Sunday, October 3, 2021

Galatians | Session 23 | 5:1-15

In our study today we see Paul encouraging the Galatian believers to stand fast in the liberty that has been given to them by their simple faith in Christ's completed work on the cross. He also warns them to steer clear of those who were telling them that they needed to place themselves back under the works of the law, and that to do so, would forfeit grace.

Friday, September 10, 2021

Galatians | Session 22 | 4:19-31

In our study today Paul continues to make his arguments against the Judaizers who were attempting to lead the Galatian grace believers back into law. He does this by allegorically comparing Hagar and Sarah and Ishmael and Isaac. His conclusion is that they needed to cast out the legalists.

Tuesday, September 7, 2021

Galatians | Session 21 | 4:10-18

In todays study, Paul continues to plead with the Galatian believers to not be mislead by the Judaizers who were trying to alienate them from him and lead them to the bondage of the law. His desire was that the relationship that they had with him in the beginning be restored, and lets them know that he is not their enemy.

Galatians | Session 20 | 4:6-9

In todays study we see how that we are now the sons of God because God has sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts. Therefore, we are no longer servants, but heirs through Christ. Specifically, Paul is addressing Galatians Gentile believers that made up the Body of Christ; both Jew and Gentile of which we are a part of today.

Thursday, August 26, 2021

Galatians | Session 9 | 2:8-12

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul continuing to share his unique calling to the Gentiles, being given the right hand of fellowship from the Jerusalem church, his remembrance of their poverty, and his confrontation with Peter for his duplicity regarding the Law.

Verse 8: (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:) In other words, just as God was working mightily through Peter with the kingdom gospel to the Jews, so too God was working through Paul with the grace gospel to the Gentiles. 

I think too that given the fact that Paul's apostleship was called into question many times because his calling was as of one born of due time (1Corinthians 15:8), he wanted to make it clear that he was being used just as effectively as Peter. He is also magnifying his apostleship to the Gentiles (Romans 11:13). Of course, any challenge that Paul's apostleship had come from the Jews. 

Verse 9: And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. Interesting that Paul decides to call Peter, Cephas, in this verse. Some would argue that he is speaking of someone else, but who could that be in the company of James and John? 

Also, interestingly, this is the first and only time John is mentioned in Paul's writings. His point is that these three recognized a grace that was given to Paul and extended the right hands of fellowship; and that fellowship meant that they were all working toward the same end, but to different groups; they unto the circumcision, and Paul unto the heathen. 

Also, note the word perceived. In the original it means to know experientially (ginosko). In other words, Peter, James, and John, experientially knew that God was doing something different through Paul that he was not doing through them. They recognized the two different programs that we can seem to grasp today.  

Verse 10: Only they would that we should remember the poor; the same which I also was forward to do. This seems to be referring to one of the outcomes of the Jerusalem Council. However, Luke never recorded it in Acts 15:28-29. 

Barnes says of this, "That is, as I suppose, the poor Christians in Judea. It can hardly be supposed that it would be necessary to make this an express stipulation in regard to the converts from among the Gentiles, and it would not have been very pertinent to the case before them to have done so." It makes sense that the Jerusalem church was already suffering quite a bit since selling all of their possessions. This would also explain why Paul made collections for them (1Corinthians 16:1-4). In the end, just because it was not written in Acts 15 does not mean that it was not discussed. 

Verse 11-12: But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. Whenever this event happened, it was obviously after the counsel in Acts 15 because Peter was still functioning under the Law in the presence of them which were of the circumcision, but not so when they were not around. 

Those he refers to that certain came from James would have been part of the little flock or kingdom believers. At issue was Peter's duplicity, i.e., hypocrisy. 

So many have this notion that from Acts 2 following, the Jews did not keep the Law. The Scripture simply does not teach that. Acts 21:20-21 says, And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. These verses make it clear that they were still zealous of the law.  

Another question that I have is why was Peter in Antioch? I believe that he was wanting to see firsthand what God was doing among the Gentiles through Paul's ministry. No doubt, the fact that Paul rebuked Peter, and he received it, speaks to the newfound authority that Paul had and the Twelve recognized. 

Monday, August 16, 2021

Galatians | Session 8 | 2:5-7

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul continue to share that the grace believers would never subject themselves to the Law and also continued to affirm that his gospel was for the uncircumcision (Gentile) while Peter's was for the circumcision (Jew).

Verse 5: To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. Paul's response was instant in that he says they did not yield to what these pretenders were saying not even for an instant. His point is that anything added to grace is no longer grace, i.e., Grace + Anything = Works. This is the other gospel that he was referring to in Galatians 1:8. This other gospel is what has destroyed the church in my opinion. 

Verse 6: But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man's person:) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: He is referring to the Counsel in Jerusalem and his meeting with the Twelve. His point is that they had nothing to add or offer in regard to the mystery that he shared with them. If anything, he  shared things with them that they did not know, i.e., the mystery. He essentially said the same thing in 1:16. 

Verse 7: But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; In the end, they all realized that what Paul had received was for the Gentiles and it was not the same message that Peter had for the Jews. Where I believe many go astray today is that they believe one of two things. First, the only thing that Paul shared with them was that the Gentiles were now included in God's plan. The problem with that view is that the Gentiles have always been in God's plan. It is just that he wanted to use the Jewish nation to do it and they refused. 

Second, that Paul's revelation was simply that the Jews, now that they are Christians, should stop keeping the Law. Nope. Under the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Law was required. The bottom line was that Paul's message of grace was for the Gentile apart from the Law. Of course, after the rejection of the kingdom offer was complete, i.e., 70AD, it would be the only way of salvation to Jew and Gentile. Also, I do not believe that Paul fully grasped that at this time because progressive revelation was still happening for him. 

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Galatians | Session 7 | 2:2-4

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul sharing how was encouraged to go up to Jerusalem to speak with the Twelve about the revelation that he had received that the Gentiles were no longer required to come under the Law of Moses to be saved.

Verse 2: And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. Note that he went up by revelation to Jerusalem. Luke also mentioned this in Acts 15:2 when he wrote, When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. 

So, the question is, did God tell him to go or did the assembly at Antioch tell him to go? The issue is the wording of the King James. I believe that it means that the church at Antioch did send him, but the subject was to be the revelation of the mystery that he had received. This, of course, will be the first time that he is going to share the mystery with the Twelve. It was there that he first shared the that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles.

This is the first time in the Bible that we see that Paul's gospel that he preached go the Gentiles was different than the gospel that Peter continued to preach to the Jews. Bear in mind that this counsel occurred 19 years after Pentecost! I stand amazed at how many in the Body of Christ refuse to recognize that these two gospels were different. Think about it, why would Paul take the time to visit the Twelve if they were teaching the same thing? Theirs was still the kingdom gospel which was under Law. Paul's was the new grace gospel which was apart from the Law. 

Them which were of reputation is a reference to the Twelve. Notice also that he met privately with them. No doubt, this was to avoid a riot in the city. 

The final part of the verse says lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. In other words, lest my labors be in vain or lost. He wanted to make sure that they were in agreement as to what each was doing and teaching lest they clash due to misunderstanding later. He didn't want his work to be undone with confusion. 

Albert Barnes says it this way, "Lest the effects of my labors and journeys should be lost." Barnes goes on to say that "Paul feared that if he did not take this method of laying the case before them privately, they would not understand it. Others might misrepresent him, or their prejudices might be excited, and when the case came before the assembled apostles and elders, a decision might be adopted which would go to prove that he had been entirely wrong in his views, or which would lead those whom he had taught, to believe that he was, and which would greatly hinder and embarrass him in his future movements."

Verse 3: But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: This verse is parenthetical in that it is a reference back to Acts 15:1 when those from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. Obviously, Paul was teaching that it was not necessary, or he would not have made the point. 

Verse 4: And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: The false brethren are the ones that brought the message in Acts 15:1 that the Gentiles needed to submit to the law of circumcision to be saved thus bringing them into bondage. They, unlike many in the church today, realized that Paul's message was different than that of the Twelve. 

Paul will go on to say in Galatians 5:1-5, Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. Unlike what the Seventh Day Adventists and many others today, you either keep the whole law or no law. Finally, the fact that he refers to them as false brethren implies a bit of chicanery. In other words, they had infiltrated the group first and then sought to correct them. They were not there to be a part of the fellowship, but to spy it out (cf. the Greek). 

Monday, August 9, 2021

Galatians | Session 6 | 1:21-2:1

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul telling how that after he visited Peter in Jerusalem had made his way into Syria and Cilicia where he was unknown by face, but reputation only, and that they marveled that he who had persecuted them in time past was now preaching the faith that he had once destroyed.

Verses 21-24: Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia; And was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea which were in Christ: But they had heard only, That he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. And they glorified God in me. After Paul met with Peter after three years in Arabia and Damascus, he travels into the regions of Syria and Cilicia (Acts 11:25).

What does he mean when he says that he was unknown by face unto the churches of Judaea? It may simply mean that they did know him personally as a result of his earlier persecutions, but they did know him by name and reputation as but they had heard only implies. 

Notice also that these churches were in Christ. Make no mistake, these were kingdom churches. No doubt they were saved, but in a different manner. Remember, they were in the kingdom program and we are in the grace program. One way of looking at it is that they were in the vine, and we are in the body, but both are in Christ, but in different ways. Their remaining in the vine required that they abide there while our being in the body only requires faith. We see this clearly in John 15:1-10 and Romans 10:9-10. 

Notice he which persecuted us in times past now preacheth the faith which once he destroyed. The faith that he once destroyed was that of the kingdom believers. Again, he never persecuted the grace believers.  

Notice also that they glorified God in me. This makes it clear to me that he was not preaching the grace gospel to them at this time, or they would not have felt this way at all. Instead, they would have been hostile towards him. Whatever he said was not in conflict with Peter's message to them. 

Chapter 2

This chapter is the first time Paul mentions that he has received the mystery. At least to me, Paul makes it pretty clear in 1:21 that he had not received it prior to his visit to Jerusalem and travels into Syria and Cilicia. 

Verse 1: Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. So, this would be fourteen years after his visit in 1:18. The year would be 52AD. 

Notice that he also had Barnabas and Titus with him. Barnabas was a kingdom believer who was there when Paul approved the stoning of Stephen, like Paul, but Titus was a gentile convert under the grace gospel because he refused to be circumcised in verse 3. The meeting he is referring to is commonly called the Jerusalem Council which occurred in Acts 15.

Friday, July 30, 2021

Galatians | Session 5 | 1:15-20

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see Paul making it clear that the revelation that he had received from the Lord was exclusively given to him as evidenced by the fact that he did not confer with the Twelve, his persecution of the Jewish believers, and how grateful he was that God had separated him to the grace gospel. We also discuss in more detail when exactly Paul did receive the revelation of the mystery.

Verses 15-16: But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother's womb, and called me by his grace, To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: He also told us that he was separated from his mother's womb in Romans 1:1-2 and that he was separated again in Acts 13:1-2. 

When he says that he was called by his grace, it  seems to point to his call on the Damascus Road around 34AD in Acts 9. And when he says that God had revealed his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen, it seems to be referring to the revelation of the mystery that occurred some later. So, the text is simply saying that he was separated at birth, called on the road to Damascus, and received the revelation somewhere between Acts 9 and 13.  

He also mentions that upon receiving the revelation of the mystery, that he did not confer with flesh and blood. The point is that he did not have to because they would not have known what he was talking about because it was given uniquely to him. 

Verses 17-19: Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother. He also makes it clear that he did not visit the Twelve in Jerusalem either regarding to the revelation that he had received, but instead, he went to Arabia and then to Damascus for a period of three years. This period is covered in Acts 9:19 when Paul returned to Damascus. He later did go to Jerusalem for fifteen days where he visited with Peter and saw James; therefore, he cannot be referring the council of Acts 15.  

Notice that verse 19 refers to James, the Lord's brother, as an apostle. He would have been one of those selected by men that Paul referred to back in verse 1 since Jesus did not appoint him during his earthly ministry. 

Verse 20: Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not. Why would Paul even say this? - Because apparently people were accusing him of being a liar regarding the revelation that he had received. The question that I have is when was the revelation given to him? Like I said, he was converted on the Damascus Road in 34AD and he apparently received the revelation sometime afterward. To me, it could not have been during the three years he was in Arabia or he would have mentioned it to Peter when he saw in in Jerusalem during his fifteen day stay. Again, to me at least, it had to have been sometime after the visit and before the Council in 52AD. That is a period of nineteen years. However, the verses here in Galatians seem to indicate that he received it prior to the visit with Peter (cf. verses 16-18).

In my opinion, Paul is merely looking back as he is writing. In other words, he is not giving a precise time lime at all. He is just saying that he was to receive the mystery to preach to the heaven. However, instead of getting lost in the weeds here, Paul's point is that the mystery did not come from Peter. 

Again, I believe that he received it during the fourteen years before he returned to Jerusalem for the council in 52AD as he mentioned in Galatians 2:1-9. Also, 2 Corinthians 12:7 seems to place this date around 46AD since that he when he wrote it. 

Also, another time indicator is that by the time he arrived at the Council in Acts 15, he mentions that there are churches that were made up of Gentiles in Syria, Silicia, and Antioch which is where he went after leaving Jerusalem. Again, a lot of conjecture there on my part, but compelling. 

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

The Breath of God, Part 2

I had the honor of being able to share part 2 of my message on The Breath of God at Calvary Chapel in Travelers Rest, South Carolina. 

Monday, July 12, 2021

Galatians | Session 4 | 1:9-14

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see that Paul, in his effort to preach the Gospel of Grace, was trying to persuade men so that he might be a servant of Christ, that the gospel that he preached was not after man, neither received by man, but by revelation, and how prior to his conversion he persecuted the church of God.

Verses 9-10: As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ. Like I pointed out earlier, As we said before, so say I now again seems to indicate that the him that called you in verse 6 might have been a reference to himself. 

Notice that Paul asks a question, do I persuade men, or God? Amazing how the different translations contort this verse. The verse is clearly saying that Paul is trying to persuade men and not God. However, others will translate it that Paul is trying to win the approval God and not men. In the end, I guess that either translation is in the positive and Paul remains a servant of Christ as a result. The point is that Paul did not spend his ministry trying to persuade God, but men. However, in so doing, he says that he will not be a man-pleaser, because to so would make him a servant of man and not of Christ. 

Verse 11: But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. For I neither received it of man, neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ. The word certify simply means to make known. Notice that he says that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man. He said something similar is 1 Corinthians 15:1-6, Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. The very fact that Paul emphasizes that he neither received it nor was he taught it by man, but instead received it by revelation makes it clear that it was something different than what the Twelve were teaching. Either that, or he was confused or simply arrogant. Sadly, most in the church today fail to pick this up. Think about it, why would Paul need to receive a revelation of something that had already been revealed? 

I am sure that some would say that his revelation was simply that the Gentiles were now part of the church. However, those who would say that would also say that the church was born in Acts and there were Gentiles there. What would be so new about that? However, Paul went on to say in Romans 16:25 when he said, Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, Paul said this was my gospel

What was the mystery? The Body of Christ made up of both Jew and Gentile. Of course, later he came to other revelations about the postponement of the kingdom, the rapture, of the church, etc. He refers to this in 2 Corinthians 12:1-7 when he said, It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter. Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities. For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me. And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.  

Verse 13: For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: The Jews' religion was Judaism. The church of God was the kingdom church, because Paul never persecuted the Body of Christ. We see this persecution of the Jewish church in Acts 8:1-4, And Saul approved of his execution. And there arose on that day a great persecution against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. Devout men buried Stephen and made great lamentation over him. But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.. Notice also that as a result of the persecution that Paul wrought on the Jewish kingdom church, the Jews were scattered abroad preaching the word. Who were they teaching this word to? Jews only according to Acts 11:19, Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only. 

Understand that the kingdom church was made up of the Twelve and all those in Israel who believed that Jesus was the Christ. They make up what Luke calls the little flock in Luke 12:32 that would, and still will, inherit the kingdom. Only proselytized Gentiles were a part of this group, i.e., Cornelius and his family and those mentioned in Acts 2:10. No unproselytized Gentiles were involved, i.e., the Body of Christ. 

Verse 14: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. Paul excelled in Judaism.  He mentioned this in  Philippians 3:4-6 when he said, Though I might also have confidence in the flesh. If any other man thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh, I more: Circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, an Hebrew of the Hebrews; as touching the law, a Pharisee; Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. 

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Galatians | Session 3 | 1:6-8

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see that Paul is deeply concerned about those who were preaching another gospel to them in an attempt to place them back into the bondage of the Law. He goes on to warn them that even if an angel from heaven preaches it to them, they should not believe it.

Verses 6-7: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. 

Notice the word another (allos = the same of a different kind) in this verse as compared to the word another (heteros = another of a different kind) in verse 6 (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:4).

In other words, they are not the same. The trouble that Paul is referring to here is the perverting of the true gospel which is troubling to those who hear it because it is contradicting. I believe that is exactly the problem in the church today in that there are still some that trouble you, by mingling the Kingdom and Grace gospels to the point that there is great confusion and misunderstanding. 

On one hand, we tell them they have to repent, be baptized, and keep the Law, and then on the other hand, we tell them that it is not a salvation of works, but faith alone. Seriously? These are the same one that Paul is speaking about in Galatians 2:4; Galatians 5:10, and Galatians 5:12. 

Verse 8: But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. Notice, we, or an angel from heaven (1Timothy 4:1; 2 Corinthians 11:14; Ephesians 6:12). The Devil has always been busy corrupting the words of God (Gen_3:2-5). 

A state senator from Georgia who calls himself a "Reverend" said the other day, "The meaning of Easter is more transcendent than the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Whether you are Christian or not, through a commitment to helping others we are able to save ourselves." That is flat out heresy! 

Yet that is where we find ourselves in the church today, Dietrich Bonhoeffer,  the minister who stood against Hitler's Germany once said of his students in 1939, "they are completely clueless with respect to what dogmatics is really about. They are not familiar with even the most basic questions. They become intoxicated with liberal and humanistic phrases, are amused at the fundamentalists, and yet basically are not even up to their level.”

The word accursed is the Greek word anathema which means to be cut off (Galatians 5:10-12; 1 Corinthians 16:22). Paul is pronouncing this on anyone who was telling them that they had to keep the Law to be saved. 

Notice there be some that trouble you. This is referring to those who were perverting the gospel of Christ. To pervert means to turn or corrupt. These are mentioned in 2:4 and 5:12. They were the same ones that James referred to at the Counsel who were subverting souls (Acts 15:24). To subvert means to overthrow or destroy, undermine, render ineffective. Transitively it means to cause to serve a purpose other than the original or established one. 

Monday, June 21, 2021

Galatians | Session 2 | 1:4-6

We continue in our study of the book of Galatians today where we see that Christ's crucifixion was for both Jew and Gentile and required for both Kingdom and Grace gospels, and that the Body of Christ must be removed before God will turn his attention again back to the nation of Israel.

Verses 4-5: 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: To whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen. 

Notice who gave himself for our sins. The crucifixion of our Lord delivered both Jew and Gentile. It was also required for the offering of the Kingdom and the Grace gospel (Hebrews 9:15-17). Also, take a look at 1 John 2:2; 1John 4:10 and 1 Corinthians 15:3.

Notice that he might deliver us from this present evil world according to his will. This deliverance for the church will be realized in the rapture because we are not appointed to wrath. This can be seen in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:9. If you are a Bible student, we will recognize that I left out 1 Corinthians 15:51-58. The reason I did that, at least for the moment, is that I am not totally convinced that that text is dealing with the Body of Christ and I need to study it more before I commit to it. 

I believe that the Bible clearly teaches the rapture of the Body of Christ. Why? - Because, the Tribulation period is not for the church. We are not in view. It is about the nation of Israel, period. 

Verses 6-7: I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. Notice Ye are so soon removed from him that called you. The question is who is the him in this verse? Some say that it is God (cf. NASB) while others say that it is Paul himself. The Greek simply says the one. The context, i.e., verse 9, dictates that it is referring to a man; most likely Paul himself, which means he would have been speaking in the third person.

In verse 7, there is a compare and contrast happening with the grace of Christ and another gospel. The gospel given to Paul was the grace of Christ or what he often referred to as his gospel (Romans 2:16; Romans 16:25; 1 Timothy 1:11; 2Timothy 2:8).  

The other gospel was a perversion of that gospel that required works; i.e., no gospel (good news) at all. Paul also warned the Corinthians of this in 2 Corinthians 11:4. Sadly, the other gospel could not save them, and I believe that this other gospel was simply a mixing of the Kingdom and the Grace gospel that formed no gospel at all. They essentially cancel one another out.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Well, This is Interesting

New SBC president changes his website after he was asked a question about the Trinity. Makes you wonder. 

A check reveals a change – which deserves an answer: An awkward exchange on the floor of the annual convention – combined with some behind-the-scenes maneuvering – has a Christian talk-show host concerned that the new president of the Southern Baptist Convention might not be as theologically sound as was thought.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

Galatians Introduction

Galatians Introduction

There is no doubt that the Apostle Paul penned the book of Galatians, and many consider it to be his first writing between 47 and 50AD. It had to have been written after the Council in Jerusalem spoken of in Acts 15 which happened in 46AD. That was when the discussion had occurred about if the Gentile grace believers should be required to keep the Law. It would make sense that he wrote this book right after that sometime around the time of Acts 16 when he was in the region of Galatia which was a region that was in Asia Minor (Acts 16:6). Today, it is modern Turkey. Therefore, it had to have been after his first missionary journey and the Jerusalem Council.

The book, just as Acts, must be viewed through the dispensational lens, or it will not make sense and will contradict. I use the word dispensational, because we must see the book for what it is. It is an argument that we are no longer under the dispensation of the law, and to insist so is to pervert the gospel of grace that began with Paul; therefore, he is uniquely our apostle. It is also obvious that conclude that by grace through faith, not of works would be erroneous. Of course, that does not preclude many, quite frankly most, from doing just that today, unwittingly espousing covenant theology.

Friday, June 11, 2021

Reading Someone Else's Mail

"I may have a letter put into my hands, which I assume is written to me. I read on, and find much that is intensely interesting, and exceedingly profitable for me. But I find also references to matters which do not concern me. Things are said about my position which do not quite describe it. There may be a reference to a debt which I do not owe, or to an order which I do not remember having given. Persons and events are mentioned: but, not knowing exactly to whom or to what they refer, there is much that puzzles and perplexes me. But all the difficulty is removed when I discover, and understand, that though the letter is put into my hand on purpose FOR me to read and learn, it was not actually addressed TO me. Then it is all clear. I quite see how I may profit by much of the instruction that is contained in the letter; and I am no longer troubled by that which seemed so different from another letter which the same writer had previously addressed directly to me, and which was all ABOUT me. Now this is exactly the case with the Epistle to the Hebrews. It is written "FOR our learning," but it is not addressed TO us." - Ethelbert William Bullinger. THE CHURCH EPISTLES: Romans to Thessalonians (Kindle Locations 2455-2462). Kindle Edition.

Partial is Not an Option

Galatians 3:10 says, For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.

This verse is condemning the Judaizers who were trying to get the grace believers to submit to only portions and not in all things of the law, e.g., circumcision. His point is that for one to place themselves back under any part of the law is to place themselves back under the entire law which brings the curse of death.

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Galatians | Session 1 | 1:1-3

We begin a new study today through the book of Galatians where we briefly introduce the book, emphasize the importance of the dispensational view, Paul's unique position as the apostle to the Gentiles, and the churches to whom he wrote. 

There is no doubt that the Apostle Paul penned the book of Galatians, and many consider it to his first writing between 47 and 50AD. It had to have been written after the Council in Jerusalem of Acts 15 which happened in 46AD. There is was where the discussion had occurred about where the Gentile grace believers should be required to keep the Law. It would make sense that he wrote this book right after that around the time of Acts 16 when he was in the region of Galatia which was a region that was in Asia Minor; modern Turkey (Act 16:6). Therefore, it had to have been after his first missionary journey and the Jerusalem Council. 

The book, just as Acts, must be viewed through the dispensational lens, or it will not make sense and will contradict. 

I use the word dispensational, because, we must see the book for what it is; an argument that we are no longer under the dispensation of the law, and to insist so is to pervert the gospel of Grace that began with Paul, therefore, he is uniquely our apostle. 

It is obvious that it is impossible to argue that “by grace through faith, not of works” has always been the pathway to salvation. To make such an argument is espousing covenant theology. 

Chapter 1

Verse 1: Paul, an apostle, (not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ, and God the Father, who raised him from the dead;) Paul began all his letters with his name. Again, why there is a lot of disagreement regarding Hebrews.

Notice that he says that he is an apostle not of men, neither by man, but by Jesus Christ. Obviously, he would not have said an apostle not not of men, neither by man if there were not some. Those would be men like Matthias, Barnabas (Acts 14:14), and James (Galatians 1:19). Neither of these men were numbered with the Twelve or called directly by Jesus during his earthly ministry. However, Paul's calling was unique in that he was called by God to this position without man being involved (Romans 11:13). 

Why was Paul's calling so late in the game? Because Paul's ministry was to be unique in that he was not going to go to the nation as the others did, but to the Gentiles. He was called in Acts 9 by Jesus Christ, and God the Father while on the road to Damascus. 

Interestingly, Paul's calling came from heaven which is the Body of Christ's destination! His argument is that he was called just like the Twelve. 

Verse 2: And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia: We do not know who all of the brethren where with him, but we do know that Barsabas and Silas were (Acts 15:22). 

Notice that he is writing to the churches of Galatia. Again, these are the churches that he had established on his first missionary journey that he refers to in Acts 16:6, Acts 18:23, and 1 Corinthians 16:1. 

Notice the word churches. This is the only epistle written to multiple churches rather than a single church. 

Verse 3: Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, This phrase is the beginning of all Paul's epistles and another argument against him being the author of Hebrews. 

Notice grace and peace which was uniquely Paul's. On the other hand, the message of the others was repent and be baptized. Things that are similar are not the same.

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

Daniel Study | Session 17 | 9:25-26

In today's study, we continue to look at the prophecy of the coming Messiah, his crucifixion, and the foretold destruction of Jerusalem that would result.

Troublesome Times

Verse 25: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times." Notice the last part of verse 25, "the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublesome times." This speaks of the rebuilding of the Jerusalem as requested by Nehemiah in Nehemiah 2.

Verse 26: "And after threescore and two weeks shall Messiah be cut off, but not for himself: and the people of the prince that shall come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary; and the end thereof shall be with a flood, and unto the end of the war desolations are determined." "After threescore and two week" is another way of saying Notice that "after sixty-two weeks" or after the week afore mentioned which were 62 and 7, or 483 years.

Notice, that the "Messiah shall be cut off". This of course was a prophecy the Messiah would be rejected and crucified. This happened just days after Jesus entered the eastern gate on Palm Sunday. It says that in Matthew 21:9, "Then the multitudes who went before and those who followed cried out, saying: "Hosanna to the Son of David! 'Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!' Hosanna in the highest!" And just a few days later the same crowd cried "Let him be crucified" in Matthew 27:23. 

Notice that it also says, "And the people of the prince who is to come." There is a difference in "Prince"(Anointed One) in verse 25 and "prince"(ruler) here in this verse. The "prince" (ruler) spoken of here was the Roman General Titus. An interesting note, his was none other than Vespasian who was crowned emperor of Rome just prior to Titus entering into Jerusalem fulfilling the "prince" portion of this prophecy.

Notice also, "And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary." Remember the comment that Jesus made in Luke 19:42 when he said, "If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes." So, this prophecy was first delivered here in Daniel, reiterated by Jesus, and fulfilled in 70AD by Titus! 

Jesus even said in Luke 19:41-44 that Jesus said that they would not even leave "one stone upon another" Interestingly, when Titus' troops came into the city, they were told not to touch the temple, yet somehow it caught on fire, and in their greed, they tore the stones apart to get the gold that had melted into them as a result of the heat. Also, historically, they used the proceeds from the looting to pay for the Roman Coliseum that was built with Jewish slave labor. 

And then finally, notice that it says that the "end of it shall be with a flood, and the end of the war desolation are determined." As a result, the end of the nation came and the Jews were dispersed, not to be regathered until 1948.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

Daniel Study | Session 16 | 9:24-25

In today's study we find one of the greatest prophecies in all of the Bible that predicts the coming of the Messiah to the very day, the difference between a Julian and a Babylonian calendar, and the Triumphal Entry.

Verse 24: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy."

As we mentioned in our last study, the "seventy weeks" represent seventy sevens. So, here we see seventy weeks of seven, or 70 x 7, which is a total of 490 years. In other words, this entire prophecy will be fulfilled in a total 490 years. During that time, six things will happen, 1. transgression will be finished, 2. an end of sin, 3. reconciliation for iniquity, 4. everlasting righteousness will be brought in, 5. vision and prophecy will be sealed, and 6. the Most Holy will be anointed. The first three were fulfilled in Christ on the cross and the last three will be fulfilled at His second coming.

The Commandment

Verse 25: "Know therefore and understand, that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to build Jerusalem unto the Messiah the Prince shall be seven weeks, and threescore and two weeks: the street shall be built again, and the wall, even in troublous times."  Notice, "that from the going forth of the commandment to restore and to rebuild Jerusalem." History, both secular and biblical, tells us that that command came in 445 BC (Nehemiah 2:1-6). As a matter of fact, according to Sir Robert Anderson, in his work "The Coming Prince", he says that we not this happened on March 14, 445 BC! Interestingly, Sir Robert Anderson (1841-1918), a contemporary is E.W. Bullinger also said, "nothing new or 'Christian' happened in Acts 2", i.e., he did not believe in the birth of the church until Paul. 

Now notice this, "that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem (we know that that command was given on March 14, 445 BC) until Messiah the Prince, there shall be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks."

Notice, "seven weeks and sixty-two weeks." That is simply 7 + 62 = 69 and 69 x 7 = 483 years. We are looking at one of the greatest prophecies in all of the Bible. This prophecy literally sets the date when the Messiah will come! It tells us that from the going forth of the command to restore and build Jerusalem to the coming of the Messiah will be 483 years.

Now bear in mind, that it wasn't until 71 BC that we began using what is called the Julian Calendar which has 365 ¼ days. Up until that time, the world used the Babylonian calendar which had 360 days. So, when looking at the prophecy we must look at it in the context in which it was written, Babylon. If we were to take 483 years and multiply it times 360 when would get 173,880 days. So, if we add 173, 880 days to March 14, 445 BC we would arrive at April 6, 32 AD!

On April 6, 32 AD, Jesus was sitting with his disciples on the Mount of Olives with his disciples when he said, "And when he had thus spoken, he went before, ascending up to Jerusalem. And it came to pass, when he was come nigh to Bethphage and Bethany, at the mount called the mount of Olives, he sent two of his disciples, Saying, Go ye into the village over against you; in the which at your entering ye shall find a colt tied, whereon yet never man sat: loose him, and bring him hither. And if any man ask you, Why do ye loose him? thus shall ye say unto him, Because the Lord hath need of him" (Luke 19:28-31).

It also says that they took the donkey and "cast their garments upon the colt, and they set Jesus thereon. And as he went, they spread their clothes in the way. And when he was come nigh, even now at the descent of the mount of Olives, the whole multitude of the disciples began to rejoice and praise God with a loud voice for all the mighty works that they had seen; Saying, Blessed be the King that cometh in the name of the Lord: peace in heaven, and glory in the highest. And some of the Pharisees from among the multitude said unto him, Master, rebuke thy disciples. And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. And when he was come near, he beheld the city, and wept over it, Saying, If thou hadst known, even thou, at least in this thy day, the things which belong unto thy peace! but now they are hid from thine eyes. For the days shall come upon thee, that thine enemies shall cast a trench about thee, and compass thee round, and keep thee in on every side, And shall lay thee even with the ground, and thy children within thee; and they shall not leave in thee one stone upon another; because thou knewest not the time of thy visitation" (Luke 19:35-44). The prophet Zechariah spoke of this same event when he said, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion! Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, your King is coming to you; he is just and having salvation, lowly and riding on a donkey, a colt, the foal of a donkey" (Zechariah 9:9).

This is an amazing prophecy that was fulfilled to the very day! 


Thursday, February 4, 2021

Daniel Study | Session 15 | 9:14-24

We continue our study today in Daniel, chapter 9, where we see Daniel's prayer being interrupted by the angel, Gabriel, and he is told that 490 years are determined for the nation of Israel.

Verse 14: "Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice." Again, Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."

Verses 15-19: "And now, O Lord our God, that hast brought thy people forth out of the land of Egypt with a mighty hand, and hast gotten thee renown, as at this day; we have sinned, we have done wickedly. O Lord, according to all thy righteousness, I beseech thee, let thine anger and thy fury be turned away from thy city Jerusalem, thy holy mountain: because for our sins, and for the iniquities of our fathers, Jerusalem and thy people are become a reproach to all that are about us. Now therefore, O our God, hear the prayer of thy servant, and his supplications, and cause thy face to shine upon thy sanctuary that is desolate, for the Lord's sake. O my God, incline thine ear, and hear; open thine eyes, and behold our desolations, and the city which is called by thy name: for we do not present our supplications before thee for our righteousnesses, but for thy great mercies. O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name." Notice that Daniel did not base his request on man's righteousness or goodness, but on God's mercy. Lamentations 3:22 says, "Through the LORD'S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not."

Verses 20-21: "And whiles I was speaking, and praying, and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the LORD my God for the holy mountain of my God; Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation." Now Daniel is interrupted by an angel and the angel introduces himself as Gabriel. The Bible mentions three angels by name; Gabriel, Michael and Lucifer.

Verse 22: "And he informed me, and talked with me, and said, O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding." God wants us to understand. Jesus told us that Daniel is the Key to understanding end time Scripture (Matthew 24:15).

Verse 23: "At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to shew thee; for thou art greatly beloved: therefore understand the matter, and consider the vision." Oh, that we would be so set on doing God's will that He would call us "greatly beloved."

Notice, "at the beginning of your supplications the command went out," God always answers our prayers the moment we pray them. The answer is yes, no, or wait! Why? Because we are greatly beloved (cf. John 3:16). None of us should ever doubt that we are not loved. The Bible says that you are loved with an everlasting love (Jeremiah 31:3).  God loves you so much this morning that He gave His only Son to die in your place. While those verses are specifically addressed to the nation of Israel, there is no doubt in my mind that they are for us as well.

Verse 24: "Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy." Notice "seventy weeks" or seventy sevens. In our European culture we use as our smallest measure of years Decades. We think in Tens. The Jews, however, think in Sevens; or what they call heptaths.

So, here we see seventy weeks of seven, or 70 x 7, which is a total of 490 years. In other words, this entire prophecy will be fulfilled in a total 490 years. And during this time (490 years) six things will happen: 1. To finish the transgression. (Willful sin); 2. To make an end of sin (Missing the mark); 3. To make reconciliation for iniquity (Combo of both); 4. To bring in everlasting righteousness; 5. To seal up the vision and prophecy; and To anoint the Most Holy (or Holy Place). 

The first three were fulfilled in Christ on the cross. The last three will be fulfilled at His second coming in Revelation 19.

Daniel Study |Session 14 | 9:3-14

In today's study, Daniel knows what God has in store for the future of the Gentile nations, now he intercedes on behalf of Israel to find out what God has in store for them.

Verse 3 "So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." So, here is the scene. Daniel knows that the 70 years are almost completed. So, he begins to seek God on behalf of Israel. I'm sure that Daniel was thinking about how that God had told him about the future of the gentile nations, so why wouldn't he tell him about Israel.

Something else that can be learned from this is that Daniel was at least 90 years old at this time. And he was still serving the Lord. We never get too old to serve God. 

Notice, that it says that he was "fasting with sackcloth, and ashes." This was the Jews' way of showing God that they were sincere.

Verses 4-5: "And I prayed unto the LORD my God, and made my confession, and said, O Lord, the great and dreadful God, keeping the covenant and mercy to them that love him, and to them that keep his commandments; We have sinned, and have committed iniquity, and have done wickedly, and have rebelled, even by departing from thy precepts and from thy judgments:" Notice that Daniel identifies with his nation when he says in verse 5 that "we have sinned." It has been said that an honest confession will always go a long way toward deliverance. I believe that Daniel understood that any attempt to justify the nation would get them nowhere. There is no justification for disobeying God, but when we are honest with ourselves and God, I believe that He opens the doors of mercy, grace, and forgiveness. Of course, God knows where He is on the situation, but sometimes I believe that He wants to make sure that we know where we are on the situation. 

Verses 6-7: "Neither have we hearkened unto thy servants the prophets, which spake in thy name to our kings, our princes, and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. O Lord, righteousness belongeth unto thee, but unto us confusion of faces, as at this day; to the men of Judah, and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and unto all Israel, that are near, and that are far off, through all the countries whither thou hast driven them, because of their trespass that they have trespassed against thee." In these verses, Daniel confesses that God had kept his part of the agreement, but that the Jews had not. You see, God's covenants with Israel were conditioned on them keeping their side of the agreement.

Verses 8-11: "O Lord, to us belongeth confusion of face, to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers, because we have sinned against thee. To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him; Neither have we obeyed the voice of the LORD our God, to walk in his laws, which he set before us by his servants the prophets. Yea, all Israel have transgressed thy law, even by departing, that they might not obey thy voice; therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that is written in the law of Moses the servant of God, because we have sinned against him." Here Daniel is acknowledging that God's judgment of the Jews was righteous.

Verses 12-13: "And he hath confirmed his words, which he spake against us, and against our judges that judged us, by bringing upon us a great evil: for under the whole heaven hath not been done as hath been done upon Jerusalem. As it is written in the law of Moses, all this evil is come upon us: yet made we not our prayer before the LORD our God, that we might turn from our iniquities, and understand thy truth." The Jews were and still are God's chosen people. And as such, they were under a greater responsibility to obey Him even more so than those who were not. The Bible says in Luke 12:48, "But he who did not know, yet committed things deserving of stripes, shall be beaten with few. For everyone to whom much is given, from him much will be required; and to whom much has been committed, of him they will ask the more." The bottom line, God holds those of us who know the truth more accountable than those who do not.

 Verse 14: "Therefore hath the LORD watched upon the evil, and brought it upon us: for the LORD our God is righteous in all his works which he doeth: for we obeyed not his voice." Again, Proverbs 28:13 says, "He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy."

Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Daniel Study | Session 13 | 9:1-2

Today, we get into chapter 9 and discover why the nation had been exiled into captivity and how long that captivity was prophesied to last.

Chapter 9

Daniel's Prayer

Verse 1: "In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of the seed of the Medes, which was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans;" Notice, "in first year of Darius" which would have been the year 538 BC.  

Student of Scripture

Verse 2: "In the first year of his reign I Daniel understood by books the number of the years, whereof the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah the prophet, that he would accomplish seventy years in the desolations of Jerusalem." Daniel apparently was a student of Scripture and he had been studying the book of Jeremiah. 2 Timothy 2:15 "Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth." Apparently, Daniel had looked at Jeremiah 25:11-12 and Jeremiah 29:10-11.

 History tells us that Israel had been destroyed by King Nebcuchadnezzar in 605 BC and it was now 538 BC. How many years had they been in captivity? 67 years.  And Daniel knew this and understood that their captivity was almost over.

Believe It!

You know, something that amazes me is that Daniel just opened up his Bible… Jer_25:11…..and believed it. Can you believe it? He took it literally! Why is it that "Bible Scholars" of our day can't seem to do this? They make every excuse under the sun not to take something at face value from the Bible. "Well, he didn't mean 70 years….God was speaking in a metaphorical sense." Well you know, in the original Greek….." 

Why can't we just open up the Bible and take it at face value? Daniel did! John wrote in 1 John, "I write these things that you may know…" We need to stop second guessing God! "WHERE GOD HAS PUT A PERIOD, DON'T CHANGE IT TO A QUESTION MARK!" God has not, and never has been, in the business of confusing people. Paul told the Corinthians, "God is not the author of confusion 1 Corinthians 14:33. Sadly, much of our is the direct result of our arrogance.

Why 70 Years?

The first question that I asked myself when I read this was, Why 70 years?" We are told why in Leviticus 25:1-7 where God told Jeremiah, "And the LORD spake unto Moses in mount Sinai, saying, (2) Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, When ye come into the land which I give you, then shall the land keep a sabbath unto the LORD. (3) Six years thou shalt sow thy field, and six years thou shalt prune thy vineyard, and gather in the fruit thereof; (4) But in the seventh year shall be a sabbath of rest unto the land, a sabbath for the LORD: thou shalt neither sow thy field, nor prune thy vineyard. (5) That which groweth of its own accord of thy harvest thou shalt not reap, neither gather the grapes of thy vine undressed: for it is a year of rest unto the land. (6) And the sabbath of the land shall be meat for you; for thee, and for thy servant, and for thy maid, and for thy hired servant, and for thy stranger that sojourneth with thee, (7) And for thy cattle, and for the beast that are in thy land, shall all the increase thereof be meat."

And he goes on to say in Leviticus 26:33-35, "And I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. (34) Then shall the land enjoy her sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her sabbaths. (35) As long as it lieth desolate it shall rest; because it did not rest in your sabbaths, when ye dwelt upon it."

And of course the Israelites did not trust the Lord by giving the land its rest, and as a result God fulfilled His promise to exile them! 2 Chronicles 36:20-21 speaks to this when God says, "And them that had escaped from the sword carried he away to Babylon; where they were servants to him and his sons until the reign of the kingdom of Persia: (21) To fulfil the word of the LORD by the mouth of Jeremiah, until the land had enjoyed her sabbaths: for as long as she lay desolate she kept sabbath, to fulfil threescore and ten years." So, God brought destruction upon them because of their failure to trust in His promises.

There is a principle here that you and I must come to grips with as well. God's expectation is that we trust Him! When we trust Him, He brings about blessing. When we fail to trust Him, He doesn't bring about his blessing. Deuteronomy 30:19 says, "I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live;" From this verse we see, that the blessing or lack thereof is entirely dependent upon how much the nation trusted him. 

The same can be said of us today. God promises blessings for obedience! But if we choose not to trust him, the Bible says in Haggai 1, "You have sown much, and bring in little; you eat, but do not have enough; you drink, but you are not filled with drink; you clothe yourselves, but no one is warm; and he who earns wages, earns wages to put into a bag with holes." Thus says the LORD of hosts: "Consider your ways!" We must learn how to trust God! Amen? We can also see an excellent example of this in  Deuteronomy 28. In the end, the world says, "Show me and I will believe you", while God says, "Believe me and I will show you!"

Daniel | Session 12 | 8:19-27

In today's study, we see the interpretation of Daniel's vision of the ram and the goat, and how Antiochus Epiphanes was a type of the coming Antichrist.

Verse 19: "And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be." Gabriel is projecting these prophecies all the way down to the time of the end. If we understand the book of Daniel, a great part of it has to do with the Gentile age with very little regard for the Jew. 

Daniel's prophecies begin in 600 BC with the birth of Babylon and according to this verse all the way to the end. 

"For at the time appointed" means that God already has this thing worked out. God already has the dates set! He is a date-setter. 

Kings of Media and Persia

Verse 20: "The ram which thou sawest having two horns are the kings of Media and Persia." The two kings of Media and Persia referred to are Darius and Cyrus. Cf. verse 3 which seems to refer that Cyrus was higher.

King of Greece

Verse 21: "And the rough goat is the king of Grecia: and the great horn that is between his eyes is the first king." The rough goat here is Greece. The great horn is Greece's first king, Alexander the Great (verses 4-7). Alexander was the son of Philip II of Macedon and became king upon his death between 359 and 336. His title was Alexander III of Macedon. 

Interestingly, a coin was found in Thrace that featured a the head of Alexander on one side with ram's horns on either side of his crown. Historically, the horns were the symbol of the Egyptian god, Amun from whom Alexander claimed to have descended from. In essence, the symbolism implied diety status. Also, interestingly, they were not minted until after his death. 

Grecian Kingdom Broken and Divided

Verse 22: "Now that being broken, whereas four stood up for it, four kingdoms shall stand up out of the nation, but not in his power." That being broken is Alexander the Great.

"Four stood up for it" refers to the four generals Alexander had appointed over his kingdom (v.8) because he had no heir. However, historically, one was born after his death. The four generals were Cassander who took Macedonia, Lysimachus who took Thrace and much of Asia Minor, Seleucus who took Syria, and Ptolemy who took Egypt. Cassander would later order the death of Alexander's wife Roxana, son, and mother to consolidate his power, and would asume the title of Antigonus I. 

However, none of Alexander's generals "possessed his natural intelligence, understanding, or military genius but, even so, would found dynasties which, with exceptions, ruled their respective regions until the coming of Rome."

Duel Fulfillment in Action

Verses 23-25: "And in the latter time of their kingdom, when the transgressors are come to the full, a king of fierce countenance, and understanding dark sentences, shall stand up. And his power shall be mighty, but not by his own power: and he shall destroy wonderfully, and shall prosper, and practise, and shall destroy the mighty and the holy people.  And through his policy also he shall cause craft to prosper in his hand; and he shall magnify himself in his heart, and by peace shall destroy many: he shall also stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand." "In the latter time of their kingdom" refers to these four generals mentioned above. 

"A king of fierce countenance" was primarily fulfilled with Antiochus Epiphanes. However, the ultimate fulfillment of this is the Antichrist.

Two Fulfillments in View

Antiochus was symbolically what the Antichrist will be literally. In verses 9-12 we see him as coming out of Greece. He rose to power around 175 BC. He plundered the temple in Jerusalem and desecrated it by offering pig's flesh on the altar. This is actually recorded in I Maccabees 1-6 in the Apocrypha.

God Manifest

Here's something interesting, his last name Epiphanes means "God Manifest." He was one of the cruelest rulers of Syria as a descendant of Seleucus, one of Alexander's generals.

Maccabean Revolt

The Jewish rebellion which was led by the Maccabees, took place when he made an edict that all in his empire would practice the same religion. Of course, the Jews refused to do this and it led to Antiochus coming to Jerusalem and erecting a statue of the Greek God Zeus in the Temple…the Jews were forced to worship it or be killed. This is referred to by the Jews as the Abomination of Desolation. However, Matthew says that there will be another one (Matthew 24:15). Doesn't all of that sound familiar (Revelation 13:14-15)?

"He shall destroy the mighty and the holy people" is speaking to the destruction and carnage caused by Antiochus, but it also refers to the Antichrist (cf. Rev_6:1-11).

"He shall cause craft to prosper" refers to deceit or witchcraft (Cf. 2Th_2:8-11).

"He shall stand up against the Prince of princes; but he shall be broken without hand" cannot be referring to Antiochus (Revelation 19:19-21; Revelation 20:1-3). 

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Daniel Study | Session 11 | 7:18-8:19

Today in our study, we pick up in 7:18 and work our way down through 8:19 where we find the interpretation of Daniel dream in regards to the four beasts, but also we are introduced to his next vision of the ram and the goat.

Verse 19: "Then I would know the truth of the fourth beast, which was diverse from all the others, exceeding dreadful, whose teeth were of iron, and his nails of brass; which devoured, brake in pieces, and stamped the residue with his feet;" Daniel seems to be particularly interested in the fourth beast.

Verses 20-28: "And of the ten horns that were in his head, and of the other which came up, and before whom three fell; even of that horn that had eyes, and a mouth that spake very great things, whose look was more stout than his fellows. I beheld, and the same horn made war with the saints, and prevailed against them; Until the Ancient of days came, and judgment was given to the saints of the most High; and the time came that the saints possessed the kingdom. Thus he said, The fourth beast shall be the fourth kingdom upon earth, which shall be diverse from all kingdoms, and shall devour the whole earth, and shall tread it down, and break it in pieces. And the ten horns out of this kingdom are ten kings that shall arise: and another shall rise after them; and he shall be diverse from the first, and he shall subdue three kings. And he shall speak great words against the most High, and shall wear out the saints of the most High, and think to change times and laws: and they shall be given into his hand until a time and times and the dividing of time. But the judgment shall sit, and they shall take away his dominion, to consume and to destroy it unto the end. And the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the most High, whose kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey him. Hitherto is the end of the matter. As for me Daniel, my cogitations much troubled me, and my countenance changed in me: but I kept the matter in my heart." This is Daniel's interpretation of the dream which we've already covered in detail.

Note: The Seventh Day Adventists believe that verse 25 was fulfilled when the pope, who was merely known as the Bishop of Rome at the time, changed worship from Saturday to Sunday and that worshiping on Sunday is the sign of the Antichrist or the Mark of the Beast. Historically, this did happen after Constantine's edict in 321 AD under Sylvester I (314-335 A.D.) who was then Bishop of Rome. This change from Saturday to Sunday was later confirmed at a council of Bishops at the Council of Laodicea (363 A.D.) said; "Christians must not Judaize by resting on the Sabbath"...meaning Saturday. By the way, the Roman Catholic Church has always been anti-Semitic. 

Chapter 8

In this chapter verses 1-14 are the dream, verses 15-25 are the interpretation and verses 26-27 are Daniel's response to it. 

Verse 1: "In the third year of the reign of king Belshazzar a vision appeared unto me, even unto me Daniel, after that which appeared unto me at the first." Of the course, the one at the first was the vision we studied in chapter 7. 

The Palace of Shushan

Verse 2: "And I saw in a vision; and it came to pass, when I saw, that I was at Shushan in the palace, which is in the province of Elam; and I saw in a vision, and I was by the river of Ulai." Shushan was the location of the Babylonian palace.

The Vision

Verses 3-18: "Then I lifted up mine eyes, and saw, and, behold, there stood before the river a ram which had two horns: and the two horns were high; but one was higher than the other, and the higher came up last. I saw the ram pushing westward, and northward, and southward; so that no beasts might stand before him, neither was there any that could deliver out of his hand; but he did according to his will, and became great. And as I was considering, behold, an he goat came from the west on the face of the whole earth, and touched not the ground: and the goat had a notable horn between his eyes. And he came to the ram that had two horns, which I had seen standing before the river, and ran unto him in the fury of his power. And I saw him come close unto the ram, and he was moved with choler against him, and smote the ram, and brake his two horns: and there was no power in the ram to stand before him, but he cast him down to the ground, and stamped upon him: and there was none that could deliver the ram out of his hand. Therefore the he goat waxed very great: and when he was strong, the great horn was broken; and for it came up four notable ones toward the four winds of heaven. And out of one of them came forth a little horn, which waxed exceeding great, toward the south, and toward the east, and toward the pleasant land. And it waxed great, even to the host of heaven; and it cast down some of the host and of the stars to the ground, and stamped upon them. Yea, he magnified himself even to the prince of the host, and by him the daily sacrifice was taken away, and the place of his sanctuary was cast down. And an host was given him against the daily sacrifice by reason of transgression, and it cast down the truth to the ground; and it practised, and prospered. Then I heard one saint speaking, and another saint said unto that certain saint which spake, How long shall be the vision concerning the daily sacrifice, and the transgression of desolation, to give both the sanctuary and the host to be trodden under foot? And he said unto me, Unto two thousand and three hundred days; then shall the sanctuary be cleansed. And it came to pass, when I, even I Daniel, had seen the vision, and sought for the meaning, then, behold, there stood before me as the appearance of a man. And I heard a man's voice between the banks of Ulai, which called, and said, Gabriel, make this man to understand the vision. So he came near where I stood: and when he came, I was afraid, and fell upon my face: but he said unto me, Understand, O son of man: for at the time of the end shall be the vision. Now as he was speaking with me, I was in a deep sleep on my face toward the ground: but he touched me, and set me upright. In these verses the vision is given. 

Notice the angel Gabriel in verse 16. Only three angels are mentioned in the Bible by name, Gabriel, Michael, and Lucifer. 1. Gabriel seems to be especially chosen to send messages (cf. Daniel 9:21; Luke 1:19, Luke 1:26). 2. Michael seems to be a warrior (Cf. Daniel 10:10-13; Jude 1:9). 3. And of course, e Lucifer, the music guy (cf. Isaiah 14:10-12). 

Time of the End

Verse 19: "And he said, Behold, I will make thee know what shall be in the last end of the indignation: for at the time appointed the end shall be." Gabriel is projecting these prophecies all the way down to the time of the end. If we understand the book of Daniel, a great part of it has to do with the Gentile age with very little regard for the Jew. Daniel's prophecies begin in 600 BC with the birth of Babylon and according to this verse all the way to the end.

"For at the time appointed" means that God already has this thing worked out. God already has the dates set! He is a date-setter. 

Daniel Study | Session 10 | 7:10-18

In today's study, we spend a little bit of time catching up since we last left off, and then continued to look at the beasts, the little horn, the Ancient of Days, and also comparing the visions that Ezekiel and John saw.

Verse 9-10: "I beheld till the thrones were cast down, and the Ancient of days did sit, whose garment was white as snow, and the hair of his head like the pure wool: his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire. A fiery stream issued and came forth from before him: thousand thousands ministered unto him, and ten thousand times ten thousand stood before him: the judgment was set, and the books were opened." The words "cast down" could be better translated as established or set up. 

The book of Revelation tells us who is sitting on these thrones in Revelation 4:4. While we are not absolutely sure who these twenty-four elders are or represent, we do know that the number means signifies government in the Bible. There are a couple of views on whom these twenty-four elders are. Some say they are literally the twelve sons of Jacob and the twelve apostles of the New Testament combined. Not sure about the sons, but I do know that Jesus said that the Twelve would do so in Matthew 19:28 and Luke 22:29-30. Others say that these represent all of the redeemed from both the Old and the New Testament. Either way, in this view, the twelve patriarchs represent those from the Old Testament and the twelve apostles represent those from the New Testament. 

We do know that in 1 Chronicles 24:3-4 that David appointed 24 elders to represent the entire Levitical priesthood which numbered around 38,000 at that time. Each of these elders were to represent a group of Levites who were to serve throughout the year for two weeks at a time in the Temple. This division also made it easier to meet with the Levites as they were representative of the entire group. This is probably why the number 24 represents governmental authority in the Bible. 

Now those who want to place the Body of Christ in this number, as I used to, will point to 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 as a proof text. To be honest, where I am right now, I am having a hard time seeing the Body of Christ anywhere in the Old Testament, and I am also struggling with the term "saint" because it appears to be referring to Jewish Believers and not the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1; and Colossians 1:1-2). Make what you will of it, but they appear to be different groups of people. 

Final thought, whoever these are, they are judging during the Kingdom, which I have become convinced has nothing to do with the Body of Christ. Also, if you compare Jude 1:14-15 and Revelation, you will find that they are both speaking of Jews and not Gentiles. We will see another clue in this same chapter in verse 18. Again, referring to the House of Israel. 

Notice the "Ancient of days". This is a reference to God the Father. We see the deity of Christ in this because here it is a reference to God the Father, but in Revelation it is a reference to God the Son. Compare this description with Revelation 1:12-15. They most certainly appear to be one and the same.  

Daniel has the Second Coming of Christ and final judgment in view here which we see in detail in Revelation 19:11-16; Revelation 20:11-15; and Isaiah 66:15-16

Notice that the "books were opened". There are three books mentioned in the Bible. 1. The Book of the Living in Psalm 69:28; 2. The Book of Remembrance in Malachi 3:16; and 3. The Book of Life in Philippians 4:3; Revelation 3:5; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 17:8; Revelation 20:12; Revelation 20:15; Revelation 21:27, and Revelation 22:19. 

Notice the latter part of verses 9 where "it says his throne was like the fiery flame, and his wheels as burning fire." This is exactly the description that Ezekiel gave in Ezekiel 1:4-5a and Ezekiel 1:16. It is interesting that this is how both Ezekiel and Daniel describe heaven, and yet, every time year hear those who say they have been there, this is never their description (1 Corinthians 2:9). We also get a similar description in Revelation 4:2-3 and Revelation 4:6. Obviously, Heaven is indescribable. 

The Little Horn
Verse 11: "I beheld then because of the voice of the great words which the horn spake: I beheld even till the beast was slain, and his body destroyed, and given to the burning flame." The "horn" is still a reference to the Antichrist and shows that he and the beast are one and the same: Rome, but the is looking down through time to the Revived Roman Empire (Revelation 19:20). 
The Rest of the Beasts
Verse 12: "As concerning the rest of the beasts, they had their dominion taken away: yet their lives were prolonged for a season and time." "As concerning the rest of the beasts" is a reference to the four major empires. the ten horns of verse 8. Note sure exactly what "their lives were prolonged for a season and a time" means. 

One Like the Son of Man
Verse 13: "I saw in the night visions, and, behold, one like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven, and came to the Ancient of days, and they brought him near before him." I believe this may be a a reference to Revelation 5:1-9

An Everlasting Kingdom
Verse 14: "And there was given him dominion, and glory, and a kingdom, that all people, nations, and languages, should serve him: his dominion is an everlasting dominion, which shall not pass away, and his kingdom that which shall not be destroyed." The Lords kingdom will be the final kingdom which will never pass away. It is the last of all kingdoms.

Troubling Dreams
Verse 15: "I Daniel was grieved in my spirit in the midst of my body, and the visions of my head troubled me." His dreams troubled him. Can imagine being Daniel or John and trying to take in all of this information?

The Interpretation
Verse 16: "I came near unto one of them that stood by, and asked him the truth of all this. So he told me, and made me know the interpretation of the things." Now we get the interpretation of Daniel's dream.
The Beasts
Verses 17-18: "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall arise out of the earth. But the saints of the most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." The beasts represent Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome, but in the end God will set up a kingdom that will last forever just like we are seen in the previous dreams.

Thursday, January 7, 2021

Is Water Baptism for the Body of Christ? - Part 3

Today we pick up in our third and final study on the subject of baptism, and specifically, the question of whether it is for the Body of Christ today. As we have mentioned earlier, there are three baptisms recorded in Matthew 3:1-12 and none of them are for the church. We also mentioned that Jesus' baptism was to fulfill the law in regard to the priesthood as an example for the nation to follow. 

Before, moving any further, I must point out that there is a fourth baptism mentioned in Luke12:49-50 where it says, "I am come to send fire on the earth; and what will I, if it be already kindled? (50)  But I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!" The text makes it pretty clear that this baptism is one that only Christ will take. This, of course, speaks of when God the Father baptized his Son with the sins of the world on the cross. 

So, we have seen that there are four baptisms mentioned in the Bible: water, holy spirit, fire, and wrath. Water by John, Holy Spirit and Fire by Jesus, and Wrath by God. The problem with all of these baptisms is that none of them are for the church today.

Even Paul, the apostle to the Gentiles, said in 1 Corinthians 1:17, "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel: not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of none effect."  How could he say that? After all, Christ did tell the Twelve to baptize in Matthew 28:18-19 when he said, "And when they saw him, they worshipped him: but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth."

The issue for those who can not seem to put it together is that Paul was not one of the Twelve, he was never meant to be one of the Twelve even though I have heard many say, including myself, that Peter and the others messed up by choosing Mathias when they should have waited for Paul. Wrong! Paul's calling was different in that he was sent to the Gentiles (Acts 9:15) while the others were not (Matthew 10:5). 

The conclusion is that the only baptism that is for the Body of Christ is that of the Holy Spirit and it occurs at the moment of salvation. Paul explains this in Romans 6:4 when he says, "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." Also, in Ephesians 4:4-6 when he said, "There is one body, and one Spirit, even as ye are called in one hope of your calling; (5)  One Lord, one faith, one baptism, (6)  One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all." Our baptism is not with physical water! To teach that water baptism is required in any way, shape, or form is contrary to the teachings of Paul and the Gospel of Grace. 

Another interesting point that E.W. Bullinger points out is that water baptism is only spoken of in Paul's Acts-Period epistles (Corinthians and Romans), but never again afterward. Also when Paul speaks of baptism in his post-Acts epistles, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the Pastoral letters, he is only speaking of Spirit baptism into the Body of Christ at conversion. 

Again, Paul also shows that what was physical under the old program is now spiritual under the new in 1Corinthians 12:12-13; Colossians2:9-13. Again, a move from the physical under the Law to the spiritual under Grace.  Our identification in Christ is a spiritual one and not a physical one. Everything for the church is spiritual. We are a heavenly people and not an earthly people. Our promises are spiritual and not physical (Ephesians 1:3). 

The only conclusion that I can draw is that to baptize today is trying to make the church Israel, which is exactly what most do whether they want to admit it or not. Paul is our apostle and it is his teachings that we are to follow (1 Corinthians 11:1, 14:37). He was the first in the line of sinners to be a part of the Body of Christ (1 Timothy 1:15-16). And the only way to right divide is to realize the significance of Paul. Also, anyone who feels uncomfortable with us saying that we follow Paul, apparently don't have a problem with Israel following Moses.  

E.W. Bullinger once said, "it is the reliance on tradition instead of the study of the Bible that prevents people from understanding and enjoying it." He also said in his work, "The Foundations of Dispensational Truth", that "Christians have all been so long tied to the tether of tradition that difficulties are met with in connection with rightly dividing the Word of Truth." The problem with most Christians is that they are like concrete, thoroughly mixed up, and set.