Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ephesians 1:4-5 predestinated

4  According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5  Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
1Corinthians 15:22  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

1 Corinthians 15:45  And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46  Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47  The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven.
Every verse that uses a form of predestinate in the Bible refers to something that happens after we are saved. God’s foreknowledge that we would receive Christ is the basis of this verse. We are chosen then because we are “in Him” now. What this verse says is that we are chosen to be made holy and without blame before him. This is what we are predestinated to, and that, once we are saved.
Romans 8:29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:
The saved person is predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, to experience the adoption, and to receive the inheritance of eternal life, and all of that because he is saved. Predestination has nothing to do with God picking out who he would save and who he wouldn’t or making certain people specifically to go to Hell.
“Adoption” refers to our receiving of our resurrection body.
Romans 8:23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
Again, predestination in the Bible is always after a person is saved. Some verses bear repeating.
Romans 8:29 ¶  For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
30  Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.
Those who get saved are predestinated to become like Christ.
The adoption in verse 5 referred to is explained here. Let’s repeat another verse.
Romans 8:23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
When you are saved you have only part of what you have been promised, the deposit, so to speak, of our full salvation, when our body is glorified. See verse 14.
There is a great emphasis here in the first part of Ephesians on the sovereign will of God.  This is linked to why we and all things were created in the first place, what the Bible says is our first purpose for being here.
Revelations 4:11  Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.
Your destination as a Christian is fixed, having been predestinated. You can get there with joy and happiness, willingly in obedience to God’s will or you can go there kicking and screaming, but, if you are a Christian, you are going, because you don’t have the power to make it happen or to keep it. It is all the work of God.
John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
And you will be like Christ.
1 John 3:2  Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
When the Christian is saved he bound for eternal life with Christ. As he grows in Christ he is set apart or sanctified for God’s service. When that moment of his death comes he will be glorified with Christ.
Romans 8:17 And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Not to complicate this lesson but a great Bible scholar, someone whose opinion I trust and respect, believes that part of Christ’s suffering on earth and the suffering we share with Him daily is being trapped in a body of flesh always at war with the Spirit and always dying.)
Whether we enter eternity by physical death.
2 Corinthians 5:1 ¶  For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2  For in this we groan, earnestly desiring to be clothed upon with our house which is from heaven: 3  If so be that being clothed we shall not be found naked. 4  For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened: not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life. 5  Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. 6  Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7  (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8  We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.
Or at the Translation of the church, commonly known today as the Rapture.
1Corinthians 15:52 In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
Again, I repeat, the saved person is predestinated to be conformed to the image of Christ, to experience the adoption, and to receive the inheritance of eternal life, and all of that because he is saved.
And we can be assured that God is willing to do all of this.
1Thessalonians 5:24 Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Ephesians 1:3 comments: spiritual blessings

3 ¶  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:


Assurance of salvation is a spiritual blessing for the Church;

Romans 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Romans 4:5  But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.

Acts16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Immediate access to God is a spiritual blessing which crosses dispensations;

Hebrews 4:16  Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.

Knowledge of God and intercession to God are spiritual blessings;

Romans 8:26  Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.

Knowledge of the future is a spiritual blessing among many others;

Revelation 1:19  Write the things which thou hast seen, and the things which are, and the things which shall be hereafter;

Having God’s peace in a fallen world is a spiritual blessing as God promised through Isaiah when a person’s mind stays focused on God;

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Not having to worry or live with anxiety is a spiritual blessing;

Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.

Again, Isaiah tells us that we don’t have to fall, to grow weary, or to faint for God renews the strength of those that wait on Him and that is a spiritual blessing;

Isaiah 40:31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Now, if we don’t have these spiritual blessings we have to ask ourselves why. What are we holding onto? What material possession or dark emotion controls us? What is keeping our mind off of God Himself? We are promised these things with no condition except our faith in Christ, our keeping our thoughts on God, and our waiting on Him. What are we doing, what are we thinking that is getting in the way of what He has planned for us right now?

You realize that in the ‘rat race’ only the rats will win in the end? You know that true duties never conflict so at least one of those tyrannical demands that’s pressing on you isn’t a duty? You realize that all of the fine things in life you desire will just be burned up when God creates a new heavens and a new earth?

All around I see parents creating material possession obsessed children at birthdays and events where it’s “your day” and where the only words that matters are “I want.” It seems so cruel to implant that in a child’s head when there is so much more for them that God has to offer. These people grow up to find a great dissatisfaction with life in that their dreams, their focus revolves around things. They worry, they fret, they cry about things. Their relationships fail because those relationships are based on “I want.”

It’s no wonder that Christians find it hard to focus on God and to have these spiritual blessings in Christ Jesus when the mortgage comes due, the spouse wants out of the marriage, the magistrate notifies you of an impending civil judgment, and the second car/home/television/computer or you-name-it needs expensive repairs and your credit cards are maxed out and you’re upside down in your home’s equity.

Satan is the god of this world and when you participate in the carnival amusements he arranges and you don’t win the big stuffed teddy bear you go home with a big frown on your face not imagining that it was all a con game anyway.

You aren’t going to experience God’s blessings as long as you place your trust and hope in what the world offers and not in what God promises. Everything that man holds in high regard God regards as trash.

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

Spiritual blessings await the Christian who turns his or her back on the world and follows Jesus Christ. They aren’t enjoyed by the Christian who loves the world. That’s why you’re so unhappy and so uncertain about everything. Focus on God. Keep your face in the Bible. Regard others before your SELF. We have spiritual blessings awaiting us.
“Heavenly places” is a location that is mentioned again in chapter two.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ephesians 1:2 comments: grace and peace in the darkness

2  Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ.

Notice here that grace and peace are wished for and most definitely prayed for by Paul for the Ephesian church. Grace and peace have to be requested and wished for because the world is under the operative control of Satan.

2Corinthians 4:4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

As a result the world, which consists of the people who dwell upon the earth (see Psalm (9:8; 49:1; 96:10; 96:13; 98:9; Isaiah 24:4; 34:1; Revelation 3:10) lies in utter darkness.

Ephesians 6:12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

We talk about the world of sports, the world of politics, and the world of entertainment, etc. etc. Satan is not a very pleasant god to have rule over you. Just ask the millions of children, if you could, who die each year before the age of five or the millions of children who are sexually or physically abused. Mankind has opted for a very nasty and hateful god to rule over them which isn’t surprising as 4,000 years of war and wholesale murder has taught us that the one over whom he rules is no better.

But, the God who created us has sent us light in this dark and abysmally painful place.

John 12:46 I am come a light into the world, that whosoever believeth on me should not abide in darkness.

So, when a Christian prays and has a good outcome the God who created him or her has interceded and interfered in this present evil world.

Galatians 1:4 Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father:

Christians thinking they are bringing in some kind of perfect world, a kingdom for God to hand over to Him when He returns if they believe even that He is returning, are at a terrible disadvantage when an atheist says, “if God is good or even real then why do innocent or good people suffer?” Hymns like, “This is My Father’s World,” are very confusing in light of this Biblical truth.

God has to intrude His peace and His light into this dark world. He is able to remove His peace when the people who were given it rejected Him and no longer wanted Him.

Jeremiah 16:5 For thus saith the LORD, Enter not into the house of mourning, neither go to lament nor bemoan them: for I have taken away my peace from this people, saith the LORD, even lovingkindness and mercies.(Notice that God's peace is lovingkindness and mercies as things connected with "even" are synonymous as see Genesis 6:17.)

When you, Christian, pray for God to heal you, to save your family, to help you put food on the table, and a roof over your head you are asking for God to intervene in the darkness of Satan’s world system. This darkness even extends to religion. Here is God’s definition of religion.

James 1:27 Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.

But Satan can twist our definition of religion until;

John 16:2 They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.

Jesus, teaching in the temple, spoke to the Jews who wished to kill Him;

John 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.

So grace and peace are things to be desired. They are not present in this world naturally. How did this happen you ask? There were two parties to this deal. On the one side was Satan and on the other was mankind in the form of the first man and woman.

Satan, the devil, is our adversary;

1Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour:

and was also titled Lucifer, son of the morning;

Isaiah 14:12 How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

He is one of the cherubim, a beast, a creature;

Ezekiel 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.

Read Ezekiel,chapter 1 and 10, and then Revelation 4 to see a description of the cherubim.

In his beauty and perfection he walked freely in God’s garden, the Garden of Eden;

Ezekiel 28:13  Thou hast been in Eden the garden of God; every precious stone was thy covering, the sardius, topaz, and the diamond, the beryl, the onyx, and the jasper, the sapphire, the emerald, and the carbuncle, and gold: the workmanship of thy tabrets and of thy pipes was prepared in thee in the day that thou wast created.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.15  Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created,

But then…

…till iniquity was found in thee.

You say, what did this beautiful creature dressed like the Hebrew priests would eventually be dressed (see the breastplate of judgment in Exodus 28) and playing beautiful music continuously (tabrets and pipes are references to musical instruments as see Genesis 31:27; 1 Samuel 10:5; & Isaiah 5:12) do? Well, first in his ambition, in his pride, he sought to place himself above the God who created him.

Isaiah 14:12  How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! 13  For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: 14  I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

He had a plan. God had given dominion over the earth, over His creation, to mankind, who were made in His image, His likeness, to be one.

Genesis 1:27  So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

They had communion with God and were totally free to do whatever they wanted, except for one thing.

Genesis 2:16 ¶  And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17  But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

So, Satan’s plan was to question what God had said, to arouse doubt and rebellion in the heart of the man and woman. Satan walked in the form of a serpent, a dragon, sometimes called a worm by our ancient ancestors, as a serpent, dragon, and worm could be synonyms. See Job 41 for a description of him now and see 2 Corinthians 11:14 for how he can appear to us. In Genesis 3 you can see how he destroyed man’s fellowship with God by enticing them both to break faith with their Creator. And so, the world fell into darkness. Satan had triumphed temporarily. All future generations inherited Adam and Eve’s rebellion and its consequence.

Romans 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

And the earth itself, all life, and the universe has fallen and is suffering to this day, which means that this event brought a lot of other things we are not told about but can surmise;

Romans 8:22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.

Praise be to God that He has offered us a way out of this mess.

John 3:16  For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. 17  For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. 18  He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19  And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20  For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. 21  But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

Pagan gods did not love mankind, sinners and all. Allah does not love sinners. But the God of the Bible loved a wicked world in its entirety and wished to draw it back to Him.

But, now you know why we have to wish and pray for grace and peace and why it is not a natural condition of the world. Now you know why “good people suffer” and now you know why so much death and destruction seems to be man’s plight. Now, you know where grace and peace comes from and it’s not from any human institution or wishful thinking. It is from the Lord Jesus Christ reaching down from heaven into the darkness that enshrouds us.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Paul's letter to the Ephesians - the greatest work on Christian theology ever penned

1 ¶  Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus:
Paul is speaking here to the Christians at Ephesus and to Christians throughout the ages who would read this letter. You do not do injury to the verse by taking that tack. Imagine that Paul is also writing this letter to you.
Paul is an apostle by the will of God and we are saved by the will of God.
John 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: 13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
Paul is an apostle. An apostle is separated unto God.
Romans 1:1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God,
An apostle is a preacher and a teacher.
1Timothy 2:7 Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.
Bible students will always argue whether or not there were apostles other than the eleven and Paul or whether or not Junia in Romans 16:7 was representative of female apostles.
Romans 16:7  Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.
That is whether its meaning is that Junia was esteemed by the apostles or was an apostle of note as it can read either way. But, if there were more apostles than the twelve or if Junia was an apostle let’s not forget that some seventeenth century Baptist churches had female deacons to monitor and protect the chastity of females in the church and at the Baptisms.*
*H. Leon McBeth, The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witnesses (Amazon Digital Services.)
Ephesus, now only ruins about 2 to 3 miles southwest of Seljuk, Turkey, was one of the great Greek and Roman cities of the ancient world with a one-time population of more than a quarter of a million people plus one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Temple of Diana, mentioned in Acts, chapter 19. It is also called by some scholars the Temple of Artemis, which is confusing, as I’ve read articles that said Artemis was a different Greek goddess than the Ephesian Diana. Others say Diana is the Roman name for Artemis.
The church at Ephesus would have met in someone’s home as there were no church buildings as such until the late second century. The church at Ephesus could have been composed of several house churches as Romans 16:5; 1 Corinthians 16:19; Colossians 4:15; & Philemon 1:2 reveal.
“The saints which are at Ephesus,” is an interesting phrase. Saints, in the Bible, are those set apart or sanctified by God. The church is composed of God’s saints, His sanctified ones.
1Corinthians 1:2 Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:
Faithful is another interesting word. To be careful is to be full of care or worry.
Philippians 4:6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.   
To be fruitful is to be productive.
Genesis 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
To be joyful is to be full of joy.
1Kings 8:66 On the eighth day he sent the people away: and they blessed the king, and went unto their tents joyful and glad of heart for all the goodness that the LORD had done for David his servant, and for Israel his people.
So, there are many other words that end in –ful that denote a quality of being filled with something or like dreadful, causing someone else to be filled with something. Faithful, then, in this context implies that the saints are full of faith and faith implies obedience to God’s will.
Numbers 12:7 My servant Moses is not so, who is faithful in all mine house.
A faithful Christian is full of faith.
Acts 6:5 And the saying pleased the whole multitude: and they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost, and Philip, and Prochorus, and Nicanor, and Timon, and Parmenas, and Nicolas a proselyte of Antioch:
Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.
Acts 11:24 For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord.
So, those in charge in any church body should be also.
1Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
In the context in 1 Corinthians it is faithful, holding the mysteries of God in faith, as in faithful to God’s doctrines for Christians to live by, trust in, and believe.
1 Corinthians 4:1 ¶  Let a man so account of us, as of the ministers of Christ, and stewards of the mysteries of God. 2  Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.
So, here Paul sends his salutations and greetings to the saints, God’s sanctified ones, at Ephesus, those who are filled with faith in Christ Jesus, and to you, if you fit that qualification.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Mark 16:9-20 comments: faith or a sign

9 ¶  Now when Jesus was risen early the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had cast seven devils.

A woman who had seven devils removed from her is the first person that Jesus shows Himself to.  Think about that or a century or so. Nowhere in the Scriptures does it say that she is or was a prostitute.

10  And she went and told them that had been with him, as they mourned and wept.

11  And they, when they had heard that he was alive, and had been seen of her, believed not. 12  After that he appeared in another form unto two of them, as they walked, and went into the country.

Here is the passage in Luke that carries that full encounter with Jesus.

Luke 24:13 ¶  And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs. 14  And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15  And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them. 16  But their eyes were holden that they should not know him.17  And he said unto them, What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad? 18  And the one of them, whose name was Cleopas, answering said unto him, Art thou only a stranger in Jerusalem, and hast not known the things which are come to pass there in these days? 19  And he said unto them, What things? And they said unto him, Concerning Jesus of Nazareth, which was a prophet mighty in deed and word before God and all the people:20  And how the chief priests and our rulers delivered him to be condemned to death, and have crucified him. 21  But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done. 22  Yea, and certain women also of our company made us astonished, which were early at the sepulchre; 23  And when they found not his body, they came, saying, that they had also seen a vision of angels, which said that he was alive. 24  And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not. 25  Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken: 26  Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27  And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 28  And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. 29  But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent. And he went in to tarry with them. 30  And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31  And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32  And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures? 33  And they rose up the same hour, and returned to Jerusalem, and found the eleven gathered together, and them that were with them, 34  Saying, The Lord is risen indeed, and hath appeared to Simon. 35  And they told what things were done in the way, and how he was known of them in breaking of bread.

13  And they went and told it unto the residue: neither believed they them.

Three witnesses and no one believes them. It would help you to read the other gospel accounts. 

14 ¶  Afterward he appeared unto the eleven as they sat at meat, and upbraided them with their unbelief and hardness of heart, because they believed not them which had seen him after he was risen. 15  And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Here is the Great Commission, given to the Jewish apostles specifically. The word, “creature,” is used in this context to designate specifically a human person. While the higher animals have souls, the seat of self-identity (see Numbers 31:28 and Job 12:10 for confirmation that they have souls and compare Mark 8:26 and Luke 9:25 to see by the method of word substitution how the Holy Spirit defines soul as self identity), they do not require salvation.

There is no question that there are animals in the spiritual world. Their prototypes surround the throne and appeared to Ezekiel (read Ezekiel, chapter one, and Ezekiel 10:15 with Revelation 4:6-9 to see the prototypes of beasts and read 2 Kings 6:17 for an appearance of animals in the spirit world).

16  He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

Salvation is predicated upon belief, not upon baptism. This verse makes that clear.

17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;

1Corinthians 1:22  For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:

John  4:48  Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.

1Corinthians 14:22  Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

These five signs are given to the early Jewish church but;

1 Corinthians 8 ¶  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. 9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. 10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

These signs vanished with the death of the last apostle. That which is perfect and complete (Colossians 4:12), the Bible, in its entirety, appeared not many years after that as there was an Old Latin Bible available by the middle of the second century, around the death of the last person taught directly by an apostle and before church leader Tertullian said (AD200) that the Apostle’s original writings were still extant. We are to read and hear it, to believe it and obey it. Those people who play with these gifts given to the apostles invite demonic oppression and heretical practices in themselves and in their churches.

The evidence of the Spirit of God being in a Christian today is not his or her ability to perform these signs.  For the Christian today the fruit, the evidence of the Spirit of God residing in them is;

Galatians 5:22  But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23  Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

The Christian should be as wary of people claiming to have signs of the Apostles as they should be wary of those who hold to Calvin’s Covenant Theology and those who hold to Replacement Theology who insist the church is some kind of “new Jew” who has appropriated all of the prophetic promises God specifically made to the Jews in the Old Testament.  See how Christ hates that in Revelation 2:9 & 3:9 as much as He hates a priesthood or pastorate that holds itself above the people in Revelation 2:6 & 2:15 [Nicolaitan is “Victory over the Laity]. I would be very concerned if I was involved in a faith tradition that claimed that baptism saved you, that the physical promises made to the Jews were now owned by the Christians, or that to obey a priest or a pastor was to obey God as if they had more of the Holy Spirit in them than any other believer they ministered to had.

They’ll buy into all of that at the end, though.

2Thessalonians 2:9  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,

Are you manifesting the fruit of the Holy Spirit or are you communing with Satan?

19 ¶  So then after the Lord had spoken unto them, he was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. 20  And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

The signs given to the apostles are no longer extant, although in the Tribulation the Jews may receive those again. For Christians today to claim these signs and not be able to produce them as defined by the Bible makes Christians a laughingstock.

God honors faith. He expects faith. Believe the Book. If you need a sign your faith is weak. The Jews’ faith was often weak. Unbelief  hinders your ability to receive God’s blessings which, apparently  from the Bible, He wishes to pour out on you. Do you really believe in Jesus Christ, that He is a real person whom you encounter and interact with every day? Perhaps you should pray the prayer in Mark 9:24, “I believe, help thou mine unbelief.”

If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as your Saviour, trusting in His righteousness and not your own, to have eternal life, then understand what being saved requires.

Romans 10: 8…..The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; 9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10  For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11  For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

12 ¶  For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek [Greek is used to refer to  Gentiles or non-Jews in general in several verses such as Romans 1:16; Galatians 3:28 & Colossians 3:11]: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. 13  For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

It’s not rocket science.

Acts 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

As Jesus said in Mark 5:36, “Be not afraid, only believe.”

You don’t get eternal life by belonging to a particular faith tradition, having a certain church membership, and undergoing a specific ritual, or even getting dunked in the public water system. You get eternal life by trusting in Christ.

Now is the time.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Mark 16:1-8 comments: The central tenet of Christianity; the Resurrection

1 ¶  And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

The Sabbath is past. Once Jesus Christ dies there is no Sabbath to keep any longer. Jesus is our Sabbath, our rest. There is no holy day for a Christian any more.

Col ossians 2:16, 17  Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.

In fact, there are no sacred spaces or sacred days in Biblical Christianity except in the Christian’s spiritual heart where the Holy Spirit dwells and in every day where he or she worships the God of the Bible and submits to His will. All attempts to make buildings, rooms, or a specific order of service, or a certain day of the week sacred and possessed of a spiritual power in and of itself are just humanistic attempts to bypass the responsibility to respond to the Spirit of God inside the believer and replace it with a humanistic formula.

The need for holy days and holy places on earth is past until Christ physically and bodily returns to rule from Jerusalem. The Christian is to now honor God in spirit and in truth, not in adherence to ritual and formality that can be faked by any unbelieving so-called Christian.

We don’t ask for the Holy Spirit to come down on the congregation or for God to, “walk among the pews,” because if He’s not already inside each of us we’re lost and the church service is just a club meeting.

2  And very early in the morning the first day of the week, they came unto the sepulchre at the rising of the sun.

Jesus had to have come out before daybreak.

3  And they said among themselves, Who shall roll us away the stone from the door of the sepulchre? 4  And when they looked, they saw that the stone was rolled away: for it was very great. 5  And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment; and they were affrighted. 6  And he saith unto them, Be not affrighted: Ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was crucified: he is risen; he is not here: behold the place where they laid him.

The central focus of Christianity is an empty tomb. He isn’t there. If you don’t believe that you aren’t a Christian. If you don’t believe that Jesus Christ is God in the flesh, the physical presence of God, His bodily image, the express image of His person, you are not a Christian. There is no salvation in humanism. To believe that Christ was just one of those great teachers in history is idiotic. If He was not God then He was either a liar or a lunatic and you are as lost as a goose in a horse race still.

7  But go your way, tell his disciples and Peter that he goeth before you into Galilee: there shall ye see him, as he said unto you.

Peter is singled out to be used as a leader of the early church but right now, also, he is in a backslidden condition. He is separated from the disciples until Christ appears. We are saved saints but we are not truly Christians unless we are walking a disciplined life, walking with Christ and being like Him. Most of us who are saved are just that, but not Christians.

8  And they went out quickly, and fled from the sepulchre; for they trembled and were amazed: neither said they any thing to any man; for they were afraid.

Although, of the 620 Uncial or most ancient block letter manuscripts that contain Mark 618 contain the following verses they are called into doubt in some Bibles. The two that don’t have these verses are the darlings of the Roman Catholic Church and modern day Protestant expositors, Codex Vaticanus and Codex Sinaiticus.  They are corruptions from the 4th century, most likely prepared by the Emperor Constantine’s’ bootlicker, Eusebius, for his own purposes of creating a Roman based and controlled church. Jerome’s revision of the Old Latin Bible called the Latin Vulgate and all modern versions gave these two abominations preeminence.

There have been many books written that prove the validity of the last twelve verses of Mark, most predominantly “The Last Twelve Verses of Mark” by Dean John Burgon. If your Bible version calls these verses into any question, throw that “Bible” out. It is trash. Justin Martyr, Tatian, Irenaeus, Ambrose, and Chrysostrom all quote these verses.  Even Jerome’s Vulgate contains these verses even though he gives the two aforementioned codices preeminence elsewhere.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Sermon on the Mount study: Matthew 5:13

13 ¶  Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.

Salt that is ruined, that has lost its taste is good for nothing. It becomes adulterated and worthless. So does the Christian when he mixes with the world and adopts the world’s view of what is good.

Eve was tempted with three things; Genesis 3:6 ¶  And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.

In 1 John 2:15-16 the Christian is warned about these very things;

1 John 2:15  Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16  For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

So, when we view satisfying the flesh as our main pastime as in, “good for food,” and, “the lust of the flesh,” we turn our hearts from God. When we place what is, “pleasant to the eyes,” or rather, “the lust of the eyes,” in a position of preeminence over Christ we fall into sin and destruction. When we place education, learning, and position in the world in place of God as in, “to make one wise,” and, “the pride of life,” we look away from God.

Adopting these standards makes us worthless and useless to God. We are like salt that has lost its saltiness. The world has a god and it is not our God. The world worships Satan through its love of Self. (relevant verses: 2 Cor. 4:4; Luke 9:23; Galatians 2:23; Romans 6:11).

Jesus gave this warning;

Luke 16:15 And he said unto them, Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts: for that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.

So, examine yourself, Christian. When you stuff your face at your favorite restaurant "down the ocean," spend a wad of cash on that big screen TV on 'Black Friday' after waiting in line for hours, and fight like a rooster over that promotion at work are you salt for Christ in front of other people? Remember what Jesus said, everything that mankind holds up as a lofty ideal or something worth living your life for God regards as not just a less important matter, but as an abomination. Doesn’t that make you question your values?

When you are worthless to God, be sure that the world will trod you under foot. Your devotion to its goals will get you nothing of value, nothing that lasts. To quote the great and lost writer, Hemingway, from his book, A Farewell To Arms,The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong in the broken places. But those that will not break it kills. It kills the very good and the very gentle and the very brave impartially. If you are none of these you can be sure it will kill you too but there will be no special hurry.”

When you have given up your value to God in pursuit of the things the world holds as important you, a useless Christian, will be trodden under foot by the very world you chose to serve rather than God.

Mark 15:42-47 comments: buried in a rich man's tomb

42 ¶  And now when the even was come, because it was the preparation, that is, the day before the sabbath,

Here is why everyone says that Christ was crucified on Friday because the Sabbath would have been Saturday even though it is said in different places that he spent three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

Matthew 12:40  For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.

But, this isn’t a regular Sabbath but a special Sabbath. This was a special high Sabbath.

John 19:31  The Jews therefore, because it was the preparation, that the bodies should not remain upon the cross on the sabbath day, (for that sabbath day was an high day,) besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away.

Read Leviticus 23 carefully.

There was 12 hours in a day and 12 hours in a night (John 11:9). The 24 hour day began with the evening before which is why creation in Genesis 1 is described as the evening and the morning of a day. Jesus spent three days and nights in the grave and at some point on Saturday night after 6pm but before 6am Sunday He arose. Jesus is killed on the Passover and the next day is a Sabbath and so is the next Wednesday in addition to the regular Sabbath.

43  Joseph of Arimathaea, an honourable counsellor, which also waited for the kingdom of God, came, and went in boldly unto Pilate, and craved the body of Jesus. 44  And Pilate marvelled if he were already dead: and calling unto him the centurion, he asked him whether he had been any while dead.

It was very common for a person to stay on a cross for a long time before they died but usually not ripped to shreds like Jesus was. People under crucifixion often stayed up there and slowly died.  It was a brutal death.

45  And when he knew it of the centurion, he gave the body to Joseph.

Here, he gives permission.

46  And he bought fine linen, and took him down, and wrapped him in the linen, and laid him in a sepulchre which was hewn out of a rock, and rolled a stone unto the door of the sepulchre.

Isaiah  53:9  And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.

47  And Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of Joses beheld where he was laid.
Luke 8 tells us that Mary Magdalene had seven devils removed from her. The Bible does not say she was a prostitute, which is another Pagan/Christian myth.