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Romans: Chapter 1

Please click the link below to access chapter 1 from the book of Romans that Chris Williams put in block sentence form from the NASB.

https://drive.google.com/file/d/1mZH7Px3YweQDh6x0BTY_irRP3-IXWqC5/view?usp=drivesdk

Judges Brief Commentary

Judges recorded the recurring cycle of Israel’s sin and Yahweh’s subsequent response. In Judges, Israel did what was right in its own eyes (17:6; 21:25), failed to drive out the inhabitants of the land of Canaan, and repeatedly fell into gross pagan idolatry. Moreover, each time Israel sinned it provoked God to raise up oppression against Israel. The oppression against Israel caused Israel to cry out to Yahweh. Then, Yahweh raised up judges to deliver Israel from their enemies. However, Israel returned to sin repeatedly after a judge would die, thus the cycle continued.

Israel’s sin cycle began in Judges when the sons of Israel inquired of Yahweh who would be first to go up and drive out the inhabitants from the land (1:1). Yahweh replied to Israel the following: “Judah shall go up; behold, I have given the land into his hand” (1:2). However, Judah asks Simeon his brother to help him (1:3-19). Yahweh only said Judah shall go up. At the end of the book the people inquire of Yahweh again but this time it is to go to battle against one of their own tribes. Again, Yahweh responds by designating Judah to go up to battle against Benjamin. Commentator Hamilton explained the connection between the beginning and ending of Judges when he writes,

A book that starts with a reference to an offensive war by a united nation against a common enemy ends with a reference to that same nation at war with itself. Benjaminites, part of the family of God, have become Canaanites.[1]   

In other words, the leaven (influence) of the Canaanites in the land caused the Israelites to become the enemy, a direct consequence of Israel not driving them out. Moreover, at the start of Judges the reader is informed of Benjamin’s failure to drive out the inhabitants when it reads, “But the sons of Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem; so the Jebusites have lived with the sons of Benjamin in Jerusalem to this day” (1:21). Lastly, Judges 1:22-36 listed the tribes of Israel’s deficiency to drive out the inhabitants of the land. Instead of driving out the Canaanites, Israel made covenants with them and forced them to do their labor.

Because Israel was not obedient to Yahweh He rebuked them and pronounced His judgment upon them: 

and as for you, you shall make no covenant with the inhabitants of this land; you shall tear down their altars.’ But you have not obeyed Me; what is this you have done? Therefore I also said, ‘I will not drive them out before you; but they will become as thorns in your sides and their gods will be a snare to you.’ (2:2-3)

After Joshua and the faithful generation of Israel died, the next generation completely forgot Yahweh and His works. Israel then plummeted into gross pagan idolatry (2:6-11). Judges 2:11-23 summarized the entire book of Judges and best described Israel’s cycle of sin and Yahweh’s response. First, Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD and served the Baals, forsaking Yahweh to follow the gods of the Canaanites (2:11-12). Second, Israel provoked Yahweh to anger and He delivered them into oppression (2:14-15). Next, Israel cried out and the LORD delivered Israel from their enemies by raising up judges (2:16-18). But when the judge died Israel returned to their gross pagan idolatry (2:19-23). Also, Yahweh’s response included leaving the inhabitants of the land to test Israel to see if they would obey Him or not (2:20-3:6). But Israel repeatedly failed the test and even intermarried with the inhabitants of the land.   

Likewise, the historical narrative concerning the first judge Othniel illustrated the cycle of Israel’s sin and Yahweh’s response. First, the text reads of Israel’s sin: “The Sons of Israel did what was evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgot the LORD their God and served the Baals and the Asheroth” (3:7). Second, the text reads of Israel’s oppression: “Then the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, so that He sold them into the hands of Cushan-rishathaim king of Mesopotamia; and the sons of Israel served Cushan-rishathaim eight years” (3:8). Third, the texts reads of Israel’s repentant cry to Yahweh: “When the sons of Israel cried to the LORD” (3:9a). Fourth, the text reads of Israel’s deliverer (savior-judge) whom Yahweh raised up: “the LORD raised up a deliverer for the sons of Israel to deliver them” (3:9). However, as soon as Othniel (the first judge) died Israel returned and “did evil in the sight of the LORD” (3:12). Simply put, Israel’s sin cycle was five stages, namely, sin, oppression, repentance, deliverance, and return to sin. Furthermore, Yahweh was sovereign over the oppression (He raised up the oppression against Israel to test and discipline them), as well as raising up the deliverer to save them when they returned to Yahweh with repentance. For the next eighteen chapters of Judges this cycle repeats and results in a deeper moral decline for Israel until the nation is handed over to itself with complete moralistic relativism[2] and wickedness.

The end of Judges records pagan idolatry, theft, and a civil war between Israel and the tribe of Benjamin because of the rape and murder of a Levites’ concubine (17-21). The contents between the last five chapters begin and conclude with this identical statement, “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (17:6; 21:25). The moral decline of Israel into moralistic relativism, namely everyone did what was right in his own eyes, is the heart of Israel’s sin. Yahweh made man in His image. However, post-fall man is set on personal autonomy, shaping gods (idols) in whatever image he feels like, in all out rebellion against God. It would make sense therein for Yahweh to respond to this rebellion in disciplining Israel. Lastly, Yahweh’s response in Judges is that of far-reaching patience. Yahweh could have utterly destroyed Israel many times or completely abandoned Israel, but He lovingly disciplined them by raising up oppression to test and humble them.     

In conclusion, Israel’s recurring cycle of sin and Yahweh’s subsequent response included Israel’s sin, Israel’s oppression (raised by Yahweh), Israel’s repentance, Israel’s deliverance (raised up by Yahweh), back to Israel’s sin. What is more, each judge mentioned in Judges was a sinner, died and failed to completely deliver Israel from their sins and oppression. The seed of the woman had not yet come to crush the serpent’s head which Yahweh had promised in Genesis 3:15. Therefore each judge was a type of the ultimate Savior who was to come, a savior without sin who completely delivered everyone who would ever believe in Him from their sins. The one and only savior is the Lord Jesus Christ.     


[1] Victor P. Hamilton. Handbook on the Historical Books. (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2001), 101.

[2] According to the American Heritage Dictionary relativism is “a theory that conceptions of truth and moral values are not absolute but are relative to the persons or groups holding them.” The American Heritage College Dictionary: Third Edition. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 1152. According to The New Dictionary of Theology, religious relativists view different religious beliefs and practices as legitimate. New Dictionary of Theology. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), 575.

Joshua – Brief Commentary

The book of Joshua is about conquering and dividing the land of Canaan. To this effect, Joshua records the conquest of the land of Canaan by Israel. After the conquest, the land of Canaan was distributed as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes, thus fulfilling Yahweh’s covenant promise to Abraham. Joshua relates to the Abrahamic Covenant and the land because Yahweh made a covenant with Abram in Genesis 15:18-21 to give Abram’s offspring the land of Canaan. In Joshua, God begins to fulfill the covenant he made with Abram as Joshua leads the sons of Israel into the military conquest of Canaan. However, Israel failed to drive out all the inhabitants of the land of Canaan.   

Chronologically, God revealed His plan to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel to occupy the land in Gen. 12:1-5. In Gen 12:7 God told Abram that He will give Abram’s descendants the land of Canaan. In Gen. 15:14-16, God revealed to Abram His plan for the next four hundred years (and even extending into the Millennial Kingdom when the Seed of the woman, that is – Jesus Christ will establish His 1,000 year reign on earth in the land promised in the Abrahamic Covenant), to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel out of Egyptian bondage to occupy the land, when God entered into a covenant with Abram because the text reads,

God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age.

One of the features of the Abrahamic Covenant included God’s promise to deliver the land of Canaan to Abram’s descendants. This is the main way Joshua relates to the Abrahamic Covenant, namely, the conquest of the land of Canaan. With regards to Joshua relating to the Abrahamic Covenant, Genesis 15:18-21 reads as follows,

On that day the Lord made a covenant with Abram, saying,“To your descendants I have given this land, From the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite.”

Consequently, Joshua begins after the death of Moses with Yahweh commissioning Joshua to enter into Canaan and conquer the land. Under those circumstances, Joshua 1:2-4, 6 reads the following (with Yahweh speaking to Joshua),

Moses My servant is dead; now therefore arise, cross this Jordan, you and all this people, to the land which I am giving to them, to the sons of Israel. Every place on which the sole of your foot treads, I have given it to you, just as I spoke to Moses. From the wilderness and this Lebanon, even as far as the great river, the river Euphrates, all the land of the Hittites, and as far as the Great Sea toward the setting of the sun will be your territory… Be strong and courageous, for you shall give this people possession of the land which I swore to their fathers to give them.

The “Fathers” from verse 6 is a reference starting with Abraham, thus, the connection between the Abrahamic Covenant in Gen. 15:18-21 and the commission of Joshua to begin the military conquest is undoubtedly correlated. This correlation is threefold. First, the recipients of the covenant that are given the land are the same in both passages, namely, the sons of Israel. Second, the geographic region described in Gen. 15:18-21 is repeated in Jos. 1:2-4 as the same territory. Lastly, the inhabitants to be conquered and driven out of the land are identical in both passages.

After Joshua took command of the sons of Israel under Yahweh’s commission of him, Joshua commanded the sons of Israel to prepare and cross the Jordan for military conquest. The inhabitants to be conquered in the military conquest were those mentioned by name in the Abrahamic Covenant, namely, the Ammorites (Gen. 15:16), and the nine other tribes mentioned in Gen. 15:19-21. Joshua’s command revealed how their conquest will begin to fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant of the land when He said, “three days you are to cross this Jordan, to go in to possess the land which the LORD your God is giving you, to possess it” (Jos. 1:11). What is more, Rahab the prostitute reiterated Yahweh’s intentions to fulfill the Abrahamic covenant by conquering the inhabitants and driving them out in Joshua when she said in Jos. 2:2, …“I know that the LORD has given you the land, and that the terror of you has fallen on us, and that all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before you.” Likewise, the events concerning Rahab and the two spies further prove the beginning of the Abrahamic Covenant’s fulfillment of the land in Joshua when the two men confessed with the following confidence …“Surely the LORD has given all the land into our hands; moreover, all the inhabitants of the land have melted away before us” (Jos. 2:24).   

After the second generation of the sons of Israel that came out of Egypt was circumcised, Jos. 5:6 explains that the first generation would not see “…the land which the LORD had sworn to their fathers to give us, a land flowing with milk and honey.” The reference to “their fathers” begins with Abraham, further proving it is the second generation out of Egypt of the sons of Israel who are Abraham’s descendants, the ones mentioned in Gen. 15 that will drive out the Canaanites.[1]     

In conclusion, the book of Joshua relates to the Abrahamic Covenant and the land as a partial fulfillment of possession. Chapters 1 – 12 of Joshua record Israel conquering the land. Chapters 13 through 24 record Israel dividing the land. Joshua began to advance in age before all the inhabitants of the land are driven out and the military conquest begins to regress (13:1-7). Joshua died at the close of this book at the age of 110 in 1390 BC. Joshua conquered the land but did not completely drive out all the inhabitance (cf. Judges 2:21-3:8). The sons of Israel only partially drove out the Canaanites. For example, in Joshua 13:1-6 God told Joshua that he is to begin dividing out the land distributed as an inheritance to Israel according to their divisions by their tribes. However, concerning the rest of the Canaanites, Yahweh will have to drive them out. Repeatedly, Joshua referenced tribes that failed to ultimately drive out the Canaanites in their allotted territories. For example, according to the territory allotted to Judah they failed to drive out the Jebusites (15:63). Moreover, according to the territory allotted to Ephraim they failed to drive out Gezer (16:10). Lastly, there is specific reference to Manasseh failing to drive out Canaanites (perhaps Perizzites) living in the territory allotted to them (17:12-13). The name Joshua in Hebrew literally means “Yahweh is salvation.” The ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant and the land will be when the seed of the woman who is Jesus Christ returns and establishes his 1,000 year reign of the land and into eternity.


[1] Israel had victory over Jericho, Ai and the five kings. However, Israel failed to drive out the inhabitants. Therefore Joshua is only the beginning of the fulfillment of the Palestinian covenant. The ultimate fulfillment is eschatological when Christ (the seed of the woman) returns and begins the millennial reign.

Deuteronomy – Brief Commentary

Deuteronomy reveals Yahweh and that which Yahweh required of Israel. There are specific attributes of Yahweh revealed in Deuteronomy, namely, Yahweh is unique and jealous, faithful, loving, gracious, and judging.[1] The overall main requirements that Yahweh required Israel are found in the interrogative statement made by Moses in Deut. 10:12-13 which reads,

Now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require from you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all His ways and love Him, and to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the LORD’s commandments and His statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?

What is more, on account of Yahweh’s sovereign decree and command to Israel, Israel is required to “go in” and “possess the land” of Canaan (cf. 1:8). Finally, Deuteronomy reveals the mystery of divine decree and human responsibility in the demesne of providence (cf. 29:29).      

Deuteronomy revealed Yahweh as unique and jealous. For example, revealing the uniqueness of Yahweh the text reads, “To you it was shown that you might know that the LORD, He is God; there is no other besides Him. . . . Know therefore today, and take it to your heart, that the LORD, He is God in heaven above and on the earth below; there is no other” (4:35, 39). Commentator Thompson wrote that Yahweh’s uniqueness made known His sovereignty and demanded Israel to have a monotheistic orthopraxy, when he wrote,

The phrases Yahweh is God and there is no other besides him give expression to the simple fact that in Israel Yahweh alone was to be Sovereign (cf. verse 39). There was no other power in the universe which could determine the destinies of men on earth. If such a view is not fully-developed monotheism, it is certainly a practical monotheism. . . . The miraculous mercies of the past and the prospect of future blessing could be urged as a ground for serious reckoning with the claims of Yahweh’s ultimate sovereignty over the whole earth.[2]

Yahweh is revealed also to be jealous in Deuteronomy. The jealousy of Yahweh is righteous and directly related to His uniqueness because there were devastating consequences for Israel if they did not worship and serve Yahweh alone:

You shall not make for yourself an idol, or any likeness of what is in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the water under the earth. You shall not worship them or serve them; for I the LORD your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children, and on the third and the fourth generations of those who hate Me. (5:8-9)   

Another attribute that Deuteronomy revealed about Yahweh is His faithfulness. Yahweh told Israel in 5:10 that He will show lovingkindness to thousands to those who love Him and keep His commandments. Yahweh promised that He keeps all His promises in Deut. 7:9 which reads, “Know therefore that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God, who keeps His covenant and His lovingkindness to a thousandth generation with those who love Him and keep His commandments” (7:9).

Another attribute of Yahweh revealed in Deuteronomy is Yahweh’s love. Yahweh’s love for Israel is unconditional because His love is solely based on who He is – not who Israel is. For example, Deuteronomy 7:7-8 revealed Yahweh’s unconditional love which reads, “The LORD did not set His love on you nor choose you because you were more in number than any of the peoples, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but because the LORD loved you…” (7:7-8a, b).

Next, Deuteronomy revealed Yahweh to be gracious. Moses reminded Israel in chapter eight of Yahweh’s gracious acts toward them, from testing and humbling Israel to teach them to live by God’s words (8:1-3), disciplining them (8:4-6), bringing them into a good land to bless them (8:7-10), leading them through a terribly dangerous desert teaming with some of the most deadly arachnids[3] and serpents on planet earth (8:15), providing water to quench thirst (8:15-16), and to humble Israel and test them for their ultimate good in the end (8:16).  In other words, everything Yahweh had done to Israel was for their good even though it did not seem pleasant at the time. As a final point, Deut. 7:12-16 revealed Yahweh’s intentions to bestow upon Israel an overflow of blessing if they listen to Yahweh’s judgments.   

Deuteronomy revealed the righteous nature of Yahweh’s judging. For example, Yahweh’s judging includes higher than the highest judgment, no partiality, justice for orphans and widows, food and clothing for the aliens, and promise keeping (10:17-22).

Moses repeated Yahweh’s parameters for judgment in 1:16-18 to remind the Israelite the following (this served as a transition into what Yahweh required of Israel):

Then I charged your judges at that time, saying, ‘Hear the cases between your fellow countrymen, and judge righteously between a man and his fellow countryman, or the alien who is with him. You shall not show partiality in judgment; you shall hear the small and the great alike. You shall not fear man, for the judgment is God’s. The case that is too hard for you, you shall bring to me, and I will hear it.’ I commanded you at that time all the things that you should do.[4]

Yahweh required Israel to possess the land of Canaan for themselves and dispossess the land of Canaan from its inhabitants. For example, Yahweh through Moses commanded Israel to possess the land when he ordered: “See, I have placed the land before you; go in and possess the land which the LORD swore to give to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to them and their descendants after them” (1:8). Correspondingly, Yahweh through Moses commanded Israel to dispossess the land when he ordered: “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities fortified to heaven” (Deut. 9:1; 11:23; 12:2, 29; 18:14; 19:1).

Also, Yahweh required Israel to listen to His words (18:18-19). Yahweh required Israel to keep their vows (23:21). Yahweh required Israel to love Him wholeheartedly and hold fast to Him (11:22). Yahweh required Israel to write His words on their hearts (11:18). Also, after Israel had possessed and dispossessed the land they were to institute the theocracy with all God’s statutes and ordinances (12:1-26:19).

Finally, Deuteronomy revealed the mystery of divine decree and human responsibility in the demesne of providence (Deut. 29:29). The New Dictionary of Theology defines Providence as follows:

Providence is the beneficent outworking of God’s sovereignty whereby all events are directed and disposed to bring about those purposes of glory and good for which the universe was made. These events include the actions of free agents, which while remaining free, personal and responsible are also the intended actions of those agents.[5]

To this effect, it is inescapable to see the compatibilism[6] of God’s sovereign decree and human decision in bringing about this providence of God, specifically in Deuteronomy 28:1-31:29. If one objectively reads the rest of the OT and is a student of history one will notice that all the curses mentioned in the text literally came upon Israel as well as all the blessings, virtually as if it were fixed, because it was fixed. Yet Yahweh holds Israel responsible and demands repentance, faith, and obedience to come from them. This is not a contradiction but demands eyes to see which only Yahweh can bestow.    

What Yahweh had done was beyond Israel’s comprehension because they did not have a heart to know it. For example, the text reads, “Yet to this day the LORD has not given you a heart to know, nor eyes to see, nor ears to hear” (Deut. 29:4). However, God promises restoration in chapter 30 in a future time when He will change their hearts and they will repent and turn to Yahweh. Then Israel will have the ability to be obedient: “Moreover the LORD your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your descendants, to love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, so that you may live” (30:6).[7]


[1] All five attributes of Yahweh from Dr. Essex’s course outline. Keith Essex. Old Testament Studies I BI 501. (Unpublished course notes: The Master’s Seminary, 2013), 25-6.

[2] J. A. Thompson. Deuteronomy; TOTC. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1974), 109.

[3] According to the American Heritage College Dictionary, the term Arachnid is any of various arthropods of the class Arachnida, characterized by four pairs of segmented legs and a body divided into two regions (eight legs total). Derived from the Greek word ἀράχνη (aráchnē), meaning “spider” but includes scorpions and other creatures. The American Heritage College Dictionary: Third Edition. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1993), 69.

[4] Also, see Deut. 16:18-20, 17:6-13 and 19:15-21 for Yahweh’s parameters for judging.

[5] New Dictionary of Theology. (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 1988), 541.

[6] According to Ronald H. Nash, compatibilism is “the theory that in ways that may be impossible to comprehend, determinism and human free will are compatible in the sense that both can exist in the case of human action. Major Christian thinkers like Augustine, Martin Luther, John Calvin, and Jonathan Edwards did not repudiate human freedom, as is sometimes thought. They defined the notion of human freedom so that it is compatible with determinism.” Ronald H. Nash. Life’s Ultimate Questions. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 327.

[7] At the same time, concerning human responsibility, Yahweh requires repentance and obedience (Deut. 30:10-14).

Numbers – Brief Commentary

Numbers discloses Israel’s 40 years of wilderness wandering. What is more, Numbers teaches concerning Israel’s obedience and disobedience to Yahweh that there are curses and consequences for disobedience. These curses and consequences for disobedience are evidenced by Yahweh’s response to Israel, namely, discipline by death.

The first ten chapters of Numbers begins with the first generation of the sons of Israel who left Egypt and their subsequent census by Moses. Yahweh commanded Moses to, “Take a census of all the congregation of the sons of Israel, by their families, by their fathers’ households, according to the number of names, every male, head by head, from twenty years old and upward, whoever is able to go out to war in Israel, you and Aaron shall number them by their armies” (1:2-3). This is the first generation of Israelite warriors who were supposed to enter Canaan and begin to drive out its inhabitants. After several chapters of commands, in chapter ten of Numbers the sons of Israel set out on their journey from Sinai to what appears to be a promising conquest (cf. 10:11-36). However, rebellion of the sons of Israel against Yahweh is recorded in chapter 11 when the people complain (cf. 11:1-3). Yahweh’s response to Israel’s complaining was in wrath, disciplining them to the point which resulted in the death of some (11:33-34).

The occasion of the people’s complaint caused Moses to complain (11:10-15). Later, Miriam and Aaron complain against Moses. Miriam is disciplined by Yahweh with leprosy. In both complaints the anger of Yahweh against the people and against Miriam and Aaron is placated because of Moses’ intercessory prayers. These events conciliated should be understood as acts of God’s mercy and grace for not utterly destroying the people. What is more, God’s anger is not without self-control. Therefore, Moses’ intercession is a form of anthropomorphism, in that God led Moses to intercede. The best example of this is Moses’ intercession for the sons of Israel in chapter 14 and God pardoning them according to Moses’ intercession (14:11-20).

The main disobedience to Yahweh to bring about discipline by death was a bad report of the land from the disobedient spies sent out by Moses (13:32). This bad report of the land was like a defiant seed planted in the hearts of the sons of Israel occasioning them to all-out rebellion in chapter 14. However, Joshua and Caleb had faith in Yahweh to see the sons of Israel victorious. What is more, it is to them granted the leadership of the second generation into the land of Canaan to drive out its inhabitants. This is the principle foremost way the blessings for obedience and the consequences for disobedience are evidenced by Yahweh’s response to Israel, namely, discipline by death, because the entire first generation of the sons of Israel out of Egypt are to die in the wilderness. For example, Numbers 14:30-35 explained Israel’s obedience and disobedience to Yahweh when the text reads,

Surely you shall not come into the land in which I swore to settle you, except Caleb the son of Jephunneh and Joshua the son of Nun. Your children, however, whom you said would become a prey—I will bring them in, and they will know the land which you have rejected. But as for you, your corpses will fall in this wilderness. Your sons shall be shepherds for forty years in the wilderness, and they will suffer for your unfaithfulness, until your corpses lie in the wilderness. According to the number of days which you spied out the land, forty days, for every day you shall bear your guilt a year, even forty years, and you will know My opposition. I, the LORD, have spoken, surely this I will do to all this evil congregation who are gathered together against Me. In this wilderness they shall be destroyed, and there they will die.’” (Num. 14:30-35)

As a last point, the spies who brought back a bad report of the land die immediately of the plague (14:36-37).

Numbers 15:32-36 recorded the death of a man. This man died because of his disobedience to Yahweh while working on the Sabbath. Moreover, Yahweh disciplined by death those involved in Korah’s rebellion by causing the earth to swallow Korah’s rebellion up and the objects of wrath to descend alive into Sheol (16:1-35). Also, the next day Numbers 16:41-50 records 14,700 people who suffered God’s wrath because of their disobedience and their sympathizing with Korah and his company. So serious was Yahweh about grumbling and the defiance of the people against what He had instituted in leadership and worship that if the people of Israel even came near the tent of meeting they would die (18:22).

Numbers 20:8-29 recorded Moses and Aaron’s disobedience concerning the waters at Meribah. Moses and Aaron did not follow Yahweh’s instructions fully in the method He wanted them to follow to let Israel drink the water from the rock. Because Moses and Aaron failed to treat Yahweh as holy neither of them would enter Canaan. What is more, the disobedience at Meribah led to Aaron’s subsequent death at Mount Hor.

However, in spite of all Israel’s consequences for disobedience the sons of Israel are blessed by Yahweh and cannot forfeit Yahweh’s unconditional covenant He made with their forefathers.  The grace and mercy of Yahweh is evidenced by the bronze serpent on a pole. For example, in chapter 21 the people complain and start to suffer death by fiery serpents. Then, the LORD commanded Moses to, “…Make a fiery serpent, and set it on a standard; and it shall come about, that everyone who is bitten, when he looks at it, he will live” (Num. 21:8). This concept is a typological illustration of what happens to the sinner who looks at the Lord Jesus Christ by faith and trusts in His saving cross on their behalf; that is, the believing sinner lives life eternal.

Numbers begins to shift from the discipline of Israel to their blessing with war victories in chapter 21. Moreover, Balak the king of Moab hired Balaam to curse Israel in chapter 22 but Balaam cannot. Instead, God forces Balaam to only bless Israel. A section of the last of these three blessings, Balaam prophesizes the enmity between the Seed of the woman toward the seed of the serpent by the crushing of the serpent’s head by the Seed of the woman, a reference to Genesis 3:15, when he said, “I see him now, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, A scepter shall rise from Israel, And shall crush through the forehead of Moab, And tear down all the sons of Sheth” (Num. 24:17). Moab is the seed of the serpent who is at war with the Seed of the woman (the Seed of the woman is Jesus Christ, who is the promised Messiah from the Israelites). This connection is unmistakably apparent and is the ultimate blessing of Yahweh on Israel, who takes away their sins.

            In conclusion, Numbers discloses Yahweh’s response to Israel’s disobedience, namely, discipline by death. However, Yahweh blessed Israel, allowing the second generation to enter the Land and promised them a King to rise from Israel.

Leviticus – Brief Commentary

The following is merely an expositional synopsis of the book of Leviticus. The purpose of this expositional synopsis is to make some expositional observations to point out some key features from the book of Leviticus for the reader. The reader of this article is encouraged by the author to read the book of Leviticus in its entirety. This synopsis is merely a brief commentary on the book of Leviticus and is by no means adding to or taking away from the book of Leviticus, neither is this synopsis intended to be a substitute.

Leviticus reveals how the Old Testament saint was to approach the Holy God. The OT saints were identified from four categories: from the assembly of Israel as a whole (4:13), from leaders (4:22), from priests (4:3) or from common persons (4:27). The sons of Israel were set apart as a people consecrated to YHWH. Likewise, their purpose was to be identified with YHWH as His people reflecting holiness (11:44-45).

The OT saint maintained his relationship with YHWH by means of conviction-confession (i.e. 5:4d-5), repentance (i.e. turning from sin), and blood sacrifice to make atonement for the OT saint as a shadow of what would only be found in the sacrifice of the seed of the woman (cf. Gen 3:15). The blood sacrifice for atonement was because of the OT saints’ sins against YHWH. Lastly, the OT saint maintained his relationship with YHWH through obedience to the sacrificial system administered by the anointed priest Aaron and the anointed priest who would be in his place among his sons (7:22), as well as obedience to YHWH’s commands.

Conviction and confession were where the OT saint began to approach God. For example, Leviticus 5:4d-5 explained how a man would not know of his swearing thoughtlessly with his lips to do evil or to do good or rash oaths, that later he would become aware of them through conviction and know his guilt. Then the OT saint would need to confess his sin as Lev. 5:4d-5 reads, “and then he comes to know it, he will be guilty in one of these. So shall it be when he becomes guilty in one of these, that he shall confess that in which he has sinned.” What is more, on the day of Atonement the high priest would lay his hands on the scapegoat and confess over it all the sins of the sons of Israel (16:21). 

Leviticus 1:1-7:38 reveals six offerings in which the Old Testament saint would participate in to maintain his relationship with YHWH. These offerings were the burnt offering, the grain offering, the sin offering, the guilt offering, the ordination offering, and the sacrifice of peace offering (7:37-38). Concerning the burnt offering Lev. 1:4 reads, “He shall lay his hand on the head of the burnt offering, that it may be accepted for him to make atonement on his behalf.” This is the first of many times the word atonement is found in Leviticus. The word atonement in Leviticus is from the Hebrew trilateral verb root כָּפַר and means, “to be atoned for; make amends, pardon, release, appease, forgive, annulled, covering over and therefore forgetting sin.”[1] What is more, the noun in Hebrew of the word Atonement is כַּפֺּ֫רֶת and means, “(traditionally: mercy seat): the golden cover on the ark of the covenant, the place where atonement is made.”[2] It was through these sacrifices in place of the OT saint’s sin that atonement was made and the OT saint maintained his relationship with YHWH. God demanded an innocent blood sacrifice to atone for sin. At this point one must appeal to the NT where one will see that the OT sacrificial system pointed to the ultimate one time sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross for the forgiveness of sins on behalf of everyone who would ever believe in Him for eternal life, including the OT saint. For example, Hebrews 10:4 and 9:13-15, 22 explained that the sacrifice of Christ on the cross is how the OT saint maintains his relationship with YHWH eternally, not only temporarily, when these texts read, “For it is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins” (Heb. 10:4)

And –

For if the blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling those who have been defiled sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without blemish to God, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God? For this reason He is the mediator of a new covenant, so that, since a death has taken place for the redemption of the transgressions that were committed under the first covenant, those who have been called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance… And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness. (9:13-15, 22)

The Day of Atonement occurred once every year and was how the OT saint maintained his relationship with YHWH yearly. To this effect, Lev. 16:30 explained that the OT saint would be clean before the LORD when it reads, “for it is on this day that atonement shall be made for you to cleanse you; you will be clean from all your sins before the LORD.” In Leviticus 16 the Day of Atonement ceremony is described where two goats participate in the ceremony; one goat to signify a substitutionary sacrifice, the other goat sent out into the desert to signify removal of sin (see also Leviticus 17; 23:26-44). Once a year on the Day of Atonement the high priest of the people of Israel would go into the Holy of Holies, where the mercy seat was located, and sprinkle blood on the mercy seat for the sins of the people. For Israel the mercy seat was the place where, or the way in which, the OT saint maintained his relationship with Yahweh. This is a type of what Christ has done completely for everyone who would ever believe in Him. The two goats served as a sacrificial type that pointed to and would be fulfilled by Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself on the Cross, because the blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. After Jesus Christ offered up Himself on the cross as a onetime substitutionary sacrifice for sin, He was then raised to life from the dead on the third day. Then He sat down at the right hand of God. This means that Jesus Christ now sits on God’s throne. Therefore, Jesus Christ is the fulfillment and fullness of the true meaning and purpose of the mercy seat.

From Lev.18:1-25:55 there are many Laws in which Israel was to obey. It was obedience to what YHWH had instituted through the sacrificial system and conduct that maintained the OT saint’s relationship with YHWH. This was only a temporal sense. Concerning the sacrifice on the eighth day of the ordination of Aaron and his sons, Lev. 9:6 reads, “Moses said, ‘This is the thing which the LORD has commanded you to do, that the glory of the LORD may appear to you.’” When the OT saint drew near to YHWH in obedience and reverence then YHWH appeared to them and their relationship was retained (cf. 10:3). YHWH consumed the burnt offering with fire (9:23-24). This caused the people to fall on their faces (9:24), an expression of fear and worship.

In conclusion, Leviticus reveals how the Old Testament saint was to approach a Holy God.  In Leviticus, the Old Testament saint maintained his relationship with Yahweh by the sacrificial system instituted by Yahweh which was a type of the ultimate sacrifice of Christ.


[1] Edward W. Goodrick and John R. Kohlenberger III. The Strongest NIV Exhaustive Concordance. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1999), 4085.

[2] Ibid., 4085.

Exodus – Brief Commentary

The following is merely an expositional synopsis of the book of Exodus. The purpose of this expositional synopsis is to make some expositional observations to point out some key features from the book of Exodus for the reader. The reader of this article is encouraged by the author to read the book of Exodus in its entirety. This synopsis is merely a brief commentary on the book of Exodus and is by no means adding to or taking away from the book of Exodus, neither is this synopsis intended to be a substitute.

Exodus is about the departure of the sons of Israel from Egyptian bondage, led by Moses to worship God at Mount Sinai.

Exodus revealed two things concerning Israel’s deliverance from Egyptian bondage. First, concerning Israel’s deliverance Exodus revealed that Yahweh’s promises are irrevocable (2:24; 6:4, 5). Second, concerning Israel’s deliverance Exodus revealed that Yahweh is compassionate (34:6-7). What is more, Exodus revealed Yahweh’s purpose for the sons of Israel in two ways. First, God decreed to set Israel apart from all the other nations and establish a covenant with them (Ex. 19:5-6). Second, God decreed to drive out the rebellious inhabitants of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel to occupy the land, fulfilling His promise to Abraham (2:24-25; 6:4, 5; see Gen. 12:1-2, 7; 15:18-21).

In the ancient Near East if one didn’t have a name, then that indicated that one didn’t exist (see 17:14-16; 32:32-35). Exodus 3:13-14 revealed Moses’ inquiry of how he was to introduce God (3:6) to the sons of Israel (pre-deliverance from Egypt) when the text reads,

Then Moses said to God, “Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you.’ Now they may say to me, ‘What is His name?’ What shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM”; and He said, “Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” (3:13-14)

According to John Calvin the name “I AM WHO I AM” and “I AM” revealed that God is eternal and self-existent. To this effect, John Calvin explained “I AM WHO I AM” and “I AM” means that God is self-existent and eternal when he wrote,

I AM THAT I AM. The verb in the Hebrew is in the future tense, “I will be what I will be;” but it is of the same force as the present, except that it designates the perpetual duration of time. This is very plain, that God attributes to himself alone divine glory, because he is self-existent and therefore eternal; and thus gives being and existence to every creature. Nor does he predicate of himself anything common, or shared by others; but he claims for himself eternity as peculiar to God alone, in order that he may be honored according to his dignity. Therefore, immediately afterwards, contrary to grammatical usage, he used the same verb in the first person as a substantive, annexing it to a verb in the third person; that our minds may be filled with admiration as often as his incomprehensible essence is mentioned.[1]

According to A Grammar for Biblical Hebrew, by Barrick and Busenitz, there is technically no tense in Hebrew verbs but the tense is always a function of context and context alone.[2] Hebrew tense being determined by the context shows that Calvin is wrong in his grammatical claim (i.e. his claim of the verb being in the future tense) but right in his assessment of the context. Calvin’s right assessment of “I AM WHO I AM” is that God’s name means that God is self-existent and possesses the divine attribute called eternality. This is clearly revealed from the context because in the very next verse God said, “This is my name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations” (Ex. 3:15). Eternity is not a measurement of time but rather a fixed state without a beginning and end. Therefore, only God can be self-existent and eternal. Angels and humans will spend eternity forever in one of two places but there was a point in which they came into existence ontologically. However, concerning God there was no point in which He came into existence ontologically. He has always existed ontologically. Therefore, if YHWH is eternal and He makes a promise then that promise is eternally irrevocable. Concerning the relationship to YHWH’s eternality and His promises Ex. 2:24-25 reads, “So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” One might think that God forgot of the covenant He made with Abraham because the Sons of Israel are in Egyptian bondage in Exodus chapter one. However, God did tell Abram in Gen. 15:13 that Abram’s descendants would be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years but afterwards would come out with possessions. Likewise, God connects His name YHWH with His promises in Ex.6:2-9. The point is, God made a promise to Abraham. The fact of Israel’s deliverance in Exodus revealed that Yahweh has kept His promise because it is irrevocable.

Second, concerning Israel’s deliverance Exodus revealed that Yahweh is compassionate (34:6-7). There is a false ideology first proposed by Marcion of Sinope at Rome around the year 144, who taught a dichotomy between the Hebrew God of the OT (a god of wrath) and the NT Christian god of love and compassion. However, Exodus decries the heresy of Marcion when Ex. 34:6-7 reads, “Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’” God bestowed upon Israel his lovingkindness and compassion by delivering them from Egyptian bondage. As a final point, the God of the OT and the God of the NT is the same God.

Exodus revealed God as Yahweh the covenant keeping God who chose to enter into a covenant with the sons of Israel as a nation. This is made known in Ex. 19:5-6 which reads, “Now then, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be my own possession among all the peoples, for all the earth is Mine; and you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…” Exodus revealed that Israel is set apart from all the other nations of the earth to enter into covenant with God, being set apart as His possession. Israel experienced a very special and unique privilege, receiving the Mosaic Covenant on Mount Sinai.

Lastly, Exodus revealed that God decreed to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel to occupy the land, fulfilling His promise to Abraham. Indeed, Ex. 2:24-25 revealed the purpose for Israel in the plan of leading Israel out of Egypt for occupation of Canaan as the text reads, “So God heard their groaning; and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. God saw the sons of Israel, and God took notice of them.” What is more, God promises to Moses this fulfillment in Ex. 6:4-7 when the text reads,

I also established My covenant with them, to give them the land of Canaan, the land in which they sojourned. Furthermore I have heard the groaning of the sons of Israel, because the Egyptians are holding them in bondage, and I have remembered My covenant. Say, therefore, to the sons of Israel, ‘I am the Lord, and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians, and I will deliver you from their bondage. I will also redeem you with an outstretched arm and with great judgments. Then I will take you for My people, and I will be your God; and you shall know that I am the Lord your God, who brought you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians.

Initially, God revealed his plan to drive out the inhabitants of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel to occupy the land in Gen. 12:1-5. Then in Gen 12:7 God tells Abram that He will give Abram’s descendants the land of Canaan. In Gen. 15:13-16, 18-21 God promised Abram specifically His plan for the next four hundred years to drive out the inhabitance of Canaan by leading the sons of Israel out of Egyptian bondage (even extending much further into the Millennial Kingdom when the Seed of the woman, i.e. Jesus Christ, will establish His 1,000 year reign on earth in the land of Canaan fulfilling the Abrahamic Covenant in the Eschaton). God entered into a covenant with Abram for Abram’s descendants to occupy the land because the text reads,

God said to Abram, “Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a land that is not theirs, where they will be enslaved and oppressed four hundred years. But I will also judge the nation whom they will serve, and afterward they will come out with many possessions. As for you, you shall go to your fathers in peace; you will be buried at a good old age. . . On that day the LORD made a covenant with Abram, saying, “To your descendants I have given this land, from the river of Egypt as far as the great river, the river Euphrates: the Kenite and the Kenizzite and the Kadmonite and the Hittite and the Perizzite and the Rephaim and the Amorite and the Canaanite and the Girgashite and the Jebusite. (Gen 15:13-15, 18-21)

E.V. Powers


[1] Calvin, John. Calvin’s Commentaries (Vol. II). (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1979), 73.

[2] Page 94

Genesis – Brief Commentary

The following is merely an expositional synopsis of the book of Genesis. The purpose of this expositional synopsis is to make some expositional observations to point out some key features from the book of Genesis for the reader. The reader of this article is encouraged by the author to read the book of Genesis in its entirety. This synopsis is merely a commentary on the book of Genesis and is by no means adding to or taking away from the book of Genesis, neither is this synopsis intended to be a substitute.   

Genesis is the book of beginnings for the reason that the first verse of Genesis reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Consequently, the rest of the content in Genesis is also derivation. For example, the origin of the creation of the universe (1:1-31), the origin of sin and the fall of man from innocence and paradise with God into a state of death, original sin and total depravity (3:1-24) are all revealed in Genesis. Likewise, the origin of catastrophism, namely, a universal flood that destroys all but eight persons and two of every kind of animal (6:1-8:14), and the origin of the dispersion of the nations through the means of God confusing one language into many at Babel (11:1-9) are all revealed in Genesis.

Throughout the origins listed above one can trace the development of the Noahic and Abrahamic covenants in Genesis by means of the need of covenant(s). After the first man and the first woman fell from the created paradise with God, God promised a seed from the woman that will crush the serpent’s head in Genesis 3:15. To this effect, God judges the spiritual serpent and proclaims the serpent’s impending doom of a crushed head when Genesis 3:15 reads, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (ESV).

The Noahic and the Abrahamic Covenants are the two unilateral or unconditional covenants in Genesis. God is the covenant maker and covenant keeper. Concerning the first of these two covenants, the Noahic Covenant, there are four components in its staging. First, there is the rationale of the covenant. Second, there is the root of the covenant. Third, there are the recipients[1] of the covenant. Fourth, there is the ratification of the covenant.

The Noahic Covenant

First, there is the rationale of the covenant. Since man sinned in Genesis 3 the human race became totally depraved and hostile in mind and heart toward God (Gen. 6:1, 5-8). Man had multiplied on the face of the earth and as Genesis 6:5 states, “Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great on the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” God was sorry and grieved in His heart that He made man. God’s heart is pure righteousness. On the other hand, man’s heart is wicked continually, as indicated in Genesis 6:5, hence the conflict. God decreed to “blot out” man, animals, creeping things and birds as indicated in Genesis 6:7 [i.e. the end of all flesh (6:13)].

The decree of judgment on man by God is the need for the Noahic Covenant because the fulfillment of Gen. 3:15 has not come to fruition. It is for the sake of the offspring of the woman that God cannot destroy every individual person. God is sovereign and does not revise His decrees because God is eternal and unchanging. Consequently, as the historical narrative unfolds in Genesis God will continue His fulfillment of the promise in Genesis 3:15 because Genesis 6:8 indicates that Noah “found favor in the eyes of the LORD.” Further revelation reveals that Noah is not the ultimate fulfillment of Genesis 3:15 but is in the seminal line of this promise. This is an element of what is called the creation mandate. The Noahic Covenant is a part of the creation mandate (“Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth…” Gen. 1:28-30; 9:1-7) along with the Abrahamic Covenant. To this purpose, Dr. Essex states, “The God of Creation chose to bless sinful mankind and to reestablish human rule of the Earth through Abraham and his Seed, with his physical seed who will inherit the Land.”[2]

Second, there is the root of the Covenant. God tells Noah in Genesis 6:18 the following, “But I will establish My covenant with you; and you shall enter the ark—you and your sons and your wife, and your sons’ wives with you.” The root of the Noahic Covenant is the rest of the surviving flesh on the earth, namely, eight people and two of every kind of animal to repopulate the earth. After the universal flood subsided in Genesis 8:20-22 God promises never again to drown all flesh by flood even though man is still wicked and “the intent of man’s heart is evil from his youth.”

Thirdly, there are the recipients of the Noahic Covenant. The recipients of the Noahic covenant are Noah, his sons, their offspring, all the animals on the ark and their offspring (Genesis 9:8-10).

Fourthly, there is the ratification of the Noahic Covenant. God set a rainbow in the clouds established as a sign of the Noahic Covenant for God, man and every living creature of all flesh; ratifying that God will never again destroy all flesh by means of flood (Genesis 9:12-17).

The Abrahamic Covenant

Concerning the Abrahamic Covenant, God established His covenant with Abraham as an everlasting covenant, calling Abram and announcing His covenant (Gen. 12), ratifying His covenant with Abram (Gen. 15), and giving Abraham circumcision as a sign of the covenant (Gen. 17).

What is more, one can observe seven sections of the Abrahamic Covenant[3]. First, there is the need for the Covenant. Second, there is the initiation of the Covenant. Third, there is the making of the Covenant. Fourth, there is the sign of the Covenant. Fifth, there is the purpose of the Covenant. Sixth, there is the blessing of the covenant. Seventh, there is the reaffirmation of the Covenant.

The need for the Abrahamic Covenant is redemptive. God’s promise of the seed of the woman to bruise the head of the serpent in Gen. 3:15 has not come to its ultimate fulfillment at the time of Abram (1:1-11:26). It is through the Abrahamic Covenant that God will continue the toledot (line of descents) of the seed of woman to bring about redemption of God’s chosen people. Post-fall, the Noahic Covenant brought God’s grace on all flesh (common grace) and the Abrahamic covenant will bring about God’s grace on his elect (special grace).

The initiation of the Abrahamic Covenant is the call of Abram and the announcing of the covenant. For example, in Gen. 12:1-3 God called Abram from Abram’s kindred to the land God is going to show Abram. Then God announces the covenant, namely, that God will make out of Abram a great nation, bless Abram, make Abram’s name great, make Abram a blessing to others, bless those who bless Abram, curse those who curse Abram and bless all the families of the earth. 

In Genesis 15:1-21 God came to Abram and made the Abrahamic covenant with Abram. God promises Abram an offspring. Abram believes God because the text reads, “And he believed the LORD, and he counted it to him as righteousness” (15:6). God tells Abram to bring Him a heifer, a female goat, a ram, a turtledove, and a young pigeon. A deep sleep falls on Abram where God again speaks to Abram revealing the future of Abram and his offspring. God makes the covenant with Abram by passing through the dead animal pieces observed by a smoking fire pot and a flaming torch. God passing through the dead animal pieces is an expression of the unconditional nature of the Abrahamic Covenant because God in doing so is in effect saying, “If I do not keep my side of the covenant may what happen to these animals happen to me.” Hebrews 6:13, referring to Gen. 22:16-17 validates this when it reads, “For when God made the promise to Abraham, since He could swear by no one greater, He swore by Himself”.

Concerning the sign of the covenant, God commands Abraham to circumcise every male in the flesh of their foreskins when they are eight days old (Gen. 17:1-14).    

The purpose of the Covenant found in Gen. 18:17-19 is uniform with the need for the covenant, namely God’s redemptive plan to save some from God’s judgment on evil through the man God has appointed (the seed of the woman). The seed of the woman is the blessing from the Covenant (22:15-18). Abraham did not withhold his son. This is typological of God not withholding His Son to have his heal bruised. Lastly, the reaffirmation of the Abrahamic Covenant is found in Gen. 26:2-5, 23-25; 28:10-17; 35:9-12; 50:24.

In conclusion, Genesis is the book of beginnings. One can trace the development of the Noahic Covenant and the Abrahamic Covenant through Genesis by means of the need of covenant(s). This need is endowed by God as the Creator. When Adam sinned against God, Adam immediately died spiritually and mankind was in need of a Savior to be saved from the coming eternal wrath of God. God promised that Savior as early as Genesis 3:15. The Lord Jesus Christ is the Seed of the woman, the Seed of Abraham and therefore Christ is the redeemer of the elect to save them from the wrath of God.


[1] Irvin A. Busenitz, “Introduction to the Biblical Covenants; The Noahic Covenant and The Priestly Covenant,” TMS Journal. (1999): 173-189.

[2] Keith Essex. BI 501 – Old Testament Studies I. (unpublished course notes: The Master’s Seminary, 2013)

[3] All seven taken from Dr. Keith Essex. Ibid., 10.

1 Peter 1:3-6 Commentary; Christian Hope Part 3

Sound doctrine is and will always be inseparably constrained to sound living. There are many men who quote many men for social media “likes”, feeble applause, and religious upward mobility. All the while the doctrine coming from their mouths does not align with their lives. It is all a show, and they are the stars of their own show. This is self-deception. It is also the very thing Peter, the apostle of the Lord Jesus Christ, aimed to protect the Christians throughout Asia Minor from in their quest to live holy before God. Trials and suffering were inevitable, not only in the Christian life, but to the Christian personally. It was not simply that Christians would find a platform for ministry in the midst of other’s sufferings, but they would endure suffering themselves for the cause of Christ.

In 1 Peter 1:6, Peter explained to the believers they were to rejoice in what they experienced as they enduring inevitable trials, even as though trials multiply and increase. They were not rejoicing because they were experiencing trials or even because they had some temporal goal or plan to look forward to in the midst of their trials. They rejoiced because of the doctrine of salvation and all its implications, especially related to the doctrine of the last things (i.e. eschatology) (cf. vv. 2-4). Their hope was not based on “getting through the trial” or “we are all in this together,” it was that God had elected the Christians unto salvation and they would inherit the kingdom of God, eternal life in Christ Jesus, and because the Spirit sealed them for the day of redemption. This was the hope of the Christian, not secular, socialist utopia or post-apocalyptic dystopia. Peter was not trying to harness humanity, restrict or advance government powers. He aimed to point the believers to a kingdom that transcends all the kingdoms of this world.

Despite what Christians suffered in this life, they held reservations to the eternal kingdom with all of its riches and glories in Christ Jesus. The trials were necessary means to prove the faith of believers (cf. v. 6). Christian faith in the face of trials is more valuable than currency. It has more value than precious gold (cf. v. 6), but the faith must be tested to prove if this is so. True faith must be tested by refiner’s fire. It must reach otherwise unreasonable temperatures so that it can prove to be genuine. The proof is not for God, it is for the Christian to his or herself. This is the faith to which Peter called the believers in Asia Minor and it stands for all time as the faith to which believers in the present and future age are called to the glory of God the Father.

Once the faith is tested by refiner’s fire, it brings certain results to the believer. First, when it proves authentic, and found inseparably constrained to the glorious hope of salvation in Jesus Christ by precept and action, it produces a great joy. Peter called it “inexpressible.” This is not giddiness, or even averting the trials as though they have not occurred. It is not a joy that is incoherent, but rather a joy so full and so deep, due to the source of the joy and object of the joy, that words cannot adequately express. It is “full of glory” and therefore, we know for certain, it transcends human happiness, or emotional contentedness. This joy is found in the fact of the changed nature, through the new birth, given to the believer by God, who elected the Christian unto salvation, sent His Son to die on behalf of the elect. The substitute, Jesus Christ, laid down His life on behalf of the elect, while they were enemies of God, and satisfied God’s wrath against them, bearing on Himself the punishment for the sins of the elect. Because of the sacrifice of Christ, a person who has been elected by God’s sovereign grace can therefore trust in the personal righteousness of Christ to be saved from the wrath of God and by consequence have the perfect righteousness of Christ credited to their account. Joy is found to be inexpressible and full of glory due to the depth and scope of what has been accomplished on behalf of all who did not deserve this salvation. But even the joy must yield to the reality of why the believers were called to be joyful. This is shown in the outcome of the endurance of trials.

The outcome, for believers, was not merely overcoming the trial itself. There are many peddlers of God’s word who point men to their trials, give them mantras and “recipes” to overcome their trials, without joining them to the teachings of Jesus Christ. There is no shortage of individuals ready to bring encouragement, as long as you will pay a fee for their brand of encouragement. But all of those things are shakable and fleeting even if they are religious. The outcome of faith in the face of refining trials, and the various kinds of trials as they assail the believer’s life is not temporal things at all. It is what Peter has called “the outcome of your faith.” The outcome of the believer’s faith is the salvation of the soul.

True faith does not hide itself in the cares of this world on any level (cf. Mark 4:19). True faith is unimpressed with the spirit of this age, and does not conform to it (see. Romans 12:2). In fact, true faith is painstakingly consistent with the Old Testament faith given to the elect Israelites who trusted YHWH. The elect Israelites believed that God would atone for their individual sins as well as the collective sins of the nation. What is more, the elect Israelites trusted God to rule over them as their true King. True faith is therefore not only unshakable, but it does not change based on the pragmatic winds of a changing world. True faith can be traced from the Old Testament into the New Testament and seen as consistent in those who possessed true faith and yet this hour worship the object of their faith, the Triune God. A faith that is built upon ungodly fear, self-preservation, or a sense of self-righteousness is not the faith of God, but the faith of devils. It merely believes God exists and may even tremble before Him (see. James 2:19), but does not prove to be given to the individual by God at all because it does not lead to trust in the Person of Christ and His works by both precept and action.

  • Doron Gladden

1 Peter 1:3-6 Christian Hope (Part 2)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you, who are protected by the power of God through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials” 1 Peter 1:3-6.

The beginning of Peter’s epistle began doctrinally, theologically, and interested in practical Christian living in the context of trials. Peter was interested in the true fellowship that is shared by Christians in their position in Christ, the position in which there exists no dichotomy between where christians stand positionally and their belief in unity through sound doctrine. Peter exemplified this unity with his fellow Apostles, as they impacted one another in the truth and we know this by Peter’s mention of Paul later in Peter’s second epistle (i.e. 2 Peter 3:15-16).

The doxology from the third verse of 1 Peter chapter 1, namely, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” is the center of the message of hope, namely God the Father who sent God the Son to save the elect from the wrath of God. If one desires to give a message of hope, then that message must begin with what Christ has accomplished on behalf of the elect by the work of His cross. True Christian hope is tied to mercy. Hopelessness, then, is tied directly to God’s wrath, for it is the height of all hopelessness to reject the Lord Jesus Christ and abide in the wrath of God. Whether one possesses good temporal health or is not experiencing good, temporal health is irrelevant. Adversely, if one believes on the Lord Jesus Christ for the remission of sins committed against God, then such a person abides in His mercy. This mercy is a blessing extended as a gift from the grace of God. One may lay claim to this blessing whether in good, temporal health, or riddled by sickness, diseases, or trials. Hope is tied directly to one’s position in Christ. This is where Peter began his epistle. He did not appeal immediately to what the believers were experiencing, but rather to what the Triune God had accomplished on their behalf.

What is more, the believer’s hope is tied to the sound doctrine of the new birth. Peter wrote that the believer not only received mercy, but the believer had been “born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead . . .” The new birth not only grants the believer access to eternal life, that is its greatest feature, but it ultimately brings the believer, in triumph, over death to an unshakeable kingdom. True hope leads to the eternal benefits of God’s Kingdom. These are given to the believer as a gracious gift through the mercy of God. The world at-large wants nothing to do with this kind of hope. The best the world can offer is sympathy for the fallen nature. The best the world can give is assurances for things that will not last. The undertones of the eternal kingdom of God versus the temporal, visible empire of Rome was evident in this verse. During the days in which the Apostle Peter wrote the epistle of 1 Peter, Christians would have seen Rome in all its earthly glory. Its expansion was far-reaching throughout the known world. During the time this epistle was written, Rome was at the height of its power. But more sinister, Rome had begun to turn its attention toward Christians as enemies of the state and a threat to its existence. This is because the kingdoms of this world are ruled over by the prince of the power of the air (cf. Ephesians 2:2).

The believers were not to hope in what the world could provide for them. In every case, what the kingdoms of this world offer is at the expense and exchange of the soul. The world cannot offer the Christian an inheritance, because the Christian does not belong to the world. In verse 4, Peter wrote the consequence of the living hope the believer possesses is an inheritance: eternal, undefiled, unfading glory. The Christian’s receipt of this inheritance is as certain as the inheritance being delivered. The inheritance is not only preserved, but the believer is preserved and protected by the power of God through the faith He grants to them in accordance with their salvation by the grace of God through Christ (v. 6). The believer is preserved in order to receive the inheritance to be revealed at the last time (v. 5). We know this is certain, and that it is eternal because Peter expressed to the believers not only when the inheritance would be given to them, but he told them “where”, “reserved in heaven for you” (v. 4).

The believer’s hope is not in the temporal, earthly things (cf. Philippians 3:19). The world has conditioned the mind to assess one’s standing in terms of what one possesses in this life. It is why self-preservation is at an all-time high. There is an absence of the knowledge of the power of God. Even so, when individuals speak of God’s power they reduce it to what they believe is entitled to them in this life, all the while claiming they are displaying God’s power. The Charismatic movement, secular humanism, modern evangelicalism, Islam, Roman Catholicism, and other movements all point to what is advantageous for the individual in this life while either redefining what eternity means, or failing to address it at all. But then, only true, biblical Christianity can proclaim the power of God as it is directly related to God’s Word in Scripture. Hope is then tied to biblical doctrine. Hope is tied to the new birth, and true faith in Jesus Christ alone. How callous and deceitful is it to offer hope in people and objects that will perish? How dangerous is it to offer hope in self-preservation? The hope of the believer is the salvation granted to them by God in Jesus Christ. The believer is kept by God’s power, not to live forever in this world, but to live eternally in the heavenly, kingdom of God. True faith is not tested by a life of ease and comfort. True faith must endure trials, testing, and hostility. But true faith also produces unspeakable joy in the heart of the believer since the believer is reconciled to God. Peter stressed how salvation and the inheritance of the saints is not only tested, but how faith triumphs in the face of refinement and suffering (v. 6).

Doron Gladden

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