Why did Jesus say "tell no one" the gospel? PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Thursday, 15 April 2010 08:39

On the OPC email discussion list, Dean asked,

In Mark 5:19 Jesus says, "Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you." The man returns to Decapolis, but toward the end of Mark 7 when Jesus visits Decapolis and performs a miracle "He commanded them that they should tell no one."

Why the two different instructions from Jesus for the same geographic region?

Many Reformed commentaries (see John Calvin, Matthew Henry) give the following good explanation of the several places where Jesus told people not to tell anyone about Him and His works, which is also known as the "Messianic secret":  it was not yet the time for Christ to be delivered over to the hands of sinful men to be crucified, and then to be raised from the dead and exalted to the right hand of God the Father.  But there was a turning point when Christ said "The hour has come for the Son of Man to be glorified" (John 12:23), when Christ no longer hid His purpose to reign as king from full view in the eyes of the public and of the government:  the Triumphal Entry, John 12:12-19.

Before the Triumphal Entry, Jesus did tell some to proclaim the gospel of faith in Christ to which His miracles bore witness, but He limited that proclamation's content, frequency, and extent, until the proper time when He commanded us to go into all the world, preach the gospel, make disciples of all nations, baptizing and teaching them to obey everything He commanded.  That proper time was after His resurrection, and particularly, after the Holy Spirit was poured out at Pentecost.

During His earthly ministry, Jesus trained His disciples to proclaim the gospel, but He did so in stages, in a limited manner, during the time of His humiliation, and we must learn our gospel proclamation today from that training.  But now, during the time of His exaltation, He commands us to go forth and proclaim the gospel as He has trained us to do.  This is how these two stages of Christ's ministry--humiliation and exaltation--and these two sets of instructions--"tell them" and "tell no one"--are connected in regard to their impact on our gospel proclamation today.

Matt. 16:21-28 - Take Up Your Cross PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Sunday, 14 March 2010 10:45
  1. Introduction

    1. The Authority of the Kingdom

      1. There is a golden thread woven throughout Matthew 14-18 which I have only mentioned at a few key junctures, but which is also what I've titled the sermon series through these chapters, and now it is appropriate to bring that thread fully into view. The golden thread which is the theme of these chapters is the authority of Christ's kingdom. Jesus' miracles established His authority so His disciples recognized it, confessing He was the Christ, the Anointed, God's chosen Savior, our Prophet, Priest, and King. He has authority to save His people, and He will build His church, so we must join His church by confessing Christ as our Savior as Peter did in the immediately preceding passage. Not only does Christ have authority, but He exercises it through the officers and members of His church. He promised to give His disciples the authority of the Keys of the Kingdom.

      2. How should they exercise this authority in Christ's kingdom? Peter learned the lesson of this passage well, when he instructed elders to be "not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock." (1 Pet. 5:3) Peter gave that instruction to elders, but this passage is not only for elders. The whole rest of 1 Peter's instructions to the general members of Christ's church is nothing more than the application of what Christ taught him here in Matthew 16.

    2. Outline. What Christ would have us do today can be boiled down to this: if you would follow Him, in vv. 21-23, set your mind on the things of God, and in vv. 24-28, take up your cross.

      1. Set Your Mind on the Things of God vv. 21-23

        1. What Are The Things of God? v. 21

        2. What Are The Things of Man? v. 22

        3. Set Your Mind on the Things of God v. 23

      2. Take Up Your Cross vv. 24-28

        1. The Challenge v. 24

        2. The Tradeoff vv. 25-26

        3. The Warning v. 27

        4. The Encouragement v. 28

Last Updated on Monday, 15 March 2010 15:11
3 Simple Rules that Will Make You A 'Superstar' Developer PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Monday, 01 February 2010 14:23

This is hilarious:


Last Updated on Monday, 01 February 2010 14:28
Did Jesus call Obama the Antichrist? Um...no. PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Thursday, 03 September 2009 16:45

Since two of my friends have asked separately whether this video is correct, I decided to post a response. The video asks,

Did Jesus reveal the name of the Antichrist?

This guy doesn't know Hebrew like he should, and he even misspelled the English word "heights." Here are his errors in Hebrew and Greek:

1. Aramaic isn't the most ancient form of Hebrew.

2. He mispronounced the name of the letter "waw," which is normally pronounced the way Germans would pronounce it ("vov"), since the Germans were the best Hebrew scholars for a time and English-speakers still study and depend greatly upon their grammar textbooks, now translated into English.

3. He translates the waw ("O") in "Baraq O Bama" as potentially meaning "from," which is not at all a common use of the letter waw, which is normally a conjunction, not a preposition. The common way to say "from" in Hebrew is with the preposition "min." In addition, Jesus' words include a verb--"falling"--which is not really implied grammatically in "Baraq O Bama," which would most naturally mean "lightning and height." This makes me think the fellow looked up Barack Obama's name in Strong's and then found a verse where he could try to make the Bible say what he wants it to say.

4. He references Strong's numbers instead of the best Hebrew lexicons, and refers to Hebrew scholars as if he himself is not one--I agree with him on that. Did this fellow really study Hebrew? He doesn't seem to be able to read it. Very likely if he didn't study Hebrew, he didn't study Aramaic either. Few theological seminaries require their graduates to have a reading knowledge of Hebrew today, and even the ones that do (Westminster included) do not require the students to study Aramaic. We got only the shortest introduction to Aramaic--one hour of class time at most, a couple sentences to see the similarity to Hebrew, and the reference guide to the Aramaic abbreviations written in the margins of the Hebrew Old Testament.

5. Though Jesus spoke Aramaic, it's generally a bad idea to speculate about what Aramaic words Jesus spoke behind the Greek of the text of the New Testament--first, it's speculation; second, God gave us Jesus' words in Greek, not Aramaic; third, on average one Hebrew/Aramaic word has more possible senses than one Greek word, so while you CAN sometimes make a good guess as to what Hebrew word underlies its Greek translation, there is not a one-to-one correspondence between the words of the two languages, and you run a big risk relying on reverse-engineering the translation process for any solid conclusions. Specifically, in this case, there are at least 4 Hebrew words for lightning--"baraq," which means "lightning," "or," which means "light," "bazaq," which means "lightning flash," "laphid," which means "flame." Which one did Jesus use? The video is speculating too much. Similarly, "bama" IS a common Hebrew word for "above," but it is not the most common word for "heaven" ("shamayim" is), and the Greek of Jesus' word "heaven" is the most common Greek word for "heaven," "ouranos." The mismatch between the Greek and its proposed Aramaic original is too much to be convincing.

6. The Greek isn't saying that Satan IS "lightning from above," and so it's not treating "lightning from above" as a proper name, so why would the Hebrew have that meaning? Rather, the Greek says Jesus saw Satan fall like lightning. Even if Jesus used the word "baraq," meaning He saw Satan fall like Barack, to say this means Barack is the Antichrist is to say something the text doesn't mean.

He also didn't trace the etymology of Barack Obama's name through whatever language it comes from (Arabic? which admittedly is very similar to Hebrew & Aramaic) to see if it means "lightning from above" there.

Hope you found this helpful!

Last Updated on Thursday, 03 September 2009 19:29
1 Thess. 2:17-20 - The Hope of Fellowship PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Tim Black   
Sunday, 30 August 2009 20:00
  1. Introduction

    1. At Covenant College I gained some very dear friends, especially among the young men who lived on my hall, who were exceptionally mature, and godly. After graduation I remained at the college, but most of my hallmates left town. It was painful to know that they were gone, because in this life many of them I will never see again. Have you experienced a painful parting of fellowship? Why does it hurt? And what should we do about it?

    2. In the past 2 weeks I've begun to plan my 10 year high school class reunion, and have begun to reconnect with several long-lost friends from college who live in this area. Why do we seek to reconnect with old friends?

    3. Well, the reason it hurts to lose the fellowship you once had, and the reason we seek to restore it, is because we were made for fellowship with God and with one another. In our sin we broke fellowship with God and one another, and now in our salvation God has made it His delight to restore us to fellowship with Him and with one another. It is this hope of fellowship toward which the church's gospel-labor of love aims, and to this one hope of fellowship toward which she must press on, to the end.

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