What Really Is the Question?

A few weeks ago the seed of this article was rolling around in my head as I considered the question: Why is it so many people consider the study of Biblical prophecy to be foolishness? Knowing that approximately one-third of the Scripture is prophetic in nature I personally have dedicated my life in service to Christ, to the study and teaching of Biblical eschatology. Anyone who follows what I write is aware that I am continually calling out cultural, institutional, and mainstream “Christianity” and their so-called “churches” for abandoning sound theological doctrine and embracing a liberal theology of compromise, tolerance, and inclusiveness which is no more than dead religiosity.

Now then, since I began ruminating on the question above, the United States and the World have continued their ever accelerating descent into the Last Days, careening from crisis to crisis. From Russia and the Ukraine; to the IS in Syria, Iraq, and now Lebanon and Turkey; to Libya dissolving into anarchy; to Israel’s war against the Hamas terrorists in Gaza, and the resulting rise of anti-Semitism around the world including the US; to the many domestic crisis within the US resulting from the actions of a lawless President and his administration, not the least of which is our open southern border with Mexico. Every time you look at the news (it really doesn’t matter which venue you choose) it seems we’re faced with a new crisis, and almost predictably you will also hear some babbling leftist liberal or deliberately ignorant Islamist supporter, misquoting or taking Scripture out of context in support of the position of the narrative put forth by the “oppressed” terrorists and their liberal supporters, or for the interests of their “progressive” liberal leftist political party. And, follow me here, what boggles the mind is that one part of this group hates Christians (and Jews) and the other part of them call themselves “Christian” while denying the inerrancy of the very Scriptures they are misquoting, and the deity of Jesus Christ.

So, I believe the answer to the question above as well as the larger question as to why Scripture is so often misquoted or taken out of context, can be found within a passage that the Apostle Paul wrote to the church in Corinth. ‘“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God. However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But as it is written: “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God. For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God. These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. But he who is spiritual judges all things, yet he himself is rightly judged by no one. For “who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.”‘ 1 Corinthians 2:2-16

In this passage Paul tells the Corinthians that he has come to teach them about Jesus Christ, and not doing so in his own power, but in the power of the Holy Spirit. He tells them that the wisdom of God is available to them, can be revealed to them, if they love God, and this is done through His Holy Spirit. Jesus Himself promised His disciples; “And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever – the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.” John 14:16 & 17. As He had promised them His Holy Spirit to help them He also told them; “I still have many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you” John 16:12-15. Jesus knew that they could not understand these things with a natural mind, but after He sent the Holy Spirit, their minds would be opened to the very things of God and He would bring them understanding in a spiritual way.

The Holy Spirit’s job is to teach us all things, the deep and intimate things of God. So as Paul taught the Corinthians “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned” 1 Corinthians 2:14, he was telling them that in their natural state (wherein they did not have a belief in Jesus Christ as Messiah and Savior) and without the indwelling of the Holy Spirit they would not “receive (believe) the things of the Spirit of God.” In their state of unbelief they would simply see them as foolishness even though they could understand the written words. He goes on to say that they could not “know them because they are spiritually discerned” which is to say that it requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to have a complete grasp of the Word of God. Anyone can read the Word of God, and anyone can have a rudimentary understanding of what it says, but without a believing faith in Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit cannot teach them spiritual truth.

In his gospel the Apostle John tells us; “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” John 1:1-5. He is speaking here of Jesus Christ, Jesus is the Word! The implication is that every jot and tittle of the written Word is from God. The Apostle Paul writes to Timothy; “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work” 2 Timothy 3:16-17. If we truly believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God breathed into the writers by the Holy Spirit, then we must understand that we need Him to help us comprehend it just as much today as when it was first written. An unbeliever cannot know those things which are spiritually discerned. The god of this age (Satan) has blinded the minds of unbelievers so that they cannot see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ. 2 Corinthians 4:4

The truth of the matter is the Bible is simply not open to interpretation or even analysis by the unbeliever. Without knowing Jesus you cannot know the Word. Even the rulers of Israel, during Jesus’ life, did not know Him, even though they had studied the Word of God every day of their lives. The Scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees didn’t recognize their long-awaited Messiah even when He stood before them. Jesus told them; “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. But you are not willing to come to Me that you may have life” John 5:39-40. They did not see the “Word” which “became flesh” because they did not want to see Jesus as the Christ. No one can see and embrace the truth of the Word of God unless they first come face-to-face with the Word of God, who is Jesus Christ. They must believe in Him for who He is and His finished work of grace for them when He paid their sin debt at Calvary. Without faith in Jesus Christ no one can accept or like truth. When you cannot accept truth you end up embracing worldly values which may satisfy your base desires, but will ultimately leave you devoid of an eternal future.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that unbelievers are intellectually incapable of grasping biblical truth. In fact they do have that capability, but because they reject the truth of the Word of God and who Jesus Christ is, they will be judged for their willful unbelief. The unbeliever or “natural man” may have an intellectual grasp of the entire gospel, but without a embracing it and accepting it as truth in his own life, he rejects God, His Son Jesus Christ, and His indwelling Holy Spirit. Jesus told His disciples; “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life. But there are some of you who do not believe” John 6:63 & 64. So, herein lies the answer to the question, the things of God are spiritually discerned, but unfortunately it’s not just “some” who do not believe today, it is actually a vast majority. And, because they have not the Holy Spirit, they willfully choose to not only ignore biblical prophecy, but the very Word Himself, Jesus Christ.

In 1921 Dr. C. I. Scofield wrote his “Addresses on Prophecy” and within the pages of this book I found this quote. “There is a great deal of the study of prophetic truth, and a great deal of the hearing of the exposition of prophetic truth which has no effect upon conduct or character, simply because it is heard or studied without faith. We bring to it a sort of vulgar curiosity. We desire to know what all these images, and beasts, and horns signify, believing in a way, that there is in them some unfolding of that which is to come to pass, if one can but hit upon the correct interpretation: We may come to the study of prophetic truth with that in mind and derive no profit whatever. It is therefore a believing understanding of prophetic truth which has an influence on either character or conduct.”

As we continue to study biblical eschatology it is my hope and prayer that all of those who blatantly abuse the Word of God will have a face-to-face encounter with Jesus Christ, which transforms them from their liberal ignorance into an active faith. It is also my prayer that in faith they will begin to study and understand God’s prophetic Word. When anyone receives Jesus Christ as his personal Lord and Savior their life begins to change. The natural man that he was, begins to be replaced through the process of sanctification, by the new man who is in Christ Jesus. As he grows in this relationship, the Holy Spirit becomes more and more a reality in his life as he studies the Word of God. The presence of the Holy Spirit in his life enables his mind to know and believe the truth of the Word.

Do you know Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Does His Holy Spirit indwell you? Those of us who study the prophetic Word will tell you that the time to make a decision for Jesus Christ is growing very short. We are living in the Last Days, Jesus Christ will Rapture His Church, and a time of Great Tribulation will then enveloped the earth, followed by the physical return of Jesus Christ to the earth to set up His Kingdom.

Jesus is coming soon!

EvenSoCome

The Church and Sound Doctrine!

Continuing our teaching on the Church built by Jesus Christ, we examine examples of what are considered by most to be representative of the “church” in the world today. Comparing them to the True Church formula, pattern, and appearance (meeting place), we will examine their effect in the world and affect on their members. In doing so I believe we will gain a better understanding of the concept of His Remnant Church, which consists of the faithful believers remaining true to the Doctrine of the Church built by Jesus Christ.

In order to compare these “churches” to the Church, let’s look again at Acts 2:42. As the Church these early believers, followers of Jesus Christ, continued steadfastly in four areas; the Apostles Doctrine, Fellowship, the Breaking of Bread, and Prayer. In Acts 2:43-47 we find some things which resulted from their obedience to Christ in following His divine plan; there was a new respect for the authority of God, the Holy Spirit was active, there was unity in the body, everyone’s needs were met, they worshiped together continually (from house to house), they were thankful and shared meals together in fellowship and praise, and the result was that the body grew.

Are these things evident in the “church” today? Are the four areas the early Church “continued steadfastly” in still being continued in the same way today? In our next few posts we will look at each one in turn and evaluate how the “church” today measures up.

We will begin with the Apostles Doctrine:
Simply put the apostle’s doctrine is those things which they were either taught by Jesus Christ Himself, or had revealed to them by His Holy Spirit. During the days recorded in the book of Acts, these doctrines were of course predominantly given to the Church orally. Since the close of the first century, we have the infallible Word of God which the Holy Spirit breathed into the writers of the New Testament Scripture. Peter testified of this in 2 Peter 1:16-21 and in fact in 2 Peter 1:2&3 he wrote that; “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord, as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,” which knowledge is that given to us in the written Word of God. The Apostle Paul encouraged both Timothy (2 Timothy 4:2) and Titus (Titus 2:1) to Preach or Speak the Word (Sound Doctrine).

Doctrine therefore is found within the Scripture, the Holy Spirit breathed Word of God. And from the time the Apostle John completed recording The Revelation of Jesus Christ in 95 A.D., there has been no additional Scripture given by God. However, Paul warned Timothy that “the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” 2 Timothy 4:3&4. He had also warned Timothy that men would “depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from foods which God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth” 1 Timothy 4:1-3.

Unfortunately today we are living in the day which Paul anticipated. Today many “churches” are led by men whose only goals are self-promotion and the accumulation of wealth, others have become institutionalized through an un-biblical structure of priesthood and catechism or are following denominational instruction and dogma, all of which supplant the Word of God with writings, edicts, and creeds written by men. Many of these who identify themselves as “men of God” claim “new” inspiration or that they have received a “fresh” prophetic word from God. These so-called “preachers” are at best charlatans, with most actually fitting into the category of false prophets.

These are able to deceive their followers because most “church members” are woefully ignorant of the Word of God. If they do have a relationship with Jesus Christ, they are certainly not following the example of the Bereans who “searched the Scriptures daily” (Acts 17:11) to verify whether or not what they are being taught is biblical. This puts them in the position of those described in Ephesians 4:14 as being “tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting…” Christians must be people of the Book, willing to take responsibility for themselves and their relationship to Jesus Christ. In these Last Days, deception will only continue to grow as Satan’s influence compromises the teaching of the Word of God, turning the hearts and minds of men away from Sound Doctrine, to the humanistic, socialistic, narcissistic doctrine of demons.

The Church built by Jesus Christ is one which stands on the Sound Doctrine delivered to us through the Word of God, and only through the Word of God. Again, I implore you to examine your heart, and the place in which you worship, the “church” which you attend. Be Bereans, be people of the Book, study the Word of God, ask the Holy Spirit to help you prove through it, what is Truth and what is false. Do not be followers of men, follow God through His Son Jesus Christ. Because;

Jesus is Coming Soon!

EvenSoCome

to be continued…

The Captain’s Conquerors

Excerpted from “Life on the Highest Plane”

Hebrews 2:10 “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”

The believer should always look upon Satan as a defeated foe. He has already been overcome by the Captain of our host. Any power which he exercises today is only a permitted power that God may get greater glory to Himself through the victory gained by His child before a doubting world, and also that the Christian’s life in Christ may be deepened and strengthened. Satan was permitted through his human tools to stone Stephen to death but through Steven’s gloriously triumphant martyrdom God won the crown jewel from Satan’s diadem, Saul of Tarsus. He was allowed through human instruments to put to death the Lord of glory but in doing it he sent himself to the bottomless pit.

That wicked one has no claim whatever upon one who is born of God and he has no power to harm or hurt him. The believer who is hid with Christ in God and who is one with his ascended Lord has the right to claim the perfect protection which that position provides and to reckon himself as a conqueror in Christ Jesus.

1 John 4:4 “You are of God, little children, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”

Excerpted from “Life on the Highest Plane” by Ruth Paxson 1928

Words of Grace for Strength

We find four significant thoughts in this teaching from Ruth Paxson;

  • Satan is a defeated enemy,
  • the only power that he has is that which our Captain allows him,
  • and regardless of what we may suffer, or how we may be persecuted in this life, no eternal harm can come upon us because ultimately in our Captain we have won the victory.

The Captain of our salvation is Jesus Christ, and through His finished work on the cross of Calvary (His death, burial and resurrection being the proof of His victory), Satan has indeed been defeated. Yet, until our Captain returns in power and great glory to set His feet on the Mount of Olives and set up his earthly Kingdom, Satan remains the ruler of this world.

Therefore, we cannot afford to take Satan for granted even in his defeat, for without Christ we are weak, and the enemy is like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour (1 Peter 5:8). We are not to fear the enemy, for our Lord, our Captain, is greater; but we need be wise to his ways, discerning his intentions. Satan knows our weaknesses and he will exploit them unless we’re standing steadfast in the strength and power of Christ. Seeing Stephen as our example, though he faced a martyr’s death, without fear he proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ and saw his Savior standing to greet him into eternal life.

There is one more lesson to be learned from this excerpt.

  • Our Captain, for His divine purpose and in His will, can change any life, even that of the vilest offender, and mold that life into one of victorious service.

Saul of Tarsus, Saul the persecutor, met the Captain in all His blinding Glory on the road to Damascus. And in Acts chapter 9 we are told that the Lord saw him as a “chosen vessel,” yet He also said; (Acts 9:15) “I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.” 

The world is full of sinfulness and wickedness, and Satan will use every device he has available in these Last Days. One only need to read the book of Revelation to see that in the fullness of Biblical Prophecy. Yet, the outcome is known and will come to pass as prophesied. In the meantime, we need to be obedient to our Lord, and serve Him, our victorious Captain, for there is work He would have us do.

Again, with Saul, now Paul, as our example we can say with him: “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us” Romans 8:16-18.

We would all like to hear a “Well done, good and faithful servant.” (Matthew 25:21) We should all be willing to do the work the Master asks of us and therefore earn His praise; thus to have the opportunity to take the crowns He will place on our heads and cast them in praise and worship at His feet.

We are conquerors, with Christ as our Captain we are soldiers of the cross and nothing can keep us from victory and eternal life. Not even Satan himself.

Romans 8:37-39 “Yet in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him who loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Finally, as soldiers of the cross we need to remember Paul’s words to Timothy.

2 Timothy 3:12-14. “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them.”

Oh Captain, my Captain, my Lord and Savior be,

the Captain of my salvation, in Your death at Calvary,

Your resurrection conquered sin, now you sit at God’s right hand,

so life’s battle I can surely win, if in You I’ll therefore stand!            kdtw 1992