Monthly Archives: April 2019

Could you explain Acts 2:34?

COULD YOU EXPLAIN ACTS 2:34?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Explain Acts 2:34: “For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,….” Why does the Apostle Peter say David has not ascended?

Since David was the writer of the particular psalm Peter was quoting (see Psalm 110:1), someone would assume David was referring to himself as not seeing corruption and David ascending to the right hand of God (see Acts 2:25-28 and Psalm 16:8-11).

To correct that erroneous thinking, Peter clarified that David’s physical tomb was not far away from them as they stood in Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost. See verse 29 of Acts chapter 2: “Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day.” David saw corruption; his body was decaying. He certainly had not ascended into the heavens. For the last 900 years, David’s remains had been entombed and were still decomposing. However, David wrote of a man who did not see corruption—that is, this Man’s physical body never experienced the process of rotting. Here is the Lord Jesus Christ. Rather than being in a grave (as David), He was alive and well. Christ had ascended to the Father’s right hand in heaven. The tomb in which Jesus had been buried no longer held His body.

When writing in Psalms, David was speaking of someone other than himself. If David were speaking merely of himself, then the passage could not be Messianic (about Christ). Once David was eliminated as the subject of the passage, that would make it easier for Peter’s audience to see it applied to Jesus (which then show them Jesus was their Messiah).

Keeping in mind these comments, we now read an excerpt from Peter’s sermon on Pentecost (Acts chapter 2):

“[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.

“[25] For David speaketh concerning him, I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for he is on my right hand, that I should not be moved: [26] Therefore did my heart rejoice, and my tongue was glad; moreover also my flesh shall rest in hope: [27] Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. [28] Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance.

“[29] Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. [30] Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; [31] He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. [32] This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. [33] Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.

“[34] For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, [35] Until I make thy foes thy footstool. [36] Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.” (Did you see how Peter concluded, not by referring to David, but by affirming the Psalms were speaking of Jesus Christ?)

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Can Jews who believe in God, the Father, but who reject Jesus, be saved from eternal damnation?
» Can you explain Romans 10:9-10?

Who was the father of the Prophet Zechariah?

WHO WAS THE FATHER OF THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read the following four references:

  • Ezra 5:1: “Then the prophets, Haggai the prophet, and Zechariah the son of Iddo, prophesied unto the Jews that were in Judah and Jerusalem in the name of the God of Israel, even unto them.”
  • Ezra 6:14: “And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And they builded, and finished it, according to the commandment of the God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.”
  • Zechariah 1:1: “In the eighth month, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”
  • Zechariah 1:7: “Upon the four and twentieth day of the eleventh month, which is the month Sebat, in the second year of Darius, came the word of the LORD unto Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet, saying,….”

In Ezra, he is known as “Zechariah the son of Iddo.” Zechariah twice refers to himself as “the son of Berechiah, the son of Iddo the prophet.” Some consider this contradictory. Who exactly was Zechariah’s father? Iddo? Or Berechiah? Why does Berechiah not always appear in his appellation?

Until we can eliminate all possibilities of it being right, we should never claim the Bible to be wrong. If we take the position of faith, we will give Scripture the benefit of the doubt. It is correct—whether or not we agree with it, whether or not we understand it. We should take the time to study and see why it is has inconsistencies, contradictions, discrepancies, seeming “errors.” It is much more rewarding to research than to point a critical finger at it! (Unless we really do not have any interest in the truth, and we just want to ridicule the Bible whenever possible!)

We can account for the two variations of Zechariah’s title as follows:

  1. It seems that Iddo was more famous than Berechiah. While “prophet” is attached to Iddo, it is not applied to Berechiah.
  2. Berechiah may have died at an early age, having never attained the office of priest or prophet. His name would have been unknown, pointless to mention. In this case, Berechiah would have been Zechariah’s father, and Iddo would have been Zechariah’s grandfather.
  3. Zechariah alone mentions “Berechiah.” The name is not found outside the Book of Zechariah. Perhaps Zechariah preferred this styling of his name. Similarly, Matthew is called “Levi” and “Levi the son of Alphaeus” outside of his writings (Mark 2:14; Luke 5:27) but he himself prefers to be called “Matthew” (Matthew 9:9).
  4. Berechiah may not have been an actual person. The Hebrew means “knee/blessing of Jehovah.” This would make Berechiah an honorific title of Zechariah. (Here, Iddo would be Zechariah’s father.) For example, we see how the Lord Jesus titled Apostles James and John as follows: “And James the son of Zebedee, and John the brother of James; and he surnamed them Boanerges, which is, The sons of thunder:…” (Mark 3:17). Surely no man was named “Thunder.” The father of James and John was Zebedee, but Jesus emphasized their ministry by titling them “sons of thunder.” They were pictures of God’s voice thundering the Gospel of the Kingdom to Israel.

Here are four possibilities (and there are others not listed) that lead us to conclude the Bible text is correct as concerning Zechariah’s lineage and/or background. The burden of proof lies with the critics, not the Bible believers. We offer our answers to them, now they need to show us where their position is more plausible than ours.

Also see:
» How could the conception of Christ be a sign to King Ahaz if Ahaz died centuries earlier?
» “I believed the Gospel, so why do they not believe?”
» “Thou shalt not kill” or “Thou shalt not murder?”

Why is the Bible Book of “Ecclesiastes” thus named?

WHY IS THE BIBLE BOOK OF “ECCLESIASTES” THUS NAMED?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The title is derived from the Greek word (“ekklesia”) for “church, congregation” (literally, “a called-out assembly”). Think of our English word “ecclesiastical” (church-related matters).

Whomever the Holy Spirit used to write Ecclesiastes—and the extensive internal evidence leads us to conclude it was King Solomon—the man calls himself “the Preacher” (1:1-2,12; 7:27; 12:8-10). In Hebrew, the word is “Qoheleth,” meaning “assembler, lecturer.” (Compare this to the Greek term above.)

Now, the overall picture comes into view. The Book of Ecclesiastes is about a speaker who has gathered a class or audience to listen to what he has discovered firsthand in life. He has some important advice to issue for their welfare. The emphasis of his sermon is his “learning the hard way” about the disappointments and futility of living for the world, the flesh, and the Devil. Conducting one’s life apart from the one true God (the Lord Jesus Christ) will lead to such indescribable deception, frustration, hopelessness, and misery.

Although the intended audience is the nation Israel as she faces—and ultimately overcomes—Satan’s lie program under the Antichrist, we as the Church the Body of Christ can benefit as well. The same evil world system attempts to corrupt us too, so we need to be on guard with sound Bible doctrine (dispensational Bible study). See also 1 Corinthians 1–3, Colossians 2:8, and 1 John 2:15-17.

Also see:
» Why do some Christians persistently live like lost people?
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

What does “concupiscence” mean?

WHAT DOES “CONCUPISCENCE” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What a strange word!

Romans chapter 7: “[7] What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet. [8] But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin was dead.” Did you see how verse 7 defined concupiscence? There is the connection to lusting and coveting.

Colossians 3:5: “Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry:….” We can thus see that lusting can be good or bad, concupiscence can be good or evil. Here, it is qualified as evil.” (One type of good concupiscence is the attraction between a husband and his wife. Another good lusting is a strong desire to eat physical food.)

First Thessalonians 4:5: “Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:….” In this case, lust and concupiscence are separate. “Concupiscence” here refers to intense sexual desires with respect to “fornication” (habitual sexual behavior outside of marriage). Read the verse with its context: “[3] For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: [4] That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour; [5] Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God: [6] That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified.”

“Concupiscence,” therefore, is lusting, having a strong desire. (It is derived from the Latin word meaning, “beginning to desire.”) It may or may not be sexual. It may or may not be evil. The context sets the tone.

Also see:
» What is “chambering?”
» What is “shamefacedness?”
» What is “wantonness?”

Who or what are the “Cherethites” and “Pelethites?”

WHO OR WHAT ARE THE “CHERETHITES” AND “PELETHITES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

The “Cherethites” (“executioners”) appear 9 times in the King James Bible, and the “Pelethites” (“couriers, messengers”) show up 7 times (often paired):

  • 1 Samuel 30:14: “We made an invasion upon the south of the Cherethites, and upon the coast which belongeth to Judah, and upon the south of Caleb; and we burned Ziklag with fire.”
  • 2 Samuel 8:18: “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over both the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and David’s sons were chief rulers.”
  • 2 Samuel 15:18: “And all his servants passed on beside him; and all the Cherethites, and all the Pelethites, and all the Gittites, six hundred men which came after him from Gath, passed on before the king.”
  • 2 Samuel 20:7: “And there went out after him Joab’s men, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and all the mighty men: and they went out of Jerusalem, to pursue after Sheba the son of Bichri.”
  • 2 Samuel 20:23: “Now Joab was over all the host of Israel: and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and over the Pelethites:….”
  • 1 Kings 1:38: “So Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, went down, and caused Solomon to ride upon king David’s mule, and brought him to Gihon.”
  • 1 Kings 1:44: “And the king hath sent with him Zadok the priest, and Nathan the prophet, and Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, and the Cherethites, and the Pelethites, and they have caused him to ride upon the king’s mule:….”
  • 1 Chronicles 18:17: “And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was over the Cherethites and the Pelethites; and the sons of David were chief about the king.”
  • Zephaniah 2:5: “Woe unto the inhabitants of the sea coast, the nation of the Cherethites! the word of the LORD is against you; O Canaan, the land of the Philistines, I will even destroy thee, that there shall be no inhabitant.”

These were King David’s bodyguards (like the United States Secret Service protecting the President). As far as Scripture is concerned, no other king had such an elite force. They were Philistine in origin (1 Samuel 30:14; Zephaniah 2:5?)—perhaps even part Philistine and part Hebrew. Both Cherethites and Pelethites were King David’s allies when he fled from Absalom (2 Samuel 15:18). David had them accompany his son Solomon to be anointed as his successor to the throne (1 Kings 1:38).

Benaiah the son of Jehoiada was their captain (2 Samuel 8:18; 2 Samuel 20:23; 2 Samuel 23:20-23; 1 Chronicles 18:17). The Cherethites—or at least Benaiah their leader—was from the island of Crete (2 Samuel 23:20). After David’s death, however, King Solomon ordered Benaiah to kill evil General Joab (1 Kings 2:28-34; cf. 1 Chronicles 27:34), and Benaiah became Joab’s successor as general of the king’s army (verse 35).

Also see:
» Who or what are the “Chemarims?”
» What are “lewd fellows of the baser sort?”
» What were “Urim” and “Thummim?”

Can you please explain Romans 8:17?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN ROMANS 8:17?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Regrettably, in recent years, especially on social media, our grace brethren have allowed the pettiest and most preposterous of ideas to divide us. One case in point is a rare handling of Romans 8:17. Let us read the verse as it appears in the King James Bible: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Sadly, fellow believers in Christ—however sincere—have greatly damaged this most precious Scripture. Allowing human sentiment (emotions) to blind their spiritual eyes, dull their spiritual ears, and harden their spiritual hearts; they have been deceived and thus introduced needless confusion, concern, and discouragement! Here in this, our special-edition 600th Bible Q&A article, we aim (by special request) to shed much-needed light on this matter.

I. CONFUSION! (CONFUSION! CONFUSION!)

Dear friends, this author has read innumerable online posts written by people on both sides of the issue. Some souls have even emailed him in total bewilderment and complete exasperation. They cannot see what either side is contending as touching Romans 8:17. Others are totally fed up and cannot bear to see anything else written about it. Some discussions are bitter; others are quite absurd. When God’s Word is tossed aside and sinful man sits as judge, should we expect anything else but spiritual disaster?!

Frankly, as is often the case about Bible topics, there is so much ignorance. There is great discussion about Romans 8:17, an enormous amount of heat being generated, but so little substance and almost no light. Emotions, unfortunately, have usually taken precedence on both sides. Christians have become so caught up in writing or speaking that they have overlooked the simplicity of the verse. Four years on, it is high time we settle the matter here. For anyone seeking clarification, we humbly offer this Bible study. We will set aside all opinions of men, and let the Scriptures speak for themselves. “For what saith the Scriptures?”

Turning to Romans chapter 8, we give the Holy Bible preeminence: “[14] For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. [15] For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. [16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Verse 17 can be—and has been—misconstrued to promote a works-religion system. For simplicity’s sake, we will hereafter refer to this idea as “conditional joint-heirship.” The basic premise is thus: while all Christians are “children of God,” and all Christians are “heirs of God,” only some Christians are “joint-heirs with Christ.” Proponents of this system base their argument on the following phrase in the verse: if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” “If so be…” contains three simple one-syllable English words, so it is absolutely mindboggling how people stumble over them!! Whether they do so in complete sincerity, or deliberate ignorance, they struggle to grasp the verse. Dear friends, let the Holy Spirit teach you. It is simple. Do not complicate the Bible. (Leave that for lost people to do!!) Set aside your traditions. Turn off the preachers and put down the commentaries!! Give the Holy Scriptures the chance to speak.

II. CLARITY! (CLARITY! CLARITY!)

A. “IF SO BE:” THE GREEK WORD “EIPER”

The Greek word translated “if so be” (eiper) is used only five times in the New Testament Bible. Glance at these instances now:

  • Romans 8:9: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be [eiper] that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.”
  • Romans 8:17: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be [eiper] that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
  • 1 Corinthians 15:15: “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be [eiper] that the dead rise not.”
  • 2 Thessalonians 1:6: Seeing [eiper] it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you;….”
  • 1 Peter 2:3: If so be [eiper] ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.”

If we just let the English Bible speak, we see that none of these verses are conditional as in “perhaps so, perhaps not” (“maybe yes, maybe no”). The quote from 2 Thessalonians is a simple example. Is God just or fair in paying back the enemies of His children? Why, yes He is! Paul is not saying, “Maybe it is a righteous thing with God… maybe it is not a righteous thing with God.” On the contrary, Paul is declaring, “In light of that fact that it is a righteous thing with God to recompense tribulation to them that trouble you,” “in light of the fact that it is a righteous thing with God to give you rest with us,” He will surely judge in flaming fire those who know Him not and who do not obey the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Read 2 Thessalonians 1:3-10—one lengthy sentence in Greek!—and you will see the tenor we just delineated. It is a logical argument.

Now, we concentrate on the Romans 8:9 example of “eiper.” Read it again: “But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be [eiper] that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Is Paul questioning whether or not we have the indwelling Holy Spirit? Of course not (refer to verses 1-8 and 10-16). He had just stated in verse 11: “His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The Holy Spirit living inside Christians is certain, factual. This is no “maybe, maybe not” situation. It would be contrary to God’s nature to allow His spokesman (Paul) to introduce doubt in the minds of His people. The Holy Spirit permanently seals the inner man of the believer the moment he or she believes on the Lord Jesus Christ as personal Saviour (1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 6:19-20; Ephesians 1:12-14; Ephesians 4:30; 2 Timothy 1:14). Lost people are those without the Spirit of Christ. Romans 8:9 again, in part: “Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” Since we are in the Spirit, we should act like we are in the Spirit (as opposed to acting sinful). Our daily behavior should reflect our Christian identity. That is the logic of Romans 8:9.

We proceed to consider 1 Corinthians 15:15: “Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be [eiper] that the dead rise not.” Paul is not arguing, “Perhaps the dead will be resurrected, perhaps not.” No. He has taken the position of the Corinthians who have denied the possibility of resurrection (check verse 12—which is Christ’s resurrection). Pagan philosophy has deceived these Christians so they now doubt a cardinal truth of Christianity. To combat the error, the Holy Spirit through Paul provides a series of rebuttals throughout chapter 15. In essence, this is what he is saying in chapter 15, verse 15 (paraphrased): “We [the apostles] are liars of God, for we preached to you that Jesus Christ arose. Since the doctrine of resurrection is a fabrication, then Jesus Christ did not arise as we alleged.” (Paul is not taking a “maybe yes, maybe no” approach. So as to strengthen the “yes” position, he is dealing with the matter from the “no” persuasion. The “if” here is one of logic, as in “since.” That is the sense of “if” in Romans 8:9 and 2 Thessalonians 1:6.)

Lastly, we deal with the “eiper” of 1 Peter 2:3: If so be [eiper] ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.” It is not saying, “Perhaps you have tasted that the Lord is gracious, perhaps you have not.” No. The Apostle Peter’s audience has already trusted or believed on Christ (see verse 7). They have already experienced God’s grace.

Thus, they are: “Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:2-5). You can also read 1 Peter 1:13-25 and 1 Peter 2:1-10 to see that Peter’s audience is Jewish believers in Jesus Christ. No doubt or uncertainty is present here whatsoever. Since they have tasted that the Lord is gracious, they are spiritual “babes” who need to grow with “the sincere milk of the word” (verse 2). It is logical.

Romans 8:9 is logical (“if so be”). First Corinthians 15:15 is logical (“if so be”). First Peter 2:3 is logical (“if so be”). Second Thessalonians 1:6 is logical (“seeing”). Nothing is being questioned—and that is especially evident in the Thessalonians proof. Possibilities are not here; certainties are. In light of one fact, other facts can be introduced to rest thereupon. It is a flow of logic, a progression of thought. The remaining instance of “eiper” is Romans 8:17, the verse of controversy. However, now that we have gained the sense of the Greek term, as well as the English sense, Romans 8:17 is easy to grasp (provided we let the Bible speak for itself and not have a theological agenda to promote!!!!).

Back to Romans 8:17. “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Please note that, in accordance with our earlier analyses, the “if so be” of Romans 8:17 is not conditional. It is a progression of the thought “heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ.” “If” this is true, then that is likewise right. It is a flow of logic. The “if children” is not conditional or questionable; it is the beginning of the argument’s development. We are children; therefore, we are heirs. We are suffering with Him; therefore, we will be glorified with Him. Both “ifs” in Romans 8:17 are definite and logical. They are not conditional as in “perhaps, perhaps not.” This needs to be stressed again and again and again and again. Nothing is being questioned; nothing is uncertain. The statements are factual and logical.

Read Romans 8:17 again: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with [sugkleronomos] Christ; if so be that we suffer with [sumpascho] him, that we may be also glorified together [sundoxadzo].” Focus on that Greek prefix “su–” (“sun–,” “syn–”). It is a preposition meaning “with, beside, together.” Our English words “synchronous,” “synthesizer,” and “syncarpous” are all derived from Greek here. Do you see the parallel thoughts of “with him” and “together?” Those who embrace “conditional joint-heirship” ignore these parallel thoughts of “with him” and “together.”

The Bible said, “…if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Those of “conditional joint-heirship” persuasion read the verse by pairing “joint-heirs with Christ” with “suffering with Him.” That is not the way the verse should be read. The semicolon breaks up the thoughts, so they should not be strung together: “…heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; [SEMICOLON] if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.” Respecting the semicolon (we had better not overlook it!!!), two thoughts are apparent to us. Firstly, “Heirs of God… joint-heirs with Christ” is one thought. Secondly, “if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together” is another thought. We do not divide the verse so that it reads, “Only those who suffer with Christ will be joint-heirs with Christ.” Otherwise, we will wind up in the “conditional joint-heirship” trap!

Dear readers, let us re-illustrate the truths we have laid out thus far. “If” in Romans 8:17 should be understood as “if that is the case.” It is a flow of logic, not a conditional statement. An example of “if” being used as logical rather than conditional is as follows: “If she is a college graduate, she should have learned how to spell correctly and use proper grammar.” Try it again. “Seeing as to it is cold outside, I will wear extra layers of clothing.” Once more, “Enjoy God’s Word, if so be that He has given it to you.” “No” is not an option in any of these cases, thereby eliminating the “maybe yes, maybe no” approach to the “ifs” here. The only choice is “yes, that is the case, and since that is the case, this too is true.” “This is fact, and on the basis of that fact, we reveal a new fact.” She graduated college; therefore, she should have exceptional knowledge in spelling and grammar. We will have chilly weather today, so I will be sure to bring additional clothes. God has inspired, preserved, and translated His Word; for which cause we desire to read, study, and believe it.

Friend, do you see how simple this all is? We have set aside emotions. We have disregarded preacher’s interpretations and traditions of denominations. We have humbly submitted to the Holy Spirit to teach us using His words. There is no struggling, obscurity, doubt, vexation, dread, anger, or darkness. We just read the words on the pages of Scripture, compare verses, and let those Divine words contradict whomever they oppose. “Let God be true, but every man a liar” (Romans 3:4). If the Bible refutes “Pastor So-and-So,” “Sister So-and-So,” “Father So-and-So,” “Brother So-and-So,” “Doctor So-and-So,” “Reverend So-and-So,” so be it! That goes for me or any other “grace” leader as well! This needs to be stressed again and again and again and again.

B. WHAT IS THE “SUFFERING” IN ROMANS 8:17?

Another driving force behind the “conditional joint-heirship” position is the appeal to 2 Timothy 2:12. Since Romans 8:17 and 2 Timothy 2:12 both relate to suffering, it is automatically assumed that they are speaking of one and the same event. As these Scriptures themselves testify, they are not the same idea!

We present them side-by-side for ease of comparison:

  • Romans 8:17: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”
  • 2 Timothy 2:12: “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.”

These are two separate contexts, and should not be combined. The suffering of Romans 8:17 is suffering under the curse of sin (check verses 18-25 quoted below). Who is suffering under the curse of sin? Do only mature believers experience sickness, disease, and death? No, those problems apply to all believers, mature and immature (and even unbelievers!).

“[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 [Christians included here!!!], even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. [24] For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? [25] But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.” (Did you notice how this fits nicely with the order of Romans 8:17? There is suffering first, then glorification; a decaying creation will be followed by a renewed creation. A debilitating body will give way to a resurrected body.

While Romans 8:17 says “suffer with him,” there is no “suffer with him” in 2 Timothy 2:12. Second Timothy states, “suffer”that is general. Romans 8:17 says “suffer with himthat is specific. We have two independent contexts. This needs to be stressed again and again and again and again. There are two types of suffering under discussion.

Let us turn back to Romans 8:17. Whatever we suffer, Jesus Christ feels our pain because we are so intricately connected with Him (Head versus body-parts—1 Corinthians chapter 12). He is suffering with us, but since He preceded us, the wording is that we are suffering with Him. We are one with Him. As in the physical world, the Head senses the pain that one part of the Body feels. He suffered under the curse of sin during His earthly ministry. He lived in a fallen world. He saw loved ones grow sick and die. We are still under the same curse, with bodies prone to sickness and death (go back to Romans 8:18-25—and see Genesis 3:16-19 where that curse of sin originated). We await the arrival of our new glorified bodies at the Rapture, just as Jesus Christ was (and still is) waiting for creation to be freed from the curse of sin! As He will be glorified one day, so we will be glorified with Him (1 Corinthians 15:33-58; Philippians 3:20-21; 2 Thessalonians 1:10; 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14).

Now, we can move on to the “suffering” in 2 Timothy 2:12. Read it in context: “[10] Therefore I endure all things for the elect’s sakes, that they may also obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory. [11] It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him: [12] If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: [13] If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.”

This “suffering”—if we allow the context to speak!—was already defined for us in verse 9. “Wherein [the Gospel of Grace—verse 8] I suffer trouble, as an evildoer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.” Verse 10 onward is a conclusion of what has gone before, as it begins, “Therefore [for which reason]….” God’s Word is not restricted, though sinful men can imprison God’s men. Though Jesus Christ’s messenger can be silenced (discouraged or dead), His message will not be and will never be. Paul is being persecuted as he writes that very passage; he has been arrested and is now sitting in a prison, suffering for the sake of preaching the Gospel of Grace. This is certainly not the suffering of Romans 8:18-25. Again, they are different issues.

Nevertheless, such simple truths disappear as the “conditional joint-heirship” confusion slips in. It is alleged that we must suffer for the “mystery’s sake” before we can be joint-heirs with Christ. We must, it is said, be persecuted for preaching Paul’s special doctrine, or we cannot be heirs in the heavenly places. Being joint-heirs is not a guarantee, they claim, as we may not suffer for the mystery’s sake (and they grab Romans 8:17 as proof!!). This is an appalling mistreatment of the Bible. Such an approach is wrong for three reasons. We will gladly repeat the two mentioned earlier—and we will add a new refutation!

Firstly, if suffering for the mystery’s sake resulted in being a joint-heir with Christ, then it would have been most appropriate for Paul to mention that in 2 Timothy chapter 2. After all, as that passage demonstrates, he was suffering for preaching his Gospel (part of the mystery). Yet, the word “joint-heir” never once appears in 2 Timothy. Furthermore, there is no suffering “with Christ” here as in Romans chapter 8. We would have to insert these words into Scripture without authority. Thus we would be liars, guilty of adding to God’s pure words (Proverbs 30:5-6). Do we really care to go that route? If that is our preference, we need to stop playing the hypocrite and just admit we really do not believe the Bible. If we must resort to changing Bible verses, our loyalty is to our theology and not our God!

Secondly, as was already pointed out, of the five times “eiper” appears in the Greek Bible, it always serves as the most important link in the chain of logic. Never is doubt being gendered in any case. Romans 8:9 is logical (“if so be”). First Corinthians 15:15 is logical (“if so be”). First Peter 2:3 is logical (“if so be”). Second Thessalonians 1:6 is logical (“seeing”). Nothing is being questioned—which is especially evident in the Thessalonians proof. Mere possibilities are not here; absolute certainties are. In light of the facts, other realities can be introduced to rest on the first facts. It is a flow of logic. It is a progression of thought. The remaining instance of “eiper” is Romans 8:17 (“if so be”) and it too is logical and not conditional.

Thirdly, all Christians are “joint-heirs with Christ” just as all Christians are “children of God” and “heirs of God.” Again, the “if so be” clause of Romans 8:17 is logical not conditional (“maybe, maybe not”). Since there is great confusion, we will repeat yet again what has gone before. Romans 8:17 begins, “If children, then heirs.” Are we God’s children or not? Is Paul arguing “perhaps yes, perhaps no” here? Of course not! The “if” is not “maybe you are God’s children;” the “if” starts a thought process. Verse 16 just claimed we are (definite or certain, not speculative) God’s children: “[16] The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Since we are children of God (verse 16), we are His heirs by default (verse 17). The second “if” of verse 17 functions the same way as the first “if” in verse 17. “If we suffer with Him” (and we will, as this is definite, certain, not speculative—see verse 18), then that suffering will eventually give way to glorification. As we share in His sufferings, so we will partake of His glorification. This is not conditional but logical. Once again, go back to the first “if” of verse 17, and even glance up to verse 16 (where the sentence starts). We are heirs of God, and we are joint-heirs with Christ. Both are facts because of the truth that we are children of God. These three are facts, not possibilities or conditional ideas. They are absolute certainties.

We are children of God. Since that is true, two other outcomes are also true. Firstly, we are heirs of God. Secondly, we are joint-heirs with Christ. There is no hoping, wishing, or doubt here. We are heirs of God in that everything that belongs to Him belongs to us. Think of a father passing on his estate to his son. We are joint-heirs with Christ in that what the Father passes to Him is transferred to us as well. We share His identity, for we are flesh of His flesh and bone of His bone, members of His body (Ephesians 5:23-30). We are called “Christ” and “the body of Christ” for this very reason (1 Corinthians 12:12,27). What exactly is this “joint-heirship” that all Christians have? For the remainder of this article, we will do a treatment of the “joint-heirship” as the Bible presents it.

C. “THE INHERITANCE” VERSUS “THE REWARD OF THE INHERITANCE”

Two themes we should never, ever confuse are (1) “the inheritance” and (2) “the reward of the inheritance.” The Bible handles them separately and we will do likewise. “Conditional joint-heirship” people need to pay close attention here!!

Go to Ephesians chapter 1, which speaks of our inheritance: [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. [13] In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, [14] Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory…..

“[19] And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, [20] Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, [21] Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: [22] And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, [23] Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.”

Since Father God has made Jesus Christ the Heir of the governments of Heaven and Earth, we believers in Christ are also heirs. We share His governmental authority in the Heavens just as redeemed Israel will share it in the Earth. This is the future glorification we briefly noted earlier in Romans chapter 8. It bears repeating, and so we will be glad to repeat.

Re-reading Ephesians chapter 1: “[8] Wherein he hath abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence; [9] Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself: [10] That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him: [11] In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will: [12] That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.”

Every member of the Church the Body of Christ will go to Heaven. That is the “heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ” promise of Romans 8:17, given to all who are “children of God” (verse 16). “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26). Heaven is the inheritance of all Christians (all members of the Body of Christ, those who have trusted His finished crosswork at Calvary as sufficient payment for their sins—1 Corinthians 15:3-4). We all share in His authority to rule over the heavenly places. Ephesians 2:6-7 says to this effect: “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” All individuals “in Christ” today qualify to reign in the heavenly places!

However, our specific roles or jobs in Heaven are conditional. Our entering Heaven is unconditional but our responsibility in Heaven is conditional. Did you see the word “places” in Ephesians 2:6? These are positions of authority. See Revelation chapter 12: “[7] And there was war in heaven: Michael and his angels fought against the dragon; and the dragon fought and his angels, [8] And prevailed not; neither was their place found any more in heaven.” In the ages to come, God here expels Satan and his fallen angels from outer space or second heaven (Ephesians 6:12)—that He might install us the Church the Body of Christ in those places or spheres of influence!

Turn to Colossians chapter 1: “[16] For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: [17] And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. [18] And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. [19] For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; [20] And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven.”

It would help us here to consider Earth’s governments, for they are similar to the structure of Heaven’s governments. Qualifications are needed for each level of service. The more influential positions require greater qualifications. The qualifications—not to go to Heaven but to serve in Heaven!!—are increasing amounts of sound Bible doctrine we stored in our soul while living on Earth. The reward is not going to Heaven—that is the inheritance. The reward of the inheritance is discharging specific duties in Heaven. Be sure to keep them separate. Be sure to keep them separate. Be sure to keep them separate. We will repeat it over and over and over until it sinks in. The reward is not going to Heaven; the inheritance is going to Heaven. The reward of the inheritance is assuming specific responsibilities in Heaven’s governments.

Now, go to Colossians chapter 3 to read of the reward of the inheritance: “[23] And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; [24] Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. [25] But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.”

This event is “the Judgment Seat of Christ” (Romans 14:10-12; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10). “The Judgment Seat of Christ” is not to determine who will go to Heaven and who will go to Hell. That was already settled on Earth, when Christians believed on Jesus Christ. Christians alone are present here. Children of God, heirs of God, joint-heirs of Christ, are the only people at “the Judgment Seat of Christ.” The matter that needs to be settled at “the Judgment Seat of Christ” is the spiritual maturity of individual Christians. What type of doctrine did they store in the inner man? Good teaching (dispensational Bible study)? Or bad teaching (everything else)? What heavenly job will fit their level of Bible understanding? Will they sit on a throne (like a king)? Or rule over a dominion (like a lord)? Or reign over a principality (like a prince)? Or govern like a power (other ruler)? Or be part of mights (like a soldier)? Or be among every name that is named (general, basic duties)?

Again, there are different ranks or offices or levels of Heavenly government—just like Earth’s governments. Colossians chapter 1 again: “[16] For by him [Jesus Christ] were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him:….” Ephesians 1:21: “Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:….” These are like presidents, kings, princes, military leaders, state governors, city mayors, and so on. They have varying degrees of authority—influence that matches their education.

Our education or curriculum is Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. That is the material that we must know to function in the Heavenly Place for the Lord Jesus Christ’s glory. We are going to Heaven because of what Jesus Christ did for us at Calvary (unconditional), but what we do in Heaven depends on what we do with the Bible now on Earth (conditional). Do we study Scripture, or something else? Do we ignore Paul and read the rest of the Bible? If it is not God’s Word rightly divided (2 Timothy 2:15), it is not applicable to God’s will in heavenly places. It is the “garbage” material of 1 Corinthians 3:9-15—amounting to nothing in eternity!

Again, the reward is not going to Heaven; Heaven is the inheritance. The reward of the inheritance is fulfilling specific duties in Heaven. The inheritance is not the reward; the inheritance is given to us because of Jesus Christ’s finished work at Calvary’s cross. We did not work to get into Heaven. Now, there is a reward associated with the inheritance, and that reward depends on the quality our Christian service. It is not how much we did but rather why we did what we did. Was it sound Bible doctrine working in us? Was it God’s grace working in us (Pauline doctrine) or empty religious tradition? That is, was it grace living or legalism? Did we use grace doctrine or denominationalism? It matters!!!

To the extent that we suffer in 2 Timothy chapter 2, that is the extent of our reigning in Heaven (see 2 Timothy 2:10-13). If we refuse to let Jesus Christ work in us using Paul’s epistles, that is a loss of reward, and our duties in Heaven will be diminished because we are unqualified to serve in certain heavenly governmental positions. We enter Heaven—the inheritance—based on Calvary’s finished crosswork. We receive the reward of the inheritance based on the quality of doctrine we put in our soul (see 1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Colossians 3:23-25). May we have “gold, silver, precious stones” (Pauline doctrine) and not “wood, hay, stubble!” (Alas, most of us will largely have the useless information stored in our soul!! The Judgment Seat of Christ will manifest it too!)

Much, much more could be written here, but this author trusts that enough material has been laid out for any Romans 8:17 doubts to be dispelled. Those brethren who are willfully ignorant will have to remain willfully ignorant at this point (1 Corinthians 14:38). We cannot help them at this point. Let them go on their way with their nonsense. The God of the Bible values free will, and so do we! Now, for those of us who want to hear and believe the words of the Holy Spirit, let us summarize and bring this study to a close.

III. CONCLUSION (CONCLUSION! CONCLUSION!)

Romans 8:17: “And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

Sadly, this precious verse has been used to divide Pauline dispensationalists and grace believers for the last four-plus years. The “joint-heir” clause is taken as a conditional statement—“perhaps yes, perhaps no.” Maybe we will be joint-heirs with Christ, and maybe we will not. Here is the “conditional joint-heirship” camp that we would do well to avoid. In this system, “If so be” is taken to mean we must suffer with Jesus Christ in order to become “joint-heirs” with Him. We supposedly must suffer for the mystery’s sake—sound Pauline doctrine—before we can qualify as joint-heirs with Christ. God’s grace is thus destroyed, having been perverted into a legalistic or works-oriented system!!

The way the first half of Romans 8:17 is structured allows us to see how to handle the latter half. “If children” is not questioning whether or not we are God’s children. Rather, this is a fact Paul laid out to then lead us to two conclusions. Since we are (1) God’s children, then we are (2) His heirs. Since we are (2) His heirs, then we are (3) joint-heirs with Christ. These three qualities go together. All three apply to all Christians. We do not force the first two apply to some Christians, and make the third pertain only to a special group of Christians (namely, those believers suffering for the mystery).

If suffering for the mystery’s sake resulted in being a “joint-heir with Christ,” then why did Paul not mention that very term in 2 Timothy 2:9-13? After all, he himself was suffering for preaching his Gospel (part of the mystery). Why “joint-heir” never appears in 2 Timothy is because this “suffering” is not the same as the suffering of Romans 8:17. Romans speaks of suffering “with him,” a suffering isolated from the suffering of 2 Timothy!

The Greek word in Romans 8:17 (the controversial “if so be”) is “eiper.” It always forms the heart of a chain of logic. Never is doubt being gendered in its four remaining instances—Romans 8:9, 1 Corinthians 15:15, 2 Thessalonians 1:6, and 1 Peter 2:3. Possibilities are not here; certainties are. They are progressions of thought, laying out arguments to form conclusions. The remaining instance of “eiper” is Romans 8:17 (“if so be”): in keeping with the data, Romans 8:17 is logical and not conditional. We must be consistent!!

Since we are children of God (verse 16), we are His heirs by default (verse 17). The second “if” of verse 17 functions the same way as the first “if” in verse 17. “If we suffer with Him” (and we will, as this is definite, certain, not speculative—see verse 18), then that suffering will eventually result in glorification. As we share in His sufferings, so we will partake of His glorification. This is not conditional but logical. Again, go back to the first “if” of verse 17. If necessary, you may even go back to verse 16 (where the sentence starts). We are heirs of God, and we are joint-heirs with Christ. Both are facts because of the fact that we are children of God. These three are facts, not possibilities or conditional ideas. They are certainties. All Christians are “children of God,” all believers in Christ are “heirs of God,” and thus all Christians are “joint-heirs with Christ.”

Anyone who uses Romans 8:17 to teach “conditional joint-heirship”—that we must suffer for the mystery’s sake to be joint-heirs with Christ—is most definitely promoting false teaching. Even one hint of a performance-based acceptance system slipping into the Body automatically negates the Holy Spirit’s working in grace. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). “A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump” (Galatians 5:9). If we let just a little bit of works-religion in, the whole Law system will find its way into our hearts and minds. If we must strive and mature in doctrine to be joint-heirs with Christ, then that is works, not grace. Once we go that route, we are susceptible to using all of Romans 8:17 (the other “if”) so as to teach we become God’s children and God’s heirs only by suffering with Christ. False teaching will “increase unto more ungodliness” if we do not stop it in its early stages (2 Timothy 2:16). Be on guard!! Beware! Be on guard!! Beware! Be on guard!! Beware!

The system of “conditional joint-heirship” also ignores the fact that the Romans (8:32), Colossians (2:10), Ephesians (1:3), and all other Christians are blessed with all that Father God has to offer. We do not have to strive to be joint-heirs with Christ. God gave that already to all of us in Christ the moment we trusted Christ (go back to Romans 8:14-17—where those truths cannot be divorced from each other). Must we strive to obtain everything that is Christ’s? Did we not already get everything that is His the moment the Holy Spirit put us into Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13)? Why, yes, He did!

If anyone tells us that all Christians are heirs of God but only the “edified according to Paul’s epistles” are joint-heirs with Christ, we can dismiss them as advocating a works gospel. Grace is tainted, canceled, or “frustrated” (Galatians 2:21). We work for reward (Colossians 3:23-25)—the reward of the inheritance. We do not work for the inheritance—namely, Heaven (Ephesians 1:3-23; Ephesians 2:1-10). Whether they realize it or not (that is beside the point), the “conditional joint-heirship” brethren are making it sound like we work to get into Heaven. They have confused the inheritance with the reward of the inheritance. Friends, we had better learn to differentiate the two!!

All members of the Body of Christ will be glorified in the heavenly places by virtue of being heirs of God, and all Christians will be glorified in the heavenly places by virtue of being joint-heirs with Christ. Since we are suffering with Christ now, it only stands to reason we will be glorified with Him in the future. “You suffer now but you will be glorified later.” As we partake of His sufferings, so we will share in His glory. That is the glorious truth in Romans 8:17, given to all believers in Jesus Christ. We will reign in the heavenly places with Him (Ephesians 2:6-7). That is the inheritance, solely dependent on Jesus Christ paying the price with His shed blood at Calvary (Ephesians 1:3-14).

But, exactly what tasks do we undertake once we get into Heaven? Here is the reward of the inheritance. Our rank/office within the heavenly places is directly proportional to the quality of doctrine we stored in our inner man (1 Corinthians 3:9-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9-10; Colossians 3:23-25). This is our Christian service—how we let our position given us in Christ daily affect us in mind and body while living on Earth. Here is where Christian good works are. That is why we constantly stress here that sound Bible doctrine matters!! Pauline dispensationalism matters!!

Christian friend, if you are not applying to life a clear understanding of Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, then your Christian life is not pleasing to God! That is why you are deceived, confused, struggling, disappointed, and miserable. Your Christian life is not functioning as God intended because you are not using the doctrine He intended for Christian living. You are relying on church tradition, non-Pauline doctrine, human viewpoint—and that amounts to nothing in light of eternity. There is no power of God therein.

Start reading the Book of Romans and believe what you read! In doing so, you will spare yourself so much spiritual darkness. You will save yourself so much time groping, wandering, wondering, doubting, and struggling. This author can testify to that firsthand… and so can countless other saints!!

Also see:
» “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant?”
» How do we identify false teachers?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

Did Hosea 1:10 and Hosea 2:23 predict the Body of Christ?

DID HOSEA 1:10 AND HOSEA 2:23 PREDICT THE BODY OF CHRIST?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Read Romans chapter 9: [22] What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction: [23] And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, [24] Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles? [25] As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.” (Note: “Osee” is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew “Hosea.”)

The “Jews and Gentiles” in verse 24 are certainly the Body of Christ. You can check Ephesians 2:11-22, 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:28, and Colossians 3:11. Believing Jews and Gentiles being joined in one body, the Body of Christ, was unknown prior to the Apostle Paul. Gentiles not being required to convert to Judaism or bless Israel to fellowship with her God, was also unheard of prior to Paul. (More on this shortly.)

Some argue that Paul, by quoting Hosea twice, was really trying to say that Hosea knew about the Church the Body of Christ. While it is true that Romans 9:25 cites Hosea 2:23, and Romans 9:26 quotes Hosea 1:10, this is not to imply that Hosea was aware of the Body of Christ. If words mean anything, the Body of Christ was not revealed to man until God revealed it 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: [7] Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. [8] Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ; [9] And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:….”

Until the Lord revealed it to Paul, the Body of Christ was “a mystery hid in God” (verse 9). This “fellowship”—or group of saints—was certainly not known to any Old Testament prophet (including Hosea). Yet, when Paul twice quotes Hosea in Romans, people needlessly stumble. Do not look for the Body of Christ in Hosea, friend!! All will be clear if we keep Ephesians chapter 3 in mind. Looking at the whole of Romans chapters 9–11, we see Israel’s past, present, and future statuses. She fell politically with the Assyrian and Babylonian captivities (which Hosea warned about). She fell spiritually with the stoning of Stephen in Acts chapter 7. That spiritual fall opened our Dispensation of Grace, which Paul lays out in Romans 11:11-14. Through Israel’s spiritual fall, salvation is come unto the Gentiles. Paul is thus “the apostle of [God’s spokesman sent to] the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13).

Notice how Romans chapter 9 resumes: “[25] As he saith also in Osee, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. [26] And it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, Ye are not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.”

Again, yes, verses 23-24 speak of the Body of Christ, but verses 25-26 cannot be the Body of Christ because that would contradict what we just read in Ephesians chapter 3. Hosea did not speak of the Body of Christ because he did not know about it. He was certainly not speaking of Gentiles being saved in the Body either. Verse 25 does not point to verses 23-24 but back to earlier statements in the chapter. The context is Israel (see verses 1-19). Israel’s restoration is what Hosea saw. No Gentile salvation is in view. No Body of Christ salvation is in view. With Israel entering the captivity, she became “not my people” (read Hosea chapter 1). Hosea chapters 1 and 2 spoke of a day when Israel would become God’s people again. That will occur after our Dispensation, with the Second Coming of Christ (see Romans 9:25-29 and all of Romans chapter 11).

Just so we understand, see verses 27-28 of Romans chapter 9 now: “[27] Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: [28] For he will finish the work, and cut it short in righteousness: because a short work will the Lord make upon the earth.” This quotes Isaiah 10:22-23, and notice that it is about Israel… Israel (Romans 9:27). It is this believing Jewish remnant that will become God’s people, the new Israel. The old Israel (abounding with apostates) has been wiped away. Be sure to note that the Body of Christ is not in view at all in Romans 9:25-29.

Also see:
» Did Hosea 6:2 predict the Dispensation of Grace?
» Why did Jesus Christ stand in Acts 7:55-56?
» Is Israel “cast away,” or not? Has Israel “fallen,” or not?