Thursday, May 30, 2013

Christ is the Issue

Hebrews 1:1
God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers [of Israel] by the prophets,

The book of Hebrews begins with how the writer of Hebrews, God,  has a plan and purpose for the people of Israel, and that spoke to them time past by his prophets.

Jeremiah 34:13a
Thus saith the Lord, the God of Israel;

Hebrews 1:2
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;

What the writer of Hebrews is beginning to do in Chapter 1 is to declare that Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of God, is the issue for the people of Israel.  Up until that point, God prophesied and spoke about this coming Messiah.  When Messiah showed up, the nation of Israel as a whole rejected him; and now God is offering them another chance to receive their kingdom.

Matthew 3:2
And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.

But in order to do that, they have to believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. 

John 6:69
And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God.

That capital S in Son has to do with Christ’s deity as the Son of God.  He goes on to explain how, as the Son of God, he holds all the same attributes as God the Father.  Look at the flow:

Hebrews 1:2-6
Hath in these last days [of prophecy] spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

Peter spoke about it at Pentecost in Acts 2 and 3.  That time period 2,000 years ago was the last days of prophecy.

Acts 2:16
But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
(Because of the dispensation of God’s grace (Eph. 3:2) – the Mystery dispensation – those last days have been put on hold.  When the rapture takes place (I Thess. 4:16-17), God will resume the last days of Israel’s prophetic program before he brings in his King (the Lord Jesus) and his kingdom.  So these last days were in the past, but they will also be in the future.  It has nothing to do with our day [dispensation].)
Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person,
(When they saw God they saw him through the Lord Jesus Christ, the second person of the Godhead.)
and upholding all things by the word of his power,
(He is the one in whom God has vested all power and authority.)
when he had by himself purged our sins,
(Those are Israel’s sins purged under the New Covenant by Christ’s shed blood at Calvary.)
 sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high:
(Majesty is a term used because he is King.  The Lord Jesus Christ is at the right hand of the Father and he has power and authority as King over the nation of Israel.)
Being made so much better than the angels,
(Now he begins to speak about other beings that are higher than man.  The people of Israel held angels in high esteem, and God is saying that the Lord Jesus Christ is greater; he is better than the angels.

Christ was not created, he is eternal, so when he says that he is ‘made’ he is talking about his authority.  Christ is sitting at the right hand of the Father with authority.  The angels have authority before God; they are the sons of God (Job 1:6), but he is higher because he is the Son of God, and he is the one who went to the cross as well.)
as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
(The Lord Jesus Christ inherited at his resurrection because he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross (Philippians 2:8). 

Psalm 2:6-8
Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. I will declare the decree: the Lord hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day [resurrection] have I begotten thee. Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.
(He should have been sacrificed on the altar in the temple by the Hebrew people in faith; but Israel rejected their Messiah and put him on that cruel Roman cross and crucified him in rejection and shame.  Because of his faithfulness and perfect obedience to the Father’s word, even unto the death of the cross [the faith of Christ, Rom. 3:22], he was resurrected and was made even so much better than the angels in his position and authority.)
For unto which of the angels said he at any time, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee? And again, I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son? And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.


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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Falling Away vs Departure

The King James Bible uses the term “falling away” in 2 Thessalonians 2:3, but I was taught that it should say “departure.”  Can you explain why it makes a difference?

2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition;

It makes a difference because “falling away” and “departure” don’t mean exactly the same thing.   A study of the scriptures can help you find the meaning of the more descriptive phrase “falling away.”

In 2 Thessalonians 2:3, Paul is speaking about the time of “Jacob’s trouble” (Jer. 30:7), the time in the future when Israel (not the body of Christ) goes through the tribulation period.

1 Thessalonians 5:9
For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

Study God’s word to discover why he chose not to say “departure” rather than “falling away.”  Let’s look at Jeremiah 37 for an example.  This is a time in Jeremiah’s life when the people of Israel thought that he had betrayed the nation by being complicit with the Chaldeans/Babylonians who were coming to take over the nation of Israel.

Jeremiah 37:13-14
And when he was in the gate of Benjamin, a captain of the ward was there, whose name was Irijah, the son of Shelemiah, the son of Hananiah; and he took Jeremiah the prophet, saying, Thou fallest away to the Chaldeans.  Then said Jeremiah, It is false; I fall not away to the Chaldeans. But he hearkened not to him: so Irijah took Jeremiah, and brought him to the princes.

They believed that Jeremiah left their nation and his allegiance to his own people and became aligned with the enemy.  That falling away had to do with Jeremiah supposedly leaving Israel to align himself with the Chaldeans.  They suspected him of committing treason, but he denies it.

Let’s look at a couple of other passages from prophecy.

Luke 8:11-13
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.  Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.  They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.

The Lord says that there is a time of temptation and they fall away (go back, leave, or you could say “depart”).  But the Greek word means more than just to depart.  It was a departure in the sense of treason like Jeremiah was accused of.  It is a ‘departure’ with dire consequences.  It is more than just a general leaving.

What happened to Jeremiah?  He was put in prison and they sought to put him to death.  The falling away in the parable in Luke 8 was a bad departure that affected their eternity.

Hebrews 6:4-6
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.

They didn’t just depart, they fell away.  They experienced a taste of the kingdom blessings to come, like in early Acts, and then they fell away.  It was not just a departure; it is a ‘falling away’ with dire consequences.  They fell!  They’re done!  They’re gone!  Hebrews will be done if they ‘fall away’ from Jesus Christ to follow the anti-Christ.

Look what Paul says about Israel:

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.

Falling means that they had a high status but fell from it – like falling off a cliff.

2 Peter 3:17
Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness.

They are holding on to the truth and they should be wary of falling from it.  So you can see that falling away is a departing, but with grave or eternal consequences.  There is a departure that is good and that is the word God uses to describe it.

2 Timothy 4:6
For I am now ready to be offered, and the time of my departure is at hand.

Philippians 1:23
For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

To depart this world to be with the Lord is a good thing.  But each time ‘falling away’ is used, it carries with it grave consequences, which is why the KJB used that term.  How does one learn that?  Just like I did – by studying out the verses. 

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.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Did the Apostles Violate the Great Commission?

Acts Chapter 8 has been a real sore spot for me and here is why:  After Stephen is stoned (Acts 7) and the remnant of kingdom saints/the little flock is scattered (Acts 8), the 12 apostles stayed in Jerusalem in obedience to the ‘great commission’ (Acts 1:8), even though they faced great persecution.  Then after hearing about the Samarians they just pick up and go there.  Scripture doesn’t say they had a vision from God to do that, like Peter had about Cornelius (Acts 10).  Unless I am missing something, it appears they did this in violation of the great commission.  Is there anything in scripture that sheds light on this?

Acts chapter 8 directly follows the stoning of Stephen.  I see chapters 8, 9 and 10 (Ethiopian Eunuch, Saul of Tarsus, Cornelius) happening simultaneously.  God is doing something; he is showing the world that he is making a change.  God made the change in Acts 9 (conversion of Saul/Paul); but in Acts 8, 9 and 10 God is moving things around and preparing the world for the dispensation of grace.

The 12 apostles were told by the Lord to stay in Jerusalem because that was the center of the prophetic program – first Jerusalem, then Judea, Samaria and the uttermost parts of the earth, but also because that is where the Lord was going to return.

Acts 1:8, 11
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth…. Which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.

They knew that they would not reach the uttermost part of the earth until the Lord returned.  Remember this verse; it’s important:

Matthew 10:23
But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another: for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till the Son of man be come.

So when we think of their great commission, the Lord had already told them that he would return before they even left the nation of Israel.  Even though they faced great persecution in Jerusalem, they had great faith.  They saw the resurrected Lord and they watched him go up.  Unlike the other disciples, they were witnesses to his resurrection and ascension.

The 12 apostles did not all go to Samaria.

Acts 8:14
Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:

So when the 12 apostles heard that Samaria had received the word of God (through Philip’s preaching)…

Acts 8:5
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them

 …they sent two apostles.  In John 20, Christ gives the apostles the authority to remit sins.  Of the 12 apostles, Peter, James and John were the Lord’s inner circle and they had great authority.  Peter was the head apostle. 

Matthew 18:18
Verily I say unto you [Peter], Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

The 12 had authority, but there needed to be two, which is the number of witness for the nation of Israel.

Matthew 18:20
For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

Deuteronomy 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.

Isaiah 8:2
And I took unto me faithful witnesses to record, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah.

Zechariah 4:11
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?  Then said he, These are the two anointed ones, that stand by the Lord of the whole earth.

Revelation 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.  These are the two olive trees, and the two candlesticks standing before the God of the earth.

So two witnesses, Peter and John, were sent to Samaria and here is why:

Acts 8:15
Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:

The reason the apostles sent two was for a purpose – so that they might receive the Holy Ghost, which was the promise to the Jews worshipping in Jerusalem on Pentecost.

Acts 2:38
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.

How did they receive the Holy Ghost at that time?  He didn’t just flow down from heaven like he did for the apostles.

Acts 2:1-4
And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place.  And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting.  And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them.  And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.

But that is not how everyone else received the Holy Ghost – not until Cornelius, and that was after Saul/Paul was converted.

Acts 8:16-17
(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them [the believers in Samaria]: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)  Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.

So ten apostles stayed in Jerusalem, and only two with great authority went for the purpose of laying hands on them so that they might receive the gift of the Holy Ghost, which is what God and Peter had promised.  Peter quoted Joel to the Jews on Pentecost.

Acts 2:17
And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

Peter and John were Spirit-lead and they were fulfilling the word of God.  They didn’t need a vision from God because the Lord had already told them.  The Spirit of God was directing them to lay hands on people so that they too might receive the Holy Ghost; they already had been given that authority.  They were not forced out of Jerusalem by circumstances; they left in obedience to the plan and purpose of God.  They did not violate the great commission.  They did not pack up and leave Jerusalem to relocate.

Here is something else to help you gain understanding.  Who sent Philip to Samaria in the first place?  Remember Philip from Acts 6:

Acts 6:3, 5
Wherefore, brethren, look ye out among you seven men of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business. And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:

Two of those seven men are famous, Stephen and Philip; and they were chosen by the apostles out of the little flock to represent the Grecian widows.

Acts 6:1-2
And in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplied, there arose a murmuring of the Grecians against the Hebrews, because their widows were neglected in the daily ministration.  Then the twelve called the multitude of the disciples unto them, and said, It is not reason that we should leave the word of God, and serve tables.

The events of Acts 7 through 10 were happening simultaneously.  The reason God had to give Peter the vision with the sheet coming down from heaven with the unclean animals in Acts 10 was because he was in no way violating any edict from the Lord Jesus or the scriptures.  God himself had to intervene [to get Peter to go to gentiles], and even then Peter was kicking against it.

Acts 10:13-14
And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.  But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean.

Peter knew what was going on, and he knew that what they did in Samaria in Acts 8 was according to the will of God.  So who sent Philip to Samaria?  God did.  The reason Peter and John went to Samaria was because God put it into motion.

Acts 8:5-7
Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them. And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.  For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.

God was working through Philip.  He was there working under the power of the Spirit of God.  If he wasn’t, God would not have been doing those wonderful works.  So when the apostles left Jerusalem it was for a purpose which was not in conflict with the great commission.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Who Do You Trust?

I have heard more than one denominational pastor say that there are errors in the King James Bible and it seems that most evangelical churches have rejected it in favor of one of the new versions.  There are many differences between the KJB and the new versions of the bible which are written in modern English.  How would you explain to them that those changes make a big difference and the KJB is the only trustworthy bible in English?

It makes a difference in that we have to have a Bible that we can trust.  When people think that the KJB has errors thereby justifying their use of modern versions, they need to ask themselves if there are any errors in their bible of choice (NIV, NASB, ESV, etc.).  Do they just believe their bible has fewer errors?  Is there any version of the Bible in English that we can trust today?  If the answer is no, then they need to give me a good reason to suspend my belief in God’s doctrine of preservation.  

If there are any errors in their modern version of choice, why are they using that it?  Especially, those who teach and preach from God’s word and yet take away confidence in his word by telling people that they cannot have God’s word without error.  To say that God did not preserve his word so that we could have it without error in 2013 is nonsense.

I would not feel right if I didn’t believe that the living God who is alive and well, and who cares about humanity could not preserve his word perfectly so that all men could be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth (1 Tim. 2:4).  The first thing that Satan did in scripture was to say, “Yea hath God said?”

Genesis 3:1
Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?

So if I can’t trust God’s word, i.e., if I can’t trust the scripture, what can I trust?  When the Lord was tempted by Satan, he came back with, “It is written.” 

Matthew 4:4
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

He didn’t wonder if there were mistakes and errors in scripture.  Were the people in the first century and the Lord the only ones who could have God’s word perfectly preserved for them?  Does God care any less about you and me who live in America in 2013?  We have to have a bible we can trust; one in which God has preserved his truth.

Psalm 12:6
The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times.

Psalm 119:140
Thy word is very pure: therefore thy servant loveth it.

Proverbs 30:5
Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him.

PURE, a. [L. purus.]
3. Genuine; real; true; incorrupt; unadulterated; as pure religion. James 1.  (,pure)

It has been proven time and time again that the KJB can be trusted.  An excellent body of research on the superiority and trustworthiness of the KJB is Grace School of the Bible’s course on Manuscript Evidence.  You can study that for years.

How sad is it that preachers and teachers can’t give people confidence in God’s word, but rather they take confidence away from it when they say that the KJB has errors.  It is not glorifying to God when they say that.  They penalize the KJB and its English for being smarter than them.  It is purer English than what we use today.  That was the genius of God in having the KJB translated when it was so that we can have the fullness of the meaning of so many words.

If someone believes the words that have been changed in the new versions are superior, they just need to be students of God’s word and they will see that the original words and phrases used in the KJB are correct.  God intends for his word to be studied.  It doesn’t take that much effort to study out a word.

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.

[By the way, the KJB is the only version that tells us to “study”.]

              2 Timothy 2:15 (NASB)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (NIV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

2 Timothy 2:15 (ESV)
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved,[a] a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.

The King James English is a higher class of English than today’s English.  The new versions and their proponents desire to dumb down the word of God.  The KJB was around long before the new versions, and it was used by God for centuries to bless the saints and the world with the gospel of God’s grace.  Why reinvent the wheel?  There is something special about this preserved word in the KJB.  We appreciate God’s word when we study it.

Psalm 119:159
Consider how I love thy precepts:

The number one thing teachers and preachers of the word of God should be doing is magnifying the Book. 

Psalm 138:2
I will worship toward thy holy temple, and praise thy name for thy lovingkindness and for thy truth: for thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name.

Be bold in defending God’s preserved word for us today.  But if you don’t believe any version is without error and preserved by Almighty God and that you can trust it, you are implying there are errors; and not just printing errors but errors in doctrine.

God intentionally did not make it easy to understand his word.  He wants students who will study to show themselves approved.  The KJB translators did not dumb it down. The translators of the new versions did; and they also take away from the doctrine.  They take away from his glory.

Psalm 62:4
They only consult to cast him down from his excellency: they delight in lies: they bless with their mouth, but they curse inwardly. Selah.

They take away from the glory of the Lord Jesus Christ and they take away from his deity and his Lordship by omissions and word changes.  They omit the “faith of Jesus Christ.”

Romans 3:22
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Galatians 2:16
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

Galatians 3:22
But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.

They change it to allude to mean your faith in Jesus Christ is what saves.

Acts 3:26
Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The new versions say “his servant.”  They take away from the Lord’s glory.  A Son is greater than a servant.  Why use a bible that does that?

Acts 9:5
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.

The NASB takes away Paul’s confession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Acts 9:6
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.

Acts 9:6 (NASB)
but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do.”

A Jew had to believe and confess with their mouth the Lord Jesus.

Colossians 1:14
In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:

The NASB, for example, removes the blood.

Colossians 1:14  (NASB)
in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

Why take away from his blood?  Isn’t it the power of his blood for redemption? 

Additionally, the new versions take away the mystery of Christ.  They dumb down, water down doctrine.  Satan loves to take away Christ’s glory, in particular the glory of the mystery of Christ, the Pauline grace message which is how his glory is displayed today.  They take away the dispensation of the grace of God.

Ephesians 3:2
If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward:

        Ephesians 3:2  (NASB)

if indeed you have heard of the stewardship of God’s grace which was given to me for you;

Ephesians 3:2  (NIV)
Surely you have heard about the administration of God’s grace that was given to me for you,

Ephesians 3:2  (ESV)
assuming that you have heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you,

Why not use a Bible that exalts the Lord fully?  This is the real issue.  The only English version that exalts the Lord Jesus Christ and does not cast him down from his Excellency, is the King James Bible.

Revelation 22:19
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.

Hopefully this helps...Maranatha!