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Christ the Truth - John 14:6

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John 3, Pt.2 – Snake on the Pole

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Born Again

God made promises to Abraham (Gen.12:1-3, 17:7) & his’ Descendant/The Seed‘ (Christ, the Messiah) but the Jews stumbled on this (Isaiah 28:16, Rom. 9:33), they misinterpreted it & took it as it was just for all Abraham’s descendants in the flesh, Israelites. Sadly they still believe that today! Most of them believe in salvation because of their race.

More about this in next month post ‘Who is Abraham’s Seed‘.

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John 3, Pt.1 – Be Born Again

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Born Again

Studying the Book of John, Chapter 3, we found there is so much about salvation condensed in this chapter alone, that we decided to share it  in two or three posts. This chapter not only contains the most popular bible verse (John 3:16) which summarizes the main point of the  Christian faith, but also this same chapter explains some critical points about salvation & how a ‘genuine’ Christian life should begin.

Even we don’t belong to the ‘King James only’ camp, we mostly use the King James version here, not only because is one of the best translations in the English language, but also because other bible translations have copy rights which limits their use of words. But in the link to John 3 you will find other bible  translations to compare with.

In John chapter 3, Jesus is having a conversation with a Pharisee, a Jewish teacher of the law or ‘Rabbi’ (Hebrew word that means master or great one), but this teacher named Nicodemus was also a leader in their judicial system or ‘Great Sanhedrin’ court that at the time (Second Temple Period) met in the temple in Jerusalem, & acted as a Supreme Court. The Great Sanhedrin was the final authority on Jewish law and any scholar who went against its decisions was put to death as a rebellious elder.  (It was this same Sanhedrin court that ordered Jesus’ crucifixion!). So, in other words this man was not only a Rabbi or master of the law, but also a judge in the supreme court, very knowledgeable & man of power to the Jewish people at the time.

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: the same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. John 3:1-2.

Even with all his knowledge about the law, his humble personality (a man of his position coming to Jesus) & all the experience he had, Nicodemus was not saved, but he was about to hear from the Lord Himself that he & everyone need to be ‘born again’ or be born from above!

We know the Sanhedrin was an enemy of Jesus, when Nicodemus  says ‘we’ he may be referring to Joseph of Arimathea, who was also a member of the Sanhedrin (Luke 23:50) or could be other Rabbis that agree Jesus was a teacher from God but kept it silent.

Nicodemus, who was a Pharisee, believed like the other Jews that because he was born a Jew and kept God’s law, that he should automatically enter into the kingdom of God. The Israelites considered themselves already saved or elected unto salvation because they were descendants of Abraham (in the flesh)!

33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s seed and have never been in bondage to anyone. Why do You say, ‘You shall be set free’? ” John 8:33,39,Mat.3:9..

Sadly most Jews still believe that and consider they are able to sanctify their lives and draw closer to God by fulfilling 613 commandments in accordance with the Talmud.

There are also similar doctrinal errors among other religious groups today, but nobody is elected unto salvation. Jacob (Israel) was chosen to continue to bring the lineage of the Messiah instead Esau, & to carry the blessing of the promise,  still he wasn’t chosen for salvation but for a purpose or service.

Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother’s womb, and be born? John 3:3-4

The Greek word ‘anōthen’ G509 can mean both “again” and “from above“. Example of other times that it was translated’ from above’ we found: James 1:17,3:17.

– Jesus mentioned only one new birth  in verse 3, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” and it is from the Spirit as other verses confirm.

-When Jesus clarifies the 2 ways a person can be born, the first time is of water, & some people interpret this as water baptism. This view is typically held by those who adhere to baptismal regeneration (Catholics, Seven Day Adventist, Calvinists, Church of Christ, etc). But in context, right next to it, in verse 6 Jesus makes again a comparison between born of the flesh & born of the Spirit . In other words we all humans are born of the flesh (of water/amniotic fluid), we often say of this event, “Her water broke! which is an earthly event, & our second birth has to be of the Spirit of God, which is from above, a heavenly event (Luke 15:7). Jesus was saying to Nicodemus that his Jewish birth (born of water) would not get him into the Kingdom of God, and that he needed to be born spiritually (from above).

Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. John 3:5-6

-In addition, notice that Jesus says (vs.8) “So it is with every one that is born of the Spirit.” If He was intending to say that everyone must be born of  water (baptism), and Spirit, then it seems logical that He would have said “So it is with everyone born of water and of Spirit“. These are just 3 examples, but there are still more reasons of why ‘born of water’ is most likely used here as the already accomplished (physical) birth.

Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye (you-plural) must be born again. The wind bloweth where it listeth (G2309 = pleases, wishes), and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.

Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be? 10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen; and ye  receive not our witness. 12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things? John 3: 7-12

In order to have sound doctrine we must use a good bible translation when studying the bible. I used to dislike the thee’s, Ye’s & thou’s in the King James version, but later I realized they are helping me to make a difference among pronouns. We must not tamper with God’s communication to the world, our duty is to deliver His message, not to change it. Greek is a very precise language, more similar to Spanish, (e.g they both use grammatical gender, specific plural & singular pronouns, etc).  When Jesus told Nicodemus “Ye must be born again” He is not saying only Nicodemus is in need to be born again, but all the Jews & all of us as well. Modern versions  by eliminating these distinctions, not only lose information, but change the meaning of the text, and in most cases also change doctrine.

The apostle Paul says in 1 Tim. 4:16Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine (G1319=teachings, precepts); continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.

In John 3 verse 8, the Greek word ‘pneuma’ G4151 has also a double meaning ‘wind & ‘spirit’. Jesus uses physical illustrations (that we comprehend) to help us understand better the spiritual things.  The new birth is an invisible event, like the wind that we can hear or see its effects, but we cannot see were it comes from or where it goes, the same happens about everyone that is born of the Spirit, or is born of God.

Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God, and everyone who loves Him who begot also loves him who is begotten of Him.” (1 John 5:1).

Things we have learned so far from John 3:1-12:

1/ We all need to be born again! It doesn’t matter how much knowledge of the Law or the Scriptures we have, or how good, kind or peaceful our personality is, or our experience, etc. We can have all of that combined but still not be born again.

2/ Notice vs. 2 Nicodemus acknowledged Jesus as a ‘great teacher of the Law’, but not as God or the Son of God. In 1st chapter of the same book of John, we find that we ALL need to receive Christ & believe He is God & the son of God. Nobody is children of God (or born of God) unless they receive & believe in Jesus Christ.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were created through Him, and without Him nothing was created that was created.   . . .

The true Light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was created through Him, yet the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and His own people did not receive Him. 12 Yet to all who received Him, He gave the power to become sons of God, to those who believed in His name, 13 who were born not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.14 The Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:1-14

3/ Nobody is elected unto salvation. There is not election because of race, denomination, knowledge, special awakening, elite group, etc. Salvation is by faith alone, available to everybody!! But FAITH comes first then salvation, not the opposite like most Calvinist teach. See more : Foundational Doctrines.

The Scriptures is clear & consistent in showing that faith precedes and is the condition for the new birth:

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” Rom.5:1,

“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”  Rom. 10:17.

In Him you also, after hearing the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and after believing in Him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, “. Eph. 1:13.  See more – Jn 5:25, John 20:31; John 3:16Rom. 10:9, 1 Pt 1:23-25, etc.

Living in Times of Apostasy

We are living in perilous times brothers & sisters in the Lord, now more than ever we all need to get closer to God & follow His Word. Because darkness is getting darker in these last days, many brethren are being deceived with false doctrines, most of them are babes in the Lord, good people, but unfortunately as usual, the younger & weaker are the easiest prey for the wolves or false teachers. Please pray for them & pray for the Church in general.

The Word of God teach us about love, our motives must always be based on love. Sadly there are many Christians today, promoting God’s love but disregarding God’s Truth, using love as  the excuse for interfaith unity & peace. But the Truth of God is always interwoven with His Love, they can’t be separated. We can’t show God’s love to people without giving them God’s Truth.

till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ: 14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine (G1319– teachings, precepts) by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: . Ephesians 4:14-16

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Psalm 25: Always seek God’s Guidance

This entry is part 5 of 5 in the series Bible Study

Psalm 25 is a beautiful prayer that reminds us that God fights on our behalf, that He can guides us, teaches us and instructs us if we ask Him. It reminds us that God can rescue us, protect us & keep us safe. God love us and is faithful in all His ways. If we live by faith (trusting Him) and we humble ourselves before God, He’ll answer us when we pray for His forgiveness, deliverance and protection.

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise“. Psalm 51:17

“But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7

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Psalm 24: King of Glory

This entry is part 4 of 5 in the series Bible Study

Basic steps to Bible Study, review

To study the Bible we can follow this 4 steps:

1/ Setting the context: “ABCs”
2/ What does the passage say ? (Observation)
3/ What does it mean? (Meaning)
4/ How does the principle apply to one specific area of my life? (Application)
2 Timothy 3:16-17.

PSALM 24  – A Psalm of David. (video song)

1 The earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof;
the world, and they that dwell therein.
2 For he hath founded it upon the seas,
and established it upon the floods.
3 Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord?
or who shall stand in his holy place?
4 He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart;
who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity, nor sworn deceitfully.
5 He shall receive the blessing from the Lord,
and righteousness from the God of his salvation.
6 This is the generation of them that seek him,
that seek thy face, O Jacob. Selah.

7 Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
and be ye lift up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
8 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
the Lord mighty in battle.
9 Lift up your heads, O ye gates;
even lift them up, ye everlasting doors;
and the King of glory shall come in.
10 Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts, he is the King of glory. Selah.

Outline of Psalm 24

I. The King of Glory—Psalm 24:1-10

A. Worship of the Creator through the observation of His creation–(vs.1-2)

1. “The earth is the LORD’s” Psalm 24:1
-The LORD has ownership over the earth–(vs.1a)
-The LORD has ownership over the world and all the people (animals, etc) within it. –(vs.1b) Psalm 50:10-11;
Job 41:11; 1 Cor.10:26; Psalm 89:11

2. For He has founded it & established it –Psalm 24:2 -(Gen. 1:9, John 1:3, Col.1:15-23; Psalm 104; Prov. 3:19)
-The LORD has the ownership because He is the creator of the earth and all within it. (vs.2)

B. Who can stand in God’s presence (vs.3-6)

– “Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? or Who shall stand in His holy place?” (vs.3) (mount Zion), (Were the ark of God’s presence rested) (Psalm 15:1; 2:6; 65:4)

Answer: (vs.4 & 6) (Requirements to come to God’s presence or to worship Him)
1. He that hath clean hands, (vs.4) or has not done evil, Job 17:9, 22:30
2. and a pure heart; (Matthew 5:8; Proverbs 4: 23; Acts8:22; Psalm 51:1-3,10-11 )
3. who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity,
4. nor sworn deceitfully
5. who seeks the face of God (vs.6) through His son Jesus Christ in the New Covenant (John 14:6)

Now through faith in Jesus Christ we are able to receive the blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of salvation to all who believe (Rom. 3:22), Is.46:13; psalm 25:5

C. Honor the King of glory— (vs. 7-10)- 1 Cor. 2:8, James 2:1, Rev. 19:13-16

1. **Open the gates “that the King of glory may come in” – (vs.7, 9) (The temple is now our hearts: Rev.19:13-16).
2. “Who is the King of glory?” –( vs. 8, 10)
3. “The LORD…He is the King of glory!” –(vs. 8, 10) Let us worship our Lord & King!! O worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness: fear before Him, all the earth“. (Psalms 96:9)

1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament shows His handiwork.
2  Day unto day utters speech, and night unto night declares knowledge.
3  There is no speech and there are no words; their voice is not heard.
4 Their line has gone out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. (Psalm 19:1-4)

 

Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The ESV changes more than 2,800 words to make it a gender-neutral bible (Gnostics believe in a both gender or androgynous god).

Many bible verses are completely missing from the New Testament of the ESV, RSV & all modern bible versions including the Jehovah Witness version “New World Translation” NWT (except for the Modern English Version MEV which uses the Majority Text) : Matthew 12:47, Matthew 17:21, Matthew 18:11, Matthew 23:14, Mark 7:16, Mark 9:44, Mark 9:46, Mark 11:26, Mark 15:28, Luke 17:36, Luke 23:17, Luke 24:40, John 5:4, Acts 8:37, Acts 15:34, Acts 24:7, Acts 28:29, Romans 16:24.

But there are many more changes, you can see some tables of comparison, ( remember ERV is the basis for ESV,  with only 5%-10% of changes from original ERV): differences. Altered VersesAnother Bible – Another Gospel,   Bible Version Comparison.

A quick test that we can do to find out is: Any version of the Bible which omits Acts 8:37, Philip said, “If you believe with all your heart, you may.” (be baptize) He answered, “I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”  and that also omits the words “through his blood” in Col. 1:14  “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”  then evidently has for its foundation a corrupted manuscript.

 

We will talk more about the Textus Receptus (or Majority Text) in future posts. But for now it is very important to understand that there are many antique bibles found, many are older than the Greek Alexandria texts (Sinaiticus & Vaticanus dated 4th century AD) and that follow closer the Textus Receptus, but are not been considered by modern translations, only because they are in a different language than Greek. Examples:

Syrian bibles, with some major versions: The Peshitta, with more than 350 manuscript some as early (A.D. 145) but some others as old as 5th century (the Peshitta is considered the third & last stream of family manuscripts, an Aramaic translation that even it is close to Textus Receptus it has significant variations ).  The Diattessaron, Syriac Bible (A.D. 165-175), the Old Syriac (A.D. 400), the Palestinian Syriac (A.D. 450), and the Philoxenian (A.D. 508) This last one was revised by Thomas of Harkel, in A.D. 616, and because of that it’s also known as the Harclean Syriac.

The Old Latin Vulgate or Italia 157 A.D. (this is not Jerome’s Latin Vulgate of 382 A.D. but this translation was made for the young churches established in the northern Italian Alps & was one of the manuscripts used by Erasmus), notice it was made two hundred years before the Sinaiticus and Vaticanus were produced, & a full century before the theorized “Lucian Recension”),.

The Waldensian (A.D. 120 & onwards), The Gallic Bible A.D. 177 (Southern France), The Gothic Bible (A.D. 330-350), The Armenian Bible (A.D. 400) There are around 1,244 copies of this bible version still in existence today! But if all these wasn’t enough the New Testament quotations of the writings of the early church, Chrysostom, the early Fathers of Antioch in Asia Minor, etc.  (more than 86,000 citations from Scriptures) agree with the Textus Receptus manuscripts .

 

Related Articles:

Does it Really Matter?

Is the ESV a Trustworthy Translation?

ESV vs. KJV

ESV owned by National Council of Churches

Common English Bible

What About the NASB, NIV & Other Translations?

The English Standard Version Exposed

The Semitic New Testament

The History of English Bible Revision

NIV Test

 

 

Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The new bible versions have many parts that were translated from a different manuscript called Minority Text , which comes from Alexandria Egypt (a mecca for philosophers & gnostics at the time), these parchments are mainly composed of two different textual families that disagree with each other: Codex Vaticanus & Codex Sinaiticus. British scholar Herman Hoskier did a revision of the 2 manuscripts and counted the following disagreements with the Majority Text (Textus Receptus or Traditional Text) on the 4 books of the gospels alone:

Matthew 656

Mark 567

Luke 791

John 1022

—————

TOTAL = 3036 disagreements

The Codex Vaticanus was found on a shelf in a Vatican’s library in 1481, where it had been forgotten for centuries, its origin is unknown, & Codex Sinaiticus was found with many corrections all over the original in a wastebasket of a Catholic monastery in 1844. If it was considered trash before, why are we using it as part of our bibles today? Greek Bible scholar Frederik Scrivener said that Sinaiticus has thousands of changes that were made in the 6th and 7th centuries.

An example of Sinaiticus’ many corrections.

For thousands of years prior to this discovery of the Sinaiticus, Christians used the Majority Text or Textus Receptus bibles, but after this,  two Cambridge professors Wescott & Hort  decided to use the Alexandrian manuscripts in 1881 to make their Greek Interlinear, and now most if not all new modern translation use this Wescott & Hort interlinear (or use its copy , the 1898 Nestle-Aland/United Bible Society (NA/UBS) Greek text, with 27 revisions), to translate their own versions.

The ESV 2001, in the Preface says: ‘ The ESV is based…on the Greek text in the 1993 editions of the Greek New Testament (4th corrected edition), published by the United Bible Societies (UBS) and Novum Testamentum Graece (27th edition), edited by Nestle and Aland.”

It is important to note that in 1965 the United Bible Society (UBS) & the Roman Catholic Church agreed to prepare a ‘common (vulgate) text’ of the bible & adopted the ‘Westcott & Hort’ Greek interlinear. The UBS which distributes 80% of the bibles in the world, from its very beginnings has been cooperating with the Vatican, but  today even more ( https://www.unitedbiblesocieties.org/united-bible-societies-welcomes-pope-francis/ ). Please also check: The United Bible Societies & Rome.

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Is the ESV (English Standard Version) a Good Bible Translation? Pt.1

This entry is part 1 of 3 in the series Bible Versions

The English Standard Version or ESV has become a very popular bible. It’s being heavily promoted by pastors, organizations, some scholars and bible teachers from different denominations including Catholics around the world, and Calvinist, but it’s gaining acceptance in other denominations as well. According to Calvinist teacher John MacArthur the ESV is the best translation which he compares with the Authorized King James, he now sells ESV study bibles with his signatures & notes. But is the ESV a good bible translation? Aren’t all bibles the same? Where does it comes from?

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Who or What is the Olive Tree in Romans 11 ?, Pt.3

This entry is part 3 of 3 in the series Grafted in

There is one final chapter that should be examined, the second “go to” portion of scripture usually used to defend the viewpoint of Israel being the olive tree: Ephesians 2.

Ephesians 2

Therefore remember that formerly you, the Gentiles in the flesh, who are called the “uncircumcision” by the so-called “circumcision” in the flesh by human hands, were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the citizenship of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who were formerly far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ. vv.11 – 13

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Who or What is the Olive Tree in Romans 11 ?, Pt.2

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Grafted in
“Grafting”

Written & illustrated by Brian R. Franco, used with permission

Jeremiah 11

Kindled Tree
The Lord called your name, “A green olive tree, fair in fruit and form.” With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire upon it, and its branches are broken. v16

Jeremiah 11:16 is the verse that is probably most known as a reference to Israel being an olive tree. I would completely agree, especially considering the context:

The Lord said to me: A conspiracy has been found among the men of Judah and among the inhabitants of Jerusalem. They have turned back to the iniquities of their forefathers who refused to hear My words. And they have gone after other gods to serve them. The house of Israel and the house of Judah have broken My covenant which I made with their fathers. Therefore thus says the Lord, Surely, I will bring calamity upon them which they will not be able to escape. And though they cry to Me, I will not listen to them. Then the cities of Judah and inhabitants of Jerusalem will go and cry to the gods to whom they offer incense. But they will not save them at all in the time of their trouble. For according to the number of your cities are your gods, O Judah. And according to the number of the streets of Jerusalem you have set up altars to that shameful thing, even altars to burn incense to Baal. Therefore do not pray for this people, nor lift up a cry or prayer for them. For I will not hear them in the time that they cry to Me because of their trouble.

What right has My beloved in My house, seeing that she has done many lewd deeds? Can the sacrificial meat take away from you your disaster, so that you can rejoice while doing evil?

The Lord called your name, “A green olive tree, fair in fruit and form.” With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire upon it, and its branches are broken. vv. 9 – 16

Over and over again we see Judah and Jerusalem, Israel being mentioned, leading up to the olive tree picture. However, this tree shows a very different image to the one in Romans:

With the noise of a great tumult He has kindled fire upon it, and its branches are broken. For the Lord of Hosts, who planted you, has pronounced disaster against you, because of the evil of the house of Israel and of the house of Judah, which they have done against themselves to provoke Me to anger in offering incense to Baal. vv.16b – 17

Although similar in that, once again, Israel has rebelled against God and is being broken off, this tree has disaster pronounced against it and has been kindled by fire. I can’t imagine God bringing His Son into the world along with the gift of salvation, only to graft Gentiles into a doomed burning/burnt tree. You can’t simply take the “tree is Israel” part without also taking the “kindle with fire and doomed” part as well. However, this does seem to conflict with verse 16, so how can these facts be reconciled?

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