Archive for the ‘Hebrews’ Category

Venice Time

December 20th, 2012
Marla on Grand Canal in Venice, Italy

Time in Motion

Our Italian doctor in Milan is fond of making the assertion, “Let’s look at the science.” Similarly, like a good scientist, Lucasian professor of mathematics at Cambridge University, Stephen Hawking, in his book: A Brief History of Time, after laboring for ten chapters with the science, offers this startling conclusion: The usual approach of science of constructing a mathematical model cannot answer the question of why there should be a universe to describe”. He then goes on to posit further, “Why does the universe go to all the bother of existing?” (174). These questions are telling, especially after Hawking began his book, “And our goal is nothing less than a complete description of the universe we live in” (13).
The Christian worldview has an appreciation for “the science.” But, it also realizes that to describe the universe from inside the universe can be precarious. In other words, not all secrets of the universe are given up at Cambridge or Princeton or MIT. To the Christian worldview, there is information which places the Lord outside the jurisdiction of the universe. Do we understand this? Reference Colossians 1:17, for example, where Christ is referred to as, sunesteken, in Paul’s Greek. This is translated, “…in him all things hold together (ESV). Hawking allows Guth to explain a GUT (grand unified theory) (see chapter 8, The Origin and Fate of the Universe):

Clocktower on Island of Murano in Venice, Italy

Ventian Clocktower

“In an attempt to find a model of the universe in which many different initial configurations could have evolved to something like the present universe, a scientist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Alan Guth, suggested that the early universe might have gone through a period of very rapid expansion. This expansion is said to be “inflationary,” meaning that the universe at one time expanded at an increasing rate rather than the decreasing rate that is does today” (127). The Christian portrayal of a GUT must involve the Hebrews 1:3 data, which places the ultimate source of energy and dynamics outside the system.

Island of Murano, Venice, Italy

Isle of Murano

Now, when it comes to appreciating the above information, we are at once confronted with the ramifications to prayer. The God who answers prayer, being outside of the system per se, and yet concerned with the interior, is able to deliver (Ephesians 3:14-21). A second reason for relevance in these matters about a theology of Christ involves how the Lord is able to enter history. Throughout the biblical text there are invitations for participation in this, The Greatest Story Ever Told.
So, we give thanks today for solar physics and biological thriving (a biology and physics of Genesis); for gravitational force (attraction); and for atomic stability (coherence). This is My Father’s World!

What are We Doing Here?

March 10th, 2012

Job 42:1,2 reads: “Then Job answered the Lord and said, I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (ESV).

At the end of the day, with tired feet and well spent energy, one might still question what we are doing here?      We want our supporters to know  that Job 42:1,2 is a reminder of a faith that is based in God; not based in economy, politics, selfishness, avant garde,  polemics, or any other fleeting reality.   What we are doing here is all about God; it really is that simple.   Leonardo da Vinci once said, “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.”    What is this simplicity that leads us on every day?  What is this ultimate sophistication?   Just this, that God is (Hebrews 11:6); that he is “God Almighty” (Genesis 17:1; Hebrew: El Shaddai); and that, His purposes will be maintained throughout history (Job 42:2).

This is the simple and solemn reason for our toiling in the backyard of history.   It is enough.  That is why what we are doing in Milan matters.

The Kingdom of God in Luke’s Gospel

May 29th, 2009

(1:32-33;  2:4; 34-35; 3:31; 4:43; 6:20; 7:28; 8:10; 9:2; 10:23-24; 11:2, 17; 12:31-32; 13:20; 14:15; 16:16; 17:20-21; 18:15-17; 19:12; 36-40; 22:14-16; 23:1-3; 35-43)

“…and of his kingdom there will be no end”

(Luke 1:33)

The word kingdom is meaningless to most people.  It may evoke certain ancient images of swords and jousting, but there will be no ultimate personal relevance.  In the face of this casual approach to kingdom, one is confronted with Kingdom of God in the Gospel of Luke.   What should one make of this startling kingdom which is anything but casual?

1.       The Kingdom of God provides a context whereby one may discuss and perceive God in history [bear in mind, your history!].

2.      The primary meaning of “kingdom” is royal power. It more often carries the force of dominion (see Dan. 4:31, where dominion is departed, but not domain); more reign than realm.  In Luke, the ideas associated with Kingdom are heightened (see the Luke references above).

3.       For God’s people (who seeing-see and hearing-understand, Lk. 8:10), it is not the past which determines the future, but the future which directs the present.  For the Christian, the Lord of history is not prominent, but preeminent (Col. 1:16-18).

-Robert M. Housby


May 14th, 2009

(100-600 Levels)

“The heavens are the Lord’s heavens,

but the earth he has given to the children of man”

(Psalm 115:16)

On the 100 Level, providence involves-

1.    Definition

2.    Usage (Acts 24:2, from pronoias)

On the 200 Level, providence involves-

1.        A reference to God in the world (Eccl. 3:1-11)

a.   Hebrew world view believes in purpose on earth (3:1)

b.   And, transcendent purpose in heaven (3:11; Isa. 55:8-9)

2.        Christian world view unites God’s purpose in Christ (Eph. 1:10)

On the 300 Level, providence involves-

1.         A long and loud praise of God’s universal providence (Ps. 104)

2.         Psalm 104 begins and ends with a summons for the individual to participate in this providence (104:1,35).

On the 400 Level, providence involves-

1.         The comprehensive terminology of heaven (shamayim; ouranos)

2.         Our deepest reality is that we were meant for heaven-made for earth (2 Cor. 5:1-8)

On the 500 Level, providence involves-

1.         Kingdom of God in personal dailiness (Matt. 5:45; 6:25-34; 10:29-31)

2.         Kingdom of God in personal discernment of kingdom reality (Matt. 13)

On the 600 Level, providence involves-

1.         Living 100-600 level revitalization (Finding your place in His plan)

2.         Revelation 11:15!

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

The Fruits of Galatians 5

December 12th, 2008

(Your Self-Test)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law”

(Galatians 5:22,23)

Circle either the ? or the !

1. How are you doing with love ? !

2. How are you doing with joy ? !

3. How are you doing with peace ? !

4. How are you doing with patience ? !

5. How are you doing with kindness ? !

6. How are you doing with goodness ? !

7. How are you doing with faithfulness ? !

8. How are you doing with gentleness ? !

9. How are you doing with self-control ? !

This Self-Test will help you to evaluate your own end of the year spirituality. Let’s get ready for a productive 2009!

-Robert M. Housby

A Question About Instrumental Music in Worship

October 24th, 2008

Several times during this past month, I was asked why we do not use music at church. A Bible study that came as a result of this question allowed for the opportunity to explain why we do not use mechanical instruments in our Christian worship. The notes from that Bible study are reproduced here for your benefit:

A. Worship Is About God

1. Genesis 4:1-5 – God orders worship, not man.

2. John 4:23-24 – True worship has two conditions.

3. Leviticus 10:1-2 (Rom. 15:4) – Unauthorized worship (v. 1) is unacceptable worship with God (v. 2).

4. 2 Samuel 6:1-8 – Obedience is preferred over the best-of- intentions.

B. Re: New Testament Worship

1. It is to be distinguished from O.T. worship (2 Tim. 2:15; Heb.8:9;9:1;12:28).

2. “Christians” are told to sing (Eph. 5:19; James 5:13).

3. There is absolutely no evidence that that early church used instruments in worship. In fact, the early Church Fathers, after the manner of the Apostles, strictly opposed mechanical instruments in worship.

4. The kind of music which God desires today is clearly stated. The only acceptable music, under the new covenant, is identified as from the heart, not the harp (see Col. 3:16,17 for authority-“in the name of the Lord Jesus” [not Moses; not David; nor the traditions of men]

-Robert M. Housby

Restoration Series Review

October 3rd, 2008

“I have not come to bring peace, but a sword”

(Matthew 10:34)

“… I have come to do your will, O God…’ “

(Hebrews 10:7)

Matthew 10:34-39

We often assume that once a person receives the truth of the gospel, without added church creeds; catechisms; or extra-biblical non-sense, he or she will obey the gospel, become a New Testament Christian, and continue to live faithfully for the Lord and his church (Eph. 3:21).

But, this is not always the case. Therefore, when we speak of the need to go Back to the Bible (a restoration theology) which respects the word of God and reveres the person of God, we must teach personal discipleship (Matt. 10:34-39; 28:19).

1 Timothy 4:1ff./2 Timothy 4:1ff.

The primary reason for the need of a Restoration Movement is the Great Apostasy, spoken of in First and Second Timothy. Most modern churches and individuals just gloss over this fundamental New Testament doctrine.

2 Kings 18:1-7 (2 Chron. 29:1-6)

The reforms of Hezekiah point out the restoration principle as valid and the Lord’s chosen method for returning after a religious apostasy. Here, we learn, that you can’t do right without tearing down the wrong.

2 Kings 22:1-8

By the reforms of Josiah, we are reminded of the great role that the Bible must play, if there would be a restoration movement.

– Robert M. Housby

The Ringing of Those Golden Bells

August 17th, 2008

“…with bells of gold between them, a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bells and a pomegranate, around the hem of the robe…and its sound shall be heard when he goes into the Holy Place…”

(Exodus 28:34,35)

“…and in the midst of the lampstands one like a son of man, clothed in a long robe”

(Revelation 1:13)

The ringing of bells has been associated with deep joy and deep sorrow (Hemingway’s, For Whom the Bell Tolls; Longfellow’s, The Bell of Atri; Poe’s, The Bells; and, of course, Daniel A. Marbelle’s, When they Ring Those Golden Bells, 1887). But, when it comes to the Bible, the reference to Bells brings one to the classic passage of Exodus 28:31-35 (see also, Ex. 39:22-26).

The interpretation of this passage by Andrew Bonar (A Commentary On the Book of Leviticus (1852), pp. 153-54 appears helpful in establishing the significance of the ringing of those golden bells:

And these bells , like the bells of Zech. 14:20, speak to the ear, giving notice of approach. The pomegranates speak to the eye, telling that he comes laden with Canaan-fruit for those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. This robe, so peculiarly characteristic of the high priest, the poderes of Rev. 1:13, on which our Lord appears…Besides being “all of blue,” it had a heavenly tinge-the sky tinctured grain pointing to the firmament”

Jesus as high priest, having passed through the heavens, intercedes now for his own (Hebrews 9:11-14; 4:14). Can’t you hear the bells a-ringing?

-Robert M. Housby

The Biblical Background of Heaven: shamayim and ouranos

June 15th, 2008

I. The Greek Classical View of Heaven (Acts 14:8-18)

A. “The word always has a double reference” (Kittel, 497).

1. Cosmological sense (starry heavens)

2. Theological view (habitation of the gods/myth)

=>”The gods have come down to us” (Acts 14:11)

B. Ouranos meant both physical and metaphysical in Greek culture, and eventually came to denote by the New Testament period a guiding principle (as astrology in the Roman World). This concept of heaven became a flurry of philosophical activity from Homer, Pythagoras, Aristotle, and Plato, and others. In fact, Plato taught that heaven (ouranos) was the starting point for absolute knowledge (Phaedrus, 247b).

II. Old Testament/shamayim

A. shamayim is identified with raqia (Gen. 1:6-8)

B. a place of fixed references (Gen. 1:14; Ps. 119:89)

C. The Bethel Story and the dwelling place of God (Gen. 28)

D. The God of heaven formula (Deut. 26:15; 32:40; Ex. 9:29,33)

E. Source of all blessing (Gen. 49:25; Deut. 33:13; 1 Ki. 8:35)

F. Especially salvation-history (Dan. 7:17)

III. New Testament/ouranos

A. Jn. 3:9-12; 6:33 Jesus’ source

B. Acts 1:9-11; 2:34 Jesus will come again

C. 2 Cor. 5:1-9 Heaven holds all to me

D. Eph. 1:3 etc. The Christian’s position

Robert M. Housby