Monthly Archives: January 2019

Why do the good die young while the wicked are granted longevity?

WHY DO THE GOOD DIE YOUNG WHILE THE WICKED ARE GRANTED LONGEVITY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Such an inquiry sends chills up and down the author’s spine.

It is ironic, is it not? Productive citizens seem to have their lives tragically cut short. Contrariwise, evildoers appear to stay with us forever. The decent, “straight-A,” teenage student expires in a preventable automobile accident—the drunk driver walks off free to live and kill again. While the benevolent king survives but a few decades, the cruel dictator subsists sumptuously to become an octogenarian. The faithful preacher or Bible teacher dies suddenly; the false teacher or cult leader grows old. Hardworking, caring fathers perish at a young age; deadbeat fathers live on to mistreat their children for decades to come. Loving mothers soon become ill and die—terrible mothers never seem to leave. Responsible children die prematurely; on the other hand, juvenile delinquents live on and on. Dear friends, life is ever so complicated, ever so painful, and ever so unfair. The cause is SIN! SIN! SIN!

Sincere people try to offer comfort in the midst of all the above struggles: “We cannot understand the things of God. He works in mysterious ways.” Friends, stop and think. Does that really provide consolation? Really? Is there actually solace in not understanding such disturbing circumstances? With a Bible in hand, knowing the full counsel of God, could that be the best answer we have? Could we rather search the Scriptures, study verses, and attempt to piece together something more reassuring and more meaningful?

The curse is random. God is not selecting one person for cancer, another for heart disease, and yet another for stroke. He is not causing pain and suffering “to get unpaid tithes in medical bills!” We live in a fallen creation, the result of Adam’s willful decision to follow Satan in Genesis chapter 3. “Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:….” (Romans 5:12). Consequently, the curse of sin affects us equally but in a unique combination of ways. Whether marital problems, family problems, pregnancy and labor pains, exhausting and nearly futile work, thorns and thistles, disorders and disability, aging, illness, or ultimate physical and spiritual death, the effects of sin are all around us. This is the something that is “wrong” in creation (though most lack the spiritual eyes to identify it, as well as find a solution for it).

We should turn to Romans chapter 8: “[18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. [22] For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now. [23] And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.”

Friends, we must “reckon” (verse 18), or reason a certain way. If we are to have any amount of consolation, we will have to think about it the way God Almighty Himself does. There is a glorious eternity ahead for us who have relied exclusively on Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour. He who died for our sins, who was buried to put away our sins, and who was raised again to justify us, we have new life now that will carry on throughout the endless ages to come. Whatever troubles we face now have a limit; they will not last forever. The exact opposite is true of the glory to be revealed in us in eternity future!

No matter who it is—Christian or non-Christian—we all suffer bodily infirmity to some degree. Short of the Lord’s coming, the bodies of all Christians currently living will go to the grave. There will be a few doctor visits, and likely a hospital stay, along the way as well. In light of eternity though, it really does not make any difference for believers in Jesus Christ. These bodies will not last forever anyway. Bodily resurrection and glorified bodies are certain. Regardless of the current state of affairs, the appearance of evil always triumphing over good, it is but temporary. This is not the way things will be forever. Satan is “the god [ruler] of this world” (2 Corinthians 4:4): we therefore read about “this present evil world” (Galatians 1:4). However, one day, the Bible speaks of “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). Until then, we know why we suffer, and we know that this suffering is only temporary for us Christians.

Long, long ago, it was said, “God buries His servants, but not His program.” Indeed! Let us read the two opening verses of the Book of Joshua:Now after the death of Moses the servant of the LORD it came to pass, that the LORD spake unto Joshua the son of Nun, Moses’ minister, saying, Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people, unto the land which I do give to them, even to the children of Israel. Moses was certainly dead: his soul has departed his body, and God Himself has buried the corpse (Deuteronomy 34:5-6). Yet, Israel will still enter the Promised Land—except under Joshua’s headship. Had it depended on Moses, it would have never happened. Moses is deceased… but God is living and in control!

While the God of the Bible uses men and women to accomplish mighty things, they are nevertheless bound to frail, temporary “houses of clay” (Job 4:19). He does not shield them from old age and ultimate physical death. Dying King David, another servant of Israel’s God, remarked, “I go the way of all the earth” (1 Kings 2:2). The curse of sin, until the end times, cannot be lifted. Read Genesis chapter 5—and all but one man died therein! “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment” (Hebrews 9:27). Thankfully, we as believers in Christ can rest assured in the resurrection promise found in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 1 Corinthians 15:51-58.

Moses and David were mighty testimonies of God’s power and grace, so why did He not spare them physical death? Remember, people ask today, “Why do the good die young and the evil live to old age?” Why does God let His servants die? He does not want them to be praised and worshipped. He is showing how it is His program, and He really does not need man’s cooperation. With or without man, God will achieve His goals in creation. He does not need us, but He does invite us to join Him! He wants to share His good pleasure with us, that it may become our good pleasure.

If we do join God’s side by faith, working with Him in His program, let us remember that it is still His program. We are not the issue. Hence, we will have a limited time on Earth to participate in His plan. Brethren, once we physically die and relocate to serve Him in the heavenly places, His purpose down here on Earth will continue (without us!!!!). It never depended on us anyway: it was here long before we were born and will remain long after we are gone. 🙂

Also see:
» What about those who have not heard?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?
» Are we “doom and gloom” prophecy believers?

How can Jesus Christ be a priest if He is of the non-priestly tribe of Judah?

HOW CAN JESUS CHRIST BE A PRIEST IF HE IS OF THE NON-PRIESTLY TRIBE OF JUDAH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Indeed, Levi is Israel’s priestly tribe, as stated in the Bible: “The priests the Levites… the priests the Levites… the priests the Levites” (Deuteronomy 17:9, 17:18, 18:1). High priest Aaron and his sons were descendants of Levi (Exodus 4:14), Levi being a son of Jacob (Genesis 29:34).

However, Jesus Christ is of the tribe of Judah. Joseph, His foster-father, comes from the following family: “Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren;… And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ” (Matthew 1:2,16). Mary, Jesus’ mother, has this family tree: “And Jesus himself began to be about thirty years of age, being (as was supposed) the son of Joseph, which was the son of Heli,… Which was the son of Aminadab, which was the son of Aram, which was the son of Esrom, which was the son of Phares, which was the son of Juda, Which was the son of Jacob, which was the son of Isaac, which was the son of Abraham, which was the son of Thara, which was the son of Nachor,…” (Luke 3:23,33-34). There is no priestly tribe here, only “Juda/Judas” (Greek forms of the Hebrew “Judah”).

The New Testament Scriptures, especially the Book of Hebrews, nevertheless claim that Jesus Christ is a Priest, yea, a High Priest (Hebrews 2:17, Hebrews 3:1, Hebrews 4:14, et cetera). How can this be? Well, Hebrews already anticipated that question, and provided an answer to the discrepancy. Let us see what God Himself says about it.

We start in Hebrews chapter 7, verse 14: “[14] For it is evident that our Lord sprang out of Juda; of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood. [15] And it is yet far more evident: for that after the similitude of Melchisedec there ariseth another priest, [16] Who is made, not after the law of a carnal commandment, but after the power of an endless life.” Moses wrote about priests of the tribe of Levi, yet his five Books (Genesis through Malachi) never said one word about Israel having a priest from the tribe of Judah. You are correct in your original claim. Christ’s priesthood, however, does not depend on Judah the man any more than Levi the man. He actually takes on the priesthood of a man from whom He is not biologically descended. We will see why momentarily.

Keep reading: “[17] For he testifieth, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec. [18] For there is verily a disannulling of the commandment going before for the weakness and unprofitableness thereof. [19] For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did; by the which we draw nigh unto God. [20] And inasmuch as not without an oath he was made priest: [21] (For those priests were made without an oath; but this with an oath by him that said unto him, The Lord sware and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec: ) [22] By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better testament. [23] And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: [24] But this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.”

Turning to Psalm 110:4, we compare: “The LORD hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek.” Written about 1,000 years before Calvary’s cross, this is Father God speaking to Jesus Christ after His resurrection. Notice the absence of the Levitical priesthood. By Divine decree, Christ’s priesthood stems from a man by the name of Melchisedec, who was not a Jew (and who was thus neither of Levi nor of Judah). Christ did not presumptuously assume Melchisedec’s priesthood, or even naturally assume it; God Almighty supernaturally transferred it to Him!

As Hebrews just stated, the Levitical system was flawed in that its priests died because they were sinners. One priest perished and another took his place—that continued for over 1,500 years. In stark contrast, Melchisedec is described in Hebrews 7:1-3 in such a way as to show he had no predecessor or successor. As far as the Scripture is concerned, his priesthood appears briefly and then disappears just as quickly (see Genesis 14:18-24). He was born, but the Bible never provides details. He died, but the Bible never records it. He was a priest, and yet we read nothing about his ordination. There was no connection to the Mosaic Law, as it would be given over 400 years after him.

We continue in Hebrews chapter 7: “[25] Wherefore he [Jesus Christ] is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them. [26] For such an high priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens; [27] Who needeth not daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifice, first for his own sins, and then for the people’s: for this he did once, when he offered up himself. [28] For the law maketh men high priests which have infirmity; but the word of the oath, which was since the law, maketh the Son, who is consecrated for evermore.” This is how the chapter ends, but let us go back up to earlier verses.

“[11] If therefore perfection were by the Levitical priesthood, (for under it the people received the law,) what further need was there that another priest should rise after the order of Melchisedec, and not be called after the order of Aaron? [12] For the priesthood being changed, there is made of necessity a change also of the law. [13] For he of whom these things are spoken pertaineth to another tribe, of which no man gave attendance at the altar.” The Levitical (Aaronic) priesthood had its limitations—namely, it gained more members because death claimed the earlier ones. It had a definitive beginning (with Aaron) and it had successors. However, we know nothing about Melchisedec’s origin or progeny (God’s Word is silent). There is no record of his genealogy in Scripture. He evidently died functioning as a priest, and no one followed him in his priestly duties.

Verse 3 of Hebrews chapter 7 had said, “Without father, without mother, without descent, having neither beginning of days, nor end of life; but made like unto the Son of God; abideth a priest continually.” Up until Psalm 110:4 (Messianic—about Jesus Christ), we were unaware of anyone following Melchisedec in his priesthood because nothing was said of him or his priesthood after Genesis chapter 14. With Hebrews chapter 7 entered into God’s Book, and with a completed Bible in hand, now we see Jesus Christ will be a priest of the order of Melchisedec. Melchisedec was a type, shadow, or preview of Christ. Christ’s priesthood is most similar to Melchisedec’s priesthood—and not at all like the Levitical or Aaronic priesthood. It involves one individual, not a group.

Melchisedec was “the priest of the most high God” (Genesis 14:18; cf. Hebrews 7:1). (“Melchizedek” is the Old Testament or Hebrew form; “Melchisedec” is the New Testament or Greek version.) This was centuries before Aaron was anointed as Israel’s first high priest in her religion of Judaism. Whoever Melchizedek was, he was not a Jew either. His priesthood is not limited to Israel (as Aaron’s was). There is nothing recorded about his birth or lineage (as Aaron’s was, as his sons’ was). We never read about Melchisedec’s death either. His ministry is not tied to the Mosaic Law or Old Covenant (as Aaron’s was). With Jesus Christ being of a priestly order separate from Aaron’s, Christ can function apart from the Old Covenant and apart from “Israel only.” Remember, God will make the New Covenant with Israel (Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17). His ministry will then go beyond Israel, as Gentiles will be converted once Israel herself is saved (see Isaiah 59:21–60:3 and Zechariah 8:20-23, for example).

Even if Christ were born of the priestly tribe of Levi, He could not function as Israel’s High Priest. The Book of Hebrews makes that case repeatedly. Overall, Jesus Christ is superior to Aaron (the first of the Levitical priests), for He is of an order—Melchisedec’s priesthood—that existed prior to Aaron. In like manner, the Lord Jesus Christ is better than angels (Hebrews chapters 1–2), better than Moses (chapter 3), and so on. The Book of Hebrews, as its name implies, is God’s Spirit moving Israel away from the spiritual immaturity she has long embraced in her religion of Judaism (see Hebrews 5:11–6:3). He is bringing her to His Son, Jesus Christ, whom the components of Judaism pictured and predicted. Israel is to see Jesus Christ as Messiah, King, Redeemer, and High Priest. There is something better than the Old Covenant, someone better than Moses, something better than the earthly Tabernacle/Temple, someone better than Aaron, someone better than angels, better promises, better sacrifices, a better hope, a better testament, a better way, and so on. It all focuses on the Lord Jesus Christ!!

Also see:
» Who wrote the Book of Hebrews?
» Does Hebrews 10:25 really teach we must attend church?
» Should we “plead the blood of Jesus?”

Should “church” be changed to “called-out assembly” in Acts 7:38 in the King James Bible?

SHOULD “CHURCH” BE CHANGED TO “CALLED-OUT ASSEMBLY” IN ACTS 7:38 IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Since people often have such an inadequate understanding of Scripture, they change the Bible text to make it fit what they believe to be the truth, what they assume it should teach or presume it to teach. Friends, this is backwards. The Bible should correct us—we should not be correcting it!! (That goes for any and all words!) One of the most misconstrued Bible words is “church.” As we will see in this study, it is important to approach the word dispensationally, just like we do the Bible as a whole. “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).

The Greek word “ekklesia” (also “ecclesia”) is derived from the root “kale” (“call”) thereby compounded with the prefix “ek”/“ec” (“out of”). This is translated “church”in our New Testament Scriptures. Our English term “church” finds its origin in the Greek “kuriakon (doma),” meaning “Lord’s (house);” “kurios” translates to “master, lord.” In other words, “church” means “belonging to the Lord.” No matter what the dispensation, regardless of where we are on the Bible timeline, God always has a people reserved for Himself. It could be a man, a family, a nation, a group of nations, et cetera. However, we have been misled to believe “church” always means us, the Church the Body of Christ.

If “church” is found in a context that does not fit the assumption that “church” is always the Body of Christ, the Bible verse is changed to make it support the conjecture. For example, Acts 7:38 is the favorite verse to disparage King James Scripture in this regard: “This is he, that was in the church in the wilderness with the angel which spake to him in the mount Sina, and with our fathers: who received the lively oracles to give unto us:….”

Here the critic remarks, “Israel was certainly not the Body of Christ, so it is inappropriate to call it a ‘church.’ The word ‘church’ here is better translated as ‘called-out assembly.’” Such a commentator, who is one of many (although hopefully sincere!), has been trained to believe “Bible teaching” means critiquing the textbook and making himself the authority instead of expounding and elevating the Book he claims to “believe, love, and defend.” He only appeals to the Bible when it fits his preconceived ideas—and, when faced with the choice, he is more willing to change the verse than relinquish his perverted theology. It is sad, but it is true. That is the result of unbelievers dominating our seminaries and Bible colleges with their empty human viewpoint!

HOW THE WORD “CHURCH” IS USED IN THE KING JAMES BIBLE

As noted earlier, the Greek is “ekklesia” (“called-out assembly”). The idea here is God calling out a people for His name. That agrees nicely with the English term “church,” meaning “belonging to the Lord.” Israel is a “church” (English) in that they belong to JEHOVAH God. Moreover, they can be labeled an “ekklesia” (Greek) because He called them from out of Egyptian bondage. Hosea 11:1 is a classic verse to this point: “When Israel was a child, then I loved him, and called my son out of Egypt.” The LORD God “called” Israel in that He sent Moses to lead them from that land of slavery into a new land—the Promised Land. We could thus call Israel here “the Mosaic Church.”

The Apostle Peter speaks of a second “church” in Scripture. First Peter chapter 2: “[9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.” This is the “Messianic Church,” those in Israel who believed on Jesus as Messiah/Christ beginning with John the Baptist’s ministry onward until early Acts. Note Matthew chapter 16: “[16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. [18] And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”

It was said of John the Baptist in Luke chapter 1: “[16] And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. [17] And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” From John’s ministry onward, through the preaching of “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35), God called out a believing remnant from among Israel (the rest of the nation was apostate, in spiritual darkness and idolatry). So, with Moses, God called out a group, the nation Israel, from Egypt. Starting with John the Baptist, He called out a group from within Israel. That crowd of believers is “the Little Flock,” the heirs of God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:32). This “church” also appears in Hebrews 2:11-13, where these Messianic Jews are called Christ’s “brethren” and “the children which God hath given [Him].”

There is a third “church” in Scripture—the “Mystery Church,” a secret God kept to Himself until the appropriate time to manifest it. The risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ revealed it directly to and through the Apostle Paul. Ephesians chapter 3: “[1] For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, [2] If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward: [3] How that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery; (as I wrote afore in few words, [4] Whereby, when ye read, ye may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ) [5] Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; [6] That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel:….” This church, the Body of Christ, is called out from Jews and Gentiles without distinction, without Judaism, without prophecy involved at all. See also 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Ephesians 1:22-23, Ephesians 2:11-22, Colossians 1:23-28, Colossians 3:11, for example.

In Acts 15:14, the Apostle James says, “Simeon [Simon Peter] hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.” Through Paul’s testimony, and Peter’s experience in chapter 10 to validate it, the Lord Jesus is calling out a people for His name from among the Gentiles. This involves the preaching of Paul’s Gospel—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). As long as this Gospel of Grace is preached through Paul’s ministry (Acts 20:24), the Church the Body of Christ is forming and the Messianic Church is paused. The Messianic Church will resume after the Body of Christ has ended (see Romans 11:25-29).

CONCLUSION

“Church” is a generic word simply meaning, “belonging to the Lord.” “Ekklesia” is also general, and just equates to “called-out assembly.” These terms must be further defined according to a context. Who is the church? National Israel? The Little Flock? The Body of Christ? (All three are such.) Out of what are they called? Egypt? National Israel? The world of Jews and Gentiles? (Any of these three could be applicable.) See, there is no mistake and no confusion—provided we let the surrounding verses speak. We keep the general definitions in mind and modify them as the context demands. However, we do not modify the King James Bible text (otherwise we are the authority and we lose clarity that would have else came)!!

By the way, the Bible teacher would be most wise to teach the Bible and explainthe Bible rather than criticize the Bible and change the Bible. If a difficult word or concept is encountered, his job is to study, research, and explain it instead of taking the lazy route of explaining it away. Eliminating the word and/or ignoring the text will notchange what the Bible originally said! It takes work to study and elucidate, but it will prove useful in eternity—infinitesimally more beneficial than “wresting” or distorting God’s Word to make it fit our preconceived (misconceived) notions.

SUPPLEMENTAL: THE WORD “CHURCH” IN SCRIPTURE NEVER APPLIES TO A BUILDING!

It should also be noted that not only is “church” often assumed to always refer to the Body of Christ (wrong), “church” is often used to apply to a building (equally wrong). Christians are the church; they meet at the church building. Never once does the Bible refer to a structure of stone, wood, or metal as “the church.” This is nothing more than religious tradition. Be sure to keep that straight, dear friends, or you will never get the full impact of the word as it appears in Scripture!!

Also see:
» Do we live in the “Church Age?”
» What do you mean—“the prophetic program” and “the mystery program?”
» Which belongs in Romans 8:16 and Romans 8:26 in the King James Bible—“the Spirit itself” or “the Spirit Himself?”

Should we pray for God to “guide the surgeon’s hands?”

SHOULD WE PRAY FOR GOD TO “GUIDE THE SURGEON’S HANDS?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

My dear friend, you have probably heard worried Christians praying in earnest, “God, please guide the surgeon’s hands… Give the physician wisdom….” Perhaps you have uttered those words more times than you can remember. Long ago, my family and I used to utter those words a lot. Let me explain to you why we discontinued this practice.

IGNORANT PRAYER

The professing Church is wanting of one group of people—proficient Bible users. The Church the Body of Christ, genuine Christians not mere professors, is also lacking one group of people—proficient Bible users. While there is much Bible quoting and reading, there is scant Bible understanding. Church members have not been taught how to study the Bible; they are instructed to do nothing more than pull out verses that fit their particular denomination or theological system. The church leaders have been taught the same at seminary, Bible College, and so on.

It would do us well to think about what we are going to say before we pray. Just as we would talk to a friend after contemplating some words to utter, we should approach God the same way. We do not just start repeating the first thought that comes to mind. Remember, we would not approach a friend by speaking random words, gibberish, irrelevant things. All too often religionists have trained us to pray most superstitiously. With total disregard for what God is doing today, we just start running off at the mouth, beating our gums, “Oh, God, do this for me, do that for me, I want this, give me that. Give me a brand-new BMW. I want a wife. Give me a promotion or raise at work. Help me find my lost keys.” We have to remember to pray in accordance with God’s will; we do not just start asking God for favors, treating Him like He is Santa Claus.

For a moment, think critically about the prayer request for God to “guide the surgeon’s hands.” Exactly how would He accomplish this? Would He send an angel? Would He just grab ahold of the specialist’s hands Himself? Would He control those hands like one manipulates a marionette? Suppose the surgery had complications—paralysis, amnesia, uncontrollable blood loss, maybe even death. Who would then be to blame? God, or the surgeon? Or, was God ever guiding the surgeon’s hands at all? Have I got your attention yet?

Now, consider the prayer for God to “give the physician wisdom.” Just how would God bring this to pass? Would He whisper into the doctor’s ear the biological and/or medicinal information necessary to render proper medical care? Or, would there be some inner impression or hunch? Upon close inspection, this request makes no sense. If the physician needs God to give him wisdom, then why did he spend all his money paying for his many years of medical training? It was all a waste then! If God will give the physician medical wisdom, I see no reason why God could not give me (or you!) wisdom to perform a surgery. I have no medical training, but I think God would impart it if I ever needed it. (Of course, I am being facetious. Think about it, that is what we are really saying when we want God give the doctors wisdom!)

What I find troubling is that God would reveal some information to a surgeon, information not found in the Bible. That means God is speaking to us apart from the Bible today. That means the Bible is incomplete, that there is some revelation from God today. That surgeon would need to write down the information because it would be inspired Scripture. You would say, “Brother Shawn, that is heresy. The Bible is complete. It lacks nothing.” I would say, “Amen,” but then again, it was not my idea to start saying that God gives people insight apart from His Book in the first place. Whoever says God is speaking today in a form other than the Bible, that person would indeed be the heretic. Such statements take the Bible’s authority away and put it in a man. So much for the phrases, “I follow Jesus, I do not follow man. I go by what the Bible says; I do not base my faith on someone’s opinion’s.”

INFORMED, INTELLIGENT PRAYER

What does it mean to pray intelligently? Must someone have an IQ of 150 to pray intelligently? No, it does it refer to brainpower, but to the quality of Bible doctrine underlying the prayer. So-called “Christian truth” today is often actually nothing more than pagan superstition, religious tradition, idle speculation. This is why there are tens of thousands of opposing sects all claiming to be “New Testament Christians.” They are not acquiring the proper information, sound Bible doctrine. They are too dependent upon preachers, theologians, and teachers. They need to study their Bibles more on their own.

Also see:
» How should we pray?
» Should we say “God bless you” after someone sneezes?
» Should we pray for safe trips and “traveling mercies?”
» Should we pray for sick people?

Should we read denominational literature?

SHOULD WE READ DENOMINATIONAL LITERATURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Friend, you have undoubtedly noted that very few local churches and ministries use the (“old-fashioned”) King James Bible, and even fewer understand that Authorized Version rightly divided (“dispensationalism is heretical and cultic!”). There is therefore a high probability that much of the “Bible literature” you will come across will be wrong. Many preachers, expositors, and writers use so-called “easier-to-read” modern English versions—and perhaps several in the same work. The King James Bible is not “scholarly enough” in their view, especially when communicating with fellow members of “academia.” Additionally, most desire to repeat denominational doctrine than use the Bible dispensationally. It makes the people happy, it entices them to continue supporting the denomination’s “programs,” and it ensures the “tithes” will keep coming in. But, if we are to reach them, we will have to acquaint ourselves with denominational teaching.

Over the years, this author has come to adopt the mentality of, “Eat the meat, and do not choke on the bones.” Friend, read as much as you can about a variety of religious beliefs (Christian and non-Christian). If you are going to reach people who are of a different system than your own, you must become aware of its teachings to reach them on their level. Now, you will have to strike a balance between knowing their system and yet not adopting it as your own. You should be grounded and skilled first and foremost in the King James Bible dispensationally delivered. If you are not established in the truth of the Authorized Version rightly divided, dear friend, you will be easily swept away when dealing with opposition. This author has seen it time and time again, and it is truly sad.

If ever you see a “Christian” magazine, book, pamphlet, or sectarian “bible” lying around—sitting in a doctor’s office, visiting at a relative or friend’s house, riding a public transportation vehicle, et cetera—glimpse through it. Get a sense of what that particular group or denomination embraces. It does not mean that you have to like or believe what you read, just get familiar with it. If given a DVD, a CD, or a link to an online video, give it a listen it to some extent (also radio and television). Survey the conflict, and see what your battle will be like in dealing with the person. If you find technical material—Bible manuscript information, Bible dictionaries, Bible encyclopedias, critical commentaries, lexicons, and the like—you may use it but with great caution. If a relative or friend invites you to their local church, attend at least once, but remember not to make it a habit. Be very careful here; be very careful here!

Whenever dealing with anything denominational, make a note of what people believe about the matter, and move along with your reading or listening. At some point, if the material becomes repetitious, you may not be able to tolerate it. Put the book down—maybe permanently, if you so desire. Or, come back to it later. Pause the recording. What you should exercise great caution about is exposing yourself to too much false material. Some people thrive on focusing on nothing but error. They make it a habit to attend any and every denominational group, listening to different views on a variety of subjects, enjoying the “debate” from all sides. Rather than experts in the Bible, they become experts in false teaching. Their souls have no stability and they remain unlearned.

Notice the Apostle Paul’s sermon in Athens as recorded in Acts chapter 17: “[22] Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. [23] For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. [24] God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; [25] Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; [26] And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; [27] That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: [28] For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. 

“[29] Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. [30] And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: [31] Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.”

Notice in verse 28 how Paul quoted Greek poets: “For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.” These poets were heathen, lost men. Yet, Paul, the minister of Jesus Christ, was familiar with their religious writings and readily offered one of their quotes to those of their culture. In other words, Paul knew his audience’s background and he blatantly used pagan sources when they communicated something that agreed with the Holy Bible. The Apostle studied non-Biblical writings to better reach those around him, and we should follow his example.

To answer “I am familiar with your group/preacher, and this Bible passage is why I disagree with it/him” is much better than claiming, “I do not know what you believe, I have never read anything about it, but I do know it is wrong and here is what the Bible says.” No, we show lost people—or even saved, denominational people—we know what they believe, we know where they are coming from, and we have a better answer in the Holy Scriptures. We want to avoid the appearance of being know-nothings—zealous but misinformed or uninformed. God’s people need to be ready to answer anyone and everyone, even if it means quoting their own holy writings to correlate to Bible truth.

Here is one last word of warning. Dear friend, whatever you do, dear reader, whomever you consult, the King James Bible will still be your final authority. (That goes especially for this author’s writings!!) If a teacher or book offers a “better translation,” discount that advice. The authority has been taken away from the Bible and given to a man. That is most dangerous.

Also see:
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?
» But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

Would God want me to share the Gospel?

WOULD GOD WANT ME TO SHARE THE GOSPEL?

by Shawn Brasseaux

A brother in Christ just asked this author such a question. The brother’s classmate of many, many years ago had called him on the phone. Having known her since childhood, he knew she was a devout person. She was still a faithful member in the denomination he had abandoned 50 years earlier when he came to faith in Jesus Christ alone. Was her calling him and reconnecting with him “God’s way of getting him to share the Gospel with her?” This is what the brother desired to know.

It is quite clear from the Bible’s own testimony that God wants us to share His Word with others—especially the Gospel. Second Timothy 4:1-5: “[1] I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; [2] Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine. [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; 4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. [5] But watch thou in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of thy ministry.”

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

First and foremost, it is God’s will that lost people believe on the Lord Jesus Christ—“Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4). This is for salvation unto eternal life, justification (given a right standing before God), the only qualification to enter Heaven. It is also God’s will that those who have eternal life grow in His Word, especially His Word to them. This is the realm of Christian living and maturity. Very few every get saved unto eternal life, and very few (of the already few) ever get saved unto sound Bible doctrine. The first part of God’s will is our getting saved into Heaven and then our getting that Gospel to others. The second part is us learning why we are saved into Heaven.

Rather than wasting time wondering if this or that is God’s opportunity given us to preach to lost people (or saved people), we should see that it isan opportunity. Friend, there are certain people in this world that only you can reach—they will listen to you and you alone. Just get on with what Father God is doing, and dally not with trivial inquiries. We should use our renewed minds to devise exactly how to approach them. What words should be said, when they should be said, how they should be said. Make the Gospel as approachable as possible, as plain as you can. We should labor to make the Bible as simple as we can for them.

In closing, this author is reminded of a man who prayed fervently for a ministry. How he so wanted to preach! One day, a local assembly called him and asked him if he would be their pastor. Then, the dear man began to wonder whether or not God would have him take the position! Certainly, our Lord Jesus Christ would not want us to struggle with such perplexities. Anyone, anywhere, anytime, Almighty God would undoubtedly want us to preach the Gospel. He would certainly have us teach the Bible rightly divided—anyone, anywhere, anytime. Our task, our challenge, is to take verses and figure out how to tailor those Scriptures to make them most impactful to the souls in our audience.

Also see:
» I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?
» What are some verses to help me stop focusing on myself?
» How was Jesus Christ crucified among the Galatians?

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?