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Wonderful Words of Life (No.8) 1
President’s Word 2
The Apostles’ Question (No.1) 4
The Steward of the Mystery (No.22) 8
Who We Are, What we Do 12
Michael & Sylvia Penny in Australia 7
Inside this issue:
The official journal of the Berean Bible Fellowship of Australia Inc. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with
every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ.” Eph. 1:3
Vol. 30 No. 3.
Wonderful Words of Life - Part 8 - “Instead” by Athol Walter
I think it is true to say that the little words such as ‘but’, ‘not’, and ‘if’, and also the seemingly unimportant words in the Bible, are the ones that often carry the truth God wishes to convey to us. And the ‘wonderful word’ to be con- sidered now is one such word. The phrase ‘instead of’ obviously is a slight contraction of ‘in the stead of’, and without giving thought to the original meaning behind the word ‘stead’, we use ‘instead’ freely in everyday conversation without any misunderstanding. ‘Stead’ comes into English from the old Germanic and Norse languages, and the fundamental meaning is that of ‘place’. Think of the word ‘homestead’, for instance.
I want to focus on three occurrenc- es of this word in Genesis because they sum up for us the truth in the word.
Our first reference is in Genesis 4:25: ‘And Adam knew his wife again, and she bore a son and named him Seth, “For God has ap- pointed another seed for me in- stead of Abel, whom Cain killed”.’
Eve apparently knew that Abel was the one through whom the line to the promised Seed was to go, not Cain. The first verse of Genesis 4 shows, however, that when Cain was born, Eve indeed thought he was the fulfilment of God’s promise of 3:15. But, as 1 John 3:12 says, Cain was of the wicked one, that is, Satan. How Cain became ‘of the wicked one’ is outside our present subject. It is sufficient for our pur- poses to note that Abel was the chosen one, and after he was mur- dered by his brother, Seth was ap- pointed as the chosen channel in the stead of his brother. The name Seth means ‘appointed’.
The murder of Abel was another attack by Satan on the Messiah’s line. I say another because Satan’s takeover of Cain, however it was done, was also such an attack. But Satan was taken in his own crafti- ness, because it turned out that God’s principle is that it is the sec- ond one who is God’s choice, not the first. Not Cain, but Abel. Not
Ishmael, but Isaac. Not Esau but Jacob. And when Satan realised his mistake, he brought about the murder of Abel.
Because of our position looking back on these events, we know what happened, but imagine the problem that Abel’s death raised at the time. Quite apart from the grief his parents would have suf- fered, they must have at least wondered how the purposes of God would now be fulfilled. God had another principle that His creatures had to learn, that is, that of substitution. In other words, God would accept one per- son instead of another – Seth in- stead of Abel. Another example of this principle is found in Genesis 22 when it is the ram instead of Isaac.
Before leaving Genesis 4, I want to point out some things from God’s interaction with Cain in the early verses. We are told that the two brothers each brought an of- fering to the Lord. It seems that
(Continued on page 3)
President’s Word by Rom Harper
Page 2 www.spiritualblessings.org
Welcome to our readers to this July - August 2016 edi- tion of Spiritual Blessings. We trust that you are contin- uing to enjoy receiving the magazine, and are obtaining spiritual insights and growth from the study articles. Annual Conference This is our last issue before our An- nual Conference being held from Saturday 24th September to Mon- day 26th September 2016, at Beth- shan Conference Centre, Wyee, NSW. Mike and Sylvia Penny, dispensa- tional authors and speakers from the United Kingdom, will be our guests this year. They have au- thored many books and booklets on a huge range of Bible and faith re- lated topics. Topics at Bethshan this year will include studies on Prophecy, Revelation, Miracles and more. I hope many of our friends and readers have decided to attend this year. Those who attend on a regu- lar basis can attest to the rich time of teaching and fellowship that is enjoyed by all who make the effort to come to Bethshan. If you are coming this year, you might have a friend or a family member you are thinking of inviting. If so, you might also be wondering what we can say to encourage them or other folk who have not been to a BBFA meeting before? Firstly, explain that the focus of our time together is the study of the Scriptures and therefore most of the programme time is allocated to Bible study sessions. However, terrific fellowship, enthusiastic singing, daily prayer time and ac- tivities for the young and old are all
staple parts of the BBFA confer- ence. Perhaps this summary of what to expect is a good start when speaking to others not fa- miliar with our meetings. In the end, we can assure you that if you are, or want to be a student of God's word, keen to dig deeper into the wonderful truths of Scrip- ture and meet like-minded people, then it is well worth the effort to come along to Bethshan or any of our meetings. For our Australian readers, we will post an information pamphlet on the conference. An e-mail re- minder has already been sent out to those on our electronic mailing list. If you are coming, please reg- ister your attendance with Sue Hall our Conference Convener. You can also email me or Sue at email@example.com. We would love to see you there. Further information about the conference or any of our meetings is on the back page of this maga- zine and can also be found on our website: www.spiritualblessings.org Other Meetings For anyone that can't get to Beth- shan, there will be other meetings held around the country that may
be more convenient for you to attend while Mike and Sylvia are in Aus- tralia. There will be studies conduct- ed in NSW at Newcastle, Thornton, Edgeworth and Concord. In Queens- land, meetings are planned at Rose- wood, Springfield and New Beith. For Tasmanians, meetings will be in the Burnie and Penguin area and finally at Hillside in the Melbourne region for Victorians. All meetings are free of charge and everyone is welcome to attend. Details can be found on the Meetings page on the Spiritual Blessings website. This issue This issue includes articles, “Wonderful Words of Life - Instead", by Athol Walter; the final install- ment by Peter Ward, "Paul's Chris- tian-ness", in his series dealing with 'The Steward of the Mystery'; and 'The Apostles' Question" by Karl Ed- wards. Once again, please enjoy the articles. I hope to catch up with many of our readers at Bethshan and am looking forward to a weekend of great fellow- ship. Until next time, in all we do, may we give glory and honour to our Lord and Saviour Christ Jesus.
Rom Harper firstname.lastname@example.org
Wonderful Words of Life — Instead Continued from page 1
they were in the very presence of the Lord, for He spoke with Cain face to face, not from Heaven.
Now we know that Abel brought a blood offering, but Cain did not. It is often taught that the reason why Abel’s offering was accepted was because of the blood offering, and that may well be true. How- ever, I think there could be a slightly different interpretation of it. In Hebrews 11:4 we read: ‘By faith Abel offered to God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, through which he obtained wit- ness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts…’ Note first that Abel brought his sacrifice by faith. What does that mean? Ro- mans 10:17 tells us that ‘…faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God.’
In other words, when we read that Abel acted by faith, it means he was obeying something God had previously said. That is pre- cisely what faith is! Cain, on the other hand, who had also heard the Word of God, would not obey God’s instructions. Notice, too, that the reference from Hebrews 11 tells us that Abel obtained wit- ness that he was righteous. Abel was righteous before he made this sacrifice, which is why he brought the sacrifice, and the Lord testi- fied to his righteousness by ac- cepting his offering. In plain words, I believe that Abel had previously responded in faith to God and was saved, to use our evangelical term, whereas Cain had never responded positively to the Lord’s instructions about be- coming righteous.
Now consider what the Lord said to Cain in Genesis 4:6 and 7. We are first told that Cain became angry when the Lord rejected his offering. This is a paraphrase: ‘So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you so angry, and why that terri- ble look on your face? If you will obey what I have told you to do,
won’t you be accepted? (Implied answer: Of course, you will.) And if you choose not to obey, well, the sin-offering is lying outside the door. It won’t run away from you and you can do whatever you like with it”.’
I use the word ‘sin-offering’ in- stead of ‘sin’, because the Hebrew word translated ‘sin’ is also trans- lated many times as ‘sin-offering’. The reason f