Isaiah and Dispensationalism

Sunday, July 26, 2015

“The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion…” (Isaiah 61:1-3 KJV).

What can the Prophet Isaiah teach us about dispensational Bible study?

A half-dozen Old Testament passages combine Jesus Christ’s two comings: these prophets saw one coming. In hindsight, however, we see two prophesied comings. Why were two comings not originally apparent? (There were two secret comings hidden between!)

Today’s Scripture describes Messiah coming twice: first, He came to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, but He will return to establish the Kingdom of the Gospel of the Kingdom. These two comings are according to prophecy, “that which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began” (Acts 3:21). The Old Testament prophets did not know that there would be two additional comings of Jesus Christ to divide the two prophesied comings—one coming to start our Dispensation of Grace (save Saul of Tarsus and start the Body of Christ) and one to end it (save the Body of Christ from enduring the seven-year Tribulation). These are the two comings according to mystery, that “which was kept secret since the world began” but was manifested through Paul’s epistles (Romans 16:25,26).

Today’s Scripture (cf. Luke 4:16-21) predicts Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry (First Coming). Then, it discusses His earthly kingdom (Second Coming). Notice how Jesus handled that passage—He knew the wrath and kingdom would be delayed, so He did not read them in the synagogue. Isaiah, however, knew nothing of our Dispensation of Grace and the Body of Christ. The mystery was “hid in God” (Ephesians 3:9) and completely hidden from Israel’s prophets. God kept a secret from Satan—He would use Calvary’s crosswork to form the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:6-8). The Dispensation of Grace (and its two comings) was also withheld from the Old Testament prophets, including Isaiah. Wow!

The Common Prison and The Extraordinary Message

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

“Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, And laid their hands on the apostles, and put them in the common prison” (Acts 5:17,18 KJV).

Oh, man’s shameful treatment of God’s faithful apostles!

For several months now, Peter and the 11 other apostles of Israel have been preaching to their Jewish brethren, pleading with them to trust Jesus as their Messiah, that they not be consumed in His wrath when He returns. The Holy Spirit has been working mightily in and through these 12 men: they have performed various healing miracles, confirming the kingdom message that they are preaching (Mark 16:17-20; Hebrews 2:3-5; et al.).

Israel’s religious leaders know the apostles’ activities threaten their organization. In the chapter previous to today’s Scripture, Israel’s religious leaders “commanded [the apostles] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (verse 18). Peter wisely answered, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (verses 19,20). The apostles were further threatened but not imprisoned.

Today’s Scripture is some time later, after many other healing miracles occurred, after many other sermons about Jesus Christ have been preached. Israel’s religious leaders arrest the apostles and throw them into prison. Not the prison for political or elite wrongdoers, but the common prison.” The apostles are thrown into a dangerous environment. The worst criminals—the murderers, rapists, et cetera—are in the “common prison” with them! God certainly had His eyes on these dear Israeli apostles. In fact, they miraculously survived that “common prison” until the angel of the Lord came by night to release them (verse 19)!

Israel’s apostles went on from the common prison to preach again to the common people. Praise God that they were not bitter or slack. Despite their persecution, they preached their hearts out. Nothing could keep them from talking about the Messiahship of Jesus. They eventually gave up their lives for Him! Beloved, surely, in light of what these men faced for Jesus Christ, we can endure name-calling and ostracism! 🙂

But Whom Say Ye That I Am?

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

“He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?” (Matthew 16:15 KJV).

Who is Jesus of Nazareth?

As His earthly ministry was winding down, just prior to visiting Jerusalem for the last time, Jesus traveled to northern Israel: “[13] When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I am? [14] And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets.” Have you ever met anyone confused about Jesus’ identity? His disciples had met many such individuals. Imagine the nonsense they heard! Jesus is John the Baptist?! Elijah?! Jeremiah?! They had every name but the right one!

Jesus replied in today’s Scripture: But whom say ye that I am?” He asked His disciples, “Do you have a plausible explanation of Me? The average Jew does not have a clue, but have you? Have you been paying attention to My words and deeds these last three years?”

“[16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.”

Jesus commended Simon Peter for his faith. The simple fisherman, neither a student nor a graduate of “Saint Peter’s Seminary,” could see God’s Word ever so clearly! Through John the Baptist, Father God had borne witness of Jesus of Nazareth as being His Anointed (His Christ, His Son)—see John 1:15-42. Peter had heard and believed John’s message about Jesus. The heart of the Gospel of the Kingdom was that Jesus was Israel’s King-Christ and God’s Son—there was no death, burial, and resurrection as payment for our sins, revealed as of yet (that would come later with Paul).

In short, it really does not matter what lost people think of Jesus Christ. We know that He is God’s only begotten Son, and who died for our sins and rose again—He is our one and only Saviour and that alone matters.

Our latest Bible Q&A: “How can the Bible say, ‘No man hath seen God at any time?’

The Serpent’s Subtilty #5

Thursday, September 18, 2014

But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ (2 Corinthians 11:3 KJV).

The Serpent is “subtil,” so the saint must be sagacious!

Some of Paul’s converts in Corinth, Greece, were questioning his apostleship, doubting that Jesus Christ had really sent him to them. False teachers had caused them to become anti-Paul, and thus, anti-Jesus Christ: they rejected Jesus Christ speaking through the Apostle Paul. That is the context of today’s Scripture. We want to focus on verse 4 now, particularly the phrase, “another gospel:” “For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.”

Paul feared someone would “[accept] another gospel, which ye have not accepted.” What does that mean? Prior to Paul, Jesus and His 12 apostles preached “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35; cf. Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; Matthew 24:14). Acts 20:24 says that Jesus Christ committed “the Gospel of the Grace of God” to Paul’s trust (cf. 1 Timothy 1:11). “Paul’s Gospel” (Romans 2:16) is 1 Corinthians 15:3,4: “Christ died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again the third day.” Paul preached that Gospel to the Corinthians (verses 1,3)!

Unlike Peter, James, and John (Matthew 10:5-7; Mark 16:15,16; Acts 2:38; Acts 3:19-26; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 1:9), Paul never preached Israel’s kingdom, her gospel message to prepare for her “at-hand” (approaching) kingdom. To learn about the gospel that Paul preached, we must read Paul’s epistles, Romans through Philemon.

We are not saved by repentance, water baptism, confession, et cetera; we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork without our works (Romans 4:1-8). Unfortunately, there is so much emphasis on Israel’s salvation verses in most churches today, that few ever realize that Jesus Christ revealed additional information to Paul years later, special doctrine found nowhere else in Scripture. Like Eve, Satan has deceived them; they are misapplying, misquoting, and watering down Scripture, denying the contexts of Israel’s verses, et cetera. Satan’s relentless attack on God’s Word continues….

A Prophet in the Wilderness #4

Thursday, June 12, 2014

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1,2 KJV).

Why is John the Baptist “preaching in the wilderness?”

Over 700 years before Christ, the Prophet Isaiah wrote of John the Baptist: “The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the LORD, make straight in the desert a highway for our God” (Isaiah 40:3; cf. Matthew 3:1-11; Mark 1:1-8; Luke 3:1-18).

The Prophet Hosea elaborates regarding Israel’s restoration to God: [JEHOVAH speaking] Therefore, behold I will allure her [Israel], and bring her into the wilderness, and speak comfortably unto her…. And it shall be at that day, saith the LORD, that thou shalt call me Ishi [“My Husband”]; and shalt call me no more Baali [“My Master”]. And I will betroth thee unto me for ever… Thou art my people; and they shall say, Thou art my God” (Hosea 2:14,16,19,23).

John was preaching in the wilderness to fulfill prophecy, but why did prophecy have him preaching in the wilderness? John’s purpose is described in Luke 1:16,17: “And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. And he shall go before him [the Messiah, Jesus] in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.

Through John, God the Father (John 1:6) was calling Israel away from the apostate, satanic religious system that had so gripped and entrapped her, the system that her religious leaders—those “vipers” (Matthew 3:7; Luke 3:7), those spiritual children of Satan (John 8:44)—had placed upon her and with which they led her away from JEHOVAH’s truth (Matthew 15:1-14).

In order to become JEHOVAH’S wife (Hosea’s prophecy above), Israel had to forsake her idols and vain religion (the center of which was the Temple). The Gospel of the Kingdom that John preached in today’s Scripture was Israel’s chance to escape Satan’s bondage and become God’s chief nation in the earth….

A Prophet in the Wilderness #2

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1,2 KJV).

Why is John the Baptist “preaching in the wilderness?”

God only gave one religion in all of human history. Given at Mount Sinai through Moses for him to teach it to Israel, Judaism was a system of 613 laws (listed throughout Exodus through Deuteronomy). The Mosaic Law was a very severe system, and God gave it to thoroughly demonstrate that Israel, in her own strength and through her own efforts, could never become His people. He would have to make them His people.

Alas, Israel never got the message that she was a sinful nation that needed God’s salvation: she still believed she could do everything God commanded. Eventually, her religious leaders added more and more laws, so that when we come to Jesus’s earthly ministry, Judaism was no longer pure. Paul even called it the Jews’ religion” (Galatians 1:14)—it was not God’s religion anymore because sinful Israel had corrupted it.

The Lord Jesus remarked about Israel’s spiritual condition in His day: “Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, This people honoureth me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, as the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do. And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition (Mark 7:6-9).

Does this sound familiar? Sure it does! “Tradition” is still readily accepted instead of Scripture; patristic (church fathers) writings, denominational creeds, papal encyclicals, church council decrees, and myriads of other volumes mean everything in Christendom, but the Holy Scriptures mean almost nothing (unless a verse can bolster the denomination, and then it is ripped out of context and quoted!).

We begin to see that John the Baptist’s ministry in the “wilderness” (today’s Scripture) was God’s method to ensure doctrinal purity….

A Prophet in the Wilderness #1

Monday, June 9, 2014

“In those days came John the Baptist, preaching in the wilderness of Judaea, And saying, Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 3:1,2 KJV).

Why is John the Baptist “preaching in the wilderness?”

Dearly beloved, throughout church history, there has been much Bible reading, but very little thoughtful Bible reading. The primary results of this mishandling of Scripture are the tens of thousands of opposing denominations. There is still extensive Bible-skimming throughout Christendom: just enough verses to maintain “old” groups and form “new” ones (cf. Romans 16:17), just enough verses to have a “form of godliness” (cf. 2 Timothy 3:5), more than enough verses to constitute “wresting” (perversion) (cf. 2 Peter 3:16), and more than enough verses to make God sick (cf. Isaiah 1:11-15).

Anyone can read, write about, and speak about the Bible (people have done it for thousands of years). However, it takes a special someone to understand the Bible—it takes someone who has God’s indwelling Holy Spirit, for He alone understands the Bible. Let us thoughtfully read 1 Corinthians 2:11-14:

“[11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”

Most assuredly, the above passage is extremely insulting to people who have attended Bible college or seminary for many years, and learned everything but how to study God’s Word properly. Dear friends, secular education is not the key to Bible understanding; divine education is the key to understanding the Bible!

With the above information as background, let us proceed to carefully consult the Scriptures to understand John’s wilderness ministry….