Loading...
Menu

Growing in Knowledge

p={color:#000;}.

Growing in Knowledge

by

Brian Mickelsen

Copyright © 2017 Brian Mickelsen

All rights reserved.

Distributed by Shakespir

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. If you would like to share this ebook with another person, please purchase an additional copy for each person you share it with. If you’re reading this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your use only, then you should return to Shakespir.com and purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.

Ebook formatting by www.ebooklaunch.com

Table of Contents

Introduction

1 – Second Coming

2 – Day of the Lord

3 – 2 Timothy 2:18

4 – Contradiction

5 – Grace vs Works

6 – I Change Not

7 – Key

8 – Law Supplement 1

9 – Law Supplement 2

10 – Made Alive

11 – Man Born Blind

12 – Parables

13 – Matthew 24

14 – Rapture Parable

15 – Rapture Parable Explanation

16 – Rapture Verses

17 – Rapture

18 – Second Coming Condensed

19 – To the Point (Tongues, Job, Law)

20 – Tongues Explained

21 – God Saves through Judgment

22 – Once Saved Always Saved?

23 The End of the Commandment

Introduction

God makes a distinction between people according to the following verses.

Mal 3:18 Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not.

1Co 11:19 (BBE) For divisions are necessary among you, in order that those who have God’s approval may be clearly seen among you.

This distinction is generally ignored on the basis of doing what is right and fair in the eyes of mankind. This is called self-righteousness or determining what is right based on our individual understandings.

The person doing this exalts Himself and His opinions over the biblical concepts of right and wrong, thus calling Himself God, and doing what is right in His own estimation. Followers of God can fall prey to this concept of always thinking they are right, Job 11:32. Learning right from wrong is crucial, Heb 5:14.

The concept of “righteousness” does not suggest a state which is conveyed upon a person, which the person thereafter continually occupies. Righteousness is based on actions in each situation.

1Jo 3:7 (RSV) Little children, let no one deceive you. He who does right is righteous, as he is righteous.

Righteousness is a word describing a person’s behavior based upon what is right in God’s eyes. The first right thing a believer does is believe or have faith as Abraham found in Romans 4:9.

Ro 4:9 ¶ Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.

In Romans 4:9 Abraham is said to have had faith, and God considered that to be the right thing to do.

Many errors are avoided in doctrinal interpretation when the word “reckoned” is used instead of “imputed”. The word imputed in our modern language implies that God gave Abraham something He did not already possess. By using the word reckoned it is clearly seen that Abraham possessed faith. God recognized that the Faith which Abraham possessed at the time was the right way to relate to Him.

It is clear to a student of the New Testament that Jesus is the author of faith. Being one with God (Daniel 2:34), the pre-existent Christ also authored Abrahams faith. However, faith can be rejected if the individual chooses to do so. Abraham did not reject the faith offered to Him and this was recognized as the right way to do things.

Jesus summarized the Commandments or Law of God when He spoke in Luke 10:27, describing it as Love for God and neighbor.

2Jo 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.

Being in Christ is a term or condition which begins with faith. When faith comes, a person must continue to obey the Commandments of God in order to remain in Christ as is seen in 2 John 1:9.

Believers are right with God when they are “In Christ”.

Being “in Christ” is scripturally defined as not transgressing the Law of God (1 John 3:4-6).

When God’s people (who know God’s will) do not distinguish between the people who love God and obey Him and those people who don’t try to obey Him they allow the opinions of unbelievers to influence them. A false compassion can develop within their minds based on faulty concepts of good and evil.

These supporting verses illustrate how God views a person who mistakenly thinks He knows what is right.

De 12:8 Ye shall not do after all the things that we do here this day, every man whatsoever is right in his own eyes.

Job 32:1 ¶ So these three men ceased to answer Job, because he was righteous in his own eyes.

Pr 12:15 ¶ The way of a fool is right in his own eyes: but he that hearkeneth unto counsel is wise.

God gives knowledge of the Kingdom of God only to believers and speaks to unbelievers in parables or riddles, Mt 13:11-12. In this way, He conceals completely or limits a person’s access to the truth, Proverbs 12:23. Loving truth is a basis of acceptance, Jn 18:37. Of course Jesus is the embodiment of truth, John 14:6.

Joh 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The grace of God teaches a Christian to deny ungodly behavior, Titus 2:11-12. The process of learning to deny ungodly behavior is called growing in Grace as we see in 2 Peter 3:18.

2Pe 3:18 But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen. (KJV)

As with faith a person can either accept or refuse God’s Grace. The Grace of God is only given to those who humble themselves before God. If a person refuses to do things God’s way, the truth of the Gospel of Christ is not made real to them.

God’s people must recognize that the parables are not to be understood by unbelievers. Therefore, speaking in parables is an ability used by Jesus to conceal the truth of the kingdom of God from unbelievers, Mt 11:25 and Lk 10:21.

Mt 11:25 ¶ At that time Jesus answered and said, 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.

Not recognizing this fact leads to erroneous stances and supposed principles concerning the Second Coming, the Day of the Lord, and other doctrinal constructs.

God reveals His truths to those who make the effort to follow Jesus. This is the reason some people cannot understand the Bible, and it is explained in John 7:17.

Joh 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

The knowledge of God is only given to those who make the effort to do what God tells them in the Bible.

[]Chapter 1

Second Coming

Heb 9:28 -

So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

The Christian Life begins at conversion when Jesus appears for the second of the two stated purposes that we see in Hebrews 9:28. As everyone knows however He only appears or makes Himself real to believers who look for Him. To unbelievers the Christian life is foolishness, 1 Cor 14:2.

Hebrews chapter nine verse twenty-eight forms the basis for the concept of the Second Coming. There are many suppositions about the Second Coming however in this verse we find the bible defining it. The Second Coming of Christ is the appearance of Jesus that deals with salvation.

There are two visitations or appearances mentioned in this verse and the first occurred when Jesus came as a sacrificial lamb to take away sin. This was culminated on the cross when He was crucified to atone for the sins of those who follow Him. The cross marks His first coming or appearance. Jesus next appearance is then naturally called the second. The Second Coming of Christ is referred to in Acts 3:19-21.

Acts 3:19-21 -

19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;

20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:

21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.

There are questions that must be answered concerning this concept of the Second Coming of Christ.

The first difficulty is found in Philippians 2:10-11-

Philippians 2:10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;

11 And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

These verses allude to Jesus absolute authority. Every person is subject to His authority whether they are a believer or unbeliever their lives unfold in accordance with the two greatest commandments and their obedience to them, Matt 22:36-40.

Mt 22:36 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 like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

Jesus commandment to “love” or as the bible defines love to be “patient and kind” (1 Cor 13:4) forms the basis upon which all activity on earth is governed. God judges every person based upon their conformity to this command. The reward for obedience to this command takes the form of the kingdom of God, which consists of the spiritual attributes of righteousness (the ability to do what is right) Joy and peace in the Holy Spirit, Rm 14:17.

Said another way, the person who abides in the Kingdom of God (abides in Christ or obeys Him, 2 Jn 1:9) always does what is right with a Joyful and peaceful heart. The penalty for refusal to adopt this attitude of patience and kindness results in a lack of these same spiritual rewards or attributes being given to the person.

Philippians 2:10 does not suggest that everyone on earth will allow Jesus to be their Lord and tell them how to live their lives, the verse implies that they “should” do so.

Jesus Second appearance or Coming is not a universal occurrence that happens to everyone at one time. Jesus discloses the reality of His Lordship only to those who look for His appearing with anticipation. As can be seen in Hebrews 9:28 He appears only to those who “look for Him”. John 3:16 tells us that those who do not look for Jesus will perish.

Another difficulty is found in the understanding of the word restitution in Acts 3: 21.

Jesus is said in Acts 3:21 to remain in Heaven until the restitution or restoration of all things.

This apparent problem is resolved through a comparison of Acts 3:21 and Matthew 17:11. The Greek words respectively translated “restitution” and “restore” in the verses mentioned suggest the same thing, the restoration of “all things”.

Matthew 17:11 -

11 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things.

John the Baptist restored all things according to Matt17:11, and He preached “repentance”.

This illustrates that repentance (initially from unbelief) is the point when Jesus comes into an individual’s heart.

This concept should be seen in conjunction with the statement that all things need to be restored in Acts 3:21.

This correlation shows us that the restoration of the relationship Between God and mankind begins with “repentance”, which was the focus of John the Baptists ministry.

[]Chapter 2

Day of the Lord

After Jesus comes into the Hearts of believers God begins to conform the Christian into the image of Christ. He does this through the process referred to as His Grace. This is called being saved from the wrath of God which is directed against sin, Rm 1:18.

This is accomplished through judgment which is based upon our individual obedience to the command to Love. God teaches us through His grace what is right in His eyes and what is not right.

Humility before God is the basis for receiving God’s grace, James 4:6.

Jas 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.

After a Christian humbles themselves before Jesus they place themselves in a position where God can teach them to deny ungodly activity, Titus 2:11-12. He begins the salvation process which can be referred to as “receiving the Grace of God”, “by grace we are saved, Eph 2:8”.

The grace of God teaches a person to abstain from ungodliness in other words “to abstain from sin”. We know the wrath or anger of God is revealed against all ungodliness, Romans 1:18.

The comparison of Romans 1:18 and Titus 2:11-12 clarify the salvation process.

Ro 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; (KJV)

Tit 2:11 ¶ For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men,12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

By teaching a person to deny ungodly activity the appearance of Jesus is brought about as the next verse in Titus 2 illustrates. Our hope of Glory is “Christ in us” (Col 1:27) and that is facilitated by God’s grace.

Tit 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

The word translated here as “Looking for” is the Strong’s Concordance Greek word numbered 4327. This Greek word suggests a receiving or motion into something. Which is of course the “image or Christ”, Rm 8:29.

14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works

Galatians 4:19 summarizes this concept well. Ga 4:19 ¶ My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, progressively forming the image of Jesus in His followers.

So, to summarize the last concept, we Humble ourselves before God and do what He says and through His grace He teaches us to deny ungodliness thus forming the image of His Son in Jesus followers. This is the progression Second Coming of Christ.

At various points in our lives God judges or evaluates the believer in accordance with their progress towards developing the ability to Love, 1 Cor 11:32. The Bible calls these evaluation points “Days of the Lord”.

This judgement does not come as a flood as it did in the days of Noah but comes as (Hell) fire, 2 Pet 3:6-7.

2Pe 3:6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

2Pe 3:7 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.

Hell (fire) is referred to as the place or condition which Devil and His angels inhabit.

As in the case of Job, God uses the Devil and His angels (Hell) to bring about the judgment or evaluation of a Christian. This is done to teach them to deny ungodly activity in the future.

This application of God’s judgment or evaluation is how God’s grace conforms believers to the likeness of Christ.

Mt 25:41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: (KJV)

The Devil comes to steal kill and destroy, so being sent to the place where He and His demons exist means that what a person has will be taken away, and He will suffer loss. That loss can be physical of course but since this discussion involves the formation of Christ in the believer most of the loss will be of a spiritual nature.

Every Christian is in the process of being taught to be righteous, joyful, and peaceful in the Holy Spirit. They are being taught to inherit the promised nature of Christ.

Hence, we have every Christian being conformed to the image of Christ simultaneously. Each at various levels of either success or failure. Added into this concept we must recognize that God does not deal with every negative aspect of a person immediately. This can be seen through Deut 7:22. God drives out the enemies of our Spirit as we become Spiritually strong enough to maintain the progress we have made.

The point of judgment or evaluation scripture refers to as the Day of the Lord is discipline overseen by Jesus, and administered by the Devil. This discipline is of course for the ultimate benefit of the individual Christian.

Jesus can in this circumstance be called the Lion (devourer) of the tribe of Judah. Since He is the one who oversees the discipline of His followers, 1 Cor 11:32.

2Pe 3:10 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.

The elemental or carnal aspects of the believer are melted or done away with through the application of discipline. This discipline happens to the individual Christian during the point in time this point of evaluation is referred to as the Day of the Lord.

Mt 24:50 The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,

Mt 24:51 And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

[]Chapter 3

2 Timothy 2:18

— King James 2 Timothy 2:18 Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

This verse is important because it refers to the resurrection of Christ, and how Jesus followers identify with or imitate His resurrection.

Most versions of the Bible say that the Doctrinal error referred to in 2 Tim 2:18, suggests that the resurrection of the believer is past or has happened already.

It is important to see how the Resurrection is described in the Bible, before touching on the error that this verse refers to.

In Romans 6:4-6 we see that the person identifying with the resurrection of Jesus has died to sin. The believer’s identification with Jesus resurrection happens when they walk in newness of life, being free from sin.

Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Ro 6:5 For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Ro 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Paul condemns the errors of Hymenaeus and Alexander in 2 Tim 2:18. Then in verse 19 He encourages the believers to refrain from sin.

Paul progressed from condemning the behavior of Hymenaeus and Alexander in verse 18 to recommending the correct behavior in verse 19. Romans 6:6 describes the resurrection as not serving sin while in the body, or walking in newness of life.

It can be concluded that the error of Hymenaeus and Alexander was that they did not encourage believers to stop sinning as Paul did in 2 Tim 2:19.

Far from being “over or past already” the resurrection as described in Rom 6:6 maintains the necessity of departing from iniquity or sin. Not sinning is the imitation of the resurrection of Christ. This is the believer’s proper response as they cooperate with the instruction of God’s grace (Titus 2:11-12) and abstain from ungodliness or sin.

It is thought that the error of Hymenaeus and Alexander was a part a Gnostic the belief system which taught that a person did not have free will, and therefore could not stop sinning. They taught that the person’s Spirit was pure.

However, while a person was in a flesh body they were incapable of departing from iniquity. While in the body a person was destined to continue in sin, this was the error.

Therefore, the resurrection which emphasized departing from iniquity (refer to 2 Tim 2:19) was not possible.

The resurrection or the constant abstention from sin mentioned in 2 Timothy 2:18 is also mentioned by Paul in Philippians 3:10-13. The Resurrection is here referred to as “conforming to Jesus Death” to sin to attain to the Resurrection.

Paul states in Romans 6:10 that the death Jesus died was a death to sin.

Ro 6:10 For the death that he died, he died unto sin once: but the life that he liveth, he liveth unto God. (ASV)

Simultaneous to the death to sin is the attaining to the Resurrection.

— New American Standard Philippians 3:10 that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11. in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead,

Wanting to attain to the power of Jesus resurrection (verse 10) and being conformed to the death of Christ is a reference to the death to sin.

Paul was not telling His students that he wanted to die physically in Philippians 3:10-13. He is telling them that He wanted to stop sinning (the first resurrection) so that he might attain or arrive at the resurrection from the dead.

Looking at verses 10 and 11 this becomes clear —

(Verse 10) Paul wanted to know the power of Jesus resurrection … (Verse 11) In order that He might attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Notice that in verse 10 Paul wanted to know the power of Christ’s resurrection while He was living. He wanted to walk in newness of life as Rom 6:4 states.

This illustrates that he was referring to the resurrection from the condition of being dead in sin.

This means that Paul wanted to die to sin… In order that he may attain to the resurrection from the dead.

Applying these thoughts to 2 Timothy 2:18 and the words “past already”, it is seen that the first resurrection is not past. Which was the error that Paul attributed to Hymenaeus and Alexander.

The falsehood being taught by some and being discouraged by the Apostle was that the resurrection was ended.

The very opposite is true, in that the resurrection continues and can be defined as a progression that occurs during the individual’s lifetime. The individual throughout their lifetime is encouraged to become as free from sin as they can.

The first resurrection (from the death caused by sin) continues throughout a person’s life as Paul refers to when he says that He continues to press on or reach forward, Philippians 3:13. Paul here states that He continues to seek to be resurrected from sin and to become dead to it, as Jesus Himself was dead to sin.

- New American Standard Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.

The wording laid hold of “it”, as used in Philippians 3:12, refers to laying hold of the complete resurrection from the state of being dead in sin. This is referred to by Paul as becoming perfect or mature.

Php 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

Php 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (KJV)

In studying the resurrection, it is necessary to remember that Jesus was crucified on earth and resurrected on earth and then He ascended into heaven.

If we are to walk as He walked (1 Jn 2:6) we must understand that we will also experience a resurrection on earth as Romans 6 indicates.

Along these lines, keep in mind that Paul told us that to be absent from the body in to be present with the Lord, 2 Cor 5:8.

Paul also told us in 1 Cor 15:44 that the natural (pre -resurrection) body must put on a spiritual body (put on Christ. Rm 13:14). The Christian doing this is still in the body. Suggesting that the spiritual body mentioned is scripture is the inspirited man in the physical body which they have always possessed in their life on earth.

[]Chapter 4

Contradiction

2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (KJV)

This verse illustrates that the Gospel of Christ is simple and that the demonic deception used under the Old Testament is the same tactic used to deceive under the New Covenant.

The Apostle Paul warns His followers to avoid a demonic attempt to complicate the message of the Gospel of Christ.

Q – So why are there so many denominations etc.?

A – Because a Christian who communicates the Gospel of Christ should do so in parables when they simultaneously address both believers and unbelievers, Matthew 13:34 and Mark 4:3. This is the means by which God has chosen to separate believers from unbelievers.

This approach prevents unbelievers from understanding the message while at the same time allowing the believers to understand. This is like the incident that occurred at the tower of babble where people’s languages were changed to prevent understanding and cooperation, Genesis 11:6-8.

This means that there is an intended conflict between believers and unbelievers.

This method is also incremental – meaning that as a Christian grows in devotion to Christ their understanding of Him and His message grows simultaneously.

Isaiah was sent to accomplish a task as is described by the following verse -

— King James Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

In Isaiah 6:10 Isaiah was commissioned to shut people’s eyes. Before the eyes of a person can be shut they must have been open.

So, Isaiah was to somehow prevent sighted people from seeing. In a spiritual context, this would imply changing a person who understands God’s message into someone who did not understand that same message. We know that God uses parables to hide the message, so that only true disciples understand the message.

Q- why would God do this to His people to whom He had previously given understanding?

A – Isaiah has given us the answer in Isaiah 6:5. In the days of Isaiah God’s people spoke using unclean communication. Simply put – the were mingling unloving attitudes and behaviors into the proclamation of Gospel message.

To corrupt the communication of the Gospel it must by necessity be communicated incorrectly, with an inclination leaning towards uncleanness or sin. They preached the Gospel but corrupted it because they were themselves unclean as Isaiah 28chapter shows.

This is very much like the time in which we live.

— New King James Isaiah 6:5 Then I said: “Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts.’‘

The messages delivered by Isaiah need not be individually considered to understand the method employed to accomplish this concealment, because Jesus explained the method personally. To understand this, it is necessary to see the linked Old and New Testament truths of Isaiah 6:9 and 10 and Matthew 13:14 and 15.

In Matthew Jesus shows us the method employed to conceal biblical truth. He makes this statement in a plain spoken manner.

The method employed by Jesus and Isaiah was to speak (the same simple message) in parables. Even through the truths of God are to be concealed by Isaiah, the message (as indeed God Himself, Malachi 3:6) remains the same and does not change or contradict the original message. Simply put – multiple avenues of misinterpretation are opened by speaking in parables.

God must hide the simple message of the Gospel from those who reject Christ, or profess allegiance to Jesus while maintaining unclean behaviors. Whether that person rejects Jesus initially or they accept Him and then subsequently reject Him.

He does this by opening multiple avenues of interpretation, using parables. If taken these alternate avenues of interpretation can cause a misunderstanding of the “simple” premise of Christ indwelling mankind (Col 1:27 and Gal 4:19).

These avenues unfold additional biblical truths, if reliance upon the central truth of Christ Jesus is maintained. If devotion to Christ is not maintained these avenues can and will mislead a person.

Simply put – God is actively transforming us into people who sincerely love the truth, which is embodied in Jesus.

— King James Isaiah 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

— King James Matthew 13:14 And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive: 13:15 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

So, there we have the method whereby God conceals a truth, and can also remove a truth that he has previously given a person.

Jesus tells us that by speaking in parables the truth is concealed from disobedient believers.

The truths of God are removed or taken away from disobedient Christians if they persist in rebellion as Matthew 13:12 tells us.

— King James Matthew 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

These concepts must be applied to the Church today, if we are to honestly judge of evaluate ourselves. If the church is disobedient/unclean as it was in Isaiah’s day (Isaiah 6:5) we must consider the fact that a divided church is a sign that the church is experiencing judgement due to disobedience.

It is very easy to find fault with the Church. However, the battle belongs to the Lord, and He is lovingly bringing every believer into the image of Christ. So, the perceived lack of spirituality in the corporate Church of Christ is not necessarily a lack. What we consider slowness is mercy, 2 Pet 3:9.

2Pe 3:9 ¶ The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

This is seen in 1 Corinthians 11:19. As has been illustrated by the previous scriptural references, the truths of God are removed from disobedient Christians. The reason that the Christian Church does not understand the bible is because they are sinful.

1Co 11:19 For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

Consider the unimaginable wonder of God as He accomplishes His will through the Bible message. There are Christians being transformed into Christs likeness at different rates throughout the world. Countless situations, and one book simultaneously addressing guiding them all.

2Co 11:3 But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (KJV)

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory: {in: or, among} (KJV)

[]Chapter 5

Grace vs. Works

Tit 3:5 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; (KJV)

Ro 12:2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (KJV)

Titus 3:5 is the Bible verse that constitutes the main difficulty when examining this question. That is because it does not refer to “works of the (Mosaic Sacrificial) Law” which can clearly be seen not to result in salvation. This verse instead refers to “works of righteousness” one of which is repentance. As both Jesus and John the Baptist have shown repentance is necessary for salvation.

Works such as “repentance” are necessary before salvation as Luke 3:7 and 8 show. The first “work” is repentance from unbelief. Works are also necessary after salvation as Revelation 2:5 shows. Repeating such “works” cannot however bring about a person’s salvation or change a person into the image of Christ according to Titus 3:5. The question then becomes- what part do the “works of righteousness” (mandated by Jesus, Mark 1:15) play in our salvation?

The “works” that men can do will not transform them into the image of Christ. Only God can bring about that transformation. God has however mandated that we appeal for that transformation by doing “works”.

These “works” are an appeal to God, asking Him to bring about that change, 1 Peter 3:21. The same concept is seen in Psalm 51:10.

1Pe 3:21 ¶ Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (RSV)

Ps 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. {right: or, constant} (KJV)

We have seen that the resurrection mentioned in Romans 6:4 and 11 is walking in newness of life and being dead to sin.

As this applies to the work of repenting from sinful behavior. Refraining from sin (the resurrection) takes the form of an appeal to God for a conscience that is void of offence against God.

It is true that some consider themselves to have a clear conscience while involved in sin, but these people are self-deluded and not seeking the truth.

Water baptism is a symbol of our appeal to God to bring about a spiritual change that transforms us into people who can do the right thing in all matters of life.

There are two parts to the reality which baptism refers. Burial is submersion into the water, Romans 6:4 and Colossians 2:12. Coming out of the water represents rising to newness of life Colossians 3:11-12.

Baptism is a change and the reality symbolized by water baptism involves doing “works of repentance”. John the Baptist mentioned these type works in Luke 3:8.

We must mortify the deeds of the body or stop sinning, Romans 8:13. Baptism represents a person’s intention to be immersed into the Holy Spirit. Rising to new life is represented by the putting off of the “works” of the flesh, Col 3:1 – Col 3:10. Then we must put on the Christ, Romans 13:14 and Galatians 3:27.

1Pe 3:21 ¶ Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (RSV)

Lu 3:3 And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Matthew 3:7. But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees coming for baptism, he said to them, “You brood of vipers, who warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. “Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance;

The importance and necessity of these “works of repentance” refutes many traditions. This point alone illustrates the truly demonic underpinnings of some traditional doctrinal statements that have crept into Christian thought through the generations.

John the Baptist was approached by the Pharisees and Sadducees and His initial instructions to these unbelievers was to “work” or “bring forth fruit” to be accepted by God, Matthew 3:7-8. In other words “show me your faith by your works”, James 2:18.

Jas 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

The argument between works and grace is deceptive and is not an actual doctrinal position. It is a deceptive way of discounting the need to understand the true biblical principles involved in the superimposition of the nature of Christ Jesus.

Only God can transform a person into the image of Christ. Even if we truly understood what it meant to be “in the Image of Christ”, we still could not in our own strength accomplish this transformation.

God does this through His grace and because a person exhibits faith. Faith is not opposed to works. Faith is the conduit through which a person receives grace, Eph 2:8. It is the grace of God not the works of man that enable a person to become Christ like.

If a person’s works are right “Works of righteousness”, they constitute an appeal or request to God to bring about our transformation into the image of Christ.

The capability to do what is right in God’s eyes grows as the person receives grace from God. That is the crown of righteousness Paul refers to in 2 Tim 4:8. God will give Paul the ability to do what is truly right.

In fact, a biblical understanding of works easily illustrates itself and can be summarized from John 3:36. This concept of “works of faith or works of obedience” can be understood from this verse. The works that are generally opposed to faith are the “works of the law”.

These works are no longer of benefit because Jesus is the sacrifice once for all. The works of the Law called for a sacrificial animal after a sin was committed or circumcision etc.,

As it is written “no flesh will be justified (made just) by the “works of the Law”. The law contained a shadow of the things to come, Hebrews 10:1.

Heb 10:1 ¶ 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. (KJV)

There are works involved in obtaining salvation and this can best be summarized by the verse found in Luke.

Lu 9:24 For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it.

Losing one’s life for Christ is then the “work” required, and after this verse is read the people who say that no work is involved but only faith have little to say.

They do not understand that faith incorporates works, and faith is made perfect or complete by works, James 2:22.

For a scriptural view of this refer to John 3:36. The word translated “believeth not” in John 3:36 can be translated “obey not” This verse links the concept of “faith” with the concept of “works of faith” such as repentance etc.

Joh 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God rests upon him. (RSV)

Jas 2:22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?

The commonly accepted thinking is based on a misunderstanding of Ephesians 2:8 and similar verses.

— New American Standard Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God;

Comparing works to grace is an incorrect comparison. This is because it is the power of God called “grace” which teaches us or enables us to do the works (bear the fruit) that must accompany salvation, Matt 3:7-8 and Heb 6:6-10.

To understand this doctrine of “grace and works” there must first be a correct understanding of the doctrine of Baptism.

1Pe 3:21 ¶ Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, (RSV)

The purpose of this article is to illustrate the relationship between works and salvation and not to go into depth regarding the doctrine of baptism. To repeat this briefly the following definition will suffice. Baptism is an immersion into something. Being baptized into Moses was an immersion into the teachings of Moses (1 Cor 10:2). A similar immersion into the doctrines of Christ is the truth behind the sign of Christian baptism.

Water baptism does not bring about salvation, but the true baptism that is symbolized by water baptism does bring about salvation.

Both the symbol of water baptism and the reality of baptism into the Spirit of God are the way a person appeals to or asks God to give them what is promised.

That Promised Land is the promised Holy Spirit or the image of Christ.

The reason why baptism pertains to the subject of “works” is because Christians are buried with Christ in Baptism, Romans 6:4. Similar to the seed being planted in 1 Corinthians 15:36.

Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

1Co 15:36 Thou fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die:

In Baptism we represent the change we consent to by being immersed in water and then coming out of the water. The type of life we had previously is over and we die to it.

This burial represents a death to sin as Romans 6:6 shows.

Ro 6:6 Knowing this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin.

Destroying the body of sin means not serving sin while in the physical body. It can be seen that the allusions to baptism and dying to sin are also used allegorically with reference to circumcision, Col 2:11. Both are referred to in the Bible as putting off the sins of the flesh nature.

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

The truth symbolized by circumcision is the same as the truth symbolized by baptism, putting off the body of sin or dying to sin.

The “works” involved in dying to sin (through baptism Rm 6:4) or the “works” of mortifying the deeds of the flesh (Rm 8:13) are like the “works” involved in the circumcision of the heart or putting off the body of sins.

Ro 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.

We are then to enter a resurrected life as seen in Colossians 3:1 and Romans 6:5.

Ro 6:5 For if we have been planted (sown) together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:

Col 3:1 ¶ If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

The use of the word “likewise” in Romans 6:11 shows that Jesus physical resurrection (mentioned in Romans 6:9 and 10) refers directly to our earthly spiritual resurrection.

This earthly spiritual resurrection is mentioned in Romans 6:11 and 12. This spiritual resurrection is from the state of being dead in sins, and results in a resurrection into newness of life. This is the process of ceasing from sin, as Philippians 3:9-14 illustrates.

Phil 3:9. and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God based on faith,

Many people here confuse the righteousness that comes from the Law of Moses with keeping the Law of God or the Ten commandments or Jesus summary of the 10 commandments in Matt 22:37-40.

The Righteousness which came from the Law said that when you sin you must offer a sacrifice, and then you will be forgiven. It mandated a sacrifice to become right before God after sinning. Paul did not aspire to be right with God by this means. He aspired towards the true righteousness which God’s Grace teaches, Titus 2:11-12. That Righteousness is one in which a person does not sin, and is transformed into the image of Christ.

Phil 3:10. that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death; 11. in order that I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. 12. Not that I have already obtained it, or have already become perfect, but I press on in order that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus. 13. Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, 14. I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (NAS)

Rising from the symbol of water Baptism or immersion into the death to sin we rise into newness of life in Christ, Romans 6:4. The Christian is appealing to God to transform them into the image of Christ Jesus. They try to stop sinning or die to sin and enter the resurrected life of Christ, this is the point of this article.

Man, can only make progress towards abstaining from ungodliness by acquiring the grace of God. Grace only comes through humility before God, James 4:6. Any “work” we can perform falls short of transforming us into the image of Christ.

Trying to cease from sin (repentance) is a “work”, which can be referred to as mortifying the “deeds” of the flesh. This work does not transform us, but is an appeal to God for a transformation into the image of Christ. A “deed” is essentially a “work”.

Water baptism symbolizes the immersion into (or the entering into) a death to sin or the works of the flesh, and coming out of the water symbolizes the resurrection to newness of life.

Death to sin is not immediate but requires time and effort. Interestingly when Jesus underwent the symbol of baptism the reality or baptism of the Holy Spirit was immediate and full. He was of course sinless which is the reason why it was immediate and complete. We however take longer to stop sinning than Jesus did because sin easily besets us, Heb 12:1.

This article is intended to illustrate that an individual is incapable of transforming themselves, but must appeal to God to change them. This “appeal” takes the form of putting the man (or body) of sin to death. Mortifying the “deeds” of the flesh and becoming zealous for good “works”, Titus 2:14.

When a person submits to Christian baptism they are affirming their acceptance of and their intention to immerse themselves into the doctrines of Christ and die to sinful behavior. The ordinance of water baptism is a symbol of baptism by an immersion into the Holy Spirit of God, John 1:33.

It is very important to remember that the individual always has the option of cooperating with or disobeying the Holy Spirit as He teaches us to abstain from ungodliness. This means that works which cooperate with the teaching of God’s grace are necessary every step of the way.

The key concept is that God gives us the ability, after every step of obedience, to take the next step. This can be referred to by the following phrase “and Grace for grace”, John 1:16.

The answer to the question “how much must we do for God is simple – everything we can, Mark 8:35.

Although water baptism is a single momentary event the reality that water baptism refers to is a process of following Christ Jesus and being washed with the word of God and baptized with the Holy Spirit, as His will is revealed in and through the Bible.

The literal goal of this baptism is the superimposition of the nature of Christ upon the believer. The mystery of Godliness is great, Christ in you the hope of glory, Colossians 1:27.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

This baptism into the Holy Spirit includes repentance from sinful behavior and the ability to walk as Jesus walked. This is incrementally granted to an individual by God as the person asks for it, Acts 11:18.

This asking is an appeal to God that He might give the individual a clear conscience, 1 Peter 3:21.

A truly “clear conscience” comes only if there is no sin committed, or if all sins have been forgiven.

Surprisingly the powers or authorities in the Church would generally have the individual believe that this does not involve “work”. This emphasis on the inability of man to “work” for their salvation is generally based on Romans 11:6 and similar verses.

Apart from God’s grace teaching us to abstain from ungodly activity, mankind is incapable of being saved, no matter what grand and glorious work they attain to.

As with many traditional teachings the insertion of an unbiblical phrase into a question and then the attempt to answer the resultant unbiblical question causes many problems.

The concept of “earning salvation” is not mentioned in the Bible. It is however in the minds of people who have trouble with the statement that we must do “works” to enter the kingdom of God, James 2:26.

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. (KJV)

The concept of an “appeal to God” is mentioned in 1 Pet 3:21. This concept of an “appeal to God for a clear conscience” contains the answer to the Grace versus works misunderstanding

There is one version called “Montgomery’s New Testament translation that inserts the word “earn” into Romans 4:4 when the actual Greek word should be translated as “work”. Other than that single mistranslation I can find no hint at the concept of “earning” salvation mentioned in the bible.

It is seen that the “works” of mortifying the deeds of the flesh (symbolized by baptism) are an appeal to God for salvation or a clear conscience. The appeal or works involved do not bring about salvation (1 Peter 3:21) but are an appeal for it.

In Acts 10 Cornelius was a man who sought God and His “deeds” were an appeal to God for His acceptance. Because of Cornelius’s monetary giving (alms) and prayers He was shown how to advance towards acceptance with God, Acts 10:4.

Ac 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

This came in the form of an angel telling Cornelius to call for Peter to preach the Gospel of Christ to Him.

There is no doubt that Cornelius’s “deeds” or “works” moved God to intervene in his life, Acts 10:4.

The only question becomes: “were Cornelius’s “works” sufficient to conform Him to the image of Christ, or were Cornelius’s works an acceptable appeal to the one person (God) who was able to conform Cornelius to the image of Christ? The latter is correct of course.

Many authorities state that a person cannot “work for” their salvation because then it would appear that God is repaying a debt to them by saving them, Romans 4:4. Again the concept of “earning salvation” is not a biblical one. The works are simply the way of asking for or appealing for God’s help.

The correct concept is then that a person by performing certain “works” is appealing to God to bring about their salvation or transformation. The “works” do not save or transform Him into a person who does not sin. Only the grace of God brings about the renewing of the Holy Spirit and teaches a person to deny ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12.

The verses that are used by tradition to suggest that an individual’s salvation does not involve “works”, generally refer to the works of the Mosaic Law, and by the works of the law shall no flesh be saved, Galatians 2:16.

Ro 4:4 Now to him that worketh (works of the Law specifically) is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. (KJV)

A person cannot be saved by the “works” of the law, Romans 4:14 and 15, but the performing of these works did form the person’s appeal to God for the “promised” clear conscience. A person who however just sacrificed an animal after sinning but did not have faith was not correctly relating to God. This is what is referred to many times in scripture as confessing allegiance to God with a person’s lips while their heart was far from Him, Isaiah 29:13 and Mark 7:6.

So as can be seen from Romans 4:16 that a person must have both faith and works to inherit the promised Holy Spirit or have a truly clear conscience, void of unforgiven sin.

Ro 4:16 Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all,

As Romans 4:16 shows us a person could appeal to God through a sacrifice which alludes to an animal sacrifice under the Old Covenant or to Jesus in the New Covenant.

This would allow them to be forgiven. But as Paul alludes to in Philippians 3:9 they could also receive the promise by not sinning in the first place.

A person who broke the law of God and sinned could be forgiven by complying with the Law of Moses and offering the appropriate sacrifice to obtain forgiveness before God.

Romans 11:6 is also a verse that can be misinterpreted if it is not seen to be speaking about the works of the Mosaic Law and obtaining God’s acceptance in that manner.

Ro 11:6 And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.

Rm 11:6 is referring to the “election” or choice of God being by grace. Titus 2:11-12 tells us that grace teaches us. So quite clearly a person can co-operate or not co-operate with grace and the teaching of God’s grace. The teaching of God’s Grace is instruction on how to abstain from ungodliness.

This abstention from sin is then an appeal for God to create in the person a clean heart (Psalm 51:10) or a clear conscience. A person’s election is not obtained by the “works” which form the appeal to God, 2 Pet 1:10. The person who is termed to be “elect” then would be the one who co-operates with the teachings of God’s grace.

So what works is the relationship between Grace and “works”?

God’s grace teaches us to abstain from ungodliness. This abstention from ungodliness can be called “a work” or “works”.

The ability to do the “works” involved in abstaining from ungodliness form the basis of our next appeal. God will grant the ability to proceed to the next level of “works of obedience”. This leads towards the goal of abstaining from ungodliness or making progress towards the image of Christ. This is illustrated in the scriptural phrase “grace upon grace”, John 1:16.

The Jewish zeal mentioned in Romans 10:2 was not according to knowledge. They were trying to establish their own righteousness, verse 3. This would be trying to approach God by doing what they considered to be right. This is self-righteousness.

They knew that Abraham had faith before He was given the law Genesis 15:6. But they were trying to get God’s approval apart from faith by simply offering a sacrifice or physically circumcising a person, supposing that a person can be acceptable to God through rituals or shadows of the truth.

In Romans 10:4 it is seen that Christ is the end or goal of the Law as is also seen in Galatians 3:24. Jesus is the sacrifice once for all, Heb 10:10.

People no longer had to sacrifice an animal etc. to be righteous or right with God. They simply had to confess devotion to Christ with their words and heart.

The natural Jews however were trying to establish their right standing with God with the “works of the Law” and without faith in Christ as is seen Romans 10:3.

Abraham gave us the example of how to be acceptable to God under the Old covenant – Have faith. There was not a law given which could impart life, Galatians 3:21. However a person could avert God’s judgment and be forgiven if He complied with the law of Moses. This is seen in the verses that suggest that, “if a man doeth (the Law of Moses) He shall live, Romans 10:5.

Simply avoiding judgment is not akin to grace because God’s grace can transform a person but simply avoiding a negative judgment cannot.

Even in these verses, which are often used to insinuate that works and grace are opposed to each other, it is clear from Romans 10:16 that works of obedience and faith or belief are considered inseparable. As in John 3:36 the concepts of obedience and faith or belief are seen to be interchangeable as they are in Romans 10:16.

If these verses are understood to say that works are unacceptable to God, particularly good “deeds” or works, then the reader misunderstands the context of the verses.

These types of verses are not implying that “works” are opposed to grace, because grace teaches a person to do “work”, and live righteously through denying ungodly behavior (Titus 2:11-12).

The verses are saying that the “works” of the Mosaic Law are not sufficient to transform a person into someone who denies ungodliness, the compliance with the Mosaic Law is simply a way to avoid God’s negative judgment or discipline.

Only when misunderstood could these verses be used to infer that “working” or obedience is separate from faith. The attempt to establish righteousness apart from faith and by the “works of the Law” is what is condemned in Romans 11:6. There is no suggestion that “works are opposed to grace” but only that “works of the law” are opposed to grace.

In stark contradiction to such church instruction, the bible itself instructs Christians to “work “out their salvation. It appears obvious that there needs to be some adjustments to mainstream doctrinal positions.

As was seen through the example of Cornelius even an unsaved person can appeal to God in an acceptable way, and be heard.

The reality is that a person has to do some “work” to gain eternal life.

Ac 26:20 But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

When most teachers read the verses that refer to a person “not” working for their salvation they are getting two concepts mixed up.

Both concepts are correct but become mixed in a person’s mind.

The first scriptural concept says that mankind cannot become like Christ by their own effort or “works”. This is unquestionably true.

God’s personal intervention is required as Titus 2:11&12 refers. This intervention is called “grace” through which God teaches an individual to abstain from ungodliness.

The second biblical concept states that a person must work out their salvation. This is also unquestionably true.

This is exemplified in Matthew 16:25. This verse shows that a person must lose their life and live for Christ. This is a definite “work”. Inactivity on the part of the individual Christian cannot accomplish this.

The truth about baptism (not the symbol but the reality) and of the works involved in losing a person’s life for Christ are referred to as an appeal for a clear conscience in 1 Peter 3:21. The “works” of obedience involved in our keeping our covenant with God are summarized as “loving God and our neighbor”. So then deciding to love God and everyone else fulfills the law. Loving everybody simply means being patient and kind to everybody 1 Cor 13:4-8. This is the avoidance of judgment through compliance with the law of God.

Disobedient people can obtain God’s grace through a relationship with Christ Jesus and not through the Law of Moses.

To be justified from everything a person could not be justified from through the law of Moses, it requires Christ, Acts 13:39. This is not possible for a person unless they through, trust in Jesus, receive “grace” from God.

Ac 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (KJV)

Acts 13:39 is illustrating that under the Mosaic Law in the Old Testament there were some things that a follower of God could be justified from. Through the grace that Jesus brought that is no longer the case, John 1:17.

Joh 1:17 For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.

To summarize so far – Our “works” of obedience to the covenant with God are considered an appeal to God for a clear conscience. In other words we have to try to Love God and our neighbor. This appeal (obedience) is the reality of what is symbolized by water baptism.

— New American Standard 1 Peter 3:21 And corresponding to that, baptism now saves you not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good conscience through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,

The baptism or immersion into the doctrines of Christ, can be called “obedience” or working out our salvation.

There is a provision for a Christian who is learning or being taught by God. If the Christian sins there is a provision in the law of God whereby they can be forgiven.

The Father is the only person who can give a person a clear conscience. Mankind is not capable of transforming Himself into a Christ-like person.

Christ Jesus did not need to offer a sacrifice for sins because He never sinned. We however do sin as we learn to differentiate good from evil, by cooperating with the grace of God. God transforms a person by enabling them to keep the covenant, which is based upon Jesus Christ dying in our place. In other words God brings us into the promised land or promised Holy Spirit.

God transforms a person “if” they ask Him for His help in the manner He prescribes. This “asking” is an appeal for God’s help and God mandates that the way a person appeals for a clear conscience is to obey the covenant, (water baptism symbolizes intended obedience to the covenant).

If a person is trying to obey but fails then they must appeal to God for forgiveness through Christ. Part of our covenant with God says that if a person commits a sin, they can be forgiven. Being sinless is the best way of keeping the covenant, John 5:14. However the covenant is also kept by appealing to Christ for forgiveness if and when a sin is committed.

2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

The person simply desires and asks for repentance/forgiveness in the manner prescribed. The manner prescribed is Christian baptism or obedience to the covenant.

God appears to have given His people the task of calling people to repentance through the preaching of the Gospel, as He did through John the Baptist, however only God Himself can grant then ability to repent. He does so only when and if the person desires it. In this vein we see the truth of the following verse -

1Co 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

The key to understanding this is to remember that one of the provisions of our covenant with God stipulates that a person must confess their sin to God to be forgiven, 1 John 1:9.

1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)

After a person confesses their behavior as sinful they are then granted that forgiveness, and they are then sinless before God.

If a person recognizes and confesses their behavior as sinful they will be forgiven up to seven times seventy times a day.

If, however they do not recognize the ungodly behavior as being sinful they will not ask for forgiveness because they think that the behavior which is actually ungodly is acceptable to God.

This would be like a deceived person thinking in their mind that adultery is acceptable to God. Now of course adultery is not acceptable to God. But if a person believes that a particular sin is not really sinful then they will not confess as sin that which they do not consider sinful.

Confession is the first step towards repentance. The sin can then be forgiven and God can through His grace teach a believer to deny ungodliness. The Bible requires a person to confess a sin thereby recognizing that the behavior is indeed sinful. Since God can us give the desires of our heart the person should also desire to forsake the sin, or at least request or pray for the desire to forsake the sin, Psalm 37:4.

What God requires is that a person recognizes and confesses their previous behavior as sinful as 1 John 1:9 states. After confession they are then considered sinless and God gives them the ability to abstain from the ungodly behavior in the future. That ability is given through His grace, but it should be remembered that a person could resist that ability and not abstain from the ungodly behavior even though the ability was given to them. The sin in that case then becomes willful and after a time of willfulness God will judge the activity, Hebrews 10:26 & 27.

As 1 John 1:9 puts it, God will upon our confession forgive us and -“cleanse us from all unrighteousness”.

— New American Standard 1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

If every sinful tendency has been confessed to God and recognized as a sin then the person can truly say that they have a clear conscience and they know of no sin that is against them.

In this case the appeal to God for a clear conscience has been granted.

Now there is a train of thought in Christian denominations that states that when a person comes to Christ and their past present and future sins are forgiven. This is incorrect as Hebrews 10:26 shows. If a person sins after coming into knowledge of the truth they can expect judgement. Past and present sins can be forgiven when they are confessed. However if a person sins in the future they must confess that behavior as sinful in order to be forgiven and a person cannot confess today their future sins, which they have not committed yet.

The only way a person can have a clear conscience and still be truthful is if they have kept their covenant with God.

Christ forgives the past sins and the present sins can be forgiven through confession, future sins are not forgiven because they have not happened yet.

Once recognized as sin and confessed they can be forgiven but they are not forgiven before they have been committed.

Now – returning to the subject of ‘works” and the application of the preceding explanation to that topic. As 1 Peter 3:21 says the immersion into Christ or being baptized into Christ saves us.

Christians are saved from the wrath of God (Matt 3:7) and God’s wrath is revealed against all ungodliness (Rm 1:18). This means that the baptism or immersion into water symbolizes an immersion into the Holy Spirit. The reality of being immersed into the Spirit of God means that we do not sin, 1 John 3:9.

This is the baptism that saves us from the wrath of God. This is an immersion into obedience, or a baptism into the Holy Spirit. All Christians are being conformed by God into the image of Christ who is embodiment of Holy Spirit, 2 Cor 3:17.

Water baptism is a symbol of the true baptism or immersion into the Holy Spirit, which comprises our appeal to God for a clear conscience. By being obedient we are appealing or asking God to give us a clear conscience. These works of obedience comprise the appeal of the believer for a clear conscience.

In Philippians 3:9 Paul did not only desire be forgiven after sinning (the righteousness contained in the law), he desired to stop sinning altogether (the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ).

Php 3:9 ¶ And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: (KJV)

Jesus came to fulfil the Law of God and regardless of the sacrifice (a spotless animal losing its life or Jesus losing His life), after the sacrifice a sin is forgiven.

Paul did not want simply to sin and be forgiven for the sin, which He had committed. This was the righteousness contained in the law where Jesus is the sacrifice for sin. Meaning that the law of God said that if a person commits a sin they need to appeal to God through a sacrifice to be forgiven. Under the New covenant, Christians now must confess sin to Jesus to be forgiven.

When a person commits a sin the law provides a way for them to become righteous or right in God’s eyes again through forgiveness.

Paul however wanted to have the real righteousness, which is conferred upon a person by grace through faith, Ephesians 2:8. This would be conferred upon them in response to their appeal for a clear conscience (baptism/works/obedience).

When made and answered this appeal would result in Paul’s being transformed into a person who did not commit the particular sin. In other words the righteousness that is by faith is the ability to abstain from sin. Thereby Paul would not have the righteousness contained in the law – but an actual righteousness, which would be given through the grace of God. By an actual righteousness I mean that He would not need to ask for forgiveness according to the Law because He would not have sinned in the first place.

God is able to keep us from sinning, Genesis 20:6.

Ge 20:6 And God said unto him in a dream, Yea, I know that thou didst this in the integrity of thy heart; for I also withheld thee from sinning against me: therefore suffered I thee not to touch her. (KJV)

The works of obedience to Jesus commands (baptism into Christ or being baptized in the name of Jesus) are an appeal to God. The person is being obedient and this obedience is the method mandated to request that God give them the ability to keep the Law of God and not sin.

When they are sin free they can be said to truthfully possess a clear conscience, if they sin again they must of course repeat the confession process.

Being Christ-like means being sinless and possessing a clear conscience. Being baptized into Christ speaks of the works involved in keeping the covenant and if necessary, recognizing and confessing sins after they happen.

In summary — a person must work for salvation and that work is called obedience, and it is the way a person appeals to God to transform them into the image of Christ. The concept of faith cannot really be separated from the concept of obedience as John 3:36 and Romans 10:16 show.

Cooperation with Holy Spirit baptism is the way a person asks God to transform them from grace to grace, into a Christ-like person who does not sin.

The “work” called “confession of sins” does not and cannot transform a person. This is however a part of the covenant and when this confession has happened the person then is truly forgiven and without sin and can honestly be said to have a clear conscience.

At this point, God answers their appeal and helps the person by giving them the ability to abstain from the sin in the future. In this way the individual can obtain the ability to stop sinning as the grace of God teaches them to abstain from ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12.

When God grants a person the ability to abstain from ungodliness there are two ways that a Christian can respond. The individual can co-operate with the grace of God or they can resist the grace of God.

Simply because God has granted the person the power to become a Son of God (John 1:12) and they have the obtained the ability to abstain from ungodliness does not necessarily mean that the person will use that ability. Co-operation with the grace of God is called the “works in keeping with repentance” as John the Baptist said in Matthew 3:7&8 and Luke 3:7&8.

Matt 3:7 But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance:

Lk 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? 8. Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin 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.

Through these verses John the Baptist is telling us that the “works” involved in bringing forth the fruit called repentance is necessary for salvation.

Interestingly John makes the statement to supposed unbelievers. John was telling unbelievers that they must perform “works” of repentance in order to be acceptable to God or saved.

This is another contradiction to modern theology. Most common theologies teach that a person can in no way “earn their salvation” which is an unbiblical concept. The correct concept is that “works” of righteousness cannot transform a person into the image of Christ, but the “works” are required or mandated by God and considered an acceptable “appeal” for his help in making them Christ-like.

In Matthew 3:7-8 and Luke 3:7-8 we have the person who paved the way for Jesus telling unbelievers to perform “works”. Repentance is a “work”, a fact that John alludes to in those verses.

This causes many traditionalists to reject this form of teaching as ungodly. Many traditions have been demonically induced, especially when they plainly contradict the bible. Some traditions contradict the Bible and Jesus in a subtle manner but have a damaging effect on a Christians life none the less.

An oversimplification could be phrased this way. God mandates that we “work out” our salvation” and He has set the bar for attaining this low enough for humankind to reach by making simple confession the initial “work” necessary. The works themselves are not able to change us but they are themselves an acceptable appeal to God to bring about that change. The extent of these so-called “works” begins with confession and results in “a person losing their life to gain eternal life, John 12:25.

Joh 12:25 He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. (KJV)

The simple fact is that God has stipulated that the recognition of sin and a desire to repent from it be the first step in salvation. Jesus first New Testament admonition is the same as John’s and can be summarized by one word, “repent”.

Mt 3:2 And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mt 4:17 From that time Jesus began to preach, and to say, Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand. Mr 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel. (KJV)

A study of John 3:36 will show that the concepts of faith and obedience are interchangeable. The verse is translated this way in the American Standard Version referenced below -

Joh 3:36 He that believeth on the Son hath eternal life; but he that obeyeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him. (ASV)

The grace of God is not “unmerited favor” as tradition teaches. A person must humble himself or herself before God to obtain grace. If a person has to do something (humble themselves before God through obedience) to obtain grace then it is not unmerited.

Jas 4:6 But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble. 1Pe 5:5 ¶ Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble. (KJV)

Grace is specific and it is that which teaches, not that which simply bestows favor for no reason.

Just for a moment consider that if “grace” simply “bestowed” something upon us and was truly “unmerited” then everyone on earth would have it.

It can be said then that grace bestows favor upon those who receive its instruction. Those who refuse to humble themselves before God and do what He says do not receive His Grace.

The concept of God’s Grace being “unmerited” is a tradition with no scriptural validation. As with many traditions, this was probably well known to writers of ancient times (the fact that God’s Grace teaches), but in the process of time and tradition modern writers forgot this. In some cases, they may have willingly forgot this fact.

The writers of antiquity probably learned through study that which more contemporary students have learned through imitation. Thus the misinterpretation of their words was not understood to be a misrepresentation.

Titus 2: 11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; KJV

If a person is seeking a definition of Grace from Scripture it would appear to be summarized by combining Titus 2:11 & 12 and Titus 3:5.

Titus 2:11. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, 12. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Tit 3:5 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; (KJV)

As a final proof I would like to add the reference below. The Greek word translated as “obey” in John 3:36 can and is also translated as the word “believe” in different translations of the New Testament. This is because both the word “believe” and the word translated as “obey” in the John 3:36 (New American Standard), spring from the same root word. That word being the Strong’s concordance word numbered 3892.

This should illustrate the symbiotic relationship between the Biblical concepts of “works/obedience” and “Faith”.

— New American Standard John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.”

There is an additional verse I would like to comment on. It is 1 Corinthians 10:4.

1 Cor 10:4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.

In this verse we see that Cornelius was a devout man who prayed and gave to God’s people and fasted (Acts 10:30). These qualities moved God to show Him the way to be saved through Peter. His “works” thus formed an acceptable appeal to God. Like the events in Acts 18:26. The way of salvation was more accurately shown to Cornelius.

The works He had done could not save Cornelius no matter how long He did them (the works of giving and praying).

These “works” however did move God to show Him the way to be saved as is seen in Acts 10:32 and 36.

Acts 10:32 Send therefore to Joppa, and call hither Simon, whose surname is Peter; he is lodged in the house of one Simon a tanner by the sea side: who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee. 33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God.

Acts 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)

The lesson to be learned from the situation is not that works of righteousness can save a person. The lesson is that works of the type specified are an acceptable appeal to God, as Acts 10:35 shows.

Acts 10:35 – But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

The enemy of our souls teaches us (or encourages us to think) that Christians do not have to work for salvation to be acceptable to God.

Our enemy of our souls preaches a gospel devoid of works, which amounts to simple mental ascent. Many preachers unknowingly preach this message as well. The lesson of this story as stated by Peter is that we must “work righteousness” (Acts 10:35), to be accepted by God both before we come to Christ and obtain salvation, and after we have received Jesus as Lord. So who is right the enemy of our souls or the bible?

The works did not save Cornelius, He could have continued His giving and praying and not been saved. God accepted the works as an appeal for a clear conscience.

The “works” moved God to show Cornelius how to be saved, which was to express faith in Jesus Christ.

In a similar way we see that in Mt 3:7-8 and Luke 3:7-8 unbelievers are encouraged by John the Baptist to do “works” in keeping with repentance to be acceptable to God. This can be likened to Acts 10:35 where a person is admonished to “fear God” and “worketh righteousness” in order be acceptable to God.

Luke 3:7 Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come?

8 Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin 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.

There is another question that I would like to comment on.

Matthew 19 has a person who says they have kept the Law of Moses.

Matthew 19:16 behold, one came and said unto him, Good Master, what good thing shall I do, that I may have eternal life?

17. And he said unto him, Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God: but if thou wilt enter into life, keep the commandments.

He then asks what more should I do?

Matthew 19:20. The young man saith unto him, All these things have I kept from my youth up: what lack I yet?

21. Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.

The law is said to lead a person to Christ (Romans 10:4). However if a person refuses to follow Christ then the law would have brought that person to the point where faith (if acted upon), would have made the person perfect (Matthew 19:21).

In the case of the man in Matthew 19:16- 21, He would not follow Christ (as far as the scripture shows) as He was asked to do because He had too many possessions.

Mark 4:18 And these are they which are sown among thorns; such as hear the word,

19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

The concept of “belief” is seen to be defined by scripture as a “spiritual work”, as is seen in the following example.

Believing is a therefore a “work” in the Biblical sense of the word.

John 6:28-30

King James Version (KJV) -

28Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?

29Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

[]Chapter 6

I Change Not

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:

The spiritual body is often misconstrued as a dwelling place after death. The spiritual body mentioned in 1 Cor 15 is the “inspirited” body of the individual while they are on earth.

2 Corinthians 5: 6 and 8 … to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.

The same person that wrote the information about the spiritual body in first Corinthians 15:44 also wrote 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 which tells us that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”.

If a person is present with the Lord, they are not in the body. So, Paul recognizes the body we have on earth as one that has been “put on” suggesting a change from natural or earthy to spiritual.

Jesus also said that the Father prepared a body for Him when he came into the world – “A body thou has prepared for me”, Hebrews 10:5. Meaning that the body on earth at the very least was not the same body that He had before.

When seen with respect to the first resurrection as it is mentioned in Romans 6, the references to the body in 1 Corinthians 15 (referenced below) suggest an inspirited body.

1Co 15:35 ¶ But some man will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come?

1Co 15:37 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain:

1Co 15:38 But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.

1Co 15:44 It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. (KJV)

Also in view of the statement concerning Christ after His ascension it is unlikely that a person with a body would fill all things (Ephesians 4:10).

1 Corinthians 15

1. Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received, in which also you stand,

In verse 1 Paul is telling us that He is going to explain in the following verses the message that He preaches. In verse 2 He further tells us that He is going to explain how the reader is saved. This salvation is conditioned on the reader holding fast to the preached message. This chapter is a summary of the mechanics of the process of salvation.

2. by which also you are saved, if you hold fast the word which I preached to you, unless you believed in vain.

3. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

4. and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,

5. and that He appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.

6. After that He appeared to more than five hundred brethren at one time, most of whom remain until now, but some have fallen asleep;

This is the first mention of the word “sleep” in the chapter. Some of the people who saw Jesus after His crucifixion and burial remained and some had fallen asleep.

7. then He appeared to James, then to all the apostles;

8. and last of all, as it were to one untimely born, He appeared to me also.

9. For I am the least of the apostles, who am not fit to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.

10. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and His grace toward me did not prove vain; but I labored even more than all of them, yet not I, but the grace of God with me.

11. Whether then it was I or they, so we preach and so you believed.

12. Now if Christ is preached, that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead?

I think it is very important to remember that Jesus was crucified and died on earth. Jesus is an example for His followers. He was resurrected while He was on earth and then He ascended to heaven. Jesus was crucified for our sins and rose for our justification, Romans 4:25.

Verse 12 is the first reference to the resurrection in 1 Corinthians chapter 15. If Jesus resurrection is an example for His people to imitate then His follower’s will also undergo a resurrection on earth and then ascend to heaven. The following verses illustrate this resurrection.

13. But if there is no resurrection of the dead, not even Christ has been raised;

14. and if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is vain, your faith also is vain.

15. Moreover we are even found to be false witnesses of God, because we witnessed against God that He raised Christ, whom He did not raise, if in fact the dead are not raised.

16. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised;

17. and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is worthless; you are still in your sins.

18. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished.

Here is the second use of the term “sleep” and Paul speaks of people who have “fallen asleep in Christ” as being asleep. It also shows that this is indeed physical death by using the word “perish”. It can be seen here that a non-Christian will not be resurrected but will ultimately perish.

19. If we have hoped in Christ in this life only, we are of all men most to be pitied.

Paul recognizes that hoping in Christ “in this life only” is incorrect.

20. But now Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who are asleep.

Here is the third use of the word “sleep” in this chapter. The physical death of Christ was not permanent. It was a temporary condition from which He (and His disciples) would wake.

Jesus was the first to undergo a resurrection from “sleep” and was also an example for His followers to imitate. If Jesus was the first fruits from those who are asleep those who died before Him and were resurrected did not experience the exact same thing that Jesus did.

21. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead.

22. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

Jesus died physically and on earth as an example to His followers. To partake of the “power of Jesus resurrection” Paul (and all Christians) must conform to His death, Phil 3:10-12. This does not mean we must die physically but that we must to die to sin.

23. But each in his own order: Christ the first fruits, after that those who are Christ’s at His coming,

Verse 23 identifies the Coming of Christ as the time of the resurrection of the believer. When seen considering Phil 3:10 -12 the Second Coming is when the process of mankind’s spiritual resurrection begins. Prior to Jesus coming to the individual they would be alive physically but dead spiritually.

The spiritual resurrection, the point at which time the individual is made alive spiritually, takes place when Jesus comes into the person’s life through the agency of the Holy Spirit. This would then be the beginning of the person’s spiritual resurrection.

This happens when a person first turns to or accepts Christ Jesus as Lord. At that time God sends Jesus into the believer’s heart, Acts 3:19-21.

24. then comes the end, when He delivers up the kingdom to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power.

25. For He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet.

26. The last enemy that will be abolished is death.

27. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when He says, “All things are put in subjection,” it is evident that He is excepted who put all things in subjection to Him.

28. And when all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, that God may be all in all.

29. Otherwise, what will those do who are baptized for the dead (attempt to die to sin)? If the dead (referring to physical death) are not raised at all, why then are they baptized (into Christ’s death to sin) for them?

Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death (to sin): that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Paul died daily, and it can be seen that this is not a physical death. The Christian undergoes a resurrection on earth while they are alive, Colossians 3:1.

In trying to identify with Jesus Christ a person is baptized into Jesus death to sin. Paul went through a process of mortifying the flesh on a daily basis, Romans 8:13. This is also referred to in Philippians 3:10-14. In Philippians Paul is trying to attain the resurrection in this earthly lifetime and identifies the “resurrection” as the cessation from sin.

This is a case where the New American Translation can be misleading. Instead of the NAS translation cited above, the last part of the verse reads baptized for “the dead”. It should not be translated as baptized “for them”. The correct translation is seen in the following verse.

1Co 15:29 Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead?

If the wording “baptized for them” is used it can convey the impression that the living are baptized on behalf of the dead instead of being immersed into Christ’s death to sin as is seen in Philippians 3:10.

— New American Standard Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

Jesus never sinned; He was totally dead to sin.

Php 3:10 that I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, becoming conformed unto his death;

The resurrection we experience on earth is a resurrection from the spiritual condition of being dead in sins and transgressions.

One of my teachers has shown me that the “suffering” involves ceasing from sin (1 Pet 4:1). The operative term in Phil 3:10 becomes – “being conformed to His death”.

Before Jesus died physically He died to sin while He was alive and on earth, as Romans 6:10 illustrates. So it can truthfully be said that Jesus died to sin while on earth and He died physically as a result of the sin of mankind.

— New American Standard Romans 6:10 For the death that He died, He died to sin, once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.

30. Why are we also in danger every hour?

31. I protest, brethren, by the boasting in you, which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily.

Here Paul, using himself as the example, begins to refer to death as an experience of the living. He dies daily as He stops sinning or dies to sin.

Jesus died to sin so we must as well. Of course, we ask for forgiveness if we do sin, and then we are considered sinless at that point.

At this point it becomes necessary to understand that although considered forgiven of known by God we do not really understand the extent of our sinful condition. Paul expresses this concept in 1 Cor 4:4.

Paul is “buried” in this baptism into the death of Christ or “sown” as the following verses illustrate.

Ro 6:4 Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

Again it is seen here that Christians are to follow Jesus example and die to sin so that they can walk in newness of life on earth.

Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead. (KJV)

32. If from human motives I fought with wild beasts at Ephesus, what does it profit me? If the dead is not raised, let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die.

33. Do not be deceived: “Bad company corrupts good morals.”

34. Become sober-minded as you ought, and stop sinning; for some have no knowledge of God. I speak this to your shame.

35. But someone will say, “How are the dead raised? And with what kind of body do they come?”

In context beginning with verse 31 the issue is the “death to sin”.

Paul had just told them that a living person is being baptized for the dead or into Christ’s death.

It is said that the individual is absent from the body when they die and go to be with the Lord.

The disciples were not following the conversation, illustrated by their asking the question regarding what “kind of Body” those Paul was referring to would possess.

If (as Paul indicates) the students still think he is referring to the death of the Christian’s physical body they are mistaken, and Paul calls them fools.

36. You fool! That which you sow (buried in baptism) does not come to life unless it dies (to sin);

Referring to verse 36, a person cannot sow (either to the flesh or spirit) if they are dead physically. Again showing that physical death is not being referred to here.

Paul is being buried in baptism while He is corrupt as verse 42 is translated in the KJV. He is at the same time being raised to incorruption. The death to sin occurs when Christians are corrupt and in this mortal body. The death to sin or corruption and the resurrection to incorruption or immortality happens simultaneously, and in this body during the earthly lifetime.

A person does not “come to life” spiritually or experience a resurrection unless the living person experiences the same type of death that Paul experiences daily. This would be the first resurrection as mentioned in Colossians 3:1.

37. and that which you sow, (bury the seed in the earth) you do not sow the body which is to be, but a bare grain, perhaps of wheat or of something else.

That which is inside the body is the spirit, referred to here as a bare grain.

38. But God gives it a body (clothes it with righteousness) just as He wished, and to each of the seeds a body of its own.

39. All flesh is not the same flesh, but there is one flesh of men, and another flesh of beasts, and another flesh of birds, and another of fish.

Here Paul clearly shows that He is speaking of flesh bodies. Some bodies are spiritual and some are earthly bodies. Jesus clearly had a spiritual body while He was on earth and this is available to His followers as well.

Php 3:21 Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

40. There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another.

41. There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars; for star differs from star in glory.

The phrase concerning differing glory has to do with the differences between believers.

— New American Standard 1 Corinthians 11:19 For there must also be factions among you, in order that those who are approved may have become evident among you.

42. So also is the (spiritual) resurrection of the dead. It is sown (buried in baptism as the person dies to sin) a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; (refer to verse 50 – the imperishable body is one that has inherited the kingdom of God). The incorruptible seed (spirit) dwells in the body.

43. it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power;

44. it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.

Paul is speaking about sowing a natural body or being baptized for the dead (into the death to sin, while He is alive and in the natural body. The resultant body of the living person is a spiritual or heavenly body.

45. So also it is written, “The first man, Adam, became a living soul.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.

46. However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual.

47. The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven.

The term “from heaven” removes all doubt as to where the heavenly man comes from. Verses 48 and 49 illustrate that Jesus came from heaven and He is referred to as heavenly while He was on the earth.

48. As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.

49. And just as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.

The process of our being conformed to the image of Christ can happen during our lifetime on earth.

50. Now I say this, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable.

The kingdom is inherited by our Spirit during this lifetime, John 3:5.

John 3:5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

Verse 50 teaches that inheriting the Kingdom of God is equivalent to inheriting the Imperishable. Which happens to some believers during this life.

51. Behold, I tell you a mystery (parable); we (Christians) shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed (to incorruptibility),

All Christians, (sleepers and non-sleepers) will be changed towards incorruptibility. Not all of them will have to die to have this happen to them.

52. in a moment, in the twinkling (casting/directed gaze) of an eye, at the last trumpet; for the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised (resurrected) imperishable, and we (the living) shall be changed.

The first word on verse 53 is the word “for” which assigns a reason to what has happened in the preceding verses. Meaning that the subject of the mystery of verses 50 through 53 is the “putting on” of the imperishable (condition) while in the perishable body.

The reason is because of the “casting of the eye”. Casting of the eye means a directed and continued gaze at the last trumpet which represents Jesus. The “perishable person” of verse 53 is not physically dead but represents mortality being clothed with immortality. Because they look to Jesus they are transformed.

53. For this perishable must put on the imperishable, and this mortal must put on immortality.

54. But when this perishable will have put on the imperishable, and this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory.

55. “O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?”

56. The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law;

When a person stops sinning death loses its sting.

57. but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

58. Therefore, my beloved brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.

Our toil or “work” is to stop sinning.

[]Chapter 7

Key

Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, 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.

The parable or more specifically the reason for the parable is illustrated by two sections of scripture.

  1. 1

Lu 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

After reading this the person will say how are these things hidden? I will try and answer this question with the following article.

  1. 2

Mt 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mt 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Mt 13:13 therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Parables are the method by which God conceals the truth and still lets the truths remain apparent to some.

If the truth is revealed to babes it becomes obvious that it is not complicated.

It is still however concealed.

So how does God conceal the truths from the wise and make them apparent to the simple?

He does this by bestowing His messengers with the ability to speak in parables as has been shown.

To make something apparent to a simple person it must be simple. The simple straightforward statements in the bible (word of God) illustrate this. Such truths form the basis for interpretation.

This concealment is illustrated in this case in Acts 3:19-21 and John 3:3. In these verses in Acts Peter says that Jesus will be sent to the individual when the person repents from their unbelief and expresses faith in Jesus.

A parable or mystery clouds this central truth by making alternate avenues of interpretation possible as is seen in John 3:3.

John 3:3 King James Version (KJV) Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

Although John 3:3 expresses essentially the same truth as Acts 3:19-21, by adding details and allegorical references John 3:3 is complicated. By adding such references (the interpretation of which must be based on the clearly expressed truths) the whole issue is intentionally clouded. The parable or mysterious verses open up many different avenues of interpretation. Only the interpretation, which aligns with the simple truth, is correct. The key here is to understand that the simple statements do not invalidate the figurative truths. The figurative truths but based upon the simplistic truths.

This process of opening avenues for alternate interpretations has the effect sought by the Lord.

Mr 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you (Jesus Disciples) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (Unbeliever’s), all these things are done in parables:

Many Christians become so enamored with their respective societies and denominations that they assume that the unbelievers understand reality and common sense the same way they do. This is not the case of course.

Pr 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (KJV)

[]Chapter 8

Law Supplement 1

Romans 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. 10. And the commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death.

When a person puts their faith in Jesus, they become accountable to the law of God and they are “in the Law”.

2 Corinthians 3:6. Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life. 7. But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones…

The Laws of Moses (the letter of the Law) cannot give or impart life. Its letters can only condemn sinners when the Law is violated. The imparting of life requires the imparting of grace, which teaches a person to abstain from ungodliness, (Titus 2:11-12). Man is not capable of teaching abstinence from sin, Eph 2:8. God’s grace will only teach a humble person to abstain from sin, James 4:6.

Ga 3:21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.

Ro 2:12 For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law (followers of Christ) shall be judged by the law;

An unbeliever who is alive but “without the Law” or outside of the Law of God is destined to perish.

All Christians are “in the Law” of God, being either obedient or disobedient. Being in the Law and “obeying it” means being subject to or under the authority of grace and cooperating with it by abstaining from ungodliness.

Being in the law and “disobeying it” means being under the authority of the Law of Moses. Christians who are “under the Law” have sinned and violated the law of Love. The Law has become the authority over them and they are subject to its disciplinary process, Mt 18:23-34. They will be chastened accordingly, and then released so they will not be condemned, 1 Cor 11:32. The Christian should learn not to sin or they will have to repeat this judgment process.

2 Cor 3:8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?

9. For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory. The ministry of the Spirit is a ministry of righteousness. Man’s ministry involves distributing or becoming a steward of God’s Grace (1Pet 4:10).

Teaching a person to cooperate with grace and live in a righteous manner, or to do what is right in God’s eyes.

[]Chapter 9

Law Supplement 2

Ga 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Ga 3:6 ¶ Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness

The word “legalism” (sometimes used in a negative light) is not in the bible, the concept simply refers to keeping the law of God, Mt 5:17.

Jesus summarized the Law of God as “Love for God and neighbor”. The Law of Moses teaches a person that a sacrifice is necessary to obtain forgiveness of sins, Rm 10:4.

New Testament Christians must confess sin to the sacrifice (Jesus), for forgiveness. In this way, the law us leads to Christ, Gal 3:24. Christ is the end or goal of the (Mosaic) law.

Ro 10:4 For Christ is the end of the law unto righteousness to every one that believeth

Abraham believed (had faith in) God and was considered righteous – he did the right thing, 1 Jn 3:7. Doing the “works of the Law” cannot make a person acceptable or right in God’s eye’s. Even though the sacrifices had to be made for a person to be forgiven after they sinned, Heb 10:1-11.

Ga 5:4 Ye are severed from Christ, ye would be justified by the law; ye are fallen away from grace.

The first time something is done it becomes a precedent. Since Abraham originally exhibited “faith” and God accepted this, it can be said to be a law. The right way to be accepted by God was to have faith, Gen 15:6.

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.

If a person tries to be acceptable to God by performing the “works mandated by the Law” but does not have faith, they have broken with precedent or broken the law and are cursed because of their disobedience.

Ro 9:30 What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, who followed not after righteousness, attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith:

Ro 9:31 (KJV) But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness.

Ro 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;

Heb 10:8 Saying above, Sacrifices and offerings and whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin thou wouldest not, neither hadst pleasure therein (the which are offered according to the law), (ASV)

Heb 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

[]Chapter 10

Made Alive

This is what is happening to Christians – they are being “Made Alive” – as they seek eternal life. This process begins at conversion (the Second Coming of Christ) and continues until the believer is conformed to the image of Christ. This process of confirmation is symbolized in Revelation 21:10 as the New Jerusalem descending from Heaven. This confirmation is also referred to in 2 Corinthians 5:17.

New American Standard 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.

Most denominations believe and state that Christianity (following Christ) is a personal relationship with Jesus. These same denominations deny this personal nature as it refers to the Second Coming. They state that the Second Coming is a type of corporate event which happens to all Christians at the same time.

I do not adhere to that common theology.

The Second Coming of Christ begins at conversion and is defined as Christ coming into the believer’s heart through the agency of the Holy Spirit of God.

Jesus is said to come to His temple (our bodies, 1 Corinthians 3:16) in Malachi 3:1. Then after the Second Coming (after He indwells His followers) Jesus will refine His people.

It is commonly said that the Second Coming of Christ is after this earthly life and that it can be defined as a judgment of our behavior during our earthly life. Thank God that this is incorrect.

Jesus comes the second time to help us with our salvation by refining and purifying Christians as Malachi 3:3 and Hebrews 9:27 and 28 show.

The first resurrection from the dead (being dead in sins and transgressions) also begins at conversion and is the process of a believer learning to abstain from or die to sin, just as Jesus did.

The Apostle Paul refers to His attempt to conform to this death to sin during His earthly lifetime in Philippians 3:10-13. The first resurrection is a resurrection from the condition of being dead in sins and transgressions and is defined as the formation of the nature of Christ within the believer, Colossians 1:27.

New American Standard 1 Corinthians 15:22 For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all shall be made alive.

“In Christ” all shall be made alive or resurrected. Every person who is “in Christ” so to speak will be “made alive”. The term “In Christ” is defined as “walking” or conducting your life as Jesus “walked” or conducted his earthly life, 1 John 2:6.

The way Christians are made alive is illustrated in the following verses.

Jesus has eternal life within Himself, John 5:26. The person who dwells “In Jesus” (In Christ) will partake of the life that Jesus has.

New American Standard 1 John 5:11 And the witness is this, that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.

New American Standard Colossians 1:27 to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.

Jesus followers are seeking to partake of the eternal life that Jesus has.

Christians are “made alive” by partaking of the life that belongs to Jesus Christ, in other words they must be “in Christ” to obtain eternal life. Being “in Christ” means keeping the covenant with God. This covenant is summed up by the words of the Apostle John, “love God and keep His commandments”, 1 John 5:2 and 3.

The covenant is also referred to by Jesus in Mark 12:30 and 31. Keeping the covenant includes recognizing and requesting forgiveness when a sin is committed. Many people state that keeping the “law of God” is not something mankind can do. This is incorrect because they mistakenly believe that keeping the covenant implies never sinning.

There is a provision in the law of Moses which tells us how to be made right with God after violating His commandments. So, if the law tells us how to be reconciled to God after we sin anyone who tries either successfully of unsuccessfully to keep the law is able to keep it.

Deut 30:11-14 and Romans 10:3-10 illustrate that it is possible for mankind to submit to and obey God’s standard of righteousness and do the right thing in His eyes.

Being “in Christ” means walking as Jesus did. Jesus of course fulfilled the Law by keeping the two greatest commandments and loving God with all His heart and loving His neighbor as Himself.

So, it can be said that being “in Christ” is keeping the two greatest commandments. These two commandments are equivalent to, or sum up the entire law of God. In other words, every commandment of God is fulfilled when a person keeps those two commandments.

New American Standard 1 John 5:20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding, in order that we might know Him who is true, and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

Jesus has come and given us understanding so that Christians may know God, and to know God is eternal life, John 17:3.

New American Standard John 17:3 “And this is eternal life, that they may know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.

Jesus gives us this understanding (giving us the mind of Christ) by indwelling the believer, Colossians 3:10.

New American Standard Colossians 3:10 and have put on the new self who is being renewed to a true knowledge according to the image of the One who created him

This confirmation/conformation to the image of Christ involves the accumulation of knowledge and understanding.

The grace and peace of God are multiplied or increased in the life of the individual believer through the knowledge of God and Jesus Christ, 2 Peter 1:2.

New American Standard 2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; 3. seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. 4. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, in order that by them you might become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

If a person wants more of the grace and peace of God in their lives the Apostle Peter tells us how to get it. A Christian is encouraged to learn more about God the Father and Jesus Christ.

This is accomplished by reading the word of God, which is the bible.

New American Standard Ephesians 5:26 that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word,

Not solely through knowledge does this cleansing happen. It is contingent upon the renewing of the Holy Spirit.

New American Standard Titus 3:5 He saved us, not on the basis of deeds which we have done in righteousness, but according to His mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewing by the Holy Spirit,

Peter explained the way Jesus indwells a person in acts 3:19 – 21.

New American Standard Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and return, that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; 20. and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21. whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.

As can be seen in this portion of scripture Jesus comes from Heaven following the restoration. His presence accompanies the believer.

This “restoration” is a restoration or renewal of the kingdom, or reign of God, Acts 1:6. This restoration is repentance from the rebellion that influenced Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden.

New American Standard Acts 1:6 And so when they had come together, they were asking Him, saying, “Lord, is it at this time You are restoring the kingdom to Israel?”

In Acts 1:6 the disciples raise a question. A similar question involving the word “restitution” comes to mind when reading Acts 3:21.

In Acts 3:19 and 20 it is seen that Jesus comes after personal repentance from unbelief and towards belief. The Greek word for restore in Mt 17:11 or restoration is the same as the word for restitution in Acts 3:21.

The disciples question from Acts 1:6 would then be – when is the restoration?

The answer is that the God restores His kingdom to Israel (Gods people) when an individual “repents” of their unbelief in Christ Jesus.

Acts 3:21 shows the reader that Jesus remains in Heaven until the “restoration”. In verses 19 and 20 Peter told the people that Jesus will be sent to them (individually) when they repent (from unbelief).

Jesus indwells or is present with the person who seeks Him as that person repents; this repentance is the restoration spoken of in Acts 3:21.

Jesus referred to this restoration when He was speaking of John the Baptist (John preached repentance) whose ministry restored all things, Matthew 17:11.

New American Standard Matthew 17:11 And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;

The Second Coming of Christ is the initial point when God the Father sends Jesus to indwell a repentant person, John 14:23.

New American Standard John 14:23 Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him, and make Our abode with him.

It is important to stay within the confines of the Bible. This means that the bible gives us the information that we need, and it all fits together in a precise manner.

Hebrews 9:28 tells us that the Lord comes to the world for two reasons. Once to bear sins and once for salvation.

After he indwells the individual He says that He will never leave them.

There are several places in the scriptures where Jesus is said to “come” to the believer after their initial repentance from unbelief, such as Matthew 24:50, Luke 12:36-40 and Revelation 3:3.

These comings can be called visitations or points of evaluation. It is referred to in Scripture as the Day or Days of the Lord.

Interestingly the word “visitation” in 2 Peter 2:12 pertains to the Lord’s visit’s and carries the same meaning as the word “bishop” from 1 Timothy 3:2. Possibly suggesting that one of the functions of the office of Bishop or overseer of a congregation is to help believers evaluate their performance and progress in conforming to the image of Christ.

The basis for this thought concerning “visitations” is that the Day of the Lord is a point of judgement/destruction (Joel 1:15), and Christians are judged so that they are not condemned.

This illustrates that there is a period after the Christian’s judgement (sometimes carried out by the thief/devil) during which the Christian learns obedience so as not to be condemned, 1 Corinthians 11:32.

This judgment or evaluation (evaluation is a root or definition of the word visitation) can be seen in 1 Corinthians 3:13-15. The times when the Lord comes as a thief in this manner can be seen in the events of Matthew 5:23-26.

The concept referred to in Ezekiel 20:37 is important to remember as the visitations of Christ are studied.

New American Standard Ezekiel 20:37 “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant;

As the student tries to reconcile the “comings” and “visitations” they must be limited by the information in Hebrews 9:28. There are only two reasons that Jesus appears on earth.

So if Jesus is said to come to a person after the initial indwelling or conversion experience mentioned in Acts 3:19-21 it has to be for the purpose of salvation. This makes the visitations or Days of the Lord a part of the Second Coming wherein God brings believers into bond of the covenant.

These subsequent “visitations” to the believer are employed to advance the salvation of the believer regardless of whether the visitation is for reward or discipline, Hebrews 12:2.

All visitations must adhere to the mandates of the Second Coming mentioned in Hebrews 9:28. Meaning that all visitations after the cross (the first coming) must be for the purpose of the person’s salvation. These subsequent “comings or visitations” are not to indwell the believer, since Jesus promised to never leave them after the initial indwelling at conversion.

It therefore must be for the purpose of furthering the salvation of the person. Jesus comes into the life of the person and transforms the person from glory to glory, 2 Corinthians 3:18, John 1:16. This can be defined as bringing them into the bonds of the Covenant, Ezekiel 20:37.

It is important to remember that the covenant allows for the sinner to obtain forgiveness of sins. That means that if a person sins, they can ask for and receive forgiveness and they have in that manner kept the covenant with God. They are then within the covenant. This concept of sinning and being forgiven results in righteousness, being right in God’s eyes. This is called the righteousness contained in the law.

Paul understood this righteousness, but longed for the righteousness which He could receive by faith. In other words Paul wanted to be right in God’s eyes because he did not sin, not because He complied with the covenant after He had already sinned. God can transform a person into someone who does not sin, as is seen in Genesis 20:6.

King James Philippians 3:9 And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:

When a person passes under God’s rod they can receive approval from the Lord as is mentioned in Luke 12:37. In that case the person received (spiritual) food, (had lunch with God).

The person who suffers loss as a result of evaluation is mentioned in Luke 12:46.

This illustrates the the rewards and disciplines that the Lord uses to further a Christian’s salvation, Hebrews 9:28.

In Romans 8:19 the bible says that creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. Christians are also are told to wait in Galatians 5:5.

In 1 Thessalonians 1:10 we are told that Jesus followers are waiting for Him.

If Jesus followers are waiting for Him after He has already promised never to leave them (Hebrews 13:5) “what are they waiting for”?

They are waiting to be transformed (by the renewing of their mind, Romans 12:2) into righteous a person, or a person who God has conformed to the image of Jesus Christ.

New American Standard Galatians 5:5 For we through the Spirit, by faith, are waiting for the hope of righteousness.

As Christians ‘wait’ for the God to produce in them the ability to do what is right in God’s eyes (righteousness), there are points of time in which are their performance is evaluated. We are either rewarded for correct behavior or we are corrected.

This involves pain which Paul likens to labor.

New American Standard Galatians 4:19 My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you

[]Chapter 11

Man Born Blind

I have always been convinced that God did not allow Job to go through his ordeal without Job deserving it. So as I talk these things over with people it always comes back to the verse about the man born blind (pasted below).

Joh 9:2 And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind?

I would respond that my opinion was based on the concept of “reaping what we sow”. They would then say – well there are things that we just can’t know – or some such notion.

Holding to the premise that Job must have in His case been reaping what He had sown I would stubbornly cling to my original thinking. My thinking is that Job committed some type of disobedience that brought about the affliction.

In John 9:3 Jesus disciples similarly assumed that the blindness of a chlid born blind was due to sin, but Jesus said that the blindness was not a result of the man’s sin or the sin of His parents. The disciples were right to assume this – but it was not the parent’s sin or the Man’s sin, but Adam’s sin that brought about this blindness.

So this is generally where the conversation would end, and both of us would politely agree to disagree.

We are all born spiritually blind.

We are not responsible for our spiritual blindness before we come to Christ, and our parents are not responsible for our spiritual blindness either.

The reason Jesus statement is true follows —

Joh 9:3 Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.

The concept of reaping what a person sows is true and Jesus statement is true because “Sin is not imputed where there is no law” Rm 5:13.

Ro 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. (KJV)

The blind Man’s parents were spiritually blind but the blind Man’s spiritual blindness was not their fault because they were not aware of and had not submitted to God’s law (they were spiritually blind).

Adam was not spiritually blind, therefore His sin resulted in my spiritual blindness before I came to Christ.

Now at this point in a conversation people would remind me that the sins of the Father are not communicated to the son’s.

However they would be wrong because sins are transferred to future generations.

Adam’s sin resulted in sin being communicated to all mankind (because He had the Law of God on His heart).

The real answer to the question about the Father eating our grapes and the son’s teeth being set on edge (Jer 3:29) is this.

God said that the proverb would no longer be quoted in Israel. In other words the proverb would not be true among God’s people. However it is still true before a person belongs to God because a person is spiritually blind (the result of Adam’s sin) before that person comes to Christ.

So Adam’s sin is a generational sin and the retribution for that sin (spiritual blindness) is only forgiven when a person comes to Christ, the veil is taken away in Christ,2 Corinthians 3:14.

2Co 3:14 but their minds were hardened: for until this very day at the reading of the old covenant the same veil remaineth, it not being revealed to them that it is done away in Christ. (ASV)

If a person does not accept Christ and allow God to write the Law on His heart they are not responsible for their sin and the resulting recompense. The recompense for that sin is not apparent in their lives (at least not like it is for Christians), because they do not know the Law of God and are not responsible for their disobedience.

That is why if a Christian sins, through say alcoholism, they will suffer affliction (meant for correction – 1 Cor 11:32).

However an unsaved person can be an alcoholic and may not get the same consequences in their lives because unless the law of God is written on his/her heart they are not aware of God’s law. Since they are not aware of God’s law they are not responsible for keeping God’s law. In other words, where there is no law (which is the case with the unsaved person) there is no sin/violation of that law, Ro 5:13 and 1 Tim 1:13.

Eze 18:2 What mean ye, that ye use this proverb concerning the land of Israel, saying, The fathers have eaten sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge? Eze 18:3 As I live, saith the Lord GOD, ye shall not have occasion any more to use this proverb in Israel. (KJV)

The reason Jesus could say that the blindness was not the fault of the Man or His parents is because they did not have the Law of God written on their hearts. Their sin therefore was not imputed to them because the Law of God was not written on their heart.

I think I can say that the Law was not written on the parent’s hearts because of the following verse -

Joh 9:22 These words spake his parents, because they feared the Jews: for the Jews had agreed already, that if any man did confess that he was Christ, he should be put out of the synagogue.

The parents did not have the Law of God on their hearts because they were loyal to the Jew’s instead of God.

So, the blindness was not their fault because they were not aware of the Law of God, but feared the Jews instead of God. Just as Paul in 1 Tim 1:13 they did so in unbelief.

1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

So again, if they were not aware of God’s law they were not responsible to keep it. In other words they did not accept the covenant with God, so they are not apt to receive either the blessings or the curses of the Law. The curses were to alert a Christian person that they had violated the covenant and were are not keeping God’s Law, as 1 Cor 11:32 shows.

[]Chapter 12

Parables

Mt 11:25 At that time Jesus answered and said, 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.

This is going to be of particular benefit to Christians who reject my writings because they think that the Second Coming is a time of a universal appearance of Christ.

The parable or more specifically the reason for the parable is illustrated by two sections of scripture.

  1. 1

Lu 10:21 In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.

After reading this the person will say how are these things hidden? I will try and answer this question with the following article.

  1. 2

Mt 13:11 He answered and said unto them, Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.

Mt 13:12 For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.

Mt 13:13 therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.

Parables are the method by which God conceals the truth and still lets the truths remain apparent.

If the truth is revealed to babes it becomes obvious that it is not complicated.

It is still however concealed.

So how does God conceal the truths from the wise and make them apparent to the simple?

He does this by gifting His messengers with the ability to speak in parables as has been shown. I think that this needs to be explained however.

In order to make something apparent to a simple person it must be simple. The simple straightforward statements in the bible (word of God) illustrate this. Such truths form the basis for interpretation.

This concealment is illustrated in this case in Acts 3:19-21 and Matthew 16:28. In these verses in Acts Peter says that Jesus will be sent to the individual when the person repents from their unbelief and expresses faith in Jesus.

A parable or mystery clouds this central truth by making alternate avenues of interpretation possible as is seen in Matthew 16:28.

Mt 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

Although Matthew 16:28 expresses the same truth as Acts 3:19-21, by adding details and allegorical references Matthew 16:28 is complicated. By adding such references (the interpretation of which must be based on the clearly expressed truths) the whole issue is intentionally clouded.

The parable or mysterious verses open many different avenues of interpretation. Only the interpretation, which aligns with the simple truth, is correct. The key here is to understand that the simple statements do not invalidate the figurative truths. The figurative truths but based upon the simplistic truths.

This process of opening avenues for alternate interpretations has the effect sought by the Lord.

Mr 4:11 And he said unto them, Unto you (Christian’s) it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without (Unbeliever’s), all these things are done in parables:

Many Christians become so enamored with their respective societies/denominations that they assume that unbelievers understand reality and common sense the same way they do. This is not the case of course.

Pr 9:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding. (KJV)

[]Chapter 13

Matthew 24

1. And Jesus went out from the temple, and was going on his way; and his disciples came to him to show him the buildings of the temple.

2. But he answered and said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.

3. And as he sat on the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

Jesus was asked when the temple would be destroyed. What would be the sign of His return and of the end of the world.

4. And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man lead you astray.

Since the physical body of the believer (1 Cor 6:19) is God’s spiritual temple the attempt to mislead the believer could be understood to be an attempt to destroy the temple.

5. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am the Christ; and shall lead many astray.

6. And ye shall hear of wars and rumors of wars; see that ye be not troubled: for these things must needs come to pass; but the end is not yet.

7. For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and there shall be famines and earthquakes in divers places.

8. But all these things are the beginning of travail.

Jesus says that False Christ’s; wars, famines and earthquakes do not indicate the “end” but the initial pains of a birth.

This answer sets the parameters of the Jesus answer as not being literal. The things indicating a birth in Matt 24 are not characteristic of a natural human birth.

Since Jesus is responding to a question, however hard to understand, His answer must still be applied to the question asked in verse 3. Paul commented on a birth process in Gal 4:19.

The attempted destruction of God’s temple by false Christ’s etc. indicates an attempt to disrupt the birth of a new creation, 2 Corinthians 5:17.

These events indicate destruction, and destruction is the indicator of the Day of the Lord, Isaiah 13:6 and Joel 1:15. The Day of the Lord is the appearance of Jesus for that destruction. As it applies to Christians the destruction/judgment is discipline due to sinful behavior, 1 Cor 11:32.

The appearance of a false Christ would ultimately bring about the appearance of the Lord in what is referred to as a Day of the Lord.

The abomination which brings about desolation (verse 15) refers to sin. Willful sin brings about an evaluation from God and the attempted reconciliation of the believer.

As the faithful disciples observe the abomination the awareness of sin should tell the disciples to flee away from the destruction and towards the Mountains.

Jesus warned the disciples of something (take heed) and then He describes the appearance of the subject of the warning (false Christ’s) as a birth pain. This would be done to keep the false Christ’s from disrupting the birth/growth of Jesus disciples.

God disciplines every Christian because of their sinful behavior, Heb 12:2. There is a difference between a sin committed in ignorance or by mistake, and a willful sin.

The appearance of false Christ’s suggests extreme willful sin by individuals and this would have the effect of causing the disciples to distinguish between the real and the false Christ.

The result of which would be their spiritual birth or salvation. The subsequent maturation of the disciples does not necessarily require their direction, just their endurance.

God forms the disciples into the image of Christ as Paul mentioned in Gal 4:19.

The development cannot be directed by the disciple himself. How could a newborn disciple know how to form the nature of Christ.

This development requires only the faithful endurance of the disciple himself to reach the “end”. The end of their faith being the salvation of their souls, 1 Peter 1:9.

1Pe 1:9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. (KJV)

Each of the other events mentioned – Wars, famines and earthquakes would then also be developmental events, the endurance of which would result in a disciple’s salvation.

Salvation being defined as – being saved from the wrath of God which is be directed towards the offense/sin of unbelief in God’s true messiah – Jesus Christ, Matthew 3:7 and Luke 3:7.

These spiritualized references indicate the convulsions, which a Christian experiences as Christ is formed within them. These spiritual events are not indicative of the “end” of the process of spiritual development. They indicate the beginning of travail.

The appearance of false Christ’s etc. marks the beginning birth pains or travail. The spiritual ability necessary to determine if a Christ is real or false is being born or developed within the believer.

Travail or birth pains are experienced during the beginning and endurance to the end results in salvation, Matt 24 verse 13.

This birth then would then be the birth of a mature disciple of Christ or a person who has been saved (from God’s wrath). This saved person is 180 degrees removed from a person who is not saved from God’s wrath, but has to experience it.

9. Then shall they deliver you up unto tribulation, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all the nations for my name’s sake.

10. And then shall many stumble, and shall deliver up one another, and shall hate one another.

In verse 10 some of the believers have stumbled or become sinful. By definition these sinful people would not in this instance be saved from God’s wrath but must experience it, Heb 10:26-27. This sin would then be the abomination, which brings about the destruction or desolation (the Day of the Lord) of the stones that make up the temple of God.

11. And many false prophets shall arise, and shall lead many astray.

12. And because iniquity shall be multiplied, the love of the many shall wax cold.

The believers who have stumbled have left their first love.

13. But he that endureth to the end, the same shall be saved.

In verse 13 the “end” or goal is said to be the individual’s salvation, from the desolation/destruction or wrath of God.

14. And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world for a testimony unto all the nations; and then shall the end come.

15. When therefore ye see the abomination of desolation, which was spoken of through Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy place (let him that readeth understand),

The love of many Christian’s will grow cold and they will stumble. When the faithful disciples see the abomination that brings desolation in the Holy place (this abomination is sinful behavior among God’s people) they should run to the mountains because the discipline or desolation resulting from sin is inevitable.

This then is a representation of sin (the abomination) being in the body of the believer (temple). The temple is the overall subject of this chapter and its destruction. The disassembling of the stones of the temple then would represent the discipline of the believer due to sinful behavior. The continued practice of sin would also be sign of that Jesus will come as a thief to judge and refine His followers. This is referred to as the Day of the Lord. The “end” or goal of the world can be understood through verse 13 to be the salvation of Jesus people.

The abomination or sin that is found in the believer’s life causes the temple to be disassembled. Verse 10 speaks of Christian’s stumbling or sinning.

This is the abomination that is found in the temple (or believer’s body). The abomination of sin within the believer causes the jealousy of God to bring the desolation.

When the faithful disciples notice this abomination of sin within the believer (Holy place) they should flee. This suggests the phrase “come out from among them” found in Revelation 18:4.

Re 18:4 And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues. (KJV)

The reason that the faithful disciples are encouraged to flee to the mountain (stronghold or God), is so that they do not experience the plagues or discipline that is a natural consequence of the willful sin which some of the believers have stumbled into.

16. then let them that are in Judaea flee unto the mountains:

Judea is the representation of the faithful people of God, just as the people on the rooftop and in the field are.

17. let him that is on the housetop not go down to take out things that are in his house:

18. and let him that is in the field not return back to take his cloak.

19. But woe unto them that are with child and to them that give suck in those days!

20. And pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on a sabbath:

21. for then shall be great tribulation, such as hath not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, nor ever shall be.

The reason for the “woe” in these verses is given in verse 21. There will be great tribulation resulting from the discipline of the sinful brethren and if a believer has trouble fleeing from the presence of sinful brethren they may be caught up in the discipline of their sinful brethren. This is the same thing seen in Revelation 18:4.

22. And except those days had been shortened, no flesh would have been saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened.

Verse 22 is similar to 1 Corinthians 10:13:

1Co 10:13 There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. (KJV)

God will not allow the elect to be tempted beyond their ability to endure the temptation. For the sake of the elect a means of escaping the temptation will be provided. When this avenue is taken the days of the Lord’s judgement will be shortened.

23. Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is the Christ, or, Here; believe it not.

24. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.

25. Behold, I have told you beforehand.

26. If therefore they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the wilderness; go not forth: Behold, he is in the inner chambers; believe it not.

27. For as the lightning cometh forth from the east, and is seen even unto the west; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.

The coming of the Lord will be a quick destructive force. Indicative of the Day of the Lord and the judgement of that time.

28. Wheresoever the carcase is, there will the eagles be gathered together.

Wherever the spiritually dead body is – (wherever the abomination of sin is found in the Holy place) the scavengers/devourers or demons will gather to bring about desolation. The Lord appears through their agency as a thief in the Day of the Lord. In effect Jesus uses evil beings to mature His people when they wander from faithfulness.

29. But immediately after (or amid/during, Strong’s #3326) the tribulation of those days the sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken:

The word translated as “after” can also carry the meaning of “during”.

During (amid) and following those days of desolation or tribulation the believer’s will no longer be the light of the world.

30. and then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

All the tribes mourn in such a case not because they are comfortable but because of the great tribulation brought about by willful sin.

31. And he shall send forth his angels (messengers) with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.

Jesus will come to His desolate temple and revive it by causing the wicked angels or messengers to in effect gather the Christian’s back to Christ after/during the judgement. Their sin is in this manner has brought the necessary correction, 1 Cor 11:32.

Both good and evil messengers of God are useful to God as He gathers Christians to Christ. This can be interpreted as the destruction of the Day of the Lord being carried out by demonic (evil) messengers in the case of sinful behavior.

It can also be seen to indicate that the kind messengers of God (good Angels) will comfort the Christian who has successfully overcome temptation.

This is exemplified for us through the example of Jesus being comforted by angels after temptation, Matt 4:11, Lk 22:43 and Matt 25:23.

32. Now from the fig tree learn her parable: when her branch is now become tender, and putteth forth its leaves, ye know that the summer is nigh;

33. even so ye also, when ye see all these things, know ye that he is nigh, even at the doors.

When the Christian begins to show signs of growth it becomes apparent that it is summertime. Similarly when the abomination is in the Holy place the judgment will follow.

34. Verily I say unto you, This generation shall not pass away, till all these things be accomplished.

Verse 34 is a strong affirmation showing us that the Day of the Lord is not a single instance, but a point when God evaluates the believers progress towards obedience to Christ. This evaluation/judgment happens in each believer’s life at different times as God the Father determines.

35. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

36. But of that day and hour knoweth no one, not even the angels of heaven, neither the Son, but the Father only.

37. And as were the days of Noah, so shall be the coming of the Son of man.

38. For as in those days which were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark,

39. and they knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall be the coming of the Son of man.

40. Then shall two man be in the field; one is taken, and one is left:

41. two women shall be grinding at the mill; one is taken, and one is left.

42. Watch therefore: for ye know not on what day your Lord cometh.

43. But know this, that if the master of the house had known in what watch the thief was coming, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken through.

This shows that Jesus comes (His will is brought forth) through the agency of the thieves or demonic entities.

44. Therefore be ye also ready; for in an hour that ye think not the Son of man cometh.

Watching in verse 43 is the same watching that is encouraged in 1 Thessalonians 5:6. It is “being alert” so that a Christian does not fall into sin.

1Th 5:6 ¶ Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. KJV

45. Who then is the faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath set over his household, to give them their food in due season?

46. Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.

The coming mentioned in verse 46 is not the Second Coming. The Second Coming occurs at conversion, Acts 3:19-21. This coming is a time of judgement or evaluation. After this judgment process angels are sent to gather Jesus followers back to Him.

This shows that the Second Coming (bringing forth salvation) seen in Hebrews 9:28 is a lifelong process of change and is similar to the “end” spoken of in Matthew 24:13. The endurance of this process of change results in salvation. When the Lord comes, and finds His servant “so doing” he is rewarded with further progress into the kingdom of God. This concept is found in Matt 25:21 and 23.

What this means is that although we use the term “saved” as a descriptive term for Christians (those who follow Christ) the term cannot be accurately applied until the person has endured to the “end”.

Heb 9:28 So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

47. Verily I say unto you, that he will set him over all that he hath.

The Christian’s who are found to be faithful on the Day of the Lord (time of judgement) be rewarded by the Lord.

48. But if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord tarrieth;

49. and shall begin to beat his fellow-servants, and shall eat and drink with the drunken;

50. the lord of that servant shall come in a day when he expecteth not, and in an hour when he knoweth not,

51. and shall cut him asunder, and appoint his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be the weeping and the gnashing of teeth.

If a Christian is not alert or falls asleep they will be hypocrites and will be disciplined as the hypocrites are disciplined.

[]Chapter 14

Rapture Parable

The Rapture theory hinges on the word “prevent” (greek = phthano). This word appears 7 times as is seen in the New Testament verses below —

Mt 12:28 But (de) if (ei) I (ego) cast out (ekballo) devils (daimonion) by (en) the Spirit (pneuma) of God (theos), then (ara) the kingdom (basileia) of God (theos) is come (phthano) unto (epi) you (humas).

Lu 11:20 But (de) if (ei) I with (en) the finger (daktulos) of God (theos) cast out (ekballo) devils (daimonion), no doubt (ara) the kingdom (basileia) of God (theos) is come (phthano) upon (epi) you (humas).

Ro 9:31 But (de) Israel (Israel), which followed (dioko) after the law (nomos) of righteousness (dikaiosune), hath (phthano) not (ou) attained (phthano) to (eis) the law (nomos) of righteousness (dikaiosune).

2Co 10:14 For (gar) we stretch (huperekteino) not (ou) ourselves (heautou) beyond (huperekteino) our measure, as (hos) though we reached (ephikneomai) not (me) unto (eis) you (humas): for (gar) we are come (phthano) as far as (achri) to you (humon) also (kai) in (en) preaching the gospel (euaggelion) of Christ (Christos):

Php 3:16 Nevertheless (plen), whereto (eis) (hos) we have already attained (phthano), let us walk (stoicheo) by the same (autos) rule (kanon), let us mind (phroneo) the same thing (autos).

1Th 2:16 Forbidding (koluo) us (hemas) to speak (laleo) to the Gentiles (ethnos) that (hina) they might be saved (sozo), to (eis) fill up (anapleroo) their (autos) sins (hamartia) alway (pantote): for (de) the wrath (orge) is come (phthano) upon (epi) them (autos) to (eis) the uttermost (telos).

1Th 4:15 For (gar) this (touto) we say (lego) unto you (humin) by (en) the word (logos) of the Lord (kurios), that (hoti) we (hemeis) which (ho) are alive (zao) and remain (perileipo) unto (eis) the coming (parousia) of the Lord (kurios) shall not prevent them which are asleep (koimao). {prevent: or, come before, or, anticipate, or, precede} (KJV)

As you can see the common translation of this word is encompassed by the concept of “coming unto”. Placing the word “Come” where phthano is in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 we get this -

Incidentally, even if a person uses the popular translation of “phthano”, which is “come before”, the same idea can be seen. Those alive are not to “Come before” those who sleep.

Whether the phrase “come before” or “come unto” is used, the verses can be seen to convey the Lord’s command. The Christians who are alive spiritually (awake) are not to attempt to wake the willfully sinful brother or sister. The Lord will accomplish this through discipline. The point being that the Lord commanded this so that the faithful believers’ (those who remain awake) will not be led into the sin of their “sleeping” brethren.

1Th 4:15 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 come unto them which are asleep.

The next verse then says that the Lord will come to them. The Lord is telling us not to “go before” those who are spiritually asleep in willful sin (1 Thessalonians 5:6). God will bring the sleepers back into the resurrection or obedient Christian life referred to in Colossians 3:1.

Jesus physical resurrection is a pattern for us to use. Our compliance or identification with Jesus physical resurrection is encompassed or fulfilled when we abstain from ungodliness, Romans 6:1-11. Our learning not to sin (resurrection) is the action of grace, Titus 2:11 &12. Christians are resurrected from the state of being dead in sins and transgressions when they abstain from ungodliness, or sin.

The Lord tells us in 1 Corinthians 5:11 not to keep company with disobedient people who call themselves Christians.

1Co 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

Now I know that the following instruction is scriptural and appears to contradict 1 Cor 5:11.

Ga 6:1 ¶ 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. {if: or, although}

This is clarified in Hebrews 10:26-27 where the concept of willful sin is introduced. A mistake leading to sin is not the same as willful sin. Willful sin suggests that a person may be sinning without desiring repentance which of course will bring judgment from the Lord.

The Lord Jesus does not want faithful Christians to be influenced towards sin by a brother or sister who may be sinning willfully.

Heb 10:26 For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins,

Heb 10:27 But a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries.

Keeping company with someone who considers themselves a Christian but willfully sins is discouraged because their sin is going to bring certain judgment from the Lord.

The judgment is meant to correct the disobedient Christian so they will not eventually be condemned, 1 Corinthians 11:32.

Christians are encouraged to come away from disobedient people who are about to be judged.

The book of Revelation encourages us to come out from among “them” so that we do not participate in their plagues (judgments), Revelation 18:4.

1 Thessalonians 5:2 shows that the Lord will raise the believing sleeper by employing the judgement referred to as the Day of the Lord. This application of the discipline of the Lord will result in the sleeper’s waking up and not sinning. Then the sleepers will be awake or become alert and they will join those who remained awake (actively abstaining from sin) in the clouds (Gods presence) to meet the Lord in the air, (the domain of Satan).

Since the former sleepers eventually join those who have “remained and were alive” – the phrase in the air indicates that this event happens during their lifetimes and on earth, while the air surrounds us.

It is apparent that in the spirit (after physical death when we are absent from the body and present with the Lord) we will have no need of air, but here on earth we need it to live, and Satan is called the prince of the power of the air.

1 Thess 4:13. 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.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring with him.

15. 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 (in the presence of the Lord) shall not “COME BEFORE” them which are asleep.

16. 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:

17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds (clouds symbolically refer to God’s Spirit), to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words.

1 Thessalonians 5

1. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you.

2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night.

3. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.

4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief.

5. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness.

6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober.

7. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

8. But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation.

9. For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ,

10. Who died for us, that, whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with him.

11. Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.

[]Chapter 15

Rapture Parable Explanation

Just as with the Tongues explanation, if you do not have time to read and study the extended explanation page that I wrote, this is the quick version.

The Rapture is a Biblically non-existent doctrine.

It is a misguided interpretation by people who have not studied the bible enough to have an educated opinion, or have adopted the opinion of another person as their own.

The bible sets forth many concepts, and their definitions need to be biblically understood. If the Biblical concepts are defined by a dictionary definition or with a doctrinal slant they can be misguided.

The biblical concepts themselves must be individually understood before the interpretation of a parable incorporating these concepts can be interpreted.

So to the point.

The so-called rapture verses begin with 1 Thessalonians 4:13 and continue through 1 Thessalonians 5:11.

These verses are simply directions to the Christian not to attempt to correct willfully sinful/backslidden brethren.

This concept is simply and clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 5:11.

1 Corinthians 5:11 But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolator, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner; with such an one no not to eat.

The individual Christian is told not to “Go before” the willfully sinful or “sleeping Christian”. Jesus commanded the believers who were alive and who faithfully remained in His presence (Coming) to avoid, or not “go before”, the sleepers.

He did not say this to convey to them information they were already aware of, that information being that – “the Christians who have died while in the faith are with the Lord. That would have been a simple information exchange.

A command or word from Jesus (given through Paul the Apostle) would do more than convey information already obvious to the follower of Christ, it would direct the follower of Christ in a direction, as if to say do this and don’t do this.

The reason that the remaining brethren are told not to “go before” their sleeping brethren is seen in verse 16.

The Lord Himself will deal with that willfully sinful or backslidden person (sleeper), through the application of judgement.

The judgment is called – the “Day of the Lord”. This judgment is to be carried out or administered by Jesus.

The judgment takes the form of Jesus allowing the “thief” or devil to inflict limited (limited by Jesus), discipline upon the “sleeping Christian” until the sleeper “wakes up” and stops sinning.

After the correction the formerly backslidden believer will be welcomed back into fellowship with the believers who “remained” faithful to Christ Jesus.

They will meet Jesus in the Spirit (or cloud) at that time and they will do this in the air – or in this earthly life – wherein we are surrounded by “air”.

This entire ordeal is then biblically summarized by 1 Corinthians 11:32.

1 Corinthians 11:32 King James Version (KJV) 11:32But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

[]Chapter 16

Rapture Verses

NAS – 1 Thessalonians 4: 13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning them that fall asleep (were not vigilant) ; that ye sorrow not, even as the rest, who have no hope (hope of the first resurrection, which occurs during the believer’s earthly lifetime, and consists of the resurrection of a person who has been dead in sins and transgressions into a new life in Christ {Colossians 2:13 and 3:1}.

The word “vigilant” (Strong’s 1127 = awake) is used here to describe the opposite of the condition described as that of being asleep. “Vigilant” is the definition of one of the Greek words used to define the condition of being alert and sober or not being asleep, which is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:6.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so them also that are fallen asleep (were not vigilant) in Jesus will God bring (lead) with him (God will raise the sinner just as He did Jesus).

15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, (This a command from the Lord) that we that are alive, that are left unto the coming (in the presence) of the Lord, shall in no wise precede (come before or come unto- Strong’s #5348) them that are fallen asleep (who were not vigilant).

The Lord Jesus commands the faithful not to come before the “sleepers”. Similar to the command from 1 Corinthians 5:11.

16. 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.

Jesus will deal with the “sleepers” not the believers who are awake. Jesus will revive or awaken them and at that time the dead in Christ will hear the Lord they will be raised.

17. then we that are alive, that are left, shall together with them be caught up in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

After the sleepers arise they will join the believers who remained faithful in the Spirit. This will all happen in the “air” where the devil is prince, this will happen in this earthly lifetime.

1 Thessalonians 5 – 1. Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you.

2. For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord (time of discipline) will come just like a thief in the night (carried out by the devil in a time of darkness)

3. While they are saying, “Peace and safety!” then destruction (discipline) will come upon them (those who were not vigilant) suddenly like birth pangs upon a woman with child.

The backslidden believer was in the process of having Christ formed within them, but they fell asleep (were not vigilant), and this “sleep” required the Lord’s judgment to wake them up. They will be corrected and brought into the resurrected life, 1 Corinthians 11:32.

This allusion to birth pains/pregnancy is to a type of pain caused by the chastening of the Lord being visited upon the individual, Isaiah 26:16 and 17. The sleeper waking or becoming alert because of this chastening suggests that their condition of inattention was corrected through the chastening of the Day of the Lord.

4. But you, brethren, are not in darkness (are vigilant), that the day (of discipline) should overtake you like a thief (carried out by the devil);

5. for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;

6. so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

The “sleep” referred to here is a voluntary thing that the disciples are encouraged to avoid.

7. For those who sleep do their sleeping at night (time of darkness), and those who get drunk get drunk at night (time of darkness).

8. But since we are of the day let us be sober, having put on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet, the hope of salvation.

9. For God has not destined us for wrath (discipline), but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,

10. who died for us, that whether we are awake (vigilant) or asleep (not vigilant), we may live together with Him.

11. Therefore encourage one another, and build up one another, just as you also are doing.

[]Chapter 17

Rapture

1 Thessalonians 4

13. But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep

(Practice willful sin),

that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.

14. For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so

(in the same way)

them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring

(lead)

with him

(God will bring about their resurrection from sinfulness (Colossians 3:1) in the same way that He brought about Jesus physical resurrection, Romans 6:10 & 11).

15. For this we say unto you by the word of the Lord, that we which are alive and remain

(we who remain faithful)

in the Coming

(in the presence)

of the Lord

shall not prevent them which are asleep.

(Approach or come unto)

Here is a key portion, The Lord forbids Christians from approaching (going before) these sleeping brethren. Why? Because He will personally bring them back to an “alert” condition by using the discipline that accompanies the Day of the Lord.

The application of this judgement will “wake them”. This is identical to the admonition in 1 Corinthians 5:11. Don’t fellowship with willfully sinning Christians, don’t even eat with them, the Lord will deal with them personally.

16. 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.

(The Lord deals with the willfully sinful Christian, not the faithful believers)

The Lord will correct the sinful behavior through the judgment referred to as the Day of the Lord (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

Then after their discipline the sinning believers will stop their willful sin and can be welcomed into fellowship with their brethren who have remained faithful and in the presence of the Lord. This concept is found in 1 Corinthians 5:11.

17. Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds

(Presence of God),

To meet the Lord in the air

(Where Satan is prince of the power of the air, Ephesians 2:2)

And so shall we ever be with the Lord. 18. Wherefore comfort one another with these words. 1 Thessalonians 5 1. But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you. 2. For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night. 3. For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape. 4. But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief. 5. Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness. 6. Therefore let us not sleep, as do others; but let us watch and be sober. 7. For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night.

Paul is seen in 1 Thessalonians 5:6 to counsel His students to avoid sleep. Does this mean that to be a faithful Christian we are to give up sleep? Yes – at least the kind of sleep Paul is referring to in these verses.

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 5:6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.

This type of “sleep” is then the type that causes a person to not be alert or sober.

1 Thessalonians 4:13 refers to people who are asleep and the same sleep is referred to in 1 Thessalonians 5:7. The subject is the state of those people called the “sleepers” and that subject has not changed as the transition is made from chapter 4 to chapter 5. The proof that there has been no change in topic is seen as the word “them” is used in 1 Thessalonians 5:3. The use of this word suggests a continuation of the conversation concerning the group of people mentioned in chapter 4.

This means that the “sleep” referred to is actually the sinful condition of some of Paul’s fellow Christians.

This same “sleep” is likened to being “dead in Christ” in 1 Thessalonians 4 verses 16. This can be called being dead in sins and transgressions, Ephesians 2:1.

The method of change from “sleeping” to being “awake” is alluded to in these verses. That method is “attention directed towards the sound of the Trumpet”.

The Lord descends in the sound of the Trumpet. He descends in a shout or “command” and He descends in the voice of the chief messenger. This is not a physical descent.

Jesus is the first and the Last. He is the personification of the sound of the trumpet, Revelation 1:10-18.

— New American Standard Revelation 1:10 I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice like the sound of a trumpet,

— New American Standard Revelation 1:17 And when I saw Him, I fell at His feet as a dead man. And He laid His right hand upon me, saying, “Do not be afraid; I am the first and the last,

1Th 4:16 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:

To literally interpret an obvious “parable” is to read the bible through the eyes of the unlearned Christians or unbelievers, per the relation of a message in tongues in 1 Corinthians 14:11 and 16.

A parable is a “mystery” or message expressed in Tongues, 1 Corinthians 14:2 and Matthew 13:14.

Paul intended the reader or recipient of this letter to understand that he was veiling this information in a “mystery” and not speaking literally.

— New American Standard Matthew 13:13 “Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.

— New American Standard Matthew 13:14 “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, `You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

A literal interpretation of 1 Thessalonians 4:16 distorts the meaning of these verses in order to suggest what is commonly called a “rapture”.

A mystery or parable is intended to allow believers to understand and to hide the true meaning from unbelievers and unlearned or “ungifted” believers, 1 Corinthians 14:16 and 23.

1 Thessalonians 4 and 5 are referring to “sleep” as the condition of being willfully involved in sin.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15 the group of “sleepers” is contrasted to the group who has remained in the coming or “presence” of the Lord.

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 5:10 who died for us, that whether we are awake or asleep, we may live together with Him.

It can sound here as if the term “sleep” is physical death since it is said that being absent from the body it being present with the Lord, 2 Corinthians 5:8 and 9. This is however not the way that Paul uses the term “sleep” in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5. In 1 Thessalonians 5:6 Paul tells His students not to “sleep”, making this type sleep a choice that they had.

The term “sleep” in 1 Thessalonians 5 is related to being asleep in sins and transgressions. Since this term is so close to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 (only a few sentences away), Paul was using the term “sleep” in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 thru 18 in the same way. This would be an allusion to willful sinful behavior.

Most popular explanations of these verses must change the wording (sometimes without telling the reader) to support a “rapture theory” etc. They must infer that the Apostle did not know what He was talking about.

In 1 Thessalonians 4:15 Paul included himself in the group of people remaining until/in the Coming/presence of the Lord.

Paul did not think he was going to live throughout history to experience a future event. Neither did he think Jesus was going to literally descend in the clouds during his lifetime.

According to these verses Paul knew what He was writing about, that being that he would experience the coming or presence of the Lord. In fact Paul was experiencing the so-called “coming” at that time, according to verse 15. This verse tells us that Paul was remaining or abiding in the coming (presence) of the Lord.

If we hold to the inerrancy of scripture we cannot discount this statement or merely suggest that Paul was overzealous and mistaken. The “one time future event” theory of the Second Coming must be our position if we hold to the contemporary opinion concerning the Second Coming of Christ. But that assumes that the Apostle Paul did not understand the “coming” of the Lord.

Rather than Paul being mistaken it is much more likely that our contemporary Christian opinion is incorrect regarding the “coming” of the Lord being a onetime future event.

I do not think that Paul misunderstood the nature of the coming of the Lord. He knew that He would experience the indwelling of the Lord in His lifetime. This indwelling of the Lord is the “Presence” or “Coming” of the Lord, Acts 3:19-21.

This of course means that I believe that Paul understood that he would experience the “Coming or presence, of the Lord”. The clear majority of contemporary Christians do not agree with this.

However, to discount this opinion I must state that Paul did not understand the nature of the coming of the Lord. If I adopted this opinion I would be in agreement with the vast majority of contemporary Christians and in disagreement with the words of scripture. I will not knowingly disagree with scripture.

This difficulty is completely done away with when the word “Coming” is translated as the word “Presence”.

The word translated “coming” can just as accurately be translated as “presence” as is shown in the following definition from the Strong’s concordance.

3952. parousia parousia, par-oo-see’-ah

from the present participle of 3918; a being near, i.e. advent (often, return; specially, of Christ to punish Jerusalem, or finally the wicked); (by implication) physically, aspect:—coming, “presence”.

To understand these verses a few adjustments in translation must be made and the basis for these adjustments must be understood as accurate translation. As the verses which require alternate translation are studied the reasons and the accuracy of the new wording will be shown to be equally as accurate as the original translation.

A person should understand that the translation from Greek to English is not exact. Each word can be translated accurately and defined accurately by several English words.

When looking closely at the verses in 1 Thessalonians chapter 4 beginning at verse 13 we can understand the following -

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 4:13 But we do not want you to be uninformed, brethren, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve, as do the rest who have no hope.

Paul is writing to His brethren and encouraging them not to grieve over those who are “asleep” as others did. The Sadducees denied the resurrection and can be considered those who have no hope of a resurrection, Acts 23:8.

Verse 14 further defines those who “sleep” as “the Christians who have fallen asleep in Jesus”.

So we know that these people were Jesus followers before they fell asleep.

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 4:14 For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who have fallen asleep in Jesus.

We also now know from verse 14 that God the Father will do to those who “sleep” just as He did with Jesus, they will be resurrected from this death or from being dead in sins and transgressions. This is evidenced through the use of the phrase “even so” which means “in like manner”.

They will be brought back to life or resurrected. The problem is that they have fallen asleep in sin and separated themselves from the presence of Christ.

The “sleepers” were believers before they fell “asleep”. They had already repented from their initial unbelief and Jesus was sent to them (Acts 3:20), and they had begun their spiritual resurrection from being dead in sin.

I feel that the descent or visitation of Christ that is mentioned in 1 Thessalonians 4 is intended for the discipline of the Christian.

I say this because the dead in Christ are said to meet Christ and the living saints when Jesus resurrects them from their “sleep”. There is no mention of Paul dying, but there is a mention of His being alive and remaining. Paul says that He will be united with these resurrected “sleepers” and he also includes Himself in the group of those remaining, 1 Thessalonians 4:17.

This being the case the “sleepers”, having been reunited with Paul who was alive, must also have been rendered alive again after the encounter with the Lord.

Both groups will then be with the Lord forever. The Lord has said that he will never leave the faithful Christian in Hebrews 13:5.

It is said that death cannot separate a person from the love of Christ, Romans 8:39. This is not the separation of a “sinful person” or “sleeper” from the love of Christ but from the “presence” of the Christ.

These verses do not speak of the loss of salvation, but the exact opposite. They illustrate that Jesus will bring a “sinful” believing Christian back into His presence through the discipline which occurs during the period of time referred to as the “Day of the Lord”.

— New American Standard — 1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until the coming of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep.

The Greek word “Coming” in verse 15 can be accurately translated as “Presence” as is seen in the above reference from the Strong’s concordance. The word “until” is generally translated as the English word “in” as is seen from the following reference -

1519. eiv eis, ice

a primary preposition; to or into (indicating the point reached or entered), of place, time, or (figuratively) purpose (result, etc.); also in adverbial phrases:—(abundant-)ly, against, among, as, at, (back-)ward, before, by, concerning, + continual, + far more exceeding, for (intent, purpose), fore, + forth, in (among, at, unto, -so much that, -to), to the intent that, + of one mind, + never, of, (up-)on, + perish, + set at one again, (so) that, therefore(-unto), throughout, til, to (be, the end, -ward), (here-)until(-to), …ward, (where-)fore, with. Often used in composition with the same general import, but only with verbs (etc.) expressing motion (literally or figuratively).

With these valid adjustments in translation verse 15 can now accurately be read as follows —

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain “until” (In the) “coming” (Presence) of the Lord, shall not precede those who have fallen asleep (fallen into sin).

Those who have fallen asleep in Jesus are separated and made to appear distinct from those who have “remained in the presence of the Lord”. Those who are not in the “presence” of the Lord are those people referred to as having “fallen asleep” in Christ.

So to summarize what has been said so far — there is one group who has remained in the presence of the Lord and one group who has forsaken the presence of the Lord and chosen willful sin.

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trumpet of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first.

Verse 16 requires that the reader remember that Paul is telling his brethren why they should not grieve concerning those who have fallen asleep.

The Lord will descend and deal with the brethren who “sleep” in Christ and have not remained in Jesus presence. These are described by the contemporary term of “backsliders”.

They will ultimately “rise” and resume the resurrection (Col 3:1) which they began at conversion. This will happen after the Lord has intervened in their lives to correct their willfully sinful behavior.

The method in which Jesus deals with these “sleeping Christians” is described in 1 Thessalonians 5:2 and 3 as the “birth pains” or “travail” which occurs during the “Day of the Lord”, Gal 4:19.

Here it is necessary to understand what Paul meant when He spoke of “rising”. Paul’s understanding of “rising” is seen in Colossians 3:1.

— New American Standard Colossians 3:1 If then you have been “raised up with Christ”, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.

This resurrection is clearly seen to be a progression as is understood from Paul’s statement in Philippians 3:11-13.

In these verses Paul states with reference to the resurrection from the dead that He had not yet attained it, but continued to strive towards it. This striving is happening in Paul’s life on earth and the resurrection spoken about happens while a person is on earth.

Christians are “risen” or “rising” from the dead when they seek the things above where Jesus is seated, Colossians 3:1. It is seen that Christians begin their resurrection from the dead at conversion, Acts 3:19-21.

Throughout their lives, they should continue to strive towards the fulfillment of that resurrection. This is a resurrection from the condition of being dead in sins and transgressions.

A person described as being “asleep” is now seen to be a Christian who has not remained in Jesus coming/presence. This person requires divine intervention to “wake up” or stop sinning. They have not continued to seek the things, which are, as Colossians 3:1 suggests, “Above where Jesus is seated”. Jesus intervention is necessary to help them continue what is called the “resurrection” from the dead or the first resurrection.

Jesus is an amazing person who, motivated by the Fathers love, seeks to help us redeem ourselves, despite ourselves.

The new term introduced at this point is “wake up” or “awake”.

In this context, the state of being “awake” is seen to be one where a person does not dwell in darkness, 1 Thessalonians 5:5.

Darkness in this verse is not a literal absence of the sun’s light, but the spiritual sinful condition of being separate from the light of Christ, John 8:12. This same thought of being in darkness can be expressed as a person who is not in the light of Jesus “presence” and not seeking the things that are above.

— New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 5:5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness;

— New American Standard John 8:12 Again therefore Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall not walk in the darkness, but shall have the light of life.”

It becomes clear that these people who “sleep” are not those who are physically dead but are those Christians who have not remained in the spiritual condition called the “presence” of the Lord. They have fallen “asleep” or fallen back into sin.

Keep in mind that the “Coming of the Lord” is accurately translated “Presence of the Lord”.

When the word “coming” is interposed with the scripturally accurate concept of “presence” many misunderstandings in this area of Christian doctrinal interpretation can be avoided.

Paul tells His brethren in 1 Thessalonians 4:13 not to grieve over those, which are asleep in Jesus.

God will “raise” the “sleeping Christians” or as 1 Thessalonians 4:14 says, “bring” or “bring forth” those sleepers just as Jesus was brought forth.

The word bring can and is translated as “bring forth” (Strongs word number 71) in two instances in the KJV.

71 agw ago ag’-o a primary word; ; v AV-bring 45, lead 12, go 7, bring forth 2, misc 5, vr bring 1; 72

The term “bring them forth with Jesus” refers to God helping them progress in their spiritual resurrection just as He physically raised Jesus from the dead.

Philippians 1:6 illustrates what is happening and being described in these verses from 1 Thessalonians and 1 Corinthians.

— New American Standard Philippians 1:6 For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it “until” (in or during) the day of Christ Jesus.

God is finishing the good work that He began in the lives of the backslidden brethren by initiating the “retribution” (Heb 2:2 RSV) or the judgment of the “Day of the Lord”.

The fallen brethren will be perfected or brought forth into the resurrected life of Christ because of this judgement. This is more clearly understood when seen from the perspective of 1 Corinthians 11:32.

— New American Standard 1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

To further identify this so-called “sleep” notice that in 1 Thessalonians 5: 6 the brethren are encouraged not to “sleep”.

Paul encourages the brethren not to sleep as those who are “dead in Christ” do.

The admonition “keep themselves from sleeping” suggests that they have the choice of whether to sleep or remain awake. It becomes clear then that the aforementioned “sleeping” Christians would have previously and “willfully” chosen to go to “sleep”.

The word “willfully” is very important. A willful sin is different from a mistake, and from being overtaken by a temptation. Willful sin is the practice of sin as a regular condition. After conversion willful sin brings judgment, Hebrews 10:26.

Paul tells the people that God will teach the sinning brethren not to sin. In scriptural terminology this refers to bringing about their resurrection from spiritual death.

The Christians who (as 1 Thessalonians 4:15 suggests) have remained in the presence (Coming) of the Lord are told not to “come unto” (the meaning of “phthano” the word translated “prevent” means to (Come unto), those Christians who are currently asleep.

This is in keeping with 1 Corinthians 5:11, which instructs Christians not to eat or fellowship with willfully sinful brethren.

Jesus will Himself wake the “sleepers” through the application of the discipline of the Lord referred to as the “Day of the Lord”. This discipline is carried out by the thief during the period of spiritual darkness called night, in which the disobedient Christian is asleep.

Sinful Christians are not to be condemned by the faithful followers of Jesus. They are to be gently corrected as we are told in Galatians 6:1.

— New American Standard Galatians 6:1 Brethren, even if a man is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, lest you too be tempted.

Below is the definition of the Greek word translated “Prevent” in the King James Version of the Bible (KJV).

5348. fyanw phthano, fthan’-o apparently a primary verb; to be beforehand, i.e. anticipate or precede; by extension, to have arrived at:—(already) attain, come, prevent.

It is very important to understand that Paul is relaying a “command” from the Lord Jesus in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Jesus is saying that the faithful Christians are not to “come unto” their sleeping brethren, He will bring them back into an alert condition.

The brethren who remain awake and in Jesus presence are right in their relationship with God and the “sleepers” need correction, which Jesus will bring about if the “sleepers” continue to believe or remain in the faith.

If the sleepers do not respond to a person’s “gentle correction”, leave them for Jesus to deal with through judgment. This is in keeping with the concept of coming out of Jerusalem (the church about to be judged) when you see impending judgment, so as not to participate in her plagues.

New American Standard 1 Thessalonians 4:15 For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, and remain until (In) the coming (Presence) of the Lord, shall not precede (come unto) those who have fallen asleep.

16 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;

Those that are dead in Christ are said to “rise” first. This resurrection must take place before something can happen. This “something” that must take place first is their resurrection.

After their resurrection occurs or more properly “is resumed” (since they were in Christ before they fell asleep) they can then join or meet their brethren in the presence of the Lord.

This means that when Paul included Himself in the group of people remaining until (in) the Coming (presence) of the Lord he was not confused.

Most people think that because Paul expected to be alive when the “Coming” occurred and that He was simply overzealous.

They think Paul expected Jesus to appear in the clouds in His generation. The Second Coming of Christ Jesus is a spiritual occurrence that happens or begins at conversion and does not end. Jesus continues to come into our lives forever, Isaiah 9:7.

Every person and generation is given the opportunity to be involved in the Second Coming of Christ and the discipline associated with the Day of the Lord, as the generation of those people in Matthew 16:28 were.

Mt 16:28 Verily I say unto you, There be some standing here, which shall not taste of death, till they see the Son of man coming in his kingdom.

— New American Standard Isaiah 9:7 There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will accomplish this.

Those referred to as dead in Christ will first rise (rise from being dead in transgressions and sin) and then they will join those that have faithfully remained in the “presence” of the Lord. They will not join their brethren in the “presence” of the Lord until they have stopped willfully sinning.

Why must they “rise” first before they can join their brethren who have remained in the presence of the Lord?

A person cannot remain awake (alert or in the “presence” or Coming of the Lord) while they are “asleep” or while they willfully remain in a sinful condition.

As to this sinful condition of “sleep” being a “willful” condition consider the following -

Right after Paul tells the faithful brethren that they will/should not come to their “sleeping” or sinful brethren, He then goes into a discussion concerning the “Day of the Lord” in 1 Thessalonians chapter 5.

The Day of the Lord is a time or period of recompense or retribution, reaping what a person sows.

It becomes clear that the willfully sinful brethren will be brought back to the “presence” of the Lord through the correction or recompense visited upon them during the time of recompense, 1 Corinthians 11:32.

As the Lord descends upon these sinful Christians He deals with them through judgement to correct their corrupt behavior.

This judgement of the “Day of the Lord” is described after the question about the Dead in Christ is addressed. This shows us that the “sleep” has been willful sin because the Day of the Lord (or the time of judgement) is to be expected only after a Christian “willfully” sins, Hebrews 10:26-27. At that time, the man of sin or the man who sins is revealed, 2 Thess 2:3.

This concept of willfully sinning is contrasted with the person who accidentally or ignorantly sins.

— New American Standard Hebrews 10:26 For if we go on sinning willfully after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27. but a certain terrifying expectation of judgment, and the fury of a fire which will consume the adversaries.

During the time or period of recompense called the “Day of the Lord” only Jesus Christ will be exalted or considered acceptable. Everyone else will be humbled.

As far as mankind is concerned the correction of the “Day of the Lord” will not come unless the Christian falls away and proves to be a “man of sin”. The correction visited upon them during the “Day of the Lord” then brings them back into the presence of the Lord.

Jesus will be the standard or measuring rod against which others will be judged.

Isaiah 2:11 The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and the LORD alone shall be exalted in that day.

Isaiah 2:17 And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and the LORD alone.

[]Chapter 18

Second Coming Condensed

There are many denominations that state that Christianity is a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Generally, these same denominations deny this personal aspect as it relates to the Second Coming of Christ.

I feel that this is a misguided interpretation of the Holy Bible.

1. Here is what I have come to believe about the Second Coming.

— New American Standard Hebrews 9:28 so Christ also, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, shall appear a second time for salvation without reference to sin, to those who eagerly await Him.

This is interesting in that Jesus appears to those who eagerly await Him and not to everyone as is generally assumed.

According to Hebrews 9:28 Jesus comes or appears for two reasons. Reason number one was to die on the cross. Reason number two was for salvation.

Reason number one was completed when Jesus died on the cross. If Jesus comes after the first coming (His death on the cross) then the coming after the first is necessarily the second, and it concerns a person’s salvation.

Peter said in Acts 3:19 and 20 that Jesus comes to a person through the Holy Spirit when that person repents. Since the coming referred to in Acts 3:19-21 comes after the first coming then it must be the Second Coming. After the indwelling of the believer Jesus says that he will never leave or forsake the Christian, Hebrews 13:5.

John the Baptist (coming in the Spirit of Elijah, Luke 1:17) was said to restore all things in Matthew 17:11.

— New American Standard Matthew 17:11 And He answered and said, “Elijah is coming and will restore all things;

John the Baptist preached “repentance”, and the ministry of repentance (from unbelief) brings about the restoration of Mankind’s personal relationship (Father/Child relationship, Luke 1:17) with God, through Jesus Christ.

Jesus said that John the Baptist came in the Spirit and power of Elijah in Matthew 11:14. In the example of John the Baptist and the reference to Elijah, Jesus prepared his followers to understand a spiritual appearance.

Just as the disciples initially expected to see Elijah literally reappear Jesus followers expect Jesus to physically come.

Acts 3:19-20 shows that Jesus will come to the individual when they repent. However Acts 3:21 says that Jesus will remain in Heaven and not appear until the restoration (repentance) happens.

This restoration is an individual’s repentance or conversion – it is the Second Coming of Christ. Jesus comes to the individual through the agency of Holy Spirit just as the Apostle Peter said.

Acts 1:11 says that Jesus will come in the same way He left.

— New American Standard Acts 1:11 and they also said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven.”

Jesus ascended into heaven from earth and the Second Coming will involve His coming from Heaven to the earth, as Acts 3:21 indicates. Peter preached that Jesus would come to earth (Second Coming) and indwell and abide with the individual believer, Acts 3:19-21. Jesus referred to this in John 14:15-28.

2. There are additional “comings” mentioned in the bible. These visitations are called the “Day or days of the Lord”.

The day or time of the Lord, is a time of judgment or recompense, 2 Peter 3:7.

Recompense can take two forms, approval or disapproval, Romans 3:4. Jesus judges the sheep and goats (His flock or people, Ezekiel 34:17 and 20) and some enter the kingdom and some enter the fire, 1 Corinthians 3:15.

The day of the Lord is not the Second Coming; the two terms refer to two distinct concepts.

The “Day” is a time of visitation consisting of the approval or discipline that Christians receive as they are being conformed to the image of Christ.

The Second Coming is the arrival of Christ in the life of the believer. After the life of the believer is changed through the “presence” of Christ they become a new creature and the growth process begins.

The time or “day” involves the application of a rod (judgment), or the gentleness and approval of the Lord resulting in a reward.

This approval can result in a blessing as opposed to the application of a rod of correction. The “Day of the Lord” has to do with salvation when it applies to believers. The accompanying judgment (fire) corrects sinful people, thereby furthering their salvation, 1 Corinthians 11:32. This entire concept is summarized in one sentence in Ezekiel 20:37.

— New American Standard 1 Corinthians 11:32 But when we are judged, we are disciplined by the Lord in order that we may not be condemned along with the world.

The discipline or the Day of the Lord comes as a thief. In other words, the discipline is accomplished by delivering the Christian to the limited power of the thief (devil) for the Christian’s correction.

The Christian is different from the unbeliever. When the unbeliever is judged this judgment results in their condemnation, because of their unbelief.

— New American Standard Ezekiel 20:37 “And I shall make you pass under the rod, and I shall bring you into the bond of the covenant;

The Apostle Paul uses Himself as an example of the visitation of the Lord (The Day of the Lord) as He comes to visit the Corinthians in 1 Corinthians 4:21.

3. Jesus uses parables to teach people as the bible mentions in Matthew 13:34. He explains why in Matthew 13:14 and 15. The reason for speaking in parables is to keep unbelievers from understanding the message.

This is the reason that the bible seems confusing to many people. In cases when the person does not understand the Bible they must conclude that either they are an unbeliever or unlearned. Being an unbeliever is not acceptable to God however being unlearned (Act 4:13 etc.) means simply that they have not finished learning about Jesus.

Pr 25:2 ¶ It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter. (KJV)

— New American Standard Matthew 13:34 All these things Jesus spoke to the multitudes in parables, and He did not speak to them without a parable,

The judgment mentioned in Matthew 25:31 is the judgment referred to as the “Day of the Lord”.

The theme of John the Baptist’s ministry was “repentance”. The preaching of repentance will come before the judgment of the Day of the Lord, Malachi 4:5. God gives people a chance to repent before He judges them.

— New American Standard Malachi 4:5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord.

The judgment or Day of the Lord will come upon a person because an abomination (sin) is in the Holy place, where Jesus should be. Becoming desolate is the result of the judgment of God brought about by the abomination of sin occupying Jesus rightful place (the human heart). In other words the individual person will be given the opportunity to repent from whatever abomination they have allowed to occupy the place in their lives where Jesus should reign, Mark 13:14.

— King James 1 Corinthians 15:34 awake to righteousness, and sin not; for some have not the knowledge of God: I speak this to your shame.

— New American Standard Mark 13:35 “Therefore, be on the alert for you do not know when the master of the house is coming, whether in the evening, at midnight, at cockcrowing, or in the morning

— New American Standard Mark 13:36 lest he come suddenly and find you asleep.

4. According to 1 Corinthians 14:23 there are two types of people who will not understand a message in tongues (parable). The first person is the unlearned Christian and the second person is a person who does not believe (obey) Jesus. The purpose of tongues is seen to be effective because the unlearned church and sinful or unbelieving people do not understand the mysteries Jesus spoke of.

Jesus used parables (tongues) so that unbelievers would not understand His words, Matthew 13:14 and 15.

Matt 13:14 — New American Standard Matthew 13:14 “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says `You will keep on hearing, but will not understand

[]Chapter 19

To the Point

A Study of Tongues

When Jesus referred to what is commonly called tongues the context was separation, Matt 13:14. In Isaiah 28:11 (The first biblical mention of Tongues) the Priest’s had been rebellious (unbelieving) and had rejected and forgotten the knowledge God had offered them. God had allowed the devil to steal some of their knowledge of the kingdom (Matt 13:11-12, Hosea 4:6).

They were sliding backwards in their relationship with God. As a result the enemy captured them. In effect, God separated believers from unbelievers (1 Cor 14:22). In the case of Isaiah 28 the unbelieving Priests were separated from Isaiah.

It should be noted that this is a gift of speaking, not hearing. The ability to spiritually hear (understand) comes into play in Matt 16:17.

Jesus is our example and in order to understand the phenomenon called tongues we have to first see what He did and said about the topic.

This study will begin with Mark 16:17 where Jesus said that in His name this sign (tongues), among other signs would follow those who believe. Jesus Himself endorsed this phenomenon, and as with any sign it is meant to communicate or confirm something to others.

Speaking generally this is to signify or prove that God is involved in this event, as if to say God has put His signature on it.

In Acts 2:3 we see that tongues of fire came and rested on each of those present. The phrase tongues of fire is translated in some versions cloven tongues of fire, which is more accurate.

The literal wording is that “languages of fire were distributed” to them, distributed being number 1266 in the Greek dictionary of the New Testament contained in the Strong’s concordance to the Bible and languages being number 1100.

Seen through spiritual eyes, this is a New Testament fulfillment of an Old Testament shadow of things to come.

In Second Chronicles 7:1 we see the fire of God consuming the sacrifices and the Glory of the Lord filling the House of God in response to Solomon’s prayer. Romans 12:1 tells us that Christians should present their bodies as living sacrifices. 1 Corinthians 6:19 states that Christians are the Temple of God.

In concert then we see the fire of God descending upon the Temple. As is the case with the burning bush in Exodus 3:2, the living sacrifice is not consumed. In this case the living sacrifice speaks forth the language of fire becoming a witness (sign) and a bearer of the fire.

When they spoke languages of fire the discussions themselves were a sign to others that these people were Jesus witnesses, Acts 1:8.

God is described as a Consuming fire Deut 4:24, and there is a biblical correlation between fire and the purifying of metal. It is logical then that this new form of communication will purify Man’s heart.

The next event referred to is in Acts 2:5-11. Devout (God fearing, 2126 Strong’s) Jews in Jerusalem from every nation under heaven heard about this event and came to see what it was all about.

Jews by definition were from Israel and a non-Israelite could become a Jew through circumcision of the flesh, Ex 12:48. From Acts 2:5 then we see that converts to Judaism were in the group in Jerusalem.

The group of Jewish believers and converts was amazed because they each heard the Galileans speaking about the mysteries of God (1 Cor 14:2) in their native languages.

The native language of the Jews in the group was Hebrew and the native languages of the Jewish converts are mentioned in Acts 2:9-11.

The power from God to be Jesus witnesses included the ability to speak of the mysteries of God (speak in Tongues), 1 Cor 14:2.

It was apparent to the Jews and converts that the Galileans (including uncircumcised followers of Jesus) had received the ability to discuss the mysteries of God.

Until Pentecost only those circumcised in the flesh could/were perceived to have partaken of the covenant with God.

Why would hearing the Galilean followers of Jesus declare the wonders of God be a sign from God to the Jews and converts to Judaism?

One reason that seems to be logical is that God wanted the hearers (circumcised Jews) to know that He had accepted those speaking (both circumcised and uncircumcised people from Galilee).

God had given these Galileans the knowledge necessary to understand and speak about the same spiritual mysteries that the God Fearing Jews understood.

They were enabled to speak this way by God; therefore they were to be treated as brethren by the circumcision group.

For an example of this refer to Acts 10:47 where Peter recognized the outpouring because of the language spoken.

In the above mentioned case and in Acts 2:11 it was not the language spoken that served as the sign but the content of the discussions that indicated to the hearers that God had given this “knowledge” (Lk 8:10) to these individuals.

It is important to remember that circumcision was a Jewish requirement and also a requirement for converts.

Now the Jews were hearing people being moved upon by God and they had not undergone physical circumcision.

What was God trying to tell them? He was telling them for one thing, that the reality had come and the shadow was no longer a requirement. The shadow being physical circumcision and the reality being circumcision of the heart.

The painful ordeal called circumcision that had been required in order to have a covenant relationship with God was now being replaced, i.e. a change in the law (Heb 7:12).

Those who had allowed this to be done to them were understandably upset that others were given the same gift without having to go through the physical pain.

The thing they did not realize at the time was that the removal of the fleshly desires from the heart is much more painful than the temporary physical pain caused by circumcision, Ex 12:48-49.

To understand better a knowledge of the times will be helpful.

In Isaiah 9:1 Galilee is referred to as Galilee of the nations (or Gentiles). They were considered to be aliens and separated from God up until this time.

Another fact to remember in discussing this is found in Matt 4:25 where we are told that great multitudes followed Jesus, and some of His followers were non-Jewish people, Matt 15:25 and Acts 2:9-11.

Galilee was a melting pot of nationalities and languages; it was not one place but a circle of cities or a district.

The fact that the God-fearing Jews and converts heard the Galileans in their native languages should be not considered the focus of the explanation of this event. This is not a gift of hearing but a gift of the ability to speak concerning the mysteries of God.

The Jews and converts to Judaism heard the Galileans speak in their native languages simply because some of the Galilean speakers were from the nations from which the Jewish converts were native.

The focus of the event was that Gentiles could now participate in the covenant. This can be seen in Peter’s explanation mentioned in Acts 2:14-21 and in Joel 2:28-32.

In Acts 2:6-11 the Jewish believers and converts were commenting on the fact that they heard the Galileans speaking of the “wonderful works of God”.

This was familiar to them because they understood the same “truths” when they entered into their covenant with God.

To assume or read into this event the unscriptural theory of ecstatic utterances is to unduly mystify the topic when a scriptural alternative is available.

This is actually referring to spiritual understanding being communicated, in the speaker’s own language.

Which is indicating to the hearers that spiritual understanding had been given to the speakers by God (refer to Mt 16:17).

The entire doctrine which can more accurately be called a tradition, of ecstatic utterances was based on a misunderstanding of Acts 2:6 and 7 and 1 Cor 14:2.

Peter was not only explaining this to the Gentiles but also telling His Jewish brethren that this was a fulfillment of prophesy.

So if the God-fearing Jews and converts heard the Galileans speaking the covenant language then they must conclude that God was pouring His Spirit out on all flesh.

This was in response to circumcision of the heart. Regardless of whether or not the person was circumcised in the flesh.

Below is a description of the languages spoken, we know that languages of fire-

1. declare the works of God

2. are a sign to the hearers

3. the recipients of this gift of languages of fire are given it so that they can be Jesus witnesses

4. God-Fearing people understood the things being said

5. Languages of fire speak of the mysteries of God

To briefly look at the topic from another standpoint, consider what Jesus said to John the Baptist when He was being baptized. In Matt 3:15 He tells John to baptize Him because it was right.

Since Jesus would command people to be baptized He allowed Himself to be baptized. He did not need to be baptized but to serve as our example He submitted to it.

This is mentioned because some people think that even though Jesus was our example He did not speak in tongues because He was the Christ and did not have to. This conclusion is clearly unscriptural.

In 1 Jn 2:6 Jesus is said to be our example. The point being, that if Jesus was baptized in order to do what is right and serve as our example He also must have spoken in tongues as an example to His followers.

Nowhere in the Bible is it mentioned that Jesus spoke in the ecstatic utterances, which are referred to as tongues in some sections of the Body of Christ. Regardless of the misunderstanding some people in the Body of Christ have concerning Tongues, as our “example” Jesus unquestionably spoke in Tongues.

Those who think differently do not understand how the Bible describes speaking in Tongues. These people have invented their own form of Godliness and call it speaking in Tongues.

The Bible says that if a person abides in Christ he must walk as He walked, and Jesus said that those who follow Him would speak this way. Also in the case of the Apostle Paul we are told that He spoke in these languages of fire more than most, 1 Cor 14:18.

Just as in Jesus case, the Apostle Paul is never seen in scripture to speak in ecstatic utterances.

Regarding ecstatic utterance there is no record of Jesus or the Apostle Paul actually demonstrating this, but as both examples and teachers there are many demonstrations of their relating the deep mysteries of God.

Referring to the five aspects of languages of fire it can be seen that these two Individuals most certainly communicated this way.

1. Both declared the works of God

2. Their speech was a sign to others

3. Paul was certainly a witness to Jesus

4. God fearing people understood both of them, and rebellious people had trouble accepting the things they said.

5. Both Jesus and Paul spoke of the mysteries of God more than others did, (we know for certain that people who speak in languages of fire relate mysteries 1 Cor 14:2).

Neither Jesus nor Paul were ever seen to speak in any language that was unintelligible to the hearers except when speaking to people who were rebellious toward God, refer to John 10:19. God does not allow rebellious people to understand with their heart, Mark 4:11.

When Jesus disciples asked Him why He spoke to rebellious people in parables in Matt 13:10-14 and Luke 8:10, He said that this “knowledge” had not been given to them.

Jesus here fulfilled Isaiah’s commission, Isaiah 6:9.

A similar type of speech is referred to by Paul in 1 Cor 2:13.

The Apostle Paul said in 1 Cor 14:21 that this language of fire is spoken of in the law, here refer to Isaiah 28:11. This statement of Paul’s links the Old and New Testament understandings of Tongues.

The words translated with stammering lips in Isaiah 28:11 can be translated – with a people (or person) of “strange language”. The word that was translated stammering is number 3934 in the Old Testament Hebrew dictionary contained in the Strong’s Concordance to the Bible.

This section of scripture (Isaiah 28:11) refers to God speaking to Priest’s that He had called to but who did not respond correctly to His call.

Because of this incorrect response (rebellion) God decided to speak to them through a person that they could not understand.

This is a fulfillment of what Jesus said in Matt 13:12. They no longer possessed the spiritual knowledge they once had, it had been stolen from them, Matt 13:1-12.

Isaiah and the drunken priests spoke the same earthly language but they did not speak the same spiritual language.

The Priests could not understand the spiritual truths (mysteries) Isaiah was relating to them. They trusted in ‘Lies” as Isaiah 28:15 says, they thought they would be spared God’s judgement.

As a result of the incorrect response to the call of God the Priests did not understand the meaning of Isaiah’s message and the enemy (devil) captured them, (rebellious or hard-hearted people are allowed to backslide).

This message of Isaiah’s seemed to be foolishness to them 1 Cor 1:21 and 1 Cor 2:14.

The message in Tongues delivered to the Priest’s by Isaiah can be read in Isaiah 28:14-29.

1. This language of fire in this case would be a sign to those who did not respond correctly to God’s call and they would understand that they were foreigners to those speaking, 1 Cor 14:11.

If I (placing myself in the position of the drunken priests in Isaiah 28 to illustrate my point) see a person obviously as blessed by God as Isaiah was and yet I do not understand what He is talking about I am obviously a foreigner to Him.

This should serve to alert me to the fact that since He (Isaiah) is obviously blessed by God but I do not understand Him, that God has not given me the same knowledge that He has given to Isaiah (1 Cor 2:14).

Note that a person can (referring again to the example of the priests in Isaiah 28) be a priest and still be unbelieving.

The drunken Priests rejected and forgot the knowledge concerning the rest of God (Hosea 4:6 and Isaiah 28:12 and Heb 4:3), because of this they were captured by the enemy.

These rulers of Israel (Christianity) had the responsibility of teaching others, Isaiah 28:9.

However because of their unbelief they received from God only a little understanding here and a little there. How could these priests teach those maturing?

If a person does not understand a teaching about the mysteries of God (someone speaking in tongues) either they are an unbeliever Matt 13:14 or unlearned 1 Cor 14:16.

2. This language of fire would then burn up the chaff and purify or edify the believer, since the understanding of the mysteries of God can do nothing to the believer but make him or her stronger in The Holy Spirit.

So we have Peter and Joel describing the event in Acts chapter 2 and Jesus and Paul and Isaiah telling us why some understand and some do not. The following paragraphs address questions that can be raised in regard to Isaiah 28.

Were those speaking in tongues to the rebellious Priests in Isaiah 28:11 the invading armies of the Assyrians?

If this were the case then the Assyrians would be speaking to them regarding the mysteries of God, 1 Cor 14:2.

This could not have been the case because the Assyrians were unbelievers. The one speaking to the rebellious priests in Tongues was Isaiah the author and prophet, in fulfillment of His commission from God (Is 6:9-10).

The question of who is speaking in Isaiah 28:11 is important also because a person could wrongly conclude that the drunken priests are the people speaking to or teaching the Israelites with stammering lips.

Isaiah 28:12 shows us that it is God (the One directing the Priests into the rest of the Lord) who will speak through stammering lips (strange language) to the drunken priests (who would not listen).

In 1 Cor 14:21 the Apostle Paul also tells us that the one speaking in Isaiah 28:11 is the Lord. It is of course God speaking through Isaiah.

Another concern could be that the Apostles are seen as the only people who could speak in tongues. This is seen not to be true by referring to Acts 11:15-17.

Here it is seen that Peter refers to the Gentiles receiving the same gift that He did.

The Gentiles would then be candidates for speaking in tongues, just as those present and speaking in tongues on Pentecost were.

The people who oppose the doctrine of tongues generally accept the same basic definition of what “tongues are” as the charismatic denominations do.

It is almost universally accepted in Christian denominations that tongues are “ecstatic utterances”. The variations with regard to this doctrine are generally concerned with the use of the gift.

To regard tongues as “ecstatic utterances” has absolutely no scriptural support.

They feel that the actual act of speaking in tongues pertains to “ecstatic utterances” or “unintelligible melodic sounds spoken in rapid succession”, which is absolutely unscriptural.

By making these sounds those who practice this type of activity believe that they are communicating with God. One of the reasons for this misunderstanding is due to the mistranslation of 1 Cor 14:2, which is addressed in the next few paragraphs.

The rest of the study will address some of the possible difficulties with this explanation of the languages of fire, from a charismatic point of view.

Regarding the statement in 1 Cor 12:10 an examination of the Greek word reveals that the word “interpretation” can be translated as the word “explanation”.

A person can speak of spiritual truths but since God is actually speaking not everyone can explain these truths.

By substituting the word explanation for the word interpretation a new understanding will become clear.

In 1 Cor 14:2 many translations state that a person speaking in an unknown tongue speaks to God not to man for no man understands Him.

The translation “unto God” and “unto man” can just as easily and accurately be translated “by God” and “by man”.

We are specifically told that God is speaking to man when He employs someone and speaks through them in mysteries.

This agrees with Isaiah 28:11 where it is indicated that God will speak, and not man.

The Greek dative case of the word is called an “instrumental case of the dative form”. When the dative is used to denote an instrument of a certain action.

So the word “unto” can accurately be translated as “by” and in this case is mistranslated as “unto”.

With this translation of the word the verse reads—

1 Cor 14:2 For he that speaketh in an unknown tongue speaketh not—by men—but— by God—for no man understandeth him: howbeit in the spirit he speaketh mysteries.

This then agrees with Isaiah 28:11, and again as is the case in the Job study, a very small mistranslation has created an unscriptural method of thinking.

As far as the rest of the 1 Cor 14:2, we are told that no one understands – but upon consideration – this contradicts all the descriptions of languages of fire (tongues).

In several cases including the instance in Acts 2 we are told that God fearing people did understand, only those referred to as unbelievers and ungifted (unlearned) did not understand.

In view of this and looking at the Greek word that is translated “understands” (Strong’s 191) but which can literally be translated “hears”, the Apostle Paul is clearly making reference to Isaiah 28:11-12.

When speaking in 1 Cor 14:2, the phrase no one “understands” would read no one “hears”.

In summary then we know that rebellious people don’t hear, listen, or understand the word of God.

There is an interesting distinction in 1 Cor 14:24, both “unbeliever” (Strong’s 571) and those referred to as “ungifted” in 1 Cor 14:16 and again in 1 Cor 14:24 (Strong’s 2399) are identified as those who do not understand languages of fire.

In 1 Cor 14:2 these languages are said to relate the mysteries of God, it is clear from the previous discussion why unbelievers will not understand.

Also those who are new Christians or unfamiliar with the mysteries being related at the time will possibly have a hard time understanding as well.

All the more reason why the Apostle Paul would rather speak in terms that would be understood by all present in the Church at the time.

Languages of fire, so to speak (Tongues), are meant to be a sign to rebellious people, indicating to them and to others around them that they are foreigners to the speakers (Christians) and not brethren.

Put another way they are strangers to the covenants of promise, Eph 2:12.

Either the Holy Spirit has not shown them the reality of the spiritual truths because they did not respond correctly to the call of God, or they are not yet mature enough to understand the speaker.

Looking at another possible problem in 1 Cor 14:14 where it is usually conveyed my spirit prays but my mind or understanding is unfruitful.

Consider that the mind being unfruitful is saying that the mind is not bearing fruit, in other words the mind of the person speaking did not produce this.

This again agrees with Isaiah 28:11 because this is produced by the Spirit of God who is speaking through man.

According to 1 Cor 14:14 if a person prays in a language their Spirit prays, this verse shows us that in biblical terminology speaking in the spirit and in tongues are the same thing.

In 1 Cor 12:3 speaking by the Spirit (Holy Ghost) is also mentioned, this reference tells us who is moving the person to speak.

By combining the two verses we can see a clearer picture of speaking by the spirit. The person speaking may be expressing what is in his or her spirit but the ideas being spoken about are originating with God.

These verses then agree with first Biblical mention of tongues in Isaiah 28:11.

In 1 Cor 14:15 if a person prays or praises (while inside {so to speak}) the Holy Spirit, then they can possibly be misunderstood or not understood at all by the unlearned.

The word used for unlearned is Strong’s 2399 “uninstructed” and is different from the word used for unbelievers which is Strong’s 571 “unbelieving”.

Our idea of music or singing is related to the type culture we live in. Singing in the Spirit (Singing about the wonders or mysteries of God) was done by the Israelites in psalms. Singing about the mysteries or wonders of God would equate to singing hymns in whatever culture a person is from.

The Apostle certainly wants to speak in or by the Spirit, but if the mysteries spoken of in the Spirit cause a person not to understand then He would rather speak with His mind.

To clarify what the Apostle means when He says He will pray and sing (Strong’s 5567, which means Praise) with His understanding or mind refer to the use of the term understanding in 1 Cor 14:19.

There it can be seen that the phrase speak words with His mind means to be speaking in order to be understood by the hearers to instruct them.

Refer to 1 Cor 8:13 and remember that Spiritual wisdom is referred to as meat in 1 Cor 3:2.

To be understood this “speaking in order to be understood” should be contrasted with the reason a person speaks in Tongues with regard to unbelievers.

As a sign to unbelievers, the gift of tongues is a tool to show the unbeliever that they are foreigners to the one speaking.

Paul could certainly speak in great detail concerning the mysteries of God. His “knowledge” of the mysteries is certainly above the heads and beyond the understanding of most.

He chose to be understood by the hearers rather than to try to force-feed them meat when they were not ready for it. He gauged his discourse in the Church to the maturity of those present.

Jesus also commented on this when He told His disciples in Jn 16:12-13 that He would not tell them certain things because they could not bear them.

He withheld spiritual wisdom so as not to injure believers with difficult sayings or teachings.

Jesus gives us an example of the proper use of Tongues in John 6:60-66. He uses the language of the fire of God at a time when both believers and unbelievers are present.

In keeping with separating believers from unbelievers Jesus in these verses used the mysteries spoken of to separate the wheat from the chaff.

This resulted in the unbelievers turning back from following Him. In effect purifying the Body of Christ, Mt 13:34.

For someone to speak in the Church words to hard for the believers present to understand is discouraged by the Apostle.

Paul preferred to speak to be understood by the hearers when speaking to believers, in order to instruct them.

Speaking with spiritual wisdom (mysteries) to separate believers from unbelievers is necessary at times (tongues -1 Cor 14:2).

Speaking with the mind concerning the mysteries of God, intending to be understood by the hearers is also necessary (prophesy -1 Cor 14:3).

Each is useful depending on whether believers or unbelievers are being addressed, and Paul said He would use both forms of communication, 1 Cor 14:18-19.

See 1 Cor 2:6 and 7 for an explanation of where Paul spoke hard sayings—among the mature.

Regarding the topic of intercessory prayer in Rm 8:26-27. Consider that in Philippians 2:13 we are told that God works in us to will and do.

This being the case and comparing these verses we can conclude that God speaks to our heart with reference to His will.

Searching our hearts then we will know what the mind of the Holy Spirit is (Philippians 2:5) and we can then make intercession for the saints according to God’s will.

1 Cor 14:6 explains that languages of fire may contain or consist of-

1. revelation

2. knowledge

3. prophecy

4. teaching

In reference to the use of prophecy (4395 Strong’s) remember this word simply means speaking forth the words of God to comfort or build up and edify others, 1 Cor 14:3.

Speaking in Tongues is the God given ability to relate the mysteries of God to people in a way that believers will understand and unbelievers will not.

This explanation of the Gift of speaking with languages of Fire will possibly be met with some opposition.

Consider which explanation is easier to verify scripturally this one or those differing from it, and then decide as the Spirit of God leads you. This is only an opinion and as such is probably flawed in some way.

The understanding of mankind can never compete with that of God. The Book of Revelation says that adding to or taking from the words of this prophecy will result in penalties. I feel that this warning pertains to the whole of scripture and not just the Book of Revelation, 2 Tim 3:16 and Rev 22:18-19.

The rewards for obeying the Word of God and the penalties for disobeying the Word of God can be clearly seen in our lives by other people, Matt 12:33 and 1 Cor 11:19.

It is clear that there are many unscriptural doctrines that religious people adhere to. It is equally clear that this is one of the reasons that there are not more Christ-like people in the Body of Christ.

In recent years there has been much prayer in agreement with Jesus prayer to make the body of Christ One, certainly God is answering this prayer.

Consequently Jesus followers are – at this moment in answer to Jesus prayer – being united with the Father in the same manner that Jesus Himself is united to the Father, Jn 17:21.

We are coming into the unity of the knowledge of the Son of God, Eph 4:13.

We must recognize that this means that some of us will have to abandon our opinions especially the ones that can be summarized by the words “I think”. Opinions are fine but they must ultimately rest on the word of God.

The real question becomes, will we be able to minister God’s love to each other knowing that some have been right and some mistaken.

Jeremiah 5:14 Therefore, thus says the LORD, the God of hosts, Because you have spoken this word, Behold, I am making My words in your mouth fire And this people wood, and it will consume them.

As a brief statement of Faith the following is included -

I believe in The Triune God – Salvation through Jesus Christ alone and that the Bible in its original langauges is the inspired Word of God.

The Scripture quotations are taken from these fine Bible translations -

“New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright 1989, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.”

Or

“Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission.” (www.Lockman.org)

Copyright 2002 Brian Mickelsen

ISBN 0-9718476-0-6

This booklet or any portion of it may be freely reproduced in its unaltered form but not for resale purposes. It is available free on the Internet at the following address — www.angelfire.com/ab7/brmicke

These articles were written to address three questions that I have wondered about for some time.

1st article. What is Speaking in Tongues?

2nd article. Why did Job suffer through his ordeal? -

3rd article. Are Christians supposed to keep the law?-

I have tried to answer these questions thoroughly, and to anticipate and answer some of the questions that may arise in relation to them.

There are certainly doctrinal errors within the text, I do not presume to have written without error.

The references to “Strong’s” refer to the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance to the Bible by James Strong. The Hebrew (Old Testament) and Greek (New Testament) dictionaries contained within the concordance are invaluable.

The bulk of the material contained herein is not the conventional wisdom accepted by the Body of Christ. I truly hope that you will study the scriptural references provided before forming your opinion.

Sincerely — Brian

A Study of Job

To understand the point of the book of Job a person must look at what has changed within Job’s heart, during the course of the book. In the beginning of the book God calls Job blameless. In Job 32:1 we see that Job considered Himself righteous.

It is very apparent throughout the book that Job thought He was pleasing God. In the midst of the affliction He still did not recognize what He was doing wrong, Job 6:24.

The first question that will be addressed is whether God calling Job blameless is the same thing as Job considering Himself righteous. It is significant that at the end of the book Job despises himself and repents, Job 42:6.

Since Job repented at the end of the book it becomes apparent that He discovered something within Himself during the course of the ordeal from which He needed to repent.

Since Job is the main character it is reasonable to assume that God wants us to see and gain understanding from the way he discovers and deals with his problem.

At first he denies that there is a problem, later in the book he recognizes and deals with his self-righteousness (Job 32:1-2).

In keeping with the character of a Godly person, when he recognizes his fault it does not take him long to repent.

In chapter 1 verse 1 Job is called blameless. Consider whether the Lord called him blameless because he approached God on God’s terms, or was he called blameless because he did not sin?

Not only is Job referred to in this way but also Zacharias and Elizabeth were in Lk 1:6. As was Paul in Philippians 3:6 and Noah in Gen 6:9.

Joseph is called just in Mt 1:19, John the Baptist was just in Mk 6:20. Simeon was just in Lk 2:25 and Cornelius was just in Acts 10:22.

Most of those who stand out or are greatly used by God and even change history are referred to in similar terms.

According to Job 1:5 Job knew about and sought forgiveness from God by practicing the sacrificial system. It is not a small thing to note that Job did this “continually”. This sacrifice was an exercise in faith i.e. doing things God’s way as opposed to man’s way which Cain tried in Gen 4:3-5.

According to some resources Job was approximately a contemporary of Abraham. In Rm 4:3 we see that Abraham was considered righteous on the basis of faith. This being the case with Abraham, Job must have been considered righteous on the basis of faith as well.

Job was not sinless, He simply made the prescribed sacrifice to God when he sinned and was forgiven. After doing this He could rightly be called blameless.

Referring to Job 1:8, the literal translation of the Strong’s Hebrew words coded 7760 (put) and 3820 (heart) can convey the simple idea of Satan “desiring” Job. This seems to be more correct than translating the two Hebrew words as “have you considered”.

This wording does not convey the idea of God offering up Job to Satan as an example of strength. Rather this rendering allows the reader to consider whether God was drawing attention to the fact that Satan “desired” Job. Satan was operating in his role as tempter and accuser of the brethren when he desired Job, Matt 4:3 and Rev 12:10.

This is in keeping with the idea of Satan seeking whom he MAY devour, or is allowed by God to devour (1 Pet 5:8). Consequently Job was given over to the tormentors, Matt 18:34.

This brings to mind Peter who Satan also desired, and as in Job’s case this request of Satan’s was not denied.

The Lord gives Peter instructions to carry out after he has been sifted by Satan in Lk 22:31-32, they were “strengthen your brethren”.

This also fits nicely with the verse in Proverbs 16:7. When a man’s ways please the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him — Satan being our chief enemy. In these cases the individuals mentioned were handed over evidently because their ways did not please the Lord.

Another problem that can be addressed is the one that arises in Job 2:3.

Most versions translate the Hebrew word coded 2600 in Strong’s concordance as “without cause”.

Suggesting that God allowed Satan to do these things to Job for no reason other than to enter into a competition with Satan.

Suggesting that the God of the universe who originally threw Satan out of Heaven would have to prove His superiority. This explanation is not consistent with Gal 6:7 (reaping what a person sows), as well as the concept of justice itself.

We know that God is completely just, Deut 32:4.

This idea is stated in such direct terms that we can be sure the Holy Spirit does not want any misunderstanding about the fact that we will reap what we sow. Christian’s reap what Jesus sowed, just as Jesus reaped what we deserved.

When God judges us to have willfully stepped out of the narrow way (the way of the truth – Jesus is the way and the truth – Jn 14:6) we can expect God’s judgement, Heb 10:26-27.

We will reap the whirlwind (Hosea 8:7) during times of willful disobedience just as God spoke to Job out of the whirlwind in Job 38:1.

God speaks to us in this way if we do not cooperate with Him and take an active part in purifying our hearts.

There are to my knowledge only two places in the New Testament where God asserts in no uncertain terms that He is in charge, Gal 6:7 which is referenced above and Rm 9:21.

Romans 9:21 is the story of the potter having authority over the clay. This verse is sometimes used to make the point that God can be unfair if He wants to, a very unbiblical theory.

Job simply reaped what He had sown during a time of willful disobedience, as opposed to what a person reaps when they are keeping the covenant.

Job offered sacrifices to obtain forgiveness.

This tells us that he knew of and chose to take part in the covenant. We see that He also knew what was acceptable to God and what was not. He could therefore be described as a law unto Himself, Rm 2:14.

Since God judged Job (Job 40:8) we know that He had willfully sinned (Heb 10:26-27). Since He asks why God allowed this to be done to him it is apparent that Job had rejected and forgotten the knowledge of the truth relating to self-righteousness, Hosea 4:6.

If a person sin’s willfully after receiving a knowledge of the truth there is no longer a sacrifice for sin, Heb 10:26-27. Since this is a willful sin it is clear the person knows it is sinful and must have violated and possibly hardened their conscience in order to commit the sin.

We see that Job was not forgiven but experienced God’s judgement upon His willful sin. He was not forgiven until He repented, Job 42:6.

This I feel, is why Jesus requires us to confess our sins to be forgiven. We must know what the sin is and by confessing it we understand what we were doing wrong.

Since Job was judged and not forgiven – we know that He understood that self-righteousness was wrong and rejected and forgot the knowledge concerning this, Job 32:1 and Hosea 4:6.

The Apostle Paul tells us that He was forgiven in 1 Tim 1:13 because although he sinned He did it out of ignorance.

I find it very interesting that most Christians do not consider that being saved actually means that we are saved from God’s judgement upon sin, refer to Matt 3:7 and Rm 1:18 etc.

In this case Job was not saved from God’s judgement on sin.

Returning to Job 2:3, the Strong’s word 2600 can be translated “useless”. The Hebrew word 2600 is translated as “useless” in Pr 1:17 and also in Malachi 1:10.

If the word “useless” or “uselessly” is placed where “without cause” traditionally is it would seem that God is saying to Satan, your affliction of Job did not cause Him to recognize and deal with his sinfulness.

This conclusion is reached because God could have stopped the situation if it was just, but God apparently had not achieved the desired result.

If the translation of this one small word is seen in this light then a whole new understanding of Job becomes clear.

If Job was afflicted by Satan in vain (in vain – is one of the definitions of the Hebrew word 2600 in Strong’s concordance), then the affliction had not accomplished the result God desired.

This is one reason God allowed Satan to intensify the affliction.

Job had not become aware of the reason Satan had been allowed to steal and destroy His possessions.

Job did not judge His own heart correctly (1 Cor 11:31) and did not feel the need to repent, (essentially calling evil good).

There was self-righteousness in His heart but He refused to repent of it. He had rejected and forgotten the knowledge necessary to avoid God’s judgement in this area, Hosea 4:6.

Hosea 4:6 tells us that an Israelite (Christian) is destroyed because of a lack of knowledge. The verse then goes on to indicate that these people rejected and forgot the knowledge necessary to avoid this destruction.

We know from this verse that Job had previously rejected and forgotten any thought that He was not righteous, (right in God’s eyes).

Remember Job was the greatest man in the east. This title must have been a reward from God for His previous behavior; he must have had great authority. It is clear that this was given to Job by God since no one can receive anything unless it is given to him from heaven, Jn 3:27.

I believe that this self-righteous attitude crept up on Job. As a Godly person he would not have been rewarded in life with the elevated position of the greatest man in the east if he were not doing things God’s way. We can see this through his continually entreating God by sacrifice.

This is evident also because he frequently refers to his previous good works. The pure intentions of a person wanting to please God can be seen.

Possibly he began to believe that He alone was responsible for His obvious success.

Before continuing I would like to draw attention to some things.

In the first correction in this study of Job we saw that Job was righteous by faith (faith that a sacrifice would cleanse Him before God, Gal 3:22) and not sinless. This would not affect the overall understanding of the book because with study a person could come to this conclusion.

The second correction deals with Satan “putting his heart on Job” or desiring Him versus the translation “have you considered”.

I feel this is just a difference in the grammar of the people to whom the particular translation of the Bible was addressed. The people alive when King James had the Bible translated understood the English language differently than we do today.

That leaves the unfortunate translation of the Hebrew word coded 2600 in Job 2:3 (without cause), as the chief reason so many people have misunderstood the lessons God wants to teach through this book.

Some misinformed people assume that the book is meant to illustrate that a person may be afflicted undeservedly to accomplish some unknown purpose of God. This is a completely unscriptural conclusion and those who feel this way are actually accusing God of being unjust.

There is an interesting progression in Job. After the first series of disasters Job 1:22 states that he did not sin or charge God foolishly.

The next time Satan presented himself to God, God told Satan that this series of afflictions was “useless” or “in vain”.

Satan would not have been allowed to continue vexing Job had He at that time searched his heart to find the problem, as is apparent at the end of the book (Job 42:6). God quickly put a stop to the affliction once Job recognized and dealt with the unscriptural condition of His heart.

Our loving Heavenly Father wants to free us from sin – and being just – He did not remove the affliction until Job recognized and dealt with the problem.

God had to alert Job to the fact that some of the behavior that He considered correct was actually wrong. Job did not recognize that He needed to repent, and things went from bad to worse.

In Job 2:10 it is written that in all the previous problems Job did not sin with his lips.

This event says nothing about his not blaming God, which is mentioned after the initial affliction. Later we see in Job 6:4 that he does blame God and then goes further by charging God with injustice, Job 19:6-7 and 27:2.

It is clear then that Job did not recognize His problem, and considered Himself to be right in His relationship with God.

An important understanding for Job was that He recognized that this was allowed by God, Job 6:4.

God is not to blame in the sense of causing this to happen. When we choose to partake of the covenant with God we are inviting Him to correct us if we are behaving in a sinful manner. It can be seen then that Job himself was to blame.

We see later that God forgives all the evil Job accused Him of during the affliction and once he recognizes the reason for the affliction and repents of it he is delivered and rewarded.

God did however chastise Job for His insolence during the affliction, this is evident when God asks Job where he was when God made the earth etc., (Job 38:4).

Job had been righteous as far as he was concerned. He was righteous in His own eyes and willfully sinning at the same time (Job 31:35-37). He had chosen to ignore and forget about the self-righteous condition of his heart and God allowed this series of afflictions to come upon him.

Job was the greatest man in the east (Job 1:3) and this certainly could have given rise to a prideful attitude, and pride goes before destruction (Pr 16:18).

Consider how many Jobs are afflicted today and never figure out why. They may be given a false sense of security by well-meaning Christians.

Worse yet, they may be told that God is testing them or that this is just a part of life and therefore not associated with their relationship with the Lord.

As a result they consider their relationship with God intact in spite of evidence suggesting the absence of the blessings of God in their lives, Deut 28.

The Bible is the solid foundation upon which we base our lives. The Word of God states that God will keep us free from sickness, Deut 7:14-15.

This is however conditional upon keeping the covenant.

This is the major sticking point people have with this form of teaching. Unlike many areas of scripture this statement and those like it are not veiled or hard to understand.

The Apostle Paul refers to this as well in 1 Cor 11:29-30.

These statements regarding sin and sickness are completely straightforward and almost too direct at times. As much as we would like to escape this statement of God we cannot pick out certain scriptures and adhere to them and conveniently forget others.

As a result of the witness of Christians who deny these verses the world generally considers Christianity a self-imposed set of rules with no earthly benefit, and possibly a fantasy.

The blessings of God are supposed to be apparent to others, thereby making Christianity attractive to them. Unfortunately many Christians are habitually sinning and are continually subject to correction. This type of Christianity is not attractive to unbelievers.

In Ex 14:4 it is interesting that God wanted the Egyptians to know that He was Lord, Ex 7:5, 9:16, 14:18 and Rm 9:17. All these verses indicate that God wants to be known by non-Israelites, why?

Why did God make a provision for non-Israelites to become Israelites?

He loves His enemies and wants them as His children, Ex 12:48-49.

It can be seen here that God made a way for non-covenant people to establish a covenant with Him in the Old Testament. This involved them being circumcised which was a shadow of circumcision of the heart, Deut 30:6 and Rm 2:28-29.

It is because of Christians who reject and forget the knowledge of the truth (Hosea 4:6), that God is blasphemed among the Gentiles (unbelievers) Rm 2:23-24.

Some Christians may esteem their own reputation to be of more value than they do God’s.

Therefore they do not acknowledge to the world that God disciplines covenant people because of disobedience, or worse they accuse God of injustice. This is why the world misunderstands the concepts of good and evil, Isaiah 26:9.

• Isaiah 26:9 My soul yearns for thee in the night, my spirit within me earnestly seeks thee.

For when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.

God’s rewards or blessings are meant to identify those whom He approves of and His discipline is meant to identify those that are lacking, 1 Cor 11:19. We see in Deut 28:35 that the condition Job was suffering from was a curse due to disobedience (Job 2:7).

The “Fear of the Lord” is not simply a reverence or respect but a fear of the consequences of sin, Matt 10:28.

Job alludes to this fact in chapter 31 verse 23.

He could not do the evil and injustice mentioned in the preceding verses because calamity from God was a terror to him, see also Lk 12:5.

That God allowed Job to be afflicted because of sin is the alternative to the common theory about the book of Job, which inevitably makes God cruel. Job simply reaped what he sowed.

The reason most people won’t tolerate this conclusion is the same reason that Job did not consider it in the beginning.

He considered Himself righteous, meaning simply that he believed that he was doing what was right in God’s eyes. If a person considers this too harsh refer to James 4:6, Heb 10:28-29 and 1 Cor 11:29-30. Particularly to the point is Proverbs 21:2.

Some Christians will invent their own theories about suffering to escape this one, because here they will have to acknowledge their own sinfulness.

Although people sometimes will be quick to confess that they are sinners, to admit that their afflictions are a result of their sin or that of their ancestors (Ex 20:5) is much harder.

Keep in mind here that the sins of the Father are visited upon the children of those who “hate” God.

However, this rule does not apply to Christians (spiritual Israel) who love God, Jer 31:29-31.

These misinformed people will generally attempt to explain why bad things happen to good people.

Usually they will not consider or compare themselves to the biblical standard of goodness, which is God Himself (Lk 18:19).

As can be seen bad things do not happen to good people, so people who ask this question are not really as good as they think they are.

Good people do not suffer the discipline reserved for God’s children when they are disobedient.

A distinction must be made here between those things spelled out and prescribed as discipline brought on by disobedience and being persecuted for doing things in a righteous manner, as was the case with Jesus (1 Pet 3:17-18).

Discipline is meant to be a part of the covenant, and pertains to God’s children.

God does not correct the devil’s children as He does His own, Rm 2:12 and 1 Cor 5:12-13.

Jesus had to give Himself over to death because Satan had no claim on Him, Jn 14:30. He does have a claim on us however, unless we walk as Jesus did (1 Jn 2:6).

Until we are made into the image of Jesus we will be open for the correction of the Most High which is carried out by the devil. To understand this refer to the use of the word “destroy” in John 10:10 in combination with the use of same word in Isaiah 13:5.

To understand that the devil carries out the judgement of God refer also to the phrase “the Day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night” in 1 Thess 5:2-4. Compare that verse with the phrase “the devil comes only to steal kill and destroy” in Jn10:10.

The Day of the Lord is seen here to be a time when God allows the devil to destroy and steal from those who remain in spiritual darkness, 1 Thess 5:4.

• 1 Thessalonians 5:4 – But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief;

This is similar to the phrase “Day of Christ” in the New Testament, 2 Thess 2-3. This is the progression in these verses, Rebellion— Man of Sin revealed— Day of Christ (judgement).

These times of judgement will vary, depending on whether or not the person understands the truth in any given area of their lives.

This process of correction is controlled completely by God, refer to 1 Cor 10:13.

I believe that there is a type of accountability process a person goes through before actual judgement is pronounced.

This is evidenced by the processes illustrated in Matt 5:25-26 and Lk 12:57-59.

The way out of judgement for Job was repentance from self-righteousness, as we can see at the end of the book. What changed in Job’s heart during the course of the book was his concept of his own righteousness.

While saying this it should be noted that God is completely just in His judgement, Heb 12:10, Heb 2:2.

If a person willfully sins after receiving the knowledge of the truth, (Heb 10:26-27) they can expect judgement. This verse should be understood in conjunction with the concept of God’s people being destroyed because they reject and forget knowledge from God, Hosea 4:6.

In Job 42:7 God is speaking and says that Eliphaz and his two friends did not speak correctly concerning God as Job had. I do not believe that God was stamping all of Jobs statements as true.

In Chapter 9 verse 23 Job says that God mocks the despair of the innocent.

This and other statements such as chapter 19 verses 6-7 and chapter 27 verse 2 where Job accuses God of injustice are absolutely wrong.

What the deeper meaning of God’s statement is in 42:7, I am not certain. Clearly some of Job’s statements are wrong.

I will try to illustrate a possible reason for this statement further along in the study.

God said that Eliphaz and his two friends were wrong, referring to Eliphaz, Bildad and Zophar, Job 2:11. God does not say that Elihu was wrong.

Job tells us in chapter 6 verse 4 that he understands that God’s arrows were in Him. This is significant. This is a good place to refer to the statement Job made in chapter 10 verse 2, where he asks God to show him why this was happening.

In Job 7:16- 21 he also asks God why He will not pardon his transgressions. Job knew that this was caused by His iniquity. He had trouble understanding what the iniquity was however.

Prior to this event He had chosen to reject and forget the truth regarding His own self-righteousness.

Here is a turning point, which should have been resisted by Job. In Job 7:11 he makes a conscience decision to speak to God out of the bitterness of His heart.

Job is looking for the way out of the judgement but has not yet realized that it is his self-righteous attitude that moved God to deliver him to Satan. As is seen by the outcome of the book, God was willing to, and did, let Job know what the problem was.

Job considered himself righteous (refer to Job 32:1).

The lesson Job learned when he was restored was that compared with God, his righteousness is as a polluted garment (Is 64:6), and he abhorred himself and repented in Job 42:6.

By stating that he repented Job is telling us that he now understood that he was going in the wrong direction and had changed his direction.

Acknowledging that he had done something wrong goes without saying, if this were not the case what would he have repented from?

Only knowing we do wrong is different from correcting that wrong behavior.

Repenting means that you decide to do something differently even if you don’t possess the ability to overcome the problem at the time. The Lord will provide the ability to repent if the person asks in sincerity, Ps 10:17.

In speaking to Job one of the last things that God said to him is seen in Job 41:34, leviathan (a beast) is king over all the son’s that are “proud”.

With this one sentence God could be explaining why Job was given over to Satan in the first place.

God did not say that Elihu was wrong or needed to request that Job offer a sacrifice on his behalf to obtain forgiveness from God, Job 42:7-8.

In Job 33:3-12, Elihu the fourth man in the group tells us what he has against Job.

Also, Elihu shows why Job’s three friends were not correct in chapter 32 verses 1-3, they condemned Job without finding a way to refute Him.

Job 40:2 says that the Lord called Job a faultfinder and says that he has been contending with the Almighty. This was not clear thinking on Job’s part.

In Job 40:8 God said to Job “will you really annul my judgement”? (This tells us that this was not a test or trial but “judgement”).

God speaking in Job 40:8 said to Job “will you condemn Me that you may be justified”?

In chapter 33 verse 13 we see that Elihu’s reason for being mad at Job is also one of God’s, as is seen in Job 40:2. As Elihu reproved Job in 35:16 God also reproved Him for the same thing in 38:2.

Again and significantly God and Elihu’s reasons for being mad at Job are the same in verses 32:2 and 40:8.

This must have to some degree encouraged Elihu and if he heard this, he must have felt good about his part in the discussion between the five of them.

Leaving this topic now, here are some of my other thoughts about this book.

It is a possibility that where God say’s that Job had spoken correctly of Him (Job 42:7), that God was not referring to all of the words that Job spoke.

Notice that God did not say that Job had spoken correctly until after Job recognized that previously He had been speaking without knowledge and had become repentant, Job 42:3-6 and Hosea 4:6.

Let God be true and every man a liar, Rm 3:3 and 4.

Christians sometimes have trouble admitting that the absence of God’s blessings indicates that God is disciplining them as a result of their disobedience.

Generally speaking this is because we judge ourselves by a standard other than the Bible.

For there must be also factions among you, that they that are approved may be made manifest among you. 1 Cor l1:19, Acts 2:22, 2 Cor 10:18.

There are many people who are teachers of spiritual Israel (Christianity) and do not know these things, Ezekiel 34:8-10.

Brethren let’s not condemn or misrepresent God to justify ourselves any longer.

Psalm 9:16—The Lord made Himself known, He has executed judgement.

When we are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world, 1 Cor 11:32.

It is very evident that if a person teaches this way he or she will encounter opposition.

Remember that the Pharisee’s and religious people incited the world to kill Jesus.

They killed all of the servant’s God sent them and finally the Son, and then the owner of the vineyard came back and punished them, Mt 21:34-41.

Jerusalem is the city that Jesus said killed prophet’s Mt 23:37.

Please remember that this is only an opinion and as such is probably flawed in some way.

Consider the verses in Lamentations 3:33-40 and Psalm 4:4. Search your heart to know if you are in the way.

It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes. Ps 119:71.

It is fitting to end this study by remembering the inevitable awe experienced by a person when they realize the Loving Kindness of God that is revealed in the book of Job. God being full of mercy and longsuffering led Job to a realization of the problem. He patiently waited while enduring abuse and hostility from the very person He was lovingly correcting.

A Study of the Law

The law was introduced by angels by a mediator.

Mediation is not necessary unless the two parties involved disagree with one another, Gal 3:19.

This is our relationship with God before we come to Christ Jesus.

The law was added because Israel was so sinful, Gal 3:19.

It was added until faith was revealed in them, Gal 3:23.

The true Israel is the Body of Christ, Rm 2:28-29 and Gal 6:16.

It was added to lead them to make a sacrifice to obtain forgiveness for sins. Under the New Covenant Jesus is that sacrifice.

The law was added to restrain or guard God’s sinful people, and lead them to faith, Gal 3:23-24. Under the New Covenant Christ’s Law performs the same function, 1 Cor 9:21.

The law leads a person to recognize the fact that lawlessness is sin (1 Jn 3:4) and when they sin they need to act on their faith by appealing to God through the required sacrifice to be forgiven.

Keep in mind here that whatever does not proceed from faith is sin (Rm 14:23), and sin is lawlessness (1 Jn 3:4).

We see that the law is not for lawful people but for lawbreakers (1 Tim 1:8-9) because a sinful (lawless) person is not exhibiting faith and is subject to the laws correction, Gal 3:24. They can only be forgiven by submitting to the law.

They must comply with the law through a sacrifice to be forgiven.

Jesus was born under the law, Gal 4:4.

Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt 5:17), and He did.

He is our example and we are to do things the way He did if we want to call ourselves Christians, 1 Jn 2:6.

If Jesus fulfilled the law then we are to do the same.

There are differences however between the law Jesus fulfilled (Law of Moses) and the law we are to fulfill (Law of Christ), 1 Cor 9:21 and Heb 7:12.

Jesus commandment is to love one another, Jn 13:34. The Apostle Paul told us to fulfill the law of Christ by bearing the burdens of others (Gal 6:2), essentially to love others as we love ourselves, Matt 22:39.

The law under the Old Covenant made nothing perfect, Heb 7:19 and Heb 10:4. Under the New Covenant the law will be put in our minds and written on our hearts, Heb 8:10.

One of the changes to the law has to do with the sacrifice required to obtain forgiveness. The Old Covenant stipulated a sacrifice in order for a sinner to be forgiven, Heb 9:22. The New Covenant mediated by Jesus (Heb 9:15) involved Jesus blood being shed, and now we confess the sin to Him (the Perfect sacrifice) to receive forgiveness, 1 Jn 1:9.

The law has changed, however it has not been abolished, Heb 7:12 and Matt 5:17.

• Hebrews 10:8 When he said above, “You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings” (these are offered according to the law), • 9. Then he added, “See, I have come to do your will.” He abolishes the first in order to establish the second

The system of animal sacrifice has been abolished.

It should be clarified that the law is not of faith, Gal 3:12. Faith is the only conduit through which we receive the grace of God, Eph 2:8. The law leads a person to Christ where they can be justified by faith. The law was instituted because of sin Gal 3:19, and is the tutor that is essential to lead a sinful person to Christ.

To my knowledge conformity to the law is the only method mentioned in the Bible which will lead sinful people to Christ, Gal 3:24.

Since this is the Biblical method to lead people to Christ it is unfortunate that the doctrine of the law has been obscured by traditional beliefs.

To eliminate possible disputes with reference to the idea of the Law leading to Christ in Gal 3:24 consider that the Greek word (Strong’s 1519) translated “bring unto” etc, literally means “into” and not “until”.

This means that to translate the verse – the law was instituted “until Christ” is incorrect. The correct wording is “the law leads into Christ”.

In John 6:44-45 we are told that no one can come to Jesus unless the Father draws them. The Biblical method used by the Father to draw a person to Jesus is seen in Gal 3:24. Through complying with the law a person is led to Christ.

It can be seen in Gal 3:10-12 (which refers to Gen 15:6) that even under the Old Covenant a person was considered a “lawbreaker” if they refused to have faith in God.

Again the significance of the phrase “whatever is not of faith is sin” can be seen, Rm 14:23.

The law was added because of transgressions Gal 3:19, which tends to fit our situation since all men have sinned and fallen short (Rm 3:23).

The law and prophets are fulfilled when we love God and our neighbor, Matt 22:37-40 and Rm 13:10.

This means that if we love God and our neighbor whether or not we understand the types and shadows in the Bible, we fulfill the law.

As an example of the law being fulfilled when we love refer to Rm 2:26. The circumcision so often argued about by the Jews and Gentiles is a shadow of “keeping the law”, or circumcision of the heart (Deut 30:6).

Circumcision of the flesh (removal of the flesh) was one of the “works or deeds of the law” (Rm 3:20) required of a person under the Old Covenant for them to be in right standing before God. A person cannot be justified or made just before God through these type works, Rm 3:28 and Gal 2:15-16.

The person loving God and removing the fleshly tendencies (sinful nature) from the heart is keeping the Biblical commandment (shadow) of circumcision.

This is also one example of Jesus breaking down the middle wall of partition (Eph 2:14-15) between the Jews and the Gentiles.

It is clear from these verses and the following study on tongues, that the Old Covenant will no longer divide the two groups.

Circumcision of the flesh was one example of how the law divided Israel and the Gentile nations.

A person could not be made just before God by performing the works the law prescribed under the old covenant.

These “works” are referred to as “shadows of what is to come” in Col 2:16-17.

Equally true is the fact that we cannot be justified by adhering to the realities of the law – meaning that we cannot be made just before God by loving, even though this fulfills the law, 1 Cor 4:4, Matt 22:36-39.

The function of the law is to lead us to God’s prescribed sacrifice for sin (Christ in the New Covenant) where we can be justified before God.

We are only justified before God if we have faith that our reliance upon the sacrifice will avert God’s judgement upon sin.

If a person refuses to place their faith in God’s prescribed sacrifice as the Pharisee’s refused to place their faith in Jesus (Rm 9:30-33, Matt 5:20 and Jn 7:48) their sins will not be forgiven.

This can be seen in Gal 3:23. A Christian should adhere to the law and also recognize that the law can only lead a person to a situation where faith may be exercised.

When a person recognizes that they have sinned they must decide whether or not they will exercise faith in God’s prescribed sacrifice and appeal to God through that sacrifice in order to be forgiven.

This means that when a person appeals to God for the forgiveness of their sins in the manner God prescribes they will be forgiven.

As an example refer to Job, one of the reasons that He sacrificed to God was because He had faith that a sacrifice would move God to forgive sins.

In Gen 4:3-5 Cain also appealed to God, however He was not accepted because He did not do so in the prescribed manner.

In Rm 2:12 there are two types of people mentioned, those “in” the law and those who are “apart from” the law.

Those apart from the law of God will perish and those “in or under the law” will be judged according to the law.

The word “under” infers subjection to something. Jesus subjected Himself to the requirements of the law under the Old Covenant (He was “in” or “under the law”) and did not sin, Gal 4:4.

He completely cooperated with the grace of God which teaches a person not to sin (Titus 2:11-12) and saves them (Eph 2:5) from the wrath of God (Rm 1:18).

• Luke 2:40 And the Child continued to grow and become strong, increasing in wisdom; and the grace of God was upon Him.

Jesus was in a class by Himself of course, as is the case in Rm 3:23 and 5:12 where “all men” are named as sinners, excepting Jesus.

He is the exception in the case of Gal 4:4 also. Being sinless He was not “under the law” in the same way sinful men were.

It can be seen then that Jesus is the only one to be “under” or subject to the law (as is seen in Matt 5:17) and in complete agreement with the Old Covenant, never having sinned. He never became a partaker of the discipline of the law.

This is the difference between Jesus being under the law and His followers being under the law.

When His followers are disobedient the law chastens them, Heb 10:26-27. Note that the disobedient person must know the truth before they are held responsible and judged by God, 1 Tim 1:13.

If a sinful man or woman wants to partake of the promises God made to Jesus (Gal 3:16), they must subject themselves to the law of God (they have to be under the law). People like this (all Christians) need training under the instruction of the tutor (law).

In our case the law (tutor) leads us to Christ by showing us our transgressions (Rm 7:7) and encouraging us to go to Jesus to be forgiven and receive the promised Holy Spirit, Gal 3:19, Acts 2:33 and Eph 1:13. We progress in Christianity in the following manner-

1. We are born again (express faith), God’s grace can now flow to us (Eph 2:8). Faith is the conduit through which we receive grace.

2. We try not to sin — If we sin we are at that time not expressing faith (Rm 14:23). If God judges us to be a person who understands the truth and the sin was done willfully we can expect judgement, Heb 10:26-27. In the case of willful sin confession must precede forgiveness, as is seen in Job’s case.

3. This judgement is meant to direct a Christian towards a desire to repent, not to condemn them, 1 Cor 11:32.

A person sinning is exhibiting unbelief (Rm 14:23), and as an act of faith (Gal 3:23) they should go to Jesus (the sacrifice) and confess their sinfulness (1 Jn 1:9) to obtain forgiveness.

4. We must comply with the law and demonstrate our faith in God’s prescribed sacrifice, which is Jesus under the New Covenant. God’s grace will then flow to us through the conduit of our faith.

We are under God’s grace at this point and can be taught to deny or overcome ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12. We again try to cooperate with God’s grace, and become more determined to deny and overcome ungodliness.

However, as was the case with Miriam in Numbers 12:14 the judgement resulting from the sin may linger for a time.

5. This process of moving “in” to sin and out of “Grace” continues and repeats itself over and over until we learn not to sin.

6. We are under the tutor (law) until a time appointed by the Father, this time is when God judges us to have faith, Gal 3:25 and Gal 4:2.

7. At this time (when we cooperate with grace and stop sinning) we are termed “not to be children” anymore Gal 4:1-3. We are not under bondage to the elements of the world but are consistently denying and overcoming ungodliness and cooperating with God’s grace, Rm 6:14. We are at this time “not under law but under grace”.

God’s Spirit can lead us when we remain under grace (refrain from sinning), Gal 5:18.

8. One of the goals a Christian should have is to stop sinning – however we need to access the grace of God to comply with Jesus command to stop sinning in Jn 5:14 and 8:11.

A person is not saved from God’s wrath if they are not cooperating with grace. This is apparent since God’s wrath is directed against ungodliness (Rm 1:18) and grace teaches us to deny and overcome ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12.

If a Christian is not saved from Gods wrath but experiences it then God has determined that they have understood the truth and that they have rejected and forgotten the knowledge of that truth (Hosea 4:6) and decided to “willfully” sin, Heb 10:26-27.

They experience judgement and are openly rebellious.

They continue to practice the evil that brings God’s judgement and all the while ignore their own shortcomings.

The Christian’s failure to judge Him or Herself according to the standards of the Bible (1 Cor 11:31) has brought God’s judgement, Hosea 4:6. This is similar to Job’s experience.

Even if a Christian initially refuses to accept the truth concerning the sin in an area of their lives God will continue to try to get through to them, as can be seen in the book of Job. However it would have been much easier on Job if He had searched His heart for sin on a regular basis, Lamentations 3:40 and Ps 4:4.

When sin is found in a Christians heart their reaction to this should be “grief or sorrow” over the presence of that sin.

• 2 Corinthians 7:10 For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation; but the sorrow of the world produces death.

Paul commented on the “sorrow and grief” he experienced over his own sinful nature in Rm 7:12-25. Jesus can make us into a person who overcomes fleshly tendencies.

The law as the “tutor” leads the grieved person to the prescribed sacrifice so that they can be forgiven (Jesus is the sacrifice under the New Covenant). If they have faith in Jesus He forgives them and by cooperating with the grace of God the person is taught to say “NO” to the ungodly behavior in the future.

A Christian should repent quickly when they discover that they fall short in an area of their lives.

The wrath or judgement of God which comes against the Christian who sins is meant for correction not condemnation, 1 Cor 11:32.

A person is said to be under the tutor (law) until faith comes (Gal 3:23-25) and they reach the time appointed by the Father, Gal 4:2.

There are several verses that tell us when we are not under (subject to) the law.

Not being under the law in these cases implies a type of graduation from being under the law of God to being under the grace of God.

The people under grace no longer need a tutor (law) to teach them good from evil. They are consistently denying ungodliness.

These verses tell us that the people who are not under the law (tutor) are “under” grace, Rm 6:14.

Referring to Gal 5:18, those led by the Spirit are also not under the law. They are no longer under the tutor and have learned not to be in bondage to the elements of the world (Gal 4:3).

The so-called “appointed time —— or the coming of faith” (Gal 4:2 and Gal 3:25), is understood to be the time when a person is faithful to God (Matt 25:23) and not sinning.

To move from being under the law to being consistently under grace a person must stop sinning.

A person cooperating with grace denies ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12.

Now to be clear – A “sinner” can partake of the grace of God by keeping the law, and appealing to God for forgiveness through the sacrifice. This act of faith allows grace to flow to them.

At that time the Christian is under grace and the grace of God is what teaches a person to deny and overcome ungodliness. If they sin in the future however they must then repeat this process.

The “time appointed by the Father” (Gal 4:2) appears to be a time when a person is free from sin and cooperating with grace.

This person is also being led by the Spirit of God not to be in bondage to the elementary things of the world, Gal 4:3. This seems to indicate the point at which spiritual childhood is exchanged for maturity.

When we sin we are not exhibiting faith and must then comply with the law and go to the sacrifice for sin (Jesus).

When we confess our sinfulness to Jesus we are forgiven. Because of this act of our faith in Jesus the grace of God can flow to us and teach us to deny and overcome ungodliness.

It can then be scripturally said that a Christian is not being saved from God’s judgement on sin while they are “willfully” sinning.

Since there is so much confusion about the terms used, the following paragraphs will try to address one of the common misunderstandings in this area.

As far as I know there are only two groups of people who are not “under the guidance of the law”.

One of the ways this idea of “not being under the law” can be used is to describe people who have never chosen to take part in the covenant, Rm 2:12. These people are referred to as being “apart” from the law; they are destined to perish.

The other way the phrase “not under the law” can be used is to describe those who have been directed to Jesus by the law, profess faith in Him and receive grace. They cooperate with grace and deny and overcome ungodliness, Titus 2:11-12.

These people who deny and overcome ungodliness are “under or in subjection to” the grace of God and are not under the law, Rm 6:14.

It should be noted that if the person “under grace” sins they remove themselves from the influences of Grace.

They are again under the supervision of the law, and need to be led back to faith in Christ Jesus.

Jeremiah 30:11 `For I am with you,’ declares the Lord, `to save you; For I will destroy completely all the nations where I have scattered you, Only I will not destroy you completely. But I will chasten you justly, And will by no means leave you unpunished.’

[]Chapter 20

Tongues Explained

Just in case you don’t have the time to go over the longer article on Tongues here is the short version.

Speaking in Tongues = Speaking in Parables.

A correlation exists between 1 Corinthians 14:21 and Isaiah 28:11. This links the two accounts.

— New American Standard 1 Corinthians 14:21 In the Law it is written, “By men of strange tongues and by the lips of strangers I will speak to this people, and even so they will not listen to Me,” says the Lord.

— New American Standard Isaiah 28:11 Indeed, He will speak to this people Through stammering lips and a foreign tongue,

In Isaiah chapter 28 the Message spoken by Isaiah was a parable.

Isaiah speaking —

16. Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

17. Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet: and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place.

18. And your covenant with death shall be disannulled, and your agreement with hell shall not stand; when the overflowing scourge shall pass through, then ye shall be trodden down by it. 19. From the time that it goeth forth it shall take you: for morning by morning shall it pass over, by day and by night: and it shall be a vexation only to understand the report. 20. For the bed is shorter than that a man can stretch himself on it: and the covering narrower than that he can wrap himself in it. 21. For the Lord shall rise up as in mount Perazim, he shall be wroth as in the valley of Gibeon, that he may do his work, his strange work; and bring to pass his act, his strange act. 22. Now therefore be ye not mockers, lest your bands be made strong: for I have heard from the Lord God of hosts a consumption, even determined upon the whole earth. 23. Give ye ear, and hear my voice; hearken, and hear my speech. 24. Doth the plowman plow all day to sow? doth he open and break the clods of his ground? 25. When he hath made plain the face thereof, doth he not cast abroad the fitches, and scatter the cummin, and cast in the principal wheat and the appointed barley and the rie in their place? 26. For his God doth instruct him to discretion, and doth teach him. 27. For the fitches are not threshed with a threshing instrument, neither is a cart wheel turned about upon the cummin; but the fitches are beaten out with a staff, and the cummin with a rod.

28. Bread corn is bruised; because he will not ever be threshing it, nor break it with the wheel of his cart, nor bruise it with his horsemen. 29. This also cometh forth from the Lord of hosts, which is wonderful in counsel, and excellent in working.

This language of Parables is spoken of in Matthew 13:14 and in Isaiah 6:9.

Jesus gives the reason for speaking in parables in the following verses—

— New American Standard Matthew 13:14 “And in their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says, `You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

Speaking in parables was Isaiah’s directive from the Lord — the purpose of the gift of tongues is to hide the truths from unbelievers and reveal those same truths to believers. The parable from Isaiah is incomprehensible to unbelievers but believers generally understand the overall meaning of the words.

— New American Standard Isaiah 6:9 And He said, “Go, and tell this people: `Keep on listening, but do not perceive; Keep on looking, but do not understand.’

[]Chapter 21

God Saves through Judgment

Judgment or evaluation can be either favorable or unfavorable based upon our behavior. Writing God’s law on a Christian’s heart (Heb 8:10) means our conscience can be our guide. Love (patience and kindness, 1 Cor 13) fulfills the law, Rm 13:9.

God judged the pre-flood world through a flood of water.

2Pe 3:6 by which the world that then existed perished, being flooded with water. 7 But the heavens and the earth which are now preserved by the same word, are reserved for “fire” until the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men.

The Day of the Lord is not the end of the world but a time of evaluation.

Post flood judgment is collectively referred to as “fire” in 2 Peter 3:7.

The purpose of post-flood judgment as it regards Christians is “correction” through fire, 1 Cor 11:32.

Unfavorable post flood Judgment can take four forms, Eze 14:21 (BBE)

For this is what the Lord has said… when I send my four bitter punishments on Jerusalem (God’s People) – 1. Sword 2. Need of food 3. Evil beasts 4. Disease.

All have sinned (Rm 5:12), so we have all had experience with the unfavorable judgments of God, Heb 12:6.

God judges and extends grace. Sin brings death (Ez 18:4), and before Christ God’s people could only be forgiven of sin through a sacrifice and thereby continue to “Live”, Rm 10:5.

Grace came thru Christ (Jn 1:17) and now God’s Grace can teach us to deny the ungodly behavior (sin) which brings about the judgment of God against the unloving behavior, Titus 2:11-12.

Key Doctrine of Lesson, “Christ judges” – 1Co 11:32 But when we (followers of Christ) are judged by the Lord, we are chastened so that we may not be condemned along with the world (unbelievers).

1Co 3:13 Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the Day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is, Deut 8:2.

1Co 3:14 If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward, Pr 10:22.

The “work” which abides the “fire” is that of maintaining faith in Jesus throughout the trials.

When the Disciples asked Jesus what “work” they should do He told them to believe, Joh 6:29. Jesus answered and said unto them, this is the “work” of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

Christians must maintain faith through fiery trials (Acts 14:34) to receive a favorable judgment and gain entrance into the Kingdom of God, which is the reward, Rm 14:17 & Matt 25:21.

A. The ability to do what is right

B. Joy

and

C. Peace increase after a Favorable evaluation.

Jude 1:7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner, giving themselves over to fornication, and going after strange flesh, are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire. (KJV)

The “fire” is here said to be eternal. Eternal fire overthrew the sinful people.

Am 4:11 I have overthrown some of you, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah, and ye were as a firebrand plucked out of the burning: yet have ye not returned unto me, saith the LORD.

The result of being “overthrown” (unfavorable judgment) by eternal fire is like a fire brand in the fire, resulting in – continual burning.

The “fire of God” is designed to foster repentance in the followers of Christ so they will return to obedience and choose to Love (be Patient and Kind, 1 Cor 13), Gal 5:14-15.

By cooperating with God’s grace (denying ungodliness), and not resisting God’s Grace (continuing in ungodly behavior and attitudes), Christians are plucked or removed (so to speak) from the fire. 1 Cor 11:32.

Repentance from ungodliness restores the kingdom to the Israel of God, Acts 1:6 & Mr 9:12.

[]Chapter 22

Once Saved always saved?

Joh 6:70 Jesus answered them, Have not I chosen you twelve, and one of you is a devil?

The question becomes – Did Jesus choose a devil as an Apostle?

No, Jesus is the Truth (John 14:16).

Jesus chose a faithful person, who would later become a devil, John 6:64. Jesus gave Him a chance Just as God the Father gave Lucifer a chance in Ezekiel 28:14-16.

Being a stone cut out of the mountain of God (Daniel 2:45), Jesus knew that Judas would fall. When Judas was chosen to be an Apostle however, He was a faithful follower of Christ.

Lucifer was also “set” or chosen. He was a perfectly faithful being until iniquity was found in Him, Ez 28:14-16.

Angels and perfect beings can choose to commit iniquity, they can choose to fall by transgression, Lu 6:13; Joh 13:27.•

Eze 28:15 Thou (Lucifer) wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Ac 1:17 For he (Judas) was numbered with us, and had obtained part of this ministry. Ac 1:25 That he may take part of this ministry and apostleship, from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.

1Jo 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

1Co 11:19 (KJV) For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

2Pe 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: (KJV)

Jesus (being one with the Father) knows the outcome, John 6:64. However, He gives every person a lifelong chance to be granted repentance, and learn to Love God, Deut 6:30 and Acts 11:18.

Joh 6:64 But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should betray him. (KJV)

Eze 28:14 Thou art the anointed cherub that covereth; and I have set thee so: thou wast upon the holy mountain of God; thou hast walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

Eze 28:15 Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee.

Eze 28:16 By the multitude of thy merchandise they have filled the midst of thee with violence, and thou hast sinned: therefore I will cast thee as profane out of the mountain of God: and I will destroy thee, O covering cherub, from the midst of the stones of fire.

Just as Judas was chosen, Lucifer was also chosen and both were chosen rightly and were not evil at the time of their being chosen.

The verses concerning the following phrase – until Iniquity was found in you – illustrate this.

Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

Lucifer was not a sinner or liar until iniquity was found in Him.

2Ti 2:25 In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth;

Ac 11:18 When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

Joh 6:71 He spake of Judas Iscariot the son of Simon: for he it was that should betray him, being one of the twelve. (KJV)

[]Chapter 23

The end of the commandment

1Ti 1:5 ¶ Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: (KJV)

The end or goal of following Jesus is Love from a conscience void of blame. To understand that you are blameless (have a good conscience) is to have all your sin covered.

A person’s sins are covered when He recognizes and confesses his guilt, 1 Jn 1:9.

1Jo 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (KJV)

God then forgives the person and begins the process of cleansing the individual of all the behavior that is not right in His eyes.

We are to wait for the hope of righteousness, or the ability to do what is right in God’s eyes, Gal 5:5.

Ga 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. (KJV)

Faith is the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen, Heb 11:1.

Heb 11:1 ¶ Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

A person’s faith is the substance or the thing that undergirds or up holds the thing hoped for which in this case is the ability to do what is right in God’s eyes.

By faith we wait for the hope of righteousness, Gal 5:5. That person’s faith is the evidence of the invisible power of God working to bring this about in their lives.

We are being transformed from glory to glory, 2 Cor 3:18.

2Co 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.

When Moses asked to see God’s glory in Exodus 3:18 God answered Him in verse by saying that He would cause His goodness to pass before Moses. The glory of God’ is described by God Himself as His goodness.

Ex 33:18 And he said, I beseech thee, shew me thy glory.

Ex 33:19 And he said, I will make all my goodness pass before thee, and I will proclaim the name of the LORD before thee; and will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, and will shew mercy on whom I will shew mercy. (KJV)


Growing in Knowledge

  • ISBN: 9781370330812
  • Author: Brian Mickelsen
  • Published: 2017-04-12 18:05:16
  • Words: 51888
Growing in Knowledge Growing in Knowledge