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  • John T. Polk II 4:00 am on 2013-05-03 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , fortress, , , , , heavens, , , , , , , , , unhappiness,   

    Psalm 144 How To Live In A Happy State 

     This Psalm of David shows why God saw David as “a man after My own heart, who will do all My will” (Acts 13:22). This Psalm is from a heart that knows what God’s grace and mercy is all about!

    Verses 1-2 acknowledge who is with David on his throne over Israel;

    Verses 3-4 recognize how short the rule of a man is compared to God’s reign;

    Verses 5-10 show who really deserves praise for victory over enemies;

    Verses 11-15 summarize where a nation’s blessings and strengths come from.

    Verses 1-2: “The LORD” was David’s “Rock” not a castle. God guided David’s conquests; God showed what “lovingkindness” was like in between battles; David’s “fortress” (protective dwelling), “high tower” (lofty position above the enemy), “shield” (protection against soldiers’ attacks) and “refuge” (safe haven), were all in God. Thus if David’s “people” didn’t obey God, David wouldn’t be king of a nation! Would that Governments recognized this today (John 19:10-11)!

    Verses 3-4: “What is man” is the question David asks that shows great humility (Psalm 8:4). What makes us think we are so important that God would notice us? We are important not because of what we have done, but what God has done (Hebrews 2:17-18)! We do not live long enough to be impressive (James 4:13-15).

    Verses 5-10: God, however, is so impressive that He can “come down” over the Earth; make mountains smoke; use lightning strikes; all as weapons of war “from above.” It is God “from above” who “rescues” the righteous from a flood of “foreigners” hurling “lying words” and lying handshakes.  Those who serve God cannot expect those who do not to be following the same rules in the same way! Christian behavior is not universal, but should be (Ephesians 5:1-17)! It is God who deserves praise for our salvation and daily life. The “harp of ten strings” was an instrument of David (1 Chronicles 23:5) which appealed to the spiritually lazy (Amos 6:3-7) and was condemned. No man-made musical instrument was authorized by Moses’ Law.

    Verses 11-15: It would be by God’s rescue that the Nation of Israel would have: sturdy “sons” and “daughters;” plentiful “produce” and “sheep” and “oxen;” and no external raids nor internal struggles. A nation of people who respect God, will have “sons” who mature like plants and know their work to be done; “daughters” who accept their role of “pillars” as wife and mother; “produce” for people who know how to save for the next crop; fertile “sheep;” “oxen” useful for burdens; peaceful living without disruptiveness. Truly such a nation is “happy,” for “Happy are the people whose God is the LORD!” The plague of America is unhappiness, and it has become pandemic because people do not have the LORD God. “Jesus spoke these words, lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said: “Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him. And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:1-3). “And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son” (1 John 5:11). “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). DO YOU KNOW GOD?

    All Scriptures and comments are based upon the New King James Version, unless otherwise noted.

  • Richard Mansel 12:58 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: heavens, new earth   

    New Earth? 

    In 2 Peter 3:10 we read, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up” [NKJV]

    Yet, 2 Peter 3:13 says,  “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”

    What is the “new earth” in 2 Peter 3:13? A lot of people think that this means that heaven will be on a refurbished earth. What input can you provide on this doctrine and passage? Thanks!

    • J. Randal Matheny 1:17 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      Richard, I understand that we’re dealing with metonomy here, with the parts standing for whole, perhaps. Since he’s just mentioned the destruction of earth and the heavens, i.e., the physical universe (see Gn 1:1), then that new existence (the word “new” of a different quality) is going to be expressed in terms of a place prepared for the Lord’s people (so Jn 14) as was the physical universe. I think whatever continuity there is between the two must be sought in that idea, of the place which God creates as the ideal place for his people. It’s discontinuity is between the works to be burned up and the righteouness which dwells in the new place prepared.

    • nick gill 1:39 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

    • Richard Mansel 1:43 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      • Richard Mansel 1:45 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

        John 14:3, ” “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.”

        Jesus goes away to work on heaven and then comes back to earth and then takes us back to where he is. Jesus’ words don’t make sense if heaven is on earth.

        • nick gill 2:06 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

          Jesus says he will prepare, then he will return and receive. Where do you see any “taking us back?” The direction of movement in Revelation, in Philippians, and in Thessalonians agrees with Jesus’ description in John 14 – from heaven to us. What He is preparing comes with him.

          Jackson makes one of the classic blunders in this discussion with the following argument:

          The Christian’s “hope” is to be realized “in the heavens” (Colossians 1:5). It is an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, that fades not away, reserved “in heaven” for us (1 Peter 1:3-4). How is this passage to be explained if the “heaven” of Peter’s statement will, in fact, “fade away,” and give place to an eternal existence on earth? Peter must harmonize with Peter (2 Peter 3:13)!

          When my wife tells me there is sweet tea “reserved for me” in the refrigerator, it hardly follows that I must get into the refrigerator to drink it.

          As I wrote on FB, I believe the “new heavens and new earth” describes the renewed, perfected cosmos in which the earth is the renewed Eden-Jerusalem-Temple wherein God dwells with mankind. I believe you are correct to suggest that there is figurative language in 2 Peter 3, but that figurative language must be interpreted according to its genre (Judeo-Christian prophetic oracle), rather than according to our tradition.

        • Bobby Valentine 4:45 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

          Richard, I know we will agree on one thing. There are two rules for reading the Bible: historical context and literary context. I cannot imagine there being a difference here. If that is the case then we need to look and see what “rooms” Jesus is talking about. The word mone occurs frequently in the Greek papyri outside the NT. The meaning is something like a “place of halt on a journey, an inn.” It is related to the Aramaic word ‘wn’ which means “a night stop or resting place on a journey.” Origen in the second century said the word comes stations along the road. Raymond Brown has a excellent discussion of the word and the multiple sources that attest to its meaning (cf. The Gospel According to John, vol 2, pp. 618f). Thus i do not think this refers to our final destination … rather that Jesus is still working on.

    • Mike Riley 1:44 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      The “new earth” in 2 Peter 3:13, is simply figurative language describing a “new order” or a “new existence” – something we’ve not experienced here on our physical earth. Within that “new order” dwells “righteousness.” In Revelation 21:3,9, we see that the bride of Christ (the church) is a part of that “new order” or “new existence” – nothing will dwell in this “new existence” that (1) defiles; (2) works abomination; (3) or makes a lie (Revelation 21:27). Thus the the bride of Christ, the church, that is “holy and without blemish” fills this requirement perfectly (Ephesians 5:27). Only those in the church, or the body of Christ (Ephesians 5:23) will dwell in that “righteous” environment.

    • John 2:15 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      Does it matter?

    • John 2:27 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      Does it matter who Cain’s wife was?

      • John 2:29 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

        Just messin’ with you, Richard. I don’t think we have to understand everything in the Bible. How to become a Christian and how to live the Christian life pretty much covers it. That’s pretty easy to understand. Hard to do.

        • Bobby Valentine 4:53 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

          No we dont have to understand a LOT in order to become a Christian beloved brother. But Scripture refuses to let us remain in an infantile state. How much of Hebrews had to be “known” and understood to be immersed in the name of the Messiah? probably not much. Yet that did not stop the Preacher from roasting them (5.12-14). The belief in the resurrection, the hope of the new earth, is (in the words of N. T. Wright) what enabled the faith of the martyrs. His excellent (and SHORT!!) little book Judas and the Gospel of Jesus sheds great light on this whole matter.

    • Richard Mansel 2:29 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      No, it doesn’t matter who Cain’s wife was. However, it does matter where heaven will be. It causes a transformation of what we have taught in the past.

      • John 2:33 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

        I don’t think we need to understand precisely how the Holy Spirit does His work, just that we don’t have miracles today, He indwells us, He will do good things for us, and He will do them for the faithful Christian – whether I understand all the “hows” or not – kinda like this computer I’m typing on. The Progressives seem to get all up into this, but it seems there are other matters crying out for our attention – like how I can do a better job with the beatitudes. Why do we never talk about things like that?

        • nick gill 2:43 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

          Ephesians 2 teaches that the church has already been seated with Christ in the heavenlies. The Lord’s Prayer says that we should be praying and striving so that things here are just like things there. There is ample evidence to teach us that an important part of knowing what we need to be and do now is to develop a clearer and healthier understanding of what God is doing, and what God is planning to do.

        • Bobby Valentine 4:57 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

          Paul sure wastes a lot of ink if the Spirit’s ministry is simply a sidelight.

    • Bobby Valentine 3:59 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      First, I say to my esteemed brother John that it does matter. It matters because what Jesus did in and thru his death, burial and RESURRECTION matter dearly. Jesus nor the early church hit the world in a vacuum. There was options on the table regarding a belief in “life after death.” All Greeks and Romans believed in “eternal life.” In 1 Cor 15 the deniers of the resurrection are not secular humanists. They are not denying ‘life after death” they are denying the resurrection of the physical material body. Plato flowed thru their veins … and yet does with many contemporary post-Enlightenment Christians. Paul wasnt laughed out of Athens because he taught a future life after death, the text explicitly says it was when he preached the RESURRECTION of the dead (Ac 17.32). But the early church held staunchly to a physical, bodily resurrection of Jesus and future believers. The Gnostics of the second century led the way to polluting the apostolic faith by their denial of the value of creation and that redemption was purely a non-material (i.e. some call it spiritual) enterprise. This is explicitly declared in the Gnostic Gospel of Judas, the Gospel of Thomas and the Gospel of Truth. But the NT is equally explicit: Christ’s blood was shed in the flesh for the world and humans in the flesh (cf. Col 1.20-22; Rom 8.18ff, etc). The NT claims, in the face of the creation denying, body denying, false teachers in 1 Jn and 2 Jn that the Christ not only came in the flesh (past tense) but John uses the present and the perfect tense in 2 Jn 7 and 1 Jn 4.2 to emphasize that he not only came but he IS and will remain in the flesh.

      Some may deny the connection between the resurrection of Jesus and God’s redemptive plan for creation but that is a grave mistake and totally out of harmony with early Christian faith. The resurrection continues what Jesus did on the cross of reconciling creation to God. As the resurrected Lord he is the “first fruits” … a guarantee of our own physical bodily resurrection in which we are saved/liberated with “creation itself” (Rom 8.20-21). God doesnt save just our souls he saves us whole. Second Peter actually this. The world is not annihilated but destroyed in a fashion like in Noah’s day. It will be flooded with fire and purified and what is revealed is the new heavens and the new earth…the “home of the righteous” (3.13). This is where the city not made by hands will be that Abraham looked forward to. And it is said in Revelation to be “coming DOWN out of heaven” (21.2, 10; cf. 3.12).

    • Bobby Valentine 4:11 pm on 2010-07-16 Permalink | Reply

      I have a full blown exegesis of 2 Peter 3 with critical interaction with the Greek text and the relevant textual variants in v.10, etc. If you would like a copy of it send me an email at either Bobby.Valentine@paloverdechurch.org or stonedcampbell@yahoo.com and i will get it out to you immediately.

    • John 11:27 am on 2010-07-17 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Richard, this is better. You might want to consider just letting the comments appear in order of posting as in most blogs I read. If they are posted under a comment the last commenter is replying to, they can easily get overlooked. I just look at the last ones posted and if someone is responding to what someone else is saying they can begin with their name.

      Hi Bobby, Nick, et al –
      As you know, the renewed earth and ways and hows of the Holy Spirit doing his work are large issues with Progressives. Bobby has made a good argument for renewed earth, and it is actually not my purpose to disagree with that. I just don’t think it is a salvation issue that we understand the location of heaven or how the Holy Spirit does His work. He’s doing it now, on my behalf, and that’s all I need to know. Contrariwise, it is a salvation issue that I understand and practice poor in spirit, mourn , meek, etc.

      Why do we argue about things that in a practical sense do not matter? Spend 20 pages proving that heaven is terrestrial v celestial. Do the same with how the Holy Spirit does His work. When that is all finished, I am no more humble or merciful or sharing than I was before. THOSE are the things I need help with. Please help me!


      • nick gill 12:18 pm on 2010-07-17 Permalink | Reply


        One of the ways that we grow closer to Christ is by understanding what He is doing, so that we may imitate him (1 Cor 11:1).

        When we understand that our promised future life is intrinsically connected to the life we are now living – that New Creation began when Jesus came out of the tomb and spreads whenever and wherever His gospel is preached – and when we understand that the kingdom of heaven is not distant, but very near to each of us – that God is actively working alongside of us in everything we do – we begin to learn that we are not at the center of our spiritual life.

        Not all the Beatitudes are goals to be attained. Christians should never strive to be poor in spirit – right now, we have the Holy Spirit as our guarantee of our future inheritance – for a Christian to become poor in spirit would require that we reject that gift from God. Just as “Blessed are the poor” in Luke is not a spiritual goal but a present diagnosis of people waiting for the kingdom, likewise “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

        So how does a healthy understanding of eschatology and pneumatology strengthen you? It renews your hope when you are frustrated and forlorn – you discover that it is when you are weakest that the Spirit is most able to do his transforming work. It reminds you that we cannot make ourselves more humble, more giving, or more joyous – not directly. Rather, while we are prayerfully choosing to do acts of service to the poor, sacrifice, and celebration, the Spirit of God works behind the scenes and shapes us more closely into the image of Christ in those ways.

        But most of all, I think that teaching people that their future hope has nothing to do with anything they do now encourages the very sort of apathetic, “AA” (attendance and abstinence) Christianity we find in so many places. We end up preaching a “fire insurance” gospel that in no way affects where we live, right now. “Renewed earth esachatology” is just one secondary issue within a broader doctrinal matter where we struggle – the nature of the kingdom of God. When Jesus told Pilate that his kingdom was not from this world, he absolutely did NOT mean that his kingdom was not FOR this world. When we grasp this fundamental truth, living a Sermon on the Mount life becomes much more necessary, AND simpler to actually do.

    • Bobby Valentine 1:04 pm on 2010-07-17 Permalink | Reply


      I struggle to see how the renewed earth is a “progressive” issue any more than the Holy Spirit. Paul did not seem to think the Spirit’s ministry was incidental and if he did he wasted many words. Ephesians is a good “laboratory” experiment. The first three chapters contain a single imperative but a whole lot on the work of the Spirit. As you know the word “spiritual” does not mean “mental” or “immaterial” but is an adjective with the meaning “of the Spirit” or “belonging to the Spirit.” Hardly progressive. One simply is not preaching Ephesians if this is ignored.

      On the renewed earth. Hardly a progressive issue but is in fact near and dear to the heart of the faith of early church. Rather than some esoteric unimportant matter the Hebrew Preacher who chided those who wish to remain infants and never grow past strained bananas rebuked them for not even having a firm grasp of the “basic teaching about Christ.” What are the items listed there by that Preacher? Do they not include the “resurrection of the dead and eternal judgment”? (Heb 6.1-3). The resurrection is no matter to be side stepped but is in fact “basic teaching about Christ” and Paul showed that in 1 Cor 15 as well. Resurrection is not some disembodied spirit. Jesus is not even now a disembodied spirit if the Apostle John and Luke are to be believed.

      It was the Progressives of John’s day … those who went beyond the teaching about Christ … the GNOSTICS that denied the materiality of salvation. The truth of this matter is seen clearly in 1 John, 2 Jn, the Gospel bearing that name and the early writings outside the NT especially like Ignatius a near contemporary of John. I believe in the resurrection of the body not the immortality of the soul. One is biblical. The other is gnostic.

      • John 1:38 pm on 2010-07-17 Permalink | Reply

        Nick and Bobby,

        We are talking past each other. When I try to talk in depth to a progressive, that invariably happens. I am neither conservative nor progressive and I know Bobby says he’s not, so, we’ll use another term if you like. That’s peripheral. On the things that I think matter, I’m guessing that we are probably not in 100% agreement, but are near that, and who knows, we may be all the way there.

        Why do you even bring up the resurrection? Of course I believe in the resurrection.

        I am afraid I remain unconverted. I just don’t think we have to sort these two things out. It may indeed help you, but it doesn’t help me in the slightest to understand exactly how God does things today nor the exact nature of heaven. I don’t understand how this computer is working right now, but, what I want to say is coming up on the screen anyway. Examples could be multiplied. I don’t understand why God loves me, unworthy as I am. But He does anyway. It is a mystery that adds to my feeling for Him.

        What I really wish is that y’all would go to my Sermon on the Mount post that I just put up and comment on that. That would actually help me.

        Bless you all


        • Bobby Valentine 10:56 am on 2010-07-18 Permalink | Reply

          Beloved brother John. I did not mean to offend you if I have. However I do not belive I am talking past you. I mentioned Hebrews and its statement on resurrection & judgement precisely because the resurrection of Jesus is tied to what happens to creation itself. How can the resurrection of the flesh have any meaning if the creation that flesh comes from is not saved? God saves “adams” that come from “adamah.”

          There are many lines that flow into this but Romans 8 ties most of them together. To begin with right before Paul talks about the groaning of the created world he appeals to the resurrection of Jesus “If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead in you, he who raised Christ from the dead WILL GIVE LIVE TO YOUR MORTAL BODIES …” (8.11).

          The word “glorified” in v.17 refers to our own resurrection like the Second Adam … this the “glory” that “creation” longs to see in us (v.18, 21 and the word occurs in 30). When our BODIES are rasied that means CREATION (of which our bodies are intimately connected) is sharing in the liberation of Jesus’ work. This is not a matter of inference Paul states it explicitly. The Spirit groans as we wait for the “redemption of our BODIES” (v.23) and he goes on to say “in THIS hope we are saved”

          The Resurrected Lord, Resurrected Bodies live on God’s Resurrected World.

          That is the connection.

    • Joshua Pappas 10:18 pm on 2010-07-17 Permalink | Reply

      I think this is an issue central to the Christian mission, and it’s really a shame that we’ve put it in the box of us vs. them issues. anyway, my point is that the text of Romans 8 has completely convinced me the new heavens and earth Peter wrote about is heaven being united with a renewed cosmos. Note what Paul wrote:

      For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now. And not only the creation, but we ourselves, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, groan inwardly as we wait eagerly for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies. For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees?” (Romans 8:18-24 ESV).

      In Romans 8 there are two parties that hope for the revelation of God’s sons: the creation and us. The creation isn’t us, as the passage clearly contrasts the two. The creation also isn’t unbelieving humanity, because our great day of redemption holds no hope for them. It has to be the physical cosmos that (personified) hopes for the undoing of it’s having been subjected to futility even as we’re set free into glory. Now, if it’s only set free to be permanently annihilated in a cosmic fireball, that just isn’t much to hope for. I can’t see how Romans 8 means anything if it doesn’t support the doctrine taught throughout the NT that heaven will be experienced in a new/renewed physical heavens and earth. While I highly respect bro. Jackson’s work and writings, I think he’s missed the mark on this issue.

    • Richard Mansel 12:36 pm on 2010-07-18 Permalink | Reply

      If you believe that heaven will be on a refurbished earth, do you believe that hell will be on Venus?

      “The conditions on planet Venus are similar to the conditions of the biblical hell – “fire and brimstone” – it’s raining there with sulfuric acid, the surface temperature on planet Venus is 860 degrees Fahrenheit and the pressure at the planet’s surface is about 92 times that at Earth’s surface—a pressure equivalent to that at a depth of nearly 1 kilometer under Earth’s oceans.”

      • nick gill 12:49 pm on 2010-07-18 Permalink | Reply


        You consistently use the word “refurbished” in what seems to be an intentionally pejorative manner. Would you say that our Lord Jesus Christ came out of the tomb “refurbished?” I believe that the whole of creation will experience the same kind of renewal, restoration, refreshing, that the physical body of Jesus experienced.

        The Lord has not revealed where “everlasting destruction” will occur – but we have several hints from the story of Scripture that tell us that it will be “outside the camp.” If the renewed creation is “the camp” where God dwells with his people, “outside the camp” would probably be somewhere outside of known reality.

    • Richard Mansel 12:53 pm on 2010-07-18 Permalink | Reply

      Is the doctrine of a refurbished earth heavily influenced by the environmental movement in the religious world?

      • Bobby Valentine 1:34 am on 2010-07-19 Permalink | Reply

        Richard, I am not sure how to take this or the Venus comment. Are you using sarcasm or mocking or … if you have have done much study at all on this particular matter you would know that though the doctrine has implications for how we treat the material world of God called good you would know that is was around for two thousand years before the environmental movement. You would also know that the denial of the renewed earth view began with the same folks who turned the resurrection of the flesh into a “spiritual resurrection” … the Gnostics. The Nag Hammadi Library includes in it a treatise specifically on The Resurrection and it is anything but what Paul believed. Justin Martyr, Irenaeaus, moving on down many centuries, Alexander Campbell, David Lipscomb, James A Harding and Moses Lard all taught this point of view … as the commonly held position of Christians.

        • Richard Mansel 6:23 am on 2010-07-19 Permalink | Reply

          Neither. I heard this about Venus when I was young and I still find it fascinating. The similarities are quite interesting. I just wondered what would be said.

    • hebrewdaylight 9:26 pm on 2013-07-13 Permalink | Reply

      I had this same question a while back and have since then done much study on it. I have written an article that I believe explains what Peter is doing in this text. I’d appreciate any insights you may have.


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