Monthly Archives: August 2020

Will God kill false teachers?

WILL GOD KILL FALSE TEACHERS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Once, a preacher declared he had received “revelation” that God would soon take the life of another preacher in his denomination because of false teaching. That preacher, of course, was also a false teacher (would God strike him dead too?!). Such nonsense is a failure to understand the Bible dispensationally. No. Unfortunately, since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, God does not remove false teachers by killing them: “The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

There were false teachers in the Apostle Paul’s day, but there is no hint God ever struck any of them dead. Rather than Him killing the false teachers, He let them continue with their error. However, we are not to suppose He approved of their evil. They were allowed to remain in order to appeal to those who also wanted Satan’s lie program. Never forget: God gives us over to what we want!

“[19] Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: [20] Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan, that they may learn not to blaspheme” (1 Timothy 1:19-20).

“[16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some” (2 Timothy 2:16-18).

“[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [9] As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Galatians 1:6-9).

“[9] Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. [10] For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: [11] Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake. [12] One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, the Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies. [13] This witness is true. Wherefore rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith; [14] Not giving heed to Jewish fables, and commandments of men, that turn from the truth” (Titus 1:9-14).

“[17] Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. [18] For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Romans 16:17-18).

“[3] If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; [4] He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, [5] Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself (1 Timothy 6:3-5).

“[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away (2 Timothy 3:1-5).

Once in Scripture, we are ordered to “avoid” false teachers (Romans 16:17). Twice in Scripture, we are commanded to “withdraw” from them (1 Timothy 6:5; 2 Timothy 3:5). Yet, we find millions upon millions of church members today happily sitting under the ministries of false teachers. It is said casually, “A ‘church’ is a church; all preachers teach pretty much speak the same thing. I go to all sorts of services and benefit a little from all meetings.” They do not study the Bible on their own, so they have no discernment to realize they should not be there and making such reckless claims! It is not God’s fault. He is letting them enjoy their lies, darkness, and confusion (Matthew 23:37-38; Romans 1:18-32; 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12). Brethren, let us be sure we are not comfortable in this regard—or we will wind up in the same dreadful predicament!

Also see:
» What is the greatest threat facing the Grace Movement?
» Does doctrine really matter?
» What is the “judgment” of Galatians 5:10?

» How can we identify false teachers?

What is the “judgment” of Galatians 5:10?

WHAT IS THE “JUDGMENT” OF GALATIANS 5:10?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In Galatians chapter 5, verse 10, we read the Apostle Paul’s words to the saints of Galatia: “I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded: but he that troubleth you shall bear his judgment, whosoever he be.” How is this unidentified man “troubling” them? What does it mean, he will “bear his judgment?”

Read the context: “[1] Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. [2] Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing. [3] For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. [4] Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. [5] For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith. [6] For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. [7] Ye did run well; who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? [8] This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you. [9] A little leaven leaveneth the whole lump.”

Although Paul had visited and taught in Galatia (Acts chapters 13–14), winning these pagans to Jesus Christ, at least one false teacher had slipped in upon Paul’s departure. The individual proceeded to move these saints from grace and back under law. Instead of them resting in God’s grace—all that He did for them through Christ at Calvary—they were now convinced they could receive God’s blessings only if they performed in Jewish religion. In this case, they were pressured to keep the Law of Moses and be physically circumcised. This same problem is featured in Acts 15:1-5. Even today, we have people telling us to “perform to get the blessing” (works-religion with its rites, rituals, ceremonies, et cetera). What was the Lord’s solution concerning Galatia’s issue?

Galatians chapter 1 tells us: “[6] I marvel that ye are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ unto another gospel: [7] Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. [8] But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. [9] As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.”

To be “accursed” here means “to be separated from, banned, excommunicated.” In verse 12 of chapter 5, Paul says, “I would [wish] they were even cut off which trouble you.” The Galatians were to remove that false teacher from their company—and that is precisely the “judgment,” or penalty, for being a promoter of wrong doctrine. They were not to “tolerate” him, neither were they instructed to consider him “a Christian with merely a different opinion.” He was unequivocally not serving Jesus Christ, and they were to leave him alone! They were to “cut off” fellowship with him. We would do well to promptly remove those who are teaching lies from our churches’ pulpits. Had we done so long ago, the pervasive ignorance and deception would have been avoided!

Also see:
» How can we identify false teachers?
» Does doctrine really matter?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?

» Will God kill false teachers?

Why was the Temple’s veil rent when Christ died?

WHY WAS THE TEMPLE’S VEIL RENT WHEN CHRIST DIED?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Turning to Matthew chapter 27, we read these words of God: “[51] And, behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did quake, and the rocks rent; [52] And the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints which slept arose, [53] And came out of the graves after his resurrection, and went into the holy city, and appeared unto many.” This tearing of the veil of Herod’s Temple is also recorded in Mark 15:38 and Luke 23:45.

Why was the veil of the Jerusalem Temple ripped in two? Various and sundry explanations have been offered. Some say the Mosaic Law ended here and the Dispensation of Grace began. Others further claim this tearing of the veil signifies the abolishment of the distinction between Jew and Gentile, all people now having equal access to the God of the Bible. Are these correct views? Could there be another reason? “For what saith the Scriptures?”

At Jesus’ death, the veil of the Temple was torn in two, “from the top to the bottom.” The nature of the split indicates God did it as opposed to man: man would have torn it from bottom to top, but Divine working would have caused it to tear from top to bottom. According to the Mishnah, this curtain was 60 feet (18 meters) long, 30 feet (9 meters) tall, and as thick as man’s palm. It was so heavy it took 300 men to lift it when wet! This was the partition between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. Behind it, once a year (Day of Atonement), the high priest would enter the Most Holy Place with animals’ blood and, on the Mercy Seat, make atonement for his sins and the sins of Israel (cf. Leviticus chapter 16). God’s presence—also known as “the Shekinah glory”—hovered above the Mercy Seat, the lid of the Ark of the Covenant (cf. Exodus 25:17-22, for example).

This veil as touching the Tabernacle was first constructed according to Exodus chapter 26: “[31] And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: [32] And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. [33] And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. [34] And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place. [35] And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.” You may also see Exodus 36:35-36 and Hebrews 9:1-7. A similar arrangement was followed in King Solomon’s Temple 500 years later (2 Chronicles 3:14). Zerubbabel’s Temple was constructed 500 years after that, and King Herod the Great refurbished it a few decades before Christ’s birth.

Why was the Temple veil ripped in two in Matthew chapter 27? Firstly, let us deal with the supposition the Mosaic Law was rescinded (cancelled) when Jesus died and the veil was rent. No one who reads the Bible with an open heart could ever suggest this to be true. Either they have not actually read the verses, or they have read the verses and chosen to ignore them for sake of maintaining denominational traditions! It is absolutely, categorically wrong to say the Law ended at Calvary and the Dispensation of Grace began at Calvary. All we have to do is turn to Ephesians chapter 3, and read the first two verses: “[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:….” If the Bible is correct—and it is!—then the Dispensation of Grace could in no wise begin until the Apostle Paul. Saul of Tarsus is a lost or unsaved man in Matthew chapter 27, and he will not be converted until a year later (Acts chapter 9).

Furthermore, the Mosaic Law was not abolished at the cross, for Christ Himself commanded His disciples to observe the Law and teach men to do the same so they could be great in the Kingdom. Matthew 5:17-19, spoken before the cross: “[17] Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. [18] For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled. [19] Whosoever therefore shall break one of these least commandments, and shall teach men so, he shall be called the least in the kingdom of heaven: but whosoever shall do and teach them, the same shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew chapter 23, also spoken before the cross: “[1] Then spake Jesus to the multitude, and to his disciples, [2] Saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit in Moses’ seat: [3] All therefore whatsoever they bid you observe, that observe and do; but do not ye after their works: for they say, and do not.”

Matthew 28:18-20 now: “[18] And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. [19] Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: [20] Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.” What were the “things” Jesus commanded them? Was it not the Law, as we just read? No one is told anywhere here, “You are not under the law, but under grace.” We do not find such language until the Apostle Paul (namely, Romans 6:14-15).

Even after Calvary, Temple worship is still ongoing. No one in these passages is under the impression that they are under grace and not law! “And were continually in the temple, praising and blessing God. Amen” (Luke 24:53). “And they, continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, did eat their meat with gladness and singleness of heart,…” (Acts 2:46). “Now Peter and John went up together into the temple at the hour of prayer, being the ninth hour” (Acts 3:1). There is absolutely no question about it. Even though the Temple veil was rent, Law observance was encouraged and continued. Temple worship remained.

Now, let us deal with the claim the rending of the veil means there is no longer a difference between Jew and Gentile. This too is false, nothing more than a baseless assumption. The cross of Calvary did not abolish the distinction between circumcision and uncircumcision. Again, if we have eyes to see, we can clearly see the middle wall of partition is still up post-resurrection. The nation Israel is still considered separate and distinct from the nations of the world, and God’s messengers restrict His Word to the Jews even into the early Acts period. “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem(Luke 24:47). “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth(Acts 1:8).

Read the Apostle Peter’s famous sermon on the Day of Pentecost in Acts chapter 2: “[14] But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:…. [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:…. [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.” Whom is Peter addressing? The whole world? No, the nation Israel! Again, “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole” (Acts 4:10). “Him hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins (Acts 5:31).

The “no difference between Jew and Gentile” is applicable beginning with the Apostle Paul’s ministry in Acts chapter 9 onward. Someone will inquire about Peter visiting Gentile Cornelius in chapter 10. Here, we will notice this followed Paul’s salvation and the beginning of his ministry (chapter 9!). God directed Peter to Cornelius’ house so that he may defend Paul’s “all-men” message in chapter 15 many years later. Paul wrote, “Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference (Romans 3:22). “For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him” (Romans 10:12). For more information, see our Ephesians 2:18-22 article linked at the end of this study. Also, read all of Ephesians chapters 2 and 3, which speak of the difference between Jew and Gentile being removed in the Church the Body of Christ—an entity that did not exist until Paul’s salvation and ministry.

Having handled the misconceptions, we can now offer two reasons why the Temple veil was ripped apart when the Lord Jesus died.

Firstly, back in Matthew chapter 23, Christ had told Jerusalem, “The Temple is now your house!” Notice: “[37] O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not! [38] Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.” No longer was the Temple His house (Matthew 21:13) or His Father’s house (John 2:16). With the veil rent, it is clear to all in the Temple that the Shekinah glory of God is absent! They have rejected Him, and they have rejected His Son (crucified Him), and now He has given them over to the error they so passionately desired. The Temple vacated, the Antichrist can enter and occupy (Matthew 24:15; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-4)!

By the way, at the time of Christ dying and the Temple veil rending, the priests would have been there offering the animal sacrifices. No doubt they knew God Himself took that veil and tore it. While not recorded in the Bible, it is said they stitched the veil back together and continued with their vain religious system!

The second reason the Temple veil was rent is found in the Book of Hebrews, information God revealed many years after Calvary. Go over to chapter 10: “[19] Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, [20] By a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us, through the veil, that is to say, his flesh; [21] And having an high priest over the house of God; [22] Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised; ) [24] And let us consider one another to provoke unto love and to good works: [25] Not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching.”

When the writer of Hebrews speaks of “a new and living way,” he refers to something beyond the Mosaic system. This is the transitioning from the Old Covenant to the New Covenant. In fact, read chapters 8-10, carefully noting 8:7-13, 9:1-28, and 10:1-25. As explained in Hebrews 10:19-20, the Temple veil being split was a picture or symbol of Christ’s flesh—His death—opening the way for Israel to approach God differently. Through Christ’s shed blood, the New Covenant can now be ratified. It will be instituted at His Second Coming, as seen in the following two passages (cf. Jeremiah 31:31-34).

Romans 11:25-27: “[25] For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. [26] And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: [27] For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins. Acts 3:19-21: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.”

CONCLUSION

Why was the Temple veil rent in Matthew 27:51? Contrary to popular belief, it was not because the Dispensation of Law ended and the Dispensation of Grace began. Also, it was not because the middle wall between Jew and Gentile was abolished. These are true with respect to the Apostle Paul’s ministry, which is over a year away. The veil was torn because it was a sign of God judging Israel, His absence from the Most Holy Place now evident. No glory or presence of God is visible in Herod’s Temple because this is the way Israel has chosen it to be! Through later Divine revelation unveiled in Hebrews—information not known at the cross—we learn the veil symbolized Christ’s flesh. With the shedding of His sinless blood, the New Covenant can be confirmed and the Old Covenant can pass away.

Also see:
» Could you please clarify Ephesians 2:18-22?
» Does Hebrews 10:25 really teach we must attend church?
» Why did Jesus curse the “poor” fig tree?

How long were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?

HOW LONG WERE ADAM AND EVE IN THE GARDEN OF EDEN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

How long did Adam and Eve live in the Garden of Eden before they sinned and God threw them out? While there are all sorts of wild speculations, we need to search the Scriptures to see if we can find verses to answer our question.

As per Genesis chapter 4, Eve did not bear her first son (Cain) until after she and Adam sinned and were expelled from the Garden of Eden in chapter 3. Her body was healthy, sexually mature at the moment of her creation. She did not have fertility issues (and Adam was not sexually immature or impotent either). Obviously, not long after they met, they would have connected sexually, meaning it would not have taken months or years for her to conceive a child. Some married couples struggle to bear children for a long time (if ever resulting in pregnancy), but this was not true of Adam and Eve. Had they lived in Eden for years, enough time would have elapsed to result in several children. This is one indication they were in the Garden for just a short time. They could not have been in Eden for more than a year before they sinned.

Here is another Bible fact we must consider. The Sabbath Day is connected to the Creation Week. It was the seventh day—Saturday—to follow the six days of God’s creative acts. We turn to Genesis chapter 2: “[1] Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. [2] And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. [3] And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” Adam had been created on the sixth day, Friday (Genesis 1:26-31).

Now, here is the Fourth Commandment as it reads in Exodus chapter 20: “[8] Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. [9] Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: [10] But the seventh day is the sabbath of the LORD thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: [11] For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the LORD blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”

There was the first Sabbath (the one that closed the Creation Week), and then there was the following Sabbath. God would have come down and dwelt with Adam and Eve in an earthly kingdom on that second Sabbath. The LORD had Israel observe the weekly Sabbath in order to remember their purpose: He will use them as His earthly people, in the same capacity Adam and Eve refused to participate all those thousands of years ago!

Consider Matthew 25:34: “Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:….” Also, Acts 3:19-21: “[19] Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord. [20] And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you: [21] Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.” Since God placed man (Adam) on the earth, He had an earthly kingdom in mind. However, sin disrupted that plan—and man has yet to experience God’s reign in the Earth!

Now, read from Hebrews chapter 4: “[3] For we which have believed do enter into rest, as he said, As I have sworn in my wrath, if they shall enter into my rest: although the works were finished from the foundation of the world. [4] For he spake in a certain place of the seventh day on this wise, And God did rest the seventh day from all his works…. [9] There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. [10] For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his own works, as God did from his. [11] Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.”

Again, the earthly kingdom believing Jews are anticipating (which will be established at Christ’s Second Coming—Acts 3:19-21), is the very earthly kingdom Adam and Eve would have enjoyed had they not sinned and been evicted from Eden. Hence, Adam and Eve would have been in the Garden of Eden for less than a week. We know they did not see the second Sabbath—the one following the original Sabbath of Genesis 2:1-3—because we know God’s earthly kingdom is delayed even now. Adam and Eve were not allowed to see it, which indicates to us they were in Eden only about a week before they fell.

Also see:
» Why did Jesus Christ heal on the Sabbath Day?
»
Is the Sabbath day—Saturday or Sunday?
» Where in the Bible did God give Satan domain over the Earth?

What is the “hoary head” in the Bible?

WHAT IS THE “HOARY HEAD” IN THE BIBLE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

God’s Word makes five references to the “hoary head.” Exactly what is it?

Overall, the King James Bible uses the term “hoar” nine times (including paired five times with “head”). Look at these nine instances and use context clues to gain the meaning:

  • Exodus 16:14: “And when the dew that lay was gone up, behold, upon the face of the wilderness there lay a small round thing, as small as the hoar frost on the ground.” What color is frost on the ground?
  • Leviticus 19:32: “Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honour the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the LORD.” Did you see how the words “hoary head” and “old man” are used interchangeably?
  • 1 Kings 2:6,9: “[6] Do therefore according to thy wisdom, and let not his hoar head go down to the grave in peace. [9] Now therefore hold him not guiltless: for thou art a wise man, and knowest what thou oughtest to do unto him; but his hoar head bring thou down to the grave with blood.”
  • Job 38:29: “Out of whose womb came the ice? and the hoary frost of heaven, who hath gendered it?” Again, what color is frost?
  • Job 41:32: “He maketh a path to shine after him; one would think the deep to be hoary.”
  • Psalm 147:16: “He giveth snow like wool: he scattereth the hoarfrost like ashes.” Once more, what is the hue of the frost on the ground?
  • Proverbs 16:31: The hoary head is a crown of glory, if it be found in the way of righteousness.”
  • Isaiah 46:4: “And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoar hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.” Again, notice how “old age” and “hoar hairs” are connected.

According to The Oxford English Dictionary, “hoar” is archaic poetry/literary term meaning “greyish white; grey or grey-haired with age.” It is derived from the Old English hār, of Germanic origin; related to German hehr “majestic, noble.”

The word “hoary” refers to the color gray or white, so the “hoary head” is better known as a senior citizen or elderly person. Old age is not necessarily good, be sure to notice; it is not automatically bad either. It can be advantageous, as Proverbs 16:31 says: “The hoary head is a crown [distinguishing mark] of glory [honor or praise], if it be found in the way of righteousness.” However, there are plenty of people who are both aged and foolish. If they are unsaved, they are certainly not wise concerning spiritual matters. “Way” here is in the sense of “way of living, course of action, manner of conduct.”

As a final note, the Hebrew word rendered “hoary” is “seybah,” and was translated “old age” six times (Genesis 15:15; Genesis 25:8; Judges 8:32; Ruth 4:15; 1 Chronicles 29:28; Psalm 92:14), as well as “gray hairs” five times (Genesis 42:38; Genesis 44:29,31; Deuteronomy 32:25; Hosea 7:9), “grayheaded” once (Psalm 71:18), and “gray head” one time (Proverbs 20:29).

Also see:
» Does God suffer from Alzheimer’s disease?
» What happens after death?
» Why is the Bible Book of “Ecclesiastes” thus named?

What are “groves?”

WHAT ARE “GROVES?”

by Shawn Brasseaux

Friend, there seems to be much confusion as to what “groves” are in Scripture. Hopefully, we can make sense of this topic for you.

THE KING JAMES BIBLE SPEAKS

The word “grove” appears 41 times in the Authorized Version. Before we look at these verses, we must note one exception. Genesis 21:33 contains the first occurrence: “And Abraham planted a grove in Beersheba, and called there on the name of the LORD, the everlasting God.” This “grove” is in a positive light, as Abraham is a Bible believer. The Hebrew word is “’eshel” (Strong’s #H815), a tamarisk or myrica tree [Tamarix orientalis]. It was rendered “tree” in 1 Samuel 22:6 and 1 Samuel 31:13. This fact will prove useful to us later.

As for the remaining “grove” verses (40 in all), they are negative. We present them now, reminding you the reader to sense the associated evils:

  • Exodus 34:13: “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves:….”
  • Deuteronomy 7:5: “But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.”
  • Deuteronomy 12:3: “And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.”
  • Deuteronomy 16:21: “Thou shalt not plant thee a grove of any trees near unto the altar of the LORD thy God, which thou shalt make thee.”
  • Judges 3:7: “And the children of Israel did evil in the sight of the LORD, and forgat the LORD their God, and served Baalim and the groves.”
  • Judges 6:25: “And it came to pass the same night, that the LORD said unto him, Take thy father’s young bullock, even the second bullock of seven years old, and throw down the altar of Baal that thy father hath, and cut down the grove that is by it:….”
  • Judges 6:26: “And build an altar unto the LORD thy God upon the top of this rock, in the ordered place, and take the second bullock, and offer a burnt sacrifice with the wood of the grove which thou shalt cut down.”
  • Judges 6:28: “And when the men of the city arose early in the morning, behold, the altar of Baal was cast down, and the grove was cut down that was by it, and the second bullock was offered upon the altar that was built.”
  • Judges 6:30: “Then the men of the city said unto Joash, Bring out thy son, that he may die: because he hath cast down the altar of Baal, and because he hath cut down the grove that was by it.”
  • 1 Kings 14:15: “For the LORD shall smite Israel, as a reed is shaken in the water, and he shall root up Israel out of this good land, which he gave to their fathers, and shall scatter them beyond the river, because they have made their groves, provoking the LORD to anger.”
  • 1 Kings 14:23: “For they also built them high places, and images, and groves, on every high hill, and under every green tree.”
  • 1 Kings 15:13: “And also Maachah his mother, even her he removed from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove; and Asa destroyed her idol, and burnt it by the brook Kidron.”
  • 1 Kings 16:33: “And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.”
  • 1 Kings 18:19: “Now therefore send, and gather to me all Israel unto mount Carmel, and the prophets of Baal four hundred and fifty, and the prophets of the groves four hundred, which eat at Jezebel’s table.”
  • 2 Kings 13:6: “Nevertheless they departed not from the sins of the house of Jeroboam, who made Israel sin, but walked therein: and there remained the grove also in Samaria.)”
  • 2 Kings 17:10: “And they set them up images and groves in every high hill, and under every green tree:….”
  • 2 Kings 17:16: “And they left all the commandments of the LORD their God, and made them molten images, even two calves, and made a grove, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served Baal.”
  • 2 Kings 18:4: “He removed the high places, and brake the images, and cut down the groves, and brake in pieces the brasen serpent that Moses had made: for unto those days the children of Israel did burn incense to it: and he called it Nehushtan.”
  • 2 Kings 21:3: “For he built up again the high places which Hezekiah his father had destroyed; and he reared up altars for Baal, and made a grove, as did Ahab king of Israel; and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.”
  • 2 Kings 21:7: “And he set a graven image of the grove that he had made in the house, of which the LORD said to David, and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen out of all tribes of Israel, will I put my name for ever:….”
  • 2 Kings 23:4: “And the king commanded Hilkiah the high priest, and the priests of the second order, and the keepers of the door, to bring forth out of the temple of the LORD all the vessels that were made for Baal, and for the grove, and for all the host of heaven: and he burned them without Jerusalem in the fields of Kidron, and carried the ashes of them unto Bethel.”
  • 2 Kings 23:6: “And he brought out the grove from the house of the LORD, without Jerusalem, unto the brook Kidron, and burned it at the brook Kidron, and stamped it small to powder, and cast the powder thereof upon the graves of the children of the people.”
  • 2 Kings 23:7: “And he brake down the houses of the sodomites, that were by the house of the LORD, where the women wove hangings for the grove.”
  • 2 Kings 23:14: “And he brake in pieces the images, and cut down the groves, and filled their places with the bones of men.”
  • 2 Kings 23:15: “Moreover the altar that was at Bethel, and the high place which Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who made Israel to sin, had made, both that altar and the high place he brake down, and burned the high place, and stamped it small to powder, and burned the grove.”
  • 2 Chronicles 14:3: “For he took away the altars of the strange gods, and the high places, and brake down the images, and cut down the groves:….”
  • 2 Chronicles 15:16: “And also concerning Maachah the mother of Asa the king, he removed her from being queen, because she had made an idol in a grove: and Asa cut down her idol, and stamped it, and burnt it at the brook Kidron.”
  • 2 Chronicles 17:6: “And his heart was lifted up in the ways of the LORD: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.”
  • 2 Chronicles 19:3: “Nevertheless there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God.”
  • 2 Chronicles 24:18: “And they left the house of the LORD God of their fathers, and served groves and idols: and wrath came upon Judah and Jerusalem for this their trespass.”
  • 2 Chronicles 31:1: “Now when all this was finished, all Israel that were present went out to the cities of Judah, and brake the images in pieces, and cut down the groves, and threw down the high places and the altars out of all Judah and Benjamin, in Ephraim also and Manasseh, until they had utterly destroyed them all. Then all the children of Israel returned, every man to his possession, into their own cities.”
  • 2 Chronicles 33:3: “For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshipped all the host of heaven, and served them.”
  • 2 Chronicles 33:19: “His prayer also, and how God was intreated of him, and all his sins, and his trespass, and the places wherein he built high places, and set up groves and graven images, before he was humbled: behold, they are written among the sayings of the seers.”
  • 2 Chronicles 34:3: “For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was yet young, he began to seek after the God of David his father: and in the twelfth year he began to purge Judah and Jerusalem from the high places, and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images.”
  • 2 Chronicles 34:4: “And they brake down the altars of Baalim in his presence; and the images, that were on high above them, he cut down; and the groves, and the carved images, and the molten images, he brake in pieces, and made dust of them, and strowed it upon the graves of them that had sacrificed unto them.”
  • 2 Chronicles 34:7: “And when he had broken down the altars and the groves, and had beaten the graven images into powder, and cut down all the idols throughout all the land of Israel, he returned to Jerusalem.”
  • Isaiah 17:8: “And he shall not look to the altars, the work of his hands, neither shall respect that which his fingers have made, either the groves, or the images.”
  • Isaiah 27:9: “By this therefore shall the iniquity of Jacob be purged; and this is all the fruit to take away his sin; when he maketh all the stones of the altar as chalkstones that are beaten in sunder, the groves and images shall not stand up.”
  • Jeremiah 17:2: “Whilst their children remember their altars and their groves by the green trees upon the high hills.”
  • Micah 5:14: “And I will pluck up thy groves out of the midst of thee: so will I destroy thy cities.”

THE BIBLE DICTIONARIES SPEAK

As we just saw, the term “grove” appears 41 times in the King James Bible’s Old Testament. The first one was the Hebrew “’eshel,” also rendered “tree.” Regarding the last 40 instances, it was the Hebrew word “Asherah” (Strong’s #H842). The term is defined as: “from H833 [happy]; happy; Asherah (or Astarte) a Phoenician goddess; also an image of the same:—grove. Compare H6253 [Ashtoreth, the Phoenician goddess of love (and increase)].”

Smith’s Bible Dictionary has the following entry for “grove:”

“1. A word used in the Authorized Version, with two exceptions, to translate the mysterious Hebrew term Asherah, which is not a grove, but probably an idol or image of some kind. [ASHERAH.] It is also probable that there was a connection between this symbol or image, whatever it was, and the sacred symbolic tree, the representation of which occurs so frequently on Assyrian sculptures.

2. The two exceptions noticed above are Gen. 21:33 and 1 Sam. 22:6 (margin). In the religions of the ancient heathen world groves play a prominent part. In the old times altars only were erected to the gods. It was thought wrong to shut up the gods within walls, and hence trees were the first temples; and from the earliest times groves are mentioned in connection with religious worship. Genesis 12:6, 7; Deuteronomy 11:30; Authorized Version “plain.” The groves were generally found connected with temples, and often had the right of affording an asylum.”

You will notice the critical (anti-King-James) position the “scholar” usually takes. The 1611 translators are once again deemed unskilled, allegedly “mistranslating” the Hebrew “Asherah.” What they considered “groves” the Bible dictionary editor believes something else. Dear friends, what is the authority? The Bible, or the Bible dictionary? Is not the Bible dictionary a derivative of the Bible? Why is more emphasis placed on the offshoot than the original? People are so quick to believe books about the Bible than they are to believe the Bible. This, dear friends, is the nonsense often found in Bible scholarship. There are competing authorities. Educated people do not want to submit to God’s Word; they want God’s Word to submit to them. This is unbelief, not faith, and yet that attitude is found in nearly all places of leadership within Christendom (seminaries, Bible colleges, churches, authors, commentators, and so on).

CONCLUSION

Pay very close attention as to how the King James Bible disproves the Bible dictionary. “Grove” is most definitely a correct translation of “Asherah,” even if doubters and unbelievers choose to remain in spiritual darkness! The Oxford English Dictionary says of “grove:” “a small wood or other group of trees.” The last 40 instances of “grove” in the Authorized Version are simply a garden of trees encircling an idol, and the LORD God spoke of destroying these! Such a practice underlies a common architectural practice of erecting a statue and then planting bushes or shrubbery around it, forming a “courtyard” within the confines of floral walls. We can find shrines and religious grottos (small caves) as centerpieces of various so-called “gardens of contemplation” even today—at hospitals, church buildings, cemeteries, et cetera. Of course, modern English versions obscure this reference to trees and wood because they often leave the word untranslated (reading “Asherah poles,” “Asherahs,” “Asherim”) and thus reducing it to nonsense for English readers. “Groves” is a perfectly acceptable translation of the Hebrew!

SUPPLEMENTAL: ANOTHER TREE ROOTED IN PAGANISM

Although highly offensive, while we are on the subject of trees and pagan idolatry (idolatree!), we might as well remind ourselves of the ancient “Christmas tree” rooted in Jeremiah chapter 10, some 600 years before Christ!

“[1] Hear ye the word which the LORD speaketh unto you, O house of Israel: [2] Thus saith the LORD, Learn not the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven; for the heathen are dismayed at them. [3] For the customs of the people are vain: for one cutteth a tree out of the forest, the work of the hands of the workman, with the axe. [4] They deck it with silver and with gold; they fasten it with nails and with hammers, that it move not. [5] They are upright as the palm tree, but speak not: they must needs be borne, because they cannot go. Be not afraid of them; for they cannot do evil, neither also is it in them to do good. [6] Forasmuch as there is none like unto thee, O LORD; thou art great, and thy name is great in might.

“[7] Who would not fear thee, O King of nations? for to thee doth it appertain: forasmuch as among all the wise men of the nations, and in all their kingdoms, there is none like unto thee. [8] But they are altogether brutish and foolish: the stock is a doctrine of vanities. [9] Silver spread into plates is brought from Tarshish, and gold from Uphaz, the work of the workman, and of the hands of the founder: blue and purple is their clothing: they are all the work of cunning men.

“[10] But the LORD is the true God, he is the living God, and an everlasting king: at his wrath the earth shall tremble, and the nations shall not be able to abide his indignation. [11] Thus shall ye say unto them, The gods that have not made the heavens and the earth, even they shall perish from the earth, and from under these heavens. [12] He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom, and hath stretched out the heavens by his discretion.”

Also see:
» “Thou that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?”
» How could God forbid Jeremiah to pray for His people?
» Should I display a Christmas tree?

What technology will be in the Millennium?

WHAT TECHNOLOGY WILL BE IN THE MILLENNIUM?

by Shawn Brasseaux

What will the 1,000-Year Reign of Christ on Earth be like technologically? For example, will modes of transportation be like that of Bible days—donkeys, horses, camels, wagons, chariots, and so on? Or, will it resemble that of today—automobiles, jet planes, bullet trains, and the like? Will there be electricity, computers, wireless internet, cell phones, air conditioning, television, et cetera, in the Millennium? Let us search the Scriptures and see if we can come up with any answers.

Concerning the Millennium, Revelation chapter 20 tells us: “[1] And I saw an angel come down from heaven, having the key of the bottomless pit and a great chain in his hand. [2] And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, [3] And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. [4] And I saw thrones, and they sat upon them, and judgment was given unto them: and I saw the souls of them that were beheaded for the witness of Jesus, and for the word of God, and which had not worshipped the beast, neither his image, neither had received his mark upon their foreheads, or in their hands; and they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years. [5] But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection. [6] Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.”

The Bible claims “they [Israel’s believing remnant] lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years… but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years” (verses 4,6). Indeed, there will be people in excess of 1,000 years old—alive before, during, and after the entire Millennium! Now, consider the history of man’s technological advancements. Researchers and inventors studied natural processes and devised ways to harness them for our benefit. Whatever modern conveniences we enjoy today, they are the culmination of many decades of exploration and experimentation. It is truly amazing we have come this far—and there is still a long way to go!

Yet, friend, did you realize the great scientists of the previous centuries could have introduced many more innovations? Unfortunately, two certainties hindered that from coming to pass. Firstly, except with Adam and Eve before the Fall, the human brain itself has never been used to its full potential. No matter how meticulous discoverers are, regardless of how ingenious engineers are, no matter how brilliant the dreamers are, they (believe it or not) have had and still have intellectual limitations. Whatever they discovered, whatever they knew, is but a fraction of what can be discovered and known. Secondly, mental and physical decline cut their work short. In other words, because of the curse of sin, they grew old and experienced death. Research could not be continued. Exploration was terminated. Neither of these facts will be true in the Millennium, and that provides one major clue as to what the Millennium will be like technologically!

Think about living—not just for 100 years but—for 1,000 years. What scientific breakthroughs could you as just one person make? Now, what if there were 1,000 such people—or 10,000? Imagine the explosion of knowledge then! That is unfathomable!

When the nation Israel, having just escaped Egyptian bondage, began to prepare for the LORD God to live among them (in the Tabernacle), something quite neat occurred. If we can understand what happened here, then we can infer the phenomenal proliferation of information in the Millennium. Start reading at Exodus chapter 28, God’s instructions to Moses: “[1] And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons. [2] And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty. [3] And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron’s garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office.”

Now, turn to chapter 31: “[1] And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, [2] See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: [3] And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, [4] To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, [5] And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. [6] And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; [7] The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, [8] And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, [9] And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, [10] And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest’s office, [11] And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.”

Finally, chapter 35: “[30] And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; [31] And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; [32] And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, [33] And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. [34] And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. [35] Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.”

Read the latter half of the Book of Exodus. The construction of the Tabernacle was no easy task. It required great skill in connecting fabrics and animal skins; and handling wood, valuable metals, and precious stones. Furthermore, there were assorted pieces of furniture and holy priestly garments to be used in conjunction with the structure. The language of these passages is that this knowledge was well beyond the unaided human mind. Hence, God Himself endowed these men with special or spiritual gifts. Without the LORD’S intervention, this elaborate edifice and all its intricate components would have never become reality. God in His ingenuity designed the blueprints… and thus He alone could bring them to pass in the physical world. These people worked together with the LORD and for His glory. By the time of chapter 40, all that construction is complete!

Extending the above logic to the Millennium, it becomes clear that today’s technological innovations are quite primitive in comparison. Whatever we see today is but fallen man’s imagination and not God’s (superior) creativity. Creation is designed to glorify the Creator God, the Lord Jesus Christ. One of the provisions of the New Covenant is the indwelling Holy Spirit. He will fill the nation Israel with His Spirit and cause them to walk in His ways. Consider Ezekiel 36:25-28: “[25] Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. [26] A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. [28] And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

As Christians today utilize their renewed mind to invent creative ways to share the Gospel, so God’s Spirit will work in Israel’s Little Flock to make Himself known to others during the 1,000 years of Christ reigning on the Earth. Furthermore, even as members of the Church the Body of Christ, our rule and reign in the heavenly places will require quite a bit of ingenuity too! Personally, this author thinks the Millennium’s technology will exceed all that we have today, more than our limited brains can fathom now! Yea, we will go so far as to say even our “science fiction” cannot compare to what innovations will be implemented once Jesus Christ reigns and is glorified!

Also see:
» Who will have children in the Millennium?
» Who will be Israel’s King in the Millennium—Jesus Christ or David?
» How can man rebel against God after the Millennium?

Does Acts 7:6 have a mistake?

DOES ACTS 7:6 HAVE A MISTAKE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Prophet Stephen preached to the nation Israel’s apostate religious leaders in Acts 7:6: “And God spake on this wise, That his seed should sojourn in a strange land; and that they should bring them into bondage, and entreat them evil four hundred years.” Yet, when we check the Old Testament records, we encounter an incongruity. Is this a mistake? What are we to believe?

Stephen agrees with Genesis chapter 15: “[13] And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; [14] And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance.” But, when we look at the companion passage, Exodus chapter 12, we find another number: “[40] Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, was four hundred and thirty years. [41] And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred and thirty years, even the selfsame day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the LORD went out from the land of Egypt.”

Even the Apostle Paul reaffirms the 430-year-period in Galatians 3:17: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” There were 430 years between the time of the Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis chapter 12) and the Mosaic Covenant (Exodus chapter 19)—the first agreement was made before the Egyptian bondage and the other was ratified after the Egyptian bondage.

Genesis and Stephen provide one number (400), but Exodus and Paul use another figure (430). Why? It is not difficult. Do we not, in daily language, estimate numbers or round them off to the nearest 10, 100, et cetera? If we find no fault in ourselves, neither do we have any justification for belittling the Scripture here! No, there is no mistake in Acts 7:6.

Also see:
» Does Acts 7:14 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:16 have a mistake?
» Does Acts 7:43 have mistakes?

Can you explain Galatians 3:17?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN GALATIANS 3:17?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul penned in Galatians 3:17: “And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.” Since this verse has several commas setting off phrases, it can be challenging to pair thoughts in a meaningful way. However, if we examine the verse in light of the context, it really is not difficult as originally assumed.

We will begin at verse 16: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise. [19] Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator. [20] Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”

The “covenant” at the opening of verse 17 is none other than the Abrahamic Covenant (see verse 16). Genesis 12:1-3 stresses what the LORD will do on Abraham’s behalf (grace) as opposed to what Abraham would do for the LORD (law): “[1] Now the LORD had said unto Abram, Get thee out of thy country, and from thy kindred, and from thy father’s house, unto a land that I will shew thee: [2] And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: [3] And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed.” God confirmed this agreement “in Christ” because it would depend on God’s performance. (Of particular interest here is the omission or removal of the words “in Christ” from the modern English versions, translated from a Greek text separate and distinct from the Greek Textus Receptus underlying the King James New Testament.)

Some 430 years after the Abrahamic Covenant, at Mount Sinai, Israel insisted on being under a performance-based acceptance system. This is the Mosaic Law, also known as the Old Covenant. Now, they would work in religion to become God’s people and receive His blessings if they obeyed Him. Of course, if they disobeyed Him, they would receive curses. This arrangement was certainly not like the contract the LORD made with Abraham over four centuries earlier!

Exodus chapter 19 records the exchange: “[1] In the third month, when the children of Israel were gone forth out of the land of Egypt, the same day came they into the wilderness of Sinai. [2] For they were departed from Rephidim, and were come to the desert of Sinai, and had pitched in the wilderness; and there Israel camped before the mount. [3] And Moses went up unto God, and the LORD called unto him out of the mountain, saying, Thus shalt thou say to the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel; [4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself.” (Do you see God’s performance in verse 4—His rescuing Israel from Egyptian bondage?)

“[5] Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel. [7] And Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and laid before their faces all these words which the LORD commanded him. [8] And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do. And Moses returned the words of the people unto the LORD.” (Do you see Israel’s performance mentioned in verses 5 and 8?)

Even though God made a second covenant with Israel (the Mosaic Law), Galatians 3:17 says it did not cancel (“disannul”) His preexisting covenant with Abraham. Israel would ultimately become God’s people because of His faithfulness as opposed to theirs. The LORD God made a promise to Israel’s patriarch Abraham, and He could never take it back. See Galatians 3:18: “For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” However, Israel in her sinful flesh had to be taught this. Our sinful nature, in an attempt to “measure up to” or replace God’s righteousness, always wants to work! God had to prove to Israel it would have to be grace (His efforts), or nothing. Israel could never bring about the Abrahamic Covenant blessings in her own strength.

Let us turn to Romans chapter 4 for extra details: “[13] For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. [14] For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: [15] Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. [16] Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, [17] (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.”

Simply put, God promised Abraham “righteousness.” “Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness” (Galatians 3:6). Once Abraham was justified, or had a right standing before God, he would be qualified to be “the heir of the world” (Romans 4:13). Righteousness was given to him by faith, not works, for (remember!) God was working on Abraham’s behalf as opposed to Abraham working on God’s behalf. The only thing grace accepts is faith!

Getting back to our original question, the Apostle Paul’s argument in Galatians chapter 3 is to simply show the Galatian saints the Law system is not advantageous to them any more than it was to Abraham or Israel. The Law was a temporary system, an arrangement God instituted so Israel could see she could not perform to get His blessings. It merely pointed out sin (Galatians 3:19), so it could not help the sinner become a saint or be justified in God’s sight (Romans 3:19-20). Israel had to learn God’s blessings would come solely from His faithfulness rather than her faithfulness. Likewise, in chapters 3 and 4 of Galatians, these members of the Church the Body of Christ had to realize Grace and not Law was God’s preferred method of dealing with them. Galatians 4:21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” If necessary, read the entire Book of Galatians—and then read Romans chapters 1-8. Since the Galatians did not learn the basics of grace as found in Romans, they had to be retaught in Galatians! Even today, most professing believers in Christ struggle to understand such fundamental matters. This is because denominations and most churches constantly stress Law and ignore Grace. They do not rightly divide the word of truth, handling the Bible dispensationally (2 Timothy 2:15). Consequently, religious tradition has done more to harm than help souls.

Return to Galatians chapter 3 one last time: “[16] Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. [17] And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. [18] For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.”

With a completed Bible in hand, we understand the ultimate “seed” of Abraham God promised him in Genesis 13:14-17 and Genesis 17:1-8 was Jesus Christ (cf. Galatians 3:16). It is Abraham’s nation that is in Christ (born again) who will be the heirs of the world, for it is Jesus Christ Himself who will inherit the world’s governments. (Lacking the prepositional phrase “in Christ” in Galatians 3:17, the modern English versions eliminate this connection.) As Hebrews chapter 1 tells us: “[1] God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, [2] Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;….”

All believing children of Abraham—all Jews with a circumcision in the flesh and in the heart (Romans 2:28-29)—will be heirs of that Abrahamic Covenant. Concerning the Old Covenant or the Mosaic Law, the New Covenant will replace it at Christ’s Second Coming, and through Jesus’ shed blood it will take care of Israel’s sins committed under the Old Covenant (Acts 3:19-21; Romans 11:25-27; Hebrews 8:1-13; Hebrews 9:1-28; Hebrews 10:1-39). It is through the New Covenant—God’s grace—that Israel receives the blessings of the Abrahamic Covenant. Having come full circle, we can now close this study!

Also see:
»
Can you shed light on Galatians 3:20?
»
Was the Law of Moses given by the LORD, or by angels?
»
How many dispensations are there?

What does “subvert” mean?

WHAT DOES “SUBVERT” MEAN?

by Shawn Brasseaux

The term appears in various forms in the King James Scriptures:

  • Lamentations 3:36: “To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not.”
  • Acts 15:24: “Forasmuch as we have heard, that certain which went out from us have troubled you with words, subverting your souls, saying, Ye must be circumcised, and keep the law: to whom we gave no such commandment:….”
  • 2 Timothy 2:14: “Of these things put them in remembrance, charging them before the Lord that they strive not about words to no profit, but to the subverting of the hearers.”
  • Titus 1:11: “Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.”
  • Titus 3:11: “Knowing that he that is such is subverted, and sinneth, being condemned of himself.”

Analyzing it from the English perspective, the word consists of the prefix “sub–” (beneath) and “vertere” (to turn). Literally, it means “to turn from beneath”—flipped or overturned. In fact, that applies to the Greek and Hebrew equivalents as well.

The Greek word rendered “subverting” in 2 Timothy 2:14 is “katastrophe,” which is obviously the origin of our English expression “catastrophe!” In this context, it refers to verbal debates that generate more heat than light, more confusion than clarity, and thus wreck souls in the audience. In 2 Peter 2:6, the same word is translated “overthrow,” referring to the LORD God destroying Sodom and Gomorrah: “And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned them with an overthrow, making them an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;…” (cf. “overthrew” in Genesis 19:29). Both equally disastrous!

In the case of “subvert” in Titus 1:11, that Greek term is “anatrepo,” or “up [ana] turning [trope].” The house—that is, the meeting place of the local Christian assembly—is being flipped over. False teachers have slipped in and are devastating it from the inside out! This Greek term is rendered “overthrow” in 2 Timothy 2:18: “Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some,” and speaks of deceived souls who are not observing dispensational boundaries (namely, the Rapture to close the Dispensation of Grace and prevent it from combining with the prophetic program). Regarding the “heretick” of Titus 3:11, this “subverted” man is described as “ekstrepho” (turned inside out), perverted or corrupted. The equivalent is “froward” in Deuteronomy 32:20: “And he said, I will hide my face from them, I will see what their end shall be: for they are a very froward generation, children in whom is no faith.”

Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words says the following concerning “subverting” in Acts 15:24: “anaskeuazo, primarily, ‘to pack up baggage’ (ana, ‘up,’ skeuos, ‘a vessel’), hence, from a military point of view, ‘to dismantle a town, to plunder,’ is used metaphorically in Acts 15:24, of unsettling or ‘subverting’ the souls of believers. In the papyri it is used of going bankrupt.”

As touching “subvert” in Lamentations 3:36, this is the Hebrew “‘avath:” “To subvert a man in his cause, the LORD approveth not.” The word appears nearly a dozen times in the Hebrew Old Testament, and is rendered several other ways: “pervert” (Job 8:3; Job 34:12), “overthrown” (Job 19:6), “perversely” (Psalm 119:78), “turneth upside down” (Psalm 146:9), “crooked” (Ecclesiastes 1:15; Ecclesiastes 7:13), “bow” (Ecclesiastes 12:3), and “falsifying” (Amos 8:5).

In all these cases, something (city, local assembly) or someone is being ruined, overturned or overthrown from its foundation. There is unsettling, perversion, or weakening. We need to be especially mindful concerning the wellbeing of our souls, that they not be subverted with non-dispensational Bible study (2 Timothy 2:14-18)!

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

Also see:
» What is the difference between apostasy and heresy?
» Does doctrine really matter?
» How do we identify false teachers?