Given Versus Came #4

Saturday, February 25, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

Today’s Scripture highlights how the Law was dispensed from a distance. God did not speak directly to Israel on Mount Sinai when He issued and defined the Law. No, He instructed Moses to come up and meet with Him. Moses then descended and delivered the Law to the Israelites. The Jews were kept at a distance. We have neither time nor space to detail that with quotations, but you can refer to Exodus chapters 19-32.

In opening his Gospel Record of Christ’s earthly ministry, John the Apostle moved from the Law—a distant, cold, strict system—to something called “grace and truth.” Notice the contrasting conjunction “but:” “For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” The Holy Spirit is actually highlighting the advantageous and new system that God will institute in Israel one day. To wit, today’s Scripture is really demarcating two covenants—the “Old Covenant” (Law of Moses) and the “New Covenant” (Law of Messiah).

We remind ourselves of the Mosaic Law’s true purpose, Romans 3:19,20: “[19] Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them [Israel] who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world [Jews and Gentiles] may become guilty before God. [20] Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” The Old Covenant was never meant to be permanent: it was to serve one purpose. It was to show the whole world—every Jew, every Gentile—that they were sinners. There would be no argument or doubt, as God made it very clear. Religion and man’s efforts are not the answer! Grace and God’s efforts are the answer!

The Law was “given” by Moses, yes. But, grace and truth “came” by Jesus Christ. Unlike with the Old Covenant, God did not send something to Israel from afar. No, with the New Covenant, God came to Israel literally, physically, visibly, and personally….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Did Jesus ‘empty’ Himself?

Given Versus Came #3

Friday, February 24, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

Hebrews chapter 12 summarizes the drastic change in how God dealt the Israelites when they rejected His grace and preferred a performance-based acceptance system: “[18] … the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, … blackness, and darkness, and tempest, [19] And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: [20] (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: [21] And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake: )….”

With the institution of the Mosaic Law (delineated in Exodus chapter 20), JEHOVAH God became distant and severe. If there was so much as an animal that touched Mount Sinai, God demanded it be killed! A man was to be put to death if he touched Sinai! Israel, up to this point, had not been fearful of God. They had seen God deal harshly with Egypt, but not with them. Now, they literally tremble as the Old Covenant is ratified!

Friend, the Law is not the sinner’s friend. No, the Law is not flawed: God’s Law is “holy, just, and good” (Romans 7:12). However, it is “weak through [our] flesh” (Romans 8:3). The Law “worketh wrath” (Romans 4:15). We cannot measure up to God’s righteous standards. Not only are our deeds evil; we, by nature, in heart, are evil (Jeremiah 17:9; Matthew 7:11). The Law exposes our sinful nature and deeds: “For by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). “The strength of sin is the law” (1 Corinthians 15:56b). The Law only highlights our failures. It was intended to teach Israel they could not be God’s people based on their efforts!

As long as they had a performance-based acceptance system, their religious works being the issue, God would always be distant, displeased, offended, and angry. They would need JEHOVAH God to institute a more advantageous, and personal, system….

Given Versus Came #2

Thursday, February 23, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

In Exodus 19:1-8, Israel accepted God’s Covenant of Law. They will be His people only if they obey His Law. How does God react? How is His relationship with Israel changed? Their wish is granted via an extremely frightening encounter with Him!

“[9] And the LORD said unto Moses, Lo, I come unto thee in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with thee, and believe thee for ever. And Moses told the words of the people unto the LORD. [10] And the LORD said unto Moses, Go unto the people, and sanctify them to day and to morrow, and let them wash their clothes, [11] And be ready against the third day: for the third day the LORD will come down in the sight of all the people upon mount Sinai. [12] And thou shalt set bounds unto the people round about, saying, Take heed to yourselves, that ye go not up into the mount, or touch the border of it: whosoever toucheth the mount shall be surely put to death: [13] There shall not an hand touch it, but he shall surely be stoned, or shot through; whether it be beast or man, it shall not live: when the trumpet soundeth long, they shall come up to the mount.”

“[16] And it came to pass on the third day in the morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud upon the mount, and the voice of the trumpet exceeding loud; so that all the people that was in the camp trembled. [17] And Moses brought forth the people out of the camp to meet with God; and they stood at the nether part of the mount. [18] And mount Sinai was altogether on a smoke, because the LORD descended upon it in fire: and the smoke thereof ascended as the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mount quaked greatly. [19] And when the voice of the trumpet sounded long, and waxed louder and louder, Moses spake, and God answered him by a voice.”

The dreadful Law of God will be implemented….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Why is Hell forever if life on Earth is but decades?

Given Versus Came #1

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

“For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ” (John 1:17 KJV).

One is distant; the other is near.

The Jews were cruelly enslaved—in bondage to Egypt, sin, and Satan. God heard their cries for help, and He brought to mind the covenant He had made with their fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. After destroying Egypt with 10 plagues, defeating Pharaoh and his idols, the God of the Hebrews brought His people across the Red Sea with a mighty hand. Those miracles should have caused Israel to see they would have to rely on God rather than their religious works. It would be His works, not theirs.

In His grace, JEHOVAH God gave Israel everything she needed. They desired deliverance from Egypt; He gave it (Exodus 14:1–15:22). They wanted potable water; He provided it (15:23-26). They wanted food; He furnished them with manna and quail (16:1-36). They desired drinkable water; He offered it to them (17:1-7). He gave them military victory over their enemies, the Amalekites (17:8-16). After seeing God’s faithfulness to them, amazingly, the Jews overlooked it and pompously declared they could now be faithful to God. After all of their complaining and doubt in the previous chapters, they claimed they would now obey God!

We read the LORD’S words to Moses in Exodus 19:4-6: “[4] Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians, and how I bare you on eagles’ wings, and brought you unto myself. [5] 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: [6] And ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests, and an holy nation. These are the words which thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel.” After emphasizing what He did for them (verse 4), highlighting their weaknesses and deficiencies, He tested them (verses 5,6). “Do you want to be My people based on what you do?” Verse 8 says: “And all the people answered together, and said, All that the LORD hath spoken we will do.”

How will the LORD respond? How will this affect His relationship with Israel?

The Converted Nation and The Translated Word #5

Friday, February 5, 2016

“He sheweth his word unto Jacob, his statutes and his judgments unto Israel. He hath not dealt so with any nation: and as for his judgments, they have not known them. Praise ye the LORD” (Psalm 147:19,20 KJV).

Herein do we see God’s head of the nations—Israel!

God’s original covenant with Israel, the Abrahamic Covenant, was unconditional. He would graciously make her a channel of blessing to the nations without her religious efforts (Genesis 12:1-3). Nevertheless, Israel preferred religion, so God gave it: the Mosaic Law was “added because of transgressions” (Galatians 3:19). The Law was a conditional covenant—that is, dependent upon Israel’s obedience or disobedience to all of God’s commandments.

As with Abraham fathering Ishmael instead of waiting for God’s promised son, Isaac (Genesis chapters 16 and 17), God proved to Moses and the succeeding Jewish generations that Abraham’s nation must depend on Him to accomplish His will for them rather than their futile struggles. Instead of realizing they were sinners like the Gentiles, Israel grew prideful of her relationship with the one true God. Jews thought they were better than the nations, not realizing of course that God had given them His Word so they could share it with the nations.

Thankfully, Galatians 3:14-25 says that Israel’s sins committed under the Mosaic Law economy do not cancel the Abrahamic Covenant. In Israel’s program, Jews who acknowledge their sins and their need for Jesus Christ, they will inherit the Abrahamic Covenant. By virtue of Christ’s shed blood, the New Covenant is how God will one day cancel Israel’s sin debt and cause them to become His people (Ezekiel 36:22-38; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:1-39), His kingdom of priests (1 Peter 2:9; Revelation 1:6; Revelation 5:10).

Zechariah 8:22,23 predicts: “Yea, many people and strong nations shall come to seek the LORD of hosts in Jerusalem, and to pray before the LORD. Thus saith the LORD of hosts; In those days it shall come to pass, that ten men shall take hold out of all languages of the nations, even shall take hold of the skirt of him that is a Jew, saying, We will go with you: for we have heard that God is with you(cf. Isaiah 2:2,3; Habakkuk 2:14)! 🙂

*NOTE: Saints, after a two-year delay, we have finally launched our new flagship ministry website, arCGraceMinistries.org! Here, you will find our Statement of Faith, links to all seven of our ministry websites, as well as news items, and information on how to purchase our (new) Bible study booklets now in print!

Satan and Dispensationalism #24

Thursday, October 29, 2015

“Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God; Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to his saints:” (Colossians 1:25,26 KJV).

Dispensational Bible Study enables us to see and appreciate the final revelation from God. Satan is thus utterly embarrassed!

Lucifer was (still is as Satan) the wisest creature. However, that which is created can never be greater than its creator. God knows Satan’s thoughts, but Satan knows not God’s thoughts. While the triune Godhead revealed Their will for the earth and Israel, They kept something secret. Satan was intelligent, but not omniscient (all-knowing); some things were completely unknown to him. The triune Godhead skillfully let Satan participate in Calvary’s crosswork. After Calvary, the Godhead revealed Their original purpose in Calvary.

Had Satan really known what God would do through Christ’s finished crosswork, Satan would have done everything he could to prevent Calvary. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians chapter 2: “[6] Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: [7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

Colossians 2:14,15: “Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them openly, triumphing over them in it.”

Through Christ’s shed blood, all sinners can now be reconciled to God. In the future, Israel’s New Covenant can be established, to save her from her sins and make her God’s earthly kingdom of priests. Moreover, the direct divine revelation given to Paul is that Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection is how (now, in our Dispensation of Grace) all people—Jew or Gentile—can by faith join the Church the Body of Christ and form God’s heavenly kingdom.

Paul and Dispensationalism #3

Monday, August 10, 2015

“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob: For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins” (Romans 11:25-27 KJV).

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

Romans chapters 9-11 are a special section of Paul’s epistles—they examine Israel’s past (9), present (10), and future (11) from a dispensational perspective.

Chapter 9 outlines Israel’s rebellion against JEHOVAH God from the very beginning, culminating at Christ’s crucifixion on Calvary, but God preserved a believing remnant, the Little Flock, within the nation. Israel’s program (the wrath and kingdom) is still delayed so our mystery program can operate. Chapter 10 describes how Israel is rebelling against God during the Acts period, how they are persecuting Paul and contradicting his preaching. A small remnant of Jews is listening to Paul and believing his Gospel of Grace, thereby escaping apostate Israel and joining the Body of Christ. Chapter 11 predicts after God closes our Dispensation of Grace and cuts off Gentile access to Him apart from Israel, Israel’s program will recommence and Israel’s Little Flock will be restarted. We come to today’s Scripture.

Paul does not want us to be wise in our own conceits. He does not want us to think we are someone we are not. Contrary to church tradition, we are not Israel, we have not replaced Israel, and we are not an extension of Israel’s program! Israel is currently blinded. “The fulness of the Gentiles”—the completion of the Church the Body of Christ—must occur, and until it does, national Israel will not be saved. That Second Coming of Jesus Christ, as well as that New Covenant to cleanse Israel, will continue to be delayed. Israel will be saved one day, just not today. Prophecy will restart, just not today. Wrath will come, just not today. Today is the Dispensation of the Grace of God!

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #12

Tuesday, April 28, 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!

The Mosaic Law declared that if Israel broke God’s laws, He would punish her with five accumulative and successive courses of judgment. That last round of chastisement was banishment from the Promised Land. Because of her national sins, Israel became increasingly open to Satan’s influence. Contractual agreement forced God to curse His beloved people!

As the Gentile armies led the Jews away captive, Israel mourned. They died in those foreign lands. As long as Israel was scattered globally, she could not be in the land that God had promised her. Furthermore, she could not accomplish His will in His land. That will all change when the Lord Jesus Christ comes back and establishes His earthly kingdom. Israel will rejoice with the establishment of the New Covenant!

The Psalmist wrote in Psalm 126:1-6: “[1] When the LORD turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. [2] Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, The LORD hath done great things for them. [3] The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad. [4] Turn again our captivity, O LORD, as the streams in the south. [5] They that sow in tears shall reap in joy. [6] He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”

As Romans chapter 11 makes so plain, God still has a plan and purpose for Israel. In due time, He will fulfill it. For now, however, He is operating our mystery program. He will take care of Israel and her enemies in due course. For now, however, He is graciously offering salvation from sins, to all who simply believe on His Son.

“Oh that the salvation of Israel were come out of Zion! When God bringeth back the captivity of his people, Jacob shall rejoice, and Israel shall be glad (Psalm 53:6). 🙂

Our latest Bible Q&A: “What part of us is justified at salvation?

When the LORD Turns Israel’s Captivity #9

Saturday, April 25, 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!

Jeremiah 32:37-44 is one greatest summaries of the reversal of Israel’s captivity: “[37] Behold, I will gather them out of all countries, whither I have driven them in mine anger, and in my fury, and in great wrath; and I will bring them again unto this place, and I will cause them to dwell safely: [38] And they shall be my people, and I will be their God: [39] And I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear me for ever, for the good of them, and of their children after them: [40] And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from them, to do them good; but I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me. [41] Yea, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will plant them in this land assuredly with my whole heart and with my whole soul. [42] For thus saith the LORD; Like as I have brought all this great evil upon this people, so will I bring upon them all the good that I have promised them. [44]… for I will cause their captivity to return, saith the LORD.” A thrilling passage!

Not only will God bring Israel (that is, believing Israel) back into their land to dwell forever and ever with Him (Jesus Christ Himself dwelling with them in that literal kingdom), He will give each Jew a new heart, that they may serve Him forever in that kingdom. He will permanently cut them off from Adam, and give them a new nature in Christ (their physical circumcision was to represent this righteousness; Romans 2:28,29; Romans 4:11). This return to the Promised Land will be possible through the New Covenant, which cancels the sin debt Israel accumulated under the Old Covenant (Ezekiel 36:16-38; Ezekiel 37:15-28; Romans 11:26-29; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17). Israel has a most marvelous future….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Is ‘Jerusalem’ my hometown?

A Heart Transplant for Israel #12

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh(Ezekiel 36:26 KJV).

The Great Physician must perform this surgery if His beloved patient is to live forever!

Read today’s Scripture within its context: “For I will take you from among the heathen, and gather you out of all countries, and will bring you into your own land. Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you: and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh. And I will put my spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep my judgments, and do them. And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God” (verses 24-28).

After our dispensation closes with the rapture, and after the seven-year Tribulation, Jesus Christ will return to earth to fulfill today’s Scripture. He will regather Israel’s believing remnant scattered worldwide (Matthew 24:29-31). He will spiritually and nationally circumcise them (separate them from the Gentile nations and Adam/sin). With His shed blood (the New Covenant’s inauguration), He will pay the sin debt they accumulated under the Old Covenant (Mosaic Law) and He will save them (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Romans 11:25-29; Hebrews 8:8-13; Hebrews 10:15-17).

The Great Physician, wielding the Sword of the Spirit, God’s Word, will extract Israel’s “stony heart [of sin unto eternal death]” and replace it with “an heart of flesh” (today’s Scripture). In her kingdom, redeemed Israel will have a heart God can mold, a heart of faith in and obedience to His Word. She will truly be JEHOVAH’S nation, alive with eternal life! Throughout the countless ages to come, she will reach the nations with the salvation He first gave her. Rest assured, saints, in God’s own timing, Israel shall live again! 🙂