Monthly Archives: April 2019

God’s Plan for Man – Proofs of Revelation and Inspiration

This morning our family finished a multi-day consideration of the proofs for “revelation” and “inspiration” given by Finis Jennings Dake in his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of brief summaries of the 25 proofs given in section VII of Lesson 2 of God’s Plan for Man, supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

1. Its wonderful unity. Over 40 men from all walks of life in various lands, many of whom never knew what the others wrote on the same subjects, wrote the 66 books of the Bible during a period of over 1,800 years. “Collect together 40 books on the same subject, each written by a different author, and see how many contradictions and controversies exist among the writers.… But there is perfect unity between the books of the Bible.… This proves there is one divine author for all 66 books” (Dake, page 17).
2. Its superiority to other books. The Bible is superior to all other books in its unique origin, its message, its structure, its benefits to man, its circulation, and its popularity.
3. Its influence in the world. The teachings of the Bible have changed and enlightened millions of lives in every generation.
4. The character of those who accept it proves the Bible to be inspired of God. Those who grow in holiness and consecration to the good of others accept the Bible. Only infidels, skeptics, and the ungodly reject the Bible.
5. The greatness of those who accept it as a revelation from God proves that it is more than an ordinary human project. The greatest thinkers and representative of all ages since Christ have openly confessed their faith in the Bible as the Word of God. [Dake gives quotes from several famous men. Some of them are given under “What Great Men Have Said About the Bible” at https://awmach.net/library/dake/inspiration_of_the_bible.%5D
6. Man could not have written the Bible if he would, nor would he have written it if he could. History does not record a single instance where a critic of the Bible ever tried to improve it.
7. Good men must have written the Bible. The Bible condemns all sin and some of its writers recorded their own sins. Evil men wouldn’t do either unless divine power moved him to do so to profit others.
8. All men’s needs are met by the Bible. Every promise in the Bible has been fulfilled in the lives of men who have met the conditions, and so it must be from God who fulfills these promises.
9. The preservation of the Bible through the ages proves its inspiration. Whole kingdoms and religions have tried to destroy the Bible, but it has weathered every storm and still exists.
10. The heavenly character of its contents proves the Bible to be a revelation from God.
11. The response of the soul to the Bible proves its source. The Bible meets the deepest needs of the soul by solving its problems and presenting a way out of its slavery to sin and Satan.
12. The infinite depth and lofty ideals of the Bible prove a divine author. The Bible is inexhaustible and infinite in its coverage of truth for this life and the one yet to come. Men have found in to be practical in serving every common purpose and meeting every requirement. [Dake lists numerous purposes it serves and requirements it meets. Some of them are given in #11 of “20 Proofs the Bible Is Inspired” at https://awmach.net/library/dake/inspiration_of_the_bible.%5D
13. Fulfilled prophecy proves the inspiration of Scripture. About 3,268 verses of Bible prophecies have been fulfilled and 3,140 verses of prophecies are being fulfilled and will yet be fulfilled. Not one detail of any prediction that should have been fulfilled up to the writing of God’s Plan for Man has failed.
14. Miracles also prove the divine revelation of the Bible. Millions of men have been healed of diseases through the centuries by obedience to the Bible.
15. The testimony of the New Testament to the inspiration of the Old Testament. In all his teachings Jesus referred to the divine authority of the Old Testament. He quoted it 78 times and the apostles quoted it 209 times. In hundreds of places the Old Testament predicted the events of the New Testament.
16. The claims of the Bible and its writers prove its inspiration. Over 3,800 times Bible writers claimed in such expressions as “Thus saith the Lord” that what they wrote was from God. The Bible claims that all of it is inspired (2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21).
17. Its perfection. The many thousands of copies of the original writings of the authors of the Bible are so perfect that they prove the perfection of the originals.
18. The Bible is scientifically correct. Many things stated in the Bible about various subjects of study have been proven true as man scientifically studies these things.
19. The Bible is historically correct. Hundreds of statements in the Bible about history and geography which in times past have been held untrue by enemies of the Bible have recently been proven true by archaeologists.
20. Its universal adaptability for all ages and all peoples. The Bible is always up to date on any subject. It fits the lives of all people of all times and places.
21. The spiritual power of the Bible. The Bible meets and satisfies all of man’s spiritual needs.
22. Twenty centuries have not improved it. All books written and rewritten by man without inspiration can and are constantly being improved. This can’t be done with the Bible.
23. The doctrines of the Bible are contrary to all human teachings. The teachings of the Bible are so different from human teachings (see 1 Corinthians 2:14) that the Bible must be of God.
24. The genuineness and authenticity of the Bible proves it to be an inspired revelation from God. “Genuineness” means that the books were actually written when and by whom they are ascribed. “Authenticity” means that the Bible relates truthfully the matters that it treats and that its contents are the same today as when they were originally written. The Bible’s genuineness and authenticity rest upon (1) the claims of the Bible itself, (2) secular history, (3) manuscripts, (4) lectionaries—portions of the Bible that were read in church, (5) patristic quotations—quotations from early Christian writers, (6) ancient and modern versions, and (7) archaeology. [Dake expounds separately on each of these except archaeology. The one that impressed us most was the support of secular history for the Bible’s genuineness and authenticity.]
25. The Bible must be from God because of the inexhaustible proofs of its inspiration. It would take a lifetime to search out and many volumes to record all the proofs that the Bible is a revelation from God inspired by the Holy Spirit.

[Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (Lawrenceville, Georgia: Dake Bible Sales, 1963) gives a list of 20 proofs that the Bible is inspired on page 241 of its New Testament. They are reproduced under “20 Proofs the Bible Is Inspired” at https://awmach.net/library/dake/inspiration_of_the_bible.%5D

God’s Plan for Man – General Facts About the Bible

This morning we considered the general facts about the Bible given by Finis Jennings Dake in his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of brief summaries of sections IV and V of Lesson 2 of God’s Plan for Man supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

IV. General Facts About the Bible

1. How the Bible Was Given to Man. It was given through Jesus Christ (Hebrews 1:1-3; Revelation 1:1) and prophets (Acts 3:21; 2 Peter 1:21) and came through inspiration (2 Timothy 3:15-17). [Dake also says that it was given through the audible voices of God, angels, and the apostles and came through visions, dreams, and revelation. However the Biblical references that he gives just show that messages were given those ways, not that the Bible was. Section VI will define “inspiration.”]
2. Languages of the Bible. The Old Testament was written in Hebrew and Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek.
3. Divisions of the Bible. There are two main divisions—the Old Testament made up of 39 books and the New Testament made up of 27 books. [Dake also divides each Testament into five parts.] As a whole, it is divided into 66 books, 1,189 chapters, and 31,101 verses; the division into chapters and verses are not inspired. [Dake also comments on the number and content of promises made in the Bible and gives several miscellaneous facts about the Bible.]

V. The Apocryphal Books

Some Bibles contain a section of fourteen books called the Apocrypha besides the Old and New Testaments. Dake gives fourteen reasons why they were rejected from our present canon of Scripture, the first four being:
1. They did not pass the tests required of inspired books.
2. They were not written or approved by a prophet.
3. They were not recognized by the Jews as inspired and as a part of Scripture.
4. They were not recognized or even quoted by Christ and the apostles.
Roman Catholics accept six of the Apocryphal books as inspired and include them in their versions of the Bible.

1 Peter 4:1-11

Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home continued our study of the life and writings of the apostle Peter by studying 1 Peter 4:1-11. Our study of it consisted of our reading 1 Peter 4:1-11 and discussing the questions asked about it in Serendipity Bible for Study Groups (Serendipity House, 1988). Although I quote from the ESV throughout the article, we used the NIV in our study and the Executable Outlines questions given below are based on the KJV. Serendipity House gave me permission to reproduce material from Serendipity Bible for Study Groups for small group use, and Mark Copeland gives permission to users of the Executable Outlines website (http://executableoutlines.com/) to use material from it freely.

1 Peter 4:1-11

1 Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh, arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, 2 so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. 3 For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. 4 With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; 5 but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. 6 For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.
7 The end of all things is at hand; therefore be self-controlled and sober-minded for the sake of your prayers. 8 Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins. 9 Show hospitality to one another without grumbling. 10 As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: 11 whoever speaks, as one who speaks oracles of God; whoever serves, as one who serves by the strength that God supplies—in order that in everything God may be glorified through Jesus Christ. To him belong glory and dominion forever and ever. Amen.

We were originally scheduled to discuss Review Questions 2-9 on 1 Peter 4 in Executable Outlines and DIG question 1 and REFLECT question 2 on 1 Peter 4:1-11 in Serendipity Bible for Study Groups. However I let the group know ahead of time that instead we would discuss all of the Serendipity Bible questions on 1 Peter 4:1-11. Below are all the questions that we were scheduled to discuss and that we actually discussed and what I can remember of what we said in discussing the Serendipity Bible DIG questions.

Executable Outlines Review Questions

2) What two reasons are given for us to have the “mind of Christ” regarding suffering? (1)
3) How should one live in whatever time they have left in the flesh? (2)
4) What sins are mentioned as being “the will of the Gentiles”? (3)
5) How do people in the world react when you no longer do such things? (4)
6) To whom shall they have to answer? (5)
7) Why was the gospel preached to those who are dead? (6)
8) In view of the end of all things being at hand, how should we live? (7-10)
9) How should one speak? How should one serve? Why? (11)

The Serendipity Bible for Study Groups Questions

OPEN. Are you more of a doer, thinker, lover, pray-er, or sleeper?
DIG, 1. Imagine a specific compromising situation that Peter’s readers (and you) may be encountering: What accusations are being made? What should be the focus of the readers’ attention, instead?
Peter’s readers may have been accused of not being sociable or of various crimes (such as cannibalism) because they no longer participated in the activities listed in verse 3. Peter H. Davids says that the last activity listed, lawless idolatry, gives not just another activity but also the context in which the others took place. “Family religious celebrations, guild feasts…, and civic festal days might all include such things’ taking place in the temples of the various divinities.… The Jews had long noted and detested this connection of vice with idolatry…, but it was not an issue with them since they were considered a colony of a foreign nation within the Greek cities and so were permitted to follow their own customs and laws. These Christians, on the other hand, had been part of the culture, so their nonparticipation was a change in behavior and thus quite noticeable” (First Epistle of Peter, Grand Rapids, Michigan: William B. Eerdmans, 1990, page 151). They should focus their attention on doing God’s will instead.
DIG, 2. How are the realities of judgment (vv.5-7) and Christ’s glory (v.11) to influence our daily behavior?
Because the final judgment is imminent we should be “self-controlled and sober-minded” so that we will be effective in prayer.
DIG, 3. What does this redemptive love look like in action (vv. 8-11)? How would this benefit suffering people?
Redemptive love involves loving one another, being hospitable (providing board and lodging to travelling Christians), and using their gifts (including preaching/teaching and serving) to minister to others.
REFLECT, 1. What thinking hinders your prayer life? Conversely, what helps?
REFLECT, 2. Which commands in vv. 7-11 do you need to pay special attention to this week?
REFLECT, 3. What is one gift that you think each group member has? How could that gift be used to show love?

Holy Week Readings

In my family’s after-breakfast family Bible reading this week, we’re reading Bible passages related to the Easter story instead of continuing our reading from Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man. We’re using the readings from this year’s Canadian Bible Society’s “Holy Week Reading” which features the Easter account in the Gospel of Matthew. It can be downloaded from https://biblesociety.ca/resources/for-you/holy-week-readings/. We’ll return to reading from God’s Plan for Man next Monday.

God’s Plan for Man – What the Bible Is Not and Is

This morning our family considered what Finis Jennings Dake says the Bible is not and what it is in his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of a brief summaries of sections I-III of Lesson 2 of God’s Plan for Man supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

I. Names of the Bible

“Bible” designates the collection of the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments that are recognized and used by Christians. It is the equivalent of the Greek word biblia, meaning “books.” [Dake lists several other names of the Bible, including “the Scripture(s)” and “the Old and New Testament.”] The word “testament” means “a document” disclosing “the will of a person” or “a covenant between two contracting parties.” The Old Testament records the history of the Hebrew people and reveals God’s will regarding them, and the New Testament records the life of Jesus and the history of the early church and reveals God’s will regarding Christians.

II. What the Bible Is Not

The Bible is not (1) a thing that will work wonders by its very presence, (2) a book of chronological events or an unbroken series of divine utterances, (3) a book of heavenly utterances in divine language, (4) a book of unexplained mysteries, (5) a book that says one thing and means another, (6) a specimen of God’s skill as a writer or logician, (7) a book of systematic discourses on any one subject, or (8) a book that conforms to the tastes, customs, or habits of any one nation or people or for any age or period of time. [Feel free to ask me explain what Dake means by any of these.]

III. What the Bible Is

“The Bible is God’s inspired revelation of the origin and destiny of all things. It is the power of God unto eternal salvation and the source of present help for the body, soul, and spirit (Rom. 1:16; Jn. 15:7). It is God’s will and testament to men in all ages, revealing the plan of God for man here and now and in the next life. It is the record of God’s dealings with man—past, present, and future. It contains God’s message of eternal salvation to all who believe in Christ and of eternal damnation to those who rebel against the Gospel.” (Dake, page 13)
[Dake also describes the diversity of the Bible, gives advice on how we should read it, and lists several things that it is compared to in the Bible itself (including a longtime favourite of mine, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path,” in Psalm 119:105). Feel free to ask me to expand on what he says about any of these.]

God’s Plan for Man – Reasons for God’s Dispensational Dealings

This morning our family completed a two-day consideration of the reasons for God’s dispensational dealings given by Finis Jennings Dake in his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of a brief summary of Lesson 1, sections VII and VIII, of God’s Plan for Man supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

VII. Reasons for God’s Dispensational Dealings

1. God created moral agents with a free choice instead of creating mere machines that could run forever without any choice of their own. Thus He also imposed some restrictions and limited the acts of created beings so that they would not rebel and destroy Him and rule in His place.
2. The wills of all free moral agents must be tested before those agents are entrusted with the eternal administration of the universe.
3. The wills of all free moral agents must be purged of all possibility of falling.
4. Free wills must be put through all possible tests so that there can be no possible transgression against any part of God’s plan at any time.
5. Free wills must eventually learn many lessons about God. [Dake lists twelve on pages 8-9.]
6. God wants to bring man back to the place that he was before the fall of having dominion over all things.
7. God’s dealing with free moral agents in holiness and justice gives Him a sound basis for punishing those who refuse to conform to His plan and for blessing those who do conform. [Dake argues at length that God’s plan of punishment and blessing is the only one that could be used with free moral agents, concluding “Everyone can be blessed if he so desires, or can be cursed if that is his choice. Therefore, punishment is not compulsory for anyone. It is the free choice of the individual, and he alone is to blame for his eternal choice and destiny. God’s will is that none should be lost (1 Tim. 2:4-6; 2 Pet. 3:9; Jn. 3:16)” (Dake, page 9).]
8. God’s dispensational dealings are necessary to guarantee God’s eternal purpose as expressed by Paul in Ephesians 1:10; 3:1-11. This will be considered fully in Lessons Forty-nine through Fifty-two.
9. God’s present dealings with man make it eternally possible for Him to be all-in-all.

VIII. God’s Plan Is Eternal

The fall of man didn’t do away with God’s original plan. It merely postpones it until the restitution of all things after the Millennium. [Dake lists some of the many passages in the Bible that teach an everlasting plan for man on Earth, beginning with Genesis 8:22 and ending with Revelation 22:3-5. Although I looked up all the passages in preparing for our reading of the section, we looked up only the first and last ones in our reading of the section.]

1 Peter 3:8-22

Yesterday evening the Life group which meets in my wife’s and my home continued our study of the life and writings of the apostle Peter by studying 1 Peter 3:8-22 guided by Peter Chapter Three Review Questions 9-23 in Mark Copeland’s Executable Outlines (http://executableoutlines.com/).

1 Peter 3:8-22

8 Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. 9 Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 10 For

“Whoever desires to love life
and see good days,
let him keep his tongue from evil
and his lips from speaking deceit;
11 let him turn away from evil and do good;
let him seek peace and pursue it.
12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous,
and his ears are open to their prayer.
But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil.”

13 Now who is there to harm you if you are zealous for what is good? 14 But even if you should suffer for righteousness’ sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them, nor be troubled, 15 but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect, 16 having a good conscience, so that, when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ may be put to shame. 17 For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.
18 For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 19 in which he went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, 20 because they formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was being prepared, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were brought safely through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a good conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, with angels, authorities, and powers having been subjected to him.

I indented verses 10-12 to show that they are a quotation, of Psalm 34:12-16. Although as usual I quoted from the ESV throughout the article, the questions are based on the KJV and we used the NIV in our study.

Executable Outlines Review Questions

Mark Copeland gives permission to users of Executable Outlines to use the material in it freely.

9) What duties do we as brethren have to one another? (8)
Brethern are to be like-minded, to be sympathetic, to love one another, and to be tenderhearted and humble.
10) How are we to respond when mistreated by brethren? Why? (9)
When mistreated by brethern, we are to respond with blessing so that we may inherit a blessing. This echoes what Jesus said in Luke 6:27-28, ““But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you.”
11) What proscription is offered for those who would love life and see good days? (10-11)
Those who would love life and see good days should keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech and should turn from evil and do good.
12) What is said of the righteous? Of those who do evil? (12)
Of the righteous it is said that the eyes of the Lord are on them and His ears are attentive to their prayers, and of those who do evil it is said that the face of the Lord is against them.
13) What is the general principle regarding persecution? (13)
If you do good, you will not be harmed. We recognized that although this is a general rule, Christians are sometimes persecuted despite their doing good.
14) What is said of those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake? (14)
Those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake are said to be blessed. [This echoes what Jesus said in Matthew 5:10, “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Peter could be referring to a blessing now or in the end time.]
15) How should one prepare themselves for possible persecution? (15-16)
We should prepare ourselves for possible persecution by honouring Christ as Lord in our hearts, by being ready to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give a reason for our hope, and by having a good conscience.
16) If we maintain good conduct, what will happen to those who defame and revile us? (16)
If we maintain good conduct, those who defame and revile us will be ashamed both because our good conduct shows that their accusations are groundless and in the coming judgment.
17) If we suffer according to God’s will, what is better? (17)
If it is God’s will, it is better for us to suffer for doing good than to suffer for doing evil.
18) Who also suffered for righteousness’ sake? For what reason? (18)
Christ suffered for our sins that he might bring us to God.
19) Though put to death in the flesh, what was He able to do by the Spirit? (18-19)
Though Christ was put to death in the flesh, he was able by the Spirit to preach to “the spirits in prison.”
20) When were such “spirits” disobedient? (20)
These “spirits” were disobedient in the days of Noah while the ark was being prepared. We considered different interpretations of what incident verses 19-20 refer to: Christ’s preaching through Noah to the wicked people of his time; Christ’s preaching between his death and resurrection in the place where fallen angels are imprisoned to the angels who married human women in Noah’s time (Genesis 6:2; 2 Peter 2:4); and Christ’s preaching between his death and resurrection in the place where unbelievers are imprisoned giving them a second chance for salvation.
21) Of what is the salvation of eight souls through water a “type”? (21)
The salvation of Noah and his family through water is a type of baptism.
22) How does baptism not save us? How does it save us? (21)
Baptism doesn’t save us by the washing of dirt from the body. It saves us as the appeal of a good conscience to God through the resurrection of Jesus. We considered whether baptism is necessary for salvation and its importance if it isn’t necessary.
3) What was the final outcome of Jesus who suffered for righteousness’ sake? (22)
The final outcome for Jesus is that he has gone into heaven and is at God’s right hand and that angels, authorities, and powers have been made subject to him.

God’s Plan for Man – The Dispensations

This morning our family read and discussed the sections on the dispensations in Lesson One of Finis Jennings Dake’s God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of a brief summary of sections III-V of the lesson supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

A dispensation is a moral or probationary period in human and angelic history. In each period God tests free moral agents according to a fixed standard of conduct or responsibility.

IV. The Dispensation of Angels

The dispensation of angels was before the days of Adam and included rulership of the Earth and other planets in the heavens. The Heaven in which God dwells is a real place, “a better country” than Earth (Hebrews 11:14-16).

V. The Seven Dispensations of Man between the Two Eternities

There are seven dispensations in human history between the eternal past and the eternal future. They are:
1. The Dispensation of Innocence (Genesis 2:15-3:21). This period was from the creation of man and his commission to rule the Earth to the fall of man and his expulsion from the Garden of Eden. It will be studied in Lesson Nine.
2. The Dispensation of Conscience (Genesis 3:22-8:14). This period is from the fall of man and his expulsion from the Garden of Eden to the flood of Noah, 1,656 years. It will be studied in Lesson Eleven.
3. The Dispensation of Human Government (Genesis 8:15-11:32). This period is from the flood of Noah to the call of Abraham, 427 years. It will be studied in Lesson Thirteen.
4. The Dispensation of Promise (Genesis 12:1-Exodus 12:37), This period is from the call of Abraham to the exodus of Israel from Egypt under Moses, 430 years. It will be studied in Lesson Fifteen.
5. The Dispensation of Law (Exodus 12:37; Luke 16:16). This period is from the exodus of Israel under Moses to the preaching of the Kingdom of Heaven by John the Baptist or to the first coming of Jesus Christ, 1,718 years. It will be studied in Lesson Seventeen.
6. The Dispensation of Grace (Matthew 3:1-Revelation 19:10). This period has already lasted nearly 2,000 years from the first coming of Jesus Christ, and it will continue until his second coming in the near future. It will be studied in Lesson Nineteen.
7. The Dispensation of Divine Government—The Millennium (Revelation 19:11-20:15). This period will go from the second coming of Jesus Christ to the last rebellion of Satan and man on the earth, 1000 years. It will be studied in Lesson Forty-nine.
[I first learned of these seven dispensations from the Scofield Reference Bible which my parents gave me on my tenth birthday. It gives the same names as above to dispensations 1-5 but calls dispensations 6-7 the dispensations of Church and Kingdom. The replacement for that Bible which my first wife, Esther, gave to me when it fell apart, The New Scofield Reference Bible (New York: Oxford University Press, 1967), will be one of my extra resources in this family study of God’s Plan for Man. Others will be the copy of Dake’s Annotated Reference Bible (Lawrenceville, New Jersey: Dake Bible Sales, 1963) which I gave to my second wife, Leonora, during our engagement and Wayne Grudem’s Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994), which each member of our family has a copy of and which we read through and discussed a few years ago (see https://opentheism.wordpress.com/category/systematic-theology/).]

VI. The Dispensation of the Redeemed and Faithful Angels

The final dispensation will be after the Millennium in the new heavens and the new earth. “God’s original purpose will then be fully realized as it was before rebellion started in the kingdom of God by Lucifer and Adam. He will then have a universe free from any possibility of rebellion in all the eternal future, governed solely by Himself and the redeemed human beings and the faithful angels” (Dake, God’s Plan for Man, page 7).

God’s Plan for Man – Definition of Terms and Expressions

This morning our family completed a two-day consideration of some words and expressions used by Finis Jennings Dake in his God’s Plan for Man (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949), which we are studying in our after breakfast Bible reading time. This report consists of a brief summary of Lesson 1, section III, of God’s Plan for Man supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations are from the KJV unless otherwise noted.

1. AGE. The Greek word for “age” means a period of time. In the Bible it refers to numerous periods of time. The five main ages connected to God’s plan for man are:
A. The Anti-chaotic Age – from the original creation (Genesis 1:1) to its chaotic state (Genesis 1:2). We shall study it in Lesson 7.
B. The Antediluvian Age – from the six days of re-creation (Genesis 1:3-2:25) to the flood of Noah (Genesis 6-8).
C. The Present Age – from the flood of Noah (Genesis 6-8) to the Millennium (Revelation 19:11-20:7).
D. The Age to Come – from the second coming of Christ and the battle of Armageddon (Revelation 19:11-21) to the new heaven and the new earth (Revelation 21-22).
E. The Age of Ages – eternity, time without end. We shall study it in Lessons 49-52.

2. WORLD. There are ten Hebrew and Greek words translated by “world” in the Bible. How a word is used and its context will help a reader determine its meaning.The most important words translated “world” are:
(1) The Hebrew word olam means “time defined limits as to a beginning or an end.”
(2) The Greek word aion means “a period of time,” whether short or long.
(3) The Greek word oikoumene means “the inhabited Earth” or “the world of men” or a part of it.
(4) The Greek word kosmos means “the social system or order in the Earth.”
(5) The Greek word aionios corresponds to the Hebrew word olam (see 1).

3. TIMES AND SEASONS. There are twenty-eight Greek words translated “time” and “times” and eight Greek words translated “season” or “seasons” in the Bible, but only two need to be listed here to get a background for our future studies:
(1) Chronos, time unlimited unless specifically defined.
(2) Kairos, a certain limited or definite portion of time.
[Dake gives several references for each.]
Besides the natural times and seasons, there are certain times and seasons for preordained events in God’s eternal plan for man. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for not discerning the signs of the time as well as they could discern the natural seasons, saying “O ye hypocrites, ye can discern the face of the sky; but can ye not discern the signs of the times?” (Matthew 16:3), [Dake gives additional examples.]

4. THE ETERNAL PAST, the dateless past before the beginning of time as we know it since the six days of Genesis 1:3-2:25.

5. THE ETERNAL FUTURE, the eternal continuation of time after the Millennium.

6. THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES, the administration of the Gentiles from Israel’s oppression beginning with Israel’s oppression by them in Egypt and continuing with the history of Israel until Christ’s second coming.

7. DISPENSATION, a moral or probationary period in human and angelic history. Each dispensation begins under favourable circumstances, is characterised by God’s testing free moral agents according to a fixed standard of conduct or responsibility, and ends in failure and judgment. [Dake identifies the dispensations in sections IV-VI of Lesson 1 and considers them in detail in later lessons.]

God’s Plan for Man – Its Importance and Simplicity

Today my family and I began reading from and discussing Finis Jennings Dake’s “God’s Plan for Man” (Lawrence, Georgia: Dake Publishing, 1949) in our after breakfast Bible reading time. It considers God’s plan for man from the eternal past to the eternal future in four parts:
– Part I The Origin of All Things Lessons 1-8
– Part II God’s Historical Dealings with Man Lessons 9-18
– Part III God’s Present Dealings with Man Lessons 19-36
– Part IV God’s Future Dealings with Man Lessons 37-52
This will be our fourth reading of a comprehensive theology book, our having previously read Marion M. Schoolland’s “Leading Little Ones to God” (Eerdmans, 1981), William W. Menzies and Stanley M. Horton’s “Bible Doctrines: A Pentecostal Perspective” (Logion, 1993), and Wayne Grudem’s “Systematic Theology” (Zondervan, 1994). I made brief daily reports on our reading and discussion of “Systematic Theology” at https://opentheism.wordpress.com/category/systematic-theology/, and I plan to do the same with our reading and discussion of “God’s Plan for Man.” Wikipedia gives a brief account of the life and writings of Finis Jennings Dake at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Finis_Jennings_Dake, and Amazon.ca gives a brief description and customer reviews of “God’s Plan for Man” at https://www.amazon.ca/Gods-Plan-Man-Contained-Fifty-Two/dp/1558290265.
My reports will consist of brief summaries of what we read from “God’s Plan for Man” occasionally supplemented in square brackets by comments from our discussion or by me personally. Biblical quotations will be from the KJV, the version used by Dake, unless otherwise noted.

I. Importance of the Study of “God’s Plan for Man”

God’s Plan for Man covers all the ages and dispensations and all the important subjects of the Bible. [Dake defines “ages” and “dispensations” in section III, which we’ll read in the next two days.] Distinguishing the ages and dispensations enables one to harmonize the whole Bible and to realize God’s ultimate purpose with regard to man. Besides providing knowledge of the whole Bible in its 52 lessons, God’s Plan for Man provides a supplement after each pair of lessons that shows how to use the Bible in one’s daily life.

II. The Simplicity of the Plan of God for Man

Jesus attributed all error in understanding the Bible to lack of knowledge of it, answering his critics by saying, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God” (Matthew 22:29). [Actually Jesus just said that the Sadducees erred in questioning the resurrection, not that they erred in all things.]
Paul taught that hearing the Word of God is sufficient to cause a person to believe, saying, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:11-14, emphasis added; most modern versions end the passage with “Christ” instead of with “God”). [Actually the passage just affirms that hearing the Word of God is necessary for a person to believe, not that it is sufficient to cause a person to believe.]
Nearly ninety times in the New Testament an appeal is made to readers to believe what “is written,” as if everything was simple enough to understand. Jesus taught that it was only because of the willfulness of men not to believe that it was hard to understand (Matthew 13:9-17). Thus there is no excuse for anyone to misunderstand God’s Word if he will accept the Bible for what it says and consecrate himself to obey it. [Actually the passage just affirms that the willfulness of men is a reason that people don’t understand, not that it is the only reason that they don’t understand.]
“Let us proceed with our study with an open Bible, an open heart, and an open mind to all that God says, and be honest enough to lay aside old theories for the plain, literal, and simple Word of God on all points discussed” (Dake, page 3).

When I created Bob’s Corner I intended to use it to introduce open theism to my family and friends and so called it Open Theism. At that time I observed that it was not intended for advanced discussion of open theism or for arguments between supporters and opponents of open theism, other sites being available for both of those activities, and thus that I would approve the publication of only those comments that were made in a non-technical and friendly manner. Later I widened the blog’s content to include reports on my family’s after-breakfast and our Life group’s weekly Bible studies and changed its name to Bob’s Corner. However, although comments from followers of and visitors to Bob’s Corner are encouraged, I’ve kept the same restriction on them: I will approve the publication of only those comments that are made in a non-technical and friendly manner.