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1998 Issue 4

The messianic interpretation of Genesis 3:15 is very old. Though Irenaeus is the first known author of the Christian era to make an explicit connection between the seed promise and Jesus Christ, both the Septuagint and the Jewish targums (Ps. -J., Neofiti Frg.) view the passage messianically. This position has been largely abandoned by commentators and theologians who embrace higher critical principles of biblical interpretation. In his commentary, von Rad adopts what has become an accepted maxim, that the passage is an aetiological explanation of man's natural animosity toward snakes. He later affirms that the passage serves the larger purpose of explaining man's hopeless struggle against evil. He denies any messianic sense. Eissfeldt similarly views the passage as an "aetiological animal saga," and he later adds that the verse is a good example of a "lay saying" which teaches that a good deed is repaid with a blessing and an evil one with a curse. Brueggeman takes an existential approach to the text and writes that "it is rather a story about the struggle God has in responding to the facts of human life. When the facts warrant death, God insists on life for his creatures." Wifall summarizes these two leading, modern approaches when he writes that "Genesis 3:15 must be 'demythologized' as an expression of man's existential predicament in this world, or can be viewed as an aetiological myth which attempts to explain the natural hostility between mankind and the serpent." Either way, the events recorded in these early chapters in Genesis are mythical, ancient stories meant to explain the origins of man and his predicament in the world.

Why was Jesus baptized? This is a question of much interest, and has been studied by the writer long and carefully. Modifying some former views, but reasserting others, he now proposes to demonstrate the truth by the teachings of God's word.

The proposition that Jesus was baptized as a preparation for being anointed to active duties of his priestly office is here to be maintained and demonstrated.

Eschatology is a perennially thorny issue in church history. Its difficulty arises from the enormity of its task, and from various complex issues with which it deals. Let us consider one of the very difficult eschatological passages of Scripture, one rivaling Daniel 9 in the intensity of interpretive controversy: 2 Thessalonians 2. This famous eschatological reference contains Paul's reference to the "Man of Lawlessness" (Nestle's Text) or "Man of Sin" (Majority Text). The passage is noted for its exceptional difficulty. The noted church father Augustine writes of a certain portion of the passage: "I confess that I am entirely ignorant of what he means to say." New Testament Greek scholar Vincent omits interpreting the passage in his four volume lexical commentary: "I attempt no interpretation of this passage as a whole, which I do not understand." Renowned Greek linguist Robertson despairs of the task of interpreting this passage because it is "in such vague form that we can hardly clear it up." Morris urges "care" in handling this "notoriously difficult passage." Bruce notes that "there are few New Testament passages which can boast such a variety of interpretations as this." There are even some dispensationalists who admit that it is an "extremely puzzling passage of Scripture that has been a thorn in the flesh of many an expositor."

"This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself as a ransom for all, the testimony borne at the proper time" - Timothy 2:3-6.

For several centuries the Christian community has been engaged in an ongoing debate: For whom did Jesus die and does God desire every human being to repent and believe in Jesus? The debate is polarized between two theological worldviews, that of Calvinism and Arminianism. To better understand the nature of the controversy, it is helpful to give a brief historical survey.

"For otherwise what will those who are baptized for the dead accomplish if the dead are not actually raised? Why indeed are they being baptized for them?: - I Corinthians 15:29.

Does your church practice baptism for the dead? If not, then is your church truly biblical? Are you missing part of God's will for your life? Are you living in disobedience to God?

Every human being has In some way benefited from the undeserved, incomparable sufferings and death of Jesus Christ. Hence, He can be called, "the Savior of all men, especially of believers," I Tim. 4:10. Therefore, we, as Christians, are able to endure patiently any unjust persecution for Christ, which God has willed that we undergo, I Pet. 3:17; because, when we do, we are like Christ, close to Christ, and a benefit to other people.

I Peter 3:18-22, which focuses on the consequences of Christ's suffering, is one of the most difficult passages in the whole Bible to interpret correctly; but, as we learn how to interpret it, we will be sharper in interpreting any other Biblical text. Furthermore,what we will learn from this text is worth the time, effort and struggle put into the interpreting of it.