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Hebrews 7:4-10 by Robert Dean
Series:Hebrews (2005)
Duration:59 mins 10 secs

Hebrews Lesson 89  May 24, 2007 

 

NKJ Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.

 

Somebody sent me this in an email the other day. I read it and was somewhat shocked - although not really after what I said on Tuesday night talking about how we no longer have freedom in this nation. It is just a sham. We live under tyranny. This came the next day and so I thought I would read it to you. 

 

The source of this is the Illinois State Rifle Association. The headline for the article is "Confiscation of Registered Guns Begins in Illinois". 

 

The Chicago Police Department and the Illinois State Police have teamed up to make good on Mayor Daley's pledge that if it were up to him nobody would have a gun. Daley and his elite CAGE (that is an acronym) Unit are apparently taking advantage of gun privacy loopholes to pinpoint certain individuals for inclusion in the confiscation program. The ISRA (that is the Illinois State Rifle Association) is following up on leads in one case that has disturbing implications. An elderly first generation Chicago resident was recently paid a visit by an Illinois State Police trooper. 

 

After asking to come inside the man's home, the trooper asked if the man owned a gun to which he replied, "Yes."

 

The question then is, is honesty the best policy? 

 

The trooper then directed the individual to surrender the firearm. 

 

Remember, this man hasn't done anything wrong. He hasn't violated any law whatsoever. 

 

The man complied with the officer's demand and the trooper left with the gun. The story gets better. The gun in question was purchased legally by the man in the 1970's shortly after he became a US citizen. When Chicago's infamous gun registration scheme went into effect in the early 1980's the man registered the firearm as per the requirement. However over the years the fellow apparently forgot to re-register the firearm and forgot to renew his Illinois FOID card. 

 

I am not sure what that is - probably some sort of firearms identification card. 

 

So what does this all mean? In the last edition of the Illinois Shooter we reported on the activities of a shady task force known as the Chicago Anti-Gun Enforcement Unit. That is CAGE. This elite squad operated jointly by the Illinois State Police, the Chicago Police Department and the Cook County State Attorney's office supposedly exists to identify illegal gunrunners. However information gained by the ISRA makes it clear that the CAGE Unit is targeting law-abiding citizens, not criminal gunrunners. Thanks to a ruling by a liberal federal judge, this CAGE Unit now has the name of every single person in the United States who since 1992 lawfully purchased more than one handgun in the period of a week. The CAGE unit also has all the makes, model and serial numbers of those guns. 

 

In essence the Chicago Police Department is now registering guns and gun owners nationwide.  The ISRA has also learned that the CAGE unit has compiled a list of families where more than one person in that family holds an FOID card. Acting on that information the CAGE unit is now contacting gun shops where those families have shopped and is illegally registering all guns purchased by those families. Now it appears that the CAGE unit is scrubbing Chicago's gun registration list against the list of FOID cardholders. Indications are that folks who have let their registrations and FOID's lapse will have their guns confiscated. We have to wonder how long it will be until state troopers show up at the doors to confiscate the guns of non-Chicago residents who have let their FOID's expire. 

 

You see when law enforcement has no respect for the Constitution because the judicial system has no respect for the Constitution because nobody knows how to apply literal historical grammatical interpretation to law anymore, law becomes a very fluid – whatever you think and I may think what the law actually says is just up for grabs. It depends on how any liberal judge can come along and redefine and reinterpret the law. He can make black mean white and white mean black. The result is a continuation of judicial tyranny brought about by liberals – not just democrats. There are some democrats – they may be few. 

 

You know there is an "n" letter left out of that word – demoncrat. 

 

There are some democrats who might be conservative. And there are a heck of a lot of republicans who are liberal. They are not moderate; they're liberal.  Most of these republicans that are running today (I know I am getting awfully political) are to the left of John F. Kennedy in the early 60's. We wonder why things are the way they are. It is because everybody is affected by some sort of non-literal subjective interpretation because they bought the lie that the Constitution is a living document. 

 

When you have Christians who can't interpret the Scripture literally think that they are voting for anybody in the White House and that their Christianity influences their vote, they are as self-deceived as any liberal because 95% of the subjective Christians that are out there today have no idea how to literally, correctly interpret the Bible. So, how can they interpret anything when it comes to law? That is why we have a President who continues to – he has one or two good points and the rest are just as bad as any democrat because he doesn't understand absolutes. Unless we have any politician in office who understands absolutes, we are in trouble. 

 

But they are a reflection. We get exactly what we deserve. They are a reflection of the culture and we are getting exactly what we deserve. We need to take warning as believers. This isn't getting better and it's not going to get better. It may be much worse. As I pointed out the other night, who would have thought that the US Congress would even entertain some of the hate speech legislation that they have voted in favor of to have the President sign? I mean it is a direct violation of the Bill of Rights. Yet again and again and again we are going to see reverse reasoning take place as subjective emotional post-modern liberal legislators call white black and black white. The enemy in all this is going to be anybody who believes that there is anything that is absolute, especially if it has to do with God or religion. You have that evil religion gene in your system and you need to be taken out and put into some kind of concentration camp.  We were wrong in doing that with the Japanese, but we will be justified in doing it with the Christians. Trust me. It is coming!

 

We are in our study of Hebrews. We ought to pause for about 10 seconds and have silent prayer again so everybody can get back in fellowship. We are in our study of Hebrews in Hebrews 7:8-10. Don't turn there yet because that is our jumping off spot. We have been dealing with the whole issue of the origin of life. We have one more passage to cover before we go to the next issue that comes out of these verses in Hebrews 7:8-10.

 

Open your Bibles to Exodus 21. We are in the midst in Exodus 21 of the Mosaic Law which provides the law code, the civil ceremonial code for the Jews in the land. It is an expression of the righteousness and the justice of God. It's based on what is known as case law. That means the Mosaic Law does not address every possible instance in relation to specific situations of legal violation, illegality, or criminality. It addresses it in the sense of giving examples within each category and then it would be up to the Jews as they develop their code of law to operate within that framework. 

 

That seems to be the policy that God follows from the very inception in Genesis. Genesis 1 - God initiates human vocabulary. He calls the light day and darkness night. He begins to identify certain creatures. He identifies the sun and the moon and other things. He initiates human vocabulary, but then it is up to Adam to carry on the process within the framework of what God has revealed. The same is true in the way that God has revealed doctrine. God revealed doctrine in the framework of different kinds of literature. You have historical narrative. You have poetry. You have different types of epistles and the gospels. All of these are different types of literature. 

 

God did not sit down and reveal to us a systematic theology. You don't open the Bible to page one and get prolegomena. You do if you open up Chafer's Systematic Theology or Berkoff's Systematic Theology or any standard systematic theology. But that is not how God did it. God did it in such a way that He encapsulates all of the categories of doctrine within different kinds of literature. You have historical literature because it is a man's purpose. He is designed for the purpose of us to come along and to study and analyze the text and then extrapolate from the text the categories and then to build and develop our understanding of the categories down through the years. In the same way Adam began to evaluate all the animals in the garden. He began to recognize that some were large and some were small. Some had long necks; some had short necks. Some flew; some didn't fly. What he had to do was to organize the data, categorize it, classify it and then come up with nomenclature that was beyond what God had already initiated in order to properly reflect the nature of all these different creatures. 

 

You see this same pattern all the way through Scripture. God expects man to use the intelligence, the brain that God has given him, within the framework of divine revelation in order to develop his thinking. 

 

The same way with the believer - when you face problems in life, what the average believer wants to do is pray to God and say, "Get me an answer."

 

And we expect something in the morning mail! What God expects for us to do is go to the Scriptures and think deeply and profoundly about those Scriptures and how they relate to what we are doing so that our minds are engaged in what God has revealed and under the teaching ministry of God the Holy Spirit, we begin to understand how to think and God's thinking. That is how wisdom is developed. Well, all of that fits within the basic way in which God revealed the Mosaic Law. I talk about every kind of situation, but it gives the parameters so that on the basis of case law, other laws can be developed facing similar type circumstances. That is the kind of thing that we have in Exodus 21. There are different kinds of case laws set out here concerning violence. If you look back in Exodus 21:12…

 

NKJ Exodus 21:12 " He who strikes a man so that he dies shall surely be put to death.

 

That is your basic principle of capital punishment. Capital punishment isn't grounded in the Mosaic Law. Capital punishment is grounded back in the Noahic Covenant because it is God's principle for the era between the Noahic Covenant and the return of Christ. That is a standard procedure. 

 

But there are exceptions to this particular law. 

 

NKJ Exodus 21:13 "However, if he did not lie in wait, but God delivered him into his hand, then I will appoint for you a place where he may flee.

 

In other words if it is not premeditated and it is accidental, then God sets up these cities of refuge where the person who committed manslaughter can flee.  He can live within the confines of one of those cities of refuge, but if he ever comes out then he is subject to the law of retaliation.

 

NKJ Exodus 21:14 " But if a man acts with premeditation against his neighbor, to kill him by treachery, you shall take him from My altar, that he may die.

 

In other words there is no sanctuary for him because of the premeditation involved in that particular kind of murder. 

 

NKJ Exodus 21:15 " And he who strikes his father or his mother shall surely be put to death.

 

If you have a parental abuse, then that is punishable by capital punishment and the child's life should be taken in order to keep the cancer of lack of authority orientation and rebellion - keep that cancer out of the culture. 

 

It is interesting. I was talking to someone the other day. They were commenting on the fact – they had been up to Dallas Seminary talking to one of the counselors on staff up there about one of the major problems coming into the seminary today. With the young people coming right out of college, they don't have authority orientation. Because of that they get into all kinds of personal, moral problems and other problems that wouldn't have been a part of the package to the same degree 20 or 30 years ago. They have no concept of authority orientation. That is a problem that has to be dealt with, with students on campus. This is why God addresses the problem of the rebellious child so much. 

 

Verses 16 down through 20 give other aspects. It is interesting. Look at verse 20.

 

NKJ Exodus 21:20 " And if a man beats his male or female servant with a rod,

 

Something that would be considered quite heinous in our society…

 

so that he dies under his hand, he shall surely be punished.

 

NKJ Exodus 21:21 "Notwithstanding, if he remains alive a day or two, he shall not be punished; for he is his property.

 

If you read that verse from the framework of the kind of liberalism that has influenced American thinking about slavery since the early 1800's, then you are going to have problems interpreting that verse. Again and again in the Mosaic Law God does something really funny. If a man owns…. If I go out and kill a Jew next door and it is premeditated, then I am supposed to come under capital punishment. But if the guy who lives next door is a Moabite and he is not a Jew or if he is a slave, then the punishment is different. He is still full human life, but see God is not wrong in this. 

 

We have to come to the presupposition that as Paul says in Romans 7…

 

NKJ Romans 7:12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

 

It's not wrong.  Well, maybe our modern thinking is influenced by some false value system that is applying this to these different situations. 

 

Slavery was authorized in the Mosaic Law. God doesn't authorize sin folks. That is what your presupposition needs to be. God doesn't authorize and validate sin. But the kind of slavery that was practiced in Israel was a slavery that had a lot of outs. It had a lot of ways in which the individual slave could get out of it. He only stayed there for life if he chose to. That's why he was to pierce his ear with an awl. It was a visible sign that he had voluntary chosen a life of slavery. But it was designed to provide a safety net for people who had used their credit cards too much and gotten involved in too much debt and couldn't get out of debt.  So now they could indenture themselves. That is the word we would use. They would indenture themselves to a master and work off their debt. Then at the end of 7 years or 5 years or 4 years or whenever the sabbatical year would come - what would happen at the end of that time period? Actually it was the Year of Jubilee. When the Year of Jubilee would come at the 50th year and all debts would be repaid. They would become free.  They could also work and buy their freedom back. So there were all kinds of ways. There wasn't the kind of chattel slavery that was practiced in the United States. That was a different kind of slavery. But, the issue is that slavery per se is not in and of itself an evil. 

 

That is what you get from people like Charles Grandison Finney who is the real father of the abolitionist movement in America. He had a bad theology. We have gone over that before. He didn't believe that man was inherently a sinner. He didn't believe in substitutionary atonement. He did believe that man was perfectible and therefore society was perfectible. What we have to do to perfect society is get rid of the big 5 evil sins of the 19th century. That is still with us today. You have to get rid of slavery. You have to get rid of child labor. Women have to be able to vote. You have to get rid of the evil alcohol. This was all part of the social scenario there. 

 

So we have to look at the Scripture and say that the Scripture gives us the framework for how laws should function. 

 

We don't start off with some abstract idea developed from our culture and then come back and read that into the Bible and say, "Oh look. The slave here is going to be treated as property." 

 

That is wrong. 

 

"Well, this must be some barbaric law code." 

 

That is what liberal theologians do. That is how they read this and that is why they come up with the idea that the Bible is just some historically developed literature and religion just like every other religion. So they are imposing Darwinistic evolution of religion viewpoint on the Scripture. 

 

So all that just by way of introduction to get into our passage. In Exodus 21:22 we have one of the few passages that people go to, to try to argue that there is life in the womb and this is the best that you can come up with scripturally in a case that involves abortion.

 

If you look at verse 22 it reads….

 

NKJ Exodus 21:22 " If men fight, and hurt a woman with child, so that she gives birth prematurely, yet no harm follows, he shall surely be punished accordingly as the woman's husband imposes on him; and he shall pay as the judges determine.

 

That is a translation from the New King James Version and that is a superior translation to the one in the New American Standard. The New American Standard says…

 

NAS Exodus 21:22 "And if men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further injury, he shall surely be fined as the woman's husband may demand of him; and he shall pay as the judges decide.

 

See, there is the difference. If you see NASB says "miscarriage" but the New King James says "give birth prematurely". That is the more accurate translation because as I have noted in this particular slide the verb there is jatsa which is the standard verb for giving birth. It is the same verb that is used of the birth of Jacob in Genesis 25:26. It is a verb that always indicates a live birth. Live birth means that the baby comes out and takes a breath and at that point as we have studied receives the impartation of the soul and at that point becomes fully alive - fully ensouled. 

 

The situation here is that men struggle with each other and strike a woman with child so that she has a miscarriage, yet there is no further – that word further isn't in the Hebrew of verse 22. It is not in the Hebrew of verse 23. It needs to be read…

 

NKJ Exodus 21:23 "But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,

 

The harm that comes to the child is post-birth harm. It's a result of the situation. The child subsequent to birth comes under some sort of injury. That is what the law is addressing - not what happens in line with a miscarriage – causing the miscarriage and not a live birth. We are talking about a live birth here. This doesn't have anything to do therefore with the subject of abortion. It has to do though with the value of life. Now once the child is born, the child receives neshamah – the breath of life from God. And therefore the law related to the precious value of human life comes into effect. Under the Mosaic Law you have the principle that was known as lex talionis, which is the law of retaliation of an eye for an eye and so forth. This is what is explained in verse 23 and following. 

 

NKJ Exodus 21:23 "But if any harm follows, then you shall give life for life,

 

NKJ Exodus 21:24 "eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot,

 

NKJ Exodus 21:25 "burn for burn, wound for wound, stripe for stripe.

 

Now that "under the law" is really again a figure of speech. We have been studying that on Sunday morning. We studied figures of speech. It is the idea that the penalty fits the crime. The penalty fits the crimes - not that if I knock out your tooth you have to in turn knock out my tooth. If you look at the Scriptures, often there are financial penalties assessed for certain kinds of damage. So it's not identical. It is not to be taken literally, but the idea of retaliation in kind so that the punishment fits the crime. This should be assessed if there is subsequence damage. These two men are fighting and they hurt a woman. So if there is damage to the woman or there is injury to the child after birth, then there should be the application of lex talionis

 

That pretty much takes us through and completes our study on the origin of life, so let's have a review here to go over some basic principles that we have gone through in our study. 

 

  1. Man is created in the image and likeness to God. Genesis 1:26-27. This is your starting point. There is something unique about human beings. They are distinguished from all other creatures because they are in the image and the likeness of God. That is fundamental. We have to understand as we go through this that this doesn't involve simply the soul. This is talking about the totality of man. Those words that are used there in the Hebrew as I developed when we went through the passage were words that were typically used in the ancient world in covenant context. Remember Genesis 1:26-28 is part of the covenant context – part of the creation covenant. That in those contexts this word is used of a representative of a king. That is what is happening with man. He has been created as God's vice gerent to rule over creation as His representative. So he is designed to represent God as the king of the earth. Now he is going to fail, but that is the original intent. It applies not only to the immaterial part of man, but also to the material part of man. Now I am not saying that God looks like man with two eyes and two ears and ten fingers and ten toes. I am not saying that. But I am saying that man is designed to represent God so that when we come to Hebrews 10:5 it is the Lord Jesus Christ who says at the time of the incarnation… 

 

NKJ Hebrews 10:5 Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: "Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.

 

I made the point there that we have to come to grips with. When God is sitting there anthropomorphically in Genesis 2:7 and He is playing with the clay that is going to be the body of the man, He is thinking 4,000 years ahead to the fact that the Second Person of the Trinity is going to be incarnating Himself into this body. So whatever the body looks like, however it is shaped, whatever its capabilities are, it's got to be the highest and best form for the function of revealing eternal God to finite mankind. 

 

God just doesn't pick this shape by tossing the dice and saying, "It seems like a good idea. I think we can cause a few things to happen." 

 

He is intentionally choosing this form, this shape, this structure because the infinite Second Person of the Trinity is going to incarnate Himself, going to become finite and express and reveal the deity, the essence, the attributes of God through this finite representation. That is the same thing that Adam is. That is whole we are going to get into with the first Adam and the Second Adam. The first Adam is designed to represent God. He fails.  The Second Adam comes along and represents God not just in terms of His internal attributes, but also in terms externally. He is a physical representation of God. This idea that minimizes the body comes out of Platonism. In Platonism as we have studied you have this idea that matter is inherently evil. That which is spiritual, the ideal – that is what's best. So in Platonism matter was evil. 

 

Now when Neo-Platonism came along and affected Christian thought they knew that matter was good because at the end of Genesis 1 when God has created the material world, the material universe He says, "It is all good."

 

So we can't say that the material world is bad, but it is not that important. So neo-Platonism led them to stress the ideal - stress the soul over the body, stress the spiritual over the physical. That led to all kinds of dichotomies in their thinking and led to all kinds of problems. What we have to do is reign that back in and recognize that throughout the Bible there is an emphasis on the physical, an emphasis on the material body. This is why you have a physical bodily resurrection of Jesus. It's not this idealized resurrection that occurs at the end of one of the movies – Zepharaelli's Jesus of Nazareth that came out in the late 80's. They hear this disembodied spirit because Jesus rose in your hearts. No, it is a physical bodily resurrection that the same body that was lying in the tomb is somehow chained to the resurrection body. That is why when Mary Magdalene goes into the tomb, when Peter and John go into the tomb, what do they see? They see that the body that Jesus had in His incarnation is gone. 

 

If God were giving Him a new body He could have given Him a new body because the body is irrelevant. But, body is not irrelevant. What he had as a physical body prior to the resurrection is the same body. When it comes out of the tomb the napkin that covered His head, the clothes that covered His body – they are gone. I mean they are lying there in the same place because the body is gone. The body is important. 

 

Christians have done a terrible time through the centuries dealing with the importance of the body. This is why Paul emphasizes this in different places in I Corinthians. The body is important. It's not just the immaterial part, the immaterial soul. So we have to surgically remove a lot of this cosmic thinking that comes out of humanistic philosophy from our thinking. It has impacted Christianity way too much over the years. So we recognize that there is an importance on both the physical home for the soul. It is very important. God is directly involved in it even though He does it through indirect processes as I pointed out as we went through all of those studies. Many passages in Scripture state or express God's involvement of things with very direct terminology even though God is using secondary means such as weather, such as He prepared a great fish to take Jonah back to the direction he was supposed to go. He uses intermediate means. 

 

When we talk about being saved we say, "God saved me."

 

Yes, but He used an intermediary to give me the gospel. He uses intermediate means but yet we still speak as if God did it directly. So you have passages in Job, you have passages in Psalm 39 that talk about God forming the physical body. It stresses the importance of the physical body and its preparation. You can't dismiss it as just a mass of cells and blood and muscle and tissue. It is that which is going to form the home for the soul. It is an image bearer in the making.

  1. The terms used throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament emphasize that the parameters of life are birth and death, birth and death, birth and death, birth and death- not conception. We saw that the Jews, the Israelites had a noun for conception and they very easily could have used a prepositional phrase "from conception" to express the beginning of life, but they didn't. They used rather a circumlocution that was an idiom for birth because they didn't have a noun for birth. So they used the phrase "from the womb". That phrase "from the womb" is recognized by numerous scholars from all manner of different theological frameworks as being an idiom for "from birth". So the parameters of life once again are from birth to death because birth is when the soul is imparted. Nowhere in the Bible is conception used as the starting point for life. Job 3:3 is not talking about the starting point of life. It is talking about at conception the masculinity was known. That is the physical life. It doesn't say anything about the soul. 
  2. Genesis 2:7 which is when God forms the body of Adam - that provides the framework for understanding the two components for human life - the physical body (the home for the soul) and the soul. Neither ever exists autonomously apart from the other. Notice I said autonomously. You have the soul that doesn't ever exist without a body. You have an interim body between physical death and the Rapture. Then you have your resurrection body. The soul always has a body. The soul can't hear, see, taste, communicate, has nothing by way of interaction with God or anything else without some form of body even if it is an immaterial body. There must be some form of a body. On the other hand, the body without the soul doesn't do anything. They are interdependent. Both are important.
  3. Life as we saw from Genesis 2:7 is indicated by breath and breathing. God breathes (an anthropomorphism). God breathes into the body that He has prepared for Adam. Adam becomes alive literally – not a living soul. We saw that the phrase is used of fish; it is used of birds; it is used of other beasts. That nephesh hajah indicates life. It goes from being inanimate matter to animate matter. Now that is a unique situation. That is not what happens to anybody else because you have a process of the formation of the physical body that takes place in the womb not out from the womb.  Once the physical home is ready and prepared, then you have the impartation of the soul
  4. John the Baptist is not an example of activity inside of the womb prior to birth. As we saw, the filling of the Spirit there is not the same as Ephesians 5:18 (filling of the Spirit); but it is similar to the enduement that takes place in the Old Testament. Once again the terminology there is ek kolia – out from the womb or from the womb or from birth as the NIV translates it there. He was going to be filled with the Spirit from birth. So it is not talking about activity in the womb. 
  5. As we just saw in Exodus, Exodus is talking about a post-birth problem not an in-the-womb problem.
  6. Conclusion: It is the same as what I said the traditional Jewish position was and I read from the article in the Encyclopedia of Judaism several weeks ago that according to rabbinical thought according to the Talmud (according to tradition going back at least to the time of Christ if not before), the tradition was that an individual doesn't become an individual (a full human being) until birth when it becomes nephesh. It is not until then. Up to that point, it is a human being in process; and therefore the position that has always been taught in Judaism is you don't mess with what is in the womb unless it is to save the life of the mother because what you are messing with is an image bearer in process. Only God has the right to interfere. It may not be murder, but it is next to murder. It is immoral clearly. Sinful? Yes, but it is not murder. Therefore because it's not murder, it should not be part of law. This takes me to point 8.
  7. Since we can only know when the soul enters the body on the basis of revelation – you can't know it in the laboratory. There is no laboratory experiment known to man that can identify the presence of the soul. You can identify the presence of a heartbeat. You can identify the presence of various physiological activities, but you can't identify the presence of the soul through any kind of empiricism. You can only know that on the basis of revelation. Since revelation can only be understood by believers…

 

NKJ 1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

 

If you trace that Greek word there for "things" all the way through that passage from about 2:8 all the way down to the end of the chapter, it refers to the things which the eye has not seen, ears have not heard, neither has it entered into the heart of man. In other words, it is talking about knowledge - knowledge which is not based empiricism, that can't be derived from empiricism, knowledge that can't be derived from rationalism can only come from the Holy Spirit. Since unbelievers have no access to data that comes only through the revelation of the Holy Spirit (that is revelation of Scripture), then they are not held accountable. No one in the Old Testament is ever held accountable for knowledge that is specific to revelation.  Never! There is not one example of that. 

 

Let me give you a basic example of the kind of thinking that goes behind that. The Mosaic Law was given to the Jews. It wasn't given to the Moabites. It wasn't given to the Philistines. It wasn't given to the Assyrians or the Babylonians or the Romans or the Greeks. Yet almost most all of these people come under divine judgment in the Major Prophets. You go to Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel - there are burdens against the Moabites, against the Edomites. There are oracles of judgments against the Philistines, against the Babylonians, against all of these different people that surrounded Israel. God is bringing judgment against them. But He never once holds them accountable for anything that is unique to the Mosaic Law.

 

God lowers the boom on Israel because they violate the Sabbath. He never mentions the violation of the Sabbath when He deals with the Babylonians or the Egyptians or Tyre or Sidon of any of these other people. Why? Because God never made that part of the revelation they're answerable to. 

 

But the Gentiles are answerable to two things. They are answerable to general revelation which according to Romans 1 is enough to hold every human being accountable for the knowledge of God. And so because every human being once they reach the age of accountability knows that God exists, they are held accountable for that. So these nations are judged for idolatry. It goes back to the creation covenant. It goes back to the Noahic Covenant. They are also held accountable for their attitude to Israel – not because revealed that to them, but because God promised that to Abraham. 

 

He said, "If anybody curses you, I will curse them. If anyone treats you with disrespect (treats you lightly), I will treat them harshly." 

 

There are two different words for cursing in that anti-Semitic paragraph of the Abrahamic Covenant. I am saying that to make the point that God never holds unbelievers accountable for that which they are unable to understand and learn. I read to you a section from an article from Harold O. J. Brown who is one of the foremost evangelical theologians and anti-abortionists. 

 

He basically throws up his hands and says, "We can't know when the soul gets there, but how could anybody possibly believe that the fetus could last all the way to birth without having a soul?' 

 

What is his frame of reference there? What is his ultimate criterion? His own rationalism! 

 

"It doesn't make sense to me that the fetus could go to birth without a soul. So therefore who would believe that? That is ridiculous."

 

But, he has no foundation for that. He has no empirical data for that. He hasn't even established a rational syllogism to support that. He has just argued it out of pure raw emotion. So the only conclusion we can come to is that potential life means sacred life. The image and likeness of God is a term that incorporates both the physical and the immaterial. It includes the whole dynamic that is there. It is used that way. In fact most of the places where those two words are used in the Bible, without exception - about 98% of the places where those two words are used, they describe a physical object. Once again I am not saying that God exists - we are not Mormons – God doesn't exist in a man-shaped body. He is spirit. But we are saying that the physical part is very much important to the whole image-ness of God. 

 

Now that brings us to a conclusion of that doctrine. Now we are going to go into a new doctrine. We had to go through all of that because that doctrine of the origin and the transmission of the soul is fundamental to understanding the next doctrine which comes out of our passage in Hebrews 7:9-10.

 

NKJ Hebrews 7:9 Even Levi, who receives tithes, paid tithes through Abraham, so to speak,

 

NKJ Hebrews 7:10 for he was still in the loins of his father when Melchizedek met him.

 

I translated that. A better translation would be "in a manner of speaking." That is up front in the Greek text. This is alerting you the reader to the fact that what he is saying is not to be taken literally, but to be understood in a somewhat figurative sense. 

 

Levi himself never received tithes. It is the tribe of Levi as the priests that were the tithe collectors in the theocracy of Israel. So, even that is somewhat of a figure of speech.

 

That is "met Abraham", not "met Levi". You have to make sure you get the right antecedent on that pronoun. 

 

Now people (by people I mean theologians) go to this verse and they use it to support a view related to the origin and transmission (that key word is transmission) of sin what we would refer to as the imputation of Adam's original sin. They use that to support a view that is call seminalism. Seminalism always goes hand-in-hand with a Traducianist view of the origin and transmission of the soul. They connect because you have this physical transmission of the soul through the semen and then it is that seed (seminalism) that is the way in which the guilt of Adam's sin is passed on down through the generations. 

 

On the other hand, you have a view that we will get into in just a minute called federalism. Federalism is a view that it is not a physically related thing. It is a federal designation that Adam is designated as our representative. So Adam's sin becomes our sin by representation. 

 

Now these are very important concepts. Over the next two or three weeks we are going to try to break it down and help you understand this because this is crucial to understanding Romans 5 and I Corinthians 15 and several other passages. So let's get an opening introduction this evening.

 

What is important here is to try to come to grips with the whole issue of how the soul is corrupted. One of the questions that are raised is that if God is going to create and impart the soul at birth, then how does it become sinful? God can't create a sinful soul. So how does that soul become corrupted and become sinful and become totally depraved and come under condemnation?

 

And so the answer that is proposed by Traducianists is that, "Well, we will get God out of the picture. God is only involved mediately for the body and the soul and the sin nature is passed on physically, biologically through procreation just as the soul is." 

 

That is their solution to the problem. So we are going to get into issues related to Adam's original sin, related to the doctrine of imputation which of course is going to deal with not only the imputation of sin but the imputation of Adam's guilt to each one of us, the imputation of our guilt to Jesus Christ. All of this is related. You just thought the issue of the origin and the transmission of the soul had to do with how people get souls. All of this is interconnected. 

 

That is what is so fabulous about studying theology. There is this whole web of interconnectivity between different concepts and different verses. If you start changing one thing, it changes everything else and you start having problems in different areas.

 

Usually the way these kinds of things are set up in a typical seminary classroom or systematic theology book is that you are either-or. You either hold to creationism or Traducianism. It is either the body or the soul. Remember that. You are in seminalism or federalism. It is either the body or the soul, so you have this dichotomy. Both sides can marshal a number of Scriptures in support of their position. So you come out of a typical seminary classroom scratching your head and thinking thoughts similar to those expressed by Louis Sperry Chafer. 

 

"Well, they could go either way. I think I am going this way."

 

That is how he handled the problem of creationism versus Traducianism. 

 

He said, "Well, they are pretty close. There are a lot of verses on the side of Traducianism and a lot of verses on the side of creationism. But I guess I am going to be a Traducianist."

 

It was 50.1% to 49.9%. What happens is you have a lot of men come out of classrooms and they think, "Well..." 

 

They start to become theological agnostics at that point. It is a very dangerous thing.

 

They begin to think, "Well, if these double or triple PhD's that are teaching me in class can't understand this issue; then it's really not understandable. If they can't unscrew the inscrutable then how can I with nothing more than a master's degree unscrew the inscrutable?"

 

Then what happens is the first domino in theological agnosticism has developed and before long you become a pan-millennialist. You can't decide whether you are pre-millennial or post-millennial or a-millennial so you are just a pan-millennialist. It will all pan out in the end…

 

And that is dangerous because the next thing you know you are not clear on the gospel. As long as you do something with Jesus – and "we don't know which Jesus it is". Maybe it is Jesus the gardener or Jesus the ball player, but as long as you do something with somebody named Jesus somehow that gets you in to heaven. So you can invite him into your heart or walk the aisle or you can commit yourself. 

 

It just leads to…

 

"The only thing that we can know for sure is that we have had an experience and God has done something for us. So let's all get together and put our arms around each other and have an emergent church. We will all feel good about God and God will be impressed that we feel so good about him and about each other. That's got to get us some brownie points."

 

Nobody knows anything any more.

 

Our starting point on this is trying to understand Adam's original sin and how Adam's original sin gets transmitted to the entire human race so that all are guilty of Adam's sin. So we have to define Adam's original sin first of all. 

 

Adam's original sin refers to the first act of willful disobedience to God committed by the first man, Adam in the Garden of Eden. It's not Eve's sin. If Adam had resisted the temptation and only Eve had eaten of the fruit, then only Eve would have fallen. She would have gotten kicked out of the garden and God would have gone to plan B for a helpmate for Adam. We would have had the first divorce. But that didn't happen because Adam decided that the woman was more attractive than God, which has happened many times down through history. 

 

We are almost out of time so I am going to tell you another story. We will get into this next time. I will tell you one more story. This is just appalling to me. 

 

Women have such power. You don't understand that. Women have such power over men and over theology. One of the ways I first noticed this was in studying cults. It is amazing how many cults were started by women. What is even more amazing is how many husbands got screwed up theologically under the influence and pressure of their wives. 

 

Back in the 1980's there was a new ick-ack or spasm in the Church Age with the rise with what became known as the Vineyard Movement, the Signs and Wonders Movement. John Wimber was a pastor out in southern California. Originally he was Quaker. He was dispensational - at least he said he believed what the Scofield Reference Bible said. That doesn't make you dispensational. That just means you believe those notes. But he really didn't understand it. Anyway, to make a long story short, he became charismatic. But he becomes charismatic under the influence and pressure of his wife. But they aren't classic Pentecostals or Charismatics because they believe that speaking in tongues can come – some Christians will, most won't. That is not like Pentecostals or Charismatics. 

 

"Maybe it is related to the baptism of the Holy Spirit, maybe not. We just have to be open to the fact that God can still send people who heal and speak in tongues and this kind of thing." 

 

In the mid 80's three Dallas Seminary professors who had been professors of mine and friends of mine in a couple of cases went Vineyard. They got fired from Dallas Seminary. All three of these guys were influenced by their wives. Read their testimonies. 

 

My wife was feeling like, "Oh, it's not just doctrine. It is such a cold intellectual thing this Christianity. I've got to feel something. I have got to have more emotion in my Christianity. I feel so distant from God." So the wives get into this kind of subjectivity.

 

The same thing happened recently. The news came out about this at the end of April – that Francis Beckwith who was a professor of theology at the seminary at Baylor University. Francis Beckwith has been around for a long time. He is a noted evangelical theologian and apologist. He has written lots of books – technical theological books on lots of different subjects and was currently or up to that point was the president of the largest association of evangelical theologians – the Evangelical Theological Society. At the last meeting in November he was elected president. He didn't tell anybody that he was beginning to have reservations about evangelicalism. But due to a particular turn of events, he felt like he had to come out of the closet at the end of April and so he told everybody that yes indeed it was true that earlier in April he had gone to confession at the local Roman Catholic diocese and he had confessed his heresy of being an evangelical and he had received full absolution and was accepted back into the Roman Catholic Church. 

 

As a child he had been raised Catholic and had gone through all the different hoops that you have to in order to be a catholic. So they gave him absolution and welcomed him back into the Roman Catholic Church. 

 

One of the first questions my wife asked me when she heard this was, "What does his wife think about this?" 

 

You see a woman is going to ask that kind of question. 

 

His wife was leading the way. She wasn't raised a Catholic. 

 

But she was out there 20 yards in front of him saying, "I think this is what we need to do." 

 

So he let her lead him right along the chain of decision making and so now the Roman Catholic Church is taking out full page ads in newspapers throughout Central and South America saying, "Major Evangelical Theologian Returns to the True Church." 

 

There are a lot of people who claim that they somehow understand doctrine and theology and it is academic. Just because somebody can go along and give some sort of verbal affirmation to a doctrinal statement doesn't mean they understand it, even if they have three PhD's by their name. What a world we live in.

 

Let's bow our heads in closing prayer….

 

Illustrations