Wednesday, December 30, 2009

He Died for Me

Let this, then, be the sum of this article that the little word Lord signifies simply as much as Redeemer, i.e., He who has brought us from Satan to God, from death to life, from sin to righteousness, and who preserves us in the same. But all the points which follow in order in this article serve no other end than to explain and express this redemption, how and whereby it was accomplished, that is, how much it cost Him, and what He spent and risked that He might win us and bring us under His dominion, namely, that He became man, conceived and born without sin, of the Holy Ghost and of the Virgin Mary, that He might overcome sin; moreover, that He suffered, died and was buried, that He might make satisfaction for me and pay what I owe, not with silver nor gold, but with His own precious blood. And all this, in order to become my Lord; for He did none of these for Himself, nor had He any need of it.

Martin Luther, The Large Catechism, The Apostles Creed, Article II, Paragraph 31
[Emphasis added]

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Monday, December 21, 2009

A Lesson Never Learned: Stephen's Defense in Acts 7

Stephen's defense is interesting as it summarizes the history of Israel then drops a bombshell in the conclusion:
You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you. Which of the prophets did your fathers not persecute? And they killed those who announced beforehand the coming of the Righteous One, whom you have now betrayed and murdered, you who received the law as delivered by angels and did not keep it.
Stop and ask, "Where did that come from? Why the sudden turn from the history lesson to open attack?"

The Incident
The background and beginning of the incident is given in 6:8-15 and is important to set the argument. Stephen had ministered to the Hellenistic widows and was spreading the gospel in word and deed. Being unable to debate him successfully, some instigated men to say that Stephen was speaking "blasphemous words against Moses and God" and "against this holy place and the law." Likewise he was accused of wanting to "destroy this place" and to "change the customs that Moses delivered to us." While the beginning accusations were generalized in order to get some attention, the actual issues came forth before the Sanhedrin--the demise of their temple and traditions.

Stephen's defense forms a pattern of alternating divine command (C) and people's disobedience (D):

        (C) Covenant to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (2-8)
        (D) Selling Joseph into slavery (9-16)
        (C) Rescue of Moses (17-22)
        (D) Moses' incorrect attempt to help (23-29)
        (C) Moses called to lead people (30-34)
        (D) Moses rejected as leader (35-43)

Up to here the emphasis is placed on Moses as God's anointed leader and the subsequent rebellion by the rabble, fellow Israelites, his siblings, and the spies. Time and again this chosen leader (and by inference God himself) was rejected.

Then Stephen turns his attention to the temple:
        (C) Tabernacle as God's witness (44-46)
        (D) Solomon builds a temple (47-50)

This last may be a surprise but is key to the argument.  David desired to build a dwelling place, but YHWH refused promising one who would come later to build the house he wanted (2 Samuel 7:12-13). David assumed Solomon was that one and gathered materials (1 Chronicles 22:2-5) and designed the temple (1 Chronicles 28:11-19) for the latter's construction effort. Solomon completed and dedicated the temple with YHWH responding by filling the temple and placing his glory there.  Notice how God describes his action:

And the Lord said to him, "I have heard your prayer and your plea, which you have made before me. I have consecrated this house that you have built, by putting my name there forever. My eyes and my heart will be there for all time." (1 Kings 9:3)
Then the Lord appeared to Solomon in the night and said to him: "I have heard your prayer and have chosen this place for myself as a house of sacrifice." (2 Chronicles 7:12)
Notice that the Lord referred to the temple as Solomon's. This was not God's dwelling place: he already had one. It was neither God's plan nor purpose for Solomon or any of his offspring build a temple until the one came to whom it was rightfully appointed. That was God's privilege alone. John Chrysostom points out this fact nicely.
"But a Tabernacle,” say you, "there was (the Tabernacle) 'of Witness.'" (v. 44.) (Yes,) this is why it was: that they should have God for Witness: this was all. "According to the fashion,” it says, "that was shown thee on the mount:” so that on the mount was the Original. And this Tabernacle, moreover, "in the wilderness,” was carried about, and not locally fixed. And he calls it, "Tabernacle of witness:” i.e. (for witness) of the miracles, of the statutes. This is the reason why both it and those (the fathers) had no Temple. "As He had appointed, that spake unto Moses, that he should make it according to the fashion that he had seen.” Again, it was none other than He (Christ) that gave the fashion itself. "Until the days of David” (v. 45): and there was no temple! And yet the Gentiles also had been driven out: for that is why he mentions this: "Whom God drove out,” he says, "before the face of our fathers. Whom He drove out,” he says: and even then, no Temple! And so many wonders, and no mention of a Temple! So that, although first there is a Tabernacle, yet nowhere a Temple. "Until the days of David,” he says: even David, and no Temple! "And he sought to find favor before God” (v. 46): and built not:—so far was the Temple from being a great matter! "But Solomon built Him an house.” (v. 47.) They thought Solomon was great: but that he was not better than his father, nay not even equal to him, is manifest.[1]
Stephen's Conclusion
Having illuminated the hard hearts of the ruling Jews, Stephen turns on them to show they were just as cold and rebellious as any other leaders throughout Israel's history who turned aginst what the Lord desired, as Martin Scharlemann gives it:

Stephen did not deny the charges raised against him; instead, he confronted the Jewish High Council with what amounts to a radically different interpretation of the Old Testament. He introduced a new dimension into the contemporary understanding of the Old Testament. He did so in his eloquent testimony to the conviction that the whole story of God's redemptive work had reached its fulfillment in the coming of that Righteous One (Acts 7:52), whom the community of God's law, as the Jews thought of themselves, had betrayed and put to death.[2]
The Lesson
Stephen, as the Lord Jesus, died pointing out the error of the established religious authority who had collectively forsaken God's intention and had "always been disobedient to God and assumed that they could domesticate him in their temple and enjoy his favor."[3] This same attitude has developed among believers seeking to honor God but on their own terms and using their own methods. The best of intentions is no replacement for obedience to revealed truth. While God might bless his word as it goes forth in power, there is no substitute for obedience. The end does not justify the means. King Saul lived to regret his presumptuous decision to not wait for Samuel (1 Samuel 15:22-28). We are to rightly handle the word of truth (2 Timothy 2:15) and not swerve from it.

[1] Philip Schaff, The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers Vol. XI (Chrysostom: Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles and the Epistle to the Romans.;Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, 1997), 108.
[2] Martin Scharlemann, Stephen: A Singular Saint (Rome: Pontifical Biblical Institute, 1968), 57.
[3] G. K. Beale and D. A. Carson, eds, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (I. Howard Marshall: Acts; Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 569.

Book Giveaway at Sententiae Nil

If you are interested in trying to win a free book on Biblical Theology, check this out.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Sharing the Word of Truth

There is a blog entry at CyberBrethren directed to would-be preachers. Its main points relate to anyone desiring to share the glories of Christ via the word of God.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Gates of Hell

And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell [Greek - ᾅδης, hades] shall not prevail against it. (Matthew 16:18)

This verse has always seemed peculiar to me. What did Jesus mean, exactly, by gates of hell not prevailing against the church?

My first understanding was one of triumphalism—the church would continue to grow as we worked for the kingdom. This was probably an outgrowth of the Methodist amillenial eschatology gleaned during my growing years. But it is not an uncommon view expressed by

Albert Barnes
And the meaning of the passage is, that all the plots, stratagems, and machinations, of the enemies of the church, should not be able to overcome it—a promise that has been remarkably fulfilled.
Adam Clarke
Our Lord's expression means, that neither the plots, stratagems, nor strength of Satan and his angels, should ever so far prevail as to destroy the sacred truths in the above confession. Sometimes the gates are taken for the troops which issue out from them: we may firmly believe, that though hell should open her gates, and vomit out her devil and all his angels, to fight against Christ and his saints, ruin and discomfiture must be the consequence on their part; as the arm of the Omnipotent must prevail.
The picture is one of a military campaign between the church and the gates of hell, and the aggressor depends on the point of view. Is either one truly viable? Think about this. Why would the church want to break down the gates of hell and invade? Or how could gates be aggressors? Don't they just swing on hinges? How would that work? Or is the whole verse a metaphor of the overcoming life of the church in the world?

The solution is to look at this from a different angle. The word hades relates to the Hebrew sheol found in the Old Testament. Before Jesus' resurrection it was the general place of the dead described as having bars and gates:

Job 17:16
Will it go down to the bars of Sheol?
Shall we descend together into the dust?

Isaiah 38:10
I said, In the middle of my days
I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
for the rest of my years.
And likewise having great power:
Psalm 89:48
What man can live and never see death?
Who can deliver his soul from the power of Sheol?
Hosea 13:14
Shall I ransom them from the power of Sheol?
Shall I redeem them from Death?
O Death, where are your plagues?
O Sheol, where is your sting?
Compassion is hidden from my eyes.
Coupling these thoughts together, we can see that in Matt. 16 Christ was referring to the church as those who would pass from death unto life. This first happened in this world as the keys of the kingdom were given to Peter and the gospel went forth to Judea, Samaria, and onward. Then finally there is the last resurrection as Christ proclaims his ownership of the keys of Death and Hades (Revelation 1:18) having secured them by his own triumphal rising (1 Corinthians 15).

Saturday, December 12, 2009

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel

Here is a men's septet from Latvia singing one of my favorite Christmas songs in Latin.  Enjoy.

Monday, December 7, 2009

A Look at Repentance in 2 Timothy 2:24-26

In writing to Timothy, Paul desires to share some final thoughts concerning the proper and effective use of God's word. Chapter two focuses especially on keeping the correct purpose in sight—to not get sidetracked. Mishandling of Scripture had gotten two Christian brothers off course, and they were teaching the resurrection had already taken place. Against this, Paul exhorts believers to be faithful as a useful vessel for the master by striving for righteousness, faith, etc. from a pure heart rather than getting involved with controversies. Against this backdrop he writes these words.
And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, correcting his opponents with gentleness. God may perhaps grant them repentance leading to a knowledge of the truth, and they may escape from the snare of the devil, after being captured by him to do his will.
There is much that can be said about the character of the Lord's servant and how it relates to the previous exhortations, but my main goal is to look at the outcome—what is being sought and from whom it is sought.

Paul makes his point clear that the outcome is repentance. This recurring theme in the New Testament is first seen in John where Bock describes it as producing

a life lived with a sense of responsibility before a sovereign God. It is an internal attitude that aims at a product. The term itself, given the Semitic setting of John’s ministry, is related to the Hebrew term שׁוּב (šûb, to turn). This idea in a religious context speaks of a reorientation of one’s perspective from sin to God (1 Kings 8:47; 13:33; 2 Kings 23:25; Ps. 78:34; Isa. 6:10; Ezek. 3:19; Amos 4:6, 8).[1]
This repentance will be in accord with the proper goal of knowing the gospel moving "beyond a theoretical knowledge to fullness of knowledge gained by experience (cf. 1 Tim 2:4)"[2] and is according to God's sovereign methodology. Every call for repentance is preceded by a clear proclamation or teaching of Scripture. It is only through receiving this that the heart and mind can be altered. At that point John Gill states the preacher should leave the matter to the one who
opens the eyes of the understanding, and works conviction in the mind, and leads into all truth, as it is in Jesus; and induces men to repent of their errors, confess their mistakes, and own the truth.[3]
Paul makes it clear that the recipients of the gentle correction are opponents of some kind being actively and personally engaged. If we consider the movement of the chapter with warnings of those who swerved from the truth (v. 18) to those who have been captured by the devil to do his will (v.26), the conclusion must be that these are Christians who have erred greatly and need restoration. This seems most plausible not only because of what has been stated but also the care being taken by the spiritual teachers. When spiritual elders are guiding the immature or erring, they are to be gentle in their instruction (Galatians 6:1-2), but in regards to those who will not listen need to be rebuked sharply (Titus 1:10, 13).

If these are believers, this passage cannot be used to bolster the Calvinist argument of the "Gift of Repentance." Curt Daniel gives a typical argument for its use this way.

No Christian knows for sure if any person in particular will be saved, for he doesn't know if God will bestow on that one the gift of faith and repentance. God might and He might not. It is His sovereign prerogative to give or withhold.[4]
Daniel's entire paragraph is written with the understanding this passage is speaking of unbelievers, but it simply will not hold this idea. Rather believers have been led astray and are close to making shipwreck of the faith. These precious souls need to be turned, so they do not go any further to their own destruction.

Paul reminds Timothy of the great task ahead and the diligence required to stay the course. There will be those Christians who mishandle the Bible leading themselves and others to places the Lord never intended. Timothy is to help lead these wayward ones back. It is entirely possible they will not listen, but it is not the preacher's task to drag them back but to faithfully teach, reprove, and correct with all diligence (2 Timothy 3:16) and leave the effect to God's almighty care.

[1] Darrell L. Bock, Luke Volume 1: 1:1-9:50, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Books, 1994, p. 287.
[2] William D. Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 46, Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2000, p. 537.
[3] John Gill, Expositions on the Old & New Testaments, electronic edition.
[4] Curt Daniel, The History and Theology of Calvinism, Springfield: Good Books, 2003, p. 392. It is a series of outlines for lectures given by the author in 1987-89. I am unaware how to secure a copy (mine was a gift), but the lectures are freely available at

Sunday, December 6, 2009

SmackDown Santa

The mental image of Santa Claus as a "right jolly old elf" comes to us from Clement Moore's famous poem "A Visit from Saint Nicholas." The real Saint Nicholas (Nicholas of Myra), according to this article by Edward Gene Veith first published in 2005, was nothing like that but rather a strong defender of Christian orthodoxy to the point of slapping a heretic for his views of Christ.

There are days I wish I could do the same.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Living Sacrifice

A favorite passage for Christians is Romans 12:1-2:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.
These two verses have some rich theology beind them, but my purpose here is to key on "living sacrifice." What exactly is that? Most people in the world have a concept of sacrifice--to give up something which is directly or indirectly presented to another. In this context the sacrifice is me and the recipient God. If the sacrifice was an inanimate object, it could be consumed or exchanged in whatever way deemed useful by the recipient. More familiar is the animal sacrifice which would be killed and wholly or partially burned up with any remainder used to feed the sacrifice-offerer, be he the presenter or an intermediary.

If the end result of a sacrifice is death, the idea of a living sacrifice is paradoxical. How can a living sacrifice stay sacrificed? Or as more than one preacher has put it, "The problem with living sacrifices is that they keep crawling off the altar." It is a cute comment but has no theological basis for two reason: 1) There is no altar. That was where the dead animals were burned as an aroma to God. Nothing living was placed on it; and 2) Anything sacrificed to God was his--period.

Whose Idea Was This?
Some may wonder where Paul got the idea of a living sacrifice. The notion of dedicating something to God was not novel. A noted application of human dedication is found in 1 Samuel 1:9-11 where Hannah dedicated her yet unborn son to the Lord. Another example is the hasty, foolish one made by Jephthah (Judges 11:30-31) which ended tragically though the original intent was well-meaning. By the time of Christ, the Pharisees had wrongly worked the whole dedicatory system to their advantage, thus dishonoring God's law by taking what was due their parents and calling it Corban or offering (see Mark 7:1-13). In effect they became the recipients of their own "sacrifice."

The most applicable passage concerning the dedication of a person or persons to the Lord is in Numbers 8:5-22:

And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, "Take the Levites from among the people of Israel and cleanse them. Thus you shall do to them to cleanse them: sprinkle the water of purification upon them, and let them go with a razor over all their body, and wash their clothes and cleanse themselves. Then let them take a bull from the herd and its grain offering of fine flour mixed with oil, and you shall take another bull from the herd for a sin offering. And you shall bring the Levites before the tent of meeting and assemble the whole congregation of the people of Israel. When you bring the Levites before the Lord, the people of Israel shall lay their hands on the Levites, and Aaron shall offer the Levites before the Lord as a wave offering from the people of Israel, that they may do the service of the Lord. Then the Levites shall lay their hands on the heads of the bulls, and you shall offer the one for a sin offering and the other for a burnt offering to the Lord to make atonement for the Levites. And you shall set the Levites before Aaron and his sons, and shall offer them as a wave offering to the Lord.

Thus you shall separate the Levites from among the people of Israel, and the Levites shall be mine. And after that the Levites shall go in to serve at the tent of meeting, when you have cleansed them and offered them as a wave offering. For they are wholly given to me from among the people of Israel. Instead of all who open the womb, the firstborn of all the people of Israel, I have taken them for myself. For all the firstborn among the people of Israel are mine, both of man and of beast. On the day that I struck down all the firstborn in the land of Egypt I consecrated them for myself, and I have taken the Levites instead of all the firstborn among the people of Israel. And I have given the Levites as a gift to Aaron and his sons from among the people of Israel, to do the service for the people of Israel at the tent of meeting and to make atonement for the people of Israel, that there may be no plague among the people of Israel when the people of Israel come near the sanctuary."

Thus did Moses and Aaron and all the congregation of the people of Israel to the Levites. According to all that the Lord commanded Moses concerning the Levites, the people of Israel did to them. And the Levites purified themselves from sin and washed their clothes, and Aaron offered them as a wave offering before the Lord, and Aaron made atonement for them to cleanse them. And after that the Levites went in to do their service in the tent of meeting before Aaron and his sons; as the Lord had commanded Moses concerning the Levites, so they did to them.
The wave offering is a peace-offering that is waved by the priests (Ex. 29:24, 26-27; Lev. 7:20-34; 8:27; 9:21; 10:14-15, etc.) in token of a solemn special presentation to God. The special presentation here are the Levites as a group. In a visually symbolic manner, the priestly tribe is wholly dedicated to God for the work he had called them aside to do. They were literally a living sacrifice to God. This tribe then typifies what we as Christians are before the Lord as a people set aside unto him.

The purification rite also looks forward to Paul's admonition for holiness and acceptability.

  1. The first requirement was the water of purification which is a type of the cleansing work of the Holy Spirit (Titus 3:5).
  2. Then came the shaving of the body. This was used to lay bare any spot that might be on the skin which could signal uncleanness.
  3. Clothes were washed to remove contaminates leading to uncleanness.
  4. Sin and burnt offerings were given for atonement and worship.
Only after all these were done could the Levites serve the Lord. In the same way, the Christian is to be pure and acceptable to God through the atoning work of the Lord Jesus Christ, plus the sanctifying and empowering work of the Holy Spirit. Most importantly, every Christian is qualified to this work and has been endowed with the ability to bring it to pass.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Why Does Mankind Hate Christ?

In Matthew 10:16-25, Jesus warned his disciples that they would be maligned by everybody. And for what reason?
If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you....But all these things they will do to you on account of my name, because they do not know him who sent me.  (John 15:18, 21)
Arnobius asked his opponents some 250 years later (Book II, cap. 1) why they hated Christ:
[E]xplain to us and say what is the cause, what the reason, that you pursue Christ with so bitter hostility? or what offenses you remember which He did, that at the mention of His name you are roused to bursts of mad and savage fury? Did He ever, in claiming for Himself power as king, fill the whole world with bands of the fiercest soldiers; and of nations at peace from the beginning, did He destroy and put an end to some, compel others to submit to His yoke and serve Him? Did He ever, excited by grasping avarice, claim as His own by right all that wealth to have abundance of which men strive eagerly? Did He ever, transported with lustful passions, break down by force the barriers of purity, or stealthily lie in wait for other men’s wives? Did He ever, puffed up with haughty arrogance, inflict at random injuries and insults, without any distinction of persons?
Arnobius lays out Christ's character and asks at what point the Lord offended. Was it the ferocity of his troops, the nations he conquered and enslaved, the wealth he took greedily, the women he ravished, or the personal injuries afflicted without cause? No, but rather it was for daring this one thing:
And He was not worthy that you should listen to and believe He should not have been despised by you even on this account, that He showed to you things concerning your salvation, that He prepared for you a path to heaven, and the immortality for which you long.
The general public hate Christ (and by extension his followers) simply because he shows them the way to the very thing they seek. They simply will not accept the truth.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Hallelujah! What a Savior!

"Man of Sorrows!" what a name
For the Son of God, who came
Ruined sinners to reclaim.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Bearing shame and scoffing rude,
In my place condemned He stood;
Sealed my pardon with His blood.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Guilty, vile, and helpless we;
Spotless Lamb of God was He;
"Full atonement!" can it be?
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Lifted up was He to die;
"It is finished!" was His cry;
Now in Heav’n exalted high.
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

When He comes, our glorious King,
All His ransomed home to bring,
Then anew His song we’ll sing:
Hallelujah! What a Savior!

Philip P. Bliss, pub. 1875

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Thoughts on The Manhattan Declaration

I just learned earlier today of The Manhattan Declaration through Bob Heyton at Fundamentally Reformed who is leery of it. Later I stumbled on Eric Landry's less than glowing opinion at White Horse Inn. Then on Facebook, I saw a comment from one of the ladies in our church describing how important it was.

Time to check it out.

The declaration's home page gives a good summary of the document. Orthodox, Catholic, and Evangelical leaders desire to unite and defend three key tenets of a civil society: sanctity of human life; marriage between one man and one woman; right of religious liberty. On a separate page is the list of notable signatories many of whom are easily recognized depending on one's faith background.

My thoughts
I am not enthusiastic about joining with Orthodox and Roman Catholic leaders in a purportedly Christian endeavor, as this is claimed to be. Let's face the facts—the three groups teach the same gospel (death, burial, and resurrection of Christ) but apply it to the adherent in vastly different ways, so that it comes out looking like the preaching of different gospels. That said, how do you get the three groups to agree on how to term their mutual displeasure in mutually acceptable tones. You end up with a document without backbone. The MD has trouble making a biblical case. It tends to be built more on natural law in a social construct with some supporting Scripture as might be applicable.

I question the historicity of some claims in the preamble concerning the degree of Christian involvement in women's suffrage and the civil rights movements, but maybe I am ignorant of those facts.

I also question the logic of the following quote:

There is no more eloquent defense of the rights and duties of religious conscience than the one offered by Martin Luther King, Jr., in his Letter from a Birmingham Jail. Writing from an explicitly Christian perspective, and citing Christian writers such as Augustine and Aquinas, King taught that just laws elevate and ennoble human beings because they are rooted in the moral law whose ultimate source is God Himself.
I read Dr. King's letter. He is eloquent and passionate, but the letter was not written from an explicitly Christian perspective. Yes, he quoted Augustine and Aquinas, but it was in matters of making and following just laws, not the biblical basis for just law.

I applaud the writers for the effort and diligence in seeking to bring these issues to the fore, but they would have been better served to write three different declarations with their unique perspectives or one that was based primarily on holy writ.

Awesome, Dude!

I am getting tired of the word awesome.  It has become cliché. I hear and see it most often in advertising directed toward children and teenagers. Anything that gives a fleeting moment of pleasure is considered awesome. Adults are not exempted from this. Who do you think comes up with the marketing campaigns? Advertisers influence young consumers who influence older consumers for the cash to back the purchases. The lingo goes upstream.

I decided to take a look at my Bible for what is authentically awesome. Firstly, the concept of awesomeness does not mean thrilling, rather there is the idea of something fearful and demanding honor and reverence (see Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament). That disqualifies 99% of modern usage. Secondly, I was pleased my presumptions were proven correct—awesome is what God is and does. Here is a short look at what I found just doing a word-search in my ESV of what things God's word says are awesome.

His might (Deuteronomy 7:21; Nehemiah 4:14)
His justice (Deuteronomy 10:17)
His appearance (Judges 13:6; job 37:22)
His covenant-keeping (Nehemiah 1:5; 9:32; Daniel 9:4)
His dominion (Psalm 68:35; 89:7)

God's Deeds
In covenant-keeping redemption from Egypt (Exodus 15:11; 34:10; 2 Samuel 7:23; Psalm 66:5; 106:22; Isaiah 64:3)
In righteousness (Psalm 65:5)
In power (Psalm 66:3; 145:6; Zephaniah 2:11)

God's Name
In righteousness (Deuteronomy 28:58)
In holiness (Psalm 99:3)
In covenant redemption (Psalm 111:9)

God's Presence (Genesis 28:17; Ezekiel 1:18, 22)

God's Judgment Day (Joel 2:11, 31; Malachi 4:5)

The reader will notice that these are all Old Testament references. I do not think that the word no longer suits the need but that there is no longer a need to continue its use. The point is made and does not need repeating in the New Testament.

What does flow throughout scripture is the proper reaction to all this—awe. As mentioned above this reaction has a certain foreboding about it. There is a reckoning of sorts. Repeatedly, the glory of the Lord has the same effect on the observer. Sinful man cannot bear the presence of God's awesome glory and can barely contain his work. If not for the reassuring and strengthening hand of the Lord, Isaiah, Ezekiel, and John would never have stood in his presence much less be coherent. An understanding of that awe leads us to worship correctly (Acts 2:42-43; Hebrew 12:28-29).


As a sidebar item, I did find an interesting reference, that of a husband describing his wife (Song of Solomon 6:4, 10). I was pleasantly surprised by this, and after pondering for awhile, the picture seems fitting. Man and woman together as one flesh is the ultimate of God's creation work. Of course, the man as head should tell his wife this. Of course, she is awesome.