Who among you fears the Lord and obeys the voice of His Servant?

Old Testament

Christ in the Old Testament: VanGemeren on Calvin and Daniel

The search for Christ in the Old Testament continues unabated.  This is a good thing.

For this brief post – I would like to point out a recent article published by Willem A. VanGemeren entitled “Christocentricity and Appropriation in Calvin’s Exposition of Daniel.”

The article was published in our own Torch Trinity Journal (volume 19) which hasn’t been posted online yet.  I can email you the article if you would like (c.rata@ttgu.ac.kr).

VanGemeren engages a bit in the introduction with the Westminster Seminary hermeneutic (see more recently Seeing Christ in All of Scripture) and then talks about Calvin’s interpretation of the Old Testament – especially as it pertains to the book of Daniel.

I highly recommend the article.  For a brief critique (yes – it has drawn criticism already) see the post by my colleague Nate Shannon here.

VanGemeren shows that Calvin was NOT a ‘Judaizer,’ but rather a careful interpreter of Scripture very much concerned with ‘appropriation’ and obedience.  He specifically applied the book of Daniel to himself and his fellow persecuted Christians who were in exile away from France.

Here are some worthy quotations from VanGemeren:

We cannot understand Jesus except in the context of the Bible as a whole.  To detach Jesus from this story is to create a mythical figure.  In his teaching and in his action he speaks and acts as the one who brings the story of God’s dealing with Israel to its point of crisis and decision. (p. 233)

John Calvin (JC) understood that the only way to serve Christ is to have a heart aflame for the GOSPEL.  (p. 234)

Fulfillment is a movie rather than a still picture. (p. 239)

CALVIN saw in Daniel a type of Christ. The prefiguration is shown in Daniel’s walk with God, his obedience to him, his confidence in God’s ability to raise him from the dead [note that Daniel was thrown in the lion’s den = like a grave], and in his witness to earthly powers. (p. 247)


Before There Was Time, Before There Was Space…

I recommend Bible Mesh for a well done introduction to the Bible.  Their first era (Creation) starts with the following words: “Before there was time, before there was space, there was God! And God spoke time and space into being.  He spoke galaxies into being, …and on one  planet he spoke life….

Interestingly enough, towards the end of his monumental Tractatus, Ludwig Wittgenstein, the leading analytical philosopher of the twentieth century, conceded, ‘The solution of the riddle of life in space and time lies outside space and time.’85

Looking at the issue from a scientific angle, Michael Behe goes a significant step further: ‘As we reach the end of this book [Darwin’s Black Box], we are left with no substantive defence against what feels to be a strange conclusion: that life was designed by an intelligent agent.’86

Today, the enlightened scientific community tells us that the universe created itself from nothing!  I will let you choose which is the more sensible and logic choice.

Blanchard, John (2011-08-05). Does God Believe in Atheists? (Kindle Locations 6989-6993). Evangelical Press. Kindle Edition.


The Blessedness of Wisdom

I posted some notes on Proverbs 3:13 here.

ENJOY and feel free to send me your comments!


Link

A New Website for My Beloved Hebrew Students

Due to my boundless love (chesed) for my Hebrew students I decided to start another website.  It is called One Proverb a Day and it is found here.

The intention is to provide 366 proverbs in Hebrew for students to read and memorize [YES – memorize!].  Also – I will provide notes on grammar and pronunciation, and some basic comments on the content (mostly based on Waltke and Bridges).

Because I do not know how to deal with the Hebrew well (help anyone?) in wordpress, all the files will be available for download in PDF form.  Those versions should be much better than what appears in the wordpress website!

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments, and if you would like to contribute to this project!

Cristian


The Boundaries of Love

I recently read a story about a group of about eleven women who were asked if they were faithful to their husbands. Only one answered in the affirmative. Another one of them was also faithful, but was too ashamed to raise her hand to acknowledge that.

This is the kind of culture in which we live, a culture in which people are ashamed of fidelity. Al Mohler, the president of Southern Seminary is correct when he says that “we are an adulterous generation.” And this is confirmed by a spokesman of Generation X: We are the first generation in which adultery is now not an issue. We have so little expectation of monogamy or of faithfulness, adultery is just no big deal.” Gladly, that is not true of his entire generation, but it does seem increasingly true of the culture at large.

However, in this context of unfaithfulness, when society considers adultery the modern/sophisticated (even mature) way to live, the Bible is again countercultural by insisting that the mature is the one who lives in obedience to God. And God’s word on this issue is very clear and direct: You shall not commit adultery! In an “adulterous generation” we are called to faithfulness in marriage.

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Bono on Grace

Here is a great interview of Bono from The Poached Egg.

http://www.thepoachedegg.net/the-poached-egg/2010/09/bono-interview-grace-over-karma.html.

 


Preaching the Ten Commandments Today

These days, following the lead of our pastor Daniel Kim, we are preaching through the ten commandments at Hallelujah English Ministry. In Hebrew it is actually the ten words (עֲשֶׂ֖רֶת הַדְּבָרִֽים).

I just started another website to post some material related to this. You can find the new website here Preaching the Ten Commandments.

When I heard about the intention of the senior pastor I was not very excited. I never preached from the ten commandments and I was planning to continue my preaching through Genesis (the Isaac story), and later from Ecclesiastes. However, since pastor Steve Chang started preaching through the ten commandments while I was in the hospital (he preached through the first four), I had to continue when I came out, especially since he left for his sabbatical.

As I started preparing for my sermons I realized that there was a lot of wisdom in preaching through the ten commandments, as they reflect the character of God and as the law functions as a mirror that should lead us to God and the cross. (Of course – the law has other functions: map/guide, muzzle/restrain etc).

So far – I find these books the most useful for my preparation (my time is limited, partly because of my knee injury):

Keeping the Ten Commandments by J. I Packer – this is a good and brief introduction to the commandments from a great contemporary theologian.

 

Written in Stone: The Ten Commandments and Today’s Moral Crisis by Philip Ryken – this is the best resource for teaching/preaching I have found so far. It is very insightful and informed!!! He gives very good guidelines for understanding OT law and has a very good grasp of the Reformed catechisms (Heidelberg and Westminster) and of today’s culture.

 

Words from the Fire by Albert Mohler – this is also very insightful, but I find Ryken better.

You can get all of these 3 books on KINDLE (as I did), and that makes it much easier to take notes. If you can only afford two (or have limited time), go for the first two.

Two more books look useful, but I have not been able to access one of them in time though I wish I had it (it is not available in Kindle):

How Jesus Transforms the Ten Commandments by Edmund Clowney. I do not have access to this, but knowing Clowney’s theology and preaching I am sure it would be very useful. See the first review on Amazon for a good idea about this book.

The Ten Commandments in History: Mosaic Paradigms for a Well-Ordered Society also looks good (and I found it in my library), but I have not had very much time to look at this and I haven’t used it (almost) at all in my preparation. However, it seems worth looking at especially for its chapter on Jonathan Edwards etc.

My sermons (from the 5th commandment on) can be found here. They are from the early (10 a.m.) service because the second one is not recorded anymore. However, starting in March we will have only one service at 11:30 am.

Again – some material/notes for preaching the ten commandments should be poster here: Preaching the Ten Commandments.


Charles Bridges on Wisdom Literature – Proverbs 8

I love Charles Bridges on Proverbs and Ecclesiastes . They are true classics.

Of course – his understanding of Wisdom is fully Christological. The following is an excellent example from Proverbs 8.

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Creation and Evolution – Waltke’s View and Consequences

Bruce Waltke is one of the best known scholars in Old Testament studies. I heard him speak, I read some of his writing, and I like him a lot. At 79 he still keeps going by teaching OT in various places (it looks like he is moving to Knox Theological Seminary in Fort Lauderdale, FL)!

I am writing this brief blog just to draw attention to the fact that Waltke has weighed in on the issue of theistic evolution. This weighing in has led to his departure (he was NOT forced to resign as some outlets suggest) from RTS (Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, FL) and to a flurry of blogs.

These blogs shed additional light on this most important issue for Christianity in the 21st century: latest info, John Hobbins, and Justin Taylor. John Hobbins has the links to many bloggers who discussed this topic.

It remains to be seen where this story will go and what its impact will be in the evangelical world!


Donald J. Wiseman – In Memoriam

The great British Orientalist Donald Wiseman was called home.  He played a very important role in the early development of the Tyndale House and had great contributions to biblical scholarship and the study of the ancient Near East. [This information was obtained from Tyndale House]

Here is a photo of Professor Wiseman from ancient Nimrud:

Wiseman next to Agatha Christie at ancient Nimrud

Left to right: Donald Wiseman stands next to his good friend
Agatha Christie, her husband Max Mallowan, and Neville Chittick,
while carrying out archaeological excavation at Nimrud.

There are many things I did not know about Professor Wiseman.  Thus, I had no idea that he was a recipient of the USA Bronze Star Medal for his valor in World War II… Read the tribute below and become wiser/better! (more…)


Fall 2009 and Hebrew Poetry

The fall semester is drawing to a close here at Torch Trinity. Given the situation, I do have a bit of time to return to blogging.

Many good posts have been posted out there. As usually when I try to catch up with the good stuff in the field of Old Testament and Hebrew, I went to John Hobbins’ website.

It is well worth taking a look at his post dealing with key definitions in ancient Hebrew poetry.

I am also looking forward to read and comment on his post on diachrony in ancient Hebrew.

ENJOY and LEARN.


The Supreme Test I – Genesis 22

I posted the first part of my message on Genesis 22.

You can find it here.

This is such a monumental passage that I need to get back to it over and over again!

Dr. Alan Cairns has an excellent message on this  here.

Pastor Chris


Look to the Rock

As I was jogging down the hill this morning (I crawled up in the first phase) I was listening to the great messages by Keller and Clowney on preaching Christ in a postmodern world.  See more about these lectures (free to download) here .

Keller mentioned a very important book in one of his lectures by Alec Motyer: Look to the Rock: An Old Testament background to our understanding of Christ .

I was very excited when I heard about this book and I was getting ready to put it on my wishlist at Amazon.  UNFORTUNATELY, even though the book is only about $10-15 dollars, it is out of stock everywhere (including at IVP), and the cheapest copy at Amazon is almost $350.00.

Thank God it is available at   Google books .  That is not my favorite was to read a book, but at least it is available.

I hope that I will find it soon in hard copy so I can buy it.  From what Keller said in his lecture, it promises to be a great book for understanding the Old Testament background of Christ.

And I like the title too: Look to the Rock! AMEN!


Learning Biblical Aramaic

Thanks to Balshanut , I found this website with introductory lessons in Biblical Aramaic.

You can download all the lessons for free.

It seems to me, that these lessons are valuable, especially if you are not willing to spend the money and buy one of the available grammars (most of them are fairly expensive – the only exception is the fairly old one by Algers F. Johns).


PREACHING GENESIS

I started (yet) a new website. It is called Preaching Genesis.

The idea is to use this site as an aid for those who preach through Genesis and do not have access to some of the resources that I do.

I have been preaching through Genesis for a few years now (I am in chapter 22), and I enjoy very much the learning process (I hope the congregation does too :)).  I will gradually post my notes and slides, when I find the time to do it.

Since it is a bit easier for me, I will probably post some of my most recent files first (like Genesis 22).

I hope to receive some comments, illustrations, and other ideas on preaching from this great and foundational book of the Bible.

Shalom,

Chris


The Book of PSALMS

The book of Psalms is one of my favorite books of the Bible.

Here is what seems to me to be a fine blog on the PSALTER. Enjoy!

Chris


A Matter of FAITH

Elisha Refusing the Gifts of Naaman - Pieter de Grebber

This morning I was reading 2 Kings 4-7 and something unusual caught my eyes.  In chapter 5 the text speaks of a certain Naaman, a commander of the army of the king of Syria.  The pagan king of Syria “was leaning” on Naaman’s arm.

Chapter 7, on the other hand, speaks about another commander, the captain on whose hand the king of Israel leaned.

Both of these military figures are faced with difficult situations, and they are also confronted by the Word of God.  One is a leper (Naaman), and the other is facing famine and a siege.  For both the only hope is Elisha, the man of God who speaks the Word of God.

What makes this juxtaposition of characters somewhat shocking (and really a rebuke to Israel and its people) is that the foreigner, the one on whom the pagan king of Syria leaned, believed the Word, obeyed it, and lived, while the Israelite captain did not believe the Word of God spoken through Elisha and died in unbelief.

A fairly long passage is dedicated in the Bible to the foreigner Naaman who believed and was healed.  By contrast, the unbelieving Israelite captain (serving an unbelieving king – Joram son of Ahab) has a sad end, repeated twice in chapter 7 (vv. 17 and 20): … and the people trampled him in the gate, so he died, as the man of God had said

There are many trials and exceptional situations in a man’s life.  Help us LORD to believe you and your Word in a world and culture of unbelief.

Healing and life is only in a life of FAITH!

Pastor Chris


Jerusalem, Hebrew, etc

I offer the following (from our friends at HebrewOnline) as a tribute to Jerusalem and as a small Hebrew lesson.

On May 12, 1968, the government of Israel proclaimed a new holiday – Jerusalem Day – to be celebrated on the 28th of Iyar, the Hebrew date on which the divided city of Jerusalem became united. This year Yom Yerushalayim falls on May 22nd 2009.

!יוֹם יְרוּשָׁלַיִם שָׂמֵחַ
Yom Yerushalayim Same’ax!
Happy Jerusalem Day!

As a background, during the 6-day war, Jordan joined Egypt and Syria and attacked Israel from the East. On the second day of the war, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) captured Mount Scopus (הַר הַצּוֹפִים, har hatsofim) and besieged the Old City. On the third day of the war, on June 7th 1967, the Paratroopers Brigade (חֲטִיבַת הַצַּנְחָנִים, xativat hatsanxanim), under the command of Colonel Motta Gur entered the Old City through the Lions’ Gate (שַׁעַר הָאֲרָיוֹת, sha’ar ha’arayot). At 10:00AM Motta Gur announced: “The Temple Mount is in our hands, Over!… All forces Cease Fire. Over!” (“!הַר הַבַּיִת בְּיָדֵינוּ, עֲבֹר!… כָּל הַכּוֹחוֹת חָדַל אֵשׁ. עֲבֹר”).

You can watch the entrance into the Old City and listen to the words of Motta Gur and Moshed Dayan here.

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A Great Offer From LOGOS

Thanks to  Philip Sumpter, I found out about a new offer from LOGOS.

Without his permission (though I am sure he would not mind), I post his message below.

LOGOS has come up with yet another mouth watering pre-pub offer which just makes me yearn … for money to be able to afford it all! This time its a large section of the so-called Continental Commentary Series, though I’m not entirely sure why it’s called “continental” and not just “German” (does “German” critical scholarship raise too many negative associations?).

So anyway, it costs $300 dollars instead of the Logos sale price of $600. If there is a random philanthropist out there looking for a budding Old Testament scholar to support, leave a note in the comments and I’ll send you my back details.

I especially like his last sentence, though I doubt that too many random philanthropists are roaming around, especially these days! 🙂


Watch Out for BARBARIANS!

These days I am reading a nice little book by John Currid: Calvin and the Biblical Languages. Reading this my respect for Calvin and the Genevan reformation is growing. I found out that the Geneva Academy (started by Calvin) had a great influence on the founding of University of Leiden, University of Edinburgh, and Emmanuel College at Cambridge. The influence was especially essential on the importance of Biblical languages.

After more that fifty years from the founding of University of Leiden, the great Hebrew scholar Sixtinus Amama wrote a book entitled Anti-Barbarus Biblicus (1628).  It his dedication to the founders of the university and he

“reminds them how fifty-seven years ago the States of Holland founded the University of Leiden in order to drive out barbarism, to protect the purified religion and to preserve the study of literature…In the foreward Amama explains the title Anti-Barbarus Biblicus.  The barbarism which he is attacking is the neglect of Greek and Hebrew.  The barbarians are those who can learn these languages but do not wish to do so. Amama wants to show how the neglect of Greek and Hebrew leads to a biblical barbarism and the decline of true religion…”

As far as I know, most liberal schools took Biblical languages out of their curriculum.  However, I doubt that they consider themselves as ‘barbarians.’  According to Amama, they are.  And so are the rest “who can learn these languages but do not wish to do so…”

Well said AMAMA.

I better get back to my language study.  You should too.  After all, Bitzer Was a Banker and he still studied Greek and Hebrew.  How much more should Christian ministers, missionaries, etc.

[The quotation is from pp. 75-76 from P. T. Van Rooden, Theology, Biblical Scholarship and Rabbinical Studies in the Seventeenth Century (Leiden: Brill, 1989), p. 68].


And Again – A Grammar for the Septuagint (LXX)

I still have not found a good grammer for the Septuagint (LXX).  The only ones I know of (see here) are very old.

However – you may want to take a look at the handouts of my former professor  Albert Pietersma.  They seem to be based on the NT grammar of Goetchius.

I think you will find the handouts very useful.


Wadi Faynan and the Archaeology of Jordan

Last weekend (on Saturday) I had the great privilege to go on a great trip to Wadi Faynan in Jordan.  The trip was supposed to include a couple of friends living in Jordan, one from US and one from UK, but both fluent in Arabic.  Unfortunately, our friend (Chris Dawson) from UK could not make it, so only two of us drove by the ‘Cities of the Plain’ east of the Dead Sea to our destination (about 3 hrs).

When we got close to Wadi Faynan we stopped in an Arab village and Mark (the friend from US married to a Jordanian) started to negotiate for a truck to take us to Khirbat en-Nahas and a few other places.  After about 1 hour of searching and negotiations we found just the right person and truck (a Toyota 4×4) to take us there.  Our rental, given the difficult terrain, had no chance to make it that far.

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On the Concept of JOY

I am somewhat obsessed with joy.  It is not that I am an especially joyful person;  but I wish to be more joyful, especially since joy is a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Well – recently I was given the chance to write an article about joy for a Bible dictionary.  I will post the text below.  I wish I had the time to do more research, and I hope to come back to this subject in much more detail (I had a limit of 800 words).

Meanwhile, before I post my text, I would like to list this relevant note from John Piper (www.desiringgod.org) about Benjamin Franklin (deist) and George Whitefield:

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A Procedure for Exegesis

I am posting this for the benefit of students of Hebrew exegesis.

I received it from my brother, and it seems to belong to Kenneth Matthews.

I hope that it is useful to all who take a look at it.

Blessings,

Cristian

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