Saturday, January 31, 2015


"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. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."  John 3:5-6
Christian [water] baptism was not instituted until after the death and resurrection of Christ. The reason lies in the fact that this event signifies the identification of the believer with Christ. Since it is intended to point to the death and resurrection of Christ and the union of the believer with Christ in this amazing work, this experience initiates the believer into salvation where all the other ministries of Christ become effective. Besides symbolizing union with Christ in death, burial, and resurrection, it also points to the place of the Godhead in salvation, and the actual experience of baptism by the Spirit into the body of Christ and the communication of a new life by the regenerating power of the Holy Spirit (Spirit Baptism) in [Rom. 6:3-5; 1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:7; Tit. 3:5].

Rom. 6:3-5 "Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? 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. For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection:"
1 Cor. 12:13 "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit."
Gal. 3:7 "Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham."
Titus 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;"

[Water Baptism] In water baptism the believer is reminded of his identification and union with Christ and the entire Godhead [Matt. 28:19].
God is tri-unity. This categorical statement may appear illogical to any reader who is confronted for the first time with this truth. The foregoing discussion makes such an effort to emphasize the unity of God, that the reader is now surprised to discover something about God that seems to be in contradiction. At first glance, the title "tri-unity" may appear to be a mistake, since the more common term is "trinity." But the expression "trinity" lays emphasis upon the three persons in the Godhead to the exclusion of the one essence, whereas the word "tri-unity" includes both ideas, and therefore insists upon a trinity of persons in the one divine essence.
The importance of this divine reality dare not be underestimated. Of all the propositions relating to God, this one is the fundamental of the fundamentals of the Christian faith. This differentiates the Christian faith from all other faiths. Without this doctrine there could be no divine Savior and no divine Holy Spirit. Without this truth there could be no incarnation of God in human flesh. There could be no transaction between persons of the Godhead in atonement. And there could be no God of eternal love. It follows that all the distinctive truths of Christianity are wrapped up in this great fact. "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory" (1 Tim. 3:16).
When Christ became flesh, the tri-unity of God came into full view. In the doctrine of God, tri-unity comes last. This marks progress in revelation. This progress is not from imperfection to perfection, for at every stage in revelation the body of truth was perfect, though at that point it was incomplete. God revealed truth in the same proportion that men were prepared and able to receive it. When at last Christ came, men were then amply prepared and able to receive the crowning truth in the doctrine of God, the tri-unity of God. But this does not mean that there is no revelation concerning the tri-unity of God in the Old Testament. The facts are that this great truth is woven into the very warp and woof of the Old Testament Scriptures, except for the fact that it is not clearly seen because men are not sufficiently prepared to recognize it. The Hebrew word for God in the opening verse of Genesis is plural in number, though it is used with a singular verb. This occurs over and over again in the Old Testament. Notice the use of the word "us" in connection with the creation of man (Gen. 1:26), and his expulsion from the garden (Gen. 3:22). It would appear that the issues were so important that there was need for divine consultation in the Godhead. The answer to the critics of this doctrine is that the complete revelation of the tri-unity of God was given in deeds rather than words. Godly Jews believed in a God who dwelt in heaven. When Christ came, these very Jews recognized Him as God. The coming of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost was recognized as something different from the Father or from Christ, and when these men wrote the New Testament there was no conscious effort to formulate a doctrine of the tri-unity of God. All they did was to record what happened. "0 the depths of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out" (Rom. 11:33). To seal this truth to each believer at the outset of his experience of salvation, he is baptized "into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matt. 28:19), a trinity of divine persons all contributing to his salvation.
Matt. 28:19 "Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:"

Friday, January 30, 2015




The writer of Hebrews strongly disagrees and that is where some go to substantiate their belief that one can. Usually they have been taught this untruth by someone they respect who also was taught the same lie.

Hebrews talks about Israel and the Jew who takes a look at the rest assured and promised with salvation in Christ and the gospel. They advance in the leadership of the Holy Spirit professing to believe tasting of the things promised but stop short of entering that rest in Jesus Christ because of the strong persecution they see that others have encountered because of their belief not only in Christ but also a triune Godhead by which they were baptized into Their name (Matt. 28:18-20).

Heb. 3:18 explains Heb. 6:4-8 which presents the case of Jewish professing believers who halt short of faith in Christ after advancing to the very threshold of salvation, even "going along with"  the Holy Spirit in His work of enlightenment and conviction (John 16:8-10). It is not said they had faith. This supposed person is like the spies at Kadesh-Barnea (Deut. 1:19-26) who saw the land and had the very fruit of it in their hands, and yet turned back.

 Heb. 3:18  “And to whom sware he that they should not enter into his rest, but to them that believed not?”

Heb. 6:4-8 “For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame. For the earth which drinketh in the rain that cometh oft upon it, and bringeth forth herbs meet for them by whom it is dressed, receiveth blessing from God: But that which beareth thorns and briers is rejected, and is nigh unto cursing; whose end is to be burned.”

These verses say more than the one who believes you can walk away after salvation for it says it is “impossible” to ever “renew” them. They are usually going back and forth through their doors and this is the only way they can explain their behavior of sin.

These people are known as “tasters.” They have never truly entered the rest provided in Jesus Christ or they never would have walked away and then attempted to return attempting to crucify Christ again. You only can put Him on the cross once. Verse eight says a hot fire awaits that person.

<Losing Salvation?> What needs to be said right at the start is that the subtlest temptation that ever assaults the hearts of the masses of Christian people especially of the struggling saint, is the temptation to doubt God's willingness to forgive! 1 John 1:9 tells me this and it is best to me to believe that truth. If I the transgressor make confession, He will blot out forever, He does none of these things easily, for behind them lies forevermore the infinite, unfathomable passion and sorrow of His heart. Now let me say that the walk of a Christian that is a true one is one directional and continuous (proved by the present tense in Col 2:6). Continuity of faith means persistent loyalty to CHRIST as KING (Doctrine of Christ Vs. 1), and unswerving confidence in HIM as SAVIOR. (Son of God Vs. 6) . The two elements are necessary for one to strive after. The first as LORD, I find myself falling and stumbling from (see note on Luke 18:14-the chief sin of a man). But as to the second let me NEVER FORGET to be confident in Him as SAVIOR. The first I must continuously ask forgiveness for while the second I only did ONCE. Let our faith be towards God and not away as some tend to try to get us to think.

Wednesday, January 28, 2015



"For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."  Heb. 4:3

The establishment of the Kingdom of God was determined before, and designed and prepared from the foundation of the world.
 The all-consuming purpose of God in creation was to establish a Kingdom on this earth in which He could display His glory in the Person of His Son. This display was to be made to creatures made in His image and likeness and therefore capable of appreciating, apprehending, and applauding that glory.
 Like phrases are given in Isa 14:26-27; Matt 13:35, Matt. 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24, Eph. 1:4,  Heb. 1:10, Heb. 4:3, Heb. 9:26; 1 Pet. 1:20, Rev. 13:8, Rev. 17:8.

Whatever application these passages may have to the future kingdom, we cannot rid ourselves of the plainly implied meaning that, in the mind of the Divine Architect and Purposer, the contemplated final use of this world was allied with its origin.

Isa. 14:26-27 "This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations. For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?"

Matt. 13:35 "That it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open my mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world."

Matt. 25:34 "Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:"

Luke 11:50 "That the blood of all the prophets, which was shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation;"

John 17:24 "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world."

Eph. 1:4 "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:"

Heb. 1:10 "And, Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:"

Heb. 4:3 "For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world."

Heb. 9:26 "For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself."
1 Pet. 1:20 "Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you,"

Rev. 13:8 "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world."

Rev. 17:8 "The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is."

Tuesday, January 27, 2015


The Glorification of Dead Christians


The most detailed description of the rapture of the Church is found in Paul's first letter to the persecuted Christians he had left in Thessalonica. He wrote this letter from Corinth, where he confronted much confusion about the personal destiny of believers. Some Christians in Thessalonica had already died (perhaps by martyrdom), and the saints there were concerned that their dead loved ones would miss out on the second coming of Christ.
But dead Christians will not be forgotten by God at the Second Coming. In fact, they will be the first humans to experience glorification since the Lord Jesus. Yes, Christ was "the first fruits." He is the first and only human ever to have been glorified. But "afterward" - nearly two thousand years already - members of His body and bride, namely, "those who are Christ's," will share His glory "at His coming" (1 Cor. 15:23).
Now Paul was emphatic in his letter to the believers in Thessalonica on this one point: Dead Christians will be glorified even before living Christians!
"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 will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words." (1 Thess. 4:15-18)
It is fascinating to behold the order in which transformations to glory occur: (1) our Lord first; (2) dead Christians next; (3) living Christians moments later; (4) the two witnesses three and a half years later (Rev. 11:1-12); and (5) tribulation martyrs and all pre-Pentecost saints three and a half years later still, at the second coming of Christ (Dan. 12:1-2; Rev. 20:4). Yes, "each one in his own order (tagma)" (1 Cor. 15:23), like a magnificent parade through the ages.

Monday, January 26, 2015


Could Christ Return This Year?

"....Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."  Acts 1:11

The biblical answer to this burning question is - yes and no! Yes, He could return from heaven at any moment now to meet His true Church - His body and bride - in the air. And, therefore, no - He will not come down to the earth during the next twelve months. His return to the earth will occur seven years after the Church has been caught up to heaven.
Why does the Bible make this distinction? Because the second coming of our Lord, just like His first coming, is a complex series of events covering a number of years. Think for a moment of the first coming. It began with the miraculous conception of the God-man in the womb of a Jewish woman about 4 BC. Then came His birth, growth, public ministry, death, burial, resurrection, and ascension back to heaven - requiring more than a third of a century.
So also, the second coming of Christ will cover a number of years, beginning with the resurrection of dead Christians and the rapture of living Christians (1 Thess. 4:13-18). Then, for the Church, there will be a period of examination by her Bridegroom to determine gain or loss of rewards (1 Cor. 3:10-15), culminating in "the marriage of the Lamb" (Rev. 19:7-9).
In the meantime, on the earth, a number of spectacular things will take place, requiring eighty-four months, or seven years (Rev. 11:2-3), before He sets foot again on this planet (Zech. 14:4). Two witnesses will suddenly appear in Jerusalem, one of whom will be Elijah (Mal. 4:5-6, Rev. 11:3-6). After they have led the nation of Israel back to God (Matt. 17:11), they will be killed by the Antichrist (Rev. 11:7-13). But during the last three and a half years of the Tribulation period, 144,000 of their disciples, from the twelve tribes of Israel, will take "this gospel of the kingdom . . . to all the nations" (Matt. 24:14; cf. Rev. 7:3-8; 14:1-5).
As soon as the Church is removed from the earth (John 14:1-3; 2 Thess. 2:1-8), the "little horn" (i.e., "the Antichrist," or "the Beast") will be launched by Christ Himself into his steady march to global dominion (Dan. 7:8; Rev. 6:1-2). He will make a firm covenant with the majority of Israelis for a seven-year period (Dan. 9:27) and lead them to international prestige.
After forty-two months, the Antichrist is killed (presumably by the King of the North; Dan. 11:40-45; Rev. 13:14), but he rises again to mortal life and kills his archenemies, the two witnesses (Rev. 11:7-13). He then turns against Israel (which is by now a basically converted nation; Isa. 66:8; Rev. 12:1-6, 13-16), stops the temple sacrifices (Dan. 9:27), sets up "the abomination of desolation" in the temple of God (Matt. 24:15, KJV), and demands worship of himself with horrible consequences for those who refuse to submit (Rev. 13:11-17). Under Satan's direction, he will gather the armies of the world to challenge the Lord Jesus Christ at His glorious second coming to the earth (Ps. 2:1-6; Rev. 16:12-16; 19:19).
By means of these complex events, God will prepare the Church, the nation of Israel, and the Gentile nations for His glorious one-thousand-year kingdom on earth.
But when will all of this begin to happen? We wish we knew - but our Lord warned us about setting the date! "But of that day or hour no one knows, not the angels in heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone" (Mark 13:32). Now think of this statement! Our Lord knew that the exact date was unknown to all mere humans, and to all of heaven's angels, and even to Himself (during the non-glorified phase of His incarnation)! The Lord Jesus had set aside the independent exercise of certain attributes of greatness (such as omniscience) at His first coming (Phil. 2:5-8; Luke 2:52). But He remained totally divine and totally sinless, and He received from His Father a perfect understanding of the temporary limits of His knowledge (John 5:20).
This year could see the beginning of Second Coming events! For believers today, this is the blessed hope, for we know that "when He appears, we will be like Him, because we will see Him just as He is" (1 John 3:2). But for all mankind, our Lord gave this urgent warning: "Take heed, keep on the alert; for you do not know when the appointed time will come. ... What I say to you I say to all, 'Be on the alert!" (Mark 13:33, 37).
To which we should joyfully reply, "Amen. Come, Lord Jesus" (Rev. 22:20).

Sunday, January 25, 2015



"The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels."  Matt 13:39
Upon numerous occasions in the preceding articles reference has been made to a period designated as the tribulation. It has been assumed that the reader has some knowledge of this period. But it must not be assumed to the point of passing over a specific dis­cussion of this theme. At this juncture it is wise to give a rela­tively thorough, though brief treatment of this important period in eschatological times.
 The Definition of Terms Denoting Tribulation

1. Tribulation is the most common name given to this period. This is a Scriptural term that is used both in a general and in a specific sense. It is therefore necessary to distinguish between them.

(1)   The general sense in which this word is used denotes participation in distress without regard to time. From the original language the word is translated into the English by the word "trib­ulation" (Acts 14:22), "anguish" (John 16:21), "affliction" (Acts 7:10-11), "burdened" (2 Cor. 8:13), "persecution" (Acts 11:19), "trouble" (1 Cor, 7:28).

(2)   The specific sense of this word denotes participation in distress with regard to a particular period of time. Christ referred to such a period when outlining the future of Israel to His disciples, "For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be" (Matt. 24:21). In similar vein the elder addresses John and says, "These are they which came out of great tribula­tion" (Rev. 7:14). The Greek original is even stronger in grammatical construction, reading, "the tribulation, the great one".

2. The day of the Lord is another expression used to refer to this period of time (Zech. 14:1), though not confined to it. In this same pattern the expressions, "the great and dreadful day of the Lord" (Mal. 4:5), "that day" (Isa. 11:10-11), "the day" (Mal. 4:1) also appear. This usage sets this period of time apart from the day of man when he was allowed to go his own way.

3. A time of trouble is another way of referring to this period. It is Daniel who writes, "and there shall be a time of trouble, such as never was since there was a nation even to that same time" (Dan. 12:1). Jeremiah makes reference to this time in relation to Israel and calls it "the time of Jacob's trouble" (Jer. 30:7).

4. The indignation is Isaiah's way of referring to this period (Isa. 26:20). John calls it "the wrath of the Lamb" and "the great day of his wrath" (Rev. 6:16-17). And Paul refers to this period as "the wrath to come" (1 These. 1:10).

5. Many other expressions are also used in the Bible to designate this period, such as "The latter years" (Ezek. 38:8), "the latter days" (Ezek. 38:16), "the time of the end" (Dan. 11:40), "the end of the world" [Grk. - age] (Matt. 13:39), "the latter times" (1 Tim. 4:1), and "the last days" (2 Tim. 3:1).

This list does not by any means exhaust the ways by which reference is made to this period of time yet future. But each method of designation adds some different aspect to the description of this coming period in the history of the world.

Saturday, January 24, 2015


The Dead in Christ - What Are They Doing?

Before Christ, believers were often perplexed by the prospect of death. One of God's great servants, Job, recorded his fear that it would be a realm of permanent nothingness.
As the cloud disappears and vanishes away,
So he who goes down to the grave does not come up. (Job 7:9)
But later, God illumined his mind to write this.
"For I know that my Redeemer lives,
And He shall stand at last on the earth;
And after my skin is destroyed, this I know,
That in my flesh I shall see God,
Whom I shall see for myself,
And my eyes shall behold, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!"
(Job 19:25-27)
Many centuries later, even David, who was "a man after [God's] own heart" (1 Sam. 13:14; cf. Acts 13:22), likewise sank into despair at the prospect of death.
"For in death there is no remembrance of You;
In the grave who will give You thanks?"
(Psa. 6:5).
But he, too, was given a more optimistic view.
"As for me, I will see Your face in righteousness;
I shall be satisfied when I awake in Your likeness."
(Psa. 17:15).
Another psalmist wrote,
"Precious in the sight of the LORD
Is the death of His saints."
(Psa. 116:15).
Now, thank God, the prospect for dead believers shines even brighter because of "our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel" (2 Tim. 1:10). "To me," Paul says, "to live is Christ, and to die is gain" (Phil. 1:21). In fact, "to depart and be with Christ ... is far better" (Phil. 1:23).
Dead believers are in a "far better" state than living believers! In fact, they have "gain(ed)" something they never possessed while they were alive. What have they gained? God will show us many things about this someday, but here is a starter: for the first time in their personal existence, they are sinless! While he was still on the earth, the mighty apostle Paul had to confess: "For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find. ... O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? I thank God - through Jesus Christ our Lord!" (Rom. 7:18, 24-25).
So what is Paul doing in heaven now? What are all dead believers doing? They are not working and serving, for they are incomplete without a body. They are resting. "'Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.' Yes,' says the Spirit, 'that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them' (Rev. 14:13). They are contemplating the glory of their Savior. That is what our Lord asked for: "Father, I desire that they also whom. You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world" (John 17:24). They are worshipping Him in truth and love (cf. Rev. 4:9-11). They are looking forward to the day of resurrection. As Paul expressed it: "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption [which is not death but], the redemption of our body [i.e., glorious resurrection]" (Rom. 8:23).

Friday, January 23, 2015



a. The Problem of Ignorance
Peter speaks of this problem in his second epistle where, with special reference to the writings of Paul, he says, "in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction" (2 Pet. 3:15-16). Instead of "unlearned," Weymouth has "ill-taught," and the American Standard Version has "ignorant." Evidently this particular ignorance is somehow connected with teaching, or the lack of it. And it is a fact that large and important areas of the Word of God are comparatively unknown to many people because they are either given no place in the pulpit or wrongly taught. As a result, other parts of Scripture are wrested or "tortured" to the destruction of men's souls.
But ignorance may also be something deliberate, a path upon which men set their feet with willful intent. Peter describes certain scoffers of the last days as men who "willingly are ignorant" of things they should have known. And it is a matter of significant interest that the object of this deliberate ignorance is eschatological in nature, having to do with the question of the promise of the Lord's second coming (cf. 2 Pet. 3:1-5). Furthermore, the revelation to which these "scoffers" deliberately shut their eyes is found for the most part in the Old Testament (2 Pet. 3:5, 6, 10). The remedy for such ignorance, of course, is to receive and read the whole Word of God with an open mind under the guidance of the Spirit of God.
b. The Problem of Unbelief
It is possible for men to know and yet to draw back in unbelief. This is true even of the saved, who may believe one part of the Word of God and at the same time hesitate at another part which is just as clear. There is an instructive case of this recorded in Luke 24. Following His death and resurrection, our Lord met two disciples on their way to Emmaus, who in the face of His death and burial were wondering whether or not their hopes in Him as the Messiah-Redeemer of Israel were well founded. In reply, Christ goes straight to the heart of the problem: "O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken" (Luke 24:25, italics supplied). The context shows clearly that these disciples believed in the Old Testament prophecies concerning the glory of Messiah, but had not accepted literally what the same prophets had said about His suffering and death. As a result these men were actually wavering in their belief in Jesus as the Messiah. It is never safe to reject anything in the Scriptures, no matter how unlikely it may seem to mere human reason. And any scheme of interpretation which empties any part of Scripture of its normal meaning is essentially a form of unbelief and can lead to disastrous results all along the line. For example, the Unitarian and Arian views of our Lord accept the Biblical testimony regarding His true humanity, but "interpret" away the testimony concerning His true Deity. The only safe attitude is to accept the totality of Scripture on all its various subjects, whether on the Person of Christ or His Kingdom, and to accept it all at its normal or face value.
c. The Problem of Limited Discernment
This seems to have been a handicap under which the Corinthian church was laboring; for to them Paul wrote, "I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able" (1 Cor. 3:2). The cause of this limitation was found in their lack of spiritual growth. They were yet "babes in Christ" (1 Cor. 3:1), and had to be treated accordingly. Paul even calls them "carnal" (1 Cor. 3:3), for there is a certain carnality of childhood. The child's mind is unable to judge correctly as to the comparative value or importance of things, being susceptible to attraction by things which are near and can be seen rather than by the things less spectacular and far off. Still further, the evidence of spiritual childishness among the Corinthian believers was their dependence on, and partisanship for, individual human leaders: "one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos" (1 Cor. 3:4). Both were great men, but at their best they were only "ministers by whom ye believed" (1 Cor. 3:5). And no mere man, not even the Apostle Paul, has ever been made the divine channel of all divine truth. Therefore, for any believer to feed on the Pauline Scriptures alone, or the Four Gospels alone, or to lean wholly upon any one human teacher of the Scriptures, or to restrict the total significance of a Biblical doctrine to the measure of a one-sided selection of texts, indicates spiritual immaturity and the limited discernment which always attends it. The remedy, of course, is to "grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ" (2 Pet. 3:18). And since the Scriptures testify concerning Him, there will be spiritual growth as we read, study, and feed upon the whole Word of God.
d. The Problem of Spiritual Blindness
This is the condition of the whole unsaved world, so that we cannot expect anything but confusion in the ideas of unregenerate men regarding the essential truths of Scripture, no matter how great their scholarship. This blindness has a threefold aspect: First, it is something inherent in the sinful nature of fallen men: "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God . . . neither can he know them" (1 Cor. 2:14). Second, it is manifested and deepened by the personal sins of the unsaved: "He that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes" (1 John 2:11). Third, it is also induced by the work of Satan who as "the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not" (2 Cor. 4:4). In this verse it is worthy of notice that the particular object of Satan's venomous hatred is "the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God" (ASV). This is a matter of high importance in relation to the Kingdom, for it is in the establishment of that Kingdom at the second coming of our Lord that His "glory" shall be so fully manifested that "every eye shall see him" (Rev. 1:7). The reality of this glory, unseen today, is part of the Good News set forth in the written Word, and which we accept by faith. But the minds of the unbelieving are blinded to this glorious light by the devices of Satan. Now the remedy for this blindness is very simple. In 2 Cor. 3:14-15, Paul describes the blindness of those who read the "Old Testament" without seeing the glory of Christ: "even unto this day," he says, "the veil is upon their heart." The "veil" here is certainly human sin. And how can we be rid of it so that we may see? The answer is very clear: "When it [the heart] shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away" (2 Cor. 3:16).
e. The Problem of the Finiteness of the Human Mind
With reference to all that has been said above, it must never be forgotten that in the Scriptures we have a revelation coming down from an Infinite Mind, expressed in the vehicle of human language; and therefore, as Alford has well said, "Its simplest saying has in it a depth which the human mind cannot fathom . . ." But this does not mean that men here and now cannot know the essential truths of Scripture. It only means that in relation to these truths "new lights will ever be thrown upon God's Word, by passing events, by the toil of thought, by the discoveries of historical research and of scientific inquiry." For instance, there is no insoluble difficulty in learning from the written Word of God that Jesus Christ is both God and man; and no amount of research or discovery can ever reverse these facts of divine revelation. But through all time and eternity these truths will be seen in fresh brilliance and with new glories as we shall pursue our contemplation of the written Word; and this pursuit will never be wholly done. There is no end to God.
In summarizing this introductory discussion, two things should be emphasized: first, the crucial problems of understanding the written revelation of God are found in man, not in the revelation; and second, excepting man's finitude, these problems are all basically moral and spiritual in nature. If men cannot see, it is not that they have lost their minds, but they have lost their holiness. If men do not believe, it is not that they are incapable of the intellectual act of assent, but that they will not believe. To say that the simple act of belief, considered psychologically, is beyond the power of man is nonsense. Every day, men show clearly by their actions that they can believe in each other, in themselves, even in the lies of the propaganda mills. But men of themselves will not believe God. If there is an impossibility somewhere - and there is - it is not to be found in any alleged esoteric meaning of Scripture; nor can it be located in some defect of the human intellect. The impossibility is moral and spiritual. Man cannot believe and understand what God says because he will not. That is why fallen men are "ever learning," yet never, without the saving operation of the Holy Spirit, "able to come to the knowledge of the truth" as revealed in Jesus Christ and recorded in Scripture (2 Tim. 3:7). And that is why, in the last analysis, it is God who must open the "understanding" of men that they might "understand the scriptures" (Luke 24:45). And thereby be saved by grace.

Thursday, January 22, 2015



 Among the several Old Testament passages in which reference is made to this covenant, the most complete account appears in the prophecy of Jer. 31. A study of this passage reveals a number of things about the New Covenant which are relevant to our study of the Mediatorial Kingdom.
 First, the future covenant is "new" only in relation to the Mosaic covenant. In an earlier chapter Jeremiah shows that be is fully aware of the character and the weakness of the latter covenant (Jer. 11:1-8). It is against this background that the prophet describes the "new covenant." It will not be, God says, "according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt" (Jer. 31:31-32). The New Covenant is never thus set over against the Abrahamic and Davidic covenants, as if they needed to be replaced by something better.
 Second, the New Covenant arises out of, and is based on, Jehovah's everlasting love and grace. The announcement of this covenant is prefaced by these words: "The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore, with lovingkindness, have I drawn thee" (Jer. 31:3). This is asserted in the face of Israel's deplorable condition (Jer. 30:12-15), which absolutely precluded any divine favor based on meritorious character or deeds on her part.
 Third, the moral problem posed by the failure of the Mosaic covenant will under the New Covenant be met by God's own sovereign grace and power. The regal benefits promised by the Mosaic covenant had been lost because the nation had broken it. But now a "new covenant" will secure these benefits by means which are no longer legally conditioned. The solution of the problem is this, God says, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts" (Jer. 31:33). By these means the benefits of the Mosaic covenant will be attained, and at the same time its moral requirements will be secured; not as a legal condition of blessing but as its divinely caused result. And the issue will be a new manner of life (Jer. 31:34).
 Fourth, the New Covenant, therefore, is in the gracious spirit of the earlier Abrahamic covenant, rather than in the legalistic spirit of the Mosaic covenant which it supplants. It is true that under the latter there was promised divine forgiveness in the case of Israel's failure. But here it is deeply significant that when the sin has been confessed and pardon has been granted, it is not on the basis of any surviving rights in the broken covenant of Sinai but simply because Jehovah remembers His earlier "covenant with Jacob, . . . with Isaac, and ... with Abraham" (Lev. 26:42). It is on this basis, He reminds the nation, that in spite of all they have done, "neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break my covenant with them: for I am the LORD their God" (Lev. 26:44). Exactly the same idea is expressed by Ezekiel in his reference to the New Covenant: Although the nation had broken the Mosaic covenant, "Nevereheless," God says, "I will remember my covenant with thee in the days of thy youth, and I will establish unto thee an everlasting covenant" (Ezek. 16:59-60). The expression "days of thy youth" fixes definitely the reference to the earlier covenant.
 The law of Moses, by sacrifice and Messianic prediction, had indeed "witnessed" (Rom. 3:21) to the future compassion of God extended to a sinful people who deserved nothing; but this mercy goes back for its ultimate ground to Jehovah's sovereign grace as expressed in His covenant with Abraham. In this respect, the New Covenant is totally different from the Mosaic covenant at Sinai. As Dr. C. W. E. Naegelsbach has written: "It is true no legal enactment of the Old Covenant is declared false in the New (Matt. 5:17-19); it is true that men knew even under the Old Covenant that the law, in order to be fulfilled ... must be in the heart (Deut. 30:6; Ps. 40:8; Prov. 3:1 ). But this ... is quite a different thing from that which Jeremiah means in this passage."
 Fifth, the New Covenant and its benefits will be guaranteed by the very order and stability of the created universe. "Thus saith the LORD, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night .... If these ordinances depart from before me. . . . If heaven above can be measured, and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel for all that they have done, saith the LORD" (Jer. 31:35-37). The creation and preservation of order in the universe are matters wholly beyond the control of men, depending on God alone. Even so, the New Covenant rests on what God is and does.
 Sixth, according to Jeremiah 31, the New Covenant is solidly embedded in a historical context. The people involved is the Israel of history, which had been "scattered" (Jer. 31:10), and whose children shall be gathered again "from the uttermost parts of the earth" (Jer. 31:8, ASV). The land to which they are gathered is identified as the ancient "land of Judah" (Jer 31:23) and the "mountains of Samaria" (Jer. 31:5). The city is historic Jerusalem which shall be "built to the LORD from the tower of Hananeel unto the gate of the corner" (Jer. 31:38-40). There is reference also to other cities of the historic land which shall exist and be inhabited by worshipers of Jehovah (Jer. 31:23-24). There the chosen people will enjoy once more their historic blessings of "the goodness of the LORD" in "wheat" and "wine" and "oil" and the "young of the flock" (Jer. 31:12-14).

Wednesday, January 21, 2015



Deut. 30:1  And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee, the blessing and the curse, which I have set before thee, and thou shalt call them to mind among all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath driven thee,
And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul;
3  That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.
4  If any of thine be driven out unto the outmost parts of heaven, from thence will the LORD thy God gather thee, and from thence will he fetch thee:
5  And the LORD thy God will bring thee into the land which thy fathers possessed, and thou shalt possess it; and he will do thee good, and multiply thee above thy fathers.
6  And the LORD thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the LORD thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.
7  And the LORD thy God will put all these curses upon thine enemies, and on them that hate thee, which persecuted thee.
8  And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the LORD, and do all his commandments which I command thee this day.
9  And the LORD thy God will make thee plenteous in every work of thine hand, in the fruit of thy body, and in the fruit of thy cattle, and in the fruit of thy land, for good: for the LORD will again rejoice over thee for good, as he rejoiced over thy fathers:
The Palestinian Covenant gives the conditions under which Israel entered the land of promise. It is important to see that the nation has never as yet taken the land under the unconditional Abrahamic Covenant (see Gen 12:2), nor has it ever possessed the whole land (cp. Gen 15:18 with Num. 34:1-12). The Palestinian Covenant is in seven parts: (1) dispersion for disobedience, v. 1 (Deut. 28:63-68; see Gen 15:18); (2) the future repentance of Israel while in the dispersion, v. 2; (3) the return of the LORD, v. 3 (Amos 9:9-15; Acts 15:14-17); (4) restoration to the land, v. 5 (Isa 11:1-12; Jer 23:3-8; Ezek 37:21-25); (5) national conversion, v. 6 (Hos 2:14-16; Rom 11:26-27); (6) the judgment of Israel's oppressors, v. 7 (Isa 14:1-22; Joel 3:1- 8; Mat 25:31-46); and (7) national prosperity, v. 9 (Amos 9:11-15).

Tuesday, January 20, 2015



 This covenant consisted of a reaffirmation of the regal terms of the original Abrahamic covenant; with the further provision that these covenanted rights will now attach permanently to the historic house and succession of David; and also that by God's grace these rights, even if historically interrupted for a season, will at last in a future kingdom be restored to the nation in perpetuity with no further possibility of interruption (2 Sam. 7:1-16; 2 Sam. 23:1-5; 1 Chron. 17:1-14).
 Here again, as in the case of Abraham, the Davidic covenant is both unconditional and irrevocable, for the one is simply a more detailed extension of certain features of the other. According to the words of the Holy Spirit spoken through King David, who was also a prophet, the divine covenant with him was "an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure" (2 Sam. 23:1-5). It was this historic assurance that, in the face of national failure and calamity, kept the light of hope burning in Israel; so that Isaiah could look back to the "everlasting covenant" given by a sovereign God, "even the sure mercies of David" (Isa. 55:1-3). The "children" of David might indeed "forsake" the law of God, as they did subsequently over and over - and in that case God would "visit their transgression with the rod" of chastisement - but God's covenant with David "shall stand fast." God has sworn by His own holiness, "I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure forever, and his throne as the sun before me" (Psa. 89:20-37). Please read Jeremiah 33:15-26 and observe that this irrevocable covenant with David is linked historically to the promises made to the people of "Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob" (Jer. 33:26).

Monday, January 19, 2015


"Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD." Exod. 19:5-8
 According to the terms of this covenant, the nation of Israel would be established in the promised land, and her regal rights under the Abrahamic covenant would be exercised there as long as the nation obeyed the voice of God as expressed in the Mosaic Code of laws (Exod. 19:5-6ff.). Thus it is clear that we have here a covenant which is conditional, that is, dependent for its fulfilment upon the actions of the people. In this respect, the Mosaic covenant is radically different from both the Abrahamic covenant which preceded it and the Davidic covenant which followed it. The terrible curses of divine judgment attached to the Mosaic covenant are wholly absent from the other two.
 By no device of interpretation can this Mosaic covenant be precisely equated with the earlier covenant with Abraham. In fact, Moses himself is careful to distinguish between the two: in Deut. 5:2-3 where, referring to the covenant made at "Horeb" (Sinai), he says emphatically, "The LORD made not this covenant with our fathers." In this distinction the whole of New Testament revelation concurs. The Mosaic Law was something "added because of transgressions"; and it cannot "disannul" the promise of the Abrahamic covenant made 430 years before the Mosaic covenant (Gal. 3:17-19). Furthermore, according to the writer of Hebrews, the Mosaic covenant was "ready to vanish away" (Heb. 8:13). But the Abrahamic covenant will never pass away.
 It was precisely this conditional nature of the Mosaic covenant that led to its failure. Since its fulfilment depended on man's complete obedience (Deut. 27:26), it could not succeed. Although its legal requirements were holy and good (Rom. 7:12), it was "weak through the flesh" (Rom. 8:3). That is, the root of the failure was not in the Law but in man. For this reason there had to be a "New Covenant" to replace it.

Sunday, January 18, 2015


The Abrahamic Covenant
"Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father's house, unto a land that I will show thee: And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed."
Gen. 12:1-3

 Under the terms of this covenant Abraham was promised certain regal rights and privileges, involving: first, an innumerable progeny through natural generation (Gen. 12:2; 13:16; 15:3-5); second, a guarantee of historical continuity by means of divine protection (Gen. 12:3); third, an everlasting and irrevocable title to a definite land area on earth (Gen. 13:14-17; 15:18; 17:7-8); and, fourth, a final world supremacy through which "great" divine blessings would flow outto all mankind (Gen. 12:2-3).
 This Abrahamic covenant was unconditional in character. That is, the promises originated wholly in God and were not conditioned upon any meritorious acts on the part of Abraham but were received by him simply by faith. The inspired record states that Abraham "believed in the LORD" and the LORD "counted it to him for righteousness" (Gen. 15:6). This does not mean that every individual descended from Abraham will personally share in all the blessings promised under the covenant, apart from moral and spiritual considerations. But it does mean that the fulfilment of the promises to Abraham is in no sense dependent upon human character or action, but rests upon divine grace and sovereignty, and therefore cannot fail. No matter how bad conditions may become in Israel, and the situation was terrible in the days of Micah, the prophet can bid the nation to remember that Jehovah will "perforin the truth to Jacob, and the mercy to Abraham" which He had "sworn unto our fathers from the days of old" (Mic. 7:18-20).
God is patient, does not give up and does not lie.

Saturday, January 17, 2015




The answer to that needs to consider the very beginning of the creation of God for the New Heavens and the New Earth are a rejuvenated version of that original creation.  That creation came out of a discussion between the threefold Godhead that cared for issues that would occur in the flow of that creation as it unfolded.

Dr. Alva J. McClain states it this way: “The all-consuming purpose of God in creation was to establish a Kingdom on the earth, in which He could display His glory in the Person of His Son. This display of His glory was to be made to creatures made in His image, and therefore, capable of apprehending, appreciating, and applauding His glory. The unfolding drama of the Bible depicts the movements of God in the accomplishment of that purpose.” The book he wrote on this venture of God is called “The Greatness of the Kingdom” taken from a statement by Daniel.

The creation act is outlaid by God Himself speaking through Moses in Gen. 1 and 2 where there are two accounts, the second giving parts of the first in greater detail.

There it tells of mankind originally being herbivorous (Gen. 1:11-12, 29-30). Even the animals that were originally created were herbivorous also (Gen. 1:30). Satan using an animal attempted to broaden the diet of man in Gen. 3:2 using one of the tree fruits that was forbidden by God’s original diet plan for mankind; this bringing about the fall.  Side note - Being a diabetic for over 47 years, I have seen many a person commit suicide with their dietary (habits).

Although in the original creation (before the fall), animals had a purpose of God for being created before being added to the diet of mankind after the fall. Satan first of all used one of the animals in the deception of Eve; another purpose for animals in the creation of God. The second purpose was for dietary additions added in Gen. 9:2-3. Finally they were created for sacrificial use to bring mankind to a stance of righteousness.

The fall brought the main intended purpose for the animal creation and God gave that intended purpose to Cain and Abel. Cain and Abel were first introduced to that purpose in Gen. 4:4-5. Although the care of the trees and the fields produced fruit and the focus of Cain, the acceptable offering to present a blood sacrifice to the LORD. God had created animals as the acceptable offering. Abel in Heb. 11:4 was declared righteous through the proper offering, an animal slain that was prescribed by the LORD. Mankind chose fig leaves and trees for a covering for their sin while God chose a blood sacrifice of an animal. (Gen. 3:21)

When the millennium dawns, all carnivorous animals will become herbivorous again under the reign of Christ for the 1000 years. (Isa. 11:7) But when we enter into the eternal state. Sanctification for every group named by Peter has sanctification completed. There will no longer be need for animal sacrifice to make a man perfect to worship.

When the Eternal State dawns there will no longer be a need for sacrifice to bring about righteousness. God will have brought all of mankind to a perfect state where they finally worship Him in spirit and truth. John 4:23-24. Animals will no longer have the original created purpose. Animals have served their original created purpose and are burnt up with the previous heaven and earth.  The fall has been completed resolved. There is no more death. Paul states that a new body is needed that lasts forever. (1 Cor. 15:50). That body is clothed by God Himself, which is white linen. (Rev. 19:10) No more need for an animal sacrifice to cover the body. Mankind will have returned to an herbivorous state. No more Ezekiel temple which was burned up in the final fiery judgment. There is a refurbished (new-kainos) heaven and earth provided wherein all are righteous. All enjoy the New Covenant relationship with God. He has all hearts circumcised, all are taught by Him concerning the true meaning of His desire to be worshipped in spirit and truth. All Israel was restored and regenerated in the millennial period. Gentiles were added through the testimony of Israel.  The eternal kingdom is now in place, inhabited by mankind made in God’s image and likeness, now apprehending, appreciating, and applauding His glory forever. All enjoying the New Covenant relationship, having been saved by grace regardless of the period joined to Him, having the law of God written on their circumcised hearts, completely forgiven and at last knowing Him as promised in the covenant.  Jer. 31:33-34; Ezek. 37:26-27

Countless slain animals leading up to the eternal state and their need now past. Satan will no longer use an animal to tempt mankind. No more need of a blood sacrifice to cloth a fallen person. No longer is meat a part of the diet of man. No more sacrifices. No more need in the eternal state for that part of the original creation of God.

Friday, January 16, 2015

The 1, 260 Days, 1,290 Days and the 1,335 Days

The 1, 260 Days, 1,290 Days and the 1,335 Days

"And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days."  Rev. 12:6
"And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days." Dan 12:11"Blessed is he that waiteth, and cometh to the thousand three hundred and five and thirty days." Dan. 12:12

Now comes a special revelation, taught nowhere else in the Bible! After Antichrist sets up his "abomination of desolation" in the middle of that seven-year period (cf. Dan. 9:27; Matt. 24:15-22), "there will be 1,290 days" (Dan. 12:11). We know that the Lord will return 1,260 days later (Rev. 12:6; 13:5). Instead of twelve hundred and SIXTY days, however, we are told that there will be twelve hundred and NINETY days! Could the answer be that the Lord will set aside those THIRTY days to purge and purify the temple for His people to use during the kingdom age? Godly King Hezekiah postponed the Passover one month in order to cleanse the temple and to consecrate the priesthood because of the abominations committed by his father Ahaz (2 Chron. 29-30). "Likewise, Judas Maccabaeus and his army went to great lengths to cleanse the Jerusalem Temple of the abominations of Antiochus Epiphanes in 164 B.C."
But now, the last detail: "How blessed is he who keeps waiting and attains to the 1,335 days!" (Dan. 12:12). Here is another FORTY-FIVE days! Before the kingdom can officially begin, all unbelievers must be removed. How awesome! When the 371 days of the Genesis Flood finally ended, only believers were alive! Indeed, as our Lord explained, "They [unbelievers] did not understand until the flood came and took them all away; so shall the coming of the Son of Man be" (Matt. 24:39).
The very first to be removed from the world will be the Antichrist and his demonic team at Armageddon (Rev. 19:17-20:3). Then, the unbelieving leaders of all Gentile nations -"the goats" (Matt. 25:31-46; cf. Joel 3:1-3) - will be removed. Then, any Jews who are still "rebels" (Ezek. 20:33-38; Mal. 3:16) will be taken away. And finally, by the 1,335th day, any man "in the field" and any woman "grinding at the mill" who still rejects the Savior "will be taken [to judgment]" (Matt. 24:40-41; Luke 17:34-35) - the opposite of what will happen at the rapture of the Church seven years earlier! Thus, what the Lord Jesus Christ said will be finally accomplished: "the one who endures to the end [1,335 days after Antichrist's great blasphemy], he will be saved" (Matt. 24:13). Daniel had heard enough: "the wicked [especially Antichrist] will act wickedly," but, praise God, "those who have insight will understand" (Dan. 12:10). Darkness before the dawn! Antichrist, yes. But then the true Christ! The Father will give Him AN EVERLASTING DOMINION WHICH WILL NOT PASS AWAY!

Thursday, January 15, 2015


The Universal and Mediatorial Kingdoms of God

  I thank God for the great teacher for me of the Kingdom of God, Dr. Alva J. McClain. At Grace Theological Seminary, whose great work is available titled The Greatness of the Kingdom.
Dr. McClain was especially helpful in distinguishing between the Universal kingdom of God and the Mediatorial kingdom. The former is what has always existed; is universal in scope, outside of which is no created thing; involves the rule of God directly, with no intermediary standing between God and man; is a present reality; and is an unconditioned rule, arising out of the sovereign nature of God Himself.
In contrast, the Mediatorial kingdom "must 'come' to put down at last all rebellion with its train of evil results, thus finally bringing the Kingdom and will of God on earth as it is in heaven. ... The King of this kingdom is the Lord Jesus, the Son of David; the subjects of it are Israel and the nations ... the center of the kingdom is Jerusalem, and the means of its establishment is the coming and visible appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ."
The Thousand-Year Reign of Christ
This is "the kingdom" the Jews were looking for but, sadly, on their own terms! That was their final stumbling block-they had to repent! "Now in those days John the Baptist came, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, saying, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven [i.e., the Mediatorial kingdom] is at hand' (Matt. 3:1-2). Then our Lord Himself "began to preach and say, 'Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand' (Matt. 4:17). And that was the message of the Twelve as well (Mark 6:12; Acts 2:38; 3:19), and the apostle Paul (Acts 17:30; 26:20), in obedience to our Lord's command "that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem" (Luke 24:47).
The Jews wanted the kingdom, especially to liberate them from the oppression of Rome. But the vast majority of the nation-especially the leaders- despised the divine condition of repentance! They were shocked and offended at the suggestion that they needed to experience a profound change of attitude regarding their need of a Savior from sin in order to enter God's holy kingdom. That is why they killed John the Baptist and, finally, their own Messiah!
So, the inauguration of the Mediatorial kingdom of Christ was contingent upon the repentance of the nation. How sad! "Jerusalem ... How often I wanted to gather your children together ... and you were unwilling. Behold, your house is left to you desolate! ... from now on you will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He who comes in the Name of the LORD!" (Matt. 23:37-39).
Note carefully: The Lord Jesus did not say, "From now on you will not see Me." What He did say is amazing: "You will not see Me until you say, 'Blessed is He ..." Will Israel as a nation ever say that to their Messiah? Yes! Note these words God gave to the apostle Paul: "I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery-so that you will not be wise in your own estimation- that a partial [not complete!] hardening has happened to Israel until [not permanently!] the fullness of the Gentiles has come in; and so all Israel [not the Church!] will be saved" (Rom. 11:25-26). That great day is about to arrive. I pray you are ready for that day that ushers in perfection and an eternal state.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015



"And the priest shall make an atonement for all the congregation of the children of Israel, and it shall be forgiven them; for it is ignorance: and they shall bring their offering, a sacrifice made by fire unto the LORD, and their sin offering before the LORD, for their ignorance:
26  And it shall be forgiven all the congregation of the children of Israel, and the stranger that sojourneth among them; seeing all the people were in ignorance."
  Num. 15:25-26
Animal sacrifices could never remove spiritual guilt from the offerer or clear his conscience. The book of Hebrews is very clear about that (Heb. 10:4, 11). But it is equally erroneous to say that the sacrifices were mere teaching symbols given by God to Israel to prepare them for Messiah and His infinite atonement. Such a view is contradicted by precise statements in Exodus and Leviticus.
The Scriptures tell us that something really did happen to the Israelite offerer when he came to the right altar with the appropriate sacrifice; and he was expected to know what would happen to him. What happened was temporal, finite, external, and legal - not external, infinite, internal, and soteriological. Nevertheless, what happened was personally and immediately significant, not simply symbolic and/or prophetic. When an Israelite "unwittingly failed" to observe a particular ordinance of the Mosaic Law (in the weakness of his sin nature [Num. 15:22-29], not "defiantly," in open rebellion against God Himself [Num. 15:30-36])," he was actually "forgiven" through an "atonement" (a ritual cleansing; cf. Heb. 9:10, 13) made by the priest (Num. 15:25-26).
But what was the precise nature of this "forgiveness" and this "atonement"? To say that it was exclusively a prophetic anticipation of Christ's atoning work does not do justice to the progress of revelation. There simply is no biblical evidence that the knowledge-content of Old Testament saving faith always and necessarily included a crucified Messiah. However, in God's eternal purpose, the death of His Son has always been and always will be the final basis of spiritual salvation (Rom. 3:25-26). Saving faith before the Day of Pentecost (Acts 2) involved a heart response to whatever special revelation of God was available at that time in history (cf. Rom. 4; Gal. 3; Heb. 11). Such Spirit-initiated faith produced a "circumcised heart" (Lev. 26:41; Deut. 10:16; 30:6; Jer. 4:4; 9:25; Ezek. 44:7, 9). No one was ever spiritually regenerated by works, not even by fulfilling legally prescribed sacrifices, offerings, and other Mosaic requirements.
In the covenant at Sinai, God provided a highly complex and rigid structure for his "kingdom of priests." Within that structure, national/theocratic transgressions would receive national/theocratic forgiveness when appropriate sacrifices were offered to God through legitimate priests at the tabernacle/temple altar. This "forgiveness" was promised regardless of the spiritual state of either the offerer or the priest. For example, in anticipation of the Sinai covenant about to be revealed through Moses, God made this amazing promise to the entire nation of Israel in Egypt - both believers and unbelievers - at the time of the Exodus: "When I see the blood [on your two doorposts and on the lintel] I will pass over you" (Exod. 12:13; cf. 12:23). Note carefully that the Lord did not say, "I will forgive all your sins." Most of them continued to be unbelievers! The promise was to protect them from immediate destruction: "The Lord will pass over the door and will not allow the destroyer to come in to your houses to smite you" (Exod. 12:23).
Sacrificial blood could never cleanse the conscience or save the soul (Heb. 10:1-2), so God repeatedly sent prophets to call His people to love and obey their God from the heart. Apart from such genuine faith, all the ceremonially "kosher" animals in the whole world would avail nothing in the spiritual realm (Psa. 50:7-15; Isa. 1:11-20; Amos 4:4-5; 5:21-27; Hos. 5:6; Mic. 6:6-8; Jer. 6:20; 7:21-23). It was not to be either faith or sacrifices; rather, it was to be both faith and sacrifices (cf. Psa. 51:19).
It was just as true then as it is today: "It is impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins" (Heb. 10:4). But it was also true then, under the old covenant, that "the blood of goats and bulls ... sanctify for the cleansing of the flesh" (Heb. 9:13). In the words of F. F. Bruce,
The blood of slaughtered animals under the old order did possess a certain efficacy, but it was an outward efficacy for the removal of ceremonial pollution. ... They could restore [the worshipper] to formal communion with God and with fellow-worshippers. ... Just how the blood of sacrificed animals or the ashes of a red heifer effected a ceremonial cleansing our author does not explain; it was sufficient for him, and no doubt for his readers, that the Old Testament ascribed this efficacy to them.
This was the unique tension within the theocracy of Israel that many Christian theologians apparently do not comprehend.
Now what does all of this indicate with regard to animal sacrifices in the millennial temple for Israel under the new covenant? It indicates that future sacrifices will have nothing to do with eternal salvation, which comes only through true faith in God. It also indicates that future animal sacrifices will be "efficacious" and "expiatory" only in terms of the strict provision for ceremonial (and thus temporal) forgiveness within the theocracy of Israel. Thus, animal sacrifices during the coming kingdom age will not be primarily memorial, like the bread and the cup ("do this in remembrance of Me," 1 Cor. 11:24), in church Communion services, any more than sacrifices in the age of the old covenant were primarily prospective or prophetic in the understanding of the offerer.
It is at this point that premillennial theologians exhibit differences. A. C. Gaebelein expressed, perhaps, the majority opinion when he wrote: "While the sacrifices Israel brought once had a prospective meaning, the sacrifices brought in the millennial temple have a retrospective meaning." Ezekiel, however, does not say that animals will be offered for a "memorial" of Messiah's death. Rather, they will be for "atonement" (Ezek. 45:15, 17, 20; cf. 43:20, 26).
The Hebrew word used to describe the purpose of these sacrifices in Ezek. 45:15, 17, and 20 is the piel form of kaphar. ... But this is precisely the word used in the Pentateuchal description of the OT sacrifices to indicate their ... expiatory purpose (cf. Lev. 6:30; 8:15; 16:6, 11, 24, 30, 32, 33, 34; Num. 5:8; 15:28; 29:5). If the sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel are to be understood literally, they must be expiatory, not memorial offerings.
The distinction between ceremonial and spiritual atonement is by no means a minor one, for it is at the heart of the basic difference between the theocracy of Israel and the Church, the body and bride of Christ. It also provides a more consistent hermeneutical approach for dispensational premillennialism.
In his analysis of atonement in the Old Testament, Richard E. Averbeck has shown that the Hebrew term kapar, used so frequently in Leviticus, does not mean "to cover" but rather "to appease or cleanse."
Only Christ's sacrifice was of the kind that could form the basis for eternal and spiritual salvation (Heb. 9:15). But this in no way refutes the ... efficacy (value) in the Old Testament atonement sacrifices. Those sacrifices had to do with the covenant relationship between God and the nation of Israel. Eternal or spiritual salvation was not the issue. Therefore, the animal sacrifices of the Old Testament and the sacrifice of Christ in the New Testament were effective at their own respective [and totally different] levels.
With respect to the Millennium, Averbeck concludes:
This accords well with the issue of the millennial sacrifices mentioned in Ezekiel. These rituals will not be memorials. They will atone ... in the same efficacious way as the ones in Aaronic times. Why will this be necessary? Because God will again be dwelling, in His glory, among [mortal] men. ... Christ did not shed His blood for the cleansing of any physical altar. Therefore, the special rite for the yearly cleansing of the millennial sanctuary will be required (Ezek. 45:18-20). Regular sacrifices will be reinstituted in the millennium.
In the light of these considerations, it is significant that Anthony A. Hoekema, an amillennial theologian, leveled one of his heaviest criticisms of premillennialism at this very point.
Extremely significant is the note on page 888 of the New Scofield Bible which suggests the following as a possible interpretation of the sacrifices mentioned in these chapters of Ezekiel's prophecy: "The reference to sacrifices is not to be taken literally, in view of the putting away of such offerings, but is rather to be regarded as a presentation of the worship of redeemed Israel, in her own land and in the millennial temple, using the terms with which the Jews were familiar in Ezekiel's day." These words convey a far-reaching concession on the part of dispensationalists. If the sacrifices are not to be taken literally, why should we take the temple literally? It would seem that the dispensational principle of the literal interpretation of Old Testament prophecy is here abandoned, and that a crucial foundation stone for the entire dispensational system has here been set aside!
Hoekema's objection is well taken. However, he assumes, along with many non-dispensational theologians, that animal sacrifices in the Millennium will involve a reinstitution of the Mosaic economy, just as if Christ had never died. Oswald T. Allis, another Reformed theologian, stated, for example: "Literally interpreted, this means the restoration of the Aaronic priesthood and the Mosaic ritual of sacrifices essentially unchanged." That this is not the case will be demonstrated next.
Israelite Worship under the Old and New Covenants Contrasted
Ezekiel's picture of millennial worship and the Mosaic system, which had been established nine hundred years earlier, exhibit fundamental differences. Old Testament scholars have often wrestled with the significance of these differences. Andrew W. Blackwood Jr. did not hesitate to call them "discrepancies," hastening to assure his readers that they concern matters that make no earthly difference to Christian faith, however they may have jarred the sensibilities of our Jewish forebears. There are twenty major discrepancies between Ezekiel and the Torah. Compare Ezek. 46:6ff. with Numbers 28:11, for example. Here are outright contradictions in the number of bullocks, lambs and rams and the amount of flour to be used at the new moon offering ceremonies. ... Long ago the rabbis were driven to say that Elijah, when he came, would explain away the difficulties. They said likewise that the entire prophecy would have been excluded from the canon were it not for the devoted labor of Rabbi Hanina ben Hezekiah, a scholar of the first century A.D., who must have written an extensive commentary on Ezekiel: "Three hundred barrels of oil were provided for him [for light], and he sat in an upper chamber where he reconciled all discrepancies" (Babylonian Talmud, Menahoth 45a).
It is the view of the present article that there are no discrepancies within Scripture and that God's servants today do not have to wait until Elijah appears to discover a theologically and hermeneutically satisfactory solution to this problem.
A century ago, Nathanael West listed some of the important differences between old covenant Israel and millennial Israel in order to show how appropriate Ezekiel's structure will be for the kingdom age.
If the similarities between [Ezekiel's] portrait of the "many days" of Israel in the Kingdom, and Israel's former Old Testament life, their ritual and laws, are remarkable, still more remarkable are the vast and important differences noted by Jews and Christians alike; differences so great as to make the [Jews], at one time, almost extrude the book from the sacred canon as uninspired. It is plain that these differences imply an entire revolution from the old order of things, and intimate strongly the "vanishing away" of the Law, to make room for the "new covenant" he has elsewhere, like Jeremiah, Hosea, and Isaiah, proclaimed with such spiritual force.
There are changes in the dimensions of the Temple so that it is neither the temple of Solomon, nor that of Zerubbabel, nor that of Herod; changes in the measures of the outer court, the gates, the walls, the grounds, and the locality of the temple itself, raised on a high mountain, and even separate from the City. The Holy Places have hardly anything like the furniture that stood in the Tabernacle of Moses or the Temple of Solomon.
There are subtractions also. There is no Ark of the Covenant [cf. Jer. 3:16], no Pot of Manna, no Aaron's Rod to bud, no Tables of the Law, no Cherubim, no Mercy-Seat, no Golden Candlestick, no Showbread, no Veil, no unapproachable Holy of Holies where the High Priest alone might enter, nor is there any High Priest. ... The priesthood is confined to the sons of Zadok, and only for a special purpose. There is no evening sacrifice. ... The social, moral, and civil prescriptions enforced by Moses with such emphasis are all wanting.
William Kelly was fascinated with the fact that there will be nothing in the Millennium answering to the Feast of Pentecost.
The omission seems to me to denote how completely it has been realized in the highest sense in the Church, which, as it were, has monopolized it. That heavenly body has come in between the true Passover, and before the verification of the Tabernacles [cf. Ezek. 45:25; Zech. 14:16-19], and has, so to speak, absorbed Pentecost to itself. ... Who but God Himself could have thought of such an omission as that of Pentecost six centuries before it was realized so unexpectedly after the ascension?
In addition to all of this, C. F. Keil, writing from a post-millennial perspective, discovered ceremonial and ritual adaptations in Ezekiel's vision of Israel's future service for God that he believed to be far more appropriate than the Mosaic structure for a post-Calvary eschatological program.
According to Ezekiel's order of feasts and sacrifices, Israel was to begin every new year of its life with a great sin-offering on the first, seventh, and fourteenth days of the first month ... before it renewed the covenant of grace with the Lord in the paschal meal ... and throughout the year consecrate its life to the Lord in the daily burnt-offering, through increased Sabbath-offerings ... in order to live before Him a blameless, righteous, and happy life.
Keil also concluded that the shift "of the chief atoning sacrifices" from the seventh month, at the end of the religious year, to the first month (for Ezekiel completely eliminates the Feast of Trumpets and the Day of Atonement, leaving only the Feast of Tabernacles in the seventh month) indicates that, for the Israel of the new covenant, this eternally-availing atoning sacrifice would form the foundation for all its acts of worship and keeping of feasts, as well as for the whole course of its life. It is in this that we find the Messianic feature of Ezekiel's order of sacrifices and feasts, by which it acquires a character more in accordance with the New Testament completion of the sacrificial service, which also presents itself to us in the other and still more deeply penetrating modifications of the Mosaic torah of sacrifice on the part of Ezekiel [which] indicates that the people offering these sacrifices will bring forth more of the fruit of sanctification in good works upon the ground of the reconciliation which it has received.
These are helpful insights, almost unique to a non-premillennial commentator, for understanding the religious structure of the millennial kingdom age as well as the function of animal sacrifices during that time period. Unfortunately, Keil's theological position forced him to abandon the literal fulfillment of these prophecies and to denounce M. Baumgarten, Auberlen, and other millenarians [who] express the opinion that this shadow-work will be restored after the eventual conversion of Israel to Christ, in support of which. Baumgarten even appeals to the authority of the apostle to the Gentiles [Romans 11].
Millennial Sacrifices Will Not Be a Backward Step for Israel
Consistent dispensationalism must teach the practice of animal sacrifices for a restored and regenerated Israel in the Millennium. But this raises another major question: Would such a worship system necessarily represent a great step backward for new covenant Israel during the kingdom age?
The answer is no, for Israel will indeed be under a new covenant program, not the old covenant given to Moses, which was not designed to guarantee salvation. Church Communion services will no longer be observed, for they have been designed only to "proclaim the Lord's death until He comes" (1 Cor. 11:26). But after He comes, animal sacrifices within a new covenant structure, endorsed (though not performed; cf. John 4:2) by the living Lamb of God, will constitute a gigantic step forward for Israel, not a reversion to "weak and worthless elements" (Gal. 4:9) that actually enslaved the nation because of its unregenerate misuse of the Law. The apostle Paul "did not see any contradiction between the finished work of Christ and the offering of animal sacrifice" (Acts 21:26).
John A. Sproule has pointed to the principle of progressive revelation as a guarantee that millennial Israel will have the entire New Testament available to them, including the book of Hebrews. The two witnesses (Rev. 11), the 144,000 (Rev. 7, 14), and the Zadokian teaching priests functioning in the millennial temple (Ezekiel 40-48) will therefore know considerably more than John the Baptist, Apollos, the apostle Paul (who probably never read the book of Revelation), and even the apostle John. They will know about the full and finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will see no conflict between Ezekiel and Hebrews. They will realize that the omission of a high priest in Ezekiel 40-48 was not a mistake, just as it is now realized that the omission of a genealogy for Melchizedek in Genesis 14 was not a mistake (cf. Heb. 7). Rather, they will recognize this omission as God's way of opening the door to the Melchizedekian High Priest of Psalm 110:4 (cf. Zech. 6:13: "He will be a priest on His throne"), whose visible presence on earth during the coming kingdom age will be the ultimate answer to this dilemma of the ages.
Believing Jews will experience regeneration and sanctification (but not Spirit baptism), just as Christians do today, by the grace of God and through faith in the Lord Jesus. These future Jewish believers and their Gentile proselytes will not be glorified through seeing Jesus at His coming and in His kingdom any more than the disciples in the Upper Room were glorified when they saw their resurrected Lord. However, the concept of progressive revelation guarantees that the new covenant theocracy will begin with more knowledge than the Church had at Pentecost. Yet this theocracy will retain its distinctive Israelite characteristics - a Promised Land, a temple, appropriate animal sacrifices, and an earthly Zadokian priesthood (in that day visibly subordinate to Jesus Christ, the Melchizedekian High Priest).
These sacrifices, illumined by a vastly greater understanding of the true significance of the Lamb of God who has taken away the sin of the world, will be appreciated all the more for what they can and cannot accomplish for the offerer. For non-glorified millennial Israel and her Gentile proselytes throughout the world (e.g., Psa. 87; Isa. 60:1-14; Zech. 8:20-23), the continued presence of a sin nature will call for constant instruction and exhortation in revealed truth. Not even a perfect government will automatically solve this deep, universal problem.
Jerry M. Hullinger concludes:
The fundamental rationale of the Mosaic sacrificial system [was] the presence of the divine glory. The Mosaic system was instituted in Leviticus subsequent to the descent of the Shekinah in Exodus 40:34-38. Because of the communicability of uncleanness, the purity of God's presence needed to be protected. Fittingly, as Ezekiel envisioned a future temple in the millennial kingdom with the resident glory of God [Ezek. 43:2-7; 44:1-4], he saw the necessity of sacrificial blood once more because of the presence of non-glorified individuals who can be a source of communicable contamination.
In distinction from the perfection of the eternal state as described in Revelation 21-22, Christ will "rule all the nations with a rod of iron" (Rev. 12:5; cf. 2:27; 19:15) with strict controls, especially in religious practices (cf. Zech. 14:16-21). Even though outward submission to these religious forms will not necessarily demonstrate a regenerate heart (which has been true in every age of human history), it will guarantee protection from physical penalties and temporal judgments. Those who love the Christ will exhibit a genuine spirit of submission to His government. But those who do not truly love Him will follow Satan (even Judas Iscariot betrayed Christ after years of observing His perfect leadership) in global rebellion at the end of His righteous reign and will be destroyed in cosmic fire (Rev. 20:7-9).
How can vital spiritual instruction be accomplished for citizens of the millennial kingdom age through a system of animal sacrifices? If it is theoretically possible (though sadly rare) for the Church today to achieve a spiritual, symbolic, and pedagogic balance in the use of the bread and the cup in the Eucharist, then it will be all the more possible for regenerated Israel to attain the divinely intended balance between form and content, lip and heart, hand and soul, within the structures of the new covenant. It is not only possible, but prophetically certain, that millennial animal sacrifices will be used in a God-honoring way (e.g., Psa. 51:15-19; Heb. 11:4) by a regenerated, chosen nation before the inauguration of the eternal state, when animals will presumably no longer exist. There would no longer be any need for a sacrificial system and the needed animals for John 4:23-24 states "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." That hour has finally arrived in the eternal state and the need for the Temple and sacrifice and the animals has passed.
Before the heavens and the earth flee away from him who sits upon the Great White Throne (Rev. 20:11), God will provide a final demonstration of the validity of animal sacrifices as an instructional and disciplinary instrument for Israel. The entire world will see the true purpose of this system. Of course, the system never has and never will function on the level of Calvary's Cross, where infinite and eternal guilt was dealt with once and for all. But the system did accomplish, under God, some very important pedagogical and disciplinary purposes for Israel under the old covenant (Gal. 4:1-7). There is good reason to believe that it will yet again, and far more successfully from a pedagogical standpoint, function on the level of purely temporal cleansing and forgiveness (cf. Heb. 9:13) within the strict limits of the national theocracy of Israel during the one thousand years of Christ's reign upon the earth in accordance with the terms of the new covenant.