Monthly Archives: September 2014

I am new to the Bible. Where should I begin?

I AM NEW TO THE BIBLE, SO WHERE SHOULD I BEGIN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

That is a great question, and I would be delighted to answer it!

Firstly, have or buy a King James Bible. You should begin reading it in the book of Romans, whether you are a Christian or not. The book of Romans is the most basic Bible book for this the Dispensation of the Grace of God. Chapters 1-5 tell you how to be saved from your sins unto eternal life, chapters 6-8 give you a basic outline of how the Christian life operates, chapters 9-11 orient you so that you see some of the differences between prophecy and mystery (that is, the nation Israel’s past, present, and future statuses, and how we are not related to Israel), and chapters 12-16 instruct you as to how to apply the grace doctrines to specific life issues. No matter where you are in life, Romans is the most practical Bible book, the foundational book of Paul’s epistles. Try to concentrate on Romans before you “venture out” to other Bible books. Perhaps read the book of Romans five or ten times. The Bible is a big book, so you must start out basic—Romans is the most basic book regarding God’s current dealings with you and me.

In this study, I will proceed to provide you with some additional advice regarding Bible reading and Bible study.

THREE-FOLD EDIFICATION PROCESS FOR THE BELIEVER

Once you read and understand the Gospel of the Grace of God (discussed quite thoroughly in the first five chapters of Romans), then you can place your faith/trust in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for your sins. You will then be a Christian in God’s sight, a member of the Church the Body of Christ, a child of God, and a citizen of heaven.

After you are saved unto justification (a right standing before God) unto eternal life, God wants to “stablish” (stabilize) your Christian life and inner man by using a three-fold process. God wants you to understand the life that He has given to you in Christ Jesus, so that you can better understand what He is doing today, and then you can, by faith, follow Him and do the same. This is how we discover and do God’s will for our lives.

The Bible says in Romans 16:25-26: “[25] 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, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:”

Notice the three-fold process of Christian edification as listed in the above verses:

  • my gospel—Paul’s Gospel, 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, is the foundation of the Christian life
  • the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery—this is Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon, the sound doctrine (building materials) which we use to build on that foundation
  • the scriptures of the prophets—this is all of the Holy Scriptures, in light of the doctrine revealed to Paul.

When Paul urged Timothy, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), what he meant was that Timothy was to recognize divisions in the Bible that God had already made. Timothy was to “rightly divide the word of truth.” Essentially, Timothy was to understand that the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ had given the Apostle Paul a special ministry and message, and he was to make sure that he did not confuse Paul with other divine spokesmen in Scripture, that he not confuse Paul’s writings with other Bible writers (as those were doing in verses 17-18, and are still doing today in much of Christendom). Paul was the man whom God sent to speak to us Gentiles (Romans 11:13). In Paul’s epistles alone, we find our doctrine, duty, walk, and destiny. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us and not all of the Bible is about us (remember, most of the Bible is written to and is about the nation Israel, not us). We do not go to Israel’s program and claim Israel’s verses. God’s Word to us is Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Paul is our apostle. Paul was sent to us Gentiles. We follow God’s design for Christian edification, and we seek God’s approval, not man’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15).

We study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we follow the design of Christian edification as laid out in Romans 16:25-26. If we refuse to follow the dispensational layout of Scripture, and most people do refuse it, then we will be going against what God is doing today, and our Christian lives will be in shambles (which is why Christendom is in such pitiful shape!).

DAILY BIBLE READING IN LIGHT OF THE THREE-FOLD EDIFICATION

You should make it a habit to read your King James Bible daily. You may want to read a few verses, or maybe a chapter—the number of verses is up to you but, in light of Romans 16:25-26, this is how I would recommend that you should read your Bible for the first time:

  1. Read through the book of Romans (16 chapters), and then proceed to read through to Philemon (1 Corinthians to Philemon are the 12 books after Romans)—the 13 books of Romans through Philemon are frequently called the “Pauline epistles.” Actually, if you read three or four chapters daily, you could read through Paul’s epistles in about three weeks.
  2. After you read Romans through Philemon, start in Matthew and read all the way through to the Bible’s last book, the Revelation—the 27 books of Matthew through the Revelation are commonly called the “New Testament Scriptures.” If you read three or four chapters a day, you could read through the New Testament in about three months.
  3. Once you reach the Revelation, then you can begin in Genesis, the Bible’s first book, and read all the way through to Malachi (the 39 books, Genesis through Malachi, are commonly called the “Old Testament Scriptures”). Then, read from Matthew to the Revelation, the Bible’s last book (for a total of 66 books). (NOTE: Depending on your reading speed, it may take you a year or two in order to do all three steps, and that is fine. The goal is not to hurry through to see how much you can read; your purpose is to at least expose yourself to God’s Word, and the “general feel” of the text will gradually become more pronounced as you read it through every year. The more you read the Scriptures, the more they will make sense to you.)

After you have completed steps 1-3, get in the habit of reading your Bible through at least once a year (Genesis through Revelation). In addition to reading, you should study it, comparing spiritual things with spiritual, comparing Scripture with Scripture. Studying is much more intensive than just reading; studying is comparing or contrasting one verse with another verse, usually concerning a particular theme/issue/doctrine. A Strong’s Concordance can be useful in this regard. While they are interesting, studies in Greek and Hebrew will not benefit those new to the Bible; please guard yourself against those who stress the original Bible languages to the extent that they change the English text that you can read for yourself. You actually do not need to know anything about Greek or Hebrew to understand the Bible—many times, such knowledge is a hindrance to Bible comprehension.

TWO BIBLE PASSAGES WORTH MEMORIZING FIRST

As a side-note, any new Christians, or anyone new to the Bible, should memorize the Gospel of the Grace of God: “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” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The average professing Christian cannot adequately or clearly quote this Gospel message, and it is so sad it is beyond words. If you remember nothing else from the Bible, please remember 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. It is the greatest passage in all of Scripture! It is the greatest message the God of the Bible has ever told all of mankind!

Romans 5:1-11, as it is written in the King James Bible, should also be memorized as soon as possible: “[1] Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ: [2] By whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. [3] And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; [4] And patience, experience; and experience, hope: [5] And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. [6] For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. [7] For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. [8] But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. [9] Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. [10] For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. [11] And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.” Friend, one day in the future, you will learn just how helpful this passage will be in your life!

A FEW WORDS OF ENCOURAGEMENT

  • Whatever you do, please do not begin reading in, or trying to understand the Bible by using, the book of Acts. Acts can be a very confusing book if not understood dispensationally. Acts is a transitional book that documents God turning away from Israel (Peter and the 11’s ministry) and Him dealing with Gentiles/non-Jews (Paul’s ministry). Like I suggested earlier, before reading Acts, read Paul’s epistles first and then read the New Testament (Acts is the fifth book of the New Testament Scriptures).
  • Bear in mind that you will not understand everything in the Old Testament. Do not grow weary when you read through extensive genealogical records like those in the first 10 chapters of Genesis, or the first 11 chapters of 1 Chronicles, or Matthew chapter 1, or Luke chapter 3. Do not get wrapped up in trying to comprehend all of the prophetic utterances like those in the books of Daniel and the Revelation—these are not written for our time or circumstances anyway, so we are not meant to understand them thoroughly. We can and should study them when we progress in spiritual maturity, but prophecy is usually very cumbersome for new believers or anyone new to Scripture.
  • Lastly, we have a Bible question-and-answer website that you can consult or use to submit Bible questions to me. Whatever we can do to further your understanding of the Holy Bible, please let us know. You can check out https://forwhatsaiththescriptures.wordpress.com for more information.

SOME FINAL WORDS – DO WE STUDY ONLY PAUL’S EPISTLES? (NO!)

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God” (2 Timothy 3:16). All of the Bible is God’s Word, so we study all 66 books of the King James Bible (Genesis to Revelation). But, unlike most churches and professing Christians, we study the entire Bible according to the “revelation of the mystery,” (in light of the Pauline epistles, Romans through Philemon). When studying a particular Bible passage, you first need to establish the following, in this order:

  1. who is writing/speaking,
  2. to whom are they writing, and
  3. what are they writing.

Again, keep in mind that Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon are what God has to say to you, and the rest of the Bible deals with another program, Israel’s program. If Paul does not instruct you to do it, then God does not expect you to practice it in your life.

While I will conclude this study for sake of brevity (for fear of not being able to do justice to related topics I would like to address here), I do highly recommend that you see our three related Bible studies linked below. They will expand on issues we have only briefly discussed here.

Please see our Bible timelines, a printable black-and-white version and a color version, as well as our One-Year Bible Reading Schedule. You will find all of these resources on our Bible study-aids page.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path” (Psalm 119:105).

“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4).

Also see:
» What is dispensational Bible study anyway?
» Why can I not get anything out of the Bible?
» Does God intervene in my life? If so, how?

Does God intervene in my life? If so, how?

DOES GOD INTERVENE IN MY LIFE? IF So, HOW?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“From a Bible-believing, Pauline dispensational perspective, can you please tell me whether or not God intervenes in my life? If so, how does He? If He does not, does that mean that He is unconcerned about me?” Let us be Berean Bible students and search the Holy Bible, and not take anyone’s word for it!

Within Christendom—that is, the professing “Christian” church—there is the view that God will do anything and everything in our lives. It is commonly believed that guardian angels will appear to protect us from accidents; that God will manipulate our circumstances to miraculously deliver us from times of pain and suffering; that He will heal our sick bodies if we just “name and claim” the healing passages in Scripture; that He will rain down money from heaven if we faithfully give to a ministry or church; that He will speak to us directly in audible voices, dreams, visions, and inner impressions; that He will guide us to find misplaced items; that He will mysteriously lead us to the right person to marry, the right job offer to accept, the right house or vehicle to purchase; and so on. As you can probably see, what happens here is that Christians get so focused on what they are doing that they overlook what the God of the Bible is doing.

Friends, the old adage, “God works in mysterious ways, His wonders to perform” is certainly good religious tradition, but it is bad Bible doctrine. If something happens that appears to be miraculous, people usually refer to it as the “mysterious” working of God—they immediately attribute it to the God of the Bible when they see a bright light, an “angel,” and/or an “apparition” of a deceased loved one or “saint”; when they amazingly recover from a life-threatening illness; when someone gives them a check with a generous amount written on it; and on and on. We read about how “saintly medallions” and scapulars ward off evil and protect from illness and disaster, how tumors just fall from sick peoples’ bodies when a minister lays hands on them, how an angel saved a church from being consumed by flames, someone who claims that God spoke in his or her heart, someone seeing “the virgin Mary” in a treetop or piece of food, an angel who instructs someone to do something. On the other hand, some people believe that God created the universe but then abandoned it, and is unconcerned about our suffering, our needs, et cetera. They believe that God does not intervene at all in our lives.

It would be important to introduce two theological terms associated with this issue: deism and theism. According to The Oxford American Dictionary, deism is defined as, “the belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe. The term is used chiefly of an intellectual movement of the 17th and 18th centuries that accepted the existence of a creator on the basis of reason but rejected belief in a supernatural deity who interacts with humankind.” This is contrasted with theism, “the belief in the existence of a god or gods, esp. belief in one god as creator of the universe, intervening in it and sustaining a personal relation to his creatures.” Now, which view is the view of the Scriptures? Does God intervene in our lives, as the theists claim, or does He not, as the deists claim? What would be the Bible-believing view? Theism or deism?

Before we begin, here is a verse of Scripture that will help us in reaching a sound conclusion: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight: )” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

In John 20:24-30, we find the famous account of “doubting Thomas:” “[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. [26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. [27] Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God. [29] Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed. [30] And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:”

Certainly, the disciples saw Jesus Christ in His resurrected physical body. Yet, Thomas was absent at that time, so he declared that he would not believe unless He saw the nail-scars in Jesus’ hands, unless he had touched those scars, and unless he had put his hand in Jesus’ spear-scar on His side. The Lord Jesus replied in verse 29, “Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” This is a companion verse to 2 Corinthians 5:7. Dear friends, we are not walking by sight; we are walking by faith. It is not important for us to see God’s activities with our physical eyes.

Due to religious tradition, what people commonly do is look outside of the Bible for confirmation of God’s love for them. “Oh, if God really loved me, He would heal me, He would get rid of my financial debt, He would spare me from accidents, He would give me a godly spouse and obedient children….” Interestingly, the atheists have a similar claim, “If God really exists, He needs to perform a miracle so that I can believe He really is there. If a loving God really existed, there should not be sickness and suffering in our world.” This is not walking by faith; this is walking by sight, walking in unbelief, plain and simple.

Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” All of our foregoing comments were needed to arrive at the fact that the God of the Bible is intervening in our lives in the spiritual dimension, in an area that we cannot see (this will receive more treatment later on, in point #4).

In the grand scheme of things, God’s intervention in human history has brought, is bringing, or will bring His overall will for us, to pass. We will briefly consider the following five issues:

  1. His Love Demonstrated to Us at Calvary (visible)
  2. His Institution of Paul’s Ministry (visible)
  3. His Written Word, the Holy Bible (visible)
  4. His Spirit Working in Us Who Believe (invisible) – our present-day
  5. His Working with Us at the Rapture and Beyond (visible)

1. HIS LOVE DEMONSTRATED TO US AT CALVARY

To what is God’s love for us tied? Our circumstances? No, Calvary’s cross is where God showed us His wonderful, unconditional love for us! Romans 5:8 says: “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”

Titus 3:4-7: “[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” Indeed, the God of the Bible does care about us. He physically, visibly, and historically manifested His love for us at Calvary’s cross! He wanted to provide us a way of escaping the eternal hellfire that we sinners so deserve; He wanted to have a relationship with us through Jesus Christ! As 2 Corinthians 5:21, God the Father wanted us to be made His righteousness in Jesus Christ when we trust His finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins: “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him [Christ].”

2. HIS INSTITUTION OF PAUL’S MINISTRY

We read in 1 Timothy 2:4-7: “[4] [God, verse 3] Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. [5] For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; [6] Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. [7] Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not; ) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.”

According to the above passage, the God of the Bible is most definitely concerned with His creation, particularly the human race. He wants every person to be saved, and He wants every saved person to understand why He saved him or her. The one Mediator between the one God and mankind is the Lord Jesus Christ, and no mediator would be necessary if that one God were unconcerned with creation. The point is the God of the Bible is concerned with us, and that is why a Mediator exists between us! It is through the physical, visible, and historical ministry of the Apostle Paul that we learn that God wants to save all Jews and all Gentiles who will trust His only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, and His finished crosswork at Calvary (Paul’s Gospel, the Gospel of the Grace of God, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4). It is by this means that God is currently forming the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 2:11–3:11).

Titus 1:1-3 continues: “[1] Paul, a servant of God, and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect, and the acknowledging of the truth which is after godliness; [2] In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised before the world began; [3] But hath in due times manifested his word through preaching, which is committed unto me according to the commandment of God our Saviour;” In Acts chapter 9, the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ reached down and saved Saul of Tarsus, and commissioned him as His Apostle of the Gentiles (cf. Romans 11:13).

We read of Paul’s conversion from his own lips in Acts 26:12-18 (we read similar accounts in Acts 9:1-9 and Acts 22:1-11). Notice how the Lord Jesus Christ visibly intervened in human history, how Saul of Tarsus saw a bright light from heaven above and he heard the voice of Jesus Christ from heaven above. How this salvation experience affects us is in verses 16-18: “[12] Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, [13] At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. [14] And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. [15] And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. [16] But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; [17] Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, [18] To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

The Lord Jesus Christ saved Saul of Tarsus to make him His apostle of the Gentiles. By divine commission, Paul the Apostle was sent to us Gentiles to preach a special message to us that He had received from Jesus Christ, and that message would free us from Satan’s spiritual blindness. The Gospel of the Grace of God is that Jesus Christ died for our sins, He shed His sinless blood for our forgiveness, He was buried to put away our sins, and He rose again the third day to give us eternal life when we trust Him and Him alone (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). When we trust in that finished crosswork alone, God the Father “[delivers] us from the power of darkness, and [translates] us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Colossians 1:13). This will receive fuller treatment later, in point #4.

3. HIS WRITTEN WORD, THE HOLY BIBLE

Over the course of 1500 to 1600 years, God the Holy Spirit moved holy men of God to write down His inspired words. This covered the time from before Moses (Job, circa 1550 B.C.) to the first century A.D. Over time, these manuscripts were copied, collated, and bound, and they are, in our present-day, preserved for us in English in the King James Bible. God has promised to not only preserve His Word forever, but every word in His Word. In order for Calvary’s crosswork to benefit us, God had to ensure that the text of that doctrine would be available to us. Bible inspiration and Bible preservation go hand-in-hand, for without a preserved Bible, point #4 would be impossible. Without Bible preservation, Bible inspiration is useless to us.

  • Psalm 100:5: “For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.”
  • Psalm 12:6-7: “[6] The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. [7] Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation for ever.”
  • Psalm 33:11: “The counsel of the LORD standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to all generations.”
  • Isaiah 29:18: “And in that day shall the deaf hear the words of the book, and the eyes of the blind shall see out of obscurity, and out of darkness.”
  • Isaiah 30:8: “Now go, write it before them in a table, and note it in a book, that it may be for the time to come for ever and ever:”
  • Matthew 24:35: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.” (Also Mark 13:31 and Luke 21:33.)

4. HIS SPIRIT WORKING IN US WHO BELIEVE

In our opening comments, we noted how many in Christendom today are seeking “God” in the form of miraculous demonstrations—angelic appearances, trips to heaven or hell for brief glimpses, bodily healing, financial deliverance, romantic-life rejuvenation, and so on. To deny God doing those things today is to commit “blasphemy” against organized religion, and sure to cause you to get negative feedback! Still, we seek God’s approval, not man’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15; Galatians 1:10).

The Holy Spirit through Paul could not be clearer: “(For we walk by faith, not by sight: )” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To repeat, the Scriptures say that we are not walking by sight; we are walking by faith. It is not important for us to see God’s activities with our physical eyes. That is what God said in His Word. Will we believe Him, or will we reject Him and do whatever we want for sake of holding to our religious tradition? Again, we remind you of what people say and do when they look outside of the Bible for confirmation of God’s love for them. “Oh, if God really loved me, He would heal me, He would get rid of my financial debt, He would keep me from accidents, He would give me a godly spouse and obedient children.” The atheists claim, “If God really existed, He needs to perform a miracle so that I can believe He really is there. If a loving God existed, there would be no sickness or suffering.” This is not walking by faith; this is unbelief, plain and simple.

We looked at these verses earlier, but we need to review them again. Hebrews 11:1 says: “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” And 2 Corinthians 4:16-18: “[16] For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.” God is intervening in our lives in the spiritual dimension, in an area that we cannot see.

The God of the Bible is working in our inner man, soul and spirit. The Bible explains what this is in 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.” God’s Word, the living, life-giving Holy Scriptures, is what God uses to work in those who believe them. Paul prayed for us in Ephesians 3:16, “to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man….” We read about God transforming us by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2; Ephesians 4:23; Colossians 3:10)—God the Holy Spirit will use His Word that we study and believe to cleanse our minds of error, and cause His power to work in us to do the work of the ministry (witness to lost people, share God’s Word with other Christians, be productive citizens, be godly parents or children, et cetera).

Regarding the triune Godhead, God the Father is for us, God the Son is for us, and God the Holy Ghost is for us. Romans 8:26-34 shows how all three Persons of the Trinity play an active role in our lives as Christians: “[26] Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. [27] And he that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because he maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God. [28] And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. [29] For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. [30] Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified. [31] What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us? [32] He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? [33] Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. [34] Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”

The Holy Spirit, the moment we believed the Gospel of the Grace of God in our hearts, He baptized us into the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). God’s great power was exercised to take us off the path to hell (1 Corinthians 1:18)! God the Father sealed us with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13; 2 Corinthians 1:22). The Bible says He forgave us for Christ’s sake (Ephesians 1:7; Ephesians 4:32; Colossians 1:14; Colossians 2:13). It is by the teaching ministry of the Holy Ghost that we can learn how God’s grace instructs to live, how to enjoy this new identity and life we have in Jesus Christ. Titus 2:11-12: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

The Holy Spirit teaches us using His written Word: “[9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:9-14).

The Holy Spirit uses the Holy Bible to comfort us in times of trouble (2 Corinthians 12:7-10): “[7] 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. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. [10] Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

The Holy Spirit guides us into righteous living, that we be under grace not law: Galatians 5:18 says “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” Again, Titus 2:11-13: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;” When the Holy Spirit works in our lives, Galatians 5:22-23 says the following will occur: “[22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, [23] Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”

The Holy Spirit empowers us to endure all of life’s experiences, good or bad. Ephesians 6:10 tells us: “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.” And Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Finally, Philippians 4:6-7: “[6] Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. [7] And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

5. HIS WORKING WITH US AT THE RAPTURE AND BEYOND

As stated in point #4 above, the moment we believed the Gospel of the Grace of God as the answer to our sin debt, God the Father sealed us with the Holy Spirit. We read in Ephesians 1:13-14: “[13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.” The indwelling Holy Spirit is the guarantee of something Father God will do with us in the ages to come (cf. 2 Corinthians 1:22).

We are “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” (Romans 8:17). There is coming a day when we members of the Church the Body of Christ will be manifested for all creation to see. Verses 18-25 elaborate: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.”

The Bible calls that event “the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body” (verse 23). These flesh-and-blood bodies are “vile,” subject to decay and death: they are perishing, growing weaker to eventually die short of the Lord’s coming (2 Corinthians 4:16). Thus, we need new, glorified bodies, just like Jesus Christ’s resurrected glorious body. Philippians 3:20-21 explains: “[20] For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: [21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.” Commonly called “the Rapture” (from the Latin word translated “caught up” in 1 Thessalonians 4:17), this event is described in great detail in 1 Corinthians 15:40-58 and 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18.

In another place in Scripture, this event is called “our gathering together unto [Jesus Christ]” (2 Thessalonians 2:1). We also read about in Titus chapter 2: “[13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” These “good works” are not just meant to be on the earth, but in the heavenly places. The way Jesus Christ will “subdue all things unto himself” (Philippians 3:21) is to give us—the Church that is His Body—new bodies so that we can function in the heavenly places for His glory. Ephesians 2:6-7 affirms: “[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” God the Father will use us to fill up the heavenly places with His Word! We will rule over the angels (1 Corinthians 6:3).

CONCLUSION

People look at Israel’s program instead of looking at what God is doing today. They are not “rightly dividing the word of truth” like 2 Timothy 2:15 says, and they are making their lives empty and miserable. We do not need signs because we are not Israel. “The Jews require a sign” (1 Corinthians 1:22a). In fact, we have something better than a miracle, a supernatural experience, et cetera. We have the written, inspired Word of God preserved in our language, the King James Bible. We walk by faith in that written Word of God, not by sight!

The Apostle Peter wrote 2 Peter 1:19-21: “[19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.” In the previous verses, Peter discussed the events of the Mount of Transfiguration, when he saw Jesus Christ glorified. Peter confessed that the Bible is the “more sure [trustworthy] word of prophecy.” We have something better than miraculous demonstrations; we have a Book, one that the Holy Spirit wrote and preserved for us to read, study, and believe. Will we believe it, alone? Or, will we place the authority elsewhere (as in a church/denomination), and thus be guilty of idolatry and unbelief?

We read in 2 Timothy 3:16-17: “[16] All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: [17] That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” In the Scriptures, we learn how God intervened in human history to die on the cross for our sins, we learn how He intervened in human history to commission our Apostle Paul to minister to us on His behalf, we learn how He intervened in human history to lead holy men to write down His Word so we could have it today in our language, we learn how He intervenes in human history today by teaching us that written Word and causing its doctrine to manifest itself in our lives, and we learn what He will do with us in the heavenly places in the ages to come. Indeed, the God of the Bible is mightily at work!

God is certainly concerned with His creation; otherwise, His work is in vain. He had a purpose in creation, and to be unconcerned with it would surely never bring His purpose to pass because the Adversary (Satan) is active as well. Either we believe God’s Word when He said He would glorify His Son Jesus Christ in heaven and earth, or we disbelieve His Word when He said He would glorify His Son in heaven and earth. Either way, it does not change the fact that God intervened, intervenes, and will intervene in human affairs to bring His will to pass, regardless of what sinful men do to try to hinder it!

Also see:
» Can I trust the King James Bible? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Do we have guardian angels? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» How is Satan’s “policy of evil” operating today? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

 

Could you please explain Romans 2:14?

COULD YOU PLEASE EXPLAIN ROMANS 2:14?

by Shawn Brasseaux

I would be glad to!

The best way to understand any “obscure” Bible verse is to first look at its general context (the surrounding chapters, for example). Concerning Romans 2:14, let us consider the fact that the first five chapters of the book of Romans discuss salvation by faith alone in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary as sufficient payment for our sins. As we will see later on, Romans 2:14 relates to that general context.

Romans chapter 1 examines mankind’s moral and spiritual deterioration, his various sins of the flesh in which he engaged when he rejected the God of heaven and earth. In that chapter, God is accusing the nations (Gentiles) of the world of willfully rejecting Him and preferring their vain idols, sinful deeds, and so on. Perhaps read Romans chapter 1 on your own in order to grasp the chapter’s thought flow. It sounds just like our local and global news reports!

Romans chapter 2 deals with various objections that man makes in attempting to defend himself against God’s accusations listed in chapter 1 (some spill over into chapter 2). The Jews believed that they were not as sinful as the Gentiles (non-Jews) so the Jews would attempt to argue that God should grant them some leniency when He would judge them—“We are not as depraved as those pagan Gentiles, so do not be so harsh on us!” In fact, some Jews believed that because they were Abraham’s children, they were inherently sinless! However, Romans 2:11 says, “For there is no respect of persons with God.” When it comes to judging sin, God does not treat any one nation or ethnic group different from another nation or ethnic group; no nation escapes because He judges them all in the end. Romans 2:12-16 is a further explanation of verse 11, and this is the passage that contains the verse that concerns your question. With that said as background, we can proceed to looking now at the verse’s immediate context (the surrounding verses).

We read in Romans chapter 2, remembering to note the immediate context of the “enigmatic” verse 14: “[12] For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; [13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another;) [16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

Verse 12 is talking about how sin needs to clearly be identified. The Ten Commandments are God’s standard of righteousness; we do not have to wonder what God accepts as “good” and what He rejects as “bad.” The Mosaic Law (Exodus chapter 20; Deuteronomy chapter 5) was given to the nation of Israel through Moses as irrefutable proof of man’s sin, in order to prove to Israel that they as sinners could not keep God’s laws, that they could not honor them and they could certainly not obey them (see Galatians 3:19). However, a Gentile at that time did not have the God of Israel as his God (see Ephesians 2:11-12; cf. Exodus 19:3-6; Deuteronomy 4:1-13; Romans 9:4-5; et cetera). In Romans 2:12-16, God is addressing the Jews’ argument that they should be dealt with less harshly because they were (supposedly) “less sinful” than the Gentiles. God is replying to the Jews that the Gentiles are certainly not going to get away with their sins because although they did not have the Law engraved in stone like Israel did, the Gentiles had the Law written in their hearts, conscience. Israel is without excuse because even the Gentiles have some sense of right and wrong. Again, God is fair in judging both Jew and Gentile. The Jew is without excuse (because he had the written law of God in stone) and so is the Gentile (because he had the law of God written in his heart); neither group can blame-shift to the other. They are equally guilty of being law-breakers before God.

Okay, let us return to Romans 2:13-16 and try to summarize. Please note that the verse you are inquiring about is part of a parenthetical statement (verses 13-15) that interrupts the thought flow of verses 12 and 16: “[12] For as many as have sinned without law shall also perish without law: and as many as have sinned in the law shall be judged by the law; [13] (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. [14] For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: [15] Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another; ) [16] In the day when God shall judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ according to my gospel.”

It is written in the heart of every person—in the conscience—which beliefs and behaviors are acceptable and which are not acceptable (“their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another”). This very concept of conscience governs any and every society, whether the society is Christian or non-Christian. Conscience is what keeps law and order, even if it is in a very primitive form. The Gentiles know right from wrong by virtue of their conscience, even though they did not have the written laws of God in stone like Israel had. Often, people ask, “What about those who have not heard about Jesus Christ?” Well, the Bible says they have a consciousness that there is a righteous Creator God and they know that they will face Him in judgment (Romans 1:18-20). If they are receptive to this spiritual light that they do have, then they will be willing to hear any missionary or read any Bible they come across in order to learn about Jesus Christ and trust Him to be saved.

When all lost people stand before God Almighty one day to be judged (even those who live in remote jungles), whatever spiritual light they were exposed to, they will be held accountable to God. Revelation 20:11-15 speaks of this “Great White Throne Judgment.” No one will be able to say that they did not have a chance to know the Lord Jesus Christ. As Romans 1:20 says, everyone is “without excuse” in that regard. Those who rejected what spiritual light they did have (a conscience of right and wrong), they actually rejected a chance to later hear or read Paul’s Gospel—1 Corinthians 15:3-4 “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.” They do not want to know any further truth. As Peter said, they are “willfully ignorant” (2 Peter 3:5).

CONCLUSION

Romans 2:14 means this—the Gentiles did not have God’s Laws written in stone like Israel did, but the Gentiles naturally have orderly societies that punish murder, theft, adultery, lying, et cetera because the Gentiles have a conscience that leads them to govern themselves. That fact makes Israel unable to use the “we-are-not-as-sinful-as-the-Gentiles” excuse. If the Gentiles act more decent or better than the Jews, and the Gentiles do not have God’s laws written down like Israel, then Israel is that more accountable because they had those laws written down in stone and broke them anyway.

Also see:
» What happened at the Tower of Babel? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Why did God create the nation Israel? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Were Gentiles saved before our Dispensation of Grace?

Were there people “in Christ” before Paul?

WERE THERE PEOPLE “IN CHRIST” BEFORE PAUL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Were there people “in Christ” before Paul? Would that make them members of the Church the Body of Christ, too? We reply, “For what saith the Scriptures?”

To start off, we need to realize the weightiness of the questions at hand. Critics of Pauline dispensational Bible study object to its doctrine by claiming that there were people in Christ prior to Paul. They aim to diminish Paul’s special ministry and cause the Body of Christ to start outside of his ministry (this is ingenious, because then they could take non-Pauline doctrine and apply it to the Body of Christ, us—they want to steal Israel’s verses and will do anything to get, or attempt to get, that permission!). Their argument can be summarized as Paul not being the first member of the Church the Body of Christ because he himself acknowledged that there were people “in Christ before [him].” Romans 16:7 reads in full: “Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellow-prisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.” Certainly, the Bible is clear that there were people “in Christ” before Paul, but what does “in Christ” mean? Yea, that would make all the difference in the world!

The phrase “in Christ” has a particular meaning in the context, and in this context, it obviously does not refer to the Church the Body of Christ. To use this single verse to teach that people were in the Body of Christ before Paul, is to ignore many other verses that say that Paul was the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. We should not take one enigmatic verse and cast doubt on clear verses—unless we want to advance a denomination or cult’s doctrine, or defend a church tradition that we have heard all of our lives and assumed must be right!

Actually, in the Bible, the phrase “in Christ” is not always a reference to the Church the Body of Christ (this is a misconception on the part of the critics of dispensational Bible study). To be “in Christ” is a transdispensational doctrine—regardless of the dispensation, every saint is “in Christ.” Every lost person is “in Adam” and every saved person is “in Christ”—it is this way throughout the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation. No matter what dispensation, if someone is not “in Christ,” that would mean he or she were headed for hell!

Now, here, please be very careful to not misunderstand. In the Bible, not all believers are members of the Church the Body of Christ. Those saved prior to the Apostle Paul were not members of the Body of Christ, and those who will be saved after our dispensation ends, they will not be part of the Body of Christ either—the Body of Christ will be taken to heaven via the Rapture to end our dispensation, and the Body of Christ is not destined to experience God’s wrath (Romans 5:9; 1 Thessalonians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:9).

In the Old Testament Scripture, we read about how the nation Israel must be “in the LORD” if she is to be saved unto eternal life, justified before God, forgiven of her sins, ransomed from Satan’s kingdom, et cetera; “in the LORD” is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek “in Christ” (“Christ” and “LORD” [JEHOVAH] are the same Person). Isaiah 45:17 explains: “But Israel shall be saved in the LORD with an everlasting salvation: ye shall not be ashamed nor confounded world without end.” Verses 24-25 continue: “[24] Surely, shall one say, in the LORD have I righteousness and strength: even to him shall men come; and all that are incensed against him shall be ashamed. [25] In the LORD shall all the seed of Israel be justified, and shall glory.”

The nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ are two separate entities; to confuse them is to only confuse ourselves. Israel is made of Jews only, whereas the Church the Body of Christ is made up of Jews and Gentiles who are technically no longer Jew or Gentile, but “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15), “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

The nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ are two separate entities; to confuse them is to only confuse ourselves. Israel is made of Jews only, whereas the Church the Body of Christ is made up of Jews and Gentiles who are technically no longer Jew or Gentile, but “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15), “a new creature” (2 Corinthians 5:17). We would do well to remember that Paul is still our apostle (Romans 11:13), that the distinction between Jew and Gentile was done away once he was saved and began his ministry, and that we should not take Israel’s verses (this would include Matthew through John, and early Acts [pre-Acts 9]).

So, in conclusion, were there people “in Christ” before Paul? (Yes, Romans 16:7 says so.) Would that make them members of the Church the Body of Christ, too? (No, “in Christ” is not a term exclusive to the Church the Body of Christ.) When Romans 16:7 says that Andronicus and Junia were “in Christ” before Paul, it simply means they were saved unto eternal life prior to Acts chapter 9, before Paul’s salvation. Andronicus and Junia were Jews who had recognized and trusted Jesus as their Messiah sometime prior to Paul’s salvation. The same Jesus Christ who saved Andronicus and Junia, saved Saul/Paul sometime later! Whether us (the Church the Body of Christ), or redeemed Israel, there is one Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, who is paying the sin-debt; the same blood shed on Calvary that saves us, is the blood that will save the nation Israel (see Hebrews 10:1-31; 1 Peter 1:18-19). Andronicus and Junia did not join the Body of Christ before Paul, for the Body of Christ did not begin until Paul. (See our study at the end of this article.) Yes, the Bible becomes so clear when we simply let it speak for itself.

Also see:
» When did the Church the Body of Christ begin?
» Was Paul saved by the Gospel of the Kingdom?
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?

Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?

WHY DID JESUS CHRIST STAND IN ACTS 7:55-56?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is there any significance as to why Stephen saw Jesus Christ standing at the Father’s right hand in Acts chapter 7? Yes, there most certainly is a fascinating explanation, and you have to be a Bible student to notice it.

According to the marginal notes of one modern “bible” version, “‘Standing’ may mean that Jesus is welcoming Stephen (see verse 59).” Preachers usually offer this explanation when they do not know what to say about the verse—they know they have to say something so they say anything comes to mind, whether or not it makes sense. It is most unfortunate that the common church member will never bother to question that claim, or to investigate it for himself or herself.

Beloved, while it is normally believed that Jesus Christ was standing up to receive Stephen (who was about to be martyred, stoned to death), this simply is not Bible. It is good church tradition, good “preacher talk,” but it is not Bible and it will not be of faith. When we do not know what a verse means, rather than making up an explanation (such as, “Jesus wanted to welcome Stephen into heaven!”), we need to be mature students of Scripture and let God’s Word interpret itself. It is of utmost importance that we study the context of the verse in question, recall any other verses that read similarly, and consult them for enlightenment. Let us do just that here in order to learn some valuable insight.

In Acts chapter 7, the Prophet Stephen, filled with the Holy Ghost, stands before Israel’s Sanhedrin, her ruling religious body, in Jerusalem. Having a glowing face reminiscent of Moses’ (Acts 6:15; cf. Exodus 34:29-30), Stephen details Israel’s long history of unbelief toward JEHOVAH, right up to her rejection and crucifixion of her Messiah Jesus at Calvary a year prior. Stephen says in verses 51-53: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

Doctor Luke continues, “[54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him [Stephen] with their teeth. [55] But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up stedfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God, [56] And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God (Acts 7:54-56).

Stephen claimed that he saw Jesus Christ standing on God the Father’s right hand, which infuriated the unbelieving Jews because they knew the prophetic significance. Notice verses 57-58: “[57] Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, [58] And cast him out of the city [Jerusalem], and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul.”

To say that the Jews were mad because Jesus was standing to receive Stephen is utterly silly. The Jews were angry at Stephen’s words already, but the Bible says that they covered their ears once he said he saw Jesus Christ standing at God’s right hand. They knew that Jesus standing would affect them, not Stephen. Just as we would call to mind similar verses, so the Jewish religious leaders recalled the Old Testament prophecies. They knew what Jesus standing meant, and it was not a good thing.

Psalm 110:1 says: “The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.” We read in Psalm 68:1-2: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.” Finally, Isaiah 3:13: “The LORD standeth up to plead, and standeth to judge the people.”

When the Apostle Peter preached on the Day of Pentecost, 50 days after the death of Jesus Christ on Calvary, the Holy Ghost said through him to the nation Israel: “[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ” (Acts 2:34-36).

Peter, quoting Psalm 110:1, interpreted it for us. Jesus Christ was now glorified in heaven, and He was coming back to earth to judge unbelieving Jews. They were not merely God’s “enemies” (Psalm 110:1), but Peter said they were now His “foes” (Acts 2:35)—they had actively opposed and were still actively opposing God’s purpose and plan for them by rejecting Jesus Christ at Calvary’s cross and being ignorant of the message the Apostles were preaching to them in early Acts. The Bible says in Acts 2:37, “Now when they were heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Peter urged his convicted Jewish brethren, “Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost” (Acts 2:38).

When Israel heard Stephen speak in Acts chapter 7, about a year after the events of Acts chapter 2, they were very mindful of what Peter had preached on Pentecost. They knew that the divine wrath that Peter was speaking of, was now even closer, a year closer, in Acts chapter 7! By the time of Acts chapter 7, Israel had exhausted God’s grace; the next event according to prophecy was God’s wrath (Psalm 2:4-5; Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21). She had rejected God the Father (who sent John the Baptist; John 1:6), she had rejected God the Son (at Calvary; John 19:15), and she had rejected God the Holy Ghost (speaking through Israel’s 12 apostles and Stephen; Acts 7:51). Israel had blasphemed against the Holy Ghost, the sin that Jesus said could never be forgiven (Matthew 12:31-32).

Stephen affirmed Jesus Christ was preparing to come back to Earth, to pour out His wrath on unbelieving Israel and unleash His righteous fury on sinful mankind. And, Israel’s religious leaders were convicted. They had had enough of Stephen and his Jesus! Israel’s religious leaders proceeded to abuse God’s prophet Stephen, biting him and finally throwing him out of Jerusalem. Ultimately, the mob threw stones at him until he died. God’s wrath on mankind was literally moments away, but the greatest dispensational change to ever “grace” God’s dealings with man, occurred. Thank God Almighty, that wrath was postponed!

Saul of Tarsus—leader of Israel’s opposition to Christ and His little flock, holder of the clothes of Stephen’s murderers in Acts chapter 7—personally met the Lord Jesus Christ in Acts chapter 9. As Saul was traveling to Damascus to persecute more Messianic Jews, the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ appeared to Saul from heaven. There, Saul experienced God’s love, mercy, and grace; he trusted Jesus Christ alone as his personal Saviour, and became the first member of the Church the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ commissioned him as the Apostle Paul; thereafter, Paul had another extreme ministry—Jesus Christ crucified for our sins, buried, and resurrected (Acts 20:24; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

Years later, Paul wrote of himself in 1 Timothy 1:13-16: “[13] Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief. [14] And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. [15] This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief [first]. [16] Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting” (1 Timothy 1:13-16).

In order to have mercy on Christ-rejecting Israel as well as on all of us unbelieving Gentiles (Romans 11:30-32), God had to suspend Israel’s prophetic program. To save Saul of Tarsus, God had to begin a new dispensation, a new set of instructions to mankind, a new program, one He had in mind from before creation but had kept secret—the mystery program, or “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” (Ephesians 3:1-11). God delayed His wrath yet again. Today, Jesus Christ once more “sits” at the Father’s right hand (Colossians 3:1).

For almost 2,000 years now, that wrath has been delayed. The day is coming when the last person who wants to trust Christ as personal Saviour does so, and our Dispensation of Grace will expire (see Romans 11:25). The Church the Body of Christ will be caught up into heaven, and the seven-year Tribulation, the last seven years of Satan’s reign on planet Earth, will run its course. At the end of those seven years, Jesus Christ will stand, arise from His seated position, at the Father’s right hand in the third heaven, to fulfill all the Old Testament and New Testament prophecies that describe His Second Advent, His return to Earth in great power and glory to finish Satan and his policy of evil. Psalm 2:4-5 says: “He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure.”

Also see:
» Can you please explain the seven-year Tribulation? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» What is “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?”

What is “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?”

WHAT IS “THE MARRIAGE SUPPER OF THE LAMB?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Exactly what is “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?” Does it involve the Church the Body of Christ eating a meal with Jesus Christ in heaven, as frequently assumed? We allow the Spirit of God to tell us the truth; to Holy Scriptures we go for the divine perspective about this doctrine!

The term “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb” is found once in our King James Bible. We read in Revelation 19:9: “And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.” Certainly, the Lamb is Jesus Christ (Revelation chapter 5), and someone is marrying Him (see our study “Who is ‘the Bride of Christ?’” hyperlinked at the end of this article). As with the Jewish marriages of Bible days, there is a “supper” involved as well. Exactly what is this “supper?”

Before we proceed, Revelation chapter 19 should be read: “[7] Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. [8] And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. [9] And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

From verse 11 onward, we read about Jesus Christ’s return to Earth in power and great glory, to establish His earthly kingdom. We will skip down to verse 17 and begin reading: “[17] And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God; [18] That ye may eat the flesh of kings, and the flesh of captains, and the flesh of mighty men, and the flesh of horses, and of them that sit on them, and the flesh of all men, both free and bond, both small and great. [19] And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. [20] And the beast was taken, and with him the false prophet that wrought miracles before him, with which he deceived them that had received the mark of the beast, and them that worshipped his image. These both were cast alive into a lake of fire burning with brimstone. [21] And the remnant were slain with the sword of him that sat upon the horse, which sword proceeded out of his mouth: and all the fowls were filled with their flesh.”

The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” is certainly not a meal Christians have in heaven. Actually, it is quite a graphic event on the Earth, the violent end of Satan’s reign over Earth! Also called “the Supper of the Great God,” it is when Jesus Christ literally feeds the birds with the flesh of His now-defeated enemies! All of the armies of the Antichrist, all of Israel’s enemies, are vanquished when Jesus returns with His mighty angelic armies, and the fowls of heaven—the carnivorous birds—eat the corpses of those gathered against Israel to destroy her. Jesus Christ will marry His wife, and to celebrate that occasion, He invites all of the fowls of heaven to come and devour the flesh of His now-slain foes. It will be a celebration that Earth is now JEHOVAH’S domain. Satan and his minions are removed and confined to the bottomless pit and hell. Israel marries her God; she is forgiven, redeemed, justified, sanctified, made right in His sight. She moves into her homeland, the Promised Land, to stay forever. JEHOVAH will be married to that land forever! (Again, see our study “Who is ‘the Bride of Christ?’” hyperlinked at the end of this article, for more information).

CONCLUSION

People often confuse “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb” with “the Judgment Seat of Christ.” This is because they assume that we are “the Bride of Christ,” and they assume that we are at “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” Beloved, what confused theology that is; it is good church tradition, but it is bad Bible doctrine. One assumption is based on another assumption and both suppositions are wrong—faulty assumptions only lead to faulty conclusions.

The “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” occurs at Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, which is at least seven years after the Rapture, so why do we wait seven years after we are taken from earth before we are married to Christ? It makes no sense. The reason why makes no sense is that the verses being used to teach such doctrine did not say such a thing at all. All it is, is little bits of verses patched together to make one continuous doctrine. At one time I believed such erroneous denominational doctrine because I had not studied my Bible like I should have; I have since discarded the vain traditions of men and have no desire to return to them. One day, I studied the Holy Scriptures on my own, and they became so clear to me. Afterward, I concluded that God’s Word is right, and everyone else—including myself—is wrong. How liberating, how liberating indeed!

Dear friends, we should not conflate Israel’s verses with ours. We have nothing to do with “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” However, we have everything to do with “the Judgment Seat of Christ”—Paul’s epistles do refer to that event, but it has nothing to do with “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb.” (For more information about “the Judgment Seat of Christ,” please see our study below.)

Also see:
» Who is “the Bride of Christ?”
» What is “the Judgment Seat of Christ?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» What is “Replacement Theology?”

Who is “the Bride of Christ?”

WHO IS “THE BRIDE OF CHRIST?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is the Church the Body of Christ “the Bride of Christ?” Many denominationalists, and even some professing “Pauline dispensationalists,” answer that question in the affirmative. Beloved, let us search the Scriptures. We should not repeat what we have heard in church all of our lives, without first consulting the living and written Word of God. It is shocking to learn that the Bible usually does not say what people often presume it says.

Never once in the King James Bible do we find the term, “the Bride of Christ.” That is a religious term, and frankly, it is a core doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church. Furthermore, never once does the Bible refer to the Church the Body of Christ as “the Bride of Christ.” This should indicate to us that it is nothing more than a man-made concept, a tradition of men, aimed at deceiving and robbing us of the clarity of God’s Word, and furthering a man-made theological system. “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

We do find in our King James Bible the following phrases and terms: “the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:7,9), “the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband” (Revelation 21:2), and “the Lamb’s wife” (Revelation 21:9). A marriage is certainly occurring in the closing chapters of the book of the Revelation, but who is marrying whom? We should not rip these verses out of their contexts and fabricate the identity of the bride and the groom (unless, of course, we seek to advance a denominational system rather than the simple teachings of Scripture!).

In the following Old Testament prophets, JEHOVAH God clearly referred to the nation Israel as His wife, and He her Husband:

  • Jeremiah 2:32: “Can a maid forget her ornaments, or a bride her attire? yet my people [Israel] have forgotten me days without number.”
  • Jeremiah 3:14,20: “[14] Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you: and I will take you one of a city, and two of a family, and I will bring you to Zion: [20] Surely as a wife treacherously departeth from her husband, so have ye dealt treacherously with me, O house of Israel, saith the LORD.
  • Isaiah 54:5-6: “[5] For thy Maker is thine husband; the LORD of hosts is his name; and thy Redeemer the Holy One of Israel; The God of the whole earth shall he be called. [6] For the LORD hath called thee as a woman forsaken and grieved in spirit, and a wife of youth, when thou wast refused, saith thy God.”

The book of Hosea recalls how JEHOVAH married the nation Israel when He brought her out of Egyptian slavery (and made the Old Covenant, Law, with them, in Exodus chapter 24). Hosea also recounts how Israel became unfaithful to Him as a wife would cheat on her husband. Israel polluted herself with the idols of her pagan neighbors; she willfully went after other gods. Eventually, God had to divorce Israel; essentially, He sent her into Gentile captivity, exemplified most fully in the book of Lamentations, when Jerusalem was destroyed 586 B.C.

Hosea 2:15-23 summarizes how JEHOVAH will forgive Israel of her sins, restore her, remarry her, bring her back into her homeland (the Promised Land), where she will be His earthly people forever: “[15] And I will give her her vineyards from thence, and the valley of Achor for a door of hope: and she shall sing there, as in the days of her youth, and as in the day when she came up out of the land of Egypt. [16] And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [“my husband”]; and shalt call me no more Baali. [17] For I will take away the names of Baalim out of her mouth, and they shall no more be remembered by their name. [18] And in that day will I make a covenant for them with the beasts of the field and with the fowls of heaven, and with the creeping things of the ground: and I will break the bow and the sword and the battle out of the earth, and will make them to lie down safely. [19] And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. [20] I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the LORD. [21] And it shall come to pass in that day, I will hear, saith the LORD, I will hear the heavens, and they shall hear the earth; [22] And the earth shall hear the corn, and the wine, and the oil; and they shall hear Jezreel. [23] And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to them which were not my people, Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God.”

Jeremiah chapter 31 explains how God will forgive Israel of her sins: “[31] Behold, the days come, saith the LORD, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: [32] Not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was an husband unto them, saith the LORD.” Again, JEHOVAH says that He was Israel’s husband.

God wanted the nation Israel to be His nation in the earth (see Exodus 19:5-6; Psalm 37:11; Isaiah 2:1-4; Matthew 5:5; Revelation 5:10; et al.). Israel is His earthly nation, and the way God will rule over the earth is through redeemed Israel. The planet Earth that Satan has polluted will one day be redeemed. God will save the nation Israel and marry her to the land, the Promised Land, the land of Canaan, thus marrying Himself to that land as well.

Isaiah 62:1-5 proceeds to explain: “[1] For Zion’s sake will I not hold my peace, and for Jerusalem’s sake I will not rest, until the righteousness thereof go forth as brightness, and the salvation thereof as a lamp that burneth. [2] And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name. [3] Thou shalt also be a crown of glory in the hand of the LORD, and a royal diadem in the hand of thy God. [4] Thou shalt no more be termed Forsaken; neither shall thy land any more be termed Desolate: but thou shalt be called Hephzibah [“my delight is in her”], and thy land Beulah [“married”]: for the LORD delighteth in thee, and thy land shall be married. [5] For as a young man marrieth a virgin, so shall thy sons marry thee: and as the bridegroom rejoiceth over the bride, so shall thy God rejoice over thee.”

So, to summarize the above Old Testament passages, Jesus Christ will return to Earth one day, to restore the nation Israel, to redeem her and make her His earthly people (the New Covenant of Jeremiah 31:31-34, Romans 11:26-29, Hebrews 8:8-13, and Hebrews 10:15-17). At that time, JEHOVAH God will fulfill the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3) to evangelize Gentiles through Israel, the Palestinian Covenant (Genesis 15:18-21) to give Israel her land, and the Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:12-16) to give Israel her literal, physical, visible kingdom after David’s royal bloodline. The way Jesus Christ will restore Earth unto Himself is by using the nation Israel in her kingdom (called the “1000-year reign,” “Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ,” “kingdom of heaven,” to name a few titles). These passages interpret the marriage situation in the book of the Revelation (the verses we mentioned at the beginning of this study). Let us return to these verses in Revelation and comment on them in light of what we read from the Old Testament prophets. Notice how that, rather than fabricating something to explain Revelation’s “marriage” passages, we have consulted what God wrote centuries prior, so we are on solid footing when we explain John’s words in Revelation!

Please read Revelation 19:7-9: “[7] Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. [8] And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints. [9] And he saith unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God.”

Considering the Old Testament prophets’ words about Israel waiting for JEHOVAH to remarry her, who would most likely be the “wife” of the Lamb here in Revelation? All we have to do is remember what God’s Word said in other books, and the answer becomes clear. The next several verses discuss Jesus Christ returning to planet Earth, fighting Israel’s enemies; the following chapters elaborate on Jesus Christ reigning on the Earth with the nation Israel. The “saints” of Revelation 19:8 would be those believing Jews that survived the seven-year Tribulation period; they will form redeemed Israel, the Jews who will inherit the covenants and promises made to Israel’s patriarchs through the Old Testament. Friends, the book of the Revelation has nothing to do with us. It was written by John, an apostle of Israel (Revelation 1:1; cf. Galatians 2:9), and the book of the Revelation is to and about Israel: it does not concern us.

In Revelation 21:1-4,9-10 we read: “[1] And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. [2] And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. [3] And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. [4] And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away. [9] And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked with me, saying, Come hither, I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife. [10] And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and shewed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,…”

If the Bible says, “I will shew thee the bride, the Lamb’s wife,” and the next vision is that of “that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God,” what would be the “Lamb’s wife” here? It would the New Jerusalem, the Holy Jerusalem, the Jerusalem currently in heaven (Hebrews 12:18-24) that will come down to Earth; it was this heavenly Jerusalem that Abraham and the other Old Testament saints anticipated (Hebrews 11:10,16,39,40). Overall, the idea of the marriage between JEHOVAH and Israel is actually Him marrying Israel to the land and thus marrying Himself to her land. It is not difficult to understand if we are open to God’s Word correcting our distorted views courtesy of religious tradition.

THREE COMMON OBJECTIONS ANSWERED

At this point, three common objections are raised. The first is, “Did not Paul liken our relationship to Jesus Christ as a wife married to her husband, in Ephesians chapter 5?” The second, “Did not Paul say that we were married to Jesus Christ in Romans chapter 7?” The third, “Did not Paul say that we need to be a pure virgin for Jesus Christ in 2 Corinthians chapter 11?” We believe the Bible has answers to these questions, and we would be more than eager to share those verses. However, we must be mindful not to read something into the Bible text (which is what denominationalists are trained to do).

Ephesians 5:25-33 says: “[25] Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; [26] That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, [27] That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. [28] So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. [29] For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church: [30] For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. [31] For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh. [32] This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church. [33] Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.”

Indeed, the Bible does teach that the marriage relationship between the husband and his wife should reflect and resemble, the loving, tender, selfless union between the Lord Jesus Christ (our Head; Ephesians 5:23; Colossians 1:18; Colossians 2:19) and us (His Body; 1 Corinthians 12:12-13,27; Ephesians 1:22-23; Colossians 1:24). However, we never read in the above passage that we are Jesus Christ’s “wife” or His “bride.” We have already seen the Scriptures’ testimony that Israel is the wife of JEHOVAH (the Lord Jesus Christ)—does JEHOVAH have two wives or does He have one? The Bible calls Israel JEHOVAH’S “wife,” but it never calls us His wife; if words mean anything (and we have no denominational agenda to promote), we conclude that we are not JEHOVAH’S wife but rather that Israel is His wife. Ephesians chapter 5 is describing how marriage is designed to function, and the way to understand the marriage relationship is to see how Jesus Christ and His Body (us) interact with each other—the respective roles, the attitudes of each toward one another, et cetera.

Romans 7:1-4 says: “[1] Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth? [2] For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband. [3] So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man. [4] Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.”

Certainly, Romans 7:4 says that we are “married” (present tense) to Jesus Christ. In that case, Revelation would certainly not apply to us; Revelation describes a future marriage! The Church the Body of Christ is certainly joined (“married”) to Jesus Christ—otherwise, the members of the Body would not be saved unto eternal life! All Romans chapter 7 is discussing is how we are free from the Law, dead to the law of sin and dead works, not bound to live the Christian life in our flesh and energy. We are joined to Jesus Christ, and it is His life, not our life, His performance, not our performance (further discussed in chapter 8). To use this passage to teach that we are the “Bride of Christ” is to read something into the text. Romans chapter 7 is not designed to teach marriage in the Dispensation of Grace—that would be 1 Corinthians chapter 7.

In 2 Corinthians 11:1-4, we read: “[1] Would to God ye could bear with me a little in my folly: and indeed bear with me. [2] For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. [3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Dear friends, here again, we read no terminology about us being the “Bride of Christ.” What Paul is doing in verse 2 is using a simile, likening us to being spiritually (doctrinally) pure as a chaste virgin would be sexually pure. False teachers had crept into Corinth, and throughout this chapter (11), we read about how the Corinthians enjoyed being misled. Paul warned them that he was jealous over them with a godly jealousy—he did not want some false religious system to corrupt them. He wanted them to abandon and avoid false religion (see 2 Corinthians 6:14-18). In the above verses, we read how Satan would use the same tactics he used to mislead Eve, to mislead us. Satan would quote Bible, but misquote it, ignoring the dispensational layout (see Psalm 91:11-12; Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10-11). The Devil would cause us to follow “another Jesus” (as in His earthly ministry; 2 Corinthians 5:16) instead of following the Jesus Christ whom Paul preached (His heavenly ministry, “Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery;” Romans 16:25). Satan would cause us to follow “another spirit” (as in the “spirit of bondage,” law; Romans 8:15; Galatians 5:1-5) and ignore the spirit that Paul preached (grace; Romans 6:14-15). The Devil would cause us to follow “another gospel” (as in the Gospel of the Kingdom; Matthew 9:35; cf. Matthew 4:17; Matthew 10:5-7) but to ignore the Gospel of Grace that Paul preached (Acts 20:24; Romans 2:16; Galatians 2:2; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4). The Church the Body of Christ is in such shambles doctrinally today, in such confusion, because it has allowed Satan and his policy of evil (religious tradition) to corrupt them. Most Christians today are not “rightly dividing the word of truth” as 2 Timothy 2:15 says; they are mixing the dispensations in God’s Word and making Bible study burdensome. I know; I used to be a part of that system myself!

CONCLUSION

The Bible never calls the Body of Christ “the Bride of Christ” (that is religious tradition, and, beloved, it will profit us nothing in eternity). To use a concept that relates exclusively to Israel and use it to apply to us, is to place ourselves on a slippery slope of confusing ourselves with Israel, and we run the risk of falling into the trap of the damnable doctrine of “Replacement Theology!” (See our related study at the end of this article.)

However, the Bible does say that Jesus Christ will marry someone. This is what we want to focus on; we ignore the religious tradition. Believing Jews who will survive the seven-year Tribulation, Daniel’s 70th week, will stand on Earth and see Jesus Christ return at His Second Coming (see Zechariah 12:10 and Zechariah 13:8-9). These believing Jews will be married to Jesus Christ (JEHOVAH God the Son in the flesh) at His Second Coming—Revelation 19:7 says, “the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.” (We deal with the “Marriage Supper of the Lamb” in another study; see the link at the end of this article.)

According to Revelation 21:9-10, the “Lamb’s wife” is the New Jerusalem, the Heavenly Jerusalem—Israel’s redeemed capital city, and her Promised Land—which will come down from heaven and land on Earth. By marrying the nation Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ (the JEHOVAH of the Old Testament) will marry Himself to her land, the Promised Land. These are the concepts being advanced regarding the marriage of Revelation chapters 19 and 21. We can either believe the testimony of the Scriptures, or we can continue with our church tradition. I prefer to believe God, and let His critics be the liars (Romans 3:4). You?

Also see:
» Who will accompany Jesus at His Second Coming?
» What is “the Marriage Supper of the Lamb?”
(LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Have we replaced the nation Israel?

Why can I not get anything out of the Bible?

WHY CAN I NOT GET ANYTHING OUT OF THE BIBLE WHEN I READ IT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

I try to read the Bible, but I get little to nothing out of what I read. What is the problem?

My heart truly goes out to people who are confused and burdened regarding Bible study. Friend, you are not alone—millions upon millions upon millions of people have experienced what you are undergoing, and millions upon millions upon millions are still experiencing it. I have been there, I know your distress, I have found the answers that you seek, and I would enjoy providing you with the three keys to Bible clarity. Dear reader, there is certainly hope for you and everyone else confused regarding the Holy Scriptures. We want to help you understand and enjoy the Holy Bible; in this study, we will discuss the three top reasons why people do not understand the Bible. This is a rather extensive and intensive study, but well worth considering.

 

1. DO YOU HAVE THE HOLY SPIRIT?

We read in 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God….”

The Bible says in 2 Peter 1:19-21: “[19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.”

God the Holy Ghost wrote the Holy Scriptures. If we are to understand the Book that the Holy Ghost wrote, it is only logical that we must have the indwelling Holy Ghost. Many people who attempt to study the Bible are lost, they are not saved unto eternal life and they do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Thus, the Bible is “foolishness” to them; God’s Word never makes sense without the teaching ministry of the Holy Spirit. This is why easier-to-read translations are so popular; they are an attempt to bypass the Holy Spirit’s teaching ministry. We need more than the spirit of man if we are to understand the Bible. To understand Scripture, we need more than scientific investigation, we need more than religious tradition, and we need more than human intuition.

Consider 1 Corinthians 2:9-14: “[9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

How do we get the indwelling Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:12-13 tells us: “[12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise….” We must trust Jesus Christ—rely exclusively on His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins. This is the Gospel of the Grace of God, Paul’s Gospel, of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4: “[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”

If you have just trusted Jesus Christ alone as your personal Saviour, or you have trusted Him sometime in the past, you are indeed saved unto eternal life, and thus you may proceed to our second section.

 

2. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT BIBLE?

Just as every book in the world is not the Book that God has written, every “Bible” is not the book that God has written; in this day and age, the average church member—or even average priest or pastor—cannot identify what is the Bible and what is not. The aforementioned people who did not have the Holy Spirit, they produced perverted Bible manuscripts, translated them, and produced even more corrupt translations (albeit operating under the impression that those manuscripts were more reliable and their translations were easier-to-read and therefore trustworthy). Even in Bible days, there were people counterfeiting the Word of God. Satan is the master counterfeiter, so may we always be on guard against counterfeit Bible versions—even more so 20 centuries later!

The Apostle Paul wrote in 2 Corinthians 2:17: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” We find in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 a reference to a counterfeit Bible manuscript, one that appeared to be from the Apostle Paul and his ministry coworkers. This false manuscript with false doctrine had troubled the minds of the Christians in Thessalonica: “That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.” The Apostle Peter warned that some individuals were “unlearned and unstable” and that they would “wrest… the other scriptures, unto their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16). They would not only twist Paul’s epistles, but all of God’s Word, and distort the verses to make them say what they wanted them to say. (Does that sound familiar or what?)

Even in the Prophet Jeremiah’s day, some 600 years before Christ, we read about false prophets twisting God’s Word, preaching lies in JEHOVAH’S name to Israel: “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God (Jeremiah 23:36). This entire chapter is an eye-opening warning about counterfeit “Bible prophets” and “ministers.”

The Apostle Peter summarized a warning that is true regardless of the dispensational setting. Just as there are people from the Lord Jesus Christ spreading His Word, there are counterfeit Christians spreading a damnable message: “[1:19] We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: [1:20] Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. [1:21] For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. [2:1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2:2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [2:3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not” (2 Peter 1:19–2:3).

As an English-speaking person, God’s preserved Word for you is the Authorized Version King James Bible. Use it, and use it alone, in your personal Bible study. The 400-year-old King James Bible—not the New King James Version—proves itself to be authoritative and trustworthy. The modern versions, however, demonstrate themselves to be unreliable; we should not use any book we cannot trust. They have varying degrees of interpretation built right into the translated text, and hundreds if not thousands of cross-references have been lost because of such shoddy Bible-handling. They have been produced by ecumenical bodies, groups of scholars from various denominations, scholars who are still cooperating to advance denominational doctrine instead of the unadulterated Word. In this day and age of itching ears and much false doctrine, we would be insane to believe that the new “bible” versions are dependable!

If you are using a King James Bible at this point, then a faulty Bible translation is not your problem. Please proceed to our third section.

 

3. DO YOU HAVE THE RIGHT STUDY SYSTEM?

A. LITERAL (UNLESS CONTEXT INDICATES OTHERWISE)

Concerning Bible study, the following makes sense: “When the literal sense makes sense, seek no other sense.” You should let the Bible text tell you whether a passage/verse/word is literal or figurative. If the context says that it is a parable, then it is a parable. If the context says that it is an allegory, then it is an allegory. Some Bible verses contain sarcasm. Some verses contain figures of speech. These non-literal exceptions are most often apparent. Even when the Bible uses symbolic language—metaphor, simile, allegory, parable, et cetera—there is a literal truth associated with it. Nothing in the Bible is there to take up space; every word is important (Deuteronomy 8:3; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4). The normal sense of the Bible is literal. To spiritualize a passage is to tell spiritual lies because you do not have spiritual eyes; the Bible says what it means and it means what it says. The Bible is not hard to understand; it is hard to believe!

The Lord Jesus Christ believed the Bible literally. He taught a literal, physical, visible Adam and Eve who were literally, physically, and visibly created and married by God (Mark 10:6-8; cf. Genesis 1:27; Genesis 2:18,21-25). Jesus literally believed He was a descendant of King David, implying David was a real man who had an actual bloodline (Matthew 22:41-46). The Lord believed in a literal interpretation of Daniel’s prophecy (Matthew 24:15ff.; Mark 13:14ff.; Daniel 9:26-27; Daniel 11:31). The Lord Jesus believed in a literal Great Flood of Noah’s day (Matthew 24:37-39; Luke 17:26-27; cf. Genesis chapters 6–8). The Lord Jesus believed in a literal man named Lot, Lot’s literal wife, and God’s literal destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah with literal fire and brimstone (Luke 17:28-29,32; cf. Genesis 19:24-25). Jesus believed there was a literal man named David who ate the shewbread with his men (Matthew 12:3-4; Luke 6:3-4; cf. 1 Samuel 21:1-6). Jesus believed in literal, physical, visible men such as Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (Matthew 22:32)—He believed God literally appeared to Moses in the burning bush too (Exodus 3:6). He believed there was a real man named Abel who was actually killed by his evil, unbelieving brother Cain (Matthew 23:35; Genesis 4:8,11). He believed that there was a literal man, “Zacharias son of Barachias,” who was actually murdered in the Temple complex as the Old Testament teaches (Matthew 23:35; cf. 2 Chronicles 24:21). Jesus cried, “I thirst,” so He could literally fulfill Psalm 69:21 (John 19:28). He affirmed that Satan literally fell from heaven (Luke 10:18), exactly what Isaiah 14:12-17 and Ezekiel 28:11-19 teach. Jesus said He came to literally fulfill Isaiah 61:1-2 (cf. Luke 4:16-21). The Lord Jesus really believed that actual bread fell from heaven for Israel to physically eat under Moses’ leadership (John 6:49; cf. Exodus 16:14-36).

The Apostle Paul believed the Bible literally. He understood a literal, physical, visible Adam and Eve were married by God (Ephesians 5:29-33; cf. Genesis 2:18,21-25). He believed in a literal woman named Eve who Satan actually deceived, and a physical man (Adam) whom Satan did not deceive (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 1 Timothy 2:11-15; cf. Genesis 3:1-24). Paul believed there was a literal curse placed on creation in response to man’s fall into sin (Romans 5:12; Romans 8:18-25; Genesis 3:16-19). The Apostle believed that Adam was literally created from the dust of the earth (1 Corinthians 15:47; cf. Genesis 2:7; Genesis 3:19). Paul believed in a literal man named Moses whom God used to ordain a most strict religious system using tables of physical stone (2 Corinthians 3:7-14; cf. Exodus chapters 32-34). He believed that there was a literal Adam (“one blood”) from whom all nations of people descended (Acts 17:26), exactly what Genesis 1:28 said when God commanded Adam and Eve to literally reproduce. Paul believed that God allotted the literal, real-estate boundaries of nations (Acts 17:26), implying a literal interpretation of Genesis chapters 10 and 11 when God scattered the idolaters from the Tower of Babel. Paul believed in a literal, physical, visible Ishmael persecuting a literal, physical, visible Isaac (Genesis 21:9), pointing out that literal, physical, visible unbelievers attack literal, physical, visible believers today (Galatians 4:29). Paul believed in literal, physical people such as Abraham, Isaac, Rebekah, Jacob and Esau whose descendants are the Jews (Romans 9:7-13)—these individuals are referenced throughout the book of Genesis. Paul believed in a literal Pharaoh who literally held Israel captive as slaves in literal Egypt (Romans 9:17; cf. Exodus 9:16). Paul interpreted Israel’s future restoration as literal (Romans 11:26-27; cf. Isaiah 59:20-21; Jeremiah 31:31-34). Paul understood everyone standing before God in judgment (Isaiah 45:23) is a literal fact to be accomplished one day (Romans 14:11-12).

The Apostle Peter believed the Bible literally. He referred to the Great Flood of Noah’s day as though it were a literal, historical fact (1 Peter 3:19-21; 2 Peter 2:5; 2 Peter 3:3-6; cf. Genesis chapters 6-8)—Peter argued that similar judgment from God (although fire) will come on the world in the future. Peter believed in an historical man named Lot, a man who literally escaped God’s literal wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah (2 Peter 2:6-9). Peter believed the Word of God would literally exist forever (1 Peter 1:25; cf. Isaiah 40:6-8). The Apostle believed Sodom and Gomorrah were literally overthrown with fire and brimstone as recorded in Genesis chapter 19 (2 Peter 2:6). Peter referred to Abraham and Sarah as literal, physical people who were husband and wife (1 Peter 3:5-6; cf. Genesis 18:12). The Apostle believed “Balaam the son of Bosor” was a literal, physical person (2 Peter 2:15; cf. Numbers chapters 22-24).

The Apostle John believed the Bible literally. While he does not refer to but one historical Old Testament account in his writings, he does admit that he believed there were literal figures Cain and Abel, Cain physically and visibly killing his brother Abel, just as Moses recorded in Genesis (1 John 3:12-13; cf. Genesis 4:8-11). John argued that unbelievers would kill believers because of the never-ending conflict between God’s people and Satan’s people.

The Apostle James believed the Bible literally. He believed the book of Genesis literally when it says that Abraham offered Isaac his son on the altar (James 2:21-23; cf. Genesis chapter 22). James indicated that Rahab the harlot was an historical character, who actually hid the Jewish spies in Jericho, just as the book of Joshua depicts (James 2:25; cf. Joshua chapter 2). He referenced Job as though he were an historical character (James 5:11), whose literal sufferings portray Israel’s future dire physical circumstances. James believed that the Prophet Elias (Elijah) prayed to JEHOVAH and literally caused rain to cease in Israel for three-and-one-half years, just as 1 Kings says (James 5:17; 1 Kings 17:1-2).

The writer of the book of Hebrews believed the Bible literally. It is unknown whom God used to pen the book of Hebrews. Regardless, this individual believed the Old Testament characters were literal, physical, visible, historical individuals—not mere characters in nonfiction works, fairytales, or the like. Hebrews chapter 11 makes references to Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Sara, Joseph, Moses, Israelites who left Egypt, Rahab, Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthae, David, Samuel, the prophets, and others. These were all historical people who endured physical persecution for believing and following the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, the God of creation.

B. DISPENSATIONAL

There are many methods and systems of Bible interpretation (also known as, “Bible hermeneutics”). For example, systematic theology studies Bible topics in a topical fashion: theology (the study of God), angelology (the study of angels), eschatology (the study of the end times / prophecy), ecclesiology (the study of the church), anthropology (the study of man), soteriology (the study of salvation), et cetera. This is all well and good, but this is not how the Bible presents these doctrines (the contexts of these verses are ignored, and they are all blended).

Rather than following the system of Dr. Strong, Dr. Scofield, Dr. Ryrie, or any other theologian, seminary professor, or Bible “scholar,” we simply allow the Holy Spirit—the Author of the Bible—to show us how He has designed it. When we stand before God in judgment one day, He will use His standard of Bible interpretation; in Heaven, God Almighty will not refer to man-made religious systems and theological books in order to gauge what teaching is right and what teaching is wrong. Confusion arises when we pick and choose a man-made system to follow, for every man-made system of Bible study is different from every other. However, much of the confusion will disappear if we simply use the method of Bible study that God Himself has ordained and laid out in His Word. We would all be using one and the same system for Bible study, and this would avoid the formation of factions, denominations, schisms, cults, et cetera.

The only verse in the Bible that tells us to “study” the Bible also tells us how to study it. We read in 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.” We are seeking God’s approval—not a church’s approval, a seminarian’s approval, a minister’s approval, a family member’s approval, a friend’s approval, or anyone else’s approval. If our Christian lives are to be pleasing in God’s sight, we must “study… rightly dividing the word of truth.” But, what exactly does this mean? We need to search Paul’s epistles to discover the answer.

Ephesians 2:11-13 sheds light on 2 Timothy 2:15: “[11] Wherefore remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which is called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands; [12] That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: [13] But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”

We see two references to time in the above passage: “time past” and “but now.” At one time, we Gentiles were “without Christ,” we were “aliens from the commonwealth of Israel,” we were “strangers from the covenants of promise,” we had “no hope,” and we were “without God in the world.” God dealt with the nation Israel, and if a non-Jew (Gentile) ancestor of ours wanted a relationship with the God of the Bible, the God of Israel, that Gentile had to approach God through Israel. Jesus Christ’s ministry was confined to the nation Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Matthew 15:24; John 4:22; Acts 2:22; Romans 15:8)—this is why Scripture says we Gentiles were “without Christ” (Ephesians 2:12; cf. Romans 9:4-5).

Ephesians 2:13 is a contrary thought, the opposite of what we read in the previous two verses. “In Christ Jesus,” we who were (past tense) “far off” from God are now (present tense) made near to Him “by the blood of Christ.” What a complete change in the way God deals with mankind, and we have to want to miss it not to see that dispensational change! As God Himself declared first by and through the Apostle Paul, through Jesus Christ’s shed blood (His finished crosswork at Calvary), we Gentiles can now approach God the Father, without the nation Israel. In fact, Israel is fallen, and without Israel and her earthly kingdom, God is reaching and saving Gentiles.

The Holy Spirit tells us in Romans 11:11-13: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office.”

Why God wanted to save Gentiles through Israel and her program, and why God is now saving Gentiles without Israel and her program, is a fascinating story we must take time here to briefly summarize for you.

The first verse in the Bible is very clear that God deals with creation on the basis of two realms: “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). Notice how the Holy Spirit was very specific in the wording. Rather than saying, “God created the universe,” the Scriptures say, “God created the heaven and the earth.” The two-fold division in God’s Word is already apparent… we learn about right division in the very first verse of the Bible!

Regarding God’s original purpose in the creation of the heaven and the earth, we learn in Ephesians 1:9-10: “[9] [God the Father] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him.”

Before creation ever was, God the Father wanted to unite all of the governmental offices of heaven and earth (see Colossians 1:16-20) under the headship, the leadership, of His Son Jesus Christ. Even today, God the Father wants all of creation to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. To bring about this purpose, Father God has one program—one system of operation—for heaven, and another completely different program—another system of operation—for earth. Both programs operate in their respective realms to accomplish the overall goal: make Jesus Christ head of all of the governments in heaven and earth, to give Him preeminence in both realms of creation. But, these two programs must be rightly divided if they are to make sense (to combine God’s purpose and plan for heaven and His purpose and plan for earth, is to bring unanswerable confusion, is to bring about the sad state of affairs in Christendom today).

PROPHECY. The program that God uses to magnify His Son in the earth is called the prophetic program, for it contains information/doctrine that was prophesied, or spoken about, since He placed man (Adam) on earth. Notice what the Apostle Peter preached: “[Jesus Christ] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began(Acts 3:21). From the beginning of creation, God revealed to mankind a plan to have Jesus Christ reign on planet earth. This information is found in the Bible books of Genesis through Malachi, Matthew through John, Acts chapters 1-8, and Hebrews through Revelation. The agency (group of believers) whom God will use to magnify His Son forever in the earth is the nation Israel (Exodus 19:5-6; Psalm 37:11; Matthew 5:5; Luke 22:29-30; Revelation 5:10). Law is the operating system for the prophetic program (Matthew 5:17-19). The Apostle Peter and the other 11 apostles of Israel are the divinely-ordained human leaders in this program (Matthew 16:16-19; Matthew 19:27-28; Luke 22:30; Galatians 2:7,9).

MYSTERY. The program that God uses to magnify His Son in the heavens is called the mystery program, for it contains information/doctrine that was kept secret, or not spoken about, since He placed man (Adam) on earth. Notice what the Apostle Paul wrote: “Now to him [God the Father] 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, [26] But now is made manifest…” (Romans 16:25-26). From the beginning of creation, God kept secret (kept it a mystery) a plan to have Jesus Christ reign in the heavenly places. This information is found in the Bible books known as “Paul’s epistles,” Romans through Philemon. The agency (group of believers) whom God will use to magnify His Son forever in the heavens is the Church the Body of Christ (Ephesians 1:3; Ephesians 2:6-7; Philippians 3:20; 2 Timothy 4:18). Grace is the operating system for the mystery program (Romans 6:14-15). The Apostle Paul is the divinely-ordained human leader in this program (Romans 11:13; Romans 15:16; Galatians 2:7,9; 1 Timothy 1:15-16).

 

CONCLUSION

In conclusion, we allow the indwelling Holy Spirit to teach us His Word. We read verses in the King James Bible and compare them with other verses in the King James Bible, and the verses will interpret one another. Unless the context says otherwise, the verse/passage is literal. We use the Bible dispensationally, understanding that God says different things to different people in His Word at different time periods. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, describe what God is doing today, so this is God’s Word to and about you. Study all of the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, for it is all for your learning (Romans 15:4), but remember that not all of the Bible is to or about you.

When studying a particular Bible passage, you first need to establish the following, in this order:

  1. who is writing/speaking,
  2. to whom are they writing, and
  3. what are they writing.

Oftentimes, people ignore #1 and #2 and just focus on #3. We cannot grab just any Bible verse and apply it to us. Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are written to us Gentiles and about us Gentiles. If you follow these simple keys to Bible understanding, you will understand the Bible.

Just as the Lord Jesus Christ “opened… their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures” (Luke 24:45), and “expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (verse 27), so He will explain the Scriptures to you if you allow Him. If you have the indwelling Holy Spirit, if you have the King James Bible, and you use dispensational Bible study, the Bible will literally become an “open book.” You will enjoy it, cherish it, esteem it, love it, more and more each day. To the believer, Paul wrote the following:

Ephesians 3:4: “Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ)”

Ephesians 3:16: “That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;”

2 Timothy 2:7: “Consider what I say; and the Lord give thee understanding in all things.”

When we Christians read God’s Word (King James Bible), and pay particular attention to what God says through Paul (Ephesians 3:4; 2 Timothy 2:7), God the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16) will strengthen us inside, in our soul and spirit. He will then use that doctrine that we believe to work in us: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).

“So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading” (Nehemiah 8:8).

Also see:
» I am new to the Bible, so where should I begin? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Does doctrine really matter? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Does God intervene in my life? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

Must I say the “sinner’s prayer?”

IS THE “SINNER’S PRAYER” REALLY NECESSARY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is repeating the “sinner’s prayer” the way to soul salvation unto eternal life? What exactly is the “sinner’s prayer” anyway? To the Scriptures we go without delay, to see what Almighty God has to say!

There are many dear, sincere Christian souls who use the so-called “sinner’s prayer” to share the Gospel with lost people. Actually, there was a time when I used it when witnessing to others. Since I have come to understand God’s Word, God’s way—dispensational Bible study, or right division—I better understand the matter of the “sinner’s prayer” and its doctrinal deficiency. Beloved, it is my great hope and fervent prayer that we can here use the Holy Scriptures to educate lost and saved alike regarding this most important topic. After all, soul salvation unto eternal life is the most critical issue you will ever face. We need not confuse a clear grace message by introducing a works-religion message.

Every “sinner’s prayer” has different words in it and each one highlights different concepts. Here are some sample prayers to give you an idea of what the “sinner’s prayer” is all about:

  • “Jesus, thank You for dying for me, save me from my sins, come into my heart, and fill me with Your Spirit. Amen.”
  • “Lord, be merciful to me. I am sorry for all the bad things I have done, I turn from (or “repent of”) my sins, and I give my life to You. Amen.”
  • “God, I confess all of my sins and I ask for Your forgiveness. Please take me to heaven when I die. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
  • “Lord Jesus, I surrender everything to You. Come into my heart and make me new, and I promise to serve You all the days of my life. Amen.”

Beloved, these are nice-sounding prayers and they involve many emotions, but they are not a clear presentation of the Gospel of the Grace of God. Usually, people do not understand the dispensational layout of Scripture, how God’s good news varies from group to group throughout history and throughout His dealings with man. Rather than focusing exclusively on God’s current plan of salvation, Christians (whether ignorantly or deliberately) usually “copy” other Gospel messages in the Bible, and “paste” them into the current plan of the salvation. They take 2 Chronicles 7:14, Proverbs 23:26, Psalm 51:1-11, Mark 1:15, Luke 14:27, Revelation 3:20, Acts 2:38, Romans 10:9-10, Matthew 24:13, Luke 18:13, et cetera, and mix them with Romans 4:1-5, 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, Romans 3:19-28, Ephesians 2:8-9, et cetera. All of these passages teach different matters, so to conflate them is to burden the sinner who wants to be saved. This amalgamation only makes the Gospel less clear to a person already confused in religion and sin.

Remember, our primary task as Christians is to present the Gospel of the Grace of God ever so clearly, ever so plainly. Satan wants them blinded from our gospel, that they not understand that their works play no role in a right standing before God, justification unto eternal life, forgiveness, a home in heaven, etc. We should be careful not to mix works with faith when sharing the message of God’s grace with them (2 Corinthians 4:3-4); works done to become a Christian and a Christian doing good works are two separate issues that must be clearly distinguished. The Bible says, “But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ” (2 Corinthians 11:3). The plan of salvation is so simple even a child can comprehend it—even if seminary preachers and theologians cannot!

The Holy Bible is very clear that we are saved by grace through faith without works:

  • Romans 3:28: “Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.”
  • Romans 4:1-5: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.
  • Galatians 2:16: “Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.”
  • Ephesians 2:8-9: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast.”
  • Titus 3:5: Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;”

The Bible says that, unlike faith (Romans 4:5), prayer is a work; faith is not a work, but prayer is a work. Notice Colossians 4:12: “Epaphras, who is one of you, a servant of Christ, saluteth you, always labouring fervently for you in prayers, that ye may stand perfect and complete in all the will of God.” Prayer is something believers do; prayer is what Christians do, not lost people. Never in the Bible, particularly Paul’s epistles, do we read about someone praying in order to be saved. Again, in the Bible, prayer is not something lost people do in order to be saved. The Holy Spirit through Paul said that we are saved by faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork without our works. Prayer is a work and our works cannot and do not save us. Thus, no “sinner’s prayer” can save us.

According to Romans 1:16 (“the gospel of Christ … is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth), Romans 3:22 (“Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe), Romans 3:26 (“To declare, I say, at this time [God’s] righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus), and 1 Corinthians 1:21 (“it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe), there is nothing about people saying a sinner’s prayer to be saved. Paul did not say, “Say the sinner’s prayer, and thou shalt be saved.” He preached to a lost man in Philippi,Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). The Bible is ever so clear if we have an ear to hear, an eye to see, and a heart to believe. If we have a denominational agenda to push, it is then that we ignore these simple verses and follow up with objections.

At this point, someone may interject to say, “What about….” They proceed to flee to passages such as Psalm 51, Luke 18:13, Romans 10:9-10, and Revelation 3:20. At this point we would be glad to answer these precious people’s objections using the Bible! Provided that they are being asked in faith, Bible questions are very enjoyable to answer.

OBJECTION #1: WHAT ABOUT PSALM 51?

Psalm 51 is a passage that is sometimes used when evangelizing people. Often called “David’s prayer of repentance,” it should be noted that King David is not a lost person. David is a believer, a saint who acknowledges his sins (he has just committed adultery with Bathsheba, and he has conspired to murder her husband in battle; see 2 Samuel chapter 11). The LORD sent the Prophet Nathan to rebuke David in chapter 12.

After meeting with Nathan, David prayed in Psalm 51: “[1] Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy lovingkindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. [2] Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. [3] For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me. [4] Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest. [7] Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean: wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. [9] Hide thy face from my sins, and blot out all mine iniquities. [10] Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. [11] Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.”

Again, David was a believer, for he prayed in verse 11 that God’s presence not leave him and that His Holy Spirit not leave him. But, again, David lived under entirely different circumstances. He lived under the Mosaic Law, of which we have no part in this the Dispensation of Grace (Romans 6:14-15). David lived approximately 1,000 years before Calvary’s crosswork, and we live on this side of the cross almost 2,000 years. Beloved, David is not our pattern. Would you as a believer want to pray Psalm 51:11, begging God not to leave you, that He not take His Holy Spirit from you? That would be awful, that would be heresy. The Bible says we are secure in Christ, and that we cannot lose the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13-14; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Timothy 1:12).

OBJECTION #2: WHAT ABOUT LUKE 18:13?

Someone might be asking about Luke 18:13, which we now analyze: “And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.” This verse is occasionally inserted into “sinner’s prayers,” “Gospel invitations,” and Gospel tracts. However, it must be remembered here that this publican approached God on the basis of the shed animal blood on the Mercy Seat in the Temple in Jerusalem (see Leviticus chapter 16). This tax collector was under totally different circumstances than where we are today on this side of Calvary. We now approach God the Father on the basis of Jesus Christ’s shed blood. We do not have to ask God for mercy; He is already offering His mercy, His compassion and fellowship that we do not deserve, through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. We need God’s mercy, compassion, and fellowship applied to us by us trusting Jesus Christ and Him alone!

OBJECTION #3: WHAT ABOUT ROMANS 10:9-10?

There are some who are probably wondering about Romans 10:9-10, verses that appear on nearly every Gospel tract in the world today, verses that are quoted in probably every Evangelical Gospel sermon: “[9] That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. [10] For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.”

While the Bible is clear about what it says in these verses, these verses have a context that must be faced head-on. Dear friend, before you stumble over verses 9 and 10, please notice verses 1-3: “[1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” Whose salvation is being discussed in Romans chapter 10? Our salvation? No, verse 1 says this is Israel’s salvation. There were two issues that unbelieving Jews did not want to accept as true during the Acts period—Jesus’ Messiahship and His resurrection (hence the language of Romans 10:9).

Today, some groups teach that, in order to be saved, a lost person must audibly confess Jesus as Lord of his or her life, and that they must then believe that Jesus was raised from the dead. Romans 10:9-10 is not our plan of salvation—this was how unbelieving Israel was saved in the Acts period under Paul’s ministry. Paul wrote the book of Romans during the book of Acts, and Romans chapter 10 is what Paul preached in the synagogues to evangelize Jews during the book of Acts. He never mentioned Romans 10:9-10 in any remaining epistles; it was unique to the Acts transition period. For more information, see the link at the bottom of this study, for our article on Romans 10:9-10 and the often-confused doctrine of confessing Jesus as Lord.

OBJECTION #4: WHAT ABOUT REVELATION 3:20?

It is commonly taught that Jesus is knocking on the door of a lost person’s heart, and that person must let Him inside in order to be saved from their sins. Dearly beloved, this is good denominational doctrine but it is poor Bible doctrine. Revelation 3:20 teaches no such concept. Before we repeat something that we have heard all of our lives in missions meetings and revival services, we need to read Revelation 3:20 within its context: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” Verse 14 says that this is Jesus Christ’s message to the church of the Laodiceans. Revelation 3:20 is written to Jewish believers, not lost people! Verse 20 is God warning Jewish believers that there is impending chastisement when Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming (cf. James 5:8-9), and the Bible says that God chastises believing Jews, not lost Jews (see Hebrews 12:5-10). For more information about Revelation 3:20, see the link at the bottom of this study, for our study on Revelation 3:20 and the often-confused doctrine of Jesus knocking on the hearts of lost people.

CONCLUSION

The Bible says, “Now we know that God heareth not sinners: but if any man be a worshipper of God, and doeth his will, him he heareth” (Luke 9:31). God hears Christians, not lost people (the context of this verse is Jesus healing a blind man, and the Jews know that God does not heal anyone on the basis of a lost person begging for healing on their behalf). What God wants from lost people is not for them to pray to be saved, to work to be saved, but for them to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ” to be saved, to rest entirely on His Son Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). The Bible is not difficult to understand once we toss out denominational interpretations.

Please re-read Romans 4:5: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Faith is the only thing that you can do without doing anything. Faith is just believing/trusting what Jesus Christ already did for you at Calvary’s cross. You are not doing anything but relying on what someone else did. If you want righteousness, a right standing before God, you must believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, relying exclusively on His death, bloodshed, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for your sins. That is what the Bible says. Either you believe it or you do not.

Prayer is a work that believers do, and after salvation unto justification (forgiveness of sins and imputed righteousness), Christians can and should “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17). However, no one becomes a Christian by reciting a man-made formula, a so-called “sinner’s prayer.” Salvation from sins unto eternal life is totally based on Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. It has nothing to do with a work on our part (a confession, a profession, a prayer, an aisle-walking, a water baptism, a monetary donation, an emotional upheaval, an “altar”-kneeling, et cetera). Let us read Romans 4:5 again: “But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Also see:
» What is “Lordship Salvation?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Must I audibly confess “Jesus is Lord” in order to be saved? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Is “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock” really a Gospel invitation?

Should the King James’ term “Christ” actually be “Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2?

SHOULD THE KING JAMES TERM CHRIST REALLY BE LORD IN 2 THESSALONIANS 2:2?

by Shawn Brasseaux

King James Bible critics invariably hone in on the term “Christ” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 and gleefully shout out, “Mistranslation—it should be ‘Lord’ not ‘Christ!’” Is there any merit in this their observation, or is it just idle speculation worth ignoring? Before we come to a conclusion, let us investigate the verse in question, being especially careful to note the context. Maybe… just maybe… we will learn that we have much more to learn from God’s Word than we think we know (1 Corinthians 8:2).

Frankly, there is much arrogance—and much ignorance—in the realm of Bible “scholarship.” Mortal men educated in schools of mortal men sit on self-constructed thrones and make themselves out to be gods. Yes, they sat in Hebrew, Greek, Latin, and church tradition and history classes, but those credentials alone do not make them Bible believers and those achievements do not automatically make them sound Bible authorities. There are millions upon millions of people who read and speak Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, but they reject the Bible in all matters of faith and practice—do you actually want them to tell you what the Bible “really” says?

Beloved, I have personally met seminary preachers and priests, I have conversed with them in person and/or email, I have read their works, I have watched their television programs, and I have sat in their church buildings and lectures. I can report in complete sincerity that the vast majority of these alleged Bible “scholars” are so perverted doctrinally it is beyond fathoming. Seminary is a nursery for unbelief and a cemetery for the Bible! They laughed at the Bible, they questioned the Bible, and they ignored the Bible. And, yes, that is applicable to Roman Catholic and Protestant seminary graduates alike. Indeed, we agree with our Lord Jesus Christ who prayed: “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and the prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes. Even so, Father: for so it seemed good in thy sight” (Matthew 11:25-26). “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God… The Lord knoweth the thoughts of the wise, that they are vain [empty, worthless]” (1 Corinthians 3:19-20).

In fact, the “scholarly” elite dares not to submit to God’s Book, and they do everything possible to cause you to doubt it and trust them. Israel’s religious leaders did it in Jesus’ day, and religious leaders around the world still do it today. They want the authority; they want the preeminence Almighty God and His Word alone deserve. Man is sinful, and because there are many lost people in the realms of Bible scholarship, they want to be their own god, their own authority. Without so much as a blush, they quickly lunge at the Bible text and butcher it with the scholar’s scalpel, changing the precious words of God so those divine utterances make sense in their fallen minds. They throw out a verse here, they make up a new verse there, they change this word and that word, they toss out two 12-verse passages, they water down innumerable verses, while the average Christian (conditioned) sits and relaxes while he or she lets the “scholars” adjust the Bible text to make it understandable. We would hate to be in their shoes when they stand before a holy, righteous God and explain to Him why they corrupted His Word, why they thought their puny minds were smarter than His!

Okay, now, with that said, we can examine the pompous attitude toward the King James’ rendering of 2 Thessalonians 2:2. (Remember our comments about people who believe they are smarter than God?) The following quote from a bygone commentator summarizes the view that is still prevalent among Bible “scholars” today:

“Verse 2 closes with the words, ‘…As that the day of Christ is at hand.’ Greek authorities assure us that this last statement is faulty insofar as the Greek is concerned. It should read, ‘…Supposing that the Day of the Lord is upon us.’ ‘The Day of Christ’ is definitely not intended here, but ‘the Day of the Lord.’ … It is very unfortunate that this verse in II Thessalonians is mistranslated in our King James Bible. The Word ‘Christ’ should be ‘Lord,’ and in this case the mistranslation changes the entire meaning of the event Paul is describing.”

Our brief answer to the above accusation, and rank vilification of our 1611 translators, is as follows: “If the King James’ term ‘Christ’ in 2 Thessalonians 2:2 ‘changes the entire meaning of the event Paul is describing,’ it is equally true that replacing that term with ‘Lord’ could, hypothetically, also change the entire meaning of the event Paul is describing. There is a major disagreement whether to use ‘Christ’ or ‘Lord.’ Obviously, it is not a trivial issue; it cannot be ignored and it cannot be taken lightly. Questioning the phraseology of God’s Holy Word is, and I say this advisedly, heretical; either the authority is in the Bible, or it is in the Greek scholars. Moreover, if ‘Christ’ is not a mistranslation in our King James in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, then the critics’ changing of the text is literally pointless; in fact, if their change is unnecessary, and we are persuaded it is, to change it to ‘Lord’ is to miss the point of the often-ridiculed King James’ word ‘Christ.’” (Our Bible-believing position receives fuller treatment in our extended answer below.)

Let us look at 2 Thessalonians chapter 2: “[1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. [3] Let no man deceive you by any means: for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition; [4] Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped; so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.”

Absolutely, 2 Thessalonians 2:3ff. describes “the day of the LORD;” as a King James Bible believer, I fully understand that. In that passage (which actually continues down to verse 12), we see the appearance of the Antichrist—his career from start to finish (verses 3-8), complete with all of his blasphemous activities and deceptive doctrines (verses 4-12), and his defeat by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming (verse 8). The phrase “day of the LORD” first appeared in Isaiah 2:12, and it is found throughout the Old Testament Scriptures (Isaiah 13:6,9; Isaiah 34:8; Jeremiah 46:10; Lamentations 2:22; Ezekiel 13:5; Ezekiel 30:3; Joel 1:15; Joel 2:1,11,31; Joel 3:14; Amos 5:18,20; Obadiah 15; Zephaniah 1:7-8,14; Zechariah 14:1; Malachi 4:5; Acts 2:20; 2 Peter 3:10). Even in the New Testament (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10) it refers to the time from the Babylonian captivity about 600 B.C. all the way until the Apostle Paul’s ministry, skipping our dispensation, and encompassing the seven-year Tribulation and the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ.

Here is where we get to the most critical part, so please pay very close attention to these next several paragraphs. The King James translators knew of and understood the “day of the LORD” because they competently handled that term in both its Old and New Testament contexts (references above). The Bible companies and translators handled God’s Word very carefully; each verse of the King James went through a very scrupulous translation and review process, being examined at least a dozen times each. Even though the context of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2 is the “day of the LORD,” our 1611 scholars have the word “Christ” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. Why do they mention the “Day of Christ” when the “Day of the Lord” is described in the context? If we would read all of 2 Thessalonians 2:2, and not just the part that we want to criticize, perhaps we can appreciate why the King James Bible reads like it does. Perhaps our Bible really is smarter than we give it credit!

Before we proceed any further, the King James Bible critic—who usually runs to “the Greek” for counsel—will be disappointed to learn that the majority of the Greek manuscripts read “Christ” and not “Lord” in 2 Thessalonians 2:2. That is to say, most surviving Greek New Testament manuscripts testify that the King James Bible is correct and the modern versions and their “better [minority] Greek texts” are wrong! Rather than getting angry with the King James translators, we pause and wonder who criticizes the Greek copyists who wrote the word Christos in the Greek version of 2 Thessalonians 2:2 long before the 1611 translators rendered it “Christ?!” The King James translators did not mistranslate; their Greek text read christos in 2 Thessalonians 2:2, not kurios (“Lord”). But, we proceed onward.

We return to analyzing the first two verses of 2 Thessalonians chapter 2, to learn why our King James reads like it does in verse 2: “[1] Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him, [2] That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.

Satan has troubled these believers in Thessalonica with false teaching. Not only are false teachers and false prophets (liars, deceitful religious leaders) infiltrating this local assembly, but forged epistles (counterfeit Scriptures) are also disrupting its spiritual growth. See, we should be vigilant regarding counterfeit Bible versions, because they existed 2,000 years ago—how much more are there today?! (Perverted Bible manuscripts and their resultant translations are being praised today as containing the “true” reading of verse 2!)

Again, while verse 2 is often assumed to be a “King James translation error,” the context leads us to conclude that the Apostle Paul is actually quoting the terminology of the aforementioned forged epistle and/or false teachers. As we stated before, verses 3ff. do indeed describe the “Day of the LORD,” the seven-year Tribulation and onward, but the false letter and/or false teacher that Paul is referencing, that individual is wrongly using the Bible term “the Day of Christ,” and causing the believers in Thessalonica to fear it. The “Day of Christ,” or the Judgment Seat of Christ, is a joyous time for the believer, not a fearful time (Philippians 1:10; Philippians 2:16); the counterfeit epistle and false teachers are confusing the “day of Christ” (Judgment Seat of Christ) with the “Day of the LORD” (the Tribulation period). The Thessalonians, enduring great persecution (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14; 1 Thessalonians 3:1-13; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; 2 Thessalonians 1:4-10; 2 Thessalonians 3:5), have been led to believe they are now suffering Daniel’s 70th week, the seven-year Tribulation!

It is not hard to believe that people would use Bible terms and attach non-Bible definitions to them. Even today, people use Bible terms—“repentance,” “stauros” (Greek, “cross”), “Jehovah,” “sin,” “mystery,” “Baptist,” “presbytery,” “tithe,” “baptism,” “Pentecost,” “tongues,” “hell,” “gehenna” (Greek, “hell”), “confession,” “prophet,” “Christ,” “Eucharist” (Greek, “thanks”), “age,” “communion,” “altar,” “Israel,” “Jesus,” “apostle,” “devil,” “Holy Ghost,” “Bible,” “dispensation,” “house of the Lord,” “grace,” “prophet,” and others—but they define those terms according to their church tradition or denomination instead of defining these terms as the Bible defines them. How dangerous!

CONCLUSION

Beloved, 2 Thessalonians 2:2 is perfect in our King James Bible. “Christ,” not “Lord,” is the only valid reading because Paul is quoting a false teacher or false epistle here (instead of looking at the next few verses for insight, look at the verse itself that contains the term, and the truth is there ever so clearly if we have an ear to hear, an eye to see, and a heart to believe). Our King James Bible is hereby defended and vindicated!

Also see:
» Is “Easter” a mistranslation in the King James Bible in Acts 12:4?
» Do not Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 contradict each other?
» Why should we trust the King James Bible? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)