The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Sunday, December 24, 2006

'Replacement' Theology?

Hey y'all,

I've been thinking about this popular ( in Reformed, Calvinistic circles ) 'theology'. I was talking to my ( wife's ) pastor today about it, and told him that I don't subscribe to it; as he was about to agree with me, I said; 'yeh, I don't believe that the Church replaced Israel as God's 'special people, I believe that the Church has always BEEN God's 'special people'!

I said that kinda 'tongue in cheek', but isn't that true? For one thing, doesn't the Bible tell us that 'He changes not'?

I believe that national, 'racial' Israel was NEVER God's 'special people', per se; but was merely a 'picture', or 'type' of the Church invisible, or, the 'Israel of God', and I'll tell you why!

Now, with that said; I'm not trying to say that the OT 'story' is JUST that, a 'story'; I believe that it's ALL true, that God delivered a certain people out of Egypt to be His 'special people', and that 'some' of those that He delivered out of Egypt WERE His 'special people', as Moses records, "but with some of them, He was not well pleased", and those perished in the wilderness, and as God told Elijah, later on; "yet have I reserved 7,000 men for Myself.............."!

Paul says, in Romans 2:28, 29 that, "he is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision that which is outward, in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the Spirit, not in the letter; whose praise is not from men but from God."

This is almost as confusing, at first glance, as Romans 9:6-8!

What does Paul mean by saying that he is NOT a Jew who IS one?! I think that Paul is here 'differentiating' between the true Jews, those in Christ; and those that John speaks of in Revelation 2, 'that say they are Jews, and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan'.

Paul told the church in Rome, who apparently were having some 'trouble' with the teaching of 'replacement theology', in Romans 9:6, "But it is NOT that the Word of God has taken no effect, for they are not all Israel ( Jews ) who are of Israel ( Jews )." In my understanding, Paul is saying that not all those who are of Israel 'after the flesh' are true Israel ( ites ). The obverse, or 'other side of the coin', IMHO, would be that 'some' of those who are NOT Israel ( ites ) 'after the flesh' , ARE the true 'Israel of God'!

But I digress.................

Paul tells the church in Galatia, that "those who are of faith are sons of Abraham", implying that those who are NOT of faith are NOT sons of Abraham; in fact, Jesus told the Pharisees of His day, that they were sons of the devil!

So, having said all that, coupled with the 'knowledge' that God has a Plan for His Church, which He implemented on day one, is the main reason that I believe that Israel 'after the flesh' was never meant, as a whole, to be God's 'special people', and that the Church is not Plan B!

In Christ,
Charles Shank

Friday, December 08, 2006

Was a physical resurrection EVER promised?

Hey y'all,
A thought just occured to me, that may have already occured to many of you; is Daniel 12:2 necessarily speaking of a 'physical' resurrection?
Genesis 2:7 says that "God formed man of the dust of the ground".

Daniel 12:2 says that "many who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake...."

Now, I will admit that in alot of cases, most in the NT, 'sleep' or 'sleeping' refers to physical death; I think, in particular, of John 11:11, where Jesus told His disciples that Lazarus was 'merely' sleeping, and that He was going to 'wake' him up! ( this has interesting connotations concerning God's Eternal Plan, and what 'death' and 'life' really connote! )

I Corinthians 15:34 tells us to "awake to righteousness. ..."

Earlier, in the book of Romans, Paul reminds his readers that "now it is high time to awake out of sleep..........."

Paul told his readers, in I Thessalonians 5:6, "Therefore, let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober" strongly implying that sleep or sleeping does'nt always refer to physical death, but to those who are not watching as they should!

This is by no means a comprehensive, nor maybe eve conclusive list, but it should raise some question in your minds ( if the question was not there already ) as to whether a 'physical' resurrection was EVER promised to Israel!

I think we would all agree that we cannot 'wake' ourselves ( much less, to righteousness ): so, do you think that what was promised in Daniel 12 was 'merely' a promise of his ( Daniel's ) people 'waking' to their Righteousness? What do you think?

being a Berean,
in Christ,
Charles Shank

Monday, November 13, 2006

Wyoming National Guard

The Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel
(or, prophecies concerning the Church)

How, when, and where did the Church begin? Some would say, and I would be inclined to agree, that Adam and Eve were the first members of the Church, after God had clothed them with animal skins (from the first sacrifice?). Although I do agree, I would say further that this was the beginning of the invisible Church (the Body of the Elect, universal), but I believe that the visible Church (catholic) had it’s beginnings at the tower of Babel (Babylon). That said, it goes without saying that the Church was actually appointed by God, in His infinite predestination, before the worlds were formed. As to the how, I believe that God first dispersed His people (elect) throughout the world, in order to “ gather them from all nations where I have driven them “ (paraphrase of Jer. 29:14) .

I got the idea for this paper while reading chapter 5 of The Epistle of Mathetes to Diognetus, from Anti-Nicene Fathers Vol. 1: to quote; “For the Christians are distinguished from other men neither by country, nor language, nor the customs which they observe. For they neither inhabit cities of their own, nor employ a peculiar form of speech, nor lead a life which is marked out by any singularity. The course of conduct which they follow has not been devised by any speculation or deliberation of inquisitive men; nor do they, like some, proclaim themselves the advocates of any merely human doctrines. But, inhabiting Greek as well as barbarian cities, according as the lot of each of them has determined, and following the customs of the natives in respect to clothing, food, and the rest of their ordinary conduct, they display to us their wonderful and confessedly striking method of life. They dwell in their own countries, but simply as sojourners. As citizens, they share in all things with others, and yet endure all things as if foreigners. Every foreign land is to them as their native country, and every land of their birth as a land of strangers. They marry, as do all [others]; they beget children; but they do not destroy their offspring. They have a common table, but not a common bed. They are in the flesh, but they do not live after the flesh. They pass their days on earth, but they are citizens of heaven. They obey the prescribed laws, and at the same time surpass the laws by their lives. They love all men, and are persecuted by all. They are unknown and condemned; they are put to death, and restored to life. They are poor, yet make many rich; they are in lack of all things, and yet abound in all; they are dishonoured, and yet in their very dishonour are glorified. They are evil spoken of, and yet are justified; they are reviled, and bless; they are insulted, and repay the insult with honour; they do good, yet are punished as evil-doers. When punished, they rejoice as if quickened into life; they are assailed by the Jews as foreigners, and are persecuted by the Greeks; yet those who hate them are unable to assign any reason for their hatred.”

Now you may ask, and I’ll be the first to admit that my thought patterns are a little hard to grasp sometimes; but what does this have to do with the tower of Babel? The thought came to me while reading this passage, that, since it is true, (and I had never thought of it before), Christians have no particular country, but live in whatever country God, in His infinite wisdom, has placed them, that the first dispersion (Gen. 11), although we have no scriptural proof that there were any elect (Rev. 17:8) present at the tower of Babel, but I propose that there were, and that this was the first (visible) step in Gods eternal plan to gather (disciple) His Church.
In the Scriptures, God talks many times of gathering His people, “ from all the nations where the Lord your God has scattered you”.(Deut.30:3)
Again, “ though some of you were cast out to the farthest part of the heavens, yet I will gather them from there, : (Neh.1:9)
Again, (He calls to the heavens and the earth), “Gather my saints together to Me.............” (Ps. 50:5)
He says in Is. 43:5-6 “ Fear not, for I am with you, I will bring your descendants from the east, and gather you from the west: I will say to the north, ‘Give them up!, and to the south, ’Do not keep them back’, Bring My sons from afar, And My daughters from the ends of the earth “ .
Again He says in Isaiah, “ For a mere moment I have forsaken you, but with great mercies I will gather you”. (Is 54:7)
In Isaiah 66 verse 18, He says, “ It shall be, that I will gather all nations and tongues; and they shall come and see my Glory “.
In the book of Jeremiah, He tells us, “ I will gather the remnant of my flock out of all the countries where I have driven them, and bring them back to their folds; and they shall be fruitful and increase.” (A couple of interesting side notes; In the latter part of this verse, God is using Genesis language* ; in the few previous verses of this chapter God pronounces judgement against His shepherds for scattering His flock, then in verse three, He says that He has driven them!)
In Jeremiah 29:14, God says,” I will be found by you, and I will bring you back from your captivity; I will gather you from all nations and from all the places where I have driven you........” There are many more to study and to quote, but these will suffice for now.
You’re probably thinking by now that all these verses have to do with God’s covenant people, the Israelites.
You’re right, of course!
Let me quote you a few more verses from the New Testament. He say in John , chapter 10 verse 16, “ and other sheep I have which are not of this fold.”, and in the 9th chapter of Romans, verse 6, “ For they are not all Israel(ites)* who are of Israel “, further on, in chapter 11, Paul says, “ I say then, has God cast away His people? Certainly not! For I also am an Israelite....” He goes on to point out that God’s covenant people are called by grace, not born of the flesh(John 3:1-6, Rom. 9:7-8).All that said, I fear I digress!

The point I’m trying to make here is that, throughout scripture, God builds His Church, like a good father his children, by putting them through the fire, ( Exodus 1: 8-22, Deuteronomy 9-13, Joshua, Judges, Ruth 1, I Samuel 10-12, and etc, ), by chastising, ( Deuteronomy 8:5, II Samuel 7:14, Psalm 94:12, Hebrews 12: 5-11), and by dispersing and then bringing back His special people to dwell in His land*!

by God's grace ( to be continued ),
Charles Shank

'Mercy, and not sacrifice'

Mercy , and Not Sacrifice
(Matthew 9:12-13, 5:20, 19:16-26, 23:23, 21:28-31, Hosea 6:6 , Psalm 51, Matthew 18:23-35, Mark 7:6-13, 11:25, 12:33, 38-40, Luke 10:30-37, 15:11-32, Romans 12:1)

Jesus says, in Matthew chapter nine, in the thirteenth verse,
“But go and learn what this means , ’I desire mercy and not sacrifice.’ For I did not come to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance.”

In this study, I am going to try to learn, and to share with you, what I think that He means by this statement.
I think first of all, we need to look at the context, not only of the quote in Matthew, but the original saying in the book of Hosea.

The immediate context ,of course, in Matthew is when the Pharisees called our Lord Jesus to task for eating with sinners. When confronted with this, Jesus in essence tells them that since the Pharisees were righteous, even though it was their own, outward righteousness, He had come not to minister to them, but to those who were sick and had need of Christ’s righteousness. (Of course, we all know that it is not our righteousness
( Isaiah 64:6), that justifies us, but the righteousness which is imputed to us by God( Isaiah 54:17 ) )

In the fifth chapter of Matthew, He does say that our righteousness must be greater than that of the scribes and Pharisees if we are to enter the kingdom of heaven, but, again, taken in context with what the rest of Scripture says about our righteousness, I think we can see that He is saying not that our righteousness is what gets us to Heaven, but that our zeal for obedience to God ( Romans 6:14), must exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees.

An instance of this is found in the nineteenth chapter of Matthew, verses sixteen though twenty-six where the rich young man confronts Jesus with a problem and received an answer he didn’t like because he was not willing to give up his uncertain riches and have mercy, but thought that his sacrifice was enough. In our Christian life, we also must realize that we cannot, in fact will not obey any of God’s laws without our imputed Righteousness, that is Christ. As He says, in verse twenty-six, “With men, this is impossible, but with God, all things are possible”.

In the twenty-third chapter of Matthew, verse twenty-three, Jesus pronounces a woe on the scribes and Pharisees because, while they outwardly obey the law, they miss the point of the law, justice and mercy and faith. While outward obedience, Jesus says, is important, justice, mercy, and faith are just as, and indeed more important because they pertain to the inward man, or the heart.

So what did our Lord mean by this?

Looking deeper into passages such as the one found in the twenty-first chapter of Matthew, beginning with verse twenty-eight, the parable of the two sons, might begin to give us a glimpse of what we are searching for. Now, although at first, the first son would not even make the outward sign of obedience, he had a tender heart(mercy) and later went and did his Father’s will. The second son, while at first showing the outward sign of obedience(sacrifice), I think, never intended to obey, because he ended up not doing what he promised.
We as Christians, and I count myself here especially, need to remember to practice what we preach, i.e. do what we say, for as Scripture says in another place, “Better not to vow, than to vow and not pay”. (Ecclesiastes 5:5)

Now we turn to the main verse here that Jesus quoted in Matthew, from the book of Hosea, the sixth chapter and sixth verse: “ For I desire mercy, and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.” Reading the entire chapter, we see that it starts out with Gods compassion on us, undeserving as we are, then about the seventh verse, we see how undeserving of God’s compassion we really are, but thankfully it ends with God saying that He will have compassion nevertheless.

In Psalm fifty-one, I believe, David truly recognizes, one ; that we need God’s mercy, two ; that we are not deserving of that mercy, and three ; that true forgiving mercy comes from God alone.
The main passage that I think we should look at, according to our topic, are verses sixteen and seventeen where he reminds God, and us, that God does not require just an outward sacrifice(Romans 12:1), but also a humble, thankful, repentant, and therefore, merciful heart.

For some further insight into the matter, let us now return to the New Testament of Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, in the eighteenth chapter of Matthew, verses twenty-three through thirty-five, the parable of the unforgiving servant. In this passage the unforgiving servant, who owes his Master a large amount of money, offered his Lord a sacrifice by getting on his knees and praying for mercy, which he received but when put to the test, did not show a humble, thankful, repentant, and merciful heart, but threw his fellow servant into prison until he should pay all. When his Lord heard of it, and here, I think, is the message we all should take to heart, He sentenced him to the torturers until he paid Him all that was owed Him, because , I believe, he offered sacrifice, but without mercy.

To further illustrate my point, let us turn to the Gospel of Mark, chapter seven, verses six through thirteen.
In this passage, Jesus quotes from the book of Isaiah, saying “ This people honors Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me.” In other words, the Pharisees were willing to sacrifice to God with their words, but when it came to the heart they obeyed the commandments of men rather than obeying God. Continuing with the quote from Isaiah, “And in vain they worship Me, teaching as doctrine the commandments of men.” Jesus here is saying that even though they offered sacrifice, or worship; by teaching their commandments as doctrine, they figured that they were free to disobey God’s commandments as long as they offered Him sacrifice with their lips. As David says in the 35th Psalm, “There is no fear of God before their eyes” .
by God's grace,
Charles Shank

Sunday, November 12, 2006

John Owen-on election



The Spirit of God has caused it to be placed on record
that -

"Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the
election hath obtained it"
(Rom. 11:7).

Of what is the apostle speaking? What is it Israel was
seeking for and had not
obtained, but which the election had obtained and was in possession
of, at the time the
Epistle to the Romans was written?

The apostle deemed it not necessary to specify what he
had in mind. We may infer it
was something so well known that they to whom the Epistle was
addressed would
understand his meaning without a more explicit statement. And
surely, what Israel was
expecting was, and is, so well known by all who have any
acquaintance with Bible
prophecy and Jewish history, as to make a definite specification
thereof unnecessary.
Moreover, the context makes plain what it was that the election had

But let us, before proceeding further, observe that,
whatever had been the object of
Israel's quest, Israel had now (at the time the Epistle was written)
lost it irretrievably; for
the inspired utterance declares that, not only had Israel failed to
obtain it, but another
company, "the election," had obtained it. And furthermore, one of
the chief purposes for
which this passage (Romans IX-XI) was written was, to make known
that God, in
bestowing the coveted blessing upon the believing remnant of Israel
and in incorporating
with that remnant the saved from among the Gentiles, was fulfilling
the promises He had
made by the mouth of His holy prophets to Israel; "for they are not
all 'Israel' which are of
Israel" (9:6). Clearly then, what is here referred to is not
something which that generation
of Israelites had missed and God had temporarily withdrawn, with the
intention of
bestowing it upon a future generation.

And further let us observe preliminarily that Paul is not
speaking here Of something
that lay in the then future purposes of God, but of a promised
blessing whereof the set
time had come, a blessing which had in fact already passed into the
possession of those
for whom it had been intended, the People of God "which He foreknew"
(v. 1). For the
word is, "The election HATH obtained it.',


At the beginning of the Passage the apostle gives a list
of seven things whereby God
had distinguished the Israelites from all other Peoples (9:4, 5) ;
which list includes "the
promise." And there is no dispute, or room for it, that the
blessings God had "promised
Therefore by His prophets in the Holy Scriptures" were all expressly
for "Israel," for "the
seed of Abraham." Therefore, although the Jews of that day had
misunderstood "the
voices of the prophets" (Acts 13:27) and had carnalized the things
their prophets had
foretold, they were nevertheless not in error in the belief that the
glorious things
promised by them were all for "Israel." Their error, as has now been
plainly pointed out in
the N. T. Scriptures, was two-fold: first (as already shown) they
misunderstood the nature
of the promised blessings, for they supposed them to be natural and
earthly, instead of
spiritual and heavenly; and second, they did not understand that the
promises were, not
for the natural seed of Abraham, but for his spiritual seed; or in
other words, that they
who compose the true "Israel of God" are not those who have merely
the outward "sign of
circumcision," but those "who also walk in the steps of that faith
of our father Abraham,
which he had being yet uncircumcised" (Rom. 4:11, 12).

And so to-day, the differences that have arisen between
those who study the prophetic
Scriptures and seek the meaning thereof, are not as to whether the
promises of God
through the 0. T. prophets were expressly for Israel, for the Jews,
for the circumcision,
for the seed of Abraham; but as to who are the "Israel" of promise?
Who is "a Jew?" Who
are "the circumcision?" and who "the seed of Abraham?" But how
comes it that there are
differences as to those questions between those who accept the New
Testament as the
Word of God? seeing that the first is expressly answered by Romans
9:6-8; the second by
Romans 2:28, 29; the third by Philippians 3:3; and the fourth by
Galatians 3:7, 29?


But at this point some will say: "True, there is a
spiritual Israel as well as a natural
Israel, an Israel of God' as well as an 'Israel after the flesh';
but may it not be that some of
the blessings promised of old by the prophets of Israel are intended
for the natural Israel,
and are reserved for a yet future day? And is not the gift of the
land of Canaan to
Abraham and his seed a promise of that sort?

We believe a clear answer is to be found in the very
passage we are now considering.
For to begin with, if what Israel was then seeking after was the
restoration of its nationality
and there-possession of the land of Canaan - and undoubtedly that is
what they were
most ardently seekin- then manifestly the words, "the election hath
obtained it," would be
a complete bar to thei r hopes .But we look further into the matter.

The promises of God were numerous and were expressed in
various ways; yet they
were often viewed in their totality as a comprehensive whole. For
example, in Galatians 3:
7 we find the words, "heirs according to the promise"; as if all the
promises scattered
through the messages of the prophets constituted in the aggregate a
single all-inclusive
"promise," which in due time was to be fulfilled to "the seed of
Abraham." Doubtless it is
this comprehensive, all-embracing promise that Paul had in mind when
he wrote of "that
which he (Israel) seeketh for." And it is also quite certain, both
from the Scriptures and
also from Jewish history, that what that intensely patriotic people
were ever seeking for
was the repossession of the land of Canaan. And one of the Scriptures
upon which their
hopes were founded is this:

"For lo, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will bring again
the captivity of my people
Israel and Judah, saith the Lord; and I will cause them to return to
the land that I gave to
their fathers, and they shall possess it . . . "For it shall come to
pass in that day, saith the
Lord of hosts, that I will break his yoke from off thy neck, and
shall burst thy bonds, and
strangers shall no more serve themselves to him; but they shall serve
the Lord their God,
and David their king, whom I will raise up unto them" (Jer. 30:3, 8,

This is a typical _expression of "the promise," and of
what Israel was seeking after,
according to their interpretation of it. Hence it is what they had
failed to obtain, and what
the election had obtained.

God's original promise to Abraham and his seed of a
territorial possession is recorded
in these words:

"And I will give unto thee, and unto thy seed after thee, the land
wherein thou art a
stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession"
(Gen. 17:1-8).

Upon a close examination of this passage it will be seen
that the promise is so worded
that it would have been literally fulfilled had God thereafter given
that land to the
descendants of Ishmael; for Ishmael was as much the seed of Abraham
as was Isaac. Later
Scriptures, however, limit the promise to Isaac's descendants -
"which things are an
allegory" - and still later Scriptures limit it to the children of
Jacob, excluding the off
spring of Esau. But as between the twelve sons of Jacob no
distinctions were made; and
hence, if God should give that land to any single descendant of
Jacob, it would be a literal
fulfilment of the promise. And is not that precisely what God has
done? But let us go a
little further in quest of what the Scripture says concerning God's
promise to Abraham.

In Romans 4, immediately following the verse quoted
above, which tells who the real
children of Abraham are, we read:

"For the promise that he should be the heir of the world, was not to
Abraham or to his
seed through the law, but through the righteousness of faith" (Rom.

By this we learn that God's promise to Abraham was much
larger than He chose to
reveal in 0. T. times. It embraced the whole world. And now that we
know the full breadth
of the promise, we clearly recognize that God, by giving the whole
world to the seed of
Abraham would literally fulfil this promise; for the greater
includes the less.

The apostle then goes on to show that it is impossible
that the promise to Abraham
could be fulfilled to those who were merely his natural descendants:

"For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and
the promise made of
none effect" (Rom. 4:14).

In other words, the bestowal of the promised land upon
the nation of Israel ("they
which are of the law") would be -not the fulfilling of "the
promise," but the nullification of

And the passage continues -

"Therefore it is of faith that it might be by grace, to the end the
promise might be sure to
all seed; not to that (seed) only which is of the law, but to that
also which is of the faith
of Abraham, who is the father of us all. (As it is written, I have
made thee a father of many

By this we are given to know that the promise to Abraham,
recorded in Genesis 17:1
-8, runs to Abraham and his spiritual seed, those who are of the
faith of Abraham, and
that the clause "I have made thee a father of many nations" (Gen.
17:5), means that saved
Gentiles were to be among the heirs of this promise.

The subject is still further elucidated in Galatians;
where we read:

"Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not,
And to seeds, as of
many; but as of one, And to thy SEED, which is CHRIST (Gal. 3:16).

Thus we see that Christ is the true and only legitimate
Heir of the promise to Abraham;
but by the same Scripture (and by others as well) we learn that
Christ's members are
included with Him in the promise. In Galatians it is put thus:

"Even as Abraham believed God and it was counted to him for
righteousness, know ye
therefore, that they which are of faith, the same are the children
of Abraham."

"And if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs
according to the promise"
(Gal. 3:6, 7, 29).

Now, since "they which are of faith," they that are
Christ's, are the elect remnant of
Israel (with believing Gentiles incorporated with them into one
body) we have reached a
clear explanation of what is meant by "the election hath obtained
it." Christ and His
people are the heirs "according to the promise," which embraces all
the promises. It
follows that there remains for the natural Israel nothing whatever
of God's promise to
Abraham concerning a territorial possession in the world. The
election hath obtained it,
and will never be dispossessed.

But, in order to put the matter beyond all doubt, the
apostle not only states
affirmatively who are the heirs of God's promise to Abraham, but he
also shows negatively
that Abraham's natural descendants have no share therein. He rebukes
those of his
contemporaries who held the contrary, charging them with not
understanding the
Scripture which records that "Abraham had two sons" (Gal. 4:21-31).
We will not expatiate
further on that wonderful "allegory"; but would merely remind the
reader again that
Ishmael represents Abraham's natural seed, and Isaac his spiritual
seed, the latter being
the heirs of the promise; and that the words, "cast out the
bondwoman and her son, for
the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the
freewoman," were a
prophecy that the natural descendants of Abraham should not share
the inheritance with
his spiritual seed, the elect remnant.

Manifestly therefore, those who now maintain that the
natural Israelites as such are
the heirs of God's promise to Abraham, do not only fail to understand
the allegorical
significance of his family history, but they also close their eyes
to the clear explanation
thereof in Galatians 4:21-31.

In Romans 9:6-8 the same truth is stated in these words:

"For they are not all 'Israel,' which are of Israel. Neither because
they are the seed of
Abraham are they all children; but in Isaac shall thy seed be
called. That is, They which
are the children of the flesh, these are not the children of God:
but the children of the
Promise are counted for the seed."

This Scripture gives us, in addition to the important
truth that not all Israelites are
included in the "Israel" of God's prophetic purposes, the closely
allied truth that "the
children of God," that is, those who are saved by the gospel, are
"the children of the
promise" (definite article in the original) ; and that they are
"counted for the seed" (of
Abraham). By this passage it is also seen that Romans IX continues a
subject that was
begun in Chapter VIII, the inheritance of the whole redeemed
creation by the children of
God. For in Chapter VIII it is written:

"The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the
children of God: and if
children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ")
(Rom. 8:16, 17).

And the succeeding verses show that the inheritance here
referred to is the entire
creation of God, which is hereafter to be delivered from the bondage
of corruption into the
glorious liberty of the children of God.

Here is another Scripture which never could have been
written if there were to be a
Jewish millennium intervening between "the sufferings of this
present time" and "the
glory which shall b revealed in (or to) us" (v. 18).


If therefore, God had cast out the bondwoman and her son
(Israel after the flesh) and
had decreed that the son of the bondwoman was to have no share in
the inheritance
promised to Abraham ("the world"), could it be said that He had
"cast away His people"?
Manifestly if the natural descendants of Abraham were "His people,"
the answer would be,
Yes. But Paul's answers to that question is an emphatic and
indignant, "God forbid." And
he goes on to explain that the natural Israelites were not His
people; but that "His people
which He foreknew" was that very small "remnant according to the
election of grace"
which believed in Jesus Christ (Rom. 11:1-7). The plain and decisive
answer given by the
apostle in this passage is, that God had not cast away His people,
because the apostate
nation which He had cast was not His people. Those were "the vessels
of wrath fitted to
destruction," which for centuries past He had "endured with much
longsuffering" (Rom. 9:
22), and to whom He had said through Isaiah, "All day long I have
stretched forth My
hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people" (10:20-21).

Those were not His people, and they never were, for when
Elijah made intercession
against "Israel," and instanced some of the enormities they had
committed, what was
God's answer? "I have reserved to Myself seven thousand men who
have not bowed the
knee to Baal." That "very small remnant" were all He owned as His
people in that day; and
Paul says, "EVEN SO" it is "at this present time also"; and he had
shown in the preceding
chapter (9:25, 26) that "this present time" is the "that day"
foretold of God through
Hosea, in which He would disown His nominal people as "not My
people," and would "call
them My people which were not My people" (Hos. 1:9; 2:23). There is
no obscurity in the
apostle's answer to his own question, "Hath God cast away His
people?" the answer being
in effect that God had in contemplation a people, "which He
foreknew," which were not
the natural Israel (for only a small fraction of that nation were to
be included among
them) and these He had not cast away, but on the contrary they had
obtained and were
already in possession of that which the natural Israel had been
vainly seeking for.

And yet, in the interest of modern Dispensationalism,
this luminous explanation is not
merely disregarded, but is reversed; and the passage is made to mean
that the natural
Israelites are God's people, and that as such they are to "obtain" in
a future dispensation
that which they have been seeking for."


What Israel was seeking for was usually in those days
designated by the then current
expressions, "Kingdom of God" and "Kingdom of the heavens"; and the
Holy Spirit has
made use of those terms in the New Testament. Therefore, in closing
this chapter, it is
appropriate to call attention to the fact that, what Paul was
inspired to reveal in detail in
Romans and Galatians, had been briefly foretold by the Lord Himself
in His last words
spoken to chief priests and elders of the people just before His
death. It is recorded by
Matthew that, after speaking to those Jewish leaders the parable of
the Wicked
Husbandmen, the Lord put to them a question which led them to
pronounce the doom of
their nation. For, replying to His question - "What will he [the
lord of the vineyard] do to
those Wicked husbandman?" -they said:

"He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out his
vineyard to other
husbandman, which shall render him the fruits in their season" (Mat.

Little did they imagine that, in so speaking, they were
uttering a true prophecy of what
was about to happen to that nation. But the next words of
Jesus make this clear; for
He said:

"Therefore I say unto you, The Kingdom of God shall be taken from
you, and given to a
nation bringing forth the fruits thereof" (v. 43).

What Christ declares in these words is the same thing in
substance as what Paul
afterwards stated, when he said: "Israel hath not obtained that
which he seeketh for, but
the election hath obtained it"; for obviously, "the election" is
that "nation" to which,
according to the words of Christ, the kingdom of God (which Israel
was seeking for) was
to be given. The election is that "holy nation," which "in time past
were not a people, but
now are the people of God" (I Pet. 2:9).

Further discussion of the subject of the people of God,
and particularly of the place
which Gentiles have in that company, will be found in the next
succeeding chapter.


A specific instance of that which Israel was seeking for
and had not obtained, but
which the believing remnant had obtained, is found in the reference
which Paul makes in
Romans 10 to the last prophecy of Moses concerning Israel. That
citation is of the
highest importance; for it furnishes in and of itself conclusive
proof that the promises of
future mercy to Israel, when they should repent and return to the
Lord, are promises of
gospel-salvation, not of national restoration. Therefore we ask
special attention to what

Immediately preceding the words quoted by Paul from
Deuteronomy 30, are
prophecies of the complete apostasy of Israel; foretellings of the
days to come when they
would turn from the Lord, would break His covenant and serve other
gods, even
sacrificing unto devils; because of which He would bring upon them
all the curses written
in the book of the law, "until He have destroyed thee" (Deut. 28:45,
48, 61; and 29: 24

But now, against the background of that dark cloud of
coming judgment, God sets the
lustrous bow of promised mercy. Let us therefore pay careful
attention to the words of
Moses and to the explanation of them the Spirit has given through
the apostle Paul:

"And it shall come to pass, when all these things are come upon thee
... and thou shalt
call them to mind among all the nations whither the Lord thy God
hath driven thee, and
shalt return unto the Lord thy God, and shalt obey His voice,
according to all that I
command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thy heart and
with all thy soul; that
then the Lord thy God will turn thy captivity. and have compassion
on thee, and will return
and gather thee from all the nations whither the Lord thy God hath
scattered thee ...

"And the Lord thy God will bring thee into the land thy fathers
possessed, and thou shalt
possess it . . . And the Lord will circumcise thine heart, and the
heart of all thy seed, to
love the Lord thy God with all thine heart and with all thy soul,
that thou mayest live ....
And thou shalt return and obey the voice of the Lord, and do all His
which I command thee this day." (Deut. 30:1-8).

Here we have a clear statement of what Israel was seeking
for; and we can readily
understand how the unspiritual rabbis, those "blind leaders of the
blind," should have
interpreted this and similar scriptures as promises of political
restoration for Israel and of
the repossession by that nation of the earthly Canaan; for they were
blinded to the truth
that the land of Canaan was but a fleeting "shadow" (Heb. 10:1) of
the true land of
promise (Eph. 1:3) ; even as the earthly nation itself was but the
shadow "for the time
then present," of the true Israel of God.

And then follow these words, to which we special- ly
invite attention:

"For this commandment, which I command thee this day, it is not
hidden from thee,
neither is it far off . It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest
say, Who shall go up for us to
heaven, and bring it unto us, that we may hear it and do it? Neither
is it beyond the sea,
that thou shouldest say, Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring
it unto us, that we
may hear it and do it? But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy
mouth and in thy heart,
that thou mayest do it" (Deut. 30:11-14).

Paul quotes from this scripture and says that Moses Was
referring there to "the word of
faith which we preach," that is, the gospel; and he declares the
inner meaning of these
words of Moses to be, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the
Lord Jesus" - Moses
had said "in thy mouth and in thy heart" - "and shalt believe in
thine heart that God hath
raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved" (Rom. 10:9). And the
apostle goes on to
say that the promise was not for repenient Jews only, but for all
men: "For there is no
difference between the Jew and the Greek; for whosoever shall call
on the name of the
Lord shall be saved" (vv. 12, 13).

The essence of all this, stated in the fewest words, is
that "this commandment which"
- Moses said - "I command thee this day," and which was to be
brought "very nigh" unto
them, was to hear and obey the gospel of Christ.

And from this Paul argues the imperative necessity of
preaching the gospel to all men,
Jews and Gentiles alike; "for how shall they believe in Him of whom
they have not heard?
and how shall they hear without a preacher?" And, still keeping
Moses' prophecy in view,
he Continues:

"But - I say, Did not Israel know? [that God's promised mercy was to
embrace Gentiles
also]. First Moses saith, I will provoke you to jealousy by them
that are no People, and by
a foolish nation I will anger You. But Esaias is very bold, and
saith, I was found of them
that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not
after me. But to Israel
he saith All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a
disobedient and gainsaying
people." (Rom. 10:18-21).

And then the apostle sums up the truth of the matter by
saying: "Israel hath not
obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained
it, and the rest were

Here we have an authoritative explanation of God's
promise of mercy for some future
generation of Israelites upon condition of repentance and faith; and
thereby we learn that,
although it spoke of things seemingly material and earthly, such as
the re-possession of
the tiny bit of earth's surface formerly possessed by their
ancestors, it was in reality a
promise of gospel-salvation. Further we learn thereby that the
promise is being fulfilled
now to all those Jews (the remnant according to the election of
grace) who confess the
crucified Jesus as LORD and who believe in their heart that God has
raised Him from the
dead; and that the promise is for believing Gentiles as well as for
believing Jews.

By this explanation we learn also that the failure Of
Israel as a nation to obtain the
promise of Deuteronomy XXX, which the remnant has obtained, is in
fulfilment not only of
the prophecies of Moses but of other prophecies as well; such for
example as that which
God spake through Isaiah, saying: "All day long I have stretched
forth My hands unto a
disobedient and gainsaying people." Both classes of prophecies -
blessings and cursings
- are in course of fulfilment now. For it necessarily follows that
all similar prophecies of
mercy and restoration for the Jewish people are prophecies of gospel
salvation, and have
their fulfilment in this present day of grace. And it is appropriate
at this point to recall
once more the enlightening word spoken by Peter, whereby we know
that it was revealed
to Israel's prophets that the things foretold by them they
ministered, "not unto
themselves, but unto us"; which prophecies are the very things now
reported by those
that have preached the gospel unto us with the Holy Ghost sent down
from heaven. (1 P.
1: 10-12).

Thursday, November 02, 2006

The Fulfilled Life

Since God now dwells with/among us now ( Revelation 21:3, Leviticus 26:11, Zechariah 2:10,11 ), 'how should we then live?'

I'm not meaning to 'build upon another man's foundation' or 'lay another foundation, other than what has already been laid', by writing this little remonstrance; just to remind us all that even though we now live in the 'New Heavens and New Earth', or the New Jerusalem, we are still in bondage to the Law of Christ ( Matthew 22:37-40 ) and should fashion our lives no differently than we did when we thought that Christ was not among us yet, or when we still looked for the fulfillment of that 'Blessed Hope' ( Colossians 1:27 )!

With that said, I was just thinking that we as 'preterists', or, believers in "Fulfilled Eschatology', have an even greater responsibility, not only to share this knowledge of realized redemption, but to shew forth in our lives the reality of 'Christ in us'!

I'll admit that many passages ( like John 14, I Corinthians 15, I Thessalonians 4, etc ) don't have quite the same message for us as for their original readers; but really, when you think about it, they have, if anything, a more 'blessed' meaning for us today!

Proverbs 13:12 says that, "Hope deferred ( drawn out ) makes the heart sick, but when the desire comes ( re. Isaiah 52:3, Haggai 2:7 ), it is a tree of life!"

I know that we all ( I'm speaking from experience here ) get frustrated, at times ( more often than not ) with our brethren that can't yet 'see' ( II Kings 6:17 ) that Christ has Come, that we have been fully 'changed' ( I Corinthians 15;52 ), and that God now dwells in, and 'houses' with us ( John 14:1-6, I Peter 2:5 ); but when we 'realize' that God is 'over' all, and in all ( Ephesians 4:6 ), we should remember that He is in control of all things, and for some reason ( maybe to teach 'us' patience ) He hasn't chosen to 'reveal' that particular truth to them, whether it's because they 'can't handle the truth' yet, because He has chosen His own time, rather than ours, to 'open their eyes to this truth, or whether it's because it is not important to their salvation.

I think that we, as 'preterists' ( especially ) need to remember that we are 'temples of the Holy Spirit', in reality, Christ on earth; and we need to start living ( and I fail grossly at this everyday ) the 'Fulfilled Life' before the world, since we ARE all they'll ever 'see' of Christ!

What is the 'Fulfilled Life', you ask?

We ( because of Christ 'in us' ) are living it...

Prayerfully realizing 'It',

In Christ,
Charles Shank

Saturday, October 28, 2006

The Baptism of John-RV

Baptism did not originate with John the Baptizer,as is clear from the Pharisees' reply to John's answer that he was not the Christ: "Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, or Elijah, or the Prophet?" Why did the Pharisees ask John this follow-up question? I think that the Bible tells us why, in the Old Testament.

By the way ,did you know that the word baptize is not found in the Old Testament? Which begs another question; how did the Pharisees know that Christ would come baptizing, unless they knew what it was?

I think that, traditionally, the most notable Old Testament passage in this respect is Isaish 52. In verse 15 ,it says, "He shall sprinkle many nations.......". Another passage they might have had in mind is Ezekiel 36:25-27. Also,where God says,in Joel,chapter 2, "I will pour out My Spirit on ALL flesh....." God tells us, "the simple ones", to "Turn at My rebuke. Surely I will pour out My Spirit on you......." In the book of Proverbs, chapter 1, verse 23. In the book of Isaiah, He says,in chapter 44, verse 3,"I will pour water on him who is thirsty..............I will pour My Spirit on your descendants...........".Isaiah 45:8 says "Rain down you heavens, from above, and let the skies pour forth righteousness............".

I think that they understood from passages like these (for there are others) that the Messiah,or Christ, would come baptizing, or pouring out gifts. I think that they,along with most, misunderstood just exactly what form that gift would take, for they understood these symbols to speak of physical things, when truly, they were meant to be discerned Spiritually.

Looking at I Peter 3:18-21, but particularly at verse 21, Peter tells us that "there is also an anti-type which now saves us; baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh,but the answer of a good conscience toward God),through the resurrection of Jesus Christ". Going backwards now, to verse 20, Peter tells us that, "eight souls (or individuals) were saved through water". Now, some people might take this to mean that the baptism that Peter talks about "saving" us, in verse 21, is water baptism; but remember that the baptism in verse 21 is the anti-type(or reality) of the type,in verse 20.

Some will argue, saying, "Christ was baptized with water" .Let us look at that for a minute; in Matthew, chapter three, starting at verse 13, "Then Jesus came from Galilee to John at the Jordan to be baptized by him. And John tried to prevent Him, saying, 'I need to be baptized by You,and are You coming to me?" I think John (through the Holy Spirit) understood somewhat,because I don't think that he was arguing about who should baptise whom, per se, but I think he realized that while his was a baptism with just water, Jesus' was a baptism "with the Holy Spirit and fire".
"But Jesus answered and said to him,'Permit it to be so now,for thus it is fitting for us to fulfill all righteousness.' Then he allowed Him." Why would Jesus say this to John? Let us go back to the Old Testament and see if we can throw any light on the question.
In Exodus 29:4, God tells Moses, "And Aaron and his sons you shall bring before the door of the tabernacle of meeting, and you shall wash them with water." He goes on to say that THEN they are to be clothed with their priestly garments. (Also see Ex.30:20,40:12,Lev.8:6) I think this (again,through the Holy Spirit) should give us a fairly clear picture of why Jesus would tell John that his baptism of Him would "fulfill all righteousness".

This may open another whole subject(??), but,in the Second book of Kings, chapter 5, is the story of Naaman (a Gentile) who was instructed by the Spirit, through his maid, to seek healing through Israel's prophet. In verses 10-14, we are told how Elisha told him to wash himself (or dip) seven times (the number of perfection) in the Jordan river, and although he balks at first, finally does what he was instructed and is healed of his disease.

Before we go into the New Testament, let me make a few commments about Christ's baptism by John. It was, I believe, a priestly baptism in the form that we just read about in Exodus and Leviticus, not a Christian baptism as we know it, "in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (else as my daughter jokingly suggested,it be "in the name of the Father, Yourself, and the Holy Spirit), but seriously, why do I bring this up? To show that Christ put no more importance on water baptism than "to fulfill all righteousness", which He has done for us. Yes, you can argue Matt.28:19 and there may be something there, but neither Mark or Luke put baptism as a requirement for discipling the nations (Mark mentions it in 16:16, but I believe that he is talking of the "one, true baptism"(Mark 1:8). There are many more examples to look at in the New Testament, of "water baptism", but we will comment on just a few more before we wrap it up with I Peter 3 and Genesis 6 and 7.

In the Gospel according to Mark, chapter 16, Christ says, "he who believes and is baptized, shall be saved............", which seems, in context with Matthew 28:19, to imply water,and not Spirit, baptism.
We go now to Acts, chapter 8, verses 26-39. I will make just a few comments on this; (And remember; in this passage, we are still under the Old Covenant economy (or system), and all the Scripture that would have been readily available, would be our Old Testament,or the Hebrew Scriptures) As the Ethiopian eunuch (or officer) was reading through these Scriptures and not quite getting it, Philip (again,at the instruction of the Spirit) came along side, and explained the Gospel of Jesus Christ (to which the Hebrew Scriptures pointed) to him more fully. Now, the Scriptures don't tell us at this point whether Philip told him also to receive water baptism, but the eunuch asked for water baptism, whether because of what he had read in the Hebrew Scriptures, because he had heard that a prophet (John) in Israel was baptising for the remission of sins, or because Philip told him he should. I tend toward the first reason.
Next, in chapter 16 of the same book, in verses 14-16, Lydia was baptized by water as a matter of course (Matt. 28:19). Following immediately after this,Luke records how Paul and Silas were set upon by the religious (and other) men of the city and eventually wound up in jail where God gave them opportunity to share with them the Gospel of Jesus Christ (verse 32).
We all know the story of how Paul and Silas are miraculously freed of their chains, and how the Philippian jailor comes nigh unto taking his own life.
When he is 'awakened' to his senses (yet again, by the Holy Spirit), he asked Paul and Silas that most famous (and humbling) of questions; "Sirs; what must I do to be saved?"
Notice that Paul only tells him "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,and you shall be saved..................", not, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ,be baptized and you will be saved". Scripture does'nt record that Paul said anything to him about being baptized, although it does record, in the next verse or so, that he and his family were baptized, most likely with water.

I want to backtrack here a little and talk of the apostle Paul's baptism (as it were,by fire); I think we're all pretty familiar, to some extent, with the story of Paul's conversion, but for our subject we will touch a little on verses 17-18 .Ananias told Paul that he (Ananias) was sent that "you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit".Then,in verse 18,Luke records that he "arose and was baptized",again, I believe, talking about water, rather than Spirit baptism. That IS an arguable assumption though, because of the symmetry of these two verses; in verse 17, Ananias says "that you may receive your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit", then in verse 18, we see that "he received his sight at once and he arose and was baptized. Notice the symmetry here; "receive your sight"/"he received his sight", and "be filled with the Holy Spirit"/"he arose and was baptized". Interesting paralells there,but I'm not sure I want to open that can of worms right now.
Time constrains us,but here are some verses and passages that you can look up on your own: Acts 1:5-2:4 ,2:38,41, 8:12, 10:47,48, 11:16, 18:8, 19:3-5, 22:16(I must make a commment here; this is a furthur relation of Paul's conversion "experience", but here he records Ananias as telling Paul to "be baptized,and wash away your sins (I think he means this figuratively) calling on the name of the Lord", Romans 6:3-5, I Corinthians 1:13-17, 10:2, (which I will comment on later) ,12:13, Galations 3:27, Ephesians 4:5, Colossians 2:11-12, and I Peter 3:21.
And now for my remarks on the I Peter 3 reference, to wrap things up, starting in verse 18, Peter describes the anti-type; baptism of the Holy Spirit, which is compared to the "water baptism" that Noah and his family received while in the ark. I Corinthians 10:2 describes another "type" of spiritual baptism that the children of Israel underwent while miraculously crossing the Red Sea "on dry ground".

by God's grace,
Charles Shank

The Grace of God's Election V. 2- or "Grace by Election"

No doubt,you've heard people talk about "Election by Grace"; well, I'd like to talk about the grace that God shows us through His "Unconditional Election".
First of all, I think it would behoove us to look at the Websters New World Dictionary for the meaning of the word "grace".
4. Disposition to grant something freely; favor; goodwill. 5. Mercy; clemency. 1. in theology; a.the unmerited favor and love of God toward man, b.divine influence acting in man, c.the condition of a person thus influenced.
I think we should also do well to look at the Hebrew and Greek words for "grace" in the Old and New Testaments.
Of the two Hebrew words used for "grace", the first, "chen", used in every application but one, means basically, kindness; favor, and comes from another word, "chanan" ,which means to bend,or stoop, in kindness to an inferior; to favour, bestow...........
The second Hebrew word, "techinnah", used only once (Ezra 9:8) means graciousness (because of) entreaty, supplication.
The Greek New Testament also employs two different nouns for the word "grace". The first, and most widely used, is "charis" ,meaning "the divine influence upon the heart, and it's reflection in the life. The second word, used only once (James 1:11) "euprepia", means good suitableness.

Beginning in Romans, where we find Paul giving an explanation of "the Israel of God (Galatians 6:16) in chapter 11, he explains that, while Old Covenant Israel as the land and it's inhabitants (national) is about to pass away (Hebrews 8:13), God has not forsaken His special People, those Children of the Promise, the elect from before the foundation of the world. (Romans 9:8-9, Genesis 18:10, Hebrews 4:3)
This is not even to say that God gave up on His original Purpose, and chos another people (Romans 11:1), but has merely broadened our horizons (Isaiah 49:5,6, Matthew 12:18-21, Acts 9:15, 13:46-48), by instituting a better covenant (Hebrews 7:17-22), which put no distinction between Jew and Gentile (Galatians 3:28).
II Thessalonians 1:3-5, I think, points out that it is by the righteous judgement of God (His Grace) that "our faith grows exceedingly,and our love abounds toward each other", which fact is attested to by numerous others (II Chronicles 1:11,12, Job 10:8-12, Psalm 85:7, 119:27-29, Acts 11:18 (Acts 10), 14:3, Romans 15:5,6, Ephesians 3:14-19, II Timothy 1:16-18 ,Revelation 3:21)
As these testify,and these are only a few of those who so testiify; it is clear that the writers of Scripture realized that it is only by God's Grace that we are even able to keep His commandments!

In Matthew 24:22, the time of tribulation is shortened "through grace" for the sake of God's elect.
In Luke 24:35, Christ "opened their understanding that they might comprehend the Scriptures".
In Acts 8:31, even the Ethiopian eunuch understood this, to some extent, when he replied to Phillip, "How can I (understand) unless someone guide me?".
In Acts 15:7, Peter told the council at Jerusalem,that God "chose.........that by my mouth, the Gentiles should hear the Gospel and (should) believe!"

Now, by shewing forth "election", I'm not saying that because we are "elect", we can go out and live any old way we want to (Romans 6:12); Paul indeed admonishes Timothy, along with ALL his readers to, "Be diligent to show yourselves approved before God.............."(II Timothy 2:15).
Peter admonishes us to "be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure......."(II Peter 1:10)
The apostle John urges his readers to "not love in word or tongue only, but also in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the Truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him". (I John 3:19)
Paul, in his second letter to the Corinthians, says "Examine yourselves,as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves............Do you not know yourselves,that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless indeed, you are disqualified".(II Corinthians 13:5)
The Webster's New World Dictionary definition of the word "disqualify", is "to make unfit or unqualifed; disable". "To make or declare ineligible. "The KJV uses the Greek word "Adokimos", which means,"unapproved,i.e., rejected, by implication worthless (literally or morally).
He tells the Church at Thessalonica to, "Test all things, hold fast what is good."(I Thessalonians 5:21)
I think James wraps it up best, when he says, "Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."(James 2:17)
Unconditional Election,or, Election by Grace (through faith), is not to say that we have no responsibility to work, or be diligent, in our Christian life; On the contrary, it says, along with the apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians "But God,because of His great love with which He loved us,even when we were dead in trespasses made us alive together with Christ (by grace are you saved)".(Ephesians 2:4,5)
Isaiah 1:18-20 says, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."(see also Psalm 51:7)If you are willling and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken."(see also Genesis 2:16,17, Deuteronomy 30:15-18, I Samuel 12:20-25 ,Isaiah 66:4)

Why did God love us,even when we were in total enmity and rebellion against Him?

Deuteronomy 7:7,8a says "The Lord did not set His Love on you or choose you because you were more in nummber than any other people, for you were the least of all peoples; but because the Lord loves you,and because He would keeep the oath which He swore to your fathers................."(see also Deuteronomy 12:1-11).
David says,in Psalm 23, "He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His Name's sake". (Psalm 23:3)
Isaiah 43:25 says, "I, even I, am He who blots out your transgressions for My own sake". (read also verses 26-28)
Isaiah writes, "In His love and in His pity He redeemed them, and He bore them and carried them all the days of old".(Isaiah 63:9b)
Ezekiel wrote, in speaking of God's case against Israel, "But I had concern for My Holy Name, which the house of Israel had profaned among the nations wherever they went. Therefore say to the house of Israel,'Thus says the Lord God", I do not do this for your sakes, O house of Israel; but for My Holy Name's sake..........."(Ezekiel 36:21-22a)
Ephesian 1:3-6 says, "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before Him in love, having been predestined to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ, according to the good pleasure of His Will, to the praise of the glory of His Grace, by which He made us accepted in the brethren". (see also Romans 3:21-24)
In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul writes, "But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren, beloved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit, And belief in the Truth, to which He called you".(II Thessalonians 2:13,14)
Paul tells Titus, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done,but according to His Mercy He saved us, through the washing (I Peter 3:21) of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit".(Titus 3:5)
In John's first letter,he says "I write to you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you, for His Name's sake". (I John 1:12)

So it seems, by these few examples, that God acts in Grace and Mercy when we are in rebellion against Him (which is "as the sin of witchcraft", which we are in until He gives us a new heart; Ezekiel 36:25-27) for,
"the sake of His oath....."(Deuteronomy 7:7,8a)
"for His Name's sake.............."(Psalm 23:3)
"My Own sake....."(Isaiah 43:25)
"in His love and pity............"(Isaiah 63:9b)
"to the praise of...........His Grace."(Ephesians 1:6)
"for the obtaining of the glory.....of Christ."(II Thessalonians 2:13,14)
"according to His Mercy............."(Titus 3:5)
"for His Name's sake".(I John 1:12)

In the book of Exodus, when, because of the golden calf, God threatened to destroy the chidren of Israel, Moses prayed God that He would "relent from doing this evil", he said, "Why should the Egyptians speak and say, "He brought them out to harm them, to kill them in the mountains, and to consume them from the face of the earth', and 'Remember Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, Your servants, to whom You swore, saying.......................'(Exodus 32:7-14 )
Little later, in the book of Numbers, when He threatened to disinherit them, and make of Moses a nation greater and mightier than they, Moses pleaded with God, "Then the Egyptians will hear of it, for by Your Might You brought this people up from among them, and they will tell it to the people of this land(Canaan), they ( Canaan) have heard that You are among these people;..................Now if You kill these people as one man, then the nations............will speak, saying, 'Because the Lord was not able to bring this people to the land which He swore to give them, therefore He killed them in the wilderness'." ( Numbers 14:11-20 )

I think we can safely say, from the manifold witness that we have in Scripture, that it is not from (because of) any goodness in ourselves (Isaiah 64:6, Philippians 3:8,9 ), but for His Own sake, whether so that His name would not be trampled on (Exodus 32:7-14, Deuteronomy 7:7,8a, Isaiah 43:25 ),because of His love and mercy ( Isaiah 63:9b, Titus 3:5 ), so that He might receive the glory (Ephesians 1:6 ), or for His Own Name's sake (Psalm 23:3, II Thessalonians 2:13,14, I John 2:12b ); this actually follows along with the first reason I gave, but I figured I'd put it down anyway.

We have a choice to make, as Moses records in Deuteronomy 30, "I call heaven and earth today as witnesses against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore, choose life.........................that you may love the Lord your God............" ( Deuteronomy 30:19,20 )
As Joshua said, in Joshua 24, "Now therefore, fear the Lord, serve Him in sincerity and truth, ...........................and if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day, whom you will serve................" ( Joshua 24:14,15 )

I will try to show further now, that it is truly not we who work, but that God works in us, and through us.
( Philippians 2:13, 4:13, I Thessalonians 2:13 )

I'll start off with John's record of Jesus' reply to His followers when they asked, "What shall we do that we may work the works of God?" (John 6:28 ) Our Lord's reply was, "This is the work of God, that you believe in Him Whom He sent". I believe that Jesus said it this way (not directly answering their question) for a Purpose, and I will attempt to show that He was not just saying that, to do the works of God, they must believe in Jesus as the Messiah, but in fact, it was the work of God that they were able to believe in Him Whom He sent!
Paul told the Church at Philippi, "He Who has begun a good work in you will complete (continue) it till the Day of Jesus Christ"
( Philippians 1:6 ), so what Paul is saying here, I believe, is that God is the one who starts the work in our hearts in the first place!!!
(see also Isaiah 26:12, Romans 5:8, Philipppians 2:13, Hebrews 4:6 )
Paul wrote to the Church at Corinth, "But by the Grace of God,I am what I am.........." ( I Corinthians 15:9, 10 ).
Let me ask a question here.........what was Paul, according to the previous verse?
According to verse nine, Paul was "the least of all apostles...............because he persecuted the Church of God". Is Paul saying here that it was God's Plan, or Purpose, for him to persecute His Church "till the fulness of time had come" and God stopped him in his tracks ( Acts 9 ), or is he merely saying that , although he did what he did, by God's Grace, he no longer persecuted, in fact, was enjoined with that very Church?
I think I would prefer the former explanation, and I believe that the Scriptures support such an explanation. He continues in his next letter, by saying, "Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God", and, in the next chapter, "Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart."(II Corinthians 3:5, 4:1)
I believe that Paul was reaffirming to the Corinthian Church that, even though (or because ) he had this ministry, God was his sufficiency (strength) and showed him mercy ( daily ) by not allowing him to lose heart ( which we all would if not for being indwelt by the Holy Spirit).
As he said, in his letter to the Romans, "So then, it is not of him who runs, but of God Who shows mercy." (Romans 9:16 )
And now, for the flipside of all this, in John 8:43, Christ says, in response to the Pharisees, "Why do you not understand My speech; because you are not able to listen to My Word."
The KJV renders the latter part of this verse, "even because you cannot hear my Word." (see also John 10:26-28 )
The verb "hear", in the Greek, "akouo", means "to hear, (in various senses ); give ( in the ) audience ( of ), come ( to the ears ), ( shall ) hearken, be noised, be reported, understand."
God told the prophet Isaiah to "Go, tell this people, 'Keep on hearing, but do not understand; keep on seeing, but do not perceive'".
He further told him to " make the heart of this people ( national Israel ) dull, and their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and return, and be healed." ( Isaiah 6:9,10, also 44:18 )
I think these verse, among others, show that God's Election works both ways; for example: Paul repeats a passage from he Old Testament Scriptures, ( the only Scriptures, by the way, that he had to work with ), "For this Purpose I have raised you( Pharoah) up, that I might show My power in you, and that My Name might be declared in all the earth".( Exodus 9:16, Romans 9:17 )
Again, this shows that He acted so that, "My Name might be declared........",or "for His Own sake". ( Isaiah 43:25 )

Paul reasons with the Roman believers, in chapter 9, verses 13-24, that, as our Creator, God has every right to do things the way He does (read also Isaiah 45:9, 10, Jeremiah 18:1-6), and also, because He is our Sovereign, He does this for His Own glory (verse 17 ), and because He loved us from the foundation of the world ( Ephesians 1:4, II Timothy 1:9, Hebrews 4:3 ).
Romans 9:11-13 at first may seem a bit harsh, even unfair (Ezekiel 18:20-25 ), but if you read further on, to verses 15-18, and then especially verses 21-23, (which idea comes from Paul's reading of the Scriptures ( Jeremiah 18:4-6 ), I believe that you will see that as THE omnipotent (ALL-powerful ) God, He has the prerogative to do as He wills with His Own creation, just as the potter has the prerogative to do what he wants with his own pots, or vessels.

John tell us, in THE Revelation, "All who dwell on the earth will worship Him, whose names have not been written in the Book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." ( Revelation 13:8 )
I think that John here observed that, not only would those who were not chosen before the foundation of the world worship Him when they saw Him in His Glory, but that Jesus had been slain (as the Lamb ), in the Everlasting Covenant, before He ever created the worlds.

To quote a famous blues singer, "Now that really blows your mind !"

Now, as I've said before, being elect does not mean that we can live as we lust to, for, as Paul tells the Roman believers, " For we know that the law is spiritual, but I (in my flesh ) am carnal, sold under sin. For what I am doing, I do not understand. For what I will to do, that I do not practice, but what I (in my spirit ) hate, that I do. If, then, I (in my spirit ) do what I will not to do, I agree with the law, that it is good. But now, it is no longer I (in my spirit, the new man ) who do it, but sin that dwells in me. For I know that in me, (that is, in my flesh ), nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me (my spirit ), but hot to perform what is good, I (my flesh ) do not find, For the good that I (in my spirit ) will to do, I (in my flesh ) do not do; but the evil that I will not to do, that I practice. Now if I do what I will not to do, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells in me. I find then a law ( principle ), that evil is present with me (my flesh ), the one (in spirit ) who wills to do good. For I (in my spirit ) delight in the Law of God, according to the inward man
( Spirit ). But I see another law in my members ( flesh ), warring against the law of my mind (spirit ), and bringing me into captivity to the law which is in my members ( flesh ). O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body (the old man) of death?
I thank God (HE has )-through Jesus Christ, our Lord! So then, with the mind ( Spirit ), I serve the Law of God, but with the flesh, the law of sin." ( Romans 7:14-25, parenthetical statements mine )
This IS a fairly lengthy, and hard to understand passage, but I think it is well worthy of our perusal, again and again!

Now,what may seem a bit confusing, is what Paul says in the previous chapter; "What shall we say then ? Shall we continue in sin, that grace might abound ? Certainly not ! How (why ) shall we, who died to sin, live any longer in it ?"( Romans 6:1, 2 )

Why does Paul tell them that they should not "live in 'it'" anymore, and then in the next chapter, tell them that he himself is a sinner, and that basically, "he" can't help himself? I must admit that I have struggled with this passage myself, but what I think Paul here, is admitting about himself, and telling his readers, is that he (they ) can't do it on their own, that we need God's Holy Spirit to be able to do the "good that we will to do".
by the Grace of God,
Charles Shank

I believe

1. I believe and trust in the One, True, Eternal God, the great I AM; Who always has been, and always will be.
This One, True God exists, to and from eternity, in three distinct, and yet, inseparable Persons, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
(Exodus 3:14, Deuteronomy 6:4, Proverbs 8:22-31, John 14:9-11, Titus 3:5, I John 5:7*)

2. I believe that this One, True God, in all three persons, created the worlds*, and that nothing in His creation happens without His all-powerful Hand.
(Genesis 1:1-2, Job 1:6-12, Isaiah 45:7, Romans 9:1-29, 11:32-36, Galations 4:4, John 1:1-3)

3. I believe that the Father sent His only begotten Son to the earth, when, as prophesied in Holy Scripture, the Holy Spirit came upon the virgin, Mary, who bore, of her own flesh and body, our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Genesis 3:15, Isaiah 9:14, 9:6, 61:1, Luke 1:26-39, John 1:14, Hebrews 2:17)

4. I believe that this Seed, Jesus Christ, born according to the flesh, suffered a normal* human existence, until He was crucified, in our stead, as our propiation, and bore all the punishment which we, as covenant-breakers, justly and naturally deserved.
(Isaiah 53:2-6, Luke 2:21-51, John 11:49-50, I John 4:9,10, Daniel 9:4-19, Hebrews 4:15)

4a. I believe that, in God's Eternal Covenant, this once-for-all sacrifice of His Son, Jesus Christ, was ordained before the worlds were formed.
(Genesis 1:26, John 1:1-3, Genesis 3:15, Revelation 13:8, Isaiah 53:10, I Peter 1:20)

5. I believe that this one, final sacrifice was sufficient to cleanse us from all blood-guiltiness, and to fit us for the Kingdom of Heaven.
(Isaiah 53:4-12, Psalm 51:7-12,II Corinthians 12:9, Hebrews 7:25-27, II Thessalonians 1:5)

5a. I believe that salvation is a free gift of God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, to all who believe, through the atoning life and death of Christ, the Son, on the earth and on the cross, and by the influential work of the Holy Spirit upon our hearts.
(Psalm 3:8, 37:39, Acts 4:12, Romans 1:16, John 3:3-6, 6:63, Luke 24:32, Acts 2:37)

5b. I believe, that God, in His Eternal Covenant, as the Scripture says, predestined for adoption as sons that Remnant which He chose for His Own special people, before the worlds were formed.
( Romans 8:28-30, Galatians 4:5, I Kings 19:18, Ephesians 1:3-11,II Thessalonians 2:13, Matthew 25:31-34, II Timothy 1:9 )

5c. I believe that we must agree with God that we are in need of Christ's atoning work on the earth and on the cross to save us from the consequences of our sins, but that the "new heart" must first be given, before we "will" agree.
( Romans 10:10-15, Isaiah 64:6,7, Philippians 3:8-11, Psalm 51, Ezekiel 36:25-27,11:19,20, Colossians 1:9, Titus 3:5, Genesis 3*)

6. I believe that Christ, the Son, died, that He was forsaken by God the father, that His physical body was buried in the grave, and that after three days, He rose again, in His physical body* along with many of the saints who had fallen asleep, and ascended, in a cloud, to the Fathers right Hand, at which time He began His reign, which according to Scripture*, will last forever!
( Matthew 27:46, Psalm 22, Luke 23:50-55, 11:51, Psalm 16:10, John 2:19-22, Matthew 27:52,53, Acts 1:9-11, Daniel 7:13,14, Revelation 20:4, 22:1-5, Hebrews 8:8-12, Isa. 60:19,20 II Peter 1:11 , )

7. I believe He returned to that same wicked generation, as the Scriptures prophesied, to judge apostate* Israel, and to open the way for the new and better covenant, in the destruction of the Jewish Temple and the changing of the covenant economy.
( Matthew 10:23, 16:28,Matthew 24, 26:64, Luke 17:20-37, Isaiah 1:25,26, 5:24, John 4:19-24, Hebrews 7:18-22, 8:1,2 )

8. I believe in one baptism; that of and by the Holy Spirit, and with fire*.
( Ephesians 4:5, John 1:26-33, Luke 3:16, Psalm 66:11,12 )

9. I believe in a spiritual communion of the saints ( Christ's Body ), by means of fellowship and worship of the One, True God, in Spirit and in Truth.
( Matthew 18:20, Acts 20:7, Romans 14:17-21, Leviticus 26:12, John 4:23,24 )

10. I believe that, as time goes by, sanctified ( Spirit-led ) man will increase in knowledge of the One, True God, and in righteousness, and that, finally, all knees will bow before God, and acknowledge Him as Lord and Creator.
( II Corinthians 9:10, Isaiah 9:7, Colossians 1:9,10, Philippians 2:10, Isaiah 45:23, Revelation 13:8 )

by God's Grace
Charles Shank

1*. questionable, this portion not found in certain older texts.
2*. universe
4* common to all human beings.
6*. His human body, I believe was reanimated when He rose from the tomb, but shed when He ascended to the Father.* Luke 19:12-27
7*. their rejection of Christ was the final "straw" ( read Josephus' "Antiquities" for more info ).
8*. trials, tribulation.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

so, you think English is easy?

You Think English is Easy???

Read to the end . . a new twist to an oldie

Can you read these right the first time?

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was time to present the present .

8) A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

19) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

20) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Let's face it - English is a crazy language. There is no egg in eggplant, nor ham in hamburger; neither apple nor pine in pineapple. English muffins weren't invented in England or French fries in France. Sweetmeats are candies while sweetbreads, which aren't sweet, are meat. We take English for granted. But if we explore its paradoxes, we find that quicksand can work slowly, boxing rings are square and a guinea pig is neither fromGuinea nor is it a pig.

And why is it that writers write but fingers don't fing, grocers don't groce and hammers don't ham? If the plural of tooth is teeth, why isn't the plural of booth, beeth? One goose, 2 geese. So one moose, 2 meese? One index, 2 indices? Doesn't it seem crazy that you can make amends but not one amend? If you have a bunch of odds and ends and get rid of all but one of them, what do you call it?

If teachers taught, why didn't preachers praught? If a vegetarian eats vegetables, what does a humanitarian eat? Sometimes I think all the English speakers should be committed to an asylum for the verbally insane. In what language do people recite at a play and play at a recital? Ship by truck and send cargo by ship? Have noses that run and feet that smell?

How can a slim chance and a fat chance be the same, while a wise man and a wise guy are opposites? You have to marvel at the unique lunacy of a language in which your house can burn up as it burns down, in which you fill in a form by filling it out and in which, an alarm goes off by going on.

English was invented by people, not computers, and it reflects the creativity of the human race, which, of course, is not a race at all That is why, when the stars are out, they are visib le, but when the lights are out, they are invisible.

PS. - Why doesn't "Buick" rhyme with "quick"

You lovers of the English language might enjoy this .

There is a two-letter word that perhaps has more meanings than any other two-letter word, and that is"UP."

It's easy to understand UP, meaning toward the sky or at the top of the list, but when we awaken in the morning, why do we wake UP? At a meeting, why does a topic come UP? Why do we speak UP and why are the officers UP for election and why is it UP to the secretary to write UP a report?

We call UP our friends. And we use it to brighten UP a room, polish UP the silver, we warm UP the leftovers and clean UP the kitchen. We lock UP the house and some guys fix UP the old car. At other times the little word has real special meaning. People stir UP trouble, line UP for tickets, work UP an appetite, and think UP excuses. To be dressed is one thing, but to be dressed UP is special.

And this UP is confusing: A drain must be opened UP because it is stopped UP. We open UP a store in the morning but we close it UP at night.

We seem to be pretty mixed UP about UP! To be knowledgeable about the proper uses of UP, look the word UP in the dictionary. In a desk-sized dictionary, it takes UP almost 1/4th of the page and can add UP to about thirty definitions. I f you are UP to it, you might try building UP a list of the many ways UP is used. It will take UP a lot of your time, but if you don't give UP, you may wind UP with a hundred or more. When it threatens to rain, we say it is clouding UP. When the sun comes out we say it is clearing UP .

When it rains, it wets the earth and often messes things UP.

When it doesn't rain for awhile, things dry UP.

One could go on and on, but I'll wrap it UP, for now my time is UP, so........... it is time to shut UP.....!

Oh . . one more thing:

What is the first thing you do in the morning & the last thing you do at night? U-P

A Spiritual Body

A Spiritual Body

What does Paul mean, in I Corinthians 15:44, by saying that, “there is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.”?

There have been several different theories as to what Paul meant by this. One is that Paul is speaking here of a 'special', physical nonetheless, body that we will be clothed with in Heaven, another is similar; that, at physical death, we will be 'further clothed' with our 'habitation ( or dwelling ) from heaven'.
Up until about a week ago, I would have been fairly comfortable in purporting this second view, although not at all the first; but now think, upon further examination, and illumination, I believe, from the Holy Spirit; that all Paul is talking about here, is the spiritual 'change' that we undergo, at the moment of 'Immaculate Reception'!
In other words, I have now come to believe that the 'spiritual body' that Paul talks about in I Corinthians 15 is 'merely' the opposite of the 'natural man, or body, that he speaks of in chapter 2 of the same book, or letter!

As we look at the Greek word psuchikos which is translated 'natural' throughout Paul's letter; we see that, while it does have more of a 'physical' meaning, or connotation; in the context, especially of verse 14 of chapter 2; it doesn't make much sense to apply the literal, 'physical' meaning; otherwise, none of us would have any hope of understanding anything of a spiritual nature, while we are in this 'tent'!

On the other hand, and this is part of my reason too, for crying 'Context, context!'; the Greek word pneumatikos, translated 'spiritual' here, and everywhere else in the Greek New ( er ) Testament that the word is found; speaks of the 'change' of nature that occurs when an individual receive Christ into his 'heart of flesh', as Ezeekiel recounts in Ezekiel 36:26.

When Paul says that 'it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body', I don't think that he is speaking of separation from our spirit, or life-force ( Ecclesiastes 12:6,7 ), but rather of our dieing, in Christ, to our 'old man', or, our 'carnal nature'.

Jesus also speaks to this effect, in the third chapter of John, when He told Nicodemus, who thought that Jesus was saying that, to enter the Kingdom, you had to be physically reborn; that 'unless one is born of water ( the natural birth ) and the Spirit ( Matt. 3:11 ), he cannot enter the kingdom of God.' Jesus had to further clarify, with this statement, to make clear in Nicodemus' mind that He was NOT talking here about a physical, but rather, a spiritual 'change'!

I think that many of us ( me included, for all of my adult life, up until a few weeks ago ) have affixed this same 'natural' conclusion to the 'change' that Paul speaks of in I Corinthians 15:52, et al. Some would argue, and believe me; I've thought about this, that the 'spiritual' change had already happened to those pre-AD70 saints. Well; yes and no; the book of the Acts ( or the history of the genesis of the institutional church ) has a lot to say on this matter, but for the sake of time and space, we'll just look here at a few references from Paul's first letter to the Thessalonians, and from Peter's first epistle.
Paul tells the Thessalonican believers that “we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede ( go before-where? ) those who are asleep”.
Peter tells the recipients of his first letter that, 'you are being built up a spiritual house................. '( John 14, II Corinthians 5 )

I think, and I'll not touch much on whatever else the 'transition period' between 33 and 70AD may have been, or meant to those who were alive at the that time; that this so-called 'transition period' was, not only what I like to call 'the changing of the guard', or the period of inauguration of the New ( er ) Covenant; but, more than that, a time of purification by trials and testings of His special people ( I Peter 2:9 ), not unlike it's typification under Moses in the 'wilderness, before they were allowed to enter the Promised Land, which, itself was a type of Heaven, or, the Rest ( Hebrews 4 ) that we now enjoy in Christ!

Going back to our main thesis; we notice, in verse 49 of I Corinthians 15, that Paul tells them that 'as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall bear the image of the heavenly Man' ( an interesting note on this passage; the Majority text, upon which the Authorized Version is largely based, replaces the last part of this verse with, 'let us also bear the image of the heavenly Man' )
I've already discussed with several people that I believe that the 'image of God in which He created Adam, or man; was the ability to have dominion; so, if that is the case; is the 'image of Christ' here in I Corinthians, the same as the 'image of God' in Genesis 1? Has God re-created man ( II Corinthians 5:17 ) in His image, so that we could fulfill His purpose in making man in the first place?

I've always looked at this next verse, as further reiterating the Scriptural idea that our physical bodies will not inhabit Eternity, or Heaven; but last night, I had yet another 'revelation'!
Paul tells his 'brethren', in verse 50, that “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; nor does corruption inherit incorruption.”
With a surface reading of this verse, we might get the idea that I outlined above, but when taken in context with Paul's usage of the word 'flesh, especially in Romans 8; it takes on a whole new aspect!
Paul tells the saints in Rome that “those who are in the flesh cannot please God.”

Well; I guess that does it! There's just no pleasing God until we 'shuffle off this mortal coil', right?
We should hope that that's not the case! I think that we can all agree that Paul is not saying here that those who are physically alive cannot please God, but rather that those who 'live after the flesh', or live to indulge our fleshly nature, are 'dead while we live'!
Paul clears this up in the next verse, when he tells them, “But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you...........”

So, if Paul 'simply' means our sinful nature, here in Romans 8:8,9, by his use of the word 'flesh', why wouldn't he mean the same 'flesh' in I Corinthians 15?

The Greek word sarx, used in all but two instances by Paul, and translated 'flesh' in his letters; does have a literal meaning of 'flesh, as stripped off the bone', but also, according to my Strong's Concordance, a meaning of 'the human nature'.

For more instances, in Paul's letters, and otherwise, where 'flesh' doesn't necessarily mean 'flesh'; look at, Romans 7:5, all of chapter 8,13:14,I Corinthians 1:26, 5:5, II Corinthians 1:17, 5:16a, 10:2,3b, 1:13, Galatians 5:17,19,24, 6:8, Ephesians 2:11a, I Peter 3:18,21,4:1a,2,6, and II Peter 2:10.

There is more that could have been written here, but for the sake of time and space, and that God's Name may be glorified, and not my own, through His Word; I will end here, with the admonition to be a Berean, and search the Scriptures, 'to see if these things are so'!

In His Kingdom and service,
Charles Shank

Monday, October 23, 2006

Mercy and Not Sacrifice (A Broken and a Contrite Heart)

First of all, let me ask you this: what does He mean by a broken and a contrite heart? To me, this is saying that we, who are prone to set our hearts on things of this world (including people), need to come to Christ with a heart that has been broken by the world, and truly sorrowful for having placed our hope and trust in temporal, and not eternal things.

Luke 15:11-32 : This parable tells the story of what our Father in heaven did, and does for us(I Tim.1:15, Luke 15:20-24). As the father of the prodigal (wasteful)son, ran to his son, so our Father comes to us, in the form of His Son Jesus Christ (Colossians 2:9), and as the father in this parable killed the fatted calf, so our Father killed the Lamb, for our sins. We are born, or were born, sons of God, but, since the Fall(Genesis 3),we are born in sin, and living prodigally (wastefully), like the son in the parable, until the Father, again in the form of Jesus Christ His Son, comes to us (Ezekiel 36:25-27, John 14:6),and we come to our senses and are found worthy, through Christ, to be called sons once more.

Now, the second son, the one who stayed and was faithful (at least outwardly), I think can be likened to those who have their own righteousness(i.e. those who think that by obeying the letter of the law, they will be saved; Luke 18:10-14,18-21). Instead of trusting in our obedience to the law for our salvation, as the Pharisee in Luke 18:10-14, the rich young ruler in Luke 18:18-21,and the elder son in Luke 15:29 did, we should trust in our Fathers mercy to take us back into His kingdom, as did the father in our parable take his wayward son back into his household. Now, you may ask yourself why the elder son was angry, in verse 28. This is explained further, in verses 29 and 30, but I think we may also return to the Old Testament for the reason.

Turn to Genesis 4:1-16. This is a somewhat different situation, but I think it can be applied here as well. I believe that God accepted Abels sacrifice over Cains, not necessarily because of what he did or didnt offer, but in the attitude in which he offered (Psalm 40:6, Proverbs 21:3, Hebrews 10:5-9). Because of the way that Cain and the elder son acted (Genesis 3:5-9, Luke 15:28-30), we can surmise that their condition was present beforehand; that condition being sin. Just like Cain hated Abel because he did not think that Abels sacrifice was any more worthy of being accepted than his, so the elder son was angry and hated his younger, prodigal brother because he, although he had not been obedient all his life like his older brother (Luke 15:29), his sacrifice(Luke 15:18-19,Psalm 51:17) was accepted. So we see that the elder son was angry because his sacrifice of obedience to the letter of the law (verse 29) was not accepted, or so he thought, while his brothers sacrifice(Psalm 51:17, Luke 15:18-19) was, and because, in a way, he was a son of Cain, and his father before him, Satan! The Fathers response, in verse 31, is the same as Jesus response to the wayward disciple in John 12:4-8, and in His response to the disciples of John in Matthew 9:14-15, so let us take a lesson from this, and not be as the elder son, but make our sacrifice as God desires, as the Psalmist says in Psalm 51:17, and as the Apostle Paul said in Romans 12:1, a sacrifice of a broken and a contrite heart and a life of service to Him!

And finally let us thank and praise our Father in Heaven that He has come to us, who were dead, and made us alive in Christ, and sought us when we were lost, and now by His amazing grace, We are found!