Saturday, December 22, 2012

Lesson 5 of Bible Interpretation.

This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.

Rule 5:  Never build a Doctrine on a Type

This link in the chain of rules for correct interpretation is the one which is most flagrantly violated by the cults—and by some who are not misled by false teachers.  It is a rule which, if carefully followed, will prevent a serious spiritual “accident”!  The importance of observing this rule cannot be over emphasized.  Many an earnest believer has had to “pick himself up” after taking a “terrible spill” from either ignoring the rule or of being ignorant of it.  Here’s how our instructor handled the subject:

1 Corinthians 10:6 “Now these things were our examples…11 Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples:* and they are written for our admonition…”

We shall find great value in types (1 Corinthians 10:11).  Here we must use great care.  We cannot build a doctrine on a type lest man’s ingenuity and imagination become authority rather than the word itself. 

A type may be a PERSON (one whose life illustrates some great truth of redemption, as the life of Joseph); an EVENT (the Passover); a THING (the brazen serpent); or a RITUAL (the tabernacle worship).

*The word “ensamples” is literally TYPES; it is the same word “examples” (verse 6); it is found 16 times in the N.T., translated PRINT, FIGURE, PATTERN, FASHION, MANNER, FORM, and EXAMPLE.


            In Galatians 4:22-26, Hagar and Ishmael represent LAW, while Sarah and Isaac represent Grace. 

            Here we must note carefully that no type is EVER complete in itself; there is always an inevitable breakdown, and that break down prevents us from mis-using the type to build a doctrine!  Joseph, for example, is one of the most lucid types of Christ.  In the Record, his life magnifies the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ at almost every turn.  But there is a break down: In the case of Joseph, he died (a natural death, in no way resembling the death of Christ on the cross).  Joseph’s body was embalmed (Christ’s was not).  Many years later his bones were carried out of Egypt to the Promised Land (but the Lord Jesus Christ rose from the dead the third day, and He now ever living at the right hand of the Father where He is making intercession for us!)  Thus the typology of Joseph comes to an abrupt end!  And this is true also of every other type employed in the Bible.   

            Now let us follow the teaching of one of the more or less prominent cults (although they very badly wish to be recognized as “evangelical” so they can deceive many more people), in one of their great doctrinal errors:

            One of the outstanding teachings of Seventh Day Adventism was, for many years, that Satan is the sinbearer, a doctrine built on THE TYPE OF THE SCAPEGOAT.  This teaching by this organization makes Satan equal with Christ in providing salvation.  This teaching is now emphatically denied in their official publication, “Questions on Doctrine” (1957);  but that same official publication reveals enough other doctrines out of harmony with the Word to confirm the longstanding conviction that the essential error is not the question of the seventh day as they would have you to think.  Furthermore, the fact that they have had to change their position indicates that their basic teachings are in error, the TRUTH NEVER CHANGES!  If they, or any cult for that matter, had the TRUTH, they would not be constantly changing their doctrines, nor their emphasis.

            That frank discussion brings up this question: WHAT IS THE BIBLICAL INTERPRETATION OF THE TYPE OF THE SCAPEGOAT?  Only one passage refers to it: Leviticus 16.  Two goats are required to convey one truth.  One goat typifies the death of Christ!  This goat is offered “for a sin offering” (verse 9).  This goat is burned completely as a picture of how Christ endured the fires of judgement in bringing us our redemption!  But that goat is now unable to do anything further.  It is nothing but a goat, and, having been sacrificed, has been burned up completely on the altar!  All that remains of it are ashes!
            Another goat is needed, if the typology is to be completed.  The first goat fully portrays the death of Christ for our sins—but Christ did more than just die for us!  We read in Colossians 2:14 that in His finished work on Calvary, He took our sins “out of the way, nailing them to His cross”.  The goat, which was sacrificed, now dead, and consumed in the fire, cannot typify this part of our perfected redemption, the second goat is brought in:

Leviticus 16:10 “But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”

The key phrase here is: “to make an atonement WITH him…”—both goats are required to picture one truth!  This second goat fulfills the typology of the completed atonement—one is not adequate!  How is this done?  Note the specified procedure:

Leviticus 16:21  “And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness:”

In the ceremonial law, Aaron, in typology, transfers the sins of Israel to the head of the goat.  Then this goat—the scapegoat—is taken to the wilderness and released, picturing the fact that our sins will be remembered against us no more, for ever.  While, typically, we might be saved from our past sins by the death of our Lord, unless they werer completely taken away from us, we would know no spiritual victory!  And that’s the truth of being “saved by his life” as revealed in:

Romans 5:10 “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life.”

Now—the important thing regarding SCAPEGOAT theology of that cult:  There is no “fit man by whom to lead Satan (if he were that scapegoat) out into the wilderness; nor could we trust Satan to take our sins away, for the Devil is so deceitful, so untrustworthy, he would have them right back on us, just as soon as that “fit man should release him in the wilderness!

No type is complete in itself; therefore, never build a doctrine upon a type!

In his book, “CHRIST IN THE BOOK OF DANIEL”, Dr. Lowe adds another statement worth noting:

Typology cannot teach doctrine but, rather, doctrine must point out the type.  Types do not prove the New Testament truth but they do illustrate it.  First, the doctrine must be known, then and Old Testament window will let in the light.  There is no N.T. doctrine but what is illustrated by some O.T. type.

So, link Five in this chain of Biblical rules must be kept ever before the Bible student:


Friday, December 21, 2012

Lesson 4.1 of Bible Interpretation.

 This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.

Rule 4: (cont.) The Bible is a Progressive Revelation

If we keep this in mind, we will not go back to unfulfilled events (number 2 from the previous post) and ASK for the Holy Spirit – for, when we were saved – born from above – we were SEALED…indwelt by the Holy Spirit…we were baptized into His Body (that it, we were placed into the Body of Christ, the true Church) – all in one simultaneous event!  We may also have been “filled with the Spirit” at that same moment; but for most of us, that filling did not come until we were conscience of our need for special spiritual strength for some immediate task, and, seeking His aid, He imparted a special filling by which that task was accomplished for Hid glory.  Just as we need daily cleansing as we become conscience of sin in our lives, so we need special filling to be used of Him for His glory!
          Today the “laying on of hands” is a symbolic gesture by which one is set apart, or ordained, for the special service of the Lord.  There is no merit in the ceremonial act of having other believers participate by laying their hands upon the head of such an one, praying for him.  It merely “goes on public record” that one has been called of God for special service., and this is acknowledged by the local assembly of believers.
          The important factor, however, in this treatise, is that the Bible IS a PROGRESSIVE REVELATION, and that the foregoing points illustrate this fact.  If the reader is questioning some particular truth, simply gather all the verses on this theme in chronological order, and come to your understanding of the truth regarding that subject by considering what was revealed earlier, and that which is now applicable to the present Church Age, the Age of Grace!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Lesson 4 of Bible Interpretation

This lesson is borrowed from the booklet “Seven rules for Bible Interpretation”, written by REV. M. L. LOWE, D.D. with supplemental material by David W. Holden.
(My words in Red)
Rule 4:  The Bible is a Progressive Revelation

          We come now to the middle link in this chain of seven practical rules for studying God’s Holy Word.  It is very appropriate that this link should be connecting the first three with the last three.  We are finding that no one link is of less importance than any other; and, conversely, no one link is actually stronger than its mates!  All are vital, and each has its own place in the Bible Interpretation chain.  We pick up the notes as given by our beloved teacher:

Mark 4:28  For the earth bringeth forth fruit of herself; first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.

In Mark 4:28, Jesus gives the comparison from the realm of the natural—the seed sown first produces the blade, then the ear, and after that the full corn in the ear.  So with the Bible revelation: it is progressive.
Study the progression concerning prayer:  In the Old Testament we find David, and others, praying three times a day, with their faces towards Jerusalem.  Taken alone, we would follow this as an injunction, but there is much more:

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.
1Thessalonians 5:17 Pray without ceasing.

There is a time for regular prayer (three times a day); a time to enter into the closet (and shut the world out), but as believers we are to always be in “prayer communication,” no matter what we are doing.  “Praying always…”

In other words never say “AMEN” in your own private prayer life!

            The subject of the revelations which are progressively given throughout the entire Scripture is exceedingly broad in scope.  From Genesis (4:26) to Revelation (14:6) there are literally hundreds of references on the agenda of PRAYER.  That this must be treated as a “progressive revelation” seem clearly apparent.  If it is not handled in this manner, what have we?  Perhaps we would, like Abraham, pleading for the preservation of Sodom, try to always “bargain” with the Lord as the number required to persuade God to withhold judgement!  Or, perhaps, like the so-called “Christian scientists” (neither Christian nor scientific), we would do away with all public prayers on the basis of Matthew 6:6.  Or, if we isolate Revelation 5:8 from the rest of the Book, and consider only “golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints,” we would soon intrude into the formal worship with much incense, and allow the odor of the incense to do our praying for us.  Or, if we take one thought from Romans 8:26, and center our supplication on the “groaning which cannot be uttered,” our prayer time would be a bedlam of miserable sounds (even though it says they “cannot be uttered”)!!!
            How can the believer come to a proper balance in the understanding of prayer?...the posture?...the perseverance?...the pressure?...the perimeter?  Only by recognizing that the Psalmists knew more about prayer than the Patriarchs; the Disciples than the Psalmists, and the New Testament church than the Disciples.  The Epistles are our final authority on the subject of prayer. 
            How can we apply the truth, once we have examined this progression of revelation regarding prayer?  We follow the teachings in the Epistles, and we use the prayers of the prophets for helpful instructions.  We do not disregard any truth revealed in any part of the Book, but we align each teaching with how the truth is applied to believers in the Age of Grace.  We need it all; and we learn the lesson in the light of the progressive revelation!

            The Trinity:  In the O.T., the Trinity is only intimated through the use of the plural noun, Elohim, and the plural pronouns (Us, Our, etc, Gen. 1:26,3:5, etc).  But a declaration is made in the N.T. where only the intimation was made in the O.T.  At the baptism of Jesus: He is in the water; The Holy Spirit is revealed as a dove; and the Father speaks from Heaven.  
            Study what is revealed about The Holy Spirit: 
1. In the O.T., the Spirit came “upon” believers, and in a few instances, “filled” them; but in no case is it revealed that He abode with them in the sense of “indwelling”.  It could then be rightly prayed:
Psalm 51:11 “…take not Thy Holy Spirit from me.”

            Unmindful of the revelation concerning The Holy Spirit (which we are now in the process of studying in detail), many uninstructed believers live in fear that He shall be taken from them, and that, by His Departure, they will lose their salvation.  Many equate the prayer of David under the Law with the terrible fact of the unpardonable sin.  If this is your problem, what lies before you on the next pages is of inestimable value to you!  Although it is true that The Holy Spirit can be “greived, (Eph. 4:30); He can be “quenched”, that is, not given His rightful place in the local church assembly (1 Thess. 5:19); and He can be insulted, held in disdain—“…hath done despite to” (Heb. 10:29), He is never from any true believer!  So PSALM 51:11 should never be included in the prayer of any child of God in this Age of Grace!  To see why this is so, follow the progressive revelation concerning The Holy Spirit:
2.   In the days of Christ’s flesh, He gave the disciples the privilege of receiving the Spirit by asking:
Luke 11:13 “…how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?

Think of the difference it would have made in the lives of the disciples if they had been alert and responded to their Lord’s magnificent offer.  But they were unaware of the Person of The Holy Spirit.  (They were much more concerned about who would have the place of honor at the right hand and the left hand of the Lord when he would be seated on His throne during the coming Kingdom Age!)  How much they missed because…

3. None of the disciples asked, so we read:
John 20:22 “…he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:
which is the indwelling of the Spirit.
4. Then we read o the baptism and filling, in
Acts 2:1“…the day of Pentecost…4they were all filled with the Holy Ghost,…”
5. This is followed by
Acts 8:17 “Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.”
Here The Holy Spirit is given by the act of laying on of hands.

6. But, in Acts 10:44, we find The Holy Spirit is given immediately upon conversion without human aid.
Acts 10:44 “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.”
7. Then, in Eph. 1:13, The Holy Spirit is given upon conversion, apart from human ceremony.

Eph. 1:13 “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,”

And that’s where we stand now!

This chapter will continue in my next post