The Bible Review
(May 10, 1990)
In This Issue
“Wisdom” by B. Bagby, reprinted from Bible Explorations vol. 1, no. 2
“The Sovereignty of God #2 ” by Oscar Baker, reprinted from Truth For Today vol. 40, no. 6
“Forever” by Charles Welch, reprinted from The Berean Expositor vol. 1
“Which Do You Want?” by M.P. Schafer, reprinted from Bible Explorations vol. 1, no. 2
“About The Bible Review”, “Subscriptions to Contributing Periodicals”, and “Permission to Distribute” by Leo Wierzbowski, editor of The Bible Review
About The Bible Review by Leo Wierzbowski
The purposes of The Bible Review are: 1) To reprint interesting, provocative, and edifying articles on Bible teachings concerning the church in this dispensation of grace; 2) To demonstrate Bible study methods that all may profit from; and 3) To encourage all to have that Berean spirit (see Acts 17:10-11) which has ears to hear and a mind to test what is heard.
In my searching around on the computer networks that I have access to, I couldn’t find a periodical that might meet the above goals. So, I wrote to a few of my favorite publishers and they graciously gave me permission to reproduce their articles — The Bible Review was born! Not every article in the Review will meet each and every purpose, but all the articles taken together should.
The Bible Review is only distributed electronically — printed/mailed copies are not available. However, near the end of the Review is subscription information for the printed/mailed publications that are the sources for the articles contained in the Review.
It is my prayer that this electronic periodical can be used by God in some way as He works out His purpose. I also hope that you may find an article or two of interest to you — enough to make you open your Bible and search it and see the wonderful truths contained therein. Your comments and suggestions are welcome — see the last page for my email addresses.
Wisdom by B. Bagby, reprinted from Bible Explorations
The 1828 Webster Dictionary distinguishes between prudence and wisdom as follows: “prudence is the exercise of sound judgment in avoiding evils; wisdom is the exercise of sound judgment either in avoiding evils or attempting good.” The same is true in the scriptural usage of wisdom. There is a positive and negative aspect of the word.
In Proverbs 2:4-6 we see the results of searching for wisdom. “Then shalt thou understand the fear (reverence) of the Lord, and find the knowledge of God. For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” True wisdom will lead one to fear the Lord and attain a knowledge of Him. When one has a knowledge of God, then he can exercise sound judgment. It is this sound judgment we need in our daily lives to make decisions and to avoid evils which may affect our future. Only the Almighty God knows our future. Our daily decision making can be found in this simple truth; search the scriptures and seek after the Lord Jesus Christ which is synonymous with wisdom.
Proverbs 1:3 speaks of the need “To receive the instruction of wisdom.” The word instruction conveys the idea of discipline or chastisement. Wisdom is not something that can be attained overnight. It requires the daily trials that leads us and causes us to lean on the Lord.
Paul warned the Corinthian believers against human wisdom. “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power God…Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Cor. 2:4,5,13). “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God. For it is written, He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.” (1 Cor. 3:19). “For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward” (1 Cor. 1:12). This is one of Satan’s many devices. When we read the two Corinthian letters, we see the many problems which Paul wrote to them for correction. Their carnality was a result of not seeking after the wisdom of God, but rather listening to men. And many of those they listened to were believers. The solution Paul gave was simple, “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know things that are freely given to us of God” (1 Cor. 2:12). God has given us the new nature. It is the new nature that instructs in wisdom, “that we might know the things that are freely given…”
Paul had a similar situation with the believers in Colosse; “And this I say, lest any man should beguile you with enticing words. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ”…(Col. 2:4,8). The word philosophy literally means ‘friend or love of wisdom.’ Again the words and wisdom of men would deceive many and lead them away from the truth. The solution: “Whom we preach warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus… That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgement of the mystery of God, even Christ, In Whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge” (Col. 1:28; 2:2,3). The treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden, they must be searched for. They lead us to an understanding of God. In this context a knowledge of the mystery speaks of the fullest revelation of truth concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. It describes a wisdom far beyond human ability, yet made available to those who desire to seek it.
In Psalm 90, Moses’ prayer for Israel in the wilderness was for their daily need of wisdom. “So teach us to number our days, That we apply our hearts unto wisdom (Ps. 90:12). For those who seek after wisdom in the person of Christ as the Head of the church which is His body, there is also a daily need for spiritual wisdom; See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is (Eph. 5:15-17).
True wisdom comes from seeking and acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ. By searching the scriptures which speak of Him; “In Whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace, wherein He hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence;” (Eph. 1:7,8).
The Sovereignty of God #2 by Oscar Baker, reprinted from Truth For Today
In our last discussion we discovered that God was limited in His sovereignty. A great many people who are not careful to define their words will immediately come to the conclusion that this limits the power of God. Not at all. God has oceans of power today that He is not using. And there may be some reasons for this.
When our Lord was on the cruel stake, He had the power to come down. There was no doubt about that. But suppose that He had. Where would we be? No Lamb sacrificed! The sin of the world not taken away! And because of the fact of sin, His sovereignty was limited, He did not use His power and thereby we have a glorious gospel today.
And there were those who jeered at Him and mocked. They tempted Him. They reasoned that if He were the Son of God He would perforce have to come down and show them. What a terrible thing they thought and did! But we have the same thing going on today. There are men today who have a queer philosophy and doctrine made up from human reasoning. They say that God is not good if He does not save all of mankind. They throw it in His face and challenge Him with it. They say that God is not all-powerful if he does not save all people. They tempt God now as did those wicked Jews back then.
When a man knows God and his own sinful heart he will realize that God is under no obligation to save anybody. And since He is under no such obligation and no man deserves it, then God saves man by grace. And we can very truthfully say that from Adam till now, all men who have been saved have been saved by grace and grace alone. The law never could justify. The law never could give life. It condemned. Yet men will stand up in the presence of God and try to tell Him that He is obligated to save every bit of humanity that has ever lived! There is no grace in that.
God could do it. Sure. He has the power. But it is not expedient. Men who would be saved against their will would be of the same opinion still. Furthermore that would be bringing the old creation over into the new. Man was made of dust in the first place so that if he failed he could return to dust and that would be that. There would be no loss to Christ for only those who have been given to Him by the Father are His. If not His, then no loss. The man suffers no loss for he never had anything to lose. But do not forget that in every one may be possibilities. We love to see men saved because they will be to the glory of God. It is His glory we seek.
Satan also tempted our Lord. He taunted Him saying that if He really were the Son of God why not prove it by turning stones to bread and eat when he was so hungry. And he eggs the Lord on telling Him that He is not really the Son of God if He cannot do a simple thing like that. And today Satan sees the awful mess of sin and misery in the world and taunts God with it saying that if God is really sovereign, he will save the lot. The creature dares to instruct his Creator.
Forever by Charles Welch, reprinted from The Berean Expositor
An examination of the words thus translated in A.V, and R.V.
Following upon the study of the Scriptures as to the question of immortality, we instinctively turn to the following expressions which so often occur, viz., “everlasting,” ” for ever,” etc. In the great majority of cases the word thus translated is the Greek word aion, or the Hebrew olam. The A.V. has rendered the word aion by the words ” world,” ” course,” ” age,” ” eternal,” and in conjunction with the prepositions apo (from), ek (out of), and eis (into), it gives ” since the world began,” ” from the beginning of the world,” ” for ever,” ” for evermore,” ” for ever and ever,” ” while the earth standeth,” ” world without end”; while the adjective aionios is rendered ” eternal ” and ” everlasting.”
If we have no theology to uphold, and if we count the judgment of man as a ” very small thing,” it is possible that we may venture to wonder how it comes about that one word can be translated ” since the world began,” and also ” world without end “; or again, how the word can be rendered ” world ” (which certainly had a beginning), and at the same time mean “for ever” and “eternal.” It has been forced upon us that in all these diverse renderings we have had a good percentage of man’s ideas instead of accurate and unflinching translation.
Our space is too limited to give many examples, but we draw attention to a few. In Matt. xxiv. 3 we read of ” the end of the world.” This clearly shows that the word aion, translated “world,” may have an end. We turn to the very next chapter and find that the word aion, when it becomes an adjective, aionios, is translated by the words ” eternal ” and ” everlasting,” words which admittedly allow of no end (Matt. xxv. 46). One thing seems evident, that a true rendering is not found here. Again, there are three important passages where the word aionios is found with the word chronos (time), viz., Rom. xvi. 25; 2 Tim. i. 9, and Titus i. 2. The A.V. translates thus, “since the world began,” and ” before the world began,” while the R.V., going to the other extreme, renders the words, ” through times eternal,” and ” before times eternal.” What can we make of a word which can mean a limited period and eternity?
There is no doubt whatever but that the word aion means ” an age,” and therefore to interpret it as ” for ever ” is not a translation, but a human comment, which may be wrong. If the Translators had rendered the word ” age-times ” instead of ” times eternal “; ” this age ” instead of ” this world “; ” unto the ages” instead of “for ever,” it would have been consistent, and would have allowed each passage to speak for itself, instead of saying just what traditional prejudice would make it say.
The mistranslation of the word aion is but another of the many evidences of man’s foolish pride. Man looks forward into the future, or backward into the past. Age upon age stretch away on either side, and seeing no end, and being unable to conceive of one, he calls the space which exceeds his tiny perspectiveÄeternity! whereas to Him who sitteth in the heavens it is but one link in the vast chain of the ages wherein He deals with men, angels, and the universe. We may learn the meaning of the Greek word aion by finding out the Hebrew equivalent. The Septuagint Version uses the word aion to translate the Hebrew word olam. Through the careful study of another labourer in the Word we are enabled to give the following list of passages where the Hebrew word olam occurs. First we consider the words me olam, as translated in the A.V.:Ä
USED OF GOD.
“Ever of old” (Psa. xxv. 6)
“from everlasting” (Psa. xli. 13)
“from everlasting” (Psa. xc. 2)
“from everlasting” (Psa. xciii. 2)
“from everlasting” (Psa. ciii. 17)
“from everlasting” (Isa. lxiii. 16)
USED OF MAN.
“Of old” (Gen. vi. 4)
“In old time” (Josh. xxiv. 2)
“Of old” (1 Sam. xxvii. 8)
“Of old” (Psa. cxix. 52)
“long time” (Isa. xlii. 14)
“Since the beginning of the world” (Isa. lxiv. 4)
These are but a few of the passages, but they are enough to help us to see the fitness of the remark that ” there is a startling inconsistency here.” When applied to God it is always “for ever,” or ” everlasting,” but when applied to man it is never so rendered. Why? Because in no case will the sense bear it. Man and his history do not stretch back to a dateless past eternity. No nation, no prophet has been ” from everlasting.” If a translator would be guilty of tampering with the prerogatives of God should he render me olam ” from everlasting” when referring to the past of man, why should he be labeled a heretic because he questions, equally, the propriety of using the word olam to mean eternity when applied to the future of man ? The case of the past is by the nature of things impossible; the future lies before us, and man has ventured his own opinion, tacked it on to the Word of God, and usurping the solemn authority of that holy Word has swayed the minds, influenced the faith, and stifled the consciences of thousands. How many have been embittered by that dread whisper “non-eternity” ? How many of God’s most faithful witnesses have been hounded down by these modern shibboleth-mongers ?
Let us look at some of the uses of the word olam: “If the servant shall say …. I will not go out free …. he shall serve him for ever” (Exod. xxi. 5, 6). Of the same class of Hebrew servant we read in Lev. xxv. 40, ” He shall serve thee unto the year of jubilee ” (when his service ends and he is free to go out not merely alone, but with his wife and children). Hannah, speaking to Samuel, says, ” I will bring him that he may appear before the Lord, and there abide for ever” (1 Sam. i. 22). In verse 11 she interprets these words thus, ” I will give him unto the Lord all the days of his life.” There is no room for an ” until ” in our words ” for ever,” yet in Isa. xxxii. 14, 15 we read, ” The forts and towers shall be for dens for ever …. until the Spirit be poured upon us.” Here the for ever has an end, yet if we dare to suggest that it may be so elsewhere, what a shaking of heads and holy indignation we arouse! Scripture never contradicts itself. If our renderings make inconsistencies, let us alter our renderings a thousand times, but let us not tamper with the Scriptures of truth.
Rev. xxi. 22 tells us of a future period when there shall be no temple, yet the A.V. teaches that both the temple, priesthood, and sacrifices were to be for ever (see Ezek. xxxvii. 26; Exod. xl. 15, and Numb. xviii. 8). We have not finished yet. The word olam is followed many times by the word va ed. The word ed is rendered ” till,” ” to,” ” unto,” ” yet,” &c., e.g.:Ä
“Till thou return unto the ground” (Gen. iii. 19).
“Since that time even until now” (Ezra v. 16, &c.).
Va is the Hebrew equivalent for ” and.” Thus, if we retain the A.V. rendering, the words le olam va ed would mean ” for ever and still,” ” for ever and yet further ” ! That the Hebrew does contain some idea of a period beyond that covered by olam is clear, for the Hebrew Translators of the Septuagint render the words by ton aiona kai ep aiona kai eti (Exod. xv. 18), which literally translated is, “the age, and upon the age, and still”! Fifty-one times the A.V. translates eti by the word ” yet,” besides ” further,” ” any longer,” and ” still.” Surely these facts should make us stop and reconsider this tremendous subject. There is a further consideration which throws its weight against the idea that aion or olam mean eternity, and that is that aion is frequently found in the plural and the Genitive case. If the singular can mean ” for ever,” what can the plural mean ? (we cannot speak of ” for evers ” Ä- we never shall arrive at the end of eternity, let alone start another). If we keep to the rendering ” age ” all is clear. We can then have the expressions ” unto the age,” ” unto the ages,” and ” unto the ages of the ages ” without any interference with the divine words, but ” eternities of eternities ” is absurd.
The root idea of the word olam is something secret or hidden (see Psalm xc. 8, ” secret sins “; Eccles. xii. 14, ” secret thing “). Because the period is hidden or secret, is undefined or unrevealed, man in his arrogance has jumped to the conclusion that because he cannot see the end, therefore there is none, forgetting that he has limited knowledge and exceedingly limited vision. Olam and aion signify a period of time whose end is undefined, or which is hidden from man but which is by no means ” everlasting,” for instances such as the Aaronic priesthood, &c., have been given of such periods coming to an end, which were ” for ever ” according to the A.V. Added to this we have the twenty passages which speak of ” unto the age of undefined limits and yet further ” translated ” for ever and ever ” by the English, in spite of both Hebrew and Greek.
Let none imagine that the eternal security of the believer is by any means weakened by these facts. This glorious truth is unquestionably settled by such emphatic words as “incorruptible,” “immortal,” and by the words, “Because I live, ye shall live also,” and ” Your life is hid with Christ in God”. Let us believe and love the truth, and the truth will make us free; free from the shackles of the traditions of the elders which make void the Word of God, free from the nightmare of Christendom; free from the clogs of error to proclaim “Life to the dead” in the gospel of the glory of Christ.
It is possible that some may be tempted to write to us, and we would anticipate one thing. We have stated facts; we do not hold ourselves responsible for the ” words which the Holy Ghost teacheth,” neither do we proffer any apology for upsetting anyone’s theological beliefs, whatever they may be. We would say in the words of one servant of God to another, ” You have your Bible, you have your knees, use them.”
Which Do You Want by M.P. Schafer, reprinted from Bible Explorations
“If there be no resurrection of the dead then is Christ not risen. And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain (empty)” (1 Cor. 15:13,14).
It is an undisputed fact that we all, at some time, will die. There is now way to avoid it. Each person must answer for himself. Job asked the question, “If a man dies, will he live again?” (Job 14:14)
If a person decides he does not want to live again then he has only to get what he can out of this life and when it is finished, to perish (Jn 3:16). John 3:36 says that the person who does want to live again shall not see life (that is resurrection life) “but the wrath of God abideth on him”. The wrath here is that he shall never see life in resurrection. That is the end of him.
It is very difficult to imagine a person not wanting to be in the resurrection. For those who do not want to stay in the grave but would like to be in the resurrection, how is this accomplished? Usually when we want to learn something new, we seek for a person who has had the experience to show us the way. Jesus Christ is the ONLY ONE who has been resurrected from the grave never to die again (1 Tim 6:16). He is the ONLY ONE who has ascended up to heaven (John 3:13). He is the ONLY ONE who can show us the way. We must know the right PERSON to get out of the grave.
John 5:25 tells us that the dead who hear His voice shall live. 1Cor. 15:22 tells us that those IN CHRIST shall be made alive (in resurrection).
How can a person get “in Christ”? Rom 10:9,10, 2Cor. 5:21. This is where each of us must begin. Do you want to live again in resurrection?…or not?
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eternities ” is absurd.
The root idea of the word olam is something secret or hid