Daily Archives: October 13, 2014

Questions about Jesus Christ: If Jesus Is Our Atonement, Why Did He Die at Passover instead of the Day of Atonement?

 

Every one of the Old Testament sacrifices typified Christ. The Passover, or paschal, sacrifice was a type of the Lord Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God. The paschal lamb was to be a male, without spot and blemish, and not a bone was to be broken. Jesus fulfilled this picture perfectly. As the Israelites applied the blood of the sacrifice in faith, so we today apply the spotless blood of Christ to the “doorposts” of our hearts. In all these ways, “Christ our Passover has been sacrificed for us” (1 Corinthians 5:7).

An objection sometimes arises that the paschal sacrifice was not considered an atonement; rather, atonement was provided for the Jews via the sacrifices on Yom Kippur (the Day of Atonement). Ergo, Jesus, who was killed at Passover and who is called “our Passover” in the New Testament, could not have been an atonement for sin.

There are two ways to counter this objection. The first is simply to show how Jesus also fulfilled the symbolism of Yom Kippur. Jesus bore our sins in His own body (1 Peter 2:24) and tasted death for every man (Hebrews 2:9). In doing so, He offered a better sacrifice than those of Yom Kippur—better because Christ’s sacrifice was permanent, was voluntary, and did not just cover sin but removed it altogether (Hebrews 9:8–14).

The second counter is to point out that Jewish tradition did indeed view the Passover sacrifice as being expiatory; that is, the lamb removed sin from God’s view. The Passover lamb died under God’s outpoured wrath, thus covering over the sins of the one offering it. Here’s what Rashi, a well-respected medieval Jewish commentator, has to say: “I see the Paschal blood and propitiate you.… I mercifully take pity on you by means of the Paschal blood and the blood of circumcision, and I propitiate your souls” (Ex. R. 15, 35b, 35a).

During the tenth and final plague in Egypt, the Passover sacrifice literally saved individuals from death (Exodus 12:23). On the basis of the redemptive offering of the Passover blood, the firstborn lived. Again, Rashi comments: “It is as if a king said to his sons: ‘Know you that I judge persons on capital charges and condemn them. Give me therefore a present, so that in case you are brought before my judgment seat I may set aside the indictments against you.’ So God said to Israel: ‘I am now concerned with death penalties, but I will tell you how I will have pity on you and for the sake of the Passover blood and the circumcision blood I will atone for you’ ” (Ex. R. 15.12, on Exodus 12:10).

The Passover lambs brought atonement to the believing Jewish households on that signal night of judgment and redemption. Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra also links the Passover with atonement: “The mark of blood was designed as an atonement for those within the house who partook of the paschal offering, and was also a sign for the destroying angel to pass by the house” (Soncino Chumash, pg. 388).

When John the Baptist saw Christ, he pointed to Him and said, “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). Jesus is the “Passover lamb” in that He was silent before His accusers (Isaiah 53:7) and in His death bore the wrath of God, preserved the lives of all who trust Him, and gave freedom to the former slaves of sin.[1]

 

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

Bible Commentary: Who Was the Queen of Sheba?

 

The Queen of Sheba, according to the biblical narrative, was a woman of great wealth, beauty and power. Sheba, believed to be either in Ethiopia or Yemen by most biblical scholars, was a well-established city, and although there is little evidence outside the Bible as to the nature of the monarchy and how it was established, it is clear that the Queen of Sheba ruled alone and was not enamored with the religions in her own land.

The Queen of Sheba traveled to Jerusalem as she had “heard about the fame of Solomon and his relationship to the LORD, [and] came to test Solomon with hard questions” (1 Kings 10:1). As God had granted Solomon the gift of wisdom (1 Kings 3:5–12), “nothing was too hard for the king to explain to her” (1 Kings 10:3). After a meal together, the Queen of Sheba declares how impressed she is with Solomon’s answers, hospitality, and the reputation that preceded him. The story ends with an exchange of resources and Queen Sheba returning “with her retinue to her own country” (1 Kings 10:13).

Sources outside the Bible suggest that the Queen of Sheba conceived a child in secret with King Solomon, while some Bible commentators have suggested that the nameless woman in the Song of Solomon is the Queen of Sheba (with the man being King Solomon). Both are speculative and while interesting, cannot be declared factual. Whether she has any relation to the “Sheba” mentioned in Genesis 10:7 and 28, or if she was the ancestor of “Candace, queen of the Ethiopians” (Acts 8:27), is again, open to speculation.

The Queen of Sheba is mentioned again in the New Testament, by an alternative title, the Queen of the South (Matthew 12:42; Luke 11:31). Jesus refers to her, reaffirming her historical personage, as a means to illustrate the point that, despite being originally pagan in belief and Gentile in race, the Queen of Sheba recognized the truth and reality of God, unlike the religious leaders who opposed Jesus. As such, they would be condemned for their ignorant and defiant nature.

Two lessons can be learned from the story of the Queen of Sheba. First, like King Solomon, believers are to show evidence of God’s favour in their lives, whatever their role, profession or environment. Second, the reputation of believers should precede them by their godly words and actions, for we are “Christ’s ambassadors” (2 Corinthians 5:20).[1]

 

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

Bible Translations: What Is the GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)?

 

GOD’S WORD Translation—History Completed in 1995, the GOD’S WORD Translation (GW) is an English translation of the Bible by the God’s Word to the Nations Society. GW had its beginnings with a New Testament translation titled The New Testament in the Language of Today: An American Translation, published in 1963 by Lutheran pastor and seminary professor William F. Beck (1904–1966). In 1982, work on a revision was begun by Phillip B. Giessler, a pastor from Cleveland, Ohio, and his committee. This yielded another NT translation released in 1988 and titled New Testament: God’s Word to the Nations (GWN). In 1992, earlier work was abandoned and a new translation was begun, this time based on the best Hebrew, Greek and Aramaic manuscripts currently available. In early 1994 the translation was renamed GOD’S WORD prior to being turned over to World Bible Publishers for publication in March 1995. In 2008 rights to GOD’S WORD were acquired by Baker Publishing Group.

GOD’S WORD Translation—Translation Method The GOD’S WORD Translation uses the translation method known as “closest natural equivalence” which seeks to combine dynamic equivalence (thought for thought) with finding equivalent English ways of expressing the meaning of the original text. This procedure, the translators contend, ensures that the translation is faithful to the meaning intended by the original writer. Closest natural equivalence seeks to avoid the awkwardness and inaccuracy associated with word-for-word translation, and avoids the loss of meaning and oversimplification associated with thought-for-thought translation. Another consideration for the translators was readability, so they used common English punctuation, capitalization, and nearly perfect English grammar to express the text in clear, natural English. The GOD’S WORD Translation is printed in an open, single column format that enhances readability.

GOD’S WORD Translation—Pro’s and con’s The GOD’S WORD Translation sometimes does a good job at rendering words/phrases how they would be rendered if the Bible was being translated into English for the first time today. With a 400+ year history of English Bible translations, new translations are often rendered a certain way because that is how the translators are used to reading/hearing it. The GOD’S WORD Translation seeks to avoid this, and should be commended for this effort. However, sometimes in its goal of “closest natural equivalence,” the GOD’S WORD Translation strays a little too far from the literal meaning of the text, interpreting rather than translating.

GOD’S WORD Translation—Sample verses John 1:1, 14—“In the beginning the Word already existed. The Word was with God, and the Word was God. The Word became human and lived among us. We saw his glory. It was the glory that the Father shares with his only Son, a glory full of kindness and truth.”

John 3:16—“God loved the world this way: He gave his only Son so that everyone who believes in him will not die but will have eternal life.”

John 8:58—“Jesus told them, ‘I can guarantee this truth: Before Abraham was ever born, I am.’ ”

Ephesians 2:8–9—“God saved you through faith as an act of kindness. You had nothing to do with it. Being saved is a gift from God. It’s not the result of anything you’ve done, so no one can brag about it.”

Titus 2:13—“At the same time we can expect what we hope for—the appearance of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ.”[1]

 

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

Sola Scriptura – The Word Our Only Rule

Possessing the Treasure

I have been in a “discussion” with a Roman Catholic about the doctrine of Justification by Grace alone through Faith alone. His contention was that the epistle of James actually teaches against what Paul taught, but it is canonical as are all of Paul’s epistles. What is he saying? He is saying the tie breaker is Church tradition and the Pope. I used Biblical exegesis to show that there was actually no disparity between what Paul taught and what James taught, but it was like trying to describe an Elephant to a blind man. In response to this I am reposting John Calvin’s excellent article on Sola Scripture. Enjoy and be blessed. – Mike Ratliff

The Word Our Only Rule

by John Calvin

15 To the pure, all things are pure; but to those who are defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure, but both their mind and their conscience are…

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DO NOT AVOID THE TOPIC OF SIN

Samuel at Gilgal

paulwasherPaul Washer:

As stewards of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we do no service to men by making light of sin, skirting around the issue, or avoiding it altogether. Men have only one problem: they are under the wrath of God because of their sin. To deny this is to deny one of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity. It is not unloving to tell men that they are sinners, but it is the grossest form of immorality not to tell them! In fact, God declares that their blood will be on our hands if we do not warn them of their sin and the coming judgment. To seek to preach the gospel without making sin an issue is like trying to heal the brokenness of people superficially, saying, “Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.”

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