IRON SHARPENS IRON?

March 29, 2007

It is a physical fact that iron does not sharpen iron. No material is sharpened with the same substance. In order to sharpen anything the parent medal must be cut away, leaving the edge. The tool used to cut another must be harder than that which is to be cut. If it is not it will not penetrate the material. It will only rub against it, generating heat in the process.

I hope you do not take my word for this. I have sharpened many tools, from knifes to lathe tools and I know a lot more about how to sharpen than someone who has only listened to others that have not really sharpened anything. Everything that is sharpened, is sharpened with a stone, from the softest steel to carbide tools.

If you are reading this you have access to the internet, so research how to sharpen something. Not how to sharpen spiritually, but how to sharpen a physical tool.

You see that understanding the second part of Proverbs 27:17 depends on understanding the first part. If iron can sharpen iron then what is said in the second part of the verse is possible and if not then it is not possible.

Now that we know the verse says something can not be done (you did test me, didn’t you?) let’s think about what it is that can not be done.

There is a big difference of meaning between the King James translation and most of the others. I’m not going to research all translations so let’s just compare the NIV to the KJV.

(Prov 27:17 NIV)  As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.(Prov 27:17 KJV)  Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 

The NIV leaves out the word countenance, which changes the meaning. As I understand the verse from the KJV it means that one man can not make another happy. The NIV on the other hand seems to say that one can not make another wiser.

I know that if I am faced with a disaster that anyone trying to cheer me up is never successful. No amount of logic, or anything he might say will work. Only time and God will restore me. So I understand and, of course, agree with the KJV.

It might surprise you that I also agree with the NIV. I have yet to tell this to anyone that thought iron sharpened iron and have them accept it. I hope this strikes you as funny as it does me. I am trying to sharpen you by using the very verse that says I can’t! You see that it only proves the verse when I tell someone and they refuse to believe or test me. If you don’t agree with me you have not tested me.

The truth of the matter is this, God doesn’t want me, nor will He allow me to teach anything. He wants to teach you Himself. If you have the Holy Spirit, you have the perfect teacher. All you need are the questions. God is referred to as a rock, or stone many times in the Bible. Let Him sharpen you.

I am just sharing what the Spirit has made known to me. If you want to possess knowledge you must meditate on the Word yourself. Consider everything that I say as only a question and doubt it all. Be a true Berean and test what I said.

astudent


Can a Christian be a Calvinist? 2

March 22, 2007

Two men are given maps and told that at their destination they would find the perfect mayor and then sent on their way. The maps are the same maps and marked with clues as to which turn to take. Along the way were others which suggest where to make turns. The men reached different destinations. Because they reached different destinations each man tried to explain to the other, step by step, just how they reached their destination. The man who had reached the wrong destination did not notice that the mayor was not perfect. Every time they called each other and spoke of their travels each man only pointed out the steps as to how they got to their destinations.

Do you understand the analogy? The two men are those who study the Bible (map). The others that suggest turns are those who profess knowledge of the destination and how to reach it (in this analogy, Calvin, but there are others). The destination is the town of wisdom and knowledge. The mayor is God.

Now, I suppose you don’t understand how I know that the man who has reached the wrong destination has indeed reached the wrong destination. Well, if he would take his nose out of the map and look around, he would see that the mayor is not perfect.

Look, and understand, God is perfect. He is just, fair, and perfect. If God made a man a sinner and condemned him for that sin, with no chance for salvation, He would not be fair or just. That man could stand at judgment and accuse God of being unfair, and unjust, and be correct!

Doesn’t your understanding of God tell you that He would not be unfair or unjust to anyone? Take your nose out of the map and look around. You have reached the wrong destination. Stop trying to explain to everyone how you got there. It doesn’t matter how you got where you are. It’s not the right place.

I can see that this argument, discussion, dialogue, or what ever you wish to call it would be a life time pursuit. I don’t feel called to spend the rest of my life on it. That is not to say others should not. If you care to consider Calvin just might be wrong there is a good web site that takes that view and they have already said most everything I could think of.

It is http://www.bible.ca/calvinism.htm.

Just one more thought before I go on to other subjects. The Jews of the Old Testament were the first to believe that some were saved and some could not be. They thought that all Jews (God’s people) would go to Heaven and all gentiles (not God’s people) didn’t have a chance. They had verses that seem to support their views also, but they were wrong. What makes you think it is somehow different now?

If you feel like you have reached your destination (the town of wisdom and knowledge), then look around. Is your mayor perfect?

astudent


Can a Christian be a Calvinist?

March 21, 2007

If this sounds like an odd question then examine the core beliefs of both Christians and Calvinist and see if they are compatible.

 

Calvinist basic belief is that one is chosen by God to be a believer. The believer had nothing to do with it and cannot change it. Those who are lost are not chosen and cannot change their status.

Christians on the other hand believe all are lost unless they admit sin and turn to God for salvation. They believe anyone can turn and be saved.

A Calvinist needs no savior. One who is already saved doesn’t need to be saved and if someone is lost, a savior, that could not save, would only be a cruel joke.

It should be clear from the basic beliefs that Calvinism is a “different gospel” than Christianity. We are warned about different gospels in Galatians 1:6&7. (Gal 1:6 NIV)  I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel– which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. 

It seems that Calvinistic ideas all stem from the word “predestined” that appears in Romans and Ephesians. They understand it to mean they are predestined to be saved, but is that really what it says?

In Ephesians Paul writes (Eph 1:11&12 NIV)  In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will, in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.

Now it should be clear that the “we” spoken of here is not me. I am not the first to hope in Christ: nor are you. The Apostles were the first to hope in Christ, chosen and predestined to participate in the plan of salvation. It should also be clear that Paul does not mean chosen to believe, because not all of the Apostles were believers (Judas).

Paul goes on to say to the Ephesians (Eph 1:13&14 NIV) And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit, who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession-

If they were included when they heard the word of truth, then they were not included before they heard. If they were predestined to be believers Paul, in truth, would have had to say, you were also predestined to believe.

Paul also speaks of those who were predestined in Romans (Rom 8:30 NIV) And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

Again I have to admit that it is not me that he speaks of. I have a long way to go before I could claim that I have been glorified.

I am somewhat of a thrill seeker, but I am too big of a chicken to believe in Calvinism. No where in the Bible does it name me and say “you are saved”. I have yet to hear from a Calvinist that thought he was one of the lost and yet no one has pointed to his name either.

I am a sinner with a Savior and I can point to my assurance. In the words of Jesus (Mark 16:16 NIV) Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. That’s me brother. I believe and I have been baptized.

To give my answer to the original question of this post, “NO” either you believe in Christ or you believe Calvin. Christ is not a savior that can not, nor will not save. 

astudent


Women in Ministry

March 18, 2007

No one tells women why they should wear a covering, or remain silent in Church. To only quote Scripture and not explain it causes many feelings to be hurt. So let me explain, as I see it.

The key to understanding these verses lies in 1 Corinthians 11:7 where it says, a man is the image and glory of God; but the woman is the glory of man. Said another way, man is the symbol of God, and a woman is the symbol of mankind. That is if they do as a man should do as there would be no glory for either God or man if the symbol lived in sin.

When you realize that the verses which state different customs for men and women are only for symbolic purposes they become easier to accept.

Let me point out some (not all (I don’t know all) of the verses that use men and women to symbolize God and man. Let’s start with first time a man and woman were used as symbols. It is in Genesis. Eve, properly representing mankind, was the first to eat of the forbidden fruit, because it is man that sins and must know that he does.

I have to laugh, because I know what you are thinking. You are thinking that Adam also ate of the fruit and God would not sin (aren’t you), but that is a proper symbolic act, because after we sinned Jesus (God) took our sins on Himself. Jesus and Adam had different motives, but no symbol is perfect. If it were it would not be a symbol, but it would be the real thing.

Let us jump to marriage. Marriage is the earthly symbol of our (believers) relation to God. Men are told to love their mate (Eph 5:25), because God loves us and a man properly symbolizing God would love his wife, but the woman is told to submit to her mate (Eph 5:22), because man should submit to God, and a woman properly symbolizing mankind would.

Now, can you understand why a woman is told that she should wear a covering in Church? Well, mankind needs a covering for our sins. Jesus is that covering, so a woman properly symbolizing mankind (that has accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior) would wear a covering (in Church because that is where you find those who have accepted Jesus).  A man properly symbolizing God would not wear a covering, because God needs no covering.

We should remain silent before God, so a woman should remain silent in Church. Men properly symbolizing God should speak in Church.

I do not think women should serve Communion, because it is God that offered Jesus to mankind. (That’s only my opinion as the Bible doesn’t say so).

The Apostle Paul, in 1 Timothy 2:12 says, (NIV) “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” Now, I use to believe that every verse in the Bible was God speaking to me, but in this case it seems to be Paul speaking. In other words Paul would not allow this, but I think God would.

Why do I think this? Well, God did allow Deborah to lead
Israel. She could not have led
Israel and settled disputes without teaching and having authority over men. I must remind you that God does not change and there is no authority except that which God has established (Rom 13:1&2), so if He appointed Deborah then God would allow women to have authority over men and it is only Paul which will not allow this. I must point out that men in Deborah’s time would not lead.

This is not the first time a servant of God changed something that God decreed. Moses allowed divorce (Deu 24:1), but God did not want it (Mat 19:8&9): He even hates it (Mal 2:16). Moses permitted divorce because their hearts were hard. But it was not this way from the beginning. Look at the problems divorce has caused.

Now that you have the key to understanding these different customs can you see that it had to be women that first found that Jesus had risen from the dead? I will bet you can find more.

This study (I have a hard time using the word study as, to me, it denotes work and thinking about the Bible is so enjoyable for me that I don’t consider it as work) has led to many thoughts, or questions about Paul’s comments on women, but just to keep this post small enough to enjoy, I have not included them.

astudent


Founded on Christian principles?

March 10, 2007

A Berean is commended in the Bible for not accepting anything said with out checking Scripture. (Acts 17:11NIV)  “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” We are not speaking about just anybody that the Bereans checked: it was the Apostle Paul himself.

If one does this today they are called a critic. One who is trying to undermine the teacher. I have to wonder how any error of a sermon, or any teaching, can be corrected. It seems as though the normal way of dealing with finding error is for he, or she, to just keep it to themselves.

When error is pointed out the individuals it is pointed to out use all of his, or her resources defending what they said instead of considering the truth of the matter. (I think it is a matter of pride)

Let me point out one such error. It is fashionable to say that this country is a Christian country, founded on Christian principles.

Perhaps I just don’t understand Christian principles. The Founding Fathers would not pay their taxes. Scripture says pay your taxes (Romans 13:6&7). Is that Christian?

The Founding Fathers had a king appointed by God (Daniel 4:32). They would not obey the king God appointed. To rebel against that king was to rebel against God. Is that Christian?

The land belonged to the King of England. The Founding Fathers rebelled against him and stole his land. Is that Christian?

Then the Founding Fathers set up a government where they would never have to obey any king that God appointed, because there would be no king over them. They would choose their own authority: even though Scripture states God establishes the authorities (Romans 13:1&2). Is that Christian?

This government is supposed to be approved by God. I don’t understand why God had us rebel against him to initiate it.

Christians seem to think God uses us to appoint the authorities. Well, He doesn’t use me. There was a president that I would not have voted for unless someone held a gun to my head and yet he was elected: not just once, but twice. To think that God needs anyone’s vote to elect anybody is to not understand God’s power.

I remember when I was first told about the Boston Tea Party. I was a proud little tyke then, but now I understand how God views it.

A group of hoodlums disguised and armed themselves, pirated three ships that were in the harbor, kidnapped and incarcerated the crews, and destroyed their cargo.

Did they do this to keep from paying the tax on it? Well, not really. Tea was and is a luxury. They didn’t have to buy the tea, so they didn’t really have to pay the tax. They did it to start a war.

The King of England didn’t even own the tea. A German company owned it. I do not know if the German company was ever reimbursed for the cargo. Benjamin Franklin did offer to pay for it according to the Wikipedia free encyclopedia (you might want to read the article on the Boston Tea Party and try to view it as God does). But why offer, why not just pay for it?

I think you can see that I’m older now and not so proud of the Boston Tea Party.

Don’t take me the wrong way. I like living here and I am thankful that God has chosen to overlook our sins (so far).

Shouldn’t we be going to our knees and asking God to give us a president that we do not deserve? Instead we worry about who man will elect.

Should we really claim this country was founded on Christian principles?

If you are inclined to call me a critic then just make that a Berean critic.

astudent


This is really what happened to dinosaurs.

March 7, 2007

Let me start with my view of dinosaurs. I know that dinosaur is an odd topic for a Bible study. I would bet you are saying the Bible doesn’t say anything about dinosaurs. Well come over to my side of the table for a while and let me point out some of the things I believe the Holy Spirit has pointed out to me. I want to start with this subject because even those who do not study the Bible should be able to understand what has happened to the very large and small reptiles which once walked on this earth. If you are one of these perhaps, when you see some truth in the Bible, you will be tempted to find more. I have, am, and will pray that you do also.

 

We usually think of Satan as a man, but the Bible says,(Gen 3:1 NIV) “Now the serpent was more crafty than any of the wild animals the LORD God had made. So one can see that, though the followers of Satan are men, Satan himself is a wild animal and not a man. Satan didn’t take control of the serpent in Genesis, he is the serpent. He is never described as a man in the Bible. He is referred to as a dragon. From my side of the table it seems wrong to picture Satan as a man. He was not made in the image of God: man was. Men desecrate the image of God when they act like an animal, or Satan; who is an animal.

In the book of Genesis, chapter three, verse 14, God said to the serpent, (NIV) “Because you have done this, “Cursed are you above all the livestock and all the wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. Think about this for a minute. We know that serpents, or snakes as we call them today, do crawl on their bellies. It stands to reason that before the curse Satan did not crawl on his belly. This is the key to understanding what became of dinosaurs. It would not have been much of a curse if serpents were already slithering about in the dirt: would it? Serpents are reptiles without legs. Dinosaurs are, or were, reptiles with legs. Just to be as clear as I can be, am I saying God removed the legs of the dinosaur, which made him the snake that we know today!

There are many kinds of reptiles today. Not just snakes. There are lizards, crocodiles, turtles, and others. They all have one thing in common. They do not walk upright. The difference between reptiles and dinosaurs is that reptiles have legs that come out at right angles to their body, and an unusual knee structure. Dinosaurs had leg and hip structures close to that of mammals. This is, the trait, that one thing dinosaurs had in common that the world looks for when they wonder what happened to dinosaurs and they have yet to see it, but it is written about in the very first book of the Bible! The world compares dinosaurs to warm blooded animals when they try to determine what happened to them. They say it was a climate change which destroyed dinosaurs, but why didn’t the cold spell destroy all reptiles? Aren’t all reptiles cold blooded? There once were large, medium, and small reptiles which walked upright. Even reptiles which flew and though there are still reptiles living today, there are no reptiles which walk upright: no large ones, medium ones, or small ones! It is said one should not beat a dead horse, but this is what dinosaurs had in common and what caused their demise, they were reptiles which walked upright, and of course one of them tempted Eve which is really what caused their demise.

Only one serpent tempted Eve yet all reptiles suffered the curse. This does not seem out of line with the Bible when you consider all men suffer the curse that God pronounced on Adam and all women suffer the same curse as Eve.

One of the rules of truth is, if something seems true it must fit with all truth. In other words if something in the Bible seems right it must agree with everything else in the Bible. So let’s examine another book of the Bible, the book of Job.

Job chapter 41 talks about a creature called a leviathan. The description is that of a dinosaur or what we would call a dragon. Let me quote some of the verses from Job 41 that physically describe this creature.  Job 41:9-34 (NIV) Any hope of subduing him is false; the mere sight of him is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse him. “I will not fail to speak of his limbs, his strength and his graceful form. Who can strip off his outer coat? Who would approach him with a bridle? Who dares open the doors of his mouth, ringed about with his fearsome teeth? His back has rows of shields tightly sealed together; each is so close to the next that no air can pass between. They are joined fast to one another; they cling together and cannot be parted. Strength resides in his neck; dismay goes before him. The folds of his flesh are tightly joined; they are firm and immovable. His chest is hard as rock, hard as a lower millstone. When he rises up, the mighty are terrified; they retreat before his thrashing. The sword that reaches him has no effect, nor does the spear or the dart or the javelin. Iron he treats like straw and bronze like rotten wood. Arrows do not make him flee; slingstones are like chaff to him. A club seems to him but a piece of straw; he laughs at the rattling of the lance. His undersides are jagged potsherds, leaving a trail in the mud like a threshing sledge. He makes the depths churn like a boiling caldron and stirs up the sea like a pot of ointment. Behind him he leaves a glistening wake; one would think the deep had white hair. Nothing on earth is his equal‑‑ a creature without fear. 

The description, as it applies to a dinosaur, seems to break down with verse 18. (NIV) His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn. Firebrands stream from his mouth; sparks of fire shoot out. Smoke pours from his nostrils as from a boiling pot over a fire of reeds. His breath sets coals ablaze, and flames dart from his mouth.”, but verse 34 is the key to understanding all the verses from 1 to 33. (NIV) “He looks down on all that are haughty; he is king over all that are proud”. Ask yourself who is king over all that are proud? Is not Satan “king” of all of the proud.

When one understands it is a description of Satan then verses 18 thru 21 finally become clear. You see, words come from ones breath. One must breathe out to speak and it is the words of Satan which send men to Hell. Hell is described as a place where the fire never goes out. Doesn’t it seem right to describe his words, or breath, as firebrands and flames?

The breath of Satan is the opposite of the Breath of God. God’s breath, which He breathed into Adam, gave life to all mankind. Satan’s breath, when he spoke to Eve, brought death to all mankind.

Consider verse 18 (NIV) “His snorting throws out flashes of light; his eyes are like the rays of dawn.” Light is a symbol of God’s word. Satan’s words come close to the truth, but only to confuse men, so the light from his mouth are only flashes. Now there is a characteristic of dinosaurs that the world hasn’t even thought of, dinosaurs, or at least one of them, could speak (Gen. 3:1-4&5).

If you do not yet think the Leviathan is Satan consider Isaiah 27:1, where the last days are spoken of. (NIV) “In that day, the LORD will punish with his sword, his fierce, great and powerful sword, Leviathan the gliding serpent, Leviathan the coiling serpent; he will slay the monster of the sea.” You can see from this verse that a Leviathan is a serpent, and we know Satan is a serpent from Revelation 12:9 (NIV)The great dragon was hurled down‑‑that ancient serpent called the devil, or Satan, who leads the whole world astray. He was hurled to the earth, and his angels with him.”  And Revelation 20:2 (NIV) “He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the devil, or Satan, and bound him for a thousand years.” One can understand from these verses the words serpent, leviathan, devil, or dragon used in the Bible mean Satan. Now we can add one of our words to the list, “dinosaur” which means terrible lizard.

Many ancient civilizations depict dragons with fire coming from their mouths. This no longer seems odd to me when I realized dragons played such an important part in the very first story in the history of mankind. This story was closer, or more recent, to all mankind in ancient times. They understood the symbolism of fire coming from the mouth of the Dragon. They knew who the dragon was: we have, or had, forgotten.

 

Every time the bones of a dinosaur are found, physical proof of the first story in the Bible is presented to the world, and the world doesn’t see it. Isn’t that amazing? !!!! What seems so amazing to me is God wrote the account down in plain view of all mankind and yet concealed it!

 

If you are an unbeliever (thanks for wading through the Bible verses) the view from your side of the table is different than mine, and you are not so amazed, but you owe it to yourself to reconcile a few points. Why are there no longer any reptiles which walk upright, or that fly, though there once were, and how could someone write a description of a dinosaur, never having seen, nor heard of one, and how could one write an account of the destruction of a whole breed of animals if they had never even seen one. I think you will have to admit it is quite a coincident that there is a book which speaks of them, describes them, and even explains the cause of their demise.

 

Think about it for a while before you discount the view from my side of the table. Know this, I am not a teacher. I am only a student. Be a Berean (Acts 17:11) examine the Scriptures every day to see if what I said is true. God wants to speak directly to you, not through me to you. God speaks, through His Scripture, to anyone who will listen and He wants to speak to you. If God would grant me the ability to teach one thing it would be, with great eagerness examine the Scripture every day to see if what any man said is true.

The Student