Gleaning Topics of Interest and Relevance to God's Called and True Saints
Expounding upon the Faith Once Delivered
Questions and Comments from our Website Visitors:
(Replies in red italic.)
( Bold words help the reader identify the subjects of questions)
1) Q: I recently started receiving the CD Program mailings from your church. In your 4/18/09 message titled, "Are we a Christian Nation?" you made a reference to Jacob in the context of "Jacob's trouble" something to the effect: "those of us who know who Jacob really is." Is there any more behind the knowing who he really is, other than that he is a spiritual descendant of Abraham? A: Yes, there is. Jacob (the nation) is the overall name to the true Covenant-descendants of Abraham thru Isaac and Jacob. Abraham had other children than Isaac, but Isaac was the legitimate son, who was the recipient of the “Promises” which are conveyed to us through his Spiritual Heir. (Gal 3:29) Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel”. The twelve sons of Jacob (aka the children of Israel) emerged from Egypt being large families. These 12 great families (tribes) became the nation of Israel, which split into 2 nations after the reign of Solomon. Known thereafter as Judah (the southern Kingdom: the tribes of Judah & Benjamin) and Israel (the northern Ten-Tribed Kingdom headed by Ephraim, named after a son of Joseph). The two kingdoms will be fully re-united in the great resurrection described in Ezekiel 37. (The last 12 chapters of Ezekiel are set in the millennial timeframe.) The 10 northern tribes were taken captive by Assyria, resettled in the region that later became known as the Sythian and Parthian Empires. From there they never returned to their original Land. Whereas, the southern Kingdom (Judah) was conquered and deported a century-and-a-quarter later by a different conqueror nation, the Babylonians, and were allowed to re-settle the Land after 70-years captivity. The 10 Tribes became 'lost' to history, and also lost their own identities, but some people know the truth of their supposed ‘disappearance'! They lived in and migrated thru the Caucasus Mountain region, becoming identified thereafter with the "Caucasians". Political situations caused them to later migrate northward and westward, and there's a prophecy that predicted that! The 10 Tribes of Israel were never Jews. Where the word "Jew" first appears in the bible, it was with them being at war against Israel! There are books that trace and identify the several modern nations that are the descendants of the 10 Tribes.
The term "Jacob's Trouble" is a biblical reference to the desperate conditions destined to impact these nations in the end time. God knows their identities, though religion doesn't want to acknowledge them for reasons that have mostly to do with their stance against Commandment-keeping, particularly the Fourth. The modern nation called "Israel" is largely of Jewish ethnicity, but that detail escapes Haggee, Jeffrey, VanImpe and other evangelicals. That small nation does not fulfill the prophecies that evangelicals assign to them alone! As an example, the destinies of nations which were to come to pass as each tribe grew into a large population, given by Jacob in Genesis 48 & 49, is also enlightening. Judah alone (the southern Kingdom of the divided monarchy) doesn’t remotely fulfill them! Manassah would become a great single nation and Ephraim a great company of nations.
2) Q: MT. 27:52- Those “saints which slept” mentioned, are they resurrected in their "resurrection bodies," (the balance of true believers will follow in the first resurrection)? A: This unique event is addressed in a chapter of the 84-page Resurrections booklet. These were raised back to physical life at the time of Christ's resurrection, as Lazarus had been. They continued living out their lives and later returned to the grave to await the 'first resurrection' at which time, they and multitudes of others, will be raised immortal, in their Spirit-body form. I expect these were true disciples, who happened to die before the day of Pentecost, but whom we surmise Christ wanted to be in the first resurrection, so they needed to be alive to receive the Holy Spirit on that day. The same could be said for Christ's personal friend Lazarus. These many raised were a group well known to the living brethren at that time. We have to wonder what kind of embarrassment the presence of these known resurrecteds would have caused the efforts of the ruling class to persuade the population that Jesus hadn’t been resurrected, but that His body had been ‘stolen’.
3) Q: MT 16:18- I know the mainstream interpretation, how can I biblically counter it? A: Most regard this in either of two ways. 1) That Christ was referring to Peter as being the rock on which the Church would be built, or 2) That it was THE Rock, Christ, referring to Himself as being that foundation. I'm inclined to the latter, except I consider it to be more a reference to a PREMISE, not specifically to either Person. The Premise that “Jesus IS the Christ” is what the Church is built upon. If that's the case, then religion has sort of missed the real point. (What else is new?) But, NO, Peter was NOT the first Pope. That was more likely another Simon, the one from which we get the name: "Simony". Simon Magus (Ac. 8:9-20) Maybe another like the modern ‘walk on water’ magician Chris Angel, seen on TV.
4) Q: MT. 16:13; 18:18- Could you explain the "binding & loosing" concept? A: Most religions erroneously take this to mean that the Head Clergy has an exclusive right to impose or dismiss biblical requirements or doctrines, such as changing the day of the Sabbath to other than the 7th day of the week, creating new rituals, dismissing certain Laws or imposing celibacy. Yet there are situations and questions that later ages would bring that would need resolution. Things not fully covered by clear Scripture. (Such as we see in Acts 15). These would need 'judgment' and resolution. One notable question, was circumcision incumbent on all new converts, eating meats sacrificed to idols and another, the change of how Passover was to be observed? (1st Cor. 11:17-26) Paul wasn't Pope, or supreme Apostle at that time! A better translation of verse 19 is: “And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you may bind on the earth will have already been bound in heaven; and whatever you may loose on the earth will have already been loosed in heaven.” Thus indicating that God’s Spirit would be guiding these future judgments of His True disciples. That spiritual guidance is the key to the validity of such decisions. Not all who profess having such authority actually do have it. We must examine the scriptures regarding ‘changes’ even today!
5) Q: John 5:37; MT. 3:17- These two Scriptures seem to contradict each other? A: My position on this is that the Father employed Angelic Spokesmen as did the Son at times. There are examples of that in Christ's case also. Interesting that the Jews of that day didn't ridicule the statement, by posing what happened at Mt. Sinai, or with Abraham, Moses or Jacob having direct and personal interactions with their LORD. The fact is, they realized they were being introduced to a NEW Being, (new to their full awareness) not the Being they'd dealt with throughout their history! You see, they by then, had a long-standing theological controversy about there being Two Beings in the Godhead, tho' the strict monotheistic position was the one they were going with at the time, and most Jews still rigidly hold onto to the present day: That of the single-Being Godhead. Whereas, the New Testament presents “the doctrine of the Father and the Son.” The Son legitimately being EQUAL with the Father. Also the Father does not approach Earth to dwell with its inhabitants until death and the grave have been eliminated (Rev 21:1-4 & 1st Cor. 15:24-28) so for this event He sent an agent to speak for Him.
6) Q: I just finished a Bible study on the Gospel of Matthew and when reading MT. 6:33 found a personal significance. Is it safe to say that this verse is the Apostolic Christian's "mini-gospel" versus mainstream's use of John 3:16? A: That's a very good personal orientation. Seeking the Kingdom / developing His righteousness is the CoG's prime and foremost recommendation. Interestingly most John 3:16 professors dis-believe that it's even possible to 'perish'. They represent perishing as being fully conscious, only with the immortal soul being tormented in that other place! Perishing in John 3:16 is shown to be the opposite of eternal life!
7) Q: Was the Flood over "all the world" (meaning the "world" of that time) or was it a global flood? A: The need to preserve the lives of all air-breathing creatures (at least one pair of each genetic kind so as to re-populate the intra-species diversities) suggests a universal event. Certainly one with great enough scope to end all human and animal life. Depths must have been astounding, as the remains of the Ark have been found at the 7,200 foot level, having settled there after the majority of the recession had already taken place! The finding of the Ark blows to smithereens the resistance to the Biblical accounts by secularists as well as secular religionists. That's why our “Noah’s Ark: Found” booklet is so significant. Request a copy, or you can download one directly on this website.
8) Q: Somewhere I encountered a book titled: "Defending the King James Version" and have just recently come across an article titled, "King James Version Errors." In my mainstream teachings, I was led to believe that of all the versions, the KJV is the most accurate. Does the COG hold the same view? A: Yes. Tho’ there are seeming translational 'problems' and theological distortions that suggest Biblical error, those are largely of man-made origin. The KJV is exceptionally good. There are few supposed 'errors' that haven't been adequately explained.
9) Q: One of the mainstream Christian beliefs is that one's conscience is the Holy Spirit. I know it's definitely not the case, because I have been blessed with the indwelling Spirit. How do I biblically refute that belief? A: Here we have a premise that could be considered partly true and partly untrue. The matter can be straightened out by understanding the two spirits: Human consciousness (our spirit) is something given to all human beings by God. It is a component of our natures that provides us a unique level of consciousness way above that possessed by animals. However, that human spirit is allowed what is referred to as ‘free moral agency’. In other words, we can choose what and how to think. We can choose to be and do good or bad. Nothing we can do on our own can bring us up to the level of the Righteousness of God, however, no matter how diligently we aspire to it. That’s where God’s Spirit can come into play. Upon true repentance and baptism, that indwelling is possible, and its receipt is represented by the laying on of hands. (One of the fundamental doctrines found in Hebrews 6) Our conscious minds can be influenced by God’s Spirit. We are vessels that can accommodate the indwelling of another Spirit. (In the same vein, we have the capability of admitting a negative spirit also, but that’s a separate consideration.) God’s Spirit can and must enter our consciousness and work in us to modify our nature to where we can take on and exhibit the mind and character of Christ. As Paul wrote, (e.g. Rom.7:12-25) it can be a lifelong struggle as to which spirit predominates, our own human nature, which is always there, or God’s Spirit which can change our whole way of thinking. More directly, our conscience is a product of our human spirit. That conscience can become seared, callous and outright ‘inhuman’. Not all people have ‘conscience problems’. There are decent people even though not truly converted. It’s a free-moral-agency thing. We can read of people who do not know the Law (of God) but who do ‘by nature’ the deeds of the Law. So, I would agree with your statement that our conscience is not the Holy Spirit, but our consciousness can be greatly modified for the better by the indwelling of God’s Spirit. We also read where that Spirit in us can be quenched. It’s a matter of our willingness to obey, creating and maintaining an appropriate ‘temple’ in which that Spirit can dwell. (2nd Cor. 6:16, etc.)
10) Q: MT6:15;18:35; MK11:26 Does this mean that part of our repentance, in addition to making sin a lesser part of our life, we have to change our heart (and way of thinking) to be willing to forgive others for their "sins" against us, and if we don't develop this mindset, our sins will not be forgiven? A: First, to be in this situation, we must have been recipients of forgiveness ourselves. A fundamental scripture poses this thought: “forgive us as we forgive others”. (Mt. 6:12 paraphrased) That puts a burden upon us to be forgiving ourselves. And, yes, I take it that our degree of being forgiven can be affected by our willingness to do the same toward others. Now, also, the other person needs to demonstrate in some way that he wants forgiveness, by asking, or in some other way indicating that he realizes he has wronged us. Matthew 18 has something all of us need to consider on this.
11) Q: MK16:16-18 Did this only apply to the original apostles or is the items referred to symbolic for other things? A: At times there was need for special and dramatic manifestations such as we read of here. In general, I would say it would apply to those God wanted to demonstrate were doing His specific work. There have been instances of demon exorcisms (though the spirit world can imitate that – the spirit world has its ‘ranks’ also and a higher level demon can boss around a lower ranking one), there have been instances of language ‘translations’ between the speaker (speaking in one language) being heard in another language (such as on the day of Pentecost – that too can be imitated), and there have been many instances throughout history where people have been spared deadly results for no explainable reason, and certainly there have been healings by the laying on of hands by a true minister (servant). I would be inclined to see these as exceptional, not generally occurring among the majority of instances. More to demonstrate to an unbeliever the true servant of God, and not ever a sideshow situation. Those sideshow hucksters particularly are frauds.
12) Q: EX 20:13 / DT 5:17 Is this one of the rare cases that the NIV is the better translation than the KJV? I believe the difference between killing and murder is a matter of what is in the heart, but how can I biblically "prove" it? A: I would agree. Murder is a product of the human heart, based on hate, killing is authorized and justified in certain situations. God authorizes the police (and military) to carry deadly weapons for good reason. (see Romans 13) Law and order is ‘God ordained’, tho’ regimes can mis-use that authorization. Witness the Nazi’s, Stalin and Idi Amin. Protection of ones’ national interests and populations is also authorized and appropriate, as are executions of wicked elements in societies.
13) Q: With the new information on the resurrections, (see the 84-page Resurrections booklet) how does one explain the parable of the Rich Man and Lazarus in Luke 16:19-31? How does Luke 16:24 fit in with the parable of the Sheep and the Goats in Matthew 25:31-46 A: We need to understand the Lazarus and Rich Man situation based on what it actually says, rather than on what religionists usually read into it. First, the Rich Man in the grave opened his eyes (was awakened to a consciousness that he didn’t have while he waited in the grave.) He wasn’t aware of the passage of time, nor the current spiritual condition of his brothers. He presumed they were as he last knew them. We also can only surmise that Christ was drawing upon the popular sentiments of the day. (Did the pagan ‘heaven & hell concept’ have any influence in their belief system and was He using that to make His point that the Old Testament was an adequate and appropriate instrument for the brothers’ change of heart?) What we don’t have here is the actual timeframe of the ‘event’. Was the time setting the final sentencing at the very end of the age? That idea has support in the fact that a ‘great gulf’ was at this point in time fixed (v.26) suggesting that the Rich Man’s opportunity period was long past. There is no further chance for him changing his destiny at this point. (The best he could hope for was a drop of water! And, doesn’t that suggest he was physical at this point?) If so, we are at the point in time when he was facing being consigned to the Lake of Fire. That would place this scene at the end of the post-millennial era, the event described in Matthew 25:46.
Now, the use of the term “Abraham’s bosom” is also interesting. Here would have been a perfect opportunity to use the word “Heaven” or “Paradise” if He wanted to, and IF that was the true afterlife situation. Also, being in “Abraham’s bosom” suggests someone converted, but not yet raised for assignment to Life. That person was as could be said, ”in holding”, awaiting his imminent change to immortal Spirit Life. He was due it, but had not yet received it! This picture supporting the belief that the deceased wait in their graves, unconscious, until awakened for sentencing at the end of time. (Daniel 12:2, etc.) What some derogatorily refer to as ‘soul sleep’.
Luke 16:24 is an apparent scene of imminently being cast into the Lake of Fire. If so, it would be at the time of the final sentencing of the wicked. Matthew 25:44-46 would correspond to the Rich Man’s imminent situation. He was among the goats. Revelation 14:17-20 also pictures this scene: The wicked paying the penalty for their sins with their own blood being shed, before being passed on to the angel having power over fire.
14) Q: Matthew 25:41. What is meant by the word “cursed” and how are they “cursed”? What does “everlasting fire” mean? Since the Devil and his angels are spirit and can’t burn up, how and why is the everlasting fire prepared for the Devil and his angels? A: I think all can understand that being ‘cursed’, especially when God declares it, is not a good thing! Cursed in this passage refers to those whose eternal destiny has been decided. A comparative passage is Revelation 14:17-20. The general resurrection, when ‘all nations’ will be brought before Christ for sentencing (final judgment) that Matthew 25:31-46 presents, is the final sentencing event of all of humanity. That event imposes the ‘second death’, which, though spirits (the fallen angels) can’t be consumed or lose consciousness, physical beings can! See for example Matthew 10:28.
15) Q: Revelation 19:20. What and where is this lake of fire in which the Beast and the False Prophet is going to be cast into? Will the Beast and the False Prophet be resurrected in the second resurrection and be given an opportunity for salvation? A: People have speculated as to exactly where the Lake of Fire will be located, but I know of no specific scripture that tells us for certain. The presence of smoke rising would indicate that it is within the Earth’s atmosphere. Will it be a ‘tourist attraction’ in the Millennial Age? If so, a very effective one by way of deterrence! As to the Beast and False Prophet’s opportunity, and the fact of their being thrown into the LoF early, it suggests that they already had their opportunity (that is the purpose for the 2nd resurrection – to provide a person’s first opportunity) so that would indicate that the B&FP experience the lake of fire early also. The LOF provides a death from which there is no return. It’s final! Now, as to the Beast’s armies, that may be another matter. A new article on “Blood to the Horse Bridles” considers this subject further. They will be deceived, but as to the culpability of their supreme leadership, that’s another matter.
Now, the rebellion and invasion that occurs after the millennium, that we read of in Revelation 20:7-10, those combatants will be led by Satan himself, and will be exempt from any further ‘chance’, as they will have lived in the millennial age, and that was their ‘opportunity for salvation’, so no, that bunch are toast!
A possibility for the existence of a Lake of Fire could be a large open volcanic cauldron. If such a situation were to exist where the crust was open to the magma below, with the pressure released, and the magma was to remain moving by the opening to keep it fresh and hot, it would accomplish what we expect this lake would be like. Would Iceland provide an ironic location for such a thing? The picture given of a ‘bottomless pit’ with endless smoke pouring from it (Rev. 9:11, 11:7, 17:8 & 20:3) is more than interesting in comparison to the LOF. Where it provides a place of restraint for spirit beings, (Rev. 20:1-3 & 7) it would incinerate physical beings.
16) Q: When does the Lake of Fire begin? Will it begin at Christ’s second coming and be burning all during the thousand year rule of Christ on earth and the Great White Throne Judgmant? A: That is a good possibility. Just based on logic, it would seem that this ‘fire’ would be sustained by something other than burning fuels and would be able to do what a physical fire alone can not. There’s a suggestion that both body and soul can be consumed in this particular fire (Matthew 10:28). Men can burn other men at the stake, but that fire only kills the body.
17) Q: Revelation 20:14. Please explain some more about the second death. For an example: Let’s say a boy or girl was resurrected back to physical life back in Jesus’ day or in the days of His apostles and later die again, but they never had an opportunity for salvation. When the boy or girl is resurrected in the second resurrection and be given their opportunity for salvation, at the end they rejected it, and die the physical death once again, and at the third resurrection of the sheep and goats and are cast into the Lake of Fire to die the second death, how is the Lake of Fire their second death, they would have died three times? On page 71 it says the second death is no ordinary death! What is meant by the “second death” is no ordinary death? In other words, how is the Lake of Fire going to be the second death since the boy or girl had died three times? A: This question is particularly pertinent, as there are individuals that fit this scenario. Both Elijah and Elisha were instrumental in raising young people. Christ did as well, such as Jairus’ daughter and Lazarus. God raised a substantial number of individuals at Christ’s resurrection. (Mt. 27:52-53) He was raised in Spirit form, (a form that could also appear as a normal human being) all the others were raised back to their former physical state. Then we have Dorcas in Acts 9. These all died the ‘first death’ a second time. This will happen to only a very few. The total number of all time who will experience the first death a second time likely wouldn’t fill a 15 passenger van. The vast majority will die the first death just once. Now in the ‘post-millennial resurrection’, which will be the time people who weren’t afforded opportunity for salvation will be given one, is a restoration to their physical existence. Once they have had sufficient time to accept or reject Salvation, they will be brought to the final sentencing event. Just prior to this final sentencing event, those who had died in all previous ages, who refused salvation, will come up, in physical form, to join those others who had rejected salvation, to be sentenced to the second death in the Lake of Fire. The Resurrections booklet needs to clarify a point, and future printings will: Those raised in the post-millennial resurrection (what we refer to as the ‘second’) likely will remain alive, like those in the present era who we understand as being “alive and remaining” at Christ’s second coming. They all will go on to stand before the Judgment Seat, and be separated out into either of two groups: the righteous for Life and the wicked for consignment to the Lake of Fire. So, yes, there will be a very few who will have experienced the first death twice, but their number is infinitesimally small, perhaps as few as a dozen.
Now the second death is a different kind of death. It is alluded to in places such as Matthew 10:28, where it is shown to be a death after which the individual will have no further existence or chance of existence. Revelation 20:14 explains that this irreversible extinction is accomplished in the Lake of Fire at the third resurrection.
18) Q: Matthew 2:16. What does the word “mocked” mean? How and why did Herod think the wise men had mocked him? A: This is an interesting story, alluded to only minimally. Note that all Jerusalem became alarmed at the presence of these emissaries of a foreign government. (Mt. 2:3) They were from the Parthian region who had invaded Judea in the memorable past. Until their intent was known, they were held in great suspicion as spies. (By the way, these dignitaries had armed escorts with them.) These Magi were representatives from the ruling class that had an interest in the dynasty of King David. (See comments in question 1) Herod charged them to get back to him when they’d located this “king”, but being warned of his evil intent, they snuck out of the region without doing so. Herod was enraged by that, and set about to exterminate all the infants in that area rather than do what ordinarily would be done. Josephus has comments about this edict. They in effect mocked his authority and disregarded political protocol. Representatives of an insignificant power would not have gotten away with this, as Herod had all Rome behind him and significant military forces at his immediate disposal. (see Acts 23:23) He didn’t take action against this contingent from Parthia, likely knowing Rome would come down on him for provoking Parthia by offending their potentates, so he took it out on the potential ‘replacement’ to himself, as HE thought himself as ‘king of Judaea’. What most people don’t realize is that these “Magistanes” were of the ruling class of the former northern Kingdom of Israel (deported centuries before) who determined who the kings of their empire would be, and recognized, likely from prophesies, the significance and timing of Christ’s birth. Their gifts suggest they recognized His true heritage. They were gifts appropriate for a King! Not just ANY king, but potentially one of theirs’! Many in Parthia (see acts 2:9) traveled to Jerusalem annually to keep the Biblical Holydays! There’s a lot there that’s under the radar screen as far as typical main-stream religion is concerned!
19) Q: Matthew 8:12. Who are the “Children of the Kingdom”. What is the “outer darkness”? When and how are they cast into “outer darkness”? A: The context here seems to suggest that ethnic Israel, those who had a front row seat in a salvation opportunity, will not find themselves in the high regard with God that they thought they were ‘entitled’ to, but that ‘outsiders’ would surpass them in Faith! Outer darkness is the just due for those who should have had enduring Faith, as a result of their exposure to God and His Truth, but for some reason, failed to develop it! Some of them may be held in relative cognitive ‘darkness’ for a reason at present, as God has ‘blinded’ the eyes of some, but they so insensitized will have opportunity in a later age. (See Rom. 11:7-8) (Some translations obscure who it is who does the blinding and why.) But as Ezekiel 37 and Roman’s 11 attests, they will have their opportunity in the second resurrection.
If we consider the called of God as being comparable to these ethnic ‘children’, then it would describe their being rejected for the Kingdom of God, and irreversibly consigned to the second death, IF they disregard their calling. (Hebrews 10:26-31 makes such a comparison.)
20) Q: Matthew 8:29. What did the demons mean when they told Jesus: “Art thou come hither to torment us before the time”? How would He torment them and what did they mean, “before the time”? What time? A: Likely, these demons knew that there was a day of ‘torment’ coming on them when and after Satan and his demons are cast into tartaru, the place of their restraint. We can surmise that their restraint will also be torment for them: consigned to isolation and nothingness forever! We presume they will remain conscious in that state, something like the ‘immortal soul’ idea they’ve foisted off onto mankind.
21) Q: Matthew 11:21-24. How is it going to be more tolerable for people who live in the Old Testament times than it will for the people who live in Jesus’ day? In what way is it going to be more tolerable for one than for another? What does the word “tolerable” mean? A: This is an interesting consideration. IF these are all to be consigned to condemnation, then how could such a thing be said? Is there a more tolerable condemnation and a less tolerable condemnation? The essence of what we see here is different societies, raised back to life, living together, getting to know one another sufficiently to know what the other had by way of knowledge and opportunity to know in their respective generations. Tolerable in this case I see as being comparable to the term “excusable”. Different societies had different awareness levels, and those with more awareness and access to knowledge of God will be more accountable for, and as a result more worthy of criticism for their non-response! Nineveh repented when in similar circumstances, Jerusalem didn’t! Though ‘salvation’ wasn’t the issue, their response to God’s warning differed, and in Jerusalem’s case, was far less excusable! This is not to say that their opportunity for salvation will not be relatively equal in the ‘second resurrection’ in which they come up.
22) Q: Matthew 12:41-42. What does the word “condemn”, mean? How are the people of Nineveh and the queen of the south going to condemn the people living in Jesus’ day? How are they going to condemn them? A: Likely they will deride them for their incredible stupidity for not availing themselves of the opportunity to come to know and obey God when they could have had such opportunity. Those who lived with and saw the living Christ and who blew Him off have far less excuse. It seems that religious people are the worst when it comes to finding reason to reject God and His Truth! But it’s the matter of failing to capitalize on what was available to them that will form the basis of the condemnation they will get from more ancient societies. Keep in mind, they don’t have authority to ‘condemn’ each other to any sentence, the sense here is merely to offer negative criticism.
23) Q: Matthew 15:12. What does the word “offended” mean? How and at what were they offended? A: The issues presented were regarding Jewish traditions. They posed hand-washing and He responded with a greater infraction that they commit routinely. (Parental dishonor). Then in verse 10, He publicly summarized by suggesting that they take things in, and process it through, and it comes out crap!! It isn’t hard to imagine their disgust with such disrespect for their eminent and esteemed ‘legal’ traditions.
24) Q: Matthew 16:20. What does the word “charged” mean? Why didn’t Jesus want His disciples to tell anyone that He was the Christ? A: Some translations say, ‘commanded’. Mark 8:30 relates the same event. There he says ‘strictly charged’ them. The point being, (as the verse following shows) that things were getting dangerous. He was destined to be killed, but a premature declaration of His Messiahship could cause a premature start to the inevitable. It was essential that He be killed on the Passover. There was risk at this point of things getting out of hand, and losing no control of the timing. The trigger event, deliberately provoked, proved to be the triumphal entry on what we determine to be “Palm Sabbath”. (See John 7:6-8)
25) Q: Matthew 16:26. What does the word “exchange” mean? What did Jesus mean when He said: “Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul”? What life was He talking about, his physical life or his eternal life? A: Likely a rhetorical question that has no real answer. With what can a person buy back his natural (physical) life? There is no monetary value that could be sufficient, not even if it was the entire world’s wealth! By the way, this question creates a ‘problem’ for immortal soul proponents. The verse suggests that the ‘soul’ is a fleeting entity. Preservation of ones’ soul is dependent upon dedicating ones’ life to God. In other words, giving up the life we would otherwise live, in our natural condition (Rom 8:7). If we opt to keep our life, in that sense, it is a losing proposition, as there is no salvation or continuing existence in the Kingdom or beyond.
26) Q: Matthew 19:28. What does the word “regeneration” mean? What did Jesus mean by “in the regeneration”? A: This term in this place, by the context, clearly indicates the first resurrection. These will be raised back to life, and placed in positions of high authority in the Millennial Kingdom. (Ezek. 37:24) Each of them will be the heads of a tribe of Israel, under King David. Under them will be twelve thousand subordinates that we read of in Revelation 7 and 14. What this priceless passage gives us is a rough picture of the political structure in the Millennial Kingdom. Rev. 5:10 and 20:4 adds to the picture of the Government of the future world.
27) Q: Luke 2:25. What does the word “consolation” mean? What was the “consolation of Israel” which Simeon was looking for? A: Most logically, it would be the appearing of their Messiah and the restoration of Israel as a unified people and as the predominant nation in the world. (Not that all Jews looked to that. Many just saw the immediate objective of throwing off Roman occupation.) Looking beyond the political issue, it could also refer to the comforting presence of the Holy Spirit, as referred to in verse 25, and as alluded to in the appropriate sacrifice referred to in verse 24. (See my article on the Abrahamic Covenant for the significance of the two birds sacrifice.) Though Simeon’s ‘prophecy’ in verses 29-32 alludes to the spiritual (see Gen. 15:17, the burning lamp) his ‘blessing’ in verses 34-35 that followed, alluded to the political eventuality of ‘cutting off the heads of political rulers and the elevation of the heads of others’ to high office, as we read of in Psalm 110:5-7. This suggests the eventual taking over of power over the nations. (Rev. 11:15 & 5:9-12) That passage in Psalm 110 being just after declaring “..you are a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek” !
28) Q: What did Jesus mean by the “acceptable year of the Lord”? (Luke 4:19) A: This dramatic scene was pivotal. It would seem to be the official declaration of the beginning of His earthly ministry. Well known is the fact that He was reading Isaiah 61. The abrupt interruption of the reading drew attention to the fact of the fulfillment of this important prophecy. This was now the appropriate time to begin the preaching of the Gospel and to begin drawing to Himself peoples for the Kingdom. The King of that Kingdom was there and the Lamb of God, necessary for their Salvation was now present among them! This day of Salvation referred to had begun. Where His reading interrupted in the middle of verse 2 is the line of demarcation between His first ministry and His Second Coming.
29) Q: John 1:47. What does the word “guile” mean? How was Nathaniel without guile? A: Guile is typically regarded as being deceptive in some way, with intent to deceive the other person. The description of Nathaniel suggests he was a straight-up guy, truthful and reliably believable. Paul describes this Christ-like characteristic in 2nd Corinthians 4:2. Note also, those who truly follow Christ develop the same personal characteristic: (Rev. 14:5)
30) Q: John 6:44. The “last day” of what? A: Depending on the individual, it could mean either of two things. 1) The day of Christ’s return and the ‘first resurrection’ as it relates to Saints converted prior to the second coming. 2) For those who live during the millennium, their Last Day will be the Day of Sentencing after the post-millennial age, what we call the end of the ‘second resurrection period’. People who live and die during the millennium will wait in their graves for their appropriate ‘reward’ as Rev. 14:13 indicates.
32) Q: John 8:56. What day was Jesus talking about when He said that Abraham saw His day? How did Abraham see Jesus’ day? A: This statement is more revealing than a first glance would suggest. When we understand who the God of the Old Testament is, that it was the Being who became Christ who interfaced with Adam and Eve in the garden, that it was He who spoke with Moses face to face, and who led Israel out of Egypt and thru the wilderness, then this passage becomes clearer. The Being who dealt with the patriarchs and the nation of Israel was the same who became Jesus Christ. (1st Cor.10:4) Thus, the Being whom Abraham saw was Him also!! Christ made the claim to have been alive, not only in Abraham’s day, but also before it! (John 8:58)
33) Q: John 11:24. What did Martha mean by the “last day”? Which resurrection was Martha referring to here? A: We can’t be sure from this passage just how much Martha understood about the resurrections and how they work. The “last day” as it relates to converted Saints, it would be the resurrection that occurs at Christ’s return. For those not converted prior to the second coming, their “last day” will be at final sentencing before the white cloud event we read of in Revelation 14. What she said was correct, just indefinite as to what she knew.
34) Q: Ephesians 4:5. What is this “one faith”? A: This is not referring to any particular organization or creed. Many like to persuade others that it refers to their particular religious organization, but we must keep in mind that religious organizations can change their teachings or see their teachings fade over time. The early Church apostatized, as have many over the centuries, so we can not look to any single organization as being the one true faith. The one true faith is the true doctrines of the bible. That faith is developed within each individual who holds to it. Any and all who hold fast to the faith once delivered, from whatever generation, have and exhibit this ‘one faith’. It does not depend on any religious organization, though those who are of this ‘one faith’ can and should congregate in order to support one another, edify one another and do a collaborative work.
35) Q: Hebrews 9:10. What does the word “reformation” mean? What was “until the time of reformation”? A: We tend to understand a time of reformation as being a reversion back to an original situation. Many churches have done something like that, and include the name “Reformed” in their organizational titles. In the Millennial Kingdom, there is going to be a restoration of former practices and standards AND Priestly Orders. The particular ‘reformation’ referred to in Hebrews 9 is the restoration of the more ancient Priesthood. Originally, there was the Melchizedek Priesthood which was prior to and of higher order than the Levitical Order. Melchizedek was immortal! (Heb. 7:3) That was ‘temporarily’ transferred to the Levitical Order, for a time, like it says. Hebrews 7 deals with this in detail: the reversion back to the Melchizedekian Order. Christ was of that Order (Heb. 7:17 & Psalm 110:4). The New Testament ministry is under the Melchizedekian Order! (Heb. 7:12) Not many believers know this or the significance of it. They’re too busy declaring all things “Done Away”!
Now, on the other hand, we have reference to Christ, thru Elijah, “ restoring all things” . (Mt. 17:11) That is slightly different. The Elijah work will be instrumental in ‘restoring’ fundamental Truths, such as the Faith of Abraham, and in the Kingdom will put into practice a system designed to bring carnal unconverted hardheads (such as ancient Israel was) to a condition where they can become converted. We have three enlightening articles describing the worship systems that will be in effect in the Millennial Kingdom.
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36) Q: I have two Holy Day calendars, one says that Pentecost is on 5/23/10 and the other one says that it's 5/21/10, which one is correct? A: Pentecost is always a Sunday, the fiftieth day from (counting inclusively) the 'morrow after the weekly Sabbath’ that falls during the week of Unleavened Bread. This year, 5/23 would be that.
37) Q: Does the COG believe in the "Shekinah of God" concept? Being that the word "Skekanah" isn't in the Bible, I assume its a manmade concept. Because of my mainstream background, whenever I come across a manmade concept, I make sure that the concept is biblical. Mainstream uses "Shekanah glory of God" to describe, among other instances, the glory of God that filled the OT temple, or the glory of God that served as a cloud and a pillar of fire to guide the Israelites in their "desert" wanderings of the 40 yrs. The references are definately biblical, I want to be certain that the COG believes that aspect of one of the attributes of God is properly termed "Shekanah glory of God." (kind of like the COG's belief regarding the "Cross") A: I can’t recall any objection to believing the manifestations of God’s Glory in visible form. We believe that these events did in fact happen. A question might be, which Being is being visibly manifested in these events? (An answer to the pillar of fire is alluded to in 1st Cor. 10:4. The name ‘shekinah’ is likely man-derived, but so are many other terms where no specific biblical term is given. Is there a theological premise carried within this area of thought that is questionable?
38) Q: Could the "little ones" of Mt. 18:6 also refer to new believers? A: That is the more logical application. Those who believe in Me, He says! The major comparison with little children is the approach typically required and expected of those coming into the Truth. They being ‘children’ in the sense of being new ‘babes’ in the conversion process is hard to dismiss. Too often rigidly structured religious establishments run rough shod over developing followers, causing serious emotional trauma. More could be said of those who teach them erroneous doctrines.
39) Q: Mt.18:17 uses the term "church," is this a translation error? A: I would say, no. Church is correct here, but we need to be careful in how we define ‘Church’. The Church is the people truly called of God. Most organizations define the Church as their ministerial echelon. 1st Corinthians 6:4 sheds more light on this matter.
40) Q: 1Petr. 3:18-20, I know the mainstream interpretation, what is the biblical? A: This passage is often used to suggest that Christ went to Hell and preached to fallen angels during the time He was in the grave. That isn’t really what it is saying, and it disregards an important thing. Christ was truly dead and in the grave for three-days-and-three-nights. The real time-frame of this event is during the Ark building era, as verse 20 shows. Verse 21 is interesting, as it refers to the previous passage as an ‘antitype’ to our personal lives: that we are personally changed as was the ancient world, by being passed thru the waters (the flood // our baptism) to a new life thereafter. The intervention with demonic angels in the past (imposing operational restraints upon them) corresponding to Christ’s intervention on our behalf against the powers that influence our lives (v. 22) before God’s Throne in Heaven. That contrast was the point. Our personal lives before and after baptism compare to the world condition before and after the Flood. Stepping back and considering the broader context shows us that!
41) Q: Where scripturally does the Catholic church claim the NT has given their priests the ability to forgive sins? A: I’m not really sure where they get that idea, but sufficient to say, they have no power to forgive sins. Even if they paid the penalty with their own blood, it wouldn’t pay for more than just their own. Nor is there any intermediary agent (confessional) needed between the repenting individual and the Forgiver! (1st John 1:9)
42) Q: Jn. 20:22- Was this a temporary indwelling until the day of Pentecost (Acts2)? A: More likely, it was a graphic demonstration of what they could expect to happen just days ahead. There is no suggestion of them being temporarily imbued in Acts 1:8, though no doubt the Holy Spirit was working with them, and had been. When the event in Acts 2:2 happened, no doubt the sound was reminiscent of their John 20:22 experience.
43) Q: Could you explain the "loosing and binding" concept? A: Many issues that come up in life, and in succeeding generations, are not specifically addressed by any Biblical law or statute. There were and are situations that call for ‘judgments’ to be made. In these, God offered to ‘back their decisions up’, though not if disregarding pre-existing Biblical Law or Statutes. See also question 4.
44) Q: Is the salutation “In Christ ” mainstream, or is it still acceptable in light of COG practices? A: Some hold that one should be in service in an ordained capacity to use the term “in Jesus name”. That suggests one is acting on Jesus’ specific behalf and with His authority. Something to be careful of! It can depend on what the sender means and what the recipient takes it to mean. It is a declaration with profound implications. Now, as to being in Christ, there are many who claim to be “in Christ” who really aren’t. The indwelling of God’s Spirit being the determining factor. Now, Paul, in Ephesians 1 and Philippians 1, and other places, referred to the Saints as being “in Christ Jesus”. Declaring ones’ self to be “in Christ” is one thing, but claiming to be acting “in Jesus’ name” is another. A distinction worthy of careful consideration.
45) Q: What will the Tribulation period include? A: A good synopsis is found in Matthew 24, Mark 13 and Luke 21. Persecutions of true Christians seems to lead the list (Lk. 21:12) though that has happened at various times throughout history. Wars, earthquakes, famines, epidemics and frightening heavenly signs are listed. Jerusalem will be taken captive, the two witnesses will emerge and become front page world news. The world will become dominated by a brutal Beastlike power in cahoots with a corrupted world religion. Undoubtedly a worldwide financial collapse will factor into the pre-conditions, as well as the emergence of ten European monarchies that lend their powers to a great super-power. They will come to regret doing that. (Rev.17:16) My article on “The Fourth Beast of Daniel 7” explains what this super-power will be and where it will come from!
46) Q: Should we boycott all secular holidays? A: There is no need to do that. We are allowed to participate in various cultures into which we were born, so long as the observances don’t violate any of God’s commandments. Where we need to draw the line is with those religious observances that teach or represent falsehoods.
47) Q: Were any New Testament writings Gnostic? A: Gnosticism had a real impact on developing Christian Theology as evident in many later written books, such as Colossians, Galatians and John’s Epistles. The NT itself wasn’t Gnostic, but within it much evidence is presented that shows the impact Gnosticism was having on the Church. Much of Protestantism is infected by Gnostic concepts. It had already penetrated Jewish theology in the century BC, as Hellenism was Gnostic. I have articles that address this topic, “Gnosticism and the New Testament Church” as does an excellent book on the subject: “Primitive Christianity in Crisis”, by Alan Knight. ISBN 0-9679332-0-X also available from the author, A.R.K. Research, 2704 Summercrest St., Caldwell, ID 83607
48) Q: Some regard Old Testament writings as just “Jewish history” and thus irrelevant. A: Reading Paul’s assessment in 1st Cor. 10:11, we might think otherwise. The children of Israel’s experiences (and by the way theirs was a wider ethnicity than just Jews) were valuable spiritual lessons from which we in the end-time calling (the Christian era) can and should be learning from.
49) Q: Is Matt. 27:25 referring to ‘condemnation’ of the Jewish peoples? Does it explain why the holocaust happened? A: Possibly, some have posed that, but certainly it refers to the pending destruction coming 40 years later, the destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple that occurred in 70 AD. Keep in mind, it wasn’t the general population that demanded Christ’s death. The religious leaders held their trial during the night, in secret, as many would have raised serious objection. He was popular with the general public. (Matt. 21:46, 26:5, Mark 12:12, John 12:42, etc.)
50) Q: What does 1st John 5:7 tell us regarding the Trinity? A: Very little actually. This verse is well known as being ‘spurious’, added in a later century, AFTER the Trinitarian concept had taken hold. Christ Himself declared that there are ‘two of them’ that bear witness. (John 8:16-18). It was no slight against the Holy Spirit to not mention a third witness. The Holy Spirit nowhere is represented as having a separate independent mentality as do the collaborating two: the Father and the Son.
51) Q: In Genesis 1:6-8, what does the word “heaven” mean in this place? A: This describes the creation of the Earth’s present atmosphere. This would refer to what we call the ‘first heaven’. It involved the separation of the earth’s surface fluids into water, clouds and clear air. It may have also freed up oxygen and nitrogen into a gaseous form. The condition previous to this didn’t provide an environment where any thing could live, not even sea life.
52) Q: Will the Second Coming install a ‘parallel universe’? “New Heaven and New Earth”? A: Interesting question. In fact, there is a parallel universe in place already. Perhaps we should regard the physical realm as that ‘second’ universe, as it came along later. The first ‘universe’ is the Spirit realm, which is even more real and enduring than the physical. God and the Power of the Spirit of God is what causes and maintains the existence of all things physical. (Rev.4:11) Spirit Beings are more everlasting than any created physical being. Places like Revelation chapters 4 & 5 give us a glimpse into that reality. 2nd Corinthians 12:1-4 also establishes that there is a world ‘out there’ (or are we the ones ‘out there’) that defies description.
The New Heaven and New Earth will replace this present physical world with something vastly superior. To what degree it will involve matter remains speculative at this point. Certainly the elements described in Revelation 21 are vastly different than elements we know of in this present age. Also, 2nd Peter 3:10-13 seem to suggest the dissolution of matter into brilliant energy when God the Father assumes the Kingdom of Spirit-composed-humanity after ‘all things’ offending are conquered and destroyed by Christ. (1st Cor. 15:24-28). God the Father will not be in the presence of anything sinful. All sin, and the results of sin (death), must be expunged before the Son can ‘hand-off’ the Kingdom to the Father. Any physical being brought into the presence of God the Father would be incinerated instantly! (Heb. 12:29, 1st Tim. 6:16)
53) Q: What conditions precede the receipt of God’s Spirit? Working with / working IN! A: Generally, Faith, repentance and baptism. God’s Spirit can work with a person as they begin to believe and develop toward their God-given repentant state. The indwelling of God’s Spirit must involve us providing an appropriately clean vessel in which to reside. Read of the ‘treasure in earthen vessels’ passage in 2nd Cor. 4:7. The receipt of God’s Spirit is typified by the laying on of hands, another fundamental doctrine (Hebrews 6) after baptism. It is prudent to remain aware that we are able to ‘quench’ the Spirit by becoming again the servants of sin.
54) Q: Some see a “Gap Theory” in Genesis 1:1-2. What does this suggest? A: There is tremendous evidence in the earth’s strata that there was a vast passage of time in which it had existed. Not only that, but that it underwent at times a violent formative processes. We have evidence that the earth was covered with water one or more times in the ancient past. The description of the ‘creation’ we read of in Genesis 1 begins with a picture of a disorganized or ruined condition, with even the surface fluids (liquid and vapors) being a conglomerate mass, referred to as ‘the deep’, enveloped in darkness and needing separation. Some pose that the original creation that we see mentioned in verse 1 was not the condition that later came to be that we read of in verse 2. The original Hebrew suggests that the first creation BECAME without form and void. The deduction being, that it was not that way originally, but that it came to be that way as a result of some catastrophic event. We may further deduce that there was a great age prior to the Genesis re-creation account, which logically accommodates the dinosaur age. The presence of coal and oil, buried deep and buried suddenly, not allowing vast amounts of organic matter time to decompose, also confirms the presence of plant and animal life in great abundance in a prior age and of a catastrophe that ended it all suddenly.
55) Q: Define “Legalism”. A: This term gets wide and indiscriminate usage in the evangelical world. To a large extent, the term ‘legalist’ is applied against anyone who attempts to keep the Laws of God, irrespective of their motive. That label is applied by those who are of the ‘antinomian’ persuasion, which generally holds a strong disdain for “the Law”. This position is based on the premise that it isn’t possible to earn salvation by even perfect lawkeeping, (which is technically correct). However, there are more reasons than one for keeping the Law. 1st John 3:4 clearly explains that sin is the transgression of the law and Romans 6:1-2 & 15 forbids that we continue in sin once we are brought under grace! Clearly then, when being forgiven, we are not to continue sinning just as we did prior to conversion. A common misconception is that we are not in any way obligated to change our lifestyle or discontinue sinning (which requires being attentive to God’s Legal Standards). Some even take it so far as to declare that any attempt to ‘keep the Law’ is tantamount to an offense against the auspices of Grace! (As we are saved by Grace, not by works.) This perversion of reason should be obvious, but it seems in the religious sphere, it is not obvious.
Keeping the Law is a forgiven person’s least obligation. Not for the self-effected remission of sins (past or present) but as the appropriate response to having been forgiven. Romans 6:1-2 & 12 explains it well, as does Gal. 2:16-18. Forgiveness does not provide license to continue in sin. It would seem that some prefer that view.
A further distortion of the reasoning is the mis-definition of the term “under the Law”, which has long been misunderstood by the main stream religious world. Under has been changed to mean “subject to” where it more correctly means: “being in violation of”, (Guilty) as Paul explains in Romans 3:19. Two important points are expressed in this passage. 1) The term ‘under the law’ means still guilty of having broken it, and 2) the whole world is subject to the law of God, not just those to whom it was given on Mt. Sinai!
Legalism, more correctly defined, is the idea that one can earn his salvation by means of keeping the law. That of course is impossible, though it makes some who attempt to enter into the ecclesia by that means, feel good about themselves. This approach may also help explain how some who put on Jewish cultural habits as seeing them-selves as being elevated into a superior category in God’s sight. Do we see the early New Testament Church expressing themselves in that manner? This phenomenon too could be a component of the ‘legalistic’ approach.
56) Q: How do we differentiate between “called” and “chosen”? A: We can understand ‘called’ in either of two ways. 1) Being called out to by being introduced to the Truth, or 2) Being specifically drawn to salvation by God. The first way does not necessarily indicate that the individual responds in a positive way. The second way suggests this calling is that person’s opportunity for salvation. Being ‘chosen’ suggests a higher situation in the sense of being specifically and individually assigned a responsibility in service to God. We are made aware of the relative rarity of being ‘chosen’ in places such as Matthew 20:16 and 22:14. One needs to be called first in order to be chosen. But a higher requirement applies to one chosen. We read in Revelation 17:14 of a set of preconditions to being ‘with’ the Lord of lords and King of kings. Not only being called and chosen, but being deemed ‘faithful’ to the end. It is easy to conceive of one being called and chosen, but if not remaining faithful, what end result would one expect? Another subtle sense we can draw from the word ‘chosen’ is that it involves more than just responding to our calling in a positive way. Being chosen suggests an active response, actually doing something in service to God, using the character qualities He provides us by His Grace. (Romans 12)
Our question is to resolve whether just being ‘called’ is adequate for ultimate salvation. Some regard a calling as just the preliminary step toward being ‘chosen for the Family of God’, but if one is only called, and doesn’t progress into a chosen condition, their calling is forfeit, meaning relitively little.
Called is from the Greek word kletos, #2822, meaning ‘invited’ or ‘appointed to a calling’. Chosen is the Greek eklektos, #1588, meaning ‘select’ (suggesting a favorite), chosen or elect. Called as perceived does not necessarily indicate one who responds positively. Those would rather be referred to as the ekklesia, #1577, the Church or the called-out ones. One must respond to ones’ calling in order to be regarded as chosen and faithful.
57) Q: What is the meaning of the word: Grace? A: This is a question most believers wouldn’t think to ask, as they think they already know. Grace may be the most mis-represented teaching in the entirety of the Bible. It is generally acknowledged that grace is the unmerited pardon for sins, which is true. God, Our Father is the one who extends His graciousness to those who believe in Christ’s sacrifice, have repented of sin, been baptized and received the Holy Spirit by the laying-on of hands. He graciously pardons our sin; we are no longer under the death penalty. Being under grace then motivates the believer to grow in that grace, bearing fruits of righteousness. “We give thanks to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, ... because of the hope ... which has come to you, ... and is bringing forth fruit, ... among you since the day you heard and knew the grace of God in truth; ... For this reason we ... pray for you, ... that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the (sacrifice of) the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work ... . (Col 1:3-10) But it is also falsely represented as an ‘aura’ in which the believer can float thru life without having to obey God in any practical way. Just believe, believe only, we’re saved by faith and faith alone, they say. (What is often labeled as ‘cheap grace’.) When we understand Grace in its broader application, we can clearly see that it involves more than just belief in Christ’s sacrifice (the intellectual exercise) only! That belief must produce its appropriate response, which is also explained in places such as Ephesians 2:8-10. (Emphasis on verse 10. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which He has before ordained, that we should walk in them.” Most mainstream preachers don’t continue with verse 10.) Romans chapter 12 lists no less than 27 attributes being available to us that are the result of Grace, none of which in that chapter are the remission of sins, (though that is certainly a prerequisite) but are faculties by use of which we can serve God in a productive way!
Grace involves not only a removal of personal faults in the sense of our guilty past, but is also an internal change of nature away from what we had been. (The way we were born: Romans 8:7) But the under-reported aspect of grace is the placement of spiritual characteristics within us that originate with God, not ourselves.
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58) Q: Does speaking in tongues indicate that one is filled with the Holy Spirit? A: This is a question that needs much clarification before it can be answered correctly. First, the phenomenon as found in scripture, is not the same thing that is practiced today. The original manifestations of ‘speaking in tongues’ was that the speaker was speaking in one language while the various hearers were hearing in their own native languages. (Ac. 2:6-8) Both on the speaking side and the hearing side, the languages were real and translatable languages. The speaker was choosing his words in his own spoken language, and the hearer was understanding him in his native language. The ‘translation’ in that case being done by the Holy Spirit between the speaker and the hearer.
Now in the modern era, the phenomenon of ‘tongues’ has been changed to where the speaker utters some strange and indecipherable sounds, not necessarily any valid or recognizable languages at all. Thus, the requirement for ‘translation’ called for in places such as 1st Corinthians 14 becomes irrelevant. The utterances are not in any way edifying to the hearer, nor could what is being uttered be translated from one language into another. Modern ‘tongues’ as practiced are more of a ‘display’ or ‘sideshow’ situation, not a means of promulgating the Truth to anyone. IF such were genuinely of and by the Holy Spirit, wouldn’t the utterances contain points of Truth above what is generally known? It would be interesting to record a modern manifestation and have different ‘translators’ relate what they interpret the ‘speaker’ to be saying, to see if both translate the same. That would be very revealing!
As to being filled with the Holy Spirit, it would be more indicative if the phenomenon were ‘profitable’ to the hearers, not just a curious display that no one knows for sure what was said, if actually anything was being said that needed to be said. Being able to truthfully translate another’s utterances, according to Paul, would be as indicative of the Holy Spirit as the one doing the ‘speaking’! But are there any who aspire to that ‘gift’?
Paul’s admonition against speaking in tongues, when there is no-one present who understands that language should give this activity pause, but it seems it doesn’t! (1st Cor. 14:9) Verse 13 suggests the interpreter has the greater value in the congregation. This is only a brief response to your question. For a more exhaustive study -- See an excellent exposition of this and other ‘problems’ within the Corinthian congregation at biblestudy.org/maturart/what-is-speaking-in-tongues.html
59) I would like to start by saying "Thank you" for the many articles that you have so generously sent me free of charge. I am in complete agreement with most of them. I think it healthy there is some diversity of opinion. Hopefully on ‘minor issues'. These give us all reason to study into matters more deeply. I'm not always right, and (I / we) will acquiesce to better explanations when presented convincingly. Iron does sharpen iron. However, I am having trouble understanding The Enigmatic "Second-First Sabbath". I have a couple of questions regarding this article:
(a) Q: If the field being watched was the wavesheaf field for the temple services, why were the watchers Pharisees rather than Saducees who were in charge of the temple services? A: We may have put a lot of over-stock in the Sadduceean 'control' of Temple services. They were the legitimate priests of the day, but that doesn't necessarily translate into the 'authority' in determining practices that we might imagine. For example, what Pentecost did the Jews in the Temple observe? The Sadduceean persuasion (a few at least) recognized the legitimacy of the early 14th Passover (as Christ and His disciples observed) and the Sunday Wave Sheaf & Pentecost (as the early Church observed), but that didn't translate into Temple practice. The Sadducees were the ones who carried out the ceremonial performances, but the Pharisees had the popular support of the people, and had the greater popular influence. The Sadducees were aristocratic and known as being 'secularist', which means they didn't get all that fired-up over theological 'issues'. There was a 'spirit' problem as well as a 'resurrection' problem among and between them! (See Acts 23:8-9) That says a lot about the depth of their theological understandings!
(b) Q: If this account is talking about the second-first sabbath wouldn't the Pharisees' first-first sabbath have already occurred, and if that were the case, why did the Pharisees object to the disciples' eating of the grain? A: The Pharisees were the more zealous ones. I'm sure the secularist Sadducees would have been willing to hand off their 'enforcement' activities to the Pharisees, so they could be home in time for dinner! It is the dialog recorded in connection to this engagement that strongly suggests the 'wave sheaf offering' was at issue. The actual wave sheaf was there in that field in the Person of Christ. Notice the double accusation and the double answer. It is a good question to ask why the Pharisees would be interested in 'enforcing' a ceremonial tradition of their counterparts. It isn't illogical to me that there were some among the Phariseean persuasion that might've 'crossed over' to the Sadduceean persuasion on a few technical points, just as there were Sadducees who 'went along' with popular opinion when it came to using Phariseean dates for Passover observance and the Pentecost count.
The ‘first-first Sabbath’ by Jewish reckoning would typically be the first day of Unleavened Bread: Abib 16, and the count from there to Pentecost is what always produces their Sivan 6 date. That could be on just about any day of the week (the postponements issue aside.) The biblical ‘first-first Sabbath’ would be the weekly Sabbath within the Days of Unleavened Bread. On occasion, they both could coincide, (when the first Day of Unleavened Bread was a weekly Sabbath) but typically, one came later than the other. In this case it is called the ‘second’ first Sabbath, indicating that it is the later one being referred to. Also, it makes the point that this eating-of-grain event is a weekly Sabbath at issue, which indicates they were referencing the second count method. Pentecost under that method always falls on a Sunday. Pentecost in 30 AD was a Sunday, which explains the Acts 2:1 qualifier of having ‘fully come’, suggesting that there was a ‘premature’ observance, which there was: the one derived from the first count method employed by the Jews. What we can deduce from this narrative, and others, is that there was a contingent of individuals who did not go along with errant Temple practices. Passover, wave sheaf and Pentecost are all illustrated in the Gospels and Acts as having been observed on different dates than were the Jews’ official and traditional observances.
60) Q: I see many references in your publications to the Great White Throne judgment period and the White Cloud harvest event. Also, the post-millennial age. What are these, what are they for, and generally when are they to occur? A: We understand that there are two Days of Salvation, what is in a very general way known as “the early and the latter rains”. The Apostle James makes reference to that Old Testament concept in his chapter 5 verse 7. There is A day of salvation, which is the present era, and there is to be another day after the Second Coming. That ‘other’ day begins with the millennial age and continues on into the second resurrection period, which occurs just after the millennial age (which is the 1000 years spoken of in Revelation 20:5.) In-opportuned dead are raised in the second resurrection to be provided the opportunity for salvation that their original lifetimes didn’t provide them. (2nd Cor. 6:2 refers to THE day of salvation, quoting Isa. 49:8, which actually refers to A day of salvation. The common deduction from 2nd Corinthians being that there is but ONE day of salvation, which wasn’t what Isaiah was saying.)
What we call the GWT judgment is described in Revelation 20:11-13. That is a period of opportunity, provided to those who lived and died prior to the millennium, never having had opportunity for salvation. That age is at least one generation long. It is the period of time in which the books will be opened to their understanding for the first time, just as during the millennial age. (Rev. 20:12 & Dan. 7:10) Their ‘judgment’ period comes in this post-millennial era, and we need to understand judgment as involving two phases: there is the evidentiary phase (to determine how the people will respond to their opportunity – like the hearing of evidence in a courtroom) and then the separate sentencing event at the very end. The evidentiary phase being ones’ actual living experiences, not just a brief recitation of past deeds.
The end of this post-millennial age (so called because that is when it is / the Second Resurrection period), will end with the sentencing event, a two-part harvest, in which all the dead of all time will be raised to join the then living for final sentencing. Those two parts being: the White Cloud harvest of the righteous, (Rev. 14:14-16) followed by the winepress of God’s Wrath upon the wicked. (Rev. 14:17-20) Articles titled “The 14th Chapter of Revelation” and “The DAYS of Salvation” address this final harvest of the Earth in detail.
------------------- COMMENTS from a Reader 5/10 -------------------
61) C: Thank you very much for sending the latest Articles "Blood to the Horse Bridles" and the "14th Chapter of Revelation". I found them very useful. R: These resulted from back-and-forth correspondences with the ministers reviewing the Resurrections booklet. It surprises me that no one ever thought to check the flow distance of the brook Kidron, the supposed valley referred to in Revelation 14:20. Does the distance tell us anything relative to the timeframe? Another thought, the distance is 40 times 40. A generation is about 40 years at the maximum. Does 1600 indicate that the time is at the generation of generations: attaining the completion of all generations? Does that also allude to it being the ultimate end? I think the commentaries (and the WCG's) assignment of Re.14:20 being the scene of the battle of Armageddon was a mistake, and obscures the real point. Rather, it is the very end of the age of physical humanity. It presents the point in time when all the wicked will pay for their un-repented sins with the shedding of their own blood, followed by irreversible extinction in the Lake of Fire. (Compare Rev. 14:17-20 with Heb. 9:22 & 12:29)
a) C: There is one thought that I have for some time, and that is about those who live and die during the 1000 years. It seems that they do not have to experience Satan and his devices. That’s correct as per Rev. 20:2-3. Yet from the Garden of Eden we all, converted or unconverted, have had to contend with Satan. Yes. And at the end of the millennial age Satan will be let loose for a short while for some purpose. Yes. (Rev. 20:7-10) Apparently to draw out the contingent within the millennial population that really isn't converted, and in fact hates God, His ways and His Immortal Saints and His people. It will also expose Satan’s true nature to those who in the millennium had only heard stories of what it had been like, back in the day!
b) C: Can you imagine what those that do not make eternal life will say to their Creator! “If we had been born during the 1000 years and not had to contend with Satan we would have made it.” R: True, such excuses will likely be posed, and I take that as an explanation as to why God has chosen to blind certain ones, to defer their opportunity period to be within the 1000 years. But, that also removes them from the period with greater reward potential. We who are converted now can enjoy an extra 1000 years of life! Another angle on your point: those who are given opportunity for salvation in this age are the ones who could make it in this Satan influenced society. So many have and can make it successfully thru! But those who successfully run this present gauntlet are the ones capable and worthy of high position in the Kingdom. Those who disqualify for salvation in this age are those who could have made it, were privileged to have been called early, but who didn't regard their calling with proper diligence or gratitude. The claim you refer to above blames Satan, but more likely, the result wouldn't have really been much different had they been deferred to the millennial timeframe. The real problem was their own non-responsiveness. Conversion in the millennial age won't be easy, it'll just have a different set of challenges. (Personal lethargy being a big one! Laodiceanism likely will carry over! Revelation 3:14-22 may have a post-Advent application as well.)
c) C: The Creator is fair in every respect, so I suspect that those who live during the 1000 years without the pulls of Satan will have to be tested like the rest of us at some point in time. R: Presumably the standards will be much higher. I can think of no particular scripture to support this theory (apart from Satan being let loose at the end of the age) but I do wonder. R: Possibly Isaiah 30:19-21 & Heb. 8:11. The objective in this millennial timeframe is to convert as many as possible, unlike the present situation. If they don’t make it then, then they never will!
Hi Brother Rick,
I have some questions. ( Author comments in red. )
Question: Where are the spirits of those who did not have a chance to accept Jesus? For instance, all of the good Old Testament people and those who died after His resurrection? For instance, since Queen of Sheba will rise in judgment after the Millennium but where is her spirit now? I always thought that the OT people went to Abraham’s bosom (i.e. Lazarus). Are they still there? Answer: Why would we consider any change? And, where would those not of Abrahamic descent go? (The Arabs are also descendants of Abraham!) Let's realize that the peoples of the pre-Christian world believed that the dead are unconscious, based on scriptures such as Psalm 146:4. Job also understood, that he would 'wait' in his grave until being made conscious again in the resurrection. (Job 14:14) Your use of the word 'spirits' tells me you are aware of the 'immortal soul' heresy. The human spirit (the element from God that gives us intellect and consciousness) loses consciousness and is placed back in God's safekeeping until the resurrection. The Queen of Sheba will arise in the second resurrection and denigrate her counterparts for their failure to take advantage of the potential opportunity they likely had previously. They had so much more awareness than her and her contemporaries.
Now the New Testament in many places likens death to sleep. So there is no substantial difference there either.
As to the 'where' part of your question, I would suspect that all spirits are held together. One possible group that may be separate are the martyred. They are shown to be re-awakened briefly (Rev. 6:9-11) to plead for revenge on their persecutors. They're awarded white robes, but then told to return to sleep until the appropriate time. They have brethren who will experience similar lethal persecutions as they had.
Now, after His resurrection and ascension to the right hand of the Father, we know to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord. This does not represent any change when understood correctly. But I understand that is only for those in Christ and unaccountable children. Not correct. What about those who did not hear the Gospel and died? Where are their spirits? Like all, they are in God's care awaiting their appropriate restoration to life and consciousness resurrection. Our minister is working on a booklet that addresses the state of the dead.
I have an article on the "Absent from the body - Present with the Lord" subject. I'll attach it. This is an old favorite among fundamentalists. They need something to support their idea that the dead go immediately to Heaven at death, and this one serves their purposes. EXCEPT: they overlook one obvious fact! Paul didn't say "is", he said "and". Paul described three states of being, not just two. He clearly made reference to that 'intermediate' state, being 'unclothed', that is so conveniently overlooked. Unclothed is that intermediate state between being in this present body and being in that spirit body which we will recieve when He comes. It is in that body which we must first recieve that we CAN come into His presence. Like Paul, we all would prefer to be in THAT body and thus be able to be in His presence, but simply dying does not acheive that situation. There is a state of 'unclothedness' which we must wait thru until that day.
Hope this makes sense.
Date: Mon, 15 Apr 2013 02:56:36 -0500
Reader questions continuing in response to first round. ( Further comments in bold red: RT )
Q: Your use of the word 'spirits' tells me you are aware of the 'immortal soul' heresy. I believe there is a misunderstanding as I have no clue what ‘immortal soul’ heresy is. When I said spirits, I meant the Human Spirit and I said it in plural because I was referring to two groups of people. Are we not a three part being? Spirit, Soul and Body? I understand that we do not become immortal until after the resurrection. A: Yes. Body, soul and spirit. This is commonly understood, but not necessarily applied with full understanding in mainstream religion. Most regard the conscious component of human beings as the 'soul'. The common teaching is that the soul is immortal and remains conscious after death. Not only conscious, but capable of feeling pain or pleasure. (If not, then what would be the point of going to hell (or heaven)? More correctly defined, the body is our fleshly composition, the soul is the physical life that we (and animals) have. Soul in biblical usage describes an air-breathing creature, and is used more often in Genesis, for example, to describe animals than mankind. (the Hebrew word nephesh). It's the spirit that sets us apart from animals. Your use of spirit where you might've said soul suggested to me that you are aware of the distinction. The spirit is that component, that is non-material and thus is appropriately described, that is placed in each individual by God, irrespective of our degree of righteousness (or wickedness). That spirit (apart from the Holy Spirit) is what gives us consciousness and intellect. (Similarly, the spirit type that God places in animals is what gives them instinct, not intellect necessarily.) Now, our spirit carries the capability of interacting with God's Holy Spirit, should He begin working with us, and we respond appropriately. So, the converted person takes-in a measure of God's Spirit, changing our nature.
The immortal soul idea is an old error, borrowed largely from ancient pagan religions. We are not immortal. Our 'soul' does not go to hell or heaven. Our soul is our physical life. This mortal must put on immortality (1st Cor. 15:53) We in this present life do not posess a quality that is immortal or conscious beyond death. Our spirit returns to God at death. ("Into thy hands I commend my spirit": quoting Christ and Stephen.) He preserves it until our resurrection. Our spirit is the 'zip-drive' (anology) that preserves our character for restoration into our resurrected bodies, whether good or bad.
The human spirit (the element from God that gives us intellect and consciousness) loses consciousness and is placed back in God's safekeeping until the resurrection. I don’t understand why a wicked person would be placed in safekeeping instead of going straight to hell/hades. I will read the PDF you attached and perhaps it will explain this comment. This is insightful to a point. Yes, a wicked person is reserved to punishment. But, they must be resurrected to life and consciousness in order to face their appropriate end. When we conceive of things under the immortal soul concept, we must have a place for that immortal soul to go immediately at death. But, according to scripture, we are not conscious after death. We must be resurrected to re-attain consciousness. We must be conscious in order to face our just reward. "It is appointed to man once to die, but after this the judgment." (Heb. 9:27)
The New Testament in many places likens death to a state of 'sleep'. We're fully unconscious in death.
Now the unconverted, which some might see as 'wicked', are another category. Not converted, not worthy of life either. This is one important area that religion hasn't come to correctly understand. Many haven't had opportunity, while many others were blinded in their lifetimes (some even by God). Uncountable numbers have died too young to have had any chance of repenting and becoming converted. The vast majority of humanity is reserved to be called in the millennial age and the second resurrection period beyond that. (What is called the second resurrection era.) These are more fully explained in my "Resurrections" booklet. "Beyond Armageddon" also addresses it to some degree. That one is now downloadable on the website.
But the 'immortal soul' idea causes all kinds of misconceptions about God's Plan to eventually work with all of humanity. The 'firstfruits' are being selected now, to become Christ's Bride (Jn. 6:44) and the rest of humanity will have the door of opportunity opened to them as the second harvest gets underway. (Jn. 7:37) There are two harvest periods (Jas. 5:7) The ancients and the NT generation understood this. Annual physical harvests illustrate that truth. Those two passages in John seem to be contradictory, but when understood in their proper time contexts (the spring holydays / the fall holydays) it makes sense. Being called is limited (on purpose today) but will be unlimited as the millennial kingdom and the second resurrection era gets underway.
The 'rest of the dead' (those not provided opportunity for conversion) (Re. 20:5) will arise to the opportunity that they never had. Ezekiel 37 describes the second resurrection (of the two houses of Israel) in very graphic detail. There is no mistaking the fact that these will be raised back to physical life, just as Lazarus was and as were the 'saints which slept' that we read of in Matthew 27:52.
Breaking free of the 'immortal soul' idea opens up major areas of understanding of God's Plan.
Q: In the Wave Sheaf Offering, What Paul ordered section, you state: “The language here demonstrates that it involved ‘gatherings-in’ their produce and getting it readied for transit!” Yes. People typically use this passage to attempt to suggest Paul was referring to weekly ‘offerings“rs being taken up in Sunday services. This shows a very casual and under-informed approach, not the point of the instruction at all. This was not about illustrating regular Sunday observances. (There are so few potential NT references to Sunday observance, that the Christian world will grab at anything!) This was a particular Sunday, the “morrow after the Sabbath” during the week of unleavened bread, which was Wave Sheaf Day, the day after which it became ceremonially legal to begin harvesting that year’s spring grains. Paul wanted them to do it together, and by his instruction without explanation, shows that they (Gentiles) were already aware of that ceremonial observance and respected it. He also refers to instructions given and actions to be taken by other area churches. (1st Cor. 16:1) Verse 2 would be more accurately translated as “the first day of weeks”, the first day of the seven week +1 count to Pentecost. (Pentecost - also a sunday - is the fiftieth day.) Translators didn’t understand that ceremonial observance, so they translated it in a way that made more sense to them. And, they might have had other reasons! This Sunday, in other words, was the first day of the count to the fiftieth day. The Wave Sheaf offering was made on that day, and then they were free to begin their harvest. It being so early in the season, it also would be necessary to dry the grains to make them ready for storage and long time transport, so that it wouldn’t spoil in transit. (v. 2) The action involved “laying aside in storage” which is a far cry from dropping coins in an offering plate at Sunday services. The real message presents a very different picture. Of course, our Wave Sheaf was Christ, offered up before (presented before) the Father that Sunday morning during the Days of Unleavened Bread. (Dan. 7:13) That did not preclude discontinuing its observance, which this passage, a generation later, and written more than a generation later, with a Gentile congregation shows.