Bible Studies Suspended for now

    These are usually held in Church on Thursday Evenings but we have had to suspend them due to the coronavirus

    We were looking at events around Jesus's second coming.

     

    When we can once again meet we will continue our studies into the last days and beyond. Our next study will be about Israel, God's purpose in the last days of this age and into the Millennium.

    Romans Chapter 11 v 1. "...has God rejected his people (Jews)? By no means!..."

    John's web site

    Faith

    What is Biblical Faith?

    The word "faith" in English means various things.

    • Trust
    • Accept as truth
    • trust
    • confidence
    • reliance
    • hopefulness
    • and other related meanings.

    When we interpret the Bible we use our English understanding of what we mean by "faith".

    The ancient Hebrews understood the word "faith" in a more nuanced way.

    When an ancient Hebrew used the word that we translate "faith" he understood something more profound.

    The word in Hebrew is "emen" and is where we get the word "amen" from. This word when we say it does not mean, time for coffee, thank goodness the service is over, or the prayer time is over. It is not a full stop, but it means, we are in agreement with what has been said. On a deeper level, emen means that we accept and move in accord with the agreement. It really means that "I will be faithful to the covenant set before me"

    The fist mention of "emen" is in Genesis chapter 15 when Abraham seeks clarification from God about a promise made to Abraham in chapter 12. God promised that Abram would become a great nation. In the natural this seemed very unlikely since Abram was 99 years old and Sara his wife was 75 years old and they were without offspring. Naturally, Abram said, "How can this be since I have no offspring". So God told Abram to step outside and look up to the stars, count them if you can; so shall your offspring be. And here it is, Abram believed (emen) God, and God reckoned or credited Abram's faith (emen) as  righteousness. I guess that this is a hard concept to grasp.

    According to the Hebrew understanding (not the English or Greek understanding)Abram not only took God's promise to be true, but also trusted in and walked in the promise. His "walk" in his faith became apparent as the Abram narrative progressed, and reached its zenith with Abraham (God changed his name) when God tested him in the near sacrifice of his son, Isaac.

    The promise of God to Abram was not only that he would become a great nation through his offspring, but the great nation would be a blessing to the world. The blessing to the world whist not apparent in Genesis 15, was nothing less than salvation. This salvation could only be acquired by faith, the same quality of faith as that of Abraham. In Galatians, Paul commentates on the promise to Abram as the "Gospel announced in advance". see Galatians chapter 3 verse 8.

    In Genesis chapter 15 which I find is one of the most profound parts of the Abraham narrative, there is a demonstration of God's absolute commitment to His promise to Abraham and his offspring and extending to all the nations. In a cryptic way, it prefigures the death of Jesus as a necessary part of God's declaration of righteousness of the repentant and believing sinner. The two beings that proceeded down the so called avenue of death was the Father and the Son (the "Smoking Brazier" and the "Blazing Torch"). The Father and Son are committing to the death of the Son on order to make the covenant promises to all who believe effective. Understood in this way, brings to life the purpose of the strange staging of Genesis chapter 15. 

    Faith is not blind, it is the logical response to facts and that salvation is an act of the grace of God acquired by faith. Facts can be acquired and assimilated only by the Word of God. My take on Genesis 15 is that Jesus committed himself to his own crucifixion in the future. 

    Trust in Jesus and his crucifixion and resurrection is the only means of salvation for the sinner.

    John Bidwell