A Revelation of Jesus Christ - Revelation 1:1

Month: March 2015 Page 1 of 2

The Godhead – Part 3

Holy BibleOne God

If there is one message that resonates throughout the Bible it is that there is one God.

Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV) – “Hear O Israel: the Lord our God is one Lord.”


Galatians 3:20 (KJV) – “Now a mediator is not a mediator of one, but God is one.”


James 2:19 – “Thou believest that there is one God: thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

All must believe in one God. Why even the devils believe and tremble. The Godhead can be understood when we rightly divide the word of God.

1 Timothy 3:16 – “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness, God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory”

This “Mystery of Godliness” that Paul was speaking to Timothy about was not a mystery concerning how three persons of a supposed trinity could be one. Rather it was a mystery concerning how the great God of heaven robed Himself in flesh and dwelt upon mankind.

Christ’s Two Natures

Jesus Christ was both human and divine. As a man he was touched by out plight. As divinity He had an abundance of strength and power. As a man Jesus Christ moved, lived, grew up, wept and prayed. As God He raised the dead and healed the sick. You can’t make Him all man by saying He prayed for He also answers prayers. Answering prayers is something only God can do. As a man he said “I thirst” (John 19:28). As God He proclaimed “If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink” (John 7:37). As a man he hungered. As God he fed multitudes with five loaves of bread and two fish. As a man he was asleep in a boat on the Sea of Galilee. As God He arose and rebuked the wind and the waves. As a man he walked by the sea. As God He walked on the sea. As a man he died on a cross. AS God He rose again from the dead.

Many people have a difficult time accepting the two natures of Jesus Christ. They want to call these two natures persons, two separate people. Jesus himself referred to the Spirit as “Father”. That’s because the Spirit actually was His father. In Luke 1:35 we read that the Holy Ghost over-shadowed Mary.

The confusion about the Godhead comes in because it becomes difficult to ascertain just who really is the Father of Jesus. In Luke 1:35 we read that the Holy Ghost is the Father. Then we are told elsewhere in the Bible that God is the Father. Jesus Himself is called the “everlasting Father” in Isaiah 9:6. How many Fathers did Jesus have?

What is essential to keep in mind is that there is one eternal Spirit. How else could one describe the eternal Spirit bringing forth from the virgin womb, a body, but to call it “son”? Being “born” necessitates the usage of the titles “Father” and “Son”. The “Son” was born but deity can’t be born. Jesus referred to the Spirit as “Father” because He wanted people to know who was responsible for the miracles he performed. We can see this concept clearly in John chapter 14.

John 14:10-11 (KJV) – “Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works. Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me: or else believe me for the very works’ sake.”

Because of this involvement of Spirit in flesh, Jesus could speak as though it was Himself performing the miracles. Jesus proclaims in John 10:30 that “I and my Father are one.” Perhaps one of the clearest scriptures that reveal the relationship between the Father and Son is found in Colossians 2:9.

Colossians 2:9 (KJV) – “For in Him dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.”

The word “Godhead” means “deity” or as I like to say “God’s Headquarters”. Here in Colossians the Apostle Paul declares that the Godhead was in Jesus. Now please note that Paul did not say that Jesus was in the Godhead. This difference is quite significant. I believe it is the key to understanding the Godhead.

God’s Three Manifestations

So is God one or three? Some believe that there are three separate and distinct “persons” in the Godhead. They believe that these three “persons” are co-equal and co-eternal. They believe that the three persons of the Godhead are the Father, the Son and they Holy Ghost. These three “persons” form a mysterious union as one God. Others believe that One Eternal God (the Father) has become flesh (the son) and that this one God has poured His Spirit (the Holy Ghost) upon all flesh. I am one of these people. A scripture that helps us understand the Godhead is found in I John.

I John 5:7 (KJV) – “For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are One.”

You notice that it says that these three are one, not three. Three separate deities is impossible and clashes not only with scripture by with common sense as well. God is not united council of three persons. One way of understanding the Godhead is to think about the three forms of water. Water can take the form of a liquid, a solid (ice) or a gas (steam). This is three different manifestations or form of the one element, water. The subject of the Godhead has been complicated throughout the ages by various church councils. These gave birth to unbiblical phrases such as:

1. “God the Son”
2. “Blessed Holy Trinity”
3. “Three Persons”
4. “God the Holy Ghost”
5. “Three Separate and Distinct Persons”

If we divide God into three persons we must also say that three persons indwell the Christian. The scriptures declare that our bodies are the temples of the Holy Ghost. We also read that Jesus Christ was in us as well as the Father. The concept of the “trinity” was formally accepted in the year 325 A.D at the Nicean council of the Roman Catholic Church. At this council God was divided into three separate “persons”. Each member of this heavenly committee was ascribed equal power, knowledge and existence. This creed stated that each person of the Godhead was “co-equal” and “co-eternal”. This doctrine of three persons in the Godhead was referred to as the “trinity”. Believers in this doctrine are referred to as Trinitarians. Trinitarians believe that the Godhead is beyond understanding. How can the persons of the Godhead be equal when Jesus said “For my Father is greater than I” (John 14:28). John 8:28 says that the Father taught the Son. The Son prayed. This fact alone should tell us that he was not equal with the Father.

Right Hand of God

But what about the phrase “The Right Hand of God?” What does the term “Right Hand of God” mean? When reading the Bible one challenge is to know when to take a phrase literally or symbolically. There’s nothing literal about the “right hand of God”. It doesn’t mean there’s one divine person alongside the right hand of another divine person. When the Children of Israel crossed the Red Sea Pharaoh’s army drowned. A song was begun by all: “Thy right hand, O Lord, is become glorious in power: thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy” (Exodus 15:6). What did the children of Israel see? A right hand? No! They saw waters rushing over their enemies. They called this manifestation of God’s power and glory His right hand! This was the Old Testament. But we see this same concept in the New Testament. When the first deacon, Stephen being stoned he said “Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God” (Acts 7:56). What did Stephen see? Stephen saw Jesus in the place of power and glory – no longer a man but changed and glorified. He saw the “right hand of God” working as it did back in the exodus of Israel. When we read further we learn that when Stephen died He called upon God “saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit (Acts 7:59). Stephen say only one person, Jesus, in the place of power and glory. You’ll read in other places where Jesus stands at the right hand of God.

The Godhead – Part 2         The Godhead – Part 4

The Godhead – Part 2

Created by His Word

John 1:1-3, 14 (KJV) – “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made……. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us…”

is-the-godhead-a-mystery-3-728This is one of my favorite scriptures. There’s a lot going on in these verses. One question we must ask: Is the “Word” a person? Is your word your person? Can you separate a man from his word? “Word” is English for the Greek term “logos”. “Logos” means a thought or a concept. In other words the “thought” was with God. The thought but not another divine person. It states that the Word was God. It’s impossible to separate God from His thoughts. The word “logos” is the same term as used in Matthew 8:16 when Jesus cast out devils with His Word. You can think of the Word as the expression of God. God conceived in His thoughts the creation. When the Word was spoken or expressed things became real. When God said “Let there be light, and there was light. ” (Genesis 1:3). God who created all things finally came as a man, revealed in Jesus Christ.

John 1:3, 10 (KJV) – “All things were made by him! 10 He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.”


Malachi 2:10(KVJ) – “Hath not one God created us?”

Since Jesus created all things and since one God must be given credit, how can the two scriptures be reconciled without saying that Jesus is that one God?

Colossians 1:15-17(KJV) – ” Who is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of every creature: For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.”

Jesus created all things as the Father, not as an eternal Son! The name of God was not revealed until He took a body and abode on the earth as one of us. Until then the scriptures referred to Him as Jehovah. The primary meaning of the name Lord (Jehovah) is the “the self-existent One, who unveils Himself. In our English language this one God’s name today is Jesus. The Hebrew translation is Yahoshua. The name Jesus translates to “Jehovah is Savior” or “God with us”.

One Saviour

The God of Old Testament declared: “I even I, am the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour” (Isaiah 43:11). The New Testament proclaims that Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the world! On order to reconcile these two truths we must accept the fact that Jesus Christ is the God of the Old Testament come as Saviour in the New Testament.

Death – Sin’s Penalty

Death, both physical as well as spiritual is God’s payment for sin. Genesis 3:19 is the first reference to death in our Bibles.

Genesis 3:19 (KJV) – “In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”

Death being the penalty for sin is fixed as an eternal law of God. A life is required when sin is committed. This sin penalty was passed done to us from Adam and Eve. In Adam all die (I Corinthians 15:22).

Romans 3:23 (KJV) – “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”


Ezekiel 18:4 (KJV) – “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.”

A Blood Sacrifice Required

In the Bible the shedding of blood was synonymous with death. There is no proof of death until blood is shed. Leviticus 17:11 declares “For the life of the flesh is in the blood.” By all rights, when a man sins, his own blood should have been required, making him responsible for his own sin. From the time of Adam and Eve’s first sin in the Garden of Eden, God took an animal, killed it, and made a covering for man. Blood was shed to prove that a life had been given as payment for sin.

We see this same concept of a blood sacrifice in the tabernacle in the wilderness. God commanded that a brazen altar be made for sacrificial death and the sprinkling of blood. The High Priest went into Holiest of Holies once a year, with the blood of an innocent animal, to offer a sacrifice for the people’s sin and his own.

Hebrews 9:22 (KJV) – “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

Christ Our Sacrificial Substitute

However, man lived with an inadequate sacrifice. Hebrews 10:4 declares that the blood of bulls and goats was not able to take sin away. The perfect sacrifice was sought to satisfy God for all time. No animal’s death or even the death of a sinful man would do. Whose blood was perfect and without sin? The book of Acts tells us it was God’s blood. Acts 20:28 states “the church of God that he purchased with his own blood”. The blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin. However, John 4:24 declares that “God is a Spirit”. Then in Luke 24:39 Jesus declares that “A Spirit hath not flesh and bone, as ye see me have.” So then how could God shed blood when He is a Spirit and has no blood? This seems like an impossible quandary.

The answer is found in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son or body. God had to make a body for Himself in order that a death could be counted and blood could be shed as payment for the sins of men.

1 Timothy 3:16 (KJV) – “And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached unto the Gentiles, believed on in the world, received up into glory.”


2 Corinthians 5:19 (KJV) – “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.


1 Timothy 2:5 (KJV) – “There is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all.”

Notice please that this is not another God but rather the human body that was indwelt by God. Jesus Christ, referred to as the Lamb of God, was this perfect sacrifice offering.

Hebrews 10:19-20 (KJV) – “Having therefore, brethen, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He hath consecrated for us through the veil, that is to say, His flesh…”


The Godhead – Part 1        The Godhead – Part 3

The Godhead – Part 1

GodheadWho is God? What is His Name? Or better yet does He even have a name? What is the nature of God? I’m sure you have asked these questions at some point in your life.

Colossians 2:8-10 (KVJ) – “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy, and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in him dwelleth all the fullness of the God-Head bodily. And ye are complete in him…”

Here in the book of Colossians the Apostle Paul warns the first century Church to beware of any system of thinking that would keep them from understanding the deity of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I John 5:20 (KJV) – “And we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding, that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life.”

Here John declares that Jesus Christ is the true God as well as being eternal life.

One Creator

Who created the world and everything in it? We find the answer in the very first verse of the very first book of the Bible.  Genesis 1:1 says that “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.”  Since God created the heaven and the earth then who created man? Again we go to the book of Genesis.

Genesis 1:26 (KJV) – “God said let us make man in our image.”

What’s interesting about this verse is the use of the plural terms “us” and “our”. This verse has confused some people since the Bible clearly teaches that there is only one God. To whom then could God have been speaking? Some would answer that question by saying that God was speaking to His Son Jesus Christ. However, a Son was not existing at that time because scripture tells us the Son was begotten or made.

Galatians 4:4 (KJV) – “When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law.”

So to whom then was God speaking or counseling with in Genesis 1:26? There is the possibility of four (4) interpretations:

1. God was talking to the angels at creation
2. God counseled with His will
3. The passage uses a majestic or literary plural form of speech
4. A future arrival of the son was in God’s foreknowledge

Let’s explore each interpretation!

The Jewish people have traditionally interpreted Genesis 1:26 to mean that God was speaking to the angels at creation. This doesn’t imply that the angels took part in the creation but only that God informed them of His plans. According to Job 38:4-7 the angels were present at the creation. And on at least one other occasion God spoke to the angels and requested their opinions (I Kings 22:19-22).

The second possibility is that God counseled with his will. Ephesians 1:11 supports this view when it declares that God works all things “after the counsel of His own will.” This is similar to a person saying “Let’s see” (Let us see), even when someone is planning by to act by themselves.

The next option is that the passage in Genesis 1:26 is a majestic or literary plural. In formal speech or writings, majestic or literary plurals are used. It uses language that refers to one’s self in the plural, especially if the speaker is considered royalty. A good example can be found in Daniel 2:36. Here Daniel tells King Nebuchadnezzar ““We will tell the interpretation thereof before the King.” Daniel uses the plural “we” even though Daniel alone proceeded to give the interpretation to the king. Prophets often employ this majestic language.

The final possibility is that God was seeing the future arrival of the Son. We must remember that God is not subject or limited by time. Romans 4:17 declares “He calls those things that are not as they are. Time is meaningless to God. To God, a day is as a 1000 years and a 1000 years is like a day (II Peter 3:8). John 1:1 tells us that the incarnation existed from the beginning in the mind of God. God saw Himself as He would come thousands of years later and made Adam in the figure of Him (Jesus) who was to come. The first man Adam was made according to the same blueprint intended for Jesus. It can be argued that it was necessary to use the plural “us” in creation to explain the two natures of Jesus Christ – humanity and divinity.

Genesis 1:27 (KJV) – “So God created man in his own image….”

Notice the use of the singular when God created man! So how do we reconcile the use of the plural terms in Genesis 1:26 with the singular terms in Genesis 1:27 and Genesis 2:7? Any interpretation of Genesis 1:26 that includes there being more than one God runs into severe difficulties. The scriptures are clear that there is only one God.

Isaiah 44:24 (KJV) “Thus saith the LORD, thy redeemer, and he that formed thee from the womb, I am the LORD that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”

There is only one creator according to Malachi 2:10. “Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?” Some have interpreted the use of the plurals “we” and “us” in Genesis 1:26 as referring to Jesus Christ. But how do we reconcile this with the fact that the son was born thousands of years later in Bethlehem?

The Godhead – Part 2

Mystery Babylon

Revelation 17:1-6 – “And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, and talked with me, saying unto me, Come hither; I will shew unto thee the judgment of the great whore that sitteth upon many waters: With whom the kings of the earth have committed fornication, and the inhabitants of the earth have been made drunk with the wine of her fornication. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication: And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS and ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. And I saw the woman drunken w/ the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered and great admiration.”


Vatican City – Rome

My first encounter with the book of Revelation was fear mixed with intense curiosity. Who didn’t get a few chills running down their spine about the number 666, the “mark of the beast,” the seven plagues and a dramatic portrayal of the “end time”? Still I wanted to know more about this book. I studied and taught Bro Irwin Baxter’s material on prophecy called “Understanding the End Time”.

Then I stumbled across a number of studies that made an intelligent versus fanciful media-hyped approach to the book. It addressed Revelation as a coded message, but written to 1st century churches who were part of its history and time. The evidence focused on the date of the writing of the book of Revelation. It raised and answered the question, was Revelation written pre or post A.D. 70? The date A.D. 70 is an important date because it’s when the last Jewish Temple was destroyed by the armies of the Roman General Titus. Also, an investigation of the internal evidence and alignment with other texts as commentary overruled the temptation to rely on imagination and the media. Considering these points was one of the most enlightening and satisfying decisions in my quest to understand the message of Revelation.

Before we embark on this journey let’s answer some basic questions regarding this verse in Revelation chapter 17:

Who wrote the book of Revelation? The answer is John the Apostle!

Revelation 1:1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:

To whom was Revelation written to? The answer is seven Churches in Asia.

Revelation 1:11 – “Saying, I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last: and, What thou seest, write in a book, and send it unto the seven churches which are in Asia; unto Ephesus, and unto Smyrna, and unto Pergamos, and unto Thyatira, and unto Sardis, and unto Philadelphia, and unto Laodicea.”

When was the book of Revelation written?  There are two major theories: Late Date Theory – 95 A.D. or the Early Date Theory – A.D. 60s.

I believe Revelation written in the 60s A.D. There are many reasons for this belief. John would have been over 90 yrs old if the 95 A.D. date is used. Paul built nine churches in this area. Three were destroyed by earthquakes. Only Laodicea was rebuilt. There was only a short window of time when there were seven churches. And that was the during the 60’s A.D. The most compelling reason for an early date is the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D. Revelation 11:1-2 mentions that the temple was measured. Not one verse in Bible speaks of a rebuilt Jewish Temple. What I have discovered is that all scriptures used to support a rebuilt Temple are referring to the return of the Jews from either Assyrian or Babylonian captivity. These are all past events that are not in our future. Also Revelation 17: 1-2 is similar to Luke 21:20-24 (referring to Jerusalem being trodden down). Jerusalem was “trodden down” in 70 A.D. Armies led by the Roman General Titus surrounded the city and utterly destroyed both the city as well as the Temple. History confirms that not one stone was left upon another just as Jesus prophesied in Matthew 24:2.

John’s Purpose in writing Revelation was to encourage God’s people: Revelation 1:1-3, to present everything he was told to say:

“The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show his servants what must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John, who testifies to everything he saw—that is, the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ. Blessed is the one who reads the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear it and take to heart what is written in it, because the time is near.” (Revelation. 1:1-3)

So what about “Mystery Babylon”? What follows are a few keys that were convincing to me.

What Is A Mystery?

A mystery is not something that cannot be known, but simply that which is not known until it is revealed. Many people think of the book of Revelation itself as a mystery. However, the word Revelation in Greek is apokalypsis, which means the “unveiling” or “revelation”. The seven points in this article will help you solve this “mystery”. In Revelation, “Babylon” is a code word for the mystery city.

What is significant about the ancient city-state of Babylon? Babylon is mentioned 250 times in our Bible. It is referred to by Bible writers as being the symbol of pagan idolatry. In the Hebrew language, the name Babylon is derived from the root “Babel”, meaning “to confound or confuse.” It has reference to the confusion of tongues that occurred at the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:9). The Genesis account says the ancient prehistoric city of Babylon was founded by Cush and the followers of Nimrod (Genesis 10:8-10). The sins of Babylon were many and paralleled what was proclaimed in Genesis: the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Isaiah condemned the city for its sensuality. In Babylon, fleshly lusts could easily be indulged. Babylon followed after the lust of the eyes conquering many weaker nations. Her capacity for bloodshed and violence were unconstrained. Babylon was a prideful kingdom. Nevertheless, she would be overthrown and brought low. Babylon is synonymous with sin, wickedness and rebellion against the one true living God.

However, the message in Revelation is not about ancient Babylon. It’s about a city referred to as “Mystery Babylon”. But what city? Is “Mystery Babylon” the city of Rome, New York, Washington, D.C., Moscow, or Peking? Or is “Mystery Babylon” the Catholic Church?  The term “Mystery Babylon” was used by John as a sign to disguise, in code, the identity of a city. Why? It’s because this city, which was symbolic of ancient Babylon, was marked for destruction. And furthermore, the political climate of the day made it extremely dangerous to speak openly of destroying this city, especially by Christians who were viewed as its chief enemies. In the Book of Acts we read:

Acts 6:13-14 – “And set up false witnesses, which said, This man ceaseth not to speak blasphemous words against this holy place [Jerusalem & the Temple], and the law: For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.”

Declaring that God was going to destroy Jerusalem and the Temple was a good way to get yourself killed in the first century. The preaching of Jerusalem’s impending destruction led to Stephen’s martyrdom in Acts chapter seven:

Acts 7:51-54 – “Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? And they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it. When they heard these things, they were cut to the heart, and they gnashed on him with their teeth.”

Its connection with ancient Babylon was because of its moral decay and idolatry. Ancient Babylon’s fall was precipitated by their pride and disrespect for God, the persecution of God’s people and the profaning of the Temple’s holy vessels. The King of Babylon, Belshazzar’s feast led to the demise of his kingdom. In Revelation, John is referring to another city that would also be destroyed just like the ancient city of Babylon. Hence the term “Mystery Babylon.”

“Mystery Babylon” Filled Up the Cup of Sin

The imagery of the filled cup of iniquity indicates that God’s period of longsuffering had run its course. Genesis 15:16 shows why God expelled the Amorites from the land in order that Israel might inherit Canaan. “But in the 4th generation they shall come hither again: for the iniquity of the Amorites is not yet full.” The reason he didn’t do so immediately was because the iniquity of the Amorites was not yet full. Their cup of sin had room for more and did not run its course until the time of the Exodus. God is longsuffering.

Likewise, Jesus spoke to the people of Jerusalem, warning them that they would fill up the measure of their father’s guilt in killing the prophets. Paul says they had filled up the measure of their sins and would experience the coming wrath:

1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 – “For ye, brethren, became followers of the churches of God which in Judaea are in Christ Jesus: for ye also have suffered like things of your own countrymen, even as they have of the Jews: Who both killed the Lord Jesus, and their own prophets, and have persecuted us; and they please not God, and are contrary to all men: Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles that they might be saved, to fill up their sins alway: for the wrath is come upon them to the uttermost.”

“Mystery Babylon” Guilty of Blood Shed

This city called “Mystery Babylon” was guilty of shedding the blood of the apostles & prophets.

In Revelation 18:19-20 we read – “And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in 1 hour is she made desolate. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.”

God avenged the blood of the apostles and prophets. Not only was their blood to be avenged, but God avenged all the bloodshed on the earth on Mystery Babylon. Jesus predicted the same for Jerusalem. In Matthew chapter 23, Jerusalem is charged with the blood guilt of all the righteous blood shed on the earth up to that time.

Matthew 23:34-37 – “Wherefore, behold, I send unto you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: and some of them ye shall kill and crucify; and some of them shall ye scourge in your synagogues, and persecute them from city to city: That upon you may come all the righteous bloodshed upon the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel unto the blood of Zacharias son of Barachias, whom ye slew between the temple and the altar. Verily I say unto you, All these things shall come upon this generation. O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!”

Jesus would send more wise men, scribes and prophets whom he said they would scourge in their synagogues and persecute from city to city until He (Jesus) destroyed Jerusalem. It, therefore, matches perfectly with this description.

“Mystery Babylon” Was Once a Queen.

The term “queen” implies that she is royalty by virtue that she is married to a “king”. This reference to a “queen” identifies the city as having a covenant relationship with God. Neither ancient Rome nor any other modern city could appropriately be considered as God’s wife. Through the Old Covenant, God was married to Jerusalem, (Jeremiah 2:14). Because of her unfaithfulness, God threatens divorce.

While “Mystery Babylon” claims to be a queen, she is widowed.

Revelation 18:7-8 – “How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.”

“Mystery Babylon” the Opposite of the New Jerusalem

The contrast between the two cities in Revelation is a strong clue to the identity of Mystery Babylon. After the great city, “Mystery Babylon” is destroyed, God blesses a New Jerusalem. That implies an Old Jerusalem. You can’t have a “New Jerusalem” without having an “Old Jerusalem”.

Galatians 4:24-26 – “Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all.”

The “New Jerusalem” however is not an earthly city but one which comes down out of heaven prepared as a bride adorned for her husband:

Revelation 21:1-3 – “And I saw a new heaven and a new earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.”

Paul writes that the church is the bride of Christ.  Here are two scriptures to highlight this fact. However, there are many more.

2 Corinthians 11:2 – “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ.”

Ephesians 5:23-29 – “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish. So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself. For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.”

The new holy city Jerusalem, takes the position as bride, while the former adulterous wife receives death by fire.

“Mystery Babylon” Get Away While You Can

The call to God’s people to come out of Mystery Babylon” further aligns with the ancient city of Jerusalem.

Revelation 18:4 – “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.”

Prior to its destruction, Jesus warned that his disciples should flee the city to avoid its plagues of destruction, famine and death. (Matthew 24:15-17; Luke 21:20-22).

Luke 21:20-22 – “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh. Then let them which are in Judaea flee to the mountains; and let them which are in the midst of it depart out; and let not them that are in the countries enter thereinto. For these be the days of vengeance, that all things which are written may be fulfilled.”

“Mystery Babylon” Trodden Down of the Gentiles

In Luke 21:24, Jesus remarks that Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles were fulfilled.

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, [Roman Army] until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled.”

Unfortunately, today, many believe the Gentiles are rulers over the people of God. This is impossible as that period ended in A.D. 70 when Rome destroyed Jerusalem. It was the time when all things written were fulfilled, coming to pass before that generation passed away, (Luke 21:22, 32). As old Jerusalem was once called the faithful and holy city, John prophesied it was measured for destruction:

Revelation 11:2 – “But the court which is without the temple leave out, and measure it not; for it is given unto the Gentiles: and the holy city shall they tread under for forty and two months.”

Forty-two months equals 1,260 days or 3 1/2 years. This period in Daniel 7:25 symbolizes a limited period during which the wicked are triumphant. It also speaks of a period of wrath and judgment due to apostasy. Whereas the number seven is used to represent “wholeness” and “completion”, the number 3 1/2 appears to be a broken seven; symbolizing sadness, death and destruction.

“Mystery Babylon” The Great City” – Where The Lord Was Crucified

Further identifying “Mystery Babylon” as “The Great City”, leads us to clue number seven.

Revelation 17:18 – “And the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.”

Revelation 18:10 – “Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.”

The “great city” of Revelation is the city that is spiritually called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified:

Revelation 11:8 – “And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified.”

Besides the actual city of Sodom, there’s only one city in the Bible ever referred to as Sodom. And that city is Jerusalem. Jerusalem was “the great city” where our Lord Jesus was crucified.

Isaiah 1:10-11 – “Hear the word of the LORD, ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats.” [animal sacrifices in the Temple in Jerusalem]

Deuteronomy 32:32 – “For their vine is of the vine of Sodom, and of the fields of Gomorrah: their grapes are grapes of gall, their clusters are bitter:”

The description, where also our Lord was crucified is strong evidence pointing to Jerusalem. Jesus Christ certainly wasn’t crucified in Rome! Further, it would be unusual that a prophet would perish outside of Jerusalem. In other words, Jerusalem was THE place where the prophets of the Old Testament perished.

Luke 13:33 – “Nevertheless I must walk today, and tomorrow, and the day following: for it cannot be that a prophet perish out of Jerusalem.”

Adam Clarke’s Commentary gives us more insight into this subject: “Perish out of Jerusalem” —A man who professes to be a prophet can be tried on that ground only by the Grand Sanhedrin, which always resides at Jerusalem; and as the Jews are about to put Jesus to death, under the pretense of him being a false prophet, therefore his sentence must come from this city, and his death take place in it.”

Jerusalem was called the city of the great King:

Matthew 5:35 – “Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.”

To the Jews, Jerusalem was the greatest city in the world. Therefore, “Old Jerusalem” is A Perfect Match for “Mystery Babylon.” Everything said about Jerusalem in the gospels, is symbolically described as “Mystery Babylon” in the book of Revelation.

There are more contrasts and parallels, but these should at least get one thinking. Fanciful and colorful charts, like those presented by John Hagee and others, will forever fail to identify properly “Mystery Babylon”. As long as they are pointed in the future and toward some city or nation that has no antithesis with old Jerusalem. Furthermore, a modern or present day Jerusalem, doesn’t descend from heaven and can never be the holy city of Revelation chapter 21.

The message and meaning of Revelation seem best understood when one values the phrase “shortly to come to pass”, “time is at hand” time parameter. And keeping the message within a contemporary, historical setting of its 1st century hearers:

Revelation 1:1 – “The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent & signified it by his angel unto his servant John:”

Revelation 1:3 – “Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, & keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.”

It may not frighten us as much, but it certainly encourages us with the message of faith, confidence in God’s sovereign power and victory over the forces of evil. The “Mystery Babylon” of the book of Revelation is clearly the ancient city of Jerusalem.

Bible Covenants – Let’s Make a Deal!



“Cutting the Covenant”

How should we understand the Bible? What is it really all about? Here’s a good way to look at it. The Bible is the story of redemption with a three chapter introduction. Genesis chapters one and two tells us about God’s very good creation and His purposes for humanity. In Genesis chapter three we read about man’s’ fall into sin and how sin has corrupted the entire creation. The rest of the Bible, from Genesis 3:15, which is the first promise of redemption to the last verse in Revelation is the story of redemption. The Old Testament presents the promise of redemption through a series of covenants and related prophecies.

The rest of the Bible, from Genesis 3:15, which is the first promise of redemption to the last verse in Revelation is the story of redemption. The Old Testament presents the promise of redemption through a series of covenants and related prophecies.

Psalm 25:14 – The secret of the LORD is with them that fear him; and he will shew them his covenant.

I Kings 8:23 – And he said, LORD God of Israel, there is no God like thee, in heaven above, or on earth beneath, who keepest covenant and mercy with thy servants that walk before thee with all their heart.

The New Testament records the fulfillment and consummation of the Old Testament promise of redemption through the coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This fulfillment of redemption is already present and ongoing. The Bible is a particular kind of book with a specific purpose. It doesn’t speak about everything, although it does speak to everything.

The Bible has a focus, a special “calling” to fulfill. It is this: God’s book about the creation and the fall of man, and God’s gracious work of redeeming the creation from the effects of the fall! Salvaging a sin-wrecked creation is what the Bible is all about!

The Bible is more than just God’s story of redemption. It’s God’s gracious love story of redemption. Sinful humanity and the corrupted creation do not deserve salvation. Mankind sinned against God knowingly and deliberately. We knew what we were doing and wanted to do it.  The original iniquity in the Garden of Eden was committed with a “high hand”, or in legal terms, with “malice aforethought.” Justice and only justice is our due for our wrong-doing. One way to look at the Bible is that it is a law book. God as the lawgiver established agreements or covenants with His creation. This paper explores those covenants.

Covenants: The backbone of the Bible

A Covenant is an agreement between two parties. It involves promises on the part of each party to the other. The concept of a covenant between God and His people is one of the central themes of the Bible. But in the Biblical sense, a covenant implies much more than a contract or agreement between two parties.

The word for “covenant” in the Old Testament also provides additional insight into the meaning of this important idea. Simply stated, God says, “If you will do this, then I will do that.” It comes from a Hebrew root word that means “to cut.” The idea would be “to cut the covenant.” This explains the strange custom of two people passing through the cut bodies of slain animals after making an agreement (Jeremiah 34:18). The two parties then walked between the animal halves, making contact with the blood, by stepping thru it and in it. Stepping thru the blood represented a kind of self-curse. The two parties were in effect saying, “If I break the covenant, then may what happened to this animal, happen to me.” A ceremony such as this always accompanied the making of a covenant in the Old Testament.

In Genesis chapter 31, sometimes those entering into a covenant shared a meal, such as when Laban and Jacob made their covenant. In Genesis chapter seventeen, God commands the circumcision of Abraham and his children as a “sign of the covenant”. At Mount Sinai, Moses sprinkled the blood of animals on the altar and upon the people who entered into a covenant with God. And what’s remarkable is that a Holy God consents to enter into covenant with man, who is feeble, sinful, and flawed.

The structure of the Biblical covenant is similar to the established form of peace treaties in the ancient Near East. After a war, a victorious king would make a covenant with his defeated foe. Promises were made guaranteeing protection on condition that the defeated king and all under his authority would obey their new lord. Both victorious king and defeated King would swear an oath and unite in a covenant.

Biblical covenants, like the treaties, were structured in this manner:

  • Preamble – Identifying the lordship, greatness, and power and who the parties are.
  • Historical Prolog – A reminder of how they came to this place.
  • Ethical Stipulations – Stating man’s obligations in the Covenant – the laws.
  • Sanctions – Outlining the blessings for obedience and curses for disobedience.
  • Witnesses – A list of witnesses – “heaven and earth.”
  • Documentation – Each party gets a copy of the agreement.
  • Succession Arrangements – Dealing with the continuity of the covenant relationship over future generations.

In this study, we want to examine seven great covenants of the Bible. Some Bible scholars see less than seven covenants while others see more.

God’s Covenant With Adam – The Adamic Covenant

In Genesis chapter one we see God blessing Adam and Eve. God told them that they would be masters of the whole earth and get their food from plants in the garden. In Genesis chapter two, God commands Adam to be obedient and not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. In Genesis chapter three, Adam and Eve broke that covenant. Therefore, they were punished and expelled from the garden. The curses included:

• Enmity between Eve and Satan and their descendants.
• Painful childbirth for women.
• Marital strife.
• The soil cursed. The Introduction of thorns and thistles. Survival to be a struggle.
• Death is introduced.

However, a wonderful promise of grace was also included in the Adamic Covenant. One born of a woman would be wounded in the process of destroying Satan. The “seed” of the woman who would crush the Serpent’s head is none other than Jesus Christ.

God’s Covenant With Noah – The Noahic Covenant

In Genesis chapter nine, God makes a covenant with Noah, assuring Noah that He would never again destroy the world by flood. Noah lived at a time when violence and corruption filled the whole earth. Noah did not allow the evil standards of his day to rob him of fellowship with God. He stood out as the only one who “walked with God”, as was also true of his great-grandfather Enoch. “Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). Noah was singled out by God as the man to accomplish a great work.

In Genesis chapter six, God saw the wickedness that prevailed in the world. He told Noah of His intention to destroy the ancient world with a universal flood. In Genesis chapter Six, God instructs Noah to build an ark in which he and his family would survive the flood. Noah believed God and “according to all that God commanded him, so he did.”

Hebrews 11:7 – “By faith Noah, being divinely warned of things not yet seen, moved w/ godly fear, prepared an ark for the saving of his household, by which he condemned the world and became heir of the righteousness which is according to faith.”

With steadfast confidence in God, Noah started building the ark. Noah continued to preach God’s judgment and mercy, warning the ungodly of approaching doom.  Peter reminds us in II Peter 2:5 of how God did not spare the ancient world. But saved Noah, one of eight people, a preacher of righteousness, bringing a flood upon the world of the ungodly. Noah preached for 120 years, apparently without any converts. At the end of that time, “when … the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah … eight souls were saved through water” (1 Peter 3:20). People continued in their evil ways, ignored his warnings until the flood overtook them.

When the ark was ready, Noah entered in with all kinds of animals “and the Lord shut him in” (Genesis 7:16), cut off completely from the rest of mankind. Noah was grateful to the Lord, who had delivered him from the flood. In Genesis Chapter eight, after the flood, Noah built an altar to God and made a sacrifice, which was accepted graciously, for in it “the Lord smelled a soothing aroma.”

In Genesis chapter nine, the Lord promised Noah and his descendants that He would never destroy the world with a flood. The Lord made an everlasting covenant with Noah and his descendants, establishing the rainbow as the sign of His promise. The rainbow is a reminder of that agreement. This covenant is still in effect today.  Another part of the covenant involved the sanctity of human life. In Genesis 9:6 we read: “Whoever sheds man’s blood, by man his blood shall be shed; for in the image of God He made man.”

God’s Covenant With Abraham – The Abrahamic Covenant

In making a covenant with Abraham, God promised to bless his descendants and make them His special people. In return, Abraham was to remain faithful to God and to serve as a channel through which God’s blessings could flow to the rest of the world, to all Nations.  Abraham’s’ story begins with his passage, with the rest of his family from Ur of the Chaldeans. He and his family moved north along the trade routes of the ancient world and settled in the prosperous trade center of Haran. While living in Haran, at the age of 75, Abraham received a call from God to go to a strange, unknown land that God would show him.

In Genesis chapter twelve, the Lord promised Abraham He would make him and his descendants a great nation. This promise must have seemed unbelievable to Abraham because his wife Sarah was childless and very old. Abraham obeyed God with no hint of doubt or disbelief. Abraham took his wife and his nephew, Lot and traveled to the land that God would show him. Abraham moved south from Haran to the land of Canaan.  Canaan was a populated area at that time, inhabited by the war-like Canaanites.  However, Abraham believed that God would keep His part of the covenant promise, giving the land to him and his descendants. The circumstances seemed quite difficult, but Abraham’s faith in God’s promises allowed him to trust in the Lord. In Genesis chapter fifteen, the Lord reaffirmed His promise to Abraham.

Genesis 12:1-3 – “Get out of your country, from your family & from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you. I will make you a great nation; I will bless you & make your name great; and you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, & I will curse him who curses you; and in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”

In Genesis chapter fifteen, Abraham became anxious about the promise of a nation being found in his descendants because of his advanced age. But the Lord then reaffirmed the earlier covenant.

Genesis 15:5 – “Look now toward heaven & count the stars if you are able to number them. And He said to him, ‘So shall your descendants be.”

Abraham’s response is the model of believing faith:

Genesis 15:6 – “And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness.” In Genesis chapter seventeen God repeated this covenant to Abraham’ son, Isaac.

The Palestinian Covenant

This covenant  found in Deuteronomy 30:1-10, noted God’s promise to scatter Israel if they disobeyed God, then to restore them at a later time to their land. This covenant was fulfilled with the Babylonian Captivity and the subsequent rebuilding of Jerusalem under the Persian King, Cyrus the Great.  Some Christians believe that the regathering of “Jews” to form the modern State of Israel is part of the final fulfillment of the Palestinian Covenant. They believe that the  blessings of the “Palestinian Covenant” are only now coming into existence. Passages in Deuteronomy chapter thirty are used as the “Scriptural basis” for Israel’s regathering. Is there any basis for such claims?

According to Deuteronomy 30:1-8, a necessary condition for the regathering of Israel to Palestine was their returning to the Lord:

Deuteronomy 30:2-3 – “And shalt return unto the LORD thy God, and shalt obey his voice according to all that I command thee this day, thou and thy children, with all thine heart, and with all thy soul; That then the LORD thy God will turn thy captivity, and have compassion upon thee, and will return and gather thee from all the nations, whither the LORD thy God hath scattered thee.”

Based on this clear passage of Scripture, it can be concluded that the modern State of Israel, was not formed as a result of the blessings of the Palestinian covenant. The “Jews” of 1948 (except for maybe a few isolated individuals) did not turn to the Lord. To base the formation of Israel upon their alleged “faithfulness” to Judaism is to betray a fundamental misunderstanding of what Judaism is and what the New Testament teaches.

Some think the “Jews” of today have a special advantage, perhaps even salvation without Christ because they believe in the God of the Old Testament, and some follow the Old Testament religion. However, this position overlooks the fact that the religion of the Old Testament is based on making sacrifices for sins (Leviticus 17:11). This position also ignores the statements of the New Testament that there is NO salvation outside of Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12). And that the religion of the Old Testament was no longer effective (Hebrews 7-10).

The Lord of the New Testament is Jesus Christ. This revelation casts light on who the Lord of the Old Testament is. For example, Peter quotes Joel 2:32 in Acts 2:21, as being fulfilled in Jesus: “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.”

Some Christians believe that the “Jews” of the modern nation of Israel are entitled to the inheritance based on their race/ethnic heritage. However, the apostle Paul counters this idea in Galatians 3:7, 29: “Know for sure that only those who are of faith are the sons of Abraham. If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.”  In case he hasn’t made it clear enough, Paul reiterates for those who expect some special privilege for physical descendants of Abraham:

Galatians 3:16 – “Now to Abraham’s and his seed the promises were made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as of many, but as of one, ‘And to your seed,’ who is Christ”.

Being “in Christ” is the only way to inherit anything is in Christ!

Jewish leaders who came to John the Baptist thought the Kingdom was theirs automatically by virtue of their heritage. In Matthew 3:9 we read: “Do not think to yourselves, ‘We have Abraham as our father,’ For I say to you that God is able to raise up children to Abraham from these stones!”  Paul states the nature of true Jewishness in Romans 2:28-29:

“For he is not a Jew who is one outwardly; neither is circumcision that which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew who is one inwardly; and circumcision is that which is of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter…”

Covenant with Moses – The Mosaic Covenant

The Israelites moved to Egypt during the time of Joseph. But after the death of Joseph, a new Pharaoh came upon the scene and turned the Israelites into common slaves. The people cried out to the God of their forefathers.

Exodus 2:24 – “So God heard their groaning, and God remembered His covenant with Abraham, with Isaac, and with Jacob.”

After a series of ten plagues upon the land of Egypt, God brought the Israelites out “of Egypt and great power and with a mighty hand” (Exodus 32:11). Three months after leaving the land of Egypt, the children of Israel camped at the base of Mount Sinai. God promised to make a covenant with the Israelites.

Exodus 19:5: “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people.”

Did you notice the “if” in the covenants agreement? The Children of Israel responded by saying they were willing to do all that God commanded them. The agreement was ratified by the blood of Oxen. This covenant was between God and the children of Israel.

The Ten Commandments were the foundation of the covenant, but they are not the entirety of it. In Exodus Chapter twenty, after giving the first of the ten commandants, the people, being afraid, asked the Lord to speak no more. Moses drew near to the presence of God to hear the rest of the covenant. After receiving the Law, Moses spoke the words of the covenant to all of the people and they agreed to obey. In Exodus 24:8 Moses then wrote the conditions of the covenant down, offered sacrifices to God, and then sprinkled both the book and the people with blood to seal the covenant.

This covenant between God & the children of Israel was temporary. God promised a day when He would make a new covenant, not only with Israel but also with all mankind.

Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant w/ the house of Israel and with the house of Judah — not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. But this is the covenant that I will make w/ the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.”

God’s Covenant With David – The Davidic Covenant

In II Samuel Chapter seven we see another covenant between God and King David. This covenant established David and his descendants as royal heirs to the throne of the nation of Israel. This covenant reached its fulfillment with the birth of Jesus (descendant of David) in Bethlehem. Matthew Chapter one starts off by showing Christ was “the Son of David“, and thus He had the right to rule over God’s people. In the second chapter of Acts, Peter preached that Jesus Christ was a fulfillment of God’s promise to David.

The Covenant Of Christ – the New Covenant

The New Testament makes a clear distinction between the covenants of the Mosaic Law and the New Covenant, the covenant of promise. In Galatians chapter four the Apostle Paul spoke of these “two covenants,” one originating “from Mount Sinai,” the other from “the Jerusalem above”.  In II Corinthians chapter three, Paul argued that the Covenant established at Mount Sinai was a “ministry of death” and “condemnation.” The death of Christ ushered in the new covenant under which we are justified by God’s grace and mercy. Under this covenant, it is now possible to have the true forgiveness of sins. Jesus Himself is the Mediator of this better covenant between God and man (Hebrews 9:15).

Jesus’ sacrificial death served as the oath that God made to us to seal this new covenant. This “New Covenant” is the new agreement God has made with mankind, based on the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The concept of a new covenant originated with the promise to Jeremiah that God would accomplish for His people what the old covenant had failed to do. Under this new covenant, God would write His Law on human hearts instead of tables of stone. When Jesus ate the Passover meal at the Last Supper with His disciples, He spoke of the cup and said: “this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins” (Matthew 26:28).

Luke’s account refers to this cup as symbolizing “the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you” (Luke 22:20). When Paul recited the account he had received concerning the Last Supper, he quoted these words of Jesus about the cup as “the new covenant in My blood” (1 Corinthians 11:25).

Hebrews gives the new covenant more attention than any other book in the New Testament. It quotes the entire passage from Jeremiah 31:31-34 in Hebrews 8:8-12:

Hebrews 8:8-12 – “For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah: 9 Not according to the covenant that I made w/their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they continued not in my covenant, and I regarded them not, saith the Lord. For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith the Lord; I will put my laws into their mind, and write them in their hearts: and I will be to them a God, and they shall be to me a people: And they shall not teach every man his neighbour, and every man his brother, saying, Know the Lord: for all shall know me, from the least to the greatest. For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

Jesus is referred to by the writer of Hebrews as “the Mediator of the new covenant.” The New covenant, a “better covenant … established on better promises” (Hebrews 8:6), rests directly on the sacrificial work of Christ. The New Covenant accomplished what the old could not, i.e., the removal of sin and cleansing of the conscience (Hebrews 10:2, 22). The work of Jesus Christ on the cross thus makes the old covenant “obsolete” (Hebrews 8:13) and fulfills the promise of the prophet Jeremiah.


Unlike the Mosaic covenant, the New Covenant of Jesus Christ is intended for all mankind. Jesus sent His apostles into the entire world so they could tell the story of the cross. The gospel call extends to every man and woman today!

Acts 2:28-39 – “Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead & buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord & Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”

God wants to make a deal with you. Covenants are God’s way of dealing with man!  IF you will repent and be baptized in His name, He will fill you with His Spirit.

Related articles: Seed Royal

Heavens and Earth Shall Pass Away

Stars – Symbols of Kings and Kingdoms

Is there anywhere in Scripture that we find nations compared to heavenly bodies? The 1st chapter of Genesis gives us a clue as to why the Bible compares the sun, moon, and stars to rulers and their kingdoms.

In Genesis 1:16 (KJV) we read:  “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.”

Please, notice that the sun (“greater light“) and the moon (“lesser light) are said to govern the day and night.” Notice the word govern” in Gen. 1:16. To “govern” denotes a government! Can we find examples of the sun and moon being used as symbols of government? Why, of course!

Joseph the Dreamer

Let’s go to Genesis 37:9: “And he dreamed yet another dream, and told it his brethren, and said, Behold, I have dreamed a dream more; and, behold, the sun and the moon and the eleven stars made obeisance to me.”

“Heaven and Earth will pass away” Matthew 24:17

In a dream, Joseph saw the sun and the moon and the eleven stars bowing down (obeisance) to him. And what did the sun, moon, and stars represent? They represented Joseph’s father, mother, and brothers. Now keep in mind that at this time Joseph was only seventeen years old (Gen 37:2) being under the government of his father, mother, and older brothers. In a real sense they ruled over Joseph. When Joseph’s brother Jacob heard about Joseph’s dream, Jacob asked Joseph in Genesis 37:10 “Shall I and thy mother and thy brethren indeed come to bow down ourselves to thee to the earth?” Obviously, Joseph’s father and brothers immediately understood the significance of the images in his dream. They were NOT looking for the sun, moon, and stars to bow down before Joseph. They KNEW he was referring to THEM!

Stars were used as symbols of earthly rulers and governments in other places in Scripture.

Judges 5:19-20 is a good example: “The kings came and fought, then fought the kings of Canaan in Taanach by the waters of Megiddo; they took no gain of money. They fought from heaven; the stars in their courses fought against Sisera.”

Notice in verse 19 it statesthe kings came and fought.” In verse 20 we read the stars in their courses fought against Sisera”. Both verses are describing the same event in terms of Hebrew parallelism! The stars are symbols of kings and their armies. Stars, as we see them in space, were not fighting from heaven. A type of poetic, symbolic language is being used.

Babylon – Lights Put Out

Isaiah wrote in chapter 13:9-10 the day of the Lord cometh,” and when it comes it will be cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.”

Here is a description of a localized judgment on Babylon, a world power that existed long ago. Did the stars of heaven and the constellations actually not give their light?    Was the sun literally darkened?  Did the moon fail to give her light?

The answer, of course, is no!  Who did God raise up to judge Babylon? We find the answer in Isaiah 13:17:  “Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them.”  The stirrup up of the Medes proves that the Babylon of long ago is the object of judgment. The day of “destruction” that came from “the Almighty” (Isaiah 13:6) was described with graphic expressions. Expressions such as, Hands be faint (Isaiah 13:7); every man’s heart shall melt” (Isaiah 13:7); and “they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth” (Isaiah 13:8) are used to convey judgment. Again we see that symbolic language, using celestial bodies is used to describe the judgment of a mighty nation!

Egypt – Lights Put Out

Pharaoh and ancient Egypt’s destruction were described in a similar way. It is not coincidental that Jerusalem is said to be Egypt in Revelation 11:8. God’s faithful people in Egypt and Jerusalem suffered persecution. The Jerusalem of the 1st century sought to kill those who taught that Jesus was the promised Redeemer. Let’s read how the scriptures describe Egypt’s destruction:

Ezekiel 32:7-8 (KJV) – “And when I shall put thee out, I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark; I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. 8 All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee, and set darkness upon thy land, saith the Lord GOD.”

Egypt’s conqueror was Babylon because in Ezekiel 32:11 we read “For thus saith the Lord GOD; The sword of the king of Babylon shall come upon thee.” What’s interesting is that the language is similar to the words Jesus used in Matthew 24:39 to describe the soon coming destruction of Jerusalem in His day. Notice how Ezekiel uses symbolic language of celestial bodies such as the stars, the sun, and the moon to describe this destruction?

Did the stars literally go dark?
Was the sun literally covered with a cloud?
Did the moon actually not give her light?
Were the bright lights of heaven really extinguished?

The answer, of course, is no. The symbolic language we saw in Genesis in reference to the sun, moon, and stars bowing down to Joseph continues throughout the Scripture. So when we read scripture, we need to be consistent with our interpretation. We use scripture to interpret scripture!

Edom – Lights Put Out

While Scripture describes one nation bringing down the fortunes of another nation, we know that God is behind it all. God is in heaven, but His sword finds its way to earth through the terror of other kingdoms. Let’s look at yet another example of national upheaval in the description of the end of a political power called Edom (referred to in the KJV as Idumea):

Isaiah 34:4-5 (KJV) – And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

Please, notice that God did NOT come down physically to deliver judgment upon Edom (Idumea). But the text states that His sword “shall come down upon Idumea”.

Did a sword come down from heaven?
Did the host of heaven “fall down”?
Was the heavens “rolled together as a scroll”?

Certainly NOT in literal terms. Again the language is simply a description of Edom’s (Idumea) national judgment.

Israel – Lights Put Out

In Amos 5:21 God had condemned Israel’s disdain for things holy by informing the people that He would reject their festivals and their solemn assemblies“. In Amos 5:22 we read: Though ye offer me burnt offerings and your meat offerings, I will not accept them: neither will I regard the peace-offerings of your fat beasts.

In a word, the worship practices of Israel had become an abomination in God’s sight. Their deeds would bring on “the day of the Lord”:

Amos 5:18 (KJV) – Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.

Then again God tells them in Amos 8:9 – “And it shall come to pass in that day, saith the Lord GOD, that I will cause the sun to go down at noon, and I will darken the earth in the clear day.”  Is this passage describing a solar eclipse? Well, I guess it could be but isn’t it more natural and biblical to see it as a description of divine displeasure and judgment? Assyria had put Israel’s political lights out while Babylon extinguished the lights of Judah. Are you beginning to see the consistent use of symbolic language throughout scripture? A pattern?

Heavenly Blessings

What about when the nation of Israel was obedient? What language does the scripture use to describe that condition? You guessed it – the same type of symbolic language. There’s an excellent example of this in Isaiah 30:26:

“Moreover the light of the moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day that the LORD bindeth up the breach of his people, and healeth the stroke of their wound.”

Here we see once again the use of symbolic language to describe God’s sovereign mercy being poured out on a repentant people. If the language were meant to be taken literally, the earth would be burned to a crisp, especially when we read that the light of the sun shall be sevenfold! Time to get out the sunscreen right?

New Testament Examples

The New Testament picks up on this imagery of a nation (Israel) being represented by the sun, moon, and stars (the heavens if you will). Let’s look at the book of Matthew:

Matthew 24:29 (KJV) – “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken .”

Should we expect the sun literally to be darkened and the moon to cease reflecting the light from the sun? Will stars literally fall from heaven? Of course with God all things are possible; however, we would do better to survey how the Old Testament uses and applies this language than to allow our imaginations to run wild. Let the scripture interpret scripture.

The Book of Revelation describes stars falling to the Earth (Rev. 6:13). How can stars fall to the Earth and the Earth survive? Revelation 12:3 refers to the tail of the great dragon. In Revelation 12:4 we read that: And his tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, and did cast them to the earth.” Now isn’t just one-star MUCH larger than the Earth? One star would vaporize our planet, let alone a third part of the stars. From Genesis to Revelation we see the consistent use of symbolic language.

The Passing Away of the Heavens and Earth

In Matthew 24:29-31 we read: “Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory. And he shall send his angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other.”

Later in Matthew 24:35 we read: “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.”

Jesus does not change subjects when He assures the disciples that heaven and earth shall pass away“. He merely affirms His prior predictions that recorded in Matthew 24:29-31. Keep in mind that the central focus of the Olivet Discourse is the desolation of the house” and world of apostate Israel (Mat 23:36). The old world of Judaism, represented by the earthly temple in Jerusalem, is taken apart stone by stone (Mat 24:2). The New Covenant replaces the Old Covenant with a new priesthood, a new sacrifice, a new tabernacle (John 1:14) and a new temple (John 2:19, 1 Cor. 3:16, Eph 2:21). In essence, a new heaven and earth.

The passing away of heavens and earth is the passing away of old covenant Judaism!

The darkening of the sun, moon and the falling stars, coupled with the shaking of the heavens (Mat 24:29) are descriptive ways of saying the heavens and earth shall pass away.” In other contexts, when stars fall, they fall to the earth, a sure sign of judgment (Isa. 14:12, Dan. 8:10, Rev. 6:13; 9:1 12:4). So then, the passing away of heavens and earth is the passing away of old covenant Judaism. Led and upheld by those who crucified the Lord of glory (1 Cor. 2:8).

Likewise in 2 Peter chapter 3 the heavens and earth being reserved unto fire against the day of judgment refers not to the last and final judgment of the world. Rather to the utter desolation and destruction made against the corrupt Jewish temple system and government. Here’s the scripture:

2 Peter 3:5-7 (KJV) – “For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished: But the heavens and the earth, which are now, by the same word are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the day of judgment and perdition of ungodly men.”

2 Peter 3:5-7 is a reference to the great flood of Noah’s day. It states that the world perished. While the great flood did destroy all the cities of the earth, the world or earth itself did not perish. And certainly the heavens did not perish. What did perish was the old order of the world. The old world of sin was washed away in the flood water. Likewise, the heavens and earth passing away by fire, if taken literally, represents the destruction of the universe. The period, when that is to take place, is called the end of the world.” Those familiar with the phraseology of the Old Testament Scriptures know that the dissolution of the Mosaic/Judaic religious system, and the establishment of the Christian religious system, is often spoken of as the removing the old heavens and earth and the creation of a new heavens and earth!

Melting Elements

Now let’s look at another scripture that mentions the heavens passing away with a great noise and the elements melting with fervent heat.”

2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Now this scripture is a little more of a challenge to understand due to the use of the word elements“. What does that word elements really mean? Most people are naturally prone to accept, without question the teaching of a person or organization they hold in high regard. They never consider they could be teaching something based on an assumption or a preconceived notion. It may be that many of us have come to understand these verses based on prior traditional assumptions.

It’s Greek to Me

We need to examine the meaning of this word “elements“, which is the same word used several other times in the New Testament. The Greek word for elements is stoicheion and means something orderly in arrangement – element, principle, rudiment.” Some believe, and I was among them, that the word elements in 2 Peter 3:10 refers to the fundamental elements of material creation. Is this the only interpretation of this verse? Does this word elements refer to the scientific idea of the elements of matter, all the atoms of the universe? Or the periodic table of elements? Were there other elements of another “heaven and earth” that were predicted to pass in Peter’s near future? We will first look at seven passages with the word elements or in Greek stoicheia or stoikion“.

Galatians 4:3 (KJV) – Even so we, when we were children, were in bondage under the elements [stoikion]of the world:

Galatians 4:9 (KJV) – But now, after that ye have known God, or rather are known of God, how turn ye again to the weak and beggarly elements, [stoikion] whereunto ye desire again to be in bondage?

Colossians 2:8 (KJV) – Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments [stoikion]of the world, and not after Christ.

Colossians 2:20-22 (KJV) – Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments [stoikion] of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men?

Hebrews 5:12 (KJV) – For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles [stoikion] of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.

2 Peter 3:10 (KJV) – But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements [stoikion] shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.

2 Peter 3:12-13 (KJV) – Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements [stoikion] shall melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.

In context stoikion never refers to the physical world or the elements on the periodic table, but always denotes the elementary principles of the Old Covenant. The Greek word for elements in 2 Peter 3:7-13 refers to the elements, principles or customs of the Law of Moses in every other instance in which it is used in the New Testament. The Bible is a covenantal book from Genesis to Revelation and 2 Peter 3 is also covenantal. It is using symbolic apocalyptic language to describe the transition from the Old to the New Covenant in 70 A.D.

The scriptures were written in an apocalyptic style when describing the destruction of the heavens and earth. Apocalyptic literature is poetry. It is not a strictly literal description of events as one might find in a newspaper. Therefore, it is not surprising that the sky and earth did not literally pass away after the Jewish War. In the same manner, the stars in the sky were not literally dissolved and the heavens rolled up at the fall of Edom in the sixth century B.C. as prophesied in Isaiah 34:4-5.

The Bible does not contradict itself. My understanding of these scriptures is in line with other Bible verses that declare that the physical heavens and earth will NOT be destroyed. However, a casual reading of Scripture, such as in Matthew chapters 13 and 24 would lead one to believe in the end of the world“.  While other scriptures declare that will world will be without end and will abide for ever.  Look at the following two scriptures:

Ephesians 3:21 (KJV) – Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.

Ecclesiastes 1:4 (KJV) – One-generation passeth away, and another generation cometh: but the earth abideth for ever.

Matthew 13:39 (KJV) – The enemy that sowed them is the devil; the harvest is the end of the world; and the reapers are the angels.

Matthew 13:49 (KJV) – So shall it be at the end of the world: the angels shall come forth, and sever the wicked from among the just,

Matthew 24:3 (KJV) – And as he sat upon the mount of Olives, the disciples came unto him privately, saying, Tell us, when shall these things be? And what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?

End of the World or End of an Age?

Please, notice in the three (3) verses of Matthew above, the Greek word for “world” is aion.” Strong’s Concordance gives the definition of aion as an age” or cycle of time. Often when we see the word “world” we tend to think of the entire earth or creation instead of a period of time. If I took you into my home and said Welcome to my world you wouldn’t think I was referring to the entire world or universe. It’s important to note that this Greek word is properly translated asage. It’s interesting to note that many Bible translations use the English word age instead of “world”:

Montgomery New Testament – “the end of the age.”
English Standard Version – “the end of the age.”
Holman Standard Christian Bible – “end of the age.”
Weymouth New Testament – “the close of the age.”
Young’s Literal Translation – “the full end of the age.”


What we see in all of the above examples in scripture is not a dispute over God’s ability to cause the sun and moon to go dark or the stars to fall from the heavens. Rather, we see the consistent use of symbolic language to describe events that befell nations and peoples. However, it is not necessary to be fully conversant in Hebrew or Greek to become aware of some of the features, or keys, of the language. Once we recognize these keys, we are on the way to a greater appreciation of the Hebraic imagery and, for this reason, a better understanding of the scriptures.

The writers of the Hebrew Old Testament employed all the arts of their language. Hebrew prophets prophesied in a special symbolic manner. The recorders penned their chronicles using picturesque idioms, and the poets wrote heartfelt phrases in their special types of balanced parallelism.

For instance, everyone who knows and loves the twenty-third Psalm knows that the Lord is not an actual shepherd, and we are not sheep. But we recognize what the Psalmist meant by the green pastures, the still waters, the rod and staff, and the overflowing cup.

Let scripture interpret scripture!

In the final analysis, we must let scripture interpret scripture. Remember all of the New Testament writers were intimately familiar with the Old Testament and the use of symbolic language to describe places, peoples, and events. Taking a scripture out of context and making a doctrine out of it is simply not rightly dividing the Word. Symbolic language, when used in the Old Testament, does not suddenly change its meaning when we see it in the New Testament.

Related articles: Rules for Understanding the Bible  Melting Elements  Blood Moons

The Antichrist

I John 2:18 (KJV) –  “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”


This guy needs to be a bit more subtle

We hear a lot today about “The Antichrist.” In recent years, there have been hundreds of books, movies and videos that have developed the image of a soon-coming evil world leader called “The Antichrist.”

You will be shocked to learn that there is no mention of the phrase “The Antichrist” in the entire Bible. By that, I mean that you won’t find the term “The Antichrist” anywhere in the King James Version of the Bible.

In fact, there are only four verses in the King James Bible that speak of “Antichrist.” There are three references in I John chapter 2 and one verse in II John chapter 2. The words “antichrist” and “antichrists” are only found five times in the King James Bible.

Here are the only verses that speak of “antichrist(s):”

I John 2:18 (KJV) – ” Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time.”

I John 2:22 (KJV) –  “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

I John 4:3 (KJV)  – “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

II John 1:7 (KJV) –  “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

So in the scriptures we read of:
• “Antichrist.”
• “Many antichrists.”
• “That spirit of antichrist.”
• “An antichrist.”

But we never read of “The Antichrist” as though there is a figure in the Bible who is more “antichrist” than any other “antichrist.”

Whenever we study the Word of God, we should start by asking several fundamental questions:

1. Who is the writer?
2. Who is the intended audience?
3. When were the verses we are studying written? The date is sometimes important.
4. Why were the verses we are studying written? In other words, what’s the purpose?

1. Who is the writer? The writer of I and II John is accepted to be John the Apostle, who was also believed to be the author of the Gospel of John, as well as the book of Revelation and III John. John was a fisherman and part of the inner circle of Jesus. According to history, he was the only apostle not martyred.

2. Who is the intended audience? John was writing to Christian believers residing in the province of Asia – probably near the city of Ephesus.

The second Epistle of John is very specific: “The elder unto the elect lady and her children” (II John 1:1). As is the third Epistle “The elder unto the well beloved Gaius..” (II John 1:1).

3. When were the verses we are studying written? It is reasonable to date the epistles of 1st and 2nd John somewhere between AD 85 and 95, after the writing of the Gospel, which may have been written AD 85.

4. Why were the verses we are studying written? 1st and 2nd John were written because John’s readers were being confronted with false teaching. Deceivers and false teachers had infiltrated the church—people who taught falsehoods about the person of Jesus, teaching that He was not truly a man but only appeared to be one. This early heresy, called Gnosticism, required the strongest possible response from John. So the apostle warned the true believers away from these false teachers. John’s encouragement, then, was not simply to love but to love others within the limits that truth allows.

Gnosticism’s central teaching was that spirit is entirely good, and matter is entirely evil. Gnosticism denied the true humanity of Jesus. This heresy was also libertine, throwing off all moral restraints. Consequently, John wrote this letter with two basic purposes in mind: (1) to expose false teachers and (2) to give believers assurance of salvation.  With his intention to combat Gnostic teachers, John specifically struck at their total lack of morality. And by giving eyewitness testimony to the incarnation, he sought to confirm his readers’ belief in the incarnate Christ. By the year, AB 150, one-third of all Christians were under the influence of Gnosticism – a huge cult & a major concern of the Church fathers. When we learn about the historical setting that John ministered, we can more easily understand his writings.

For example – John 1:1 & 14: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

How profound a statement – because Gnostics thought of the natural world as evil, they couldn’t believe that Jesus could have been God and at the same time have taken on human flesh!

Now let’s discuss the word “Antichrist”. It is a Greek word that simply means “opposed to Christ”. It’s similar to terms like “anti-smoking”, “anti-abortion”, “anti-drinking”, etc.

Let’s look at the 1st verse where the word “antichrist” appears:

I John 2:18-19 (KJV) –  “Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists;. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt] have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.”

In this verse John doesn’t give us a description or a definition of “antichrist” but he does tell us that there are many antichrists, not just one. John did not distinguish these many antichrists from some great antichrist, worse than them all, who would come in the future.

Further, he tells us that they already have come – that is in John’s lifetime (around 85 AD.) John spoke of those who were part of the church but later left it. He revealed that they never were part of the church. There departure is connected, undoubtedly, with the fact that they had rejected the belief that Jesus Christ had come in the flesh. They had turned to Gnosticism.

Now the 2nd verse mentioning “antichrist:”

I John 2:22 (KJV) –  “Who is a liar but he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.”

He said that “antichrist” was the influence of deception in his day denying the Father and the Son. What John was saying here is that anyone that denies the Jesus was the Christ (Christ being the anointed body) that the Spirit of God would dwell in is a liar.

The Bible says that in Jesus dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Jesus said that when you see him you see the Father. Jesus said “I and my Father are one.”

An Antichrist is simply a person or spirit that denies the Father and the Son. It is a spirit that does not confess that Jesus has come in the flesh. Here’s the 3rd verse:

I John 4:1- 3 (KJV) – “Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.”

Knowing that John, addressing his letter to 1st century Christians, who were being influenced by Gnostic thought and culture, we can understand his warning to judge various teachers. And the most important basis for judging was what they taught about Jesus Christ.

True prophets/teachers will confess “that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh.” False prophets/teachers will deny this or that Jesus is from God. This is the spirit that John referred to as “Antichrist.” John is saying that every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. John is coming against the Gnostic heresy here.

John said that the spirit of antichrist was foretold to come. John said that this antichrist spirit was already in the world – this was not 2014 AD but around 85 AD! (Jesus was crucified between 30 – 36 AD.)

And John never said anything about a man that would be called “the antichrist” who would come long after the spirit of antichrist was in the world.

Now here is the 4th and final verse mentioning “an antichrist”:

II John 1:7 (KJV) –  “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

Now we are in II John. John is saying that many deceivers had entered into the world – and he defines these deceivers as anyone that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh. Again, here John is fighting the 1st century heretical teaching of Gnosticism. John was speaking of a deceiver that was active in his lifetime!

That’s it! There are no other passages in the Bible that uses the word “antichrist” or “antichrists”!  Now that we have studied the historical setting of John’s writings it is obvious that he is speaking of Gnostic teachers he was battling in the 1st century.

In three of the four passages, John refers to Antichrist as those who deny Jesus as coming from God or deny that Jesus came in the flesh.  In three of the four passages, John tells us that Antichrist was active during his lifetime in the 1st century. This can be disturbing to those who were taught that “the Antichrist” is some future political or religious leader who Satan will inhabit.

Now it’s interesting to note that John also wrote the book of Revelation. Why didn’t he use the term “antichrist” in that book? When we talk about “the antichrist” and the “Beast” mentioned in Revelation chapter 13, a lot of people wonder, “Are they the same?”  Now remember the word “antichrist” does not appear in the book of Revelation. That surprised me when I first heard that. Some people think the book of Revelation is all about “the antichrist,” yet the term does not even appear there. The only mention of “antichrist(s)” is in the books of I John and II John.  And as a matter of fact, John back in his day said, “There are even now many antichrists.” That’s not to say that the Beast in Revelation is not “an antichrist” but the Beast is not “the Antichrist.”

The Beast of Revelation can more accurately associated with the Roman Empire. This is how I see it because John’s description or definition of the Antichrist in 1st and 2nd John is very different from the description of the Beast of Revelation chapter 13.

Many also like to associate “the Antichrist” with the person mentioned in Daniel 9:27, who put an end to sacrifice and grain offering. Again “the Antichrist” is never mentioned in Daniel Chapter 9.

The other Bible passage that is typically used to teach about “the Antichrist” is II Thessalonians 2:3-10. Here Paul talks about the man of lawlessness (also called the man of sin or son of perdition). Again, the way I see it is that this passage also has nothing to do with the future antichrist.  Again I’m sure “the man of sin” and “son of perdition” is “an antichrist” because this person would almost certainly deny Jesus Christ.

In summary we can see that active imaginations are at work  building one idea upon another until a myth has taken hold of the minds of millions of modern-day Christians.  Much of this myth was built on the mistake of equating “Antichrist” of 1st and 2nd John, the Beast of Revelation and the man of lawlessness of II Thessalonians. There is no biblical basis for equating these. Certainly they are all evil but that’s no reason to equate them any more than a person today would equate Hitler, Saddam Hussein or Osama bin Laden as the same person.

Furthermore, the biblical descriptions of “antichrist,” the Beast and man of lawlessness are very different. “Antichrist” of John’s letters is a spirit that denied that Jesus came in the flesh. The Beast of Revelation was a leader of the Roman Empire and most likely Emperor Nero, although this is a topic that deserves a separate article. The “man of lawlessness” in II Thessalonians could be one of several entities. History tells us there were 100s of evil leaders during the 1st century just like there are today.

Now of course you can imagine that “The Antichrist” is coming in the future. People can imagine whatever they want. But it’s clearly wrong to say that there is any biblical evidence telling us that “The Antichrist” is coming in our future. We need to let the scriptures interpret the scriptures!  Every day we all are confronted with the spirit of antichrist. Think about all the groups and individual people that deny that Jesus Christ did not come in the flesh.  Can you think of a few? If you have a job or attend school chances are you know “an Antichrist.”

You might even have a member of your family that would meet John’s definition of “Antichrist.” I pray that you don’t!

Related articles include Mark of the Beast    Mystery Babylon

A Temple Made Without Hands


A Model of Herod’s Temple – Jerusalem

What’s a Temple?

Webster’s Dictionary defines the word “temple” as “a building for religious practice”; “either of two successive national sanctuaries in ancient Jerusalem”; “a building for Mormon sacred ordinances”; “the house of worship of Reform and some Conservative Jewish congregations”; “a local lodge of any of various fraternal orders” or “a place devoted to a special purpose”.

Tabernacle in the Wilderness

In the book of Exodus, God directed Moses to build a sanctuary that He may dwell with His covenant people.

“And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it”. (Exodus 25:8-9)

God instructed that worship would be in a centralized tent structure where there would be a physical manifestation of His presence.

“Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle,” (Exodus 40:34).

Here we see God commissioning the tabernacle as a house of worship where He intended to manifest His presence visibly.

Solomon’s Temple

After the nation of Israel dwelt securely in the land King David wanted to build a permanent Temple to replace this mobile Tabernacle. Because David was a man of war God directed David’s son Solomon to build this temple. At the seven-day inaugural celebration, The Ark of the Covenant was brought into the Temple. The Ark of the Covenant was the special gold-lined cedar chest where the Presence of God was manifested, descending from heaven between the outstretched wings of the two golden cherubs. For the next 410 years, the Jewish people would bring daily offerings to this magnificent Temple.  Solomon’s reign was a golden era for the nation of Israel. His capital, Jerusalem, became the center of wisdom and riches throughout the world. However, at the end of King Solomon’s life, he was guilty of indiscretions unbefitting his great stature.

In 1 Kings 11:6 we read: “And Solomon did evil in the sight of the LORD, and went not fully after the LORD, as did David his father.”

Kingdom Divided

After Solomon’s death, the kingdom was torn in two when the ten northern tribes refused to accept Solomon’s son Rehoboam as their king. The country divided into two kingdoms: the northern Kingdom of Israel and the southern Kingdom of Judah (containing Jerusalem).

The Kings of Israel practiced idolatry as did many of the Kings of Judah. God sent prophets to warn the Jews, but they refused to change their ways. For example, Zechariah warned the nation of the grave punishments that would befall them if they would not change their ways. But rather than accept his rebuke, the nation stoned Zechariah to death in the Temple courtyard. In 555 BCE, the northern kingdom fell to the Assyrians. Thus ended the Kingdom of Israel.

The Kingdom of Judah survived the Assyrian threat and lasted another 150 years. Eventually, they would fall victim to the Babylonians. Jeremiah prophesied about the Babylonian threat, warning the Jews of the terrible devastation to come unless they stopped worshiping idols. However, the Jews didn’t listen. Instead, they mocked and persecuted him.

God’s judgment on Israel was in the way of the Babylonians as mentioned in 2 Kings 24:9-10. “And he did that which was evil in the sight of the LORD, according to all that his father had done. At that time the servants of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against Jerusalem, and the city was besieged.”

Solomon’s Temple Destroyed by Nebuchadnezzar

In 425 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar pillaged Jerusalem. Hunger and epidemics ravaged the city. The walls of the city were torn down. Fire destroyed The Holy Temple. All the gold and silver were carried off as loot by the Babylonian soldiers. The High Priest and many other officials were executed. The destruction of Jerusalem and the Temple ended the empire of David and Solomon. God punished His people for deserting Him and His laws.

Herod Rebuilt the Temple

The prophet Jeremiah prophesied that the Jewish people would return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple. That came to pass 70 years later just as predicted by the prophet Daniel. The Jewish governor Zerubbabel rebuilt the Temple under King Cyrus of Persia and King Darius II. In 350 BCE, it was completed. The temple was later expanded by Herod the Great around 30 BC.

Jesus Predicts the Destruction of the 2nd Temple

During the last days of his life, Jesus assembled his disciples together on the Mt. of Olives. His disciples opened the conversation by talking about the beauty of the temple. Jesus amazed them by predicting the soon-coming destruction of that magnificent building.

In Matthew 24:1-2 we read: “And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to shew him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said unto them, See ye not all these things? Verily I say unto you, There shall not be left here one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

Luke Chapter 21 Verse 20 gives details of this predicted overthrow of the city and Temple: “And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh.”

Titus, the Roman General began the siege of Jerusalem in April of 70 A.D. Interestingly, Solomon’s first Temple and Herod’s second were both destroyed on the same day, the 10th of August exactly 656 years apart!

General Titus took the city and burned down the Temple. According to the Jewish Historian Josephus, Roman soldiers killed 1.1 million Jews and led 97,000 away as captives. Roman soldiers tore apart the stones to get the melted gold. Thus, Jesus’ prophecy regarding the Temples’ destruction was fulfilled – not one stone left upon another!

All Attempts to Rebuild the Temple Have Failed

There has not been a physical temple in Jerusalem since 70 A.D. All attempts to build a third Jewish Temple have thus far failed. According to the New Testament, Jesus’ death and resurrection fulfilled the need for ceremonial sacrifices performed by the Levitical priesthood over the previous 1500 years. These sacrifices pointed to the offering up of the Lamb of God for the sins of Israel and the world.

We read in Acts 7:48-50: “Howbeit the most High dwelleth not in temples made with hands; as saith the prophet, Heaven is my throne, and earth is my footstool: what house will ye build me? Saith the Lord: or what is the place of my rest? Hath not my hand made all these things?”

The idea that Jesus is the temple of God is proclaimed throughout the New Testament. John records an event between Jesus and the Jews in which He declares that His body is the temple of God.

In John 2:18-21 we read: “Then answered the Jews and said unto him, What sign shewest thou unto us, seeing that thou doest these things? Jesus answered and said unto them, Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up. Then said the Jews, Forty and six years was this temple in building, and wilt thou rear it up in three days? But he spake of the temple of his body.”

Jesus – the Temple of God

A cross was used to crucify Jesus. But in three days the Spirit of God raised Him from the dead, as He Himself prophesied. There is a spiritual Body of Christ now, comprised of those who believe in Him, which the New Testament teaches is the Temple of God. The scriptures declare that believers are that Temple. God dwells in us, and we are called Holy. Our Bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit. In 1 Peter 2:4-7 we read that Christians are “lively stones” a “holy priesthood” and “a Spiritual House”.

Born Again Christians Are Temples of God

In 1 Corinthians 3:16-17 Paul asks the believers in Corinth a question:

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you?

Then he follows up with a warning that:

“If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him.” And finally Paul gives the reason for his warning, ” For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.“

We see this theme of the saints of God being the temple again in Ephesians 2:22. The scriptures declare that believers are growing “into a holy temple in the Lord, in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Finally, the last part of Webster’s definition of the word “temple” is “a place devoted to a special purpose”. Born again Christians are that “place”! We are that “place devoted to a special purpose”. The Spirit of God no longer dwells in a physical building. Born-again believers in Jesus Christ are the new and Living Temple of God, made without hands. We are His Body, His Church, His Assembly, replacing the old that was done away with to make room for the fulfillment of the real and permanent!

For related articles see Many Mansions    The True Israel of God    The Kingdom of God    Finding the Church in the Old Testament    Seed Royal  The Abomination of Desolation

Seed Royal

seedFarmers Need Good Seed

To produce a good crop, every farmer or gardener knows that you need good quality seed. Appearance and tests can be used as a basis to select quality seed.  Quality seed should have the following characteristics: purity, germination, weight, and color.  Purity usually cannot be determined by looking at the seed or by a lab test. One must have absolute knowledge of the source by reading the seed tag and relying on the credibility of the seller. Testing is the only reliable means of determining the ability of the seed to germinate and the presence of disease. Visual inspection can not determine germination. Testing a good representative sample is the only way to ensure the seeds will grow.

High test weight per bushel indicates well-matured seed. Large, well filled, plump kernels produce  fast growing, healthy seedlings that may tiller more. Such seedlings can withstand early growing season stress, have more expansive root systems, compete more effectively with weeds and are better able to tolerate low levels of disease.  Good seed is usually large, plump and uniform in size to permit even seeding. Discolored, black, pink, grayish seeds or shriveled, off color seeds usually indicate disease. Good seed color should be normal for the crop and typically indicates seed free from disease, with no weather or storage damage.

Seed must not be high in moisture and must not be heated, musty, moldy or insect damaged. Germination may be affected considerably, even if mold damage is visible only as a dull grayish color or is noticeable as a slightly musty odor.  Good seed is free of foreign material such as sticks, chaff, stones, parts of insects, dirt, cracked seed, etc. This material may not be injurious to the field or crop produced but adds to the seeds cost and may interfere with uniform seeding. Good seed is free from weed seeds. Much of the seed sold today has been genetically modified – making it sterile!
Early in the book of Genesis the concept of the seed is established. Seed is in itself, and each kind of seed reproduces after its kind.

Genesis 1:11 (KJV) –  “And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed , and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so. There is a deep spiritual meaning associated with the word “seed”.

Enmity Between the Seeds

The word “seed” appears 279 times in the King James Version Bible! Definitions of the word “seed” include: A source or beginning, offspring, progeny, posterity, family stock, ancestry or the principle of future life. This principle of ancestry was established early in the Bible:

Genesis 3:15 (KJV) –  “And I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed ; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel.”

In the garden of Eden, God declares a future struggle or battle between the seed (offspring) of the serpent and the seed (offspring) of the woman. Then the Bible prophetically declares that the seed of the woman ultimately defeats the seed of the serpent. In the opening chapters of Genesis, we see the promise of a savior and redeemer.  This promise is maintained after Cain slew his brother Abel in the field. The promise of the future savior is renewed thru Seth, then Enoch (7th from Adam) then thru Methuselah (the oldest man) to his grandson Noah.

Genesis 9:8-9 (KJV) –  “And God spake unto Noah, and to his sons with him, saying, And I, behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you.”

God renews the covenant that began with the promise in the first chapter of Genesis. Noah’s has three sons – Shem, Japheth, and Ham. Thru the lineage of Shem, the Spirit of God singled out one man, Abraham, and devoted fourteen chapters of the Bible to him. Abraham was the only person in Old Testament called “the friend of God.”  God renews his covenant with Abraham, then with his seed, his only son Isaac and then thru one of Isaac’s sons Jacob. Then this royal lineage continues thru Moses.

Exodus 33:1 (KJV) –  “And the LORD said unto Moses, Depart, and go up hence, thou and the people which thou hast brought up out of the land of Egypt, unto the land which I sware unto Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, saying, Unto thy seed will I give it.”

Jacob was the father of twelve sons who became the heads of the twelve tribes of Israel or the ‘Nation of Israel’. David’s line (or seed) came from Jacob and went through Judah (one of the twelve sons).

John 7:42 (KJV) –  “Hath not the scripture said, That Christ cometh of the seed of David, and out of the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”

Satan Attempts to Destroy the Righteous Seed

Satan has always tried to destroy the righteous seed out of the earth. God will always preserve the righteous seed. There will always be a remnant alive to pass on the righteous spiritual seed. In 2 Kings chapter 11, we read of yet another of Satan’s attempts to destroy the promised seed of the woman, the “seed royal”. Athaliah was the daughter of Israel’s King Ahab, was married to Judah’s King Jehoram, and was the mother of Jehoram’s successor, King Ahaziah. Jehoram died prematurely from disease, and Ahaziah is killed only a year later.

When this happened Athaliah, well schooled in evil, decided not to allow her baby grandson to become king, but to assume the throne herself. To this end, she murdered every heir who might be a rival to the throne, and declared herself queen. However, her daughter Jehosheba managed to rescue Ahaziah’s baby son Joash, and with the aid of her husband, the faithful priest Jehoiada, kept him hidden for six years.  When Joash was seven years old Jehoiada, in a display of great courage, foresight, and faith, orchestrated a coup to overthrow wicked Athaliah. And place the rightful king, King David’s heir Joash, on the throne instead.

2 Kings 11:1-4 (KJV) –  “And when Athaliah the mother of Ahaziah saw that her son was dead, she arose and destroyed all the seed royal. But Jehosheba, the daughter of king Joram, sister of Ahaziah, took Joash the son of Ahaziah and stole him from among the king’s sons which were slain; and they hid him, even him and his nurse, in the bedchamber from Athaliah, so that he was not slain.”

Thus we see that the royal seed was preserved.

Acts 13:22-23 (KJV) –  “And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus.”

Who is the Seed of Abraham?

The Bible says that David was a man after God’s own heart. Jesus Christ came from the line of David, an ancient Israelite royal family, according to both promise and prophecy.

Romans 4:13-18 (KJV) –  “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed , through the law, but through the righteousness of faith. For if they which are of the law be heirs, faith is made void, and the promise made of none effect: Because the law worketh wrath: for where no law is, there is no transgression. Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure to all the seed ; not to that only which is of the law, but to that also which is of the faith of Abraham; who is the father of us all, (As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations,) before him whom he believed, even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were. Who against hope believed in hope, that he might become the father of many nations; according to that which was spoken, So shall thy seed be.”

The promise was not given thru the law but through the righteous of faith. The purpose of the law is to point out sin. The law worketh wrath – the law condemns. Abraham is the father of us all, the Father of the faithful! Scripture declares that Abraham is made a father of many nations. This promise thru Abraham was not only to those which are of the law (the Jews) but also to that which are of the faith of Abraham.

Galatians 3:16 (KJV) –  “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.”

Natural Versus Spiritual Seed

Why does the apostle Paul say “not of seeds, as of many”? Because Abraham possessed in his family two seeds, one natural, namely, the members of his physical household and the other spiritual, those who were like himself because of their faith. These promises were not of a temporal nature. Had they been so, they would have belonged to his natural seed; (blood relations) but they did not. Therefore they must have belonged to the spiritual posterity. If we continue reading the 3rd chapter of Galatians, we can clearly see this concept.

Galatians 3:26-29 (KJV) –  “For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus. For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus. And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed , and heirs according to the promise.”

Paul here is warning the Galatians that they should rely on grace and not works. He’s warning them not to be led astray by those teaching another gospel. Man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ. Law cannot promise life, only death. Thru Christ that we have life! Thru Christ we receive a new nature and a new name. If we are Christ’s, then we are of Abraham’s seed and heirs according to the promise. Paul in his epistle to the Church in Rome further explains this promise:

Romans 8:14-17 (KJV) –  “For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs ; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.”

No man or woman is led to God without the assistance of the Spirit of God. Christ by his sacrificial offering has opened up the Kingdom of God to all believers The Spirit of Christ enlightens, quickens, strengthens and guides the true disciples of Christ. All that were under the law were under the bondage of its ceremonies and rites. Believers in Jesus Christ brought from under the law, and under its condemnation and freed from its bondage.

Freedom from the law is not a license to sin. But freedom in Christ to produce the fruits of righteousness through a Spirit-led lifestyle. Born-again believers need not live in fear because we are adopted into the household of God. The Spirit of adoption allows us to call upon God thru Christ Jesus – Abba – Father. This term Abba is one of affection and closeness. The term Abba speaks of an adoption from one family to another. From the family (seed) of the serpent to the family (seed) of God. You see – slaves were NEVER permitted to use the terms Abba, father or Imma, mother when addressing their Masters or Mistresses.

Adoption as a Child of God

Thru this adoption, we inherit the promises of Abraham. In any legal adoption, the adopted child inherits all the possessions of the Father just as if he is naturally born into the family! The Spirit of God is the same Spirit that witnesses to our adoption. And so as Heirs of God he will treat us as His sons and daughters. That phase infers that we will not only have his favor while here but also eternal life from now on. Furthermore, we are joint-heirs with Christ – Christ is THE “Son of God”. He is the heir to the full honor and glory of heaven. Christians united to Christ and are destined to partake with him of his glory.

1 Peter 2:9 (KJV) –  “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

All born-again believers are part of a royal priesthood.  We are the “seed royal”!

For related articles see A Temple Made Without Hands    Finding the Church in the Old Testament    The Kingdom of God    The True Israel of God

Who’s Got the Anointing? Psalms 105:15

touch-not-my-anointedThis is the fifth in a series of articles on “Leadership, Authority, and Submission”. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd. It discussed the often misapplication of 1 Samuel 15:22-23. The second article was entitled The Hebrews 13:17 Dilemma. The third article was entitled Romans Chapter 13 – Which Power? Next in this series, we explored what 1 Peter 5:5 teaches who submission to authority – Who Is Subject To Whom This article explores just who’s got the anointing.

What do the scriptures have to say about the subjects of authority and submission? Well, Jesus had a lot to say about spiritual leadership. He said that leaders in the church should be servants. Christian leaders should not act as gentiles who “lord it over” people. A good example of this principle is found in Matthew chapter 20.

Matthew 20:25-28 (KJV) – “But Jesus called them unto him, and said, Ye know that the princes of the Gentiles exercise dominion over them, and they that are great exercise authority upon them. But it shall not be so among you: but whosoever will be great among you, let him be your minister;  And whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant: Even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.”

What the scriptures reveal is that authority in the church is very different from authority in the world. Church leaders must first and foremost be servants. In Matthew chapter 20 we see Jesus making reference to Gentile rulers. At this time, Israel was occupied by the Roman army and its’ system of regional government. The Romans had set up an elaborate command structure with multiple levels of authority. The Jews hated the Romans and desired to throw off the yoke of Roman government and oppression. Jesus was discouraging His followers from developing authority structures that were like Rome.

Authority and Submission – Misapplied Scriptures

In my experience these are the Bible passages regarding authority and submission that have been misunderstood and misused within the Christian church:

  • 1 Samuel 15:22-23
  • Hebrews 13:17
  • Romans Chapter 13
  • 1 Peter 5:5
  • Psalms 105:15
  • Shepherding Movement
  • Exodus 19:12

These passages are often taken out of context and misused. Misused in that there is no attempt to study the meaning of each scripture. There’s no attempt to look at the whole body of scripture that deals with the subject of authority and submission within the church. Concordances, commentaries, and translations other than the King James Version (KJV) are never consulted or studied. Whether done out of ignorance or malice, the word of God is never rightly divided. So let’s continue our study of authority and submission by making a critical study of Psalms 105:15.

Who’s Got the Anointing? Psalms 105:15

Psalm 105:15 (KJV) – “Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.”

There are two important points to consider when studying this passage. First, what does the phrase “touch not” mean? Does it mean in a physical way or by speaking to or about someone? The second question is who are “mine anointed”? Are “mine anointed” just Bishops, Pastors, Apostles, Deacons and other church leaders?

The first point to consider is that Psalms 105:15 is an Old Testament scripture. The context of Psalms 105:15 is that God protected His “anointed“. His “anointed” were considered all of the people of Israel and His Prophets. God was promising to protect them from their enemies that intended physical harm. The first thing one should notice is that the word “touch” actually means physical harm. It has nothing to do with speaking or saying something about another person that is true. How do we know this? It is because that is exactly what David did about Saul. David was the author of Psalms. It was David who promised not to harm God’s “anointed.” David was referring to King Saul at the time. However, David did speak out publicly about King Saul’s tyranny. Not only David but Samuel the prophet spoke out against King Saul’s disobedience to God.

David did not raise his hand to physically harm (touch) God’s anointed (1 Samuel 26:9, 11, 23). Now look at 1 Samuel 26:11. It tells us that David would not stretch his hand out to touch or harm King Saul. Instead, David sneaked up and took Saul’s spear and water jug. David returned Saul’s possessions and said, “For the Lord delivered you into my hand, but I would not stretch out my hand against the Lord’s anointed.” “Stretch out my hand” refers to physical harm, not speaking out against injustice.

Now who are “mine anointed”. Unfortunately, many religious leaders refer to themselves, exclusively, as “God’s anointed”. Pastors and other religious leaders are certainly “anointed”. However, what is often not mentioned is that all born again Christians are also “anointed” of God. We are all part of the royal priesthood. The Bible tells us the whole body of Christ is “anointed”, not just some people in the body. Let me give you chapter and verse from the New Testament:

2 Corinthians 1:20-22 (KJV) – “Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee”.

Let me ask those who use the phrase “touch not mine anointed”. Do you believe that only religious leaders are “anointed“? Or can you admit that the whole body of Christ is anointed? If so, stop using this Scripture from the Old Testament as if there are only certain people anointed, like prophets or kings. The New Testament view identifies the “anointed” as all those who have received Jesus into their hearts and baptized into the body (1 Corinthians 12:13). It is not limited to a certain church or group of people. It is not limited to Pastors or church leaders as if they were like the kings or prophets in the Old Testament. No, the whole body of Christ is “anointed”. Everyone shares the same anointing unless they have fallen into sin.

All Christians have the same “anointing” according to New Testament teaching. We all have the same Holy Spirit. The born-again believers are the body of Christ. No one person has a corner on the “anointing” of God’s Spirit. Here’s another New Testament scripture that mentions anointing:

I John 2:27 (KJV) – “But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.”

Again let’s see what well known Bible commentaries have to say about the meaning of Psalms 105:15:

Adam Clarke’s Commentary – “Touch not mine anointed—It is supposed that the patriarchs are here intended; but the whole people of Israel may be meant. They were a kingdom of priests and kings unto God; and prophets, priests, and kings were always anointed.”

Jamieson, Faust and Brown Commentary – Touch not—referring to Genesis 26:11, where Abimelech says of Isaac, “He that toucheth this man or his wife shall surely be put to death.” Mine anointed—as specially consecrated to Me (Psalm 2:2). The patriarch was the prophet, priest, and king of his family. my prophets—in a similar sense, compare Genesis 20:7. The “anointed” are those vessels of God, consecrated to His service, “in whom (as Pharaoh said of Joseph, Genesis 41:38) the Spirit of God is”.

Erroneous Teachings

We are only to accept teaching from those who follow the Word. We are not given the liberty to obey or accept any teaching that does not line up with the Word of God. We have a duty to test every teaching and spirit. We have a responsibility to explain the truth to those who teach error. In Acts 19:8 Jesus reasoned and taught. In this passage, we read of Jesus going into a Jewish synagogue. Jesus spoke boldly for three months. What was He doing for three months? He was “disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God”.

Jesus taught by “disputing and persuading”. Did Jesus just demand “obedience”? No. Jesus tried to “persuade” them concerning the kingdom of God. Following the example of Jesus, we are to discuss and work out teaching. If people call themselves pastors or teachers and are not in submission to the Word of God, we are instructed to expose their error.

The Bereans checked all teaching against the Scriptures to make sure it was sound. They took the word of God seriously. They searched the Scriptures daily to see if what they were hearing lined up with God’s Word.

Acts 17:11(KJV) – “Now these were more noble than the Jews of Thessalonica, for they gave serious attention to the word, searching in the holy Writings every day, to see if these things were so.”

Matthew 23:8-12 (KJV) – “But be not ye called Rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. And call no man your father upon the earth: for one is your Father, which is in heaven. Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted.”

What Jesus is telling us in Matthew 23:8-12 is that we are not to view others in the church, however honorable, as fathers or superiors in any way. We are encouraged to read the Bible, and commanded to seek the truth ourselves. We are to test all teachings, prophecies, words, etc. However, how can we test all teachings? The only sure way is to compare what we have heard or read against the Word of God. 2 Timothy 2:15 commands us to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”

This is the fifth in a series of articles on the subject of “Leadership, Authority and Submission” within the Church. The articles focus on the misuse of scriptures that relate to this subject. The first article was entitled Jesus – The Chief Shepherd. The second article discussed the confusion surrounding Hebrews 13:17 . The third article focused on the misapplication of Romans Chapter 13. The fourth article focused on the misapplication of 1 Peter 5:5. The final article will explore Exodus 19:12.

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