Wild Beasts at Ephesus

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Crux Interpretum: Perplexing difficulty

Warning: Never try to interpret scripture without first praying.

Did the apostle Paul actually fight with wild beasts at Ephesus? Where did you get that idea? Well, Paul said right in 1 Corinthians 15:32 “I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus”. That’s the abridged version. Let’s look at this a little closer to see what he really said, and what he really meant by it. Was it to tell that incidentally he fought wild beasts or did he have another point in mind, and if so what was it?

The actual text: “If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.”

The context: Paul was writing to the Corinthians in this letter from Ephesus. All of 1 Corinthians 15 is devoted to the hope of the bodily resurrection of believers in Jesus Christ and his atoning sacrifice on the cross.
Well, what actually happened then? Did he fight wild beasts? And what kind of beasts were they? Real animals, a philosophy, those who opposed his beliefs? Should we interpret the statement Paul made about his experience while in Ephesus literally or figuratively?

Literal interpretation:

That he actually fought wild beasts in one such 25,000 person arena in Ephesus for that purpose.

Problems with this idea:

  • If he had done so because of persecution for his faith and willing to die for it it would only make sense if he believed in the bodily resurrection. Otherwise subjecting himself to any such persecution would be
  • This event of actually fighting wild beasts in this fashion is highly implausible. 1) Paul most likely would not have survived it. 2) He does not recount it along with his other sufferings and hardships in 2 Corinthians 11:23-29. He makes no mention of it in Acts. 3) If he had been thrown ad bestias he would have lost his Roman citizenship. We know that he still held it when he went before Ceasar. (see Acts)

Figurative Intepretation:

Paul preached to the wild beasts, those who opposed him with whom he contended for the gospel.

  • Since Plato and at least up until that time, “fighting the wild beasts” was euphemistic for struggling with human passions. This school of thought was that of the Epicureans who held the “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.” school of thought, ie. “If after the manner of men”. Essentially, Paul was contrasting the Christian faith to the Epicurean philosphophy that held no resurrection hope. Many of these people where his most violent and dangerous enemies as he preached a belief system that so opposed their ideaology, one they even felt threatened their economy later stimulating a riot.

Discerning the Central Point

Now take a look at the verse again. Think of it as a sandwich with the center words in bold as the main point of the statement and the words in italics which come both before and after them as the bread, used to illustrate and contrast the point. Yum. Do you get it now?

If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus,
what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not?
let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

When we study scripture, how often we miss the point by focusing on the peripherals. For centuries people have debated this “wild beasts” issue. It is interesting enough to look into, but when we gain a better understanding of the context and use scripture to interpret scripture we become enlightened as to it’s actual purpose.

Paul was not arguing for arguments sake, it was a matter of life and death. In Paul’s rhetoric passage on the resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15 he is trying to emphasize the idea that all the preaching and contending for the faith would be in vain without the hope of the bodily resurrection. Without that hope there is no faith to contend for. If there was no resurrection one might as well live like the Epicureans, giving into human passions. Yet, whatever happened there was for some spiritual benefit, and not done merely on human terms.

1 Corinthians 15 is a prime example of a text that expounds on doctrine and provides many good proofs as evidence to it’s substance. It is to be taken as a literal and valid truth, yet in it’s explanation some figurative speech is used. Paul was a great orator. A man of rhetoric. He chose his words wisely according to his audience. He believed, as should we, in the inerrant, infallible, irrefutable living Word of God.

Did Paul really fight will wild beasts? It is safe to conclude that given the nature of his rhetoric in this passage, which is rich in other analogous examples (ie. Jewish feasts, baptism, prophecy, etc.) that yes, he did, figuratively.

1 Corinthians 15 ~ for further study

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Ancient Verses for Today

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Here is a parchment leaf from an ancient Greek codex, about the 5th century AD, with verses from Psalm 3:4-8. When I consider the antiquity of God’s Word, preserved through the ages, not one jot or tittle having been lost, it gives me such a sense of security and hope.

Psalm 3:4-8

To the LORD I cry aloud,
and he answers me from his holy hill.
Selah

I lie down and sleep;
I wake again, because the LORD sustains me.

I will not fear the tens of thousands
drawn up against me on every side.

Arise, O LORD!
Deliver me, O my God!
Strike all my enemies on the jaw;
break the teeth of the wicked.

From the LORD comes deliverance.
May your blessing be on your people.
Selah

Read about the oldest surviving manuscript of the New Testiment containing the Pauline Epistles.

Who is This Jesus?

He found him in a desert land, and in the
waste howling wilderness; he led him about,
he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye …
Deuteronomy 32:10

I have seen his ways, and will heal him:
I will lead him also, and restore comforts unto him …
Isaiah 57:18

WHO IS THIS JESUS?

Genesis: He is the “Seed of Woman” (Genesis 3:15)
Exodus: He is the “Passover Lamb” (Exodus 12:3-13)
Leviticus: He is our Great “High Priest” (Lev. Chap 8 & 9)
(Heb. Chap 8, 9 & 10)
Numbers: He is the “Pillar of Cloud by day and Pillar of Fire by night” (Num. 14:14) (Nehemiah 9:12 & 19)
Deuteronomy: He is the “Prophet like unto Moses” (Deut. 18:15 – 22)
(Acts 3: 22 – 26)
Joshua: He is the “Captain of our Salvation” (Joshua 5:14)
(Hebrews 2: 10)
Judges: He is our “Lawgiver” (Judges – Entire Book)
Ruth: He is our “Kinsman – Redeemer” (Ruth 4:11 – 22)
1 & 2 Samuel: He is our “Trusted Prophet” (2 Samuel 22:2 – 3)
(Hebrews 2: 13)
1 & 2 Kings: He is our “Reigning King” (1 & 2 Kings-Entire Books)
1 & 2 Chronicles: He is our “Reigning King” (1 & 2 Chronicles-Entire Books)
Ezra: He is our “Faithful Scribe” (Ezra – Entire Book)
Nehemiah: He is the “Rebuilder of the broken-down walls of human lives” (Entire Book)
Rebuilt Jerusalem (Chapters 7 & 8 — They gathered the people together to reorganize their lives.)
Esther: He is our “Mordecai” (Esther: Chapter 10 – Greatness of Mordecai)
Job: He is our “Day’s Spring from on High and Ever-living Redeemer. . . . .”
(Spring of Faith – Job 19:25 – 27)
(God’s Speech – Job, Chapters 38 – 41)
(Job’s Restoration – (Job, Chapter 42)
Psalms: He is the “Lord our Shepherd” (Psalms 23)
He is our “Secret Place of the Most High” (Psalms 91)
Proverbs: He is our “Wisdom” (Proverbs – Entire Book)
Ecclesiastes: He is our “Wisdom” (Ecclesiastes-Entire Book)
Song of Solomon: He is the “Lover and a Bridegroom” (Solomon – Entire Book)
Isaiah: He is the “Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6)
Jeremiah: He is the “Righteous Branch” (Jeremiah 23:5)
Lamentations: He is the “Weeping Prophet” (Lamentations 1:16-22)
Ezekiel: He is the “Wonderful Four-Faced Man” (Ezekiel 1:5-6)
Daniel: He is the “Fourth Man in the Burning, Fiery Furnace“ (Daniel 3:25)
Hosea: He is the “Faithful Husband Forever Married to the Backslider” (Hosea 2:13-23)
Joel: He is the “Baptizer in the Holy Ghost and Fire” (Joel 2:28-29)
Amos: He is the “Burden-Bearer” (Amos 9:11-15)
Obadiah: He is the “Mighty to Save” (Obadiah 21)
Jonah: He is our “Great Foreign Missionary” (Jonah 3:1-10)
Micah:He is the “Messenger of the Beautiful Feet” (Micah 4:1-7, Nahum 1:15, Isaiah 52:7)
Nahum: He is the “Avenger of God’s Elect“ (Nahum: Chapters 1 & 2)
Habakkuk: He is “God’s Evangelist, (Habakkuk 3:13)
Crying Revive Thy Work in the Midst of the Years” (Habakkuk 3:2)
Zephaniah: He is the “Saviour” (Zephaniah 3:14 – 20)
Haggai: He is the “Restorer of God’s Lost Heritage” (Haggai – Entire Book)
Zechariah: He is the “Fountain Opened in the House of David (Zechariah 13:1)
for Sin and Uncleanness” (Zechariah: Chap. 13 & 14)
Malachi: He is the “Sun of Righteousness Rising With Healing in His Wings” (Malachi 4:2)

WHO IS THIS JESUS?

Matthew: He is the “Messiah” (Matthew 16:16 – 17)
Mark: He is the “Wonder-Worker” (Mark – Entire Book)
Luke: He is the “Son of Man“ (Luke 5:24, 6:5, 22, 7:34, 9:22, 26, 44, 56, 58, 11:30, 12:8, 10, 40, 17:22, 24, 26, 30, 18:8, 31, 19:10, 21:27, 36, 22:22, 48, 69, 24:7)
John: He is the “Son of God“ (John 1:18, 34, 49, 3:16, 17, 18, 35, 36, 5:19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 25, 26, 6:40, 69, 8 : 35, 36, 9:35, 10:36, 11:4, 27, 14:13, 17:1, 19:7, 20:31)
The Acts: He is the “Holy Spirit” (Acts – Entire Book)
Romans: He is our “Justifier” (Romans 3:26)
1 & 2 Corinthians: He is the “Gifts of The Spirit” (1 Cor. 12:1, 4, 9, 28, 30, 31, 14:1, 12- 2 Cor. 9:15)
Galatians: He is our “Redeemer from the Curse of the Law” (Galatians 3:10, 13)
Ephesians: He is the “Christ of Unsearchable Riches“ (Ephesians 3:8)
Philippians: He is the “God that Supplies All of our Needs“ (Philippians 1:19, 4: 19)
Colossians: He is the “Fulness of the God-Head, Bodily” (Colossians 1:19, 2:9)
1 & 2 Thessalonians: He is our “Soon-Coming King” (1 Thes. 2:19, 3:13, 4:15, 5:23 – 2 Thes. 2:1, 8, 9)
1 & 2 Timothy: He is our “Mediator Between God and Man” (1 Tim. 2:5 – 2 Tim. 2: 9, 10)
(Heb. 8:6, 9:15, 12:24)
Titus: He is our “Faithful Pastor“ (Titus – Entire Book)
Philemon: He is the “Friend that Sticketh Closer than a Brother” (Philemon -Entire Book)
Hebrews: He is the “Blood of the Everlasting Covenant” (Hebrews 13:20, Chap 2 thru 13)
James: He is our “Great Physician” (James 5:14 – 18)
1 & 2 Peter: He is the “Chief Shepherd, Who Soon Shall Appear (1 Pet. 5:4- 2 Pet.-Entire Book)
1,2 & 3 John: He is the “Everlasting Love” (1 John 2:5, 3:1 – All of Chapters 3, 4 & 5)
(2 John – Entire Book of 13 verses) (1 John – Entire Book of 14 verses)
Jude: He is the “Lord Coming with Ten-Thousands of His Saints” (Jude: Verses 14 & 15)
Revelation: He is the “King Of Kings and Lord of Lords” (Rev. 17:14, All of Rev. Chapter 22)

WHO IS THIS JESUS?

He is Abel’s Sacrifice (Genesis 4:4)
He is Noah’s Rainbow (Genesis 9:13, 14 & 16) – (Revelation 4:3, 10:1)
He is Abraham’s Ram (Genesis 22: Entire Chapter) – (Ram, see Chapter 22:13)
He is Isaac’s Wells (Genesis 26:15 thru 33)
He is Jacob’s Ladder (Genesis 28:12 thru 22)
He is Issachar’s Burdens (Genesis 49:14, 15)
He is Samuel’s Horn of Oil (1 Samuel 16:1 Thru 13)
He’s David’s Slingshot (1 Samuel Chapter 17)
He’s Isaiah’s Fig Poltice (2 Kings 20:5 – 7 & Isaiah 38:21)
He’s Hezekiah’s Sun-Dial (2 Kings 20:9 – 11 & Isaiah 38:8)
He’s John’s Pearly, White City (Revelation – Entire Chapter 21 – Pearls, Verse 21)
He’s Peter’s Healing Shadow (Acts 5:15)
He’s Paul’s Handkerchiefs and Aprons (Acts 19:12)
He’s a Husband to the Widow (Isaiah 54:4 – 6, Psalms 146:9)
Father to the Orphan. (Lamentations 5:3, Psalms 146:9)
He’s the Pearl of Great Price (Matthew 13:46)
and a Shadow of a Great Rock in a Weary Land (Isaiah 32:2)
He’s the Prince of Peace (Isaiah 9:6)
and the Government of my life and your life is upon His Shoulders (Isaiah 9:6)

He is Jesus of Nazareth – The SON OF THE LIVING GOD!

by David DuBoic, public domain

12 Scary Church Words

Here is a glossary of a dozen words that are a little uncommon in everyday language and therefore can be intimidating to non-theologians and theologians alike. You will often hear these words during the Easter season as well, concerning the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. So just in case you were scratching your head, fear no more.
Sin
Sin is anything that is contrary to the law or will of God. For example: if you lie, you have sinned. Why? Because God has said not to lie (Exodus 20:16). If you do what God has forbidden, then you have sinned. In addition, if you do not do what God has commanded, you sin (James 4:17). Either way, the result is eternal separation from God (Isaiah 59:2). Sin is lawlessness (1 John 1:3) and unrighteousness (1 John 5:17). Sin leads to bondage (Rom. 6:14-20) and death (Rom. 6:23).
Paul, in the book of Romans, discusses sin. He shows that everyone, both Jew and Greek, is under sin (Rom. 3:9). He shows that sin is not simply something that is done, but a condition of the heart (Rom. 3:10-12). In Ephesians Paul says that we are “by nature children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). Yet, “while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).

Repentance
To repent means to turn. In the NT repentance means to turn from sin. We were called by God to turn from sin. In fact, all men everywhere are commanded by God to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). God’s longsuffering leads us to repentance (2 Pet. 3:9) as does His kindness (Rom. 2:4).
There is true and false repentance, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death” (2 Cor. 7:10).

Forgiveness
There are seven words in Scripture that denote the idea of forgiveness: three in Hebrew and four in Greek. No book of religion except Christianity teaches that God completely forgives sins. God remembers our sins no more (Heb. 10:17). God is the initiator of forgiveness (Col. 2:13).
There is only one sin for which the Father does not promise forgiveness: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:28; Matt. 12:32). The contexts suggest this to be the sin of attributing to unclean spirits the work of the Holy Spirit.
For man to receive forgiveness, repentance is necessary (Luke 17:3-4). For the holy God to extend forgiveness, the shedding of blood is necessary (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11). Forgiveness is based upon the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.

Regeneration
The act of God whereby He renews the spiritual condition of a sinner. It is a spiritual change brought about by the work of the Holy Spirit so that the person then possesses new life, eternal life. Regeneration is a change in our moral and spiritual nature where justification is a change in our relationship with God. Also, sanctification is the work of God in us to make us more like Jesus. Regeneration is the beginning of that change. It means to be born again.

Sanctify, Sanctification
To sanctify means to be set apart for a holy use. God has set us apart for the purpose of sanctification not impurity (1 Thess. 4:7) and being such we are called to do good works (Eph. 2:10).
Christians are to sanctify Christ as Lord in their hearts (1 Pet. 3:15). God sanctified Israel as His own special nation (Ezek. 27:28). People can be sanctified (Exodus 19:10,14) and so can a mountain (Exodus 19:23), as can the Sabbath day (Gen. 2:3), and every created thing is sanctified through the word of God and prayer (1 Tim. 4:4).1
Sanctification follows justification. In justification our sins are completely forgiven in Christ. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit makes us more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. True sanctification is impossible apart from the atoning work of Christ on the cross because only after our sins are forgiven can we begin to lead a holy life.

Resurrection, resurrection bodies
Resurrection means to be raised from the dead (John 5:28, 29). The word is used in different contexts in the Bible. Lazarus was raised from the dead (John 11:43). This is a resurrection, but it is not part of the resurrection that occurs when we receive our new bodies when Christ returns (1 Thess. 4:13-18), on the last day (John 6:39-44) when the last trumpet is blown (1Cor. 15:51-55). Lazarus died again. The resurrection of Jesus is promissory in that as we know He was raised, so we will be raised also. In that context, Jesus is the only one who has received a resurrected body. That is why He is called the first-fruit from the dead (1 Cor. 15:20-23). We will receive our bodies either at the rapture or when Jesus returns to earth.The resurrected body is not subject to death or sin. We know very little about it except what was manifested by Jesus after His resurrection; namely, that He was able to move about as He desired — in and out of rooms without the use of doors. Other than that, the rest is conjecture. (See 1 Cor. 15).

Atonement
To atone means to make amends, to repair a wrong done. Biblically, it means to remove sin. The Old Testament atonements offered by the high priest were temporary and a foreshadow of the real and final atonement made by Jesus. Jesus atoned for the sins of the world (1 John 2:2). This atonement is received by faith (Rom. 5:1; Eph. 2:8-9).
Man is a sinner (Rom. 5:8) and cannot atone for himself. Therefore, it was the love of the Father that sent Jesus (1 John 4:10) to die in our place (1 Pet. 3:18) for our sins (1 Pet. 2:24). Because of the atonement, our fellowship with God is restored (Rom. 5:10). (See Reconciliation.)

Expiation
The cancellation of sin. Expiation and propitiation are similar but expiation does not carry the implication of dealing with wrath, of appeasing it through a sacrifice. Generally speaking, propitiation cancels sin and deals with God’s wrath. Expiation is simply the cancellation of sin. Jesus was our propitiation (1 John 2:2; 4:10 — “atoning sacrifice” in the NIV).

Propitiation
This means the turning away of wrath by an offering. It is similar to expiation but expiation does not carry the nuances involving wrath. For the Christian the propitiation was the shed blood of Jesus on the cross. It turned away the wrath of God so that He could pass “over the sins previously committed” (Rom. 3:25). It was the Father who sent the Son to be the propitiation (1 John 4:10) for all (1 John 2:2).

Reconcile, Reconciliation
Reconciliation is changing for the better a relationship between two or more persons. Theologically it refers to the change of relationship between God and man. We are naturally children of wrath (Eph. 2:3), and are at enmity with God (Eph. 2:11-15); but, “…we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son…” (Rom. 5:10). Because of the death of Jesus, the Christian’s relationship with God is changed for the better. We are now able to have fellowship with Him (1 John 1:3) whereas before we could not. So, we are reconciled to Him (Rom. 5:10-11). The problem of sin that separates us from God (Isaiah 59:2) has been addressed and removed in the cross. It was accomplished by God in Christ (2 Cor. 5:18).

Redemption
Redemption means to free someone from bondage. It often involves the paying of a ransom, a price that makes redemption possible. The Israelites were redeemed from Egypt. We were redeemed from the power of sin and the curse of the Law (Gal. 3:13) through Jesus (Rom. 3:24; Col. 1:14). We were bought with a price (1 Cor. 6:20; 7:23).

Justify, Justification
To be justified is to be made righteous. It is a divine act where God declares the sinner to be innocent of his sins. It is not that the sinner is now sinless, but that he is “declared” sinless. This justification is based on the shed blood of Jesus, “…having now been justified by His blood…” (Rom. 5:9). When God sees the Christian, He sees him through the sacrifice of Jesus and “sees” him without sin. This declaration of innocence is not without cost for it required the satisfaction of God’s Law, “…without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness” (Heb. 9:22). By the sacrifice of Jesus, in the “one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men” (Rom. 5:18, NASB). In justification, the justice of God fell upon Himself–Jesus. We receive mercy–we are not judged according to our sins. And grace is shed upon us–we receive eternal life. This justification is a gift of grace (Rom. 3:24), by faith (Rom. 3:28) because Jesus bore our guilt (Isaiah 53:12).  A good way to remember what “Justification” means:  ~ just as if I never sinned ~ and that my friends, is how God views those who believe in the atoning work of Christ on the cross.

Vicarious Atonement

This article is excerpted from an article entitled “Substitutionary Atonement”, used courtesty of CARM, The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

 

    The word “vicarious” means substitute. Therefore, Christ was a substitute for others in that he took their place and suffered their punishment. It was also a legal act whereby Christ fulfilled the law and lawfully paid the penalty of sin.

    Is it biblical to say that Christ took our place and suffered our punishment? Yes it is. First of all, we see vicarious sacrifice in the Old Testament.

    Genesis 22:13, “Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him a ram caught in the thicket by his horns; and Abraham went and took the ram, and offered him up for a burnt offering in the place of his son.”

    Notice that the ram was offered in place of Isaac. This was a substitutionary sacrifice which is exactly what “vicarious” means. Further we see a prophecy of the atoning work of Christ in Isaiah. Notice the substitutionary language.

    Isaiah 53:4-5, “Surely our griefs He Himself bore, and our sorrows He carried; yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. 5 But He was pierced through for our transgressions. He was crushed for our iniquities. The chastening for our well-being fell upon Him and by His scourging we are healed.

    We see in the above verses in Isaiah that Jesus was prophesied to bear our sorrows, to be smitten of God (which is what is due us, the sinners), and that our chastening fell upon him. Can it be any clearer? What was due to us, because of our sinfulness, is what fell upon Christ. He was our substitution.

    • 2 Cor. 5:21, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
    • Rom. 4:5, “He who was delivered up because of our transgressions, and was raised because of our justification.”

    Clearly, Jesus was a substitution in that he was made sin on our behalf. Just as the RAM was offered and substitute for Isaac, Christ was offered in substitution for us. This is why the Bible says he became sin on our behalf, That he was delivered because of our transgressions, that he bore our griefs, carried our sorrows, was pierced for our transgressions, and was crushed for our iniquities.
    Jesus did what we could not. He took our place and bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and made propitiation for our sins.

    • Rom. 3:25, “whom God displayed publicly as a propitiation in His blood through faith. This was to demonstrate His righteousness, because in the forbearance of God He passed over the sins previously committed.”
    • 1 John 2:2,and He Himself is the propitiation for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for those of the whole world.
    • 1 John 4:10, In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.

    The word propitiation “properly signifies the removal of wrath by the offering of a gift.”1 Propitiation properly deals with the wrath of God. The wrath of God is due to the legal requirements of punishing the sinner. Remember, the sinner is someone who has broken the law of God; hence, the legality of punishment and since Jesus is our propitiation and turns away the lawful wrath of God, we have further evidence that Christ’s sacrifice was to avert God’s righteous wrath against odds, the sinners. Since the law of God must be met and cannot be ignored, is proper that the law be fulfilled. Jesus is the one who fulfilled the law and never sinned (1 Pet. 2:22). But, he bore our sins in his body on the cross (1 Pet. 2:24) and became sin on our behalf (2 Cor. 5:21) thereby suffering the penalty of sin, which is death.

    Christ’s death was a legal payment

    In addition to Christ’s atonement being a vicarious, it was also legal. Legality deals with the law. Sin is breaking the law of God. When a law is broken, a punishment is incurred. There is no punishment without law and there is no law without punishment. When a person is sentenced to time in prison, this is done based upon the requirements of the law. Likewise, the sentence upon the one who breaks the law of God, is death.

    2 Cor. 1:9, “indeed, we had the sentence of death within ourselves in order that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead.”

    Paul tells us that we had a “sentence of death.” This sentence is due to our breaking the law of God. Therefore, we were legally guilty before God because we broke his law. Furthermore, when Jesus was on the cross he said “It is finished,” (John 19:30). In Greek it is, “tetelistai” and it was a legal term.

    “The sixth word or saying that Jesus spoke from the cross was the single Greek work tetelestai which means ‘It is finished.Papyri receipts for taxes have been recovered with the word tetelestai written across them, meaning “paid in full.” This word on Jesus’ lips was significant. When He said, “It is finished” (not “I am finished”), He meant His redemptive work was completed. He had been made sin for people (2 Cor. 5:21) and had suffered the penalty of God’s justice which sin deserved.”

    Jesus knew the culture and he specifically used that word “tetelestai” which was used in legal statements in ancient Israel when a legal debt had been fully paid. Why was this necessary legally? Because sin only has power because of the law (legality) of God. The law has a punishment and the punishment is death.

    • 1 Cor. 15:56, “The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law.”
    • Rom. 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

    The whole atoning work of Christ was a legal action where Jesus substituted himself for sinners and paid the legal requirement of the punishment of sin, death. This is what the scriptures teach and this is the position of CARM.

    __________________
    1.
    The New Bible Dictionary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.) 1962.
    2. Walvoord, John F., and Zuck, Roy B., The Bible Knowledge Commentary, (Wheaton, Illinois: Scripture Press Publications, Inc.) 1983, 1985.

    The Atonement

    Upon the season of Easter I have been preparing Bible studies on the atonement and the resurrection of Christ. This outline is used courtesty of CARM, The Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry.

    Why is the atonement necessary? Because God is holy and we are not. Follow the outline below which leads us through scriptures that demonstrate the reason, the problem, and the solution for our sin problem.

    1. God – is the standard of righteousness
      1. Is holy (1 Sam. 2:2; Isaiah 43:3,14,15; Rev. 4:8)
      2. Just (Deut. 32:4; Psalm 89:14; 97:2; 145:17)
      3. Righteous (Psalm 145:17)
      4. Judge (Psalm 50:6; 96:10,13; Isaiah 33:3-4)
      5. Visits wrath on the ungodly (Rom. 1:18)
      6. Too pure to look upon evil (Hab. 1:13)
    2. The Law – is a reflection of His character
      1. Comes from God (Exodus 20:1-26; Isaiah 33:22; James 4:12)
      2. Is holy (Rom. 7:12)
      3. Is covenantal (Deut. 4:13,23)
      4. Inaugurated with blood (Heb. 9:18-23)
      5. Brings the knowledge of sin (Rom. 3:20)
      6. Is perfect (Psalm 19:7)
      7. Cannot make man perfect (Heb. 7:19; 10:1)
    3. Man – is the Sinner or Law Breaker
      1. Sin is breaking the Law of God (1 John 3:4)
      2. Man is a law breaker (Rom. 3:23)
      3. Original Sin – Our inherited sinful nature from Adam (Gen. 3:1-6; Rom. 5:12)
      4. Human nature – We are by nature children of wrath because we are sinners (Eph. 2:3)
        1. Heart is wicked (Jer. 17:9; Mark 7:21-23)
        2. Spiritually blind (1 Cor. 2:14)
        3. Does not seek for God (Rom. 3:11).
        4. Is lawless, rebellious, unholy, and profane (1 Tim. 1:9).
        5. Suppresses the truth of God in unrighteousness (Rom. 1:18)
        6. Futile in heart and mind (Rom. 1:21 )
        7. Man is at enmity with God (Rom. 5:10)
    4. Judgment – is God’s lawful action upon the sinner
      1. God punishes evil (Exodus 20:5; Isaiah 11:4)
      2. According to the Law (Deut. 29:21; Joshua 8:34; Rev. 21:8)
      3. Eternal punishment (Matt. 3:12; Rev. 14:11)
      4. Separation from God (Isaiah 59:2)
    5. Reconciliation – Man’s Need before God
      1. Reconciliation is the means God has ordained to make peace between Him and ourselves.
      2. We need our sin removed.
      3. We need to regain fellowship with God.
      4. We need to find God’s favor.
      5. We need to escape God’s lawful judgment.
    6. Atonement – The Means of Reconciliation
      1. The Nature of the Atonement is in the shedding of blood (Lev. 17:11)
      2. Law requirements of the atonement
      3. The sacrifice must be unblemished (Lev. 22:19)
      4. By appointed priests (1 Sam. 2:28)
      5. The High Priest had to be lawfully clean (Exodus 29:1-9;1935)
      6. Jesus as the Atonement, the Sacrifice
      7. Unblemished (1 Pet. 1:19)
      8. According to the Law (Heb. 9:22; Lev. 17:11 )
      9. As the High Priest (Heb. 4:14; 6:20)
      10. Substitutionary (1 Pet. 2:24; Isaiah 53; Eph. 5:2)
      11. Our propitiation – He removed God’s wrathful judgment (1 John 2:2; 4:10)
      12. Jesus as God and Man (Col. 2:9; Phil. 2:5-8)
      13. Man – to atone for men (Heb. 2:14; 5:1)
      14. God – to offer an infinite and satisfactory sacrifice to God (Eph. 5:2,10)
    7. Justification – Result of the Atonement
      1. We are lawfully righteous before God (Rom. 3:24-26)
      2. We are clothed in righteousness (Isaiah 61:10)
      3. We have Imputed righteousness (Rom. 4:6)
        1. Active – Christ’s obedience to the Law and his fulfillment of it (Rom. 8:3-4)
        2. Passive – Christ being led to the cross to atone for us (John 19:16-18; 1 Pet. 2:24)
      4. We escape the judgment of God (Rom. 8:1)
      5. We are restored to fellowship (1 Thess. 5:9-10)
      6. We are at peace with God (Rom. 5:1)
      7. We are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:19)
      8. We are righteous before God (2 Cor. 5:21)
      9. We have access to God (Eph. 2:18)
      10. We have an advocate with the Father (1 John 2:1)

    Akiane

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    “I want my art to draw people’s attention to God,
    and I want my poetry to keep people’s attention to God.”
    – Akiane

    Akiane Kramarik is a 12-year-old child prodigy. A realist painter and poet, she is considered the only known child binary (dual) genius.

    Akiane is internationally known. She has been inducted into the Kid’s Hall of Fame, selected as one of the top 20 artists in the world by Tribute Entertainment and ABI, featured numerous times on television and radio, and her website gets 150 million hits a year.

    When she was only three years old, Akiane met God, although her parents were both athiests and she had no exposure to Christianity. Akiane began having visions of light and sound and communicating with God. “She started talking about God. And I was an atheist, so to me it was very strange,” says her mother. “What she was saying was something real to her. At first I thought it was a nightmare… but as time went on, I understood that those experiences were real to her and soon became a reality to our family, and got eventually converted to Christianity,”

    She claims that her amazing ability to paint and write comes from inspiration from God, that He helps her to do her art. By the time she was four she started drawing . She completed her first painting at age six, and poetry at seven. Her paintings have been featured in many solo exhibits and sold for up to $50,000 a piece.

    Here are some stanzas from the poem “Conversation with God” which Akiane composed at the age of eight.

    I receive an envelope with the seal of Your lips
    As I am waiting for You I get covered with dust
    My heavy rope is full of holes and now it’s in a cast
    But why are Your gates always higher than us

    As we used to talk to each other before
    The depth for notions true friendship deepens
    Would you tear the tears from my salty fists
    The leftovers of my house are just the seeds…

    When questions question the questions
    The docile answer kneels gently on dull knife
    When I see You, Lord, my eyes do not blink
    For if I blinked I would lose my whole life

    Can I still grow up in the same womb
    Can I hide inside your whitest hair
    You say the narrow mind passes the answers
    And whoever screams cannot see or hear

    I see Your hands without the wrinkles, bones, or veins
    Just the maps, just events, just the worlds, just the time
    I see the waterfalls full of songs under stairs by Your feet
    The poems whisper by the millions from Your mouth in rhyme…”





    “God gives me this talent to share with others,
    to share others with God’s love.” – Akiane

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    Video

    Christianity Today article

    Akiane’s Website

    Akianaart