Posts Tagged ‘Old Testament’

Eternal Life (Part 1)

Thursday, February 11th, 2010

For those of you that have been following this blog for a little while, this series is going to be a little different from what you’re used to.  I’m going to give you a peek into my research.   The focus of my research is John’s use of the concept of eternal life in his Gospel.  This series is going to provide an overview of what Scripture says about eternal life.  We will look at each occurrence of the phrase in the Bible and try to understand what that passage says about eternal life.

The first and only time the phrase eternal life appears in the Greek translation of the Old Testament (the Septuagint abbreviated LXX) is in Daniel 12:2.  Daniel 12 is part of an apocalyptic revelation given to Daniel while he was in Persia.  It is part of a very long prophecy which culminates with these words:

1 “At that time Michael,
the great prince who watches over your people,
will arise.
There will be a time of distress
unlike any other from the nation’s beginning
up to that time.
But at that time your own people,
all those whose names are found written in the book,
will escape.
2 Many of those who sleep
in the dusty ground will awake—
some to everlasting life,
and others to shame and everlasting abhorrence.
3 But the wise will shine
like the brightness of the heavenly expanse.
And those bringing many to righteousness
will be like the stars forever and ever.
(Daniel 12:1-3 NET)

The phrase “everlasting life” in Greek is the same as “eternal life.”  Daniel tells us a couple of things about eternal life in this passage.  (1) Eternal life will be given to some after they are resurrected from the dead.  (2) Those that do not receive eternal life will receive eternal abhorrence.  The Greek word used here indicates a great disgrace.  In Ancient Near Eastern culture this was one of the worst things that could possibly happen to a person.  Honor was the most important thing in that culture.  Daniel is saying that some will be resurrected to eternal life and some will be resurrected to eternal disgrace.

So, Daniel 12:2 teaches us that eternal life is given to some when they are resurrected.  It appears here to be a reward of some kind and is the opposite of eternal disgrace.

How does this affect what you believe about eternal life?

Why Do I Still Need Deliverance?

Tuesday, February 9th, 2010

Over the past several months I’ve been reading through the Psalms.  I’m reading through the Psalms because as I was reading through the Gospels last year I noticed how much Jesus quoted the Psalms.  So, I decided to spend some time immersing myself in them.

In truth, this has been more difficult than I anticipated.  I have found it hard to identify with much of what is said in the Psalms.  In particular, I find it hard to identify with the psalms of deliverance where the psalmist prays for deliverance from his enemies.  The main reason for this is that I don’t feel that I have any enemies to deal with.  I’m certainly not in the place of David as he was hiding from a vengeful king out to kill him.  No one is out to take my life.

As that thought came to me when I was reading Psalm 54 a couple of months ago it occurred to me that I do have an enemy.  I have an enemy who uses insurgent tactics against me.  The most effective aspect of his tactical approach is the fact that I forget he’s there.

Satan is always near tempting me to sin.  He is most effective when I forget that he is there.  When I forget that Satan is at work I forget to pray against him.  I start thinking that I can overcome sin on my own.  At those times, I forget that I need God.  I forget that I need the power of the cross.

I might as well be spitting on the cross because though I don’t say it with my words, with my actions I tell Jesus, “Thanks for dying but you didn’t need to, I can handle this.”  Yes, I’m that foolish.  And, I bet you can be sometimes too.

I’m grateful for the psalms of deliverance, because I still need God’s power to deliver me from sin and Satan.  I need the Holy Spirit constantly working in my life protecting me and transforming me.  The psalms of deliverance remind me to pray for God to continue to keep me from sin and lead me to praise him for sending his Son to die for me.

What have you learned recently from your time reading the Bible?