The Friends of the Nazarene On-line Magazine

Volume 3 -- August 1999 (43 pages)

STATEMENT OF PURPOSE: Nazarene Saints Publishing is a Bible research group for a better Scriptural understanding. We are dedicated to the preservation and publishing of Christian writings which aid Friends of the Nazarene to “follow the Lamb no matter where the Lamb goes.” (John 15:14; Revelation 14:4) The Friends of the Nazarene are a spiritual community of Messianic Christians.  We are apologists dedicated to the defense of the truth that “God is One” and not three. The Bible is our creed. We view this “God-breathed” book as inspired alone, while the thoughts of men about it are not. We wish to respect the views of our multitude of Christian brethren. (1 Peter 3:15) The Friends of the Nazarene web page is http://www.nazarene-friends.org/ . [Mark Miller / Senior Editor (USA West coast); Ralph Slaney / Senior Spanish editor (Europe); Alberto Padilla / Associate Spanish Editor (USA Northeast); Andy Weeks / Associate Editor [Webmaster] (USA Midwest); Andrew Foss / Hebrew editor (Northwest USA)]

IN THIS ISSUE ---

1. HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE -- a Bible reading outline

2. DANIEL THE PROPHET -- a new rendering with footnotes

3. FAITH PERSPECTIVES

            Words of Encouragement

            Abomination of Desolation

            An Early Church Poem on the Lord’s Passion

4. ANNOUNCEMENTS

5. 21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES OF FIRST THESSALONIANS

5. FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT: GOODNESS

6. WHERE TO FIND “INSPIRED INTERPRETATIONS”

7. WHY THE EARLY CHURCH GREW IN NUMBERS


HOW TO UNDERSTAND THE BIBLE

Learning the Bible Chapter by Chapter

Interest in the Bible

numerical codes. By using this concordance or another lexicon keyed to the Strong’s numbers, more can be learned about the meaning.

Some people, like Presidents Lincoln and Roosevelt,  have memorized the entire Bible. Though this is commendable, few have accomplished this feat. Your purpose here ought to be to learn and remember key words and subjects in certain Bible books.

Take one book of the Bible at a time beginning with Philippians as an example of the process. Each paragraph grouping contains “Lesson Questions.” Review these and try to find the answers as you proceed. Usually there is a cross referencing text which will provide more information on that subject and question.

After reading a paragraph with one or several verses review these and associate what you have read with the subject theme provided for that material. Do this with each paragraph, one after another. Then at the end of each chapter ask yourself these summary questions without looking at the chapter reading. Write these down. If you need to look over certain portions again, do so.

Proceed through the four chapters in Philippians at your own pace. Take your time and meditate on what you are learning. Do not worry if you do not grasp everything on the first reading. Few subjects worth learning are clearly understood upon a first reading. It usually takes several readings to begin to grasp the overall purpose and the details.

Advanced Study Groups

 The Gospel of Matthew

Ephesians

Second Peter

First John

Daniel

Revelation

These follow a similar format as those epistles mentioned above. They are all new versions with a fresh rendering. Some contain two versions: a literal and a paraphrased. Most key words and phrases are footnoted and all critical Greek words are studied. There are brief comparisons with other translations and brief commentary on major subjects.

If the above project is regularly practiced most will find they have developed a deeper and broader understanding of the Bible. They will also note that they are growing in Christian character. Others will recognize the change in their lifestyle and Christian growth. Some who began as first-time readers of the Bible may discover a true love of teaching the Scriptures to others.

God bless all your efforts to learn and apply what is learned in a sustained and genuine reading of the Bible. [Now compare lessons on Philippians.]

THE LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS

CHAPTER ONE: “GOOD CITZENSHIP”

Theme Verse: 15

[“Gospel Behavior”]

Key word: Citizenship

[NOTE: a number following a Greek word is the Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible number. Words of particular interest are noted. The first rendering is from the literal Revised Standard Versions and the second a paraphrase by Weymouth.]

Philippians 1:1 -- From ... to

Lesson Question:

1. Who is the letter from?

2. To whom is the letter addressed?

PH1:1 Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philip'pi, with the bishops [EPI-SCOPOIS-1985] and deacons:

Philippians 1:2 -- Salutation

Lesson Question:

1. Whom does Paul omit here?

PH1:2 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Philippians 1:3-7 -- Thanks for Contributions

Lesson Questions:

1. What can bring us joy? (Philippians 4:14)

2. How were they Paul’s partners?

PH1:3 I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, PH1:4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, PH1:5 thankful for your partnership [COINONIA-2842] in the gospel from the first day until now. PH1:6 And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. PH1:7 It is right for me to feel thus about you all, because I hold you in my heart, for you are all partakers [SYN-COINONOUS-4791] with me of grace, both in my imprisonment and in the defense and confirmation of the gospel.

Philippians 1:8-11 -- A Prayer for Abounding Love

Lesson Questions:

1. What does Paul pray for them?

PH1:8 For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection [SPLAGCHNOIS-4698] of Christ Jesus. PH1:9 And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, PH1:10 so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure [EILIKRININEIS-1506] and blameless for the day of Christ, PH1:11 filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.

 

Philippians 1:12-14 -- Prison Causes Some to Speak

Lesson Questions:

1. From where does Paul write?

2. How did this affect most Christians?

PH1:12 I want you to know, brethren, that what has happened to me has really served to advance the gospel, PH1:13 so that it has become known throughout the whole praetorian guard and to all the rest that my imprisonment is for Christ; PH1:14 and most of the brethren have been made confident in the Lord because of my imprisonment, and are much more bold to speak the word of God without fear.

 

Philippians 1:15-20 -- Two Kinds of Christians

Lesson Questions:

1. In what two ways was Christ preached?

2. What is the result?

3. What does Paul hope?

PH1:15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. PH1:16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel; PH1:17 the former proclaim Christ out of partisanship, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. PH1:18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed; and in that I rejoice. PH1:19 Yes, and I shall rejoice. For I know that through your prayers and the help of the Spirit of Jesus Christ this will turn out for my deliverance, PH1:20 as it is my eager expectation and hope that I shall not be at all ashamed, but that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death.

 

Philippians 1:21-26 -- Life and Death Choices

Lesson Questions:

1. What two choices are before this prisoner? (2 Timothy 4:8; 1 Corinthians 15:23)

2. Why was it better for Paul to remain alive?

3. With what result to the Christians?

PH1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain. PH1:22 If it is to be life in the flesh, that means fruitful labor for me. Yet which I shall choose I cannot tell. PH1:23 I am hard pressed between the two. My desire is to depart [ANALYSAI-360] and be with Christ, for that is far better. PH1:24 But to remain in the flesh is more necessary on your account. PH1:25 Convinced of this, I know that I shall remain and continue with you all, for your progress and joy in the faith, PH1:26 so that in me you may have ample cause to glory in Christ Jesus, because of my coming to you again.

 

Philippians 1:27-30 -- Good Citizenship

Lesson Questions:

1. What does “manner of life” mean? (Colossians 1:10)

2. What does Paul hope he will hear?

3. In addition to belief what may be required of Christians? (1 Peter 2:21; 4:1)

PH1:27 Only let your manner of life [POLITEUESTHE-4176] be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you that you stand firm in one spirit, with one mind striving side by side for the faith of the gospel, PH1:28 and not frightened in anything by your opponents. This is a clear omen to them of their destruction, but of your salvation, and that from God. PH1:29 For it has been granted to you that for the sake of Christ you should not only believe in him but also suffer for his sake, PH1:30 engaged in the same conflict which you saw and now hear to be mine.  

 

SUMMARY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER ONE:

1. Sum up Philippians chapter one in a short phrase

2. What are some key words?

3. What verse would you call the “theme verse”?

4. How does one become a “good citizen”?

5. What lesson will you apply in your life?

CHAPTER TWO: “KEEP THE MIND OF CHRIST”

Theme Verse: 5

[“Humble Obedience”]

Key Word: Attitude

Philippians 2:1-4 -- Loving Appeal for “One Mind”

Lesson Questions:

1. What kind of “mind” should we have? (Acts 4:32)

2. What are some characteristics we should have? (1 Corinthians 13:4-7)

3. What are some characteristics we should not have? (Galatians 5:25, 26)

4. In what way could verse 4 define AGAPE? (1 Corinthians 10:24)

PH2:1 So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any incentive of love [AGAPES], any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, PH2:2 complete my joy by being of the same mind , having the same love [AGAPEN], being in full accord and of one mind. PH2:3 Do nothing from selfishness or conceit, but in humility count others better than yourselves. PH2:4 Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.

Philippians 2:5-11 -- Keep the Mind of Christ

Lesson Questions:

1. Whose “mind” should we have? (1 Peter 2:21)

2. What three characteristics did Jesus have?

3. Was Jesus equal to God? (Psalm 8:4)

4. Verses 10, 11 are alluding to what OT text? (Isaiah 45:23)

PH2:5 Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, PH2:6 who, though he was in the form of God [MORPHE THEOU], did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped [HARPAGMON-725], PH2:7 but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. PH2:8 And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. PH2:9 Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, PH2:10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, PH2:11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

 

 

Philippians 2:12-18 -- How to Work Out Your Own Salvation

Lesson Questions:

1. Who is another example of Christ’s “mind”? (Philippians 3:8)

2. What helps us work out our own salvation? (2 Corinthians7:1, 15)

3. To do this what must we hold fast? How? (2 Timothy 3:16; Hebrews 4:12)

PH2:12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; PH2:13 for God is at work in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. PH2:14 Do all things without grumbling or questioning, PH2:15 that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God without blemish in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, PH2:16 holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I may be proud that I did not run in vain or labor in vain. PH2:17 Even if I am to be poured as a libation upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. PH2:18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me.

 

Philippians 2:19-24 -- Timothy -- A Unique Disposition

Lesson Questions:

1. Give another example of Christ’s “mind” (Philippians 2:5)

2. How was Timothy like Christ? (1 Corinthians 4:17; 16:10)

3. Do all Christians “keep the mind of Christ”? (Philippians 1:15-17; 4:15)

4. Compare verse 21 with verse 4

PH2:19 I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you soon, so that I may be cheered by news of you. PH2:20 I have no one like him, who will be genuinely anxious for your welfare. PH2:21 They all look after their own interests, not those of Jesus Christ. PH2:22 But Timothy's worth you know, how as a son with a father he has served with me in the gospel. PH2:23 I hope therefore to send him just as soon as I see how it will go with me; PH2:24 and I trust in the Lord that shortly I myself shall come also.

 

23 So it is he that I hope to send as soon as ever I see how things go with me; 24 but trusting, as I do, in the Lord, I believe that I shall myself also come to you before long.  

Philippians 2:25-30 -- The Example of a Sick Brother

Lesson Questions:

1. Who is another example of Christ’s “mind”? (Philippians 4:18)

2. What words are used to describe him?

3. How were such examples to be treated? (1 Corinthians 16:18; 1 Thessalonians 5:12)

4. Compare verse 30 with verse 8 

PH2:25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphrodi'tus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need, PH2:26 for he has been longing for you all, and has been distressed because you heard that he was ill. PH2:27 Indeed he was ill, near to death. But God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. PH2:28 I am the more eager to send him, therefore, that you may rejoice at seeing him again, and that I may be less anxious. PH2:29 So receive him in the Lord with all joy; and honor such men, PH2:30 for he nearly died for the work of Christ, risking his life to complete your service to me.

 

SUMMARY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER TWO --

1. Sum up Philippians chapter two in a short phrase

2. What are some key words?

3. What verse would you call the “theme verse”?

4. Who are three examples of the “mind of Christ”?

5. What mental attributes are you determined to demonstrate?

CHAPTER THREE: “FORGET THE PAST -- PURSUE THE GOAL!”

Theme Verse: 13

[“Goal-oriented”]

Key Word: Goal

Philippians 3:1 -- Rejoice!

1. What is Paul’s exhortation? (Philippians 1:18; 2:17, 18, 28; 4:10)

2. What is the value of repetition?

PH3:1 Finally, my brethren, rejoice in the Lord. To write the same things to you is not irksome to me, and is safe for you.

Philippians 3:2-4a -- True Circumcision

Lesson Questions:

1. Who are the “dogs”? (Acts 15:1, 5)

2. True “circumcision” is evident by what? (Romans 2:27, 28; Colossians 2:11)

PH3:2 Look out for the dogs, look out for the evil-workers, look out for those who mutilate the flesh. PH3:3 For we are the true circumcision, who worship God in spirit, and glory in Christ Jesus, and put no confidence in the flesh. PH3:4a Though I myself have reason for confidence in the flesh also.

3 For we are the true circumcision--we who render to God a spiritual worship and make our boast in Christ Jesus and have no confidence in outward ceremonies: 4 although I myself might have some excuse for confidence in outward ceremonies.

 

Philippians 3:4b-11 -- Past Garbage -- Future Gains

Lesson Questions:

1. How did Paul feel about his past? (1 Corinthians 11:22)

2. What was worth loosing everything for? (Luke 12:32, 33)

3. In what way was Paul righteous? (Galatians 2:16)

4. What did Paul want to share with Christ? (Romans 6:3-5)

PH3:4b If any other man thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more: PH3:5 circumcised on the eighth day, of the people of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew born of Hebrews; as to the law a Pharisee, PH3:6 as to zeal a persecutor of the church, as to righteousness under the law blameless. PH3:7 But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ. PH3:8 Indeed I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as refuse [SKUBALA-4657], in order that I may gain Christ PH3:9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own, based on law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith; PH3:10 that I may know him and the power of his resurrection, and may share his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, PH3:11 that if possible I may attain the resurrection from the dead [EXANASTASIN-1815].

 

8 Nay, I even reckon all things as pure loss because of the priceless privilege of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. And for His sake I have suffered the loss of everything, and reckon it all as mere refuse, in order that I may win Christ and be found in union with Him, 9 not having a righteousness of my own, derived from the Law, but that which arises from faith in Christ--the righteousness which comes from God through faith. 10 I long to know Christ and the power which is in His resurrection, and to share in His sufferings and die even as He died; 11 in the hope that I may attain to the resurrection from among the dead.

 

Philippians 3:12-16 -- Forget the Past -- Pursue the Goal

Lesson Questions:

1. Did Paul consider himself “perfect”?

2. What was the one thing Paul did? (Hebrews 12:1)

3. What was the prize to pursue? (Hebrews 3:1)

4. What “mind” should we have? (Philippians 2:5)

PH3:12 Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect; but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me his own. PH3:13 Brethren, I do not consider that I have made it my own; but one thing I do, forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead, PH3:14 I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. PH3:15 Let those of us who are mature be thus minded; and if in anything you are otherwise minded, God will reveal that also to you. PH3:16 Only let us hold true to what we have attained.

 

15 Therefore let all of us who are mature believers cherish these thoughts; and if in any respect you think differently, that also God will make clear to you. 16 But whatever be the point that we have already reached, let us persevere in the same course.  

Philippians 3:17-21 -- Imitate Me and Await the Change!

Lesson questions:

1. Who should be our examples? (1 Corinthians 11:1)

2. What had happened to some Christians? (1 John 2:13)

3. Where are the “minds” of the enemy? (Romans 8:5; Colossians 3:2)

4. We wait for what two things? (1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Corinthians 15:50-52)

PH3:17 Brethren, join in imitating me, and mark those who so live as you have an example in us. PH3:18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, live as enemies of the cross of Christ. PH3:19 Their end is destruction, their god is the belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. PH3:20 But our commonwealth [POLITEUMA-4175] is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, PH3:21 who will change [METASCHEMEMATISEI-3345]  our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power which enables him even to subject all things to himself..

 

SUMMARY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER THREE --

1. Sum up Philippians chapter three in a short phrase

2. What are some key words?

3. What verse would you call the “theme verse”?

4. What should we strive to put behind us?

5. What goals will you set for yourself?

CHAPTER FOUR: 

“How to Guard Heart and Mind”

Theme Verse: 7

[“Wholesome Thinking”]

Key word: Thinking

Philippians 4:1 -- Stand Firm

Lesson Questions:

1. What does Paul encourage?

PH4:1 Therefore, my brethren, whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

 

Philippians 4:2, 3 -- Women of the Same “Mind”

Lesson Questions:

1. Who were encouraged to “agree in the Lord”?

2. Why were these women praised?

PH4:2 I entreat Eu-o'dia and I entreat Syn'tyche to agree in the Lord. PH4:3 And I ask you also, true yokefellow, help these women, for they have labored side by side with me in the gospel together with Clement and the rest of my fellow workers, whose names are in the book of life.

 

 

Philippians 4:4-7 -- Peace that Guards Heart and Mind

Lesson Questions:

1. What is encouraged for the second time?

2. How may pray help with anxiety?

3. What will keep hearts and minds?

PH4:4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice. PH4:5 Let all men know your forbearance. The Lord is at hand. PH4:6 Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. PH4:7 And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

Philippians 4:8, 9 -- What Are Some Things to Think About?

Lesson Questions:

1. What are some things to think about?

2. What will assure the God of peace is with us?

PH4:8 Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. PH4:9 What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.

Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever wins respect, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovable, whatever is of good repute--if there is any virtue or anything deemed worthy of praise--cherish the thought of these things. 9 The doctrines and the line of conduct which I taught you--both what you heard and what you saw in me-- hold fast to them; and God who gives peace will be with you.

 

Philippians 4:10-13 -- The Secret of Contentment

Lesson Questions:

1. How do we show we are concerned about someone?

2. What had secret had Paul learned?

 

PH4:10 I rejoice in the Lord greatly that now at length you have revived your concern for me; you were indeed concerned for me, but you had no opportunity. PH4:11 Not that I complain of want; for I have learned, in whatever state I am, to be content. PH4:13 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound; in any and all circumstances I have learned the secret of facing plenty and hunger, abundance and want. I can do all things in him who strengthens me.

 

Philippians 4:14-20 -- Sacrifices that Please God

Lesson Questions:

1. How were these Christians Partners With Paul?

2. What is kind of sacrifice that pleases God?

3. How does God bless such giving?

PH4:14 Yet it was kind of you to share my trouble. PH4:15 And you Philippians yourselves know that in the beginning of the gospel, when I left Macedo'nia, no church entered into partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only; PH4:16 for even in Thessaloni'ca you sent me help once and again. PH4:17 Not that I seek the gift; but I seek the fruit which increases to your credit. PH4:18 I have received full payment, and more; I am filled, having received from Epaphrodi'tus the gifts you sent, a fragrant offering, a sacrifice acceptable and pleasing to God. PH4:19 And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus. PH4:20 To our God and Father be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

 

 

Philippians 4:21, 23 -- Greetings

Lesson Questions:

1. How does Paul conclude his letter?

PH4:21 Greet every saint in Christ Jesus. The brethren who are with me greet you. PH4:22 All the saints greet you, especially those of Caesar's household. PH4:23 The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit.

My Christian greetings to every one of God's people. The brethren who are with me send their greetings. 22 All God's people here greet you--especially the members of Caesar's household. 23 May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirits.

 

SUMMARY QUESTIONS ON CHAPTER FOUR --

1. Sum up Philippians chapter four in a short phrase

2. What are some key words?

3. What verse would you call the “theme verse”?

4. What can guard mind and heart?

5. What point will you apply?

SUMMARY OF “PHILIPPIANS”?

1. How would you briefly summarize “Philippians”?

2. Name three things Paul encouraged?

3. What have you learned from “Philippians”?

==== END ====

THE PROPHET DANIEL

==== END ====

FAITH PERSPECTIVES

[A regular feature for the free expression of faith and belief.]

Words of Encouragement:

 

Last weekend I couldn't be at my computer much but I spent it reading the whole June issue of the Friends of the Nazarene magazine. I printed it out and while reading it, I looked up most of the scriptures while going through it. How I savored every word of it! I want to emphasize the "Faith perspectives" part too. The articles: "What is wrong with Christians today" and " Why didn't you live my teachings more", and "Why didn't you love more" really hit home with me!
Who ever sent in ....." The Carpenter" ....Thank you so very much! That was so good! Anyway, for those who haven't read the latest June issue, I sure encourage you to do it. I'm enriched. (smile) [Sister from Oregon]

***

Acquiring the mind of Christ is derived from an in-depth understanding of the scriptures. This outline format -- How to Understand the Bible -- is great. It facilitates remembering the main points of the scriptures, something not always easy to do in this rush rush world. Keep up the good work. [JW elder -- Northwest USA]

***

... your very readable, and, may I say, splendid translation. By far the best I've seen yet. And, anyway, you can be sure I've read it now---and the footnotes!
I'm hoping there's more to come. [England]

***

“Abomination of Desolation”

I wanted to make a few expressions on one point in your post when you say, "the abomination of desolation is not the same as the desolation of Jerusalem." Let me give you a few reasons why I believe "the abomination of desolation" does relate to the period of 66-70 and the oppression on Jerusalem.

1) The first reason is that TO BDELYGMA TES EREMOSEOS in Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 looks very much like a quoted allusion to Daniel 9:27. Here is the Greek though the fonts may not transfer (so I have also transliterated them).

Matthew ( Greek NT - Westcott & Hort )
24:15
otan oun idhte to bdelugma thV erhmwsewV to rhqen dia danihl tou profhtou estoV en topw agiw o anaginwskwn noeitw

Above is the Greek text of Matthew 24:15 with the phrase "the abomination of desolation" (KJV) in red [TO BDELYGMA TES EREMOSEOS]. I would like to suggest that this is a designation taken from Daniel 9:27 in the LXX. Here is the Greek text of the Septuagint:

Daniel 9:27 -- to bdelugma twn erhmwsewn [TO BDELYGMA TON EREMOSEON]

Daniel 9:26 gives the context in the desolation of Jerusalem and her Temple: "And the city [of Jerusalem] and the Temple the people of a [Roman] leader that is coming will bring to their ruin. And the end of it will be a cataclysm. And until the conclusion [SYNTELEIAS] there will be war until the consummation [SYNTELEIA] of desoloations." I also believe that the use of SYNTELEIAS here is the source of the same at Matthew 24:3. (Compare Hebrews 9:26.)

2) My second reason for applying "the abomination of desolation" to Jerusalem’s desolation is Luke’s own inspired interpretation. Instead of using TO BDELGMA TES EREMOSEOS as Matthew [and, Mark] Luke 21:20 uses just the word EREMOSIS: "Furthermore, when YOU see Jerusalem surrounded by encamped armies, then know that the desolating [EREMOSIS] of her has drawn near." It seems to me that Luke is clearly referencing Matthew 24:15 and Mark 13:14 and thus applying Daniel 9:27 to the desolation of Jerusalem.

3) My second reason for applying Matthew 24:15 to Daniel 9:26, 27 is that the Book of Revelation, written 30 years after Jerusalem’s desolation, makes no use of this Greek phrase while referencing Daniel over four dozen times.

I do not mean by this that there is not another application of these phrases in some manner whether one uses "double fulfillment" or "type/anti-type." But, this is another subject for discussion at another time.

So, in conclusion, I would suggest a couple things about Matthew 24:

a) The apostles ask a multiple question amiss and without understanding to the Nazarene who does not know the day and hour of these matters. Matthew 24 may be generall divided into two or three sections:

1. Matthew 24:4-14 -- a warning to the apostles about what to expect while not being misled by world events or false prophets.

2. Matthew 24:15-22 -- the desolation of Jerusalem and the time of great oppression.

3. Matthew 24:23-28 -- a transition explaining factors regarding the Parousia. Jesus does not know the exact length of time between these two. Note from Daniel chapter 7 that many events must occur from the ruin of Rome to the rise of the Small Horn and the deliverance of the Saints.

4. Matthew 24:29-25:46 -- the Parousia and Judgment

***

A POEM ON THE PASSION OF THE LORD

FORMERLY ASCRIBED TO LACTANTIUS. [The early Church]

WHOEVER you are who approach, and are entering the precincts of the middle of the temple, stop a little and look upon me, who, though innocent, suffered for your crime; lay me up in your mind, keep me in your breast. I am He who, pitying the bitter misfortunes of men, came hither as a messenger of offered peace, and as a full atonement for the fault of men. Here the brightest light from above is restored to the earth; here is the merciful image of safety; here I am a rest to you, the right way, the true redemption, the banner of God, and a memorable sign of fate. It was on account of you and your life that I entered the virgin's womb, was made man, and suffered a dreadful death; nor did I find rest anywhere in the regions of the earth, but everywhere threats, everywhere labours. First of all a wretched dwelling in the land of Judged was a shelter for me at my birth, and for my mother with me: here first, amidst the outstretched sluggish cattle, dry grass gave me a bed in a narrow stall. I passed my earliest years in the Pharian regions, being an exile in the reign of Herod; and after my return to Judaea I spent the rest of my years, always engaged in fastings, and the extremity of poverty itself, and the lowest circumstances; always by healthful admonitions applying the minds of men to the pursuit of genial uprightness, uniting with wholesome teaching many evident miracles: on which account impious Jerusalem, harassed by the raging cares of envy and cruel hatred, and blinded by madness, dared to seek for me, though innocent, by deadly punishment, a cruel death on the dreadful cross.

And if you yourself wish to discriminate these things more fully, and if it delights you to go through all my groans, and to experience griefs with me, put together the designs and plots, and the impious price of my innocent blood; and the pretended kisses of a disciple, and the insults and strivings of the cruel multitude; and, moreover, the blows, and tongues prepared for accusations. Picture to your mind both the witnesses, and the accursed judgment of the blinded Pilate, and the immense cross pressing my shoulders and wearied back, and my painful steps to a dreadful death.

Now survey me from head to foot, deserted as I am, and lifted up afar from my beloved mother. Behold and see my locks clotted with blood, and my blood-stained neck under my very hair, and my head drained with cruel thorns, and pouring down like rain from all sides a stream of blood over my divine face. Survey my compressed and sightless eyes, and my afflicted cheeks; see my parched tongue poisoned with gall, and my countenance pale with death. Behold my hands pierced with nails, and my arms drawn out, and the great wound in my side; see the blood streaming from it, and my perforated feet, and blood-stained limbs. Bend your knee, and with lamentation adore the venerable wood of the cross, and with lowly countenance stooping to the earth, which is wet with innocent blood, sprinkle it with rising tears, and at times bear me and my admonitions in your devoted heart. Follow the footsteps of my life, and while you look upon my torments and cruel death, remembering my innumerable pangs of body and soul, learn to endure hardships, and to watch over your own safety.

These memorials, if at any time you find pleasure in thinking over them, if in your mind there is any confidence to bear anything like my suffer ings), if the piety due, and gratitude worthy of my labours shall arise, will be incitements to true virtue, and they will be shields against the snares of an enemy, aroused by which you will be safe, and as a conqueror bear off the palm in every contest. If these memorials shall turn away your senses, which are devoted to a perishable world, from the fleeting shadow of earthly beauty, the result will be, that you will not venture, enticed by empty hope, to trust the frail enjoyments of fickle fortune, and to place your hope in the fleeting years of life.

But, truly, if you thus regard this perishable world, and through your love of a better country deprive yourself of earthly riches and the enjoyment of present things, the prayers of the pious will bring you up in sacred habits, and in the hope of a happy life, amidst severe punishments, will cherish you with heavenly dew, and feed you with the sweetness of the promised good. Until the great favour of God shall recall your happy" soul to the heavenly regions, your body being left after the fates of death. Then freed from all labour, then joyfully beholding the angelic choirs, and the blessed companies of saints in perpetual bliss, it shall reign with me in the happy abode of perpetual peace.

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ANNOUNCEMENTS

     BIBLE READING LESSONS: A new program has began this summer. A Bible reading lessons program for use in Friends Devotional Bible Discussions as been preprared. It involves a program of Bible reading with the purpose of learning and memorizing key words and subjects in the Bible and where to locate them easily. With this issue of Friends magazine we include the example of the Letter to the Philippians. Small groups throughout the world meet for weekly devotional discussions of the Bible. Some use Bible reading while others prefer using a publication as the general outline for study and discussion.

     DANIEL THE PROPHET: A new rendering of the Prophet Daniel has been completed. It is a footnote commentary on certain portions of Daniel, particularly chapters 2, 7, 8, 9, and 12. It is a fine complimentary to Nazarene Apocalypse and the commentary on Revelation. A sample using Daniel 2:44 and Daniel 7:13 are presented above.

     TALK-LIST FRIENDS OF THE NAZARENE: A new talk-list has been made available for moderated messages and discussions. Stop by and express yourself.

     CHRISTIAN BELIEVERS EASTERN CONFERENCE: Here is information on the Internet: http://www.cmfellowship.org/docs/conferences.htm  -- The 90th Christian Believers' Conference -- Theme,  Ephesians 6:18: "Praying always with all prayer" Gordon College Campus Wenham, Massachusetts August 5th - 8th 1999. Accommodations: Bert & Faye Collins, 176 Rockport Rd. Port Murray, NJ 07865 (908) 852-8951

     21st CENTURY VERSION OF THE CHRISTIAN SCRIPTURES: Several books of the Christian Bible have been prepared in new translations/renderings with footnote commentaries. With the exception of Matthew and Revelation these are presented in two versions: literal and paraphrase. The literal version is then presented with footnotes on all key words and phrases. Greek words of interest are examined. The versions are compared to a total of two dozen other translations. See Matthew, Ephesians, Second Peter, First John, Revelation on the Friends web page.

     JUDE: An interlinear version of the Greek text of the letter of Jude has been post on the web page. There is also a literal translation with footnote commentary.

     ROMANS -- CHAPTER BY CHAPTER: A new rendering of Paul’s epistle to the Romans is being added to the web page -- chapter by chapter. Presently there are seven chapters currently online. This contains first an interlinear version with the Greek text. Then a literal translation follows with footnote commeary. There is a summary to each paragraph as well as review questions. Each chapter and paragraph has a topic heading.

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SAMPLE OF COMMENTARY ON 1 Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 -- A Heavenly Gathering With the Lord

1TH4:13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep,[1] that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. 1TH4:14 For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again,[2] even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him[3] those who have fallen asleep. 1TH4:15 For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord,[4] that we who are alive,[5] who are left until the coming of the Lord,[6] shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.[7] 1TH4:16 For the Lord himself will descend from heaven[8] with a cry of command,[9] with the archangel's call,[10] and with the sound of the trumpet of God.[11] And the dead in Christ will rise first;[12] 1TH4:17 then we who are alive, who are left,[13] shall be caught up[14] together with them[15] in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air;[16] and so we shall always be with the Lord.[17] 1TH4:18 Therefore comfort one another with these words.[18]

(Weymouth) 13 Now, concerning those who from time to time pass away, we would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, lest you should mourn as others do who have no hope. 14 For if we believe that Jesus has died and risen again, we also believe that, through Jesus, God will bring with Him those who shall have passed away. 15 For this we declare to you on the Lord's own authority--that we who are alive and continue on earth until the Coming of the Lord, shall certainly not forestall those who shall have previously passed away. 16 For the Lord Himself will come down from Heaven with a loud word of command, and with an archangel's voice and the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Afterwards we who are alive and are still on earth will be caught up in their company amid clouds to meet the Lord in the air. 18 And so we shall be with the Lord for ever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.

 

 (Young) 13 And I do not wish you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, that ye may not sorrow, as also the rest who have not hope, 14 for if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, so also God those asleep through Jesus he will bring with him, 15 for this to you we say in the word of the Lord, that we who are living--who do remain over to the presence of the Lord--may not precede those asleep, 16 because the Lord himself, in a shout, in the voice of a chief-messenger, and in the trump of God, shall come down from heaven, and the dead in Christ shall rise first, 17 then we who are living, who are remaining over, together with them shall be caught away in clouds to meet the Lord in air, and so always with the Lord we shall be; 18 so, then, comfort ye one another in these words.

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THE FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT

[PART FOUR: GOODNESS]

GOODNESS - ACTIVE BENEFICENCE

Jesus made answer and said, A certain man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho; and he fell among robbers, who both stripped him and beat him, and departed, leaving him half dead.  And by chance a certain priest was going down that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.  And in like manner a Levite also, when he came to the place, and saw him, passed by on the other side.  But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: and when he saw him, he was moved with compassion, and came to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring on them oil and wine; and he set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.  And on the morrow he took out two shillings, and gave them to the host, and said, Take care of him; and whatsoever thou spendest more, I, when I come back again, will repay thee.  Which of these three, thinkest thou, proved neighbor unto him that fell among the robbers?  And he said, He that showed mercy on him. And Jesus said unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.”  (Luke 10:30-37, ASV)

In this parable, we see active beneficence.  When a brother sees another brother hungry and feeds him, this is certainly kindness (chrestotes), but when one who is hated, considered a rival, and is viewed as a reproach by the Jewish masses, extends himself as this Samaritan did, and helps a complete stranger, (who, based on Jesus’ mentioning of a priest and a Levite, may very well have been a Jew himself), this is “goodness” (agathosune).  Again, it is more “active” or more “aggressive” than chrestotes, which in turn is more “active” or “aggressive” than “kindness” as we understand it in the English.  This truly was a “good” Samaritan!

Concerning agathosune (goodness), Easton’s Bible Dictionary states, “In man is not a mere passive quality, but the deliberate preference of right to wrong, the firm and persistent resistance of all moral evil, and the choosing and following of all moral good.”  [Bold mine for emphasis]

The Complete Word Study Dictionary also states, “Agathosune does not spare sharpness and rebuke to cause good (agathon) in others.  A person may display his agathosune, his zeal for goodness and truth, in rebuking, correcting, or chastising.  Christ’s righteous indignation in the temple (Matt 21:13) showed His agathosune, goodness, but not His chrestotes, gentleness.”

This aspect of agathosune (goodness) is alluded to by Paul in his letter to the Roman believers: “And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.”  (Romans 15:14, KJV)

Paul’s statement to the Ephesian brethren appropriately sums up the matter: “For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness [agathosune]and righteousness and truth; Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.”  (Ephesians 5:9-11, KJV)

THE QUALITY OF FAITH - CONVICTION PERSONIFIED

In the Hebrew Scriptures there are primarily three words (emuwn, emunah, and ’aman) which are commonly translated “faith, faithful, faithfully, faithfulness, believe, or believed.”  One of the first occurrences of one of these words, ’aman, is at Genesis 15:6, and is used in reference to Abraham: “And he believed in Jehovah; and he reckoned it to him for righteousness.” (ASV)

Throughout the scriptures, Abraham shines forth as a continuous example of “faith.”  Paul mentions at Galatians 5:22 that faith is a product of the Spirit.  The question is, does God require that we all have the same level of faith as Abraham, whereby we would without question, be ready to sacrifice our own child if God so commanded?  (Genesis 22:1-18)

Certainly prayer, bible study, fellowship, and exercising daily, what level of faith we already do have, helps our faith to grow from day to day, and this is imperative because of what the scriptures say about faith:

For by grace have ye been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.  (Ephesians 2:8, ASV)

And elsewhere, “But now apart from the law a righteousness of God hath been manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;  even the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ unto all them that believe; for there is no distinction; for all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God; being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: whom God set forth to be a propitiation, through faith, in his blood, to show his righteousness because of the passing over of the sins done aforetime, in the forbearance of God; for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus.”  (Romans 3:21-26, ASV)

This phrase “through faith” is used in a number of other references.  For example:

Romans 3:30  if so be that God is one, and he shall justify the circumcision by faith, and the uncircumcision through faith.” (ASV)

Galatians 2:16  yet knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, even we believed on Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by the works of the law: because by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”  (ASV)

Galatians 3:26  For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.”  (ASV)

Colossians 2:12  having been buried with him in baptism, wherein ye were also raised with him through faith in the working of God, who raised him from the dead.”  (ASV)

2 Timothy 3:15  And that from a babe thou hast known the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”  (ASV)

Hebrews 6:12  that ye be not sluggish, but imitators of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.”  (ASV)

1 Peter 1:5  who by the power of God are guarded through faith unto a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”  (ASV)

In reading the New Testament, it becomes self-evident that we are all of varying degrees of faith.  For example, Romans 14 speaks of the “believer” who is “weak in faith,” (see Romans 14:1-4), yet is nonetheless still a “believer.”  In

1 Corinthians 12, Paul speaks of an exceptional faith which he describes as a “gift” that some have, while others possess different “gifts.” 

So, what is Paul the apostle of the Gentiles” i.e. the “apostle of the nations (Romans 11:13), referring to at Galatians 5:22?  Some translations, such as the American Standard Version, the New International Version, the Good News Bible, the New King James Version, the Jewish New Testament, the Amplified Bible, the New American Standard Bible, the New American Bible, the New Revised Standard Version, and even the Interlinear KJV-NIV Parallel New Testament in Greek and English by Alfred Marshall, render the Greek word psitis as “faithfulness” rather than “faith.” 

Using the suffix “-ness” helps to describe “quality, state, or condition,” which, in essence, is what Paul is describing at Galatians 5:22-23 when he speaks of fruit.

He is describing the quality, state, or condition of the individual in whom the Father’s spirit dwells.  This person, by his thoughts, words, and deeds, exhibits a confidence in God and his promises.  This manifestation becomes evident in the individual’s interaction with others.  Some translations have thus rendered the Greek word psitis at Galatians 5:22, as “loyalty” and “fidelity.”

Now faith is assurance of things hoped for, a conviction of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1, KJV)  It is being confident of something hoped for, and responding as if there is concrete proof, even though that which is promised is not yet seen!

One who is obedient to Rabbi Jesus the Messiah, and to the words of his holy apostles, will exhibit the “faithfulness” Paul mentions is a product of God’s spirit.  For example, when one refuses to look on someone of the opposite sex to lust after them because of Jesus’ word (Matthew 5:28), he or she is actually exhibiting faithfulness.  When one does not set themselves against one that is evil, and turns the other cheek (Matthew 5:39), he also is exhibiting faithfulness.  When one loves his enemy and prays for those who persecute him (Matthew 5:44), he is exhibiting faithfulness.  Simply stated, these are things that cannot be done consistently without the power of the holy spirit.  If a person both fears God and loves God, and has complete confidence, i.e. “faith” in his righteous judgments,  and in the fact that he will fulfill all of his promises, he or she can consistently exhibit faithfulness with God and fellow man.

At this juncture, it would be profitable to review exactly what was the hope and common faith of the first century Christians.  For it is evident that we should be of the same faith and hope.  To do this, we must again turn our attention to “father“ Abraham.  As previously asked, is everyone in whom the Father’s spirit dwells, expected to come to the point where he or she, can without questioning, sacrifice their own child? 

Perhaps Paul, in mentioning faithfulness, is referring to a person who is of the same conviction as the great cloud of witnesses before them - the conviction or belief that God exists and is the creator and ruler of all things, that now Jesus is Messiah and Lord, and that God raised him up, and that God is the bestower of eternal salvation through his Messiah, Jesus.  Perhaps Paul is referring to a person who is convinced that God is a keeper of all he has promised, including his promise to Abraham and his seed.  Perhaps Paul is referring to a person who is convinced of all these things and manifests his or her faith in their everyday dealings with God and with man.

Let’s take a look at Jehovah’s statement to Abram: “And Jehovah said unto Abram, after that Lot was separated from him, Lift up now thine eyes, and look from the place where thou art, northward and southward and eastward and westward: for all the land which thou seest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed for ever.  And I will make thy seed as the dust of the earth: so that if a man can number the dust of the earth, then may thy seed also be numbered.  Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for unto thee will I give it.”  (Genesis 13:14-17, ASV)

Notice that the promise made to Abraham included land.  This was emphasized by God as he commanded Abram, “Arise, walk through the land in the length of it and in the breadth of it; for unto thee will I give it.

Abraham had the conviction that the reward of his faith, was the fulfilled promise of possessing the very land he saw and walked through the length of and the breadth of.  Simply stated, God’s promise to Abraham guaranteed him perpetual ownership of an extremely large portion of the earth.

And I will establish my covenant between me and thee and thy seed after thee throughout their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee and to thy seed after thee.  And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land of thy sojournings, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God.  (Genesis 17:7-8, ASV)

Notice that the promise made to Abraham became the basis of a covenant.  It included specifically the land in which he was dwelling, the land of Canaan.  Just as Adam and Eve were placed in the garden of Eden, and God gave them to have dominion over the entire earth, to be fruitful, multiply, and to replenish the earth, Abraham and his seed would make a fresh start of the earth.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.  And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”  (Genesis 1:26-28, ASV)

It is important to keep in mind that aside from a small piece of land for burial, Abraham has not yet received the fulfillment of the promise.  It is evident that he will have to be raised from the dead for that!  Also, for it to be an everlasting possession, he and his seed will have to live perpetually!

The promise to Abraham of possessing the land eternally, to this day is the hope of Israel, and was the hope of the first century Christians.  Unfortunately, Israel as a nation, (and Christians, for that matter,  who do not exercise their own faith), cannot receive the fulfillment of the promise without placing their faith in Messiah Jesus, for it is he who is the promised Seed.

Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” 

(Galatians 3:16 , KJV)

For ye are all sons of God, through faith, in Christ Jesus.  For as many of you as were baptized into Christ did put on Christ.  There can be neither Jew nor Greek, there can be neither bond nor free, there can be no male and female; for ye all are one man in Christ Jesus.  And if ye are Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, heirs according to promise.”  (Galatians 3:26-29, ASV)

Romans 12:5  so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and severally members one of another.”  (ASV)

1 Corinthians 12:12  For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of the body, being many, are one body; so also is Christ.”  (ASV)

1 Corinthians 12:13  For in one Spirit were we all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free; and were all made to drink of one Spirit.”  (ASV)

1 Corinthians 12:20  But now they are many members, but one body.”  (ASV)

Ephesians 4:4  “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as also ye were called in one hope of your calling.”  (ASV)

It is abundantly clear that the promise to Abraham is an underlying theme which pervades the entire bible, both old and new testaments alike.  It is interesting to note that the early ancestors of the Jews hoped to some day perpetually possess  the land, in that there was a desire to be buried specifically in it!  For example:

Joseph to Pharaoh:  My father made me swear, saying: Lo, I die; in my grave which I have digged for me in the land of Canaan, there shalt thou bury me. Now therefore let me go up, I pray thee, and bury my father, and I will come back.”  (Genesis 50:5, JPS)

Joseph to his brethren:  And Joseph said unto his brethren: 'I die; but God will surely remember you, and bring you up out of this land unto the land which He swore to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob.'  And Joseph took an oath of the children of Israel, saying: 'God will surely remember you, and ye shall carry up my bones from hence.'  So Joseph died, being a hundred and ten years old. And they embalmed him, and he was put in a coffin in Egypt. 

(Genesis 50:24-26, JPS)

And Moses took the bones of Joseph with him; for he had straitly sworn the children of Israel, saying: 'God will surely remember you; and ye shall carry up my bones away hence with you.' “  (Exodus 13:19, JPS)

The promise made to Abraham was confirmed by God to Isaac:  Sojourn in this land, and I will be with thee, and will bless thee; for unto thee, and unto thy seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore unto Abraham thy father.”  (Genesis 26:3, JPS)

It was also confirmed by God to Jacob:  And God Almighty bless thee, and make thee fruitful, and multiply thee, that thou mayest be a congregation of peoples; and give thee the blessing of Abraham, to thee, and to thy seed with thee; that thou mayest inherit the land of thy sojournings, which God gave unto Abraham...And, behold, the LORD stood beside him, and said: 'I am the LORD, the God of Abraham thy father, and the God of Isaac. The land whereon thou liest, to thee will I give it, and to thy seed...And, behold, I am with thee, and will keep thee whithersoever thou goest, and will bring thee back into this land; for I will not leave thee, until I have done that which I have spoken to thee of.” (Genesis 28:3-4, 13, 15; JPS)

And also, “And God said unto him: 'I am God Almighty. Be fruitful and multiply; a nation and a company of nations shall be of thee, and kings shall come out of thy loins; and the land which I gave unto Abraham and Isaac, to thee I will give it, and to thy seed after thee will I give the land.”  (Genesis 35:11-12, JPS)

Israel did receive the land in the days of Joshua, but Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob personally had not.  And, in time, because of unfaithfulness and disobedience, Israel was led off to captivity.  After many years, they returned to the land, but to this very day, the original borders have not remained, nor has there come the “peaceful dwelling places,” the “everlasting joy,” and the state where the wicked are not possessing the land as foretold by Jehovah’s prophets.  (Isaiah 32:18; 61:7; Proverbs 10:30)

All of these things will be fulfilled in God’s own time, and his “faithful” servants shall inherit all things through Messiah Jesus.  The key word here is “faithful.”  Faith cannot be over emphasized - faith in God, faith in Jesus his Messiah, and faith in God’s promises.

So when Paul describes “faith” or “faithfulness” as fruit of the Spirit, it is evident that this is the quality manifested by one who by thought, word, and deed, lives according to Christ, the promised Seed.  This is one who manifests his or her conviction that all the promises of God are to be fulfilled.

And hereby we know that we know him, if we keep his commandments.  He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him; but whoso keepeth his word, in him verily hath the love of God been perfected. Hereby we know that we are in him: he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also to walk even as he walked.  (1 John 2:3-6, ASV)

For not unto angels did he subject the world to come, whereof we speak.  But one hath somewhere testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the son of man, that thou visitest him?  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; Thou crownedst him with glory and honor, And didst set him over the works of thy hands: Thou didst put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he subjected all things unto him, he left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we see not yet all things subjected to him.  But we behold him who hath been made a little lower than the angels, even Jesus, because of the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that by the grace of God he should taste of death for every man.  (Hebrews 2:5-9, ASV)

A Nazarene saint will manifest faithfulness in his or her walk with God and with Christ, by following daily and diligently, the teachings of the Nazarene and his apostles, for God shall surely fulfill all his promises.

Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are children of promise.”

(Galatians 4:28, ASV)

For thus saith Jehovah that created the heavens, the God that formed the earth and made it, that established it and created it not a waste, that formed it to be inhabited: I am Jehovah; and there is none else.”  (Isaiah 45:18, ASV)

As saints of the Nazarene, let us strive each day to manifest our faith in all we do, for we are well aware of the words of our Rabbi: “And I say unto you, that many shall come from the east and the west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven.” 

(Matthew 8:11, ASV)

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WHERE TO FIND “INSPIRED INTERPRETATIONS”

An example which escapes the notice of many Bible readers is John 5:28, 29. There Jesus taught: “Do not wonder about this, for the hour is coming when all those in the graves will hear his voice and come out come out. Those who were habitually good will be resurrected to life, but those who were habitually evil will be resurrected to condemnation.” Now, these words are not original with the Nazarene. He has borrowed them from two Old Testament prophets. Can you tell the sources for his words? Some Bible cross referencing systems reveal where to find these sources.

However, lets look at Jesus’ words again and not the phrases which are being borrowed from their Jewish Bible origins: “Do not wonder about this, for the hour is coming WHEN ALL THOSE IN THE GRAVES [Isaiah 26:19 LXX] will hear his voice and come out. THOSE WHO WERE HABITUALLY GOOD WILL BE RESURRECTED TO EVERLASTING LIFE, BUT THOSE WHO WERE HABITUALLY EVIL WILL BE  RESURRECTED TO CONDEMNATION. [Daniel 12:2] In Greek the beloved apostle John has Jesus quoting exactly the phrase from the Jewish Greek Septuagint at Isaiah 26:19. While, on the other hand, John has Jesus paraphrasing Daniel 12:2 and not quoting it exactly, a common practice.

This helps us understand by Jesus’ inspired interpretation that Isaiah 26:19 and Daniel 12:2 are prophecies about the resurrection and not primarily some spiritual restoration as some apply these. It is noteworthy also to consider that two other texts seem to paraphrase Jesus or Daniel 12:2, These are 2 Corinthians 5:10 and 1 John 2:28 which would seem to confirm that John 5:28, 29 is dealing with “all” those raised in the parousia-judgment of the Church, not mankind in general. [For details see the 21st Century Version of the Hebrew Scriptures [NCMM] of the book of Daniel.]

Another example has Jesus even warning the reader to be discerning when reading the prophet Daniel. In Matthew 24:15, 16 the Nazarene warns his four apostles, “So. when you see the sign of the abomination of desolation (as spoken by the prophet Daniel) standing in the Temple -- (let the reader be mindful)-- then let those in the region of Judea take flight into the mountains.” (Compare Lamsa) Here Jesus applies Daniel 9:26, 27 to the desolation of Jerusalem and not the so-called “end-times” prior to his Return. [For details see the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures [NCMM] of the Gospel of Matthew.]

Sometimes these inspired interpretations are quoting from the Christian Bible itself. For example, Jude 18 quotes 2 Peter 3:3. This would seem to indicate that the “last days” of 2 Peter 3:3 are those contemporary times of the living apostles prior to the desolation of Jerusalem in the year 70 CE. [For details see the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures of the letters of 2 Peter and Jude.]

How can we located these “inspired interpretations”? Some translations identify not only the direct quotations of the Hebrew Bible in the Christian Bible. For example, the New Jerusalem Bible italicizes words and phrases drawn from the Hebrew Bible. For example, note Romans 2:6 and Romans 2:10. Both of these are really strong allusions to Psalm 62:12 and Deuteronomy 10:17. [For details see the 21st Century Version of the Christian Scriptures of Romans chapter2.] On the other hand, the New Jerusalem Bible uses an error when the Hebrew Bible is quoted by the Christian Bible. Note how Isaiah 61:1 points to Luke 4:18, 19.

There are more than a thousand of such quotations and allusions to the Old Testament in the New Testament. The book of Revelation alludes to the prophet Daniel over four dozen times. Romans chapter 10 makes over a dozen direct quotes and allusions to Old Testament Scripture.

So, when reading and studying the Christian Bible (New Testament) begin to note these many quotations (estimated at 365 times) and direct allusions (estimated at 365 times -- the days in the year) and many, many other more subtle references. It will aid you to get an inspired interpretation of the Old Testament without relying on the imperfect, and often erroneous, interpretations of uninspired Bible commentators.

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15 REASONS WHY THE EARLY CHURCH GREW SO RAPIDLY

What makes a church or spiritual community grow? How can the example of the early Christian church help a modern ecclesia increase in numbers as well as spiritual fruitage? Below is a consideration of the Book of Acts and those places where the reason for the primitive growth is specifically mentioned. The surrounding context sheds light on the reasons given in the Bible for the new Church’s grow. By reading these a small home church in a local community may be able to identify the process of their own growth.

Acts 2:41-47

02. “devoting themselves to the teaching” -- a study of the apostolic teachings

04. “fear” -- a deep respect for the apostolic leadership submitted to leadership

06. “constant attendance at the temple” -- they did not minimize group meetings

08. “great rejoicing” -- they were joyful, happy people

10. “praising God” -- the praise of God was part of their worship

ACTS 6:1, 7

13. “obedient to the faith” -- the disciples were obedient to the leadership

ACTS 11:21

14. “declaring the good news of the Lord Jesus” -- they preached about Jesus

ACTS 15:4, 5

15. “they traveled on through the cities they would deliver to those there for observance the decrees that had been decided upon by the apostles and older men who were in Jerusalem” -- there was a body of apostles and elders which unified the churches by sending representatives to visit them.

The above gives an outline for any ecclesia or spiritual community on the principles of early Christian growth. It can only aid if a small local group examines how they can imitate this early church growth.

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[1]Those who are asleep: It is possible some local Christians had died in persecution. The word sleep or asleep is used often as a metaphor for death and its condition. Research sleep in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. (John 11:11-14)

[2]Jesus died and rose again: Compare Romans 14:9 and 1 Corinthians 15:4. The foundation of the Christian faith. (Romans 10:9, 10)

[3]God will bring with him: The Greek is literally, “(The God) will lead together with (Christ).” The meaning may arise out of 1 Thessalonians 3:13 and may be echoed in Revelation 17:14. Others will see it as an allusion to the bringing into the celestial realms the Messiah with the raised and rescued Saints. (Daniel 12:1, 2) See below for the sequence of events.

[4]We declare to you by the word of the Lord: What may Paul mean as the source of what he is about to declare? It is possible he has a revelation on the matter. We note how the New Jerusalem Bible renders this: “We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching ...” If this be a correct view then we can find within the teachings of the Nazarene two groups of Saints, one living and one dead, and at some future moment will then benefit by being raised. We do discover this in John 11:25, 26, “I am the resurrection. Anyone who believes in me, even though that person dies, will live [a) by a resurrection] and whoever lives [living] and believes in me will never die [b) a living person who escapes death].” (NJB) This may be understood to an allusion to Daniel 12:1, 2 where two such groups are seen: a) one awakened from sleep; and, b) another group rescued from a great oppression. Paul reveals such a mystery later to the Corinthians when he again mentions such a mystery -- 1 Corinthians 15:50-52. Is it possible this mystery was revealed to Paul (an inspired understanding of Daniel 12:1, 2 and John 11:25, 26) prior to the time of writing to the Thessalonians and thereafter the Corinthians? If we accept the view that Paul was aware of that teaching revealed in John 11:25, 26. The book of Daniel (including Daniel 12:1, 2) was to be sealed to the end-time or last days of Jerusalem. (Daniel 12:9) Paul is living at that precise time and may be among the first to gain such “knowledge.” (Daniel 12:4)

            For more details see Nazarene Principles, Nazarene Apocalypse (Nazarene Commentary) under 1 Thessalonians 4:13.

[5]We who are alive: Some make the error that this means those living Christians. Paul’s use of “we” may be editorial and refer to certain Christians in general. Note “we” in 2 Corinthians chapters 4 and 5. Paul may refer to “the living” f John 11:25, 26.

[6]Who are left until the coming of the Lord: Here the Greek PAROUSIA is used. Some render “left until” as “survive.” (CON, NW) This is misunderstood by the Thessalonians (and others) that some of them would live until the Parousia. This becomes a problem and is readdressed in 2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2. These would be the end-time Saints of Daniel 7:22 (Daniel 12:1) alive at the historical moment of Christ’s Return.

[7]Shall not precede those who have fallen asleep: The living (surviving) Saints will not go before the dead Saints. How does Paul know this order of events? This is the order in John 11:25, 26 -- first the dead believers are resurrected; and, then those alive never die. 1 Corinthians 15:51, 52 suggests similar order: “We shall not all die. ... for the Trumpet will sound and the dead will be raised and we will be changed.” Paul states here that this is a sacred mystery and infers he knows it by revelation.

            It is interesting to note that in the context of judgment there is a common phrase, “the living and the dead” -- with but one exception (Romans 14:9) -- the “living” noted first. (Ruth 2:20; Acts 10:42; 1 Timothy 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5) When the Lord arrives for judgment there are two groups: the living and the dead. For reasons explained elsewhere in Nazarene Commentary there are good reasons to suggest the living end-time Saints receive their judgment in the flesh while the dead Saints must be raised to the parousia-judgment. (Revelation 7:1-4)

[8]The Lord himself will descend from heaven: The Hebrew Bible has numerous examples of Yehowah descending to the earth, often in the form of His representative “Angel of Yahweh.” How does Paul know the Lord Jesus will return to earth by descending from the Sky. (The word “heaven” often means “sky.”) He surely could have learned John 14:1-3 and Acts 1:9-11 from other disciples. Surely in his close association with the Jewish physician Luke he would have learned of the episode recorded at Acts 1:9-11. On the other hand Daniel 7:22 may strongly infer that the “Lord” will leave the celestial realms as described in Daniel 7:13, 14 and “arrive” toward the Saints to deliver them from the Small Power. Compare John 6:64 and Ephesians 4:9, 10.

[9]A cry of command: May this “command” be that voice mentioned in John 5:28 and John 11:43. By comparing the Greek of Revelation 18:4 [EXELTHATE] with that of Isaiah 49:9 [EXELTHATE] (also Isaiah 48:20) we may think this would be the command, “Come out!” Actually we need not guess at this for we have the actual words in Revelation 11:12, “COME ON UP HERE!”

[10]The archangel's call: Some see this an inference that the name “Michael” belongs to the heavenly Lord. (Compare Daniel 12:1 and Revelation 12:7. Note the phrase “his angels” at Matthew 25:31 and Revelation 12:7. It is worthy of note that Michael the archangel speaks twice in the Bible and in both cases it includes, “Yehowah rebuke you, Satan!” (Zechariah 3:2; Jude 9) This descent of the Lord Jesus is a historic moment in his conquest over the Devil. (Hebrews 2:14) Note the call Paul quotes in 1 Corinthians 15:55, Death, where is your victory?”

[11]With the sound of the trumpet of God: Compare 1 Corinthians 15:50, 51 and Revelation 11:15, 18. What must this sound be like?

[12]The dead in Christ will rise first: That is, those “believers” of John 11:25. The Christian dead are only raised or resurrected upon the Return of Messiah. (1 Corinthians 15:23; Matthew 24:30, 31) Thus it is called the “first resurrection” at Revelation 20:4, 6.

[13]Then we who are alive, who are left: Those rescued or delivered at Daniel 12:1, 2. Those Christians alive and still waiting expectantly for the Return of Christ -- the end-time Saints. These are described in Revelation chapter 7 as symbolically a large crowd of 144,000 who “come out of the great oppression” to serve God in His celestial Temple. For details see Nazarene Apocalypse in Nazarene Commentary.

[14]Shall be caught up: The Greek is a very long word worthy of special note: HARPAGESOMETHA, meaning literally, “we will be snatched.” Strong’s #726 suggests, “carry off by force,” claim for one’s self,” or “to snatch out.” This is something that happens suddenly, even violently as a rape. Indeed, it is possible the first handful of letters in the Greek is corrupted into Latin as “rape.” Jerome in the fourth century used such a related word in his Latin Vulgate resulting in something closer to “rapture.” And so the source of the teaching on the Rapture. One may reread Daniel 7:22, Daniel 12:1, John 11:26, 1 Corinthians 15:51 and see the Rapture there.

[15]Together with them: Actually the Greek is seldom captured by most translators: HAMA SYN which literally means “at the same time together with.” In affect this says, “simultaneously together.” Can anyone argue that the resurrection and rapture of the Saints stretches over a whole generation or time, or more, over many centuries of time?

[16]In the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: Two words seem to make it clear where the Lord is located at this moment: in the atmosphere or the sky -- “clouds” and “air.” This “meeting” is described in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 as EPI-SYNAGOGES. The image echoes Acts 1:9-11. Note how this is repeated in Revelation 11:12, “And they heard a great voice out of the Sky say to them: ‘You, ascend to (us) here!’ And they ascended into the Sky in the cloud.”

[17]We shall always be with the Lord: One of the two great expectations of the Christian Church. The other is mentioned at Revelation 22:3, 4. This is the only hope offered by invitation to all Christians. (Ephesians 4:4)

[18]Comfort one another with these words: This portion of Scripture has been among the most comforting to the Saints throughout nearly two-thousand years. It has not lost a bit of its thrilling expectation and grows more powerful with each passing day. It is a text read at the memoriums of millions those Christians who have fallen asleep. One ancient memorial said: “Sleep, dear friend, a temporary rest is granted you.”