Monday, August 6, 2018

Examples of Interventions in man's lives in the Bible

Each example here is a milestone in the history of man:The expulsion from Eden right after the Fall, The Call of Abraham, Moses at the Burning Bush, The Savior who was born of a virgin also starting life on earth as a part of the complete 2 parent family consisting of Joseph and Mary who were husband and wife, and the Church Expanding to include the Gentiles.

I think about the story of the expulsion of Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden: where God had to intervene with expulsion to prevent the possibility that the fallen souls would eat the fruit of the tree of life. 
Genesis 3:22-24 (NASB)
22 (NASB)  Then the LORD God said, "Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might stretch out his hand, and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"—
23  therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden, to cultivate the ground from which he was taken. 

Adam and Eve had to be driven from the garden. To remain in God’s presence and eat of the tree of life would have resulted in them becoming immortal, thus thwarting the penalty for their transgression (2:17). Cut off from God’s presence, immortality was unavailable—they would eventually die.[2]

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24  So He drove the man out; and at the east of the garden of Eden He stationed the cherubim and the flaming sword which turned every direction to guard the way to the tree of life.[1]
3:24 cherubim The Hebrew term used here is plural. The noun comes from the Akkadian term karub, which refers to a divine throne guardian. These guardians are often depicted in sculptures as sphinx-like—having the body of a lion and the head of a man. They are commonly depicted as guarding the throne of a deity. This fits the context, as the cherubim are placed as guardians of Eden, God’s dwelling place (see note on 2:8).

        Cosmic Garden and Mountain Imagery in the Old Testament[2]

flaming, turning sword This phrase occurs only here in the OT. Fire is a very common motif for the presence of Yahweh—as demonstrated by the descriptions of Yahweh on Sinai (Exod 19:18; 24:17; Deut 4:11; 5:4–5) and the fiery throne of Ezek 1 (which also includes cherubim; compare Dan 7:9).[2]

Abraham would have probably lived out his life in the Ur of the Chaldees were it not for the intervention of the call of God to get up and go to the land that God would show him.

Genesis 12:1-5 (NASB) 

1 (NASB)  Now the LORD said to Abram, "Go forth from your country, And from your relatives And from your father's house, To the land which I will show you;[1]

 12:1 said to Abram Since the biblical genealogies indicate that Abram is the 10th generation from Shem, the son of Noah, it has been 10 generations since Yahweh spoke directly to anyone according to the biblical account. Previously, God gave humanity a blessing and promise after the flood. Now, after the judgment of the Tower of Babel (11:1–9), God speaks a blessing to the world again through Abram.[3]

Go out from your land - Abram is living in Haran in northwestern Mesopotamia. Yahweh’s command that Abram go is followed by three details: Abram is to leave his country or land, his birthplace or homeland, and his father’s household. The list increases in intimacy and importance.[3]

relatives - The Hebrew word used here, moledeth, can refer to someone’s native land (Ruth 2:11; Jer 22:10), though it sometimes refers to relatives or children (Gen 43:7; 48:6). In this context, a reference to “birthplace” makes the most sense because the extended family is subsumed under the following reference to “father’s house.”[3]

the land - Referring to the land of Canaan (v. 5). This is the first of three promises to Abram.[3]
2  And I will make you a great nation, And I will bless you, And make your name great; And so you shall be a blessing;[1]

12:2 I will make you a great nation Yahweh’s second promise to Abram refers to a miraculous multiplication; Abram and his wife are simply two people and past childbearing age (compare Isa 51:2).[3]

I will make your name great This third promise of Yahweh to Abram is a promise of renown and reputation, but primarily relates to material blessing, as Deut 7:13–14 indicates.[3]
3  And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed." [1]
12:3 I will bless those who bless you God’s promise to bless and support Abram’s line shows a shift in His relationship with humanity. He now focuses on a chosen people.[3]

4  So Abram went forth as the LORD had spoken to him; and Lot went with him. Now Abram was seventy-five years old when he departed from Haran.[1]
12:4 Abram went out Abram responds to God’s command with immediate action. His faith is demonstrated through action, not speech.[3]

Lot is Abram’s nephew (Gen 11:27).[3]

from Haran The town where Abram and his family have settled in northwestern Mesopotamia. See note on 11:31.[3]

5  Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his nephew, and all their possessions which they had accumulated, and the persons which they had acquired in Haran, and they set out for the land of Canaan; thus they came to the land of Canaan. [1]
12:5 to the land of Canaan Refers to the land along the eastern shore of the Mediterranean Sea, all the way north to modern Lebanon and Syria, and inland to the boundary of the Jordan River.
 The region of Phoenicia and Syria-Palestine. It was actually a geographic term, not an ethnic one, but the OT writers employed “Canaanites” to broadly refer to the range of peoples living in the region. After the establishment of the Israelite monarchy, “Canaanite” came to mean the pre-Israelite population without respect to race or social status.[3]

Moses thought the burning bush was unique, it was burning but not being consumed and God used the experience to walk Moses through the steps he would take to lead the Children of Israel to freedom from Egyptian slavery

Exodus 3:4-22 (NASB)
4 (NASB)  When the LORD saw that he turned aside to look, God called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Moses, Moses!" And he said, "Here I am." [1]

4. when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see—The manifestations which God anciently made of Himself were always accompanied by clear, unmistakable signs that the communications were really from heaven. This certain evidence was given to Moses. He saw a fire, but no human agent to kindle it; he heard a voice, but no human lips from which it came; he saw no living Being, but One was in the bush, in the heat of the flames, who knew him and addressed him by name. Who could this be but the Divine Being?
5  Then He said, "Do not come near here; remove your sandals from your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." [1]
5. put off thy shoes—The direction was in conformity with a usage which was well known to Moses, for the Egyptian priests observed it in their temples, and it is observed in all Eastern countries where the people take off their shoes or sandals, as we do our hats. But the Eastern idea is not precisely the same as the Western. With us, the removal of the hat is an expression of reverence for the place we enter, or rather of Him who is worshipped there. With them the removal of the shoes is a confession of personal defilement and conscious unworthiness to stand in the presence of unspotted holiness.
6  He said also, "I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob." Then Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

6. I am the God … come down to deliver—The reverential awe of Moses must have been relieved by the divine Speaker (see Mt 22:32), announcing Himself in His covenant character, and by the welcome intelligence communicated. Moreover, the time, as well as all the circumstances of this miraculous appearance, were such as to give him an illustrious display of God’s faithfulness to His promises. The period of Israel’s journey and affliction in Egypt had been predicted (Ge 15:13), and it was during the last year of the term which had still to run that the Lord appeared in the burning bush.
(Ge 15:13)
      13       Then the LORD said to Abram, “Know of a surety that your descendants will be sojourners in a land that is not theirs, and will be slaves there, and they will be oppressed for four hundred years;[4] 

7  The LORD said, "I have surely seen the affliction of My people who are in Egypt, and have given heed to their cry because of their taskmasters, for I am aware of their sufferings.[1] 
8  "So I have come down to deliver them from the power of the Egyptians, and to bring them up from that land to a good and spacious land, to a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite. [1]
9  "Now, behold, the cry of the sons of Israel has come to Me; furthermore, I have seen the oppression with which the Egyptians are oppressing them. [1]
10  "Therefore, come now, and I will send you to Pharaoh, so that you may bring My people, the sons of Israel, out of Egypt." [1]
10. Come now therefore, and I will send thee—Considering the patriotic views that had formerly animated the breast of Moses, we might have anticipated that no mission could have been more welcome to his heart than to be employed in the national emancipation of Israel. But he evinced great reluctance to it and stated a variety of objections [Ex 3:11, 13] all of which were successfully met and removed—and the happy issue of his labors was minutely described.[5]

11  But Moses said to God, "Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh, and that I should bring the sons of Israel out of Egypt?" [1]

12  And He said, "Certainly I will be with you, and this shall be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall worship God at this mountain." [1]

3:12 sign for you The relationship between these two statements is grammatically unclear, making interpretation difficult. It seems odd that God would give a reassuring sign to Moses only after he left Egypt. However, He may be referring to the burning bush, meaning that the encounter at the bush—or the miracle of the bush itself—was the sign given to Moses that God would be with him.[6]
mountain See Exod 3:1–2.[6]
13  Then Moses said to God, "Behold, I am going to the sons of Israel, and I will say to them, 'The God of your fathers has sent me to you.' Now they may say to me, 'What is His name?' What shall I say to them?"[1]

3:13 What is his name It is unlikely that the Israelites do not know the name of the God they worship, or that they were ignorant of the names used by their ancestors for God. For example, 6:3 demonstrates that the Israelites knew of the name “El-Shaddai.” Since divine names—and place names associated with divine appearances—often revealed events in the patriarchal stories (e.g., Gen 14:19–20; 16:13–14; 32:30–31), this question is the equivalent of asking what new thing God revealed.[6]
14  God said to Moses, "I AM WHO I AM"; and He said, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'I AM has sent me to you.'" 
3:14 I am that I am The revelation of the personal name of God—Israel’s Creator (Exod 3:15). In Hebrew, the phrase “I am” is ehyeh—a different spelling from yhwh (“Yahweh”). The relationship between ehyeh and yhwh (called the Tetragrammaton) is not entirely clear, but both involve the consonants y and h in the same order and yhwh is used throughout this passage, indicating that both are names for the God of Israel (e.g., vv. 4, 7, 15, 16). It seems that the spelling of yhwh recalls the revelation here.[6]
        Names of God in the Old Testament Table[6]
15  God, furthermore, said to Moses, "Thus you shall say to the sons of Israel, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.' This is My name forever, and this is My memorial-name to all generations. [1]
3:15 This is my name forever The name God revealed to Moses is the name by which He wishes to be known in Israel. It marks Him as the divine Creator of the nation.[6]
16  "Go and gather the elders of Israel together and say to them, 'The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, has appeared to me, saying, "I am indeed concerned about you and what has been done to you in Egypt. [1]
3:16 the elders of Israel Since these elders already exist, they are not the judges Moses installs at the behest of Jethro (ch. 18) or priests (the priesthood was created after the exodus; see chs. 28–30). These are Israel’s tribal leaders (e.g., 4:29; 12:21; 18:12; 24:1; Num 11:16, 25).[6]
17  "So I said, I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt to the land of the Canaanite and the Hittite and the Amorite and the Perizzite and the Hivite and the Jebusite, to a land flowing with milk and honey."' [1]
18  "They will pay heed to what you say; and you with the elders of Israel will come to the king of Egypt and you will say to him, 'The LORD, the God of the Hebrews, has met with us. So now, please, let us go a three days' journey into the wilderness, that we may sacrifice to the LORD our God.' [1]
3:18 the Hebrews See note on Gen 14:13.[6]
let us sacrifice Egyptians sometimes allowed slave laborers to participate in worship holidays. This request—and Pharaoh’s refusal to grant it—may have been included to emphasize Pharaoh’s cruelty and stubbornness.[6]
19  "But I know that the king of Egypt will not permit you to go, except under compulsion. [1]

3:19 a strong hand The Hebrew word for “hand,” yad, is often used metaphorically for “power” (see Exod 3:8, 20). The story will soon reveal who has the greater power.[6]
20  "So I will stretch out My hand and strike Egypt with all My miracles which I shall do in the midst of it; and after that he will let you go. [1]
3:20 all of my wonders Pharaoh will relent only after God has done a series of mighty acts.[6]
21  "I will grant this people favor in the sight of the Egyptians; and it shall be that when you go, you will not go empty-handed. [1]
22  "But every woman shall ask of her neighbor and the woman who lives in her house, articles of silver and articles of gold, and clothing; and you will put them on your sons and daughters. Thus you will plunder the Egyptians."
3:22 you will plunder Egypt Echoes Gen 15:14.[6]

When God specifically designed a scenario for Joseph and Mary to become the earthly parents of Jesus Christ, a dream was needed which assured Joseph that everything was fine, the pregnancy was of Virgin Mary and overshadowing God the Holy Spirit origination. The difference between this example and the example of Adam and Eve, Abraham, Moses and the upcoming one Peter, is this person got his intervention by pondering something in his mind, "turned these things over in his mind" according to Wuest. I have pondered things in my mind. I am sure that you who are reading this have pondered things in your minds as well. Isn't it great that we serve a God who can intervene in the lives of specific individuals in history to insure that the Savior would be safe from harm before he was ever born by the actions of his earthly parents performing their roles as described in these verses because He knows what we are all thinking, not just what we are saying out loud. I bet God knew Joseph would be thinking at this critical stage in the life of the Savior before he actually thought the thoughts. I would have had my angel on standby to dispatch, wouldn't you if it were us who knew what everyone was thinking or even going to be thinking? 

Matthew 1:18–21 (WUESTNT): Now the birth of Jesus Christ was thus. After His mother Mary was promised in marriage to Joseph, before they came together as husband and wife, she was found to be pregnant, the source of that pregnancy being the Holy Spirit. However, Joseph, her husband, being a conscientious, law-abiding man and yet not proposing to make her a public example, after mature consideration desired to dismiss her secretly. And after he had turned these things over in his mind, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to join to yourself Mary, your wife, for that which was begotten in her is as to its source from the Holy Spirit. And she shall give birth to a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He himself will save His people from their sins. Now, all this has taken place in order that there might be fulfilled that which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and she shall give birth to a son, and they shall call His name Emmanuel (which being interpreted is, With us is God). And Joseph, having awakened from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him. And he took to himself his wife, and lived in absolute continence with her until she gave birth to a son. And he called His name Jesus.[10]
20 While Joseph ponders “these matters” (τατα), no doubt including how he will bring his plan to realization, an γγελος κυρίου, “angel of the Lord,” appears to him in a dream with a revelation that overturns his strategy by casting an entirely new light on Mary’s pregnancy. The protestations of innocence that Mary had doubtless made to Joseph were now seen indeed to be true (δού is Matthew’s favorite device for calling attention to something extraordinary that is about to occur; sixty-two occurrences, thirty-four of which are insertions into parallel material and nine of which are in material unique to Matthew).
The deliberate reference to Joseph as υἱὸς Δαυίδ, “son of David” (the only place in the Gospel where this designation is applied to someone other than Jesus), underlines what Matthew has forcefully asserted through the genealogy of vv 1–17. Jesus, the legal son of Joseph, as he shall become through Joseph’s obedience, is therefore reckoned as of Davidic descent with the concomitant note of eschatological fulfillment. Several other very important elements of this and the next verse reinforce this, as we shall see.

μ φοβηθς παραλαβεν Μαρίαν τν γυνακά σου, “do not be afraid to take Mary (as) your wife.” While the terms husband and wife were apparently used for betrothed couples, they are anachronistic in the sense that the marriage proper, the “taking home,” had not yet occurred. Thus, they are only “husband and wife” in a special sense. This prompts us to translate “Do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.” Others would translate παραλαβεν as take home: Do not be afraid to take Mary your wife home. The difference is not significant once the background is known. ἐκ πνεύματος ἁγίου, by the Holy Spirit, is the revelation of what was mentioned in v 18 only by anticipation (see Comment there). The clause τὸ γὰρ ἐν αὐτῇ γεννηθέν, for what has been conceived in her, underlines the passive roles of both Joseph and Mary (cf. v 16). God initiates the action in all of this.

20  But while he thought about these things behold an
δὲ2 ►4 αὐτοῦ3 ἐνθυμηθέντος4 ταῦτα1 ἰδού5
de autou enthymēthentos tauta idou
δε αυτος θυμος ουτος ειδος
de autos thymos outos eidos
1161 846 1760 5023 2400
angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream saying
ἄγγελος6 Κυρίου7 ἐφάνη10 αὐτῷ11 κατʼ8 ὄναρ9 λέγων12
angelos Kyriou ephanē autō katʼ onar legōn
αγγελος κυριος φαινω αυτος κατα οναρ λεγω
angelos kyrios phainō autos kata onar legō
32 2962 5316 846 2596 3677 3004
Joseph son of David do not be afraid to take to you
Ἰωσήφ13 υἱὸς14 Δαβίδ15 ►17 μὴ16 φοβηθῇς17 παραλαβεῖν18
Iōsēph huios Dabid phobēthēs paralabein
Ιωσηφ υιος Δαυιδ μη φοβος λαμβανω
Iōsēph uios Dauid phobos lambanō
2501 5207 1138 3361 5399 3880
Mary your wife a for that which is 7 conceived in her
Μαριὰμ19 σου22 τὴν20 γυναῖκά21 γὰρ24 τὸ23 γεννηθὲν27 ἐν25 αὐτῇ26
Mariam sou tēn gynaika gar to gennēthen en autē
Μαρια συ ο γυνη γαρ ο γινομαι εν αυτος
Maria sy o gynē gar o ginomai en autos
3137 4675 3588 1135 1063 3588 1080 1722 846
is of the Holy Spirit          .[8] 
ἐστιν30 ἐκ28 ►29 Ἁγίου31 Πνεύματός29
estin ek Hagiou Pneumatos
ειμι εκ αγιος πνευμα
eimi ek agios pneuma
2076 1537 40 4151

Luke 1:35
Lit. begotten

21 τέξεται δὲ υἱόν, καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν, “she will give birth to a son, and you shall name him Jesus,” depends directly upon the LXX of Isa 7:14, which is quoted in v 23. The naming of a male child took place formally at the time of circumcision on the eighth day after birth (cf. Luke 2:21). Names held far more importance in that culture than in ours, being thought of as linked with or pointing to the actual character and destiny of the individual (see H. Bietenhard, TDNT 5:254). The name Ἰησοῦς is not the name mentioned in the quotation of Isa 7:14 (see below, v 23). The reason for the name Jesus is spelled out in the second part of the verse (γάρ). That it is already known is in accord with the rabbinic view that the Messiah was named before the creation of the world (b. Pesaḥ. 54a; Str-B 1:64).
αὐτὸς γὰρ σώσει τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, “for he will save his people from their sins.” The αὐτός is emphatic: it is he who will save his people. The introduction of Jesus thus far in Matthew’s narrative has been as the Son of David, the Christ (Messiah), the one who has come to fulfill the promises of God. The natural expectation regarding the significance of σώσει, “will save,” would be that it refers to a national-political salvation, involving in particular deliverance from the Roman occupation. Jesus had indeed come to save his people—the very meaning of his name in Hebrew, Yeshua, a shortened form of “Joshua” (Heb.: יְהוֹשֻׁעַ, Yĕhôšuaʿ), is “Yahweh is salvation.” The reader’s knowledge of the meaning of Ἰησοῦς via its Hebrew meaning is assumed by the γάρ without further explanation, indicating that this early Hebrew etymology had already become a part of the common tradition of the Greek-speaking church. (Cf. also the same etymology applied to “Joshua” [i.e., Ἰησοῦς] in the Greek Sir 46:1.) The surprise is in the content of the salvation that the Son of David will bring, namely, that he will save his people, ἀπὸ τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν αὐτῶν, “from their sins.” Although it was possible to associate even this with a national-political deliverance, Matthew and his readers could not easily have made this association after A.D. 70. The deliverance from sins is in a much more profound, moral sense and depends finally upon the pouring out of Jesus’ blood (26:28). Matthew and his readers knew well the kerygmatic significance of this verse. Ps 130:8, which probably is in Matthew’s mind (indeed, he may be giving a targumic rendering of it), provides similar language and finds its fulfillment here. In the same way, whereas τὸν λαὸν αὐτοῦ, “his people,” leads one to think initially of God’s people, Israel, both Matthew and his readers were capable of a deeper understanding of the expression wherein it includes both Jews and Gentiles, i.e. as the people of the messianic king (αὐτοῦ, “his”) who is both Son of David and Son of Abraham. We may thus finally equate this λαός, “people,” with the ἐκκλησία, “Church,” of which Jesus speaks in 16:18.[7]
name 8 Jesus c for He will save His people from
τὸ6 ὄνομα7 Ἰησοῦν9 γὰρ11 αὐτὸς10 σώσει12 αὐτοῦ15 τὸν13 λαὸν14 ἀπὸ16
to onoma Iēsoun gar autos sōsei autou ton laon apo
ο ονομα Ιησους γαρ αυτος σωζω αυτος ο λαος απο
o onoma Iēsous gar autos sōzō autos o laos apo
3588 3686 2424 1063 846 4982 846 3588 2992 575
their sins .”[9]
αὐτῶν19 τῶν17 ἁμαρτιῶν18
autōn tōn hamartiōn
αυτος ο αμαρτανω
autos o amartanō
846 3588 266

[Is. 7:14; 9:6, 7]; Luke 1:31; 2:21
Lit. Savior
Luke 2:11; John 1:29; [Acts 4:12; 5:31; 13:23, 38; Rom. 5:18, 19; Col. 1:20–23]

When God specifically designed a scenario for Peter to extend the gospel to the Gentiles, a trance was needed which assured Peter that what God had called clean, no man could call unclean. In each instance good men with moral and traditional thought processes were given guidance that they recognized as being divine, from having known God, and having been lead by God. 

    Now, the apostles and the brethren who resided throughout Judaea heard that the Gentiles also received the word of God. And when Peter went up to Jerusalem those of the circumcision disputed with him saying, You went in to men who were uncircumcised and ate with them. And Peter having begun, went to expounding the matter in its sequence of events, saying, As for myself, I was in the city of Joppa praying, and I being in a state in which my attention was withdrawn from everything else and fixed on things divine, saw a vision, a certain container like a great sheet descending, being let down out of heaven by four great strips of cloth. And it came even to me, and having fastened my gaze upon it, I considered it attentively. And I saw the four-footed animals of the earth and the wild beasts and the birds of heaven. And I heard also a voice saying to me, Having arisen, Peter, kill at once and eat. And I said, By no means, Lord, because that which is unhallowed or unclean, never yet did it enter my mouth. But there answered a second time a voice out of heaven, The things which God cleansed, as for you, stop calling them unhallowed. And this was done three times. And all was drawn up again into heaven.

    And behold. Immediately, three men had come to the house in which we were, sent on a mission from Caesarea to me. And the Spirit told me to go with them without even one bit of hesitation as to its propriety. Moreover, there came with me also these six brethren, and we entered into the house of the man. Then he reported to us how he saw the angel in his house stand and say, Send at once a mission to Joppa and bring back Simon, the one surnamed Peter, who will speak words to you by which, as for yourself, you shall be saved and everyone of your household. Now, when I began to be speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon them even as upon us at the beginning. Then there was brought to my remembrance the word of the Lord how He was saying, John indeed baptized by means of water, but as for yourselves, you will be baptized by means of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, in view of the fact that God gave the equal gift to them as also to us who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, as for myself, who was I that I would be able to hinder God? And having heard these things, they were silent and glorified God saying, Then also God gave repentance to the Gentiles resulting in life.[11]

XI: 1–3. The novel scene which had transpired in Cæsarea was soon reported abroad over the country. (1) “Now the apostles and brethren throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles had received the word of God. (2) And when Peter went up to Jerusalem, they of the circumcision disputed with him, (3) saying, You went into the house of men uncircumcised, and did eat with them.” The prejudice from which Peter had been delivered was still preying upon the hearts of his Jewish brethren, including the other apostles. The same change is now to be wrought in them which had already been effected in him. But there is no repetition, in their case, of the vision and voices which had occurred in his. On the contrary, there is nothing brought to bear upon them but what is contained in the words of Peter.
4–17. (4) “But Peter related the matter to them in order from the beginning, saying, (5) I was in the city of Joppa, praying, and saw, in a trance, a vision, a certain vessel like a great sheet descending, let down from heaven by the four corners, and it came to me. (6) Having looked intently into it, I perceived and saw four-footed animals, and wild beasts, and reptiles of the earth, and birds of the air. (7) And I heard a voice, saying to me, Arise, Peter; kill and eat. (8) But I said, Not so, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has at any time entered into my mouth. (9) But the voice from heaven answered me, What God has cleansed, do not you make common. (10) This was done three times, and all was drawn up into heaven again. (11) And behold, three men immediately came to the house in which I was, sent to me from Cæsarea, (12) and the Spirit told me to go with them, doubting nothing. But these six brethren also went with me, and we entered into the man's house. (13) Then he told us that he had seen an angel in his house, standing and saying to him, Send to Joppa, and call for Simon who is surnamed Peter, (14) who will speak words to you by which you and all your house will be saved. (15) And while I was beginning to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon them as upon us in the beginning. (16) Then I remembered the word of the Lord, that he said, John immersed in water, but you shall be immersed in the Holy Spirit. (17) Since, then, God gave to them the same gift as to us who already believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I, that I should be able to withstand God?” The events here rehearsed by Peter had removed his own prejudice, and now, through the words which he addressed to the brethren, the same vision of unclean animals, with the command to kill and eat; the same command of the Spirit to go with the Gentile messengers; the authority of the angel who had ordered him to be sent for; and, finally, the same immersion of those Gentiles in the Holy Spirit, are all pressing upon their minds and hearts, with precisely the same import that they did upon his.
18. The effect of these influences was the same upon them that it had been upon Peter. (18) “When they heard these things they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then has God to the Gentiles also granted repentance in order to life.” So greatly are their hearts enlarged, that they now glorify God for the very things on account of which they had just been censuring Peter.
We have, in this incident, an exhibition of the actual method by which the minds of Christians were enlightened, and their hearts enlarged. We see that Peter was first enlightened by a combination of facts, visions, and words, so as to understand the will of God in the matter, and that through this enlightened understanding he was made to feel the weight of divine authority. Although the Spirit of God dwelt in him continually, and imparted ideas to his understanding directly, yet, when his heart was to be relieved from an injurious prejudice, the end was accomplished by means of ideas communicated to his understanding. Thus the case stands with Peter, who occupies the position of an original recipient of truth.
With the brethren in Jerusalem, who occupied the exact position toward this particular subject which we do to all revealed truth, there is this difference, that all the influence, both upon the understanding and the emotional nature, exerted in their case, reached them through Peter's words. Still, the influence was not inherent in the words, but in the facts of which the words were the medium of communication. Moreover, the facts had such an influence only because they indicated the will of God. It was then, at last, the moral power of God, embodied in the facts reported by Peter, but brought to bear through the words of Peter, which so changed their hearts. They had only to believe what Peter reported, in order to feel this power. If they had retained their prejudice after this, they would have felt that they were resisting God.[12]

This concludes my blog posts about some of the memorable interventions in men's lives in the Bible. 

Appendix: Bibliography

[1] Holy Bible, New American Standard. La Habra, CA: The Lockman Foundation, 1995. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

[2] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 3:22–4:26). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[3] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ge 12:1–7). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[[4]The Revised Standard Version. (1971). (Ge 15:13). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[5] Jamieson, R., Fausset, A. R., & Brown, D. (1997). Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible (Vol. 1, p. 50). Oak Harbor, WA: Logos Research Systems, Inc.

[6] Barry, J. D., Mangum, D., Brown, D. R., Heiser, M. S., Custis, M., Ritzema, E., … Bomar, D. (2012, 2016). Faithlife Study Bible (Ex 3:12–22). Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press.

[7] Hagner,   D. A. (1998).World Biblical Commentary - Matthew 1–13 (Vol. 33A, pp. 18–20). Dallas: Word, Incorporated.
[8] The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 1:20). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[9] The New King James Version. (1982). (Mt 1:21). Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

[10] Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (Mt 1:18–25). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[11] Wuest, K. S. (1961). The New Testament: an expanded translation (Ac 11:1–18). Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans.

[12]McGarvey, J. W. A Commentary on Acts of Apostles, with a Revised Version of the Text. Seventh Edition ed. Lexington, KY:
Transylvania Printing and Publishing, 1872. WORDsearch CROSS e-book.

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