Daily Archives: March 20, 2014

Questions about Parables: What Is the Meaning of the Parable of the Wedding Feast?

 

Jesus told the Parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1–14. This parable is similar in some ways to the Parable of the Great Banquet (Luke 14:15–24), but the occasion is different, and it has some important distinctions. To better understand the context of this story, it is important to know some basic facts about weddings in Jesus’ day.

In Jewish society, the parents of the betrothed generally drew up the marriage contract. The bride and groom would meet, perhaps for the first time, when this contract was signed. The couple was considered married at this point, but they would separate until the actual time of the ceremony. The bride would remain with her parents, and the groom would leave to prepare their home. This could take quite a while. When the home was all was ready, the groom would return for his bride without notice. The marriage ceremony would then take place, and the wedding banquet would follow.

The wedding banquet was one of the most joyous occasions in Jewish life and could last for up to a week. In His parable, Jesus compares heaven to a wedding banquet that a king had prepared for his son (Matthew 22:2). Many people had been invited, but when the time for the banquet came and the table was set, those invited refused to come (verses 4–5). In fact, the king’s servants who brought the joyful message were mistreated and even killed (verse 6).

The king, enraged at the response of those who had been invited, sent his army to avenge the death of his servants (verse 7). He then sent invitations to anyone his servants could find, with the result that the wedding hall was filed (verses 8–10).

During the feast the king noticed a man “who was not wearing wedding clothes” (verse 11). When asked how he came to be there without the furnished attire, the man had no answer and was promptly ejected from the feast “outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (verses 12–13). Jesus then ends the parable with this statement: “For many are invited, but few are chosen” (verse 14).

The king is God the Father, and the son who is being honored at the banquet is Jesus Christ, who “came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him” (John 1:11). Israel held the invitation to the kingdom, but when the time actually came for the kingdom to appear (see Matthew 3:1), they refused to believe it. Many prophets, including John the Baptist, had been murdered (Matthew 14:10). The king’s reprisal against the murderers can be interpreted as a prophecy of Jerusalem’s destruction in A.D. 70 at the hands of the Romans (cf. Luke 21:5). More broadly, the king’s vengeance speaks of the desolation mentioned in the book of Revelation. God is patient, but He will not tolerate wickedness forever (Obadiah 1:15). His judgment will come upon those who reject His offer of salvation. Considering what that salvation cost Jesus, is not this judgment well deserved (see Hebrews 10:29–31)?

Note that it is not because the invited guests could not come to the wedding feast, but that they would not come (see Luke 13:34). Everyone had an excuse. How tragic, and how indicative of human nature, to be offered the blessings of God and to refuse them because of the draw of mundane things!

The wedding invitation is extended to anyone and everyone, total strangers, both good and bad. This refers to the gospel being taken to the Gentiles. This portion of the parable is a foreshadowing of the Jews’ rejection of the gospel in Acts 13. Paul and Barnabas were in Pisidian Antioch, where the Jewish leaders strongly opposed them. The apostle’s words echo the king’s estimation that those invited to the wedding “did not deserve to come”: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13:46). The gospel message, Jesus taught, would be made available to everyone.

The matter of the wedding garment is instructive. It would be a gross insult to the king to refuse to wear the garment provided to the guests. The man who was caught wearing his old clothing learned what an offense it was as he was removed from the celebration.

This was Jesus’ way of teaching the inadequacy of self-righteousness. From the very beginning, God has provided a “covering” for our sin. To insist on covering ourselves is to be clad in “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). Adam and Eve tried to cover their shame, but they found their fig leaves to be woefully scant. God took away their handmade clothes and replaced them with skins of (sacrificed) animals (Genesis 3:7, 21). In the book of Revelation, we see those in heaven wearing “white robes” (Revelation 7:9), and we learn that the whiteness of the robes is due to their being washed in the blood of the Lamb (verse 14). We trust in God’s righteousness, not our own (Philippians 3:9).

Just as the king provided wedding garments for his guests, God provides salvation for mankind. Our wedding garment is the righteousness of Christ, and unless we have it, we will miss the wedding feast. When the religions of the world are stripped down to their basic tenets, we either find man working his way toward God, or we find the cross of Christ. The cross is the only way to salvation (John 14:6).

For his crime against the king, the improperly attired guest is thrown out into the darkness. For their crimes against God, there will be many who will be consigned to “outer darkness”—existence without God for eternity. Christ concludes the parable with the sad fact that “many are invited, but few are chosen.” In other words, many people hear the call of God, but only a few heed it.

To summarize the point of the Parable of the Wedding Feast, God sent His Son into the world, and the very people who should have celebrated His coming rejected Him, bringing judgment upon themselves. As a result, the kingdom of heaven was opened up to anyone who will set aside his own righteousness and by faith accept the righteousness God provides in Christ. Those who spurn the gift of salvation and cling instead to their own “good” works will spend eternity in hell.

The self-righteous Pharisees who heard this parable did not miss Jesus’ point. In the very next verse, “the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap him in his words” (Matthew 22:15). The Parable of the Wedding Feast is also a warning to us, to make sure we are relying on God’s provision of salvation, not on our own good works or religious service.[1]


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Questions about the Bible: What Is the Pseudepigrapha?

 

The pseudepigrapha are the books which attempt to imitate Scripture but which were written under false names. The term “pseudepigrapha” comes from the Greek pseudo meaning “false” and epigraphein meaning “to inscribe,” thus, “to write falsely.” The pseudepigraphical books, sometimes broadly called the Apocrypha, were written anywhere from 200 BC to AD 300. They are spurious works written by unknown authors who attempted to gain a readership by tacking on the name of a famous biblical character. Obviously, a book called the “Testament of Abraham” has a better chance of being read than the “Counterfeit Testament of an Unknown Author.”

While the pseudepigrapha may be of interest to students of history and ancient religious thought, they are not inspired by God and therefore not part of the canon of Scripture. Reasons to reject the pseudepigrapha are 1) they were written under false names. Any pretense or falsehood in a book naturally negates its claim of truthfulness. 2) They contain anachronisms and historical errors. For example, in the Apocalypse of Baruch, the fall of Jerusalem occurs “in the 25th year of Jeconiah, king of Judah.” The problem is that Jeconiah was 18 years old when he began to reign, and he only reigned 3 months (2 Kings 24:8). There is no way to reconcile the “25th year” statement with the biblical account. 3) They contain outright heresy. In the apocryphal Acts of John, for example, Jesus is presented as a spirit or phantasm who left no footprints when He walked, who could not be touched, and who did not really die on the cross.

The Apostle Paul had to deal with pseudepigrapha written in his own day. Addressing the Thessalonian church, Paul says not to be alarmed by a “letter supposed to have come from us” (2 Thessalonians 2:2). Obviously, someone had tried to mislead the believers with a forged letter imitating Paul’s style. Paul was forced to take precautions: “I, Paul, write this greeting in my own hand, which is the distinguishing mark in all my letters. This is how I write” (2 Thessalonians 3:17; see also 1 Corinthians 16:21; Galatians 6:11; and Colossians 4:18).

There are many books that fall under the category of pseudepigrapha, including the Testament of Hezekiah, the Vision of Isaiah, the Books of Enoch, the Secrets of Enoch, the Book of Noah, the Apocalypse of Baruch (Baruch was Jeremiah’s scribe according to Jeremiah 36:4), the Rest of the Words of Baruch, the Psalter of Solomon, the Odes of Solomon, the Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs, the Testament of Adam, the Testament of Abraham, the Testament of Job, the Apocalypse of Ezra, the Prayer of Joseph, Elijah the Prophet, Zechariah the Prophet, Zechariah: Father of John, the Itinerary of Paul, the Acts of Paul, the Apocalypse of Paul, the Itinerary of Peter, the Itinerary of Thomas, the Gospel According to Thomas, the History of James, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Epistles of Barnabas.[1]

 


[1] Got Questions Ministries. (2010). Got Questions? Bible Questions Answered. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software.

Mark Driscoll Repents? Not So Fast, Say Phil Johnson and Chris Rosebrough

“I wish (Driscoll) would step out of ministry, at least for a time, for a long time, and really try to get the issues—,  really seriously reboot his life. I don’t think that’s gonna happen. I think what we’re actually gonna see — because he’s hanging on to all of his authority and all of his influence and all of the things that really seem to matter the most to him — I don’t see him making the sort of changes that are needed.” (Phil Johnson – Executive Director, Grace To You, beginning at 27:20 mark in his 3-18-14 interview with Chris Rosebrough)

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T.D. Jakes and Joyce Meyer teaching word faith “little gods” doctrine

Apprising Ministries shares the evidence with you in this short piece. A couple of things to keep in mind here, 1) you don’t get these WF preachers like Jakes and Meyer in evangelicalism without their theology; and 2) we see no evidence that they have publicly repudiated their blasphemy.

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John MacArthur Plans Biblical Inerrancy Summit; Answers Critics on Teaching Against Charismatic Movement

John MacArthur, influential author, pastor and seminary president, recently announced during the Shepherds’ Conference held at Grace Community Church plans for a biblical inerrancy summit to bring a new generation “in line with the truth.”

MacArthur believes the “true doctrine of inerrancy is under attack” and “anything that undermines the absolute inerrancy of Scripture destroys the foundation of all Christian truth.”

“Trusting the Bible is everything,” he stressed to The Christian Post.

Shortly after the conference at the church in Sun Valley, Calif., MacArthur was asked by The Christian Post for an interview to answer questions about his focus on biblical inerrancy. He was also asked about the criticism he has faced for teaching that the Charismatic movement is leading people astray and dishonors the Holy Spirit.

Criticism of MacArthur peaked during the release of his book, Strange Fire: The Danger of Offending the Holy Spirit With Counterfeit Worship, and a three-day conference with the same name last year.

MacArthur’s answers to questions about the criticism and the focus on biblical inerrancy given in an interview conducted by email with CP are below.

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Twenty Former Mars Hill Pastors Seek Mediation With Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church Leadership

On Monday March 17, twenty former Mars Hill pastors sent a letter to the executive elders  and Board of Advisors and Accountability of Mars Hill Church with an invitation to enter into a process of mediation designed to lead to mutual repentance and reconciliation. According to former Mars Hill pastors Dave Kraft and Kyle Firstenberg, the pastors want to bring in specialists in conflict resolution to facilitate the process.

As of this writing, no response to the letter has come from the Mars Hill leadership.

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As Putin Takes Ukraine, The Obamas Make Plans For 21st Luxury Vacation

Speaking in Milwaukee, Wisconsin in 2008,  then would-be First Lady Michelle Obama said, “for the first time in my adult life I am proud of my country because it feels like hope is finally making a comeback.”

michelle-obama-for-first-time-in-my-adult-life-i-am-proud-of-my-country

Then in Madison, she said, “For the first time in my adult lifetime, I’m really proud of my country, and not just because Barack has done well, but because I think people are hungry for change.” (source – ABC News)

You can bet she is darn proud of her country now, the Obama’s treat America as their own personal ATM. Nothing is too good, too expensive or too out of reach for the Community Organizers from Chicago. As Russia steamrolls into Ukraine and seizes Crimea, whats the most pressing item on the Obama agenda? Why, planning for their next vacation of course.

MV Times: Like the annual return of pinkletinks and crocuses, inns and hotels around the Island are getting familiar calls this week from White House officials planning a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard for President Obama and his family.

Three reliable sources, who asked not to be named because they are not authorized to release information, told The Times that Mr. Obama will return to the Island in August. Two sources said the vacation is scheduled on or about August 9, a week earlier than the first family visited in previous years.

obama-putin

The president brings a large entourage of Secret Service agents, White House staffers, and support personnel, and the White House began arranging for lodging this week, according to the sources.

Mr. Obama and his family have vacationed on the Island every year since his 2008 election, with the exception of 2012, when he was campaigning for re-election.

In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the First Family rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28.5-acre compound on Tisbury Great Pond. The house was sold in December 2011 to architect Lord Norman Foster and his wife, Lady Elena Foster, of Thames Bank in Great Britain under the name of a holding corporation.

Last year, the first family stayed in Chilmark, renting a 5,000-square-foot, four-bedroom house valued at $7.6 million just a short distance off South Road. Owned by David M. Schulte, the home has an attached, two-bedroom guesthouse, small basketball court, and water views. It is surrounded by woods. source – Martha’s Vineyard Times

The post As Putin Takes Ukraine, The Obamas Make Plans For 21st Luxury Vacation appeared first on Now The End Begins.

Ron Paul:The Economy Is An Illusion, 12th Banker Suicide, Experts Baffled as Bodies Stack Up (VIDEO), And The Fed Is Setting Up To Shock The World

These Christian Times

SCROLL DOWN FOR NEWS LINKS AND VIDEOS:  The economy is all an illusion. Good times seem to be the norm as the Dow breaks one record after another for its all-time high. Underneath all of that though, is a layer of lies and deception. In an interview with CNBC Ron Paul said that, “I don’t think any one individual knows how to plan the economy by manipulating interest rates’ [they] are so important that if you give this power to one small group – there will be distortion.” He basically lays the blames on the Feds the decisions by manipulation in the Economy.   Those who understand the way the Feds and economy works have been sounding the alarm bell for quite some time. Don’t be surprise than when it happens you weren’t being warned about that dreadful day

Why are JP Morgan associates killing themselves? What connections if any…

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Christian Leaders Continue To Endorse “Chrislam”

A number of Christian leaders today are attempting to bridge the gap between Muslims and Christians. While perhaps well intentioned, the foundation of this new mantra, often called Chrislam is that “we all worship the same God”. At the heart of this movement and perhaps the most dangerous issue is that these Christian leaders suggest that because we use similar terms such as “God” and “Jesus” – there is a form of shared belief. . ………. Click here for full story

The Federal Reserve Seems Quite Serious About Tapering – So What Comes Next?

Will this be the year when the Fed’s quantitative easing program finally ends? For a long time, many analysts were proclaiming that the Fed would never taper. But then it started happening. Then a lot of them started talking about how “the untaper” was right around the corner. That hasn’t happened either. It looks like that under Janet Yellen the Fed is quite determined to bring the quantitative easing program to a close by the end of this year. Up until now, the financial markets have been slow to react because there has been a belief that the Fed would reverse course on tapering the moment that the U.S. economy started to slow down again. But even though the U.S. middle class is in horrible shape, and even though there are lots of signs that we are heading into another recession, the Fed has continued tapering. (Read More….)

Whither the Prosperity Gospel? by Russell Moore

“So, the question remains, where are all the people who once thronged the Crystal Cathedral. The Charlottesville correspondent explains to the American scholars: ‘They are at home, having their self-esteem puffed up by a new breed of prosperity-Gospel preacher, including Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, and T.D. Jakes’.”

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Osteenification and What it Portends

The Osteenification of American Christianity – Hank Hanegraaff: “Joel Osteen is the prime provocateur of a seductive brand of American Christianity that reduces God to a means to our ends. A message that beckons multitudes to the table of the Master, not for the love of the Master but for what is on the table. He is the de facto high priest of a new brand of Christianity perfectly suited for a feel-good generation.”

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Genuine Repentance

I have sinned against you. I have apologized. But how do you know if I mean it?

How do you know when someone is repentant? In his helpful little book Church Discipline, Jonathan Leeman offers some guidance:

A few verses before Jesus’ instruction in Matthew 18 about church discipline, he provides us with help for determining whether an individual is characteristically repentant: would the person be willing to cut off a hand or tear out an eye rather than repeat the sin (Matt. 18:8-9)? That is to say, is he or she willing to do whatever it takes to fight against the sin? Repenting people, typically, are zealous about casting off their sin. That’s what God’s Spirit does inside of them. When this happens, one can expect to see a willingness to accept outside counsel. A willingness to inconvenience their schedules. A willingness to confess embarrassing things. A willingness to make financial sacrifices or lose friends or end relationships. (p. 72)

These are good indicators, and I believe we can add a few more.

Here are 12 signs we have a genuinely repentant heart:

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GodLife: Why Does God Allow Bad Things to Happen to Good People?

Why Does God allow Bad things to happen to Good people?

Thousands of people throughout history have asked this question. It is hard to understand how a good and loving God can allow bad things to happen to his children.

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Do you want to have the right perspective when you face difficult times? Click to learn more about why bad things happen to good people in the 30-Day Guide series.

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Do you ever wonder about why God allows bad things to happen? We have trained followers of Jesus who can help you figure it out! Click here to share your story with us. You will hear from someone shortly.

Prayer Points

Will you pray this week:
• God will help you trust in His unchanging character, no matter what happens
• That faith, not fear or emotions, will rule in your life.
• That you will believe in God’s goodness and praise Him in the midst of hard times
• For God to help you focus on eternal, lasting things
• That you will be a witness of God’s faithfulness

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Where can you go online to get daily encouragement and inspiration, and to discuss bad circumstances in your life? Visit the GodLife Facebook Page where we can gather daily to share our stories, to express ourselves, and to pray for one another!

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Let No One Delude You

Possessing the Treasure

by Mike Ratliff

I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. (Romans 16:17-19 ESV)

The visible church is overrun with false teachers and their doctrines. There is a mindset in the Church right now that is actually part of the problem in that it ostracizes and attempts to isolate and silence those who, in their obedience as watchmen, reveal the truth about certain false teachers and why their doctrines are unbiblical. Some of…

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