Translated Judgment #7

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

First Corinthians chapter 14 outlines the six rules that regulated the gift of tongues (which gift the Corinthians were abusing). When the Holy Spirit was involved, these six principles were always in place. Any deviation, even slightly, meant that the experience was artificial and satanic. Someone was striving in his or her flesh to mimic or counterfeit God’s work.

Primarily, tongues served as a sign to the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Secondly, twoor maximum, three—individuals were to speak in tongues during one meeting (verse 27). Thirdly, the speakers had to take turns, and not talk over each other (verse 27). Fourthly, the tongue had to be translated or the speaker was to remain silent (verses 27,28). Fifthly, only men spoke in tongues (verses 34,35). Lastly, there was to be decency, order, self-control (verse 40). These six rules describe the only type of speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit has ever (!) endorsed!

It was particularly important that tongues be translated. This interpretation allowed unsaved Jews to not only hear a foreign language (recognizing God’s judgment on their nation), but also learn God’s Word in their own native tongue (whatever it happened to be). An intelligible message, as opposed to gibberish, afforded them an opportunity to be convicted of their sin and converted to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Now that that Acts transitional period is over, God dealing with Israel has passed, so the spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Corinthians 8:8-13). We have a completed Bible, total revelation from God, and thus temporary spiritual gifts and fragmentary revelation are unnecessary (2 Timothy 3:16,17; cf. Colossians 1:25-27).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?” and Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

Translated Judgment #6

Friday, September 21, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Here are two simple Bible verses that will revolutionize the way you view God’s Word. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Signs are Israel’s national heritage (see Psalm 74:9). When we come to today’s Scripture, we thus see that one of these “signs” is the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not….” The unbelievers during the Acts period were the nation Israel (Acts 9:23,24; Acts 13:45-48; Acts 17:5,13; Acts 18:6,12; et cetera).

In Isaiah’s day, Israel hearing foreign languages meant that her LORD God’s judgment had fallen on her for her unbelief and disobedience. Similarly, Israel hearing the gift of tongues working amongst Paul’s Gentile converts signified to Israel that her God was now operating in the world without her. It was a drastic change in program. God had taken the spiritual gifts—what had belonged to Israel—and given them over to the Gentiles. The gift of tongues operated amongst Paul’s Gentile converts so as to provoke to salvation in Christ the unsaved Jews scattered around the world.

The gift of tongues was not meant to be entertainment (as the Corinthians were using it—see 1 Corinthians chapter 14), but rather a clear testimony to Israel. It was important that the Corinthians correct their abuses of this most special spiritual gift. Today’s Body of Christ would do well to take heed to these verses, and address and fix their misunderstandings and misuses of spiritual gifts….

Bible Q&A #535: “Who are the ‘Grecians’ in the Bible?

Translated Judgment #2

Monday, September 17, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Romans 11:11-14 is the best commentary on the purpose of Paul’s Acts ministry, a most-confused topic that should be quite easy to grasp (provided we do not have a theological system to maintain!): “[11] I say then, Have they [Israel] stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy. [12] Now if the fall of them be the riches of the world, and the diminishing of them the riches of the Gentiles; how much more their fulness? [13] For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [14] If by any means I may provoke to emulation them which are my flesh, and might save some of them.”

During the Acts transitional period, the Holy Spirit led the Apostle Paul to conduct his ministry in such a way so as to “provoke” unbelieving Israel to “jealousy.” Unsaved Jews were to be concerned that God had left them and had now gone to the Gentiles (non-Jews, nations) without them. How was Israel to get this communication though? Paul behaved in a most “bizarre” way during Acts: God was not operating Israel’s program through him but was rather showing how it was giving way to our mystery program. If any unsaved Jews were to enter God’s family, they would have to “emulate” (or follow) the Gentiles in coming to faith in Christ and thus join the Body of Christ.

As Paul preached his Gospel message (1 Corinthians 15:3-4) in Acts, today’s Scripture says God had the Gentiles declare something to unbelieving Israel as well….

Rejecting God’s Grace Thrice

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed (Acts 13:46-48 KJV).

After refusing Father God, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit, now unbelieving Israel snubs the Apostle Paul!

Saul of Tarsus, leading Israel’s rebellion against Jesus Christ, encouraged the stoning of God’s Spirit-filled prophet Stephen (chapter 7). In chapter 9, rather than pouring out His wrath, the Lord Jesus returns in mercy and grace to save wretched Saul. Formerly on his way to kill more Messianic Jews, Saul is now commissioned by the Lord Jesus to go to all the world with a new message—the Gospel of the Grace of God. As Saul (Paul) travels, he is to inform Israel of her fall and temporary setting aside. The God of Israel is now working amongst the Gentiles through him and without her (see Romans 11:11-14).

Today’s Scripture is from Paul and Barnabas’ first apostolic journey. In Asia Minor (Turkey), God reminds unbelieving Jews they are still rejecting His Word. Years later, on the second apostolic journey, the Holy Spirit’s words through Paul at Corinth (Greece) were: “And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles” (Acts 18:6).

More years pass. With Paul’s fourth apostolic journey ended, God declares to unbelieving Israel one final time (Rome): “Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it” (Acts 28:28). The Book of Acts is not a doctrinal book for us, but rather an unmistakable record of God being just in temporarily leaving Israel and going to us Gentiles.

God Spared Not

Monday, August 27, 2018

He made a way to his anger; he spared not their soul from death, but gave their life over to the pestilence (Psalm 78:50 KJV).

On five occasions in the Bible, “God spared not.” What can they tell us about Him?

Today’s Scripture is part of a colossal song that spans Israel’s history from the early patriarchs (especially Moses) up to King David’s reign. The verse sits among those that describe the 10 plagues or judgments God poured out on evil Egypt before the Red Sea experience (see verses 43-51). “They” of today’s Scripture are the heathen Egyptians: Israel’s God was not reluctant to use death to prove to them that He alone, not their lifeless idols, was Almighty God.

“For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee” (Romans 11:21). This chapter closes Romans’ three-chapter dispensational section. As God was not lenient in setting aside unbelieving national Israel for a time, the Gentile nations (unbelieving) had better not boast as if He will not remove them from access to Him and return Israel to her esteemed position.

“For if God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell, and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto judgment” (2 Peter 2:4). God was not at all shy in punishing the angels that followed Satan in his rebellion against the Creator. The worst of these spiritual beings are imprisoned in Hell awaiting final judgment (1 Peter 3:19,20; Jude 6).

“And spared not the old world, but saved Noah the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly” (2 Peter 2:5). God was not averse to cleansing the sinful antediluvian (pre-Flood) world of Genesis chapters 4-6. In four instances, He was harsh in punishing sin; the other case involved Him readily paying for sin!

“He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?” (Romans 8:32). Father God could have withheld His Son from being offered on Calvary’s cruel altar (the cross), but He hesitated not. Christ Jesus’ soul would be made an offering for our sin (Isaiah 53:10)—and, praise God, He was “spared not!”

Satisfied in Superstition #5

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

“Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you” (Acts 17:22,23 KJV).

Why is there rampant spiritual ignorance today?

Romans chapter 1 describes the nations (Gentiles) whom the God of the Bible renounced at the Tower of Babel. They refused to think about Him and His Word so He gave them up and over to their desired empty, worthless, satanic views. However, this is also true concerning individuals. People convince themselves not to think properly about the Creator God and spiritual matters. They willfully (key word!) reject the information He has freely offered them.

God caused Israel to fall nationally in early Acts when she ignored the Holy Spirit’s testimony of Jesus Christ. With their deliberate stoning of His prophet Stephen in chapter 7, He set them aside (albeit temporarily). They thereafter became like all the Gentiles—enjoying Satan’s lie program, his dark and evil world system (2 Corinthians 4:4). God could have righteously destroyed them all in wrath, but instead He poured out grace and mercy in chapter 9 to Saul of Tarsus (the leader of Israel’s rebellion against God). “Even so have these [Israel] also now not believed, that through your [Gentiles’/nations’] mercy they also may obtain mercy. For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all” (Romans 11:31,32).

Saul of Tarsus became the Apostle Paul. The crucified, buried, risen, and ascended Lord Jesus Christ told him on the day of his salvation unto eternal life: “Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me” (Acts 26:17,18). The Lord removed Saul from spiritual darkness, Satan’s “power of darkness” (Colossians 1:13) so he could preach to others how they too could be delivered through Christ Jesus. Paul did that in today’s Scripture….

Growing in Grace #7

Friday, August 17, 2018

“But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen” (2 Peter 3:18 KJV).

What does it mean to “grow in grace?”

“Ye therefore, beloved, seeing ye know these things before, beware lest ye also, being led away with the error of the wicked, fall from your own stedfastness. But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.” Peter thus bids farewell to the Circumcision Saints, supplying them with the information needed to avoid the “error of the wicked.” These various doctrinal and practical sins—false teaching, confusion, doubt, non-dispensational Bible study, and so on—are to be replaced with an updated view of God’s program for man.

Israel’s Little Flock is to grow in the doctrines of grace and knowledge of Jesus Christ as revealed to the Apostle Paul. They must appreciate why their earthly kingdom has been momentarily suspended (but certainly not abolished!!). Despite ignorant mockers’ accusations, God’s promise to send His Son again stands firm. He has not forgotten about Israel; He has merely postponed her program to operate our mystery program. Rather than pouring out wrath, He is offering mercy to the whole world—Jews and Gentiles alike (Romans 11:25-32)!

Dear brethren, if God wanted the Circumcision Saints long ago and yet future to be “established in the present truth” (1:12), how much more does He desire it for us? After all, “the present truth” is that we (the Church the Body of Christ) and the mystery program have currently/presently interrupted and delayed Israel’s prophetic program. We are the reason why the Antichrist has not yet been revealed. The Dispensation of Grace, the Body of Christ, prevents the prophetic program from operating (see 2 Thessalonians 2:1-14).

At the Rapture, our gathering together unto Christ in Heaven, our dispensation will close, causing the prophetic program to recommence. The Antichrist will rise, reign for seven years, and ultimately be destroyed by Jesus Christ at His Second Coming. Here, unbelievers are judged, including the scoffers who assumed that fiery wrath was fiction! Finally, Israel becomes God’s kingdom of priests, redeemed and ready to enter the Millennium. May we “grow in grace” too! 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we call a minister ‘reverend?’