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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. ...

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.