Monday, October 22, 2012

The Gospel of Matthew (Greek or Hebrew?)

The oldest extant fragment of Matthew's Gospel is in Greek:

Dates from late first or early second centuries.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Blood Covenant (Sermon Outline)

The Blood Covenant (Sermon Outline) by Bishop Jerry Hayes, TM

Text: Matthew 26:26-28 “And as they were eating, Jesus took bread, and blessed it, andbreak it, and gave it to the disciples, and said, Take, eat; this is my body. And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, Drink ye all of it; Forthis is my body of the New Testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
Hebrews 8:6, 13 “ But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established uponbetter promises. ... And that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old.

I. Introduction:
  •  Berith is translated "will,”"covenant,” and "testament," and comes from the word translated "to cut".
  •  Also from the Greek diatheke. Means to fetter (bind) by cutting. It is mentioned 300 times in Scripture.
  •  A covenant is an agreement between at least two contracting parties in which all members become one in the most radical sense of the term.
  •  A covenant is a relationship wherein the parties making the covenant bind themselves to fulfill certain conditions. • Since man is not in a position to covenant with God (because man is notan equal with God), God is sovereign in all His covenants.
A. Yahweh (Jehovah) is a God of Covenant:
  1.  Edenic Covenant (Genesis 1:26-31; 2:16-17).   
  2. Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3:16-19).   
  3. Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9:1-18).   
  4. Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-4; 13:14-17; 15:1-18; 17:1-8).    
  5.  Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 19:4-6 [YHWH's] 19:8 [Israel's] 20:1-31:18).   
  6. Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:4-16; 1 Chronicles 17:3-15).   
The New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31).
B. Our focus: The New Covenant (Jer. 31:31ff, cf Hebrews 8).    
  1. Better promises (Hebrews 8:6), i.e. The New Covenant promised remission (removal) of sins instead of atonement (a mere coveringof sin) (Hebrews 8:12 cf Matthew 26:28).   
  2. Better sacrifice (Hebrews 9:13 - 10:18) The new covenant offered the blood of the Son of God instead of the blood of animals.
C. The new covenant is the promised covenant with the houses of Judah and Israel (Jeremiah 31:31ff)
  1. The new covenant was cut at Calvary (Hebrews 8:8-12).
  2. Pentecost (A.D. 30) was the ingathering of Judah and Israel (Acts2:5)
  • Assyria and Babylon had scattered Israel (Israel and Judah).
  • Pentecost (Acts 2; AD 30) gathered the houses of Judah and Israel into one nation (1 Peter 2:9).

II. Understanding Covenant Principle:
A. The word “Covenant” (Heb: Berith [ber eeth]) always has blood contract in view. Berith means: “to fetter by cutting.”
  1. The Blood Covenant is the most ancient of contracts. The hand-shake to close a deal, or as a greeting comes from theblood covenant.
  2. In the Blood Covenant contract the parties become one. Blood covenant statements:                 a. “Blood is thicker than water.” Means: the blood covenant is more binding than the water of the womb.                                                                                                                                       b. “Blood is thicker than milk” (Arabic). Meaning: the blood covenant is more binding than the milk of a mother's breast.                                                                                                              c. “The shirt off my back.” Meaning: total communial property of covenant partners.
  3. The Blood Covenant is used by individuals, families, tribes andnations.
  4. The Blood Covenant is the most binding and sacred of contracts.
B. We may observe some Blood Covenants of the Old Testament:
  1. Yahweh /Abraham (Genesis chapters 15-17);   
  2.  Isaac/Abimelech (Genesis 26:26-31);   
  3. Jacob/Laban (Genesis 31:44-54);   
  4. David/Jonathan (1 Samuel chapter 18).
C. Particulars To The Blood Covenant: the manner of cutting a covenant.
  1. An animal is sacrificed: Usually a bull, a goat, or a lamb is killed and cut in half down the center. The two halves are separated with a pool of blood between them.
  2.  The exchange of coats: Each participant removes his coat, a sign of the tribe's identity and authority, and gives it to the other participant. By doing so, each is saying, "Everything I am, everything I represent now belongs to you."    
  3. The exchange of weapon belts: Each participant removes his weapon belt, which included his sword and bow. They would exchange these belts and, by so doing, declare to each other, "All my strength now belongs to you. Your enemies are now my enemies. My enemies are now your enemies." It was saying that when an enemy attacked then my blood covenant brother had a responsibility to defend me the same as he would himself.
  4.  The exchange of names: Each participant takes the other's name on himself. A person's name represents his individuality. This exchange of names demonstrated a death to being an "individual." Remember that covenant is the union of two people. In covenant you are no longer concerned only with yourself. Your concern now includes your blood covenant partner. You care for your blood brother the same as you care for yourself because the two of you are now one.
  5. The walk of blood: Each participant walks a path in the shape of a figure "8" between the halves of the slain animal, then stops in the middle in the midst of the pool of blood to pronounce the blessings and the curses of the covenant. It basically said, "The one who breaks this covenant will die just like this animal has died." A pledge was also made that said, "Just as this animal gave its life so I will give my life for you if necessary."
  6. The cut of the covenant: A knife is used to make an incision in either the palms or the wrists of each participant. This was to allow blood to freely flow. The Bible teaches that life is in the blood. The two participants then engage in a handclasp allowing the free flowing blood to intermingle. This symbolized the two bloods, the two lives, being joined into one blood and one life. In some cultures, the blood from each participant is mixed into a cup of wine. Each would drink from the cup demonstrating their union. The actual practice of "cutting the covenant" varies in its methods depending on the culture. When this event was finished, a substance would be rubbed into the wounds so that a scar would result. This was done so that a permanent "mark" would be left. Wherever these persons would go, each would be identified as a "covenant man" by the visible mark on their bodies.
  7.  The covenant meal: This is usually a meal of bread and wine. Each fed the other signifying that "all that I am is coming into you." The covenant meal usually ended the blood covenant ceremony. At this point a new relationship is born. It is a love relationship. This kind of love is called "Hesed" in Hebrew and "Agape'" in the Greek. It is a love that says, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
D. Blood Covenant Is Illustrated by: Story of Henry M. Stanley.
  • The visible scars of covenant protected him and his party as they traveled throughout Africa in search of David Livingstone..

III. The Old Testament Mystery Of The New Covenant
  • Mystery: A veiled hint at God’s intention for the future. (Hebrew)
  • Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, but now is made manifest , .... (Romans 16:25, 26a).
A. The Blood Covenant of David and Jonathan (1 Samuel 18) has parallels in the New Covenant.
  1. Jonathan and David made a covenant (cutting) (v3).                                                                    a. Covenant requires two contracting parties of mutual character (v. 3 “loved him as his own soul”).                                                                                                                                             b. House of Jesse and the house of Saul; one righteous the other unrighteous. Someone from the house of Saul had to have the same heart of the house of Jesse. Jonathan                             c. New Covenant parallel: Salvation required a Blood Covenant be made between the Holy God and sinful man. How? A sinless man! Jesus Christ.
  2. Exchange of garments and weapons (v. 4).                                                                                    a. Meaning: All I have is yours; all my strength is yours; your enemies are my enemies etc.     b. New Covenant parallel: Jesus took our humanity (1Timothy 3:16),and our sin (1 Peter 2:22-24); we in turn are clothed in His Holy Spirit and righteousness (Isa. 61:10; Ps132:9)
  3. The David/Jonathan covenant extended to their future generations (1 Samuel 20:42)                 a. Meaning: The blood covenant made both one blood. The two families are now one. Any act upon the other is an act upon one's self.                                                                                         b. New Covenant parallel: The Blood Covenant of Christ extends to all who believe upon His name (Deuteronomy 7:9; Romans 5:19).
B. The Blood Covenant of Yahweh and Abraham (Abrahamic) (Genesis chapters 15-17) has parallels in the New Covenant..
  1.  Melchizedek meets Abraham in the valley of Shavel and officiates the covenant memorial meal of bread and wine before the covenant is actually cut (Genesis 14:18).                               a. Meaning; Melchizedek was the tabernacled presence ofYahweh (Hebrews 7:1-3) officiating at the cutting of the Abrahamic Covenant.                                                                                    b. New Covenant parallel: Jesus the Christ is Yahweh manifested in flesh (1 Timothy 3:16) who officiated at the institution of the Lord's Supper (the Covenant meal for the New Covenant) before the Covenant was actually cut. (Matthew 26:26-28).                                        c. Only God can establish a memorial to an event before the event takes place. He knows the ending from the beginning and calls those things that be not as though they were (Isaiah 46:10 and Romans 4:17 respectively).                                                                                                     d. Melchizedek = Yahweh = Jesus Christ.
  2.  Abraham is instructed by God to take five animals to represent Him in the covenant of blood (Genesis 15:9); Abraham's blood was shed in the act of circumcision (Genesis 17:10).              a. Meaning: The Abrahamic covenant was a real blood covenant in that the blood of two contracting parties was shed.                                                                                                            aa. The blood of God in the five animals (Genesis 15:9). Yahweh says: “Take me ...” ab. Abraham's blood was shed in the act of circumcision (Genesis 17:23-24).                                    b. New Covenant parallel: Jesus was the federal head of two contracting families: God and man.                                                                                                                                                    ba. Jesus is God (Isaiah 9:6; Matthew 1:23; 1 Timothy 3:16).                                                      bb. Jesus is man (1 Timothy 2:5;) e.g. Jesus was tempted (Matthew 4:1; Hebrews 2:18)               by the devil and God cannot be tempted (James 1:13)                                                                  bc. The blood of Jesus was the blood of the Son of God (i.e. the Lamb of God, i.e. man; 1 John 1:7), but also of GodHimself (Acts 20:28).                                                                              bd. Man enough to be tempted (Matthew 4:1); God enough toforgive sins (Matthew 9:5) and rebuke the elements of mature (Mark 4:39).                                                                                     be. Council of Chalcedon (AD 451). The dual nature of Jesus.
  3.  Abraham prepared the sacrifice and waited. Birds came to feed on the sacrifice and Abraham drove them away (Genesis 15:10-11).                                                                                            a. Meaning: the five animals include the total list of animals perscribed to be sacrificed in the Law. These animals represended Jesus the “Lamb of God” both in part and in whole. Abraham defended Yahweh's gift to the covenant from being devoured by agents that saw the sacrifice as common and neglected.                                                                                                                  b. New covenant parallel: The Believers' constant vigil against worldly agents who would preach “another Jesus” (2 Corinthians 11:4) and devour the Lamb of God with theologicalmisconceptions (Philippians 1:17).
  4. Yahweh did not permit Abraham to pass between the sacrifices. As Abraham slept God passed between the sacrifices alone in the dual presence of a “smoking furnace, and a burning lamp” (Genesis 15:12-17).                                                                                                             a. Meaning: This was the “cutting”; the time of swearing: of pronouncing the promise and the curse upon one's self if the covenant was broken. Yahweh did not permit Abraham to swear. God alone swore to keep the covenant. (“For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself” [Hebrews 6:13]).                                               aa. The Walk of Blood: figure eight between the pieces.                                                            ab. Smoking furnace represents: judicial justice (Genesis 19:28;Exodus 9:8).                            ac. Burning lamp represents: salvation (Isaiah 62:1); salvation is said to be “a lamp that burneth.”                                                                                                                                       ad. The Walk of Blood ends with Justice and Salvation face to face. (“Mercy and truth have met together; righteousnessand peace have kissed each other” [Psalm 85:10]).                          b. New Covenant parallel: Jesus alone in the surety of the NewCovenant.                                  ba. Hebrews 7:22 “By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament.”                        bb. Hebrews 6:13 “For when God made promise toAbraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself.                                                                                                        bc, 2 Timothy 2:13 “If we are faithless, He remains faithful, forHe cannot deny Himself.” (NASB) bd. Romans 4:24 “... for us... to whom it shall be imputed.” Righteousness of Christ is MERITORIOUS.                                                                                                       be. The Believers are to REST in the finished work of redemption(Hebrews 4:1ff), and in the faithfulness of the Mediator of our covenant (Hebrews 8:6) Who keeps covenant to athousand generations (Deuteronomy 7:19). bf. Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you and learn of me.”
Stay in the yoke and your yoke partner will bring you home.

The rite of circumcision was the passage into the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 17:9-10). The mohel takes the child in his lap (at eight days old); he then recites a blessing over the baby, saying: "Praised are you, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us in the ritual of circumcision." The circumcision is then performed at which time the child receives its name. Then the father recites a blessing thanking God for bringing the child into the covenant of Abraham: "Blessed are You, Adonai our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us with Your commandments and commanded us to make him enter into the covenant of Abraham our father." After the father has recited the blessing, guests respond with "As he has entered into the covenant, ...”

Meaning: the descendants of Abraham were to be set apart from the nations by the removal of the foreskins of the male private member. This signified the cutting away of the deadness (sin) of the heart. (Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer 4:4). Circumcision was their identity: it was here that they acquired their names (Luke1:59-60; and 2:21).                                                                                                     

New Covenant parallel: New Covenant circumcision is Water Baptism (Colossians 2:11-12).             a. Water Baptism is the rite of passage into the New Covenant (Galatians 3:27; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:1-5};                                                                                                                                                     b. The family name of “Jesus” is acquired at water baptism (Christian circumcision) (Acts 2:38 cf James 2:7).
The End

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

The Worlds, Made By the Son

The Worlds, Made By the Son


And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  Ephesians 3:9



For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him. And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.  Colossians 1:16-17


Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by which also he made the worlds.  Hebrews 1:2



The Challenge

The above set of three Scripture texts are offer by Trinitarians in an attempt to show that Oneness  theology, which limits the Son of God to the humanity of Jesus, is in error. The observation is made that:  “If the Son is limited to the humanity of Jesus, as the Monarchian view does attest, than, are we to believe that the humanity, the human Christ, created the worlds?”


Oneness Response

It would be an easy matter for the Monarchian to simply say that since Yahweh was incarnate in Christ, it was the incarnate Yahweh that created.  One might point out that while this approach would work for Ephesians 3:9 and Colossians 1:16-17 it would be more difficult to apply this argument to Hebrews 1:2. This is thought true because in the passage it specifically states that the Son made the worlds. This scripture has somewhat of a different character for the Monarchian than do the others, because this passage states Son not Jesus. The designation Son emphasizes, and isolates, a particular of the character of Jesus, i.e. His humanity.

The Monarchian view, in this case, would point to John 6:62 where we read, “What and if ye see the Son of man ascend up where he was before?” The term “Son of man” holds a particular place in Trinitarian theology. The “Son of man” designates the human Christ, while “Son of God” emphasizes the deity of Christ.  Therefore, if this text (John 6:62) is to be understood surfacely we must conclude that the humanity of Christ was in heaven before He was born of Mary; therefore, the humanity of Jesus would have  pre-existence.  Jesus refers to the Son of man as having pre-existence in heaven before His birth in Bethlehem.  It would seem that even Trinitarians would not accept that line of interpretation. So, all concerned, Monarchian and Trinitarian, must consider the passage to say: “What and if ye shall see the Son of man (the human Christ) ascend up where He (not the Son of man, strictly speaking, but He who BECAME the Son of man) was before?”  

The question is: Was the Son of man in heaven before he came to earth?  The answer is: He who BECAME the Son of man had pre-existence in heaven before He came to earth.

A similar passage is found in Zechariah 13:7. Speaking about Christ, the Lord Yahweh says, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow” (St’s #H5997, amit – equal, companion).  Here, Yahweh is speaking about the humanity of Christ.  Notice, He referred to Christ as “the man.”  The humanity of Christ is called the “fellow,” or equal, of Yahweh.  We would raise the questions: Was the humanity of Christ equal to Yahweh? or, was He who took on humanity equal to Yahweh?  Obviously, the latter;  He who took on humanity; He that was incarnate into humanity was the fellow (equal) to Yahweh.

Of course, up to this point the Monarchian and Trinitarian walk together. Both agree that:  1. He who became the Son of man, was in heaven before He came to earth, and 2. Both agree that He who was incarnate in man was Yahweh’s fellow (equal). Their paths diverge, however, when the ONE who became the Son of man, and the ONE who was incarnate in man is identified.

In Zechariah 13:7 the ONE who is incarnate in man is Yahweh’s equal. The Modalist Monarchian (Oneness) can walk further alone the part of revelation than can the Trinitarian, because, as we walk, the next Scripture that we approach is Isaiah 46:5 which informs us that YAHWEH HAS NO EQUALS! The manifest conclusion in unavoidable: The speaker of Zechariah 13:7 and the ONE that became incarnate into man are one and the same.

No, we have not lost sight of Hebrews 1:2.  This Scripture bears likeness to John 6:62 and Zechariah 13:7, which we have just viewed.  Permit me to quote Hebrews 1:2 here so that we may have it before us: “Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds.”

Was the human Christ back in the beginning creating the worlds? Obviously not;  but, He who BECAME incarnate in the Son of man did say, on more than one occasion: “Let there be…!”

However, in this explaining of Hebrews 1:2, I am arguing against my own mind; for there is a very real sense in which the humanity of Jesus cannot be excluded from the creation any more than can wisdom or understanding. Proverbs 3:19 states: “The LORD by wisdom hath founded the earth; by understanding hath he established the heavens.”  If we are not to understand that neither wisdom nor understanding physically made the worlds, then why should not the same discernment be applied to the statements concerning the worlds being made by the Son.  In fact, this is seen to be reasonable by the Greek text of the passages under consideration. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon, Edinburg, 1901, pages 133 and 134: Greek dia as found in Hebrews 1:2 and translated in the KJV as by, is the instrumental cause; of the ground or reason of which anything is or is not done; by reason of, because of… . Therefore, God the Father created by (dia) the Son.  That is to say, With the Son in view, as the cause – the ground – the reason – and the instrument of creation.  This is seen more clearly when it is understood that the word worlds in Hebrews 1:2 is not referencing the cosmos (physical universe), but is the Greek word aions (St’s #G165) which has the ages in view. So, then, the subject is not the physical universe after all; but, rather, the future history of said universe – which has His covenants in view. Of course, this could not have been possible without the administration of the office and work of the Son; upon which all creation was predicated!

Mr. John Miller, in his work, “Is God A Trinity?” (1922. Oxford University) has written masterfully on this subject. I fear that anything I might say would be but an echo of his work; therefore, I choose to plainly quote Miller on this matter.

“God from all eternity was not complete for the work of creation.  He was complete in power, Give Him the name of “The Word,” and imagine that Word to be Himself, uttered out in all  His endless purpose,  give Him credit for all He is to be, means to do, and then He is complete. But cut off from Him future plans and the long-subsequent incarnation, and He can create nothing.  I mean by that, He determined to build everything upon Jesus Christ.  We see this in every part of the revelation.  Christ was to be “head over all things to the church” (Ephesians 1:22).

“And when we remember that God forgave for four thousand years, and ruled the world for four thousand years, and laid His plans before the creation of the stars all upon Christ, I think we can begin to see what He means by creating “all things by Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 3:9).  Moreover, considering that Christ was a man; considering that, Jesus Christ was preeminently the Incarnate God; considering that Trinitarians themselves must believe that God, out of Christ, was a consuming fire; and that it was the suffering and obedience of the Man which  was necessary to build the world upon, as (too) the whole scheme of creation.   I should think that even the Trinitarian would agree that there is a certain sort of sense in which God created the world by the Man Christ Jesus.

“…by him were all things created.” (Colossians 1:16); that is a much more complete idea: and means that God, without Christ, is imperfect; that is, that God, without Christ, is impossible; that is, that God, without Christ, cannot be;  that the world, without life is a waste; that the universe, without Christ, is a failure; and therefore, that the Babe of Bethlehem, though a trifle; though in Himself a worm of the dust; though an easy outbirth of God’s omnipotence; and, therefore, sure to be; - nevertheless had to be; this is that God was doing oceans of work without Him, which depended upon Him; that He was forgiving millions of souls; and that the whole shape of creation was given by the Man (who, nevertheless, was eternally God), who was born in a manger in the town of Bethlehem.

“… Our doctrine, therefore, is, that Christ created all things.  We agree with the Trinitarian that He is God, and, as God, built the universe.  But as we do not think this exhausts the passages, we would not, even if we were a Trinitarian, explain them of the Almighty.  We believe that the MAN gave shape to the universe;

“… And, therefore, that, when He says, “All things were created by him and for him” (i.e. in reference to Him); and when He says, “He is before all things:” and when He says “By him all things consist” (Colossians 1:16-17), - He means, that He is the husband (house-band) of the universe; that “without him was not any thing made that was made” (John 1:3); That God had “chosen us in him before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4); that our life was “hid with him in God” (Colossians 3:3); and that it was on the MAN alone that the promise would stand complete of eternal life “before the world began” (Titus 1:1-2).

“… Not only does it mean instrumentally, in such a sense that the new Christ was necessary to the old creation; or, in other words, that God, in an age of pardon, and in an eternity of divine decrees, was really building upon Christ, and could not advance a step, except on the faith of what He was yet to be: but, once more; it means accompanyingly; nay more; pregnantly.

“… Without him was not any thing made that was made.” Logically, He was the precursor of the universe. … The inexistent MAN being the sine qua non of the world’s creation).”