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Campus Bible Talk meets every Monday during the school year (except during holidays and during Reading Week Breaks) at Athabasca Hall, Heritage Lounge, at 6:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.

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Sunday, November 26, 2017

Understanding the Holy Trinity

One key concept in Christianity is that of the Trinity, which is sometimes referred to as "God in Three Persons" - God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.  I admit that this can be a confusing idea; after all, the Bible says this about God: "Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one." (Deuteronomy 6:4, emphasis mine)  But Jesus is called God's Son and "Lord" in many Bible passages, too! (See John 3:16, 20:28, Romans 10:9, and Hebrews 1:1-14 for just a few examples)  So what should we make of the idea of God being "One in Three Persons?"

Well, here is a diagram which may help us study this.  I first saw this diagram on a Russian social media page for the Churches of Christ.  You can see the page and the original post here.  It shows the relationships between God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, and it lists attributes of each, along with Bible verses to support its ideas.  I translated this diagram into English, and I included the referenced verses, as well.  So I will post both the Russian and translated English versions (please click on the diagrams to magnify them).  Hope this helps in your study of God's nature.

Verses of the Bible on the Headings
As for the Almighty, we cannot find Him;
He is excellent in power,
In judgment and abundant justice;
He does not oppress.” (Job 37:23)

“I will be a Father to you,
And you shall be My sons and daughters,
Says the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor 6:18)
The four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying:
‘Holy, holy, holy,

Lord God Almighty,
Who was and is and is to come!’” (Rev 4:8)
Вседержитель!  Мы не постигаем Его.  Он велик силою, судом и полнотою правосудия.  Он никого не угнетает. (Иов 37:23)

«И буду вам Отцом,
и вы будете Моими сынами и дщерями,
говрит Господь Вседержитель.» (2 Кор. 6:18)

«И каждое из четырех животных имело по шести крыл вокруг, а внутри они исполнены очей: и ни днем, ни ночью не имеют покоя, взывая:
Свят, свят, свят,
Господь Бог Вседержитель,
Который был, есть и нрядет.» (Окровение 4:8)
Ancient of Days
“I watched till thrones were put in place,
And the Ancient of Days was seated;
His garment was white as snow,
And the hair of His head was like pure wool.
His throne was a fiery flame,
Its wheels a burning fire;” (Dan 7:9)
Вемхий Днями
«Видел я наконец, что поставлены были престолы и воссел Ветхий днямиж одеяник на Нем было бело, как снег,
и волосы главы Его как чистая волнаж престол
Его как пламя огня,
колеса Его – пылающий огонь.» (Даниил 7:9)
Most High
Then Melchizedek king of Salem brought out bread and wine; he was the priest of God Most High. (Genesis 14:18)

I will be glad and rejoice in You;
I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High. (Psalms 9:2)
И Мелхиседек, царь Салимский, вынес хлеб и вино, - он был священник Бога Всеышнего. (Бытие 14:18)

Буду славить Тебя, Господи,
Вскм сердцем моим, возвещать асе чудеса Твои. (Псалтирь 9:2)

Son of Man
“I was watching in the night visions,
And behold, One like the Son of Man,
Coming with the clouds of heaven!
He came to the Ancient of Days,
And they brought Him near before Him. (Daniel 7:13)

“But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—He said to the man who was paralyzed, “I say to you, arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” (Luke 5:24)

…and has given Him authority to execute judgment also, because He is the Son of Man. (John 5:27)
Сын Человеческий
«Видел я в ночных видениях,
вот, с облаками небесными
шел как бы Сын человеческий,
дошел до Ветхого днями
и подведен был к Нему.» (Дан 7:13)

«Но чтобы вы знали, что Сын Человеческий имеет власть на земле прощать грехи, - сказал Он расслабленному: тебе говорю: встань, возьми постель твою и иди в дом твой.» (Лук 5:24)

И дал Ему власть производить и суд, потому что Он есть Сын Человеческий. (Иоанн 5:27)
Christ (Messiah)
And after the sixty-two weeks
Messiah shall be cut off, but not for Himself;
And the people of the prince who is to come
Shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.
The end of it shall be with a flood,
And till the end of the war desolations are determined. (Daniel 9:26)

Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16)
Христос (Мессия)
И по истечении шестидесяти двух седмин предан будет смерти Христос, и не будет; а город и святлище разрушены будут народом вождя, который придет, и конец его будет как ои наводнения, и до конца войны будут опустошения. (Даниил 9:26)

Симон же Петр, отвечая, сказал: Ты – Христос, Сын Бога Живого. (Матфея 16:16)
Bread of Life
 I am the bread of life. (John 6:48)
Жлеб Жизни
Я есть хлеб жизни (Иоанн 6:48)
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isaiah 7:14) 
Итак, Сам Господь даст вам знамение: се, Дева во чреве приимет и родит Сына, и нарекут имя Ему: Еммануил. (Исаия 7:14)
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulders.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Ибо младенец родился нам –
Сын дан нам;
Владычество на раменах Его,
И нарекут имя Ему:
Чудный, Советник, Бон крепкий,
Отеч вечности, Князь мира. (Исаия 9:6)
 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)
Родит же Сына, и наречешь Ему имя Иисус, ибо Он спасет людей Своих от грехов их. (Матфея 1:21)
Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
Опять говорил Иисус к народу и сказал им: Я – свет миру; кто последует за Мною, тот не будет ходить во тьме, но будет иметь свет жизни. (Иоанна 8:12)
“And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write: ‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God….’” (Revelation 3:14)
И Ангелу Лаодикийской церквт напиши: так говорит Аминь, свидетель верный и истинный, начало создания Божия... (Откровение 3:14)
The Word
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. (John 1:1-3)

He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God. (Rev. 19:13)
В начале было Слово, и Слово было у Бога, и Слово было Бог.  Оно было в начале у Бога.  Все чрез Него начало быть, и без Него ничто не начало быть, что начало быть. (Иоанна 1:1-3)

Он был облечен в одежду, обагренную кровью.  Имя Ему: «Слово Божие.» (Откровение 19:13)
Way, Truth, and Life
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6) 
Путь, истина и жизнь
Иисус сказал ему: Я есть путь и истина и жизнь; никто не приходит к Отцу, как только через Меня. (Иоанна 14:6)
The First and the Last
“Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel,
And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts:
‘I am the First and I am the Last;
Besides Me there is no God….” (Isaiah 44:6)

I [Jesus] am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last. (Revelation 22:13)
Перый и Последний
Так говорит Господь, Царь Израиля,
и Искупитель его, Господь Саваоф:
Я первый и Я последний,
и кроме Меня нет Бога.... (Исаия 44:6)

Я (Иисус) есть Альфа и Омега, начало и конец, Первый и Последний. (Откровение 22:13)
The Lamb of God
The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world! (John 1:29)
Агнец Бога
На другой день видит Иоанн идущего к нему Иисуса и говорит: вот Агнец Божий, Который берет на Себя грех мира. (Иоанна 1:29)
Mighty God
For unto us a Child is born,
Unto us a Son is given;
And the government will be upon His shoulder.
And His name will be called
Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 9:6)
Бог Крепкий
Ибо младенец родился нам –
Сын дан нам;
Владычество на раменах Его,
И нарекут имя Ему:
Чудный, Советник, Бон крепкий,
Отеч вечности, Князь мира. (Исаия 9:6)

Holy Spirit/Святой Духа
The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon Him,
The Spirit of wisdom and understanding,
The Spirit of counsel and might,
The Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord. (Isaiah 11:2)
Listen to counsel and receive instruction,
That you may be wise in your latter days. (Proverbs 19:20)
И почиет на нем Дух Господень,
Дух премудрости и разума,
Дух совета и крепости,
Дух ведения и благочестия. (Исаия 11:2)

Слушайся советя и принимай обличение, чтобы сделаться тебе впоследствии мудрым. (Питчи 19:20)
 And I [Jesus] will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever (John 14:16) 
И Я (Иисус) умолю Отца, и даст вам другого Утешителя, да пребудет с вами вовек (Иоанна 14:16)
Good/Generous (?)
You also gave Your good Spirit to instruct them,
And did not withhold Your manna from their mouth,
And gave them water for their thirst. (Nehemiah 9:20)
И Ты дал им Духа Твоего благого, чтобы наставлять их, и манну Твою не отнимал от уст их, и воду давал им для утоления жажды их. (Неемия 9:20)
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)
И не оскорбляйте Святого Духа Божия, Которым вы запечатлены в день искупления. (Ефесянам 4:30)
Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. (1 John 3:9)
Всякий, пожденный от Бога, не дклакт греха, потому что скмя Его пребывает в нем; и он не может грешить, потому что рожден от Бога. (1-е Иоанна 3:9)
Power of the Almighty
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God….” (Luke 1:35)
Сила Всевышнего
Ангел сказал Ей в ответ: Дех Святой найдет на тебя, и сила Всевышнего осенит Тебя; посему и рождаемое Святое наречется Сыном Божиим. (Лук 1:35)
When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughters of Zion, and purged the blood of Jerusalem from her midst, by the spirit of judgment and by the spirit of burning… (Isaiah 4:4)

For the Lord your God is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24)
Когда Господь омоет скверну дочерей Сиона и очистит кровь Иерусалима из среды его духом суда и духом огня... (Исаия 4:4)

Ибо Господь, Бог твой, есиь огнь поядающий, Бог ревнитель. (Виорозаконие 4:24)
Breath of Preservation/Preserver
But there is a spirit in man,
And the breath of the Almighty gives him understanding. (Job 32:8)

The Spirit of God has made me,
And the breath of the Almighty gives me life. (Job 33:4)
Дыхание Вседержителя
Но дух в человеке и дыхание Вседержителя дает ему разумение. (Иов 32:8)

Дух Божий создал меня, и дыханте Вседержителя дало мне жизнь. (Иов 33:4)
If you are reproached for the name of Christ, blessed are you, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests upon you. On their part He is blasphemed, but on your part He is glorified. (1 Peter 4:14)
Если злословят вас за имя Христово, то вы блаженны, ибо Дух славы, Дух Божий почивает на вас.  Теми Он хулится, а вами прослваляется. (1-к Петра 4:14)

~ Christian

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

A God of Wrath or a God Without Wrath?

There are many people with an unhealthy view of God. Some people believe God is an angry tyrant with unreasonable expectations for mankind, ready to strike people dead at any moment. They believe His primary characteristics are wrath and fury. While it is sad people feel this way, it is equally heartbreaking that others believe the God of the Bible has no rules or expectations for mankind and will punish no one. We must have a balanced and biblical understanding of God’s character.

Are We ALL God’s Children?
Where I think a lot of the confusion begins is with the idea that everyone is a child of God. When people begin with the premise that God’s relationship to humanity can best be described as a parent-child relationship, they are bound to make many false assumptions. They build their theology on the idea that God feels about every single person the way a loving parent feels about his kids.

There is just enough truth in that premise to make it sound biblical. It is true that God loves every single person. He loves even the most notorious sinner. And the apostle Paul borrowed the words of a pagan poet to say, we are all the “offspring” of God (Acts 17:28). But Paul was not saying all humanity is part of God’s “family.” In fact, he was urging people to repent, because of the coming judgement (Acts 17:28-31).

The Bible does not teach that we are all God’s “children.” It does not describe the relationship between God and humanity as a parent-child relationship. In fact, it describes the relationship between God and humanity more in terms of a King and His enemies.

A King Who Loves His Enemies
It would seem logical for a parent to give his life for the sake of his children, but that a King would give his life for his enemies seems preposterous. Yet that is the story of the Bible; that is the story of the gospel.

God’s chosen people (Israel) had joined humanity in rebellion against Him; but instead of sending a destroyer, God sent a Savior. He sent His Son not to kill, but to be killed. That is a love that truly baffles the mind.

The apostle Paul wrote it this way in Romans 5:
For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die—but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
When Jesus tells us to love our enemies, He is telling us to do exactly what He did for us. The triune God of heaven paid the highest possible price to reconcile His enemies to Himself.

It dilutes the power of the gospel to begin with, “We’re all God’s children.” We must begin with, “We are all loved by God, in spite of the fact that we have been engaged in a rebellion against Him.”

Children of God Through Christ
Furthermore, the Bible teaches that only those who accept the Kingship of Jesus are given “the right to become children of God” (John 1:12). If everyone is already a child of God, then what kind of a relationship is created by becoming a Christian?
When a person becomes a Christian, he or she is adopted into God’s family. The relationship changes. God sends “the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!’ (Galatians 4:6). When we become Christians, we are looked at and loved differently than we were before.
This is the power of “reconciliation.” And that’s what the Good News of Jesus Christ is all about.

Who Is God?
If we are going to love Him, live for Him, worship Him, and bring the lost to Him, then we must understand who God is claiming to be. He is not claiming to be an angry tyrant who wants to destroy everyone, nor is He claiming to be a fairy godmother.

He is the Great I Am. He is the Ancient of Days. He is the Almighty. He is the sovereign King who reigns on high. He cares about His honor and His glory. He loves mankind more deeply than we could possibly understand, while His wrath against rebellion burns more deeply than we could possibly endure.

God doesn’t want anyone to perish; He wants everyone to be saved (2 Peter 3:8-9). “But the day of the Lord will come…” (vs. 10). He is coming to judge.
He will treat His children like His children and He will treat His enemies like His enemies. Now is the time for reconciliation. Now is the time for repentance. “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

~ Originally by Wes McAdams at; submitted by Christian Basar

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The Despair of Atheism vs. the Hope of Belief in God

Recently, I read an article by a Russian theologian named Alexey Osipov.  Here I will share a brief excerpt from his article.  In this selection, Osipov contrasts Atheism (which he essentially calls a "faith of despair") with belief in God, which offers hope for those lost in a confusing world. 

(I have modified very few parts of the excerpt just slightly to account for some grammatical or formatting issues.)
Thus, the first problem is "Religion or atheism."  At different conferences, even at high-level ones, I meet well-educated, erudite people, not smatterers, who always ask me the same questions: Who is God? Does He exist? And even: Why should I need Him? Or, if God exists, why does not He make a speech at a UN session and declare His existence? People say even such things. What should I answer?

In my opinion, we can answer this question using the central idea of modern philosophy, which is best of all expressed in the concept of existentiality. What is the objective of human existence, what is the sense of human life? Certainly, first of all, there is life itself. What else can it be? What sense do I strive for when I sleep? This sense of life can only be in comprehension, "enjoying" the fruit of one’s life and activity. And no one ever claimed or believed and will do in future, that the ultimate sense of human life may be death. This is where the impassable divide between religion and atheism lies. Christianity states: for human this earthly life is only the beginning, the precondition and the means to prepare oneself for eternity: Get ready, eternal life is waiting for you. Christianity says: to enter it you have to do this and be like this. And what is the idea of atheism? There is no God, no soul, no eternity, so believe, human, eternal death is waiting for you! Don’t you feel terror, pessimism and despair at such words? It makes one’s blood creep: Man, eternal death is waiting for you. Not to mention strange argumentation, to put it mildly, to substantiate this idea. Just this phrase makes human soul shudder. No way;  I cannot accept such faith.

If one has lost his way in the woods and is looking for the way home and having found somebody asks him: "Is there a way out here?" And the other one answers: "No and don’t look for it, settle in here as you can" Would one believe him? I doubt it. Would he not search further? And finding another man, who would say: "Yes, there is a way out, I’ll tell you the signs and marks how you can get home"  Would not one believe him? The same happens, when one chooses his views between religion and atheism. As long as a person retains a spark of searching for the truth, for the sense of life, he cannot accept the concept, that at the end he as a personality and accordingly all other people will find eternal death, and on the way to it we should prepare better economical, social, political, cultural medium. And afterwards everything will be O.K. - tomorrow you will die and we will bury you at the cemetery. Wonderful!

I have showed you just one side - psychologically a very important one - which I believe is enough for each person with a soul that is still alive, to understand that only this religious view of the world allows us to tackle the sense of life, when we accept for our foundation the One, Whom we call God.
~ Alexey Osipov, submitted by Christian Basar

If you would like to study more about this "Foundation, the One, Whom we call God," how about joining our Campus Bible Talk discussions at the University of Alberta?  During the school year (September through April), we meet at the Heritage Lounge in Athabasca Hall on Mondays at 6 PM.  We are of course on our summer break, but we should be starting up again in early September.  Our discussions are very informal, and after a quick lesson and discussion, we conclude with snacks and conversation.  We would love to see you there!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

"Persistence in Prayer" by Eli Cole

I have previously written some posts on this blog about the importance of prayer and our perseverance in it.  A minister by the name of Eli Cole gave this sermon a few years ago about this very subject.  I found his message to be quite helpful when I myself was learning about this topic some time ago.

Some of his key points are:

- Keep faith
- Never give up - either in prayer or the Christian life in general

~ Christian

Saturday, February 18, 2017

The Bible Lesson 2 – The Inspired Word of God

Last time we studied that the Bible claims that its writers were inspired by God through the Holy Spirit.  All the Bible is inspired by God and thoroughly equips us for everything we need to do good works on earth.  We studied that Jesus promised the Holy Spirit to the apostles and His promise came true in Acts 1:1-9 and 2:1-4.
The Bible contains the complete message from God.  The Bible’s message is for all time and is not to be changed.  This means there is no need for any further revelation ever.
What the Bible Can Do For Us
Read 2 Timothy 3:16-17Where does the Scripture come from?  God.  How much Scripture comes from God? All of it.  What does it mean to be thoroughly equipped for every good work? What is the Word capable of doing in your life?  All you need, lacking nothing.

Illustration:  If you are undergoing brain surgery, which surgical instruments do you want the surgeon to forget, or to not have?  None, of course!  You want him/her to have all the necessary instruments and equipment.  How would you feel if he/she had some automotive tools or kitchen utensils mixed in with the surgical instruments?  It is dangerous to mix together incorrect tools and the incorrect instruments.  It is the same when it comes to God’s teachings as revealed in the Bible.  We have all we need to know in order to live to please God.  We need it all, but it is all we need!
Now read Hebrews 4:12What kind of tool does this verse tell us the Word of God is?  Sharp, alive, capable sword.  This would be like a doctor’s scalpel, or other fine cutting instrument.  What is the Word capable of doing for us in our lives?  Cut out the evil.

2 Peter 1:3-4:  What has God done for us?  He has given us all we need for life and godliness.  Notice it is in the past tense -  complete.  How do we know how to escape evil and live godly lives?  Through our knowledge of God and His promises, which can be found in the Bible.  What will His promises do for us? Allow us to be partakers of the Divine Nature through the knowledge of Him.
To emphasize the importance of the Bible, we can read 1 Peter 1:25, which says that the Bible will be the standard by which we are judged.
The Word also endures forever.  What does that mean for us?  Read John 12:47-49.  Jesus is speaking to the people before He goes to the cross. What do these verses say?  The Words Jesus spoke that were from God will judge all people. Where do we find these Words that will judge us today? Found only in the Bible –the only place where Jesus’ Words are recorded.
How important is it then to know what the Bible teaches or says about itself?

More Evidence that the Bible is Accurate in Everything that is Checkable
  • Genesis 14:8-9 – Existence of 5 cities confirmed by the Ebla Tablets
  • Joshua 6 – Walls of Jericho falling flat; Rahab’s house built against the wall; Jericho being attacked during or after harvest; Jericho being burnt and not plundered by Israel.
Scientific Facts Recorded in the Bible – Long before scientists proved them
  • Psalm 8:8 – Lanes in the Ocean
  • Genesis 3:15 – Women Produce a “Seed”
  • Ecclesiastes 1:7 and Job 36:27-28 – The Water Cycle
  • Leviticus 13:1-4 and 14:1-9 – The Handling of Infectious Diseases

The Bible is the written Words of Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit.  It is the Words in the Bible that will judge us and so it is important to know what it says.  We also know that because the Word endures forever we can trust it and know that it will never change and always be useful and important for us to know.