Monthly Archives: June 2016

Are 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and Revelation 14:10 contradictory?

ARE 2 THESSALONIANS 1:9 AND REVELATION 14:10 CONTRADICTORY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power” (2 Thessalonians 1:9).

“The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb(Revelation 14:10).

Paul writes in Thessalonians about unsaved people being punished from the presence of the Lord.” In stark contrast, John writes in Revelation about unsaved people being punished in the presence of the Lamb.” One punishment is apart from the Lord’s presence; the other punishment is in His presence. Contradiction? Not at all, provided that you respect the dispensational contexts!

2 THESSALONIANS 1:9

The Bible says in 2 Thessalonians chapter 1: “[6] Seeing it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you; [7] And to you who are troubled rest with us, when the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven with his mighty angels, [8] In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ: [9] Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of his power;”

When the Lord Jesus Christ returns to Earth at His Second Coming, a flaming fire will precede Him. John the Baptist warned in Matthew chapter 3: “[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.” Jesus also made reference to this fire in Matthew 13:30-42.

Psalm 50:3-4 had said centuries earlier: “[3] Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence: a fire shall devour before him, and it shall be very tempestuous round about him. [4] He shall call to the heavens from above, and to the earth, that he may judge his people.” And, Psalm 68:1-2: “[1] Let God arise, let his enemies be scattered: let them also that hate him flee before him. [2] As smoke is driven away, so drive them away: as wax melteth before the fire, so let the wicked perish at the presence of God.”

We can also read in Psalm 97:1-5: “[1] The LORD reigneth; let the earth rejoice; let the multitude of isles be glad thereof. [2] Clouds and darkness are round about him: righteousness and judgment are the habitation of his throne. [3] A fire goeth before him, and burneth up his enemies round about. [4] His lightnings enlightened the world: the earth saw, and trembled. [5] The hills melted like wax at the presence of the LORD, at the presence of the LORD of the whole earth.”

And, Isaiah 29:6: “Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.”

Also, Isaiah 30:27-33: “[27] Behold, the name of the LORD cometh from far, burning with his anger, and the burden thereof is heavy: his lips are full of indignation, and his tongue as a devouring fire: [28] And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err. [29] Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the LORD, to the mighty One of Israel. [30] And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. [31] For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. [32] And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the LORD shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it.[33] For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it.”

Finally, Isaiah 66:14-16: “[14] And when ye see this, your heart shall rejoice, and your bones shall flourish like an herb: and the hand of the LORD shall be known toward his servants, and his indignation toward his enemies. [15] For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire. [16] For by fire and by his sword will the LORD plead with all flesh: and the slain of the LORD shall be many.”

You may also refer to Ezekiel 36:5, the first two chapters of Amos, Micah 1:3-7, Habakkuk 3:3-5, Zephaniah 1:18, Zechariah 13:9, and Malachi 4:1 for other descriptions of the fire of Jesus Christ’s Second Coming. For brevity’s sake, we will not quote or expound them here.

REVELATION 14:10

Now, we analyze Revelation chapter 14: “[9] And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, [10] The same shall drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out without mixture into the cup of his indignation; and he shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the presence of the Lamb: [11] And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”

Moses said Jesus Christ’s Second Coming fire will burn to the lowest hell. Deuteronomy 32:22: “For a fire is kindled in mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains.” And, Isaiah 34:2,8-10: “[2] For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter…. [8] For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion. [9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch. [10] It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.”

That fire will burn a shaft on Earth’s surface, in the Middle East and south of the Dead Sea, so as to expose the heart of the Earth. Jesus Christ will then establish His earthly kingdom. Via open pits, hell will be manifested throughout the duration of His earthly kingdom. Isaiah 66:22-24 explains: “[22] For as the new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before me, saith the LORD, so shall your seed and your name remain. [23] And it shall come to pass, that from one new moon to another, and from one sabbath to another, shall all flesh come to worship before me, saith the LORD. [24] And they shall go forth, and look upon the carcases of the men that have transgressed against me: for their worm shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched; and they shall be an abhorring unto all flesh.”

Jesus quoted Isaiah 66:24 in Mark chapter 9, referring to hell: “[42] And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea. [43] And if thy hand offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter into life maimed, than having two hands to go into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [44] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [45] And if thy foot offend thee, cut it off: it is better for thee to enter halt into life, than having two feet to be cast into hell, into the fire that never shall be quenched: [46] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched. [47] And if thine eye offend thee, pluck it out: it is better for thee to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire: [48] Where their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched.”

In other words, those who are dwelling on the Earth during the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ, they will literally be able to peer into hell and see the souls of the people who transgressed against the Lord. They had transgressed against the Lord in that they followed the Antichrist during the (previous) seven-year Tribulation.

CONCLUSION

Revelation 14:10 is describing when Jesus Christ returns (Second Coming) to end the seven-year Tribulation, He will establish His literal, physical, visible, earthly kingdom. He will literally be present on the Earth. The souls in hell—in the heart of the Earth—will be tormented in His presence. Revelation 14:10 describes their punishment only during the Millennial Reign of Christ.

Second Thessalonians 1:9 is their punishment with respect to eternity. They are suffering the eternal judgment of God, being punished from the presence of the Lord—this is the Lake of Fire. After Jesus Christ reigns for 1000 years, Revelation 20:11-15 says those in Hell will be brought to and judged at the Great White Throne Judgment. Then, God will place these unbelievers in the Lake of Fire. The Lake of Fire is the permanent address of all who have died apart from faith in God’s Word to them. Hell is the temporary holding jail-cell and the Lake of Fire is the maximum-security prison. The exact location of the Lake of Fire is unknown, but it stands to reason that if God lives above our universe (third heaven), the Lake of Fire would be at the bottom of our universe (the farthest point from God’s throne).

Just as there is Hell today but the Lake of Fire in the future, so there will be punishment in the presence of the Lord (Millennium) and punishment from the presence of the Lord (after the Millennium and onward into eternity future). “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Unless you “rightly divide the word of truth,” you will never be able to understand why the Bible says one thing in one place but says the total opposite in another place. Once more, we see the necessity to study the Bible dispensationally!

Also see:
» How can a loving God send people to hell forever?
» Why do the wicked prosper?
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?

What does, “Born of water and of the Spirit,” mean?

WHAT DOES, “BORN OF WATER AND OF THE SPIRIT,” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read in John 3:5: “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.” Some say to be “born of water” here means to be water baptized. In groups that teach “baptismal regeneration,” the idea that water baptism grants eternal life, you will find people carelessly quoting John 3:5. Roman Catholicism heavily depends on this verse to support its water baptism. They say that, without water baptism, a person cannot enter heaven. Friends, this is not what John 3:5 is talking about. Just read the context!

The Bible says in John 3:5-8: “[5] Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. [6] That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. [7] Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again. [8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is every one that is born of the Spirit.”

Verse 6 explains there is a birth “of the flesh,” and there is a birth “of the Spirit.” The fleshly birth is talking about a Jew being a physical descendent of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. This special bloodline separates the nation Israel from the rest of mankind. But, the Abrahamic Covenant is not simply given to all descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. That is, only the Jewish believers in Abraham’s God are the heirs of the Abrahamic Covenant. Please refer to Romans chapter 9 for more info.

The Jews of Jesus’ day believed they needed nothing more than Abraham’s physical bloodline to be declared righteous before God. Jesus had to correct that thinking. Without having the faith of Abraham, a Jew was just as hell-bound as a Gentile idolater. Israel needed to be “born-again.” They needed a physical birth from God (which they got through Abraham) and a spiritual birth from God (which they got through Jesus Christ). They needed the inward spiritual circumcision that their outward physical circumcision was to represent.

Romans 4:11 says: “And he [Abraham] received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:” Also, Romans 2:28-29: “[28] For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: [29] But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”

When these Jews in Israel’s kingdom program come to recognize and trust Jesus as their Messiah, God takes them out of Adam and puts them into Jesus Christ. Israel shall be saved “in the Lord” (Isaiah 45:25). They will then function as a kingdom of priests, ministering to the Gentiles.

Also see:
» Must I be water baptized—for a testimony, for salvation, or not at all?
» What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”
» Who were the people who followed Jesus before Paul?

What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”

WHAT DOES THE BIBLE MEAN, “JESUS CHRIST CAME BY WATER AND BLOOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in 1 John 5:6: “This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.” There is a lot of discussion about this verse. In fact, it puzzled me for years. Recently, I took time to investigate the matter, paying particular attention to the surrounding verses. Fellow Bible students, I would be delighted to share with you what helped me to understand this verse of Scripture.

Like many people, even Bible commentators, I assumed that “water and blood” referred to the water and blood gushing forth from Jesus’ side after the soldier’s spear pierced Him on Calvary’s cross (John 19:34). However, when you carefully read 1 John 5:6, it does not make sense to insert details about Jesus’ crucifixion. First John 5:6 is not referring to Jesus’ death but rather His coming. Remember, it reads, “he that came by water and blood….” The only possible explanation is that this is His arrival on Earth—that is, His incarnation, His physical birth, when water and blood poured forth from Mary’s womb as He was born a baby. Water baptism, and water as a type of the Word of God, are two other explanations that are offered to demystify 1 John 5:6, but they do not make sense in the context either. Christ’s physical birth is the only plausible explanation of 1 John 5:6. But, why would John emphasize Christ’s physical birth here?

The assumption is that before you read 1 John 5:6, you read chapter 4. John already provided details in chapter 4 that prove useful in interpreting chapter 5. Notice 1 John 4:1-3: “[1] Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. [2] Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: [3] And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” And, 2 John 7 supplements: “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

Did you notice how Jesus’ incarnation is thrice accentuated? “Jesus Christ is come in the flesh” is a clear reference to His humanity. There are some in John’s day—and even in our day—who assert that Jesus is fully God but not at all man. John is writing his books to combat such heresy, especially in light of the Antichrist. You should especially see how “came” in 1 John 5:6 links with “is come” in 1 John 4:2-3 and 2 John 7. They all refer to His incarnation, when He took upon Himself the form of a man (Philippians 2:5-8). Jesus was not merely God, or merely man, but God and humanity in one. Why is it necessary for John’s audience to understand this?

God, being a Spirit (John 4:24), does not have blood. However, if He were to take on our humanity, He would have blood. That is exactly why Jesus Christ was born of a woman. He left Heaven in order to live on Earth. In order to live on Earth, He had to have a physical body. In order to deal with sin, He had to have a human body. Adam was a man who had introduced sin into the world; Jesus Christ had to become a man in order to take care of sin. This is the theme of Romans 5:12-21. When John is writing in 1 John, he is teaching Israel that her sin problem must be dealt with if they are to be God’s people. In Jesus Christ, the God-Man, their sins are paid in full. It was God’s blood shed, and yet, it was man’s blood shed. God’s righteousness and man’s blood, now able to save Israel from her sins and deliver her from Satanic captivity (Hebrews 2:6-18).

Also see:
» What does, “Born of water and of the Spirit,” mean?
» Can you explain 1 John 5:8—“the Spirit, the water, and the blood?”
» Was God “unfair” to punish us for Adam’s sin?

Can you explain 1 John 5:8?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN 1 JOHN 5:8—“THE SPIRIT, THE WATER, AND THE BLOOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:8). There are three that bear witness in earth—“the Spirit, and the water, and the blood.” Scripture says these three “agree in one.” Exactly on what do they agree? The key to understanding this verse is to look at the context. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

We read in 1 John chapter 5: “[6] This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. [7] For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. [8] And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one. [9] If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater: for this is the witness of God which he hath testified of his Son. [10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.”

The idea that stands out in the above passage is “bearing witness,” “bearing record,” and “testifying.” In Greek, these all are nearly the same word. Note:

  • Verse 6: “beareth witness” (martureo)—verb
  • Verse 7: “bear record” (martureo)—verb
  • Verse 8: “bear witness” (martureo)—verb
  • Verse 9: “witness” x3 (marturia x3)—nouns
  • Verse 9: “testified” (martureo)—verb
  • Verse 10: “witness” (marturia)—noun
  • Verse 10: “record” (marturia)—noun
  • Verse 11: “record” (marturia)—noun

For simplicity’s sake, we will say this to summarize. The record/testimony/witness/report is in verses 10 and 11: “[10] He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son. [11] And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son.” The testimony (or “record”) is twofold: (1) God gave of His Son, Jesus Christ, and (2) eternal life is in Jesus Christ. Furthermore, there are three elements or witnesses that bear record of: (1) God giving of His Son Jesus Christ, and (2) eternal life is found in Jesus Christ. In contrast to the three members of the Godhead who bear record in heaven (1 John 5:7 in the King James Bible), there are three that bear record in earth (verse 8). Let us look at them.

THE SPIRIT

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:8).

This “Spirit” is obviously the Holy Spirit. The Word of God written by the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:21) proves that Jesus is Christ/Messiah, the Son of God. Jesus fulfilled the various Old Testament prophecies that Messiah was expected to come and fulfill one day (Luke 24:44-48; Acts 3:18; Acts 13:26-41; et al.). Once Jesus was water baptized, the Spirit of God descended like a dove and lighted upon Him. Then, Father God declared, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17).

The Holy Spirit bore record that Jesus is God’s Son, Christ/Messiah. Consider John 1:32-34: “[32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.” The Holy Spirit enabled John to bear record of Jesus as Christ/Messiah. In the coming years, while the so-called “New Testament” Scriptures were written, the Holy Spirit bore record that Jesus was Messiah. We can also read what the Holy Spirit wrote in John 1:32-34 to confirm Jesus’ Messiahship.

Furthermore, John 16:12-14 says: “[12] I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. [13] Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. [14] He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.” Jesus said the Holy Spirit would come “testify of [Him]” (John 15:26). The Spirit would enable the apostles to testify of Jesus Christ as well (verse 27). Reading in John 15:26-27: “[26] But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: [27] And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.”

THE WATER

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:8).

This “water” should not be confused with the water mentioned in verse 6 (see our study linked at the end of this article for more information). John the Baptist testified that his water baptism identified Jesus as the Messiah/Christ. That water baptism identified Jesus Christ with those Jews who had accepted Him as God’s Son (see also Luke 7:29-30).

Note John 1:29-34, especially verse 31: “[29] The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. [30] This is he of whom I said, After me cometh a man which is preferred before me: for he was before me. [31] And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. [32] And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. [33] And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. [34] And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.”

That water baptism for Jews was to symbolize God cleansing them of their idolatry (Ezekiel 36:25). Their water baptism was a sign of God giving them eternal life by Him cleaning them on the inside (1 Peter 3:21). They were identifying with their Messiah, and He was identifying with them.

THE BLOOD

“And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one” (1 John 5:8).

This “blood,” of course, is the sinless blood Jesus Christ shed on Calvary. Through Jesus’ shed blood, Israel’s sins will be forgiven. This blood will provide Israel with eternal life. Notice the following excerpts from the book of Hebrews.

Hebrews 9:11-14: “[11] But Christ being come an high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; [12] Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. [13] For if the blood of bulls and of goats, and the ashes of an heifer sprinkling the unclean, sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh: [14] How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Hebrews 10:10-12: “[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. [11] And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: [12] But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;”

Also see:
» What does the Bible mean, “Jesus Christ came by water and blood?”
» What does, “Born of water and of the Spirit,” mean?
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching He was Christ?

Can you explain Jude 9?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN JUDE 9—SATAN FIGHTING ARCHANGEL MICHAEL FOR THE BODY OF MOSES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in Jude 9: “Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” This is one of the strangest verses found in the “New Testament” Scriptures. There are several unanswered questions. Firstly, what was “the body of Moses?” Secondly, why was Satan so interested in it? Thirdly, what was Jude’s purpose in mentioning this odd scenario? This Bible study will attempt to answer all three inquiries.

What makes Jude 9 challenging is the fact that it lacks a direct (historical) “Old Testament” parallel passage. It is something God the Holy Spirit kept secret until He revealed it in Jude’s little epistle; still, Israel is benefited by God mentioning the account precisely in the book of Jude. We “unlock” Jude 9 by recalling related verses and concepts.

QUESTION #1: WHAT WAS “THE BODY OF MOSES?”

Some have suggested “the body of Moses” was the nation Israel. They claim just as we are “the Body of Christ,” the nation Israel is the “body of Moses.” Is this a wise interpretation of the term? For some time, before I researched it, I considered it a possibility. Since studying the matter for myself, I do not believe “the body of Moses” refers to Israel. Never once does the “Old Testament” Scriptures call Israel “the body of Moses.” While Moses was an important figure in Jewish history, the nation Israel existed centuries before Moses was even born. For God to call Israel “the body of Moses” would not make much sense. The nation began with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons.

The definition of “the body of Moses” that makes most sense to me is the literal, flesh-and-blood, physical body that Moses lived in while he walked on the Earth. Let me share with you what verses led me to that conclusion.

QUESTION #2: WHY DID SATAN DESIRE THE BODY OF MOSES?

There was something unique about Moses’ physical body in the Old Testament economy. Can you recall what it was? Deuteronomy 34:5-6 says: “So Moses the servant of the LORD died there in the land of Moab, according to the word of the LORD. And he buried him in a valley in the land of Moab, over against Bethpeor: but no man knoweth of his sepulchre unto this day.” In this the last chapter of Deuteronomy, we read that God Himself buried Moses.

Moses’ special burial was twofold. Firstly, it prevented the Jews from knowing the exact location of his grave. They would have undoubtedly made it a shrine, a place of idolatrous worship. Remember, religion revels in recovering “relics!!” Secondly, God had a very unique purpose to fulfill with that corpse (which we will mention in our third section). Satan evidently recognized this, for, as Jude reported, Satan contended with Michael the Archangel concerning Moses’ body. Michael the Archangel and Satan himself were apparently present at Moses’ burial.

QUESTION #3: WHY DID THE HOLY SPIRIT INCLUDE JUDE 9?

What is the purpose of Jude 9? This is where we must recognize the context of the whole book of Jude. We also have to note the surrounding verses in the book of Jude. Furthermore, we must be mindful of what the “Old Testament” already said about Moses’ body (our earlier comments).

Jude sits in the section of the Bible we will conveniently call “Hebrews through Revelation.” Hebrews is the first Israeli book that follows Paul’s epistles in the canon of Scripture. The book of Hebrews marks the beginning of Israel’s program once our Dispensation of Grace ends with the Rapture (us, the Body of Christ, being caught up to meet the Lord in the air). Hebrews loops back to early Acts, early Acts loops back to the Four Gospels, and the Four Gospels loop back to the books of Genesis through Malachi (what we call “the Old Testament” by convenience). Moreover, what starts in Hebrews continues in James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1 & 2 & 3 John, and Jude. It all culminates in the book of the Revelation.

The book of Hebrews speaks of “the world to come” (Hebrews 2:5). Everything that needs to occur before Jesus Christ can return to Earth, or everything that will occur when Jesus Christ returns to Earth, we can find glimpses and summaries in Hebrews through Revelation. Before Jesus Christ’s Second Coming, there will be a time we call “the seven-year Tribulation. The Bible calls it “Daniel’s 70th Week” (Daniel 9:24-27), or “the Time of Jacob’s Trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7). It is the last seven years of Satan ruling over the Earth.

Jude’s overall purpose is to encourage believing Israelites to “earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (verse 4). They are living among Bible mockers and unbelievers (see verse 18-19). Jude uses some very unflattering language to describe these followers of Satan. He also makes several Old Testament allusions to highlight who these people really are and what they are really doing. The imagery is quite horrific. Friend, you will not understand every little thing in the tiny book of Jude, but read it sometime. Only 25 verses long, Jude is a book of correction for Israel’s Little Flock as they endure the seven-year Tribulation. They need to think about their circumstances as God thinks about them, and not fall into Satanic deception.

The best way to handle Jude 9 is to get the thought-flow starting with verse 8: “[8] Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. [9] Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee.” In light of verse 9, verse 8’s “dignities”—Greek word is doxa, as in “doxology,” or “praises, glories, honors”—must be angelic beings. The unbelievers whom Jude is denouncing tend to “speak evil of” (blaspheme) angelic beings. Yet, as Jude points out, even the powerful Archangel Michael did not speak evil of Satan when he disputed with Satan over Moses’ body. Rather than dare fight Satan himself, or slander Satan, Michael depended upon the Lord Jesus Christ to deal with Satan. Jude’s purpose is not so much to deal with the subject of Moses’ body being buried, but rather Michael’s method/attitude when dealing with Satan concerning Moses’ body. “The Lord rebuke thee,” Michael told Satan, echoes the words of the Angel of the LORD recorded in Zechariah 3:2: “The LORD rebuke thee, O Satan.”

To further understand Jude 9, we appeal to 2 Peter 2:10-11, which reads very similar: “[10] But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. [11] Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might, bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.” Verse 11 seems to indicate that verse 10 and Jude 8 are referring to people who rail against evil angels. Unlike Michael the Archangel who dared not bring railing accusation against Satan, these unbelievers fail to understand the immense strength of angels (especially fallen angels).

Jude proceeds to say the unbelieving neighbors of his audience not only “speak evil of dignities [angels]” (verse 8)—foolishly forgetting they are weak compared to angels, and not even mighty Michael the Archangel railed against Satan (verse 9)—but these unbelievers also “speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves” (verse 10). They are completely clueless as to what they are doing. They have no insight into spiritual matters because the Spirit of God is not leading them (1 Corinthians 2:9-16). In fact, Jude says they are “as brute beasts” (the dumbest of the most unintelligent animals!). Had these blasphemers been led by God’s Spirit, they would have reacted the way Michael the Archangel responded. They would have let Almighty God take care of them rather than speak evil of these angels.

Remember our comments about Moses’ special burial recorded at the end of Deuteronomy? During “Daniel’s 70th Week,” the “Time of Jacob’s Trouble, commonly called the “Seven-Year Tribulation,” God will have two witnesses stand before the Antichrist (the world political leader). See Revelation 11:1-12. There is strong Scriptural evidence that Moses is one of these two witnesses. Notice verse 6—this is very similar to Moses’ previous ministry when Israel was in Egypt. Evidently, God will resurrect Moses’ hidden body, have Moses stand to oppose the Antichrist, and then permit the Antichrist to kill Moses. But, we must stop here, and save that for another study!

Also see:
» Can you explain 1 Peter 3:18-21?
» Can you explain Genesis 6:1-4?
» Did God give angels free will as He gave to mankind?

Was the Apostle Paul a false prophet?

WAS THE APOSTLE PAUL A FALSE PROPHET?

by Shawn Brasseaux

DEDICATION: Several years ago, a brother and colleague-friend in our ministry emailed me to assist him in answering his friend’s chief objection to dispensational Bible study. That brother in Christ submitted his friend’s question to me via email (reproduced in the opening paragraph below). At that time, I wrote a quick study to him so he could answer his friend’s complaints. That brother was greatly appreciative, and proved to be very helpful in publicizing our ministry in the coming years.

Just a few months ago, his life was tragically taken and he graduated to heaven’s glory. In light of his passing to be with our Lord Jesus Christ, our original study prepared for him and his friend has been expanded nearly 10-fold to become our special-edition Bible Q&A article #275. We will always be grateful to Father God for Him using “D.B.W.” to lead us to where we are today with this study and many others.
___

“I have a question about Matthew 24, where Jesus warned the Apostles about false prophets and such that will come in His name but do not believe them. I have a buddy who believes Paul is one of the false witnesses claiming to see Jesus and starting another Gospel to disrupt the Gospel of Kingdom all as a plot by the Romans to kill Christianity from the inside out! Any feedback would be great.”

I. OPENING COMMENTS & BRIEF BACKGROUND

Friend, how awful! I am well aware that many today in religion slander and ridicule the Apostle Paul. Yes, they deny he was an apostle. They call him a false prophet. Some have even gone so far as to rip the 13 books of Romans through Philemon entirely from their Bibles! (And these hypocritical people have the audacity to accuse us of “throwing away Scripture” when we emphasize the Pauline epistles?!) Note the following email response I received about one of our Bible studies: “Paul was an apostle of Satan. His books need to be torn out of the Bible.” What pathetic ignorance written by so-called “adults.” Worst of all, I am afraid it is more common than we think! Your “buddy” is yet another case in point. Friend, we would be delighted to give an intelligent, Scriptural answer to those who malign Paul the Apostle as a “false prophet.” To the Scriptures! I will also show you how to defend Paul’s apostleship and epistles without appealing to his epistles (since his critics reject them).

II. PAUL’S EPISTLES WERE ATTACKED IN HIS OWN DAY

We should not be surprised to hear people condemning Paul’s epistles today. After all, the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter testified in his final epistle, 2 Peter, and third chapter: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Some 2,000 years ago, the Apostle Peter called the Apostle Paul our “beloved brother.” Peter identified Paul’s writings as “Scripture.” If Paul were a false prophet, then it stands to reason, Peter too would have been a “false prophet” for endorsing him! (Are we so brazen as to castigate and destroy Peter’s apostleship, as well?) Nay, Paul was not the deceptive one. Those who pervert Paul’s epistles and slander him, Peter says they are the deceptive ones! Note how Peter declares people in his day were “wresting” (perverting) the Scriptures—including Paul’s epistles. The Apostle Peter said individuals were corrupting the Pauline epistles, and all the Word of God, in order to suit their own religious biases and church traditions. What better example of corrupting the Word of God could there be than a blatant denial and outright rejection of 13 books—roughly half—of the “New Testament” Scriptures?

III. PAUL WAS FALSELY ACCUSED OF LYING IN HIS OWN DAY

We should not be surprised to hear people denying Paul’s testimony today. There is one reference in the Bible to Paul being “slanderously reported” (Romans 3:8). Individuals were attempting to discredit him by misquoting and misrepresenting him. Furthermore, on four occasions, the Apostle Paul wrote, “I lie not” (Romans 9:1; 2 Corinthians 11:31; Galatians 1:20; 1 Timothy 2:7). Just as people call Paul a “fraud” and a “liar” today, so they called him that while he was still ministering on Earth some 20 centuries ago! Satan never quits, friends—he never quits!

It would do us well to quickly survey those four instances where Paul denied lying. We just may encounter him answering charges that people still spew against him today.

  1. Romans 9:1-2: “[1] I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, [2] That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.” If you read the subsequent verses and chapters (9-11), you can see how Paul affirms that he loves the nation Israel. He was wrongly accused of hating Israel. Yes, he indicted them for killing their Messiah. Indeed, he preached that Israel had fallen before God. Nevertheless, it was the truth that Jesus Christ had sent him to proclaim, and he did it boldly. Israel had certainly conspired against and murdered the Lord Jesus Christ. And, of course, Paul knew it firsthand. As Saul of Tarsus, he himself had led the Jews in that rebellion against Jesus and His Jewish followers (Acts 7:57-58; Acts 8:1-4; Acts 9:1-6,13-14; Acts 22:4,8; Acts 26:9-11; Galatians 1:12,23; 1 Timothy 1:13)! Now, as God’s apostle of the Gentiles, Paul was telling lost Israel to hearken to God’s Word spoken through him, that they believe on that Jesus Christ and His finished crosswork, that they be saved from their sins.
  2. 2 Corinthians 11:31: “The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which is blessed for evermore, knoweth that I lie not.” In the context of this verse we find Paul’s immense suffering for the sake of the ministry that the resurrected, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ had given him. Paul endured many unspeakable beatings, stonings, shipwrecks, imprisonments, deprivations, and so on (verses 22-33). He had often been accused of being a “nobody,” someone not worthy of being honored as an apostle (see 2 Corinthians chapter 4). The numerous trials Paul was willing to go through for the sake of the Church the Body of Christ demonstrate to the Corinthians—and us—that he was a very faithful servant of Jesus Christ. In fact, he was more of a servant of Christ than those who were criticizing him! No fraud would have ever endured that much mistreatment. That includes all the anti-Paul people today within and without Christendom!
  3. Galatians 1:20: “Now the things which I write unto you, behold, before God, I lie not.” People in Paul’s day accused him of continuing the work of James, Peter, and John. They denied Paul’s special ministry, apostleship, and doctrine. In the context—chapter 1, verse 1 through chapter 2, verse 21—Paul explains how his ministry is special, how he was not ordained or taught by Israel’s 12 apostles, how he preached a different Gospel message than the one they were preaching, and how the Church the Body of Christ was separate and distinct from Israel and her Law program. Even today people call Paul a liar about the same matter! They want to make everything in the Bible the same, and it just will not work. If they want to abandon their Bible confusion, they had better start recognizing the Bible’s distinctions.
  4. 1 Timothy 2:7: “Whereunto I am ordained a preacher, and an apostle, (I speak the truth in Christ, and lie not;) a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and verity.” Again, this is delineating Paul’s special ministry (note verses 3-7). Paul was sent to be the “due-time testifier” of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork. Now, salvation through Calvary was available to all the world, not just to Israel (cf. Isaiah 53:8; Matthew 20:28). This was part of Paul’s special commissioning from the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven. The religious system of the day had called Paul a liar, hoping to draw his disciples to them, and away from him and the Lord Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ, post-ascension, had sent Paul to Gentiles, and Paul was exercising his divinely-ordained apostleship. He had not taken the task upon himself and no man had appointed him. It was God’s will (Galatians 1:1) and God’s commandment (1 Timothy 1:1) to make Paul an apostle of Jesus Christ.

But, for sake of argument, let us suppose Paul was a “false prophet” and a “false teacher.” We will ignore everything we just pointed out, for Paul’s epistles are supposedly false. There are a number of issues that we now need to address if Paul’s ministry and epistles do not belong in the Bible. The anti-Paul people need to proceed in answering the following:

IV. WITHOUT PAUL’S EPISTLES, HOW DO WE EXPLAIN THE CURRENT AFFAIRS IN THE WORLD?

If Paul was indeed a false prophet, where do we go in the Bible to explain Israel’s current status before God? In other words, if we remove Paul’s epistles from the Bible, and remove all passages from the book of Acts that describe Paul’s ministry, where do we find ourselves today in the Bible? Outside of Paul, Israel is preeminent in God’s dealings with mankind. Today, we can clearly see that Israel is fallen, set aside by God. There is still no earthly kingdom of Jesus Christ, there is still sin in the world, God’s wrath has not fallen on sinful mankind, there is still sickness and disease, and Satan is still loose. How do we explain these facts unless we have Paul’s epistles? We cannot. If you have tossed out Paul’s epistles, you cannot answer it either.

Take, for example, the promise of Jeremiah 3:17: “At that time they shall call Jerusalem the throne of the LORD; and all the nations shall be gathered unto it, to the name of the LORD, to Jerusalem: neither shall they walk any more after the imagination of their evil heart.”

And, Isaiah 2:4, a parallel passage: “And he [Messiah, Jesus Christ] shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”

Finally, Zechariah 8:22-23, another parallel passage: “[22] Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. [23] Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you.”

Now, let me ask you some important questions, friend. When was the LORD’S throne ever in Jerusalem as Jeremiah 3:17 predicted? When did all nations go to Jerusalem to see the LORD sitting on His throne as Jeremiah 3:17 says? When did Messiah ever rule over all nations in a kingdom where there was no war, as Isaiah 2:4 prophesied? Was there ever a time when every Jew knew the LORD and led 10 Gentile men to Jerusalem to personally see the LORD as Zechariah 8:22-23 says? Well, the answer to all of these questions is, “NEVER!None of these things ever happened—even though they are prophecies written down some 2,500 to 2,700 years ago. We are forced to conclude one of three possibilities:

  1. Those prophecies will never come to pass because they were flat-out lies. We would have to toss out these Scriptures as we already did to Paul’s epistles! The Bible believer will automatically rule out this explanation, for the Bible contains no lies. All of the Word of God is true (Psalm 119:160; Proverbs 30:5-6) because God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). After all, the Holy Bible is “the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).
  1. Those verses were not literal but spiritual and have already come to pass in some invisible way. This explanation is also erroneous, for if the Bible is “spiritual not literal” (that it means something other than what it says), then we would never get anything coherent out of the Bible text. Nothing would be certain in Scripture, not even plain and simple words, because they would have some “cryptic other meaning.” We would have to throw out some more Scripture if this were the case! There would be no literal sinless conception of Christ in a virgin, no literal blood atonement of Christ, no literal resurrection and literal ascension of Christ, and so on.
  1. Those prophecies have been delayed; they are still awaiting fulfillment. Of all the possible explanations, the Bible believer considers this the most plausible. According to the writings of the Apostle Paul, the Bible books of Romans through Philemon, Israel’s prophetic program is delayed and the prophecies in her Scriptures are momentarily paused. But, again, you cannot learn about the delay in prophecy in the books of prophecy. Paul’s epistles are “mystery” (Romans 16:25 cf. Acts 3:21), and they explain why prophecy is delayed. Anything and everything in the Bible—outside of Paul’s ministry—does not explain prophecy’s delay. So, friend, you need something more than the prophetic Bible books. You need the Holy Spirit’s “mystery” writings penned through the Apostle Paul!

Again, for argument’s sake, we will suppose that people are correct in calling the Apostle Paul a false prophet. If they are true, then we can eliminate possibility #3, leaving only explanations #1 and #2. So, if Paul is “false” as his critics claim, then they in fact are just as much false as they claim he is, for they are alleging: (1) Israel’s prophecies were lies all along, and/or (2) the Bible does not mean what it says. In reality, the individuals who claim Paul is a “false prophet” are actually those who are fibbing. They are causing us to question the validity of Israel’s Scriptures, yea, all the Bible, and not just Paul’s epistles. They are on dangerous ground indeed, but let us proceed to outlining their other major erroneous beliefs!

V. THE SCOFFERS IN PETER’S FINAL EPISTLE

Dear reader, if you say that Paul was a false prophet, you have placed yourself on the same level as the Bible scoffers in Peter’s final epistle. You have made a gross error, and, in love and gentleness, I will point out and correct it.

Surveying the books of Matthew through John, as well as the early Acts period, you see how God’s apostles and prophets warned about impending judgment, particularly wrath at the Second Coming of Jesus Christ (Matthew 3:7-12; Matthew 13:38-42; Acts 2:34-36; Acts 3:19-23; et cetera). This judgment was spoken of as being very close, as in coming within the lifetimes of the audience members (Hebrews 10:25-31; James 5:9; 1 Peter 1:7,13; 1 Peter 4:7; 1 John 3:2; Revelation 22:7,12,20; et cetera). Yet, that judgment never came. In fact, it has yet to come, some 20 centuries after the apostles wrote about it! Wickedness still abounds in the world. There has never been that wrath of God. What is going on?

If we look at 2 Peter chapter 1, verse 16, we observe Peter arguing: For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.” We infer that Peter and his apostolic associates are all being accused of following “cunningly devised fables.” In other words, they have been preaching for many years about God’s judgment against sin, and yet, that judgment has not come. At the time of Peter’s writing, Jesus Christ has been gone from Earth for over three decades, and that wrath has yet to fall. The scoffers are capitalizing on this delay, saying the wrath was never coming at all. They believe the postponement proves the apostles are preaching lies, religious fiction, just trying to “scare them into righteous living.” (Sound familiar?)

Peter mentions those scoffers in verses 2-4 of chapter 3 of his final epistle: “[2] That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: [3] Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, [4] And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.”

Verses 5 and 6 hearken back to the days of Noah when God’s judgment came upon sinful mankind. The Great Flood of Noah’s Day was just a preview of the divine wrath to come during the (future) seven-year Tribulation and subsequent Second Coming of Jesus Christ: “[5] For this they [the scoffers] willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: [6] Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:”

But exactly where was that end-time wrath? What was God the Holy Spirit’s response to the scoffers/doubters/mockers in the first century A.D.? We quote Peter’s answer: “[7] But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men. [8] But, beloved, be not ignorant of this one thing, that one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. [9] The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.”

The Holy Spirit through Peter spoke of that flaming fire judgment we discussed earlier. Verse 9 (quoted above) is the key. Verses 15 and 16 provide additional amplification: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

God is offering salvation to all people of all nations today, through Jesus’ finished crosswork. We find the Gospel message to all nations without distinction, only in Paul’s epistles. Rather than “wrath and war” (as in prophecy), His message to the nations is one of “grace and peace” (as in mystery). We find that delay in prophecy, only in Paul’s epistles. Peter admitted that prophecy’s wrath is delayed so more people could be saved from it. The way they can be rescued is to be saved into our present-day “mystery” program, the Church the Body of Christ, Paul’s ministry. If you remove Paul’s epistles, you also remove God’s explanation for the delay of His wrath. In doing so, you make the Word of God vulnerable to scoffing. You really want to do that, friend? If you do not want people to scoff at the Bible, leave Paul’s epistles where they are and just believe them! However, if you are just another Bible scorner, go ahead and take Paul out!

VI. WITHOUT PAUL’S EPISTLES, HOW DO WE GENTILES BENEFIT FROM CALVARY?

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

As we briefly mentioned earlier, in 1 Timothy 2:3-7, God’s invitation to all the world to come by faith in Calvary’s finished crosswork, was not declared until Paul’s ministry. Peter and the 11 other apostles were to minister to Israel first, convert all of Israel first, and then—and only then—would redeemed Israel minister to the Gentiles (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 60:1-3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23; Zechariah 12:7; Matthew 28:19-20; Luke 24:46-48; Acts 1:8; et al.).

Yet, again, we point out, there is no redeemed national Israel today. There is no Jewish earthly kingdom to evangelize Gentiles today. Yet, we Gentiles are saved today unto eternal life. All Gentiles have opportunity to have access to Father God. How can we fellowship with Israel’s God? Did a Jewish priest come and preach a Gospel message to us? No. And yet, the prophetic Scriptures demanded that would happen concerning Gentile salvation. If there was no such Jewish priest, then how can we be sure we even have eternal life and a home in heaven right now? What spiritual rights do we have as Gentiles, seeing as the God’s chief nation to bless Gentiles (Israel) is fallen and blinded and not even in her homeland? Because there is currently a different method of God reaching Gentiles than what prophecy described. The Pauline epistles are the only part of the Bible that describe how God is temporarily reaching Gentiles apart from Israel, her prophetic program, her Davidic kingdom, and so on.

To remove Paul’s epistles is to destroy Bible clarity. Friend, just avoid the confusion and doubt. Leave Paul’s epistles in the Bible and all will be clear.

VII. FOR US WHO ARE BIBLE BELIEVERS

For those of us who simply believe the Bible, we note the following two verses, written by Paul: “If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant (1 Corinthians 14:37-38). There are just some people, even professing “Christians,” who refuse to acknowledge the Lord’s commandments spoken to them through the Apostle Paul. Paul anticipated there were such people in Corinth (read about them in 2 Corinthians chapters 10-13). In fact, the last thing Paul wrote contained this verse: “This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes” (2 Timothy 1:15). The Church the Body of Christ largely abandoned Paul’s ministry and message 2,000 years ago—while he was still alive! We should not be shocked that mostly-confused church members have abounded these last 20 centuries.

If your friend still denies all these verses, here is what you do. Any further discussion on the matter with him would be a waste of time. By outright denying Paul as an apostle, your friend exhibits such deep disrespect and hatred toward a large portion of the Bible. There is nothing else to be said to him at that point. Just pray for him, because if he does not accept Paul as legitimate, then he does not accept Paul’s Gospel for salvation. If he does not accept Paul’s Gospel, then he has not accepted Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for his sins. The man is lost, dead in his trespasses and sins, unable to see the truth, so pray for his salvation. We can do no more.

VIII. CONCLUSION

When someone says Paul “started another Gospel to disrupt the Gospel of the Kingdom,” they do not realize that, without Paul’s Gospel, there is no way to explain the delay in the fulfillment of the Gospel of the Kingdom. There is no earthly kingdom of God as the Gospel of Kingdom predicted. Israel has been waiting 2,000 years for her Davidic kingdom to be restored. She is not the head of the nations as prophecy predicted. She has never been the head of the nations.

Yet, if the prophetic Scriptures are literal, and we believe they are, then the only logical conclusion is prophecy is delayed. We do not need Paul’s epistles to tell us that Satan is ruling today instead of God through Israel. We can see Israel out of her land today, Gentiles dividing and wanting her Promised Land. We can see the Gentiles oppressing Israel today, instead of God having already destroyed Israel’s enemies. The content of Paul’s epistles is confirmed in the current world events. Salvation is coming to Gentiles without Israel, without her earthly kingdom, without her Christ/Messiah/King ruling in Zion, without her enjoying the Promised Land, et cetera. This is exactly what Paul’s epistles say; Paul is thus proven to be a legitimate apostle of the God of the Bible and the Lord Jesus Christ. Had Jesus Christ not appeared to Paul and given him his special revelations, we would be without explanation and forced to disbelieve everything in the Old Testament was non-literal and a lie.

To remove Paul’s epistles from the Bible, now there is a plot to destroy not just Christianity but the whole Bible canon! Your friend should take special care to note it.

SUPPLEMENTAL: IF PAUL’S EPISTLES ARE OMITTED, THAT MEANS….

Dear reader, if you want to remove the Apostle Paul from the Bible, you have the free will to do so. However, let me warn you of the following:

  1. You will lose Paul’s 13 books, Romans through Philemon.
  2. You must also remove the books of Acts and Luke. (Luke was Paul’s closest companion. If Paul was dishonest, Luke was also dishonest for consistently portraying Paul as a legitimate apostle of Jesus Christ.)
  3. You will also lose Peter’s second epistle. (After all, Peter endorsed Paul as a legitimate apostle and “beloved brother”—hardly the language if Paul were a false prophet!)
  4. You must remove the book of Mark from your Bible as well, seeing as to John Mark had contact with Paul throughout Paul’s ministry (Acts 12:25; 2 Timothy 4:11).

Overall, you have gutted the “New Testament” Scriptures of 17 books. You have removed over 60% of it! And you call yourself a “Bible believer?” (Ha!) Such is the attitude of a Bible rejecter and false prophet.

Also see:
» Can you compare and contrast Peter’s ministry and Paul’s ministry?
» Can you explain Peter and the 11’s ministry from Acts chapters 7 through 15?
» Can we witness too much to family members?

Can you explain 1 Peter 3:18-21?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN 1 PETER 3:18-21?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Even in some dispensational groups, there are some very strange—and sometimes ridiculous—beliefs about 1 Peter 3:18-21. For some time, this passage puzzled me as well. The confusion is largely the result of people repeating others who misread the passage. Some of these individuals simply do not know any better and are sincere in trying to explain these verses. Others, unfortunately, are intentionally wresting it to promote some pet denominational belief. We will use this time to provide insight. Beloved, let us look for other verses for illumination!

We read the closing verses of 1 Peter chapter 3: “[18] For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: [19] By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; [20] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. [21] The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: [22] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

Most of verse 18 is self-explanatory, so we will not comment on it here for brevity’s sake: “For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit….” The last two words of verse 18 are needed to complete the thought of verse 19: “By which [the Spirit] also he [Jesus Christ] went and preached unto the spirits in prison….” Who are these “spirits in prison?” Verse 20 tells us: “[The spirits in prison] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water.”

These “spirits” of verse 19 operated on Earth during the days of Noah (verse 20). What were these spirits? They were evil angelic beings, Satan’s angels. See Genesis 6:1-4 for Moses’ comments: “[1] And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them, [2] That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose. [3] And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years. [4] There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.”

At the time of Peter writing his first epistle, God had already removed these evil spirits from Earth (via the Great Flood) and confined them to chains of darkness in hell. Second Peter 2:4-5: “[4] For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment; [5] And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly….” Jude 6 supplements: “And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.” The “everlasting chains of darkness” of 2 Peter 2:4 and Jude 6 are the “prison” of 1 Peter 3:19.

So, to summarize 1 Peter 3:19-20 in just a few statements… By the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus preached in the days of Noah, and Jesus preached through Noah, to the evil spirits (angels) that were wreaking havoc on Earth prior to the Great Flood. Those spirits have since been cast down to hell and are there today in chains of darkness (“prison”). God used the floodwaters to cleanse the world of the wickedness, leaving only the eight souls through whom He would restart the human race and restore the planet unto Himself. Got it thus far?

Now, we move into verse 21 for additional insight. We need the end of verse 20 to complete the thought of verse 21: “[20] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. [21] The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ:”

Just as the waters of the Great Flood were the means whereby God cleansed the world of evil, Israel’s water baptism will save her believing remnant from the wrath to come (the seven-year Tribulation and subsequent Second Coming of Christ). Remember, John the Baptist warned people in Israel to accept his water baptism or face the wrath of God. The Apostle Peter repeated this in early Acts on the day of Pentecost.

The Bible says in Matthew 3:7-12: “[7] But when he saw many of the Pharisees and Sadducees come to his baptism, he [John the Baptist] 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.”

As in Matthew 3:7-13, the water baptism of repentance in Acts 2:38-40 was meant to save believing Jews from the wrath of God that would consume the unbelieving Israelites: “[38] Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. [39] For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. [40] And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation.” The Apostle Peter’s message was nearly identical to John the Baptist’s message preached to Israel years earlier.

Water baptism does not cleanse sins, for not even the blood of bulls and goats could forgive sins. Hebrews 10:4: “For it is not possible that the blood of bulls and of goats should take away sins.” But, as the waters of the Great Flood forced the evil world to give way to a new world (righteous Noah and his family), so Israel’s water baptism plays a role in preserving God’s people to endure His wrath as He purges the evil world again to form a new world (Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ). Their water baptism is “the answer of a good conscience toward God.” They have a right standing with God internally, their water baptism demonstrates it externally (Luke 7:29-30), and by the resurrection of Jesus Christ they will be saved.

Let us read 1 Peter 3:19-21 to conclude: “[18] For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit: [19] By which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison; [20] Which sometime were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah, while the ark was a preparing, wherein few, that is, eight souls were saved by water. [21] The like figure whereunto even baptism doth also now save us (not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,) by the resurrection of Jesus Christ: [22] Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT 1 PETER 3:18-21 DOES NOT MEAN

Some say that, between Jesus’ death and resurrection, He went down into Hell and preached the Gospel of the cross to lost people so they could have a chance to leave the flames of hell and go to heaven with him. They often use Ephesians 4:8-10 as a companion of 1 Peter 3:19. Others say Jesus went and preach the Gospel of the cross to believers so they could leave the heart of the earth and go to hell. They too appeal to Ephesians 4:8-10. However, Peter and Paul are describing two entirely different events. Ephesians 4:8-10 and 1 Peter 3:18-21 are not parallel passages. Furthermore, Jesus never preached to anyone in hellfire. People in hell do not have a second chance to be saved unto eternal life! “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). No one knew about the benefits of the cross of Christ until they were revealed to Paul (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). There is no way Jesus revealed the merits of Calvary to anyone in hell prior to Paul’s ministry.

Also see:
» What does Ephesians 4:8-10 mean? (COMING SOON!)
» Can you explain Genesis 6:1-4?
» Where was Jesus during the three days between His death and resurrection?