Monday, January 24, 2011

Interpret or apply…

When do we ‘interpret’ scripture and when do we ‘apply’ scripture? 

The word "exegesis" means "a personal interpretation of a text (especially the bible), using your own (human) ideas.” Our Apostle Paul says to not use man's wisdom to understand things, but,rather, God's secret wisdom found in Paul's 13 books to understand the bible. (That's why most of Christianity does not know the mystery!)
1 Corinthians 2:12-13
Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.  Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.

2 Timothy 2:7
Consider what I [Paul] say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.

We are to allow the Holy Ghost to teach us today, and Paul says that if you be led of the Spirit, you are not under the Law.

Galatians 5:18
But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.

Romans 6:14
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but [we are] under grace.

And Paul says that men who do not rightly divide the bible will put you under the law or performance system to please God...

1 Timothy 1:6-7
From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm.

So exegesis—again, one’s own personal interpretation of scripture—is harmful for us, if it is not rightly divided!  

2 Timothy 2:15
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

As far as taking old testament passages of scriptures and making them relative to the lives of Christians today, that's okay. That is called ‘application.’ We may ‘apply’ godly principles from other dispensations to our lives.

For example, take God's attitude toward Israel's sins...

Proverbs 8:36
But he that sinneth against me wrongeth his own soul: all they that hate me love death.

…We can learn that He hates our sins also. 

1 Corinthians 10:10-11
Neither murmur ye, as some of them also murmured, and were destroyed of the destroyer.  Now all these things happened unto them for examples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come.

Or, telling them to pay their national taxes, which He calls a tithe…

Malachi 3:10
Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in mine house, and prove me now herewith, saith the LORD of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.

…Whereas, Paul tells us to pay our national taxes too.

Romans 13:1-8
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.   Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.   For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:   For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Israel was told how much to give (the tithe); our giving today is by grace, not commandment.

2 Corinthians 9:7
Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.

Speaking directly to us or about us on how to give money to church...
Most Christians (especially the pastors) think that God is requiring the tithe, today; but, he is not! Tithing was God's command to the nation of Israel to give to the tribe of Levi to run that government. It was like our income tax.  So technically, for us to tithe, we would have to give it to our government, not to the church (Leviticus 27). By the way, tithing in Israel was not even money! It was their flocks and the fruit of their land, crops, etc.

Again, today we are to give to fund the ministry as explained by our Apostle Paul in 2 Corinthians 9:7, where he says that as a man purposeth in his heart, as God has prospered him, so let him give, not grudgingly or of necessity but cheerfully. Today we give whatever we chose--it is between us and God.  We are not required to give a certain percent [a tithe] like Israel.   (There is a sermon on tithing on our website, dated 1/16/11.)

We are to ‘interpret’ what our Apostle Paul wrote to us for us.  However, we can apply the godly principles from the old testament to our lives, as long as they don't oppose what Paul wrote to us.

Romans 16:17
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.

Remember, while all scripture is profitable for us...

2 Timothy 3:16-17
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.

...but the books that are directly to us and about us are Paul's 13 epistles. We can learn principles and spiritual applications from the other 53 books, but we are not allowed by God to interpret them as to ourselves. He wrote those books to the nation of Israel, and they apply to that nation.    

Hopefully this helps!


Who wrote Hebrews? ...and is it for us, today?  

Although God never disclosed the actual name of the man that he wrote the book of Hebrews through, he does however put his name as the first word of that epistle. The first word is "God," and that is the "person" who wrote it! There are men like Barnabas and others who seem to fit the profile of the writer, but no one knows for sure who wrote it, and that's the way God wanted it.  What we do know is that the 13 books Paul wrote all start with his name, and God chose to start Hebrews with His own name.

There are some dispensationalists using Hebrews and interpreting it as if it were to us--I believe that this is an error.

Think about the name itself—Hebrews.  "Hebrews" means a Jew! Plus, it is usually those who don't have a final authority, like we do with the King James Bible.  Consequently, they are not too sure about anything in the scriptures...even the infallibility of it.

It is clear that whoever God used to write it, knew about Paul's revelation, but did not preach Christ the way Paul did.

Romans 16:25
Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,


Hebrews 1:1-2
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

The reason some people do this is because they read the notes of the "scholars"—who don't rightly divide the scriptures—that say Paul is the author of the book. But, Paul says that every book that he wrote has his name on it.

2 Thessalonians 3:17
The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write.

Plus, there is doctrine where the Hebrew readers are told that they can lose their salvation if they don't continue and endure to the end…

Hebrews 6:4; 10:26-29
For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost,  And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come,  If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.  He that despised Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses:   Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?

As we know, our Apostle says that no matter what we do, we cannot lose our salvation

1 Corinthians 1:8
[God, our Father (v3)] Who shall also confirm you unto the end, that ye may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:13
In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,

Philippians 1:6
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

2 Timothy 2:13
If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.

So no, Paul did not write Hebrews and although some apply it to us today, it is NOT to us or about us.

Hopefully this helps!

Israel vs. the Body of Christ

The Nation of Israel and the Body of Christ are not synonymous.

Additionally, the old covenant that God made with Israel is obsolete…

2 Corinthians 3:11
For if that which is done away was glorious, much more that which remaineth is glorious.

Hebrews 8:6
But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.  For if that first covenant had been faultless, then should no place have been sought for the second.

The new covenant, which is yet to come, belongs to the nation of Israel, not to the church, the body of Christ.

Jeremiah 31: 31-34
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.  And they shall teach no more every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the LORD: for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more.

Contrary to what comes from denominational pulpits, the gentiles never had a covenant with God, and today we still don't; everything that we have is by grace.

Ephesians 2:11-15
Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; 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:  But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ [not, made nigh by a covenant].  For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; 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;

Today, God is not dealing with the nation of Israel—‘for a season,’ and for a reason.

Romans 11:11
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

He is only dealing with individual Jews and gentiles which he places in the body of Christ when we trust his Son's shed blood for our sins

1 Corinthians 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.

When he is finished gathering enough believing Jews and gentiles in the body of Christ to put into our governmental positions of heaven (from which Satan and his angels have fallen) at the rapture of the church…

1 Thessalonians 4:4-17
But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.  For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord shall not prevent them which are asleep.  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

…then God will again deal with the believing remnant of Israel after we are gone, just like he promised Abraham.

Romans 11:25-29
For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.  As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.  For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

Today, God is not a respecter of person, but he was in time past before Paul was saved, and he will be again after our rapture into heaven.   Judgment is not the only thing that God has left with Israel. He will judge that nation at Christ's second coming for them, then he will give them their 1,000-year kingdom, and live among them forever like their prophets foretold.

Acts 1:6
When they therefore were come together, they asked of him, saying, Lord, wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?

Revelation 20:4
And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years.

What most people forget is that Israel's hope was never to ‘go’ to heaven, but for the kingdom of heaven to ‘come to earth.’

That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.

The only people who looked to go to heaven are members of the Body after Paul's salvation.

2 Corinthians 5:1
For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

There is not one verse before Paul's salvation where a Jew looked to go to heaven (they went into Abraham’s bosom in the heart of the earth).

Luke 16:22-23…26
And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham's bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried;  And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and seeth Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.   And beside all this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed: so that they which would pass from hence to you cannot; neither can they pass to us, that would come from thence.

Going to heaven is what we, as members of the body of Christ, look forward to when we die; and is part of the "mystery of Christ" given to Paul.   

Ephesians 3:1-11
For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles,  If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)   Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Hopefully this helps!