Monthly Archives: January 2019

How should we view dispensationalists of bygone days?

HOW SHOULD WE VIEW DISPENSATIONALISTS OF BYGONE DAYS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

It is no secret that the average professing Christian has little to no familiarity with dispensational Bible study (hence, the abounding Scriptural confusion and spiritual ignorance!!). He or she, if aware of dispensationalism, has little to no time for it. Despite the opportunity to learn the Scriptures“rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), using the lens of religious tradition is often the preferred approach to God’s Holy Word. Such souls thunder out in exasperation, “Leave me alone! My denominational doctrine was good enough for ____, so it is good enough for me!” It almost seems like even professing dispensationalists adopt this attitude at times—even today. Why?

Decades and centuries ago, our dispensational brethren in Christ did not understand and enjoy the Bible as fully as we do now. It is quite apparent in their literature (commentaries, study Bibles, pamphlets, sermons). They understood the distinctive nature of the Apostle Paul’s ministry and message, and the difference between the nation Israel and the Church the Body of Christ, but they were weak on various and sundry points of doctrine. In certain instances, they blurred the Body of Christ with Israel, and they (even to a small degree) made Paul’s ministry and message an extension of Peter’s office and doctrine. They tried to “harmonize” Peter and Paul in the places where they disagreed. Why?

We cannot know their hearts. Still, whatever their reason, they stopped in Bible understanding. They likely spent their whole lives trying to recover from denominational deception themselves, renewing their minds (yet only going so far). Their earthly journey ended before they came to where we are. Or, maybe they knew more about dispensational Bible study than they indicated, but kept it quiet so as not to attract the ire of denominational brethren (we understand!!). No doubt some refused to take certain theological positions because it would be financially devastating to their ministries or socially disadvantageous in “scholarly” circles (we know that too!!). After all, whether we are saved or lost, our flesh is wretched through and through. There is always that enticement, “For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God” (John 12:43).

No one human knows everything. Therefore, whatever the field of study, the teacher will be able to take the student only so far in the material. It is indubitably true of Bible teachers and preachers. These men may be our nearest and dearest, but they are nevertheless just men. Never, ever idolize them, assuming they can do no wrong and supposing they will never drift away from sound teaching—especially this author (!). This author, remember, is merely a man as well. He is able to bring you only so far in Bible understanding. The day is coming, whether near or distant, when he will reach his limit too. Whether indifference, apostasy, or physical death, the teacher (sadly) eventually diminishes his rate of contribution of new understanding. We never want to stop growing in the Word, so by God’s grace, we need to endeavor to see to it that physical death (never indifference and never apostasy!!) is the only reason we cease spiritual growth.

Saints, we stand on the shoulders of the “grace men” who have gone on before us in ministry, so for us to disparage them is to harm ourselves. Interesting, one of their sermons or Bible study articles might have taken them 20 or 30 years of firsthand research and experience. These brethren who spent decades reading and studying Scripture give us the fruit of their extensive labor and we can gain it all in a matter of minutes, hours, days, or weeks. Never should we take that lightly! Be sure to praise our Lord Jesus ChristHe is the Person of supreme importance. We should listen to the biblical advice these brethren have laid forth. They endured circumstances that we have yet to face, and the scriptural insight that helped them will likely prove useful to us too. Societal problems that existed back then are still with us today, just on a larger scale because it involves more people. They were people of like passions, and we are more similar than we imagine.

We certainly do not have to agree with them on every little point of doctrine (and we surely do not agree with them 100 percent). It is wise, ever so wise, to “eat the meat and not choke on the bones.” We discern what is good, and we filter out what is bad. Let us appreciate the fact that these dispensational brethren did walk—at least to some extent—in the spiritual light they had (this we are sure). We should not demand they should have walked in the light we have, but let us stress the need that we walk in the light we have! They had blind spots, as do we, so let us be mindful of that as well. Wherever they relied on “scholarship,” “pet” denominational doctrines, and did not apply consistent dispensational Bible study, we learn from these mistakes and correct the problem(s) in our own thinking.

CONFUSION NO MORE!

Our dispensational brethren in Christ enjoying Heaven have been “straightened out” regarding the doctrinal issues where they could have been clearer or stronger. This goes for our deceased denominational brethren in Christ as well. Confusion is no more for them. What they are experiencing now in the Lord’s presence, we have the same Bible to lead us to a godly view of spiritual matters before we depart this life. Will we further our understanding, or continue to carp concerning the lack of theirs? Let us build off their work, and, above all, praise God for their work!! “And the things that thou hast heard of me among many witnesses, the same commit thou to faithful men, who shall be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2).

Also see:
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» Why did Saul of Tarsus not refuse his water baptism by Ananias?

Will the Antichrist be a Jew or a Gentile?

WILL THE ANTICHRIST BE A JEW OR A GENTILE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Moses says Israel must choose a king from their own brethren as opposed to a non-Jew. Surely, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Deuteronomy 17:14-15: “When thou art come unto the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee, and shalt possess it, and shalt dwell therein, and shalt say, I will set a king over me, like as all the nations that are about me; Thou shalt in any wise set him king over thee, whom the LORD thy God shall choose: one from among thy brethren shalt thou set king over thee: thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, which is not thy brother.” There is a strict prohibition as appointing a “stranger” or Gentile.

Furthermore, it is quite unfathomable to think the Jews would look for a deliverer in the form of a Gentile. Throughout the Old Testament, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, raises up and sends Jews as deliverers of Israel—Moses, Samson, King David, Gideon, Mordecai and Esther, Deborah, Jephthah, King Saul, and so on. All were formidable leaders of Israel when the nation needed to be rescued from Gentile oppression. The Antichrist will promise Israel peace and prosperity (see Daniel 11:21,32). Surely, in keeping with the aforementioned Old Testament typology, the Antichrist will be a Jew.

Also, notice Deuteronomy chapter 18: “[15] The LORD thy God will raise up unto thee a Prophet from the midst of thee, of thy brethren, like unto me; unto him ye shall hearken; [16] According to all that thou desiredst of the LORD thy God in Horeb in the day of the assembly, saying, Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God, neither let me see this great fire any more, that I die not. [17] And the LORD said unto me, They have well spoken that which they have spoken. [18] I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. [19] And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.”

Moses speaks of “a Prophet like unto me.” This man is an individual “of the [Jewish] brethren” and “from among the [Jewish] brethren.” On the basis of Acts 3:19-26, we Christians conclude this was a Messianic promise. Israel is looking for a special someone like Moses (a Jew) and someone from among their own nationality (a Jew). As Christians, we know this to be the Lord Jesus Christ (“Messiah” is Hebrew for “Anointed one;” “Christ” is the Greek equivalent; cf. Psalm 2:2, John 1:41, and Acts 4:26). Today’s Jews overall, however, reject the New Testament as divine and authoritative. They believe their messiah has never come before: hence, they await him (but it will really be the counterfeit messiah, Antichrist).

Satan, the chief enemy of the God of the Bible, always endeavors to counterfeit his Creator’s work so he can be worshipped instead. “I will be like the most High,” Isaiah 14:14 quotes him as declaring. Since Jesus Christ is a Jew, Satan’s “messiah” (Antichrist) will mimic Him as closely as possible. The Antichrist would need to resemble Jesus Christ as many ways as necessary to pass him off as genuine. It will surely be a time of great deception, unparalleled imitation, including “power and signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:8-12).

Daniel 11:36-37 adds this about the Antichrist: “And the king shall do according to his will; and he shall exalt himself, and magnify himself above every god, and shall speak marvellous things against the God of gods, and shall prosper till the indignation be accomplished: for that that is determined shall be done. Neither shall he regard the God of his fathers, nor the desire of women, nor regard any god: for he shall magnify himself above all.” “The God of his fathers”—notice the capital “G”—refers to the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. This title could refer only to a Jew.

Lastly, the Bible refers to the Antichrist as “the Assyrian.” Assyria was located in present Syria, eastern Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, and western Iran.

  • Isaiah 10:24: “Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD of hosts, O my people that dwellest in Zion, be not afraid of the Assyrian: he shall smite thee with a rod, and shall lift up his staff against thee, after the manner of Egypt.”
  • Isaiah 14:25: “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.”
  • Isaiah 30:31:“For through the voice of the LORD shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod.” (The cross-reference is 2 Thessalonians 2:8.)
  • Isaiah 31:8: “Then shall the Assyrian fall with the sword, not of a mighty man; and the sword, not of a mean man, shall devour him: but he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be discomfited.”
  • Micah 5:5-6: “[5] And this man [the Messiah, Jesus Christ—verses 2 and 4] shall be the peace, when the Assyrian shall come into our land: and when he shall tread in our palaces, then shall we raise against him seven shepherds, and eight principal men. [6] And they shall waste the land of Assyria with the sword, and the land of Nimrod in the entrances thereof: thus shall he deliver us from the Assyrian, when he cometh into our land, and when he treadeth within our borders.”

CONCLUSION

According to Scripture, the Antichrist will be a Jew by blood. Moreover, he will have some connection to ancient Assyria (modern Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, and Iran). Will Assyria be his birthplace? Or where he will have his citizenship? Maybe it will be the origin of his political career? We cannot say anything other than he is an “Assyrian Jew.” Such prophecies obscure to us in the Dispensation of Grace will indubitably be revealed to those to whom the Antichrist’s reign pertains. That should suffice us.

Also see:
» Will Israel’s Little Flock be put to death or not?
» How many angels will be with Jesus Christ when He returns?
» Are those Gentiles in Revelation 7:9?

Was Priscilla “lead teacher in her family?”

WAS PRISCILLA “LEAD TEACHER IN HER FAMILY?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Advocates of women preachers and Christian women teaching men point to assorted verses for Scriptural support. The case of Priscilla, a Christian lady of the New Testament Scriptures, forms the foundation for one of their arguments. Allegedly, she is “lead teacher in her family.” Is that so? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Priscilla appears on six occasions in a King James Bible (2 Timothy 4:19 shortens her name to “Prisca”). She is continually paired with her husband, Aquila. This Jewish couple was saved under the Apostle Paul’s ministry and served as his spiritual coworkers. Read the only passages that feature Priscilla:

  • Acts 18:2: “And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome: ) and came unto them.”
  • Acts 18:18: “And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.”
  • Acts 18:26: “And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.”
  • Romans 16:3: “Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:”
  • 1 Corinthians 16:19:“The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.”
  • 2 Timothy 4:19: “Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.”

Supposedly, since Priscilla’s name “always” precedes Aquila’s name, she was the dominant one in the relationship (and thus, the Bible teacher of her family). That is simply not true, as a careful reading of the Bible text shows us. When first introduced to us, Aquila comes before Priscilla (Acts 18:2). In journeys, she appears first (Acts 18:18). When being greeted, she is first (Romans 16:3; 2 Timothy 4:19); when greeting others, she is second, after Aquila (1 Corinthians 16:19). In the case of teaching, Aquila comes first, then Priscilla (Acts 18:26). Priscilla never dominates her husband with respect to teaching ministry or family. Aquila leads in teaching, just as God the Holy Spirit tells us in 1 Timothy chapter 2, Ephesians chapter 5, and 1 Corinthians chapter 11.

  • First Timothy chapter 2: “[11] Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection. [12] But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence. [13] For Adam was first formed, then Eve. [14] And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression. [15] Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.”
  • Ephesians chapter 5:“[22] Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. [23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. [24] Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.”
  • First Corinthians 11:3: “But I would have you know, that the head of every man is Christ; and the head of the woman is the man; and the head of Christ is God.”

Thus, a woman who takes the lead in a local assembly or marriage/family does so due t one of two reasons: (1) no man has the courage to guide the church or marriage/family so she dominates, or (2) a man is leading but her flesh compels her to compete against him. Even though neither situation is ideal, it is better to have the first than the latter. Someone has to lead, so if the man fails, then the woman will have to step in. When no man was willing to be used of God as a prophet (speaker), then He resorted to employing women/prophetesses (Exodus 15:20; Judges 4:4; 2 Kings 22:14; 2 Chronicles 34:22; Isaiah 8:3; Luke 2:36). If neither man nor woman were available, the LORD God spoke through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-30)!

We can learn a great deal by looking to our first parents, Adam and Eve. Eve did not submit to her husband’s spiritual headship, and he was unwilling to be her spiritual leader. Overall, they both failed to function in their God-given capacities. Hence, the human race fell into sin! If the local church does not learn this lesson, if the family does not learn this lesson, if the marriage does not learn this lesson, you can be sure trouble and destruction will abound (1 Timothy 2:11-15—quoted earlier)!

Genesis chapter 3: “[1] Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden? [2] And the woman said unto the serpent, We may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: [3] But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die. [4] And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: [5] For God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil. [6] And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”

Adam did not remind his wife of what the LORD God told him (Genesis 2:16-17), and Eve did not ask Adam what God told him to tell her. Eve listened to Satan’s evil doctrine, and Adam stood there—and did nothing to stop her. In fact, Adam went right along with his wife—she led him, and he let her usurp his role! Absolutely, Priscilla knew better than to repeat the gross error of our mother Eve… and Aquila knew better than to repeat the gross error of our father Adam!

Also see:
» Should women serve in the ministry?
» Should women speak in church? May they ask questions?
» Are Galatians 3:28 and 1 Timothy 2:11-12 contradictory?

Should we say “God bless you” after someone sneezes?

SHOULD WE SAY “GOD BLESS YOU” AFTER SOMEONE SNEEZES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

This author ceased the habit once he discovered its superstitious origin. Such words are uttered to implore God to prevent illness from entering our open mouths, to stop evil spirits from coming to live inside our bodies, and/or to keep us alive when our heart “stops” beating when we sneeze. Years ago, this author knew a lady who would exclaim, “God bless you!,” and if the person continued sneezing, she would shout, “God save you!” (It sounded quite weird… not the constant sneezing but the mindless repetition of the words that followed it.) Although these words sound “Christian,” and professing Christians are often those saying them, there is no Scriptural basis for either custom.

We would do well to drop from our vocabulary any and all superstitious phrases (as they can and will jeopardize our testimony—Acts 17:22 speaks of pagans being “too superstitious,” or “fearing more devils than anyone else”). A more appropriate term may be “Excuse you,” which can be stated so as not to appear to be unconcerned (particularly if the person repeatedly sneezes, and is being greatly afflicted by it).

The practice of declaring “God bless you” (or “God save you”) certainly does not ward off evil spirits. First Timothy chapter 4 reminds us how devils operate today: “[1] Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; [2] Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron; [3] Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. [4] For every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it be received with thanksgiving: [5] For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

Satan is not attempting to enter our bodies through our open mouths—that is just plain ignorance. Rather, he strives to influence us by using evil doctrine, religious tradition, philosophy—anything and everything but sound Bible doctrine. We must remember to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), understanding that Paul’s epistles of Romans through Philemon are God’s Word to and about us. If we do not use the Bible dispensationally, then we will wind up “in the snare of the devil” (2 Timothy 2:24-26).

SUPPLEMENTAL: WHAT ABOUT “GESUNDHEIT?”

It appears that this term is somewhat superstitious as well. The lexicographers at Merriam-Webster claim the word was first used in 1914. They also say this: “When English speakers hear achoo, they usually respond with either gesundheit or God bless you. Gesundheit was borrowed from German, where it literally means ‘health’; it was formed by a combination of gerund (‘healthy’) and -heit (‘-hood’). Wishing a person good health when they sneezed was traditionally believed to forestall the illness that a sneeze often portends. God bless you had a similar purpose, albeit with more divine weight to the well-wishing. It was once believed that the soul could exit the body during a sneeze, causing ill health, so folks said ‘God bless you’ to ward off this danger. Gesundheit, at one time, also served as a toast when drinking (much like its English counterpart, ‘to your health’), but this usage is now mostly obsolete.”

Saints, throughout the year, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Also see:
» How does Satan operate today?
» Should we “plead the blood of Jesus?”
» Do we have guardian angels?