Monthly Archives: July 2018

Did Peter preach Paul’s Gospel in Acts chapter 9?

DID PETER PREACH PAUL’S GOSPEL IN ACTS CHAPTER 9?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Not quite a year ago, someone first notified me of this odd teaching found in a “grace commentary.” A few individuals within the Grace Movement embrace the notion that (1) not only did Peter preach Paul’s Gospel, but (2) Peter preached Paul’s Gospel as early as Acts chapter 9—within the few years following Paul’s salvation. Is this so? Remember, friend, it does not matter what you say, I say, or any preacher says. We must look at the Bible for ourselves. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

THE TIMELINE OF SCRIPTURE

Galatians chapter 1 and Acts chapter 9 form the heart of the issue currently under discussion. We must therefore compare these two passages to establish a timeline. Both deal with Paul’s salvation and commission on the road to Damascus, and some of the immediate events in the few years following. (Please note that the Apostle Paul is also called Saul.)

Galatians 1:18-19 parallels Acts 9:26-29—notice them first. “[18] Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. [19] But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord’s brother” (Galatians 1:18-19). “[26] And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. [27] But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. [28] And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. [29] And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him.”

The following two verses are also parallels. “Afterwards I came into the regions of Syria and Cilicia;…” (Galatians 1:21). “Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus” (Acts 9:30).

Having just looked at the pertinent Bible verses, here is what we know without doubt. Three years after Paul was saved on the road to Damascus in Syria (Acts 9:1-9), he visited Jerusalem and met with Apostles Peter and James (Acts 9:26-29; Galatians 1:18). Then, he went far north, into Syria and Cilicia (Acts 9:30; Galatians 1:21).

SPECULATIONS

It was here in Acts 9:26-29, allegedly, that Paul shared his Gospel (the Gospel of Grace) with Peter and James. Furthermore, supposedly, Peter and James (yea, all the Little Flock) began preaching the Gospel of Grace beginning in Acts chapter 9. Peter is actually said to be traveling and proclaiming Paul’s Gospel in Acts 9:32-43! Those living in Lydda and Saron “turned to the Lord” because Peter converted them (purportedly) using Paul’s Gospel. “Many believed in the Lord” because Peter supposedly proclaimed Paul’s Gospel in Joppa.

Dear friends, nothing could be further from the truth. No matter what any “grace teacher” or “grace preacher” says, Peter never preached Paul’s Gospel… and he certainly did not understand Paul’s Gospel in Acts chapter 9 to be preaching it there anyway. Someone is reading far too much into the Bible text, making the verses say something they do not say. Beware! These are nothing but the traditions of men parading as “grace teaching!”

CLARIFICATIONS

Now, someone may ask, “Brother Shawn, did not Paul travel to Jerusalem after his salvation?” Indeed! We just read it in the Scriptures (Acts 9:26-29; Galatians 1:18-19). They may inquire, “Brother Shawn, did not Paul visit with Peter and James in Jerusalem in Acts chapter 9?” Yes! The Bible says so (Acts 9:26-29; Galatians 1:18-19).

Here is a third question someone is bound to ask: “Did not Paul tell Peter and James about the Gospel of Grace in Acts chapter 9?” While not explicitly mentioned in any verses, I would say it is possible. Whenever believers in Christ gather, they inevitably have a conversation about the Word of God. In Acts chapter 9, Paul would have surely shared his testimony with Peter and James—about his face-to-face meeting with the resurrected and ascended Lord Jesus Christ, his salvation experience unto eternal life, his ministry amongst the Gentiles thus far, and so on. But, here is a point we must not miss. Whatever Peter and James heard from Paul in Acts chapter 9, they did not realize or understand Paul’s Gospel. How do we know?

In Acts chapter 15 (Galatians chapter 2), several years after Acts chapter 9, Paul and Barnabas traveled to Jerusalem to convene with Apostles James, Peter, and John. Luke wrote his account in the Book of Acts for Israel’s benefit whereas Paul wrote his version in the Book of Galatians for us the Church the Body of Christ. Friend, pay very close attention to verse 2 and verses 7-9.

Galatians chapter 2: “[1] Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. [2] And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain. [3] But neither Titus, who was with me, being a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised: [4] And that because of false brethren unawares brought in, who came in privily to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, that they might bring us into bondage: [5] To whom we gave place by subjection, no, not for an hour; that the truth of the gospel might continue with you.

“[6] But of these who seemed to be somewhat, (whatsoever they were, it maketh no matter to me: God accepteth no man’s person: ) for they who seemed to be somewhat in conference added nothing to me: [7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [8] (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: ) [9] And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

If Peter had already known Paul’s Gospel in Acts chapter 9, and was already preaching it as early as Acts chapter 9, then why did Paul have to go at all to Jerusalem in Acts chapter 15 (Galatians chapter 2)? The language of Galatians is that James, Peter, and John first understood Paul’s Gospel at that time (and not prior—see “perceived,” or comprehended, in Galatians 2:9). Paul had no reason to visit them at all if they had already known the Gospel of Grace and had been proclaiming it in years previous! Yet, the Bible says that Paul—led by the Holy Spirit—was under the impression that the leaders of the Jerusalem Church and the Little Flock did not know his Gospel!

Galatians 2:2 again, Paul’s very words on the subject: “And I went up by revelation, and communicated unto them that gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but privately to them which were of reputation, lest by any means I should run, or had run, in vain.” Who would know more about what happened? Some alleged “grace teacher,” or Paul himself? Paul says it wasthat gospel” that he had preached. There is no need for such a restriction if Peter and the Little Flock are preaching that message as well. Paul is deliberately wording it to make his ministry separate and distinct from Peter’s! No matter how hard religionists resist, these verses are clear. Paul’s Gospel and Peter’s Gospel are not the same! They never preached each other’s Gospel message!

Moreover, as late as Acts chapter 15—please note this is long after (a decade-plus after) Acts chapter 9—Peter is still associated with preaching “the gospel of the circumcision” whereas Paul is still related to “the gospel of the uncircumcision.” Turn back to Galatians chapter 2, verse 7: “But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;….” Which is the correct view? The Bible, or the speculations of men? Peter is not preaching Paul’s Gospel and Paul is not preaching Peter’s Gospel; they have always had separate Gospel messages. That is true in Acts chapter 15 (Galatians chapter 2) and thereby true of all chapters prior (including Acts chapter 9).

Paul’s Gospel involves salvation and blessing going to Gentiles (nations) through the fall of national Israel. Hence, it is called “the Gospel of the Uncircumcision” (“Uncircumcision” being Gentiles, non-Jews—see Ephesians 2:11-13). Romans 11:11-14 is Paul’s inspired comments on the subject: “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

If Peter knew Paul’s Gospel in Acts chapter 9, then he (Peter) would have been aware of Israel’s fall. He would have known that the middle wall of partition between Jew and Gentile was broken down (Ephesians 2:11-22). Yet, Peter, in Acts chapter 10, struggles with the idea of preaching to Gentiles (Cornelius et al.). Would not Peter be willing to preach Paul’s (Gentile) Gospel to Gentiles? Evidently, Peter was not preaching Paul’s Gospel anyway!

Turning to Acts chapter 10: “[12] Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. [13] And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. [14] But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. [15] And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. [16] This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven…. [28] And he [Peter] said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean.”

Again, if Peter is preaching the Gospel of Grace (allegedly starting in chapter 9), then why he is so opposed to preaching to Gentiles in chapter 10?! Why is he still observing the dietary instructions of the Mosaic Law as evidenced in Acts 10:14 and trying to avoid Gentiles as in verse 28? Evidently, Peter was not preaching Paul’s Gospel… in Acts chapter 10. That means he could not have been preaching it in Acts chapter 9 either!! Galatians chapter 2 affirms Peter did not preach Paul’s Gospel—ever. They intentionally kept their ministries separate, both their audiences and their Gospel messages. If you must, read and re-read Galatians 2:1-10 until it soaks into your mind and heart.

CONCLUSION

A very few individuals in the Grace Movement claim that Peter not only learned of Paul’s Gospel directly from Paul in Acts chapter 9, but that Peter in fact preached Paul’s Gospel in Acts chapter 9. There are several problems with such teachings. It is important to listen to and believe Bible verses rather than go by preachers and commentaries—especially so-calledgrace” leaders and allegedgrace” commentaries!!

While Paul visited Peter and James in Jerusalem just a few years after his salvation (three years), neither Peter nor James understood Paul’s Gospel. Acts chapter 10 makes that very clear. Paul probably did share the Gospel of Grace with them, but they neither needed it for their salvation nor for their audience’s salvation. The 12 Apostles (leading the Little Flock) were expected to stay with their ministry and message, the Gospel of the Kingdom, the Gospel of the Circumcision, before dying off. See Galatians 2:9: “And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

It is important that we distance ourselves from any brethren (even if they claim to be “grace”-oriented) when they begin blurring or breaking down the distinctions between Peter and Paul, prophecy and mystery, Israel and the Body of Christ, Law and Grace. When we say Peter preached Paul’s Gospel, further doctrinal departures will result. The Bible becomes contradicted even further. Eventually, we could say that the Little Flock became part of the Body of Christ. Then, we get into Covenant Theology or Replacement Theology—the idea that the Body of Christ replaced Israel. We begin compromising with religious tradition more and more. We exalt and insert opinions when we should read and believe the Bible.

If the legalistic Little Flock became members of the Body of Christ, then would the Little Flock be under Grace or Law? Would that mean we the Body of Christ are under Grace or Law? Would that mean Peter and the 11 are our apostles too? Will they rule in the heavenly places with us, or will they be on Earth? (A split Body of Christ—serving in Heaven and on Earth?!) Are we members of the Body of Christ recipients of the Abrahamic Covenant? (After all, the Abrahamic Covenant belongs to Little Flock. If the Little Flock joined the Body of Christ, would not all the Body of Christ inherit the Abrahamic Covenant? Or, would only some of the Body of Christ be heirs?) If Peter and Paul preached the same message, then why do these two men acknowledge they have been going to different audiences and will keep going to different audiences?

Galatians 2:7-9 once again: “[7] But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [8] (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles: ) [9] And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.”

Dear brethren, how dangerous and confusing the Bible becomes when we undermine and/or ignore the dispensational distinctions therein! Beware of the traditions of men parading as “grace” teaching!! Let God be true, but every man a liar.

Also see:
» Can you compare and contrast the ministries of Peter and Paul?
» Who are the people in 2 Corinthians 11:22—the 12 Apostles, or others?
» What is “Acts 9/28 Hybrid Theology?”

Did Jacob wrestle with a man—or an angel?

DID JACOB WRESTLE WITH A MAN—OR AN ANGEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Once, a teacher confidently asserted, “The Bible says that Jacob wrestled with a ‘man.’ It was not an ‘angel’ as some people assume and claim.” Is this so? Was it a man? Or an angel? Why are these two different positions taken? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

In Genesis chapter 32, we read: “[24] And Jacob was left alone; and there wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day. [25] And when he saw that he prevailed not against him, he touched the hollow of his thigh; and the hollow of Jacob’s thigh was out of joint, as he wrestled with him. [26] And he said, Let me go, for the day breaketh. And he said, I will not let thee go, except thou bless me. [27] And he said unto him, What is thy name? And he said, Jacob. [28] And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed. [29] And Jacob asked him, and said, Tell me, I pray thee, thy name. And he said, Wherefore is it that thou dost ask after my name? And he blessed him there. [30] And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved. [31] And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him, and he halted upon his thigh. [32] Therefore the children of Israel eat not of the sinew which shrank, which is upon the hollow of the thigh, unto this day: because he touched the hollow of Jacob’s thigh in the sinew that shrank.”

After this brawl, the Bible says in verse 28 that Jacob is renamed “Israel,” Hebrew for “the prince that prevails with God.” Verse 24 indeed says Jacob wrestled with “a man.” The word “angel” indeed does not appear in the Scriptures here. However, look closely at verse 30—do not read it quickly. Jacob claims, “I have seen God face to face.” It was no ordinary man that Jacob fought. No mortal man would be called “God.” What is going on here?

The Bible abounds with a literary feature known as “subsequent narrative.” Scripture may withhold information about a particular idea for centuries. Moses, when writing Genesis, reported that Jacob wrestled with a “man.” However, when we go to the Book of Hosea, something the Holy Spirit wrote about 700 years after Genesis was written, we learn more about Jacob’s encounter here.

Hosea chapter 12: “[2] The LORD hath also a controversy with Judah, and will punish Jacob according to his ways; according to his doings will he recompense him. [3] He took his brother by the heel in the womb, and by his strength he had power with God: [4] Yea, he had power over the angel, and prevailed: he wept, and made supplication unto him: he found him in Bethel, and there he spake with us;….”

Verse 2 occurred in Genesis 25:20-26, some nine centuries prior to Hosea. Isaac’s wife Rebecca gave birth to twins—Esau followed by Jacob. Jacob grabbed Esau’s heel as Esau was being delivered. Jacob, not Esau, would give rise to the nation Israel started with Abraham and Isaac. The Jews to whom Hosea is preaching and writing are the very descendants of Jacob. Hosea 12:4 says Jacob “had power over the angel, and prevailed.” Genesis 32:28 again, “And he said, Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but Israel: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.” Jacob’s encounter with the angel here is their national history—when they gained the name of “Israel.” (This is why the Jews are also called “the children of Israel,” with “Israel” being the new name God gave Jacob.) But, why did Genesis say the “angel” was a “man?”

Through various other passages of Scripture, we understand that when God’s angels appeared to people, they assume the form of men (never women!). Remember the two men in Jesus’ tomb on resurrection morning? Luke 24:4 says, “And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments:….” Two men appeared at His ascension in Acts 1:10: “And while they looked stedfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel;….” These were angels. Gabriel the Angel appeared as a man to the prophet Daniel. Daniel 9:21 documents: “Yea, whiles I was speaking in prayer, even the man Gabriel, whom I had seen in the vision at the beginning, being caused to fly swiftly, touched me about the time of the evening oblation.”

Angels are repeatedly referred to as “he” in the Bible. Zechariah 5:5-11, for example: “[5] Then the angel that talked with me went forth, and said unto me, Lift up now thine eyes, and see what is this that goeth forth. [6] And I said, What is it? And he said, This is an ephah that goeth forth. He said moreover, This is their resemblance through all the earth.… [8] And he said, This is wickedness. And he cast it into the midst of the ephah; and he cast the weight of lead upon the mouth thereof. … [10] Then said I to the angel that talked with me, Whither do these bear the ephah? [11] And he said unto me,….” Also, Revelation 19:10 speaks of an angel that the Apostle John desired to worship: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

We say all that to show that the argument that Jacob fought with a man rather than an angel is trivial and actually specious. The Bible says an angel fought with Jacob and a man fought with Jacob. Using common sense, we conclude that an angel took on the form of a man there. The angel was God’s representative, and this being may have been the angel of the LORD. That “angel of the LORD” sometimes seems to be God Himself (Jesus Christ pre-incarnate), which explains why Jacob said he “saw God face to face” (and thus named the place “Peniel”—Genesis 32:30). Jacob encountered a man (in appearance) but it was not a normal man. It was an angel, a supernatural being of some kind. There is no need to get confused. We simply read the Bible, believe what we read in the Bible, and not worry about the opinions and baseless claims of preachers and teachers.

Also see:
» Did Pharaoh die in the Red Sea?
» Are angels women?
» Jacob have I loved, Esau have I hated?

Can you shed light on Galatians 3:20?

CAN YOU SHED LIGHT ON GALATIANS 3:20?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Bible says in Galatians 3:20: “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.” What should we take from this?

It is better to read the context first to get the thought-flow of the passage: “[15] Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; Though it be but a man’s covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. [16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

“[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. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one. [21] Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law. [22] But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.”

No mediator was necessary between the LORD God and Abram back in the opening verses of Genesis chapter 12: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” God made promises to Abram, but Abram did not promise God anything. Abram was under no obligation because the Abrahamic Covenant was God’s grace (gift to Abraham). The promise was certain (unconditional) because God alone was the party who needed to perform to bring it to pass. “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

In stark contrast, the Mosaic Covenant (the Law) was conditional. God would work and give Israel the blessing—but only if Israel kept all His commandments first! Both Israel and God were obligated to perform under this arrangement. The Jews had to obey God 100 percent to get His blessings (impossible for sinners, for sinners “transgress”—see Galatians 3:19 above). This two-party agreement meant that God had to give Israel the Law through a mediator—Moses. Again, no such mediator was present or required in Genesis chapter 12 with Abram (later renamed Abraham). “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

Exodus chapter 19 speaks of the Law being given to Israel through Moses: “[1] In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. [2] For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. [3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. [5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.”

Also see:
» What are the “sins that are past” in Romans 3:25?
» Does God see us Christians as sinners?
» Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD or by angels?

Do Galatians 6:2 and Galatians 6:5 contradict each other?

DO GALATIANS 6:2 AND GALATIANS 6:5 CONTRADICT EACH OTHER?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Why does God’s Word tell us to “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2) and then command in the same passage, “Every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:5)? Is this not a contradiction? Is this a mistake in the Bible? Friends, we just need a good English dictionary and a little common sense, and it will become quite simple!

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2).
“For every man shall bear his own burden” (Galatians 6:5).

Those who enjoy “running to the Greek,” point out that “burdens” in Galatians 6:2 is bare, while “burden” in verse 5 is phortion. One seminary-trained minister recently criticized the King James Bible because the distinction in Greek was “lost in English.” My wonderful readers, before we criticize our English Bible, perhaps we had better consult an English dictionary. (Nothing is “lost in English!” The “scholar” says this so we depend on him to learn the real Bible. It is a form of Romanism, “Come to the priest, who has been educated to function as the ‘true’ interpreter of the Bible!”) I have a good pastor friend who wisely says, “Do not get angry at your Bible when it knows more about the English language than you do!” What is a synonym for “burden?” How about “load?” Why not leave “burden” in both verses and just remember what they mean?

Consider this ridiculously simple illustration. Suppose we have two coworkers. Each is being paid to do his or her own job, correct? However, what if both are carrying a heavy load? The one with the lighter load can come behind the other and help lift the object. This is not difficult to understand. It is when we come to the Bible—spiritual matters—that the battle wages and confusion arises. A struggle between good and evil and the souls of men begins. People have no trouble comprehending real-world scenarios apart from the Bible. When concepts in the Bible parallel the real-world scenarios, that is when people oppose. What should be simple is needlessly complicated. They do not want the Bible to say what it says. They want to find fault with it. They want to change it.

God wants us to function fully on our own, and yet, when necessary, we can help each other out. This is especially true of trying to recover Christians from “the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:26). “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” (Galatians 6:1). Christian living is not about serving self. “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). Now Galatians 6:3: “For if a man think himself to be something, which he is nothing, he deceiveth himself.” And finally, verses 4 and 5: “But let every man prove his own work, and then shall he have rejoicing in himself alone, and not in another. For every man shall bear his own burden.” God expects every Christian to be mature enough to carry his or her own weight, not needing “crutches” or “aids” continually. How simple!

Also see:
» Do Hosea 11:12 and Hosea 12:2 contradict?
» Is Galatians 1:6-7 contradictory?
» Do John 5:31 and John 8:14 contradict?

Is Matthew 25:31-46 a plan for our salvation unto eternal life?

IS MATTHEW 25:31-46 A PLAN FOR OUR SALVATION UNTO ETERNAL LIFE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Concluding His renowned Olivet Discourse (end-times prophecy), the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew chapter 25: “[31] When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: [32] And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: [33] And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.

“[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: [35] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: [36] Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. [37] Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? [38] When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? [39] Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? [40] And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

“[41] Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: [42] For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: [43] I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. [44] Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? [45] Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. [46] And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.”

Dear Roman Catholics, and various other precious “good works people,” appeal to the above passage as proof that God certainly rewards us on the basis of our good deeds. They point especially to verses 34 and 46: “[34] Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:… [46] And these shall go away into … life eternal.”

In summary, they say that if we help the poor and visit the sick, God will reward us with eternal life and let us enter His kingdom. While the passage surely stresses good works resulting in eternal life, there is something very important that we need not overlook (as they do). Just because a verse is in the Bible, that does not mean that verse is to or about us. Who is the audience of these verses? We do not appeal to Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry to see how salvation unto eternal life works for us today. After all, Saint Paul is God’s spokesman to us Gentiles: “For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office” (Romans 11:13). Saint Paul is our apostle.

Contrariwise, Jesus Christ said that His ministry was not to us Gentiles. He especially commanded His 12 Apostles (Peter included) not to preach to us Gentiles. Therefore, when we seize upon Matthew chapter 25 as applicable to us, we mishandle God’s Word. “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, The kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 10:5-7). “But he [Jesus] answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24). Saint Paul said in Romans 15:8: “Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision [Jews] for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:….” There are no Gentiles in these verses!!

Returning to Matthew chapter 25, verse 40: “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” In light of the fact that Jesus Christ was sent to the nation Israel, that means that His “brethren” in this passage are none other than Jews, believing Jews. Verse 32 says that “all nations” (Gentiles) will come before Jesus Christ when He sits on the throne of His glory (yet future from us), and they will give account to Him for whether or not they blessed Israel with material goods. This is in perfect accordance with the Abrahamic Covenant. God stipulated in Genesis 12:1-3: “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.”

Matthew 25:31-46 can be recapitulated as follows. The Gentiles who blessed Israel in the seven-year Tribulation (prior to the Second Coming of Christ), these nations will enter the subsequent Millennium of Revelation 20:1-6. They will be blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world… life eternal” (Matthew 25:34,46). Those Gentiles who cursed Israel, these nations will be cast into Hell—“ye cursed, everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels… everlasting punishment” (Matthew 25:41,46). This is a national judgment, the Judgment of the Nations, rather than individuals (although individuals are obviously involved). Matthew 25:31-46 in no way applies to us for the following reasons.

Firstly, Saint Paul says that Israel is currently fallen. Salvation is coming to the Gentiles without national Israel. Romans 11:11-14: “[11] I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.” (Did you see Paul’s ministry in verse 13? Rather than God’s Word coming to us through Israel, His message comes to us through Paul!)

If there is no Israel today in the Dispensation of Grace, then it is impossible to bless or curse Israel today. Romans chapter 11 goes on to say that Israel is temporarily blinded: Israel has no spiritual standing before God today. God considers her just another Gentile nation: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. [28] As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father’s sakes.”

Secondly, we do not have a works message from God delivered us through Saint Paul the Apostle. Those of the aforementioned “good works” crowd go around bragging that James chapter 2 says we need faith and works to be justified. They will then use Matthew chapter 25 as a supplement: “We show our faith by our works. As Jesus said, we help the poor, orphans, widows, infirm, elderly, and so on.” Friends, this is certainly not faith. Faith is defined as believing what God said to you. God never told us (or them) that we have to fulfill Matthew chapter 25 to obtain eternal life. The message God has to tell us Gentiles without Israel’s rise to kingdom glory, is that we do not work for salvation.

Look at what God through Saint Paul tell us Gentiles in Romans 3:19-28: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. [21] But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; [22] Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: [23] For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; [24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law.Is there anything about blessing Israel? Helping the poor? Visiting the sick? Nothing!

Saint Paul also penned in Romans chapter 4: “[1] What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh, hath found? [2] For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God. [3] For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness. [4] Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. [5] But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.Again, is there anything about blessing Israel? Helping the poor? Visiting the sick? Nothing!

Dear friends, how silly it is to ignore God’s Word to us (Pauline doctrine), then grab something in the Bible that is not to or about us, and finally pretend it is to or about us! In the case of the Gentiles in Matthew chapter 25, they have faith and works because their message from God requires faith and works. If they believe God’s Word—that Israel is God’s special nation (Genesis 12:1-3)—then they will have works to prove their faith. God tells them (not us but them) to bless Israel. If they curse (mistreat, ignore) Israel, they will not have eternal fellowship with God. These cursers of Israel will be tossed into Hell whereas the blessers of Israel will enter the Millennial Reign of Jesus Christ. That will be the ultimate fulfillment of the Abrahamic Covenant—blessed because they blessed Israel or cursed because they cursed Israel. Again, through Israel, God will bless all nations.

Let us look at James chapter 2 for a few moments: “[14] What doth it profit, my brethren, though a man say he hath faith, and have not works? can faith save him? [15] If a brother or sister be naked, and destitute of daily food, [16] And one of you say unto them, Depart in peace, be ye warmed and filled; notwithstanding ye give them not those things which are needful to the body; what doth it profit? [17] Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. [18] Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works. [19] Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. [20] But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? [21] Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? [22] Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? [23] And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. [24] Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. [25] Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? [26] For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.”

Dear friends, before we yank this passage too as though it is written to or about us, we had better look at James 1:1. James says he is writing “to the twelve tribes scattered abroad.” This is not Gentiles. This is the nation Israel, for Israel alone has 12 tribes. Since Israel is God’s literal, physical, visible, earthly people; He wants them to have literal, physical, visible, earthly works. Gentiles who have faith in Israel’s program will have works to show their faith as well. See Rahab’s example of blessing Israel noted in James 2:25 (historically, this occurred in Joshua 2:1-24 and Joshua 6:17-25). After all, these people have a works message from God. Faith is first and foremost, trusting God is first and foremost, but works follow (prove) their faith.

In the case of us in the Dispensation of Grace, this is not true. We do not have a works message from God. Our message is grace, and grace says not to work! Jesus Christ did that work at Calvary to please God and make us acceptable to Him. “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is what we have to trust—place our faith in—in order to have eternal life today. We do not have to worry about what God told Israel or Gentiles in her prophetic program. They are not us and we are not them!

Let us go now to Romans 11:6: “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then it is no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.” Israel did not learn this lesson; hence, they crucified Jesus Christ (see Romans chapters 9 and 10 quoted below). Her message from God was faith and works; instead, she stayed in unbelief and tried to substitute faith with works, rather than having faith and then works.

Romans chapters 9 and 10: “[9:30] What shall we say then? That the Gentiles, which followed not after righteousness, have attained to righteousness, even the righteousness which is of faith. [9:31] But Israel, which followed after the law of righteousness, hath not attained to the law of righteousness. [9:32] Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone; [9:33] As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. [10:1] Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. [10:2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [10:3] For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.”

Today’s aforementioned works-religion people are in the same satanic trap. Self-righteousness has consumed them, just as it did Israel of old. They can quote the Bible all they want, and still wind up in Hell! How critical it is for them to learn this verse: “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). We must separate God’s Word to us (Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon) from the rest of Scripture. It is a matter of getting the right Gospel message out of the Bible that applies to us. How dangerous it is to grab verses out of context, especially verses that have absolutely nothing to do with us!!

Saint Paul the Apostle, when asked about salvation unto eternal life, replied as follows: “And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). Romans 3:22 says: “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:…” First Corinthians 1:21: “For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.” Galatians 3:22: “But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.” Once more, there is nothing here about works. Faith and faith alone is the issue today as pertaining to justification unto eternal life, forgiveness of sins, a home in Heaven. That is “the Gospel of the Grace of God” committed to Saint Paul’s trust and our trust (Acts 20:24).

Now, dear friends, let it be clearly understood we do good works as Christians, but not to become Christians. Thanks to religious tradition, there is great confusion here—and there should not be. We are saved by grace through faith without works, but that does not mean that God does not care how we live. He saves us in order to do good works in and through us; we are not saved to continue in sin.

Romans 6:14-15: “[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.”

Ephesians 2:8-10: “[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.”

Titus 2:11-15: “[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; [13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; [14] Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. [15] These things speak, and exhort, and rebuke with all authority. Let no man despise thee.”

Also see:
» Is grace “a license to sin?”
» How do we not “live after the flesh” if we live in bodies of flesh?
» Who are the “fatherless” and “widows” of James 1:27?

Why could the disciples not cast out the devil in Matthew 17:14-21?

WHY COULD THE DISCIPLES NOT CAST OUT THE DEVIL IN MATTHEW 17:14-21?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Matthew chapter 17 relays a strange account: “[14] And when they were come to the multitude, there came to him a certain man, kneeling down to him, and saying, [15] Lord, have mercy on my son: for he is lunatick, and sore vexed: for ofttimes he falleth into the fire, and oft into the water. [16] And I brought him to thy disciples, and they could not cure him. [17] Then Jesus answered and said, O faithless and perverse generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him hither to me. [18] And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour.

“[19] Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out? [20] And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. [21] Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.”

The Lord Jesus accused His disciples of unbelief (verse 20). What exactly did they not believe? They did not believe the divine revelation He had just given them about His coming death! Earlier in the chapter, descending the Mount of Transfiguration, He told them He would die.

“[9] And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead. [10] And his disciples asked him, saying, Why then say the scribes that Elias must first come? [11] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Elias truly shall first come, and restore all things. [12] But I say unto you, That Elias is come already, and they knew him not, but have done unto him whatsoever they listed. Likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them. [13] Then the disciples understood that he spake unto them of John the Baptist.” The parallel passage, Mark 9:9-13, makes this clearer—especially verses 9-10.

Since the disciples were not operating on faith—trusting what God had just shown them—they lacked His power to perform the miracle. Matthew 17:21 is of particular importance, which is why we need a King James Bible (that contains it). The verse is omitted from modern English versions because their underlying manuscripts omit it: “Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.” The prayer and fasting, of course, is speaking to God in light of His Word and then mourning. They are to lament Christ’s soon death.

Matthew 9:14-15 shows us: “[14] Then came to him the disciples of John, saying, Why do we and the Pharisees fast oft, but thy disciples fast not? [15] And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast.” Jesus is the Bridegroom, and He will soon be “taken from them” (killed)! This is when they are to mourn, He said.

Let us return to Matthew chapter 17, after Jesus performed the miracle the disciples could not execute. We read the following: “[22] And while they abode in Galilee, Jesus said unto them, The Son of man shall be betrayed into the hands of men: [23] And they shall kill him, and the third day he shall be raised again. And they were exceeding sorry.” This time, they understood what He meant. They mourned His approaching death. However, the disciples have lost their power to perform miracles.

These disciples will not regain that power until Pentecost, Acts chapter 2, when the Holy Spirit comes down and indwells them (see John 14:16-20, John 15:26, and John 16:7-16). Luke 24:49 says: “And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.” Also Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

Acts chapter 2: “[1] And when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. [2] And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled all the house where they were sitting. [3] And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them. [4] And they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance…. [43] And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”

Also see:
» What is the difference between a disciple and an apostle?
» Why does Israel have 12 apostles?
» Can you compare and contrast the ministries of Peter and Paul?

Who is the wounded man of Zechariah 13:6?

WHO IS THE WOUNDED MAN OF ZECHARIAH 13:6?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Zechariah 13:6 is one of the most debated verses in the Book of Zechariah: “And one shall say unto him, What are these wounds in thine hands? Then he shall answer, Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.” Some Bible teachers suggest that this “wounded” man is the Messiah (Jesus Christ). However, most commentators claim that it applies to the false prophet of the earlier verses. Can we shed some light on the subject by looking at the context?

“[3] And it shall come to pass, that when any shall yet prophesy, then his father and his mother that begat him shall say unto him, Thou shalt not live; for thou speakest lies in the name of the LORD: and his father and his mother that begat him shall thrust him through when he prophesieth. [4] And it shall come to pass in that day, that the prophets shall be ashamed every one of his vision, when he hath prophesied; neither shall they wear a rough garment to deceive: [5] But he shall say, I am no prophet, I am an husbandman; for man taught me to keep cattle from my youth.”

The man in verse 6 has wounds in his hands, which he claims he received “in the house of my friends.” Although it is argued that the false prophet was wounded in his pagan religion mutilation practices, this explanation for the wounds seems unlikely. At this author sees it, it does not appear to fit verses 3-5. What makes people—including this author—believe that Zechariah 13:6 refers to Jesus Christ?

The Prophet Zechariah had already stated in chapter 12, verse 10: “And I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace and of supplications: and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him, as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him, as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” This is the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. Israel is converted nationally after seeing Him with His identifying wounds. The Apostle John quotes the verse in Revelation 1:7: “Behold, he cometh with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him. Even so, Amen.”

John and Zechariah point back to what King David wrote centuries earlier in Psalm 22:16: “For dogs have compassed me: the assembly of the wicked have inclosed me: they pierced my hands and my feet.” In John 19:37, we read of Jesus Christ’s crucifixion: “And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced.” Zechariah 12:10 applies not only to the Second Coming, but also the First Coming (Calvary).

It is better to make Zechariah 13:6 refer to Jesus Christ. It really makes no sense for a false prophet to be wounded in his hands—especially in the house of his friends (whatever that would mean?!). However, we know that Jesus Christ was wounded in His hands. Notice what the Apostle John reported.

John 20:24-28: “[24] But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. [25] The other disciples therefore said unto him, We have seen the Lord. But he said unto them, Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe. [26] And after eight days again his disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the midst, and said, Peace be unto you. [27] Then saith he to Thomas, Reach hither thy finger, and behold my hands; and reach hither thy hand, and thrust it into my side: and be not faithless, but believing. [28] And Thomas answered and said unto him, My Lord and my God.”

Zechariah 13:7 says, “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd, and against the man that is my fellow, saith the LORD of hosts: smite the shepherd, and the sheep shall be scattered: and I will turn mine hand upon the little ones.” Matthew 26:31 and Mark 14:27 quote this to pertain to Jesus Christ. Hence, Zechariah 13:6 likely points to Messiah as well. The false prophets would be in verses 3-5, but Messiah would be in verses 6-7. It is this author’s personal belief that verse 6 should not be paired with verse 5 but with verse 7. Zechariah 12:10 is one verse about Messiah’s Second Coming and Zechariah 13:6 is another. In between, we have a parenthetical passage (12:11–13:5).

Let us now hear from an opposing view. One commentator says the following: “Considerable discussion also surrounds the identity of the individual who possessed ‘wounds between your arms’ (13:6). Some have identified him with Christ, the wounds supposedly referring to His crucifixion. But Christ could neither have denied that He was a prophet, nor could He have claimed that He was a farmer, or that He was wounded in the house of His friends. Obviously, it is a reference to a false prophet (cf. vv. 4,5) who was wounded in his idolatrous worship. The zeal for the Lord will be so great in the kingdom of Messiah that idolaters will make every attempt to hide their true identity, but their scars will be the telltale evidence of their iniquity.”

We agree with the above quote that Christ would not deny Himself to be a prophet, or claim to be a farmer. However, Christ is not speaking in verses 3-5 anyway. He is speaking in verse 6. That is, the words spoken in verses 3-5 do not automatically disqualify Messiah from speaking in verse 6. We can have a change in speakers between verse 5 and verse 6, and this author believes that to be the case.

The same expositor later wrote: “The phrase [NKJV—wounds between your arms] cannot refer to Messiah, but it is a continuation of the false prophet’s behavior in vv. 4,5. When the false prophet denies any association with pagan practices, others will challenge him to explain the suspicious wounds on his body. False prophets would cut themselves to arouse prophetic ecstasy in idolatrous rites (Lev. 19:28; Deu. 14:1; 1 Ki. 18:28; Jer. 16:6; 48:37), but they will claim the scars represent some attack they suffered from friends.”

Again, although bringing to light some useful insight, this author thinks that the commentator is wrong in suggesting Jesus Christ could not say that He was wounded in the house of friends. The Lord Jesus Christ most definitely could claim that. He came to His own people, the nation Israel, but they did not receive Him. The culmination of their rejection of Him was when they crucified Him on Calvary’s cross. This crucifixion would be the source of the wounds in His hands. The Jews of all people should have accepted Him, for their Hebrew Bible had predicted His coming for many centuries. He was the fulfillment of their Abrhamic Covenant. Alas, they were willing to turn Him over to the pagan Gentiles for a most brutal execution. Read these sermons spoken to Israel during early Acts. This is the Holy Spirit condemning unsaved Israel for not only wounding but actually killing God’s Son!

Acts 2:22-24: “[22] Ye men of Israel, hear these words; Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs, which God did by him in the midst of you, as ye yourselves also know: [23] Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: [24] Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.”

Acts 3:13-18: “[13] The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. [14] But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; [15] And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses. [16] And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. [17] And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers. [18] But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.”

Acts 5:29-31: “[29] Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men. [30] The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. [31] Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.”

Acts 7:51-53: “[51] Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. [52] Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: [53] Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.”

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE MODERN BIBLE VERSIONS ONLY OBSCURE TRUTH AND ADD TO THE MISUNDERSTANDINGS

Unfortunately, Zechariah 13:6 is totally misconstrued in modern English Bible versions—only making the discussion more confusing. The following (eye-opening!!) sampling of excerpts from popular contemporary translations demonstrates just how dangerous and mystified modern Bible scholarship is. There are great variations of this one verse. It would be downright hilarious, except it is a most serious matter. The precious Word of God has been brutally butchered and—in this author’s view—His only begotten Son has been blasphemed and mocked.

The two most perverted modern English Bible renderings of Zechariah 13:6 will be read first.

The Living Bible: “And if someone asks, ‘Then what are these scars on your chest and your back?’ he will say, ‘I got into a brawl at the home of a friend!’” (Whoever it is, he was fighting and got injured!! Forget trying to put Jesus Christ in this verse—and even the mutilated false prophet with his graphic rituals would not fit here!!)

The Message: “And if someone says, ‘And so where did you get that black eye?’ they’ll say, ‘I ran into a door at a friend’s house.’” (Preposterous!! The man got a black eye after running into a door?!?!?! Stupid!! Nothing of the sort is implied in the Hebrew!!! And, to think this is marketed and purchased under the guise of it being a “Bible!!”)

Wounded (general) — Contemporary English Version: “And if any of them are asked why they are wounded, they will answer, ‘It happened at the house of some friends.’” (Where are the wounds located on the body?! We are not told.)

Wounds in the midst of thy handsDouay-Rheims Catholic Bible 1899: “And they shall say to him: What are these wounds in the midst of thy hands? And he shall say: With these I was wounded in the house of them that loved me.”

Scars on your chestGod’s Word translation: “When someone asks him, ‘What are these scars on your chest?’ he will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Deep cuts on your bodyNew Century Version: “But someone will ask, ‘What are the deep cuts on your body?’ And each will answer, ‘I was hurt at my friend’s house.’”

Wounds on your bodyNew International Version: “If someone asks, ‘What are these wounds on your body?’ they will answer, ‘The wounds I was given at the house of my friends.’”

Wounds between your armsNew King James Version: “And one will say to him, ‘What are these wounds between your arms?’ Then he will answer, ‘Those with which I was wounded in the house of my friends.’” (New American Standard Bible and American Standard Version agree.)

Wounds on your chestNew Revised Standard Version: “And if anyone asks them, “What are these wounds on your chest?” the answer will be “The wounds I received in the house of my friends.” (New Living Translation, Good News Translation, Holman Christian Standard Bible, and New English Translation agree.)

Wounds on your backRevised Standard Version: “And if one asks him, ‘What are these wounds on your back?’ he will say, ‘The wounds I received in the house of my friends.’” (English Standard Version agrees.)

Ritual wounds on your chest and backThe Voice translation: “And if anyone happens to say, ‘How did you get these ritual wounds on your chest and back?’ then the answer will come back—another deception—‘Oh, I received these at my friend’s house.’” (Notice how the translators added an interpretation—the word “ritual” without manuscript support!)

Wounds between your handsNew World Translation (“Jehovah’s Witness” “bible”): “And one must say to him, ‘What are these wounds [on your person] between your hands?’ And he will have to say, ‘Those with which I was struck in the house of my intense lovers.’”

Also see:
» Who are the “three shepherds” of Zechariah 11:8?
» Who, crucified on Calvary, mocked Jesus?
» How could Jesus say His killers knew not what they were doing?