Let Your Light Shine | Let There Be Light | Reflecting God’s Light | Meal Time
THE SOWER The quarterly magazine of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International®
Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 | STFonline.org
You are the
Light of the World
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You are the Light of the World We Christians must “get” that we are lights, and we are as essential to the well-being of the world as our modern lights are to our present-day way of life.
his issue of The Sower focuses on us being lights to the world. In our modern world it can be difficult to appreciate how terrible darkness can really be—we have so many light sources that we take light for granted. As I write this letter the darkness outside my house at night seems especially dark because although I have one of those powerful mercury lights on a pole outside, it has stopped working. Recently I unwisely tried to gather wood for my fireplace “by starlight” and ended up tripping over something on the ground and falling, spilling my armload of wood, but thankfully remaining unhurt. I remembered Jesus saying, “A man who walks by day will not stumble, for he sees by this world’s light. It is when he walks by night that he stumbles, for he has no light” (John 11:9b and 10). Today we move freely at night. Our houses have lights, our cars have lights, most of our streets are illuminated, and we even have portable flashlights that are bright and reliable. Frankly, we have so much light that if we stumble over something, it is usually because we are not paying attention. That was not the case in the ancient world. Once the sun went down the world was a terrifying place, and many people just stayed indoors close to a fire or oil lamp. Out in the darkness lay all kinds of dangers, such as wild animals, robbers, falling, or running into things, not to mention that if you dropped something, you likely would not find it until morning. Combining those things with the ancient state of medicine—for example, falling and breaking an arm could make you a cripple for life—heightened the danger of darkness considerably.
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No wonder “darkness” was used in the ancient world to refer to what was evil, hurtful, or dangerous. God understood the cultural fear of darkness, and thus speaks in His Word about physical darkness, mental darkness, and spiritual darkness. Mental and spiritual darkness are especially dangerous, because often they precede the total darkness of death. In fact, if a person lives a life of such deep mental and spiritual darkness that he or she never gets saved, then the darkness of death is total and everlasting. What such a person needs is light, and that is why you and I—Christians shining the light of God—are essential to the well-being of the people of the world. We Christians must “get” that we are lights, and we are as essential to the well-being of the world as our modern lights are to our present-day way of life. God did not have to make us lights to the world; He could have made something else the light of the world and given us a different job. But He made us the lights, shining His light to the lost people of the world and giving them knowledge, understanding, and leading them to God, Jesus, and salvation. Therefore we must pay attention to how our light shines, just as we pay attention to the lights in our world, watching out for dim bulbs, fogged over lenses, and things that block the light. We pray this issue of The Sower helps you to be an even brighter light for the Lord Jesus than you already are. Shine on!
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Let Your Light Shine
Reflecting God’s Light
Dave & Adelle Lindow
by Dan Gallagher
by John W. Schoenheit
by Dave & Adelle Lindow
Page 4 No matter how small the light is, it always dominates any darkness, and there is no amount of darkness that can ever put it out.
Page 10 We can always see the glory on the face of Jesus, and can always be lightened, empowered, and transformed by it.
Page 22 Dave & Adelle explain why they are partners with Spirit & Truth Fellowship.
Fuel for the Fire
Figures of Speech
Joseph: A Man Who Let His Light Shine In Every Circumstance
by John W. Schoenheit
by Dan Gallagher
Staff Writers John W. Schoenheit Dan Gallagher Production Coordinators Rachel Darr Janet Speakes
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Home Office 180 Robert Curry Drive Martinsville, IN 46151 888.255.6189 or 765.349.2330 M-F 9 to 5 (ET) Fax: 765.342.8430 STF@STFonline.org STFonline.org You may view the electronic version of this magazine at STFonline.org/sower View back issues at STFonline.org/backissues All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®. NIV®. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved. References taken from other translations or versions will be noted, e.g., King James Version=(KJV). In verses or quotations from other authors, the author has emphasized words by placing them in bold print. Words inside [brackets] have been added by the author. Scripture quotations marked (ESV) are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version™. © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved.
by Rachel Darr Page 24
Every time Joseph faced a trial, rather than giving up he remained steadfast and kept his focus on God.
Page 26 Idiom is the use of a word or words in a way that is peculiar to a language or group of people in that it has a meaning that cannot be derived from the literal meaning of the word or words.
Page 28 God never intended that meal time be a racing event, where the winner’s prize is going to the person who wolfs down his food the fastest.
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Let Your Light Shine
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. - Matthew 5:16
by Dan Gallagher
he flicker of the nighttime stars has intrigued mankind since the beginning of his time on earth. The nighttime display of lights captures our imagination as we create imaginary connections and shapes from the many twinkling points of light. God tells us that on the third day of creation He set “lights in the expanse of the sky to separate day from night” (Gen. 1:14a) and also to serve “as signs to mark seasons and days and years” (Gen. 1:14b). Despite the loss of the ancients’ wisdom in the divine story portrayed overhead, many of us sense that a prophetic narrative is being told in the ever-changing cosmic cinema above. Even in this age of massively powerful telescopes and technical scientific instruments, scientists have still not been able to fully understand many of the forces that cause the cosmos to act as it does. Now that we can see immense stellar distances, we are even more enthralled at the scale of the universe, the diversity of objects, the radiance of the many celestial bodies, and the majesty of it all.
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God Caused the Light to Shine
The Scriptures tell us that in the midst of absolute darkness God spoke light into existence (Gen. 1:3). God is the source of all light and without Him no light would exist. He is the fullness of light and there is not any darkness whatsoever in Him (1 John 1:5). God’s glory is so brilliant that His Word tells us that He wraps Himself in light like a garment. Psalm 104:1b and 2a (1b) O LORD my God, you are very great; you are clothed with splendor and majesty. (2a) He wraps himself in light as with a garment; When Moses asked God to see His glory, God told him that he could see His “goodness,” but he could not see God’s face and live. To see God’s face is a Hebrew idiom. To “look upon someone’s face” was to have an intimate relationship with them. It is the same as seeing a person fully, knowing him or her as they
really are. The fullness of God’s glory is so immense, so powerful, that it would kill any mortal person who is exposed to it (Exod. 33:18). Moses, merely seeing God’s goodness, was so physically affected that his face glowed so brilliantly that no Israelite could look directly at him without great discomfort (Exod. 34:30-35). A number of years ago while on a tour of a very deep cave, the tour guide turned off the lights. This threw the tour into absolute pitch darkness. It was so dark that I felt disoriented, as if I would lose my balance because I lost my visual sense of up and down, and left and right. Not only could I not see my hand, I also had no sense of it despite it being only inches from may face. It was as if the darkness was pressing in on me. This is the type of utter darkness into which God commanded His light to shine, and light has since ruled over all darkness, which flees from its presence. No matter how small the light is, it always dominates any darkness, and there is no amount of darkness that can ever put it out.
God is the source of all light and without Him no light would exist. He is the fullness of light and there is not any darkness whatsoever in Him (1 John 1:5).
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Let Your Light Shine
God’s Use of Light
Nowadays, our ability to turn lights on and off with the mere flick of a switch causes most of us to take light for granted. There was a time though when, for the most part, the setting of the sun brought most of
teaching is a light” (Prov. 6:23). “…he has made his light to shine upon us” (Ps.118:27), and “His word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light for my path” (Ps.119:105). God alone is the source of all true light and without His light all life on earth would cease.
No matter how small the light is, it always dominates any darkness, and there is no amount of darkness that can ever put it out. mankind’s activities to a halt. Working by the light of a torch or the flame of an oil lamp made most work difficult, if not impossible. Light has served to help us see the way and as a beacon signaling for our attention. God also uses light this way. God caught Moses’ attention in the desert of Midian with the light of the fire of a burning bush (Exod. 3:2). He also led the Israelites through the wilderness by the light of a pillar of fire by night. His angels also often appear in a brilliance of light as they did with Daniel, Ezekiel, the shepherds announcing Jesus’ birth, at Jesus’ resurrection, and to the Gentile centurion Cornelius. His “commands are a lamp, this
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Jesus was the Light of the World
In the beginning God dispelled the darkness when He spoke light into existence. In a similar way, God sent His only begotten son into this blackened world as a light to dispel its darkness. John 9:5 While I am in the world, I am the light of the world.” John 12:46 I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. Jesus was the light that revealed
men’s dark deeds and showed the way back to the Father. He revealed the deceptive work of God’s Adversary, exposed the sin of man, and showed the falsehood of the religious establishment. What an astounding sight it must have been for his three closest disciples to see him transformed on the Mount of transfiguration. Jesus’ face shined with the brightness of the sun and his clothes became “white as light.” Matthew 17:2 There he was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light. In the few instances when I have looked directly at the full sun, I have been temporarily blinded, instinctively looking away after just a few seconds. Despite our sun being approximately 93,000,000 miles (149,000,000 kilometers) from earth, its enormous power causes it to be so bright that it is harmful and painful to look at. What an amazing sight to behold as Christ’s face shined on the Mount in front of his disciples. I imagine them groping about in the darkness on their hands and knees, temporarily blinded after seeing him in his glory. Picture yourself driving down the road and then, instantly you are surrounded by a light so brilliant that
TruthOrTradition.com/LightShine you can no longer see the road, or anything else for that matter. There would be a searing pain flashing through your mind followed by images and circles of light and darkness despite your eyes being firmly squeezed shut. Something very similar to that happened to a man named Saul as he headed to Damascus. He had blinding rage against this new sect of Jews, a group that was promoting belief in “some itinerant rabbi” named Jesus. Then, this same Jesus, in a display of the heavenly brilliance of his resurrected glory, appeared to Saul in a light so blinding that it knocked him to the ground (Acts 9:3). Jesus Christ in his present glorified state is a far cry from the pitiful image commonly portrayed in the art of the past centuries. This all-powerful and majestic Christ is who John describes in his heavenly vision recorded in the book of Revelation. Today Christ lives in the fullness of God’s light and is clothed in the majesty of his Father’s light. Revelation 1:14 and 15 (14) His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. (15) His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. There was a time at cavalry when the light of the world went out. When Jesus was dying on the cross a great “darkness came over all the land” (Matt. 27:45). But God raised him and His angels, arrayed in light, announced his resurrection. Matthew 28:2 and 3 (2) There was a violent earthquake, for an angel of the Lord came down from heaven and, going to the tomb, rolled back the stone and sat on it. (3) His appearance was like lightning, and his clothes were white as snow.
Jesus told his followers, which includes us, that they also were the light of the world (Matt. 5:14). He never said, “Turn on your light,” rather his instruction was to “let” their light shine.
We are the Lights of the World Jesus told his followers, which includes us, that they also were the lights of the world (Matt. 5:14). He never said, “Turn on your light,” rather his instruction was to “let” your light shine. For Christ’s followers the question is never “if” we are the light, but are we “letting” our light shine? Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. It is the very nature of light to shine, and our responsibility is to do everything we can to make sure our light is as bright as possible. We must be careful to never block the light, which we do whenever we follow the dark ways of this world. Sin always hinders our light and, to some degree because of our sin nature, we all love darkness more than the light, the evidence of which is our evil deeds. John 3:19 and 20 (19) This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men
loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. (20) Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. It is the nature of sin and evil to conceal and hide, whereas the light always exposes and brings things into the open. We all must make the daily choice to walk in the light or in the darkness. We are constantly coming to an intersection at the crossroads of light and darkness. Choosing to sin always blocks our light, but we must put on the “armor of light.” Romans 13:12 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.
Are You Covering Your Light?
A person once told me he was having a difficult time spreading the Gospel in his community because it was “so dark.” When I questioned him further I discovered that his focus had been on “speaking the Word to people,” Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 7
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and he was very frustrated since no one would listen (I could relate!). Then I asked the question, as much of myself as of him, “Do you think people in your community need Jesus Christ, and how would they respond to him?” The lesson I learned was that I needed to quit focusing so much on “telling” people about Christ and start “being” Jesus to my community. In order for the light of Christ to shine out of us and to this world we
Caution! Do Not Let Your Light be Darkness
Jesus warned his followers to be careful that the “light” within them not be “darkness.” Luke 11:35 See to it, then, that the light within you is not darkness. His words were emphatic to make sure this did not happen. What the NIV
In order for the light of Christ to shine out of us and to this world we must love as he loved, and touch others the way he would have touched them. must love as he loved, and touch others the way he would have touched them. We must be for people what he would have us to be. The gift of holy spirit which every Christian has is CHRIST IN US! The only thing that prevents its brilliant luminescence from overwhelming others is the covering we put over it. A bright light always draws our attention, even if it is a bright and sunny day, but the darker the night then even the brighter the light appears. The problem we have of reaching the world is not the darkness but how bright we are shining. We are the only ones that stand in the way of our light’s radiance. Our lives should be so clearly different from the world that it causes people to pause and take notice. That’s what a bright light does. Unfortunately, far too often we tend to blend into to the shadows lurking around us. I repent of the times that people have a hard time distinguishing me as one of Christ’s followers from the rest of the people of the world. Fear, apathy, intentional sin, and all the other works of darkness cause my light to dim.
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translates as “See to it” other versions translate as “take heed” (KJV), “watch out” (NASB), “be careful” (ESV), and “make sure” (NLT). Since light and darkness are polar opposites, for a long time I had a real difficulty understanding what Jesus was trying to tell his followers. After all, how can light ever be darkness? I now see that our light is darkness whenever we become so convinced that we are right, but are in fact dead wrong. Certainly we see some people who are very committed to evil and wrongful behavior. They are convinced that evil is good and good evil. Their “light is darkness.” This is no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light (2 Cor. 11:14). But we also must “take heed” that our light is not darkness. Our self-centered, ego-centric nature means that we all tend to think our judgments are right, when in fact we can be very wrong. Unfortunately, our flesh, sin nature, perspectives and different experiences all tend to cause us to make false assumptions, which then lead us to draw false conclusions. Since Jesus warned us to make sure that this does not happen, there must
be a way to ensure we are operating from a position of true light and not darkness. In large part, the answer to making sure this does not happen is staying connected to others. We all need to check our judgments against the opinions of others. We also must always stay humble, admitting our own sin and being humble to the possibility that we are wrong. The nature of pride is that it always tends to blind us (Obad. 1:3), blocking our light. We will always walk in the light when we walk in the truth, both in what we believe and in what we do. John 3:21a But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,
Live as Children of the Light Praise God that He has “rescued us from the dominion (exercised power) of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son…” (Col. 1:13).
Ephesians 5:8 and 9 (8) For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light (9) (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) When we walk in goodness, righteousness, and truth we live as children of the light and we “Let our light shine.”
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esus said, “You are the light of the world” (Matt.
the light, we reflect the light.
5:14). We believers are to be lights that shine in
Jesus, too, recognized that he was “the light” or “a
the world and dispel the darkness. However,
light” only by virtue of the fact that he reflected the
like most of the things that are stated in the
light of God. We commonly hear that Jesus said “I am
Bible, we understand them much better if we
the light of the world,” but good translations of the New
understand them in the context of the whole scope of
Testament show us that of the three times that Jesus
Scripture. Believers are lights, but it helps us keep that
referred to himself as light, only once did he say that
in proper perspective when we realize that our light is
he was “the” light; the other two times he referred to
derivative—we get it from God. We do not originate
himself as “a” light.
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“...I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to the saints” (Jude 3)
We are Lights in the World John 9:5 (YLT) when I am in the world, I am a light of the world.’ John 12:46 (YLT) I a light to the world have come, that every one who is believing in me -- in the darkness may not remain; In the two verses above Jesus referred to himself as “a” light. He knew that other people who reflected the light of God into the world were also lights. There is one time in Scripture when Jesus referred to himself as “the” light, and when we read what he said in its context, we understand why he did that. John 8:12a When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, “I am the light of the world. Jesus made this statement while speaking at the Feast of Tabernacles (also sometimes called “the Feast of Booths,” John 7:2), which is one of the three feasts that the Law of Moses said the Jews were to attend each year.1 The Feast of Passover occurred in the spring, the Feast of Pentecost occurred in the summer, and the Feast of Tabernacles occurred in the fall, usually our September. The way it was celebrated at the time of Christ, the Feast of Tabernacles was an eight-day feast, and the Feast of Tabernacles that is recorded in John 7 and 8 was the last of the three major feasts that Jesus attended before he was killed at the Passover Feast the next year. When we read the record in John chapters 7 and 8 we can see that Jesus
was trying to reveal to people that he was the Messiah, but was doing so in a way that those with an open heart would understand, while those with cold hearts would not. Jesus’ words and actions did indeed convince people, because day after day as the Feast
be your everlasting light, and your God will be your glory. There is a day coming in the future when the city of God will descend from heaven (Rev. 21:2), and every saved person will be in it with God forever. In a way we just cannot understand at this
Believers are lights, but it helps us keep that in proper perspective when we realize that our light is derivative—we get it from God. We do not originate the light, we reflect the light. progressed, more and more people believed in him. John 7:31 says “many in the crowd put their faith in him.” Then, John 7:41 says people declared, “He is the Christ.” Still later, on the last day of the feast, John 8:30 says, “Even as he spoke, many put their faith in him.” Thus, in the context of revealing that he was the Messiah, it makes sense that he would say he was “the” light of the world. He was not being exclusive and claiming to be the only light, he was claiming to be the major light, the promised Messiah. The fact that Jesus said to the people, “you are the light of the world,” (Matt. 5:14) shows us that he did not think of himself as the only light. We all have the privilege and responsibility to reflect God’s light. In contrast to people and even the Messiah, who all reflect the light of God, God Himself is not “a” light, or even “the” light, God is “light” (1 John 1:5). In God there is no darkness at all. He shines brilliantly and has done so forever. Isaiah said God would be people’s everlasting light. Isaiah 60:19 The sun will no more be your light by day, nor will the brightness of the moon shine on you, for the LORD will
time, but the Bible foretells, the city will be illuminated directly by the light of God, apart from the light sources we are used to today such as the sun and moon. At that time, darkness of every kind will cease to exist, and there will be no such thing as “night.” Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.
Reflecting God’s Light
In contrast to the future, today the light that constantly radiates from God is reflected by believers and seen by others, which is why Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.” 2 Corinthians 3:18 speaks of us reflecting the light of God which we see in the person of Jesus Christ. Before we go into that, however, it is important to discuss the verse itself and see what it is saying. Reading the two versions below shows that there is disagreement among the scholars as to whether we are “beholding as in a mirror” (i.e., “looking at as in a mirror”) the glory of the Lord (NASB), or are “reflecting” the glory of the Lord (NIV).
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2 Corinthians 3:18 (NASB) But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3:18 (NIV) And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. The disagreement between the two verses above is due to the fact that the Greek verb the NASB translates “beholding as in a mirror,” and the NIV translates “reflect,” is katoptrizomai (#2734 katoptri,zomai). Checking different lexicons shows that katoptrizomai can mean “to see one’s self in a mirror,” and it can also mean “to reflect, as a mirror does.” The scholars and translators, and thus the versions, are divided as to which meaning is the primary one in 2 Corinthians 3:18. Leaning toward “beholding as in a mirror” the glory of the Lord are versions such as the ASV, ESV, KJV, NAB, and NASB. Leaning toward “reflecting” the glory of the Lord are versions such as the HCSB, NET, NIV, NJB, and NRSV. When a Greek word has two meanings, it can be very difficult to choose the “right” one for the verse. We must also remember that “all Scripture is God-breathed” (2 Tim. 3:16), and as the vocabulary of God, it is certain that He could have picked a different word than He did for this verse. We know He did not choose a word with two meanings just so Christians could fight about it. Either He thought that the context would clearly lead us to the correct meaning of the word, or He felt that both meanings were important, even if one was more dominant than the other. That certainly seems to be the case here.
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Learning from Moses
To fully understand what 2 Corinthians 3:18 is saying and to be able to translate and interpret it correctly, we must understand the record in Exodus 34, which is about Moses’ face radiating the glory of God. Exodus 34:29-35 29) When Moses came down from Mount Sinai with the two tablets of the Testimony in his hands, he was not aware that his face was radiant because he had spoken with the LORD. 30) When Aaron and all the Israelites saw Moses, his face was radiant, and they were afraid to come near him. 31) But Moses called to them; so Aaron and all the leaders of the community came back to him, and he spoke to them. 32)Afterward all the Israelites came near him, and he gave them all the commands the LORD had given him on Mount Sinai. 33) When Moses finished speaking to them, he put a veil over his face. 34) But whenever he entered the LORD’s presence to speak with him, he removed the veil until he came out. And when he came out and told the Israelites what he had been commanded, 35) they saw that his face was radiant. Then Moses would put the veil back over his face until he went in to speak with the LORD. The record of Exodus 34:29-35 and Moses’ face radiating occurred on Moses’ seventh time coming down Mount Sinai from being with God,2 and was the second time God had written the Ten Commandments on stone tablets.3 Exodus 34:29 tells us that Moses’ face was radiant. The Hebrew text says that Moses’ face shined.4 Moses’ face was reflecting the brilliant light of God, and it was shining so brightly that the Israelites, including Aaron the High Priest, were afraid of him (34:30), and he had to cover his face with a veil (34:33, 35). The illustration of Moses’ face shining forth the light of God is developed in 2 Corinthians 3:7-16, which gives us many
details about it. When it comes to making a choice as to whether katoptrizomai means “beholding as in a mirror” or “reflecting,” it seems natural that 2 Corinthians 3:18 would follow the example of Moses that is being given in the chapter. This means it would refer to our “reflecting” the glory of the Lord for others to see just as Moses radiated the glory of God for the Israelites to see. It is not clear how “looking at oneself in a mirror” is relevant to Moses or to us. Moses certainly did not see himself in any kind of mirror; he looked at God. Similarly, we do not have any glory on our own, so there does not seem to be any reason to look at ourselves in a mirror. The only reason that “beholding as in a mirror” would fit this verse in any meaningful way is that no one can reflect something he is not looking at first.5 A mirror cannot reflect sunlight into a dark room unless it is pointed at the sun; “looking at” the sun, if you will. When a mirror “looks at” the sun, the light is reflected off of it out to others. Similarly, we will never reflect the glory of the Lord unless we look at it. So there is a sense in which “looking at” is a sub-theme of 2 Corinthians 3:18. Having pointed out that Moses’ face shone so brightly with the glory of the Lord that the people were afraid, we must also notice that Exodus 34:29 says that Moses’ face shined “because he had spoken with the LORD.” Thus it is part of the record in Exodus that the only reason Moses could radiate the glory of the LORD to others was because he had seen it himself, and thus it makes sense that the Greek text of 2 Corinthians 3:18 would contain the subtheme of looking at the glory of the Lord as well as the theme of reflecting the glory of the Lord.
Exodus and Corinthians: Similarities and Differences
Once we understand that the concept of reflecting the glory of the Lord in 2 Corinthians 3:18 comes from the example of Moses recorded in Exodus 34, we need to pay attention to the differences and similarities between Exodus and 2 Corinthians. There are distinct differences between the record in Exodus and the record in Corinthians,
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and God is teaching us wonderful lessons in both places. One of the major differences between the record in Exodus and 2 Corinthians is that in Exodus, Moses spoke directly with God and the people saw the glory reflected on Moses’ face, but Moses was a fallen human and the glory that he radiated was not permanent; it faded away (2 Cor. 3:7, 11, and 13). We all understand that because at one time or another each of us has been profoundly affected by something, and perhaps even said, “I will never forget that,” or felt like the emotion of the moment would never
This is why 2 Corinthians speaks of “the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.” 2 Corinthians 4:6 For God, who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” made his light shine in our hearts to give us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ. This verse needs to be understood in light of its context, which is chapter 3. There are times when the chapter divisions that have been added to the Bible do not help people understand it. Most people just assume that new
Today, the glory of God is not found on Moses’ face, but in Jesus Christ and on his face, and that glory is permanent. We can always see the glory on the face of Jesus, and can always be lightened, empowered, and transformed by it. leave; but we do forget and emotions pass. The Israelites only saw the glory on Moses’ face for a little while, and then it was gone. Moses could not hold it forever. Today, however, the glory of God is not found on Moses’ face, but in Jesus Christ and on his face (2 Cor. 3:14, 16, 18, and 4:6), and that glory is permanent (2 Cor. 3:11). We can always see the glory on the face of Jesus, and we can always be lightened, empowered, and transformed by it. A similarity between Exodus and Corinthians is that in Exodus the glory of God shone from Moses’ face, while today the glory is spoken of as being in the Lord, and specifically on his face.
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chapters start new subjects, and chapter 4 is a new subject from chapter 3. In this case, however, the glory of God was on the face of Moses in chapter 3, and it is on the face of Jesus in chapter 4. The glory faded from Moses’ face, but will never fade from Jesus’ face. There is a biblical custom about the “face” that is helpful to understand. In the biblical culture, the word “face” indicated an intimacy and a connection. The glory that was on Moses’ face was a physical reality, surely, but it is meaningful that Moses’ whole body did not shine. When it comes to Jesus, however, the Word of God says that the glory of God is in the “face” of Jesus, which is more than a physical reality; it is a spiritual lesson. To get “face to face” with Jesus takes more than just “head knowledge.” It takes “fellowship,” full sharing. We must fully give ourselves to him, just as he has done and is doing for us.
Transformed into the Image of Christ
That brings us to a final point and another profound difference between the records in Exodus and Corinthians: being face to face with Jesus and seeing and reflecting his glory actually transforms us. There is no indication that Moses or the people who looked at the glory reflected in his face became personally transformed. Yet that is exactly what the Bible says about us who reflect the Lord’s glory—we are transformed into Christ’s likeness, Christ’s appearance. 2 Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. The light of God radiating from Jesus Christ, which we experience as we fellowship with him minute by minute in our hearts and minds, actually transforms us into his “likeness,” or “image.” We can better understand what this means by examining the Greek text. The Greek word for “likeness” or “image” is eikōn (Strong’s #1504 εἰκών,), which has different meanings in different contexts, but here means, “form” or “appearance.”6 We have all seen Christians who the Bible would refer to as “carnal” Christians. They focus their lives on worldly things and do not have much time for God, and their lives (and usually their faces) show it. They do not reflect the glory of God and are not transformed into Christ’s glowing appearance. It is God’s desire for us that we are all “face to face” with Jesus, in full fellowship with him, giving our lives to him, and reflecting his glory for all the world to see. That kind of intimate participation in the things of Christ is a choice, and we all make it. When it comes to reflecting the light of God as we look on the face of Jesus Christ, God created a wonderful object lesson for us: the moon. God often teaches us through nature, which is why He tells us to “go to the ant” (Prov. 6:6), or why He used the ox and donkey
to reprove Israel (Isa. 1:3). The moon rules the night sky, and when there is a full moon it shines so brilliantly white that it is easy to see outside. In fact, the full moon is so bright that objects cast a distinct shadow in its light. However, that is not the case if there is a lunar eclipse.7 A lunar eclipse occurs when the earth gets between the sun and moon. In those times the moon is a full moon, but it looks very different from the normal monthly full moon. We can still usually see it, but with some difficulty. It is dark and has red overtones. It seems ominous and gloomy. What is the difference between the brilliantly white full moon and the dark and gloomy moon of the lunar eclipse? The brilliantly lit full moon is “looking at” the sun and reflecting its light. In sharp contrast, the full moon in an eclipse is “looking at” the earth, and it seems to reflect all the darkness, anger, and gloom of the earth. The difference between a regular full moon and the full moon of a lunar eclipse is a wonderful lesson. Just like the moon, if we look at the sun (oops, Son), and focus our gaze on him, we will reflect his light. We will shine brightly, and the light we reflect will be a blessing to ourselves and to others. If, on the other hand, we look at the earth and focus our lives on earthly things, we will be just like the moon—our lives will be dark and ominous, angry and
depressed. We each have the opportunity to be “transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory.” Day after day as we fellowship with, and focus on, the things of God, we will shine brighter and brighter, and there will indeed be “ever-increasing glory.” At the end of each day every one of us can think back over the day and see whether we have decided to fellowship with Christ and give ourselves to him or not. If we do, we will shine brighter and brighter. The world is a dark place and people need the light of Christ that we can shine into their lives. If we will focus on Christ we can be that light. Notes: 1. Exodus 23:14-17 (ESV). 2. All seven times that Moses ascended and descended Mount Sinai are in Exodus. First time: 19:3 up; 19:7 down. Second time: 19:8 up; 19:14 down. Third time: 19:20 up; 19:25 down. Fourth time: 20:21 up; 24:3 down. Between the fourth and fifth time up Moses went part way up with the elders of Israel: 24:9. Fifth time: 24:15 up (he was there 40 days and 40 nights (24:18) and got the Ten Commandments on stone (32:15) during this fifth trip; 32:15 down. Sixth time: 32:31 up; 32:35 he is commanded to go down. Seventh time: 34:4 up; 34:29 down. 3. The first set of stone tablets God Himself carved out of stone and wrote on (Exodus 31:18; 32:15, 16). After Moses broke them, God told Moses to chisel out two new tablets (no easy task with bronze tools) and He (God) would write on them (34:1, 29). 4. The Hebrew word is qaran (Strong’s #7160) and means “to shine.”
5. A major reason that some scholars chose “beholding” is that they believe the verb is in the middle voice. However, katoptrizomai in this verse can be passive or middle voice, and the middle voice can act like an active voice, in this case, “to reflect.” For a helpful treatment of the subject see, Simon Kistemaker, New Testament Commentary: 2 Corinthians (Grand Rapids, MI, Baker Academic, 1997), p. 128. 6. Arndt, William F., and Gingrich, F. Wilbur, A Greek English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, (Chicago, IL, The University of Chicago Press, 1979), p. 222. 7. A “new moon” occurs when the moon is between the earth and sun, and during these times the moon is invisible, being completely overpowered by the sun’s light. In contrast, a “lunar eclipse” is when the earth comes between the sun and moon, and the shadow of the earth darkens the moon. Unlike the “new moon,” which occurs every month, lunar eclipses do not occur regularly. In a lunar eclipse the moon is visible only because light from the sun is refracted (bent) by the earth’s atmosphere and shines a little bit on the moon. During a lunar eclipse the moon takes on a red tint because the sunlight has gone through the dense layer of the earth’s atmosphere and this causes the longer wavelengths of light (the red) to be most prevalent. It is the same reason sunrises and sunsets are dominated by red colors and the sun often looks like a red ball, while when the sun is straight overhead it seems more yellow or yellow-white. The intensity of the red tint on the moon varies from one lunar eclipse to another because when there is more dust (and sometimes clouds) in the atmosphere the red wavelengths dominate even more than when the atmosphere is clearer.
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Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 15
The ABC’s of God Lessons from my children
by Cara Hanson
Let There Be Light
arkness suddenly swallowed up the room as though we had just been devoured by a mammoth beast. We sat still in his cavernous belly and waited for the monster to stir. I blinked my eyes to pierce the darkness, but in the thick silence my eyelashes sounded more like the broad, flapping wings of a pterodactyl. Someone’s stomach growled and we jumped out of our skin. “The power went out,” someone explained, and like typical adults we laughed our way out of our hole of humiliation. After blindly feeling my way to the kitchen, I flipped on the useless light switch and pretended I was merely confirming the fact that we were indeed without power. We called the power company to report the outage, not because we couldn’t really survive without electricity, but we were all secretly petrified of darkness. Adults spend so much time trying to encourage children not to be afraid of the dark, when sometimes we’re merely trying to convince ourselves. In the beginning God decided there had to be light. Maybe He looked around at the vast darkness of the universe and noticed, “Wow, this is really booooring.” When the angels started constantly bumping into each other, He knew something had to be done. But when God wanted light, He didn’t flip on a light switch. Unlike man, there was no bulb to replace, no muttering under his breath, no trip to the hardware store to buy more bulbs, along with a new power tool that he would never use but was on sale for a limited time only. No, when God wanted
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What is it about the dark that is so horrible? Ask a child and you will get an honest answer: fear of the unknown. We kiss our children goodnight, turn off the lights, and leave them alone with their imaginations and vast, empty spaces under their beds. light, He spoke it into being. God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light.1 Even Thomas Edison, the lighting Wizard of Menlo Park, could not achieve such a feat. It took Edison several hundred tries to perfect the light bulb, but God lit the entire world with four words. Our ancestors were far more impressed with light than we are today. When was the last time you saw someone turn on a lamp and gasp in amazement at its power? In olden days, the work of agrarian societies came to a halt as soon as the sun went down. They must have discovered that scythes were too dangerous in the dark, and crops
planted at night grew in ridiculously crooked rows. Unable to rely on light switches and flashlights, they were completely dependent on God for their light. Nowadays the importance of light is recognized when the power goes out and we stub our toes on the coffee table. By the mid 1980s someone had invented a device called The Clapper™. This sound-activated electrical switch allowed people to turn lights on with only a clap of their hands. Suddenly people all over the world were singing, “Clap on! Clap off!” and relishing their new authority. They thought, “Oh, the thrill of finally being in control of
TruthOrTradition.com/abc something! The power is so intoxicating!” But the power was fleeting, and God had the last laugh. The Clapper could also sometimes be triggered by coughing, a dog’s bark, or loud appliances. Consider how awkward this would have been for God if the heavenly hosts sang praises and clapped joyfully during creation and the lights went out. Let there be
let this one go. “But they had flashlights, right, Mommy?” What does it mean when these kids would rather have frogs jump out of their Cheerios than have total darkness and have to…(shudder) go to bed? God considers darkness to be a plague. We often focus on the other more “dramatic” plagues, such as the
God hardwired us all with a need for light, and then He lovingly supplied us with the floodlight of His Word. The Bible provides us with our daily guidance through this dark world. light AGAIN, and this time please keep the applause to a minimum. Thankfully, there was no such flaw in His design plan. Our three young children have trouble understanding many of the Old Testament records, but the plagues on Egypt really grabbed their attention. What was most upsetting to them was not the thought of being infested with lice or locusts, but rather the Plague of Darkness. Like hungry dogs sinking their teeth into a meaty bone, they couldn’t
Read more of these great articles by Cara Hanson See the library online at TruthOrTradition.com/abc We hope & pray that Cara’s “Lessons from my Children” will be a blessing to you. If you have been blessed by these articles, please let us know at STF@STFonline.org
Plague of Boils. You would not casually mention to a friend, “I’m fine, other than the festering boils, but I plan on going to the walk-in clinic tomorrow.” And the Plague of Flies? Our household goes after one fugitive fly with the determination of bloodhounds, so I can hardly imagine swarms of flies. The lackluster Plague of Darkness is often forgotten, but we can’t ignore the fact that God was trying to communicate something. He called for “darkness that can be felt,”2 knowing that it would cause the Egyptians a palpable, intensive fear; in other words, a real case of the heebie-jeebies. What is it about the dark that is so horrible? Ask a child and you will get an honest answer: fear of the unknown. We kiss our children goodnight, turn off the lights, and leave them alone with their imaginations and vast, empty spaces under their beds. In the dark, we can’t see where we are going, what is near us, or what might hurt us. In a recent survey, I was asked, “What is under your bed right now?” An acceptable answer would have been “storage bags,” but having been influenced by my kids, I answered, “I don’t know, but now I’m freaking out.”
Was something lurking down there? If I ever cleaned under the beds to begin with, I sure would have stopped at that point. Children often develop a fear of the dark, and with good reason. Each one of my children has at some point experienced a genuine panic that something scary is “out there.” How can I blame them? Darkness has been known to play cruel tricks on the brain. When I was a child, I was convinced that Darth Vader prowled outside of my room at night. I must have illogically guessed that Darth took a wrong turn at the end of his galaxy and ended up in suburban Connecticut. I later discovered that it was only the sound of my dad snoring two doors down, but the darkness still gave me the creeps anyway. Starting in childhood, light beckons us with the comforting arms of its luminous rays. We soon realize that only light can bring us away from the darkness we fear. God hardwired us all with a need for light, and then He lovingly supplied us with the floodlight of His Word. The Bible provides us with our daily guidance through this dark world. Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. When we neglect God’s Word, we often can’t figure out why our lives are going in the wrong direction. We fall short of our goals, like a lab rat repeatedly stuck in the maze, always on the wrong side of the cheese. Why do we take so long to realize that we need to turn to God to see the light? Even when the power goes out, I turn on the light switch almost every time I enter a room. It takes me a few clueless seconds before I slap my forehead and realize why the light isn’t working. There is no power source! When we constantly trip over ourselves in the darkness of this world, the light only comes on in our minds and hearts when we finally plug into God’s Word. Jesus was the perfect representation of God’s heart, and he was known as the
Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 17
TruthOrTradition.com/abc “light of the world.”3 Now that we can’t physically see him anymore, we can’t just depend on Christmas trees to sparkle with lights. The lighting of a Christmas tree brings a true radiance to a child’s face. In their widened eyes we see a reflection of man’s natural desire to tap into the light. Every year my husband and I struggle with the tree lights. We lug the tree through the house, covering the floors with more pine needles than a forest. Our arms practically go numb trying to string the lights just right. The children wait breathlessly as we plug in the tree, and then...nothing happens. But wait! After some readjustments, we finally transform the room with dazzling lights. The kids shout and cheer and remark that the tree looks far prettier with lights than without. Don’t we all? If only we could keep our lights shining year-round. When God said, “Let there be light,” it wasn’t just for that moment in time; He is still saying it to our hearts. He may speak to us in the form of a whisper, but this world is screaming for our light. We should be cranking up our floodlights to draw people to the heart of God. Consider how every bug in the forest is drawn to a porch light. Many unbelievers become attracted to the light shone by Christians. Unfortunately, unbelievers also become confused by Christians who swear, lie, or treat others badly. If people are already walking in darkness, what good will we do them if we are also walking in darkness? That would just be the “blind leading the blind.” When we stray from the light of His heart, we walk in darkness. 1 John 1:5-7 (5) This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. (6) If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live by the truth. (7) But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
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Our kids have the right idea to despise the darkness, for it is a plague upon the soul. We are all naturally drawn to the warm and comforting light, which reflects the character of both our Lord and our Father. One glorious day, Christians will bask in this light eternally.
New YouTube Video Teachings Start the day off right
Revelation 22:5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light… God is so loving that He has guaranteed us a time when we will no longer have to grapple with darkness. There will be no more light bulbs or even lamps. We will no longer worry about what is lurking under our beds. Best of all, there will be no more spiritual darkness, just the light of God forever. Until the eternal kingdom of light, we still have a responsibility before the Lord to walk in light. The good news is that this is a pleasant, not grievous, duty. He could have asked us to walk in gum or peanut butter, but thankfully He chose light. When we walk in light, our lives are blessed, and we are in close fellowship with our Lord. We have joy and peace in our hearts knowing that we are doing God’s will. How many times have we heard from our parents to turn the light off when we leave a room? I am constantly nagging our kids to turn the lights off, when perhaps I should spend more time reminding them to keep them on. When it comes to our daily walk, God says it is okay to “leave the light on” and LET THERE BE LIGHT! Notes: 1. Genesis 1:3 2. Exodus 10:21 3. John 8:12
Here are some of the newest 10-minute YouTube teachings we have to help you start your day in God’s Word. If You Pray - Obey John Schoenheit teaches on prayer, receiving revelation & obedience to God. We can live holy lives! TruthOrTradition.com/video46
Bible Study Videos Daily Morning Quiet Time Watch our latest YouTube promo video & send it out to your friends & family. TruthOrTradition.com/video47
Leftovers Dan Gallagher teaches on how to put God first in your life & not just give Him your leftovers. TruthOrTradition.com/video48
Help Each Other John Schoenheit teaches on the Body of Christ & how we can help one another in a loving, godly way. TruthOrTradition.com/video49
Work Hard to be Holy It takes hard work to live holy lives! John Schoenheit teaches how a little folly can really mess up our lives. TruthOrTradition.com/video50
Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 19
April 15th - April 20th, 2011 Camp Vision, Bloomington, IN
It is time to plan for our 2011 Mission Trip, and this year we hope you will join us in a new idea. For the past three years, we have been serving in other areas of the United States, but we feel it is time we bring it closer to home.
and building projects, as well as helping other believers in the local area. We hope you can come and be blessed with how God opens up the doors for us to show our gifts of service to His people.
We will be at Camp Vision this year, giving you the opportunity to serve where your heart is already giving and supporting. This will be a work week with clean up
The dates for this event are April 15th through April 20th, 2011, and the cost is $365 (includes room, board, t-shirt) and a $65 tax deductible donation.
For more information, please call Jenivee Schoenheit at 317-258-0995.
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Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 21
Partner Profile Dave & Adelle Lindow
“We are partners because of the tremendous outreach of this ministry. What better way to expand our personal outreach than to be partners, therefore a part of a unique “Spirit and Truth” ministry.”
t was around 2001 that I decided to help row this boat as a partner instead of just being a passenger. That decision prompted a major house cleaning. I unloaded my worldly junk, upped my prayer life, and a year later I met and married my wife Adelle, ending a selfish single life of almost 30 years. I had spent fifteen years as a single parent raising two beautiful daughters, and the last 14 years alone. Our loving Lord truly knows how to bless commitment. Helping with the rowing has kept me (us) in good physical and spiritual shape. We read the Bible every morning with our juice, followed by walking a 3-mile course nearly every day. I have a two-student teaching ministry (including myself ). We often discuss what we read that morning while we walk. We have been hungry for fellowship and a few months ago started attending a small church. We are taking our time and doing fine. We have had some interesting and productive meetings with the pastor and also the adult Sunday school leader. We are partners because of the tremendous outreach of this ministry. What better way to expand our personal outreach than to be partners, therefore a part of a unique “Spirit and Truth” ministry. Where else can you find this volume of unadulterated truth on the internet?
PARTNER Sign up online at STFonline.org/partnership Go to STFonline.org/partnership or call 888.255.6189 M-F 9 to 5 (ET). 22 The Sower Jan/Feb/Mar 2011
I am sorry for the rocky roads this ministry has experienced over the years but proud to witness their integrity. Here in southern Utah, a very religious state, we are less than an hour from Zion National Park. We have hiked together all but one of the trails inside the park, including Angel’s landing. Being a more energetic hiker, last year I did the longest, highest trail inside the park. At home we are about a half a mile from BLM land, thousands of open acres for our hiking pleasure, and we take advantage of it often (less often than we’d like because of our warm triple digit summers). We have discovered more than a half dozen fossilized logs in the 80 acres we hike, some of them are short but nearly 2 feet in diameter. Hiking alone is a wonderful time for personal prayer and reflection, a time to mentally hold the hand of the Lord as you “walk and talk in the garden alone.” In Christian love, Dave & Adelle Lindow Leeds, UT
with Spirit & Truth Fellowship International
calendar of events
Hardships in Today’s World by Rachel Darr
y husband and I have been through two job losses in the four years that we have been married, both of which were extremely difficult. It brought stress into our relationships and our finances, caused emotional ups and downs, was a great source of discouragement, and I would say that we both suffered from depression. Even through all the hardship that job loss brought, we had our faith to rely on as a guide through those tough times. Our faith in God and Jesus Christ was the one thing that held strong and pulled us through all the difficulty we encountered. Each of us faces many trials and tribulations as we go through our daily lives. Life is unpredictable, and it is almost impossible to prepare ourselves for what may be around the corner. What matters is how we react when we face trials. People who are saved and have faith have a shining light that will guide them as they encounter trials and tribulations. There are many people who don’t yet have this light, and it is so easy to obtain it because it is easy to get saved. Romans 10:9 and 10 (9) If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. (10) For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.
Don’t let the many hardships in today’s world ruin your life. Salvation, faith, and a light to guide you can be yours by accepting Jesus as your Lord and Savior today.
Mission Trip April 15 - 20, 2011 Bloomington, IN Spring Bible Research Workshop April 27 - May 1, 2011 Bloomington, IN STF Family Event June 16 -19, 2011 Bloomington, IN Teens & 20s Camp July 10 - 16, 2011 Bloomington, IN Women’s Conference September 8 - 11, 2011 Bloomington, IN Men’s Camp October 20 - 23, 2011 Bloomington, IN Silent Retreat October 26 - 30, 2011 Bloomington, IN Live Out Loud Dec. 29 - Jan. 1, 2012 TBA STFonline.org/calendar
Video: Becoming a Christian Watch a quick 10-minute video on how and why to get saved. This video goes in-depth to answer common questions. TruthOrTradition.com/becoming Check out our booklet, Becoming a Christian: Why? What? How? TruthOrTradition.com/salvation
Jan/Feb/Mar 2011 The Sower 23
Fuel for the Fire is written by the Teens and Twenties of Spirit & Truth Fellowship International.
Joseph: A Man Who Let His Light Shine In Every Circumstance by Rachel Darr
s I reflect on how difficult it can be to keep your light shining, I couldn’t help but think about what a great example we have from the life of Joseph. Joseph came from a dysfunctional family line. To jog your memory, Joseph’s father was Jacob. Jacob had a rivalry with his brother Esau, and tricked Esau out of his father’s blessing, which he was to inherit as the oldest twin. Because of his deceit, Jacob had to run from his brother, and he faced many trials for many years before he had the opportunity to meet his brother face-to-face again. Jacob was later promised by God that his descendants would inherit the Promised Land, and God renamed Jacob, “Israel” (Gen. 35:10). This is some of the background of Joseph’s life. When Joseph came along, he was favored by his father Israel because he had been born to Israel in his old age.1 Israel outwardly showed his favoritism by giving Joseph “a richly ornamented robe”.2 Joseph’s brothers resented him, especially after Joseph shared with them two dreams he had, both seeming as if it would end up that his brothers and parents would bow down to Joseph.3 Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery.4 Joseph was purchased by Potiphar, one of Pharaoh’s many officials.5 Potiphar saw that God was with Joseph because he had success in everything that he did, so Potiphar placed Joseph in charge of his whole house.6 Later Potiphar’s wife tried to seduce Joseph, and because of his flat out refusal to participate in something he knew was wrong, Joseph ended
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up in prison.7 While in prison, Joseph found favor with the prison guards, and he became one of the attendants to the prisoners.8 Joseph was able to interpret the dreams of two prisoners correctly, but the prisoner who was released forgot about Joseph for awhile.9 Joseph spent 2 more years in prison before Pharaoh had two dreams that no one could interpret.10 The prisoner who Joseph had helped finally remembered him, and Pharaoh sent for Joseph. Pharaoh was very impressed by Joseph’s interpretation of his dreams, and he placed Joseph in charge of his palace and people.11 The story of Joseph’s life continues from there, but the part of his life story that I have shared here with you is the part where Joseph faces some of the hardest, most unjust trials in his life. Joseph suffered a great deal, all because of things that were out of his control, yet he continued to do the right thing. How would we feel if we were in Joseph’s position? Would we have
been able to withstand the injustice, anger, and resentment we would probably have felt if we were in the same position? I know it would be very difficult for me. Think about the trials you face today, and some of the decisions you might make in those situations. Do you think God would bless you in those kinds of decisions? The Bible tells us several times that God was with Joseph: Genesis 39:2-5 (2) The LORD was with Joseph and he prospered, and he lived in the house of his Egyptian master. (3) When his master saw that the LORD was with him and that the LORD gave him success in everything he did, (4) Joseph found favor in his eyes and became his attendant. Potiphar put him in charge of his household, and he entrusted to his care everything he owned. (5) From the time he put him in
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charge of his household and of all that he owned, the LORD blessed the household of the Egyptian because of Joseph. The blessing of the LORD was on everything Potiphar had, both in the house and in the field. Genesis 39:21 and 23 (21) the LORD was with him; he showed him kindness and granted him favor in the eyes of the prison warden. (23) The warden paid no attention to anything under Joseph’s care, because the LORD was with Joseph and gave him success in whatever he did. It seems that Joseph acted on his belief that God was always with him. Psalm 46:10 and 11 (10) “Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.” (11) The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Yes, Joseph did face many trials, indeed. Yet through all these trials, he continued to do the right thing, despite his circumstances. Every time Joseph faced a trial, rather than giving up he remained steadfast and kept his focus on God. I truly believe that Joseph
clung to his faith that God was with him, that God was faithful and would bring him through whatever trials he had to face. Joseph’s strong faith helped him to daily continue to do what he believed God wanted him to do, no matter the circumstances. Joseph’s faith, in a way, acted as his guiding light. With each step, his faith kept him strong, and he was always able to do and be what God wanted him to be in any situation, no matter how difficult. And each time God ended up repaying Joseph for what he did. What a godly example Joseph is for us! The next time you are faced with a trial, think back to Joseph, and how he just did what he believed God wanted him to do, and see what blessings you can receive by daily acting on your faith in God and His power and love in your life. I bet that you will find many more blessings in disguise! Psalm 5:11 But let all who take refuge in you be glad; let them ever sing for joy. Spread your protection over them, that those who love your name may rejoice in you. Psalm 17:6-9 (6) I call on you, O God, for you will answer me; give ear to my prayer. (7) Show the wonder of your great love, you who save by your right hand those who take refuge in you
from their foes. (8) Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings (9) from the wicked who assail me, from my mortal enemies who surround me. Psalm 18:28 and 29 (28) You, O LORD, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. (29) With your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall. Matthew 5:14-16 (14) “You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. (15) Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on it stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. (16) In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven. Notes: 1. Genesis 37:3 2. Genesis 37:3 3. Genesis 37:5-7, Genesis 37:9. 4. Genesis 37:28, Genesis 37:36 5. Genesis 39:1 6. Genesis 39:4 7. Genesis 39:6-20 8. Genesis 39:21-23 9. Genesis 40:5-23 10. Genesis 41:1-8 11. Genesis 41:9-40
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Figures of Speech Keys to Effective Communication
Idiom Idiom is the use of a word or words in a way that is peculiar to a language or group of people in that it has a meaning that cannot be derived from the literal meaning of the word or words. By John W. Schoenheit
he ability to communicate with words is one thing that sets mankind apart from all other creatures. God is the Author of language, and no one has ever used language as precisely as God does in the Bible, including His use of figures of speech, of which there are more than 200 varieties in Scripture.1 When most people say, “a figure of speech,” they are speaking in general terms of something that is not true to fact. However, genuine “figures of speech” are legitimate grammatical and lexical forms that add emphasis and feeling to what we say and write. In the Bible, God uses figures of speech to emphasize things that He wants us to see as important. Many people who read the Bible never think to ask themselves, “How do we know what God wants emphasized in His Word?” God uses figures of speech to put emphasis where He wants emphasis, so it is important that we recognize and properly interpret the figures of speech in the Bible. Knowing the figures of speech God uses in the Bible helps us to understand the true meaning of Scripture and enables us to more fully enjoy its richness. The figure of speech we are going to study in this issue of The Sower is “idiom.” An idiom is the use of a word or words in a way that is peculiar to a language or group of people in that it has a meaning that cannot be derived from the literal meaning of the word or words. An idiom is a legitimate figure of speech that is used for emphasis, although sometimes the idiom becomes such an imbedded part of the language that it is no longer
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considered an idiom but becomes an accepted meaning of the word, and the emphasis is lost. Idioms are so common that sometimes it can be hard to communicate without using them. Idioms have to be individually learned because the meaning of the words is not literal, but assigned by the culture. Every language has thousands of idioms, and some idioms are common enough to human experience that they exist in many cultures. Both the Bible and English, for example, speak of the “face” of the earth despite the fact that the earth has no “face.” There are many idioms in the Bible, and if we are going to understand it, we must understand them. Some idioms in the Bible are individual words or phrases, while some involve the way nouns or verbs are used.
The Sun of Righteousness
An idiomatic phrase in the Bible is the
“sun of righteousness.” God is referred to as “light” in the Bible. It makes perfect sense, then, that the Son of God, who revealed the Father and brought light to the world, would be idiomatically called “the sun of righteousness” and the “sunrise from on High.” Malachi 4:2 But for you who revere my name, the sun of righteousness will rise with healing in its wings. And you will go out and leap like calves released from the stall.2 I can remember reading this verse as a new Christian and knowing that it referred to Jesus Christ, but not knowing why he was called the “sun” and not the “son.” The answer is that in the biblical idiom, Jesus was the sun because he brought the light of his Father to the world. Zachariah, the father of John the
Baptist, referred to Jesus as the rising sun. Luke 1:78 because of the tender mercy of our God, by which the rising sun will come to us from heaven This verse makes no sense if you do not know the idiom. How can the “rising sun” come from heaven? The sun comes from below the horizon and rises up into heaven. However, when we know the idiom, that the “rising sun” is the Messiah, the verse makes perfect sense.
The Prophetic Perfect
An idiom that we of Spirit & Truth Fellowship have spent considerable time writing about is the “prophetic perfect.” In that idiom, a future action that is certain to occur is spoken of in the past tense as if it had already occurred. Doing this emphasizes the certainty of the event happening.3 For example, speaking of the return of Jesus Christ, the NASB quite literally translates Jude 1:14 as, “the Lord came with many thousands of His holy ones.” Of course saying a future event has already occurred can be confusing to the beginning Bible student. Thus, some translators try to make it easy for the Bible student by translating the verse into English as a present or future tense (cp. the NIV, “the Lord is coming with thousands upon thousands of his holy ones).
Hebrew Active Verbs Can Express an Attempt
The way the Hebrew language views verbs, an active verb does not have to mean the action is accomplished, but only attempted. This seems very strange to the Western mind, and makes some verses confusing. Exodus 8:16-18 (KJV) (16) And the LORD said unto Moses, Say unto Aaron, Stretch out thy rod, and smite the dust of the land, that it may become lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (17) And they did so; for Aaron stretched out his hand with his rod, and smote the dust of the earth, and it became lice...all the dust of the land became lice throughout all the land of Egypt. (18) And the magicians did so with their enchantments to bring forth lice, but they could not… The difficulty in the verses above is that the magicians “did so,” but they “could not.” What we need to understand is that the verb “did so” can idiomatically mean, “tried to do so.” The NIV in Exodus 8:18 translates the idiomatic use of the verb right into the verse, making it easier for us: “But when the magicians tried to produce gnats by their secret arts, they could not.” Another example of this idiomatic use of active verbs is in Ezekiel.
Ezekiel 24:13 (KJV): ...because I have purged thee, and thou wast not purged... The King James Version translates the verbs in a straightforward manner, but it is confusing. How can God purge the people, but they are not purged? The NIV translates the idiomatic use of the verb into the English so we can understand the verse better: “...because I tried to cleanse you but you would not be cleansed...” Idioms of the language are one reason that simply having a lexicon and concordance will never be enough to fully understand the Bible. At some point we must read and understand the original languages as they were spoken. Thankfully, we have many very good resources such as critical commentaries to help us more completely understand the Bible. Note: 1. E. W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI, reprinted 1968). 2. The “wings” are actually the “borders,” and thus it was foretold that Jesus would have healing in the borders of his garments, something later fulfilled in his ministry (Cp. Mark 5:27-29, 6:56). 3. For a much more thorough explanation of this important idiom, see “The Prophetic Perfect,” in John Schoenheit, The Christian’s Hope: The Anchor of the Soul (Christian Educational Services, Indianapolis, IN, 2004), Appendix E, pp. 223-240.
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The Fellowship Network STFonline.org/network
Meal Time BY DAN GALLAGHER
or anyone who has been blessed with the joy of parenthood, especially if you are raising multiple little ones, you soon learn that parents must set aside periods of time when you and your spouse can be alone together. Although children may believe that the universe was created to cater to their every desire, most parents know that they need to find some time away from their cute little clouds of chaos, otherwise their eyes have a high probability of becoming permanently fixed in the crossed position. For my wife Lori and me, we often find the best time for our “cone of silence” is early in the morning, usually well before our munchkins rise. Our almost daily ritual of prayer, Bible reading, rich coffee or tea, and breakfast with each other is something we tend to protect like a ravenous pit bull standing over his T-bone steak. Imagine the look of panic that flashed across my face when my six year-old began to insist that we sit and eat with her and her two siblings. It’s not that Lori and I are not close at hand as they eat. Usually while they eat, we are scurrying around packing lunches, getting their clothes ready, making beds, or doing other pre-school day chores. Now though, I had a vision of our tranquil morning ritual being supplanted by a messy meal time with three non-stop talking youngsters arguing over silly things like who said what or who did what to so and so. Nevertheless, pressing past the initial shock I realized that her request struck a chord deep within me. I pondered, “Why was breakfast with me such a big deal for her?” Thankfully, I picked up on how God was prodding
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God never intended that meal time be a racing event, where the winner’s prize is going to the person who wolfs down his food the fastest. me with a teaching moment as I began to see just how important meal time together is. For us humans eating is so much more than merely a necessary task we do to refuel our bodies. When it comes to taking in our food, God could have made us a number of different ways. Thankfully He did not make us like a clam, passively sucking in everything that floats past our mouths, or like a mosquito with its singular appetite for blood. There is a reason God formed us with a tongue that has over ten thousand taste buds. Not only did He intend that we enjoy the taste of food, He has given us an internal desire for meal time to be a social event, something that should be shared with others. God never intended that meal
time be a racing event, where the winner’s prize is going to the person who wolfs down his food the fastest. It took the innocence of my little girl’s request for me to really reflect about how meal time is something we need to enjoy with each other. As I reflected more about meal time I considered how God even chose a meal time to reveal one of the greatest events of human history: the Passover meal with its various foreshadows pointing to the coming of the Messiah. Stories abound in far Eastern history of elaborate feasts used to commemorate significant events. Oftentimes the coming of a stranger with news from afar was celebrated with a feast, such as the killing of the special “fattened calf.” Saul was highly insulted
Read the lastest Network News at STFonline.org/news
The importance of meal time shines for every believer when we consider that it was during a meal with his twelve apostles that Jesus instituted a memorial that his followers were to do in remembrance of him, which is to continue until he returns. when David failed to come to a new moon feast two days in a row because it was a great honor to eat at the king’s table, and for someone to avoid the king’s table was an insult (1 Sam. 20:18-30). Clearly, eating together is an honored event and about much more than the mere act of eating. The importance of meal time shines for every believer when we consider that it was during a meal with his twelve apostles that Jesus instituted a memorial that his followers were to do in remembrance of him, which is to continue until he returns.1 This memorial has tremendous significance for every Christian, and it speaks loudly to me that it involves food and eating. We celebrate the communion meal where we eat broken bread and drink wine, symbolic of Jesus’ broken body and shed blood. During this memorial we reflect upon the sacrifice of Christ, but we are also reminded that we are now members of God’s family, and families eat together! In the book of Hebrews God tells us not to forsake meeting together (Heb. 10:25). Far too often people have mistaken this instruction to mean that we should not stop going to “church,” but meeting together does not only mean having “meetings.” Some of the
greatest times with others occur over a meal. Most families have traditions such as the Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas dinner together with an extended family of siblings, aunts, uncles, and grandparents, etc. If your “meetings” lack some life and vibrancy, then consider jump-starting them by sharing a meal together. In our fellowship we always tease, saying, “If you feed them they will come,” because including food with our fellowship has a way of filling up the house. Remember, just like my little girl reminded me, meal time is family time and God’s family should be enjoying the benefits of eating together. Consider occasionally making your meeting time a meal time. Note: 1. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 (23) For I received from the Lord what I also passed on to you: The Lord Jesus, on the night he was betrayed, took bread, (24) and when he had given thanks, he broke it and said, “This is my body, which is for you; do this in remembrance of me.” (25) In the same way, after supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood; do this, whenever you drink it, in remembrance of me.” (26) For whenever you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
January 2011 Audio Teaching by Dan Gallagher
Let Your Light Shine God is light and one of the first of His creative works was to speak light into existence. Not only was Jesus a light to the world, he indicated that his followers were lights too, and they were not to do anything that would block their light. In this teaching Dan Gallagher encourages us to look at four major areas common to us all that block our light. Far too often Christians blend into the world around them rather than being clearly seen by all as the radiant light they are called to be. As lights, and as children of The Light, it is our responsibility to do everything we can to put on the armor of light. This is an inspirational teaching that will help you to “Let Your Light Shine.” Listen to this audio teaching for free at STFonline.org/podcast or TruthOrTradition.com/audio8
Looking for Fellowship? If you are looking for fellowship, wanting to start a fellowship, or want to list your fellowship with us, please contact us at: STF@STFonline.org
Network News Update Our intention is to include news about what is happening both at the Home Office and throughout the Fellowship Network, as well as information regarding travel itineraries, projects, etc. Please let us know if you have something you want announced to the rest of the Fellowships, such as special events you are hosting in your area. Let’s all communicate and stay connected! See the latest at STFonline.org/news
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Dear Sower Many blessings to you all that work so hard to serve the Word to hungry folks!” Lauren Sturre Hilton Head Island, SC Editor’s Note: To listen to “A Journey Through the Old Testament” online for free, visit TruthOrTradition.com/seminar5
Thank You & God Bless
Men’s Camp Feedback Thank you so much for the great weekend of the Men’s Camp. Kenny, Kyle, and I had a very blessed time. The fellowship with other men, the teachings, the food, the property was all enjoyable and inspiring. We have been having a lot of discussions around our home about topics that were discussed there, and I’m thankful that we had the opportunity to be there. Thank you for having us and for all you do as you stand faithful on God’s Word.” Trent Willenburg Fulton, MO Editor’s Note: To see our 2011 calendar of events, go to STFonline.org/calendar or see page 23 of this issue.
Seminars Online for Free Thank you, thank you, thank you for making such an abundance of Word freely available online! We just finished another segment of “A Journey Through the Old Testament”… so exciting and inspiring!
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I just wanted to say thank you and God Bless for everything that you guys do. The teaching material offered in your seminars, podcasts and online articles is truly phenomenal. I’ve been a Christian my whole life, but started to take it seriously only within the past few years. I’m a driver, and listening to teachings day after day gave my spiritual life a whole new meaning. I never really felt a connection with God or Jesus Christ in the past – but after the teachings, articles, a newly acquired prayer life and actually reading the Bible, I acquired a physical sensation to want to learn more and more. I just felt like a sponge, wanting to absorb everything about the Bible I could possibly know. And about that connection to God and Christ – the difference is between night and day. Vinny Konkel Bothell, WA Editor’s Note: For all of our online audio teachings & seminars, visit TruthOrTradition.com/audio. See all our articles by visiting TruthOrTradition.com
TruthOrTradition.com Articles I’m a born again Christian living in Uganda and I have greatly benefited and enjoyed many of the teachings, especially those by John Schoenheit. Many have been revealing and have answered questions I have had for years which no one could really answer effectively, others have been shocking and I need to pray more to understand them. Overall I think your ministry is one of the most powerful I have encountered. Please keep up the good work and may the spirit keep leading you to more and deeper truths which you will keep revealing. Jason Mutumba Uganda, Africa (regarding articles) Editor’s Note: See all our articles by visiting TruthOrTradition.com
Greatly Encouraged I was greatly encouraged by your website. When Christianity is implemented the way you teach it, we see the great powers of God. Thank you, Gary Colin TruthOrTradition.com Visitor
Send us your Feedback Do you have questions about the Bible? Comments about our articles, audio teachings & videos? We would love to hear from you! Email us at STF@STFonline.org
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Published on Jan 1, 2011