I Sing the Mighty Power of God.

I sing the mighty power of God, that made the mountains rise,
That spread the flowing seas abroad, and built the lofty skies.
I sing the wisdom that ordained the sun to rule the day;
The moon shines full at His command, and all the stars obey.

I sing the goodness of the Lord, who filled the earth with food,
Who formed the creatures through His Word, and then pronounced them good.
Lord, how Thy wonders are displayed, where’er I turn my eye,
If I survey the ground I tread, or gaze upon the sky.

There’s not a plant or flower below, but makes Thy glories known,
And clouds arise, and tempests blow, by order from Thy throne;
While all that borrows life from Thee is ever in Thy care;
And everywhere that man can be, Thou, God, art present there.

Isaac Watts, 1674 – 1748

For by him (Jesus Christ) were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

Colossians 1:16&17

How Did He Miss Jesus Christ?

Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark.  In our obscurity, in all this vastness, there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves.  Carl Sagan

But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, Galatians 4:4

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,

Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.  Matthew 1:18-23

See blog archives for article entitled, Who Is Jesus?

The Shadow of the Cross

Just about everyone in our country will celebrate Christmas this year, but not all for the same reason.  For some it is the peak time of the year for their business.  For some it is time for a few days off; a break from work.  For some it is the time to get what you want.  Many will celebrate with lights, decorations, and seasonal music. Many will celebrate with good eating and family.  For some it is all about baby Jesus, the shepherds and wise men. The manger scene will be the focal point for many religious people.

Each of these scenes carry with them various motives for celebrating Christmas.  For some it is recreating the many fond memories of Christmas with family.  It is sentimentality.  For some it is as basic as getting stuff.  It is all about me!  For some it is all about the music of Christmas, not necessarily Christian music.  It is emotion.  For some it is the setting, a white Christmas.  It is an ideal.  For many it is about feeling good.  It is giving and helping others.

Christmas can consist of all these things, but in reality, it is a time of revelation and of sobriety.  It is a time to remember that God, our Creator, clothed Himself with humanity in order that He might redeem us from our sin by His substitutionary* death, burial and resurrection.  It took a perfect life to fulfill the demands of the law and to satisfy the justice of God.  He provided this Himself in the form of His Son, Jesus Christ, who was fully God and fully man.

Humanity somehow misses this revelation.  We cannot get past the manger scene which rests in the shadow of the cross.

*Substitute – One that takes the place of another.


Speaking in Tongues – Part IV – When Do Tongues Cease?

Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.                         I Corinthians 13:8-12

Charity never faileth:

Charity or biblical love, the fruit of the Spirit, is everlasting.  It will never be abolished.  Biblical love will never be rendered inactive.  The fruit of the Spirit will last throughout eternity.

but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail;

Propheteia is the speaking forth of the mind and counsel of God….prophecy is not necessarily, nor even primarily, fore-telling.  It is the declaration of that which cannot be known by natural means….it is the forth telling of the will of God.  In contrast to love lasting forever, Paul states that prophecies shall fail (be rendered inactive).*  

whether there be tongues, they shall cease;

Glossolalia or tongues is the supernatural gift of speaking in another language without its having been learned. Acts 2:4-13  Pauo or cease means to stop, to make an end and is used chiefly in the middle voice in the NT, signifying to come to an end,…….a willing cessation (in contrast to the passive voice which denotes a forced cessation).*

whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

Ginosko (knowledge) signifies to be taking in knowledge, to come to know, recognize, understand*….……this is the process of learning.  Vanish from katargeo means to abolish, to be done away.*  It is the same word for fail in reference to prophecy which means to be rendered inactive.*

For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect (complete/entire) is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Prophecies and knowledge we have in part.  That which is in part shall be rendered inactive.  This will happen when that which is perfect is comeWhat is “that which is perfect” referring to?

Some say it is Christ, but the word perfect (teleiov) is neuter, so it can’t be Him.  Some say it refers to the completion of the canon of Scripture, but we still prophesy (forth telling the will of God) and knowledge (learning) is still necessary for the believer’s spiritual growth.  That which is perfect or complete, therefore, must be referring to eternity with Christ. 

The forth telling of the will of God will no longer be necessary in eternity because all those in God’s presence will be redeemed and in His will.  Learning will no longer be necessary, because we will know even as we are known,   The last two verses in this passage lend themselves to this;  When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.  For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. 

But what about tongues?  Paul says tongues shall cease in and of themselves.  When will this happen?  It will happen when the sign gifts are no longer necessary.

Remember that tongues were for a sign.  The sign gifts were the gifts of healing, miracles and tongues.  Whenever these gifts were exercised, unbelieving Jews were present.  The sign gifts were to confirm to the Jew that what he was seeing and hearing was of God.  The sign gift of speaking in tongues warned of coming judgment for the rejection of God’s rule per Paul’s instruction in      I Corinthians 14:21&22 which quotes Isaiah 28:11&12.

The Jewish religious leaders completed their rejection of the Messiah and His kingdom by turning Christ over to the Roman authorities for the death penalty.  The sign gifts would continue to warn of God’s judgment until judgment fell.  When Titus destroyed Jerusalem in 70 AD there was no longer a need for the sign gifts to Israel.  

God’s revelation of Himself to mankind through a nation of peculiar people (Israel) has been suspended throughout the period of the church age.  When the believing church (which includes both regenerate Jews and Gentiles) is complete, the last soul is saved, and the church is raptured (caught up) out of this world, God will once again deal with Israel as a nation.  He will deliver Israel from their enemies and restore to the nation His kingdom as they call on Messiah Jesus for deliverance in the last days.

Pray for the peace of Israel.

Note:  This is the fourth section in a series of studies on Speaking in Tongues in this blog.  I would invite you to review the previous three studies, if you haven’t already, because they build upon each other.

For a more complete study of this topic please read The Corinthian Catastrophe by George E. Gardner; copyright 1974 by Kregel Publications.

To be continued, as the apostle Paul lay down the priorities and rules for speaking in tongues in I Corinthians 14.

*Vine’s Complete Expository Dictionary of  Old and New Testament Words by Unger & White.  Copyright 1984, 1996  Thomas Nelson, Inc.