Archive for May, 2006

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For and Against, part 1

May 25, 2006

Matthew 12:30 (Luke 11:23), Mark 9:40 (Luke 9:50)

First, a clear understanding of the texts must be grasped. It may help to draw pictures as you read through Matthew 12:30 (Luke 11:23) and Mark 9:40 (Luke 9:50). It aided me a great deal when I sought to understand these four verses. We will briefly examine the context, break-down and relation of these four.

Jesus speaks each of these four passages. In the first, Matthew 12:30 (which is an exact duplicate of Luke 11:23), Jesus is again rebuking the Pharisees for their lack of understanding. They have just accused Jesus of working with/for Beelzebul (Satan). Jesus explains blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. He continues by using the analogy of the strong man and his house. He then speaks this verse, “He who is not with Me is against Me; and he who does not gather with Me, scatters”. Jesus categorizes the Pharisees and Satan as ones against Him, the ones who scatter.

In the second passage, Mark 9:40 (which is stated similarly in Luke 9:50), John has just reported someone casting out demons in Jesus’ name. Jesus says the man should not be hindered, “For he who is not against us is for us”. The man casting out demons in Jesus’ name is not working against Jesus. He is doing the same work as Jesus. Because this man is not working against Jesus, he is on His side.

There are two categories as we break-down the passages. In Matthew, there are the “not with Me” (also called the “against Me”, and described by their activity of not gathering and therefore scattering) and the “with Me” (by implication). In Mark, there are the “not against us” (also called “for us”) and the “against us” (by implication). The first category in Matthew, “not with Me”, pairs with the implied category of Mark, “against us”. The second, and implied, category of Matthew, “with Me”, pairs with the category in Mark, “not against us”. We see that there are really only two sides, with Jesus and against Jesus. There is no overlap. Further, the activity of those against Jesus is to scatter, the opposite of Jesus’ work of gathering.

In part 2, we will look in more detail at these passages and at their application, which may be a third part…

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God created… Gen. 1:21

May 10, 2006

“God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.” (Genesis 1:21, NASB)

Have you ever sat on the beach and enjoyed the waves and birds and, perhaps, even a distant whale? God recounts to us His work on the fifth day. It allowed for that beautiful scenery from the beach. Further, He gives us direct revelation that we may know in surety and learn His many works. All that we may glorify Him more fully!

The above verse contains the first instance of the word “created” (except the summary v. 1). The verb tense used for “created” in Hebrew is of the “Qal” pattern. It is the most popular tense for this verb. It always refers to God, either in creation out of nothing, creation of new circumstances or a transformation of what was already created. Here God combines two, creating new living and moving life while transforming previously created physical materials. The use of the word for creation emphasizes that these “great sea monsters” were created by God and therefore are subject to God. There were many who feared the sea and the things unknown that lived there. God sooths fear here by reinforcing His authorship.

The word for “sea monsters” is used elsewhere for snakes and crocodiles or dragons (Ex 7:9, Ez 29:3), depending on the version. This would also refer to dinosaurs that were found in the sea (see here for an resolution to the dinosaur issue).

The theme of “kinds” remains visible in this verse. The kinds of the sea creatures are distinguished from each other. The kinds of the birds are also distinguished. Again, the idea speaks against the idea of evolution. The kinds are created at the same time, no “evolutionary” time is involved. Further, those found in the sea and those which can fly are separated with no mention of land animals as any type of intermediary form. The Bible is clearly opposed to the propagated lies of life creating new information in any upward evolutionary step for any living creature.

Lastly, this is the fourth time God sees “good” in creation. The light, the land/sea separation, the plants, and the sun/moon/stars (with purpose) were all good. Previous verse entries on this site discuss how the character of God is imprinted on His creation and therefore are seen as good. They also discuss the process through which God sees parts of creation as good and not until the creation is complete is it “very good” (v. 31).