Monthly Archives: September 2013

Christ’s Resurrection: the historic tribute that the invisible God paid to His visible Image and Likeness

The Resurrection of Jesus was the tribute that an invisible God paid to His visible Image and Likeness for suffering the unspeakable abuse of sinners.  It was the Father’s gargantuan stamp of “APPROVED” on His Son for successfully conveying in Explanation and Action the real heart of the Father toward humanity.  Jesus was the ideal characterization of God–His graciousness, truth, mercy, love, forgiveness, etc.  Jesus, at last, was the real thing…in the flesh!  [7/03/06]

The serpentine error of a “penal atonement” coils itself around veritable, undeniable truths of God’s Proclamation and by this means deceived simple believers as well as the scholars who ought to know better.  It has so constricted the Truth to conform to its own sinuous impress that we hardly notice the imposter in the very midst of our doctrines, twisting the glorious Truth of God into a contorted caricature by devious definitions and convoluted exegesis.  Then, having fashioned a distorted image and likeness of God the Father (especially) the old Serpent evokes howls of ridicule and mockery to further discredit the barely visible Truth thus craftily obscured.  It is time to expose the masquerade and extricate the Truth from its intolerable misrepresentations!  [7/06/06]

The center of attention at the Cross is Messiah Jesus, the Master.  The center of attention at the Resurrection is God the Father.  The center of attention at Pentecost is the Wholesome Spirit.  The exposition of these three utterly decisive and inextricably, indissolubly interlinked events will teach us more about Deity than all the creeds and all the systematic theologies ever written.  Here we behold, as it were, Deity refracted through the prism of the Messianic climax of human history.  [7/06/06]

I long sensed, even from tender youth, that the tendencies of the penal atonement doctrine was at cross purposes with the obvious interests of God’s healing Kingdom.  Scarcely an opportunity was lost of railing against expectations perennially kept alive among God’s people by Messianic and apostolic practice, not to mention encouragement by explicit command.  While theologians and preachers niggled whether there is “healing in the Atonement,” the saints and little lambs continued to languish at the hands of medical professionals, and so never properly learned their P’s & Q’s as disciples of him who went about unlocking the shackles of those bound to sickness and injury by the evident power of God’s then-coming Kingdom.  We’ve been snookered!  [7/07/06]

The New England “governmental theory of the Atonement,” Anselmian to the core, although drawing more proximately from Hugo Grotius, suffered from the identical error as the previously more economically oriented theories of “vicarious satisfaction” and “penal substitution“–GOD’S RIGHTEOUSNESS IS ASSESSED EXCLUSIVELY FROM ITS NEGATIVE, PUNITIVE POLE, WITHOUT SUFFICIENT REGARD TO HIS REWARDING PAYMENT, THUS MISAPPLYING PENAL JUDGMENT TO THE CROSS (INSTEAD OF TO THE DESOLATION OF JERUSALEM) AND HENCE DISPLACING GOD’S AWARDING JUDGMENT OF RESURRECTION AND EXALTATION OR AT LEAST DECISIVELY MINIMIZING IT.  Therefore the persistent question ever arises, WHY MUST GOD’S “RETRIBUTIVE” JUSTICE ALWAYS BE VIEWED BY THESE THEORIZERS FROM ITS NEGATIVE INSTEAD OF ITS POSITIVE SIDE?  [7/07/06]


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The Son uniquely and exclusively provided the means for his Father to reveal His OWN heart of love to humanity within the flow of history

God worked all things together for the good of His beloved Son, whose suffering of abuse and groaning on the cross for our ultimate benefit he did out of supreme love for the Father!  But how often does the penal construal of the Atonement allow us to turn our eyes upon Jesus as one acting out of a love for God deep and resolute enough that he was willing to endure such prolonged agonies of humiliation and an anguished death IN ORDER TO PROVIDE A WORTHY SACRIFICE SO THAT HIS FATHER COULD AT LAST EXHIBIT WORTHILY, HISTORICALLY, HIS OWN HEART OF LOVE, BOTH FOR HIS SON AND FOR THE HUMAN RACE (WHICH HAD COMBINED IN CRIME TO PUT HIM TO DEATH!) BY AN AWESOME DISPLAY OF SUPER-COMPENSATING MERCY THAT LET HIS ENEMIES OFF WITH A GENEROUS PARDON WHILE SIMULTANEOUSLY DOING UNPRECEDENTED JUSTICE TO THEIR DIVINE VICTIM?  Answer:  never happens.

The evangelical Protestant theory all but obscures and suppresses the New Covenant’s brilliant revelation of filial love and honor that centrally motivated Messiah’s doing of God’s express desire and instructions to him.  For by inventing and asserting and even proclaiming a mythical “execution of divine punishment” and “exhibition of divine wrath” against sin at the Cross, the orthodox theory DRASTICALLY AND TRAGICALLY SULLIES THE GRACIOUSNESS OF THE FATHER THAT HE, FOR HIS PART, INTENDED TO COMMUNICATE THROUGH THE INDISSOLUBLE APPOSITION OF THE TEMPORALLY DISCRETE EVENTS COMPRISED BY THIS MESSIANIC CLIMAX.

The story of salvation has gotten “ALL SCREWED UP” by this abysmal confusion, melding, and mushing together indiscriminately what God meant to be held in a dynamic, storied tension via a playfully serious covenantal troth that makes ultimate good sense not only of the “crossurrection,” but also of universal human history and individual experience.  For if we get the “Gospel” wrong, then the very meaning of life to that extent gets corrupted.  [6/26/06]

From the cross Jesus prayed for his Roman executioners, “Father forgive them for they are not aware what they’re doing (Luke 23:34).  But after his resurrection THAT ALL CHANGED!  For then they did learn what they had done.  They must have realized they were still alive to tell about their dastardly deed, and ONLY BECAUSE THEY HAD BEEN GIVEN A REPRIEVE!  Jesus was alive after their crucifixion of him, so he must be the Son of God and Master after all, therefore God had forgiven them of what had indeed been a capital crime.  SO IT’S TIME TO REPENT, CHANGE OUR MINDS, MAKE A TURNABOUT, ADMIT OUR CRIME, AND BOW THE KNEE TO THIS MAN!

Yet even after all of this became eventually clear, even after their debacle was evident and the debris had been cleared, many Jews still remained stubborn against the Proclamation about Jesus as raised up and thereby “designated Son of God with power(Romans 1:4) to be Messiah of Israel and Lord of all nations.  THEN CAME THE WRATH THAT DESOLATED THE GLORY OF JEWISH CIVILIZATION.  The cup of their unrelenting viciousness was full, and God surrendered them over to drinking it down to the last bitter dregs all by themselves—70 A.D.—whereas all other nations were invited wholesale into God’s now inclusive Kingdom for all who would believe (as all sinners could)…

~  “THE END”  ~


The Cross was a catapult that launched Jesus into the empyrean hands of God’s awaiting justice—a righteousness not nearly so concerned to punish his enemies for their wrong as to reward him for his virtue!  After all, Jesus came into the world to save sinners from their sins, not to condemn them for their sins.  The consequences of remaining in their sins when they might instead have been graciously released from them, was, after all, soon enough evident when the wrath of God was revealed from heaven to desolate Jerusalem in 70 A.D.  But during the 40 year interim of penal reprieve, God’s mercy prevailed and reaped a mighty culminating harvest within ethnic Israel, conciliating even bitter enemies (such as Saul of Tarsus—a firstfruit of God’s patience and kindness) to Himself.  Oh the unsearchable wisdom of God!  [6/28/06]

My fellow Evangelicals, we must confess that we were taken in by an imposture, must repent of our gullibility, must denounce our captors, renounce our self-satisfied conceit, and relinquish our smug overconfidence in tawdry theological hand-me-downs.  We’ve been fools conveying to the next generation the unsifted medieval dogmas dictated to us by unquestioning mentors who thoughtlessly molded us in their own uncritical image.  We’ve been snookered into a game of follow-the-leader and tricked into stumbling down the same garden path into darkness in the name of “orthodoxy” and “scientific criticism,” and “historic Christianity” and “biblical exegesis,” and God only knows what other ruses and blandishments.  We have loved the accretions and accreditation of humans (indeed, mainly men) rather than the accreditation that comes from the only God!  It is long overdue to blaze a new trail back to the pure concordant pattern of sound explanation once-and-for-all delivered to the wholesome ones of old.  [6/28/06]

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RANSOM in exchange for us? Yes! PENAL SUBSTITUTE in our place? No!

The whole nation of Israel, both officially and popularly executed their own Messiah by the hand of the Roman occupation forces.  They falsely accused him.  They slandered him, reviled and reproached him, abused and murdered him, and cursed him by getting him hanged on wood.

Thus did they SACRIFICE him who OFFERED himself to God for sin as a ransomin his blood” that we might go free in exchange.  [6/22/06]

However, such is the perversity of penal substitution theorists that the least concession by any objectors to a “substitutionary” nuance in a Greek preposition is gleefully hailed as a necessary capitulation (grudging though it may be) to their monstrous fabrication inherited from John Calvin and his fellow Protestant “improvers” of Anselm’s “vicarious satisfaction” error!  This triumphalistic penchant also goes far to explain why penal substitution devotees imagine that they find support for their innovations in the writings of the first three centuries of the early church (although, to be sure, in Calvin’s Institutes, Augustine eclipses them aggregately by more than four to one!).  This we dare not concede, any more than we can their twisting of Greek grammar and semantics to their ends.  [6/22/06]

To be sure, we find hints and shreds of declensions among otherwise faithful Christian authors in those centuries that eventually were gathered up and pieced together into the “vicarious satisfaction/penal substitution” contrivances of Anselm and Calvin.  But these offhand variants were never the mainstays of the early Christian repertoire, and in any case were not articulated by New Testament writers themselves.  [9/26-27/13]


The cross of Messiah Jesus earned Israel a reprieve of one generation—40 years—from the wrath of God while the mercy, forbearance, patience, and kindness of God continued to lead them to change their decadent and depraved minds and come to a realization of truth.  Yet, “in accord with their hardness and unrepentant heart,” they were “hoarding for themselves wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of just judgment of Godpenal or punitive in their case, but rewarding and adulatory for those who work good (Romans 2).

Therefore the Cross must never be associated with a revelation of God’s wrath (better:  indignation), for that must be reserved for the destruction of those who had hoarded wrath by not using their day of God’s graciousness to good effect by repenting and turning back and getting conciliated to Him.  They had squandered God’s general AMNESTY to Israel, in part out of jealousy that (although precisely due to their crucifying and thereby rejecting their own Messiah!) God had dared to throw open their amnesty to all other nations as well, by way of fair compensation.  [6/23/06; 9/27/13]  How perversely racist.  [5/28/08]

To accept Augustine’s novel dogma of “original sin” is to strt down the slippery slope leading to Anselmian “vicarious satisfaction” and Protestant “penal substitution,” “imputed righteousness of Christ,” the five errors of Calvinism, “double imputation,” and the whole punitive image of the Atonement that now prevails.  And when the very throbbing heart of the Proclamation thus suffers such a serious disease, how can we expect the rest of the body of theology to suffer no ill effects?  If the eye is dark, the whole body is in darkness, too.

O Lord, may Your Light arise anew in our day to dispel the shadows that have fallen across Your Cross and Tomb!  [6/23/06]

The only way we sinners could gain victory over the oppressive sovereignties, authorities, powers, etc., of this vicious age of the world is if someone who was totally sinless and therefore completely undeserving of death and abuse were to voluntarily take on the burden of our plight by becoming a ransom for/instead of/in exchange for us and accept the abuse of our oppressors unjustly, while refusing steadfastly to avenge himself on them (which could only save himself from death at best, but not us in the bargain as well) but to wait on God’s own righteousness to save him, accompanied with his just due of overcompensation, including superabundant life for agelong immortality, to give away as GIFTS OF HIS MIGHTY TRIUMPH FOR ALL WHO CHOOSE TO BE IN SOLIDARITY WITH HIM BY FAITH!

Only in this unimaginable way could we ever have hoped for an escape from our plight of certain death, along with its downward spiral of degenerate thrashing about in order to retain some vestige of life at the expense of injury to others.

But Jesus did the deed and gave his existence for us so that God would give it back in superexcess, with favor toward all!  [6/23/06]  Do I hear an “Amen!”?

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Getting beyond Moses all the way to Jesus

Jesus never taught that Moses’ Law or the commandments were deeper or more ramifying than they literally stated.  It was he who went far beyond them in his teaching!  The leaders and teachers had made a mess out of Moses’ Law; he had come not to restore that Law but to give a new commandment and to take the Law to its very root in love, i.e., to the MAX!

But to read Puritan and similar writers (e.g., Reconstructionists) one would think Moses had been merely dusted off and rehabilitated for the use of Christians.  Never!  Jesus was the full revelation of God’s heart, character, and desire.  His New Covenant displaced the decrepit Old Covenant both in Spirit and even letter.  Wherever Jesus “contradicted” Moses in teaching or practice, he was vindicated (by his resurrection) and endorsed.  Jesus rules.  Moses agrees.  [6/18/06]

The Law of Moses was tailored to a people that did not (and could not) yet have the Wholesome Spirit of power, life, graciousness, and truth.  How could such a Law—such a “wineskin”—possibly  fit the new age of the Spirit?!  The fresh possibilities must burst the old wineskin and leave it behind forever.  No more than 1920’s housewiring is suitable for modern appliances could Moses’ Old Covenant accommodate or facilitate Christian realities—“appliances.”  We must stop dragging around that “blankey.”  [6/18/06]

Why oh why is it that for virtually all orthodox evangelical theologians, God’s love only seems to rate “honorable mention” among His so-called attributes, but never seems to win the gold?  It’s always getting bumped by imposters standing in for other, more “necessary” or “absolute” attributes.  Anyone (anyone!) who places love at the center becomes reflexively, prejudicially, instantly, irremediably suspect of “minimizing” sterner matters—usually God’s “justice” or “righteousness”—always construed as predominately PUNITIVE OR PENAL.

The answer is not far to fetch for, though it is, ultimately, farfetched:  philosophical assumptions have gobbled up concordant biblical definitions of the pertinent words.

Happily, with respect to the relation only of love to justice, the Dutch Christian philosopher Herman Dooyeweerd and the American Christian philosopher Nicholas Wolterstorff (although approaching the topic quite differently) have oriented them mutually in a more satisfactory way.  But where are the systematic theologians who have reoriented their own thinking and writing to reflect it?  In the final analysis, they should not acquiesce to the truth of the ontic centrality of love merely because Christian philosophers of distinction hold out for it, but because they themselves likewise see it in Scripture.  But still, by and large, they do not.

Lord Jesus, open the mis-educated, Scripturally deficient hearts of many, many Evangelical and Reformed theologians to see Your truth and witness to it with uncowed boldness and eloquence.  [6/22/06]

Jesus had to die on the Cross so that his innocent blood could be made available (“opened up as a fountain for sin”) to cleanse our sins away.  This is precisely what made him a “propitiation” or “expiation” (more accurately, “protection”:  hilasterion), not something “else” that supposedly took place “at the Cross” (such as “experiencing God’s wrath as punishment for sin”—the “essential” assertion of the penal substitution theory).  So long as sinlessly innocent blood had been wrongfully shed and God had avenged it by righteous overcompensation to the victim via the Resurrection, EVERYTHING ESSENTIAL TO THE CLEANSING OF SINS HAD BEEN “OBJECTIVELY” ACCOMPLISHED EXCEPT THE DISTRIBUTION OF THE CURE, AND THAT HAPPENED AT PENTECOST—THE FEAST OF FIRSTFRUITS.  EACH OF THESE WAS AN HISTORIC EVENT, ABUNDANTLY WITNESSED, THUS EACH OF THEM WAS PROPERLY “OBJECTIVE.”  Penal substitution theorists pejoratively and invariably like to reserve the term “objective” for “what happened at the Cross,” exclusively.  They both dehistoricize (yet these are “orthodox” “evangelicals”!) the resurrection of the Master and derogate from the “objective” historicity of the great Pentecost event!  Hardly a worse injustice could be perpetrated against these ineradicable essentials of the complete Proclamation of God’s Kingdom!  We’re talking Scripture twisting here!  This goes far to explain the general minimizing of the coming of the Wholesome Spirit both in soteriology as well as in Christian experience.  [6/22/06]

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The stock phrases and formulas of the ”Vicarious Satisfaction/Penal Substitution/Forensic Justification” (VSPSFJ) constellation of doctrinalizing are wielded just a bit too handily and cavalierly by its devotees in order to deprecate from the glory of its challengers.  But this cockiness is unwarranted and unbecoming.  At most, these popular locutions are glittering banalities strutting their stuff with haughty disregard for the hallowed terminology and conceptuality of authentic apostolic Scripture—liberally reading into every likely term of grammatical variability their own dogmatic notions.  We can do better than this.  It is our duty.  [6/16/06]

And making is Jehovah God for Adam and for his wife tunics of skin and is clothing them” (Genesis 3:21).  When Adam and Eve sinned and therefore started to die, God himself slaughtered an innocent beast in order that they might have warmth and life, thus prophesying that a Just One must of iron necessity die for the unjust ones in order that they could have life.  There is nothing “forensic” about this deed, at least not in any “penal” sense, as VSPSFJ theologians insist there is.  [6/16/06]

On a “penal atonement” construction of Adam and Eve’s fall and of God’s declaration that “from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you are not to be eating from it, for in the day you eat from it, to die shall you be dying,” “a death of the cross,” with all the excessive abuse attending it, can hardly be anticipated.  For God did not so much as hint that such a “punishment” was needed to “pay for” their sin.  They paid their own penalty.  Death itself seems to be more than sufficient compensation—indeed, overcompensation—for eating forbidden fruit.  But, now, to reverse that consequence (whether viewed penally or not) might, indeed, take some overcompensation in the opposite direction!  [6/16/06]

Cain’s offering of vegetable produce had no suffering of abuse or unjust death of the innocent about it.  That’s why Abel’s was “better” (i.e., to depict the ultimate mechanism of atonement).  But ironically, Cain’s slaying of Abel did have that necessary ingredient.  So did this circumstance somehow, backhandedly, extend life to Cain via God’s mark (or “sign,” Gen. 4:15)…suggestive of the sign (Exodus 12:13) of the blood on the door lintels during Passover?  [6/16/06]

Jesus’ plight of death was decisively reversed by the graciousness of God in resurrection, to be sure.  But without yet further and vastly overcompensating graciousness, he could not have helped us out of our plight.  Here we see the reason for his incomparable (in view of both who he was as God’s very Son and what his perfectly faithful obedience had qualified him as a true human being to rightfully expect covenantally [9/25/13]) suffering of abuse:  so that God could display the largest possible measure of SUPERABOUNDING GRACIOUSNESS FAR IN EXCESS OF JESUS’ OWN PERSONAL “NEED.”  HERE WAS SALVATION ENOUGH FOR THE ENTIRE FALLEN RACE OF MANKIND.  THUS DID FATHER AND SON CONSPIRE TO SECURE OUR RESCUE!  THUS DID THEY JOINTLY BECOME OUR SAVIOR!  [6/16/06]

To execute the Messiah was to dare God now (“Ha!  Gotcha!”) to fulfill His bevy of covenantal promises to him.  THIS WAS THE ABSOLUTE PERFECT SET UP FOR THE CREATOR GOD TO SHOW HIS VERY BEST STUFF.  And it proved, in the bargain, that nothing can separate us from the love of such a God!  [6/16/06]

It is really delightfully amazing, when you dwell on it for a while, that Satan was so totally clueless that his “dancing on the grave” of Jesus would call forth such an outcry from Heaven that God Himself would erupt in a SPILLOVER OF GRACIOUSNESS IN THE NAME OF JUSTICE!  What sense could that ever make to the underworld of darkened spirits intimate only with the undoing of God’s good deeds as Creator?  None whatever.  [6/16/06]

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In which light are we to view Messiah’s ABUSE TAKING on the Cross? Was he absorbing “the rightful penalty for human sin,” or was he absorbing the wrongful infliction of Satanic abuse? If the first, then the Resurrection is a doily to decorate the Cross! But if the second, then the Resurrection is an ACT OF GOD TO REVERSE THE TABLES DEFINITIVELY! The first is a lame rubber stamp; the second is a mighty DEVIL STOMP WITH BOOTS ON, FROM WHICH HE CAN NEVER RECOVER! HE IS FINISHED! THE ‘SON’ IS UP!!! [6/15/06]

The Cross was the grand historic dastardly exhibit of what Satan is predisposed to do—and quite capable of doing—to all who oppose his reign of corruption and viciousness. In Messiah’s gruesome treatment, as God’s ransom to Satan, we behold the kind of cruelty that was in store for us and that we deserved because of our offenses against God’s righteous desire for human behavior.

Completely unbeknownst to Satan, however, by taking out his ire on the sinless Son of God who rightly deserved only honor and glory and worship (like his Father) the Father, in seeing His spittin’ image and perfect likeness thus ignominiously spat upon and degraded, was more than justified in UNDOING THE DEED AND UNCURSING SATAN’S VICTIM AS WELL AS SHOWERING HIM WITH THE BOOTY OF HIS NOBLE CONQUEST.

In this astonishing and surprising way, by becoming a ransom in exchange for mankind, Jesus won for the whole human race of sinners the gift (at no cost to us whatever, not even our own work, labor, or “volunteer” effort!) of God’s Wholesome Spirit by which we could resist Satan like Jesus did and thus start to mature in obedience to his directions and come to wear his own divine image and likeness.

This should make clear that Jesus did not suffer “divine punishment for human sin” but suffered criminal assaults of an inconceivably aggravated nature by the Adversary himself. And it was precisely this unique enormity of crime that triggered the rescue that, in turn, freed all who believe from Satan’s now irreversibly visible brutality. [6/15/06]

Messiah didn’t suffer “God’s punishment for our sins so that God could forgive us” but Satan’s savagery for his faithfulness so that God could save him. And in Jesus’ salvation is our salvation, because Messiah’s just due for obediently submitting to such unwarranted brutality (for our sakes, ultimately) was the promised gift (free for us, but won by him!) of the Wholesome Spirit—part of his inherited allotment of the Kingdom covenanted to him in his blood. And it is this Spirit that actually, tangibly, empirically, experientially cleans our core and conscience when by faith we accept Messiah (for his sinless blood is then sprinkled on our sinful hearts to evoke God’s justified sending of His Spirit), and this is how our sins are forgiven. [6/15/06]


If we take the Pharaoh of the Exodus as a type of Satan/Adversary, we can better understand how Satan was “tricked” into crucifying God’s Son. Pharaoh, too, was “fooled” into following Israel into the Reed Sea by himself hardening his own heart by repeatedly disbelieving God’s threats until it had the inertia of a habit. Instead of destroying him for his presumption early on, God parleyed Pharaoh’s own stubbornness by unreeling more and more longsuffering and patience instead, thus actually giving Pharaoh a longer lifetime to show yet more of the viciousness in his heart of darkness. But his end was never in doubt. Nor is Satan’s. Yet Satan, like Pharaoh, was oblivious of how his own historically developed behavior allowed God, by a divine judo, to play off Satan’s own known momentum to land him on the mat with the Master’s boot on his neck.

There is clearly no “deception” entailed in God’s outmaneuvering Satan by the Cross. The Adversary did exactly what he wanted to do to Jesus, and Jesus suffered for it. BUT NOT FOR LONG! Yes, God hid, ever since the disruption of the world by sin, His ultimate weapon and strategy. The humdrum of history itself had set Satan up for  The Grand STING!  And thereby death’s STINGER was pulled![6/15/06]

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The Crucifixion of Jesus: Regicide via Human Sacrifice

What was the “repentance” or “change of mind” required of the nation of ancient Israel in all the early Proclamations in the Book of Acts? They had to admit and confess and avow that they had MURDERED their own King via human sacrifice and thus polluted their land by the shedding of innocent blood, calling down his blood on their own heads and on the heads of their children.

For we must grasp that if Jesus’ kind of death was a sacrifice at all, it was most emphatically a human sacrifice—an act utterly abominable, abhorrent, detestable, and loathsome to God! Therefore, to call crucifixion of Jesus a “sacrifice” is necessarily to indict the Jews and impugn their dark motives in the most vehement and indisputable way possible. They were guilty in the most aggravated sense imaginable, deserving of fire from Heaven, yet God had turned their enormity into unimaginable good…if only they would change their minds, make an about face, and obey the now exalted victim of their malfeasance! They must humble themselves, bow the knee, call him “Master,” and believe everything he had been trying to teach them. And to expedite this new life, God would give them His own Wholesome Spirit “for free,” though, to be sure, at Messiah’s expense. This is the NEW COVENANT IN MESSIAH’S BLOOD. [6/12/06]

When God saw the Victor’s blood, He gave him the Victor’s wreath. [6/13/06]

By far the most significant period of learning for the learners of Jesus was the 40 days after his “Crossurrection,” until his Ascension and before the Wholesome Spirit fell from Heaven. For it was only during this golden moment that he could open their minds to understand and open the Scriptures to illustrate what his coming truly meant. Scripture records none of the details about his distinctive elaboration and elucidation from his “crash course” in Truth except that he was “telling them that with concerns the KINGDOM OF GOD” (Acts 1:3). Nevertheless, we can be absolutely certain that the Book of Acts records in all subsequent episodes of speechmaking the exact essential details of that explanation by the Master. It was our Master’s own authentic exposition of Hebrew Scripture that we hear echoed in every single message and teaching there. It is his indictment of the Jewish people that we are hearing, his arguments, his rhetoric, his use of Scripture! We must ponder this at its full value before we ever confront the temptations of critical scholars to suspect “early Christian tradition” as compromising the truth of God’s Proclamation in the least jot or tittle. [6/14/06]

The so-called “ransom idea,” “recapitulation,” “exemplary love,” and “Christus victor” themes of Messiah’s Atonement are all mutually compatible and complementary (though even all together, still incomplete), but the “penal substitution” (PS) and “vicarious satisfaction” (VS) theories eclipse all the others in a glaring and domineering false light. These do not harmonize with the others and will twist them and skew their individual integrity and unique force. In the game of “Which of these does not belong?” this is the one (ultimately PS and VS are one in spirit, one in error). [6/14/06]

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