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Old Testament vs. New Testament (Part One)

Old Covenant vs. New Covenant (Part One)

Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and the house of Judah, not like the covenant that I made with their fathers on the day when I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt…” (Jeremiah 31:31-32).

          A covenant is a compact or binding agreement between persons, with stipulations and promises. The book of Hebrews clearly teaches that Christ established his new covenant, which is distinct from the old one. “He takes away the first in order to establish the second” (Heb. 7:128:6-13). The Old Covenant (Testament) is “obsolete” (Heb. 8:13). Jesus ended the Old Testament Law by having “nailed it to the cross” (Col. 2:14). His “once for all” sacrifice (Heb. 7:279:1410:12) is superior to the temporary, imperfect sacrifices under the Law (Heb. 10:1-47:19).

          Men are not under the Old Testament Law (Gal. 3:23-26), but we are under the gracious new covenant law of Christ (Heb. 7:121:1-3).

Many religious people today fail to distinguish between the two major divisions of the Bible: the Old Testament given by Moses to the Jews (Deut 5:1-3) versus the New Testament (covenant) given through Christ to all men (Matt 11:287:21).

          “Now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter” (Rom. 7:6). The Lord’s church is the new Israel or people of God (1 Pet. 2:9-10, Ja. 1:1, Rom. 2:28-29).     Failing to distinguish between the two major Bible covenants leads to much confusion about:

 

· Infant membership
· Confessing sins to a priest
· Clergy/laity distinction
· Tithing
· Annual religious observances
· Sabbath (7th day) observance
· Instrumental music in worship

 

All of the above examples are Old Testament practices of the Jews under the Law of Moses that are not taught in the New Covenant of Christ. For example, under the Law of Moses, a Jewish child was born into the covenant and was later taught God’s will. In the new covenant it is different. “They shall not teach, each one his neighbor and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest” (Heb. 8:11). In the New Covenant, people first learn of God’s will and then decide to enter into a redeemed, covenant relationship with God. Only men and women (mature people) were baptized in the New Testament (Acts 5:148:12), never infants or little children. Belief and repentance are conditions for being baptized (Mk. 16:16Acts 2:38), which babies cannot do.

Also, the Ten Commandments were part of the Old Covenant Law (Deut. 4:13). Christians are “released from the Law” (Rom. 7:1-6) as justifying legal system, which includes the Ten Commandments (Rom. 7:7; i.e. “you shall not covet”). In 2 Cor. 3:6-16, Paul contrasts the fading glory of the “old covenant” typified in the giving of the Ten Commandments with the New Covenant of Christ which has abiding glory to transform us into the image of Jesus Christ (2 Cor. 3:6-18). “If that which fades away was with glory, much more that which remains is in glory” (2 Cor. 3:11).

Yet, isn’t murder, lying, and adultery still wrong? Shouldn’t we honor our parents? Yes, because these precepts are either repeated verbatim the New Testament (Rom. 13:9-10Matt. 19:18-19Eph. 6:13) or the others are repeated in principle in the New Testament (cf. Matt. 6:933Eph. 4:29).

There is one exception: “remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy” (Exodus 20:8). This seventh day (Saturday) observance is not repeated in the New Testament, because Jesus changed the day of worship (Matt 26:29). Jesus miraculously arose on the first day of the week to validate our justification by His blood (John 20:19Romans 4:25). The church was founded on Pentecost (50 days from the Sabbath Passover), which was on the first day of the week (Acts 2). The early church observed the Lord’s Supper, not on Saturday, but “they were gathered together upon the first day of the week” (Acts 20:7; cf. 1 Cor 16:1-2). In fact, we are not to be judged by some for not keeping the Sabbath (Col 2:16). In the New Covenant, Jesus Christ is our rest (Sabbath) and He leads us heavenward because, “a Sabbath rest remains for the people of God” (Heb. 4:9).

The “Word of Christ” (Col. 3:16) in the 27 books of the New Testament is our complete rule of faith and practice. The New Covenant of Christ provides “all things that pertains to life and godliness” (2 Pet 1:3). The Old Testament is for our learning (Rom. 15:4), but it is not our law. The New Covenant Scriptures point us to Christ’s perfect example to imitate (1 Pet 2:21). Jesus Christ offers the kingdom of new beginnings, into which anyone, regardless of race, can choose by penitent faith and baptism to enter (Acts 10:34-352 Cor 5:17Rom 6:4). Praise God!

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          “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: “Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me. In burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin You had no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come—In the volume of the book it is written of Me—To do Your will, O God.’” Previously saying, “Sacrifice and offering, burnt offerings, and offerings for sin You did not desire, nor had pleasure in them” (which are offered according to the law), then He said, “Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second. By THAT WILL we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:5-10).

          We learn from the above that God took away the first (old) covenant in order to establish the second (new covenant).

  1. The Hebrews writer quotes from Psalm 40: 6-8, which referred to the Christ.
  2. He says He (Christ) came into the world and prepared a body for Him.
  3. He came to do the Father’s will.
  4. Part of the Father’s will was removing the first to establish the second, which came by or through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross.
  5. NOTE: The Hebrews writer then says, “By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. Now “THAT WILL” is God’s Will as found in the New Covenant (second) which replaced the Old (first). It is the Will in which is in the shed blood of Jesus Christ – the new covenant in His blood (Luke 22:20). In addition to sin, Christ shed His blood for the installment of the new covenant of His blood (Matt.26:28).  Now, let’s see if this is not so.

HEBREWS 7:11-19 – “Therefore, if perfection were through the Levitical priesthood (for under it the people received the law), what further need was there that another priest should rise according to the order of Melchizedek, and not be called according to the order of Aaron? For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law. For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood. And it is yet far more evident if, in the likeness of Melchizedek, there arises another priest who has come, not according to the law of a fleshly commandment, but according to the power of an endless life. For He testifies: “You are a priest forever According to the order of Melchizedek.” For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God.”

          HEBREWS 8:7-13 –For if that first covenant had been faultless, then no place would have been sought for a secondBecause finding fault with them, He says: “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day when I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt; because they did not continue in My covenant, and I disregarded them, says the Lord. 10 For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My laws in their mind and write them on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 11 None of them shall teach his neighbor, and none his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them. 12 For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” 13 In that He says, “A new covenant,” He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.”

          HEBREWS 9:15-17 – “15 And for this reason He is the Mediator of the new covenant, by means of death, for the redemption of the transgressions under the first covenant, that those who are called may receive the promise of the eternal inheritance. 16 For where there is a testament, there must also of necessity be the death of the testator. 17 For a testament is in force after men are dead, since it has no power at all while the testator lives.”

          HEBREWS 10:1-2 – “For the law, having a shadow of the good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with these same sacrifices, which they offer continually year by year, make those who approach perfect. 

THE GIVING OF THE SABBATH

Most Sabbatarians, Seveth Day Adventist, Church of God, and other groups demand that God made the Sabbath day for man at Creation. But the word Sabbath is not even found in Genesis, but what is found is this: “Thus the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them, were finished. And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3). Nowhere does it say God created the Sabbath for man. This passage is not about what God gave, but what God did! 

  • Nehemiah 9:14 – “You made known to them Your holy Sabbath, And commanded them precepts, statutes and laws, By the hand of Moses Your servant.”
  1. In addition to laws, God, through Moses, made known to THEM (the Jews) the Sabbath.
  • Ezekiel 20: 10-12 – “10 “Therefore I made them go out of the land of Egypt and brought them into the wilderness. 11 And I gave them My statutes and showed them My judgments, ‘which, if a man does, he shall live by them.’ 12 Moreover I also gave them My Sabbaths, to be a sign between them and Me, that they might know that I am the Lord who sanctifies them.
  1. The “THEM” are the Jews. Who did He take out of Egypt? Israel! When did He give THEM the Sabbath? At Mount Sinai Moses gave them the Ten Commandments. God gave the Jews the Sabbath, NOT at Creation but after the Exodus. God did not make know the Sabbath to mankind at Creation, but He made it known to physical Israel when they were in the wilderness. See also Exodus 16:23.

THE SABBATH WAS NEVER GIVEN TO THE GENTILES

  • Psalm 147:19-20 – “He declares His word to Jacob, His statutes and His judgments to Israel. 20 He has not dealt thus with any nation; And as for His judgments, they have not known them. Praise the Lord!

No commentary is even needed.

  • Ephesians 2:11-16 – we read that the Gentiles were “strangers” and “aliens” from God and the first covenant. How could God give the Gentiles the Sabbath when they were strangers to Him? The Gentiles were not brought near to God until after the death of Christ. 
  • Ephesians 2:19 – the Gentiles were “foreigners.”

COMPARE PHYSICAL AND SPIRITUAL ISRAEL

Physical Israel (the Jews):

  1. Deuteronomy 5; Romans 2:14. One Nation (Israel).
  2. Old Covenant (Hebrews chapters 8-9).
  3. Circumcision of the flesh (Acts 15:1).

Spiritual Israel (the church consisting of both Jew and Gentile):

  1. Galatians 6:15-16. ALL Nations (Matt.28:19-20; Romans 1:5, 16-17, 9:6; Gal.3:26-28).
  2. New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:7-13).
  3. Circumcision of the heart (Romans 2:28-29; Colossians 2:12-13).

The Old Covenant Law was for the Jews, not for the Gentiles. It was never made for the Gentiles but only for the Jews. It is not until the New Covenant, after Christ shed His blood, and after the establishment of the church that Gentiles are allowed entrance into the kingdom/church (Acts 10, 11). The Gentiles and Jews became one new man (spiritually speaking) and brought together into one new body – the church (Eph.1:21-22; chapter 2 & 3; 4:5). 

AN EXPIRATION DATE FOR THE SABBATH AND THE LAW

The law (of Moses) was until the Seed (Christ) would come (Gal.3:15-23). The law, along with the SABBATH lasted until Christ.

Genesis 17:9-10 – circumcision throughout THEIR generations

Exodus 40:15 – Levitical priesthood everlasting throughout THEIR generations.

Numbers 15:38 – Tassels on THEIR garments throughout THEIR generations.

Exodus 29:42; 30:10 – Animal sacrifices throughout THEIR generations.

Exodus 31:16 – observe the Sabbath throughout THEIR generations.

THEIR GENERATIONS not ours. It seems Sabbatarians want only the Sabbath but if one is still continuing then ALL are still continuing. Can’t be selective. Either ALL continue or none continue. NONE is the answer! Jews were to keep the Law, not Christians! Jews were to keep the Sabbath, which was part of the Law of Moses, not Christians! There is not a single time in the New Testament where Christians kept the Sabbath day. Not one single time! No command for Christians to do so. No example for Christians to do so. Here is what Paul taught folks: “38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from ALL things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).

THE OLD LAW WAS TAKEN AWAY

  • If the Sabbath was part of the first covenant, and if the first covenant had been taken away, then the Sabbath is not to be observed unless it is established in the second or new covenant.  
  • The Sabbath was part of the first covenant, and the first covenant has been taken away.
  • Therefore, the Sabbath is not to be observed unless it is established in the second or new covenant (new law).

­­­­­­­­­­­­The Bible teaches that the Sabbath was a part of the first (old) covenant.

Deuteronomy 4:13 – 13 So He declared to you His covenant which He commanded you to perform, the Ten Commandments; and He wrote them on two tablets of stone.

          1 Kings 8:9 – “Nothing was in the ark except the two tablets of stone which Moses put there at Horeb, when the Lord made a covenant with the children of Israel, when they came out of the land of Egypt.

          Hebrews 9:1-4 – Then indeed, even the first covenant had ordinances of divine service and the earthly sanctuary. For a tabernacle was prepared: the first part, in which was the lampstand, the table, and the showbread, which is called the sanctuary; and behind the second veil, the part of the tabernacle which is called the Holiest of All, which had the golden censer and the ark of the covenant overlaid on all sides with gold, in which were the golden pot that had the manna, Aaron’s rod that budded, and the tablets of the covenant.”

          Hebrews 7:12-14 – “12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity there is also a change of the law13 For He of whom these things are spoken belongs to another tribe, from which no man has officiated at the altar. 14 For it is evident that our Lord arose from Judah, of which tribe Moses spoke nothing concerning priesthood.”

          1 Corinthians 3:4-8 –And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God, who also made us sufficient as ministers of the new covenant, not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. But if the ministry of death, written and engraved on stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of the glory of his countenance, which glory was passing awayhow will the ministry of the Spirit not be more glorious? For if the ministry of condemnation had glory, the ministry of righteousness exceeds much more in glory. 10 For even what was made glorious had no glory in this respect, because of the glory that excels. 11 For if what is passing away was glorious, what remains is much more glorious.

12 Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.

          Exodus 34:27-35 – “27 Then the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for according to the tenor of these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” 28 So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights; he neither ate bread nor drank water. And He wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments, Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai (and the two tablets of the Testimony were in Moses’ hand when he came down from the mountain), that Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him. 30 So when Aaron and all the children of Israel saw Moses, behold, the skin of his face shone, and they were afraid to come near him. 31 Then Moses called to them, and Aaron and all the rulers of the congregation returned to him; and Moses talked with them. 32 Afterward all the children of Israel came near, and he gave them as commandments all that the Lord had spoken with him on Mount Sinai. 33 And when Moses had finished speaking with them, he put a veil on his face. 34 But whenever Moses went in before the Lord to speak with Him, he would take the veil off until he came out; and he would come out and speak to the children of Israel whatever he had been commanded. 35 And whenever the children of Israel saw the face of Moses, that the skin of Moses’ face shone, then Moses would put the veil on his face again, until he went in to speak with Him.

          Jesus said He fulfilled the LAW (Matthew 5:17-19, see also Luke 24:44 & Acts 13:27-29). To fulfill means “to bring to completion or an end” (Matthew 2:15, 8:17, 21:4-5). Christ fulfilled the law, bring it to its end or completion: ““Behold, I have come to do Your will, O God.” He takes away the first that He may establish the second” (Heb.10:9):

          15 “Brethren, I speak in the manner of men: Though it is only a man’s covenant, yet if it is confirmed, no one annuls or adds to it. 16 Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, “And to seeds,” as of many, but as of one, And to your Seed,” who is Christ17 And this I say, that the law, which was four hundred and thirty years later, cannot annul the covenant that was confirmed before by God in Christ] that it should make the promise of no effect18 For if the inheritance is of the law, it is no longer of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise. 19 What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by the faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before the faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by the faith25 But after the faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor.” 26 For you are all sons of God through the faith in Christ Jesus. 27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ, have put on Christ.”

Matthew 5:17-18 – “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled."

To "fulfill" means "to bring to an end or to a completion" (Matt.2:15, 8:17, 21:4-5; cf. Luke 24:44; Acts 13:27-29). In fulfilling the law, Jesus brought it to an end (Gal.3:15-25; Heb.10:9).

HEBREWS 2:1-4 – “Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will?”

  1. They were to give the “more earnest heed” or greater attention, to the “things we have heard.”  
  2. They were not to neglect “so great a salvation.”
  3. Which was taught to them by the Lord.
  4. That message was confirmed and God also bore witness with miracles. See Mark 16:16-20.
  5. The gospel was preached by Jesus. It was confirmed with accompanying miraculous signs or miracles (Mark 16:20).
  6. The gospel is being contrasted with Old Covenant law: “For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward.”  

 

 

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ANSWERING THE “HOW’S” OF THE SPIRIT

ANSWERING THE “HOW’S” OF THE SPIRIT

By Doug Post

Did God speak in times of old? YES! (Heb. 1:1–2). Does God still speak? YES! BUT the question that remains is HOW? God speaks to me, after all the Bible says God has "spoken to us in these last days through His Son." Of course, it would be proper, fair, and reasonable to press me on the matter. You would want to know if I mean that God speaks DIRECTLY to me or if I am claiming that God speaks to me INDIRECTLY through His Word. Obviously, you would go to various other passages showing me that God speaks or reveals His mind to me through His Word (1 Cor.2; cf John 12:48).

Similarly, if I say the Holy Spirit leads me (Rom.8:14) you would do well to question me on whether I mean that He DIRECTLY leads me or INDIRECTLY through His Word, and press me on the question, "HOW does the Spirit lead?" Of course, that would be fair and reasonable of you, because you know that the Scriptures lead us through their teaching, their reproof, their correction, and their instruction in righteousness, and that they make us complete 2 Tim.3:16-17). The Scriptures are lamp to my feet and a light to my path (Psa.119:105; 1 John 1:7). Jesus said the word He spoke were spirit and life (John 6:63). We learn that the Word of God is the sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17), the very means by which the Spirit wields His influence. And, we know that we get understanding, clarity, and guidance from the inspired Scriptures (Psa.119:104, 130).

If I say the Holy Spirit strengthens me, again you would press me on what I mean. Do I mean He DIRECTLY strengthens me or INDIRECTLY, through His inspired Word? Paul specifically says to be strong (Eph.6:10). Where? In the Lord! How? In the strength of His power – the word or gospel of Christ (cf. Rom.1:16). We are to put on TRUTH (the Word – John 17:17); we are to put on righteousness (the Word – Psa.119:172); we are to put on the gospel (the Word – Rom.1:16); we are to put on the shield of THE FAITH (the Word – Gal.1:6-9, 23); we are to put on salvation (the Word of salvation – Acts 13:26; Ja.1:21); and all of this is the Sword of the Spirit – the Word of God (Eph.6:17). To be strengthened in the Lord is to be strengthened by the Lord's Word. The Word of His grace strengthens us (Acts 20:32).

Likewise, if I say God dwells in me, you would press me on the matter asking, "HOW does God dwell in me?" DIRECTLY or INDIRECTLY? Of course, INDIRECTLY through or by means of His Word (John 14:23; 2 John 9; Eph.3:17 "the faith"; Galatians 3:2; 1 John 3:24. Etc.). Of course, from these passages we understand we dwell in God which is, obviously, INDIRECTLY rather than literally or DIRECTLY. Therefore, this “dwelling” concept is one describing relationship –a relationship between God and the person who keeps His Word, continues abiding in His Word, and quite simply, continues obeying His Word. Therefore, a relationship that is based upon the Word of God or is “through or by the Word.”

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SOLA SCRIPTURA  IN CONVICTION, CONVERSION & SANCTIFICATION

SOLA SCRIPTURA 
IN CONVICTION, CONVERSION & SANCTIFICATION
By Doug Post

The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures “beget” (James 1:18; 1 Pet.22-23) and save us (James 1:21). The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures are to be obeyed, not merely “heard” (1:22). The Holy Spirit declares the Scriptures to be the “complete law of liberty” (1:25). The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures are complete for saving souls – souls meek enough to have implanted them within their minds (cf. Psa. 119:11).

The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures are the sole source for making Christians complete and thoroughly equipped for every God given work (2 Timothy 3:17). The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures make us complete through teaching, reproof, correction, and instruction in right doing (2 Tim.3:16).

The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures reveal the necessity of spiritual growth and that they are the very means by which spiritual growth comes (1 Peter.2:2). The Holy Spirit declares that we have been given “all things that pertain to life and godliness” which come through the “knowledge of Him” (2 Pet.1:3), and this knowledge of Him comes through the Scriptures. Therefore, all things for our living and godliness are bound up in the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures of God’s grace strengthen and give us an inheritance among all those set apart (Acts 20:32). The Holy Spirit declares that the Scriptures are the “shield of THE FAITH” which quench all the fiery darts of the devil (Eph.6:16). The Holy Spirit declares that the Word of God, the Scriptures, are His sword (Eph.6:17).

The Holy Spirit declares that there are only two things involved in entire salvation process: 1. the seed, which is the word of God and 2. Good and honest hearts (Luke 8:11-15), and that there is nothing else brought to bear on hearts, only the influence of God’s word – the Scriptures.

The Holy Spirit declares that ALL the hidden treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ (Col.2:3). The Holy Spirit declares that we do not have to be “beguiled” or deceived by persuasive words (2:4) because all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are in Christ. The Holy Spirit declares we are rooted and built up in Him and established in THE FAITH (2:7). The Holy Spirit declares to “Beware lest any man cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ” (2:8) because we are complete in Him (2:10).

Therefore, the Holy Spirit declares that ALL the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are found in Christ who is revealed in the Scriptures. We are established in THE FAITH – the Scriptures. That we do not have be deceived by men because we have wisdom and knowledge according to Christ (the teaching of Christ as opposed to the traditions of men) , which very wisdom and knowledge are found in THE FAITH – Sola Scriptura!

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The Scriptures Are Complete for Making Us Complete

The Scriptures Are Complete for Making Us Complete

By Doug Post

 

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Scriptures, which He inspired, make us complete (Col.4:12; 2 Tim.3:16-17), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that it's the word of God, THE FAITH, that quenches ALL the fiery darts of Satan, then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Word of God strengthens us (Eph.6:10-17; Acts 20:32), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that it's the Word that gives life (John 6:63; 12:48), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that it's the Word gives us understanding (Psa.119 104-105, 130), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that it's the Word that sanctifies us (John 17:17), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Word of God works in us (1 Thess.2:13), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Word reconciles us to the Father (2 Cor.5:19), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Word of God saves us (James 1:21; Acts 1326; Rom.1:16), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that we have life through the Word (Phil.2:16; John 6:63), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that it's the Word of God that converts the soul (Psa.19:7), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the it's the Word of God that gives us faith (Rom.10:17), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the gospel/Word of God establishes us (Rom.16:25), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the truth – the gospel – the Word of God is what produces fruit (Col.1:5-6), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that our spiritual growth comes by the Word of God (1 Pet.2:1), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that our minds are transformed by the Will or Word of God (Rom.12:2; Rom.8:2, 5-6), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that the Will God, through the Word of God, gives direction or guidance (Psa.73:24; 1 Thess.4:1-8; Psa.119:9), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that that the solid food of the Word of God is what trains the faculties of our mind to discern good from evil (Heb.5:13-14), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us the Word comforts us (Rom.15:4; 1 Thess.3:2, 4:18), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Holy Spirit tells us that knowledge comes from the Word of God (2 Cor.4:1-6), then what does the Spirit do?

If the Spirit tells us that the Word of God teaches us (2 Tim.4:1-4; Acts 20:32, Titus 2:11-12), then what does the Spirit do?

The fact is, in these passages, and in many others, the Holy Spirit (as well as God the Father, and God the Son, and the apostles) influences us through His very own word. In conviction, conversion, and sanctification, whatever the Spirit is said to do, His word does. After all ,the sword of the Spirit is the Word of God (Eph.6:17) – the very tool or means by which He uses to influence us, and in no other way does He influence us.

 

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Why Christ Received the Holy Spirit

Why Christ Received the Holy Spirit

Doug Post

"The former account I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach, until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1-3).

I believe the above captures the reason, in summary fashion, why Christ received the Holy Spirit. He did not receive the Holy Spirit to be "holy" for the word of the Spirit makes one holy and continues keeping one holy (John 17:17). He did not receive the Holy Spirit to be purified for the word of the Spirit purifies and continues keeping one purified (1 Pet.1:22). He did not receive the Holy Spirit to be clean for the word of the Spirit makes one clean and continues keeping one clean (John 15:3).

Jesus remained holy, purified, and clean by submitting to the Will of His father God's Word. This He did through His own will and volition, not through some direct, supernatural working of the Spirit for the purpose of hedging Him in, keeping Him from temptation and sin.

As human beings, the apostles, prophets, and other inspired men and miracle workers, needed the Spirit to speak the Will of God and to work signs, wonders, miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit. As was true with those, so it was with our Lord.

As a fellow human being, Jesus needed Divine intervention in order to speak, teach, and work miracles. This is why he received the Spirit. That is why when one would deny a miracle He worked or ascribed it to the devil they were guilty of blaspheming the Spirit. That is why Jesus said, "But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God …" (Matt.12:28). That is why when one rejected His teaching, they were rejecting the Spirit's message from the Father, because "For He ("Christ") whom God has sent speaks the words of God ("by the Spirit"), for God does not give the Spirit ("power") by measure" (John 3:34).

Luke reminds us that Jesus spoke by the Spirit (was given commandments by the Spirit) and presented Himself by infallible proofs (signs wonders, miracles) "which God did through Him" ("by the Spirit") (Acts 2:22; cf. John 3:34; Matt.12:28).

Therefore, Jesus was given the Spirit, metonymy for ability to work miraculous power as a human being, whether through revelation and inspiration or through the working of miracles. No human being could do these things unless God be with him (John 3:2).

Therefore, the reception of the Spirit is for the purpose of receiving power like Jesus had. Therefore, since the miraculous age has ended and the word has been confirmed, no one receives the Spirit (power from the Spirit) today.

 

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JOHANNINE PNEUMATOLOGY

JOHANNINE PNEUMATOLOGY

 

THE GOSPEL OF JOHN

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 18 passages, being mentioned 23 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement. Therefore, “pneuma” is actually mentioned 13 times referring to the Holy Spirit.

  1. John 1:32: “And John bore witness, saying, “I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and He remained upon Him.”
  2. John 1:33: “I did not know Him, but He who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘Upon whom you see the Spirit descending, and remaining on Him, this is He who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.”

John 1:32-33 is discussing the Holy Spirit descending upon Jesus. He is receiving POWER from the Spirit since He is now 100% human.

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  1. John 3:5: “Jesus answered, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.”
  2. John 3:6: “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.”
  3. John 3:8: “The wind blows where it wishes, and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.”

John 3:5-8 concerns Jesus’ teaching on how one is “born again,” by water (baptism) and “Spirit” (teaching from the Spirit). The Spirit reveals how to be “born again.”

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  1. John 3:34: “For He whom God has sent speaks the words of God, for God does not give the Spirit by measure.”

John 3:34 teaches that God the Father sent Jesus to instruct (preach/teach) and was given the Spirit to speak the truth as a human being.

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  1. John 4:23: “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him.”
  2. John 4:24: “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

John 4:23-24 concerns worshipping God in “sincerity” or “genuineness of heart” and in truth (the word of God which regulates our worship. God is mentioned as being Spirit – Spirit Being.

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  1. John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”

John 6:63 teaches that the Spirit gives life through His life-giving words (see John 3:5-8), therefore His words are spiritual.

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  1. John 7:39: But this He spoke concerning the Spirit, whom those believing in Him would receive; for the Holy Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

John 7:39 is in a context dealing with the coming of Pentecost. The Spirit would not be given, which would be for the purposes of growing the kingdom through revelation/inspiration (teaching/preaching) and confirmatory miracles, beginning with the apostles, and beginning in Jerusalem (Acts 1:8). Then, revelation/inspiration and confirmatory miracles would continue with other disciples in local congregations established by the apostles, through the laying on of the apostles hands (Acts 2:17-21, 38-39; cf. Eph.4:7-15) for the spreading of the gospel.

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  1. John 11:33: Therefore, when Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who came with her weeping, He groaned in the spirit and was troubled.”

John 11:33 is dealing with the inward man – human spirit – and emotion and or disposition of mind.

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  1. John 13:21: “When Jesus had said these things, He was troubled in spirit, and testified and said, “Most assuredly, I say to you, one of you will betray Me.”

John 13:21 is, again, dealing with the inward man and emotion and or disposition of mind.

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  1. John 14:17: “the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you.”
  2. John 14:26: “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”
  3. John 15:26: “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”
  4. John 16:13: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.”

John 14-16 concerns Jesus applying John’s general promise of being baptized in the Spirit (Matt.3:11) to only His apostles. He is revealing to them that He is going away but He will send THEM the Spirit of truth, THEIR Helper/Comforter/Advocate Who would speak Truth through THEM and guide THEM into all truth. The Spirit would speak Truth through the apostles, guiding THEM into all truth. In so doing, the Spirit would convict the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment THROUGH the apostles’ doctrine, which we have in Scripture.

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  1. John 19:30: “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

John 19:30 is about Jesus giving up His own spirit – his human spirit – as all humans have (James 2:26).

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  1. John 20:22: “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.”

John 20:22 is a symbolic action. Jesus had yet to be glorified (John 7:39) therefore the Spirit had yet to be given. Moreover, in verse 21, Jesus said: “as the Father sent Me, so I send you.” They are about to embark their Great Commission and would endued with power from on High or baptized in the Spirit when the Spirit would come upon them filling them with power on the day of Pentecost (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5,8; 2:1-4). In verse 23 Jesus told them: “whosoever sins you forgive, they are forgiven unto them, whosoever that ye retain, they are retained.” Again, the context is showing that they would receive the Spirit for teaching and their teaching would have accompanying miracles they would perform.

John’s gospel account reveals that the giving and or receiving the Spirit is directly related to inspired teaching and the miraculous. Why would it be any different in any other inspired document?

THE EPISTLE OF 1 JOHN

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 9 passages, being mentioned 14 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement. Therefore, “pneuma” is actually mentioned 7 times referring to the Holy Spirit. 5:7 is a disputed verse, therefore we will say 6 times.

  1. 1 John 3:24: “Now he who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us.”

1 John 3:24 concerns Christians abiding and dwelling in the word of God, and when one dwells in the Word of God, then God dwells in him (John 14:23). Therefore, it is quite obvious that God dwells in the Christian through His Word. Dwelling is Biblical euphemism for relationship. When one submits and obeys God’s Word, then God is dwelling in him, and he in God. Obviously this is a representative dwelling. Moreover, John says “we” (the immediate audience) know THIS is what was given, namely that which came “out from” the Spirit – literally, “we know he abides in us out from the Spirit He gave us.” That which came “out from” the Spirit is knowledge (1 John 2:20, 27) or revelatory instruction, which provides wisdom. There were inspired teachers among them (Eph.4:7-15; 1 Cor.12), and this would the Spirit of truth speaking through inspired men.

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  1. 1 John 4:1: “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.”
  2. 1 John 4:2: “By this you know the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God.”
  3. 1 John 4:3: “and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the Antichrist, which you have heard was coming, and is now already in the world.”
  4. 1 John 4:6: “We are of God. He who knows God hears us; he who is not of God does not hear us. By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.”

1 John 4:1-3, 6 is dealing with testing the spirits, metonymy for false prophets or teachers. They know the Truth, because every inspired prophet or teacher confesses Jesus is God come in the flesh. The Spirit cannot speak lies through tur prophets and teachers of God. The false teachers (Gnostics) could not be inspired because they denied the humanity of Christ.    

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1 John 4:13: “By this we know that we abide in Him, and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.”

1 John 4:13 says the same thing as 3:24. They know they abide in Him and He in us, “out from the Spirit He has given us.” They knew this from the knowledge they received through inspired teaching from the Spirit – through inspired men.

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  1. 1 John 5:6: “This is He who came by water and blood—Jesus Christ; not only by water, but by water and blood. And it is the Spirit who bears witness, because the Spirit is truth.”
  2. 1 John 5:7: “For there are three that bear witness in heaven: the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit; and these three are one.”
  3. 1 John 5:8: “And there are three that bear witness on earth: the Spirit, the water, and the blood; and these three agree as one.

1 John 5:6-8 states the spirit is a witness (John 15:26-27; Acts 5:32) through inspired teaching and the working of miracles through the apostles and inspired men. Again, the focus of witness is that of “truth” (Spirit of truth) which He spoke through inspired men. Verse 7 is disputed and most likely is not part of the original text. Verse 8 repeats that the Spirit is a witness. As noted above.

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Like John’s gospel, the epistle of 1 John reveals that the Spirit is related to inspired teaching and the miraculous. Why would it be any different in any other inspired document?

THE BOOK OF REVELATION

The following quotations reveal that the word “pneuma” (“spirit”) is found in 21 passages, being mentioned 21 times. The use of “Spirit” and “spirit” (Big “S”/Little “s”) is captured rather accurately in these quotations, and there is very little to no disagreement.

Revelation 1:4: “John, to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him who is and who was and who is to come, and from the seven Spirits who are before His throne.”

Revelation 1:4 is simply a reference to the Holy Spirit.

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Revelation 1:10: “I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day, and I heard behind me a loud voice, as of a trumpet.”

Revelation 1:10 is simply a reference to John being supernaturally controlled by the Spirit so as to receive his vision. Another point showing that the mentioning of the Spirit in the New Testament typically signifies some miraculous circumstance or power from the Spirit.

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Revelation 2:7: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give to eat from the tree of life, which is in the midst of the Paradise of God.”’

Revelation 2:11: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.”’

Revelation 2:17: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes I will give some of the hidden manna to eat. And I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written which no one knows except him who receives it.”’

Revelation 2:29: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”

Revelation 2:7-29 are passages dealing with the communication or influence of the Spirit through instruction from the Word of God (either orally or written) through revelation and inspiration. The Hebrews write speaks of “hearing His voice” which meant hearing what He said in Scripture (Heb.3:7-15, 4:1-7). The point is that the Spirit spoke through the prophets who spoke to the people and those who would enter “His rest” would be those who obeyed the inspired instruction from the Spirit – through the Moses and the prophets.

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Revelation 3:1: “And to the angel of the church in Sardis write, ‘These things says He who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars: “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead.”

Revelation 3:1 is another reference to the fullness or the completeness of the Holy Spirit.

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Revelation 3:6: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Revelation 3:13: “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’

Revelation 3:22: ““He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

Revelation 3:6-22 concerns revelation and inspiration of God’s Word – the Holy Spirit’s instruction through inspired men.

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Revelation 4:2: “Immediately I was in the Spirit; and behold, a throne set in heaven, and One sat on the throne.”

Revelation 4:2 concerns John receiving vision from the Spirit as noted previously.

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Revelation 4:5: “And from the throne proceeded lightnings, thunderings, and voices. Seven lamps of fire were burning before the throne, which are the seven Spirits of God.”

Revelation 5:6: “And I looked, and behold, in the midst of the throne and of the four living creatures, and in the midst of the elders, stood a Lamb as though it had been slain, having seven horns and seven eyes, which are the seven Spirits of God sent out into all the earth.”

Revelation 4:5-6 are references to the Spirit.

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Revelation 14:13: “Then I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’” “Yes,” says the Spirit, “that they may rest from their labors, and their works follow them.”

Revelation 14:13 is John receiving revelation through his Spirit, inspired vision and then writing it down.

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Revelation 16:13: “And I saw three unclean spirits like frogs coming out of the mouth of the dragon, out of the mouth of the beast, and out of the mouth of the false prophet.”

Revelation 16:14: “For they are spirits of demons, performing signs, which go out to the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.”

Revelation 16:13-14 speaks of unclean demons or spirits.

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Revelation 17:3: “So he carried me away in the Spirit into the wilderness. And I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast which was full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

Revelation 17:3 concerns the miraculous activity of the Spirit with John

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Revelation 18:2: “And he cried mightily with a loud voice, saying, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and has become a dwelling place of demons, a prison for every foul spirit, and a cage for every unclean and hated bird!”

Revelation 18:2 concerns wicked spirits whether of demons or men.

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Revelation 19:10: “And I fell at his feet to worship him. But he said to me, “See that you do not do that! I am your fellow servant, and of your brethren who have the testimony of Jesus. Worship God! For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”

Revelation 19:10 is dealing with revelation and inspiration and the testimony of Jesus being connected with prophecy, and in this the “Spirit of prophecy.” I would have put an upper case “S,” for the Spirit’s role concerns prophecy.

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Revelation 21:10: “And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me the great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God.”

Revelation 21:10 concerns miraculous activity with John.

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Revelation 22:17: “And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely.”

Revelation 22:17 deals with revelation and inspiration – the inspired message FROM the Spirit, through inspired men in the 1st century church, the Bride, as the church is to take His inspired message to the world (Eph.3:10).

Johannine literature reveals John’s “pneumatology,” which is that when he mentions “Spirit” it is typically in reference to “revelation and inspiration” and the revealing of the Will of God through inspired men. There is also the connection through other miraculous activity with the Spirit. Therefore, we conclude the John does not appeal to the Person of the Spirit, but to the power that is associated with the Spirit, either through metonymy or direct reference. Since this is true with Johannine literature, why should it be different with the other inspired documents?

Acts 2 deals with the beginning of the miraculous age. It began with the baptism of the Spirit with the apostles (Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5,8, 2:1-15) and the promise of Joel, which was a promise of miraculous gifts to 1st century Christians that would come “out from” the Spirit (Acts 2:16-21, 2:38-39; cf. 8:14-17, 10:45-46, 19:1-6, etc.). Therefore, convicting of the Spirit (John 16) and the leading of the Spirit (Rom.8:14) works of the Spirit through revelation and inspiration – inspired teaching through inspired men. Miraculous activity, connected with the Spirit, was for the rapid expansion of the church and for confirmation of the Word of God. Therefore, receiving the Spirit was simply a reference to receiving revelation and inspiration or the ability to work confirmatory miracles, as the early church did.  

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“FIRST OF ALL” A Study of 1 Corinthians 15:3

“FIRST OF ALL”

A Study of 1 Corinthians 15:3

What is the significance of the phrase “first of all”? Some translate it qualitatively as “of first importance”, meaning “first in rank”, “the best”, “and “foremost”. The implication is that this is greater than any other doctrine found in the Bible. It is presumed to be “chief” among all doctrine, everything else is deemed insignificant. Some then conclude that the definition of the “gospel” is to be found exclusively in verses three and four, ONLY, being defined as the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, ONLY.

These conclusions are based on assumption rather than proper exegesis, and such conclusions result in inevitable absurdities. For instance, this doctrine of “first in rank” implies that the doctrine of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus must be more important than the doctrine of the existence God, or the doctrine of the nature of God. Breaking it down further within the context, it even implies that the doctrine of the death of Christ must be more important or significant than the burial and resurrection of Christ.  Who could believe such nonsense?

More related absurdities have freely flowed from the “first in rank” concept. One is that “mercy” is said to be more important than “obedience” (Matt.12:7). Some are suggesting we need to ignore false doctrine (show mercy) and simply have fellowship with any believing in the “pre-eminent” doctrine of 1 Corinthians 15:3-4. Feeding off this, some will then conclude that believing Jesus came in the flesh is really all that matters (2 John 7-9). All other doctrine is considered inconsequential. Absurdity breeds absurdity and the circular reasoning of the “first in rank” doctrine brings us back to our text.     

While “protos” (πρῶτος) may be used to mean “of first importance” it is not used that way in this passage. Certainly believing in the existence of God (“God is” – Heb.11:6) would logically come first in the ORDER OF THINGS to be believed, then His nature, etc., which is the subtle point being missed here. Paul is indeed speaking of the order or succession of things. The Greek word “protos” also means: “first in time or place” or “in any succession of things or persons.” In other words, it can be used quantitatively – in a chronological sense – showing order of succession, and that is exactly how Paul uses it here in this context.

Chapter 15 is about Paul’s treatise on the General Resurrection, and this begins with the logical chronological process. Paul’s sequencing naturally begins with: “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received, that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Cor.15:3-4). The order of succession is; His death, His burial, then His resurrection. This is not rank, but successive order.  However, that is not the end of the chronological sense in this first section of the chapter. Paul continues: “and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time” (vv.5-7).

Again, we can see the continued chronological sense as Paul lists, in order, the sequence of the appearances of Christ. Paul makes clear he was not just the last eyewitness in seeing Christ, but that he was the final or last apostle. Note the use of the word “eschaton” (ἔσχατος). Although it may be used to mean “least” it also means “last in order or sequence” or “last” chronologically. Here it means “last” chronologically, which is very disturbing to those advocating modern day apostles or the papacy. Paul is making a definite theological claim that he is the last apostle.

In this section, Paul is not teaching that the gospel is the death, burial, resurrection, ONLY, as some aver, nor is he declaring this to be the most important doctrine to be believed. Rather, Paul is simply discussing the chronology of events as they happened, as they unfolded, sequentially with regards to the Resurrection. This is the emphasis and significance of “protos” in this context – a context and chapter dealing with chronology and order, rather than rank.   

The next section within the chapter, beginning in verse twenty, begins Paul’s theological argument concerning the resurrection, which happens to be chronological in nature. He begins in order with Christ being the “firstfruits” of the dead (v.20, 22), followed, then, by the rest of mankind. The chronological sense or order is demonstrated by the use of the word “THEN.” Christ is raised first, THEN, “those who are Christ’s at His coming” (v.23), “THEN comes the end …” (v.24). The text continues with the chronological sense: “For He must reign till He has put all enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will be destroyed is death” (vv.25-26).  Furthermore, this chronological nature is repeated in verses forty-five and forty-six, where both “protos” and “eschaton” are used together. Paul writes about the “first man Adam” and of the “last Adam”, who is Christ. Note, again, the use of the word “THEN” (v.46, which is used in marking out the chronological sequence of that which is “first and last.”

The clear emphasis of chapter fifteen is of the resurrection from the dead. It is not necessarily about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, but how those elements fit chronologically, or sequentially, in leading to Paul’s treatise on the reality of the general resurrection of the dead.

Well, then, just what is the “gospel”? Paul says: “it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes” (Rom.1:16). We note the present tense, continuous action. First, it is and continues being the power of God to salvation. Second, it continues being the power of God to salvation for everyone who “believes,” or continues believing. Now if the gospel is just the death, burial, and resurrection,” then one could believe in that but teach that the mode and purpose of baptism is inconsequential; or that instrumental music in worship is optional; or that women may serve as preachers and elders; or that fellowship with denominations is acceptable to God because, after all, we all believe the “core” facts of the gospel, and as long as we “continue believing” the death, burial, and resurrection, then, according to Paul, that it is all that is necessary for salvation. That is the necessary result of such a view.  

Now if the gospel is just the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, then what about believing in His virgin birth? Some Gnostics denied His fleshly birth and even some today do as well. Well, some will claim that is included, but then they have just expanded their very own definition of “gospel.” What about all the recorded events of His nature and His life? What about the fact that Jesus actually differentiates Himself from the gospel (Mark 8:35; 10:29)?

Of course, Jesus also said that His Word would be our standard of judgment (John 12:48). The Word of God is also what “sanctifies” (John 17:17); it gives light or understanding (Psa.119:130); it cleanses (John 15:3); it purifies (1 Pet.1:22); it begets brings forth (Ja.1:18); it brings about our spiritual birth (1 Pet.23; John 3:5); it converts (Psa.19:7); it gives life (Phil.2:16; John 6:63); it reconciles (2 Cor.5:19), and above all it saves (Ja.1:21; Acts 13:26).

However, if one believes that the facts of the “death, burial, and resurrection” (“gospel”) save them and, yet at the same time, the Word saves, then which one saves? The gospel or the Word? Do people have a choice? Or is the “death, burial, and resurrection that which initially saves, and then folks must now turn their attention to the Word of God? Now if the death, burial, and resurrection, alone, saves, then is a person saved but still not yet sanctified, lacking in understanding, uncleansed, unpurified, not begotten, without spiritual birth, unconverted, without life, and unreconciled to God by the Word of God, even though they have been believed in the death, burial, and resurrection (“gospel”) of Christ? This kind of reasoning is akin to Mac Deaver’s teaching that one is a child of God by water baptism, but no yet in the kingdom of God until baptized in the Holy Spirit – an erroneous bifurcated system!     

Now the Denominational world did, indeed, make a distinction between “gospel” and “doctrine” or Word. Typically there are two lecterns used in their service, one for the reading of the “gospels,” which represent the death, burial, and resurrection associated with Christ. The other lectern was read the Word of God which contained doctrine. The gospel was seen as “invitational,” while doctrine, the Word which contained doctrine, was simply for instruction for those already saved by the “gospel.” Is this what the Bible teaches?

We learn Jesus preached the gospel but we know He preached the Word, which will judge the world (John 12:48). He also said a true disciple is one who continues in His Word (John 8:32). He declared His Word is Truth (John 8:31-32).  Now is are gospel, Word, and Truth three different things? Actually, they are all the same thing.

Peter preached the Truth (1 Pet.1:22); but he preached the seed (1:23); but he preached the Word (1:23), “And this is the word which by the gospel was preached to you” (1:25). Paul said he preached the gospel (Gal.1:6-9) but he also preached the faith (Gal.1:23). Of course, a multitude of priests became obedient to the faith (Acts 6:7), which certainly was the gospel (Rom.1:16-17). This is true because all Christians are those who are sons of God, and Paul clearly says: “For you are all sons of God through THE FAITH in Christ Jesus. For as many as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ” (Gal.3:26-27). Just as Jesus said that a true disciples must continue His Word (John 8:31), Paul says that in order for one to continue God’s grace they must continue in THE FAITH (Col.1:23).

Paul also taught that we are saved by grace through THE FAITH (Eph.2:8) and that Christ dwells in the heart through THE FAITH (Eph.3:17). Does Christ dwell in the heart through the gospel or through “the faith”? YES, because they are both the same thing. Paul said we are to contend for THE FAITH of the gospel (Phil.1:27), meaning contend for the body of teaching of the gospel, and there is a vast amount of teaching found in the faith of the gospel we must contend for (Jude 3). Paul speaks of teaching doctrine (1 Tim.1:3) which he also calls the commandment (1:5), which is law (1:8-9), which he also calls sound doctrine or teaching (1:10) and the glorious gospel (1:11). Luke records that the gospel was preached (Acts 14:21) and that the folks were admonished to continue in the faith (14:22).

Paul continued speaking “the word” (14:24). Again, all these expressions are synonymous. Luke records Peter saying that God made no distinction between Jew and Gentile and purified their hearts through THE FAITH (Acts 15:9). Here Peter is referring back to Pentecost where he preached the gospel, which means he also preached the faith. Interestingly, however, Isaiah said THE LAW of the Lord would go forth out of Zion (Isa.2:2-4), and this was fulfilled on Pentecost (Acts 1:8, 2:1-47).  

Therefore, the gospel is also the law as we noted previously. Luke goes on to say that the churches that has been established were strengthened in THE FAITH and increased in number by the same THE FAITH (Acts 16:5), but the Spirit prevented the ”word” from being preached in Asia (16:6) but allowed them to preach “the gospel” in Macedonia (16:10).  Paul also taught the New Covenant (2 Cor.3:6) referred to metonymically as “the Spirit (3:6) or the “ministry of the Spirit” (3:8), all of which was the preaching of the word and truth (4:2) and the gospel (4:3).

The death, burial, and resurrection are not the entirety of good news (“gospel”). Rather, they are facts of the gospel that are to be believed. Associated with these facts are commands needing to be obeyed (Acts 2:38; 1 Pet.4:17). These facts and commands are essential to the gospel but they are not the only essential elements of the gospel. There is much more teaching needing to be obeyed that are essential to the gospel, the faith, which one must continue in (Col.1:23; cf. 1 John 1:7-9).

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THE HOLY SPIRIT, HIS WORD, AND OUR CONSCIOUSNESS

THE HOLY SPIRIT, HIS WORD, AND OUR CONSCIOUSNESS

By Doug Post

Consciousness is awareness or more specifically, the mind’s state of awareness – self-awareness. Metaphysically, consciousness is the act of observation and perceives what passes in the mind. Therefore, it is the awareness of reasoning processes, sense perceptions, involving all moral and spiritual actions, desires, intentions, and emotions. 

Consciousness is confined to the actions of the mind. It is the knowledge of itself which cannot be separated from every thought or action of the soul and body. Therefore, there is awareness of self as it relates to one’s moral intents and actions. Therefore, if a literal and personal dwelling of Deity within the flesh is accepted, then there must be consciousness of this.

A sensory perception or awareness of that alleged “fact” must exist, especially when one alleges there must be a direct Spirit on spirit communication or witnessing (Rom.8:16), wherein the consciousness of the mind must surely be aware. However, since literal/personal “indwellers” tell us there is no perceptual awareness or consciousness of such an alleged personal “indwelling,”, then their entire notion is contradicted, suspect, and false.

A literal dwelling of the Spirit presupposes that the Person of the Spirit – the very Being, Himself – personally residing in the individual, spatially present, inhabiting human flesh. And from this supposition evolves another supposition, which insists that the Person of the Spirit within human flesh, directly aids, comforts, and works (operates) within the Person.

That allegation is that the Spirit directly manipulates, provokes, alters, and redirects the natural human cognitive processes in order to will and to do what God desires. Direct, immediate, and supernatural energy is supplied and/or infused for the purposes of altering and manipulating the course of human thought and action.

Of course, without the theory of an immediate, direct supernatural human manipulation, the underlying theory of a literal and spatial habitation of the Spirit has no real significance. In other words, it would simply be a Divine or holy hibernation, having no purpose or reason.

But for many there must be a purpose and a reason, and as result, and this produces other wild imaginations associated with the Spirit’s alleged direct supernatural manipulation or interference of the natural human cognitive processes, which are essentially the influences of Calvinism and Pentecostalism. And we are told, “It just has to be this way.”

Ironically, personal/literal “indwellers” reject the Calvinistic notion, and rightly so, that the Spirit must directly, immediately, and supernaturally, in order to manipulate or interfere with the consciousness, mind, and cognitive processes of the unbeliever, because they are deemed “totally depraved.” The purpose for this direct work or operation of the Spirit is so the unbeliever will be converted to Christ and saved. Of course, Calvinists will typically point to passages such as John 6:44 in order to support their heretical supposition. 

Even the personal/indweller knows that John 6:45 must be considered and that one is drawn by God through teaching. That is, one is led or guided by the Spirit through the word of God. Just as the Constitution guides our country and out leaders (it’s supposed to) we can say the Founding Fathers guide us, not having left us to ourselves, but have left us their guide. In like manner, the same is true with the Scriptures. God (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit) guides us, NOT DIRECTLY, NOT SUPERNATURALLY, and WITNESSES to our spirit, NOT DIRECTLY and SUPERNATURALLY, with, by, and through His Word. Now if this is true with the non-Christian, and it is, then why do some continue arguing that we, as Christians, must be led or guided by the Spirit DIRECTLY and SUPERNATURALLY? It is still the very same operation. Jesus stressed this fundamental process, Himself.

He specifically told us that the seed is the Word and the soil is the heart. Whatever conversion there will be; whatever spiritual growth in faith there will be; whatever continued sanctification there will be, will all occur with, and through, and by the His Word. We note here that Jesus never mentioned anything about the Holy Spirit having to directly and supernaturally, manipulate our minds and interfere with our human cognitive processes. He simply noted that spiritual success we will have will be by the influence of His Word (seed) and because we have a good and honest heart. This is neither complex nor mystical as some brethren are wont to make of it.   

We know The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit exist and this knowledge comes through the Word THEY have given us, not through some inner feeling or sense. Through revelation (the Word) in our consciousness takes the form of ideas, to which faith gives the assurance of God’s reality. Paul said that he lived “by THE FAITH of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave Himself for me” (Gal.2:20).

While Paul was an apostle of Christ, having the power of the Spirit, able to perform signs and wonders, and speak by inspiration the revelation He received directly and supernaturally, he, himself, was not affected directly or supernaturally to be more spiritual in his personal life. He was not given “energy” like “supernatural steroids” in order to live a moral life and to win his victories over temptation. Rather, he won his victories over temptation, sin and the devil by knowing and submitting to the Will of the Lord in the Word of God. Quite simply, as the Holy Spirit said through Paul, he lived his life by THE FAITH just as David did when he said that he had hid God’s Word in His heart (Psa.119:11).

The Holy Spirit influences us through His Word and only through His Word. Of such influence, Alexander Campbell said: “The Spirit of God is ever present with His truth, operating in it, and through it, and by it.” I would add “And never without it.” The Spirit influences us through a means – the Word of God – of which the consciousness of the mind apprehends, creating faith from THE FAITH. It is THE FAITH – the Word of God – that quenches all the fiery darts of Satan (Eph.6:16). In conviction, conversion, and sanctification, the Holy Spirit influences on by His Sword (Eph.6:17) – through His Word. The Holy Spirit, Himself, specifically says that His very own Scriptures make complete and thoroughly equipped (2 Tim.3:16-17). The Holy Spirit does not say, we are made complete and thoroughly equipped through His Scriptures plus an additional working of the Spirit that is DIRECT and SUPERNATURAL, in order to prove more equipping to our moral thinking and actions, and so we can understand His Scripture. No that is not what the Holy Spirit. Only a cultist-minded delusional soul would so contend.    

 

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Temple of the Holy Spirit

TEMPLE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT – 1 CORINTHIANS 6:19-20

(1 Cor.6:13): “Foods for the stomach and the stomach for foods, but God will destroy both it and them. Now the body is not for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.  And God both raised up the Lord and will also raise us up by His power.”

Within the context, this is the first use of the word “body,” and here is used in reference to the human body, since “meats for the belly” and the “body is not for sexual immorality” are mentioned.  Paul begins setting up a series of arguments to show that the “body is not for sexual immorality” as the proverb of the day sought to prove.

ARGUMENT #1 (v.15): Know ye not that your bodies are the members of Christ? shall I then take the members of Christ, and make them the members of an harlot? God forbid.”

Here Paul is indeed discussing the human body, and that the human body of the Christian is important to Christ, because it is a member of Christ. Though not expressly stated, the body of Christ is implied as well, since the members and their bodies make up His body, the church. Therefore, when a child of God goes into a harlot, he is misusing a member of the body of Christ and brings shame not only upon himself, but on Christ’s body.

 ARGUMENT #2 (V.16): “What? know ye not that he which is joined to an harlot is one body? for two, saith he, shall be one flesh.”

Paul introduces yet another “body.” The first “body” he introduced was the human body of the individual Christian. The second “body” was implied with the use of the phrase “members of Christ” (v.15) – that body being the “body of Christ.”

Now the third body Paul introduces is the body created when two human bodies come together. In this case, a man’s body being joined together with a harlot, becoming one flesh or body – essentially a “marriage body.” Paul uses marriage language (“for two, saith he, shall be one flesh”) and applies it to a perversion that occurs when the two “become one flesh.”

Paul then continues saying, “Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. Paul is still speaking to this “marriage body.” Fornication is the only sin that one can commit that is grounds for the dissolution of the marriage. Here, he is affirming what Jesus taught in Matthew 19:9. Once you one sees the agreement between this passage and the Lord’s teaching in Matthew 19:9, the silly notion that Paul gave a “second exception” for divorce in remarriage in the next chapter is seen as being even more foolish than EVER before.

ARGUMENT #3 (vv.19-20): What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.”

3 different bodies have been referred to already in this context: 1. Human body 2. Body of Christ, of which human bodies are members 3. Marriage body. To understand Paul’s meaning it is important to determine which of the 3 bodies (or else determine a 4th body) Paul has in mind.

How would the Corinthians determine the meaning here (other than through miraculous means)?  They could guess (as many today do) or use a reasoned method of interpretation. One way is to find out how the word is used in other locations. They certainly would remember Paul’s words, found just 3 chapters prior (Chapter 3). Of course there were no verse numbers and chapter headings in the original manuscripts, however, Paul spoke of the temple of God as the church (1 Cor.3:16-17). They would also remember that their “bodies” were members of Christ. Paul is referring to the same temple – the one and only temple (“THE TEMPLE”) – the church.

Not only were they using members of Christ (their bodies) in their sin, and not only were they perverting their marriage body by joining together with a harlot, but also the temple of the Spirit – the church.

Therefore, the temple referred to in 1 Cor.6:19-20 is that of the one temple – singular (1 Cor.3:16-17; 6:19-20; cf. 2 Cor.6:16-17). 1 Cor.6:19-20 is not discussing little “temples” or “bodies” at all. Rather Paul is discussing the singular temple of Christ – His church – that becomes polluted when an individual member joins himself with a harlot, committing adultery against his wife and spiritual adultery against the temple or church of Christ – that which was bought with a price (Acts 20:28).

 NOTE ALSO THE PLURAL PRONOUNS: What? know YE (plural, you all) not that YOUR (plural, you all) BODY (singular, church) is the TEMPLE (singular, church) of the Holy Ghost which is in YOU (plural, you all), which YE (plural, you all) have of God, and YE (plural, you all) are not YOUR (plural, you all) own? For YE (plural, you all) are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in YOUR (plural, you all) BODY (singular, not bodies), and in YOUR (plural, you all) spirit, which are God's.” (“body” and “spirit” are God’s). 

The church-temple picture is found in various places in Scripture and certainly here in 1 Corinthians 3 & 6.

 

 

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The Apostolic Commission is Not Ours

THE APOSTOLIC COMMISSION IS NOT OURS

Doug Post

The English word “apostle” comes from the Greek word apostolos, which is comprised of two words. The word “apo” means away from. The word “stello” means send or commission. Therefore, the Lord’s apostles were the ones sent away from Jesus. Jesus gave them an assignment or Apostolic Commission.

Typically, the texts of Matthew 28:19-20, Mark 16:15-20, Luke 24:46-49, and Acts 1:8 serve as what is called “The Great Commission” (herein “GC”). We learn that Jesus had previously sent away His twelve disciples on what we term the “limited commission” (Matthew 10). While their first assignment was limited in scope, the apostles’ second one was far greater in extent. This time they were to “[g]o into all the world,” which is why it is often called the “The Great Commission.” However, this commission was really for the apostles and to no one else and a more apt designation is the Apostolic Commission.

Yet, when we consider the “Great Commission” we should also remember the miraculous work of the Holy Spirit, which serves as the backdrop to the New Testament. The teachings, events, the establishment of the kingdom/church, the rapid spread of the gospel, and the writing of inspired Scripture, all occurred during the time of the miraculous age of the first century. When Jesus commissioned the apostles they were provided supernatural revelation, inspiration, and miraculous power, from the Holy Spirit, as Jesus promised (John 14:26; 15:26-27; John 16:13; cf. Luke 24:49; Acts 1:4-5, 8).   

The command; “Go into all the world and preach the gospel,” was directly given to the apostles (Matt. 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:44-49; Read carefully Mark 16:15-20; cf. Heb. 2:1-4; cf. Acts 8:1-4). Their purpose was to take to gospel to the world, meaning to Jew and Gentile. These two groups were now to be reconciled to God through submission to this one divinely authorized means called the gospel (Ephesians 2:13-22; cf. Acts 19:9; Eph.1:22-23, 4:4). In preaching the gospel to Jew and Gentile, the apostles would have accompanying, miraculous gifts, necessary for confirming or establishing their message (Mark 16:17-20; Heb.2:1-4). This confirmation process proved they were men of God rather than charlatans, and their message was of Divine origin rather than from man.

Moreover, being responsible to their Apostolic Commission, the apostles were those who were called “ambassadors” of Christ, distinguished from the rest of the church (Acts 1:21-26; 26:16; 2 Cor. 5:18-20; Acts 1:22). Additionally, two of these apostles, Peter and Paul, were even given special assignments within their “Apostolic Commission” assignment (Matt. 16:19; Acts 1:8; 2:1-4; 8:14-24; 10:44-48; Gal. 2:7; Acts 9:15). We are not ambassadors but the apostles were.

As part of their assignment, the apostles were to be “witnesses.” This “witnessing” process is not like anything some call “witnessing” today. On the contrary, they were to “witness” in preaching and then through miraculous power, and they would do so by the supernatural power of the Spirit (John 15:26-27; Acts 1:8, 5:32). The Holy Spirit would be “witness” through the apostles. Remember, this power went hand in hand with their preaching and, therefore, were “accompanying signs” (Mark 16:20). The apostles had this “witnessing” power which was not available to other first century Christians ((1 Corinthians 12:11; 14:1, 13; 1 Timothy 4:14; 1:6; 2 Corinthians 12:12). Their assignment of preaching to the world lasted roughly 30 years, which was the duration of the miraculous age (Acts 13:1-4; 16:6-10; cf. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; Acts 14:27; 1 Corinthians 16:8, 9, 11; Revelation 3:7; Colossians 1:16, 23; Ephesians 4:7-15). We are not “witnesses” but the apostles were.

Since that time, God has withdrawn all miraculous assistance, which was absolutely necessary to carrying out their “Commission” during the first century as the Lord’s ambassadors and witnesses (Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; cf. Acts 17:27; Matthew 7:7-11 with Luke 11:13; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy. 2:4).

We should also understand that in the first century there was a major transition taking place, whereby three major periods or dispensations met at once. Both the Patriarchal Period (Dispensation), to which all Gentiles were amenable, and the Mosaic Period (Dispensation), to which all Jews were amenable, were coming to their respective ends. However, the Apostolic Commission in preaching to the whole world was now providing the gospel as the only means by which both Jew and Gentile could be reconciled to God.

This new era of law, the Gospel Period (Dispensation) sprang forth out of Jerusalem (Isaiah 2:2-4; Jeremiah 31:31-34; cf. Acts 1:8, 2:1-38; Hebrews 8:7-13), replacing the previous Gentile and Jewish systems of law. All men were now accountable to the gospel of Christ. This transition period required Divine assistance, providing miraculous guidance and ability to the apostles, which was necessary in carrying out the Lord’s assignment successfully (Mark 16:15-20; 1 Corinthians 13:8-13; cf. Acts 17:27; Matthew 7:7-11 with Luke 11:13; 2 Peter 3:9; 1 Timothy 2:4).   

The miraculous age of the first century concluded when revelation ceased in the first century. Therefore, we have no miraculous assistance today and neither do we have need for it. There are no accompanying and confirmatory signs with our preaching and teaching (cf. Mark 16:20; Hebrews 2:1-4). Since the apostles successfully completed their great campaign, and miracles have ceased, then their Apostolic Commission Great Commission” was fulfilled in the first century. We cannot do what the apostles did.

While our assignment is to continue teaching the confirmed gospel (1 Timothy 3:15; 2 Timothy 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:2; Matthew 22:37-40), our authority for doing so does not come by way of the “Apostolic Commission” (“Great Commission”) but through the authority of completed and confirmed revelation – the Scriptures. The Apostolic Commission involved the miraculous, our teaching today does not. The Apostolic Commission was for uniting Jew and Gentile in the first century, requiring miraculous, confirmatory works. Our teaching today is not about those things, but for simply expanding the already united body, which does not require a miraculous agenda.

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