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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. ...

Friday, September 22, 2023

What is a Soul?

 It's important to revisit some of these basic doctrines. If one does not rightly divide these foundational concepts and truths, much confusion will ensue and terrible error can creep in unaware. One of the most important foundational pillars is the idea of the soul. 

Of course, the soul is an important biblical truth. But it must be understood through the witness of scripture and not through the lens of commonly held beliefs or mythologies. 

Soul is who you are, not what you have. You are not a triune being (and neither is the Lord Jesus).

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath [Hebrew: nᵉshâmâh, English: spirit] of life; and man (Adam) became a living soul" 
-Gen 2:7

Adam was made from dust (as we are, indirectly in Adam, and to which we return in death bc of the curse of Adam on all of us "in Adam all die"). When Adam was made, he was a soul, but not a "living soul." When "spirit" was put in him, he BECAME a LIVING soul.

When the Lord was on the tree, he breathed his last and gave up the spirit (the breath of life) and died.

And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, “Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.’ ” Having said this, He breathed His last. 
-Luke 23:46

We are told the Lord's "soul" was in "hades" (Acts 2:31) That is, who he was was in a state of death known to God. He told us "the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth" (Matt 12:40). The Lord was not simultaneously in heaven where he gave up the Spirit, and in a place called Hades where his soul was, and also in the heart of the earth. His body was in the tomb (the earth) and who he is was in a state of death (hades).

The tomb and Hades are conquered by resurrection. In resurrection the spirit (breath of life) returns to the body. That is our hope. Paul mentions Hades one time, and it is context of believers and resurrection (rescue from the state of death).

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.”
“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades [grave, state of the dead], where is your victory?” - 
1 Cor 15:54-55

We await resurrection from the state of death. Our immortal and incorruptible life is hidden in Christ to be revealed in resurrection. We "groan" not to be naked, but to be clothed in resurrection (2 Cor 5:1-102 Cor 4:7-14)

For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 
-Col 3:3

You ARE a soul. Each person IS a soul. Scripture proclaims, a soul can die. The one who sins is the soul who sins. It is not an entity, it is the person.

  • The soul who sins shall die. (Ezek 18:4)
  • The person who sins is the one who will die. [HCSB]

The gospel saves souls/people from death and destruction (not bodiless torture by God).

let him know that he who turns a sinner from the error of his way will save a soul from death [thánatos, same word Paul uses in 1 Cor 15:55] and cover a multitude of sins. 
-James 5:20

We are all living "souls." We die because we have sinned. We are rescued from death and Hades in resurrection. We then become (are made) immortal souls.

Next time we'll look at "Abraham's Bosom" from the story of The Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16.

Wednesday, August 30, 2023

God's Mercy is the Undoing of Death in Resurrection for All Who Believe in Any Age

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.
For our heart shall rejoice in Him,
Because we have trusted in His holy name.
Let Your mercy, O Lord, be upon us,
Just as we hope in You.
-Psalm 33:18-22

When we seek to glean truth from God's word, we have to mine on several levels. But no matter the level, if we do not seek to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" (2 Tim 2:15) we will miss truth on the one hand or we may slip into confusion and doubt on the other.

No matter how often I try to get away from speaking about the plague of "heaven/hell" and "saved/lost" theology (reading every book, chapter, and verse through those false dichotomies) which permeates the professing church, I am almost daily confronted with these errors flowing out of Evangelical Christianity (the only cohort with whom I am concerned). 

As I have covered the larger topic here and elsewhere (podcasts posted below), I want to examine Psalm 33 in light of these errors and in light of right division. When we interpret scripture, we seek to be consistent. Consistent to audience and hope. That is, to whom is it speaking (directly) and what hope is before them. 

  • Is it an individual or a group? 
  • Are they of the nation or outside he nation?
  • Is God dealing with a nation or all of mankind in the age?
  • Is the hope before us earthly or heavenly?

In Psalm 33, we have the writer addressing God as Creator

By the word of the Lord the heavens were made,
And all the host of them by the breath of His mouth

God, as Creator, focuses us clearly on the seen heavens and earth (Gen 1:1). In the fist two millenia of the story of man, there is no promise of a "nation" or a "land." The hope is the restoration of Paradise lost in Adam and salvation from the curse of death. It is only when the Lord chooses Abraham that he reveals his plan for a land, a nation, and an earthly priesthood (removed from the heavenly priesthood of Melchizedek). 

The Psalmist is looking at all Creation. What should not be lost here is that God always had a plan for the Gentile nations. Before Abraham, all scripture knows is God's plans for all men. No nation above any other. When God chose Israel, he did not abandon the Gentile. His plan for the earth and the earthly Kingdom connected it made provision for the Gentiles. Israel was to be the twelve wells of water for the 70 palm trees (Exodus 15:27).

We note again that the Lord Jesus Christ came to confirm the promises made to Israel in regard to the land and the earthly kingdom and priesthood. He tells us, in no uncertain terms, that he "was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24). And he came to confirm the promises to the same people. 

As the Apostle Paul notes in Romans 15:8-12 this two-fold ministry and plan of the Lord:

Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:

“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”

And again he says:

“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”

And again:

“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!”

And again, Isaiah says:

“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,
In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”

The House of Israel and the House of Jacob are central to both the Old (Exodus 19) and the New (Jer 31, Heb 8) Covenants. God's plans for the earth are centered on these people and their nations.

In Psalm 33 the lens is pulled back. While God was dealing with men through Israel in that age (no Gentile is seen in scripture unless he comes in contact with Israel or with a Jew), God has never stopped dealing with all nations. 

The Lord looks from heaven;
He sees all the sons of men.
From the place of His dwelling He looks
On all the inhabitants of the earth;
He fashions their hearts individually;
He considers all their works.

God has always seen all nations and has always seen every individual. Scripture deals with the hope placed before men in the restoration of Paradise until the plan for a nation at the head is revealed. The hope from Abraham to the end of the Acts was God's plan of an earthly, righteous kingdom of priests via the nation of Israel. But as scripture lays out the plan of God and his dealings with Israel (and the Covenants given to Israel for the land and the earth), he continues to see all men. This is brought out by the Psalmist.

Behold, the eye of the Lord is on those who fear Him,
On those who hope in His mercy,
To deliver their soul from death,
And to keep them alive in famine.
Our soul waits for the Lord;
He is our help and our shield.

We have a change here toward the end of the Psalm. The focus turns from "those who fear Him" to "our soul" and "our shield." But let us stay on the thoughts for those who fear Him of any nation. We first note that these are those who "hope in His mercy." This is the gospel of grace that has been declared since God spared Adam after he sinned. A righteous man needs no mercy, only the sinner needs mercy. The germ of this truth is found in the declaration of God in Genesis 3:15.

This section of Psalm 33 finishes with a dual identity (as I see it). The Psalmist identifies with ALL men who need His mercy (for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God). And the Psalmist stands here for Israel who also need the Lord's mercy for the nation surely failed the Lord.

In there, we see that every man needs the mercy of God to have his soul delivered from death. What would this mean in a "saved/loss" theology? From what is God "delivering" the "soul?" We can read verse 19 two ways, but either way, the "soul" dying is before us.

One who has God's mercy has the certain hope that his soul (his being) will be delivered from the state of death that all men experience. That deliverance will come when the hope of resurrection is experienced. How this was mercy was to be secured was not fully understood. Blood had to be shed, and God would supply a substitute in his mercy, but this was only seen in type before Christ. But we see the hope of resurrection and immortality (dual freedom from the death of the soul) in Christ!

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. So when this corruptible has put on incorruption, and this mortal has put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.”

“O Death, where is your sting?
O Hades, where is your victory?”

The sting of death is sin, and the strength of sin is the law.  But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

-1 Cor 15 

We see clearly in Christ what the Psalmist saw in God's mercy. He knew the Lord is merciful. He knew the Lord forgives sin. He knew the Lord would deliver his soul (life) from death (grave and Hades), but he had to look forward. We look back to the finished work of the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ!

If we turn back to Psalm 32, we see the Psalmist rejoicing in the knowledge of sins forgiven. This is BEFORE the "New Covenant" of Jeremiah was revealed. That covenant is not "salvation by grace," for God has saved by grace from the beginning. 

1 Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
Whose sin is covered.
2 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord does not impute iniquity,
And in whose spirit there is no deceit.
3 When I kept silent, my bones grew old
Through my groaning all the day long.
4 For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me;
My vitality was turned into the drought of summer. Selah
5 I acknowledged my sin to You,
And my iniquity I have not hidden.
I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord,”
And You forgave the iniquity of my sin. Selah

So, it is the "soul" that is saved from "death" by grace through faith. Once again, scripture testifies that the hope of all in Adam is the hope of resurrection in Christ.

For since by a man came death, by a Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.

-1 Cor 15:21-22

The New Covenant does not create salvation by grace, it has always been there. The New Covenant for "O Virgin of Israel" (Jer 31) and the security of rescue from death are both sealed by the complete work of Christ, but remain independent truths,  


Tuesday, July 25, 2023

Fidelity to the Truth is More Important Than Sincerity to a Cause

I marched on Washington, DC, against abortion as a teen. I was very sincere. I don't doubt many people caught up in Q or in Trump are sincere and "well-meaning." I'm just wary of leaders, all leaders. Every movement gets usurped by "leaders" who basically become the Pope and Magisterium of that movement. 

Personally, I suspect Donald Trump is, at least, part con-man. He knows how to play the crowd. The crowd may be very sincere, but I don't believe Trump is. He hugs an American flag, people melt, then he displays a rainbow flag and becomes a salesman for the Covid gene therapy and Pharmaceutical companies. Maybe he's somewhere in-between. The greater point is that he has become, as most leaders do, above question. This is common on all sides of every issue and it is dangerous no matter the person, no matter the cause.

If you try to point out that his cabinet and Department of Justice were filled with the same old Washington bureaucrats (the Swamp) that his followers supposedly detest, you feel the wrath of those same followers. Then he hugs another flag and all is forgotten.

This pattern can also be applied to those connected to projects such as The Passion movie of 2004, the current TV show, The Chosen, and even the popular movie out now, Sound of Freedom.

Those who go to see Sound of Freedom are very sincere. The people at my church who went to see The Passion of the Christ (TPOTC) were very sincere. I just think they were being played. Not necessarily played because Mel Gibson had some evil plan, but played because Mel Gibson (and Jim Caviezel) were sincerely putting forth their version of the truth and allowed great, swelling promises to accompany their vision without protest. 

They didn't make any promises, they let the crowds of Evangelical Christians do that for them. Caviezel and Gibson want you in the Catholic Church. They think that is a "good" goal. They were pretty open about it, yet very few listened. They took the Hopium, got believers hooked on it, and handed hundreds of millions over to papists.

There is always a great anticipation around these things. Some hope of some "great spiritual awakening" is in the air. But the people behind these things are rarely doctrinally sound (even on basic matters of the faith). I know pastors who love "The Chosen." I watched 20 minutes of The Passion and saw several key errors. 

TPOTC was hardly "the most accurate film about Christ ever  made" as we were promised. It was not based on scripture, but rather on the visions of a Catholic mystic. And that's not rumor or a theory, they were very open about that. It's just that people did not want to listen.  I watched 10 minutes of The Chosen and saw a healthy dose of supposition and error. How can those pastors not see what I saw? Hopium. They want to believe a revival will follow.

Look at America since TPOTC was released. Moral decay. Attacks on the family. Evangelical believers denying core tenets of the faith and seeing declining numbers. There were no "church services breaking out in theaters" or people "crying out for salvation" as we were promised.  What we did see was Evangelicals handing $1,000,000,000 to devout papists who have a very low regard for their gospel. 

This week Pope Francis met none other than Jesus in St. Peter’s Square. While greeting faithful on Wednesday, Aug. 11, the pope spoke with Jonathan Roumie, who portrays Christ in the series “The Chosen” and was visiting Rome to promote the show. “Meeting the pope was essentially having a childhood dream be realized,” Roumie told Religion News Service later that day at Rome’s Hotel Indigo St. George.

It is well-known that The Chosen is produced by Mormons and Catholics. Do we believe they will show fidelity to a right division of the Word? I don't. But the reason many Evangelicals won't see the problem is because most Evangelicals fail to understand the Lord's earthly ministry. He was sent to Israel alone. That is not some weird, dispensational twist, it is exactly what he said (Matthew 15:24). He forbade the Gospel of the Kingdom to b preached to anyone but to Jews in Israel (Matthew 10:5-8).

I think these religious things are the ecclesiastical side of the secular "trust the plan" Hopium. They lead to complacency ("I don't have to do anything, just wait for the movement to do it!"). I'm not arguing there is necessarily a direct correlation between The Passion and the quick decay of the West, but it certainly did nothing to save the West from decay

I well remember the  (friendly) Passion wars I was in with believers in 2004. Now, understanding I'm biased here, remembering my many discussions on the topic in deep red and Bible Belt Alabama, I think my assessment was right. The film was not the answer, it would not bring national revival. And America has been in steep decline since. The Passion opened in 2004, Barack Obama elected POTUS in 2008 along with a Marxist House and Senate. The GOP then nominated a Mormon in 2012. Gay marriage declared a constitutional right in 2015.

2016 saw two of the most immoral and unethical public figures in US history as the choice for the presidency. Then came the authoritarianism of Covid policy, forced vaccinations, and finally, an entire political party committed to allowing pornography in grade school libraries while promoting men in women's bathrooms and girls' locker rooms as they shake their genitalia in the face of children.

The rot is evident on both sides and both sides demand absolute orthodoxy or you will be shunned and shamed.   

Oppose any of the Progressive sexual agenda to any degree and you will be labeled a fascist, racist, misogynist, transphobe. There is no tolerance for dissent on one side as we tolerate the historical enemies of the faith if they tickle our ears with what we want to hear. 

We should reaching out to those who might be realizing that we've gone too far. Perhaps they'll listen to a real hope. A hope that has a future beyond this earth. But too many are focused on an earthly gospel and an earthly kingdom to see greater truths. 

Shearing the sheep by selling them Hopium hasn't worked before and it won't work now. Our focus should be getting out the truth, defending the truth, teaching the faithful, and encouraging one another. Rescue those we can while there is still time. Sound of Freedom is nice, but it is no substitute. And I fear will only enrich the enemies of the gospel (again) in the end.

Actor Jim Caviezel speaking on Trump: “I’m still Jesus, but he’s the new Moses”


Wednesday, July 12, 2023

The Old and New Covenants Veil the Truth of Liberty in Christ

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: in whom the god 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 Corinthians 4:3-4 (KJV)

At first glance, this passage may have an obvious application. And in some ways it does. But we need to be careful to read and interpret all things in their contexts and according to the age and company addressed. We also need to be careful as some translations are poisoned by the traditions the translators knowingly or unknowingly perpetuate.

Let's look a at few words in the passage and see if we pull out a fuller and more precise meaning.

Hid = kalýptō (Greek)

to hide, veil;  to hinder the knowledge of a thing (Thayer)


Lost = apóllymi (Greek)

to destroy (Thayer)
to destroy fully, perish (Strong)
to destroy (Mounce)
perishing (Bullinger)
to waste (Far Above All)

In = en
in, by, with (Thayer)
A primary preposition denoting (fixed) position (in place, time or state) (Strong)

Whom = hós

who, which, what, that (Thayer)

A number of other translations render kalýptō as "veiled." Charles Welch notes this:

The symbol of the old covenant is the veiled face of Moses (II Cor. iii. 13); the symbol of the new is the unveiled face of Christ (II Cor. iv. 6). The figure of the veil is continued in the words of II Cor. iv. 3, 4

-The Berean Expositor XXIII

Before we continue in this vein, let's quickly look back at our verse as presented in the KJV:

But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost

On its own, "in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" is a bit awkward if we the "lost" which precedes it as the commonly used meaning of that word. As given to us, are we to understand it as:

if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are [unbelievers]: in whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which [are unbelievers]

The modern version try to make better sense of this:

And even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing. In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. [ESV]

I don't see a justification for using "in their case." I see why they want to use it there as it cleans up the problem left by the KJV translators. "In whom" in the KJV. But I believe both translations are the result of some wanting to see the heaven/hell, saved/lost dichotomy here. In doing so (as is often the case with this sort of imposition on the text) a greater truth is lost.

The idea in this passage is that the gospel Paul was preaching (to Jew and Gentile, but primarily in his calling to graft in Gentiles to Israel in that age) was "veiled." by that which was perishing and headed for perdition (destruction). That is, The Old Covenant. Let's quickly look at Paul's conclusion in Hebrews 8 after reiterating the New Covenant found in Jeremiah 31. 

In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

-Hebrews 8:13

"Ready to vanish away" is a translation of the Greek engýs aphanismós, literally, "imminent destruction/disappearance." As we have touched on many times before, the Lord's return was also "imminent" ("at hand"). The ushering in of all the promises of the New Covenant (for "Virgin Israel") was at the door. 

The Old Covenant was on its last legs. It was about to vanish the moment Israel repented (Acts 3). We see in Hebrews 13 that the Old Covenant is [palaióō] "becoming obsolete." The KJV uses "decayeth." This is the idea of wasting away. Thayer defines it as "worn out" and "about to be abrogated." It is not yet gone, but nothing can stop the New Covenant coming to fruition upon Israel repentance. 

Remember, Peter promised Israel after Pentecost that God would send back Jesus "unto the restoration of all things" if Israel would repent. At Pentecost itself, the prophecy of Joel was only partly fulfilled. There was a stumbling block. That stumbling block was Israel's unbelief and her insistence on holding onto the Old Covenant.

We need to be careful here. The Old Covenant contained the Law, but it is not the Law. The Old Covenant was made before the Law was given. It was a conditional promise that Israel would become a special people above all. 

Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel.”

-Exodus 19:5-6

It was conditional upon adherence to the Law, but it was not the Law itself. As we know from Acts 15 and Acts 21, provisions in the Law were still given to Jewish believers and Gentile believes out of the Law. Not a condition for the gift of eternal life as adherence was never a condition of the free gift of resurrection life. That gift is given by God's grace based on our faith.

The Old Covenant was about to disappear in the Acts Age. It just needed Israel repentance. Israel's New Covenant was about to come in. Let's turn back, then, to our passage in 2 Corinthians. We've noted the redundancy which is found in most translations. Remember, if we see the unbeliever as both the "lost" and the "in whom" [KJV], making the sentence redundant and awkward. 

But if we see the verse referring to that which is "perishing" or "decaying" and ready to "vanish away" and be "abgrogated,"  the idea of "by which" fits much better and the point becomes clearer and not redundant at all, 

But if our gospel be veiled, it is veiled by those things which are perishing, by which the god of this age has blinded the minds of them which believe not

That which was a veil over the faces of those who would not believe was the perishing Old Covenant and the attached Law. We see that the Law was a stumbling block for many in Israel. It is a tool of the god of the Acts age. I would venture to say it is still a tool used to veil the truth of the Mystery of Ephesians in our age. Even those today who claim to be a "New testament (or covenant)" church still lean on the Law and have tried to claim the promises of both covenants. Even the mpst hardcore Acts 2 dispensationalist claims a priesthood as spoken by Peter (an Apostle to the Circumcision) who wrote his epistle to "the dispersion." 

For a little context, let's turn back to 2 Corinthians 3:

But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones [the Law], was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing away, how will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious. Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

The eyes of "the children of Israel" [Jews] could not look on the glory on Moses' face. The Law has its own glorious. It is certainly "holy and good," but it can only minister death. And just as the glory was fading from Moses' face as he hid his face with a veil, so does a veil cover the eyes of those who refused to see the glory of The Old Covenant passing away. A New Covenant was awaiting its enactment upon the repentance of Israel.

“Yet now, brethren ["ye men of Israel"], I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.  But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world [ages] began. For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you."
-Acts 3 17-22

We are purely on Jewish ground. The prophets were sent to Israel. The fathers are of Israel. The Lord Jesus Christ was raised up a prophet for Israel. We know from Paul's witness in Ephesians that the truth revealed there was unknown to the prophets and hidden from before the ages began. 

Before we end this part of our study, let me present on alternative translation of 2 Cor 3:3-4:

But if on the other hand our gospel is veiled, it is veiled among those who are on the road to perdition, among whom the god of this age has blinded the minds of those who do not believe, so that the light of the of Christ, who is the image of God, does not shine on them.

-Far Above All 

If we allow this application of those on the road to perdition (decay, perishing), we can still see the Jewish context. The veil, the blinding, the light of Christ. 2 Cor 3 still gives us the greater context of the comparison of the glory of the Law against the glory of Christ.

It is important to mark these distinctions in the Acts and in the Acts Age epistles (before the "wall of separation" between Jew and Gentile comes down post-Acts).

There are many today who veil the minds of believers and unbelievers alike with the faded glory of the Law, not allowing the full brightness of the glory of Christ to shine in their hearts. We may have a different hope before us in this age, but that only makes the deception far worse. There is no New Covenant for us to look to in this age. There is a greater hope in the far above the heavens.

So, the ability to see the truth of the current dispensation is veiled by by both the Old Covenant and the New Covenant. Teachers and preachers today keep their flocks in the dark by insisting they focus on the things of the earth. Its ordinances, its hopes, its holy days, its promises.  

Veiling the glory of Christ and his Kingdom is one thing, veiling the hope of a place seated at the right hand of the Father a far greater loss. 


Sunday, July 2, 2023

The Gentile Believers in Caesarea

We pause to note here that the receiving of the holy spirit by the Roman Centurion Cornelius and his house was separate from any talk of baptism and even separate from faith itself. Certainly the holy spirit fell on the twelve (all twelve, including Mathias chosen to replace Judas in Acts 1) at Pentecost. All there were already believers. 

This falling of the holy spirit* on Gentiles for the first time was in Samaria, part of an outreach to the region connected with the 10 tribes and the northern kingdom of Israel (as we noted in our previous study). The word was allowed to go there. This was part of the commission of the Apostles to the Circumcision (Gal 2:7-8). 

*we will look later that the difference between the "Holy Spirit" and the "holy spirit" in a future study.

 When Peter finally goes to Cornelius the Gentile (of Caesarea) in Acts 10, his whole household has the spirit fall on them and they display the gifts of the Spirit before they are baptized. What we are dealing with in the Acts Age is not just "faith," but a specific calling of a priesthood according to the covenants Israel has with the Lord. Caesarea, then the civil capital of Judaea, was in the boundaries of the promised land and Kingdom.

While Peter was still speaking these words, the holy spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift [singular] of the holy spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, “Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the holy spirit just as we have?” And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.

-Acts 10:44-48

It is clear that the astonishment was in regard to the "gift of the holy spirit" and not that Gentiles could believe. The twelve had  seen a centurion believe in Matthew 8 and a Gentile woman believe in Matthew 15. They famously saw the Lord interact with a Samaritan woman (in Samaria) in John 9 (note that the 12 do not interact with her). 

Despite the astonishment and the change in the Lord's approach to Israel. He was now grafting Gentiles into the promises to Israel to "make Israel jealous." From that we can conclude several things, but two giant things should stand out:

  • God was still dealing with Israel
  • Israel was not "the Church"

And after these Gentile believers in Caesarea display the gift (singular) of the holy spirit, and after the twelve were "astonished" by hearing they received that gift, and after Peter gave his testimony of the vision of the great sheet and the unclean animals:

If therefore God gave them the same gift as He gave us when we believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could withstand God?” When they heard these things they became silent; and they glorified God, saying, “Then God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life.”

-Acts 11:17-18


Read all of Acts 11. Peter was unequivocal when he explained his vision to the others. Yet these men get accused of being either stupid or rebellious. It is claimed they didn't understand. The men who accuse them of this are the same who accuse the chosen apostles who were taught for 40 days about the Kingdom by the risen Lord himself did not understand the Kingdom! 

After all that, we are told that these went "preaching the word to no one but the Jews only" (v.19). They also went unto the "Hellenists." These were the Greek-speaking Jews of the region. But now that God had initiated his calling of the Gentiles into the blessings of Israel, who would go to the Gentiles? God had already made that provision by the calling of Saul/Paul in Acts chapter 9.

“Go, for [Saul/Paul] is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.”

Paul was going to bear witness before Gentiles. This was spoken by the Lord before Peter went to Cornelius' house in Acts 10. But di not miss that Paul was also called to go to "the children of Israel."  Bear witness to the "Church?" To some new thing God had replaced Israel with? No. Just as Gentiles believers weren't grafted into the Church then threatened that they could be cut off from the Church if they became haughty against the Church (see Acts 11), God still had a witness and a calling for Israel that is different from the calling of this current Age.

Gentiles were grafted into Israel. They were told they could be cut off from Israel. And they were warned not to become haughty against Israel.

Immediately after Paul is called in Acts 9 to go bear witness before the Gentiles, what does he do?

Then Saul spent some days with the disciples at Damascus. Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.

-Acts 9:19-20

Paul could not yet go to the Gentiles in Acts 9. We stress again, Gentiles believing unto life was not something that was unknown or unimagined. God has never forgotten the Gentile in all his dealings with Israel since Genesis 12. But we only see God dealing with Gentiles through connection to a Jew or to Israel. Even great Nineveh is known through Jonah and later its dealing with the dispersion. 

 And as we know from Acts 17, Paul's practice was to go to the Jews first in every city where there were Jews. This is not a practice we follow today (nor should we). 

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures...

The Gentile believers at Caesarea were not the first Gentile believers. They were the first Gentiles believers to be grafted into the root of Israel and her blessings and  the first to receive the gift of the holy spirit. And all of that before they were baptized. No "Acts Church" today follows anything resembling the conditions or callings of the Book of Acts, yet almost all believe they do.

Their excuse for not following the patterns and practices of the Acts Age is to blame the chosen Apostles and future judges in Israel of being, in short, ignorant racists. May we repent of these assertions.

Monday, June 26, 2023

The Pairings in Acts 1:13

 Now let's examine the assumption we noted above: "both' is limited to Jerusalem and Judea; Samaria unto the ends of the land (or to the dispersion).

"And when they were come in, they went up into an upper room, where abode both Peter, and James, and John and Andrew, Philip, and Thomas, Bartholomew, and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon Zelotes, and Judas the brother of James

-Acts 1:13

καὶ ὅτε εἰσῆλθον ἀνέβησαν  εἰς τὸ ὑπερῷον οὗ ἦσαν καταμένοντες ὅ τε πέτρος καὶ ἰάκωβος καὶ ἰωάννης καὶ ἀνδρέας φίλιππος καὶ θωμᾶς βαρθολομαῖος καὶ ματθαῖος, ἰάκωβος ἁλφαίου καὶ σίμων ὁ ζηλωτὴς καὶ ἰούδας ἰακώβου

How are we to read "both" in this verse? If we take a literal translation of the Greek (using a direct Greek to English translator), we get:

And then they went up to who lived both Peter and Jacob [James] and John and Andrew Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, Jacob Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Jacob


And in the Revised Version:

and when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, [both] Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James

Notice the groupings:

  • Peter and John
  • James and Andrew
  • Philip and Thomas
  • Bartholomew and Matthew,
  • James and Simon
  • and Judas

A quick look at the ministry in the Book of Acts, we see Peter and John linked. Peter and John are mentioned together in Acts 3. In Acts 4 Peter and John are arrested together. They are mentioned twice there together. Finally, in Acts 8, Peter and John are again together. This is well into the Acts age and well after the commission of Acts 1, yet the Apostles were still in Jerusalem.

Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit.
-Acts 8:14-15 (NKJV)

We will look, next time, a little more closely at the believing Gentiles in Caesarea. It is important to note Peter's calling, the region of Caesarea, the events in that house, and the reaction of the Jews.

But I digress. Peter and John are a group unto themselves in Acts 1. We God dealing in pairs much in the ministry of the Gospel accounts and in the Acts Age, The Lord sent the 70 out two-by-two.

After these things the Lord appointed seventy others also, and sent them two by two before His face into every city and place where He Himself was about to go.

-Luke 10:1 (NKJV)

We can see this in Paul's ministry as well (Paul and Barnabas then Paul and Silas).

When we apply this pattern to the listing in Acts 13, we can start to see:

Both Peter and John and BOTH James and Andrew, BOTH Philip and Thomas, BOTH James and Simon, and Judas (there only being 11 at the time, this is the other Judas and before Matthias was chosen). 

This use of "both" following its use earlier in Acts 1 helps to see more clearly the use of "both" as not only a pairing of two, but of pairs of two. While this latter is not as definitive, in context of the calling of the twelve in the Gospel accounts and as revealed in Acts epistles, we can get more clarity about the "commission" of Acts 1:8. When we can see their commission to Judah and Israel, we can start to understand the Book of Acts better and the we can start to rightly divide the epistles. 

Hopefully we can understand why the Apostles said and did in the Book of Acts itself and discard any thought that any "church" today is an "Acts church." I think we can clearly demonstrates that there s no such thing in the current age and that we shouldn't pretend there is.

Tuesday, June 20, 2023

Both Ends of the "Great Commission"

 Back in 2019 we examined one aspect of what some call "The Great Commission." In that study looked at the word translated "earth." We proposed that the word can be and is sometimes translated as "land," referring to Israel's promised land and kingdom.

That study can be reviewed here:  Uttermost Parts of the Planet?

In this brief study, we want to examine a Greek word used in the commission of Acts 1:8. As we do, we remember that this commission was given to the chosen apostles of the Lamb; those who were promised that one day they would sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel in the earthly kingdom.

The setting (context) is the risen Lord Jesus concluding his 40-day teaching on the Kingdom to the future judges of the coming Kingdom in Jerusalem. The only detail the Savior left out was when the Kingdom would be restored to Israel (not to the "Church"). But, surely, the Kingdom will be restored.

The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, “which,” He said, “you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” And He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.

-Acts 1:1-7 

We are not privy to what the risen Lord taught them for those 40 days. That is the Lord's prerogative. We have no need to know. This is what the Holy Spirit does preserve for us through Luke's account in the Acts:

  • The Lord gave specific commandments to the chosen apostles
  • They were not to depart Jerusalem until the promised Holy Spirit (w/gifts) fell
  • The Davidic Kingdom would be restored to Israel
  • The timing was under the Father's authority

We know from Acts 3 (post-Pentecost) that the main condition is the repentance of Israel.

Ye men of Israel... brethren... Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord. and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.

The angel Gabriel reiterated the promises to the fathers (cp. Rom 15:8) in the prophets to Mary when she conceived.

He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

-Luke 1:32-33

We pause to remind ourselves it was Gabriel who reveled God's timeline to the prophet Daniel. That prophecy was interpreted for Daniel by Gabriel. In his explanation, he was very clear, "Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.” (Dan 8:17b).

We note, also, that Paul at his trial late in the Acts age, testified that he spoke "nothing" that was not spoken by Moses and the Prophets. He stated as late as Acts 28 that he was in chains for "the hope of Israel."

All these things concerning the earthly Kingdom concern Israel. The commission of Acts 1 is no different. Israel's hope and Kingdom is the context. In our previous study, linked above, pointing to that commission's scope we did not focus on one word. That word is the word BOTH. We want to see "both" in its connection to the "land" and the calling of Israel by the apostles to Israel.

We stopped in verse 7 of Acts 1 above, but now let's look at  the oft-quoted verse 8.

But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judæa, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

-Acts 1:8 (KJV)

but ye shall receive power at the coming of the Holy Spirit upon you, and ye shall be witnesses to me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and Samaria, and unto the end of the earth.'

-Acts 1:8 (Young's Literal Translation)

The KJV and YLT use "both" in their translation. Some modern versions do as well (ESV, NASB, etc.). Many other versions do not (NKJV, etc.). I believe one of the reasons for this is a bias on the part of the translators. So familiar with the assumed usage and application of this verse (assuming all the Bible is spoken to all people in all ages), they ignore its context and find "both" to be unimportant. The versions that do use "both" probably assume the dual nature of the word is limited to Jerusalem and Judea. We'll look at that in our next study on Acts 1:13. For now, we return to 1:8. 

The Greek word translated "both" is "τέ." As with many words, it can mean different things in different contexts. Luke uses it three times in Acts 1, here in verse 8, and also in verses 1 and 13. When used with a list of things, "both" should be considered. Now, I haven't looked up every use, but the few I hve from the gospel accounts and the Acts using this word, "both" is implied. That is, two things.

As just one example, the NKJV, which does not use "both" in verse 8 for "τέ," does use "both" for "τέ" in verse 1:

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

Just out of curiosity, I checked 1:8 in the Reformed Bible of choice, the 1599 Geneva Bible.

But ye shall receive power of the holy Ghost, when he shall come on you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth. -Acts 1:8


For those keeping score at home, Young's Literal Translation uses "both" in all three verses in Acts where where "τέ' is found.

I used an online translator, Koine Greek to English. This greatly helped me see more clearly the intent of Luke and the Holy Spirit in the commission to the apostles to the circumcision; a commission they obey throughout the Acts.

let the power of the Holy Spirit come upon you, and bear witness to me, both in Jerusalem, and in all of Judah, and in Samaria, and to the rest of the Earth.

Without being dogmatic, but in light of the immediate context of Acts 1 (the restoration of the Kingdom to and in Israel) and the calling of the twelve to go to Israel alone as the future judges of the twelve tribes, we can look at Acts 1:8 the following way.

The apostles to the circumcision, who carried the gospel to the circumcision (Galatians 2:7-8) were commissioned to take the gospel of the Kingdom to Judah ("Jerusalem and in all Judea") AND to Israel (Samaria and to the rest of the land/earth). "Both."

This would be to all 12 tribes. Two which made up Judah and the Ten tribes of the Northern Kingdom, Israel. The Ten tribes are connected to the dispersion (although some from all 12 tribes were in the dispersion). So, we note, again, to whom both Peter and James directed their epistles.

James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greetings.

-James 1:1

To the pilgrims of the Dispersion in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father

-1 Peter 1:1-2a

We cannot insert a Gentile "church" into these epistles. James addresses those meeting in "synagogues" (James 2:2). Unfortunately, the King James version translates synagogue there as "assembly." This is the only time they translate it such. In every other case, it reads, "synagogue." Men imposing their theology on the Holy Spirit's inspiration. 

I'd like to refer to John Calvin's commentary on 1 Peter here. I choose Calvin not because he divides scripture as I do, but because even Calvin understood that the dispersion must mean Jews.

To the sojourners They who think that all the godly are thus called, because they are strangers in the world, and are advancing towards the celestial country, are much mistaken, and this mistake is evident from the word dispersion which immediately follows; for this can apply only to the Jews, not only because they were banished from their own country and scattered here and there, but also because they had been driven out of that land which had been promised to them by the Lord as a perpetual inheritance. He indeed afterwards calls all the faithful sojourners, because they are pilgrims on the earth; but the reason here is different. They were sojourners, because they had been dispersed, some in Pontus, some in Galatia, and some in Bithynia. It is nothing strange that he designed this Epistle more especially for the Jews, for he knew that he was appointed in a particular manner their apostle, as Paul teaches us in Galatians 2:8. In the countries he enumerates, he includes the whole of Asia Minor, from the Euxine to Cappadocia.


When we rightly divide the Acts and the Acts Age epistles, when we understand the calling and commission of the Lord's chosen apostles, we can start to see the differences between the earthly hope of Israel and the hope of the Body in the far above the heavens. We can see the difference between the physical Temple and physical Kingdom in the promised land and the spiritual temple and spiritual kingdom in heavenly places.

Pause and read that last sentence again. I named four things, but they represent only two hopes. This is how the Holy Spirit has preserved the commission of the Kingdom in Acts 1:8. Four places noted representing two places. 

We are going to again take up the use of "both" in our next study, but regardless, in light of the calling of Peter and the twelve, in light of the limitation of the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel, and in light of the earthly hope of Israel in view, we can certainly see that the commission many take today for themselves should be limited to that group and to that calling under that hope in that age.

[Your city] is not "your Jerusalem." When the Lord speaks of Jerusalem, we need to read "Jerusalem." 

Sunday, June 18, 2023

The Podcast Has Gone to Video

 My podcast, "Brooklyn's Dad Talks About Everything" (available on Spotify and most podcast services) has been audio only since its inception. There are 122 audio podcasts available as audio-only. The most recent episodes (Season 2, Eps 48-49) have both am audio and a video component.

The podcast studies are more conversational than the blog. Most episodes are theology-based, but we occasionally take a dip into current events and culture.  I have posted links to certain podcasts if they are relevant to a particular blog entry.

Today, I invite you to enjoy the new video format.


finding scriptural gems in every age

Link to SPOTIFY Podcast Page (all 124 audio podcasts)

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Matthew Henry's Commentary on Jeremiah 31 (The New Covenant)

Let us note what John Calvin stated in his commentary concerning The Lord's desire in regard to those who would worship him.

God disdains the forced services of men, and chooses to be worshipped freely and willingly

I'm sure the Calvinist has some theological explanation for Calvin's apparently clear statement here. He is stating that God Himself will never "force" men against their wills to serve Him. For such an idea is abhorrent to God. I think it is reasonable to conclude that Calvin is arguing that our service to God must originate from our own free will. We must choose to serve him.

I note this statement from Calvin, because, I believe, it is a good example of how truths can find there way through error. Personally, I think Calvin's view of the will is far more flecible than those who call themselves Calvinist's in our day. 

Previously, we have looked at Calvin's somewhat nuanced position on those some call the "Early Church Fathers. We also looked at Calvin's view of the conscience and its ability to determine that which is right and that which is wrong. In these (and in other posts quoting Calvin), in my estimation, we see a bit of flexibility in Calvin's views that we don't always see in those who take his name. That said, Calvin's lack of clarity on certain subjects is the result of his inability to separate the plan of God for the earth and the plan of God for the heavenly places.

The failure to make these distinctions has led Calvin and other Calvinists, like Matthew Henry, to try and insert themselves (rather selectively) into both plans. Let's take a brief look at Matthew Henry;s commentary on Jeremiah 31:31.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah (1599 Geneva Bible)

That God will renew his covenant with them, so that all these blessings they shall have, not by providence only, but by promise, and thereby they shall be both sweetened and secured. But this covenant refers to gospel times, the latter days that shall come; for of gospel grace the apostle understands it (Hebrews 8:8; Hebrews 8:9, c.), where this whole passage is quoted as a summary of the covenant of grace made with believers in Jesus Christ. Observe, 1. Who the persons are with whom this covenant is made--with the house of Israel and Judah, with the gospel church, the Israel of God on which peace shall be (Galatians 6:16), with the spiritual seed of believing Abraham and praying Jacob. Judah and Israel had been two separate kingdoms, but were united after their return, in the joint favours God bestowed upon them so Jews and Gentiles were in the gospel church and covenant.

-Henry's Complete Commentary on the Bible (Jeremiah 31, excerpt)

Note the use of "they" and them" in his opening statement. We like to note the importance of pronouns.  Henry is pointing to "the house of Israel, and the house of Judah," yet he is so determined to see God as having only one plan for all men of all ages that he forces himself to make Israel and Judah into the "church" (as he defines it). He states "but this covenant refers to gospel times" without warrant. He refences Paul's quote of the passage in Jeremiah, but fails to note that Paul, in the Acts Age, still speaks of the New Covenant as yet future and having not come in yet. The apostle also continues to use "the house of Israel, and the house of Judah."

“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.

-Hebrews 8:8-10 (NKJV)

In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.

-Hebrews 8:13 (NKJV)

The word translated "becoming obsolete" is the Greek word "palaióō." The King James Version translates this word as "decayeth." The idea is that it is essentially dead, but it has not fully gone away. The New Covenant could not come in because Israel had not repented. 

Peter promised in Acts 3 to "Ye men of Israel" that if they repented, God would send back Christ to restore all things. And we know from Acts 1 that the Lord taught the Apostles to the Circumcision that the Kingdom would be "restored" in Israel one day (Acts 1:6). He taught those who will one day sit on twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel (Matthew 19:28; Luke 22:30) for 40 days about that kingdom, but he gave no timeline. The timeline is dependent on Israel's repentance.

When Paul writes late in his ministry of the Acts Age that the New Covenant is still future and that the Old Covenant is decaying, he is telling us that Israel had not repented. In Acts 28, Paul spoke with the Jewish leaders of Rome concerning "the hope of Israel" (Acts 28:20). He was "bound" for that hope.  We note here here that in his Post-Acts epistle of Ephesians, Paul states that he is in chains, "for you Gentiles." 

While the commentaries of Calvin and Henry can offer valuable thoughts and insights, their failure to see God's divisions, hopes, and ages in scripture blinds them to their own words of contradiction. 

The Old Covenant was a rotting corpse waiting for Israel to come to faith so the New Covenant could come in in full (as revealed in Jeremiah 31, Isaiah 61, etc.). When God revealed his new economy through the apostle Paul at the end of the Acts age, all covenants with Israel and the plan for the earthly blessings were set aside temporarily.

We have today, the enlightenment unto the truth of this age and calling which we must accept (Ephesians 1:18, etc.). This age will end and God will once again call out for Israel to repent and the offer of Acts 3 will again be in sight. Believing Israel, a remnant, will believe, and God will install the promised, restored Kingdom in the land.

Thursday, May 25, 2023

The Catholic Church's Definition of "Christian"

 A little different tack today. I am very careful not to parrot opinion or sterotype. I prefer to let people speak for themselves. As I like to put it, "I don't accuse 'em, I just quotes 'em."

Social network (GETTR) live-streamer and "influencer," Isabel Brown, groaned recently on her page, "Catholics are Christian too!" I suppose one too many Evangelicals questioned the status of Catholics as Christians. This would be a interesting gripe if not for the official doctrines of the Catholic Church. The Catholic Church officially, and with great prejudice, condemns, specifically, the gospel held by Evangelicals (Trent, etc.). That's fine. That should end the discussion (on both ends). We acknowledge they have a right to believe what the want, just don't pretend to be some sort of victim. 

For the record,  I don't care what label you take, I'll fellowship with anyone resting in the Lord's work alone. If one does believe in the gospel of the free grace of God, I don't understand why he would stay in the CC, but that's a horse of a different color. As to who is a true "Christian" however, Isabel's chosen church of affiliation has very clear opinion (and they're not very nice about it).

A few quotes from countless like them, covering a millenia or more:

"To be Christian one must be Roman. One must recognize the oneness of Christ’s Church that is governed by one successor of the Prince of the Apostles who is the Bishop of Rome, Christ’s Vicar on earth."
-Pius XII (1957)

"So long as the member lives in the body, it lived; separated, it lost its life. Thus the man, so long as he lives in the body of the [Catholic] Church, he is a Christian; separated from her, he becomes a heretic."

"He who confesses the doctrine of Jesus Christ in his Church. Hence, he who is truly a Christian thoroughly detests all cults and sects found outside the doctrine and outside the Church of Christ, everywhere and among all peoples, as for example the Jewish, the Mohammedan, and the heretical cults and sects."
-St. Peter Canisius

"[The CC] firmly believes, confesses and preaches that no one outside the Catholic Church, not only pagans, but neither Jews nor heretics and schismatics, can become partakers of eternal life, but will go into eternal fire 'which was prepared for the devil and his angels' (Mt. 25:41) unless before death they are joined with Her... No one, let his almsgiving be as great as it may, no one, even if he pour out his blood for the Name of Christ can be saved unless they abide within the bosom and unity of the Catholic Church."
-Eugene IV
And from the current catechism, released by the Magisterium under the auspices of "Saint" John Paul II in 1994 concerning me (condemned) and you (the Catholic Church is saving you from a distance, heretic):

YOU MUST BE BAPTIZED! Oh, except Muslims, Hindus, Animists...

And we have not even scratched the surface of the many caveats on their doctrines regarding baptism and non-Christian religions. The Paulist order (which the imprimatur of the Archbishop of Newark) taught that other religions (and even atheists) are just climbing the same mountain, but on the other side [Faith of Catholics: An Introduction by Richard W. Chilson, Paulist Press, 1978]. It's a free-for-all meant to deceive. 

Let us remind ourselves, again, of this "infallible" decree:

"Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

They'll say whatever works, on any particular day, to try and fool Evangelicals (I know, I was trained in the art of deception as a Religious Education Teacher in the CC), but they have never departed from "Christian = Catholic."

Isabel is offended if someone questions whether she's a Christian or not while her church condemns non-Catholic believers over and over and over while also insisting that only Catholics are real Christians?

I have less than zero sympathy for Miss Brown.

Monday, May 15, 2023

The Process of Seeing Spiritual Truths (The Lord Heals the Blind)

Physical and Spiritual Blindness

 Let us take a quick look at the man born blind in John chapter 9.

Now as Jesus passed by, He saw a man who was blind from birth.

We are all born blind from birth. We know nothing of the Lord. As far as the infant is concerned, time began when he took his first breath. His only concerns at that point are personal (warmth, food, shelter), etc. The babe cannot give love, yet he has tremendous potential to give love and that process begins not long after birth.

While the babe can start to make sense of the world around him, he is limited to his immediate surroundings. He will only know of the greater world through additional experiences and education. But even with these, his knowledge will not be complete immediately. The process of gaining knowledge is continual and is hampered along the way by the limitations of the flesh and the constant decaying of the mind. 

And His disciples asked Him, saying, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?”

Enter human and religious reasoning into the account (from the Lord's disciples, no less). As we experience life, we naturally start to apply what we perceive to that which is around us. It is natural and right to conclude that there must be an intelligence to the design we see. And we are all born with some sense (although flawed by our fallen nature in Adam) of right and wrong. 

The disciples were in the very presence of the God of Abraham, the God of Israel. They walked with him daily. They heard him speak They knew from experience and from scripture that sin had consequences and that God added his own repercussions to sinful choices. 

In John chapter 5, after the Lord has healed the man with the 38-year infirmity (John 5:5), we have the Lord's warning to the man recorded for us.

Afterward Jesus found him in the temple, and said to him, “See, you have been made well. Sin no more, lest a worse thing come upon you.”

It would have been natural for the disciples to conclude that all infirmities are the result of sin.  But this does not necessarily follow. We don't know that the man's 38-year condition was the result of any sin (his or his parents' sin). All we know is that, being healed, he should leave whatever life of sin had its hold on him lest a "worse thing" inflict him.  

The Call: Opening Israel's Eyes

Let us return to John 9.

Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the works of God should be revealed in him. I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work. As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.”

The man was born blind for this very moment. God is outside of time and can see the full picture. We are creatures of time, so we may not fully grasp the Lord's workings here, but we must allow the Lord to do as he will as he knows best.

The Lord healed the man to reveal what God has planned in the long run. The Lord was sent to Israel to proclaim the promised Kingdom and he came to all of us to proclaim the taking away of our sin. We see in this statement that there are windows to God's workings. This is another aspect of dispensationalism. That is, the Lord is teaching us that there are times when the Lord will work these miracles out in the open and times when he will not (and can not). 

Does the Lord change? No! The Lord is the same yesterday, today, and to the end of the ages (Hebrews 13:8), but how he deals with men changes, his economies change, and his focus changes and hopes change (heaven, earth, kingdom, etc.).

The Lord states that he is "the light of the world."  While he was here, in the world, it was daytime. In the Acts age, the Lord was with the Apostles "to the end," reflecting his light through them, yet indirectly.

Now before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end.

-John 13:1

 Does this teach that the love of the Lord ends for his own? No, but the end of a stage of his earthly ministry was near. He would soon "depart" from this world. This is reference to the his ascension. This was a truth unseen by the disciples. Their eyes were still blind to all that was to shortly come to pass.

We pause to note that word for "world" here is the Greek "kósmos." It is used around 90 times in the gospel accounts, over 75 times by John. The Lord is the Light of the kósmos, and when that Light departs, darkness shall come to the kósmos. Israel here is in the context of the Passover. His earthly people in context of the human family. At the same time sperate and included. They were called directly by the Light while he was among them, and indirectly after he ascended.

This is evident in the Acts Age. The Light reflected more dimly through the choses apostles. Those commissioned to Israel in the land and in the Dispersion were far better equipped and separated unto the work than we could ever claim in our own calling, but the Light was still filtered through men to its detriment.

In this way, the Acts Age carried with it a judgment against Israel for Israel had taken "by lawless hands" the Son of God, their Messiah, and had crucified him.

Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death... 
-Acts 2:22-23

The word translated "lawless" here ("wicked" in the KJV) is the Greek "ánomos." It means "not subject to the Mosaic law" or "without Law" and is used of Gentiles. A gentile is naturally outside of the Law. The Law was given specifically to Israel. The charge Peter makes here (at Pentecost, after the Holy Spirit had fallen) is against "Ye men of Israel." There was still an Israel. This brings our thoughts back to John's charge in John 1:4-5, 11.

In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it... He came to His own [Israel], and His own did not receive Him.

Israel's Messiah, Hidden in the Prophets, Revealed in Christ

Israel had the Light of men walking among them, but they acted as though they had no Law ("lawless"), they (as a nation) preferred the darkness, and thus they crucified the Lord of Glory. In Paul's Acts Age epistle of 1 Corinthians 2, he makes reference to truth which was spoken by the Prophets in the Hebrew scriptures, but whose application and meaning were hidden because their hearts were hard. They could know, but they had to open their eyes. They had to ignore the teachings of the "lettered" Pharisees to see the truth in the written word.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.

The Light of Life prophesied to the nation of Israel, the Christ for whose arrival they longed, the one the Law and the Prophets said would come was rejected. The direct Light was rejected during the Lord's earthly ministry and the indirect Light through the Apostles to the Circumcision was rejected in the Acts Age. 

Taking the Message to the Lord's Brethren, to the Jew First

In the Acts Age, the Apostle Paul always went to the Jews first (Acts 17:2). And he testified that he spoke nothing that was not spoken by Moses and the Prophets (Acts 26:22). In Rome, he called the Jewish leaders there together to witness to Christ again appealing, as he always had to that point, to Moses and the Prophets. This "mystery" was only hidden from those who refused to see it, despite it being in the very texts they held sacred.

Let's take a quick look at Paul's ministry in Rome in Acts 28:

And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers

Israel was still around in that age. Israel was still being called to repent so the Lord could return (Acts 3).These are Paul's "brethren according to the flesh." Israel are the "brethren" to whom the Lord refers in the parable of the Sheep and Goats in Matthew 25. Paul had done "nothing" against who he refers to as "our people," And he violated no "custom" or "our fathers." (See also Romans 9:1-5; 10:1)

Christ and his apostles provided all the evidence from scripture for Israel to believe. Recall that the Bereans in Acts 17 "searched the scriptures daily" whether the things Paul preached were true. The "mystery" of  1 Corinthians (Acts Age) was simply hidden from hearts which refused to see.

The Acts is About the Continued Preaching of the Earthly Kingdom to Israel

So when they [the Jewish leaders in Rome] had appointed [Paul] a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

Paul spoke nothing about a "Gentile" church or some "Spiritual Israel" to these men. He spoke nothing about the Mystery of Ephesians 3 to them. At this point, the message was still a revealing of truths from Moses (the Law) and the Prophets concerning the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel as taught by the Lord to his disciples (Acts 1:6).

Some believed and some did not (Acts 28:24). Some had their blindness removed, others remained in the dark.

Paul then, In Acts 28, pronounced the declaration from the Prophet Isaiah concerning Israel.

‘Go to this people and say:
“Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand;
And seeing you will see, and not perceive;
For the hearts of this people have grown dull.
Their ears are hard of hearing,
And their eyes they have closed,
Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears,
Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn,
So that I should heal them.” ’

When the truth is proclaimed in any age, some will see, some will never see, and some will start to see and then have a choice: do they continue to study and seek greater understanding or do they simply close their eyes? Some will start seem but not fully perceiving, they choose merely to close their eyes.

Paul revealed another Mystery in Ephesians 3. This Mystery, however, is said to be "hidden" from Moses and the Prophets. Hidden from before the foundation of ages and revealed to Paul alone. In this current economy of God (dealing with blessings in the far above the heavens and not dealing with the earthly Kingdom), men must also have their blindness removed to see it. 

Comparing the Healings of the Blind Man in John & the Blind Man in Mark

Let us return to the blind man in John:

When [The Lord] had said these things, He spat on the ground and made clay with the saliva; and He anointed the eyes of the blind man with the clay. And He said to him, “Go, wash in the pool of Siloam” (which is translated, Sent). So he went and washed, and came back seeing.

 In any age, this is the moment of decision. I believe the clay represents men. The use of saliva was considered medicinal in Israel. It was not forbidden by he Pharisees, however, its use was forbidden on the Sabbath ("Now it was a Sabbath when Jesus made the clay and opened his eyes"). I would contend the Lord was making a statement, again, that a good work performed on the Sabbath was not a violation of the Law (it pointed to the greater Sabbath of Genesis). In this case, the medicinal spittle is combined with clay (the Lord as a man, sent to his people) to heal the nation and nations.

This sign is the sixth sign in John. I always want to be careful not to read too much into every jot and tittle in scripture, but "6" is the number of man. Man was created on the sixth day and the Sabbath established on the seventh. The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath (Mark 2:27) and the Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of the Sabbath (Mark 2:28). The Sabbath rest of Genesis is not the Sabbath of the Law. In regard to all men, it supersedes the Law of the Old Covenant of Exodus. John presents the Lord as God with no beginning and no end (John 1:1). He is greater than the Sabbath.

The leaders of Israel did not understand the Law nor could they see their own Messiah in their midst. They "perceived him not" as we have noted. They did not "comprehend" the Light sent to them.

Therefore some of the Pharisees said, “This Man is not from God, because He does not keep the Sabbath”... So they again called the man who was blind, and said to him, “Give God the glory! We know that this Man is a sinner.” He answered and said, “Whether He is a sinner or not I do not know. One thing I know: that though I was blind, now I see.” Then they said to him again, “What did He do to you? How did He open your eyes?” He answered them, “I told you already, and you did not listen. Why do you want to hear it again? Do you also want to become His disciples?” Then they reviled him and said, “You are His disciple, but we are Moses’ disciples. We know that God spoke to Moses; as for this fellow, we do not know where He is from.” The man answered and said to them, “Why, this is a marvelous thing, that you do not know where He is from; yet He has opened my eyes! Now we know that God does not hear sinners; but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does His will, He hears him. Since the world began it has been unheard of that anyone opened the eyes of one who was born blind. If this Man were not from God, He could do nothing.”


It has been noted that we should look to Revelation 3:18 and the Lord's words to Israel in a coming time of trouble for possibly more enlightenment.

I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.


There is a need in every age to do what we can to see more clearly. We cannot rest on our laurels of a degree or a confession or a council or a statement of faith. We must all, individually, seek to see better. 

A quick comparison to the healing recorded in Mark chapter 8.

Then [the Lord] came to Bethsaida; and they brought a blind man to Him, and begged Him to touch him. So He took the blind man by the hand and led him out of the town. And when He had spit on his eyes and put His hands on him, He asked him if he saw anything. And he looked up and said, “I see men like trees, walking.” Then He put His hands on his eyes again and made him look up. And he was restored and saw everyone clearly.

Here we have healing which also involves a blind man. In this account, the man is brought to the Lord. The Lord uses saliva, but no clay, and the healing is in stages. Again, being careful not to draw huge theological doctrines and dogmas from the details, I would still note the differences.

Mark is the gospel of the Lord as Servant. The book has no lineage. He is the great Servant sent to Israel. Yet Israel still had to be led to him. And when they came upon him, he serves them directly. He applies the saliva directly to the blind man who does not immediately see clearly. He initially sees men "walking like trees." I believe we can see here the partial salvation of Israel in the Acts Age (cp Romans 9:1-13, etc.) and then the final restoration in the age to come.

There is no hint of the Mystery of the current age here in Mark. There is an unspoken gap in the story. There is no explanation for the partial sight and no events listed before the final restoration.

The word "restored" in Mark 8:25 is the Greek word, "apokathístēmi." This is a "restoration" of eyesight. Thayer's dictionary defines this word, "to restore to its former state." This is the same word used in Acts 1 in reference to the "restoration" of the Kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:6). That is the reestablishment of the Throne of David. It is not a "new church."

Mark 8 is not a blindness from birth as in John 9. Just prior to the healing in Mark 8, the Lord warns of "the Leaven of the Pharisees [fake legalism] and the leaven of Herod [fake King of the Jews]." He then points his disciples to the miracle of the fish and the loaves.

When I broke the five loaves for the five thousand, how many baskets full of fragments did you take up?” They said to Him, “Twelve.” “Also, when I broke the seven for the four thousand, how many large baskets full of fragments did you take up?” And they said, “Seven.” So He said to them, “How is it you do not understand?”

Twelve being associated with the nation of Israel and seven being associated with her final day (1000 years) of rest.

 Healing and provision are coming to Israel in the age to come. Her Sabbath rest of 1000 years awaits her when the Lord restores the Kingdom in Israel and sits on the throne of His father, David. Gabriel proclaimed to Mary, as given to us by Luke,  concerning the Messiah she bore:

And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

And recall, it is this same angel, the same messenger of God, who revealed truths to Daniel regarding the age to come.

Then it happened, when I, Daniel, had seen the vision and was seeking the meaning, that suddenly there stood before me one having the appearance of a man. And I heard a man’s voice between the banks of the Ulai, who called, and said, “Gabriel, make this man understand the vision.” So he came near where I stood, and when he came I was afraid and fell on my face; but he said to me, “Understand, son of man, that the vision refers to the time of the end.”

-Daniel 8:15-17


The Lord was sent to Israel alone (Matthew 15:24), yet the Messiah always planned to bless the nations through Israel's blessings (Romans 15). But Israel has to see her Messiah first, repent, turn to the living, resurrected Christ as her Lord and Christ, and then the blessings of the earthly kingdom will come. Israel and the believing Gentiles will experience the Kingdom which is to come. 

Wednesday, April 19, 2023

Recognizing the Purpose of the Four Gospels and to Whom They are Given

Question: Are all the commandments in the four gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John) for us?

Short answer: no for Matt, Mark, Luke... John is a mix. We must separate that which is for the Kingdom and that which concerns having Life through His name (John 20:21-32).

John was written specifically so those that believe can have "life through his name." It records part of the Kingdom ministry (John the Baptist, etc.) and then moves on to the Lord identifying as a guest at the wedding (John 3, compare Matthew 22).  

A generic such as "love your neighbor" is universal, but specific commands in the synoptic gospels are for either the individual addressed or for Israel. He specifically forbade the Gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew) to be preached outside of Israel or to any Gentile, etc.  And that gospel has no cross (Matthew 10). Surely this command and this gospel is not for us. Neither are we commanded, as they were in that passage, to heal th sick and raise the dead.

Summation: Gospel of the Kingdom is for Israel only, it has no cross, its is of the earth. This is most clearly seen in the Gospel of Matthew.

The so-called "Great Commission" was given to the disciples. It's parallel in Acts 1 clearly concerns the continued preaching of the Kingdom to Israel. The risen Lord taught the enlightened disciples for 40 days and they had only one question, and it concerned the restoration of the Kingdom in Israel (Acts 1:6). That was what he was teaching those who will one day "sit on 12 thrones judging the 12 tribes of Israel" (another promise in the gospels we cannot "claim"). The command in the commission was to "start in Jerusalem."

People today say  things like, "Topeka is MY Jerusalem!" No, it's not. Jerusalem is Jerusalem. We must be careful how we handle the inspired Word of Truth. 

The twelve apostles never went to Gentiles. Only Peter, once, to graft in gentiles for the specific purpose of making Israel (note, there was still an Israel) jealous (scripture makes this clear). Paul teaches that these gentile believers could be "cut off" from that Israel (her promises). Now, do we preach that today? Can I come to your church and tell Gentile believers that if the become haughty against Israel they will be "cut off from the root (Israel)"? No. What men do is allegorize all these things. I can't preach Rom 11 and I can't preach Matthew 10, etc.

To Israel pertain the covenants, promises, fathers, etc. (Rom 9). There was still an Israel, not some "Gentile spiritual Israel" etc. That makes no sense.

Peter follows Pentecost (a Jews-only event) with an offer to "Ye men of Israel" in Acts 3 (there was still an Israel and he calls them "brethren") that if they repented, God would send Christ to restore all things (the restoration [apokathístēmi, restore to a former state] of the Kingdom in Israel, Acts 1:6, Acts 3:19, ("so that times of refreshing may come"). Again, can I preach Acts 3 today?

Just as I do not follow the Lord's "command" in Matthew 4 and Matthew 10 concerning the Gospel of the Kingdom, nor do I reject gentiles and preach to Jews only (Matt 10, Matthew 15, Acts 11, etc.), I do not preach Peter's message in Acts 3 or Paul's message in Romans 11. Nor do I separate Gentile and Jewish believers and impose Leviticus 23 on them. Nor do I tell Jewish believers to circumcise their children. But the Apostles and the Holy Spirit dis all these in the Acts.

  • I do not preach "the hope of Israel" today. 
  • I do not limit myself to only those things spoken by Moses and the Prophets( as Paul did. He testified to this at his trial). 
  • I do not go to Jews first as Paul did. 
  • I do not meet Jewish leaders and teach them about the Kingdom. 

As late as Acts 28, Paul was till doing this last one.

So when they [Jewish leaders in Rome] had appointed him a day, many came to him [Paul] at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening.

The gospel we preach today was revealed to Paul alone, unknown by Moses and the Prophets. It was "hidden" from BEFORE the foundation of the ages, whereas the gospel of the Kingdom was revealed SINCE or FROM the foundation of the ages. In this age, our hope in the far above the heavens where Christ sits at the right hand of the Father. 

The gospel of the Kingdom concerns the earth and the land and the people and the priesthood. Both the Old and New Covenants deal with Israel, in the land, as a "nation of priests." Priests for whom? The nations (Gentiles).

Since Adam, all who have Life, have Life by grace alone through faith alone. That is not the issue. The issue rests on the hope in front of believers. We do not look for an earthly kingdom or a land or a temple, etc. Israel has and will. In that regard, the Lord was "sent to none, but to the lost sheep of the House of Israel."

Today, we don't ignore people based on race. But the Lord did. And we don't call other races "dogs." Israel were the children (son's, heirs of the promises), not Gentiles.

“I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

That is, I was not sent to YOU. Since Adam (before Abraham) Gentiles could have Life, but the Kingdom is for Israel alone.

“It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.”

The Gentile woman approached him by calling him " O Lord, Son of David!," yet she had no right to use that title with him (and neither do we). So, he ignored her. The lovely and loving Lord Jesus ignored a woman crying out to him. But when she persists and calls him only "Lord," he allows her to proceed.

Again, if we say "Matthew is to us," then we have to obey these commands (and others like Matthew 10, etc.). Matthew is the Gospel of the King. The Lord doesn't even mention he must die until chapter 16, and even then they don't believe him... AND... he forbids them to tell anyone. Where is our gospel today in Matthew? A Kingdom for Israel only? A gospel to Israel only? No death, burial, and resurrection gospel? In its context, Matthew is clearly not to us (and not even to Gentiles). For us?

Matthew is certainly FOR us, but not TO us. In Matthew, do we really want to be "son's [children] of the Kingdom?" I don't. The Lord warns them that some will be "cast into outer darkness.

But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. -The Lord Jesus Christ (Matt 8)

That's not me and that warning is not for today. It is for Israel in context of the earthly Kingdom.

And Jesus went about all Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of sickness and all kinds of disease among the people. 
-Matt 4

Then Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. 
-Matt 9

The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.
-Matt 11

None of these are about the death, burial, or resurrection of the Lord. The Gospel of the Kingdom is good news for Israel. She was in sin, but there was still hope. That hope is their New Covenant (Jer 31) which is for "Virgin Israel" (cleansed).

So, what will they preach throughout the land and when will this be?

But he who endures to the end shall be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come. 
-Matt 24

Do we teach men must "endure to the end?" to enter into Life? To the end of what? This is still the same "Gospel of the Kingdom" and it will be the witness to the nations. This was spoke to the future judges in Israel, just as Matthew 28 is spoken to them, just as Acts 1 was spoken to them.

Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately... 
-Matt 24

All the works passages in Matthew have to do with the Kingdom, they're not some clever word-play and secretly mean salvation by grace through faith. They mean what they warn. They are judgments of "sons" and "servants." That does not involve us. These works judgments are for Israel. The Son of David and the Judges on the 12 thrones will judge them.

“Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel." 

Note that in Israel's "regeneration" there is judgment (not for Life, but for placement in the Kingdom). However, in regard to the regeneration in the current age:

Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit... 

That is the hope I preach to all men, not the Kingdom Gospel of Matthew. And after they come to a knowledge of the death, burial, and resurrection of the LORD for their sins, and after they rest in that finished work, then I can introduce them to the ministry and revelation given to Paul alone for this age. 

The hope found in Christ alone for resurrection from the dead and then the hope of sitting with Christ in the heavenly places. Both come by faith in the revelation of God in his word and through his servant. 

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