Bible Ministries International

Bible Studies

A series of verse by verse studies by Gunther von Harringa Sr

Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

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2 Peter 3 - Part 24

February 9, 2020

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask for God’s blessing upon our time together... This will be 2 Peter 3 - Part 24, and today’s date is February 9, 2020. I’ll read verses 15-18,

And account [that] the longsuffering of our Lord [is] salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; {16} As also in all [his] epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as [they do] also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction. {17} Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know [these things] before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. {18} But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

We are down to the last part of verse 18 in 2 Peter 3, and the word, “in the knowledge,  which as we saw last week God links with “growing in grace.” If you recall, we discovered that both of these terms only apply to the Lord Jesus as well as to His beloved saints. We have already investigated this expression, “knowledge” at the beginning of our study of  2 Peter a few years back in verses 5-6 of 2 Peter 1:4-8,

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust. {5} And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; {6} And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; {7} And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. {8} For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

So it’s significant that God has chosen to highlight these two characteristics at the end of 2 Peter as well: “But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ…” The admonition of “growing” in knowledge is especially relevant for God’s elect whom God has chosen to be alive at this particular “time and season” on earth. As I have pointed out numerous times before, we are living in the most advantageous time in all of human history as God is revealing truth now that we are in the “time of the end” that He had previously “sealed up” in the Bible, and then “unsealed” according to His divine wisdom and understanding  as we read for example in Daniel 12:4 and 9, and Revelation 5:1-10,

But thou, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, [even] to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased. ... {9} And he said, Go thy way, Daniel: for the words [are] closed up and sealed till the time of the end.

And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. {2} And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? {3} And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. {4} And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. {5} And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof. {6} And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. {7} And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne. {8} And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four [and] twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. {9} And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; {10} And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth.

2 Peter 3:18 is concerned with “growing” in grace and knowledge of a Person - the Person of  “...our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ,” Who is the Word of God. The two expressions “Lord” (kyrios:G2962) and “Saviour” (soter:G4990) appear together in seven other references, some of which we have already examined in our earlier studies in 2 Peter:

Lord [kyrios:G2962]& Saviour [soter:G4990] 

Luke 2:11 maintains: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour [soter:G4990], which is Christ the Lord. [kyrios:G2962]

And Philippians 3:20 adds: For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour [soter:G4990], the Lord [kyrios:G2962] Jesus Christ:

1 Timothy 1:1 likewise affirms: Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the commandment of God our Saviour [soter:G4990], and Lord [kyrios:G2962] Jesus Christ, [which is] our hope;

In Titus 1:4 we also read: To Titus, [mine] own son after the common faith: Grace, mercy, [and] peace, from God the Father and the Lord [kyrios:G2962] Jesus Christ our Saviour. [soter:G4990]

2 Peter 1:11 reveals: For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord [kyrios:G2962]

and Saviour [soter:G4990] Jesus Christ.

2 Peter 2:20 offers this warning: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord [kyrios:G2962]

and Saviour [soter:G4990] Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.

2 Peter 3:2 acknowledges: That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord [kyrios:G2962] and Saviour: [soter:G4990]

To Him [autos:G846] [Be] Glory [doxa:G1391]

The next two expressions in verse 8 are “to him” and “[be] glory,” which surface together in a number of important citations, one of which is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18, which is especially appropriate for us today, since we are the unworthy recipients of so many “unsealed” truths that God is revealing at this time concerning His “glory,” as the more we see Him in the Scriptures, the more we see His glory, and as a result God’s sheep are being transformed into His glorious image more and more:

 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory  [doxa:G1391] of the Lord, are changed into the same [autos:G846] image from glory  [doxa:G1391] to glory [doxa:G1391] [even] as by the Spirit of the Lord.

This of course reminds us of Moses’ request in verse 18 of Exodus 33:18-23,

And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory. [kabowd:H359] {19} And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. {20} And he said, Thou canst not see my face: for there shall no man see me, and live. {21} And the LORD said, Behold, [there is] a place by me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock: {22} And it shall come to pass, while my glory passeth by, that I will put thee in a clift of the rock, and will cover thee with my hand while I pass by: {23} And I will take away mine hand, and thou shalt see my back parts: but my face shall not be seen. 

The same term for “glory” in Exodus 33:18 is also found in verse 3 of Isaiah 6:1-10 as “of his glory”:

In the year that king Uzziah died I saw also the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. {2} Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with twain he covered his face, and with twain he covered his feet, and with twain he did fly. {3} And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, [is] the LORD of hosts: the whole earth [is] full of his glory. [kabowd:H359] {4} And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him that cried, and the house was filled with smoke. {5} Then said I, Woe [is] me! for I am undone; because I [am] a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips: for mine eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts. {6} Then flew one of the seraphims unto me, having a live coal in his hand, [which] he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: {7} And he laid [it] upon my mouth, and said, Lo, this hath touched thy lips; and thine iniquity is taken away, and thy sin purged. {8} Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here [am] I; send me. {9} And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. {10} Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

In turn, verses 8-10 are quoted in verse 41 of  John 12:38-41, in which we find our two terms, “him” and “glory”

That the saying of Esaias the prophet might be fulfilled, which he spake, Lord, who hath believed our report? and to whom hath the arm of the Lord been revealed? {39} Therefore they could not believe, because that Esaias said again, {40} He hath blinded their eyes, and hardened their heart; that they should not see with [their] eyes, nor understand with [their] heart, and be converted, and I should heal them. {41} These things said Esaias, when he saw his [autos:G846] glory [doxa:G1391], and spake of him. [autos:G846] 

This same theme is picked up in Ephesians 1:17-18, with the additional emphasis on both “knowledge” and “understanding”: That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory [doxa:G1391], may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [autos:G846] {18} The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his [autos:G846] calling, and what the riches of the glory [doxa:G1391] of his [autos:G846] inheritance in the saints,

Everything that God does is ultimately for His own glory, which spans eternity past, the present, and eternity future, as He is the Great and Majestic, “I AM” (hayah:H1961) - the “self-existing One;” this is the root word for “Jehovah” (H3068), as God gloriously declared to Moses three times  in Exodus 3:14,

And God said unto Moses, I AM [hayah:H1961] THAT I AM [hayah:H1961]: and he said, Thus shalt thou say unto the children of Israel, I AM [hayah:H1961] hath sent me unto you. 

Now [nyn:G3568] & Ever [aion:H165] [hemera:G2250] 

The two expressions, “now” and “ever” underscore this aspect of God’s nature as these next references testify:

Mark 10:30 promises: But he shall receive an hundredfold now [nyn:G3568]  in this time, houses, and brethren, and sisters, and mothers, and children, and lands, with persecutions; and in the world [aion:H165] to come eternal life.

John 8:52 records, Then said the Jews unto him, Now [nyn:G3568] we know that thou hast a devil. Abraham is dead, and the prophets; and thou sayest, If a man keep my saying, he shall never [G3364] [G1519] [aion:H165] [“not at all ever”]  taste of death.

Ephesians 2:2 offers this reminder of the nature of fallen man: Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course [aion:H165]  of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now [nyn:G3568] worketh in the children of disobedience:

And 1 Timothy 6:17 gives this admonition: Charge them that are rich in this [nyn:G3568] world [aion:H165], that they be not highminded, nor trust in uncertain riches, but in the living God, who giveth us richly all things to enjoy;

2 Timothy 4:10 sadly acknowledges what has happened to many a “so-called” Christian throughout history: For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present [nyn:G3568] world [aion:H165] , and is departed unto Thessalonica; Crescens to Galatia, Titus unto Dalmatia.

On the other hand, God’s elect are encouraged by the words of  verse 12 in Titus 2:11-14,  For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, {12} Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present [nyn:G3568]  world; [aion:H165] {13} Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; {14} Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.

Hebrews 9:26 stipulates that Christ’s atonement took place once, and that it occurred “...from the foundation of the world,” and was demonstrated in 33 AD, but the understanding of this new doctrine remained hidden until our day by God Himself:  For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now [nyn:G3568] once in the end of the world [aion:H165] hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.

Lastly, verse 25 of Jude 1:24-25 employs these two words in this beautiful benediction that closes the book of Jude: “Now unto him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present [you] faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy, {25} To the only wise God our Saviour, [be] glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now [nyn:G3568] and ever.  [G1519] [G3956] [aion:H165] [“for all ever”]  Amen.

This brings us to the last word in verse 18, “Amen.” (amen:G281) which comes from the Hebrew, (’amen:H543), which in turn is derived from its identically spelled root or parent word, (’aman:H539), which is the expression “believe” or “faithful” predominantly. However, I think I'll wait until next week, so I can address both the Greek as well as its Hebrew equivalent, because in this we will see the Lord Jesus Christ, Who not only is “Faithful” or “full of faith,” but is also the “Amen,” as we read in Revelation 3:14,

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen [amen:G281], the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God;

Please stay tuned for out Hymn sing next.

2 Peter 3 - Part 25

February 23, 2020

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask for God’s blessing upon our time together... This will be 2 Peter 3 - Part 25, and today’s date is February 23, 2020. I’ll read verse 18,

But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen.

In our study of the book of 2 Peter we have arrived at the final word in this book, which is the term, “Amen,” and this is the first and only time that it is found in the book of 2 Peter. In spite of being a very small word we have learned that such expressions can contain enormous spiritual implications. Let’s first consider the Greek term and then later we will examine its Hebrew counterpart, from which it is derived. We also want to be aware of any instances in which a Hebrew verse that contains this word might be quoted in the New Testament which would give us the opportunity to make a “word bridge.” Doing this kind of exercise would serve to amplify our understanding of the spiritual shades of meaning that God has hidden in both the Hebrew (and possibly the Aramaic, if that is the case) along with the Greek.

Amen [amen:G281] 

“Amen” in Greek is simply the transliteration of the Hebrew, and likewise carries over to the English, as well as many, many other languages, if not all of them, making it an especially unique word. However its distinctiveness goes way beyond being a “universal” word, as one learns from Revelation 3:14, in which this term is included. In Greek it is rendered in only two ways: “verily” (101 times) and “amen” (51 times), and in most instances it means “so be it” or “most assuredly.” A number of passages that contain this expression magnify the glorious Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, but what sets Revelation 3:14 apart is that it actually provides a spiritual definition which ties back to the Hebrew as we shall see once we get to the Hebrew word for “Amen.” 

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful [pistos:G4103] and true [alethinos:G228] witness [martus:G3144], the beginning [arche:G746] of the creation of God;

The reason this passage is so significant is because God associates this word “Amen” with the Lord Jesus Christ, in addition to four other major titles of His: “the faithful and true witness,” and “the beginning.”  Let’s take a closer look at each one of these:

Faithful [pistos:G4103] 

The expression, “faithful” or “full of faith” is a very fitting one indeed, as Christ is the very essence of “Faith,” which is His personal possession, and only He was able to impart that gift of saving faith to His elect  during the very long “day” of salvation. These next citations illustrate some of the ways in which God utilizes this term:

1 Corinthians 1:9 declares:  God [is] faithful, [pistos:G4103] by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ our Lord.

1 Thessalonians 5:24 highlights God’s faithfulness in both calling His saints as well as performing the work of salvation on their behalf: Faithful [pistos:G4103] [is] he that calleth you, who also will do [it].

And 2 Thessalonians 3:3 likewise maintains God’s care and protection for each child of God throughout their earthly pilgrimage:  But the Lord is faithful, [pistos:G4103] who shall stablish you, and keep [you] from evil.

This witness is borne out in the life of Sara, according to Hebrews 11:11, Through faith also Sara herself received strength to conceive seed, and was delivered of a child when she was past age, because she judged him faithful [pistos:G4103] who had promised. 

Hebrews 2:17 further acknowledges the Lord’s faithfulness in fulfilling His High Priestly office: Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto [his] brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful [pistos:G4103] high priest in things [pertaining] to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.

Incidentally, the root or parent word for the adjective “faithful” (pistos:G4103) that we have been discussing is the verb “peitho” (G3982), which is predominantly rendered as “persuade” (“believe”) or “trust.” 

This is why we read the profound statement in 2 Timothy 2:13, If we believe not, [apisteo:G569] [yet] he abideth faithful: [pistos:G4103] he cannot deny himself.

Hebrews 10:23 provides this encouraging reminder: Let us hold fast the profession of [our] faith without wavering; (for he [is] faithful [pistos:G4103] that promised;)

The word, “we believe not” is the negative verb form that is related to “faithful,” which is translated as “of the believers” in 1 Timothy 4:12,

Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, [pistos:G4103] in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.

Keep this word, “faithful” (along with the verb form, “believe” which of course relates to “faith”) in mind, as it will link back to the Hebrew “Amen” (’amen:H543), which is our end goal today, Lord willing; however, if we do run out of time, we will continue this next Sunday.

Three other citations that I almost forgot to mention are Revelation 19:11, 21:5 and 22:6 respectively: 

And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him [was] called Faithful [pistos:G4103] and True [alethinos:G228], and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.

And he that sat upon the throne said, Behold, I make all things new. And he said unto me, Write: for these words are true [alethinos:G228] and faithful. [pistos:G4103] 

And he said unto me, These sayings [are] faithful [pistos:G4103] and true:[alethinos:G228] and the Lord God of the holy prophets sent his angel to shew unto his servants the things which must shortly be done.

These verses also contain the second “title” that we want to examine in Revelation 3:14, which is the word, “True,” (alethinos:G228). This term, “true” is also most interesting as its root or parent word comes from“alethes” (G227), which is a compound word made up of the “alpha” (G1) negative and curiously the main word, “hidden” or “lanthano” (G2990); or to say it another way: that which is not hidden, hence it is revealed. Immediately we think about the “unsealed” doctrines that God has been revealing so graciously to His people since the start of the Great Tribulation on May 21, 1988, as we have been at the “time of the end” (according to Daniel 12:4 and 9) for quite some time now.

True [alethinos:G228] 

I would also like to point out that Revelation 21:5 and 22:6 are speaking about “these words”  or “these sayings” which are both “true” as well as “faithful.” This is a reference to the words of the Bible, but since Christ is “The Word Of God” they of course allude to Him as well. The following references reflect the various usages of this expression, “true”:

The next Scriptures pinpoint some of the Savior’s many characteristics, such as the “true” Light, the “true” Bread, the “true” Vine, and the “true” God and eternal life:

John 1:9 announces: [That]was the true [alethinos:G228] Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.

And John 6:32 explains Who the “manna” exemplifies spiritually: Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven; but my Father giveth you the true [alethinos:G228] bread from heaven.

John 15:1 maintains: I am the true [alethinos:G228] vine, and my Father is the husbandman.

John 17:3 further reveals: And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true [alethinos:G228] God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

1 John 5:20 underscores this word three times: And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, [alethinos:G228] and we are in him that is true, [alethinos:G228] [even] in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true [alethinos:G228] God, and eternal life.

Both expressions, “faithful” and “true” modify the title, “witness,” which we now want to investigate:

 Witness [martus:G3144]

Verse 16 of Matthew 18:15-17 quotes Deuteronomy 19:15 as a practical means for solving certain disputes: Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.{16} But if he will not hear [thee, then] take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses [martus:G3144] every word may be established. {17} And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell [it] unto the church: but if he neglect to hear the church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a publican.

Deuteronomy 19:15 lays out this principle which is still in use today in our legal system; notice how the term “witness” occurs three times: One witness [`ed:H5707] shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses [`ed:H5707], or at the mouth of three witnesses [`ed:H5707], shall the matter [dabar:H1697 - “the Word”] be established.

This same word, “witnesses” also crops up in 2 Corinthians 13:1 and in Hebrews 10:28 respectively: 

2 Corinthians 13:1 affirms: This [is] the third [time] I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses [martus:G3144] shall every word be established.

And Hebrews 10:28 likewise states: He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:[martus:G3144]

We must recognize that first and foremost the “two or three witnesses” are the Persons of the Godhead, and secondly, the very words of Scripture, as we just noted from the expression, shall the matter [dabar:H1697] be established” in Deuteronomy 19:15.

The fact that the “two or three witnesses” are the Persons of the Godhead is also confirmed by the verb form of this noun, “witness” (G3144) that we have been discussing; the verb form is “martyreo” (G3140), from which our English word, “martyr” stems from. It is found repeated numerous times in 1 John 5:6-11, in addition to the feminine noun, “martyria” (G3141) which is also found in 1 John 5:9-11, and rendered as “the witness” or “the record”:

This is he that came by water and blood, [even] Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness [martyreo:G3140], because the Spirit is truth. {7} For there are three that bear record [martyreo:G3140],  in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. {8} And there are three that bear witness [martyreo:G3140] in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. {9} If we receive the witness [martyria:G3141]  of men, the witness[martyria:G3141]  of God is greater: for this is the witness [martyria:G3141] of God which he hath testified [martyreo:G3140] of his Son. {10} He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness [martyria:G3141]  in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record [martyria:G3141]  that God gave of his Son. {11} And this is the record [martyria:G3141], that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.

In Revelation 1:5 the word “witness” is combined with the term, “faithful” that was discussed earlier, along with the expression, “the first begotten of the dead,” which has to do with the Atonement that occurred “ the foundation of the world,” and please note how God has inserted this last sentence in the same context of the Atonement: “...Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood”:

And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful [pistos:G4103] witness,[martus:G3144] [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

The “kings of the earth” in Revelation 1:5 are the elect, and Christ became their “Prince” in the Atonement “ the foundation,” and in turn, the elect became His “witnesses” as Acts 5:32 testifies:

And we are his witnesses [martus:G3144] of these things; and [so is] also the Holy Ghost, whom God hath given to them that obey him.

The Beginning [arche:G746] 

The last word that we want to turn our attention to in Revelation 3:14 is the term, “the beginning,” which we ran across in 2 Peter 3:4,

And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as [they were] from the beginning [arche:G746] 

 of the creation.

One of the most significant passages in which this word surfaces is in Colossians 1:18, in the context of the Savior being “...slain...from the foundation of the world,” as was discussed at length in BMI’s series on The Lamb Slain From The Foundation Of the World:

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning,[arche:G746] the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

Even though Christ never ceased being eternal God He had a “beginning” in the sense of being raised from “the ‘womb’ or ‘belly’ of hell” (which is the grave or “lowest parts of the earth”) as a newborn infant, if you will, and adds a depth of meaning to John 1:1-2,  

In the beginning [arche:G746] was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. {2} The same was in the beginning [arche:G746] with God.

This is further underscored in Hebrews 1:10 And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning [arche:G746] hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

Christ is that very “foundation” in terms of the Atonement, as well as in Creation.

This is also dramatically emphasized in Hebrews 7:3, in which Christ’s High Priestly office “after the order of Melchisedec” is in view: Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning [arche:G746] of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually. 

I think we’ll stop here as we don’t have enough time to delve into the Hebrew word for  “Amen,” which will have to be the subject of next week’s study, Lord willing. Please stay tuned for our Hymn Sing. 

2 Peter 3 - Part 26

March 1, 2020

Good afternoon and welcome to BMI’s Sunday Online Fellowship. Thank you for joining us, and shall we ask for God’s blessing upon our time together... This will be 2 Peter 3 - Part 26, and today’s date is March 1, 2020. I’ll read verse 18,

But grow in grace, and [in] the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him [be] glory both now and for ever. Amen. [amen:G281]

In our last study we examined Revelation 3:14 in some detail and discovered that it actually provides a spiritual definition which ties back to the Hebrew word for “Amen”:  

And unto the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write; These things saith the Amen, the faithful [pistos:G4103] and true [alethinos:G228] witness [martus:G3144], the beginning [arche:G746] of the creation of God;

I’ll briefly recap what we discussed last Sunday with regard to the various titles of the Lord Jesus Christ in this verse.

Faithful [pistos:G4103] 

The word, “faithful” (along with the verb form, “believe”  relates to “faith”) and links back very definitely to the Hebrew “Amen” (’amen:H543), as we shall see in today’s study. 

True [alethinos:G228] 

The term, “true” is also most interesting  in that it is a compound word made up of the “alpha” (G1) negative and the main word, “hidden” (lanthano:G2990), or to say it another way, that which is not hidden, hence it is revealed.

Witness [martus:G3144]

The term “witness” relates to the “two or three witnesses” in Deuteronomy 19:15, which point to the Persons of the Godhead in the first place, and secondly the very words of Scripture, as noted from the expression, shall the matter [dabar:H1697] be established”:

One witness [`ed:H5707] shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses [`ed:H5707], or at the mouth of three witnesses [`ed:H5707], shall the matter [dabar:H1697 - “the Word”] be established.

The Beginning [arche:G746] 

One of the most significant passages in which the expression, “beginning” surfaces is in Colossians 1:18, in the context of the Savior being “...slain...from the foundation of the world”: 

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning,[arche:G746] the firstborn from the dead; that in all [things] he might have the preeminence.

These four “titles” that are associated with the Savior in Revelation 3:14 are especially important to keep in mind when one runs across this word in the New Testament, in which it is rendered in only two ways: “verily” (101 times) and “amen” (51 times); in most instances it means “so be it” or “most assuredly,” emphasizing the absolute trustworthiness of the Scriptures themselves, which proceed from “the mouth” of the Holy Triune God, Who is the Essence of Divine Truth. I have referred to Luke 1:70 a number of times, but it certainly bears repeating as it focuses on the truth that God used many “prophets” that He dictated his Word to; however, God very carefully inserted the singular word, “mouth”  to underscore that what they wrote was one cohesive message that emanated from the Mind And Mouth of Eternal God. Along with Luke 1:70, Acts 3:18 and 21 verify this same principle three times in the New Testament. Incidentally the Greek expression, “prophets” (spelled identically to our English word, only with an “-es” on the end instead of an “-s”) literally means to “say before”:

Verse 70 of Luke 1:67-75 reveals (John the Baptist’s father), Zacharias’ prophecy, under divine inspiration: And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying, {68} Blessed [be] the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people, {69} And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David; {70} As he spake by the mouth [stoma:G4750] of his holy prophets [prophetes:G4396], which have been since the world began: {71} That we should be saved from our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us; {72} To perform the mercy [promised] to our fathers, and to remember his holy covenant; {73} The oath which he sware to our father Abraham, {74} That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, {75} In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.

Verses 18 and 21 of Acts 3:18-26 likewise maintain: But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth [stoma:G4750]  of all his prophets [prophetes:G4396], that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled. {19} Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; {20} And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: {21} Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth [stoma:G4750] of all his holy prophets [prophetes:G4396] since the world began. {22} For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. {23} And it shall come to pass, [that] every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people. {24} Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days. {25} Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. {26} Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Let’s now turn our attention to the Hebrew word, “Amen”  (’amen:H543), remembering that Christ is the Great “Amen,” and is the Blessed Word. Most of the time this term is rendered as “Amen,” and once as “so be it,” in Jeremiah 11:5,   

Amen [’amen:H543] 

Jeremiah 11:1-5 declares: The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD, saying, {2} Hear ye the words of this covenant, and speak unto the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem; {3} And say thou unto them, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed [be] the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant, {4} Which I commanded your fathers in the day [that] I brought them forth out of the land of Egypt, from the iron furnace, saying, Obey my voice, and do them, according to all which I command you: so shall ye be my people, and I will be your God: {5} That I may perform the oath which I have sworn unto your fathers, to give them a land flowing with milk and honey, as [it is] this day. Then answered I, and said, So be it [’amen:H543], O LORD.

Notice the emphasis that God is placing on obeying His Word, which is the definition of Biblical love, according to John 14:15,

If ye love me, keep my commandments.

Jeremiah 11:3 highlights the end result of disobedience to God’s Word: “...Thus saith the LORD God of Israel; Cursed [be] the man that obeyeth not the words of this covenant…”  

This is also dramatically underscored in Deuteronomy 27:15-26, which is a chapter that specifically deals with the blessings of obedience, as well as the curses associated with disobedience to God’s Law. It is the one chapter in the Old Testament that includes the greatest number of occurrences of this expression, “Amen,” (12 - spiritually indicating the “fullness” of  whatever is in view) and strikingly always in the context of God’s judgment; moreover this chapter also contains the greatest number of times that this word, “cursed” (’arar:H779)  (again 12 times) is utilized in the Old Testament:

Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] the man that maketh [any] graven or molten image, an abomination unto the LORD, the work of the hands of the craftsman, and putteth [it] in [a] secret [place]. And all the people shall answer and say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {16} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that setteth light by his father or his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {17} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that removeth his neighbour's landmark. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {18} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that maketh the blind to wander out of the way. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {19} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that perverteth the judgment of the stranger, fatherless, and widow. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {20} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that lieth with his father's wife; because he uncovereth his father's skirt. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {21} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that lieth with any manner of beast. And all the people shall say, Amen.[H543] {22} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that lieth with his sister, the daughter of his father, or the daughter of his mother. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {23} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that lieth with his mother in law. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {24} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that smiteth his neighbour secretly. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {25} Cursed [’arar:H779] [be] he that taketh reward to slay an innocent person. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543] {26} Cursed [be] he that confirmeth not [all] the words of this law to do them. And all the people shall say, Amen. [’amen:H543]

The only place in the Old Testament in which “Amen” is translated  “of truth” is found in verse 16 of Isaiah 65:11-19 (where it is employed twice) as God contrasts the elect (in the New Heavens and New Earth)  with the non-elect (whose fate is annihilation):  

But ye [are] they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number. {12} Therefore will I number you to the sword, and ye shall all bow down to the slaughter: because when I called, ye did not answer; when I spake, ye did not hear; but did evil before mine eyes, and did choose [that] wherein I delighted not. {13} Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, my servants shall eat, but ye shall be hungry: behold, my servants shall drink, but ye shall be thirsty: behold, my servants shall rejoice, but ye shall be ashamed: {14} Behold, my servants shall sing for joy of heart, but ye shall cry for sorrow of heart, and shall howl for vexation of spirit. {15} And ye shall leave your name for a curse unto my chosen: for the Lord GOD shall slay thee, and call his servants by another name: {16} That he who blesseth himself in the earth shall bless himself in the God of truth [’amen:H543]

; and he that sweareth in the earth shall swear by the God of truth [’amen:H543]; because the former troubles are forgotten, and because they are hid from mine eyes. {17} For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. {18} But be ye glad and rejoice for ever [in that] which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. {19} And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying. 

The following references illustrate how this expression usually is found:

Nehemiah 8:6 records: And Ezra blessed the LORD, the great God. And all the people answered, Amen, [’amen:H543] Amen, [’amen:H543] with lifting up their hands: and they bowed their heads, and worshipped the LORD with [their] faces to the ground.

And Psalm 41:13 proclaims: Blessed [be] the LORD God of Israel from everlasting, and to everlasting. Amen, [’amen:H543] and Amen. [’amen:H543]   

The Root Word For “Amen” [H543] Is “ ’Aman” [H539] 

The Hebrew term, “Amen” has an identically spelled root word which is “aman” (H539), which is most commonly translated as the Hebrew verb “believe” or “faithful,” which as I mentioned previously, corresponds to the Greek word, “faithful” that points to one of Christ’s “titles” or “names” as was discussed in Revelation 3:14. These next Scriptures show how God employs this word throughout the Old Testament, keeping in mind the all-important connection that in order to truly “believe,” one must possess saving “faith,” which is God’s gift exclusively:

Deuteronomy 7:9 renders this word as “the faithful”: Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he [is] God, the faithful [’aman:H539] God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;

Ruth 4:16 And Naomi took the child, and laid it in her bosom, and became nurse [’aman:H539] unto it.

Ruth 4:16 also reminds us of what we read in 1 Peter 2:2, 

As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

This same spiritual picture also surfaces in Isaiah 49:23 and 60:4 respectively: 

Isaiah 49:23 records: And kings shall be thy nursing fathers, [’aman:H539] and their queens thy nursing mothers: they shall bow down to thee with [their] face toward the earth, and lick up the dust of thy feet; and thou shalt know that I [am] the LORD: for they shall not be ashamed that wait for me.

And Isaiah 60:4 similarly proclaims, Lift up thine eyes round about, and see: all they gather themselves together, they come to thee: thy sons shall come from far, and thy daughters shall be nursed [’aman:H539] at [thy] side. 

In 1 Samuel 2:35 it appears twice as “a faithful” and “him a sure”:  And I will raise me up a faithful [’aman:H539] priest, [that] shall do according to [that] which [is] in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure [’aman:H539] house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

Lastly, in 2 Chronicles 20:20 prior to the battle in the “valley of Jehoshaphat” this term is expressed three times as either “believe” and “so shall ye be established”:  And they rose early in the morning, and went forth into the wilderness of Tekoa: and as they went forth, Jehoshaphat stood and said, Hear me, O Judah, and ye inhabitants of Jerusalem; Believe [’aman:H539] in the LORD your God, so shall ye be established; [’aman:H539] believe [’aman:H539] his prophets, so shall ye prosper.

A “Word Bridge” Between Isaiah 28:16 And I Peter 2:6

I made the comment in our last study that we might do a “word bridge,” today and Isaiah 28:16 and and I Peter 2:6 are excellent candidates for this. 

Isaiah 28:16 contains the expression, “ ’aman” (H539) which is rendered as “he that believeth”: Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner [stone], a sure foundation: he that believeth [’aman:H539] shall not make haste.

Isaiah 28:16 is quoted in 1 Peter 2:6, in which the Greek word “he that believeth” appears: Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth [pisteuo:G4100] on him shall not be confounded.

We won’t have enough time today to consider all the Greek and all the Hebrew terms in each of these significant citations, so in the interest of time, let’s look at a few illustrations of this Greek verb, which is overwhelmingly translated as “believe,” and  stems from the Greek noun, “faith” (pistis:G4102). This of course parallels what we found earlier in today’s study with respect to the Hebrew “amen” (’amen:H543), which was identically spelled to “ ’aman” (H539) which was translated as “believe” or “faithful.” In reality both are teaching the same principle, that in order to “believe” one must possess “the faith of Christ” which He granted to each of His elect as He is the Great “Amen” and “Faithful.”   

He That Believeth [pisteuo:G4100] 

A good example of this Greek verb, “believe”  is found in John 2:18-25, as it surfaces in connection with both the “Jews” (representing the non-elect or those within the end-time institutional churches and denominations) and the “disciples” (typifying the elect). In verses 22-23, it is expressed as “believed,” but in verse 24, as “did commit”:

Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? {19} Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. {20} Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? {21} But he spake of the temple of his body. {22} When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed [pisteuo:G4100] the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. {23} Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast [day], many believed [pisteuo:G4100] in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did. {24} But Jesus did [pisteuo:G4100] not commit [pisteuo:G4100] himself unto them, because he knew all [men], {25} And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man.

This account underscores the “fabricated” faith of so many throughout history because it was based on man’s work, or a combination of  “work and grace,” neither of which had the power to save, as only Christ’s Work and His Faith is the only basis for saving faith. 

I think we’ll stop here today. Please stay tuned for our Hymn Sing next.