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A Reformation Prophecy

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“You are going to burn a goose, but in one hundred years you will have a swan which you can neither roast nor boil.”

These were some of the last words of John Huss, spoken in 1415 AD before he was swallowed by flames. Huss, whose name means “goose,” was a forerunner to the Reformation. Huss gained popularity as a preacher at Bethlehem Chapel in Prague, drawing thousands of people at a time to listen to his sermons. The community of believers who gathered to him was marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit. And the words of Huss provoked the imagination of the masses because they often confronted the status quo of unbiblical practices within the Roman Catholic Church. In particular, his opposition to the selling of indulgences crossed a line which led to his execution as a heretic.

In 1515, exactly one hundred years later, the prophecy of the Goose came true. This was the year in which a spiritually tormented monk, frightened by a vengeful God who sought to damn him, was assigned to teach the book of Romans at the new university in Wittenberg, Germany. Illuminated by God’s Spirit, Martin Luther realized that sinners could never be good enough to earn God’s approval, and instead God imputes his own righteousness to us through faith in his Son. Luther, now a priest and professor, was the Swan foretold by the Goose. Intriguingly, John Foxe, a historian from that era, tells us that Luther’s family coat of arms providentially displayed the image of a swan.

Naturally, Luther’s revelation led him, like Huss, to oppose the practice of selling indulgences, which had become a means of so-called penance by which believers could pay the Church in order to escape from purgatory. No! Christians did not need to suffer more for their sin after death. And you could not do anything to pay off God, since salvation comes as a free gift of grace and is received by faith alone. So on October 31, 1517, Luther nailed his 95 arguments against the selling of indulgences to the church door at Wittenberg. That was the eve of All Saints Day (i.e., Halloween), on which hordes of people would pay to gaze in adoration at the relics associated with dead saints, whose excess of good deeds supposedly made indulgences effective. Yet Luther’s act wasn’t intended to be particularly provocative. Posting to the church door was an accepted method of proposing points of debate among scholars. In fact, Luther wrote the points in Latin, not in German, because he simply sought an academic disputation. But the theses were soon taken, translated into German, and distributed with the help of the newly invented printing press. Nonetheless, increasingly, Luther came to welcome the controversy if it meant the glorification of the gospel.

Yet unlike the Goose, the Roman Catholic Church was never able to cook the Swan—though it certainly tried! As Luther later came to realize and proclaim, “We were all Hussites without knowing it.”

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A note about the authenticity of Huss’ prophecy: I often read scholars deny the veracity of Huss’ statement at his execution. Yet the more I investigate it, the more the evidence stacks up in its favor. And the more I suspect that some scholars are simply unwilling to believe that such an accurate prophecy could occur. Their bias is often rooted in their cessationist theology. At the risk of boring you, here is a brief list of reasons to believe its authenticity. Enough is provided for you to investigate it further if you wish.

  1. Luther himself believed the prophecy pertained to him. And he was much closer to the matter than we. Do not forget, Luther was a brilliant scholar and researcher who, for example, was well enough acquainted with historical records and the official documents of the Church to correct its own cardinals when they misquoted it ever so slightly. (Just look up the account of Luther’s argument with Cardinal Cajetan in 1518.) So I quote a statement made by Luther: “St. John Huss prophesied of me when he wrote from his prison in Bohemia, ‘They will roast a goose now (for “Huss” means “a goose”), but after a hundred years they will hear a swan sing, and him they will have to endure’” (Commentary on the Alleged Imperial Edict, 1531).
  2. Luther must have had access to some record of the prophecy that differed from the one used by John Foxe in the mid 1500’s, whose quotation is slightly different and who portrays these as words spoken during Huss’ execution rather than his imprisonment. This is the sort of minor inconsistency you would expect to find in separate witnesses of the same event. And they are easily reconciled by supposing that Luther is quoting one of the various letters we know that Huss wrote from prison, while Foxe is quoting Huss’ proclamation of the same prophecy at his execution.
  3. Foxe’s statement that Luther’s coat of arms displayed a swan is questionable. The only thing I have been able to uncover in this regard is the fact that Luther’s birthplace was Eisleban, whose coat of arms featured a set of white wings at various times in history.
  4. We have several letters written by Huss during his imprisonment. He often refers to himself as “the Goose,” just as his friends and students affectionately called him. Moreover, he extends this analogy by saying that even if the Goose is trapped by nets, he fully believed that one day “other birds, which by God’s word and by their lives soar to high places, will break their traps in pieces” (letter, October 1412). Huss envisions future reformers as other species of birds which Rome will not be able to entrap, precisely as the prophecy in question states regarding a swan.
  5. And there is a fascinating letter written by a companion of Huss informing the faithful about the situation of their leader, which concludes as follows: “Written at Constance the Saturday before Martinmas. The Goose is not yet cooked, and is not afraid of being cooked, because this year the noted eve of St. Martin’s falls on Saturday, when geese are not eaten!” (John Cardinalis, November 10, 1414). This is intriguing for two reasons. First, and most importantly, Huss and his company were already thinking in terms of “the Goose being cooked,” just as he later stated in the prophecy. This is a great testament to its authenticity. Second (and prepare enter the Twilight Zone), Huss was not to be executed at the time of the letter because it was Saturday and the Eve of St. Martin’s Day. The statement is cryptic, but perhaps we can guess at its meaning. Goose is the traditional cuisine for St. Martins Day and would be slaughtered the day before; but I wonder if “Saturday” (sabbato, lit. Sabbath) is an allusion to the Sabbatical Passover before which Christ had to be removed from the cross in order to keep the Sabbath holy. That is, it could be a nuanced way of saying, “Don’t worry, by the same logic the Council of Constance won’t execute Huss on the holiday or its eve.” Indeed, it would be half a year before Huss was burned at the stake. Whatever we make of the difficult phrase, in time Martin Luther would be born on St. Martin’s Eve (which is why he was named Martin). The irony, of which the writer could not possibly be aware, is baffling: even though Huss was a “goose,” he would not be slaughtered on St. Martin’s Eve when geese were normally slaughtered; yet the more famous St. Martin, born decades later on that very day, would in fact be the man prophesied by Huss to evade slaughter, being a swan and not a goose.

Your Bible is True and Reliable

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more than a good book

Recently, in our sermon series at City Bible Church, we discussed the trustworthiness of the Bible. Here are some links discussing a few of the illustrations and concepts mentioned in the sermon.

We talked about a few of the seeming contradictions or conflicts within Scripture. Our premise was that the Bible has no real contradictions within itself when it is thoroughly examined in its entire context. Here are a few books that deal specifically with some of these “problem areas” if you are interested in investigating them further.

  1. Hard Sayings of the Bible by Walter Kaiser Jr., et al.
  2. The Big Book of Bible Difficulties by Norman Geisler & Thomas Howe
  3. New International Encyclopedia of Bible Difficulties by Gleason Archer Jr.

We also discussed some of the major archaeological finds that support the historical accuracy of Scripture. Here are a few links to some of the examples from the sermon.

  1. This is an article from the Oregonian showing the archaeological evidence for the Biblical account of the fall of Jericho, as mentioned in the sermon.
  2. Here is an article on a recent discovery of a seal impressed with King Hezekiah’s signet. It is significant because the Bible says that Hezekiah was miraculously healed of a deadly illness; and the divine sign of his healing was the shadow cast by the sun going back several steps on a sort-of sundial. The seal comes from the time of Hezekiah, was found in the royal precinct, and has the Egyptian symbol for life with a sun rising on wings, as if to commemorate the event of the healing. It proves that not only was Hezekiah real (an otherwise well attested historical fact), but that the story surrounding his healing was not a fable to evolve long after his death, but comes from his lifetime.
  3.  Here is a link to the NIV Archaeological Study Bible, an illustrated resource focusing on historical and archaeological discoveries that confirm and illuminate the Biblical text.

In the message, we also briefly investigated the textual support for the Bible; that is, the manuscript evidence by which we trust that our English translations accurately represent the original writings.

  1. We considered the fact that we have thousands of very early New Testament manuscripts, produced astonishingly close to the writing of the original documents. If you are interested in how scholars weigh and compare these various manuscripts in order to come to a confident trust in the genuineness of the Bible as we have it today, Is My Bible the Inspired Word of God? by Edward Goodrick is a fascinating book. It is short and easy to read yet scholarly.
  2. We also mentioned a few recent discoveries that help confirm the trustworthiness of the Masoretic Text, the main manuscript we use to translate the Old Testament even though it is quite distant from the originals. Here is a link to a Christianity Today article on the Dead Sea Scrolls by Ed Stetzer. Although some significant differences are present (perhaps due to the separatist nature of the community responsible for them), these ancient manuscripts are quite early and are amazingly similar to the Masoretic Text, bolstering our trust in it.
  3. Here is an article on the En-Gedi Scroll, which was discussed in the sermon. This is a small charred scroll found in 1970 in a synagogue in Israel. It was an official scroll for reading on the Sabbath, meaning it was a respected and accurate copy. It dates to about 250 AD, which means it represents a very early tradition of the Hebrew Bible. In 2015, scholars made a CT scan of the scroll to discover its contents, since unrolling the charred remains would ruin it. Several paragraphs from the Leviticus have been deciphered so far, and every word is exactly identical to the Masoretic Text!
  4. Here is an article on the Silver Scrolls, which are two small silver amulets inscribed with a blessing from the book of Numbers. It dates to the 7th century BC, which is before the close of the Old Testament! Although the text from Numbers is abbreviated to fit on the scroll, the verbiage is identical to the Masoretic Text. The further back archaeology takes us, the more we end up trusting the reliable Old Testament manuscripts that have been preserved for us!

PBC Lecture on How We Got the Bible

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Here is a lecture from PBC professor Lanny Hubbard, taken from his course, Intro to Bible Study. In it Lanny explains the process of how the original texts of Scripture have been translated into English. In examining this process we can come to a greater trust that God has both inspired and preserved the Bible for us.

Video Tutorials for Logos Bible Software

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Here are the Logos video tutorials we have developed specifically for Intro to Bible Study, Bible Research and Hermeneutics. While there are plenty of good tutorials in Logos itself, and on the web, these videos take the time to explain how to use Logos to perform the tasks and assignments given in the PBC classes. The videos are password protected. If you have taken the classes at PBC, you should have been given a password. Contact Travis Arnold if you cannot access them.

  1. Getting Started in Logos – Set up Logos in a way that makes it easy to use for the required tasks ahead.
  2. Basic Search – Learn how to search your entire library for words, phrases, etc.
  3. Bible Search – Learn how to search your Bibles for words, phrases, etc.; and how to analyze the results
  4. Original Languages – Starting with the English Bible that you understand, learn how to find and read definitions of the Hebrew and Greek words being translated into English
  5. Finding Every Occurrence – Learn to search your Bible for Hebrew and Greek words (not just English words) in order to find every occurrence of a particular original-language word
  6. Bible Dictionaries – Learn how to access and use your Bible dictionaries and encyclopedias to study Bible people, places, things and themes
  7. Topical Studies – Learn how to use Nave’s Topical Bible to find pertinent Bible passages related to particular topics
  8. Character Studies – Learn how to use the skills acquired in the videos above to perform character studies according to the Portland Bible College model
  9. Mounce’s Expository Dictionary – Learn how to use “Mounce’s Complete Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words” to go deeper into the meaning and background of key Bible words (required for PBC word studies)
  10. Word Studies – Learn how to use the skills acquired in the videos above (and some new methods) to complete word studies according to the PBC model
  11. Morphology – Learn how to use reverse interlinears and the information window to access morphological information about a Hebrew or Greek word
  12. Comparative Mention – Learn different approaches to finding comparative passages using Logos

Seasons of the Spirit – New Book by Lanny Hubbard

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We’re thrilled to announce the release of a new book by professor Lanny Hubbard, entitled “Seasons of the Spirit”!  Highly respected as a teacher at Portland Bible College for the last 36 years, Lanny is known for awakening a passion in his students for the truth and relevance of the Bible in a down-to-earth, practical manner.  In his first published title, “Seasons of the Spirit” is a clear guidepost for us to consider the patterns and principles we see even in the natural seasons as a reflection for us to understand the seasons of our own lives following after God.

We couldn’t be more excited to let everyone know about this resource from Lanny that you’ll want to read yourself, and share with a friend.  If you’ve had the chance to sit in a Lanny class at PBC or benefit from his ministry in the past, you know what we mean!  Check out the following excerpt and share the social media links & photos with your friends, family, pastors and co-workers with at the bottom of the page.  We encourage you to get your copy today, available for Amazon Kindle (available to read on your computer, smartphone, tablet, or any Kindle device), and leave an Amazon review!

Congratulations, Lanny!


 

Excerpt from “Seasons of the Spirit”

 

Introduction

The Message That Is All Around Us 

“The seasons are what a symphony ought to be: Four perfect movements in harmony with each other.”

– Arthur Rubinstein

For many people, there is a mysterious beauty that comes with each season of the year. Winter brings the muffling blanket of snow that is accented with ice sculptures hanging from the boughs of the trees. Spring brings the first signs of new life that begin to appear. The heads of small flowers push their way up through the cold ground, making their colorful declaration that warmer times are soon to come. The weather patterns of spring often display drastic extremes, as the blankets of cold air clash with warmer ones. Summer is the time of lazy warm days interrupted with the flurry of harvest activity. The air is filled with the sound of harvesting machinery, and the barns are filled with the bounty of the crops. People’s bodies are tired, but their souls are blessed. And finally, fall comes. The brilliant display of fall color is the crescendo to life’s symphony that has played all year. The days gradually get cooler while the air is still filled with the smell of the vineyard and fall apples. Each season is distinct and some people are attracted to one season more than another, yet it takes all of them to form the whole mosaic of life.

 

The title of this book communicates the idea that just as there are seasons in the natural calendar, there are also seasons in the work of the Holy Spirit. There are set things that He does at specific times throughout the life Seasons-of-the-Spirit---Blog-Quote-Boxof every believer. These are not things that randomly take place in some haphazard way. They have as much of an order and purpose as do their natural counterparts. Because people often make no association between natural and spiritual things, they don’t look to natural things to help understand the spiritual significance of what they are going through. They lack a map to help them see where they are in the unfolding of the Spirit’s activity. Because of this, they can often misinterpret what is going on around them, and in turn they will inappropriately respond to it. They can even belittle the very things that are preparing them for greater blessing. They may miss a deeper work taking place simply because they don’t see signs of how their situation can end up being a blessing. As a result, they might end up complaining about what they should be rejoicing in. They value what is fleeting and ignore what has lasting benefit. This can all take place because they don’t understand the season of life they are in and learn to cooperate with it.

The purpose of this book is to help the readers become more aware of what is going on around them. They need to see how the events of life all work together in one large master plan that God has foreseen a long time ago (Romans 8:28; Ephesians 2:10). Each day has in it important ingredients which help to ensure that the overall plan is completed. The success of any person is greatly affected by being able to know the purpose of those ingredients. It is also important to know the order that the ingredients will come.”

(Read more in “Seasons of the Spirit” (c)2014 Lanny Hubbard)

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Paul’s Mysterious “Thorn in the Flesh”

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Here’s a lecture from my class, Pauline Epistles. It focuses on the closing chapters of 2 Corinthians, a book in which Paul says a lot about hardship and suffering. He doesn’t address all of the questions concerning the issue; but he does provide profound perspective on how God causes suffering to work for the best. He concludes with a description of his highly debated “thorn in the flesh.”

The Call of Moses

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Making of a Leader, Ps Frank


This Sunday at CBC, we observed in the life of Moses several lessons on our significance in Christ. In that vein, here is an excerpt from Pastor Frank Damazio’s book, The Making of a Leader, discussing the call of Moses. He provides a treasure trove of principles from Moses’ calling related to our identity in Christ. Pastor Frank’s focus, of course, is leadership; however, all believers will be encouraged by this message.


THE CALL OF MOSES

 Moses is one of the most interesting men of the Old Testament. Deuteronomy 34:10 states, “And there arose not a prophet since in Israel like unto the man Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face.” Moses was obviously a man with unique relationship with the Lord.

Hebrews 11:23 states, “By faith Moses, when he was born, was hid three months by his parents, because they saw he was a proper child, and they were not afraid of the king’s commandments.” Moses was born of faith. His parents had a living faith in the God of their fathers. We have the Old Testament account of this in Exodus 2:1-10. The verses immediately following do not tell us what transpired during the early years of the life of Moses. But with the help of Scripture and history, we can begin to understand a portion of what happened.

The Youth of Moses

Moses was adopted and raised in the house of the daughter of Pharaoh, which meant he lived in the royal household. Acts 7:22 states, “And Moses was learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians, and was mighty in words and deeds.” From this verse we see that Moses had all the education of the known world available while in the royal house of Pharaoh. Any university or tutoring scholar, as it were, would have deemed it a privilege to tutor the son of Pharaoh’s daughter.

Egypt was, at that time, one of the most productive and progressive countries of the known world, with educational achievements far above any other land. Their economic and social life, too, was highly developed. Even today, Egypt’s colossal pyramids, with their mathematical precision, confound the understanding of the most educated builders in the world. This was the environment in which Moses was raised from his youth.

The ancient Jewish historian Josephus gives one account of Moses which provides an insight into his power and ability. Josephus says that Ethiopian armies attacked, and were on the verge of inflicting a terrible defeat on Egypt. Moses, apparently, was appointed to go forth and command the armies of the Egyptians in an attempt to save the country from a disastrous downfall. Moses, reportedly lead the armies into battle and brought a great victory. If true, this account gives us a good glimpse at the man that Stephen described as “the man which was mighty in words and in deeds” (Acts 7:22).

As we look at the scriptures concerning Moses, it is evident that the Lord must have spoken to him something during the early years of his life. Hebrews 11:24-26 states, “By faith Moses, when he had grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.”

This reference makes it very clear that Moses faced a very difficult decision in life. He had to choose between royalty and peasantry. Moses had to choose between all of the wealth, power, influence and glory of Egypt and the slavery of his own people Israel. Would he identify with the royalty of Egypt or the bondage of his own people?

Hebrews 11:27 tells us that “By faith Moses forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king, for he endured, as seeing Him who is invisible.” Moses was at the age of forty when he made this life-changing decision. Moses’ decision challenged and changed his life, to say the least. In saving a Hebrew from a cruel beating, he slew the Egyptian who was beating him. This led Moses directly into a personal forty-year period of wilderness wanderings. Why would God use a wilderness to prepare a leader of His people? God’s ways are always different and sometimes opposite to man’s ways, especially when it comes to dealing with His servants.

The Stripping Process

A transition from the royal courts of Pharaoh to the backside of the desert would have been a drastic change for anyone. But God had a purpose in it for Moses’ development; God was going to put Moses through some years of divine stripping. Moses had been a long forty years in the courts of Pharaoh learning all of the wisdom, ways, power and tools of men. He had, in a sense, all of the academic degrees that Egypt could offer him. But the Lord God of Israel was not going to use these Egyptian methods to free His people from their bondage. God was going to strip Moses of all his Egyptian wisdom, and begin to mold him for a task that only God’s wisdom could accomplish through him.

For forty years, Moses was on the backside of the desert, where he shepherded his father-in-law’s sheep. He could not claim to possess so much as his own sheep. He was just a common herdsman of another man’s flock. In addition, Moses’ wife was just an ordinary woman of the desert. She was a far contrast from the royal young maidens that he could have married in Egypt. The question naturally arises at this point, “What was God’s purpose in all of this?” God was totally stripping the man whom he was going to use greatly.

The effectiveness of all of God’s strippings was very evident in the way that we see Moses respond to God’s call at a later time. As we shall soon see, Moses was stripped of self-confidence and Egyptian pride. These attitudes would have made it impossible for him to accomplish what God had called him to do. In the great task that Moses was going to face, he would need to know that God, not man, was the source of his strength. As with Moses, God has a desert for all of His servants that He is going to use in a mighty way. The stripping process is part of the plan of God for all who will respond to the call of the Lord. A leader dare not challenge God’s process of calling and preparation.

The Burning Bush

In Exodus 3:1-11, we read about the call of Moses. When he was called, Moses was on the backside of the desert. Moses was tending sheep in the dry desert, as any other day’s work would normally have required him to do. Exodus 3:2 states, “And the Angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a flame of fire out of the midst of the bush: and behold the bush burned with fire and the bush was not consumed.”

The fact that the bush was not consumed was the fascinating attraction that caused Moses to turn aside to see what this strange thing was. Exodus 3:4 states, “And when the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called unto him out of the midst of the bush and said, ‘Moses, Moses.’ And Moses said, ‘Here am I.’ ” When God revealed himself to Moses out of the burning bush, He told Moses to draw near so that He might speak to him.

The Lord told Moses His plan to deliver the children of Israel out of their Egyptian bondage. God told Moses how the children of Israel were in great distress, affliction and mourning because of their Egyptian taskmasters. Because Moses already understood the sad plight of the children of Israel, he did not hesitate to agree with the Lord that Israel greatly needed help. Moses’ agreement with the Lord showed that he had a definite burden for his people. Read More