Fishers of Men #7

Friday, April 11, 2014

“And he said unto them, Cast the net on the right side of the ship, and ye shall find. They cast therefore, and now they were not able to draw it for the multitude of fishes” (John 21:6 KJV).

Today’s Scripture foretells the greatest fishing trip Israel’s apostles will ever enjoy!

When Christ first commissioned His 12 apostles, Scripture says, “These twelve Jesus sent forth, and commanded them, saying, Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not: but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel(Matthew 10:5,6). Most church members are never taught that Israel’s apostles had no ministry to Gentiles.

Jesus told these apostles post-resurrection: “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem (Luke 24:47). He repeated in Acts 1:8: “But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.”

The 12 apostles were to convert all of Israel first. Then, and only then, redeemed Israel was to evangelize all nations (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15). In the prophetic program, Gentiles would be blessed through Israel’s rise to kingdom glory: Israel had to be saved first so Gentiles could be saved next (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 59:20–60:3; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23; Acts 3:25-26; Romans 15:8-12; et al.). But, (unbelieving, rebellious) Israel was never fully converted. Through Paul’s ministry, we Gentiles learn that salvation is currently coming to us through Israel’s temporary fall, the mystery program (Romans 11:11-13).

When Jesus Christ returns to establish His earthly kingdom through Israel, Isaiah 2:1-3 says that all the nations shall flow unto it. When the apostles caught 153 fishes in today’s Scripture (John 21:11), this evidently symbolizes how many Gentile nations Israel will “catch” (evangelize). The net broke in Luke chapter 5 but it did not break in John chapter 21—Israel’s apostles will be prepared and equipped to catch all the fish, and none will be lost.

Rest assured, Israel’s apostles will be resurrected one day, and their greatest fishing trip will be underway! 🙂

Consider Your Ways, Mankind! #1

Thursday, September 26, 2013

“Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:29,30 KJV).

Mankind, in his natural state, is apathetic to JEHOVAH’S desire to build a temple… using him….

Job, the oldest Bible book (predating Moses and his books of Genesis to Deuteronomy), summarizes the hope of every believer who lived in the “Old Testament” economy (although, technically, this was also the hope of believers in Christ’s earthly ministry and the early Acts period):

“For I know that my redeemer liveth, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and though after my skin worms destroy this body, yet in my flesh shall I see God: whom I shall see for myself, and mine eyes shall behold, and not another; though my reins be consumed within me” (Job 19:25-27).

As a representative of the believers living in Israel’s program, Job shows us that the hope the believer in the God of the Bible had was not to go to heaven, but rather to be resurrected bodily to live forever in an earthly kingdom with that God reigning. As opposed to them expecting to go to heaven upon death, these saints expected heaven to come down to earth (literally, “heaven on earth”)! This was the hope believers had prior to the salvation and ministry of the Apostle Paul.

In early Acts, the Apostle Peter offered to Israel that earthly kingdom which was “spoken by the mouth of all [God’s] holy prophets since the world began(Acts 3:21). That earthly kingdom was the heart of “the Gospel of the Kingdom” that John the Baptist preached, that Jesus Christ Himself preached in His earthly ministry, and the Gospel that He commissioned Israel’s 12 apostles to preach (Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 9:35; Matthew 10:7; Matthew 24:14; Mark 1:14; et al.).

Note how Peter says that God’s promise of that earthly kingdom goes right back to Adam, the first man. That kingdom prophesied “since the world began” is still postponed.…

Words Spoken at Baptism?

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: (Matthew 28:19 KJV).

How do we resolve these instructions with what the Holy Spirit spoke through the Apostle Peter in Acts 2:38?

Water baptism, the most divisive issue within Christendom, is rightly called “religious TNT.” There is tremendous confusion about water baptism. Who should administer it (priest, pastor, deacon)? What is the proper mode (sprinkling, pouring, immersion)? What words should be said? Who should be water baptized (adults only, or adults and babies)? How many times forward and backward? Where should it occur? For salvation, for a testimony, or not at all?

Confusion especially arises regarding today’s Scripture and Acts 2:38. Post-resurrection, Jesus commissioned His apostles: “Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:” (today’s Scripture). Yet, read Acts 2:38: “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

Which is it? Water baptize “in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost,” as Jesus Christ declared (Matthew 28:19)? Or, be baptized “in the name of Jesus Christ,” as the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Peter taught (Acts 2:38)? Even today, some denominations follow Matthew 28:19 while others obey Acts 2:38, fervently accusing each other of not having the valid baptism!

Resolving the apparent contradiction between Matthew 28:19 and Acts 2:38 is as simple as reading and believing the verses and their context. To whom does Matthew 28:19 refer? “All nations”Gentiles—just as the verse says. Whom does Acts 2:38 involve? “All the house of Israel(verse 36).

Matthew 28:19 refers to believing Gentiles in Christ’s millennial kingdom (verse 20) being cleansed from their pagan idolatry and embracing the triune Godhead, the only true God. Acts 2:38 is God’s plan of salvation for Israel: Peter is instructing Jews to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, the Person they rejected and crucified on Calvary’s cross.

Who is Your Apostle?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

“For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office:” (Romans 11:13 KJV).

Who is our apostle? While today’s Scripture plainly reveals the answer, today’s Christian is often totally ignorant of it.

Upon inquiring the average church member, “Who is your apostle?,” we will receive one of three answers: (1) the 12 apostles, (2) Jesus, or (3) “apostle” so-and-so who leads a local church or ministry. Unfortunately, none of these common replies are correct; yet church tradition perpetuates such ignorance.

“Apostle” (apostolos) simply means “one who is sent away.” We need to know whom God sent to us Gentiles. Who is God’s spokesman to us?

One might argue the twelve apostles were sent to the world, and this is true (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15), but first they were to convert all of Israel (Matthew 10:5-7), which they never did (Matthew 10:23). Also, after the Apostle Paul’s ministry began, the twelve loosed themselves from their commission to go to Gentiles, for they understood God was now sending Paul to the Gentiles (Galatians 2:7-9; cf. Acts 9:15,16).

Another, using Hebrews 3:1, might contend Jesus is our apostle, yet Jesus’ earthly ministry was Israel only (Matthew 15:24; Romans 15:8). Jesus was sent to Israel (Hebrews is written to Israel, therefore, Jesus is Israel’s Apostle).

Paul is God’s apostle (sent one) to us Gentiles (Romans 15:16; 2 Timothy 1:11). If we want to learn what God is doing and saying to us today, we go not to Israel’s apostles and prophets (whether Old or New Testaments), for they speak of what God did in time past and what He will do in the ages to come. Only Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon, discuss what God is doing today in the Dispensation of Grace: only Paul mentions the Church the Body of Christ. We study all the Bible, Genesis through Revelation, but we bear in mind only Paul’s epistles deal with us.

Jesus Christ said if we are to accept Him, we must accept whom He sent to us (John 13:20). Frankly, we must accept the Apostle Paul, or we reject Christ (1 Corinthians 14:37).

Jesus Christ: A Minister of the Circumcision #4

Monday, July 2, 2012

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 KJV).

Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry was to Jews only, with two recorded Gentile exceptions (the Canaanite woman and the Roman centurion). As today’s Scripture indicates, Jesus was in accordance with and came to “confirm” “the promises made unto the fathers….”

In the Abrahamic Covenant (circa 2000 B.C.), God swore to Abram that He would make a nation (Israel) of his lineage, and that His salvation and blessings would go to the world (Gentiles) through Israel: “And I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed (Genesis 12:2,3; cf. Genesis 22:18; Genesis 26:4; Genesis 28:14).

According to the Davidic Covenant (circa 1000 B.C.), God promised King David that one of His descendants would rule Israel forever (2 Samuel 7:12-16; cf. Daniel 2:44; Daniel 7:14,18,27; Luke 1:31-33). “Once have I sworn by my holiness that I will not lie unto David. His seed shall endure for ever, and his throne as the sun before me” (Psalm 89:36,37).

The covenants were given to Israel, not Gentiles, so Jesus Christ went to Israel. Christ Jesus came to fulfill Israel’s covenants (“confirm [fulfill] the promises [covenants] made unto the fathers [Israel’s patriarchs, especially Abraham and David]” of today’s Scripture). “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham (Matthew 1:1).

Here is God’s method of saving Gentiles in Israel’s prophetic (kingdom) program. Jesus Christ limited His earthly ministry to Israel because Jews were to be saved first by accepting Him as their Messiah-King. Then, He would establish His earthly kingdom, and redeemed Israel would evangelize the Gentiles (Matthew 28:19,20; Mark 16:15; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8)! One day, Israel will be a “kingdom of priests” for that purpose (Exodus 19:5,6; Isaiah 61:6; Zechariah 8:20-23).

Jesus Christ: A Minister of the Circumcision #3

Sunday, July 1, 2012

“Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:” (Romans 15:8 KJV).

Why was Christ’s earthly ministry limited to Israel? Today’s Scripture gives us the answer.

In John 4:22, Jesus explained to a (Gentile) Samaritan, “…For salvation is of the Jews.” The Bible says Jesus Christ came to Israel, to save them from their sins (Matthew 20:28; Luke 1:67-75; John 1:11; Acts 3:26). Jesus, in Matthew 15:24, bluntly declared: “I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

But why? Why only Israel? Was Jesus unconcerned about Gentiles being saved? Why was God so focused on saving Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry? Rather than (blasphemously) accusing Jesus of “bigotry” and “racism”—as some foolishly and recklessly assert—we will approach the Bible from the dispensational standpoint, and what amazing clarity there is regarding this oftentimes-confused topic!

When God called Abram (Abraham) about 2000 B.C., He told him: “I will make of thee a great nation, and I will bless thee, and make thy name great; and thou shalt be a blessing: and I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed(Genesis 12:2,3). God will bless the whole world through the nation He will make using Abraham, and this nation is Israel. This is the Abrahamic Covenant, which was in force until the middle part of the book of Acts.

Isaiah 2:1-4, Isaiah 60:1-3,14, Isaiah 61:6, Micah 4:1-3, Zechariah 8:20-23, and others show that God will bless Gentiles through Israel: Israel will one day be a kingdom of priests, and Jews will evangelize the Gentiles (this is where Matthew 28:19,20 and Mark 16:15 belong: contrary to religious tradition, these verses do not belong to us). This was God’s plan in redeeming Israel first: this is why Jesus Christ was sent to Israel only. God would save Israel first, and then He would use redeemed Israel to reach Gentiles with the salvation He had given them first (still future).