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Gospel of Mark

(4 posts)

Lord���s Day 21, 2011

I was glad when they said to me, ���Let us go to the house of the Lord.��� Yesterday, according to Harold Camping, was to be the day of Christ���s return. 429 When Jesus Comes in Glory When Jesus comes in glory, As Lord and King of kings, O what a wondrous story The bless?�d Bible brings; His face will shine like sunlight, His head be white as snow, His eyes like flaming firelight, His feet like brass aglow. His voice like rushing waters Will reach with mighty sound Into the deepest quarters Of all creation round; And at this wondrous greeting The dead in Christ shall rise, Their Lord and Savior meeting In glory to the skies. And we who are believing, And His appearing love, Shall know we are receiving His glory from above; His resurrection power Will raise us to the place Where we that wondrous hour Shall see Him face to face. O hasten Thine appearing, Thou Bright and Morning Star! Lord, may we soon be hearing The trumpet sound afar; Thy people are all yearning To be Thy raptured bride, And at Thine own returning Be caught up at Thy side. ���The Concordia Hymnal (Augsburg Publishing House, 1960). Mark 13:26���27, 32���33 Then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory. And then He will send forth the angels, and will gather together His elect from the four winds, from the farthest end of the earth to the farthest end of heaven. . . . But of that day or hour no one knows, not even the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone. Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. We learn from these verses, that the exact time of our Lord Jesus Christ���s second advent is purposely withheld from His church. The event is certain. The precise day and hour are not revealed. ���Of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven.��� There is deep wisdom and mercy in this intentional silence. We have reason to thank God that the thing has been hidden from us. Uncertainty about the date of the Lord���s return is calculated to keep believers in an attitude of constant expectation, and to preserve them from despondency. What a dreary prospect the early church would have had before it, if it had known for certain that Christ would not return to earth for at least fifteen hundred years! The hearts of men like Athanasius, Chrysostom, and Augustine, might well have sunk within them, if they had been aware of the centuries of darkness through which the world would pass, before their Master came back to take the kingdom.���What a quickening motive, on the other hand, true Christians have perpetually had, for a close walk with God! They have never known, in any age, that their Master might not come suddenly to take account of his servants. This very uncertainty has supplied them with a reason for living always ready to meet Him. There is one caution connected with the subject, which must not be overlooked. We must not allow the uncertainty of the time of our Lord���s second advent to prevent our giving attention to the unfulfilled prophecies of Scripture. This is a great delusion, but one into which, unhappily, many Christians fall. There is a wide distinction to be drawn between dogmatical and positive assertions about dates, and a humble, prayerful searching into the good things yet to come. Against dogmatism about times and seasons, our Lord���s words in this place are a standing caution. But as to the general profitableness of studying prophecy, we can have no plainer authority than the apostle Peter���s words: ���Ye do well that ye take heed to prophecy;" and the apostle John���s words in Revelation: ���Blessed is he that readeth.��� (2 Peter i. 19. Rev. i. 3.) ���J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Banner of Truth, 2012). Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Please don’t miss worshiping with your local congregation if you can possibly help it. But if you’re in need of a good sermon, try these. Tweets about "sermon from:thethirstytheo" !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?'http':'https';if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+"://";fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,"script","twitter-wjs");

A Monumental MacArthur Milestone

Monday··2011·06·06 · 1 Comments
Title in honor of John MacArthur’s penchant for alliterated points. Yesterday, John MacArthur finished preaching through the New Testament, an odyssey he began in 1969. I feel like I should stop everything today in honor of this great accomplishment. As uncalvinistic and irreverent as it is, part of me wishes I could have been fifteen or twenty years older and sitting in Grace Community Church when MacArthur preached his first sermon there. I can’t help wondering who I would be today, after forty-plus years of such excellent biblical exposition. But as I said, it is irreverent, and even blasphemous, to wish for a different life than the one that God, in his unsearchable wisdom, has given me. Besides that, I can listen to every one of MacArthur’s sermons here, no charge, no time machine necessary. I watched his final sermon on the Gospel of Mark last night on the Grace Community Church live stream page. It was actually a postscript to Mark’s gospel, the final verses having been finished that morning. When I say “final verses,” I mean Mark 16:1–8. Last evening’s “Postscript” dealt at length with textual criticism. MacArthur explained how answering the questions raised by the apocryphal ending of verses 9 and following and similar passages, should increase our confidence in the biblical text. Read or hear that message here. I thank God for John MacArthur’s long ministry, and pray that God will give him many more fruitful years.

The Test of Love

How important is it that we reject false (extra-biblical) prophesy? It is as fundamental as our love for God. It is this same emphasis on the centrality of love that we find throughout the Old and New Testament. Remember that it was the Savior who cited Deuteronomy 6:4–5 and Leviticus 19:18 when He gave these instructions concerning the foremost commandment: Mark 12:28–31: 28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘Hear, O Israel! The Lord our God is one Lord; 30 and you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.’ 31 “The second is this, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” If there is a central motive and affection emphasized within the full corpus of Holy Writ, it is love. The harmony of this theme is transcendently beautiful, reminding us that whatever we do in life, if it is not done out of love for the Lord first then our servitude is counted as nothing. Let the reader know that we have not wandered away from the topic of prophecy. What we have already examined regarding the centrality of love leads us to other central truths: Deuteronomy 13:1–5: 1 “If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, 2 and the sign or the wonder comes true, concerning which he spoke to you, saying, ‘Let us go after other gods (whom you have not known) and let us serve them,’ 3 you shall not listen to the words of that prophet or that dreamer of dreams; for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. 4 “You shall follow the Lord your God and fear Him; and you shall keep His commandments, listen to His voice, serve Him, and cling to Him. 5 “But that prophet or that dreamer of dreams shall be put to death, because he has counseled rebellion against the Lord your God who brought you from the land of Egypt and redeemed you from the house of slavery, to seduce you from the way in which the Lord your God commanded you to walk. So you shall purge the evil from among you. I would ask the reader to consider the central test supplied in Deuteronomy 13:3. We would miss too much if we only gleaned from this passage the specific tests supplied for evaluating a claimant of the prophetic gift. Though extremely important, those tests are only a subordinate component of God’s broader test for His people, as He said: for the Lord your God is testing you to find out if you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul. . . . Those who genuinely herald God and His word are revealed to be those who love Him truly; those who tolerate error and the corruptions of God’s revelation simply fail such a test of love. —Michael Beasley, The Fallible Prophets of New Calvinism (2013), 36–37, 38.

About Those “Missing Verses”

A few days ago on Facebook, concern was expressed over “missing verses” in modern Bible translations. The following is my response. (It was a quick response. I will happily accept correction* if I have erred in any of the details or omitted any indispensible facts. The general point, however, stands.) I’m glad to see you thinking about this. I considered the same questions myself, probably at about your age. These are important issues, and we need to have good answers for them. I think it’s very unfortunate that most Christians don’t give them much, if any, thought. The question I eventually had to ask, and that you should be asking, is, How do I know these “missing” verses are actually missing? How do I know they aren’t actually additions to the text? Isn’t adding to Scripture is just as bad as subtracting from it? The answer is found in the science of textual criticism (TC), the process by which scholars judge the authenticity and accuracy of texts. Some of what you might have heard or read from “King James Only” (KJVO) advocates probably dismisses TC as an ungodly practice, but that fails to recognize the fact that the KJV is also a product of TC (KJVO proponents are, in general, very poor scholars, no matter how many honorary “doctorates” they boast, many scoffing at the legitimacy of scholarship itself). Dismissing TC fails to understand how we got the texts and translations we now have, including the KJV. The KJV New Testament is based on the Textus Receptus (TR), which is based on the text compiled by Erasmus, first published in 1516. Erasmus drew from the very limited selection (about a half-dozen, vs. the 6,000 we now possess) of Greek MSS available to him at the time. To these he applied TC to determine which were the most accurate. However, he didn’t have Greek MSS of the entire NT. Those he lacked, he drew from the Latin Vulgate, and translated them back into Greek. Let that sink in for a minute: the KJV consists in part of passages whose oldest source is a Latin translation. But Erasmus was a competent textual scholar (in other areas, not so) who did the best he could with what he had, and produced a good text upon which our earliest English translations (most notably, the KJV) and Luther’s German translation are based. Time passed, and older MSS were discovered. These MSS added to the pool from which textual critics drew, enabling them to produce more accurate texts. Hence, we get translations that “omit” verses not found in the oldest MSS. However, they cannot rightly be called “omissions” if they were never there in the first place. There is a lot more to be said about this, especially about the “original” MSS (e.g., we actually possess no true originals, only copies, which is why TC is necessary), but this is a good start, and probably longer than you wanted to read. Note well, I’m not saying any modern translation will do. Paraphrases (The Living Bible, The Message, etc.) are not translations at all, and therefore, not Scripture. “Dynamic Equivalent” translations (NIV, etc.) are of varying quality, mostly bad (the original NIV was accidentally pretty decent—later incarnations not). “Essentially Literal” translations (NASB, ESV) are the ones to trust. In short, contra KJVO propaganda, those “missing verses” are not part of a liberal conspiracy or satanic plot to undermine God’s Word. They are the product of the best textual scholarship, which seeks to transmit God’s Word as accurately as possible—just as Erasmus, in his day, did. On this subject, here is how John MacArthur handled Mark 16:9–20. (The applause at the end is not usual at Grace Community Church. After forty-three years of preaching, MacArthur had just finished his verse-by-verse exposition of the New Testament.) If, like me, you find audio/video too time-consuming, the transcript is here. * Corrections from those who understand the issues involved, that is. I’m not interested in engaging with serious KJVO advocates. I know too well what a fool’s errand that is.


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