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Our Lord Jesus Christ Didn’t Know the Day and Hour? (Series #8)

The disciples’ asking for a specific day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction and the Messiah’s coming was too presumptuous so it didn’t merit an answer from the Lord. I say “presumptuous” because (a) revealing the specific day and hour was not a practice of God and the prophets since the time of Adam, (b) Christ had mentioned enough signs to keep disciples ever reminded of the approaching events, and (c) the disciples’ burden which was pounded upon them by the Lord was to be alert all the time. Therefore, to reveal the exact date and exact hour would contradict the three reasons listed above and make Christ inconsistent.

I liken the disciples to students in a class who are told to review seven chapters for the final examination; that the examination will have the following types: True or False, Identification of ideas, Definition of Terms and Essay. If you were the teacher of the class and the class would still ask: “Sir, what is the number 2 item in essay, number 3 item in the definition, number 4 item in the identification, and number 5 item in the true or false?” And if the teacher says, “I don’t know,” would you judge the instructor as incompetent because he says “I don’t know”? Common sense tells us that the “I don’t know” reaction of the teacher is not a revelation of the teacher’s inability but rather a revelation of students’ stupidity. In like manner, the disciples’ demand for an exact date and an exact hour is the height of stupidity.

We’ll now analyze the three reasons given in the first paragraph why Christ didn’t oblige himself to give an answer to the question of a specific day and hour:

*A. REVEALING SPECIFIC DAY AND HOUR NOT A PRACTICE
I haven’t read any passage in the Bible wherein God has made any promise or prophesied a future event where he gave the specific day and hour it would happen. We list down the following great promises and big events which don’t reveal specific days and hours:

Genesis 3:15, The coming of the seed of the woman– no day and hour given.
Genesis 3:15, The bruising of the serpent’s head — no day and hour given.
Genesis 3:15, The bruising of the Seed’s heel– no day and hour given.
Genesis 6:13, Destruction of the evil earth in Noah’s time– no day and hour given.
Genesis 11:5-9, Destruction of the Tower of Babel – no day and hour given.
Genesis 12:1; 13:14ff, Give the land of Canaan to Abraham – no and hour given
Genesis 12:2; 15:11, Abraham to become a great nation – no day and hour given.
Genesis 18:9-15, Sarah to have a son – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 2:2-4, Day of the Lord – no day and hour given
Isaiah 7, Salvation of Jerusalem from Syrian plunder – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 9:6-7, The Messiah’s birth – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 10, Messiah’s kingdom restored – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 13, Destruction of Babylon – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 15, Defeat of Moab—no day and hour given.
Isaiah 19, Defeat of Egypt – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 22, Destruction of Jerusalem—no day and hour given.
Isaiah 24, Judgments and Tribulations – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 45:1-7, Anointing of Cyrus – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 53, Coming of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Isaiah 61, Advent of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Jeremiah 31:31-40, Establishment of a new covenant – no day and hour given.
Daniel 2, Establishment of God’s kingdom—no day and hour given.
Daniel 2, Establishment of the fourth kingdom – no day and hour given.
Joel 2, Terrible day coming – no day and hour given.
Micah 5:2, The birth of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Zechariah 14:9ff, Messiah’s kingdom established – no day and hour given.
Malachi 4:1-3, Coming of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Malachi 4:4-6, Coming of Elijah – no day and hour given.
Luke 1:11-17, Birth of John the Baptist – no day and hour given.
Luke 1:26-33, Birth of Jesus Christ – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:16-18, Establishment of the church – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:21-23, Suffering and death of the Messiah – no day and hour given.
Matthew 16:27-28, Christ’s coming in the glory of the Father – no day and hour given.
John 5:24-30, Christ’s coming and the resurrection – no day and hour given.
Acts 1:4-5, Coming of the Father’s promise – no day and hour given.
Acts 1:6, Restoration of the Kingdom of Israel – no day and hour given.

The above verses amply demonstrate that it is not God’s practice to give exact days and hours in the fulfillment of promises and great events. Therefore, it was out of place for the disciples to ask the Lord Jesus the exact day and hour of the destruction of the city of Jerusalem (Mark 13:1-37; Matthew 24:1-44).
It is also out of place for students to ask exact answers of test items from their teacher.

*B. CHRIST MENTIONED ENOUGH SIGNS TO KEEP DISCIPLES ALERT
I have spent many, many, many years studying under different college instructors. When an instructor gives pointers for the examination, I find it very helpful and I would know what to expect in the test. More important than the pointers is my knowledge of the objective of the course and the coverage of the course. The objective and coverage provide me enough signs to work on and be prepared for the final examination. I knew the hour and day of a final test would come but I don’t worry about the exact date and hour when it would come. My concern was always this: Am I ready to take the examination when the day and hour comes? In like manner, a disciple’s concern today should simply be: Am I ready for the day and hour when “my local Jerusalem” and/or the end of my life come?

Chapters 24 and 25 of the Gospel of Matthew provide sufficient signs pointing to the coming day and hour of Jerusalem’s destruction and the day and hour of Christ’s coming. One important idea to remember is to consider the destruction of Jerusalem/end of the age of Israel as a chosen nation of God as a small replica of the end, the destruction of the cosmos/end of the ages of humanity. These signs are the following: Many would claim Christ’s authority deceiving many people, rumors of wars and wars fought, nation rise against another, famines, pestilences, earthquakes in various places, tribulations, killings, hatred against believers, hatred and betrayals, false prophets deceive people, lawlessness abound, love of many will grow cold and many more as one goes down the verses in Matthew 24. And then in Matthew 26, our Lord added more warnings that the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world would surely come.

*C. DISCIPLES’ BURDEN IS TO BE ALERT ALL THE TIME
In Matthew 24:4-26 list down daily occurrences to warn every disciple to think of the coming local judgment on the Jerusalem ruled by a self-serving priestly family, and the woefully mistaken hermeneutics of the Pharisees-Scribes-Sadducees. Matthew 24:27-31 gives warnings of a local or cosmic arrival of Christ judgment. Matthew 24:32-35 gives the Parable of the Fig Tree was familiar with the Jews – the budding of the fig tree announces the onset of summer. Matthew 24:36-44 submits the story of Noah and the Flood to demonstrate that watchfulness is the disciples’ burden and that the exact date and hour was not revealed and would not be revealed as regards the end of Jerusalem and the end of the world. Christ reiterates the attitude every disciples must have in 24:44, “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

Matthew 24:45-49 is another illustration of the need for watchfulness and loyalty. Matthew 25:1-13 is the Parable of the Ten Virgins which is another lesson of being alert all the times. Matthew 25:14-30 tells every disciple to be loyal and productive in this life and the inevitability of an accounting in the last day. Finally, Matthew 25:31-46 gives a view of the Final Judgment.

Because there’s a mixture of local and cosmic judgments in the context of Matthew 24, as well as a local and cosmic coming of Christ, a revelation of an exact date and hour is inappropriate. Families and towns and cities have different dates and hours for their respective “judgments” by local floods, arsons, landslides, vehicular accidents, pestilences like dengue or cancers, heart attacks, massacres, kidnappings, robberies, family feuds, earthquakes, famines like that one in Africa, plane crashes, boat sinkings, bombings, food poisonings, deaths due to diseases and viral infections, etc., etc., etc., etc., etc.

Christ’s admonition to towns, cities, families and individuals remains: “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not expect Him.” Knowing the exact date and hour is irrelevant.

This writer would appreciate receiving from readers any comment on this article. This series #8 ends the discussion of this particular topic. I hope that the eight articles have helped clarify the issue. Thank you. @ – Eusebio Tanicala (August 2011)

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OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST DIDN’T KNOW HIS COMING? (Series 5)

Because of Christ’s statement in Matthew 24:36 and Mark 13:32 that the Son of Man didn’t know the hour and day of the destruction of Jerusalem and his coming back, some pose the question, “If Christ is God, why didn’t he know the hour and day yet we say that God knows everything? Doesn’t this deny the deity of Christ?”

Our belief is that since the incarnation of Jesus Christ in A.D. 1, our Lord Jesus Christ has possessed two natures in one person. Which is why we frequently cite Colossians 2:9, “For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.” If our human brain couldn’t fathom or accept this statement, it should be accepted by faith. God is so vast like the waters of the oceans and seas but our human brain is as small as a cup of coffee.

There are many passages in the Gospel of John that we submit and then ask the question: “If Christ is not God, why did He do these acts or have the attributes of deity?”  We continue with the Gospel of John using the NKJV.

21. John 6:32, 33, 35 + John 3:13, 16 – Christ is the bread of life from heaven sent by the   Father, is the man Jesus the one that came down from heaven and sent by the Father? Did the humanity of Jesus Christ come down from heaven?  ___ Yes, ___ No. If the answer is “No”, who then came down from heaven? ___

22. John 6:38, 41 – Christ is the bread of life that came down from heaven and was sent by the Father to do His will, did the humanity of Jesus originate from heaven and was sent by the Father down to earth?  ___ Yes, ___ No.

23. John 6:42 – Jesus the son of Joseph and Mary the Jews knew. Is this the humanity of Jesus our Lord? ___ Yes, ___ No. Was it the humanity of Jesus that came down from heaven?

24. John 6:42 – Repeatedly in the verses prior to v. 42, the Jews clearly heard Jesus declare that He came down from heaven, did Christ’s humanity come down from heaven?__Yes,__No. Or is it the deity of Christ that came down from heaven? __ Yes, __ No.

25. John 6:46 + 5:37 + 8:38 – Christ says, “Not that anyone has seen the Father, except he who is from God, He has seen the Father.” Is this the humanity of Christ speaking that has seen the Father? __Yes, __No. If not the humanity, then which one?

26. John 6:48, 50, 51-58 – Christ is the living bread that came down from heaven, the living Father sent Him, is this the humanity of Christ that is referred to? _Yes, __No. Some ministers say that Christ was a “plan in God’s mind” before the incarnation, is a plan a living bread in heaven? ___

27. John 6:60 – The many declarations of Jesus in the whole of John chapter 6 is hard saying – was it difficult because the Jews looked only at His humanity. __Yes, __No.

28. Matthew 24:36 + Mark 13:32 – This statement of Christ is hard saying and difficult to understand because YOU looked only at His humanity? __ Yes, __No. If the humanity of Jesus is the one speaking here, why do we demand that His deity should come out but when His deity is emphasized, why don’t we demand that his humanity also comes out? ___

29. John 6:62 — “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?” This was stated in A.D. 31 about two years before the crucifixion, does this refer to Jesus having human nature in heaven previous to His incarnation thro the Virgin Mary? __Yes,__No.

30. John 6:62 – Does this statement of Jesus refer to His deity existing in heaven with the Father before His incarnation thro the Virgin Mary in A.D. 1? __ Yes, __No. What was He before and where was He located before His incarnation where He goes back? ___

31. John 6:62 – Does this passage suggest that our Lord Jesus Christ had an existence in heaven before His incarnation stated in John 1:14? __Yes, __No.  Was Jesus human when He was in heaven before the incarnation and was sent down to earth as human? ___

32. John 7:16-18 + Heb. 10:5-10 – Christ is sent by God, was the humanity of Jesus the one in heaven when the Father sent Him to earth? __Yes, __No.

33. John 7:27, 28, 29 – Jesus says that the Jews know who he is and where he comes from, does this refer to the humanity of Jesus Christ? __Yes, __No.

34. John 7:27, 28, 29 – When the Christ comes, no one knows where He is from, does this refer to the deity of Christ because He is from heaven and the Jews didn’t know heaven? __ Yes, __No.

35. John 7:29 – Christ says, “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” Is it the humanity of Christ which was conceived by the Virgin Mary that completely knows the Father who sent Him down from heaven? __Yes, __No.

36. John 7:29 – “But I know Him, for I am from Him, and He sent Me.” The Father is in heaven, did the humanity of Jesus originate from the Father in heaven, and did the Father send from heaven a human Jesus? __ Yes, __ No.

37. John 8:14 —  Christ says, “… I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going.” Do the Jews know where the humanity of Jesus came from and going to? __Yes, __No. Do the Jews know where the deity of Christ came from and where it was going? __Yes, __No.

38. John 8:18, 19 – Is the humanity of Jesus the one sent by the Father from heaven to the earth? __Yes, __No. Does Jesus refer to His deity as the aspect not known and recognized by the Jews in this passage? __Yes, __No.

39. John 8:21-22 – The unbelieving Jews cannot go to the place where Jesus was going which in previous verses He says it is the same place He came from, is the humanity of Jesus referred to when He says He goes where He previously was? __Yes, __No.

40. John 8:23 – “… I am from above … I am not of this world.” Does this refer to his humanity? __Yes, __ No. Does this refer to His deity? __Yes, __No.

41. John 8:26 + John 3:32 – “… I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.” Is Jesus’ humanity referred to that has heard the things in heaven? __Yes, __No. Is Jesus’ deity referred to that has seen and heard things in heaven? __Yes, __No.

42. John 8:29 – “And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” Is this referring to the humanity of Christ? __Yes, __No. Is this referring to the deity of Christ? __Yes, __No.

43. Matthew 27:46 – “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Is the humanity of Christ the one referred to here? __ Yes, __No. Or is it His deity referred to? __Yes, __No.

44. John 8:38 – “I speak what I have seen with My Father…” The one that has seen the Father is the human eyes of Jesus, do you believe that? __Yes, __No. Or is the one that has seen the Father referring to Christ’s deity and His previous association with the Father in heaven? __

45. John 8:40 – Jesus mentions his manhood, is this referring to his humanity? __Yes, __No.

46. John 8:40 – Is Jesus’ humanity His deity? __Yes, __No. When Christ refers to His humanity, does he at the same time refer to His deity? __Yes, __No.

47. Do the deity and humanity of Christ always go together in every action, in every state attributed to Jesus Christ? __Yes, __No.

48. John 8:42 – “… I proceeded from and came from God…”  Did the humanity of Christ our Lord proceed and come from God and was sent from heaven to earth in A.D. 1? __Yes, __No.

49. John 8:42 – Did the deity of Christ our Lord proceed and come from God? __Yes, __No.

50. John 8:58 – “…before Abraham was, I AM.” Does the “I AM” state of Christ refer to His humanity existing before Abraham’s time?

51. John 8:68 – Does the “I AM” state of Christ refer to His deity that existed even before the lifetime of Abraham? __Yes, __No.

52. Is it now possible for you to believe that there are times when Jesus speaks that He refers to his humanity alone and there are times that He refers to His deity alone? __ Yes, __No.

53. If Christ declares or establishes His deity, does that automatically deny His humanity? __

54. Should we demand from Christ and the apostles that when they write something about the Lord Jesus Christ, both His natures of deity and humanity should always come out together all the time? ___

55. When the many references above point to the attributes of Christ’s deity, no one demands that His humanity’s limitations should come out, but when the human attributes of Christ are pointed out, everybody demands that He should bring out the unlimited attributes of deity? Is it consistent when somebody does that? Are you consistent if you do that? ___

(Note: There is another sequel to this article. –Eusebio Tanicala, 15 June 2011)

OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST DIDN’T KNOW HIS COMING? (SERIES #4)

Our Lord Jesus Christ was both God and Man when Christ was incarnated through the Virgin Mary. This we can read from the accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in their gospel accounts. Apostle Paul records the presence of two natures in the person of our Lord Jesus Christ in Colossians 2:9. However, some have difficulty explaining the passage where our Lord said that the Son doesn’t know the end of Jerusalem, and the coming of the Son. If he didn’t know the future, it is concluded by some: “He is not God because he doesn’t know everything.”

To understand the NT we should accept the fact that Jesus Christ from A.D. 1 possessed two natures, and there were times that the deity is referred to in certain verses while in other verses his humanity is referred to. To demand that in all utterances of Christ his deity is referred to is an error as much as to demand that all utterances of Christ his humanity is referred.

In the following verses we would like to ask which is referred to: Humanity or Deity?

1. John 1:1 – The Word was God. Does this refer to Christ’s deity or humanity?

2. John 1:2 – He was in the beginning with God. Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

3. John 1:3 – All things were made thro Him. Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

4. John 1:10 – The world was made thro Him. Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

5. John 1:14 – The Word became flesh. Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

6. John 1:30 – “He was before me.” Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

7. John 1:48 – Jesus seeing Nathanael in a secluded place. His deity or humanity?

8. John 2:24,25 – He knew all men. Does this refer to His deity or humanity?

9. John 3:13 – No one has ascended to heaven but He who came down from heaven. Is this  referring to Christ’s deity or humanity?

10. John 3:16 + 3:34– God sent His Son into the world. Is this deity or humanity?

11. John 3:31 – He comes from above, is above all; comes from heaven is above all. Is this   referring to His deity or humanity?

12. John 3:32 + John 3:11 + John 15:15- He has seen and heard things in heaven. Does this  act of seeing refer to His deity or humanity in A.D. 31?

13. John 5:17 + 9:4 – He has been working as the Father is working. Is this deity or humanity?

14. John 5:17,18 – His relationship as God’s Son and the Father He calls Father – this meant to the Jews that the Son and the Father are equal. Is the deity or the humanity  of Jesus the one equal with the Father?

15. John 5:19,20 – Jesus sees (present tense in 31 A.D.) the Father doing and He does the same    things. Do the acts of seeing and doing refer to Jesus” deity or his humanity?

16. John 5:19 – Whatever the He (the Father) does, the Son does. Does this refer to Jesus’ deity  or to his humanity?

17. John 5:23 – “That all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not  honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.” Do we honor the Son as human and do we give that same human honor to the Father? Do we honor   the Son as God and do we honor the Father as God.

18. John 5:26 – Life is inherent in the Father and life is inherent in the Son. Does this possession   of eternal life in the past belong to deity or to Jesus’ humanity?

19. John 5:30, 36 – Christ was sent by the Father, and He hears the Father. Was this hearing and  sending before the birth of Jesus to the Virgin Mary or after Jesus’ birth?

20. John 5:37 + John 1:18 – It is understood here that the Son has seen the Father. See again our reference to John 5:19-20. The Christ who saw and heard the Father, is it Christ’s deity or his humanity?

     If the above utterances of Jesus and references to himself refer to his deity and not to his humanity, should not Matthew 24:36; Mark 13:32 be interpreted as referring to his humanity and not to his deity?  To be consistent, it should be.

     Note: In the next series we shall continue to submit passages that will train our understanding about the dual nature of our Lord Jesus Christ. ### – Eusebio Tanicala, June 10, 2011 

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Didn’t Know His Coming? (Series #2)

“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. Does Christ’s statement quoted above deny Christ’s deity?  If the serious Bible student answers the questions below, he would not use this issue to deny Christ’s deity.

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. In the first series I have  challenged the serious Bible student to answer the questions below. I hope that the reader has formulated his own answer. These are the questions and now I give my own opinion.

     Question #1. If Yahweh God were true Deity, omnipotent and omniscient, why did He not prevent Lucifer from rebelling which made him Satan and eventually made him God’s bitter adversary?

Answer: Yahweh God, being omnipotent and omniscient, knew what Lucifer and some angels would do after creating them. Given the present situation now, we would like to volunteer the explanation that there are several interrelated factors considered to satisfactorily answer the above question and these are: (a) That God, before creation, had decreed that He would create angels, (b) That these angels would be given free will, (c) That in the exercise of free will there would be responsibility for consequences of willed choices, (d) That there would be sufficient instructions and warnings for good as well as wrong choices, and (e) That God wants to fellowship with beings that voluntarily choose to be loyal to God the Creator and  be holy as God Himself is holy. Lucifer’s ambition and greed led to his fall. Read Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28.

     Question #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 and Adam sinners?

     Answer: Yahweh God, being omnipotent and omniscient, knew what Adam and Eve would do after creating them. Given the present situation now, we would like to argue that there are several interrelated variables to consider to satisfactorily answer the above question and these are: (a) That God had, before creation, decreed that He would create humans, (b) That man would be given free will, (c) That in the exercise of free will there is responsibility for consequences of willed choices, (d) That there would be sufficient instructions and warnings for correct as well as wrong decisions, (e) That God wants to fellowship with beings that voluntarily choose to be loyal to God the Creator and be holy as God Himself is holy, and (f) That God does not interfere with human free will.

Bible history tells us that Eve and Adam chose to ignore God and believed the lying Satan.    

     Question #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?

Answer: God suffered Satan to continue his work on earth with mankind and God permitted the exercise of free will among mankind but Noah’s generation followed fleshly pleasure rather than choosing the holiness of God. God didn’t interfere with human free will and He showed that there is a consequence of the people’s voluntary choices. The flood destroyed that wicked world.

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

      Answer: The name Yahweh, the true God’s name, means “I AM THAT I AM” in English. Other scholars say it could be “I BECOME WHAT I BECOME.”   Yahweh God appeared in the form of man in Genesis 18:1 and He stayed with Abraham. Should we begrudge Yahweh’s prerogative in taking the form of human? We should not. Yahweh appeared as a burning bush in Exodus 3. According to 1 Cor. 10:4, Christ took the form of a material rock in Exodus 17:1-7 and Numbers 20:1-13. John 1:14’s declaration that Christ became flesh should not be a problem to the reasoning Bible student if he can grant that God could become man in Genesis 18:1 and a rock in Exodus.

     Question #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? If Jesus Christ is man only, what was He at the time He created the invisible and visible worlds?

     Answer: Nobody complains when we are told in Genesis 18:1 that Yahweh, the true God, became a human being without being born; He ate with Abraham and Sarah, walked and talked with Abraham when Sodom and Gomorrah were destroyed. What is the problem if God wants to be born of a virgin? Should man limit God’s power to become what He wants to become and appear as He wants to appear to mankind?  As if man wants to say, “God, I refuse to believe that you can become what you want to become if my limited brain power can’t understand it.”   That’s not a good way of interpreting the Bible.

     Question #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, and after John the Baptist was born 6 months earlier than Jesus? If Jesus Christ is man only, what was His existence before Abraham and John the Baptist were born?

     Answer:  Jesus Christ’s existence before the creation of the world in Genesis 1:1, His existence before Abraham was born is His spirit nature and person. The question should be asked, “If Christ is man only, what was His nature and person before the creation of the world?”

The only reasonable dogma is this: The spirit nature and person of Jesus Christ is not his humanity, and His humanity is not His spirit nature and person.

When Jesus Christ said, “Before Abraham was, I am” shouldn’t you ask, “If Jesus Christ is man only, how can he be existing before Abraham was born?” If you can answer this question based on John 8:56, then you should be able to answer the question based on Matthew 24:36.

     Question #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? Should man demand that God behave as humans ordinarily behave today when insulted?

     Answer: James and John felt insulted by the rejection shown them by the people in the Samaritan village. Ordinary humans want immediate revenge when insulted. God’s power and authority don’t automatically come out to exact revenge on people. Christ didn’t call thunder and lightning that would have melted down the Samaritan village. So we conclude that God’s power doesn’t automatically come out when challenged. We should not demand that God could exist only in one dimension as much as man can only exist in one dimension.

     Question #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?  Should man demand that God behave as human sovereigns ordinarily behave today in the exercise of military power?

     Answer:  He could have called down 12 legions of angels if He wanted to but He didn’t. Do we demand that God should bring out automatically His omnipotence when challenged? No. Many sick people came in contact with Christ during his earthly ministry, but He didn’t automatically heal them. Should that be taken as an evidence that He was not God? When Christ didn’t call down 12 legions to guard Him from the arresting authorities, should that be an evidence that He was not a powerful God? No.    

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

     Answer: God could appear locally while He is at the same time present everywhere in cosmic space and beyond. This is what we call the transcendence and immanence of God happening at the same time.  Theologians recognize this transcendence and immanence of God. If Christ’s localization within a period of  33 years while incarnated is a problem, why don’t we reject Yahweh’s localization for 24 hours in Genesis 18 and 19? Was God’s appearance of a man in Genesis 18:1 the totality of God’s nature and person? No. Man’s mind is the one limited. God could appear as a man to 1,000 people at the same time and still be God.

     Question #10. If Yahweh God is omnipresent or present everywhere, why was He localized as a small burning bush in Exodus 3:1-22? When Yahweh God is here, is He not there also?

Answer: God is immanent (present in the world) and at the same time He is transcendent (outside of the universe). God could appear to humans in a localized manner so that man could understand and communicate with God. We should not limit God’s power. We should not tell God not to act in a way that our limited brain power could not understand. If God is omnipotent or all powerful, why didn’t His fire appearance burn the bush? It was not the inability of the fire to burn the bush, but it was the temporary suspension of the ability to burn. Was God’s appearance as a burning bush in Exodus 3 the totality of God’s nature and person? No. Can God suspend His glorious appearance when He wants to appear to man? Yes.

It is not lack of power and knowledge but a temporary suspension of them. If God wants to forget our sins, does He really forget them? Is it possible for God to suspend remembrance of our sins? Is it possible for God to remember what He previously forgets?

     Question #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?

Answer: We should learn how to sometimes separate the Presidency and the personal private life of Benigno Simeon Cojuangco Aquino III. Did PNoy purchase the sports car as President of the Republic of the Philippines? No. Did PNoy purchase the sports car as a private person? Yes. Is there a PNoy that is a President of the Republic of the Philippines? Yes, there is. Is there a PNoy that is a personal private person? Yes, there is. Can you make a distinction between the PNoy as a President and a PNoy as a private citizen? Yes, we can. Are you able to apply this kind of splitting ability in the study of the nature and person of Jesus Christ? You should.

My dear reader, after you have given your own answers to the above questions and after reading my opinions, does 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?” still bother you?

Is it possible for you to make a distinction between Jesus Christ as Deity and Jesus Christ as human? Are you able to identify some acts or statements that should refer to His Deity and these should not be applicable to his humanity? Are you able to identify some acts or statements that should refer to His humanity and these should not refer to His Deity?  We should.

Anyone who wants to ask a specific follow-up question he should first submit his answers to the 11 questions expressed above to make sure he has struggled in his own mind how to tie together related passages and ideas.  #E. Tanicala

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. ##

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. #