February 2020

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Things we Don’t Know we Don’t Know

Top ImageThe statement that “There are things we don’t know we don’t know” is attributed to Donald Rumsfeld, the Secretary of Defence in the George W Bush administration. It has become so well known that it now has an entry in the Urban Dictionary, but folk have attributed several different meanings to it. The honourable Rumsfeld used it when trying to describe the complexity of state intelligence, but I have something else entirely in mind.

What People Knew… then

The Lord Jesus walked on Earth two thousand years ago and interacted with people mostly from Jewish religious and cultural backgrounds. Many of the things He said and did must have been easily understandable to them, but to us, they are often ambiguous and mysterious. We just do not know the cultural and religious contexts of some of the things He said or the acts He performed: we don’t know what we don’t know. This is why we need to research and inform ourselves so that we can discern the first intended meaning. We need to ask and answer the question, ‘what did the people of that day understand by this?’

A Jesus-centred Example

The best way for me to explain what I mean is to give a concrete example. A few days ago, I was reading the account in John Chapter Six of how Jesus fed 5,000 men, and who knows how many women and children, with just five small barley loaves and two tiny fish. They all ate their fill and the disciples gathered up 12 baskets full of bread left-overs. Then verses 14 and 15 record that, ‘After the people saw the miraculous sign that Jesus did, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, withdrew again to a mountain by himself’.

Who was The Prophet?

Now why, I asked myself, would they think that Jesus was ‘the Prophet who is to come into the world’? Most commentaries skip over this, but some tell us that the Rabbis pointed out that Moses had promised that a great saviour would arise in Israel. His exact words were: “The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your own brothers. You must listen to him” (Deuteronomy 18:15). Well, OK, but why would the people associate the miracle of multiplied bread with Moses’s statement?

Bread from Heaven

When Moses was leading the people through the wilderness, God had said to him that He Himself would feed the people and the very next morning the Manna appeared on the ground (Exodus 16:11-16). In the same chapter of John’s Gospel that I was reading, Jesus referred to this miraculous provision and told His audience that, “it is not Moses who has given you the bread from heaven, but it is my Father who gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is he who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world… I am the bread of life” (John 6:32-35).

Something Still Missing

So far so good, but something was missing for me and I had the nagging feeling that I still didn’t know what I didn’t know. Probably the best-known prophet in Israel was Elijah, but there was one other who trumped his great ministry, Elisha the great man’s assistant and successor and the man who did twice as many miracles as Elijah (Double Anointing). So, I scanned through the biblical account of his life and works until I came to 2 Kings 4:42-44, which reads:

‘A man came from Baal Shalishah, bringing the man of God twenty loaves of barley bread baked from the first ripe grain, along with some heads of new grain. “Give it to the people to eat,” Elisha said.  “How can I set this before a hundred men?” his servant asked. But Elisha answered, “Give it to the people to eat. For this is what the Lord says: ‘They will eat and have some left over.'” Then he set it before them, and they ate and had some left over, according to the word of the Lord’.

A Light-bulb Moment

Ah-ha! A light-bulb moment! So, the people of Jesus’ day would have seen Him performing a miraculous sign similar to but greater than Elisha’s. The ancient prophet fed 100 people with 20 small loaves of barley bread – Jesus fed 5,000 plus with just five! Elisha performed the miracle through the hands of his disciples and so did Jesus. Elisha predicted that there would be left-overs and Jesus instructed His disciples to gather up the left-overs, all twelve baskets full (representing all 12 tribes of Israel). However, Elisha multiplied the bread five times and Jesus multiplied it one thousand times. Wow! No wonder, the people whom Jesus fed thought that He was The Prophet whom Moses had predicted would come into the world and whom the great prophet Elisha had foreshadowed.

The Fuller Answer

Now I had my answer to the question of what the people of Jesus’ day would have understood by what Jesus said and did. But I had more than this; I had a deep and awe-inspiring knowledge of just how comprehensively the Lord Jesus had fulfilled the Old Testament scriptures. He had said, “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke of a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law until everything is accomplished” (Matt 5:17-18). He meant what He said, for He really did ‘know what He did know’.

What we Need to Know

To more fully appreciate the glorious supremacy of the Lord Jesus and the wonderfully detailed testimony of the bible, we need to know two things. We need to know that there are things we don’t yet know, and we need to know that the Holy Spirit will reveal what we do not know if we diligently search the scriptures.

 

 

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TruthTalks Sermon: Renewal in Spirit

Top ImageRenewed in the Spirit of your Mind

In this TruthTalks Sermon, Dr Christopher Peppler shows us the topical image of the typewriter that has just been donated to the South African Holocaust and Genocide museum to show us how great idea’s and inventions can be used for horrific purposes.

So, how do thoughts become realities?
He looks at Proverbs 23:7 where it states that “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he…” (NKJV) and how this is taken out of context. If you look at just the verses before and after 7 we see the meaning of this text: “Do not eat the bread of a miser, Nor desire his delicacies; For as he thinks in his heart, so is he. “Eat and drink!” he says to you, But his heart is not with you. The morsel you have eaten, you will vomit up, And waste your pleasant words”. A very different meaning to what we often interpret as ‘your thoughts become your realities’ don’t you think? Yet, we know that our thought does have some kind of profound influence on what we do.

What does the Bible say?

So instead, we are led to focus on Ephesians 4:17-24

To discover the Biblical truths found in this verse, and how it is applicable to today’s society, listen to the TruthTalks Sermon by clicking on the “play” button below, and please like, subscribe and share with others. Other sermons by Dr Christopher Peppler can be listened to or downloaded HERE.

Until next time,

Karen (Admin)

 

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TruthTalks: A Book that Reveals

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Dr Christopher Peppler looks into the night sky and what it reveals and asks:

How many people have gazed in awe at the scope and grandeur of God’s creation? Millions and millions of people, all looking at what is in essence declaring that “the heavens declare the glory of God. The skies proclaim the work of His hands” (Psalm 19:1)
Many of the ancient people who looked up into the night sky not only saw the stars, but also the story of creation and redemption, and passed this knowledge on from generation to generation. Today this  revelation is used to identify the constellations, but the real story is still there and it is all explained in “The Book of Revelation: In the Light of the Stars”

This book is the culmination of many years work and study and is a phenomenal read. But don’t take my word for it, listen to Dr Chrisopher Peppler’s presentation to the faculty of the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which is included in this podcast, along with a great overview of the book. I urge you to purchase his book to fully understand the fascinating last book of the Bible.

Click on the play button below to listen or save this TruthTalks audio podcast, and please comment, share, and pass this along. The book is available HERE and the additional resources that accompany the SATS presentation can be found HERE.

Until next time, thank you for your continued support, love Admin

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A Book that Reveals

Top ImageThe Book of Revelation in the Light of the Stars

It is not often from where I live that I can look up into a clear night sky, but when this is possible I am amazed by the sheer number of stars and planets that exist out there. I wonder how many people have gazed in wonder and awe at the scope and grandeur of God’s creation? Millions upon millions spread over the hundreds and thousands of years all confirming what King David declared when he wrote, “The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).

What you may not know is that many of the ancient people saw even more than grandeur and glory in the night sky, they saw a profound story. A story written in the stars? Well, you see, writing only arrived in the biblical lands between 1700 and 1500 BC, so how then did God communicate the story of creation, sin, and redemption before then? The obvious answer is that it was passed on from generation to generation using stories, but just how did these verbal stories stay true to the original and all come together in one grand narrative?

How did Word of Mouth Stay Accurate

The answer that I propose is that the ancients, under God’s direction, drew a series of pictures in the night sky by imagining lines joining prominent stars. Each picture told a sequenced part of the grand narrative and acted as a memory aid to all in every generation initiated into this ‘secret’. These star pictures (constellations) are still used in our day by astronomers to map the heavens.

In my book ‘The Book of Revelation: in the Light of the Stars’, I show how these star pictures can be read to reveal the amazing story of divine redemption.
Interesting as this may be, it doesn’t mean much to us as present-day disciples of the Lord Jesus because we now have all sixty-six books of the bible as our grand narrative of God’s redemptive story. However, these same scriptures contain many references to the ancient star-story and you can find some of them in Job 9:9, 26:13, 38:31-32, and Amos 5:8. However, when we come to the last book of the bible, the Revelation of John, we find that it is rich with references and allusions to the star-story.

What is more, chapters 12,13, and 14 of the book of Revelation are very difficult to understand without reference to the star-story. Not only do these chapters validate the authenticity of the star-story, but we need an understanding of this story to more fully understand them. So, my book is both a commentary on the book of Revelation and a disclosure of the star-story. It is, as far as I know, a unique contribution to evangelical biblical interpretation.

Now Revised and Updated

This book is a revision of what I wrote several years ago under the title ‘Revelation in the Stars: the Sidereal and Written Word’. I have tried to clarify difficult portions and I have also updated where necessary. After a lot of hard work by myself and my daughter Karen the revised edition is now available on Amazon Kindle.

To get an idea of the book’s main themes and contribution, listen to my presentation to the faculty of the South African Theological Seminary AUDIO HERE and have a look at the PowerPoint slides that accompanied it SLIDES HERE.

Please consider reading the entire book as I believe that it will both enlighten and encourage you in living out your Christianity in a world that seems to be winding down into chaos. Oh, and it will encourage you because the story has a happy ending as God wraps up this sin-sick world and creates a new HeavenEarth where He lives forever with His faithful children.

Click HERE to go straight to the Amazon preview of the book, look at its content and introductory pages and hopefully purchase the book.

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About Me

My name is Christopher Peppler and I was born in Cape Town, South Africa in 1947. While working in the financial sector I achieved a number of business qualifications from the Institute of Bankers, Damelin Management School, and The University of the Witwatersrand Business School. After over 20 years as a banker, I followed God’s calling and joined the ministry full time. After becoming a pastor of what is now a quite considerable church, I  earned an undergraduate theological qualification from the Baptist Theological College of Southern Africa and post-graduate degrees from two United States institutions. I was also awarded the Doctor of Theology in Systematic Theology from the University of Zululand in 2000.

Four years before that I established the South African Theological Seminary (SATS), which today is represented in over 70 countries and has more than 2 500 active students enrolled with it. I presently play an role supervising Masters and Doctoral students.

I am a passionate champion of the Christocentric or Christ-centred Principle, an approach to biblical interpretation and theological construction that emphasises the centrality of Jesus

I have been happily married to Patricia since the age of 20, have two children, Lance and Karen, a daughter-in-law Tracey, and granddaughters Jessica and Kirsten. I have now retired from both church and seminary leadership and devote my time to writing, discipling, and the classical guitar.

If you would like to read my testimony to Jesus then click HERE.