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Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Hebrews 10:25 and Replacement Theology

A commonly quoted verse is Hebrews 10:25.

"Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching."

It is often used in the context of imploring Christians to go to church. Whereas I fully recommend that Christians gather for prayer and worship and study and encouragement, I believe the emphasis of this verse is something quite different.

The "assembling... together" here (in the Book Of HEBREWS, remember) is the Greek word "epi-synagōgḗ." You can see the word in there, synagogue. This makes sense for Jews. In the Acts Age, Israel was expecting the time of "Jacob's Trouble" ("The Day of the Lord" was "approaching") and "the restoration of the kingdom to Israel" (Acts 1) and the return of the Lord in the clouds (Acts 1-3). None of that applies to believers of the current (Post-Acts) age.

This word is also connected with the Lord's return in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 (another passage which speaks of the time of the prophetic end being near).

Jewish believers were being encouraged to gather "around synagogue" as the end of the age approached.

In another Jewish epistle (James' letter to "the twelve tribes" Jas 1:1), we see James giving instruction for when believers met in their "synagogues." The word "synagōgḗ" (2:2) is translated as "assembly" or "congregation" or "church" in most English translations, but the context is overtly Jewish.

A synagogue is a uniquely Jewish concept. The word is used 34 times in the gospel accounts, 20 times in the Acts, 1 time in James, and 2 times in the Revelation; all Israel-centric books.

Strong adds this note to his definition of synagogue as a gathering place of Jews (as any Jew or Greek would have understood it): "by analogy a Christian church." There is no justification for this. To get this, one must try to use its usage in James, but as noted, James is written to Jews.

In the Revelation, it is used as part of the phrase "the synagogue of Satan" to describe "the blasphemy of them which SAY they are Jews, and are NOT," (Rev 2:9; 3:9). If we translated them as "churches of Satan," the charge does not change; those who claim to be Jews [Israel] and are not. (This concerns a future age, but the distinction is clear.)

This past week or so, I spent a lot of time discussing these issues with Christians who claim for themselves promises and hopes given to Israel. We need to be very careful in this area. The majority of Christians (and the vast majority of Christendom) believe the church is Israel. This is very very serious error. Even groups which used to clearly teach these distinctions have abandoned them and have embraced elements of Replacement Theology.

We must "walk worthy of the calling to which [we] were called" (Eph). We cannot do this by claiming things from other callings. Do not be cheated out of your reward by minding earthly ordinances and practices that belong to others. There is only ONE path to everlasting, resurrection life since Adam (grace alone by faith alone), yet there are different callings, hopes, and rewards.

Rightly divide (cut straight) the Word of Truth.

Monday, October 29, 2018

Deconstructing Don Perkins' Introduction to "Hell" - Part 2

We continue our series on Don Perkins and his message on "Hell"

"The word 'hell' carries the connotation of 'doom,' 'hopelessness,' and "futility.' Its meaning is clear. It represents the place of future retribution, the abode of the wicked, a place of punishment. Hell is a real place. Hell is a place you don't want to go."
-Don Perkins

Trying to list all the uses of "hell" (Sheol) in the Old Testament would take too much space. But let's look at a couple of uses and see if Perkins' description fits (note: some translations play loosely with "hell" and "Sheol" when Sheol is used). "Sheol" is used in these verses.

For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
-Psalm 16:10


I said, “In the prime of my life must I go through the gates of death
and be robbed of the rest of my years?”
-Isaiah 38:10

 Both these verses are used in the New Testament. The Isaiah 38:10 use is quoted by the Lord and translated "gates of hell" in the KJV. But in the Greek it is truly "Gate of Hades," that is "the gates of the abode of the dead."

The verse in Psalm 16 is quoted by both Peter and Paul in the Acts, referring to the resurrection of the Lord. But David used it in reference to himself.

Before we apply Perkins' description, let's look at "hell" as applied to believers (which we referenced in our last study). As noted, Paul uses "hell" but once in his epistles. Let's look at Paul's use (quoting the Prophets and applying it to believers) and  The Lord's use in Luke 16. It is never used as a hammering word to scare unbelievers into faith by the Apostle.

So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death [Hades/Hell], where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? -1 Cor 15:54-55
 
I will ransom them from the power of the grave [Sheol]; I will redeem them from death [mâveth]: O death [mâveth], I will be thy plagues; O grave [Sheol], I will be thy destruction: repentance shall be hid from mine eyes. -Hosea 13:14

Paul applies this future promise to believers. This is a picture of resurrection. I note both verses because one is from before the cross and the other after. Both speak of a future resurrection and both speak of believers and blessed of God in "Sheol." We must note that, in the Greek, there are some manuscripts which read "thanatos" and some "Hades." "Thanatos" is used some 119 times. We see it referring to "the Lord's death" and "the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death" in 1 Corinthians.

If some want to grasp onto thanatos, then they have Sheol meaning simply "death" and Paul never referring to "Hades" in his epistles (we noted he quotes Ps 16:10 in the Acts, which refers to the Lord).

In any case, let's look again at Perkins' connotations:
"The word 'hell' carries the connotation of 'doom,' 'hopelessness,' and "futility.' Its meaning is clear. It represents the place of future retribution, the abode of the wicked, a place of punishment. Hell is a real place. Hell is a place you don't want to go."
-Don Perkins
Well, no one wants to die, but do we see anything like this in our examples? Whether we like it or not, if we die, we're going there. But it is not a "place of punishment" for believers. In regard to unbelievers, since "the payment for sin is death [thanatos]" that is the sum of their punishment. Is it "eternal punishment?" Sure. It is a sentence which is never undone.

In the case of believers, we will see "death," but we will be rescued (saved) from death in the resurrection. It is at that time that "death is swallowed up in victory." The lost and the redeemed both still go to Hades. It is merely the state of the dead. Believers are said the be "asleep" in death, for we will one day awaken into new, resurrection life!
But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus. -1 Thess 4:13-14
Believers die, yet they do not die, for our lives are hid in God (Col 3:3).

A living Christian is "dead in Christ" having died to self, yet we live. The deceased Christian is dead, yet he has not died.

Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. -Col 3:2-3
Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” -John 11:25-26

Though the believer DIE, he shall LIVE; yet he shall NEVER DIE. Dead while we live, alive though we're dead. The great uniter will be the resurrection of 1 Cor 15!

Today, "the dead know nothing" (Eccl 9:5) and "the dead do not praise" (Ps 115:17). We await the day when those asleep in Christ shall rise!

 The defense using Luke 16 (Lazarus and the Rich Man) merely complicates things. It tries to create a "good, restful. blissful" side of "hell." This is a convenient way of ignoring one definition of hell and temporarily using another. Applying Perkins' descriptions, we must reconsider the common traditions.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

The Evil Fruit of Replacement Theology Explodes in Pittsburgh

In light of recent events, let me say this...

Replacement theology, held by the majority of Christendom and taught in most seminaries, has been a Satanic lie which has led to centuries of cruelty. Israel has a hope and a future.

The Jews are the Lord's "brethren" (according to the flesh).
  • When the Lord walked the earth, he restricted the gospel of the Kingdom to Israel alone (Matt 10)
  • He came to minister to Israel and to affirm the promises made to them alone (Rom 15)
  • He was sent to Israel alone (Matt 15). He declared salvation is of the Jews (John 4)
  • His disciples went "to Jews only" (Acts 11; Gal 2)
  • In the Acts Age, the Jew was first (Rom 1)
  • In any town with Jews, Paul went to them first ("as was his practice" Acts 17)
  • Paul was in chains "for the hope of Israel" (Acts 28).

Gentiles were without a covenant, without a hope, and without God in the world (Eph). In the Acts Age, Gentiles were "grafted in" to the root (Rom 11) and they could be "cut off" from that root if they acted haughtily toward Israel (Rom 11).

Israel has a future. Israel shall have its New Covenant. It is theirs alone (Jer 31; Heb 8). Christians have robbed them of it. Even the historic stalwarts of dispensationalism have largely abandoned this truth and have grasped the New Covenant for themselves. You may have never considered the implications of this teaching (for it is ubiquitous), but I encourage you to reconsider for whom the New Covenant is promised and "rightly divide the word of truth."

"The first covenant was made with Israel; the second must be so likewise, according to the prophecy of Jeremiah... Although there is no difficulty here, it is important to have light with regard to these two covenants, because some have very vague ideas on this point, and many souls, putting themselves under covenants, that is, in relationship with God under conditions in which He has not placed them-lose their simplicity, and do not hold fast grace and the fullness of the work of Christ, and the position He has acquired for them in heaven."
-J.N. Darby (Commentary on Hebrews 8) 
“To take from Israel what is hers is only to diminish her and not enrich ourselves; nay, what has been called in this way the spiritualizing of the promises has led most surely and emphatically to the carnalizing, and the legalizing, of the Church.”
-F.W. Grant 
"All traditional Dispensationalists believe and teach that Israel alone will be under the New Covenant of Jeremiah and Ezekiel in the future Messianic Kingdom. Yet they all, almost without exception, forsake this exclusiveness of the rightly divided Word by maintaining that the Church shares in the 'spiritual' blessings of Israel’s New Covenant!
-Miles J. Stanford (Pauline Dispensationalism)

The Catholic Church spent centuries demeaning and oppressing the Jews as part of its official doctrine and dogma. The Reformed Churches have spread that evil through their ranks. The dispensational churches have abandoned rightly dividing the word of truth and have stolen the New Covenant from Israel. But God's word is everlasting. 

Israel will have its promised kingdom. The kingdom shall be restored to Israel (Acts 1). They shall have their temple, their priesthood, and their king. Gentiles will beg them to take them to God (Zech 8:23).

He will be their God once again, and they shall be His people.

"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."
-Hebrews 8:10
"Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you."
-Revelation 3:9
"Their [Israel's] sins and their iniquities will I remember no more"
-Heb 8:12

If your church teaches the church replaced Israel or is Israel, get out. If your dispensational church has embraced the New Covenant, call them back to the truth.

REJECT ANTISEMITISM.
REJECT REPLACEMENT THEOLOGY.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Deconstructing Don Perkins' Introduction to "Hell" - Part 1

HisChannel  [click for link] (which I like) recently ran Don Perkins' series on "hell." 

The first thing he says is misleading, "Hell isn't real. Have you heard that?" Well, as we've covered on this blog several times, we very much believe "hell" is real, it's just not the fiery torture chamber of human tradition. He sets up a straw man to knock down.

Don starts us off with Psalm 9:17
The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all nations that forget God. (NKJV)
No surprises here. God told Adam if he sinned he'd be punished. But what is that punishment and what is God telling us in Psalm 9?
And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.”
-Gen 2:16
Any threat there of fiery torture? No. Was God being dishonest? No. Can we get "spiritual death" out of that passage? Well, not directly. God is very specific. Sin = Physical Death.
For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.
-Gen 3:19b
Let's look back at Psalm 9:17 in a literal translation.
The wicked do turn back to Sheol, All nations forgetting God.
-Young's Literal Translation
What does scripture tell us about activity in "Sheol?" Nothing.
All that thy hand findeth to do, with thy power do, for there is no work, and device, and knowledge, and wisdom in Sheol whither thou art going.-Eccl 9:10 (YLT)
Ironically, Dr. Perkins continues his introduction by referencing God's demand for a just balance (Prov 11:1). We, of course agree with this. But what is the gift of God? "Eternal Life" (Rom 6:23). So the "balance" would be "Eternal death." And death is the cessation of being.

He goes on to break down "hell" into 5 "compartments," which we will address in future posts.

  1. Abraham's Bosom
  2. Hades or Sheol
  3. Tartarus
  4. The Bottomless Pit (The Abyss)
  5. The Lake of Fire (Gehenna)

We've looked at most of these in previous blog entries. You can either search them or wait until I link them in our next study (no need to retread).

He goes on to quote Albert Mohler who refers to the traditional doctrine of hell as "a doctrine... centrally enshrined in a system of theology..." Well, that's the problem. The true doctrine of hell, should be centrally enshrined, not the popular doctrine of God torturing people with fire for eternity. That doctrine of man's tradition is a blasphemy against the God of the Bible.

Looking back at where we started, with God warning Adam (the head of the human race) that "Sin = Physical Death," what is the immediate response of the Evil One? "You shall not surely die." This a lie that permeates the doctrine of eternal, fiery torture. The wages of sin is DEATH. And the death of a sinner is, indeed, "eternal." That is, the judgement, when meted out, is irrevocable. Death cannot mean "alive forevermore." God alone is immortal. Only in resurrection life can men become immortal.

You shall surely die versus You shall NOT surely die.

This foundational, creation truth is central to understanding scriptures concerning death.




Monday, October 15, 2018

2 Thess Clarifies 1 Thess (More on the Rapture Doctrine)

Some additional thoughts to our studies on the traditional "Rapture."

After Paul sent his first epistle to the Thessalonians, he quickly sent a second to correct false teachers and those misrepresenting his teaching. So, when the passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 is used to teach the "Rapture," we need to check 2 Thessalonians to see where Paul is pointing those believers.

Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and concerning our gathering together unto Him, we ask you  not to let your mind be quickly shaken or be troubled, neither in spirit nor by word, nor by letter coming as though from us, as if the day of Christ is already here.  Do not let anyone deceive you in any way. For that Day will not come unless a falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of destruction, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself as God. 

When we are looking at the Acts Age epistles, we must see them in light of all that "Moses and the prophets said would happen" (Acts 22:26; 28:23). 1 And 2 Thessalonians point us back to Daniel (and its corresponding Book, The Revelation).

He shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods. -Daniel 11:36
[Antichrist] shall speak words against the Most High,
and shall wear out the saints of the Most High,
and shall think to change the times and the law;
and they shall be given into his hand
for a time, times, and half a time.
-Daniel 7:25
And the beast was given a mouth uttering haughty and blasphemous words, and it was allowed to exercise authority for forty-two months. It opened its mouth to utter blasphemies against God, blaspheming his name and his dwelling, that is, those who dwell in heaven. Also it was allowed to make war on the saints and to conquer them And authority was given it over every tribe and people and language and nation, and all who dwell on earth will worship it... -Rev 13:5-8a

We also make a connection with the great millennium chapter in Isaiah (plus Romans, another Acts Age epistle, for context):

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of His mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of His coming.-2 Thess 2:8
There shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jesse,
and a branch from his roots shall bear fruit...
and he shall strike the [oppressor] with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked.

-Isaiah 11:1,4
And again Isaiah says,The root of Jesse will come, even he who arises to rule the Gentiles; in him will the Gentiles hope.” -Romans 15:12-13

These all point to the Lord coming to establish his righteous kingdom on earth. 2 Thessalonians 2 refers back 1 Thessalonians 4 ("Now, brothers, concerning the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and concerning our gathering together unto Him...). Paul is correcting false ideas which crept in since his first epistle.

The connection of the two epistles is here exampled by an article at heavendwellers.com:

FIRST EPISTLE- "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints" (1 Thess. 3:13). (A reference to Deut. 33:2, Psa. 68:17 and Zech. 14:5 will show that the "saints" here are the "holy angels" and not the church).
SECOND EPISTLE- "The Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire" (2 Thess.1:7, 8).
We see this is the Lord coming "in flaming fire." 

And all of this takes us back to the parables of Matthew (where "fire" occurs 12 times) and the judgments therein. We especially point to Matthew 24-25 which specifically addresses the questions:

  1. Tell us, when will these things be?
  2. What will be the sign of Your coming
  3. and of the end of the age?
So, at the Lord's coming, in light of "the gospel of the kingdom" (Matthew) and the establishment of "the promises made unto the fathers [Israel's]" (Romans) and the judgments of fire, we have the destruction of the antichrist and the establishment of the earthly kingdom ("that which Moses and the prophets said would come").

Does that then make me a "post-Tribber?" Well, no. Since the current present age and the church of the Mystery dispensation is distinct in its promises and hope (in the "far above the heavens" not on the earth) and independent of Israel, the events of the Tribulation are not for us. We do not look for the "coming" of 1 Thess 4 (etc.). That is the "parousía" of the Lord. We look for the "epiphaneia" (appearing) of the Lord.

[D]enying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ...
-Titus 2:12-13
The "rapture" passage in 1 Thessalonians 4 is now seen more clearly in light of the witness of scripture. We've covered this passage more fully elsewhere, so let me just note some items in this context.

For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.
-1 Thess 4:15-18
 
  • Paul expected this "coming" in his lifetime. 
  • This fits the pattern of the Acts Age. This "coming" (Gk: parousía) was common and specific to the Acts Age.
  • It is connected to the "Archangel" which is connected to Israel in Daniel.
  • The trump of God points us to the Revelation and to 1 Cor 15:52 
  • As with 1 Cor 15:52, we are pointed to resurrection (no bodiless existence)
  • This coming is in the clouds which points us to the promise in Acts 1:9-11 and Matt 25

When we understand that there are different hopes for different companies (churches) during different administrations (dispensations) according to different gospel, we can see things more clearly.

This is why we must "compare things that differ" and "rightly divide the Word of Truth." When we see things in the right context, the confusion starts to disappear.

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Hell, Romans 8:38, and The New Living Translation

I don't dislike the NLT, but we do need to be careful to remember that an "equivalence" is not a translation (and both are subject to bias).

I noticed that the NLT has this for Rom 8:38:

"And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love."

A wonderful thought for Christians! However, we have some bias slipped into the NLT here. The Greek reads "archḗ" and "dýnamis." Other translations render these "principalities" and "powers." These would be evil forces, no doubt, but should we impose on them "the powers of hell?"

The latter implies that "hell" is some sort of spiritual HQ. There is nothing in scripture to support that assumption. In fact (and ironically), these principalities and powers are far from the hell of tradition.

"For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places."
-Eph 6:12 (NKJV)

"Principalities" here is the same Greek word as used in Romans. Where do we see these dark rulers? They are "in heavenly places" or "in the heavens." Gk: epouránios

Since the NLT translators assume some sort of HQ in "hell," they assume the principalities and powers of the evil enemy are coming from such a place. But just as the "gates of hell" are not some HQ (how do gates attack?), men have imposed their traditions and make the word of God of no effect.

"Making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down."
-Mk 7:13 (NKJV)
What triggered me when I saw it was the word "hell." I knew Paul only uses it ("Hades") once in all his preaching and writing and it is in reference to believers conquering the grave (Hades) in resurrection in 1 Cor 15.

I recommend word studies and checking the Greek/Hebrew when studying. And, as always, don't neglect the three most important factors in properly interpreting scripture: context, context, context.

Tuesday, September 4, 2018

A Quick Look at 1 Thess 4 (The Rapture Verse) - Part 2


Now let's see about the ones with whom He comes. In the traditional rapture doctrine which relies on 1 Thess 4, it is assumed these are the deceased believers.
"It is with these words that we are to comfort our selves if believers die- fall asleep in Jesus. They shall return with Him when He shall be manifested; but, as regards their own portion, they will go away as He went, whether raised from the dead or transformed, to be for ever with the Lord."
-Darby's Synopsis of the New Testament, 1 Thessalonians 4
This is traditional "Classical Dispensational" view (the believers are the "saints" who escort the Lord.

Let's not ignore the witness of scripture. First, let's correct the translation of a similar passage in the Book of Jude.
Now Enoch, the seventh from Adam, prophesied about these men also, saying, “Behold, the Lord comes with ten thousands of His saints, to execute judgment on all, to convict all who are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have committed in an ungodly way, and of all the harsh things which ungodly sinners have spoken against Him.”
-Jude 14-15 (NKJV

did come (Young's Literal)
came (Revised Standard)
has come (Darby)

Whether you hold this as a past or future reference, the "saints" here are coming to execute judgment. It is the messengers of God, the Angels, that come with the Lord in judgment.

Then the Lord will go forth and fight against those nations as when he fights on a day of battle. On that day his feet shall stand on the Mount of Olives which lies before Jerusalem on the east; and the Mount of Olives shall be split in two from east to west by a very wide valley; so that one half of the Mount shall withdraw northward, and the other half southward. And the valley of my mountains shall be stopped up, for the valley of the mountains shall touch the side of it; and you shall flee as you fled from the earthquake in the days of Uzzi′ah king of Judah. Then the Lord your God will come, and all the holy ones with him. - Zech 14:3-6

This is the Lord returning to the Mount of Olives after the defeat of Israel's enemies.  We see this again taught in the New Testament.

When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats. -Matt 25:31-32
 Let's look again at 2 Thessalonians:
since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power... - 2 Thess 1:6-9

And back to the "rapture" passage in 1 Thessalonians.

For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
-1 Thess 4:16-18 (KJV)

This time we note the "archangel" and the "trump of God."

 We know the archangel is Michael. And Michael is connected to the people of Israel.
Then he said, “Do you know why I have come to you? And now I must return to fight with the prince of Persia; and when I have gone forth, indeed the prince of Greece will come. But I will tell you what is noted in the Scripture of Truth. (No one upholds me against these, except Michael your [Israel's] prince).
-Dan 10:20-21

At that time Michael shall stand up,The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;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,Some to everlasting life,Some to shame and everlasting contempt. -Dan 12:1-2
This is 1 Thessalonian 4. There shall be the Archangel, at the time of Israel's deliverance, who will ne connected to the Lord's return and the resurrection of believers.

In the Revelation, we see the "last trump" associated with the kingdoms of the earth becoming the kingdoms of Christ. 

Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, “The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!” - Rev 11:15-16

Finally, we turn to the great resurrection chapter, 1 Corinthians 15.
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed— in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality.
This takes us back the resurrection which takes place when the Lord returns in the clouds with his angels with him to rescue Israel, at the last trumpet, at the voice of the archangel Michael.

A Quick Look at 1 Thess 4 (The Rapture Verse) - Part 1

I'll start by noting that I am a Dispensationalist. No surprise there. However, I don't identify with any of the traditional eschatological (end time) views associated with the position. That is, while I see many of the same end time scenarios similarly, I don't hold to any of the "rapture" positions (pre, mid, pre-wrath, post) while still holding to the concept of a future Tribulation and Millennium.

You can find thoughts on these elsewhere on this blog, but I just want to look at one aspect of the Second Coming of Christ; the coming in the clouds with His Saints.
For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.
-1 Thess 4:16-18 (KJV)

The Lord coming in the clouds should be expected. This is consistent with revealed truth.
And when he had spoken these things, while they beheld, he was taken up; and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel; Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
-Acts 1:9-11 (KJV)
I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him. And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.
-Dan 7:13-14 (KJV)
Then I looked, and behold, a white cloud, and on the cloud sat One like the Son of Man, having on His head a golden crown, and in His hand a sharp sickle.
-Rev 14:14

Behold, He is coming with clouds, and every eye will see Him, even they who pierced Him. And all the tribes of the earth will mourn because of Him. Even so, Amen.
-Rev 1:7
Etc.

In 2 Thessalonians, we have commentary and completion of the thoughts from 1 Thessalonians:
since it is a righteous thing with God to repay with tribulation those who trouble you, and to give you who are troubled rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power... - 2 Thess 1:6-9
The coming of the Lord is associated with the Lord coming in the clouds, with his "saints" (holy ones) at the end of the Tribulation to judge the living and dead in Israel and in the nations. Next time we'll look at this aspect of the Second Coming.

We must remember, however, that the dark days ahead are "the time of Jacob's Trouble." That is, while the whole world will be affected, the focus will be on Israel and her enemies. (See my study on the Parable of the Sheep and Goats to see how the nations will be judged at that time.)

So, the question remains, are Christians living at the start of the Tribulation still here? I do not see 1 Thess 4 as a promise of a pre-Tribulation catching away (rapture), but that does not mean God can not or will not remove believers in some way (or possibly keep them free from harm). The scripture is silent on this matter as far as I can see. This is why Ephesians teaches us in this age to be awake and prepared (Eph 5). There is blessing who love his appearing ("epiphenea").

We must rightly divide the three aspects of the Lord's coming (which we have covered elsewhere):

Parousia - presence of the King (e.g. Matt 24)
Apokálypsi̱ - the revelation
Epiphenae - the manifestation and appearing (e.g. Col 3:4)

We will move on to look at His coming with the saints (holy ones, angels).


Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Worship and the Coming Anti-Christ

I generally subscribe to idea that we are in the last days. As I have stated in a previous post on the topic, we may still be a few decades from the consummation of the related events and the Tribulation itself, but being awake to this age, I wouldn't be surprised if the end is much closer.

In light of the appearance of the Anti-Christ and the general works of Satan, we need to be reminded that Satan is not in the carnal sin business, he is in the spiritual sin business. As Charles Welch taught over a half a century ago (already seeing the seeds of the end in his time):

"Deception everywhere. You would not be deceived by outrageous witnesses. You're more likely to be deceived by a gentleman. And we remind ourselves that the apostle Paul told us that the ones that are the ministers of the evil one ('he himself is transformed into an Angel of Light'), [they] are the 'ministers of righteousness.' He doesn't make men commit sin, he makes men feel independent of the Son of God. He interferes with the worship element, not with the business element. 'Out of the heart of man' proceed all these other things, not an outside tempter. His business is in the religious world, and what a mess he's made of it... take heed that no man deceive you..."

-Charles Welch (message on the Second Coming in Matthew 24)

"Another interesting thing and a very important thing: [Scripture] doesn't say that this 'man of sin,' this 'son of perdition,' is trying to organize murder and adultery and theft all over the earth. It doesn't say that. He's right up to his neck in the question of worship. Nothing to do with wickedness (as we understand it). What is the first of the Ten Commandments? Is it about thieving? Is it about lying? No. It's about the worship of God and avoiding any possibility of compromise with the worship of idols. That comes first. And if that's broken, it doesn't matter much about the others." 
-Charles Welch (message on the Second Coming in 2 Thess)

We reference the scriptures.

The Anti-Christ will be involved with religion and worship.
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.
-2 Thess 2:3-4
The Anti-Christ will have signs and wonders and other outwardly religious actions.
For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.
-Matt 24:24
 The deception will cause religious awe and false worship.
And deceiveth them that dwell on the earth by the means of those miracles which he had power to do in the sight of the beast; saying to them that dwell on the earth, that they should make an image to the beast, which had the wound by a sword, and did live.
And he had power to give life unto the image of the beast, that the image of the beast should both speak, and cause that as many as would not worship the image of the beast should be killed.
-Rev 13:14-15

A final warning from the former head of Scotland Yard:
“[Satan’s] temptations are aimed, not against morals, but against faith. He is the ‘god of this world’, and influences and controls, not its vices and crimes, but its religion - hence the neglect and rejection of [true] Christianity.”
- Sir Robert Anderson (The Silence of God)

Friday, August 10, 2018

Another Look at Gehenna ("Hell")

Just another quick thought on Gehenna noted in my last post.
And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: it is better for thee to enter into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire [Gehenna that fire].
-Matthew 18:9b

Here the Greek for “hell fire” is γεενναν του πυρος = géenna ho pŷr = "Gehenna that fire"

While Hades is “the grave, the place of the dead” [Stong’s #86]; Gehenna is “Valley of Hinnom” [Strong’s #1067]. The Valley of Hinnom is a very real place in Israel and a very prophetic place.

The Valley of Hinnom is where great wickedness and idolatry (including child sacrifices) took place. It was turned into a trash dump which continually burned. This was the "lake of fire" where "the worm does not die and the fire is not quenched."

It is not a metaphor for God's afterlife torture chamber, it is a real place. We see it in Isaiah 66 after the events of the Revelation. This is how the Book of Isaiah ends:

“For as the new heavens and the new earth
Which I will make shall remain before Me,” says the Lord,
“So shall your descendants and your name remain.
And it shall come to pass
That from one New Moon to another,
And from one Sabbath to another,
All flesh shall come to worship before Me,” says the Lord.
“And they shall go forth and look
Upon the CORPSES of the men
Who have transgressed against Me.
For their worm does not die,
And their fire is not quenched.
They shall be an abhorrence to all flesh.”
-Isaiah 66:22-24

Corpses = פֶּגֶר

Strong's: corpses, carcasses, dead bodies

All that is future and involves the land (Israel).

You cannot get torture of bodliess "souls" out of that.

And remember, no matter how you want to spin it, the traditional doctrine of "hell" must have God doing the torturing... by fire... without hope... without end.

That is not only unbiblical, it is slander against the Lord.

What Happens to the Lost?

What happens to those who reject Christ (the Light and the Life)? Let's look at two verses all Christians know and love.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
-John 3:16

Perish = apóllymi (Greek)

Strong's: to destroy fully (reflexively to perish, or lose), literally or figuratively: - destroy, die, lose, mar, perish.

For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
-Romans 6:23

Death = thánatos (Greek)

The word is used 119 in the Greek NT and overwhelmingly means "death" in the physical sense.

Where it used figuratively, it still points to cessation of life.

“Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life..."
-John 5:24
 
Most assuredly, I say to you, if anyone keeps My word he shall never see death.
-John 8:51

If you start with the conclusion that "death" means separation from God and fiery torture, then you will read these passages differently. But that is reading what is not there. Before faith, I was dead (Greek: nekrós) in trespasses and sin (Eph 2:1). I was under the condemnation of God. But that condemnation was the condemnation of Genesis ("you shall surely die"). I was not being tortured.

Only believers will never see a full cessation of life for we have a new and everlasting life awaiting in resurrection. We die, yet we don't die. We see the Lord use "die" both ways and putting them together we have understanding.

“I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?”-John 11:25-26

How can we both "die" and "never die?" The only way is to be in Christ by faith. Our bodies die (soul ceases functioning, spirit returns to God), but who we are is "hid in God" and therefore does not die (perish). In one sense, we are already dead, yet in another we shall never die. And we shall experience that new life in full when the Lord is manifested and we are resurrected.

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory.
-Col 3:3-4
So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality [in resurrection], then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”
-1 Cor 15:54

The Lord told us that man has no greater love than to lay down his life for his friends. Paul tells us Christ died for our sins. This is the central message of the sacrifices and the cross. We sing about it in hymns and in contemporary music. The Lord paid the price by dying for us, for that is the penalty for sin. The Lord Jesus wasn't tortured by fire by the Father. The first Adam died and we died in him. The Second Adam died, but rose again that we might rise again. All else is mythology. "He gave his life, what more could he give?" His death, burial, and resurrection are sufficient. It pays the full penalty for it paid the full price: death.

We've covered this many times before. God alone is immortal. God does not threaten people with torture. The dead in Christ are said to be as "asleep." Remove the traditions of men and what you have is resurrection hope, which exalts Christ's resurrection to its fullest! He conquered death and the grave!

Our resurrection is not an asterisk or an addendum, it is EVERYTHING!

The original lie of Satan is "you shall not surely die" (Gen 3:4). This contradicts God's warning to Adam that if he disobeyed God, he would surely die (Gen 2:17, "dying you will die"). No threat of torture, etc. If "Gehenna" was a spiritual place of torture by fire, neither Adam nor God knows anything of it.

More on Gehenna next time.

Friday, August 3, 2018

The Law, The Conscience, Sin and Salvation

One of the most prevalent (and dangerous) errors in Christendom is that people were saved under the Old Covenant by keeping the law, but now people are saved by the New Covenant. We've covered these errors before.

In short, no one was ever saved by keeping the law (no one has kept it or could). Abraham was declared righteous while uncircumcised, centuries before the Law was given. When the Law and Old Covenant were given, they were given to Israel alone. The New Covenant is not salvation in this age, it is a future covenant (again) for Israel alone. (Ex 19:5-6; Eph 2:11-13; Heb 8; etc.)

For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a second. 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— 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.  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. -Heb 8:7-10 

I wanted to pull out one aspect from how many people use the law in this age. When we speak of certain sins, people want to run to the Law. However, some things are inherently wrong.

There was no law given Cain for him to know murder was wrong. When we fall into the flesh as children, we know stealing, greed, lust, disobedience and a multitude of other actions or thoughts are wrong. We don't expect rewards for stealing (etc.), we expect discipline and disapproval.

The conscience is not perfect, and scripture does expose our sins, but the conscience, before it is seared, surely witnesses to our depravity.

For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, not having the law, are a law unto themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, while their conflicting thoughts accuse or even excuse them...
-Rom 2:14-15

Bestiality is wrong. We don't need to go to the law to discover this. Now, the law does call certain things "abominations" or "perversions" or "profane." We need to take note, but the conscience witnesses to this.

Acting unjustly, slaughtering children, sexual perversions; we know inherently they are wrong. When the conscience becomes seared to these sins, men will fight desperately in two ways:

  1. Demand society sanction these vices
  2. Seek to silence anyone who disapproves

The seared conscience (1 Tim 4:2) must never be allowed to accuse again. If one enjoy's his sin (or doesn't want a selfish act labeled sin - to continue to live in darkness), just knowing someone disapproves might prick his conscience, so he demonizes and attacks and seeks to silence that voice.

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.
-Titus 1:15

The conditions of the Law warned Israel that these would pollute the land and eventually lead to her removal. But we must be careful with the Law and the Old Covenant. It is not a condition for today or for any other nation. It has faded away and will be replaced one day future for a redeemed Israel in the promised land.

The Lord Jesus Christ helped us understand the limitation of the Law on behavior. If we don't murder simply because the Law says "you shall not murder," we have not done well. The very desire to kill is sin.

Sometimes Law makes us want to sin. You may walk the same path through the park and never think about walking on the grass. Then one day the park puts up a "DO NOT WALK ON THE GRASS" sign and part of you wants to!

The greatest motivator to do what is right and good and just is love.

"If you love me, you will keep my commandments"
-John 14:15

I love God and others, therefore I do nothing to harm them. That is why the Lord says the Law is summed up in two commands:

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?” Jesus said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets.”
-Matt 22:36-40

This is why sin drives us from God. It stirs hate in us.

A day is coming wherein men will hate God so much, they would rather writhe in pain than repent of their deeds.

Then the fifth angel poured out his bowl on the throne of the beast, and his kingdom became full of darkness; and they gnawed their tongues because of the pain. They blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and did not repent of their deeds.
-Rev 16:10-11
“He who believes in [the Son] is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.
-John 3:18-20

This is not a matter of "sinlessness." The true believer may sin, but he hates his sin.

Monday, July 30, 2018

How Bible Interpretation Goes Wrong



I don't do this much as I think these things are better left alone. However, I think is a great example of how a teaching can go horribly wrong when we fail to rightly divide the Word of Truth and we try to rob Israel of her promises and her place in God's plan.

This is where failure to acknowledge context leads to great confusion.

I was with him until about the 20 minute mark.

The Body is not Israel. It was unknown to the prophets. Israel has a separate hope than does the Body. Israel's hope is connected to the earth, the land and the kingdom while the Body's hope is "in heavenly places" or "far above the heavens." Israel and the Kingdom are still in view in the Acts age.

Israel is known "since" the foundation of the world, while the Body was hidden from "before" the foundation of the world. Isaiah speaks of Israel. Unto her are the covenants (old and new), promises and prophets, not the Body. Paul was witnessing to "the hope of Israel" throughout the the Book of Acts.

Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. -Eph 2:11-12
Then the King will say to those on His right hand, ‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world...
-Matt 25:34

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love...
-Eph 3:1-4
 
The Lord came to declare that kingdom to Israel and it was the focus of his instructions to the twelve in the 40 days following his resurrection (Acts 1). In his earthly ministry he forbade the gospel of the kingdom to be preached to gentiles. The twelve went "to Jews only" in the Acts, save once. Paul went to the Jew first throughout the Acts age. It is only when the hidden Body is revealed to Paul that the distinction is gone (but that distinction will again be relevant in a coming age).

I agree that Nebuchadnezzar's dream falls out historically as he teaches (Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, Rome, Remnant of Rome). I agree there is a part the last empire in Europe will play in the days ahead. But this all concerns Israel and her kingdom. Can a false Christianity which claims they are Jews (Replacement theology, Catholicism) play a role? Absolutely. But part of that deception is claiming the Body is Israel.

That is a lie of the Roman Church adopted by others.
I know the blasphemy of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan... Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you. -Rev2&3
These "Sabbath-Keepers" claim they are Israel, yet they are not. In a coming age, they will bow before true Israel.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

More on this Titles Business... Stop Using Them

Previously I addressed the issue of giving titles to men. In short, I don't believe it's biblical. I was moved to revisit it after watching some videos of titled men preaching nonsense or defending the wickedness of other titled men; all under the threat "touch not the Lord's anointed!"

Pal, you ain't God's anointed.

For starters, since I believe that a vast majority of people in Christendom with titles and "uniforms"are not even true believers (let alone someone with a calling from God) I really couldn't care less about their titles or degrees.

Paul called himself "the least of the apostles," "less than the least of all the saints," and "the chief of sinners." This was the man who was sent to us Gentiles. If any man could take a title it would be Paul, but he did not. We need a little more of that attitude in our pulpits and pews.

And Paul's apostleship was conferred by God. None can claim that today. And although we may call him "the Apostle Paul," he preferred "Paul, an apostle" (used 8x by my count). He also calls himself a "servant" of Christ. Neither is a title. And no man or seminary or council or denomination or board conferred it on him.

Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised Him from the dead)...
-Gal 1:1

All through the Book of Acts, Luke refers to him simply as "Paul." No title. No privilege. Just Paul. Peter calls him "our beloved brother Paul." Not a title, but a relationship.

When Paul had to use his status as a chosen vessel (a status none can claim today), he did it grudgingly and humbly and for the Lord's sake, not his own. God always got the glory.

For while one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not worldly? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers by whom you believed, even as the Lord gave to each one? I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
-1 Cor 3:4-6

Charles Welch (who had no degree) became E.W. Bullinger's closest confidante as he worked to complete "The Companion Bible." He chose Welch, not because of any religious or educational pedigree, but because in some ways Welch had a better grip on scripture than the world-renowned Greek and Hebrew textual scholar.
  • Paul had a religious pedigree. 
  • EW Bullinger had a pedigree. 
  • John Darby had a pedigree. 
  • Charles Chiniquy had a pedigree. 
  • William Tyndale had a pedigree. 
They all left their theological training and expertise to follow where scripture led.

As I note often, show me 10 people with seminary degrees, I'll show you 10 people who can't agree on mode of baptism or the structure of leadership or even on the very question of Christ's finished work.

Titles and degrees mean nothing and they have wreaked more havoc than almost anything else in Christendom. And the worst thing the titles and degrees do is rob men and women (including those with the trinkets) of their responsibility to rightly divide the Word of Truth or to even answer for their crimes.

On that day, no denomination, no church, no board, no council, no catechism, no creed, no pastor, no teacher, no seminary... no one will stand in your stead. There are 7 billion theologies in the world and you are responsible for ONE... your own.... and you will answer for it.

If Paul, a chosen apostle of the risen Christ, took no title and sought no privilege and expected his listeners to test his doctrines (Acts 17:11), then none of us should take a title and we should all take responsibility for our own beliefs before God.

Are titles themselves evil? Of course not. And in terms of order, they may have a place... but in terms of authority, truth, responsibility or trustworthiness? Meaningless and dangerous. The scripture is the final arbiter of truth, not a title or a degree or a backward collar.

"They love the best places at feasts, the best seats in the synagogues, greetings in the marketplaces, and to be called by men, ‘Rabbi, Rabbi.’ But you, do not be called ‘Rabbi’ [teacher]; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren."
-Matt 23

Saturday, June 23, 2018

More On This Names Of God Business

There is a group of Bible teachers who are trying to put people back under slavery to fear and the Law. One way they try to do this is by telling you you are worshiping Satan if you don't use the "correct" Hebrew names for God (or Christ).

Here is my response to one such video:

It seems like you think the entire New Testament was written in Hebrew or Aramaic? If not, I have no idea how you conclude that the Father can only be referred to as "Yahweh." Obviously, Paul uses "theós" [Greek] to refer to the true God and in Acts 17 that is the same word the pagan Greeks also use (the difference being the object of the use). In Psalm 82, scripture (the Father) refers to men as "'ĕlôhı̂ym" (אֱלֹהִים) [Hebrew]. But we know from context the object and difference. 'ĕlôhı̂ym [Hebrew] is also used of false gods (Deut 32:17; etc.).

Scripture also allows for pronouns. Both the Father (Yahweh) and Satan are referred to as "he" (ekeînos) [Greek]; 2 Tim 2:13 cp John 8:44. In fact, Satan is referred to as a "father" in Jn 8:44. I think it's dangerous to start teaching that people are calling on Satan when they use "God." There are people who teach "Jesus" means "Son of Zeus." It never ends. Paul never refers to Christ as "Yeshua." He uses "Iēsoûs Christos" (Greek). The post-Acts epistles are given to gentiles. We were never bound by Hebrew versions of the Greek.

We were strangers to the promises and covenants and we were never under the Law. The Lord demonstrates how just using Jewish titles doesn't mean God hears you.

In Matthew 15:22, a gentile woman calls out to Jesus, "Lord, Son of David" (κυριε υιε δαυιδ). She is ignored. Yet in Matthew 20:31-32, when two Jews cry out "Son of David!" our Lord responds.

The crowds that called for him to be crucified worshiped Him as "Son of David" as He entered Jerusalem. It the heart and the intent. In the case of the gentile woman, to her He is not the "Son of David." That is a title to be used by Jews, not gentiles. But when she drops it and only uses "Lord," she is heard. He is Lord of all.

The Lord knows the heart. You can use the "right" name all you want, but it (a) won't make a difference if you have not been reconciled to God by faith or (b) you use a title, although Biblical, which does not pertain to you.

In 2 Cor 4:4, Satan is referred to as a "theos" (god) just as the true God is referred to as "theos," including the great verse on the full deity of Christ as Creator (John 1:1). Do we conclude Jesus is thus Satan? Nonsense.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (theos) , and the Word was God (theos).
-John 1:1 


the god (theos) of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
-2 Cor 4:4

These teachers take advantage of gullible gentiles who are looking for some secret formula to get to God. They play on fear and a lack of understanding of scripture.

May we not fall into their trap.

Paul rightly described Gentiles as "a superstitious/religious people." We love form and magic, and we always seem to be looking for secret ways to God. Yet He awaits the person who cries out for mercy to the risen Savior and approaches Him with a humble and a contrite heart.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 2

We now briefly look at the reward and punishment in The Parable the Sheep and the Goats. As we look, we remember the context and purpose of the Book of Matthew which we have covered in these studies.


Matthew is the "gospel of the kingdom" and is given to Israel alone. It's theme is ENTRANCE into that kingdom. The three main sections (Sermon on the Mount, Parables of the Kingdom, The Return of the King and the End) all involve entering the kingdom.


We also saw that in this kingdom, God remembers the promise to the Gentiles (the nations), that they would be blessed through Abraham and through Israel. Matthew starts with introducing the King as "the Son of David" (Solomon and the united Kingdom) and as "the Son of Abraham" (Issac, the child of promise born before Jacob and his 12 sons).


"I will give to your descendants all these lands; and in your seed all the nations [gôy, gôy] of the earth shall be blessed."
-Gen 26:4


Psalm 72 is a psalm of the glory of Israel's Messiah:


"His name shall endure forever;
His name shall continue as long as the sun.
And men shall be blessed in Him;
All nations shall call Him blessed.
Blessed be the Lord God, the God of Israel,
Who only does wondrous things!"
-Psalm 72:17-18a


Here are the reward and punishment of our parable:


"‘Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world... "
-Matthew 25:34
"‘Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels"-Matthew 25:41


In in The Parable of the Talents the reward for the Lord's "servants" was to rule in the kingdom. Here, the reward is to "inherit" the kingdom. Gentile NATIONS shall be blessed through Israel. In Matthew 5:5, given to the disciples (Jews), the reward is to "inherit the land." The land is for Israel.


Finally, let's look at the Lord's restatement of their fates:


"And these shall go away to punishment age-during, but the righteous to life age-during."-Matthew 25:46 (Young's Literal Translation)


"Life" in Matthew is connected to the kingdom. The theme is entering into this age-life. It is qualifying to enjoy the kingdom and involved the Law and the Commandments. We can never teach this as the gospel of the free grace of God.


"And lo, one having come near, said to him, `Good teacher, what good thing shall I DO, that I may have LIFE AGE-ENDURING?' And he said to him, `Why me dost thou call good? no one [is] good except One -- God; but if thou dost will to ENTER into THE LIFE, keep the commands."
-Matthew 19:17-18


The Lord is not a liar. Many fanciful things and many enslaving things have been taught from this story, but the question is how to ENTER into the Hope of Israel. the Kingdom, made by an individual Jew. (Our parable, concerns "nations.")


We have covered the "fire that is not quenched" in other studies. Suffice it to say, it involves a real fire in the land (Valley of Hinnom, Gehenna, "hell") and "corpses" (Is 66:24). The judgments in Matthew parallel the teaching of the Revelation as well.


On a personal note, Pope Eugene IV "declared" and "affirmed" and "pronounced" that anyone not in the bosom of the Catholic Church (before death, no matter anything else he may do) is slated for the fire of Matthew 25:41. This fate is declared many time over and specifically for ex-Catholics in the current catechism.


They are free to teach what they want to teach. I don't note that as an attack, but rather to give and extreme example of how this parable has been badly and heretically applied.


This is why we must RIGHTLY DIVIDE Israel from the Body, the Land from Above the Heavens, Resurrection Life from Life in the Kingdom, etc. This is why we spent time looking at "comparing things that differ" and "cutting straight" the Word of God (Phil 1:10; 2 Tim 2:15).


Next time we'll look at again at inheriting the kingdom, this time in the Acts Age epistle of 1 Corinthians.

Friday, May 25, 2018

The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats - Part 1

We now come to, in my estimation, the most dangerously misinterpreted parable in scripture: The Parable of the Sheep and the Goats.

We must note, again, the time frame for this parable.

“When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then He will sit on the throne of His glory.."
-Matthew 25:31

This is not a judgment of all men of all ages. It certainly can't be applied to those who died 100 years ago, 1000 years ago or yesterday. This is the "parousia," the presence, of the King on the Earth. He is coming with the angels. We see the angels' charge in The Parable of the Tares (they separate). This is a future event.

We must also look at who is judged:

"All the nations [Gk: éthnos, ethnic groups, non-Jews] will be gathered before Him, and He will separate them one from another, as a shepherd divides his sheep from the goats."
-Matthew 25:32

These are judged as nations, not as individuals. And they are judged as to whether they fed, clothed, visited, cared for, etc. those the Lord calls "the least of His brethren."

This can never be used to preach the gospel of grace. It is clearly a judgment of works. It can never be understood to deal with resurrection life.

For those teaching this, there are obvious questions.

  • How many people must I visit? 
  • What if I visit one person in prison? 
  • Is that sufficient? 
  • Similarly, must I do all the deeds? 
  • What if I do all but clothe someone? 
  • And how are all men the Lord's "brethren?" 
  • Does he not call some "you are of your father, the Devil?"

The point is raised that the parable merely gives a taste of various good works, but are we to believe the goats never fed anyone? Never visited any sick person, etc.? They do absolutely no good works at all?

When we step back and realize these are NATIONS being judged and the Lord's brethren are THE JEWS, it starts to make sense. This is future and is placed just before the entrance (the theme of Matthew) into the earthly kingdom (not heaven). Remember our context for Matthew 24-25, the end of an age.

Let's look at Paul's explanation :

"For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my BRETHREN, my countrymen ACCORDING TO THE FLESH..."
-Rom 9:3
Jews. Israelites.

So, these are nations who are being judged as to how they have treated the Jews during the time of Jacob's Trouble. This is the context of Matthew 24-25.

These nations did what they did unwittingly ("When did we see you naked and clothe you...?"). We contrast this with the Lord's proclamation of future judgment for some in Israel who openly profess his name and who do "many wonderful works."

"Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied (taught) in Thy Name and in Thy Name have cast out demons? And in Thy Name performed many miracles [Gk:dýnamis]?"
-Mattew 7:22

The did all in THY [HIS] NAME. This is not disputed.

To these the Lord will say:

"I never knew (approved of) you: depart from Me, ye that practice lawlessness [Gk: anomía]."
-Matthew 7:23

This is part of the Sermon on the Mount, which is not the rules of the Kingdom, but the conditions of entrance into the kingdom, for Israel. Remember, the "gospel of the Kingdom" was to be preached to JEWS ONLY (Matt 10:5-7). And it is immediately after the Sermon that we meet the Gentile with great faith and the "Sons of the Kingdom" who are cast into "outer darkness." (Matthew 8:5-12)

  • Jews = faith + righteousness = entrance
  • Gentiles = great faith* OR righteousness = entrance

*They cannot have openly rejected Christ.These judgements are age-specific [aeon].

[Romans 2 should be read, noting the specific differences and that which is common to Jew and Gentile. Romans was written during the Acts Age which looked for the earthly kingdom.]

We must see these differences and rightly divide Matthew to understand the pronouncements of this parable. Remember, Matthew concerns the "Son of David" (heir to the throne) and the "Son of Abraham" (heir of the land). (Matthew 1:1)

Next time, we'll look at the entrance into the earthly kingdom.

All these parables, and the whole of Matthew must be understood together.

The Parable of the Talents - Part 2

We now take a quick look at the judgment in The Parable of the Talents for the servant who produced nothing for his Lord.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’
-Matt 25:29-30

We've looked at the "outer darkness" previously in the Parable of the Wedding Guests and in other studies. We noted that this is not the "fiery hell" of man's traditions; it is a place outside the kingdom.

Remember, in Matthew 8 it is THE SONS OF THE KINGDOM who are cast into the outer darkness. There, these can ONLY refer to Jews as they are contrasted with the faith of Gentile.

The "wicked servant" and the "unprofitable servant" and the guest at the wedding with a garment are all cast into the outer darkness.

The guests at the wedding who answer the invitation are part of the fourth call. This is after the city is burned. We note, in short here, that these are those called in the Time of Jacob's Trouble yet to come.

What garment is he missing? The garment is "the righteous acts of the saints" (Rev 19:8b).

"You have a few names even in Sardis who have not defiled their garments; and they shall walk with Me in white, for they are worthy. He who overcomes shall be clothed in white garments, and I will not blot out his name from the Book of Life..."
-Rev 3:4

This missing out on the Kingdom (not life), leads to the "weeping and gnashing of teeth" associated with this judgment.

Note these pointed words spoken by the Savior to the religious hypocrites of Israel:

‘The publicans and the harlots GO into the kingdom of God BEFORE you’
-Matt. 21:31

And this from the Sermon on the Mount:

"For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven."
-Matt 5:20

The "narrow gate" is often used in gospel preaching, but when this happens, it does violence to the context and confuses a gift with something earned.

"Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction [perdition], and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and DIFFICULT is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
-Matthew 7:13-14

Grace is not "difficult," but entrance into the Kingdom is difficult. For that they must have faith, yes, but also "righteous works." Matthew is about ENTERING the Kingdom. It starts with the "Son of David" and the "Son of Abraham." It speaks to Jews and concerns the promised Kingdom.

We note again the first question the Holy Spirit enlightened chosen Apostles of the Messiah have after 40 days of teaching bu the Risen Lord on the subject of the Kingdom:

"speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God... Will you, at this time, restore the KINGDOM to ISRAEL?"
-Acts 1:3,6

These who would "sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes" were not stupid (as men charge), they were the chosen vessels sent to bring the message of the Messiah to Jews only.

These are not easy things. There are tremendous and deep truths in scripture that we must continue to seek out until we can seek no longer. I do not claim to understand every aspect of these things (and it is God's pleasure to hide some things from us).

But much of Christendom wallows in confusion by conflating the earthly Kingdom of God with His Body. We must "rightly divide" these truths.

The Parable of the Talents - Part 1

We now come to the Parable of the Talents. We note again the context of the end and the return of the Lord.

“For the kingdom of heaven is like a man traveling to a far country, who called his own servants and delivered his goods to them...After a long time the lord of those servants came and settled accounts with them."
-Matt 25:1,19

We note these are "servants." Mary's song in Luke 1, she declares (in part):

"He has helped His servant Israel,
In remembrance of His mercy,
As He spoke to our fathers,
To Abraham and to his seed forever.”
-Luke 1:54-55

This is not unique. Israel is called God's servant all through the prophets. The word is not unique to Israel, but it is very clearly applied to the nation.

But you, Israel, are My servant,
Jacob whom I have chosen,
The descendants of Abraham My friend.
You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,
And called from its farthest regions,
And said to you,
‘You are My servant,
I have chosen you and have not cast you away
-Isaiah 47:9-10

In the age to come, Israel will be called of the nations and back into the land (this has started in our age). When the KIng returns to his earthly kingdom, he will call his servants before him.

As with all the parables, there is tremendous depth here, and we will not plumb all that is here.

Let us jump to the judgment of the servant who buried his talent and has nothing to show for his charge.

‘Lord, I knew you to be a hard man, reaping where you have not sown, and gathering where you have not scattered seed. And I was afraid, and went and hid your talent in the ground. Look, there you have what is yours.’
-Matt 25:24-25

Many will say the servant here does not know the Lord, for the Lord is loving and gracious. Of course, that is true, but the Lord is also a just judge. When men do speak of God's judgment, many quote the scripture, "Vengeance in mine, says the Lord," but they often miss its TWO uses.

In Romans 12, the context is leaving the judgment of "all men" to the Lord. However, in the Book of Hebrews, the context is "His people."

Of how much worse punishment, do you suppose, will he be thought worthy who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, counted the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified a common thing, and insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know Him who said, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. And again, “The Lord will judge His people.” It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
-Hebrews 10:29-31

This is severe warning. Note how this chapter ends:

“For yet a little while,
And He who is coming will come and will not tarry.
Now the just shall live by faith;
But if anyone draws back,
My soul has no pleasure in him.”
But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the [preserving] of [life].
-Hebrews 10:37-39

We looked at "perdition" recently. This is "waste." It speaks of a uselessness, just as the "servant" in this parable. See what the lord says to the man:

"But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest. So take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.'"
-Matt 25:26-28

We will look at the punishment for this servant in Part 2. We have seen this punishment before.

The Big Picture Context of the Parables in Matthew

The parables in Matthew are addressed to a blind Israel which had rejected their King and their kingdom. But in the book we also see a picture of Israel having her eyes opened.

Notice how the two healings which include the use of "Son of David" involve two blind men each. There is a reason there are two occasions involving this healing, but we will just look at them in the big picture.

"When Jesus departed from there, two blind men followed Him, crying out and saying, “Son of David, have mercy on us!” And when He had come into the house, the blind men came to Him. And Jesus said to them, “Do you believe that I am able to do this?” They said to Him, “Yes, Lord.” Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.” And their eyes were opened."
-Matt 9:27-30
"And behold, two blind men sitting by the road, when they heard that Jesus was passing by, cried out, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” Then the multitude warned them that they should be quiet; but they cried out all the more, saying, “Have mercy on us, O Lord, Son of David!” So Jesus stood still and called them, and said, “What do you want Me to do for you?” They said to Him, “Lord, that our eyes may be opened.” So Jesus had compassion and touched their eyes. And immediately their eyes received sight, and they followed Him."
-Matt 20:30-34

The two blind, I believe, represent the two kingdoms in Israel. The kingdoms were united under the physical son of David, Solomon, and will be again under the second "Son of David," Christ.

"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..."-Jer 31:31 (Heb 8 )

Notice the Lord responds immediately to their cries. However. there is one other "Son of David" plea in Matthew, but here he ignores the cry, and eventually calls the one making the plea a "dog."

"And behold, a woman of Canaan [gentile] came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”
-Matt 15:22-26

The Lord is not a liar. He was, indeed, sent only to the house of Israel. But her plea was eventually heard and answered. but only when she dropped "Son of David" and used only "Lord." She was a gentile. He is her God, but not part of the promise of the earthly kingdom. Remember, there is only one way to life in scripture (by grace through faith), but different callings and hopes.

We've noted in the past that we don't need a "harmony" of the gospels, but rather a disharmony. That is, we must compare the things that differ again. Matthew starts off uniquely:

"The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the Son of David, the Son of Abraham"
-Matt 1:1

Here is the Lord's two-fold ministry in Matthew. He is the son of David (Solomon, king over a united Israel, a man of peace) and the son of Abraham (Isaac, the son of promise). In David, Israel would have her kingdom. In Abraham. blessing would come to the gentiles through Israel.

"since Abraham shall surely become a great and mighty nation, and all the nations of the earth [gentiles] shall be blessed in him"
-Gen 18:18

Entry into the earthly Kingdom runs through the book (as we saw in the Parable of the Ten Virgins and the parables of Matthew 13).

This is the framework of Matthew and the parables must be understood in this context. Trying to cram in the gospel of grace or trying to apply kingdom conditions to the Body will only lead us into grave error... and it has for many.

How many unfortunate souls have been enslaved by The Parable of the Talents or The Parable of the Sheep and Goats? Or fooled into thinking they have pleased God's wrath on sin by the works of the flesh?

The three parables of Matthew 25 nowhere mention the death or resurrection of the Lord. They know nothing of blood sacrifice. Because they do not address the gift of life directly.

As we look at these parables, we will find freedom in understanding them in context. Freedom from fear and/or freedom from pride.

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Note:

We see two gentiles healed in Matthew, neither sees the Lord and he touches neither of them. We see two great expressions of faith from gentiles. So what is the reward for the faith of gentiles in that age? We get an answer from the malefactor on the cross in Luke (the gospel of Paul in the Acts). He asks the Lord, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” (Luke 23:42). Notice again "LORD" from a gentile. The Lord ignores his reference to the Kingdom and promises him future access to "Paradise." "And Jesus said to him, 'Assuredly, I say to you today, you will be with Me in Paradise.'" (v.43). Paradise is a specific hope. It is the location of the Tree of Life. No one currently has access to it. The gift of life is, as it has ALWAYS been, available to all sons of Adam... but there are hopes, rewards, promises, prizes, blessings, etc that vary from one called-out group to another.

Texas Shooting and the Subject of Death

I will resume on the parables of Matthew 25 next time.

I briefly wanted to touch again on the subject of death.

After the Texas shooting, a student said this:

"I'm so grateful and blessed that God spared me today."

This seems like a natural response. But in light of traditional Christian teaching on this topic it should seem odd. Imagine the following:

"If you go through this door you will be taken to a villa in the south of France where every need will be met. Food, comfort, companionship, bliss beyond imagination will be yours. About your loved ones? Well, they'll be along in the next few years."

How many would run through those doors? How many would say they were "spared" going to the villa?

E.W. Bullinger gives a quick summation of this reasoning:

God speaks of death as an “enemy” (I Cor. 15:26)
Man speaks of it as a friend.
God speaks of it as a terminus.
Man speaks of it as a gate.
God speaks of it as a calamity.
Man speaks of it as a blessing.
God speaks of it as a fear and a terror.
Man speaks of it as a hope.
God speaks of delivering from it as shewing “mercy”. 
Man, strange to say, says the same! and loses no opportunity
of seeking such deliverance by using every means in his
power. 
In Phil. 2:27 we read that Epaphroditus “was sick unto death;
but God had mercy on him”. So that it was mercy to preserve
Epaphroditus from death. This could hardly be called “mercy” if
death were the “gate of glory”, according to popular tradition. 
-E.W. Bullinger, D.D. DBG, (Excerpt, "The Rich Man and Lazarus: An Intermediate State?")

Scripture consistently speaks of the dead knowing nothing, praising nothing, hearing nothing. The only hope is resurrection, and seeing him in our new, incorruptible, immortal tent!

For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns [groans] within me!
-Job 19:25-27

Our hearts should groan for resurrection just as Job and Paul groaned. (2 Cor 5:1-8)

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NOTES:
"For in this we GROAN, earnestly desiring to be clothed with our habitation which is from heaven, if indeed, having been clothed, we shall not be found naked. For we who are in this tent GROAN, being burdened, not because we want to be unclothed, but further clothed, that mortality may be swallowed up by life. -2 Cor 5:2-4  
"Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves GROAN within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body." -Rom 8:23 
Jesus said Abraham will rise, no other thought is here concerning Abraham's life, "Moses showed in the burning bush passage THAT THE DEAD ARE RAISED, when he called the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’ For He is not the God of the dead but of the LIVING, for all live to Him.”" -Luke 20 
[I have heard this verse used to teach Abraham being alive after death, but it only knows of life in resurrection.]

The Parable of the Ten Virgins.- Part 2

Some final thoughts on The Parable of the Ten Virgins.

I left off our last study pointing to the oil in the parable. Let's take a quick look back to Matthew 8 where the marriage supper in the kingdom (future) is noted by our Lord with a warning:

"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. But the SONS OF THE KINGDOM will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
-Matt 8:11-12

We note that those who are cast into the "outer darkness" are not unbelievers of all ages (as tradition teaches), but "sons [heirs] of the kingdom." These are Israelites who will be cast out of their reward. We will see this same punishment in The Parable of the Talents.

These sons are juxtaposed with a Gentile in the passage who has "faith greater than all in Israel."

So, where does the oil in our parable come in? Let us review the two healings at the start of Matthew 8:

1-4. THE LEPER. Israel. The Lord touched Him.
5-13. THE CENTURION’S SERVANT Gentile. Healing at a distance.

The Lord's ministry was to Israel alone (Matt 10:5-7; 15:24), but we also see in Matthew that Gentiles would be blessed through Israel's Messiah (Matt 12:21). So, he touches the leper (Israel) and heals the gentile without his presence being necessary (this is also true of his healing of the gentile's daughter in Matthew 15; in both cases the healing is by another's faith).

Here we must turn to Leviticus 14 where the ritual for the cleansing of lepers is given. Oil is placed on various parts of the leper's body (each with a different significance) along with blood atonement for sin. [I suggest reading the whole chapter.]

The leper in Matt 8 displays his faith and is healed:

“Lord, if You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus put out His hand and touched him, saying, “I am willing; be cleansed.” Immediately his leprosy was cleansed."
-Matt 8:2-23

Just like the Centurion, faith brings healing. But unlike the Centurion, the Israelite is commanded to "show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, as a testimony to them."
The 10 virgins all had the healing by faith, but 5 did not have enough oil. They are cleansed lepers, but they did not fulfill the work of God by being faithful witnesses and giving a testimony to the nation.

I made this is a separate post because I didn't want to get bogged down in the typology here. I think the oil is simple and would be understood by Israelites who understand the law. Many fanciful things have been taught about it, but we must see it in its Jewish context.

I would add that all these parables are profitable (as is all scripture) to us in our age. There is a plain message here to be "ready, " not to fall asleep (a similar warning is given to us in Ephesians 4). But some have used these parables, wrongly divided, to put Christians under bondage to fear and/or to teach others that the way of life is by a "second blessing" (or anything other than faith). This danger is even more pronounced in the next two parables.

Remember, the leper and the Centurion's servant were healed by faith. It is in obedience to the law that the leper, a Jew, would be judged. His healing is secure, but he still had to obey Moses. This is for Jews, not for Gentiles (of any age).

In Acts 15, Jewish believers are commanded to keep the law, Gentile believers are not (just "four necessary things").