New Testament Notes 226-229

New Testament Notes 226-229 April 18, 2019

 

Detail of Israeli nature
Nature and Colors (in Israel)   Image by Hagit Cohen, PikiWiki

 

Luke 16:16-17

Compare Matthew 5:18; 11:12-13; 24:35; Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33

 

This passage may not seem entirely clear.  But one thing is clear:  Jesus is not denouncing the Law of Moses.  Forms of Protestantism that denigrate the Law do so in opposition to the Savior himself, in whose name they sometimes claim to do it.

 

Van Stalbemt Galilee
Adriaan van Stalbemt (17th century), “Jesus Preaching at the Sea of Galilee” (Wikimedia Commons public domain image)  I rather doubt that Mr. van Stalbemt had actually been there.

 

Luke 16:18

Compare Matthew 5:32; 19:9; Mark 10:11-12

 

This is an extraordinarily tough standard.  There’s much to be said about it, and a number of questions to be asked and, perhaps, answered.

 

But, right now, I don’t have the time to do this verse justice.

 

So — accuse me of cowardice if you like! — I’m not going to try.

 

Does it leave any possible room for doubt, though, as to how the Lord feels about divorce?

 

“’I hate divorce,’ says the Lord God of Israel, ‘and the one who is guilty of violence,’ says the Lord who rules over all. ‘Pay attention to your conscience, and do not be unfaithful.’”  (Malachi 2:16)

 

“The most hated thing before God is divorce.”  (Attributed to the Prophet Muhammad)

 

James Tissot Dives and Lazarus
“The Bad Rich Man in Hell (Le mauvais riche dans l’Enfer), by James Tissot

 

Luke 16:19-31

 

One of the great New Testament parables.

 

I’ll concentrate on just a single aspect of it:

 

It’s amazing to me to watch as some people casually dismiss evidence supportive of the claims of the Restoration that I see as extraordinarily powerful (e.g., the Witnesses to the Book of Mormon).

 

I can’t help but think, in such cases, of the reaction of Laman and Lemuel to their rebuke by an angel, as recounted in 1 Nephi 3.

 

I would find that story implausible, except that I actually know some people who’ve turned their backs on the Gospel after having (by their own accounts) been granted absolutely remarkable Gospel-specific manifestations.

 

It does happen.

 

So the notion that certain folks wouldn’t “be persuaded, though one rose from the dead,” though it’s very surprising at first glance, is quite believable to me.  And some people, I think, are determined not to believe.  They cannot ultimately be persuaded against their will.

 

Durer woodcut of betrayal of Jesus
“The Betrayal of Christ,” by Albrecht Dürer (1508)

 

Luke 17:1-3

Compare Matthew 18:6-7; Mark 9:42

 

A substantial portion of the trial of this life is dealing with the boorishness, betrayals, indifference, selfishness, dishonesty, and occasional hatred and violence of others.

 

Such things are an essential part of the test.  But those who are guilty of them will receive no divine reward for them.

 

And, of course, that includes all of us.

 

 

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