Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Podcast Interview on Restitutio (Sean Finnegan)

A few weeks ago I was interviewed by Sean Finnegan on his Restitutio podcast.

I'm looking forward to meeting Sean and among others, Dale Tuggy, Lord willing, at the theological conference in Atlanta next week. Dale was formerly a philosophy professor at a New York university. On his recent "Trinities" podcast, Dale discusses the "Biblical Words for God and His Son". Here is the YouTube version, which includes slides. Good stuff!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

After listening to my lecture on the "Son of God in the Bible" (see previous post) a facebook friend asked me:
"With charity and love for you, may I ask you to express your convictions for why your argument for the non-deity of "the Son of God" (with the definite article), should be respectfully received when for twenty-three-plus years you have publicly espoused His deity?

Here's my answer, slightly edited:
In short, indeed, it is the study of Scripture that has brought me to understand that “For us there is one God, the Father… and one Lord, Jesus the Messiah…”(I Cor. 8:6). “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus” (1 Tim. 2:5). Verses like these are all over the Bible. In the talk on the Son of God, you can see that I am approaching the topic from a biblical perspective. What does the Bible say? People can speculate that Son of God has some other, to quote trinitarians, “ontological” meaning, but that’s human (Greek philosophical) speculation. Show me in the Bible where Son of God means deity. In every occurrence in the Scripture, Son of God means a created being, not “God”.

Indeed I grew up in the trinitarian atmosphere and knew nothing different. I approached the Scriptures with a trinitarian bias. I have come to recognize that bias. Once again, it is my belief in the authority of the Scripture that broke that bias. For that emphasis on the authority of the Scriptures I can be thankful to the evangelical background from which I’ve sprung. But the Scriptures and the Trinity eventually collide.

Let me suggest another angle from which to look at my situation. I was ready to give up a job, a home, friends, family, “church” community, living in Israel, and endure slander and lies. Why? Once again, the authority of Scripture. I don’t know you so well, but for the people who know me better, let me assure them that I haven’t changed in a very key way. I’m still seeking God and His kingdom. It may be that I believe what I do because I’m not seeking glory from men, but from the only God (John 5:44).

_ _ _ _ 

If you are still reading, and you want to hear a similar testimony of a brother that's been in the truth a lot longer than me, see here. That brother's home page has a list of verses and topics that may be worth perusal as you study the Scriptures.

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Son of God in the Bible

"Son of God" is a name, title, and position defined in the Bible. The title in the Bible always refers to created beings, particularly humans. Unfortunately, "Son of God" has been re-defined in Greek philosophical terms beginning about the middle of the 2nd century AD, that is, 100s of years after Jesus lived on earth. Biblically, the name does not imply deity. In the Bible, there are a number of humans called the Son (or Sons) of God. In the Old Testament, this is especially the case for the nation of Israel and of a descendant of King David whom the LORD God appoints as Messiah King. The title finds it's the fullest meaning in the uniquely begotten Son of God, Jesus the Messiah. I've posted a video lecture called the "Son of God in the Bible." It's time we return to the biblical understanding of such an important concept and person as "Son of God", and not rely on a definition created by philosophically-Greek-thinking Gentiles in the centuries after Jesus was on the earth.

Monday, March 26, 2018

This is a more personal note that gives a bit of an introduction as to why I planned to resign from my position after 23 years at The Master's University - Israel Bible Extension. Many people have asked me and my wife "What's up?". Let me first say that I am grateful to The Master's University for their interest and investment in the Israel program all these years. I know the Lord has worked in many peoples' lives through the program. It is sad (but I see the Lord's sovereignty even here) that my intended resignation turned into a nasty termination. I would have preferred a parting of "thanks much and God bless" from both sides but alas, it was not to be. I pray for the ministry of The Master's University and the IBEX program. May the Lord God of Israel bless you!

I can assure friends and former students that I have not "rejected our Lord". My faith in God the Father and in His Son Jesus the Messiah is as strong, yea verily, stronger than it has ever been. I would recommend to people to let the Lord Jesus be the judge of the condition of my soul. He will be the judge of yours as well. If anyone is "teaching as doctrines the precepts of men" they will be found out. Jesus the Messiah is "the faithful witness, the first-born from the dead, and the ruler of kings on earth. He loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood and made us a kingdom, priests to his God and Father." The Lord God will "judge the world in righteousness by a man whom He has appointed, and of this He has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead."

In my study of the Scriptures, I put together notes on typical trinitarian proof texts (Philippians 2, Colossians 1-2, selected verses in the Gospel of John, etc., etc., we all know them well). Then after doing the study, I discovered that others have already done similar work, with great ability and clarity. Here are a few books and website resources:

The book by Anthony Buzzard and Charles Hunting: The Doctrine of Trinity: Christianity's Self-Inflicted Wound. You owe it to yourself to read this book. The chapters "The Nature of Preexistence in the New Testament" and "John, Preexistence and the Trinity" are insightful.
Restoration Fellowship is the website run by the same author.

The God of Jesus by Kegan Chandler heads this list of books.
Chandler's website is here. Take 8 minutes and watch the video toward the bottom of that home-page. His blog is here.

Sean Finnegan at Restitutio speaks and writes well. I pray the Lord will raise up 10,000 more like Sean and Kegan.

The Trinity Delusion is a Youtube site that covers a lot of bases (OK, the videos aren't glitzy). His webpage answers many trinitarian claims, organized by Scripture references, and topics.

21st Century Reformation is a good resource. The general editor of that site, Dan Gill, wrote a very readable book describing biblical evidence that there is One God, the Father, and one Lord, Jesus the Messiah.

There are lots more (e.g., The Human Messiah Jesus) but I'll wrap up for now. Maybe just a word about our family. In God's grace, we are well. Steph and I have had a keen sense of the Lord's sovereignty through these somewhat unexpected times. I've had a new job offer in Israel. We'll see. My elderly parents are managing on their own but the time may soon come when they will need assistance. Rachel and Mike, and their little baby Benjamin are doing well in Phoenix. Zach and Isaiah are on spring break in the snows of Norway. They are both trying to become Israeli citizens and join the Israeli military. Nothing certain yet, but there are some new developments for them in that regard. Eitan, I hate to admit it, is probably better than me in volleyball now. Sarah (Sasa) is still our bundle of energy (and usually joy). "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus the Messiah, who has blessed us in Messiah with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as He chose us in him before the foundation of the world..."

Update: because of the emotional nature of my parting from the TMU-IBEX program it is best that all comments be directed to me personally at schlegel4@gmail.com.

"Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God; and whoever loves the Father loves the child born of Him" (1 John 5:1, NAS).

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Israel's Persistence as a People and Nation

All nations and all kingdoms of men will come to an end. There is only one exception: Israel. Israel also as a nation and people would have come to an end (Isa. 1:9, Psa. 124, Deu. 9:4). They wanted to “become like all nations” and would have, except for God’s promise. God promised that Israel’s persistence as a people and nation would be a witness to all the world that He, Yahweh, is God (Isa. 66:22, Eze. 36:22-23). Israel became like the Canaanites and deserved destruction. But because of God’s plan and promise, because of God’s power – not because of Israel’s goodness or greatness - Israel persists. There was restoration. No other nation has the promise of God for perpetual survival or, more specifically, for restoration like Israel. If or when America, Russia, China, and all other nations come to an end, there is no divine promise for restoration. Mankind should be able to observe the rise and fall of all nations, except for one, and know that “Yahweh, He is God.” 

"For as the new heavens and the new earth that I make shall remain before me, says the LORD, so shall your offspring and your name remain”(Isaiah 66:22).

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Did Jesus "become sin" for us?

Most English translations of 2 Corinthians 5:21 state that for our sake God made Jesus who “knew no sin to be sin.”  A better understanding and translation of this verse is that “for our sake He made him who knew no sin to be a sin offering.”

In Hebrew, the word חטאת hatat can be both “sin” and “sin offering”. There are many examples of both uses. The two meanings can be seen in a comparison of, for example, Lev. 4:14 and Psa. 32:5 (sin), to Lev. 4:24 and Ezek. 40:39 (sin offering).  The same word is used for both “sin” and “sin offering” because the “sin offering” becomes the symbol or representation of sin.  The sin offering becomes the substitutionary means by which the guilt and punishment of the sin is removed.  But the animal which was given as a “sin offering” was innocent.  The animal didn’t become sin, but became the innocent “sin offering” replacement for the guilty sinner.

Jesus didn’t “become sin” on our behalf, but he became the “sin offering”.  The Innocent One bore our sin and sin’s penalty on our behalf.  The Messiah-sin-offering was God’s desire and means of reconciling the world to Himself (Gal. 1:4).  God the Father did not, to quote a modern praise song, “turn his face away” from the sin offering. That implies that the Father didn’t accept the offering, or that Jesus became detestable to the Father.  Rather, it was the will of the Father for the Messiah to offer himself (Gal. 1:4, 2 Cor. 5:19). And the Father was pleased by the offering (John 8:29). Messiah’s self-sacrifice was “a fragrant offering and sacrifice to God” (Eph. 5:2).

The Son of Man servant who gave “his life as a ransom for many” (Mark 10:45) was pleasing to the Father.  “Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights” (Isaiah 42:1, Matt. 12:18).

The current translations of 2 Corinthians 5:21 appear to be an example of misunderstanding Scripture because of a lack of Old Testament backgrounds. It is important to note (as others have pointed out when this was first posted) that the Greek translation of the Old Testament (LXX) likewise represents "sin" and "sin offering" with the same word (a`marti,a).  Paul knew the nuance between “sin” and “sin offering”, using a`marti,a in 2 Cor. 5:21 to express both meanings to his Greek-speaking readers. The author of the Book of Hebrews likewise says that Messiah’s one time sacrifice makes it unnecessary for any additional “sin offering” (Heb. 10:14-18).

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Galatians 1:1-10 Deliverance from the Present Evil Age

Galatians 1:1-10 Deliverance from the Present Evil Age
The death of Jesus was a rescue operation.  Jesus the Messiah gave himself for our sins to deliver us from this present evil age.  Indeed we've seen and experienced the goodness of God in this age, but we also know that evil has penetrated this world.  There is deception, unrighteousness, murder, slaughter, pain, and death.  The good news is that there is a way out, provided for by the will of God our Father. Paul became a faithfull messenger of this good news.  49 minutes, English and Hebrew