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 Vol. 6, No. 10 

October 2004

Since You Asked

~ Page 20 ~

Image Names may be included at the discretion of the Editor unless querists request their names be withheld. Please check our Archive for the answer to your question before submitting it; there are over 1,000 articles in the Archive addressing numerous biblical topics. Submit a Question to GGO.

Does God Communicate with
 People Today Through Dreams?

By Louis Rushmore

Dear Louis, First, I would like to say, thanks for this website. It has helped me with life and some questions. I have two questions. First one, Can we receive the directions from God through dreams? Second one, What are some ways God may guide us or give us reassurance when we are thrust into unexpected circumstances? Thanks again, Mrs. Angela Ellis

Thank you for your kind words respecting our efforts with Gospel Gazette Online. Dreams from God to mortals were something that existed within the timeframe of miraculous manifestations, in the Old Testament and in the first century while the New Testament was being written (Genesis 31:10; Numbers 12:6; Joel 2:28; Matthew 1:20; 2:12-13, 19, 22; Acts 2:17). One means by which God communicated new revelation to his prophets was through dreams; "The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully..." (Jeremiah 23:28).

The purpose of miracles was to validate both new revelation from God and the messenger presenting such a message (Mark 16:20). Miracles performed by Jesus of Nazareth verified that he is the Christ (John 20:30-31). Miracles performed by the apostles of Christ and others in the first century who were endowed with miraculous powers confirmed the Word of God or Gospel of Jesus Christ (the New Testament) (Hebrews 2:3-4). The apostle Paul taught Christians at Corinth and also at Ephesus that whenever miracles had validated all new revelation that miracles would cease (1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Ephesians 4:11-14). First Corinthians 13:8-13 teaches that the partial, piecemeal revelations from God attained by various prophets through miracles would be replaced with a completed revelation from God that once it was received needed no more miracles. Evidently, miracles ceased about the close of the first century some time after the apostle John penned the Book of Revelation.

Rather than expecting God to communicate with us today through dreams, mankind must turn to the complete, divinely inspired, inerrant Word of God, namely the New Testament. The Word of God or the Bible (especially for those living today, the New Testament) is all that we need (2 Peter 1:3; Jude 3). Any supposed communication from God that is in addition to the Gospel of Christ or that contradicts the Gospel of Christ is "accursed" according to Galatians 1:6-9. Remember that Christians are urged to "study...the word of truth" to know the will of God, not "dream" (2 Timothy 2:15). Jesus said, "Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). We are to turn to the Bible for God's comfort (2 Corinthians 1:3-4; 1 Thessalonians 4:18; 5:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:16-17).Image

Is It Irreverent to
 Refer to God as "Daddy"?

By Louis Rushmore

Brother Rushmore, We recently had a visitor who led singing and while commenting on a song about prayer he said we should be thankful to be able to call God daddy. Many in the congregation were very offended by this. I know the elders and the preacher spoke to him about it and the preacher in a very kind way mentioned how we should address God as Father and not by our own terminology. Another member sought to defend the use of daddy by referring to Abba as meaning da da. I looked the word abba up in several lexicons and commentaries and to the last one they all basically said the word in the N.T. means Father. Can you shed some light on this seemingly increasing practice of referring to God as daddy, it seems very irreverent to me yet I certainly want to support my position biblically. Thank you, Roy Williams

There are three passages in which the words "Abba Father" appear (Mark 14:36; Romans 8:15; Galatians 4:6). Strong's defines "Abba" as Aramaic for "father." Easton's Bible Dictionary says of "Abba":

This Syriac or Chaldee word is found three times in the New Testament (Mark 14:36; Rom. 8:15; Gal. 4:6), and in each case is followed by its Greek equivalent, which is translated "father." It is a term expressing warm affection and filial confidence. It has no perfect equivalent in our language. It has passed into European languages as an ecclesiastical term, "abbot."

The New Bible Dictionary adds, "It appears that the double phrase was common in the Greek-speaking church, where its use may well have been liturgical." "Daddy," then, would not be a suitable substitute for "Father" or "Abba" when referring to God.

Some resources (we believe incorrectly) do define "Abba" as "Daddy." Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary says of Abba: "an Aramaic word which corresponds to our 'Daddy' or 'Papa.'" Some articles on the Internet make the same claim (Hannah; Williams), including an article written by a member of the churches of Christ (Stewart).

However, not even all Internet articles resort to "Daddy" for "Abba," and for good reason. "...far from being a colloquialism, is in fact an emphatic form of the word 'father' in Aramean. 'Emphatic' means that abba is the equivalent of O father! in English. The term denotes respect and was widely used by Jews in their prayers" ("Does Abba Mean"). JewishEncyclopedia.com says regarding "Abba": "It was the formula for addressing God most familiar to Jewish saints of the New Testament times" (Kohler). Thayer's Lexicon also says of "Abba, Father," "father, ho pateer, a customary title of God in prayer."

Anciently it was the practice of some to meditate for an hour in preparation for uttering a prayer to God, out of reverence for God (Kohler). It seems that God himself demands respect and reverence that goes beyond a flippant "Daddy"! Does God say less in Malachi 1:6? "A son honoureth his father, and a servant his master: if then I be a father, where is mine honour? and if I be a master, where is my fear? saith the LORD of hosts unto you, O priests, that despise my name. And ye say, Wherein have we despised thy name?"

Vine's definition of "Abba" and comparison to "Father" verifies the reverence with which it was used in the first century when the New Testament was penned. The term "Abba" conveys extreme reverence and could never be equivalent merely to the child's term, "Daddy, when referring to God."

abba is an Aramaic word, found in Mark 14:36; Rom 8:15 and Gal 4:6. In the Gemara (a Rabbinical commentary on the Mishna, the traditional teaching of the Jews) it is stated that slaves were forbidden to address the head of the family by this title. It approximates to a personal name, in contrast to "Father," with which it is always joined in the NT. This is probably due to the fact that, abba having practically become a proper name, Greek-speaking Jews added the Greek word pater, "father," from the language they used. Abba is the word framed by the lips of infants, and betokens unreasoning trust; "father" expresses an intelligent apprehension of the relationship. The two together express the love and intelligent confidence of the child.

The International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia and Fausset's Bible Dictionary concur with Vine's definition of "Abba." Further, Fausset's defines the combined Aramaic and Greek appearances of "father," literally "the father, the father," as an emphatic invocation or prayer to God. The McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia states that the double reference to father in Aramaic and Greek, in part, is for "emphasis and dignity," plus after retaining the Aramaic word for "father" providing Greek readers "father" in Greek in the event they did not understand the Aramaic reference to father. Hence, whatever weight and meaning the Greek for "Father," referring to God, has, the Aramaic word for "Father" has a closely similar meaning. So, unless someone purports to call God "Daddy, Daddy" in the three passages, it is not appropriate to define "Abba" as "Daddy." If someone boldly resounds "Daddy, Daddy" for the dual appearances of the Aramaic and Greek words for "father" in these passages, referring to God, I still object on the grounds of inadequate reverence toward Deity. Like the quotation below indicates, to refer to Almighty God as "Daddy" borders on blasphemy.

ABBA A Palestinian Aramaic word that is found in three places in the NT to refer to God. It means "father." It is the address of a child as distinct from a slave and denotes family intimacy. In Mark 14:36 Christ uses abba to address God in His prayer in Gethsemane. In Rom. 8:15 and Gal. 4:6 Christians use the same form of address to God. It is used in such a way that it both emphasizes our nearness to God and inculcates respect. Each time it is used it appears with the word pater, giving us the title Abba Father for God. Christians must never confuse intimacy with God their Father with familiarity and triteness. There is no basis in the NT use of abba to support the almost blasphemous references some make to God as "Dad" or "Daddy." It is surely significant that the Aramaic abba is not translated into Greek as papa but is merely transliterated. (Cairns)

Works Cited

Biblesoft's New Exhaustive Strong's Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1994.

Cairns, Alan. "Abba." 23 Dec 2004. Dictionary of Theological Terms. <http://www.emeraldhouse.com/prodinfo.asp?PID=dictionary>.

"Does Abba Mean "Daddy"? Online posting. 4 Jun 2004. Theologyweb. 23 Dec 2004. <http://www.theologyweb.com/forum/showthread.php?t=27620>.

Easton, M. G. Easton's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Oak Harbor: Logos, 1996.

Fausset's Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1998.

Hannah, Shively. "Abba, Father." Hannah's Garden. 23 Dec 2004. <http://www.gospelcom.net/tiw/hannahsgarden/abbafather.html>.

International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Kohler, Kaufmann. "Abba." JewishEncylopedia.com. 23 Dec 2004. <http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/view.jsp?artid=121&letter=A>.

McClintock and Strong Encyclopedia. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.

Nelson's Illustrated Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1986.

The New Bible Dictionary. CD-ROM. Wheaton: Tyndale, 1962.

Stewart, William J. "Abba, Father." Www.LookingIntoJesus.Net. 23 Dec 2004. <http://www.lookinguntojesus.net/20040111.htm>.

Thayer's Greek Lexicon. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 2000.

Vine's Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words. CD-ROM. Nashville: Nelson, 1985.

Williams, George R. "Abba, Father." Fathers.com." 23 Dec 2004. <http://www.fathers.com/urban/artf02articles.htm>.

Marital Intimacy in the Garden?

By Louis Rushmore

Someone passed on a question posed to him for which he did not have the answer, essentially asking, "Did Adam and Eve enjoy marital intimacy while still in the Garden of Eden? Is there a Bible answer for this question?" If there is a biblical answer for this question, it lies in Genesis 1:28; 2:24, Matthew 19:5, 1 Corinthians 6:16 and Ephesians 5:31. One of two explanations that Adam Clarke offers for the phrase "And they shall be one flesh" (Genesis 2:24; Matthew 19:5) is that it refers to procreation. He further notes that by the creation of Eve and God's presentation of her to Adam, God expressed a preference for matrimony, which he established in the Garden, rather than for celibacy. If God established the institution of marriage in the Garden of Eden as we commonly avow, then the marital intimacy enjoined by 1 Corinthians 7:3 incurs as well. Robertson states what may be the obvious inclusion of marital intimacy respecting each of the "one flesh" passages. Commenting on 1 Corinthians 6:16, he writes, "The words, quoted from Gen 2:24 describing the sexual union of husband and wife, are also quoted and explained by Jesus in Matt 19:5f..."

In addition, the "leaving and cleaving" pertaining to marriage occurs in the first part of Genesis 2:24, despite neither Adam nor Eve as the first couple had parents. It appears clear that God instituted marriage in the Garden of Eden with all that the rest of the Scriptures include therein, including marital intimacy. We have no other reason to think contrariwise about God's institution of marriage in the Garden of Eden. It would be a harsh and cruel supposition that procreation and offspring (who are innocent Ezekiel 28:15; Matthew 18:3-4) are merely a form of punishment foisted upon mankind as a consequence for the sins of Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:16). The first time the Bible records God instructing mankind to "replenish the earth" appears before the occasion of sin following the creation of Adam and Eve and their subsequent placement in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1:28).

Works Cited

Adam Clarke's Commentary. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1996.

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament. CD-ROM. Seattle: Biblesoft, 1997.

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