No Way Out! #3

Monday, July 29, 2019

“Then the disciples looked one on another, doubting of whom he spake” (John 13:22 KJV).

Look, the disciples have no way out!

As the disciples in the Upper Room were “at a loss” regarding whom among them was Jesus’ traitor, so the Apostle Paul did not know which way to turn mentally concerning the Galatians. Read from his epistle to them, chapter 4:

“[15] Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out your own eyes, and have given them to me. [16] Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the truth? [17] They zealously affect you, but not well; yea, they would exclude you, that ye might affect them. [18] But it is good to be zealously affected always in a good thing, and not only when I am present with you. [19] My little children, of whom I travail in birth again until Christ be formed in you, [20] I desire to be present with you now, and to change my voice; for I stand in doubt of you [“aporeo”—same as “doubting” in today’s Scripture]. [21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law?”

Prior to writing the Galatians, Paul had visited these pagan idolaters and preached the Gospel of Grace to them. From him, they heard about the one true God and His free gift of salvation through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork—He had died for their sins, been buried, and been raised again (1 Corinthians 15:3,4). They came to faith in Christ alone as sufficient payment for their sins. How joyful they were to no longer be slaves to works-religion, sin, and Satan!

Alas, after Paul departed from their midst in order to visit and evangelize other pagans, false teachers slipped in and conquered the Galatians with works-religion. These legalists emphasized Law and thereby excluded Grace. Understandably, Paul was amazed, confessing to the Galatians, “I stand in doubt of you.” It is not that he doubted their salvation. Rather, he could not wrap his mind around the fact that they had been led astray so quickly and so easily (cf. Galatians 1:6-10). Yea, he too had “no way out….”

The Jews’ Feasts #5

Sunday, July 21, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Long ago, someone once aptly stated, “Christendom is a bastardized form of Judaism!” To wit, what is called “Christianity” is really Christendom, and Christendom is essentially Judaism. The candles, altars, priests, holy garments, cups, bowls, sacrifices, holy/feast days, confession of sins, anointing with oil, water baptism, law-keeping, and prayers commonly assumed to be “Christian” are actually not Christian at all. They were stolen from Judaism (Old Testament) and carelessly incorporated into pure Christianity! Moreover, the steeples, mother goddess worship/veneration, sun images, statues, relics, kissing of images, bowing/genuflection, “fatherly” priests, popes, prayers for the dead, and relics all assumed to be part of “Christian worship” are derived from heathen or pagan religion (which apostate Israel herself adopted to corrupt Judaism!!)!

Christianity—how the God of creation would have us worship Him—is described quite clearly in the Bible Books of Romans through Philemon. Friend, read those passages and then notice the “Christian” churches, study “Christian” literature, and converse with “Christian” people. Overwhelmingly, you will realize that Satan’s world system has fooled billions. Most of what is assumed to be “Christian” is either outright paganism, a mixture of paganism and Judaism, or paganism-Judaism amalgamated with Christianity!

The Apostle Paul, “the apostle of the Gentiles” (Romans 11:13), never mentions bell towers, candles, statues, confessions, or relics. God the Holy Spirit through him never commands us to place ourselves under the Law system (just the opposite—Romans 6:14-15 and Titus 2:11-14). He says we have no feast days to observe (Colossians 2:16,17; Galatians 4:9-11) and no water baptism to administer in the Dispensation of Grace (1 Corinthians 1:17; Ephesians 4:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13). There are no popes or priests in Pauline doctrine, only elders, bishops, and deacons.

See, friend, to the degree apostate Israel corrupted Judaism over the course of many centuries, so apostate church leaders have watered down Christianity with paganism over the centuries. Unless one is grounded in the Word of God rightly divided, there will be no spiritual discernment to differentiate the true worship system from the false worship system. Beware (Colossians 2:8)!

The Jews’ Feasts #4

Saturday, July 20, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Man always spoils the works of the LORD God, such as distorting His Word, the Holy Bible: “For we are not as many, which corrupt the word of God…” (2 Corinthians 2:17). “And the burden of the LORD shall ye mention no more: for every man’s word shall be his burden; for ye have perverted the words of the living God, of the LORD of hosts our God” (Jeremiah 23:36).

Apostate Israel ruined God’s Jerusalem Temple with their flagrant dishonesty: “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said unto them, It is written [Isaiah 56:7], My [that is, God’s] house shall be called the house of prayer; but ye have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12,13). God’s house received a new name, for Christ later denounced Jerusalem (23:38), “Behold, your (!) house is left unto you desolate!” The God of the Bible wanted nothing further to do with the Temple; He was no longer inhabiting it. “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple” (24:1). He gave them over to their false religion!

Why have people selected their particular local church? To hear sound Bible doctrine there? Probably not. (Just ask them if you doubt it.) A friend of mine likes to say, “They want food, fun, and fellowship!” (I like to add a fourth reason—foolishness!) Organized religion and denominations have replaced God’s work with their own. It is not the Holy Spirit working in them because they believe His words to them (for they are ignorant of His principles of grace). Rather, they are striving to duplicate Christ’s life by using man’s fallible interpretations. Furthermore, they want material food, not the bread from heaven. They crave amusement, not truth. They seek to be friends with the world, not friends of God. They have childish wishes, not mature desires. It is Christendom, not Christianity….

The Jews’ Feasts #3

Friday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Judaism as it existed in Jesus’ day was certainly not the unadulterated Word of God given at Mount Sinai. During the 15 centuries since Moses, the rabbinical scholars had corrupted it. Ironically, what God had given to Israel to indicate her sin problem was now the very system she was using to advertise her “righteousness!”

Take, for example, Matthew chapter 9: “[10] And it came to pass, as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with him and his disciples. [11] And when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto his disciples, Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners? [12] But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick. [13] But go ye and learn what that meaneth, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice: for I am not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.”

Did you notice how the Pharisees considered others to be “sinners?” These religious leaders themselves were—they assumed—to be without sin! Such Old Testament “scholars” so totally void of Scriptural understanding! What had they been reading? They had the Hebrew Bible (our Genesis through Malachi) but they had read it through the lens of religious tradition. Hence, they could not see what they should have seen. Yea, they did not want to see what they should have seen.

Read this sardonic rebuke the Lord Jesus had for Israel’s religious leaders in Matthew 23:23: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone.” They focused on dividing the tiny herbs and spices into tenths—their tithes as instructed by Moses!—but they ignored the more important principles of the Law. Judgment, mercy, and faith (!) were absent from these religionists’ hearts and lives. Indeed, it was no longer God’s religion….

Bible Q&A #630: “What does the Bible say about lunar exploration and settlement?

The Jews’ Feasts #2

Thursday, July 18, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Friend, you have doubtless seen religious busyness. People are quite active in attending church services, participating in water baptisms, partaking of communion, walking aisles, knocking on doors and “proselytizing,” shaking preachers’ hands, listening to and uttering confessions, reciting prayers, reading denominational literature, singing and dancing, clapping and raising their hands, giving large donations to this group and that group, and so on. It all appears so decent and spiritual. Surely, God is pleased, right? Well, not exactly. How much of all that is done with an intelligent understanding of God’s Word to them? Frankly, very, very, very little!

Romans 14:23 concludes with, “for whatsoever is not of faith is sin.” This concept is wise Christian advice regardless of the issue. What would God want us to do here or there, in this situation or that? The verse answers it. If we cannot point to a clear verse from the rightly divided Bible, and say on the basis of that verse that we are a taking certain course of action, it is best to reconsider our options. Faith is simply believing God’s Word to you. If that is the definition of “faith”—and it is—then there is actually almost no faith among most so-called “Christians.”

No matter the denomination, the average church member depends too heavily on clergy. It is far easier to let others think for us, and most convenient to say, “Let the preacher study the Bible. He can tell me what it says and what I am supposed to believe.” Hence, doctrinal confusion and Bible illiteracy are so pervasive within Christendom. The preacher is only interested in telling us what the denomination says, what the denomination says the Bible says, and not what the Bible really says. (Many have learned this “the hard way,” shocked to finally realize their denominational leaders withheld a great deal of Bible truth from them!!)

What is passed off as “Christianity” today is often anything but. Likewise, the religion in Israel during Christ’s day was not pure Judaism….

The Jews’ Feasts #1

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

After this there was a feast of the Jews; and Jesus went up to Jerusalem (John 5:1 KJV).

Thrice, and only in John’s Gospel Record, we read a unique expression. What is it, and why is it significant?

Back in Leviticus chapter 23, some 15 centuries earlier, JEHOVAH God had instructed the nation Israel through Moses to observe seven annual feasts. These were holy days—holidays—meant to teach them doctrine. Focus on their collective title as it appears: “Speak unto the children of Israel, and say unto them, Concerning the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, even these are my feasts…. These are the feasts of the LORD, even holy convocations, which ye shall proclaim in their seasons…. These are the feasts of the LORD, which ye shall proclaim to be holy convocations, to offer an offering made by fire unto the LORD, a burnt offering, and a meat offering, a sacrifice, and drink offerings, every thing upon his day:…. And Moses declared unto the children of Israel the feasts of the LORD (Leviticus 23:2,4,37,44; cf. 2 Chronicles 2:4; Ezra 3:5).

These are “the feasts of the LORD” (or “the feasts of JEHOVAH”). Now, let us make a stark comparison. Today’s Scripture speaks of “a feast of the Jews.” Turn to John 6:4 to read, “And the passover, a feast of the Jews, was nigh.” Finally, John 7:2: “Now the Jews’ feast of tabernacles was at hand.” Whose feasts have they become? Surely, they are not the LORD God’s feasts anymore! Now greatly watered down, God the Holy Spirit no longer wants association with these holidays.

The apostate Jews have made those feasts glorify themselves. It is nothing but empty religion, corrupted with the traditions of men. Years later, Paul, having escaped that evil system, writes in Galatians 1:13: “For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it….” It is not God’s religion butthe Jews’ religion!”

Indeed, if God the Holy Spirit spoke audibly today, He would say, “Christianity has been diluted to become Christendom!” Yes, dear friends, the professing Body of Christ has gone the way of apostate Israel….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Who or what are the ‘seven Spirits’ found in Revelation?

Days of Usefulness #3

Monday, July 8, 2019

Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them;… (Ecclesiastes 12:1 KJV).

What can today’s Scripture teach us?

Long ago, he was a wise, young king (1 Kings chapter 3). However, he was not immune from sin. Making literally hundreds of terrible choices, Solomon fully aligned himself with Satan’s lie program—false religion (chapter 11). Now, in his final days, the Holy Spirit moves him to write Ecclesiastes. A parent desperately tries to reason with a rebellious child: “I have been there, I have done that, take my advice. Please do not do what I did!” Solomon warns those who are living for self (sIn!). These instructions carry significant weight in the prophetic program. Israel should resist the seduction of Antichrist and his “natural-man philosophy.” That evil world system exists now, tempting us to engage in ungodliness too.

Ecclesiastes documents man’s futile attempts to conduct his earthly life without following the Creator God. While this is atheism, agnosticism, and skepticism, it is also works-religion. As long as it is not God’s Word rightly divided, it is Satan’s lie program. With Antichrist, it will be pagan idolatry—not the absence of God but the replacement of God (Daniel 11:36-39; 2 Thessalonians 2:3-12). Antichrist and his followers will be their own rulers, doing their pleasure while appearing religious. In the end, it will be dying Solomon—sorely disappointed because, after all those years of work, nothing of eternal value was produced!

Departing Solomon confessed (my paraphrase), “I learned philosophy but did not find meaning. I amassed great material wealth but did not find happiness. I toiled acquiring entertainment and other pleasures but found no lasting peace. I found religion but no hope.” See Ecclesiastes 12:8 (the context of today’s Scripture): “Vanity of vanities, saith the preacher; all is vanity.” “Worthlessness! Emptiness! I lived apart from the Creator God’s guidance for years. Here, this earthly sojourn is over. Now, I lose everything I have gained in this natural world. All my selfish efforts have profited me nothing. My physical body is falling apart, and I wasted so much precious time. Alas, I cannot return to my youth and redo life….”