Thursday, 29 December 2011

Was Jesus Ignorant About His Second Coming Date?

Was Jesus Ignorant? It is argued that Jesus as God Incarnate sometimes only operated out of limited human knowledge.!
Written by Dr Andrew Corbett, President of ICI Theological College Australia, and author of the popular commentary on the Book of Revelation- The Most Embarrassing Book In The Bible, December 29th 2011
Was Jesus Ignorant?
Take a Bible College Course on Jesus Christ (called "Christology") and eventually you will study the incarnation of Christ and explore how His Divine and Human natures formed a union. The mystery of how God became man is further magnified when it is supposed that although Christ possessed all of the Divine attributes (immutability, eternality, omniscience, omnipresence, omnipotence) He was at times not utilizing His Divine nature and instead speaking from His limited Human nature. In this way, it is argued, Christ was actually ignorant of certain things. The most common proof-text to support this doctrine is Matthew 24:36-
¶ "But concerning that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father only."
Matthew 24:36
This verse is similarly stated in the Gospel of Mark (13:32). On the surface it appears that Christ is pleading ignorant about the timing of His parousia ("coming"). If so, how could an omniscient Being be ignorant of anything? This apparent conundrum is resolved by appealing to Christ's two natures (Divine and Human) and reasoning that there this is an instance when Christ spoke from His human nature (limited in knowledge) rather than His Divine nature (omniscient). But this explanation creates more problems than it attempts to solve. Respected Bible Commentator, Adam Clarke, who published his commentary on the Bible between 1810-1826, recognized the weakness of this "two natures" explanation-
This clause is not found either in Matthew or Luke; and Ambrose says it was wanting in some Greek copies in his time. To me it is utterly unaccountable, how Jesus, who knew so correctly all the particulars which he here lays down, and which were to a jot and tittle verified by the event-how he who knew that not one stone should be left on another, should be ignorant of the day and hour when this should be done, though Daniel, Dan. ix. 24, &c., could fix the very year, not less than five hundred years before it happened: how he in whom the fullness of the Godhead dwelt bodily, and all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, should not know this small matter, I cannot comprehend, but on this ground, that the Deity which dwelt in the man Christ Jesus might, at one time, communicate less of the knowledge of futurity to him than at another. However, I strongly suspect that the clause was not originally in this Gospel. Its not being found in the parallel places in the other evangelists is, in my opinion, a strong presumption against it.
Adam Clarke
Adam Clarke makes an astute exegetical observation that is too frequently overlooked or ignored by others...[read full article

Friday, 23 December 2011


Jesus Christ has time.
Luke 22:19 And he took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to them, saying, "This is my body, which is given for you. Do this in remembrance of me."
As we prepare to celebrate this Christmas, we remember the Christmas Child who 'divided' time. We describe time as either being "B.C." (Before Christ) or "A.D." (Anno Domini). No other person in history has ever been similarly honoured. When Christ came, everything changed - including the way we refer to history. When Christ comes into a life today, everything changes still. It's not just History that has a B.C. and an A.D. point - it's every life who has turned to the only One who can divide the history of their lives into B.C. ("before I came to Christ") and A.D. ("After my Decision to follow Christ").

This Christmas is a celebration of the One who entered history and erases pasts. He did this for me. Before Christ found me I had done shameful things. When I came to Christ He erased my past, my "B.C.", and for that I will be eternally grateful! Since I have placed my life under the Lordship of Christ my future, my "A.D.", is now secured. There are times when my previous life of sin haunts me relentlessly. How could a Saviour who atoned for sins nearly two thousand years ago possibly forgive my sin which, at the time, I hadn't committed yet? But this Saviour is not just Anno Domini (Lord of the Year) He is Aetas Domini (Lord of Time). Jesus Christ literally has time.

There are some people who say that Jesus can only guess what the future holds - but that He may guess wrong. The technical term for this isOpen Theology. There are others who say that Jesus knows exactly what choices every personcould make and has chosen the pathway of collective choices that produces the best outcome. The technical term for this is Middle Knowledge. But the mystery saturating the pages of Scripture is that the Once-Christmas-Child is not merely a Guesser of the Future, but the Lord of the Future. But not just the Future, time. He is Aetas Domini!

The first Christmas was what all the past looked forward to. The first Christmas is what all today, and in the future will, look back to. It changed everything. It still does. When I shared this message last Sunday, a lady who had had many years living under Narcis Domini came to Christ and wanted the Aetas Domini to be her Domini. She wanted her life to move from B.C. to A.D.!
Ephesians 2:1-4aAnd you were dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience— among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.
But God
"I want my past to be B.C." she said. Her eyes said it all.Before Christ. Before Christ we were "dead in the trespasses and sins in which we once walked" wrote the seasoned Apostle. But then Christmas! And "all things have become new" (2Cor. 5:17). Does you life have a time-dividing point? Can you identify that era of your life which might be referred to as "B.C."? Everyone who lives in the Anno Domini (Year of the Lord) has a B.C.

The Christmas Child became the ChristAetas Domini, the Lord of Time. The One who could enter time and deal with the past in His present and atone for all in the future. On the night He was to be betrayed, He took bread, broke it, and uttered only what the Aetas Domini could decree-
take and eat (The Present)
do this in remembrance of Me (The Past)
until I come (The Future)
The next time you are dogged by your past failures, mistakes, sins and trespasses, you have a Saviour who has erased these from your past. The next time you are anxious, you have a Saviour who is with you now! The next time your future looks uncertain you can walk into it with the One who is Lord of it!

Faced with a Throne he never wanted, a war he was ill-equipped for, and nation in collective anxiety about its future, King George went on radio and gave a stirring speech to the people of the British Empire on September 3rd, 1939 and then followed it up with a Christmas Day speech. How this reluctant King, who suffered with serious speech impediments and a dire lack of self-confidence, came to give this speech was the subject of the movie: The King's Speech.
[Sep. 3rd 1939] "In this grave hour, perhaps the most fateful in our history, I send to every household of my peoples, both at home and overseas, this message, spoken with the same depth of feeling for each one of you as if I were able to cross your threshold and speak to you myself...
But we can only do the right as we see the right, and reverently commit our cause to God. If one and all we keep resolutely faithful to it, ready for whatever service or sacrifice it may demand, then, with God's help, we shall prevail...
[Dec. 25th 1939] "I said to the man who stood at the Gate of the Year, 'Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.' And he replied, 'Go out into the darkness, and put your hand into the Hand of God. That shall be better than light, and safer than a known way.'"
King George VI
Jesus has time. He has time to deal with our pasts. He has time to help us in our nows. He already knows our tomorrow, and has already ensured that no temptation/adversity will come our way that could overpower us! Yes, the Christ of Christmas has not just established Anno Domini, but has settled the matter of Who Rules Time. The first Christmas laid the foundation for Christ to be acknowledged as Aetas Domini.
Father, thank You for sending the Christmas Child as our Saviour. Thank You that our past is dealt with and our future is secure. As we look back, we give thanks. As we look forward, we worship. Help us, we pray to acknowledge that Jesus is merely the Author of Anno Domini, but He is truly Aetas Domini - Lord of All Time. Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Thursday, 15 December 2011


Lessons From Joseph's Brothers.
Gen. 37:3 Now Israel loved Joseph more than any other of his sons, because he was the son of his old age. And he made him a robe of many colors.
How did Joseph's brothers feel when their father honoured him above them? We call it jealousy. But it was actually envy. Joseph's brothers felt it.

Jesus told parables involving honour. For example, there was the parable about those who had been working the full day and expected to get paid more than those who had only worked an hour. Jesus shocked His audience by describing the honouring of those who had only worked an hour above those who had worked all day!

The Apostle Paul confronted people's poor reaction to others being honoured when he wrote to the Romans and told them the remedy for envy: outdo one another in showing honour.

In another parable of Christ, He told of servants who had been working a long day, and came into their Master's house expecting to relax (and maybe even get a little thanks). Instead, they were called upon to continue serving and honour their master. Rather than thinking they are being hard done by, the Lord Jesus said that they should be glad that another is being honoured and consider that they are merely lowly servants who live to honour others with their service (Luke 17:10). Many of these teachings abouthonour were given before a crowd of Pharisees who loved to be honoured - and hated it when others were.
Matthew 23:6 and they love the place of honor at feasts and the best seats in the synagogues
We will at times ache because we are not recognised or acknowledged. How many mothers feel taken-for-granted? How many employees feel unappreciated? How many people on a church roster feel overlooked? It's nice to be honoured, but unfortunately it happens all too rarely.

Joseph's brothers could not tolerate that their father Jacob would so overtly honour Joseph over them. As a pastor, I've seen this emotion stirred many times when I've publicly honoured someone. "You thanked them from the pulpit! But I deserve thanks to! Why didn't you thank me?!" After this sort of thing happened far too many times, I realised that honouring someone actually tests others. Honouring someone flushes out what is in another's heart. It reveals why they are doing what they are doing. Afterall, in serving Christ we should be serving to glorify Jesus and promote His Cause - regardless of who gets recognised for it. Right?
So it's probably time for a confession: The problem with someone else being honoured is that it feels like I'm notbeing honoured. It's as if I'm being deprived something. This is hardly an attitude that glorifies Christ, because Jesus calls me to "decrease" and to help others "increase". I request your patience as I try to adjust my attitude to be more Christlike - especially when someone else is being honoured. My attitude adjustment is being helped by some things that I am discovering -

The God we worship is a God of infinite love.Because He loves someone, does not mean that I get less of His love. Since honour is an aspect of love, when soneone is honoured, it actually does not mean that I am deprived of anything.
You receive what you give away.It's almost counter-intuitive. The Bible repeatedly refers to "sowing and reaping" - that is, what you sow (give away) is what you will reap. If I want recognition and honour for what I do, I need to recognise and honour others.
Honouring others is good for me.It takes humility to honour another. To clap, support, present, another helps me to develop my humilty. According to James 4, it's only when I am humble that I qualify for more of God's grace.
Honouring helps me to fulfil the Great Commandment.Honouring, giving someone someone a clap / a cheer / a gift / a public recognition / a card of appreciation / a public tribute - is showing love. To love others is the Great Commandment of Christ and is repeated in John's epistles as the hallmark for mature Christianity.

"The real power of effective leadership is maximising other people's potential, which inevitably demands also ensuring they get the credit. When our ego won't let us build another person up, everything has to build us up, then...we have stopped leading..."
Brigadier Jim Wallace, cited in HUMILITAS, by Dr John Dickson, page 156
I want to be a person of honour- that is, I want to be a perspn who honours others and celebrates those who are honoured. To "honour" is to regard as important. I want to help others feel important. From what I read in Scripture, it is important for me to make others feel important by showing them expressions of unconditionallove. To honour someone is to promote them as important. (For those who are married, you may recall that honouring was an integral aspect of your marriage vows.)

When I honour a leader I look for a couple things: their response, and the response of the other leaders around them. How a person receives honour says a lot about them. How a person reacts when another is being honoured, says a lot about them. Notice how Jesus regarded honour?
John 5:23 that all may honor the Son, just as they honor the Father. Whoever does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent him.
It's nice to be thanked - to be thanked publicly. That's honouring. It's nice to be acknowledged - by our children, our parents, our co-workers, our team-mates. But it doesn't always happen. Thankfully, as children of God, we have a Heavenly to Whom All Honour is due who amazingly graces His children with His honour-
John 12:26 If anyone serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there will my servant be also. If anyone serves me, the Father will honor him.
Wow! The God of the Universe is secure enough to honour, celebrate, recognise, thank, reward, His Servants! Man may not see, but God always does. The next time you're not being honoured, don't pout (like I do) insteadrejoice with those rejoice (Romans 12:15), and join in seeking to fulfil Romans 12:10 ("outdo one another in showing honour"). Then one day, in fact, the day, our Father in Heaven will become the source of your previously unimagined honour. I wonder how the account of Joseph and his brothers would have been different if they had honoured they colour-coated sibling instead of envying and despising him?
Father, help us to honour one another. Lord, we live in a world where it is all-too-easy to tear others down and ridicule - rather than to promote others and honour them. Oh God, I pray that we can honour our spouses, our children, our parents, our leaders, our family, our friends, our team-mates. Help us at Legana to create a therepeutic culture where honour abounds and envy and pouting is rare. May we draw our security, affirmation, and identity from You and what You've revealed to us in Your Word, in Jesus' Name, Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew

Friday, 2 December 2011

The Gospel Is Obvious When You See It

Most Australians have seen Frederick McCubbin's 1904 painting, The Pioneers. Even though I have seen this painting thousands of times, it wasn't until today that I actually saw it. And I was deeply moved. If I was a proud man (and unfortunately I am, so this upcoming confession is very difficult for me) I would claim that this fresh vision of this iconic Australian painting was due to my cultured eye for detail. But alas, I can make no such claim. This painting was interpreted for me by someone who wrote about it just two years after it was painted. This cultured art connoisseur was the man whom my daughter asked this after afternoon as she looked at an original photo of him in my office, "Was F.W. Boreham born old?"

McCubbin's painting is in three sections. The first section has a young wife pining for her former life. Perhaps, and probably, this was England. In the background, her husband is seen near their covered wagon lighting a fire at the base of a blue-gum tree. This iconic young woman is emblematic of the sacrifice that thousands of such women made in pioneering Australia. Pioneering is tough, lonely, and taxing. Many of these early female pioneers experienced madness in this face of this. McCubbin captures this with this opening scene.

The second scene has the husband resting on a log. Axe nearby. His young wife is now a mother as the wistful baby's arm is flopped over the should of its mother reveals. In the background of this scene is not their wagon, but their cabin. These pioneers were making progress! But still there must have been a high price to pay. These pioneers were sacrificing for sake of future generations.

But there is a cost that is more painful than self-sacrificing. Consider Abraham, says F.W. Boreham, who would have gladly taken the place of his beloved son Isaac as they ventured up the mount of sacrifice. Consider the cost that Jephthah paid as he bid his daughter farewell (Judges 11). Sacrifice costs dearly.

In the third scene, we see through the cleared bush, in the far distance, an emerging town. But in the foreground we see the husband kneeling at the foot of her grave. It is a poignant scene. It catches a pain that is greater than that of self-sacrificing. The pain of being the cause of someone else's sacrifice! Abraham nearly felt it. Jephthah did. God the Father did.
"The pioneer ! It is by such sacrifices that these broad Australian lands of ours have been consecrated. Oh, the brave, brave women of our Australian bush ! We have heard, even in Tasmania, of their losing their reason through sheer loneliness ; and too often they have sunk into their graves with only a man to act as nurse and doctor and minister and grave-digger all in one.
F.W. Boreham, "THE PIONEER", Mountains In The Mist, pages 76-77
F.W. Boreham points out to his readers that this iconic Australian painting was actually a picture of the Gospel! In the same way that the Father's sacrifice was equal to, if not greater, than any sacrifice ever made.

"I used to think that the finest thing on earth was self-sacrifice. It was a great mistake. This picture of the 'The Pioneer' reminds me that there is a form of sacrifice compared with which self-sacrifice is a very tame affair. I say that the picture reminds me ; for it was the Bible that taught me of that sacrifice supreme." (page 77)

Boreham saw in this famous Australian painting the message of the Gospel. A message of not mere self-sacrifice for the benefit of others, but a sacrifice that goes beyond personal cost. Boreham saw this as typical of God's sending His Son to die for us. This was the genius of F.W.Boreham. He looked at everyday, ordinary things, and well-known pieces of art, and interpreted them for his audience in a way that could see what they previously did not see - but was there all along. He had a way of seeing the Gospel in trees, paint, art, literature, theatre and history.

During the upcoming movie release frenzy season, consider what Boreham did and look for the Gospel in these stories. You'll probably see it once you start looking for it. This is because, as Winkie Pratney points out, the Gospel is THE story from which all other stories take their cue. When you see feint traces of THE story in the books, movies, art or nature, help others to see it as well. That, don't just be a consumer of culture, be an interpreter of it. Of course Boreham was not the first to master this. The great cross-cultural missionary from Tarsus did the same thing when he entered Athens when he interpreted a monument and a 'pagan' poem for his culturally-aware audience. In a Biblically illiterate culture, we may find that we need to do this more and more.
Father, help us to see the Gospel. Help us to see the Gospel story of You as Creator, Rescuer, Redeemer, Resurrector, and Righteous Judge, in art/literature/nature. May we have the grace and wisdom to share this interpretation of our culture with those we know and care for, in Jesus' Name, Amen.
Eph. 3:21 to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.
Ps. Andrew