• Intro to First Kings

    14 And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 

    1 Kings 3:14 


    I hope that I am not asking for too much as I type this….During the entire month of July, our Old Testament reading consisted of reading through the books of First and Second Samuel. And I really hope that you took some good notes because for the entire month of November, your Old Testament reading will be on First and Second Kings. You will remember, or find in your Bible reading notes, that Second Samuel concluded with David sinning by conducting a census and a great plague being sent by God as a result of it. David then builds an altar to the Lord and pleas to the Lord for his mercy (also echoed in 1 Chron 21). We then read these words at the very end of Second Samuel 24, “…So the LORD responded to the plea for the land, and the plague was averted from Israel” and then the curtain falls. But the story does not end there. We can consider the plague event mentioned prior as sort of the closing scene of Act II of the play and the opening scene for Act III to be recorded in First Kings. 


    First Kings brings closure to the legacy of David that we find in 1 Samuel and the covenant that God had made with him is one that needs to be remembered in First and Second Kings. As a reminder, the Davidic covenant can be found in 2 Samuel 7 and consists of three main elements: 1) That the Lord had not forgotten his promise to Abraham and that they will have a place, a home (vs 10) 2) That the offspring of David will build a house for the Lord (vs 13) and 3) That there will be an eternal kingdom established by another son of David (vs 13, 16). In First Kings, it becomes clear to us that Solomon fulfills the second part of the covenant, but he does not fulfill the third. And as we track each king throughout the course of Israel’s history, our hopes of finding that king begins to dwindle. Immediately after Solomon, the kingdom is divided into two, the north and the south. In the northern kingdom, they immediately turn to idolatry and almost every single ruler is wicked. The southern kingdom is no Bible belt though. It too is ruled by many wicked kings with really only two that stand out, Hezekiah and Josiah. And because of these wicked kings, prophets are raised up to proclaim righteousness in a time full of unrighteousness, the most prominent ones being Elijah and Elisha. 


    Which brings us to one of the central messages of this book. Firstly, we must not place our faith and trust in rulers of this world. We serve, follow, and obey the one true Lord, the Son of David who has established a kingdom with no end. And even when our earthly rulers lead our nation away from God, we must have courage and confidence in His word. And like Elijah versus the prophets of Baal, we must not cower in fear nor change the truth. Instead, we must stand firm on it and have faith that God is sovereign and working everything according to the perfect council of His will. Finally, we are reminded through Elijah’s doubting experience that God has never left us and never will leave us. That ought to encourage and embolden us even more to trust Him above all else. His kingdom is without end, may we live as citizens of the kingdom here on earth waiting for the day when we will see the kingdom consummated at Christ’s second coming. 


    Grace and Peace, 

    Alex Galvez 


    To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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    These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


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    1. Intro to Proverbs

      The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.

      Proverbs 1:7 


      Quiz time! Serving 160 years apart, name the two secretaries of state who never married? What are the two four letter words that have ‘oo’ in them in the poem inscribed at the base of the Statue of Liberty? In Genesis 4, what name is chosen because God ‘hath appointed me another seed’? Those questions are a few of the final jeopardy questions that Brad Rutter faced during his Jeopardy campaign. Having all that memorized knowledge served him well to the effect that he had earned $4,255,102 or $4,270,102 and a pair of Chevrolet Camaros. And as impressive as that sounds, King Solomon was estimated to have had a peak net worth of $2.2 trillion! And while he too had knowledge and had a lot of dough, what really sets him apart from Brad Rutter (and many other wealthy people) is the fact that Solomon had true knowledge and true wisdom. And much of his wisdom is contained in the book of Proverbs. 


      While the book of Proverbs does state that they are from Solomon (1:1), this book is really a collection of wise sayings from multiple authors, such as Agur (chapter 30) and Lemuel (chapter 31) and compiled over a long period of time; one point being during the reign of King Hezekiah (25:1). And to try and summarize this book can be very difficult since the maxims in it touch on a wide breadth of topics such as righteous living, sexual relations, revenge, discipline, laziness, a godly wife, and so much more. Despite the cornucopia of themes, it is not difficult to discern that this book is providing the reader with wisdom in how to live in this world. Many of the books we read in the Old Testament have covenantal themes, being dominated more on how it is that a person can have fellowship with God, but proverbs comes alongside and teaches us how we as disciples ought to live our lives in fellowship with God. 


      Also, prevailing theme that we encounter throughout the book is that wisdom proceeds from God and can be found by those who fear and trust in Him. And because everything that we do has a direct correspondence to our hearts, it is important for us to recognize that while knowledge (memorization of facts) alone does not change a person’s nature or character, the first truth is that we if we desire to be wise we must fear the Lord. It is our fear of the Lord that drives us to Christ and drives us to living life in a manner that is pleasing to Him. And this can be difficult for us at times because we are finite. But a recognition of our limitations and fragility (30:2-4) is a good thing because it brings us to humility and a realization that we are not to walk in a way that seems wise to us because it will only lead to death (14:12; 16:25). Instead, a truly wise man will submit himself God’s Word, because “every word of God proves true” (30:5). When we reject God and His word and try to live our lives apart from His counsel and will, we live like fools. But when we fear the Lord, we find life (9:10-11). May we live wisely in the fear of the Lord because we know that our lives are short and that in the end we will be demanded an account of it in eternity.


      Grace and Peace, 

      Alex Galvez 


      To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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      These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


      You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

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      1. Parable of the Growing Seed

        26 And he said, “The kingdom of God is as if a man should scatter seed on the ground. 27 He sleeps and rises night and day, and the seed sprouts and grows; he knows not how. 28 The earth produces by itself, first the blade, then the ear, then the full grain in the ear. 29 But when the grain is ripe, at once he puts in the sickle, because the harvest has come.” 

        Mark 4:26-29 


        In the fourth chapter of Mark’s Gospel, we read four parables related to the Kingdom of God. And all, but one, parable can be found in one or more of the other Gospels. The parable of the soils can be found in Matt 13:1-23 and Luke 8:4-15, the parable of the lamp is recorded in Luke 8:16-18, and the parable of the mustard seed may be found in Matthew’s Gospel; chapter 13:31-35. However, the parable of the growing seed is unique and exclusive to Mark’s Gospel and its meaning is not explained to us. 


        In this parable, we read about a sower who sows seed in the field and then goes to bed. He seemingly plays a very small role in this story since the focus of the story shifts entirely to the seed. In the next 3 verses, we read an accelerated history of the seed’s lifecycle as it sprouts, then becomes a seedling, bud, and a fully ripe and mature plant ready for harvest. It is a very short parable and it does not seem to be teaching very much, but Jesus compares this seemingly dull parable to how the Kingdom of God is. Earlier in this chapter and in the verses that follow (1-8; 30-32), we read of a much more interesting parable concerning seeds and the kingdom of God, so why does Jesus provide this uninteresting and ordinary one? In the earlier parable of the soils, the word that is planted in good soil at times yields an unbelievable amount; 30, 60, 100 fold. We understand that we should examine ourselves to see what type of “soil” we are. In the latter parable of the mustard seed, we see how such a small, humble beginning will grow vey large. Those are exciting as we consider how the Kingdom of God will expand to proportions we cannot imagine and that His word, in the lives of believers, will produce an amazing harvest. But what are we to do with the parable of the growing seed? 


        Well, for one, I think we should consider how the sower mentioned sowing the seed without any knowledge as to what sort of growth will occur. Connecting this to the earlier parable and the context of this parable, I think we can rightly understand the seed as being the gospel planted into a person’s life. The evangelist may not be aware of what growth will occur and “he knows not how” it even grows. Our duty as believers is to be faithful with the word that we have received and to sow it, trusting that God is active and working to complete a good work for His glory. And God’s work has an end and goal, a harvest. 


        Now, there are two interpretations for what this harvest is. The first is that this harvest represents the end times day of judgment when God will separate the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares. In this sense, then the meaning for the growing seed story is that God’s kingdom will continue to grow, almost without any notice, and at the time of the harvest those who are righteous will be gleaned by the Lord. This perspective seems to connect this parable to the parable of the mustard seed. The second interpretation is that this is a picture of the work of the gospel in a person’s life. The seed, the gospel, is planted in to a person’s life by a sower, a faithful disciple. And at times, it may seem to have a very little effect on that person’s life, in the end God will bring it to fruition and that person will be saved. In this view, this parable seems to tie very well to the parable of the sower. An objection to the second interpretation is that this parable seems to be tied to the kingdom of God which should refer to God’s actual kingdom. However, some “kingdom” parables describe more than the kingdom in general, but specifically. For example, the parable of the Hidden treasure or pearl of great price in Matthew 13, describes the kingdom specifically. 


        One thing we must keep in mind is that Jesus was a masterful story teller and teacher. It could be that he meant for both of those meanings to be understood. The application for us then would be for us to have faith that God is working, even when we cannot see or understand, and that it will yield a good harvest. Additionally, we must be faithful in proclaiming the Gospel and having faith that God will bring it to completion in the lives of those who hear. 


        Grace and Peace, 

        Alex Galvez 


        To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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        These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


        You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

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        1. The Ninety-Five Theses

          “Many have taken the Christian faith to be a simple and easy matter, and have even numbered it among the virtues. This is because they have not really experienced it, nor have they tested the great strength of faith.” – Martin Luther 


          On Thursday, October 31, 2019, we will celebrate the 502nd anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. And for the past three Wednesdays, we have covered a few events and figures which/who have been influential during this much needed reformation of the church. We very briefly touched on the mysticism of the Dark Ages which was leading to the dawn of the Renaissance; a time which is summarized by the catch phrase ad fontes (back to the sources). We also looked at some of the contributions made by Erasmus, the Prince of the Humanities, to prepare and awaken the people of the need for reform in the church. But no study of the Protestant Reformation can be complete without also considering Martin Luther and his 95 Theses. 


          Many of us have heard about the 95 theses, but, unfortunately like the Pilgrim’s Progress, very few of us have actually read them. Some have thought that the theses that Martin Luther nailed to the Castle Church in Wittenberg was intentionally put there by him as a denouncement of the sale of indulgences. The document did not represent Luther’s absolute condemnation of indulgences as you can read in the 71st thesis where he wrote that anyone who “speaks against the truth concerning papal indulgences be anathema and accursed.” The reality is that Luther wrote them in Latin so that the masses could not read it and he posted them on the door, as was the custom, in order to call for an academic discussion on the issues he presented. This was not an act of vandalism against All Saints Church, but was what you would do in those days. Luther also did not have any intentions of sparking a reformation in the church, although he did see that there was a need for it.


          Additionally, it cannot be overlooked that Luther had not intended for his theses to be mass produced and published. But because that had occurred, he published an extensive explanation of each point. So, what are theses about? And why did they spark the Reformation? To address the first question, we can summarize them into three main points. 1) A denial of the power of papal indulgences without contrition, 2) an objection to using the sale of indulgences for the building project, and 3) a careful consideration of the sinner. On the first point, Luther explained, “Papal indulgences do not remove guilt. Beware of those who say that indulgences effect reconciliation with God. The power of the keys cannot make attrition into contrition.” This possibly could also be construed as an attack on the power and authority of the pope, but really it was his understanding from Scriptures that only true repentance can bring forgiveness of sin and lead to one's salvation. Secondly, Luther did not agree with using the revenues for a building which “we Germans cannot attend” and questioned why the pope did not fund it himself or “give the money to the poor folks who are being fleeced by the hawkers of indulgences”. And lastly, Luther was very concerned about the souls of the people. He wrote, “Indulgences are positively harmful to the recipient because they impede salvation by diverting charity and inducing a false sense of security.” Rather than purchasing indulgences, he wanted Christians to commit themselves to a life of good works in keeping with inward repentance. 


          Why then did this ignite the Reformation? No one can be 100% sure, but we know that his theses stuck a chord with the people and, to an opposite degree, with the religious leaders, to include the Pope. It eventually led to an imperial diet in which Luther was called to recant of what he wrote and taught, eventually leading to him being declared a heretic. It also forced Luther to defend his position and eventually fight contra mundum (against the world) in defending the three solas of the reformation (later expanded to five); Sola Fide (by faith alone), Sola Gratia (by grace alone), and Sola Scripture (by Scripture Alone). All doctrines which we can agree are fundamental to the Christian faith. As Luther defended these very important truths, we too are reminded each year on Reformation Day that we too must defend the faith. In one sense, Luther was doing what Paul commended to Timothy, "Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth" (2  Timothy 2:15).


          Grace and Peace, 

          Alex Galvez 


          To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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          These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


          You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

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          1. Intro to 1 Thessalonians

            Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 

            1 Thessalonians 4:1 


            When you consider the content of Paul’s letters to the churches he wrote, you get the sense that not everything is going so well. To the church at Corinth, he wrote long letters to encourage unity and to call them away from worldliness, immorality, and pride. To the church at Colossae, he encouraged them to not fall to mysticism or legalism, but to be faithful to the Lord. The church at Ephesus was too proud and lacked in forgiveness, the Galatian church were tempted to fall into false gospels and the church at Philippi seemed worrisome and had two cantankerous women in the body. But the letter to the Thessalonicans has a much different tone, one of exceeding joy. 


            Paul and his mates (Silas [Silvanus] and Timothy) had planted this church during his second missionary journey, but, due to being driven out by the Jews (2:15-17; cf Acts 17:1-8)., were not able to stay and teach them as much as they would have liked. So, he writes this letter with a two-fold purpose: 1) to let them know how encouraged he is by them and their faithfulness to the Lord and 2) so that they would not be uninformed about certain things which he may not have had an opportunity to teach them on since he was driven away. And yet, despite only having been there for a short period, this community was one that was an “example to all the believers in Macedonia and Achaia” (1:7), was one that became the “joy or crown of boasting” for Paul (2:19), and one that did not need instruction on brotherly love because they themselves had “been taught by God to love one another” and were practicing their love “to all the brothers throughout Macedonia” (4:9-10). 


            And their lives and practice ought to challenge us as today. We too have been given a very large storehouse of truth. We, like the Thessalonicans, have received the gospel and the question is whether we have become “imitators of…the Lord”, in the midst suffering we face, with joy (1:6)? Leonard Ravenhill asked the same question a different way when he asked, “are the things you are living for worth Christ dying for”? As Paul encouraged them to “walk and to please God” (4:1), we too are to walk in a manner that is pleasing to out Lord. Though there may be troubles in this life, we know that in the end Christ will come back and we will spend eternity with him (4:13-18) and that God has not destined us to wrath, but for salvation (5:9). So, Christian walk with hope and with joy and in a manner, which pleases God, “more and more” (4:1). 


            Grace and Peace, 

            Alex Galvez 


            To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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            These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


            You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

            or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/ 


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            1. Intro to Daniel

              16 Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego answered and said to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we have no need to answer you in this matter. 17 If this be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of your hand, O king. 18 But if not, be it known to you, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the golden image that you have set up.” 

              Daniel 3:16-18 


              When I was a kid in Sunday School, many of my favorite Bible stories were from the book of Daniel. I was amazed at how bold four young boys could be in refusing to eat the king’s meals, choosing to live off of water and vegetables alone. It was a boldness that I desired for myself. I was shocked at how the king would throw Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego into a fiery furnace for not bowing down to his image, and then in awe at how God had saved them. I remember being in wonder at how God had closed the mouths of lions to preserve Daniel, an obedient and faithful servant. All the wonderful stories that we read in the book of Daniel inspired me to continue to trust in a God who is not weak, but powerful. A God who is not impersonal, but truly loves His creation. A God who is not simply reacting to world events and the decisions of humans, but a God who is truly sovereign over all things and is working all things according to His perfect council and will. However, it was not until I grew older, and actually read the book for myself, that I realized just how unique and beautiful the book of Daniel truly is; so much more than just wonderful childhood stories. 


              The book of Daniel is a very interesting book for several reasons. Firstly, the book is not arranged chronologically. As you read it, you will find that you are flipping back and forth in exilic history. Secondly, and somewhat tied to the lack of a linear progression of time, the book is arranged, from a literary perspective, in two halves . The first half (ch 1-6) is historical narrative and written in the third-person and seem to be all about court life. The second half (ch 7-12) is prophetic or apocalyptic and written in the first-person tense. Thirdly, this book is not written in a single language like most of the Old Testament books. It starts off in Hebrew, but chapters two through seven are written in Aramaic, and then it switches back to Hebrew in chapter 8 and on. Interestingly, when we focus on the Aramaic portion of the book a chiastic structure appears. Chapters 2 and 7 contain a dream/vision of four kingdoms being replaced by a fifth one. Moving inward, chapters 3 and 6 retell stories of peril as Daniel and his friends find themselves in deadly situations. And at the center are chapters 4 and 5, which show how proud kings are judged. 


              I have grown to truly love the book of Daniel and consider it to be my favorite book in the Old Testament. The major theme that is running throughout this book is that even though the people of God are far from the promised land, God is still sovereign. He is in control of all things, even foreign kings. And His people ought to walk in faithfulness regardless of their situations or circumstances. But we do not just find comfort, hope, and instruction for the here and now, we also see that the Messiah will come again. And just like the people of God waited for deliverance to come for them while they lived as exiles in Babylon, we too are exiles awaiting the sure coming of our Messiah. May we continue to long for His coming and may our hearts cry out maranatha


              Grace and Peace, 

              Alex Galvez 


              To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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              These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


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              1. Erasmus, the hesitant reformer

                “Erasmus laid the egg and Luther hatched it” –16th Century saying of the people 


                Just as Switzerland was a neutral country during World War II, Desiderius Erasmus did everything that he could to be the “Switzerland” of the Protestant Reformation. Born in 1466, Erasmus had very humble beginnings as the illegitimate son of a Dutch priest. However, the mark that he left on the world was anything but humble. He was the first internationally famous thinker of his time, he wrote 226 works totaling about 2.5 million copies, and provided the world with a readable Greek New Testament. But why was this “prince of the humanists” so influential in the Protestant Reformation? Let’s start in the year 1499 where we find Erasmus listening to a lecture by John Colet at Oxford expounding the Pauline letters using the grammatico-historical method. It was through the influence of John Colet and Sir Thomas More that Erasmus became eager to master the classical tongues; which he did, and soon became the foremost scholar on the classical writings, to include the Latin Vulgate. 


                Largely humanists at this period in history had grown tired of the corruption of the church and state, and they desired a return to the classical thinking and living of Aristotle, Plato, the New Testament, and the early church fathers. They believed that in order to bring society back to virtuous and righteous living it was necessary to remove the clutter of man-made traditions and papal externalities. Erasmus himself was convinced that outer righteousness meant nothing if the inner self was still corrupt. Writing on baptism, he said “what good is it to be outwardly sprinkled with holy water, if one is filthy within?” It was God’s work through His vessel, Erasmus, that the Protestant Reformation was able to have the impact that it did. His contribution to the Reformation can be described as a three-fold program. 


                First, there needed to be a moral reform. Being a humanist (not in any way similar to humanists of the 21st century), he detested the monastic lifestyle and wrote in his Enchiridion militis Christiani (Dagger or handbook of the Christian Soldier), how a true soldier of Christ did not withdraw from the common life of the world, but rather abandoned the pagan vices and trained themselves to live as Christ in practical and daily living. He also wrote very harshly against the corruption of the church. In fact, his book Praise of Folly, is considered “the most severe attacks on the medieval Church that had, up to that time, been made.” Even his scandalous book Julies Excluded from Heaven, stirred the pot as it essentially said Pope Julius II would be refused admission into heaven because of how he corruptly bribed his way to gain the papacy. He even spoke vehemently against indulgences saying “what a filthy trade this is, designed to fill-up money boxes, rather than to enrich people’s spirituality.’ 


                Secondly, he sought a cultural reform (which is where some people probably would feel a bit uneasy). He saw education as the solution to mankind’s problems and that a return to the classics would enable Christian citizens to be more influential in their societies. Lastly, he cried out for a Scriptural reform. He saw how vitally important it was for the people to have the Word of God in their native tongues and approved and encouraged the translation of his New Testament into other languages. 


                While not outright rejecting infant baptism, he did suggest that baptism could be given at the age of puberty when a person would be able to understand the significance of it. Additionally, on the Lord’s Supper, he seemed to hold that it was a symbol, although he does contradict himself at times (“Of the reality of the Lord’s body, nothing is uncertain. Of the method of the presence, it is permitted in a certain way to be uncertain”). 


                And while Erasmus held firmly to orthodox Christianity in terms of the incarnation or the Trinity, his understanding of free-will is much more aligned with the Pelagian heresy that taught that man could will themselves to do good, apart from God’s work in the person. However, to what extent was Erasmus a pelagian? It could be argued that he was only a semi-pelagian since Erasmus felt, and argued, that the question of whether or not man’s will is free can be ignored safely. He was, after all a humanist, and had a low view of doctrine and theology, but a very high view of inner purity exercised with outward righteousness. And this could be the reason why Luther needed Erasmus. Luther wrote, “I am not concerned with the life, but with doctrines” and so it is through Erasmus and Luther that the people begin to understand the importance of having right doctrine and proper devotion. 


                It is sad though that Erasmus eventually does side with the Roman Catholic powers, since he was one who detested dissensions above all, but that was never his intention or desire. If I could leave you with some final words from him, “It is clear that many of the reforms for which Luther calls are urgently needed. My only wish is that now that I am old I be allowed to enjoy the results of my efforts. Both sides reproach me and seek to coerce me. Some claim that since I do not attack Luther I agree with him, while the Lutherans declare that I am a coward who has forsaken the gospel.” He was a man with a great mind and a heart for the people, and truly a forerunner to the reformation. 


                Grace and Peace, 

                Alex Galvez 


                To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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                These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


                You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

                or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/


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                1. The Millennium

                  Blessed and holy is the one who shares in the first resurrection! Over such the second death has no power, but they will be priests of God and of Christ, and they will reign with him for a thousand years. 

                  Revelation 20:6 


                  Oh no, based on the leading verse you probably can tell that this article is going to focus on the millennial reign of Jesus Christ and what that means. You would be correct, however before we jump into a short exposition on it, I do want to first remind you of the larger purpose for the book of Revelation that I made in the first article (If you have not read it yet, go back and read it). Ok, you’re back? Let’s jump into. 


                  In our reading from yesterday and today (specifically Rev 20:2-7), we find that controversial phrase, “a thousand years”. Probably this is the most hotly debated section of the book of Revelation and we really should approach this passage with a measure of humility. Firstly, as Christians we must understand that the book of Revelation is much more than the literal or symbolic millennium reign of Christ. Likewise, we need to understand that wherever we fall on this doctrine should not be a divisive one and if we make this one that divides the church, we are in sin and should be quick to repent. Got that? Ok, let’s move on. 


                  This six-time repeated phrase, “a thousand years”, can be understood in two different ways. The first is in terms of its order with relation to the Second Coming. It either occurs prior to the Second Coming of Christ, as understood by Amillenialists and Postmillenialists, or after the Second Coming of Christ, commonly held by Dispensational Premillenialists and Historic Premillenialists. Secondly, if this passage is to be understood as figurative language (allegorical or spiritual) or literal language (We find meaning in the words in the sense that they were given). As you know (because your read the first article), I currently hold to the Historic Pre-Millenial perspective so this article will help you understand my positions understanding of the millennial reign and how I came to this conclusion. 


                  In Rev 20:1, we are introduced to an angel that has “the key to the bottomless pit” which we will remember is an angel from chapter 9. Amillenialists will tie the millennial reign to the current period we are living in now, but I do not see that squaring up with chapter 9 of Revelation. I understand this description, to include the “chain”, as being symbolic of a time for God’s defeat of Satan (Premillenialist position) as opposed to being a symbol of the power of the gospel (Amillenialist position). Additionally, the repeated mention of this time frame and everything in the immediate context of this passage does not seem to suggest a figurative interpretation, but rather a literal interpretation. Thirdly, the premillennialist position is the only one that seems to rightly reconcile the sequences as described in Rev 19 and 20. 


                  Regardless of which position you take, what is important for us to remember is that Christ is indeed coming again even though we may think he is delayed. As we await his return, we must be persistent in preaching the Gospel to the nations, even in the midst of persecution and suffering. And finally, we have a sure hope that Christ will come and destroy Satan and that those whose names are found in the book of life will be with the Lord in eternity, but those whose names are not found will spend eternity in Hell. I pray that our interpretations of the millennium will not divide us, but instead bring us together in giving God the glory and convict us all to have a greater urgency in proclaiming the Gospel. 


                  Grace and Peace, 

                  Alex Galvez 


                  To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

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                  These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 


                  You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

                  or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/ 


                  Question? Comments? Post in the comments or send me an e-mail: OverflowBlog@outlook.com

                  1. The Morning Dawn: The Renaissance

                    “He who prays must speak to God as though he were in God’s very presence, for the Lord is everywhere, in every place, in every person, and especially in the soul of the righteous…This shows the great error of those who tell us to work our way through a set number of spoken prayers. The Lord takes no joy in a multitude of words, but in a fervent spirit. No doubt those whose only concern is to defend the Church’s ceremonies and outward rituals will attack me for saying this.” 


                    - Girolamo Savonarola, Concerning Mental Prayer, He would later be burned alive and his ashes would be thrown into the River Arno


                    In the King James Version of the Bible you will find the following verse in Psalms 4:2, “O ye sons of men, how long will ye turn my glory into shame? how long will ye love vanity, and seek after leasing? Selah.” Quiz time? What does the word “leasing” mean? Chances are your mind brought up a scene of a car dealership with a salesman trying to persuade you into leasing a vehicle. But that is not what the word meant in the 17th century, it means “lying”; ‘how long will you love vanity, and seek after lying. This is by no means a knock on the KJV, but I bring it up simply to express how language evolves over time. For example, when was the last time you asked someone to not halt between two options (meaning “to limp” or “limping” as seen in 1 Kings 18:21 and Luke 14:21). Now what does this have to do with the Protestant Reformation? I bring it up because, as we read in the first article of this 4-part series, the world was very different in the three to four centuries leading up to Martin Luther’s nailing of the 95 Thesis. It was a world that was in the “dark ages” but light was beginning to dawn, the Renaissance. 


                    When we think of the Renaissance, we typically think of the ninja turtle artist—Donatello, Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Michelangelo. But the Renaissance was so much more than just a cultural movement. It was also a time of great intellectual and moral development as the minds and values and outlooks on life began to shift. And this aspect of the Renaissance is what I want us to briefly consider. There was a rediscovery of the classical literature of the day and studies in humanities began to boom. In 2019, we think of humanistic studies as very much anti-God, treating this earthly life as the only life there is. But remember language was very different in those days than it is now. In those days, humanists were actually pro-Christian and had a firm commitment to trying to understand how God had given meaning and purpose in this present life. During the dark ages, emphasis was placed on spiritual things with the general belief being that monkery was the path towards spiritual “enlightenment”. However, during the Renaissance, there was a shift towards seeing how “secular” affairs were godly activities and withdrawal was not the correct response to living a God-pleasing life. 


                    Without this shift in thinking, the Reformation would not have been possible because the divide between the secular and the sacred would still be in place. Renaissance thinking brought people to understand that a poverty filled, ascetic lifestyle in a monastery was not the ideal; rather, we should live a productive life in the “secular” world. Probably, the biggest contribution of the Renaissance towards the Reformation was a return to the classical writings. Not just to that of Plato or Aristotle, but also to the Greek New Testament and early Christian writers. They would read, reflect, and meditate on the writings of the early church as the spiritual “golden age” and it was this sort of critique and analysis that brought a more vocal critique and analysis on the Latin Vulgate New Testament authorized by the Roman Catholic Church. The result of this would eventually lead to the translation of a newer, better Greek New Testament by Erasmus, Prince of the Humanists (a figure we will consider in our next article). And as many of you know, had a copy of the Greek New Testament and the printing press not been developed (another invention during the Renaissance period), the spark that was ignited by Martin Luther would not have been as widespread or effective as it was in leading to the Reformation. 


                    And so, we can marvel at how God works so wonderfully throughout history in order to accomplish His perfect will and plan. Praise God for the Renaissance and the work He did in the lives of many men and women during this time.


                    Grace and Peace, 

                    Alex Galvez 


                    To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

                    **************************************************** 

                    These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 

                    You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

                    or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/ 

                    Question? Comments? Post in the comments or send me an e-mail: OverflowBlog@outlook.com

                    1. Intro to Revelation

                      We resume our normal blog structure with some minor tweaks for the month of October. For the most part, the schedule will be as follows: 

                      - Mondays: New Testament 

                      - Wednesdays: Protestant Reformation 

                      - Fridays: Old Testament 


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                      3 Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near. 

                      Revelation 1:3 


                      If you have been following along in the Bible in a year journey, you may have been growing anxious for when we reach the book of Revelation. Perhaps it is because that means that we are nearing the end of our Bible in a year journey. However, it may also be that this book is often a book that is very confusing and you know that the goal/aim of this book is to aid you in your reading and to augment your understanding. Starting off, I want to say that this little blog will not be able to cover everything that we read in the book of Revelation, not Revelations, but I will try to cover as much as I can in this article and the next two articles. 


                      Let’s start with the author. While the apostle John is considered to have been the author for the Gospel of John, the three epistles of John, and the book of Revelation by church history, his authorship of Revelation is the most hotly debated. Interestingly enough, the book of Revelation is the only one of the five books that explicitly gives its authorship to a person named John. And while there are some differences in styles and language between this book and the fourth Gospel, there are also a remarkable number of similarities of thought, doctrine, and terminology. 


                      Which leads to the next question, why did John write this book? Simply put, God told him to (Rev 1:19) which John seemed to obey (Rev 10:4). And for what purpose is this book written? Of course, being apocalyptic literature, this book is very much concerned with the end times. We also are able to further develop our understanding of who Christ is and the atonement he made. But I want to make one other point related to the purpose of this book with relation to end times ethics. That is to say, I believe that the book of Revelation, while eschatological, also provides the believer with instructions on how they are to live in expectation of Christ’s Second Coming. I see that as being one of the main reasons why John wrote this book when we read in verse three of chapter 1, “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.” While many read Revelation with an emphasis of “discerning” the times, I think a proper approach would be to see how we may be the blessed one who keeps what is written and, at the same time, seeing what will occur in the end times. As you read through, and have been reading through the book of Revelation, keep those questions in your mind. What is it that I ought to hear from God’s Word? What is it that I should keep and apply in my daily living as I cry out Maranatha (Come, Lord Jesus)? 


                      Which really extends this blog article further than my normal 500ish word count; how I will be interpreting the book of Revelation. I want to present you with a high-level overview of the various perspectives and then conclude with my approach because each interpretation will radically change how you understand much of the book of Revelation. The first approach: Preterist interpret the book of Revelation with respect to the past. What is commendable in this approach is that it forces us as readers to understand what relevance and bearing it had on the audience in John’s day. However, I should mention that full preterism is heretical while partial preterism, depending on the flavor, is not necessarily heretical. The second approach: Historicists interpret this book as unfolding over the course of history. The danger to be aware of in this approach is that many will read Revelation with a newspaper in hand and try to associate/predict events and generally focus mainly on the past. A positive contribution of this view is that it does bring us to see how the prophetic events are fulfilled in this world. The third approach: Idealists in their fullest sense interprets all of Revelation as either a symbol, metaphor, or principle. They stress mainly that this book is not necessarily looking to future events, but teaching us how it is that we should live now. This can be very dissatisfying to those looking to understand the end times, because they do not look to interpret in light of future events. However, this view is very satisfying for those who are trying to draw out the book’s relevance on their lives in the here and now. The last approach is the futurist approach, which probably needs a bit more discussion. 


                      In the futurist perspective, you find four major views: 1) Some think that Amillenialists do not believe in a millennium reign, but this is actually not true. They do believe in a millennium reign, but do not believe it will be a literal 1,000-year reign. To be succinct, they believe that Christ is sitting on the throne of David and ruling over all creation right now and that there will be a future Second Coming. The remaining three views likewise view the events described as taking place in the future and also do not necessarily believe in a literal 1,000-year reign of Christ. I should also mention that all eschatological views consider Christ as ruling now on His throne, wtih amillenialists identifying this throne to be explicitly David's throne. 2) Postmillenialist, view Christ’s millennial reign (however long it may be) and see his coming being after the world becomes Godlier. This view is very problematic because this is contrary to what we see in Scriptures on that the world will not get better and better, but worse and worse. 3) Dispensational Premillenialists have four main distinctions. First, they emphasize a pretribulational rapture of the church. Second, they make clear distinctions between Israel and the church. Third, they believe that Christ will return and reign for 1,000 years (again, not necessarily a literal 1,000 years). And 4), that prophecies are to be read literally and not ever symbolically or figuratively. This leads to the final perspective, and my own personal opinion and interpretation (for now) which you will find in these articles, Historic Premillenialism. This view was held by many of the early church fathers, such as Ireneaus and Tertullian, and by many Reformed theologians, such as J. Barton Payne. Unlike dispensationalists, it does not distinguish between Israel and the church and it differs in the placement of the rapture. It holds to a post-tribulational rapture of the church, which is in line with how the Scriptures emphasize a single return of Christ beginning the millennial reign (again, not necessarily a literal 1,000-year reign). In terms of interpretation of events, my view has much in common with amillenialist, with the main difference only being the interpretation of the millennial reign of Christ. 


                      Phew, thanks for sticking around with me for this loooonnng article and I pray that this is helpful. As always, you can send me your questions at OverflowBlog@outlook.com. 


                      Grace and Peace, 

                      Alex Galvez 


                      To never miss an article, click on the "Subscribe" button at the top of the blog page (https://aogalvez.blogspot.com/

                      **************************************************** 

                      These articles follow the current Bible Reading plan for Overflow Ministries. If you would like to join the reading plan, simply download the plan here: Overflow Reading Plan 

                      You may follow Overflow Ministries @ https://faithlife.com/overflowtx/activity 

                      or on Facebook @ https://www.facebook.com/OverflowChurchTX/


                      Question? Comments? Post in the comments or send me an e-mail: OverflowBlog@outlook.com