Tag Archives: metaphysics

You are My Sheep, and I Pray for You

In these promises to each other the Father promises that Jesus is a priest according to the order of Melchizedek. In summery, this means Jesus’ priesthood is before and different from the Levitical one. It is an eternal and permanent priesthood, that the Levitical one cannot override, which came later. The Levitical priesthood, particularly with the Day of Atonement, we see a teaching illustration to learn what the substitutionary atonement of Jesus will look like, who has the original and eternal priesthood.

In Jesus’ priesthood, we learn in Isaiah 53:12 that He both bore (like the escape goat) the sins but He also “interceded” for them. For example, the priest in Leviticus 16 on the Day of Atonement, only sacrifice and interceded for the children of Israel, and not Moab or someone else. The atonement is for Israel only, not other people. The priest only intercedes for Israel. As the next chapter says (17) the “life” of the animal is in the blood. This is like “life” currency. Jesus gives us the currency of His life in exchange for our currency (or debt) of death. The “intercession” is about telling the bank where you want the money to go. What would happen if you dropped off a briefcase of money without say where you want it? This is why Jesus intercedes, He is telling the Father where the life currency of His atonement goes.

In John 17 Jesus prays, “not for the world” but only for those whom “Father gave Him.” This means His sacrifice was only for those whom the Father gave Him, and not the whole world, as in every single person. If Jesus did not intercede for ‘x’ group, then Jesus did not die for them. We call this definite atonement. Jesus’ atonement was successful for a definite group and not universally for all.

John 10:26-27, Jesus says, “you do not believe, because you are not of my sheep! My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” The “you do not believe” is the conclusion, the “you are not my Sheep,” is the major premise for why we have this conclusion. If you are not already part of Jesus’ sheep, then it concludes you do not believe, and will not believe. Jesus is answering a question with a separate statement about metaphysics and its effects. The ones not believing Jesus, ask if He is the Messiah. To put Jesus’ statement into a syllogism, (1) if you are not my sheep, then you do not believe.” (2) You are not my sheep. (3) Thus, you do not believe what I say.” Also, Jesus in other places says there is only two options, sheep and goats. By saying they are not sheep He is saying they are goats.

If you are not part of Jesus’ sheep then you will never listen and believe what Jesus says. “And I have other sheep which are not from this fold. I must bring these also, and they will hear my voice, and they will become one flock—one shepherd. (v.16)” Combining this with the above meaning we learn, if a future person is not already now part of Jesus’ sheep, then they will not believe. Jesus teaches if someone is a sheep now, even if they are not-born-again now, they will believe in the future. His sheep, including those who are “going to believe” (future), believe because they “are” (present) already His sheep. These are those who Jesus interceded for, therefore they will believe at God’s predetermined times.

Jesus says “My sheep listen to my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. And I give them eternal life, and they will never perish forever (v27-28).” After saying those who asked if He was the messiah, are not part of His Sheep, He says straight to their face that He gives eternal life to His sheep, which excludes those He is talking to, because He said they are not part of His sheep. There is no teaching of TWO groups that receive Jesus’ “eternal life,” in the scripture. Therefore, the law of excluded middle applies here. If you are not part of this group, then you are a goat, a reprobate.

This also kills the very stupid teaching that says predestination, election, reprobation and God’s absolute sovereignty is an insider doctrine for mature Christians, and not outsiders. Jesus in a mixed audience, in the face of those He is calling reprobates, is teaching these doctrines. Jesus does this again, for example, in John 6, where He says only those the Father draws will come to Him to receive eternal life, and it is for these, that He gives up His life for. If Scripture is going to be your first principle for all knowledge, then get all those answers there, not from men.

The foundational we learn from this are two things about salvation. One is the decrees of God. God in His sovereignty plans and does all the saving of sinful man. Since we have already dealt with the overall doctrine of God’s sovereignty we will focus on this second important point. Jesus’ statements teach the foundation of salvation is about metaphysic, or reality that is. God decides ‘x’ is a sheep and ‘y’ is a goat. The sheep is in the category of a sheep and gets all the category realities that belong to it, and the same with the goat. The world is God’s playdough. He makes up categories from nothing, with all their attributes. He then creates individuals out of nothing, to put into these categories that He wants.

Jesus says for the sheep that He dies for them. He will give them eternal life and they will live with Him forever. This is the reality, the category of being a sheep. He is the only Potter. If God decides ‘x’ is a sheep, then it is so. No one, not even Satan, not even the ‘x,’ can stop it, not because the person will believe against their own will, but because the Potter molds their will to be a sheep, and thus they will believe. Salvation at its foundation metaphysics, not ethics or about man and his choice. Because it is metaphysics first, then therefore, choice and ethics, which are conclusions of epistemology and reality, will follow.

This is great news for all God’s chosen ones who have cried out to God to save them. They will not be disappointed. Despite their internal struggles (even besetting sins) and the attacks of men and devils, even all this cannot stop them from being sheep, cannot separate them from God’s love, and cannot stop them from inheriting eternal life. This becomes a cornerstone for the believers to correct themselves and mature their faith, knowing they are winners. Their faith has overcome the world, because they are children of God.

[this is taken from my Systematic Theology book]

  Jesus Does the Marvelous “Works,” that the Father Does.  

[This section is from the “Works of God” section,
from my Systematic Theology book]

…This mighty work of God is mirrored in Jesus Christ and His saving of the Elect. Indeed there are even two baptisms in the New Contract with Jesus. One for the removal of slavery and sins, and one for the power of God’s Spirit.

  Jesus Does the Marvelous “Works,” that the Father Does.

John 5:16–30 (NET)
16 Now because Jesus was doing these things on the Sabbath, the Jewish leaders began persecuting him.
17 So he told them, “My Father is working until now, and I too am working.”
19 So Jesus answered them, “I tell you the solemn truth, the Son can do nothing on his own initiative, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, the Son does likewise.
20 For the Father loves the Son and shows him everything he does, and will show him greater deeds than these, so that you will be amazed.
21 For just as the Father raises the dead and gives them life, so also the Son gives life to whomever he wishes.
22 Furthermore, the Father does not judge anyone, but has assigned all judgment to the Son,
…27 and he has granted the Son authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man.
…30 I can do nothing on my own initiative. Just as I hear, I judge, and my judgment is just, because I do not seek my own will, but the will of the one who sent me.

 Luke 4:16-20 NET
4:16 Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 4:17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

4:18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
and the regaining of sight to the blind,
to set free those who are oppressed,
4:19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”

4:20 Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant, and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fixed on him. 4:21 Then he began to tell them, “Today this scripture has been fulfilled even as you heard it being read.”

  A few quick things about the works Jesus is doing.

The Father “works on the Sabbath.” Back the Exodus and wilderness story, on the Sabbath God first worked by giving them “food” to eat.[1] God then worked on the Sabbath to provide “sanctification”[2] for them. Thus, according to first mentions hermeneutics “God working on the Sabbath” on the behalf of man, is 1st a material-miracle blessing and then 2nd a spiritual blessing.  Most have this flipped upside down, or do not even consider the first because their parents are the same ones who complained in the wilderness. They do not like how God “works” on the behalf of man. The have the same attitude toward Jesus and His followers.

Also, in context of Exodus 16, we have in chapter 15 God healing them, and declares that He is “Yahweh who heals you.” Jesus does these same works the Father did.

Jesus Christ mirrors this in His working on the Sabbath. Our text starts with a common experience in the gospels. Jesus is healing on the Sabbath. Jesus is working material-miracle blessings on the Sabbath, just like His Father did.  Just like the Israelites in the wilderness who hated God for helping them, these in John 5 also hated God’s Son for helping them. Those who follow after the Father, and the Son by doing these same “works” to help man, are often persecuted by those who claim to follow God.

I know this sounds strange, but you need to let that sink in. The Father was providing one miracle supply after another for the Israelites; the responded with complaints and hating the Father.  God was richly helping them and they turned around and hated Him for it.  Jesus on the Sabbath was doing exactly what the Father did. He was richly supplying both material miracles and spiritual ones, and the Jews hated Him for helping them. They did the same thing to the disciples in the book of Acts. The same happens today.

Our verse in Luke shows that Jesus quotes Isaiah’s prophecy as being fulfilled by Him. The is about God healing, setting people free, preaching truth to them. This is God richly supplying every sort of material and spiritual blessing. The Father has been doing this works through the Scripture, and now Jesus is doing them as the Son of Man. In fact, when question by John’s disciples if Jesu was truly the one they were looking for He responded by saying,

“Luke 7:22–23 (NET) So he answered them, “Go tell John what you have seen and heard: The blind see, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, the poor have good news proclaimed to them. Blessed is anyone who takes no offense at me.”

Think about what Jesus is saying about being offended. He is not preaching on hell, and saying do not be offended by this; rather, just like in Exodus and the Sabbath provisions, Jesus is preaching and providing great miracle supplies, and then says do not be offended. That is, do not hate God for richly providing material and spiritual blessings, as the Israelites did in the wilderness. Do not be offended at God richly pouring out goodies, if you do, then you burn in hell. Your body will be left in the wilderness just like the rest.

Jesus started His ministry, as the Godman, after He was empowered by the Holy Spirit. He did His ministry, not by the mere power of the Son of God, but as a “man,” born under the law, “empower by the Spirit.” After Jesus’ baptism and the Holy Spirit coming down to rest on Him, He became an explosive ministry of miracles, healings, truth and power. This was an antitype for how God’s chosen ones would follow in Jesus’ footsteps. Jesus commanded the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they are baptized in the Holy Spirit for missional/miracle power. Jesus was baptized and empowered by the Spirit, as a man, and commands His followers to do the same.

I could go on and on about this, but this will have to suffice for now. We will transition to the “works that man will do” by quoting Jesus speaking of this very thing.

John 14:10–14 (NIV)
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father, and that the Father is in me? The words I say to you I do not speak on my own authority. Rather, it is the Father, living in me, who is doing his work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me; or at least believe on the evidence of the works themselves.
Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.
And I will do whatever you ask in my name, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.
You may ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it.


[1] Exodus 16:22-30.

 He said to them, “This is what the Lord has said: ‘Tomorrow is a time of cessation from work, a holy Sabbath to the Lord. … See, because the Lord has given you the Sabbath, that is why he is giving you food for two days on the sixth day, (v. 23,29 Net). 

The first mention of the “Holy Sabbath,” is here. The first mention of Sabbath being a “holy” day is the day God provided so much miracle material provision, they stayed home and ceased from working. God worked so hard to provide for them miracle food, they were able to cease from their work.  This ceasing from material work, due to God’s abundant miracle provision, “sets them apart to Yahweh, (i.e. Holy)” and makes them a “cut-above” all peoples of the earth.

It is true that in Jesus’ atonement, He becomes the spiritual provision of forgiveness, sanctification, adoption and redemption; however, this does not negate the first mention of this is about material provision. Thus, the teaching about the first mention of God providing on the Holy Sabbath, is more than, but not less than, God providing abundant material miracle provision.

Fools often use one Scripture to cancel out another. But as we see here, as it often is, the Scripture for the sake of God’s love to man, keeps adding not subtracting blessings. Let us be true children of God, and in faith, obtain all the provisions of God, and by this become “Holy people of God.”

 [2] The next big mention about the Sabbath and God’s supply is in Exodus 31. God just gave Moses instructions about the Tabernacle, and all the symbolic parts that represent God’s mercy, salvation and nearness to them. In verse 12 it says, “And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, speak also to the Children of Israel, saying: “Surely, My Sabbaths you shall keep, for it is a sign between Me and you throughout your generations, that you may know that I am the LORD who sanctifies you (NKJV).”

At first God is the abundant material supply through miracles; next, is the abundant spiritual supply of mercy, salvation and nearness.

Thus, we can conclude the Sabbath was designed by God to be a day where “God works” by supplying so much material and spiritual blessings, that man rests from their works. Their “receiving” and “trusting” in God’s abundance miracle supplies, makes them “holy,” set-a-part to God as His chosen people.

Therefore, in Gospel of Jesus Christ, not only imputed righteousness is provided(spiritual) but also healing (material) (Exodus 15:26, Isaiah 5:4-5, James 5:15), and finances (Exodus 36:5, 2 Corinthians 8:9)

First Principles of a Worldview or First Spirits?

“See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

LSB Colossians 2:8

Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon: (elementary principles),

4747 στοιχεῖον [stoicheion /stoy·khi·on/] n n. From a presumed derivative of the base of 4748; TDNT 7:670; TDNTA 1087; GK 5122; Seven occurrences; AV translates as “element” four times, “rudiment” twice, and “principle” once.

1 any first thing, from which the others belonging to some series or composite whole take their rise, an element, first principal. 1a the letters of the alphabet as the elements of speech, not however the written characters, but the spoken sounds. 1b the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe. 1c the heavenly bodies, either as parts of the heavens or (as others think) because in them the elements of man, life and destiny were supposed to reside.
1d the elements, rudiments, primary and fundamental principles of any art, science, or discipline. 1d1 i.e. of mathematics, Euclid’s geometry.[1]

In the verse, the word “philosophy” is actually used, not “spirits or angels.” In addition to philosophy being used by Paul, which is about philosophy, the context is about “traditions of men,” that are conclusions from “elementary principles.” In Philosophy 101 you learn that ethics (or in this case religious ethics as “traditions”) are a conclusion from the rudimentary principles of metaphysics(reality) and epistemology(knowledge). To talk about ethics, as Paul does here, coming from elementary foundational principles of a human system, is as philosophy as it gets.  In fact you can start any Intro to Philosophy book or college class with this statement, “Philosophy is the study of the fundamental principles, or ultimate questions about life.” The first two biggest questions are almost always about “starting point for knowledge,” and then the “starting point for reality.” With these two big fundamental principles laid down, then one can easily proceed to ultimate question about ethics.

The whole structure of this premise and those immediately around, is strong philosophy, or ultimate question language. Thus, “stoicheion,” due to context should mean what it normally means and not some other meaning, like “elementary spirits.” It means ultimate or rudimentary/first principles of a worldview. Think about the philosophy word, “epistemology.” It means, “first or starting principle of knowledge.”

Thus, the last part of the Strong’s Lexicon (1D) is best definition of this word, that fits the context of Paul’s premise. Paul is therefore, referring to the first and foundational principles of a humanly made worldview, and then the “traditions” men conclude from the first principles of their humanly devised worldview.

Paul is contrasting “human” versus “Christian” first principles, and then human conclusions from their humans first principles versus Christian ethics from its first principles.

Men have their own speculative statements of first principles of knowledge and reality, and from this they superstitiously conclude human traditions as their ethics. Their traditions are false, because their first principles of their worldview about reality and knowledge are false; and therefore, their traditions/conclusions are false.

Christians on the other hand, have Christ, who is hidden all the treasures of knowledge. The Scripture reveals the starting principles about knowledge(epistemology) and reality(metaphysics) to us, and from foundation, God reveals His commands(ethics) to us. Christians ethics are founded on reality and truth, whereas, non-christians ethics are founded on a delusion of reality and skepticism as knowledge.

[1] Strong, J. (1995). Enhanced Strong’s Lexicon. Woodside Bible Fellowship.