Writings by Elder Vernon Johnson

0109 Personal Trespasses

Personal Trespasses

Sometimes one person will get their feelings hurt by the comments or actions of another person in the church. Often that person will harbor bad feelings or unforgiveness toward the offending party. This should never be. The Lord told us in Mt 18:15-17 how to deal with personal trespasses from fellow church members.

Before we consider this passage however, we should ask ourselves, did the other person really trespass against me? Sometimes the problem lies with myself. Did I take offense of the other person because I was wearing my feelings on my sleeve? Or did I take offense because I was tired and irritable and misunderstood what the other person meant. Probably most of the time the offending party never intended or knew that he/she was offending by their comment/action to another member of the church.

Once I have determined that I believe I really have reason to be offended, then according to the commandment of our Lord and Saviour I am to go and tell the offending church member his/her fault between myself and him/her alone. That means that I am not to tell any one else about it, until I have followed thru with the steps outlined in Mt 18:15-17. Too often much havoc is wrought in the church because church members rebel against this commandment of the Lord. When I go to the offending church member I should go humbly and not piously accusing the offending member, but simply laying out what was said and why it hurt my feelings. Probably, the vast majority of the time that will be enough to bring about the desired result and restored fellowship.

However, if the offending party doesn’t hear me, then I am to take one or two more church members so that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. Now when I go to these “one or two more” I am not to lay out my case to them so as to poison their mind toward the offending member, but simply tell them that I and the offending member have a problem that we need their help with. Once in the presence of the offending member then I can state my case and also the other party can state their case. Then the other members present can give their advice to the two members. Usually this will be enough to resolve the few times it ever reaches this stage.

Very rarely, after the first two steps have been taken, then the problem will have to be taken to the church and addressed by the church.

Dear brothers and sisters, this means of solving personal offenses isn’t just a “it sure would be nice if you did things this way,” but it is essential that we follow the commandment of our Lord in this matter. Sometimes members of the church will just stop going to church because their feelings were hurt by some comment or action of a fellow church member. To do so is a reproach to the wisdom of our Lord and rebellion against HIS word. One of the most poisonous things that we can do to ourselves is to harbor hard feelings toward our fellow church members. This can eat at us and take away our peace for years, if unchecked.

Failure to follow the above commandment of our Lord in dealing with personal trespasses of our fellow church members has been one of the most hurtful things to the cause of Christ in a local church. Let us deal truthfully and faithfully with the commandments of our Lord and Saviour and manifest our love toward our fellow church members by taking good heed to Mt 18:15-17

Elder Vernon Johnson

0109 Principles of Giving

Principles of Giving

The bible gives us several principles for giving. Giving is more than just putting money on a table or in a box at the close of church services. There are many ways that a person can give. Once the Lord sent forth his disciples and told them, “Freely ye have received, freely give.” They were to give of that which they had freely received. Now they had received spiritual gifts that the Lord had given them and they had received instructions in the kingdom of God and they had been taught of the Lord many things. Now these were things that they had freely received and they were told to freely give of those things. This same principle applies to every child of God. We have all received spiritual gifts as the “Spirit divideth to every man severally as He will.” Furthermore, God has given us his word and has given us understanding. Also, as we have sought him he has given us wisdom. We should be prepared to freely give that which we have freely received. Also for many of us God has given us good health and the ability to labor. For others, God has given an ability to earn wealth. What ever God has given us we should be prepared to use it to his name’s honor and glory and for the good of his people.

Giving shouldn’t just be a sporadic episode in our lives as we happen to see need and feel charitable to give. The scripture teaches us, “Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give.” Giving should be done on purpose. We should purpose to give. Giving shouldn’t be the last priority on our list, but rather should be one of the first things to do. Too often people give after they have taken care of all their needs and wants and if any is left over then they give. This is wrong. We should purpose to give then plan on living off the rest.

Furthermore, we shouldn’t begrudge what we give, or feel that we have to give as a necessity. The scripture teaches that “God loves a cheerful giver.” It is a privilege of the highest honor to be able to give. The Lord said, “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” Often kings and those in authority receive gifts of men as a way of giving honor to those in position of authority or who have great responsibility. In contrast, the Lord said we are more blessed than those, because it is more blessed to give than to receive!

Giving is compared in the scripture to sowing. We are told, “He which soweth sparingly shall reap also sparingly; and he which soweth bountifully shall reap also bountifully.” The sower of seed looks to the end of the harvest to see the return of his efforts. So likewise, when we sow bountifully of those things which the Lord has blessed us then we find that we shall also have a bountiful return of spiritual blessings in the kingdom of God here on earth.

Giving is a religious activity, but not as many think it is. According to James, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

Not to give when we see a need and are able to give is an indication of a hard heart. “But whoso hath this world’s good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?”

To freely give of ourselves is a manifestation of our love for the Lord and for his people. “Greater love hath no man than this that a man lay down his life for his friends.” In the early church we read where they “had all things common; and sold their possessions and goods, and parted to all men, as every man had need.” The scriptures say that “great grace was upon them.”

Let us all consider the blessing of giving cheerfully such as the Lord has prospered us.

Elder Vernon Johnson

0201 Anxious Thoughts

Anxious Thoughts

Elder Thomas McDonald

Part 1

I’m sure that most everyone would agree that September 11th., will be a day that we’ll all remember for a long time. It has left everyone worried about flying, riding buses. Worries about terrorism seem to consume people’s minds. Worries about being laid off from work, rising fuel prices leading us down to worries about an economic recession. And sometimes we find ourselves listening to the radio, and what do we listen to? We listen to those who give a picture of the so-called eminent “battle of Armageddon,” along with the coming of the Anti-Christ, and his “tribulation!”

And what do all of these things do to us? Right you guessed it -WE ANXIOUSLY WORRY! Beloved I wish that I could say to you that you will never have cause to worry, but we live in a world where there will always be things that will try to come into our lives and attempt to occupy our thoughts, and cause us “discomfort” and “anxious thoughts” It’s the old Devil’s way of trying to distract us, and rob us of our joy and peace that we have in the Church Kingdom of God.

We have to live in the very same world as everybody else lives in don’t we? Why I can tell that I have even known people who spend their time worrying about worrying! And when you get to thinking about all of this, doesn’t it only seem natural that we get to feeling like we become confused and have “anxious thoughts,” and don’t know what to do next? We find ourselves looking around for assurances that give us answers, and we sometimes don’t know whom to turn to for our answers. But let me say this to you, we are “in the world,” but glory be to God dear ones, the scriptures declares to us that "we are not of the world.” (See Joh 15:19).

What are “anxious thoughts?” How do they affect us? And what can we do about them? First, “anxious thoughts,” are thoughts that cause us to have feelings of uneasiness, apprehension, and dread usually about what may happen in the future. Thoughts like, “Is my son or daughter okay?” “Will I be able to make the next house payment on time?” Or, “I wonder if that radio preacher is right about the world coming to an end and the coming great tribulation?”

In the New Testament the English word that is used for our “anxious thoughts” is the Greek word merimnao (mer-im-nah’-o) which means “to worry,” and it is translated as “thought” in Mt 6:25-34. It literally means to have “anxious worrying thought.” This is the picture that our Lord Jesus Christ conveyed when He said, “Take no thought for your life.” He was saying to us, “Little Child of Grace, don’t go around all the time with anxious worrying thoughts!”

And the Apostle Paul tells us, “Be careful for nothing.” Look at the word “careful” that he uses here, it’s the very same word merimnao (mer-im-nah’-o), which tells us that to not take upon ourselves any “anxious worrying thoughts!” So to have to understand that “anxious worrying thoughts” are only here causing us to be preoccupied with real or possible bad things that may or may not happen to us. “Anxious worrying thoughts” is the fear that maybe we’ll be embarrassed, maybe we’ll suffer pain, and maybe we’ll experience some loss, or maybe we’ll become inconvenienced by someone or something.

There are two types of worry. The first type of worry is a negative, harmful, and crippling anxious worry. And the second is positive, and beneficial concern. And the same Greek word merimnao is used to the New Testament for each type.

The other day I was talking to Elder Bob Bolden about this subject he said, “some of the worry that we have actually comes from God to show us that we can’t do everything for ourselves, and that our dependence must come from Him.” Brother Bob hit the nail on the head! This type of worry can be classified as the second type.

Now the negative “anxious worry” in the scriptures talks to us about is that troubling, fretting and anxious thoughts that become a plague in our day to day walk in life. Jesus speaks about these anxious thoughts six times in His mountain sermon (Mt 6). He told His disciples who took out the time to climb up to where he was and listen to what he had to say, not “anxiously worry” about their everyday cares of this life; their food, clothing, shelter, and yes even their future! The Apostle Peter instructs us to cast all of our “care upon Him,” why? Because “He careth for you.” (1Pe 5:7).

In Php 2:20, Paul was “concerned” about the welfare of the brethren at the church at Philippi (which as we have already seen is the second positive type of worry,) when he uses these words, “For I have no man likeminded, who will naturally care for your state.” The word “care” is the same word merimnao. This good type of “worry” encourages us into loving involvement for the sake of our brethren. To have concern for others is this positive kind of worry that moves us to pray and to serve in their best interest.

The crippling type of worry is one were we attempt to carry the load ourselves, in our own strength. We are then moved away from that healthy concern, to an oppressive, crippling worry where we:

Can't sleep because we can't stop think about out troubles.

Feel guilty and can't relax.

Feel afraid of something most of the time.

Feel like panicking in certain situations in life.

Refuse to look at our feelings.

Find blame in others for just about everything that happens to us.

Always feel a vague unseen fear of impending disaster.

Why do we worry and become anxious when we have so much to be thankful for? After all God has given us His Son, who has already saved us and given us the victory. It seems like, we because of these blessings would most certainly not have anything to worry about and yet we do worry don’t we? And sometimes we worry before we’re even aware of it. And again we ask ourselves why do we worry?

Well, there are several reasons why we worry. First and foremost is the undeniable fact that we live in this old sinful, imperfect flesh. We find that we’re no better than the Apostle Peter, in Mt 14:22-31. Here Peter and the other disciples were instructed by the Lord to “’get into a ship,’ and to ‘go before’ Him ‘unto the other side’ of the lake while He sent the multitudes away.” And then as they were in the boat, going across the lake He went up and prayed to His father. And while He was praying, and they were in the middle of that lake a storm came upon them with huge waves, and high winds which blew “against them.” And as they were struggling against this great big storm they looked out of the boat and saw Jesus coming toward them, “walking on the sea.” And you would think that when the disciple’s saw Him walking on the sea that they’d be happy wouldn’t you? No, they were terrified and began to cry out in fear!

And right away Jesus spoke to them and said, “Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.” And Peter, who was at best skeptical, said, “Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.” And Jesus said to him, “Come,” and Peter steeped out on the water in faith to go to Jesus.”

“But when he saw the great power of the wind, he became afraid. Because he took his focus off of Jesus, he thought to himself “Oh no, I’m in danger.” And no doubt he wondered if he would be able to survive the situation that he found himself in. And he began to sink! And he cried out to the Lord saying, “Lord, save me!” And right away “Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him,” and lifted him up out of the water, and He said to him, O Peter “thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” Jesus then escorted him back to the boat, and as soon as they arrived “the wind ceased.” Peter was never in any danger at all, the Lord was on his side.

And we are just like Peter, and we can see ourselves in his experience. We worry and become anxious because we feel like we are vulnerable. And when we’re left alone and in our flesh we truly are justified in these feelings. Sickness may indeed strike us. The economy could falter and fall. Our car may break down and leave us stranded. Someone could set off a bomb and kill us or kill someone we love. Someone could come up and say something very hurtful to us. We are all frail, mortal, and sensitive human beings. And we are all vulnerable physically, emotionally, and spiritually. We’re like Peter, we are all merely human flesh, and we too are capable of drowning. So why do we worry? Because we feel like we are vulnerable.

We worry and become anxious because we become aware of our vulnerability. And because we feel vulnerable we go out and try to make our lives more secure. We lock our homes. Drive reliable cars, and try to keep them repaired so that they won’t break down on us. We go to the doctor for regular check ups. We try to take care of ourselves physically, emotionally, and spiritually.

But try though we might, things continue to come along that cause us to once again to become aware of that nagging vulnerability that we are plagued with. We become just like Peter again, we become “afraid” of the storms of our lives.

Little things like the motor in our car making a strange noise. One of our children gets sick. Or we feel that strange lump. Or maybe we hear rumors of a layoff at work. Whatever it is, it forces us to look at ourselves and see our weaknesses.

We worry because the flesh cannot feel trust in God, and His provision for us. And as children of God when we are confronted with our vulnerability, we have a choice to make. We can take our well being into our own feeble hands. Or we can trust in His grace and mercy for our timely salvation. We can know that He will take care of our apprehensions that worry us. Look at what happened to Peter when he tried it his way. He was confronted with his frailty, and he lost the use of his faith in Jesus. He couldn’t save himself, and he, like us, began to sink.

The words that Jesus spoke to Peter show us just how frail and vulnerable we are, He says to all of us, “O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?” We stop seeing Jesus, and look to ourselves. We take our eyes off of the only One who has “all power both in heaven and earth.” We stop trusting in Christ. And when we take our spiritual eyes off of Him we no longer feel that we can trust Him with our lives, our feelings, or our future. Then we have anxious worry. And anxious worry is sin. It’s a sin because we are taking responsibilities on ourselves that rightly belong only to God. And in our stubbornness we have refused to put our well being into His strong and capable hands. And it’s no wonder that we worry!

Beloved we Old Line Primitive Baptist’s know that our eternal salvation is totally in the hands of our Sovereign, All Powerful God and Saviour Jesus Christ. And we will never lose out on that eternal salvation which He has so wondrously worked out for us. But while we live in the here and now, there are things that we are to do that will set us free from anxious worry, which will enable us to live in the blessings of our salvation.

We should view our worry as being an opportunity to turn our attention and focus to God, to trust beyond ourselves, to be able to talk to someone who cares for us, someone who we can cast all of our cares on, because He cares for us.

Remember the words of Jesus in Mt 6:22, He taught us that the light of the inner body is our spiritual eye, He said that if our eye is of a single focus on Christ and His kingdom, that our whole body will be full of the light of His blessings. And in doing this we discover that He is more than able to answer our vulnerability.

Beloved God is in charge. Nothing happens in this world that is beyond His knowledge and control. Ps 103:19 says, “The LORD hath prepared His throne in the heavens; and His kingdom ruleth over all.” And in Ps 67:7 we read, that “He ruleth by His power.” He is sovereign over all things.

When we worry, we have the feeling that things are out of control. Like something terrible is about to happen, and we’re unable stop it. When we have these anxious thoughts and worries we need to remember three important truths about God.

God is everywhere present and nowhere absent. (Ps 139:7; Jer 23:23-24). There is no place that we can or ever will go that He is not there with us. No matter how alone we may feel, the fact is, He is always there. So we can be certain that we are never alone!

God knows everything that there is to know. (Job 7:20; Ps 33:13). He knows everything about us. He knows exactly how afraid we are, and what we are afraid of. He knows how sad we become, and what it is that scares us too. The more that we are fearful the more we are tempted to act as if God were ignorant of the situation that we find ourselves in. We don’t know what the future holds, but God does. He sees the beginning and the ending.

God is all-powerful. (Ge 17:1; 18:14; Mt 19:26; 28:18). When we worry we feel like no one can stop the bad things that might happen to us. Yes, when we worry we even feel like God can’t possibly care for us in our troubles and cares. But remember God has unlimited power, mercy and grace. The question that we need to be asking is, “Is any thing too hard for the LORD?” (See Ge 18:1-14.)

God is more than able to carry each and every one of our burdens. The cares and worries of our lives that weigh on us so heavily can be placed on His loving shoulders. He gave young David the grace kill a bear, a lion, and even an uncircumcised Philistine giant named Goliath. He watched over David even through the murderous rages of Saul. David said that God kept him “as the apple” of His eye,” and that He hid him “under the shadow of” of His protective “wings. (Ps 17:8). And in Ps 55:22 it is written, “Cast thy burden upon the LORD, and He shall sustain thee: He shall never suffer the righteous to be moved.” What a wonderful blessing to know and believe these truths that are written here for our benefit.

But how do we give our burdens and worries to God? How can we place them on His shoulders and leave them there with Him? The only way that we can do it is to trust and believe in Him who gives us our strength, the strength to act on what we know to be true. For example we know that He is an all powerful, trustworthy God. We know that He is more than able, and that He will care for us.

When we worry and become anxious, we hold ourselves back from trusting Him for His provision. We are putting ourselves in His place, we are saying to ourselves that we can do it better then he can. We need to turn our worries over to Him. Ps 37:5 says, “Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in Him; and He shall bring it to pass.” Beloved we don’t have to live out our lives with anxious worries, we can trust in Him because He is TRUSTWORTHY.

God is a good God, and He will drive away our fears. Then we can say along with Brother David, “Good and upright is the LORD” (Ps 25:8), finding the assurance that we need. We can follow the psalmist and “Taste and see that the LORD is good: blessed is the man that trusteth in him.” (Ps 34:8).

God’s love for us drives away our fears (1Jo 4:18). The only fear that we should have is what the scriptures call “the fear of God” (De 10:12,20; 13:4), which is an awe and reverential fear based on our love for Him. To fear Him in this manner is to love Him, and to rest in His love for us. And we can then say, Awe will not fear, though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” (Ps 46:2).

God is able to sustain us in times of war, famine, and from evil men. David said that those who trust in God “shall be satisfied” (Ps 37:19). We will not tremble, nor be shaken. Even in the middle of the legitimate concerns of life. We need not quiver with fear and dread. Why? Because God has promised to sustain us by His power. He will always be there with us.

Usually when we worry, we worry alone, and the more that we worry, the more alone and helpless we feel. But as children of God we are never alone. He said that He will never “leave us, nor forsake us” (1Ki 8:57).

David said that even “when my father and my mother forsake me, then the LORD will take me up” (Ps 27:10). Have we not at some point in our lives been afraid when we think about the fact that we will someday lose the love and companionship of our loved ones? But God has promised that He will always be there for us even when they are gone from this world.

So remember the next time that you find yourself being overcome by anxious worries, turn to God and remember that, 1) He is in charge, 2) He can carry all of your burdens, 3) He can take away your fears, 4) He can sustain you, and, 5) He will never leave you alone.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0201-2 “Anxious Thoughts- Trusting Beyond Ourselves”

Anxious Thoughts- Trusting Beyond Ourselves”
Part 2

By Elder Thomas McDonald

Many years ago, the Prophet Isaiah was faced by his own fellow Israelites who had forsaken God, and were even going about to take his life. And in the midst of all of this the Lord God, whom he worshiped gave him these words of comfort, “But thou, Israel, art my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, the seed of Abraham my friend. Thou whom I have taken from the ends of the earth, and called thee from the chief men thereof, and said unto thee, Thou art my servant; I have chosen thee, and not cast thee away. Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.”

Worries and anxious thoughts often come into our hearts. Joshua also knew about the Lord’s ever present care for His elect, because He said to him, “there shall not any man be able to stand before thee all the days of thy life: as I was with Moses, so I will be with thee: I will not fail thee, nor forsake thee.

To live in this world we need to have the timely graces of God that help us to be like these two brothers to be able to trust beyond ourselves. Looking at Jesus teachings on His mountain sermon He gave us the antidote for our anxious worrying thoughts (Matthew 6:25-34). I think that it would be a good idea to go there every time that we feel like we are being over run by the trials and troubles that cause us to have worry.

He was speaking to those who had come to Him and were by all accounts religious people looking for the Messiah, but refused to believe when he arrived. He mentions anxious worry 6 times in 10 verses. He told those who were following Him how to cope with their fast paced, stressed filled, materialistic society.

Our Lord Jesus Christ is telling us, “You are filled with anxious worry because you refuse to live by faith. You’re too concerned about food and clothing and things.” We worry about the things that God gives us because He loves us, and will provide our needs.

Jesus is telling His disciples, the one’s who follow after Him, to make choices to lay up their blessings and treasures in heaven, and not on this earth. (Matt. 6:19-24). And it seems like most of the time when we read these words, we said to ourselves, “Oh, sure. If I lived like He says, and only think about heavenly things, I’d starve to death. After all a person’s gotta eat, you know.” And Jesus knows how we are, that’s the reason He starts out by saying, “take no (anxious) thought” (verse 25).

The Lord knows that unless we stop anxiously worrying about the cares and troubles of the world, we will never be free to store up treasures in the kingdom of heaven. He tells us that to set around worrying about the essential needs of life is completely unnecessary. He says, “take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?” And really when you stop and think about it isn’t our body more important than what we put on it?

And “behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?” and “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” If God takes care of the birds of the air and even the flowers in the fields, He certainly will take care of His children.

Jesus is not saying that we don’t have a responsibility to work and provide for ourselves and our families needs. The Apostle Paul said, in 2 Thess. 3:10, that if any would not work, neither should he eat.” So our Lord was not teaching us to become passive recipients, but that we are not to fret, and worry, or become anxious about our needs.

But often we worry about more than the simply essentials of life. We like to go and be “seen” in the restaurants, have the best looking cars, live a little better than our neighbors, have bigger house, dress in the latest fashions, and many other things that the world finds to be of importance. The world has become so ingrained in us that we worry about what will happen if we fail to keep up these things.

Jesus is saying to us that all of this worrying is unnecessary. He knows that it is a real problem for us, but He also knows that it is a needless one. Your see birds also have to eat, but He says take a look at them, they don’t gather anything into a barn so that they will be able to eat tomorrow. He says take a look at the flowers, they don’t wear any cloths, but they don’t have to worry about that because your heavenly Father takes care of them. And He says that “That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.”

The real reason that we worry is identified in Jesus’ words, “O ye of little faith.” Why do the cares and troubles of the world burden us down? The answer is that we simply do not trust God. In our heart we really don’t believe that He is running our world efficiently. Oh yeah, we can easily say that He is running everything else ok. He controls the sun, moon and stars in heaven by His power. But maybe He might not be able to care for us? We’re trusting in ourselves instead of trusting in God. We’ve take on the responsibility of our future or tried to put it on our feeble shoulders. Why we can’t possibly trust God in such important matters.

Jesus says that it is a matter of priorities in our lives. We worry about food and clothing, instead of the things that are the most important. “Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness,” and He says that of all “these things shall be added unto you” (verse 33). We are to give all of our priority to God, and living in His Kingdom Church then we’ll be laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven “where moth and rust doth not corrupt, and where thieves do not break through and steal” (verse 19).

Jesus is telling us that when we put Him and His kingdom as priority in our lives we are making a choice, not a choice that will give us life in heaven’s realm, but to trust in God rather than ourselves, and our worries will begin to fade away. Jesus Christ is the only way to peace in life.

Beloved are you obsessed and overcome with worry about the necessities of life? “Do I have enough to eat?” “What will I wear?” Do I have a good enough car?” Is my retirement secure?” Is the world about to end?” Little Child of God let me assure you that these things aren’t nearly as important as we think. God will keep His promise to provide for you. Put your sight on Christ and He’ll take you through the real tough issues of life, and strengthen your faith when you need it the most.

The Apostle Paul has given us an alternative to anxious worry in Philippians 4: 6-7, he says that we are to “be careful” or anxious “for nothing. This is exactly what Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25. Jesus tells us why is it worthless for to us to worry, but Paul says that instead of worrying we are to in “prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

There are three words used by Paul to describe what we are to be doing instead of worrying.

1) Prayer. The first word Paul uses is the most common word for talking to God. If refers to our prayer and worship of God. When we pray, we are saying that God’s greatness is where we have our trust. And we give Him all of our adoration, devotion, and respect. Saying that He alone is the sovereign Lord, and we are bringing Him all of our worries.
2) Supplication. The next word Paul uses to tell us the alternative to worry is supplication. This word refers to our earnest request, our desperate cries for help to God, for ourselves and for others.
3) Thanksgiving. The third word describes our prayers that are to replace our anxious worry is thanksgiving. How many times have we became so caught up in our worrying that we forgot just how gracious God is to us? How many times that He has delivered us when we could not see any way of escape? We fail to see how many times that He has dealt with us in His grace and mercy and met all of our needs. So when we pray instead of worry we are removing our burdens from our shoulders and placing them on His shoulders, after all He is Almighty God. And when we trust Him with our worries and cares, we can then thank Him who has the power to do something about them. We can thank Him for being so kind to us, and for being interested in our problems, and because He answers our prayers.

Bring all of your vulnerabilities to Him. When you wake up at night with feelings of worry about things that are out of pray. And by his grace teach your heart and
¼your control mind to stop and redirect all of the energy from worry, which is destructive, to prayer, which is constructive. Ask Him for His help, to intercede, to convict, and to open a door and work out for you what you could never work out for yourself, because He delights in giving you His grace.

When you feel overwhelmed by what may happen in the pray. Tell Him about those things that are troubling¼future you. Leave them to His providence. Ask God to provide then move on. Remember God hears and answers you prayer.

The apostle Peter gives us another alternative to worry in 1 Peter 5:6-7, he says, “Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

There are two steps involved in this process.
1) Accepting the things that we can’t change. Instead of fussing and worrying about the things that come our way that we have no control over, we need to accept that these circumstances are a part of our lives. And don’t try to dictate to God the terms of our happiness. But humbly accept what we receive from God’s hands.
2) Give all of our worries to God. We should put all of our helpless feelings of worry into the same all-powerful and capable hands. We need to trust Him for all of our future needs, because He loved us so much that He sent His Son to suffer, bleed, and die.

In closing let me say that when we have our minds focused on Jesus, Satan cannot have a foothold on us in our lives, but when we fail to do these things then we in effect allow him to rob us of our joy in the kingdom of God. To do these things and to make them a part of our lives we will experience the reality of timely salvation. Then we will not have to drag around a big load of worries, worries that we are too proud or ashamed to tell anyone else about. Give them to God.

May God bless us to trust in Him and to place all of our trust and worries on Him in prayer.

0201-3 Secret Things

Secret Things

Elder Vernon Johnson

De 29:29, “The secret things belong unto the LORD our God: but those things which are revealed belong unto us and to our children for ever, that we may do all the words of this law.” God has not revealed everything there is unto us. He has kept some things secret from us.

Sometimes we want to know more than what is revealed. For instance, we may want to know if some relative’s or friend’s name is written in the Lamb’s book of life. However, this is kept secret from us. We sometimes can see the evidences of God’s calling in peoples lives and can conclude that they are of God’s elect. But even here we don’t have perfect knowledge.

When God has kept things secret from us, no amount of searching or seeking is going to open it to us.

Some men are now saying that all who die in infancy are of God’s elect. It is not my desire or effort to try to prove or disprove this supposition that all who die in infancy are of God’s elect. The supposition may be true or it may not be true. I submit that only God knows the answer to that, and that he hasn’t revealed it unto us in his word.

Most who have gone about to try to prove all who die in infancy are of the elect have used either faulty logic or else misapplied a few verses of scripture. One such verse that is misapplied is 2Sa 12:23 where David said concerning the infant child born of his and Bathsheba’s adultery who died, “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me.” It is argued that this statement proves that all who die in infancy go to heaven. The fact is, however, that David could have had reference to either heaven or the grave. It just isn’t clear. Secondly even if David’s reference is to heaven it doesn’t prove that every infant child who dies is heaven bound. It would only prove that this specific infant child was heaven bound. The context seems to suggest that David had reference to the grave or death and not heaven. As a matter of fact heaven is not even mentioned or otherwise alluded to in the context.

Another verse used to try to prove the salvation of all who die in infancy is found in Mt 19:13-15, “Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them and pray: and the disciples rebuked them. But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven. And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.” Lu 18:17 adds further, “Verily, I say unto you, Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of God as a little child shall in no wise enter therein.” The vast majority of times the phrases “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God’ are used they have reference to the church kingdom and not to the glory world. The above passage is talking about the church. The lesson is that unless we humble ourselves with a child-like humility and trust in God we cannot enter into God’s church kingdom. If this has reference to the glory world then attaining the glory world is dependent on man’s efforts and humility. Then we Old Baptists would be wrong about eternal salvation being by grace alone thru the atoning blood of Christ.

The third verse of scripture which is most frequently used to try to establish that all who die in infancy are of the elect of God is found in Job 21:7, “Wherefore do the wicked live, become old, yea are mighty in power.” The supposition is that the word, “old,” means come to a state of rational maturity and does not mean old age. However, the word, “old,” is translated from the Hebrew, “athaq,” meaning wax old, aged, to wear out.” This raises a question, “Just how old is old?” The idea is put forth that before a person reaches a certain age, if he dies, then he must be of the elect. This type of faulty thinking leads into the false “age of accountability theory.” Recently one man put forth the idea that the wicked are not passively condemned, but are condemned because of their active works of sin. Secondly he said that infants are not capable of committing a wilful act of wickedness. However, when such statements are brought to the light of truth they are found to be false. According to Ro 5:16, “And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences to justification.” Thus by Adam’s one sin judgment to condemnation came upon all of mankind including all infants. Paul also states in Ro 3:9 that “we have before proved both Jews and Gentiles , that they are all under sin.” Thus all Jews and all Gentiles are under the law of sin and death before God. Ro 3:19, “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: (all manking-VJ) that every mouth may be stopped, all the world (all mankind) may become guilty before God.” Thus all mankind was condemned because of the sin of Adam. The wicked are condemned passively! Furthermore, the idea that infants are not capable of wilful acts of wickedness is simply laughable and certainly contrary to the scriptures. A person would have to be highly unobservant of infants to think they are incapable of wilful acts of wickedness. I have seen young infants defiantly disobey their parents; also in fits of rage bite, kick, claw, hit, and scratch other infants and adults; scream bloody murder when they don’t get their way; and tell many lies. The scripture says that the wicked “go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies.” The same man who said that an infant cannot commit a wilful act of wickedness also said that they cannot literally speak a lie. Well the scripture says that the infant speaks lies from birth and this man says that they cannot speak lies. I will believe God and not man.

Another man put forth the idea that God elects people by categories. He said that God elected all Jews as a category and that he elected those who die as infants as a category. First, he is wrong about all Jews being of the elect for Ro 9:6-7 says, “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: neither because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children.” Thus not all Israel are of the elect of God. In addition, I know of no verse of scripture that even hints that God elected anyone by category.

In conclusion, I don’t know if all who die in infancy are of the elect of God or not. However, I am convinced that such cannot be proven from the scriptures. Furthermore the elders I came up under never taught such a principle neither have I read where our forefathers held to such a principle. The secret things belong unto God.

0211 The Dangers of Singing Schools

The Dangers of Singing Schools

I ask the reader not to infer that I am opposed to singing schools. I am no more opposed to singing schools than I am to orphanages, nursing homes, and hospitals. They all have their place in our society. As an adjunct to the church, however, none are authorized by the word of God.

There is nothing wrong with the teaching and learning of the rudiments of music. The danger, however, lies with designing men. As the pastor of Denton Primitive Baptist Church I won’t allow those who cause divisions and offences contrary to the biblical doctrine in the stand to preach as the scripture plainly teach that I should not allow them. Should I then send my children or grandchildren or other children in the church off to a singing school where they will have worship services (devotionals) and hear those whom I would not allow to preach in the stand at Denton Church? Or should I send my children or grandchildren or the children of the church I pastor off to a singing school where designing men will try to indoctrinate them with beliefs that I don’t share?

The singing school is not a part of the church and those who try to make it a part of the church will also, if given the opportunity, try to make orphanages, hospitals, and nursing homes a part of the church.

Please think about these dangers if you are planning to send your children or grandchildren off to a singing school where designing men will try to indoctrinate them.

0301 Redeeming the Time

Redeeming the Time

Dear little child of God, I would like to ask you a question, how is the best way to experience the gospel to its fullest? Or maybe I mean, when is it that we really receive the teachings of the gospel? How do we best experience the best of the blessings that God has given us?

As I see it there is a simple answer to this question. And I believe that the answer is found in one statement, made two passages of scripture written by the Apostle Paul. And that statement is that we, as the people of God, are to spend our days “redeeming the time.” What does this statement mean to us? Have you ever heard the popular statement that “time is your enemy”? I know that you have probably heard this message at one time or another probably though popular worldly TV, radio and magazine ads.

Think about it and you’ll see what I mean, the TV announcer says, “It’s the year end clearance, and now is the best time to buy!” You know…”get all that you can while the getting is good?” It sounds like if you don’t buy that car right away, they’ll stop making cars and you’ll never be able to ever get another car as long as you live. Right? Do you see what I mean? Or maybe you have been seeing an ad that tells you how to “avoid those unwanted wrinkles,” brought on us by the ravages of time, which by and by, the ad informs us that they just happen to have the solution for that terrible almost life threatening problem. Oh, and as a side note, did you ever notice that each and ever time the ad shows someone who looks like they are only maybe twenty to thirty years old? They don’t even look as if they are old enough to even know what a wrinkle looks like, much less ever have one! Anyway all of these things that are of, and in the world really only serve one single purpose. And that purpose is only to inflame the “lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life,” which “is not of the Father, but is of the world! (Ga 5:16; 1Jo 2:16).

So what about us, God’s children who are in the Kingdom Church of God. We know what is the right thing to do. The inner man inside of us which is born of the Spirit desires to do the will of the Spirit, that is to do Godly things. But the outer man of our flesh, only desires to do the desires of the flesh. And these messages appeal to that part of us, don’t they? You know, new car, house, and clothes; look better, be better, and feel better.

And Jesus tells us that without Him we can “do nothing” (Joh 15:5). But with God all things are possible, so Paul tells us that we “who are spiritual” are to bring our bodies under subjection to the inner spiritual man, to “let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof” (Ro 6:12; 1Co 9:27). That is to bring our natures under the control of the inner man, and to not give in to lustful desires.

Put simply, we through God’s Spirit are to know what our “priorities,” are in our lives, which is that we are to be “redeeming the time for the days are evil” (Eph 5:16).

And the “days are evil” simply tells us that each day of the world is only evil, and that there is no good to be found in nor through it. So we are to take full advantage of each and every opportunity that God blesses us with while we are here on the Earth. And I would like to share my view of the three most important things in our lives. The three most important “priorities” are, first, to serve God with a whole heart, second, to serve one another in the Kingdom Church, and third, the love and fellowship of our families. Beloved child of God all other things in the world pail in comparison to these. When we put these as the “priorities” all other things seem to fall into their place. For example, why do we go to work? I sit not in order to support one of these “priorities”? When we put our job above any of these things the result is chaos in our lives. The father who becomes a workaholic neglects his family, and his children suffer and grow up not knowing how to be fathers to their own children. Mothers go out and leave their children to be raised up by strangers, and they never know the real security of a real home. And these children grow up always struggling, not being able to trust anyone. After all the person that they were closest to were never there for them when it really counted, and they grow up rudderless and without direction in life.

Beloved spend the time that God has given you in service to these three things. Know that these are the only real things that matter in this world. And these three can be summed up into one saying, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33). When we have this as our “priority” Jesus tells us that all the other things will fall into their proper place. He says, “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls? And which of you with taking thought can add to his stature one cubit? If ye then be not able to do that thing which is least, why take ye thought for the rest? Consider the lilies how they grow: they toil not, they spin not; and yet I say unto you, that Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If then God so clothe the grass, which is to day in the field, and to morrow is cast into the oven; how much more will he clothe you, O ye of little faith? And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind.” (Lu 12:24-29).

Solomon, the wisest king of Israel, sought out in his life to find out what was really important in life, and here is what he concluded, he says, “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man.” The fear of God, beloved “is the beginning of wisdom” (Ps 11:7; Pr 9:10).

Let me conclude with the thought of the Apostle Paul who said, “This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would. But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law. Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Let us make the most of each every opportunity to speak a kind word of encouragement to a brother or sister, loving one another and giving each other the best advantage in their interaction since the opportunity if missed can never be retrieved again.

May God bless us to be “redeeming” our opportunities “for the days are” indeed “evil.”

Elder Thomas McDonald

                               Redeeming The Time

As we grow older, time becomes a precious commodity. We begin to see that time is fast passing by. When I was a child I thought that I would never get grown and that the years were just creeping by. Now that I’m much older, I can look back over my life and see and wonder why I wasted so much time. Last Christmas my wife asked me after Christmas to take down the tree and put it away. I replied, “You’ll be asking me in just a few days to put it back up again.” At least with time passing so swiftly it seems like such a short time from year to year.


The Bible says in Eph 5:15-16, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Job says in Job 14:1-2, “Man that is born of a woman is of few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.” James says in Jas 4:14, “Whereas ye know not what shall be on the morrow. For what is your life? It is even as a vapour, that appeareth for a little time and then vanished away.” Is this not how our lives are? We come into this world, live a little while and pass from the scenes of life. We ought to live and treasure every minute of our lives giving God all the honor and glory for every blessing he has bestowed upon us.


When God first created man, he lived to be 8 to 9 hundred years old. In Ge 6:3, “And the Lord said, “My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.” In Ps 90:10,12, “The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be four score years, yet is their strength, labor, and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away. So teach us to number our days, that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” I think the above scripture teaches us that each day is a special day and we only have but few days. Isa 40:6-8 says, “The voice said, cry. And he said, What shall I cry? All flesh is grass, and all the goodliness thereof is as the flower of the field: The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: because the spirit of the Lord bloweth upon it: surely the people is grass. The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand forever.”


Ps 39:5 says, “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreath; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity." David describes our life as a handbreath which is a Linear measure varying from 2 ½” to 4". This is a very short measure. Ps 144:4 says, “Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away.”


Ps 103:15-18 says, “As for man, his days are as grass: as a flower of the field, so he flourisheth. For the wind passeth over it and it is gone; and the place thereof shall know it no more. But the Mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children; To such as keep his covenant, and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”


                                                                               Elder Cecil Johnson

0301 Two Salvations

Two Salvations

Paul said, “I endure all things for the elect’s sake that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.” (2Ti 2:10)

Paul had suffered ridicule, persecutions, including beatings, stonings, jail and many more things because he preached the gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul endured all these things for a particular group of people. He endured them for the elect’s sake. He did not endure them for the non-elect’s sake, but only for the elect. We are told in the scriptures that the elect are those that are “chosen in Christ Jesus before the foundation of the world.” (Eph 1:4) God chose them solely by his grace. This choice was not of works, either foreseen or actual.

Now Paul did not endure the pain, suffering, and persecutions that the elect might obtain eternal glory, for they already had eternal glory. The key phrase in our text is “also obtain.” This means that they may obtain something in addition to that which they already had. Since the elect already have eternal glory, Paul suffered that the elect may obtain a salvation that is in addition to eternal glory. This, brothers and sisters, means that there are two salvations taught in the scriptures. Paul preached and subsequently suffered that the elect might obtain a salvation that is in addition to eternal glory.

We know that all the elect are predestinated, called, justified, and glorified according to Ro 8:29-30. The Lord said not one of the elect would be lost (Joh 6:37-39). But, do all the elect obtain the salvation that is in addition to eternal glory? The answer is no. Paul said that they may obtain it. Something that they may do is also something that they may not do. Thus this timely salvation is conditioned on the response of the elect.

The Old Baptists are right when they claim there are both an eternal salvation and a timely salvation that are taught in the scriptures.

Those things which pertain to our eternal salvation: i.e.; salvation from the condemnation of sin; salvation from the bondage of sin; and salvation from the corruption of sin are all by the grace of God.

First, we are saved by the sacrificial atonement of Jesus from the condemnation of sin. It was said of Jesus, “He shall save his people from their sins.” Paul wrote to Timothy about the work of God in saving us from the condemnation of sin. “Who hath saved us and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Jesus finished the work of saving his people (the elect) from the condemnation of sin while on the cross. Ro 8:33-34 confirms this: “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” This we were told was not according to our works, but according to God’s purpose and grace which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.

Second, we are saved from the bondage of sin by God’s sovereign work in the new birth. Ro 3:9-20; 1Co 2:14; and Eph 2:2-3 tell us plainly that we as natural men and women were in total bondage to our corrupt sin nature. However, in Ro 8:2 Paul writes, “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” The new birth has made us free from having to serve the corruptions of the flesh. In Tit 3:5 we read of the new birth that it is “not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost.” Thus we conclude that our salvation from the bondage of sin is not by our works of righteousness but by the grace of God.

Third, our salvation from the corruption of sin will take place at the resurrection from the dead, when our bodies will be changed and fashioned like the glorious body of Christ. This mortal shall put on immortality and this corruptible shall put on incorruption. 1Co 15:57 reads, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.” God gives us the victory. We don’t earn it, labor for it, or deserve it, but God gives it to us by his grace. The end of God’s covenant of grace (Ro 8:29-30) is glorification. All of the elect will be glorified.

In summary, we conclude that salvation to eternal glory is solely by the grace and works of God and is sure to all the elect.

In contrast, our deliverances (salvation) here in time as we live are conditioned on the responses of the elect. The elect may or may not obtain these timely deliverances, but their eternal destiny is sure regardless of whether the elect obtain the timely deliverances.

The preaching of the word of God is instrumental in bringing about these timely deliverances of the elect. Paul said, “Brethren, my hearts desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.” The question we ask here is “That Israel might be saved from what?” Paul proceeds, “For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.” From this we gather there are three things Israel needed saving from. First, they needed saving from their ignorance of God’s righteousness. Second, they needed saving from going about to establish their own righteousness. Third, they needed saving to submit themselves unto the righteousness of God.

I submit that the Israel Paul was praying for were of the elect. According to the scriptures, the non-elect don’t seek after God; God is not in all their thoughts; they have no fear of God; and they have said in their hearts there is no God. Now such individuals would have no zeal of God as the Israel Paul prayed for has. Paul would not pray for the non-elect for he knew their eternal destiny and also knew that they couldn’t be saved in a timely sense either.

The elect need to be saved from their ignorance. Through ignorance the elect will worship falsely and believe falsehoods. The gospel brings the knowledge of God’s truths to the minds of God’s elect. Furthermore, through ignorance, the elect go about to establish their own righteousness. The problem with this is that there is nothing we can do or say that will make us right with God. All of our righteousnesses are as filthy rags in His sight. Man does many things to try to establish his own righteousness before God. He tries to keep the law, he tries to keep a works system, he puts forth unscriptural principles for himself and others to keep in an effort to get right with God. Alas, all the efforts that man puts forth to get right with God and to try to make it possible for others to get right with God, are but vain efforts. The Lord said, “In vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Whole systems of vain worship have arisen through the efforts of men to get right with God and to give others a chance to get right with God. Through these systems and all the efforts and labors and billions of dollars spent on trying to get right with God and give others a chance to get right with God, not one person has gotten right with God thru those efforts!! The elect need delivering from these systems and efforts. The gospel that brings knowledge that Christ has made us right with God is the remedy for the elect if they will believe it and submit to it. The elect need to submit to the fact that Christ is the end (fulfillment) of the law for righteousness. Christ said “Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest...” Those who labor trying to establish their own righteousness and are heavy laden with a burden of sin-guiltiness need to come to Christ. We preach the gospel to bring knowledge of salvation unto the elect that Christ has already saved them from their sins that they may rest in the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Next, the elect need to be delivered here in time from the service of sin. In Ro 6:16 we read, Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whither of sin undo death or of obedience unto righteousness. Therefore, the elect need to be admonished to obey God. Peter said to the elect, “Save yourselves from this untoward generation. We live in an untoward society whose chief desire is to serve the flesh. All about us there are the allures of the devil, the flesh, and the world. However, as blood bought children of God, we owe a much higher allegiance to serve God and keep his commandments. We should save ourselves from this untoward generation and live godly lives and lifestyles to the praise, honor, and glory of God. The gospel ministry need to preach the whole counsel of God to the elect that they may be admonished to save themselves from serving sin.

The elect need to be delivered into the kingdom of God (God’s church kingdom in this time world). The gospel calls on God’s elect to repent, be baptized, and to take up their crosses and serve God in his kingdom. Now we are told that baptism does not put away the filth of the flesh (sin), but is the answer of a good conscience towards God. When a person hears the true gospel and is convicted in his heart of its precious truths, he begins to have a desire to serve God. The gospel calls on him to repent of any ungodly lifestyle and from any false worship and to publicly profess the Lord thru water baptism. In doing this the elect child of God enters into the Lord’s church to worship God in Spirit and truth and to serve him acceptably according to God’s word. This delivers the child of God into a close fellowship with God and to those fellow sojourners who have done likewise.

Now there are many other things taught in the scriptures concerning our timely salvation, but this will suffice us for the current writing. May God bless you with understanding to see the two salvations taught in his word.

Elder Vernon Johnson

0303 Jesus is the Christ

Jesus is the Christ

The expression that Jesus is the Christ is used so often that most people think that it’s His name. But beloved Jesus is His name, and Christ is His title. Looking at what Doctor Luke tells us in His gospel genealogy, he writes, that when “Jesus Himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph.” (Lu 3:23). The Greek word “bar” means “son,” so Jesus would be referred to, so far as the common people were concerned, His name was “Jesus Bar-Joseph,” or “Jesus the son of Joseph.” And often He would be referred to as being Jesus of Nazareth. But for the most part today, when people refer to Jesus, they say, “Jesus Christ.” And because this term is used so often most people lose sight of the significance of the term. Really Jesus is His name, while Christ is His title. And the title “Christ” is used more often than any other title for Jesus than any other title in the New Testament. The title comes from the Greek word “christos,” which means the “anointed.” And this Greek word used corresponds with the Hebrew word “Messiah.” So when we say, Jesus Christ, we are actually, making a confession, at least with our mouth, that Jesus is the Christ or Messiah.

The Old Testament expression or title of “Messiah” was someone who was uniquely anointed by God to fulfill the divine task of deliverance. And the concept was not just a simple concept, because of what the Old Testament had to say about the thought. And as one would view each of the text that had reference to “messiah” they would seem to contradict each other. For example one text would refer to the “messiah” as being a reigning king, like David, who was expected to come and reign as an earthly king, restoring the monarchy of Israel. And the people thought that He would come, and throw off their enemies, and put them under His feet.

And at the time of Jesus, the most popular belief was that Jesus, as the “Messiah” was coming to overthrow the Roman Empire, and restore to Israel their full independence. This is evident in Joh 6, just after He had taken five loaves of bread, and three little fish and fed about five thousand men. In Joh 6:15 we read, that “when Jesus therefore perceived that they would come and take Him by force, to make Him a king, He departed again into a mountain himself alone.” We see that He knew what they were all thinking about Him, now that He had done this wonderful miracle for them, and they all had a full stomach, now they wanted to force Him to become a natural king. And that was not what He came to the earth to do. In another place the “Messiah” is viewed as the “suffering servant of Israel, the One who would come and bear the sins of the people, taking away their sins. This picture of “messiah” can be seen in Isa 53:3-5, “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.” It’s so easy to see the agony of Jesus who was “despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” From these two points of view it was very hard for them to be able to believe that He could be a suffering servant and also be a Reigning King. How could He be a Suffering Servant, and at the same time be a Royal King? The third view of the “Messiah” is found in what some refer to as being the apocalyptic scriptures of the Old Testament. Writers like Daniel and Ezekiel have in view a heavenly being who come down to us out of the glorious presence of God Himself, to become an earthy king, and a supernatural judge, who would come and judge the world because of their evil. This view became almost overwhelming during the Roman rule while the people of Israel looked for a “Messiah King” who would come in David’s name and restore to the nation of Israel it’s former glory. This expectation for a coming political “Messiah” didn’t come simply from wishful thinking, but has rooted on certain Old Testament prophecies. In Ps 132:11 we read, “The LORD hath sworn in truth unto David; He will not turn from it; of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.” And again in Ps 89:29,34-36, God declares, “His seed also will I make to endure for ever, and his throne as the days of heaven, “My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of my lips. Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me.” And the prophet Amos declared, “In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up His ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old” (Am 9:11).

And so naturally, in the time of the seeming crisis this hope of an earthly king was set ablaze by the Man Jesus Christ. With His miraculous signs and wonders. That surely He would come and throw off the bondage of their cruel Roman rule, and set up, and establish a great new kingdom of David to rule over all the world forever!

This view was so compelling among the disciples of Jesus, they knew that He came from the house of Judah. Wasn’t that the very tribe that scripture had promised would hold the royal scepter from God would come from? How could they miss the apparent fact that Jesus of Nazareth was the literal fulfillment of the Old Testament hope of the coming “Messiah?” And they believed, especially Judas Iscariot that they would see Jesus ascend to the thrown of Israel. So many times Jesus felt the need to flee away from the multitudes who sought make Him a “their king” by force (Joh 6:15). They could not possibly see nor understand that, yes He was a king, but that their view of Him was most limited and that they could not comprehend how that He could be both at the same time. They, as well as the crowds had very little patience of a King who would also be their suffering servant. Jesus had repeatedly warned His disciples about declaring that He was in fact the “Messiah.” But He never denied this fact; He was the “very Christ” (Joh 7:26; Ac 9:22).

When they boldly proclaimed this fact to Him, Jesus accepted the designation with His blessing. Then He put the question to His disciples, but “whom do men say that I the Son of man am?” (Mt 16:13-17). Then Peter boldly proclaimed saying, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” To Which Jesus replied, “Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” God had revealed this to Peter, not by blood, but thru His Holy Spirit. Peter’s eyes were opened by the revelation from God the Father.

In another place we see John the Baptist testifying that Jesus as the Christ, he said that “there cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose” (Mr 1:7; Lu 3:16; Joh 1:27), and he called on the people to follow Him. Later when he was cast into prison, his faith began to falter and he sent messengers to Jesus asking, “Art thou he that should come? Or look we for another?” (Lu 7:19-20). To which Jesus replied, “Go your way, and tell John what things ye have seen and heard; how that the blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, to the poor the gospel is preached. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in me.” These weren’t just idle words spoken, but were carefully chosen by Jesus showing that the prophecy of Isa 61, the text that He had chosen the day that He entered into the synagogue in Capernaum where He read, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord” (Lu 4:17-19). And when He finished reading He said, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears” (Lu 4:17-21). So what Jesus was saying to John was this: “go back to John and have him recall the prophecies of Isaiah, and he will know with full assurance the answer to his question.” Jesus is the Christ!

May God bless us to have the same knowledge of our Saviour the Lord Jesus as the Christ foretold in the scriptures. Next time the Lord willing we will look at Jesus as the “suffering Servant King.” God bless you dear ones in Christ.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0303 Left Thy First Love

Left Thy First Love

Re 2:4-5 "Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works, or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent."

John was directed of the Lord to write letters to the angels (messengers) of the seven churches of Asia. These letters laid out the conditions that were present in the seven churches. The first letter was sent to the angel of the church of Ephesus. In this letter the Lord told the church of Ephesus to repent or he would remove the candlestick out of his place. In Re 1 the candlestick was defined as the church. Thus the church of Ephesus was commanded to repent or lose the church. The charge the Lord made against the church of Ephesus was that she had left her first love. Many have speculated as to what that "first love" is. However, the scriptures aren"t couched in speculation.

It is clear that the church of Ephesus loved the Lord and loved his service, for she was commended of the Lord for several good things she was doing. The Lord commended her for the fact that she could not bear them that are evil. Thus it is plain that the church of Ephesus was "keeping house" and administering proper church discipline and government. Second she was commended for "trying them that said they were apostles, and were not, and found them liars." The churches of today would do well to take heed to try those who say they are gospel ministers, but whose actions prove otherwise, and remove them from the ministry. Third, she was commended for having borne her responsibilities as a church and the individual members having borne their responsibilites in their lives and as church members. Fourth, she was commended for her patience. Thus in those times of great trial and conflict she had waited upon the counsel and direction and deliverance of the Lord. Fifth, she was commended for laboring for the Lord"s name sake. What she did, she did for the honor and glory of the Lord, for she did for "his name"s sake!" Sixth, she was commended for not having fainted. So often when great trials and troubles come upon us either as individuals or as a church body, it seems easy to just give up. But the church of Ephesus did not give up but continued on in her love and service for the Lord even through the times of trials and tribulations. In many ways the church of Ephesus seemed to be in good shape.

However, the Lord said the church had left her first love. While the things the church was doing were good things and needful things and commendable things and the churches of today would do well to follow her example in those things, yet there was something lacking in the church of Ephesus that, if not corrected, would result in her losing her identity as a church. One of the meanings of the word, "first," is "priority." She had left her "first love" by leaving the "first works." The way the Lord prescribed for her to repent was to remember and do the first works.

There is a first or priority work for churches. This first work isn"t the only work, but it is the work that is to have priority. To leave off the first or priority work will result in the church losing the candlestick. In my lifetime I would estimate that 50% or more of the Primitive Baptist churches in existence at my birth are no longer in existence today. While there have been a few new churches constituted, yet not nearly as many that have shut the doors. Is there not a cause for the closure of so many of the Lord"s churches? Surely there is and I would submit that the major cause is that the vast majority of those churches that died out was that they left their first love. I reiterate, it wasn"t because those people ceased loving the Lord or that they ceased keeping good church discipline or ceased laboring for his name"s sake, etc. It wasn"t because they ceased loving to hear the gospel preached. The main cause was because they left off the first or priority works.

To understand what the first work is we need only follow the examples set forth in the new testament. When God sent forth John the Baptist, he went forth preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God and many were baptized and pressed into the kingdom. Moreover, the Lord called twelve, then seventy and sent them to preach the gospel of the kingdom calling upon God"s people to repent and enter into the church kingdom. Before the Lord ascended back to heaven he sent forth the eleven to teach, baptize, and teach some more, and to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature , which they fulfilled. On the day of pentecost there were about 3,000 who gladly heard the gospel and were baptized and were added to the church. Throughout the book of Acts we see men who were called of God and ordained and under the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit going forth and preaching the gospel and subsequently many being baptized and pressing into God"s church. This wasn"t a mission system whereby money was raised and the church sending forth missionaries for such a system is no where supported in the word of God. Rather God called men to preach the gospel. They were ordained in the church and the Holy Spirit empowered them to preach the gospel and directed their places of service. When people heard the gospel it was because the Lord was both working in the preacher and working in the hearer to bring forth fruit unto His name"s honor and glory.

The Lord must open these doors of utterance for the gospel to go forth unto a people prepared to receive it. Man cannot open those doors. Paul said in 1Co 16:8-9 "But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost. For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." Again Paul stated in 2Co 2:12, "Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ"s gospel, and a door was opened to me of the Lord." So we see it is the Lord who opens doors of utterance which is further illustrated in Ac 14:27, "And when they had come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles."

Someone might mistakenly draw the conclusion that the opening of the door of faith is between the Lord and the gospel minister and that the rest of the church has little to do with this. Contrariwise, Paul instructed the church of Colosse in Col 4:3, "Withal praying also for us, that God would open unto us a door of utterance to speak the mystery of Christ..." Similarly, Paul told the church of Thessalonica in 2Th 3:1, "Finally, brethren, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you."

Jerusalem is a long way from Denton, Texas. Yet the gospel has gone forth from its beginnings in Jerusalem until today there is a church at Denton and at many other locations in this country. This gospel went forth because the Lord called men to preach and opened doors of utterance for them that the gospel would go forth to a waiting people.

When a church loses the burden for the gospel to go forth beyond their current membership then they have left their first love and left off the first works. In Ro 10 Paul said that it was his heart"s desire and prayer to God that Israel might be saved. He wanted them to be saved from their ignorance and false works system and to be saved to worship God in Spirit and in truth. Likewise, it should be our heart"s desire and prayer to God that God"s elect may be saved from ignorance and a false works system unto a belief of the truth and to worship God in Spirit and in truth in his church kingdom. I ask the reader to join with me in prayer that God would give us such a desire of heart and spirit of prayer and that He would open doors of utterance that the gospel would go forth to his waiting people.

Elder Vernon Johnson

0303 Who is the REAL Jesus?

“Who is the REAL Jesus?”

“Will the real Jesus please stand up?” There are so many portraits of Jesus to be found in the world. And most, if not all of them only cause confusion among God’s people today. In fact there are so many images that many people have given up any hope of ever finding out who He really is. So, who is Jesus anyway? And is there any way for us to know anything about Him? The answer is most assuredly yes. And why is it important for us to have an accurate answer to this question?

In order to know the REAL Jesus we must go to God’s word, the Holy Scriptures. It’s critical for us to have an accurate understanding of not only who Jesus is, but we must also understand why He came, and what He did for us here in this world, as well as in the realm of our eternal destiny. Really we, as God’s people, need the REAL Jesus, not simply one that the world has conjured up as a mere compromise. One who is made in the image and imagination of men. We don’t need a Jesus who cannot redeem a single soul, or a Jesus who is no more than a symbol for some group, whose only wish to have a show of religion, but have no real sense of the truth. And most importantly, if we don’t have the REAL Jesus Christ, we are left with an Anti-Christ (1Jo 2:18-22; 4:3; 2Jo 3). And prefix “anti” means to “be against” or “in the place of.” So when we, or some other person presents a false Christ, we, or they are become an Anti-Christ, being opposed to Christ Himself.

This Jesus can be changed at the fancy of the artist’s preconceived prejudices, criticism, or devotion to His own personal view of Jesus of Nazareth. With the flick of a pin or paintbrush, or a few words, he can change the color of His skin, His hair, in order to suit any particular cause of which he might wish to align himself. This kind of image can be created, and re-created in their own image, which is an image of unbelief. The problem today with so many of the images that we have not only of Jesus Christ, but also of His Church, is that there has been an open attempt to redefine and neutralize the very authority of the Bible. The so-called Bible seminaries and popular churches of our day have all but banished the REAL Jesus of the Bible. And without the REAL Jesus there is no Church. After all, it’s Jesus who established the Church Kingdom of God. It is ruled, sanctified and protected by Jesus Christ. And we need the Church just as a little baby needs its mother’s milk to nourish it, so that it will grow. And in a real sense we cannot embrace Jesus without embracing the Church. So in a real sense our faith (not our eternal salvation,) stands on the REAL biblical Jesus.

So beloved, how do we uncover the REAL Jesus? And as I said, to answer that question we must go to the only reliable source of witnesses available to us. And that source is the scriptures, in the English Bible, our King James Translation. This is the only place that we can find the written accounts of those people who knew Him. After all it was the disciples who walked with Him on those dusty roads. They were there and heard His words, and they of all people knew the REAL Jesus; I mean they were there, and they have left their witness for you to view.

Someone might come along and assert that the disciples were biased, and so they are not reliable witnesses. But we read that John said, “and he’ [John] ‘that saw it bare record and his record is true: and he knoweth that he saith true, that ye might believe” (Joh 19:35). What a foolish assertion for anyone to make, saying that their witness cannot be true because they are biased, and they have some hidden agenda. If that were true it would also follow that we couldn’t trust any “biased” witness. And what would happen then? That would end our system of justice, because all that someone would have to say is, “well, this witness is biased, and we can’t trust him.” No, and in fact their agenda was not hidden at all, but was published openly.

Doesn’t it seem strange that all of these people, these men who are accused of being biased, whose witness we are not trust, should hold fast to a lie? Even when they were faced with their own sure torture and death? I mean doesn’t it seen strange to any normal person that they would stand firm for something that was not true? Yes, to even give up their own livesYand for whatYa lie?

We see that under Roman law all that they would have to do in order to not die was to renounce Jesus, and His resurrection, proclaim that Caesar was Lord, and they would be allowed to live. How easy it would be to simply say, “Well we made it all up? None of it really happened.” And then they’d be allowed to walk free. But no, not one of them gave in to this temptation, they stood firm, and all of the disciples who were witnesses held to their witness till the end.

And so beloved child of God, if we can’t trust the Apostles to lead us to the REAL Jesus we’re only left with opinions. And that would lead us into heresies of theoretical philosophies like Gnosticism. Or, we become like those who accuse us, just another skeptic relegating Jesus to realm of mere Christmas ornaments for the holiday season, or an untruth perhaps, not be really taken seriously. No beloved let us stand for, and go straight to the source, the Holy Scriptures, our Bibles.

The trusted Doctor Luke says, “Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, which from the beginning were eyewitnesses, and ministers of the word; It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, most excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein thou hast been instructed” (Lu 1:1-4). Here is our eyewitness, and he has left us his written account of “those things which are most surely believed among us.” How can we possibly ignore him as a witness?

The Apostle Peter also says, “for we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty” (2Pe 1:16). Their claim is a firsthand account given to us by those who were willing to give up their lives for Him. Lets us hold fast to their record.So then, “who was Jesus?” The scriptures give us titles which give us a picture of His person and work here in this world. “He is Christ, Lord, Rabbi and Master, the Son of Man, the Son of God, the Son of David, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah, the Rose of Sharon, the Bright and Morning Star, the Word of God, the Advocate, the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the Ending, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Lamb Without Spot or Blemish and the Great I Am. These are but only a few of the titles that just give us a hint of His life, and the glory of His work.

We make a distinction between His person and His work, but we can never remove the one from the other. These titles give us a picture of the whole person of the REAL Jesus as found in the witness of the New Testament, allowing us to see the person and His work. I would like to take out time to examine all of these titles for Christ, but for the sake of time and space we will only take a look at a few of them as the Lord leads. And if the Lord is willing we will try to take a look at “Jesus as the Christ” next time. God bless you and keep you, dear ones in Christ.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0305 Jesus as Lord

Jesus as Lord

The title “Lord” is the second most frequent designation for Jesus in the New Testament. And it’s title that we need to understand. Why? Because the title, “Lord” surely is the most exalted title that is conferred upon Jesus. Because it is the title “Lord” that is probably the most difficult for God’s people to grasp. And this particular title that we as American’s today, in the United States have trouble with, because none of us have ever had a flesh and blood king who sits and rules over us. This very idea of having one “Lord” to set and govern us is something that we have never experienced. I mean the whole concept of “Lordship” being invested in only one individual is foreign to us in our American culture. But beloved this is the bold claim that New Testament asserts for our Saviour Jesus Christ. That He alone is the Sovereign authority and imperial power over the entire universe.

In our New Testament we use the Greek word kuris, which is translated as our English word “Lord.” This Greek word was used in several ways, but its most common usage was as a polite way to say sir. Like in our English word sir, it can be used in an ordinary way, that’s the way it was with the Greek word kurios. There is a common everyday use of the word, and there is a less common, or special use. In England, men were knighted and they were given the title sir, showing that they were now elevated from the common use of the word to its special formal use. So it is with the Greek word kurios, in its special formal use in the title if “Lord” was given to men who were in the higher aristocrat class. The title was used in a figurative way to indicate the Jesus in the New Testament was Kurios or Lord.

Jesus was called “Master” by His disciples, the Apostle Paul would often open his epistles saying, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ.” The Greek word, which Paul uses here to describe himself as a servant, is the Greek word doulos. Now there can’t be a servant, or doulos without there being a “Lord,” kurios. Paul said, “ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price” (1Co 6:19-20. We can plainly see that God’s people are the possession of Jesus Christ; He is our Master, and our “Lord.” Jesus owns us, but He is not a “tyrant lord,” as is often the case with worldly lords. No, unlike the nature of the world, our “Lord” sets us free in our natural earthly servitude, which is the bondage of our sinful nature, setting us free to serve and glorify Him. It’s only in Christ that we are free. For he says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed” (Joh 8:36). Its only by and through our relationship in Christ Jesus our Lord as His servants we are truly liberated from the bondage of the world!

And the third important meaning of the title “Lord” is its Imperial use. It is given to kings that have absolute sovereign ruler over a people. We see it used that way in a political way today. When we look at the Greek Old Testament title of “Lord” we find the word kurios, which was translated from the Hebrew word adonai, which is a title for the Lord God Himself. This word Adonai is used in the place of the Hebrew word “Yahweh” which is the sacred name for God, of which the Hebrews believed, was too sacred for sinful man to even speak, so they used Adonai in the place of the unspoken word “Yahweh.” To call attention to God’s absolute power and authority over the entire universe. When we find the adonai in a passage it is always printed as “Lord.”

Just Like in Ps 8:1, “O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! Who hast set thy glory above the heavens.” In Hebrew it would read, “O Yahweh, our adonai, how excellent…” The Hebrews would use the word Yahweh for the name of God and adonai is used as His title.

Look at Ps 110:1, which is quoted more than any other Old Testament passage, “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” Here we find Yahweh speaking to adonai, who is seen as being David’s Lord and He is seated at God’s own right hand. So in the New Testament (Mt 22:44; Mr 12:36; Lu 20:43; Heb 1:13) where this title is given to our Lord Jesus Christ, who is seen as being “above every name.”

Thus, we have Jesus being seated at the right hand of God, elevated to the seat of cosmic authority, having all other authority in both heaven and earth given into His hands! Now He rightly receives the exalted title of Adonai, which formerly only belonged to God the Father. When we refer to Jesus, as being “Lord of lords” there is absolutely no doubt about what is meant! We are saying along with sacred scripture, that all other authority is set under His authority.

The title of “Lord” is used so often in the New Testament Church that the English word for church is taken from it. The Greek word ekklesia comes from the word ecclesiastical, which in the Greek Septuagint is used to designate the gathering of Israel, summoned for the purpose of worshiping God. Thus we see that the word ekklesia used in the New Testament translated as “church” describes the whole body of Christ (Mt 18:17; Eph 1:22; 5:23). Jesus says in Mt 16:18, “upon this rock I will build my church’ (ekklesia); ‘and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” So we find that the word church is the “people who belong to Adonai, or the Lord.”

Also look at the passage in 1Co 12:3, “Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord’ [Adonai], ‘but by the Holy Ghost.” No man can even declare in his heart that Jesus Christ is Lord, except the Holy Ghost reveal it to him from heaven.

In the early church, God’s people were considered to be criminals by the Roman government because they refused to honor the emperor with the exalted title Kaiser kurios which means “Caesar is Lord,” even at the cost of their own lives. When they were called to do so, they would instead say, “Iesous ho Kurios” or “Jesus is Lord.” They believed in being good citizens, they would render “unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt 22:21). They refused to give to Caesar the title Lord which only belonged to Jesus Christ, and they were willing to give up their very lives to maintain that assertion.

The next time if the Lord will bless, we hope to look at the title for Jesus as the Son of God. So until next time may God bless you dear one’s.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0305 Jesus as The Son of Man

Jesus as The Son of Man

In the New Testament we find two titles that refer to the two natures of Jesus Christ, first He is referred to as the Son of God, and second He is referred to as the Son of Man. In order to understand who Jesus really is we must be able to see that He is the Son of Man, truly man and the Son of God, truly God. When we view Jesus we see both of these natures housed within the one Man Christ Jesus. We’ll start by taking a look at the first title, which is the Son of Man.

To begin with as we study this title we find that it is the third most common title that refers to Jesus. And in fact it occurs no less than eighty-four times in the New Testament, and eighty-one of them are found within the four Gospels. And it is the most popular title in which Jesus refers to Himself.

But why did Jesus use the title Son of Man? We find the title first used in the Old Testament. It appears in reference to both in the book of Daniel and the book of Ezekiel. In Da 7:13-14, we see the Son of Man appearing to Daniel in a vision of heaven. He is seen as setting on a throne of the “Ancient of days,” and He is given “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed.” When we read these passages it is not hard to see the Son of Man as a heavenly king who will come down to earth and establish His Kingdom Church. It is this very Son of Man that is Jesus! He said, “Ye are from beneath; I am from above: ye are of this world; I am not of this world” (Joh 8:23). And in another place He says, “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven” (Joh 3:13).

All of the writers of the New Testament soundly declare that Jesus is a heavenly being. But He was not just a mere angel. He is declared to be much, much more! When Daniel saw him He said that He was “Ancient of days,” and lets take a look at a comparison between what Daniel saw and that which is given by the Apostle John in his visions in the Book of the Revelations.

First, Daniel says that he “beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened” (Da 7:9-10).

Now listen to John, “and I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength” (Re 1:12-16).

And again in Re 5:11-12, he says “and I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

His divinity is seen not only in the Old Testament, but we see that Jesus Himself sees it as fact with all of creation, we see Jesus again in, when He came and went through a corn field on the Sabbath day, and as His disciples went through they began to pick ears of corn from the stalk. And there were some Pharisees who came to Him and said, “will you look at that, don’t You’re disciples know that it is against the law to pick corn on the Sabbath day?”

And Jesus said, “have ye never read what David did, when he had need, and was an hungered, he, and they that were with him? How he went into the house of God in the days of Abiathar the high priest, and did eat the showbread, which is not lawful to eat but for the priests, and gave also to them which were with him? And he said unto them, The Sabbath was made for man, and not man for the Sabbath: Therefore the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Mr 2:25-28).

We see that Jesus claims to have the authority that, to the Jew, that belonged only to God! They couldn’t have missed what He was saying here. And so how did they respond to His message? They went out and sought how that they might kill Him because of His claims to deity came out loud and clear.

We see in another place where Jesus declares that the “Son of Man” comes as a judge who “shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats” (Mt 25:31-32). This judging is clearly a judging that only belongs to God Himself. The “Son of Man” who comes from heaven, is not someone who is deity alone, but He is someone who has come into our humanity through His incarnation. He is the God Man, that is God in the flesh!

The Apostle Paul saw Jesus as the Son of Man, for he writes, “and so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit” (1Co 15:45).

Beloved Jesus Christ is the fulfillment of what Isaiah prophesied saying, “behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us”(Mt 1:23; see Isa 7:14). The word Emmanuel means God is with us in flesh and blood.

We find in the book of Daniel, the Son of Man who appears in a vision, He sets on the throne of the “Ancient of days.” Lets read it, “I’ [Daniel] ‘beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire...I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him... Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom” (Da 7:9,13,22). Here is the Son of Man seen as a heavenly being, who is a transcendent figure who will descend to the earth to exercise the role of Supreme Judge.

The New Testament is our witness to the fact of the preexistence of Jesus as the Son of Man that is come down from heaven. Jesus said, “no man hath ascended up to heaven, but He that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man which is in heaven” (Joh 3:13).

Lets compare the descriptions of Daniel’s view of the Son of Man to that of what the Apostle John saw in the isle of Patmos, in the book of Revelation:

In Re 1:12-16, “and I turned to see the voice that spake with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; and in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of Man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like unto fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp twoedged sword: and his countenance was as the sun shineth in his strength.”

And in Re 5:11-12, “and I beheld, and I heard the voice of many angels round about the throne and the beasts and the elders: and the number of them was ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; saying with a loud voice, worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

0305 Jesus Is The Suffering Servant King

Jesus is the Suffering Servant King

In the New Testament we find that Jesus who is without any doubt the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isa 53. We see that Jesus Himself believed this too. It’s not just coincidence that He quotes from the prophet Isaiah more than any other prophet in the New Testament. In fact, the prophecies of Isaiah are not just limited to the suffering of Jesus, but refer to His entire ministry. But it’s the death of Christ that is the entire focus of the New Testament writers as they point to the prophecies of Isaiah’s “suffering servant.” Lets read Isa 53, “Who hath believed Our report? And to whom is the arm of the LORD revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not.

Surely He hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. And He made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth.Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; he hath put Him to grief: when thou shalt make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied: by His knowledge shall My righteous servant justify many; for He shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He hath poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors; and He bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

As we read these passages we can’t help but see what the prophet has written. He wrote as if he were an eyewitness to the passion of Jesus Christ. This Christ, the coming Messiah, Jesus is not just a king, no when we look at Him what do we see? We see that He comes to us as a servant. A servant to whom God is “pleased to place His righteous wrath upon. One who came and stands in our place. One who receives the chastisement that was due to us for our iniquity; He takes on Himself the iniquity of all of His chosen people. Look and see Jesus; God’s Suffering Servant, “wounded for our transgressions.” Yes, and “smitten of God, and afflicted.” It’s not a pretty sight! No because when we look at Him we see that “His visage’ (His features, countenance, face) was so marred (damaged, defaced, blemished, mutilated, maimed, scarred) ‘more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men” (Isa 52:14). So disfigured was His “visage,” so “marred” were His features, not by the hand of those who abused Him, but by the sin and iniquities that He carried on Himself on our behalf. And God, who cannot look upon sin, turned away from Him, and the “Suffering Servant” cried out My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken Me?

In Re 5:2-6, the Apostle John sees a vision, and he hears an angel cry out saying, “who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof?” and we are told that “no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.”

And John said that he “wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.” Then we read that “one of the elders” came to him and comforted him saying, “weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”

And immediately we see a change in the mood, from one of sorrow and foreboding to one of joy and expectation, as John turns to see the spectacle. When he turns he sees that “midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth. And he came and took the book out of the right hand of him that sat upon the throne.” And having taken the book He alone is able to break the seals and open the book, and to gaze at it’s contents!

But this is no “suffering servant,” what he hears is a conquering King! Why this is the “Lion of the tribe of Judah!” The “Suffering Servant” and the “Royal King” are in fact one and the same person! But when he turns what does he see? He Sees not a Lion, but a “Lamb slain!” And He is “standing in the midst “of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders.” And He comes and takes “the book of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne.” And immediately “the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.” And everyone there sang a “new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation,” having made us to be “kings and priests” unto our God, that we should “reign on the earth” (Re 5:7-10). Here is the Lion, the King of kings, and He is the Lamb of God, who through the strength of His righteousness is the “Suffering Servant” who is the reigning King of kings, and Lord of Lords!

We will leave this subject for now, and the Lord willing we hope to take up the subject of “Jesus as Lord.” God bless you dear one’s in Christ.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0305 Rebellion and Stubbornness

Rebellion and Stubbornness

Rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” This was said by the prophet Samuel to King Saul after that Saul had returned from the war with the Amalekites. Saul had been commanded by God to go and destroy the Amalekites and their possessions including their livestock. However, the children of Israel had saved the best of the livestock alive in order to do sacrifice with them, and had spared the King of the Amalekites. According to what God told King Saul it is better to obey than sacrifice. Because of Saul’s rebellion against the word of the Lord, Saul was rejected from being King over Israel.

Rebellion is laid up in the heart of man. Rebellion began in the garden of Eden, when Satan rebelled against God and worked to try to overthrow God by telling the woman that she would not surely die if she ate of the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, but that she would become as gods, knowing good and evil. The woman rebelled against God when she ate of the forbidden fruit and the man rebelled against God when he took of the fruit and ate thereof. As a result of their rebellion, the serpent, the woman, and the man were all cursed. Furthermore, thru Adam’s sin, sin entered into the world, and death by sin passed upon all mankind. Thus all mankind is plagued by the rebellion of Adam.

Man, before he is born of the Spirit, is in a completely rebellious state against God. He does not like to retain God in his knowledge and has said in his heart that there is no God. Before the flood, we see in man that every imagination of the thought of his heart was only evil continually and violence filled the earth. Similarly, today we see unregenerate man trying to overthrow the laws of God and to deny the existence of God. It doesn’t matter how much creationists can show that the earth is only about six thousand years old, the problem isn’t with man’s head, but the problem is with man’s heart, because he is bound and determined to attempt to prove the non-existence of God. Likewise, unregenerate men, strive to overthrow the moral laws of God. We are continually being plagued with political attacks on the ten commandments. Men say that adultery is all right and that it is all right for homosexual unions and that killing the unborn is all right Whereas God’s laws condemn such action, yet man is in rebellion against God.

After the flood, the children of men followed a man by the name of Nimrod in rebellion against God. God had told man to be fruitful and to multiply and to replenish the earth and to subdue it. Under Nimrod man set about to build a city and a tower whose top might reach to heaven. This was rebellion because it was designed to hold man together under the government of man in a one world government, thus throwing off the government of God. God thwarted this rebellion by confusing the tongues of men so that they could not understand one another’s speech. Now this hasn’t stop man from attempting to rebuild a one world government, but has served as a giant hindrance in the way to that effort. Throughout man’s history he has tried to build a one world government: Babel, Assyria, Babylon, Medea and Persia, Greece, Rome, and in this modern day world, such is attempted under the umbrella of the United Nations. Each of the beastly attempts have resulted in laws and ordinances in direct opposition to the laws of God. Furthermore, a one world government is not a friend to God’s people.

In the spiritual realm, we also see rebellion, as it was prophesied that in that day, “Seven women would take hold of one man, saying, ‘We will eat our own bread and wear our own apparel, only let us be called by thy name to take away our reproach.’” We are living in a day when many want to be called by the name of Christ and to be known as the church of Christ, but they don’t want his doctrines of grace, nor do they want to worship in the manner that his word prescribes. Thus they want their own gospel and they want their own practices. They are in rebellion against the true gospel of Christ and they are in rebellion against the government of Christ, but they want to be called by the name of Christ. Practices invented by men in rebellion against the government of Christ include mission societies, Sunday schools, Seminaries and Preachers Seminars, tithing as a new testament practice, women preachers, salaried ministers, instrumental music, church auxiliaries, and church foundations.

Lest we think that rebellion does not affect us as Old Baptists, let us consider the preacher Jonah. God had commanded Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach that which he bid him, but Jonah rebelled and went in the opposite direction. He found a ship and went down into the ship and set sail, trying to flee from the presence of the Lord. A great storm arose and Jonah was found out and cast over the side of the ship and swallowed of a great fish. There in the belly of the whale, Jonah lifted up his eyes and confessed himself to be in the belly of hell and proclaimed that salvation is of the Lord. The fish vomited Jonah up on dry land and Jonah went and preached that which God bid him to Nineveh. Please note that Jonah suffered for his rebellion as do we as God’s children suffer when we rebel. The closest thing that God’s children suffer to hell is in this time world when we rebel against him.

The children of Israel said that we will not have this man (Jesus) to rule over us. Also, they said that we have no king, but Caesar. Obviously they were in rebellion against God. However, we also can be in rebellion against God by our actions. Do we not rebel against God when we fail to press into God’s kingdom thru water baptism? Do not we rebel against God when we fail to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness? Do not we rebel against God when we fail to maintain God’s government in our churches? Do not we rebel against God when we fail to live up to the standards of conduct laid down in God’s word, including both our dress and our life styles? Do not we rebel against God when we fail to maintain our marriages according to the pattern taught us in the scriptures? Surely, the list could go on and on. We need to recognize our own rebellious hearts and strive to root out rebellion in our lives wherever we find it. May God help us in this endeavor.

Elder Vernon Johnson

0308 Jesus is the Son of God

Jesus is the Son of God

We see the Son of Man again through the eyes of the disciples, Peter, James and John, on the mountain when Jesus is transfigured before them, “And he said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That there be some of them that stand here, which shall not taste of death, till they have seen the kingdom of God come with power. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answer ed and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him” (Mr 9:1-7, see also Mt 17:1-7).

Can there be any doubt that they are both seeing Jesus, who is the Son of Man in all of His glory and splendor? This is the very Son of God as He is viewed in His glorified state! Jesus is referred to as being the Son of God.

This title for Jesus has been a stumbling block for many people throughout the centuries. In the fourth century, a man named Arius arose bringing a new doctrine which is called the Arian heresy which denied the doctrine of the Trinity, stating that Jesus was not God, but that He was only a created being.

Arius would call attention to such verses of scripture that referred to Jesus as the “who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature” (Col 1:15), “the only begotten of the Father” (Joh 1:14), of which Arius would argue that Jesus had a beginning in time and was Himself created by God, and was a creature. He would say that if Jesus was “begotten” that it could only mean that He could not possibly be eternal, and if He is not eternal, then he is a creature, and that it would be blasphemy to call Him God, render any worship to Him. That Jesus was once and angel and that now He occupies a station that is above all other angels, and is become a god, but that He certainly is not God.

But let us examine the scriptures, it is a fact that Jesus is “begotten, not made.” In English this seems to be a contradiction, but not so in the Greek. When we hear the word “begotten” it does imply a beginning, but when it is applied to Jesus, there is a uniqueness in the way in which He is begotten that separates Him from all other creatures. He is referred to as “the ONLY begotten of the Father.” In this sense Jesus stands alone in the fact that He is begotten of the Father. He is eternally begotten of the Father. Remember Jesus is “begotten,” not made. And this takes into view His coming into the world in human flesh. God the Son is become a man, being born into the world as a little child. But He is the eternally begotten of the Father. In His deity He is eternal, and in His humanity He had a beginning. This fact fulfills the prophesy of old saying, “Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee” (Ps 2:7; Ac 13:33; Heb 1:5). His sonship carries the description of intimacy with the Father; and carries with it more than that of mere preeminence that comes with biology. The term “begotten” is a Greek word filled with meaning, shouting forth His deity; He is “begotten,” not made!

To say this we are not being irrational, but we are being faithful to the scriptures. John the Baptist knew this to be true, listen to what He has to say about Jesus, “this was He of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me…who coming after me is preferred before me, whose shoe’s latchet I am not worthy to unloose” (Joh 1:15,27). John, was about six months older than Jesus, by birth, he understands that Jesus is the only begotten of the Father. And after he baptized Jesus he becomes witness to a most wonderful scene. When Jesus came forth from the water, and “lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: and lo a voice from heaven, saying, this is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:17). So let us conclude with the truth, Jesus was begotten of the Father, but not made.

The next time we will try to take a look at the title for Jesus as the “Word of God.” May God bless you and keep you dear ones.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0308 Jesus is the Word of God

Jesus is the Word of God

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Joh 1:1-4).

The title Word is rarely used in the New Testament for to describe Jesus. It is found primarily in the book of John’s gospel where one unmistakable fact is set forth. First, that Jesus is the Word of God, and second, that He is God. Jesus is God the Word!

The Apostle Paul tells us that “by Him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist” (Col 1:16-17).

The Greek word that is used is the word Logos. Which means, “something said, a word or thought or concept.” Our English word Logic comes from this very same word. We also have a suffix “ology” that is used in many other words, which we attach to other words or terms to show forth a academic disciplines and sciences. For example the word biology is “bios-logos, is a word concept for the study of science which deals with the origin, history, physical characteristics of the life process, habits, etc. of plants and animals. And the word theology is the “theos-logos, which is a word concept for God.

The concept that the Apostle John is trying to convey is that “in the beginning there was Logic, and Logic was with God and the Logic is God…and the Logic became flesh.” John is stating a dynamic principle here! He is not saying that Jesus Christ is being reduced to some mere rational principle, but that God Himself is the unity, consistency, yes, He is the glue which binds all things together under His divine rule John expresses to us the quality of God’s being, which is itself coherent, consistent, and clearly seen in all things that He creates. And we see here that it is Jesus Christ Himself that is identified as being the eternal Word, Logos within God, which brings order and harmony in the universe. It is His coherency that holds the ultimate meaning of the universe and the stuff from which everything was made. And it’s Jesus, the Word of God who makes sense of it all.

One of the problems of the world is that there seems to be no room in their minds for the concept of a personal God who by His power and wisdom and sovereignty created the world in order and in harmony. And without the thought of God, the best that they can come up with is speculation of some abstract principle, which they say, ordered reality and keeps it from becoming a mass of confusion.

We find this very same concept to be a very old concept. We find it in the Stoick philosophy. We find the stoicks mentioned in Ac 17:18, “then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, what will this babbler say? Other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.”

And we also notice that Paul also “encountered” these stoicks, or to be more accurate the stoicks “encountered” Paul, which means that they withstood, and challenged him. The stoicks were early Greek thinkers who thought that there was no such thing as a personal God who by His power, wisdom and sovereignty created the world in order and harmony. In fact they believe that nothing could exist beyond the limits of human knowledge and experience. They believed that at best there was only some theoretical abstract form and power which they called nature, which ordered reality and kept it from becoming a mass of confusion. They never considered that their was an All-powerful being who was King and who was involved with things of this world. Their concept of “Logos” or the “Word” functioned merely as an abstract idea that was necessary to account for what they perceived as order that was evident in the universe.

The stoicks that Paul encountered at Mars Hill debated with him about their notion that all things came into being from a single seed of fire, which they called the Logos Spermatokos. And within this “Seed” or “Word” the power of creation and source of procreative power, which word begets life and order and harmony. We have all heard of the expression “every person has a spark of divinity in them.” This notion came from stoicks. The stoicks believed that each and every individual object had a piece of this divine seminal fire in it, but in their mind it was impersonal and abstract. We can see this very same philosophy in our so-called science of creation today, only now it is called the “big bang theory.”

The Apostle John did not use the word the same way that the Greeks did, in Joh 1:1 he drooped a bombshell on the thinkers of his day when he looked at Jesus and spoke of Him not as some impersonal concept, but as the incarnation of the eternal “Word” or “Logos.” Because the ancient Greeks knew nothing of such a concept, so it was a stumbling block to them, rather than the idea of an incarnation (1Co 1:23). To John Jesus is the “Word,” He is the “Logos” in a very personal and radical way, this is very different from the Greek in his uncertain philosophy. To John the “Word” is a real person, and not simply a principle!

The second thing that seemed to be outrageous to the Stoick’s thinking was the thought that the “Word” or “Logos” should become incarnate. To him there could never be anything that was more of a stumbling block than the idea of an incarnation. That is that there could ever be an endowment of the divine with a human body. This was because of his view of all matter in the universe, it was unthinkable to him that God, if there really was one, should ever take upon himself human flesh and form. “He would think to himself, “this world is made up of material things, as because it is must be therefore could never be dependent on anything that was external, such as matter to exist in human flesh. So to the Stoick, as well as to the modern so-called scientist today, to have the “Word” or “Logos” be clothed in the garb of a material world would be a disgusting thought in his classical Greek philosophy. The Apostle John, under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost, Looked at the “Word” or “Logos” at the personal level. He saw Christ the very manifestation of the eternal person by whose power and existence does not depend on anything or anybody of this natural world, but on whose power all things are held together. This concept pointed to the deity of Christ as being the only cosmic reason in the universe! He is the ultimate reality of all things!

The Word is not only said to be with God, but to also be God. This is a clear and direct statement of the deity of Christ. When we read Joh 1:1 there can be no doubt at all as to what is meant by the text…Jesus Christ is God the Word! He is the true Logos!

Today as modern day scientist work to remove the idea of God from every thought of the human mind, we find that they are added by such organizations as the Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Mormons, who attempt to cloud and distort the scriptures, by trying to make the argument that the Bible does say that the Word was God, but that it should read “that the Word was a god.” If this is what John was trying to say then there are several problems that come up. First it leaves us with John affirming a form of polytheism. Now polytheism is the belief and worship of many gods. As opposed to monotheism which is the belief and worship of one God only. And little child of God it is clear when we read our Bibles that the scriptures teach from the first book of Genesis to the last book of Revelation that there is only One God. And so to say that the text ought to read that the Word was a god,” is to declare that there are more than one God. These say, “well you Old Baptist believe the Trinity, and 1+1+1 equals 3.” And they say it is we who believe in polytheism. But their math is flawed, its not 1+1+1=3, but 1x1x1=1, because John declares that “these three are One” (1Jo 5:7). This is the true doctrine of the Trinity. Jesus is the same as the Father, and yet is distinguished from the Father. He is the same as the Holy Ghost, yet is distinguished from the Holy Ghost. We see that God and Jesus are one in being but two in their person. The Father and the Son and the Holy Ghost are one being, but are distinguished in terms of their personality and work, and the ministry they perform.

It is this witness that John gives us that is of the intimate type. John is saying that we have a face-to-face relationship with the eternal Creator of the universe from all eternity! Our hope and faith does not rest of the things that we see. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost are one and Jesus Christ is the “Word of God.” God in the flesh, for John says “and the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Joh 1:14). Here we see that God is dwelling with us, or literally He is “pitching His tent with us.” Just like when God dwelt with the children of Israel in the Old Testament in the tabernacle, so He dwells with us in the person of the “Word, the “Logos” who embodies the truth of God Himself, “for in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily” (Col 2:9). Jesus Christ is the manifestation of the glory of God. John goes on to tell us that “in Him was life; and the life was the light of men” (Joh 1:4).

I will close this subject for now. And realize that I have not been able to do this great subject its full justice, but I hope that it has in some way been to God’s glory and hopefully to the edification of the people of God. The next time we hope to look at “Jesus as the Saviour.” May God bless you and keep you.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0308 The Church Family

The Church Family

One of the things I have noticed about denominational churches is that many of them are not very close. Often they meet once or twice a week for services but have no other contact with the other members during the week. It seems like the larger the congregation the less they interact. I do not say this to demean any other people, but we need to know what is expected of us as church members.

According to the scriptures a church is to be a family. In the new testament there are over five hundred references using the words: brother, brothers, brethren, sister, and sisters. The majority of these references are not to natural brothers or sisters but to spiritual brothers or sisters, especially brothers and sisters in the church.

Being a part of a church family conveys both benefits and responsibilities upon us. One of the most important benefits is that we are a part of the spiritual house of God and as spiritual born children thru the new birth we have an elder brother who has represented us in covenant as the “firstborn among many brethren.” This elder brother (Jesus) made himself a sacrifice for us and offered this sacrifice to our heavenly Father, thus procuring our eternal redemption from sin. Furthermore, because of this elder brother, we have an inheritance in which we are joint heirs with him. This inheritance is incorruptible and undefiled and fades not away, but is reserved in heaven for us.

Furthermore, as members of the household of faith, we are blessed with the privilege of worshiping God together in spirit and in truth, of singing with joy in our hearts, praising him for his wonderful works toward us, and lifting up our hearts in prayer together in the house of God, and hearing the gospel proclaimed in power and demonstration of Spirit by our preach brethren.

Next, as brethren and sisters in the church, we are blessed to share a common bond of like precious faith and to be able to communicate with one another of our common beliefs as set forth in the word of God. Being a part of the church family brings us into a most precious bond of belief and practice. Without this bond I am convinced that many in the church would have little in common, yet I find that with this bond, we find the brothers and sisters in Christ to be the ones we are most drawn to in fellowship and love.

Being a part of a church family also conveys upon us responsibilities. For instance the bible says, “brethren if a man be overtaken with a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” We have, as brothers and sisters in Christ, a responsibility to encourage one another in the faith, to admonish one another to live uprightly, and in a spirit of meekness to correct one another of our faults. If the only interaction we have with one another is at meeting time, how can we know enough about one another to help one another? We are also told to bear one another’s burdens. We can do this by understanding one another’s needs, praying for one another, helping one another according to our abilities.

The scriptures teach us to “Rejoice with them that rejoice and to weep with them that weep.” Throughout each of our lives we will have times in which we will rejoice, such as when we get married, we have children, we are baptized, etc. At such times our brothers and sisters in the church are there to rejoice with us, that is, to share in our joy. Likewise, there are times in our lives when we will weep, such as, sickness, loss of a loved one, disappointments in our natural relationships, troubles in our natural family life. At such times our brothers and sisters in the church are there to mourn with us and to comfort and encourage us.

In addition, the scriptures teach us to “bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” The law of Christ is the law to “love one another even as I have loved you.” We have the opportunity to fulfill this law by bearing one another’s burdens. Jesus bore our burden of sin on the cross and is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother. He ever liveth and maketh intercession for us. We can bear one another’s burdens by praying for one another in our times of need; by physically helping the needy in the congregation; by visiting the shut-ins and lonely; by encouraging the depressed and down-trodden; by setting an example for the young in age and in spirit.

Furthermore, all of our brethren and sisters in the church are plagued as we are with the sins and faults of the flesh. According to the scriptures, “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Who among us hasn’t at one time or another been overtaken in a fault? Faults can include substance abuse, filthy language; unforgiveness; covetousness; leeching off others; lying; inordinate affections; etc. The scriptures tell us to confess your faults one to another and pray one for another that ye may be healed (of our faults-VJ). We will not normally confess our faults to strangers or to those we are not close to. However, the closer we are to someone the more we will feel that we can confide in that person. As brothers and sisters in the church we should develop a close fellowship with one another that we can confide and pray for one another for strength and wisdom and faith to overcome our faults. Additionally, “brethren if any of you do err from the truth and one convert him, let him know that he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way, shall save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins.” It seems to me that the closer we are to one another the easier it is for us to reason with one another. I believe I would find it hard to receive the reasoned rebuke of a stranger, but a close brother in the church who I know cares for me and my welfare, I am much more willing to consider what he has to say.

Thanks be to God who has given us a spiritual family that we can share our lives with and can be there for one another and to share our common beliefs and practices with and can worship together with.

Vernon Johnson

0308 Was Job Written Before the Flood?

Was Job Written Before the Flood?

It has become common among many in the religious world and among some Primitive Baptists to declare that the book of Job was written before the flood. The scriptures, however, declare a completely different story.

Job was said in Job 1:1 to be in the land of Uz. According to Ge 10:23 Uz was a grandson of Shem, the eldest son of Noah and one of the eight persons on the ark. This alone is proof positive that the book of Job was not written before the flood.

Next, the Chaldeans and the Sabeans who stole away the livestock of Job were present during the time of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews.

Third, Job had three friends who came to comfort him during his calamity: Eliphaz the Temanite; Bildad the Shuhite; and Zophar the Naamathite. Teman was a grandson of Esau (Ge 36:11), Shuah was one of the sons of Abraham which Keturah bare unto him; Naamah was one of the cities of the land of Canaan that the children of Israel came to possess in the days of Joshua (Jos 15:41).

Fourth, the young man Elihu, who rebuked Job, was the son of Barchel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram (Job 32:2) Ram was a great-grandson of Judah (Ru 4:18-19). Elihu has to be at least six generations removed from Judah. In contrast, Moses, was only four generations removed from Levi, Judah’s brother. Thus it is possible and maybe even probable that the book of Job was written after Moses wrote the first five books of the bible!

In conclusion, the book of Job was not written before the flood and it is likely that the book of Job was written after the first five books of the bible were written.

Vernon Johnson

0309 Jesus is the Saviour

Jesus is the Saviour

We have been looking at the titles of Jesus, and the various ways in which they display the attributes of Jesus Christ. And so far in our efforts to know the “Real Jesus,” and not the Jesus of the world, we have taken out time to view Jesus as the “Messiah” or “Christ,” “Suffering Servant King,” as “Lord,” as the “Son of Man,” as the “Son of God,” and in our last visit we took at view of Him as the “Word of God.” The prophet Isaiah wrote concerning the days of confusion concerning Christ in Isa 4:1 where he said, “and in that day’ (the days following Christ) ‘seven women’ (all types of false churches) ‘shall take hold of one man,’ (Jesus Christ) ‘saying, We will eat our own bread,’ (that is that they will bring forth their own doctrines and teachings, not being concerned nor satisfied with the true doctrines and teachings of Jesus, but preferring the doctrines and teachings of men,) ‘and wear our own apparel:’ (they will come forth in their own self righteousness, shunning the righteousness of Christ,) ‘only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach’ (this is the only thing that they want of Him, that is they want to use His name so that they can cover up their shameless actions and works).

And as I said in the beginning of this series, we will not try to look at all of the titles of Jesus and their attributes that they display. Time and space would never allow for such an undertaking. I’m reminded of the statement of the Apostle John in Joh 21:25 where he said, “and there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen.”

There are so many things that could be said about Jesus, and the Old Line Primitive Baptist have been preaching them for well over two thousand years. And there are other titles that we will mention here that are ascribed to Jesus. Just to mention a few, He is our “Rabbi” or “Master,” He is the “Second Adam,” the “fullness of the Godhead,” and He is the “Mediator between God and man.” But there is no other title that I believe shows His work more completely than His title as the “Saviour.”

God the Father gave Him that name in the person of the Holy Ghost even before He was born of His natural mother Mary. Jesus literally means “the Lord saves” (Mt 1:21). The Holy Ghost appearing to His step father Joseph instructed him to call His name “JESUS” The angel Gabriel also gave these same instructions to Mary the mother of Jesus, he said, “and, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS” (Lu 1:31). All other titles that we have examined up until now bring forth and ascribe to the qualifications of Jesus to be the Saviour of His people. There is no other person in the world who has the credentials to offer up the atonement as our sacrifice to God. It is only Jesus Christ as the Lamb of God, who has come forth triumphantly as “Saviour” over death, hell and the grave, bringing reconciliation to God’s elect.

This is as they say, “Where the pavement meets the road!” It’s in this title “Saviour” that we see, which is to us, the most relevant in our lives. Especially when we are made to see ourselves as we truly are. Unable and unwilling to rescue ourselves from the “body of this death.” When we look at Jesus, and we see that He, and He alone is our one and only hope. All other titles seem to pass away into insignificance. We may argue about many things. Perhaps we may argue about our religion, or maybe our various philosophies and points of view, about our ethics and politics, but in the end each of us is faced with one very personal issue, and that issue is, “what do I do about my sin?”

Beloved if we are honest with ourselves, and if we will all admit to one fact, that is that we all sin!. For the scriptures testify that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Ro 3:23). When we sin, we sin toward each other, and we sin against the holiness of a righteous God. And to our utter shame we sin for the most part willingly. We can deny our sin, or even deny the very existence of God Himself. But in the end we find ourselves to be like the Apostle Paul who cried out saying, “O wretched man that I am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Ro 7:24). We can go as far as to deny our sin. And we can even go as far as to deny the existence of God. We can claim as many today do, that we are not accountable for our lives. We can try to shift t he blame of our own personal sins on someone else, like our parents, or our teachers. We can claim that we have the human right to do whatever pleases our flesh. We can invent for ourselves a “god” who forgives, but only when we are willing to do our part, or perform some other so-called righteous work or requirement. And then we can even turn about and declare that because of what we have done, that we, ourselves have performed the one work that makes us acceptable to God, going so far as to declare ourselves as CO-SAVIOURS with Christ. But in reality all of our efforts are only a shame and a delusion. We never stop, nor do we understand the utter depravity of all men in the flesh, (and especially our own flesh,) nor do we comprehend the utter inability and unwillingness of man to recover himself from his sinful condition. And without that basic understanding we will never feel the need for a real Saviour. We will never know anything about the “Real Jesus.” And never come to the realization of the term…“free grace.” We will never know of the love of God for His chosen people, nor that He has loved all of His people so much that He sent His Son as “Saviour” for each of them without the lost of even one of them.

But there is only One who alone qualifies as “Saviour!” Jesus Christ, and it’s Jesus alone who has the desire through His great love for us, and He alone possesses the ability to solve our most abysmal dilemma, bringing us to God as our Father. It’s Jesus alone who can proclaim, and without the aid of any mere sinful man, “All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth” (Mt 28:18). It’s Jesus as “Saviour” who alone has the power over life and death. Listen to Him as He declares, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day” (Joh 6:37-40).

It’s Jesus Christ of Nazareth who is “Saviour.” It’s His title as “Saviour” that gives us hope beyond the grave. It’s this title that will someday bring us from our graves to be with Him in His glory. As the “Saviour,” it’s His person and work that has fully and completely met all of the requirements of the righteous Judge of eternity.

May God bless each of us to know and understand these titles and their significance to our lives.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0309 The Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ Compared to the Modern American Juris Prudence System In Partial Fulfillment

The Arrest, Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus Christ
Compared to the Modern American Juris Prudence System In Partial Fulfillment

for Requirements
of Police Science 1213

Rules of Evidence
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Prepared for
Dan L. Johnson, Ass’t Professor
Dept. Head of Police Science

Director
Collegiate Officer Program
Oklahoma State University
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

by
J. Todd Nunley July 28, 1998

This paper will discuss the issue of the arrest, trial and crucifixion of Jesus Christ compared to the modern American Juris Prudence system. Mankind of this world and the United States, especially those in the field of law and or law enforcement, forget that the central event in history assumed the role of a judicial trial. This trial was for an individual that is first and foremost, my savior. And that individual is Jesus Christ, which is the Son of God and is one of the Godhead being the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost. This trial was nothing more than an illegal trial and if something such as this would have occurred in today’s time the whole judicial system, including the judge, law enforcement and the correctional officers could have been arrested, charged and found guilty for many offenses that occurred to Jesus. Before one can study or discuss this issue we must first know about Jesus Christ, what he represented and what he taught.

First, It states in the New Testament in the Book of Matthew that the angel, Gabriel, was sent to inform Mary at Nazareth, a maiden espoused to Joseph, to announce that she was to become the mother of the Messiah. The Lord then told Joseph not to hesitate and take Mary as his wife, though a virgin, and would become the mother of the Messiah and that He should be named Jesus. The name Jesus means Savior. Savior is what is meant as the one sent by God to save His people from their sins.

Jesus Christ was referred to as the Son of God just as it states in Joh 3:16, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Jesus taught that we as the elect of God should believe and pray for God to have mercy on our souls and ask for forgiveness of the sins that we commit. It states in the Mt 22:37-40, “Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.” He also taught that we should not have hate in our hearts but kindness and forgiveness and that we as his children should strive to be God like, even though this is unattainable as a human being, who is in a depraved state and is shackled with sin because of the fleshly robe we wear. It is also written in Mt 5:43-48, “Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what reward have ye? Do not even publicans the same? And if ye salute your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.” Jesus also performed acts of healing just as he healed a “dumb” man possessed with a devil, cast out demons as well as healing the diseased and restoring the daughter, Jairus, to life and raising Lazarus from the dead.

While teaching God’s word, many saw Him as a threat just as Herod and all of Jerusalem when Jesus was born. They were afraid that He would overthrow the reigning dynasty. Herod was so troubled that he had all male children two years of age and younger killed. Later in His life, we learn that Jesus Christ had been telling His disciples what was going to happen for many days prior to his arrest. In Mt 16:21 the Bible states, “From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many thing of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” In Mt 26 it speaks of the conspiracy against Jesus Christ and how He was betrayed by Judas Iscariot. Judas went to the chief priests and wanted to know what he (Judas) would get for delivering Jesus to them. A contract was made (more than likely a verbal agreement) for thirty silver pieces. It was at this time that Judas looked for opportunities to betray Jesus. As Jesus and the twelve disciples prepared for the last supper, Jesus told His disciples that one of the twelve would betray Him.

That moment of crisis comes swiftly. Judas, with approximately 200 Roman soldiers and 200 Temple police, broke into the stillness of Gethsemane to arrest Jesus and is identified to the soldiers by Judas kissing him. Judas also mocked him saying, “Hail, master, Greetings Rabbi” and then kissed Him. Mayhem breaks out as they seize Jesus and arrest Him; meanwhile one of the disciples (believed to be Peter) grabs his short sword and lashes out cutting off the ear of one of the high priests servants. It is believed that Peter had intended to split the servant’s head open but attempting to avoid the blow, the servant moves as his ear is cut off and the sword hits the armor of the servant. Jesus told Peter to put the sword down. Jesus then told the disciple that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Jesus faces the wall of violence and condemns it as is written in Mt 26:55, “In that same hour said Jesus to the multitudes, Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with you teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me.” If this was such a crime in that time then wouldn’t they have arrested Jesus when He was committing the unlawful acts? I believe that if He had broke the law, while He was teaching in the temple with the soldiers present, then He (Jesus) would have been arrested immediately and taken before the high priest.

Jesus was arrested in the garden of Gethsemane on the Mount of Olives believed to be on a late Tuesday night. Jesus was then taken before the high priest, Annas, again late Tuesday night. During this so-called “trial”, one of the temple guards beat Him (Jesus) repeatedly with the palm of his hand using some type of whip or cane. Then, Jesus appeared before the high priest Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin in a “night trial” late Tuesday night. During this “trial”, they spit in His face and continued to beat Him repeatedly with their fists and with the cane or rod. Jesus was then blindfolded and beat in the face and was asked for Him (Jesus) to prophesy who was beating Him.

Jesus appeared a second time before the Sanhedrin council. Jesus then appeared before the Roman governor of Judea, Pontius Pilate, early Wednesday morning.

Jesus then appeared before the Roman ruler of Galilee, Herod Antipas. Herod took off his clothing and dressed him in a scarlet robe to mock His claim of kingship. Jesus appeared again before Pontius Pilate later on that morning. During this trial, Pilate tried to release him by appealing to the Judeans present three times. Pilate had Jesus beaten with a cat o’nine tails or a rod with metal or bone at the end so it would shred His flesh and a crown of thorns placed on His head while they beat Him again with the rods. The soldiers then placed a second purple “royal looking” robe on him and mocked Him (Jesus) again. Jesus was finally sentenced to death, without counsel, by Pontius Pilate.

Finally, Jesus was tortured and mocked by several hundred Roman soldiers until He was led to be crucified early Wednesday morning. This torture included repeated beatings with a stick, braiding a second crown of thorns, which they placed on His head and then beat into His head with a reed. The Roman soldiers then ripped off His clothing and replaced it for the third and then a fourth time with a Roman military cloak and then finally with his own original clothing, mocking His claim of kingship. Certainly, by this time He (Jesus), in the flesh, no longer resembled a human being.

During the trials, the chief priests, elders and all of the council looked to find people that would testify against Jesus to “bear false witness” but found only two. The people that they did find could not agree as to what Jesus did that was against the law. One of them stated that they heard Jesus say that he would destroy the temple of God and rebuild it in three days. The other stated that he heard Jesus state that He opposed paying taxes to Caesar and maintains that He is the Messiah, a king. Frustrated by the flawed testimony of his witnesses, the high priest poses the key question to Jesus, “Are you the Messiah, the son of the Blessed One?” There is no hesitation in Jesus’ reply, “I am.” And He adds a challenge to his opponents that they would, one day, see their prisoner coming as the “Son of man,” that haunting figure who would experience humiliation and rejection, but then would be lifted up in exaltation by God and return in triumph at the end of the world.

Jesus’ bold declaration of His identity is rejected as blasphemous by his opponents and they condemned Him to death and began to abuse Him again.

It is ironic that the leaders whose responsibility was to defend the freedom and faith of Israel would become concerned with the rights of Caesar. However, Jesus’ powerful ministry of justice was a profound threat to Caesar to the oppressive might of Caesar. Moreover, indeed his mission had intended to “stir up the people” as Jesus has journeyed majestically from Galilee to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the revolution Jesus incited was not the predictable clash of alternate political systems, but a call for fundamental conversion and a spiritual Kingdom built on justice and compassion, a vision capable of shaking the foundation of every oppressive political system.

Further, irony is found in the fact that the secular authorities, Pilate and Herod, find Jesus innocent while the religious leaders tenaciously seek to destroy him. Pilate declares that the Roman Governor and the king of Galilee affirm, “I find this man not guilty.” Even when Jesus is mocked as a bogus prophet by Herod Antipas, the corrupt king and murderer of prophets could find no guilt in Jesus. Once again, Pilate refuses to condemn Jesus with the charges of sedition. On Wednesday morning, Jesus was led to be crucified. On the hill of Golgotha, Jesus was nailed to the cross, crucified and died. God’s power revealed not through staggering prodigies but in a selfless death motivated by love.

This has to be the most horrible, repulsing sickening acts that has occurred in mans history. Now that we have a history as to what took place to the Son of man let us compare what happened in comparing this to the laws that governed these acts.

We have nothing in this country that compares to the Jewish Sanhedrin. Its functions were political, legislative, judicial, municipal, religious and educational. In other words, if you could imagine a body which had many of the duties of our legislatures, judges, juries, city councils, township boards and school boards, you would have some idea of the Jewish Sanhedrin. There were three Sanhedrin, the local Sanhedrin, the Provincial Sanhedrin and the Great Sanhedrin, which sat at Jerusalem. It was the Great Sanhedrin before which Jesus was brought with a body of seventy-one members.

Members of the Sanhedrin were required to have seven qualifications, wisdom, gentleness, soberness, piety, hatred of mammon, love for the truth and to be of great repute. They were not allowed to seek office and one who secured his seat in the body through having sought it, was despised by his associates.

The court before which Jesus was tried was a corrupt court. Many of its members held their positions by purchase. The ideal system of selecting judges, to which I have just now called your attention, was not then observed. For a series of years during the decline of the Jewish Commonwealth, the worst men of the community sought and obtained judicial preferment. Judea was passing through a period of great political and religious excitement. At such a time, in any states the scum of society is stirred up and usually possesses the surface of the troubled waters. And then this court was prejudiced against Jesus. He had been condemned to death before He was tried. During the few months preceding this Tuesday night, the Sanhedrin had met three times to discuss the teachings of Jesus. At the first meeting a decree of excommunication had been passed, not only upon Jesus, but also upon all who should believe on Him. The Sanhedrin also had the power to excommunicate, and it had this power in spite of the somewhat feeble protest of Nicodemus, who was one of their number. At the two meetings, which followed, Jesus was tried, condemned and sentenced to death without having ever been present or having been given a hearing. All of this was in violation of the Jewish law as given in the Talmud, “Testimony shall not be heard in the absence of the party accused” and “No man shall be condemned unless he is present.”

The trial was in two distinct parts, or rather, in the form of two separate and distinct trials. The first was the Jewish, or ecclesiastical trial, and the second, the Roman, or civil trial. The first was conducted before Caiaphas Annas, and the Sanhedrin, and the second before Pilate and Herod Antipas.

Let us first consider the trial before Caiaphas and the Sanhedrin. Upon what charge was this man brought before the court to be tried in the middle of the night? Was it blasphemy, false prophecy, or Sabbath-breaking? The record points sometimes to one and sometimes to another. The real charge, evidently, was sedition and blasphemy. Jesus stood before the court and was questioned by the High Priest Caiaphas. His answers and His silence were alike unsatisfactory. Witnesses were called in, but their statements did not agree. At last, Caiaphas, in disgust arose from his couch and cried, “Art thou the Son of God?” Jesus answered, “You have said it. I am.” “What more need is there of more witnesses?” cried the high priest.... “He blasphemed,” and, says the records “Caiaphas rent his clothing.”

The vote of the court was taken and Jesus was condemned to death unanimously. The court adjourned and Jesus was handed over to the guards, who inflicted upon Him a series of repulsive indignities.

The Jewish court, or the Sanhedrin, had authority to try capital cases under their own law. In case of an acquittal of the accused, the matter was ended without “Roman interference; but in case of a conviction, the Roman Governor was required to review the case and confirm or reverse the decision. This provision was, to the Jews, a galling reminder of their subjection to Rome. This ends the Hebrew trial. Jesus is condemned. Let us now examine the Jewish law in search of errors.

The first error was the arrest of Jesus. This was an illegal arrest on three areas. The first because there was no legal business that was to be conducted after the sun went down. The second was because the arrest was effected through the agency of a traitor and an informant (being Judas), which was in violation of the Mosaic code and a rabbinic rule based thereon. And the last area of the arrest that was illegal was because it was not the result of a legal trial for the purpose of reaching a righteous judgment. These trials were nothing more than a “set-up” and there was no legality to any of the hearings.

The second error that took place was that the examination or direct examination before Annas and Caiaphas was illegal. The questions posed to Jesus were illegal on the basis of five areas. The first area was because the questioning was conducted at night. The second area was because that Annas and Caiaphas sat alone in each case, which was in direct violation of the Hebrew law which provided that no judge, sitting along, could interrogate an accused person or sit in judgment upon his legal rights. Thirdly, because Caiaphas seeks to make Jesus incriminate Himself in direct violation of Hebrew law. Fourthly, because the trial was opened with no previously prepared bill of indictments against the prisoner’s provisions necessary to legalize the proceedings of every court of justice, the Sanhedrin itself evidently originated the charges and could only investigate those brought before it. And lastly, because Caiaphas began the questioning with a captious question disregarding the law of witnesses.

The third error that occurred was that the indictment against Jesus was illegal on the basis of four areas. The first was because it was too vague. Secondly, because it was made in part, by Caiaphas, while Hebrew law permitted none but the leading witnesses to present the charge. Thirdly, because Caiaphas was abusive toward Jesus in his manner of conducting the hearing. The expressions used by the judge to the accused were to be humane and even kind. And lastly, was because the charge was presented by two witnesses who testified simultaneously which is a flagrant violation of all law and custom. Witnesses were to give their testimony separately.

The fourth error that took place is that this type of proceedings was illegal. There were five areas where these proceedings were conducted illegally. The first area was that the integrity of the witnesses were not established before their testimony was heard. All witnesses were to be duly put on oath before testifying. The second area is that the witnesses, though known to be false, were not punished as provided for in Mosaic Law. Thirdly, because Jesus was struck in the mouth. This disgusting act of brutality reflects one of the scenes of justice and the humanity of the judges. It is a fundamental axiom of Hebrew law, as of all law, except the Roman, that a prisoner is considered innocent until proven guilty. Another reason for the proceedings to be illegal was because the trial was begun and concluded within one day, a flagrant violation of Hebrew law. If a man were convicted on a capital charge, no judgment could be pronounced until the afternoon of the following day. One night must intervene between the verdict and the sentence. In the meantime, the judges partook of no food. Early the next morning they again assembled and heard the witnesses of the accused. As the day wore away, they discussed and pondered over the serious character of their duty and the great responsibility. Late in the afternoon, they took their final vote. If the required number again voted to convict, the accused was at once sentenced and led forth to execution. Dealing with the proceedings, it was lastly illegal because the trial was held at night, in direct violation of Hebrew law. We have seen that Jesus was arrested in Gethsemane about midnight and that His first trial took place about two or three o’clock in the morning. In the Book of Luke it tells us that there was a daybreak meeting, which was evidently intended to give a semblance of legality and regularity to the affair since, as we have seen, the law required two trials of this case. The exact time of the beginning of the night session of the Sanhedrin is not known. It is generally believed that the arrest took place in, the Garden between midnight and one o’clock. Many people question as to why the Sanhedrin met at night knowing they were violating the law. The answer is referable to the treachery of Judas, and to the fact that “he sought opportunity to betray Him unto them, in the absence of the multitude. It also states in the Book of Luke that the members of the Sanhedrin “feared the people.” It also states in the Book of Mark that they had decided not to attempt the arrest and execution of Jesus at the time of the Passover, “lest there be an uproar of the people.”

The fifth and last area that was illegal, according to Jewish law, deals with how the condemnation of Jesus was illegal. This is dealt with in nine areas. First, is because the verdict of the Sanhedrin was unanimous for death. This fact marks a peculiar point of difference between our law in the United States and the Jewish jurisprudence. In our courts, a man who is condemned unanimously is thought to be guilty indeed. It was not so in the Hebrew courts. There the judges were expected to be the defenders of the accused, and if the vote to condemn was unanimous, it was taken for granted that the judges had failed in their duty as defenders and the accused was at once released. Secondly, because Christ’s condemnation was founded upon His uncorroborated confession. Jesus was compelled by the High Priest to be witness against Himself. Caiaphas said to Jesus, “I adjure thee by the Living God, to tell us Thou be the Christ the Son of the Living God.” The court had no right to ask that question. He should not have been called upon to incriminate Himself. The answer came, “I AM.” Upon his own testimony Jesus was convicted and condemned, and all this in spite of the fundamental maxim of Jewish jurisprudence, “No man convicts himself” and “at the mouth of two or more witnesses let it be established.” The third illegal act in Jesus’ trial was that the sentence was passed in a place forbidden by Jewish law. Jesus was tried for a capital offense in the palace of the High Priest, while Jewish law declared that all such trials were to be heard in the hall of hewn stone within the temple. The fourth error was that the High Priest rend his clothing in disregard of Jewish law. It states in Le 21:10, “And he that is the high priest among his brethren, upon whose head the anointing oil was poured, and that is consecrated to put on the garments, shall not uncover his head, nor rend his clothes.” The fifth error was because the session of court at which Jesus was condemned was held before the offering of the morning sacrifice. Since the morning sacrifice was offered at dawn of the day, it was hardly possible for the Sanhedrin to assemble before an hour after that time. The sixth error was because the balloting was irregular. The members of the Sanhedrin in case of a trial for a capital offense were required to vote in turn, beginning with the younger and each was to state his answer when his name was called, “I absolve” or “I condemn.” It was started with the younger first for the reason of the younger not being influenced by the older members of the Sanhedrin. In the case of Jesus, they all called out their condemnation at once. The seventh error that occurred was that the defense was not heard during this “trial.” There were and are to be two parts to every trial, the accusation and the defense. There was no pretense of a defense in the trial of Christ. The number eight error that occurred was the testimony of the two witnesses, false as they were, did not agree and in accordance with the law, Christ should have been at once released and the false witnesses slain. The ninth and last error in the condemnation of Christ according to Jewish law is that the witnesses distorted Christ’s words. He did not say, “I will destroy” or “I can destroy” but said simply, “Destroy.” They accused Him of saying, “I am able to destroy” when, in fact, Joh 2:19 states, “Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Immediately following the trial by the Sanhedrin, Jesus was taken in the early morning hour before Pontius Pilate, the Roman Procurator. This sovereign was in his house in the northeast corner of the city near the Temple of Antonia. The punctilious Jews approached the houses but remained on the steps, not daring to go in, because it was the Passover season and they would have been “defiled” had they entered the house of a Gentile. It is one of the ironies of history that men so fearful of ceremonial defilement should think nothing of laying murderous hands upon God’s Son. Pilate, in response to their clamor, appeared on the steps. As he glared at this mob, which had disturbed his early morning meditations for these Roman Governors were not early risers. Fixing his eye upon the leaders, he demanded, “What accusation bring you against this man?” Caiaphas, at that moment, could think of none and answered, “If he were not a malefactor, we would not have delivered Him unto you!” “Take ye Him and judge Him according to your laws”, said Pilate, contemptuously. This, however, would not serve the purpose of the accusers, and they raised a clamor, when Pilate insisted upon knowing the exact charge.

The priests were hard “pressed!” It would not do to say that Jesus was a blasphemer. Pilate would have snapped his fingers at such a charge. What cared he for blasphemy? And yet, blasphemy was the charge upon which Jesus had been condemned by the Sanhedrin. All the cunning of the priests was demanded by this emergency. They must accuse Jesus of some political offense over which Pilate would assume jurisdiction. “We found this fellow perverting the nations and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he is Christ, a King”, said Caiaphas. It was a deliberate lie. At no time had Jesus forbidden to pay tribute to Caesar. On the contrary, He had explicitly told them to render to Caesar the things, which were Caesar’s. The charge, however, had to be made; else, Pilate would not take charge of the case.

Jesus therefore stood before the Roman Governor charged, not with blasphemy, but with treason against the Roman state. The Jews all of a sudden were concerned over who should be paying tribute to Caesar. The Priests knew that the charge was a mere pretense and had to be made or Pilate would not assume jurisdiction over the case.

The charges of high treason and sedition against Jesus were all the more serious because the Romans believed Palestine to be a hotbed of insurrection and sedition. Pilate was, therefore interested at once when he heard this charge. Pilate must have said, “If this fellow pretends to be a King, as Simon and Anthrogenes did, If he says that Judea has a right to have a King other than Caesar, He is guilty of treason and it is my solemn duty, as deputy of Tiberius, to ascertain the fact and have Him put to death.”

The beginning of the interrogation of Jesus within the palace is reported by all in the same way. Addressing the prisoner, Pilate asked, “Art thou the king of the Jews?” Jesus answered him, “Sayest thou this of thyself or did others tell it thee of me?” Jesus simply desired to show whether the question was asked from a Roman or Jewish standpoint. If the interrogation was directed from a Roman or temporal point of view, if Pilate was thinking of legions and navies of a king like Caesars lording it over men by sheer military power, surrounded by a scheming and corrupt court, if that was what Pilate had in mind his answer would be an emphatic negative. If, however, the inquiry had been prompted by the Jews, it was then pregnant with religious meaning and called for a different reply, one which would, at once, repudiate all pretensions to such a kingship as Caesar’s and at the same time assert His claims to the Messiahship and to that higher sovereignty which is still in the future when the kingdoms of this world (shall) have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.

But all of this was lost upon Pilate, who answered, “Am I a Jew? Thine own nation and the Chief Priests have delivered Thee unto me. What hast Thou done?”

To this Jesus replied, “My kingdom is not of this world, if my kingdom were of this world, then would my Servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews, but now is my kingdom not from hence.”

First, he had replied negatively, “My kingdom is not of this world.” By this, He meant that there is no possible rivalry between Him and Caesar, but in making this denial, He had used two words of grave importance, “My Kingdom.” Those two words had to have struck the ear of Pilate with electric force, and in Pilate’s reasoning in the use of the two words, Jesus stood self-convicted. For how, thought Pilate, can He pretend to have a kingdom unless He pretends to be a King? And then as if to intimidate the prisoner, as if to avoid an unpleasant issue to the affair, he advanced threateningly upon Jesus and asked the question which the Bible puts into his mouth, “Art thou a King then?”

Jesus then stated, “Thou sayest that I am a King. To this end I was born, and for this cause I came into the world, that I should bare witness to the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.”

The effect of this statement of Christ’s on Pilate is evident for he at once appeared before the Priests and declared; “I find no fault with him.” Thus, Jesus was acquitted of the political charge by the court having Him in custody. He should have been released and set free at this moment. The blood thirsty Priests, however, would not permit this, and raised a large overbearing crowd before the palace, insisting upon His execution. “He has perverted woman and children.” They cried, “and systematically stirred up the whole nation from Galilee to Jerusalem. There is not a village or town in the land where He has not won converts and filled them with the wildest expectation. He has appealed to the nation to join His kingdom.”

The Priests were unfortunate in mentioning that Jesus was a Galilean. Herod, the Tetrarch of Galilee, was in Jerusalem at the time. Herod Antipas had long desired to see Jesus, not because of any real desire to know Him, but simply as one might look forward to seeing a great magician or wonder worker.

His interview with Jesus however, was disappointing. Jesus, in his presence, maintained an attitude of lofty reserve and of supreme contempt. Finally, tiring of his efforts to have sport out of the Man, and perhaps awed by His majestic presence, Herod orders Him returned to Pilate. Herod was crafty and would not allow himself to become entangled in a trial that could have such grave possibilities of trouble with fanatical Jews. No doubt, it was with an inward chuckle that he referred the whole tangled matter to his enemy, Pilate. One can well imagine Pilate’s feeling of disappointment when he saw the Jews returning Jesus, to him. I am sure that he thought that he had gotten rid of this awkward case.

Pilate probably thought also at that time that it was the custom of the Roman Procurator to release one prisoner who might have been condemned to death during the week of Passover. Pilate reminded the Jews of this custom and declared, “I will therefore chastise Him and release Him?” The Jews replied saying, “Why, O Pilate, art thou chastising the Man? If he is guilty of the charge brought against Him, chastisement is not sufficient punishment, If he is innocent, chastisement is unjust.” There can only be one answer to the question. Pilate in this way sought to compromise with the blood thirsty Jews and is handed over to be scourged.

After the scourging was accomplished, the crowd began to mock the King. They also placed cast off clothes that was a dirty moth eaten purple robe on Jesus while another was pressing down on the crown of thorns. It was at this point that the priests cried out in sullen fury, “Away with this man Jesus, crucify Him.”

Pilate was now dismayed indeed. During the time that Jesus had been before Herod, Pilate had received a message from his wife, Claudia Procula, in which she had urged him to “have nothing to do with this just Man.” Calling for a bowl of water, he washed his hands before the mob, declaring, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Man.” Why did he stand washing his hands when he should have been exercising them? The Jews responded, “O, Pilate, blood does not come off so easily, His blood be upon us and upon our children.”

Pilate again stepped out from the final examination of Christ again seeking to release Him.

Christ had been acquitted three times. By all standards for law and justice, He should have been set free at once. Convinced of the innocence of Jesus, and cordially despising every Jew in the mob, from the most humble artisan to the broadest phylacteries. Unfortunately, Pilate was in their power and caught in the middle. One of the Jews told Pilate, “If thou let this Man go, thou are not Caesar’s friend.” These few words are what held Pilate from releasing Jesus and immediately handed him over to be crucified.

In a few short hours, Jesus was arrested, taken before the Sanhedrin, found guilty of blasphemy, then taken before Pilate, charged with treason and acquitted. Jesus was then taken before Herod on the same charge and acquitted. After this, He was taken before Pilate on the same charge and again acquitted. Still the priesthood thirsted for His blood.

There is a fundamental rule of law, which says that no one shall be tried twice for the same offense, which is commonly referred to as “double jeopardy.” Jesus had been tried four times, once condemned, and three times acquitted. Then He was crucified not for the crime that He had been convicted, but for the crime of which He had been three times acquitted!

If this had occurred in today’s modern American jurisprudence system, there would have been several violations of the United States Constitution. After studying the U.S. Constitution, we can see where there were six amendments, where if this had occurred in a modern day United States, that were violated in the arrest, trial and overall treatment of Jesus Christ.

The first violation, according to the U.S. Constitution, was from the First Amendment. The first amendment guarantees the right of American citizens to have the freedom of religion and the freedom of speech. I also believe that another area of the first amendment that was violated was the right of the people to peaceably assemble. As I have covered in the previous pages, Jesus did not have the right of freedom of religion, which was shown by the arrest. When Jesus Christ was teaching in the temple this would have fell under the right to peaceably assemble, which is allowed under the first amendment of the United States Constitution.

The second violation that Jesus was the recipient of was from the fourth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The fourth amendment states that, “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.” The area of the fourth amendment that was violated was when the soldiers and Temple police came to arrest Jesus. With this, there was not an affidavit containing probable cause for the arrest of Jesus Christ. Not to mention that there was not even an affidavit for the arrest of Christ and that there was no one that supported this information by oath or affirmation for the arrest of Jesus.

The third right that was violated in the arrest of Christ was the violation of the Fifth Amendment. The areas of the fifth amendment that were violated states, “No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury; nor shall be compelled to in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without the due process of law.”

In Jesus’ arrest, He was held in detention for a capital offense without an indictment issued from a Grand Jury nor was there a complaint signed by an affiant and judge. This was a clear violation of the Fifth Amendment. Christ was illegally arrested because of there not being an indictment or complaint signed and issued from an official judicial representative.

The second area of the Fifth Amendment that was violated, was Jesus being compelled to testify against himself. During the questioning or interrogation by the Sanhedrin, Caiaphas asked Jesus, “Answerest thou nothing? What is it which these witness (false as they may be) against thee?” Jesus held His peace, not saying a word. Again, Caiaphas asked Jesus, “Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?” Because of silence being a wrong answer, Jesus answered Caiaphas saying, “I am, and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.”

It should be noted that giving an answer to the Sanhedrin, Jesus submits to this human governmental authority although He was no less a person than the Son of God. He submits as a man. He does this even though this governmental agency is abusing its authority and its power in the most flagrant manner. No word or act of Jesus can be cited in support of rebellion against unjust and tyrannical government, His example is entirely to the contrary.

The third and final area of the Fifth Amendment that was violated is that Christ was deprived of life and liberty without due process of law. Jesus was arrested and detained illegally, according to the times taken into custody, which resulted in his deprivation of his liberty.

The fourth right that we as Americans are afforded that was violated in the life of Jesus Christ was His violation of the sixth amendment. The sixth amendment states, “In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the State and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the Assistance of Counsel for his defense.” The first violation of the sixth amendment that should be examined was his right to have a trial by an impartial jury. Apparently, Jesus was not afforded the choice of a trial by the judge or by a jury. Granted, a trial by jury in this area would have been futile and would have more than likely ended with the same results but a motion for change of venue, in my opinion, should have been granted because of the individuals involved with the whole “scheme” and because of the knowledge and attitude of many of the residents in this area. It is clear that the individuals in this time and area did not believe that He was Christ and this was apparent by the actions of those that attended both of the “trials” that Jesus had before the Sanhedrin, Pontius Pilate and Herod. They were clearly against him and did not believe that He was the Son of God.

The second violation of the sixth amendment was that Christ was never informed of the nature and cause of the accusation. Jesus was never advised of what official charges that were being brought against Him when He was initially arrested and brought before this “kangaroo” court. Every person in these United States has a right to know what he or she is charged with and should be duly informed, hence, an initial appearance or arraignment.

The third violation of the sixth amendment is the right to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor. As stated before, this situation is legally frightful. A large number of judges should have risen up and protested against such outrageous proceedings. The Sanhedrin had already without witness, indictment or anything else decreed its victim’s death. That death was to be secured no matter how. Those who could decree that death would certainly now not be squeamish about the means to be employed to attain their end means. Only one way is open for the Sanhedrin to stage this legal farce and they must seek false witness against Jesus by lying and perjured testimony, to bring Him to death. Not only did these two false witnesses lie in their testimony, they could not agree on their information that supposedly took place. In addition, Jesus was not given the opportunity to “cross-examine” the two witnesses. This is one right that all defendants are afforded in the American legal system. Any testimony that is given in a legal hearing has the right to be crossed or questioned to the validity of that testimony.

The final violation of the sixth amendment was that Jesus Christ did not have the assistance of counsel for His defense. He was not afforded counsel and should have had that right. This is one area of law in our system in America that everyone is afforded whether they can afford it or not. Everyone is given the opportunity to have legal counsel before they are held to answer to the charges that are pending. The purpose of this is to assure that each individual is represented equally under the law and has the proper legal advice and direction to take in a hearing.

The fifth legal right that was abused comes from the eighth amendment of the U.S. Constitution. The eighth amendment states, “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” The last area of the eighth amendment is the one area of this amendment that was definitely excessive. Jesus was stripped of his clothing with the body bent forward across a low pillar and the back was stretched and exposed to the blows. In order to hold the body into position, His hands must have been tied to rings in the floor or in front at the base of the pillar and His feet to rings behind. The research could not agree that the hands were tied behind the back, for this would place them across the small of the back where some of the blows were to fall and would shield the ribs where the whip ends were to lacerate the flesh.

The Romans did not use rods as the Jews did, each rod making only one stripe and cutting only the back. They used short handled whips, each provided with several leather lashes and ugly, acorn shaped pieces of lead or lumps of bone that were fastened to the end of each short lash. The strokes were laid on with full force in order to get more vigor into the action. Two whips were applied, one from each side. The effect was horrible. The skin and flesh were gashed to the very bone in every direction, and where the armed ends of the lashes struck, deep bloody holes were torn.

Christ was beaten so badly that he no longer looked like a man. It states in Isa 52:14, “As many were astonied at thee; his visage was so marred more than any man, and his form more than the sons of men.” Cruel and unusual punishment is an understatement as to the blunt hatred that our Savior saw.

The fourteenth amendment (and sixth violation) states, “All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

This area could be described as all of the above. Many of the areas in this constitutional amendment have been covered. Had Jesus Christ had the protection that we as Americans are given this terrible act would have never occurred. But, as it is written in Joh 3:16, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” This means that this was going to happen and had been predestined since the beginning of time. Christ came to save HIS people from THEIR sins, which shows possession (i.e., the elect) of those mentioned.

There is a sense in which the trial of Jesus continues to this day and will continue to the end of time. It was not only an actual but also a symbolic trial. Mankind itself was on trial. Not only Jesus but also His judges, His accusers and the multitude of spectators consisting of Jews, Romans and Greeks (a cross-section of humanity) were on trial. The Jews were engrossed with the glories of the Temple and their national destiny; the Romans with the might, majesty and power of Imperial Rome, the Greeks with the intellectual and cultural superiority of Athens. They all rejected Christ (and the love of God which gave Christ, which shows the depraved state of mankind) and chose Barabbas. So has it ever been. Those who refuse to acknowledge the Christ are condemned already, for they choose the evil and reject the good; they grasp the shadow and lose the substance. This, if ever before, only solidifies the state mankind is in and shall be until the day that those who are of Christ, will be called home. Today, as always, the cross of Christ both condemns and saves. Jesus was the representative man, representing the elect of God. He personified goodness, righteousness and truth. Arrayed against Him were the forces of evil-religious bigotry, love of material power, narrow nationalism, the cynicism of the intellectuals and human selfishness. Might appeared to triumph over right however, we see in the scriptures that the TRUE MIGHT of an Almighty God triumphed over evil in the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Few, if any, of those who took part in this event realized that Jesus embodied the force that transforms the elect world. None had any consciousness that Jesus was ushering in the Kingdom of God founded on the person and work of Jesus.

Men and nations are at enmity with each other because they are at enmity with God; for they deprive themselves of the happiness, which comes from enjoying the fullness of the earth, the fruit of their labors and a conscience void of offense towards God and man.

The purpose for this thesis was to show a comparison between the comforts we have in these United States in our legal system, although those rights seem to diminish on a daily basis AND those lack of rights afforded Jesus Christ during HIS time on this earth.

We, who know the truth, know that this crucifixion had to be satisfied, which was an offering specifically to and for God. God be merciful to those, who are your children.

The above was written by Bro. Todd Nunley while he was a student at the police academy in Oklahoma City. I have asked him to consider writing about the perfection of God’s judicial system in relation to the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Man’s justice system is often flawed and sometimes executed by wicked hands in a wicked manner. In contrast, God’s judicial system is perfect, flowing from a perfect God.

0311 Living In A Difficult Marriage “ LEAH”

Living In A Difficult Marriage “ LEAH”

Beloved I find that I really enjoy writing on the subject of marriage, and I also feel like you can’t say too much about it. It’s a subject that I feel we all can learn a few things about. I have found it to be very helpful to God’s people to have an understanding of what is no doubt the most critical relationship that they will ever have, aside from that of the Kingdom Church. And this time I would like do something a little bit different. I would like to try to look at some of the problems that are found in “difficult marriages.” And I would like to try to look at it from the woman’s or the wives point of view. But that doesn’t mean that men shouldn’t take out time to read this. No, on the contrary, all of us, yes, even Primitive Baptist often find that our marriages take a whole lot of work in order for us to have a happy marriage.

It’s not easy to be a Godly woman in our world today. It seems like woman of today have more opportunities than their mothers had in days gone by. There are people who, for what ever reason, that seem like they go out of their way to try to get mothers, especially young mothers to abandon their families. It seems like some people just go out of their way to encourage them to abandon all of the responsibility that they have toward their husbands and their children. Its not too hard to see that there are what are claimed to be new and wonderful freedoms that all of their mothers never knew. Women are told today that they have choices that were not options for women in other times in the past.

As husbands and wives our lives we find that life is full of choices that must be made. And you dear sisters to understand that there are some extremely hard one that you must make! But do find yourselves asking, “but how do I know what the right choice is?” You see all of us; because we are the people of God, must learn to trust God’s Word for help in wise decision-making. The decisions that you make are for life and the well being of your entire family. And I believe that it is in the scriptures that you find good examples that you, by God’s grace will learn by precept and by example. In the next two articles that follow, we will look at two women in the Bible who had to wrestle with problems in their marriage relationship, problems without a doubt in many ways different from our own, and yet surprisingly similar to what you sisters face today.

The Life of Leah: Living With a Man Who Shows No Love

When we talk about marriage, it’s always best for us to go back to the very beginning where it all started: “And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him” (Ge 2:18). Once that was done, the writer of Genesis tells us, “Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Ge 2:24).

You all know the story. Adam was created, and he was all-alone, and God said that “It is not good.” That he should be left alone. And in order that Adam would have some understanding of the fullness his aloneness, God brought every animal in front of the only human being on earth “to see what he would call them” (Ge 2:19). And having named them all, Adam found that “there was not (one among them that was) “found (as) an (a suitable) “help meet for him.” He saw that he had no real counterpart in all of the universe. Adam needed someone to share life with him. God had created him to be in a very special relationship, a relationship called marriage. And in this relationship Adam and his wife would mirror that very vital relationship that God had between Himself and the Church.

The man and the woman had an ideal situation. They were created in the image of God, and were placed in a garden where they had challenging work to do, but with absolutely no fatigue or stress. And we all know what happened next. God had commanded the man saying that they could eat of every tree of the garden “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” And Adam made a choice to disobey God. And that choice plunged them both, along with all of their posterity into alienation, an alienation from God their Creator; an alienation from nature, which would now master them, exhaust them, and eventually absorb them back into itself as mere dust from which they were created; and an alienation from one another.

And we see that within only six generations starting with Adam and Eve, the perfect relationship between one man and one woman had given way to the sin of polygamy. One man having more than one wife. In Ge 4:19 we see for the first time that “Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.” The one-flesh relationship, created by an all-wise Creator God, with a oneness that is not only physical but mental, emotional, and spiritual--was no longer possible for a man who acquires wives the way he acquires cattle, sheep, or gold.

In Ge 29, we meet two women, Leah and her sister Rachel, who because of polygamy became rival’s one with the other, they were co-wives locked in a polygamous relationship. Rachel, the younger sister, is seen as the apple of her husband Jacob’s eye, while Leah is not loved by him. How does a woman live with a man who doesn’t love her? Do you want to talk about a difficult marriage? Lets take a look at Leah’s life for just a little while, and with God’s help perhaps we learn things that will help to give us some insight into the answer of the question that is before us.

When we first meet Leah we find her being a pawn in someone else’s deception. Jacob had cheated his brother Esau out of his birthright, and then he fled from his home in Canaan back to the land of his ancestors. He came to the household of his Uncle Laban, who was his mother’s brother. Laban invited him to stay with him and work for him. Let’s look at the story as it develops in Ge 29:16-30,

And Laban had two daughters: the name of the elder was Leah, and the name of the younger was Rachel. And we find that Leah was tender eyed; but Rachel was beautiful and well favoured. And Jacob took one look at Rachel and feel head over heals in love with her; and he said to Laban, “I will serve thee seven years for Rachel thy younger daughter.” And Laban said, “it is better that I give her to thee, than that I should give her to another man: abide with me. And Jacob served seven years for Rachel; and they seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her. And Jacob said unto Laban, give me my wife, for my days are fulfilled, that I may go in unto her. And Laban gathered together all the men of the place, and made a feast.

And it came to pass in the evening, that he took Leah his daughter, and brought her to him; and he went in unto her. And Laban gave unto his daughter Leah Zilpah his maid for an handmaid. When morning came, there was Leah! So Jacob said to Laban, “What is this you have done to me? I served you for Rachel, didn’t I? Why have you deceived me?”

To which Laban replied, It must not be so done in our country, to give the younger before the firstborn. Fulfil her week, and we will give thee this also for the service which thou shalt serve with me yet seven other years.

And Jacob did so, and fulfilled her week: and he gave him Rachel his daughter to wife also. And Laban gave to Rachel his daughter Bilhah his handmaid to be her maid. And he went in also unto Rachel, and he loved also Rachel more than Leah, and served with him yet seven other years. Your first sympathy probably goes to Jacob. After all, a bargain is a bargain. He bargained for Rachel, not Leah. His crafty uncle pulled a fast one and stuck him with Leah.”

But Jacob knew a little about being crafty himself. After all Jacob’s name meant a “supplanter,” which means someone who removes or carries a thing away by fraud or trickery. Not only had he stolen his brother Esau’s of birthright, but he did so by deceiving his blind father Isaac. So he wasn’t exactly without blame in this matter. But we still can’t help but feel sorry for Jacob. After all he did work seven years of labor for his beloved Rachel, and he went through all of the traditional feasting to celebrate his wedding to who he thought was Rachel. He waited, and was no doubt a little drunken in the darkened tent for his bride to be delivered to him, he saw only dimly the heavily veiled woman enter, and assumed she was Rachel. What a shock when the next morning he woke up to discover plain old Leah.

It’s easy to get so caught up in feeling sorry for Jacob in this matter. But have you ever stopped to think about what it must have been like to be Leah the next morning. Most of us probably haven’t ever given it a thought. It’s my opinion that Leah had also been in love with Jacob during those seven years that he was working for Rachel, and because of her love for him she became a willing accomplice to her father’s scheme. I will admit that there’s nothing in the passage to confirm my opinion, but I still believe it’s true just the same. But whether she went to Jacob’s tent that night as a willing accomplice or as a dutiful daughter merely obeying her father, she couldn’t have been very thrilled the next morning when Jacob made a scene with his father-in-law Laban, making it known how angry he was to have been deceived.

If Leah had ever hoped for Jacob’s love…if she had ever dared think that she could possibly have it, the one question is, how could she ever hope to compete with her beautiful younger sister? Well its certain that all of her illusions were dashed when Jacob hit the tent roof about the deception. She was faced with the fact that she was unloved, undesired, and unsought after. And in probably less that one week she found herself as the displaced wife of Jacob, as he took Rachel to himself. Is there any woman today who would remain married under the same circumstances as Leah? Probably not! Right?

But beloved how many times has there been some sort of deception found in many courtships? If you are married now and you really stop and think back to your own wedding, do you believe that you got what you bargained for? Or do you sometimes feel cheated by your partner in some way?

How would our lives feel to us if the most important relationship in our life turned out to be marred from the very beginning by deception or disappointment? We live in this old sinful world, and we build relationships with sinful people. And we bring our own sinfulness into those relationships. No wonder deception and disappointment can creep in.

In verse 31, we read how that this sad story of unloved Leah begins to turn a corner: “And when the LORD saw that Leah was hated, he opened her womb: but Rachel was barren.” God did not close His eyes to Leah’s plight. God through His providence and loving mercy saw the ache in her heart and did something about her situation. (We could talk about time salvation at this point, but that’s another subject.) We know this to be true because “Leah conceived,” and she bore Jacob “a son, and she called his name Reuben: for she said, surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” Her Sovereign God saw her need, and He moved to meet it. Sisters, I know that you often feel like you have problems that it seems like there is simply no way that there could ever be any solution.

It seems to me to be very obvious that part of Leah’s problem was that she was not as pretty as her younger sister. Rachel no doubt was very beautiful. And when we first see her in Ge 29:6-12, she dances off the page, full of vitality and energy! And she simply has everything going for herself. Are we surprised that Jacob took one look at her and fell head over heals in love with her? No wonder the Bible tells us that working for her for those seven years “seemed unto him but a few days, for the love he had to her.” (Ge 29:20).

Look at Rachel…and then there’s poor, poor Leah. The only thing that the scriptures tell us about Leah is that she was “tender eyed” (Ge 29:17). Commentators and translators have had a field day with the Hebrew word here translated “tender eyed.” We don’t really know what Leah’s eyes were like. Some say she had weak eyes and was going blind, and that Laban wanted to get rid of her quickly before that happened. But one thing is certain to me; Leah’s eyes were “soft and lovely.” Maybe her soft lovely and beautiful eyes were Leah’s only one good feature. The important thing is that whatever she looked like, she grew up in the shadow of a beautiful sister.

One more question, couldn’t God have created Leah to be just as beautiful as Rachel? Why certainly He could. So the question is why didn’t He do it? Doesn’t it seem like it would have saved her great deal of grief? That’s the way that we usually see things isn’t it? Watch this now. It seems like it would be easier to walk by our natural sight. And in so doing, each and every time that we do it, we will always lose out on a wonderful blessing. But the scriptures teach us that we are to “walk by faith, and not by sight” (2Co 5:7). Lets go on now.

When we continue to look at Leah, we ask ourselves why did God wait all of that time until Leah became the unloved wife of Jacob to do something nice for her? And the answer to that question comes to us from the prophet Isaiah who reminds us that God says, “for as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isa 55:9). The Apostle Paul tells us that the Lord told him, that His “grace is sufficient for thee: for” He says, “My strength is made perfect in weakness’ (2Co 12:9). Beloved it is not when we feel to be strong. No, when we feel strong we often forget that we need God. But more often than not, it’s when we are in our weakness that we see Him in His strength.

When we take out time to look more closely at Leah, can we not see that if God had made Leah just as beautiful as her sister Rachel, there’s a good chance she would not have had to be pawned off on Jacob. God often works in our lives by not giving us a perfect situation. He works in such a way so that we are often not able to see things with our natural eyes. And it’s in this way that He reveals His power and love in our many imperfect situations. He works for our good by allowing us to struggle in our less than perfect relationships.

Yes, Leah was unloved. But God saw her in that condition. And He blessed her by opening her womb. Not just once, but at least seven times. Each time that Leah held that tiny new life in her arms and when she named her child, we get a glimpse into her mind, and heart, and into her needs as a woman.

In Ge 29:32, listen to Leah as she is found still cradling her firstborn son, “and she called his name Reuben: for she said, Surely the LORD hath looked upon my affliction; now therefore my husband will love me.” Reuben’s name means “look at me, I have a son!” Soon after that, “she conceived again, and bare” another son, and she said, because the LORD hath heard that I was hated, he hath therefore given me this son also: and she called his name Simeon” (Ge 29:33). And Simon’s name means ‘hearing’ because the Lord heard her crying.

As if two sons were not enough, “she conceived again, and bare a son; and said, now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons: therefore was his name called Levi” And Levi’s name means ‘attached, or joined’ (Ge 29:34).

Three sons. Is that enough? Look at her now; can we see where her focus is? Leah is thinking about herself and placing all of her desire on Jacob. She’s saying, “okay now my husband will at last love me. Because I have given him all of these sons. Keep in mind where her focus is.

Jesus said, “seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33). And apparently he did, because we see in Ge 29:35, “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.” Now listen to what she is saying. Judah’s name means ‘may God be praised.’ Did you catch that? Something has just now changed. Now she is no longer only thinking about herself, now she was thanking God for the blessing of her new little son, and also for His giving her the four sons that she already has. Can you see that her focus has changed? Yes dear little Child of God, she’s seeing something that she wasn’t seeing before.

Look now and see that there are four little boys all in a row. Can you see and listen and hear Leah as she is setting outside her tent on a hot Mesopotamian summer day calling out for her little boys? Reuben! Simeon! Levi! Judah! Listen to the progression in Leah’s understanding and her faith as you hear those names.

Reuben – whose name means, ‘behold, I have a son.” Leah now understood that God had seen her in her misery, and that it was He who opened her womb, and had given her a son. At first she believed that God had done so only so that she would have the love of her husband. But did it work out the way that she thought that it should? Apparently not. It was probably less than a year later that Simeon was born.

Simeon – whose name means, “hearing.” Because she said the Lord had heard her crying. With her second son Leah was still unloved. Reuben’s birth had not caused any change in Jacob causing him to love her. He still had eyes only for Rachel’s problems. And God had heard Leah’s sighs. He had seen her tears. He had understood her deep desire for the love of Jacob and had given her a second son. Surely this time she thought that Jacob would love her. But did he? Then she gave birth to Levi.

Levi – whose name means, “attached or joined.” She said, surely “now this time will my husband be joined unto me, because I have born him three sons.” Hope springs from the heart of God’s people. Leah hoped that each new little son would make a difference in her marriage. And that somehow Jacob would begin to love her just like he loved Rachel. She still hoped for, at the very least to have an equal place with Rachel, if not to have the first place in her husband’s heart. We see that with the passage of time, and after the birth of each little boy, hope was pushed back, and then thrown to the ground. All of her efforts to win Jacob’s love by her efforts were fruitless. In the end he still only had eyes for Rachel.

How many times do we see wives who go to extraordinary lengths to win, or to keep the love of husbands who do not respond to them in love? And beloved just as often, as in the case Leah, that hope through our own efforts, seems to us to be springing eternal, but becomes hope pushed back, or hope thrown to the ground?

It is so very difficult to live in a relationship without any deep, mutual, or committed love! As Children of God everything in our hearts cries out to have it. After all, that was God’s original design for marriage when He created the man Adam, and his wife Eve and brought them together in the Garden of Eden.

And even in Eden marriage was more than sex. It was more than pro-creation. Marriage is a union of hearts, minds, goals, interests, and spirits. Marriage is a joining together of two bodies as one to symbolize all the oneness a man and a woman should experience in every other dimension of their lives together. To picture the oneness of Jesus Christ together with His Bride. For Adam and Eve, it was a total unity that was only possible in that Eden. While in their perfection, Adam and Eve had that relationship. But sin entered in by the “disobedience of one man,” and destroyed that perfect union for themselves as well as for us today.

And to this very day as a flawed woman is married to a flawed man, we cannot have that total and unblemished union with our husbands or wives, that we would like. More often than not, our own personal needs get in the way of their needs! Our wishes collide with theirs! Do we not see how easy it is to become disillusioned about our relationship, and to see that it can’t ever be perfect? So what does a wife do in such a case?

They can continue to try by their own efforts, trying harder and harder, longing, and wishing for something better. Or they can put their trust in God’s providence. Knowing that He can and will “do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph 3:20).

In today’s world, when both men and woman despair of achieving it with Mr. Or Mrs. Wonderful#1. And if that doesn’t work out, they may decide to try it with Mr. Or Mrs. Wonderful #2 or Mr. Or Mrs. Wonderful #3. And there seems to be no end to it. And we can’t seem to find the thing that we seek.

Today we are surrounded with many in the media who keep telling us that “romantic” love is the basis of strong marriages, it’s so hard for us to hang on to the fact that a magnificent marriage is built on something other than human love. It has to be! It seems like in our disappointment of feeling less loved than we’d like, that it might be possible to find the resources for happiness in a less-than-perfect marriage? But what is that resource? It’s the grace of God.

Lets continue on now and take another look at Leah’s attitude when her fourth son was born. She named him Judah, which means, “praising.” She explained, “now will I praise the LORD.” Look at her now, for the first time in naming her sons, Leah turned from expressing her yearning for Jacob’s love to accepting and basking in God’s love!

Lets take out a little time to look at how Leah’s focus had shifted from what she lacked to what God had blessed her with. True, nothing about Jacob had changed. His focus was still on Rachel. Try though she might, she could not change him. But there was a change in herself. Her own focus had changed. Before all she could see was what she lacked, but now she could see, and understand how that the hand of God had been in her life. And He was giving her life significance.

It seems like the most important step toward joy in our lives, in a loveless marriage is to change our focus from what we do not have, to that which the Lord has given us. What did Leah have? She had four sons in a day when having sons meant everything. And when she woke up to this very important understanding, she was able to see the real richness that God had placed in her, and she was able to say, “now will I praise the LORD.”

In Ge 30:1-3, we see the spotlight on Rachel: “And when Rachel saw that she bare Jacob no children, Rachel envied her sister; and said unto Jacob, Give me children, or else I die.” And that Jacob’s “anger was kindled against Rachel: and he said, am I in God’s stead, who hath withheld from thee the fruit of the womb? And she said, Behold my maid Bilhah, go in unto her; and she shall bear upon my knees, that I may also have children by her.”

And so Rachel, after crying not to God, but to her husband Jacob, in turn gives him her handmaid Bilhah, whose name incidentally means ‘foolish,’ in an effort to try and give birth to son by Jacob, and so that she could legally, that is under the law, have a child, but do it through another woman. We know this is true because it was Rachel who named the little boy. She called him Dan, saying, “God hath judged me, and hath also heard my voice, and hath given me a son: therefore called she his name Dan.” (Ge 30:6). And Dan’s name means ‘He Judges me.’

And so she reasoned within herself, “maybe I can have a son through my handmaid. And she reasoned “well, if it worked once for me, then why not do again?” So Rachel sent her handmaid (‘foolish’) Bilhah to Jacob again. And you guessed it, she conceived and bore Jacob another son, and Rachel named the baby Naphtali, which means “wrestlings.” Rachel explained her choice of names by saying, “with great wrestlings have I wrestled with my sister, and I have prevailed.” (Ge 30:8). It is very easy to see her anguish of heart; because Jacob was living in a polygamous relationship, she felt forced to have a relationship in which she is wrestling with her sister. Remember that by God’s original design it was one man and one woman? Look at the results of trying to outdo God’s pattern.

So she no doubt thought, now everything would be set right. But was it? Take a look at the score now. Rachel, four and Leah two in favor. And Leah seemed like she was a little bit nervous that her sister was closing in on her, jumped into the same game, and she gave her maidservant Zilpah, whose name means ‘short’ unto Jacob too. (Ge 30:9). And yes you guessed it again, as soon as Zilpah gave birth to a son, Leah called the child Gad, which means “fortune.” Yes, in her view her riches were increasing! And now the score was five to two, still in Leah’s favor.

Leah must have thought to herself, if it had worked twice for Rachel, maybe it would work twice for me too. So Leah turns again sends Zilpah to sleep with her husband Jacob. Zilpah became pregnant again and bore another son. Leah named him Asher, which means “happy.” She says, “Happy am I, for the daughters will call me blessed: and she called his name Asher.” (Ge 30:13).

What a switch! The loved and favored Rachel was left desolate. The miserable, unloved Leah exclaimed, “Happy am I!” Now the tables were turned. Rachel, the woman who had it all at the beginning was eaten up with jealousy and frustration. Leah was the substitute wife, who wanted so desperately to know her husband’s love, now she had learned to focus on what she had, not on what she lacked. She could say with all confidence, “Happy am I ?”

Elder Thomas McDonald

0401 Rachel and Leah, Part II

Rachel and Leah, Part II

(See Part I - Johnson 0311 Living In A Difficult Marriage “ LEAH”)

It would be good if the story ended with Ge 30:13. Leah sounded victorious over her loveless marriage. She praised God for the blessings that she had, and didn’t focus on what she lacked. It would be nice to think that she stayed that way for the rest of her life. But in life our battles seldom stay won. In the day-to-day rivalry of Rachel and Leah, a rivalry, which lasted their entire lifetime, and Leah’s battle to live above her loveless marriage, had to be fought over and over, again and again.

So once again we can gain some insights into the relationship between the two sisters in the story that follows: one day Leah’s son “Reuben went in the days of wheat harvest, and found mandrakes in the field, and brought them unto his mother Leah.” And so that you will know, a mandrake is not a male goose, but it’s a plant that bears a yellow fruit the size of a plum, and is shaped a little like a tomato. This fruit was called a ‘love apple.’ And people believed that mandrakes helped a woman become fertile. “Then Rachel said to Leah, Give me, I pray thee, of thy son’s mandrakes.” Apparently having your handmaid to bear a son for you is not the same as actually conceiving and giving birth yourself is it? And so she went to see her sister and do a little bargaining. What can we see in these passages of scripture? We see the almost unbearable day-to-day tensions in Jacob’s household.

Rachel’s continual crying to Jacob at the beginning of Ge 30, “Give me children, or else I die!” Notice that she was not crying unto God for her help. This shows us the real and intense desire to bear children for her husband Jacob. But it also shows us that her focus was on man; her focus was on Jacob, and not on her Lord. Remember dear one’s that Jesus said that “ye cannot serve God and mammon” (Mt 6:24; Lu 16:13). So we can understand why, when Rachel saw Reuben with ‘love apples,’ that these ‘love apples’ were in her mind riches...’mammon,’ that he had found, that she would go and ask her sister Leah to give some to her. And we can feel sympathy for her in her plight too. But we can also understand Leah’s answer: “Is it a small matter that thou hast taken my husband? And wouldest thou take away my son’s mandrakes also?”

The relationship between Leah and Rachel was still colored by rivalry. Rachel would do anything to give a child to Jacob. All Leah could see was that Rachel held her husband’s heart in her seemingly careless hands. So the bargaining began. In the end Rachel agreed to let Jacob sleep with Leah that night in exchange for the mandrakes.

And it was the woman who gives up the ‘mandrakes’ who has the child. And the woman who believed in the magical qualities of those little yellow ‘love apples’ remained barren.

When Leah’s fifth son was born, she called him Issachar, meaning a “reward.” She explained his name by saying, “God hath given me my hire, because I have given my maiden to my husband.” She believed that God had rewarded her for being able to go in unto her hired servant, who was her own husband. (Ge 30:18). No doubt Leah saw Issachar’s birth as a reward from God.

It appears that almost immediately Leah conceived again and bore Jacob a sixth son whom she named Zebulun, meaning “great honor.” Her explanation was, “God hath endued me with a good dowry; now will my husband dwell with me, because I have born him six sons.” (Ge 30:20). Now I wonder just how long it will take before Jacob gets the message? How many times does God have to open up Leah’s womb and give him sons before he understands the blessings of God’s design for marriage? We will see.

Lets look again at the ways in which Leah’s understanding of life had grown. After her first son was born, she believed that her husband would now love her. After her third son came along, she thought that at long last her husband would become attached to her. Now at the birth of her sixth son, she has scaled down her expectations. She simply sees that maybe now her husband will treat her with honor. She was becoming more realistic about what would or would not happen in her marriage.

Contentment in a loveless marriage will never come as long as we cling to the ideal of human romantic love and lose sight of the good gifts of His eternal unmerited love and grace that He gives us. Leah focused on her son Zebulun as her “precious gift” from God.

Many years had passed since that morning when Jacob awakened and discovered that the bride in his tent was Leah and not Rachel. During all those years Rachel wanted a child more than anything else in the world. After many years of waiting, and with the score standing at nine for Leah (including a daughter named Dinah), and only two for Rachel, and that through her maidservant. We see that God at last heard Rachel’s cry for a child and she gave birth to a son, which she named Joseph, whose name means ‘may God add’ more children unto me. And what was Rachel’s first response to God’s favor? She said, “the LORD shall add to me another son.” (Ge 30:24).

God did hear and answered her prayer, but with consequences she couldn’t have anticipated. By this time Jacob had worked for Laban for twenty years. One scoundrel was being fleeced by another scoundrel. So Jacob made the decision to return to Canaan with his large family of two wives, two concubines, ten sons and one daughter.

And as the family journeyed west, the unthinkable happened. Rachel, nearing the end of the journey to Jacob’s home, and she was about to give birth to her second son, died in childbirth. What she wanted more than anything else in the world, and this was became she was about to experience her final separation from the man who loved her. The woman Rachel who had every reason to be happy died giving birth to a son, and with her dying breath of sorrow, she names him Ben-Oni, or Benjamin, which means “the son of my sorrow.” (Ge 35:18). And Jacob buried her along the roadside.

It’s easy to look at a woman with breathtaking beauty and the undying love of her man and think that she must be the happiest woman in the whole world. But hear Rachel’s sorrow. Hear her complaint. Beloved, things are not always what they appear to be.

And what of Leah? God had sovereignly removed her rival from the family circle. Rachel was gone. Leah was now the number one wife. We do not know whether Jacob learned to love her any more than he had at the time of that first deception. But we do know that they had many more years together. And we do know that when Leah died, Jacob buried her in the ancestral burial ground, the cave of Machpelah, where Abraham and Sarah, Isaac and Rebekah were buried. In the end he honored her in her death.

And we find that at the end of the book of Ruth, after Boaz had bested the nearer kinsman and had won Ruth as his bride, the elders of the city of Bethlehem prayed, “and all the people that were in the gate, and the elders, said, We are witnesses. The LORD make the woman that is come into thine house like Rachel and like Leah, which two did build the house of Israel.” (Ru 4:11).

Leah the unloved was Leah the foremother who helped build up the house of Israel. Of the twelve sons of Jacob who became the fathers of the twelve tribes of Israel, six were born to Leah. Out of Leah’s personal sadness came rich blessing for Israel. It was Leah who gave birth to Judah, from whom came Israel’s greatest natural king, David, and from whom came the ‘Lion of the tribe of Judah,’ our Lord Jesus Christ.

Leah, the plain older sister of beautiful Rachel, lived in a very difficult situation and survived. Like her, we too as God’s elect people are living in a fallen world. We are people scarred by alienation from each other and from ourselves. Life seldom, if ever, comes to us in a way that is fully satisfying. Most of the time it comes with an edge of dissatisfaction, we find that we don’t have quite enough love, quite enough care, we don’t have quite enough honor, nor quite enough esteem. We never seem to have as much as we’d like.

Little child of God, we are like Leah, we must not put our focus on what we lack and be miserable. We need to follow after the example of our sister Leah in her later life, and focus on what we do have from God, what we have in His blessings and make up our minds that we will praise the Lord!

How do you live with a husband or a wife that shows little or no love toward you? You do it by changing your focus. Change it from the curses of this world and placing it on the Church Kingdom of God, and upon His righteousness! In so doing, you will not only end up exclaiming with Leah, “Happy am I!” but you will someday find that God has worked His miracle through your sadness, touching your world with real and lasting blessings of which only He can give.

God bless you and keep you. The next time we will try to take a look at the difficult marriage Abigail the wife of Nabal in 1Sa 25.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0403 The Entire Story (Thoughts on Ezekiel 16)

The Entire Story

Thoughts on Eze 16

Ezekiel is perhaps one of the most difficult books of the Bible to understand (at least in my case), but the 16th Chapter (Eze 16) gives one of the clearest pictures of the Elect Family of God in the entire Word of God. There are some passages of Scripture that tell entire stories, and this chapter is one of them from start to finish. This chapter talks of the most deplorable state, blessed state, and many states in between that the children of God have been and will be in throughout the course of time and on into eternity.

Eze 16 starts out in the first couple of verses by saying, Eze 16:1-3 “Again the word of the LORD came unto me saying, 2 Son of man, cause Jerusalem to know her abominations, 3 And say, Thus saith the Lord God unto Jerusalem; Thy birth and thy nativity is of the land of Canaan; thy father was an Amorite, and thy mother an Hittite.” These opening verses were not much comfort at all to the Israelites in Ezekiel’s time, nor are they much consolation to us as the spiritual house of Israel today. The LORD is very clear about our condition. Our condition is so destitute, miserable, and hopeless that we don’t even know how pitiful we are. The LORD starts by telling the prophet to cause Jerusalem to know something. Now, if the prophet Ezekiel has to make them know something, then they didn’t know it to begin with. These are new things to man’s ears, and every man that comes into this world will have to have these things told to him, because they are not intuitive to our fleshly nature. The prophet causes them to know their abominations; they have been living unacceptably before their God.

The LORD continues by saying that Israel’s nativity was sinful. The Amorites and Hittites were nations of people inhabiting the land of Canaan before the LORD blessed Israel to inhabit it. They were very wicked nations that were punished for their sins and idolatry. But, the LORD tells Israel that their nativity was of this group. Now, I don’t believe that he is referring to a nativity of succession in the land of Canaan, in other words, that the Amorites and Hittites were their predecessors by the land inhabited. If that had been the case, the LORD would not have said “thy birth and thy nativity”, but would have only said nativity. Rather, these nations, like Egypt, are representations of a sinful condition that man is in by nature. David spoke of this condition in Ps 51:5, “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” This makes it very clear what condition we are born in by nature. There is nothing good that can come from it. David also starts by saying “Behold,” which means that man doesn’t naturally come to this conclusion. In fact, one has to only look around to see that how highly man thinks of himself, and that there is no natural inclination to think of oneself in this low and miserable estate.

The prophet continues with this tale of woe in Eze 16:4-5, “And as for thy nativity, in the day thou wast born thy navel was not cut, neither wast thou washed in water to supple thee; thou wast not salted at all, nor swaddled at all. 5 None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born.”

In this condition, man is shown his inability to regain favor in the sight of the Almighty. When man is born, this condition makes him unwanted by anybody or anything. He is so worthless that there is no effort to do anything for him. When the LORD tells us that our navel was not cut, we were even orphans. It is customary for the father to cut the navel of his offspring upon birth. To the Jews, it was their custom and tradition for the father to cut the navel, and this symbolized the child’s condition and estate in his father’s house. When a bastard was born in the land of Israel, the father would not cut the navel, and thus symbolize that he did not belong to his house. We were bastards in the sight of God, in the fact that our navel was not cut, and we had no father or family to protect us in our vulnerable condition. Further, no care was taken for this child to make it able to fight illness and disease. The child was not salted, swaddled, or suppled, and these three things are very vital for a child’s survival at birth. This nourishing and cherishing by the parents of a child keeps their newborn from developing illnesses that can endanger his life. However, none of these things were done, and we (as represented by this child) were in a condition spoken of in Ro 3:13-18. The “cadaver” of our bodies shows that there was nothing good in us, and Jeremiah tells us that our heart is “desperately wicked” (Jer 17:9). Finally, Isaiah sums it all up in Isa 1:6, “From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises, and putrifying sores: they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment.” There was sickness within and without, no soundness, and no care given upon birth that would make us desirable in any form.

The LORD tells us that no one pitied us (and no wonder) for there was nothing to pity or love. In fact, we were so deplorable and unwanted that we despised even ourselves. The LORD gives us many Scriptures that tell us how man doth love himself. Ro 1 tells us that man even worships himself. Talking to different people, it is easy to find that we are all humanists by nature. There is something in man’s flesh that makes him want to believe in himself. Man feels that if he tries hard enough, has enough will to make a way that he can pull himself out of any miry condition that he may find himself in. But this passage says that even the child loathed itself. This condition was enough to make the child despise its condition. However, the LORD already told Ezekiel that man doesn’t come to this conclusion about his condition on his own. This is one of the purposes of the gospel, which we’ll talk about in greater detail later. Who could love one in such a condition? Who could love what no one pitied? Who could love one who loved not himself? The child was also cast out into an open field, and this was done to remove the unwanted from sight. When you take trash to the dump, it is usually in a place that is far removed from society, so people won’t have to deal with the sight and smell of it. Where is the hope? It comes in verse 6.

Eze 16:6, “And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live; yea I said unto thee when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” This verse has more in it than a dozen preachers could preach out in their lifetimes. It is important to notice what this verse says and what it does not say. First of all, who passed by? The LORD did, and he alone. There was no gospel minister on the scene to help and aid the LORD in giving life to this poor, afflicted, and DEAD child. The LORD says in Isa 63:5, “And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury it upheld me.” The LORD even looked around, but it was He alone who brought this salvation. Whenever I hear someone say that the LORD needs help in getting folks to eternal glory, I wonder whether they have ever read this passage of Scripture. The problem with the gospel minister aiding the LORD in this work of eternal salvation is that the minister is in this same dead condition as the child and every other of His elect family before the LORD passes by. The minister cannot bring life when he has none of his own to begin with. Rather, the gospel minister tells people about this story much like Ezekiel was to tell those Israelites in his day. 2Ti 1:8-10, “Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God; 9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, 10 But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel:”

The gospel tells people about the condition that they are currently in, why they are there, what condition they have been raised from, and why they were in that condition. This salvation (timely) saves man from walking in ignorance and unbelief of the truth. So, the LORD passed by and no other. He brought salvation alone to those He foreknew (Ro 8:29).

It is interesting to note that the LORD gave the same statement twice in Eze 16:6. He repeats the phrase, “when thou wast in thy blood, Live.” Everything in the Holy Writ is important, and the LORD did not waste one iota of space. He says in Mr 13:31, “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” This verse mentions words plural. Therefore, He does not have reference to the entire Word as a whole, but every cross of every t and every dot of every I is important. The LORD divinely inspired all of it. 2Pe 1:20-21, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. 21 For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” The LORD divinely inspired every word, and therefore, I must conclude that when He repeats something that it is of great importance (especially within the same verse). The great importance of this repeated phrase is very clear. The LORD and He alone provided salvation and life for His people. “When I passed by” is very clear, and anyone with clear reasoning can understand. The emphasis is placed on this phrase because the LORD is showing His power and benevolence. He connects the two phrases with the word “yea.” This word places emphasis on what is coming after. So, the LORD is emphasizing the fact that He is God, and there is none like Him. One of the purest “acid tests” on whether someone is preaching the true gospel is whether or not the preaching is God-honouring. The true gospel, as found in the Word of God, is ALL God-honouring. Man is shown in this pitiful state, and our LORD has all the power and glory. He emphasizes our state and how He raised us from it.

We have already discussed in great detail of the condition that we were in. The LORD gives an even more detailed look at our condition. WE WERE DEAD. Had we not been dead, He would not have commanded us to live, since we would be in that condition already. We were dead and polluted in our blood. Paul mentions it this way in Eph 2:1-3, “And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.” We were dead in trespasses and sins. We were plunged into this position when our father Adam fell in the garden. The representation of Adam to us in found in Ro 5 and 1Co 15. So, here we were in this condition when the LORD passed by, but the LORD had pity, compassion, mercy, and love toward us who did not deserve or merit it. He told us to live. Remember where we were when we lived, for it is very important to note that man is not in church praying the prayer for acceptance of a personal savior. Man is not getting dunked in the baptistery, believing in God, having faith, pulling himself up by his own bootstraps, or anything of the kind. De 32:9-12, “For the LORD’S portion is his people; Jacob is the lot of his inheritance. 10 He found him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; he led him about, he instructed him, he kept him as the apple of his eye. 11 As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: 12 So the LORD alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him.”

Where did the LORD find Jacob? Where did He find this child? Where did He find all of His family? This waste howling wilderness that Jacob was in is the same open field that the child in Eze 16 is in. It is not a field that we would associate with crops or open pasture. Rather, it is a place associated with pain, filth, vileness, evil, and DEATH. It is worse than any sewage dump that we have seen or could imagine. That is where the LORD found us, and thanks be unto Him that is not where He left us. For, the LORD would have been just as holy and righteous to leave us there. He would remain the Great King to give us justly what we deserved, and He would still be Omniscient, Omnipotent, and Omnibenevolent. But, He didn’t! What a wonderful and mysterious story! He told us to LIVE!

We have previously mentioned that this phrase “when thou wast in thy blood, Live” appears twice in this verse. This is NOT teaching that the LORD had to call us twice from death unto life. When the LORD calls us, it gets the job done the first time. The LORD’S call is an effectual one. i.e. It produces an effect. In Joh 11, our Savior raised Lazarus from the tomb. It is interesting to note several things about Lazarus’s resurrection. Firstly, Christ commanded Lazarus to do something that he was not capable of doing from a natural standpoint. Christ said, “Lazarus come forth.” Now, I can go into a cemetery and cry for every name on the tombstone to come forth, but my voice has no power in it. The LORD’S voice does have power, and Christ gave him the ability to come forth the moment that He said it. Secondly, Lazarus didn’t protest coming forth. He had no choice in the matter. An interesting question is raised, how did Lazarus come forth when he was bound with graveclothes? However he came out (flying, walking, etc.), he was completely passive in the matter. The child in Eze 16 is also completely passive in the matter. How wonderful and blessed it is to know that the LORD did everything, and there was not a chance of us foiling the plans of the Almighty. Job says this about the effectual call, “Then thou shalt call, and I will answer thee:” (Job 14:15).

Eze 16:7, “I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field, and thou hast increased and waxen great, and thou art come to excellent ornaments: thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown, whereas thou wast naked and bare.” This verse continues the beautiful story about our LORD caring for us in the most tender of ways. As already mentioned, He would have been just, righteous, and holy had He left us in our dead and pitiful state. He would have been just as righteous if He had told us to live and then left us alone. However, He did more than give us life, but He made us beautiful as well. Each phrase of this verse shows the care and relationship that we have to our LORD.

“I have caused thee to multiply as the bud of the field.” Whenever wildflowers start budding in a field, they come up very quickly, and there are more of them than you can count. Our LORD promised Abram in Ge 15:5, “And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.” God told Abram that his seed would be innumerable. There are very powerful telescopes in existence today that can see thousands of light years away into other galaxies, and some of these galaxies have so many stars that it can only be theorized how many billions of stars are in these single galaxies. Now, if there are hundreds or thousands of galaxies comprising the universe with billions of stars in each one, then Abram is going to have a seed according to this number. This seed is talked about in Ro 9:7, “Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children: but, In Isaac shall thy seed be called.” The LORD says this seed is of Isaac, and Isaac’s case is a very special one. Isaac was born to Abraham and Sarah when they were up in years. ACCORDING TO NATURE, they were unable to have offspring. However, the LORD blessed them to have Isaac as a birth by promise. Likewise, we (as part of that innumerable seed) are a birth by promise. The LORD caused us to “multiply as the bud of the field,” and it is an innumerable host.

“Thy breasts are fashioned, and thine hair is grown.” This expression gives us some indication of the care and love that our LORD took upon us. To be fashioned implies that it was not thrown together in some haphazard way. This was not a case of the LORD just implementing some generic structure for His elect. He took care and consideration when making them in the image that He wanted. Paul refers to the parts of the body in 1Co 12:22-25, “Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.” God gave honour and fashion to even the parts of the body that we are the most ashamed of. All of it is tempered together, and He has made it pure. Later, Paul says in 1Co 15:49, “And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.” This image our LORD fashioned according to the image of His Son (Ro 8:29). He also says that our hair is grown. This phrase is a lead-in to Eze 16:8, and begins to talk about our relationship with our Savior. To have long hair can mean one of two things: for a man it is shame, and for a woman it is glory (1Co 11:14-15). When our hair is grown, the LORD is comparing us to a woman, but not just any woman. There was a time when our hair was not grown, and this is representative of a servant. Women who served masters (in OT days) cut their hair so that it would not get in the way of their work. Many of the strange women in Ruth’s day had short hair because they went into the fields to try to find food. However, when a woman passed by the field with long hair, it was a token of her glory and covering that she was the BRIDE of the Master. Not only did our LORD cause us to live but He fashioned us in His Son’s image, and then He married us! This is shown in further detail in Eze 16:8.

Eze 16:8, “Now when I passed by thee, and looked upon thee, behold, thy time was the time of love; and I spread my skirt over thee, and covered thy nakedness: yea I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee, saith the Lord God, and thou becamest mine.” Here our LORD is giving us deep detail as to our relationship with Him. Our time with Him was a time of love. There is similar language in Song 2:4, “He brought me to the banqueting house, and his banner over me was love.” When our LORD deals with us, He does it out of love. When we are full of pride and self-glory, He still loves us. Mr 10 said that Christ loved the rich young ruler, even though he was lifted up within himself. When He corrects us and chastens us for disobedience, He does it out of love as a father does for his child (Heb 12:6-9). However, this is only the beginning of the picture.

“I spread my skirt over thee.” Reading this chapter year after year, I generally assumed that this spreading of the LORD’S skirt over us was simply a covering of our nakedness as He says later in the verse. That is true; the LORD covered our nakedness. However, He did much more than that. This expression is found one other time in the Word of God. Ru 3:8-9, “And it came to pass at midnight that the man was afraid, and turned himself: and, behold, a woman lay at his feet. 9 And he said, Who art thou? And she answered, I am Ruth thine handmaid: spread therefore thy skirt over thine handmaid; for thou art a near kinsman.” The background to this is that Ruth and her mother-in-law Naomi are widows dwelling in the land of Israel. Being a widow was a destitute condition, for a widow did not have a husband to care for her natural needs and support her. At this time, Ruth was following behind the reapers in Boaz’s field with the strangers to get enough food for her and Naomi to eat and live on. However, it was a custom in the land of Israel that the nearest kinsman to the widows and orphans would take them into his own home to care for their every need. If the widow was childless, then it was the near kinsman’s responsibility to raise up seed in the name of the widow’s husband. This was what Ruth was asking Boaz to do for her. By spreading his skirt over her, he was playing the part of the near kinsman, and she would live no longer in her desolate condition of widowhood. So, our LORD told us that He has played the part of the near kinsman. He lifted us out of our widowhood, and we became His. Playing the part of the near kinsman takes on a responsibility. In doing so, a near kinsman pledges on his honour that the widow will not be in need for as long as he lives. Therefore, we have nothing to worry about while our LORD liveth, and He knows no end.

Because our LORD played the part of a near kinsman to us, He became SURETY for us. Jesus is said to be our surety (Heb 7:22), and because of that we need not fear. Surety is a very comforting thing because no obligation whatsoever is placed on the receiver of surety. When someone becomes surety for someone else, they agree to take on all responsibility and obligation for the individual REGARDLESS of the circumstance. It does not matter whether the individual can pull himself out of the situation or not. The one who gives surety takes care of him. Our LORD loves us just that much that He takes care of us when we are at our best or worst. This is the covenant that He talks about in this verse. This covenant is not the old law service under Moses. This covenant is not the covenant that He made to Abraham that his seed would inherit the land of Canaan. While these are covenants that the LORD made, He is talking about the covenant, “I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.” (Heb 13:5) This covenant is never-ending. Some covenants passed away (the old law service), but this one will never end. This is the covenant of a near kinsman. This is a covenant that He gave to us when we became His. When did we become His? Ro 8:29 tells us we were His before our very existence. We became His before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4-5), and from that time, we have never had to want for He cares for our every need.

Eze 16:9, “Then washed I thee with water; yea I throughly washed away thy blood from thee, and I anointed thee with oil.” This verse tells us how our LORD currently sees us today. He has taken everything polluted away from us, and there is no more sign of it. He washed away our filthiness and blood with water. However, this water is not the water of the baptistery. This water is not the water of conversion that the Apostle Peter talked about on the day of Pentecost. Job says in Job 9 that even “snow water” will not wash away our uncleanness. Pure snow, when melted, is the purest, cleanest, and most wholesome water that our bodies can ingest. But, even water this clean and pure will not do the job. So, what is this water? This water is not John the Baptist’s water from the Jordan River. This water is found in 1Jo 5:8, “For there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.” Now, I don’t have to wonder who John is talking about because back up in 1Jo 5:6 it says, “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” There was only one body that had full agreement with Spirit, water, and blood. That was the body of our LORD Jesus Christ. This body had no sin in it (Ro 8:3), and He washed away our blood by shedding blood of His own (Heb 9:22). He didn’t wash just part of it, but He throughly washed away all of it from our sight. Then He anointed us with oil to keep us free from re-infestation of sin. Ps 23:5 talks about Him anointing our head with oil. This is something that a shepherd does to his sheep to keep them from becoming infected and diseased. Our LORD’S work of washing and anointing keeps us free from disease and infestation. Our bodies still sin and will die because of sin, but there is something within us that is incapable of sinning (1Jo 3:9). Ro 11:26 tells us that He turned ungodliness away from Jacob. The reason He didn’t turn Jacob from ungodliness is that Jacob would have gone right back to it. But, He removed it from us not to be found again. Now, that doesn’t mean that we will be sinless from this day forward. NO IN NO WISE! It means that we are completely and totally removed forever from the final result of sin (eternal damnation). We will see in Eze 16 that the sin is not completely gone from our actions.

Eze 16:10-14 talk about the further beauty that our LORD clothes us with. He is so gracious and good to us in every deed and action. He didn’t just cause us to live, marry us, adopt us, born us into His family, become our near kinsmen, keep us holy in His sight, but He does “exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us” (Eph 3:20). Eze 16:10-14 tell us that He made us so beautiful that even the world took notice of us. The very heathen of this world hear of our renown, beauty, and glory. When people see us today, that same thing still applies. We have something that the world cannot give us. We have a hope within us that saves us (Ro 8:24). This hope allows us to stare into the face of death and not fear what may come. When in His Spirit, we walk in a way to bring glory to Him and not ourselves (Mt 5:16). He has given us the capacity to bear fruit of the Spirit (Ga 5:22-23). Because of all that, the very ungodly can become jealous and full of envy. Our beauty they will seek to destroy, and our renown they will try to trample under foot. He has given us so very much.

Our LORD is not satisfied by giving us His spirit, but He clothes us with the very finest of everything. There is not one thing that He ever gives to His people that is not the absolute best. It is always amazing to me that folks can forget to give God any credit whatsoever about the good things in their life, but they immediately blame Him for everything that goes wrong in their life. Jas 1:17 tells us that exact opposite is true. These four verses show in fact what God does give us, and each of these things takes care and consideration on the part of the Giver. These jewels, broidered work, beautiful crowns, earrings, gold, silver, and silk are fine things that take effort to find and make. The things our LORD gives us aren’t just lying around to pick up, but they are the good things that show that care was involved. We also are given the finest to eat (honey, flour, and oil). Our LORD’S bounty and dainties are far richer than anything this old world has to offer. Because of all this, we are beautiful. Not of ourselves, but all because of Him. Now, these things that the LORD gives us are at the very peak of our minds. The human, finite mind cannot comprehend anything better than what our LORD has given us in these verses. Yet, these are only the firstfruits. Heaven is far better than these things, not because it is any different but because there it is unbounded and reaching through all eternity. Heaven is made of the very substance of spiritual things our LORD gives us on earth, but heaven will be the fullness of what now is in part (1Co 13).

Now if this was where the story ended, the Calvinists would have ground to stand on. But, Eze 16:15 starts out, “But thou didst trust in thine own beauty…” From Eze 16:15 to Eze 16:59 (Eze 16:15-59), the LORD paints a picture of what we do even after He has done all these things for us. Even though He has given us everything good in our lives, we still are obstinate, sinful, and bear forth bad fruit. These deplorable actions denounce the doctrine of perseverance by the Elect Family of God. To say that these actions are just showing that they were never elect to begin with makes God a liar when He said “thou becamest mine” in Eze 16:8. We are still His through all of these sinful actions. The man Lot had a righteous soul (2Pe 2:7-8) but lived among wicked acquaintances and wicked actions of his own. This child in Eze 16 spends most of the chapter with the LORD pointing out how it continues to live in a state not pleasing to Him. Indeed, there are many of God’s children walking in a way not pleasing to Him. All of His Elect will sin even after He plants that seed within them. Obviously, if perseverance was the trait and quality that the saints will possess in their lives, then we should be able to find examples of this in the Scriptures, but they are no where to be found. Take the Apostle Peter in Mt 16:17. Christ calls him blessed, but Peter’s life after this statement by our LORD is replete with backslidings and disobedience. King David was a man after God’s own heart as early as his anointing by Samuel, but he also was found guilty of many shameful crimes and sins after this fact. To say that disobedience is a sign that one was never elect to begin with will not stand up to the Holy Writ. Still, this is not the end of the story, and praise be to Him that it is not!

Eze 16:60, “Nevertheless I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant.” Thank God for that “nevertheless!” Despite the fact that we fail to give God the thanks, praise, honour, glory, and service that we should, He is still faithful to us. Even though we have been born again (Eze 36; Joh 3; Tit 3), we still fall short. The very idea that we could do it for ourselves becomes even more ludicrous. Not only were we incapable before to do any good, but even after He makes us capable we still don’t come close. However, our LORD still loves us. Another “nevertheless” that brings comfort is, “Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” (2Ti 2:19) Once our LORD loves us, borns us into His family, adopts us, marries us, plays the near kinsman to us, and becomes our surety, He doesn’t change His mind. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Heb 13:8) “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” (Jas 1:17) Although we change all the time, our LORD does not. He will never leave us or forsake us. Indeed, we are secure in Him. “For I am the LORD, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Mal 3:6)

This is the entire story of every elect child of God. There was a time when they were dead in trespasses and in sins. Then, God loved them, raised them up, cared for them, chastened them, and WILL one day come back for them. He said that He was coming back again to take us to be with Him (Joh 14; 1Th 4; Col 3:4). What a comfort and blessing it is to know that He has done it all for us, and one day we will see Him as He is and know Him even as He knows us. “Wherefore comfort ye one another with these words.”

Philip N. Conley

The above article was written by Philip Conley of Mississippi, who is a son of the late Elder John Conley.

0407 Frequently Asked Questions About Old Line Primitive Baptists

Frequently Asked Questions About

Old Line Primitive Baptist

11/28/03

Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear (1Pe 3:15). This booklet has been written in order that those who are honest seekers may have a better understanding of who and what we stand for. These are only a few of the most frequently asked questions given as an overview.

Table of contents:

1. What is the difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious orders?

2. What is meant by the term “Old Line?”

3. What do you mean by the name “Primitive Baptist”?

4. How are Primitive Baptists different from Other Baptists?

5. What do Primitive Baptists believe about the scriptures?

6. Why do Primitive Baptists call their ministers elders?

7. Why do Primitive Baptists not have to train their ministers?

8. Why do Primitive Baptists require their elders to be male?

9. How do Primitive Baptists determine questions of Church practice?

10. Why do Primitive Baptists only have communion with baptized believers of the same faith and order?

11. Why do Primitive Baptists use real wine and unleavened bread in their communion services?

12. Why do Primitive Baptists wash feet?

13. Why do Primitive Baptists require baptism by full water immersion?

14. Why do Primitive Baptists re-baptize people who come and join them from other orders?

15. Why do Primitive Baptists not use musical instruments in their worship services?

16. Why do Primitive Baptists not have Sunday schools?

17. Why do Primitive Baptists not have crosses or pictures of Jesus in their churches?

18. What do Primitive Baptists believe about speaking in tongues as well as other miraculous gifts?

19. What do Primitive Baptists believe about the fall of man?

20. What do Primitive Baptists believe about unconditional election?

21. What is meant by the term “predestination?

22. Do Primitive Baptists believe that Jesus Christ died for the whole human race?

23. If a person is already “saved” why do Primitive Baptists continue to preach?

24. Why do Primitive Baptists not send out missionaries?

25. Are Primitive Baptists “Protestants?

26. Do Primitive Baptists believe in tithing?

27. Do Primitive Baptists receive a salary?

28. Why do Primitive Baptists not preach that God loves everybody?

29. Since Primitive Baptists believe that your eternal destiny is secure in the hands of God and that you as a man cannot do anything to change it, do you worry that you may be wrong?

30. If the Primitive Baptists believe that the scriptures were not written in order to save souls to ever lasting life, what do they believe they were written for?

31. Do Primitive Baptists believe in preaching the gospel to sinners?

32. Aren’t the scriptures written as a means to get someone to be born again?

33. Do Primitive Baptists believe that it is necessary to call on men to repent and believe?

34. What do Primitive Baptists mean when they refer to the gospel or militant church?

35. Do Primitive Baptists preach infants to hell?

1. What is the difference between Primitive Baptists and other religious orders? The main difference is that Primitive Baptist believe salvation comes by free and sovereign grace. Basically there are two beliefs to be found among those who confess to be “Christians” in the world. One is that salvation is by grace, and grace alone, and the other is that salvation is dependant on some form of a works system. Most people say that they believe in salvation by grace, but add in to it a belief that this grace is dependant upon the will of man; such as belief, repentance, faith, baptism, or hearing and receiving the gospel as a condition on which must be done in order to receive eternal life. Primitive Baptist believe that the Bible teaches that salvation is of, and by the Lord alone, apart from any work of man, and that His grace alone, with nothing else added.

2. What is meant by the term “Old Line?” Put simply it is a term used to describe something that is very old, marked by being “strait and narrow.”

3. What do you mean by the name “Primitive Baptist”? The true Church of Jesus Christ has been known by many different names in the past until this very day. They were first “called Christians at Antioch” (Ac 11:26). Other names include Donatists, Waldenses, Albigeneses, and Ana-Baptist, etc. In 1832 there was a division in the Baptist family of churches in this country. There were those who came in "among" the Baptist people and insisted on establishing “New” Missionary Boards, Sunday Schools, as well as other non-scriptural societies in the church, these who embraced and accepted the changes were referred to as the “New School” or “Missionary Baptist.” While those who opposed these new inventions and who continued to walk in the established “Old Paths” that became were known as the “Old School” or “Primitive Baptists.” And so the term “Primitive Baptist” refers to the “Original,” “First of its kind,” and coming from the beginning of the time of the life of Christ. They are able to trace their identity back to the first church, which He set up and established.

4. How are Primitive Baptists different from Other Baptist? In the United States alone it’s been estimated that there are well over 53 different types of those who call themselves “Baptist.” And the first thing that someone notices when they come and worship with us is the lack of formality in the services toward God. Nothing has been added to, nor taken away from the service of God, but is kept as simply as is possible, and as close to the way in which Jesus left it when He set it up (Re 22:19).

5. What do Primitive Baptists believe about the scriptures? They believe “that all scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2Ti 3:15-16). And that God has preserved His word over the ages, and that the 1611 King James Translation is the best translation in the English language. Of all the books written from that only the King James is regarded as being scripture. This is maintained by the fact of the superiority of its manuscripts used in its translating as well as the superior scholarship of its translators.

6. Why do Primitive Baptists call their ministers elders? There are only two terms used in the scriptures referring to preachers. These are bishop and the other is elder (1Ti 3:1-7; Tit 1:5-9; 1Pe 5:1). The term reverend is used only once in the scriptures, and it has reference to God (Ps 111:9). No man is worthy to hold such a title. As to the term father the scriptures never use it as a title, Jesus Himself commanded that we are to call no man father upon the earth (Mt 23:9).

The term apostle is clearly used in the scriptures to mean a minister who Jesus Himself called to that office in the early Church, and they were eyewitnesses to His sufferings and resurrection. And they were given special powers that elder’s who followed do not have (Ac 8:18; 2Co 12:12; Heb 2:2-4).

7. Why do Primitive Baptists not have to train their ministers? Each Primitive Baptist Church congregation chooses from their own male members only those who are proven faithful the truth of the gospel and the church and established practices. This is shown by having each to speak for a period of time to determine if they have a gift or calling from God to preach, usually 2 to 5 years or longer.

Ministers are expected to seek the wisdom and guidance of God to guide them in their studies of the scriptures. And are to seek out the counsel of experienced ministers about any questions of scriptural interpretation and matters of church practice.

Although Primitive Baptist have not objection to a minister having or seeking an education, they view theological seminary schools, and preaching seminars as being unscriptural and the invention of flawed man and are to be avoided. In this way each elder will learn totally by and through the Holy Ghost, aided by his fellow ministers, as it was from days of the apostles and the early church.

8. Why do Primitive Baptists require their elders to be male? Simply because the scriptures require it to be so ( 1Co 14:35-36; 1Ti 2:11-12; 3:2). And there are no female elders in the scriptures. And unlike those who disregard this fact due to popular opinions, the scriptures also state that a woman is not “to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence (1Ti 2:12).

9. How do Primitive Baptists determine questions of Church practice? All questions of practice of which the scriptures do not expressly address are to be resolved by scriptural pattern or example. (1Co 11:1-2; 2Th 2:15; 3:6).

Any tradition that has no biblical authority are to be considered as hostile to true worship, and only serve to puff up the flesh (Mr 7:5-13).

10. Why do Primitive Baptists only have communion with baptized believers of the same faith and order? In Luke 22:9-20, it was only with the disciples who came to Jesus and asked Him “Where wilt thou that we prepare” for the Passover that He told to go into the city and they would see a man carrying a pitcher of water, which, they were to follow to a certain house. And ask him and he would show “them” an “upper room” already prepared for that purpose. After which Jesus sat down along with His “twelve apostles,” where He then “took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, “take this, and divide it among yourselves: for I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. And he took bread, and gave thanks, and brake it, and gave unto them, saying, this is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, this cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you.”

And the Apostle Paul also said, “Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord's body” (1Co 11:27-29). People who have not believed and committed themselves to baptism have not yet examined themselves as to their Christian duty, and should not enter into the communion. And any Church who would allow such a one to enter into communion would in effect make baptism of little or no importance.

The entering into communion is to be a grave and serious matter, not to be taken lightly. Jesus also said to His disciples, “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen” (Mt 28:19-20). The proper order is, first, belief, second, baptism, third, observing all that Jesus commanded. (See also Mr 16:16; Ac 2:41-42; 8:36-37; Ro 6:3-4).

11. Why do Primitive Baptists use real wine and unleavened bread in their communion services? Jesus himself changed water into wine during a wedding service, which is evidenced by the statement of the governor of the feast, who remarked that “every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine; and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse: but thou hast kept the good wine until now” (Joh 2:1-10). If it were grape juice, as some would suggest, it would have made little or no difference when it was served.

It should also be noted that the communion took place immediately after the Passover, in which unleaved bread and wine were used (Ex 12:3-8; Nu 9:9-11; De 16:1-3; Mt 26:17; Mr 14:12; Lu 22:7). 

12. Why do Primitive Baptists wash feet? The Apostle John explains that, “And supper being ended,” that Jesus “riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself.” And “after that He poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.” Having completed this He said, “know ye what I have done to you? Ye call me Master and Lord: and ye say well; for so I am. If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another’s feet.”

13. Why do Primitive Baptists require baptism by full water immersion? To begin with the word “baptize” is a Greek word that literally means to immerse or dip under the water. And this is the example that Jesus Himself has left us to follow. Immediately after being baptized He “went up straightway out of the water: and, lo, the heavens were opened unto him, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove, and lighting upon him: And lo a voice from heaven, saying, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Mt 3:16-17; Mr 1:10-11).

14. Why do Primitive Baptists re-baptize people who come and join them from other orders? In Ac 19:1-7 we read the Apostle Paul was traveling through Ephesus, and he found “disciples” who had not even “heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” And Paul asked them if in what name were they baptized, to which they answered that they were baptized by John the Baptist believing that Christ was still yet to come into the world. This was before John had told all of them to follow Jesus. And, the scriptures tell us that “when they heard this, they were baptized’ (again) ‘in the name of the Lord Jesus,” to which they received the Holy Ghost. (Ac 19:1-7).

Baptism is ordnance maintained by the Church, as a means of entering into the membership of the church body (Ac 2:41). Three things must be present in order to have a proper baptism. First, there must be a proper administer, that is a true gospel minister recognized by the church. Second, there must be a proper candidate, a believer in the true gospel of Jesus Christ. And third, there must be a body of water (Ac 8:36). Therefore any former baptism that does not meet these requirements would not be considered to be proper, such as infant baptisms, sprinklings, those outside of the church.

15. Why do Primitive Baptists not use musical instruments in their worship services? The answer to this is straight forward, because is no scriptural precedent for it in the New Testament. We do however find that there are repeated instructions to sing in the church (Ro 15:9; 1Co 14:15; Eph 5:19; Col 3:16; Heb 2:12; Jas 5:13).

Some object to this and attempt to refer to Ps 137:2-3, “We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, sing us one of the songs of Zion.” But they fail read the fourth verse, which reads (Ps 137:4), “how shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?”

Also some refer to Ps 150, which speaks of the use of many instruments of music being used to praise the Lord. But these are not referring to the New Testament Church, by to the old Jewish worship under the Law. And so if this be true and we are to do these things, then would it not also be true that we ought to also have animal sacrifices in the churches as well? We cannot simply pick and choose what we will add; it’s all of the law or nothing.

And again some would insist that there are many things that are found in most, if not all of today’s modern churches that are without scriptural precedent, such as electric lighting, air conditioning, carpeting, etc. but none of these things have anything to do with the worship of God.

16. Why do Primitive Baptists not have Sunday schools? To begin with there is no scriptural precedence for Sunday schools. Although it’s certain that the Apostle Paul most certainly admonishes God’s people to study the scriptures (2Ti 2:15). It’s a great benefit to study in a setting with a pastor with other Christian believers. However there is nothing in the scriptures that we find which instructs any New Testament Church, or for that matter in the old law worship, to separate themselves by age, sex, or any other criteria.

Some may insist that Sunday schools are necessary for the instruction of children. It has been falsely assumed by “popular opinion” that children cannot be instructed in a proper church worship service. But this is simply not true, in Mt 11:25 Jesus says concerning children, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” And again in Mt 21:15, we see a wonderful thing, children crying out praises to God in the temple, saying, “Hosanna to the son of David.”

In the Old Testament we find that instruction is not just a Sunday event, but an every day, from the time we rise up in the morning to the time we lay down to sleep at night event (De 6:6-7).

17. Why do Primitive Baptists not have crosses or pictures of Jesus in their churches? To start with the scriptures forbid having any kind of images of God at all (Ex 20:4-5). And to do so is considered to be idolatry (1Co 10:14; Ga 5:19-21; 1Jo 5:21). And so having pictures of Jesus: who is God the Son in the flesh (Joh 1:1; 5:18,14; 14:8-9; Php 2:5-8), would also be included in this commandment. And lastly, pictures of Jesus are only products of man’s imagination. And lastly, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Heb 12:2).

18. What do Primitive Baptists believe about speaking in tongues as well as other miraculous gifts? They believe that there are always possibilities of miracles (Mt 17:19-20; Mr 9:23; 11:23). And most of God’s people have been witness to having their prayers answered in most miraculous ways.

In the scriptures we find that miracles are always performed by, in the Old Testament, by the prophets, and in the New Testament, by Jesus Christ or His Apostles. Special gifts were given to and where ended with apostles. These gift were given to them in order to establish the fact that the church early church had arrived with power. That having been accomplished, and since there not apostles in the world today, any so-called occurrence of extraordinary spiritual gifts would be a departure from the scriptural pattern.

There is also evidence that these gift began to diminish even with the apostles, Paul instructed Timothy to take a little wine for a chronic stomach problem that he was suffering (1Ti 5:23), and he even wrote of leaving Trophimus who was sick at Miletum (2Ti 4:20). Wouldn’t be reasonable to assume that he would have healed these people if he still possessed these apostolic powers?

The practice of counterfeiting miracles in the name of Jesus Christ is condemned in scripture (Mt 7:21-23). It is done only to deceive, bringing fame and monetary gain to those who do so. And lastly it serves to discredit any true miracles that are recorded in the Bible, and takes away the belief in the power of prayer to God (2Pe 2:1-2).

19. What do Primitive Baptists believe about the fall of man? They believe The man Adam was created perfect, and that he willfully sinned in his disobedience of God’s commandment saying, “of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die” (Ge 2:16-17).

And that in his disobedience he plunged all of his posterity into sin and death (Ro 5:12-19). And that man in his natural state is dead in his trespasses and sins (Eph 2:1) and is unable, and unwilling to recover himself by his own “free-will” (Joh 1:13; 6:44; Ro 3:10-20; 9:16).

20. What do Primitive Baptists believe about unconditional election? They believe that God choose out a people before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4). And that God sent forth His only begotten Son, born into the world fulfilling all that was necessary for every one of them to be with Him in Glory.

21. What is meant by the term “predestination? Predestination is a phrase used in the Bible no less than 4 times (Ro 8:29-30; Eph 1:5,11). It is a word that describes God’s choosing out of the world of Adam’s race a “great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues” (Re 7:9) to be conformed to the image of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ (Ro 8:28-30). It is said by those who object to this doctrine that it is an unfair doctrine, but Primitive Baptist understand that had it not been for God’s predestinating according to His sovereign will, the entire human race would have remained “dead in trespasses and sins” forever. Predestination is not the sinner’s enemy, but it is his friend, it brings him to a state of salvation from his ruined condition into a state of grace. Predestination is not “what” God “foreknows,” but “whom” He “foreknows.”

22. Do Primitive Baptists believe that Jesus Christ died for the whole human race? No, Primitive Baptist understand that the scriptures do not support such an idea. Primitive Baptist believe that Christ died for the elect only (Mr 13:27; 1Pe 1:2). And that the ones that He died for do not have their trespasses imputed to them and are not condemned (2Co 5:18-19). Jesus said in Joh 6:37-39, “all that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Jesus came into the world to “save His people from their sins” (Mt 1:21; Ro 8:33-34), and that He accomplished what His father sent Him to do. And that God “saw the travail of His soul and was satisfied” (Isa 53:10-12).

23. If a person is already “saved” why do Primitive Baptists continue to preach? Primitive Baptist understand that preaching is not for the purpose of saving someone to eternal salvation, but is for the comfort of God’s people (Isa 40:1-2,9; Eph 4:11-16). Eternal salvation is a result of a direct operation of the Holy Ghost causing one to be born again from death in sin, unto life with God in heaven’s glory world (Joh 3:6-8). The gospel brings “life and immortality to light” (2Ti 1:10), but it does not produce life.

24. Why do Primitive Baptists not send out missionaries? Primitive Baptist believe that sense the gospel is not necessary to save someone to eternal glory, it is not therefore necessary to send forth men to make people ready, or to “save souls” in order for them to go to heaven. And that God’s ministers ought to go only where they are directed by the Holy Ghost and not by a missionary board (Ac 20:22-23). And that if He does cause a minister to feel that he is called to go out into a foreign country to preach the gospel, that he ought to go at once, depending on the Lord and those that he is called to serve, and not wait for someone to pay his way.

25. Are Primitive Baptists “Protestants? No, the true Church that Jesus Christ established was before all other religious orders and institutions of men that have taken the name of “Christian” to themselves. The true Church had nothing to reform, and therefore cannot be called a Protestant Church.

26. Do Primitive Baptists believe in tithing? Primitive Baptist believe that tithing was and is an Old Testament Law requirement that is not binding today. It was given as a “tax” used to support the priesthood, and the upkeep of temple. We believe that God’s people in the Church are to “give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver” (2Co 9:7). And to give in secret, “and thy Father which seeth in secret Himself shall reward thee openly” (Mt 6:4).

27. Do Primitive Baptists receive a salary? No, Primitive Baptist ministers having been called by God devote their time and resources to the service of God and His people out of love. They follow after the example set forth by Jesus when He sent out His disciples to preach, instructing them to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give. Provide neither gold, nor silver, nor brass in your purses, nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat” (Mt 10:7-10; Mr 6:7-9; Lu 9:1-3; 10:1-4). And as the Lord blesses their labors among them, those who receive his labor contribute willingly to his needs (Lu 22:25-26; 1Co 9:9-14).

28. Why do Primitive Baptists not preach that God loves everybody? Because the Scriptures do not teach that He does. God does love all of His people that He has placed in Christ Jesus before the world began, and they do number the stars in the sky, and the sands on the seashore…enumerable, but this does not include everyone in the human family of Adam. (Ro 9:11-13).

29. Since Primitive Baptists believe that your eternal destiny is secure in the hands of God and that you as a man cannot do anything to change it, do worry that you may be wrong? No, just the opposite is true. There is great comfort in the knowledge that you place with God is in the Lord Almighty’s hands and not in the hands of fallible man (Tit 3:5-7).

30. If the Primitive Baptists believe that the scriptures were not written in order to save souls to ever lasting life, what do they believe they were written for? The scriptures were written for three main reasons, first, glorify God (Ro 15:6-9), second, to comfort God’s people (Ro 15:4), and third, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2Ti 3:16-17).

31. Do Primitive Baptists believe in preaching the gospel to sinners? Yes, by all means, because Primitive Baptist believe that it is only the born again child of God in the world who would have any interest in the grace of God toward poor and needy sinners. They understand that the dead cannot receive anything at all, but one must be born again from above in order to “see the kingdom of God,” or to enter in to it (Joh 3:3-5). And that he is born again as the Holy Spirit sovereignly moves (Joh 3:8). And the Gospel is not addressed to the dead alien sinner, but to those who are living and are burdened with their sins (Mt 11:28-30).

32. Aren’t the scriptures written as a means to get someone to be born again? The scriptures were not written to cause someone to be born again, but it is true that we are born again by the Word of God which liveth and abideth for ever,” but this “Word” is not the written word, nor is it the preached word, but it is the Living Word, the Lord Jesus Christ (Joh 1:1-2,14; 1Pe 1:23-25). The word and the gospel are two distinctly different things. Jesus and the message are not the same thing. The gospel is the “good news from a far country” of what He has done for His people. (Pr 25:25; Mt 11:5).

33. Do Primitive Baptists believe that it is necessary to call on men to repent and believe? Yes, they certainly do, but this message is not to the dead alien sinner, but only to one who is burdened by his sins, and he ought to repent and believe the truth. For when he does repent, believes, and is baptized he is going to be saved from the distresses, errors of confusion, and pit falls that will come his way while he lives in this sinful world (Mr 16:16). This salvation is not that which takes someone to heaven, but one which will save him while here in the world (Ac 2:40).

34. What do Primitive Baptists mean when they refer to the gospel or militant church? There are two phases of the church. This is a reference to the physical congregation of believers, which was set and established by Jesus Christ while He was here on the earth as a place of rest while they are on their way home to God the Father. In order to enter into the gospel church a person must be taught by the preaching of the gospel to follow the Lord in obedience into the waters of baptism. The gospel church is that called a “little flock” by Jesus (Lu 12:32).

While there is also a universal church which is made up of all of those who have been born again by God, which Jesus will someday present to His Father without “spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). This church, which will be housed with Him in heaven, is without number (Heb 11:12; Re 5:9; 7:9).

35. Do Primitive Baptists preach infants to hell? No, the doctrine preached by Primitive Baptist is the only doctrine that gives any hope at all that infants, the feeble-minded, and the person who has never heard, nor will be in heaven. Most other religious orders of people preach and teach that it is necessary for someone to hear, understand and respond to the message of the gospel, and must manifestly believe on Christ, in order to become a child of God. But Old Line Primitive Baptist believe and teach that everyone to whom God loves, and that He gave to His Son Jesus Christ will receive the mercy of God without the hearing of the gospel, and without fully understanding what has taken place within his heart. If eternal salvation is dependent upon any work that is to be done by man, then the infant, the feeble-minded, and the heathen must have the gospel preached to them by man, and they must repent and believe the truth, and there would be no hope for them. And they’re being no word in the scriptures declaring an “age of accountability,” and that “wages of sin is death,” (Ro 6:23,) then the infant who dies, is paying for its own sin. But since the sovereign grace of God is in and through the work our His Son, we know full well that He will save His own regardless of their circumstances in life. (Ro 8:29-30,34-39; 11:28; 2Ti 2:13,16-19).

“These are only but a few of the questions that may be asked concerning the Primitive Baptist, but if you find that you have an interest in the pure and simply form of Apostolic worship, I would like to encourage you to come and attend worship services with God’s people who are numbered among the Old Line Primitive Baptist who meet and sing the old songs of Zion, pray together, and are blessed to hear the joyful sound of the gospel. These are the poor and needy sinners, who have felt the Spirit of God in their hearts, and rejoice in their blessed hope.”

Elder Thomas McDonald

0411 Friends

Friends

Pr 18:24 reads, “A man that hath friends must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” There are several characteristics or qualities that go into making up a good friend. As we study these characteristics we want to consider that we have one friend who is above all other friends, that is, the Lord Jesus Christ. He is that friend that sticketh closer than a brother. In the scriptures we see him called the friend of publicans and sinners. I for one am glad that he is the sinner’s friend.

In Pr 17:17 we read, “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” I have had friends in high school, in college, at the various work places, and at different locations where we have lived. In most cases when we separated ourselves from those institutions or locations we have, in effect, lost contact with those who had been our friends. I have had a few friends, especially amongst the old Baptists who though separated by distance have continued to be good friends. Many things can separate friends such as location, marriage, work environment, sickness, financial status, social status, and other interests. A true friend will love at all times, regardless of our physical or financial condition, location, status, age, or other interests. Jesus loved us even when we were dead in trespasses and sins. He loves us even though we are sinners and he is perfect. He loved us before the foundation of the world and he loved us when he suffered and died on the cross and he will still be loving us when he comes again to claim our bodies in the resurrection. He will never leave us or forsake us. He tells us to cast our care upon him for he careth for us. We can rest assured that regardless of our physical or financial condition or social status that Jesus will still be loving us. Paul wrote in Ro 8:35-39, “ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.  37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.  38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come,  39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

In Pr 27:6 we read, “Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.” It is desirable in a friend that he not just tell us what we want to hear, but that he tell us the truth even when it wounds us. A true friend will tell us when our attitude stinks or when what we do or propose to do is wrong. He will tell us when we are hurting his or someone else’s feelings. He will reprove or rebuke us when we need it. He will admonish or encourage us when that is needed. We all at times need to be reproved, rebuked or admonished. We all need to be told when we are hurting peoples feelings or when we are doing something wrong. It is a true friend who will not be deceitful, but will tell us the truth, even when it hurts. Jesus is that friend who will always be honest with us and will reprove us or rebuke us when that is needed. He will chastise us because he loves us. He cares for us and therefore will wound us when we need to be wounded. Never will he be deceitful toward us.

In Pr 27:9 we read, “Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.” One of the characteristics of friends is that they will share one another’s counsel. There have been times in my life that I needed to know how to do something or what to say to someone or how to present something, or what am I doing wrong, etc. A friend will readily and heartily give you his counsel. Friends are there to share with one another and to help one another. Life would be a whole lot more difficult if it weren’t for friends who have shared with me their counsel. No one has shared with us more counsel than the Lord Jesus Christ. He has given us his word. He has revealed to us his truths. According to Joh 15:15 Jesus said, “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.” Jesus word is a thorough furnisher unto all good works. There just isn’t anything missing that we need. His counsel is also always correct and best for us. Furthermore, we can go to him in prayer and ask for his guidance and leadership in our lives and he will give it and it will be the very best for us. He is indeed our best counselor.

In Song 5:16 we read, “His mouth is most sweet: yea, he is altogether lovely. This is my beloved, and this is my friend, O daughters of Jerusalem.” Other than Jesus, the best friend I have had in this life is my beloved wife. It is indeed a joy when one is both your beloved and your best friend. Jesus has taken us to be his bride or beloved and he is also our best friend. We have the privilege of telling “the daughters of Jerusalem” what a friend we have in Jesus and how he has loved us with an everlasting love. We have the privilege, as the man who had the legions of unclean spirits cast out of him by the Lord, to go home and tell our friends what great things the Lord has done for us and loved us.

In Joh 15:13 we read, “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” Perhaps volumes could be and have been written on this, but Jesus is the greatest example ever of one who laid down his life for his friends. In Ro 5:6-8 we read, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.  7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.  8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” According to this passage of scripture Christ died for us when we were helpless, ungodly sinners. Jesus not only died for us, but he also lived for us. He came into the world to save his people from their sins. He came not to do his own will, but the will of him that sent him, and this is the Father’s will which sent him, that he should lose nothing, but raise it all up again the last day. Jesus is that great example of how a friend should love. We should also lay down our lives for our friends, especially as we live our lives. There are two ways that we can live our lives. We can live them selfishly for ourselves or we can live them unselfishly for others. Jesus example is total unselfishness.

In Joh 15:14 we read, “Ye are my friends, if ye do whatsoever I command you.” Abraham was called the friend of God as was Moses. Jesus has said that we also are his friends if we do whatsoever he commands us. I don’t know a better name to be called than Jesus’ friend. We all should strive to be the friend of Jesus. His commands we are told are not grevious. His commands are all about love. We should love the Lord our God with all our heart, with all our soul, with all our strength, and with all our mind. We should also love our neighbour as ourself. A third commandment he gave us was to love one another as he loved us. Lord help us to be thy friends.

Finally, the church is to be made up of friends. John wrote in 3Jo 14, “But I trust I shall shortly see thee, and we shall speak face to face. Peace be to thee. Our friends salute thee. Greet the friends by name.” In the church we are to be one another’s friends. This requires that we get to know one another, that we share our lives with one another, that we reprove, rebuke and exhort one another, that we counsel one another, that we pray one for another, that we bear one another’s burdens, that we lay down our lives for one another, that we love one another at all times, that we show ourselves friendly to one another. It is much harder for Satan to destroy or disrupt a church full of true friends. Lord help us all to be true friends to one another.

Vernon Johnson

0411 Led of the Spirit

Led of the Spirit

Ro 8:14, “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” It is evident that this verse teaches us that being led of the Spirit of God is not the cause of one being a son of God, but is the evidence of one being a son of God.

To the elect child of God there are two types of leadership of the Holy Spirit. There is the “effectual” leadership and there is a timely guidance of the Holy Spirit.

All of the elect of God are drawn of the Holy Spirit in regeneration or the new birth. We read in Joh 6:37, “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.” There are some who will argue that this coming to Jesus is something the sinner must do thru his efforts. However, Joh 6:44 tells us, “No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” The word “draw” in this verse comes from a Greek word meaning “to drag.” This would be similar to a horse drawn carriage. The carriage does nothing to move itself. The horse does all the work and puts forth all the effort to move the carriage. Similarly, we come to Jesus in regeneration, because the Father draws us to Jesus. The Father in the person of the Holy Spirit draws or drags us to Jesus thru the new birth. In this work of God we are completely passive. God does all the work.

As Spirit born children of God we need something in our lives that can only come thru the timely guidance or leadership of the Holy Spirit. We are all faced with problems, trials, tribulations, persecutions, failings, and shortcomings and often have not the knowledge or understanding on how to deal with our problems. These problems can be relationship problems, workplace problems, church problems, family problems, or health problems. Thanks be to God that he has not left us comfortless.

The children of Israel were led throughout there wilderness journeying. Ex 13:21 reads, “And the LORD went before them by day in a pillar of a cloud, to lead them the way; and by night in a pillar of fire, to give them light; to go by day and night:” Whenever, the cloud came and abode above the tabernacle the children of Israel made camp and rested in their tents until such time as the cloud removed from above the tabernacle and went forth. Then the children of Israel broke camp and followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. This continued for the 40 years of their wilderness journeying.

Today we are not led by a cloud or a pillar of fire, but the leadership of the Holy Spirit that we have today is even better than what the children of Israel had. God’s people are each led by the Holy Spirit. A wonderful illustration of that leadership is found in Ge 24:12-15, “And he said, O LORD God of my master Abraham, I pray thee, send me good speed this day, and show kindness unto my master Abraham.  13 Behold, I stand here by the well of water; and the daughters of the men of the city come out to draw water:  14 And let it come to pass, that the damsel to whom I shall say, Let down thy pitcher, I pray thee, that I may drink; and she shall say, Drink, and I will give thy camels drink also: let the same be she that thou hast appointed for thy servant Isaac; and thereby shall I know that thou hast showed kindness unto my master.  15 And it came to pass, before he had done speaking, that, behold, Rebekah came out, who was born to Bethuel, son of Milcah, the wife of Nahor, Abraham’s brother, with her pitcher upon her shoulder.” The servant had the experience of his prayer being answered even before he had finished his prayer.

There are several ways that we can see the leadership of the Spirit in our lives. Before we explore those ways, we need to remember to ask for that leadership. The Lord said, “Seek and ye shall find, Ask and it shall be given you, and Knock and it shall be opened unto you.” James said, “Ye have not because ye ask not.” One of the great reasons that we don’t see more of the leadership of the Spirit in our lives is because we fail to ask for it. James also said, “Ye ask and have not, because ye ask amiss, that ye might consume it upon your lust.” Often we ask for things selfishly and don’t receive the leadership of the Spirit. If we ask for things unselfishly, but for the benefit and furtherance of service in the kingdom of God, then the Lord has promised he will give it to us. Thus it is important that we pray that the Lord’s will be done.

One of the ways we see the leadership of the Spirit in our lives is thru the circumstances of life. We need to remember that the Lord opens doors and no man can shut and he closes doors and no man can open. Young people should remember this when seeking a spouse. We should also remember this when we are seeking employment or where the Lord would have us live or what Primitive Baptist church the Lord would have us attend. Many of God’s people have found that when seeking a job and praying that God would direct them, that all job possibilities but the one that the Lord had in mind for them was closed and the one was opened especially for them.

Next, we find the Spirits leadership in the preaching of the gospel. I know of no preacher that knows what each member of the congregation needs. However, God knows what we need better than even we know. How many times I have experienced and I am sure many of the readers have experienced that when I have had questions or problems that I was seeking answers to that the preacher was led to preach on the very thing that I was needing help with. This happens many times with the Lord’s people and is an assurance of the leadership of the Spirit in their lives.

The most common way that many of God’s people are led by the Spirit is thru the word. Ps 119:105 reads, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Also Ps 73:24 reads, “Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory.” David believed so strongly in the leadership of the Spirit through the word of God that he said in Ps 119:11 “Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.” Job believed in this principle also as he wrote in Job 23:12 “Neither have I gone back from the commandment of his lips; I have esteemed the words of his mouth more than my necessary food.” It has been my experience that when faced with the problems and troubles of life and when needing to make decisions that I was uncertain of that often after I had prayed about the problem or decision that the answer has come to me thru the Spirit directing my mind to a verse of scripture. Obviously the more that we know of the word of God the more that we will experience the Spirit’s leadership through the word in our lives.

There are means by which we see people in the scriptures led by the Spirit such as through dreams and trances, etc. These, however, would seem to be the exceptional cases and not the rule. There are, therefore, several ways that the Spirit leads us and we should be thankful for each one and for each time the Spirit has led us, for it is indeed a blessing to us to be led of the Spirit.

Vernon Johnson

0501 Adam and Christ – Contrast and Compare

Adam and Christ – Contrast and Compare

Have you ever taken a final examination and seen this dreaded phrase? Contrast and compare. It’s an adage familiar to most high school and college students. Of course the two items under consideration had some mysterious link existing only in the mind of the professor, and the three words were always followed by details of the impossible task:

Contrast and compare the civilization of the Incas, their way of life and method of exchange against the struggling supply and demand economy under twentieth century President Carter’s administration.

The scriptures teach us to rightly divide the word of truth; the more one mines the golden fields, the bigger the nuggets of truth he discovers. We know Adam and Christ have a connection. With the hindsight of types and shadows, the advantage of the New Testament and history, we can even see the New Testament church in the Old Testament.

We should look for signs of the church in the Old Testament writings. And we should strive to find Christ wherever in scripture we read. What can be gleaned by looking at Adam to cause us to see Jesus in a more majestic light?

Adam’s only mentioned thirty times in the scriptures, yet his impact on each of us is refreshed daily by our very nature.

Adam created the problem, the Creator provided the solution.

1Co 15:22. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1Co 15:45-47 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual 47 The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven.

Unusual Beginnings

Both Christ and Adam were brought into this earth without a set of natural parents. Christ having not an earthly father, and born of a virgin, while Adam, formed out of the dust of the earth, had neither mother nor father, but only a Creator.

A Garden Commonality

The problem Adam created was in a garden where man had never been; Christ provided the solution to Adam’s transgression in another garden.

Adam was created outside the garden and placed into one. Ge 2:8 And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

Christ died outside a garden and was placed within one. Joh 19:40-41 Then took they the body of Jesus, and wound it in linen clothes with the spices, as the manner of the Jews is to bury. 41 Now in the place where he was crucified there was a garden; and in the garden a new sepulchre, wherein was never man yet laid.

Both had Open Sides

Adam’s side was opened to provide him a bride, a helpmeet, a partner, a friend.

Ge 2:21-22 And the LORD God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; 22 And the rib, which the LORD God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man. Adam’s side was opened for a bride, in order to secure him a wife.

Christ’s side was opened for the bride – because of the bride; to provide her all the things He had promised, to secure her, to purify and sanctify her.

Joh 19:34 But one of the soldiers with a spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water.

Eph 5:25-27 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

Both Bled, One Shed

While it can be said that both bled for their bride, only one shed His blood. Only one poured out His blood for many.

Both Died for their Bride

Adam gave his life for his bride. Adam knew full well the single instruction he had been given by God. He knew the consequences were perilous indeed. He heard the instruction directly from the mouth of the Lord and no doubt considered again the severity of disobedience when he relayed these instructions to Eve. We know the Lord’s order to Adam was clear and perfect in the explanation. No room for equivocation. There was no possibility of misunderstanding or miscommunication.

Few men are recorded in the old scriptures that were given the great privilege of speaking with the Creator, or hearing his audible voice. How perfect is every word from the lips of He who created language; how void of uncertainty, how crystal clear each note, how sweet the sound upon the ears of His children. Fully rich in power, as in the new birth, when the still small voice is heard, there is no doubt the birth has taken place! There is no opportunity for failure or incompleteness! To surrender the daily opportunity to hear the Master’s voice had to burden Adam in his decision. Tradition leads us to believe Adam’s decision was a split second one. Common sense would teach us he probably pondered the consequences for some time.

When Eve presented Adam with the fruit of which she had partaken, the edict of the Lord and seriousness of the matter, all that Adam stood to lose, indeed the life and death position of the choice must have raced through his mind, yet ultimately, he made a conscious decision to choose his wife – and death – over the commandment of God. In that respect, Adam gave his life for his bride. Did Adam love Eve so much he was willing to die for her? Let’s read Adam’s own words: Ge 2:23-24 And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. 24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Adam didn’t leave father and mother, but he did leave his Creator. Today when we take a bride we promise ‘til death do we part.” Adam did the opposite; he joined unto death.

1Ti 2:14 And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. When Adam joins with Eve, it is his disobedience that earns us all the sentence of death.

Eph 5:25 Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; …Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. Col 3:19 Husbands, love [your] wives, and be not bitter against them.

How you do stack up in comparison to Adam, husbands? And did you ever notice the scriptures never tell the wife to love her husband? If she does love you, it’s not by commandment of the scriptures. Ge 3:16 Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire [shall be] to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee.

Adam named his wife Eve after the fall. Ge 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living. Before she had been called Woman or Adam. We have a name change coming as well, not resulting from the fall, but from salvation: Re 2:17 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth [it].

Re 3:12 Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, [which is] new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and [I will write upon him] my new name.

Did ever anyone love their bride so much they would leave their favored position with God to die for her? Indeed, once more. As Adam’s choice to cleave unto his wife brought us all into sin and death, Christ agreed to leave his heavenly abode to rescue His bride, bringing her life. And for a brief moment in time, Christ was separated from his Father’s presence for his bride, the church.

Adam’s offense plunged us all into sin, a condition we call total depravity. Every human born from and since Adam are born in sin, prone to sin and subject to sin, throughout their entire life, carrying about them as long as they live the very nature of sin. Not even the new birth spares us from sin in the physical body. Our old Adamic nature is not repaired at the new birth; rather, a second nature, a perfect nature, a spiritual nature is imparted to us.

We’ll be in heaven thanks to Christ. Will Adam? Because of the gravity of original sin and its universal impact, Adam becomes the subject of controversy among those prone to handicap the fate of biblical personalities. Much like Judas, they wonder if Adam will be in eternal heaven. After all, wouldn’t you like to ask him what he was thinking? Can we ascertain Adam’s situation? If we can, it can only be by the strong either/or test of election. We know choice before the foundation of the world is not based on anything a child of God does or might do during their fleshy existence. Ro 9:11 (For [the children] being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) So the weight and horrible consequences of Adam’s sin notwithstanding, we must filter our conclusions through this criteria: Adam was either elect, or he was not. Though we are taught not to judge the eternal status of an individual, we can be fruit inspectors and look to scripture to see if one position or the other is supported.

Adam and Eve felt a sense of shame after their sin. Is that a common condition for a child of God? Can we all raise our hand as that being our case? And do we not rejoice over one whose condition is such that they feel a sense of shame, of condemnation; are we not joyous when a sinner seeks remorse?

Adam and Eve received chastisement and punishment for their sin. We believe God punishes, and corrects his children. But such censure is not for the non-elect.

Adam and Eve had (ceremonial, sacrificial) animal blood spilt on their behalf to clothe them with coats of skin. Although the scripture doesn’t tell us in Genesis, what we read elsewhere about sacrifice would indicate a lamb, pointing us to Christ.

The Lord continued to instruct Adam, who in turn taught his sons, Cain and Abel and Seth to honor the Lord.. Lu 3:38 Which was [the son] of Enos, which was [the son] of Seth, which was [the son] of Adam, which was [the son] of God.

Mt 23:35 That upon you may come all the righteous blood shed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. (The guilt runs from “A” to “Z”).

The stain of the sin of Adam runs completely through time. Thankfully the shed blood of our Lord and Savior ran both directions from the cross of Calvary.

Jos 3:16 That the waters which came down from above stood [and] rose up upon an heap very far from the city Adam, that [is] beside Zaretan: and those that came down toward the sea of the plain, [even] the salt sea, failed, [and] were cut off: and the people passed over right against Jericho. (Adam to Zaretan – again, A to Z.)

Zec 14:8 And it shall be in that day, [that] living waters shall go out from Jerusalem; half of them toward the former sea, and half of them toward the hinder sea: in summer and in winter shall it be.

Immediately in Adam’s progeny we begin to see the dual and dueling natures of the child of God. Every one of us before the new birth is prone to and subject to the very worse in human nature, capable of even Cain’s actions. After the new birth, our spiritual nature, our eternal life makes us capable of the type of offering Abel made. As pointed out above, the new nature doesn’t replace the old, but it does begin to subdue it, contain it, and restrain it, while imparting unto us knowledge, wisdom, prayer, praise and worship, plus a sincere desire to fulfill the will of God and to strive towards Him daily.

Addition, subtraction, conclusion.

Much was taken from Adam when the fall occurred. His life of fellowship, and daily companionship with God died. We cannot say he died spiritually, for the scriptures don’t support such. Adam was not a spiritual creature. While he was made without sin, we note of all of God’s creation, man was not among that which the Lord declared as “good.” How perfectly crafted and preserved is the Word of God! You cannot find the word “Adam” and “good” in the same verse of scripture. Ge 1:25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that [it was] good.

We know also that Adam had not partaken of the tree of life. One who has been carried by the Holy Spirit through that tree has eternal life, spiritual life. Had Adam been a spiritual creature, the tree of life would not have needed protection. Before he fell, he was free to partake of the tree which would have granted him eternal life. Now, we being dead in trespasses and in sins, are carried through that tree in the new birth – we have no life or strength in us to approach that tree on our own.

Ge 3:22-24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever: Therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken. So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

And after spiritual life comes, we begin to see another tree before us – the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Evil we know continually, from our nature, from our practice; when life comes in the new birth, we understand evil, and begin to separate from it and understand good. It is our partaking of that same tree of the knowledge of good and evil in this lifetime that prolongs our lives; in contrast to how it shortened and ended the lives of Adam and Eve.

Besides losing paradise, Adam gained death. He died a physical death at 930 years. “But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die. And 2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

In the eyes of the Lord, Adam’s physical death also took place in the same day that he broke God’s solitary law.

Bro. Royce Ellis

0501 The Question of Liberalism

The Question of Liberalism

Let me first start out by laying down some groundwork by defining the terms; “liberal” or “liberalism” and “conservative” or “conservatism.” According to my Webster’s New World Dictionary the term “liberal” especially as it has to do with the Church of Christ, in number 4, which refers to “not being restricted to the literal meaning; not strict; ‘a liberal interpretation of the Bible.” And number 7, which refers to someone who “favors reform or progress, as in religion, education, etc.”

And I know that usually when we think of the term “liberal” we like to think about the definition found in number 1, which refers to one who is “a freeman; not restricted;” and number 2, “one who gives freely; generous;” and also number 3, meaning “large or plentiful; ample; abundant; a liberal reward.” These are the three terms that give us that warm and fuzzy feeling when we think about ‘em. And someone will say “okay, and so what’s wrong with that?” To which I would say nothing at all is wrong with it. But stop and consider the latter terms numbers 4 and 7, and you can see the problem, especially as it has to do with the Church and God’s people. In politics it means that someone is to be tolerant of everything, or as it is stated, “we must be tolerant of people who are different than we are,” meaning that we must overlook their sins and way of life.

For example, as it has to do with homosexuality, we are told that we are to be “liberal” and not only to tolerate their behavior, but to accept it as being “an alternative life style.” And in that respect, as being “liberal” we ought to not be so strict as to the defining of the term marriage. So “liberalism” says, “if marriage is defined as one man and one woman, why can it not also include one man and one man or one woman and one woman?”

Or, “liberalism” says that we ought to understand why there are people out the world who want to kill innocent people. They say that we need to understand…WHY…they hate us so much. You know they’re talking about the ones that we call “terrorist.” This form of “liberalism” tells us that we need to understand why we; as Americans, are so hated by a terrorist. And even as the statement comes out of the mouth of those who espouse such a viewpoint, most of us readily understand that they are “terrorist,” and that “terrorist’s” kill people.

But that’s not what I’d like to focus on at this time, let's move on now. I only use these as examples of what is viewed as being “liberal” or “liberalism” as it is used in the world of politics. Now let us take a look at it from the viewpoint of the Church of the Living God.

In the Church, the Primitive Baptists have, as far I know, always had what can only be called “liberals” among them. The scriptures inform us in Jude 4, “For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” But in recent years there has been a rise of such who because of a decline in church membership have sought to “fix” the problem, and try to improve on what our Lord Jesus Christ has establish as His Church. Put simply, they want to “change” things in order to fix the problem.

It was not too long ago that someone told me that we of the “old line didn’t have anything for the young folks.” And that we were falling behind the times, and that we would soon dry up on the vine and wither away.” This person was what is called the “Progressives.” And they had the idea that the church needed to be “modernized” and brought up to date in order to bring in more young people into the church folds. They thought that the church needed to have Sunday schools, musical instruments, and to send out missionaries to foreign lands to try to stop the decline. But tell me are the Progressives any better off today then they were back then? In reading some of their papers and articles they admit that they aren’t any better off. In fact I read one article that suggested that they needed to get back to the basics; that they needed to get back to their foundation.

And it saddens me that the “liberals” among us don’t seem to understand this principle and are trying to once again “fix” the problem and to make the church more “acceptable” to the world. In fact did you know that in an article from a Southern Baptist paper called the “SWORD OF TRUTH,” dated May 21st, 2004, says that were no baptisms in 2003. And that “The Southern Baptist Convention reported a record membership of 16,315,050, up from .41 percent over 2002, and grew to 43,024 churches, an increase of 249 new congregations, according to statistics released in the SBC Statistical Summery…Although’ they say that ‘there was growth overall, LifeWay President Jimmy Draper said the statistics were cause for concern. The incremental growth reflects a denomination that’s lost its focus.” And the article goes on to say the number of baptisms have decreased for the fourth year in a row.

What, how can this be? Way back in the early 1800’s we were told that the adding of things to “fix” the church was going to save more souls, and cause the church to grow, and that all that was needed was to go forward in the “great commission” to march out and “go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” And it was said then, as was said by the Progressives, and even to this day, that we of the “old line” are gonna dry up and wither and die on the vine.

Let me add something that I have observed just down the street from the little church that I pastor. When I became pastor here at the Dixie Primitive Baptist Church there were two “Dixie Churches” that used the name “Baptist” as a part of identifying who they are: One an “old line” Baptist Church, and the other a Southern Baptist Church. But I noticed that the other church dropped the name “Baptist” and opted for the title “Dixie Pioneer Church.” But why did they do such a thing? So I dropped by and met with their pastor and I asked him why they did such a thing, and do you know what his answer was? He told me that the Southern Baptist Convention wanted to move forward into a more “contemporary” style, in order to draw in more people. He said that they were still a part of the SBC, but they wanted to draw in more people from other denominations like Catholics, Pentecostals, etc. And that maybe, he said, if they removed the word “Baptist” that that would remove a hindrance to such persons. But does it really help? I think not.

When I was a young man, mind you, not that I'm saying that I’m old, but when I first came in among the Primitive Baptist someone told me something that I will never forget, they said, “Thomas when you got out and visit other churches, don’t try to preach about duty.” Now exactly what does that mean? He went on to tell me that it’s best to only preach about the eternal blessings of God, so that you’ll not offend anybody. And me bein’ a young man I thought to myself, “Well I don’t want to cause any trouble, so I won’t try to preach any duty to anyone.”

And today as I look back at that statement there are two points that I wonder about. Either he didn’t understand duty, or that he thought that I didn’t understand it. That brother has since passed away and went to be with the Lord, so I’ll not be able to ask him what he meant. But I’m sure of one thing, for most of my life, especially among the Primitive Baptist, I didn’t hear too much about our duty to God, or to one another. That’s not to say that the subject never came up, it not too often.

At one point I was livin’ in Alabama, and was settin’ in the Church and listenin’ to a sermon, and was thinkin’ to myself, “Yes I do believe in election and predestination, but give me somethin’ that I can live with now. I need to know how to live here today.” And that’s what duty is all about. As the apostle Paul told Brother Timothy, in 1Ti 3:15, “that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” WE need to be taught our duty to God, and to one another, about how to live here in this world. How we are to behave ourselves and receive the blessings of God…here in time. Beloved that’s what “duty” is all about.

Anyway I know that it’s just as hard to bring in converts today as it was way back in the days gone past. But adding things to the Church in order to “fix” it is not the answer. As it was with Moses, so it is today, God instructed him and us here today to “look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount” (Ex 25:40). We are not at liberty to “fix” anything in the way of improvements! We are to follow after the pattern of the Church that Jesus Christ Himself has set up and established here in the world. I recall the admonition of the Apostle John in Re 22:18-19, “For” he said, “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.” I don’t know about you, but I want my “part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.”

As I see it there has been a root problem that has arisen and troubled God’s people in the kingdom today. And it’s that old serpent the devil, has brought in those who espouse the doctrine of “Calvinism.” I know what you may be thinking, “Well, there are only two basic forms of doctrine in the Christian world today, “Calvinism” and “Arminianism.” And over the years everything that we read about; and especially about the Primitive Baptist tell us that we are strongly Calvinistic in our doctrines. And that’s what I mean when I say that it’s the problem. A lot of folks have allowed the world to shape us into their mold. I met a man, who after he talked to me for a while remarked, “hey, I think that you are a Calvinist.” And I told him that I have been accused of being a Calvinist, but that I wasn’t.

I would like to say here and now that there were many of the tenets of John Calvin that were true and are embraced by the Old Line Church, but Calvin was not the one who discovered them. They are doctrines that are found in the inspired word of God. And the true Church of God has always preached these truths, and they ought to be preached today. But to believe and to preach the truth does not mean that you have become a Calvinist. I say, if the world wishes to call me a Calvinist, then so be it, but that does not follow that I become one.

Going on now to the term “liberal” as it has to do with the Church Kingdom of Heaven and as it has to do with the definition as it is found in numbers 4 and 7, “not being restricted to the literal meaning; not strict; ‘a liberal interpretation of the Bible,” and “favors reform or progress, as in religion, education, etc.” In order to really understand the impact of the problem we must understand what the scriptures tell us, as the true Church of Christ, they say that we are to “hold fast” in our doctrine and practice, “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good” (see 1Th 5:21, also 2Ti 1:13; Heb 3:6; 4:14; 10:23; Re 2:25; 3:3). Just as Moses was admonished by God that he was to be careful in the building of the tabernacle to “look that thou make them after their pattern, which was showed thee in the mount” (Ex 25:40). But there have been “certain men” who have “crept in unawares,” (See Jude 4) not just in our time today, over the centuries who have come in among God’s people who have been “of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.” And as in the keeping of the term “liberal” have sought to attempt to improve and modernize the old Church. Why? They do it because of the small numbers as compared to the religions of the world. They do it in order to bring in more people, to make it more palatable to the majority of people of the world. Let me say here too, that this “liberalism” is nothing new; no it has already been tried over and over again in the past. And each time that it is tried it fails and causes turmoil and division within the Church.

The root of the problem has come and revealed itself as being “Calvinism,” and the teaching of the doctrine of “Perseverance,” as opposed the true scriptural doctrine of “Preservation.” Some folks may be wondering, “Well, what’s the difference?” And put as simply as possible “Perseverance” means that God’s people will “persevere” which means that they will continue in their own “effort, course of action, etc. in spite of difficulty, and opposition.” You see this is the main tenet of “Calvinism” dear brother and sisters. And it flies in the face of the doctrine of “Preservation” as has been taught by Baptist of the Old Line since her founding by Jesus Christ. Okay, you may ask, “so what’s the difference?” Well, “preservation” means that we are “preserved” in Christ! That He and He alone keeps us from “harm, damage, danger, evil, etc.; to protect us” and has saved us by His own sovereign mighty hand. While “perseverance” has to do with the works of man, Calvinism says that if someone does not persevere then that is evidence that he was never a child of God in the first place. But persevere in what? Why in good works of course! And this doctrine brings us to another problem, which is in direct conflict with the truth. If a child of God must “persevere,” than it is up to the preacher to preach the gospel, because it is also said that every child of God will hear and he will believe the gospel. This puts the power and glory in the hands of a mere man, and away from God. And God says that He will not give His glory “to another” (Isa 42:8).

You see dear brothers and sisters “liberalism” is an attempt to remove the “ancient landmark, which thy fathers have set” (Pr 22:28). This is also the “broad way” that Jesus told us about in Mt 7:13-14, “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” And the “broad way” leads us “to destruction.” Not the destruction of an eternal hell, but a destruction of our peace and the loss of the “candlestick” (Re 2:5).

How well do the scriptures speak of these persons in Jer 6:16, “Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.” And in Isa 4:1, “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” They have left off even caring about the doctrines of Christ, and have created a gospel that is after their own heart.

And in closing let me add here that we as the TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST, the OLD LINE PRIMITIVE BAPTIST, should not put undue praise on the flesh, that is to say the preacher. I don’t mean that we are to not show proper respect that is due them, but we are not to allow that respect to cloud our God given judgment to place any man up on a pedestal. I recall another place where “Herod, arrayed in royal apparel, sat upon his throne, and made an oration unto them. And the people gave a shout, saying, It is the voice of a god, and not of a man. And immediately the angel of the Lord smote him, because he gave not God the glory: and he was eaten of worms, and gave up the ghost” (Ac 12:21-24). I suppose what I’m trying to say here is that we can’t go by anyone’s name and renown, but on the fact of whether or not he is preaching the whole counsel of God.

I hope that I have not caused anyone reading this article to be mis-informed. And I hope that maybe with God’s help I have shown a little light on this that has come in and so upset our people. If I’m in error or have misrepresented the facts please tell where and I will endeavor to correct it. But this is the way that I understand it. And I feel that it is the responsibility of God’s ministers to be “watchman” set upon the wall, that when they “see the sword come, and blow the trumpet,” and warn the people that the enemy has come and is at the gate (see Eze 33:1-7).

May God bless you and keep you in the way of truth.

Elder Thomas McDonald

0505 9 AM to Noon

9 AM to Noon

In the entirety of human history, there are no more crucial hours recorded than the six hours our Lord and Savior hung upon the cruel cross on Golgotha’s hill. There’s a popular song that has a line “…and the darkest hour, is just before dawn.” True, in nature. But the darkest hour in history occurred on the day Christ was crucified.

Jesus was placed on the cross, suspended between heaven and earth, lifted up, at nine a.m. As we count time. It was the third hour of the day according to Jewish reckoning. Their day began at sundown, or around 6 PM, and was carved into four three hour watches, the last ending at sunrise, or 6 AM. [6-9 PM Evening Watch; 9-12 Midnight Watch; 12-3 AM Cockcrow; 3-6 AM Morning Watch]

The third hour of the day was the time of the morning sacrifice. The evening sacrifice took place around three in the afternoon, or the ninth hour.

How fitting Jesus was the first and last sacrifice! From noon to three pm, (mid-day until the ninth hour), darkness was across the land and the wrath of God was poured out onto Christ. It was the cruelest three hours in creation’s history. Jesus had undergone much suffering, humiliation, physical beatings, abuse and agony in the hours before; and certainly, the pain and torture of being nailed to the cross was horrifying, yet it paled in comparison to that which he suffered in the three dark hours.

Preachers tell us God turned out the lights on that act so no one could see the justice; no one could see the suffering; no one could see the brutality as God looked away from his Son who had become our sin. At high noon, the sun straight up in the sky, there would be no shadow over the Messiah. No darkness at all, telling all who might see the symbolism – he who is light is about to become darkness for us. Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. Here is our perfect gift in the sacrifice of Jesus. For three hours the Sun was not seen. Nor was the light of the world.

Mr 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.

Mr 15:28 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors.

Mr 15:29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest [it] in three days,

Mr 15:30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross.

Mr 15:31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.

Mr 15:32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Jesus was placed upon the cross before the other two. He was the reason for the day’s events; the others were due to be put up at the next convenient time. Christ was on the cross at the time of the morning sacrifice, placing Him there around nine. The malefactors, if the Romans were diligent and efficient, were in place by nine-thirty.

It’s probably approaching ten am now. All three crosses are fixed in place, the Roman soldiers have stepped back to admire their handiwork and the crowds are allowed up close to pass by. We often picture, thanks to Hollywood and artists, gigantic crosses stretching toward the sky. In actuality, the crosses were probably only seven or eight feet high. Passersby could show their disgust by spitting upon the victims or striking them.

The two thieves are not in as much pain as Jesus. They were not beaten or scourged on this day; their only weariness comes from the trek up the hill carrying their cross. The timing of their sentence no doubt fell to Roman efficiency; they didn’t know they were fulfilling prophecy.

The thieves also had the benefit of the painkiller offered to victims of the cross. They no doubt took it readily. Christ declined.

Mr 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received [it] not.

Matthew says those around began to mock Him.

Mt 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.

Mt 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Near the end of the first hour, the thieves also mocked Him.

Mt 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

But then, at some point between ten am and noon, a transformation occurs in one of the thieves.

Lu 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.

Lu 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Lu 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Lu 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.

Lu 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

Lu 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

A change takes place. Whether born again on the cross, or converted under the very presence of God, evidences of grace show forth from this criminal. In an hour, he has undergone a transformation. From railing and blasphemy, from participating in the world’s evil, from cursing and mocking the one beside him, the thief’s change is dramatic.

First, he defends Jesus –

Lu 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Second, he shows a fear of God he didn’t have before. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Lu 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Third, he understands something new about justice. “We receive the due reward of our deeds.” Does this sound like a man who has been shown his depravity?

Now, he perceives Jesus’ innocence. “This man hath done nothing amiss.” Ever wonder how he knew that? It wasn’t common practice for thieves and murderers sentenced to death to be allowed to roam the streets absorbing the culture and gossip until their date with destiny. This is a man who had been long locked up. He had no natural means of knowing “this man hath done nothing amiss.” It was a revealed knowledge.

Next, he calls Jesus “Lord.” From cursing and mocking to suddenly realizing where salvation stood. Phl 2:11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

More fruit is manifest: he shows faith and belief. And he prays. Lu 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. He got an answer immediately.

He had been instructed about eternal life – life after this fleshy existence. He knew something of heaven. And all without the benefit of a preacher, altar call, or living a life without sin. Imagine!

Lu 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

What a remarkable change! On the day in which the Creator of the universe would see His only begotten Son beaten, humiliated and put to death, indeed, on the very day when He would experience a first ever separation from Christ, God still cares enough about a poor wretched miserable sinner, a convicted thief and murderer, a man who is at that very hour shouting blasphemies at His very beloved Son – to send His Holy Spirit.

Even while His Son was about to bear the sins of the elect, the justice and punishment we deserved, God was giving life – the new birth to the vile creature who hung on the right hand of Christ. While Romans and Jews passed by, mocking, ridiculing, making great sport of our King, God was performing a heart operation next door. He was unstopping ears, giving spiritual sight to blind eyes and opening understanding. He was speaking grace, mercy and truth to a condemned man, taking away his sin and wickedness and placing on the cross next to it. And by so doing, he ensured and upheld the covenant he had made with Himself before the foundation of the world; not one of His elect would be lost.

While He was dying on the cross, reconciling the world to Himself, He did not neglect the least of His saints. While justice was being carried out on the center cross, mercy was operating beside it.

Joh 5:25 says Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

The hour is coming. That means it will take place in the future. And now is. That means it’s occurring right now. It takes place every hour.

During one of the most dreaded and important hours in history, the Holy Spirit is in operation, faithful to His elect.

Brother Royce Ellis

0507 Men as Trees

Men as Trees

In Mr 8, a short narrative seems to have been inserted as an afterthought. We know that is not really the case, but five verses of scripture are not joined with anything that precedes or follows them. The subject, city and setting before these verses are different, and the theme and location of the verses following do not seem to match. The odd placement causes us to draw closer to the account in study. Even a casual reading of Mr 8 will show how these verses stand out.

Preachers tell us in the rules of scripture study, we must always be careful with context. We must know the setting and the subject. We must know who is speaking and to whom the comments are directed. As the saying goes, the entire Bible is not written to you, but it is written for you.

Our setting is Bethsaida. Historians believe this was where the 5000 were fed. Phillip, Andrew and Peter were from ‘the house of the fisherman.” Off these shores Christ walked on water, yet He pronounces: Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto thee, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. (Mt 11:21)

Let’s look at these five verses in Mark.

Mr 8:22-26 And he cometh to Bethsaida; and they bring a blind man unto him, and besought him to touch him.  23 And 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 upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.  24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.  25 After that he put [his] hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.  26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell [it] to any in the town.

Jesus was no stranger to giving sight to the blind. There is a much detailed scenario in Joh 9, where the disciples ask whether it was the blind man or his parents’ sin that caused the condition.

The situation in Mark is different in many ways. One is privacy. The unnamed benefactor of Christ’s mercy is told not to tell of his sight recovery to any in the town. In John, the blind man is brought immediately to the Pharisees to be questioned.

The second and most notable distinction is the man detailed in John was born blind. Our subject in Mr 8:22 is one who had previous sight and lost it. This may well be the key to our understanding of the scripture.

Common sense tells us that even a person born blind would be able to recognize men when first receiving his sight. But a tree one could only know by touch. Further, to visualize a stationary item walking would require both previous memory and some imagination. Can you see that? If a person at his first ever sight viewed a tree at a distance standing, he might be able to say – yes, I believe that’s probably what I’ve touched before and been told was a tree. But to see men as trees, walking – that description tells us he had been an earlier owner of vision.

Men have developed many rules and tests they apply to the interpretation of scriptures. I recently heard an able man proclaim it is important to determine what “we should first know.” That’s good advice. Others say we should examine every Old Testament setting closely to find Christ or the church.

I have two tests I like to apply to consideration of scripture. One is the inescapable conclusion. When I have reached a barricade or end in study that tells me a word, phrase, verse, etc. can mean nothing else, I work backward, testing that against the scriptures.

The pen behind the Sherlock Holmes novels describes it thusly: “When you have eliminated the impossible, that which remains, however improbable, must be the truth.” ~ Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1859-1930)

The second – and best test for an application of scripture – in my mind is this: When you have arrived at your conclusion, Does it honor God or man? If it honors man, there is no doubt the application is incorrect. Now, granted, it is possible that your perception of a scripture can honor God and still be the wrong application, yet in such a case, it probably does the scripture no harm.

Mr 8:23 And 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 upon him, he asked him if he saw ought.

No public display this time. Commentaries tell us Jesus had found many doubters in this town before. Was this just another tiresome test by the Jewish rulers to catch Him performing a miracle on the Sabbath, or an attempt to make Jesus say without equivocation He was the Messiah – that they might condemn him?

Out of town. But not far. The town was certainly small, and Jesus and the blind man did not go completely out of the sight of all men. After all, the blind man would soon be able to see men. And the witness who would relate the details to the gospel writer would be fairly close-by.

Why did Jesus take the man out of town? As I prayed and studied and read and re-read, I believe the Lord opened my eyes to some of the symbolism.

How sweet to be led out of a terrible condition leaning on the arm of Jesus! While we were all spiritually blind at one time, we had to be led to where we could see things a little clearer, and our state dictated that none but the Lord could escort us out.

But even more, here’s the end of the law. Our schoolmaster has brought us to Christ. Jesus takes one who had previously seen and leads them from their blindness, away from the town without repentance, from law into grace. (Consider the Jews, who had the oracles of God, the Ten Commandments, and the law. The Jews, who, over time perverted all that God had given them until they were themselves the blind leading the blind.)

Mr 8:24 And he looked up, and said, I see men as trees, walking.

That describes the Jewish people of the day. Men, walking about, seeking righteousness but not finding it. They had no root! Trees without root cannot take on water and have no life. They have no nourishment, and they cannot bear fruit. They had forsaken the good ground in which their heavenly Father had planted them.

Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

Mt 3:9-10 And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to [our] father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.  10 And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.

Only a tree that has been cut down or up-rooted can be away from its earthly moorings.

Mr 8:25 After that he put [his] hands again upon his eyes, and made him look up: and he was restored, and saw every man clearly.

He was restored. I submit the word restored as final proof the man once had sight. And made him look up. For so long the Jews had looked unto themselves or to the law for salvation.

Look up. Before we are aware of our new birth, sometime after the Spirit of God has made us a new creature, we discover in ourselves a condemnation. We dare not even look unto a Just and Holy God. The knowledge and weight of our sin holds us down to the very earth, where we are mere worms in His sight. But when the grace of God has touched our heart and soul and we are made to look up, the weighty chains of sin’s bondage is cast off our neck and we can thereafter look up and continue to do so. At some point, every one of God’s children will look up to the Father.

And saw every man clearly. When you can see every man clearly, you can see yourself as well. You can see your condition of total depravity, your sinful nature, your need of a redeemer. You can see the law clearly as well. For the nation of Israel, the law was often cloudy and unclear. We have the benefit of looking back and seeing the intent and purpose of God in the law. Those closest to it, if you’ll pardon the expression, couldn’t always see the forest for the trees.

Mr 8:26 And he sent him away to his house, saying, Neither go into the town, nor tell [it] to any in the town.

You cannot go back the way you came. The old law service holds nothing for you now. It has served its purpose and has been fulfilled in Christ. Neither go into the town, nor tell it to any in the town. Will they be persuaded by recovery of sight to a blind man? Neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. And for us today, the same advice. Ps 40:2 He brought me up also out of an horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, [and] established my goings.

I’ll leave you with one final thought before you research the five verses for yourself – and even if you don’t care for the analysis, it falls safely within our established standards. I am not a master of English, but in this final verse, I know the pronoun ‘he’ is referring to Christ. While I may be wrong grammatically, it does no harm to the scripture to suggest “his house” is also referring to the Church. And he sent him away to his house. That fits.

Brother Royce Ellis

0509 Tempting Christ

Tempting Christ

As Jesus began to trouble the Jews more and more by His teaching, pointing out their failings, their frustration with him grew. At first, they brought the simple challenges to try to discredit him publicly. They ask questions of him designed to fault his position: Mr 12:14-17 And when they were come, they say unto him, Master, we know that thou art true, and carest for no man: for thou regardest not the person of men, but teachest the way of God in truth: Is it lawful to give tribute to Caesar, or not? 15 Shall we give, or shall we not give? But he, knowing their hypocrisy, said unto them, Why tempt ye me? Bring me a penny, that I may see [it]. 16 And they brought [it]. And he saith unto them, Whose [is] this image and superscription? And they said unto him, Caesar’s. 17 And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.

A tougher question is brought out when the first one failed. Mr 12:18-23 Then come unto him the Sadducees, which say there is no resurrection; and they asked him, saying, 19 Master, Moses wrote unto us, If a man’s brother die, and leave [his] wife [behind him], and leave no children, that his brother should take his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. 20 Now there were seven brethren: and the first took a wife, and dying left no seed. 21 And the second took her, and died, neither left he any seed: and the third likewise. 22 And the seven had her, and left no seed: last of all the woman died also. 23 In the resurrection therefore, when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them? For the seven had her to wife.

Mr 12:24-25 And Jesus answering said unto them, Do ye not therefore err, because ye know not the scriptures, neither the power of God? 25 For when they shall rise from the dead, they neither marry, nor are given in marriage; but are as the angels which are in heaven.

We can be sure the leaders of Jerusalem were non-stop in their efforts to trap the Lord in a slip of the tongue, a mistake, any error in the law.

Let me quickly set the background we’ll need to understand their most devious experiment. In the Old Testament law, there is a test given to a woman whose husband believes she has been unfaithful. Some refer to it as the Trial of Bitter Waters. You can read the details in Nu 5. Summarizing the events, a jealous or suspicious man brings an offering with his wife before the priest in the temple; the priest places in his hand a vessel of holy water while he writes curses on a book. Gathering dust from the temple floor, he mixes it with the water and uses the blend to blot the curses. The water, ink and dust are now all mixed together and given to the woman to drink. When she drinks the mixture, it will cause her belly to swell and her thigh to rot if she has been unfaithful. If innocent of the accusations, the bitter water causes no harm.

Mt 5:17-19 Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil 18 For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach [them], the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.

Here comes the strongest test the rulers of the day can create.

Joh 8:1-11 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives. 2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them. 3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst, 4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act. 5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? 6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. 7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. 8 And again he stooped down, and wrote on the ground. 9 And they which heard [it], being convicted by [their own] conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, [even] unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst. 10 When Jesus had lifted up himself, and saw none but the woman, he said unto her, Woman, where are those thine accusers? Hath no man condemned thee? 11 She said, No man, Lord. And Jesus said unto her, Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

How hard do you imagine it might be to catch a random person in the act of adultery? Was it the custom of the scribes to bust down every door and inquire what was going on inside? This capture had to be timed so they could find Jesus during his morning teaching in the temple. Something more sinister than a happenstance observance of adultery had to take place. Either the woman was tricked, forced against her will, or was such a creature of habit she was followed.

Most people reading Joh 8 will invariably ask, “Where was the man?” Indeed, if the woman was “taken in the very act,” the man had to be in collusion with the scribes and Pharisees. The absence of the man helps clarify our options about what probably took place in order to “catch” the woman.

Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou? Jesus did not need to be told what the law said, but now we see the seriousness of the situation. Whether the woman was tricked, set-up or followed, the rulers were so determined to trap Jesus in his own words they were willing to commit murder. They will gladly sacrifice her to cause Jesus to stumble. Think about it. This woman is going to be stoned to death if Christ follows the law.

Le 20:10 And the man that committeth adultery with [another] man’s wife, [even he] that committeth adultery with his neighbour’s wife, the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death.

We’ve always looked at this scenario as an example of the love and forgiving nature of Christ. And certainly that shows here, but there’s more. Much more.

But Jesus stooped down, and with [his] finger wrote on the ground, [as though he heard them not]. Writing in the dust of the temple floor, He who wrote the original law now writes the curses and begins the trail of bitter waters.

All the elements are present. We have the woman, the temple, the dust –Christ as the Offering for Sin, the Living Word, the Living Water, and the High Priest.

Only one thing is missing. The man. The husband. He is the only one who has the option of accusation. The spirit of jealousy must come upon him. Unless the husband catches her, no other accuser will be heard.

Nu 5:13-14 And a man lie with her carnally, and it be hid from the eyes of her husband, and be kept close, and she be defiled, and [there be] no witness against her, neither she be taken [with the manner]; And the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be defiled: or if the spirit of jealousy come upon him, and he be jealous of his wife, and she be not defiled:

He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

One by one the scribes and Pharisees left. Unfortunately, we get our mental images from Hollywood and TV. Christ and the woman alone between the buildings. Not so. The temple is still full of people, but up front, near Moses’ seat, only Jesus and the woman.

In the midst.

Woman, where are those thine accusers? Re 12:10 And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

Satan never appeared before God and made up idle things about us. In the presence of the Creator he could not lie. He detailed our sins and transgressions of the law. The law is the standard to which we were held. Satan pointed out every time we broke God’s law.

This picture of the scribes and Pharisees departing in frustration is like Satan’s final visit. He appears to accuse us before God, only to see us covered in the blood of Christ, and then he is cast down, never to appear before the throne again.

In this elaborate and devious scheme by the rulers, Christ not only frustrates them, but fulfills the law to a jot and a tittle. He conducts the trial of bitter waters on the woman and by doing so saves her from being murdered. There stands no accuser before the Lord against the woman. How wonderful for her the Holy water used to conduct the trail on this day could never be bitter. Sweeter waters never existed. The offering of memorial required by the law is Christ himself.

It is only with hindsight and revelation we can see all the elements that were present that day. Ps 85:10 Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed [each other].

Joh 8:16 And yet if I judge, my judgment is true: for I am not alone, but I and the Father that sent me.

Fulfil, or fulfill

  1. To bring into actuality; effect: fulfilled their promises.

  2. To carry out (an order, for example).

  3. To measure up to; satisfy.

  4. To bring to an end; complete.

Christ manifested the law, fulfilling, completing, carrying out, measuring up, satisfying, bringing into actuality and completing it. Ro 10:4 For Christ [is] the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth. Where is the man? Child of God, where is thy accuser? Neither do I condemn thee: go, and sin no more.

Submitted by Bro. Royce Ellis

0605 Pray for me – and the Deacon’s Charge

Pray for me – and the Deacon’s Charge

Sitting in a small group one Sunday morning wondering who would show for services and who wouldn’t, a couple of us began to discuss what would happen if the Pastor decided to take a day off. Other than the admonition for him in Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood, there is no greater obligation for a Pastor to appear than the members. Now every good pastor is going to immediately quote half a dozen scriptures he believes obligates him to his good service, but I’ve made my point.

As church members, we have a number of obligations, not only to the Lord, the church and our brothers and sisters in Christ, but to the Pastor. His is the most difficult job on the planet – and it’s a full time job that has to be performed by most Elders on a part time basis. Many have to work in the secular world to sustain their natural families.

Pastors are never allowed to be down, depressed or discouraged. They must always put on the best face and live by example. Their faith must appear to be unwavering, even when it falters. While all of us must be ready to give an answer of the reason for the hope within us, Pastors have to be ready to answer the most obscure questions on a moment’s notice. If 30 different members are studying 30 different subjects, half of them will have questions on Sunday.

It takes a special type of man to be a Pastor of a church. Many men can be Elders. Some are suited to teach, some to preach. Some are fishers of men, some are feeders of sheep. Some can care for the flock, and some can quite frankly scare the sheep away. That may be why when examining a man’s calling, we always look to make sure he didn’t volunteer.

The easy part of our obligation toward the Pastor is often the one most readily ignored. That’s prayer. No man on earth needs our prayers as much as the Bishop of the local congregation. We may lack in our financial support and not take care of his needs as we ought, but we should never let him down in our prayers. He and the Lord (and maybe his helpmate) are the only ones who truly know the burden he carries.

I was reading a story in the Old Testament once and having meditated on it for awhile, came to believe it ought to be preached in the charge for every Deacon’s ordination among Primitive Baptists. (I’ve always thought the charge should come before the laying on of hands in a Deacon’s ordination, because after he’s a Deacon, you can’t tell him anything.)

Ex 17:8-13 Then came Amalek, and fought with Israel in Rephidim.  And Moses said unto Joshua, Choose us out men, and go out, fight with Amalek: to morrow I will stand on the top of the hill with the rod of God in mine hand.  So Joshua did as Moses had said to him, and fought with Amalek: and Moses, Aaron, and Hur went up to the top of the hill.  And it came to pass, when Moses held up his hand, that Israel prevailed: and when he let down his hand, Amalek prevailed.  But Moses’ hands [were] heavy; and they took a stone, and put [it] under him, and he sat thereon; and Aaron and Hur stayed up his hands, the one on the one side, and the other on the other side; and his hands were steady until the going down of the sun.  And Joshua discomfited Amalek and his people with the edge of the sword.

It’s one of those marvelous short stories in scripture. You can read it in less than a minute, but it impacts your life forever. Shortly before this is the famous “striking the rock in the wilderness” from which so many good sermons and sound doctrine have come. Most of us stop reading there and never get to the story of prevailing.

You don’t need me to tell you how today, the Pastor of the flock stands up with the rod of God in his hand. You know the church prospers and prevails when the Pastor is strong and supported. You also know how a church does when the Pastor is weak, whether in study, doctrine, preaching or discipline. Thank goodness Aaron and Hur helped stay up Moses’ hands. Of course you probably figured out the charge to the new Deacon as well.

We can’t always physically hold up the Pastor’s arms when he tires, but we can hold him up in prayer, encouragement, conversation, financially and by our behavior. Just seeing a church member walking on the straight and narrow path takes a load of responsibility and concern off a Pastor’s mind.

How disheartening it is for a Pastor to look out into the small crowd, seeking a particular face and not seeing it. We have a reasonable service. And a light duty.

Brothers and sisters, if your Pastor doesn’t have the strength and personality of Moses, it might be because you aren’t being Aaron and Hur. Are you praying for him?

Brother Royce Ellis

0609 Spiritual Death

Spiritual Death

Maybe you’ve heard this term used from the pulpit, or read it in an article about Adam, but it seems to be occurring more and more and it’s a subject that needs to be rightly divided. Perhaps we are all saying the same thing, but using different terms. We need to be careful. If you ask me if I believe in predestination and I reply “absolutely!” I could cause confusion, while my intention was only to express my firm belief in God’s sovereign grace. I’m not sure if it is laziness or a failure to rightly divide the word of truth but in the past year, but many Old Baptists are contending the death that occurred to Adam in the fall was a Spiritual Death. While this is the position of the majority of the religious world, it bears careful examination to see what the scriptures will allow.

A recent widely circulated article makes some persuasive points. The author asks rhetorical questions about Adam before the fall, such as:

“Did Adam Love God?”

“Was Adam perfect in holiness? “

“Was Adam a perfectly righteous person?”

The writer insisted in every case the answer must be “yes.” That’s compelling, but the scriptures won’t support it.

Adam was perfect, in the image of God, after his likeness. We understand Adam was made perfect, and usually add the qualification “able to stand, liable to fall.” This means Adam had the capacity to obey, but the will to choose otherwise.

If Adam died a spiritual death, by reason he would have to have had a spiritual life. Life always precedes action, even if that action is death. But we have no evidence of a spiritual life in Adam.

The contention made by those who say Adam died a spiritual death in the garden is often a way to make sense of God’s words: Ge 2:17 But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die..” There is no problem reckoning time here: we appreciate Adam died to the things of God in that very same hour, and that he cast his progeny – all who would follow into a death in trespasses and sins. Everyone born into this world, from the first, Cain – until the last child this earth will allow has been or will be brought into life a sinner, thanks to Adam. But Adam also physically died in the same day he sinned – at least in the day of the Lord. One day is a thousand years, and a thousand years a day.

Those who can’t understand these things look at the eating of the tree and are conflicted. See: Adam sinned and didn’t die. They too buy Satan’s lie. So to keep their faith from falling apart, they attempt to explain it away as an invisible death – a spiritual death.

A spiritual death is problematic. Did Adam exhibit the evidence we all look for when we gauge a child of God? Were the fruits of the Spirit present? If so, do we not understand that eternal life is present as well? Life precedes action. Isn’t that what we teach?

If Adam can die a spiritual death, so can we.

But Adam didn’t lose eternal life, because he did not have it. Adam didn’t lose his spiritual life because he did not have it. Adam had not partaken of the tree of life.

Did Adam love God? The scriptures don’t tell us. If we conclude Adam had a spiritual life that he could lose??? – then we must also conclude that eventually, in time – he would come to a knowledge of his love for God. We do hear from the scriptures that Adam loved Eve. Ge 2:23-24 And Adam said, This [is] now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man. Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

Was Adam holy? No. Was Adam righteous, serving God? Probably not. Now don’t misunderstand – Adam was a special circumstance and a creation of God, but he had a natural mind, not a spiritual one. If he had enjoyed the presence of the spirit we get in the new birth, he would have had greater conflict when Eve presented him the fruit.

If he had spiritual life, he had eternal life. If he had eternal life, he could not have fallen. If he had spiritual life, HOW DID HE OBTAIN IT? Was he born again BEFORE the FALL? Nonsense. Did he partake of the Tree of Life? NO!

We know he was granted the new birth when God spoke to him evidenced by the sacrifice of animals to make coats of skin. Was Adam a child of God? Absolutely. But Adam enjoys the same new birth we did, and for the same reasons. His name had been penned in the Lamb’s Book of Life before the foundation of the world. It may be the first name written down, but it’s in the Book.

Was Adam restored to his original state after regeneration? No. He was restored to better. Now he has eternal life – now he has been carried through the tree of life – (as have we). But he’s not restored to the Garden, and he’s not restored to sinless perfection.

This is the state of Adam in the day that he was formed from the dust of the earth.

He was sinless. He was perfect. He was human and given the capability to obey or disobey. He might have appreciated God as the creator and had great understanding of his own condition, but we have no proof he loved God, or understood holiness and righteousness. He did not fear God, so we might consider he lacked some necessary wisdom. After the fall, he was afraid. His eyes had indeed been opened, but now he’s looking at God through sinful eyes and the relationship has changed.

We can draw better evidence from Adam of righteousness after the fall than before. (Remember the offerings Cain and Abel made before the Lord? Someone had to teach them the time, manner and proper sacrifice to make.)

How long until Adam and Eve were born again? Probably the same day they ate of the forbidden tree. You might think that a strange statement, but consider, (speaking of God) Hab 1:13 [Thou art] of purer eyes than to behold evil, and canst not look on iniquity: wherefore lookest thou upon them that deal treacherously, [and] holdest thy tongue when the wicked devoureth [the man that is] more righteous than he? God very soon returns to the garden to address Adam, condemn his act, curse the serpent, declare the future, and provide animal skins for the pair. As they were the only humans on earth, the blood shed from the foundation of the world was rapidly applied here. Satan does his best to wreck God’s human creation, God answers instantly with the pre-ordained solution.

But a spiritual death? Wrong terminology.

Spiritual death. Think about this for a minute. When we die, these bodies go to the dust of the earth, the way of Adam, to await the redemption. The spirit returns to God. We’re told these details about Rebecca’s death for a reason: Ge 35:18 And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin. When she died, her soul departed – to where? To God who gave it. .. Ec 12:7 Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it.

The spirit that dwells in you is God. Ro 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

Now consider this bold statement: There is no such thing as spiritual death for a child of God. The Spirit is from God, the Spirit is God, the Spirit IS eternal life and the Spirit cannot die.

Who gets a spiritual death? The non-elect. When they die, both body and soul go to the grave to await their one resurrection and their second death.

Brother Royce Ellis

0707 Cain Knew Better

Cain Knew Better.

The scriptures are not always written in straight-forward language; after all, it’s the pleasure of the Lord to hide a matter, Some one once suggested every scripture contains more than 3 layers. We may not have enough time in this life to prove that, but we do know for certain the words authored by the Lord are to be rightly divided, and we are to find “here a little, there a little, line upon line…”

[It is] the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings [is] to search out a matter.

Sometimes we can see two solid pillars of truth in what has been written for our learning. With study, we can carefully bridge between the two if the planks we use are strong, and scriptural. There is a great gap in the continuing story of original sin. Adam falls silent. In fact, little is said of him after he is expelled from the garden. The story jumps to the birth of his first two sons, born sometime after Adam and Eve took up their second residence.

Scripture tells us nothing of Cain and Abel except their order of birth and that they were given to different professions. Ge 4:1-2 And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground.

And then the story of the offerings: Ge 4:3-5 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD.  And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell. We are quick to point out the obvious in verses four and five, that is, the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering, but not unto Cain and his offering. Many will conclude the difference is the result of God’s election. But that’s not the key lesson to be taken away from this story. We always need to read God’s word carefully. A strong case can be made that Abel is elect and Cain was not, we ought not to head to before the foundation of the world immediately when examining these verses.

Some will argue God didn’t respect the offering because it was from Cain, whom the scripture says, he did not respect. We’ve heard it said Cain was lazy and brought only that which he plucked from the ground. Others say God didn’t respect Cain’s offering because the ground from which it came was cursed, but there’s more going on here. In order for these two young men to bring sacrifices to God, someone had to instruct them. They didn’t just wake up one day and decide this would be something interesting. We can safely conclude their temperaments were as different as their choice of livelihood. The timing of offering was not coincidental. They had been taught.

The Lord himself might have taught them, but in all likelihood it was our silent Adam. We know there’s awareness involved because of the timing of the sacrifice. Cain knew when to bring it to God. Abel knew when to bring it as well. Someone had trained or instructed these young men on when to bring forth a sacrifice, and what to bring. Abel brought the firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof. There had to be an animal death involved: a blood sacrifice. God had respect unto Abel and unto his offering. His sacrifice was accepted. If Cain had brought the same type of sacrifice – the firstling of the flock and the fat thereof, he too would have been accepted. That’s a bold statement many will take immediate issue with, for elsewhere the scripture calls Cain – that evil one.

So how do we know that if Cain had made a blood sacrifice similar to Abel’s he would have been accepted? God said so. Ge 4:6-7 And the LORD said unto Cain, Why art thou wroth? And why is thy countenance fallen?  If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? And if thou doest not well, sin lieth at the door. And unto thee [shall be] his desire, and thou shalt rule over him. If thou doest well, shalt thou not be accepted? How is it one is accepted? We have to look to the sample given us. Abel’s offering was accepted, therefore, he did well (was obedient) and therefore he himself was accepted.

Cain had been instructed also, to take the firstlings of the flock and the fat thereof and present it to the Lord on a particular day. Abel was obedient. Cain was not. In fact, we have to conclude Cain was knowingly disobedient. Not only did he refuse to take a lamb, (it’s no stretch to make the sacrifice a lamb) he deliberately took fruit from the ground that God had cursed as an affront to the Lord. He offered him cursed goods in a mocking manner.

Cain is the first human ever born to earthly parents. He is the first to receive Adam’s fallen nature and the first ever to inherit total depravity. In this sacrifice Cain shows off his inherited Adamic sin. Cain is a type of the unrepentant enemy of God – us – before the new birth. Abel is our type of life after the new birth. Cain, our old human nature, versus Abel, the God-loving spirit imparted to us, a picture of our dual nature and struggle.

Cain’s sinful nature allowed jealousy to enter the picture and he became the first to take a physical human life: Ge 4:8-10 And Cain talked with Abel his brother: and it came to pass, when they were in the field, that Cain rose up against Abel his brother, and slew him.  And the LORD said unto Cain, Where [is] Abel thy brother? And he said, I know not: [Am] I my brother’s keeper?  And he said, What hast thou done? The voice of thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from the ground.

Cain in further defiance gives God a blood sacrifice in his brother. Would God have had respect unto Cain and his offering had he been obedient? The scriptures indicate he would. But mocking God has a price – and in this case, reaping what one has sown, literally. Cain’s mocking curse backfires. Ge 4:11-12 And now [art] thou cursed from the earth, which hath opened her mouth to receive thy brother’s blood from thy hand; When thou tillest the ground, it shall not henceforth yield unto thee her strength; a fugitive and a vagabond shalt thou be in the earth. Cursed from the earth. The very cursed earth where you Cain obtained his cursed offering. No more will you easily produce yield you could use to mock God. As a tiller of the ground, even your livelihood shall be against you. We always say you reap in the same garden you sow.

Yet Abel’s obedience follows him to this day: By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain, by which he obtained witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts: and by it he being dead yet speaketh.

Cain’s flaunting of God was Satan’s second attempt on mankind. Throw the curse back into the face of God, and slay the righteous servant. 1Jo 3:12 Not as Cain, [who] was of that wicked one, and slew his brother. And wherefore slew he him? Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous.

Sometimes we get so excited when we see something that supports our view we run ahead before laying the planks before the two pillars. Cain’s works – the only ones we have recorded in scripture, are contrasted with Abel’s. Because his own works were evil, and his brother’s righteous. That sentence alone tells us it’s not the murder of Abel that labels Cain as evil. It’s the comparison – bringing forth a sacrifice blatantly abhorrent to the Lord.

He knew better. He had received the same instruction as his brother, for he knew the timing, and it doesn’t make sense that someone would have taught him the day of the sacrifice and not the proper accepted sacrifice.

It would be years before the law of sacrifice would be penned down and man would learn about blessings in obedience, and being cursed in disobedience. God didn’t give us a day by day account of the early life of Cain and Abel’ just a few simple sentences in Genesis, that speak volumes to us about obeying God, true sacrifice, the consequences of Adam’s sin and depravity, jealousy, strife, murder, blood speaking, and sin having dominion in our lives.

Cain knew better. And usually, although we are slow to admit it, so do we.

Written by Bro. Royce Ellis

0709 Lawyers – Then and Now

Lawyers – Then and Now

Lawyers are unusual. They speak differently than other people. I work around attorneys and I’ve learned they ask questions to solicit specific responses, so they can take the answers and frame the next question, all designed to get the one answer they’re seeking. When the attorney in our office says “Good Morning,” we hesitate before we answer. Is that a statement or a question that might be used against us? Attorneys are tricky with language. One rule they live by in court is this: Never ask a question to which you don’t already know the answer.” I suppose lawyers haven’t changed much in 2000 years.

Lu 10:25-28 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?  He said unto him, What is written in the law? How readest thou?  And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.  And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live. Lu 10:29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

Jesus answered him with the story we call the Good Samaritan. He reversed the lawyer’s trickery and left him with no alternative when asked this question: Lu 10:36-37 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?  And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.

Jesus knew the man was trying to trick Him; it had become more than simple sport for the Pharisees to try to get Christ to say something they could condemn. He responds by telling a simple story that exhibits the policy of love thy neighbor and mercy and has but one answer to the question – ‘who is my neighbor?’ Even though it was not the answer they were expecting, they were forced to confess the much maligned Samaritan was the good neighbor in the story.

Such a simple story, told in response to an attorney’s attempt to trick the Lord, not only laid out our responsibility to our neighbor, and how we are to treat strangers, but also a details the story of a King who became a neighbor.

It’s said the scriptures are revealed in layers; you can peel each layer to reveal more and more as God gives you greater grace and understanding. The first layer here is obvious, do unto others as you would have others do unto you. Even the heathen can see the lesson presented in the top layer of this story. But there’s more.

And Jesus answering said, A certain [man] went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him of his raiment, and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. A certain man. The bible talks of certain men. Jesus uses the term throughout his parables and teachings. In most instances, we find these “certain” men are so called to indicate their condition before God. A certain man called Cornelius. A certain man named Lazarus. A certain man made a great supper, and bade many. In this story, the child of God is that certain man.

went down from Jerusalem to Jericho. In the time of Christ, Jericho was as low as you could go as far as society was concerned. When we talk of people leaving the church going downhill from Jerusalem, Jericho would be their end. Historians described it as that day’s Sodom and Gomorrah. And physically, its location is near the Dead Sea, the lowest place on Earth near civilization – actually 1,371 feet below sea level at the shore.

and fell among thieves. The road to Jericho was filled with bandits and robbers. But in our case, we fell among thieves as well. But our fall was in the Garden of Eden. We were robbed of every good and perfect gift God had intended for us …which stripped him of his raiment. Satan’s deceit stripped us of our heavenly raiment, our covering, our protection.

and wounded [him], and departed, leaving [him] half dead. We were wounded. The enemy departed and we were left half dead. Not physically half dead, but half dead in the sense that in Adam we died, yet continued in natural life.

And by chance there came down a certain priest that way: and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. The law could only acknowledge our condition, it but couldn’t help us in the least. It only served to remind us of our state and show us the standard to which we were being held, the goal we could not obtain on our own.

And likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked [on him], and passed by on the other side. The prophets were of no help. Our condition didn’t change.

But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was: A certain Samaritan; a particular Samaritan. Christ is the certain Samaritan. And he journeyed from Heaven to Earth to save His people from their sins.

The Samaritans (Hebrew: שומרונים‎ Shomronim), known in the Talmud as Kuthim, are an ethnic group of the Levant. Ethnically, they are descended from a group of Israelite inhabitants that have connections to ancient Samaria from the beginning of the Babylonian Exile up to the beginning of the Christian era. The Samaritans, however, derive their name not from this geographical designation, but rather from the term שַמֶרִים (Shamerim), “keepers [of the law]”.Religiously, they are the adherents to Samaritanism, a religion based on the Torah. Samaritans claim that their worship (as opposed to Judaism) is the true religion of the ancient Israelites, predating the Jewish Temple in Jerusalem.

Jhn 8:48-49 Then answered the Jews, and said unto him, Say we not well that thou art a Samaritan, and hast a devil?  Jesus answered, I have not a devil; but I honour my Father, and ye do dishonour me. He didn’t deny being a Samaritan. It does no harm to the gospel to make Christ a Samaritan – at least for the purpose of our story. Here’s salvation for the Jews and Gentiles in one body – representing both groups.

came where he was - for it’s clear in our dead condition we could not come to Him, and He stood where we were, in our place, room and stead,

and when he saw him, he had compassion [on him], Who but Christ would have compassion on us? Who but Christ could come to where we were? It’s impossible for man to “seek and save that which was lost.” The world insists you must come to Christ. Yet here is God’s proper method.

Lu 10:34 And went to [him], and bound up his wounds, We don’t have the capacity to bind our own wounds. If you’ve ever tried to bind your own wound, you know you can’t really secure it without help. Here Christ binds our wounds so sufficiently we’ll never be in danger of the binding being undone. We’re secured, sealed.

Pouring in oil and wine, - oil and wine, and only Christ could administer the healing power of oil and wine. (Holy Spirit and grace?)

and set him on his own beast, we could not get upon the beast ourselves, for our condition was such we had no strength, no power. And while we might speculate whether the beast was a horse, an ox or an ass, we do note the ownership of the beast…

and brought him to an inn, and took care of him. And placed him in the assembly among like-minded believers. And took care of him. He lacks for nothing. He’s ready for eternal heaven. He only needs to survive this lifetime.

And on the morrow when he departed, he took out two pence, two coins. A coin is unique in that it contains two equally important sides that cannot exist without the other. Two coins, two testaments; we would need those in the inn. Two pence. A pence was considered a day’s wage. Christ left the innkeeper two. That’s an indication he’ll be gone for two days. 2Pe 3:8 But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day [is] with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. That sounds like he’ll be back after two days.

Ho 6:2 After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

And gave [them] to the host, and said unto him, Take care of him; the price has been paid. Take care of him. Who gets these instructions? The innkeeper – (we’ll call him Elder.) Instructions to the Elder to care for the ones brought into the inn; see to their spiritual needs. Ac 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

And whatsoever thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee.

Mt 16:27 For the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall reward every man according to his works.

Can you see yourself in this story? It’s you who were dead in trespasses and in sins, wholly dependant upon the Savior to come to you, where you were. Yet Jesus must have compassion, pour in oil and wine, place you on his beast, and pay your debt. The Lord promises even more if need be, and leaves you in the care of the inn’s host for spiritual food and drink, rest and recuperation until He returns.

What’s your condition today? Are you enjoying some of the food, rest and comfort of the inn? Have you checked in with the host?

Brother Royce Ellis

0711 Blinded by the Light

Blinded by the Light

ox·y·mo·ron   n. A rhetorical figure in which incongruous or contradictory terms are combined, as in a deafening silence and a mournful optimist.

Saul of Tarsus was a powerful man among the Jewish religious leaders of his day. In fact, he describes himself thusly: Phl 3:5-6 Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, [of] the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

Ac 22:3 I am verily a man [which am] a Jew, born in Tarsus, [a city] in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, [and] taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

His zeal was unmatched in the persecution of the early church. Well versed in the law and the tradition of the fathers, Saul combined all of these things to obtain letters of authority from the Chief priests. Ac 22:19-20 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

Was Saul in Jerusalem during the Passover and a witness to the mobs before Pilate? Did he stand afar off and view the crucifixion of Christ? He was after all a devout Jew, likely to be in the Holy city as were tens of thousands of others at that time of year. Jerusalem was his adopted city.

As far as the church was concerned, Saul was the most dangerous man in all of Israel. He had not only the skill and experience of beating and imprisoning believers, he quickly obtained wider authority. Ac 9:1-5 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Oxen were moved and guided by a device called an ox goad. Many describe it as a farming implement, but it’s also mentioned in scripture as the weapon that killed 600. It was a long pole with several metal pointed spears (pricks) in a bunch at its end. Placed at the back of the leg of the ox or cattle, much as we might use a cattle prod today, it kept the animals from backing up, forcing them to continue forward. As it applied sharp pointed pressure to the back of the leg, it was nearly impossible to kick against it.

Blinded by the light. Light brings darkness. Saul went instantly from being the most powerful man in Judea to the most helpless. Can you imagine what it must be like to be suddenly blind? Unable to take more than a step in any direction for fear of falling into a ditch, stumbling against a rock, falling into a body of water, or crossing the path of a quiet serpent? Quickly subdued, Paul now had to turn unto the men he commanded to beg for assistance. Ac 22:11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

Ac 9:6-9 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. They stood speechless. A newly blind Saul must have had to cry out in panic for them to help him.  And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought [him] into Damascus.  And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

And for three days, he probably didn’t move. Three days and nights in a dark location, that’s an interesting scenario. Saul either sat in a chair or lay on a bed in a strange environment, unable to see, and not knowing what was at his left hand or his right. All he saw was his own darkness. The light that blinded him was also the one showing him his very depravity. How poetic for a man to be cast down from his lofty position by the very one he was persecuting. For three days and nights, a blind, weary Saul cried, prayed, and saw every sin he had ever committed.

Ac 9:10-11 And there was a certain disciple at Damascus, named Ananias; and to him said the Lord in a vision, Ananias. And he said, Behold, I [am here], Lord. And the Lord [said] unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, (How fitting the chief of sinners be put on the straight street) and enquire in the house of Judas for (house of Judas – that puts Saul’s treachery against Jesus in perspective) [one] called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, Behold, he prayeth. Indeed. This self righteous man, Pharisee of Pharisees, probably truly prayed for the first time in his life. Praying now to the very Christ he battled against hours earlier. Isn’t that our case?

But soon, prayers about sin, depravity and current conditions give way to prayer with the Spirit, and some understanding begins to come to Saul. The light that brought him darkness – and brought his darkness to light, now is instructing, healing, imparting grace, wisdom and mercy and bringing life and immortality to light. The light that shined round about at noonday and brought Saul to the earth now shines from the inside out.

Ac 9:12-14 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting [his] hand on him, that he might receive his sight. Then Ananias answered, (Lord, you don’t know this man – he’s evil-- he’ll harm me!) Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. Have we ever considered the response of Ananias? Speaking with the creator of the universe, telling Him he was afraid of what Saul might do unto him!!? Even as the Lord has told him of Saul’s vision and what is to come to pass, he still shows a fear and lack of faith. Ac 9:15-17 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, [even] Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.

Ac 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. Saul’s experience was sufficient to convince him he was not only dealing with the Lord, but had been dealt with by the Lord. Immediately he set about to show the answer of a good conscience by water baptism. Saul wasn’t showing his conscience was clear, but understood the good conscience placed in him by the Holy Spirit required answer.

Ac 9:19-22 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. Our strength comes from the meat of the gospel. Saul had received instruction from God and had it confirmed by Ananias. Now he was ready to show forth the light that illuminated him. And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. But all that heard [him] were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?  But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.

Paul thought he had perfect light on this new Christian sect that was causing the Jews so much trouble. The true perfect light blinded him, and then opened his eyes. We all sing the line in Amazing Grace I once was blind, but now I see, but Paul was blinded and given sight to see and understand his depravity in a new light and with those eyes, seeing his own sin, was able to explain to us how clearly God sees our sin.

Brother Royce Ellis

0801 A Giant Prophecy

A Giant Prophecy

One of the most recognizable stories in the Old Testament tells of the lad who slayed the giant Goliath. All Israel feared before the huge Philistine and only young David was brave enough to step forward without armor, place his trust in the Lord, and, armed with only a sling and five smooth stones face the giant for the armies of Israel.

The giant fell at the faith of the young sheepherder with the speed of one stone. And that’s all most people will admit to know about the story.

1Sa 17:40-54 And he took his staff in his hand, and chose him five smooth stones out of the brook, and put them in a shepherd's bag which he had, even in a scrip; and his sling [was] in his hand: and he drew near to the Philistine. And the Philistine came on and drew near unto David; and the man that bare the shield [went] before him.

And when the Philistine looked about, and saw David, he disdained him: for he was [but] a youth, and ruddy, and of a fair countenance. And the Philistine said unto David, [Am] I a dog, that thou comest to me with staves? And the Philistine cursed David by his gods.

And the Philistine said to David, Come to me, and I will give thy flesh unto the fowls of the air, and to the beasts of the field.

Then said David to the Philistine, Thou comest to me with a sword, and with a spear, and with a shield: but I come to thee in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom thou hast defied This day will the LORD deliver thee into mine hand; and I will smite thee, and take thine head from thee; and I will give the carcases of the host of the Philistines this day unto the fowls of the air, and to the wild beasts of the earth; that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel. And all this assembly shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle [is] the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands And it came to pass, when the Philistine arose, and came and drew nigh to meet David, that David hasted, and ran toward the army to meet the Philistine.

And David put his hand in his bag, and took thence a stone, and slang [it], and smote the Philistine in his forehead, that the stone sunk into his forehead; and he fell upon his face to the earth. So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and smote the Philistine, and slew him; but [there was] no sword in the hand of David.

But after the giant falls, the future king does something strange.

Therefore David ran, and stood upon the Philistine, and took his sword, and drew it out of the sheath thereof, and slew him, and cut off his head therewith. And when the Philistines saw their champion was dead, they fled. And the men of Israel and of Judah arose, and shouted, and pursued the Philistines, until thou come to the valley, and to the gates of Ekron. And the wounded of the Philistines fell down by the way to Shaaraim, even unto Gath, and unto Ekron. And the children of Israel returned from chasing after the Philistines, and they spoiled their tents. And David took the head of the Philistine, and brought it to Jerusalem; but he put his armour in his tent.

The chasing was over, but now David has a special mission. He is going to Jerusalem – unfriendly territory - carrying the head of the giant. Let’s put this trip into perspective. David had no business in Jerusalem, for he himself would rule from Hebron for the first seven years of his reign. 2Sa 2:11 And the time that David was king in Hebron over the house of Judah was seven years and six months. (Jerusalem has not been conquered yet.) He left his armour in his tent, so he wasn’t on a military mission. Perhaps he was following the instruction of inspiration.

He could have had no other purpose at that age to travel to Jerusalem except to fulfill a mission related to the head of the giant. We don’t know for certain what David did in Jerusalem, but we can draw some conclusions by what we read. The head of the giant has no value or use to David, unless he intends to put it on pike and start trouble. And as it is a head – that is, still with flesh and hair and parts, we must assume it won’t last in its present state for long. Third, we never hear mention of it again, so David must have disposed of it in Jerusalem. We conclude he buried it on the Lord’s instructions, else wise, he could have just thrown it away anywhere.

That wasn’t to be David’s last encounter with giants.

Jos 13:12 All the kingdom of Og in Bashan, which reigned in Ashtaroth and in Edrei, who remained of the remnant of the giants: for these did Moses smite, and cast them out.

Jos 15:8 And the border went up by the valley of the son of Hinnom unto the south side of the Jebusite; the same [is] Jerusalem: and the border went up to the top of the mountain that [lieth] before the valley of Hinnom westward, which [is] at the end of the valley of the giants northward:

1Ch 20:4-8 And it came to pass after this, that there arose war at Gezer with the Philistines; at which time Sibbechai the Hushathite slew Sippai, [that was] of the children of the giant: and they were subdued. And there was war again with the Philistines; and Elhanan the son of Jair slew Lahmi the brother of Goliath the Gittite, whose spear staff [was] like a weaver's beam. And yet again there was war at Gath, where was a man of [great] stature, whose fingers and toes [were] four and twenty, six [on each hand], and six [on each foot]: and he also was the son of the giant But when he defied Israel, Jonathan the son of Shimea David's brother slew him. These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

This may be the last of the race of giants in the land, for indeed, they are never mentioned again in Israel’s history, thanks to the sword of David.

Remember this prophetic warning to Satan?

Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

What possible reason could we have to bring Satan into this? From the time of the prophetic statement above until David’s final slaying of the giants, Satan has not appeared in scripture. David lived and reigned about 1000 years before Christ. If we take the order of Scriptures from Genesis chronologically, that puts the timing of this appearance nearly 3000 years after the garden. Regardless, this is Satan’s first mention by name since the fall of Adam. How interesting that soon after the last of the giants is eliminated. Satan appears. What about that event was so significant to provoke his wrath?

There are many opinions about how this race of giants came to be, and we won’t entertain that here, but regardless of what you think about their origin, here’s an indisputable fact: Their demise brought on the ire of Satan, and it was targeted against the very man who took the race off the face of the earth.

1Ch 20:8 These were born unto the giant in Gath; and they fell by the hand of David, and by the hand of his servants.

1Ch 21:1 And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel.

Numbering, in and of itself is not a violation of God’s law. Indeed, in 2Sa 24:1 we read: "And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah." Improper numbering, however, is a violation. The Lord gives instructions in Exodus on how to properly number.

Ex 30:11-16 And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when [thou] numberest them. This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel [is] twenty gerahs:) an half shekel [shall be] the offering of the LORD. Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when [they] give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. Atonement money. Because numbering implies ownership, there must be something to point to the true owner. A token showing those numbered stand in need of a ransom for their souls; something that points to a savior and salvation. David sinned by not following the instructions of the Lord in how to number and in not taking the atonement money. He knew better, for he had properly numbered Israel before. Satan stood up against David and provoked him to number Israel. This was Satan’s rage and revenge against David. But what would make him so angry? David found himself in great disfavor with the Lord for the way in which he had numbered Israel, but he had also handed Satan a tremendous defeat.

Ge 3:15 And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.

If – and we must speculate here- if the giants had a kinship of some description to Satan, if they belonged somehow to Satan, then the elimination of their kind would be a crushing blow. But the prophecy quoted in Genesis belongs to Christ.

Fast forward now, to the day of the crucifixion. The place described thusly in the New Testament by three writers:

Mt 27:33 And when they were come unto a place called Golgotha, that is to say, a place of a skull,

Mr 15:22 And they bring him unto the place Golgotha, which is, being interpreted, The place of a skull.

Joh 19:17 And he bearing his cross went forth into a place called [the place] of a skull, which is called in the Hebrew Golgotha: A well known site – the place of a skull. Singular. I wonder how such a location came to earn its name? Goliath of Goth. Some claim the hill has the appearance of a skull. I say, here a little, there a little.

David, a figure of Christ, brought the victory over the physical race of giants. Christ brought the final victory over the entire spiritual reign. Did David fulfill a prophetic mission when he carried the skull to Jerusalem? Did he bury it at the place now known as Golgotha? Can you see the feet of Christ on the cross standing over the head of the serpent? What giants are left in your life? We can count on the Lord to crush them.

Brother Royce Ellis

0803 Exodus - Take 2


Exodus,

Take Two


It’s unfortunate that we live in a time of non-stop television and movies, because when it comes to spiritual things and biblical, historical matters, our minds are often made up for us by Hollywood writers and producers whose view of the scriptures is tilted.

We all have a picture in our minds of the Exodus, and of course, we see it taking place as Cecil B. DeMille decided we should see it. Take the tablets of the Ten Commandments for example. In Alabama, there was a huge controversy over a replica of the tablets that took up a courthouse foyer. Today, they are trucked around the Southern US to be for church fundraisers. But that’s too big. We know that from seeing the actor, Charleston Heston, as Moses carry two huge tablets down the mount, struggling under their weight. But even that was a great exaggeration:

Ex 34:29 And it came to pass, when Moses came down from mount Sinai with the two tables of testimony in Moses’ hand, when he came down from the mount, that Moses wist not that the skin of his face shone while he talked with him.

Did you catch that? Moses at some point had both tables in one hand. And rightfully so, for they had to be small enough to fit into the Ark – which dimensions we are given. Graven in rock – the smaller they were, the greater the glory to the God whose finger wrote them…

How much better off would we be if we let the Holy Spirit paint the picture for us instead of Hollywood? The movie the Ten Commandments comes around every spring and we see the Exodus of hundreds of thousands leaving Egypt forever. We’re treated to the sight of 0ld people on their beds of affliction being carried on wooden carts, or pulled on litters by donkeys. The aged, the infirmed, the crippled, creeping along at a snail’s pace, being left by the velocity of the healthier crowd. Why if you didn’t know better, you’d think a nursing home was being vacated. Here’s a wondrous fact TV won’t tell you about that event:

Not a single Hebrew was sick or ailing coming out of that darkness of Egypt! Ps 105 is a recap of the departure – from the trials and the plagues – all the way to the quail and water from the Rock. But notice verse 37:

Ps 105:37 He brought them forth also with silver and gold: and [there was] not one feeble [person] among their tribes.

Not one feeble! Not only a picture of the new birth, but a picture of something coming in the future. I don’t know what your circumstance is today, but there is coming a day when we leave the darkness of this world – we’ll cross over to freedom from sin and death, and there will not be one feeble among us. There’s another perfection coming.

This is not an idle statement. The Hebrew children were 400 years in slavery, so there were men and women of every age, bound under hard and hazardous labor. That in coming out not one was ailing or feeble shows the great power of God.

Two more quick things about the Exodus experience I’d like to note – if for no other reason than to shake up the image you have and replace it with the one God penned for us. We have a vision of the cloud that guided them by day and the fire by night, as if it were nothing more than Hollywood special effects, to be turned off and on by a switch. But that Cloud, that Fire, that Rock was Christ.

Ex 23:20-22 Behold, I send an Angel before thee, to keep thee in the way, and to bring thee into the place which I have prepared.  Beware of him, and obey his voice, provoke him not; for he will not pardon your transgressions: for my name [is] in him.  But if thou shalt indeed obey his voice, and do all that I speak; then I will be an enemy unto thine enemies, and an adversary unto thine adversaries.

Beware, obey, provoke not; my name is in him. Good instruction for today’s sojourner as well, full of promise.

And finally, Manna. “What is it?” Ex 16:14 And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness [there lay] a small round thing, [as] small as the hoar frost on the ground.

Jesus said He was the bread that came down from Heaven. The white, red- stripped coriander-like seed that covered the ground to serve as Bread for the Hebrews is described as hoar frost, or a covering, from the same root as atonement.

Royce Ellis

0805 Divide the Word, Not the Baby

Divide the Word, Not the Baby

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

I have an inclination in study to search for the inescapable conclusion. When I hit a wall on a subject or reach a point where no other solution fits, that becomes my new starting point. I take that theory and test it backwards. Let me give you an example.

An internet forum in which I participate asked when a person’s name is written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. Dozens of answers were proffered, from the expected “as soon as a person confesses and accepts Christ” to the rapid penning of names on the day of final judgment. Of course, the confusion exists because the word of truth is not being rightly divided.

I hit the conclusion wall in the book of Revelation, Chapter 5 (Re 5). The book mentioned there is the Lamb’s Book of Life, and it is sealed with seven seals. Some conclusions we must draw here include: a) the sealing is not a recent event; b) if it required someone of Christ’s authority to open it, it was penned by no less of an authority, and c) it is the book of salvation holding the names of God’s elect.

Re 17:8and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world

Logic tells us that if some names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, the ones that were written must have occurred at that time.

Of course, this is recurring and refreshing doctrine to us. But the religious world cannot fathom this, because they believe the Lamb’s Book of Life is opened and closed every time a sinner accepts Christ, a new name is written, the book is resealed and remains that way until another sinner – wait, one just fell away, his name will have to be erased, blotted out. Gonna need many more seals…

Why all the confusion? It’s all because of failure to rightly divide the truth. We aren’t instructed to divide truth from falsehood. The bible’s already done that for us. We are to rightly divide this truth, and apply it properly, from other truth, which has its own application.

Let’s look at another example continuing with our “book” study. We know the Lamb’s Book of Life is from eternity, and we know the names written there are safe, yet we read in other places:

Ex 32:32-33 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin--; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.

De 29:20 The LORD will not spare him, but then the anger of the LORD and his jealousy shall smoke against that man, and all the curses that are written in this book shall lie upon him, and the LORD shall blot out his name from under heaven.

Ps 69:28 Let them be blotted out of the book of the living, and not be written with the righteous.

Mal 3:16 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard [it], and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name.

If we fail to rightly divide the word of truth, we too could make the error of thinking the Lamb’s book of life is an ever-changing rolodex with names entering and leaving upon every act of sinful man.

Just because something is recorded in the scriptures concerning the actions of men, doesn’t mean the Lord changes his doctrine as a result. David instructed men to count Israel. He made instruments of music to praise God. Both were wrong actions, yet today, so-called churches thrive on numbers and music and very little doctrine.

Solomon was wiser than any natural man ever born, and in a classic dispute, he resolved the case of the grieving mother by dividing or discerning the truth of the matter. None of us expected to read in the chapter that followed two women happily leaving the throne with half a baby each. Yet, if we fail to test scripture against scripture, we end up with half a doctrine, and as pitiful as the analogy sounds, that half of a doctrine is dead.

Moses showed God his love for the people he had led out of bondage by asking his name to be removed from the book. We don’t know if this is the eternal book of life, but either way, Moses’ can’t impact that eternal book any more than you or I could.

Having your name removed from the book of the living – well, we all go the way of the earth, so we know that’s not the Lamb’s book of life in De 29:20 and Ps 69:28.

And the book of remembrance, sounds about as timely or earth bound as possible. It certainly wouldn’t be applicable in eternal heaven.

That leaves us only one verse to deal with in order to have a full understanding: Re 3:5 He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.

Our inescapable conclusion here tells us this book, which can be opened and blotted, can not be the book hosting the names of God’s elect children. It speaks of no seals. It must be a timely book. Let’s use the wisdom of rightly dividing the word of truth to keep the baby whole.

Bro. Royce Ellis

0811 Christian Code Words

Christian Code Words

            Perhaps if we were writing the story, the Jews would have suddenly realized their grave error in crucifying the Lord, and all would have converted to the teachings of Christ around the empty tomb. However, it did not happen that way.  Strong persecution began almost immediately.  The disciples went into hiding over the High holy days while Christ was still in the heart of the earth.  In fact, they had each departed hastily once it was clear Jesus was to be arrested.  Mr 14:50 And they all forsook him, and fled.

            Joh 20:19 Then the same day at evening, being the first [day] of the week, when the doors were shut where the disciples were assembled for fear of the Jews, came Jesus and stood in the midst, and saith unto them, Peace [be] unto you.        

        The climate in the area was hostile.  The Jews were angry their religion had been attacked.  They took great offense to this new group of upstarts telling them the law was at an end.  Saul of Tarsus got authority to enter house to house arresting the followers of Christ and jail those who had converted to the new way.  Ac 8:3 As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed [them] to prison.

            They were not yet running through the streets proclaiming the good news of the gospel.  In fact, they referred to themselves in a manner that might have been considered code words.

            Some say they identified one other by the use of an Aramaic word that neither the Romans nor most Jews would comprehend.  Maranatha.  Our Lord cometh.  The battle cry of hope among frightened and anxious converts.  Our Lord cometh.  The word could be spoken aloud to a stranger and repeated in response.  No response would be equally telling. 

            Perhaps the Apostle, in using this one Aramaic word in the Greek New Testament 

1Co 16:22 If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be Anathema Maranath, is telling those who are reading he now understands their code.  Maybe it’s Paul’s way of saying he didn’t understand all those times before when I heard the codeword, but now he does.  And to prove the Lord had brought him to this realization: ‘if any man loves not the Lord,’ let him be accused, because our Lord will return.”

            Years later, the symbol IOXYE  would be used by some believers to identify one another in dangerous locales.  It is said that when two strangers met and thought maybe they were fellow believers; one of them would draw on the ground the upper half of the fish symbol.   If the other person was a Christian, he would add the bottom half of the fish.  History tells us the fish became a codeword among some.           

            It comes from the Greek word for fish. IXOYE  ichthus, pronounced ikh-thoos.  The individual letters I, X, O, Y, E, are the first letters of five Greek words as follows...

     I - iota, the first letter in the Greek word Iesous, meaning Jesus

     X - chi, the first letter in the Greek word Christos, meaning Christ

     O - theta, the first letter in the Greek word Theos, meaning God

     Y - upsilon, the first letter in the Greek word Huios, meaning Son

     E - sigma, the first letter in the Greek word Soter, meaning Savior

Iesous Christos Theou Yios Soter, i.e. Jesus Christ, Son of God, Saviour.

            But how did they refer to one another?    Ac 11:26 And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.  Christianos {khris-tee-an-os'} A Greek word, meaning a follower of Christ. 

            Ro 11:17 And if some of the branches be broken off, and thou, being a wild olive tree, wert graffed in among them, and with them partakest of the root and fatness of the olive tree;

            The Gentiles were grafted into the Jewish olive tree. 

            Isa 11:1-2 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots  And the spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD;  

            Jer 23:5 Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth.

            Jer 33:15 In those days, and at that time, will I cause the Branch of righteousness to grow up unto David; and he shall execute judgment and righteousness in the land.

            Many have claimed the word Christian was intended to be derogatory or sarcastic, given by the enemies of the day, much the same way our detractors called us Primitive. 

            The church established at Antioch was more than a dozen years after the resurrection of the Lord.  For a few short years, the church was made up primarily of Jews. What were the Jewish disciples called?   As we’ve seen, it wasn’t popular to be marked a disciple of Christ soon after the crucifixion.  The apostles themselves hid from the public.  It was unlikely one would go about saying he was a follower of the Messiah, Jesus.

            Some historians say they were called by the Hebrew word  tsemach {tseh'-makh}  

      Tsemach in English is Branch.

            tsemach {tseh'-makh}     sprout, growth, branch   a) sprouting, growth, sprout   b) growth (of process)   c) sprout, shoot (of Messiah from Davidic tree)

            Zec 3:8 Hear now, O Joshua the high priest, thou, and thy fellows that sit before thee: for they [are] men wondered at: for, behold, I will bring forth my servant the BRANCH.

            Zec 6:12 And speak unto him, saying, Thus speaketh the LORD of hosts, saying, Behold the man whose name [is] The BRANCH; and he shall grow up out of his place, and he shall build the temple of the LORD:

            Joh 15:2 Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every [branch] that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.

            Joh 15:5 I am the vine, ye [are] the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

            Ro 11:16 For if the firstfruit [be] holy, the lump [is] also [holy]: and if the root [be] holy, so [are] the branches.

            Tsemach, the branch.                                                                        

  Brother Royce Ellis

0901 Imprisoned Spirits

Imprisoned Spirits

There is a group that teaches – with a straight face, that Christ spent three days and nights in a literal hell preaching and trying to convert those who had died in their sins to accept, confess and believe in order to have a home in heaven. The very idea is appalling to most of us. It needs very little study to prove it unscriptural. They base their theory on this passage:

1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:
1Pe 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

The Jews believed in an underground cavern or chamber divided into two sections – Hell, and Abraham’s bosom and that all who died before Christ’ entered these chambers to await their ultimate fate. Abraham’s bosom was also called Paradise.

From Wikipedia: According to 1st century Jewish beliefs, the dead were gathered into a general tarrying-place, the sheol of the Old Testament, and the Hades of the New Testament writings (cf. Lu 16:22, in the Gr. Lu 16:23). Here, the righteous occupied an abode or compartment of their own which was distinctly separated by a wall or a chasm from the abode or compartment to which the wicked were consigned. The latter was a place of torments usually spoken of as Gehenna (cf. Mt 5:29-30; 18:9ff, Mr 9:42 sqq. in the Latin Vulgate)- the other, a place of bliss and security known under the names of "Paradise" (cf. Lu 23:43) or "the Bosom of Abraham" (Lu 16:22-23). The afterlife as portrayed in the story of the Rich Man and Lazarus fits this concept of the Bosom of Abraham.

We need not exhaust any time debunking this error; we could do that with the three words Christ spoke before dying: “It is finished.”

But what does the scripture mean? By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Who are these imprisoned spirits to whom Christ preached? In retail sales, they say for success, you need three things: Location, location, location. In the study of scriptures, a wise man once said: “Context, context, context.”

When? While the ark was preparing. In the days of Noah, before the flood. That’s the context of the verse, and that too is where we must find our answer.
Adam and Seth had a prophecy concerning the destruction of the earth. Scripture doesn’t record it for us, but Jewish historian Josephus writes:

And that their inventions might not be lost before they were sufficiently known, upon Adam's prediction that the world was to be destroyed at one time by the force of fire, and at another time by the violence and quantity of water, they made two pillars, (10) the one of brick, the other of stone: they inscribed their discoveries on them both, that in case the pillar of brick should be destroyed by the flood, the pillar of stone might remain, and exhibit those discoveries to mankind; and also inform them that there was another pillar of brick erected by them. Now this remains in the land of Siriad to this day.

The Jews also had a theory about Methuselah:

The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise. It had been preached on for four generations. But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time "he walked with God." Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth. Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy. The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means "death" ; and from shalach, which means "to bring," or "to send forth." Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, "his death shall bring."  And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came. Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more. Lamech had Noah when he was 182. The Flood came in Noah's 600th year. 187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah's age when he died.  It is interesting that Methuselah's life was, in effect, a symbol of God's mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood. It is therefore fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, symbolizing the extreme extensiveness of God's mercy.

Historians speculate Noah had no desire to take a wife or bring children into a world everyone knew was to be destroyed. But then, finally, at the ripe old age of 500… Ge 5:32 And Noah was five hundred years old: and Noah begat Shem, Ham, and Japheth.

After the Jews spent their traditional seven days mourning the death of Methuselah, it began to rain. Eight souls were saved in the flood by the Ark. Modern theologians will tell you Noah begged and pleaded for folks to join him on the ark to be saved. After all, he was a “preacher of righteousness.” But you and I know those folks couldn’t have gotten into that ark with a stick of dynamite. Eight persons to be saved. Yet the fact the flood is coming is well known if we can believe the historians. But stop and think for a moment. There were millions of people alive at the time, and while their thoughts were “only evil continually” many of those people were born again children of God.

About to die. No escape. No law or schoolmaster to instruct them on what lies ahead. The scriptures inform us Noah was preaching righteousness, but probably more so by obedience and godly living than by street preaching, so how were the untold numbers of God’s children instructed in grace, eternity, the three that bear record in Heaven and their salvation? Christ told them:

1Pe 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:
1Pe 3:19 By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison;
1Pe 3:20 Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.
1Pe 3:21 The like figure whereunto [even] baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:

Wouldn’t you call knowledge of pending physical death, no law to guide you, no preacher to comfort you, no hope and no understanding, prison?

Submitted by Bro. Royce Ellis

5 THINGS That Work Together

5 THINGS That Work Together
 
Ro 8:28-32 "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. 31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? 32 He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?"
 
Don't be confused by the world seeking to turn every happenstance and instance of evil or misfortune into a blessing unseen.  All things don't work together when they are taken out of context.
 
These five things are the five parts of God's covenant of redemption. God is the doer of all five things. It is God that does the foreknowing, predestinating, calling, justifying and glorifying. The ones God foreknew are the exact same ones that he predestinated, called, justified and glorified. There is an equality of numbers in those five actions. These five actions of God bring about the eternal salvation and glorification of all the elect family of God. These five things work in perfect harmony, because God is working them. The five things are actually: God foreknew; God predestinated; God called; God justified; and God glorified. Each of the five things is a work of God. Each of the five things works together in perfect harmony. Each of the five things works for good.

The covenant of redemption is taught like a golden thread throughout the entirety of the Old and New Testament.  It's written for us plainly in the book of Romans.

9 AM to Noon

9 AM to Noon


In the entirety of human history, there are no more crucial hours recorded than the six hours our Lord and Savior hung upon the cruel cross on Golgotha’s hill. There’s a popular song that has a line “…and the darkest hour, is just before dawn.” True, in nature. But the darkest hour in history occurred on the day Christ was crucified.

Jesus was placed on the cross, suspended between heaven and earth, lifted up, at nine a.m. as we count time. It was the third hour of the day according to Jewish reckoning. Their day began at sundown, or around 6 PM, and was carved into four three hour watches, the last ending at sunrise, or 6 AM. [6-9 PM Evening Watch; 9-12 Midnight Watch; 12-3 AM Cockcrow; 3-6 AM Morning Watch]

The third hour of the day was the time of the morning sacrifice. The evening sacrifice took place around three in the afternoon, or the ninth hour.

How fitting Jesus was the first and last sacrifice!

From noon to three pm, (mid-day until the ninth hour), darkness was across the land and the wrath of God was poured out onto Christ. It was the cruelest three hours in creation’s history. Jesus had undergone much suffering, humiliation, physical beatings, abuse and agony in the hours before; and certainly, the pain and torture of being nailed to the cross was horrifying, yet it paled in comparison to that which he suffered in the three dark hours.

Preachers tell us God turned out the lights on that act so no one could see the justice; no one could see the suffering; no one could see the brutality as God looked away from his Son who had become our sin. At high noon, the sun straight up in the sky, there would be no shadow over the Messiah. No darkness at all, telling all who might see the symbolism – he who is light is about to become darkness for us. Jas 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

Here is our perfect gift in the sacrifice of Jesus. For three hours the Sun was not seen. Nor was the light of the world.

Mr 15:27 And with him they crucify two thieves; the one on his right hand, and the other on his left.
Mr 15:28-32 And the scripture was fulfilled, which saith, And he was numbered with the transgressors. 29 And they that passed by railed on him, wagging their heads, and saying, Ah, thou that destroyest the temple, and buildest [it] in three days, 30 Save thyself, and come down from the cross. 31 Likewise also the chief priests mocking said among themselves with the scribes, He saved others; himself he cannot save.  32 Let Christ the King of Israel descend now from the cross, that we may see and believe. And they that were crucified with him reviled him.

Jesus was placed upon the cross before the other two. He was the reason for the day’s events; the others were due to be put up at the next convenient time. Christ was on the cross at the time of the morning sacrifice, placing Him there around nine. The malefactors, if the Romans were diligent and efficient, were in place by nine-thirty.

It’s probably approaching ten am now. All three crosses are fixed in place, the Roman soldiers have stepped back to admire their handiwork and the crowds are allowed up close to pass by. We often picture, thanks to Hollywood and artists, gigantic crosses stretching toward the sky. In actuality, the crosses were probably only seven or eight feet high. Passersby could show their disgust by spitting upon the victims or striking them.

The two thieves are not in as much pain as Jesus. They were not beaten or scourged on this day; their only weariness comes from the trek up the hill carrying their cross. The timing of their sentence no doubt fell to Roman efficiency; they didn’t know they were fulfilling prophecy.  The thieves also had the benefit of the painkiller offered to victims of the cross. They no doubt took it readily. Christ declined.

Mr 15:23 And they gave him to drink wine mingled with myrrh: but he received [it] not.

Matthew says those around began to mock Him.

Mat 27:42 He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him.
Mat 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: for he said, I am the Son of God.

Near the end of the first hour, the thieves also mocked Him.

Mat 27:44 The thieves also, which were crucified with him, cast the same in his teeth.

But then, at some point between ten am and noon, a transformation occurs in one of the thieves.

Luk 23:39 And one of the malefactors which were hanged railed on him, saying, If thou be Christ, save thyself and us.
Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?
Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.
Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.
Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.
Luk 23:44 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour.

A change takes place. Whether born again on the cross, or converted under the very presence of God, evidences of grace show forth from this criminal. In an hour, he has undergone a transformation. From railing and blasphemy, from participating in the world’s evil, from cursing and mocking the one beside him, the thief’s change is dramatic.

First, he defends Jesus –

Luk 23:40 But the other answering rebuked him, saying, Dost not thou fear God, seeing thou art in the same condemnation?

Second, he shows a fear of God he didn’t have before. The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom.

Luk 23:41 And we indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this man hath done nothing amiss.

Third, he understands something new about justice. “We receive the due reward of our deeds.” Does this sound like a man who has been shown his depravity?

Now, he perceives Jesus’ innocence. “This man hath done nothing amiss.

Ever wonder how he knew that? It wasn’t common practice for thieves and murderers sentenced to death to be allowed to roam the streets absorbing the culture and gossip until their date with destiny. This is a man who had been long locked up. He had no natural means of knowing “this man hath done nothing amiss.” It was a revealed knowledge.

Next, he calls Jesus “Lord.” From cursing and mocking to suddenly realizing where salvation stood. Php 2:11 And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

More fruit is manifest: he shows faith and belief. And he prays. Luk 23:42 And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom. He got an answer immediately.  He had been instructed about eternal life – life after this fleshy existence. He knew something of heaven. And all without the benefit of a preacher, altar call, or living a life without sin. Imagine!

Luk 23:43 And Jesus said unto him, Verily I say unto thee, To day shalt thou be with me in paradise.

What a remarkable change! On the day in which the Creator of the universe would see His only begotten Son beaten, humiliated and put to death, indeed, on the very day when He would experience a first ever separation from Christ, God still cares enough about a poor wretched miserable sinner, a convicted thief and murderer, a man who is at that very hour shouting blasphemies at His very beloved Son – to send His Holy Spirit.

Even while His Son was about to bear the sins of the elect, the justice and punishment we deserved, God was giving life – the new birth to the vile creature who hung on the right hand of Christ. While Romans and Jews passed by, mocking, ridiculing, making great sport of our King, God was performing a heart operation next door. He was unstopping ears, giving spiritual sight to blind eyes and opening understanding. He was speaking grace, mercy and truth to a condemned man, taking away his sin and wickedness and placing on the cross next to it. And by so doing, he ensured and upheld the covenant he had made with Himself before the foundation of the world; not one of His elect would be lost.

While He was dying on the cross, reconciling the world to Himself, He did not neglect the least of His saints. While justice was being carried out on the center cross, mercy was operating beside it.

John 5:25 says Verily, verily, I say unto you, The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live.

The hour is coming. That means it will take place in the future. And now is. That means it’s occurring right now. It takes place every hour.

During one of the most dreaded and important hours in history, the Holy Spirit is in operation, faithful to His elect.

Brother Royce Ellis

A Jewish 12 Step Program - The Ancient Wedding

A Jewish 12 Step Program

Ec 1:9 The thing that hath been, it [is that] which shall be; and that which is done [is] that which shall be done: and [there is] no new [thing] under the sun.

Moses was given examples and patterns in the Mount. It’s clear from study that we are only given a portion of the instructions he received.

Isa 8:18    Behold, I and the children whom the LORD hath given me [are] for signs and for wonders in Israel from the LORD of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

It sounds like their actions, traditions, and lifestyles are for signs, which in turn are for our instruction. 

Ro 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;   God gave the law, the service and the promises to Israel:

1Ch 28:11  Then David gave to Solomon his son the pattern of the porch, and of the houses thereof, and of the treasuries thereof, and of the upper chambers thereof, and of the inner parlours thereof, and of the place of the mercy seat, 1Ch 28:12 And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the LORD, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things:

1Ch 28:13 Also for the courses of the priests and the Levites, and for all the work of the service of the house of the LORD, and for all the vessels of service in the house of the LORD. 1Ch 28:14 [He gave] of gold by weight for [things] of gold, for all instruments of all manner of service; [silver also] for all instruments of silver by weight, for all instruments of every kind of service:

While is it clear from these scriptures that temple service by the priests were divine and from God, much of our understanding of how these services were accomplished does not come from the Bible.  The courses of the priests alone were incredibly detailed, as were the daily temple lotteries to determine assignments. So much detail was required in the Temple service, yet the scriptures don’t give us a step by step description.  We know few particulars about the mixing of incense, the continual fires, the detailed clothing, the inner workings of the sacrificial operations, or how to manage the exhaustive cleaning which must have been accomplished several times daily. These instructions and specifics came through oral tradition, which in turn was later written in the Talmud.

While we would never desire to add to or take away from God’s word, and we make it clear His word is complete and perfect without our drawing on outside sources, it does help those of us 2000 years removed to understand what the everyday Jew knew about customs and traditions.

We speculate that God, who instituted the covenant of marriage, gave Moses some essential details about the process which were not penned down in the Old Testament.  Yet among the Jews the traditions of the ancient wedding are long standing.  With a little research, we can find the fine points in the oral and written customs. How do they stack up with thus sayeth the Lord? 

Let’s examine the Jewish rituals and test whether those things are in agreement with scripture, in order to paint a more complete picture for our understanding.  As long as the tradition does no harm or contradicts scripture…

Having set those ground rules, let’s look at marriage in the days before Christ.

Marriage today is pretty easy for a man.  In our society, he puts on the clothing his bride has approved, meets with his friends and shows up, hopefully, on time at the Church.  The responsibility for every minute detail, every step, every nuance, fine-tuning, adjusting and re-adjusting until the event is complete falls to the Bride.  She organizes particulars, correcting and compromising to make the day a shining memorial to her many months of planning. 

But historically, the brunt of the work and details fell upon men. 

Before the law and traditions were established, we can see the example of Abraham, (Ge 24:2-4; 15:2) sending his steward, Eliezer, to seek a wife for Issac.  In this picture, Abraham is a type of God; Eliezer represents the Holy Spirit, Issac is a picture of Christ and Rebekah, the bride. 

By the time of Christ, the steps for the marriage and wedding had been well established. For fathers, finding a future son or daughter-in- law was the side business at the time of the big feasts.

When not involved in worship, fathers with age appropriate children would gather in Jerusalem at the marketplace.  It was their opportunity to meet others and begin to negotiate marriages--which were then handled by legal contracts between fathers. Each was trying to trade up – to improve the family’s lot by marriage.

The Ancient Jewish Wedding

God ordained and established marriage and its divine sanctity in Genesis when He brought Adam and Eve together to become one flesh (Ge 2:21-24).

The law was our schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. The wedding customs, service, and particulars God gave to the Jewish people also teach us much about Christ and the church.

Ro 3:2 Much every way: chiefly, because that unto them were committed the oracles of God.

Ro 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom [pertaineth] the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service [of God], and the promises;

Col 2:16 Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath [days]: Col 2:17 Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body [is] of Christ.

The wedding ceremony consisted of 10 to 14 steps, depending upon which historian one consults and where they decide to break their paragraphs. Twelve steps make for a catchy title.

1. The selection of the bride.

The bride was usually chosen by the father of the bridegroom (as the elect were chosen by God.) (Joh 15:16)

Consider how different than our practices today: Rebekah consented to marry Isaac before she ever met him. Today, we become the bride of Christ even though we have never seen Him. 1Pe 1:8, Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see [him] not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory:

2. A bride price was established.

A price would have to be paid for the bride.  Jesus, being our bridegroom, paid the ultimate high price for His bride, the Elect. Jesus considered the price He had to pay for His bride before His death as He prayed in the Garden of Gethsemane.

Christ was agreeing to the terms in the garden.  The bride price was His life.

3. The bride and groom are betrothed to each other.

Betrothal is similar to our engagement in the marriage process, except this process legally binds the bride and the groom together in a marriage contract; they will not yet physically live together.   This is how the Angel referred to Mary as Joseph’s wife, even before they had come together as we understand it.

In the Old Testament, God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai (Jer 2:2; Ho 2:19-20).

4. That which is written – the Marriage Contract.

All the details and promises are spelled out in a contract form.  It declares clearly the bride price, the groom’s promises and the rights of the bride. The groom would promise to work for her, to honor, support, and maintain her in truth, to provide food, clothing and necessities, and to live together with her as husband and wife. The Jews considered the contract the unalienable right of the bride. The contract must be executed and signed prior to the wedding ceremony.

The Bible is the believer's contract. All the promises that God provided for his children in Christ are legally ours, as we see in 2Co 1:20, For all the promises of God in him [are] yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us.

5. The bride gives her consent.  God betrothed Himself to Israel at Mount Sinai as stated in Jer 2:2.

Jer 2:2 Go and cry in the ears of Jerusalem, saying, Thus saith the LORD; I remember thee, the kindness of thy youth, the love of thine espousals, when thou wentest after me in the wilderness, in a land [that was] not sown.

Israel consented to the marriage proposal from God and said, "I do."

Ex 24:3 And Moses came and told the people all the words of the LORD, and all the judgments: and all the people answered with one voice, and said, All the words which the LORD hath said will we do.

6. Gifts were given to the bride and the "cup of the covenant" was shared between the bride and the groom.

The rite of betrothal is completed when the groom gives something of value to the bride and she accepts it. Most often today a ring is used. When the groom places the ring on the bride's finger, the rite of betrothal is completed. This completed rite is known in Hebrew as kiddushin, meaning "sanctification."

The gifts to the bride represent love, commitment, and loyalty. The gift God gives is the Holy Spirit (Joh 14:26; 15:26-27; Ac 2:38; 2Co 1:21-22). When Christ ascended to Heaven, He gave gifts to men (Eph 4:7-8). These gifts included righteousness (Ro 5:17-18), eternal life (Ro 6:23), grace (Ro 5:12,14-15), faith (Eph 2:8-9), and other spiritual gifts (1Co 12:1,4) as well as the gifts of helps and administration (1Co 12:28).

At this time the cup of the covenant is shared and sealed between the bride and the groom with the drinking of wine. In doing so, the couple drinks from a common cup. The cup is first given to the groom to sip, and then is given to the bride. This cup, known as the cup of the covenant, is spoken of in Jer 31:31-33, as it is written:

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: not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which My covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the Lord: but this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the Lord, I will put My law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be My people (Jer 31:31-33).  

Christ, in  Mt 26:29 

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

But I say unto you, I will not drink henceforth of this fruit of the vine, until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's kingdom.

 7. The bride had a mikvah (full water immersion), a ritual cleansing.

Mikvah is a Hebrew word meaning "pool" or "body of water." Mikvah is a ceremonial act of purification by the immersion in water. It indicates a separation from a former way to a new way. In marriage, it represents leaving an old life for a new life with your spouse (Ge 2:23-24; Eph 5:31). According to the Jews, immersing in the mikvah constituted spiritual rebirth. The Jews believed a mikvah had the power to change a person completely.

Concerning the marriage to Israel at Mount Sinai, God said in Eze 16:8-9, as it is written, "...I sware unto thee, and entered into a covenant with thee... and thou becamest Mine. Then washed I thee with water...."

8. The bridegroom departed, going back to his father's house to make ready.

At this point, the bridegroom leaves for his father's house to prepare the bridal chamber for his bride. It was understood to be the man's duty to go to be with his father, build a house, (or add a room to the family home – a bridal chamber) and prepare for the eventual wedding. Before he goes, however, he makes a statement to the bride. "I go to prepare a place for you; if I go, I will return again unto you." This is the same statement Christ made in John:  

Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father's house are many mansions: if [it were] not [so], I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.  And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, [there] ye may be also.  (Joh 14:1-3).

Did the Apostles and disciples understand the symbolism when Christ made statements like this?

9. The bride was consecrated and set apart for a period of time while the bridegroom was away building the house.    

From the time of the separation, until the return of the bridegroom, tradition says nine months to a year was about the average time.  It took this long for some young men to take on a task of this magnitude.  He could be as young as fourteen, and not yet skilled with tools and carpentry.  But it was primarily his responsibility to complete the task successfully.

Mr 13:32-37

Before the bridegroom could go and get the bride, the groom's father had to be satisfied with the son’s preparation work. Only then could he give permission to the son to go and get the bride. In other words, while the bridegroom was working on the bridal chamber, it was the father who at some time would declare the bridal chamber complete and send him to retrieve his bride. This reference of Christ in Mr 13:32-37 should be familiar: No man knows the day or the hour, but the Father.

Since it was the Father whose final approval of the chambers set the timing of the wedding, "only the Father knew" when the Groom would return to get his bride.   

Often the bride and groom lived in the same community, and as the work on the bride chamber neared completion, word would reach the bride.  Careful to watch the signs and the seasons, she then would anticipate the arrival of the groom and begin to make ready.  The excitement level would indicate to all it was no longer a matter of months or weeks, but now days. 

Tradition says most weddings took place on Tuesdays, because the Sanhedrin court would meet on Thursday.  The reasoning being if a man found his bride less than he expected in the way of purity, he would be able to immediately seek recourse from the high court. 

The bride knows the groom can now return at any time.  The custom is to come around midnight, so the bride would gather her female attendants – her bridal virgins, to keep her company and wait with her until the groom came for her.  They watched from sundown to after midnight nightly, so naturally, they required lamps and oil for the waiting in dark of night. 

Christ referred to this in Mr 13:32-37 and Mt 25:1-13. While waiting for her bridegroom to come, the bride had to have thought to herself, "Is he really coming back for me? Will he keep his word?"  The Apostle addressed this concern for God’s children in 2Pe 3:1-13.

10. The bridegroom would return with a shout, "Behold, the bridegroom comes" and the sound of the ram's horn (shofar) would be blown.

The bridegroom comes with his wedding party.  As he got close to the awaiting Bride, the friend of the groom would run ahead and shout the pending arrival (Mt 25:6) and blow the shofar (trumpet) (1Th 4:16).

John the Baptist called himself the friend of the bridegroom and fulfilled the role tradition and scripture had for him. (Joh 3:29)

Upon hearing the shout and the trumpet, the father of the bride would come out to meet the coming party, verifying for himself the groom is the correct man, and then disappear into the darkness, so as not to witness his daughter stolen from his home. 

11. He would abduct his bride, usually in the middle of the night, to go to the bridal chamber where the marriage would be consummated.

After the father has departed, the groom continues the procession, takes the Bride and leads the entire cloud of witnesses in the opposite direction toward the bridal chamber.  The bride and groom will go to the wedding chamber, where the marriage will be consummated. This is the full marriage.  They will stay in that wedding chamber for seven days, or a week. At the end of the seven days, the bride and groom will come out from the wedding chamber. Joe 2:16.

12. Finally, there would be a marriage supper for all the guests invited by the father of the bride.

When the bride and the groom go into the wedding chamber, the friend of the groom stood outside the door, awaiting his last official act.  The assembled guests awaited the announcement of consummation of the marriage, made by the friend as soon as word was relayed to him by the groom. John the Baptist referred to this in Joh 3:29. At this signal, great rejoicing broke forth. The marriage was consummated on the first night (Ge 29:23). The linen from this night was preserved as proof of the bride's virginity (De 22:13-21).

On the wedding day, the bridegroom is seen as a king and the bride as a queen.

The first recorded miracle of Jesus took place at a wedding.  If we examine closely the scriptures, we can see the importance of the actions and statements Jesus made while in His earthly ministry.  All was done with a purpose.  God give us the ability to see the rich threads of patterns throughout His written word.

The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son…

Bro. Royce Ellis

A Moment In History

That a maker is required for anything that is made is a lesson Sir Isaac Newton was able to teach forcefully to an atheist-scientist friend of his. Sir Isaac had an accomplished artisan fashion for him a small scale model of our solar system which was to be put in a room in Newton’s home when completed. The assignment was finished and installed on a large table. The workman had done a very commendable job, simulating not only the various sizes of the planets and their relative proximities, but also so constructing the model that everything rotated and orbited when a crank was turned. It was an interesting, even fascinating work, as you can image, particularly to anyone schooled in the sciences.

Newton’s atheist-scientist friend came by for a visit. Seeing the model, he was naturally intrigued, and proceeded to examine it with undisguised admiration for the high quality of the workmanship. ‘My! What an exquisite thing this is!’ he exclaimed. ‘Who made it?’ Paying little attention to him, Sir Isaac answered, ‘Nobody.’

Stopping his inspection, the visitor turned and said: ‘Evidently you did not understand my question. I asked who made this." Newton, enjoying himself immensely no doubt, replied in a still more serious tone. ‘Nobody. What you see just happened to assume the form it now has.’ ‘You must think I am a fool!’ the visitor retorted heatedly, ‘Of course somebody made it, and he is a genius, and I would like to know who he is.’

Newton then spoke to his friend in a polite yet firm way: ‘This thing is but a puny imitation of a much grander system whose laws you know, and I am not able to convince you that this mere toy is without a designer and maker; yet you profess to believe that the great original from which the design is taken has come into being without either designer or maker! Now tell me by what sort of reasoning do you reach such an incongruous conclusion?’

Sir Isaac Newton Solar System Story (from the book: ‘The Truth: God or evolution?’ by Marshall and Sandra Hall, Baker Book House, Grand Rapids, MI)

A Saul by Any Other Name

A Saul by Any Other Name

 

Tradition is a terrible thing.  Jesus said it makes the word of God of none effect.  That's powerful.  One of our favorite traditions is to detail how Saul of Tarsus underwent a change so great on the road to Damascus his name couldn't even be used.  You know the details of that life-changing event.  And we always say Saul's name was changed on the road to Damascus. 

But it wasn't. 

Now before you take up stones to defend your tradition, let's look to the scriptures to see what they say:

Jesus calls him Saul:   Ac 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

The Holy Ghost calls him Saul:  Ac 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Ac 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

Ahh, there it is:  ALSO called Paul.  Paul was the Romanized version of Saul.  His name didn't change, we just get to hear the Latin version as he writes less and less to the Jews and more and more to the Gentiles. 

It's a minor point and we needn't quibble.  But we do want to present the facts and truth when we understand it.

Acts 21:24

 Acts 21:24

Ac 21:24 Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

The question the above verse seems to raise is, “If we now worship under the covenant of grace, then why did Paul and the disciples at Jerusalem keep the law and advocate keeping the law?”

The answer lies in when the covenant of grace was instituted and when the law was done away with. According to Lu 16:16 the covenant of grace began with the preaching of John the Baptist. It was at this point that men began to press into the kingdom of God. However, the Lord came to fulfill the law and the prophets and for three and one half years, he fulfilled the law and the prophets to a jot and a tittle. With his death, burial, and resurrection the law and the prophets were fulfilled. However, the law as a covenant of worship was not done away with until the destruction of Jerusalem (See Mt 24). This is further verified with what Paul said in Heb 8:13 “In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.” This book was written just a short time before the destruction of Jerusalem and showed that the law covenant was old and ready to vanish away, which it did at the destruction of Jerusalem.

The Gentiles disciples were never under the law covenant of worship, which was the question raised in Ac 15 and answered by the council at Jerusalem. This explains why Paul refused to have Titus circumcised who was a Greek, but had Timothy circumcised whose mother was a Jew. For forty years from the preaching of John (30 A.D.) until the destruction of Jerusalem (70 A.D.) the covenant of law and the covenant of grace ran concurrently. The destruction of Jerusalem as the Lord said ended the world (age) of the law covenant. The destruction destroyed the temple and the priesthood. Without a priesthood there can be no law service. No Jew today can trace their lineage so as to prove that they are of the tribe of Levi.

Age of Accountability - the Lord Knoweth Them That Are His

Is the "age of accountability" really taught in the Scriptures or is it a lie and the vain imagination of man? Does God provide a "safety net" for children and then remove it when they reach a certain age? How old does one have to be before they are a sinner? Does being a Liar warrant eternal punishment?

THE LORD KNOWETH THEM THAT ARE HIS
Refuting The Age Of Accountability Heresy

Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. 2Ti 2:19

Here is an eternal truth that no man can change, not by will, word or works! Men may deny it, try to pervert it, cast doubt upon it, add to it or take away from it, but this truth stands, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Everything that man knows about God, that which is revealed in nature and that which is revealed in Scripture, is sealed by this truth, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Every attribute of God, all that God is, all that God has done and all that God will do, is sealed with this truth, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Just as sure as God created the heavens and the earth, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Just as sure as the sun shines upon the earth, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Just as sure as Jesus Christ died for our sins, was buried and rose again from the grave the third day according to the Scriptures, The Lord knoweth them that are his. This is an absolute, immutable, truth about God, who can not lie, The Lord knoweth them that are his.

God knows all things! Therefore nothing man does or thinks can surprise God. God does not wonder about things as we do. We know that God has thoughts because He says, "My thoughts are not as your thoughts." With this in mind, I have often wondered what God thinks of those who devise ways, by physical means or interpretation of Scripture, to bring new found children to His door as if to say "look God I have found some more for you to claim for your own."

Arminians teach that God is looking for souls to save if only they can get the lost to believe the gospel and accept Jesus. Calvinists teach that God depends on man to get the gospel message to the elect so they can hear, believe and be eternally saved. While these groups use different approaches, they both use the same gospel means for souls to be born again, and must of necessity make special exceptions for all infants and little children, etc., on the grounds of an imaginary age of accountability. David asked, "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing? - He that sitteth in the heaven shall laugh: The Lord shall have them in derision" (Ps 2:1-4). The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.

While this declaration, of comfort and assurance to the elect child of God, will stand alone as a landmark truth, the context (2Ti 2:19 (KJV)), magnifies the importance of the words, The Lord knoweth them that are his. Paul made this declaration in response to some "Who concerning the truth have erred (i.e. who were teaching false doctrine) and overthrow the faith of some" of God's little children. That situation is certainly amplified in these 'last days when perilous times shall come' (2Ti 3:1).

THOSE WHO TEACH FALSE DOCTRINES OVERTHROW THE FAITH OF SOME -- BUT NOT THE FAITH OF GOD. Paul said the false teachings by Hymenaeus and Philetus, ‘overthrow the faith of some’. (2Ti 2:18) I am so thankful it does not say that such false teachings can ‘overthrow the faith of God.’

God the Father had faith in his Son Jesus Christ to finish the work of eternal redemption which he came to do, and the Son had faith in the Father that he would raise him up from the dead and glorify him with the glory he had before the world began (Joh 17:1-5; Ro 3:3,20-27). Every elect child of God, was foreknown of God and chosen by God in Christ Jesus before the world began (Eph 1:3-6), and is eternally safe as the result of that choice. Every elect child of God was predestinated to ultimately be conformed to the image of his Son in glory (Ro 8:28-30). Every elect child of God, without exception, (regardless of age, stature, ability or condition) is saved by grace through the faith of God, which God imparts to each one at the instant he/she is quickened, {i.e. made alive from being dead in trespasses and sins} by God himself, sometime between conception and death. (Joh 5:21-27; 6:37-39; 17:1-3; Eph 2:1-9).

Illustrations of this truth are plentiful: Jeremiah before conception (Jer 1:4-5) John the Baptist while still in the womb (Lu 1:15), David while still sucking on his mothers breasts (Ps 22:9): the thief who died on a cross next to Jesus (Lu 23:39-43). No one knows the exact time the elect are born of God’s Spirit (Joh 3:8) but we have the assurance that ALL will be quickened. Therefore knowing that ALL elect are eternally safe and eternally saved by God’s grace and God’s faith there is no scriptural basis for some new method of security such as A Magic Age of Accountability.

This discussion is not over whether infants and little children are eternally safe or whether all infants who die in infancy go to heaven or not. All of God’s elect are eternally safe, and ultimately saved. All of God’s elect go to heaven. No one with any scriptural understanding goes around playing God and pronouncing the eternal destiny of anyone, much less infants and little children. But the teaching that all infants and little child were elected by God as a category because they have not done works of wickedness or reached the age where they are responsible for being sinners, flies in the face of the doctrine of total depravity and the landmark passages on election according to God’s purpose.

DEPRAVITY AND ELECTION: One of the fundamental doctrines which magnifies the truth of God’s Sovereign Grace is the total depravity of mankind. By depravity, it is meant the sin nature of mankind received from Adam, the condemnation before God because of that sin nature, and man’s complete inability to recover himself by any natural means from this condition. Depravity is not determined by the degraded lifestyle one lives, but rather the degraded lifestyle (or works of wickedness) is the evidence of depravity, just as works of righteousness is the evidence that one is righteous (Ga 5:16-24; 1Jo 3:7). The lemon tree does not become a lemon tree when it produces lemons, it was already a lemon tree. A good tree brings forth good fruit, and a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit (Mt 7:17-19).

While the word depravity is not found in the Scriptures, the principle is clearly taught. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned” (Ro 5:12). The words “for that all have sinned” mean that in Adam all have sinned. “In Adam all die”. All of mankind (i.e. Adam’s posterity) is conceived in sin (Ps 51:5) and are by nature children of wrath (Eph 2:3). Because of Adam’s sin, God declared “all are under sin” and “there is none righteous, no not one” (Ro 3:9-10). Depravity does not determine the eternal destiny of any one. If it did all mankind would go to hell, for there is none righteous. But God, in love, mercy and sovereign grace according to his own will and purpose chose a certain number of mankind unto eternal glory (Ro 9:22-24). Hath not the potter power over the clay ? These beautiful doctrines sound hard to many of God’s people at first because they have never been taught the truth.

The sinful nature of mankind is evident at an early age of childhood. Children do not have to be taught to lie, they do it by nature, as David wrote, “The wicked are estranged from the womb: they go astray as soon as they be born, speaking lies” (Ps 58:3). Some say, that the wicked in this verse speaks of the non-elect referred to in Scripture as the wicked. It is true that the non-elect are called the wicked and the elect are called the righteous many places in Scripture. But it is also true that all men (mankind) are liars and without exception telling a lie is wickedness, and that the righteous do wickedly when-ever they sin, and that God hath declared in Adam “All have sinned and come short” “for there is none righteous no not one.” Man can not escape the reality of his sinful depravity with a play on words.

DEPRAVITY INCLUDES ALL: The none righteous no not one must of necessity include all infants conceived in the womb, little babies, little children and all other persons, even if man may think some could stand before God having done no works of wickedness. It makes no difference what man may think or what false doctrine he may dream up about that unborn fetus or that innocent looking new born baby, or little child, or the best person in town. In the sight of God there are none righteous no not one, without the righteousness of Christ. If any one had any self righteousness to claim in the sight of God, it would appear as filthy rags (Isa 64:6). Man in his best state is altogether vanity and less than nothing.

Some might say of that fetus, or that infant, or that child, or good person, has never violated God’s ten commandments. God says, “By the deeds of the law (doing or not doing) there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Ro 3:20). The law (ten commandments) was never given to establish man’s righteousness before God (Ga 3:21). By the law comes the knowledge of sin and our inability to be righteous. The law was added because of man’s sin, man’s transgression, of the law of sin and death by Adam (Ge 2:17; 3:6; Ga 3:19-27). Therefore no man, no infant, no child, no one, is saved by works of righteousness (Tit 3:5-7). nor the absence of works of wickedness.

The only righteousness that satisfies God is his own righteousness, which he imputes to every elect child of God at the time they are quickened or made alive in Christ. (Ro 3:20-27). This is performed by an operation of God, a circumcision made without hands, (Col 2:9-15) wherein God cuts away the condemnation of death received from our natural father Adam (Ro 8:1-2) and imputes and declares his own righteousness for the remission of sin (Ro 4:6-8 ).

The doctrine of election does not teach (as some charge) that God chose a certain number of Adam’s posterity to go to hell and a certain number to go to heaven. But rather God chose a multitude that no man can number (Re 7:9-10) to be redeemed by Christ from their sins (Mt 1:21) to be presented unto himself as a glorious church (Eph 5:27), and a purchased possession unto the praise of his glory (Eph 1:3-14). God’s choice was made before the foundation of the world based on whom he foreknew (Ro 8:28-30). God knows and foreknows all things, but His electing foreknowledge is of whom not what works of righteousness or wickedness any one would do or not do. (1Pe 2:1)

DOCTRINAL EMERGENCY? — DIAL 911: Man, with all his self attained knowledge and wisdom can write voluminous books of Systematic Theology and volumes upon volumes of Commentaries. Man can attempt to impress others with his high-minded high sounding technical terms and vain philosophies. Man can state his ideas and rest his case with his new and novel interpretation of the scriptures. But God establishes the truth and destroys all false teaching about election with twin boys. I have said it before, and I’ll say it again, when you have trouble understanding the doctrine of salvation by grace, or if you want to prove or disprove what someone is saying about the doctrine of election DIAL 911. “For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth (Ro 9:11) As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

Jacob is Israel, the chosen of God, the apple of God’s eye (De 32:10) and represents all the elect in Christ, the Israel of God, (Ga 6:15-16). Esau is Edom, hated by God, not loved at all by God, and represents the non-elect, “the people against whom the Lord hath indignation for ever” (Mal 1:2-4; Ps 5:4-5; 7:11). Anyone who tries to make Esau a child of God on the grounds that God simply loved him less than Jacob, calls God a liar, and denies the purpose of God according to election.

Ro 9:11 is one of the landmark scriptures which must be used to teach the doctrine of election. Sadly, I once heard a man preach for an hour on the subject of election, and how we should not leave the ancient landmarks, and he never once gave reference to Ro 9:11. Even more sadly, I heard that man say that God elected all Jews as a category. Jesus and Paul disagree with that new and novel interpretation (Joh 8:37-47; Ro 2:28-29; 9:3-8). Without using Ro 9:11 in any way, that man said that God elected all infants who die in infancy as a category, and they were sure to go to heaven because they had not done any works of wickedness. Now all infants who die in infancy may be the elect of God, and if so they will surely go to heaven. I am not authorized by God to say one way or another. But I will say with all my strength, their eternal destiny is not based on some “age of accountability” or because they have not done any works of wickedness. That is a works doctrine, and I would not have it in a bad dream. The purpose of God according to election is not based on man’s works of righteousness or the absence of works of wickedness.

GOD IS JUST IN HATING ESAU: Were there some doctrinal teaching that infants and little children are eternally safe based on a magical age of accountability or because they have not done any works of wickedness, then it seems to me God would have been unjust to hate Esau while he was yet an unborn baby. But God is just and the justifier! God was just when he destroyed the world by flood because “God saw the wickedness of man was great in the earth and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Ge 6:5). How old does one have to be before they have thoughts ?? We have no way of knowing how many were elect or how many were non-elect on the face of the earth at that time. It is none of our business, and had God wanted us to know, he would have told us. The fact that “God endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction” (Ro 9:24), which is stated in the past tense, does not prove that ‘the good die young' and the ‘wicked live to an older age’. There is an abundance of Scripture that teaches the righteous live to old age (Ex 20:12).

Furthermore, God was just when he instructed Saul to “Go and smite Amalek, and utterly destroy all they have, and spare them not; but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling” —to “go and utterly the destroy the sinners the Amalekites” (1Sa 15:3,18). Clearly the infants and sucklings in this passage are designated as sinners — but we do not know how many were of the elect or how many were of the non-elect. They may all have been the elect of God. They may all have been, as Esau was, hated by God. That is none of our business.

I know of no Scripture that teaches infants go to hell, and I know of none that clearly teach they don’t. When David’s child died, he spoke with assurance “I shall go to him, but he shall not return to me” (2Sa 12:23 ). But in my opinion this is not sufficient grounds to establish a doctrine that says all infants and little children are eternally safe because of a magical age of accountability. Nor is it sufficient grounds to say all infants who die in infancy go to heaven because they have not done works of wickedness.

If that is true then we would be justified to allow some Atheist to perform all abortions and murder all infants to assure them a place in heaven. The doctrine of hope for all is, “But thou, O Lord, art a God full of compassion, and gracious, longsuffering, and plentious in mercy and truth” (Ps 86:15; 145:8; Mic 7:18-19). Some “concerning the truth have erred - and overthrow the faith of some - nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his.” Praise God!!

All the Elect will Hear and Obey the Gospel

All the Elect will Hear and Obey the Gospel 
 
There is a doctrine in the world promoted by some that states all the elect will hear and obey the gospel at some point in their lifetime, and they further contend that those who hear and obey and later “fall away” were never really elect in the first place. 
 
Here are some of the consequences of such a doctrine:

The doctrine maintains the elect WILL hear and by that hearing come into possession of eternal life.  While it is denied by those teaching it, in truth, that makes it little more than gospel regeneration for the elect.
 
By implication, the gospel is more powerful than the life-giving voice of the Son of God.
 
Here are the certain consequences of this doctrinal stance:
 
a) If all the elect must hear, then events and circumstances must be ordained to orchestrate the preaching of the gospel to them that MUST hear.  How many steps until you are forced to accept the non-biblical doctrine of absolute predestination of all things? 
 
b) The elect cannot die naturally until they have heard (and in at least some small part, obeyed) the gospel.
 
c)  The need for organized missions becomes imperative. 
 
d) The support and financial requirements for these missions would also push an under-funded assembly towards a doctrine of tithing.
 
e)  Missions, money and attempting to preach the gospel to al the elect in all races, in all lands, in all time periods now create a situation where the job of salvation is on man’s efforts and you effectively have a works system.
 
e) When you have failed to reach the sinner with the gospel or he fails to respond accordingly to it, then you must judge him as non-elect by your very doctrine, and in so doing, have created a horrible situation wherein you are judging whether another’s name is in the lamb’s book of life.
 
The truth of the scriptures is clear.  The Lord knoweth them that are His.  He knew them before the foundation of the world, knew they would require redemption in this lifetime, and provided a way of salvation through His son.  Since he knows them from eternity past, and loved them while they were yet enemies, we know He alone can provide redemption, salvation, reconciliation and that none of it is by the preaching of the word.  He alone opens the ears to hear and grants eternal life.  The truth is some of the elect may live and die in this lifetime, secure in heaven, having never heard the name of Jesus Christ.

An Examination of Revelation 21:1-27 and 22:1-6

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 1 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood

I know of at least five basic views of The Revelation of Christ as given to John.

(1) The Futurist or Pre-Millennial Dispensationalist View which holds that everything after Re 4 is yet unfulfilled prophecy.

(2) The Historic or Full Preterist View which holds that all prophecy was fulfilled at 70 AD.

(3) The Partial Preterist View which holds there is yet some unfulfilled prophecy such as the final return of Christ and the resurrection of the just and the unjust.

(4) The Jehovah Witnesses maintain that the present heaven and earth will never be destroyed.

(5) The Closed Book View which says that because of the Metaphorical and Sign Language in the Revelation it cannot be understood and therefore holds no view. There may be more than this, and there may be many variations within these basic views. The Arminian and Sovereign Grace (Calvinist) Dispensationalist (which make up the vast majority of “professing believers”) sees everything in Revelation after Re 4 as being Future – and literally yet unfulfilled.

They teach the binding of Satan in Re 20, and the resurrection of the just will occur at Christ's return. They teach there will be a "millennial" judgment of the sheep and goats after a seven year tribulation period to determine who may enter the millennial kingdom. They teach a 1,000 year "dispensation" of Christ's earthly reign or kingdom from “the Jerusalem that now is” will follow. At the end of this time, Satan will be released, another climactic battle will take place, and at the end there will be final judgment of the wicked and Satan. After this the present earth will be burned up and a new earth and new heaven and New Jerusalem will be created as the eternal dwelling place of believers with God. They teach that in the New Jerusalem, heaven (as God's dwelling place) and earth (man's dwelling) will be merged.

On the other extreme is the Full Preterist view that ALL prophecy in the Revelation has been fulfilled. They teach that the new heaven and the new earth is metaphorical of the New Covenant established in 70 AD with the final coming of Christ. They teach, QUOTE: “In the New Testament, the Old covenant was about to pass away (2Co 3:10; Heb 8:13; 12:25-28). If the New Heavens and Earth has not yet arrived, then the New Covenant hasn't either” END QUOTE. The Full Preterist teach that the “elements” that are burned up according to Peter are the principles of the Old Covenant. They teach that, QUOTE: “The new heavens and earth is referring to the New Covenant. This is the present period of time ... the Kingdom of God where Christ rules in the hearts of the believers” END QUOTE.

In other words they teach we are now living in the eternal kingdom. To the Full Preterist the “New Jerusalem” is metaphorical language that represents the present day ETERNAL kingdom of God. Since I am not a Futurist or Dispensationalist nor a Full Preterist, my belief about the New Jerusalem, if I ever establish one, will fall within the Partial Preterist view. Godly men have probably studied this for almost 2,000 years – please don’t expect any “break through” of understanding from this feeble sinner.

Some of the most noted commentators have made statements about this subject. I am not altogether sure I understand exactly what they were saying or if I can or would agree with what they said. But I will share them with you just in case you might. John Gill says of Re 21, “This chapter contains an account of the happy state of the church, consisting of all the elect, both Jews and Gentiles, which will take place upon the first resurrection, and will continue during the thousand years’ reign mentioned in the preceding chapter. The seat of the church in these happy times will be the new heaven and the new earth, Re 21:1, the church that will dwell there is described by its names, the holy city, and new Jerusalem; --“Barnes says, “The whole of Re 21, and the first five verses of Re 22, relate to scenes beyond the judgment, and are descriptive of the happy and triumphant state of the redeemed church, when all its conflicts shall have ceased, and all its enemies shall have been destroyed. That happy state is depicted under the image of a beautiful city, of which Jerusalem was the emblem, and it was disclosed to John by a vision of that city—the New Jerusalem—descending from heaven. Jerusalem was regarded as the peculiar dwelling-place of God, and to the Hebrews it became thus the natural emblem or symbol of the heavenly world.”

Matthew Henry says, “Hitherto the prophecy of this book has presented to us a very remarkable mixture of light and shade, prosperity and adversity, mercy and judgment, in the conduct of divine Providence towards the church in the world: now, at the close of all, the day breaks, and the shadows flee away; a new world now appears, the former having passed away. Some are willing to understand all that is said in these last two chapters of the state of the church even here on earth, in the glory of the latter days; but others, more probably, take it as a representation of the perfect and triumphant state of the church in heaven. Let but the faithful saints and servants of God wait awhile, and they shall not only see, but enjoy, the perfect holiness and happiness of that world.”

We can see from these comments that there are differing views on this subject – But what do we make of this by letting Scripture interpret Scripture? I approach making even the smallest comments about this passage with fear and trembling, realizing that the qualifications for one to do so is that he must be IN the Spirit of God and be led of the Spirit of God if anything good is to come from such an effort. I think the phrase “in the Spirit” carries with it the connotation of being “filled with the Spirit” and I have never in my life made such a claim, nor do I ever intend to. I pray that I will not speak anything in error. If I do it will surely be in ignorance.

John the beloved was IN the Spirit on the Lord’s Day to receive this Revelation from Jesus Christ (Re 1:10). After John wrote the seven letters to the seven churches in Asia, which are applicable to all the churches, we read in Re 4:1-2, “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately I was in the spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in heaven, and one sat on the throne," As we look forward in Re 21:9-10, we notice that John again says, “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. And he carried me away IN the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, ---“. The words “in the Spirit” in Re 1:10 and “in the spirit” in Re 4:2 and “in the spirit” in Re 21:10 are speaking of John being IN the same Spirit of God. John was caught UP into heavenly places to record this Revelation.

It was “one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven LAST plagues” that said to John “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.” It was this angel which showed John “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, Having the glory of God: --“. While it is not my purpose, nor do I have the ability or knowledge, to deal with the chronology of the book of The Revelation, I take note that what is recorded in Re 21 and Re 22 concerning “The New Jerusalem” follows after the “great white throne” judgment of the dead in Re 20:11-15. It was not until after this “great white throne” judgment was recorded that John said, “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.”

SOME BIG “IFs” without being dogmatic: IF we believe the “great white throne judgment” is prophetic and yet in the future, and IF we believe there is any chronological sequence to the events recorded in the Revelation, then it seems to me that we must consider the possibility that (1) the new heaven and (2) the new earth, and (3) the New Jerusalem come AFTER the final judgment of the dead. This does not mean that there cannot be found a “TASTE” or “SHADOW” of the New Jerusalem IN the local visible NT church and IN the kingdom of God. Since the Law and Levitical form of worship was “a shadow of good things to come” could not the local visible NT church (assembly) be only a shadow of that “glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish."

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 2 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood


1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

MAKE HASTE SLOWLY!

Experience has taught me that every time I hastily read an email or a passage of Scripture I often overlook some important word, words or even a whole sentence. Too often I have responded or drawn a conclusion based on my incomplete understanding. That is probably one of our greatest problems today. Too many ministers are trying to instruct others based on their misunderstanding of the truth. The scriptures teach the precept of “making haste slowly” in order to avoid such errors. Solomon said, “He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him” (Pr 18:13). Jesus said “Take heed what ye hear: with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you: and unto you that hear shall more be given” (Mr 4:24) and “Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have” (Lu 8:18). James tells us, “Wherefore, my beloved brethren, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak " (1:19).

If we will notice in Re 21:1-2, BEFORE John SAW the New Jerusalem, he saw “a new heaven and a new earth," It does not say that he saw a “new heaven and earth” but “A new heaven and A new earth," If I am reading this correctly, John saw TWO things, i.e. “a new heaven and a new earth” before he saw the New Jerusalem. John SAW “A new heaven and A new earth” take the place of “the first heaven and the first earth”, as it says, “for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea," It seems to me that if one is going to try and study about the New Jerusalem, one ought to first try and determine what is meant by the words “a new heaven and a new earth," But before I attempt to do that, let me make a few comments about the date of origin of the Revelation itself.

It seems to me that, if possible, one ought to fix in his or her own mind when John SAW these things. As to WHEN somebody says something has a relevance of importance along with WHAT they have said. Historians and historical evidence has helped us fix the approximate date of origin to many (if not most) of the books of the Bible. For instance the most likely date of origin for the gospel books is: Matthew 60-65 AD, Mark 63 AD, Luke 60-63 AD, and John 90 AD. The Acts of the Apostles was written by Luke probably about 63-64 AD. All of Paul’s epistles were written between 52 and 68 AD. Historians tell us Paul was beheaded under the order of the Roman Emperor Nero in May or June in 68 AD. Afterward, Nero died in June of 68 AD. James wrote his epistle from Jerusalem to the “twelve tribes scattered abroad”, about 63-64 AD. It is believed that James was the pastor of the church which was at Jerusalem. Peter wrote his first epistle to the dispersed Jews (whom he called “strangers scattered”), probably from Jerusalem (which he called Babylon) about 64 AD. He wrote his second epistle to the Elect in general (them that have obtained like precious faith with us through the righteousness of God and our Saviour Jesus Christ) about 65 AD. The date of origin for the epistles of John has been fixed at 90-100 AD, and the date of the Revelation is debated as being from 68-69 AD – OR – 96-98 AD.

Even if some of the dates of origin of the Gospels and Epistles are off by a few years it would not make a great deal of difference in our understanding of the Scriptures. BUT for many folks that is not true with The Revelation of Jesus Christ as given to John. MOST views as mentioned in part one will stand, fall or be altered depending on the date of origin of the Revelation. The Swiss cheese views held by the futurist Arminian and Sovereign Grace (Calvinist) Dispensationalist depend a great deal on the Revelation being written AFTER 70 AD. They teach that “the Temple” in Re 11 is the TEMPLE REBUILT by the Jews just before the literal thousand year reign of Christ on earth. The Full Preterist views depend on the Revelation being written BEFORE 70 AD. They claim ALL prophecy was fulfilled at that date, so if the Revelation was written after 70 AD – goodbye Full Preterist heretics.

According to the Scriptures we read, “I John, who also am your brother, and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God, and for the testimony of Jesus Christ” (Rev 1:9). The dispute among Scholars and Theologians is over WHEN John was banned to the Isle of Patmos. Unger’s Bible Dictionary says, “If the apostle John was banished to Patmos under the reign of Nero, as the internal evidence indicates, he wrote the Revelation about AD 68 or 69, which was after the death of that Emperor; but the gospel and epistles some years later. This view “is advocated or accepted by Neander, Lucke, Bleek, Ewald, DeWette, Baur, Hilgenfeld, Reuss, Dusterdieck, Weiss, Renan, Aube, Stuart, Davidson, Cowles, Bishop Lightfoot, Westcott, and Schaff. The great majority of older commentators, and among the later ones, Elliott, Alford, Heng Stenberg, Ebrard, Lange, Hofmann, Godet, Lee, etc.,” favor the traditional date, as the external evidence indicates, which is after Domitian’s death in AD 96. John is said to have died a natural death in the reign of Trajan, about AD 98.”

For those who are Futurist, Dispensationalist or Full Preterist, I must conclude that the date of origin of the Revelation may be the glue that holds together their views, and how they imagine what John saw. But for the Partial Preterist, like myself, or one who does not observe 70 AD as being the start of “the kingdom of Christ and of God”, it may be that the date of origin only tells us WHEN John saw WHAT he saw. IMO, since God did not give us a date of origin of the Revelation, it is far more important to understand WHAT John saw than WHEN he saw it.

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 3 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood


1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

WHAT IS MEANT BY THE WORDS “A new heaven and a new earth?” What did John mean when he said, “I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea?” How are we to “spiritually discern” these words? It doesn’t take a Bible Scholar to realize that some of the language in The Revelation is to be taken in a literal sense and some as metaphorical or symbolic language. This principle is true if we were studying a Parable. Taking words in a literal sense and/or in a metaphorical sense does not change the fact they must be “spiritually discerned."

BUT which words do we take as literal and which ones as metaphorical? If we look back chapter one of Revelation the Scriptures will help to know the answer. In verse one (1) we read, “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God
gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John: Who bare record of the word of God, and of the testimony of Jesus Christ, and of  all things that he saw.” I believe all would agree these words are to be taken in a literal sense.

The word “signified” tells us that some hidden things or mysteries written in this book are in “SIGN language” and “made known” unto John, while other inspired words are literal and easily understood. For instance in 1:4 we read, “John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace be unto you, and peace, from him which is, and which was, and which is to come; and from the seven Spirits which are before his throne –“. John is literal. The seven churches in Asia were literal. God’s grace and peace from Christ which is, and which was, and which is to come is literal. But “the seven Spirits which are before his throne” must be understood in a metaphorical sense. How many Spirits of God are there? Is there literally seven (7) Spirits of God or seven aspects of The Holy Spirit of God? The Holy Spirit of God is ONE with the Godhead, “for these three are one." But in power and demonstration of the presence of Christ IN the seven churches, as in ALL of his churches at the same time (He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches), Christ and the Spirit of God is manifested in complete and perfect harmony.

In Re 4:5 and Re 5:6 the “sign language” of the “seven Spirits of God” is enlarged. In Re 4:5 we read, “And out of the throne proceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God." From here we would have to determine what the symbolic language describing the seven Spirits of God means. In Re 5:6 we read, “And I beheld, and, lo, in the midst of the throne and of the four beasts, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent forth into all the earth." Again, from here we would have to determine what the symbolic language describing the seven Spirits of God means. This teaches me that metaphorical language is often, if not always, explained in the Scriptures, either in the same book or elsewhere in other Scriptures. Scripture interprets Scripture. This precept can be confirmed by the fact that the “seven golden candlesticks” (Re 1:13) and the “seven stars” (Re 1:16) are explained in Re 1:20. There we read, “The mystery of the seven stars which thou sawest in my right hand, and the seven golden candlesticks. The seven stars are the angels of the seven churches: and the seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Having said that, it appears to me that literal language has no need for explanation, and stands alone. Of course, some will always try to make the Scriptures mean something other than what they mean, no matter whether the words are literal or metaphorical. That is why Jesus warned against the false doctrine of the Pharisees. This is why Paul warned against Teachers, having itching ears, for “they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables."

John saw “a new heaven and a new earth - FOR (because) the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.” The FIRST heaven and the FIRST earth recorded in Scripture is that which God created. “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Ge 1:1). We all should realize that the EARTH that God created in Ge 1:1 is this earth upon which we all dwell. The same earth that was flooded with water in Ge 6. God created Adam from the “dust of the earth," so we all dwell in “earthen vessels." But if I understand it correctly, the heaven God created in Ge 1:1 was not God’s dwelling place, sometimes called heaven in the Scriptures. Since God is eternal, He was dwelling in his dwelling place when He created the “heaven and the earth” in the beginning. In Job we read, “Is not God in the height of heaven? and behold the height of the stars, how high they are!” Hold on to this thought! There is more than one heaven taught in the scriptures. Paul said he knew a man who was “caught up to the third heaven." If there is a third heaven, there must also be a first and a second.

In my opinion, the first heaven God created in Ge 1:1 is the earth’s ATMOSPHERE, which is AIR that extends about 1,000 miles above the earth. Clouds float around in the lowest part of the atmosphere, which is called the troposphere, and extends upward to about 10 miles above the earth. Above the troposphere, from 10 to 30 miles is the stratosphere, and above the stratosphere is the mesosphere, and above that is the thermosphere. The higher up one goes the thinner the air gets, and above 50 miles the temperature gets extremely hot. At about 1,000 miles above the earth, they say the atmosphere gradually fades into Space, however most experts say space begins about 60 miles above the earth. This First Heaven is by no means the extent of God’s creation – for “God made two great lights; the greater light (the Sun) to rule the day, and the lesser light (the Moon) to rule the night: he made the stars also” (Ge 1:16). The Sun is about 93 million miles from the earth, and the average distance from the earth to the Moon is 238,857 miles.

BUT the Sun and the Moon is not the extent of God’s creation, for it says “He made the stars also." How many stars are there? No one really knows how many stars there are. They say on a clear, dark night you might be able to see as many as 3,000 stars. They say about 6,000 of the brightest stars can be seen from earth without a telescope. A telescope with a 3 inch lens allows one to see about 600,000 stars, and the powerful telescopes used by astronomers allow them to see millions if not billions. Only a few stars have names given them by man, BUT “God telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power: his understanding is infinite” (Ps 147:4-5). HOW FAR above the first heaven and the first earth are the stars? The answer is millions of miles above the earth.

The earth’s weather – rain, snow, wind and storms all take place in the troposphere. In Ge 1:6-8 we read, And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. And God called the firmament Heaven." We know that we have water in the firmament which God called Heaven, or in the clouds in the sky (troposphere), from which we get rain and snow, etc. As we read on in Ge 1:9-10, God said, “Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land Earth; and the gathering together of the waters called he Seas: and God saw that it was good." So IF we go back to the beginning we find the FIRST heaven and the FIRST earth to be that which God created and we find the SEA of which John said, “and there was no more sea." But is this enough to give us the correct understanding of these words?

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 4 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

Again I ask, how are we to “spiritually discern” the words “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea”? Are we to take these words as literal, meaning exactly what they say, and consider “a new heaven and a new earth” to be a re-creation of “the first heaven and the first earth” found in Genesis creation? OR, are we to take them as metaphorical language and give them a spiritualized definition, such as the New Covenant? It is not my purpose to labor on this verse anymore than necessary, but it does seem to me that HOW we understand these words, “a new heaven and a new earth” will help us understand the “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”.

IF there is any chronological or time sequence to the things that John had revealed unto him, then it seems it would make a big difference in our understanding. IF “the first heaven and the first earth” that is passed away in verse one is “the heaven and the earth” of the Genesis creation, and they are replaced by “a new heaven and a new earth” then it seems to me that “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” would have to follow in sequence, just as it does in the vision John saw. THEREFORE, I would ask, do the scriptures teach that “the heaven and the earth” of the Genesis creation will “pass away”? If so, when will they pass away?

In Mt 24 Jesus foretold of the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, and the desolation to come upon the natural nation of the Jews, according to Daniel’s “70 week” prophecy. Everyone except the Futurist realize that Daniel’s prophecy was fulfilled in 70 AD when the Roman General Titus destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple. However, there are things spoken in Mt 24 that were not fulfilled in 70 AD, and are yet to be fulfilled. This is why I am a Partial Preterist and not a Full Preterist. As Jesus began to foretell of the destruction of the Temple, the disciples said to him “Tell us, when shall these things be? AND what shall be the sign of thy coming, AND of the end of the world?” (caps mine - Matt 24:3). Some see these three questions as ONE – and ALL related to the events of 70 AD.

Others, including myself, see these as THREE questions, one of which is related to 70 AD and the other two as related to end of time here on this earth at the final coming of Christ for his saints, at the resurrection of the just and the unjust, according to many other Scriptures. Since man is subject to error, one should take the advice of Jesus as he said to his disciples, “Take heed that no man deceive you” (Mt 24:4). Mt 24 is not my text and I do not wish to get sidetracked, so I will be brief. But a study of that chapter would be beneficial. When talking about the events leading up to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem, Jesus said, “Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass, till all these things be fulfilled” (Mt 24:34). In the very next verse He said “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." This is also recorded in Mr 13:31 and Lu 21:33. The Full Preterist have tried to make this “heaven and earth” to be the Old Covenant which they say “passed away” in 70 AD and was replaced with the New Covenant or “a new heaven and a new earth." In my opinion, if you believe this you will be deceived indeed.

When Jesus said “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” it appears to me that he is talking about the “heaven and earth” of the Genesis creation. The Greek word translated “heaven” is translated “heaven” 268 times and means (1) the vaulted expanse of the sky with all things visible in it, (1a) the universe, the world, (1b) the aerial heavens or sky, the region where the clouds and the tempests gather, and where thunder and lightning are produced, (1c) the sidereal or starry heavens and (2) the region above the sidereal heavens, the seat of order of things eternal and consummately perfect where God dwells and other heavenly beings. I cannot find where this word is ever used to speak of a “covenant” in the New Testament. The Greek word translated “earth” in Mt 24:4 means (1) the ground, the earth as a standing place, (2) the main land as opposed to the sea or water, (3) the earth as a whole, (3a) the earth as opposed to the heavens, (3b) the inhabited earth, the abode of men and animals. I cannot find where this word is never used to speak of a “covenant."

If we believe the words of Jesus we will understand that this present “heaven and earth” did not pass away in 70 AD. Jesus said in Mt 24:36 “But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only." We can know of the signs leading up to this time for Jesus said, “But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mt 24:37-39). Everyone who studies Jewish history knows about 70 AD. Furthermore the event was predicted in scripture, and the wars leading up to the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem were in progress for six years before 70 AD. Besides these disregarded facts, IF the final coming of the Lord Jesus Christ as recorded in 1Th 4:13-18 took place in 70 AD, we are all in big trouble and have no hope.

In 2Pe 3 we read something about “the heavens and the earth, which are now” passing away. Peter reminds us that “there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation." The Full Preterist are in effect “scoffers” denying the promise of the final coming of Christ. Peter says, “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the  world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished." In other words Peter reminds of the flood which destroyed all life on this earth, and then he tells us, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." Peter is not comparing any “covenant” when he said “the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, PERISHED." Peter is not speaking of any “covenant” when he says, “But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men." The words “heavens” and “earth” in this passage are the same as those used when Jesus said ““Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

Peter goes on to say, “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up." IF this is speaking of the destruction of the Temple and Jerusalem in 70 AD, will someone please tell me how an event broadcast by six years of war preceding it, can be “as a thief in the night."

Peter continued, “Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness, Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat? Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." Granted the word “elements” can mean and is used to speak of the basic principles of The Law, one of the primary meanings of the word is “the elements from which all things have come, the material causes of the universe."

Besides these things, “Eternal Life” and “Righteousness” is IN Christ himself, not in the “new covenant” of which he is the Mediator. Let me explain what I mean. ALL of God’s elect people, according to His everlasting or eternal covenant with Christ, even those living under the “old covenant”  (which term is not in the Scriptures) referring to The Law, of which Moses was the mediator, were saved by the GRACE of God and made the Righteousness of God and accepted IN Christ the beloved. ALL whom God foreknew He predestinated, called, justified and glorified IN Christ before the foundation of the world. ALL of God’s elect people are children of the promise of eternal life. God’s elect did not have to wait until 70 AD for this to become the will and purpose of God.

Just as Abraham, who was not under the old law covenant, “looked for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God” so do we “look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." If I understand it correctly this is that which God promised in Isa 65, “For, behold, I create new heavens and a new earth: and the former shall not be remembered, nor come into mind. But be ye glad and rejoice for ever in that which I create: for, behold, I create Jerusalem a rejoicing, and her people a joy. And I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and joy in my people: and the voice of weeping shall be no more heard in her, nor the voice of crying." I ask, IS THIS NOT THE NEW JERUSALEM that John saw? For he said, “And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away."

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 5 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood

1 And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the firstearth were passed away; and there was no more sea.
2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

In part four I tried to briefly show that the Scriptures and sound doctrine will not support the Full Preterist concept that the “new heaven and new earth” in verse one is metaphorical language speaking of “the new covenant” replacing the “old covenant." In this part I will try to present scriptural proof of this truth. The phrases “New Covenant” and “New Testament” are sometimes interchangeable and can mean the same thing. The word “covenant” appears more than 250 times in the Old Testament, and only 18 times in the New. The word “testament” does not appear in the Old, but appears 13 times in the New. In the New Testament, the words “covenant” and “testament” are sometimes translated from the same Greek words meaning “a promise, a disposition or an agreement." The “old covenant” (a term not found in the scriptures) speaks of The Law Covenant given to Moses. “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (Joh 1:17).

Let’s ask ourselves some questions about the Law Covenant.

1. To whom was the Law or Old Covenant given?
Answer: The Law (Old Covenant) was given to the natural nation of Israel or Jews, when they were delivered from the bondage of Egypt. Most of God’s elect people have never been under the Law or “old covenant."For example, Abel, Enoch, Noah Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob were NEVER under the Law. But they were all men of Faith, made righteous (by the imputed righteousness of God) before God according to the promise of eternal life (made by God with himself before the world began), without the Law Covenant. None of the elect Gentiles have ever been under the Law or Old covenant, but ALL are under the everlasting covenant or promise of eternal life, and made “accepted IN the beloved."

2. Why was the Law or Old Covenant given?
Answer: The Law was “added because of transgressions."Paul wrote in Ga 3:19, “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator."The SEED under consideration is not the natural seed of Abraham but Christ himself, IN WHOM is righteousness and eternal life. The keeping of the Law and the offering of animal sacrifices under the Law never made anyone righteous in the sight of God. Paul wrote in Ro 3:19-20 “Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.”

3. What purpose did the Law or Old Covenant serve?
Answer: The Law or Old Covenant was a Tutor or School Master to bring the elect Jews to faith IN Christ. Paul said, “Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith” (Ga 3:24). None of God’s elect people have ever been eternally saved by obedience to the Law, “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins."Paul wrote, “I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law (or old covenant – ba), then Christ is dead in vain” (Ga 2:21). Paul taught that the Law covenant was “a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things."

4. Did the Law Covenant replace the Promise of eternal life?
Answer: NO! Paul wrote in Ga 3:15-18, “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant (i.e. the everlasting covenant - ba), that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. "The Promise (or covenant) of eternal life was made IN Christ before the world began.

Paul told Timothy that God “hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (2Ti 1:9). Paul told Titus we live “In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN” (Tit 1:2). Peter wrote, “Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained BEFORE THE FOUNDATION OF THE WORLD, but was manifest in these last times for you” (1Pe 1:18-20)

5. When did the Law or Old Covenant pass away?
Answer: WHEN Jesus Christ offered the ONE sacrifice that perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Jesus said, “For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Mt 26:28). The same or similar words are recorded in Mr 14:24 “This is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many”, and in Lu 22:20 “This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. "The CUP of communion represents the “shed blood” of Christ. The BREAD represents his broken body. The CUP and the BREAD represents the ONE sacrifice of the New Testament that perfected for ever them that are sanctified. In the Old Testament we read where God had promised the Jews a “New Covenant. "In Jer 31:31-33 we read, “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: Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD: But this shall be the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel; After those days, saith the LORD, I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; and will be their God, and they shall be my people." It is clear from this passage that the “new covenant” is speaking of something different than “the law covenant."It is also clear that the “new covenant” will take place “after those days” when “the days come. "It is also clear that the New Covenant (according to this passage) is God’s promise to put His “law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts”.

In Heb 10:12-18 we read, “But this man (Christ), after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God; From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified. Whereof the Holy Ghost also is a witness to us: for after that he had said before, THIS IS THE COVENANT that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them; And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin." I believe the New Covenant speaks of the Promise of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit of God. But since that is a subject by itself I will not go into it here, but only suggest you read Joh 14:17; Ac 1:4; 2:33,39.

After the ONE sacrifice of Christ in 30 AD – there was NO MORE offerings for sin recognized by God. The Old Covenant had passed away and the New Covenant was in place. In Heb 12:22-24 Paul said to the HEBREWS, “But ye ARE COME (present tense) unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel."Jesus was the mediator of the New Covenant at that time – and that time was before 70 AD. God’s elect people did not have to wait until 70 AD for the New Testament or New Covenant to take place.

An Examination of Re 21 and Re 22:1-6
The New Heaven and New Earth and The New Jerusalem
Part 6 of a study – by Elder Bob Allgood

2 And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.

3 And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.

4 And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.

Before we begin to consider any particular details about “the holy city, new Jerusalem” which John saw, let’s try to gather into one basket some things to help us identify “the holy city, new Jerusalem”. We are told in verses 2-3: (1) It is “the holy city," (2) It is NEW as in new Jerusalem, (3) It is coming down from God out if heaven, (4) It is prepared AS a bride adorned for her husband, (5) It is said to be “the tabernacle of God” that is with men. Then in verse 4 we are told that in this “holy city, new Jerusalem” or “tabernacle of God” – that God (1) shall wipe away all tears from their eyes, (2) and there shall be no more death, (3) neither sorrow, (4) nor crying, and (5) neither shall there be any more pain, (6) for the former things are passed away.

IF verses 2-4 were all that we had to try and “spiritually discern” perhaps our task would be fairly easy. But as we look forward in the FULL TEXT of the Revelation about “the holy city, new Jerusalem” we read in verse 9 where the angel said to John, “Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb's wife”. In verse 10 we read, “And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God”. From this we can conclude that “the holy city, new Jerusalem” of verse 2 is the SAME as “the bride, the Lamb's wife” in verse 9 and the SAME as “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God” in verse 10. After this in Re 21:11-22:6 we are told many more things about “the holy city, new Jerusalem," which is “the bride, the Lamb’s wife”.

Since these things are many, and since many of them are given to us in metaphorical language, I will not try to list them ALL here, but suggest that the reader, if they have an interest to do so, read and re-read this passage.  Among the things that I will mention here are found in verses 23-25 where it says, “And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there”. Another thing that I must mention here is found in verse 27 were we read, “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb's book of life”.

Last I will mention here the things that are written in Re 22:1-6 “And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. n the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. nd there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: and they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God giveth them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever”.

Now I will ask some questions. Can the descriptions of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” be speaking of the “true” local New Testament gospel church, or speaking of all of God’s elect people “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband”? Can the descriptions of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” be speaking of the local New Testament gospel church in which there may be deceivers, false professors, hypocrites and pretenders, or speaking of all of God’s elect people, referred to as “the church” which Christ will “present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish”?

Can the descriptions of “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven” be speaking of the kingdom of heaven in time in which there are both “wheat and tares," or do they speak of all of God’s elect people which “shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father” after the tares are separated from the field. Jesus said, “He that soweth the good seed is the Son of man; The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; but the tares are the children of the wicked one; The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels. As therefore the tares are gathered and burned in the fire; so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who hath ears to hear, let him hear”.

Before trying to answer these questions we should look back to some other scripture references that might influence our understanding of “The Holy City, New Jerusalem”.

In Re 3 our Lord had directed a letter to the “church in Philadelphia”. This was the sixth letter of the seven to the seven churches in Asia that John was told to write. In this particular letter Jesus said, “Behold, I come quickly: hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name. He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches”. Since this letter was written to a local New Testament church already in existence in Asia – and since all the seven letters end, as did this one, with these words “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches” -- it seems obvious that “the new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God” must be speaking of something other than the local New Testament gospel churches which were already in existence. “He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.”

This is not to say that the local New Testament Church is not a foretaste of the “heavenly Jerusalem”. I certainly believe that the local New Testament church is to be a representative in time of that which will be eternal. Those things which are eternal await the saints of God when this “earthly tabernacle” is dissolved. Paul told the Hebrew saints prior to the resurrection, “But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel” (Heb 12:22-24). If I understand the words “But ye are come” correctly, they mean NOW “ye are come” – in the present tense, but in a spiritual way. The children of God are blessed “with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” and have been made to “sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus”. But these blessings and these sittings are experienced in a spiritual way in this time world.

So, it seems to me that as we consider “the holy city, new Jerusalem” we ought to keep in mind that there may be an abundance of applications that apply to the gospel New Testament church in time – but there may is an abundance of evidence that shows the “new heaven and new earth and the holy city, new Jerusalem” is eternal.

An Interesting Look at Old Testament Names

An Interesting Look at Old Testament Names

Man appointed mortal sorrow; the blessed God shall come down teaching. His death shall bring the despairing comfort.

Since the ten Hebrew names are proper names, they are not translated but only transliterated to approximate the way they were pronounced.   The meaning of proper names can be a difficult pursuit since direct translations are not readily available.  Many study aids, such as conventional lexicons, can prove superficial when dealing with proper names.   Even a conventional Hebrew lexicon can prove disappointing.  A study of the original roots, however, can yield some fascinating insights.  (It should be recognized, however, that the views concerning the meaning and significance of the original roots are not free of controversy and are subject to variant readings.) 

Adam
 
The first name, Adam, comes from adomah, and means "man."  As the first man, that seems straightforward enough.

Seth

Adam's son was named Seth, which means "appointed."  When he was born Eve said, "For God hath appointed me another seed instead of Abel, whom Cain slew."

Enosh

Seth's son was called Enosh, which means "mortal," "frail," or "miserable."  It is from the root anash: to be incurable; used of a wound, grief, woe, sickness, or wickedness.  (It was in the days of Enosh that men began to defile the name of the Living God. )

Kenan

Enosh's son was named Kenan, from which can mean "sorrow," dirge," or "elegy."  (The precise denotation is somewhat elusive; some study aids unfortunately presume an Aramaic root synonymous with "Cainan.")  Balaam, looking down from the heights of Moab, employed a pun upon the name of the Kenites when he prophesied their destruction.

Mahalalel

Kenan's son was Mahalalel, from mahalal, which means "blessed" or "praise"; and El, the name for God.  Thus, Mahalalel means "the Blessed God."  Often Hebrew names included El, the name of God, as Dani-el, "God is my Judge," Nathani-el, "Gift of God," etc.

Jared

Mahalalel's son was named Jared, from the verb yaradh, meaning "shall come down."  Some authorities suggest that this might have been an allusion to the "Sons of God" who "came down" to corrupt the daughters of men, resulting in the Nephilim ("Fallen Ones") of Ge 6.

Enoch

Jared's son was named Enoch, which means "teaching," or "commencement."  He was the first of four generations of preachers.  In fact, the earliest recorded prophecy was by Enoch, which amazingly enough deals with the Second Coming of Christ.

Methuselah

The Flood of Noah did not come as a surprise.  It had been preached on for four generations.  But something strange happened when Enoch was 65, from which time "he walked with God."  Enoch was given a prophecy that as long as his son was alive, the judgment of the flood would be withheld; but as soon as he died, the flood would be sent forth. 

Enoch named his son to reflect this prophecy.  The name Methuselah comes from two roots: muth, a root that means "death" ; and from shalach, which means "to bring," or "to send forth."  Thus, the name Methuselah signifies, "his death shall bring."

And, indeed, in the year that Methuselah died, the flood came.   Methuselah was 187 when he had Lamech, and lived 782 years more.  Lamech had Noah when he was 182.   The Flood came in Noah's 600th year.   187 + 182 + 600 = 969, Methuselah's age when he died.

It is interesting that Methuselah's life was, in effect, a symbol of God's mercy in forestalling the coming judgment of the flood.  It is therefore fitting that his lifetime is the oldest in the Bible, symbolizing the extreme extensiveness of God's mercy.

Lamech

Methuselah's son was named Lamech, a root still evident today in our own English word, "lament" or "lamentation."  Lamech suggests "despairing."  (This name is also linked to the Lamech in Cain's line who inadvertently killed his son Tubal-Cain in a hunting incident.  )

Noah

Lamech, of course, is the father of Noah, which is derived from nacham , "to bring relief" or "comfort," as Lamech himself explains.

The Composite List

Now let's put it all together:

Hebrew  

English

Adam 

Man

Seth  

Appointed

Enosh  

Mortal

Kenan  

Sorrow

Mahalalel  

The Blessed God

Jared  

Shall come down

Enoch  

Teaching

Methuselah        

His death shall bring

Lamech  

The despairing

Noah  

Rest, or comfort


Here is a summary of God's redemption, hidden here within a genealogy in Genesis! 

An Isolated People

On the eastern shore of India in the Bay of Bengal, beyond Bangladesh and Myanmar is a small archipelago known as the Andaman Islands.  Within that chain is a tiny dot of land called North Sentinel Island.

Modern satellite photos reveal nothing but trees – they’ve never been harvested – so it’s impossible to know what kind of structures are there.
 
The government of India, who has dominion over the area, estimates between 50 and 400 people live on North Sentinel Island.
 
 
For lack of a better name, Indians call them Sentinelese.  They are primitive – not like we are Primitive, but in the true sense of the word, pre-Neolithic. They are the most isolated people on the face of the earth.  They have mostly gone un-contacted by outsiders for centuries if not thousands of years. They do not take kindly to visitors.
 
A 1967 attempt by Indian authorities to engage them failed.
 
In the 1970s, a film crew and anthropologist tied to initiate contact with gifts, toys, fruit, pigs, pots and pans.  The film’s director was shot in the thigh with an arrow, halting any plans for a documentary. India eventually decided it best not to expose this group to outside disease or invaders.  A previous island group was introduced to modern illness by man’s intrusion. It almost wiped them out, destroying their culture in the process.
 
As recent as 2006, illegal fishermen near the island were killed by archers.  A helicopter sent to retrieve the bodies of the fishermen was met with such a barrage of arrows, the recovery effort was called off.  The power of the helicopters blades uncovered shallow graves, telling us they are not cannibals and they bury their dead.
 
Almost all other knowledge about them is based on educated guessing. It’s assumed they live in huts and are hunter-gatherers; they have been observed using wooden javelins, bows and arrows, and harpoons. They speak a language unique to them which we have no way of translating. The Sentinelese appear to use pig skulls as ornaments of some sort, and have been observed to use some form of red dye in clothing and decoration.
 
Why do I tell you all this?  Because I’m convinced you’re going to meet some of these people in eternity.  My book tells me the Lord chose – in an everlasting covenant, before the foundation of the world, a bride, out of every kindred, tongue, people and nation.  That covers every possible group - not in a universal sense, but it tells us a representative from every group will be in heaven’s glory world.
 
Re 5:9  And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;
 
Ge 24:60 And they blessed Rebekah, and said unto her, Thou art our sister, be thou the mother of thousands of millions, and let thy seed possess the gate of those which hate them.
 
They have never heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
 
It shouldn’t surprise you to learn that entire civilizations have lived and died never having heard the name of Jesus.  Yet representatives from those civilizations are encompassed in those four groups in Revelation (kindred, tongue, people, and nation).  Though covered by the everlasting covenant, some have never heard the name of the one who died for them and secured them a home in eternity.
 
It’s a privilege you’ve been given to hear that name, to rehearse that story, and to understand great details about redemption, and eternal life.
 
Joh 10:24-28   Then came the Jews round about him, and said unto him, How long dost thou make us to doubt? If thou be the Christ, tell us plainly.  Jesus answered them, I told you, and ye believed not: the works that I do in my Father's name, they bear witness of me.  But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep, as I said unto you.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any [man] pluck them out of my hand.
 
If your name was penned in the lamb’s book of life before the foundation of the world, and you are hungering and thirsting after righteousness, then you have heard his voice in the new birth, and, HE has told you plainly that HE is the Christ.
 
Saving Mission or Suicide Mission?
 
The world talks about men, missions, money, and machines to get the gospel to the fallen world, where they can coax and scare people into a state of righteousness by repentance.  But there aren’t any volunteers headed to the Andaman Islands to save the Sentinelese people.  Modern missionaries may be willing to sacrifice comfort for the sake of making converts, but who willingly takes on a suicide mission?
 
Even if they could get onto the island without dying, they couldn’t speak their language.  The Sentinelese can’t read any bibles or tracts given them and they absolutely aren’t going to allow a stranger to immerse them under water, however briefly.
 
When we examine the plight of these isolated people, how grateful should we be that salvation, the task of saving sinful man is not laid at the feet of one of Adam’s prosperity?
 
2Co 5:17-20
 
Aren’t you glad that the same God that set the conditions for redemption and reconciliation also met the conditions for redemption and reconciliation?
 
Reconciliation Primer.
 
If I offend my brother in some way – and no doubt, that’s happened in the past  -  if we’re not speaking, because of something I have done, I can’t go to him and say “Look – here’s how we fix this.  You accept my terms.”
 
My brother is the offended party.  He has to set the terms for reconciliation.  Otherwise, it won’t work.  I have relationships long in need of repair that cannot be fixed because the offended party refuses to set terms.
 
God is the offended party in our scenario.  Our fall in Adam and our continuation in sin make us the offenders.  God set the terms for reconciliation.  And, because we aren’t capable of meeting the terms – again, because of our sin and sinful nature, we needed a substitute to take our place.  Perfection stood in our room and stead.  God set the terms, and met the terms.
 
1Jo 4:10  Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.
 
Propitiation is one of those complicated words that get harder as you try to define it.  I’ve settled on the term satisfaction to explain propitiation.  God was satisfied in both the sinless perfection and perfect sacrifice of His son.
 
How are these isolated people born again?  The same way you are.  The same way Adam, Noah, David and Daniel were born again.  Each heard and experienced the life giving voice of the Son of God.  Joh 5:25
 
Primitive Baptists are an isolated people.  Among the various religions of the world, we are indeed a “little flock”  But our weak numbers don’t stop us from even further reductions:  – conservative, progressive, absoluter, and so on.  Even a group of two can divide when personal interpretation takes precedence over ‘thus sayeth the Lord.’   By comparison, it makes the handful of Sentinelese appear to be a mighty nation.
 
Death, Devastation, Depravity – The Sentinelese are just like us.
 
God gave his only son for you – to bring you back from the death and devastation of the fall in Adam’s transgression.  In so doing, he redeemed you, gave you eternal life and prepares you for a position in eternity as the bride.
 
It makes you special in the eyes of God. God has called you not only out of darkness into the light and a new life, but into service.
 
Jesus says in Joh 4 God seeketh such to worship Him.  I believe, from that small isolated group, God has sought you and called you to serve Him in this lifetime. How is that service progressing?  Do you ever wonder if God uses performance evaluations? He does.
 
1Pe 4:17 For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God: and if it first begin at us, what shall the end be of them that obey not the gospel of God?
 
Not everyone is blessed to hear about Jesus, let alone the TRUE gospel.  1Ti 4:10  For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.
 
While the world debates the value of hearing the preached word and eternal salvation, we can rest knowing that even among the Sentinelese isolated on that island, the Lord knoweth them that are His.
 
Elder Royce Ellis

An Open Letter on My Brief Account as a Primitive Baptist and Divine Providence by Brother Martin Morara Onyani

Bro. Martin Morara Onyoni

Nyachenge Primitive Baptist Study Group

P.O. Box 3576

Kisii-- 40200

Kenya-- East Africa 

 An Open Letter on My Brief Account

 As a Primitive Baptist and Divine Providence

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,

Greetings in the mighty name of our Lord Jesus Christ.  May praise, honor and glory be to Him for His grace for us to serve and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.  I know many might have expressed a desire to learn more about me and the Primitive Baptist Churches here in Kenya—Africa.  If anything, let praise, honor and glory be to God, for I am just an unprofitable servant of God.

I had been having a desire of sharing my account with you all, on how through God’s grace I’ve come to belong to His true church—the primitive Baptist Church, which Jesus built up on the rock.  I Love this church which Jesus built upon the rock, I Love the Primitive Baptist Church which is the true church of God.  The Lord willing, I request that you share this with other sister churches.  This is not to praise or glorify myself, but in glorifying God who has wonderfully delivered me from the great darkness into His marvelous Light, for I do not want anyone to think of me in any way other than being an unprofitable servant of God. 

Born in a poor family, under a remote part of Kisii-Kenya on 18th day of October 1972, I led a sickly lifestyle throughout my childhood stage, but our God who is sovereign and full of mercy and grace has a purpose upon His chosen ones.  His grace was upon me during all this rough times of my life.  I’m a second born in a family of 6 (six).  The first 4 (four) are boys while the last two (2) are girls.

I’m married and my wife’s names are Annah Nyanchoka.  God has blessed us with two children, I e. a boy aged 7 (seven) years and a girl 6 (six) years respectively.

Thankfully, the Lord has given me a dear and faithful wife who had been so close to me during our rocky times of our marriage, and also putting a strong effort in seeing that I’ve stood up as a strong Primitive Baptist believer by giving all the necessary support as a child of God.  The Lord Has given her grace to give me the necessary support in serving and worshipping Him.  I’ve come to discover one of the wonderful Bible truth that it requires one to have a faithful and humble wife who is full of God’s grace in order to serve and worship God peacefully.  And this gift of blessing comes from God alone, for He teaches His people in their hearts on what to do in order to serve and worship Him.  What we only need to do is to trust Him and obey His commandments, and that is when we can lead a peaceful and blessed life here in time.

I was brought up in a religious family, whereby my both parents were Seventh Day Adventist believers.  My wife’s parents were religious and my wife was also religious.  Funny enough, I never had interest in religion at all.

This is a great lesson for us that a man in his natural state doesn’t receive the things of the spirit of God, since he sees them as foolishness unto him, as the Bible says in 1Co 2:14.  A man in his natural state doesn’t love God.

I had no desire at all unto spiritual things.  Whenever radio stations played gospel music or had preaching programmes.  I could just switch them off immediately or tune in to other stations playing worldly music.  And that was when I could get comfortable.  But I asked the Lord to forgive me for all these.  But I feel it in my heart that this was a persecution to the Lord.  Until I got born of the spirit of God (which I don’t exactly know when it happened to me), that was when I started seeing myself as a wretched sinner before the eyes of the Lord.  I now started developing a great desire to know more about God and His Bible truths.  Long before, I can recall my father giving me a Bible, after having tried to preach to me in order to be saved, but all was in vain.  Whatever Biblical things he was telling me in order to be saved, but all was in vain.

He opted to give me a Bible so that I could read it by my own, at my own time, but I never had interest at all in it.  This greatly teaches me a lesson that man has no power at all in bringing new birth or saving another eternally.  It is not with the help of man that we attain eternal salvation.  There is nothing we can do to save ourselves eternally, no matter how good works we may do to our God!  We have been eternally saved by God’s grace.  It is by His sovereign will that we are born of His spirit, and not by any other man’s help or our will.  In my lifetime, I’ve never thought or imagined of myself standing before a single person preaching to him or a multitude.  I thank the Lord that by His grace, has He given me a gift of sharing Bible discussion or teaching others.  May praise, honor and glory go to Him.

Before God had called me, I had a very rocky marriage.  I had quarrels and fist fights with my wife, as this seemed to be a way of solving problems after a heavy drink or beer.  When you have not been born again, the works of the prince of air are manifest in our flesh.  I never felt a conviction in my heart of all that I used to do.  This kind of life went on, until our marriage nearly broke down.  One day after I had severely beaten my wife, that was in 2004, my wife ran to take refuge in her parents’ home for two months leaving behind my children with me.

I really experienced rough times during these two months, as my children needed my attention as well as I was required to attend my duties in my place of work.  I was working in a small organization as an electrician.  I vowed never to admit my wife back to our home.  Drinking more beer was the only solution of forgetting all these conditions I was in, but all these were in vain.

I was forced to hire somebody to take care of my kids while I attended my duties.  Our both parents tried to reconcile us but in vain.  Later on my elder brother teamed up with our both parents to put an effort of uniting us, and thankfully God’s grace started working upon this effort and eventually there was a breakthrough. 

Later on I started having queer feelings within me as to why all these had to happen and yet I was the one who was causing all these problems.  My drinking habits reduced and eventually faded away.  I started having a feeling of conviction within me, as to why I was becoming very unfair to a woman who could show all her love to me and yet innocent to all accusations I could lay on her!  I could recall how care some she could be to me when I could come home drunk and muddy!

She even used to cry over the conditions in which I was in when drunk.  She could withstand all these conditions and bear with me in every step.  The Lord’s grace had worked upon her and I’m fully convinced the Lord’s Holy Spirit was in her evidenced by her actions towards me.  I now started feeling a sense of loving my wife.  Slowly by slowly, things started changing in me, and I had no idea at all why all these were happening by then.

One day, that was earlier 2005, my parents and I attended a wedding of which we were invited by a relative far away from home.  We spent three days at the party.  On our way home, something strange happened to me, I was directed, I believe by the Holy Spirit to attend an open air meeting of Pentecostal church to listen to a man who was preaching.  I realized that the Lord had prickled my heart long before attending this open-air meeting.  There had been many open air meetings held back home, but I had never developed an interest at all to attend or listen to them.

After my arrival at home, I shared the great experience with my wife who rejoiced to hear this good news.  I want you to notice that nobody prayed to me before, or gave me the information about this open-air meetings or invited me to attend.

I started conducting prayers and Bible study with my wife and my two little children.  The search for the truth had now started.  As days moved on, we extended the fellowship and the good news to our neighbors, how through the guidance of the Holy spirit showed a good response to join us.  The fellowship was conducted in my small house, and we could meet twice a week.  The number grew into eight (8) members.  We went asking, seeking and knocking at the Lord’s door for the truth.  We had only one Bible between ourselves (The New Testament Bible) which was not of the King James Version.

As we continued our studies, we discovered that we were getting more confused in understanding the Lord’s word.  We kept praying that God may show us direction into His truth.  One day as I was doing the Internet search in our local town, I landed into a website of Christian denominations.  There were so many Christian churches, but I saw the Lord’s hand working upon our asking, seeking and knocking.  The Lord directed me into a primitive Baptist website and I finally landed into Denton Primitive Baptist Church, whereby I contacted Elder Vernon Johnson, informing him who I was and I requested for spiritual guidance on behalf of our study group.

I didn’t know by then as to why I had to choose the Primitive Baptist Church among the many other orders of faith, but I came to learn later on that it was due to the Lord’s Divine providence upon His children.  Getting them out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Brother Vernon Johnson’s response was greatly and gladly received by all of us here.  We thanked the Lord for having heard our prayers.  I want you to notice that, there were so many churches of other orders near our village and in the whole of Kenya, but nothing inside us moved us to contact any or join any for searching the truth.

The Lord Had a purpose for this, to bring His truth to His children in Kenya and the whole of Africa.  For the Bible tells me that God Has His children in every nation, kindred, people and tongue and that includes Kenya and Africa.  The Lord wanted to shine His Light upon His children.  I rejoice to learn these good news of the Gospel truths.  I’m thankful to my Lord that by His gracious mercy He has given us His light to me and my brothers and sisters here in Kenya.  It is my desire and prayer that God continue to deliver His children throughout the world from their ignorance and from trying to make themselves righteous with God by keeping the Law, without knowing that Jesus finished all these at Calvary when He died for our sins.  It is just by the Grace of God that we’ve been saved!  May Honor and glory go to Him alone.

Brother Vernon Johnson started furnishing us study materials, and a study guideline on which we were to follow in our Bible study.  Later on he sent us the King James Bibles and Hymnbooks.  More light was shed to us through the Bible and these study materials.  I have come to understand one of the Bible truths as that, the Bible has no spiritual life giving power in it but gives us a spiritual light unto our salvation here on time.  It also gives us a testimony of our Lord Jesus Christ and many other things into our lives.  It is the spirit of God which gives us life and not man’s preaching.  I started experiencing God’s divine providence working upon God’s children here in Kisii, Kenya.  After sharing Bible discussions and the study materials with some individuals within and beyond my village.

Some of these individuals received these Good News of Jesus Christ gladly in their hearts.  Some of these individuals had led a similar life to mine, and some a worst life than mine.  Through these individuals more study groups started emerging and the number increased to six (6) with an average number of 15 regular attendants each.

During my services unto the Lord, I have undergone some rough experiences, but not at any time have I forsaken my Lord who by His grace brought me out of darkness into His marvelous light.  I rejoice to serve Him always.  Like one time when I lost my job as an electrician in an organization here in Kisii (where I had worked for many years after graduating from college) many of my friends thought I had gone mad.  They started wondering how ‘smart’ my brain could be when I had made a decision of serving the Lord fully and flee a ‘well-paying’ job/career.  Most of them started laughing at me, saying they will wait and see on how I will survive with my family.  These occurred when most of my time was on serving the Lord’s people here in Kisii-Kenya, rather than attending my duties in the organization.  It was and it is still not an easy task to ensure that all the members in all study groups are going on well with the Bible studies.  All this requires faithfulness and self-denial and above all God’s grace to overcome this. 

This situation of not attending my duties in the organization drew the management’s attention and resulted into I not receiving my monthly allowances.  They were not happy with me, and they eventually gave me an ultimum on whether to embark on my regular attendance or continue serving the Lord but miss my monthly pay.  I went into asking the Lord to give me direction, which will please Him and be according to His will.  My wife proved to be worry some at first when she heard the news, but the Lord gave us strength and courage to master this situation.  Finally the organization and I parted ways, without my benefits for the years I had been with them.  And this is when people started seeing me as going mad when I had deserted the well paying job and turned to be the Lord’s servant.  I’m thankful to God for all that has happened to me, for all these situation have proved to be strengthening my faith.  Honor and glory to be to God, for I know that I’m unworthy before His eyes, but He has made me to be worthy in Jesus who died for my sins.

Movements between our study groups had been one of the greatest problem for me, but I’m very much thankful to my Lord that by His gracious mercy, He has provided a means of transport for me for He has made it able (through my brothers and sisters in America) for me to purchase a (used van) 14 seater Toyota Hiace, which is able to carry as many study group members from one group to another whenever we gather altogether for worship services.  This will also be very helpful to other American preachers and Elder Obey Mwakalonge of Tanzania (who is our pastor) whenever they come to preach for us here in Kenya.  Reaching out of other study groups will be easier for them. 

I know the Lord has touched your hearts and that is why I’m experiencing the Lord’s hand in me and my family, and in other brothers and sisters in Kisii, Kenya.

I Love God so much, for He loved me first, I Love the Primitive Baptist Church to which I belong, which is the true and the only living church of Jesus Christ, which He said that He will build on a rock I love you all primitive Baptist brothers and sisters in America and we do keep you in our prayers.  We love you all.  I have never experienced such a great love, which you the American Primitive Baptist brothers and sisters have shown to us to devote and deny yourselves for us here in Kenya, just for Christ’s sake.  May the good Lord bless you all for your services unto Him.

In closing, I would like to express my appreciation for your interest in prayers with us and all the assistance (both spiritually and materially) you had been giving us when we had been in need as pertains to our spiritual growth, through Elder Vernon Johnson, who had been linking these actives.

I know Elders Vernon Johnson and Obey of Tanzania (whom we regard as our spiritual fathers, and who have been so dear and close to us) and those others they are teaming up with in nourishing God’s children (here in Kisii and Kenya) with spiritual food and the establishment of Primitive Baptist Churches, have a hard task in this kind of labour in God’s vine yard.  It is therefore my sincere request that we keep them in our prayers and moreso give them all the necessary support in their laboring unto the Lord.  I will appreciate if the Lord happens to touch your heart (as you read this), and have a desire to pray for us that the Lord might open His doors for us in knowledge and understanding in His word, as we endeavor to seek His righteousness and grow in Him.

May the good Lord bless you all as you endeavor to serve and worship Him in Spirit and in truth.

Your brother and servant in Christ

Brother Martin Morara Onyani.

December 2007

 

AN.00 - Animals

AN.01 Christ compared to a Lion

Christ compared to a Lion

             In the scriptures the lion is frequently used to represent kings and kingdoms.  Of course Christ is the king of kings and lord of lords.  It is befitting that he should be compared to a lion.  The following verses compare Christ as a king to a lion:

                        1.  Ge 49:9 “Judah is a lion's whelp: from the prey, my son, thou art gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion; who shall rouse him up?”  There is another prophecy that states that the scepter shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come.  Christ is Shiloh and he is the great king being prophesied in this passage of scripture.

                        2.  Re 4:7 “And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.”

In this passage, Christ is presented to us in representative fashion as four beasts.  The first beast was like a lion.  This points us to the description of Christ throughout the book of Matthew.  The book of Matthew has as its theme, Christ the king and his kingdom.  The second beast presents Christ as a calf.  The book of Mark has as its theme, Christ the laboring ox showing us the works of Christ.  The third beast presents Christ as a man.  The book of Luke gives us much detail of Christ, the man.  The fourth beast presents Christ to us as a flying eagle.  The book of John gives us much detail of Christ as the Son of God and of the deity of Christ.

                        3.  Re 5:5 “And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.”  When no one else could loose the seals of the Lamb’s book of life, we see that Christ the king (Lion of the tribe of Juda) had prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.  Christ is the greatest king that has ever lived and he was a warrior king who conquered sin, death, hell, Satan, and the grave.  Therefore, having conquered these great enemies of the Lord’s elect people, he alone prevailed to open the Lamb’s book of life and to loose the seven seals thereof.

AN.02 The Lions in the King’s House

The Lions in the King’s House

             In the scriptures, lions are frequently used as a figure of kings and kingdoms.

            There are some scriptures that describe the king’s house that was built by King Solomon as he and the children of Israel built both the temple and the king’s house according to the pattern that God had given them.  These scriptures are listed as follows:

                        1.  1Ki 7:36 “For on the plates of the ledges thereof, and on the borders thereof, he graved cherubims, lions, and palm trees, according to the proportion of every one, and additions round about.”

                        2.  1Ki 10:19 “The throne had six steps, and the top of the throne was round behind: and there were stays on either side on the place of the seat, and two lions stood beside the stays.”

                        3.  1Ki 10:20 “And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps: there was not the like made in any kingdom.”

                        4.  2Ch 9:18 “And there were six steps to the throne, with a footstool of gold, which were fastened to the throne, and stays on each side of the sitting place, and two lions standing by the stays:”

                        5.  2Ch 9:19 “And twelve lions stood there on the one side and on the other upon the six steps. There was not the like made in any kingdom.”

            References 2 to 5 above describe to us the lions in the throne room.  We note that there were two lions, one on either side of the king’s throne.  Then there were six steps leading up to the throne and each step had a lion on either side, which made a total of twelve lions on the steps leading up to the throne.

            Often times in the scriptures when we are given figurative language it has a double application.  Obviously, the kingdom of Israel had a king and twelve princes.  When God made a covenant in Ex 19 and Ex 20 with the children of Israel establishing the nation of Israel, he appointed them a prince for each of the twelve tribes.  At first God, himself, was the king of Israel, until they asked a king like unto the nations about them and God gave them King Saul.  The twelve princes had legislative, executive, and judicial authority in the kingdom of Israel.

            The pattern for the Old Testament kingdom of Israel is very similar to the pattern for the New Testament kingdom of God.  In the New Testament, Christ came as the king of the kingdom.  He appointed twelve apostles.  Mt 19:28 “And Jesus said unto them, Verily I say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the regeneration when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.”  Like the Old Testament princes, the twelve apostles were given authority by the king to sit upon thrones judging the twelve tribes of Israel.  The apostles were made foundation stones in the building of the Lord’s church.  The apostles through their work and testimony have laid the foundation of the Lord’s house and we are built upon it.  As the church, we are judged according to that which the apostles laid down for us through the leadership of the Holy Ghost.

            The reference to two lions standing beside the throne of the king, speaks to us about the two kingdoms-the one in the Old Testament and the one in the New Testament.  The twelve lions on the six steps speak to us about the twelve princes in the Old Testament and the twelve apostles in the New Testament.

            Reference 1 above describes to us the ledges in the buildings of the temple.  There are numerous lions engraved in the ledges.  This speaks to us about the children of Israel in the Old Testament and God’s covenant people in the New Testament.  Likewise, the cherubims are used in the scriptures to indicate witnesses.  The palm trees speak to us about fruitfulness.  These are descriptions of God’s covenant people.  We read in Re 1:5-6 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”  According to this passage of scripture, the same ones that Christ redeemed have also been made kings and priests unto God.  The lions on the ledges point to the fact that God has made his covenant people kings.  God’s people, like the cherubims are referred to as witnesses in Heb 12:1  “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us…”  Moreover in Col 1:9 we are encouraged to be fruitful: Col 1:9-10 “For this cause we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to desire that ye might be filled with the knowledge of his will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;” 

AN.03 Old Testament Kings compared to Lions

Old Testament Kings compared to Lions

             In the scriptures, the lion is often used to represent kings of great countries or nations.

            In the Old Testament, there are several kings of great empires that are compared to lions:

                        1.  Jer 4:7 “The lion is come up from his thicket, and the destroyer of the Gentiles is on his way; he is gone forth from his place to make thy land desolate; and thy cities shall be laid waste, without an inhabitant.”  This passage of scripture refers to Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon as the lion who is come up from his thicket.

                        2.  Jer 50:17 “Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.”  It is apparent that the lions referred to are the king of Assyria and Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon.

                        . Jer 50:44 “Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?”  This is a reference to the king of the Medes and the Persians.

                        4.  Eze 19:2-6  “And say, What is thy mother? A lioness: she lay down among lions, she nourished her whelps among young lions. 3 And she brought up one of her whelps: it became a young lion, and it learned to catch the prey; it devoured men. 4 The nations also heard of him; he was taken in their pit, and they brought him with chains unto the land of Egypt. 5 Now when she saw that she had waited, and her hope was lost, then she took another of her whelps, and made him a young lion. 6 And he went up and down among the lions, he became a young lion, and learned to catch the prey, and devoured men.”  This passage has reference to the kings of Judah during the days of the siege by the king of Babylon.

                        5.  Eze 32:2 “Son of man, take up a lamentation for Pharaoh king of Egypt, and say unto him, Thou art like a young lion of the nations, and thou art as a whale in the seas: and thou camest forth with thy rivers, and troubledst the waters with thy feet, and fouledst their rivers.”  It is plain that the young lion refers to Pharaoh king of Egypt in this passage.

                        6.  Da 7:4 “The first was like a lion, and had eagle's wings: I beheld till the wings thereof were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth, and made stand upon the feet as a man, and a man's heart was given to it.”  Again, this has reference to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon as the first lion.

                        7.  Joe 1:6 “For a nation is come up upon my land, strong, and without number, whose teeth are the teeth of a lion, and he hath the cheek teeth of a great lion.”  This too is a reference to the kingdom of Babylon.  

                        8.  2Sa 1:23 “Saul and Jonathan were lovely and pleasant in their lives, and in their death they were not divided: they were swifter than eagles, they were stronger than lions.”  David in his eulogy of Saul and Jonathan as they had died defending Israel referred to them as being stronger than lions.  The lion is pound for pound a very strong animal.  As a king and a king’s son, David viewed them as having more strength than lions.

                        9.  2Ti 4:17 “Notwithstanding the Lord stood with me, and strengthened me; that by me the preaching might be fully known, and that all the Gentiles might hear: and I was delivered out of the mouth of the lion.”  The mouth of the lion that Paul was referring to in which he was delivered out of its mouth appears to be the rulers and leaders of Judah.

AN.04 The Devil – A Roaring Lion

The Devil – A Roaring Lion

             1Pe 5:8-9 “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: 9 Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

            In the scriptures, lions are frequently used to depict or represent kings.  The above passage of scripture suggests that the devil is a king and has a kingdom.  It also depicts him as a roaring lion seeking to devour the people of God.

            The devil or Satan has a kingdom.  It is presented to us in the book of Revelation as a seven headed, ten horn beast:

                        1.  Re 12:3 “And there appeared another wonder in heaven; and behold a great red dragon, having seven heads and ten horns, and seven crowns upon his heads.”  This passage depicts Satan as the great red dragon having seven heads and ten horns.

                        2.  Re 13:1 “And I stood upon the sand of the sea, and saw a beast rise up out of the sea, having seven heads and ten horns, and upon his horns ten crowns, and upon his heads the name of blasphemy.”  This beast is in the image of the dragon.  This indicates that the dragon has made a kingdom in his image.

                        3.  Re 17:3 “So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.”  Here the Satanic kingdom is described to us as containing a false religion which is riding on the back of the beast of Satan’s kingdom.

                        4.  Re 17:7 And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.  Re 17:9 “And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.”  This shows us that the false religion has been or will be on the back of seven kingdoms (represented by mountains) Thus, the kingdoms are the horses on which the false religion rides.

            Satan is the builder and guide on which the seven kingdoms are founded:

Re 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”

            Our purpose in presenting the above is to show that Satan has a kingdom and he sits as the king of that kingdom.  It was this kingdom that Satan referred to when he attempted to tempt Christ: Mt 4:8-9 “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and showeth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; 9 And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.”

            Satan is said to be a roaring lion.  A roaring lion is a hungry lion seeking to devour its prey.  The prey of Satan are the obedient children of God: Re 12:17 “And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.”

            “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”  Our defense against this roaring lion is to resist him steadfast in the faith.  This assumes we are grounded in the faith and that we keep the commandments of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ.

AN.05 Bear

Bear

             Oftentimes in the scriptures animals are closely associated with bible subjects and principles.  The characteristics of the animals are frequently used to illustrate spiritual lessons.

            The animal called a bear is mentioned 13 times in the scriptures.  It is very closely associated with the lion.  Eight of the thirteen times the bear and the lion are mentioned together.

            In nature the bear is not often known to use aggression towards humans.  However, the exception is when the bear feels that its whelps are in danger.  When the bear feels its whelps are in danger, the bear can become ferocious and deadly.  Three of the thirteen times the bear is mentioned, it is mentioned in connection of a bear robbed of her whelps:

                        1.  2Sa 17:8 “For, said Hushai, thou knowest thy father and his men, that they be mighty men, and they be chafed in their minds, as a bear robbed of her whelps in the field: and thy father is a man of war, and will not lodge with the people.”

In this passage the men with David the king are compared in their ferocity to a bear robbed of her whelps.  The thought is that David and his men would come out against the opposing foe with great anger and superhuman ferocity to do battle.

                        2.  Pr 17:12 “Let a bear robbed of her whelps meet a man, rather than a fool in his folly.”  In this verse the principle put forth is that it would be better to meet a bear that is robbed of her whelps than to meet a fool in his folly.  Of course, no one wants to meet a bear that is robbed of her whelps.

                        3.  Ho 13:8 “I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  In this passage, the Lord compares his judgment of Israel because of her idolatries to that of a bear bereaved of her whelps.  In other words, it will be extremely severe because of her continual adulteries and idolatries.

            When the prophet Elisha, who had been such a blessing to Israel, came forth to Bethel, little children came out and mocked him and ridiculed him because he was bald-headed.  Elisha cursed them and we read what happened in 2Ki 2:24 “And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tare forty and two children of them.”  Obviously the Lord did not look kindly upon the mocking and ridicule of his prophet.

            As we previously noted, the lion and the bear are listed together eight times in the scriptures.  The last time is in Re 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  This passage describes a seven headed, ten horned beast that received its power, and position, and authority from the great red dragon.  The seven headed, ten horn beast is developed throughout the scriptures as a multi-national kingdom with desire to reign over all mankind.  The use of the feet of a bear to describe one of the characteristics of the beast simply points us to the angry destructive characteristic of the beast to destroy that which it believes to be its enemies.  For instance, we can look into the kingdom builders of the last hundred years and see their wrathful blood thirsty destruction of its perceived enemies.  We know that Adolph Hitler killed over six million Jews and another five million of his perceived enemies.  Likewise, both Stalin and Mao each were responsible for the destruction of tens of millions of people whom they deemed as threats to their ideology.  One group they went after were capitalists and free market advocates and anyone who they deemed were ideological proponents of capitalism.  In the Old Testament, the children of Israel were often targets of these kingdom builders.  Syria sought to destroy Israel, and then later Assyria destroyed and took captive the divided the kingdom of Israel with its headquarters at Samaria.  Later, Assyria sought to destroy the Jews at Jerusalem, but God intervened on behalf of Hezekiah and the Jews.  There are many other examples in the Old Testament.   

AN.06 Ant

Ant

             Animals in the scripture are frequently associated with bible subjects or principles.  The word, “ant,” only appears in the scripture 2 times, yet the Lord uses this little insect to illustrate the need and principle of diligent and timely work in the lives of his people:

                        1.  Pr 6:6-7 “Go to the ant, thou sluggard; consider her ways, and be wise: 7 Which having no guide, overseer, or ruler, 8 Provideth her meat in the summer, and gathereth her food in the harvest.”

                        2.  Pr 30:25 “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer;”

            The above teaches us that the ants ways are wise and we should emulate those ways in our lives.  Moreover, the ant provides her meat in the summer and gathers her food in the harvest.  This teaches us that the ant is diligent to work and gather at the appropriate season.  The ants meat is available in the summer which is the time of harvest.  For the ant to procrastinate would mean that the ant would be working when there is nothing to gather and would end up starving for food to eat when the winter comes on and there is nothing to gather.  This teaches us that there is a time to gather in our lives.  Naturally speaking, we are takers of other peoples labors when we are very young.  Likewise we are partakers of those things we have stored up when we become very old.  In between the extremes in age we should be busy working to provide for our current needs and the needs of those young we are responsible for.  Moreover, we should also be storing up for the time that we become aged.

            There is also a spiritual lesson for us.  Before we are born of the spirit of God we will not do any spiritual labor as we are not capable or desirous to do so.  Yet, once we are born of the spirit of God, we should begin to labor in our studies both to be fed spiritually in order to grow, but also so that we can be prepared to feed others also.  When we become naturally aged and our sight dims and our hearing and remembering dims, we will have stored up spiritual food for this time in our lives.  These are some of the things that we learn from the ant. 

AN.07 Cattle Overview

Cattle Overview

Often in the scriptures specific animals are associated with various bible subjects. Frequently, it is the characteristics or qualities or uses of the animals that the Holy Spirit uses to teach various spiritual lessons.

Cattle are called in the scriptures by different names. The following names all have reference to what we would call cattle today: bull, bullock, cow, kine, ox, oxen, heifer, and calf.

Cattle produce milk, provide meat, have useful hides, and are used as animals of labor in drawing carts or wagons and in plowing in the fields.

Cattle were often used in the sacrifices and offerings of the children of Israel in their ordinances and tabernacle and temple worship. Frequently we find they were associated with the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering.

Bulls will fight one another to have control over the herd of cows. The term, bully, is derived from the characteristics of bulls to push, fight, and seek control over other bulls and over the herd of cows.

Oxen were often yoked together to plow or to draw wagons.

In our upcoming essays, we will attempt to show how these characteristics of cattle are used to illustrate important bible subjects and spiritual lessons.

AN.08 Bullock and the Offerings

Bullock and the Offerings

The bullock was one of five animals used in the various sacrifices unto the Lord. The other animals used were the sheep, the goats, the turtledove and the pigeon.

The bullock, along with the sheep, was used in the sin offering, the burnt offering, and the peace offering. The goat was only used in the sin offering.

According to Le 7, in the sin offering and the peace offering the High Priest and the sons of the High Priest, who were the priests, were to eat the flesh of the offerings. However, they only could eat of the flesh of the offering if they were clean. If they had any uncleanness they were not to eat of the flesh of the offering.

As we have previously shown, the bullock is a beast of labor. The bullock in the offerings was symbolic of the labors of Christ who was offered for our sins and accepted of God.

In the New Testament, the redeemed children of God are called priests: Re 1:5-6 “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, 6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.” Notice that the ones for whom Christ died were washed from their sins in the blood of Christ and have been made priests unto God. Thus, the priests are clean through the atoning blood of Christ.

We draw the following conclusion from the above: the ones for whom Christ died and cleansed from their sins also are able to eat of the flesh of Christ. We eat spiritually of the flesh of Christ when we have the gospel proclaimed unto us and we believe it. Please note that only those who were cleansed by the blood of Christ can eat spiritually of the flesh of Christ through the gospel. Those who were not cleansed by the blood of Christ are unclean still and have no right to eat of the flesh of Christ. This explains 1Co 1:18: “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” Those that perish have no use for the gospel of the grace of God. Those who have been saved by the blood of Christ rejoice in the gospel of the grace of Christ.

AN.09 Cattle and the labor of Christ

Cattle and the labor of Christ

Re 4:6-11 “And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. 7 And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle. 8 And the four beasts had each of them six wings about him; and they were full of eyes within: and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. 9 And when those beasts give glory and honour and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever, 10 The four and twenty elders fall down before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying, 11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.”

In the above passage of scripture, we are presented with a picture of four beasts. Each beast had a different face. All four beasts had six wings about him. All four beasts were full of eyes within. All four beasts continually cried, “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come. All four beasts give glory, honor, and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who liveth for ever and ever. When the four beasts gave their testimony, the four and twenty elders fell down before him that sat on the throne and worshipped him.

All four gospels declare the holiness of Christ. They all declare him to be Lord God Almighty. They all declare him to be the eternal God which was and is and is to come. When these four gospels give their testimony, God’s born again children who are called kings and priests in Re 1 fall down and worship Christ and cast their crowns before the throne and say, “Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honor and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created…”

Thus, there is a very strong parallel to the four gospels and the four beasts. However, each presents to us a different, yet completely consistent and perfectly harmonious, picture of Christ. The lion, in the scriptures, is associated with kings and kingdoms. There are more references to the kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God in Matthew than all the other three gospels combined. Moreover, the 1st chapter of Matthew gives us the genealogy of the promised king.

The book of Luke presents to us a picture of the man Christ Jesus. It gives more details of the birth and early life of Christ and more details of his humanity than the other three gospels combined.

The book of John presents to us a picture of the divinity of Christ. The eagle is a bird that flies very high and has great and long distant vision. Like the eagle, the book of John gives us a very exalted view of Christ as the Son of God and as the Great I AM. It declares to us details of God’s everlasting covenant before the foundation of the world. Unlike the other three gospels, the book of John begins by declaring Christ to be the Word of God who created the heavens and the earth and all creatures therein in the morning of time.

The book of Mark presents to us a picture of Christ in his labors. Like the calf which is a beast of burden, Christ is continually pictured in this book as one who is and was constantly laboring. The key word in this book is the word, “and.” The word, “And,” begins the majority of the verses of scripture in the book of Mark. Mark does not begin with the birth of Christ, but begins with the work of Christ. It shows his baptism and his going immediately into his labors. While this gospel is shorter than the other three gospels, yet it is full of description of the labors of Christ.

Some have thought that the four beasts in Revelation and the four living creatures in Ezekiel are the same. However, the four living creatures, though they have many similarities to the four beasts, are more characteristic of the labors of the gospel ministers.

AN.10 Four Faces Face of an Ox / Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures

Four Faces Face of an Ox / Four Faces of the Four Living Creatures

Eze 1:10, “As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle.”

The descriptions of the living creatures in Eze 1 given in figurative language are typical of the gospel ministry. The number four is often associated with the work of the Holy Spirit in the gospel. The four faces of the living creatures answers to four necessary characteristics of the ministers of the gospel.

First, it must be remembered that God, the Holy Spirit, calls men to preach the gospel. They are men both before the call and after the call. As men, they have the trials and temptations of men and go thru the problems and affairs of men just as other men do. Preachers of the gospel are not to be exalted or worshiped. Peter, when Cornelius met him and fell at his feet and worshiped him, took him up, saying, “Stand up; I myself also am a man.” Men are not to be worshiped nor are to receive worship. Jesus said in Mt 23:8-10, “But be ye not called Rabbi; for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called master: for one is your Master, even Christ.” Thus, the gospel ministry is not to be called Rabbi, Father, or Master! Similarly, the scriptures say, “God’s name is holy and reverend.” Since God’s name is “reverend” it would be wrong to call men “Holy Father or Reverend.” Such exalted terms are to be reserved for God only who is worthy of such praise.

Also, it should be noted that the gospel preachers, being men, are men called of God and their work should be respected as such. When he preaches the word and it convicts or reprimands us, we shouldn’t respond saying, “well he is just a man.” Yes, he is a man, but he is a man called of God to preach the word of God in power and demonstration of Spirit.

Next, the gospel ministers, as men, are to be examples of how men are to live. Peter, when addressing the elders in 1 Peter chapter five said to the elders, “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.” Paul said in Php 3:17, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample.” Additionally, in 2Th 3:9 he wrote, “Not because we have not power, but to make ourselves an ensample unto you to follow us.” Thus the gospel ministers, as men, are to live their lives in such a way as to be good examples of godly living unto those that they serve. To this end Paul told the young minister, Timothy, in 1Ti 4:12, “Let no man despise thy youth, but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.” James taught a similar lesson in Jas 5:10, “Take, my brethren, the prophets, who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example of suffering affliction, and of patience.”

The second face of the living creatures was that of a lion. The lion is one of the most bold of creatures. The gospel preacher must be bold. This boldness, however, is not to come from the fleshly nature. Some men have fleshly boldness based on their position in life or society or based on their education or natural strength or on the size of their financial statement or political position and popularity. Paul said of such things, “Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Parisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blamesless. But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yea, doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ...” Thus Paul concluded, “rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” Since the gospel ministers as well as all of God’s people, are to have no confidence in the flesh, then where is their boldness to come from? Paul said in 1Th 2:2, “But even after we had entreated, as you know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak to you the gospel of God with much contention.”

In addition, in Ac 4:13 we read, “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were ignorant and unlearned men, they marveled and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus.” To the end that the gospel might go forth the disciples prayed in Ac 4:29, “And now, Lord, behold their threatenings, that with all boldness they may speak thy word.” Then in Ac 4:31 we read, “And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together, and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.” Thus, we conclude that the boldness of the gospel ministry comes from a walk with the Lord and the filling of the Holy Ghost, so that they may speak in power and demonstration of Spirit as Paul said, “And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” The disciples spoke boldly in the face of much opposition, persecution, and ridicule. To speak the word of God is to speak with the authority that God gives and to boldly proclaim his word. There is no place in the gospel ministry for a timid or cowardly preacher. We are to proclaim the whole counsel of God and some times those to whom we preach will find that offensive. Nevertheless, our preaching is to be to the honor and glory of God, not to the pleasing of men.

Next, they four had the face of an ox. An ox is a burden bearer. There is much work and many burdens that the gospel ministers are called on to bear. Paul wrote, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” Thus, the gospel minister is a laborer in the word and doctrine. As Peter was admonished of the Lord, he is to feed the lambs and the sheep. Thus, they are to “feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” Likewise, Peter admonished the elders to “feed the flock of God which is among you.” Of course that food that is to be fed to the flock is the word of God. Likewise, the elders are to be overseers over the flock as recorded in 1Pe 5:2, “taking the oversight thereof,” and Ac 20:28, “over which the Holy Ghost has made you overseers.” Also Ac 20:31, “Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warm everyone night and day with tears.” Similarly, Paul told Timothy, “But watch thou in all things...”

Additional parts of the work of the gospel ministry are set forth in Eph 4:12, “For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.” The gospel ministry is to labor to “perfect the saints.” Here, the word perfect means, “maturing.” We are to labor for the maturing of the saints that they may be thoroughly furnished unto all good works. Next, we are to labor to teach and encourage the saints of God to labor in their individual ministry. Thirdly, we are to “edify” or “build up” the church or “body of Christ” in the worship and service of God.

An additional work of the gospel ministry is to comfort the Lord’s people. Isa 40:1-2, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her, that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord’s hand double for all her sins.” 1Co 14:3, “But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation and comfort.” The gospel ministry are to speak comfort to the hearts of God’s people concerning their sins. Also, they are to speak comfort concerning the loss of loved ones as set forth in 1Th 4:18, “Wherefore comfort one another with these words.”

The gospel ministry are to labor to the timely salvation of God’s people, teaching them to “save yourselves from this untoward generation.” Also, they are to teach them to save them from their ignorance and from going about to establish their own righteousness (Ro 10:1-4). Also, they preach to save the Lord’s people from a condemning conscience (Mr 16:15-16; 1Pe 3:21).

The fourth face of the living creatures is the “face of an eagle.” The eagle flies high and sees far. Similarly, the gospel ministers, thru the leadership of the Holy Spirit, are blest to “come up hither” that is to be lifted up in Spirit to the understanding of God’s word. Thru the leadership of the Holy Spirit, the gospel ministers are given insights in the understanding of the scriptures and are blest to be lifted up in giving praise, honor, and glory to the Almighty God. In so doing thru their preaching, they also raise up the congregations they serve to give praise, honor, and glory to the God of glory for his grace, mercy, and love toward them. The gospel ministers are blest to see the covenant of redemption God made before the foundation of the world and the end result of that covenant that will be fulfilled when time shall be no more. Thus, they are permitted to see far off (eternity passed; eternity future) and to be lifted up to preach and lift up the Lord’s people to praise God for his goodness.

AN.11 Labors of the Oxen - Apostles

Labors of the Oxen - Apostles

In the scriptures, the name, “oxen,” is the name given to cattle that are used in performing work such as drawing a wagon, or carrying a burden, or plowing. Thus, the ox is associated with labor.

There are some Old Testament scriptures that through the use of figurative language pointed us to the work of the Apostles in the New Testament:

1. 1Ki 7:23-25 “And he made a molten sea, ten cubits from the one brim to the other: it was round all about, and his height was five cubits: and a line of thirty cubits did compass it round about. 24 And under the brim of it round about there were knops compassing it, ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about: the knops were cast in two rows, when it was cast. 25 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.”
2. 1Ki 7:44 “And one sea, and twelve oxen under the sea;”
3. 1Ki 19:19 “So he departed thence, and found Elisha the son of Shaphat, who was plowing with twelve yoke of oxen before him, and he with the twelfth: and Elijah passed by him, and cast his mantle upon him.”
4. 2Ch 4:3-4 “And under it was the similitude of oxen, which did compass it round about: ten in a cubit, compassing the sea round about. Two rows of oxen were cast, when it was cast. 4 It stood upon twelve oxen, three looking toward the north, and three looking toward the west, and three looking toward the south, and three looking toward the east: and the sea was set above upon them, and all their hinder parts were inward.”

References 1, 2, and 4 above point us to the buildings and structures associated with the temple. King Solomon and the children of Israel through the direction of the Holy Spirit built a large molten sea much like a circular cup that was set upon the back of twelve oxen. These twelve oxen point us to the New Testament work of the twelve apostles.

The molten sea was typical of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord gave the apostles responsibility to serve as a foundation for that gospel work:

1. Eph 2:19 “Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; 20 And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;”
2. Re 21:14 “And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.”
This work of the apostles in laying the foundation of the gospel church is manifest in both the writings of the apostles and prophets and in the setting forth of the principles, laws, and ordinances that govern the gospel church and the true worship of God and the true discipleship of those who enter the gospel kingdom. The Lord commanded the apostles before he ascended back to heaven: Mt 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. 19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.”

Today, the true church of the Lord Jesus Christ still looks to the teachings of the Lord and his apostles and the pattern of true worship and discipleship manifest by the Lord’s apostles to govern their activities and worship in the church and in the maintaining of proper church order and governance. Paul, told the young preacher Timothy: 2Ti 3:15-17 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.”

The Lord gave this labor to the apostles and blessed them through the Holy Spirit to perform this work and it is still a great blessing to us today in the Lord’s true church. Why would we ever want to change it or to depart from it or to add to it as the Lord gave it and the Lord is perfect in knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. It cannot be made any better than that.

AN.12 Raven

 Raven

Animals in the scripture are often associated each with a particular bible subject or principle.  The Raven is closely associated with the flesh nature of fallen man.  God uses the raven in the scriptures to teach us spiritual principles about the nature of man in his depraved fallen state.

The words, raven and ravens, appear exactly eleven times in the scripture.  The first time it appeared was in connection with Noah sending forth birds out of the ark to determine if the waters were abated off the face of the ground: Ge 8:7 “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth.”  The raven did not return unto the ark but was satisfied to eat the dead carcasses that were floating on the top of the flood waters.  The raven is black, which color is closely associated with sin in the scriptures.  Man in his fallen state is totally depraved and sinful.  The raven had no message for the inhabitants of the ark except that it was completely selfish and had no concern for the inhabitants of the ark.  Likewise, as Paul stated: Ro 7:18 “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing:” Our fleshly nature is altogether wicked and all the works thereof are evil (See Ga 5:19-21). 

            The raven is classified of God in the Old Testament as one of the unclean animals:

                        1.  Le 11:15 “Every raven after his kind;”

                        2.  De 14:14 “And every raven after his kind,”

One of the purposes of God in classifying some animals as clean and some as unclean was to show us the difference between that which is righteous and that which is unrighteous in the eyes of God.  The clean animals would be typical of Christ and typical of the inner man of the born again child of God who has been cleansed by the blood of Christ.  The unclean are typical of the fleshly nature of man which, of course, is not changed in regeneration.  The fleshly nature of the elect will be changed in the resurrection of the body.

The uncleanness of the fleshly nature of man is illustrated by the raven in Pr 30:17 “The eye that mocketh at his father, and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.”  In this scripture the ravens and the young eagles are depicted as being like the vultures in our country as they eat the dead things of the earth.  The fleshly nature of man is like that in that in our fleshly nature we eat of the total depravity of man which is dead in trespasses and sins.

In the following passage the raven is associated with confusion and emptiness: Is. 34:11 “But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.” 

Lest we get the impression that God does not have any care for the fleshly bodies of his elect we read in the following verses:

                        1.  Job 38:41 “Who provideth for the raven his food? when his young ones cry unto God, they wander for lack of meat.”

                        2.  Ps 147:9 “He giveth to the beast his food, and to the young ravens which cry.”

                        3.  Lu 12:24 “Consider the ravens: for they neither sow nor reap; which neither have storehouse nor barn; and God feedeth them: how much more are ye better than the fowls?”

God takes care for our natural fleshly needs and provides for our necessities just as he provides for the necessities of the raven.  The Lord loved us in that Christ died to redeem us from the sins of our flesh and we in our flesh will see God in heaven.          

Moreover, in our dealings with our fleshly nature while we live on earth should consider the servitude that God made of the ravens:
                        1.  1Ki 17:4 “And it shall be, that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there.”
                        2.  1Ki 17:6 “And the ravens brought him bread and flesh in the morning, and bread and flesh in the evening; and he drank of the brook.”

Like as God made servants of the unclean ravens to feed the prophet, so we are to bring our flesh into servitude of the inner man: 1Co 9:27 “But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.”  Not only are we to mortify the deeds of the flesh and to present our bodies a living sacrifice, we are also to subject our bodies to the inner man.

AN.13 Goats and punishment of sin

Goats and punishment of sin

Animals are frequently used in the scriptures to represent biblical principles.  For instance, sheep are used to represent God’s elect covenant people.  In this essay we will explore how goats are used to represent God’s eternal punishment of sin.

In the Old Testament there are eight sacrifices associated with the tabernacle or temple worship.  There is the sin offering, the trespass offering, the burnt offering, the peace offering, the wave offering, the heave offering, the meat offering, and the drink offering.  The only offering that goats were used in is the sin offering.  In forty verses in the scriptures either a goat or a kid of the goats was used as the sin offering.  This is more than all the other types of animals or birds combined.  Cattle were used in 23 verses; sheep were used in six verses; a pigeon and a turtledove were used in 1 verse.  Thus, in the seventy verses that the sin offering is mentioned, the goat is mentioned in forty verses.          

Each of the Old Testament sacrifices under the tabernacle or temple worship point us to various aspects of what Christ did for us in atoning for our sins.  The sin offering pointed us to the fact that Christ suffered the judgment of God on account of our sins.  The trespass offering pointed us to the fact that we had trespassed against the laws of God and that Christ paid for our trespass.  The burnt offering pointed us to the fact that Christ suffered for us in judgment because of our sins.  The peace offering pointed us to the result of Christ atonement caused God to be at peace with us.  The meat offering pointed us to the pure sinless body of Christ that was broken for us.  The drink offering pointed us to the blood of Christ that was offered to God to remit our sins.  The wave offering pointed us to the victory we have in Jesus Christ.  The heave offering pointed us to both the resurrection of Christ and our awaiting resurrection.           

The ordinance of the scapegoat gives us an understanding of God’s purpose in using the goat to represent God’s eternal punishment of sin.  The ordinance is set forth for us in Le 10:8-16:8 “And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the LORD, and the other lot for the scapegoat.  And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the LORD'S lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering.  But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the LORD, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”           

Two goats were used to represent the one work of Christ on our behalf in God’s judgment of sin.  The one goat was offered for a sin offering.  Christ offered himself without spot to God as a sin offering having suffered the wrathful eternal judgment of sin on our behalf.  The second goat was sent unto a land not inhabited: Le 16:21 And Aaron shall lay both his hands upon the head of the live goat, and confess over him all the iniquities of the children of Israel, and all their transgressions in all their sins, putting them upon the head of the goat, and shall send him away by the hand of a fit man into the wilderness: 22 And the goat shall bear upon him all their iniquities unto a land not inhabited: and he shall let go the goat in the wilderness.  As a result of Christ’s offering and God’s acceptance of Christ’s offering, Christ put away our sins (symbolized by the scapegoat which was sent into a land not inhabited after our sins were atoned for by the first goat).  Christ put away our sins by his sacrifice on our behalf.  The judgment of God had been satisfied and our sins shall never again be brought before God as set forth in Ro 8:33: “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth.”          

The next thing we read about goats is that goat hair was a covering of the tabernacle: Ex 26:7 “And thou shalt make curtains of goats' hair to be a covering upon the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make. 8 The length of one curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven curtains shall be all of one measure. 9 And thou shalt couple five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain in the forefront of the tabernacle.”  Goats’ hair is the product of the goat.  These eleven curtains of goats’ hair covered the tabernacle.  Since goats represent God’s eternal judgment of sin and the product of God’s judgment of sin in the person of Christ on behalf of the elect family of God is to cover these elect children with Christ’s work of justification.  The tabernacle ordinances all point us to Christ’s work of justifying his elect family: Ro 4:7 “Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.”           

The final use of goats in representation in the scriptures is found in Mt 25Mt 25:31-46 sets forth God’s eternal judgment of sin at the last day.  In this passage there are two classes of people who are represented by sheep and goats.  The sheep are on the Lord’s right hand and are called righteous and go away into eternal life.  The goats are on the left hand and are called cursed and go away into everlasting punishment.  The sheep represent God’s elect children and are declared righteous because Christ was their sin offering delivering them from the everlasting punishment of their sins.  The goats are cursed by sin and were not covered by the atoning blood of Christ and thus have the eternal judgment of God to face because of sin.

 

AN.14 Camel

Camel     

The camel in the scriptures is a beast of burden.  It was the largest animal among the Israelites and was used to carry burdens and for carrying people.  It appeared to be the animal of choice for transportation by the common people.  In the scriptures, the descriptions of the characteristics and works of the camels parallel in many ways the works and characteristics of the gospel ministry.           

In Ge 24when Abraham sent his servant to find a bride for his son Isaac, he sent the servant with 10 camels loaded down with riches to give to the future bride and her family and to show to them the wealth of Isaac, the bridegroom.  Ge 24:10-11“And the servant took ten camels of the camels of his master, and departed; for all the goods of his master were in his hand: and he arose, and went to Mesopotamia, unto the city of Nahor. 11 And he made his camels to kneel down without the city by a well of water at the time of the evening, even the time that women go out to draw water.”  Similarly, the gospel ministers carry in their messages from the Lord the riches of their master to God’s waiting people.  To carry this message, the gospel ministers must kneel down before their Lord to receive the messages to deliver to the people and then at the time to deliver the messages, they must kneel down again before their Lord in order to unload their messages to God’s waiting people.  This is in similitude to the camel which must kneel down to receive its burden and then kneel down to unload its burden.           

Moreover, like the camels in Ge 24who received the water from Rebekah, the gospel ministers often receive the blessings of service in many ways from the Lord’s people they serve: Ge 24:19-20 “And when she had done giving him drink, she said, I will draw water for thy camels also, until they have done drinking. 20 And she hasted, and emptied her pitcher into the trough, and ran again unto the well to draw water, and drew for all his camels.”  Paul set forth this principle for the relationship between the church members and the gospel ministers in 1Co 9:7-14 “Who goeth a warfare any time at his own charges? who planteth a vineyard, and eateth not of the fruit thereof? or who feedeth a flock, and eateth not of the milk of the flock? 8 Say I these things as a man? or saith not the law the same also? 9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? 10 Or saith he it altogether for our sakes? For our sakes, no doubt, this is written: that he that ploweth should plow in hope; and that he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. 11 If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? 12 If others be partakers of this power over you, are not we rather? Nevertheless we have not used this power; but suffer all things, lest we should hinder the gospel of Christ. 13 Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? and they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? 14 Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.”           

When Rebekah came to meet Isaac, she came riding on the back of a camel.  However, when she saw Isaac she dismounted from the camel and came to Isaac: Ge 24:61 “And Rebekah arose, and her damsels, and they rode upon the camels, and followed the man: and the servant took Rebekah, and went his way. 62 And Isaac came from the way of the well Lahairoi; for he dwelt in the south country. 63 And Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide: and he lifted up his eyes, and saw, and, behold, the camels were coming. 64 And Rebekah lifted up her eyes, and when she saw Isaac, she lighted off the camel.”  Likewise, the Lord’s people first hear of Jesus from the preaching of the gospel ministers and often closely associate with the gospel minister and his message.  However, when they see Jesus in their own experiences and through the proclamation of those messages, they begin to associate themselves more with the Lord than with the gospel minister, which is what it should be.          

When Jacob and his family departed his uncle Laban’s house to go to Jacob’s fathers’ house they all rode upon camels: Ge 31:17 “Then Jacob rose up, and set his sons and his wives upon camels; 18 And he carried away all his cattle, and all his goods which he had gotten, the cattle of his getting, which he had gotten in Padanaram, for to go to Isaac his father in the land of Canaan.”  Jacob’s father was Isaac and in many ways Isaac was a type of Christ.  In parallel fashion, we are carried by the message of the gospel minister from our natural abode and inclinations to our church home in the house of God.           

Too often we exalt the gospel minister above what we should.  We should remember that the gospel minister is like the camel in that he is unclean of himself: Le 11:4 “Nevertheless these shall ye not eat of them that chew the cud, or of them that divide the hoof: as the camel, because he cheweth the cud, but divideth not the hoof; he is unclean unto you.”  Moreover, the gospel minister has to take heed to himself unless he becomes exalted above measure.  Like the camel which is large in stature, the gospel minister must ever be watchful that he does not become full of pride.  He must humble himself so that he can receive the messages of the Lord and deliver those messages.  Just like the camel which has to kneel to receive its burden and also kneel to unload its burden, so must the gospel minister be in his service as well.         

The camel is also used in the scriptures to depict the false ministry.  Satan has a ministry and they are more numerous than the Lord’s ministry.  The camels of the Midianites, the Amalekites, and the children of the east far outnumbered the camels of the children of Israel: Jg 6:3-5 “And so it was, when Israel had sown, that the Midianites came up, and the Amalekites, and the children of the east, even they came up against them; 4 And they encamped against them, and destroyed the increase of the earth, till thou come unto Gaza, and left no sustenance for Israel, neither sheep, nor ox, nor ass. 5 For they came up with their cattle and their tents, and they came as grasshoppers for multitude; for both they and their camels were without number: and they entered into the land to destroy it.”  However, with the Lord’s direction and deliverance, the false ministry of Satan is no match for the Lord’s ministry.  Under the Lord’s guidance and deliverance, Gideon and the three hundred that were with him defeated the tremendous host of the Midianites, Amalekites, and the children of the east.  Satan through his ministry would destroy the Lord’s true church, but the Lord fights for her and His true Church prevails.         

The false ministry of Satan, like the camels representing them are exalted by the people:

                        1.  Jg 8:21 “Then Zebah and Zalmunna said, Rise thou, and fall upon us: for as the man is, so is his strength. And Gideon arose, and slew Zebah and Zalmunna, and took away the ornaments that were on their camels' necks.”

                        2.  Jg 8:26 “And the weight of the golden earrings that he requested was a thousand and seven hundred shekels of gold; beside ornaments, and collars, and purple raiment that was on the kings of Midian, and beside the chains that were about their camels' necks.” 

Those camels were worshipped by the Midianites as they had ornaments and chains about their necks.  Similarly, the Lord warned us about exalting men in the ministry: Mt 23:9 “And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. 10 Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. 11 But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. 12 And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”  Even though the Lord gave this very plain warning, yet we see men who call themselves and are called by their congregants: Master, Father, Rabbi, Reverend, etc.  Shame on such men who exalt themselves and shame on those people who exalt them in this fashion.  The Lord’s true ministry kneels down like the camel and refuses the exaltation of men.

The camels often had precious things to carry:

                        1.  1Ki 10:2 “And she came to Jerusalem with a very great train, with camels that bare spices, and very much gold, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.”

                        2.  1Ch 12:40 “Moreover they that were nigh them, even unto Issachar and Zebulun and Naphtali, brought bread on asses, and on camels, and on mules, and on oxen, and meat, meal, cakes of figs, and bunches of raisins, and wine, and oil, and oxen, and sheep abundantly: for there was joy in Israel.”

                        3.  2Ch 9:1 “And when the queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon, she came to prove Solomon with hard questions at Jerusalem, with a very great company, and camels that bare spices, and gold in abundance, and precious stones: and when she was come to Solomon, she communed with him of all that was in her heart.”

            Likewise, the gospel ministers have precious things they carry to the Lord’s people such as the good news of salvation by grace, messages of comfort, messages of rest, words of encouragement to the Lord’s humble people, messages of admonishment, messages of warning, training in discipleship, messages of hope, training in true worship, etc. 

AN.15 Leopard

Leopard

Often in the scriptures the characteristics and qualities of an animal are used to illustrate to us spiritual lessons.  This is true of the leopard.  The following verses of scripture illustrate this principle:

                        1.  Isa 11:6 “The wolf also shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little child shall lead them.”  The wolf, the leopard, and the lion all have characteristics as predators that devour the weaker animals.  Whereas, the lamb, the kid, the calf and the fatling are domesticated animals.  They are generally considered gentle and peaceful.  These creatures are often used to represent God’s people that have been born of the Spirit.  The lesson seems to point to the fact that God’s people have two competing natures.  We have the nature of the flesh which is ruthless and shows forth a predatory nature.  We also have the inner man which cannot sin.  These two natures dwell and lie down together.  When we are humbled, as a little child then we are being led by the Spirit and mortifying the deeds of the flesh.

                        2.  Jer 5:6 “Wherefore a lion out of the forest shall slay them, and a wolf of the evenings shall spoil them, a leopard shall watch over their cities: every one that goeth out thence shall be torn in pieces: because their transgressions are many, and their backslidings are increased.”  The leopard is known to carefully watch its prey from a high perch before it moves in for the kill.  The leopard is known to slay all kinds of animals as well as humans.  It is reported that in Africa one leopard killed as many as 400 people before it was slain.  The lesson above is that God’s people, Israel had fallen prey to worshipping idols and God was giving them over to judgment. 

                        3.  Jer 13:23 “Can the Ethiopian change his skin, or the leopard his spots? then may ye also do good, that are accustomed to do evil.”  There are some things that we cannot change.  For instance it is impossible for the leopard to change his spots.  This teaches us that we cannot change our flesh nature which is accustomed to do evil.  God adds to us another nature in the new birth and that without the cooperation of the flesh.

                        4.  Da 7:6 “After this I beheld, and lo another, like a leopard, which had upon the back of it four wings of a fowl; the beast had also four heads; and dominion was given to it.’  Also, Re 13:2 “And the beast which I saw was like unto a leopard, and his feet were as the feet of a bear, and his mouth as the mouth of a lion: and the dragon gave him his power, and his seat, and great authority.”  These two verses give us nature of the seven-head, ten horned beast, which represents multinational kingdoms under the spiritual direction of the dragon.  The Leopard has three colors.  It has black spots.  It has a yellow undertone.  It also has a white underbelly.  There are three races of people whose skin colors are generally considered black, yellow, and white.  This depicts the multinational and ecumenical nature of the beast.  The leopard is a predatory beast.  The kingdom builders of this world are blood thirsty and ruthless.  It is estimated that Stalin presided over the ruthless killing of several tens of millions of people.  Likewise Mao was equally as ruthless having put to death an estimated 80 million people.  Hitler was responsible for killing millions of people including 6 million Jews.  Surely, the leopard, the lion, and the bear are symbols to represent the ruthless, predatory nature of the kingdom builders.

                        5.  Ho 13:6 “According to their pasture, so were they filled; they were filled, and their heart was exalted; therefore have they forgotten me. 7 Therefore I will be unto them as a lion: as a leopard by the way will I observe them: 8 I will meet them as a bear that is bereaved of her whelps, and will rend the caul of their heart, and there will I devour them like a lion: the wild beast shall tear them.”  In this, we are taught that God will eventually bring his people who forget him and commit idolatry into timely judgment.  As we have noted before the leopard is known to observe its prey from a lofty level before the kill.  God observes his disobedient people for a time before he brings timely judgment upon them.

Arminianism: What Does The Term Mean?

Editor:  For those not familiar with the term Arminianism, here is a link to the Wikipedia article  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arminianism 

The term is generally used by Primitive Baptists to label the doctrine of means salvation promoted by Jacobus Armininius, specifically, that man must participate in his eternal salvation.   

We often say "the Arminian position, or the Arminians believe” or similar language.  We aren’t suggesting there is a group or ethnicity called Arminians. We use the name as a wholesale term to identify those opposed to the doctrines of grace defined in the covenant of redemption.  While there is a country called Armenia, use of this term (with a slightly different spelling) points only to those who have ascribed to the beliefs of Jacobus Arminius.

See Johnson The Christ of Arminianism

BA.000 Bible Associations

BA.01-01 One Baptism

 One Baptism

Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

There are at least seven and perhaps more baptisms taught in the scriptures. Yet the above verses say there is one baptism. The context is such that it appears to pertain to the Kingdom of God and the things pertaining to the local church. That being the case then the “one baptism” would be water baptism of the individual entering into God’s church kingdom on earth.

Since over the ages there have been multitudes that have been baptized with water baptism, then how can we properly think of baptism as “one baptism?” Every one who has entered into the Kingdom of God on earth have entered the same way. They came through belief of the gospel, repentance and water baptism.

Just as the one faith speaks to us of the one true gospel, government, and practice of the Lord’s church, so water baptism speaks to us of the one true entrance to the Lord’s gospel kingdom. Baptism shows forth the death, burial, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ: 1Pe 3:21 “The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.” Water baptism also shows forth the desire of the one entering the church to turn from the former walk of life to walk in newness of life. This one mode of entering into the Lord’s church is the same for each of God’s people who have come into membership in His church since John was baptizing at the river Jordan. The Lord, himself, set forth the example for us as he was baptized of John.

BA.01-02 One Body

One Body

Eph 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.” The church is declared to be one body. She is said to consist of many members, yet but one body:

1. Ro 12:4-5 “For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: 5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.”

2. 1Co 10:17 “For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.”

3. 1Co 12:12-27 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For the body is not one member, but many. 15 If the foot shall say, Because I am not the hand, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 16 And if the ear shall say, Because I am not the eye, I am not of the body; is it therefore not of the body? 17 If the whole body were an eye, where were the hearing? If the whole were hearing, where were the smelling? 18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him. 19 And if they were all one member, where were the body? 20 But now are they many members, yet but one body. 21 And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you. 22 Nay, much more those members of the body, which seem to be more feeble, are necessary: 23 And those members of the body, which we think to be less honourable, upon these we bestow more abundant honour; and our uncomely parts have more abundant comeliness. 24 For our comely parts have no need: but God hath tempered the body together, having given more abundant honour to that part which lacked: 25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. 26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. 27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.”

4. Col 3:15 “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.”

The above verses compare the church to one body with Christ being the head. This is true of every local church. Each local church has many members, yet they are are part of one body. When we consider our natural body, the various members of that body do not function when they are separated from the body. Sometimes the nervous system of the body becomes messed up and the body becomes spastic with some of the members seemingly acting independent of the rest of the body. These are lessons for the church. When the members of the church are acting in unity the body of the church performs as it should. It brings forth honor and glory unto God. When some of the members of the church began acting independently of the other members of the church then the church becomes spastic and dysfunctional.

The church has only one head and the head is the governor of the body. When each member of the church receives its instruction and direction from the head (Christ) then the body (church) is fully functional, beautiful, and brings honor and glory to her head. The problem comes when certain members began to act independently from the head, then shame and reproach comes to the church.

Each member of the body is to have the same care for the body as it has for itself. When one member suffers all the members are to suffer with that member. When one member rejoices, then all the members are to rejoice with that member. We are to have the same care one to another.

One of the purposes of the gospel ministry is to bring about the unity of the body in the faith: Eph 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” Another purpose of the gospel ministry is to promote the work of the ministry (spiritual growth) of each individual member of the body. The whole body grows spiritually when each of its members grows spiritually. Furthermore, when each member of the church works together the body grows by what each member supplies: Eph 4:15-16 "But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: 16 From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.”

An erroneous view of the church is that it is a place where you go and hear the gospel preached, then go back home and live your life. Rather the church is a body, often referred to as a family and it functions as a living organism, with each member of the church working and laboring for the spiritual growth of the church and manifesting love one for another in the unity of the faith. Whether in worship service or away from the meetinghouse the church still exists and is to manifest that unity. This involves each member praying for one another and laboring for one another’s good.

BA.01-03 One Church Or Bride Of Christ

One Church or Bride of Christ

We read in Songs of Solomon that the Lord’s dove, his undefiled is but one: Song 6:8-9 “There are threescore queens, and fourscore concubines, and virgins without number.  My dove, my undefiled is but one; she is the only one of her mother, she is the choice one of her that bare her. The daughters saw her, and blessed her; yea, the queens and the concubines, and they praised her.”

There is an erroneous view among religious people today, that there are many that can claim the name of the Lord’s church even though they differ in doctrine, practice, and belief. They say that the Lord’s church is denominated into different groups espousing different views. In the book of Isaiah this day was prophesied: Isa 4:1 “And in that day seven women shall take hold of one man, saying, We will eat our own bread, and wear our own apparel: only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.”

The Lord’s bride is but one, yet we have seven women (false churches) taking hold of one man (Christ) and saying “We will eat our own bread…” that is be fed from the doctrines we have prepared (doctrines of men). Furthermore, they said, “we will wear our own apparel…” Thus we will be clothed with our own self-righteous works and hold to our own doctrine of salvation from sin. Finally, they said, “only let us be called by thy name, to take away our reproach.” They wanted the name of Christ to take away the reproach of their adulterous doctrines and practices. They did not want his gospel, or his teachings, or his worship service, or his doctrine of practical godliness to rule their lives, they just wanted to authenticate their own ways by the use of his name.

Often times the bride of Christ is referred to as “the church” indicating she is one of a kind.

We can know whether a body of believers is a part of the Lord’s church by observing her doctrines, practices, and the lives of her members. If the doctrine or practice of an assembly does not agree with what the scriptures say, then they can make no claim to being the church of the Lord Jesus Christ. No where in the scriptures can we find Sunday schools, Sunday school superintendents, women preachers, organizations above the local church, tithing, salaried ministry, youth groups, singing with instrumental music accompaniment, choirs, church auxiliaries, bible colleges or seminaries or seminars, or foreign mission boards. Such practices are akin to wearing one’s own apparel. The doctrines of gospel regeneration or working one’s way to heaven are foreign to the scriptures and would be akin to eating one’s own bread. The Lord’s one true bride would not have any of these things.

The Lord’s church is satisfied with the doctrines of the scriptures and the manner of worship prescribed for her in the New Testament and the ordinances given to her by her Lord. She is also satisfied with the government given to her by her Husband and strives to live according to thus saith the Lord.

BA.01-04 One Faith

One Faith

Eph 4:4-6 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; 5 One Lord, one faith, one baptism, 6 One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

When we speak of faith we need to be plain as to which faith we are talking about. There is the faith of the individual which is the fruit of the Spirit and comes as a result of the work of the Spirit in the new birth. There is the faith of Christ or of God which is God’s faithfulness to execute his covenant promises. There is the “faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

This faith which was once delivered unto the saints is the “one faith” in Eph 4:5. This faith is the system of doctrine, practice and government given to the New Testament church. Most of the time in the New Testament it is referred to as “the faith.”

Numerous times in the New Testament “the faith” is spoken of:

1. Ac 6:7 “And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

2. Ac 13:8 “But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”

3. Ac 14:22 “Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.”

4. Ac 16:5 “And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.”

5. Ac 24:24 “And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.”

6. Ro 1:5 “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:”

7. Ro 14:1 “Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.”

8. 1Co 16:13 “Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.”

9. 2Co 13:5 “Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?”

10. Ga 1:23 “But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.”

11. Ga 3:23 “But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.”

12. Eph 4:13 “Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:”

13. Php 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

14. Col 1:23 “If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;”

15. Col 2:7 “Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.”

16. 1Ti 1:2 “Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.”

17. 1Ti 3:9 “Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.”

18. 1Ti 3:13 “For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

19. 1Ti 4:1 “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;”

20. 1Ti 5:8 “But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.”

21. 1Ti 6:10 “For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”

22. 1Ti 6:21 “Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.”

23. 2Ti 2:18 “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.”

24. 2Ti 3:8 “Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.”

25. 2Ti 4:7 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:”

26. Tit 1:13 “This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;”

27. Tit 3:15 “All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.”

28. 1Pe 5:9 “Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.”

29. Jude 3 “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.”

While volumes could be written on the subject of “the faith,” it is not our purpose to do so at this time. We read in 2Ti 3:16 that the scriptures are a thorough furnisher unto all good works. Therefore, we conclude that what constitutes the faith is thoroughly furnished to us in the scriptures. Thus, those things added to the New Testament faith, which are not given to us in the New Testament, are not part of the faith that was once given to the saints.

Sunday schools, singing with instrumental music accompaniment, preachers schools or seminars, tithing, salaried ministry, women preachers and deacons, raising money for foreign missions, mission boards, flowery titles to the ministry, church auxiliaries, and church organizations above the local church are not part of “the faith once given to the saints.”

Eph 4:11-13 tells us that the gospel ministry was given to bring us unto the unity of the faith. “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” If some preach one thing and others preach another, and some practice one thing and others practice another, then we are not unified. Therefore, we cannot possibly be in the unity of the faith unless we are according to thus saith the Lord in all that we teach and practice.

BA.01-05 One Flesh

One Flesh

The marriage union established by the scriptures consists of a man and a woman joining together in a covenant to become one flesh:

1. Ge 2:24 "Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh."

2. Mt 19:5 "And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?"

3. Mt 19:6 "Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder."

4. Mr 10:8 "And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh."

5. 1Co 6:16 "What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh."

6. Eph 5:31 "For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh."

Obviously, in a marriage a husband and a wife do not literally become one flesh so as they lose their separate identity. In a scriptural marriage, there are several ways that a husband and wife do become one flesh.

The biblical marriage relationship is patterned after the relationship between the Lord and his church: Eph 5:25 "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it." The relationship between Christ and the church is illustrated by a human body whereby Christ is the head and the church is the body. Please note that the church is not to consider herself as being separate from her head. Likewise, the wife should not consider herself to be separate from her husband. Similarly, the husband is to leave his father and mother and cleave unto his wife. This certainly teaches that they form a single family unit separate and apart from their parents. This certainly teaches us that parents should not try to dictate or pressure the decisions of their married children. While the married children may ask the advice and council of their parents, yet the decisions they make are to be together and to be their decisions.

In forming a biblical marriage unit, the husband and wife become one in at least the following ways:

1. They form a single financial unit separate and apart from their parents and what one buys belongs to both and cost of the items incurs to both. Likewise, their financial status rises and falls as one unit.

2. They form a single governmental unit as it pertains to the government of the family. The laws that govern the family are agreed upon by the husband and wife and are maintained and executed by both the husband and wife. This includes the raising of the children and the discipline of the children. The husband and wife should speak with one voice.

3. The emotional care and intimacy of the married couple should be bound into the one unit of the marriage relationship. The husband or wife should not look outside the boundary of the marriage relationship to fulfill their emotional and intimate needs. "And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him." God made the woman to satisfy the emotional and intimate needs of the man and likewise the man is to satisfy the emotional and intimate needs of the wife.

4. The goals and actions of the husband and wife should be unified. 1Pe 3:7 "Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered."

5. In nature, God made the man to be the primary protector and provider for the natural needs of the family. Likewise, God made the woman to be the primary guide of the household and to lead the emotional stability of the family. Together according to God's pattern they are ideally made to be one unit.

When a man and wife first enter into the marriage covenant, they often times at first try to maintain their individuality to the detriment of the marriage. However, Godly couples who are dedicated to working to make their marriage patterned after the scriptural pattern, begin to lose their individuality and even to take on the personality and thought pattern of their spouse. From personal experience, I find that my wife often knows what I am thinking or what I am about to do or say and sometimes says it before I do. She knows my ways and habits just about as well as I do. Likewise, I know her ways, thoughts, and habits just about as well as she does.

It amazes me that often when I look at older couples, I notice that they even look like one another. What a blessing the unity of marriage is to those who experience the biblical pattern for a marriage.

BA.01-06 One Gospel

One Gospel

The word, “gospel,” appears in the scriptures 101 times in 95 verses. In the vast majority of times it is preceded by the article, “the,” which indicates uniqueness or one of a kind. Other times it is preceded by the words: our; my; this; and glorious.

The gospel is said to be several things:

1. the gospel of the kingdom of God.

2. the gospel of the grace of Christ.

3. the gospel of Jesus Christ.

4. the gospel of the grace of God.

5. the gospel of God.

6. the gospel of Christ.

7. the gospel of peace.

8. the gospel of your salvation.

The word, “gospel,” literally means “a good message” or “good news.” It declares unto us the good news of the grace of Christ and the good news of the kingdom of God and the good news of our salvation.

Paul warned about preaching a perverted gospel: Ga 1:6-9 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” He declares to us that “any gospel” other than the “grace of Christ” is “a perverted gospel” and not “the gospel.”

Paul also told us that there would be those who would come preaching “another gospel:” 2Co 11:4 “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

There are many sounds, and many spirits that have gone out into the world and many gospels, but there is only one true gospel. That gospel is “the gospel of the grace of Christ.” Paul said to let any one who preached anything other than the “grace of Christ” to be accursed.

BA.01-07 One Heart

One Heart

The heart is the seat of affections and emotions. Due to the many things that people can get emotional over or set their affections upon, it would seem almost impossible to have a whole congregation to have one heart. Yet that is the very thing that we find in the scriptures. Several verses show forth this unity of heart:

1. 1Ch 12:38 “All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.”

2. 2Ch 30:12 “Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD.”

3. Jer 32:39 “And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them.”

4. Eze 11:19 “And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh.”

5. Ac 4:32 “And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.”

We may ask ourselves, “What can bring about such a unity of affections and emotions?” First, we, as God’s elect, have all been born of the same Spirit, have the same laws of God written in our hearts and minds, and have the same incorrupt nature in our inner man. Second, we have the same word of God to guide and direct us and teach us the truth. Third, we have the same Spirit guiding us when we are following after the spirit and not after the flesh. When we are all seeking to worship God in Spirit and in truth, then we will be of one heart with our affections on things above and not on things of the earth. This is a condition that every local congregation of God’s people should be striving for both in worship and in service to God.

BA.01-08 One Lamb And One Sacrifice

One Lamb and One Sacrifice

If all the animal sacrifices that were offered and all that should have been offered under the law, the blood of those sacrifices would have flowed like a giant river. Yet for all those animal sacrifices, not one sin was atoned for by their sacrifice: Heb 10:1-10 “For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect. 2 For then would they not have ceased to be offered? Because that the worshippers once purged should have had no more conscience of sins. 3 But in those sacrifices there is a remembrance again made of sins every year. 4 For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.  5 Wherefore when he cometh into the world, he saith, Sacrifice and offering thou wouldest not, but a body hast thou prepared me: 6 In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou hast had no pleasure. 7 Then said I, Lo, I come (in the volume of the book it is written of me,) to do thy will, O God. 8 Above when he said, Sacrifice and offering and burnt offerings and offering for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein; which are offered by the law; 9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second. 10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all."

Thus, the blood of all the animal sacrifices never atoned for one sin, but brought sin to remembrance and told the people of a need for a perfect redeemer. Jesus is that perfect Lamb of God. Jesus is declared throughout the New Testament to be “The Lamb of God” who through his one offering would take away the sins of the elect world:

1. Joh 1:29 “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.”

2. Re 21:9 “And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

3. Re 21:27 “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”

4. Re 5:8 “And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.”

5. Re 5:12 “Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.”

6. Re 5:13 “And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.”

7. Re 7:9-10 “After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.”

The above verses show us that it is through the sacrificial atonement of that one “Lamb of God” that the elect are redeemed from their sins. It is by one sacrifice that they are redeemed and perfected:

1. Heb 10:12 “But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

2. Heb 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

The sacrifices of God’s people as well as animal sacrifices though they have and had their place do not atone for sin, nor have any part in the atonement for sin. Only by the one sacrifice of the Lamb of God are our sins atoned for. Furthermore, they are atoned for forever.

Through this one atoning sacrifice all of the elect are brought into unity with God: Eph 2:14-16 “For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.”

BA.01-09 One Lord Or Head

One Lord Or Head

The word, Lord, indicates a master and is used to denote a master/servant relationship. The following verses teach there is but one Lord:

1. De 6:4 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:”

2. Zec 14:9 “And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.”

3. Mr 12:29 “And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:”

4. 1Co 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

5. Eph 4:5 “One Lord, one faith, one baptism.”

The secular world and the organizations in the world are built upon a hierarchy structure. In most American organizations you will have leaders, then first line supervisors, then mid-management supervisors, then executives, and finally a board of directors or owner(s). The non-supervisory employee and each supervisory employee below the executive level has more than one master or supervisor. The Lord’s true church is not organized in this manner. The Lord’s church has only one head or master and each member of that church is subject to that head or master. There are no other head’s or masters in the Lord’s church.

While the local church has governmental responsibility over the membership of the church, that government is given to her by her one head in exacting detail and all of the members are equally under the government of that one head and all the members have an equal vote in carrying out that government. No elder has any right to Lord it over the membership of the church: 1Pe 5:3 “Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.”

Any organization that has hierarchy structure has no right to claim itself to be the Lord’s church, as the Lord’s church has only one Lord. Thus to have Bishops lording it over the membership, or to have bishops over bishops, building to an apex is contrary to the scriptures. Likewise to have an organizational structure above the local church with an earthly headquarters is also unscriptural. Again, the Lord’s church and its membership have only one head or Lord:

1. 1Co 11:3 “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

2. Eph 1:22 “And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church.”

3. Eph 4:15 “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.”

4. Eph 5:23 “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.”

5. Col 1:18 “And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.”

BA.01-10 One Mind

One Mind

The members of the church of the Lord Jesus Christ are to strive to be united in thought as it pertains to the doctrines, practices, teachings, worship, love, and practical godliness. The following verses abundantly show this teaching:

1. Ro 15:6 “That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

2. 2Co 13:11 “Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.”

3. Php 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;”

4. Php 2:2 “Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.”

5. 1Pe 3:8 “Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:”

To be united in thought would be impossible to do unless we have a perfect standard to which we all can strive. Am 3:3 asked the question, “Can two walk together, except they be agreed?” The answer is implied that it is impossible to walk together unless there is agreement. At the point of disagreement is the point at which two will not walk together. We may agree on nine things and walk together in those nine things, yet when we disagree on the tenth thing we cease walking together.

Our standard of agreement is the word of God. 2Ti 3:16-17 “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” Not only is the scripture a thorough furnisher unto all good works, it is also the standard by which we can agree together and have fellowship one with another and worship together in Spirit and in truth: 1Jo 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Thus, our fellowship is found in the light of the truth of God’s word.

The Lord warns us about vain worship: Mr 7:7 “Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.” Furthermore, he taught that “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

When we are of one mind, we live in peace one with another. When we are of one mind, according to the scriptures, we worship God together in Spirit and in truth and have fellowship one with another. When we are of one mind we have love one for another and have the same care for one another as we have for our self.

BA.01-11 One Overview

One-Unity

Overview

The number one and the subject of unity can be seen in the fact that God has often in the scriptures taken larger numbers and unified them into one. For instance, in the marriage covenant the scriptures say that they two shall be one flesh. The Jews and the Gentiles together in the Kingdom of heaven make up one fold. Likewise, the three that make up the Godhead are one God. The four living creatures in Ezekiel each one had four faces and four wings. Similarly, the four wheels each had one likeness.

The church consists of many members that make up one body. The words church or churches appear 113 times in 111 verses. One time it refers to the church in the wilderness. One time it refers to the general assembly and church of the firstborn as it pertains to all the elect of God living in glory. 111 times it refers to the new testament assembly that makes up the visible militant church of the Lord Jesus Christ here on earth.

The scriptures also speak of one gospel, one faith, one Lord, one baptism, one spirit, one mind, one heart, one sacrifice, one pearl, one Shepherd, and one Lamb.

BA.01-12 One Pearl

One Pearl

Mt 13:45-46 “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: 46 Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.” In the description of the Bride of Christ in Re 21, the Holy City is said to have twelve gates and these gates are compared to pearls: “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.” Though these gates were compared to twelve pearls, yet they are described in such a way as to indicate they are truly, but one pearl.

Though there are many local congregations, yet the Lord’s bride is but one and her price was great. Jesus came to pay the redemption price for his bride as we read in Mt 1:21, “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” In order to pay this redemption price, Jesus gave all that he had, that is his life to redeem her from her sins: Eph 5:25-27 “Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; 26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” There has never been such a great price ever paid for anything that would even compare to the price that Jesus paid.

According to the scriptures, 1Co 6:19-20 “What? Know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” God’s elect people collectively make up that one pearl of great price and Jesus paid the terrific price to secure her for his own.

BA.01-13 One Shepherd

One Shepherd

There are numerous verses of scriptures that depict the Lord as being the one shepherd over his flock or people:

1. Ec 12:11 “The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.”

2. Eze 34:23 “And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.”

3. Eze 37:24 “And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.”

4. Joh 10:16 “And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.”

5. Mt 26:31 “Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.”

6. Mr 14:27 “And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.”

7. Joh 10:2 “But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.”

8. Joh 10:12 “But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.”

9. 1Pe 2:25 “For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.”

A shepherd cares for, watches over, and feeds his flock. He is responsible for every one of his flock. A good shepherd will do what he can to protect and deliver every sheep of his fold. Jesus is that good shepherd that died in order to save his people from their sins. He is that great shepherd of the sheep that preserves every one of his flock from destruction and will finally deliver every one into heaven’s glory world, without the loss of one. He is the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls. He is also called the chief shepherd meaning that there are under shepherds. These under shepherds are to feed the flocks according to the direction of the chief Shepherd. These under shepherds are limited in their abilities as the Lord directed the disciples to cause the people to sit down in companies of fifty and a hundred when he fed the thousands with five loaves and two fishes. This teaches us that in most cases the ability of a pastor to care for a congregation is generally around fifty to one hundred disciples.

BA.01-14 One Verses

One – Unity

Ac 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;

One Flesh

(Ge 2:24 KJV) Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

(Mt 19:5 KJV) And said, For this cause shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave to his wife: and they twain shall be one flesh?

(Mt 19:6 KJV) Wherefore they are no more twain, but one flesh. What therefore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.

(Mr 10:8 KJV) And they twain shall be one flesh: so then they are no more twain, but one flesh.

(1Co 6:16 KJV) What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

(Eph 5:31 KJV) For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.

One Spirit

(1Co 6:17 KJV) But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.

(1Co 12:13 KJV) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

(Eph 2:18 KJV) For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.

(Eph 4:4 KJV) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

(Php 1:27 KJV) Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

One mind

(Job 23:13 KJV) But he is in one mind, and who can turn him? And what his soul desireth, even that he doeth.

(Ro 15:6 KJV) That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(2Co 13:11 KJV) Finally, brethren, farewell. Be perfect, be of good comfort, be of one mind, live in peace; and the God of love and peace shall be with you.

(Php 1:27 KJV) Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

(Php 2:2 KJV) Fulfil ye my joy, that ye be likeminded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind.

(1Pe 3:8 KJV) Finally, be ye all of one mind, having compassion one of another, love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:

(Re 17:13 KJV) These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

One heart

(1Ch 12:38 KJV) All these men of war, that could keep rank, came with a perfect heart to Hebron, to make David king over all Israel: and all the rest also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.

(2Ch 30:12 KJV) Also in Judah the hand of God was to give them one heart to do the commandment of the king and of the princes, by the word of the LORD.

(Jer 32:39 KJV) And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them:

(Eze 11:19 KJV) And I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within you; and I will take the stony heart out of their flesh, and will give them an heart of flesh:

(Ac 4:32 KJV) And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common.

One faith

(Ac 6:7 KJV) And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.

(Ac 13:8 KJV) But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

(Ac 14:22 KJV) Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

(Ac 16:5 KJV) And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily.

(Ac 24:24 KJV) And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.

(Ro 1:5 KJV) By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name:

(Ro 14:1 KJV) Him that is weak in the faith receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations.

(1Co 16:13 KJV) Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong.

(2Co 13:5 KJV) Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?

(Ga 1:23 KJV) But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed.

(Ga 3:23 KJV) But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.

(Eph 4:13 KJV) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

(Php 1:27 KJV) Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel;

(Col 1:23 KJV) If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven; whereof I Paul am made a minister;

(Col 2:7 KJV) Rooted and built up in him, and stablished in the faith, as ye have been taught, abounding therein with thanksgiving.

(1Ti 1:2 KJV) Unto Timothy, my own son in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

(1Ti 3:9 KJV) Holding the mystery of the faith in a pure conscience.

(1Ti 3:13 KJV) For they that have used the office of a deacon well purchase to themselves a good degree, and great boldness in the faith which is in Christ Jesus.

(1Ti 4:1 KJV) Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;

(1Ti 5:8 KJV) But if any provide not for his own, and specially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel.

(1Ti 6:10 KJV) For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

(1Ti 6:21 KJV) Which some professing have erred concerning the faith. Grace be with thee. Amen.

(2Ti 2:18 KJV) Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

(2Ti 3:8 KJV) Now as Jannes and Jambres withstood Moses, so do these also resist the truth: men of corrupt minds, reprobate concerning the faith.

(2Ti 4:7 KJV) I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith:

(Tit 1:13 KJV) This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith;

(Tit 3:15 KJV) All that are with me salute thee. Greet them that love us in the faith. Grace be with you all. Amen.

(1Pe 5:9 KJV) Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world.

(Jude 3 KJV) Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints.

One God

(Mal 2:10 KJV) Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?

(Mr 12:32 KJV) And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:

(Ro 3:30 KJV) Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

(1Co 8:6 KJV) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

(Eph 4:6 KJV) One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.

(1Ti 2:5 KJV) For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;

(Jas 2:19 KJV) Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

Church or churches

111 verses

113 times

111 new testament church or churches

1 Old Testament assembly in the wilderness

1 Glory World

(Ac 7:38 KJV) This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:

(Heb 12:23 KJV) To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect,

Unity

(Ge 49:6 KJV) O my soul, come not thou into their secret; unto their assembly, mine honour, be not thou united: for in their anger they slew a man, and in their selfwill they digged down a wall.

(Ps 133:1 KJV) A Song of degrees of David. Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity!

(Eph 4:3 KJV) Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

(Eph 4:13 KJV) Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

(Am 3:3 KJV) Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

One sacrifice

(Heb 10:12 KJV) But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

(Heb 10:14 KJV) For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

One pearl

(Mt 13:46 KJV) Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it.

One Shepherd

(Ec 12:11 KJV) The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the masters of assemblies, which are given from one shepherd.

(Eze 34:23 KJV) And I will set up one shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd.

(Eze 37:24 KJV) And David my servant shall be king over them; and they all shall have one shepherd: they shall also walk in my judgments, and observe my statutes, and do them.

(Joh 10:16 KJV) And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

(Mt 26:31 KJV) Then saith Jesus unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep of the flock shall be scattered abroad.

(Mr 14:27 KJV) And Jesus saith unto them, All ye shall be offended because of me this night: for it is written, I will smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered.

(Joh 10:2 KJV) But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep.

(Joh 10:12 KJV) But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

(1Pe 2:25 KJV) For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

One fold

Joh 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.

Eph 2:12-16 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: 13 But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. 14 For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; 16 And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

(Ro 12:4 KJV) For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:

(Ro 12:5 KJV) So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

(1Co 6:16 KJV) What? Know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? For two, saith he, shall be one flesh.

(1Co 10:17 KJV) For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread.

(1Co 12:12 KJV) For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ.

(1Co 12:13 KJV) For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.

(1Co 12:20 KJV) But now are they many members, yet but one body.

(Eph 2:16 KJV) And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby:

(Eph 4:4 KJV) There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling;

(Col 3:15 KJV) And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.

The gospel

83 times in 77 verses

Ga 1:6-9 I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.

The Lamb

(Joh 1:29 KJV) The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.

(Joh 1:36 KJV) And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!

(Re 21:9 KJV) And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife.

(Re 21:27 KJV) And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.

(Re 5:8 KJV) And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints.

(Re 5:12 KJV) Saying with a loud voice, Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing.

(Re 5:13 KJV) And every creature which is in heaven, and on the earth, and under the earth, and such as are in the sea, and all that are in them, heard I saying, Blessing, and honour, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever.

(Re 6:1 KJV) And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see.

(Re 6:16 KJV) And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb:

(Re 7:9 KJV) After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;

(Re 7:10 KJV) And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.

(Re 7:14 KJV) And I said unto him, Sir, thou knowest. And he said to me, These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

(Re 7:17 KJV) For the Lamb which is in the midst of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them unto living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes.

(Re 12:11 KJV) And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto the death.

(Re 13:8 KJV) And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.

(Re 14:4 KJV) These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth. These were redeemed from among men, being the firstfruits unto God and to the Lamb.

(Re 14:10 KJV) The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb:

(Re 15:3 KJV) And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.

(Re 17:14 KJV) These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

(Re 19:7 KJV) Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

(Re 19:9 KJV) And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.

(Re 21:14 KJV) And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

(Re 21:22 KJV) And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it.

(Re 21:23 KJV) And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof.

(Re 22:1 KJV) And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.

(Re 22:3 KJV) And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him:

Unity in the Godhead

1Jo 5:7-8 For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. 8 And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Four and one

(Eze 1:6 KJV) And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.

(Eze 1:15 KJV) Now as I beheld the living creatures, behold one wheel upon the earth by the living creatures, with his four faces.

(Eze 1:16 KJV) The appearance of the wheels and their work was like unto the colour of a beryl: and they four had one likeness: and their appearance and their work was as it were a wheel in the middle of a wheel.

(Eze 10:10 KJV) And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.

(Eze 10:14 KJV) And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.

(Eze 10:21 KJV) Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.

Five and one

(Ex 26:3 KJV) The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.

(Ex 36:10 KJV) And he coupled the five curtains one unto another: and the other five curtains he coupled one unto another.

Six and one

(Ex 28:10 KJV) Six of their names on one stone, and the other six names of the rest on the other stone, according to their birth.

Seven and one

(Zec 3:9 KJV) For behold the stone that I have laid before Joshua; upon one stone shall be seven eyes: behold, I will engrave the graving thereof, saith the LORD of hosts, and I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.

(Ge 41:5 KJV) And he slept and dreamed the second time: and, behold, seven ears of corn came up upon one stalk, rank and good.

(Ge 41:22 KJV) And I saw in my dream, and, behold, seven ears came up in one stalk, full and good:

(Ge 41:26 KJV) The seven good kine are seven years; and the seven good ears are seven years: the dream is one.

(Ac 21:8 KJV) And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

ONE LORD

(De 6:4 KJV) Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD:

(Zec 14:9 KJV) And the LORD shall be king over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one.

(Mr 12:29 KJV) And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

(1Co 8:6 KJV) But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

(Eph 4:5 KJV) One Lord, one faith, one baptism,

BA.01-15 Unity Of The Godhead

Unity of the Godhead

Perfect unity rests in the perfect God. 1Jo 5:7 “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one.”

That there are not three Gods, but only one is substantiated by the following verses:

1. Mal 2:10 “Have we not all one father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

2. Mr 12:32 “And the scribe said unto him, Well, Master, thou hast said the truth: for there is one God; and there is none other but he:”

3. Ro 3:30 “Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.”

4. 1Co 8:6 “But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.”

5. Eph 4:6 “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

6. 1Ti 2:5 “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus;”

7. Jas 2:19 “Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.”

I admit that there is a lot about the Godhead that I do not know. Some have said that there are three persons or three offices in the Godhead. Some have treated the subject as though there are three Gods that are unified in purpose and characteristics.

This does not seem to be consistent with the teaching that there is but One God. We will have more to say about the Godhead when we study the association between the number 3 and the subject of the Godhead. Suffice it to say for now, that the one word Godhead appears exactly three times in the scriptures.

1Jo 5:7 speaks of the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost and that these three are one. Elsewhere the Word is called the Son. Let us examine how these three that make up the Godhead are one.

First, they are one in character and quality. What can be said about the character and quality of the Father, can also be said about the Son and about the Holy Spirit. God is eternal, all powerful, all knowing, all wise, and everywhere present and no where absent. He also is just, holy, righteous, incorrupt and incorruptible. He is said to be love, a spirit, light, and a consuming fire. He is unable to lie, deny himself, fail, be discouraged, be tempted with evil, change, or sin. These same things can be said about the Father or about the Son or about the Holy Ghost. When asked by Phillip to show the Father, Jesus answered him and said, “Have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known me, Philip? He that hath seen me hath seen the Father; and how sayest thou then, Show us the Father?” Thus, the Son of God is no different in character or quality than the Father. Similarly, the Holy Ghost is no different in character or quality than the Son and the Father.

Second, they are one in purpose. Eph 3:10-11 “To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, 11 According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” God’s eternal purpose is set forth in Ro 8:29-30 “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” Jesus said in Joh 6:37-39 “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day.” Plainly, the Son’s purpose is identical to the Father’s purpose. Likewise, the Holy Spirit’s purpose is identical to the Father’s and the Son’s purpose.

Third, the works of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in perfect harmony and unity with one another. 1Pe 1:2 illustrates this principle: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.” The exact same ones that the Father elected, the Spirit sanctified, and the Son justified. If just one that the Father elected was not sanctified or justified, then the Godhead would not be unified. According to the covenant of redemption, the same ones that God foreknew, he also predestinated, called, justified, and glorified. This takes the work of all three in the Godhead and this work is perfectly unified. These same ones that God the Father foreknew and predestinated are called by the Holy Spirit and justified and glorified by the Son. There is neither a loss or an addition of one.

BA.01-16 Unity Of The Gospel Ministry

Unity of the Gospel Ministry

In the book of Ezekiel the prophet describes four living creatures and each one had four faces. This description is typical of the gospel ministry:

1. Eze 1:6 “And every one had four faces, and every one had four wings.”

2. Eze 10:10 “And as for their appearances, they four had one likeness, as if a wheel had been in the midst of a wheel.”

3. Eze 10:14 “And every one had four faces: the first face was the face of a cherub, and the second face was the face of a man, and the third the face of a lion, and the fourth the face of an eagle.”

4. Eze 10:21 “Every one had four faces apiece, and every one four wings; and the likeness of the hands of a man was under their wings.”

Each creature was typical of a gospel minister. The description was the same for each of the four creatures. When we look at the association of the number four and the work of the Holy Spirit, we will consider the faces of the living creatures, as well as the four living creatures.

Eph 4:11-13 “And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” This description of the four types of gospel ministers shows us a unity of work of the gospel ministry. Whether the minister was a apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher, they all had the same job description. They were given for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, and for the edifying of the body of Christ.

Furthermore, the qualifications of a gospel minister whether he was an apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher are identical and set forth in the following passages:

1. 1Ti 3:1-7 “This is a true saying, If a man desire the office of a bishop, he desireth a good work. 2 A bishop then must be blameless, the husband of one wife, vigilant, sober, of good behaviour, given to hospitality, apt to teach; 3 Not given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre; but patient, not a brawler, not covetous; 4 One that ruleth well his own house, having his children in subjection with all gravity; 5 (For if a man know not how to rule his own house, how shall he take care of the church of God?) 6 Not a novice, lest being lifted up with pride he fall into the condemnation of the devil. 7 Moreover he must have a good report of them which are without; lest he fall into reproach and the snare of the devil.”

2. Tit 1:7-9 “For a bishop must be blameless, as the steward of God; not selfwilled, not soon angry, not given to wine, no striker, not given to filthy lucre; 8 But a lover of hospitality, a lover of good men, sober, just, holy, temperate; 9 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers.”

In addition, the gospel ministry are to preach the same gospel regardless of whether they are an apostle, or prophet, or evangelist, or pastor and teacher. Paul warned against preaching any other gospel: Ga 1:6-9 “I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: 7 Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 9 As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

Again, the gospel ministry are all to follow the Spirit of the Lord in their ministry. This is illustrated in the description of the four living creatures: Eze 1:12 “And they went every one straight forward: whither the spirit was to go, they went; and they turned not when they went.” The gospel ministry are to preach in power and demonstration of Spirit and they are to be led of the Spirit of God both in their preaching and to whom they are to preach and to where they are to preach.

BA.01-17 Unity Of The Spirit

Unity of the Spirit

The unity of the Spirit in the church of the Lord Jesus Christ is plainly set forth in the following verses:

1. 1Co 6:17 “But he that is joined unto the Lord is one spirit.”

2. 1Co 12:13 “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”

3. Eph 2:18 “For through him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.”

4. Eph 4:4 “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling.”

5. Php 1:27 “Only let your conversation be as it becometh the gospel of Christ: that whether I come and see you, or else be absent, I may hear of your affairs, that ye stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel.”

An exhaustive study of the work of the Holy Spirit is far beyond the bounds of this little study. However, we will outline some of the work of the Spirit to show the unity of the Spirit in the church:

1. The Spirit regenerates the elect into spiritual life. Without this spiritual life, it is impossible for anyone to see the kingdom of God or to enter the kingdom of God (Joh 3:3,5). It is also impossible for the unregenerate to seek after God, to understand the things of the Spirit of God, to fear God, to do good, or to cease from sin (Ro 3:9-17; 1Co 2:14; 2Pe 2:14).

2. The Holy Spirit also works in the gospel ministry to move them (2Pe 1:21) and to enable them to preach the gospel (1Co 2:4; Ro 15:19; Lu 4:18) and to give them utterance (Ac 2:4). The Spirit also establishes their labor in the churches (Ac 20:28) and leads them in their preaching appointments (Ac 16:6-10).

3. The Holy Spirit gave us the scriptures to govern us (2Ti 3:16-17).

4. The Holy Spirit unifies us through the gospel (Eph 4:13).

5. It is through the Holy Spirit that we all have access to the Father (Eph 2:18).

6. The Holy Spirit unifies us in the service of God (1Co 6:17).

7. The Holy Spirit guides us into all truth (Joh 16:13).

8. The Holy Spirit dwells with us and in us in the church (Joh 14:16).

9. We worship God in Spirit and in truth (Joh 4:23-24).

10. The Holy Spirit leads us in the pathways of life (Ro 8:14) and to cry out unto our Father (Ro 8:15) and to testify that we are children of God (Ro 8:16).

11. The Holy Spirit makes intercession for each of us (Ro 8:26).

12. The Spirit gives spiritual gifts to each of the members of the church and they all work in harmony with one another (1Co 12:11).

13. The Spirit manifests the same spiritual fruit to each of the elect: Ga 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

14. The Holy Spirit writes God’s laws in the heart and mind of each of the elect (2Co 3:3; Heb 8:10; 10:16; Ro 2:15).

15. The Spirit shall quicken our mortal bodies in the resurrection (Ro 8:11).

BA.02-01 Adam And Christ

Adam and Christ

Witness of Federal Headship

Two are often paired together as a witness to testify unto us basic bible doctrines. In Ro 5 we have such a pairing: Ro 5:12-19 “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: 13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.  15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. 16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. 17 For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) 18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. 19 For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

In Ro 5:14 above we are told that Adam was the figure of him that was to come, which is Christ. Both Adam and Christ are “federal heads.” Federal headship means that the head is the sole representative of those that he represents. The consequences of the actions of the federal head affect all that the federal head represents. There are two groupings of people represented by Adam and Christ: 1Co 15:22 “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” It is an erroneous assumption to assume that both Adam and Christ represented all the human race. Adam represented those that are “in Adam.” Christ represented those that are “in Christ.” “In” is often a positional word showing the location of those positioned.

Adam represented the entire human race that was seminally positioned in him when he represented them in the Garden of Eden. Christ represented the covenant elect of God (Ro 8:29) that were “chosen in him before the foundation of the world (Eph 1:4).

When Adam was in the Garden of Eden he represented all the human race seminally positioned in him. As their federal head, his actions not only effected him, but also they effected equally all that he represented. When Adam transgressed the law of God in the Garden of Eden, he brought death and condemnation upon the entire human race, seminally positioned in him. As the scripture reads, “ Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned,” so by the sin of Adam sin entered into all mankind and death passed upon all mankind in that all sinned in Adam.

Further consequences upon mankind due to Adams transgression are set forth in the above passage of scripture:

1. Through the one sin of Adam death passed upon all mankind.

2. Through the one sin of Adam condemnation came upon all mankind.

3. Through the one sin of Adam death reigns upon all mankind.

4. Through the one sin of Adam all of mankind were made sinners.

None of those represented by Adam had any say in what Adam did nor did they have any choice in the consequences of Adam’s action. The headship of Adam was binding upon them.

Similarly, when Christ lived upon the earth and when he died upon the cross he represented all the elect as their federal head. Christ represented all the elect that were in him by covenant. As the federal head of the elect his actions in keeping perfectly the law and subsequent sacrificial atonement upon the cross to satisfy God’s divine justice equally affected all that he represented.

The consequences upon the elect due to Christ’s righteousness and sacrificial atonement are set forth in the above passage of scripture:

1. Christ’s actions justified all the elect.

2. Christ’s actions brought forth a reign of righteousness in the lives of all the elect.

3. Christ’s actions made all the elect righteous before God.

4. Christ’s actions brought forth eternal life to all the elect.

None of those represented by Christ had any say in what Christ did nor did they have any choice in the consequences of Christ’s action. The headship of Christ was binding upon them. I certainly have no objection to that.

BA.02-02 Cain And Abel

Cain and Abel

Witness of False and True Worship

In bible associations, two is associated with the subject of witness. Often times two individuals are paired together to teach us basic bible doctrines. Cain and Abel are two brothers that are paired together in the scriptures to teach us a lesson through contrast about what constitutes true worship before God.

Ge 4:1-5 “And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD. 2 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.”

There are two great questions generated by the above passage of scripture. Why did God have respect unto Abel and not unto Cain? Why did God have respect unto Abel’s offering and not unto Cain’s offering?

Numerous passages of scripture tell us that God is no respecter of persons:

1. 2Sa 14:14 “For we must needs die, and are as water spilled on the ground, which cannot be gathered up again; neither doth God respect any person: yet doth he devise means, that his banished be not expelled from him.”

2. 2Ch 19:7 “Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.”

3. Ro 2:11 “For there is no respect of persons with God.”

4. Eph 6:9 “And, ye masters, do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening: knowing that your Master also is in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with him.”

5. Col 3:25 “But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

6. 1Pe 1:17 “And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:”

7. Ac 10:34 “Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:”

Even though God is no respecter of persons, yet he had respect unto Abel, but not unto Cain. Thus, we ask, “On what basis does God have respect?” The answer is that God has respect unto his covenant:

1. Le 26:9 “For I will have respect unto you, and make you fruitful, and multiply you, and establish my covenant with you.”

2. 2Ki 13:23 “And the LORD was gracious unto them, and had compassion on them, and had respect unto them, because of his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and would not destroy them, neither cast he them from his presence as yet.”

3. Ps 74:20Have respect unto the covenant: for the dark places of the earth are full of the habitations of cruelty.”

Thus, God has respect unto his covenant and since God made a covenant of redemption before the foundation of the world and in that covenant he chose who would be his. God’s respect for Abel is a covenant respect, for God chose him in Christ before the foundation of the world. God’s lack of respect for Cain is because God did not choose Cain before the foundation of the world.

God also had respect unto Abel’s offering, but not unto Cain’s offering. After Adam had transgressed the law of God in the garden of Eden, God made coats of skin and clothed Adam and Eve. It was necessary that blood be shed in order that Adam and Eve be clothed. This became the pattern for offerings until the giving of the law at Mount Sinai. Abel followed the pattern that had been established and offered a firstling of the flock and of the fat thereof. This offering pointed to the perfect sacrifice of Jesus. It gave all the praise, honor, and glory unto Christ.

In contrast, Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto God. God had before cursed the ground, thus Cain brought of that which God had cursed for an offering. He was offering a cursed thing unto God! Furthermore, based on Cain’s reaction we can conclude that Cain expected to be praised by God for his offering, yet was rejected. Abel’s offering sought to praise God, whereas, Cain’s offering sought for praise from God.

Today there are two basic patterns of attempted worship of God. The vast majority attempt to place their effort as the final cause of gaining eternal life. Those who do this are seeking God to praise their efforts. This is unacceptable worship before God. A very small minority attempt to give all the credit for their salvation from sin and eternal life unto God, reserving no praise for themselves or their efforts. This very small minority seek only to praise God in their worship. This is acceptable unto God.

BA.02-03 Elijah and Elisha

Elijah and Elisha

Foreshadow the Coming of Jesus

Elijah was a great prophet and mightily blessed of God to perform miracles and to faithfully serve the Lord. He withstood the prophets of Baal and of the Grove. He prayed earnestly and it rained not on the face of the earth for a period of three and a half years. When most people think of the Old Testament prophets, they generally think of Elijah.

Elisha, however, was the greater prophet. When Elijah was taken up into glory, Elisha had asked for a double portion of the spirit of Elijah: 2Ki 2:9-14 “And it came to pass, when they were gone over, that Elijah said unto Elisha, Ask what I shall do for thee, before I be taken away from thee. And Elisha said, I pray thee, let a double portion of thy spirit be upon me. 10 And he said, Thou hast asked a hard thing: nevertheless, if thou see me when I am taken from thee, it shall be so unto thee; but if not, it shall not be so.  11 And it came to pass, as they still went on, and talked, that, behold, there appeared a chariot of fire, and horses of fire, and parted them both asunder; and Elijah went up by a whirlwind into heaven. 12 And Elisha saw it, and he cried, My father, my father, the chariot of Israel, and the horsemen thereof. And he saw him no more: and he took hold of his own clothes, and rent them in two pieces. 13 He took up also the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and went back, and stood by the bank of Jordan; 14 And he took the mantle of Elijah that fell from him, and smote the waters, and said, Where is the LORD God of Elijah? And when he also had smitten the waters, they parted hither and thither: and Elisha went over.”

The Lord used Elijah to perform seven miracles. The Lord used Elisha to perform fourteen miracles, thus a double portion. When Elisha’s time came for him to die, the Lord used Elisha to send deliverance to Israel from the Syrian army.

The relationship between Elijah and Elisha mirrors the relationship between John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ. The book of Malachi prophesied that God would send Elijah the prophet to prepare the people for the coming of Christ: Mal 4:5-6 “Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6 And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.”

The Lord testified at the Mount of Tranfiguration that it was John the Baptist that came in the spirit and power of Elijah: Mt 17:10-13 “And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? 11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. 12 But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. 13 Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.”

John was a great prophet, yet he came to prepare the way for a far better prophet, king and high priest. Just as Elijah preceded and paved the way for a greater prophet Elisha, so John was followed by a far greater prophet, the Lord Jesus Christ.

BA.02-04 Ishmael And Isaac

Ishmael & Isaac

Witness of two Births

Ga 4:22-23 “For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise.” Based on this passage of scripture there can be no doubt but that the birth of Ishmael and the birth of Isaac represented two types of births.

Ishmael’s birth was after the flesh. When Abraham took the bondwoman and had a child by her, this child was born after the flesh. His birth was no different in the action that brought it about than any other child born into the world by natural generation.

In contrast, the birth of Isaac was by promise. It was typical of the spiritual birth in that the spiritual birth is also by promise. God promised to Abraham when he was old and well stricken in years that his barren wife Sarah, who was way past child bearing age, that he would restore them both to the time of life and that Sarah would bear a son at the set time in the next year.

According to Ro 4:18-21, it was said of Abraham, “Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations, according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be. And being not weak in faith, he considered not his own body now dead, when he was about an hundred years old, neither yet the deadness of Sarah’s womb: he staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; and being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Thus, Isaac was born according to God’s promise. He was born at God’s set time. He was born contrary to nature.

Ga 4:28 “Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise.” Like Isaac’s birth, our spiritual birth is according to God’s covenant promise in the covenant of redemption (Ro 8:28-30). Furthermore, our spiritual birth is according to God’s set time: Joh 3:8 “The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Additionally our spiritual birth is contrary to nature: Joh 6:63 “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.”

Another great lesson illustrated in the births of Ishmael and of Isaac is that man wants to help God out. God had been promising to Abram that he would be a father of many nations and that in his seed all nations of the earth would be blessed and in his seed all families of the earth would be blessed. All the time that God had been making these promises Sarai was barren and had gone past normal child-bearing age. Sarai proposed a plan to Abram: Ge 16:1-2 “Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children: and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar. 2 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai.” Abram went along with this plan in an attempt to help God fulfill his promises. Consequently, Ishmael was born after the flesh. Ishmael’s birth, however, did not fulfill the promises of God.

Just as Abram and Sarah attempted to help God fulfill his promises, men today think that God cannot save someone from sin or cause someone to be born again unless man helps him out. The birth of Isaac shows the utter foolishness of such thinking. God does not need nor require man’s help in order to fulfill his promises. When Abraham was unable to assist in any way to bring about God’s promises, then God performed his promises. The same is true today.

BA.02-05 Jacob And Esau

Jacob and Esau

Witness of God’s Election

Two are often paired together in the scriptures as a witness to testify unto us basic bible doctrines. Esau and Jacob, the twin sons of Isaac and Rebecca, are paired together to illustrate to us the doctrine of God’s election of a people to be his.

Ge 25:21-23 “And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebecca his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” Rebecca was one of the seven women in the scriptures who had been barren, but later had children after that the Lord had intervened. After the Lord intervened Rebecca conceived and had twin sons in her womb. These sons names were Esau and Jacob.

In the ninth chapter of Romans these two sons are used to illustrate God’s doctrine of election of a people to be his: Ro 9:10-13 “And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.”

In the pronouncements of God given to Rebecca we see that God made a distinction between these two boys in that he said: “Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger.” We also see as set forth in Ro 9:11 that God’s distinction between these two was not based on works for this distinction was pronounced before they were even born, nor had they either done good or evil. Thus, works had nothing to do with God’s choice. Since the children were not yet born, they had no choice in this selection. The choice was completely and totally of God and God indicates that it was not based on works either having been done or foreseen works.

Next we see God’s view of these two sons also before they were born, in that God said “Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated.” God loved Jacob before he was born, and he hated Esau before he was born or had done any works, either good or evil.

Furthermore, we are told that this is God’s purpose according to election. God’s people, that he elected before the foundation of the world, had done neither good works or evil works when God elected them. Furthermore, those God did not elect before the foundation of the world, had done neither good works or evil works, when God did not choose them. Some have contended that God looked down through time and saw who would do good or accept him and based his election on what he foresaw. Ps 14 disproves this notion: Ps 14:2-3 “The LORD looked down from heaven upon the children of men, to see if there were any that did understand, and seek God. 3 They are all gone aside, they are all together become filthy: there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” Thus, foreseen works or foreseen actions of men had nothing to do with God’s election of a people to be his.

In conclusion, God chose a people and loved them before the foundation of the world and that choice was solely and totally by the grace of God. Furthermore, he did not choose some people to be his. These he hated and that lack being chosen was solely and totally by the sovereign act of a sovereign God. Jacob and Esau illustrate this great doctrine of election.

BA.02-06 Judgment

Judgment-Two Witnesses

God has given to men in the Old Testament and in the New Testament that two witnesses are needed to judge anyone to conviction:

1. Nu 35:30 “Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.”

2. De 17:6 “At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.”

3. De 19:15 “One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.”

4. Mt 18:16 “But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.”

5. Mt 26:60 “But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses.”

6. 2Co 13:1 “This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.”

7. 1Ti 5:19 “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.”

8. Heb 10:28 “He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses.”

9. Re 11:3 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth.”

Based on the above, men were not to be put to death, or convicted of any iniquity unless there were at least two witnesses. Likewise, a charge is not to be brought against an elder except in the mouth of two or more witnesses. A trespass is not to be brought before the church unless two witnesses had first judged it.

The witnesses had to agree together for their testimony to be judged valid. Two witnesses whose testimony did not agree together were considered invalid testimony.

Finally, the two faithful witnesses listed in Re 11:3, which we have otherwise shown to be the law and the prophets are two witnesses that have rightfully convicted all men of sin: Ga 3:10 “For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.”

These two faithful witnesses have also testified to us that we were redeemed from our sins: Ga 3:13 “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”

BA.02-07 Moses And Christ

Moses and Christ

Witnesses of a Special Prophet

Two are often paired together in the scriptures as a witness to testify unto us basic bible doctrines. Moses and Christ are paired together to teach us concerning Christ’s office as a Prophet. Men often preach of the Kingship of Christ or of the Holy Priesthood of Christ. They do not preach nearly as much about Christ as “that Prophet.”

De 18:15-19 “The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; 16 According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. 17 And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. 18 I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. 19 And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Jesus Christ is that prophet like unto Moses. According to Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” Moses was a prophet, but he was not just any prophet, for he had been appointed of God to deliver unto the children of Israel “the law.” By the term, “the law,” is meant not only the ten commandments, but also all the laws and ordinances that were to govern Israel in her worship, service, and government unto God. Included in the law were all the qualifications, requirements and service of the priesthood and High priesthood, as well as the tabernacle and its service and the instruments thereof, along with the feasts, ordinances, and sacrifices.

Prophets were given the word of God to give unto the people. Frequently, what they were given of God pertained to future events, but always it was the word of God. God identified to the people that a man was a prophet in that God gave the prophet to perform certain signs, wonders, and miracles by the power of God manifest at his hand.

There were a number of parallels between the life and actions of Moses and Christ. Children were being slaughter at the time of Moses birth and young childhood. The same was true of the birth of Jesus Christ. Second, Moses had been, according to the law, cast into the water but was drawn out of the water by Pharaoh’s daughter. This parallels the baptism of Christ by John the Baptist and points to the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

Third, Moses came out of Egypt. After that Joseph was warned of God that Herod would seek to kill Jesus, Joseph took Mary and the child Jesus into Egypt. The scriptures tell us this was done that it might be fulfilled, “Out of Egypt have I called my son.” Fourth, Moses went into the wilderness. Likewise, Jesus, after his baptism, went into the wilderness to be tempted of the Devil.

Fifth, Moses fasted forty days and forty nights when God gave him the law. Jesus fasted forty days and forty nights before he was tempted of the Devil. Sixth, God used Moses to bring judgment upon the land of Egypt that the children of Israel might be freed from their bondage. Jesus suffered the judgment of God in the hands of a just God at the cross of calvary so that the elect might be delivered from the bondage of sin.

Seventh, the enemies of Israel (Pharaoh and his army) who sought to destroy Israel, were destroyed at the Red Sea. The enemies of the elect, who would have destroyed the elect (sin, Satan, hell, death, grave) were destroyed at the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ. Eight, God performed many miracles at the hands of Moses both in the judgments upon Egypt, the crossing of the Red Sea, and in the wilderness. Jesus performed more miracles in the three and one half years of his personal ministry than all the other prophets put together.

Finally, just as Moses had been selected of God to deliver the law to the children of Israel, Jesus brought forth grace and truth to the family of God. Jesus established the New Testament church, gave us her ordinances, her government, her doctrines, and her manner of worship. He was indeed a prophet like unto Moses, only much greater than Moses.

BA.02-08 Moses And Elijah

Moses and Elijah

Two Faithful Witnesses

The scriptures speak of two anointed ones that stand by the Lord of the whole earth: Zec 4:11-14 “Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.”

These two anointed ones are identified for us in Re 11:3-6 “And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth. 5 And if any man will hurt them, fire proceedeth out of their mouth, and devoureth their enemies: and if any man will hurt them, he must in this manner be killed. 6 These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.”

It was Elijah who commanded that fire come down and devour the two captains and their fifties and it was Elijah who prayed that it rain not for three and a half years. It was Moses who stretched forth the rod and the rivers were turned to blood and it was Moses who stretched forth the rod and plagued Egypt with ten plagues. Thus, the two anointed ones and two faithful witnesses that stand by the Lord of all the earth are Elijah and Moses. Yet Moses and Elijah represent something beyond themselves. They represent the law and the prophets. It is the law and the prophets that empty the golden oil out of themselves and that prophesied throughout the Old Testament dispensation. It was the law and the prophets that gave testimony or witness of Jesus Christ throughout the Old Testament.

The Lord told some unbelieving Jews to “search the scriptures for in them ye think ye have eternal life and they are they which testify of me.” The Jews had thought the scriptures were a roadmap or plan whereby they could obtain eternal life. The Lord corrected them and told them that the scriptures did not give eternal life, but were a witness of Jesus Christ. The scriptures to which Jesus was speaking were the Old Testament scriptures for the New Testament had not been penned at that time. The Old Testament scriptures (law and the prophets) were a continual testimony of Jesus Christ.

It was Moses and Elijah that appeared with Jesus on the mount of transfiguration and spoke of his demise. While there should be no doubt that it was Moses and Elijah with Jesus, yet they were there representing the testimony of the law and the prophets testifying of Jesus. Throughout the Old Testament we find that the scriptures speak of one who would come and give his life for his people and through his death would justify his covenant people. When we read the Old Testament we should be looking for Jesus on every page for they are testifying of him and his atoning sacrifice.

BA.02-09 Pharisee And Publican

Pharisee and Publican

Lu 18:9-14 “And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others: 10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican. 11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican. 12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess. 13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner. 14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

With the contrast of these two men, the Lord taught a great lesson on the need for humility. The Pharisee represented those which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others. Self-righteousness leads to self-exaltation and subsequently the belittlement of others in their eyes. A self-righteous man is proud of his own works and exalts his own works. The Pharisee was thankful for himself and that he was better than others. He was proud that he was not an extortioner, he was proud that he was just (even though he really was not). He was proud that he was not an adulterer. He was proud that he was better than the publican (even though he was not). He was proud of his religious exercises and how well he performed them. His standard was himself. He had an improper standard. We should not measure ourselves by ourselves, but look unto the perfect standard which is God’s word. Some would say that this man had not been born of the Spirit. I think we should not make such judgments. The truth is God’s children can and often do become self-righteous in their actions and judgments. The Lord warned that “every one that exalteth himself shall be abased.”

The publican viewed himself in light of God’s word. He saw himself to be a sinner and unworthy of the least of God’s mercy. He knew within his heart that he was under the curse of the law, as it is written, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” This man’s standard was the perfect standard of God’s word. We have all sinned and come short of the glory of God. However, we do not all acknowledge our condition. The publican acknowledged his condition, felt his unworthiness even to come close in the temple or to raise his eyes unto heaven. He did not cry out for justice, for he already felt the conviction of sin. However, he cried out for mercy and acknowledged he was a sinner. In this condition, he experienced something that he probably did not expect. He experienced the forgiveness of his sins and felt the fellowship of God in his heart. As the Lord also said, “he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.”

BA.02-10 Sarah And Hagar

Sarah and Hagar

Ga 4:21-31 “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? 22 For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. 23 But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. 24 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.  27 For it is written, Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that travailest not: for the desolate hath many more children than she which hath an husband. 28 Now we, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise. 29 But as then he that was born after the flesh persecuted him that was born after the Spirit, even so it is now. 30 Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman. 31 So then, brethren, we are not children of the bondwoman, but of the free.”

Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondwoman, Hagar. The other son was by the freewoman, Sarah. We are told that these two women are an allegory. An allegory is a natural truth that points to a spiritual truth. Sarah was the actual wife of Abraham and was a free woman. Hagar was an Egyptian bondmaid of Sarah. She was in bondage and not free. She was Sarah’s servant.

Hagar represented the covenant that God made in Mount Sinai with the children of Israel. This covenant, like Hagar, brought those who were under it into bondage. As the scriptures read, “Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them.” Every one that was under the law was under the curse of the law and become bondservants to the law. The scripture says that Hagar answers to Jerusalem, which now is and is in bondage with her children. Thus, the law was a works system and brought those under it into bondage and a curse.

In contrast, Sarah represented the covenant of grace, under which we worship God in Spirit and in truth. Sarah, or the covenant of grace, is also described as Jerusalem which is above and is said to be free and to be the mother of us all. We who worship God in Spirit and in truth under the covenant of grace are free from the bondage of the law as Christ was made to be a curse for us, thus freeing us from the bondage of the law. We do not go about trying to establish our own righteousness, but rather understand and believe that Christ is the end of the law for righteousness and by his righteousness and sacrificial atonement we have been made righteous in the eyes of a just and holy God.

In summary, the Old Testament sets forth the Old Covenant of worship which was made with the children of Israel on Mount Sinai. We worship God in Spirit and in truth in the New Testament or under the New Covenant, giving all praise, honor, and glory unto God for our salvation from sin.

We are told to cast out the bondwoman and her son for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the free. We are free and not made heirs by the works of the law. We should not desire to worship under the law or to bring in parts of the law into our worship. If we bring in parts of the law into our worship, we just bring ourselves under the bondage of the law. Most who claim to worship Christ today have brought in elements of a works system into their worship and have delivered themselves into bondage. God forbid that we should do so.

BA.02-11 Two

Two = Witness

Nu 35:30 Whoso killeth any person, the murderer shall be put to death by the mouth of witnesses: but one witness shall not testify against any person to cause him to die.

De 17:6 At the mouth of two witnesses, or three witnesses, shall he that is worthy of death be put to death; but at the mouth of one witness he shall not be put to death.

De 19:15 One witness shall not rise up against a man for any iniquity, or for any sin, in any sin that he sinneth: at the mouth of two witnesses, or at the mouth of three witnesses, shall the matter be established.

1Ki 21:10 And set two men, sons of Belial, before him, to bear witness against him, saying, Thou didst blaspheme God and the king. And then carry him out, and stone him, that he may die.

Mt 18:16 But if he will not hear thee, then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.

Mt 26:59-61 Now the chief priests, and elders, and all the council, sought false witness against Jesus, to put him to death; 60 But found none: yea, though many false witnesses came, yet found they none. At the last came two false witnesses, 61 And said, This fellow said, I am able to destroy the temple of God, and to build it in three days.

2Co 13:1 This is the third time I am coming to you. In the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established.

1Ti 5:19 Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses.

Heb 10:28 He that despised Moses’ law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:

Re 11:3-4 And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. 4 These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

Ga 4:24-26 Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. 25 For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. 26 But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.

Cain and Abel - Ge 4:2-5 And she again bare his brother Abel. And Abel was a keeper of sheep, but Cain was a tiller of the ground. 3 And in process of time it came to pass, that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the LORD. 4 And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering: 5 But unto Cain and to his offering he had not respect. And Cain was very wroth, and his countenance fell.

Ishmael and Isaac – Ge 16:2-11 And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the LORD hath restrained me from bearing: I pray thee, go in unto my maid; it may be that I may obtain children by her. And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai. 3 And Sarai Abram’s wife took Hagar her maid the Egyptian, after Abram had dwelt ten years in the land of Canaan, and gave her to her husband Abram to be his wife. 4 And he went in unto Hagar, and she conceived: and when she saw that she had conceived, her mistress was despised in her eyes. 5 And Sarai said unto Abram, My wrong be upon thee: I have given my maid into thy bosom; and when she saw that she had conceived, I was despised in her eyes: the LORD judge between me and thee. 6 But Abram said unto Sarai, Behold, thy maid is in thy hand; do to her as it pleaseth thee. And when Sarai dealt hardly with her, she fled from her face. 7 And the angel of the LORD found her by a fountain of water in the wilderness, by the fountain in the way to Shur. 8 And he said, Hagar, Sarai’s maid, whence camest thou? And whither wilt thou go? And she said, I flee from the face of my mistress Sarai. 9 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands. 10 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, I will multiply thy seed exceedingly, that it shall not be numbered for multitude. 11 And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Behold, thou art with child, and shalt bear a son, and shalt call his name Ishmael; because the LORD hath heard thy affliction.

Ge 17:19 And God said, Sarah thy wife shall bear thee a son indeed; and thou shalt call his name Isaac: and I will establish my covenant with him for an everlasting covenant, and with his seed after him.

Jacob and Esau – Ge 25:21-26 And Isaac entreated the LORD for his wife, because she was barren: and the LORD was entreated of him, and Rebekah his wife conceived. 22 And the children struggled together within her; and she said, If it be so, why am I thus? And she went to inquire of the LORD. 23 And the LORD said unto her, Two nations are in thy womb, and two manner of people shall be separated from thy bowels; and the one people shall be stronger than the other people; and the elder shall serve the younger. 24 And when her days to be delivered were fulfilled, behold, there were twins in her womb.  25 And the first came out red, all over like an hairy garment; and they called his name Esau. 26 And after that came his brother out, and his hand took hold on Esau’s heel; and his name was called Jacob: and Isaac was threescore years old when she bare them.

Ro 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.

Ge 41:32 And for that the dream was doubled unto Pharaoh twice; it is because the thing is established by God, and God will shortly bring it to pass.

Zec 4:11-14 Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? 12 And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves? 13 And he answered me and said, Knowest thou not what these be? And I said, No, my lord. 14 Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Mt 22:36-40 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is l