Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #6

Sunday, July 15, 2012

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Do we in the Dispensation of Grace have any relation to the three baptisms of today’s Scripture?

BAPTISM #2: THE BAPTISM WITH THE HOLY GHOST

Baptism with the Holy Ghost is another confused topic, especially within charismatic circles (seeking the “gift of tongues”). Oftentimes, today’s church members try to follow Acts chapter 2, which they claim is key to “spirituality” (actually, stealing Israel’s doctrine on Pentecost and applying it to us has only caused apostasy).

The above confusion regarding the doctrine of the Holy Ghost baptism is immediately dispelled when we, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth(2 Timothy 2:15). When we study God’s Word dispensationally, we understand that all of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.

We are the Church the Body of Christ, so we must be careful to never confuse ourselves with the nation Israel (which the professing “Church” has done for almost 2,000 years!). All this talk in religion about “being baptized with the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking in tongues” is predicated on the false presumption that Acts chapter 2 is our pattern. Pentecost is a Jewish feast day, and has nothing to do with us Gentiles.

Acts chapter 2 does not belong in our dispensation: There is one baptism” for our Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5). What is it? “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). Our baptism is not Christ baptizing us with the Holy Ghost” (Pentecost; today’s Scripture). When someone places his or her faith in Jesus Christ alone as personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit baptizes that person into the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ baptizing Israel with the Holy Ghost is totally unrelated to our baptism by the Holy Ghost into the Body of Christ.

Be Not Blinded by ‘Bright Lights!’

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

“Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, and not holding the Head [Christ]…” (Colossians 2:18,19a KJV).

Religious—and even nonreligious—people claim to see heavenly “visions” or angelic creatures (“Mary,” “Jesus,” “deceased relatives,” et cetera). Seeking monetary gain, some have written “Christian” books discussing how they allegedly died, visited heaven (or even hell!!!), and then returned to earth. Are these experiences of God?

“Bright lights” and “supernatural” visits do not belong in our dispensation. Look at today’s Scripture: those people are intruding into those things which [they] have not seen….” Interestingly, modern “bibles” omit “not,” stating the opposite of the King James Bible!!!

Our sin-tainted minds and our deceptive emotions can get so hyped up about having a particular religious experience that it seems to come to pass (when it actually did not happen). We imagine we see things (“angels,” “devils,” et cetera) that are not really appearing. Beware; Satan and his “seducing spirits” use these phenomena to draw us away from the truth of God’s Word (1 Timothy 4:1).

Notice the Bible’s description of false teachers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light (2 Corinthians 11:13,14). Satan is the master counterfeiter: he wanted to be “like the most High” (Isaiah 14:14). Satan appears not as an evil-looking monster, but as “an [INNOCENT-LOOKING] angel of light!”

Paul wrote, “But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed(Galatians 1:9). Why would any “angel” “appear” to you in this the Dispensation of Grace? It would only be to deceive you! Angels have no ministry to us; their ministry and appearances belong in Israel’s program.

The Bible is the Final Authority, not emotional experiences. Let no one trick (“beguile”) you with false teaching… that includes preachers, “angels,” and “dead saints!”

The Jews Require a Sign

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

“For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom:” (1 Corinthians 1:22 KJV).

Today there is much discussion in Christendom about signs, miracles, and wonders. Charismatic preachers filled with the supposed “Holy Ghost” claim they cast out devils, handle snakes, speak in tongues, heal the sick, and, yes, allegedly raise the dead! The Bible does teach these practices, but are they really doing God’s work, or merely “wresting” God’s Word to make it say something God never said?

Unquestionably, the Lord Jesus Christ told His apostles to “heal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils” (Matthew 10:8). He instructed them to “cast out devils,” “speak with new tongues,” “take up serpents,” drink poison, and “lay hands on the sick [so] they shall recover” (Mark 16:17,18). But, notice the context—Jesus is sending His apostles with “signs” to lost Israel (Matthew 10:5-7; Mark 16:17,20). Jews will only believe if they first witness God’s miracles.

Signs, miracles, and wonders were significant in Israel’s program. Jews always “required signs” (today’s Scripture). The Lord Jesus said (John 4:48): “Except ye [Israel] see signs and wonders, ye will not believe.” Miracles in Israel first appear in Exodus 4:1-9, when God gave Moses the ability to heal sickness and handle snakes (to teach Israel that he was God’s servant to deliver them from Egypt). Verses 30 and 31 explain that once Israel saw these signs, “the people believed” (cf. John 4:48).

Jesus performed many miracles during His earthly ministry to prove to Israel that He was God’s servant, their Messiah-King, the God whom their fathers worshipped. Sadly, sinful Israel crucified Him in unbelief.

When God began turning to the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul, these miracles transferred to the Gentiles, teaching Israel that God was now working amongst the Gentiles (Romans 11:11,12; 1 Corinthians 14:21,22). Eventually, when Israel’s program ceased, these miracles faded, and at the close of Paul’s ministry, he could no longer heal (1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20).

So, it begs the question, today’s charismatic preachers are using whose power to perform their “signs, miracles, and wonders?” Not the God of the Bible!

Do We Have Guardian Angels?

Monday, February 6, 2012

“The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them” (Psalm 34:7 KJV).

Today’s Scripture is one of the scores of verses that speak of “guardian angels.” But do we have guardian angels today, in our Dispensation of Grace?

Throughout the Old Testament, angels protected and guided the nation Israel (Exodus 23:20,23; Exodus 33:2; Judges 6:11,12; 2 Kings 19:35; et al.). “For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways. They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone” (Psalm 91:11,12).

In the New Testament, angels ministered to Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry (Matthew 4:11; Luke 22:43). Angels rescued the imprisoned apostles (Acts 5:18-26) and delivered the Apostle Peter from prison (Acts 12:1-11). Yet, when we come to our Apostle Paul, God uses an earthquake—not an angel—to free him from prison (Acts 16:23-28). Why?

Notice what Paul writes about angels today. They should not be worshipped (Colossians 2:18) and that, if a supposed “angel” appears to us today, it would do so only to deceive by preaching to us a false gospel (Galatians 1:8; cf. 2 Corinthians 11:14). But, Paul’s epistles are silent about guardian angels in our Dispensation of Grace. We are not guaranteed physical protection with angels like God promised Israel, but we Christians have some better: we have eternal spiritual protection because the indwelling Holy Spirit is guarding our souls (Ephesians 4:30; cf. Romans 8:35-39).

Furthermore, Paul writes that, while angels have no ministry to us today, we have a ministry to them! The angels are curious about what God is doing, so they learn this by watching us, the Church the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 4:9; 1 Corinthians 11:10; 1 Timothy 3:16; 1 Timothy 5:21). Smile, they are watching! 🙂

But, what about Hebrews 1:14: “Are they [the angels of verse 13] not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation?” Notice, this is the book of Hebrews—this is speaking of future Israel.

We do not need angels today—they need us.

I Want Pictures!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

“Jesus saith unto him, Thomas, because thou hast seen me, thou hast believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29 KJV).

Once, when my mom offered to read the Holy Scriptures to my then five-year-old niece, the latter protested, “I want pictures!” 🙂 I could not help but chuckle upon hearing that. Yet, how many churchgoers prefer experiences that can seen and felt rather than sound doctrine that can be read and believed?

Most Bibles lack pictures, which makes God’s Word less appealing to the average reader. But, these precious souls fail to understand God never intended His Word to be a photo album or art portfolio. God wanted us to know information, but He did not communicate that information using paintings, drawings, or photographs. God wanted to not just give us His thoughts, but His very words (Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 12:6,7; Matthew 4:4; Luke 4:4)! Jesus Christ declared: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Matthew 24:35; cf. Mark 13:31; Luke 21:33).

While God could have communicated His truth in any way He wanted, He determined to have His truth permanently written down in a Book, His Book, whose words would span the eons of eternity future. That Book would be independent of the reader, and would serve as an objective standard to distinguish truth from error. It would never change, it would always be relevant, and it would never be lost to time. He would preserve the words of the Book forever and ever and ever.

Instead of us seeking “pictures” (visual confirmation of Scripture) like my niece and doubting Thomas of today’s Scripture, let us pursue “the wholesome words of Jesus Christ and the doctrine which is according to godliness” (1 Timothy 6:3). We place no authority on experiences, but we trust alone in the King James Bible’s authority, the only standard by which we gauge the veracity or falsity of all experiences. “We walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7).

“The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever” (Isaiah 40:8; 1 Peter 1:24,25).