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05: The Blessings of the Righteous – Hit the Mark — 10 Comments

  1. The word of God says, let your shine before men, not make your llight shine. We must surrender our will to God so that the light of the Holy Spirit will shine in and through us. Allow Christ's righteousness to cloth us. At the very moment you will appear righteous in God's eyes. Remember the cross of Calvary. Jesus has made this possible because God loves us so much.

  2. Here is my understanding concerning the Pharisees and Paul's interaction with them.

    Paul's battle with Judaism in general was that it depended on doing law in order to merit entrance into Heaven. A lot of people think that what Paul says in his letters is only about the ceremonial law, especially circumcision, but that is only half true. Actually circumcision was not part of the ceremonial law but rather it was a sign of acceptance of the covenant God made with Abraham (Gen 17:1; Rom 4:9-11) and that predated Moses by centuries. Paul's argument wasn't about keeping a particular law but was about keeping law in general in order to obtain righteousness through doing "works of the law" vs. getting it through faith as a gift from God (Gal 2:16). That included the Ten Commandments as well.

    The problem of the Pharisees is that by focusing on adhering to all the requirements that they put in place to protect against breaking the law including the Sabbath they thought that they were actually keeping the law perfectly and were righteous in the eyes of God. That also lead them to believe that anyone who didn't do what they did was despised by God and condemned. We can see that attitude in the parable of the Pharisee and publican praying in the temple (Lk 18:11-12) and again in dialog with Jesus (Jn 8:33-41). We can also see hints of it in Jesus' discourse with Nicodemus (Jn 3).

    • Hi Tyler,

      I agree with your explanation of the issue between Paul and the Pharisees.

      Your statement "it depended on doing law in order to merit entrance into Heaven" raised a question in my mind. Was their goal Heaven or a prosperous and powerful nation of Israel on earth?

      It seems to me (correct me if I am wrong) that in OT they were looking forward to perfect world on the earth ruled by God within the stream of history not to leave the earth and go to heaven?

      • Maybe it was a little of both. The Gospels uses the word "heaven" 144 times in 131 verses so I must conclude that it was a major item to the Jews. Yet we certainly can't overlook the desire of the Leaders of Israel to be wealthy and politically powerful, even the leaders of earth sitting on thrones. That is an idea that even the disciples had.

        • Yes, that is true. In the OT heaven is mostly spoken of as the place from which God rules. But as you say Jesus talked a lot about the kingdom of heaven, what it is, how to enter in, where your treasures are, although I wonder if he was maybe correcting their view point.
          However Hebrews is clear that the faithful were looking forward to a heavenly reward.

          Heb 11:13-16 These all died by way of faith, not having received the promises, but having seen them afar off. And they were persuaded of them and embraced them and confessed that they were strangers and pilgrims on the earth. (14) For they who say such things declare plainly that they seek a fatherland. (15) And truly, if they had been mindful of that country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned. (16) But now they stretch forth to a better fatherland, that is, a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for He has prepared a city for them.

          • Shirley, I have been thinking about what you said especially about the main question you raised, where the first century Jews thought their ultimate place of residence would be. It appears to me that your view was that even though the Old Testament speaks of Heaven as a place the Jews probably didn't think of it as their ultimate home and that Jesus might have been correcting that view.

            You refer to Heb 11 but that is talking about Old Testament people who looked to a "Heavenly" home so the question remains, what about first century Jews? While Jesus mostly refers to the "kingdom of Heaven" that was to extend down to earth he also spoke of the destruction of earth in statements such as:

            "For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled" (Matt. 5:18 NKJV) and "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away" (Matt. 24:35 NKJV).

            That is an idea He got from Isaiah 65:17 and Isaiah 66:22. Coupled with the idea that Enoch, Moses, and Elijah all were taken to Heaven I do not see how the Jews Christ talked to could have concluded a lasting presence on earth as it was. That also seems to have been the conclusion of the apostles and disciples of Jesus in their writings. That idea also most certainly would have been reinforced at Christ's ascension when they saw Jesus go up.

            Not only does John teach those things in Revelation 21:1 but also Peter speaks of a new Heaven and earth in 2 Pet 3:13 which reflects back on Isaiah. In 1 Thess 4:17 Paul makes it clear that the saints were to be taken from earth rather than remain here at the Second Advent and John saw in vision the New Jerusalem descending to earth from Heaven in Rev 21 which is said to be "the bride, the Lamb's wife" (Rev. 21:9 NKJV) a very clear symbolism of the church that comes back after the millennium.

          • Hi Tyler,
            I was thinking more of the people of Israel's view of the end before Jesus and the apostles.
            I read a good book by Jon Paulien "What the Bible says about the end times"
            He explained it better than I can. He said that initially they expected God to intervene in history and then later they expected a break in history. He says the passages in Isaiah were not initially referring to heaven (people don't die in heaven)but to a restored promised land.

          • Shirley, I am afraid that I am going to have to plead ignorance concerning a lot of this. It might have been the way Dr. Paulien says it was. To my understanding the concept of progressive revelation is something that has been pretty well established but I ask in what ways.

            I have trouble seeing the Isaiah texts as referring to some part of earth. It states, "For behold, I create new heavens and a new earth; And the former shall not be remembered or come to mind" (Isa. 65:17 NKJV) where the words translated into "heavens" and "earth" are the same Hebrew words used in the creation account in Genesis. Even if heavens only meant the sky how could that be recreated in part? Did the ancients overlook such things? Then there are prophesies such as those in Joel and Jeremiah:

            I beheld the earth, and indeed it was without form, and void; And the heavens, they had no light. I beheld the mountains, and indeed they trembled, And all the hills moved back and forth. I beheld, and indeed there was no man, And all the birds of the heavens had fled (Jer. 4:23-25 NKJV).

            This clearly makes reference to the condition of the earth before creation week (Gen 1:2) as though God was going to reboot the earth and do a complete recreation. So I ask myself if the prophets saw this as only a description of a local event or if their concept of it was global?

            What we do know is that Jesus was applying those prophesies from the perspective of the end of time and I don't see any argument from the Jewish community concerning His application of those scriptures in that way except perhaps from the Sadducees who didn't believe in the resurrection. We also can see that all His disciples saw that the end of the Earth was going to be a fact where, "the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat" (2 Pet. 3:10 NKJV).

  3. While we might discuss the fine details of righteousness, what it is and how we get it, the world doesn't care much about the theory. What the unbeliever needs to see is the theory lived out, "love with skin on it," or they have no reason to think that our discussion is more than empty words.

    • John, I think what you say is true. What concerns me is that if we don't understand the doctrine then how can we ever hope to be the light we are supposed to be (ref. Mat 23:15)? "Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path" (Ps. 119:105 NKJV). "And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts" (2 Pet. 1:19 NKJV).

      The Holy Spirit is the thing that provides fuel for the lamp but He testifies to the truth in the word (Jn 15:26; Jn 5:39).


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