Who Is a Saint? #5

Friday, August 30, 2013

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV).

Behold, the identity that we Christians have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

In religion, “saints” are nothing more than intercessors who influence God to grant us favors. In Scripture, they are something else entirely. God—yea, God alone—creates saints through Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork (today’s Scripture). Saints are not for our selfish desires: they are for God to use to glorify His Son Jesus Christ forever and ever and ever.

Among other things, Jesus Christ is our “sanctification” (today’s Scripture). The writer of the book of Hebrews, when describing Israel’s salvation, used the same terminology the Apostle Paul utilized to refer to us, the Church the Body of Christ. “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all…. For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified (Hebrews 10:10,14; cf. Hebrews 13:12; 1 Peter 1:2; Jude 1).

Just as God will separate (sanctify) these believing Jews from the unsaved descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (like He separated Aaron and his sons from the common Israeli bloodline for service in the Levitical priesthood), so He has separated us from the ordinary human race. Just as He will redeem Israel from her sins and Satanic bondage using Jesus Christ’s shed blood (via the New Covenant; Hebrews 8:8-13), so He has bought us out of that slave market of sin and death (redemption; today’s Scripture).

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). In Christ, we have a new nature: we are a new type of mankind, the Church the Body of Christ, the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). All saints are equal in Jesus Christ—all Christians are in one body.

When God saved us, He not only delivered us from His wrath in everlasting hellfire, but He made us “saints” in Jesus Christ (today’s Scripture) to use us for His glory forever….

Who Is a Saint? #2

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

“But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:” (1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV).

Behold, the identity that we Christians have in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Isaiah 43:7 is the Bible’s clearest definition of “saint,” “sanctify,” and “sanctification:” “Even every one that is called by my name: for I have created him for my glory, I have formed him; yea, I have made him.”

When God makes one a “saint,” this individual is “called by [His] name” (sanctified), His creation, His “workmanship” (Ephesians 2:10), and no longer an ordinary human. The Creator of heaven and earth has redeemed him or her from the penalty of sin (hell and the lake of fire) and saved that person so He can use that person forever for His purposes. That “saint” should reflect God’s values and principles (as opposed to selfish, or sinful, living), thereby glorifying Him.

The Bible’s clearest illustrations of sanctification and sainthood are the Levitical (or Aaronic) priesthood and the vessels of the Tabernacle and Temple.

“For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins:… and no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron” (Hebrews 5:1,4). Not just any Jewish man could serve in Israel’s priesthood—only a man “called of God,” a son of Moses’ brother Aaron, Israel’s first high priest (Exodus 28:41-43; Exodus 29:9,44; Exodus 40:12-15). Psalm 106:16 calls Aaron “the saint of the LORD.”

“…Aaron was separated, that he should sanctify the most holy things, he and his sons for ever, to burn incense before the LORD, to minister unto him, and to bless in his name for ever” (1 Chronicles 23:13). Aaron was “separated,” or “sanctified,” to be a priest to perform God’s service. “The most holy things,” associated with Aaron’s ministry, were special vessels (cups, bowls, shovels, et cetera) used in the Tabernacle (later, the Temple). Ordinary Jews were not to use those vessels: they were to only be used in God’s Tabernacle and Temple to do His work.

This is sanctification….

Israel’s Permanent High Priest

Sunday, July 7, 2013

“And they truly were many priests, because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood” (Hebrews 7:23,24 KJV).

Israel had myriads of priests who “came and went,” but this High Priest is permanent….

Remember, the context of Hebrews is “the world to come(Hebrews 2:5). Its contents are not written to or about us Gentiles, for it is the book written to the Hebrews, and it involves a future time period. Specifically, Hebrews addresses Israel during the seven-year Tribulation (note they are looking for Jesus Christ’s Second Coming in Hebrews 10:25-31, which will conclude Daniel’s 70th week).

The book of Hebrews is to Israel what the book of Romans is to us, the Body of Christ. Romans discusses Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork and how God uses it to save us in this the Dispensation of Grace. Likewise, Hebrews teaches how God will utilize Jesus Christ’s finished crosswork to save Israel in her prophetic (kingdom) program.

“Better” appears 13 times within the book of Hebrews. God the Holy Spirit is urging Israel to leave behind the types and shadows and embrace their fulfillments which are “better”: animal sacrifices versus Jesus Christ’s sacrifice of Himself, the earthly tabernacle versus the heavenly tabernacle, the Levitical priesthood versus Christ’s Melchisedecian priesthood (today’s Scripture), the Old Covenant versus the New Covenant, et cetera.

Today’s Scripture demonstrates that Israel’s Old Testament Levitical (Aaronic) priesthood was faulty because its members died. Throughout those 1,500 years, Israel’s priests died and were replaced. Today’s Scripture continues: but this man [Jesus Christ; verse 22] because he continueth [liveth] [for] ever, hath an unchangeable priesthood.” The word “unchangeable” means “nontransferable;” to wit, unlike the Aaronic priests who died and relinquished their office, Jesus Christ’s priesthood will never be transferred to anyone else because He lives forever!

At His Second Coming, Jesus Christ will take God by the hand and Israel by the hand, and join them forever; Israel will then be saved. “Wherefore, he is able also save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them (verse 25). What a wonderful hope Israel has!

Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #8

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Let us review why Israel’s three prophetic baptisms do not apply to us:

  1. John’s water baptism: God the Father sent John the Baptist to “make ready a people prepared for the Lord” (Luke 1:17). John preaches to Israel, “Repent ye, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [approaching, near]” (Matthew 3:2). John’s water baptism is to prepare Israel to become a “kingdom of priests” (Exodus 19:5,6; cf. 1 Peter 2:5,9), since Israel needs the Old Testament priests’ ceremonial washing. Jews who listen to John’s message and experience his water baptism form “the little flock,” the believing remnant of Israel that will inherit Christ’s earthly kingdom (Luke 12:32).
  2. The baptism with the Holy Ghost: On Pentecost (Acts chapter 2), Jesus Christ baptized that “little flock” (His apostles and disciples) with God’s Holy Spirit. This was to empower them to continue what He (Jesus Christ) had begun during His earthly ministry (that is, lead Israel to faith in Him as their Messiah-King; Luke 24:47-49; Acts 1:8).
  3. The fire baptism: Jews who refused the two above baptisms would receive the fire baptism, God’s wrath. Unbelieving Jews would never enter Christ’s earthly kingdom. They would perish in the fire baptism (the Tribulation, Christ’s Second Coming, and eventually hellfire), as described in Matthew 24:36-42, Luke 17:26-37, and Revelation 19:11-21.

When we understand that the three “baptisms” in today’s Scripture are unique to Israel’s prophetic kingdom program spoken by the Old Testament prophets (Acts 3:21), and that we Gentiles in the Dispensation of Grace live in the mystery (secret) program which God hid from the Old Testament prophets (Romans 16:25), it becomes apparently clear that we are totally isolated from Israel’s baptisms. When we understand that Paul is our apostle (Romans 11:13), we follow his epistles Romans through Philemon, and faith does not lead us to practice Israel’s water baptism, seek Israel’s “Pentecostal power,” or fear Israel’s Tribulation.

Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #5

Saturday, July 14, 2012

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Do we in the Dispensation of Grace have any relation to the three baptisms of today’s Scripture?

BAPTISM #1: WATER BAPTISM

Water baptism is perhaps the most controversial Bible topic (someone once aptly termed it “religious TNT!”). Christendom argues more about water baptism than anything else. For salvation, or for a testimony only? Sprinkling, pouring, or immersion? Adults only, or infants too? What type of water? Priest or preacher? What words should be said when its administered? How many times forward? Backward?

The above confusion regarding the doctrine of water baptism is immediately dispelled when we, “Study to shew [ourselves] approved unto God, [workmen] that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth(2 Timothy 2:15). When we study God’s Word dispensationally, we understand that all of the Bible is for us, but not all of the Bible is to us or about us.

We are the Church the Body of Christ, so we must be careful to never confuse ourselves with the nation Israel (which the professing “Church” has done for almost 2,000 years!). All this talk in religion about “following Jesus in believers’ water baptism” is predicated on the false presumption that Jesus was water baptized as our example. Actually, He was setting an example for Jews, His kingdom of priests, who needed the Old Testament priests’ ceremonial washing to enter His earthly kingdom (John 1:31).

Water baptism does not belong in our dispensation: Paul wrote, “For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the gospel…” (1 Corinthians 1:17). There is one baptism” for our Dispensation of Grace (Ephesians 4:5). What is it? “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body…” (1 Corinthians 12:13). When someone places his or her faith in Jesus Christ alone as personal Saviour, the Holy Spirit places that person into the Body of Christ. There is no water or preacher/priest involved in our baptism.

Israel’s Three Prophetic Baptisms #4

Friday, July 13, 2012

“I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire:” (Matthew 3:11 KJV).

Let us review Israel’s three prophetic baptisms listed in today’s Scripture:

  1. John’s water baptism: John the Baptist preached, “Repent ye: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand [approaching, near]” (verse 2). The first step in anointing believing Jews to become priests in Christ’s kingdom was to have them wash with water like Israel’s priests did before entering the ministry (Exodus 29:4). Israel needed to prepare for her coming Messiah (Jesus) by confessing her national sins (breaking the Old Covenant) and being water baptized of John.
  2. The Holy Ghost baptism: Israel’s Messiah Jesus will baptize her with God’s Holy Spirit (Acts chapter 2). This was the second and final step in anointing believing Jews to become God’s priests. After washing with water, Israel’s priests were anointed with oil (Exodus 29:7). Oil in Scripture is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, the “anointing” that believing Jews received on Pentecost (John 7:39 cf. 1 John 2:20,27).
  3. The fire baptism: A Jew needed both John’s baptism and the Holy Ghost baptism in order to function as a priest in Christ’s kingdom: “Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God” (John 3:5). This is why water baptism was necessary for salvation in Israel’s program (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38). Any Jew who refused the two above baptisms would receive the fire baptism, God’s wrath. Unbelieving Jews would never enter Christ’s earthly kingdom, previously perishing in the fire baptism (Christ’s Second Coming, and eventually hellfire). Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21 indicate this fire baptism would have occurred shortly after Acts chapter 2 (the Holy Spirit baptism). However, God interrupted and temporarily suspended Israel’s program: our Dispensation of Grace postponed this fire baptism, which is yet future (notice Israel’s prophetic timeline of Joel 2:28-32 and Acts 2:16-21 knew nothing of our dispensation occurring between baptisms 2 and 3).