Theology of Hebrews, Part 1 (The Study of God #79)

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #79

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is Hebrews 11:1 which reads: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from Billy Graham. He said: “Talk about God can become dreary and lackluster if God isn’t in you.”

Our topic for today is titled “Theology of Hebrews (Part 1)” from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Dr. Paul Enns.

Dr. Paul Enns writes…

INTRODUCTION TO HEBREWS
The introductory questions concerning the addresses and occasion and purpose for writing are particularly important in discussing the theology of Hebrews. The view that is taken concerning these issues will determine the interpretation of the theology of Hebrews.

Authorship
The authorship of Hebrews has posed a problem throughout the history of the Christian church and has been vigorously debated without resolve. The author nowhere identifies himself in the book, yet it seems he was known to the readers. He understood their circumstances and wrote with regard to them.

Date and Place of Writing
The book was written early; Clement of Rome quoted from it in A.D. 96. The present tense regarding the sacrifices suggests the temple was still standing; therefore, it was written prior to A.D. 70. Although the believers in the book were undergoing persecution, they had not experienced martyrdom. Because the fierce persecution began with the burning of Rome in A.D. 64, it is likely the book was written before that time.

The place of writing is difficult to determine. The reference “those from Italy greet you” could refer to Italy as a place of writing.

Destination
The title “To the Hebrews” is a second-century addition to the manuscript that may merely reflect the second-century opinion concerning the destination. The intrinsic evidence points to an assembly of Hebrew believers as the destination. (1) The book follows an argument from a Jewish standpoint through comparing Christ to the Levitical system. (2) The book uses Old Testament quotations. (3) The book has extensive mention of the Levitical priesthood. (4) Terminology occurs that is exclusively Jewish: angels, miracles, high priest, Moses, Aaron, law, covenant, tabernacle, holy place, sacrifices, and blood. (5) It contains an elaborate resume of Hebrew history. (6) There is a detailed discussion of the tabernacle.

The location of the readers is difficult to determine. Although it is not without problems, the suggestion that Jerusalem is the destination seems most reasonable. The present tense concerning offering gifts in 8:4 suggests conditions under which the offerings were actually being carried out.

Theological Purpose
The purpose of the book is to demonstrate the superiority of Christ and Christianity over Judaism. The addressees were Hebrew Christians: they are termed “holy brethren”, “partakers of a heavenly calling”, and “partakers of Christ”. Although their present condition was dangerous, the writer nonetheless considered them saved but in need of maturity and progress in their walk with Christ. They were in danger of lapsing back into Judaism. These Hebrew Christians were suffering persecution and had become discouraged. They had lost their property and had suffered public ridicule and ostracism for their faith in Christ. The writer addresses these circumstances, exhorting them to go on to maturity. He also warns them about the seriousness of apostasy.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

Why Should We Believe That Jesus Christ is God? (The Study of God #78)

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #78

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is John 20:27-28 which reads: “Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from Alistair Begg. He said: “You don’t know who you are until you know God and you don’t know how to live until you’ve settled the question of how to die.”

Our topic for today is titled “Why Should We Believe That Jesus Christ is God?” from “Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day” by Dr. Daryl Aaron.

Dr. Daryl Aaron writes…

In addition to being who God is and doing what God does, another evidence of his deity is that he made that claim himself: “I and the Father are one”. After his arrest, when the high priest demanded of Jesus, “Tell us if you are the Messiah, the Son of God”, he replied, “You have said so. But I say to all of you: From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven”. Here Jesus quotes from two messianic prophecies, and that those listening understood these as references to a divine being is indicated by their reaction: “He has spoken blasphemy! . . . He is worthy of death”. This was the usual Jewish reaction to his claims of deity.

Some claims that may seem obscure to us couldn’t be missed by the Jews who heard Jesus, as evidenced by this same reaction. For example, “My Father is always at His work to this very day, and I too am working.” For this reason they tried all the more to kill Him; not only was He breaking the Sabbath, but He was even calling God His own Father, making himself equal with God. – John 5:17–18

Another unavoidable argument for Christ’s deity is that He accepted worship. He went so far as to say, “Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father, who sent Him”. In other words, if we don’t worship Him, we can’t worship God.

A little while after Jesus had given sight to the man born blind, he came back to this man, who had not yet seen Him, and said, “Do you believe in the Son of Man?” When the man realized who this was, he said “‘Lord, I believe,’ and he worshiped Him”. When Jesus appeared to His disciples after His resurrection, He said to Thomas, “‘Stop doubting and believe.’ Thomas said, ‘My Lord and my God!’”.

What is so amazing about these examples is that these two loyal (strictly monotheistic) Jews did what they did. They believed in one God who has no physical form (thus the first and second commandments). Like others before them, they would rather have died than worship anyone but the one true God; the very thought was repugnant. But these men, like many others, worshiped Jesus because they had become completely convinced that this man is the one true God.

In historical context, what they did was absolutely revolutionary. And Jesus did not rebuke them. If thinking that He was God had revealed a terrible misunderstanding, Jesus could have taken the opportunity to say, “Hold on! Don’t worship me! Worship only God” (as, for instance, Paul and Barnabas did, and as angels repeatedly did). Jesus accepted worship because He is God and is worthy of it.

One of the reasons this doctrine is so crucial is that if Jesus is not fully God, there is no salvation to be found in His death. The sacrifice that would be sufficient for the many sins of the many people had to be a sacrifice of infinite value. No human being could provide this kind of sacrifice; only God Himself could. This is why the early Christians were so appalled at the deity of Jesus being denied. They knew His deity was absolutely vital for their salvation.

INTERESTING FACT: Two of the clearest New Testament texts regarding the deity of Jesus are Colossians 2:9: “In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form,” and Hebrews 1:3: “The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being.”

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

Theology of Paul, Part 11 (The Study of God #77)

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #77

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is James 2:23 which reads: “And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from J. I. Packer. He said: “There is no peace like the peace of those whose minds are possessed with full assurance that they have known God, and God has known them.”

Our topic for today is titled “Theology of Paul (Part 11)” from “The Moody Handbook of Theology” by Dr. Paul Enns.

Dr. Paul Enns writes…

Last Things
Regarding the church. Since Paul has provided significant new teaching concerning the nature of the church, it is appropriate that Paul should bring that teaching to a consummation, describing the future of the church. Paul refers to the translation of the church in which some living believers will not die but will be transformed more quickly than an eye can cast a glance. At that time, departed church-age believers will rise to receive resurrection bodies and the living, transformed believers will be suddenly snatched up to be with Christ.

Paul emphasizes the practical nature of this doctrine: “comfort one another with these words”. Following the rapture of the church, believers will stand before the bema, the judgment seat of Christ, to be recompensed for deeds done in the body, whether good or worthless. Salvation is not the issue; rather, it is the works of the believer. One whose works were done in the flesh will be burned up; there will be no reward, but the believer will be saved—with no works to show for it. One whose works are acceptable by the Lord will be rewarded—not in terms of salvation, for that has been established. Rewards are spoken of in terms of crowns.

Regarding Israel. Paul deals with Israel’s election in Romans 9–11, lamenting Israel’s rejection of Messiah. Israel had great privileges but scorned them, yet since God has sovereignly elected Israel, He will not fail in His purpose for the nation. The fact that God has not abandoned His people is evident by the fact that there is a remnant of believing Jews, of which Paul was one. However, while Israel has been blinded, it is temporary. Paul envisions a future day when Israel’s blindness will be lifted and “all Israel will be saved”. There will be a future national turning to Christ in faith. Paul relates that event to the return of Messiah: “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob”.

Regarding the world. While Paul has referred to future hope for the church and the future conversion of Israel, he deals extensively with the future judgment of God upon an unbelieving world. Paul uses the term wrath (Gk. orgï) to describe the judgment of God that will descend upon the world. This term is decidedly a Pauline term, being used twenty-one one times in his writings while only fifteen times in the remainder of the New Testament. Paul frequently uses orgï to describe a future “day of wrath” that the stubborn and unrepentant people will face. Paul warns that the wrath of God will come upon those who are morally impure. Paul, however, takes great pains to show that believers will not endure the wrath of God. They will be saved from that day.

Paul also identifies the period as a time the “man of lawlessness,” also called the “son of destruction”, will appear and exalt himself as God. He is unable to exalt himself in this present age because of a restrainer—whom many identify as the Holy Spirit in this church age. When the restrainer is removed, the “lawless one will be revealed”, deceiving the people through his Satan-inspired miracles. But at the second advent of Christ, the lawless one (popularly known as the Antichrist) will be destroyed.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.

Why Should We Believe That Jesus Christ is God? (The Study of God #76)

Welcome to the Study of God Podcast. This is episode #76

I am your host, Daniel Whyte III, president of Gospel Light Society International. This podcast is designed to give you a basic understanding of God, the Bible, and Christian beliefs. J. Dwight Pentecost said, “There is no higher activity in which the mind may be engaged than the pursuit of the knowledge of God.”

Let’s start out reading the Word of God Itself. Today’s passage of Scripture is Matthew 11:27 which reads: “All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him.”

Today’s words from a theologian are from Brother Lawrence. He said: “Let all our employment be to know God: the more one knows Him, the more one desires to know Him.”

Our topic for today is titled “Why Should We Believe That Jesus Christ is God?” from “Understanding Theology in 15 Minutes a Day” by Dr. Daryl Aaron.

Dr. Daryl Aaron writes…

One of the most remarkable foundations of the Christian faith is that Jesus Christ is eternal God. This is disputed by other religions (including the other monotheistic faiths, Judaism and Islam), by Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses, and certainly by many skeptics. Without question, lacking this central pillar, Christianity fails and has nothing to offer anyone.

It is no surprise that from very early on, believers have contended for, fought for, and died for this teaching—the deity of Jesus Christ. In a nutshell, the doctrine is that Jesus Christ is fully God (not half God or one-third God) and eternally God (he did not become God at some point in time). Anything less has been considered heresy.

There are many lines of argument for the deity of Jesus. Plainly, the fact is crystal clear if one allows Scripture to say what it says. Here are a few of those contentions and a few examples.

Not only did Christ exist before He was conceived by Mary (this is what preexistence means), He has always been; He is eternal. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word [referring to Christ], and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” This last phrase is also a straightforward statement of His deity.

Jesus said, “Before Abraham was born, I am!” (John 8:58), both a declaration of eternality (“before Abraham was born”) and of deity (“I am”). The Jews would have understood “I am” as a reference to the name of their God: Yahweh. That is why they immediately sought to kill him. The famous prophecy of Messiah’s birthplace also says of Him, “whose origins are from of old, from ancient times”.

Jesus Christ also has other divine attributes: omnipresence (demonstrated in His promise to be with all believers—e.g., Matthew 28:20), omnipotence (demonstrated through His miracles—e.g., Luke 8:23–25), and omniscience (demonstrated by His knowledge of human thoughts—e.g., Luke 6:8; 11:17). Only God has these three characteristics.

Another line of evidence is that Jesus Christ did what God does. For example, Jesus is Creator and sustainer of all things. He gives life, specifically eternal life. A good example of Jesus’ doing what only God can do is His forgiving the sins of a paralyzed man. The Jewish religious leaders responded, “Who can forgive sins but God alone?” Exactly! When Jesus healed the man, He said He did it because “I want you to know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”.

Let’s Pray —

Before we close, dear friend, I want to remind you that while it is important to engage in the study of God, it is far more important that you have a relationship with God. I fear that there are a lot of people who will die knowing a lot about God, but not really knowing God. You don’t want to be one of those people.

If you do not know the Lord Jesus Christ as your Savior, and you want to get to know Him today here’s how.

First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”

Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”

Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”

Now this is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.

Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Pray and ask Him to come into your heart and He will.

May God bless you and keep you until we meet again.