Rightly Dividing Israel’s Last Days from the Last days for the Body of Christ
(This chapter has been modified from the first two printings…as new information about the times of restoration has come to my attention and so I felt the need to make some changes in the hopes of being more accurate. Carol Young VanHall)
In the previous chapters we have been discussing how Israel’s Evangel is to be kept separate from the evangel given to Paul for the Body of Christ and why this is in fact what Paul meant when he instructed us “to correctly cut or rightly divide Gods Word of truth.” at 2 Timothy 2:15 Also we have learned that we are to “test things which differ” between these two evangels as well as many other things we read in God’s Word in order to find truths.
In this chapter we will go into a deeper understanding of why “rightly dividing” is needed when studying Israel’s Prophetic evangel as it must be “rightly” divided within itself. As in the example we looked at in our first chapter of how Jesus read from Isaiah 61:1 and applied only that first verse to His day leaving the rest of what was foretold in that passage for future fulfillments.
The Prophetic evangel is filled with many more similar prophecies and it is necessary for us to try and discern what is foretold to take place and when, as many Prophecies for Israel must be divided as to what will actually take place before Christ returns in “the times of restoration” for Israel from the parts of them which speak of after His return. I am seeing more and more things previously thought to be for after and in the Millennial reign of Christ are instead going to happen before and in those “times of restoration” of the nation of Israel and which are “the latter days” or the “last days” prophesized about and for Israel.
Israel’s Evangel is very complicated and I doubt that we will figure it all out in our life time, but I have come to appreciate how the tool of “rightly dividing” must be used within her Prophetic Word. We have learned that the Bible cannot be read like a novel and even more so with all of Israel’s prophecies which go back and forth in time and so cannot be interpreted as occurring in the same chronological sequence as they were written.
In Manual Two “Prophecy and the Times of Restoration” we will go into this subject in depth, but for this chapter we are going to primarily look at the subject of the “last days” and see that we must “rightly divide” between “the last days” which differ in Gods Word. Christendom has wrongly stated for centuries, that the last days spoken of through out the entire Bible are for us and signify some sort of end to this world and an end for those of mankind who have not accepted Christ. This is totally inaccurate due to not “rightly dividing” Israel’s evangel from ours. Israel has their last days and so do we.
With what we have learned thus far we now must realize that any time we read of “the last days” or “end times” in any Bible books other than those written by Paul they would be giving Israel’s information and would not pertain to us or our evangel. Yet, we do see that our Apostle Paul did speak of some, “last days” in his letters written to Timothy, which he wrote those letters towards the end of his ministry and since Paul is the one who told us that the Body of Christ would be gone to it’s assignment in heaven before Israel’s evangel begins to unfold he must have been speaking of a period of time in relation to our evangel, as some sort of conditions to watch for that would occur and which may mark our “last days” on this earth before “the snatching away” 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
Paul speaks of our “last days” at 2 Timothy 3:1-6 and so I realized these had to be for us as why would Paul talk to us about Israel’s “last days” as something to watch for, when as written in the above passage in Thessalonians, he tells us we are to be removed and why he reassured those believers of that fact in his letter, 1 Thessalonians 5:8, 9 saying, we were not “appointed” for that “time of indignation.”
So Paul was not speaking of Israel’s last days in Timothy but must have been telling us of something in our dispensation that we could watch for? Since we are a spiritual entity and we are not given physical signs as Israel was, I then wondered as to how we should apply his words of the last days to the Body of Christ. 1 Timothy 1:4-7 2 Timothy 4:3,4 Titus 1:14
But before we look at Paul’s words for us lets do a brief review of what we have discussed so far in this Manual about Israel’s history and future restoration to come about and which then lead into Israel’s last days which will also help us to see we are not going to be any part of those times or days.
We also learned in the previous chapters that Israel’s Evangel came to a halt, or was put on hold, so to speak, as God turned his attention towards the nations with the new evangel for a “new administration” and dispensation of grace. We have learned that Paul was the only Apostle to be given revelations from Christ as the God appointed Apostle to the Nations. Because Israel’s Prophetic evangel was interrupted we can safely say that her evangel is unfinished business and yet to be revisited.
The next thing we need to remind ourselves is that we need to keep separate the prophecies which are in Israel’s evangel for the nation of Israel in “lo ammi” from those which pertain to the Remnant church of Jews called out of that nation. There are Prophecies for both. Jesus ministered to the remnant and so His prophecies for the most part have to do with His coming kingdom and their ruling and reigning with Him.
While we will find in the Old Testament numerous prophecies from the Prophets that Jehovah raised up throughout Israel’s history, foretelling many things for her before and while in her lo ammi state and afterwards, when she will once again be “ammi” as “My People.” This surprisingly is to occur before Christ returns…during “the times of restoration” which Peter said must come before Christ could return. Acts 3:20,21
Make note, according to Peters words, Israel must first repent in order for “the times of restoration” to come about and before Christ could leave heaven and return to Israel. This is really important as most think “the times of restoration” for Israel will not be until after Christ returns. Hang in here…the story gets better and better.
This will not be a nation coming to Christ…but turning back to Jehovah and their Old Covenant with Him and during those times God will again call out a remnant from Israel to Christ just as He did in the days of Jesus with His ministry and then God added to that church after His death for a short period of time, through the Apostles of the Remnant church while they lived.
The Prophetic scriptures foretold Israel’s divorcement and that action by Jehovah would take her into a time of being lo ammi, meaning, “Not My People”. Hosea 1:9 The prophetic Word also tells them of how during that period of lo ammi it would also be “the times of the Gentiles” which meant Israel would be under Gentile domination until they would be God’s People again during the times of restoration. With this understanding, we then are able to recognize that Israel’s “last days” have not yet begun as they will be at the end of “the times of restoration” which has not happened yet….contrary to the common viewpoint taught in Christendom today who look at Israel’s status as a little nation since 1948, and teach that event fulfilled the prophecy of her becoming “a nation born in a day” or “at once” as some translate the passage at Isaiah 66:8
But in looking at those prophecies “rightly divided,” we will see that this is not the case. Even though today, Israel has through man made efforts and military might, established themselves as a political nation and developed into a small country, they are still “lo ammi,” and this is not the restoration foretold in scripture for Israel. What is foretold for Israel will be a religious restoration, a returning to Jehovah and they will be a kingdom again under His protection. Isaiah 26:2
In Acts 3:19-21 Peter tells Israel. “Repent ye therefore and be converted that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the LORD. And He shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: Whom the heavens must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”
Israel will seek after Jehovah and this will cause Him to answer. Now, what is interesting with this is, it is Jehovah Himself Who will cause them to seek Him and to repent. A revival will begin in Israel with the religious Jews returning to their Law Covenant with Jehovah, this would mean the sacrifices and temple priests would return to officiate over this nation.
Jeremiah 3:14-16 “Turn, O backsliding children saith the Lord; for I am married unto you and I will take one of a city and two of a family and I will bring you to Zion And I will give you pastors according to Mine heart, I shall feed you with knowledge and understanding. And it shall come to pass, when ye be multiplied and increased in the land, in those days saith the LORD they shall no more say, the ark of the Covenant of the LORD, neither shall it come to mind neither shall they remember it neither shall they visit it neither shall that be done any more.”
Israel is also promised by God to be re-united as the twelve tribes once again, the ten tribes and the two tribes split still today, will be one Nation in the restored Kingdom on earth. They are told this at Ezekiel 37:14 “And shall put my spirit in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land: then shall ye know that I the LORD have spoken it, and performed it, saith the LORD.”
Remember in the King James, LORD in all caps is really YHVH, or Jehovah also notice Verses 22,23, “And I will make them one nation in the land upon the mountains of Israel: and one king shall be king to them all: and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all: Neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling places, wherein they have sinned , and I will cleanse them; so shall they be My people, and I will be their God.” Notice it is Jehovah who does the cleansing, the changing of their hearts and minds towards Him as their God.
The 12 twelve tribes are not united as one kingdom today; the Jews are still in dispersion, scattered throughout the world. Israel has not reinstated the Old Covenant today or the worship of Jehovah with a temple filled with Priests officiating for Him. The Israel of today is a man made political state depending on their military might and trying to form allies for protection from their enemies. In fact it has been said by some that Israel today is the Jacobite nation. Jacob typifies the rebel before his submission to Jehovah and his name change to Israel. Many prophetic passages speak to Jacob in her lo ammi state.
I recently read an article on Israel’s present day history since 1948 and it stated some facts which bear this out, “In 1967 the Temple Mount was in the custodial care of King Hussein of Jordan, which would mean Jerusalem was in gentile hands and in 1994 Yasser Arafat and his PLO took control of it.” With any Gentile involvement she is not the promised restored Israel. Jerusalem is still under Gentile domination.
Today, Israel is just one of the nations in God’s eyes as they are still in the “times of the Gentiles” which means she is dominated by Gentile nations in one way or another not having a temple or the worship of Jehovah. During this time period Israel is not recognized as God’s special people, she remains lo ammi and will so until Paul’s evangel is completed.
When the Grace evangel is fulfilled, and we as the ambassadors of Grace are removed from this world, as Grace and Law do not mix, then Jehovah will cause events to transpire in the world which will bring about the repentance and religious revival required for Israel to return to Him and be restored as a nation and kingdom under Him and the law covenant once again. Please read Jeremiah 30:1-24 Ezekiel 20:33-37
As we have learned thus far in this Manual, God began a new administration with our Apostle Paul, his evangel is the dispensation of Grace and from that time till now God is dealing only with the Body of Christ and this time period is referred to as “the complement or fullness of the nations.” It is important to not confuse these two time periods talked about in the scriptures, The first is, “the times of the Gentiles” and concerns Israel in her lo ammi condition being dominated by Gentiles and not having a kingdom of their own under Jehovah.
While Paul tells us of the second period of time “the complement or fullness of the nations” at Romans 11:25 and also the “Complement of the eras” found at Ephesians 1:10 which these terms are for and about the Body of Christ within the Grace dispensation, the time allotted for the calling of individuals from all nations into the Body of Christ. These two times overlap yet are different.
The denominations of Christendom have used the warnings given to Israel in those prophecies about her last days to scare people into coming to Christ. As we have learned, Israel has a different evangel from ours. Israel is told they must overcome, endure and be faithful or lose out on the blessings of being in that Kingdom age with Christ as promised in her Prophetic evangel. The last days talked about in Israel’s evangel precede Christ’s arrival, known as the Second Advent and that will be the time when Israel is finally rescued from the Gentiles nations seeking to destroy her.
We realize the “last days” in those prophecies are for Israel and are referring to the end of their Gentile domination and the last apostasy for that nation foretold in scripture. Before those days can begin, there has to be first a restoring of Israel to a place or a condition ready for prophecy to begin to unfold for them. What is commonly taught in Christendom is that Israel’s prophecies are about the end of the world and relate to all of us, when in fact they relate to Israel in her land and with her ancient enemies surrounding that land. Yet, Christendom preaches, “Come to Christ now, as this is the last chance to be saved or lose out for eternity” That teaching is in error because of not Rightly Dividing Israel’s information from ours, and not understanding God’s purpose for the eons which is to reconcile all His creation through Israel and through the Body of Christ…Israel on the earth in Christ’s Kingdom and the Body of Christ in heaven.
This time of their Gentile domination began with Babylon conquering the two tribe kingdom, Judah at Jerusalem destroying the temple and the city and taking into captivity, the cream of the crop of Israel and followed by the city and temple being destroyed. One such young man taken to Babylon was Daniel. Daniel records the 70 years in captivity and he was also used to record several prophecies for Israel. One very important prophecy was about the succeeding world powers which would continue to dominate them even after their release from Babylon.
Daniel 2:28, 31-35 gives the prophecy of those world powers and the prophecy is interpreted for us in Verses 38-44 In this vision of the Image of a soldier, the Head of Gold was Babylon, the Silver breast and arms the Persian Empire, the Brass thighs being the Grecian Empire. Legs of Iron may be the Roman Empire as it did become two strong forces even though never attaining complete world domination as the previous powers had.
Prophecy stopped with those legs leading to what is yet to come, the “feet and toes mixed of iron and clay,” which seems to be describing a one world government in the “last days” headed by the man of lawlessness who becomes the antichrist and the apostate Jews, who are the “harlot who rides on the back of the beast.” Revelation 17: 1-6; 15-18 and 18: 4-17
These will be world conditions and events taking place in that time period of the last days for Israel. It will be that kingdom or one world government which will be “smashed to bits by the rock out of heaven” at Christ’s Second Advent with the bringing in of the Kingdom of God on the earth. Daniel 2:44 Revelation 17:12-14
That time of the Gentiles began with Babylon conquering Jerusalem and destroying that city and temple…about 400 hundred years before the time of Christ and running through the days of Jesus and down to our day and it will run until we are taken out of this world. Even though the temple was rebuilt after the 70 years of Babylonian captivity…there is no evidence that Jehovah’s Shekinah glory ever entered the new temple.
Nor has the ark of the covenant been found and that temple was again destroyed during the many wars going on with Israel and the Gentile nations hating her and then the temple was rebuilt in the times of Jesus by King Herod a Hellenized Jew who was very wicked and cared nothing about the true worship of Jehovah…which it was the temple Herod rebuilt that was destroyed in A.D.70 Israel was not a sovereign nation when Jesus came they were under the control of the Roman Empire, Gentile domination.
Jesus also spoke of this Gentile domination as still being in effect in His day at Luke 21:24 “And they shall fall by the edge of the sword, and shall be led away captive into all nations: and Jerusalem shall be trodden down of the Gentiles, until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.” This foretold the coming destruction once again of Jerusalem and the temple in A.D. 70.
As we have discussed in the previous chapters, I do not see any proof Israel has ever been taken out of the “lo ammi” condition which began with her captivity to Babylon and has continued on down to our day. She was “lo ammi” in Jesus day, and so they were calloused and blind, which is why Paul said of those called out of Israel, who were the lost sheep of the house of Israel, that they were “a remnant chosen by election of grace” at Romans 11:5-7 but Israel the nation was then and, is still “lo ammi” today
Many today strive to make the “feet and toes of iron and clay” of Daniel 2 fit in some way into our world today. Some claim them to be the United Nations while some feel it is America. When we learn the important tool of “rightly dividing” we readily can see that Israel’s prophecies are for her in her part of the world and so this portion of the Image does not apply today.
That prophecy is on hold waiting for its own era or time in the future to be fulfilled. Remember, time for Israel stopped during the Roman rule, I believe the last prophecy fulfilled was with the destruction of Jerusalem and her temple at A.D. 69/70 as Jesus prophesied would happen. Their place of worship and records of the tribes and so much more lost and more Jews were again dispersed into the world. Rome dominating Israel and so from that time forward the rest of the prophecies in Daniel were put on hold as time stopped in Israel’s history.
Some call this the gap or the pause or an interval. Time will begin anew for Israel, when “the complement of the nations” is fulfilled, when the Body of Christ is complete, Christ will then call us home. Romans 11:25 The unfulfilled prophecies for Israel will begin in that same region of the world. Many denominations seek to spiritualize these prophecies, applying them to the world and to the Body of Christ believing they are spiritual Israel, and that the nation of Israel will not be restored. They discount Israel’s earthly prophecies because they do not “rightly divide God Word.”
Those prophecies are earthly and not spiritual and are to be fulfilled literally after we, the spiritual Body of Christ are removed from this earth ending the Grace dispensation and then the “times of restoration” for Israel can and will begin.
When the “times of restoration” begin, the Nation of Israel will have its religious revival, which will be a return to Jehovah and their Old Covenant with Him. The temple will need to be rebuilt for the worship and religious rituals just as those of their forefathers to be possible. These will not be Jews who have come to Christ but Jews repenting and wishing to return to Jehovah and their Law Covenant. I know this is a new thought for most but the latest research into many prophecies seem to indicate this as a fact. As I said I will go into all these prophecies and differences that we must examine in Manual two.
Some time after the Nation is restored God will again begin to call out of it “a remnant” from those Jews and these ones will come to recognize Jesus was indeed their Messiah, these will be the “intelligent or understanding ones” of Daniel 11:33; 12:3,10 They will recognize and understand their Prophetic evangel because of having Gods spirit. Now the way the Law Covenant returns, is not that it is required by Jehovah for those who accept Christ, but repentance is required of Israel because of their apostasy and idolatry which broke their covenant with Him causing them to be divorced and declared lo ammi and thus beginning those times of the Gentiles.
So, Israel will be returning to the old religion and their covenant with Him. The modern day Remnant will be called out of that restored nation and they will be studying the Bible and will be following Jesus Christ and thus will recognize they are not under the law any longer. They will be heralding Jesus as Messiah and of the coming kingdom, the approaching, Second Advent of Jesus Christ, with warnings about the world events being fulfilled or about to be as prophesied by Jesus and recorded in the four gospels as well as the many Prophets of old, too numerous to list but specifically those written by Daniel, Ezekiel, Jeremiah, Isaiah, Joel, Amos, and Peter and John in the New.
For the Prophetic evangel of the Old Testament to return in the world in this way it seems to me that the new administration of Grace given to Paul to dispense must be ended in the world. As Paul said the “detainer or restrainer taken out of the midst” this means removed. I believe the detainer is Grace and so, that’s us, the Body of Christ. So it would seem that the rapture of the church should come before the beginnings of the “times of restoration” for Israel and her last days which follow her restoration.
Lets look closely at what Paul has told us, at 2 Thessalonians 2:6-8 which tells us of the “detainer taken out of the midst” and Paul’s explaining the rapture at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and then important to add what Paul tells us at 1 Corinthians 15:49-52 which is how we are to be changed for our removal from this earth and given our new bodies suitable for our celestial calling, he says, “in the twinkling of an eye”
There is a teaching that the “detainer” in this passage is the Holy Spirit and that “it” is what leaves the world when the church is raptured, I disagree since it is the Holy Spirit which will revive Israel and it is the Holy Spirit which will protect them again and will call out a remnant once again from Israel. It is this Holy Spirit which will give the saint the spiritual understanding of all prophecy and the faith and ability to preach to their fellow Jewish brethren and so much more work will be carried on by the Holy Spirit in that time period, as signs and miracles will return to this world as in the past. And so it is not the end of heralding Christ as Savior and Lord but the end of the dispensation of Grace!
In our research, we have taken under consideration that the many things which are foretold to take place in the world during those “times of restoration,” would need far more time than just the seven years which is the standard view of Daniels prophecy in Daniel 9:24-27 That view sees sixty nine sevens of the seventy sevens as having been fulfilled leaving only the last one seven. This is Christendom’s interpretation and we should always ask…how much have they gotten right in the past? Not much! So again we need to question everything and test those things which differ.
We found information that others agreed that the seven years did not afford the needed time for all foretold to happen and so first we found where some put forth the idea that perhaps the seven sevens of that same prophecy which is 49 years had not been fulfilled as commonly taught. That view is they began when the Persian King set the Jews free and a few Jews went back to Jerusalem to rebuild the city and the temple.
Charles J. Pert wrote in his book “God’s Rules for Scriptural Interpretation” why he believed Daniel 9:24-27 could be a double prophecy. When thoroughly studying the past history of the rebuilding of the temple after their release by Cyrus, it did not seem to fit exactly into 49 years, and so maybe this was saved for the future with the “one seven” which most all agree that the last seven years are still future and are the last days when the tribulation time period occurs before the Second Advent of Christ.
If Pert was correct and the 49 years was still for the future that would then give 56 years for the times of restoration ending the time of tribulation and leading into the Second Advent that indeed seemed more reasonable than only seven years. Then more information came forth which put forth some compelling doubts as to if any of the seventy sevens of Daniels prophecy having been fulfilled at all, as is taught in Christendom.
So once again we returned to reviewing these positions with this new information with those arguments against it and in regards to the second part of that prophecy, the sixty two sevens, the period of 434 years which has been said to be already fulfilled, those years taking Israel from the rebuilding of the temple to Christ’s death, being the cutting off referred to in that prophecy. If the 49 years was not accurately understood was it possible that the 434 years was not either?
Was Cyrus a type of Christ “calling forth the word to rebuild” and the actual calling forth of the word to rebuild is yet to come after we are removed and for in those future, “times of restoration”? The phrase “cutting off of the messiah” I came to learn this is also questioned as to its accuracy in translating.
The translation of anointed one to messiah in this passage was done by the translators who made that decision and thus have actually interpreted the passage for us, choosing to make it fit Jesus as the messiah, instead of just translating it literally as it reads; the anointed one is cut off or in the Jewish Bible it reads vanishes.
There are many other places in scripture where an anointed one is used and refers to others; it does not just fit Jesus Christ. Perhaps the zeal to prove Jesus Christ was Israel’s Messiah caused the translators to take liberties in interpreting that prophecy in Daniel?
Commander Steedman wrote of his research on this subject in the Differentiator, and on this prophecy and came to the conclusion that actually none of Daniel 9:24-27 has been fulfilled yet and he believed it was designed to begin only after the Body of Christ is removed. Thus, if true, Israel would have 490 years allotted for this sequence of events that Daniel foretold which would bring about and take them through the times of restoration.
He also points to the time of Jacobs trouble, as actually preceding those times and is an event which will bring about Israel’s needed repentance, opening the door for Jehovah to take them back as “His or My People” again and from that point on He will be protecting them from the nations seeking to destroy them, during the times of restoration.
The 12 tribes scattered in the earth being brought back to the land, their temple rebuilt, with a king from David’s line sitting on the throne, the old covenant reinstituted and with “a covenant of peace,” Ezekiel 37:26 this would bring in a time of prosperity for Israel…and world peace. Prophecy also shows that Babylon is to be rebuilt, becoming a major world Mecca and then towards the ends of those years, once again Israel will slip into apostasy which causing Jehovah’s protection to be withdrawn.
And so troubles with their enemies of the nations will begin again, during this time, will come the rise of the man of lawlessness who offers to broker peace for Israel with the world and that union takes them into the last days…or the time of tribulation and then seven years later the Advent of Christ. Read Jeremiah 30 through and notice how the information put forth is speaking of a time of restoration before Christ returns…as I said, in Manual Two we will look at all the scriptural references for this scenario.
Many teach that the time of “Jacobs’s trouble” is the same as the time of indignation or tribulation which begins in the middle or the last half of that last one seven. This research does not seem to support this. In reviewing Steedman’s arguments and the scriptures I think his understanding seems more plausible for the time of Jacobs’s trouble to come first before the times of restoration begins and probably will bring an end to the illegal political state of Israel by an attack from one or more of her enemies, perhaps wiping out what we know as the nation of Israel today. This would cause Jews worldwide to panic and call upon Jehovah and this would then be the required repentance needed for Him to answer them and bring about the…times of restoration for Israel. Understanding this research seems to indicate that, the “time of Jacobs’s trouble” is not the same time as the tribulation and times of Gods indignation which will be in the last 31/2 years before Christ returns to Israel.
But it does appear that Jacobs trouble will follow our snatching away or it may even instigate it and that trouble may very will mean that the political nation of Israel will suffer a devastating attack causing Jews worldwide to repent and cry out to Jehovah for help and He then comes to their rescue as promised and will give to those nations what they gave to Israel in the way of a devastating blow and that is what will begin the times of restoration foretold in scripture. As it seems that Jeremiah 30 described this scenario.
The one seven of Daniels prophecy which are the last seven years of the 490 years we are told in Daniel, they will begin with the signing of a covenant or peace treaty between Israel and the man of lawlessness, and in the middle of the seven years is when the treaty is broken by him as the antichrist and he wages war with the saints which means persecution begins against the Jews like never before. This time period is the “1260 days which is the 3½ years” found in Revelation 12:6 and 13:4-6.
The time allotted for that persecution as foretold by God’s Word is also described as 42 months. The faithful remnant living at that time should find this encouraging knowing they can count the years, months and days until their Messiah will arrive!
Again the 42 months is another way to describe the second half of the last seven years, those 3½ years also the 1260 days takes them to Christ’s arrival, as their King, He rescues the Jews in Jerusalem who will be fighting the antichrist and his armies will be destroyed, saving the Jews from total annihilation, this brings in Christ’s Kingdom on this earth, of 1000 years in which the resurrected saints of Israel will rule and reign with Christ and minister to all the nations and fulfill their commission as foretold at Matthew 24:14, and Matthew 28:19.
The book of Daniel refers to the faithful remnant of the future, as the “understanding, wise or intelligent ones” depending on your translation at Daniel 11:33, 35 and 12:3,10. They will understand the prophecies given about the rise to fame of the man of lawlessness. This is one of the reasons why I think more time is needed before the last days even begin. Babylon also must become a major city in the world.
Which we might emphasize again the Second Advent is not the end of the world but the beginning of another stage of salvation for the world through Israel. Stage one has been the Body of Christ saved through Grace. It is not clear, but possible that many Gentiles will become proselytes to Israel during those times of restoration and also perhaps some will come to Christ through the preaching and teaching of the remnant church. In Christ’s kingdom of 1000 years Israel will carry out her God given commission as stated by Jesus at Matthew 28:16-20 to evangelize the nations.
They will do this unimpeded, as Satan will be in the abyss and Christ will rule with a rod of iron. This is Israel’s commission for the Millennial Reign of Christ. Another stage or time for salvation will be at the Great White Throne at Revelation 20:11 this is when the “rest of the dead” are resurrected Revelation 20:5,6 and “judged by their acts” in Verse 12 which denotes judged for each ones individual acts and it is important to understand the word judgment used in scripture has the meaning, “to set right” and not to punish, torture or kill forever.
After the Great White Throne judgment we are told of “the Lake of Fire which is the Second Death.” I believe this will be a purifying process, a work done by God in Christ which we cannot comprehend as yet, the purpose which we know is to bring, the rest of the dead to life in Christ. Revelation 20:14,15 “And death and Hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.”
Notice in Verse 14 “death and hades” are also “cast into this lake of Fire” This shows two inanimate things cast into fire, so how could the fire be literal? We know that literal fire destroys, it appears that verse describes death and the abode of the dead being destroyed, with figurative fire and the result is that they are eliminated? Paul also tell us this at 1 Corinthians 15:26
Now what is interesting is that in this passage we just read in Revelation, it speaks of those “not in the book of life” are also “cast into this Lake of Fire” How can the second death be a literal dying a second time if death is no more, isn’t this portrayed for us by death and the grave, (hades) being cast into the Lake of Fire? Death is ended. According to the passage, it was placed in the Lake of fire first?
There are too many questions and contradictions for me to take this passage as literal fire and as a literal death! We must look at it with spiritual eyes and let the figures of speech paint a picture for us. I am going to discuss this subject in depth in Manual Three. “Death, the Seconds of God and the Lake of Fire” I also recommend reading the article on this subject. “Journey to and Through the Second Death” By Phil Scranton, 185 Burson Road, Corydon, IN. 47112 It is also available on Amazon.com
There is also the prophecy at Deuteronomy 28:13 stating that Israel will be “the head instead of the tail” which she has been for thousands of years now. Verse 44 describes “her as the tail” this is when in her lo ammi state and will be reversed when she will be Gods People again “Ammi.”
So the question comes up, does this begin fulfillment during the times of restoration as she will be a kingdom and nation again, under the protection of Jehovah as long as they remain faithful to their covenant, the Old law covenant Israel will have His protection. In the past our viewpoint was this did not happen until Christ came and set up His kingdom. But Israel will be ammi during the times of restoration and so would not be under Gentile domination and so it would seem this is also one of those fulfilled before Christ returns.
Paul taught that the Body of Christ would be taken out of the world before those times for Israel begin. We read about this in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 Paul was speaking to those called into the Body of Christ, some of which like him were Jews and had known of the prophecies concerning “the time of indignation” Paul told those called into the Body of Christ that they were not going to go through that time, but would be taken to heaven before it begins.
We should be able to understand that it would be hard for them to comprehend whether they were Jews or Gentiles since they each had to discard old religious thinking as this new information was part of the “secret hidden in God for the generations” and only revealed to Paul and maybe it was hard for them to understand why ritual was no longer needed or acceptable in regards to their relationship with being in Christ. Plus, then there were those in Christ having the hope of the kingdom on earth while those called into Paul’s evangel had the expectation of being taken to heaven! Colossians 1:26,27 Ephesians 3:3 ,9
The context and subject of Paul’s discussion found in 2 Thessalonians 2:1 is about “our assembling together with Him” which is the snatching away or rapture for the Body of Christ as he had told them in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18 and 5:9 In his second letter to the Thessalonians, Paul is reminding them of what he had previously taught them and reassuring them, since some were fearing that they indeed were living in the last days and had been left behind. Paul assures them, this was not so.
Remember they were suffering intense persecution for believing in Christ. He reminds them if they had been in the last days, or the day of the Lord, they would be seeing “the man of perdition, sin or lawlessness” Paul was not giving the Body of Christ signs to watch for, for the rapture, but was reminding them of the prophetic signs for Israel and her time of trouble and her last days which will fall in those last seven years of the 490 years of the complete prophecy..
We must remember these are signs for Israel and recorded in the Hebrew Scriptures and therefore were not a secret and so they can have no part in our secret administration or evangel. Paul reminds them of this and that the Body would be gone before these signs would or could come about.
I have discussed the rapture with those who teach a Midweek Rapture or Pre Great Tribulation as some like to call it, and who believe Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-8 will happen at the middle of the last week, the one seven of seven years and that this is when the “son of Perdition as the man of lawlessness is revealed or unveiled.” This would be at the time of his incarnation by Satan which is when the man of lawlessness is raised from the dead or so it seems by the false prophet
This is when the covenant is broken with Israel and the time of tribulation really gets underway, Satan will set up his image on a wing of the temple and demand worship. This will bring intense persecution against all Jews.
The Midweek Rapture people mainly base their theory on one phrase found in the King James in Paul’s discourse, translated as the “Day of Christ” verses “the Day of the Lord.” The King James “only” people believe all other Bible translations are wrong and not just with this verse but wrong, period. It seems they feel the King James of 1611 was inspired as a translation. But that is another whole subject on why they are wrong and we will leave for your own research or for another study article.
In this passage it refers to the “man of sin being unveiled in his own era” the key word for me is “era” which implies a period of time and not one single event, so this is one of the reasons why I do not accept the midweek rapture view based on the unveiling of the man of lawlessness. Many signs and titles are given in the book of Daniel of the “man of lawlessness” which will identify him long before he becomes the antichrist at his incarnation which describes him and his dealings in the world as he works his way up in credibility and power; this man has 12 names and titles in the scriptures.
A list will be in Manual Two. A title or name depicts an office or work of that person. These will reveal who he is to the faithful remnant long before he is incarnated by Satan in the middle of the last seven years. So I do not see “his unveiling” not happening until midweek as they teach, although the apostate Jews definitely will realize their error in trusting this man at that time but the passage we have been considering in 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7 speaks of his own era which is a period of time and not just one event. In reading Daniel 8:23-25 also Chapter 11 we see that they give details, describing his workings in the world; first it seems as a diplomat and gaining power in the world and with his other activities.
I can see no other reason for giving him this many titles and descriptions, other than to identify him and to make him recognizable through his activities to the faithful Remnant who will be warning their brethren not to trust this man long before the middle of the last seven years?
Let’s now turn our attention to our evangel and review Paul’s words for the Body of Christ about our being removed from this earth, which he said was “the snatching away or rapture “depending on your translation, before Israel’s Evangel will begin again.
In returning to Paul’s words in 2 Thessalonians 2:1-12 we can notice in Verses 6-8 the continuing explanation by Paul with this phrasing, “And now, you are aware of what is detaining” this “son of perdition” It would seem that he is referencing the Body of Christ, as “the detainer” since the subject of his discussion is “the gathering” of the Body of Christ to the Lord, so I think he must mean, that we are to be gone, departed from this world. What he is saying is, we have to be taken “out of the midst” in order for him, the “man of lawlessness” or “son of perdition, to be revealed in his own era.”
So to paraphrase a bit, it seems that he is telling those believers, who were worried that they had missed the rapture and were in the Day of the Lord, he says to them, (stop worrying we have not been left behind…if we had been you would be seeing the apostasy and the son of perdition revealed…..we will not see those things because we will be removed before they occur)
The Body of Christ, with the Grace dispensation needs to be removed from the world first and this seems logical within the context and subject of the passage which began with the subject of “our being gathered to Christ.” which is the snatching away he speaks of at 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
I would like to interject here, a new and different viewpoint on the translation of the word “apostasy” used in this passage at 2 Thessalonians 2:3 The Greek word “apostasia” which is translated apostasy or falling away in the KJAV could mean instead, a departure and not an apostasy or falling away. I will explain why, I recently found some research which stated that the word “apostasia” really means, standing from and not falling away!
The Greek noun “apostasia” is used twice in the New Testament. At 2 Thessalonians 2:3 and Acts 21:21 In Acts it says, “That you are teaching all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake…Moses.” The word to forsake is a Greek compound of apo (from) and istemi (stand) from stand. It has the core meaning of away from or a departure from The Liddell and Scott Greek Lexicon defines “apostasia” first as: “defection, revolt, then secondly as departure, disappearance.”
Now, this is an area in which sometimes we have to look at the context and the subject matter in the passage we are considering, to help us understand if a word has been used correctly. Also we should check to see how has it been translated in other passages?
In the Acts passage we see that they accused Paul of teaching the Jews to depart from the Law, not to fall out of it! In research on this word I found that “apostasia” was not translated as apostasy in any of the English translations done before and leading up to the King James in 1611, the passage we are focusing on in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 the research showed that it was translated as “departure” and not apostasy or falling away?
Now I thought that was interesting so I looked further into it and it seems a Swiss reformer was the first to transliterate apostasia and create the new wording, falling away. The King James translators were the first to use this new wording, and so we find it used in 2 Thessalonians 2:3.
They chose to translate “apostasia” as “falling away” and with no reasons given for why they decided to ignore all the other scholars who had used the rendering of, “the departure.” The other scriptures where the word “apostasia” can be found using the word from, or depart or departing are, Luke 8:13; 1 Timothy 4:1; Hebrews 3:12 departing from iniquity, 2 Timothy 2:19 depart from iniquity 1 Timothy 6:5 withdraw from the temple, Luke 2:29 depart in peace, 2 Corinthians 12:8 depart from me, also look at Acts 12:10 and Luke 4:13 both have, depart from him.
The question we need to ask is why did the King James translators take the word apostasia and use three different words for it, when it means to depart? They sometimes used depart or withdraw but then in our key passage in 2 Thessalonians they chose to use falling away? It may have been because the viewpoint at that time was anyone leaving the Catholic Church or the Church of England were in apostasy and labeled heretics. They sought to enforce that, they only were the true church?
Also remember they did not rightly divide Israel’s information from the evangel for the Body of Christ, but took it all as belonging to the Body of Christ. They did not understand that Paul was talking to the Body of Christ but also in context and or relation in comparison to Israel’s information for their last days in the Lords Day.
In this same research several scholars, which are alive today and who hold to the pre-tribulation rapture viewpoint, which is why I am sure they researched this word and its history so thoroughly. They felt that in accord with the original languages and the use of this verb, the word, apostasia is correctly defined as departure and not falling away. They also stated “Since Paul uses the definite article, “the apostasia” this shows us he was speaking of a definite event and distinct from the appearance or unveiling of the “man of lawlessness.”
They felt this rendering agreed with the context and subject matter as Paul was talking about the “gathering or assembling together” of the Body of Christ. Paul alone teaches of the “snatching away to meet the Lord in the air” and before the tribulation time and this is “the gathering” he is speaking of. Some translations say assemble or assembling. One other note, at the time of the 1611 KJAV, the rapture of our church was not taught or understood and they were not “rightly dividing” Israel from the Body of Christ. Peter was the Apostle they looked to, and they falsely claimed him as their first pope.
Also the Catholic Church teaches that at death, there is first a purgatory and then the person goes on to heaven or hell. With their doctrine so in error and not following Paul or “rightly dividing” they chose to translate their Bible to fit with their beliefs and those who broke from the Catholic church sad to say held onto many false doctrines they sanctioned, such as going to heaven or hell at death. Let’s look at this word a little more.
The Greek word for falling away by itself does not mean a religious apostasy or defection. Neither does the word mean to fall as the Greeks had another word for that which was, “pipto” (fall). So if these scholars I have just quoted are correct that passage in 2 Thessalonians 2:3 would read: “No one should be deluding you by any method, for, should not the departure (of the body of Christ) be coming first and then the man of lawlessness will be unveiled, the son of destruction in his own era” Verse 5 “Do you not remember that, still being with you I told you these things?” (In 1 Thessalonians 4:17 he had already explained the rapture to them)
He continues with more information about the rapture or snatching away in 2 Thessalonians 2:6,7 “And now you are aware what is detaining, for him (the man of lawlessness) to be unveiled in his own era….For the secret of lawlessness (which is Israel’s apostasy) is already operating. Only when the present detainer (the body of Christ or Grace) may be coming to be out of the midst, then will be unveiled the lawless one”
Given this information it does seem that “the departure” fits with the context and the subject matter of Verse 1 which is of “our assembling to Him.” (Assembling is our gathering and we depart together) The saints were confused and needed reminding about “their assembling or the gathering together to meet the Lord in the air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17
Paul, reassuring them, the persecutions and trials they were undergoing were not because they had been left behind or that they were in the indignation with Israel. They feared they were then in the day of the Lord, He tells them they are not, because they will be removed, gathered before the day of the Lord.
The persecution going on was not the tribulation foretold for Israel, a period of time they would have to endure before they could enter the Kingdom. But Paul’s evangel had taught something new and different for those placed in the Body of Christ, which was that they “were not appointed to that time of indignation” 1 Thessalonians 5:9 Paul was telling them, we will depart before the man of lawlessness is revealed, the body of Christ raptured before it all begins.
It seems that we would be “taken out of the midst as the detainer” as it is our dispensation of Grace which detains the times of restoration and the era of the man of lawlessness. Many other things prophesied in Daniel must also happen before the last days for Israel will begin.
This research concerning the word apostasia makes sense to me because it makes fits in with the subject matter and context. I had previously accepted the other way of explaining the use of the word apostasy in Paul’s letter as referring to the future and the greatest apostasy of Israel. Although that too will happen, Israel was already in apostasy in Paul’s day and she is still so now. Paul refers to that by the words in Verse 7 “For the secret of lawlessness is already operating.”
Israel’s apostasy was active then and continues in our day and so why would he say to watch for it or that it was something yet to come? Christendom applies this to the Body of Christ and those leaving her as the future apostasy. Christendom’s apostasy began immediately after the death of the Apostles and Christendom is in apostasy having departed from Paul’s evangel but Paul’s words in this passage have to do Israel. And Paul continues in Verse 8 to say “Only till or when the present detainer may be coming to be out of the midst, then will be unveiled the lawless one”
Did not Paul just make a separation between the lawlessness that was then present from the future lawless one? Remember Israel was in apostasy, the nation lo ammi, blind and calloused, rejecting Jehovah and their messiah. There is no doubt that the scriptures do foretell of the Jews apostasy escalating to the point of supporting the lawless one, the future antichrist. Perhaps the groundwork in our day is already underway as the apostate Jew today is massing wealth and power behind the scenes in the entire world. Most in the world are not even aware of this, but our country is in debt to a group of Jewish men or families who are behind the scenes maneuvering themselves into positions of even more wealth and power. The national debt is one such way they most likely could use to dictate to the United States now and in the future.
The majority of the average Jew or the common people of Israel have gone though much suffering because of their leaders and being hated by the surrounding nations, but there is a group of wealthy Jews who seem to be controlling the finances of this world from the shadows and all of this could be laying the groundwork for the time of Jacobs trouble and the restoration of Israel as a nation and kingdom again, leading into the greatest apostasy amongst the Jews yet and taking them into those last days before Christ returns. The scriptures indicate that “the man of lawlessness” will be a Jew as Israel’s false messiah. How all of this will play out remains to be seen, we will be watching from heaven.
Doing an internet search on this subject of the Jews and their power and influence in this world, I was amazed at what all the businesses the Jews are involved in. The Entertainment and News media, Magazines, Banks and the list goes on. In Henry Ford’s day he attempted to expose the power they wielded back then, but was forced to withdraw his information or suffer business losses. In A. E. Knoch’s book, The Unveiling, he talks about how aware he was of the behind the scenes maneuvering going on by the wealthy Jews. He would be speechless I am sure, at what they have grown into today
Knoch felt that only the one seven of Daniels prophecy was needing to be fulfilled after our removal and he even felt it could happen in his day…that was over 50 years ago that he wrote that and he died without seeing it. And deeper studies seem to indicate as I have said previously…what will begin after our removal are the times of restoration and it is possible Israel and the world will have the complete 490 years plus ahead for them….before Christ returns and during that time…the man of lawlessness will be unveiled…more likely towards the end of those years. So there is a lot to take place in this world before Christ returns and after the Body of Christ is called home.
Getting back to the two viewpoints, of whether Paul was referring to a future apostasy or of the departure of the Body of Christ, it does not change the fact that the “we” will be removed first. Paul said we are to be “taken out of the midst” and this is because we are “the dispensation of Grace” as the “ambassadors of conciliation” for Christ. God is conciliated with the world, in this present dispensation as Paul tells us, “God is not holding the world’s trespasses against them,” at 2 Corinthians 5:19-21
The ambassadors of Grace are to be called home before the war breaks out, removed by the Lord, ending grace, which then opens the way for Israel and her law covenant to be back in the world again and when it is the time or era for the unveiling of the man of sin/perdition. With Grace removed from this world God will be free to do deal with Israel’s enemies and later to do His judging work and to release His wrath or indignation in dealing with this man who becomes the antichrist and deal with Israel as the Harlot, Babylon the Great, who “rides the back of the wild beast” Revelation 17:3-6 15-17
In that time set aside for Israel many Jews will be deceived by this “man of sin, the lawless one” as they will sign a covenant with him for peace. This denotes their acceptance of him as their messiah. The apostates of Israel will be working with him and probably living in Babylon with him, that city will become a major Mecca of the world again most likely rebuilt during the times of restoration.
The modern day remnant will be given “spiritual understanding” of “the book” with its many prophecies for their day, “they will understand and learn doctrine.” Isaiah 29:18-24 These ones will make up the seven churches in the first three chapters of the book of Revelation and among these true believers will be the 144,000, which God calls out, 12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel. Revelation 7 and 14 speak of them.
They will be heralding the approaching Kingdom, teaching truth about the times they are living in and those rejecting this truth will be in that apostate class and will be the greatest apostasy of Israel’s history and is why this element of Israel is described in Revelation as the “Harlot” The wild beast will be the organization of the “man of lawlessness” a one world government and one world religion a second wild beast. The apostate portion of Israel is also called “Babylon the Great…the mother of harlots.”
These names are references to her past unfaithfulness to her Husbandly owner, Jehovah, breaking their covenant with Him repeatedly and also for her rejection of Gods promise to bring them their own Messiah, Jesus Christ. In those end times once again they will break the covenant re activated during the times of restoration which is what leads into their greatest apostasy and union with the man of lawlessness bringing judgment from Jehovah, the tribulation time which are the last days in prophesy. Revelation 17:1-18 tells of this woman and her union with the wild beast and how it turns on her.
The Body of Christ also has a prophecy for our Last Days on this earth
1 Timothy 4:1-3 and 2 Timothy 3:1-5. These two passages refer to conditions we will find amongst those professing Christ in our last days on this earth.
1 Timothy 4:1-3 “Now the spirit is saying explicitly, that in subsequent eras some will be withdrawing from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and the teachings of demons in the hypocrisy of false expressions, their own conscience having been cauterized; forbidding to marry, abstaining from foods,” There are many interesting words and terms in this passage, First, “the spirit is saying explicitly” Paul seems to expressing the importance of this prophecy.
Then he says, “in subsequent eras” showing, down through the generations, there will be those “withdrawing from the faith” to withdraw from the faith, means Paul is not talking about unbelievers but about believers who will be “giving heed to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons” leaving Paul’s sound doctrine and turning to the false. Paul continues, “hypocrisy of false expressions”
I found this interesting as a hypocrite is one who professes one thing but then says or does an opposing thing. I will let you ponder this one. Next he says “their own conscience having been cauterized;” This is similar to Israel being calloused and blind through her sin and rebellion and apostasy for her doctrines?
The next two items may be key, for us to try and understand, “forbidding to marry, abstaining from foods” The King James has “meats” here with a note that it means “foods” Many point to these as they are practiced in the Catholic Church and other sects. The Catholics forbid their priests, nuns and monks from marriage but hold it sacred for everyone else and they restrict foods on fast days while the Seventh Day Adventists and other law keeping sects require abstinence of specific foods and some from meat.
Both Dr. Bullinger and Vladimir Gelesnoff felt the language of the Apostle Paul shows this to be a requirement of total abstinence from meats or foods and the repudiation of marriage. While A. E. Knoch did not agree, he applied it to those who restrict these things selectively in their sects. Which we do have sects with us today who practice these as mentioned, but I also have to point out that these practices went on in the time of Paul and before, in pagan religions and Judaism.
Paul himself even encouraged celibacy if one wanted to be completely devoted to the work of spreading the evangel. How would his words be prophetic for the last days of this dispensation unless Paul was pointing out the false doctrines always in the world would become prevalent in the Body of Christ? Also we might ask, was he referring to these as being the normal thinking or of something extreme so as to be seen as different or alarming?
Vladimir Gelesnoff wrote an article titled, “The Last Days in Scripture” in it he points to this passage and says that “Theosophy and Spiritism come nearer to the requirement of this prophecy in Timothy” Perhaps this is what Paul meant when he began the passage with these words, “withdrawing from the faith, (which would be from his sound doctrine) and giving heed to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons” (the lies and myths Paul spoke of many times.) So I looked up Theosophy and Spiritism in the Dictionary to see if it would shed any light for us in helping us to understand what Vladimir was meaning and here are their definitions.
Theosophy: “A religious system based on intuitive insight: any religious philosophy based on intuitive insight in the nature of God” Also another says, “Knowledge of divine things. Any of various forms of philosophical or religious thought in which claim is made to a special insight into the divine nature, or to a special divine revelations; in recent times, the system of belief and doctrine, based largely on Brahmanic and Buddhistic ideas of the Theosophical Society, a body founded in New York in 1875, with branches or derived bodies in various parts of the world, and for its main object, seeking to form the nucleus of a universal brotherhood of humanity to promote the study of comparative religion and philosophy and to investigate the secrets of nature and develop the divine powers latent in man.”
Spiritism: “Belief in the power of the spirits of the dead to communicate with the living; the doctrine or practices of spiritualism” Also spiritualism is defined as “belief in communication with dead” and “religious belief emphasizing spiritual matters: a system of belief that emphasizes the spiritual mature of existence” “Philosophy emphasizing spiritual nature of reality: the philosophical doctrine that all reality is spiritual and not material”
We definitely see Spiritism and Theosophy are prevalent and on the rise in our world today along with the above mentioned restrictions against the forbidding of marriage and food restrictions in Christendom and other sects claiming faith in Jesus Christ. Also in those termed the “New Age” religions, (which is really not new but are just Western versions of ancient pagan religions) Witchcraft, spirit mediums and all associated with them are growing in number today as just normal or tolerated in our day.
We need to remember that Israel also had foods not allowed for them to eat and we remember Peter’s vision, God showing him there were “no longer any unclean things, peoples or foods.” Acts 10:15, 28 So, for the so called “Christian denominations” to follow these practices selectively or completely would indeed fit in with Paul’s words that they had left his sound doctrine given for the body of Christ which has no rituals or religious requirements and that they have indeed accepted “doctrines of demons.” The methods of Satan and his cohorts are to take a bit of truth and then corrupt it into a religious doctrine, deceiving!!
We may also wonder if the moral decline in the world today is any part of the meaning we are looking for with the high divorce rate, children out of wedlock and those changing partners on a regular basis and the increasing homosexuality which is now becoming more and more accepted as being natural. I have read that homosexuality is now being explained to children in grade school. I am not sure if any one particular aspect mentioned applies or if maybe it is all of them collectively, which fit Paul’s words of “doctrines of demons” If there is something else perhaps more involved here that I am not yet seeing, I would love to hear anyone’s thoughts on this passage.
Lets continue with Paul’s words and go now to where he specifically refers to the Last Days which concern the Body of Christ at 2 Timothy 3:1-9 “Now this know, that in the last days perilous periods will be present, for men will be selfish, fond of money, ostentatious, proud, calumniators, stubborn to parents, ungrateful, maligners, without natural affection, implacable, adversaries, uncontrollable, fierce, adverse to the good, traitors, rash, conceited, fond of their own gratification rather than fond of God; having a form of devoutness, yet denying its power.
These, also shun. For of these are those who are slipping into homes and are leading into captivity little women, heaped with sins, being led by various lusts and gratifications, always learning and yet not at any time able to come into a realization of the truth. Now, by the method by which Jannes and Jambres withstand Moses, thus these also are withstanding the truth, men of a depraved mind, disqualified as to the faith. But they shall not be progressing more, for their folly shall be obvious to all, as that of those also became.” CLV
How are we to view this passage with Paul giving a prophecy of the last days? What is commonly taught is that he is describing unbelievers and wicked conditions in the world, but if we read it carefully; it seems to me he is speaking about believers or professed believers. Paul is speaking to us in this letter about our last days before being removed from this earth. Paul wrote as our Apostle and so was speaking about conditions that we would find in the Body of Christ in the last days of our dispensation?
Paul already had suffered the loss of believers in his day, those turning away from his sound doctrine to false doctrines. In his letters to Timothy as he was turning his ministry over to him, we can see and feel his sadness and concern about this and warnings of the increasing deception that was to come and I noticed it seems he was also trying to bolster Timothy, encouraging him to be strong in facing these issues.
These traits Paul describes, if we were to consider them to be conditions in the world of unbelievers, I would again have to point out that these traits have existed in humanity from the beginning of time, so how would they be something special or different to look for, standing out as different for us to make note of?
Let’s view this passage in an entirely new light, not as physical characteristics of unbelievers, and conditions in the world but conditions or characteristics in the church, amongst believers as signs of a lack of true spirituality or maturity because of having turned from Paul’s sound doctrine to lies and myths? Paul continues at 2 Timothy 3:10-13 “NOW, you fully follow me in my teaching, motive, purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings, such as occurred to me in Antioch, in Iconium, in Lystra; persecutions such as I undergo, and out of them all, the Lord rescues me. And all who want to live devoutly in Christ Jesus shall be persecuted. Yet wicked men and swindlers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived.”
When we look at the denominations today in Christendom, we can see they are not following Paul, because of not “rightly dividing the word of truth.” They are following Israel’s Apostles instead of Paul. They are also steeped in pagan doctrines, they are deceived and deceiving others with doctrines of demons. Paul spoke of this in his first letter to Timothy and in this passage he says, “having a form of godliness but proving false to its power.” Paul also said they would “be culminators,” which is blasphemy.
The denominations teach that The Creator, The God of Love turns to a God of hate if you do not accept Him and will send or allow most of His creation to go to a place of fiery, eternal torment, which is the most blasphemous of all doctrines. This doctrine promotes fear and not faith in a God of Love; it denies His grace to the Body of Christ and His promised mercy and grace to Israel and the world. In Chapter Seven we will go into more detail on these lies and myths Paul warned against and fought in his day and are now the creeds and doctrines found in the denominations of Christendom today.
All that is needed for a believer to do, is to spend some time researching the history of the church and its doctrines, tracing their roots in paganism which can guide us as to what needs to be weeded out of our life, our faith, the myths and lies. When they are gone it is then easy to see the truths in Gods word, they will gleam like gold washed of the dirt.
Yet the denominations today do just as Paul described and said would be a sign of our last days, “withstanding the truth, depraved minds, disqualified as to the faith.” 1 Corinthians 9:25-27 Again this is not speaking to unbelievers who have not been given faith or the faith! But would fit the Body of Christ today, especially, disqualified as to the faith. Paul alone used that term “disqualify” in our relationship with Christ. If our works and our faith are based on false doctrines, they are valueless works and can disqualify us…not for salvation but for rewards as the KJ uses, but the more accurate word is wages used by the CLV.
These valueless works are described by Paul as “wood, hay and stubble and are to be burned up at the Dais of God.” This passage is found at 1 Corinthians 3:8-15 This was something Paul did not want for himself or for any called into his evangel, to become a disqualified worker and not receive wages.
1 Corinthians 3:8, 9 and 14
What are the wages earned or forfeited? There is not much information given in scripture on what this is exactly. We do know what the wages are not and that is salvation because even those who have forfeited their wages are saved! A few verses to compare the use of this word forfeit are in 2 Corinthians 7:9 and Philippians 3:8 where this word seems to imply a loss of something. Another word to view is “wages” and it is found in Romans 4:4 and 1 Corinthians 9:17
A worker earns a wage, we do not earn salvation it is freely graced us. So “the wages” referred to are of something else, outside of our salvation and would also be outside of our justification and our glorification since these are already ours, as the spiritual blessings given to us through Grace. No, the wages are something we earn, because of the way this word is used in the scripture. Paul did not earn a wage from the teaching of his evangel, but supported himself and voluntarily shared his evangel. Although, it was proper to help Paul with his expenses, he also did not want to be a burden so he worked to earn his own way even though he did a lot of missionary journeys establishing churches. We are told at Acts 18:1-3 Paul was a “tentmaker by trade” and worked with Priscilla and Aquila while in Corinth. He refers to this at 2 Corinthians 11:7-9 so this is not to mean, being paid to preach or teach Gods Word.
It might be good to briefly contrast wages with ration. The Greek word translated “wages” means (hire) while the Greek word for “rations” means (provision-purchase) Paul tells us at Romans 6:23 “For the ration of Sin is death, yet the gracious gift of God is life eonian, in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
An example of this word ration is related for us in regards to soldiers, who each received the same ration. We all inherit death, thus a ration of death. Another example, Jesus said, “You should be intimidating no one, neither be blackmailing and be sufficed with your rations.” Luke 3:14b.
The ration of death for sin is paid for all with Christ’s blood. Revelation 1:5; 5:9 Colossians 1:20 Paul was referring to something else with the word wages. Salvation is a gift, not earned by any of us, Christ paid for it for all with His shed blood…so what is it we could earn and or forfeit if not salvation.
I have looked into many commentaries on just what these “wages” might be and no one seems to have much to say about it. So we will just have to wait and see. I suspect, though that it entails a principle given in the scriptures of “those who are given much, much will be expected” and will apply in this area and if so, then the more we learn now, the more we will be used in the heavenly realm.
For Israel their award or reward was to rule and reign with Christ in the Kingdom on earth, the unfaithful will not be given those privileges. Perhaps ours also will entail some responsibilities similar, in ruling and reigning with Christ in the celestials. Our ministry truly begins in the celestials, the vast array of spirit beings are to be reconciled by us. So if our wages have to do with our assignments in that realm, it is logical that Paul will once again be leading the way in the celestial missionary journey’s, into all the spheres of life in heaven of which we cannot even comprehend that realm now or our honors of being used in that realm.
Paul did tell us, we will be ministering to and “judging the messengers” at 1 Corinthians 6:3 I also have wondered if this means we will be used in reconciling satan and his angels, and if this is what is meant when they are put into the Lake of Fire? We know that fire does not destroy them, fire does not harm spirit beings, but if this fire is the purifying process used by God to reconcile, perhaps we will be used as they are spirit beings so I cannot imagine them being any part of the earthly kingdom.
Just imagine the honor it would be to accompany Paul through out the Universe, leading all towards the ultimate outcome of reconciliation as Paul explains will happen in Philippians 2:9-11 “Wherefore, also, God highly exalts Him and graces Him with the name that is above every name, that in the name of Jesus every knee should be bowing, celestial and terrestrial and subterranean, and every tongue should be acclaiming that Jesus Christ is Lord, for the glory of God the Father” quoted from Isaiah 45:23
Maybe now we can appreciate even more Paul’s words at 2 Timothy 2:15-18 “Endeavor to present yourself to God, qualified, an unashamed worker, correctly cutting the word of truth. Yet from profane prattlings stand aloof, for they will be progressing to more irreverence, and their word will spread as gangrene, of whom are Hymeneus and Philetus who swerve as to truth saying that the resurrection has already occurred and are subverting the faith of some.”
These men did not deny a resurrection but instead of teaching that it was for the future taught that it was in the past. Most denominations are teaching the immortality of the soul and that the dead are changed to a spirit at death and thus they are denying the truth of the state of the dead and the glorious truth of the hope God promises to all humanity which is of the future resurrections out lined in Gods Word. Truths lost by not “rightly dividing,”
Christendom has a different gospel from Paul’s and they indeed will be ashamed when they see their “valueless works” burned up at the Dais of God Galatians 1:7-9 We all will have removed from us that which is of no value.
Christendom teaches an evangel today, which as a whole is different from what Paul taught. Christendom is always warning of the apostasy and claiming the sects which have left them are it, when in fact they, themselves have left Paul’s teaching, departed from it, they in fact are the apostasy of Paul’s administration! Christendom’s gospel is mixed in with Peter’s Kingdom evangel and sprinkled heavily with “lies and myths” taken from the Pagan religions and Gnostic teachings. They profess Christ but with a distorted gospel this is also referred to as Heresy. 2 Timothy 4:4
Heresy is taken from the word “heteros” which means different; to teach a different gospel or doctrine from that of the Apostles was considered heresy. Christendom loves to throw this word around for anyone who differs with them, when they in fact are the worst offenders. Paul counseled many times against the teaching of “a different gospel and a different Jesus” and of different doctrines other than what he taught at 2 Corinthians 11:4 Galatians 1:6 and 1 Timothy 1:3 and 6:3.
Heteros is where we get the word heretic. So what or who is a Heretic? A. E. Knoch’s commentary states: “Though this is the Greek word “hairetikon”, it does not refer to a heretic, but one who belongs to a sect. It is applied to the Sadducees in Acts 5:17 and the Pharisees at Acts 15:5 and 26:5 also the Nazarenes at Acts 24:5. These all could not be called heretic. Sectarianism is essentially, preferring to associate with a class or clique. The circumcisionist would readily prefer their kind.” Another reference is found at Acts 28:22
So according to this definition we can see that Christendom is a sect, each denomination is a sect and you and I are then a sect. Anytime we choose to fellowship with those who believe the same way we do that makes us a sect, plain and simple. Christendom has misused and over used the heretic word for sure. There are members of the body of Christ in all denominations.
These denominations are in error doctrinally; nevertheless in them some are our fellow body members. According to Paul, one who professes “Jesus Christ as Lord, can only do so with the aid of the Holy Spirit” 1 Corinthians 12:2,3 and Paul also stated at Romans 10:9 “confessing Christ showed one to be saved,” Confessing Christ as Lord and Savior, was the sign that one was saved, but wrongly stated by Christendom as a requirement for salvation as they teach we must decide to believe.
But instead we are chosen by God and are given the Holy Spirit, and this is what enables us to confess Christ as our Lord and Savior, again we did not do it on our own. The denominations are more concerned with confessing a creed, their creed.
On this same subject, there is a passage given by Paul, which has been used concerning this word heretic at Titus 3:10,11 “A man that is an heretic, after the first and second admonition reject” KJAV Notice the difference with this verse in The Concordant Version, it reads, “A sectarian man, after one and a second admonition, refuse, being aware that such a one has turned himself out, and is sinning, being self-condemned.”
Paul recommends admonition, not rebuke, twice and if the person does not respond he said to let it end there as far as trying to persuade them to our view. Cobie, who lives in Boston, helps me to edit and she looked up the definitions of admonition verses rebuke and I found them quite good. Admonition; “a mild but earnest rebuke…giving advice for or against something.” Rebuke “to criticize or reprimand somebody, usually sharply” Cobie’s words, “one is nicey, nicey while the other is harsh.”
When Paul spoke these words the situation was not exactly like ours today so before we jump on this and wave it in another’s face, lets think about the facts along with the principle of rightly dividing, needing to apply it with the culture or circumstances Paul was living in and compare them with ours today. The Body of Christ was just beginning along side the Remnant church of Israel and amidst the Jewish nation with their many diverse sects. Israel persecuted those who did not hold to the law and so many of these believers in Jesus were still wishing to adhere to the Mosaic Law just as we learned in Chapter 4.
It was hard for the believers in Christ who were the Remnant of Israel to understand and give up their centuries of traditions. To give up the law and to see circumcision was no longer a requirement for them or for new believers. So there was a lot of confusing, dissension going on with all of this. Some accepted that Jesus had been the messiah yet wanted to also keep the law.
In that verse we just read at Titus 3:10 when Paul said to let them go they were self condemned, I feel he was referring to those who preferred to stay under the law which they were then self condemning themselves because it was the Law that was condemning them. The Law had over 600 restrictions, to break one meant the whole Law was broken and the person…was under condemnation. Why would one want to hold to condemnation and reject the Freedom given to those in Christ? Soulish desires to be religious and tied to rituals, self righteous?
The Law no longer required by God, so by putting themselves back under the law they condemned themselves with it. And by wanting to keep even a part of the law they were voiding what Christ did on the Cross for them which set them free from the death dealing law and bondage to it. They did not understand that Christ released them from it, so they were self condemned. Likewise in the case where Paul talked about “falling out of Grace” at Galatians 5:3,4
Again the context has to do with law keeping and circumcision. “Lo, I, Paul am saying to you that if you should be circumcising, Christ will benefit you nothing. Now I am attesting again to every man who is circumcising. That he is a debtor to do the whole law. Exempted from Christ were you who are being justified in Law. You fall out of grace.”
Paul was not telling them that God’s Grace would no longer cover their error; he was telling them they had fallen out of it, by placing themselves back under the Law, bondage. This has to do with understanding, the differences with Grace and Law and that the dispensation had changed. They were clinging to the old and missing the blessings of the new. The Galatians were Gentile believers discipled by Paul’s evangel and were being misled by the Jewish Circumcisionist telling them it was necessary to also follow the Mosaic Law. They were making themselves a sect, departing from Paul’s sound doctrine. They wanted Christ and the blessings yet also wanted “religion” What did the old Jewish religion consist of, Circumcising, Law keeping, Sabbath keeping, rituals.
Why had these rituals been given to Israel? They pointed to the dying nature of mankind and so they were given rituals, as signs of obedience to earn God’s approval. These were physical requirements and so they were clinging to that which is soulish. The soul wants to feel something; this is the emotions of the flesh. Christ fulfilled the law, ending its death dealing bondage and all it entails. The remnant church did not fully understand the spiritual blessing they too were given by being in Christ; they thought they were losing something with no more rituals.
Paul gave the complete gospel of Grace to us in his letters. We do not have religion or religious ceremonies; we have no signs and no requirements, there are no religious acts which please God. Just as the Jews clinging to their Mosaic Law in Paul’s day, today with the law keeping, Sabbath keeping done in the denominations, they are following the mother of them all, Catholicism. The denominations have set before believers, rituals and the Ten Commandments given to Israel with all of the other requirements such as baptism and tithing when all of these are copies of the Jewish religious system and have no place in the Body of Christ.
None of these things were ever given to the Gentiles before Israel and were never transferred to the Body of Christ by Paul. Christ fulfilled the law on the cross for all. Jesus said, “It is finished” he completed the work of salvation with His death. There is nothing more any of us can do, but say, thank you Lord. If we strive in some way to please God through religious acts, we are saying to God, that what Christ did on the Cross was not enough.
If we think we need to or must do something to earn or deserve our place in the Body of Christ we miss the whole point of Gods’ work through Christ on the cross and His demonstration of Grace with the Body of Christ through the evangel of Grace given to Paul.
Paul also talked of “the enemies of the cross” at Philippians 3:17-20 In the context of this passage Paul is dealing with those who insisted on circumcision, holding onto the Mosaic covenant. Christendom wants to hold to the law in one way or another even though it was never given to her, they hold to the earthly rather than to the calling to heaven and a spirit led life.
If we hold to traditions for Israel, which are earthly, we are then an “enemy of the cross.” This is written to and about believers not unbelievers. What the “foolish Galatians” were doing by embracing the old religious rituals, was the denying of the power of the blood of Christ and His work on the cross? To do this will make a believer “an enemy of the cross.” We do not want to be a foolish believer or an enemy of the cross, we must have sound doctrine.
Circumcision was a sign as was baptism and to add religion, traditions, and rituals stolen from Israel or paganism makes a believer an enemy of the cross. To not teach the truth of what God accomplished with Christ’s death on the cross: which was dying for the sins of the world thus saving all humanity, makes one an enemy of the cross. As we have learned in this Manual, to teach that a person chooses to serve God on their own and that they have a will more powerful than Gods and then as the denominations who teach this add to that the horrendous lie that if you do not accept Christ today you will burn in hellfire forever makes those teachers, enemies of the cross! This is serious business! It is those teachings which are the…works of no value, described as hay, wood and stubble which will be burned up at the Dais of God. 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 This appears to be our first stop in heaven after the snatching away.
Continuing on with Paul’s words at 2 Timothy 3:1-5 about our last days and how they fit the heresy or sectarianism in the Body of Christ today, we also can see that the denominations are “lovers of money” because of their demanding an illegal tithe and seeking to build bigger and better church buildings, showing their prosperity in following Christ, “proud, ostentatious.”
Paul continues with, “Maligners, without natural affection, implacable adversaries, uncontrollable, fierce, averse to the good, traitors, rash” I think we can apply this to how the denominations have fought amongst themselves for centuries, forming more and more sects. These denominations in turn fight those who disagree with them and all fight “the good “that any believers discover in the Word of God and then try to share which will expose error and establish truth.
The opposition to those seeking truth is sometimes “fiercely” carried out. In the past, the Catholic Church and others used murder and torture in the name of Jesus Christ. They fight against “the good” of the sound doctrine Paul gave and the truth of God’s Word, “maligning” those who have left their denominations in search of truth.
Those who seek to reveal Paul’s sound doctrine with the beauties of God’s mercy and grace are hated for this by fellow believers, who attack and call them heretics or worse, treating a fellow member in Christ as an evil doer. This is a demonstration of “having no natural affection” for those chosen by God to be their own fellow body members in Christ.
They do not seem to understand or practice Paul’s counsel “to keep the unity of the spirit.” Ephesians 4:1-5. The denominations in Christendom strive and fight to keep a unity of doctrine made up of their own man made creeds. Notice also, how Paul said, “traitors” again this would not be an unbeliever denying Christ, since to be a traitor, one would of had to have been a believer in Christ in order to depart from the faith or system of belief, which is the sound doctrine of Paul!
Let’s now look into Paul’s words concerning “the Unity of the Spirit” at Ephesians 4:1-6 “I am entreating you, then, I, the prisoner in the Lord, to walk worthily of the calling with which you were called, with all humility and meekness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit with the tie of peace: one body and one spirit, according as you were called also with one expectation of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, Who is over all and through all and in all.”
In these six verses, we can find many things to discuss. Paul counsels, the Body of Christ “to walk worthily and to keep the unity of the spirit” First, “to walk worthily” is not addressing our moral character even thought a believer should be moral, but this is addressing our spiritual character which is to understand and appreciate, the Grace we are in, to be unworthy would not affect our place in the body of Christ as that is secure but perhaps our personal relationship with God.
How do we “keep the unity of the spirit” when the Body of Christ is splintered into 100’s of sects and denominations and are heralding different evangels? We would naturally ask have they not broken this unity since we are a splintered group here and now? I would answer, yes we are…physically but not in spirit, so we need to continue with this passage and see why I say this and learn from Paul’s words how we are united in spirit.
This verse bothered me for many years as my mind focused on the word “unity” thinking it meant unity of doctrine and I saw no unity even among those of us who have left Christendom and all its numerous denominations and are endeavoring to follow Paul and are trying to remove error from our belief system. Yet, there still is no true or complete unity in thought even with those of us who are not blindly following men, but are following Paul and are diligently searching for truth amidst the error in the Body of Christ, we still struggle with keeping the unity of the spirit since we continue to have areas in which we differ doctrinally.
The “church” divided into its many denominations has focused on this word, unity and thus they form creeds or doctrines and require those who join each particular sect or denomination to adhere to those creeds and doctrines, this they feel is keeping the unity. Most will not allow any questioning of these creeds. They outline what the person is to believe and that is it! Jehovah’s Witnesses provide study material for all their congregations’ world wide, and it is studied on the same day. They state this is keeping the unity of the spirit. Cobie, who left the Seventh Day Adventists, says they do the same thing.
They are all wrong, that is nothing more than keeping the unity of creeds and doctrines and really is the unity of the human spirit or more accurately soulishness. Paul was referring to the unity of God’s spirit given to each believer. It is that spirit which is placed within each one of us in the Body of Christ. This is the “unity of the spirit” and it is tied to our calling and our being chosen by God and that we are given the faith to believe in Christ.
That spirit unites us into one unit, as a spiritual body, the Body of Christ. This unity of the spirit is the spirit from God which unites us and it ignores that in our flesh we are estranged from one another over doctrines. God does not see us in the flesh, thank goodness.
Please read and review all God does for us in these verses, Romans 8:9-17 “Justifying” 1 Corinthians 2:11-13 “The soulish man does not understand spiritual things” 1 Corinthians 2:14 “faith” 1 Corinthians 3:16 “we are the temple of God and the spirit dwells in us” 1 Corinthians 6:11 “bathed, hallowed and justified by God” 1 Corinthians 12:13 “we are baptized into one spirit” 2 Corinthians 1:22 “Sealed with the spirit” 2 Corinthians 4:13 “given the spirit of faith” Ephesians 1:14 “the earnest of the spirit” and Ephesians 4:30 “sealed with the spirit.”
Let’s now look at the word endeavoring in this passage, “endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit” Ephesians 4:3b the word endeavor is from the Greek word “spoud a z’o” which in the English language, it means, “to be diligent.”
So now our next question is how are we, to be diligent in this matter? Paul tells us how we are to do this, in the previous verses at Ephesians 4:2 “with humility and meekness, with patience,” Verse 3a “bearing with one another in love,” and Verse 4 “with the tie of peace, one body and one spirit” CLV
Okay in these passages we have read what God has done, He unites us with the spirit into one body and then Paul tells us what we can do to keep that unity for ourselves we cannot enforce it on to others, and we keep it by demonstrating or practicing the qualities or characteristic Paul outlined for us, which were…
Humility, Meekness, Patience…LOVE…….with the Tie of Peace
I have an article written by Oscar Baker from the newsletter, Grace and Truth on the subject of “The Unity of the Spirit” which came a few years ago, while I was first working on a lesson for our Sunday Bible class on the same subject found at Ephesians 4:3-6 I enjoyed his thoughts on the dilemma we find ourselves in The Body of Christ today, with no physical unity for sure, but that does not break the Unity of the Spirit. We break it by being unkind to those who disagree with us. I liked his words so thought I would share them here with you.
A QUESTION OF DIVISIONS
By Oscar M. Baker
“As we look about us today we see that Christendom is divided into hundreds of sects. We read much about these divisions as men deplore them. There is a widespread accusation that men are dividing the body of Christ. And men everywhere are seeking to make a union, to gather the sects and denominations together under one head. But of course that one head will be a man.
In the midst of all this the question comes to mind as to whether there can be divisions in the body of Christ. If so, how could it be done? Where would one start? What means could be used? In Ephesians 4:3-6 there is mentioned the unity of the Spirit. It is sevenfold as follow
One Hope One Faith
One Spirit One Baptism
One Body One God and Father
No one can make this unity. It is already made. It is to be kept, that is all that one can do about it. But somebody is sure to ask if the unity is broken if somebody does not keep it. Failing to keep the unity is not breaking it or making any divisions. The unity cannot be changed by man's attitude toward it. It remains nonetheless.
In man-made organizations, there can be all kinds of divisions and splits. And they can also make a unity by joining organizations together. But no such unity can be a spiritual one. In the churches during Acts, there were divisions and strife.
This was wrong and was mentioned along with carnality, fornication, incest, and the like. But after Acts the word church never again appears in the plural and no longer does the term apply to a group of believers here on the earth. The church today is seated with Christ in the heavens. What man can ascend to heaven to divide this church?
The Head of the church today is seated at the right hand of God in the heavenlies. If any man were to try to be head of the church today, he would have to invade heaven itself and displace Christ from His position there. Yet men vainly imagine that the church is here on the earth and that a man is its head. And many a martyr died in the flames insisting that Christ was the Head of the church, and not somebody else. What man can ascend to heaven to break the unity of the Spirit?
Yet we are told that we are to strive earnestly to keep it. We are to watch over it, to take care of it in our own lives, to keep an eye upon it, not looking to something else as a substitute, and to observe it attentively. Our failure to do this does not break it, but it can break us. We can suffer loss and lose our joy.” By Oscar Baker
So we see then, that “the unity of the spirit” comes from God and not from membership in any of the man made denominations or sects. Nor can these man made divisions break it. Our expectation is secure; those who have been chosen by God to be the Body of Christ are all going to heaven to be with Christ, no matter our doctrine or our error in them. We did nothing to earn our placement in Christ and we can do nothing to lose it. It is God’s Gift which is His Grace, and it has declared us righteous because He placed us in Christ
Who is righteous! Paul tells us this so simply, at Ephesians 2:10 “We are God’s workmanship or achievement.” SO, the point being, our doctrinal error does not remove from us the spirit placed within us. This is the “unity of the spirit” God fitting us together into Christ’s Body, which is why we are already righteous in God eyes. Paul words have to do with our conduct toward each other with the words, “endeavor to keep the unity of the spirit, in peace with meekness, patience, and humility”.
This is how we are to treat one another, no matter what our doctrinal differences are. Paul also is the one who gives us the description of ideal love and one simple aspect of love, is that it is to be kind to one another. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 and so I am reminded also of Paul words in Ephesians 4:30-32.
“And do not be causing sorrow to the holy spirit of God by which you are sealed for the day of deliverance. Let all bitterness and fury and anger and clamor and calumny be taken away from you with all malice, yet become kind to one another, tenderly compassionate, dealing graciously among yourselves, according as God also, in Christ, deals graciously with you”
God deals graciously with us and so, we are to imitate Him and deal graciously with others even those we consider to be in error and who may consider us to be in error.
The understanding of just what God’s Grace is, is so important for us, as most believers will quote the verses and insist they are saved through His grace and yet they believe they did something on their own to merit receiving God’s grace. They decided, or they chose to serve God, if this was true, would not this have made it something they earned?
Many say this and wear it like a merit badge? That we choose on our own is another falsehood taught by Christendom as we have learned in this Manual that the scriptures teach us, it is God who does the choosing. Ephesians 1-3.
Lets just look at a few verses on grace here in Paul’s epistles at Acts 20:24 “Paul to certify the evangel of grace” Romans 3:24 “we are being justified in grace” 1 Corinthians 3:10 “grace granted to Paul, I laid the foundation” (This statement seems to indicate Paul was the first one chosen by Grace for the body of Christ)
Galatians 1:15 “God severs me from the womb and calls me through His grace” Galatians 2:16 “Called through Grace and not by works of the law” Galatians 2:21 “Not repudiating grace, if righteousness comes through the law then Christ died in vain” Ephesians 3:2 “The administration of grace” Ephesians 3:17 “The gratuity of grace”
Paul also teaches us of our allotment, given to us with Christ. Romans 8:15-17 “For you did not get slavery’s spirit to fear again, but you received the spirit of sonship, in which we are crying ABBA Father! The spirit itself is testifying together with our spirit that we are children of God. Yet if children, enjoyers also of an allotment, enjoyers, indeed, of an allotment from God, yet joint enjoyers of Christ’s allotment, if so be that we are suffering together, that we should be glorified together also.”
Colossians 3:23-25 “All, whatsoever you may be doing, work from the soul, as to the Lord and not to men, being aware that from the Lord you will be getting the compensation of the enjoyment of an allotment” for the Lord Christ are you slaving. For he who is injuring shall be requited for that which he injures and there is no partiality.”
What is this allotment? We receive all from God that is Christ’s, His allotment is given to us, and can we even comprehend this? Not now in the flesh, but part of this allotment is indeed the Glorified state which Christ now has and will be given to us. What else is Christ’s allotment? His home in the heavens and He as the image of God. He is now in all and over all. We are said to be His Body. He is the Head of this body. We are described in the most intimate of terms possible to show us how we will be exactly like Christ….wow! We shall share that image and responsibility in the ministry in the celestial arena!
What is the suffering Paul speaks about? All mankind suffers, we all live in an evil world, and this suffering is our education in learning what good and evil are through the limitations and humiliation of our flesh and in our humanness. The suffering Paul speaks of has to do with our spirituality. The verse which comes to mind is 1 Timothy 4:9-11 “For we suffer reproach because we believe in the living God…Who is the Saviour of all men.”
Who is it, then that reproaches us for believing Paul’s words, is it the unbelievers? No, it is fellow believers in Christ who reproach us for teaching Paul’s sound doctrine and for defending God of the blasphemous lie, the doctrine of Hellfire and for teaching, God’s total Grace, which means the salvation of all and the reconciliation of the Universe.
Paul also says some interesting things at 2 Timothy 2:3-7 “Suffer evil with me as an ideal soldier of Christ Jesus. No one who is warring is involved in the business of a livelihood, that he should be pleasing the one who enlists him. Now if anyone should be competing in the games also, he is not given a wreath if ever he should be competing unlawfully. The toiling farmer must be the first to partake of the fruits. Apprehend what I say, for the Lord will be giving you understanding in it all.”
He has given us three “figures” in this one passage. He told this to Timothy; therefore Paul is speaking to us “to suffer evil with him as an ideal soldier and as one competing in the games this would be an athlete and also as a toiling farmer.” Let’s see if we can understand what Paul has said concerning these three modes or occupations of his time, for his readers to relate too.
An ideal soldier. Soldiers are trained for war, they are taught to defend themselves and how to inflict evil on the enemy. But Paul says we are to “suffer evil as an ideal soldier.” Not inflict evil. We are soldiers of reconciliation. Paul suffered severe evils; he was persecuted, ridiculed, hated, rejected, abandoned, beaten, stoned, imprisoned in chains and finally beheaded. I doubt you or I will ever have to suffer to the extremes that Paul did. Yet we do suffer evil in our relationship with other believers, we suffer loss of fellowship and of acceptance as believers in Christ sometimes by means of ridicule and rejection. There are some ferocious believers in hellfire, the King James only people seem to have a spirit of fierceness and from them I have seen down right hatred for any who disagree with them and mainly because “we believe in the living God who is the savior of all” 1 Timothy 4:10,11
A competing Athlete, in the games whether running a race or competing in a boxing match or whatever the competition may be, what is needed first is training and practice in order to qualify and then there are specific rules which must be followed by the athlete. In a race the runner may be disqualified for any infraction of the rules.
He may run the fastest race and cross the finish line first, yet if he breaks a rule on the way to the finish line he will be disqualified and not receive the wreath, which was a symbol of victory in Paul’s day. It would be very important to know the rules before entering any competition. As a believer we should know our rules. Yet the rules of faith are not taught in Christendom, what is taught are creeds of denominationalism with its man made rules which they seek to enforce.
We need to be sure we are teaching the right evangel, Paul’s and our first “rule” is to “rightly divide the Word”, this our most important spiritual rule needed for sure and this is not taught in the denominations.
Valueless works again come into the picture here. We must adhere to the rules of sound doctrines. Paul was showing us any endeavor or effort will be of no value without following the rules. How many believers browbeat themselves over sin and never find peace of mind, in the fact that Christ took care of sin for them? How many have worked their whole lives trying to save others, or so they thought, from a burning hellfire when no such place exists?
Christendom teaches that the rules for our walk, are the building of character, moral in nature instead of letting God do His work in the believer as Paul said, “WE are Gods Achievement” Ephesians 2:10 A Christian should be moral but the rules of faith are spiritual and they all center around His Word and our sound doctrine from Paul. God will be vindicated and glorified by His work with us and not by us for our own puny efforts at righteousness.
We as humans while in the flesh will always fall short and fail. That is why God has justified us right now, by placing us in Christ, our humanness has died with Christ; we were raised with Christ, spiritually. That is the realm God deals with us in right now, while still flesh. Our rules for faith are based in God’s Word of truth, to hold fast to Paul’s sound doctrine and we must follow the rules for scriptural interpretation.
We must be as the Berean’s, who were checking the Word daily to see if what was being taught truly was found in the Word of God. We cannot do this if we are bound by denominational creeds, we must not be any part of them as they are “the systematized deception “Ephesians 4:14 This is organized religion we hve been set free from religion…..given the mind of Christ and every spiritual blessing, Ephesians 1:1-3
God will reveal His will to us through His Word as we are His temple today, He wants us to come to a realization of all truth…. Please Read the 8th chapter of Romans..
Paul spoke of the, the toiling Farmer. A farmer must follow the rules of farming if he is to get a harvest; everything must be done properly and in order and in the proper season or there will be no crop. When the farmer rightly plants his field he is the first to enjoy the fruit of his harvest. He then can share it. I think of those saved from the mythical place of hellfire who then are told to go out and work hard to save others from it. What an empty harvest they will have for they have missed the whole point, God does the saving and there is no hellfire to be saved from. They teach fear of God through lies, Hellfire a doctrine of demons does not exist. What they need to learn instead is the very opposite of a place of eternal torment, which is the Truth of God’s infinite Mercy and Grace and that He is the Saviour of all and has already done the work necessary on the Cross to accomplish it. We should always ask, was He a success or a failure? If Christ’s death does not or cannot save all humanity, He would then be a failure.
What the Body of Christ should be doing as Christ’s ambassadors is, sharing the good news that God in Christ did not fail, He is the Saviour of all. 1 Timothy 4:9-11 Reminding ourselves again of Paul’s words at 1 Corinthians 3:8, 9 “Yet each will be getting his own wages according to his own toil. For Gods fellow workers are we. God’s farm, God’s building are you.”
Also 1 Corinthians 3:14, 15 “If anyone’s work will be remaining which he builds on it, he will get wages. If anyone’s work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus as through fire.” Paul gives us the information concerning our role as a farmer and that as a farmer our harvest must be the sound doctrine Paul dispensed, as all else will be the valueless works and doctrines to be burned up and this will happen when we are presented at “the Dais of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:10
Now what is this “toil or work” since we do not save anyone? God does the saving not you or I. What can our toil be? Paul said we are God’s farm, God’s building and an ideal soldier waging warfare, an athlete competing in a game and a toiling farmer tilling his field.
Our work first is within ourselves as we must first learn the rules before entering the game or as a soldier, defending God or teaching His word, or planting our crop, from which we must partake of first in order to grow healthy, spiritually and in order to be qualified to teach. We first enjoy our harvest from God’s Word; this applies to our personal study of God’s Word, rightly divided and testing things which differ so as to have sound doctrine.
(1) Learn the rules, Rightly Dividing Gods Word, in the warfare, using “the sword of the spirit,” again, Gods Word. In the farm, we first, through our own studies will plant the seeds of truth in our own hearts and minds, pulling out the weeds! The “lies and myths, false doctrines!” We follow Paul’s sound doctrine and his admonition to “Study to show yourself approved an unashamed workman rightly dividing or correctly cutting the word of truth.” 2 Timothy 2:15
(2) Share what we have learned with others which then brings us to (3) the suffering evil from those with whom we try to share our crop with or from those we defend God of the lies with our sword of the spirit which is not our tongues but God’s Word from our Bibles. Most often we find believers who do not want to learn the rules or hear the good news but instead will end the fellowship or even as some do, reproach us for this! All we can do is continue with running our own race, and that race is really with our own self….our competition is our own flesh, the world and Satan.
Paul hints at our future ministry in heaven more accurately the celestials at Ephesians 3:8-11 “To me, less that the least of all saints, was granted this grace: to bring the evangel of the untraceable riches of Christ to the nations, and to enlighten all as to what is the administration of the secret, which has been concealed from the eons in God, Who creates all, that now may be made known to the sovereignties and the authorities among the celestials, through the ecclesia, (that’s us) the multifarious wisdom of God, in accord with the purpose of the eons, which He makes in Christ Jesus, our Lord” These deceiving spirits have seen all of Gods work, not only in the entire Universe but also with humanity, from the beginning of time down to the end and all in between. God has graced you and I, in the Body of Christ, God’s Grace displayed until that ultimate day when “all knees will bend in worship and all tongues will praise Christ” and then “God will be All in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:28 Philippians 2:9-11
The Body of Christ has been given “every spiritual blessing” in the heavenlies, now! We are full recipients of His Grace and our walk is in spirit now! Ephesians 1:3 If we try to place Israel’s physical promises and signs in any way, in our walk, or our lives, we are then turning our backs on those spiritual blessings given to us in grace now. Paul tried to teach us this, to leave the physical alone and look to the spiritual.
In his day many did not want to give up religion, for the Jews, religion with the sign of circumcision. Paul called it maimcision. Philippians 3:2 Many did not want to give up the law from Moses, Paul asked them why they wished to “return to the beggarly (poor and infirm) things of God” at Galatians 4:9 We cannot out sin Gods Grace and we cannot earn it. It is the gift of grace and we are also given our many unearned, spiritual blessings in Christ; we are not bound to religion. Paul was saying why would you not want to be free from the law and rituals and instead, live in the grace of God?
This is a good example of a how a truth for centuries was mandated by God and then God tells Israel, because of Christ’s death, that truth of the Law covenant was no longer truth for them and it certainly is not truth for the Body of Christ in Paul’s evangel. To strive to keep that law is dishonoring Christ’s shed blood and ignoring the grace of God. Paul also warned us of the deceiving spirits who will masquerade as “ministers of light and of righteousness” at 2 Corinthians 4:4 and 2 Corinthians 11:13-15
They seek to keep humanity in bondage to religion, many still teach, that the Law, the Ten commandments are for today and our salvation depends on keeping them, even the keeping of the Sabbath day which was a Jewish requirement and a religious day for Israel and is no longer required by God. Christ is our Sabbath! The Sabbath day was a day of rest from work…we are in Christ, we have no work, we rest in Christ now!
The Body of Christ is not a religion, it is freedom from it! You might ask why are those who follow Paul in such a minority today? A question we all ask, my only thoughts are that God has always had a remnant of true believers throughout all the ages and dispensations, and so it seems today, in the Body of Christ there is a minority of believers who have separated themselves or been separated from denominational error, the “lies and myths” Paul warned of.
It is a matter of coming into the light out from the darkness of Satan’s deceptive stratagems to hide the Truths in God Word. It’s very hard to see the truths of Gods Word without first learning to “Rightly Divide the Word of Truth” which then makes it clear for us that we are to hold fast to the sound doctrine for the Body of Christ as was given to us from Paul and that Jesus and Peter’s words are written to and for the Remnant church of Israel!
I personally think it is very hard to see the truth in God’s word while attending a denomination who are all under the influence of the perpetrators of the lies and myths Paul warned us would take over the church he began. The spirit of Satan invades all religions, and thus the denominations of Christendom are deceived and deceiving those who partake of what they are dispensing. 2 Timothy 3:13
Paul gave us many things to think about concerning the last days of his administration, the grace dispensation, with what we might watch for to alert us. It seems to me we can see that what he described is very much in operation today and growing steadily in Christendom and in the world. I think it will get much worse; the ground work is also being laid for Israel’s times of restoration and her last days which will follow those times.
While we wait for our call to meet Him in the air, let us “endeavor to be qualified” as Paul wished for us. All we can do in this area is to continue with our research and our personal studies in Gods Word. So as to “come to a realization of the truth” this is a never ending process and this is our work or toil, first in our own life and then being ready to share with others.
We need to separate ourselves daily from “the lies and myths” which are propagated by Satan and his spirit forces, their pagan religious lies are in everything. The Holidays are nothing more than mankind deceived into giving Satan pleasure as the world celebrates pagan celebrations dressed up with so called, Christian names.
I am finishing this chapter the day after Halloween and thinking on it. I marvel at how every TV show is filled with everyone dressing up in silly costumes, most are horrible depictions of ghosts, demons, witches, and dead people from the graves. The origin of this particular holiday began with the pagan belief, that the dead were not really dead but disembodied spirits who came back to torment men on this day. The treats were a bribe and left outside the front doors to appease these so called dead, undead spirits so they would not cause them or their family any harm, Treat or Trick!
Somewhere in time since, young men began going around and collecting these treats and playing mischievous tricks on people, this coming down to our day has evolved into a worldwide celebration for children and adults participating in it, acting like children. The world unknowingly continues with honoring the lie from Satan of just where the dead really are with this holiday and do not even understand where it originated or why they even observe this holiday or any of the other holidays. TRADITIONS!
I have not found one Holiday although sanctioned by Christendom, which is not in some way linked to pagan worship. For most believers when told this, their answer will be, these days are either, just fun or its tradition! No harm done they say.
While it is true, that observance of these pagan holidays does not affect our salvation or our place in Christ and it is a matter of our own individual conscience. I have just found in my case, the more I study the history of the holidays and the history of Christendom’s involvement with them, the more I see how subversive Satan is and how his lies and myths are infiltrated into every area of our life in this world in one form or another including all these holidays. The more I learn the more I wish to distance myself from them.
Satan is the master deceiver and he was placed in the role of the adversary, by God Himself and in that role he is “the god of this world or system of things” as stated by Paul at 2 Corinthians 4:4. In his role as the adversary and deceiver he uses Politics and Religion as his main platforms. His influence will be seen in the whole planet, the entertainment industry, the educational systems the social programs a humanistic religion of its own, Israel and even with the Body of Christ to further his deceptions and his desire to turn all from the worship and knowledge of the true God. The world of humanity have been and are still being deceived through not only pagan doctrines but by the old pagan religious holidays whitewashed with supposed Christian names, deceiving humanity into giving him worship unknowingly. Paul also told us, that he transforms himself into “a messenger of light” and “his servants also are transfigured as dispensers of light or righteousness” 2 Corinthians 11:14,15
If we do not distance ourselves from these things we may fall into that camp of his servants or of giving some sort of honor to the perpetrator of all lies and myths? Remember when Peter a chosen Apostle, interfered with Gods will at Christ’s arrest and also tried to persuade Him not to give up His life….Jesus said, “get behind me Satan.” Matthew 16:23 Jesus told the religious leaders of Israel of His day…who were teaching the pagan lies and myths found in Christendom today. “You are from your father the devil” John 8:44
My only hope is that what we are seeing with the dedication by the world today in all these Holidays and all the other elements of Spiritism and Theosophy which we have discussed in this chapter along with the list of spiritual characteristics Paul outlined in his two letters to Timothy are indeed fulfillment of Paul prophecy for the Body of Christ of our last days. If so, then perhaps the dispensation of grace may be nearing its close.
That would mean that we could be in our last days and maybe we will be called home soon. Something which all believers following Paul’s sound doctrine have hoped would happen in their lifetimes. We do not know God’s time schedule for us….we are told to wait and whether sleeping in the dust or whether we are alive at the call from Christ, Paul told us we will all be raised and changed and “go together to meet Him in the Air.” 1 Thessalonians 4:17
As for today, we see the world grows increasingly wicked and suffering increases in all areas of life, we should be glad although it is sad for mankind, as it is the darkness of night for humanity. But as we know the morning always follows the night and God’s Word tells us that God’s Morning will arrive right on schedule.
In that schedule, The Body of Christ will be snatched away, taken out of the midst and then it will time for Israel’s evangel to return and go into effect once again. Her Prophetic Word will begin to unfold right in God’s scheduled time marking the years and days until the arrival of the Messianic Kingdom on the earth.
It is only then, that through God’s Kingdom will mankind be taken out of the darkness in which this world is engulfed. Only when Christ’s kingdom is ruling on this earth that the end to the night will come, the darkness will disappear as His light will fill the earth. The darkness belongs to Satan. His influence over all the political kingdoms and false religious systems will be removed and they will be subjected to Christ rule with the perpetrator of the darkness locked away in the abyss.
The Kingdom of Christ, the Millennial reign will lead Israel and the rest of the nations in the world into the next eon, Gods Day of salvation from sin and death, “wherein righteousness is to dwell.” Revelation 21:1-4 From the Day of God to the consummation when “God will be All in all” 1 Corinthians 15:28 and Philippians 2:9-11 tells us….the universe will be reconciled to God through Christ.
Let’s close this chapter with Paul’s words written for the body of Christ at 1 Corinthians 3:10-15 “According to the grace of God which is being granted to me as a wise foreman, I lay a foundation, yet another is building on it. Yet let each one beware how he is building on it. For no other foundation can one lay beside that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone is building on this foundation gold and silver, precious stones, wood, grass, straw, each ones work will become apparent, for the day will make it evident, for it is being revealed by fire. And the fire, it will be testing each ones work what kind it is. If anyone’s work will be remaining which he builds on it, he will get wages. If anyone’s work shall be burned up, he will forfeit it, yet he shall be saved, yet thus as through fire.”
Let’s clean our houses now and build a fire of our own before we hear our call from the Lord!