Monthly Archives: May 2011

The Lord Jesus Christ Didn’t Know His Coming? (Series #1)

“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, ‘Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?’” (Matt. 24:3) In answer to the query, the Lord Jesus Christ gave a long discourse and then He says in verses 36, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, but My Father only.”

The parallel passage in Mark 13: 32 says, “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but only the Father.”

Many Bible students and young preachers are bothered by our Lord Jesus Christ’s declaration that He did not know the day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction and His own return to earth when connected to the belief that Jesus Christ is true God since a basic assumption about Deity is that God is omniscient or all knowing.

The question posed is “If our Lord Jesus Christ is true God, why didn’t He know the day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction, the end of the age and His own coming back in the light of our belief that He is God and God knows everything?”

For the serious Bible student, I would like him to first formulate his answers to the following questions for him to appreciate my answer to the above question which shall come out after about one week. These are the questions.

1. If Yahweh God were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why did He not prevent Lucifer from rebelling which eventually made him an adversary of God?

2. If Yahweh God were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why did He not prevent the Devil from entering the Garden of Eden so that the Devil would have not seduced and made Eve a sinner?

3. If Yahweh God were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why did He not make Noah succeed in persuading his generation within 120 years to turn away from the people’s wicked ways?

4. If Jesus Christ were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why did He become flesh according to John 1:14?

5. If Jesus Christ is the Creator of all that is invisible and visible, of all thrones and dominions and principalities and powers, why was He born of the Virgin Mary?

6. If Jesus Christ already existed before the creation of the universe, and He existed before Abraham was born (John 8:56) and He existed before John the Baptist was born (John 1:30), why was He born as a human baby after the creation of the physical universe, after Abraham had died, after John the Baptist was born 6 months earlier?

7. If our Lord Jesus Christ were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t He allow the sending down of lightning and thunder upon a Samaritan village that rejected Him and his disciples as reported in Luke 9:51-56?

8. If our Lord Jesus Christ were true deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why didn’t He call down twelve legions of angels to guard Him in the night of His arrest as suggested in Matthew 26:53?

9. If Yahweh God is omnipresent or present everywhere, why was Yahweh localized into a small human being in Genesis18:1-15?

10. If Yahweh God is omnipresent or present everywhere, why was He localized as a small burning bush in Exodus 3:1-22?

11. If Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III were truly the President of the Republic of the Philippines, why is he castigated by so many citizens when he bought a second hand Porsche sports car?

After a few days, I will give an answer to the question: “Why did Jesus Christ say that He didn’t know the day and hour of the coming destruction of Jerusalem and the day and hour of His coming back in the light of our belief that is God and God knows everything?”

Anyone who wants to ask a specific follow-up question he should first submit his answers to the 11 questions expressed above. #(E. Tanicala)

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WHEN AND WHERE AND WHY CHRIST WENT TO PREACH TO SPIRITS IN PRISON (#4))

When and Where and Why Christ Went to Preach to Spirits in Prison (Series #4)

By Eusebio Tanicala

This is the fourth and last installment of a series. In the first of the series we quoted related parts of 1 Peter 3:18-20 derived from 31 Bible Versions. I suggest that one reads the 31 quotations recorded in the first series to get a feel of the overall picture of the events condensed by the Apostle Peter.
The ten questions considered in the series should be inter-related to get a good view of what the Apostle Peter teaches. Apostle Peter combines and inter-relates a good number of events so what is done is like putting together a very complicated puzzle.

Q#1: How should too pneumati be rendered –small s OR capital S, and will the preposition be “by” “in”
“through” or “according to”?
Q#2: Who went to preach to the spirits in prison in our passage?
Q#3: What is the meaning of the term “preach” in the passage?
Q#4: What is the content of the act of preaching in this passage?
Q#5: What is the intention of this act of preaching recorded in our passage?
Q#6: Where did the preacher go preach as recorded in our passage?
Q#7: When did the preacher go preach as recorded in our passage?
Q#8: Who were those in the audience during this preaching as recorded in our passage?
Q#9: How is the preaching period related to the period of disobedience as shown in our passage?
Q#10: How should the flow of events contained in the passage be arranged?

Tackled in this last of the series are Questions #7, #8, #9 and #10.

Question #7: When did the preacher go preach?
There is a great variation of thought here about the time frame of preaching. One school says that the time of preaching was during the period when Noah was building the ark – thousands of years before Christ was incarnated. The second school of thought says that the time of preaching happened any time after Christ gave up the last breath at the cross and before He ascended back to heaven in His resurrection body as recorded in Acts 1. I favor the second idea.
Luke 23:43 says that He would be in Paradise with the repentant thief that same day. Acts 2:25-28 says that His soul would go to Hades and Paradise is the upper part of Hades.
In Luke 16:19-31, the wicked Rich Man went to Hades but stayed in the lower section which is a place of torment. 2 Peter 2:4-5 calls the place tartarussas or tartarus in English. From the lower section, the Rich Man looked up and saw Lazarus with Abraham. The upper section of Hades is called Paradise, a place of comfort.

Question #8: Who were those in the audience during this preaching?
One idea points to the spirits of the wicked unbelievers who insulted Noah while the ark was being constructed. The period of construction was about 120 years. Said generation of Noah was very wicked, so wicked that God repented of creating mankind. Our passage says that these spirits are in a prison. Believers of this first idea say that the spirits of the wicked people during the building of the ark were imprisoned inside their wicked fleshly bodies. This belief would say that Christ through the Holy Spirit went to preach to that generation of Noah. But it was Noah who the Holy Spirit inspired and moved to preach sermons about righteous living.
A second idea says that the audience is composed of spirits of wicked people now imprisoned in the place of torment, the lower part of Hades. Apostle Peter (2Peter 2:4-5) tells us that the spirits, the angelic host, that rebelled against God are being kept in prison. Jude 6 says that those evil spirits have been judged and kept in chains or imprisoned. It seems that the evil angels occupy another section of Hades, in a place of torment. So it is logical to theorize that the prison where Christ’s audience was located mentioned in 1 Peter 3:19 is Hades. In His spirit existence, Christ appeared and/or talked to the spirits of wicked or unbelieving people who were in Hades. Christ’s appearance and/or short oral testimony was delivered to them.
It might be objected that the audience is limited to the spirits who lived in the time of Noah. The spirits of people of Noah’s generation are mentioned and emphasized because these spirits ruled the wickedest generation that ever lived on the face of the earth. Mentioning one person or one group is employed as a literary device. This is called the “Universal Man” or “Universal Group.” The hero is the Universal Man for the good people, or the villain is the Universal Man of the bad ones. The hero (bida) represents the aspirations of all the good people, while the villain (contrabida) represents all the evil people. An example of this is the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus. Does it mean that there was only one favored spirit in the company of Abraham because he is the only one mentioned in the story? No. Lazarus represents you and me, the millions of humble and faithful disciples. Does it mean that the Rich Man is the only one in Tartarussas because he is he only one mentioned in the story? No. He only represents or is an example of all the wicked and selfish people on earth. So Noah’s generation of wicked people is mentioned because they represent the ultimate doubter, the ultimate insulter, the ultimate skeptic in matters of righteous living.
I favor the second idea above as regards the audience composition.

Question #9: How is the preaching period related to the period of disobedience?
The last part of v. 19, “the spirits in prison” and the first part of v. 20 which says, “who formerly were disobedient, when once the Divine longsuffering waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared” are crucial to establishing the period of preaching and the period of disobedience.
If the preaching was done by Christ through the Holy Spirit and through Noah, and if Noah preached to his generation, a knowledgeable write, much more an inspired writer, would not say that those spirits in Noah’s time were “formerly disobedient.” The adverb should not be “formerly” but it should be “presently.” I repeat: if the disobedience happened while Noah was preaching, the adverb should be “presently.” It should be written like this: “the spirits in prison who presently were disobedient, when once the Divine long suffering waited in the days of Noah.”
But if you consider Christ who went to Paradise in A.D. 33 and appeared to the Tartarussas spirits, then it is right to say that the spirits of Noah’s generation are “formerly disobedient” spirits because they lived about 5000 years before Christ went to Hades as taught in Acts 2:25-28 and Luke 23:43.

Question #10: How should the flow of events contained in the passage be arranged?
One school of thought has this chronology:
*(1) Noah built the ark and while building the ark, Christ through the Spirit went to inspire/help Noah
preach righteousness, but in a long period of 120 years everybody insulted Noah and everybody
continued on with their wild and wicked ways, except Noah, his three sons and their wives; the spirits
of these unbelieving people were imprisoned in their wicked bodies;
(2) Christ became incarnated in A.D. 1 and suffered and died in A.D. 33;
(3) After Christ breathed his last at the cross He went to Hades;
(4) Then on the first day of the week following His crucifixion He resurrected from the dead and appeared
many times to various people at different places within a period of 40 days according to Acts 1:3;
(5) He ascended to heaven on the 40th day after resurrection according to Acts 1:9-11.

On the other hand, a second school of thought has this chronology:
(1) Noah built the ark some 5000 years before Christ, and while constructing the ark, he preached the
righteousness of God –Please see II Peter 2:5,
(2) Christ became incarnated in Anno Domini 1,
(3) Christ suffered and died for the sins of the world in the A.D. 33,
(4) After Christ breathed His last, he was buried before sundown of Friday, Nisan 33 A.D.
(5) That very day of Friday, Nisan 33 A.D. his human spirit which is inextricably fused with His deity in
one person, he went to Paradise, the upper section of Hades (Luke 23:43; Acts 1:3),
(5) In that spiritual condition, He joined in Paradise Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, Elijah, etc.,
(6) In that glorious spiritual condition in Paradise, the spirits imprisoned in the dungeon of Tartarusas, the
lower part of Hades, beheld Christ just like the Rich Man in Luke 16:19-31 beheld Abraham in
Paradise.
(7) Christ’s mere presence in glorious array in Paradise was enough declaration, preaching, that He is
God’s Son, He is the Victorious Savior of humanity, the embodiment of God’s love,
(8) If Christ uttered any message I imagine He could have said, “Children, while you were on earth it
was a period for you to exercise your free will to choose by faith what is righteous, but you opted
worldly pleasure, but now those who disciplined themselves in righteous living and faith in God and
in the Son, they now enjoy comfort in Paradise but you are now tormented,
(9) After that short visit, Christ came out of Hades, was resurrected, appeared several times to different
people in a period of 40 days after which he ascended to heaven.

I favor the chronology of the second school of thought.

General Conclusion: My personal conclusion of the whole picture is this: the Christ-God took the nature of man so He became God-Man; He suffered and died in his human nature but his human spirit fused with His deity lived on; in that human spirit-deity fused person He went to Paradise (upper part of Hades) and appeared in a glorious way in the company of Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Moses, etc. and the spirits in the prison dungeon of Tartarusas (lower part of Hades) beheld that glorious presence of Christ; the spirits of the rebellious generation of Noah are especially mentioned being the epitome of a most despicable era as described in Genesis 6:5-7 but not necessarily excluding other imprisoned spirits as much as Luke 16:19-31 doesn’t make the Rich Man the only one with the ability to see Abraham in Paradise with Lazarus; in this visit to Hades the Lord Jesus Christ successfully proclaimed His mission of vicariously dying for humanity and as a result could bring back to God those who have faith in the Son. The Human-God Christ gloriously appearing to the imprisoned spirits in Tartarusas could given an impression as deep as a picture viewed a thousand years on earth even without a word spoken. But if words were spoken, Christ could have delivered a short message like this: “Children, especially those who lived in the generation of Noah while the ark was being constructed, you doubted the message of righteousness and the invitation to go back to the Most Holy God. Look at Me the embodiment of God’s love that calls mankind back to Paradise in fellowship with God. Those who are with me are comforted, but you who are down below are tormented.”
It was not a message to secure repentance and a second chance just as the message of Abraham in Luke 16:19-31 was not a message to secure repentance and a second chance. Christ’s message was one of victory, a message showing how the scores of OT prophecies are fulfilled, a message that faith in God results to a life of comfort in the Hadean world.
If you have any comment or observation, please post it or email me at tani1940@yahoo.com
Thank you for participating in this study. ##

WHEN AND WHERE AND WHY CHRIST WENT TO PREACH TO SPIRITS IN PRISON (#3)

by Eusebio Tanicala

This is series #3 of four articles. The first one contains the wordings of 1 Peter 3:18-20 taken from 31 Bible Versions. It is suggested that one reads the 31 versions before digging deep into each of the four series.
The ten questions in this series are the following which should be connected together to get a clear answer to the problems contained in the title:
Q#1: How should too pneumati be rendered –small s OR capital S, and will the preposition be “by” “in”
“through” OR “according”?

Q#2: Who went to preach to the spirits in prison in the passage under study?

Q#3: What is the meaning of the term “preach” in the passage under study?

Q#4: What is the content of the act of preaching in the passage under study?

Q#5: What is the intention of this act of preaching in the passage under study?

Q#6: Where did the preacher go preach in the passage under study?

Q#7: When did the preacher go preach in the passage under study?

Q#8: Who were in the audience in this act of preaching in our passage?

Q#9: How is the preaching period related to the disobedience period in our passage?

Q#10: How should the flow of events contained in our passage be arranged?

Questions to be explained in this series #3 are Questions #4, #5 and #6.

Question #4: What is the content of the act of preaching in the passage under study?

This question is related to what shade of meaning is attached to the meaning of ekeruksen (preached). Related to this message content would be where and when the preaching was done. If ekeruksen is attached to the work of the apostles and first century Christians, then the content would be the gospel (death, burial, resurrection) of the Lord Jesus Christ as the basis of man’s salvation. Following the idea of the Mormons, a second chance is given to the spirits of dead relatives in whose name living relatives are baptized in their behalf so that the spirits of the dead would get out of the place of torment.
But since we in the Churches of Christ don’t believe in a second chance for the dead because it contradicts Luke 16:19-31, those who believe that the preaching was done by Christ through the Holy Spirit who inspired and moved Noah and that the preaching was personally done by Noah during the construction of the ark, then 2 Peter 2:4-5 tells us that it is “righteousness.” It is a general subject matter of righteousness as opposed to wickedness. Genesis 6:5-7 informs us of the utter corruption of makind. If Noah did the preaching, his general topic was righteous living.
On the other hand, if the preacher (proclaimer, herald) is Christ, and Christ gave the proclamation in Paradise (the upper section of Hades), then the content of his message was His victory over Satan, the fusion of humanity and deity in His person (see Col. 2:9 and 1 Tim. 3:16) and his death that pays the debt of humanity’s sins. The sight of His glorious presence in the company of Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, and John the Baptist was sufficient testimony of the truth of God’s promises in the OT. As much as a visual appearance of a transfigured Jesus in the presence of the spirit persons of Elijah and Moses left a vivid impression in the mind of Peter, James and John as recorded in Matthew 17:1-3; Mark 9:1-13; Luke 9:27-36; 2 Peter 1:16-18. And if Christ ever spoke any words, he could have done what Abraham did in Luke 16:19-31. He could have directed his short message to all those in Tartarusas, especially the generation of Noah which is believed to be the wickedest of all generations on earth. He could have just said, “Children, you enjoyed all the worldly pleasures while you were on earth, but now you are in torment, but those who believed and obeyed God, they are comforted.”

Question #5: What is the intention of this act of preaching in the passage under study?
One school of thought says that the act of preaching (proclaiming) was to give a second chance to that generation of Noah. The Mormons would say that Christ gave a second chance to those spirits in Hades, therefore, today they also offer a second chance for the relatives of those believers in their church by undergoing a baptism for the dead. A sort of second chance is also taught by the Roman Catholic Church in the idea of a Purgatory by promoting prayers and penance in behalf of dead relatives.
However we in the Churches of Christ don’t believe in the dogma of second chance. Life on earth is the only opportunity to choose our eternal destiny. That preaching or proclaiming act of Christ, therefore, was not for the purpose of persuading the wicked spirits to repent of their corruption and make them move out of the place of torment. The intention was to declare Christ’s victory over Satan. It was intended to show that Christ’s deity is inextricably fused with his human spirit which is a mystery but shows God’s love for mankind. It was intended to show the doubters and unbelievers that God’s dealing and promises and prophecies in the OT are true. The message was intended to display God’s love and God’s truth.

Question #6: Where did the preacher go preach in the passage under study?
One belief says that the place was Mesopotamia in the Middle East around the general area of Turkey, Iran and Iraq. Noah’s ark after the flood waters subsided settled on top of Mount Ararat in Turkey. Those who believe that Christ’s preaching was done through the Holy Spirit and in turn through Noah, the locality of preaching was Noah’s home ground.
A second belief points to Hades, the abode of the disembodied spirits, as the place of preaching or proclamation. Our passage says that the audience were spirits in prison. 2 Peter 2:4-5 says that the rebellious spirits are imprisoned as a consequence of their disobedience. Christ said in Luke 23:43 that He would be in Paradise that same day of the crucifixion. It is logical that the spirits of the wicked people in Noah’s days went to Tartarusas, the lower section of Hades. This is taught in Luke 16:19-31. Moreover, Psalm 16:8-11 and Acts 2:25-28 teach that Christ’s soul went to Hades but won’t stay there long.
I prefer the second explanation above.
There’s a 4th and final installment in this lesson series. Please find time to read it to complete the picture of our explanation on the ten questions listed above. Thank you very much. ##

ARRABONA = ENGAGEMENT RING

Christ made a solemn promise to the disciples during his last night on earth that he was going back to the Father and prepare a place and that he’ll come back and take them with him that where he would be there his disciples would be there also. In addition there’s the assurance that this mortal body will be given an immortal one as read in Philippians 2:21 and 2 Cor. 5:1-5. There is in 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5 and Ephesians 1:14 the Greek word arrabon. Most standard versions render the Greek word as “earnest.” Others translate it as “down payment,” “first installment,” “guarantee,” or “pledge” depending on the target age bracket or audience a translator has in mind.

We have this quotation below with the interesting information that in the modern Greek language, the apostolic age meaning of “earnest,” “down payment” or “pledge” has graduated to a specific meaning which is “an engagement ring.”  Whereas, in the NT times the primary meaning of arrabon was applied to the purchase of a property, where the purchaser gives a down payment or a pledge, this now applies to marital relationship. This word arrabon / arrabona should help us illustrate a Christian’s relationship with Christ. This relationship is basically derived from the relationship of a man who loves a young lady. There’s a time element involved, there is emotion involved, there is ownership, there’s the idea of a mark, and the completion of an anticipated more pleasurable relationship in the future. Here is the quote:

Arrabon, originally, earnest-money deposited by the purchaser and forfeited if the   purchase was not completed, was probably a Phoenician word, introduced into Greece. In general usage it came to denote a pledge or earnest of any sort; in the N.T. it is used only of that which is assured by God to believers; it is said of the Holy Spirit as the Divine pledge  of all their future blessedness, 2 Cor. 1:22; 5:5; in Eph. 1:14, particularly of their eternal  inheritance. In the Sept., Gen. 38:17-20. In modern Greek arrabona is an engagement ring.   (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of the Old and New Testament Words, 11)

Below, the New Living Translation and the Complete Jewish Bible are quoted to give the modern vocabulary of the idea the Apostle Paul wrote about two thousand years ago:

2 Cor. 1:22,and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment of everything he will give us.” (New Living Translation)

2 Cor.1:22, “put his seal on us, and given us his Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee for the future.  (Complete Jewish Bible)

2Cor.5:4-5, “Our dying bodies make us groan and sigh, but it is not that we want to die and have no bodies at all. We want to slip into our new bodies so that these dying bodies will be swallowed up by everlasting life. But God himself has prepared us for this, and as a guarantee he has given us his Holy Spirit. (New Living Translation)

2Cor. 5:4-5, “Yes, while we are in this body, we groan with the sense of being oppressed; it is not so much that we want to take something off, but rather to put something on over it; so that what must die may be swallowed up by the Life. Moreover, it is God who has prepared us for this very thing, and as a pledge he has given us his Spirit.“ (Complete Jewish Bible)

 Eph. 1:13-14, “And now you also have heard the truth, the Good News that God saves you. And when you believed in Christ, he identified you as his own by giving you the Holy Spirit, whom he promised long ago. The Spirit is God’s guarantee that he will give us everything he promised and that he has purchased us to be his own people. This is just one more reason for us to praise our glorious God (NLT).

Eph. 1:13-14, “Furthermore, you heard the message of the truth, the Good News offering you deliverance and put your trust in the Messiah were sealed by him with the promised Ruach HaKodesh, who guarantees our inheritance until we come into possession of it and thus bring him praise commensurate with his glory.“ (Complete Jewish Bible)

   Below are some questions to help us analyze the picture that the Apostle Paul wrote about and how it applies today.

A. Earnest = Engagement Ring

(a)    Can an engagement relationship be broken?

(b)   Does God break covenants he enters into?

(c)    Do humans sometimes break covenants they enter into?

(d)   Is the engagement ring a mark that a lady belongs to a groom?

B. What Is the Engagement Ring?

(a)    It is a pledge/guarantee that a man intends to marry a lady.

(b)   It is a seal/sign that a woman belongs to the giver of the ring, the groom.

(c)    It is a pledge by the one who wears the ring that she remains faithful to the giver of the ring.

(d)   Can an engagement ring be removed from a lady’s finger?

(e)    Does the engagement ring refer to the words of the giver of the  OR an assurance that promises of a consummated marriage and marital happiness is forthcoming?

 C. When Does God Give the Engagement Ring?

(a)    Is it at the very first moment the Scriptures is heard or read by a person?

(b)   Is at the moment a person is mentally convinced that Jesus is the Christ?

(c)    Is it at the moment of repentance of sins?

(d)   Is it at the moment of confession of faith?

(e)    Is it the moment of baptism in water?

(f)    Is it after a person comes out of the water baptism?

D. In What Form Is the Engagement Ring Given?

(a)    Is it a personal residing of the Holy Spirit?

(b)   Is it a personal influence of the Holy Spirit who resides in the heavens?

(c)    Is it the influence of the Scriptures as processed by a reader/hearer’s mind?

(d)   In a sense is it all of the above?

(e)   In Ephesians 1:13 there’s the truth, the Good News. Is the Good News one and the same  item as the Holy Spirit?

 E. Who Is Given an Engagement Ring?

(a)    Is it the individual disciple who is said to be engaged to the Groom?

(b)   Is the local congregation the one engaged to the Groom?

(c)    Is the Universal Church the one engaged to the Groom?

(d)   In a sense, is it all the above?

 By Eusebio Tanicala, December 2010

AN OLD PREACHER’S ADVICE TO YOUNG PREACHERS

Moses told his fellow Hebrews to “Ask thy father and he will show thee, Thine elders, and they will tell thee…” (Deut. 32:7). Over the last 54 years I have learned a few things about preaching that would be helpful to the man who is just getting started…if he is willing to listen and learn.

* Always arrive at the house of worship ahead of time so you will be there to greet the people, and deliver you lessons without any delay. A tardy preacher is not appreciated.

* Make it your rule never to deliver a sermon without reasonable preparation.

* This means you should have a few extra sermons prepared that you can use on short notice should an emergency arise.

* Speak up and speak clearly. The audience cannot hear nor will they appreciate a sermon that is muffled and mumbled.

* Give your audience a lesson that is worth the time they have spent with you.

* A short lesson is almost always better than a long one. Plan your lessons for 30 minutes and deliver them as planned. Always have a watch with you or a clock that you can see.

* Use notes. They will help you stay on your subject and get through in your allotted time.

* When you reach the end of your lesson, close and have a seat. The old timers use to say, there no pleasure in chewing old gum. People don’t enjoy listening to 15 minutes of reiteration.

* Never apologize for God’s Truth. If he has told us that a thing is true or false, good or bad, that settles the matter. Sinful man must adjust himself to the sacred standard. God’s Word cannot be amended to please men (Gal. 1:10).

* Never speculate when you are preaching or teaching. Declare unto you audience God’s Word on the matter.

* Avoid using the phrase “I believe” when you preach. What you may personally believe does not really matter. It is what Scripture says that counts. Better to say, “The Bible says.”

* Always show the people where they can verify your statements in God’s Word. Do not allow any teacher or other preacher discourage you from that practice. For generations it has been the distinguishing mark of our preaching.

* Plan your sermons so that each segment of the congregation will hear lessons that speak to their needs and so they will be taught the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27).

* Never allow yourself to fall into the trap of harping on a particular theme. Folks will soon turn you off. There are hundreds of important themes in God’s Word. Speak to all of them.

* Do not use the pulpit to throw stones of criticism at your elders or some other person or group within the congregation. Some preachers continually bang away at the young people, etc.

* Be flexible in planning your lessons. Often a need will arise, a special lesson will be needed. Don’t hesitate to break your series of lessons to meet that need.

* Look into the faces of your audience as you teach them. Learn to read their faces…i.e., their response to your message. Make your lesson so that each feels it is personal to him or her.

* Deliver your messages with love (Eph. 4:15). Even when it is necessary to reprove and rebuke, do so as a loving parent reproves his children.

* Each time you speak, do so fully expecting a favorable response. When you close with an exhortation, you must believe in what you are saying and that sincere people want to be saved. Failure to do this will be obvious in your facial expression and the tone of your voice. Your words may invite, but your unspoken message will be saying, I don’t expect anyone to respond.

* Smile and be cheerful as you deliver your lessons. A droll, sour personality does not connect well with his audience.

* Keep a good record of your lessons and when they are delivered. This will keep you from preaching on the same subject too often. It will also help you determine if you are providing the variety that is needed.

* Make sure you instruct your people in the doctrine of Christ but do not fail to teach them about Christ and the Father.

* Preach only on subjects that you thoroughly understand. A vague, tentative presentation says to the people, he is not sure about this subject. Attempting a subject that is beyond your range of knowledge will result in an embarrassing failure.

* Be as warm and friendly with your members outside of the church building as you are within. When a member meets you at the store or a ball game greet him warmly as a brother.

* Be a devout man of God but do not act in a sanctimonious way. People are repelled by such an attitude.

* Do not be touchy…don’t carry a chip on your shoulder. You work for and with a congregation consisting of many people. Each has his opinion and idea of how things should be done. If they suggest a way, other than yours, do not be offended. Be cordial in considering it. If they offer some criticism of your lesson or your work, smile and thank them. The criticism may be justified. Consider it. You may need to make some changes. If it is some trivial complaint, just smile and ignore it. Most of those things are soon forgotten and the work will go on.

* Consider every member of the congregation your friend and fellow-Christian. Do not show partiality (I Tim. 5:21).

* Be generous in showing recognition and giving credit to those members who are your fellow-workers.

* Don’t demand recognition for yourself. God will adequately recognize and reward you (Matt. 23:11-12).

* Never rush to the front of the serving line, be content to let others go first in all matters (Luke 14:7). Remember we are servants (Matt. 20:27).

* Be generous with your contributions. You must not only teach brethren to be generous you must show them how to be generous (I Cor.11:1).

* Never threaten to leave your job unless you are truly prepared to do so within the next three months. More than one man has thought he would intimidate the church or elders by threatening to resign. To his shock and dismay, they took him up on his offer.

John Waddey* (fortify_your_faith@yahoogroups.com)

SPEAKING AND WRITING FOR THE MASTER SEMINAR

CALASIAO, PANGASINAN – The Aro Ministries which is based in Francisco, California and chaired by Bill Jimenez sponsored the May 5-7, 2011 seminar-workshop entitled “Speaking and Writing for the Master.” The seminar-workshop’s objective is to help develop speakers and writers who will promote the proclamation of Christ’s saving gospel.

Daniel Oliva took charge of the Speaking aspect while Eusebio Tanicala took care of the writing part. There were thirty one who were listed during the first day and a few more joined the group in the succeeding days. Most of the participants came from Calasiao, San Carlos City and Lingayen in the province of Pangasinan.

On the last day of the affair, a public speaking demonstration was participated in by four attendees. Adjudged “excellent” in the professional category was Analyn Ramos of Lingayen town. A “special recognition” certificate was awarded to Greg Manuel who is also from Lingayen , Pangasinan.

In the workshop on writing, adjudged “excellent” in the college level was Rufalyn Garcia while Hazelleth C. Gabrillo was also rated “excellent” in the high school category.

In the morning of May 7th, there were three young ladies (Celina Velasco, Karla Joanna A. Calaguio, and Joyce Ann A. Calaguio) were baptized by brother Michael Perrera into Christ’s death. These three have been previously taught the gospel by the Calasiao brethren.

Church leaders who planned and supervised the holding of this seminar-workshop are Erben Gonzales, Rolly Traje, Dionisio Jimenez, Michael Perreras and Jovencio Ilumin, Jr.

Of course the women folks of the Calasiao congregation took care of the food/snack service.

Pictures of the seminar-workshop have been posted in Annabelle Solis’s Facebook Album since the early evening of May 7th. #

WHEN and WHERE and WHY CHRIST WENT TO PREACH TO SPIRITS IN PRISON (#2)

by Eusebio Tanicala

     This is the second of a series of four lessons. The first of the series contains an enumeration of the ten questions which we intend to answer. It also records the wordings of I Peter 3:18-20 from thirty one versions of the Bible.  Before reading the explanation in every series, it is important that one reads the 31 versions to get a feel of the arrangement and flow of events.

The ten questions considered in our study which are inter-related are as follows:

Question #1: How should the Greek phrase too pneumati be rendered – small s OR capital S, and will the         preposition be “by” “in” “through” or “according to”?

Question #2: Who went to preach to the spirits in prison?

Question #3: What is the meaning of the term “preach” in the passage?

Question #4: What is the content of the act of preaching in this passage?

Question #5: What is the intention of this act of preaching in this passage?

Question #6: When did the preacher go preach to the spirits in prison?

Question #7: When did the preacher go preach to the spirits in prison?

Question #8: Who were those in the audience in this preaching?

Question #9: How is the preaching period related to the disobedience period?

Question #10: How should the flow of events in the passage be arranged?

     In this series we tackle Questions #1, #2 and #3.

Question #1: How should the Greek phrase too pneumati be rendered – small s OR capital S, and will the preposition be rendered “by” “in” “through” or “according to”?

The Greek phrase is difficult to translate. There’s a great variety of translation. Please note how the 31 versions quoted in Series #1 render the phrase.

Of the 31 versions in our list there are twenty one (21) that favor the lower case s for pneumati. So pneumati is translated “spirit” in the small s.

Of the 31 versions in our list there are seven (7) that favor the capital S for pneumati. So pneumati is translated “Spirit” in the upper case.

As regards the preposition preferred we have the following observation:

Of the 31 versions in our list there are nineteen (19) versions that prefer the preposition “in”. So the translation is “in the spirit” or “in the Spirit.”

Of the 31 versions in our list there are six (6) versions that prefer the preposition “by.” So the translation is “by the spirit” or “by the Spirit.”

Of the 31 versions in our list there are two (2) versions that prefer the preposition “through.”

Of the 31 versions in our list there is one (1) that uses “according.”

Question #2: Who went to preach to the spirits in prison?

One school of thought says that the preacher was Christ through the Holy Spirit who inspired and moved Noah to speak about the righteousness of God for a period of 120 years. It means that the  preacher who appeared in person was Noah himself.

On the other hand, the second school of thought says that the personal preacher that appeared to the spirits in prison was Christ in His spiritual aspect and that the spirits in prison are those imprisoned in the dungeon of Tartarusas, the lower part of Hades.

Question #3: What is the meaning of the term “preach” in the passage?

The word in 1 Peter 3:19 is ekeruksen (preached).

One school of thought wants to limit the meaning of “preach” to the ordinary Christian and specific modern usage of “preaching the gospel in order to persuade a person to turn away from wickedness and follow righteousness.” So the meaning attached to the term in 1 Peter 3:19 is that the preaching sought to persuade the spirits in prison to a second chance of following a path of righteousness. This is the position of the Mormons who practice a “baptism for the dead.”

On the other hand, a second school adds the generic meaning of the term. In its verb form, the Greek word kerusso means “to be a herald, to officiate as a herald, to proclaim. . . to publish, proclaim openly…” (Thayer, 346). In its noun form, keroks means from Homer’s time down to refer to a “herald, a messenger vested with public authority, who conveyed the official message of kings, magistrates, princes, military commanders or who gave a public summons or demand and perform various other duties … (Ibid).

Note that in Revelation 5:2, Apostle John in a vision saw an angel “proclaiming (kerussaonta)” the message  in a question form: “Who is worthy to open the book?” The angel simply shouted something  and it is called a proclamation. The angel is a keruks. Thus we see that the angel is referred to as doing the act of kerussein (to proclaim).  So ekeruksen in 1 Peter 3:19 could be better translated “proclaimed.”

Preference of Versions    

Our analysis of the 31 Bible versions in our list if we asked who the preacher is:

Christ in person is the preacher — at least 27 versions clearly point to Christ.

Christ in or by or through the Holy Spirit – 4 versions.

Conclusion

My personal idea is summed up: Christ in the spirit or in His spirit existence went to Paradise as he reveals to one of the thieves crucified beside him that in that very day, they would be in Paradise. Christ’s glorious appearance in Paradise which was beheld by the inhabitants of the lower part of Hades was a proclamation, a preaching, of Christ victory over Satan and fulfillment of the promised salvation offered to mankind through the seed of the woman.

Lesson #3 that tackles Questions 4, 5 and 6 follows very soon. #