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Introduction to Personal Bible Study - Videos (2007)

4 short introductory video studies First recorded in 2007, posted to GodTube in 2010  These short videos were made nearly 14 years ago. ...

Sunday, January 16, 2022

What Will the Beast System Look Like?

Just a few quick thoughts on the religious aspects of the coming system of the Beast.

I remind myself that the vast majority of current Christendom rejects the finished work of the Savior (and such ideas are encroaching into the minority). Many of these populist figures align themselves with Christianity while embracing the religionsts, sacramentalists, virtue signalers, and the gospel of self-righteousness.

We have to remember when scripture speaks of the flesh, it is not only the overt acts of wickedness that result, but also things like "false humility" and the mixing of the works of our hands with the precious blood of our Great God and Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.

There will come a false Christ, preaching a false gospel of righteousness.

But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them which desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we. 13 For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. 14 And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. 15 Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works.


Pronography may enslave people, but it will not fool men into thinking they are right with God. However, a false gospel of pleasing God by the works of the flesh will deceive many. The lie has always been built on Satan's false promise, "ye shall be as gods." The way of Cain is with us still (those who bring the sacrifice of the works of the flesh to God, demanding he accept it). These hate the way of Abel who bring "a more excellent" sacrifice" of Christ's perfect blood sacrifice and resurrection alone, accepted by faith alone, relying on grace alone.


By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous


The flesh hates the gospel of grace for it can find no glory in it.

Yes, the Anti-Christ will come in the cloak of religious righteousness; a mix of grace and works which is an abomination. Even if you hold to a "Beast system" instead of a "Beast man," the same will be true. We are the remnant.

Lord, they have killed thy prophets, and digged down thine altars; and I am left alone, and they seek my life. 4 But what saith the answer of God unto him? I have reserved to myself seven thousand men, who have not bowed the knee to the image of Baal. 5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. 6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Beware Scriptural Studies Which Do Not Recognize the Differences in Scripture

From Brother Kopiyo Felix, a reminder of the 3 dangers in Bible study that lead to bad doctrine:

Three categories of bad doctrines: 
1.Human viewpoints,
2.Bible plus tradition,
3.Scriptural but not Dispensational.

We will use this last point and revisit the topic of understanding the Lord's earthly ministry as distinct from the hope and blessings of this current age.

Iēsoûs Christós (as the Holy Spirit has preserved our Savior's name in Greek), in his earthly ministry came for Israel. He forbade "the gospel of the Kingdom" to be preached to anyone apart from Jews, in the land. And that gospel is not what we preach today.

These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. 6 But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as you go, preach, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’


The Lord specifically stated that he was not sent to Gentiles in his earthly ministry. Is he a liar?


But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”


Paul verifies his earthly ministry in his Acts Age Romans epistle. The gospel was "to the Jew first" in the time of the gospels and Acts, and then to the Gentiles.


Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the [Jewish] fathers, 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy


The Jews kept parts of the Law in the Acts age, but Gentiles (temporarily grafted in to the blessings of Israel for the sake of making Israel, still part of the plan, jealous) were limited to only four "necessary things." Twice this is made clear [Acts 15, 21]. Gentiles are delineated as separate from the Jews in the Acts Age ("concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing...") and alone Gentiles are warned they could be "cut off" FROM ISRAEL. 

This distinction no longer exists in this current age. Being "cut off" was not "losing salvation," it was being cut off from the earthly blessings of Israel in the Kingdom (unless you believe you can lose your salvation by being haughty against Israel).

As for the whole of the Law, obviously they were no longer bringing sacrifices to the Temple. And after AD70, there was no more temple. Jews, in the Acts Age, kept parts of the law. There was rumor that Paul was teaching Jews to forsake Moses. It was not true. In the Acts Age reflected in the Acts Age epistles, Paul still taught parts of the Mosaic Law to Jewish believers (not for salvation, but for blessings and promises).


And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; 21 but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs... that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself [Paul, a Jew] also walk orderly and keep the law..."


As noted, Gentiles are then specifically separated from the Law. The separate groups in distinguished in the Acts Age. This clear, Biblical distinction is explained away by theologians (even many theologians who call themselves dispensationalists) as being "transitional truth." By doing so, they render the Acts Age meaningless. Are we to obey Acts 15 or not? How about Romans 11 or Romans 15? What do we do with the distinctions in the Galatians? Etc. And these are nothing compared to the problems presented by trying to cram the Body into the Lord's earthly ministry. 


But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing

Etc.

The Gospel of Matthew is Jewish in its scope. The "Gospel of the Kingdom" has no cross, no death, no resurrection. It was the declaration of the promised Kingdom by the present King (if Israel would repent and accept). The Kingdom was "at hand." Prepare the way of the King. No thought of the cross in either John the Baptist's or the Lord's preaching of the Kingdom. This same message went out at Pentecost. As with Pentecost, this message was for Israel alone.


"Ye men of Israel... Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was [d]preached to you before, 21 whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. 22 For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.’ 24 Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25 You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ 26 To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.”


You cannot read Gentiles or some "Spiritual Israel" into this. Gentiles are specifically referred to as secondary and outside the covenant of Exodus. The covenant itself is restricted to Israel alone (and was not given until 2400 years after the foundation of the world [ages]).


And Moses went up to God, and the Lord called to him from the mountain, saying, “Thus you shall say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel [not to all nations]: 4 ‘You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles’ wings and brought you to Myself. 5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.” 7 So Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before them all these words which the Lord commanded him.

  -Exodus 19 



This was a covenant specifically for Israel alone. She was to be a "kingdom of priests." That begs the question: priests for whom? The answer is, for the Gentile nations. This is the plan FOR THE EARTH in the coming KINGDOM IN ISRAEL. It is the plan FROM the foundation of the world.

God separated Israel for Himself for an earthly purpose. Adam knew nothing of this. Noah knew nothing of this. Abraham knew nothing of Sinai. We have to separate God's plans for the land and the earth from hi plans for heavenly places where the true tabernacle of God sits. We do not practice earthly ordinances for they are of the earth. They are shadows.

Zechariah teaches us that in a coming day Gentiles will grab the shirt of a Jew and ask to be taken to God. That is the NEW COVENANT, which is also for Israel alone (Jer 31, Heb 8) and yet future. Is the knowledge of God everywhere? Do we have no need to teach our neighbors? That's part of the New Covenant given only to the people who had the Old Covenant.


“Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them [Israel is the Bride], says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that **I will make with the house of Israe**l after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” -Jer 31


Here it is in the Book of Hebrews. Note is was not yet in place (future context). The Old Covenant was still slowly passing away.


For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 8 Because finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 9 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.


When it comes in, and Israel takes her place as a Kingdom of Priests for the nations [Gentiles], Zechariah's prophecy will come to pass.


Thus saith the Lord of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.


The current age was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of world [ages]. It is was from before the Law. It deals with heavenly places and not the things of the earth. In Matthew the Lord speaks of those who will "inherit the EARTH." In the coming Tribulation ("the time of JACOB's trouble"), they will pray for God's will to be done ON EARTH, as it is in heaven.

In Matthew 8, the Gentile Centurion (not a law-keeper) is said to have greater FAITH than all in Israel. He is juxtaposed against the children of Israel who did not have his faith.


When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”


Who are these "sons of the Kingdom?" Would we apply this today, in this age? No. Sons are "heirs." There will be some Jews who are cast out among the Gentile nations during the Millennial Age who will miss out on the blessings of Abraham and David in the Land (Matthew starts with the Lord's genealogy back to Abraham and David on Joseph's side).

How do we handle the "parables of the Kingdom" in Matthew 13? Or the parables of Matthew 24 and 25? We cannot understand these unless we understand the Lord's ministry in Matthew (and his earthly ministry in general). These all concern the Gospel of the Kingdom.

In the Tribulation, this Gospel will again be preached. The Lord is speaking to Israel alone in Matthew 4, Matthew 9, and Matthew 24. As we saw, he forbid his disciples to preach to anyone but to Jews. Note the context of the Tribulation in Matt 24.


And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations [Gentiles], and then the end will come. 15 “Therefore when you see the ‘abomination of desolation,’ spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place” (whoever reads, let him understand)...


The Lord here utilizes a quote from Daniel 12:11. Daniel prophesied to Israel concerning the Tribulation.


Now I am come to make thee understand what shall befall thy people in the latter days: for yet the vision is for many days. -Daniel 10:14


Ironically, many in thinking they are honoring Israel's law, are stealing from Israel's promises and denying her rights. Even worse, some are ignoring the greater blessings "in heavenly places" and the "unsearchable riches in Christ" which were "hidden in God" before the Ages, Before the Law.


To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, 9 and to make all see what is the fellowship [dispensation] of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created [the] all things through Jesus Christ; 10 to the intent that NOW the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places...


The Law was part of God's plan for Israel for the Earth. The current gospel concerns heavenly places and was hidden from BEFORE the foundation of the world and revealed to Paul alone.

In the Acts, Paul preached NOTHING that was not taught by Moses and the Prophets.


Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come— 23 that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”


But Paul received the truths hidden from Moses and the Prophets which were from BEFORE the foundation of the ages [before Moses and the Prophets].


For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles— 2 if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you, 3 how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery..., 5 which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets: 6 that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel, 7 of which I became a minister according to the gift of the grace of God given to me by the effective working of His power.


We cannot go back to Matthew for gospel truths of this age. The Gospel of the Kingdom necessarily had no cross, no shed blood, no tomb, no resurrection. They didn't know he was to die until Matthew 16 (and even then, the disciples resisted the idea). So when John the Baptist, and the Lord, and the 12 go out and preach to Israel alone, they could not possibly teach what we teach in this age.

Is this the message we teach? Or would you accuse the Lord of being a liar?


Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?” 17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” 18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”


Salvation by the law and philanthropy? Of course not. As with all rewards and positions, they are earned (attained). Resurrection life is a free gift by grace, position, order, crowns, blessings, rewards, are based on our service and obedience. BUT that obedience must be to our own calling, not to another's calling.

Paul prays for BELIEVERS that they might know and understand and walk in the current calling in Ephesians.


Therefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus [Believers] and your love for all the saints, 16 do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18 the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power.

I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling to which you were called


In this current calling of the current age (dispensation, economy, hope) , there is only one faith, one hope, one baptism (spirit). In the parallel book of Colossians, he warns these believers not to fall back into shadows of another calling and another hope.

Again, this is brief overview. But we must "rightly divide the Word of Truth."

Please search this site for greater details on the parables, the "heart of flesh" prophesied by Ezekiel or any of the other commonly taught passages supposedly applying to this hour. When read in context, with the help of the Holy Spirit, we see that these passages must refer to Israel and must refer to an earthly calling (not to a calling in the far above the heavens as we have in this current age).

Thursday, December 16, 2021

Why Am I an Ultradispensationalist?


When I was a RC Religious Education teacher, every "answer" I had came from a catechism, a council, or a creed. When God convicted me and enlightened my understanding with the truth of grace (in its biblical sense, not what I was teaching as grace), I determined to take no title. I would convince or unconvince myself of truths (as best I could). My faith would be mine.

I set out to undo my RCism. Obviously, not all of it technically went. I determined in my studies that the Lord Jesus Christ is indeed part of the Godhead, etc. But doctrine by doctrine, I had to develop my own theology. I call this a "Theology of One." A theology for which I will answer. No pastor, no teacher, no author will stand with me as I am judged for my faithfulness, my labor in the Word, or my service. I will stand alone.

If I have a belief, I deem it in varying degrees of (a) importance and (b) depths of conviction. For example, while I hold to a Flat Earth, I do not deem it terribly important or essential. In another sense, while I believe the symbols in the Revelation will one day be of great importance, I do not have a hard and fast opinion as to what every symbol in the Revelation may mean. I have opinions, most in light pencil.

The Person and Work of the Great God an Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ take precedence in all. 

I represent no one but myself. I have quoted Calvin positively on occasion even though I am a 0-point Calvinist. I recognize truth when it is spoken. I am not the judge of another man's servant, but I am to examine fruit (while examining my own with the greater scrutiny) and to test doctrines. But as Luther argued in regard to truth Hus spoke, "it doesn't matter who said it, if it is the truth."

I try to be CONSISTENT in my theology. I compare things that differ in scripture and have to find out why they differ. I seek to find context and calling. But, in the end, my theology is my own and must satisfy my comparisons. It must be as consistent as it can be in light of my decaying mind of dust.

I do not argue from consensus, age, or history. I start and end with scripture, rightly divided as best I can.

A simple layman armed with Scripture is greater than the mightiest pope without it.
-Martin Luther

Thursday, December 9, 2021

All That Jesus Began to Do and to Teach

 

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.
-Acts 1:1-4


We have noted in other studies that the framework of the Book of Acts begins with the risen and glorifies Savior teaching his enlightened apostles [Lk 24:45] about "the kingdom of God."  We've noted that "the gospel of the Kingdom" was restricted to Israel alone [Matt 10:5-7]. We've noted that "the end of the earth" from Acts 1:8 could easily be translated "the end of the land."

This last point does not bother us either way as this commission understood either way does not expand the command of the Lord beyond Israel. In Acts 11, after the Gentile Cornelius receives the "same gifts" of the Spirit that the Jews had received, the Apostles to the Circumcision [Gal 2:6-9] go "to Jews only" in Acts 11:19 after Peter testifies of Cornelius' gifts.

So, we have the Lord opening the Book of Acts (Luke's follow-up to his gospel account), by teaching for 40 days on the kingdom of God leaving the Apostles with but one question, "wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel? [Acts 1:6]. 

All of these are enough to show that the context of the Book of Acts is the preaching of the earthly hope of Israel for which Paul was bound [Acts 28:20] and to which he testified [Acts 26:22; Acts 28:23] and this promise which the Lord came to confirm [Romans 15:8]. But we do not want to overlook another key phrase from Acts 1.


The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach


The word "began" comes from Greek "árchomai" which means "to begin, make a beginning" [Thayer's]. It is used 84 times in the Greek text and is translated as "beginning; began; begin; beginning; begun" 81 times.

In his flesh, the Lord began to teach of the Kingdom of God, in resurrection glory he continued to teach of the Kingdom of God throughout the Book of Acts. for 40 days, he taught the Kingdom of God to those who will one day "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel" [Matt 19:28; Luke 22:30]. 

The Lord asked for forgiveness for Israel while on the cross, but the Apostles remind them that this was only to offer them a second chance.


Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:

 

Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.

 

be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.


Peter offers the "restoration of all things" to "Ye men of Israel" in his sermon in Acts 3 (after Pentecost). This is not to some "spiritual Israel." This is not some empty promise. This not the restoration of a church which supposedly just came into being. This was a promise that if Israel (as a nation) would repent, the Kingdom promises in Moses and the Prophets would be fulfilled. The promise of a "kingdom of priests" from Exodus 19 would come to pass. 

This is the consistent message and background of the entire Acts Age. That age ended when Paul revealed the Mystery of the "one new man" of Ephesians made up of both Jew and Gentile. The middle wall of partition came down. In this age, we do NOT look for any earthly kingdom, a restored land promise, or to Moses and the Prophets. We look for unsearchable riches in the far above the heavens. 


Unto me [Paul], who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; 9 and to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: 10 to the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 according to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: 12 in whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him. 13 Wherefore I desire that ye faint not at my tribulations for you, which is your glory.

14 For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19 and to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. [Ephesians 3]


We also note that these promises were made and secured from BEFORE the foundation of the ages as opposed to Israel's promises made SINCE or FROM the foundation of the Ages. Surely, Israel will receive her promises some coming age. Israel will be that kingdom of priests, that holy nation on the earth as promised by the Lord. She will be cleansed of her sin. She will be the Bride. But that Age is yet future.

So, as with all the other markers in the Book of Acts in the Acts Age epistles, we do not stand on the single word "began" alone, we stand on the evidence of all these things as we seek to "compare the things that differ" and "rightly divide the Word of Truth."

Saturday, December 4, 2021

More Misrepresentations of Ultradispensationalism

 I'll post the link so you can read the entire article for yourself. I not feel the need to try and address every point it tries to make as I most likely have somewhere on these pages. Perhaps I will take it up on a podcast.

What I will do is note a few problems with the approach the author makes (ignoring his condescending attitude). 


After quoting Jeremiah 31:31-34, the article notes that the New Covenant is yet to be made with ‘the house of Israel and the house of Judah (v.31), not with Gentiles’, adding that this covenant is to be made ‘with the same peoplewho broke the first [Mosaic] covenant, not with Gentiles who had no part in the first covenant and so have no part in the second one’.

We are told that people who believe that the words of Christ in Luke 22:20 (‘this is my blood of the New Covenant’) announced the bringing in of the New Covenant are wrong. Why? Because ‘during the Acts period, the Jews, both Christians and non-Christians, still observed the law of Moses, the Old Covenant; and we read in Hebrews 8:13 that the Old Covenant was obsolete and ageing and was “soon to disappear”.’

‘This verse’, the writer claims, ‘shows us clearly that the New Covenant had not yet come in; the Old Covenant was still operating’.


The gist of this argument is that since Christ noted that the Passover meal ("the Last Supper") represented the blood of the New Covenant, somehow that means the New Covenant is here. Well, if that was "the bringing in of the New Covenant," does that mean the NC was inaugurated before the cross and resurrection? That is, must we conclude that the NC came in the moment the Lord uttered those words? If not, why not?

For the sake of argument, let's assume he means it was yet future to that pronouncement (irony noted), and commenced with the Jewish Feast of Pentecost in Acts 2 with only Jews present.

If the NC was indeed yet future, what in the NC itself states that it would come in at Pentecost (Acts 2)? And has anyone bothered to read the New Covenant in either Jeremiah or Ezekiel or Zechariah? Let's just stick with Jeremiah 31 for a moment since the author references it there (without quotation).


Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: 33 but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34 And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.


If you'll note, the author of the article dismisses the first half of this section, then goes on to ignore the second half of the actual New Covenant. 

Does he truly believe the following to be true in this age or anytime since the Last Passover?

  • I will put my law in their inward parts
  • And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them

When we cross-reference this age with the statement in Ezekiel, we see that it must pertain to national Israel. Now, for the sake of space, I'm not going to quote the entire passage, but I urge you to go read Ezekiel 36 and try to cram Gentiles and the current age in there. Here is just one excerpt:


For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. 25 Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26 A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. 27 And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. 28 And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.


As noted, Jeremiah states that "the law" will be the inward parts of the believer. I note Paul's words in Galatians, "Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?" The author will go on to argue that "The covenant with Abraham was made before he was circumcised" (which we will cover below). Abraham's justification has nothing to do with the law, yet the New Covenant is specific to the law. 

We have a similar problem in Ezekiel. At the time of the NC, the Lord will "cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them." The Apostles wasted a lot of ink if the promises in Jeremiah 31 and Ezekiel 36 are here today. That is, they list a lot of sins of the flesh that believers can and do engage in (including murder, adultery, idolatry, etc.). And the NC promise clearly involves an earthly plan. This future condition involves an earthly people with an earthly covenant ("And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers"). It is not a covenant of grace with a hope of heaven. 

Paul teaches us in Romans that the Messiah came to "confirm the promises made to the fathers" (Rom 15:8). The Lord Himself testified that he was "sent to none, but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel" (Matt 15:24) If the author wants to contend the Lord meant some "spiritual Israel" made up of all believers of all races, this is an odd statement made to a Gentile who believed. 

There is a further problem with those believers who lived before there was an Israel, before there was an Abraham, but we'll leave that there.

From the article:

For, while most Christians certainly deny that all the covenants belonged exclusively to ethnic Israel, the allegation misses the important fact, emphasized by Paul, that the covenant with Abraham was made before he was circumcised, and therefore while not, strictly speaking, an Israelite. The first ‘Israelite’ was Jacob, Abraham’s grandson (Genesis 17; Romans 3:9-11).


Paul's point is that Abraham's justification by faith was available for all who were in Abraham by faith. This truth is universal to scripture. Was Noah in Abraham? No. But was Noah justified in uncircumcision by faith? Absolutely.

 To highlight this distinction and mark it separate from the covenant of Sinai and the sovereign choice of Israel to be a "royal priesthood" and a "holy nation" (Ex 19:3-7). We only add in regard to this last point the question, "priests for whom?" That Question is answered in Zech 8:23 (which is also yet future to the current age unless anyone thinks people are begging believers today to be taken to God). It is also implied in the promise in Exodus 19 itself. Even without Zechariah, the question presents itself: if Israel (alone) were to be a nation of priests, she must be a priests for someone else. 

Lastly, in the life of Israel under the Law (which is part of the NC as we have seen), Gentiles living among Israel were treated differently. They could participate in some parts of the law, but not all. To participate in all, they had to become proselytes, that is, they had to be circumcised. Circumcision is connected to the Law, NOT to justification. The Laws of the Gentiles in Israel are summed up in the "necessary things" of Acts 15 and Acts 21 taken from Leviticus 23. Thus we see Jewish and Gentile believers in the Acts Age continued to be treated differently and as under the Law (but never for justification). These looked for "the hope of Israel" and "the promises made to the fathers" and "the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel" and "the law written on their hearts" and to "dwell in the land [the LORD[ gave to their fathers." 

Let me bullet point these hopes and callings (and this list is just a sample):

  • "the hope of Israel"
  • "the promises made to the fathers"
  • "the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel"
  • "the law written on their hearts"
  • "dwell in the land [the LORD] gave to their fathers." 


These are tied to the New Covenant, not the hope which is in the far above the heavens where Christ sits on the right hand of the father. Do we just explain away the differences because the catechism of men says so? Or do we compare scripture with scripture and mark the things that differ?

One can have the hope of a land. One can the hope of the New Jerusalem which comes down from the heavens to the earth. These are earthly hopes. And to emphasize that faith is the key to certain hopes and blessings (not all), Paul points to Abraham and notes his "uncircumcision" in his justification. But let's be careful lest we make vast application of this to all commands, promises, and hopes. This is what "progressive Christians" do to justify all sorts of wickedness.


For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. 29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

-Galatians 3:27-29 


Do we want to apply the latter across all of scripture? No. It pertains to the doctrine of "the just shall live by faith" and to Abraham's justification. In justification, there is no Jew or Greek; there is no male or female. Do these apply then to all scripture? Certainly not. It is clear from the Book of Acts and from the Acts Age epistles that the Apostles still made distinctions between both Jewish and Gentile unbelievers and Jewish and Gentile believers. The "One new man" of Ephesians was not yet come it. The hope was still the earthly hope of "the hope of Israel." 

As we have seen elsewhere, does Paul teach two Israels? 


But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. 12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them. 13 Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: 14 that the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.
-Gal 3:11-14


The context is justification. At the Council in Acts 15 and in the meeting with James in Acts 21 and "as his manner was," Paul and the Apostles made distinctions between Jewish and Gentile unbelievers (in the their respective callings to the circumcised and uncircumcised) and in position to the kingdom and the Law.

One has to ignore Paul's separation of Jews and Gentiles in the Acts and in Romans and in Galatians to pretend the New Covenant was here and applied to all equally. We'd have to accuse the chosen Apostles of God of grave error in going to "Jews only" (Acts 11) or writing to Jews (Peter, James).

The Book of Acts is framed by the risen Lord teaching his enlightened disciples about the "kingdom" for 40 days. They had but one question: "will you, at this time, restore the kingdom to Israel?" Peter in Acts 3 promises "Ye men of Israel" that if they repent the Lord will send back the Lord Jesus Christ unto the restoration of all things. How does this fit the doctrine of the New Covenant being here or the idea of a "spiritual Israel?"

There is an earthly hope for a future believing Israel. The New Covenant, as the prophets clearly state, will involve the land, the kingdom, the promises to Moses. This earthly hope is not yet here. To spiritualize it is to do violence to scripture, to prophecy, and to God's character. It makes all of scripture open to any interpretation and any application.

The author goes on to make an argument about the coming temple in Israel (in the Jerusalem, in the land). He argues it is blasphemy to believe animal sacrifices will once again take place there. So, let me ask the author(and all those who believe they are "spiritual Irael" and that all of scripture is for them: Are you, in this age, sacrificing animals? Are you obeying ALL that is in the Law? If not, why not? Because conditions have changed, right?

There is a word for recognizing the differences in God's plans and commands for different people in different ages: Dispensationalism    

Just for your consideration:




Monday, November 29, 2021

Autopsy of a Fallen Pastor and His Theology

Filipino megachurch pastor is charged with orchestrating sex-trafficking ring where he recruited girls as young as 12 to work in his US homes and forced them into sex, telling them it was 'God's will'

Source: https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-10222377/Filipino-megachurch-pastor-charged-orchestrating-sex-trafficking-ring-girls-young-12.html



From the Article:


The pastor allegedly forced the women and girls to regularly engage in sexual acts with him in what he called the 'night duty.' He and his accomplices told the woman and girls that obeying Quiboloy was 'God's will' and that 'night duty' was a privilege and a means to salvation, court records allege.


From the church's website:

Entering into the Covenant Partnership means stepping into the fulfillment of the Father’s glorious promise of a blessed life; the same life Jacob had in his time when he committed himself into a lifetime vow of partnership with the Almighty Father


In little more than three decades, the KJC has reached great milestones, conquering country after country with the message of enlightenment and salvation. Currently, we have six million solid Kingdom citizens in 200 countries and 2,000 cities all over the world.


The Almighty Father’s Kingdom can now be found here on Earth for He has produced a Nation wherein His laws are not only written in tablets of stone but engraved in the hearts and minds of His people.


From his website:


Pastor Apollo Quiboloy, the Appointed Son of God, is here so that we can restore ourselves into becoming sons and daughters of the Almighty God again [A49: again?] by obedience to His Words [A49: which words?]. This spiritual adoption brings us to a new level of relationship with the Father, where He elevates us into being sons and daughters.


“I am here to deliver this message to the fallen humanity. Join me in becoming adopted sons and daughters of God. Only sons and daughters will inherit heaven as a spiritual family of heirs.”

– Pastor Apollo Quiboloy



Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy was the first man to be called by the Almighty Father to the true and genuine repentance. He was the first man to have endured all the fiery trials of persecution and hardship and to have overcome them all without breaking his covenant with the Father. He was the first man to finally eject the serpent seed, breaking the chain of sin by his absolute obedience to the Father’s will... It is for this reason that the Almighty Father anointed him and made him His Appointed Son in these last days.


Core Message: THE GOSPEL OF THE KINGDOM. Matthew 24:14 And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come.


[Irony o' the Day... in his "true repentance" attack on the work of the Savior, he quotes John.]


Only then can we be called a son or a daughter of the Almighty Father (John 1:12).

But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
John 1:12


Without repentance, everything else — all religious doctrines, traditions, the casting out of demons, all prophesy, every grand and lavish cathedral built, and every man-made by-law — is moot.

From Michael:


Dear Pastor... John has a lot of words... one word it does not have is "repent." The verse in John 1 requires that one "receive" him. This is bookended by John 20.


And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in His name.


That is not "the gospel of the Kingdom." We do not preach the Gospel of the Kingdom in this Age. That gospel is a message for Israel alone (Matthew 4, Matthew 10, etc.). In this age, we preach the gospel of the grace of God apart from the Law. And our hope is not of the earth.

This man has more problems than just believing he is "the first man to be called by the Almighty Father to the true and genuine repentance." His problem is rooted in the same dirt that almost all heresies are rooted in: the belief that God's earthly Kingdom is the promise of this Age.

We must still wait for the trial and examine the evidence for against the man, but any who believes he can please God in the flesh or that he can eradicate completely his old nature is doomed to one of two ends: pride or despair.

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

What Time Does the Sabbath Begin?

More on Imagined Sabbath-Keeping


Even among the (supposed) Sabbath-Keepers (SSK), they can't seem to agree on the exact list of no-nos. As just one example: some believe that no electronic devices should be used on the Sabbath as use creates heat and thus violates the law of the Sabbath. Other SSK spend their Sabbaths pretending to keep it as they try to guilt the rest of us online.

Feel free to tie yourself in knots over the issue of electricity: HERE

They can't even agree on this simple issue. Disagreement doesn't mean they're all necessarily wrong, but it does show that keeping the Sabbath biblically is not as simple as they pretend. If we have to have papers written on whether one can turn on a lightbulb, surely the work of the Savior will nowhere find place. But that is their problem. In this short study, I want to look at what the Sabbath is (or was) in the eyes of the Lord in regard to its beginning and its end.


Sundown, Twilight, and the Start of the Sabbath Day


Sabbath-Keeping is a growing phenomenon among professed believers in these last day. We have addressed this topic before, but I wanted to take a look at exactly when the Sabbath begins. If people believe they are to keep it (spoiler: they don't have to), we should at least know when the Sabbath begins and ends.

The Sabbath-Keepers will tell us the Sabbath begins at sundown. This is correct. Now, there is some slight disagreement as to what constitutes sundown, but essentially the timeframe is in the ballpark. To be safe, some Jews start Sabbath a little early.

The question I have is this: sundown where? Is it sundown where I live? Theoretically, that would mean there are an infinite number of sundowns. But even if we limit to the minute, we end up with sundowns starting east to west and north to south over 24 hours. There is no true "seventh" day. 

If the foundation of the Sabbath is God resting on the seventh day in the creation, did he have an infinite number of starting and ending times? No. He had one Sabbath. 


And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.

-Genesis 2:2-3


The sun and the moon had been created at this point. And whether we hold to a 24-hour day or a 16-hour day at creation, we certainly have already had nights and days.


And the evening and the morning were the third day. And God said, Let there be lights in the firmament of the heaven to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years: and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so. And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also. And God set them in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and over the night, and to divide the light from the darkness: and God saw that it was good. And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.


We are going to look ahead to the return of Israel to the land after the Babylonian captivity. Obviously, during their time in captivity (outside the land), Israelites did not "obey the law." They couldn't. They had no temple, no sacrifice, no active priesthood, etc. This was out of their control, but nevertheless true. So, did these practice the Sabbath in captivity, outside the land, based on the setting of the sun in Babylon?

Let's first look back at the case against Israel as laid out by the Lord in Ezekiel 20. I am not going to post the entire chapter, but we must note it is Israel-centric. And in his laying out of both charges and his patience, the Lord includes Israel's treatment of the Sabbath.


And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the Lord, and sat before me. Then came the word of the Lord unto me, saying, Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Are ye come to enquire of me? As I live, saith the Lord God, I will not be enquired of by you... say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; In the day when I chose Israel, and lifted up mine hand unto the seed of the house of Jacob, and made myself known unto them in the land of Egypt, when I lifted up mine hand unto them, saying, I am the Lord your God; in the day that I lifted up mine hand unto them, to bring them forth of the land of Egypt into a land that I had espied for them, flowing with milk and honey, which is the glory of all lands: then said I unto them, Cast ye away every man the abominations of his eyes, and defile not yourselves with the idols of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. But they rebelled against me, and would not hearken unto me: they did not every man cast away the abominations of their eyes, neither did they forsake the idols of Egypt: then I said, I will pour out my fury upon them, to accomplish my anger against them in the midst of the land of Egypt. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, among whom they were, in whose sight I made myself known unto them, in bringing them forth out of the land of Egypt. Wherefore I caused them to go forth out of the land of Egypt, and brought them into the wilderness. And I gave them my statutes, and shewed them my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them. Moreover also I gave them my sabbaths, to be a sign between me and them, that they might know that I am the Lord that sanctify them. But the house of Israel rebelled against me in the wilderness: they walked not in my statutes, and they despised my judgments, which if a man do, he shall even live in them; and my sabbaths they greatly polluted: then I said, I would pour out my fury upon them in the wilderness, to consume them. But I wrought for my name’s sake, that it should not be polluted before the heathen, in whose sight I brought them out... [Etc.]


Note that the Lord did not give Israel "my Sabbaths" until they were in the wilderness as part of his covenant with the nation. This was not a command given them while in Egypt (as were any of the feasts commanded yet). The Lord's covenants (old and new) are "with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah" (Hebrews 8; Jeremiah 31). When Jonah was sent to Nineveh to preach repentance to the gentiles there, there is no adopting of the Law of Moses. Further, even in the land of Israel itself, gentiles living among Israel had their own set of laws. The Law of Moses nor the covenants have ever been universal or without beginning or end.


The Days of the Month and Sabbaths


We must also note the teaching that the Sabbaths are to correspond with the correct days of the month. That is, the first, eighth, fifteenth, twenty-second, and twenty-ninth of the lunar month. This is not necessarily a problem if one just ignores the lunar calendar and simply uses the local "Saturday" as his seventh day, but, to some, that is technically incorrect (and to be technically wrong is to be wrong, that is, to be in sin). And we also simply insert here, this all assumes we know the first day of the first lunar month as from the foundation of the Ages.


The Feasts of The Lord as Statutes Forever


You shall keep it as a feast to the Lord for seven days in the year. It shall be a statute forever in your generations. You shall celebrate it in the seventh month. You shall dwell in booths for seven days. All who are native Israelites shall dwell in booths, that your generations may know that I made the children of Israel dwell in booths when I brought them out of the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.’ ”

-Leviticus 23:41-43


I was somewhat shocked (for a moment) at the number of groups I found who say they are keeping the Feast of Tabernacles. Of course, as with all of these things, they don't truly keep the feast as commanded in scripture.


Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘The fifteenth day of this seventh month shall be the Feast of Tabernacles for seven days to the Lord. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall do no customary work on it. For seven days you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. On the eighth day you shall have a holy convocation, and you shall offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. It is a sacred assembly, and you shall do no customary work on it.


Remember, this is "a statute forever." But we also must remember this is a stature forever spoken "to the children of Israel." The entire section on the Feasts concludes with, "So Moses declared to the children of Israel the feasts of the Lord."

But within the keeping of these feasts (remember this was ONLY after they left Egypt), there are instructions for gentiles living among Israel. 

We don't want to get bogged down in the Feasts, so let me finish this section and return to the timing of the Sabbath by just quoting some other commands connected to the feasts that no one I know is keeping. Well, if there are some who are keeping these as commanded, they are denying the sacrifice of Christ.

 

‘And you shall count for yourselves from the day after the Sabbath, from the day that you brought the sheaf of the wave offering: seven Sabbaths shall be completed. Count fifty days to the day after the seventh Sabbath; then you shall offer a new grain offering to the Lord. You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord. And you shall offer with the bread seven lambs of the first year, without blemish, one young bull, and two rams. They shall be as a burnt offering to the Lord, with their grain offering and their drink offerings, an offering made by fire for a sweet aroma to the Lord. Then you shall sacrifice one kid of the goats as a sin offering, and two male lambs of the first year as a sacrifice of a peace offering. The priest shall wave them with the bread of the firstfruits as a wave offering before the Lord, with the two lambs. They shall be holy to the Lord for the priest. And you shall proclaim on the same day that it is a holy convocation to you. You shall do no customary work on it. It shall be a statute forever in all your dwellings throughout your generations.


And the Lord spoke to Moses, saying: “Also the tenth day of this seventh month shall be the Day of Atonement. It shall be a holy convocation for you; you shall afflict your souls, and offer an offering made by fire to the Lord. And you shall do no work on that same day, for it is the Day of Atonement, to make atonement for you before the Lord your God. For any person who is not afflicted in soul on that same day shall be cut off from his people. And any person who does any work on that same day, that person I will destroy from among his people. You shall do no manner of work; it shall be a statute forever throughout your generations in all your dwellings. It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate your sabbath.”


Is this happening? Are we "cutting off" those not "afflicted in soul" on the Day of Atonement? Is the Lord "destroying" believers who work on the Day of Atonement? 

We've looked at these ideas elsewhere. Before we leave this side road, we want to note commands for Gentiles living among believers. These commands are referenced at the Council at Jerusalem in Acts 15 where, again, Gentile believers are treated differently than Jewish believers.

 

“Also you shall say to them: ‘Whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who offers a burnt offering or sacrifice, and does not bring it to the door of the tabernacle of meeting, to offer it to the Lord, that man shall be cut off from among his people [i.e. put to death]. ‘And whatever man of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell among you, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood, and will cut him off from among his people.


And we also want to note how the UNCHANGING LAW changed:

 

And when a stranger dwells with you and wants to keep the Passover to the Lord, let all his males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as a native of the land. For no uncircumcised person shall eat it.
-Exodus 12:48

 

And if a stranger dwells among you, and would keep the Lord’s Passover, he must do so according to the rite of the Passover and according to its ceremony; you shall have one ordinance, both for the stranger and the native of the land.’ ”

-Numbers 9:14


No longer a requirement for circumcision. If one would contend that circumcision is implied, and he insists the law is universally applicable... he'll have to conclude circumcision is still a requirement. 

Let's continue with the statutes in Numbers 9 in regard to the Passover for the unclean and for those on a long journey (outside the land).


“Speak to the people of Israel, saying, If any one of you or of your descendants is unclean through touching a dead body, or is on a long journey, he shall still keep the Passover to the Lord. In the second month on the fourteenth day at twilight they shall keep it.


But when is the Passover to be observed in the Law?

 

And the Lord spoke to Moses in the wilderness of Sinai, in the first month of the second year after they had come out of the land of Egypt, saying, "Let the people of Israel keep the Passover at its appointed time. On the fourteenth day of this month, at twilight, you shall keep it at its appointed time; according to all its statutes and all its rules you shall keep it.” So Moses told the people of Israel that they should keep the Passover. And they kept the Passover in the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month, at twilight, in the wilderness of Sinai; according to all that the Lord commanded Moses, so the people of Israel did.

 

Leaving the "unclean" for the sake of this study (although the law-keepers must also deal with that), let us focus on those "on a long journey." Israel was to observe the Passover in the FIRST MONTH, yet a child of Israel "on a long journey" at that time was to keep it in the SECOND MONTH. Why not observe it where he is travelling? I propose to you, that since the Passover begins at "twilight" in the land, it can only be kept at "twilight" in the land

Here, we want to turn back to the Sabbath and how the Lord separates it from the other days and instructs Israel when she is to observe it.


The Reading of the Law and Its Place and Purpose


We turn to Nehemiah and the return of Israel to the land after 70 years in the Babylonian captivity. We won't go through the entire chapter, but I will pull out a few verses and passages for context.


On that day they read in the book of Moses in the audience of the people; and therein was found written, that the Ammonite and the Moabite should not come into the congregation of God for ever; because they met not the children of Israel with bread and with water, but hired Balaam against them, that he should curse them: howbeit our God turned the curse into a blessing. Now it came to pass, when they had heard the law, that they separated from Israel all the mixed multitude.

-Nehemiah 13:1-3


I noted this entire passage because it is another example of the exclusivity of the law for Israel. Would we, or how would we possibly apply this to today? How would the Body enact this "for ever" law? Do we "spiritualize" the passage and find replacements for the Ammonite and Moabite in this age? We also note Ruth was a Moabite. But that is another study for another day. We focus here solely on the focus of the "book of Moses" and its limited application.


Now before this, Eliashib the priest, having authority over the storerooms of the house of our God, was allied with Tobiah. And he had prepared for him a large room, where previously they had stored the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of grain, the new wine and oil, which were commanded to be given to the Levites and singers and gatekeepers, and the offerings for the priests.

-Nehemiah 13:4-5


Just going to ask here: what on earth do we do with this in this age? What are "the storerooms of the house of our God" in this age? Where do have "the grain offerings, the frankincense, the articles, the tithes of grain, the new wine and oil?" Finally, how are we to give these " to the Levites and singers and gatekeepers, and the offerings for the priests?" Do we simply "spiritualize" all these? If so, can I simply "spiritualize" the Sabbaths and Feasts?


But during all this I was not in Jerusalem, for in the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon I had returned to the king. Then after certain days I obtained leave from the king, and I came to Jerusalem and discovered the evil that Eliashib had done for Tobiah, in preparing a room for him in the courts of the house of God. And it grieved me bitterly; therefore I threw all the household goods of Tobiah out of the room. Then I commanded them to cleanse the rooms; and I brought back into them the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense.

-Nehemiah 13:6-9

Nehemiah's instructions from the Law pertained only to Jerusalem. "The courts of the house of God" are unique to Israel alone. And again we have, "the articles of the house of God, with the grain offering and the frankincense." 

If we limited the Law to the people of Israel and certain elements to the land, does that mean sins like adultery and murder were OK for Gentiles or outside the land? Of course not. Murder has been wrong from the beginning. Cain murdered Abel before the Law was given. If we somehow believe (as some teach) that the law around in oral form, why did no one build a tabernacle or temple in Jerusalem after leaving Egypt? Why did the great Abraham not do this? Why did he never bring a sacrifice to a Levite or brings offerings to the storehouse?

You might think these are stupid questions (and in a way they are), but these are enormous problems for those who would have us believe the Law is eternal. In addition to these problems, we have the added problem of circumcision which was unknown to Abraham at the time of his justification. Circumcision was not connected in any way to justification for life and neither was the Law.

Christ has redeemed us [Jews] from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”), that the blessing of Abraham might come upon the Gentiles in Christ Jesus, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, “And to your Seed,” who is Christ. And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God n Christ, that it should make the promise of no effect. For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

-Galatians 3:13-18 


When we rightly divide Galatians, Paul is still addressing Jews and Gentiles separately yet singularly. What do I mean by that? Well, the gift of Life has always been by grace through faith since Adam. The Law entered in and contained earthly promises to Israel in addition to the free gift. However, these earthly things are contingent upon obedience. The Gospel of the Kingdom was limited to Jews alone and could not be preached outside the land (Matthew 10:5-7). Israel's failure under the law stood in the way of these blessings. Christ removed the curse of the Old Covenant by law and will replace it one day with the New Testament by promise. In the back of all that is the free gift of Life through his name by faith alone (John 20:30-31).

Galatians (and Romans) speaks of the blessings of Abraham which were two-fold: the free gift of justification by faith and the blessings of Abraham through obedience. This is how we can understand the justification of Abraham while in uncircumcision by faith and the justification of Abraham in circumcision by his acts of faith (works).


Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh will be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin. But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? Of works? No, but by the law of faith. Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law. Or is He the God of the Jews only? Is He not also the God of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also, since there is one God who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through faith. Do we then make void the law through faith? Certainly not! On the contrary, we establish the law.

-Romans 3:19-31

For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness.

-Romans 4:3-5

Does this blessedness then come upon the circumcised only, or upon the uncircumcised also? For we say that faith was accounted to Abraham for righteousness. How then was it accounted? While he was circumcised, or uncircumcised? Not while circumcised, but while uncircumcised.

-Romans 4:9-10


But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered Isaac his son on the altar? Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect [mature]?

James 2:20-22


We note again here the uniqueness of Abraham's "works." Human sacrifice of one's child is not a work of the law to be emulated for the free gift of life. Here we see Abraham's obedience to his calling which completed his faith. Yet he was justified freely in uncircumcision when he believed God in Ur.

There is a "better resurrection" (Heb 11) to be earned. There is, today, a prize, a "resurrection out from among the rest of the dead" to be attained (Phil 3). But these are gained by obedience to "the calling to which we have been called," (Eph 4) not to the calling of another. Abraham received neither the gift of life or access to the heavenly Jerusalem by obedience to the Old Covenant Law. We certainly will not attain the out-resurrection or a place in the far above the heavens that way either.


Jews Outside Israel in the Acts Age


We have seen that the Gospel of the Kingdom was limited to Jews in the Gospels. When we enter into the continuation of the Kingdom message in the Acts Age, we again notice only Jews keeping the Sabbath by meeting in synagogues. This was true outside Israel proper, but the time would have been the same.

As just one example, let us consider Acts 18:

 

After these things Paul departed from Athens and went to Corinth. And he found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, who had recently come from Italy with his wife Priscilla (because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome); and he came to them. So, because he was of the same trade, he stayed with them and worked; for by occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded both Jews and Greeks.


What the text never provides is what these Jews considered the start or end of the Sabbath. But had they relied on Jerusalem, they would have had essentially the same sabbath observance. Granted, this map from today may not reflect how time was reckoned over the centuries, but it does show that Asia Minor and Greece would have had a similar sunset and sunrise as Jerusalem. 





This also begs the question (again) what to people in areas of the planet with only a few hours of sunlight at certain times of the year? Finland is in the time zone noted above.  Utsjoki, Finland, in December has essentially no sunrise (or sunset). The same can be said of June (only for the opposite condition). The Sabbath is sunset to sunset, so it wouldn't matter if the daylight only lasts an hour, but it would matter if there was no daylight (thus no sunset) at all... if one is taking all scripture for himself.

One can observe a Sabbath rest without a Sabbath Law. One does not even need a sunset to observe such a rest. Rest is a gift to be enjoyed. But if we put ourselves under its obligation, the gift becomes a curse. 


What is it to Rest?


The point of "rest" is not a test or a punishment, it is a gift to man. I sit at a desk all week. If I sit at a desk at home, have I truly "ceased to work?" Whereas, if I put on an edifying message or music and spend time on my yard, could that not be construed as therapeutic rest? Ceasing from my labor? If we want to go back to Genesis, we must heed the Lord's word as to the reason for the creation and example of the Sabbath.

Did the Lord need physical rest on the seventh day? No, he simply ceased his work of creation. The Sabbath of the Law differs (as has been noted). Let us enjoy rest when we can take it. Let us truly pull away from mercantilism and devote time to health, family, worship, prayer, and holiness. Creating a list of dos and don'ts based on the Law given for a particular people with a particular calling will lead to either enslavement to fear or a puffed sense of self-worth. In its worst form, it believes God is in its debt.

Takeaway: Utsjoki has a seventh day, they just don't come under the Law of the seventh day. The second you put yourself under the Law, you become a law-breaker. See Galatians Chapter 4 (and that's just for Jews under a different promise, certainly no Gentile should put himself under the law).



Monday, October 18, 2021

The Clarity on the Role of Good Works in Titus 3

I was recently chided for my continued exalting of the "finished work" of the Savior on a believer's forum. As I have noted on this blog (and more pointedly on my podcast), there is a nefarious devotion to the law in these last days. Not a call for holy living necessarily, but a call to some self-deluded belief that:

a. We can actually obey the law to perfection (its requirement)
b. That the law was given to us at all
c. That the law is necessary to maintain the free gift of resurrection life

 

We have covered this topic in a number of ways previously, but suffice it to say that the Law was never given to Gentiles and certainly never given as a requirement for resurrection (immortal) life. At best, it served as a schoolmaster to Israel to reveal her wickedness and failure. It also contained pictures of the coming sacrifice of her Messiah. Surely we can learn from the Law, we are not to be subject to it nor are we to delude ourselves into thinking compliance pleases God to the point we have claim over his mercy and grace as a debt to our supposed obedience. 

There are many passages in Paul's epistles which address the role of the Law in the life of Israel. We can find an Acts Age perspective and also a Post Acts perspective. Today, we want to look at Paul's balancing of faith, grace, and the role of works in the life of a believer in this age as found in Titus chapter 3.

For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.


The structure of this passage starts with the reminder that all of us, no matter how religious or wicked in the eyes of the world (or in our own eyes), we must recognize that all are condemned under sin. This is true for those under the law and those outside the law. Romans 2:12, 23; etc.

We also know that the Law plays no part in the work of grace, nor can it. Similarly, works of any kind are excluded from the work of grace. Romans 11:6; etc. It is in law where we see the power of sin. We also note the blasphemy of trying to add the works of my hands to the death, burial (lack of decay), and glorious resurrection of the Savior. His sacrifice was presented to the Father and accepted. His work alone.

It is shocking that we have o continue to reiterate this glorious truth among professed believers.

 

But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.


God's love displayed towards us (particularly towards us Gentiles) is found in his mercy, his wonderful, kind, and loving mercy. We dare not sully his mercy with the notion that we can "maintain" grace, mercy, love, or righteousness by the works of our hands. Again, shocking that we have to revisit this topic again and again and again with professed believers.

From the Reformed to the Ultradispensationalist, we all rest on the Finished Work of the Savior. It is on that sure foundation that we find grounds for fellowship. Without that common foundation of Christ Alone (upon which we build a structure by our service), there can be no fellowship. Together we cry "Christ alone!" to a lost and dying world deceived by its ideas of righteousness. 

This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.


Here enters the admonition to "maintain good works." Note in this age, this is not the Law. We also note that this admonition is given in light of "his mercy" which "saved us." Grace is the act of God granting us immortal, resurrection life through faith in his name (John 20:30-31). Mercy is the act of God ignoring our misguided attempts to put him in our debt via the works of our own hands.

And that confusion and blasphemy has crept into the lives of believers who fail to rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim 2:15). The Law has its place. But the law could never save nor could it ever maintain salvation. We used to see this delusion outside the walls of faith, poisoning man's world of "religion." Today, we see it inside the walls of faith, diluting and destroying the finished work of the Savior in the minds of millions of professed believers. 

I believe there are three basic classes of disciples of this old heresy in a new home:

  1. Those who have never truly rested in grace and are still deluded
  2. Those who are in bondage to fear that they could lose (or never had) the free gift of life
  3. Those who are puffed up and deluded into thinking God is pleased (and ultimately in their debt) because of some fantasy that they can keep the Law

In all three classes, it seems the delusion is strong. 

 

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned.


This admonition from Paul needs little commentary. Note how the law-keeper is "self-condemned."  What have genealogies have to do with anyone in the one new man? Nothing. As our blessings are from "before the foundation of the ages," no law or genealogy has any bearing on our position in Christ. 

We finally turn to the greatest (blameless) law-keeper of them all:


Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the concision. For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. 4 Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith... 

-Philippians 3:2-9


Paul states clearly that he places no faith in his genealogy or in the law. He trades it all for the knowledge of Christ. This passage goes on to speak of Paul seeking to "attain unto the out-from-the-rest-of-the-dead" resurrection. Yes, there are crowns, rewards, and a prize that can be won by faithful service. But these are the houses we build on the sure foundation. These works will be tested, but the work of the Savior has already been presented and accepted. 

We are careful to "maintain good works" BECAUSE we are saved by his mercy, not TO BE saved by his mercy. Shocking we have to continually defend the work of our Savior this way in these last days. Well, maybe not so shocking. As Paul warned in the final book of God's revelation (2 Timothy), many different sorts of heresies an rebellions would arise. Among these, delusion religionists with faith in their own works. 


This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away. For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

 

 A wretched picture indeed. 


Related:


I also recommend the series on Walking in the Spirit and the Series on Walking According to the Calling to which we have been called.


Friday, October 8, 2021

Daniel 12:4 To and Fro, Knowledge Will Increase

And thou, O Daniel, hide the things, and seal the book till the time of the end, many do go to and fro, and knowledge is multiplied.'
   -Daniel 12:4


There are generally two accepted understandings of this verse in the last chapter of Daniel's prophecy. 

  1. Mankind's general collection of knowledge, advanced by technology and research.
  2. Understanding of Prophecy and scripture in general by Believers

I want to be clear and state that I am not discounting either. Both are reasonable interpretations and should be considered. But here I would like to propose a third possibility wherein "knowledge" is given in the negative.

For starters, we'll consider he context of the chapter:

At the time of the end...
-Dan 11:40

At that time...
-Dan 12:1

This is the time of Jacob's Trouble (Jer 30:7, Israel) and we have a summation in Dan 12:1b-2a.

And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.
And many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake...

Here is how this section in introduced in Dan 12:1a

And at that time shall Michael stand up, the great prince which standeth for the children of thy people...

Michael stands for the people of Israel (Daniel's people). He wars with Israel’s enemies. Israel shall face great lies and deceptions in the tribulation. Individual Jews will have o make choices. The resurrection ("shall awake") spoken of in the passage is similar to the dry bones coming together and the reunion of Judah and Israel seen in Ezekiel 37. I believe all these things are centered on "the land." At the end of this prophecy, Daniel is told to seal up the book (which, I believe, is the book which can only be opened by the Son of God as we see in the Revelation, chapter 5).  

run to and fro” is derived from the Hebrew word "shut." I'm not pretending to be a Hebrew scholar, but that could be rendered "sut" depending on how we read the markings in the Masoretic text. "Shut" means "to rove about quickly." It is used by Amos in Amos 8:12. The idea there is that men shall frantically seek revelation and not find it. That definition could still work in Dan 12.

"Shat" is also used by Ezekiel 3x (Ezekiel 16:57 ; Ezekiel 28:24 , Ezekiel 28:26 ) and it means "to despise".

they will dwell securely, when I execute judgments on all those around them who despise them...

The NAS Exhaustive Concordance states:

Word Origin [shat]:
the same as shut


If the word is "sut," we get a clearer understanding of the meaning. It would mean, directly, to revolt or apostatize. e.g. Hos 5:2, (Strong's: a departure from that which is right).


Swete’s edition of the LXX [Septuagint] reads here: heos an apomanosin, which means: “till many shall have gone raving mad.”



In regard to "knowledge" (Hebrew: da‛ath), I would point to a couple of things.
The Tree of the Knowledge [da‛ath] of Good and Evil. It is my contention (again in pencil) that familiarity with good and evil is not in itself bad, however, for those not equipped it is terrible. It leads to corruption. In the context of those in Israel revolting and going mad, aimlessly looking for God's justification of their deeds via their apostate religious activities, they dwell in the knowledge of good and evil and become even more corrupt. 
 
One version of The Septuagint reads "adikias," or "wickedness." It is also suggested by Dr. Ginsburg (Introduction to the Massoretico-Critical Edition of the Hebrew Bible), that the word that should be used is "hara’oth," meaning "wickedness." Full disclosure, I did not find that in Ginsburg's work (I'm not that smart), I found it in a commentary on Daniel. Regardless, the reference to Ginsburg is accurate.

 

So, putting that all together, we can get:

 Many shall apostatize, and wickedness shall be increased.

(As rendered by The Berean Expositor) 

If we look at the flow of the chapter, it could be seen this way:

v4  Shut up the words, and seal the book
a.  Many shall apostatize
b.  Wickedness shall be increased
c.  v5-7. three and half years
d.  v8 What shall be the end?

v9  The words are closed and sealed.
a.  Many shall be purified.
b.  The wicked shall do wickedly.
c.  v11-12 Two periods beyond the three and half years
d.  v13 "you shall rest, and will arise to your inheritance at the end of the days"


I would conclude that while we may see the start of this period, it is primarily a prophecy to Israel as she enters her last days of the expectation of the Kingdom (Acts 1:3-7, etc.). The unveiling of the specifics are seen the Revelation (future).

Saturday, September 25, 2021

The Legacy of John Nelson Darby

 There are very few people in modern theological circles as maligned or denigrated as John Nelson Darby. A descendant of revered British Admiral Horatio Nelson (hero of the Napoleonic Wars), Darby was raised and was ordained in the Church of Ireland (essentially the Anglican Church in Ireland). When he discovered the wonders and joys of the biblical charge to rightly divide the Word of Truth for himself, he left his ordination behind and took to an in-depth and literal study of scripture. His legacy is what are called Plymouth Brethren assemblies throughout the world, a literal interpretation of scripture, and the truths of dispensationalism. 

Full disclosure, despite not being a Darbyite, I named my youngest daughter "London Darby" in honor of his literalism. I disagree on his understanding of the Rapture, the Lord's Supper, Water baptism, etc., but I admire his leaving his position in the Anglican Church to pursue a literal understanding of the Bible. As with Luther, we can (and should) admire the light he brought to scripture for the times in which he lived. I am not the judge of another man's servant. Darby will stand on his own before his Lord. Being of one mind with him on the finished work of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, I can call him a brother while respectfully departing from him on certain points.

The one doctrine mostly associated with his name (namely the Rapture or "catching away" of believers before the start of the Tribulation) is where we find much of the slander against the man. Videos, web pages, booklets, etc. are filled with vitriol against the man. I do not hold to his interpretation of the relevant passages in 1 Thessalonians 4 and in 1 Corinthians 15, yet I do not find his attempt at a literal interpretation to be abhorrent. [Note: I interpret these passages literally as well, just through a different understanding of the ages and hopes and timing.]

Unfortunately, far too many of the attacks on his doctrine are not based on a purely scriptural argument, but upon a bit of urban legend in regard to the supposed influence of one Margaret MacDonald and her supposed "visions."

On its face it is a ridiculous charge as Darby was a cessationist. His general view would be that supposed visions are demonic or false. McDonald's "vision" was a partial-rapture. He hardly would have adopted her visions as truth. There is much evidence that Darby's understanding of 1 Thess 4:17 was formed before anyone had heard of Margaret MacDonald. 

JND was part of the movement to rescue scripture from the allegorical interpretations common in Augustinian and Catholic-influenced theology. It was his literalism that led him to see 1 Thess 4 as a literal "catching away" before a literal Tribulation in literal Israel. That's all.


"Origen was the first to lay down, in connection with the allegorical method of the Jewish Platonist, Philo, a formal theory of interpretation, which he carried out in a long series of exegetical works remarkable for industry and ingenuity, but meager in solid results. he considered the Bible a living organism, consisting of 3 elements that answer to the body, soul and spirit of man, after the Platonic psychology. Accordingly, he attributes to the Scriptures a threefold sense: ( 1 ) a somatic [body], literal, or historic sense, furnished immediately by the meaning of the words, but only serving as a veil for a higher idea: ( 2 ) a psyche [soul] or moral sense, animating the first and servingfor general edification; ( 3 ) a pneumatic [spirit] or mystic and ideal sense, for those who stand on the high ground of philosophical knowledge. In the application of this theory, he shows the same tendency as Plato, to spiritualize away the letter of Scripture... and instead of simply bringing out the sense of the Bible, he puts into it all sorts of foreign ideas and irrlevant fancies" 
(Staff, Philip, Anti-Nicene Christianity: Ad 100-325, Vol. 2 of A History of the Christian Church, Cedar Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. 1958)

h/t Sojourner414 at RaptureForums.com

  

Even though I come to certain different conclusions in my interpretation of the epistles than does JN Darby, I admire the man for his conviction to interpret scripture literally. To that end, I have great respect for my Plymouth Brethren brothers and sisters. And I'll have to say that the PB have been excellent on typology in the Old Testament.

For my views on the "Rapture" passage, I refer you to the following for consideration. As I'll say again, I wouldn't mind being wrong on this one!

 

[JND was] a saint more true to Christ’s name and word I never knew or heard of...
A great man naturally, and as diligent a student as if he were not highly original, he was a really good man, which is much better. So, for good reason, I believed before I saw him; so taking all in all I found him, in peace and in war; and so, in the face of passing circumstances, I am assured he was to the end. Do I go too far if I add, may we be his imitators, even as he also was of Christ?

Excerpt: John Nelson Darby As I Knew Him by William Kelly