Etikettarkiv | christ

Jesus Christ holds the SCEPTER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS as God in flesh

sceptreHebrews 1:8 But unto the Son he saith, Thy throne, O GOD, is for ever and ever: A SCEPTRE of righteousness is the SCEPTRE of thy kingdom (KJV)

”Scepter” in the New Testament is a translation from the Greek word rhabdos (Strong’s 4464) which could also be translated as rod or staff.

”Scepter” in the Old Testament is a translation from the Greek word shebet (Strong’s 7626), and can also be translated as per above or as ”tribe” or ”clan”. Other synonymous words for ”rod” in the OT is matteh (Strong’s 4294) and choter (Strong’s 2415).

A scepter is a special staff/rod carried by a king or a high official, and in our past it was used as a token of authority and power of the king. Scepters are similar to a shepherd’s rod, except they are much fancier and way more valuable. Christ is told to have a kingdom, and his symbolic scepter is told to be of ”righteousness”. Righteousness is doing what is right, just, pure and pleasing to God, and this means that the Lord Jesus will be totally fair and govern his kingdom righteously.

Below we can find some interesting verses where ”scepter”, and also ”rod” or ”staff” are mentioned.

New Testament (KJV)

Aaron’s rod was one of a kind. It was a sign of authority and power:

Heb. 9:4 Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant;

Compare the below verse with Jacob’s prophesy in Gen. 49:10, to which the author of Hebrews is referring. It’s interesting that Jacob is said to have been leaning upon the top of his staff when he prophesied about the scepter not leaving Judah until Shiloh comes;”The sceptre shall not depart from Judah—”:

Heb. 11:21 By faith Jacob, when he was a dying, blessed both the sons of Joseph; and worshipped, leaning upon the top of his staff

The disciple John saw an extended version of the vision of the future-coming scepter that both Jacob and Balaam saw much earlier in the OT (see further down below). The book of Revelations mentions a man-child who was to rule the nations with a rod of iron, and there are many more descriptions of Jesus Christ:

Rev. 2:25 But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.26 And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations:27 And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.28 And I will give him the morning star.

Rev. 11:1 And there was given me a reed like unto a rod: and the angel stood, saying, Rise, and measure the temple of God, and the altar, and them that worship therein.

Rev. 12:5 And she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all nations with a rod of iron: and her child was caught up unto God, and to his throne.

Rev. 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.12 His eyes were as a flame of fire, and on his head were many crowns; and he had a name written, that no man knew, but he himself.13 And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.14 And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean.15 And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.16 And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, King Of Kings, And Lord Of Lords.17 And I saw an angel standing in the sun; and he cried with a loud voice, saying to all the fowls that fly in the midst of heaven, Come and gather yourselves together unto the supper of the great God;

Old Testament (NKJV) – using the word shebetdove 2

Below is Jacob’s prophesy about the last days concerning Judah. Jacob (Israel) was prophesying over each of his twelve sons and he places the scepter in Judah’s hands. Jacob was speaking of the lineage from which the Messiah would come. The scepter, the sign of power and dominion shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet, Until Shiloh (rest/peace) comes;  And to Him shall be the obedience of the people”. People were apparently supposed to be obedient to the one holding the scepter or this ”Shiloh” who is understood to be the Messiah. The prophesy also suggests that people can trust that the scepter will at least remain in Judah until his arrival. (There is no mention of what will take place after his coming.) From David’s time until the exile, the scepter as always been in Judah. The Roman empire affected the area at the time of the birth of Jesus, and in him both the priesthood and the kingship would be synchronized. Around the time of his death the Jews suggested ”We have no king but Caesar” (John 19:15).

We also recognize more descriptions of the son of man (Jesus Christ) from Revelations:

Gen. 49:“Judah, you are he whom your brothers shall praise; Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; Your father’s children shall bow down before you.9 Judah is a lion’s whelp; From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor a lawgiver from between his feet,Until Shiloh comes; And to Him shall be the obedience of the people.11 Binding his donkey to the vine, And his donkey’s colt to the choice vine, He washed his garments in wine, And his clothes in the blood of grapes.12 His eyes are darker than wine, And his teeth whiter than milk.

Balaam gave numerous prophesies about a star that would come out of Jacob who among other things would be brought out of Egypt.

Numbers 24:1 Now when Balaam saw that it pleased the Lord to bless Israel, he did not go as at other times, to seek to use sorcery, but he set his face toward the wilderness. 2 And Balaam raised his eyes, and saw Israel encamped according to their tribes; and the Spirit of God came upon him.3 Then he took up his oracle and said:“The utterance of Balaam the son of Beor,The utterance of the man whose eyes are opened,4 The utterance of him who hears the words of God,Who sees the vision of the Almighty,Who falls down, with eyes wide open:5 “How lovely are your tents, O Jacob! Your dwellings, O Israel!6 Like valleys that stretch out, Like gardens by the riverside, Like aloes planted by the Lord,Like cedars beside the waters.7 He shall pour water from his buckets, And his seed shall be in many waters.“His king shall be higher than Agag, And his kingdom shall be exalted.8 “God brings him out of Egypt; He has strength like a wild ox; He shall consume the nations, his enemies; He shall break their bones And pierce them with his arrows.9 ‘He bows down, he lies down as a lion; And as a lion, who shall rouse him?’“Blessed is he who blesses you, And cursed is he who curses you.”—17 “I see Him, but not now;I behold Him, but not near; A Star shall come out of Jacob; A Scepter shall rise out of Israel, And batter the brow of Moab, And destroy all the sons of tumult. 18 “And Edom shall be a possession; Seir also, his enemies, shall be a possession,While Israel does valiantly.19 Out of Jacob One shall have dominion, And destroy the remains of the city.”

Hosea 11:1 “When Israel was a child, I loved him, And out of Egypt I called My son.

Matt. 2:13 Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying, “Arise, take the young Child and His mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I bring you word; for Herod will seek the young Child to destroy Him.”14 When he arose, he took the young Child and His mother by night and departed for Egypt,15 and was there until the death of Herod, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying, “Out of Egypt I called My Son.

In the book of Esther we find an interesting story involving a king’s scepter. The queen Esther wanted to speak to the powerful king about an urgent matter and she hoped to find favor in his site so that she could continue to live, despite approaching him without first being asked for. The king chose to do his part, holding out his scepter, and Esther did her part by touching the top of it. This fortunate combination meant that Esther would get life instead of death. In comparison, we may all approach the throne of God without fear, because his son Jesus Christ always has his scepter extended to us. Our job is to repent from our sins to become cleansed and righteous:

Esther 4:11 ”All the king’s servants and the people of the king’s provinces know that any man or woman who goes into the inner court to the king, who has not been called, he has but one law: put all to death, except the one to whom the king holds out the golden scepter, that he may live. Yet I myself have not been called to go in to the king these thirty days.”

Esther 5:2 So it was, when the king saw Queen Esther standing in the court, that she found favor in his sight, and the king held out to Esther the golden scepter that was in his hand. Then Esther went near and touched the top of the scepter.

Ps. 45 is introduced with this information: ”The Glories of the Messiah and His Bride To the Chief Musician. Set to “The Lilies.”A Contemplation of the sons of Korah. A Song of Love”. Psalms/songs in the Bible do not contain any kind of falsehood, but we must be prepared for a certain extent of poetic expressions, comparisons, analogies and metaphors which are not supposed to be understood literally. This particular song seems to be talking about an earthly king, with comparisons with a heavenly king and God himself. V. 45:6 is the source of the famous expression in Heb. 1:8, where God (the Father) is talking to God (the son). Since the long and detailed expression is about God the son in Heb. 1, it is also about God in Ps. 45. We can see references to the Messiah also in Ps. 45 – someone being on the right hand side, a mighty one, being the most fair, riding with righteousness, being anointed with oil, being worshiped, praised, etc. (Read my article about Heb. 1:8 here.):

Ps. 45:1 My heart is overflowing with a good theme; I recite my composition concerning the King;
My tongue is the pen of a ready writer.2 You are fairer than the sons of men; Grace is poured upon Your lips; Therefore God has blessed You forever.3 Gird Your sword upon Your thigh, O MIGHTY ONE,With Your glory and Your majesty.4 And in Your majesty ride prosperously because of truth, humility, and righteousness; And Your right hand shall teach You awesome things.5 Your arrows are sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies; The peoples fall under You.6 Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom.You love righteousness and hate wickedness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.—11 So the King will greatly desire your beauty; Because He is your Lord, worship Him.—17 I will make Your name to be remembered in all generations; Therefore the people shall praise You forever and ever.

Note Ps. 45:7 about joy ”Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of JOY NASB, and compare with Hebrews again:

Heb. 12:2 Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the JOY that was set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of God

John 3:29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of thebridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly because of the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is fulfilled.

Is. 61:10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, My soul shall be joyful in my God; For He has clothed me with the garments of salvation, He has covered me with the robe of righteousness, As a bridegroom decks himself with ornaments, And as a bride adorns herself with her jewels.

”It despises the scepter of my son” according to a prophesy of Ezekiel:

Ez. 21:8 Again the word of the Lord came to me, saying, 9 “Son of man, prophesy and say, ‘Thus says the Lord!’ Say:A sword, a sword is sharpened And also polished!10 Sharpened to make a dreadful slaughter, Polished to flash like lightning! Should we then make mirth? It despises the scepter of My son, As it does all wood.—13 “Because it is a testing, And what if the sword despises even the scepter? The scepter shall be no more,”says the Lord God.14 “You therefore, son of man, prophesy, And strike your hands together. The third time let the sword do double damage. It is the sword that slays,The sword that slays the great men, That enters their private chambers.

ros (1)Old Testament  (NKJV) – using the word matteh

There was a lot of focus on the rod that Moses (and Aaron) used during Exodus. Moses had great use for it when he showed others the power of God, and proved that he himself had been given authority to be the leader of the Israelites on their journey:

Ex. 4:1 Then Moses answered and said, “But suppose they will not believe me or listen to my voice; suppose they say, ‘The Lord has not appeared to you.’”2 So the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”He said, “A rod.3 And He said, “Cast it on the ground.” So he cast it on the ground, and it became a serpent; and Moses fled from it. 4 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail” (and he reached out his hand and caught it, and it became a rod in his hand),5 “that they may believe that the Lord God of their fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has appeared to you.”8 “Then it will be, if they do not believe you, nor heed the message of the first sign, that they may believe the message of the latter sign. 9 And it shall be, if they do not believe even these two signs, or listen to your voice, that you shall take water from the river and pour it on the dry land. The water which you take from the river will become blood on the dry land.”

Ex. 7:19 Then the Lord spoke to Moses, “Say to Aaron, ‘Take your rod and stretch out your hand over the waters of Egypt, over their streams, over their rivers, over their ponds, and over all their pools of water, that they may become blood. And there shall be blood throughout all the land of Egypt, both in buckets of wood and pitchers of stone.

Ex. 14:16 But lift up your rod, and stretch out your hand over the sea and divide it. And the children of Israel shall go on dry ground through the midst of the sea.

Num. 20:Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Take the rod; you and your brother Aaron gather the congregation together. Speak to the rock before their eyes, and it will yield its water; thus you shall bring water for them out of the rock, and give drink to the congregation and their animals.”So Moses took the rod from before the Lord as He commanded him.

Each tribe also had rods, but their rods cannot be compared with the rod that Moses possessed:

Num. 17:2“Speak to the children of Israel, and get from them a rod from each father’s house, all their leaders according to their fathers’ houses—twelve rods. Write each man’s name on his rod.

Jonathan was involved in a dramatic story where he dipped his rod into honey in order to eat from it:

1 Sa 14: 26 And when the people had come into the woods, there was the honey, dripping; but no one put his hand to his mouth, for the people feared the oath. 27 But Jonathan had not heard his father charge the people with the oath; therefore he stretched out the end of the rod that was in his hand and dipped it in a honeycomb, and put his hand to his mouth; and his countenance brightened. 28 Then one of the people said, “Your father strictly charged the people with an oath, saying, ‘Cursed is the man who eats food this day.’” And the people were faint.—42 And Saul said, “Cast lots between my son Jonathan and me.” So Jonathan was taken. 43 Then Saul said to Jonathan, “Tell me what you have done.”And Jonathan told him, and said, “I only tasted a little honey with the end of the rod that was in my hand. So now I must die!”

A psalm by David replete with references to the Messiah Jesus Christ, such as ”The Lord said to my Lord”. Jesus Christ is called Lord of Lords and he is a priest forever, just like it says in Heb. 7:21-24. It is out of Zion from where the rod of strength will come. :

Ps. 110:1 The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”2 The Lord shall send the rod of Your strength out of Zion. Rule in the midst of Your enemies!3 Your people shall be volunteers In the day of Your power; In the beauties of holiness, from the womb of the morning, You have the dew of Your youth.4 The Lord has sworn And will not relent,“You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.”The Lord is at Your right hand; He shall execute kings in the day of His wrath.6 He shall judge among the nations, He shall fill the places with dead bodies, He shall execute the heads of many countries.

Heb. 7:21 (for they have become priests without an oath, but He with an oath by Him who said to Him: “The Lord has sworn And will not relent, ‘You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek’”),—24 But He, because He continues forever, has an unchangeable priesthood.

Old Testament (NKJV) using the word choter 

A rod shall come forth out of the stem of Jesse (king David’s father), and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The Messiah would come from king David’s blood line:

Is. 11:1 There shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots.

Annonser

Paul said that he counted old ”things” loss for Christ, and rubbish or dung – Phil. 3:7-8

samvete

What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ – for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as RUBBISH / Phil. 3:7-8, KJV

In order to understand which ”things” he was talking about, we must of course read the context. The subject of this chapter concerns the issue of Jewish circumcision which is an example of a ceremonial law within the Law of Moses. The Bible tells us that the Law of Moses started with the time of Moses and it lasted until the time of Jesus (Gal. 3:19). Before and after this period man on earth was certainly not supposed to be lawless, and even today we are expected to live according to the Spirit instead of the flesh. Paul tells us in Romans 6 and 8 that if we live according to the flesh we will die and if we live according to the Spirit we will live. That is a condition for salvation – that we must make sure to abide in Christ.

In Phil. 3 Paul is giving serious instructions to the Philippians. He also explains that those who are the ”circumcision” (being circumcised in heart) are those who worship God in the Spirit. (I’ve chosen NKJV here in order to use a more simple language.):

Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation! 3 For we are the circumcision, who worship God in the Spirit, rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh, (NKJV)

Paul further explains that he himself has a background as a Jew under the law, and he thoroughly believed in the idea of circumcision in order to be obedient to the Law of Moses. He is talking about the circumcision which is in the flesh, rather than in the heart. When it comes to the law of Moses, Paul considered himself blameless – as in doing everything to keep all the multiple regulations down to the smallest detail and MORE.

4 though I also might have confidence in the flesh. If anyone else thinks he may have confidence in the flesh, I more so: circumcised the eighth day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; 6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.

However, Jesus explained that the problem with the pharisees was that they were hypocrites and that they did NOT have a clean INSIDE despite their zeal to be obedient to their scriptures. In fact, they lived in lawlessness because they had unclean hearts! We are not under the law if we are led by the Spirit:

Matt. 5:20 For 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. (KJV)

Matt. 23:3 Therefore whatever they tell you to observe that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, and do not do.4 For they bind heavy burdens, hard to bear, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with one of their fingers.—13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; for you neither go in yourselves, nor do you allow those who are entering to go in.—  —25 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of extortion and self-indulgence.26 Blind Pharisee, first cleanse the inside of the cup and dish, that the outside of them may be clean also.27 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you are like whitewashed tombs which indeed appear beautiful outwardly, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and all uncleanness. 28 Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inside you are full of hypocrisy and lawlessness.

Gal. 5:18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law.

Paul compares the status he had as a pharisee under the law of Moses, and which often included works ”to be seen by men”, with the new life in Christ which is not about being seen by men at all but about having a pure heart and by loving our neighbor as yourself. (We are not able to have a pure heart if we still sin. ) Paul gave up his own esteemed life (in the eyes of men) in order to be a servant of Christ, and that means that he also gave up earthly power and instead became an often despised christian. He thought his new life as a christian was well worth it, and he compared his old life – as a highly regarded pharisee – as nothing but dung. ”Loss of all things” could also include other worldly things, which amount to nothing in comparison with the pearl he found in Jesus:

7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ. 8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ

Naturally it was not the Law of Moses that was considered rubbish because God wouldn’t make any bad laws for us during any time. Being obedient to God is never considered rubbish! As a pharisee, Paul didn’t realize that the Law of Moses would pass away, to be replaced with an era where the Holy Spirit is our ruler and Jesus Christ the King. Paul discovered that the new life in Christ was not about obeying the ceremonial Jewish laws any more (as before) but about having faith in Jesus! The righteousness which is from God includes the possibility to be cleansed from our sins in the blood of Jesus who died for our sins, and that happens upon our repentance and our FAITH in Jesus Christ. Repentance means that we confess our sins and make a decision to be servants of Jesus, leading to our new birth. Paul is clear that we are not able to serve two masters and still be saved. The Law of Moses is in our past, but this doesn’t mean that we have no laws to follow. It’s still a sin to murder, steal, commit adultery and lie. It’s still a sin to deny Jesus, to refuse to forgive a brother and to take the mark of the beast. We still risk the wrath of God if we combine obedience with disobedience and refuse to repent. :

 9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith; 10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,

The subject concerns the resurrection from the death, and that is what Paul has in mind when he says that he is not already ”perfected”. Not even Jesus Christ was ”perfected” until after his glorification. We are able to live morally perfect here on earth, but the truth is of course that we have often chosen to be disobedient to God. Paul presses forward in holiness to reach the prize.

11 if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected (”perfect”, KJV); but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. 13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, 14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul refers to ”us, as many as are perfect”, and he encourages the Philippians to walk by the same rule and being of the same mind.

15 Therefore let us, as many as are mature (”perfect”, KJV), have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. 16 Nevertheless, to the degree that we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us be of the same mind.17 Brethren, join in following my example, and note those who so walk, as you have us for a pattern. 18 For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: 19 whose end is destruction, whose god is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame—who set their mind on earthly things. 20 For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Paul also said:

Phil 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain

and Paul made it very clear to the Galatians that it was nothing but wrong to suggest that circumcision (or other ceremonial laws) is a requirement for salvation. Paul was certainly not angry at the Galatians because they continued to teach the importance of avoiding murder, adultery, theft and lies, but about reverting back to the Law of Moses with the ceremonial laws. Being obedient to God by treating our neighbors as we would like to be treated ourselves, is not a sin and nothing to be mad about. If the Galatians were under the impression that circumcision still applied, then also the rest of the 613 still applied. If that is the case, Jesus Christ died in vain. We are saved by faith and not by the Law of Moses. The Law of Moses was to apply until the seed would come which is Jesus, but this doesn’t mean that we have no sets of laws to follow today. We are expected to live according to the Spirit, and if we believe in Jesus Christ, we love him and obey him.

Gal. 3:1  O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?4 Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain.—7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.— 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.20 Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.21 Is the law then against the promises of God? God forbid: for if there had been a law given which could have given life, verily righteousness should have been by the law.22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.26 For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.27 For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.29 And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

”For as in Adam all die” concerns physical death and the RESURRECTION -1 Cor. 15:22

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1 Cor. 15:22 For as in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ shall ALL be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.

The context of 1 Cor. 15:22 makes it clear that the subject is the RESURRECTION. If ALL die in Adam, then the very same ALL will be made alive in Christ. However, ALL people will naturally not be saved as in universalism, and that’s why some people prefer to read this verse as though it says ”As in Adam ALL die, even so in Christ SOME shall be made alive”. In reality we shouldn’t change the wordings in this verse but keep it just as it is – but instead understand it right. We die physically due to Adam because he brought the very first sin into this world which resulted in the severe consequence that we can’t reach the tree of life due to him. We are related to Adam, we choose to sin like him (but certainly not of necessity) and we are heading for physical death whether we want to or not – and that actually includes Jesus who is also related to Adam. Jesus has the power of the whole Universe, and we will all one day be resurrected and judged before his throne. All people will therefore have to go through physical death due to Adam, regardless of how they have lived their lives, and the same ALL people will have to go through the resurrection and stand before the judgment seat, regardless how they have lived their lives. Only those who have endured to the end, by living in the light of Jesus, will thereafter inherit the kingdom of God and live eternally with the Lamb. The verse says that we die due to Adam, but it certainly doesn’t say that we have inherited his sin or that we are born in sin. I still believe that all who can sin have chosen to sin – just like Adam. That’s why we die spiritually and physically.

Hebr. 5:9 And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him

1 Corinthians concerns the resurrection of the BODY, and Paul gives particular details concerning the fate of the believers – because he wants to give them hope and confirmation about what is going to happen in the future.

1 Cor. 15:15 Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.16 For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:17 And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.18 Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.20 But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept.21 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.22 For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.23 But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming.24 Then cometh the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power.

The resurrection applies to both good and evil. We shall ALL be resurrected, but the question is if it’s going to be to eternal life or eternal damnation.

2 Cor. 5:10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Acts 24:15 And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. Acts 4:2 Being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

The tree that could have sustained us – if we could reach it tree2We don’t have access to the tree of life, and that’s actually something to be pleased about now when Adam opened up the can of worms, because who would like to live eternally on this particular planet which is so much affected by decay and much pain?

Gen. 3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:23 Therefore the Lord God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from whence he was taken.24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Rev. 2:7 He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches; To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise of God.

Rev. 22:1 And he shewed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb.2 In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.—14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.15 For without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie.—19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

If Adam was created immortal, which means ”not subject to death”, there wouldn’t be a need for the tree of life because Adam would have been kept alive anyway – regardless of if he ate from this tree or not. Nevertheless, God created Adam with the idea and hope that he would never be disobedient. If Adam would have walked on the right path at all times, God would have made sure to always give him access to the tree of life and he would have been able to live forever. There wouldn’t be a need to die physically as long as the world is pure and like a paradise, and one day in the future we can experience a true paradise, as long as we make sure to remain children of God. Adam died spiritually when he sinned by eating of the forbidden fruit, and his cells started to go through an aging process. He died physically many years later, and all in all he lived 930 years.

Is. 59:2 But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.

Eph. 2:1 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins;2 Wherein in time past ye WALKED according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience:

Col. 2:13 And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses

Rom. 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, FOR that all have sinned: Rom. 7:9 For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.

God says that he who sins shall die, and he refers to a spiritual death. It’s certain that we are all going to die physically whether we sin or not, so if God would have wanted to express that ALL people will die spiritually (or that they are born spiritually dead), he wouldn’t have to single out the sinners. Those who choose to sin will die (spiritually) but not the others, and not those who repent for their sins and continue to keep themselves spiritually clean. Note that the salvation hinges on our own righteousness and what we DO. Not as though we can earn salvation by anything we do (or believe), and not as though we don’t need to be cleansed for our previous sins by God (later on in the blood of Jesus), but the fact of the matter is still that our behavior shows if we are children of God or not.

Ez.18:20 The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.21 But if the wicked will turn from all his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die.22 All his transgressions that he hath committed, they shall not be mentioned unto him: in HIS righteousness that HE hath DONE he shall live.

Read more about Romans 5 here

The IMPUTED righteousness of CHRIST – is not Biblical

And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it [believing God] was IMPUTED UNTO HIM FOR RIGHTEOUSNESS: and he was called the Friend of God. James. 2:23 

hypocriteThe word ”imputed” comes from the Greek word ”logizomai” (Strong’s 3049) which could be translated as ”reckon, count, charge with; reason, decide, conclude; think or suppose”. Notice that it doesn’t mean ”transfer”, but rather ”reckoned” or ”counted as”.

The word is found 41 times in the New Testament, and 4 of those times the word is translated as ”impute” in the KJV.  Rom 4:6-11 and  22-24 have the same Greek word (logizomai) as in James 2:23, and it doesn’t mean ”transfer” there either. These verses use the same word even if they are translated differently:

For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it [believing God] was counted unto him for righteousness. Rom. 4:3

Even as Abraham believed God, and it [believing God] was accounted to him for righteousness. Gal. 3:6

And therefore it [faith] was imputed to him for righteousness. Rom. 4:22

CountedRom 2:26, Rom 4:3, Rom 4:5, Rom 9:8, Reckoned = Luk 22:37, Rom 4:4, Rom 4:9-10 and Rom 6:11, Rom 8:18, Accounted = Rom 8:36, Gal 3:6

We are asked to be righteous just like Jesus is righteous  

This doesn’t mean that the only means to get saved is to have lived a life free of sins just like Jesus did, but neither is the promise”If you only believe in Jesus, he will confirm you as righteous even if you’re not”. First we must be cleansed in the blood of Jesus – upon repentance – and then the idea is to be led by the Spirit and not by the flesh, which no one else will do for us. We are not able to go piggybacking on Jesus.

1 John 3:4 Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law.5 And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.6 Whosoever abideth in him sinneth not: whosoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him.7 Little children, let no man deceive you: HE THAT DOETH RIGHTEOUSNESS IS RIGHTEOUS, EVEN AS HE IS RIGHTEOUS.8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil.9 Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

God’s wrath is still upon us if we sin, and if we are under God’s wrath we are not saved.

John 3:36 He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” (NASB)

Romans 1:18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Romans 2:5 But after thy hardness and impenitent heart treasurest up unto thyself wrath against the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God;

Jesus righteousness cannot be transferred/injected into us and we are not righteous unless we LIVE righteously

Our righteousness does not depend on being injected another person’s righteousness, but our righteousness depends on how we live our lives.  

Jesus lived a perfect life (always being obedient to God the Father) and died on the cross for us, and in THAT WAY he is our righteousness. Had Jesus not lived an obedient life for us, he could not have been our righteousness, because the atonement wouldn’t have been perfect. He is NOT our righteousness because he has transferred his righteousness into us (and neither did he literally take our sins on himself as in some kind of an exchange) to make us righteous in position despite that we still live in sin. It’s important to understand that Jesus did NOT obey our moral obligations for us and instead of us!  The Bible talks about imputed righteousness but NEVER the imputed righteousness ”of Christ.  We can read about the righteousness of GOD throughout the Bible (and that Jesus is righteous), but the idea that God looks upon us and sees the righteousness of Christ in us (or the blood of Jesus) instead of our sin, will result in a license to sin. When God looked at the churches in Revelation, he DID notice their sins and asked them to repent.

We are not justified by the works of the law but by God’s grace, so to say that we need perfect obedience to the Torah to be credited to our account in order to be justified is justification by works instead of justification by grace/mercy. God cannot declare the guilty to be innocent – like in a forensic justification – as that would be a lie, but God can PARDON the guilty and he does so if the guilty person repents from his sins.

Abraham is given as an example when it comes to being righteous/justified through faith, because he was counted as righteous BEFORE the law of Moses started to apply. Not all who have Abraham as a forefather are the children of Abraham and saved, but only those who are spiritually circumcised (in their hearts) and BELIEVE the way he did – and he showed his faith with some amazing deeds (work). Those who WALK as he did and obey God as he did (which is something we DO) are circumcised in heart and the true children of Abraham. We do not deserve salvation by anything we do (or believe) but faith without deeds is dead.  We can read ”blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin”, which shows that all people apparently don’t have sin – namely those whom the Lord do not impute sin. Who are they? They are the ones who have confessed their sins, repented and who walk with Jesus. So when we read ”God imputeth righteousness without works”, it means the works of the law (the Torah and the 613 laws in it), and naturally God wouldn’t impute righteousness to Abraham if he only sat under a tree and ”believed” without showing his faith by OBEDIENCE. Not obedience to the law of Moses (which didn’t exist at the time) but obedience to GOD.

When it comes to Rom. 4:6, it doesn’t say that a person is especially appreciated and blessed if he doesn’t have any works to show up at all and that he only has ”faith alone”. If that were true, it would mean that the less works we have, the more blessed we are and the better it is. No, Paul’s point is to get the jews to understand that they are not saved due to being born Jews and/or for obeying the Torah (613 laws), but a person is blessed/saved if he repents from his sins, believes in Jesus and through this procedure becomes cleansed from his sins. Those are blessed whose trespasses are FORGIVEN, because then God will not impute sin to them. Does this wonderful promise only apply to the Jews? No, Paul wants them to understand that also the uncircumcised (the gentiles) have his promise which is by faith and not by law. Notice how many times we can read about ”circumcision”, so this is what is in focus (the ceremonial law) because the Jews were so concerned about it.

Rom. 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.4 Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt.5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.6 Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works,7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered.8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.9 Cometh this blessedness then upon the circumcision only, or upon the uncircumcision also? for we say that faith was reckoned to Abraham for righteousness.10 How was it then reckoned? when he was in circumcision, or in uncircumcision? Not in circumcision, but in uncircumcision.11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.—20 He staggered not at the promise of God through unbelief; but was strong in faith, giving glory to God;21 And being fully persuaded that, what he had promised, he was able also to perform.22 And therefore it was imputed to him for righteousness.23 Now it was not written for his sake alone, that it was imputed to him;24 But for us also, to whom it shall be imputed, if we believe on him that raised up Jesus our Lord from the dead;

James doesn’t contradict what Paul is saying. James says that Abraham was justified BY WORKS, and not faith alone. Are we perhaps teaching salvation by works if we choose to quote James?

James 2:18 Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.19 Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.20 But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead?21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?22 Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect?23 And the scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God.24 Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.25 Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way?26 For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. 

Paul is not disappointed with the Galatians for their suggestion that it’s still necessary to obey the ten commandments faith alone 3

In the letter to the Galatians, the reason for Paul’s objection to Galatians’s attitude is NOT because they wanted to return to silly old laws such as the ten commandments – just like ”Do not kill, steal, lie or commit adultery”. Why would he be disappointed or upset about that? Those commandments have been in use ever since the days of Adam, and they never cease to apply. No, Paul was disappointed with their teaching that circumcision – which is a ceremonial law in the Torah – was still necessary for salvation. The ceremonial laws are not necessary for salvation, but the law of love certainly is (and the ten commandments provide details of how the law of love works). Paul makes a different between the works of the law (Torah), and the obedience of the holy Spirit.  The Torah was our  schoolmaster to keep us in order  until the arrival of Jesus – after Jesus death the holy Spirit took over as our guide – and we’re supposed to have the law of love in our hearts. We will never be ”free” from the requirement to love God and our neighbor as ourselves, and as long we are slaves to sin (obey sin) we are definitely not free.

Acts. 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Gal. 3:5 He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?6 Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.7 Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.9 So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham.10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse: for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law to do them.11 But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith.12 And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.— 19 Wherefore then serveth the law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.—22 But the scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe.23 But before faith came, we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Paul makes it clear that sinning = spiritual death (also for christians).

Gal. 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.17 For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.18 But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye are not under the law.19 Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,20 Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies,21 Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

The significance of having our faith ”imputed” as righteousness, is that God forgives us our transgressions and treats us as though we have never sinned. This means that our sins disappears (without taking a detour in the body of Jesus) and God doesn’t have to LIE to declare us not guilty.  We are 100% cleansed when we are forgiven and free from our sins, but it doesn’t say ”once cleansed always cleansed”. If we become dirty once again, we’re back at square one.

2 Cor. 5:19 To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.filthy pig

2 Pet. 2: 18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.19 While they promise them liberty, they themselves are the servants of corruption: for of whom a man is overcome, of the same is he brought in bondage.20 For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning.21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.22 But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.

Jesus is the Messiah who the Scriptures and the Prophets write about – God in flesh

Jesus birthJesus Christ is the Messiah 

Messiah is a translation from the Greek word Χριστός (Christos) Strong’s 5547, and is used 538 times in the Bible, and it can also be translated as ”the annointed”. So Jesus Christ means Jesus the Messiah

Jesus is identified as the Messiah several times in the Bible, so we can’t get around the fact that the son of Joseph and Mary was the promised Messiah that the Old Testament so often is speaking about through prophets and psalms.

Matt. 1:16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.17 So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

The well-known story about the wise men who looked for the star of Bethlehem, shows that they knew that the Messiah would be born there just as promised in the Scriptures. They expected the Messiah in form of a ”King” and a ”governor”, which is a shepherd, and that’s exactly what Jesus was called several times. The Messiah was supposed to be come from the tribe of Judah – which is the tribe that Jesus came from.

Matt. 2: 1 Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel. (Mika 5:2,  2 Sam 5:2, 1 Chr 11:2,  John 7:42).

The people understood that the son of man is the same as the Messiah, and they asked Jesus how come he says that the son of man must be lifted up when the Scriptures say that the Messiah shall abide for ever. Jesus then tells them that he is the light that they must believe in, in order to be children of light and also that he will continue to be a light for them for a little while more.

John. 12:34 The people answered him, We have heard out of the law that Christ abideth for ever: and how sayest thou, The Son of man must be lifted up? who is this Son of man?35 Then Jesus said unto them, Yet a little while is the light with you. Walk while ye have the light, lest darkness come upon you: for he that walketh in darkness knoweth not whither he goeth.36 While ye have light, believe in the light, that ye may be the children of light. These things spake Jesus, and departed, and did hide himself from them.

Jesus equals the Messiah with the son of man, and when he speaks about his return to earth he warns us and tells us not to be deceived about who the Messiah really is, since it will be clear for everyone. If we feel any kind of uncertainty in this respect, it’s not the Messiah because his return will be like the lightning before all people.

Matt. 24:And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.—23 Then if any man shall say unto you, Lo, here is Christ, or there; believe it not.24 For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.25 Behold, I have told you before.26 Wherefore if they shall say unto you, Behold, he is in the desert; go not forth: behold, he is in the secret chambers; believe it not.27 For as the lightning cometh out of the east, and shineth even unto the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.

If only God the Father is God and the only one to be given glory, then the holy Spirit should testify only of HIM (God the Father), but Jesus suggests that the holy Spirit testifies of HIM (Jesus).

John 15:26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of ME

Jesus Christ was crucified for the reason that he claimed to be the son of God, the Messiah and God in flesh. Jesus constantly connected the God name ”I AM” to himself, which he does also in the below verses when he responds to the questions from the high priest. If Jesus wouldn’t be the Messiah, then a more truthful answer would be a ”NO WAY! It would be blasphemy to call oneself for the son of God so of course I don’t do this!”, but that was not the response that Jesus gave, but rather ”I AM”. The high priest understood immediately that Jesus was guilty of blasphemy and rent his clothes, and the jews around him viewed him as guilty. Guilty of what? Blasphemy! To make oneself equal with God.

Mark 14:60 And the high priest stood up in the midst, and asked Jesus, saying, Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?61 But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?62 And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.63 Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses?64 Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death.

Also Paul equals Christ with Jesus – the one who God rose up from the dead and placed on his right hand side – just like the prophesies say in Scriptures. King David described it as ”The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand”, despite that the Bible makes it clear that there is only ONE Lord and ONE God. The trinity solves this problem beautifully. Both God the Father and Jesus Christ is Lord of Lords.

Acts 2: 31 He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption.32 This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses.33 Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear.34 For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand,35 Until I make thy foes thy footstool. (Ps. 110:1)

Acts 18:And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

John the Baptist calls Jesus for the lamb of God, and Andrew says to his brother that they have found the Messiah, and he leads Peter to Jesus.

John 1:35 Again the next day after John stood, and two of his disciples;36 And looking upon Jesus as he walked, he saith, Behold the Lamb of God!37 And the two disciples heard him speak, and they followed Jesus.38 Then Jesus turned, and saw them following, and saith unto them, What seek ye? They said unto him, Rabbi, (which is to say, being interpreted, Master,) where dwellest thou?39 He saith unto them, Come and see. They came and saw where he dwelt, and abode with him that day: for it was about the tenth hour.40 One of the two which heard John speak, and followed him, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother.41 He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.42 And he brought him to Jesus. And when Jesus beheld him, he said, Thou art Simon the son of Jona: thou shalt be called Cephas, which is by interpretation, A stone.

We can read about the lamb of God in Revelations, and we can read about people who sing to the lamb and also call him Lord God almighty, and King of saints. They say that he alone is holy, for all nations shall come and worship him. But God the Father is of course HOLY too, and that means again that they share the same godhead. Each person in a godhead can be holy.

Rev. 15:And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.And they sing the song of Moses the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb, saying, Great and marvellous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints.Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy: for all nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest.

The Scriptures speak about Jesus Christjesus12

Peter speaks about Jesus Christ and says that peace is given by him who is Lord of all.  Jesus is the one who God ordained to be the judge of the living and the dead, and Peter says that all the prophets witness about him and explains that whosoever believes in him shall receive remission of sins.

Acts. 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)—39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:—42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

If we don’t believe in the one who the Father has sent, we are in big trouble. Jesus says that the Scriptures (that is the old testament) testify of him, and that Moses wrote about him. The jews who Jesus was talking to refused to believe that Jesus was sent by God and that means that they did not have his word abiding in them. If they truly believed Moses, they would also believe that Jesus is the one who he says he is. Even today there are many cults that refuse to believe that Jesus is the Messiah and coequal with God the Father.

John. 5:37 And the Father himself, which hath sent me, hath borne witness of me. Ye have neither heard his voice at any time, nor seen his shape.38 And ye have not his word abiding in you: for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not.39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.-46 For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me; for he wrote of me.47 But if ye believe not his writings, how shall ye believe my words?

Paulus says that the law and the prophets are witnessing about a righteousness that can be given through faith in Jesus Christ.

Rom. 3:21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets;22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference:

Jesus says here again that the prophets are writing about him, and he shows that the suffering that the Scriptures say awaits the Messiah is tied to him (Jesus) because he IS the promised Messiah, and he DID suffer for mankind on the cross. Moses, the prophets and psalms testify of Jesus, so when we read in these old books in the old testament we can see stories about Jesus Christ who – from their point of view – is yet to come in the future in the form of flesh. When we read the complete Bible today, including the new testament, this event has of course already happened.

Luke 24:13 And, behold, two of them went that same day to a village called Emmaus, which was from Jerusalem about threescore furlongs.14 And they talked together of all these things which had happened.15 And it came to pass, that, while they communed together and reasoned, Jesus himself drew near, and went with them.—21 But we trusted that it had been he which should have redeemed Israel: and beside all this, to day is the third day since these things were done.—24 And certain of them which were with us went to the sepulchre, and found it even so as the women had said: but him they saw not.25 Then he said unto them, O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory?27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself.—44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Jesus reads from the Scriptures in his home town, and says that what can be read in Isaiah 61 is about himself.

Luke 4:16 And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up: and, as his custom was, he went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and stood up for to read.17 And there was delivered unto him the book of the prophet Esaias. And when he had opened the book, he found the place where it was written,18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.22 And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?

Isaiah 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;–For I the Lord love judgment, I hate robbery for burnt offering; and I will direct their work in truth, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them.—10 I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.11 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.

Paul explains that Jesus is the stumbling stone for the jews, or actually for anyone who refuses to believe that Jesus is the promised Messiah, God’s son and God with us. Many cults are interested in raising up stumblingstones for us, and they are eager to teach that Jesus is not God in flesh.

Rom. 9:32 Wherefore? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were by the works of the law. For they stumbled at that stumblingstone;33 As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. (Isaiah 10:21-22)

Isaiah 8:13 Sanctify the Lord of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.14 And he shall be for a sanctuary; but for a stone of stumbling and for a rock of offence to both the houses of Israel, for a gin and for a snare to the inhabitants of Jerusalem.15 And many among them shall stumble, and fall, and be broken, and be snared, and be taken.16 Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.17 And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him.18 Behold, I and the children whom the Lord hath given me are for signs and for wonders in Israel from the Lord of hosts, which dwelleth in mount Zion.

Isaiah 28:16 Therefore thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I lay in Zion for a foundation a stone, a tried stone, a precious corner stone, a sure foundation: he that believeth shall not make haste.

Paul reasoned with people and explained to them that the Scriptures speak about Jesus and that he must suffer as the Messiah, but also rise again. There is a division between those who believe in Jesus as the promised Messiah and those who don’t.

Acts. 17:And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

Below we can read in multiple places that the Scriptures speak about Jesus Christ as the holy one – the Messiah. God gives Jesus Christ GLORY – despite that we can also read in the Scriptures that God doesn’t share his glory with anyone. (This means Jesus must be God.) Moses explained that God would send a prophet ”like unto me” (as a leader for Israel and for all people who would unite with them) and that it’s of great importance that we listen to this prophet who is the Prince of life, and who has the power to bring either life or judgment. Since eternal life is given through faith and obedience in Jesus Christ (Hebr. 5:9), which includes the acceptance that Jesus has come in the flesh (1 John. 4:2), some religious cults do what they can to teach the opposite message – that Jesus is NOT the Messiah nor God in flesh.

Acts 3:13 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go.14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.16 And his name through faith in his name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by him hath given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.17 And now, brethren, I wot that through ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.18 But those things, which God before had shewed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he hath so fulfilled.19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord.20 And he shall send Jesus Christ, which before was preached unto you:21 Whom the heaven must receive until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began.22 For Moses truly said unto the fathers, A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you.23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

Jesus was together with the israelites during Exodusjesus13

Jesus is the ROCK that followed the israelites during Exodus.

1 Cor. 10:1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;And were all baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;And did all eat the same spiritual meat;And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.But with many of them God was not well pleased: for they were overthrown in the wilderness.Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play.Neither let us commit fornication, as some of them committed, and fell in one day three and twenty thousand.Neither let us tempt Christ, as some of them also tempted, and were destroyed of serpents.

Jude 1:For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

The penal substitution theory is not Biblical – youtube film about the atonement of Christ

Do check Jesse Morell’s film about ”The vicarious atonement”, and do read the text under it. The penal substitution theory is not what the Bible describes and it’s actually a rather modern theory since it was birthed by Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109) AD). It’s better to say ”Jesus died as a sin offering for the remission of sins”, instead of  ”Jesus paid four our sins, was punished instead of us and took the wrath of God instead of us”. The last suggestion might lead to a reformed (calvinistic) type of  thinking in order to save this unbiblical doctrine.

”Paul said, “God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe” (1 Tim. 4:10). “For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it” (Heb. 4:2). The atonement does not automatically or unconditionally save anyone; rather, it saves those who meet the conditions of repentance and faith. ”

”The fallaciousness of such a statement would be repeated if a person said, “Public schools do not exist to make education available to the public, but to actually educate students.” The truth is that public schools exist to do both. They exist to make education available to all while making it actual for those who have enrolled. In fact, education could not become actual unless it was first made available.”

”In the same way, Christ came to make salvation available to all, but salvation only becomes actual for those who are converted.”   

”The Penal Substitutionary atonement does ultimately necessitate either universalism or limited atonement.”

”If Jesus took the penalty that our sins deserved, it would be unjust for us to be punished. But then we are saved by justice, not grace. We could demand salvation instead of beg for it. If Jesus paid our debt, there is nothing left for God to forgive. So salvation would be void of any forgiveness. But the Bible says that Jesus died for the forgiveness of sins, that through His atonement there is forgiveness. His death, therefore, could not have been the punishment of our sins. Jesus taught us to pray for God to forgive us our debt. His death therefore could not have been the payment of our debt. This is why Calvinists like Albert Barnes and Jonathan Edwards rejected the Penal view of the atonement because it is void of any grace or forgiveness in our justification.”

”The Bible says without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins. The Greek word remission means to remit penalty. That means through the atonement our penalty is remitted. The atonement itself, therefore, could not have been the penalty that we deserved. The penalty that we deserve is eternal hell, that is the penalty of the law, not crucifixion or physical death. Jesus did not suffer eternal hell, therefore He did not take our literal penalty.” 

”In forgiveness, God turns from His wrath. Forgiveness is not the satisfaction of His wrath. ”

Descent into error (about division among christians due to doctrines)

Thanks to blog.savetheperishing.com

This is the true story of a witnessing team’s birth and its subsequent fall into the errors of Calvinism by some of its members. I decided to write this as a warning to others who may be involved with Calvinists who evangelize or who may be on the verge of embracing the doctrine.  Looking back on my experience I am amazed at the subtle shift in behavior, doctrine, interpretation, attitude and mindset of the group due to Calvinism.  Its interesting to see how a doctrine like this can change humble, smart, loving people into prideful, contradictory, unthinking, unloving people.  It wasn’t one thing per se that caused problems nor was it one person but an accumulation of events with many people over a few years.  It took me a several years of prayer and bible study to come to the conclusions I am writing about in these posts.

Way of the Master Radio

One day in 2006 I heard on the radio that Kirk Cameron, the actor, had his own Christian ministry.  I decided to do a google search on him.  The Way of the Master website popped up and I started reading its material and watching the witnessing videos.  They also had a radio show where they record themselves witnessing to others.  I decided to share this with my friends.

What started out as a mere curiosity turned into a full-blown ministry.  Some of my friends and I took Way of the Master classes, read their books, and studied the bible to see if this method of evangelism were true.  It seemed to be so we started witnessing to the lost using this method.

For the first two years it was great.  We would go to the bus stops or the Sprint Center downtown, perhaps to a festival, we had the ministry listed in our church’s bulletin so we could have others join us if they wanted to, we could see God moving in the conversations we had with the lost.

Along the way we had others join our group and 4 of them were Calvinists.  We didn’t have Calvinists in our group before and at the time I was undecided on the doctrine but was leaning away from it.  Months later I started to notice some disturbing trends emerging in the witnessing group.

Shift of Interpretations

I was at my friends house before a bible study and there were four us standing in the kitchen.  We were talking about the lost and then the verse from  1 Corinthians 1:18 came up, “the preaching of the gospel is foolishness to those who are perishing.”   Up to this point we had understood this mean’t the gospel is foolishness to those who have pride and think they are good.  This is the context of Corinthians and was in fact taught this way by Ray Comfort on the Way of the Master Training Course.  In other words, “Why would you preach the gospel to me?  I’m not a sinner!  I’m a good person!  Go preach to a sinner.”  The preaching of the cross is foolishness to someone with… pride.

While I was standing in the kitchen I was amazed to hear the reason why the “preaching of the cross is foolishness” is because sinners are “totally depraved” and unable to believe.  When I objected to that interpretation another verse was used, taken out of context, to further demonstrate how total depravity is true.  While it is true “totally depraved” sinners have pride it is also true Christians have pride, so I can’t say the reason why people have pride is because they are totally depraved.  Besides, the chapter in Corinthians we were discussing has nothing to do with total depravity.  It has to do with the pride of man and how God uses the weak things of the world to confound the wise.

What in the world was going on?

The Gospel Tract Enigma

When we witnessed we mainly gave out million dollar bill tracks.  They look like a real million dollar bill even though there is no such thing as a million dollar bill.  Several times after an evening of witnessing we would either have dinner or meet afterwards for fellowship.  Some questions would arise in the minds of my friends who later became Calvinists.  “Why do certain people take the tracks we give out and others don’t?  Its a mystery they say.  Twenty people don’t take a tract and then a bunch of people do.”  Some concluded this MUST MEAN God is drawing only those people who took the tract.

There are many reasons people don’t take tracts:

1) They think its a political ad because there is a president on it.

2) They think we are selling something and aren’t interested in buying.  This is a normal reaction.  People rarely give away material to people without selling something.

4) People in the back who see people in the front reject the tract also reject it.  “If the person ahead of me didn’t take it than I probably don’t want it either.”

5) Maybe they are upset, or tired, or who knows how many other reasons for avoiding taking a leaflet from a stranger.

There are many reasons for people taking tracts as well:

1) They are curious about what it is.

2) They like political ads.

3) They don’t want to be in an awkward situation where they must reject what someone is freely giving them so they take it.

4) People in front of them grab one so they grab one.

5) God is drawing them.

Calvinists attribute everything that happens to God.  While Calvinists vary in their opinion as to the amount of control God has on His creation many believe natural disasters, and even sin as something God has ordained, so its not a surprise the people in the witnessing group are focusing on why certain people take a gospel tract.

When I mentioned to them the different reasons why people may grab or not grab a tract it went in one ear and out the other.  Suggesting these ideas makes their exciting discovery that God controls everything not so exciting.

Popular Preachers and Popery

My friends in the group spent a great deal of time listening to Calvinist preachers such as Paul Washer, Alestair Begg, John MacArthur, James White, RC Sproul, and John Piper to name a few.  If you spend all your time listening to Calvinists preachers you will eventually be… a Calvinist.  Particularly if you spend more time listening to them than reading the bible for yourself allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret the Word.  Every Calvinist I have known or debated with spend far more time reading reformed titles, or listening to popular reformed preachers than they do reading the bible.

After they do this they believe Calvinism and then later tell me how “God opened my eyes to this truth.”  How deceived they must be to think “God opened my eyes” when in reality they spent more time reading theinterpretations of men rather than the words of God.  They have not learned the “deeper things” of God but rather what someone else thinks the bible says.  How can they possibly say “God opened my eyes” when in fact they are being told what to believe by human fallible preachers?  Are they confusing a preacher as God Himself?  Is this the Catholic church with a magisterium who speaks infallibly for God?  It seems so.

This is called indoctrination and thats what happened to the witnessing group over time.  They were becoming indoctrinated right before my eyes.

I used to be a Catholic and after that I was in the occult for several years.  Its not difficult to be indoctrinated, all you have to do is keep on listening, and believing it little by little until eventually it will take hold.  Before I was a Christian I was on the brink of worshiping the Earth due the shamanistic teachings I was studying.  I had the sudden realization that the next step in my learning was to worship the earth.  It made sense because of what I learned and knew.  Once I realized I was about to do this I stopped myself because deep down I knew it was wrong.  As a side note how would I know it was wrong?  I was “totally” depraved!  Perhaps the concept of total depravity is wrong, but thats another topic for another post.

Listening to the same preachers over and over again amounts to a type of popery similiar to the Catholic church.  Instead of one person as a pope there are several that teach the same things.  These people cannot be questioned because they are “Godly” men who preach hard on sin.  They couldn’t possibly be wrong about this doctrine!  They spend all their time studying this and are smarter than us, they know Greek and use fancy theological terms such as “doctrines of grace.”  Who am I to question them?

Oh what an insult to Christ!  The Holy Spirit, through His Word, is “unable” to teach believers better than men!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying to forsake all preachers…I’m saying their interpretations are not the final word.  If you spend more time listening to other human beings than reading God’s Word you do indeed have a Pope, whether its in the form of one preacher or many.  If someone asks you “What do you believe about election” and your answer is “Read this book by James White” or “Here is an article on this by John Piper” or “Here is a sermon from RC Sproul” or “Here are some commentaries on this” you may possibly have a “pope” in your life telling you what to believe.

An objection to what I just wrote might be “I don’t have time to write a full answer to your questions, its easier to show you what <insert preachers name> believes.”  Yes I know.  You have spent so much time studying the interpretations of others you know what these other preachers believe.  Thats my point!  Do you honestly think you can listen to preachers everyday in podcasts or on the radio and not be influenced by them?  The reason you are listening to them is because you WANT to be influenced by them.  Perhaps its true you don’t have enough time to study.  Maybe your job forces you to drive frequently or you have many family responsibilities.  If thats true, why not listen to the bible on CD instead of a preacher most of the time?  Are you confident enough in the abilities of the Holy Spirit to teach you directly through His Word?

Furthermore if you know words like “monogerism” or  “synergism” or if you automatically think since I am not a Calvinist that makes me an “Arminian” or I’m a “free-willer” you spend way too much time studying the writings of men rather than the word of God.

The extent to which this idea of popery was entrenched in the witnessing group was made evident one day.  Tony Miano, a well known Calvinist who evangelizes, was saying some things to sinners on video which were questionable and confusing.  When someone in the witnessing group was asked to reexamine what Tony said he refused to do it.  He felt examining Tony would make him “sick” because he is after all a “Godly” man who apparently cannot be questioned.  Accusing Tony of teaching questionable doctrines would definitely disrupt the peace among the group and we can’t have that!

This is a far cry from the Bereans who examined what the Apostle Paul had to say to see if what he said was true.

It seems the witnessing group is not so interested in truth after all.

Cont.:

Descent Into Error Part 2 – Mottos to live by?
“Descent Into Error” Part 3 – Judgement Without Discernment
“Descent Into Error” Part 4 – Love waxes cold to the unsaved
“Descent Into Error” Part 5 – The Bible as a spell-casting device