Theology 101-104 Discussion Questions

 

The main purpose of the Books of the Pentateuch

The Pentateuch is the first 5 books of the Bible. It is referred to as the Book of Moses or the Book of Law. It begins with Genesis and the main purpose is to reveal his promise that is reflected in his covenant with his people of Israel to the salvation of the whole world. The 2nd book is Exodus and the purpose is to show his redeeming spirit toward his people by fulfilling his covenant when the Israelites were released from Egypt and establishes the tabernacle with his people. The 3rd book is Leviticus which reveals his purpose of holiness upon his people. It is the book of laws that reveals who God is and communicates his relationship with his people. The 4th book of Numbers is the testing and provision book because as the nation of Israel wandered in the wilderness for forty years God still provided for them physically and spiritually. Deuteronomy is the 5th book which has the purpose of renewal as a whole generation passed away while in the wilderness, but now headed to the promised land the new generation was being prepared for the move into the promised land. These 5 books are interconnected with the main purpose that from the beginning of time to present day God shows up, communicates, and builds relationships with his people. Through these books we come to understand his faithfulness which enables us to continue to put our faith in him today.

Abrahamic covenant in Genesis 12 and why it is considered the hinge pin of Scripture.

The Abrahamic covenant is considered the hinge pin of scripture because God makes a covenant with Abraham with a promise of land, family, and blessings if Abraham remains faithful and follows God's instructions. The covenant is the plan for man's redemption into the future. Through reading the storyline of this family reveals that God doesn't focus on correcting Abraham when he lies, but continues to bless him. God shows his relationship with Abraham is more important than his human imperfections. The storyline continues and I found it interesting that like with Sarah lying then so does Rachel, but God still blesses the family in the end. Out of this family is the storyline of mistakes, setbacks, and they keep getting in their own way. Even Jacob has a name change to Israel after he fights with an angel for his blessing. Then the blessing comes with the twelve tribes, so God is true to his word that Abraham's family would grow and gain much land and wealth. Lastly, in the plotline through all these stories God reveals his covenant to keep blessing even in human imperfection. Today, we can learn that God wants a relationship with us first and no matter if we are on the highest peak or the lowest valley he is always with us. His blessing is our relationship with him as it changes our perspectives on what really matters which is our walk with God. He made a covenant that he would walk through life with Abraham which then was passed down generationally and has lasted throughout Genesis to today. We are blessed because God chose to make that covenant with Abraham and what a blessing he is in our lives today.

 Discussing the significance of the tabernacle and how did it change the relationship with God and His people?

The tabernacle is significant because it is an important part of Hebrew history. It was built as a direct connection of God’s presence with his people. Israel was God’s chosen people and for them to receive blessings and favor was to stay faithful to their one true God. The tabernacle reveals God’s grace as he had a direct connection to how it was built, tasks assigned to people, and direction on how to worship and honor God. It reminded people to continue to observe the covenant by abiding by the laws within the innermost holy part of the tabernacle. The tabernacle was a blue-print that was not only physical, but the reflection of the heart of his people when they came to worship and bring their sacrifices to make atonement with God.

The tabernacle in the Old Testament was transformed and fulfilled by the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s presence was in the innermost part of the tabernacle, but with Jesus we are his tabernacle as he dwells within our hearts through faith. There is no more need to sacrifice animals to atone for our sins as Jesus’s crucifixion was the final sacrifice in that through him we are saved and one day we shall see the promised land like the Israelites. The tabernacle points to Jesus as he is the fulfillment of being the door since only through him will we see the father. The courtyard where the sacrifices took place was no longer needed as Jesus gave his life so we are atoned through his blood. We get eternal life though Jesus’s ultimate sacrifice. The washbasins can reflect when are baptized. When we are washed we are buried in Christ and raised to a new life. The golden lamp-stand connects to Jesus as he tells us he is the light of the world. Jesus also connects to the table of bread as he tells us he is the bread of life. The altar of incense reveals Jesus is our mediator between us and God. He establishes our relationship with God. This innermost holy part of the tabernacle reveals that Jesus is the embodiment of God. Jesus is the fulfillment of all of God’s promises to bless the world. Just as people had the tabernacle to make a connection with God we prepare our hearts which is our tabernacle to gain our intimate relationship with God through Jesus Christ.

Discussing the significance of Deuteronomy being the “second law” and why?

Deuteronomy did not contain new laws, but Moses was at the end of his life so he wanted to invest time into the 2nd generation who would be following Joshua’s leadership into the promised land. It just affirmed what Moses had presented to the 1st generation who were enslaved in Egypt and had experienced God in the wilderness. But when God had Moses present the promised land, the 1st generation was fearful and their hearts were not ready to engage in all God was asking of them, so he let them continue to wander in the wilderness. Then as that generation died there was the 2nd generation who needed to have their hearts trained to connect with God and be ready to receive God’s promise. The presenter mentioned that the importance of the 10 commandments is that it is a structure for generational law which makes sense as parents teach kids how to behave and act, so God who is our father gives us a list of rules on how to respect his authority, respect our parents, and then how to treat others as ourselves. I can’t imagine the pressure Joshua was under as Moses turned over his leadership to him at the end of Deuteronomy, but just reveals God’s plan and promise to his people. It just interconnects the plot line of God dwells with his people. I really like the story of Rahab in the book of Joshua because it is a powerful moment that if the 2nd generation would not have accepted God’s commands and followed Joshua’s leadership then the lineage leading to Jesus would have ended. God used their obedience to tear down the wall of Jericho. This 2nd generation story just shows us that our hearts must be prepared to accept Jesus as our personal savior and how sometimes we have to be reminded of God’s commandments so we don’t lose sight of God’s direction in our own lives and how we relate to him and others. He is also the promise of our future.

Character differences between King Saul and King David.

Both Saul and David were chosen by God to be king, but that is the only similarity. Their relationship with God is opposite. Saul shows his intention to defy God by many of his actions. He is told by Samuel to not take plunder in battle against Amalekites. He does it anyway. He also makes a monument to himself and then lies to Samuel that he feared his men so he would not be accountable for his actions. Samuel tells Saul he will be striped of his kingship and it will be given to David, so Saul sets out to kill him. Saul was a cruel, unforgiving, ungrateful, filled with rage, and separated from God. David was set to be a servant of God even as a young man who comes in to defeat Goliath. He honors Saul as God’s choice as king by playing music to help him sleep even when Saul tries to kill him. David also doesn’t try to rush to be king when he is told by Samuel he would be crowned. He is patient and seeks God’s approval instead of men like Saul. David’s character can be seen through Saul’s son Jonathan who chooses David over his father and even the kingdom. David continues to honor Saul and God’s choice by not trying to kill him even when he had more than one opportunity. David sought God and showed himself to be kind, forgiving, and courageous. He sought peace which always included peach with God. Even when he made mistakes he took his sorrow and guilt to God. David is known as a man after God’s heart and predicted in Samuel 13:14. The life of Saul ended in his kingship being rejected, but David’s kingship is eternal told through the prophet Nathan where he tells David his line would last forever. David had a heart of thankfulness and gratefulness to God for his blessings. He never separated himself from God so instead of being cutoff like Saul his lineage continues to the life of Jesus who gives us the opportunity to accept him and reign with him in his eternal kingdom.

Discussing the significance of the fact that the historical literature includes the failures as well as the successes of its main characters.

I read the Pedestals and Role Models part in our textbook by Walton & Hill which discussed that characters, like David, seems to be a contradiction as he has such a strong faith; but then he loses that faith at times and makes huge mistakes. As I read through the Bible, I have to remind myself that David is a great role model as he revealed his love and dedication to God, but he also shares his failures and his great sadness for being purely human which can be seen in Psalm 51 where David pleas for mercy, forgiveness, and that his heart would be right with God. As a Christian, I have my own highs and lows in my faith so reading about how much God loved David I can see how much he loves me. I agree with the authors that God put in the kings flaws because if not then we as readers may tend to see the men as superhuman and strive to be the person instead of focusing on God. It is essential for our own walk with God that we see God move through the lives of these kings. It is the journey the characters take where God worked through them that is important as we read and grow in our own faith.

In the video lessons, I found the cycle of sin helped me understand how God used people even ungodly people to complete his purpose. Israel kept falling into the sin of idolatry that led to their oppression which led to them crying out to God for help. He graciously raised up a judge to lead them back to Him so they could be delivered and their response was then serving God. This cycle moved into the Books about Kings where the imperfect Saul and then David become king. Lastly, the final deliverer is Jesus like Bob pointed out was the promise that David’s house and kingdom would endure forever. It all points to God’s promise being fulfilled that all people would be blessed through a Messianic king which is Jesus, the Messiah. Amen and Amen!

Discussing the key lessons learned by the Jews after the exile. What impact did this have on their adherence to the Law following their return to the Promise Land?

 

The postexilic prophets had the task of helping Israel resettle physically and spiritually. Both Ezra and Nehemiah guided the people to rebuild. The exile struck Israel with a reality check that God is serious about his covenant with his people. When Cyrus allowed Israel to return to their land and rebuild their temple they knew they had a second chance so they praised God. This was a great time of transformation for Israel. They agreed to be a monotheistic nation so their view of God's kingdom was clear. They recognized God's laws as essential for all people. They made a commitment to maintain the holiness of the temple and centralize their worship to Yahweh. Their focus became that of expecting a messianic king sent from God so they had to recognize their sin that brought on judgment, repent, and return to wholly following God so they would be blessed as a nation who honored God in every aspect of their lives.

 Discussing what the Intertestamental Period and its significance to the New Testament.

The intertestamental period is referenced as the silent year which is the 400 year gap between the close of the Old Testament with Malachi to the opening of the New Testament with Matthew. It was a silence of prophetic voice, but God was still actively involved with his plan of man’s redemption all over the world. This time frame builds up to the setting of Jesus coming into the world at birth. The Jewish people had just finished restoring Jerusalem at the end of the Old Testament. They had moved from a disobedience state to a radical obedience to the law that made it difficult to function, but they never wanted to be exiled again. They also were determined not to lose their nationalism and purity. The political movements of power shifted and so did the language and cultural norms. Having the Bible translated into Greek made it more accessible to spread the teachings further to many more countries. God had a purpose for the Roman empire to be in control at the time as they tried to destroy the Jewish nation, so Jews were expecting a Messiah to come and conquer Rome to set them free and restore their nationalism, but Jesus came to conquer for all mankind. The Intertestamental period is the bridge between the promise of the covenant that there will be a king that sets men free to the New Testament that reveals Jesus' birth, life, death, and resurrection. It is during this time that prepared the way to understand that salvation was not just for a particular group, but universal so available for everyone.

Discussing the key theme of the Synoptic Gospels.

Matthew, Mark, and Luke are considered to be part of the Synoptic Gospels. They can be seen as a problem because the content is so similar that they may look like they all copied from the same source. The reasonable explanation is that the gospel writers are similar because they all witnessed the events together and their style may be similar. One of the requirements of the writings to be in the New Testament canon is it has to have apostolic authority which means it has to be tied to one of the disciples. The Gospel of Mark gets his apostolic authority through the validation of being Peter's traveling companion. One example of similar stories is Peter's confession that Jesus is Messiah which is written in the gospels of Matthew, Mark, and Luke. I think the differences are the author's audience like Matthew wrote to Jews so he referenced Old Testament prophesies being fulfilled. The other difference is the focus like Mark portrayed Jesus as the sacrificial servant. There are similar eye witness events they all have in common, but the reader gets a different vantage point of Jesus' birth, life, death, resurrection, and him as king of the new heaven into future events.

Discussing how John’s Gospel is different from the writers of the synoptic gospels.

The Gospel of John is not included in the synoptic gospels because the perspective is different. They focused on God's kingdom, but John's doesn't mention his kingdom, but focuses on Jesus being the way to eternal life. John was a historian and theologian who brought the story of Jesus to his readers so they would not see his death on the cross as a tragedy, but a place of glory where new life flows to everyone who believes in him. He wanted his audience to elicit belief that Jesus is the son of God who came to live, die and his resurrection paid the price for sin so whoever believes in him will receive the gift of eternal life. This is the foundation of the Christian faith. John 3:16 is a key verse as it states “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” The vantage point of Jesus shifts because John is part of the inner circle of Jesus so his gospel is intimate as he saw himself through the eyes of Jesus. As Christians, when we believe we do the same. We see Jesus as a sacrifice who came to save not only our soul, but the whole world. John was named "the disciple whom Jesus loved" because of his transformation from being arrogant to humble. When we read the Gospel of John we can see his transformation just as we see the transformation in ourselves when we gain that intimate relationship with Jesus.

Discussing how Acts 1:8 forms the basis for the Book of Acts.

Acts 1:8 is Jesus' promised that the disciples would receive the power of the Holy Spirit to be his witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria, and to the ends of the earth. The Holy Spirit had a transformational effect on the apostles. They were empowered to go and spread the good news. This means they went all over telling people about Jesus. This good news is that Jesus came to earth and lived a perfect life. Jesus ultimately died on the cross to pay for the sins of the whole world. He was buried and rose on the third day as proof he was God. Jesus took the sins of the world onto his shoulders so his salvation is no longer particular just for the Jews, but universal for all mankind. This moment is significant because of the growth of the church and Christianity moved and gained momentum through the apostles and their willingness to spread the truth of Jesus' life, death, and resurrection. Based on the lessons, Bob talks about the numbers of growth that started out at as 120 followers/disciples to just 70 years later a growth of 25,000 Christians. Then grew to 20 million Christians to over a billion today who know Christ as their personal savior. The transition to the universality of the Gospel impacted the whole world and that is why the basis for Acts 1:8 was so essential as Jesus gives the disciples the great commission. All the time and teachings Jesus took to pour into the disciples culminated at his ascension as he gave them the power of the Holy Spirit to be his messengers to not only Jews, but to the Gentiles. Jesus loved all people, so as he sent his disciples to share in that good news and it spread like wildfire to ends of the earth today.

Discussing the significance of Paul’s statement in Galatians 3:28.

The significance of Paul's statement is it was a defining moment in the early church history. It is the statement defining what is meant to be in Christ's church. Paul was leveling the field between Jews and Gentiles by attacking a broken theological paradigm. Christ disrupted the view of laws above people to people above the laws. The covenant that was particular to just the Jews was made universal with the death and resurrection of Christ. In this verse, Paul states that all "are one in Christ." The churches in the region of Galatia were to understand that unity between one another superseded what society said separates them such as culture, socioeconomic , ethnicity, or language. Paul mentions in the next chapter that if we belong to Christ then we are "Abraham's seed" so we are included in the promise. We are the heirs of Christ's kingdom so being his children meant we all have equal access to his kingdom as his heirs. Paul was reminding the Galatians that Just replaced those laws that separated them, but that the church needed a transformation of each person's heart. There is no law that has the ability to change a person's heart. Only the spirit of God can change a person's heart, so Paul was reminding the early church to stop looking outwardly to earn way into God's kingdom, but what mattered was to follow Jesus' teachings in their hearts. Paul was striving to get the churches insight on the divisions driving them apart and how to fix the problem through Jesus. As Christians, we are no longer slaves or separated from Christ. The early church and churches today must bring people together and in the center is that we become heirs of Christ through accepting him as our personal savior. It was hard to the early church to understand they only needed to believe in Jesus instead of the laundry list of rules and regulations. There was not more earning their way into heaven. Jesus said "it is finished" which meant we no longer have to go anywhere but to him through our hearts to be his child and given the inheritance we don't deserve, but is freely given through Jesus and all he did on the cross to save our souls and someday in celebration with him in his kingdom.

Discussing a comparison of the two Adam’s in Romans.

In the teachings, the 1st Adam represents all human race. His disobedience tainted all humanity. The list of attributes of the 1st Adam is guilt, condemnation, separation, and death. Roman 5:12 tells that sin entered the world through one man so through sin we deserve death because all of humanity have sinned and fallen short so consequence is physical death and separation from God. Then came Jesus who is the 2nd Adam. Christ had no sin in him and no sin on him, no guilt, no condemnation, and as his beneficiaries we have no separation after our physical death. He has justified us through his death and resurrection. The video states "as in Adam all die (physically)-so in Christ shall all be made alive (physically)resurrected." This explains that Jesus is the bridge from our old humanity and leads us to our new humanity. Nothing can separate us from the love of God when we believe in Jesus. Jesus brings us into forgiveness and we become part of his new family. The gospel message in Romans lays out the ultimate goal in believing and having faith in Jesus for what he did on the cross for all of humanity. The steps are: all have sinned, the cost of sin is death, Christ died for our sins, God's gift is eternal life, as we confess & believe in our salvation. This justification given by Christ has rescued us and replaced the 1st Adam's separation consequences. Romans speaks of how Israel was used by God to fulfill a purpose, which has overflowed to each of us so we fulfill our special purpose. We just need to understand that Christ has given us gifts through him which are: new status, new family, new future, and a new humanity. This means we have a new life where Jesus is the entrance into the new humanity where we will be in his kingdom even after our physical death.

Discussing the key themes in the book of James.

The book of James reminds us to not just believe but to act out our faith which will make a difference not just in our own lives, but in the lives of those in our families, churches, and communities. It is book that calls Christians into action. James tells his readers to rejoice in trials because we will grow in our perseverance and that our faith will be strengthened in those tough times. Others around will grow as they watch our character, maturity, and wisdom in God so we can be more like Jesus in good times and bad. James reminds us to ask for wisdom. We can be like Solomon in the Old Testament who asked for wisdom and even though he was not a perfect man he was blessed by God and made many great decisions. Also when we ask for wisdom we start to understand scripture and how it applies to our lives. James cautions us not to rely on wealth satisfy us or to provide security in our lives . We can lose money but God will not leave us. God is our resource to true security and happiness in all circumstances. 4th topic James discusses is of understanding the difference between trials and temptations. Trials are out of our control, but how we respond matters. Temptations are from the devil as he tried with Jesus in the wilderness, but Jesus used scripture to counter the devil. James points out that temptation is not the sin, but what you do with that sin is what is essential so get your strength from scriptures daily. James then addresses that we are to be doer's of the word and not just the learner's of the word. As believers, we should be serving the Lord, church, and individuals so you can reveal salvation wherever you go. James discusses loving equally and do good to show people how much Jesus loves the world that he died for all people and that Jesus' love can be seen through us everyday. He then points out the importance of our tongue as it can be used as a weapon to hurt others. It can be used to quarrel with others and our tongue should not be decisive. It is also important to live for today, but also to plan for our future in eternity. We will have future glory so do what you can today to build up your treasures in heaven. Many people struggle with patience, but James reminds us to be patient until Jesus returns. Do what we are called to do by God and don't put it off because Jesus will be coming back but we just don't know what day so be prepared for his return everyday. Finally, share your sins, burdens, and concerns with each other. Life is not meant to be lived alone, but to share life with others. This means we should be supportive and help to heal each other from hurts and pains we may be going through. James just lists out how we should live our lives so we stay connected with Christ and reveal him in every way we live each day. If Christ is in us then he should be seen throughout how we act in life.

Discussing the main reason we look to the Bible for what it says on various topics.

I know the reason we read certain topics is they are universal truths and it is a blue-print for how we should live our lives, but in my perspective theology helped me insert myself onto the pages of the bible. It strengthened my relationship with God, but also gave me tools to express my relationship to others in a manner that I get excited talking about God's word and I just pull examples out now to help others make connections to our awesome redemption story.

Job 12: 7-10 "But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds in the sky, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you, or let the fish in the sea inform you. Which of all these does not know that the hand of the Lord has done this? In his hand is the life of every creature and breath of all mankind" (biblestudytools.com).

This is one of my favorite scriptures now because before taking a theology class I just glossed over it. It was hard for me to understand Job's point that God's testimony from nature is the evidence of his promises to us and that he kept his word throughout all time. Theology changed my approach to reading God's word. I can't speed read anymore. I break apart every sentence searching for what I can learn. I value God's authority from the moment man was created in the garden to envisioning John exiled receiving those last chapters which is to come. I look at maps differently as I revisit the path and what it meant to wander in the wilderness. Kind of like those habits we wander in for 40 years and then God leads us out. In all I learned in 101-102, I really found myself lost in the Old Testament prophets like Jeremiah and found I connected with the apostle Simon Peter in the New Testament. I grew in understanding how all the books were chosen and the people involved in that process. Watching the videos and looking through the book, I think I am looking forward to taking what I have learned like the importance of the historical connections and look deeper into my understanding of God's view of humanity. This formulation of the theory sounds intriguing and I am looking forward to building understanding of the true meaning of the inspiration of scripture and how I can portray that in my own life to others.

Discussing one of the heresies of theTrinity and explain why it is not biblical.

In the video teaching, one of the heresies of the Trinity is Tritheism. This is a belief that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are three distinct Gods. Each has an independent center of consciousness and determination. These three gods who are independent and self-existing. There is tension between the Thritheism heresy and one of the summary statement. It is important to affirm what the Bible affirms which is God exists in three persons: the Father is distinctly different from the Son, the Son is distinctly different from the Holy spirit, and the Holy spirit distinctly different from the Father. They are not independent from each other-they are in unity within one another, but as different distinct person with different functions in the world with different roles.

In the video teaching, a visual is described of looking at the Father as the architect, the Son the builder, and the Spirit is the sustainer. Also to look at the functions of each:
Father: planner, designer, alpha & omega, beginning & end
Son: Savior, Redeemer, teacher, healer, and builder
Spirit: helper, comforter, counselor, guide

The point is that the three functions is the full nature of the trinity. Philippians 2:5-8 points to the believers relationship with the trinity and with other believers to have a mindset like Christ Jesus. Jesus being the very nature of God didn’t use his equality with God to take advantage but chose to give up his divine nature and willing to take on the limitations of human form. It is after his resurrection that Jesus’s words are fulfilled at Pentecost in Acts 2 when all the men are filled with the Holy Spirit to help them with the great Commission. The spirit is the very nature of Jesus. In Act 5 is a powerful story of Ananias & Sapphira who sold land but made people think they gave all the money and so they both lied. Peter accuses Ananias of lying to the Holy Spirit and consequence was he dropped dead. His wife lied as well and Peter tells her not to test the Spirit of the Lord. She also drops dead. This shows how the Holy Spirit is fully God.

The inter-workings of God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit is seen throughout the Bible. They are not seen as separate Gods doing their own thing not knowing what each other are doing with creation. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are the same essence. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 28: 19).

Discussing the significance of Imago Dei, the image of God.

As humans, we have a unique place in the creation story. There are elements that make us distinct from the rest of the creatures. In the lesson, Pastor Wood said “the chief end of man is to glorify God and enjoy him forever.” We hold a special position that is traced back in Genesis Ch. 1: 26-27 that testifies we bare his image because God states it to be true and God cannot contradict truth. “So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them” (biblegateway.com). Humans have specific attributes such as cognitive ability, emotional capacity, and a spiritual nature. In our reading, I found an important statement that reflected the lesson this week: “All of life has been entrusted to us for our use, but it still belongs to God and must be used to serve and glorify him” (Erickson, 182).

Understanding we bare his image should affect our relationship with God and how we respond to others. Knowing we belong to him should be a motivation so therefore reflect in our commitment, devotion, love, loyalty, and service to God. Working in education today, I see the struggle to hold on to the innocence of our children. I see how distortion and corruption can infiltrate young minds to the point of removing God altogether. That removal causes so much division in the mind, heart, and that moral law God ordained in humanity in creation. That separation can be hard to watch when you know the answer that leads to great joy-God. This is why serving God is to share God with others the best we can even in those areas of our lives that may be labeled “secular.” Prayers for our society today to have that revival to desire to live in God’s glory. It is in his glory we live out our fullest potential. It is in his glory that when our Earthly bodies return to dust we live on into eternity to share even greater joy that will last forever.

Discussing the key lessons from the Atonement. What is the purpose? What did it accomplish?

Pastor Bob makes reference to our text which I do think is the essential “Jesus’s humanity means that his atoning death is applicable to humans; his deity means that his death cant atone for the sins of all mankind” (Erickson, 283). Christ’s nature is crucial as he is both God and human. At the end of his ministry he spoke boldly of his mission and what he intended to accomplish even if those who yelled “Messiah” would a few days later yell “crucify him.” I think his purpose was to take away the consequences we deserve and he accomplished enduring all our consequences in his death.

When I think about if Jesus descended into hell I do agree with what the pastor said about Jesus’ words to the thief on the cross that he would be with him in paradise. Jesus didn’t say I’m going down to hell for a bit and then I will meet you later in paradise. I looked up the word proclamation which is a declaration issued by a person of authority. I never noticed until this video teaching that when Jesus called out in a loud voice and after watching that doctor describe what weight had to be pressing down on his lungs and he still was able to speak loudly. Just wow! I believe Jesus when he said “it is finished” on the cross. The pastor made a great point about Jesus not needing to go to hell to suffer more. He atoned for us on the cross and I believe if it were different than his living word would reflect that. We are justified because Jesus took the penalty to make us free. I always think about that verse in John 14:6, "I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me" (
biblegate.com).


I think the pastor made a good point about the judgement seat of God. He talked about God's vantage point. I think that means He will see us through what Jesus did on the cross by covering our sins with his blood. I truely believe the judgement seat is not about God seeing us, but when we stand before God what we will see when we approach. The great weight of our sin revealed and just standing there while Jesus's presence washes over us making us as white as snow. When it says that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess I can't imagine the great sorrow of those who Jesus says to them that I never knew you.

I think if Jesus' brothers or father were standing with Mary he wouldn't have told John to care for her. I remember reading about the culture that the oldest male was obligated to care for the mother so maybe his younger brothers not being at the cross he made sure his mother was cared for after his death. John must have loved her as well. I may have watched too many disciple movies, but I always imagine she was a caretaker of all the disciples to the end of Jesus' ministry.


One of the classic arguments forthe existence of God and explain it.

I was intrigued with the moral argument for the existence of God. Conscience reveals to us a moral law whose source cannot be found in the natural world thus pointing to supernatural lawgiver. I think about how the Bible reveals humans were made in his image and that means we are set apart over all other creations on Earth. Accepting the validity of human reason as a given must include accepting the validity of practical reasoning:
1. There is a universal moral law
2. If there is a universe moral law, there is a moral giver
3. If there is a moral giver-it must be something beyond the universe
4. Therefore, there is something beyond the universe
Why do humans behave the way they do? Humans have a sense of right behavior and character.
This moral code is universal found in all cultures and as an example would be our desire for justice.
What is that source of right and wrong=God
So the argument is that the moral code has to come from outside of us because we see universal codes of right and wrong in all cultures in all times.
Conclusion: God instilled in us a moral code

We taught students the 7 pillars of character such as Caring, Courage, Citizenship, Respect, Responsibility, Honesty, and Fairness. These positive traits are reflected in God's commandments. God not only gave us the inner voice, but it matches the laws he made for man, and then that inner voice pushes us to act out those positive moral traits. Education wants to push out teaching morality and so the consequences is the removal of God. When God is removed it is evident morality is removed. The consequence is humans lose that sense of right and wrong. We need to continue to be instilled with God's moral code today and throughout our next generations.


What are the purposes of miracles?

One of my favorite miracle stories in the Bible is Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. This story brings the messages this week all together: faith, prayer, and a miracle. The miracle pointed to God and his supernatural ability to disrupt the natural. Nebuchadnezzar thought he would witness an execution, but in that fiery furnace was a 4th figure. When they come out there were only three without being singed or even the smell of the fire in their clothes. “Then Nebuchadnezzar said, Blessed be the God of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, who hath sent his angel, and delivered his servants that trusted in him, and have changed the king’s word, and yielded their bodies, that they might not serve nor worship any god, except their own God” (biblegateway.com).

I am always excited at the ending even though I have read this story more times than I can count. It is a story of awe and wonder as the laws of nature would have the three burn up in that furnace, but those natural forces are countered by the hand of God’s supernatural force. This miracle’s purpose pointed to God. This miracle fulfills the definition outlined in the videos that it was a “special supernatural works of God in his providence not explicable by basis of usual patterns of nature.” God intervened in such a powerful moment in history and not even the king could explain it away. Miracles reveal God is always working and he always has a plan and purpose of redemption for all mankind.

The experience the pastor talks about during his conversion is a powerful testimony of God's miraculous intervention in our lives to ensure we receive his gift of eternal life so we can be assured we will be with him forever. It is those miracles in our lives that motivate us to tell others of God's great mercy, love, and how to develop the most amazing relationship with God awaiting for those willing to believe.


 Who do you say Jesus is?

Who do I say Jesus is? The two points Pastor Bob stated that stood out to me is “Jesus is the visible image of the invisible God,” and “Jesus had an impact on this world.” He talked about the practical that history is divided between BC and AD. Jesus’ birth and death affected how we divide time. I was intrigued by learning about kenois which refers to the doctrine of Christ’s “self-emptying” in His incarnation. Jesus did not exchange his deity for humanity. Jesus never ceased to be God during his ministry on Earth. He set aside His Heavenly glory. He voluntarily refrained from using His divinity to make his way easier. Christ completely submitted Himself to the will of the Father (John 5:19).

There is a song that comes to mind by Casting Crowns “Jesus, Friend of Sinners.”
Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners
Open our eyes to the world at the end of our pointing fingers
Oh, let our hearts be led by mercy
Help us reach with open hearts and open doors
Oh, Jesus, friend of sinners, break our hearts for what breaks Yours

That last line about Jesus break our hearts for what breaks yours is just so powerful because if we can live in Jesus’ heart we would be pretty good people even in all our imperfection. It took me a long time to see Jesus as my friend. His friendship holds high value in my life now so much and I start my day with Jesus. I listen to praise and worship music and then I take a walk and just talk with Jesus. He is the friend I need to talk to everyday. He is the truth I seek. He is the humbleness I need in the midst of my frustration. He corrects my path when I am stubborn. When I make mistakes I think about how Jesus responded to Peter after his resurrection. He asked Peter, “do you love me” and Peter responds “yes” so then Jesus tells him to “feed my sheep.” Three times and I am reminded of times I am talking with Jesus and he whispers in the wind or that shifting within my spirit a similar conversation. Jesus is my friend who I love and trust with all my being. I rely on his friendship daily because if I think about him being just divine I might be intimidated, but when I look at the humanity of Jesus I see him building relationships with his disciples and I desire that same connection. So to me I begin my day with Jesus as my friend and my prayer of having a heart like his.


After watching week 6 lessons, write a 250-word post discussing the ways we can agree on the Doctrine of Eschatology?


When I read Revelation I see a visualization the best John could do. He used the Old Testament imagery and connections to encourage the churches. They were going through great tribulations whenJesus ascended. Jesus explained that he would return to give his believers hope they would be taken away from the persecution. Jesus gave the church the hope that all the things people would have to endure had an ending point. This is the faith and hope of Jesus's 2nd coming. If we live a life surrended to Christ then we gain assurance and hope of Jesus's return as we know we enter into heaven with him. It is the tough talks about those who reject Christ as they will have an eternity without him.

Paradigms of if it is insignificant that all prophecies fulfilled in 70 AD or are there still signs needed to be fulfilled for Christ to come back. I see the pastor's point about the history when she asked the question "What portion of his response is connected to 70 AD destruction of the temple. Then balance it with "What portion of his response is connected to the 2nd coming and the end of the world."

I do believe his words about the temple is true, but when I read about Isreal. There is battle over the temple Mount today. In Revelation it talks about rebuiding the temple. What will be the consequences when Judiasm is removed from the temple and used exclusively for practice of Islam.

It seems to me that God warns his people, they did not listen, they were defeated and exiled. They stayed in the same cycle for generations. God would feel bad and bring his people back. He keeps his promise, but I think as his people we will also go through the same cycle, but Revelation just expresses that this is the last time for this cycle. In the end we enter our new kingdom to never leave the presence of Christ. Just live a life for Christ and no matter what is ahead and how it plays out. I am sure when Christ arrives he will have clear instructions for all his believers. AMEN


After watching week 7 lessons, write a 250-word post discussing the key descriptions of the New Heaven and New Earth.

Looking at the descriptions of the New Heaven and New Earth, my imagination goes wild. I do believe heaven is a place as described in Revelation. I just wonder how walking down streets of gold will be like. Looking around where "the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives light, and its lamp is the lamb" (Revelation 21:23). I read in our text that we were created to have a relationship with God, so knowing his creation will be renewed and restored into full freedom in God's presence gives us great hope in this fallen world. Romans chapter 8 reminds us that we will be liberated from our bondage. All the baggage we carry around as imperfect humans will be left behind never to drag us back into our pasts ever again. No more tainted views of beauty and an abundance that will fill us with great joy worthy of our worship and praise. To be valued in the presence of God seems so overwhelming, but so heartwarming at the same time. The 4th description as the place of no mores reminds of a song's lyrics "is that the only scars in heaven are on the hands that hold you now." Revelation 21: 4 says "he will wipe every tear from thier eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away." What a picture of our compassionate loving Jesus who goes to prepare a place for all who believe in him. We will be in his presence for eternity and that is in one word AWESOME!

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