Tuesday, December 15, 2015

1Peter 1:24, 25 comments: do you have it?

24 ¶  For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: 25  But the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.

Our bodies are so temporary it is stunning to think about. We are young and fit for such a short time. Youthful beauty and strength are fleeting and temporary. Health and vitality last for a few short decades, if that. Our body is a building, a vehicle that houses our soul. This one is temporary but one is being prepared for us which is eternal, a building of God.

2Corinthians 5: 1 ¶  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.

Here, the Holy Spirit, using Peter, who is writing from his own thinking and in his own style, but guided by the Spirit of God, links the Old Testament passage quoted in the opening of Matthew and Mark to herald John the Baptist’s presentation of Christ.

Isaiah 40: 3 ¶  The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. 4  Every valley shall be exalted, and every mountain and hill shall be made low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough places plain: 5  And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it. 6  The voice said, Cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: 7  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the LORD bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. 8  The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever.

The words of God endure forever and these are the words spoken to us by the gospel which we have read and which have been preached to us. The word is eternal. There is no question of what they are, what manuscripts are genuine, who wrote them, or what Bible version is authentic.

Psalm 119:89  LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

God’s word was preserved for us by the Holy Spirit.

Psalm 12:6  The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. 7  Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.

It is not important that we are not sure what the original autographs said because of the Holy Spirit working through faithful Christians; copyists and translators, to produce what God wanted us to have in our language.

Jeremiah 36:27  Then the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah, after that the king had burned the roll, and the words which Baruch wrote at the mouth of Jeremiah, saying, 28  Take thee again another roll, and write in it all the former words that were in the first roll, which Jehoiakim the king of Judah hath burned.  29  And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast? 30  Therefore thus saith the LORD of Jehoiakim king of Judah; He shall have none to sit upon the throne of David: and his dead body shall be cast out in the day to the heat, and in the night to the frost. 31  And I will punish him and his seed and his servants for their iniquity; and I will bring upon them, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and upon the men of Judah, all the evil that I have pronounced against them; but they hearkened not. 32  Then took Jeremiah another roll, and gave it to Baruch the scribe, the son of Neriah; who wrote therein from the mouth of Jeremiah all the words of the book which Jehoiakim king of Judah had burned in the fire: and there were added besides unto them many like words.

If you remove the Holy Spirit from the preservation of God’s word you have no Bible, just an old book of questionable origin and authenticity. It is impossible to understand the history of Bible translation without faith in what God has said.

2Timothy 3:16  All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17  That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Job 32:8  But there is a spirit in man: and the inspiration of the Almighty giveth them understanding.

In the late 16th and 17th centuries a new way of thinking came about for Western civilization. Historians call it The Enlightenment. Through it the intelligentsia began to think in terms of God, not as the cause of all things, but as only the First Cause, if there was a God at all and all things just didn’t happen by random chance or the self-organizing properties of the material world. Man began to see smaller and smaller entities in existence and then he got down to the point where he could not see anything but the effects of invisible things, not the things themselves. So, he postulated and imagined and fantasized about what the things he couldn’t see were composed of. He created abstract, mathematical models to explain his theories and his own arguments began to be about the model and not about the reality. Once he continued in this direction he stopped questioning his basic assumptions,  that all things came about by random, natural processes without any God in the picture. Man’s reasoning ability became his god and there was nothing greater.

Christians, too, began to absorb this view. It didn’t matter what manuscripts or Bibles Christians had used for over a thousand years. What mattered was breaking it down into component pieces, manuscripts, the effects of a process we could not see. They took the Holy Spirit out of the process. The Bible was created then by men. They imagined these men as affected only by their own intellect, their own faith, their own reasoning, and they graded these manuscripts on reliability and authenticity as required by their own minds. God was honored as a First Cause only, in the creation of the original autographs. The same God who could answer their prayers could not preserve His words. They were lost for 1300 years and found again by men named Westcott and Hort and given to a world that did not have God’s word until they arrived on the scene. Man’s reasoning ability became his god and there was nothing greater.

The Bible I am quoting was the last Bible, the last major Bible version, translated before this era, by committees of dozens of the finest minds of their time, the most devout, the most accomplished, praying for light, not to be deceived or to deceive others, in their humility. God’s word is settled. All antagonisms or arguments against it are mere opinion. Authoritative Catholic Bibles like the Challoner Douay-Rheims and the Jewish Bibles in America until 1917  were profoundly influenced by it, adopting its phrasing in places. Words and phrases commonly used in English came from it like making a difference from Jude, verse 22, and the skin of my teeth from Job 19:20. It shed light on Western civilization ushering in the greatest missionary effort, the greatest scientific advancements, the greatest voyages of exploration and discovery, and became the Common Version for the first colony of a great power to throw off the yoke of its master and begin a new country founded on freedom of conscience. Its importance was so profound that even scholar, historian, and modern version translator, Philip Schaff, admitted that most of the Protestant world considered it to be inspired by God.

And now, we have chaos, confusion, and you will be hard pressed to meet even one modern Christian who believes in the modern versions who has read the Bible through even once when non-Christian philosophers in the 1600’s complained that even boys and girls believed the Bible literally and thought God spoke to them through it, and Bible reading until now was a common thread throughout Christian history. Paul said to Timothy and the Lord might say to us;

1Timothy 4:13  Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine.

God’s word endures forever. Do you have it?

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