TRUE ISRAEL, THE LAW (CEREMONIAL & MORAL), &
THE SENSATIONALISM OF "DISPENSATIONALISM"
In the spirit of 1 Peter 3:15 -- "But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear" (and Colossians 4:6), I will give as short as possible an answer to why I believe what I believe, and why I will have nothing to do with dispensationalism, a tradition of men that more and more churches are picking up today.
This in no way attempts to give an exhaustive account (although after a page or two you might be pooped with the whole idea and toss these notes in the trash, but that's okay), but a "from the Bible only" mini-look at how God works in the world today, yesterday, and forever, and how He doesn't change (Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. James 1:17 -- Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever. Hebrews 13:8).
Firstly, a few "first things first." I am in no way trying to convert you, convince you, trick you or open your eyes. I'm not trying to save you. Saving you is not my job, it is the work of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, and YOU (Philippians 2:12 says we are to work out OUR OWN salvation, with fear and trembling -- right off, here, I think so many "Christians" never do this, never go through this, never consider their eternal destination seriously enough -- we are supposed to work it out with fear and trembling, in other words we are to take this very, very seriously, a decision to be made with the whole "heart, mind, soul, spirit and strengh," and not just with the lips only, and then after we have done that, we realize that it is God Himself working in us and through us for His own good pleasure, v. 13). I trust that God will lead you "into all truth," which is the Holy Spirit's job (John 14:26, 15:26, 16:13). Herein it's my intent to present what I consider to be "the Bible's version of the truth, without the tradition of men added in."
Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman
that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the
word of truth. 2 Timothy 2:15
This has been my goal for the last seven years or so, to be a workman in the Word of God so that I don't have to be ashamed, to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" -- I believe that I shouldn't just "talk the talk," but "walk the walk" as well. Or, in other words, to "Live what I Believe and Believe what I Live" -- anything else and I feel I'd be just a faker, someone who's walking along in religion out of habit, or out of ease, or out of style. It's not about "what church" I go to, or what religion I am -- Carolena and I consider ourselves to be pretty much "nondenominational," it's just that the Seventh-day Adventist Church packs the most truth that we can find for any established denomination; it, along with the Messianic Jews and several "Yahweh Movement" churches, attempt to follow the Bible and put it before any "tradition of man" -- problems? Yes, all churches have problems, because churches are composed of people, so yes, there's mucho problemos. But as long as they aid us in our search for truth, and "correctly divide the Word of Truth," then they are a big aid in our spiritual walk with Jesus the Christ, Yahshua the Messiah.
If God wants us somewhere else. BAM, we outtadere!
We are called to follow Christ. NOT to be members of ANY particular denomination, whether or not it is accepted by "historical Christianity" (and let's face it, the Catholic Church wins the contest when it comes to wearing the "Historical Christianity" button!), and we have a pretty good line of sight in tracing the Movements in Protestantism leading back to the Catholic Church. First Lutherans, then Presbyterians, next Baptists, then Methodists, and so on...
First, let's look closer at this particular verse, 2 Timothy 2:15, to make certain that we are not reading anything into it that should not be there -- a verse taken out of context is nothing more than a pretext, and we can't arrive at Truth that way. In context, the whole chapter is talking about being a "good Christian," with good conduct, and not teaching error (such as that the Resurrection is past, v.18, and that really only God knows who belongs to Him, v.19). Turn it upside down, inside out, and you won't find even a clue that this verse is in any form or fashion discussing "separating Jews and Gentiles," or splitting the Bible into portions: this belongs to the Jews and this belongs to the Christians, and this belongs to the Gentiles and this belongs to Judaism. Not even a hint. Yet, guess what, this travesty is being taught today in many so-called "christian" churches. To read that kind of interpretation into this verse, as is the first and most common practice of Dispensationalists, is to make it a private, mystery interpretation. As in: "Trust me, I know what I'm talking about, it's what it means, even though you can't find it in the Bible!"
Or, a "lot of good men have believed it, this teaching, for nearly a hundred years, so it must be okay, right? It must be orthodox?" Does it fit within the "pale of orthodoxy?"
The NIV translates it this way: "who correctly handles the word of truth." Seems in context, doesn't it? Let's look at a few other translations: "handling accurately the word of truth." (NAS) To me, both these versions jibe perfectly with the King James Version. I'm not a "KJV-Only Nut" -- it is, however, my favorite version, and my choice for Study Bible, but I believe God can speak equally well through all versions. But there is no disagreement, so far, between any of these versions. All are saying the same thing -- and note, no mention is made of dealing out the Bible like a deck of cards: "I'll take this, you can have that, two to you, three to me, this is for you, you Jew, for this I'd walk a mile, Gentile." Where could such an interpretation EVER come in?
But let's consider a few more renderings:
...correctly explains the word of truth. (New Living Translation)
...rightly dividing the word of truth. (NKJV)
...who knows how to use the word of truth to the best advantage. (Phillips)
...who isn't ashamed to teach the word of truth correctly. (God's Word)
...rightly dividing the word of truth. (Webster)
...because he deals straightforwardly with the Word of Truth (Jewish NT)
...one who correctly teaches the message of God's truth. (Good News)
...a worker who uses the true teaching in the right way. (New Century)
...who keeps the message of truth on a straight path. (New Jerusalem)
...Know what his Word says and means. (Living)
...driving a straight furrow, in your proclamation of the truth. (New English)
...cutting in a straight line the word of truth. (Darby)
...straightforward dealing with the word of truth, has no reason to feel any shame. (WEY)
...not to be put to shame, skillfully handling the word of truth. (Rothrham)
...who has no cause for shame, giving the true word in the right way. (Basic English)
...nothing to be ashamed of. Interpret the message of truth in the proper way (Simple English)
...who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. (RSV)
...unashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (Green's Literal)
...irreproachable, rightly dividing the word of the truth; (Young's Literal)
...needeth not to be ashamed, handling aright the word of truth. (ASV)
...does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth. (Green's Modern KJV)
To sum up, comparing different versions and seeing how remarkably they all agree with one another, and how perfectly they make sense, let's look at the "rightly dividing/correct handling" as presented in the Amplified Bible:
Study and be eager and do your utmost to present
yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman
who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing
and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully
teaching] the Word of Truth.
Not even a minor disagreement in 25 commonly accepted translations of the Holy Bible. Now mind you, not even one of those translations is in MY words. So is it my opinion? Now I realize there is a little "wiggle room" for KJV-Only people. KJV-Only people could say: "Yeah, but since God spoke American, the KJV is the only Bible, and it says, DIVIDE, and that means you gotta split the Bible between them Jews and us Christians!" But let's take a peek at the greek (Textus Receptus):
3718 orthotomeo (or-thot-om-eh'-o); from a compound
of 3717 and the base of 5114, to make a straight cut,
i.e. (figuratively) to dissect (expound) correctly (the
divine message): KJV-- rightly divide.
As the KJV is just THAT, a version of the Bible (and a good one, in my opinion), and we know the oldest versions of the Bible were written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic, there is absolutely no way in the world anyone can get anything other than what these many, many English versions of the Bible translate, unless you are operating on "new revelation" which contradicts or at the very least supercedes the canon of scripture.
And yet Dispensationalists launch a whole new religion off this verse, declaring that we need to split the Bible between Israel and "The Church." Pretty weird, huh? But it gets worse. Trust me, it always gets worse!
IS there a separation between Jews and Gents? I could pontificate here, and give you my opinion, but I don't think I really need to, as the Bible is very clear on this point:
For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath
broken down the middle wall of partition between us.
Now in our own wisdom, we may wish to reestablish that middle wall between us, separating the Jews from the Gentiles, but what Jesus breaks down, I really don't feel that man even remotely has the power to rebuild. Take this chapter in context -- v.11,12 addresses people who in the past were "Gentiles in the flesh, who are called Uncircumcision by that which called the Circumcision in the flesh made by hands" -- the Gentiles were called "aliens," set apart from the "commonwealth of Israel" and even "strangers from the covenants of promise!" Gentiles WERE separated, v.12 goes so far to saying that they "having no hope, and without God in the world." Pretty clear, right?
The Good News is that through Jesus (v.13) those that were "far off" are now made nigh by the blood of Christ! Should we push those apart that have been brought together? Jesus is our peace, who has made both one (Jews and Gentiles). Dispensationalism LOVES gaps, inserting a gap between Jews and Greeks, and between the 69th week of Daniel's prophecy with the 70th week (with no apparent reason or logic and certainly no scriptural foundation), and I've even heard "Dipsers" insert a gap of millions (sometimes billions) of years in the Creation week of Genesis Chapter 1, and why (even though God straightforwardly splits the days as evening and morning, evening and morning, evening and morning)? Well, you start inserting gaps and I guess it's hard to stop!
But does the rest of the Bible support this crazy idea in the heart of Ephesians? That Jews and Gentiles are made ONE? Again, I won't result to my opinions, I'll dig out the pure evidence from the Word of God:
Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners,
but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household
of God; And are built upon the foundation of the apostles
and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone; In whom all the building fitly framed together
groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye
also are builded together for an habitation of God
through the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22
The Bible talks about ONE household of God, not two, not three. Certainly, the Pope and many other religious "shepherds" are teaching that there are "many paths to God," or even that "all paths lead to God," but Jesus said: "I am the door of the sheep." (John 10:7) If anyone enters that door, he is saved. Jesus did not mention any other doors, ones for Jews and ones for Gentiles (I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me, John 14:6). In fact, He said that the "other doors" were all thieves and robbers (v.8-12). In the same chapter, you will recognize the favorite "Once Saved Always Saved" passage:
But ye believe not, because ye are not of my sheep,
as I said unto you. My sheep hear my voice, and I
know them, and they follow me: And I give unto them
eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which
gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able
to pluck them out of my Father's hand. John 10:26-29
Still in the Shepherd motif, Jesus says: "my sheep follow me." What happens when a sheep follows the Shepherd? The sheep is saved. The Shepherd will not allow any wolf to come in and gobble the sheep. So we have faith in the Shepherd, NOT in being a sheep. There is no salvation in being a sheep, but only in following the Shepherd! (perceive the difference?) What happens when the sheep do not follow the shepherd?
The sheep is lost. Now, a lost sheep isn't "hopeless," meaning, it can be found again -- if it wants to be found. If the sheep doesn't want to be found, it is lost, forever, and it is impossible for it to be found, to be saved. Does that make sense? You could say: "Why in the world would a sheep not want to be found?" The answer is, this is a sinful world, and we are sinful creatures, even after being saved, we are still flesh contending with spirit (Galatians 5:17) until that day when our corruption puts on incorruption (1 Corinthians 15:42-58). Judas was in the fold, and yet he chose to go radically wrong.
Now the instant reply is: "Oh well, that sheep was never saved! It was only pretending!" Maybe. Maybe so with Judas, as well. But that is not for us to say, it is for God, because He alone knows who is saved and who is not (2 Timothy 2:19) -- that's why we are told not to judge each other, because the wheat and the weeds grow together until the end (Matthew 13:30) when the surprising thing will be that a lot of the weeds will prove to be wheat and a lot of the wheat will shockingly prove to be nothing but weeds! (Matthew 25:33-46, in the Shepherd motif again!, sheep and goats!). Only God knows for certain, that's why we're not supposed to judge others.
In the parable of The Prodigal Son (Luke 15:10-32) the boy goes out with his inheritance and squanders everything, ends up living with pigs, then comes home to Papa, who forgives him! This is the perfect reply to "Once Saved Always Saved!" And also for the Disper question as to Hebrews 6:4-8 -- "For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened . . . if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance" The Bible says it is impossible for someone that has fallen away to be forgiven, is that your contention? Well, for the first thing, that's proof that Christians can fall away! You found it, right in the Bible, and I didn't even have to help you!
Let's apply "The Prodigal Son" to Hebrews 6:4-8: the son (Christian) decides he wants the world more than his Father (God) -- you ask WHY? Well, look around you! The world is tempting. Why in the world would I want to go with another woman after marrying Carolena? We believe God brought us together, and that our marriage is blessed -- but is it possible for me to STILL have an affair? Certainly. Why? Because the world is sinful, we are surrounded by sin every day, we have an enemy that CONSTANTLY seeks to seduce us away from "following the Shepherd!" So the son (Christian) lives with prostitutes and wastes all his money (spiritual gifts and fruits) and ends up living with unclean brutes and eating their food (he's not eating the pig, he IS the pig). So he sees how horrible his life is, he sees what his life has become, he wakes up to the fact that what he has done is just as gross as a dog returning to its own vomit!
For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world
through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus
Christ, they are again entangled therein, and overcome,
the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For
it had been better for them not to have known the way of
righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from
the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is
happened unto them according to the true proverb, The
dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that
was washed to her wallowing in the mire. 2 Peter 2:20-22
Isn't it amazing, how clear the Bible is? Peter mentions "escaping" -- escaping HOW? By keeping the commandments? NO! By knowledge of Jesus -- people escape the pollutions of the world! And to leave, they are worse off than if they had never heard the Gospel! There it is, in the Bible! And how at odds TRUTH is with what people are teaching you today? Incredible. And, as it always does, scripture walks hand-in-hand with scripture. Didn't these verses in 2 Peter call to mind one of Jesus' parables? Let's go to where Jesus deciphers His parable for the disciples:
Hear ye therefore the parable of the sower. When
any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and
understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one,
and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart.
This is he which received seed by the way side. But
he that received the seed into stony places, the same
is he that heareth the word, and anon with joy
receiveth it; Yet hath he not root in himself, but
dureth for a while: for when tribulation or persecution
ariseth because of the word, by and by he is offended.
He also that received seed among the thorns is he that
heareth the word; and the care of this world, and the
deceitfulness of riches, choke the word, and he
becometh unfruitful. But he that received seed into the
good ground is he that heareth the word, and
understandeth it; which also beareth fruit, and bringeth
forth, some an hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty.
I find it so amazing, how clearly God lays this out for us to understand, and yet the Dispers come along and tear this parable out of the Bible and hide it from us (read also Luke 8:4-14). Jesus makes it abundantly clear, that people DO accept Him, they DO accept His Word, and then turn aside. In Matthew 13:18-23 He spells it out, that some will accept without understanding fully, and it (the Good News) will be eventually stolen away, and others will receive the Good News with joy, but troubles or persecution drives it out of him, and others receive the Good News but get sidetracked with money (Creflo Dollar? Rod Parsley? Jan and Paul Crouch? Jesse Duplantis?) or all the details of this world, and they don't bear any goodness from God.
So the son in the parable of "The Prodigal Son" (Christian) repents of his wickedness (even though it is impossible!) -- think how hard it would be to come home after proving yourself such a disgusting fool! Humanly, it would seem impossible, wouldn't it? Think how hard it would be for me to come home to Carolena if I ran off with prostitutes and wasted all our money, lost our house and all our earthly possessions! IMPOSSIBLE!
With men it is impossible, but not with God: for with
God all things are possible. Mark 10:27
Amazing, isn't it? With God, the impossible becomes the POSSIBLE. Isn't that amazing how the Bible works with the Bible, there is never a contradiction, scripture works with scripture -- but the catch is, you have to "rightly divide the Word of God!" Jesus said the UNPARDONABLE sin is: But he that shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost hath never forgiveness, but is in danger of eternal damnation (Mark 3:29). Why is it impossible to be forgiven if you blaspheme the Holy Spirit? Because it is the Holy Spirit that leads you to repent! If you don't repent you are not forgiven! So if you do not listen to the One that leads to repentance, you won't repent, and if you won't repent -- you are in danger of eternal damnation!
Mark 10:27, Hebrews 6:4-8 and Mark 3:29 seem to contradict each other, but they don't! I maintain that there is absolutely NO CONTRADICTION in the Bible -- ah, I see you smiling! We can prove him contradictions galore, this silly fool!
Ah, do you see me smiling? You cannot prove contradictions in the Bible -- not when you understand the Bible as a WHOLE, Old and New Testaments! I believe you cannot understand the New Testament without the Old. In fact, it is MEN that have drawn a distinction in the Bible -- I believe there is ONE Bible (portrayed in many, many versions) and that the Old Testament is just as important as the New. We DO NOT divide the Bible, Old to the Jews, New to the Christians. The Bible is the Bible is the Bible.
Back to that Prodigal Guy. He comes home and his Father, so happy, explains to his oldest son the true condition of his younger brother, the Prodigal:
It was meet that we should make merry, and be glad:
for this thy brother was dead, and is alive again; and
was lost, and is found. Luke 15:32
What man of you, having an hundred sheep, if he
lose one of them, doth not leave the ninety and
nine in the wilderness, and go after that which is lost,
until he find it? And when he hath found it, he layeth
it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he cometh
home, he calleth together his friends and neighbours,
saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found
my sheep which was lost. I say unto you, that likewise
joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth,
more than over ninety and nine just persons, which
need no repentance. Luke 15:4-7
See how the Bible works? We're back to the little lost lambykins! It is the lamb's choice, that poor lost sheep, that Prodigal Son. He was in the family (a Christian in the family of God) -- and being so far away, lost, he never stopped being his Father's son. But while he was away from the Father, he was lost, pure and simple. Thy brother was DEAD. That's what Jesus SAYS. It is impossible for a dead person to repent, correct? But with God, all things are POSSIBLE. Jesus is the Resurrection! So this poor lost Christian who chooses to go out into the sinful world and separate himself from God is dead, he is LOST -- but, if he desists in blaspheming the Holy Spirit, in other words if he finally LISTENS TO THE HOLY SPIRIT, he WILL repent, and what was impossibly lost, with God is impossibly FOUND!
Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence
of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.
Amazing, at least I find it so. Someone already in the family, can still choose to walk away from that family! Isn't God incredible, that He never forces us. He woos us. Jesus, our Bridegroom, woos us with love and tenderness. He does not force us to do anything. Because He is still a Shepherd, and a Shepherd LEADS, He never drives the sheep with a whip. He is out front with the sheep following behind, not behind them, hitting them with a stick! The Bible illustrates Jesus as leading, as a Shepherd -- yet people view Him as a cowboy driving the cattle with a whip!
From my own personal experience, I KNOW that Christians have a choice to leave God AFTER they've found Him, and I know many people who have the same testimony as mine. I accepted Jesus, into my heart, when I was thirteen, and I really meant it, I loved Him, and I wept tears, and when I sinned after that it was terrible. But I was part of the family of God. But when I hit my 20s I rebelled. I was very willful -- I even declared to God: "I don't want Your help." I went to live in the far country. Now mind you, I still prayed to God, still believed in Him. But, God, grieving, viewed me as DEAD (see Luke 15:32).
However, thank God, GOD NEVER GAVE UP ON ME. Afterall, God DOES know the end from the beginning. He waited, and He blessed me in my worldliness as I was out in the far country, living with pigs, living as a pig (the Bible designates the piggy as an unclean animal). But when He gave His Shepherd's call (through Carolena, isn't that amazing?) I heard Him, and I came back to Him, I actually knew and followed His voice and He picked me up in His strong arms and guess what, I was alive again! I was found, I who had chosen to be lost, I now was found, because I answered His call, and He didn't force me to come back, He didn't use a lasso to snatch me, and then hogtie me, He called me, He wooed me. And I came. He accepted me back -- what was impossible, after someone has been in the truth and leaves, like a dog returning to its vomit, God is the God of the impossible, and miraculously, He resurrected me! Even with my mouth still with the smell of vomit!
I can only say "Praise God!" It was real. It IS real. That is the Grace of God. I know. Where sin abounded, grace was much stronger, Romans 5:20. I was lost, by my own choice, even after I was saved -- I was part of the family of God, and I chose to leave God's household and go out and live with pigs. What a mistake. What a filthy decision on my part. Why in the world would someone like me, with a reasonably intelligent brain in my giant noodle -- why would I decide to leave God?
Is that a tough question? Nope. Easy. Us humans are idiots, pure and simple (of course, we are more simple than pure!). I can identify with those Israelites, recently delivered from 10 unnatural plagues, delivered from 400 years of slavery, proclaimed as God's chosen people, witnessing outrageous miracles such as pillars of fire, the supernatural division of an ocean, hearing God Himself thunder from the mountain top, feeling the thunder in the ground as He spoke His will in Ten Commandments -- and then when Moses is a little late coming down from the mountain, forcing the brother of Moses to make a false god so that we can gather about it and worship it, while we fornicate and blaspheme God!
Ridiculous that those Israelites can do that? Nope, that's us, human beings types. We're ridiculous.
And guess what? I can leave God today if I choose. And guess what? It's tempting? Really, our enemy is THAT good (I mean bad) -- He can tempt us so severely that even the elect can be deceived, if it were possible! Our enemy is the "father of lies" -- at least that is what Jesus called him. God's grace is THAT good, that He will not even force me to stay with Him today.
And I can tell you, it WAS impossible. I was that stubborn. I nearly killed myself before I could come back to Him. There was no way in the world I was going to admit I was wrong. I was prepared to grit my teeth until my life leaked out of my body to prove myself RIGHT, and thus Him, WRONG. But I was, wrong, and the Holy Spirit led me over that treacherous ground of pride, arrogance, lust, anger and self-esteem -- back to Jesus, back to the Father. I heard and recognized His voice. I followed Him.
My conversion was MIRACULOUS.
It had nothing to do with myself. I had hardly anything to do with it, other than following Him that called me.
Jesus explains all this in a remarkably clear way in John 15:1-11. Jesus is the Vine and we are the branches. People who have not accepted Jesus are not branches. Only His chosen are branches. If a branch (Christian) does not bear fruit (the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit), what happens to it? Once Saved Always Saved? Jesus says: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit." Isn't that clear? Who does the pruning? Jesus says that the Father is the Husbandman, so He does the pruning. We are branches connected to the Savior -- notice Jesus says "every branch IN me that beareth not fruit" -- so by the very words of Jesus it IS possible to be IN Jesus and still bear no fruits of the Holy Spirit (and yet, by the words of Jesus, it is completely Unacceptable, and such a branch will be cut off and thrown into the fire!)!
Read all of Jesus' parables. Over and over again He teaches these truths, FOR ALL MEN, not just for Jews. We follow Jesus, no other man. Jesus was GOD, as well as man. He is our example (1 Peter 2:21) and the Apostle Paul agreed "For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus' sake." 2 Corinthians 4:5. All the other writers wrote Truth, but Jesus was and IS TRUTH (John 14:6). There is a decided difference between Jesus and the other writers, because He was and IS God. Paul was not God and did not "preach himself," he preached Jesus.
In John 15:4-7 Jesus brings up the clear Word of ABIDING IN Jesus, which is the exact same thing as the sheep following the Shepherd! In the first
seven verses Jesus stresses ABIDE seven times! I think He was serious. Branches that do not abide in Jesus are pruned off and BURNED (serious things here, that's why we are to "work out our salvation with fear and trembling"). Read in context, it is amply clear that even if you are a Christian, you can choose NOT TO ABIDE IN JESUS. There goes "Once Saved Always Saved," right out the window with the baby's bathwater.
Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (2 Timothy 1:13)
THIS is why I have studied "Dispensationalism" and will have nothing more to do with it. It compromises the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It teaches that "oh sure, God doesn't change, but uh, er, um, well, He DOES change!" Hold fast that which is good, which is that JESUS IS THE ONLY WAY.
I'll say something here that you will probably find shocking, or maybe you've heard it before and rejected it at face value. That is, THE LAW NEVER SAVED A SINGLE PERSON SINCE THE BEGINNING OF THE WORLD UNTIL NOW AND IT NEVER WILL SAVE ONE PERSON. However, that is not what "Dispensationalism" teaches. Have you ever heard that Jews were saved by sacrificing animals? Tut-tut-tut. That cheapens the gift of Jesus, His very life to save "The World." The animal sacrifices pointed forward to the gift of Jesus, they were SHADOWS! The shadow is not the reality, only a shade of it. Now, granted, the word "dispensation" IS used in the Bible, but does it say ANYthing about multiple ways to be saved? Or a separate plan for Jews and Gentiles? Not a word.
3622 oikonomia (oy-kon-om-ee'-ah); from 3623;
administration (of a household or estate); specifically,
a (religious) "economy": KJV-- dispensation,
This is the meaning of the word "dispensation" as used in 1 Corinthians 9:17 "For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me." This can only mean that God "dispensed" the Gospel, or Good News, for me to "dispense" to others, correct? Can you get ANYthing about an "Age When God Chooses to Deal with Men Differently" from this verse? Good, I didn't think so. Why, because it is not there. God dispenses, God gives, God blesses. Thank God, amen?
But how about Ephesians 1:10 "That in the dispensation [3622, see previous usage] of the fullness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth; even in him" -- hmmm, do we have any evidence here of "Dispensationalist" Proof? No, it is the same as in 1 Cor. 9:17, we are talking about TIME, and in this case saying "God is giving PLENTY of time that as many can come to Christ can come to Christ!" Isn't it amazing how "proof" evaporates when read in context? God loves us THAT much, that He is allowing more time to pass, in order so that MORE can be saved. And yet the Disper will bury this truth by attempting to transform it into some ridiculous notion of "a different age of time wherein God deals with people differently." Throw it out with the bathwater, and hold onto what is GOOD.
Then lets look at Ephesians 3:2 "If ye have heard of the dispensation [3622, see previous usage] of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward" -- which can only be interpreted as "God gives grace from me which I give to you!" THAT, my dears, is EVANGELISM!
Now, as I see it, the "Dispensationalist" only really has one more chance to "convert me from my falsehood." And that would be in Colossians 1:25 "Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation [3622, see previous usage] of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God" -- isn't this just saying: "God called me to be a minister?" Or "God dispensed my job as a minister." God called me! God distributes the gifts as the Holy Spirit sees fit!
I'm not trying to provoke you, here, my friend. I'm just attempting to offer you the truth, as in what the Bible says. Now, true, perhaps you and your favorite teachers have received some special revelation from God, that I know nothing about. But, if so, that is the way I wish it to remain -- keep your special revelation, because God's Word is good enough for me. I have enough of that from relatives who daily receive "revelations" that disagree with the Bible. As you can see above, I know what "Dispensationalism" teaches, and as I have already told you, I reject it, and have no interest in discussing it.
It is not my job to save you from false theology. But I can assure you that all these beliefs about God dealing with man one way before the flood and another way during Abraham's days with circumcision and then another way at the time of Moses and the giving of the law and then another way when Jesus came to this Earth, and then even another way after the scales fell away from Paul's eyes, and yet a final way after the supposed "Secret Rapture" (which, I can assure you, is every bit as easy to disprove as "Once Saved, Always Saved") when God chooses to deal with the Jews in a different way . . . it's not in the Bible, any of it, and I reject it. Simple, right?
But, you say, I know this Disper stuff is right, because it feels good! Or it makes me feel special! Or, I hate Jews and don't want to do with anything that they teach or believe or practice. Sorry, my friend, but I have news for you: Jesus was Jewish.
Perhaps you think this stuff I'm writing here is hogwash. Maybe you'll use it to light your woodburning stove. I don't mind. I am still willing to be your friend. As I said at the outset, I'm not trying to "open your eyes," but give you a clear answer as to what I believe and WHY. Just "write me off," if you feel compelled to do so, that is okay. But I caution you to "trust in Jesus," and not your theology. I welcome your prayers for me. BUT, be led by the Holy Spirit and not by books on "Dispensationalism." Trust in God, not in false teachers that preach "Dispensationalism."
It is Sensationalism. It is a tradition of man, not of God. It doesn't matter how many good guys believe it -- if it is not from God, I don't want to have anything at all to do with it. I don't want a vain relationship with God, because it's not a real relationship at all, is it?
But in vain they do worship me, teaching
for doctrines the commandments of men.
I don't expect my words here to change your mind, nor do I expect that you reading the Bible verses in this study will change your mind either -- as I stated earlier, I really do believe that it has to come with agonizing study, much prayer, and listening to the "still small voice" of the Holy Spirit. But God promises, "And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart." Jeremiah 29:13 -- I don't think this verse is to be taken lightly, by any means. I tell Carolena, nearly every day, that she needs to come into her own daily, personal relationship with God, with Jesus, and beg ceaselessly for the Holy Spirit -- she can't get her theology from me, or from you, she has to study to show herself approved, just the same way that I do. I can help her, true, and I do, but getting it second-hand is only so helpful. Do you think that very many people "seek God with all their heart?" I don't know, it sounds like some real effort to me, not a simple repetition of three words: "I accept Jesus."
Now, I think in this study I have proved that many "proof beliefs" are just not quite the proofs you think them to be. As we saw in Ephesians 2, Jesus removed "the dividing wall" between Jews and Gentiles. Don't attempt to put it back up. There is only one way to heaven: "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" John 14:6. For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise. Galatians 3:26-29
The Bible says it and I see no reason to put a "mystery interpretation" on it, it is very clear. God does not look down from heaven and see "His people," the Jews, and then look over and see "His people," the Church. God sees HIS PEOPLE, THE CHURCH, ISRAEL, THE JEWS. We have been made one.
For he is our peace, who hath made both one,
and hath broken down the middle wall of
partition between us
Are you Abraham's seed? I sure know I am! Am I an heir according to the promise? YES! I believe it because God tells me so. In Colossians Paul writes to "To the saints and faithful brethren in Christ which are at Colosse" -- racially speaking, Paul is writing to "Gentiles" (those that are not Jewish) he reminds them that "And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." He tells them to"Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Colossians 3:11,12. Then Peter wrote: "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. 1 Peter 2:9-10 (Peter spells it out clearly, those that were not a people, BECAME a people of God!) -- WHO are Peter and Paul talking to, Jews or Gentiles, or could it actually be "God's People, the Elect?"
Pretty strong stuff that, calling Gentiles "the Elect of God," calling them "Holy" -- wow! Me, holy? And then calling them "Beloved!" Does Paul go too far in using the "Peculiar People" when referring to Gentiles? Isn't that what God called the Jews?
For thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and
the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto
himself, above all the nations that are upon the earth.
There it is! God calls the Jews a "holy people," and a "peculiar people," and even further "above all nations that are upon the earth!" In 1 Peter Gentiles are called all of those things, even a "Holy Nation!"
Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from
all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people,
zealous of good works. Titus 2:14
That's why Jesus died, to make us a peculiar people unto Him. By purifying us, by redeeming us. But do you and I qualify as the "elect of God?" With humbleness, if God wants to consider me as His elect, I'm all for it. Bring it on! I say YES. I say AMEN!
Paul wrote his letter to Galatians, who by birth were Gentiles, correct? Really! Even though Chapter 3 identifies the believers as those who began their walk with God "in the Spirit" (meaning they were not raised as Jews, but were converted by the Holy Spirit), Paul closes his letter to the Galatians in a very interesting way: "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God." Galatians 6:15-16 -- wow, and ISRAEL too! Hey, God, I don't mind! I guess it makes sense as we are "Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." We are the Israel of God, the Church, God's People! Isn't that amazing?
But that's not what Dispers teach. WHY is that? To teach otherwise is to contradict scripture. They teach something far, far different. They put up a wall dividing the Jews and the Church. Isn't that a shame? They put up a wall that says God saves this group by law and this group by grace. What a shame, a terrible crying shame. False teaching, to be sure!
As I stated before: the law never saved anyone. A shocking thing for me to say? I maintain that Adam was saved by Jesus, as stated in John 3:16. That Enoch and Noah were saved the exact same way, the ONLY WAY. That Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph were saved through the atoning death of Jesus Christ, as were Moses, Joshua, Samson, David, Solomon, Josiah, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Daniel, Malachai, John the Baptist, and at least 11 of the original Disciples. Did you know that "Dispensationalism" teaches something far different, that some people were actually saved by slitting a lamb's neck? And they can even dig up scriptures to back up such blasphemous doctrine?
Why? Because "Dispies" are evil? I really don't think so. I think it all comes down to one simple fact. They have been taught (tradition, that deadly thing) that "the law is bad," and will quote "the law of death" and the "handwriting of ordinances against us" while sneering at the law. They will read where Jesus says: "I did not come to destroy the law!" and casually state: "Oh well, that's for the Jews!" They teach that Jesus was a liar, that He actually DID come to destroy the law! Isn't that amazing?
How can this be? How can people think that the law is bad when the Apostle Paul says that indeed it is "holy, just and good?" (Romans 7:12)
It's because they don't understand the law, what it is, how it applies, and that there is fact a GREAT DISTINCTION in the Law of God. And why don't they have any understanding of what the Law is? Because they've been taught to toss out the Old Testament! Even though the New Testament writers, before a New Testament even existed, wrote: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works." 2 Timothy 3:16-17 -- this verse does apply to the New Testament, NOW, but when it was written it only applied to the Old Testament, because it was the only scripture that existed! Isn't that an amazing fact? But so many Christians desire to rip out the "Old" Testament of the Bible, claiming that we ONLY need the "New" Testament -- but the horrible fact is that you cannot understand the New Testament without the Old Testament -- they are one Bible.
So WHY do people think there is a "dividing wall" between Jews and Gentiles when the Bible clearly teaches that there isn't? Why does the Law of God only apply to Jews, even today, when there is absolutely no distinction between the saved? Simple. It is a circular assumption. I assume that there is a difference between Jews and Gentiles because I know other people believe it and when I come across anything that sounds different I just throw it out because it most likely "correctly divides" over to those other guys with the funny little hats on the backs of their heads!
Did you know that there is a Moral Law (the 10 Commandments), and it was handled far differently than the Ceremonial Law (called the "Law of Moses")? Of course not. That's not what you were taught, because people don't want you to know about it. It's amazing that people often say, with the best intentions: "I'm under the New Covenant, not the Old Covenant," and they don't even know what the New Covenant IS! Let's take a quick peek at WHAT it is and (shockingly) who it is with:
For this is the covenant that I will make with the house
of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my
laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts:
and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a
people: And they shall not teach every man his
neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know
the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the
greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness,
and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no
more. In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made
the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old
is ready to vanish away. Hebrews 8:10-13
Isn't that AMAZING? And yet people teach that it is impossible for Christians to sin! That they get an "Amazing Holy Ghost Coat" of "Sealing" and then that thar sin don't be stickin' to ya no moah!" And here is the New Covenant, with ISRAEL (for goodness sake!), that God will write HIS LAW in our mind, in our heart! Wowzers, not quite what is being taught in the majority of Christian churches, is it?
The question is, are you under the New Covenant? If so, are you of the House of Israel? Are you God's elect? The people of God? Abraham's seed? An heir according to the promise? All of these promises, straight out of the Bible, straight to Gentiles along with Jews, for all people.
So let's take a closer look at the "handwriting of ordinances against us" and find out what that ACTUALLY is and what you have been taught that it is:
And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision
of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having
forgiven you all trespasses; Blotting out the handwriting of
ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us,
and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; And having
spoiled principalities and powers, he made a shew of them
openly, triumphing over them in it. Let no man therefore
judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday,
or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a
shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.
One of the truly humorous things here is that people actually attempt to use this passage to get out of obeying God! I've even heard people say: "See, it says you don't have to keep the Sabbath!" Read it again! It really is funny. It is talking about DOING, not "NOT DOING," judging in meat, in drink, or sabbath days (have you ever heard anyone say: "Don't judge me because I don't eat any more! I've given up food! That's right, Colossians 2:13-17 says I don't have to eat food or drink water!" Isn't that something? It's scripture twisting! I, of course, as a Sabbath keeper, can say: "Don't judge me because I keep the Sabbath! Colossians 2:13-17 says so!" I don't have to tell you, the people who read the scripture plainly are the ones that get called "legalists!" Isn't that something?
Okay, what exactly is "handwriting of ordinances against us?"
And Moses wrote this law . . . Deuteronomy 31:9
So Moses wrote it -- really? The 10 Commandments? Moses wrote them? And what about this "against thee" stuff, how does it apply?
And it came to pass, when Moses had made an end of
writing the words of this law in a book, until they were
finished, That Moses commanded the Levites, which
bare the ark of the covenant of the LORD, saying, Take
this book of the law, and put it in the side of the ark of
the covenant of the LORD your God, that it may be
there for a witness against thee. Deuteronomy 31:24-26
There again, it says Moses wrote the law in a book! And then put it in the side compartment of the Ark of the Covenant! Then the truly amazing thing, this law is to be a "witness against thee!" Bing bing BING! That's a bell ringing. Whoa, see that light flashing! A perfect match to Colossians 2:13-17, isn't it? Man oh man alive, have you ever heard anyone tell the truth about these verses, or have you heard people twist these verses into saying something they don't even say?
Now, what about God's Moral Law, the 10 Commandments:
And he gave unto Moses, when he had made an end of
communing with him upon mount Sinai, two tables of
testimony, tables of stone, written with the finger of God.
Whoa, whoa, whoa! SO, like, wow, dude, there's like, you know, a remarkable difference! Moses' law was written in a book, in handwriting, by Moses, while the 10 Commandments were written with the finger of God (that's hardly handwriting, is it?)! Is it even POSSIBLE for man to put aside what God has carved in STONE? With His OWN FINGER? But what about where it was stored, the Book of Moses Law was in a side compartment of the ark, where was the 10 Commandments kept?
Which had the golden censer, and the ark of the
covenant overlaid round about with gold, wherein
was the golden pot that had manna, and Aaron's
rod that budded, and the tables of the covenant
Hebrews 9:4, Deuteronomy 10:2,5, Exodus 25:21,
1 Kings 8:9, 2 Chronicles 5:10
Isn't that incredible? There really was a difference! The tables of stone, which God wrote on with His own finger, were placed INSIDE THE MERCY SEAT, just the same as the New Covenant, wherein God will write His laws INSIDE the heart and mind of those who accept His Son! While the Law of Moses, written by Moses' hand in a book, was placed in a side compartment, and it was to be against the Jews as a testimony! Hey, but what about this OTHER New Testament verse:
Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the
law of commandments contained in ordinances;
for to make in himself of twain one new man, so
making peace. Ephesians 2:15
It should make sense now, or at least a little more, shouldn't it? You can read most of the Laws of Moses in Leviticus Chapter 23, complete with "ceremonial sabbaths," the ones mentioned in that same Chapter 2 of Colossians. Now, let's take a further look, comparing "The Law of Moses" with "The Ten Commandments:"
The 10 Commandments & Moses' Ceremonial Law
1. Spoken by God Himself (Ex 20:1,22) - 1. Spoken by Moses (Ex 24:3)
2. Written by God Himself (Ex 31:18, 32:16) - 2. Written by Moses (Ex 24:4, Deuteronomy 31:9)
3. Written on Tables of STONE (Ex 31:18) - 3. Written in a book (Exodus 24:4, Deut 31:24)
4. Handed by God, its Writer, to Moses (Ex 31:18) - 4. Handed by Moses, writer, to Levites (Deut 31:24)
5. Deposited by Moses into the ark (Deut 10:5) - 5. Deposited by Levites in the "side of ark" (Deut. 31:26)
6. Deals with MORAL Precepts (Ex 20:3-17) - 6. Ceremonial, Ritual Ordinances (Exodus, Lev., Deut.)
7. Reveals sin (Romans 7:7) - 7. Prescribes offerings for sins (Leviticus)
8. Breaking Law IS "Sin" (1 John 3:4) - 8. No sin, is abolished (Ephesians 2:15, Romans 4:15)
9. Should "Keep the Whole Law" (James 2:10) - 9. Apostles gave no such command (Acts 15:24)
10. Judged by this law (James 2:12) - 10. No judgment by it (Colossians 2:16)
11. Christians are blessed in his deed (James 1:25) - 11. Christian not blessed (Galatians 5:1-6)
12. Perfect Law of Liberty (James 1:25, 2:12) - 12. Loss of Liberty (Galatians 5:1,3)
13. I delight in the Law of God (Romans 7:22) - 13. Yoke of Bondage (Galatians 5:1, Acts 15:10)
14. Established by Faith in Christ (Romans 3:31) - 14. Abolished by Christ (Ephesians 2:15)
15. Christ magnified law, honorable (Isaiah 42:21) - 15. Handwriting Against Us (Colossians 2:14)
16. The Law is Spiritual (Romans 7:14) - 16. Carnal Commandment (Hebrews 7:16)
Obviously, you know that most teachers don't teach this, that they probably don't know this -- and if they do, then for some reason they are hiding the knowledge from you. Why? Because they teach that all laws are the same, in the Bible, and that all laws are BAD, that GRACE is GOOD, but LAW IS BAD. Obviously, the Bible does not teach anything remotely close to this travesty. So, what is it? Is the Bible schizophrenic when in comes to LAW, or are there different laws, for different purposes, while some laws are Shadows, and some laws represent actualities -- in fact, the Law, as written by the Lord's own finger, is His will!
Hebrews Chapter 9 makes the perfect comparison between "the ordinances" of the Old Covenant, compared to Christ's atonement as the "New Covenant." The old ordinances, those nailed to the cross of Christ, were shadows of Christ's death and sacrifice and atonement -- they were not the actuality, they could not truly forgive sins or make perfect -- only Jesus could do that. All the ordinances here on Earth were just "patterns" or "shadows" of realities that we don't fully comprehend to this date! We see as if through a mirror darkly, but when He comes we will see reality, face to face!
It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things
in the heavens should be purified with these; but the
heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices
than these. Hebrews 9:23
Verses 26-28 show that Jesus DIED ONCE for all the saved, covering the debts accumulated from the beginning of the world! Jesus said that the law would still be here, in full, until ALL THINGS BE FULFILLED -- obviously, there is still MUCH to happen as depicted in the Gospels and Revelation. Thus the law still stands, to this day, and people are teaching people that Jesus "destroyed the law!"
The true key here, that makes the Bible work together, Law and Grace, Grace and Law, is that we "are saved by grace through faith, and that not of our own, it is a gift of God." Nobody has ever been saved by keeping the law, and nobody ever will. BUT. Jesus, through the Holy Spirit, leads us to keep the Law of God (not the Law of Moses), even writing His laws upon our heart and mind when we truly accept Him, and we cannot truly accept Him until we have searched for Him with all our heart.
So, if this is all true -- and, obviously, it IS all in the Bible, then scripture should be taken more seriously, scriptures such as Matthew 5:17-19 and John 14:15-31)! Pay attention to the words of Jesus. Remember, His words ARE spirit!
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing:
the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they
are life. John 6:63
Romans 6:1-2, 1 John 5:2,3, Hebrews 10:15-16, 1 John 2:3,4, James 2:10-12, Revelation 12:17, 14:12 -- are all these verses "for the Jews?" Remember, that wall of separation is GONE. To God, there are no more Jews, or Gentiles, there are only the "People of God," the "True Israel of God." Remember: "For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh: But he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God." (Romans 2:28-29) I'm not ashamed to be Jewish, if God so wills to call me. I'm proud of it, I love being Israel!
Sorry, this next is not from the Bible, but from one of the best and oldest Protestant commentaries on God's Word, today viewed as about the best nondenominational commentary -- note, these are not my words, but Henry's:
Jews and Gentiles to each other. He made both one, by reconciling these two divisions of men, who were wont to malign, to hate, and to reproach each other before. He broke down the middle wall of partition, the ceremonial law, that made the great feud, and was the badge of the Jews' peculiarity, called the partition-wall by way of allusion to the partition in the temple, which separated the court of the Gentiles from that into which the Jews only had liberty to enter. Thus he abolished in his flesh the enmity, v. 15. By his sufferings in the flesh, to took away the binding power of the ceremonial law (so removing that cause of enmity and distance between them), which is here called the law of commandments contained in ordinances, because it enjoined a multitude of external rites and ceremonies, and consisted of many institutions and appointments about the outward parts of divine worship. The legal ceremonies were abrogated by Christ, having their accomplishment in him. By taking these out of the way, he formed one church of believers, whether they had been Jews or Gentiles. Thus he made in himself of twain one new man. He framed both these parties into one new society, or body of God's people, uniting them to himself as their common head, they being renewed by the Holy Ghost, and now concurring in a new way of gospel worship, so making peace between these two parties, who were so much at variance before. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary)
Sorry about going to an outside source for that, but Matthew Henry said it so much better than I could. Facts are, there WAS a ceremonial law, and it was nailed to the cross. That is a fact. That's why we do not take a lamb with us to church and slit its throat. Because the true "Lamb of God" has already taken away the sins of the world! If you throw out the Old Testament you can know nothing of this fact, and then you might go on to teaching terrible things about "the law," never quite knowing what "law" you are talking about. Fact IS, the Ten Commandments are the expressed will of God and will never be done away with, written with His own finger (and deeper study will show that it was actually the finger of JESUS that wrote the Ten Commandments into those stone tablets).
I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea,
thy law is within my heart. Psalm 40:8
So it should be very apparent WHY we choose to keep the Sabbath. Not because "we are under the law." We are not under the law. The Bible actually declares that we are "not under the law." So many Christians do not even realize what that very statement MEANS, but then, how could they? Do you think that at one time the law was suspended over peoples' heads? Like the "Sword of Damocles?" But now that sword has been removed? Nonsense. We were never under the law in that sense. If "Believers" do not even realize that there was a Ceremonial Law, otherwise known as the "Law of Moses" (and then an "Oral Law," traditions built up around that Ceremonial Law, as "great Jewish minds" built up rules around the laws, to keep those laws better, and then regulations around those rules, and interpretations of those regulations, rituals and ceremonies and commandments built around the Big Ten, finally into a staggering volume of thousands and thousands of rules and ideas called "The Talmud.") Fact is, if you break the law, DEATH is demanded, it is that serious. So, looked at in a certain way, DEATH is that "Sword of Damocles." So anyone who sins is "under the law," as they must pay that demanded penalty, because all have sinned.
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world,
and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for
that all have sinned: (For until the law sin was in the
world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law. Never-
theless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over
them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's
transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if
through the offence of one many be dead, much more
the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one
man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many And not as
it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment
was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many
offences unto justification. For if by one man's offence
death reigned by one; much more they which receive
abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall
reign in life by one, Jesus Christ. Therefore as by the
offence of one judgment came upon all men to con-
demnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free
gift came upon all men unto justification of life. For as by
one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by
the obedience of one shall many be made righteous More-
over the law entered, that the offence might abound. But
where sin abounded, grace did much more abound: That
as sin hath reigned unto death, even so might grace reign
through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ
our Lord. Romans 5:12-21
The Good News is Jesus Christ! He paid that penalty, thus we are not under the law! I can "Praise God!" about that, can't you? By dying, Jesus removed the penalty, He removed that "Sword of Damocles" from above the heads of those that accept Him and seek Him with all their heart. But false teachers take this Good News and corrupt it, especially with Romans Chapter 7, twisting the scripture so that the "Law of God" becomes the "law of death" and the "law of sin" -- but they are not!
But think about it. Because we are no longer under that penalty, since someone died in our place, should be "cuss a whole lot, and throw in the Name of Yahweh" because we are not under the law? Should I have an affair on my wife? Why not? I'm not under the law! I can now treat my parents like trash because I'm not under the law! I can steal and murder and covet and lust and bow down to statues of a smiling roly-poly Buddha, right?
In the words of Paul, "Heaven forbid."
For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which
were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth
fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law,
that being dead wherein we were held; that we should
serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the
letter. What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid.
Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not
known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.
But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in
me all manner of concupiscence. For without the law sin
was dead. For I was alive without the law once: but when
the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the
commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be
unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment,
deceived me, and by it slew me. Wherefore the law is holy,
and the commandment holy, and just, and good. Was then
that which is good made death unto me? God forbid. But sin,
that it might appear sin, working death in me by that which
is good; that sin by the commandment might become
exceeding sinful. For we know that the law is spiritual: but I
am carnal, sold under sin. For that which I do I allow not: for
what I would, that do I not; but what I hate, that do I. If then
I do that which I would not, I consent unto the law that it is
good. Now then it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth
in me. For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth
no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to
perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I
would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.
Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but
sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would
do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of
God after the inward man: But I see another law in my
members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing
me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.
O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the
body of this death? I thank God through Jesus Christ our
Lord. So then with the mind I myself serve the law of God;
but with the flesh the law of sin. Romans 7:5-25
Obviously, we must use our brain when we read this passage -- but the false teacher will step up to the plate here, and tell you: "No, don't waste your mental energy -- because
I have already figured it all out! Trust me! The law is bad, it is the law of sin! Trust me, trust tradition, because great men have gone before even me, and I'm standing on their shoulders, and now you can stand on MY shoulders!"
Don't you believe it. God gave you a brain. Now use it! Paul says that the law is GOOD, it is holy, it is just. But we are made of flesh. We don't do what we're supposed to do, and we DO do what we're NOT suppposed to do! We are at war, in our bodies, which are made of flesh -- and yet we are led by the Holy Spirit. The "law of my mind" (we are given the "Mind of Christ") is the Law of God, which is good, but the natural inclination of this world that we are born into -- we are surrounded by sin and inundated by sin -- but we are promised here that JESUS will deliver me from this body of death! He will deliver YOU from this body of death! Paul concludes with: "With my mind I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh the law of sin!" We have free choice -- what do we choose, to follow the natural law of the flesh, in the flesh, or do we choose the "law of the spirit," IN the spirit? Paul has wonderful Good News:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which
are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after
the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death. For
what the law could not do, in that it was weak through
the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of
sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh: That
the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who
walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For they that
are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but
they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit. For
to be carnally minded is death; but to be spiritually
minded is life and peace. Romans 8:1-6
I agree with Paul. Just because we are not under the penalty does not mean that we should sin. Without a law, there is no sin! (Romans 4:15) So there is a law, and there was a law a long, long, long, long, long, long, looooong time before there was a Moses -- Abraham kept God's laws (Genesis 26:5), so they had to exist, and Noah KNEW the difference between clean animals and unclean animals (Genesis 7:2), and even Cain, the first murderer and proponent of fratricide KNEW what sin was! (Genesis 4:7 and compare to 1 John 3:4) So, guess what? There goes the whole notion of "Dispensation of Law." Throw it out with the bathwater, because it is dirtier than the bathwater.
So a person who is "not under the law" still does not murder. Logically, he still then does not cheat on his wife, or neglect his elderly parents, or steal from his friends, or profane the Name of God, or bow down to idols, or covet things that aren't meant for him, or worship other Gods than the One God, right? Well then, logically, why should he break the Sabbath, when Yahweh said: "Remember the Sabbath." You have to use your brain.
Think about it. Pray about it. True, a whole lot of tradition has gone into chiseling the Fourth Commandment off the stone tablets.
But should we remove it if God did not remove it?
There WERE ceremonial Sabbaths in the Ceremonial Law (see Leviticus 23), but the weekly Sabbath was instituted by the Creator (see Genesis 2:1) in the creation week, before there ever was a sin. That's right, Adam and Eve had yet to fall when God made the Sabbath (see Exodus 20, wherein God says "Remember" and then calls to mind the Creation week). So the Sabbath is a sign, both of Creation, true worship to God, and God called it "His own day" (Isaiah 58:3) and it is also given (by God Himself) as a sign of Israel (Exodus 31:13,17 -- if you are Israel, as declared in the New Testament, shouldn't you bear His sign?), plus Jesus called Himself "The Lord of the Sabbath" (Mark 2:28, Matthew 12:8) and in the same passage declares that the Sabbath was made for MAN (Mark 2:27) -- isn't that shocking, that "people" teach that "Sabbath was made for the Jew" and yet Jesus says something a whole lot different. Jesus declared the Sabbath a gift for man, and yet people declare it is only for Jews, or that they want a different Sabbath for themselves, so that they won't be like them thar Jewish dudes. Jesus also said that the Sabbath would be a true and existing issue in the "Last Days" (Matthew 24:20) which is proof that the Sabbath exists today, FOR CHRISTIANS and yet that is not what is taught in 99 percent of Christian churches. The Sabbath is in the New Covenant (see Hebrews 8:8, 12:24, Jeremiah 31:31) and was kept AFTER Jesus died on the cross (Luke 23:56) and by all the Disciples and Apostles (Acts 18:4, 16:13, 20:27, 13:14,42-44) -- and John the Apostle called to mind The Lord of the Sabbath when he described having his great "Revelation" from Jesus Christ, the Lord of the Sabbath (Revelation 1:10), on the Lord's Day. And the Sabbath is such a special blessing to us, it will even exist in Heaven! (Isaiah 66:22-23)
Talk about Biblical evidence! And when you throw out the unBiblical notion that there is a wall of separation between Jews and Gentiles, and understand the truth about the different laws in the Bible, there can be absolutely no question that we should be honoring God through His Own Holy Sabbath day -- hey, it's a real blessing. As Jesus declared, it is a Gift, and why in the world do we wish to throw away His gifts?!
I don't look down on people who are "Dispensationalists." My mother-in-law is one, and I love her dearly, and believe fully that she loves Jesus. But obviously, "Dispensationalism" is a tradition of MAN, pure and simple. It might even hold a certain degree of logic. But it is NOT Biblical. And so I reject it. But hey, my church is full of traditions too (can you imagine one of the Disciples or Apostles hearing church organ music? Heart attack city!). But the doctrines are what is important, and find a church that has doctrines based on the Bible, and the Bible Alone! And mark my words, the more you look into the Bible, the more and more churches you will pass by while you are searching.
So that's my presentation on my beliefs and you will have to admit that my beliefs come only from the Bible. With this new knowledge it is very easy to read Acts Chapter 15 and know exactly what was going on, when you realize there was a Ceremonial Law that was nailed to the cross (but hey, when you are stuck in a tradition it is almost impossible to get out!). When Harrison was born I did not want him to be circumcised, as it is not enjoined upon Christians. Boy, talk about a big mistake -- that's the thing, when God says something, it really does make sense. When Harri was 10 years old we had to have him circumcised because he kept getting infection after infection. So circumcision is not a question about "Salvation," but about good hygiene and very good sense (and now modern science is figuring out that the sense displayed by God in the Old Testament is very real, and still works, today). If Carolena and I have a boy, we will have him circumcised, "on the eighth day," just like Jesus was (personal note: we DID have a baby boy, on October 3, 2002, and we DID have him circumsized on the 8th day, and it worked out GREAT!, praise God!), not for our child's salvation, but because God designed the blood system that way, so that on the eighth day there is little pain and little bleeding -- and circumcision is healthier and cleaner. Isn't God incredible? Every day I'm struck with wonder at His wisdom, His majesty, His creativity and His grace.
God bless you and your family.
Art et Amour Toujours
Douglas Christian Larsen
The Sheep in Wolf's Clothing
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Art et Amour Toujours