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John Calvin puts forward a very simple reason why love is the greatest gift: “Because faith and hope are our own: love is diffused among others.” In other words, faith and hope benefit the possessor, but love always benefits another. In John 13:34–35 Jesus says, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” Love always requires an “other” as an object; love cannot remain within itself, and that is part of what makes love the greatest gift.

Grafted Branch

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About Grafted Branch


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  1. Grafted Branch

    Are there any TV preachers that you watch?

    Something I do when listening to preachers on T.V. or elsewhere is to think about how I would preach that sermon if it were me, even though I’m not qualified to be a preacher. When I hear an interpretation or doctrine that I disagree with I try to find areas of the scriptures they left out or maybe some verses they associated with each other that shouldn’t have been. This way I can sharpen my skills of knowing what to say when discussing biblical topics with others and I sometimes do have to adjust my own thinking. I still think it’s best to listen to preaching that’s close to your own beliefs but that’s not always possible.
  2. Grafted Branch

    The abomination of desolation

    If anyone is interested there is one other point that I think I should have included in the original post. In Daniel 9:27 he shall confirm the covenant with many for 1 seven. I equate this confirming of the covenant with the going forth of the gospel. Jesus starts preaching in Matthew 4:17. I think there are 30 days in between this and John 1:29 where he is declared to be the Lamb of God. This puts the abomination of desolation at the exact middle of the last seven. The veil being torn and sacrifices ceased would be several days prior to this but still could be considered the midst of the seven. This would then allow for the 42 months of the Gentiles treading down Jerusalem to complete the last seven. This would also line up with Matthew 24:14 where it states this gospel shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.
  3. Grafted Branch

    The abomination of desolation

    Your answer seems to be irrational. You have identified the abomination of desolation as taking place in the middle of the 70th week. Using simple arithmetic anyone can place the 1290 days prior to the abomination and 45 days after it. Why can’t you understand Daniel 12:11-12? If your understanding of the abomination of desolation prevents this then your view on this matter must be discounted. I think your view simply can’t come up with a reasonable explanation for these verses. You seem to put a lot of emphasis on the early church fathers, what did they say specifically about Daniel 12:11-12? You again have avoided the problem of no one knowing the day or hour. Using Daniel 9:26 and your own interpretation it is possible to know when Messiah comes. A commandment will be issued to rebuild Jerusalem and exactly 69 weeks later Messiah comes. How do you explain this?
  4. Grafted Branch

    The abomination of desolation

    I’m not sure you understand my position on this subject. We are currently in the tribulation period in Matthew 24:21. I’m not trying to escape the fact that immediately after this tribulation the sun will be darkened, the moon will not give its light, and the stars fall from heaven. I agree these events happen this way. It can be considered a great tribulation because of the fact that it is lasting 2000 years and it will never be repeated again. I would like to rephrase my questions. 1. I understand you place Daniel 12:11-12 as a future event. How does the number of days specifically fit into the tribulation period? 2. It appears you place all 70 sevens in Daniel 9:24 as future events, is this correct? If so then how do you explain Daniel 9:25 where it says from the going forth of the commandment to restore and build Jerusalem unto Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks? If these are literal weeks then people can know the day and possibly the hour of Christ’s coming. In Matthew 24:36 it states of that day and hour knoweth no man.
  5. Grafted Branch

    The abomination of desolation

    I did address Matthew 24:29 and my view is that we are still in the tribulation period which is prior to the signs in the sun, moon, and stars. In my opinion part of this tribulation is Israel being blind in part until the fullness of the Gentiles. Matthew 24:30 hasn’t occurred yet. The tribulation hasn’t been fulfilled, that happens when the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. I have 2 questions for you. 1. If the abomination of desolation is still future how is Daniel 12:11-12 interpreted? There are 1290 days from the time the daily is taken away and the abomination of desolation is set up. 2. If the tribulation starts with the signing of a 7 year treaty then people can know from that point forward the day and possibly the hour of Christ’s coming. If the days are shortened and this prevents knowing that day, then the full 70 sevens that were determined in Daniel 9:24 won’t be fulfilled. How do you solve this conflict?
  6. Grafted Branch

    The abomination of desolation

    I attribute the accounts of the abomination of desolation in Daniel 11:31 and the transgression of desolation in Daniel 8:13 to Antiochus Epiphanies. There certainly seems to be similarities to the Antichrist or Satan himself but because of the context of the verses surrounding them I place them as occurring prior to Christ’s birth. In Daniel 12:11-12 the daily shall be taken away, that is the necessity to provide the daily sacrifices as outlined in Exodus 29:38-39 which was 2 lambs, 1 in the morning and 1 in the evening. The point at which this occurred is in John 1:29 where Jesus was declared to be the lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. There are 1290 days until the abomination that maketh desolate is set up. The first sacrifice made after the veil of the temple was torn in two would be considered an abomination. In Matthew 27:51 along with the veil being torn there was an earthquake and the rocks rent. I think the altar used to make the sacrifices was broken down. In Matthew 24:15 the abomination is standing in the holy place, this is the altar being put back up and sacrifices resumed. Blessed is he that waiteth and cometh to the 1335 days. This is Pentecost and is recorded in Acts 2. The difference between 1290 and 1335 is 45 days, it would’ve taken some time to put the temple back in order and resume sacrifices after the veil was torn and the earthquake. In Daniel 9:26-27 Messiah is cut off after 62 weeks or sevens. This implies that the event of the cross happens during the next seven. In the midst of the seven he shall cause the sacrifice and oblation to cease. This is the veil being torn in two and the earthquake. I think this caused the sacrifices to physically cease for a short period of time. If the 70 sevens in Daniel 9:24 are continuous and there isn’t a parenthetical time period in between the 69th seven and 70th seven then a problem arises. If the 69 sevens are actual years and up to the 3 1/2 mark of the last seven are actual years (the event of the cross) then why is Jerusalem destroyed in A.D.70 and not sooner? The Olivet Discourse In Matthew 24:29 it states that the sun will be darkened, the moon shall not give light and the stars shall fall from heaven, immediately after the tribulation of those days. Luke 21:24 has the Gentiles treading down Jerusalem until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled, this happens before the event of the signs in the sun, moon, and stars. In Revelation 11:2 Gentiles tread the holy city under foot for 42 months. If the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D.70 is the event in Luke 21:20 and if this event would’ve happened at the same time as the abomination of desolation, then after 42 months of the Gentiles treading down Jerusalem the signs in the sun,moon, and stars would come to pass. This would line up with the 70 sevens determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city in Daniel 9:24 and all the years could be viewed as actual, continuous years. We know these events didn’t happen this way. Matthew 24 and Mark 13 both record the statement except those days be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days will be shortened. Luke 21:22 states that these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled. In Isaiah 53:10, which is speaking of Christ, it states “when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days”. By implication if the days of vengeance are shortened then the days without vengeance will be prolonged. The statement that the days will be shortened isn’t recorded in Luke and I think the days being prolonged have been incorporated into it. I think this is why the account in Luke doesn’t use the term “abomination of desolation” but says “when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies” and also includes Jerusalem being trodden down of the Gentiles. 2 Peter 3:8-9 (which in all likelihood was written before A.D.70) seems to address this very subject when it states “the Lord is not slack concerning his promise”. I think the “long suffering to us-ward” is to be equated with the shortening of the days of vengeance and “not willing that any should perish” is to be equated with the sake of the elect. If we are currently in the last 3 1/2 year period then there must still be some kind of tribulation. I think this tribulation is the fact that Israel is blind in part until the fullness of the Gentiles comes in. Matthew 24:34 states that this generation shall not pass, until all these things be fulfilled. In Matthew 1:17 there are 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile to Babylon, and 14 from the exile to Babylon to Christ. In Luke 1:32-33 Christ is given the throne of David and reigns forever. If the generations are viewed as time periods during certain individual’s lives and Christ lives and reigns forever then this statement can be referring to many human generations.
  7. Grafted Branch

    The shape of new Jerusalem

    I heard a somewhat liberal preacher say the shape of the new Jerusalem in Revelation 21:16 will be pyramid shaped. He tried to link it to the Israelites getting this shape from God and when they were slaves in Egypt they designed the pyramids. I didn’t believe much of what he said but it did get me to think. New Jerusalem could be a sphere if you consider the earth is sometimes depicted as having 4 corners, it could also be X or cross shaped. In fact there could be a number of different shapes depending on how “foursquare” is interpreted and how it’s measured. Just thought I’d share this as I had only thought of it as a box.
  8. Grafted Branch

    Temple sacrifices during the tribulation

    After reading the article you linked me to multiple times and thinking about it I would like to say it seems to be a very well thought out and has given me some insight. I think it correctly points out some of the issues with the “the memorial view” and I would encourage anyone who holds that view to carefully examine the article. An observation I have made that wasn’t brought up in the article is the free will issue during the millennial reign. The knowledge of good and evil would have to be present during the millennial reign or people wouldn’t be able to distinguish between when they were ceremonially clean or not. Adam and Eve didn’t know their physical condition or that they were naked until they had this knowledge. If people were to choose evil during the millennial reign then it wouldn’t seem to be much different than our current condition. So if people do retain the knowledge of good and evil in the millennium but can’t consciously make a decision between good and evil then there isn’t any free will. Currently someone who believes in election might say there is a choice but no one can choose Christ because we are dead in our trespasses and sin. In the millennium someone might say there is a choice but no one can choose sin because we are made alive in Christ. Does this appear to be a fair observation when looking at the article you linked me to?
  9. Grafted Branch

    Revelation 11 and the two witnesses

    You’ve made some very good points and I don’t find anything that greatly different than what I believe myself. The main reason I still think the 2 witnesses are Old Testament Israel is because the measurement taken in Revelation 11:1-2 doesn’t include Gentiles, they are left out. You are definitely correct that currently there is no difference between Jew and Gentile but there was a difference in the Old Testament. Gentiles were not given the word of God during the Old Testament times. An example of how understanding this difference can give a deeper meaning on other scriptures is in Judges 6:36-40. The fleece represents Israel because fleece is cut off the lamb and the Messiah is cut off. The dew is the word of God and the ground is Gentiles or the rest of the earth. The first sign was the fleece was wet but the ground was dry (Old Testament time period). The second sign was the fleece was dry (Israel is blind in part until the fullness of the Gentiles) and the ground was wet (current time period). The events that take place after these 2 time periods in Judges 7 show some definite parallels to the tribulation. I personally wouldn’t have seen these things without first understanding this difference. I know there are people who don’t see any difference or as some call it a dispensation. I am not trying to find these differences in time periods but if they are evident to me I don’t try to cover over them either.
  10. Grafted Branch

    Temple sacrifices during the tribulation

    Thanks for the link, it does provide some points that I had not considered.
  11. There’s a common belief that the temple and sacrifices will resume in Jerusalem. This happens at or close to the 7 year peace treaty. Half way through at 3 1/2 years the abomination of desolation occurs and the Jews flee into the wilderness where a place is prepared for them for a time, times, and half a time. These Jews are viewed as saved people. The major issue with this belief is that the animal sacrifices in the past were pointing to Christ being the perfect and complete sacrifice. Christ only dies once for our sins. All people past, present, and future that are saved are done so by this one act of Christ paying for their sins, no matter if they fully understood it or not. During the tribulation people who make animal sacrifices to atone for their sins are essentially denying that Christ has already done this. These people therefore can’t be saved, at least at this point, because they are denying Christ. If people do flee at the 3 1/2 year time period and aren’t killed, that fact doesn’t mean they’re saved either. I think many people will try to assimilate into becoming Jews and deny Christ in the process during the tribulation. Does anyone find a reason why animal sacrifices would be beneficial, other than to deceive, during the tribulation? Or have any other thoughts on this.
  12. Grafted Branch

    A question for Amillennialist

    You have a very unique view on this topic. I still can’t completely see how it all fits together. I would have liked to seen some of the points made stated earlier on as I wouldn’t want someone examining the discussion we had to think they see “handyman hermeneutics” (a frequent remodeling of ones interpretation in an attempt to make oneself look better). We have a wide margin between us on this subject. I think it’s probably best to let the statements we’ve made stand on their own merit.
  13. Grafted Branch

    A question for Amillennialist

    You have indicated that the 144,000 are likely Jews only with the fathers name written on their forehead. You have associated Christians with having the fathers name written on their forehead. It seems you don’t have any issues when Jews are associated with Christians here. When I associated Matthew 21:12 to Revelation 13:17 you told me “no” because of the very difference you had no trouble with in making your point. Do you have an explanation for your inconsistency?
  14. Grafted Branch

    A question for Amillennialist

    So let’s go with the fact that all will receive the mark of the beast. This seams to imply that no one on earth is saved at this point. Would it then be futile for Jews to flee at the midpoint of the tribulation? Don’t some people make it to the end? I have to ask this question again what will happen to someone’s soul who isn’t martyred but dies of a heart attack or some other cause? Do you advise people to seek martyrdom if they are in the tribulation? I’m not quite sure I understand what your saying about symbolically cutting off the fathers name as representing the beheaded souls. Are you stating that the believers are to be viewed as the body and the unbelievers as the head?
  15. Grafted Branch

    A question for Amillennialist

    I’m not sure if your understanding my view on Revelation 20:4. I see the souls as spiritual and the fact that they are beheaded as spiritual. Therefore the statement that they are beheaded for the witness of Jesus is referring the spiritual beheading or the Messiah being cut off and has nothing to do with how they physically died on earth. The fact that John can see that they are beheaded and that they have not received the mark of the beast by seeing only their souls and not their physical bodies tells me that all these things are to be viewed spiritually. If you still need something more about how someone can die spiritually (not physically) for the witness of Jesus examine Romans 6:11. I don’t think we are going to find common ground in regards to whether the mark of the beast is physical or spiritual. I think where we place Revelation 20:4-5 in the scriptures will be sufficient enough to answer that.

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