Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Visiting Dr Francis Nigel Lee (Just Before He Died)


It was four years ago today (23 December 2015) that Dr Francis Nigel Lee, my old college professor, died of Motor Neurons Disease, or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

The following are a couple of emails I sent to Nordskog Publishing Inc. regarding Dr Lee’s rapidly deterioration health.

I post them in Dr Lee’s memory…

 

Hi,

I spent over an hour with Dr Lee this morning (21 September 2011). I informed him that you all were praying for him, which he appreciates. He entered the room (where Dr Lee’s wife had sat me down) with a shuffling gait and in quiet and slightly slurry tones wished me a good morning. He has trouble speaking and it tires him.

He had tears in his eyes, probably on account of and in response to the tears that had begun welling up in my eyes, as he told me (upon my asking) about his present condition and its dreadful prognosis. Two years! He has been seen by the head specialist in this field in Australasia.

I tried to be upbeat and thanked him for guiding me along the rock-solid path of Calvinism and the Reformed Faith. We spoke of the good times during my college years. We had a laugh. I reminded him of the time he used to (to the consternation of a couple of the students!) bring a nun (habit and all!) along to hear him whenever he preached at the college chapel. Little things like this spoke volumes to me as he taught me (by word and by example) how to handle the Sword of the Spirit.

Yes, he remains strong in the Lord and with his wife Nellie is trusting Him – come what may.

Another minister and his wife (who I know) showed up about twenty minutes or so after I had arrived. He was Dr Lee’s minister till a couple of years or so ago – before he (the minister) moved on. We ended our time together with the minister praying. He covered everything I would have prayed for.  

Also, Dr Lee has difficulty getting heavy books off shelves etc. So, he is grateful for the help he is getting with the citation references for his upcoming e-book “Certain Victory.” He seems to regard his “Early Genesis” as his magnum opus and would love to see it published.

Neil.

 

Hi,

I visited Dr Lee this morning (26 October 2011). It had been just over a month since my last one. His condition has deteriorated. He was in bed, though he does manage (with help) to rise and have breakfast and also sit for a spell at his computer by, with, and through which he communicates best.

His wife, Nellie, manhandled him so that he could face me, then she left us alone in the bedroom. He is receiving therapy for it, but his speech was very difficult for me to understand. His throat, he says, feels very dry.

We talked for about fifteen minutes, with me doing most of it. I remarked about the repair job that he had just recently done to his front path. I commented on the spider and her web that she had spun across the garden path to his door. I reminded him that he used talk fondly of the (this?) spider and her web when he taught us at theological college. He used the critter to illustrate industriousness and (Brucian) perseverance.

We talked about his medical condition which he says will progressively worsen. I was talking to Nellie afterwards and she said that they were getting a wheelchair for Dr Lee, but were having trouble knowing which type to get as Dr Lee’s condition seems to be worsening so rapidly.

Before I prayed for Dr Lee I mentioned that Jerry (Nordskog) was reminiscing in an email to me about the two different times Dr Lee was speaking in California at functions Jerry was involved with. I told him that the “Nordskog Publishing Team” was praying for him and that Judge Roy Moore was praying for him, as were (my brother) Fearghas and many others. At this point he moved his arms slightly above his head and with tears he said, “I am not worthy!” at which point I told him (with tears streaming down my cheeks) that he had impacted for good so many thousands of lives, myself being one – that his Christian material was disseminating all over the Internet.

I thanked him for his Christian diligence, his faithfulness, and all his hard work. I told him that I loved him in the Lord. I prayed for him, thanking God for His grace, mercy, and compassion shown towards sinners such as us in our Master, Jesus Christ, and for the gifts that He has given Dr Lee. I focussed on the New Heavens and New Earth and our future resurrection, our new bodies and our Saviour dwelling bodily in our midst on the New Earth – the time of no more tears, nor pain, nor sorrow, nor death. When I was finished Dr Lee insisted that he would pray for me. I understood him to be thanking God for me and asking Him to bless me.

Before leaving I spoke to Nellie. I asked her how she was coping. She was upbeat and glorified God. I departed and had a good solid manly cry in the privacy of my car on the thirty minute drive home.

What a great yet humble man God has given us in Dr Lee!

Neil  

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Books/Words/Language


Books/Words/Language

 For those growing up in Scotland it is hard not to gain an interest in words and language. For me at school there was a clear disconnect between the language we spoke on the playground and what was being taught in the classroom! Some of our Scottish words had similar counterparts in English, e.g., hauns/hands, heid/head, windae/window, claes/clothes, baw/ball etc. However, glaikit, dreich, wabbit and such like words had a life of their own! Anyway, early on we got to operate in two languages. Those who had the Gaelic had the blessing of having three languages to play around with. And some Gaelic words such as stoor and oose were in common use. Therefore, three main languages are used by Scots, viz., Lallans (or versions thereof), Gaelic and ubiquitous English. Mind you, living in Australia I try hard to select only those words from my vocabulary that will be easily understood by the average Aussie!

Sixty six books make up the one Book called the Bible. It was written using two main languages, viz., Hebrew and Koine Greek. A third language called Aramaic, which is similar to Hebrew, is used sparingly. The King James’ Version of the Bible, depending on how counted, apparently has somewhere near 800,000 words in it! When I developed an interest in the Bible in my early thirties I had difficulty understanding the archaic language of the King James’ Version. With it in one hand and a dictionary in the other I soldiered on. Subsequently I got converted to Christianity through reading the Bible with the aid of a dictionary! However, ‘thy’, ‘thee’, ‘thou’ and ‘thine’ had been incomprehensible to me, as were words such as ‘sith’, ‘art’ and ‘gird’, not to mention ‘wherefore’. It was only afterwards that I discovered that there were contemporary translations of the Bible, such as the New King James Version and the New International Version! O well.

The Bible claims to be the written Word of God (2 Timothy 3:16). Therefore, as such it needs to be translated into the common language of the people so that everyone can read/hear it. My favourite book is the Bible, but King Jamesian English is not exactly a common language nowadays! Therefore, my favourite is the New King James Version which uses contemporary language and words. My favourite books of the Bible tend to be the ‘Wisdom Literature’ such as the Book of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon. However, I also love the Psalms and the Book of Isaiah. I try to read the whole Bible cover to cover at least once a year, not forgetting to have a go at the Old Testament Hebrew and the New Testament Greek!

Jesus is the key to understanding the Bible. He is the Word who became flesh. He is the language by which God speaks to us. Just as He is the filter through which our prayers ascend to God in Heaven so Jesus is the interpreter of what God says to us through Scripture. He is the Bible’s decoding mechanism! He is the great unscrambler of Scripture! The Bible did not make much sense to me before I was converted. However, after I encountered the Jesus revealed therein it began making complete sense!

God delights in speaking to you in your own language. Therefore, if you haven’t already done so, why not avail yourself of a suitable version of the Bible? There are Lallans and Gaelic versions. There is even a Glaswegian as well as an Aussie version of the New Testament!      

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

This Is My Body "Broken"


This is My Body “Broken”?

I have been reading through the New International Version of the Bible cover to cover. It reads a little differently to the New King James Version which has been my favourite version for over twenty years. It is not until you reach the New Testament that you begin to see that there are some perhaps minor discrepancies between the two versions. This is on account of the NIV using different source materials for its textual basis. To study the differences in Bible texts is to enter into the realm scholarly disputes!

I would like to pick up on just one little, but not insignificant, NIV variant text regarding its omission of the word “broken” in 1 Corinthians 11:24, i.e., where Jesus says, “This is My body which is ‘broken’ for you...”  Christ is of course “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world...” John 1:29. And of course the Passover lamb represented Him – of which lamb Scripture says, “They shall leave none of it until morning, nor break one of its bones.” Numbers 9:12. It is very true that none of Jesus’ bones were broken when He was crucified as The Lamb of God – as per John 19:36, “These things happened so that the scripture would be fulfilled: ‘Not one of his bones will be broken.'” NIV. “For these things were done that the Scripture should be fulfilled, ‘Not one of His bones shall be broken.’” NKJV. Case closed? Well...

Personally I do not think there is any contradiction in the use of the word “broken” in 1 Corinthians 11:24 verse as per NKJV, viz., “This is My body which is broken for you...” Here is my reasoning: The New Testament Greek word for “broken” here (klah-o), e.g., according to the New Strong’s Concordance means “to break (esp. of bread): -break.” No great mystery there! However, the point is that the word Jesus used (according to Paul) has reference to the breaking of bread.

Carefully compare Jesus instituting the Lord's Supper, “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, broke it, and gave it to His disciples, saying, ‘Take and eat; this is my body.’” Matthew 26:26 NIV. (cf. Mark 14:22; Luke 22:19). Notice that Jesus is showing His disciples broken bread while telling them that it is His body, i.e., the broken bread is referring to and/or is symbolizing His body. (No need to enter into discussion about Transubstantiation at this point!) But simply put: The broken bread equals Christ's broken body. 

Also, Christ is “our covenant” (e.g., Isaiah 42:6; 49:8; Matthew 26:28; Mark 14:24). The Lord’s Supper is the covenant meal. The breaking of the bread reminds us that God “made a covenant” with Abraham, the “Father of the Faithful”, (Genesis 15:18; Romans 4:11). “And it came to pass, when the sun went down and it was dark, that behold, there appeared a smoking oven and a burning torch that passed between those pieces [ie., the “broken” animal carcasses]. On the same day the LORD made a covenant with Abram.” Genesis 15:17-18; cf., Jeremiah 34:18.

Also, the Isaiah 52 and 53 verses clearly refer to Jesus, “His appearance was so *disfigured* beyond that of any man, and His form *marred* beyond human likeness.” Isaiah 52:14 NIV; “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was *crushed* for our iniquities...” Isaiah 53:5 NIV. “Yet it was the Lord’s will to *crush* Him...” Isaiah 53:10 NIV. Note the words “disfigured”, “marred”, “crushed”, and “crush”! Clearly Scripture seems happy enough to use terms that would seem to suggest broken bones even though technically none of His bones were broken!

Before His crucifixion Jesus was “scourged” (John 19:1) and had a crown of thorns placed on His head no doubt causing His head to bleed (Matthew 27:29; Mark 15:17; John 19:2; 5). He was struck on the head (Matthew 27:30; Mark 14:65; 15:19; John 19:2-3). At His crucifixion He had nails driven through His hands and feet and a spear thrust into His side (John 19:1;34; 20:27, cf., Isaiah 49:16a; Luke 24:39-40). “All My bones are out of joint … They have pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones.” Psalm 22:14b;16b-17a.

Bottom line? I've always been happy enough to accept the word “broken” as used by Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:24 (i.e., the Lord’s Supper passage) to mean that Christ, the perfect Lamb of God, had His body bruised, battered and killed for my iniquities, though none of His bones were actually broken. Scripture attests to that. And thus He was holocausted by God as He poured out His fiery wrath on His only begotten Son, as pictured by the Passover Lamb “roasted in fire” in Old Testament times, (e.g., Exodus 12:9). Indeed, “For Christ, our Passover lamb, has been sacrificed.” 1 Corinthians 5:7 NIV.

Just leave the word “broken” alone! It speaks volumes of what my Saviour did for me. Well NIV, “If it ain’t “broken”, don’t fix it!”