Monthly Archives: November 2014

What are our spiritual blessings in Christ?

WHAT ARE OUR SPIRITUAL BLESSINGS IN CHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

With the Thanksgiving season here, we want to reflect on the blessings we have as believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. The cornucopia, or horn of plenty, is a Thanksgiving icon that symbolizes the abundance of material blessings that we have received. As members of the Church the Body of Christ, God has blessed us with spiritual blessings that are worth far more than anything in this material world. Furthermore, these spiritual blessings will be here even after this present universe passes away.

The Apostle Paul reminds us: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ” (Ephesians 1:3).

Taken from the Pauline epistles, here are 120 spiritual blessings that the Lord Jesus Christ gave us the moment we trusted in Him as our personal Saviour. These blessings have been given to us freely and permanently—we will NEVER lose them. We did nothing in our strength to get these spiritual blessings, for they were given to us because of what Christ did on the cross of Calvary.

We cannot see these spiritual blessings with our physical eyes, but we see them with our spiritual eyes of faith (Hebrews 11:1). Let us always thank God for these blessings, not just during the Thanksgiving Season, but for all eternity.

  1. called to be saints (Romans 1:7)
  2. God’s righteousness imputed to us (Romans 3:22)
  3. justified freely by God’s grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24)
  4. our iniquities are forgiven and covered by the blood of Christ (Romans 4:7)
  5. justified by faith (Romans 5:1)
  6. peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1)
  7. access by faith into this grace wherein we stand (Romans 5:2)
  8. justified by the blood of Christ (Romans 5:9)
  9. saved from wrath through Christ (Romans 5:9)
  10. reconciled to God by the death of His Son (Romans 5:10)
  11. saved by Christ’s life (Romans 5:10)
  12. we have received the atonement (Romans 5:11)
  13. baptized into Jesus Christ and into His death (Romans 6:3)
  14. planted together in the likeness of Jesus Christ’s death (Romans 6:5)
  15. planted together in the likeness of Jesus Christ’s resurrection (Romans 6:5)
  16. crucified with Christ (Romans 6:6)
  17. alive with Christ (Romans 6:8)
  18. alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:11)
  19. free from sin and its dominion (Romans 6:18)
  20. eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23)
  21. dead to the law, performance-based acceptance systems (Romans 7:4)
  22. sons of God (Romans 8:14)
  23. received the Spirit of adoption (Romans 8:15)
  24. children of God (Romans 8:16)
  25. heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17)
  26. called according to God’s purpose (Romans 8:28)
  27. foreknown and predestinated to be conformed to the image of God the Son (Romans 8:29)
  28. predestinated (Romans 8:30)
  29. justified (Romans 8:30)
  30. glorified (Romans 8:30)
  31. conquerors through Christ that loved us (Romans 8:37)
  32. sanctified in Christ Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:2)
  33. blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:8)
  34. temple of the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 3:16)
  35. heirs of the kingdom of God (1 Corinthians 6:9)
  36. washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of God (1 Corinthians 6:11)
  37. members of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:15)
  38. baptized into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)
  39. members in particular of the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:27)
  40. alive (1 Corinthians 15:22)
  41. victory through our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 15:57)
  42. comfort in tribulation (2 Corinthians 1:4)
  43. consolation (2 Corinthians 1:6)
  44. delivered from death (2 Corinthians 1:10)
  45. stablished (stabilized, fixed), anointed, and sealed (2 Corinthians 1:21-22)
  46. triumphant in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14)
  47. sufficiency (2 Corinthians 5:5)
  48. liberty (2 Corinthians 3:17)
  49. light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6)
  50. given the earnest / down-payment of the Spirit (2 Corinthians 5:5)
  51. new identity in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17)
  52. reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18)
  53. Christian ambassadorship (2 Corinthians 5:20)
  54. the righteousness of God (2 Corinthians 5:21)
  55. became the temple of the living God (2 Corinthians 6:16)
  56. comfort (2 Corinthians 7:6)
  57. grace to endure suffering (2 Corinthians 12:9)
  58. delivered from this present evil world (Galatians 1:4)
  59. justified by Christ (Galatians 2:17)
  60. redeemed from the curse of the Law of Moses (Galatians 3:13)
  61. a son and heir of God through Christ (Galatians 4:7)
  62. liberty (Galatians 5:1)
  63. holy (Ephesians 1:4)
  64. without blame (Ephesians 1:4)
  65. predestinated (Ephesians 1:5)
  66. adopted (Ephesians 1:5)
  67. accepted in the beloved, God’s Son Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:6)
  68. redeemed through Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:7)
  69. forgiven through Christ’s blood (Ephesians 1:7)
  70. obtained an inheritance (Ephesians 1:11)
  71. sealed with that holy Spirit of promise (Ephesians 1:13)
  72. quickened / made alive (Ephesians 2:1)
  73. raised up together with Christ (Ephesians 2:6)
  74. made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6)
  75. saved (Ephesians 2:8)
  76. access by one Spirit unto the Father (Ephesians 2:18)
  77. fellow-heirs and partakers of His promise in Christ by the gospel (Ephesians 3:6)
  78. sealed by the holy Spirit unto the day of the redemption (Ephesians 4:30)
  79. forgiven (Ephesians 4:32)
  80. loved (Ephesians 5:2)
  81. washed by God’s Word (Ephesians 5:26)
  82. without spot or wrinkle (Ephesians 5:27)
  83. holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5:27)
  84. filled with the fruits of righteousness (Philippians 1:11)
  85. consolation in Christ (Philippians 2:1)
  86. fellowship of the Spirit (Philippians 2:1)
  87. made blameless (Philippians 2:15)
  88. made harmless (Philippians 2:15)
  89. the righteousness of God (Philippians 3:9)
  90. our names are recorded in the book of life (Philippians 4:3)
  91. peace of God (Philippians 4:7)
  92. our spiritual need of salvation met (Philippians 4:19)
  93. a hope laid up for us in heaven (Colossians 1:5)
  94. partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light (Colossians 1:12)
  95. delivered from the power of darkness (Colossians 1:13)
  96. translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son (Colossians 1:13)
  97. destined to be placed in reconciled heavenly places for God’s glory (Colossians 1:20)
  98. holy, unblameable, and unreproveable in God’s sight (Colossians 1:22)
  99. complete in Christ (Colossians 2:10)
  100. circumcised with the circumcision made without hands (Colossians 2:11)
  101. buried with Christ in baptism, NOT water (Colossians 2:12)
  102. risen with Christ through the faith of the operation of God (Colossians 2:12)
  103. quickened / made alive with Christ (Colossians 2:13)
  104. forgiven of all trespasses (Colossians 2:13)
  105. risen with Christ (Colossians 3:1)
  106. our resurrection lives are hid with Christ in God (Colossians 3:3)
  107. deliverance from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10)
  108. called unto God’s kingdom and glory (1 Thessalonians 2:12)
  109. our hearts are unblameable in holiness before God (1 Thessalonians 3:13)
  110. given God’s holy Spirit (1 Thessalonians 4:8)
  111. obtained salvation from God’s wrath by our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Thessalonians 5:9)
  112. everlasting consolation through grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
  113. good hope through grace (2 Thessalonians 2:16)
  114. comfort (2 Thessalonians 2:17)
  115. given the spirit of power, and of love, and of a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7)
  116. called with an holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9)
  117. indwelt by the Holy Spirit (2 Timothy 1:14)
  118. delivered from every evil work (2 Timothy 4:18)
  119. preserved unto the Lord’s heavenly kingdom (2 Timothy 4:18)
  120. eternal life (Titus 1:2)

Indeed, we are “complete in Christ” (Colossians 2:10).

HAPPY THANKSGIVING FROM arC MINISTRIES!

Also see:
» Can Christians lose their salvation?
» Was God unfair to punish us for Adam’s sin?
» Can God really use even me?

Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath days?

WHY DID JESUS CHRIST HEAL ON THE SABBATH DAYS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Law of Moses forbade Jews from working on the Saturday Sabbath, so, it is asked, why did the Lord Jesus Christ heal the sick and cast out devils on the Sabbath? Was it just to anger the Pharisees and the other hypocritical religious leaders of Israel? We will examine some of these Sabbath-day miracles in detail so as to understand why Jesus Christ behaved in such a unique manner. I believe that you will find the explanation quite fascinating. Let us search the Scriptures and see what they have to say about this often-misunderstood issue.

THE SABBATH DAY COMMANDMENT

It is common knowledge that the LORD told Israel in the Ten Commandments as given through Moses: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it” (Exodus 20:8-11). This was repeated in Deuteronomy 5:13-15. The Jews were not to work on the Sabbath day at all. In fact, one who picked up sticks on the Sabbath was stoned to death, as God instructed (Numbers 15:32-36)!

CHRIST’S SABBATH-DAY HEALING MIRACLES

There is no Scriptural way to prove exactly how many Sabbath-day miracles Jesus Christ performed. The Bible only records details about some of these miracles; the others are mentioned in a general context, such as “great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all” (Matthew 12:15)—verse 1 says that this was the Sabbath day. Our goal is to highlight the Sabbath-day miracles about which the Bible provides specific information, and thus we will better understand why Jesus Christ did what He did on the Sabbath days.

In Matthew 12:10-15, Mark 3:1-6, and Luke 6:6-11, the Lord Jesus healed a man’s withered hand on the Sabbath day. Since it was the Sabbath day, this angered Israel’s religious leaders who worshipped the Sabbath, so the Pharisees “held a council against him, how they might destroy him” (Matthew 12:14; Mark 3:6; Luke 6:11). Again, in Luke 13:10-16, there is a humpback woman, crippled and unable to stand up straight. Jesus Christ heals her too on the Sabbath day. On another Sabbath day, as documented in Luke 14:1-4, Christ heals a man who suffers from dropsy (edema). We see yet another instance of Jesus Christ healing a lame man on the Sabbath day in John 5:1-16. Let us examine a few of these passages in detail in order to gain a better understanding of why Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath.

According to Luke 13:10-16, the Lord Jesus Christ is teaching in the synagogues on the Sabbath days. On one Sabbath, He heals a humpback Jewess. Verse 14 says that the ruler of synagogue is angry because Jesus has healed her on the Sabbath day. Jesus Christ responds (verses 15-16): “[15] Thou hypocrite, doth not each one of you on the sabbath loose his ox or his ass from the stall, and lead him away to watering? [16] And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on this sabbath day?”

Notice that Jesus refers specifically to Abraham’s children (the Jews, the nation Israel). Also, recognize that Satan has bound this Jewess, and Jesus Christ is the only one who can free her. Christ looses her from that spiritual bondage on the Sabbath day: remember, her physical illness symbolizes her spiritual illness (sin nature, captive to Satan).

Now, we look at John 5:1-16. In Jerusalem, there is a pool where the mute, the crippled, the blind, and other sick people go to be healed. An angel occasionally comes down and stirs the water. The first person to get into the water immediately after the angel comes, will be made whole (healed). One man sitting beside the pool has been unable to walk for 38 years (verse 5). The Lord Jesus Christ sees the crippled man waiting by the pool, so He asks the sick man if he wants to be healed. Jesus instantly heals the man (verse 9). This was on the Sabbath day, so Israel’s religious leaders are upset again (verses 9,16,18).

Let us briefly look at why God established the Sabbath day, and then we will come back to Christ’s earthly ministry.

THE SABBATH DAY ESTABLISHED

The Bible first mentions the Sabbath day in Genesis 2:1-3 (by the way, the Sabbath is Saturday, never Sunday, in Scripture). Then, the Bible does not speak of the Sabbath day again until Moses, some 2,500 years later. As we saw in some opening comments, in the Mosaic Law, the LORD demanded that Israel “keep the Sabbath holy.” The LORD commanded Israel not to do any work on the Sabbath—they were to rest on the Sabbath (Leviticus 23:3). Instead, every Jew was to spend the Sabbath day thinking about God’s purpose in creation and, thus, the nation Israel’s role in His plan for the earth (Exodus 31:13-18; Exodus 35:2-3).

So, what was God’s purpose in creation, when He rested on that first Sabbath back in Genesis chapter 2? Psalm 132:8 reads, “Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength.” Verses 13 and 14 tell us: “[13] For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. [14] This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.” God’s purpose in creating the earth was to set up an earthly kingdom, which He had planned from the time He created the world (Matthew 25:34). Had sin not entered into creation with the fall of Adam and man, God would have come down and lived on planet earth the Sabbath that followed the first Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3. This is why God referred to the Promised Land as His “rest” (see Hebrews 3:6-19 and Hebrews 4:1-11). God, in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ, was to come and rest in Israel’s land, to enjoy His purpose and plan for creation, for all the work of creation was now finished.

However, we understand that sin interrupted God’s plan, and that earthly kingdom did not come about in Genesis. Instead, beginning with Abram (Abraham) in Genesis chapter 12, God started a new race of people, the nation Israel. God would make Israel His chosen people on earth. Once saved, the Jews would restore God’s authority in the earth (which had been lost when Adam fell, and man’s dominion on the earth was passed to Satan; cf. Genesis 1:28; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:2). To the nation Israel God would give that earthly kingdom that He planned backed with Adam and creation (Exodus 19:3-6). When the Jews kept the Sabbath holy every week, they were continually reminded of that earthly kingdom and their role in God’s purpose and plan for creating the earth.

Unfortunately, Satan polluted the nation Israel with pagan idolatry, false religion: also, he sent false prophets to mislead Israel, and his evil spirits seduced and possessed Jews (Deuteronomy 13:1-18; Jeremiah 6:13; Acts 8:7-24; Acts 13:6-8; 2 Peter 2:1-3; et al.). As long as Satan kept Israel in spiritual bondage, the Jews could not be the vessels that God had intended them to be. This continued throughout the Old Testament, whose prophets emphatically preached of Israel’s coming kingdom. Finally, Jesus Christ, Israel’s King-Redeemer was born, and He came to usher in their kingdom. However, that earthly kingdom was further postponed when the Jews rejected and crucified Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross. Had Israel accepted Jesus as her Messiah-King 2,000 years ago, that earthly kingdom would have been set up. But, that kingdom will not be established until the Second Coming of Christ, some 6,000 years since creation, and a day beyond even our time!

Israel had forgotten the meaning of the first Sabbath day. By the time Jesus Christ showed up in Matthew, Israel was worshipping the Sabbath instead of worshipping the God of the Sabbath. Israel had no idea what the Sabbath day was all about.

JESUS CHRIST, “THE SON OF MAN,” AND “LORD OF THE SABBATH DAY:” HIS SABBATH-DAY MIRACLE-MINISTRY EXPLAINED

On three occasions, Jesus Christ called Himself, “The Son of Man, Lord of the Sabbath Day” (Matthew 12:8; Mark 2:28; Luke 6:5). What did He mean? It meant that He ordained that first Sabbath day of Genesis 12:1-3: He knew the significance of the Sabbath, that it was established to glorify Him instead of merely provide Israel’s religious leaders with a nice law to observe and feel pious. He was saying that Israel’s religious leaders had no idea what Sabbath day-worship really was! Jesus Christ was the perfect Man, “the Son of Man,” as opposed to sinful Adam or sinful Israel, for He was the Man who would accomplish Father God’s original intention in creation. Jesus Christ was also the LORD God manifest in human flesh, the Person whom creation was to glorify (Colossians 1:16-20).

We thus understand why Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath day. When Israel’s Messiah and King (Jesus) came, as documented in the Bible books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, there was a spike in the number of devil-possessed and sick Jews. As long as Israel was in spiritual darkness and satanic bondage, God could not use them in their kingdom to evangelize Gentiles. Do you remember the humpback woman in Luke 13:16, whom we briefly discussed earlier? “And ought not this woman, being a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan hath bound, lo, these eighteen years, be loosed from this bond on the Sabbath day?” That physically-crippled woman was spiritually-impotent Israel, firmly bound by Satan’s chains and spiritually blind! The Jews were to be released from that satanic bondage on the Sabbath, the Millennial (1000-Year) Reign of Christ, the period of “rest” that the Saturday Sabbath typified.

Notice what Mark 5:10 says: “And he [the unclean spirit] besought him [the Lord Jesus Christ] much that he would not send them away out of the country.” The devils do not want to be cast out of “the country.” They do not want to be cast out of the land of Israel! Furthermore, the devils rightly claim Jesus Christ has come to destroy them by setting up His kingdom and binding them.

The Lord Jesus Christ told the Jews whom He healed that their sins are forgiven (Matthew 9:2; Mark 2:5; Luke 5:20; Luke 7:48). Jesus is casting out devils and healing all manners of disease and sickness and preaching “the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 9:35; cf. Matthew 4:17). He also sends out His 12 apostles to heal and preach “the gospel of the kingdom (Matthew 10:1-8). The Lord Jesus is demonstrating to Israel the healing, prosperity, and forgiveness that God would provide for the Jews during their earthly kingdom. The “binding of the strong man” is Jesus Christ casting Satan out of Israel’s midst (Matthew 12:24-32; Mark 3:22-30; Luke 11:15-26).

Notice Matthew 12:15, which occurred right after the healing of the man with the withered hand (recall that it was on the Sabbath). “But when Jesus knew it, he withdrew himself from thence: and great multitudes followed him, and he healed them all.” Here is an example of Jesus healing multitudes of people on the Sabbath. This healed multitude also symbolized Israel being healed in her earthly kingdom.

Jesus Christ is not only healing Israel physically, but spiritually as well. Every time Christ cast out a devil (unclean spirit), He was diminishing Satan’s influence over the nation Israel. Interestingly, the crippled man in John 5:5 had been handicapped for 38 years. Amazingly, Deuteronomy 2:14 said that Israel wandered in the wilderness for 38 years. During that period, the Jews were rebellious and spiritually crippled, unable to enter the Promised Land, the earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ.

When Jesus healed the man suffering from dropsy in Luke 14:1-4, recall that He healed him too on the Sabbath day. This sick man also symbolized Israel, spiritually impotent and under Satan’s control. Again, by healing the sick, especially on the Sabbath day, Jesus was demonstrating to the Jews that their earthly kingdom would bring spiritual and physical healing. The man whose withered hand was healed on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10-15; Mark 3:1-6; Luke 6:6-11) also symbolized Israel’s physical and spiritual healing in her coming kingdom.

Another example of Israel being devil-possessed is the man indwelt by the unclean spirit in Mark 1:21-27 and Luke 4:31-36. Notice that the unclean spirit asked Jesus (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34): “Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God.” The devil knew exactly what Christ was there to do! Christ was there to destroy Satan’s stronghold on the nation Israel. He was here to bring in the kingdom that the Sabbath day had shadowed for some 1,500 years!

In contrast to such wonderful news, that God was there to break Satan’s grip of Israel, deliver her from her sins and free her from satanic and Gentile oppressions, Israel did not have hearts willing to listen to the doctrine being communicated by Jesus Christ’s Sabbath-day miracles. The Pharisees and scribes had such a formalistic mindset that they completely missed the point of why Jesus Christ was healing on the Sabbath. Hence, they condemned Him as a “blasphemer” and a “law-breaker.” They were too preoccupied with keeping the Sabbath (vain religious tradition) that they had lost sight of why God had implemented Sabbath day keeping in the first place!

Additionally, they completely missed the point that by performing those miracles, Jesus was proving that He was their Messiah. However, these religious leaders had wicked hearts of unbelief, and they used anything to discredit Jesus Christ, and thus accused Him of Sabbath day breaking. They did not have hearts of faith or spiritual eyes to see the meaning of those Sabbath-day miracles of Christ. In their hypocrisy, these unbelievers had totally missed the fact that they broke the Sabbath when they circumcised a male Jew on the Sabbath when it was the eighth day (John 7:22-24). Even today, Bible critics complain that Jesus Christ broke the Sabbath day on many occasions—they too have no idea what the Sabbath day means, or they would not utter such rash comments!

While the Sabbath day was important, it was a ceremonial law. Sometimes, the Sabbath day needed to be broken (such as in the case of physical circumcision). Furthermore, Jesus Christ spoke of loosing or helping animals on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:11,12; Luke 14:5); Moses made provisions for such actions on the Sabbath (see Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:4). As to not infringe on other aspects of the Mosaic Law, the Sabbath day would need to be broken—these laws took preeminence above the Sabbath keeping because they were the right things to do. Yet, the religious leaders of Israel did not want to admit that Jesus healing on the Sabbath was good and acceptable. They were cold and heartless, as religionists as today. They would rather have sick people remain ill than disobey a church law!

When Jesus and His disciples were passing through a grain field, and His hungry disciples ate some of the crops, the Pharisees complained that they were working on the Sabbath. One of the questions Jesus asked the Pharisees is the following excerpt from Matthew chapter 12: “[5] Or have ye not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? [6] But I say unto you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. [7] But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. [8] For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” The Lord Jesus explained that certain activities had preeminence to Sabbath-day rest, and two of them were having compassion on the hungry (David and his men eating the shewbread; Matthew 12:3-4) and the priests of Israel having to offer sacrifices on the Sabbath. Even Israel’s priests had to break the Sabbath day. We saw earlier how they circumcised male Jewish babies on the Sabbath, but let us look at another example of how Israel’s priests were to work on the Sabbath.

In Numbers 28:3, JEHOVAH commanded Israel through Moses, “This is the offering made by fire which ye shall offer unto the Lord; two lambs of the first year without spot day by day, for a continual burnt offering.” Every day, no matter what day it was, these two lambs were to be offered—one lamb in the morning and the other lamb in the evening. Even on the Sabbath day, JEHOVAH said, the priests were to minister in the Tabernacle or Temple in this manner. The priests were to work in the Tabernacle or Temple on the Sabbath. Verses 9-10 discuss special offerings that were also to be offered on the Sabbath day: “[9] And on the sabbath day two lambs of the first year without spot, and two tenth deals of flour for a meat offering, mingled with oil, and the drink offering thereof: [10] This is the burnt offering of every sabbath, beside the continual burnt offering, and his drink offering.” In addition to their daily routine, the priests had two more burnt offerings to sacrifice on the Sabbath day. Notice how JEHOVAH gave Israel’s priesthood the permission to infringe upon Sabbath-day keeping: the priests could not rest on the Sabbath, otherwise they would disobey other commandments of JEHOVAH.

CONCLUSION

Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath day? He did it to demonstrate “the powers of the world to come” (Hebrews 2:3-5; Hebrews 6:4-6). The Old Testament prophesied that when Israel’s God would come, the lame man would leap, the mute would sing, the blind would see, and the deaf would hear (Isaiah 35:4-6). When Israel’s Messiah would come, there would be no unclean spirits in Israel’s land (Zechariah 13:1-2). By performing the healing miracles, especially on the Sabbath, Jesus Christ was fulfilling what the Old Testament had predicted all the way back to the Creation Week!

There will be no sickness or suffering in the kingdom when Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming (Isaiah 11:6-9; Isaiah 33:23,24; Isaiah 35:3-6; James 5:14-16). God will cause the evil spirits to pass from the land of Israel (Zechariah 13:1-2)—during the Millennial Reign of Christ, Satan will be bound in the bottomless pit (Revelation 20:1-3,7). By performing those miracles, Christ was showing Israel the healing and forgiveness that would take place in His millennial kingdom! Moreover, the Jews needed signs and wonders before they would believe God, and Christ’s miracles taught Israel what He was going to do with them (Exodus 4:1-8; John 4:48; 1 Corinthians 1:22). Now you know why the Lord Jesus Christ healed on the Sabbath.

Also see:
» Is the Sabbath day Saturday or Sunday? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Should I observe the Sabbath day? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Why did Jesus and His apostles cast out devils? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

Should I recite “The Lord’s Prayer?”

SHOULD I RECITE “THE LORD’S PRAYER?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is Christendom’s official prayer: it is uttered ad nauseum in nearly every “Christian” setting. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most uttered prayers in all of the professing Church’s history. Actually, a better title for this prayer is, “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer,” since Jesus never prayed it (John chapter 17 is the true “Lord’s Prayer”). Should we recite “The Lord’s Prayer?” If we are Bible believers, we are going to believe what the Bible says. Let us see what the Bible says about this special prayer, that we may have “joy and peace in believing.”

Despite its constant and widespread recitation, there is almost no understanding as to what the phrases and petitions in the “Our Father” Prayer actually mean. In 1 Corinthians 14:15, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also.” In Paul’s mind, prayer was an action in which one understood the words he or she was uttering. If we do not understand the meaning of the contents of the “Our Father” Prayer, how can we expect our recitation of it will glorify and honor the Lord Jesus Christ? Unfortunately, prayer in much of Christendom is often repetitious utterances mindlessly spoken because of “religious duty.” The purpose of prayer in the Bible is thus overlooked.

Due to Christendom’s persistent failure to “study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), it has greatly erred doctrinally. Prayer in Christendom is usually worthless tradition or misapplied Scripture because dispensational Bible study has been either innocently or deliberately ignored. The dispensational changes evident in God’s Word are overlooked: verses that do not describe anything that God is doing today, are forced onto us as if they did apply to us today. Israel’s verses are taken and often applied to us, the Church the Body of Christ. No wonder people get confused regarding Scripture. No wonder people stumble over the so-called Bible “contradictions.” We will search the Scriptures to discover that the so-called “Lord’s Prayer” is a beautiful summary of Israel’s program, and that it actually has nothing to do with any Christian today. Eliminating the static due to religious tradition, we present to you “the official prayer of Christendom” in “HD,” with unparalleled clarity.

First, read the entire “Our Father” Prayer (Matthew 6:9-13): “[9] After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. [10] Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven. [11] Give us this day our daily bread. [12] And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors. [13] And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.”

We will now dissect this prayer in order to understand its individual clauses and concepts.

“AFTER THIS MANNER THEREFORE PRAY YE: OUR FATHER….” (MATTHEW 6:9)

The “Our Father” Prayer begins, of course, with “Our Father.” Who is the “our” in “Our Father?” Why are they calling God “Father?” What is the significance of God being “in heaven?” Remember, contrary to common belief, Jesus Christ did not minister to us Gentiles in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Jesus stated, “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 15:24; cf. Romans 15:8). The “Our Father” is Israel’s model prayer—the “ye” of Matthew 6:9 is Israel’s believing remnant. Jesus is speaking to Israel, not us, in Matthew 6:9.

“Father” denotes origin. When Israel called God “Father,” they were acknowledging He gave birth to them (Deuteronomy 32:6; 1 Chronicles 29:10; Psalm 89:26). God gave birth to national Israel when He delivered them from Egyptian bondage (“Israel is my son, even my firstborn;” Exodus 4:22-23; cf. Hosea 11:1). Israel is to renounce Satan as their spiritual father (John 8:42-44), discard their pagan idols whom they foolishly called “father” (Jeremiah 2:27), and declare, “O LORD, thou art our father(Isaiah 64:8).

Israel’s believing remnant will say in the future: “Doubtless thou art our father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not: thou, O LORD, art our father, our redeemer; thy name is from everlasting” (Isaiah 63:16). Jeremiah 3:19 speaks of Israel’s future restoration: “But I [the LORD] said, How shall I put thee among the children, and give thee a pleasant land, a goodly heritage of the hosts of nations? and I said, Thou shalt call me, My father; and shalt not turn away from me.” Malachi 2:10 asks Israel, “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us? why do we deal treacherously every man against his brother, by profaning the covenant of our fathers?”

“WHICH ART IN HEAVEN….” (MATTHEW 6:9)

God was to dwell with Israel on earth (Job 19:25-27; Isaiah 2:1-5; Daniel 2:34-35,44; Zechariah 8:23), and yet He is in heaven. Israel is here acknowledging her fall into sin (Deuteronomy 32:15; Hosea 1:2; Acts 7:38-43,51-53), and her delaying God’s earthly kingdom (2 Chronicles 7:19-22); in the future seven-year Tribulation, believing Israel will acknowledge this. JEHOVAH said to unbelieving, apostate, rebellious Israel in Hosea’s day, “I will go and return to my place [heaven], till they acknowledge their offence, and seek my face: in their affliction they will seek me early” (Hosea 5:15).

When Jesus Christ died, God’s presence left the Temple in Jerusalem, and the veil was rent from top to bottom (Matthew 27:51; Mark 15:38; Luke 23:45). Jesus had said to Jerusalem, “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth, till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord” (Matthew 23:38,24). Israel will not say this until Jesus Christ returns at His Second Coming (Psalm 118:26).

By uttering the “Our Father Prayer,” Israel is asking JEHOVAH to come back to them, to return to planet Earth and be Emmanuel, “God with us” (Isaiah 7:14; Zechariah 8:23; Matthew 1:23).

“HALLOWED BE THY NAME….” (MATTHEW 6:9)

Israel is recognizing JEHOVAH as separate from the pagan gods and goddesses they historically served. Unlike Moses (Deuteronomy 32:51), Israel is praising His name as holy. Isaiah 8:13 urged sinful Israel: Sanctify [Hallow] the LORD of hosts himself; let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” Israel’s believing remnant will also honor (“sanctify”) JEHOVAH’S name in the last days (Isaiah 29:23).

Speaking of her restoration to God, the Bible says about Israel in Ezekiel 39:27-29: “[27] When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations; [28] Then shall they know that I am the LORD their God, which caused them to be led into captivity among the heathen: but I have gathered them unto their own land, and have left none of them any more there. [29] Neither will I hide my face any more from them: for I have poured out my spirit upon the house of Israel, saith the Lord GOD.”

Ezekiel 28:25, speaking of Israel’s future restoration, says: “Thus saith the Lord GOD; When I shall have gathered the house of Israel from the people among whom they are scattered, and shall be sanctified in them in the sight of the heathen, then shall they dwell in their land that I have given to my servant Jacob.” Ezekiel 39:27 amplifies: “When I have brought them again from the people, and gathered them out of their enemies’ lands, and am sanctified in them in the sight of many nations;…” Ezekiel 20:41 again confirms: “I will accept you with your sweet savour, when I bring you out from the people, and gather you out of the countries wherein ye have been scattered; and I will be sanctified in you before the heathen.” And Ezekiel 36:23, “And I will sanctify my great name, which was profaned among the heathen, which ye have profaned in the midst of them; and the heathen shall know that I am the LORD, saith the Lord GOD, when I shall be sanctified in you before their eyes.” Jeremiah 3:22 is an example of how Israel will sanctify or hallow JEHOVAH’S name: “Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your backslidings. Behold, we come unto thee; for thou art the LORD our God.”

“THY KINGDOM COME….” (MATTHEW 6:10)

In this first petition of the “Our Father” Prayer, Israel’s believing remnant is acknowledging that their nation’s fall into sin postponed God’s earthly kingdom, but they are now ready to receive it. The New (heavenly) Jerusalem will “come down from God out of heaven” and be established on earth (Revelation 21:1-4). This “heaven on earth” kingdom was Israel’s hope throughout the Old Testament (Deuteronomy 11:21; Psalm 45:6,7; Isaiah 9:6,7; Daniel 2:35,44; Zechariah 9:9-10; et al.) and Israel’s believing remnant during Christ’s earthly ministry anticipated it (Luke 1:67-79; Luke 2:25-38; Luke 24:21; et al.). Jesus and His disciples preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 10:7; Mark 1:15; et al.). Israel’s believing remnant, in the future, will pray for God’s earthly kingdom to come, and her Messiah Jesus will be returning (His Second Coming) to establish it (Revelation 5:10; Revelation 11:15; Revelation 20:4; et al.). Father God said of Jesus Christ: “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion” (Psalm 2:6,7).

“THY WILL BE DONE IN EARTH, AS IT IS IN HEAVEN….” (MATTHEW 6:10)

Satan has polluted heaven and earth with sin (Job 15:15; Isaiah 14:14; 2 Corinthians 4:4; Galatians 1:4; Ephesians 2:2; Ephesians 6:12). By the time Israel’s believing remnant is living during the (future) seven-year Tribulation, we the Church the Body of Christ will already be raptured into heaven, ruling and reigning for God’s glory there. Halfway through those seven years, Satan and his angels will be cast out of heaven (that is, the second heaven, outer space) and confined to earth (Revelation 12:7-9); we will occupy their vacated offices of government in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20-23; Ephesians 2:6-7; Philippians 3:20-21).

God will restore heaven to Himself first, He will glorify His Son Jesus in heaven first, and His purpose and plan will be accomplished in heaven first. Israel’s believing remnant, knowing this, will pray the second petition that God’s will on earth—His earthly kingdom—be accomplished AS His heavenly kingdom was established. They want Jesus Christ to come and cleanse planet earth of Satan’s activity as He cleansed the heavens of Satan’s activity.

“GIVE US THIS DAY OUR DAILY BREAD.” (MATTHEW 6:11)

Although God raining down manna (bread) for Israel to eat is very well known, the prophetic aspect is seldom realized: God will feed Israel again with manna during the seven-year Tribulation. The following Scriptures have a dual application—they are history and prophecy. “Feed thy people with thy rod,… as in the days of old. According to the days of [Israel’s] coming out of the land of Egypt…” (Micah 7:14,15). The psalmist recounted God giving manna to stubborn, ungrateful Israel under Moses’s leadership (Psalm 78:19,20): “Yea, they spake against God; they said, Can God furnish a table in the wilderness? Behold, he smote the rock, that the waters gushed out, and the streams overflowed; can he give bread also? can he provide flesh for his people?” The psalmist David wrote, “Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies” (Psalm 23:5).

When the Jews in the area of Judaea hear the news of the Antichrist desecrating the newly-rebuilt Temple in Jerusalem, God through the Scriptures will instruct them to flee to the mountains (Matthew 24:15-22; Mark 13:14-20). Their evacuation is urgent, and they are not to waste time gathering their material possessions. These Jews will escape into the wilderness, lacking food, shelter, and extra clothes. God will miraculously provide for them, just as He did for Israel in Moses’s day. Revelation 12:6 supplements: “And the woman fled into the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore days.” God will take care of this believing remnant of Israel or the last three-and-one-half years of the Tribulation (the 1,260 days referenced). This “hidden manna” of Revelation 2:17 will rain down for the last 42 months of the seven years. As Jesus Christ taught, Israel’s believing remnant will literally rely on God for their daily food; thus, their third petition is, “Give us this day, our daily bread,” reminding themselves that He will meet all their physical needs as He promised (Matthew 6:24-34; Luke 12:22-32).

We have no reason to pray the “Our Father” prayer because we do not depend on God for our daily food; our pantries are stocked with food to last for weeks. The Jews of Revelation 12:6 will be unable to work for their food, so God will honor their faith and feed them. Our Apostle Paul tells us that if we want to eat, we must work (2 Thessalonians 3:10)! Yet, according to the “Our Father” Prayer, notice that the Jews are instructed to pray for daily bread rather than work for it (cf. Luke 11:3).

“AND FORGIVE US OUR DEBTS, AS WE FORGIVE OUR DEBTORS” (MATTHEW 6:12)

Like the second petition of verse 10, this fourth petition also utilizes a comparison. Once Jesus Christ concludes the “Our Father” Prayer, in verses 14 and 15, He elaborates on this principle of forgiveness: “[14] For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you: [15] But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Notice how God instructed Israel to pray in her prophetic program. They were to ask God for forgiveness so they could be forgiven. In other words, their forgiveness from God depended on whether or not they forgave others. This principle is in perfect accordance with the Law, the operating system of Israel’s program. Israel’s incentive to forgive others is so that she can get forgiveness from God. This performance-based acceptance system of Law is delineated so clearly in Deuteronomy chapter 28. If Israel was to receive God’s blessings, she had to obey all of His commandments. If Israel disobeyed, she received curses and judgments. God accepted these Jews on the basis of what they did by faith (see James 2:14-26): faith was the foremost issue for Israel, but they also needed works (physical circumcision, water baptism, confession of sins, et cetera).

Contrast this with what the Apostle Paul wrote to us in the mystery program, the Dispensation of Grace, “And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you (Ephesians 4:32) Colossians 2:13 supplements, God… having forgiven you all trespasses.” In our Dispensation of Grace, God has already forgiven us because of Jesus Christ’s perfect sacrifice on Calvary, and it is on this basis of God’s grace to us in Christ that we forgive others. We are under grace, not law (Romans 6:14); we do not appeal to Israel’s legalistic doctrine, for it is not God’s will for us. Just as God for Jesus Christ’s sake has forgiven us of all our sins—past, present, and future—we are to forgive others. Unless we “rightly divide the word of truth,” approaching the Bible dispensationally (2 Timothy 2:15), Matthew 6:12,14,15 will appear to be contradictions when examined in light of Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 2:13, and Colossians 3:13.

“AND LEAD US NOT INTO TEMPTATION, BUT DELIVER US FROM EVIL:” (MATTHEW 6:13)

This fifth and final petition does not involve a daily temptation we all face. Remember, God does not force anyone to sin, and He does not lead anyone to sin: sin is the result of a bad thought in the mind of the one committing the sinful deed. “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: but every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed” (James 1:13-14).

Actually, the “temptation” in this petition refers to the seven-year Tribulation, when Israel’s believing remnant will be tested, tried—persecuted and greatly pressured into following Satan’s policy of evil. Specifically, Israel’s little flock of believers will be imprisoned and executed for refusing to follow the antichrist and his satanic religion (Psalm 10:1-18; Daniel 7:19-25; Revelation 13:15; et al.); this is the “evil” (world system) from which believing Israel wants to be delivered. The way these Jews “overcome” the Antichrist and Satan is to die for Jesus Christ (Matthew 10:16-28; Revelation 6:9-11; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 15:2; Revelation 20:4; et al.). See also Psalm 37:1-40. During the Tribulation period, these believing Jews will be tempted to follow the Antichrist and accept his mark and/or worship his image, or face death/martyrdom (Revelation 13:7-18). These believing Jews are praying for protection and that they will not accept the Antichrist.

“FOR THINE IS THE KINGDOM, AND THE POWER, AND THE GLORY, FOR EVER.” (MATTHEW 6:13)

Absent from the modern English perversions and their underlying corrupt Greek manuscripts, this doxology is found in the majority of Greek New Testament manuscripts and it belongs in the Bible text just as the King James translators’ inclusion affirms. God, in His great power, will deliver Israel’s believing remnant from the Tribulation’s horrors and deception, and He will resurrect them and bring them into His earthly kingdom (which Jesus Christ will establish at His Second Coming, after those seven years), thereby glorifying God forever (Revelation 11:15-17).

Interestingly, the doxology of The “Our Father” Prayer is very similar to the doxology of King David’s prayer to JEHOVAH God: “Thine, O LORD is the greatness, and the power, and the glory, and the victory, and the majesty: for all that is in the heaven and in the earth is thine; thine is the kingdom, O LORD, and thou art exalted as head above all” (1 Chronicles 29:11).

“AMEN.” (MATTHEW 6:13)

Hebrew for “so be it.”

THE TWO RULES ASSOCIATED WITH THE “OUR FATHER” PRAYER

Before Jesus gave them that model prayer, the “Our Father” Prayer, He gave two rules. Matthew 6:5-8: “[5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. [6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly. [7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. [8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

Firstly, Jesus said they were not to pray like the hypocrites (such as the Pharisees), who prayed publicly merely to be seen of others: believing Israel was to pray privately in prayer closets: “[5] And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be as the hypocrites are: for they love to pray standing in the synagogues and in the corners of the streets, that they may be seen of men. Verily I say unto you, They have their reward. [6] But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly” (verses 5,6).

Secondly, Jesus told them not to pray like the heathen, either: “[7] But when ye pray, use not vain repetitions, as the heathen do: for they think that they shall be heard for their much speaking. [8] Be not ye therefore like unto them: for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (verses 7,8). These Gentiles, Jesus said, talked much in prayer because they were trying to get their god’s attention. The pagans mindlessly repeated the same empty words, hoping “their much speaking” in prayer would result in a “divine” response (remember, they were certainly not praying to Israel’s God, the God of Scripture). According to the Lord, “vain repetitions” are what the “heathen” pray. God wants intelligent prayer with faith, not mindless repetition of words whose meanings we do not understand. (Interestingly, the New American [Catholic] Bible says, “In praying, do not babble like the pagans,….” This dishonest wording conceals Jesus’s explicit forbiddance of “repetitious” prayer, which Christendom prefers instead of God’s will anyway.) Believing Israel, surrounded by the pagan Romans, could have easily fallen into the trap of praying like those heathen, mindlessly repeating words to gain attention from any deity that would capitulate to their petitions. In Matthew 6:7-8, Jesus Christ was very careful in warning Israel not to err in that regard.

Jesus Christ comforted believing Israel. He explained to them that they did not have to waste their time in mindless, repetitious prayer to get JEHOVAH’S attention. JEHOVAH, Israel’s God, was a God of great love and faithfulness. He knew the needs of His people, and never would He fail them. They simply needed to study and meditate on His Word to them, and that would be the type of prayer that He would answer. JEHOVAH was fully aware of their needs, so “vain repetitions” were unnecessary. They simply needed to remember His Word to them.

The “Our Father” Prayer mentions three main needs of Israel: material blessings (particularly food), forgiveness, and deliverance from Satan’s world system into Christ’s kingdom. Jesus so clearly declared, “For your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him” (Matthew 6:8). The “Our Father” Prayer is Israel’s way of asking JEHOVAH for things He already said He would give them anyway! (Thus, it is senseless for us Gentiles to pray it in the Dispensation of Grace.)

At this point, one may ask, “If God already knew Israel’s needs, why did Israel have to ask Him for them?” The “Our Father” Prayer is how Israel communes with (fellowships with) her God at a very intimate level. She is memorizing God’s Word to her, speaking it back to Him, and her exaltation of His Word is what honors Him. May we learn God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon), and may we continually dwell on those precious grace truths, thereby honoring Jesus Christ just as much as the “Our Father” Prayer praises Him in Israel’s program.

CONCLUSION

The reader is thus greatly cautioned, for Christendom not only misunderstands the “Our Father” Prayer, but it also misuses it. Again, before Jesus even gave Israel this model prayer, He instructed them, “use not vain repetitions” because that was the manner of pagans (lost people, those going to hell). Yet, millions in Christendom today utter the “Our Father” Prayer over and over and over and over and over, completely disregarding its context and breaking the two rules Jesus attached to it. The “Our Father” Prayer is mindlessly repeated in public in circumstances that really have nothing to do with its contents. The so-called “Lord’s Prayer”—more aptly, the “Our Father Prayer”—has nothing to do with us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Its contents do not apply to our dispensation. However, the “Our Father” Prayer is very appropriate in Israel’s kingdom program, its context.

By studying the contents of this prayer, we saw that it neither applies to us nor describes what God is doing today in this, the Dispensation of His Grace. This prayer is a summary of Israel’s prophetic program—it opens and closes with a doxology (Israel’s praise of God), and its five petitions involve God’s Word to Israel. We can and do study this prayer and we can and do rejoice in its doctrine. However, we acknowledge that it is God’s Word to Israel in her kingdom program, and we should not steal it and force it into our program. The Lord Jesus Christ provided four large model prayers in Paul’s epistles that involve and describe what God is doing today (Ephesians 1:15-23; Ephesians 3:14-21; Philippians 1:9-11; Colossians 1:9-13). May we study these prayers and understood their contents, so we can enjoy our fellowship with God and talk to Him in light of His Word to us, just as believing Israel delighted in His Word to them and they spoke to Him about it.

The immediate context of Matthew 6:7-8 is Jesus Christ instructing His believing remnant in Israel how to pray (the “Our Father” Prayer immediately follows those verses). The broader context is His famous “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapters 5-7), a summary of God’s earthly kingdom program for Israel. While often ignored, Matthew 6:7-8 is necessary to appreciate the overall purpose of the “Our Father” Prayer. Throughout the Bible, prayer is simply a saint (believer) speaking to God in light of God’s Word to him or her. Jesus Christ knew His disciples needed a model prayer, a way to remind themselves of that kingdom doctrine He was teaching them within the wider context.

The so-called “Lord’s Prayer,” actually the “‘Our Father’ Prayer,” is one of Christendom’s favorite prayers. Unfortunately, however, none (!) of the millions who pray it daily understand its contents. Recall what the Apostle Paul wrote, “I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also” (1 Corinthians 14:15). In Paul’s mind, prayer was an intelligent response to God’s Word to him; it was not mindless repetition of religious rhetoric that he memorized or read from a page. Before Jesus Christ gave the “Our Father” Prayer to believing Israel, He established two rules. Firstly, He instructed them not to pray like the hypocrites: they were to pray privately instead of publicly to be seen of people (Matthew 6:5,6). Secondly, He told them not to pray like the heathen: they were to pray intelligently rather than mindlessly utter empty, repetitious prayers (Matthew 6:7,8).

Romans 10:10 says of Israel’s salvation, “For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made nigh unto salvation.” Inside their hearts, believing Jews will trust in Jesus as Messiah, and in their hearts, they will confess the truths of the “Our Father” Prayer as true. Paul spoke of Israel’s future salvation in Romans 11:23, “And they [Israel] also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be grafted in: for God is able to graft them in again.” During the future seven-year Tribulation, the nation Israel will come out of her unbelief by recognizing as true the doctrine of the “Our Father” Prayer.

This concludes our study, “The ‘Our Father’ Prayer in HD.” (Please do not return to low-definition.) 🙂

Also see:
» How should I pray?
» What about hindered prayer and unanswered prayer?
» Should I pray the rosary?
(LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

How is mankind “lower than the angels?”

HOW IS MANKIND “LOWER THAN THE ANGELS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible thrice uses the expression “lower than the angels”—Psalm 8:7, Hebrews 2:7, and Hebrews 2:9. These verses, along with one other, will be helpful in answering our question. To the Scriptures to answer, “How is mankind ‘lower than the angels?’”

Psalm 8 is descriptive of mankind in general, particularly Adam. Mankind was to rule planet earth for God’s glory; it was in God’s foreknowledge to use mankind to defeat Satan and counter his sinful activities.

It would be best to read Psalm 8 in its entirety here: “[1] O LORD, our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth! who hast set thy glory above the heavens. [2] Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings hast thou ordained strength because of thine enemies, that thou mightest still the enemy and the avenger. [3] When I consider thy heavens, the work of thy fingers, the moon and the stars, which thou hast ordained; [4] What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him? [5] For thou hast made him a little lower than the angels, and hast crowned him with glory and honour. [6] Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet: [7] All sheep and oxen, yea, and the beasts of the field; [8] The fowl of the air, and the fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the seas. [9] O LORD our Lord, how excellent is thy name in all the earth!”

Genesis chapter 1 describes the creation week. We want to focus on the creative acts of Day 6: “[26] And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. [27] So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. [28] And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”

It is at this point that we ask an important question. Psalm 8:5 says that God “made [Adam] a little lower than the angels.” Yet, Genesis 1:26-27 says that God “created [Adam] in his own image, in the image of God created he him.” How could Adam be “made in God’s image” and still be “lower than the angels?” It actually is simpler than you might first think.

The writer of the book of Hebrews quotes Psalm 8, demonstrating by the Holy Ghost that that psalm also describes Jesus Christ (who will do what Adam and the rest of mankind failed to do; rule earth for God’s glory). We read in Hebrews chapter 2: “[6] But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that thou visitest him? [7] Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands: [8] Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him. [9] But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

It is at this point that we ask another important question. The Bible is very clear that Jesus Christ is JEHOVAH God the Son manifest in human flesh (John 1:1,14; John 20:28; Philippians 2:6; Revelation 1:8,11,17). Yet, the Bible says that Father God “madest him a little lower than the angels” (verse 7) and “Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death” (verse 8). So, how could Jesus Christ be God and also be “made a little lower than the angels?” If you are observant, you should have noticed that “lower than the angels” is defined within verse 8 of Hebrews chapter 2. (We will focus on that shortly.)

In His discussion with resurrection-denying Sadducees about the raising of the dead in the future, Jesus said in Luke 20:36 that people who die are “equal unto the angels.” “Neither can they die any more: for they are equal unto the angels; and are the children of God, being the children of the resurrection.” To be “equal unto the angels” is to be unable to physically die. So, being “lower than the angels” means that one is a mortal, one who is subject to physical death; unlike humans, no angel dies in the Bible. When Adam sinned, God allowed his body to be subject to physical death. When Jesus Christ became a man, the God-Man, Father God made His physical body, that it be able to physically die on Calvary’s cross for us. Hebrews 2:9 once more: “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”

We are “lower than the angels” in that we are mortal, subject to physical death. However, the good news is that, once we are resurrected with glorified bodies, we will be “equal unto the angels,” meaning that we will never experience physical death again. How simple!

Also see:
» How were Adam and Eve “created in God’s image?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Did Jesus die for “many,” or did He die for “all?” (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Exactly how could Jesus Christ’s death on Calvary sufficiently pay for our sins? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

Is John 1:29 really a reference to Calvary?

IS JOHN 1:29 REALLY A REFERENCE TO CALVARY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

When John the Baptist preached, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29), it is commonly assumed and taught that he was predicting that Jesus Christ was going to Calvary’s cross to die and pay for the world’s sins. Did Messiah’s forerunner really know of Calvary in advance? Beloved, may we have an eye to see what the Holy Spirit has said in His Word, may we have an ear to hear what the Holy Spirit has said in His Word, and may we have a heart to believe what the Holy Spirit has said in His Word. Yes, the Spirit of God will teach us through His Word in order to tell us what He wants us to believe about John 1:29.

Let us begin by reading John 1:29 in full: “The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.” A similar expression is repeated in John 1:36: “And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!”

Paul’s Gospel—Christ’s finished crosswork—is usually read into these verses. While many entertain the idea that John the Baptist was telling his audience that Jesus would go and die for the sins of the world, we would have to disagree with them on the basis of how John worded his claim. The phraseology of the Scriptures is important. As opposed to John saying that Jesus would “die for (or forgive, or cleanse, or make atonement for, et cetera) the sins of the world,” which would be a reference to Calvary, John the Baptist said that Jesus would take away the sin of the world.” The terminology indicates John is referring to Jesus Christ removing sin (the system of sin, or the nature of sin, that is prevalent in creation), sin being the overall cause of sins (the actions). We will now present three reasons from Scripture why we do not believe John 1:28 refers to Calvary.

REASON #1 FOR BELIEVING THAT JOHN 1:29 IS NOT REFERENCING CALVARY

We read the following in Matthew 16:21-23, which is near the end of Jesus’ earthly ministry: “[21] From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. [22] Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. [23] But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.”

If John the Baptist were telling his audience about Calvary back in John 1:29 (at the beginning of Jesus Christ’s ministry, almost three years prior to Matthew chapter 16), then why did Jesus begin to explain His death and resurrection to His disciples in the weeks just prior to them occurring? John the Baptist’s converts—such as the Apostle Andrew—had heard John the Baptist speak (John 1:40), and yet Andrew seemed to know nothing about Jesus’ death in Matthew chapter 16. Notice how in Matthew 16:22-23 that Peter actually began to deny that Jesus was going to die. The Scriptures never indicate Andrew corrected his brother. Andrew heard John’s message, but he did not know about Calvary any more than Peter.

REASON #2 FOR BELIEVING THAT JOHN 1:29 IS NOT REFERENCING CALVARY

John 1:29 could not have been a reference to Calvary, since we read in Luke 18:31-34: “[31] Then he took unto him the twelve, and said unto them, Behold, we go up to Jerusalem, and all things that are written by the prophets concerning the Son of man shall be accomplished. [32] For he shall be delivered unto the Gentiles, and shall be mocked, and spitefully entreated, and spitted on: [33] And they shall scourge him, and put him to death: and the third day he shall rise again. [34] And they understood none of these things: and this saying was hid from them, neither knew they the things which were spoken.”

Jesus Christ is just about a week or two away from dying on Calvary, and the 12 apostles do not have a clue that it is about to happen. Even after He tells them all about His suffering, death, and resurrection, they do not understand because God hid that information from them and they did not know what was spoken! Again, how could Calvary be revealed to John the Baptist, but kept secret from Peter and the 11 (all of whom heard John preach)? It makes no sense.

REASON #3 FOR BELIEVING THAT JOHN 1:29 IS NOT REFERENCING CALVARY

According to Israel’s prophetic program, the schedule in effect when John the Baptist’s ministry was operating, Jesus Christ would not die for the whole world, but only for Israel’s sins. The Old and New Testament Scriptures make this very clear:

  • The Prophet Isaiah, a Jew, wrote in Isaiah 53:8: “…for the transgression of my people was he stricken.” Gentiles were not Isaiah’s people; who were Isaiah’s people? Isaiah was writing strictly about Messiah dying for
  • The angel said in Matthew 1:21: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.” Again, Jesus was a Jew; Gentiles were not “his people.” Jesus was coming to save Israel from their sins.
  • Jesus Himself said in Matthew 20:28: “Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” While this is a favorite verse of Calvinists, this does not refer to Gentiles selected for heaven; in keeping with the earlier divine revelations (see two verses above), Jesus meant that He was coming to die for Israel.

Even after Calvary, Christ’s death was only beneficial for Israel:

  • The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter said to Israel in Acts 3:26: “Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.” There are no Gentiles in this verse.
  • The Apostle Peter and the other apostles said in Acts 5:31: “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

Clearly, John the Baptist would not have been talking about Jesus dying for the sins of the whole world. According to the prophetic program, Jesus would die only for the sins of Israel. Israel, God’s chosen people in the earth, had to be saved first, before they could reach Gentiles, the nations of the world. That was the whole goal of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3).

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul says that Jesus Christ made Paul an apostle so that he could declare to the whole world that Jesus Christ died for all. Paul was the “due-time testifier” of Jesus Christ’s crosswork being available to everyone, Jew and Gentile. We read in 1 Timothy 2:4-7: “[4] [God] 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 [For which purpose] 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.”

Had John the Baptist been preaching that Jesus would die for everyone’s sins, then the apostles of Israel should have done the same thing, and then there would have been no need for Paul’s apostleship. If we make John the Baptist’s message the same as Paul’s Gospel, then Paul’s apostleship and ministry lose their distinction. Whenever Paul’s ministry is attacked, the Lord Jesus Christ whom Paul served, is attacked, for the Lord Jesus Christ magnified Paul’s ministry (Romans 11:13), and Paul’s ministry exalted the Lord Jesus Christ.

WHAT JOHN THE BAPTIST MEANT BY USING THE TERM “THE LAMB OF GOD”

Whenever trying to understand a verse of Scripture, we need to look for similar verses or phraseology elsewhere in the Bible. Let us do that here.

According to The New Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible, the New Testament uses the term “lamb” 30 times to refer to Jesus Christ:

  • The first two times are John 1:29 and John 1:36, the verses we are currently explaining, and they call Jesus Christ “the Lamb of God.”
  • “Lamb” appears a third time in the New Testament in Acts 8:32, when Philip and the Ethiopian eunuch read Isaiah 53:7 to learn that Jesus “was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth.” Here, Jesus Christ is not called a lamb but is rather likened unto a lamb (simile).
  • We read of “lamb” connected to Jesus Christ a fourth time in the New Testament, in 1 Peter 1:19, “[Ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold…] But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and spot….”
  • There are 26 remaining instances of the word “lamb” used to apply to Jesus Christ in the New Testament, and they all appear in the book of the Revelation. It is important to note that, unlike the above four instances being examples of similes (Jesus Christ likened unto a lamb), these instances are used as a proper name. Jesus Christ is called “the Lamb” 26 times in the Revelation. (The serious Bible student will carefully read and consider Revelation 5:6, 8, 12, 13; Revelation 6:1, 16; Revelation 7:9, 10, 14, 17; Revelation 12:11; Revelation 13:8; Revelation 14:1, 4 [x2], 10; Revelation 15:3; Revelation 17:14 [x2]; Revelation 19:7,9; Revelation 21:14,22,23; and Revelation 22:1,3).

In summary, the only Bible book where Jesus Christ is often called “the Lamb” is the book of the Revelation. Although Isaiah, Acts, and Peter liken Jesus to a lamb being led to the slaughter, the title of Him being “the Lamb” (the language of John the Baptist) is identified with a future time, the time well beyond John the Baptist’s day, far beyond Calvary’s day, and actually beyond our day as well. What John the Baptist was talking about was not a lamb that would die on a cross, or a lamb that was meek and lowly, but “the Lamb,” the wrathful Lamb that would take away the wickedness of the world. The main theme of the book of the Revelation is not Jesus dying at Calvary, but rather His glorious return to planet Earth in power, to rid the world of Satan and sin (evil), and to establish His everlasting kingdom of righteousness. The Apostle John wrote how Christ would punish sinners, how He would come to set up His kingdom, how He would stifle satanic activity on Earth, how He would deal with sin promptly.

In fact, we read about thewrath of the Lamb” in Revelation 6:15-17: “[15] And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; [16] And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: [17] For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?”

With this now in mind, we can look again at John the Baptist’s preaching. John the Baptist’s own testimony confirms what he was preaching concerning “the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” The words of the sermons that John the Baptist preached to Israel can be read in Matthew 3:1-12, Mark 1:1-8, Luke 3:1-18, and John 1:15-36. Rather than preaching that Jesus was going to die on a cross, John the Baptist said the following:

  • Matthew 3:7-12: “[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he said unto them, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance: [9] And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. [10] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance. but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.”
  • Luke 3:3,7-9,16-17: “[3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; …. [7] Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? [8] Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. [9] And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire…. [16] John answered, saying unto them all, I indeed baptize you with water; but one mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: [17] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and will gather the wheat into his garner; but the chaff he will burn with fire unquenchable.”

John the Baptist is warning Israel, not of Messiah Jesus coming to die on the cross, but that Messiah Jesus is coming to “baptize with the Holy Ghost” and “baptize with fire” (notice how Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21 agree). Messiah is coming to pour out His Spirit, the Holy Ghost, on those who believe on Him; He is coming to pour out His wrath, the seven-year Tribulation, on those who reject Him. There is a Spirit baptism that can be accepted, which will save a Jew through that wrath, or a Jew can reject Messiah and His Spirit and be destroyed in that wrath. This is exactly what we discussed earlier regarding the events of the book of the Revelation.

John the Baptist had received revelation from Father God (John 1:6ff.), but not full divine revelation as we have in the completed Bible. As his sermons demonstrate, John was waiting for the baptism with the Holy Spirit and the baptism with fire, but they still had not come as much as two years after he began his ministry. John never thought that he would wind up in prison, but he did; he assumed that Messiah would shortly establish His earthly kingdom, where evil kings and wicked religious leaders would be destroyed. Thus, John, once in prison, now discouraged, now “offended in [Jesus],” sent his disciples to Jesus to ask Him if He was the Messiah they had been seeking (Matthew 11:1-6; Luke 7:18-23); John heard about Christ’s compassionate miracles, but was wondering when the Holy Spirit and the wrath were to be poured out.

Thankfully, however, that wrath of God has yet to come on planet Earth. It is still in abeyance—the seven-year Tribulation and the Second Coming of Jesus Christ are still scheduled to occur one day, just not today. Until then, the God of the Bible is so gracious, so longsuffering. Had our Dispensation of Grace not interrupted Israel’s program, prophecy would have finished—the time of God’s wrath on the nation Israel would have transpired and concluded (again, see Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21). John the Baptist talked about this wrath to come and so did James and Peter. Even Jesus had words to say about that wrath that Joel predicted centuries earlier. It was just when that wrath was about to be poured out (Acts chapter 7) that God brought in our program and offered grace and peace to Israel and all the Christ-rejecting world rather than His wrath and war to all the world (Romans 11:31-32). He has delayed that wrath and ushered in our Dispensation of Grace, where all can be saved from His wrath (the Second Coming of Christ and the everlasting lake of fire) by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s sinless bloodshed, His death, His burial, and His resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins. God’s righteousness is ours in Christ, and it is a gift; we cannot work for a gift. May we not procrastinate regarding eternal salvation from our sins. May we rely exclusively on Jesus Christ today, and receive a right standing before God today.

CONCLUSION

The phrase, “The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world,” is best understood in light of Jesus Christ pouring out His wrath on wicked Israel and wicked Gentiles; to make it a reference to Calvary is to contradict the overall testimony of Scripture. It is to diminish Paul’s special ministry and message, and it is to undermine the dispensational layout of the Holy Bible. May we rejoice in these simple truths of God’s Word rightly divided, and may we not be sidetracked by denominationalism.

Also see:
» Why did Jesus stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Why was John the Baptist preaching out in the wilderness?
(LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Did Peter and Paul preach the same Gospel?

Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?

WAS GOD “UNFAIR” TO PUNISH US FOR ADAM’S SIN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A frequent objection raised against the Holy Bible regards the issue of the curse of sin. It is asked, “Why do we have to suffer in a fallen creation because of something Adam did?” Let us be Berean Bible students and search the Scriptures for enlightenment. God’s Holy Word just might surprise us with His answer!

Once Adam ate the forbidden fruit, the Bible says that sin and death entered into the world (Romans 5:12). Historically, this “bondage of corruption” (Romans 8:21) appeared in Genesis chapter 3, and it still exist. All of creation was tainted by sin. Even today, members of the scientific community study the most obvious effects of sin—disease and death. The presence of sin detrimentally revolutionized agriculture and the natural world (including the animal and plant kingdoms), government, marriage and family life, economics, and so on. Our current world is far from what it was originally.

Before we get to the results of Adam’s sin, we want to look at the consequences of Eve’s sin. We read of the LORD’S answer to Eve: “Unto the woman he said, I will greatly multiply thy sorrow and thy conception; in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children; and thy desire shall be to thy husband, and he shall rule over thee” (Genesis 3:16). Do you ever wonder why women experience severe pregnancy and labor pains, why they endure so much sorrow in bringing forth their children? Do you ever wonder why God appointed the husband as the head of wife? The Bible tells us that it is because of Eve’s act of sin, which was influential in Adam’s sin. (For our female readers asking why they have to suffer for Eve’s sin, we will address that concern in due time. It all relates to our original question.)

Ultimately, however, it was Adam’s sin that caused the Fall of the human race. The Bible, in Romans 5:12-19, emphatically states that a man, not a woman, was the primary party to blame. “By one man sin entered into the world, … Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come…. For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; …. For as by one man’s disobedience….”

What are the results of Adam’s sin? We read of this curse God placed on creation, in Genesis 3:17-19: “[17] And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; [18] Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; [19] In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.” Do you ever wonder why life is so miserable for so many? Do you wonder why there are thorns and thistles prevalent in the plant kingdom? Do you ever wonder why labor is so hard, especially farming and the production of enough food for human consumption? Do you ever wonder why people physically die? The Bible clearly declares the answers.

At this point, the question arises in the minds of men and women: “Why do I have to suffer because of Adam’s sin?” Women would ask, “Why do I have to suffer because of Eve’s sin?” These are excellent questions, and the Bible has the answers. How can God be fair in allowing us to suffer the effects of the sins of our parents, Adam and Eve? By asking these questions, we are prompted to discover wonderful, truly wonderful, Bible verses and truths.

All we have to do is read Romans chapter 5. Please be very mindful of the bolded phrases in these verses, which we will briefly analyze after reading that chapter in its entirety here:

“[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. [12] Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned: [13] (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. [14] Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam’s transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come. [15] But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many. [16] And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification. [17] For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.) [18] Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life. [19] For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous. [20] Moreover the law entered, that the offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: [21] That as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord.”

The perceptive Bible student will notice, particularly in verses 12-21, contrasting ideas that can be categorized into two groups. We see the negative—Adam, disobedience, sin, wrath, and death. We also see the positive—Jesus Christ, obedience, righteousness, peace, and life. With that said, we see that there are actually two “federal heads”—two individuals who led two groups of people. Adam leads sinners and Jesus Christ leads saints. There are those who are “in Adam” and who thus share Adam’s identity—sinners. There are those who are “in Christ” and who thus share Christ’s identity (2 Corinthians 5:17)—saints.

Adam represents fallen man and Jesus Christ represents redeemed man. While we do indeed suffer the effects of Adam’s disobedience—a deliberate sin—we can enjoy the benefits of Christ’s obedience to Father God at Calvary’s cross. So, overall, it balances out. Men and women suffer because of Adam’s sin in Eden, but men and women can enjoy God’s riches because of Christ’s obedience at Calvary.

While women do suffer because of Eve’s poor choice—unlike Adam, she was deceived (2 Corinthians 11:3-4; 1 Timothy 2:11-15)—women can benefit from something God Himself did with a descendant of Eve. God did not leave mankind hopeless in the Garden of Eden, for He declared to Satan the Serpent that He would one day defeat him: “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel” (Genesis 3:15). This “seed of the woman” (Jesus Christ, whose physically body was formed in the womb of the virgin Mary, a descendant of Eve) that came through Eve, and then defeated Satan at Calvary (Colossians 2:15; Hebrews 2:14), is the way whereby women can benefit from Eve eternally. All we have to do to receive Christ’s identity—whether man or woman—is to trust alone in His death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for our sins.

So, in Adam, we are all naturally sinners, on our way to eternal hellfire. In Christ, we are all naturally saints, on our way to heaven. Before we consider it “unfair” for God to punish us for Adam’s sin, we need to remember that it was “unfair” for God to punish His sinless Son, Jesus Christ, for our sins! (Very rarely does one ever consider the latter half of the foregoing sentence.) Again, God’s wisdom balances it all out. Indeed, looking just at the bad news in the book of Genesis causes us to overlook the good news in the book of Romans.

Also see:
» Why did God ask where Adam was?
» Why does God let Satan exist?
» Why do good people suffer? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)

What does “at the last trump” mean in 1 Corinthians 15:52?

WHAT DOES “AT THE LAST TRUMP” MEAN IN 1 CORINTHIANS 15:52?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Is there such an event as a “pre-Tribulation Rapture?” If so, it is asked and/or contended, then why does the Apostle Paul link the Rapture’s timing with the seventh trumpet judgment of the seven-year Tribulation? (Or, we must interject, does the Apostle really link the two events at all?) Dear friends, in this day and age of “itching ears” and multitudes of religious charlatans willing to stroke them, we need to look at the Bible passages, and allow the Holy Spirit to show us what to believe. While there are many opponents of and misconceptions about the Rapture, the issue that is under discussion in this study is the timing of the Rapture with respect to the Revelation’s trumpet judgments. Let us not take anyone’s word for it, and let us not arrive at a conclusion until we first arrive at the pertinent Bible verses!

Sometime ago, an individual replied to one of our Bible studies about the Rapture by emailing me the following:

“In a moment at the LAST Trump.. Matt24 says ‘at the end of the tribulation, so does Mark 13;’ at the end of the tribulation we shall see him coming in the clouds. Luke 21 says what? at the end of the tribulation he shall decend, Please don’t be an unprepared believer. But guess what, it gets worse, the anti-christ will overcome us and many will get their heads cut off! I once was a pre-trib paperback book false teacher follower. I’d like to challenge you to look at … or another website to see what they use as evidence for their stand on preparing for the post-trib rapture.”

Dear friends, I must be honest here: this man’s language is typical of the absolute theological silliness rampant in so many Christian circles. I have never, ever read a single “paperback book” about the Rapture, and I have never, ever derived my theology from novels, “Christian” bestselling authors, and the like. The only reason I have ever believed in a pre-Tribulation Rapture is because I read verses in my Bible and believed the verses. I understand why people entertain a “post-Tribulation Rapture;” they have their verses too. As the above quote demonstrates, they grab Matthew 24, Mark 13, and Luke 21, ignoring the contexts that these verses delineate Christ’s coming for Israel (“the Second Coming”). They assume that that coming of Christ in the Four Gospels is the coming of Christ that Paul wrote of in his epistles. There is no careful survey of the contexts, just Bible skimming and repeating, on their part. As the above quote also proved, one argument these people use is to claim that Paul associated the timing of the Rapture with the trumpet judgments of the book of the Revelation. In this Bible study, we will look at verses and their contexts, and see what the Bible really says. Then, we can place our faith in the words of God rather than believe the words of men.

THE THESSALONIANS, THE TRIBULATION, AND THE RAPTURE

The Bible student will find it quite fascinating that the Holy Spirit through Paul warned long ago, “But I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them which are asleep, that ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). Verses 14-18 then discuss how there is coming a day when the Lord Jesus Christ will leave heaven, come to the skies of planet Earth, quickly snatch His people (Christians) and bring them to their home in the heavens, and there they will serve Him forever. The Rapture is a glorious event that should comfort Christians (verse 18), and yet, the Holy Spirit knew that there would be people—even professing Christians—who would be totally ignorant of the Rapture, who would be so confused that they could not give a Scriptural definition of it. That was 2,000 years ago! Today, we have all sorts of “experts” and “authorities,” even within the professing church, who are denying the Rapture, robbing us of the comfort the Rapture-hope is to provide. They are conflating the Rapture with Christ’s Second Coming after the seven-year Tribulation, or claiming it is a “pre-wrath (mid-Tribulation) Rapture,” et cetera. Ignorance! Ignorance! Ignorance! Despite the Bible providing clear testimony, there are millions and millions who still wonder exactly what God would have us to believe and do. Yes, it is as if the Bible was never written at all. What a sad, sad, commentary!

The Christians in Thessalonica were greatly suffering for their stand in sound Bible doctrine (1 Thessalonians 1:6; 1 Thessalonians 2:14-16; 2 Thessalonians 1:3-7; 2 Thessalonians 3:13). Satan was determined to discourage and/or destroy these faithful saints; he wanted to silence their testimony, their stand in preaching the message of God’s grace and His Word rightly divided as the answer to true Christian living. In fact, the language of Scripture is that Satan’s policy of evil was operating so intensely in Thessalonica that some of these precious saints had already been murdered for the Gospel’s sake! (1 Thessalonians 4:13-14 is the reply to those who were wondering what happened to the souls of their deceased brethren in Christ.)

Bearing in mind their intense persecution, we understand why the Thessalonians were then misled to believe that they were suffering because they were experiencing God’s wrath, the seven-year Tribulation (2 Thessalonians 2:2ff.). The Apostle Paul wrote two epistles to them —1 and 2 Thessalonians—to remind both them and us that the Rapture will occur before the seven-year Tribulation (just as Paul had told them in person some time earlier; 2 Thessalonians 2:5). Remember, “God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Thessalonians 5:9). “…Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come” (1 Thessalonians 1:10). “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him” (Romans 5:9). We in Christ will never face any of God’s wrath—hell, the lake of fire, or the seven-year Tribulation—because Jesus Christ already suffered God’s wrath on our behalf. It is that simple. The Apostle wrote to the Thessalonians to reassure them that they were not living in those horrible seven years. See, there was confusion regarding the timing of the Rapture, nearly 20 centuries ago.

Today, religionists, those who still ignore the dispensational layout of Scripture, and who still completely disregard these simple Bible truths, and who still attempt to advance their denominational traditions. They twist the Scriptures to cause us to believe that we Christians will go through some or all of the seven-year Tribulation (just like the false teachers who were bothering and confusing the saints in Thessalonica!). They combine instructions God gave one group in history with instructions God gave another group of people; they are quoting Scripture and are still leading so many astray! They grab Israel’s verses and claim, “Ours! All ours!” Friends, spiritual larceny, stealing God’s promises to other people and making those promises fit us, is certainly an unsound method of Bible handling. Beloved, we need to beware of these people. We will continue to allow the Scriptures to demonstrate that the mid-Tribulation or post-Tribulation Rapture belief they want us to adopt is greatly flawed.

THE TRUMPET JUDGMENTS OF THE REVELATION

The judgments of the seven-year Tribulation are three groups of seven—the “seals” (Revelation 6:1–8:5), the “trumpets” (Revelation 8:6–11:19), and the “vials” (Revelation 16:1-21). We read the Apostle John’s words in Revelation 8:2: “And I saw the seven angels which stood before God; and to them were given seven trumpets.” The last of these trumpets—the so-called “seventh trumpet”—is sometimes assumed to be associated with the Rapture. We want to now focus on that last trumpet judgment.

The last of the trumpet judgments is meted out in Revelation chapter 11: “[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever. [16] And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell upon their faces, and worshipped God, [17] Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned. [18] And the nations were angry, and thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldest give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldest destroy them which destroy the earth. [19] And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.”

FOUR DIFFICULTIES WITH LINKING THE “LAST TRUMP” WITH THE REVELATION’S TRUMPET JUDGMENTS

  1. The Bible’s language in the Revelation, when referring to the last of the trumpet judgments, is not “seventh trumpet” or “last trump” but “seventh angel” (Revelation 10:7; Revelation 11:15). It is illogical to link the term “seventh angel” (or even “seventh trumpet”) with the expression “last trump”—these terms describe a spirit-being, an instrument, and a musical sound, respectively. No one could confuse these diverse terms unless they had an agenda to promote. The Bible’s terminology should be noticed and not abused; it should not be twisted out of context to make it say something it did not say.
  2. There is nothing in 1 Corinthians 15:52 about a “last trumpet” (musical instrument); the language is “last trump” (the sound of the musical instrument). In fact, there is one trumpet—“the trumpet”—in 1 Corinthians 15:52 making at least two sounds; Revelation involves seven trumpets making seven different sounds in succession at various To combine 1 Corinthians 15:52 with the Revelation is to fabricate a connection; it is to see a relationship that the Holy Spirit never made in His Word.
  3. The Apostle John would have mentioned the Rapture in Revelation, right in the context of the seventh angel sounding his trumpet (Revelation 11:15-19). He did not! In fact, Revelation 10:7 speaks of “in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he shall begin to sound”—the seventh angel’s trumpet blast is not in an instant as the trumpet sounds in 1 Corinthians 15:52. In John’s mind, he was writing about things that had no relation to the Rapture whatsoever. We can search the Scriptures in vain looking for a catching up of believers into heaven, in the time period of the trumpet judgments. The Holy Spirit through the Apostle John never made the connection, and if we want to be sound in our Bible understanding, we should not make that connection either.
  4. In 1 Thessalonians 4:16, which sits in the companion passage of 1 Corinthians 15:51-58, we read about “the trump of God.” At the Rapture, God is the Person blowing the trumpet, and God is causing this trumpet blast to sound. The trumpets of Revelation, as we have already seen, involve angels blowing trumpets. There are no angels blowing trumpets during the catching up of the Church the Body of Christ. Only one angel, an archangel, is mentioned in reference to the Rapture, and this archangel is speaking, not blowing a trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16).

SO, WHAT DOES “AT THE LAST TRUMP” REALLY MEAN?

With all of the foregoing verses and comments now under consideration, we understand that “at the last trump” is unrelated to the trumpet judgments of the book of the Revelation. Let us closely examine the passage of the Bible term in question. Dear friends, note how the context will define the phraseology for us.

We read in 1 Corinthians 15:51-58: “[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. [53] For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal must put on immortality. [54] So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. [55] O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory? [56] The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. [57] But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. [58] Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”

Note how the Apostle Paul wrote that he was writing about a “mystery” (verse 51). It was not an event in Israel’s prophetic program. It was a “mystery,” something kept secret until Jesus Christ first revealed it to the Apostle Paul (cf. Romans 16:25-26; Ephesians 3:1-5; Colossians 1:25-27). No apostles or prophets prior to Paul wrote about what he proceeded to discuss in the above passage. This is more proof that this coming of the Lord Jesus Christ was not His Second Coming in wrath to conclude the seven-year Tribulation, for, years or centuries before Paul was even converted, the Old Testament prophets, and even Jesus in His earthly ministry, spoke of His Second Coming (Job 19:25-27; Daniel 2:44; Joel 2:15-17; Zechariah 4:1-4; Matthew 24:27-31; Mark 13:26-37; Luke 21:27-36; Jude 14-15; et al.). The coming of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:51ff. was a special coming, one kept secret until Paul learned it from the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Jesus Christ, and then wrote about it in 1 Corinthians and 1 Thessalonians.

When 1 Corinthians 15:52 says, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed,” this is talking about a very quick event. The word “trump” is the blast (sound) that a trumpet makes, and the expression “the last trump” indicates there are at least two blasts, or two sounds, of the trumpet. If we are mindful of the context, we understand why two blasts are necessary. There are two groups of people being resurrected—deceased Christians first, and living Christians afterward. In other words, one trumpet blast is to resurrect deceased Christians and another trumpet blast is to transform living Christians.

You should especially note how the term “last trump” is linked not to the entire event of the Rapture (as the mid- or post-Tribulation-Rapture people assume), but is limited to the transformation of the living Christians. “[51] We shall not all sleep [die physically], but we shall all be changed [transformed], [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” When are living Christians given new glorified bodies at the Rapture? “At the last trump.” This means that deceased Christians are resurrected just prior, or, by extrapolation, “at the first trump.” Again, there is nothing in the passage about “seventh trumpet, “last trumpet,” or “seventh angel.” We do not read about trumpets (plural), but the trumpet” (verse 52)—there is one trumpet, not seven! Noting what is not present in a verse or passage is just as important as noting what is present.

CONCLUSION

Beloved, we need to be very candid. There is such ignorance—oh, such a shame, such ignorance!!!—about the Rapture of the Body of Christ, the catching up of the Church of this Dispensation, when Jesus Christ returns to remove His Body from this planet. It is especially pitiful that people who do not study or believe the Bible quite regularly appear to be Bible authorities (and are heralded as such by people equally destitute of Bible understanding). When people confuse the term “at the last trump” with the so-called “seventh trumpet” judgment of the seven-year Tribulation, there is bound to be confusion and heartache. However, when we just look at the Bible and read it, we can rejoice in its simple truths and throw away everything else!

Today, Father God is currently forming the Church the Body of Christ by the Gospel of the Grace of God. When no one else wants to rely exclusively on the Lord Jesus Christ’s dying for our sins, shedding His sinless blood, His burial to put away our sins, and His resurrection to give us a right standing before God (1 Corinthians 15:3-4; cf. Romans 4:24-25); God will conclude our Dispensation of Grace and return to Israel’s program, resuming it where He paused it nearly 20 centuries ago. When the Church the Body of Christ is caught up into heaven, there will be one trumpet emitting at least two sounds; one sound to call the deceased Christians to life in new bodies, and the other blast to transform and assemble the living Christians in new bodies, so they can all be brought up into heaven with Jesus Christ. In contrast, the book of the Revelation involves seven angels and seven trumpets, and they involve God’s wrath on sinful mankind, particularly the nation Israel. The Rapture involves God causing a trumpet sound; angels are blowing trumpets and causing some of the judgments described in the Revelation. No thoughtful Bible student could ever honestly conclude that the language of 1 Corinthians 15:52 is even remotely connected to the events of the seven-year Tribulation. The terms are different and should not be confused, or we will become confused.

To cause the Church the Body of Christ to endure most or all of the seven-year Tribulation is to completely ignore the dispensational nature of the Bible. It is to completely confuse the purpose of the seven-year Tribulation with what God is currently operating today in our Dispensation of Grace. It is to confuse the nation Israel with the Church the Body of Christ. It is to muddle up and obscure the simple Bible truths associated with the glorious catching up of the Church the Body of Christ. It is to “wrest the Scriptures” (2 Peter 3:15-16), to destroy the simplicity and clarity of the Holy Bible. May we guard against such Bible mishandling, and may we rejoice in God’s pure Word!

Also see:
» Why should I believe in a pre-Tribulation Rapture? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» Are the Rapture of the Church and the Second Coming of Christ the same event? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)
» What is the purpose of the seven-year Tribulation? (LINK TEMPORARILY UNAVAILABLE)