you can learn about life in Russia, raising the boys on the mission field, Jon's work as a professor enabling him to prepare future pastors and men to be leaders in the Church of God.

I heartily recommend their blog, encourage you to follow along, and hold them up in prayer before God.

I was given opportunity to thank God for From Russia With Love this evening while watching Cecile B. DeMille's, Ten Commandments.  As we watched, my daughters and I were discussing some of the same events.   We did note, that though this is a wonderful movie, more wonderful tonight watching for the first time in High Definition, yet there is a great deal added, facts misconstrued, and often of more concern motivations misunderstood.   As we discussed, I asked my 13 yr old, how did you learn and how do you know so well the history of the events in Exodus.   She quoted most wondefully from Natalie's blog saying,"Don't you read From Russia with Love?  How does Josiah learn, but by listening and paying attention to his own parents and what they teach and discuss together.  Didn't Natalie write concerning the events of Easter: " It's amazing how much Josiah remembers throughout his few years about these stories."  Having my own daughter quote Natalie, I'd like to say thanks Natalie and Jon, for your friendship, for your work in Russia, and for your influence even in my own childrens' lives.   Click here for Celebrating Passion Week and the above quote.

Natalie explains her blog and life in Russia:

My husband and I have been married since July 1, 2000. We have two cute boys, Josiah and Nathan. My family brings me so much joy, but I posses a deeper joy in knowing the Lord and Savior. Aside from the free gift of salvation, my husband is the best gift the Lord has blessed me with. He loves God with his whole heart, soul, mind,and strength. We live in Russia because it has been our desire to be involved in missions from the time we were married. My husband helps prepare men to be the future pastors and church leaders of Russia . Even though living in Russia is not easy there really is no other place I would rather be serving our Lord. My children are also a great joy in my life and without them I don't know what we would do every day!
I'm not sure which of the posts I enjoyed most, but I think it was a recent series which Natalie completed in March 2011, describing with words and pictures the history of their beginning time in Novosibirsk, Russia.

Click here or for the Novosibirsk series:   Novosibirsk

Monday, May 2, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Christian speaks to Temporary's Faith

Last we gave you Hopeful's take on why Temporary only had a temporary Faith, now Christian further elaborates by explaining the VERY ROOT cause, then he goes on to ENUMERATE nine things describing the manner of this turning back of Temporary.    Here we can learn a GREAT DEAL that we may be watchful against turning back, and watchful against such practices that lead to turning back.  Remember the word that says: Be diligent to make your calling and election sure.

Christian: You are pretty near the business, for the bottom of all is for want of a change in their mind and will. And therefore they are but like the felon that standeth before the judge: he quakes and trembles, and seems to repent most heartily, but the bottom of all is the fear of the halter: not that he hath any detestation of the offence, as it is evident; because, let but this man have his liberty, and he will be a thief, and so a rogue still; whereas, if his mind was changed, he would be otherwise.

How plain is that?   You must have your mind changed.   Though Temporary seems to repent, seeming to repent is no repentance at all.  For repentance is a change of mind, and such a change of mind that affects the whole man.  Fearing only hell is not a changed mind.  Don't be like the criminal begging forgiveness and expressing sorrow when what he really hates is the electric chair and not those sins that brought him to this point.

Now what does this turning back look like?   How is it accomplished?  What is the manner thereof?

Hopeful: Now I have showed you the reason of their going back, do you show me the manner thereof.
Christian: So I will willingly.
1. They draw off their thoughts, all that they may, from the remembrance of God, death, and judgment to come.
2. Then they cast off by degrees private duties, as closet prayer, curbing their lusts, watching, sorrow for sin, and the like.
3. Then they shun the company of lively and warm Christians.
4. After that, they grow cold to public duty, as hearing, reading, godly conference, and the like.
5. They then begin to pick holes, as we say, in the coats of some of the godly, and that devilishly, that they may have a seeming color to throw religion (for the sake of some infirmities they have espied in them) behind their backs.
6. Then they begin to adhere to, and associate themselves with, carnal, loose, and wanton men.
7. Then they give way to carnal and wanton discourses in secret; and glad are they if they can see such things in any that are counted honest, that they may the more boldly do it through their example.
8. After this they begin to play with little sins openly.
9. And then, being hardened, they show themselves as they are. Thus, being launched again into the gulf of misery, unless a miracle of grace prevent it, they everlastingly perish in their own deceivings.

In brief here it is summarized from above:
Try not to think about it, and little by little leave off those things designed to help you to heaven.  Do not keep company with serious on fire believers.  Little by little becomes easier to avoid regular church attendance, to avoid learning and hearing the preaching of the word.  Pick on the true believers, they have faults enough, find them and it will make it easier to leave the whole thing behind.  Associate not with true believers but hearty sinners, do some things sinful in secret and then more and more openly.

SO I think the OPPOSITE SHOULD BE ENCOURAGED that we would maintain and Strengthen our VERY real and grace given Faith and so I enumerate:

1.  Spend much time thinking of GOD, Death and Judgment to Come.  Will this not make sweeter and more precious the one who has bore all judgment in your place?

2. Keep up private duties and don't neglect them. ie.  Secret praying, denying fleshly lusts and watching against them, confessing your sins in true godly sorrow.

3.  Seek out especially the company of RED-HOT Believers who love to engage you in spiritual conversation and demonstrate by their lives the power of the gospel.  Associate most with those who will bring you up.

4.  Keep up the attendance to public praying and preaching.

5. Look for the best in your brothers, their imperfections are easy enough to find , but remember that you have been forgiven much and much more for Jesus Sake.  Remembering how much you have been forgiven you will not magnify what you discover in your brother.
6. Associate NOT with Carnal men to participate in their fleshly lusts.

7. Don't do in secret or discuss in secret that which will bring reproach to Jesus Christ in Public.

8.  Allow not even little sins in public but keep your body under subjection, fight the good fight, and count holiness of life  a precious thing to be sought.

9. Rejoice much in the great miracle of grace which God has abundantly graced upon you and causing you to turn from darkness to light.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Pilgrim's Progress: Hopeful Speaks to Temporary's Faith

We pick up with Christian and Hopeful discussing for their own spiritual well-beingt how it is that Temporary could turn BACK having once begun the pilgrim way.   Hopeful gives us Four reason:

1. Though the consciences of such men are awakened, yet their minds are not changed: therefore, when the power of guilt weareth away, that which provoked them to be religious ceaseth; wherefore they naturally turn to their own course again; even as we see the dog that is sick of what he hath eaten, so long as his sickness prevails, he vomits and casts up all; not that he doth this of a free mind, (if we may say a dog has a mind,) but because it troubleth his stomach: but now, when his sickness is over, and so his stomach eased, his desires being not at all alienated from his vomit, he turns him about, and licks up all; and so it is true which is written, “The dog is turned to his own vomit again.” 2 Pet. 2:22. Thus, I say, being hot for heaven, by virtue only of the sense and fear of the torments of hell, as their sense and fear of damnation chills and cools, so their desires for heaven and salvation cool also. So then it comes to pass, that when their guilt and fear is gone, their desires for heaven and happiness die, and they return to their course again.
2. Another reason is, they have slavish fears that do overmaster them: I speak now of the fears that they have of men; “For the fear of man bringeth a snare.” Prov. 29:25. So then, though they seem to be hot for heaven so long as the flames of hell are about their ears, yet, when that terror is a little over, they betake themselves to second thoughts, namely, that it is good to be wise and not to run (for they know not what) the hazard of losing all, or at least of bringing themselves into unavoidable and unnecessary troubles; and so they fall in with the world again.
3. The shame that attends religion lies also as a block in their way: they are proud and haughty, and religion in their eye is low and contemptible: therefore when they have lost their sense of hell and the wrath to come, they return again to their former course.
4. Guilt, and to meditate terror, are grievous to them; they like not to see their misery before they come into it; though perhaps the sight of at it first, if they loved that sight, might make them fly whither the righteous fly and are safe; but because they do, as I hinted before, even shun the thoughts of guilt and terror, therefore, when once they are rid of their awakenings about the terrors and wrath of God, they harden their hearts gladly, and choose such ways as will harden them more and more.

 To Sum it up in our own words:
1) When the fear of damnation subsides he returns to the SINS which he formerly enjoyed.  Take note of the grotesque detail of Bunyan  describing  the DOG returning to his own VOMIT.
2) When it is fear of MEN that causes you to run for Heaven that to will pass and you will turn back.

3) Shame that attends religion.  Never be ashamed.  You will and may be tempted by family, friends, workers, and employers to avoid their censorious looks, thoughts and opinions.  But Temporary because of this Shame turns back.

4) Guilt and Terror are not pleasant thoughts. Why think of Hell before you come to it?  If you can silence this then you can once again return to the vomit - to harden more and more your own heart.