Monthly Archives: October 2016

Seethe not a young goat in his mother’s milk?

WHY DID GOD COMMAND ISRAEL NOT TO SEETHE A YOUNG GOAT IN HIS MOTHER’S MILK?

by Shawn Brasseaux

We read this commandment on three occasions in the Holy Bible:

  1. Exodus 23:19: “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring into the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
  2. Exodus 34:26: “The first of the firstfruits of thy land thou shalt bring unto the house of the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.
  3. Deuteronomy 14:21: “Ye shall not eat of anything that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.

The above notion is quite strange to us. Some have even dismissed it as “utterly ridiculous.” Here in the United States, we certainly know nothing about “seething” (boiling) a young goat in his mother’s milk. I for one have no interest in eating any goat meat—sodden with or without its mother’s milk! Bible scoffers chuckle at the thought that God would consider it a “sin” to seethe a young goat in its mother’s milk. They quote these verses—and others—in an effort to portray the Bible as absurd and make Bible believers look foolish. Just what is so wrong with boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk? (We ask this in faith, not doubt!)

Let us start by reviewing a little background. JEHOVAH God brought the nation Israel out of Egyptian bondage (a picture of sin and the world) so that they may serve Him in His land—the Promised Land. For centuries, heathen had defiled that Holy Land with their idols and assorted “religious” services. God was now forcefully evicting these Gentile nations, and placing Israel in their stead. Israel was to do what those Gentiles had deliberately refused to do. The Jews were to value and esteem the Word of the one true God, the Creator God, JEHOVAH God. God repeatedly warned Israel not to repeat the gross sins of the nations He had driven out of the land. Otherwise, He would force Israel out of that land, too! (Which He ultimately did, beginning with Israel’s Babylonian captivity about 600 B.C.)

We read in the opening verses of Leviticus chapter 18: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, I am the LORD your God. [3] After the doings of the land of Egypt, wherein ye dwelt, shall ye not do: and after the doings of the land of Canaan, whither I bring you, shall ye not do: neither shall ye walk in their ordinances. [4] Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I am the LORD your God. [5] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I am the LORD.”

Now, we look at the closing verses of Leviticus chapter 18: “[24] Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: [25] And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. [26] Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: [27] (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled; ) [28] That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you. [29] For whosoever shall commit any of these abominations, even the souls that commit them shall be cut off from among their people. [30] Therefore shall ye keep mine ordinance, that ye commit not any one of these abominable customs, which were committed before you, and that ye defile not yourselves therein: I am the LORD your God.”

While the above excerpts from Leviticus largely involve the Gentiles’ perverted sexual acts—incest, adultery, homosexuality, bestiality (human having sex with animals), and so on—the general commandment stood firm. Israel was to refrain from copying the Gentiles’ previous lifestyles in the land of Palestine. The Jews were a “set apart” (sanctified) people. In the case of boiling a young goat in its mother’s milk, it must have been some type of pagan practice that JEHOVAH God did not want Israel to repeat. (God thought that that commandment was so important He issued it three times.) God wanted Israel’s lifestyle to be so radically different from her Gentile predecessors and neighbors. Being God’s favored nation, the Jews were different—accordingly, they were to act different! (For more info, see our related study linked below.) That testimony was crucial to exalting the one true God in a world where He was ignored by every other nation. With Israel upholding God’s Word, Satan’s activities on the Earth would be destroyed. Alas, the temptations were too great. Israel was unfaithful to JEHOVAH God, eventually going the way of the Gentiles!

“For the name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles through you [Israel],
as it is written”
(Romans 2:24).

Enjoy our Bible Q&A studies? Please feel free to donate here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux. Also be mindful of our Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/.

Also see:
» Why did Israel have to keep so many strange laws?
» What did Jesus mean, “I will have mercy and not sacrifice?”
» Is God finished with the nation Israel?

What are “phylacteries?”

WHAT ARE “PHYLACTERIES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of the garments…” (Matthew 23:5). Just what are “phylacteries?” We will answer that question in this Bible study article.

This strange word “phylacteries” appears only once in our King James Bible (see above). A “phylactery” was a small, black, leather-bound box or case worn on their forehead or left arm by male Jews aged 13 and above. (Modern-day phylacteries are made of metal.) The forehead version was called the “frontlet.” The Hebrew letter shin (resembles our “W”) was inscribed on the phylactery’s top. Phylacteries supposedly warded off evil spirits.

Each phylactery had leather flaps through which a cord was passed. That strap, a piece of leather about the width of a human finger and about two feet (0.6 meters) long, was used to attach the phylactery to the wearer’s body. This strap was wound around the arm and ended at the top of the middle finger.

The phylactery was divided into four compartments. Each compartment held one of four slips of parchment (primitive paper). Each scrap had Scripture on it. The phylactery’s contents served as a reminder of the Mosaic Law covenant that JEHOVAH God had made with Israel. (By the way, “phylacteries” in Greek is “phulakteria,” related to the Greek word “phulasso,” meaning “to observe, obey, be on guard, beware.” The “phylactery” was viewed as a way to be aware of God’s laws.)

Four Scripture passages were stored in a phylactery. The first scrap had Exodus 13:2-10 (God delivering Israel from Egyptian bondage). The second slip had Exodus 13:11-16 (God slaying Egypt’s firstborn sons to force Pharaoh to free Israel His firstborn son). The third scrap had Deuteronomy 6:4-9 (JEHOVAH God’s command that Israel love and serve Him wholeheartedly). The last slip had Deuteronomy 11:13-21 (God’s blessings on Israel if she faithfully obeyed Him, and His curses if she disobeyed Him).

Exodus 13:8-10,13 says: “[8] And thou shalt shew thy son in that day, saying, This is done because of that which the LORD did unto me when I came forth out of Egypt. [9] And it shall be for a sign unto thee upon thine hand, and for a memorial between thine eyes, that the LORD’S law may be in thy mouth: for with a strong hand hath the LORD brought thee out of Egypt. [10] Thou shalt therefore keep this ordinance in his season from year to year…. [13] And it shall be for a token upon thine hand, and for frontlets between thine eyes: for by strength of hand the LORD brought us forth out of Egypt.”

Deuteronomy 6:6-12: “[6] And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart: [7] And thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [8] And thou shalt bind them for a sign upon thine hand, and they shall be as frontlets between thine eyes. [9] And thou shalt write them upon the posts of thy house, and on thy gates. [10] And it shall be, when the LORD thy God shall have brought thee into the land which he sware unto thy fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give thee great and goodly cities, which thou buildedst not, [11] And houses full of all good things, which thou filledst not, and wells digged, which thou diggedst not, vineyards and olive trees, which thou plantedst not; when thou shalt have eaten and be full; [12] Then beware lest thou forget the LORD, which brought thee forth out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage.”

Deuteronomy 11:18-21: “[18] Therefore shall ye lay up these my words in your heart and in your soul, and bind them for a sign upon your hand, that they may be as frontlets between your eyes. [19] And ye shall teach them your children, speaking of them when thou sittest in thine house, and when thou walkest by the way, when thou liest down, and when thou risest up. [20] And thou shalt write them upon the door posts of thine house, and upon thy gates: [21] That your days may be multiplied, and the days of your children, in the land which the LORD sware unto your fathers to give them, as the days of heaven upon the earth.”

While we are at it, we will go ahead and explain Matthew 23:5: “But all their works they do for to be seen of men: they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of the garments….” This verse is excerpted from the Lord Jesus’ severe rebuke of Israel’s religious leaders. In your own time, read Matthew chapter 23 in its entirety. This chapter and John chapter 8 are the most scathing addresses in the entire Bible! These religious leaders—“scribes and Pharisees”—stressed outward form and ceremony. They loved to appear religious because they sought the praise of men. Inside, however, the Lord Jesus said they were dead in their trespasses and sins. (Friend, do you know anyone like that? Someone who looks like a Christian, and sounds like a Christian, but has never exercised personal faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood as complete payment for his or her sins?)

Jesus accused these scribes and Pharisees of “making broad their phylacteries.” That it, they wore large phylacteries, objects that would draw more attention than regular-sized phylacteries, because they wanted to be “seen of men.” Huge phylacteries “advertised” they were “more pious,” or “more religious,” than others. It was a way of bragging, of flaunting self-righteousness. “As many as desire to make a fair shew [beautiful exhibition] in the flesh…” (Galatians 6:12, speaking of those who do religious works of any and every kind). “Look at my big box of Pentateuch writings! Unlike you, with your little box, I esteem the Law of Moses!” They claimed to love the Law of Moses, and yet there was no faith in the Law of Moses. In striking irony, that same so-called “Law-loving” crowd eventually killed Christ Jesus, the God-Man who was the Law of Moses personified! (Friend, do you know anyone who claims to “love” the Bible but who refuses to hear what it says about his or her evil religious works? They “love” Jesus but are so focused on what they are doing to make their church happy, that they have not a moment to think about Christ’s finished crosswork at Calvary?)

In closing, I thought it beneficial to quote what Smith’s Bible Dictionary says about “frontlets” (forehead phylacteries):

“The ribbon for tying them was colored purple by the Pharisees, and made showy and broad [Matt. xxiii. 3, 4], and were worn by all Jews except Karaites, women and slaves. The Rabbis made many rules about their uses. They were not to be worn on the Sabbath, because the Sabbath was itself a sign; the person reading them in the morning must stand; in the evening he may sit; the color of the thread might be changed to red in times of persecution; both hands must be used in writing them; the parchment must not have a hole in it; only one blot or error was permitted; a person wearing them must keep six feet off for a cemetery—and many others. They were a means of religious vanity, hypocrisy and display, and were so denounced by Jesus. The Rabbis said (by a kind of pious fraud) that God wore them, arguing from Is. xlix. 16; lxii. 8; Deut. xxxiii. 2. They were a kind of amulet, such as the modern Arabs use.”

Also see:
» Does God give us “points” for trying to be good?
» Can you explain Luke 18:13, “God be merciful to me a sinner?”
» What about the Jewish Roots Movement?

Do Matthew 10:10, Mark 6:8, and Luke 9:3 contradict?

DO MATTHEW 10:10, MARK 6:8, AND LUKE 9:3 CONTRADICT?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew 10:10: “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.”

Mark 6:8: “And commanded them that they should take nothing for their journey, save a staff only; no scrip, no bread, no money in their purse:”

Luke 9:3: “And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.”

The above verses are part of Jesus’ original commissioning of His 12 apostles. Some have imagined a contradiction concerning the statements about these “staves.” Matthew 10:10 and Luke 9:3 agree that the apostles are not to take staves (plural of “staff,” as in a walking stick). Yet, Mark 6:8 says they are to take nothing “save [except] a staff only.” What are they to do? Take a staff, or not take any?

It has been said that the easiest explanation is the most plausible. How sad it is that rather than trying to keep the Bible simple, people have complicated it! They do not have spiritual eyes to appreciate any spiritual truths, so they use their own human resources to “do the best they can” and still cannot make sense of the Bible. However, beloved, if we give the Bible the benefit of the doubt, and use the eyes of faith, the Holy Spirit will honor that attitude and He will show us how to understand the Bible’s various oddities.

What is the easiest explanation here? The Lord Jesus allowed them to use one walking staff, just not bring along another (or special) one. In other words, they did not need to go out a buy another staff to prepare for their journeys (thus giving them two or more staves, which Jesus forbade). No, just they just needed to bring along the one staff they already had. They did not need to pack a bag with money or extra clothes, either. Bringing along more supplies was unnecessary. The Messianic believers whose houses they would visit, those people would provide for their needs, for “the workman is worthy of his meat” (Matthew 10:10b).

As a final note, if we look at these verses from another angle, the above explanation further proves likely. Jesus told them in Matthew 10:10: “Nor scrip for your journey, neither two coats, neither shoes, nor yet staves: for the workman is worthy of his meat.” Certainly, Jesus was not telling them not to bring shoes along. The rocks of Palestine are sharp and jagged. No, He was implying a second pair of shoes was unnecessary. And, notice how Luke 9:3 mentions not bringing two coats:” “And he said unto them, Take nothing for your journey, neither staves, nor scrip, neither bread, neither money; neither have two coats apiece.” They were certainly to wear clothes, just not bring along a second coat (“tunic” or “shirt”). Again, the emphasis is on not bringing extra supplies—extra shirts, extra shoes, extra staves. God’s people, the Messianic Jews, would take care of these apostles’ material needs on their journeys. They were to bring along one walking stick, and if they needed a replacement, their converts could provide. How simple, friends, how simple the Word of God is if we just read and believe it!

Also see:
» Are Matthew 17:1, Mark 9:2, and Luke 9:28 contradictory?
» Is Matthew 27:9 a mistake?
» Do John 5:31 and John 8:14 contradict?

What did Jesus mean, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice?”

WHAT DID JESUS MEAN, “I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7-8). What did our Lord mean, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice?” Let us search the Scriptures and find out!

Read the verses with their context: “[1] At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungred, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and to eat. [2] But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day. [3] But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; [4] How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? [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” (Matthew 12:1-8).

Firstly, notice that Jesus’s hungry disciples are picking corn on the Sabbath day. This angers the Pharisees, religious leaders who are sticklers of Mosaic Law-keeping, and who piously tell Jesus, “Behold, thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (verse 2). They are reminding Jesus of what the LORD commanded Israel through Moses in Exodus 20:8-10: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work….”

Let us see why the Sabbath is important in the context of Matthew chapter 12, thereby learning the meaning of verses 7-8.

The Sabbath day first appears in Scripture in Genesis 2:1-3: “Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.”

Notice that creation and the Sabbath day are connected. God has just created the heavens and the earth. After six days of working, He rests—not because He is tired, but because His work is finished. From this point onward to Moses and the Law, the Bible makes no reference to man keeping the Sabbath.

Through the Mosaic Law, the LORD commanded Israel in Exodus 20:8-11: “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: 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: 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.”

Again, see how Sabbath-day observance and the creation week are related. When God instructed Israel to keep the Sabbath day, they were not to do any work (just like God ceased from His work in Genesis chapter 2): instead, on the Sabbath, Israel was to take the time to remember God’s original plan in creation and their role in it. This background information will now help us better understand Matthew 12:8: “For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.”

Genesis 2:1-3 and Exodus 20:8-11 explain that Israel’s Sabbath-day keeping was connected with the creation week. The writer of the book of Hebrews elaborates:

“[3] For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. [4] For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works. [5] And in this place again, If they shall enter into my rest. [6] Seeing therefore it remaineth that some must enter therein, and they to whom it was first preached entered not in because of unbelief: [7] Again, he limiteth a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. [8] For if Jesus had given them rest, then would he not afterward have spoken of another day. [9] There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. [11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief” (Hebrews 4:3-11).

Quoting Psalm 95:7-11, which describes how most of Israel rebelled against JEHOVAH under Moses’s leadership and thus could not enter the Promised Land (the “rest,” God’s kingdom on earth), the writer of Hebrews cautions Israel during the (future) seven-year Tribulation not to repeat their forefathers’ mistakes, so they may enter Christ’s millennial kingdom.

Both Adam and Israel under Moses fell into sin, delaying God’s earthly kingdom connected with the Sabbath “rest.” Regarding Matthew 12:7-8, Jesus the King, is now on earth, ready to bring in Israel’s kingdom if she would trust Him!

Genesis 2:1-3, Exodus 20:8-11, and Hebrews 4:3-11 explain how the Sabbath day (the day of God’s “rest”) was the sign of God’s earthly kingdom (God’s “rest”). Psalm 132:5,8,13,14, the words of King David, enlighten: “Until I find out a place for the LORD, an habitation for the mighty God of Jacob…. Arise, O LORD, into thy rest; thou, and the ark of thy strength…. For the LORD hath chosen Zion; he hath desired it for his habitation. This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”

The Sabbath-day rest reminded Israel of God’s original purpose in creation, and her role in His plan to reclaim the earth. Had Adam not sinned, God’s earthly kingdom would have been established 6,000 years ago with Adam and Eve. God created the nation Israel to do what Adam failed to do in the earth, but Israel too fell into sin, so again, God’s earthly kingdom was postponed. That earthly kingdom was in David’s mind when he sought to build the Temple, God’s house (Psalm 132 in the previous paragraph, and note how God declared, “This is my rest for ever: here will I dwell; for I have desired it.”).

Unfortunately, 600 years after David, at the close of the “Old Testament” Scriptures, sinful Israel has been scattered among the nations, JEHOVAH’S glory has left the Temple, and the Temple has been utterly destroyed. For the next 400 years, God is silent toward Israel (John the Baptist’s ministry breaks that silence).

When we come to the context of Matthew chapter 12, we find Jesus Christ, the LORD of Psalm 132, now come to His nation Israel. The mighty JEHOVAH has now arrived in human flesh to offer Himself as their King, to usher in that kingdom whose establishment has been repeatedly interrupted by sin. The Pharisees, blinded by their religious fervor, fail to see Jesus as “Lord of the sabbath day.”

Christ’s disciples are hungry, so they pluck corn and eat it as they and Jesus pass through the fields (Matthew 12:1). The Pharisees, rather than being sympathetic toward these hungry believers in Christ, chastise them for “[doing] that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day” (verse 2). “Moses said not to work on the Sabbath Day, and Your disciples are disobeying Moses!”

Like the entire nation Israel, these religious leaders have lost sight of the God who gave them the Law through Moses. The Pharisees, the chief example of this hypocrisy, worshipped the Law instead of worshipping the God whom they were to worship using the Law!! Jesus frequently condemned this vain religious system during His earthly ministry (similar vain religion has plagued the Church the Body of Christ for the last 20 centuries!).

Christ twice-reminded these “educated,” conceited Pharisees of their ignorance of the Old Testament Scriptures: “But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he was an hungred, and they that were with him; how he entered into the house of God, and did eat the shewbread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? 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?” (Matthew 12:3-5).

Jesus wisely argued that, although the shewbread was only meant for the priests to eat, David and his men were hungry and were permitted to consume it (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Furthermore, He argued that Moses’ inspired writings—“the law”—approved work on the Sabbath if not working caused one to disobey other laws of God. Remember, Israel’s priests had to perform Tabernacle and Temple duties, even on the Sabbath day.

Obviously, the Pharisees were so preoccupied with the Sabbath-day keeping that they overlooked the Sabbath-day meaning! When Christ’s hungry disciples pick corn and eat it, the Pharisees become angry and complain that they have broken the Sabbath-day ordinance. In Matthew 12:3-5, Christ wisely argued that although the shewbread was only meant for the priests to eat, David and his men were hungry and thus permitted to consume it (1 Samuel 21:1-6). Also, He argued, Moses—the Pharisees’ idol—said work on the Sabbath was acceptable if not working caused one to disobey other laws of God.

For instance, Israel’s priests had to perform Tabernacle and Temple duties, even on the Sabbath day. Another example is that the Jewish male baby had to be physically circumcised on the eighth day, even on the Sabbath day, or God wanted nothing to do with him (Genesis 17:10-14; Leviticus 12:3; John 7:22,23). A final example is that the Law commanded Jews to rescue their neighbors’ livestock trapped under burdens or fallen into pits, even on the Sabbath day (Exodus 23:5; Deuteronomy 22:4; Matthew 12:11,12; Luke 14:5; cf. Luke 13:15,16).

Israel’s spiritual condition during Jesus’s day is obvious. Satan, via vain religious tradition, has the Jews keeping laws for laws’ sakes! There is no faith in the Word of God; it is just mindless ceremonies, rites, and rituals. The same is true for much of Christendom today! There is no real hunger for souls and sound Bible doctrine; the emphasis is on experiences, entertainment, ceremonies, and regulations.

Whenever Jesus Christ healed the sick on the Sabbath day, the Pharisees were there forbidding it and criticizing Him. They would rather let sick people suffer than for Jesus to heal them on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:10; Mark 3:1-6; John 5:8-13; John 7:22,23). Jesus addressed their cruelty by telling them, I will have mercy” (Matthew 12:7). He addressed their faithless religious performance by telling them, I will… not [have] sacrifice” (Matthew 12:7). The Pharisees had no idea what Jesus meant anyway, for they were too blinded by sin and religious tradition!

CONCLUSION

“But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:7-8). What did our Lord mean?

The Pharisees, as well as other religious leaders of Israel, were not serving the LORD of the Old Testament Law that they studied. While they were highly educated and appeared good, they were not merciful toward the sick and hungry. They were sticklers for not working on the Sabbath day, and yet, they had no idea what the Sabbath day even represented. Blinded by their religious tradition, they preferred to see the hungry faint and the sick suffer, than even dare break the Sabbath!

Jesus told the Pharisees, “But if ye had known what this meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, ye would not have condemned the guiltless” (Matthew 12:7). The Pharisees’ heartlessness originated from a desire to serve a denominational system rather than let the love of the Lord Jesus Christ operate in their hearts and actions. The disciples were hungry, so Jesus Christ—the Person who authorized Sabbath-day observance—permitted them to pick food on the Sabbath. The Pharisees erred in presumptuously criticizing Christ’s disciples. They failed to realize that the JEHOVAH who had instituted the Sabbath-day observance, the “Lord of the sabbath day,” was Jesus Christ—the Person standing right in their midst!

One last interesting tidbit to conclude: In the companion passage of Matthew 12:7-8, our King James Bible has the unique expression, “the second sabbath after the first” (Luke 6:1). That Sabbath of Matthew 12:1-9 loops back to the original (first) Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3. The time of the fulfillment of the purpose of that original Sabbath—the establishment of God’s earthly kingdom—was near during Christ’s earthly ministry. Alas, the Pharisees failed to make that connection between those two Sabbaths. Religious tradition had caused them to ignore the God of the Sabbath, thereby causing them to be merciless and self-righteous for the sake of religion, and worst of all, they missed God’s kingdom altogether!

That is what our Lord meant, “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.”

Also see:
» Why did Jesus heal on the Sabbath Day?
» What is meant by, “Love thy neighbour as thyself?”
» Why did Jesus forbid others from preaching that He was Christ?

Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD, or by angels?

WAS THE LAW OF MOSES GIVEN BY THE LORD, OR BY ANGELS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Exodus chapters 19-34—the giving of the Law of Moses so he could give it to the nation Israel—describe the LORD Himself talking with Moses face-to-face on Mount Sinai. Notice these three brief summaries. Exodus 31:18: “And he [the LORD] gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.” Exodus 32:15-16: “[15] And Moses turned, and went down from the mount, and the two tables of the testimony were in his hand: the tables were written on both their sides; on the one side and on the other were they written. [16] And the tables were the work of God, and the writing was the writing of God, graven upon the tables.” Exodus 34:1: “And the LORD said unto Moses, Hew thee two tables of stone like unto the first: and I will write upon these tables the words that were in the first tables, which thou brakest.”

After reading the above verses, some have experienced great difficulty with the Apostle Paul’s words in Galatians 3:19: “Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.” I have actually received complaints from people who claim that Paul here contradicted Moses’ words written centuries earlier. They argue that Paul did not know his Old Testament Scriptures. (Some have gone so far as to say Paul lied!) Here, Paul claimed angels, rather than the LORD, had given the Law to Moses. Well, which is it—the LORD, or angels? Is Paul challenging what Moses wrote? In this Bible study, we will ignore the worthless conjecture and just let the Bible speak for itself.

No doubt about, friends, that Exodus is completely silent about angels being on Mount Sinai with Moses during the time he received the Law. That being said, is Galatians 3:19 automatically a mistake? Is this proof that Paul was a false prophet? (This is the conclusion of those who complain about this matter. They are not really interested in letting the Bible speak for itself. In fact, I am going to be so bold as to say that their real purpose is nothing more than to discredit Paul’s apostleship in whatever underhanded way they can. Let me show you how they actually pick on Paul, but never bother to mention other people in the Bible agree with Paul. Angels were most definitely present with Moses on Mount Sinai. Here are the non-Pauline verses to prove it!)

When the Prophet Stephen stood before Israel’s national leadership in Acts chapter 7, he spoke for just over 50 verses. Read this chapter in your time, my friend. It is an extensive “Old Testament” layout of Israel’s history—beginning with her origins in Abraham, all the way up to the time of Christ’s earthly ministry (which had concluded a year prior to Acts chapter 7). In that sermon, Stephen covered about 2,000 years of Jewish history. He stressed something important at the end. Israel’s religious leaders were so infuriated that they stoned him to death! Just before they violently massacred him, he mentioned the Law of Moses (religion is a most dangerous topic to mention!).

Stephen said to Israel’s national leadership, Acts chapter 7: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. [54] When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”

The Holy Spirit speaking through Stephen told Israel about their betrayal and murder of Messiah. Instead of receiving and believing the Lord Jesus, they handed Him over to the Gentiles/Romans for crucifixion (which punishment was reserved for the most wicked criminals). Above all, Israel had failed to keep the Mosaic Law, that which depicted the righteousness of the God-Man they had just sentenced to death! But, my friends, I want you to stop and look closely at verse 53: Who have received the law by the disposition [instrumentality] of angels, and have not kept it.” Like I said earlier, we let the Bible speak for itself. The Holy Spirit through Stephen thought angels were involved with the giving of the Law. I have no problem believing what the Holy Spirit said here. Do you? (Then, we cannot make an issue of Paul saying the same thing!)

In the Book of Hebrews, chapter 2, we read: “[1] Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip. [2] For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; [3] How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him….”

There is no question that the writer of Hebrews is here referring to the Law of Moses by using the expression, the word spoken by angels was stedfast.” The phrase “and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward” is a description of those who disobeyed the Law of Moses. The Mosaic Law was at the heart of Israel’s religion, and those who violated it suffered various punishments (from paying fines to death by stoning!). Stop again and think, my friend. Who did the writer of Hebrews assume played a role in Moses’ receiving of the Law? Angels! (Again, I have no problem believing what the Holy Spirit claims here. Do you? Therefore, we cannot make an issue of Paul saying the same thing!)

SUMMARY AND CONCLUSION

My dear friends, here is what we must understand about this matter. People who complain about Paul’s declaration of angels giving the Law (Galatians 3:19) ignore the fact that Stephen (Acts 7:53) and the writer of Hebrews (2:2) agree with Paul! These ignorant people do not know enough about the Bible to comment on it, and yet they remark about it anyway. Are they actually reading and studying their Bibles before making these shameful, malicious, reckless claims? Of course not! (And they accuse Paul of not knowing the Bible?!?) Having a blind prejudice against the Apostle Paul—which Satan encourages, no doubt!—people will malign him and pick up on the silliest of issues. If they are this busy focusing on such hair-splitting topics, no wonder they do not have time for serious Bible study! They will criticize Paul when he speaks on this matter, but they will not complain about Stephen’s wording or Hebrews’ wording that agrees with Paul’s statement. This is most unfair, and is borderline dishonesty.

What the above faultfinders fail to realize, or just refuse to apply to Paul like they do with the rest of Scripture, is that the Bible is a progressive revelation. (God commonly withholds information in one Bible book only to reveal it many years later in another Bible book. The technical term for this feature is “subsequent narrative.”) While Moses never wrote about such angels in Exodus, it is important to note he did not deny they were there. The Holy Spirit simply did not see fit to reveal that information in Exodus. Historically, the Holy Spirit revealed to Stephen first about angels being present with Moses on Sinai. The Holy Spirit then showed it to Paul when he was writing Galatians 3:19 (years after Stephen and Acts chapter 7). God the Holy Spirit also revealed it to the writer of the Hebrews. If Paul was wrong, we must also toss out Acts and Hebrews!

Exactly what capacity those angels served in giving the Law to Israel, we cannot be sure because the Bible never explicitly shows us. (Those angels were most definitely there as witnesses, to say the least.) Furthermore, it is not bizarre that angels were instrumental in giving the Law to Moses so he could then pass it on to Israel. Many times in Scripture, God sent angels to provide light and understanding to people (Genesis 16:7-13; Exodus 3:1-22; 1 Kings 19:5-7; Daniel 9:20-37; Matthew 2:13; Luke 2:9-15; Revelation 22:8; et cetera). Anyone familiar with the Bible knows that angels, from Genesis through the Revelation, are intricately involved in God’s dealings with Israel.

One more thing, my friends, before we wrap this up. Just because angels were involved in its delivery did not mean the Mosaic Law was less serious. Remember, “…the word spoken by angels was stedfast [firm, of force, sure]…” (Hebrews 2:2). Although angels were instrumental in its ratification, the Mosaic Law was still the Word of God, “the work of God… the writing was the writing of God… written with the finger of God.” Those angels had been given divine authority. When we consider Exodus, Acts, Galatians, and Hebrews as one giant unified testimony, we conclude that angels cooperated with the LORD in giving the Law to Moses so he could give it to Israel. Friends, let us believe the words of the Bible, and let its critics be wrong.

Also see:
» Do Acts 9:7 and Acts 22:9 contradict each other?
» Was the Apostle Paul a false prophet?
» Did Paul quote verses out of context in 2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1?

Why are there Christians who persistently live like lost people?

WHY ARE THERE CHRISTIANS WHO PERSISTENTLY LIVE LIKE LOST PEOPLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

“How can a person who claims to be saved live a lifestyle that is against God’s teaching and call himself saved? I mean, there are Scriptures that you have mentioned and others that I have read that show how a righteous person should live. Despite the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins, doesn’t give people the right to live any way they choose.”

Thank you for bringing these points to our attention. We can all learn some valuable insight concerning “loose living” in the lives of Christians. Unquestionably, there is much inconsistent living among many Christians—some more so than others, but inconsistent living nonetheless. We talk about “grace,” but we are not always gracious. We speak of “holiness,” but we do not always separate ourselves unto God’s Word and will. We talk about “Jesus Christ,” but we often exhibit the actions of Adam. We speak of “truth,” but we often behave according to error. The world has seen the lives of many so-called “Christians” and scoffs, “Look at all those hypocrites in the church! I want no part of that ‘Jesus Christ’ they serve!” A dear friend in the ministry once expressed it this way: “The Devil does not have to bash the name of Jesus Christ—‘Christians’ do that already!” Beloved, it is a sad commentary indeed. We need to turn to the Scriptures and let God’s Word enable us to correct our thinking and modify our behavior.

SAVED UNTO GOOD WORKS, NOT SAVED TO CONTINUE IN SIN

Years ago, a Bible commentator quoted some anonymous person: “I looked for the church, and found it in the world; I looked for the world, and found it in the church!” If that was true a half-century ago, how much more today?

Whenever there is “loose living” any professing Christian’s life, one of two things is always true: (1) he or she has never understood that he or she was saved unto good works, or (2) he or she has forgotten that he or she was saved unto good works.

Ephesians 2:8-10 reminds us: “[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: [9] Not of works, lest any man should boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” He or she needs to study the Bible to learn about the Christian life God gave him or her in Christ. Titus 2:13-14 says, “the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.”

Certainly, we Christians should have good works. We should be passionate about good works. Our new nature in Christ produces good works if we let it. See Philippians 1:9-11. All three chapters of the book of Titus talk about Christian good works. But, and it is sad to say it again, some Christians do not have a life of good works. They are saved and on their way to heaven, no doubt about it, but you would never know it by looking at their lifestyles. Just look at the Corinthians! I know many Christians like that. I am sure that you do, too. They parade their sin for all the world to see. They post graphic pictures, foul language, and obscene jokes on social media for everyone to behold their “Christian” testimony. They have a free will, and they have chosen not to access their Christian identity by faith. Paul preached to the Corinthians for 18 months, and did they appropriate that doctrine by faith? Most of them did not! The professing “church” today is just as guilty of carelessness, of “loose living.” We need not wonder why lost people do not want to hear what we have to say about Jesus Christ and His Word.

1. WORLDLY LIVING EASIER THAN CHRISTIAN LIVING.

It is much, much, much easier to walk in the default position—to be fleshly, to sin, to walk in the nature we inherited from Adam. To walk in the Spirit is only accomplished once we study and believe Bible verses, and many Christians just find Bible study too burdensome, too inconvenient, and/or too confusing. They are too busy for God. They do not study the Bible, and thus, they have no verses to guide them. If they do study the Bible, they cannot understand what they read, and so it is as if they had no Bible at all. Dispensational Bible study will greatly help these people make sense of the Bible. It will cause them to see that Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, are God’s complete will for them. The answer is not religion. The answer is grace! Grace! GRACE!

Christians who live like the world, they have compromised. They will not jeopardize their social life for Jesus Christ. They want to spare themselves the ridicule for being an “odd Christian.” So, to please men, they serve men instead of serving Jesus Christ (Galatians 1:10). John 12:42-43 says this is nothing new: “[42] Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: [43] For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.” Our goal as dispensational Bible believers is not to have men’s approval, but “God’s approval” (2 Timothy 2:15). After all, we are to seek the approval of the Person whose opinion alone counts forever.

Other times, Christians know certain activities are wrong, and they do them anyway. This is not ignorance. This is just willful disobedience. It is deliberate sin. Even as Christians, we lie, cheat, use foul language, feel pride, envy, lust, et cetera. In 1 Thessalonians 5:19, Paul admonished the Thessalonians, “Quench not the Spirit.” To “quench” is defined as “to put out or extinguish” or “to subdue or destroy; overcome; quell.” The Holy Spirit has a firm desire to work in His people, but He will not force Himself on them if they want to live in their own resources and do their own thing. They will be miserable Christians, I can assure you, but they will still be Christians, saved by the blood of Jesus Christ, not saved by their performance. Although going to heaven, they will have no joy of the Holy Ghost in believing, because they have not believed the grace doctrines that produce joy and peace (Romans 15:13; Galatians 5:22).

Personally, I know “grace believers” who consistently live worse than denominational people. They are such a hindrance to God’s ministry and such a poor exhibition of God’s grace. I am talking about some pastors and common grace people. They live as though grace is a license to sin (giving our critics ample “ammunition”). They act like children when they should be thinking like full-grown (adult) Christians! See, some Christians will quench the Spirit more than other Christians. But, whether a little or a lot, we should not be hindering the Holy Spirit from working in our lives. To stop the Holy Spirit from living Jesus Christ’s life in and through us, is for us to live completely contrary to the eternal life that we have been given in Jesus Christ.

Mature Christians will not continually quench the Holy Spirit. Those who have a solid footing in the Holy Scriptures rightly divided, they will not constantly quench Him. Yes, we all make mistakes, and we all sin. But, to persistently live a “gutter lifestyle” is not what a Christian should be doing. Christians who do not have a firm understanding of God’s Word to them, they will not have God’s power in their lives, and so they will not have stability in their inner man. Again, if there are no sound Bible verses, there will be no godly living and no righteous living. If they are being educated in the world (college, television, internet, workplace, denominational churches, et cetera), and not educated in the Holy Bible rightly divided, they have not got a prayer of victorious Christian living. I know because I experienced it myself in my own Christian life. Perhaps you have had your own experiences with these things.

2. BIBLE IGNORANCE MAKES THE CHRISTIAN LIFE NONFUNCTIONAL.

Sometimes, Christians just need to be taught that certain activities are wrong. They are not always aware of what is Christian behavior and what is not. I have dealt with people like that as well. Maybe they had poor role models who claimed to be Christians, and they are simply behaving in a way that they think is “Christian-like.” I have dealt with people like that also. How can these dear people save themselves from such bad thinking? They need to go read and believe Romans chapter 12, Ephesians chapter 4, and Colossians chapter 3. Much wisdom can be found in these chapters. They can also read the two books of Thessalonians. The Thessalonian saints were model and mature Christians—although they were not sinless, remember!

Once, a Christian man emailed me to express his utter confusion and spiritual fatigue. He had been so “beaten up spiritually” in local churches that he did not know what to believe anymore. The preachers would always rant and rave against sin but they would never tell their congregations how to do right. They wanted their people to quit sinning but they never told their people how to do it. They placed more emphasis on what those people were doing than on what Jesus Christ did to do away with their sin. No wonder Christians are so depressed and defeated today! They are too focused on garbage teaching than on grace teaching!

God gave the ministry of pastors and teachers to help Christians grow in their knowledge of His Word (Ephesians 4:11-14). Church leaders and common Christians are to “teach every man in all wisdom” (Colossians 1:28). Colossians 2:6-7 says that our Christian life will function properly only if we are “taught.” These precious Christian souls who live like the world, they have to be taught what the Bible says about Christian living specificities. Oftentimes, people are not being taught Christian doctrine in churches today. They are being entertained, they are singing and dancing, they are learning denominational clichés and creeds, they are reading “Christian bestsellers,” but they are not hearing, studying, and believing the Holy Bible. Unless they know the Bible, the Holy Spirit will not be able to work in them. He needs verses to work in Christians.

Faith will only come once we hear or read God’s Word (Romans 10:17), so if we are not reading or hearing God’s Word, there can be no faith, and without faith, the Word of God cannot work in us. 1 Thessalonians 2:13: “For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.”

3. USING THE BIBLE NON-DISPENSATIONALLY DESTROYS THE CHRISTIAN LIFE.

Romans chapter 7 discusses how whenever Paul would attempt to live the Christian life in his own strength and resources—that is, laboring under the demands of the Mosaic Law system—he would fail miserably. Many Christians do not know the Word of God’s grace, they do not know God’s Word rightly divided, and so they place themselves under the law system. They use the Bible but they do not rightly divide the Bible. They use God’s Word to destroy themselves. They make shipwreck of their Christian lives. Satan could not be happier. They do not know that God’s grace teaches us how to live today. Too many Christians today are trying to make themselves holy. They are using the Bible—the Law system—to walk contrary to the doctrine that God speaks to us today in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. Oh, what a travesty!

They are not walking by faith in their identity in Christ. We are already holy in Christ (1 Corinthians 1:31). The key to overcoming sin is Jesus Christ, not us. We died to sin by virtue of Calvary. Romans chapter 6 covers that topic extensively. If you want to live a life of defeat and misery, we should follow chapter 7. Romans chapter 7 is the result of not following chapter 6 by faith. Chapter 8 is the result of following chapter 6 by faith.

We will read Romans chapter 8, the first 15 verses, here: “[1] There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [2] For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death. [3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: [4] That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. [5] For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. [6] For to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. [7] Because the carnal mind is enmity against God: for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be. [8] So then they that are in the flesh cannot please God. [9] But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his. [10] And if Christ be in you, the body is dead because of sin; but the Spirit is life because of righteousness. [11] But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you. [12] Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. [13] For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. [14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.”

In verses 5-9, Romans chapter 8 talks about two types of Christians—those who are carnal and those who are spiritual. Take the Christians who are “carnally minded.” These are the Corinthians—people who were “carnal,” fleshly, worldly (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). If we are “carnally minded” we will have functionally dead Christian lives. In other words, we will live like the Devil and act like the lost world! On the other hand, Christians who are “spiritually minded” will have lives that agree with sound Bible doctrine. These are the Thessalonians. This is the life of Jesus Christ manifested for all to see! This is the grace life described in the Apostle Paul’s epistles! This is the victory over sin that God gives us through Jesus Christ! This is Christian living!

These verses present the two diametrically opposed lives from which we Christians can choose—live like the world or let Jesus Christ live in and through us. We can let the Holy Spirit teach us His Word and then walk by faith in an intelligent understanding of that Word, or we can just walk in our flesh and resources and get literally nowhere in the Christian life. People who are living in their own strength—whether saved or lost—cannot please God. Our flesh, even as saved people, can offer nothing to God. We are spiritually weak. But, the Holy Spirit activates the Word of God in our lives when we believe the Word of God rightly divided. The Holy Ghost makes the life of Jesus Christ become a reality in our lives.

FREE TO CHOOSE—RIGHTEOUS LIVING AND SINFUL LIVING

The Bible talks about two types of Christians in 2 Timothy 2:20-26—those who are “vessels to honour” and “vessels to dishonour.” Some Christians’ lives bring honor to the Lord Jesus Christ. Other Christians’ lives bring utter shame to the Lord Jesus Christ. It was like that in Paul’s day 2,000 years ago, and it is true even today. Some people just want to “oppose themselves”—they prefer to live contrary to who they really are. They do not act in accordance with their Christian identity. Again, that does not make it right, but that is how it is. God has given them (and us) liberty to choose right and wrong. Grace is not obligatory or mandatory. It is a “free gift,” with no strings attached (Romans 3:24; Romans 5:15-18). We should take the gift and appreciate it. But, again, we are not required.

Because we are under grace, God does not force us to behave right. The Law of Moses, however, that was a strict system—“Do good or you will be punished!” Just look at Deuteronomy chapter 28 and Leviticus chapter 26. It was during this type of system that Jesus emphasized good works to Israel. The same is true with James chapter 2. Often, I think there is a lot of “loose living” even in the religious world because people are struggling under some law system. They keep striving to stop sin in their own strength and their flesh is just too weak. According to Romans 6:14-15, sin will dominate our lives when we make our performance the issue: “[14] For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace. [15] What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” People struggling in their power to control sin need the power of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork in their lives! Our answers are not found in Israel’s program or Israel’s law system. Our answers are found in our program, Romans through Philemon. We need to be led by the Spirit of God as He teaches us the doctrines of God’s grace.

Again, today, in the Dispensation of Grace, as members of the Church the Body of Christ, we are under grace not law. The choice is ours—walk in our Christian identity or walk as though we were still in Adam. God did not make Adam and Eve as robots, and we are not robots. We can tell the Holy Spirit “no” and refuse to let Him work in us. The Corinthians and the Galatians were doing this. The Thessalonians, however, were model examples of Christian living, and Paul encourage them to continue in their godly testimonies (see 1 Thessalonians 4:9-12). He did not want them to slide away from the truth and hinder the ministry of the Holy Spirit. He wanted them to remain with the doctrines of grace. We can learn much about Christian living today by comparing and contrasting the Thessalonians (grace-oriented), the Galatians (law-oriented), and the Corinthians (man-oriented).

CONCLUSION

Grace does not force us to serve Father God. We should serve Him out of a grateful heart, yes, so if a Christian does not have a life filled with the works of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, that person is not really grateful to God. He or she has not studied His Word to learn about Christian living, and he or she does not know what Christian living is all about. Or, he or she does know what Christian living is all about, and is simply living in open rebellion against God’s Word. This may be done to please others. Religion, and/or the Bible non-rightly divided (Law of Moses), can be used to give people a false hope that they can manage their sins. Dispensational Bible study is the key to saving yourself from spiritual ruin concerning daily living.

If we know of any Christians, especially family members or friends, who fit this description of “loose living,” we need to approach them in meekness and love and warn them of the damage they are doing to their Christian testimony. We should certainly not look down on these people, for those who think they stand will fall eventually. Galatians 6:1 says we need to approach these wayward brothers or sisters in Christ in meekness and love. “Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault, ye which are spiritual, restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted.” Try to be as gentle with them as possible. If the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ means anything to them, they will think about what they are doing and make the changes they need to make. If they argue with you, and refuse to reform, the Bible says we should not have social relations with them (see 1 Corinthians 5:11-13; 2 Thessalonians 3:13-15).

Years ago, I remember one Christian emailing me to tell me he was confused by professing Christians who lived like they were not Christians at all. Dear friends, just imagine how lost people see it—they are even more confused. We cannot read their hearts, but it is very possible that those “Christians” may not even be saved. They may be merely “nominal Christians,” in name only! Or, maybe they are saved and have not grown in God’s Word rightly divided. There can be many reasons why professing Christians act like lost people. It can be a lack of teaching, or a lack of faith in sound Bible doctrine. It can be willful rebellion or just people who have been taught wrongly about how Christians should live. It may be using parts of the Bible (Moses) that are not written specifically to or about us.

Regardless of the cause, that loose lifestyle makes our Christian testimony so ineffective. That is why people call us hypocrites, and that makes the name of Jesus Christ extremely reproachful. That is one reason why lost people do not want to hear from Christians. Look at the Corinthians. One believer in Corinth was having a sexual relationship with his father’s wife! According to 1 Corinthians 5:1, not even the lost (pagan) Gentiles were guilty of that!!! The Corinthians sued one another over minor matters (1 Corinthians 6:1-8). They fought with each other like animals (1 Corinthians 3:3). The Corinthians’ problem was that they were “carnal” and “babes” (1 Corinthians 3:1-3). They never let God’s Word transform them. They were so spiritually immature, they acted so devilish/fleshly, and yet they were saved! Shocked?! Sure, we should be.

So, for those who are saved and who act worldly/lost, it could be one of two reasons: (1) they are not hearing any sound Bible doctrine where they go to church—which describes most of them, or (2) if they are hearing any sound doctrine, they are not allowing it to change them. Sometimes, a believer’s heart can grow callous, hardened to change. That is the quenching of the Holy Spirit. God allows that person to exercise free will, so He lets them remain in their rebellious state because they want to stay like that. Second Timothy 2:25-26 talks about Christians (and even lost people) “taken captive by the devil at his will.”

ATTENTION: The 2016 Slidell Grace Bible Conference will be held December 2-4, just north of New Orleans. Guest speakers are: Richard Jordan, John Smith, and I (Shawn Brasseaux). We would love to have you in attendance! Please see this flyer for more info: https://arcministries.files.wordpress.com/2016/10/2016-slidell-gbc.pdf.

Also see:
» Is grace a license to sin?
» Does “once saved, always saved” entitle us to abuse God’s grace?
» What advice can be given to homosexual Christians?

How did Enoch “walk with God?”

HOW DID ENOCH “WALK WITH GOD?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

“And all the days of Enoch were three hundred sixty and five years: and Enoch walked with God: and he was not; for God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24). How did this most enigmatic Bible character “walk with God?”

Scripture says very little about Enoch, the father of the oldest man in the Bible (Methuselah). The genealogical records of Genesis indicate that Enoch was born about 600 years after creation (he lived contemporaneously with Adam for 300 years, so they doubtless knew each other!). Enoch “walked with God,” lived to age 365 years, and “he was not, for God took him” (Genesis 5:23-24)—he disappeared from earth hundreds of years prior to the Great Flood (God spared him from witnessing such a horrific sight!).

Through the writer of the book of Hebrews, the Holy Spirit elaborates: “By faith Enoch was translated that he should not see death; and was not found, because God had translated him: for before his translation he had this testimony, that he pleased God. But without faith it is impossible to please him:…” (11:5-6a). Enoch “walked with God” by having faith in God’s Word to him; moreover, interestingly, the Bible confirms that Enoch never experienced physical death.

Although Enoch certainly did not have a written, completed Bible like we do, Jude explains what revelation Enoch had from God: “And Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied of these, saying, Behold, the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, To execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (verses 14-15).

Enoch was a prophet, someone who preached God’s Word. Now, in hindsight, with a completed Bible in hand, we can see that Enoch foresaw the Lord Jesus Christ returning to earth at His Second Coming with all the holy angels with Him, to pour out His wrath on unbelieving mankind. Enoch was a Bible teacher in the midst of that most wicked primitive world. This is most interesting, seeing as to “Enoch” means, “teach,” “train up,” “discipline.”

Also see:
» Can you explain Genesis 6:1-4?
» Who was Melchizedek?
» Why do animals fear us?