2 Samuel Reflections

These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

More David and Saul

I think starting 2 Samuel today continued to hit home how David extends mercy. He actually weeps over Saul and avenges his death (ch 1) and and also Abner (ch 3). You would think in his flesh he would be celebrating in a sense that the guy who has been trying to chase him down and kill him is finally dead but he does not seem to hold bitterness or resentment at all- he just does the right thing time and time again. Really incredible

Agree. I’ve been struck by his trust of the Lord to deal with Saul, instead of taking it into his own hands when he could. Very admirable. We will see something similar with his son, Absalom, when he turns against David and tries to kill him. Though, as I recall, he did get rebuked for being “too soft” with Absalom when he should’ve taken a stand a bit more against the abuse. But clearly his default is to love and forgive instead of fight: this is what it looks like to be a man after God’s heart!

…saying that, as we will also see, David is by no means innocent in his dealings on his way to the throne. We’ve already seen a fair amount of dishonesty in 1 Samuel, as well as multiplying wives, for instance. A reminder that God is the one who shows the MOST MERCY to all of us in using us who are full of sin. And as we see that truth, I believe we will be freed to forgive and give others mercy and love (instead of fighting back), which David models so beautifully.

something that really strikes me with the David-Saul story is how much David trusted the Lord and wanted to honor Him. Logically speaking, he could’ve said, “Saul is crazy and used of Satan…he’s no longer a trustworthy king…he’s out to murder me and Samuel anointed me as a king…it only makes sense that, in self-defense, I kill him and take the throne.” Granted he wouldn’t get the throne quite that easily (as we see in the skirmish for the throne in 2 Samuel). But a lot of that would make logical sense. However, David didn’t trust his sense of logic or right and wrong. He trusted the Lord who anointed Saul to “de-throne” if He must, at the time He appoints. And, if God wants David as king, He will appoint David at the time of his choosing. David didn’t want to get in the way of God’s appointment.
This seems a contrast to when Saul depended on his logic and offered the sacrifices that God didn’t warrant because everything made sense to his own mind of doing things:
“there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end leads to death” Prov. 16:25

David Accumulates More Wives

Reading further in 2 Samuel we see that David accumulates more wives. It seems a pretty depressing account to read about him forcing Saul’s daughter to come back as one of his wives while her husband follows behind her weeping. Of course, there’s A LOT I don’t know about all of what was going on in surrounding context when that happened, but it doesn’t strike me as a really righteous move at first blush.
I also think some of his actions come off pretty savage. Again, I don’t know the full story, though I do recall later God saying something to the effect that since there was so much blood on David’s hands he wouldn’t let him build the temple. I could be getting that wrong. We’ll have to wait and see :slightly_smiling_face:
But all to say, even David (a man after God’s own heart) may have had some glaring issues. Reading the Bible more almost always confronts 2 things in me: (1) I’m not as great as I thought I was, (2) God’s mercy is MUCH greater than I can imagine. Reading about heroes in the faith who are a bit “unsavory” in some areas gives me hope for all of us :slightly_smiling_face:

^^of course, not to excuse sin…and also recognizing that there’s a lot going on we have to account for in stories of people in other cultures, times

I’ve been thinking the same in reading about his multiple wives even before the Bathsheba episode. It was interesting to me that God sent Nathan to confront/speak to him about Bathsheba/Uriah but never seemed to really confront him about the multiple wives earlier in the book…

sobering to consider what are the sins in our hearts that God has yet to point out because He is currently working on some “bigger fish” in us / our community :thinking_face:
all to say…we ain’t as great as we think we are!

2 Sam 7

I’m very touched by 2 Sam 7. Namely:

  1. David relates with the Lord not as “Being up there” but as the Living God in front of him. Further, He recognizes His great value and worth. When no one thought the Lord’s reputation and honor was worth the fight with Goliath (nor trusted the Lord’s power to win the battle), David did. And now, when no mention has been made of God having a home more worthy to who He is, David did. He sees and considers the Lord and His value in ways unlike anyone around him. Lord, may that be said of us!
  2. The Lords response to David’s request also blows me away. It’s almost like a father who has been providing a really nice home for his family and loved ones, all the while living outside in a tent, and never saying anything about it. He probably heard so much grumbling and complaining concerning their living conditions while He just accepted a more humble home. Then one of his kids says, “Wait, Dads been outside this whole time we’ve had nice living conditions. That’s not fair to Him.” All while everyone else just thought about themselves. And God never once complained though He would’ve been the only One justified to do so. Seems similar to when Jesus came to earth: born in a manger, didn’t have a home to lay his head, died poor and in miserable condition in the prime of his life. While his disciples were arguing about who was greater and gets to sit with Him in honor. Lord forgive us.
  3. I love how David says he has boldness and confidence to approach the Lord since he has heard God’s word on the matter. Again, contrast that to so many who brashly pray about whatever THEY THINK would be good, but don’t open God’s word to pray God’s desires. Or, others who might see God spoke a certain way about a certain matter, and so they think they have no responsibility to do anything. Instead, David says, “God said thus would happen. Now I know to pray for that thing to happen.” Similar to Dan 9 where he knew God wanted to free the Jews after 70 year captivity, so he determined to pray, fast, and repent that God would indeed do that.

David as 2nd

Joshua came 2nd, but conquered Promised Land instead of Moses.
David came 2nd, but established good rule and reign over Israel instead of Saul.
…all points to…
1 Cor 15: Jesus is called the “2nd Man” (Adam is the first)…He came second to bring a new humanity that Adam failed to bring.
Jesus = Joshua (same name)
Jesus = Son of David (Matt 1:1)

More on David

  • 2 Sam 11:1 – if David would’ve engaged in battle as a king, things would’ve been different with Bathsheba…
  • “I [God] gave…wives into your [David’s] arms” 2 Sam 12:8…very interesting comment. I think it means that God allowed him to take Saul’s place, including having multiple wives (which would’ve been a sort of status symbol)…not that God wanted that for David per-say.

2 Sam 13

(A) it almost seems like a sort of “generational curse” that David’s son is following after his footsteps in forcing sex on someone not his wife.
(B) I told you that polygamy always ends up bad!! …way worse than a soap opera!

2 Sam 15-16

Again, I see a sort of repeat of David’s sins in Absalom:

  • it starts by Absalom lying about giving a special sacrifice to God (as David and Jonathan lied in a similar manner to Saul)
  • Then he openly fornicates with 10 concubines of David (just as David secretly did with Bathsheba)

…see this very thing prophesied in 2 Sam 12:11!

David’s sins were more “justifiable” and hushed…but they were still there…and in the next generation they are much more brash and open.

God help us not do the same and keep repeating this! I fear we are already seeing this trend continue in US today.

2 Sam 17

God saw Ahithophel’s advice as good, though Absalom rejected it. Interestingly, it really spoke to me as I’ve discerned how to best confront a sticky sin situation…I was weighing out whether to involve more people to confront or just do little “one-off” stuff where it comes up, only addressing the person directly who is stirring up. I thought the latter and believe God used 2 Sa 17 to confirm it.

2 Sam 22

I was really touched by David’s song of praise in ch. 22! Amazing

David and Us

Matt: I see a lot of myself in David- both in his honest lament, deep love of the Lord, and his struggle with sin, and his need of the Lord to redeem Him.

1 Samuel Reflections

These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

God’s Victories

2 quick things from 1 Samuel that speak to me:

  1. The place that holiness and integrity plays in advancing against the enemy (see 1 Sam. 4). From the outside, it seemed like they had all ingredients for success: the Ark, the poeple, the passion, etc….but in reality, it was just a shell and a performance…their hearts were self-centered and far from God with no sign of repentance…they mistakenly thought God wanted outward things to win victory…but soon they tragically learned God wants your heart pure before Him (think of Josh 7 – Achan)
  2. When God miraculously routes the enemy (1 Sam 14) – I’m amazed at how often the people STILL advance against the enemy after the routing!! If I were in their shoes, I wonder if I’d watch the miracle and think, “Phew, we dodged a close one,” then go back to my home. But these guys see the miracle (and still being outnumbered) charge ahead. The same with Gideon, and other times. This has really struck me. I’m leaning into this…chasing down the enemy a bit where I see God’s hand of deliverance moving.

2 More Things

  1. Look at how strong God’s anointing is toward Saul in 1 Sam. 9-10. Prophecy, sign, wonder…it is all so powerful. He was clearly the one appointed by God to “restrain My people” (1 Sam. 9:17). But as you read on in 1 Samuel, Saul gets worse and worse and worse :disappointed: …this doesn’t mean God wasn’t in his appointment or beginning. But it does mean God may start something, and yet it goes south later. God is still perfect, and good, and holy through it all…and then redeems it later for His glory and purposes. I dare say this is the summary of the entire Bible (starting with Adam and Eve who God started everything off with)
  2. I was struck this morning by the beginning traits of David’s mighty men: (1) his family members, (2) those in hard times, (3) those in debt, (4) those unhappy/disgruntled (see 1 Sam 22). This is the kind of rag-tag team the Lord is looking for — Amen!

Music, Prayer, Prophecy

After that you shall come to Gibeath-elohim,  where there is a garrison of the Philistines. And there, as soon as you come to the city, you will meet a group of prophets coming down from the high place with harp, tambourine, flute, and lyre before them, prophesying.


1 Samuel 10:5 – I am struck by how much music and prayer and prophecy are all together in the scripture

1 Sam 1-12 Reflections

This is an incredible book! Really a fun read for me anyway because of all the drama and cast of characters. It’s amazing thinking of all David had to endure for so long at the hands of Saul and really gives even new perspective to so many of his Psalms for me when he was really in distress for so long and running for his life for a lot of his young life but yet holding fast to the Lord.

In the beginning of the book I was really struck how much the people were begging for a king and how this was not God’s intention. He has set them up with judges but then eventually He relents and gives them a king (Saul)

8:19-“the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, “No.” there shall be a king over us.”

For almost all human history people have wanted power and influence (a king/political influence) and the same was true when Jesus came on the scene. The people wanted a king and a political figure, not someone coming humbly on a donkey and they were furious.

So God gives in and gives them Saul and this is the start to a mess yet it’s still redeemed through the lineage of David which is amazing!

Samuel’s farewell address in chapter 12:19-25 absolutely rocked me. We can sin, but we still can be redeemed if we turn back and follow God with our whole hearts and turn from our wickedness. There is great hope for redemption in this! 12:24-“only fear the Lord and serve Hum faithfully with all your heart. For consider the great things He has done for you.”

1 Sam 13

been thinking about 1 Sam 13…

  • Saul waited the allotted time for Samuel
  • Samuel didn’t come as soon as it seems like he should’ve (or as Saul expected)
  • The Philistines were getting ready for battle with them
  • Saul wanted to appease God and seek his help/favor before battle, so…
  • Saul took it upon himself to offer the burnt offering (instead of Samuel)

Logically speaking, this makes a lot of sense and seems a very natural conclusion.BUT, God’s word said only a priest should offer the sacrifice.THUS… he chose human logic over God’s wordAND… he was rebuked and his reign began to end because of this 1 “logical” decision.”Trust in the LORD with ALL your heart, and LEAN NOT on your OWN UNDERSTANDING.” (Prov. 3:5)

David & Saul

I also think it’s a big turning point in chapter 18 after David & Goliath when David starts getting praised and everyone is singing “Saul has struck down his thousands and David his ten thousands.”

Yes, Saul had pride but even more so he was jealous of David which was the root of so much hatred.This book has so much to say about good and bad leadership, but one thing is for sure- we need to guard our hearts against jealousy.

Brian says: Though where does the pride start and the jealousy begin, right? Seems like the one fuels the other….what is your experience in counseling, Matt?

Matt says: Great question! Yes, I agree one fuels another generally. They are often intertwined and I think we see this with Saul. The Bible has much to say about pride (and also jealously) but I think of you look close it’s hard to see one without the other.

Brian responds: Good points, Matt…I’ve also wondered where insecurity interacts with pride (and jealousy). Seems like it is there often with pride. Not sure where the 1 starts or the other begins…just an observation that they often seem to go together from my very amateur eyes.

1 Sam 28 – Samuel’s Spirit Returns?

Please see Samuel’s Spirit Brought Back?

I just finished 1 Sam tonight and that medium/spiritous woman is messing with me a little.  How could a great leader who Loved God turn so hard to “other” mediums to find direction…. I guess if you turn from the Lord anything is possible (sadly).

David and God’s Mercy

Another thing that hit me was David’s mercy on Saul (how many times could David killed Saul 2-3 times?).  What a picture of the mercy and grace God gives us.  He could strike us down so quickly, yet extends grace. 

Multiple Wives

Random thought, the multiple wives things messes me up.  It’s not a good picture of Christ and the Church.  But God allowed it.

About the multiple wives thing…

  • God shows his original intent in creating Adam and Eve (not Adam and Eve, Victoria, Susanna, you get the picture). From the beginning He designed 1 man to 1 woman.
  • Then, even before Israel fell into sin by demanding a king, God prophetically knew it would happen. And says this about the kings: “He [the king] must not take many wives, or his heart will be led astray.” (Deut. 17:17). Again, consider God warned about this before they even had a king! Sadly, the kings seem to rarely follow this command.
  • God also shows the picture of 1 man and 1 wife in His marriage to the church: Christ is our husband, we are his 1 Bride (Eph. 5). To bring in any other lovers is idolatry, adultery, and blasphemy.
  • So, saying all this, it’s true that God allows multiple wives, though it’s never His highest intent. He allowed for it in the OT because He knew their hearts were hard, and would already do it, so He gave some accommodation for it (like in Matt. 19:8). But it was never his intent. In fact, as we will see soon in David’s life, it always seems to be a VERY BAD idea in the Old Testament because it leads to lots of drama and issues and fighting, etc.

Ruth Reflections

These are notes collected from studying with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

Prelude to Ruth

In preparation of Ruth, consider:

  • Judges ended with “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes.” (Judges 21:25)
  • 1 Samuel is focused on the inauguration of kings in Israel. And when the people said, “We want a king like the nations,” God said, “they have rejected me from being king over them” (1 Sam. 8:7)

So consider that Judges was a rejection of God as their king. And the monarchy was a rejection of God as their king.

Now…in between those 2 books is the short book of Ruth. The whole message of Ruth is watching the family line of Elimelech eventually birth David as King (who is a type for the TRUE KING to come: JESUS, see Matt. 1:1; Rev. 22:16). Ruth begins with Elimelech as the main character. And ends with David (as connected to Elimelech).

Now…drumroll please…anyone know what the name Elimelech means?? It literally means “God is King”!!! Consider the importance of this. Elimelech is a literal man, but his name (and story) conveys so much more. His story comes in between the rejection of God as king in Judges and 1 Samuel. And in the book of Ruth, Elimelech (literally “God is King”) is starved out of the land. I think it is a picture: God as King of Israel is losing power to the point of being driven out of the land.

OK…that’s all for now…lot’s more to look for in the book of Ruth though. Hopefully that sets a good start as we read about how “God is King” is driven out of the land but eventually restored through David (who points to Jesus). Amen and Amen

Redemption

I was also reading this morning the Hebrew word for redemption is listed 23 times in this short book! Specifically, how redemption is bound to kindness… seems close the the heart of our Savior.

May His kindness continue to draw us toward repentance and closer to Him today.

Naomi and Mara

“She said to them, ‘Do not call me Naomi; call me Mara…’
“So Naomi returned…” (Ruth 1:20-22).

I chuckled reading this today. She just gets done telling others to call her Mara because of what she’s gone through. But then the Holy Spirit picks up the narrative by calling her, “Naomi.” It was almost like God was ignoring her feelings and read on the situation. Don’t want to take that further than I should, but it did minister to me considering how many people today believe reality is shaped by feelings and experiences. The “trans” craze seems to play into that. So while we tell people about reality through the lens of our feelings/experience, how much is God sitting there saying, “You may feel that way, but that’s not the truth. I see clearly, you don’t.”

Charity and Dignity

When she rose to glean, Boaz instructed his young men, saying, “Let her glean even among the sheaves, and do not reproach her. And also pull out some from the bundles for her and leave it for her to glean, and do not rebuke her.”
Ruth 2:15-16

Love this! He was sacrificial, even over and above the “required amount to give,” while he still had her do work on her end (she had to gather), thus giving her dignity, etc. What an example for us!

Ruth Summarized

The story of Ruth:

  • Elimelech (“God is King”) is forced out of Israel.
  • A foreigner (Ruth) is grafted into the family, redeemed by Boaz (of Elimelech “God is King” family). Elimelech (“God is King”) continues to grow through this foreigner grafted in. Eventually bringing David who is King over Israel as a type for Jesus.
  • Strikes me the similarity with Jesus (God-king). Israel largely rejected Him. Gentiles receive Him. His kingdom is built and restored through Gentiles. At the end, I believe, we will see revival among the Jews, and a return among a faction of treating Jesus/God as King.

Genealogy Through Perez

Q: What do you make of the genealogy starting with Perez at the end of the book? I have some ideas but not sure.

A:

My thoughts on Perez…
If you look at Gen 38, the story is as follows:
Judah (the tribe where kings would come from) is part of the scheme to get rid of Joseph (see Gen 37).
After that, “Judah left his brothers and went down to stay with a man of Adullam named Hirah.” (Gen. 38:1).
There, Judah marries a foreign woman, then mistreats his daughter-in-law. But through her cunning, she ends up conceiving twins for Judah, and the firstborn was Perez (Gen. 38:29)…
I just think there are so many parallels to Ruth’s story that it is fitting to connect Perez with Jesse (via Boaz-Ruth)…Namely:

  • Judah = royal line (like Elimelech = “God is King”)
  • Judah forsook God’s way in mistreating Joseph (like Israel forsook God’s way, bringing a famine, forcing Elimelech and family out of the land)
  • Judah married foreign wife // Elimelech’s family married Moabite women
  • The daughter-in-law’s husband died in both
  • So the daughter-in-law had to pursue the older man in the family to have children (in both)
  • And the first child born was Obed (with Ruth) and Perez (with Tamar)

I’m thinking those parallels may give a hint into why it’s starting with Perez here…but I’m not 100%…either way, it’s powerful to consider the much broader connections within Scripture!

Judges Reflections

These are notes collected from studying Judges with Matt Lantz and Matt Roefer. Anything good comes from the Lord. Everything else is from us!

The Book of Judges & Us

First, I highly recommend The Book of Judges & Us (Teaching by Peter J. Williams). I found this 2 hour teaching series on Judges really on point for us.

Ch. 2-3: Teaching War

“I will no longer drive out before them any of the nations that Joshua left when he died, in order to test Israel by them, whether they will take care to walk in the way of the Lord as their fathers did, or not.” So the Lord left those nations, not driving them out quickly, and he did not give them into the hand of Joshua. Now these are the nations that the Lord left, to test Israel by them, that is, all in Israel who had not experienced all the wars in Canaan. It was only in order that the generations of the people of Israel might know war, to teach war to those who had not known it before.
Judges 2:21-3:2 – https://www.biblegateway.com/passage?search=Judges%202:21-3:2&version=ESV

Weak Vessels

Takeaway from Judges thus far: major players/judges that were used all seem to have deficiencies that worked in their favor: (1) Ehud was left-handed…I heard this is how he was able to slip his weapon past the guards, because they would check on where a right-handed person would hold their weapon, (2) Jael was a woman…thus the warrior enemy let his guard down around her, and she had access to kill him via tent peg, (3) Gideon was fearful…which I believe showed why he asked for so much confirmation, but this allowed God to “show off” and speak directly to him…and he still went forward, though fearful, (4) Samson was a womanizer…of course, this in itself is a sin more than a mere “deficiency”…but even this was used by God to get deliverance on the Philistines. In all this, I’m struck that God is looking for people with weakness and deficiencies. Like He said to Gideon: “I don’t want a big army…you’ll be tempted to think you did it…give me an army where everyone knows only God could have done this!” (my paraphrase). Our weakness is what God needs right now, and those humble enough to recognize this will be used mightily, IMHO.

Yes! I was also reminded in reading through the book again (which was so good) just how fallible all these Judges were! Some of them are even listed in Hebrews 11 hero’s of faith chapter. Yet, they still had so many flaws. Especially resonated with Gideon and that spoke to me.

I was really moved by chapter 2 early on and the compassion of God to even give Judges and then continue to give Judges over and over. He could have wiped them out way earlier for the continual sin and yet they continue to go back to their old ways after about every judge. We need good leaders but yet even good leaders are susceptible to sin. What a great reminder of all of our great need for Jesus and Him to break through to our sin.

Slow Fade

Another takeaway: each Judge seems more and more carnal / sinful as the book goes on. Shows the slow fade into total corruption at the end of the book. Sadly, I think we might be living in a similar time (consider when someone like Trump [with his very flagrant issues] represents Christian policies more than other leaders in US…you know we’ve gone downhill).

I have spent the last two weeks in and out of Judges…Man it’s a disturbing book. The judges seem to go from pretty good, to okay, to bad, to worse. When that happens they had no leadership and did what was right in their own eyes. Isn’t that fitting for the world we live in and the history of the world. We walk away from God and start serving our own ideals.

Another thought that came to me was the Israelites did not drive out the Canaanites in their land, thus they started to resemble them and you couldn’t tell the difference between the Israelites and Canaanites near the end of the book.  If we don’t drive out, get rid of bad habits in our life, we will look more and more like the world! 


BTW – I have been pairing this study with Halley’s Bible Handbook; it’s been a great resource.

Marriage & Divorce

Introduction

I submit this humbly. I truly don’t mean this to be the FINAL word on the matter. I’d love others to present Scriptures / principles / concepts that seem missing or off here, and I’d be eager to change it.

Further, I know there are a million different scenarios, many of which I can’t imagine and my heart goes out to you–truly. I think we all have to be careful not to carry on a Pharisaical stance on either side. This could look like jumping on an “opportunity” to exit a marriage when a spouse isn’t living up to their part in serving their spouse. This could also look like people slavishly following the “letter of the law” of staying married when the heart/spirit is in defiance and divorce-mode already.


My Brief Statement on Marriage and Divorce

Marriage is a covenant between man and woman that represents God’s covenant with His people. It is not a contract. A covenant says: “Till death do us part,” “I will never forsake you.” (Heb. 13:5) “Even when you’re faithless, I’ll remain faithful.” (2 Tim. 2:13). A contract says: “You do your part, I’ll do mine.”

With this definition of marriage, the God-honoring reason for divorce would ultimately be when your spouse refuses to stay committed, even though you continue to love and serve them in the Lord (see 1 Cor. 7:10-15). This is akin to God’s covenant with us: “If we deny Him, He also will deny us.” (2 Tim. 2:12).


Q & A

Question: If someone says their spouse has denied them, is it right for them to initiate divorce?

Answer: I’d turn the tables. How soon would we want God to leave us? There are times where we’ve been unfaithful, and may have looked like we denied Him (look at Peter who literally did so). Aren’t we glad that He doesn’t “jump” on such an opportunity to leave us? I think we need to mirror God in this. I don’t think there’s is a magic formula for when denial takes place, but I think we should hold out and try all we can to reconcile until/unless denial is clear and inevitable in the other party.

Question: Did God divorce Israel?

Answer:

For Israel (Northern part): Their Assyrian captivity was a divorce (see Jeremiah 3).
For Judah: Their Babylonian captivity was seen as temporary discipline (perhaps separation), but not divorce.

I’d add the caveat that the “divorce” to Israel seems more akin, in type, to divorcing a betrothal than a marriage.  But in practice I don’t think that changes anything for us today when we marry/divorce.

When God Divides

God longs for unity among His people, and His children’s heart should long for the same:

  • Psalm 133 – “how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity”
  • John 17 – Jesus prays that the church may be one as He and the Father are one
  • Eph. 4:3 – “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace
  • 1 Cor. 1 – Paul admonishes the Corinthians for dividing over issues other than the gospel
  • 1 Cor. 11 – In fact, God disciplined the church with sickness and death BECAUSE they were being divisive and creating factions.
  • Heb. 12:14 – “pursue peace with all men”

But God desires this unity where the true Jesus is Lord, and the true gospel is believed. Any unity that does not honor the true Jesus and true gospel is false unity, and doesn’t please the Lord.

Consider:

  • Romans 16:17 – Paul warns them to separate from people who have a different gospel/doctrine
  • Gal. 1:6-10 – Paul says anyone preaching a different gospel is eternally condemned
  • 2 Cor. 6 – just as light CAN’T fellowship with darkness, so there is no fellowship among Christians and non-Christians
  • 2 Cor. 11:1-4 – Paul rebukes them for “putting up” with people teaching a false Jesus and false gospel.
  • 2 John 10-11 – John warns that the church must reject any fellowship with people who teach a different Jesus than the Biblical Jesus
  • Rev. 18:4 – Jesus warns his true church to come out of fellowship with a false church, “so that you will not share in her sins”

Trying to maintain such “false” unity is condemned and warned against.

Along these lines, there are times where God actually initiates division. These are times where God’s people have compromised on true worship of Him and His gospel.

  • Luke 12:49-53 – Jesus says He came to bring fire and division upon the earth, based on how people honor Him
  • 2 Chron. 11:4 – “This is what the Lord says: ‘Do not go up to fight [for a united kingdom] against your fellow Israelites. Go home, every one of you, for this [division] is my doing.'”
  • Haggai 2:20-23; Heb. 12:25-29 – Here God is initiating a shaking that happens to his professing people “by the sword of his brother”
  • 1 Cor. 11:18-19 – God says there must be factions among you (even though he deplores them), “to show which of you have God’s approval”

In fact, God’s original priests were established based on their willingness to slay their brothers (Ex. 32:27-29). To state the obvious: this was not a great act of unity!

Again, God does want unity, but He wants it on His terms, under his Lordship and true gospel. Where this is not present, He wants separation. In fact, it grieves me to say this, but I wonder if this is part of the division and polarization we are seeing today. It’s part of God’s refining to show who are truly His.

Consider further:

  • Psalm 133 – unity is pictured as garments brought together UNDER the HEAD of the HIGH PRIEST. This is a clear picture of Jesus, the “head” of the church, and her “High Priest”. Unity under Jesus’ Headship/Lordship is key.
  • Heb. 12 – “pursue peace…AND HOLINESS”
  • John 17 – the unity Jesus prays for is for “those who will believe in me through their word” (17:20). And it is based on God’s glory, and a unity centered around that (John 17:22)

Thus, when Israel rejected Jesus and His gospel, Jesus weeps that true peace was hidden from them (Luke 19:42), then actually upends their “temple service,” leading ultimately to them killing Him (Luke 19:45-48). Thus there is no unity even among the very religious Jews, because they reject the true Jesus and His gospel. Meanwhile, Luke tells us that Herod and Pilate UNITED in their killing of Jesus (Luke 23:12).

Again, unity was never the goal for God. It has always been unity under Jesus as Lord. Something Israel rejected, and thus peace left them.

The same thing is seen in Matthew 18. Jesus says He will be with gatherings of 2-3 SO LONG AS they are gathered under the name of Jesus. This means they are gathered under Jesus’ authority and Lordship. Where people do not worship the true Jesus and receive the true Gospel, there is no promise of blessing (no matter how many people are together in “unity”).

The purpose of God-ordained division centers around Jesus and the Gospel. God wants the revelation of Jesus and his true gospel to remain pure. He stands on no side, but is seeking those who will firmly stand on the side of the true Jesus and the true Gospel. See Joshua 5 where the angel of the Lord says he takes no side, But he is seeing if Joshua/Israel will submit to God’s side.

Thus, God allows division to happen to see who will follow Jesus to the end. It’s his way of refining, and pruning, so those who are truly dedicated to Jesus will thrive and be shown for that, while those who reject Him will be exposed.

Further, do not too quickly assume you are the party in the right, while the dividing party is in the wrong. In the case of the God-ordained division of 2 Chron. 11, for instance, we are told that THE REASON for the division was idolatry in the Southern kingdom (Judah), see 1 Kings 11:26-40. But then we read that the Northern kingdom ALSO commits gross idolatry after they split (see 2 Chron. 11:13-17). Thus, both parties were guilty of idolatry when God brought the division.

What is our only hope?

Thankfully, God isn’t silent in telling us how to proceed. Look at Jeremiah 3:11-18. Here were told that IF ISRAEL REPENTS:

  1. God will give His leaders to His people (Jer. 3:15)
  2. God will cause multiplication (Jer. 3:16)
  3. God’s presence will return (Jer. 3:16-17)
  4. Nations will come to worship God (Jer. 3:17)
  5. Israel will be RE-UNITED (Jer. 3:18)

Notice all those promises. If only we repent.

Choose this day where you will fall. Because division has been catalyzed. Unity may not currently be an option with some people and some situations.

1 K 18:21 – “How long will you waver between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow him; but if Baal is God, follow him.”

Choose a side! Is Jesus Lord or not?

“Silent in the churches” – 1 Cor. 14:34 Examined

There are clearly lots of opinions and emotions around 1 Cor. 14:34: “women should keep silent in the churches.”

Personally, I’ve adjusted my own view on this over the years.

Initially, I thought it was just reciting what the Corinthians were doing (wrong) by forcing women to be silent, and Paul is dismissing it and encouraging women to speak freely (see 1 Cor. 11).

But my view now is that 1 Cor. 14:34 reflects Paul/God’s own thoughts on what should happen. It is not meant to be an absolute that women never speak in church meetings (for just a few chapters before that, Paul/God explain how women are to speak in church meetings!). Instead, the text is describing a specific type of speech women shouldn’t do. That is, women are to be silent in matters of the ultimate judging of doctrinal purity and discerning God’s word on behalf of the entire congregation. In fact, this is a role spelled out for elders to do:

“He must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it.” (Titus 1:9)

And since elders are spoken of as males in the Bible, it is actually very consistent that the role of guarding the doctrine in 1 Cor. 14:34 is entrusted to men. This doesn’t diminish the woman’s place in prophesying, exhorting, speaking faithfully, and giving Spirit-led input in general. God forbid–we need more women doing this! But it does show that it should be within the oversight of the elders who are ideally men (according to Scripture).

All that to say, a VERY GOOD treatment on this subject (that ultimately persuaded me) is: “Silent in the Churches”: On the Role of Women in 1 Corinthians 14:33b-36 (by D.A. Carson)

It’s long, but well worth the read, in my humble opinion.

Brian

Antichrist & Revelation

Scriptures

  • 1 John 2:18-22; 4:3; 2 John 7: ANTICHRIST
    • “Antichrist is coming…many antichrists have come”
    • “from us…not of us;” “denies…Jesus;” “false prophets;” replaces God (cf. 1 Jn 2:26-27)
  • Dan. 7:7-12, 17-27: LITTLE HORN
    • Emerges in 4th kingdom, when 10 kingdoms arise (Rome); plucked up three horns; “eyes like the eyes of a man” (false prophet/seer); “made war with the saints and prevailed over them”; a “different” kingdom; “speak words against the Most High;” “the saints…shall be given into his hand for a time, times, and half a time;” defeated by Jesus’ return
  • 2 Thes 2:3-12: MAN OF LAWLESSNESS
    • “Rebellion;” “opposes and exalts himself…proclaiming himself to be God;” “in the temple of God;” “the mystery of lawlessness is already at work…he who now restrains it will do so until he is out of the way;” “the Lord Jesus will kill;” “power and false signs and wonders;” “deception…strong delusion”
  • Rev. 13; 17: LAMB-BEAST
    • “like a lamb…spoke like a dragon;” “exercises all the authority of the first beast;” “great signs…deceives;” “his number is 666”
    • “False prophet” (Rev. 19:20)
    • Connected with earthly-harlot-Babylon / false church (Rev. 17); contrasting heavenly-bride-Jerusalem / true church (Rev. 21)
  • Book of Revelation
    • 1; 21-22: Jesus & Pure Bride
    • 2-3: Seven existing churches = “things that are” (1:19)
    • 4-5: “things that are to take place after this” (1:19; 4:1)
    • 6-7: Seals (Secular Rome – “Christian” Rome?)
    • 8-9: Trumpets (Rome & Islam?)
    • 10-11: Church’s witness reduced; Word & Spirit present
    • 12-13; 17: Beast of Sea, Earth (Secular Gov’t, False Church?)
    • 14-16; 18-20: Bowls & final judgments

Historical Records

Daniel 7; 2 Thessalonians 2 & the Papacy

  • Arises after Rome Falls: “The early writings of the [church] fathers tell us with remarkable unanimity that…on the fall of Caesar, he [Antichrist] would arise.” (Guinness, as qtd by Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 130)
  • Rome split into 10 kingdoms: “Macchiavelli, the Roman historian, described the [Roman] Empire as being divided among the [10] various Gothic tribes.” (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 136)
  • Rome takes 3 kingdoms: “The ‘three kings’ which he [the Papacy] displaced…are thought to refer to Lombards, Ravenna and Rome, which were handed over to the Popes as the beginning of their Temporal Kingdom, (A.D. 754).” (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 346). They could also be: Heruli (493), Vandals (534), Ostrogoths (553) (Elliot, as qtd by Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, pp. 136-137)
  • “a time, times, and half a time” (1,260 days/years): “The Papacy dominated the world for approximately 1260 years, 6th to 18th centuries A.D.” (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 348)
  • Boastful words against God: “It is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” (Bull of Pope Boniface VIII promulgated November 18, 1302) “Union of minds, therefore, requires…complete submission and obedience of will…to the Roman Pontiff, as to God Himself.” (SAPIENTIAE CHRISTIANAE ENCYCLICAL OF POPE LEO XIII ON CHRISTIANS AS CITIZENS) “We hold upon this earth the place of God Almighty.” (Encyclical Letter Præclara Gratulationis Publicæ of Pope Leo XIII JUNE 20, 1894)
  • “War with the saints”: “Untold millions” of martyrs died at the hands of popes (H. H. Halley, Halley’s Bible Handbook, 1965, p. 793). “It has been estimated that fifty million Christians were killed during those centuries of Papal persecution.” (Ralph Woodrow, Great Prophecies of the Bible, 1989, p. 139)

Notable Christians Endorsing the Papacy as Antichrist:

Eberhard II (1200s); Michael of Cesena (1300s); John Wyclif (1300s); John Huss (1369-1415); Martin Luther (1483-1546); Philipp Melancthon (1497-1560); John Calvin (1509-1564); John Knox (1505-1572); Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531); William Tyndale (1484-1536); King James Bible translators (1611); Nicholas Ridley (1500-1555); Hugh Latimer (1490-1555); Roger Williams (1603-1683); Westminster Confession of Faith (1647); Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727); Jonathan Edwards (1703-1758); John Wesley (1703-1791); Albert Barnes (1798-1870); Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)