Bible Expositor and Illuminator

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1 Bible Expositor and Illuminator September, October, November 2017 FALL QUARTER For Adults Ages 26 & Up

2 Vol. LXXXIX No. 4 Bible Expositor and Illuminator FALL QUARTER September, October, November 2017 Looking Ahead... 2 Editorials... 3 Covenants with God UNIT I: Signs of God s Covenants Sept. 3 The Rainbow Gen. 8:20-22; 9: Sept. 10 Circumcision Gen. 17: Sept. 17 Sabbath Observance Exod. 31: Sept. 24 A Spirit-Filled Heart Ezek. 36: UNIT II: Called into Covenant with God Oct. 1 God s Covenant with Abram Gen. 15:1-6, Oct. 8 God s Covenant with Israel Exod. 19: Oct. 15 Obeying God s Law Exod. 20: Oct. 22 God s Covenant with David II Sam. 7:1-6, 8-10, Oct. 29 God s Covenant with the Returned Exiles Neh. 9:32-38; 10: UNIT III: An Everlasting Covenant Nov. 5 Faithful God, Unfaithful People Num. 25:10-13; I Sam. 2: Nov. 12 Promise of a New Covenant Jer. 31: Nov. 19 Mediator of the New Covenant Heb. 12:14-15, Nov. 26 Remembering the Covenant I Cor. 11: Topics for Next Quarter Paragraphs on Places and People Daily Bible Readings Review Edited and published quarterly by THE INCORPORATED TRUSTEES OF THE GOSPEL WORKER SOCIETY UNION GOSPEL PRESS DIVISION Rev. W. B. Musselman, Founder Price: $4.65 per quarter* $18.60 per year* *shipping and handling extra ISBN Lessons based on International Sunday School Lessons; the International Bible Lessons for Christian Teaching, copyright 2014 by the Committee on the Uniform Series and used with permission. Edited and published quarterly by The Incorporated Trustees of the Gospel Worker Society, Union Gospel Press Division, 2000 Brookpark Road, Cleveland, Ohio Mailing address: P.O. Box 6059, Cleveland, Ohio

3 LOOKING AHEAD To correctly understand and interpret the Bible, the student of the Scriptures must keep certain principles in mind. While some of these principles are the same whether one is reading the Bible or the daily newspaper, others are unique to the study of God s Word. Among these principles is rightly dividing the word of truth (II Tim. 2:15), which includes an awareness of the various covenants God had made. Since the theme of this quarter is Covenants with God, understanding what a covenant is and how God works through covenants is critical. For most of us, the use of the word covenant rarely enters daily conversation, unless we happen to be talking about the Bible. Simply stated, a covenant is an agreement between two or more parties outlining mutual rights and responsibilities (Myers, ed., The Eerdman s Bible Dictionary, Eerdmans). For us, the word contract probably best describes what the Bible calls a covenant, or, as it is sometimes rendered, testament (cf. Matt. 26:28; II Cor. 3:6, 14; Heb. 9:15-18). When we use the terms Old Testament and New Testament, we are speaking of the two major divisions of the Bible, representing the Scriptures of the old covenant and the new covenant. Many assume these are the only covenants mentioned in the Bible, but they are not. Numerous covenants are spoken of in Scripture. Some apply to the entire world (Gen. 9:8-10); some apply to specific individuals or groups (II Sam. 7:12-16; II Chron. 13:5). This is particularly true during Old Testament history. To fail to realize that God has worked through various covenants during different dispensations can lead to confusion. Such misunderstanding can also result in trying to obey commands that do not apply to New Testament believers, such as various rituals (Col. 2:10-17) and dietary regulations (Mark 7:18-20; Acts 10:9-15). Except for two lessons, all our studies this quarter come from the Old Testament, where the covenant principle permeates the narrative. Understanding how God worked through covenants is important in appreciating how Christ is the mediator of a better covenant (Heb. 8:6). He alone obtained eternal redemption for us (9:12) through the blood of the everlasting covenant (13:20). John Alva Owston. PLEASE NOTE: Fundamental, sound doctrine is the objective of the Incorporated Trustees of the Gospel Worker Society, Union Gospel Press Division. The writers are prayerfully selected for their Bible knowledge and yieldedness to the Spirit of Truth, each writing in his own style as enlightened by the Holy Spirit. At best we know in part only. They received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so (Acts 17:11. 2

4 EDITORIALS The Unchanging God DON KAKAVECOS Change... is inevitable, said Benjamin Disraeli in a speech at Edinburgh, Scotland on October 29, Actually, the fuller quote was In a progressive country change is constant... change... is inevitable. However, even the briefest of research will show that the statement was used both before and since Disraeli and used often. People, cultures, history, geographical boundaries, and a host of other things are constantly in flux around us. Change is so pervasive that often we pay little attention to it, especially when it comes by way of a gradual, calculated plan. Often youth push for change while the older generation drags their feet to try to stop it or at least slow it down. But change is inevitable for everything and everyone that is, except for God. As one studies the covenants of both the Old and New Testaments, it is interesting to note that although some of the conditions and specifics of the covenant may change, the one unchanging factor is the covenant Maker Himself, the Lord God. Malachi 3:6 records the clear selfdeclaration of God: For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed. Three questions readily come to mind when one considers the unchangeableness of God: What does it mean? What does it not mean? and Why does it matter? What does it mean to say that God is unchangeable? In theology this attribute of God is called immutability. It is classified as an incommunicable attribute of God, meaning that God alone has Bible Expositor and Illuminator 3 the attribute. Men may demonstrate some levels of holiness, love, mercy, or grace; but no man can ever be rightly termed immutable or absolutely unchanging. The Scriptures clearly reveal God alone to be unchanging. God is unchanging in His Person, His promises, and His purposes. Change always requires one to change for the better or for the worse. Being infinitely perfect in all His attributes, God cannot change since He is already perfect. His omniscience, omnipotence, and omnipresence ensure that He is the best He can ever be and therefore cannot change. In addition, His purposes are perfect; therefore, they cannot change. What God has set out to do, He will do. Paul reminds us of this very fact in I Thessalonians 5:24: Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it. Again in Proverbs 19:21, we read, There are many devices in a man s heart; nevertheless the counsel of the Lord, that shall stand. God is immutable in His purposes. Finally, all of God s promises are immutable, or unchanging, because of His unchanging holiness and faithfulness. God keeps His promises He always keeps His promises. Numbers 23:19 clearly states this: God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: hath he said, and shall he not do it? or hath he spoken, and shall he not make it good? In response to the biblical evidence of God s immutability, some theologians have deemed Him to be some type of cosmic robot who, because of His un- (Editorials continued on page 186)

5 LESSON 1 SEPTEMBER 3, 2017 Scripture Lesson Text GEN. 8:20 And No ah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man s sake; for the imagination of man s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. 9:8 And God spake unto No ah, and to his sons with him, saying, 9 And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you; 10 And with every living creature that is with you, of the fowl, of the cattle, and of every beast of the earth with you; from all that go out of the ark, to every beast of the earth. 11 And I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. 12 And God said, This is the token of the covenant which I make between me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations: 13 I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a covenant between me and the earth. 14 And it shall come to pass, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the bow shall be seen in the cloud: 15 And I will remember my covenant, which is between me and you and every living creature of all flesh; and the waters shall no more become a flood to destroy all flesh. 16 And the bow shall be in the cloud; and I will look upon it, that I may remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is upon the earth. 17 And God said unto No ah, This is the token of the covenant, which I have established between me and all flesh that is upon the earth. NOTES 4

6 The Rainbow Lesson: Genesis 8:20-22; 9:8-17 Read: Genesis 8:20 9:17 TIME: unknown PLACE: mountains of Ararat GOLDEN TEXT I will establish my covenant with you; neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a flood; neither shall there any more be a flood to destroy the earth (Genesis 9:11). Introduction God will keep His word. This is true whether it concerns a promised blessing or a promised judgment. Thousands of years ago, God promised that a great flood was coming and it came! This week s text comes immediately after the Great Flood in Noah s day, which was an act of God s retribution on the widespread wickedness of that time. With longevity what it was prior to the Flood, people had both a longer time to reproduce and a longer time to increase in evil. And God saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually (Gen. 6:5). God therefore decided to destroy the earth with the Flood and to start over with Noah and his family. LESSON OUTLINE I. GOD S PROMISE Gen. 8:20-22 II. GOD S COVENANT Gen. 9:8-11 III. GOD S TOKEN Gen. 9:12-17 Exposition: Verse by Verse GOD S PROMISE GEN. 8:20 And Noah builded an altar unto the LORD; and took of every clean beast, and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. 21 And the LORD smelled a sweet savour; and the LORD said in his heart, I will not again curse the ground any more for man s sake; for the imagination of man s heart is evil from his youth; neither will I again smite any more every thing living, as I have done. 22 While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease. Bible Expositor and Illuminator 5 September 3, 2017

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