Sunday, September 19, 2010

Rightly dividing "THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN"

"Perhaps no truth of the divine revelation has suffered more at the hands of interpreters than that concerning the kingdom. Protestant theology has very generally taught that all the kingdom promises, and even the great Davidic Covenant itself, are to be fulfilled in and through the Church. The confusion thus created has been still further darkened by the failure to distinguish the different phases of kingdom truth indicated by the expressions "kingdom of heaven," and "kingdom of God." In the light of plain Scripture all of these confusions are inexcusable, for at no point is the Biblical revelation more clear and explicit. Founded upon the covenant of Jehovah with David, a covenant subsequently confirmed by Jehovah's oath, the great theme of predictive prophecy is that kingdom. Even the order of the setting up of the kingdom, relatively to the great Gentile world empires, is declared. The events attending the setting up of the kingdom of the heavens on the earth are described.
The New Testament carries forward the Old Testament’s view of the kingdom into greater detail, but without change. The very first mention of Christ in the first verse of the first chapter in the New Testament identifies Him with the Davidic Covenant, and the promise of Gabriel to His virgin
Mother is a new confirmation in express terms of that covenant.
The New Testament reveals the present age as a parenthesis in the prophetic program during which the Church is called out from among the Gentiles, a stranger and pilgrim body, belonging to the kingdom of God, but in no sense identical with the kingdom of heaven."
Lewis Sperry Chafer
"It stands to reason, since five-sixths of the Bible is addressed to one nation to whom the kingdom promises are given, that any plan of study which avoids prophecy and ignores, or "spiritualizes," God's covenants with His chosen earthly people will be incomplete, misleading and subject to mere human assumptions."
Shadowhawk (who isn’t as smart as Lewis Sperry Chafer)
We read in Matthew, the gospel written (In the early part of AD 50’s) when the church was preaching the "gospel of the kingdom" to the Jews only (see Acts 11:19). "….preaching the word to none but unto the Jew only"
"And when He (Jesus) had called unto Him His twelve disciples, he gave them power against unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal all manner of sickness and all manner of disease." Matt 10:1
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as you go, preach, saying The kingdom of heaven is here" Matt 10:5-7
"I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel" Matt 15:24
Have you ever asked yourself why not the Gentiles? What’s the difference between the Gospel of Grace and the Gospel of the Kingdom? Did Jesus come to minister the same gospel to both the Jew and Gentile alike?
Go back for a second and look at the theme of Old Testament prophets. The Covenants and prophecies of the Old Testament guaranteed a throne, a king, a kingdom and the re-gathering of Israel to the land sworn to Abraham. This was the truth that was on the mind of every Jew. It was what they had been waiting for. It was the truth that was passed from father to son for generations. It was as foremost in their minds as the coming of the Lord is in ours today.
But the Old Testament closed with these great hopes unrealized, the great prophecies unfulfilled, but still Jehovah hath said "I myself, declared the Lord, will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them and will bring them back to their pasture, where they will be fruitful and increase in numbers. I will place shepherds over them who will tend them and they will no longer be afraid or terrified, nor will any be missing, declares the Lord."
"The days are coming," declares the Lord, "when I will raise up from David’s line, a King who will reign wisely and do what is just and right in the land,
In his day Judah will be saved and Israel will live safely.
This is the name by which he will be called: The Lord Our Righteousness.
"So then, the days are coming", declares the Lord, "when people will no longer say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the Israelites up out of Egypt,’ but they will say, ‘As surely as the Lord lives, who brought the descendants of Israel up out of the land of the north and out of all the countries where he had banished them.’ Then they will live in their own land." Jeremiah 23:3-8
After 400 years of silence the New Testament opens with the message: "The kingdom of heaven that you have been waiting for is now at hand".
Think of the generations of Jewish believers that have been faithful to their God Jehovah. Those who had been waiting so long for the fulfillment of His promised Kingdom of heaven.
In Romans 15:8,9 Paul writes that Christ had two ministries, first "Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:"
Then later that "the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy"
It could be said that before the Jews rejected Christ He was not sent to everyone but the Jewish people to confirm the promise made by His Father and to set up His kingdom. It would seem in scripture that He clearly limited His earthly ministry to them. "But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Matt 15:24. He was the answer to the promises God made to the patriarchs, he came to be their king, and messiah. The covenant promises made to Abraham (Ge 12:1-3; 17:7; 18:19; 22:18), Isaac (Ge 26 :3-4) and Jacob (Ge 28:13-15; 46:2-4), the throne, the king, the kingdom and the re-gathering of Israel to their promised lands, all were coming in Jesus, but they would not.
It is evident when we read the Gospel accounts of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, and also the opening chapters of the book of Acts, that the dominant subject is "the kingdom of heaven". The gospel that John the Baptist preached, and that the Lord Himself preached, and that the twelve apostles were commissioned to preach, was that "the kingdom of heaven is at hand".
"In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judea, and saying, Repent ye: for THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is at hand." (Matt. 3:1 2)
"Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of THE KINGDOM OF GOD, and saying, The time is fulfilled, and THE KINGDOM OF GOD is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:14 15)
"These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. And as ye go, preach, saying, THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN is at hand." (Matt. 10:5 7)
In the Sermon on the Mount, the blessed prospect of the kingdom of heaven" was repeatedly addressed by the Lord. For example,...
"And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." (Matt. 5:2 3)
"For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and the Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN." (Matt. 5:20) "After this manner therefore pray ye: Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name. THY KINGDOM COME. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven." (Matt 6:9 10)
Even following the Lord's death and resurrection from the dead, the theme of His instructions and charges to the apostles still pertained to the kingdom of God. Luke tells us in Acts 1:1 3 how that the Lord gave...
"...commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen: to whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion by many infallible proofs, being seen of them forty days, and speaking of the things pertaining to THE KINGDOM OF GOD."
As the examples testify, the doctrine of "the kingdom of heaven" pervades the record of the Lord's earthly ministry, and is that in which the twelve apostles were both instructed and commissioned.
Sometimes the "kingdom of heaven" is thought of as simply being a reference to heaven itself, and that what the Lord and the Twelve apostles were preaching about was simply the issue of heaven and how to get there. With others it is thought to be a reference to a spiritual reigning of God in the hearts of men which results in transformed lives and eventually in a transformation of society. What the Lord and the twelve apostles were therefore preaching about, it is said, was the issue of men needing to repent and let God and His will reign in their hearts. In so doing, God's will will be done on this earth.
Though these are commonly accepted ideas as to what the "kingdom of heaven" is, they are at dispute with what the Scriptures themselves declare it to be. The testimony of God's word is that the "kingdom of heaven" is not a reference to heaven itself, or to a spiritual reigning of God in men's hearts, but rather to the literal reigning of God Himself on and over this earth in fulfillment of the covenants God made with the nation of Israel.
According to the covenant God made with Abraham and his seed, the nation of Israel is to be a "great nation" on this earth, and as such the means through which "all the families of the earth shall be blessed". (Gen. 12:1 3) They have land covenanted to them by God in which they are to dwell as this "great nation" and provide for the blessing of the world by God. (Gen. 13:14 18; 15:7 21; 17:1 8) As was later confirmed to them in the Law, they are designed by God to be "a peculiar treasure unto (Him) above all people"; a "kingdom of priests, and an holy nation". (Ex. 19:1 6)
God's plan and purpose with the nation of Israel is for them to be that "great nation" and "kingdom" in which they functioning as God's priests to the rest of the world will provide for the blessing of the world and the administering of God's dominion over it. Isaiah, therefore, prophesying about the fulfillment of God's plan and purpose with Israel, proclaimed...
"And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people:" (Isaiah 2:2- 4a)
Israel in her kingdom and in fulfillment of God's covenant with her will provide for the subjection of the world to God's ways and for the establishment of His paths for it to walk in. The will of heaven will reign and rule on this earth in Israel's covenanted kingdom.
But Israel rebelled against God and His plan and purpose for her, as her history testifies. And so with David, and in view of Israel's failures, God covenanted to enflesh Himself in the seed of David and to come to be their redeemer, deliverer, king and blesser. In so doing, He would provide for them to be what His plan and purpose is for them. Therefore, Isaiah also proclaimed to Israel...
"For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this". (Isaiah 9:6- 7)
And as Daniel also proclaimed when he saw the end of Gentile dominion over Israel and the fulfillment of God's promises to the nation,...
"And in the days of these kings shall the God of heaven set up a kingdom, which shall never be destroyed: and the kingdom shall not be left to other people, but it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand for ever." (Daniel 2:44;.also 7:13,14)
Israel's covenanted kingdom of heaven's rule and dominion on this earth was to be established through her Messiah, the Son of David. The "God of heaven", enfleshing Himself in the seed of David in accordance with the Davidic covenant, would come and redeem His people and set up the kingdom of His dominion on this earth in Zion. This is what God's covenants with Israel called for. This is what the expression "the kingdom of heaven" refers to and is all about.
When the Lord was born into this world, He came to fulfill that which was covenanted with David. Just as was announced to Mary...
"And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:31 33)
In being born into this world, the "God of heaven" had enfleshed Himself in the seed of David so as to be given the throne of David and to establish His kingdom on this earth. The "kingdom of heaven", therefore, was "at hand".
Not only was the King here, but the time schedule given by the prophets for the establishing of the kingdom of heaven was almost completed. (cf. Dan. 9:24-27) For this reason, as the Lord preached the gospel of the kingdom, He said,...
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of god is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel." (Mark 1:15)
This is what the program of God was all about when our Lord was here on this earth. Israel's long awaited and covenanted "kingdom of heaven" was "at hand". And with that being the case, as the Gospels describe, the Lord heralded beatitudes in view of it; taught the issue of entrance into it; declared who would be "least" and "great" in it; informed the twelve of their special positions in it; warned about the purging wrath that He would execute upon the nations and this world preliminary to establishing the kingdom, etc.
As God's kingdom program with His people Israel continued on following the Lord's resurrection and ascension back to heaven, the apostles eagerly looked for the restoration of the kingdom to Israel. (Acts 1:6) They, therefore, proclaimed to Israel the arrival of her "last days", (Acts 2:1-36), as spoken of in the prophets, and exhorted the people to respond positively to the offer of the kingdom. (Acts 3:12-26)
It is clearly evident that "the kingdom of heaven" has not yet been established on this earth. None of the aforementioned prophetic declarations concerning its establishment have been fulfilled, yet when the Lord was here "the time" was "fulfilled" for it, and so it was preached to be "at hand". What has happened? Why hasn't "the God of heaven" set up that covenanted kingdom?
Though many explanations have been set forth, God's own explanation concerning what He has done is the one that needs to be understood and appreciated.
God's explanation as to why He has not yet established Israel's "kingdom of heaven" has to do with the fact that He has temporarily set Israel and her program aside, and He has ushered in a new and different dispensation or program.
As the apostle Paul teaches us in Romans 11, when Israel "stumbled" at the testimony of Christ that was heralded unto her, God did something unexpected. He "blinded" the nation and turned unto the Gentiles.
"For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part has happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in." (vs 25)
God has "blinded" Israel and has put her program and His special dealings with her aside. In so doing, God has turned to the Gentiles and He is now administering a dispensation of His grace. As the apostle Paul declares in Ephesians 3,...
"For this cause I Paul, the prisoner of Jesus Christ for you Gentiles, if ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you ward: how that by revelation he made known unto me the mystery;...which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit; that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, and of the same body and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel." (vs 1, 3,5, 6)
The dispensation, or program, of the grace of God for the Gentiles is what God is now working out, and has been working out since He raised up Paul as a brand new apostle and committed to him the revelation of it. During this present dispensation of grace God's program and special dealings with the nation of Israel are set aside. Again, as Paul teaches in Romans 11, God has "not cast away His people". He is not through with Israel. But rather, her "fullness" is yet to come. Since her "blindness" is "in part", "until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in", Paul goes on to say,...
"And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Zion the Deliver, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: for this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins." (vs 26, 27)
Israel's "fullness" is yet to come, and when it does, as Zechariah 14:9 says, "...the LORD shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall there be one LORD, and his name one."
Also, as Isaiah declares to the redeemed and the delivered of Israel in that day,...
" shall be named the Priests of the LORD: men shall call you the Ministers of our God:...For as the earth bringeth forth her bud, and as the garden causeth the things that are sown in it to spring forth; so the Lord GOD will cause righteousness and praise to spring forth before all the nations." (vs 6,11)
Israel's covenanted "kingdom of heaven" will yet be established on this earth, just as God's sure word states, and His covenants with her promises. But right now God's program with Israel is set aside. Right now God is working out "the mystery of Christ" in this dispensation of His grace and is forming the "new creation", the church, the body of Christ, for a purpose He has in the heavenly places.
Christians need to understand and appreciate this and so realize that God's program with Israel recorded and described in the Old Testament, the Gospel accounts, and the opening of the book of Acts, isn't what God is working out today. But rather, in accordance with "the revelation of the mystery" having been given to Paul, it is in his epistles to us that we have the testimony from God concerning what He is doing today, and what He is doing with us, the members of the "new creation".
The Apostle Paul was given the job of revealing God’s hidden mysteries. God revealed to him the sacred secrets that had been hidden from the Old Testament saints.
. The mystery of the indwelling Christ. (Col. 1:26,27)
. The mystery of the incarnate Christ. (Col. 2:2,3,9)
(I Tim. 3:16)
. The mystery of Israel’s unbelief. (Rom. 11:25)
. The mystery of Iniquity. (II Thess. 2:7)
. The mystery of the unity of believers. (Eph. 1:9,10)
. The mystery of the Rapture. (I Cor. 15:51,52)
. The mystery of the church as the body
of Christ. (Eph. 1:9,10; 3:3 – 6,9)
. The mystery of the Gospel (Eph. 6:19)
According to the scripture, God revealed through the pen of Paul that which had been "hid in God" from the beginning of the world, from all ages and all generations. The mysteries that God revealed through this Apostle was not contained in the Old Testament prophecies.
If you took Paul’s writings out of the New Testament, the Gospel of Grace, the truth about your salvation, your justification, your sanctification, your identity, your inheritance, your position, your righteousness, your preservation, and your standards for living the Christian life would all be completely different. These are not found in the Law or the Prophets, the Old Testament or even the Gospels, but must be searched out and found in the Epistles containing the truth about us, the Church, the mystery of God, "even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: to whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory." (Col. 1:26,27)
From no one else, and no where else is this written. This truth is not found in Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter, James or Jude. But yet is it the most basic fundamental truth of who and what a Christian is today. It’s no wonder that the church has so much trouble identifying the life of a Christian, they keep looking in the Law or the Prophets, the Kingdom Of heaven, the Old Testament or the Gospels and never get to the "all truth" that Jesus said the Spirit would guide them into. (John 16:12-13)
The Gospel of the Kingdom of Heaven never spoke of the kind of relationship with the Messiah that the church enjoys with the Christ. The Jews were never taught about the concept of the Messiah indwelling them.
No Jew understood this because it was a unique character of the church.
In John 14:20, Jesus said, "at that day you shall know that I am in my father, and you in me, and I in you". The phrase, "at that day", indicated they did not know this yet, they couldn't conceive of it yet.
In John 14:1-3 when Jesus promised His disciples that He would return for them from heaven and take them back with him to the Father's house, he was speaking of the rapture. Now, this was completely foreign to the Jewish mind. They expected the messiah to come to earth, set up an earthly kingdom, and rule forever. They did not expect Him to leave and go to the Father's house. This concept was so new to them that they were dumbfounded. But really this was to be expected, no where in the Old Testament does God promise Israel, "I'm going to come and get you, and take you to the Father's house".
The promise given to Israel was that the messiah would come and reign on earth in the promised kingdom. John 14 introduces something completely different than the National hope of Israel.
The Body of the Christ concept is a unique, mysterious, a brand new truth for a "new age"( though I hate to use that term these days). We are the body in which the Christ manifests Himself to the world. The church is not an organization, nor is it something that can be diagrammed on a structure chart, with services and programs --it's an organism, alive and real, functioning not by structure, but by the Holy Spirit in each one of us, the Body of the Christ. You can’t "go to church", you are the church. Wherever you are, the church is there.
The Body of Christ is not under any Law but under Grace, scriptures, any scripture, those concerning the Kingdom Law or those concerning the Mosaic Law are not meant to instruct the church on how it is to operate. The Church operates by the power of the Holy Spirit and is controlled by the same. We are not spiritual Jews, we are the Church, not just followers of the Christ but rather one with Him, His body. We are not what the New Testament saints will be or what the Old Testament saints where we are something different, something brand new, something hid in God from the ages, we are the Body of Christ.
There is a dangerous and entirely baseless belief which assumes that every teaching of Christ must be binding during this age simply because Christ said it. The fact is forgotten that Christ, while living under, keeping, and applying the law of Moses, also taught the principles of His yet future kingdom, and at the end of His ministry and in relation to the cross, He also anticipated the teachings of grace. If this three-fold division of the teachings of Christ is not recognized, there can be nothing but confusion and contradiction of the truth.
If Christians would come to understand that the Church in completely under the dispensation and Covenant of grace they would also understand that they could not be any part of the "Kingdom of Heaven". Every teaching of the kingdom, which contemplates the responsibility of the individual, is based on a covenant of human works, and is purely legal in character. In this age God is dealing with men on the bases of His grace as it is in Christ. His dealings with men in the Kingdom age are based on a very different relationship. At that time, the King will rule with a rod of iron. There is no word of the cross or of grace in the kingdom teaching.
The kingdom teachings, like the law of Moses, are based on a covenant of works. The teachings of grace, on the other hand, are based on a covenant of faith. In the one case, righteousness is demanded; in the other it is provided. One is of a blessing to be bestowed because of a perfect life, the other is of a life to be lived because of a perfect blessing already received.
The kingdom message opens with the record of the nine-fold blessings which is promised to the faithful child of the kingdom. These blessings are all won through merit. This is in sharp contrast to the blessings instantly attained through Christ at the moment a person believes.
THE BEATITUDES (Mt. 5: 1-12)
"Blessed are the poor in spirit (humble) : for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"
To the Christians it is said: "put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind" (Col. 3:12).
These virtues are not put on by the Christian to gain heaven; much less the kingdom of heaven. They are put on because these elements of character belong to the one who is already "the elect of God, holy and beloved"
"Blessed are they that mourn : for they shall be comforted."
Mourning does not belong to the Body of Christ. To the Church a different message has been given : "Rejoice, and again I say, Rejoice" Mourning is the portion of Israel until her King comes, and when He comes, it will be " to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God: to comfort all that mourn ; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning, and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness" (Isa. 61:2,3 ; Isa. 51:3, 66:13; 35:10; 51:11; Zech. 1:17)
"Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth"
Under grace, meekness is brought about in the believer by the Holy Spirit, and is never rewarded. Those who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time, have an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven. But to the church no earthly promise is ever made.
"Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled".
The Christian may crave a closer walk with God; but he is already "made the righteousness of God in Him". In contrast, righteousness is a quality which must be attained in the kingdom (Mt. 5:20).
"Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy."
This passage is pure law, for the mercy from God is made to depend wholly on the exercise of mercy a person show toward others. Under grace the Christian is besought to be merciful, as one who has already obtained mercy by the grace of God. (Eph. 2:4,5 Titus 3:5)
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."
Under grace it is written: "but we see Jesus," and "God, who commanded the light to shine out of the darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ". (Heb. 2:9; II Cor. 4:6)
In Christ, God now is revealed to the believer, while in the kingdom, the promise is to the pure in heart that they shall see God.
"Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God."
Peace is one of the two great words in the kingdom. The King who is "the Prince of Peace" shall reign that righteousness and peace shall cover the earth as water cover the face of the deep. In the kingdom there will be a special distinction given to the one who promotes peace. "They shall be called the children of God." Under grace, no one is constituted a child of God by any works whatsoever. " for ye are all the children of God by faith in Jesus." (Gal. 3:26)
"Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Again, the issue is righteousness. The Christian, on the contrary, suffers with Christ and for His sake, and his reward is in heaven. "But all these things will they do unto you for my name’s sake" ( John 15:21). "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution" (II Tim. 3:12).
"Blessed are ye, when men shall revile against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad : for great is your reward in heaven : for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you".
The believer is called to suffer for Christ’s sake : " for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake" (Phil 1:29). If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him" ( II Tim. 2:12).
A careful comparison of the nine-fold blessings which is promised under the kingdom, with the nine-fold blessings which are prepared under grace would show that what is demanded under the law of the kingdom as a condition of blessing, is, under grace, divinely provided for the believer.
Under law:
"I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven" (Mt. 5:20).
This is the foundation of all the demands for entrance into the kingdom of heaven. It should in no way be confused with the believer’s entrance into heaven through the finished work of Christ : " not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us" (Tit. 3:5)
" Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them : for this is the law and the prophets" (Mt. 7:12).
This passage stands as a conclusion of the whole appeal of the kingdom teaching. It is as a key to all that has gone before. The legal principle, restated in this passage, is not said to be any part of the teaching of grace : it is rather "the law and the prophets."
IN CONCLUSION: (well kind of)
You will never experience the New Creation life without rightly divide the Word of truth. If people are still talking about " we need to get closer to God" (you can’t get any closer than in), or "you need to do this or that to make God love you more" (God loves you as much as He loves Christ, and He sees you and Jesus as the same person). They are not "rightly dividing the Word of Truth". Pray for your spiritual leaders and ask God to open their eyes and hearts to understand the fullness of what God has given us in Christ.
A quick note to help you discern scriptures that are of law from those that are of grace. These two systems are opposites in reference to the ‘order’ between divine blessing and human obligation. Under law the order is, human obligation then divine blessing. Under grace the order is, divine blessing then human obligation. No matter where the scripture is located between the covers of your Bible, if the human obligation comes before the divine blessing, its law. It might be Kingdom law (the Sermon on the Mount) or it might be Mosaic Law, but it’s law and not of grace. So if you want to rightly divide the Word of Truth, look for the order between divine blessing and human obligation.
Sample: Matthew 6:33 "But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness; and all these things (food, drink, clothes) shall be added unto you."
What comes first, divine blessing or human obligation? Right, it’s Old Covenant, it’s law.
The New Covenant equivalent. Philippians 4:19 " But my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus."
In Paul’s writings his first few chapters tell the people about their divine blessing, then his last few chapters tells them about their human obligation. To the Corinthians, first chapters "you are the righteousness of God in Christ", last chapters " now act like it". But you can only be the righteousness of God when you stop trying to satisfy an obligation by human merit and turn it over to Christ, who has already satisfied all of Gods requirement. Every obligation, every requirement in the New Covenant has already been satisfied in Christ Jesus.
The greatest advantage of being a part of this new creation is that all of this is accomplished by faith in Jesus Christ, by trusting in what He says He has already done, and is continuing to do. It is the same with all Christian growth and obligations. It is God who is doing the work. Just as a True Christian is not trying to earn his way into Heaven, because he knows there is only one way - through faith in Christ. So a True Christian knows that his works and growth must come the same way - through faith in Christ. The will of God is to be fulfilled ‘in’ the believer, never ‘by’ the believer.
Look at what Paul wrote to the Philippians, (Philippians 2:13) "For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure", and in Second Thessalonians 1:11, "That our God will make you the kind of children He wants to have - will make you as good as you wish you could be! Rewarding your faith (not works)with His power". (LB)
You see it is His work, His ability, His power, we are His workmanship as we put our trust and faith in Him and rightly divide the Word of Truth.
So let God’s truth stand, don’t take from Israel that which God has promised her; her King, her Kingdom and the re-gathering of Israel to the land sworn to Abraham.
We are not part of the Kingdom of heaven, which operates under Kingdom law, we are under grace. To rightly divide the Word of God is to understand that the Kingdom teachings being addressed in the Gospels, Acts, and the Epistles of Peter, James, John and Jude are not about the Church and are not meant to govern it.
We are something else, something brand new, hide in God from the beginning of the world. We are the Church, the body of Christ operating by the Holy Spirit under the grace of God through faith in Christ Jesus, and not of any law, Mosaic or Kingdom.

Comments or questions write Shadowhawk at

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Without Faith Works is dead

While I know I’m going to sound like a faith preacher, I’m not.
It’s just without faith there is no salvation, without faith prayer is just empty words and worship just nice singing. Faith alone isn’t enough it needs an object and that object is Christ himself.

I believe it’s the prayer of faith that changes things and when people don’t know who and what they are in Christ, they can’t pray in faith because they don’t have a leg to stand on. If you truly want people to change their attitude and their life, tell them who and what they really are!

A Believer’s standing or position in Christ is the sole result of the work of Christ, and is perfect and complete from the very moment that Christ is received by faith.
This standing before God is provided by His grace through faith alone and has nothing to do with any good works a person may do. "For by grace are ye save through faith…."

We start by faith in Christ, we continue by faith in Christ, and we end by faith in Christ.
It is important to remember that your standing or position in Christ will never change. You did not receive it by being good enough or by keeping some law, it was a gift of God by grace through faith in what Christ has already done for you. Nothing you can ever do, good or bad, will ever change that.

You need to keep that in mind as God works through your entire Christian life to conform you to your standing in His Son, matching your practice with your position.

Through faith and His grace God has already made the Body of Christ to be what ministers through the Law are trying to make it become, pure and holy.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Ten Little Commandments

There are so many things that Christians believe to be true and Biblical that aren’t really part of God’s word at all. They have heard ministers say a certain thing is true for so long that they believe it without question. Some of the incorrect doctrines that are taught aren’t that important while others are. Many of us have believed a lie for many years and when shown the truth refuse to believe it because it’s more comfortable to believe what you’ve been taught and come to accept. Much of what Christians believe today come from the Gentile church of the fourth and fifth centuries, from the Catholicism of the middle and dark ages, the Protestantism of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. And quite frankly, it’s wrong. I’m not sure that most people really want to know the truth, it’s too uncomfortable and it necessitates the restructuring of their theology, and their denominational doctrines, their traditions and dogmas.
Without getting in to any heavy doctrines that might offend someone let me make the point in a little less painful way.
When you picture the tablets of stone that contained the Ten Commandments, what do you picture? Do you see Moses coming down the mountain with these massive tablets under each arm?
The truth is, the Bible shows that Moses was able to carry both stones in one hand (Exodus 32:15). No, not in one arm. He carried both stones in one hand. The stones were actually quite small – about pocket-size in dimension. They were small slate-like stones that could be carried in the palm of one hand, though to keep them from rubbing together he often carried them in both hands (Deuteronomy 9:15).

And another point that is usually not understood. Each stone had the Ten Commandments written on both its sides, not on one side alone (Exodus 32:15).
I realize that this is not an important point, but it just demonstrates how far Christian beliefs have fallen from the truths of the scripture. There are so many other things that we believe today that are not in God’s word the way we’ve been taught. Some of them are posted here on this blog. It is important to understand the real truth of what is written in God’s Word and not be influenced by theologians, priests and church leaders who have erroneously concocted false biblical teachings over the centuries. It’s time to put away the lies and rightly divide the Word of truth.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Election – The Love of God Before Time

From pulpits all over America we are being told that "from eternity God saw who would believe the Gospel when it was preached to them and He chose them because He saw beforehand that they would accept Him."

By following this course of reasoning the Christian has arrived at a supposed truth untaught in scripture. But for me the most horrible irony of all is that those who are supposedly dedicated to represent the word of God are the every one crediting man with that which rightfully belongs to God.

I’m sure that it would be a surprise to many to know that in 1610 when this doctrine was introduced and even after, the vast majority of Protestant theologians rejected it as heresy. In fact they maintained that the Bible taught a system of doctrine quite different, viewing salvation as a work of God and His grace from beginning to end. In no sense did they believe that the sinner had any part in saving himself or even contributed in any way to his own salvation.

They believed that all men were by nature spiritually dead and their wills were in bondage to sin and Satan. (Eph. 2:1-3). The ability to believe the Gospel was itself a gift from God, (Eph. 2:8b) bestowed only upon those whom God had chosen to be the objects of His unmerited favor. (John 6:44).

If this heretical doctrine were just a matter of semantics we could dismiss the debate. But it is more than that. It is not only a matter of essentials but of discrediting God, giving man credit for that which God has accomplished. Put aside for a moment the essential of being honest with the Word of God, of being a diligent seeker of truth. There is something much more important that needs to be considered and that’s the matter of honoring God for His amazing gifts to us. Crediting Him as the initiator of His wonderful and glorious salvation.

Is it honest to consider such scriptures as Romans 9; John 6:44,65; Acts 13:48; Ephesians 1:4,11; Romans 8:28-31; or John 15:16 and force upon them the notion that they all speak of man's choice determining God's? It has never failed to surprise me that men who should know better have set aside these significant verses by simply remarking "Well, God saw who would believe and then He chose them." "...Man chooses God then God chooses Man... Man chooses God then God chooses Man." To hear its constant repetition you would almost think it was an inspired quotation.

In spite of the fact that it is not in the Word of God, this notion prevails among many Christians today. It is the standard rebuttal to anyone seeking honest information about the grand words of Election, Calling, and Predestination.

But the truth of the scripture is that the very nature of the teaching of election makes man totally subject to God. A real understanding of election makes a man stand back and accept the fact that his God really is his absolute Lord. God will do what He desires. He will always act in harmony with the perfection of His personality, but those actions will not always be acceptable to man. Man rejects this position of submission. He hates the absolute monarchy of God. His very nature cries out against any force which does not explain its motives and purposes to him. Man feels his own sovereignty is jeopardized by any one, especially God, who can act in a sovereign manner over his destiny. But the man who sees election as the Bible teaches it will feel a lessening of pride and self-reliance, and in it he will be truly humbled.

From the time in the Garden man set out to rule his own world, to have things his own way. And the battle of "Who shall rule?" has raged ever since. In the Garden the clay determined to control the Potter. It said, "I will make of myself what I want to make of myself. And even in the Christian world today these words find an echo as men reply to God, "You can only make of me what I allow you to make of me; you may save me, but it will only be with my permission." Every atom of the human spirit rejects the idea of being "mere clay."

However election forces him to accept the fact that he’s not only incapable of governing his own world, but he cannot and did not choose God. He did not just become a believer, God made him a believer.

What happens when a new believer searches the scriptures and come across words like, ‘Election’, and ‘Predestination.’? "What do they mean?"
Asking his minister, he is told these words are talking about the fact that God knew beforehand that the believer would choose Him and so God chose the believer to be His.
But reading further, he come across scriptures like "Chosen before the foundation of the world" and "that no man can come unto me, except it were given unto him of my father." And "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." What is the meaning of all this? How can it be?
I thought I chose. I thought my will brought about my being a new creation. Did I not will to be saved? Certainly. But what was behind that will? What moved it? Could it be that I sought Him because he moved me to seek him? Could it be that He put it into my heart to come? Could it be that I am that low? That I was that dead?

Once the believer realizes that he has been in God’s mind from eternity there dawns upon his consciousness a settled assurance, which surpasses any security he has known on earth or in his previous faith. And this is the point of what Paul is saying to the Roman church in Romans 8:28-30. He desires them to know that since they were "marked off" (predestinated) for salvation by God before the world began they will surely be glorified by God to bear the image of Christ. And since nothing can stand in the way of the will of the Sovereign God they will without question be glorified into that image in the eternity to come.

Once a believer see himself as being chosen on an unconditional basis before the world began, he can also see himself glorified in the future with no possible event or trouble having the capacity to prevent it. This understanding of God’s purpose is the vision Paul sets in Romans 8:28-30.
"And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

For whom he did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

These are magnificent words. They connect the Christian to a God who chose him and despite tribulation, distress, and peril will not be prevented from having His ultimate will in that child's life. That may seem strong to some. But is that not Paul's intention? He sounds definite when he says, "All things work together for good to them that love God and are called according to his purpose." He speaks from the perspective of the divine plan, not from the standpoint of what man is doing for himself. Notice that he speaks of God's activity in foreknowledge, God's decision in predestination, God's calling, justification and glorification. It is God's activity and God's activity alone which is the subject of the message.

Paul is showing that there are five links in the chain of redemption:
Foreknowledge, Predestination, Calling, Justification and Glorification. He is clearly stating that all the links are forged by God; they are not of human origin. Not one link will fail. God foreknew those whom He wanted to be His. He marked them off (predestinated) to be His and to be conformed to the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. Then in the proper time He called them and made them willing to come to Christ. When they came He justified them by imputing to them righteousness. And as the final and culminating action of His grace upon them He glorified them (note the past tense, for it is already accomplished in Christ).

All of those that were predestinated were called and all that were called were justified, and all that were justified were glorified. That this is the true thought of Paul is evident in the manner in which he writes. The repetition of the words "whom" and "them" prove this fact. Look at verse 30. "whom he did predestinate, them he also called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified; them he also glorified." The same persons are taken up by each repetition of the word whom and carried forward to the word them so that there is no fluctuation or loss in the prosecution of the divine purpose.

All of the "foreknown" persons are included in the last link of glorification. In the end all of the chosen, without the loss of any, are glorified. God is not to be thwarted.

We must now look at the word foreknowledge in verse 29 to discover its real meaning. If it does indeed signify a choice made by God based upon his foreknowledge of what men would do, then election is not a scriptural doctrine. But if foreknowledge is something other than God's previewing of human response to the Gospel then election stands.

The word "foreknowledge" occurs five times in the New Testament according to Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible. These references are: Acts 2:23, Romans 8:29, 11:2, 1 Peter 1:2, 20. The English translation of the Greek renders the word "foreknowledge" in Acts 2:23, Romans 8:29, and I Peter 1:2. It is found as "foreknew" in Romans 11:2 and as "foreordained" in I Peter 1:20. The Greek word is proginosko in Romans 8:29,11:2 and I Peter 1:20. The Greek word is prognosis in Acts 2:23 and I Peter 1:2. Both Greek words are compound words made up of the Greek word for "prior to," or "in front of," pro; and the Greek word for "to know," ginosko. Ginosko is capable of other connotations, among them are the following: allow, be aware of, feel, knowledge, perceive, and to understand.
Strong offers the simple definition of to know beforehand, i.e., to foresee. He also suggests "forethought."

In his book, Biblico-Theological Lexicon, Cremer suggests a meaning drawn from the word itself. He says that "ginosko in New Testament Greek often denotes a personal relationship between the person and the object known -- to suffer oneself to be determined thereby; for anything is known only so far as it is of importance to the person knowing and has an influence upon him so that a personal relationship is established between the knowing subject and the object known".

"The prefix pro to this word simply carried us back to an anterior period, and here it denotes that the ginoskein is already present in the divine decree before its manifestation in history; i.e., the union takes place between God and the objects of His sovereign grace. Therefore we may render whom God hath beforehand entered into fellowship with. This view also preserves the distinction between foreknowledge and foreordination. The former, foreknowledge, being an act of conscious perception, and foreordination, of specific volition."

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia offers this commentary on Romans 8:29,30 under its discussion of the word "Foreknowledge:"

In Romans 8:29,30 the word "foreknow" occurs in immediate connection with God's predestination of the objects of salvation. Those whom God foreknew, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son. Now the foreknowledge in this case cannot mean a mere prescience or foresight of faith (Meyer, Godet) or love (Weiss) in the subjects of salvation, which faith or love is supposed to determine the Divine predestination. This would not only contradict Paul's view of the absolutely sovereign and gracious character of election, but it is diametrically opposed to the context of this passage. These verses form a part of the encouragement which Paul offers his readers for their troubles, including their own inward weakness. The apostle tells them that they may be sure that all things work together for good to them that love God; and these are defined as being those whom God has called in accordance with His purpose. Their love to God is evidently their love as Christians, and is the result of a calling which itself follows from an eternal purpose, so that their Christian love is simply the means by which they may know that they have been the subjects of this call. They have not come within the sphere of God's love by their own choice, but have been "called" into this relationship by God, and that in accordance with an eternal purpose on His part (p.1130).

After all this theological mumbo jumbo we may conclude that the word ‘foreknowledge’ never had as its object something seen in man which could be the basis of God's choice. And if it is not there in the text, we must forbid ourselves to supply it. Let God be true and every man a liar.
The Bible teaches that God chooses people to be saved before they were even born (Ephesians 1:11). And while men may have a will, according to scripture it’s not free. The Bible tells us that our will is either controlled by sin, or it is controlled by the Holy Spirit.
God chose us for Himself that it might be for His glory. Ephesians 3:10 tells us that the reason God put the church together was to display His wisdom to the angels, not to show them how wonderful we are.

You see, our salvation had absolutely nothing to do with what we did or did not do, or with what God anticipated we would or would not do. We were chosen in Christ before the world began according to His own purpose and the grace that was given to us in Christ.
Salvation from beginning to end is 100% the extraordinary work of our Lord and Savior. We discredit God when we teach that man is the initiator of God’s mercy and grace. When we pervert and distort the word of God in order to give a dead man the power to choose a living God, we diminish the worth of that marvelous free gift that the Father gives (not offers) to those that are His.

Throughout Christendom, the theory is held that man determines his fortunes and decides his destiny by his own "free-will". But to insist that some men, at least, do thwart God’s will and overturn His counsel, is to repudiate scripture ...."And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth". (Job 23:13) "For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall dis-annul it"? "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure". (Isa. 46:9,10)

Once again the appeal here then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the testimony of my God and Father, Yehovah. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" ( I Thess. 5:21).
Ephesians 1:4-5
"Long ago, even before He made the world, God CHOSE us to be His very own, through what Christ would do for us, He decided THEN to make us Holy in His eyes, without a SINGLE fault--we who stand before Him covered with His love. His UNCHANGING PLAN has always been to adopt us into His own family by sending Jesus Christ to die for us. And He did this because HE WANTED TO."
Ephesians 1:11
"For as part of God's SOVEREIGN plan we were CHOSEN from the BEGINNING to be His, and all things happen just as He decided long ago."
II Thessalonians 2:13
"But we must forever give thanks to God for you, our brothers loved by the Lord, because God CHOSE (Greek- Haireomai- to take one for oneself, prefer) from the VERY FIRST to give you salvation, cleansing you by the work of the Holy Spirit and by your trusting in the Truth".
I Peter 2:9
"But you are not like that, for you have been CHOSEN by God Himself --- you are priests of the King, you ARE Holy and pure, you ARE God’s very own".
(Here Peter is talking to and about Israel)
John 15:16
"You didn’t choose me! I chose you!".
Romans 9:11
"For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of Him that calleth"
Romans 9:16
"So then it is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that sheweth mercy"
Acts 13:48
"When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.
John 6:44
"No one is able to come to me unless the Father who sent me attracts and draws him and gives him the desire to come to me; and then I will raise him from the dead at the last day. (THE AMPLIFIED)

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Does it really matter?

I have really never understood why the Wasicu knowing all that they know continue to celebrates things like Christmas and Easter, is it really alright to celebrate The Christ’s birth on December 25th, the birthday of Mithra the Sun God. What can it hurt? After all, isn’t "Jesus the reason for the season".

There’s an old Indian saying "People will never find the truth if they give up looking for it". What I’m trying to say is that when you except a lie, that’s when you stop searching for the truth. And The Truth isn’t a thing, it’s a person, it Yehoshua and He’s so much better than the pagan traditions, so much more exciting the Western interpretations and dogmas.

In Leviticus the 23rd chapter, The Lord establishes seven feasts or festival of the Lord. If Christians only understood the mysteries of these festival, the born from above children of God, would never look to pagan holidays to worship their Yehovah.

Of these seven Feasts or Festivals Yehoshua has sealed five by events in His life.
"The Passover of the Lord": His Crucifixion
"The Festival of Unleavened Bread": His Resurrection
"The Festival of First Fruits": His Ascension
"The Festival of Pentecost": He Established His Church
"The Festival of Tabernacles": when God came to tabernacle on Earth – His Birth, the last days of September and first days of October.

His Birth:
Because of the archeological finds of the twentieth century we now have many more of the ancient manuscripts or parts of ancient manuscripts than ever before. Since 1930’s organizations have been willing to fund archeological digs to find evidence to support the scriptures. Since the Jewish people along with the Chinese and Egyptians have been among the worlds most prolific record keepers we have found many Hebrew manuscripts dating back as far as the time of Isaiah.

Some of the manuscripts found in the Qumran community recorded that Caesar Augustus decreed that all the world should be taxed (Luke chapter two) so that we have the time of year the people went to register. Because it was in the seventh month (Tishri) 15-22, the end of our Sept., the first part of our Oct. it coincides with the Feasts of Tabernacles.

We know the scriptures say that as Mary and Joseph were traveling to Judea to register for the tax "she was great with child" "And she brought forth her firstborn son"

If you start with the Passover at April 14th, you count 8 weeks and that brings you to June 9 - 15. This is the time period when Zachariah would be in the Temple ministering. John the Baptist would be conceived. Give Zachariah a few days to get home and talk to Elisabeth about it. John is going to be conceived in late June. Six months later would put you in the middle of December. If John is conceived as shown, then the conception of Christ occurs between December 22 to 25th. That will put the birth of John in March and the birth of Christ somewhere between September 22 and about the 3rd of October. So you have Christ born in late September or early October during the Feasts of Tabernacles.

Anyway, getting back to the Feast or Festivals, there are only two Festivals left, "The Festival of Trumpets", (guess what happen then – when you hear that trumpet, I believe you’ll be gone) and "The Day of Atonement", I can’t prove it, but I believe with all my heart that that’s when Yehoshua comes back to set-up His Kingdom.

He hasn’t missed a Festival yet, and I don’t believe He’s going to in the future. But no one that’s trades the real for the artificial will ever appreciate the hope that’s hidden in these scriptures. It doesn’t matter? I think it does.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The God of the Native People

I’d like to share something of the greatest importance to the Native American in the area of who and what God is. It’s the single most important point of doctrine that separates the Native believer from most others in this society. If understood correctly you would realize that all other doctrine concerning whom can be saved, how we are save, how we are kept and every other aspect of Christian life can only be understood when realizing who God really is.

(Eph 1:11)
How different is the God of the Bible from the God of Christendom! The conception of Deity which prevails most widely today, even among those who profess to give heed to the scriptures, is a miserable caricature, a pathetic travesty of the truth. The God of many a present-day pulpit is a helpless, powerless, frustrated being "trying His best" to save mankind, but the majority of men will not let Him. This God is an object of pity rather than of awe-inspiring reverence.
To argue that God is "trying His best" to save mankind, but that the majority of men will not let Him, is to imply that the will of the creator is impotent, and that the will of the creature is omnipotent. To throw the blame, as many do, upon the Devil, does not remove the difficulty, for if Satan is defeating the purpose of God, then Satan is almighty and God is no longer the Supreme Being.
To declare that the creator’s original plan has been frustrated by sin, is to dethrone God. To suggest that God was taken by surprise in Eden and that he is now attempting to remedy an unforeseen calamity, is to degrade the Most High to the level of a finite, erring mortal.
To argue that man is the sole determiner of his own destiny and that therefore he has the power to checkmate his maker, is to strip God of the attribute of omnipotence. To say that the creature has burst the bounds assigned by the Creator, and that God is now practically a helpless spectator of sin and suffering entailed by Adam’s fall, is to repudiate scripture.
In a word, to deny the sovereignty of God is to enter upon a path which, if followed to its logical end, leads to blank atheism. The sovereignty of the God of scripture is absolute, irresistible, and infinite. When a Native says that God is sovereign, we affirm God’s right to govern the universe, which He has made for His own glory, just as He pleases.
We affirm that His right is the right of the potter over the clay, ( and clay is something we understand), that He may mold that clay into whatever form He chooses, fashioning out of the same lump, one vessel unto honor and another unto dishonor. To say that God is sovereign is to declare that He is the Most High, doing according to His will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, so that none can stay His hand or say unto Him, what doest Thou? (Dan. 4:35).
When we say God is sovereign we declare that He is the Almighty, the possessor of all power in Heaven and Earth, so that none can defeat His counsels, thwart His purposes, or resist His will (Ps. 115 : 3 ). To say that God is sovereign is to affirm that God is under no rule or law outside His own will and nature, that God is a law unto Himself, and that He is under no obligation to give an account of His matters to any.
To the Native God must either rule, or be ruled; sway, or be swayed; accomplish His own will, or be thwarted by His creatures.
God is never taken by surprise. There is no unexpected emergency which can confront Him, for He is the one who " worketh all things after the counsel of His own will" (Eph. 1:11) Though the world is panic-stricken, the word to the believer is, "fear not" "all things" are subject to His immediate control; "all things" are moving in accord with His eternal purpose, and therefore, "all things" are working together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose". For of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. (Rom. 11:36).
Throughout Christendom, the theory is held that man determines his fortunes and decides his destiny by his own "free-will". But to insist that some men, at least, do thwart God’s will and overturn His counsel, is to repudiate scripture .... "And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth". (Job 23:13) "The counsel of the Lord standeth forever...." (Ps. 33:11). "For the Lord of Hosts hath purposed, and who shall dis-annul it"? "My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure". (Isa. 46:9,10)
The appeal here then is not to the popular beliefs of the day, nor to the creeds of the churches, but to the testimony of our Native God and Father, Yahovah. "Prove all things; hold fast that which is good" ( I Thess. 5:21).
If instead of bowing to the testimony of scripture, if instead of walking in faith, we follow the evidence of our eyes, and reason, if we are regulated by the opinions and views of others, peace will be at an end. Granted that there is much in this world of sin and suffering which saddens us, granted that there is much in the providential dealings of God which startle and staggers us; that is no reason why we should unite with the unbelieving world who say, " If I were God, I would not allow this or tolerate that". It would be better in the presence of bewildering mystery, to say, "I was dumb, I opened not my mouth; because thou didst it" (Ps. 39:9).
Scripture tells us that God’s judgments are "unsearchable" and His ways "past finding out" (Rom. 11:33). It must be so if faith is to be tested, confidence in His wisdom and righteousness strengthened, and submission to His Holy will fostered.
Here is the fundamental difference between Native American beliefs and faith and that of others. The unbeliever (even if he professes Christianity) is "of the world", judges everything by worldly standards, views life from the standpoint of time and sense, and weighs everything in the balances of his own carnal understanding. But Natives believe that we are spiritual being that have a body, looking at everything from a spiritual standpoint, he estimates values by spiritual standards, and views life in the light of eternity, and who life is. Doing this, he receives whatever comes as from the hand of God. Doing this, his heart is calm in the midst of the storm. Doing this, he rejoices in hope of the glory of God.
"Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth" (Rev. 19:6)
Scripture Index:
Daniel 4:35 "All the people of the Earth are nothing when compared
to Him: He does whatever He thinks best among the
hosts of Heaven, as well as here among the
inhabitants of the Earth. No one can stop Him or
challenge Him,...
Job 42:1 "Then Job replied to God: I know that you can do
anything and that no one can stop you".
Isaiah 55:11 "So also is my Word. I send it out and it always
produces fruit. It shall accomplish all I want it to,
and prosper everywhere I send it".
Isaiah 46:10 "All I say will come to pass, for I do whatever I wish"
Psalms 135:6
"He does whatever pleases Him throughout all of
Heaven and Earth, and in the deepest seas".
Ephesians 1:11
(He is the one who) " Worketh all things after the
counsel of His own will"
Isaiah 14: 24
" The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have planned, so
shall it be, and as I have purposed, so shall it stand".

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Holy Bible Rightly Divided

The Bible is with out a doubt the most important book in the history of Western civilization, and is also said to be the most difficult to understand. It has been the vehicle of continual conflict, with every interpretation reflecting passionately held views that have affected not only religion, but politics, art, and even science.

The Bible has been use as the authority for such horrifying acts as the so-called ‘Holy Wars’ in which unholy men slaughtered millions to obtain power, riches and land. The Salem witch-hunts in which thousands of innocent people were executed by ministers of the Bible in an attempt to control the lives of the common people of that day. ‘Manifest Destiny’ which was meant to annihilate the Native American people. It was Christian ministers under President Grant’s administration that passed out diseased ridden blankets to the Native people in an attempt to destroy that so-called "pagan" culture.

The Bible has also been used to justify the segregation and killing of African American people. I’ll never forget watching the news telecast on November 1960 and seeing little Ruby Brides walking up the steps of William Frantz Public School in New Orleans, she was the first black student at the formerly all-white elementary school. Across the street from the school Christian people with their Bibles in one hand and rocks in the other were roped off and held back by law enforcement while they shouted "Niger go home" to a little precious child of God.

The same Bible is used by over three hundred different denominations here in the United States and each one of them claims that the other is wrong and misinformed about what the Bible teaches. According to the Bible itself it can’t be understood without the help of the Holy Spirit because "man can not comprehend the things of the Spirit and the Word is Spirit".

Don’t misunderstand, I’m not implying for a second that the Bible is bad in any way or that it has caused any of the horrible events that religious people have preformed under the banner of it’s authority. The anguish has always been the product of the people that misuse this book and it’s author to try and accomplish their own evil agendas, to control, to gain more power, more land, and more riches. This book we call the Holy Bible has been misunderstood and misused for centuries and it continues even more so today. As long as there are religious people wanting to enslave others by dictating their own religious precepts the Holy Bible will continue to be used as their instrument of authority.
General Overview
The Holy Bible is comprised of 66 books, written over approximately 1600 years, by at least 40 distinct authors. The Old Testament (Old Covenant) contains 39 books written from approximately 1500 to 400 BC, and the New Testament (New Covenant) contains 27 books written from approximately 40 to 90 AD.

The Jewish Bible (Tenach) is the same as the Christian Old Testament, except for its book arrangement. The original Old Testament was written mainly in Hebrew, with some Aramaic, the original New Testament was also mostly written in Hebrew and later translated into the language of the then known world that of common Greek.

Most people still believe that the New Testament was originally written in Greek but Archaeologists have found proof in the late 1970’s that most of the New Testament was actually written first in Hebrew. The Apostles with the exception of Luke were all Hebrews and their native language would have also been Hebrew so it would make sense that those that could write ( and there were many that could not) would write their account of the Gospels in their own language.

However, the religious community has said for years that the Gospels were originally written in Greek and heaven knows that they are infallible and couldn’t possibly be wrong about anything. So it will take another twenty years before the information discovered by archaeologists in the late seventies to filter down to your local churches and become generally known.

The Old Testament begins with the Jewish Scriptures. The historical record of the Jews was written down in leather scrolls and tablets over centuries, and the authors included kings, shepherds, prophets and other leaders inspired by God. In Exodus, God tells Moses to write the Law (Torah) in a book. About 450 BC, all of the Jewish scriptures were collected and arranged by councils of rabbis, who then recognized the complete set as the inspired and sacred authority of God.

Beginning as early as 250 BC, the Hebrew Bible (Tenach) was translated into Greek by Jewish scholars in Alexandria, Egypt. The translation became known as the Septuagint, meaning 70, and referring to the tradition that 70 or 72 men comprised the translation team. At this point, the books of the Hebrew Bible were arranged by topic, including history, poetry, and prophecy.

In 90 AD, at the Council of Jamnia, the Jewish elders established the final Hebrew Bible canon. Although the Jewish Scriptures were copied by hand, they were extremely accurate copy to copy. The Jews had a phenomenal system of scribes, who developed intricate and ritualistic methods for counting letters, words and paragraphs to insure that no copying errors were made. In fact, scribal tradition was maintained until the invention of the printing press in 1455. As far as manuscript accuracy, the recent discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls has confirmed the remarkable reliability of the Old Testament texts over the years.

After approximately 400 years of scriptural silence, Jesus arrived on the scene in about 4 BC. Throughout His teaching, Jesus often quotes the Old Testament, (the Septuagint) declaring that He did not come to destroy the Jewish Scriptures, but to fulfill them. In Luke 24:44-45, Jesus proclaims to his disciples, "All things must be fulfilled, which were written in the Law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me."

Starting in about 40 AD and continuing to about 90 AD, the eye-witnesses to the life of Jesus Christ, including Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James, Peter and Jude write the Gospels, letters and books that later become the New Testament. These authors quote from 31 books of the Old Testament, and many times from the Book of Enoch and the Book of Wisdom which are books that today are not included in the Bible.

Their material was so widely circulated that by about 150 AD early Christians were referring to the set of writings as the New Covenant. During the 200s AD, the writings were translated into Latin, Coptic (Egypt) and Syriac (Syria) and widely disseminated. At that time, only 21 of the writings were considered canonical. Thereafter, in 397 AD, the current 27 books of the New Testament were formally confirmed and canonized in the Synod of Carthage.
The Origin of the Bible as we know it:
Original Manuscripts
Authorities say as far as it is known all of the original manuscripts of the Bible have perished. That doesn’t mean that they real have it just means we think they have. Archaeologists are discovering things everyday that we once thought had perished forever. There are still two letters (one to the Corinthians and one to the church at Laodicea) that St. Paul had written that we have not yet found.
Most Ancient Copies
We do have some of the most ancient copies made from the original manuscripts, three of the most popular are:

a. The Codex Sinaiticus, originally a Greek Bible belonging to the
forth century. Now in the British Museum.
b. The Codex Alexandrinus, probably written in the fifth century it
contains the *whole Greek Bible of it’s time with the exception of
forty lost leaves. It is also housed in the British Museum.
c. The Codex Vaticanus, written in about the forth century it
contained the *whole Bible of it’s time but parts are lost. It is
housed in the Vatican library in Rome.

The Ancient Versions
The septuagint Vertion
. The translation of the Old Testament
Hebrew Scriptures into Greek, made at Alexandra about 285 B.C.
The Samaritan Pentateuch. Not strictly speaking a version, but
the Hebrew text perpetuated in Samaritan characters.
Peshito or Syriac. The *whole Bible, date uncertain (first or second century) apparently a translation into the common language of certain portion of Syria.
The Vulgate. The *entire Bible translated into the Latin language by Jerome at Bethlehem. It was completed about 400 A.D.
For a thousand years this was the standard Bible in the Catholic
 *When we say the whole Bible or the entire Bible we are not necessarily talking about the books of the Bible as you know then today. From 40 AD to 1993 there have been 128 different canons to determine which books should be considered scripture and which should not.
In the first 500 years of the Church books like the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Enoch were read in the Churches and considered to be scripture. There are still many quotes from these books in our currant day Bibles. We will talk about canons and the different books of the Bible later on.
The English Versions
John Wycliffe 1320 – 1384
A great English scholar and Bible student he conceived the plan of translating the Bible into common English. He first translated the New Testament about 1380. Exactly how much more he did before his death is uncertain. His friends completed the work after his death. His translation rested on the Latin Vulgate.

William Tyndale 1525 – 1530
Tyndale was next in order of the great English Translators. He was an early and courageous reformer and was determined that the English common people should have a Bible in their own tongue.
Persecution made it impossible for him to do his work in England so he crossed over to the Continent where his New Testament translation was issued in 1525 and the Pentateuch in 1530. Tyndale did not rest entirely on the Latin Vulgate but was a very good Greek scholar and had access to the Greek text of Erasmus and other help which Wycliffe did not possess.
He was martyred before he completed the Old Testament but it is generally thought that he left the material which appeared later in the Matthews’ version of the Bible.

Miles Coverdale
A friend of Tyndale, prepared and published a Bible dedicated to Henry the VIII in 1535. Coverdale’s New Testament is largely base on Tyndale’s. He explicitly disclaimed originality but used the Latin and other versions as helps, as well as Tyndale’s Version.

Matthews’ Bible 1537
About the same time as the second edition of the Coverdale Bible another translation appeared. Its authorship is somewhat uncertain but although it bears the name of Matthews it is generally credited to John Rogers, a friend and companion of Tyndale. This scholar it is thought, had comeinto the possession of Tyndale’s unpublished translation of the historical books of the Bible. It contains Tyndale’s translations in their latest forms but also gives evidence of Coverdale’s work.

The Great Bible 1539
This translation is based upon the Matthews, Coverdale and Tyndale Bibles. The first edition was prepared by Mile Coverdale and ordered to be set up in every parish church. It was a large-size volume chained to the reading desk in the churches, where the people flocked to hear the reading of the Word of God.

The Geneva Bible 1560
This translation was made at Geneva by scholars who fled from England during the persecution by Queen Mary. It was a revision of the Great Bible collated with other English translations. A very scholarly version handy in size, and for many years a popular Bible in England.

The Bishop’s Bible 1568
Prepared under the direction Archbishop of Canterbury during the reign of Queen Elizabeth. Mainly a revision of the Great Bible although somewhat dependent upon the Geneva Version, used chiefly by the clergy, not very popular with the common people.

The Douay Bible 1582
A Roman Catholic Version made from the Latin Vulgate. The New Testament published at Rheims in 1582 and the Old Testament at Douay in 1609 – 1610. It contains controversial notes. It is the generally accepted English Version of the Roman Church.

The King James or Authorized Version 1611
The translation now generally used by the English-speaking people. Made by forty-seven scholars under the authorization of King James I of England. The Bishop’s Bible was the basis of this version but the Hebrew and Greek texts were studied and other English translations consulted with the view of obtaining the best results. It has held the first place throughout the English-speaking world for over three centuries.

The Revised Version 1881 –1884
Made by a company of English and American scholars. While it was supposed to be a revision of the Authorized Version it has one distinct advantage over all its predecessors. It reaches back and touches the most ancient copies of the original scriptures. Some of which were not available at the time of the translation of the Authorized Version.

The American Standard Version 1900 – 1901
This version incorporates into the text the reading preferred by the American members of the Revision Committee of 1881 – 1885.

Since that time there have been many translations and visions of the Bible, some of the ones worth mentioning are:

(The Emphasized New Testament)
(Richard Francis Weymouth)
(Helen Bartlett Montgomery)
(Jams Moffatt)
 A word (or two) about the King James Version, some good, some not so good.
The good:
One of my favorite lessons, (which concerns the fact that we can receive much more of what we’re given, if we would just have faith in Him to do exactly what it is He said) is found in the Gospel of Luke, the fifth chapter, verses one through six. However the only places that the heart of this teaching can be found, is in the original Greek text, and the King James Version.

All other translations miss what is written in the Greek text, and what I believe is the point of that is really happening here with Simon Peter. In the King James Version, Jesus is preaching on the shore of the lake Gennesaret, when great crowds of people pressed in on Him to listen to His teaching. He noticed two empty boats standing at the water’s edge, and fishermen washing their nets.

Stepping into one of the boats Jesus asked Simon Peter, its owner, if he would push out a little into the water, so that He, Jesus, could sit in the boat and speak to the crowds from there.

When He had finished speaking, He said to Simon Peter, " launch out into the deep, (that’s a sermon of its own, but not the one I want to talk about now) and let down your nets for a draught. And Simon answering said unto Him, Master we have toiled all night, and have taken nothing: nevertheless at thy word……"
(Luke 5:4,5)

But now wait a minute, what was it that Jesus told Peter to do? Let’s take a closer look, Jesus told him, "launch out into the deep, and let down your nets," He said nets, like in all your nets, every last one, as someone who was expecting to catch a lot of fish. But what did Peter do? (And the only place you can see this is in the Greek text and the King James Version).

He looked at the circumstances instead of the Master, they had just finished cleaning all those dirty old nets, washed them, dried them and tucked them away.
He and his partners, James and John, the sons of Zebedee, had been fishing here for years. They knew these waters pretty well, they had worked hard all night and didn’t catch a thing. If there were any fish out there, he was sure that they would have caught them.

Besides, what does a Rabbi know about fishing away? "Nevertheless at thy word I will (the King James says) let down the net." Just one, why dirty them all again, there’s no fish down there anyway. Then the Bible says " and when they had this done, they inclosed a great multitude of fishes: and their NET brake." (Luke 5:6)

No other translation of these verses conveys Simon Peter’s total lack of faith and expectation, as does the King James Version. There are countless numbers of other example of the special way these beautiful truths of God are communicated within the pages of this version of God’s Word once termed, " The Noblest Monument of English Prose."

It’s revisers in 1881 expressed admiration for "its simplicity, its dignity, its power, its happy turn of expression…the music of its cadences, and the felicities of its rhythm." It entered, as no book has, into the making of the personal character and the public institutions of the English-speaking people. We owe to it an immeasurable debt.

The not so good:
By the middle of the nineteenth century, the development of biblical studies and the discovery of many manuscripts more ancient then those upon which the King James Version was based, helped to point out the fact that this version had grave defects, and that these defects were so many and so serious as to call for a revision of the English translation.

The task was undertaken by the authority of the Church of England, in 1870. The English version of the bible was then published in 1881-1885, and the American Standard Version, embodying the preference of the American scholars associated in the work, was published in 1901.

With the discovery of more ancient manuscripts, it was found that many of the passages entered into the King James Version were never part of the original text. Passages such as the following:

Mark 16:9-20, talking about the signs that will accompany a believer …., Driving out demons, speaking in new tongues, picking up snakes and drinking poison etc..

John 7:53 – 8:11, the account of the woman caught in adultery. (Which is a hard one for me because I’ve always wanted to know what Christ wrote in the dirt)

Romans 8:1, the added statement qualifying "no condemnation." Changing the requirement from one condition, that of being ‘in Christ’, to two conditions, that you also "walk not after the flesh, but the Spirit."

I John 5:7,and the first part of verse 8, " for there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, The Word, and The Holy Ghost and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth."

But one of the greatest problem with the King James Version is presented in the English words which are still in constant use but now convey a different meaning from that which they had in 1611.

These words were once accurate translations of the Hebrew and Greek scriptures: but now, having changed in meaning, they have become misleading. They no longer say what the King James translators mean them to say.
The King James Version uses the word:
"Let" in the sense of "Hinder"
"Prevent" to mean "Precede"
"Allow" in the sense of "Approve"
"Communicate" for "Share"
"Ghost" for "Spirit"
"Wealth" for "Well-being"
"Allege" for "Prove"
"Demand" for "Ask"
"Take no thought" for "Be not anxious"
"Perfect" for "Complete"
"Conversation" for "Conduct"

The Bible must not be disguised in phrases that are no longer clear or hidden under words that have changed or lost their meaning. It must stand forth in language that is direct and plan and meaningful to people today.

The Bible is more than a historical document to be preserved, and it is more than a classic of English literature to be cherished and admired. It is the record of God’s dealings with men, of God’s revelation of Himself and His will. It records the life and work of Him in whom the Word of God became flesh and dwelt among man.

The Bible carries its full message, not to those who regard it simply as a heritage to the past or praise its literary style, but to those who read and study it that they may discern and understand God’s word and His true will.
The Canons -
The development of the New Testament Books

Most people think that the Bible has always contained the sixty-six books that they know as the Bible today. They also think that the first century church read from these same books but that is simply not true.

The books that were read in the first century church were the four Gospels, the letters of Paul, the Book of Wisdom and the Book of Enoch. They did not include the Epistles of James because they felt that they contradicted Paul’s Epistles.

AD 140
Marcion, a businessman in Rome, taught that there were two Gods: Yahweh, the cruel God of the Old Testament, and Abba, the kind Father of the New Testament. Marcion eliminated the Old Testament as scripture and since he was anti-Semitic, kept from the New Testament only ten letters of Paul and 2/3 of Luke’s Gospel ( he also deleted references to Jesus being a Jew). Marcion’s "New Testament", the first to be compiled forced the mainstream Church to decide on a core canon: the four Gospels and the letters of Paul.

AD 200
According to one list compiled at Rome in AD 200 (the Muratorian Canon), the New Testament consists of the four Gospels, Acts, and 13 letters of Paul.

AD 367
The earliest extant list of the books of the New Testament, in the number and order in which we presently have them, is written by Athanasius, a Roman Catholic Bishop of Alexandria, in his Festal letter of 367 A.D..

AD 382
The Roman Catholic Pope, Damasus the first, in a letter, listed the New Testament books in their present number and order.
AD 393
The Council of Hippo affirmed the Canon written by Bishop Athanasius.

AD 397
The Council of Carthage reaffirmed the Canon of the Old and New Testaments.

AD 1442
At the Council of Florence, the entire Church recognized the 27 books of the New Testament, though did not declare them unalterable. This Council confirmed the Roman Catholic Canon of the Bible which Pope Damasus I had published a thousand years earlier.

AD 1536
In his translation of the Bible from Greek into German, Martin Luther removed four New Testament books (Hebrews, James, Jude, and Revelation) and placed them in an appendix saying that they were less than Canonical.

AD 1546
Once again the Roman Catholic Church at the Council of Trent reaffirmed once and for all that they have the "infallible decision" to determine the canon of the New Testament and list the 27 books listed by Pope Damasus the first.

It has always been interesting to me that the Protestants in accepting which books are to be included in the New Testament would also have to accept the "Infallible Decision" teaching of the Catholic Church. Because Protestant Scholars like Martin Luther and many others of his time didn’t agree with the Council of Trent. They believed that books like the Epistle of James contradicted the writings of Paul and constituted "Another Gospel" that Paul warned about.

James disagrees with Paul’s teaching of justification by faith alone and in a rebuttal to Paul’s letter to the Romans James writes, "Was not Abraham our father justified by works?" "Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only" James 2: 21,24

But Paul, some two years before had written "What shall we say then that Abraham our father, as pertaining to the flesh hath found? For if Abraham were justified by works, he hath whereof to glory; but not before God.
But to him that worketh not, but believe on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness. Rom 4:1-5

The Gospel that Paul taught stated that it was by grace through faith alone and not by works or laws or speaking in tongues or baptism that a man was to be justified before God.

"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and not of yourselves: it is a gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast." Eph 2: 8,9

"Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law" Rom 3:28

"Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" Rom 5:1

"Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace" (speaking of justification) Rom. 4: 16

The early church was preaching two different Gospels, the gospel of grace and the gospel plus works and law, one to the circumcised and one to the uncircumcised. That’s what Paul meant when he said: "I communicated to them that gospel which I preach. It wasn’t the same gospel that the messianic leaders were teaching.

Paul believed that God had reviled something different to him for the New Testament Gentile believers than that which was contained in the old Mosaic Covenant. As to the dietary laws that were added to the Gentiles by James Paul had already written in I Corinthians 8: 7-13 that when it come to eating food sacrificed to idols "we are no worse if we do not eat , and no better if we do".

Was that written under the inspiration of the same Holy Spirit that said to James "...For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay no greater burden than these necessary things: that you abstain from things offered to idols",

Which are we to believe, James when he says "it seem good to the Holy Spirit" to add these things, or Paul who wrote, "For Christ is the end of law for righteousness to them that believe." And who, when writing to the Galatians concerning the account of the Jerusalem Council in Galatians 2:10 wrote, that they didn’t add anything "only they would that we should remember the poor". Completely omitting the four laws that James added.

The Bible isn’t a "rule book" meant to enslave people to the Law. And it isn’t something that was meant to be used to build various kinds of denominations, most of which are based more on pagan rituals than biblical text. The Bible is a book of Covenants. Therefore, if we fail to understand about Covenants, we will also fail to understand what the Bible is all about. It’s important that we understand which of these Covenants we are under and how they apply to our life.

In the simplest terms, a Covenant is an instrument of agreement. It is a compact made between two or more individuals. Some of the Covenants are conditional others are unconditional. They all have their own set of rules and regulations as well as duration.

Biblical Covenants: (just a few)
The Edenic Covenant (Genesis 1&2, Hosea 6)
The Adamic Covenant (Genesis 3)
The Noahic Covenant (Genesis 9)
The Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12)
The Mosaic Covenant (Exodus 20 – Deuteronomy 28)
The Palistinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 29 & 30)
The Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7, 1 Chronicles 17)
The New Covenant (Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22)
The Eternal Covenant (Hebrews 13 & 2 Timothy 1)
The Blood Covenant (Hebrews 9 & 12)

To use an analogy, the Bible is sort of like having an automobile repair manual that has information in it on several different kinds of automobiles (Covenants). All the information in the manual is good and necessary if you want to understand mechanics, but if you try to apply the information in the chapters on ‘How to repair your Ford’ when working on your Volvo, even if it seems to work, it will never function at the ‘manufactures specifications’.

Many denominations know very little about "rightly dividing the word of truth" or even that it is suppose to be rightly divided. Instead they teach what they call "the full counsel of God", which meant, this week we will fix your car (no matter what you’re driving) with the information in the Covenant on Fords (grace), next week we’ll use the information in the Covenant on Dodges (Law) and the week after that, something else, it all applies.

While it’s true that "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness"
(2 Timothy 3: 16), not all scripture applies to your covenant with God. Case in point, (Genesis 17:10). " This is my covenant with you and your descendants after you, the covenant you are to keep: Every male among you shall be circumcised. You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you". This was part of the Abrahamic Covenant, and as a Gentile it doesn’t apply to me.

Not all Scripture is addressed to the Jew, nor is it all addressed to the Christian, the scriptures need to be rightly divided and applied to the Covenant in which it is addressing. This is very important in understanding scripture and as far as I know there is not one religious group doing this today.

The truth about the Covenants has been buried under a lot of traditions, denominational doctrines and dogmas handed down for generations.

Much of what Christians believe today comes from the Gentile church of the fourth and fifth centuries, from the Catholicism of the middle and dark ages, and from the Protestantism of the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries. And quite frankly, it’s wrong.

God said, "My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge" (Hosea 4:6).