Difficult Bible made Plain
Who wrote the Bible? It is GOD’S holy Word, but the only portion GOD wrote Himself are the 10 Commandments and that on enduring monumental stone. “All Scripture [Bible] is given by inspiration of GOD.” It is thought- rather than word- inspired! Bible writers were GOD’S penmen and not His Pen!!!
All 66 books written by prophets of GOD spanning over 1000’s of years, all agreeing. Why is the Bible so hard to understand? Because it is to be studied and reread over and over again. If it was an ordinary book, we would read it once and say we I have read it, I know what it says and that would be it.
JESUS said, that man should not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of GOD [Matthew 4:4].
The existence of thousand of Greek manuscripts of the New Testament, offer a compelling evidence that the text of the New Testament has come down to us with amazing accuracy. What is true of the New Testament is equally true of the Old Testament. The discovery of the Dead Seas Scroll has shown the amazing accuracy of the Hebrew text of the OT Scripture. When comparing the text of some OT books found in the Dead Sea Scrolls (written a century before Christ), with the Hebrew text of the Masoretes (written a thousand years later), scholars were amazed at the accurate transmission of the Hebrew text.
Difficult Bible texts seem to have been put there by GOD as a bite for heretics. Whenever you find such an isolated text, it is best to compare it to the rest of holy Writ. Baptism for the dead for instance as practiced by the Mormons. Or “Predestination”, which is the worse heresy that the Devil ever invented. It came first to us through the Roman Catholic scholar St. Augustine and taken up by Protestants like Dr. Martin Luther who claimed that he could sin a 1 000 times a day and still be saved. Then came John Calvin the Swiss Reformer with this “Predestination” by which it is claimed that GOD chose some to be saved and the rest of mankind be lost. This resulted in OSAS or ‘Once Saved Always Saved’. Nowhere does the Bible teaches this.
The only election [predestination] found in the Bible is that GOD wants all to be saved. Man is elected to work out his own salvation with fear and trembling. He is elected to put on the whole armor, to fight the good fight of faith. He is elected to use the means God has placed within his reach to war against every unholy lust, while Satan is playing the game of life for his soul. He is elected to watch unto prayer, to search the Scriptures, and to avoid entering into temptation. He is elected to have faith continually. He is elected to be obedient to every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of GOD, that he may be, not a hearer only, but a doer of the word. This is Bible election and predestination.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son.” Why is Jesus Christ our Lord called His only begotten Son? In Hebrews 11:17 we read that Isaac was Abrahams only begotten son. Why? Because Isaac is a type of Christ. Isaac as a miraculous birth when Sarah was over 90 years old and could not be conceived in a natural way. Abraham had to sacrifice his only begotten son. Isaac was not Abrahams only son. He had others. But in the Greek, the word for begotten is ‘monogenes’ which means unique, one of its kind. In Revelation 1:5 it says that Christ was the first begotten from the dead. Jesus was not the first resurrected person, but in pre-eminence, in the Greek ‘prototokos’ which is not always in the chronological order. So our Lord was a miracle birth, God born into human flesh and the most important person resurrected.
The earthly birth of Christ was prophesied in Psalms 2:7 and explained in Acts 13:33 very clearly.
King David was called God’s firstborn in Psalm 89:20,27 though he was the youngest son of Jesse. Israel was called God’s firstborn son. Yet he was born after Esau. As can be seen, the terms “only begotten,” “firstborn,” “first begotten,” point to pre-eminence rather than literal chronological order especially when applied to Christ. Jesus holds supreme positions.
Luke 17: 34-36
“I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed; the one shall be taken, and the other one shall be left. Two women shall be grinding together; the one shall be taken, and the other left. Two men shall be in the field; the one shall be taken, and the other left.”
Secret rapture advocates take this text as evidence of a secret coming of Christ to snatch away His saints. But to get the whole picture, begin reading in verse 26. Jesus described Noah’s day and Lot’s day and said: “Even thus shall it be when the Son of man comes.” Verse 30. Then He added, “I tell you, in that night there shall be two men in one bed: the one shall be taken, and the other shall be left”
How was it in the days of Noah and Lot? Some were taken and some were left. Those taken were taken to safety, and those left were left dead. Jesus said: “This is the way it will be when I come. Some will be taken and some will be left.”
In fact verses 36 and 37 make it very plain what Jesus meant: “Two men shall be in the field, the one shall be taken, and the other left. And they answered and said unto Him, where Lord? And He said unto them, Wheresoever the body is, thither the eagles be gathered together.
The disciples wanted to know where the others would be left, and Christ asserted they would be left dead. In one other text Jesus used similar language: “For wheresoever the carcass (dead body) is, there will be the eagles be gathered together.” Matthew 24:28.
Some may object and say that eagles are not known to gather in flocks and feed on dead bodies, but here’s what the Bible says concerning them: “Does the eagle mount up at thy command, and make her nest on high?…Her young ones also suck up blood: and where the slain are, there is she.” Job 39:27-30.
The obvious meaning of Christ’s words is that, just as in Noah’s day and Lot’s day, the righteous will be taken to safety and the wicked slain (by the brightness of His coming). The Bodies of the wicked will be scattered over the earth for birds of prey.
There is no secret rapture here. The term is unknown in the Bible and so is the doctrine.
“For Christ is the end of the Law for righteousness to everyone that believes”.(Rom.10:4).
Does this text teach that the Ten Commandments law came to an end through the ministry of Christ? By no means. The word “end” is used here in the sense of “end objective” or “goal”. The goal of the law is to lead us to Christ the same as the schoolmaster in Gal.3:24.
Please notice how the same word is used in James 5:11 “Ye have…..seen the end of the Lord, and the Lord is very pitiful, and of tender mercy.”
Again we read, “Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.” 1.Pet.1:9. Here the end objective, or goal, of one’s faith is the salvation of his soul. It has nothing to do with coming to an end.
One more example: “Now the end of the commandment is charity”. 1.Tim.1:5. It means that obedience to the commandment will lead one to charity. In the same sense, Christ is the “end of the Law” because the Law leads people to Christ. The Law did not come to an end.
“And it came to pass, as her soul was in departing, (for she died) that she called his name Benoni: but his father called him Benjamin.” (Genesis 35:18).
Since it is not possible for souls to live outside of bodies, how do we explain this apparent contradiction? The word “soul” is translated from the Hebrew word “nephesh” which has been translated 118 times in the Old Testament as “life”. The same word is used in Genesis 1:30 in reference to animals. It is never used in one single instance to denote an immortal or undying part of man.
“And it came to pass, that the beggar died, and was carried by the angels into Abraham’s bosom: the rich man also died, and was buried; And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments, and sees Abraham afar off, and Lazarus in his bosom.”
Either this story about the rich man and Lazarus is literally true or it is a parable. Here are four reasons why it could not possibly be literalistic:
1. The beggar died and was taken by the angels to Abraham’s bosom. No one believes that Abraham’s literal bosom is the abode of the righteous dead. It is a figurative or parabolic expression. Incidentally, the angels will gather the saints, but according to Matthew 24:31, this will take place at the coming of Jesus, not at a person’s death.
2. Heaven and hell were separated by a gulf, and yet the person in each could converse with each other. There were probably few individuals in the world who believe that this will be literally true of the saved and the lost (Luke 16:26).
3. The rich man was in hell with a body. He had eyes, a tongue, etc. (Luke 16:24). How did his body get into hellfire instead of into the grave? I know of no one who teaches that the bodies of the wicked go into hell as soon as they die. This story could not be literal.
4. The request for Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and come through the flames and across the gulf to cool the rich man’s tongue is obviously not literal. How much moisture would be left and how much relief would it give? The whole story is unrealistic and parabolic.
The rich man undoubtedly represented the Jews in the parable because only a Jew would pray to “father Abraham.” The beggar symbolized the Gentiles, who were counted unworthy to receive truth. In Matthew 15:27, the Canaanite woman acknowledged that her people were beggars at the table of the Jews.
Christ probably chose the name Lazarus to use in the parable because later he would actually raise Lazarus from the dead. And the climatic point in the entire parable is found in verse 31: “If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead.” Sure enough, they didn’t believe even when one named Lazarus was raised in front of them.
The second of the Ten Commandment removed by the church of Rome forbids the making of images even under the ground. That means that in order for them to bring in the pagan teachings of hell, limbo, and purgatory, they tempered with God’s own holy moral law. The teaching of purgatory or purging of sin, shows that they do not really believe that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sins.
“I decked thee also with ornaments, and I put bracelets upon thy hands, and a chain on thy neck. And I put a jewel on thy forehead and earrings in thine ears, and a beautiful crown upon thy head. Thus was thou decked with gold and silver; and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and broidered work; thou didst eat fine flour, and honey, and oil: and thou wast exceeding beautiful, and didst prosper into a kingdom.” (Ez.16:11-13).
This text seems to conflict with scores of other verses which condemn the use of colorful cosmetics and jewelry. Yet there is no real conflict if the context is considered. This is not a literal experience, but a symbolism. in verse 3, God begins the recital of a moving allegory concerning His people Israel. He depicts Israel being born illegitimately and cast into a field to die. No one washed the baby or cared for it. Then God passed by and loved the baby. He covered its nakedness and washed away its filth. He bestowed upon it love and every possible blessing.
In allegorizing the material and spiritual blessings that He bestowed on Israel, God used a number of symbols which are clearly interpreted by other Bible writers. The “fine linen” of verse 10 is defined in Revelation 19:8: “The fine linen is the righteousness of saints.” (Christians) The ornaments and chain of verse 11 are interpreted in Proverbs 1:9 as the “ornaments of grace”. The jewel and crown of verse 12 are symbolic of “lips of knowledge” (Proverbs 20:15). and a “crown of rejoicing” (1.Thess.2:19), respectively.
All the representations of highest honor, recognition, wealth and beauty were incorporated in the allegory to show the unparalleled blessings which Israel had received as a nation.
The symbolic ornaments of this allegory in no way mitigate the force of those texts forbidding that actual display of such vanity on the physical body.
“But the father said to his servants, bring forth the best robe, and put it on him; and put a ring on his hand, and shoes on his feet.” (Luke 15:22).
Some have used this scripture to justify the wearing of jewelry, but remember that this story is a parable and all the characters and events are symbolic of spiritual realities. God is represented by the father in this story, and the children could be any of us who profess to be in His family.
Primarily the love and compassion of God is portrayed in dealing with the backslider. His willingness to forgive and accept the repenting prodigal stands out as major theme. All the actions of the father towards the returning son represent specific attitudes of God in restoring those who seek forgiveness.
The placing of the father’s coat around his son’s rags symbolizes the imputed righteousness of God, which must cover our miserable sins and failures. The sign of servitude was removed when the father commanded that shoe be placed on his feet – an act signifying acceptance into the rights of sonship. Then, finally, the signet ring was placed on the prodigal’s finger to represent the restoration to full authority in conducting the family business interests. Such rings were not worn as ornaments, but for the practical necessities of signing official documents and discharging legal obligations (Esther 3:10; 8:2). To use this parabolic incident to defend modern ornamentation is totally unreasonable and unbiblical.
“And from Jesus, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.” (Revelation 1:5).
The expression “first begotten of the dead” has caused much perplexity. Obviously Jesus was not the first one to be resurrected. Besides Moses, at least three others were raised by Jesus Himself.
There are two ways the word “first” may be understood. It can mean either first in point of time or first in preeminence. The President’s wife is spoken of as the First Lady-not because she is the first Lady who existed, but first in honor and pre-eminence.
Christ was “first begotten of the dead” because that resurrection took the pre-eminence over all resurrections and Jesus has the honor above all resurrected people.
“It shall be a perpetual statute for your generations throughout all your dwellings, that ye eat neither fat nor blood.” (Lev.3:17)
on the basis of this text, some have taken a position against blood transfusion. But the position is entirely untenable in the light of these considerations:
1. The prohibition applied only to animal blood and fowls (Leviticus 7:25-27). It does not apply to humans because we don’t eat humans.
2. God gave proper instruction for slaughtering an animal or fowl so as to not to eat any blood (Leviticus 17:13,14).
3. God’s prohibition against eating blood also applies to Christians (Acts 15:20).
4. That which is eaten goes through the digestion into the stomach (Matthew 15:17). Blood transfusion go directly to the veins and thence to the cells.
5. If we love our neighbours as ourselves, can we watch him die for lack of life-giving blood ? (Matthew 22:39).
6. Jesus came to save men’s lives (Luke 9:56); why shouldn’t we?
7. Since the life is in the blood (Deut. 12:23), Christ condoned the giving of blood to save a life (John 15:13).
“And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion (Zion) the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom.11:26).
The context of this chapter makes it very plain that Paul was not talking about Israel after the flesh. Who is Israel who will be saved? Paul had just finished spelling it out in verses 16-25. he described how the Gentiles would be grafted into the olive tree representing the Jewish people. As the Gentiles (represented by the wild olive tree) were grafted in, they began to partake of “the root and fatness” of the Israelites (verse 17). “The natural branches, ” or Jews (verse 21), were cut off because of unbelief, and believing Gentiles were accepted as spiritual Israel.
In Galatians 3:29 Paul said, “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”
The picture grows clearer still as we read Romans 9:6-8. “For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel: Neither, because they are the seed of Abraham, are they all children:….That is, They which are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God: but the children of the promise are counted for the seed.”
So it is faith that makes one a spiritual Israelite, not the accident of physical birth. In the new birth that places Jew and Gentile into the spiritual family of God, all of whom will be saved.
The apostle Paul writes to the Gentile church at Ephesus saying, ‘that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh…being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel.’—Eph. 2:11,12.
“If any man sees his brother sin a sin which is not unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death: I do not say that he shall pray for it.” (1.John 5:16).
It is very important to understand the context of this verse. In the two preceding verses, John has talked about the assurance that believers prayers will be heard and answered. Then in verse 16 he applies that promise to the specific case of prayer in another’s behalf. In doing so, he discusses two classes of sin-one in which there is hope for the sinner and another in which there is no hope.
In the first case, prayer could lead to the sinner’s recovery and redemption, but the second situation held no guarantee that prayer would bring salvation. It seems quite apparent that the sin “unto death” is referring to the unpardonable sin.
Those who are recognized as rejecters of the Spirit and are hardened by continual transgression would not be open to further conviction of their sin. In such a situation, the positive assurances of verse 14 and 15 could not be applied.
For all other cases, expecting the unpardonable sin, God will give life to the one who is being prayed for-contingent, of course, upon that person’s repentance and acceptance of Christ.
“Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper, and doeth His will, him He heareth.”
If God hears no sinner’s prayer, then how can one be saved? It is true that sin separates a soul from God. “If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.” Psalms 66:18 But here is one prayer of the sinner that God will always hear” And the publican….smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” Luke 18:13.
The publican obviously was not trying to hold or “regard” sin in his heart. He wanted deliverance from it. He was earnestly and humbly seeking forgiveness. Such sinners will always be heard and forgiven. Not only was the publican’s prayer answered, Jesus said: “This man went down to his house justified.” Luke 18:14. He was fully accepted, forgiven, and placed in the family of God.
“Else what shall they do which are baptized or the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for the dead?”
This is perhaps one of the most puzzling thing that Paul wrote in his epistles. One explanation that fits in perfectly with Paul’s line of reasoning revolves around the meaning of the word “for”. The Greek word is “huper”, and the general translation is “in behalf of”. But there are exceptions to this meaning. Sometimes the word is used in the sense of “considering” or “in view of”.
For example, 2.Thessalonians 1:4 says: :So that we ourselves glory in you in the churches of God for your patience and faith in all your persecutions.” Here Paul is saying, We glory in you considering (or in view of) your patience and faith. In Romans 15:9 – which reads: “And that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy” – it can be translated “considering His mercy”.
Please notice now that this same word “huper”, which is translated “for”, is used both ways in 1.Corinthians 15:29: “Else what shall they do which are baptized for (considering) the dead, if the dead rise not at all? Why are they then baptized for (in view of) the dead?”
If we substitute this other meaning of the word “for”, the text makes perfect sense. Paul’s whole theme in the chapter is the resurrection-it’s importance and necessity. He is saying, Why even be baptized if there is no resurrection from the dead? The very meaning of baptism would be nullified. With no resurrection, the entire symbolism of baptism-death, burial, and the resurrection-would be reduced to an empty ritual.
Romans 14:5: Paul writes: “One man considers one day more than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” Some people interpret this passage as allowing Christians to either recognize or ignore the Sabbath, – or perhaps to select any day as the Sabbath. But others suggest from a reading of the subsequent verses that Paul is discussing fasting here, not religious observance. They would suggest that verse 1 of this chapter indicates that the passage relates to “disputable” matters (such as when or if to fast); the day of the Sabbath was not a disputable matter; it was a commandment from God. The phrase “considering every day alike” might means that every day from Sunday to Friday were treated the same, as in the passage describing the collection of manna in Exodus 16:4.
Revelation 1:10 says that John was in the Spirit on the Lord’s day. Jesus is Lord of that Sabbath day Mark 2:27,28. So which is the Lord’s day? Saturday and not Sunday. The seven annual Sabbaths of the feast days are said to be against us [Colossians 2:14;] but the weekly Seventh-day Sabbath of Christ and the Ten Commandments are for all man[kind] and will be in the earth and for eternity [Isaiah 66:22,23].
Hebrews 9:8: “The Holy Ghost [Spirit] this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while the first tabernacle was yet standing.” This would indicate that the antitypical Sanctuary Temple in heaven could not begin operating Christ’s priesthood as long as the one on earth still “stood”. And we know that the Temple at Jerusalem “stood” until 70 A.D., which was about thirty-nine years after the death of our Lord.
But the original language of this passage clarifies the difficulty. “While the first tabernacle having standing” is what it says in the Greek. It wasn’t the existence of the earthly structure that mattered as far as GOD was concerned, it was its position or use. As long as the earthly Sanctuary retained its standing or divinely appointed status in the view of heaven, it continued to serve its intended role.
The first covenant was made faulty through their disobedience [Hebrews 8:7,9], but the second or new covenant can empower us to obey [vv.10-13]. Which started to operate after 31 A.D. There is JESUS able to save us to the uttermost that come unto GOD by Him, seeing He ever lives to intercede as our new testament great high Priest [7:25].
“Lo, Michael, one of the chief Princes, came to help me;……..and there is none that holds with me in these things, but Michael your prince.[Dan.10:13,21]. For some, it is almost impossible to believe that this could refer to our Lord JESUS CHRIST! Michael means, One like GOD! He has many, many names and just as Satan is the prince of evil, so JESUS is the prince of life. In Daniel He is also called “Messiah” the prince [9:25].
While Satan always wants to exalt himself, CHRIST is the opposite, He accepts the lowliest names and positions. in Daniel 11:22 JESUS is also called the prince of the covenant. In John 12:31 Satan is called the prince of this world.
In Revelation 1:5 it says: “And from JESUS CHRIST, who is the faithful witness, the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in His own blood.” While he humbles Himself into the dust and took our place, He elevates us to Kings and Priests [v.6; 5:10; 1.Peter 2:9].
“For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful, Councilor, The mighty GOD, the everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.” [Isa.9:6].
Hell, is it a literal place?
The word can be translated “Hades”, meaning just the grave! GOD in His second of the 10 Commandments forbids us to make any image or imagination of anything that is under the earth, and this includes hell or hades, the grave. Gehenna is another term used for this unquenchable fire. It refers to a rubbish dump [tip] outside Jerusalem where the purifying fires were kept going day and night.
The fires of hell originate from heaven and not in some spot below the earth [Rev.20:9] The wicked shall be totally consumed and not burn forever [Prov. 10:25; Ps. 37:10,11,20,34,38]. They shall be consumed to ashes [Mal. 4:1-3]. This false teaching of eternal hellfire and life after death, was introduced into Christianity by the Roman Catholic Church which removed the second of the Ten Commandments.
Some Clergymen and Pastors told me, that if they told their people the Bible truth that there is no hell, half of their congregation would not come to church anymore. How sad that fear rather than love is the motivation! This is one of the many doctrines Protestantism inherited from the church of Rome and shows us that all the Protestant Reformers did not come to clean out of Rome.
What about the text which declares that the wicked burn forever? We use to have a Muffler company for our cars exhaust systems that offered an everlasting guarantee on the product. But when you took it back for a claim, the salesman would say, well, the life of the muffler is ended and so is the lifelong guarantee.
In the Old Testament, a slave was to serve his master forever [Ex.21:6] Hannah brought her son Samuel to the temple forever [1.Sam.1:22]. In both instances the time period was as long as they lived.
Jonah even uses this expression “forever” to describe his experience in the belly of the whale [Jon.2:6]. Forever was a limited, not an unending time in the Bible. It will be the punishment of the wicked, that it everlasting, by being consumed [Matth. 25:46] Burned to ashes, gone forever!
In Jude 7, it says that Sodom and Gomorrah were burned with an eternal fire. They are not burning today. The effects are eternal
The fires which cannot be quenched, are those which no human hand can put out!
Satan’s original lie: “Thou shalt not surely die” [Genesis 3:4] is being repeated and promoted in pulpits today. Question: “Would you punish your children for eternity for doing you wrong”? How dare we then ascribe such a monstrous doctrine of eternal hellfire to our GOD who loves us so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die for us, and rather had His Son tortured in our stead, then has this done to us.
However, each time the sheet came down and Peter was asked to kill and eat the unclean animals, he responded, “Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” Acts 10:14. Notice that even after three and a half years of listening to Jesus’ teaching, Peter had not received the slightest hint or impression that eating unclean food was permissible. It is also interesting to note that in his vision, Peter never took anything to eat from the sheet.
Peter’s vision of the sheet was never intended to sanctify the eating of unclean animals. Peter himself explains the meaning of the vision in verse 28: “God hath showed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.” Again in verse 34, Peter summarized the point of the vision when he said, “Of a truth, I perceive that God is no respecter of persons.”
God’s message to Peter had to do with cleansing people, not animals. This vision was given to impress the Jewish disciples that they should not call the Gentiles unclean and that the gospel was to be freely proclaimed to all peoples of the world.
A second Interpretation of Acts chapter10:
Rise, Kill and Eat. Acts 10 v.11-16 is often taken out of context – a pretext which is an excuse especially a false one. The correct interpretation re the 4 footed animals of the earth is, they are not literal animals but are nations, especially in Daniel 7 animals represent nations. Therefore food is not the issue here but the purpose of the vision was to preach the gospel to all the world especially the Gentiles. God was telling Peter to go and convert all the nations of the world – not only the Jews. Matthew 24 v 14.
God’s commandment to Peter. meaning to prepare – just as relevant today – to make oneself available to teach the gospels – motivating people for evangelism.
TO KILL – means to kill the old man in order to give new life. In evangelism, preachers must teach converts to put away the old self so as the new man can rise to the teachings of Jesus and the bible. Grenade Analogy – the pastor referred to the Grenade Analogy on Evangelism that is — to change the mind of a convert, the heart needs to be changed as well — Take dead set aim at the heart.
TO EAT means to enjoy the fruits of one’s labour especially if you grow your own food. Introducing people to Christ through evangelism means you walk in their footsteps — understanding, forgiving, praying, instructing, loving, befriending them, etc. Peter, Paul, and Timothy in the early days of the Church were hunters of souls – especially the gentiles of the world at that time – as was depicted in God’s vision to Peter. An evangelist enjoys the fruits of his labour by seeing people accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord. . .
Does Prayer Purify Food?
The warning in 1 Timothy 4:1-5 against a latter-day apostasy involves a number of heresies–following devils, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from certain foods. Perhaps the greatest misunderstanding has arisen over verse 4, where it is stated that “every creature of God is good.” This verse means that every created thing has been made for a purpose. But some suppose it means that every animal is fit to be eaten if it is earnestly prayed over and blessed by the prayer of thanksgiving. This would mean that praying over a buzzard, cockroach, mole, or bat would make it good for food. Such an interpretation would be absurd and dangerous. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7.
To prevent us from drawing any wrong conclusions, Paul hastened to add: “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” Verse 5. So the Word of God must first approve it, and then the prayer of thanksgiving will sanctify it to be eaten.
It is helpful to note that the word “meats” in the original language is not limited to flesh foods. The Greek word “broma” simply means “food.” We can know that Paul’s discussion does not involve biblically unclean animals because the meats that some had forbidden were foods “which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” Verse 3.
It is easy to find in the Scriptures a description of the food God created to be received with thanksgiving (Genesis 1:29; 3:18; Leviticus 11:1-22). This passage was written to those who “believe and know the truth.” God’s Word is the truth. Only those who “believe and know” His Word will be led to those things that are “sanctified” and created to “be received with thanksgiving.” Those who “sanctify themselves” while continuing to eat unclean meats will be destroyed at Christ’s second coming (Isaiah 66:15-17).
It is the blood that gives meat its taste and it is addictive. God allowed the Jews to eat meat, but it had to be kosher. All blood had to be completely drained and the taste was taken out as well. There would be many more vegetarian Christian if they obeyed Acts 15:20.
Angels are also called Saints
“To the end, he may establish your hearts unblameable in holiness before GOD, even our father, at the coming of our Lord JESUS CHRIST with all his saints.”— 1Thess.3:13
Does this text teach that all the righteous dead will return with CHRIST at the end of the world? Who are the these ‘saints” who will attend our Lord at His [advent] coming? By allowing the Bible to explain itself, every question is answered. JESUS described those who would come with Him in these words: “When the Son of man shall come in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then shall He sit upon the throne of His glory.”—-Matthew 25:31
Please notice that JESUS said “all the holy angels with Him” instead of “with all His saints,” as Paul described it in his verse. Is there a contradiction? No. There is perfect harmony when we put all the texts together. Angels are actually called “saints” in the Bible. Moses described the giving of GOD’S law on Mt. Sinai in Deuteronomy 33:2 : “The Lord came from Sinai, and rose up from Seir unto them; He shined forth from Mt. Paran, and He came with ten thousands of saints: from His right hand went a fiery law for them.”
Now compare these verses with Psalms 68:17 : “The chariots of GOD are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels: the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place.” Here the thousands who attended GOD at Sinai are identified as angels, although they are called “saints” in Deuteronomy. In the same way, the saints who come with JESUS in 1 Thess.3:13 are identified as angels by the Master Himself in Matthew 25:31.
“For if we believe that JESUS died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in JESUS will GOD bring with Him.”—1.Thess. 4:14
The first reading of this verse seems to teach that the righteous dead “which sleep in JESUS” will come with CHRIST when He returns to this earth. But the next three verses make it clear that this could not be the case. Why? Because the “dead in CHRIST” are raised from their graves when “the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven.” Verse 16. So it would be impossible for them to come with CHRIST when He comes to resurrect them.
The true meaning of the verse is revealed when we read 1 Cor. 15:20,23: “But now is CHRIST risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.” “But every man in his own order: CHRIST the firstfruits: afterward they that are CHRIST’S at His coming.” Paul stated that JESUS was raised first as a guarantee that the righteous dead would be raised “at His coming”. JESUS said, Because I live, ye shall live also.”—John 14:19. His resurrection makes it possible for GOD to raise us as He did CHRIST.
And this is exactly what Paul says in 1Thess.4:14 “For if we believe that JESUS died and rose again, even so them also which sleep in JESUS will GOD bring [from the dead] with Him [JESUS].” The words “with Him” do not mean that the resurrected ones will be brought from heaven with Him at His coming, but that GOD will “bring” up those who will be sleeping in their graves just as He brought JESUS forth from the grave. In Hebrews 13:20, we read that GOD……brought again from the dead our Lord JESUS.” The text in 1Thess.4:14 says that GOD “will bring” those who “sleep in JESUS” – an obvious reference to the resurrection.
Paul is simply declaring that because GOD brought JESUS from the grave, we have a guarantee that He will bring sleeping saints forth in the same way at the time of His coming.
not to question God’s word, but for Christians to try to understand it.
“The secret things belong unto the Lord our God, but those things that are
revealed belong to us and our children.”
If our God was easily understood by humans, He could well be an invention of
humans, like the “gods” of Greece and Rome. But He is often a mystery which
man cannot entirely comprehend. Still, it pleases Him when we try in faith
to understand all that He has revealed to us.
Because we are faulty and human, we are sometimes mistaken. We take one
verse and fail to notice another that would clarify the first. We may
think we are “defending” God when we battle a brother who understands a
little differently. But God gives us not only wisdom to understand His
word, but also the love to realize that our brother who may not understand
as we do may be God’s own dear child, just as we are. And who knows–even
the best of us may be wrong sometimes too!
The immortality of the Soul!
Only GOD has immortality [1.Timothy 6:15,16]. Often as a young man, I attended funeral services and burials where I heard the officiating Minister assure people that the soul has left the body and was now in heaven looking down. Many Protestants have inherited this from Roman Catholicism.
In Matthew 10:27,28 JESUS gave this warning: “What I tell you in darkness, that speak ye in the light; and what ye hear in the ear, that preach ye on the housetops. And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul; But rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.”
This Scripture declares the soul can be destroyed. This agrees with Isa. 53:12 which reads: “Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he has poured out His soul unto death: and He was numbered with the transgressors.”
The soul that sinneth, it shall die [Ezekiel 18:4] Immortality is given only at the last trump [1.Corinthians 15:53,54]. God made us a living soul, He did not give us one. [Genesis 2:7].
The Administration of death
St. Paul wrote: But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones [the 10 Commandments], was glorious……………………. [2.Cor.3:7 first part].
From here some modern teachers conclude that obeying the Ten Commandments is administering death. It sounds foolish, doesn’t it? Yet it is Paul’s way of teaching us that spiritual things are spiritually discerned and sin becomes more sinful to us.
In Romans chapter seven Paul already explained: Was then that which is good made death unto me? GOD FORBID. But sin, that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which is good; that sin by the commandment [thou shalt not covet, see v.7] might become exceeding sinful.—Romans 7:13
We can see that Paul speaks of our carnal sinful nature we all have inherited and needs to die daily [Gal.2:20]. Our carnal nature is at enmity against GOD’S Holy Law [Rom.8:7] Paul follows up: For we [born again Christians] know that the law is spiritual: but I am carnal, sold under sin.—Romans 7:14 This struggle the apostle brings out in Galatians 5: 17 For the flesh lusts against the spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other: so that you cannot do the things that you would.
GOD FORBID’S teachers to draw false conclusions from Paul’s writings: see Romans 3:31; 6: 2,15; 7:13 Gal.2:17 Do we then make void the law through faith? GOD forbid: ye, we establish the law. What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin, that grace may abound? GOD forbid. How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein? 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 CHRIST was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life.[Rom.6:1-4]
“What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under the law [it’s condemnation] but under grace? GOD forbid. [Rom.6:15]. Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then that which is good made death unto me? GOD forbid. But sin, that it may appear sin [ful], working death in me by that which is good: that sin by the commandment become exceeding sinful. [Rom. 7:12-13].
But if, while we seek to be justified by CHRIST, we ourselves are found sinners, is, therefore, CHRIST the Minister of sin? GOD forbid. [Gal.2:17]. That glorious law 2.Cor.3:7 is still called that by James 2:10-12. Only when Christians refuse obedience to one of them, is when the light of the Gospel grows dim to them and they start to teach otherwise, but GOD FORBIDS
How did Jesus preach to souls in prison?
“For Christ also has suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that He may bring us to God [the Father], being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: by which also He went and preached unto the spirits in prison; Which sometimes were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”—1.Peter 3:18-20
There has been considerable misunderstanding of these verses of Scripture. It has been preached that Christ actually descended into the lower regions of the earth and preached to lost souls who were in prison in some type of purgatory or limbo. This is very far from what the text actually says. Let’s look at it closely now and get the real message of these verses. It says, “Christ also has once suffered for sins…that He may bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: By which also he went and preached.”
First of all, notice how Christ preached to those spirits in prison. He did it by the Spirit, and that word is capitalized in your Bible. It actually refers to the Holy Spirit. So whatsoever Christ did in preaching during this period of time, He did it through or by the Holy Spirit.
With that in view, let’s ask this: “When was the preaching done?” The answer is plainly given in verse 20: “when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing.” So the preaching was actually done while the ark was being built–during the preaching of Noah to that antediluvian world. Now, one more question: “To whom was the preaching done?” The text says here “unto the spirits in prison.” Throughout the Bible, we find this terminology used in describing those who are bound in the prison house of sin. David prayed, “Bring my soul out of prison.” Psalm 142:7. Paul spoke of his experience in these words, “bringing me into captivity to the law of sin.” What Peter is telling us here is simply that Christ, through the Holy Spirit was present while Noah preached; Christ was there through the Holy Spirit to speak conviction to their hearts and appeal to them to come into the ark. There is absolutely nothing in this text to indicate that Jesus left His body during the time He was dead to go to any subterranean place to minister to wicked spirits. The three questions are clearly answered in the text itself:  that He preached by the Holy Spirit,  He did it while the ark was preparing, and  He did it to the spirits in prison, or to those individuals whose sinful lives were bound in the prison house of sin.
“For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” 1 Peter 4:6
Peter did not imply that the gospel was then being preached to the souls of the dead, as some teach. He said the gospel “was preached” to those who “are [now] dead.” The preaching was done while they were still alive, and they will be judged on the basis of how they lived “according to men in the flesh,” or while they were still alive.
Peter is undoubtedly talking about the Christian dead, because he refers to their living again “according to God [as God lives] in the spirit.” In other words, they will receive immortality in the resurrection and will have a life that measures with the life of God.
“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down in hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment.” 2 Peter 2:4
The word “hell” in this text is very unique because it is translated from a word that is used nowhere else in the Bible. the Greek word “Tartaroo” is certainly not the same as the “Gehenna” hell, which is referred to 12 times in the New Testament–always as a place of burning. There is no burning where the angels are confined because it is described as a place of “darkness.”
In Jude verse 6 also, the fallen angels are said to be “reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the day of judgment.” Please notice that these evil spirit beings are not now being punished, but are kept in darkness, reserved until the day of judgment. Both Peter and Jude speak of chains of darkness and future judgment. Since evil angels are obviously still functioning in deceiving people, we can only conclude that these chains of darkness are the spiritual restraints placed upon their activities until their final judgment and punishment at the end of the world.
“But beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years and a thousand years as one day.”—2.Peter 3:8
Please note that this verse does not say that one day is a thousand years. It says that, with the Lord, one day is “as” a thousand years and a thousand years “as” one day. Peter took this from the Psalms which says “For a thousand years in Thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past, and as a watch in the night.” —Psalms 90:4
It is important to notice that Peter made this statement in relation to the promises of God. Paul points out in verse 3 and 4 that some people scoff at the promise of the Lord’s coming. Then in verses 8 and 9 he emphasizes that even though a thousand years pass by, the Lord doesn’t forget what He has promised. It is only like a day [or yesterday] to Him.
In fact, in the next two verses, Peter affirms: “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness…..But the day of the Lord will come.”—2.Peter 3:9,10.
Please Note: If you have any difficult or hard to understand Bible verse or topic, please email us so we can help others rightly dividing God’s word of truth. My email address is rvaessen [at] bigpond.com and I will address the query promptly with God’s help where possible.
We have no indication in the Bible of any Bible writers ever calling into question the veracity or authenticity of any texts. Why should that be so important to us, today, at a time when so many people, including many Bible scholars, seem to have made it their first priority to challenge the truth of the Bible at every level?
Christ in His ministry had opened the minds of His disciples to the prophecies and Peter also in preaching Christ had produced his evidence from the Old Testament of the Bible. Stephen had pursued the same course. All the apostles in their ministry appealed to the Bible foretelling the birth, sufferings, death, resurrection, and ascension of Christ. By the inspired testimony of Moses and the prophets, he clearly proved the identity of Jesus of Nazareth with the Messiah and showed that from the days of Adam it was the voice of Christ which had been speaking through patriarchs and prophets.