It's time to derive your worldview from the Bible

Rather than reading the Bible through the eyes of modern secularism, this provocative six-part course teaches you to read the Bible through its own eyes—as a record of God’s dealing with the human race. When you read it at this level, you will discover reasons to worship God in areas of life you probably never before associated with “religion.”

by Charles Clough
Why study systematic theology? You can’t separate the history of God’s revelation from biblical doctrine. Demonstrating that most of the New Testament is not new. The writers of the New Testament assumed their readers knew the Old Testament. God disrupts sin patterns in our lives because He cares for us. The Bible is coherent because God thinks coherently. God is big enough to be sovereign and still allow personal responsibility. If you have a view of your life or past that is not a consequence of your choices, you will never change your life for the better. Man’s fall.
Series:Chapter 5 – Partial Restoration: The Discipline of Hope
Duration:1 hr 4 mins 54 secs

© Charles A. Clough 1998

Charles A. Clough
Biblical Framework Series 1995–2003

Part 4: Disciplinary Truths of God’s Kingdom
Chapter 5: Partial Restoration: The Discipline of Hope

Lesson 96 – Review Framework: History and Resulting Doctrines

03 Sep 1998
Fellowship Chapel, Jarrettsville, MD

[Message very hard to hear, transcription may be affected by words or phrases that are nearly unintelli­gible] We will finish the area of the Old Testament that we have been working on, and when we get that done we’re going to move into the New Testament and the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ and the events in His life in the Gospels. It’s good to review when we start this series because it does have a peculiar nature to it, unlike the usual Bible classes, I like to review the three reasons we are here. One of the things that we use to approach the material is the fact that we want to look at the Bible’s truths systematically. We are looking at the doctrines and we are trying to put these together.

I’ve been reading a volume that’s dedicated to the apologetics of Cornelius Van Til who’s now deceased. He’s the man who in the 20th century, I believe, has done more to create razor-sharp apologetics for Bible-believing Christians than anyone. And he has a few words that I’d like to share with you on why it’s necessary to think systematically through the Scripture, why it’s necessary to take this truth and marry it to this truth, hook it to this truth, because the Bible has systematic revelation for us. That’s because God thinks systematically. Let me read you a few things that emphasize one of the three things that we emphasize in this study.

“A study of systematic theology will help us to keep and develop our spiritual balance.” And the next sentence is very important, “It enables us to avoid paying attention only to that which, by virtue of our own personal temperament, happens to appeal to us.” Let me read that sentence again. “It enables us to avoid paying attention only to that which, by virtue of our own personal temperament, happens to appeal to us.” We all have our hobby horses and by going systematic­ally it disciplines us to cover everything. “Moreover what is beneficial for the individual believer is also beneficial for the minister, and in consequence for the church as a whole. It is sometimes contended that ministers need not be trained in systematic theology if only they know their Bibles. But ‘Bible-trained’ instead of systematically trained preachers frequently preach error. They mean ever so well and be ever so true to the gospel on certain points; nevertheless, they often preach error. There are many ‘orthodox’ preachers today whose study of Scripture has been so limited to what it says about soteriology [salvation] that they could not protect the fold of God against heresies on the person of Christ. Often times they themselves even entertain definitely heretical notions on the person of Christ though perfectly unaware of the fact.”

“It is but natural to expect that, if the church is strong because its ministry understands and preaches the whole counsel of God, the church will be able to protect itself best against false teaching of every sort. Non-indoctrinated Christians will easily fall prey to the peddlers of Russellism,” that’s the theological term for Jehovah’s Witnesses, “spiritualism and all the other fifty-seven varieties of heresy with which our country abounds. One-text Christians simply have no weapons of defense against these people. They may be able to quote many Scripture texts which speak, for instance, of eternal punishment, but the Russellite will be able quote texts which, by the sound of them, and taken individually, tend to teach annihilation. The net result is, at best, a loss of spiritual power because of loss of conviction. Many times, such one-text Christians themselves fall prey to the seducers voice.”

“We have already indicated that the best apologetic defense will invariably be made by him who knows the system of truth of Scripture best. The fight between Christianity and non-Christianity is, in modern times, no piece-meal affair. It is the life and death struggle between two mutually opposed life and world views.” [This quote is from Van Til’s Apologetic Readings & Analysis by Greg Bahnsen, pages 39-41]

I think that summarizes very well the advantage of putting this together, and that’s why this is not really a class of exegesis of the text. This is not to replace that, it’s very important. It’s just that in this study we’re trying a little different approach, more systematic to the doctrinal areas.

The second theme that we emphasize is looking at the history of God’s revelation. So we take the doctrines and we realize that God revealed certain truths in certain historic situations, they’re married together, and you can’t separate the history from the doctrine, and you can’t separate the doctrine from the history; they’re wedded together. That’s important, that we understand that these ideas didn’t come in a text book, there’s no handbook out there of the principles of [can’t understand word] that are disconnected from what happened in the Red Sea with Pharaoh and his army, for example, or what happened outside of Jerusalem on the mount of ascension when Jesus rose into the heavens. But those all happened. It makes the doctrine not just ideas, but actual revelations that God exists. That’s why we emphasize in point number 2 the event. Point 1 is systematic doctrine; point 2 is the historic event. The third thing that we’ve emphasized is that we want to give a justification for our faith; this is why we believe it. And how it shows and how the evidence fits together once we accept the authority of the Word of God over every area, then the rest of it falls together.

Tonight I want to do a little exercise to dramatize my point as we move from the Old Testament to the New. Turn to Romans 1. This is a New Testament epistle, very familiar to us Christians. It’s one of the most famous epistles of all, one of the epistles that was the source of the Protestant Reformation. Augustine was converted through what the Holy Spirit did with this epistle. If you have a piece of paper, I’m going to go through probably two dozen verses in the first 3 chapters of this book. I want to point out to you as I go from verse to verse the first 3 chapters of this epistle how many times it refers to the Old Testament, because I want to show you that most of the New Testament is not new, it is a repeat of the Old. When these apostles wrote the New Testament text, how would you characterize the people that they were teaching the New Testament to? They were mostly Jews. In those days they had no television, internet or any other distractions, and they learned the Old Testament very well. In fact many of them couldn’t read, a lot of these Jewish people couldn’t read, they’d memorize it. I remember going to Israel in 1976 and when I was there being amazed as you drove along the road and there were Moslem and Jewish kids sitting there, that we passed going through the road with their backpacks, between classes or something, and they were looking at Scripture. They were sitting there and you’d go by them and they were reciting it in Hebrew or in the case of the Moslems they were reciting it in Arabic. It was impressive to see them constantly working with the text.

In Romans 1, let’s go through these quickly. I’ll give you the Old Testament texts that are eluded to or quoted in these verses. Sometimes the Old Testament is actually quoted; other times it’s mentions a noun or a concept that the Old Testament covers, we call that an allusion. So it’s either a quote or an allusion to the Old Testament.

Let’s start with Romans 1:7, “to all who are beloved of God in Rome,” that sounds very New Testament, “called saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” You say well where’s the Old Testament in that? That salutation that he we read in almost every New Testament epistles has in it the core thought of grace from God, “grace to you.” That is found in Numbers 6:25, the blessing of the Levitical priesthood. So the very salutation in the New Testament text is really borrowed from a Levitical blessing. So 1:7, “Grace” a simple little innocuous word but if you go back in the context of Numbers 6 and read how the priests used that, that tells you a little bit about how to interpret it and how the apostles meant that to be taken. It’s not just, hey guys, how ’ya doin’. It’s a little more [can’t understand word.] [Numbers 6:25, “The LORD make His face shine on you, and be gracious to you.”]

Romans 1:16, which we’ve read again and again as we’ve looked at this epistle, “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to every one who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” The phase “I am not ashamed” is actually an allusion to Psalm 119:46. Psalm 119:46 is a eulogy to the Word of God, that’s the meaning, there’s a richness in that “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” and it also tells you something else, if this is an allusion to Psalm 119 and Psalm 119 spoke of the Old Testament text, “Thy word have I hid in my heart,” that all comes out of Psalm 119, what does that tell you about how the apostles viewed the gospel? When he’s saying “I am not ashamed of the gospel,” he is using language that in the Old Testament was used of the Mosaic Scripture. What does that tell you about the authority vested in the gospel? It’s of equal authority. Right there, observing that little observation that’s what we have here, an allusion to the Old Testament, fortifies our contention that the New Testament text in the day it was written was intended to be as authoritative as the Old Testament text. You go to a liberal church and they’ll tell you no-no, that’s not right, the New Testament was written in bits and dabs and the church had to take centuries to make up its mind, and all the rest of it, and then gradually you evolve this higher idea of authority. No, the apostle by citing the New Testament in the same language he did the Old Testament is intended to convey the same level of authority.

Romans 1:20, “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.” The contention that the creation around us, in front of us, behind us, to the side of us, under our feet and over our heads, that the entire environment is revelatory of God the creator is a thought centrally developed in Job 12:7-9 and Psalm 19:1, the heavens declare the glory of God. This is not a new thought with Paul. It’s not something he cranked out because he was [can’t understand word] off against the Greeks. It was something he had gotten from the Old Testament that he was using against the Greeks. And he didn’t invent it, he just was using it. [Job 12:7-9, “But now ask the beasts, and let them teach you; and the birds of the heavens, and let them tell you. [8] Or speak to the earth, and let it teach you; and let the fish of the sea declare to you, [9] Who among all these does not know that the hand of the LORD has done this.” Psalm 19:1, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; and the firmament is declaring the work of His hands.”]

Romans 1:23, “and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures.” There are four factors there, man, birds, four-footed beasts and crawling creatures (creepy crawlers), and they’re all in the same order, and almost a verbatim of Genesis 7:23, the animals that went into the ark. It’s also repeated in Deuteronomy 4, in a very interesting theological context where in Deuteronomy 4 it’s dealing with pagan idolatry. So again Paul has four nouns, hooked in a sequence that he just kind of puts on a peg, and Jewish readers know the allusion that he’s talking about. [Genesis 7:23, “Thus He blotted out every living thing that was upon the face of the land, from man to animals to creeping things and to the birds of the sky….” Deuteronomy 4:16-18, “Lest ye act corruptly and make a graven image for yourselves in the form of any figure, the likeness of male or female, [17] the likeness of any animal that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged bird that flies in the sky, [18] the likeness of anything that creeps on the ground, the likeness of any fish that is in the water below the earth.”]

Romans 1:25, “For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever.” That’s almost a verbatim quote from a famous Old Testament prophet, Jeremiah, Jeremiah 10:14, Jeremiah 13:25. That was the theme of the prophet Jeremiah, that paganism is quick [to turn] the truth into the form of a lie. [Jeremiah 10:14, “Every man is stupid, devoid of knowledge; every goldsmith is put to shame by his idols; for his molten images are deceitful, and there is no breath in them.” Jeremiah 13:25, “’This is your lot, the portion measured to you from Me,’ declares the LORD, ‘Because you have forgotten Me and trusted in falsehood.’”]

Romans 1:27, “and in the same way also the men abandoned the natural function of the woman and burned in their desire towards one another, men with men committing indecent acts and receiving in their own persons the due penalty of their error.” Obviously a homosexual passage, and basically the same idea is found in Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. So it’s a reference to the Mosaic Law, Paul is not making it up, it’s not new, he just recites the Old Testament material. [Leviticus 18:22, “You shall not lie with a male as one lies with a female, it is an abomination.” Leviticus 20:13, “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed an abomination, there blood guiltiness is upon them.”]

Romans 2:6, “Who will render to every man according to his deeds,” it’s a verbatim quote of Psalm 62:12; it’s also a verbatim quote of Prov. 24:12. [Psalm 62:12, “And lovingkindness is Thine, O Lord, for Thou dost recompense a man according to his work.” Proverbs 24:12, “…and will He not render to man according to his work?”] So once again Paul is not making it up, it’s not a new truth. But what is new, here’s the nice benefit of doing Old Testament stuff, the idea that God will eventually “render to every man according to his deeds” is not new, that’s covered in the Old Testament. But what is new in the New Testament is verse 16, who is the instrumentality of judging men? That is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son. That is new. [verse 16, “On the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”]

So now we can tell what is old and what is new and that causes us to appreciate then what has happened in the New Testament. And if you do this enough times it will inoculate you if there’s any doubt as to the deity of Christ because verse 6 in the Old Testament clearly is a work that God alone can do. It’s a work ascribed only to Yahweh, not to the priests, not to the prophets, not to the kings; only Jehovah God. And yet here the concept, Paul in verse 16 insists that Jesus Christ replaces Jehovah. See how powerful this is? This clearly shows that Paul was convinced that Jesus Christ was Jehovah incarnate. If He wasn’t, there wouldn’t see this substitution going on. That’s the newness of the New Testament.

Romans 2:11, “For there is no partiality with God.” That is an idea found and explicitly stated in Deuteronomy 10:17 and 2 Chronicles 19:7. Again, [can’t understand words] of the holiness and righteousness, it hasn’t changed, it goes from the Old Testament to the New, nothing’s different. [Deuteronomy 10:17, “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and the LORD of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God who does not show partiality, nor take a bribe.” 2 Chronicles 19:7, “Now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; be careful what you do, for the LORD our God will have no part in unrighteousness, or partiality, or the taking of a bribe.”]

Romans 2:21-22, “you therefore who teach another, do you not teach yourself? You who preach that one should not steal, do you steal? [22] You who say that one should not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples?” That list in verses 21-22 occurs, lo and behold, in Psalm 50:16-21, again, the list itself. [“But to the wicked God says, ‘What right have you to tell of My statutes, and to take My covenant in your mouth? [17] For you hate discipline, and you cast My words behind you. [18] When you see a thief, you are pleased with him, and you associate with adulterers.”]

Visualize yourself kind of taking a time machine and going back and watching Paul as Paul writes this letter or as he dictates it, and you can just see inside his brain while he’s writing Romans, or while he’s dictating Romans, you would see his brain just simply cycling on what? The text of the Old Testament. He’s just drawing on text after text after text. But what is Paul doing with those pieces of text that he knows from the Old Testament? He’s putting them together in the context of Jesus Christ. So Paul’s encounter with Jesus Christ has revolutionized the way he’s handling the Old Testament text, but it is the Old Testament text that he’s using.

Romans 2:24, “’For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you,’ just as it is written.” A quotation from Ezekiel 36:20, if you read it in context, those of you who were in class, when did Ezekiel write? He wrote during the exile. Therefore he wrote to what Jewish community? The ones in the land, or the ones outside of the land? The ones outside of the land. And to whom is Paul writing here? To the Romans, not to the Jerusalemites, to the Romans. He is writing to the Jews outside of the land who are living in a pagan culture. He utilizes prophetic Scripture to speak to that issue. [Ezekiel 36:20, “When they came to the nations where they went, they profaned My holy name, because it was said of them, ‘These are the people of the LORD; yet they have come out of His land.’”]

Romans 2:25, it talks about circumcision, “For indeed circumcision is of value, if you practice the Law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision?” I’ve been in a college class, a university campus where a guy read verse 25 to the kids, [and said] that’s all New Testament. No, it’s Old Testament, who ever thought of circumcision being anything but physical, and if you were physically circumcised, that’s the Old Testament. Well, excuse me, but they’re distinguishing between circumcision of the flesh and circumcision of the heart, as made in Deuteronomy 10:16; it’s made in Deuteronomy 30:6; it’s made in Jeremiah 4:4; it’s made in Jeremiah 9:25, four times. So what’s this about a Jew in the New Testament? Not at all, not at all! [Deuteronomy 10:16, “Circumcise then your heart, and stiffen no more.” Deuteronomy 30:6, “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants….” Jeremiah 4:4, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD and remove the foreskins of y our heart….” Jeremiah 9:25, “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, that I will punish all who are circumcised and yet uncircumcised.”

Romans 2:29, “But he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart,” again the same idea, that was all forecast in the Old Testament. But then there’s a little pun, “by the Spirit, not by the letter; and his praise is not from men, but from God.” What do you suppose is going on there? The word Judah is Yehudah, or Udah, comes from the Hebrew verb to pray. So it’s kind of a little pun on the name, it’s saying the man, you Jews, who are named from Judah, whose name means pray, his praise is from men, not from God. In other words, his Jewishness comes not from men, but his Jewishness is praise from God. Again, understand the Old Testament.

Romans 3:4, I just want to convey the image here. “…Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written, ‘That Thou mightest be justified in Thy words, and mightest prevail when Thou art judged.’” Those are citations from Psalm 116:11 and Psalm 51:4. And it’s Old Testament history that he’s bringing up to make his point. [Psalm 116:11, “I said in my alarm, ‘All men are liars.’” Psalm 51:4, “Against Thee, Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight, so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when Thou dost judge.”]

Romans 3:10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18, if you look all the way down you’ll see quote after quote, we won’t cover all of them, we’ll just show you if you have a margin in the text you can cross reference them, you’ll see these Psalms. They’re Psalm 14:1-3; Isaiah 53: Ecclesiastes 7; Psalm 5; Psalm 140; Psalm 10, citation from Isaiah, another one from Psalm 36, this is just packed. So all the text literally from verse 10 down through verse 18, all of that text is a direct quote, after quote, after quote, after quote, after quote from the Old Testament.

[Romans 3:10-12, “As it is written, ‘There is none righteous, not even one; [11] there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God, [12] All have turned aside, together they have become useless; there is none who does good, there is not even one.” cf. Psalm 14:1-3, “The fool has said in his heart, ‘There is no God.’ They are corrupt, they have committed abominable deeds; there is no one who does good. [2] The LORD has looked down from heaven upon the sons of men, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. [3] They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt, there is no one who does good, not even one.” Ecclesiastes 7:20, “Indeed, there is not a righteous man on earth who continually does good and who never sins.”

Romans 3:13-18, “Their throat is an open grave, with their tongues they keep deceiving, the poison of asps is under their lips, [14] whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness, [15] their feet are swift to shed blood, [16] destruction and misery are in their paths, [17] and the path of peace have they not known. [18] there is no fear of God before their eyes.” cf., Psalm 5:9, “There is nothing reliable in what they say; their inward part is destruction itself; their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.” Psalm 10:7, “His mouth is full of curses and deceit and oppression; under his tongue is mischief and wickedness.” Psalm 36:1, “Transgression speaks to the ungodly within his heart; there is no fear of God before his eyes.” Psalm 140:3, “They sharpen their tongues as a serpent; Poison of a viper is under their lips.” Isaiah 59:7-8, “Their feet run to evil, and they hasten to shed innocent blood; their thoughts are thoughts of iniquity, devastation and destruction are in their highways. [8] They do not know the way of peace, and there is no justice in their tracks; they have made their paths crooked; whoever treads on them does not know peace.”]

And yet how many times you’ll hear university professors, you’ll read books, hear television programs and they’ll say oh, it’s those Christians that have got this thing about total depravity, that’s all New Testament, now the Jewish people in the Old Testament loved life, they didn’t have this morbid view of man. And everybody buys it, Dr. So-and-So said… wait a minute, where’s the text coming from. Here’s the chapter where Paul is establishing that every man is a sinner, right? Romans 3:23, “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” What is he using to make his proof? The Old Testament. So how can you say this is a Christian inventing this material that the Jews never had? It’s all Jewish quotes.

Romans 3:20, “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight; for through the Law comes the knowledge of sin.” Oh, that’s just Paul, he just originated that idea… really. It happens to be a quote from Psalm 143:2 a thousand years before Paul the idea was [can’t understand word: may be arranged]. [Psalm 143:2, “And do not enter into judgment with Thy servant, for in Thy sight no man living is righteous.”]

Romans 3:30, “if indeed God is one—and He will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith.” That structurally is inspired out of Deuteronomy 6. We won’t belabor the point, but I’m just telling you that here’s an exercise we’ve done for fifteen minutes, and look at how many verses we’ve looked in three chapters of the New Testament, that all come out in the Old Testament. So lesson concluded.

The conclusion is that the New Testament, most of it, is structured solidly and almost verbatim on the Old Testament. And the New Testament presumes that we have read the Old Testament. That’s the assumption. Look at the allusion in 2:29, where he’s talking about the praise of men, not of God, you’d never get that if you didn’t know Old Testament history. Well if that’s so, then doesn’t that show you the Holy Spirit set up the text of the New Testament with the idea in mind that you read the Old Testament in order to understand?

We want to review of one of the things we covered last year, kind of warm up and remember things. Review never hurts. We started out with the first 11 chapters of Genesis. We had these events: the creation, the fall, the flood and the covenant, those four events. Those are the keys to the whole Old Testament. What is the area now that all the evangelicals are embar­rassed about, we don’t want to talk about? Genesis 1-11. That’s too controversial, we’ve got to get in and let’s start in Genesis 12 and go on; that’s good, build a house on sand, don’t worry about pouring a foundation or anything, just erect it. Well watch what happens when the wind blows.

So we have three major doctrines, notice, God, man and nature. Creation defines those. You’ll see this very graphically in the weeks to come because I’m going to go through the deity and the humanity of Jesus. I’m going to show you that for four hundred years the church had this wallowing around about who Jesus was. It’s hard to think of that because we think oh well, gee, it’s obvious. It’s obvious for us, but for four centuries it was not obvious to the church to state is crisply so that paganism couldn’t distort it. And all these heresies were caused by the fact that they couldn’t define God and man right, as late as the New Testament. And it wasn’t until the church got a hold of the proper definition of God and man that they could conclude anything about who Jesus was. They kept mixing, and you can’t mix them. One is the Creator and one is the creature. So you can’t talk about Jesus Christ without this foundation.

The other doctrine we had, a key one, was evil and suffering; the fall is critical, that sets up sin. You can’t define sin without the fall. Sin is not just misbehavior in society. Sin is much deeper than that. The flood is a picture of judgment/salvation. [People say] Oh, I don’t believe in the judgment of God. This is why we entitled that first section “The Buried Foundation”. Why the “Buried”? What is it in the heart of every person this side of the fall that wants to bury it? It’s sin, we want so suppress it, we want to [can’t understand word], we want to distort it, there’s too much material here that points to our guilt, there’s too much material there that points to our accounta­bility as creatures made in God’s image. We have to be accountable to Him who made us. Those were the first four events when we covered Genesis 1-11.

Then we went on and said after the Noahic flood we have a situation develop where Noah’s sons went across… [blank spot]. So God called Abraham out and Abraham starts a counterculture. When God chose Abraham, what did He also do with the rest of the human race? He chose to reject them. Think of who He rejected. He rejected the civilizations that all came out of Noah. Noah had been invested to form every human culture we know; all of us carry the genes of Noah and his family. All of us, all races, all cultures, all across the globe, but because all races, all cultures, all across the globe have sinned. And we find out with the tower of Babel case how it happened. God, at 2000 BC…, so 2,000 years before Jesus Christ this happened, and Abraham is the first Jew. We’ve entitled this section, from Abraham through the Exodus, through Sinai, through the conflict and settlement, down to David, which is 1000 BC, through one thousand years of history, that section carrying through Genesis 12 down to the end of 2 Samuel, that thousand year period we have referred to as “The Disruptive Kingdom”.

Why do we call it “The Disruptive Kingdom”? Because the world is fat, dumb, and happy, without God’s intervening. Gentiles had made their peace with each other, they were at war with each other but basically they were used to living in a fallen world, used to suppressing the Noahic Bible. All tribes, all men, all languages at one time had all eleven chapters of Genesis, so there’s not been a culture that hasn’t heard. That’s just human anthropology. All races and all cultures once knew the truth, because they all descended from Noah. They all had the truth but they suppressed the truth, they put it out of their minds. Why? Because we’re sinners, we don’t like to be reminded of who we are and who God is.

Despite that, God disrupted, and it’s a gracious disruption, just like He disrupts sin patterns in our lives, because God cares for us and He reaches down and He interferes with us. Sometimes it’s very painful but He does interfere. So God disrupts the world system, He intrudes this Jewish thing into history, and these thousand years set up the custodians of the Word of God. We have the doctrines; we have Abraham, the call of Abraham, the doctrine of election, justification, and faith, because those are emphasized. In Romans 4 what does Paul go back to? Justification by faith, he goes back to Abraham. It’s not new, it’s Old Testament, yet repeated in the context of Jesus.

Then we have the Exodus, and the Exodus, like the flood, teaches us judgment/salvation, but adds a new thing. It adds emphasis on blood atonement. The angel of death passes over the houses with blood on the door. The angel of Jehovah doesn’t pass over because Joe looks like a good guy down there, and he’s got his brownie points, and I just can’t help it, I’m so impressed with Joe’s brownie points that I’ll move on to the neighbor. The basis for going from one house to the next house had nothing to do with personality, had nothing to do with what language they spoke, had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with anything except what the blood [can’t understand phrase] period, nothing else. That tells us something about how God judges. So when we see that doctrine reappear in the New Testament, everybody thinks ooh, that’s very arrogant for Christians to say the only way is Jesus Christ. Hey, it’s not just Christians, what happened in the Exodus.

Then we came to Mount Sinai and we said there God revealed Himself. So now we have the doctrines of revelation, inspiration, and canonicity. That’s God’s Word. I pointed this out several times and I always point it out to myself because I need the balance, do you notice the sequence here, just look at those last two events. What happens first? First you have salvation, then you have revelation of God’s will for the details of life [can’t understand word/s]. That’s the way He works, He calls us to Himself, and then later on we discover, gee, [can’t understand word] I have to do this, I can’t do this, I can do this, I can do that, the content of His will. But what happens if you reverse these. Let’s do a little exercise. Let’s pretend Mount Sinai occurs before the Exodus. Now we have all these commands, do’s and don’ts but we’re not saved. What does that [can’t understand word]? Salvation by works. Heresy. You keep away from these trends if you just keep systematically looking at sequences and see how the Bible is arranged, there’s a coherency because God thinks coherently, He runs history coherently, and He speaks coherently.

The conquest and settlement: after people are saved, after they are instructed; now comes the battle, sanctification. Does that sound familiar? That’s our whole life; the pain of sanctification sets in after we know the will of God, not before. It’s precisely because we do know the will of God and we’re faced with adversity, we’re faced with opposition, that we have pain, the pain of sanctification. The new war begins. The war begins after salvation and after instruction in the Word of God.

Then we have the rise and reign of David where we begin to see what a leader ought to look like; we have the story of David and sanctification. Then we developed the next group of events. Notice what’s happened here. This cluster of events is different from the last cluster. What was true of the last cluster? In the last cluster, the emphasis was on the disruption, the separation, the Jewish intrusion into history and the difference between the Jew and the outsiders, the difference between the Jews in the land and the pagans outside the land; the conquest, it’s the pressure of the Canaanites in the land. That was the emphasis of “The Disruptive Kingdom”, the first 1,000 years. Now this period, starting with Solomon, going to the restoration, is about 1,500 years, and by extrapolation we say there’s another thousand years but you’ll see in the notes that I hand out, the starting study of this event, the restoration period. What is true of this whole set of events? Are these events geared to teaching us the difference between the Jew and the Gentile, or are these events more concerned about what God wants His people to do; is it sort of an in house emphasis?

All these events we have referred to, you could use any title but I chose this title, “The King’s Discipline” in the sense of His training, His teaching, what He wants in His kingdom. He’s not talking about the Gentiles, He’s talking about people already in His kingdom, here’s the way I want the kingdom to look. So we have the golden era of Solomon, sanctification; sanctification in the next event; sanctification in the third event; sanctification in the fourth event. All these are to deal with phases of sanctification.

Then we come down to the thing we’re going to start this week, canonicity and prayer. We’re just going to deal with two doctrines because this is the period that introduces the silent years. From this period of time, for about four centuries, God doesn’t speak. Four centuries He withdraws from history, until Jesus Christ and John the Baptist arrive on the scene. There’s been 400 years, four centuries have passed. If the year 2000 is coming up, subtract 400 and you get 1600, so it would be as though God had spoken during the Protestant Reformation, and He hasn’t spoken since, not through American history, not through the Civil War, not through the 20th century, and all of a sudden in the year 2000 He starts to speak. Think of it, it would be something so new; it would be something we wouldn’t be used to. Our grandfathers never heard this, our parents never heard this, our great grandparents never heard, and that’s why when John the Baptist comes on the scene in the New Testament there is something going on here. There’s a shift that happens.

What we want to notice is that all these emphasize “The King’s Discipline” in preparation for the coming of Christ. We said we want to learn things systematically so again we’re going to go through some more review on thinking systematically about this material. We’ve shown this time and time again but we will show it again. The reason why we do that is because if you boil down the Bible to its basics, that’s the glue, right there. We can’t go back to this enough, because in our flesh all of us drift over here. This is all darkness, this is all heresy, this is all wrong thinking, but it’s what our carnal nature loves to think. This is how we like to think, how we like to live.

And Paul was struggling against that. This is not just philosophy, it is not just religion, it is two distinct ways of looking at life. The issue is, shall I bow to my Creator, because the issue, as the Bible says, is am I going to bow to Him or am I not. That’s not an intellectual problem, it’s a moral problem. Am I going to accept authority external from myself, or am I going to be the authority. So if you look at history where this happened, you find basically biblical thought which induces monotheism. That was a basic belief of all the people in the world. If you go back and study history, any group of people, if you push back their history you will find pieces of ancient monotheism. The book I recommended if you’re interested in this is Paul Richardson’s Eternity in Their Hearts, an excellent book.

So we have this fundamental difference. This Creator/creature distinction, notice the lines, the vertical lines, God, two lines because God is the Creator, man and nature are created. God is distinct from man; man is distinct from nature. Those are categories, and you can’t sqoosh them around, it’s not 50% God and 50% man. When we come to Jesus, when we get into who He is, whatever our view of Jesus is, it’s got to be built on this. Jesus has two natures, but Jesus doesn’t mix natures. He is God and He is man, and they are not mixed. That’s why it’s so hard to get in our heads who He [can’t understand word/s]. It’s very difficult because at times in the Gospel He’s flashes forth in His deity, like in that instant of time when the police come in the Garden of Gethsemane, and all He utters is the word “Jehovah” from the Old Testament, I AM egw eimi (ego eimi) and the police and everybody else fall backwards. These guys aren’t weaklings, these are trained warriors here, and they’re falling all over themselves, and all He said was “I AM.” Why is that? Because suddenly His deity flashed forth and then they could see it, just like that. Then He went back to being a man and walked around and they crucified Him. But the fact is that in His life and in His biography there comes these flash points where his deity flashes out. You have to keep in mind that no mixture has ever occurred. This Creator/creature distinction has not been done away with. These are everlasting distinctions, very important, everlasting distinctions.

Now you come over here and the world is full of this. Every non-biblical viewpoint always mixes God, men and nature together. All of them. When we studied Genesis, what did we do? We had the myth of Tiamat; remember the Tiamat myth and Tiamat’s body was cut in half and out of Tiamat’s body came the heavens and the earth. The gods and nature were all one, the physical universe came out of the gods, the physical universe is their body. See that mishmash that goes on there, and we have the same thing today in evolution. Evolution did not start with Charles Darwin. The idea that you can mix categories started back here; it started with Adam and Eve. All Charles Darwin did was pick up the concept and move it over to biology, but he didn’t originate it.

Down here is the bottom line. On one hand you have a personal sovereign God; He is in charge of everything. If God is not in charge of everything, then He is in charge of nothing. If you allow 1% to chance, you have automatically destroyed the sovereignty of God. God has to be 100% in control or He isn’t at all in control, because once you have chance at the 1% level, it eats up all the other, and finally chance overtakes order. You can’t allow that. So you wind up with a personal sovereign. What is offensive to our hearts, we have fallen-ness, is that immediately when I confess that my life is 100% of the creation of God, now I’m [can’t understand word/s]. Strange, but a lot of people think this is fatalism. Not if you think about it biblically. God is big enough to be sovereign and allow human responsibility. How He does it we don’t know, but we do know that we are ultimately responsible to Him, not to our neighbor, not to the state, not to a teacher, not to anybody else, not that we’re not responsible to those, but we obey those authorities because it is God’s will to do that. As Christians in America we need to understand that because the time may come in our society where we’re going to have to decide whether we’re going to obey God or whether we’re going to obey men, and we’re going to take our lumps by choosing to obey God. We’re not going to be comfortable in that situation if we don’t at least get this down, that we are ultimately responsible to Him.

Over here what happens? If you allow fate or chance to be in control, what does that do to human responsibility? It makes us all a victim. So now the corollary of unbelief conveniently turns into [can’t understand words] What do you suppose the sin nature loves? [can’t understand words] So there’s an agenda here, this is not just an idea that happens, there’s an insidious, evil goal to get to from here to here, that’s the game, to get to here, because if you can get to here and convince yourself that you’re a victim, you’re not responsible, it’s somebody else’s fault, it’s the environ­ment, it’s this, that, my mother dropped me on my head when I was a baby, something happened, it’s in my genes, I’ve a warped DNA, but whatever it is it’s not me, I’m not responsible. Keep in mind you start out here with this kind of theoretical thing, the Creator/creature distinction or Continuity of Being but you wind up in familiar territory real quick. [blank spot]

… and ultimately the issue is am I going to be pushed back from revelation of God or do I submit to Him. Let’s turn to Genesis 3 and just review a moment the most momentous moment in history as far as the events of the fall and evil are concerned. What’s going to be interesting, when we get into the temptations of Jesus during His life, Jesus was tempted in the Gospels; He was tempted in three areas. It’s interesting that when Eve was tempted she was tempted in three areas. If we plot the three areas she was tempted in and plot the three areas He was tempted in, Jesus Christ came back and Satan took aim, he had three bullets in his gun, bang, bang, bang, he killed Eve. The Lord Jesus with the shield of faith Christ bang/clink, bang/clink, bang/clink, that’s what happened. This guy’s a genius so we want to look at why he could do what he did.

In Genesis 3 he says to the woman, notice how he comes, think of what we’ve had, what’s being said here. This is to the woman, but again Adam and Eve are both involved in this. We have a clear mandate for both Adam and Eve. The mandate is very, very clear. The mandate is given in chapter 2; verses16-17 gives you God’s mandate. Very simple. Notice the text, in verse 16 and 17, depending on your translation you’ll see in the last part it says “You shall surely die.” That is translating a Hebrew grammatical construction that emphasizes certainty, for emphasis [can’t understand phrase] in the text, to say there’s going to be a consequence, there will surely be a consequence. Every choice has a consequence.

Here’s a little practical application, we talked about being a victim versus being responsible, I ran across this book I read recently and a guy said, he’s dealing with depressed people and he’s saying you know, you can’t choose your way out of a problem so you admit you chose yourself into the problem. That’s pretty tough, you have to admit first but your chooser has to be accepting that it’s this, and if you constantly think of yourself as a victim, you can’t ever get out of the box until you change your thinking about you’re your chooser; you are convinced you have a chooser and you can make choices, and the way to look at that is to check and see if you really believe it. If you tend to be passive and say well, gee, I couldn’t do it this way, I had to do it this way, obviously there are some factors involved, but if you have a view of your past or your present life that is not a consequence of your choices, then logic tells you you’re never going to get out of it, because if you’re a victim now, you’re going to be a victim later. God says there are consequences, and He says you will not eat, don’t eat, it’s imperative; I don’t want you to eat, period.

Now we come down to chapter 3, and the first attack is “has God really said.” See, that’s the temptation. It should be obvious that God speaks. All men know God is there, but the first attack is well, [can’t understand phrase] Does God really exist? Yes, He created you. How can you be sure He created you? The woman said “from the fruit of the trees of the Garden we may eat,” she quotes here, a halfway true sentence, and now look at verse 4 and 5 and contrast verses 2, 4, and 5, with chapter 2, verse 17, what is the logical consequence? Verse 16-17, “you shall surely die.” In verse 4 what does he start with? The contrast “you will not surely die.” You’ll get away with it, there’s not going to be a consequence, if you pick up one end of the stick you’re not going to pick up the other end of the stick. There are no consequences to the choice, you won’t die.

Now who’s the subject of the verb in verse 4, going back to our Creator/creature distinction, who is the subject? The creature, or the Creator? The creature. He may be an elevated creature, he’s very, very high, but he’s still a creature. Who is the subject of the text in verses 16-17? The Creator. If verse 16 and 17 is the Creator speaking, and verse 4 and 5 is the creature speaking, and they both conflict, how do you decide which statement true and which statement is false, without testing it? Think about that. Let’s put ourselves in Eve’s position, we’ve watched this drama [can’t understand words] you get up to this thing, all of a sudden you hit the pause button, and then we have a discussion, and Eve turns to us and she says now look, God says one thing, Satan says another thing, how do I know which one is true? Don’t I have to test it with empirical data to find out what is true? Don’t you have to test your hypothesis? What’s wrong with this statement? It’s the statement of two contradictory things and she claims she can’t tell the difference between one and the other, which is true, but they’re talking about future things, are they not. God says if you eat, He predicts death. Over here Satan says if you eat, I predict no death. So the prediction, death, hasn’t occurred, there’s no evidence of that, none whatsoever.

We want to spend a few minutes here because this is the part of our [can’t understand word/s]. Two contradictory statements, no way to tell which one is right. What should she have done and why? She says I’ve got to taste them, how else am I going to know what the future holds unless I force the predictions to come true so I can observe empirically which one works. What is her other option? What has she already slipped into? Let’s see if we can do a little analysis of Eve’s reality. She comes to you and says I need help, I’ve got a problem here, I’ve got on the one hand a forecast of a future this way, I’ve got another forecast this way, now do I eat or don’t I? And how can I tell which is truth? What has she already done? [someone answers] Ah, getting close, good. She’s getting herself in a position where she is going to be the final judge of what? What’s coming true or false. She has aggregated to herself, bringing to herself the right to be the final authority. Right? It’s not going to be Satan or God. Who is going to conclude right from wrong? She is. So already, remember when we started this course I said beware of questions that come at you like, how many times did you beat your wife last week, and you accept the question and then no matter how you answer it you’ve incriminated yourself. What’s going on? The question was loaded, the question was loaded! So we want to put the pause button on Eve a moment, and say wait a minute, you’ve got to think this one through. Somehow this lady has put herself in a very dangerous position because she claims that she wants to be the decider.

What else has she already done? By saying that she’s going to decide whether it’s true, she’s said in effect that God’s Word has to meet her test, that God’s Word is not implicitly trustworthy. If it were implicitly trustworthy, why do you have to test it? I think it’s so important to grasp what we mean when we say the authority of the Word of God. She does not have any empirical, scientific, historical test that she can apply without taking to herself the role of final judge in this situation. God has set it up that way. There’s no way out of this box that you can test it without blowing up the box. So in the box Eve really only has one choice. She has to accept it on authority. What else does she have to do? If you accept it on authority, what must she confess about herself? That’s she’s a mere creature and she has to operate under the authority of the Creator.

There’s a third thing she’s done that I don’t’ think we’ve noticed that, I kept holding my hands out like this. She has put Satan’s command and God’s command on the same level, and what do we find on the right side of that diagram? Creator/creature distinction, or Continuity of Being? She’s already bought into the Continuity of Being. Satan and God differ only in degrees, not in categories. One might be a little higher, I mean, he’s got a few more doctorates than Satan, but Satan’s coming along, he’s studying hard, and we might just have discovered a truth here, God might be hiding something, I’ve got to check this out. See what I’m saying, this isn’t just theory, right there in the Garden is the Continuity of Being, right there in the Garden we erase the Creator/creature distinction. The moment we have said that God’s Word is equal in authority to some contradictory claim, we’ve already decided the [can’t understand word], it’s already over, the game’s done, Eve has lost right there. At this point we want to emphasize that man doesn’t want this, it comes in a variety of forms but it’s ultimately the rejection of who God is, it’s an attack upon the essence of God Himself.

Skipping over and finishing up here tonight, I can’t leave without referring to this one, the results of evil. We want to see that on the Christian basis, the biblical basis, we have a radically different program, a radically different program that you’ll ever find outside of Scripture. You hear people swearing and cursing God because of all the evil in the world. Learn how to respond to them saying, how can God be loving and allow all this stuff to go on in the world. We can respond and how can God, who is holy, not do away with the whole world? Why does He permit people to go to heaven? Why does He redeem the situation? That’s one quick way, but this is far more powerful. The person who is fussing that the Scriptures are immoral and wrong are left with this thing. The pagan mind finally has to accept that good and evil go on forever, they’re never separated. They’re never separated! Evil never started and will never end. They go on, mixed together forever.

You’ll see this sign, the Oriental sign, the yin and yang, even the Korean flag has it, but I’ve twisted it so it’s this way, and to be fair to the Koreans, that has other implications in the Oriental thinking, sweet and sour, cold and hot, etc. so it’s just a way of expressing that, but when it applies to this problem it’s wrong. When it’s applied to ethics it’s completely wrong because it makes good and evil coequal. Are they coequal? That can’t be. If they’re coequal one is as powerful as the other one, who’s high score? Who gets high score forever? Who wants to be reincarnated to show up as someone’s pet cow, and be slaughtered in a slaughter pen and then show up as Aunt Hilda and eat a cow, and then show up as an insect, and have somebody hit you with a fly swatter, and then show up as Uncle Joe and die? Do you really want to go through that cycle over and over to be reincarnated into a world of [can’t understand word]. I don’t think so.

The Christian again, our whole concept is right here, that God is the one who is eternally good, never has had any evil. “In Him is life” and “In Him is no darkness at all.” We have the creation and the fall distinct so that there was a time period between here and here when there was no evil, and therefore God did not create evil. Evil came in after the creation, by choice, by rebellion, of the creature. So when you see a baby die just remember why: consequences…. Consequences! There was a warning on the label. We have good and evil and we have judgment. What is happening and why sanctification is so painful is that this process of separating good and evil is starting to take place in our lives, preparation for the final eternal separation forever, and ripping those two apart is very, very painful because its so intermixed in our lives.

So that’s the story in the Bible, you can diagram it in a nutshell. Next time we’re going to start looking at the end of the Old Testament. It would help if you’d read the notes from last year, page 56 to the end of the chapter. To get a running start on the new stuff by reading the old stuff, go back and look at what we said about the exile, and what was going on in Daniel, etc.