Q&A: Christ's Initial Appearance
A respected correspondent wrote asking whether an insertion in the last issue of Splinters (27) was my words or that of the quoted source for the main body of the article... My reply to his question...
Dear Bro. ______:
It's me...my considered opinion...that extensive passage that you quoted in your email. It is my scripturally-based opinion of the implications of what we are seeing in these end-times.
As to your comment noted here:
“So, in Luke chapter one, when Zacharias said "That we should be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all that hate us," to whom was he referring, the Vatican, the Russians, a European confederacy, or possibly, and I know it is far fetched to think so, but is it possible that he was alluding to historical "enemies" who were left to "prove" Israel (Jud 2:21, 3:1,4), namely the peoples of Gaza, Lebanon, Golan, and parts of Jerusalem, all of which are specifically named in the Old Testament as being purposely left after Joshua's death?”
In my understanding, Zacharias is speaking of the immediate enemies of "Israel" (the nations) at such a future time when He intends to “save them.” Jesus' day was not that day. That supposition fits only these latter days and the "nations round about" Israel (the polity) today, the state-opposing Islamic enemies between the Rivers and the Seas.
Having said that, methinks the statement ultimately applies to all the above as events progress because all these "hate," first of all YHVH Himself (Micah 5: 1-3), but also His People, and will resist to the death the expansion of the kingdom of "the antiChrist" (their supposed identity of Jesus at the time).
No...I don't see any possible way that it could relate to historical enemies left over from the failed Caananitish conquest by Joshua and Israel of old time. In Jesus' day, there was no "Israel," and no power of the People to resist anyone. At that time they were not at hazard from the nations round about; today they definitely are.
As I have expressed previously, I can visualize a day in which the enemies round about Israel today become so numerous and so self-confident and frustrated that they, in desperation, simply flood across the borders in human waves of hundreds of thousands of "fighters" and appear to Israel to be impossible to combat (cf. latter portions of Isaiah 59).
In such a scenario Israel will REQUIRE Jesus' personal intervention. At the onset of it, Israel will surely realize that it cannot possibly stifle this human-wave advance of bloodthirsty enemies and are at a loss of even the ability to employ their nuclear arsenal (the Samson Option) against such a scattered invading force, mixed (as it shall be) among their own population.
It will be a desperate position that Israel will occupy at that point and when Jesus (and the Saints, IMHO) come to their rescue and begin to decimate those enemies to the last man, their gratitude surfaces to the emotional levels pictured in Zechariah 12 and 13, in which the level of the Israelis' remorse for their past deed of slaying their Savior will overtake every last man and woman of the nation and bring about the global remorse and contrition of Israelis pictured there - salvational levels of remorse and contrition.
And indeed, the claims of some of our critics is true in this sense: the abject repentance of Israel will be required BEFORE He reveals His identity to them. But that repentance will not be achieved outside of the actual appearance of Messiah to them, and His demonstration of unstoppable power and force as He destroys the enemies they have faced for over seventy years...probably in one day!!!!
Those are the enemies that initially are threatening "Israel" and from which they will require "outside help." They can no longer provide their own security (not that they ever have, for I firmly believe it is YHVH's miracles in great numbers that have given the People the survival that they have enjoyed to this day; they have not "done it themselves"). Those are the crucial enemies described by Zacharias as "our enemies, and from the hand of all that hate us" in Luke 1:71. They are enemies who exist at a time when there is a nation known as "Israel" in existence as an organized, discrete society which may be threatened as a body by enemies who are in turn capable of "hurting" that society under this special case of human waves of combatants.
I recall that during the Nazi invasion of Russia, the severe winter weather of northern Russia was a deterrent to Hitler's armies, but William L. Shirer and others attest that it was really was the relentless waves of endless soldiers of the Soviet Union which kept coming in wave after wave of human beings against the Nazis that ultimately defeated them. Many of these were unarmed because there were not enough rifles to furnish one to every soldier. This seems to be the kind of attack that Isaiah and Zacharias are visualizing....??? In addition, at the present time at least, it seems the only alternative that the Islamicists "round-about" possess... raw, physical manpower. And they are fully brain-washed to the extent that they will attempt such a foolish attack!
Now... to your second point: you wrote...
“I just don't understand how it is that so many brethren still hold to the J. Thomas concept that the "nations round about" are a Papal European confederacy that comes upon Israel and are nations that "surround" Israel in the last days and are therefore the "nations round-about." I'm not joking, Harold, but isn't this the same scenario you are promoting in your Revelation series? So which is it, Catholics, or Moslems? And, from which does Messiah "save"?’
I have repudiated the J. T. concept for thirty years and counting, as to this encounter. The nations of Europe have nothing to do with this coming initial conflict. The forces of the E. U. (whoever they turn out to be) will not be involved directly with Christ's Kingdom until "the everlasting gospel" goes forth to them and they are challenged to "fear God (in the person of Christ) and keep His commandments," as in Revelation 16, and they refuse to do so on the basis of their conviction that He is "the anti-Christ" of their philosophy.
A Bible-search of "nations round about" reveals no possibility that those are defined as the nations that gather "round about" Israel in "Armagedd’on" as they label this initial conflict. The concept is vastly misconstrued by many, it is true. Such a search reveals that the overwhelming majority of all such phrases are clearly nominating the hostile nations RESIDING in the territories surrounding "Israel," the nation of today ... nations which to a man (and woman) are fierce enemies of the People and their country.
So, NO. This is NOT the scenario that I am promoting in our notes on the Revelation. As such, the entirety of the Apocalypse treats of the interface and eventual conquest of Christ's ecclesial brethren with the Roman Harlot and other enemies of the same stripe. The uprising of Islam is covered by the Revelation, it is true, but in the context of historical information only. There is no mention, as far as I can discern, of any aggression of Islam against the State of Israel found in Revelations, or even any prediction of their personal animosity against God's regathered People. That is not the general thrust of the Apocalypse. We must consult Daniel and other prophets such as Zechariah and Isaiah to understand those details.
So, to address your final question above (“Which is it, Catholics, or Moslems? And from which does Messiah ‘save?’" I clarify my opinion...
Jesus' initial appearance to the world and to Israel, His People, comes after the Judgment Bema is concluded, after the Marriage Supper of the Lamb is concluded, and after His immortal army of Saints is equipped with white robes, swords of Spirit, and mounted upon white steeds, and He is manifested first in a visible form among the nations as pictured in Isaiah 63, as "this One Who comes from Edom...."
In this episode He literally saves His people from their physical enemies "round about."
This bring about the "peace and security" that is absolutely required as one of two prerequisites for the Gogian invasion of Ezekiel's prophecy, the other being that Israel at that future time possesses "great spoil," which IMHO is the booty, the spoils, the "wealth of the Gentiles" which Christ and the Saints assemble from the detritus of the conquered Islamic nations (cf., Zechariah 14: 14) of the lands between the Rivers and the Seas (the "promised" Land, and the "first dominion" of the Kingdom of Christ).
One other point needs to be made, and it is somewhat complex, but here goes...
It is well known, this saying of Jesus: "Luke 20:17 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? 18 Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder."
Note carefully the last phrases of that verse.
In my opinion, that statement is an "undesigned coincidence" attesting to the fact that some of the enemies (whosoever shall FALL UPON that Stone) are first, the Islamic enemies.
The Stone does not go forth from its place and "fall upon THEM," but He is fallen upon by them. He is there in the Land with His People when those nations "round about" attack Israel.
In this sense, they "fall upon" the Stone, striving to crush it and disperse its authority and sovereignty. They fail out of hand, of course.
The same applies to the Gogian host. That great oppressor comes from the borders beyond the First Dominion of the Kingdom, and "falls upon" the Stone power.
These two conflicts fulfill only the first condition of Jesus' prophecy.
But there is a second condition which is yet to be fulfilled - IMHO it is the striking of the Image on its feet by the Stone Himself...defined by the going forth of the powerful King of the Jews to the nations of the world with the everlasting gospel. The Image of Daniel two (clearly Rome, no other) stands in resistance to Him. He then "falls upon" that entity and crushes it to oblivion. It is clearly an action entirely the opposite of the first two and seems to exhaust the words of Jesus adequately.
I believe it is in such eloquent subtleties as this that the concepts of the end-times may be unraveled. What think you?
I hope I have at least begun to address your concerns and to explain my convictions as to the teaching of scripture in this matter of the Second Coming and its immediate consequences.
Respectfully, your fellow inquisitor, H. Edward
Q&A: Baptism and the Holy Spirit
October 26, 2018
Thank you for sending “The Trinity Disproven” article and all others which you send from time to time, also for notifying us of postings to eTPL. Much appreciated.
I decided to write to you to ask a question about [the “formula” of] baptisms after reading this article.
Why is it said to the person being baptized, “I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit?”
Are we not acknowledging the Trinity by using these words?
Would it not be more appropriate and right to say, “I baptize you in the name of Jesus” only, or else, “ I baptize you in the name of the Father and of the Son?”
I always thought of asking someone this question, but never did until now.
Looking forward to hearing from you.
Your Brother in Christ Jesus ___________
This reader has asked a question which is seminal to our understanding of the nature and purpose of YHVH Himself.
He refers to the text of Matthew 28: 19, in which we read that the risen LORD Jesus commanded the eleven remaining apostles, Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
This is the only such written instruction given by the LORD in the matter of baptism into Christ’s name. All the references in the subsequent Acts of the Apostles mention only baptism in “the name of Christ” or some similar phrase.
So he asks, does this verse in Matthew 28 give credence to the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity?
We must not look for nor accept a superficial answer. The question has validity – and the necessity for a scriptural answer.
To that end, we have solicited the views of a few colleagues. Some of their comments are included following these remarks ...
Our final thoughts will be appended at the end of these insertions. –Editor. ###
Reply #1: Oct 23/18
God’s Spirit is his Power. This is proven by comparing Jeremiah 32:17 with Job 26: 13.
The Gospel” is [defined as] “the POWER of God unto salvation” (Romans 1: 16).
Therefore the entire Gospel plan is conceptually: [our acceptance of the Name of] “God, through His power in the Name of Jesus.”
We are thereby introduced [therefore, inducted into] into his plan of salvation.
The term, the “Name” speaks of the Plan and Purpose of God.
Jesus came in his Father’s Name (John 5: 43) but was never [during His ministry] called by a “Name” by which God is addressed.
Therefore, the phrase “Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit” speaks of the purpose of God through Jesus by His Holy Spirit.
The words accompanying baptism declare this truth perfectly.
Reply #2: Oct. 23/18
I should have pointed out that “Name” as stated in baptism is ... singular [i.e., the Name of the Father and the Son is the same Name – Ed.].
The Name or Purpose of what is being done speaks of the fact that, in the Name or Purpose of the Father though his Son by his Holy Spirit or His power [one is performing an act of immersion into, and] through Jesus in the Purpose or Cause of salvation.
[Note that in John 5: 43, Jesus states clearly that He has come in His Father’s name – Ed.]
The Trinity is not at all suggested by that formula.
Reply #3: Oct. 25/18
Dear Brother Harold,
The term “Name” speaks of “Purpose.”
God is not spoken of only as “YaHVeH,” or, “I will be.”
He reveals himself in nearly a dozen names, each setting Him forth in a different Purpose....
The term “name” as regards baptism is not three different names. The term is singular.
God through his power in Jesus Christ forms a single Name or Purpose.
We baptize “IN THE NAME,” (not names) of Christ and His Father. Of course you are ahead of me in this.
Reply #4: Oct. 25/18
I have examined several different translations (and commentaries) of the scriptures:
1. Scofield’s Bible,
2. the Diaglott,
3. the NIV,
4. the RSV, and
5. Adam Clarke’s Commentary, and others.
My library has many dependable translations.
I can find no evidence of addition to the passage of Matthew 28: 19.
Adam Clarke speaks of an attempt on the part of some (Catholics, I think) to interpret the “Father, Son and Holy Spirit” to be a reference to the “holy Trinity.” [Indeed, this is Catholicism’s chief cornerstone of that doctrine – Ed.].
He (Clarke) indicates much disagreement with that doctrine. [And scores of others repudiate it entirely, showing that it is unscriptural; not taught in Holy writ – Ed.].
I feel that is the source of your info as to an addition. (see comment further down – Ed).
I can find no hint of an addition.
The passage in every instance makes the three all to be “one Name,” not three Names. That was my point in my earlier emails to you. Baptism is in the Name of God and Jesus and [it is through] the Holy Spirit or power of God.
No one is baptized into three names. The two individuals, (God and Jesus), are made one by the Holy Spirit or power of God. [They are two members of the same family, thus share their Name – Ed.].
I have many different Bibles in my library and can find no hint of an addition....
Editor’s comment: the above reference to “... your info as to an addition,” is directed toward a remark that I had made to this correspondent that some believe that the phrase “... and of the Holy Spirit” in Matthew 28, was added by Catholic theologians as their newly adopted acceptance of a “Trinity” of gods had become established in the second century.
This is a widespread theory that an addition was made among many prominent “theologians,” one or two of whom referred to early writings (from Ephesus) by Eusebius, saying: “EUSEBIUS lived between A.D. 264-340. He was a voluminous writer and compiled the earliest history of the ancient Christian Church. He had access to New Testament manuscripts that are much older than the ones we now have. Thus he had the advantage of being much closer to the original writing of Matthew 28:19. Yet he never quoted it in the Triune formula, but in all his citations (which number eighteen or more) he renders the text as: "Go ye and make disciples of all the nations IN MY NAME, teaching them to observe all things, whatsoever I commanded you." Only after Nicaea does he alter this!”
We must leave it to our readers to decide whether they accept that there has been a later addition of the last phrase of that verse. There seems to be evidence point both ways: that there was ... and that there was not!
But in neither case does it alter our firm conviction that ... God is One ... and His name one as Zechariah 14: 9 (Editor).
Reply #5: Oct. 25/18
In John 5: 43, Jesus declared that he came in his Father’s Name. The Name or Purpose of them both was “Savior” (Isaiah 43: 11), whether the Name by which they were known, or what their Purpose was.
No one can be Savior apart from God. Saving is done by God through Christ. Jesus did not raise Lazarus; God did (Acts 2: 22). God will ultimate save him through Christ.
Christ “can do nothing of himself” (John 5: 30); and Christ did nothing of himself (Acts 2: 22). Whatever was done was done by God through Jesus; all was done in one Name which belonged to them both, “Savior” and “Savior Anointed.”
The Name of Christ was also the Name of the Father, whether we speak and what they were, or what their purpose was, or what it is.
Therefore, one cannot escape the truth that salvation is into the Name (“Purpose”)
of God through Christ by means of the Holy Spirit, (which was the Power of God).
Stated any other way, it will be as much an error as is the error of the Trinity.
Reply #6: Oct. 25/18
I'm honored you would ask (my opinion on this question).
[The editor will now summarize several paragraphs submitted by this anonymous author so as not to compromise his/her identity]:
Jesus stated that to be “Born of Water,” and its sequel “Born of the Spirit,” were both required to inherit the kingdom of God.
The author states that “What is the most fascinating to me is that the sequel opens up a perspective that is not traditional [understanding in our community], in that being "Born of the Spirit," is or should be simultaneous with the "Birth" in water and not necessarily at the change of body [being raised to immortality after the Judgment] as is usually assumed.
It seems rather to be the "transformation" of "thought;" as Paul wrote, "Be ye transformed."
Of course, to solve the assumed Trinitarian challenge, one must first put his mind into that of the Hebrew authors of the Old Testament who have but One God, not three. [Here the author notes that] “it seems rather silly to think that one God would have to pray to another God!”
It is imperative for students to understand that original manuscripts in both Hebrew and Greek have no upper case, no spacing, and no punctuation, called Uncial style.
This is critical to understand because translators must necessarily make decisions and will do so as their personal paradigm dictates, including capitalization. [The author then states] it should become obvious to the reader that there are three Principals involved in the salvation of mankind [emphasis mine – Ed] two of which have personal names and one that does not.
The personal name of the Father is YaHVeH; the personal name of His Son is Yeshua; and the third principal is the spirit power, the very essence of the Father by which all things were created, and which was bestowed upon His Son without measure.
Jesus is God's Anointed, a term which requires an anointer, an anointee, and something with which the latter was anointed.
Thus, we have respectively, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit (power, and essence, character, demeanor, etc. of the Father).
It is ludicrous to think one person can anoint another person with a third person.
And.... the word "holy" is an adjective, and so it may be inappropriate to capitalize both "holy" and "spirit" assuming the combination to be a proper noun.
Once one has come to that conclusion, it becomes much easier to understand what is going on in Matthew 28 wherein both "water" (baptism, which is indisputably immersion) and "spirit" are mentioned. The "great commission" was to preach the gospel, which, simply stated, is "Jesus IS the Christ (God's anointed)."
One also must understand what is meant by "in the name of...." This involves what is called in Hebrew culture, Shaliach, indicating one who acts on behalf of a principal.
Eleazar was Abraham's shaliach, who was given the authority and who was sent (shalach) to choose a wife for Isaac.
Jesus was God's shaliach, "sent" as our Savior.
The apostles (a word meaning sent) were commissioned to immerse "in the name' of the three Principals involved in salvation.
Thus they baptized as God's emissaries, Jesus' ambassadors in whom only is salvation; and they did so by teaching the "spirit of Christ" which he had manifested in real life-action by miracles, character, demeanor, wisdom, knowledge, and all the "fruits of the spirit" of his Father.
Are we not as followers of Christ supposed to "be transformed?"
Are we not to have the "mind" of Christ ... which is of God?
Are we not to "try the spirits" whether they be of God?
All these questions involve the "inner man," even "circumcision of heart," and several other expressions that contrast the "flesh" with the "spirit" of believers.
The "carnal mind" against the "spiritual mind."
And we must also understand that in our own language and culture, if we heard a knock on the door and heard the words, "Open up in the name of the law," would we think the "law" was a person?
Instead, it is the Principal and the Power by which the officer has been sent by his superior.
The idea that Matthew 28 teaches the Trinity is subjective, and we should have no reason to infer that it teaches [the Apostate doctrine of] God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, although it is absolutely true that the three Principals mentioned by Jesus are the means of salvation for mankind [emphasis mine – Ed.].
"The only true God" is just misunderstood in the Christian world [construed as a Triune God], and by repetition since 325 AD has become the norm, just like Evolution has been taught so much that any alternative has become obscure and obsolete.
Sad, very sad.
Yours in the only name, _________________
This same correspondent later sent this short but important observation...
“Oh, it just came to my attention that 1 Corinthians 6:11 might be of interest on this subject. "’And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.’”
“Curious ... How does a Trinitarian comprehend this verse? Which of the three is "God?" You might ask your correspondent for his view.
“As I see it, it says the same thing as Matthew 28:19. There is baptism ("washed"), "God" (the Father), "the Lord Jesus" (Son), and of course the "Spirit" (by which justification is made).
[This text is pointedly parallel to that under consideration in Matthew 28, and explains it in easy to comprehend language! –Ed.]
These comments are worthy of readers’ serious thought. They are certainly substantive, and are germane to our understanding of the question being posed.
These represent only limited comments. Perhaps others will be forthcoming.
We intend to add to this stream of discussion if any more responses are received.
As the last replier has intimated in the last sentence of his first email, it's essentially "not our problem" that the Catholic Church has polluted the verse by corrupting it, and falsely slanting its teaching of it for so many centuries, and that they point to this verse for their “proof” of their doctrine of a Trinity.
As already stated, some commentators (not brethren) have concluded that "... and the Holy Spirit" of Matthew 28 was added to the text once the Catholic principle of the Trinity was in place ... that it was an attempt to give a scriptural basis for that corrupt notion.
The foregoing discussion makes such an assumption unwarranted, methinks.
One brother, as you read above, commented on that suggestion (the addition to the Matthew 28 text) and says he can find no warrant for that possibility, and that the text appears as originally written.
Jesus commandment was this: Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Because the general instruction for baptism into Christ is to be “in the name of the LORD Jesus” (Acts 10: 48; 19:5; 22: 16), Who we are assured, bore the Name of His Father, and Who was born of His Father of a virgin mother.
The Editor has always accepted that baptisms are effectively to name upon the person being baptized, the One Name of God and His Son through the operation of the Spirit of God (His power), and bears no hint of Trinitarianism or its many convoluted, ancillary corruptions. Especially since this principle (the doctrine of the Trinity) is by general acknowledgement, even by “theologians” of our contemporary time, not to be found in the Bible.
But we can sympathize with someone who – just as our original correspondent who posed this question – has been liberated from long-standing thrall to the now “orthodox” view of this passage as being “proof” of the doctrine of the Trinity!
<HEL> ~2,600 words. Published in Q&A 2018 of eTPL, October 26, 2018
Question: Weapons of Wood?
An eTPL29 Analysis: Q & A
An intriguing question has been posted by a reader as to the description of the weapons of the Gogian host as spelled out in Ezekiel's words. We have personally mused about the nature of these weapons in the past but do have some concerns. We are interested in readers' thoughts. Here is his brief note ...
Dear brother Harold,
Hopefully, you will be able to include this query in your Question and Answer section.
It just seems to me that when the Gogian hordes come to the Mountains of Israel, east of Jordan, currently Syrian territory, modern armaments will have been abolished, not only in Israel but for all nations.
The description of the weapons listed in Ezekiel 39:9-10 are all made of wood, no metal battle tanks, no fighter jets or bombers, no precision-guided missiles or cannons. All weapons are described as being made of wood. The description of the people of Israel having a seven-year supply of domestic fuel, not needing to cut down any trees from the fields and forests of Israel, seems to confirm this observation.
It would be singularly difficult to cut a battle tank or cannon into fuel sized pieces and then set fire to them in a domestic oven.
It seems that this disarmament must necessarily happen after Christ has occupied the Throne of His Father David and defeated the enemies "round about." One can only speculate about how long after the Lord Christ has been reigning before this presumptuous attack by the Gogian host takes place but wooden weaponry would confirm that time has been sufficient for Christ's Sovereignty to be such that he can command such disarmament, not only of His people Israel but all nations.
Ezekiel 39:9 And they that dwell in the cities of Israel shall go forth and shall set on fire and burn the weapons, both the shields and the bucklers, the bows, and the arrows, and the hand staves, and the spears, and they shall burn them with fire seven years:
Eze 39:10 So that they shall take no wood out of the field, neither cut down any out of the forests; for they shall burn the weapons with fire: and they shall spoil those that spoiled them, and rob those that robbed them, saith the Lord GOD.
I am very interested to know if you agree with this observation.
Much fraternal love, (a student in Australia)
Editor's note: If you have thoughts on this subject please email them to the Editor at the address: email@example.com, so they may be posted.
Q&A: Is There Sin in the Flesh?
More than a century ago, the Christadelphian community divided over the question that forms our title to this article. Those who changed their doctrine formed a new religion and declared that the Christadelphian community had been in error for believing that there is "sin in the flesh" of every person. Those who departed from the original body, now termed “Amended,” declared that the term "sin in the flesh" is the figure of speech known as metonymy, and that we must not preach "sin in the flesh, or "sin that dwells in me."
Everyone is aware that the inspired Apostle Paul in Romans 7: 20 and in Romans 8: 3 addressed those truths in those specific terms. So we ask, does the Bible teach that there is actually sin inside the body of every person? Or does the Bible just call something that does not really exist by the name of something else that does exist as the erring brethren claim he did?
A member among those who divided from the Unamended Christadelphians, in his written report entitled "Unity in Australia," page 33, declared that neither Jesus nor his apostles were declaring literal terms as they used the phrase "sin in the flesh." He claimed the phrase "sin in the flesh" actually referred to something other than sin dwelling inside the flesh of a man. His word was, "we mustn't (say) sin that dwells in us for the phrase "sin in the flesh" is metonymy.”
Are mistaken brethren telling us they are in possession of a truth of which God and Jesus are not aware? The brother also participated in "The Carter-Cooper addendum that was in clear violation of Propositions 5 and 12 of the Amended Statement of Faith, as well as in violation of "Doctrines to be Rejected," Number 27, which reads, "There is no sin in the flesh." Neither the brother nor the whole community rejects that proposition, but they clearly endorse it in violation of their own Statement of Faith.
Therefore, let us test the matter. In John 1: 17 we are informed that "grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." In Matthew 15:19 Jesus declared to his disciples the following truth: "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murder, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies."
Jesus states in the above passage that from the very depths of the flesh of man, all sorts of sins emerge. Before those sins emerge, scripture declares that the lust, or desire to commit them, is at work in our flesh (James 1:13-15; Galatians 5: 17-21).
We must ask this logical question: Can even one of those seven sins mentioned by Jesus come out of the heart or flesh of man if it is not there in the first place?
Do our brethren ask us to believe that Jesus spoke an untruth, as they seem to believe he did? Those sins could not come from the flesh unless they existed in the flesh.
Therefore, Jesus testified to the truth that there is truly the principle of "sin in the flesh."
We read also that Jesus was sent in the likeness (or sameness – Hebrews 2: 14) of sinful flesh (Hebrews 4: 15). The inspired Apostle Paul testified that "Jesus was tempted in all point like as we," that is, by the lust of the flesh (James 1:13-15). Again, unless lust to sin is in the flesh, lust cannot tempt a man to sin. To lust is to sin; therefore, there is "sin in the flesh."
Again, the Apostle Paul who assured us that he was an inspired writer of truth (I Corinthians 7: 40), testified in Galatians 5:17-21 that every possible sin that can be committed is because of the "lust of the flesh."
Throughout these verses, the inspired apostle shows that every sin comes forth from the flesh of every person.
James 1:13-15 teaches the same truth, a truth which comes directly from the mind of God. Sin cannot emerge from a place where it does not exist. That is why God tells us that the flesh of every man is "a body of sin," as the Apostle Paul termed it in Romans 6: 6, and "a body of the flesh" in Colossians 2:11.
Let us not pretend that we understand God's truth better than God, His Son or the writers of God's message to man. Men who choose not to believe as God taught, come up with subtle ideas of their own, which deny what God declares to us as truth. Let us accept His message as He delivers it to us. If we fail to do that, we can be certain that some questions will be asked of us at the judgment that we really do not want to have to answer, and the result could be something we do not wish to face.
Wayne R. Tanner, Bulverde, Texas, USA
Q & A: Did Jesus Keep the Last Passover?
Question: For centuries the debate has raged over the question of whether Jesus and his disciples partook of the Passover the night before his crucifixion. Can this question be settled one way or the other?
Answer: Yes, the question can be settled once and for all. That is not to say that everyone will agree, but it can be settled as to whether Jesus was required to eat the annual Passover along with his disciples.
First of all, the New Testament Greek word for the annual “Passover” is "pasca" (pascha). That term is never once clearly used by the scriptures nor by the Ante-Nicene fathers in reference to the memorial service instituted when Jesus and his apostles gathered on the night before the crucifixion.
It is so, however, that proponents of the theory that Jesus did not eat the Passover, interpret the term “Passover” in Matthew 26: 18-19 as referring to the memorial service. That is true because they believe that Jesus only instituted the memorial supper as a new Passover and in so doing, kept a different Passover.
It is vital to recognize that the partaking of the memorial service is not the point at which death passes over New Testament believers. It is a recognized truth that no one is permitted to partake of the memorial service unless death has already symbolically passed over him or her. Notice ...
Romans 6: 5 - “For If we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, (baptized) we shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection."
John 5: 24 - “He that heareth my word and believeth on him that sent me (has been baptized) ... is passed from death unto life."
John 5: 28-29 - "...the hour is coming in which all that are in the graves (mnemeio – in memorial graves, not in hades) shall hear his voice," verse 29 – "and shall come forth.... “ This speaks of those who are sleeping, having been baptized into Christ.
11 Timothy 1: 9-10 - “Who hath saved us and called us with a holy calling... and hath abolished death, and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."
As we should see, baptism into Christ is the ritual that causes the passing over of death for the believer in Christ. The memorial service is a reminder of the ritual that causes the “passing over” of death, something that Jesus was anxious to establish with his disciples prior to his suffering. It makes no valid point to believe that every seven days, death needs to be “passed over.” Instead, the truth is death can pass over us only once. The memorial service is, therefore, a weekly reminder as to the means by which death has “passed over” the believer in Christ.
Was Eating the Passover an Absolute Requirement?
Let us examine Numbers 9th chapter. Here several men were defiled by a dead body and (for the moment) were not qualified to eat the Passover. Moses approached God as to how to deal with the problem. God declared that defiled men should be required to eat the Passover on the 14th day of the next month, but they were not allowed permanently to forego the keeping of the Passover as verse 13 reveals. Notice ...
Number 9: 13 - "But the man that is clean, and is not in a journey, and forebeareth to keep the passover, even the same soul shall be cut off from among the people; because he brought not the offering unto the Lord in its appointed season, that man shall bear his sin."
This passage clearly shows an absolute requirement that the eating of the Passover was to be performed, and it was on pain of death to fail to observe it.
Jesus himself clearly taught that not even the smallest portion of the law would pass from the law (therefore, must be observed by them) until it was fulfilled by his death on the tree (Colossians 2: 14).
Therefore it was still (at that moment) an absolute requirement of the Law to eat the Passover on the evening when Jesus and his apostles gathered at the selected man's house. To forego the eating of it should have been a sin unto death for Jesus as well as his twelve disciples, for the Law of Moses was still in effect until Jesus died on the tree in fulfillment of the Law.
If Jesus had been guilty of violating his Father's Law he would have committed “a sin unto death.” Yet we are told in Hebrews 4: 15 that Jesus was completely innocent of sin.
Jesus could not have been without sin had he violated his Father's law (1 John 3: 4) in failing to keep the Passover as the law required. Had Jesus violated his Father's law, his own blood could not have brought him from the grave (Hebrews 13: 20) neither have allowed him to enter “the most holy" (meaning to pass into immortality, Hebrews 9: 12). Neither could a man who failed to keep his Father's law have saved himself, his disciples, nor anyone else who has ever lived. Therefore the entire race of man would have been doomed, for no one else has come forth who was qualified to be the one through whom God would redeem the righteous.
Matthew 26: 17 reveals that this day was the first day of the festival of unleavened bread – the Passover. That day and the next seven days of the feast of unleavened bread constituted eight days of the prohibition of eating, or even touching, leaven.
Therefore the day of Passover was the first of eight days when leaven was prohibited. Luke 22: 7 also tells us that it was the time for the Passover lamb to be killed. The disciples asked Jesus where they should prepare the Passover. The disciples did not yet know of the memorial rite that Jesus was going to institute at the meal they were going to prepare. Their question, therefore pertained to the annual Passover.
Jesus told them to tell the certain man, "I will keep the Passover at thy house with my disciples."
Again, the memorial feast is not the ritual that causes death to pass over New Testament believers. Didn't Jesus tell them to tell the man the truth? Verse 19 declares that the disciples did prepare the Passover. Did they simply prepare bread and wine simply for a memorial? No, for 1400 years the preparation for Passover was to kill and prepare a Passover lamb to be eaten (Luke 22: 7). Jesus said he was going to eat "the Passover” with his disciples.
Again, did he tell the truth? In Luke 22: 15 Jesus informs his disciple that he had especially desired to eat that “Passover” with them. Jesus surely did desire that, for it was after that last Passover that he would institute a memorial of the event of his crucifixion – a memorial service which commemorated the crucial event which would cause death to pass over those members of his body – i.e., the sacrifice of his body.
It is noteworthy that the Apostle Paul in Romans 6: 6 declared by inspiration that we are crucified with Jesus when we are baptized into his death and are, as a result, dead with Jesus (Romans 6: 8-11).
It is important that we notice and keep in mind that in Matthew 26: 26 it says “as they were eating" that Jesus instituted the memorials.
In other words, they ate a meal, at the end of which Jesus instituted a memorial rite. Luke 22: 20 says that "supper" ended and then, that Jesus took the bread, and then wine, blessed them, and gave them to his disciples and said "eat ...drink ye all of it." There can be no doubt that something other than the memorial was shared on that night. It was at the end of eating the Passover Seder that Jesus took bread and wine, which would be present at a Passover meal. With the bread and wine he instituted a memorial by which all would keep in memory the means through which redemption would come, that is, his crucifixion.
One final point is that if Jesus did not eat the Passover on that night, neither did his disciples. Therefore, they, according to the Law, should have been cut off from among the people, meaning they should be put to death. Instead, in a manner of days, they were found traveling throughout the inhabited world approved by and accompanied by the Holy Spirit of God, teaching the saving truth of God.
That fact should assist us in recognizing a false doctrine and to keep us from falling into error. That fact should tell us that neither Jesus nor his disciples sinned by failing to eat the Passover at the required time. Wayne R. Tanner
An additional thought occurred to me after mailing the preceding thoughts this morning regarding whether or not Jesus and his apostles ate the Passover just before the crucifixion. I followed the thought into a close examination of the matter and those conclusions follow immediately ...
The Greek word that is translated "Passover" in the New Testament is "pesa" according to Strong’s, and "pesach" according to Young’s Concordances. The Greek word Pesach or the English translation "Passover" never – not even once – refers to the "Memorial Supper” instituted by Jesus with his disciples at the last Passover celebrated by Jesus and his disciples. The word always referred to the Passover celebration commemorating the passing over of death in Egypt. The word never refers to anything else.
The ritual of the memorial service is referred to in Luke 24: 35 and Acts 2: 42 by the Greek phrase "clasei tou artou" (clasei: tou artou) and is translated "breaking of bread" in English. In Acts 20: 7, the English phrase "to break bread” is translated from the Greek "clasai arton" (xlasei arton). Again, the memorial feast that Jesus and his apostles celebrated is never in Scripture called "the Passover."
The Passover that Jesus so deeply desired to observe with his disciples in Luke 22: 15 was the last Passover of the Lord because at that Passover supper Jesus was about to institute a new ritual that was to be kept by his brethren “until I come." Jesus told his disciples to "prepare the Passover," for "I will eat the Passover at your house with my disciples;” and that is exactly what he did. Since he said that and did do that, no other theory will change that truth. Wayne R. Tanner
Correcting a Bad Translation of Amos 9: 12
Q & A
From time to time I have received from Believers in Christ a request to comment on the prophecy in Amos 9:12 which speaks of the rebuilding of the tabernacle of David, as the kingdom begins after the return of Jesus (verse 11). The consternation begins as one notices that in verse 12 there is a statement that the Edomites of the family of Esau are to seek after the Lord subsequent to the beginning of the kingdom when the tabernacle of David is to be built. (Zechariah 6: 12-13)
It is well known by informed brethren that the Bible reveals that at the time when the tabernacle of David is to be raised up again, there will not be any of Esau's descendants left alive upon the earth (Obadiah 1:18; Ezekiel 25: 12-14; Joel 3: 19).
Also, from Psalm 83: 1-8 we learn in verse 6 that Edom is involved in the assault against Israel prior to the establishment of the kingdom. Verse 9 orders God's forces to do to those nations (including Edom) as the Israelites had done unto the Midianites in ancient times.
By perusing Numbers 31: 7-12, we learn what the ancient Israelites had done unto the Midianites. Notice that verse seven declares that Israel slew every single male of the Midianites. That is exactly what God tells Israel, in Psalms 83: 9, to do to all those nations including Edom; and Obadiah 1:18 testifies that there truly will not be any Edomites remaining.
Therefore, the remnant of Edom will not be seeking after the Lord in the newly established kingdom of God.
What, then, is the problem with Amos 9: 12? Does the prophet Amos not tell the truth? We answer that the prophet Amos is not the problem. The problem is with the Bible translators who translated the Bible into English.
Near the year 285 B.C. the ruler of Egypt by the name of Ptolemy wanted to have the Hebrew Scriptures in his extensive library in the Greek language which by that time had become the language of the Empire. Israel sent him 70 Hebrew/Greek translators to accomplish the work which, when finished, was entitled The Septuagint. The name reflects the fact that the work was accomplished by 70 translators.
As those Israelite translators dealt with Amos 9: 11-12 they recognized that the term "Adam" was in the text, a term that later translators mistook for "Edom." The term "Adam" is translated "man" and "men" many times in the Scriptures. The correct reading occurs in the Septuagint at Amos 9: 12 where the text reads: "That the remnant of men, and all the Gentiles upon whom my name is called, may earnestly seek me, saith the Lord who doeth all these things."
Later translators, as they dealt with this text, mistook the name "Adam" for "Edom" and the text was corrupted and made to read is such a way that the plan and purpose of God was concealed to readers of the passage. The Commentary of Adam Clarke at that passage calls attention to the mistaken translation and shows why the passage should agree with the quotation of James who was the leader of the Ecclesia in Jerusalem. James was also the flesh and blood brother of Jesus. By inspiration, he quoted Amos 9: 12 at the council at Jerusalem in Acts 15: 17. Notice his quotation which reads exactly as it appears in the Septuagint version of Amos 9: 12: "That the residue of men might seek after the Lord and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.”
Therefore, it is more than obvious that God moved James to say exactly what He had moved Amos to write; and we must do the same because of that fact.
Now, we have recognized complete harmony between the Old Testament and the New Testament and the word of God is vindicated. Wayne R. Tanner
Q&A: the Order of Melchizedek
March 4, 2018
Question: In Hebrews Chapter 7 we read of the Man Melchizedek who met Abraham who was on his way from the battle with the kings, that Melchizedek had no father nor mother, nor a beginning of days. It does not make sense that any man since Adam has had no father nor mother nor a beginning of days. Can this be explained in a way that it can be understood? Signed, A fellow student.
Answer: This passage has for a long time been a problem for many Bible Students. As pointed out in the question above, no man except Adam (and Eve) has existed on the earth that did not have a father and a mother, as well as a beginning of days.
It will help if we understand that in this 7th Chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul is showing the superiority of the Melchizedek order to which Jesus had ascended; it was greatly superior over the Levitical order that existed all the days of the history of Israel, and with which all Israelites were familiar. Also, all that is said in verse 3 pertains to the Melchizedek "order" that both Jesus and Melchizedek had received from God.
Notice the word "descent" in verse 3 which is associated with the terms "father" and "mother” which Paul says does not pertain to the Melchizedek order. All that is said in the chapter speaks of the difference between the Levitical and the Melchizedek orders. As we delve into this, we must bear in mind that Melchizedek was a king/priest, of the Melchizedek order (Genesis 14: 18; Hebrews 7: 1-2; Zechariah 6: 12-13). Literally, verse 3 declares that Jesus did not receive his king/priest position by inheritance from Joseph and/or Mary.
Paul is here pointing out that during the times of Israel when the Levitical order was in force, both the kingship and the Levitical priesthood "descended" from one's father or mother to the new king or to the priest (Hebrews 7: 5 - 6). When Aaron died, his son became the high priest. Likewise, when the king or queen died, their offspring became king or queen. This is true in all nations ruled over by a Royal system.
However, the Melchizedek king/priest order was not by descent from father or mother, but a man is made a Melchizedek king/priest by means of an oath from God (Hebrews 7: 20-22).
Paul makes further reference to all this again in Hebrews 8: 4, 6. Because the old covenant was faulty, Jesus now is the priest (verse 4) of a "better covenant" into which even Israel will enter during the kingdom age. The reference to the better Melchizedek covenant verifies that Paul is clearly comparing the Levitical order and the Melchizedek order, showing the superiority of the "better covenant" over the lesser Levitical order.
A very thought-provoking fact is made known by the inspired apostle in Hebrews 7: 3. Not only does Paul state that the Melchizedek king/priest order is not by descent from father or mother, he also declares the order had no beginning of days or end of life. In other words, it has always existed. We are aware that even the earth had a beginning, so long ago: that God "stretched forth the heavens (that pertain to this galaxy), alone;" and "spread abroad the earth by myself" (Isaiah 44: 24). Therefore, the Melchizedek priesthood always has existed, even before the earth was formed; and even before the angels of God in heaven existed, for God formed the "heavens and the earth alone" and "by Himself" (Isaiah 44: 24).
Sometimes angels seem to have carried on such works. Obviously, this heaven and earth had a beginning, but the Melchizedek order has not had a beginning (Heb. 7: 3), for it has always been.
The Melchizedek king/priesthood is administered by God through whosoever He appoints as the Melchizedek king/priest. We have to wonder "of what benefit is such an order if there is no one over whom to administer such an order" in the far, distant past?
Does this not cause us to wonder about life in more ancient galaxies other than the galaxy in which we live? Over whom has the Melchizedek order been administered forever if life has only existed in this one "Milky Way Galaxy" since God formed the earth by Himself? The answer will no doubt be revealed to us when this mortal puts on immortality (I Corinthians 15: 53-54; Luke 20: 35-36; II Peter 1: 4).
Also, Paul's main point, is that Jesus was made a king/priest "forever" by that "oath" from God (Verses 20, 21, 28), for Paul says, "the Lord hath sworn and will not repent;" also, "thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110: 4; Hebrews 7: 17, 21). No one can be a priest forever if he is mortal, as all members of the Levitical order were. Jesus was qualified to be "a priest forever" because “he continueth forever" and has "the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7: 16, 23-26).
It was the Melchizedek order that was without the beginning of days, or an end of life, for the order is of God. It has been forever, and will always continue to exist.
Again, throughout this 7th chapter of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul demonstrates the superiority of the Melchizedek order over the Levitical order, showing that the Melchizedek king/priest does not inherit his position by descent from father or mother as was true under the Law of Moses; but by an oath from God, by which he was appointed to that position, and abides in that position forever. Wayne R. Tanner
Q and A: Jews and Jesus
Note from a reader: What About Jews and Jesus?
A correspondent wrote: “I'm reading a book by Jonathan Bernis, a Messianic rabbi, entitled "A Rabbi Looks at the Last Days." He says the fact that so many Jews are turning to Jesus is probably the greatest single sign that we are in the last days; that the blindness has already begun to be removed from their eyes. (Rom. 11:25 - "... blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in."). He says "Since 1967, there are more Jews who believe in Jesus than at any time since the first century." (See quote below.) Of course, he gives other signs also (e.g., their returning to the land), but I thought this was particularly interesting as I don't recall hearing it before. What do you think?
“He states: "Conservative estimates indicate that the number of Jews who believe in Jeshua, either in Messianic Jewish congregations or in believing churches, range somewhere between 50,000 and 100,000 in the United States and 250,000 to 500,000 worldwide. An estimated 20,000 Messianic Jews live in Israel today, and many of these were Jews from the former Soviet Union who now profess faith in Jeshua."
Hope all is going well with you and yours.”
This is a report of an interesting phenomenon – the acceptance by Jews of the “Jesus” of traditional Christianity. In effect, these Jews are generally accepting the concept that Jesus is “God the Son,” for that is the traditional view of “Christianity” since the second century.
As such, we opine that such acceptance renders no benefit whatever to those who have adopted this belief; being contrary to all scriptural teachings, it will give them no dividends whatever, in our opinion, because it is a falsified belief – contrary to the teachings of scripture, and therefore not the revealed will of our Father.
Yet it is an interesting phenomenon, being so directly contrary to the teachings of Judaism ... and directly in conflict with Deuteronomy 6: 4, in which these words of YHVH are recorded: “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.”
Nowhere in the entire word of God is that phrase equated with the doctrine of “the Trinity” of orthodox Christianity.
The statement is germinal to the basic faith of Israel – the oneness and uniqueness of the Creator ... and His sovereignty over all creation. Indeed, it is only IN HIM that we “live, and move, and have our being,” as confessed by the Apostle Paul (Acts 17: 28).
Yet the practice of Jews to move away from their foundational principles may be indicative of their increasing willingness to think for themselves – and perhaps an indication of their increasing willingness to accept the LORD Jesus Christ as “He who comes in the name of the LORD,” when He does appear among them.
The difference will be that, in the latter instance (His personal appearance among them) they shall see Him as He is – a Personage of great power against their enemies, and of great force as to the expression of His righteous will in all affairs of state. At that time shall He identify Himself to His people as the Son of God Whom they elected to have crucified by the Roman power of the day ... and not as “God the Son” of current Christian mythology! <HEL> Q & A, 2018 Published March 15th.