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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. ...

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Back to Basics: We Must Rightly Divide to Understand the Bible

The following is representative of something one might hear about Bible commands. We must get back to the basics of carefully handling the Word of God. 

If God says we should do it, we should do it!

Just using this as a jumping off point (allowing that the point may be that we should do whatever God commands us, regardless of how we feel about it), we have to be careful with how we handle Bible commands and instructions. "It's a Bible command" is looking backward at scripture. How about cooking your bread over dung? Another Bible command... etc. We do not do something just because it is in the Bible. We know not to follow these commands, but what about the countless other commands and instructions in the Bible? How do we handle them?

When we approach the Bible, we must first see the Plan of God. It is only then that we can find our place in that Plan and discover what the Lord would have us do for our own calling. So if God says "build an ark," we have to recognize where it fits in God's Plan. Did God say "we" should do it?

Let me use our example to stress this point. 

God commanded Noah to build and ark because of the age and conditions in which he lived, for a specific purpose. Building an ark today would be wrong on two counts:
  1. There is no flood coming
  2. God wasn't speaking to us

This is part of "rightly dividing the Word of Truth." The same is true of the promises. Clearly, no one is going to start building an ark (at least I hope not), but we too often fail to apply the same reasoning to other commands, promises, and plans of God in scripture.

Do we claim the following Bible promise from the lips of our Lord?

And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me; 30 that ye may eat and drink at my table in my kingdom, and sit on thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Luke 22:29-30)

And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. (Matthew 19:28)

No, we don't claim that because he wasn't speaking to us. This is a very important lesson. We don't build and ark, we don't bake bread over dung (Ezek 4:12-15) , we don't refuse to preach to Gentiles (Matt 8)... all "Bible commands," because the Lord was not addressing us or our age. Further, can I come to your church and make the following promise:

Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; 20 and he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: 21 whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began (Acts 3:19-23)

The resurrected Lord taught the disciples (who had their understanding opened) for 40 days about the Kingdom (Acts 1:3). After 40 days of being taught about THE KINGDOM, they had one question, "will you, at this time, restore THE KINGDOM to ISRAEL?" (Acts 1:6). He does not correct them. That was their calling and ministry.

The whole of Acts 3 should be read. Note the context:

Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk? 13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. (Acts 3:12-13)

Can I come and warn only Gentile believers of the following:

For I speak to you Gentiles... Be not highminded, but fear: 21 for if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. 22 Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. (Romans 11:20-22)

We must draw lines in scripture where God draws lines and in line with his purposes. We must recognize that the Lord's earthly ministry as recorded for us in the synoptic gospels (Matt, Mark, Luke) are given with Israel as "first." The "gospel of the Kingdom" was for Israel alone.

The Gospel of the Kingdom was for Israel

Note that when the Lord preaches the "gospel of the Kingdom" it is at the start of his ministry (Matt 4) and before he sends out the twelve (Matt 9). He doesn't even tell them he is going to die until chapter 16. They were not preaching what we preach. They were preaching "the Kingdom of heaven is at hand." This is not the gospel for today. It was for Israel alone at that time (and will be again in a coming age).

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people. (Matt 4:23)

Then he sends out the twelve (including Judas, btw) with these instructions:

These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: 6 but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 7 And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand. (Matt 10: 5-7)

Not going to Gentiles is a "Bible command" from the lips of the Lord. But we know it is not for this age. In the same way, the gospel of the kingdom of heaven is not for this age.

As noted, this gospel of the Kingdom is again preached in the coming Tribulation age (Matt 24:14) by Israel.

We see Jews in Matthew address him as "Son of David" and he responds (Matt 9:27-28, after he proclaimed the gospel of the Kingdom again). They had that right. That was part of his calling. But Gentiles had no such calling. Watch what happens when a Gentile tries the same thing:

And, behold, a woman of Canaan [Gentile] came out of the same coasts, and cried unto him, saying, Have mercy on me, O Lord, thou son of David; my daughter is grievously vexed with a devil. 23 But he answered her not a word. And his disciples came and besought him, saying, Send her away; for she crieth after us. 24 But [the Lord] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. 25 Then came she and worshipped him, saying, Lord, help me. 26 But he answered and said, It is not meet to take the children’s bread, and to cast it to dogs. 27 And she said, Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table. 28 Then Jesus answered and said unto her, O woman, great is thy faith: be it unto thee even as thou wilt. And her daughter was made whole from that very hour. (Matthew 15:22-28)

When does he answer her? When she drops "Son of David" and calls him only "Lord." For he is Lord of the Gentiles, but "the promises made unto the fathers" were not made to Gentiles. He did not lie to her and the Lord is not a racist. He was moving accordance with God's promises and plans.

Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers: 9 and that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. (Romans 15:8-9)

Side note, the Lord heals two Gentiles in Matthew, he sees neither one of them. They are both healed at a distance. There is great lesson concerning the Centurion's son and the "sons of the Kingdom" (Jews) in Matthew 8, which we will look at briefly below.

The Lord's ministry to Israel always had Gentiles in mind (Luke 2:32; Rom 15; Gal 3; etc.), but in their place, in regard to the earth and the promised land and Kingdom. In my previous posts in this thread I laid out the conditions of the Acts age wherein Jewish believers were keeping the Law (not for Life) and Gentile kept the four "necessary" things of Acts 15 and 21 (with no Sabbath).

Back in Romans 15, Paul tells Gentiles they were responsible to care for Jewish believers. Is this a command for today?

But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints. 26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem. 27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things. (Romans 15:25-27)

The Lord came to Israel alone for he was sent to them alone (as he said). It was not until Acts 10 that Gentiles were grafted into Israel's BLESSINGS, not into salvation. The centurion in Matthew 8 was "saved." Cornelius didn't open the door to Gentiles getting saved, he was first to get the SAME GIFTS as Jews (as Peter testifies in Acts 11). This shocked Jewish believers. (Side note: Cornelius spoke in tongues BEFORE he was baptized.) God tells us the purpose, "to make ISRAEL jealous." (Romans 10:19-20)

This takes us back to Romans 11 and the "grafting in" of Gentiles into the Olive Tree (ISRAEL) and why Gentile believers are warned they can be "cut off." They could never be "cut off" from life, but from the coming blessings of Israel in the Kingdom age to come.

Everybody talks about "heaven and hell" when the scripture is almost entirely about the earth. Even the New Jerusalem (the hope of the Jewish patriarchs, Heb 11) comes down TO EARTH. God has a plan for Israel laid out in the prophets. He has an earthly kingdom planned and eventually a new heavens and a new earth.

Side note: Paul mentions "Hades" twice. Once in regard to the Lord in his time in the earth and the other in regard the resurrection of believers. Believers are in "Hades" until resurrection. It is not God's torture chamber. We also note that Isaiah 66 tells us what and when bodies are thrown into "Gehenna fire." These are DEAD BODIES (corpses) thrown into a literal fire, on the earth, in Israel. This takes place after Israel are made priests and Levites, at the time of the end (read all of Isaiah 66).

In that coming kingdom, Israel will serves as a kingdom of priests (God's covenant, read Exodus 19:5-7) for the nations. If you have priests they must be priests for somebody. Yet, some "sons of the Kingdom" (Jews) will not qualify. They will be deemed "wicked servants" (etc.) and "cast into outer darkness." That is, cast out of the land and among the nations (darkness). Some gentiles will come in and sit down with the patriarchs at the great supper in that Kingdom.

And I say unto you, That many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the [sons] of the kingdom shall be cast out into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. 13 And Jesus said unto the centurion, Go thy way; and as thou hast believed, so be it done unto thee. And his servant [whom the Lord never saw] was healed in the selfsame hour. (Matthew 8:11-13)

We must "rightly divide the word of truth." We can't just say "the bible says it and I'm claiming it" or "the Bible commands it, I'm doing it." Unless we plan on building that ark... and that temple... and... plan on sitting on one of the 12 thrones... and one of our offspring will sit on David's throne... and... and... and... etc.

Rightly divide the Word of Truth (2 Tim 2:15) and compare the things which differ (Phil 1:10).

Friday, January 22, 2021

Ye Shall Not Surely Die - The Lie of Eden and Today


And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die

-Genesis 3:4

We've look at this core lie of the evil one in various studies on the false doctrine of "the immorality of the soul." But today I want to pull back the lens and look at this pervasive lie and how it is currently manifesting itself in the general culture.

News programs and politicians have discovered the power of anecdotes. We do not completely discard the use of anecdotes as they sometimes do reflect a larger reality. However, we want to avoid taking an anecdote and use to make sweeping generalizations without warrant.

Let's put the idea of the lie "ye shall not surely die" along side the use of anecdotes in trying to prove a sweeping generalization.

A friend of mine recently posted a story about the recent increase in the number of people hospitalized and the number of people who have died from COVID-19. The post was meant to illicit fear and suggest that huge numbers of people are dying from the disease. To be sure, many have died (we do not minimize that fact), but the overall numbers tell a different story in terms of how deadly the disease is (in general).

Total cases: 20,346,372

Deaths: 349,246

Source:  CDC COVID Data Tracker (Jan 4, 2021)

Again, we do not minimize any death and we certainly encourage anyone who perceives any threat to his/her health to take all precautions. I am "at-risk" because of my heart condition, so I am certainly sympathetic to those at-risk (especially the elderly). But the CDC numbers above reflect a mortality rate of less than 2% of cases. 

We now turn to more info to help give us context on published death rates you may have encountered.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new data last week that depicts how many Americans who have died from COVID-19 also had other contributing conditions. According to the report, only 6% of deaths have COVID-19 as the only cause mentioned, revealing that 94% of patients who died from coronavirus also had other “health conditions and contributing causes.” (fox8.com, Aug 30, 2020)


With these full-scale statistics before us, let us pivot to the original concern. Just as my friend posted selective numbers to try and illicit an emotional reaction, others post individual stories of those who have unfortunately died from COVID-19 to "prove" either that we need to take even more extreme measures or to pin blame for political purposes. I'm going to leave these alone and instead point to what I believe is the reason the use of anecdotes in this area has proved so successful.

The idea is to get all of us to treat almost every death as preventable. Without the notion being explicitly expressed, the idea that no one one should "surely die" is behind much of the manipulation. Almost anyone anywhere under the age of 70 who dies of almost anything causes the crusaders to find who is at fault. 

Health care being deemed a "right" is based on this thinking. That's a large topic we will not examine here, but for millenia people died from everything. We are fortunate to live in an age of fantastic medical advances. We have pharmaceuticals and surgeries today unknown and impossible to imagine in other ages. I'm alive today because of these relatively recent advancements. Yet, I never claimed a "right" to them. We will just have to leave that there.

Back to our premise and a look the Utopian Lie

We are being taught to think that every death is a political death. Every death is the fault of someone. Every death is preventable. Every death is undeserved. This creates anger and emotional responses to reality. It also plays into the lie of the Evil One. Yes, we shall all surely die.

Scripture speaks of death as an "enemy." In fact, when death is finally destroyed, it is called "the last enemy." It is the curse. It is what plagues all humans. It is the result of our birth in Adam and our own sin. It is what Christ came to reverse. We mourn the dead because all deaths are sad. But that does not mean all deaths are preventable.

The two-pronged lie poisons the greatest event in all of scripture: the resurrection of our Great God and Savior, The Lord Jesus Christ. The first prong is the prong of the "immortal soul" which supposedly lives without resurrection. The second denies that all men deserve death (at some point, not that murder is justified, etc.). Yes, the death of a child may be tragic. It may be the result of negligence, etc. But we cannot fall into lie that ALL deaths must have a villain*.

[*We pause here to note that CNN took down its ubiquitous COVID death count graphic after the inauguration [Jan 20]. As of today (Jan 22) it is still not up.]

The double lie of the immortal soul and that almost every death is the fault of a political enemy is part of another two-pronged, hallucinogenic fantasy. One prong the idea of a coming Utopia and the other prong is the misguided concept of collectivism. Where the first goes, the other follows. These are deadly, anti-God, humanistic drugs. They have no place in Christian doctrine. 

The anti-Christ murderer (and Catholic "saint") Thomas More coined the word Utopia. Wikipedia offers this brief description:

A utopia focuses on equality in such categories as economics, government and justice, with the method and structure of proposed implementation varying based on ideology.

We see another drug in there: equality. Equality is fine if it merely describes a condition such as "equal before the law," but as a basis for running a society, it becomes an addictive substance which drugs the masses into accepting things like "re-education," the cancel culture, discrimination, and the punishment of success. All of which we are seeing in this current age. 

Utopia hates Christianity and its claims of exclusivity of life in Christ alone. Sadly, many in the name of Christianity have abandoned Christ for the drug of Utopian dreams. The same church that puts an "UNDO RACISM" or "LOVE THY NEIGHTBOR (NO EXCEPTION) "sign on its property would never deign to put a "CHRIST IS THE ONLY WAY" sign in their yard.

They are deemed "brave" for the former while the truth is that all they will receive is praise from a Christ-rejecting world. The real act of bravery would be to put up the latter. for that, they would receive scorn and have an opportunity to suffer for the Lord. But, alas, the praise and the self-righteous, self-glorification (virtue signaling) are powerful and addictive narcotics.

The Unpardonable Sin and Right Division

Can a Christian in this age commit the unpardonable sin?

“Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin” (Mark 3:28-29)

We have to understand what people forfeit. A believer whose hope is in the Kingdom (Millennium) can lose his place in that kingdom. We have many warnings in scripture given to believers (in fact, almost all warnings in scripture are given to believers). But we cannot lose a free gift (otherwise it is no longer free, and grace is no longer grace).

We often hear Matthew 8:12 cut up and only the latter half is shouted

thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

But we must ask, who is the subject of that warning and what is the context?

I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (Matt 8:11-12)

The sons of the kingdom are the Jews who were to inherit the blessings of Abraham and David. So where are they cast? They are cast out of the kingdom. The comparative is to "recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom" That is what they lose.

In Luke, the same warning is connected with the "narrow gate." Now, does anyone ever have to "strive" for the gift of resurrection Life? No. In fact the gospel of LIfe, John, never uses the word "repent" and states this clearly:

Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:30-31)

And we're familiar with the other passages in John regarding Life ("has passed from death unto life" etc.) by faith alone. So when we go back to Luke and the narrow gate, for what must they strive? They strive to enter the earthly Kingdom.

Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I tell you, I do not know where you come from. Depart from me, all you workers of evil!’ In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God but you yourselves cast out. And people will come from east and west, and from north and south, and recline at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” (Luke 13:26-30)

Note the Lord states that this judgment involves those who ate and drank with him, and witnessed his teaching among them. Remember, the "Gospel of the Kingdom" the Lord and his diciples preached (Matthew 4, 9, 10) had no mention of his death or resurrection. He didn't even tell his disciples he was going to die until Matthew 16 (and they didn't believe him then).

We note along this line that when he mentions the Gospel of the Kingdom going out prophetically (later) is in Matthew 24. It is again preached to and by Israel and connected to the Tribulation (the time of Jacob's Trouble).

And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come. (Matt 24:10-14)

Note again the requirement, "endures to the end." They are not enduring to have resurrection Life, but to enter into the kingdom promised to Israel (cp Acts 1:6-7 and Acts 3:12-26). They endure by resisting the false prophets, the hate, the betrayals, the lawlessness, etc.

With that said, in Mark 3 where the Lord warns of blaspheming the Holy Spirit, the context is those people, in Israel, in that day. The blasphemy was seeing the miracles and attributing them to "Beelzebul" and not to the Holy Spirit. They also said of the Lord, “He has an unclean spirit.” We cannot commit that sin in this age.

We must "rightly divide the Word of Truth." All scripture is for us, but not all scripture is to us (unless you believe you should be building an ark or you believe your descendant will sit on the throne in Jerusalem, etc.). So, not every warning, not every promise, not every blessing, not every practice is TO us.

The warning of blaspheming the Holy Spirit is not possible and you cannot forfeit a free gift.

Forever and Eternal in Scripture

Young's Literal Translation reminds us that we have to understand English words like "for ever" and "eternal" (etc.) in a time context in Greek and Hebrew. Note the wording of the warning.

but whoever may speak evil in regard to the Holy Spirit hath not forgiveness -- to the age, but is in danger of age-during judgment.

First note "is in danger of." And the idea of the punishment enduring for an "age" again points us back to individual Jews who were in danger of missing out on the blessings of the Kingdom age to come. There is no forgiveness "to the age" and it would be an "age-enduring judgment."

When we grasp this concept of obedience and the requirements for entering the Kingdom life, we can start to understand why the Lord places the commandments (to Israel) and the Law (given to Israel alone, Ex 19:5-7), in addition to faith, was given by the Lord. Obedience is never for resurrection Life, it is always the requirement (with faith) for blessings (crowns, rewards, the prize, entrance into the kingdom, the better resurrection, the New Jerusalem, etc.).

Resurrection life (rescue from the curse of sin and death) has always be a free gift by grace through faith. Qualifying for the other things (depending on your hope) has always by faith and obedience.

Again, the warning of Mark 3 has nothing to do with our hope. We cannot commit that sin. Those who did were in danger of great loss, etc. We cannot confuse the gift of Life with the requirements for rewards.

There are many servants in the Lord's family... some are "good and faithful" servants, while others are "wicked and unjust" servants. Some vessels of gold and of silver, some of wood and of earth; and some to honor, and some to dishonor. Some Some build with gold silver and precious stones, others with wood, hay, and stubble, etc. But all are servants.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Larry Ollison Misquotes Scripture (Among Other Errors)

A short video giving us a good example of how the traditions of men can poison our understanding of scripture and the Plan of God.

2 Cor 5:8 is one of the most misquoted verses in Christianity. We have taken pagan ideas related to death and have forced the scriptures to affirm what we already believe instead of allowing scripture to teach us. The doctrines of the "immortal soul" and the "intermediate state" rob from what our Lord accomplished on Calvary by dying, being buried, not decaying, and rising again. 

In his salvific work, the Lord reversed the curse of death and decay. Scripture teaches that death is our enemy, not our friend. Dr. Ollison also carelessly handles the parable of the rich man and Lazarus in Luke 16. Almost his entire presentation in this clip is from human and pagan traditions. For more on this topic (and related) click on the links at the end of the video or visit bibleunderstanding.com