Category Archives: DENOMINATIONS, CULTS, & FALSE TEACHING

But what if they read the Bible at my church…?!

BUT WHAT IF THEY READ THE BIBLE AT MY CHURCH…?!

by Shawn Brasseaux

What a wonderful question, and I would be so glad to answer it!

Not many church members know, friend, but the Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Did I surprise you there? Let me say it again. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Got it? I will say it a third time so it can sink in. The Devil highly encourages Bible reading. Oh yes, dear friends, Satan does not have a problem with people reading the Bible. So long as they do not know the key to understanding the Bible, they can read it all they want and still get nothing out of it. I know people who have read the Bible for many decades… and I still would not dare sit under their ministry!

Having the Bible is a start, but owning and/or reading it in and of itself is not threatening to Satan, as he has his own set of “bibles” (counterfeits) in circulation. How badly he wants you to buy one—there are plenty of his phony “bibles,” modern English versions, to go around! Usually, though, people never understand the Bible they do own or read. They keep buying the latest version to hit the market and stay in an endless loop of confusion. If people ever find a pure copy of the Bible (King James Bible in English), and do learn how to use it as God intended, only then will they be a bother to Satan. (This rarely happens though, to the Devil’s delight.)

What if Satan wanted to read the Bible to you, friend? Perhaps you think I am being facetious, joking around. No, I am asking you as gravely and sincerely as possible. Do you know that Satan reads the Bible? If you came into his classroom, he would read you the Bible for hours and hours and hours. Actually, he knows it better than all professing Christians combined! Satan has been reading the Scriptures for thousands of years. Do you know that he also enjoys telling the Bible to others? Maybe you doubt me. Perhaps you think I am being ridiculous. But, what if I could substantiate that claim? What if I had the testimony of the Bible itself to prove it?

My friend, has it ever struck you as odd that Satan quoted the Bible to the Lord Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry? Did you even know that ever took place? Read it for yourself, as found in the “temptations of Christ” passage of Matthew chapter 4 and Luke chapter 4.

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

You should be careful to notice that Satan did not deny God’s existence; he did not blatantly deny the existence of angels either. Furthermore, he never openly refuted the fact that Jesus is the Son of God. Satan is much sneakier than that. The Bible speaks of the “wiles” of the Devil (Ephesians 6:11); these are schemes or strategies designed to manipulate and persuade people to do what he wants them to do. Satan was highly calculating in his dealings with Jesus, just like he was with Eve, and just like he wants to be with us today.

Genesis 3:1 reports: “Now the serpent [Satan, Revelation 12:9] was more subtil [sneakier, craftier, more cunning] than any beast of the field which the LORD God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, Ye shall not eat of every tree of the garden?” Second Corinthians chapter 11 affirms: “[3] But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled [tricked, fooled] Eve through his subtilty [trickery, fraud, deception], so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. [4] For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.” (1 Timothy 2:14: “And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived was in the transgression.”)

While Satan prefers you not to use the Bible, but that has an appearance of evil, and he knows this can be remedied by someone giving you a Bible. Additionally, he knows that the Bible plus church tradition is more convincing because it has an appearance of truth, but someone can come and show you the authority is in the Bible alone and not in religious tradition. That can be avoided. Lastly, Satan understands that the Bible not rightly divided is the most confusing, the subtlest of all ploys, because it seems like the Bible alone is the authority. Verse after verse is quoted, with no reference to church tradition, but mindlessly grabbing/quoting verses can be dangerous.

Take Satan’s handling of the Bible. Let me impress upon you once again that the Devil himself actually quoted Scripture to Jesus! Read it once more!

Matthew 4:5-6: “Then the devil taketh him up into the holy city, and setteth him on a pinnacle of the temple, And saith unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning thee: and in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Luke 4:9-11: “And he brought him to Jerusalem, and set him on a pinnacle of the temple, and said unto him, If thou be the Son of God, cast thyself down from hence: For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan loved to quote the Bible but was careful to call attention only to the verses that he liked. Yes, he deliberately skipped the next verse, the one that described his own defeat (Psalm 91:13: “Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.”)! Not only so, but the verses Satan used were perverted as he repeated them.

Pay close attention:

  • Psalm 91:11-12 (Satan’s version): “He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee: And in their hands they shall bear thee up, lest at any time thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Luke 4:10,11). Compare this to the verses below. Satan omitted “in all thy ways” at the beginning and added “at any time” near the end.
  • Psalm 91:11-12 (God’s version): “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.”

Satan was sneaky, huh? Of course, the Lord Jesus Christ, being God in human flesh, was very much aware of Satan’s mishandling of Scripture. Christ was never on the verge of being fooled as Eve had been (or liable to be fooled as we still are). What we see in the above verses is an example of Bible corruption from master counterfeiter and corrupter himself. Remember, Satan is all about Bible reading, so long as the Bible is not quoted fully and not handled properly. Satan was grabbing verses that applied to the Second Coming of Christ and tried to make it fit His First Coming! Yes, Satan was not “rightly dividing the word of truth” (more on this later).

In 2 Corinthians 2:17, we read, “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God: but as of sincerity, but as of God, in the sight of God speak we in Christ.” Did you catch that word “many?” Did you see the phrase, corrupt the word of God?” This means that, when you find someone teaching or preaching the Bible, there is a high probability that they are perverting the Scriptures. That is not what I said, that is what the Bible said. If you do not like it, take it up with God. He said it.

Look at 2 Corinthians 4:2: “But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” God’s Word can be handled dishonestly, it can be handled craftily, and it can be handled deceitfully. That is what the Bible says. Go back to Satan’s handling of the Scriptures.

Jeremiah chapter 23 is a very disparaging rebuke directed towards Israel’s religious leaders. Watch God’s words to them: “[1] Woe be unto the pastors that destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture! saith the LORD. [2] Therefore thus saith the LORD God of Israel against the pastors that feed my people; Ye have scattered my flock, and driven them away, and have not visited them: behold, I will visit upon you the evil of your doings, saith the LORD.”….

“[13] And I have seen folly in the prophets of Samaria; they prophesied in Baal, and caused my people Israel to err…. [16] Thus saith the LORD of hosts, Hearken not unto the words of the prophets that prophesy unto you: they make you vain: they speak a vision of their own heart, and not out of the mouth of the LORD. [17] They say still unto them that despise me, The LORD hath said, Ye shall have peace; and they say unto every one that walketh after the imagination of his own heart, No evil shall come upon you. [18] For who hath stood in the counsel of the LORD, and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?”…. 

“[21] I have not sent these prophets, yet they ran: I have not spoken to them, yet they prophesied. [22] But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings…. [26] How long shall this be in the heart of the prophets that prophesy lies? yea, they are prophets of the deceit of their own heart; [27] Which think to cause my people to forget my name by their dreams which they tell every man to his neighbour, as their fathers have forgotten my name for Baal. [28] The prophet that hath a dream, let him tell a dream; and he that hath my word, let him speak my word faithfully. What is the chaff to the wheat? saith the LORD. [29] Is not my word like as a fire? saith the LORD; and like a hammer that breaketh the rock in pieces?”

[30] Therefore, behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that steal my words every one from his neighbour. [31] Behold, I am against the prophets, saith the LORD, that use their tongues, and say, He saith. [32] Behold, I am against them that prophesy false dreams, saith the LORD, and do tell them, and cause my people to err by their lies, and by their lightness; yet I sent them not, nor commanded them: therefore they shall not profit this people at all, saith the LORD.”…. [36] And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God.”

Do you sense God’s burning anger in this chapter? These religious leaders have so misled His people that the whole nation is now going to experience God’s wrath! They claim to be speaking on God’s behalf, and yet He says He never sent them. All they do is lie, deceive. Israel is so ignorant of the Scriptures that they cannot survive the apostasy, the deception. People who handle the Word of God dishonestly, craftily, and deceitfully, have fooled them! Oh, but we can never say they did not sound correct in the messages they preached!

The Bible says in 2 Peter chapter 3: “[15] And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; [16] As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.” Notice the word “wrest” in verse 16. It means to twist, as in distorting the meaning or interpretation in order to suit one’s own interests or views.

If we wrest/twist/distort/pervert the Bible, spiritual destruction will certainly result. See, the Bible is being used; it just is not being used properly. The Bible is being read, but it is not being understood rightly divided. Instead of being helpful to its readers, profitable to its hearers, it is harmful. What was Satan’s strategy here? To cause people to doubt the Bible, to hate it and finally avoid it. But, since they want it to support their denomination or church, they will hang on to it and “pick and choose” what they want to quote from it. Every “Christian” cult in the world, every “Christian” heretic on this planet, quotes the Bible to some extent. Without the Bible, they would not even closely resemble Christianity enough to pass themselves of as part of it.

At this point, it is noteworthy to share this tidbit with you. A church leader who converted from a cult to faith entirely in Jesus Christ, spoke at great length about serving in his old denomination. While the group claimed to be “Bible-believing,” and they indeed read Scripture at every church service, they had prearranged passages to read. They had three choices of Bible verses. The two passages not read each service, were to be read respectively for the next two years. In three years, then, all the selected Bible verses were read from the denominational handbook. This sounds like a good Bible education, huh? Reading all these verses seems so impressive, right? Surely, you would want to go attend church services there, huh? Well, you have not been given all the information yet.

As that former cult leader explained, all that Bible reading amounted to was, most amazingly, five percent of whole Bible! In other words, a scant 1.7 percent of the Bible was read in that denomination’s thousands of churches every year!!! (That is scary!!!) It was enough to give the denomination a “Christian” appearance, to fool the masses—but upon closer inspection, it amounted to spiritual crumbs! No wonder these cult members, like all others, have no clue what the Bible really says! They know little bits and pieces, specks of a whole. Unless someone actually takes the time to know what the Bible really says, they have no idea how much of it they are being robbed of!

Interestingly, while Israel was worshipping the pagan idol, the golden calf, they wanted to have a feast to JEHOVAH God. This alone shows us that somebody can appear godly and really be committing evil. Exodus 32:1-5: “[1] And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him. [2] And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me. [3] And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. [4] And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt. [5] And when Aaron saw it, he built an altar before it; and Aaron made proclamation, and said, To morrow is a feast to the LORD.”

Jesus Christ Himself affirmed some quite “offensive” truths in Matthew 7:21-23: “[21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

These people claimed that they did mighty works in the name of Jesus Christ. Notice, they did not (NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT! NOT!) claim affiliation with Buddha, Mohammed, Allah, Confucius, Mahatma Gandhi, Socrates, Dalai Lama, Plato, Sun Myung Moon, Homer, or even Satan himself. No, they said they did these wonderful deeds in the name of Jesus Christ!!! How did the Lord Jesus Christ respond to them? Did He say, “Oh, My children, what wonderful works you did in My name indeed!”? No! Did He say that it was really Him working in and through them? No! Were they not preaching according to His power? Were they not casting out devils and glorifying Him? No, not according to Him. Instead of commending them for being faithful servants of His, He said they were “workers of iniquity.” He affirmed that He had no association with them whatsoever, and they had no relationship with Him whatsoever. Think long and hard on that, friend. Mark it well and never forget it! Did you see how they called Him “Lord?” Claiming Jesus is Lord does not make one a Christian either. Quoting and reading the Bible does not make one a Christian—unless we categorize Satan as such too (Matthew 4:6; Luke 4:10,11)!

Second Timothy chapter 3 warns: “[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.” They have “a form of godliness,” the appearance or pattern of godlikeness. The Bible says to “turn away” from them, to leave them alone, abandon them, not to attend their meetings, and not to promote their denomination. It does not matter if they “read the Bible!”

In 2 Timothy 2:15, we read the only verse that tells us to “study” the Bible and how to study it: “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” While much could be said about this, suffice it to say that the Bible must be “rightly divided” if it is to be understood. All of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us. We study all the Word of God, but we study it dispensationally. The Apostle Paul is God’s spokesman to us, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). God’s Word to man changes through time, and not all verses are valid at every point in human history. (Go back to how Satan mixed up the First and Second Comings of Christ.)

Ephesians 3:1-4: “[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)….” The “Dispensation of the Grace of God,” the instructions that God has for us today, are found only in the Pauline epistles of Romans through Philemon. Sadly, most “Christian” groups do not teach or understand the Bible dispensationally. They constantly go back to Pentecost (Acts chapter 2) to try to find God’s pattern for us. They try to hang on to Christ’s earthly ministry, Matthew through John. They want the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, the Sermon on the Mount, the Ten Commandments (Law keeping), the miracles and signs and wonders, the prayer promises, the Sabbath Day, and so on. Perplexity! Futility! Absurdity!

The Bible says that we are “not under the law but under grace” (Romans 6:14-15). Yet, there was a time when God dealt with the nation Israel on the basis of the Law of Moses. For example:

  • Matthew 23:1-3: “[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 5:17-19: “[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.”
  • Luke 5:14: “And he [Jesus] charged him [the healed leper] to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them.”

Since we live in the Dispensation of Grace, however, we are not under the Law. In 1 Timothy chapter 1, the Apostle Paul told Timothy to tell people to stop teaching the Law of Moses as means of Christian living. They were to teach grace, for grace is the means of successful Christian living in the Dispensation of Grace:

“[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling; [7] Desiring to be teachers of the law; understanding neither what they say, nor whereof they affirm. [8] But we know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully; [9] Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, [10] For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine; [11] According to the glorious gospel of the blessed God, which was committed to my trust.”

Thus, it is possible to be Scriptural—Mosaic-Law oriented, for example—and still be totally outside of God’s will. The people in 1 Timothy chapter 1 were. When we try to insert the Mosaic Law, a performance-based acceptance system, into the Dispensation of Grace, a Jesus-based acceptance system, we hinder the Spirit of God from working in us who believe. The Spirit of God never leads anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to place themselves under the Law. “If ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law” (Galatians 5:18). If ever we find someone under the Law today, the flesh, the denomination, led them there. God’s Spirit did not lead them there!! It does not matter if they quote the Bible or read the Bible!

CONCLUSION

Satan does not mind us reading the Bible; after all, he does it. Satan does not mind us quoting the Bible; yea, he does it. What Satan does not want is for us to find the right Bible (King James Bible, in English) and discover the right study system (dispensational Bible study), for then we are encouraged to believe the Bible (we cannot fully believe what we do not understand). It is when we believe the Bible that God’s Spirit goes to work in our lives (1 Thessalonians 2:13). This is where we are most threatening to Satan, as we are most aware of his tactics and fully equipped to hinder his work and will designed to rob the Lord Jesus Christ of His due worship.

When we understand the Bible, bringing about Christian good works, and knowing how to use it to help others (saved and lost), that is where Satan is vulnerable. How he hates to have strong Christians who are skilled in doing God’s work and fulfilling God’s will. If he can keep them ignorant, he will do WHATEVER (!) he can to keep them ignorant. Satan is relentless, friends, absolutely relentless, but he is no match for God. As long as we have God’s Word (King James Bible), understand God’s Word (dispensationally), and believe God’s Word, we will not be deceived. We had better not be so shallow in our spiritual understanding so as to think that Satan does not work in churches where Scripture is read. (Remember Israel’s religious leaders in Jeremiah chapter 23!!!)

In closing, let me provide a simple analogy and then ask you some simple questions, friend. Suppose you require emergency surgery. While I have an extensive background in science, including biology, I am not trained to perform surgery on anyone. I am not a licensed physician by any stretch of the imagination. However, what if I read a medical textbook before I operated on you? Would you be comfortable in me being your “surgeon?” Probably not. You would want (understandably) someone who is highly skilled in medicine and more than merely “aware” of the underlying science. You would prefer someone who has had much practice studying and actually dissecting the human body first.

Likewise, it would be quite foolish of you to go to a church simply because they “read the Bible there.” They had better be reading the whole Bible, and not just little snippets here and there. They had better be studying the Bible, and not skimming it. They had better be using the Bible rightly divided, not defending denominational biases with it. Above all, they had better be using the right Bible, and not peddling some counterfeit!!

Also see:
» Has God’s Word failed?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?
» What is the Lord’s will for my Christian life?

How was Jesus Christ crucified among the Galatians?

HOW WAS JESUS CHRIST CRUCIFIED AMONG THE GALATIANS?

by Shawn Brasseaux

Galatians 3:1 concludes with some very interesting words: “O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?” Was not the Lord Jesus Christ crucified just outside Jerusalem, Israel, some decades prior? Then how could the Scriptures say here that was He crucified among Paul’s converts in Galatia (modern Turkey)?

Today’s “Gospel” preaching and teaching usually blurs and obscures the simple truths of God’s Good News to mankind. You hear “the Gospel” (?) preached today in the average church, and you hear nothing but discrepancy and contradiction. There are pleas for individuals to straighten up their lives first and then come to Jesus Christ. At “invitation time,” various and sundry enticements are heard. They are invited to do everything but rely on Christ and Christ alone—walk an aisle, say the “sinner’s prayer,” make deals with God, shake the preacher’s hand, kneel at the “altar” and weep hysterically, “ask Jesus into your heart,” give money, fill out a visitor’s card, pray for the “fire” to zap you, help the poor, support missions, join the church, get water baptized, “make Jesus the Lord of your life,” confess your sins, keep the Ten Commandments, obey the denomination’s precepts, repent of your sins, turn from your sins, feel “so sorry” for your sins, on and on and on.

All the above activities focus on us—what we can do to rehabilitate, reform, and manage sin. They are not pure Gospel messages because Jesus Christ’s work is not preeminent in them. Law is emphasized and grace is thus hidden! Contrariwise, the aforementioned conundrums and confusions were not the case with the Apostle Paul’s ministry. It was before the eyes of the Galatians that Jesus Christ was presented as the crucified Saviour. There were no gimmicks, no lies, and no traditions of men to clutter and cloud the minds and hearts of these idolatrous, Hell-bound souls! Laden with religious works already, they needed the grace of the Creator God they knew not! When the Apostle Paul arrived in Galatia and preached the Gospel of the Grace of God, there was such authority and clarity that his audience saw Calvary with awesome vividness.

First Corinthians 15:1-4 delineates Paul’s Gospel: “[1] Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; [2] By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. [3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

With Paul’s ministry, there was nothing difficult to grasp, nothing mysterious, and nothing unclear as to what God’s justice demanded as payment for our sin. Our works were not the issue; Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself for our sins, THAT was the issue! The Galatians saw it with startling lucidity, and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ. They immediately passed from death to life, from Satan’s family to God’s family. However, Satan would not be outdone and would not give them up without a fight!

Galatians 1:6-9 is a sad commentary: “[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.”

Immediately after Paul left Galatia, the Devil worked his “magic.” Some Jewish legalists came in and used the Law—Moses’ writings, Scripture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!—to confuse those saints. Paul’s advice was for the Galatians to separate from such false teachers. He called those Galatian Christians “foolish” in Galatians 3:1. They let people “bewitch” them: false teachers had cast a spell on them, causing them not to think clearly when it came to spiritual matters. They had abandoned the clear message of God’s grace and its accompanying blessings, and returned to religious bondage (Law) and its associated spiritual ignorance! Instead of “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), they were mixing the dispensations God had separated.

Acts 15:1-5 highlights this problem that existed between Jewish kingdom saints, Jewish false teachers, and Paul’s Gentile converts: “[1] And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. [2] When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question. [3] And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. [4] And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. [5] But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.Verse 5 was the message preached in Galatia after Paul left.

To correct the mix-ups, the Holy Spirit through Paul said in Galatians 2:16-21: “[16] Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. [17] But if, while we seek to be justified by Christ, we ourselves also are found sinners, is therefore Christ the minister of sin? God forbid. [18] For if I build again the things which I destroyed, I make myself a transgressor. [19] For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. [20] I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.”

Now, Galatians 3:1-5: “[1] O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? [2] This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? [3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? [4] Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. [5] He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?”

Galatians 4:21: “Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?” What was the problem at Galatia? Those saints wanted to follow the Law of Moses instead of the Grace of God!

Also, Galatians 5:1-9: “[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.” How awful—these dear saints had been polluted with non-dispensational Bible study! Sound familiar?!

Lastly, Galatians 5:18: “But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.” The Spirit of God will never, ever, EVER (!) lead anyone in the Dispensation of Grace to place himself or herself under a performance-based acceptance system! Grace operates today; it tells us how to be justified and accepted before God unto eternal life (Romans chapters 1-5) and it tells us how to live as Christians before God on a daily basis (Romans chapters 6-8, 12-16). It is all about Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as sufficient payment for our sins, and it is all about Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork as means of conquering sin on a daily basis. Our performance is not the issue because we are weak and unreliable. Never once has Jesus Christ failed, though. Never once will Jesus Christ fail. That is why God put Christ in us—He wants us absolutely, totally, completely, eternally to have victory. Sin will only come about when we rely on ourselves.

CONCLUSION

My dear friends, we need to be extremely vigilant concerning false Gospels. They always have some element of works attached to them. They are widespread, and have—yes—led millions to eternal damnation rather than eternal bliss. Still, we need to be warned concerning clear Gospel messages also. We can hear all the clear Gospel of Grace messages we want, but, unless they are coupled with our faith, those divine words will do nothing for us. A pure Gospel message without personal faith will do as much good for you as a false Gospel message. We can be saved and on our way to Heaven, never to go to Hell, and still be so warped in the Scriptures that it is beyond comprehension (remember the Galatians!). We can be saved by grace through faith without works, and then be fooled into thinking we can maintain our salvation by our works. What deception! Satan’s evil world system is very subtle—it comes in so many forms.

By the way, in closing, let me stress this. Your greatest handbooks to combat false Gospels today are the Bible Books of Romans and Galatians (major tools Protestants used during the Protestant Reformation to discredit Roman Catholic works-religion). Read Romans chapters 1-5 and Galatians (all six chapters), and you will see the Gospel of Grace like never before. This instruction will enable you to spot any erroneous Gospels. Above all, they will help you in evangelizing others, that you too may evidently set forth before their eyes Jesus Christ crucified among them! 🙂

Also see:
» Can you explain Galatians 6:11?
» Is Galatians 1:6-7 contradictory?
» What about the “Jewish Roots” Movement?

Are we merely interested in breaking up churches?

ARE WE MERELY INTERESTED IN BREAKING UP CHURCHES?

by Shawn Brasseaux

For 2,000 years, our detractors have said that we Pauline dispensationalists are troublemakers. Allegedly, we aim to do nothing more than split up local churches by proving others wrong, nitpicking over final points of doctrine, attacking reputations and religions, disrespecting ecclesiastical traditions, and so on. Is this an accurate representation of us? Are we really sharing the Message of Grace with the sole intention of dividing and destroying local assemblies? Is there any way for us to be “less controversial?” Why, oh why, do local churches split wherever our ministries reach? Is the dissolving of denominational assemblies all that bad anyway?

Dear brethren, let me just go ahead and get it out now. I will never, ever, ever (!) deny that there are some in the “grace community” who have no desire other than to engage in petty arguing, fleshly debates, cheap insults, and idle speculations. They have no clear understanding in sound Bible doctrine but they will criticize others for their own doctrinal deficiencies. (Since I do not share their sentiments, we have parted ways. Whether I distanced myself from them, or they left me, it is for the best.) They love to pick fights in the name of “grace.” They ridicule denominationalists when they themselves are just as ignorant of grace teaching and grace living. They are puffed up in knowledge when they should be using what they know to benefit others (charity). They use a very condescending, sharp tone that derides and infuriates rather than offer Bible information that enlightens and liberates.

Second Timothy 2:24-26 says: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” We should have a gentle, meek spirit. We should be as patient as possible when dealing with others in the Scriptures.

However, we must remember that there are people in denominations who are just as rude as the “contentious grace brethren.” They want to prove everyone else wrong and their denomination right. We can only spend so much time with them before it becomes futility. Under no circumstances are we to continue arguing with anybody of any persuasion. If they do not want to hear the simple truths of the Word of God rightly divided, then we have better things to do with our time… and we had better get to them!! We wish these willfully-ignorant individuals all the best but there are people who are interested in learning. We need to go seek them instead of spending all our time with the same few who never receive anything.

Again, we should not be rude and crude, nasty and belligerent. Still, no matter how polite we are, how soft-spoken we are, how gentle we are, how loving we are, how tactful we are, how meek we are, the Message of the Cross is offensive. It cancels out works-religion. Galatians 5:11 says to this point: “And I, brethren, if I yet preach circumcision, why do I yet suffer persecution? then is the offence of the cross ceased.” If Paul preached religious works—in that case, physical circumcision—people would be pleased with him. He would be preaching that man could do something to please God. However, if he preached Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork, that work on Calvary meant that “good” works would never be enough to get one to a right standing before God. How “offensive” grace is even today, for it takes away the boasting in what man can do in religion. If there is any bragging, my dear friend, the Bible says it will be in the finished work of Christ alone—and our flesh (sin nature) hates that!!!

Romans chapter 3: “[24] Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: [25] Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; [26] To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. [27] Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith. [28] Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. [29] Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: [30] Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith. [31] Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.”

You go to a denominational church and preach that Gospel of Grace, my friends, and there is a 99 percent chance that you will be run right out the door! With that message, you get rid of water baptism, confession of sins, commandment-keeping, Sabbath-day observance, tithing, and so on as necessary for salvation unto eternal life. Faith alone in Christ alone is what God is looking for today. If we do not see any value in His Son and His finished work, He could not care less about what “good works” we do! Again, you preach that, and most of the world will hate you. (Try it and see!)

The Lord Jesus Christ never hesitated in exposing religious error. He did it over and over and over again. Read His scathing rebukes of Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew chapter 23 and John chapter 8. Look at Mark 7:7-13 and John 2:13-17. These were certainly not the “Jesus-is-nothing-but-love-and-kindness” attitudes we hear about in shallow Christian speech today. The Lord never took it lightly when people were deceived in His name and entangled in Satan’s evil world system. It was a very serious matter. He actually called some of His audience “vipers,” “hypocrites,” “whited sepulchres [graves!],” “children of the devil,” “children of hell,” and various other non-flattering titles. Rest assured, there was a lot of “church-splitting” because of Christ’s earthly ministry!

Second Timothy 2:24-26 again: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Those in denominations are deceived—stuck in Satan’s trap (just as those in Christ’s earthly ministry). However, we need to be sure that we give them sound Bible doctrine—not with the intention of pointless contending but—with the purpose of allowing them the information needed to escape Satan’s error. (That was Christ’s purpose.) If we fail to approach the situation in the Spirit, and wind up in the flesh, we find ourselves in the snare of the Devil too… and then we need recovery ourselves!

Dear friends, if you never get anything else from this study, remember one thing. Doctrine divides. That is just all there is to it. Those in the ecumenical movement already figured that out; hence, they choose to fellowship around something other than doctrine! They have their experiences, their speculations, their feelings, and they are united therein. Ultimately, their system is void of faith and God’s power because it is wanting of sound Bible doctrine. Do you really want to minimize doctrine as they? Think long and hard about their unanswerable confusion first, and then the answer will become apparent. (I say, “No thanks!”)

In all the years my family has been Christians, we have been through four local church splits. It was always a matter of doctrinal error, never something trivial. We are always striving for a pure church, not a perfect church. If maintaining a pure church means leaving a local assembly, and even parting from family and friends, then that is the way it must be. Our loyalty is to our Lord Jesus Christ alone. If a place does not honor Him in doctrine, we have no interest in participating in their services. I make this very clear to whomever wants to hear. Those who want to keep going to their denominational churches, we are so willing to give them over to their preference.

Second Corinthians 6:14-18: “[14] Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? [15] And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? [16] And what agreement hath the temple of God with idols? for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you. [18] And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.” (Pay attention to that exhortation in verse 17, “come out from among them, and be ye separate!”)

First Timothy 6:3-5: “[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.” (Notice that phrase in verse 5, “from such withdraw thyself!”)

Romans 16:17-18: “[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.” (Pay close attention to that phrase, “mark [identify] them and avoid them!”)

Second Timothy 3:1-7: “[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. [6] For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts, [7] Ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (Look at that encouragement in verse 5 to, “from such turn away!”)

Our critics charge us as if the dissolving of denominational local churches is a bad thing. It is abundantly clear from the above verses that the Holy Spirit endorsed separation from apostasy (false teaching in religion). Evidently, He was for “church-splitting” too! If a denominational church breaks up and/or closes, that means a grace church now has an opportunity to rise and replace it in the community. As long as the Message of God’s Grace is clearly proclaimed to the lost (that they may be saved from sins and Hell), and the Word of God rightly divided is taught to the saved (that they may be delivered from spiritual ignorance unto understanding God’s eternal purpose for them), that will be so much more valuable now and in eternity. BELOVED, THIS IS OUR INTEREST!

Also see:
» Does doctrine really matter?
» Why do people get angry when we share right division?
» Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?

Is Revelation 4:1 a preview of the Rapture?

IS REVELATION 4:1 A PREVIEW OF THE RAPTURE?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In a sincere attempt to prove a pre-Tribulation Rapture—that is, that the Church the Body of Christ will be corporately resurrected and taken up into Heaven before the seven-year Tribulation begins—people will appeal to the Book of the Revelation. Specifically, they seize Revelation 4:1: “After this I looked, and, behold, a door was opened in heaven: and the first voice which I heard was as it were of a trumpet talking with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” Is this verse typical of the Rapture?

Dr. Scofield has the following footnote for Revelation 4:1: “This call seems clearly to indicate the fulfillment of 1 Thes. 4. 14-17. The word ‘church’ does not again occur in the Revelation till all is fulfilled.”

That note of the dear Brother is quite puzzling, my friends. There is no “clear” connection between the two passages—unless, of course, you generalize. For example, while they are both supernatural ascensions into Heaven, while they both include a “church,” and while both involve a “trumpet,” that is as far as you can relate them (and even these are not close associations when you actually study them). There are much more definitive dissimilarities than comparisons.

In this author’s view, the following points make a much more compelling case, one that contradicts the notion that Revelation 4:1 is a preview of the Rapture:

  1. Thessalonians involves a resurrection, glorified bodies given to saints (1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; 1 Corinthians 15:50-58). Revelation is silent about John getting any new body.
  2. Thessalonians has a shout, voice, and a trumpet, with two blows (“trumps”) of a trumpet (1 Thessalonians 4:16). Revelation features a voice as it were of a trumpet. There is no literal trumpet in Revelation, only a simile… a voice likened to a trumpet.
  3. Thessalonians involves a group of people—some living and others deceased (1 Thessalonians 4:15-17). Revelation has a single, living man (John)—not one dead individual is present there.
  4. Thessalonians speaks of an archangel present (1 Thessalonians 4:16). There is no archangel, or any angel, in Revelation 4:1.
  5. The words spoken to John in Revelation 4:1 are of particular interest here: “Come up hither, and I will shew thee things which must be hereafter.” While the Bible does not say exactly what Jesus Christ will utter in His shout in Thessalonians, we can be sure that He will not say, “I will shew thee things to come.” The Rapture in Thessalonians is not meant to give prophetic insight, a glimpse into the future—this is nonsense. However, the Apostle John, a spiritual leader in Israel (Galatians 2:9), is receiving direct revelation from God concerning end times. He is God’s chosen vessel to deliver the capstone of the nation Israel’s prophetic information (the Book of the Revelation). In stark contrast, the Body of Christ in no way receives end-time (prophetic) messages at or after the Rapture.

THE DISPENSATIONAL DESIGN OF SCRIPTURE MUST BE RECOGNIZED AND RESPECTED

Notwithstanding the difficulties already enumerated, there are major problems in attempting to connect Revelation 4:1 with 1 Thessalonians 4:14-17.

Why would we expect to see a “preview” of the Rapture by appealing to John when he did not even have a ministry to the Church the Body of Christ? Never does John write about “the Church the Body of Christ”—that is strictly Pauline terminology. What are we doing consulting a circumcision apostle, John (Galatians 2:9), to provide us with information about us Gentiles? Does not Ephesians 3:2 say “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” was committed to Paul so he could give it to us Gentiles? What details would John give about a set of doctrine he did not even receive? The Rapture is the special coming of Christ to end the Dispensation of Grace. If the Dispensation of Grace was given to Paul, and Ephesians 3:2 says it was, then it is only logical to conclude that Paul alone would write about that special coming of Christ to close the Dispensation of Grace.

All the confusion comes as the result of not understanding the three churches in the Bible (Mosaic Church—Acts 7:38; Messianic Church—Matthew 16:16-18; Mystery Church—Ephesians 3:1-9). Today, in every facet of Christian thought and word, there is a general reference to “the church.” In books, sermons, and so on, preachers and teachers talk about “the church, the church, the church.” They are referring to present-day Christians corporately, but this is problematic because they have dropped the qualifier. They have been conditioned, and they are conditioning others, to believe the only church in the Bible is the group of Christians today. The word “church” is a generic term, and it should be qualified as much as possible. There is more than one church in the Bible than the Church the Body of Christ! If we are talking about Christians today, we should say “the Church the Body of Christ” as much as possible. “The church” is not enough. (This is why even “Church Age” is misleading; “Grace Age” or “Mystery Age” is a better term.)

If we do not make this distinction between churches clear, our audience will always approach the Bible with the “one-church” mentality. A similar confusion is the “one-gospel-in-the-Bible” notion. (This contradicts Romans 2:16, Galatians 2:7, Luke 18:31-34, and so on.) Another mixed-up idea is that of “there is only one baptism in Scripture”—water, water, water. (This contradicts Matthew 3:11, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and others.) Dear friends, we need to break away from shallow Bible thinking and get into the meat of Scripture! Let us not just repeat what others say.

The most basic error from which all the above others descend is a failure to, “Study… rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). Prophecy is not separated from mystery, Peter is not divided from Paul, Law is not separated from Grace, Heaven is not divided from Earth, Israel is not separated from the Body of Christ. We see the word “church” in Acts 2:47 and conclude it must be the Church the Body of Christ. Roman Catholics see “church” in Matthew 16:18 and they believe it applies to people alive today. They do not see it as Messiah’s Church, which is what Matthew 16:16 says it is. It refers to those Jews who accepted Jesus as Messiah/Christ in His earthly ministry. There is no Church the Body of Christ until we come to Paul’s ministry (Acts chapter 9 onward). We do not read about “the Church the Body of Christ” in Scripture unless in Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon. If we get this straight, the Bible will become so astoundingly clear.

There are various other associated problems concerning the Church the Body of Christ being inserted into the Book of the Revelation. One of these—just as popular as Revelation 4:1 being the Rapture—involves chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation symbolizing the various stages of the Body of Christ throughout the 2,000 years of church history. Church history, it is said, ends by the opening of Revelation chapter 4 (verse 1 supposedly being the Rapture, remember). Again, this is to mix prophecy and mystery, to fail to understand that John was not sent to us Gentiles. Paul is “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13). If Paul does not mention something, it does not concern us and it is not what God is doing today. To then go grab something from John’s ministry and try to stick it on us is to abuse the dispensational boundaries so clearly evident in the Scriptures. It is to destroy Paul’s ministry and John’s ministry. It is to wreak havoc on the Bible text, to distort it beyond simplicity and verity (2 Peter 3:15-16).

Make no mistake, my dear readers. There is most definitely a pre-Tribulation Rapture, an evacuation of the Body of Christ from Earth before the Antichrist is revealed and begins those last seven years. Second Thessalonians chapter 2 makes that so very clear, as does 1 Thessalonians chapters 1, 4, and 5. Therefore, we do not need Revelation 4:1 to prove a pre-Tribulation Rapture. In fact, as we may very well know, Revelation is Tribulation ground. To find the Rapture in the Revelation is to fall into the trap in assuming the Rapture occurs during the Tribulation!

Also see:
» Did the Church the Body of Christ begin in Acts 2?
» Did John 10:16 predict the Church the Body of Christ?
» Is prophecy being fulfilled in the Dispensation of Grace?

Should we hate the denominational people who misled us?

SHOULD WE HATE THE DENOMINATIONAL PEOPLE WHO MISLED US?

by Shawn Brasseaux

As we Pauline dispensationalists, former denominationalists, look back on our prior (?) way of thinking and living, extremely intense emotions surface. We are saddened and discouraged to realize we wasted all that time, money, and energy supporting the traditions of men. We also feel the other extreme—anger and bitterness—because people betrayed our trust, deceived us, and robbed us in the names of “God” and “Jesus Christ.” We hate them, and want to return to “tell them off,” curse them out, and physically fight them! Animosity consumes us as we boil and fume with rage! (You have never been there before, dear friend, huh?) How do we address and correct such attitudes using Scripture?

A CLEAR GOSPEL OF GRACE

Being born into a “Christian” family does not make one a Christian. Joining a local church and attending weekly (or even daily!) services does not make one a Christian. Walking an aisle and getting water baptized does not make one a Christian. Reading the Bible and reciting prayers does not make one a Christian. All these activities and appeals obscure a pure Gospel of Grace. These works push aside the work of Christ on Calvary. Often, everything but faith in the cross of Christ is stressed at “invitation time.” Instead of urge people to trust Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour, preachers stress everything else—cessation of bad habits, weeping and wailing at the “altar” over self-wretchedness, confession of bygone transgressions, “deals” with and promises to God to start living correctly, and so on. The Lord Jesus Christ’s atonement is buried little by little, and the poor lost soul is more confused… and (tragically) just as lost as before!

Thankfully, Father God does not justify us—or make us right in His sight—on the basis of whether or not we can pass theological tests. Neither does He give us righteousness and eternal life because we performed a certain way in religion (rules, regulations, rites, ceremonies, prayers, and confessions). All these erroneous ideas clutter minds and hearts, making it ever so difficult—yea, impossible—to grasp enough Gospel truth upon which faith can rest. This hiding of the Gospel of Grace using religion is just what Satan desires (2 Corinthians 4:3-4)!

God is looking first and foremost for faith, as Hebrews 11:6 says: “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” Faith is simply believing what God says to you. Notice the definition of Abraham’s faith as per Romans chapter 4: “[20] He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God; [21] And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.” Abraham was “fully persuaded” that “[God] was able also to perform” “what he had promised.” God had promised him a “seed”—a son, and a nation—and Abraham believed that God could and would bring it to pass. Simple!

What is God’s Gospel message to us today on this side of the cross? What is God’s Good News in this the Dispensation of Grace? It is the redemption from and forgiveness of sins found through His Son, Jesus Christ, and His death, burial, and resurrection. God is looking for people who will recognize their sin problem and trust exclusively the remedy of Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork on Calvary. First Corinthians 15:3-4 could not be clearer: “[3] For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; [4] And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:….”

Certainly, soul salvation unto eternal life is predicated upon faith in this, the Gospel of the Grace of God. With that said, only a fraction of denominational “Christians” are saved. Various misconceptions have caused them to greatly misunderstand Bible-believing Christianity. Make no mistake. Denominational “Christians” are not necessarily saved but there are some saved people in “Christian” churches. They trusted a pure Gospel message but then got entangled with some group in which they were defiled by false doctrine. Although deceived, they are still on their way to Heaven (remember, Heaven is for those who have Christ’s righteousness credited to their account, and such righteousness is found in faith in Christ rather than the believer’s theological mix-ups and hang-ups). Then, you have many people in most groups who were never saved at all because they never trusted Christ as their personal Saviour at all. They are still trying to establish their own righteousness with their own works (Romans 10:1-3)—Christ’s finished crosswork not being enough in their eyes.

A CLEAR OUTLOOK OF GRACE

When babes in Christ—not simply new converts to Christ, but also Christians saved for decades and who have not been grounded in Pauline truth—begin to see glimpses of the spiritual light that dispensational Bible study brings, they get excited (and rightly so). Burdens about the Bible text are lifted. The Scriptures are better understood and enjoyed. They see the dispensational distinctions—the layout of the Bible timeline and the various contrasting teachings, hopes, entities, realms, programs, charges, and so on. Still, the danger is that it can become mere mental gymnastics, information to equip one to engage in intellectual speculations, doctrine used to “beat people up” and make them feel like idiots, knowledge used to puff up and exalt oneself. They must understand that doctrine is meant to profit others rather than fight with them.

Some people use right division as nothing more than a platform for petty arguments and fleshly debates. They purpose, not to edify (build up) their audience, but to destroy (tear down) those with whom they disagree. Contrary to grace, they are contentious, ornery, combative, incessantly bickering about this or that issue. Rather than teaching people, they seek to antagonize them. Sadly, not all Pauline dispensationalists are sincere in their ministries. Some use it to harshly criticize others, mock, pick fights, and so on. The Apostle Paul actually had some such belligerent ministry associates. Notice his words in Philippians 1:15-17: “[15] Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: [16] The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: [17] But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel.”

Considering the fleshly tendency of those who have a mental assent but not heart faith, those lacking genuine belief in the soul concerning sound Bible study, the Holy Spirit issued the warning of 2 Timothy 2:24-26: “[24] And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, [25] In meekness instructing those that oppose themselves; if God peradventure will give them repentance to the acknowledging of the truth; [26] And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him at his will.” Preaching the right doctrine in the wrong spirit is well… exhibiting wrong doctrine! Brethren, there must be gentleness, meekness (humility), and friendliness; otherwise, hypocrisy arises (preaching grace but not preaching graciously!!).

The reason why the Holy Spirit issued the principles of grace through Paul is made clear in 1 Timothy 1:3-6: “[3] As I besought thee to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that thou mightest charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do. [5] Now the end of the commandment is charity out of a pure heart, and of a good conscience, and of faith unfeigned: [6] From which some having swerved have turned aside unto vain jangling;….”

Paul asked Timothy to stay in Ephesus so Timothy would order some of them “that they teach no other doctrine, neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies.” “Fables” (religious stories designed to teach lessons) and “endless genealogies” (attachments to personalities and celebrities) do nothing but “minister questions” (generate inquiries, always asking but never learning anything solid or certain). Our goal in our teaching ministry is charity, seeking others’ highest good, valuing and esteeming them the way God does. It is love in action. That charity will come out of a “pure” (clean) “heart.” It will spring forth from a “good conscience” (right system of standards and norms). It will come out of “faith unfeigned” (genuine, not fake or hypocritical, trust in God’s Word). Those who depart from sound Bible doctrine—or even sound Christian behavior—will engage in “vain jangling” (profitless, worthless information, conduct, thinking, and so on).

Brethren, we must not be arrogant, self-righteous, aggressive, insulting “know-it-alls.” Remember, Titus chapter 3: “[1] Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, [2] To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. [3] For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.” Being hateful is the old life we had in Adam, dear friends. Being contentious and foolish is our old identity in Adam. Deception and pride do not belong in our lives now. We are new creatures in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17). Our attitude and conduct should reflect that new identity. God’s love, not hate, should consume us.

There was a time when we were foolish—yea, we are still foolish to some extent, seeing as to we do not have complete knowledge in the Scriptures as we ought. It makes no sense to get angry with people (rather lost or saved) who are ignorant of the will of God for them. Provided that they are not willfully uninformed or misinformed, we should make every attempt to guide them in the Scriptures. Once they reach the point where they do not want to hear anything, however, we employ 1 Corinthians 14:38: “If any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant.”

Countless people have abandoned their denominational churches over the centuries because they have come to understand that the Holy Spirit does not use the traditions of men to guide us in life. Yes, even denominational preachers have forsaken their religious tradition so as to submit to the will of God for today. Perhaps some of those denominational people you know (hate?) may become the former denominational people we were. There is no guarantee, my dear brethren, but please make every attempt possible to reach them with sound Bible doctrine as long as you possibly (and peacefully) can. Someone did it to reach you (yes?)… and now it is your honor to do the same with others. Whether a clear Gospel message to the lost, or a clear Bible study system to the saved, do not be ashamed in proclaiming it!

CONCLUSION

Why we should not hate the denominational people who misled us:

  1. First and foremost, we should not hate them because God does not hate them. Remember, God did not hate us when we were denominational. Yes, when we were dead in our trespasses and sins, on our way to an eternal Hell!, God loved us by sending His Son Jesus Christ to die for us (Romans 5:6-8; Titus 3:3-7). We are to be a reflection of God’s love to those denominational people.
  2. Remember, we too were (and still are) without perfect spiritual knowledge. That is, we continuously read and study the Scriptures every day so we may come to a fuller understanding! As we further allow the Holy Spirit to illuminate the eyes of our understanding, the superfluous and erroneous (denominational) doctrines will be manifested and we can replace them with sound Bible doctrine. We know what it is like to be ignorant… past and present! Now, we reach others as long as we can, that they may be renewed in their thinking too.
  3. Lastly, one day, those denominational people may very well recover themselves out of the snare of the devil (2 Timothy 2:26). Perhaps… just perhaps… they may even become your most valuable ministry co-workers! Let us be mindful to tell them that, when they finally reach the point of utter frustration and complete defeat in religion, there is an answer (and we found it). If they want that solution, they know they can come to us! (If we had an aggressive, overbearing, rude, loud-mouthed approach with them, they will not bother to come!)

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving. 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! 🙂

Also see:
» Can we witness “too much” to family members?
» Must one be a “King James Bible Pauline dispensationalist” to have eternal life?
» “If God peradventure will give them repentance…?”

Why did God judge Nadab and Abihu so strictly?

WHY DID GOD JUDGE NADAB AND ABIHU SO STRICTLY?

by Shawn Brasseaux

It is easy to believe that whatever God is doing today, He was doing the exact same thing long ago. Whatever is true right now, it is easy to assume that it was true in the past. This is not always the case. People struggle with strange Old Testament passages and concepts because they are trying to reconcile them with what God is doing today. They do not use the Bible “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15), recognizing the various dispensational boundaries that are so critical to keeping the Scriptures straight. Since they do not use God’s Word, God’s way, they are forced to change/re-translate controversial verses, omit or ignore “bothersome” passages, and even throw out whole Bible Books! Nay, dear friends, we study all the Bible, for all of its 66 Books are inspired of God. If there is something mysterious in the Scriptures, we look for parallel verses to shed light on the subject. Nadab and Abihu’s dreadful fate is no different.

Notice the very bizarre account Moses recorded in Leviticus 10:1-3: “[1] And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. [2] And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. [3] Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” What in the world just occurred here? Fire came down and consumed two Jewish priests who “offered strange fire before the LORD?” Why?

This event was repeated twice more in Moses’ writings, so it was something God wanted Israel to remember. Firstly, Numbers 3:4: “And Nadab and Abihu died before the LORD, when they offered strange fire before the LORD, in the wilderness of Sinai, and they had no children: and Eleazar and Ithamar ministered in the priest’s office in the sight of Aaron their father.” Also, Numbers 26:60-61: “[60] And unto Aaron was born Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar, and Ithamar. [61] And Nadab and Abihu died, when they offered strange fire before the LORD.”

When the Bible says “strange fire,” the idea is foreign fire (like fire that was a “stranger”). It was so unpleasant to God that He literally and instantaneously killed the priests who offered it. The key to this is found in Leviticus chapter 9, the verses just previous to what we read in chapter 10. Leviticus chapter 9: “[23] And Moses and Aaron went into the tabernacle of the congregation, and came out, and blessed the people: and the glory of the LORD appeared unto all the people. [24] And there came a fire out from before the LORD, and consumed upon the altar the burnt offering and the fat: which when all the people saw, they shouted, and fell on their faces.”

Once Moses set up the Tabernacle (Exodus chapter 40), here in Leviticus chapter 9, fire came out of heaven because JEHOVAH God accepted (and consumed) their burnt offering. Nadab and Abihu, in the following chapter, rebel against that act of God. Instead of the fire coming from God, them using the fire that God started, they had a fire that they had started. They replaced God’s fire with their own! Not only so, they were priests… poor examples of the congregation watching them. If God did not punish these willful religious leaders, the Jewish people would be encouraged to rebel against Him too. It would have caused a massive uprising against Him, and then He would have had to kill them all!

Read Leviticus 10:1-3 again: “[1] And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not. [2] And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD. [3] Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.”

They “…offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.” God did not tell Nadab and Abihu to offer that fire, so they were behaving presumptuously. It was a deliberate rebellion, men trying to substitute God’s work with their own efforts. JEHOVAH God was thus disrespected before all the Jewish people. He dealt with the guilty parties by implementing speedy death! Notice verse 3: “Then Moses said unto Aaron, This is it that the LORD spake, saying, I will be sanctified in them that come nigh me, and before all the people I will be glorified. And Aaron held his peace.” Aaron the High Priest had just lost two of his sons, but he was silent. He knew God was justified in taking their lives. They were following Satan… and almost corrupted Israel!

Friends, we can learn a simple lesson here. While God does not consume rebellious people by causing fire to fall from heaven today (He did in the past and He will in the future), it should be clearly noted that He never takes lightly someone trying to replace His work with their own. There are millions upon millions of precious souls today, laboring under religious tradition, trying to replace Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork with their own religious efforts. Instead of coming to God by simple faith in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection as sufficient payment for their sins, they want to offer their own works to merit God’s favor (it will not work!). They are trying to substitute their “goodness” for the perfect sacrifice of Jesus Christ on Calvary! My, oh my, something far, far, far, far, far worse than fire from heaven will come upon them one day. The eternal flames of hell will surround them in a fraction of a second. May they come now to Father God by simple faith in Jesus Christ’s shed blood and resurrection… before it is eternally too late!

Also see:
» Was God “unfair” in striking Uzzah dead?
» Why did God reject Cain’s sacrifice?
» Can you explain 2 Kings 2:23-25?

Can you explain the “Corban” tradition?

CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE “CORBAN” TRADITION?

by Shawn Brasseaux

In order to get the full impact of certain Bible passages, we need to establish the cultural and/or historical context. The “Corban” tradition is one such example. Upon understanding its background, we will accomplish two goals. Firstly, we will better grasp the thrust of the verses. Secondly, we will recognize a modern-day parallel. This issue is a fitting commemoration to today, the 500th anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation!

“CORBAN” INTRODUCED

The Lord Jesus Christ issued a very stern rebuke of Israel’s religious leaders in Mark chapter 7: “[9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: [11] But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. [12] And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; [13] Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

“CORBAN” DEFINED

If we look closely, we see that the Holy Spirit actually defined “Corban” for us in the verse. “It is Corban, that is to say, a gift…” (Mark 7:11). “Corban” is unique to Mark’s Gospel Record: it appears this once in Scripture. In Matthew 15:5, the parallel passage, we read simply: “But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;….” But what exactly is this “gift?” To whom or what is it given? And why was the Lord so opposed to this “Corban” practice?

“Strong’s Greek Dictionary of the Bible” provides the first few clues:

“G2878 κορβᾶν korbân, kor-ban’; of Hebrew and Chaldee origin respectively (H7133); a votive offering and the offering; a consecrated present (to the Temple fund); by extension (the latter term) the Treasury itself, i.e. the room where the contribution boxes stood:—Corban, treasury.”

The above Greek word appears twice in the underlying text of the King James Bible—Mark 7:11 (what we just read) and Matthew 27:6. Speaking of Judas Iscariot’s 30 pieces of silver, Matthew 27:6 affirms: “And the chief priests took the silver pieces, and said, It is not lawful for to put them into the treasury [Korban/Corban], because it is the price of blood.” This was the Jerusalem Temple treasury, the place where offerings or gifts were kept.

“Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words” provides more information about “Corban:”

“(a) ‘an offering,’ and was a Hebrew term for any sacrifice, whether by the shedding of blood or otherwise;
(b) ‘a gift offered to God,’ Mar 7:11. Jews were much addicted to rash vows; a saying of the Rabbis was, ‘It is hard for the parents, but the law is clear, vows must be kept.’ The Sept. translates the word by doron, ‘a gift.’ See korbanas, under TREASURY, Mat 27:6.”

As an interesting side-note, we see an example of a gift being offered at the Jerusalem Temple in Matthew chapter 5: “[23] Therefore if thou bring thy gift [doron] to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; [24] Leave there thy gift [doron] before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift [doron].”

WHY THE “CORBAN” TRADITION WAS MENTIONED AT ALL

Why did the Lord Jesus even bring up this “Corban” issue? What point was He getting across? Why was the offering of this gift so evil and thus so offensive to Him? In order to ferret out the reason, we must go to the beginning of the chapter.

Mark chapter 7 from the beginning: “[1] Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. [2] And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. [3] For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. [4] And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. [5] Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?”

Prior to Jesus mentioning the “Corban” tradition, the Pharisees and scribes had come to Him to criticize. His disciples were eating without first washing their hands. However, let it be clearly understood that they griped, not for hygienic reasons, but on religious grounds! Pay attention to verses 3-5: “[3] For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash their hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. [4] And when they come from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, as the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables. [5] Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?”

Notice all those assorted and repeated “washings” Jesus delineated in verse 4. They were “the tradition of the elders.” The Pharisees and scribes were deeply offended that Jesus’ disciples ignored it concerning their hands! To expose their hypocrisy, Jesus brought up the “Corban” issue. Here were these Pharisees and scribes grumbling about people breaking their fallible religious rules, but they themselves were blatantly rejecting and canceling God’s infallible Word. Furthermore, it did not bother these religious leaders one whit. In fact, they permitted others—the children offering the “Corban”— to also break God’s Word! What should not have angered them did. What should have angered them did not!

We continue reading in Mark chapter 7: “[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do.” Of course, some 700 years before Christ, JEHOVAH God had said the same concerning Israel’s worthless religious system.

The Holy Spirit wrote in Isaiah 29:13: “Wherefore the LORD said, Forasmuch as this people draw near me with their mouth, and with their lips do honour me, but have removed their heart far from me, and their fear toward me is taught by the precept of men:….” Jesus Christ appealed to this to validate His condemnation of Israel’s vain religion during His earthly ministry. Israel’s spiritual blindness in Isaiah’s day still lingered in the nation when her Messiah showed up. All the while despising and violating and replacing God’s Word in their hearts with their manmade rules and regulations, these religious Jews were singing and speaking beautiful words to God. Alas, whether in Isaiah’s day or Jesus’ day, it was all just mindless ritual, rote duty, habitual phoniness, and empty religion!

Please notice the parallel passage of Mark chapter 7, which contains extra information. Matthew chapter 15: “[1] Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying, [2] Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. [3] But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? [4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. [5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [6] And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. [9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

WHY THE “CORBAN” TRADITION OFFENDED THE LORD JESUS CHRIST

Now that we have a basic understanding of the “Corban” issue, we want to see just why the Lord Jesus singled it out to prove His point about Israel’s empty religious practices. Returning to Mark chapter 7: “[9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: [11] But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. [12] And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;….”

The Fifth Commandment is in view here, as God commanded Israel through Moses in Exodus 20:12: “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.” It was reaffirmed many years later in Deuteronomy 5:16: “Honour thy father and thy mother, as the LORD thy God hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.”

As Jesus stressed, God gave Israel another instruction through Moses concerning one’s parents. “Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death…” (Mark 7:10). The Law of Moses commanded in Exodus 21:17: “And he that curseth his father, or his mother, shall surely be put to death (cf. Leviticus 20:9; Deuteronomy 21:18-21). Respecting parents was such a serious matter that a child who “curseth” (reviles, speaks evil of) his parents was to “die the death” (or, “surely die”)!

In spite of the gravity of God’s instructions about Jews respecting and taking care of their parents, they overlooked, rejected, and substituted God’s Word. Notice Matthew chapter 15 again: “[4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. [5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [6] And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition” (cf. Mark 7:10-13).

At the time of Christ’s earthly ministry, there was a man-made religious tradition in Israel. If a man simply said that he would dedicate his possessions to God (as in giving an offering at the Jerusalem Temple), he was thereby freed from any financial obligation to his parents. Israel’s religious leaders said that he did not have to honor his parents—namely, support them financially—because his wealth was reserved as “Corban” (a gift, that is, presented to the Temple). Instead of instructing the Jews in the ways of JEHOVAH God through Moses, these religious leaders gave precedence to a “commandment of men”… and that “tradition of men” outright contradicted God’s Word! Now we see why Jesus Christ was so critical of the practice.

We will take a brief moment to review. According to the Pharisees and other Jewish religious leaders, a child did not have to honor his parents—to wit, support them financially—if he declared his wealth “Corban” (a gift to the Temple). After all, that gift was supposedly an “act of worshipping God” (when it fact it contradicted true worship of God because it violated His Fifth Commandment!). The religious leaders enjoyed gifts to the Temple because they could take the wealth for themselves… forget the needy parents of the person offering the Corban! This “escape clause” from the Fifth Commandment of God explains why the Lord Jesus Christ said what He did in the surrounding verses.

One more time, Mark chapter 7: “[6] He answered and said unto them, Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. [7] Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. [8] For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. [9] And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition. [10] For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death: [11] But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, It is Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; he shall be free. [12] And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother; [13] Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Matthew chapter 15: “[3] But he answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition? [4] For God commanded, saying, Honour thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death. [5] But ye say, Whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [6] And honour not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition. [7] Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying, 8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoureth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. [9] But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.”

CONCLUSION

Dear friends, religion has not changed one bit in the 2,000 years since Christ’s earthly ministry to Israel. Man has not changed one whit since the books of Matthew and Mark. We hear so much about “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture” in religion today—especially in Roman Catholicism—and yet it really is not “Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture” at all. To many, it is, “We found these Bible verses to prove our ‘pet’ ideas, but we do not care about Scriptural context or even if we violate other Scriptures! We will quote Scripture, so long as it furthers our agenda. Scripture takes a back-seat if it contradicts our church or takes away from our authority!”

Friends, while religious people claim to “follow the Bible” and be “Bible believers,” this is often not the case when they are closely investigated. After all, the same religious leaders who habitually and deliberately violated the Mosaic Law professed to be “followers of Moses” (John 9:28)! This is the type of (antithetical) nonsense you get involved with when you start trying to reconcile two authorities. We cannot serve two masters—we must follow either the Bible alone, or tradition alone. If we at all attempt to hold to both, they will compete and (because of our [human] sinful flesh) the manmade tradition will invariably become the final authority. It happened to Israel in Isaiah, Matthew, and Mark. It will surely occur today—yea, it has occurred today. The Protestant Reformation—or better, Protestant Revolution—recovered the truth God’s authority is in the Bible alone and not in church tradition. May we not revert!

This author will never forget the time long ago when he asked a “Bible-believing” Roman Catholic priest why so much emphasis was placed on one particular religious tradition when the Bible taught something else entirely. The priest, acknowledging this discrepancy existed (!), sharply blurted out words that this author has never forgotten: “I do not follow the Bible! I follow tradition!

And so, dear friends, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ continue to echo all these centuries later….

“Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition…. Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things do ye.”

Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Colossians 2:8).

Also see:
» Did not Jesus speak words not recorded in Scripture?
» What is the real “Immaculate Conception?”
» Should Christians observe Lent?