The Sins of the Times! #3

Saturday, March 9, 2019

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Friend, you have surely heard of “the signs of the times,” but do you know anything about “the sins of the times?”

Studying the Bible, we learn the term “last days” refers to God bringing Israel’s prophetic program to its conclusion, its ultimate goal (His earthly kingdom). A sequence of four major events accomplishes it: (1) Christ’s earthly ministry, (2) the pouring out of God’s Spirit at Pentecost, (3) the pouring out of His wrath during the seven-year Tribulation, and (4) the actual Second Coming of Christ. Signs involved throughout, God’s earthly kingdom is eventually founded.

However, God in His grace and longsuffering interrupted that timeline in the Book of Acts. The first two events have already transpired; the last two are future from us. Our dispensation sits in the middle, completely isolated from the prophetic program. God kept our mystery program a secret until He revealed it to Paul (Ephesians 3:1-9; Colossians 1:23-36). Pauline doctrine allows us to see what God planned all along but which knowledge He had intentionally withheld from Satan and his angelic allies (1 Corinthians 2:6-8).

When Paul speaks of the “last days” (today’s Scripture), he refers to the last days of our Dispensation of Grace (and our Dispensation divides the “last days” of Israel’s program, with one portion preceding us and the other following us). Paul does not urge us to look for earthquakes, famines, wars, or pestilences as noteworthy of the last days with respect to us. He has a different coming of Christ in mind—one not found in Matthew chapter 24!

Today’s Scripture in context: “[1] This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. [2] For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, [3] Without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, [4] Traitors, heady, highminded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God; [5] Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.”

“Perilous [dangerous] times” indeed, but not due to war, earthquake, famine, or pestilence. There is rather a spiritual hazard….

The Sins of the Times! #2

Friday, March 8, 2019

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Friend, you have surely heard of “the signs of the times,” but do you know anything about “the sins of the times?”

It is a common mistake to suppose Jesus Christ’s earthly ministry is directed toward us, that He is speaking to and about us in Matthew through John. However, we can read that He preached only to Jews (Matthew 15:24; Matthew 10:5-7), and He had no ministry to us Gentiles (Romans 15:8; cf. John 4:22). After He ascended into Heaven though, He showed the Apostle Paul some information kept secret in Matthew through John. God’s current dealings with man are described in that most recent Divine revelation.

“Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:…” (Romans 16:25,26). This is what the Bible means, “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15).

The Bible is to be understood as a timeline: not every passage and verse is applicable all the time. If we fail to understand the Bible dispensationally, especially ignoring the fact that “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” was committed to Paul’s trust that he might then give it to us Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1,2), then we will overlook his special ministry to us (his unique epistles, Romans through Philemon).

God indeed dealt with man according to signs, miracles, and wonders. That time has come and gone; that is for another dispensation (and not ours!). Jesus told His disciples to look for signs of His coming (recall the Olivet Discourse) whereas the Holy Spirit through Paul speaks of Christ’s coming but never once attaches “signs” or admonishes us to watch for them. The only conclusion to draw is that there are two future returns of Christ. Signs precede one coming, while sins come before the other….

Our latest Bible Q&A: “Should we be ‘fruit inspectors?’

The Sins of the Times! #1

Thursday, March 7, 2019

This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come (2 Timothy 3:1 KJV).

Friend, you have surely heard of “the signs of the times,” but do you know anything about “the sins of the times?”

A Christian brother just related to me how he had heard about some “astronomical signs” that “might be indicative of Jesus’ soon return.” This is nothing new. If you watch and read the “prophecy experts” (ha!), they harp on such “signs of the times.” Every day, they claim to see Bible prophecy being fulfilled in the news. Middle East conflict? Famine? “Yes, this verse is coming to pass!” Threats to public health? Horrific pestilences? “Oh, we have found a Bible passage to fit it!” Devastating earthquake? Volcanic eruption? “Look, that verse is being fulfilled!” Such pronouncements stem from Christ’s “Second Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapter 24, Mark chapter 13, and Luke chapter 21).

Notice how Matthew’s account opens the Lord’s magnificent Olivet Discourse: “[1] And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. [2] And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. [3] And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world? [4] And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. [5] For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many. 

“[6] And ye shall hear of wars and rumours of wars: see that ye be not troubled: for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. [7] For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in divers places. [8] All these are the beginning of sorrows.” Yes, Christ speaks of specific, outstanding events that will precede His Second Coming. But, let us study the Scriptures to see if we should be watching for them….

Distributing the Four Gospel Records? #3

Monday, March 4, 2019

But he answered and said, I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Matthew 15:24 KJV).

To whom was Christ’s earthly ministry directed?

Matthew through John are God’s Word to and about Israel preparing to receive her Messiah-King (Jesus Christ) and earthly kingdom (Matthew 10:5-7; Romans 9:4,5). Jesus Christ and His associates (His heralder or forerunner John the Baptist, His 12 apostles, and so on) thus preached “the Gospel of the Kingdom” (Matthew 9:35; cf. Matthew 3:2; Matthew 4:17; et cetera). They performed miracles to validate that Gospel message that God’s kingdom was near (Mark 16:20; Luke 8:1,2). Israel would be delivered from bondage to sin and Satan, and then she would take God’s Word to the nations. Yet, Israel has yet to be delivered! God has temporarily paused the program He was operating in Christ’s earthly ministry. Through Israel’s fall salvation is come to us Gentiles (Romans 11:11-14).

Jesus Christ gave the Apostle Paul “the Dispensation of the Grace of God” to give to us Gentiles (Ephesians 3:1,2). We do not find God’s present-day dealings with man in Matthew through John; we find our instructions in Romans through Philemon. How will Father God stabilize our souls? Through His Word “rightly divided” (2 Timothy 2:15)! We must understand Paul’s Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3,4), then the rest of Pauline doctrine, and finally the entire Bible in light of Pauline revelation.

Romans chapter 16: “[25] Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began, [26] But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:….”

Thus, Christian friend, if you are wondering where to begin with Bible translation or distribution, you are strongly urged to start with the Book of Romans. Romans is the clearest exposition of the Gospel of Grace by which we have a relationship with God today (chapters 1–5). It is also the most basic handbook for Christian living (chapters 6–16), with special emphasis on us not being the nation Israel (chapters 9–11). Simple!

Saints, please remember us in your monthly giving—these websites do cost money to run! 🙂 You can donate securely here: https://www.paypal.me/ShawnBrasseaux, or email me at arcministries@gmail.com. Do not forget about Bible Q&A booklets for sale at https://arcgraceministries.org/in-print/booklets-bible-q-a/. Thanks to all who give to and pray for us! By the way, ministry emails have really been backed up this year. I am handling them as much as humanly possible. Thanks for your patience. 🙂

Wise or Foolish? #3

Friday, February 1, 2019

Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:…. And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand…” (Matthew 7:24,26 KJV).

Dear friends, are we wise—or foolish?

Wherever the God of the Bible is working, Satan is nearby frustrating it. As Jesus Christ was gathering Israel’s believing remnant during the Books of Matthew through John, the Devil was working just as diligently to produce an imitation nation that appeared genuine. Prior to closing the Sermon on the Mount with today’s Scripture, the Lord Jesus said:

“[15] Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. [16] Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? [17] Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. [18] A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. [19] Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. [20] Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

“[21] Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven. [22] Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? [23] And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

There were religious liars in Israel, pretenders who appeared to be serving God. What mattered, first and foremost, was the content of the message they preached. Did it fit the words of Jesus Christ? Their deeds—no matter how “miraculous”—are actually called “iniquity” (evil!) and Christ says He never had any intimate relationship with them. Contrary to their claims, they were not serving Him. The storm would expose these fake “believers” and their followers….

Bible Q&A #575: “Why do the good die young while the wicked are granted longevity?

Translated Judgment #7

Saturday, September 22, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

First Corinthians chapter 14 outlines the six rules that regulated the gift of tongues (which gift the Corinthians were abusing). When the Holy Spirit was involved, these six principles were always in place. Any deviation, even slightly, meant that the experience was artificial and satanic. Someone was striving in his or her flesh to mimic or counterfeit God’s work.

Primarily, tongues served as a sign to the nation Israel (today’s Scripture). Secondly, twoor maximum, three—individuals were to speak in tongues during one meeting (verse 27). Thirdly, the speakers had to take turns, and not talk over each other (verse 27). Fourthly, the tongue had to be translated or the speaker was to remain silent (verses 27,28). Fifthly, only men spoke in tongues (verses 34,35). Lastly, there was to be decency, order, self-control (verse 40). These six rules describe the only type of speaking in tongues the Holy Spirit has ever (!) endorsed!

It was particularly important that tongues be translated. This interpretation allowed unsaved Jews to not only hear a foreign language (recognizing God’s judgment on their nation), but also learn God’s Word in their own native tongue (whatever it happened to be). An intelligible message, as opposed to gibberish, afforded them an opportunity to be convicted of their sin and converted to faith in Jesus Christ as their personal Saviour. Now that that Acts transitional period is over, God dealing with Israel has passed, so the spiritual gifts have ceased (1 Corinthians 8:8-13). We have a completed Bible, total revelation from God, and thus temporary spiritual gifts and fragmentary revelation are unnecessary (2 Timothy 3:16,17; cf. Colossians 1:25-27).

Our two latest Bible Q&As: “Did Saul of Tarsus ever meet Jesus Christ during His earthly ministry?” and Did Paul just hear Jesus’ voice, or did he see Him, too?

Translated Judgment #6

Friday, September 21, 2018

In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe (1 Corinthians 14:21,22 KJV).

While it is commonly overlooked, today’s Scripture describes God’s righteous judgment on a certain group of unbelievers. Who are they? What is God’s message to them? Who is delivering that message?

Here are two simple Bible verses that will revolutionize the way you view God’s Word. “For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom” (1 Corinthians 1:22). “Then said Jesus unto him, Except ye see signs and wonders, ye will not believe” (John 4:48). Signs are Israel’s national heritage (see Psalm 74:9). When we come to today’s Scripture, we thus see that one of these “signs” is the spiritual gift of speaking in tongues: “Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not….” The unbelievers during the Acts period were the nation Israel (Acts 9:23,24; Acts 13:45-48; Acts 17:5,13; Acts 18:6,12; et cetera).

In Isaiah’s day, Israel hearing foreign languages meant that her LORD God’s judgment had fallen on her for her unbelief and disobedience. Similarly, Israel hearing the gift of tongues working amongst Paul’s Gentile converts signified to Israel that her God was now operating in the world without her. It was a drastic change in program. God had taken the spiritual gifts—what had belonged to Israel—and given them over to the Gentiles. The gift of tongues operated amongst Paul’s Gentile converts so as to provoke to salvation in Christ the unsaved Jews scattered around the world.

The gift of tongues was not meant to be entertainment (as the Corinthians were using it—see 1 Corinthians chapter 14), but rather a clear testimony to Israel. It was important that the Corinthians correct their abuses of this most special spiritual gift. Today’s Body of Christ would do well to take heed to these verses, and address and fix their misunderstandings and misuses of spiritual gifts….

Bible Q&A #535: “Who are the ‘Grecians’ in the Bible?