Friday, May 17, 2013

Can the Devil read your thoughts?

Satanic Mind Control
Can the Devil Read Your Thoughts?
Dr. Paul Manuel—2009

How much influence does Satan have on your life? Does he, for example, have the power to know your thoughts? We read in the gospels about Jesus' knowing people's thoughts, can Satan do this too? Why does your mind "wander and go astray" when you pray? How is it that you can maintain your concentration when reading the newspaper or a secular book but grow drowsy as soon as you start reading your Bible? At the heart of these various questions are two concerns about the human thought process, the first of which is...

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Angel of the Lord

The Angel of the Lord1
Dr. Paul Manuel—1995

Of the various topics in any survey of theology, the study of angels is one of the most popular. People are fascinated by the prospect of other beings who exist outside the physical realm yet who occasionally enter our world and even interact with us.2 The Bible records several examples of such interaction and only rarely identifies the angel involved. In most cases, he remains unnamed.3 This session we will look at a few Old Testament passages in which the biblical writers call an angelic visitor "the angel of the LORD." Is he, as some think, a pre-incarnate manifestation of Christ (i.e., Christophany; so Baron 1918:23; Feinberg 1979:23; Leupold 1942 1:500-501; Morris 1976:330,370; Wood 1975:231,n.12)?4

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Theology Series Chapter 5: Angels

Chapter V: Angelology
Dr. Paul Manuel—2013

Having considered the three persons of the godhead in A Reader's Digest Approach to Theology, we proceed down the cosmic hierarchy to study angels.

Quiz: What Do You Know About Angels?
  1. What is the theological term for the study of angels? Angelology.
  2. What does the word "angel" mean? Both Hebrew (mal'ak) and Greek (anggelos) terms mean "messenger."
  3. T/F: Angels have wings. False (in the narrow sense of the term): Seraphs and cherubs have wings; angels, proper, do not, although they do fly.1
  4. T/F: When people die, they become angels. False: They become "like the angels" (Matt 22:30) but do not become angels.2
  5. T/F: Israel was the only Ancient Near East (ANE) people with a belief in angels. False: A stele depicts angels flying over the Sumerian king Ur-Nammus while he prays (c. 2250).
  6. T/F: Angels always appear in the Bible as adult males, never as females or children. True.3
  7. T/F: Daniel is the only Old Testament (OT) book that names angels. True (See answer to the next question).
  8. Who are the angels Protestant scriptures name? Gabriel and Michael.4
  9. T/F: "The angel of the LORD" is Christ. False (See Excursus 1: The Angel of the LORD).
  10. What is the main goal of evil angels? To thwart God's purpose by opposing God's people.5
  11. Who controls the activities of evil angels? Satan partially (immediately) but God ultimately (mediately).6
  12. T/F: Angels play harps. False: This notion seems to have arisen from a misunderstanding of passages in Revelation where elders have harps and where some believers have harps (Mounce 1977:146).7
  13. T/F: Angels are musical. True: They sing and play instruments.8
  14. What extra-biblical book has the most information about angels? 1 Enoch, where the author attributes sin to angelic intercourse with human women and identifies six good angels by name.9
[The end notes can be found in the linked pdf]

A father's instruction

A Father's Instruction

Proverbs 3:1-12
Dr. Paul Manuel—2012

For many young men, the prospect of fatherhood can be daunting, even overwhelming.
Three expectant fathers were in the waiting room of the maternity ward. The delivery nurse came in and spoke to the first man, "Congratulations, your wife just gave birth to twins!" "Amazing," he replied, "I work for 'The Twin Pines Motel!" A little later the same nurse returned and spoke to the second man, "Congratulations, your wife just had triplets!" "What a coincidence," he replied, "I work for AAA!" At this, the third man was on his feet. "I'm out of here," he said.... "I work for Seven Up!"
The prospect of fatherhood can be daunting, even overwhelming. Solomon, who also had a very large family,1 offers some help, though, in his recounting of A Father's Instruction.

The Book of Proverbs is a collection of sayings from the sages, and chapters 1-7 take the form of instruction from a father to his son.2 Much of it is in praise of wisdom and represents an attempt to impart the experiences and values of one generation to the next. Please turn to Prov 3, which indicates what fathers should value for themselves, by adopting several defining principles in their own lives, and what they should then convey to their children.

The worthy wife

The Worthy Wife

Proverbs 31:10-31
Dr. Paul Manuel—2012

In a family, mothers are often the embodiment of practical wisdom, more than their children, even their adult children, always recognize.
Jim had been trying to get his mother to fly out for a visit. "No way am I getting on an airplane," she would reply. "Look, Mom," Jim said, trying to calm her fears, "When it's your time to go, it doesn't matter if you're on the ground or in the air." "I know," she said. "I just don't want to be that far off the ground...when it's the pilot's time to go."
Mothers are the embodiment of practical wisdom, more than their children, even their adult children, always recognize. The message this morning is from the wisdom literature of the Bible, specifically Prov 31, which is not just about mothers but about wives in general and, indeed, has relevance for all women as it describes the experience of The Worthy Wife.

There are two ways we could approach this passage. One is to comment on how much work this poor woman has to do: She sews, she cooks, she labors in the field, she gets up early in the morning and stays up late at night, all this while her husband is out having a good time with the guys. That is not, of course, how we should understand the passage. The biblical writer is not giving a grocery list of all this woman has to do but is telling all this woman is able to do. She is both capable and responsible. Moreover, if we look carefully at the text, we will see not merely this woman's numerous duties but her broad authority. In many ways, this is not only a description of the ideal mate, it is a picture of the ideal marriage. The author begins his description of this woman by speaking about...