Paul and Dispensationalism #9

Sunday, August 16, 2015

“[His mighty power] Which he [Father God] wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all” (Ephesians 1:20-23 KJV).

What else can the Apostle Paul teach us about dispensational Bible study?

Many decades ago, a dear elderly lady approached her Bible teacher with the following question: “Just why is the concept of dying and going to heaven not taught in the Old Testament?” Realizing she was correct, but not having an answer, he said he would get back to her about it. He spent the next 40 years delving into dispensational Bible study!

The Bible’s oldest book, Job, chapter 19, describes the hope of all Old Testament saints: “[25] For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: [26] And though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: [27] Whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me.” Old Testament saints died with the faith of Abraham—the hope of an earthly kingdom (still future; Hebrews 11:8-16; Revelation 1:5,6; Revelation 5:10; Revelation 20:4-6).

However, when we come to Paul, we learn about God’s plan to restore heaven unto Himself (cf. Colossians 1:16-20). As per prophecy, God would use redeemed Israel in the Earth. Through Paul, God disclosed that He would reconcile the heavenly places to Himself using the Church the Body of Christ. Ephesians 2:6,7: “[6] And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: [7] That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus” (cf. Philippians 3:20,21). Thereby exalting Jesus Christ in earth and heaven forever (Ephesians 1:8-12)!

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Does Hebrews 10:25 really teach we must attend church?

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #3

Sunday, April 19, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

When God offered to enter into the Law Covenant with Israel at Mount Sinai, He said, “Now therefore, if ye will obey my voice indeed, and keep my covenant, then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people: for all the earth is mine. And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation” (Exodus 19:5,6). Israel replied, “All that the LORD hath spoken we will do” (verse 8). According to the rest of the Bible, and history, did Israel break her word? Yes! Yes! Yes!

Like many church members today, Israel failed to learn that she could never be God’s people in her own strength. Had the Jews truly learned the lesson of Abraham, Ishmael, and Isaac (Genesis chapters 12 through 17), they would not have ignored God’s grace and preferred works-religion with Moses (see Galatians 4:19-31). Had they actually believed that it had to be God’s work to bring about a people for His name—divine efforts rather than human works, not Abraham’s efforts or their efforts but God’s efforts—they would have never entered into the Covenant of Law with the LORD at Sinai. Their deceitful sin nature (Jeremiah 17:9) caused them to believe they could keep God’s laws perfectly. God simply gave them the Law, what they wanted, proving to them and all the world that no one can be perfect (see Romans 3:19,20).

The Covenant of Law was a failure from the start. The Israelites danced naked around a golden calf idol after God wrote on the stones tablets that they were to not embrace idolatry (Exodus chapter 32)! The Law was a strict system—all or nothing. Because Israel broke the Law, she came under the curses, and automatically could not be God’s people. She came under Satan’s control (just as in Egypt). Today’s Scripture is part of God’s solution to Israel’s dilemma….

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #2

Saturday, April 18, 2015

“That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee” (Deuteronomy 30:3 KJV).

In today’s Scripture, Moses prophesies Israel’s glorious future restoration!

God, some 4,000 years ago, deeded much of “the Middle East” to Abram and his descendants: “Unto thy seed have I given this land, from the river of Egypt unto the great river, the river Euphrates” (Genesis 15:18). Concerning his son Isaac’s birth, God told Abraham (notice his new name): “And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God” (Genesis 17:8). So why does Israel today not have all of that land, from Egypt to the Euphrates (central Iraq)? Why does Israel currently have a sliver along the eastern Mediterranean Sea?

Firstly, 500 years after Abraham, God warned Israel through Moses: after four rounds of persistent wickedness (mainly idolatry) and four sequences of divine judgment, the fifth course of chastisement would be deportation out of the Promised Land (Deuteronomy 28:62-68; cf. Leviticus 26:27-46). Israel would live amongst the Gentiles, hear foreign languages, be surrounded by heathen customs (which they had already largely embraced anyway), and serve cruel heathen governments. Many centuries after Moses, idolatrous Israel came under Assyrian, Babylonian, Median-Persian, Greek, and Roman powers. Even today, Gentiles (especially the Palestinians and Arabs, and their sympathizers) still harass Israel.

Secondly, when Messiah Jesus came to Israel “to confirm [or fulfill] the promises made unto the fathers” (Romans 15:8), they wanted God’s physical blessings and deliverance from Rome—they did not want God to deal with their sin problem (Mosaic-Law breaking). National Israel refused King Jesus, demanding His crucifixion, thus delaying their earthly kingdom that would have fulfilled God’s covenant with Abraham.

Thirdly, with unbelieving Israel scattered amongst the nations, God has momentarily paused her program. Through Paul’s ministry and epistles, we learn of the dispensational change—God is forming the Church the Body of Christ today. When our program ends, and Israel’s program continues, God will rescue Israel from her satanic and Gentile captivity….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why did Jesus weep when Lazarus died?

God’s Perfect Timing

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

“But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons” (Galatians 4:4,5 KJV).

As today’s Scripture indicates, the birth of Jesus Christ was no accident—God planned its exact moment from eternity past.

When God placed the first man, Adam, on earth, He purposed that man would “subdue [control] it,” to “have dominion” over it and everything on it (Genesis 1:28). Nevertheless, Adam sinned by joining Satan in his rebellion against God. Because of sin, man was now unable to accomplish on earth what God originally created him to do. God left the human race a promise, however, that there would come a Man, who would do what Adam failed to do. Instead of cooperating with God’s adversary like Adam had, this “seed of the woman” would “bruise [Satan’s] head” (Genesis 3:15).

Traveling up through the Scriptures, we see how God lays the groundwork for that seedline. In Genesis 12:1-3, or 2,000 years after Adam’s sin, we read God’s covenant with Abraham, that through Abraham a nation, Israel, will be born, and salvation and blessing will flow to the Gentiles through Israel. The seed of the woman becomes the seed of Abraham (Galatians 3:16).

In 2 Samuel 7:12-16, and 1,000 years after Abraham, we read of God’s covenant with King David, that “his seed” will inherit his throne and reign forever. The seed of the woman and of Abraham becomes the seed of David.

About 1,000 years after David, Matthew 1:1 speaks of Christ’s birth, and declares, “…Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.” This is exactly what God had promised for thousands of years!

Jesus Christ’s birth was not some haphazard event of nature. God the Father had preplanned the exact moment of the incarnation of His Son, Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture). Over a period of some 4,000 years, the three members of the Godhead worked to bring about the birth of man’s Redeemer, a plan they had even before man was created! Amazing!

Silent Building #2

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

“And the house, when it was in building, was built of stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that there was neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron heard in the house, while it was in building” (1 Kings 6:7 KJV).

God is doing something similar today, very quietly too….

Long ago, beginning with Abraham, God set the Jews apart to be His special people (Israel became a nation in Egypt). Letting the Gentiles go their way of ignorance (Romans chapter 1), He dealt solely with the nation Israel (Romans chapter 2). Beginning with the Ten Commandments (Exodus chapter 20), but throughout the Old Testament, JEHOVAH God constantly warned Israel not to pollute herself with false doctrine. He was building her into a marvelous nation, His kingdom of priests to reach the (Gentile) nations. Israel was not to sabotage that plan by forsaking Him and following pagan idols and bad doctrine.

Moses, just before dying, advised His people in Deuteronomy 4:1-2: “[1] Now therefore hearken, O Israel, unto the statutes and unto the judgments, which I teach you, for to do them, that ye may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers giveth you. [2] Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall ye diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the LORD your God which I command you.”

Simple! Simple! Simple! Israel was not to add and not to take from God’s Word. Israel did not listen. Before we point fingers at Israel, professing Christianity has added to and taken from the revelation the ascended Jesus Christ gave to the Apostle Paul, Romans through Philemon. They are not content with God’s grace as Paul presents it; they toss that away. Instead, they prefer everything He gave Israel—water baptism, tongues, tithing, miraculous demonstrations, Sabbath day, rules and regulations, angels, and so on.

When Solomon’s Temple was being erected (today’s Scripture), it did not go up haphazardly. Its elements fit together perfectly. Lest we upset God’s perfect plan for us the Church the Body of Christ, we are not going to carelessly use worthless building materials, elements that do not belong there and will actually weaken the structure….

Riches and the Four Gospels #1

Friday, August 1, 2014

“And when Jesus saw that he was very sorrowful, he said, How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God! For it is easier for a camel to go through a needle’s eye, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God” (Luke 18:24,25 KJV).

Understandably, “health-and-wealth” preachers and teachers never quote Jesus’ words in today’s Scripture!

Mass media (television, radio, and internet) have been effectual means in sharing the Gospel of the Grace of God and sound Bible teaching with the masses. Nevertheless, just as tares (weeds) sprout among wheat, there are many charlatans dominating such “Christian” programming. Just as Simon the sorcerer “bewitched” the people of Samaria with counterfeit (satanic) miraculous demonstrations (Acts 8:9-11), millions upon millions are still under the spell of false religion that literally parades as “Gospel truth.”

In the last few decades, the professing church has gravitated more and more toward megachurches and “feel-good” messages. We see and hear on television, on radio, and on the internet, teachers and preachers who tickle ears with such common taglines as, “God wants to supernaturally cancel all your debts,” “God wants to deposit thousands into your bank account,” and “God wants you healed not sick.” (Then, they urge you to send in a “generous seed donation” so “God” can deposit millions into their bank accounts!)

Christendom often quotes Jesus’ earthly ministry, but when they push for “wealthy Christian living,” they have to look elsewhere in Scripture. Today’s Scripture is an obvious embarrassment to the “God-wants-you-wealthy” crowd, for since what Jesus said was true, God would actually be giving you riches in order to keep you out of His kingdom! Yea, lest the church program be jeopardized, Christendom is rather forced to go back to the “Old Testament” Scriptures and use rich Abraham (Genesis 13:2), wealthy King Solomon (1 Kings 3:13), and prosperous Job (Job 1:3; Job 42:10-12) as examples.

Still, this begs another question: God certainly blessed Abraham, Solomon, and Job with material riches, so why did Jesus tell His audience in today’s Scripture that material riches were detrimental (disadvantageous) to their salvation?

Let us be Bereans and search the Scriptures (Acts 17:10,11)….

Iniquity Not Yet Full #1

Monday, May 12, 2014

“But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (Genesis 15:16 KJV).

Today’s Scripture expressly declares why the God of the Bible “takes His time” when dealing with sinful mankind.

“Where is the promise of Jesus Christ’s coming?” From believers still asking in faith (cf. Matthew 24:3) to scoffers still asking in ridicule (cf. 2 Peter 3:3,4), it has been queried ad nauseam. How sad a commentary—it is one of many questions to which the Bible already gave answers many, many centuries ago!

In the context of today’s Scripture, Abram—whom God will rename “Abraham” in chapter 17—is nomadic, travelling and camping throughout the land of Canaan, the Promised Land, much of today’s Middle East. Here, JEHOVAH God personally and formally deeded that real estate to Abraham and his descendants, the nation Israel, as an everlasting possession (Genesis 15:1-21; cf. Genesis 17:8).

Moreover, God informs Abram of the future: “And he said unto Abram, Know of a surety that thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and shall serve them; and they shall afflict them four hundred years; And also that nation, whom they shall serve, will I judge: and afterward shall they come out with great substance. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace; thou shalt be buried in a good old age. But in the fourth generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full” (verses 13-16, today’s Scripture within its immediate context).

God tells Abram that his seed, the nation that will come from his bowels, cannot inherit and dwell in the Promised Land yet. Israel must spend 400 years down in Egypt, most of that time in slavery. Entering Egypt as a tribe of less than 100 people, Israel will return to Canaan (the Promised Land) as a nation of some two million! Why this four-century delay? God’s Word could not be plainer—the original inhabitants of Canaan had not sinned enough yet for Him to displace them and install the Jews (today’s Scripture).

How patient is our God….