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1  Theology / General Theology / Re: Speaking in tongues is Biblical ?!!? on: February 25, 2007, 10:05:22 PM
FIVE WORDS OF PROPHESY OR TEN THOUSAND WORDS IN TONGUES  ??

1 Cor 14 has the answers for the “charismatic” who is seeking Christian maturity.  (IT’S TIME TO GROW UP!)


1 Cor 14:18-20
18   I thank my God I speak with tongues more than you all;
19   yet in the church I would rather speak five words with my understanding  (NOUS), that I may teach others also, than ten thousand words in a tongue.  (STRONGS # 3563)
20   Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature (NKJ)  GROW UP !!  (STRONGS # 5424)        (malice - the opposite of excellence - the vicious character)

3563  nous-  UNDERSTANDING
1) the mind, comprising alike the faculties of perceiving and understanding and those of feeling, judging, determining
a) the intellectual faculty, the understanding
b) reason in the narrower sense, as the capacity for spiritual truth, the higher powers of the soul, the faculty of perceiving divine things, of recognizing goodness and of hating evil
c) the power of considering and judging soberly, calmly and impartially
2) a particular mode of thinking and judging, that is, thoughts, feelings, purposes, desires

5424  phren-  UNDERSTANDING  -  ONLY HERE IN N.T.
1) the midriff or diaphragm, the parts of the heart
2) the mind; the faculty of perceiving and judging

1 Cor 2:14-16
14   But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15   But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one.
16   For "who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?" But we have the mind  (NOUS !)  Christ.  (STRONGS # 3563)   (NKJ)


Tongues   - for Paul are prayers - they only praise, worship, give thanks and adore God – v2a -  i.e. speak to God.


1 Cor 14:2
2   For he who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God, for no one understands him; however, in the spirit he speaks mysteries.  (NKJ)

“ -  v16-17  - bless with the Spirit - giving thanks.

1 Cor 14:16-17
16   Otherwise, if you bless with the spirit, how will he who occupies the place of the uninformed say "Amen" at your giving of thanks, since he does not understand what you say?
17   For you indeed give thanks well, but the other is not edified.  (NKJ)

                                             Any correct spiritual interpretation of tongues must reflect this fact !

An interpretation of tongues must never be prophesy - it can only be prayer !


Public tongues are only for the unbeliever or uninformed - v22

1 Cor 14:22
22   Therefore tongues are for a sign, not to those who believe but to unbelievers; but prophesying is not for unbelievers but for those who believe.(NKJ)

Therefore, when any number of born again Christians gather to pray, there should be no tongue speaking
 

 Self interpretation of tongues is not scriptural –  (this is a common error)


              v13  - pray that he (another) may interpret (+ 1 Cor 12:10)

1 Cor 14:13
13   Therefore let him who speaks in a tongue pray that he may interpret.   (he = someone else) (NKJ)

1 Cor 12:7, 10
7   But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:
10 …to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.  (NKJ)


              v 26 – each has a an interpretation

1 Cor 14:26
26   How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each (one) of you has a psalm,  has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.  (NKJ)

              v28 – no interpreter – keep silent      no self interpretation !

1 Cor 14:28
But if there is no interpreter, let him keep silent in church, and let him speak to himself and to God.  (Silently)


Tongues are for self edification  -  v4  - 

1 Cor 14:4

4      He who speaks in a tongue edifies himself, but he who prophesies edifies the church.(NKJ)



Tongues must be orderly  -  v 27 – each in turn  v33 – not a God of confusion

1 Cor 14:27
27   If anyone speaks in a tongue, let there be two or at the most three, each in turn, and let one interpret.

1 Cor 14:33
33    For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints.  (NKJ)



Prophecy saves the unbeliever  -  vs24-25                            

1 Cor 14:23-25
23          Therefore if the whole church comes together in one place, and all speak with tongues, and there come in those who are uninformed or unbelievers, will they not say that you are out of your mind? 
24   But if all prophesy, and an unbeliever or an uninformed person comes in, he is convinced by all, he is convicted by all.
25   And thus the secrets of his heart are revealed; and so, falling down on his face, he will worship God and report that God is truly among you.    (NKJ)


Prophesy must be judged  - v29


1 Cor 14:29-32
29   Let two or three prophets speak, and let the others judge.
30   But if anything is revealed to another who sits by, let the first keep silent.
31   For you can all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged.
32   And the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets.  (NKJ)

However brethren, whatever tongues is, The Lord knows and left this specific instruction for us:

"Therefore, brethren, desire earnestly to prophesy, and do not forbid to speak with tongues." 1 Corinthians 14:39 NKJV


Prophesy is not simply fortune telling, brothers , it is also special messages from God, often uttered through human spokesmen, which indicate the divine will for mankind on earth and in heaven.
2  Fellowship / Parenting / Re: Colleges coveting home-schooled students on: January 13, 2007, 10:37:40 PM
thx, PR,

sent this link to another Christian website.  Great stuff.  Where did you find it?

doc
3  Theology / Debate / Re: Once Saved Always Saved??? on: January 13, 2007, 10:12:12 PM
Christian Greetings, Brothers,

I too am looking forward to the CU study of Hebrews on this MB.

Many years ago when I taught a Bible study on this book, I undertook to read every exegetical publication I could find - 65 in all - at a Bible school close by.  This school was not a denominational one so their library was well balanced in all denominational leanings, and I think you all know what I mean.

Some very interesting results came from this study, the least of which was that whatever denominational position one chose to make from this great book, the opposite could be made by another one.  Occasionally this was accomplished by twisting the Greek language, but usually it was done by ignoring contrary verses altogether.  I find this problem where ever I go in commentaries, which will come as no surprise to many of you here on this board.

My Bible study of His Holy Word is a very personal, heartfelt and Spirit directed one supplemented commentaries - not dictated by them.  Those men writing those tomes spent their entire lives delving into Holy Writ and have an enormous educational advantage over an aging medical peddler like me.  At the same time I realize the motto of any academic environment is to "Publish or Perish"  This is true of academic divines as well as any college professor today - and in the past.  The drive for tenure is an ancient one and most will do almost anything to attain it. It's called job security.  The intellectual (and sometimes moral) compromises involved in accomplishing this remind me of the ones required to succeed in the political realm.

I propose we all come to this landmark study of an essential and very different book, with as much of an open mind - and heart - as is spiritually possible.  I commit to pray intently prior to responding to any post herein and challenge you all to do the same.  Perhaps we all will find new light - His light.

Do it to it, Tom, and be led by Him.

Amen,

doc
4  Entertainment / Politics and Political Issues / Re: Sen. Johnson's health status upgraded to 'fair' on: January 12, 2007, 10:09:00 AM
A Conservative Christian's Conundrum     

Fifty year old Tim Johnson, D, SD, is in critical condition in hospital unable to talk or walk.  He is able to send messages to his wife by pressing her hand.  Stricken with a stroke he is not sitting with his newly won Democratic Congress in Washington, DC. 

His Republican Governor will replace him, at his demise, with a Republican, thereby putting the Congress into the Republican's hands for the next 20 months.

Federal judgeship appointments, Supreme Court replacements and all Congressional committee chairmen will revert to the Republican parties influence in an instant.   

Our compassion and prayers go out to him and his family.

Should our political intentions become paramount when it comes to prayer for our government?

How should we pray, Brothers and sisters?
5  Theology / Debate / Re: Once Saved Always Saved??? on: January 08, 2007, 11:38:38 PM
Allinall,

I don't know who that quote was from, but here is a lengthly (sorry) from an  exegete I really appreciate.  He died this year and I will miss his works. There are many of his NT expository books already published and I recommend  them all - inall.


Expositors Bible Commentary - Leon Morris, Principal, Ridley College, Melbourne

 The writer proceeds to underline the seriousness of apostasy from the Christian faith and, indeed, of any failure to make progress. He does this by pointing to the impossibility of making a second beginning. It is impossible for a Christian to stand still. He either progresses in the faith or slips back. And slipping back is serious; it can mean cutting oneself off from the blessings God offers. The writer is not questioning the perseverance of the saints. As he has done before, he is insisting that only those who continue in the Christian way are the saints.

4 "For" (gar, omitted in NIV) indicates the reasonableness of what follows: Had they really fallen away, there would be no point in talking to them. Some see in the reference to being "enlightened" a glance at baptism, for this verb was often used of baptism in the second century. But it is not attested as early as this, and so it is better to interpret the term in the light of the general usage whereby those admitted to the Christian faith are brought to that light that is "the light of the world" (John 8:12; cf. 2Cor 4:6; 2 Peter 1:19). To abandon the gospel would be to sin against the light they had received.
    "The heavenly gift" is not closely defined. Some interpret it as the holy communion, though there seems little reason for this. It would fit well with the verb "tasted," but this verb can be used metaphorically; so the point proves little. The word "gift" (dorea) points to freeness but could be used of any one of a variety of gifts. The thought is of God's good gift and we cannot be more precise than this. The Holy Spirit is active among all believers and for that matter to some extent beyond the church, in his work of "common grace." It is clear that some activity of the Spirit is in mind. Yet once more our author does not define it closely.

5 The people in question have "tasted* the goodness of the word of God." While some limit this to the gospel, there seems to be no need and no point in doing this. Any word that God has spoken is a good gift to men, and those the writer has in mind here have come to hear something of God's word to men. They have also experienced something of "the powers of the coming age." The age to come is normally the Messianic Age, and the thought is that powers proper to the coming Messianic Age are in some sense realized now for God's people. "Powers" indicates that that age puts at men's disposal powers they do not have of themselves.   *(DCW note - “Tasted” used of Jesus in Heb 2:9  =  “truly experienced”)

6 "If they fall away" means "fall away from Christianity." The verb parapipto is found only here in the NT, and its meaning is clear. The writer is envisaging people who have been numbered among the followers of Christ but now leave that company. Such cannot be brought back to repentance. Notice that he does not say "cannot be forgiven" or "cannot be restored to salvation" or the like. It is repentance that is in mind, and the writer says that it is impossible for these people to repent. This might mean that the repentance that involves leaving a whole way of life to embrace the Christian way is unique. In the nature of the case, it cannot be repeated. There is no putting the clock back. But it seems more likely that the reference is to a repentance that means leaving the backsliding into which the person has fallen. He cannot bring himself to this repentance. The marginal reading "while they are crucifying the Son of God" is attractive, but in the end it really amounts to a truism and scarcely seems adequate. The tense, however, does convey the idea of a continuing attitude.
    It is probable that we should take the verb rendered "are crucifying ... all over again" (anastaurountas) simply as "crucifying." Elsewhere it seems always to have this meaning. The author is saying that those who deny Christ in this way are really taking their stand among those who crucified Jesus. In heart and mind they make themselves one with those who put him to death on the cross at Calvary. Heautois ("to themselves"; NIV, "to their loss") points to this inward attitude. The final words of v. 6 stress what this attitude means.
    There has been much discussion of the significance of this passage. Some think that the author is speaking about genuine Christians who fall away and that he denies that they may ever come back. This view sets the writer of the epistle in contradiction with other NT writers for whom it is clear that the perseverance of the saints is something that comes from God and not from their own best efforts (e.g., John 6:37; 10:27-29). Others think that the case is purely hypothetical. Because the writer does not say that this has ever happened, they infer that it never could really happen and that to put it this way makes the warning more impressive. But unless the writer is speaking of something that could really happen, it is not a warning about anything. Granted, he does not say that anyone has apostatized in this way, nevertheless, he surely means that someone could, and he does not want his readers to do so. A third possibility is that the writer is talking about what looks very much like the real thing but lacks something. The case of Simon Magus springs to mind. He is said to have believed, to have been baptized, and to have continued with Philip (Acts 8:13). Presumably he shared in the laying on of hands and the gift given by it. Yet after all this Peter could say to him, "Your heart is not right before God....you are full of bitterness and captive to sin" (Acts 8:21-23). The writer is saying that when people have entered into the Christian experience far enough to know what it is all about and have then turned away, then, as far as they themselves are concerned, they are crucifying Christ. In that state they cannot repent.


*footnote  6   In the verb anastauro÷ (anastauroo) the prefix ana (ana) is usually taken in the sense of "up," "to lift up on a cross." In other compounds ana sometimes signifies "again," and this is why some take the verb here to mean recrucify. But as this sense is not attested elsewhere it seems better to take it as "crucify."

7 The process is illustrated from agriculture. There is land that frequently drinks in rain and as a result brings forth a crop. The rain comes first. The land does not produce the crop of itself. The spiritual parallel should not be overlooked. The word translated "a crop" (botane) is a general term for herbage; it does not mean any specific crop. "Useful to those for whom it is farmed" means that the beneficiaries are people in general and not only those who actually work on the farm. This land, then, receives God's blessing.

8 We should not miss the point that this is the same land as in v. 7. We should probably place a comma at the end of v. 7 and proceed thus: "but if it produces...." or "but when it produces...." The reference to producing "thorns and thistles" reminds us inevitably of the curse of Genesis 3:17 ff.--a curse on that very creation of which it had been said, "God saw all that he had made, and it was very good" (Gen 1:31). This land then, producing only what is worthless, awaits the curse. "Is in danger of being cursed" might give the impression that the land came close to being cursed but just escaped. The author seems rather to be saying that at the moment of which he speaks the curse has not yet fallen, certain though it is. Such a field in the end "will be burned." Some commentators think the writer knew little of agriculture, for the burning of the field was not a curse but rather a source of blessing as it got rid of the weeds and so prepared for a good crop. But whatever his knowledge of farming, he had a valid point. Land that produced nothing but weeds faced nothing but fire. The warning to professing Christians whose lives produce only the equivalent of weeds is plain.


Verification from another source:

Heb 6:4
[And have tasted] To "taste" of a thing means, according to the usage in the Scriptures, to "experience," or to "understand" it. The expression is derived from the fact that the "taste" is one of the means by which we ascertain the nature or quality of an object; compare Matt 16:28; John 8:51; Heb 2:9. The proper idea here is, that they had "experienced" the heavenly gift, or had learned its nature.
(from Barnes' Notes, Electronic Database. Copyright (c) 1997 by Biblesoft)

6  Entertainment / Politics and Political Issues / Re: "Treason" on: January 05, 2007, 12:14:12 AM
Hey all,

A thorough analysis (albeit conservative) is in her first chapter re: the Chambers/Hiss/McCarthy issues.  This is a first for me - to see this put together this way.  Amazing data and a condemnation of the Liberal spin on all events.

She ends with the war on terrorism - can't wait to read it.  The Dems never change their stripes it seems.  Anyone surprised?

doc
7  Entertainment / Politics and Political Issues / "Treason" on: January 04, 2007, 10:23:28 AM
Christian Greetings, Brothers and Sisters,

I pray all celebrated our Lord's Birth and this new year with the joy and contentment my wife and I enjoy in Him.

While I am not a political animal I have been enjoying a new book by the Conservative Lioness - Ann Coulter and wonder if any of you have seen it.

Perhaps an edifying discussion may result herein.

In Christ and with His Love,

doc
8  Theology / Apologetics / Re: Back and worse than ever (spritually)... on: December 06, 2006, 03:16:21 PM
brad5

"And anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but to him who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven."    Luke 12:10   NKJV  -  here and in Mat 12:32

My struggles with this rather complicated and very Hebrew concept bring me to the place where I realize Jesus is talking to us - today - of an unrepentant attitude regarding our sinful life and our initial relationship to Him made when we first believed.  That old liar - the toothless lion looking to devour us all - would have us believe that this is a single misstep - or even a series of doubts - that condemn us forever.  Your doubts are a part of growing in Him - your conscience is tender not seared - you are not "lost."

There is NO SIN that He will not forgive, Brad, if we truly desire to repent and have a clear conscience.  The life style of the "practice of iniquity"  is what these verses - and those in the Book of Hebrews - are referring to.  Intentional, repetitive, habitual sin!!

As the folks below have already pointed out, these may be easily missunderstood, gives their initial intention to the Jewish Nation.

That being said, they still bring a sense of responsibility to my heart today.  I believe once saved - always saved - but we have to stay saved ---  by His Grace and our practise of faithfulness, trust and holiness

Keep your eyes on Jesus, Brad - trust Him and ignore satan's fiery darts - that's what you faith is for.

doc
9  Theology / Debate / Re: What Do You Believe??? on: November 26, 2006, 01:38:06 PM
I can say Amen to that PR.

BEP reminded me of context, Len - so let's put your quote there and consider verse 10:

"For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God,

 not of works, lest anyone should boast.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them."
Ephesians 2:8-10 NKJV

With His unconditional Love,
doc
10  Theology / Debate / Re: Once Saved Always Saved??? on: November 26, 2006, 01:36:45 PM
SO, we aren't talking about loss of Salvation, rather of people harming their fellowship by departing from sound doctrine they had been taught. Several Verses before your quote and several verses after your quote should put things in perspective for you.

Brother BEP,

Context (Latin - with weaving) and I are old friends.. And your point is respectfully considered in this issue. “The Great Apostasy” is the non-Biblical heading in my NKJV for this chapter and it is going to happen, if it isn't already..

Paul wrote to Timothy: “As I urged you when I went into Macedonia — remain in Ephesus that you may charge some that they teach no other doctrine, nor give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which cause disputes rather than godly edification which is in faith.   

Might this apply to the Mormon practice today, ....?

He went on to say those who departed from the Christian faith were: “...speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth.”   

Could these issues apply to the RCC celibacy practices and to vegans?

Paul continues: “If you instruct the brethren in these things, you will be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished in the words of faith and of the good doctrine which you have carefully followed.  But reject profane and old wives' fables, and exercise yourself toward godliness.”

Might this include abominable perverted rumors, Brown's da Vinci Code book and the Prayer of Jabez?   http://www.forgottenword.org/wof.html   

As to your opinion of “departing from the faith”, I expect this from any Calvinist - the way I was raised, by the way.  OSAS can go nowhere but the way you defend, but everybody else believes this verse says exactly what it means.  For instance, Clarke states:
[Depart from the faith] Aposteesontai ... tees pisteoos. They will apostatize from the faith, i.e. from Christianity; renouncing the whole system in effect, by bringing in doctrines which render its essential truths null and void, or denying and renouncing such doctrines as are essential to Christianity as a system of salvation. A man may hold all the truths of Christianity, and yet render them of none effect by holding other doctrines which counteract their influence; or he may apostatize by denying some essential doctrine, though he bring in nothing heterodox.  (from Adam Clarke's Commentary, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1996, 2003 by Biblesoft, Inc. All rights reserved.)

How do you justify falling from grace in Gal 5:4, or those warnings in 2 Thess 2:3 and 2 Pet 3:17?   (I already covered the warnings in the book of Hebrews)

They are there for a reason, BEP to warn us of the possibility of true Christians falling away, not to cause us to question our standing with God through His son Jesus.  The OT concept of backsliding belongs only there - it does not apply to NT Christians.
 
As an aside, I do not believe we “lose” our salvation, I believe we must intentionally turn our back on God, reject Him and His Son and never consider repentance.  It is a choice, just like coming to Him in the first place.

Trustingly,
doc   



11  Theology / Debate / Re: What Do You Believe??? on: November 26, 2006, 12:34:44 PM
Greetings, Len,

I understand your pov re:grace, I am glad for it also.

 Luther couldn't handle James either.  He wanted to heat his home with it and stuck it as the last book before Revelations in his German translation from the Greek.

Nevertheless we must include James "Spirit Breathed" writings too.  Faith without works (read: Spirit directed works) is dead !

The Hebrew writer proved that there is such a thing as uninspired works - a huge problem among the milk Christian and the unsaved.

"Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God..."    Hebrews 6:1   NKJV
This does indeed refer to the old Hebrew sacrificial practices which were merit based, but it also applies to poorly motivated works among born again Christians today.


What did James say?  "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works , is dead.   But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works ." Show me your faith without your works , and I will show you my faith by my works .  You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe — and tremble!   But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?   
Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works , and by works faith was made perfect?  And the Scripture was fulfilled which says, "Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness." And he was called the friend of God.  You see then that a man is justified by works , and not by faith only. Likewise, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she received the messengers and sent them out another way?  For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also."
   James 2:17-26  NKJV


These verses have to be taught and lived out while kept in balance with Paul's teachings of "faith/grace only".  Paul is addressing the salvation process - James speaks of the Christian lifestyle and world view.

No heresy intended here, Len, simply progressive sanctification, which is expected (by God) of all of us.

In Christ,
doc
12  Theology / Debate / Re: What Do You Believe??? on: November 25, 2006, 09:58:58 PM
Hey, Cat,

Us old guys have to boil everything down and not waste time - it's precious to us as The End approaches.  We have already wasted too much of it.

The word believe is used in my NKJV NT 148 times - half those are in RED, and you know what that means.

I must do what The Word commands to be assured of my salvation, so every one of those "believe" commands will be followed by me as He empowers me through His Holy Spirit.

Don't ask us, Cat, read what He says and do it, and He will give you the power to do it.

"Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls.  But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves."  James 1:21-22  NKJV


Can you say AMEN?

doc
13  Theology / General Theology / Re: theology check ? on: November 23, 2006, 08:48:27 AM
Brother, Tom,

I wanted some evaluation on the narration that link would bring you to.

Does the episode I found in that old book make sense to you?

I found it to be so fascinating, that I spent months researching it.

The idea that two monks found that significant tomb inscription so long ago has much meaning for me today. The joy of evangelizing is heightened for me by that revelation.

In Christ,

doc
14  Theology / General Theology / theology check ? on: November 19, 2006, 02:57:40 PM
http://forums.christiansunite.com/index.php?topic=14293.msg183907#msg183907
15  Entertainment / Poetry/Prose / "amemptos" on: November 17, 2006, 12:11:04 AM


“To the Generation to Come – The Works of God”       

The two French students started their journey of exploration from Rome in the beginning of February 1874.  Rome had commissioned the journey even though they both were enrolled in the French School at Athens.  Their ultimate destinations were Mt Athos for Charles Bayet , it being on a peninsula jutting into the Agean Sea and the Island of Patmos for Abby Duchesne in the same sea.  Their primary duties were to examine certain old manuscripts reported to exist in monasteries in both areas.

Arriving at Salonica on the famous Via Egnatia they were surprised to see the sea wall bordering the ancient harbor of Thessalonica in such poor condition.   Abby Louis Duchesne, 31 (a French priest) and Charles Bayet, 25, were young and strong even after their strenuous journey from Rome so  they helped to demolish the old ramparts using the same stone to build up an embankment against the sea.  Much of the work already performed by this March of 1874 uncovered old walls and inscribed monuments used long ago to rebuild the doors to the lower part of the city.  This was being torn down again to make a new and stronger embankment.  Upon observing the Koine Greek inscriptions on these monuments they immediately assumed their well trained roles as archeology students and began to transcribe and stamp these precious inscriptions.  They had to hurry as the stone cutters were already ”touching up” all these marble stones to fit into the new embankment thereby ruining the inscriptions.  Louis and Charles saved all they could and then proceeded 200 meters further east through the Kalamari Gate only to discover many long interred sarcophagi (4 sided stone tombs with a  marble cover).  These were being unearthed as the construction proceeded.  Both men hurriedly copied as many of these inscriptions as they could before they were destroyed. Many were saved for succeeding generations to appreciate.

The reconstruction continued heedless of antiquity.  Beyond their current position there remained ”many more inscriptions to recover in the fountains of the crossroads, in particular houses, and in the mosques.”  In spite of their detailed research they had to “let much go.” 

Passing through the Yalam – Mermer district they came upon a large sarcophagus engraved with garlands and bucranes in the courtyard of a private house.  It was carved with the following epigraph; “Eisiadi te sunbioi zease amemptos ete ke… [mne]ias charin”.  The verbatim translation reads;  “Entering companions live blamelessly clansmen remberance”.   The best we can do in today’s English is;  “To my living companions, remember me as blameless”.  As we might imagine, this inscription stimulated a long but delightful dialogue between the two students.

“Look here, Louis,  this sarcophagus is decorated with garlands and bucranes.  These are similar to the ones found in the Rotunda of Arsinoe built for Ptolomy II on Samothrace around 280 B.C..  They were thought to be of a religious nature and popular with Egyptians and Greeks.  The garlands are entwined around the horns of the ox skull.  Perhaps this man was an Egyptian.  While pagan in origin, the person in this sarcophagus may have adopted these symbols for reasons of his own.  The Macedonian date inscribed here is 196 which corresponds to 50 A.D.  That is only 17 years after the ascension of our Lord!"   (This date is supported by the interaction between Paul and the Proconsul Gallio in Corinth which indicates that I Thessalonians was written from that city in the early part of the year 50 A.D.)


“It may be possible, Charles, that he was a religious man, even a Christian one, for there is another surprise in these inscriptions.  In Koine it says “zease amemptos” -“to live blamelessly”, a rare thing to put on your sepulchre.  The word amemptos is uncommon enough without finding it on a tomb.  It means that no accusation was ever brought against this man – he was umblamebable!  I think I remember the word from one of the Apostle Paul’s letters.  Would you please check your Bible.  I think you may find it in a letter written to this very city!”

“You know Charles, Jesus Himself was never  called “amemptos” because He was accused many times by the Jewish leadership and others.  Many Jews brought false charges against Him to protect their own authority.  If He was the Messiah,  then the priestly class in Judah would cease to exist!  The New Testament describes their damaging deceptions to overwhelm Him but He always knew their hearts and escaped blame because He was without sin.  The Bible refers to Him as “amomos”, not “amemptos”, “unblemished”, not “unblamed”.  Do you see the difference?”
   
“Remember, Charles, in the temple before the Pharisees He said ‘Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me?  He who is of God hears God's words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.’”   (John 8:46-47  from The NKJ Version)

Charles was still looking through his little travel Bible.  “Here it is!  Now I know why you are the Abby, Louis.  Your memory is correct – Paul wrote to the Thessalonians in his first letter: ‘And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’. (1 Thess 5:23).  But it says preserved blameless by the God of peace.  Was the inscription carved incorrectly or did he hear it wrong? The word preserved is missing.”

“No Charles, it is not incorrect.  This person has gone on to his heavenly reward and he has already been judged by Jesus.  It is no longer necessary that he be preserved blameless by the God of Peace.  Any accusation brought against him now, even by Satan, the accuser of our brethren, would be meaningless.”

“I wonder who he was , Louis.  The home is abandoned because of the construction on the road and the embankment.  We may never know!”

“We know some things about him Charles.  He was a part of the Thessalonian congregation that the Apostle Paul established in 49 A.D. and he heard Paul’s letter read in accordance with Paul’s own admonition in I Thessalonians 5:27,  ‘I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read unto all the holy brethren.’   I think it is safe to assume he was a serious Christian who took Paul’s benediction to heart and believed that his entire spirit, soul, and body (the whole man) would be sanctified and preserved by the God of peace until the Lord returns for His Bride.  I presume he also abstained from evil as the previous verse commands – a good start on blamelessness.  He was so convinced of the truth of Paul’s words that he had some of them inscribed on his own burial tomb!”   

“Louis, Paul had much to say to comfort and correct this congregation regarding the parousia – the second coming of Christ (I Thess 4:13-18).  It amazes me to think that on that great day this sarcophagus will open and the man within will rise up to meet the Lord in the air before we will!” 


Epilogue

As adult Christians we have an awesome responsibility to speak of things which build up the faith of the younger generation and new Christians regardless of their age.  Except for the dialogue all of the above is true to the best of my knowledge.  Charles and Louis were impressed at finding evidence of one person’s faith 1,824 years after the fact of Christ’s death and resurrection.  Are we as impressed that our Bibles still speak the truth 1,952 years later?


Psalms 78

"Give ear, O my people, to my law: incline your ears to the words of my mouth.

 I will open my mouth in a parable: I will utter dark sayings of old:

 Which we have heard and known, and our fathers have told us.

 We will not hide them from their children, shewing to the generation to come the praises of the LORD, and his strength, and his wonderful works that he hath done.

 For he established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children:

That the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born; who should arise and declare them to their children:

 That they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments:

(from The King James Version, Electronic Database.  Copyright ©) 1988, by Biblesoft)

             

Author’s note:  The inspiration for this article came from a footnote in a commentary on I & II Thessalonians by Leon Morris, page 183,  W.B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, MI. Published  1991.  Further research brought photocopies from Columbia University of the original book by Duchesne and Bayet published in 1876 in Paris,  “Memoirs of a Mission to Mount Athos.”  My thanks to Dr. Peter Esser for his help.  Additional thanks go to Brother Eric Cherry for his laborious translation from the French.  Additional books were obtained from Colgate University for more background information.

Theophilus 2002                                                                 email     theophilus13809@yahoo.com





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