Perfecting #4

Thursday, June 21, 2018

And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: (Ephesians 4:11,12 KJV).

What does “perfecting” mean here?

The Lord Jesus granted supernaturally-gifted men to the early Body of Christ so Christians would be internally repaired (remember the fisherman mending his beaten and broken nets). Using those gifted men, the Holy Spirit filled the “holes” Christians had in their spiritual knowledge, wisdom, and understanding. Remember, these saints came from various pagan, idolatrous backgrounds (see 1 Corinthians 12:1,2; Galatians 4:8; Ephesians 2:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 1:9). They had much religious tradition to abandon—especially rank spiritual inexperience. Moreover, still living among unsaved (pagan) loved ones, they were daily exposed and enticed to return to their former ways.

As today’s Scripture says, the five types of gifted men in the ministry would generate spiritual health and growth among those early Christians. God would then use these mended Christians to do the work of the ministry. The work of the ministry was the edifying of the entire Church the Body of Christ. It was a miraculous process that God the Spirit superintended; otherwise, Satan’s policy of evil (ignorance) would have prevailed.

Now, someone is bound to ask, “Brother Shawn, you keep saying the early Body of Christ. What about us today? Do we not need gifted men right now, that God’s work continue unabated?” First Corinthians chapter 13 answers: “[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.”

Spiritual gifts were temporary, but something permanent was coming….

Bible Q&A #505: “‘Made his arrows bright… consulted with images… looked in the liver?’

Two Rocks #8

Sunday, June 10, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Hebrews chapter 3 reveals that God sees Israel as two houses overall: “[1] Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; [2] Who was faithful to him that appointed him, as also Moses was faithful in all his house. [3] For this man was counted worthy of more glory than Moses, inasmuch as he who hath builded the house hath more honour than the house. [4] For every house is builded by some man; but he that built all things is God. [5] And Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after; [6] But Christ as a son over his own house; whose house are we, if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the end.”

One house is historical: Israel under the Old Covenant, the Mosaic Law, a “weak and beggarly” system (Galatians 4:9) because Israel was a nation of sinners always falling short of God’s righteous standards (Hebrews 8:7-13). She repeatedly engaged in idolatry (“rocks”). The other house is prophetic: Israel under the New Covenant, God making her His people by Christ’s finished crosswork (1 Peter 2:3-10; cf. 1 Peter 1:2-5,13-25). She will never again be idolatrous.

Isaiah 51:5 anticipates new Israel, what Hebrews 3:6 calls “the house of Christ:” “Hearken to me, ye that follow after righteousness, ye that seek the LORD [the Rock!]: look unto the rock [!] whence ye are hewn, and to the hole of the pit whence ye are digged.” God generated Israel’s bloodline with Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s 12 sons. He delivered them from Egypt to become the nation Israel. They are to see Him as He really is (the Rock that their ancient ancestors refused to build on because their counterfeit “rocks,” or idols, had distracted them). Jesus Christ said Israel had better build on the right foundation (Him, the Rock, and His words), or experience spiritual destruction (Matthew 7:24-27)!

Two Rocks #7

Saturday, June 9, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Decades after Calvary, the Holy Spirit wrote to the Jewish kingdom believers in 1 Peter 2:3-10: “[3] If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. [4] To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, [5] Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. [6] Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.

“[7] Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, [8] And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. [9] But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light; [10] Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.”

God will take Israel’s believing remnant and form a house in which He will manifest His life forever. Jesus Christ, the Rock, will serve as the house’s foundation (cf. Matthew 16:16-18). This “Little Flock” will be the new Israel, the heirs of God’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:31,32; cf. Matthew 21:42-46). All unbelieving Jews—those depending on the counterfeit “rock” (idols)—will be judged and destroyed during the seven-year Tribulation and at Christ’s subsequent fiery Second Coming (Matthew 7:24-29; Matthew 13:37-43). Israel’s Little Flock will enter the Millennium as God’s kingdom of priests, fully capable of carrying His Word to the Gentiles, that the Gentiles give up their rocks (idols) and believe on the Rock as well….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Do we live in the ‘Church Age?’

Two Rocks #6

Friday, June 8, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

When considering the two rocks in the Bible, one should certainly be quite careful in interpreting one particular verse. That passage has been deliberately withheld until this point in our discussion. Remember, the consistent testimony of the Scriptures is: (1) JEHOVAH God (Jesus Christ) is the Rock, and (2) Satan promotes a counterfeit rock to distract. Not surprisingly, false religion stresses an imitation rock even now.

Jesus Christ declared in Matthew 16:18: “And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” Here is the classic “proof text” for the Roman Catholic papacy. According to such traditionalists, the pope derives his authority from this verse. Tradition dictates Peter was the “first pope,” so every pontiff thereafter is allegedly “Peter’s successor.” (Ironically, Galatians 2:9 says Peter was a Jewish apostle, whereas the pope leads Gentiles. If anything, Romans 11:13 says the pope should be Paul’s successor. Of course, as one priest told this author, they do not care what the Bible says. They prefer following tradition… and quote Scripture only when it supports their theology!)

Peter is supposedly the “rock” of Matthew 16:18. In Greek, “Peter” (petros) means “small rock;” “rock” (petra) is a larger mass. Such distinction is lost in Aramaic, which explains why a Roman Catholic would favor Jesus speaking Aramaic. Furthermore, the “church” of Matthew 16:18 is supposedly the Roman Catholic Church (erroneous). It is assumed to be built upon Peter (also incorrect). Matthew 16:18 is not about Peter’s Church but Messiah’s Church. Verse 16 restricts it: “And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.Again, Jesus Christ is the Rock of Scripture. But, if we lift Matthew 16:18 out of its context, then we make the Bible say whatever we want.

Jesus Christ says that, no matter what Satan does to hinder Him, upon “this rock” (who He is—Messiah/Christ) He will build the new (stronger) nation Israel….

Two Rocks #5

Thursday, June 7, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

During His earthly ministry, Matthew through John, God the Son was on a mission to rescue Israel from Satan. The nation’s leadership had deceived her with false (pagan, heathen) religion. She was far from God’s path. Therefore, Jeremiah 50:6 says: “My people hath been lost sheep: their shepherds have caused them to go astray, they have turned them away on the mountains: they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their restingplace.”

This is exactly where Christ found Israel. He told His 12 Apostles to go not to Gentiles or Samaritans: “But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:6). Jesus said to a Gentile woman in Matthew 15:24: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” His ministry, and by extension the 12’s ministry, was to bring Israel back to JEHOVAH God the Father. Israel had been undermined and destroyed; her foundation was not the Rock but rather everything else. Since Jesus Christ is the Rock, His words are also a firm groundwork.

Matthew chapter 7: “[24] Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: [25] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock. [26] And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand: [27] And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it. [28] And it came to pass, when Jesus had ended these sayings, the people were astonished at his doctrine: [29] For he taught them as one having authority, and not as the scribes” (cf. Luke 6:47-49).

If Israel is to withstand the coming Tribulation, she is to be built on the Rock, JEHOVAH God and His Word to her….

Two Rocks #4

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

Some 700 years B.C., Isaiah chapter 8 taught: “[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.” JEHOVAH God can serve one of two purposes. Firstly, to believers, He is “a sanctuary”—a place of safety and stability (Rock). Secondly, to unbelievers, He is “a stone of stumbling and a rock of offence.” This passage is quoted twice in the New Testament Scriptures to apply to the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul writes in Romans 9:33: “As it is written, Behold, I lay in Sion a stumblingstone and rock of offence: and whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.” (See verses 30-33 for the context—Isaiah 28:16 is conflated here with Isaiah 8:14). Peter pens in 1 Peter 2:8: “And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (See verses 3-10 for the context.)

JEHOVAH God, the LORD God, of Isaiah 8:13-14 is Jesus Christ. Christ is God the Son in human flesh. As in the Old Testament economy, the Israelites can believe on Him or they can disbelieve. They can receive Him by faith or reject Him in unbelief. If they have faith in Him, He is their Rock (strength—the foundation of everything God will do with them as a nation). If they refuse Him, they will fall or trip over Him (“stumblingstone,” “stone of stumbling”). They will see Him as a scandal, disgrace, or embarrassment (“rock of offence”).

Romans 9:30-33, looking back on Christ’s earthly ministry, shows us how He was mostly a “stumblingstone and rock of offence.” Israel, fixated on self-righteousness (Romans 10:1-3), ultimately refused Him. Their religious leaders encouraged their unbelief (1 Peter 2:7,8). However, some Jews did believe on Him….

Two Rocks #3

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges (Deuteronomy 32:31 KJV).

There are two rocks in Scripture—one good and one bad. Friend, which is your foundation?

King David penned in 2 Samuel 23:3: The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.” Israel has a stable foundation—but only if she avoids pagan idols and trusts the one true God. Remember, when the Israelites needed drinking water after escaping Egypt, JEHOVAH God performed a miracle on their behalf. Exodus 17:6 says: “Behold, I will stand before thee there upon the rock in Horeb; and thou shalt smite the rock, and there shall come water out of it, that the people may drink. And Moses did so in the sight of the elders of Israel.”

The aforementioned miracle was repeated later in Numbers chapter 20: “[8] Take the rod, and gather thou the assembly together, thou, and Aaron thy brother, and speak ye unto the rock before their eyes; and it shall give forth his water, and thou shalt bring forth to them water out of the rock: so thou shalt give the congregation and their beasts drink… [10] And Moses and Aaron gathered the congregation together before the rock, and he said unto them, Hear now, ye rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock? [11] And Moses lifted up his hand, and with his rod he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly, and the congregation drank, and their beasts also.”

Many times thereafter the Hebrew Bible referred to those two instances when the water miraculously flowed from the rock (see Deuteronomy 8:15; Nehemiah 9:15; Psalm 78:16,20; Psalm 105:41; Psalm 114:8; Isaiah 48:21). Paul appropriately summarized in 1 Corinthians 10:4: “And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.” The Rock from which Israel drank water in the Old Testament symbolized Jesus Christ. Water symbolized life. The living God could enliven Israel, exactly what her dead idols could not do. Her Rock will visit her shortly, so let us see how she will respond….

NOTE: Dear friends, I recently re-taught and re-uploaded three videos from the 2017 Slidell Grace Bible Conference. Sessions 2, 3, and 8 are now on YouTube as they were originally meant to be all those months ago. The first two sessions are two hours total on Daniel’s 70th Week. The last session deals with The Millennium. I hope and pray that these studies will help you better understand Bible prophecy dispensationally delivered! You are welcome! Click here for the playlist. 🙂