"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32

HTML

BOOKMARK AND SHARE

Bookmark and Share

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Study in Paul’s Epistle to the Romans – “On the Road of Righteousness” Chapter Fifteen – The Glorious Gospel to Israel and the Church

~ ~ By James Fire


I’ve been told that this epistle is often taught in colleges of law, not for its spiritual content, but for the irresistible logic that Paul the apostle uses to build his Scriptural arguments in assertion of the fundamental principles of the Gospel and all that this entails.

We have seen how the Law of God is used lawfully as a means to establish the holy standard of God’s righteousness and thus revealing the universal condition of mankind’s sinfulness and this without exception: all are condemned by the holy Law – the immoral pagans, the moral Gentiles and the religious Jews.

We have then seen how the Gospel is established as the exclusive means of salvation for all the world through Jesus Christ, the Messiah of Israel and Savior of all the world (that is, for all who call upon His Name) and the justification that is offered by His blood atonement on the Cross.


We then observed how sanctification is brought about in the life of the saint, once they enter into salvation via the justification of Jesus Christ; this is an ongoing process in the life of the saint that will know its completion once we are brought to heaven and meet our precious LORD face to Face.
At that time, we shall know glorification, and shall inherit incorruptible, immortal bodies fashioned after the LORD’s own glorified body which He presented to His disciples after His resurrection.

We then examined the latter half of the epistle in chapters nine, ten and eleven where Paul produces his evidences for Israel and how this nation yet still has a viable, and foreordained future (that is, the believing remnant) once the Messiah returns to claim His own and they receive Him as their reigning King – Who at that time will defeat the anti-Christ, the False Prophet and the kings of the earth that oppose Him at the so-called ‘battle’ of Armageddon.

PURSUING MORE of the PRACTICAL –

After this, Paul then proceeds with the practical, having completed in full his dissertations on the doctrinal aspects of this epistle, and here in chapter 15, he completes this aspect before he begins to address administrative concerns in the next chapter.
In the beginning of the chapter we are dealing with now, he writes some last minute thoughts regarding those who are “strong” in the faith that are to help those who are “weak”.


ROMANS 15:1 - 3

We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.
2 Let every one of us please his neighbor for his good to edification.
3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me
.


Once again we are reminded that we are to follow our LORD Jesus’ example as humble servants of the LORD God, not self-seeking, but desirous of being used as vessels of God’s grace to bless others, and in this case, those members of the body of Christ who are weak and needy; the word for “infirmities” in the Greek means “feebleness, malady, frailty, lacking strength”.

In a spiritual sense, we may incur such weaknesses from a poor ‘spiritual diet’ of (lack of) the Word, or negligence in prayer, or sin’s evil work in causing damage to one’s ability to express faith in God, or any of these things and more. Thus we are to “bear the infirmities of the weak” by nursing such saints in the Word, prayer and godly fellowship.

The ultimate example of course of servant-hood is the Supreme Sacrifice made by our LORD Who Himself bore our sins and the reproaches that were our own (Gal. 1:4; Heb. 1:3; Heb 7:27).
If any are strong, its only by the grace of God and without any credit due to ourselves, thus there is no room for boasting or feelings of superiority; there are none ‘higher’ or ‘lower’ than any others in the kingdom of God, for we have one Lord and Master Who is above all of us, and we His saints are all equals (Matt. 23:8-9; “brethren”).


ROMANS 15:4 - 7

4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God
.



The OLD IS GOLD and the NEW IS TRUE TOO –
There are many saints who prefer the New Testament Scriptures over the Old, and certainly we are in the new dispensation of the ‘church age’ and no longer “under the law” because of the new testament in the LORD’s covenant by blood (Matt. 26:28; Heb. 9:15-16; Heb. 12:24; Heb. 13:20-21). However, the Old Testament Scriptures are still and always shall be valid for the spiritual truth they provide and this is a proof text for us, because “aforetime” included none or at most, only a very few New Testament Scriptures; the vast majority of the Scriptures at hand were Old Testament (or “Tanahk”).

The church can learn about God through His dealings with the nation of Israel; how though they may have been unfaithful throughout their history, God nonetheless kept (and will keep) His promises to His people, because His dealings with them (as well as us) is solely by grace (unmerited favor). This has been discussed on TTUF previously and you may access the two part article by typing “Israel Matters” in the search engine or you can watch this sermon (given by yours truly) by the same title.


The Scriptures, Old Testament or New will always yield the blessed fruit of hope and faith for the believer, for as the Word declares, “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” (Rom. 10:17). Patience, comfort, as well as joy, peace, goodness and knowledge and of course, hope (see vs. 13-14) is all as a result of partaking of the Word of God.

We as members of the body of Christ, partaking of the Word of God continuously, have our hearts and minds transformed by this glorious Light of God and this produces a blessed ‘likemindedness’ – having one mind and mouth that glorifies God; this same sort of unity is observed in Acts:


ACTS 4:32

And the multitude of them that believed were of one heart and of one soul: neither said any of them that ought of the things which he possessed was his own; but they had all things common
.


And is further expressed as those who are in the “unity of the faith” (Eph. 4:13) and “in the Spirit” (Eph. 4:3).

Since we are in fact all believers, all saints, all brethren with no one being superior or greater spiritual quality in the Eternal eyes of God Who sees us complete in Christ, we should have no issues with receiving one another, even those who for reasons (of carnal thinking) would seem despised by others – because we are all received by the Holy and glorious Christ of God. Basically, if we are all good enough for Jesus to receive BY GRACE, then by grace we should receive one another!

The MESSIAH MINISTER – To JEW and GENTILE
ROMANS 15:8 - 9

8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name
.



Here the apostle addresses the truth regarding God’s destiny for both the nation of Israel as well as that other “holy nation” that comprises the church (1 Peter 2:9). Seeing that Jesus Christ was a “minister of the circumcision” His conduct as the Messiah of Israel is then manifested; as we know He was first proclaimed to Israel and preached what the Scriptures declare as “the gospel of the kingdom”.

This was a very significant term to the Jew, for they understood that this was (and is) in reference to the kingdom of David, whose holy authority and rule would one day belong to the Son of David – the Messiah of Israel, Y’shua ha Meschiach (see the 7th chapter of 2nd Samuel, particularly vss. 8 – 13 and also Psalm 89:1–4; 28–37). Indeed, the “promises made unto the fathers” are all complete in the Person of Jesus Christ, not just in what He has already accomplished, but in what He will yet do for His people Israel in the not too distant future ahead! Thank You LORD!!

However, His magnificent grace is not only bestowed upon Israel, but also the Gentile nations as well – something that many in Israel had forgotten during the times prior to and during the days when Christ walked the Earth. At that time, it was the expressed views of many (not all) of the Jews, that Gentiles were merely ‘fuel for the flames of hell’ but Scripture abounds with testimony that the LORD will (and is) calling out for Himself a people for His Name’s sake, just as Paul quotes in the following verses:


PSALM 18:49

49 Therefore will I give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and sing praises unto thy name
(quoted in Rom. 15:9).


DEUTERONOMY 32: 43

43 Rejoice, O ye nations, with his people: for he will avenge the blood of his servants, and will render vengeance to his adversaries, and will be merciful unto his land, and to his people
(Rom. 15:
10).


2 SAMUEL 22:50

Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name
(Rom. 15:11).


ISAIAH 11:1, 10

1 And there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots:

10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious
(Rom. 15:12).


Thus it is amply demonstrated that not only Israel shall be blessed (though she shall most certainly, for Abraham’s sake, be afforded a special place of honor by the grace of God) but also the Gentile nations that expressed “like faith”, and therefore, grafted in to the olive tree that is spiritual (or believing) Israel. This was likewise addressed in Acts 15:13-18.

We see a contrast in ministry between Peter and Paul, as they ministered to their respective people groups according to God’s will:

GALATIANS 2:7-8

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;
8 (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:).


What must be absolutely clear however is that there is only one Gospel Truth established by God’s grace, but simply delegated to the Jew and Gentiles differently. To the Jew, this Gospel brings the promise of the reign of Messiah over the (born again) nation Israel (See Ezek. 36:26-27); to the Gentile, this same Gospel brings promise of no certain dwelling place on this Earth, without a land and a city to call their own, but rather an eternal kingdom and a heavenly city (which the Jews shall also be blessed with, once the old heavens and old earth are destroyed by God and replaced with new; see among other references: Rev. 20:11; 21: 1-2; 2 Peter 3:10-13).


POWER in the PERSON of the HOLY SPIRIT – A CONCRETE HOPE

ROMANS 15: 13-14

13 Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another
.
Again, this “hope” that is spoken of here is not a wistful, wished for, uncertain kind of hope but the sort that is closely related to what the Bible speaks of as faith. It is a sure hope predicated upon the Holy God Who alone keeps all of His promises.


Paul elsewhere in the epistle of Hebrews (which I believe can be attributed to this apostle) stated the following regarding this hope:

HEBREWS 6: 10 – 20

10 For God is not unrighteous to forget your work and labour of love, which ye have shewed toward his name, in that ye have ministered to the saints, and do minister.
11 And we desire that every one of you do shew the same diligence to the full assurance of hope unto the end:
12 That ye be not slothful, but followers of them who through faith and patience inherit the promises.
13 For when God made promise to Abraham, because he could swear by no greater, he sware by himself,
14 Saying, Surely blessing I will bless thee, and multiplying I will multiply thee.
15 And so, after he had patiently endured, he obtained the promise.
16 For men verily swear by the greater: and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife.
17 Wherein God, willing more abundantly to shew unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his counsel, confirmed it by an oath:
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;
20 Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.


God declared His promise to Abraham, and if that wasn’t enough He swore by an oath for good measure, though there was no one to swear an oath to (that was greater than the one making the oath, that is, God), so He swore to Himself. This is what Paul stated as “immutable” or unchangeable. God’s promises to Israel, to the church, to any individual saint that He addresses are no more changeable than God Himself: He is absolutely ‘as good as His Word’!
This is the sort of hope we have towards God and in His promises to us! Let’s re-read vs. 18 – 19 again:

 
18 That by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us:
19 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil;


BEHOLD I AM THE LORD ALMIGHTY – We speak of God as One that is Almighty, One for Whom nothing is impossible, and the Scriptures declare this plainly (Jer. 32:27); and yet it is impossible for God to lie, because He is Himself the Truth. God cannot learn, because He knows everything. He cannot travel because He exists in all places and in all times all at once; He cannot do evil or tolerate it from others because He is holy. There are some things the LORD God cannot do because to do so would violate His immutable nature of holiness and love (to expound on this, please feel free to read an article FROM the MIND of FIRE: GOD in a BOX.



Yet this immutability is of profound benefit for the saint; because God is unchanging (He doesn’t suffer bad moods and unpredictability) we can rest assured in all of what He has promised in His Word; this “hope” is a ROCK in any unstable situation, an ANCHOR in any tumultuous storm, a powerful BEACON in any dreary fog of doubt – “sure and steadfast”! That veil is in reference to that which separated the Holy of Holies from the rest of the Temple/Tabernacle – and within the veil the very Presence of God with Whom we have to do, and can approach with confidence as His child (Heb. 4:16). Such “abound[ing]” hope in God, such access to His throne, such assurance in His promises can AND WILL bring about what Paul stated in Romans – “joy and peace in believing . . . through the power of the Holy [Spirit]” – as well as goodness and knowledge to the full, so that we are able to minister and admonish others in the faith.


HOW MANY GOSPELS ARE THERE?

ROMANS 15:15 – 19

15 Nevertheless, brethren, I have written the more boldly unto you in some sort, as putting you in mind, because of the grace that is given to me of God,
16 That I should be the minister of Jesus Christ to the Gentiles, ministering the gospel of God, that the offering up of the Gentiles might be acceptable, being sanctified by the Holy Ghost.
17 I have therefore whereof I may glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.
18 For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
19 Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ
.

Note here that Paul speaks not of the “Gospel of the Kingdom” but the “Gospel of God” and “of Christ” which are not two different Gospels; both are the Gospels of Jesus Christ. For the Jew He is the Messiah-King Who has come to “save His people from their sins” (Isaiah 53:4-5; Matt. 1:21) and will one day return when Israel (believing Israel) repents and seeks His face (Hosea 5:14-15); for the Gentile (and any Jew during the church dispensation), He is the Head of the Church and Lord of Glory (Eph. 5:23; Col. 1:18; 2 Thess. 2:14; James 2:1).
Just as Israel was to be set apart and remain distinct from all other (Gentile) nations and remain a peculiar people, so too the Gentiles that comprise the church to be set apart, that is sanctified from other Gentiles “that know not God”.


Again, going back to verse 4, where we may learn from “whatsoever things were written aforetime” we see in the Old Testament that the people of Israel left Egypt in the Exodus and entered into Canaan land; this is representative of being delivered from this world of sin, and crossing Jordan into the ‘Promised Land’ signifies salvation for the Christian.

Yet there were enemies, even giants to defeat at the commandment of the LORD and this relates to the Christian as well in the area of sanctification – just as Israel slowly and gradually defeated the enemies in Canaan, the Christian slowly defeats the enemy that is his flesh and all of its sinful tendencies (To read more about sanctification, visit TTUF and type “sanctifier” in the search engine).

1 PETER 2:9 – 12

9 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;
10 Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
12 Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation
.


GODLY GUARDIANS of the GOSPEL – SET APART
We as the church are children of light and love, children of God and are not to have fellowship (communing, companionship, sharing in heart and mind, meaningful interaction) with the children of darkness outside of our declaration of the Gospel and being a faithful witness and minister for Christ: (see 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 6:14-15; Ephesians 5:1- 17).

Never more than today does the church need to be taught and encouraged to (even rebuked for a lack of) the practice of holiness but only as “sanctified by the Holy [Spirit]”! How can we even claim to be followers of the HOLY ONE of ISRAEL, if we ourselves are not walking in the Spirit or saying it another way, living our lives for Jesus and exemplifying His holiness before a dark and dying world??

Sanctification works holiness in our lives by working through us the very life (vivification) of the Spirit of God Who alone produces the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23, 25), and this is possible as we die (mortification) to ourselves via the cross of Christ and make way for God to fill us with Himself (Gal. 5:24). As we see the LORD working such things in our lives, this is cause for rejoicing and bringing GLORY TO GOD for His blessed production! May we say with Paul: “I … glory through Jesus Christ in those things which pertain to God.”


FINDING ROOM FOR FURTHER FOUNDATIONS –

ROMANS 15:20 - 23

20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man's foundation:
21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.
22 For which cause also I have been much hindered from coming to you.
23 But now having no more place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come unto you;


There are those occasions where the LORD orchestrates ministry for souls by different servants of His (1 Cor. 3:6), and Paul here in Romans is not advocating exclusivist ministry, but that in his endeavor to preach the Gospel, he desired to venture into areas where the Gospel had not been heard, where the salvation message is needed.

Where work had already been present and the growth was spiritually healthy, Paul would pass such locations over and search for ministry opportunities where it was needed most.


While the church at Rome was established, there was a need for discipleship and of greater depth of doctrinal understanding, therefore Paul wrote this epistle to them, and intended on visiting them as well to inspect the work going on, and the fruit that was being produced in the lives of the saints there. Apparently, this fervent desire of Paul’s did not wane at all as it was “many years” before he actually was able to visit them (and by a somewhat peculiar or at least unexpected method as far as Paul was concerned; Acts 25:10-12).


SAINTLY CHARITY and SERVICE –

ROMANS 15:24-27

24 Whensoever I take my journey into Spain, I will come to you: for I trust to see you in my journey, and to be brought on my way thitherward by you, if first I be somewhat filled with your company.
25 But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.
26 For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.
27 It hath pleased them verily; and their debtors they are. For if the Gentiles have been made partakers of their spiritual things, their duty is also to minister unto them in carnal things.


We talk about our vacations and share pictures of our experiences while visiting other countries, and this can be a fairly routine event; with airline travel people can cross the globe in hours with very little effort.

Not so in those apostolic days; visiting Spain from Israel was no casual journey. Travel by sea vessel was very archaic in those days and travelers met with hardships and extreme discomfort at times. Yet none of these things would deter Paul, as he was intent on going to any lengths to preach the Gospel and seek the salvation of lost souls which he longed to win for Christ.

Having that missionary fervor is a part of the life of any true believer; while we may not all be called to be missionaries or evangelists per se, we are all to do our part in the Great Commission (Mark 16:15) and sharing the Gospel with the lost; whether that involves street ministry, evangelistic crusades, television, radio, film, books, tracts, one on one visitations and, or Internet ministry – by any and all means the Gospel is to go out into all the world and reach the souls that belong to God (Ezek. 18:4) but are desperately needy of salvation.


Charity among saints should be a common and repetitive observation among the people of this world; generosity and compassion is appropriate among the church, for church members in want, but also for those outside of the faith (Gal. 6:10).
Here Paul reminds the saints he is writing to that charity for the church in Jerusalem is especially required, as it was through the nation of Israel that the Scriptures were given, and thereby blessed the world in the revelation granted to her prophets by God.
Also it was through Israel that the Messiah came into the world, from Abraham to David, to Mary the mother of Jesus of Nazareth; so as the Gentile Christians reaped of the spiritual blessings of God’s people, so too, the church was in a sense obligated (“their duty”) to bless God’s people with material blessing.


ROMANS 15:28 – 30

28 When therefore I have performed this, and have sealed to them this fruit, I will come by you into Spain.
29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.
30 Now I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers to God for me
;


The fruit of love is demonstrable in the life of any true believer, and being moved with compassion when we see a need will spring us into action to meet that need, by the grace of God. So the saints at Rome heard of the dire situation in Jerusalem: how because these Jews had become Christians, they were seen as heretics by the Sanhedrin and Temple authorities and thus excommunicated “from the faith” of Judaism.
This meant that they could not go to the Temple, they could not go to synagogue, they could not have any interaction at all with observing Jews, they couldn’t even hold down a job!

Paul, having plans on visiting Rome would then receive alms from them to assist the church at Jerusalem in their time of need.


The apostle likewise was confident that there would be great spiritual blessings in store upon his visitation of the church there “in the fullness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ” and all that this entails – the salvation of souls that the LORD would add to the church daily, the powerful bond of love that they as the LORD’s true disciples would have one for another, the peace of God as a result of salvation, the communion and godly fellowship as well as the fervent prayers one saint to another, and this is exactly what Paul was soliciting in the next verse.

For the sake of the LORD Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God Who died for the sins of the world, the One whose “compassions fail not” (Lam. 3:22) and longs to see souls reconciled to our Holy God and Father – for His sake we ought to continue to pray for sinners and their salvation, and also for those who are full time in such activity of soul-winning such as our evangelists and missionaries.

Paul the powerful apostle and miracle-working servant of the LORD petitioned for prayer? This writer of one third of the entire New Testament needed help from other saints? Yes, indeed; this shows that we are the body of Christ and that the hand cannot say to the foot, I have no need of you, nor can the eye say the same thing to the ear (1 Cor. 12:20-22) and that we are all dependent on Christ Jesus – directly, and indirectly as His Spirit operates and ministers through the saints in His Body. Each of us have been granted gifts and are strong in different areas in our lives. Where we are weak and needy, others are abounding in the strength of the LORD by the Spirit of grace, and this is to the point: we are ONE body, and no one can glory in their independent strength but rely on Christ’s strength (again, both directly as from His Spirit and indirectly as His Spirit operates in other members of the Body).


1 CORINTHIANS 12:25-27

25 That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.
26 And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it.
27 Now ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.
As the body of Christ we serve our LORD and engage in the work of the Gospel and discipleship and all forms of biblical ministry, but we are not on our own saints:

MARK 16:20

20 And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.

And finally . . .


ROMANS 15:31-33

31 That I may be delivered from them that do not believe in Judaea; and that my service which I have for Jerusalem may be accepted of the saints;
32 That I may come unto you with joy by the will of God, and may with you be refreshed.
33 Now the God of peace be with you all. Amen.
Paul had already been warned that if he ever went back to Jerusalem, his reception would not be a very welcoming one! Even Agabus the prophet had warned Paul about this:

ACTS 21:10-14

10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
12 And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.
13 Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.
14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.


See here the tender heart of Paul that was breaking upon seeing these tears on the faces of the saints; note also the tenacious commitment to the LORD, that no matter what the peril, Paul was ready, even if it meant his life. Nothing was reserved for himself; Paul had a surrendered life and had given it over completely to his LORD. As he had said in the previous chapter:

ROMANS 14:8

8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord's.


Notice this also in verse 32, that Paul speaks of being “refreshed” that is, “to recruit oneself in company with others” and that this refreshment is not unilateral; he wasn’t intending on visiting them so that he could refresh them, but that they would be refreshed together in a mutual blessing! Again, here is evidence of what is called “body ministry” or saints that are serving one another in every capacity in which the members are individually gifted by the LORD (1 Cor. 14:26).

Paul ends this chapter with “the God of peace be with you all. Amen.” And this seems a good way to end this article as well!
”Peace” in Hebrew is of course, “shalom” and it entails far more than merely peace (as we have seen previously). Such are the wonderful gifts granted to us by our LORD – such blessings that abound beyond any singular need, but is all encompassing in their ability to bless, edify and encourage.


So, indeed, may the GOD of PEACE be with you all! AMEN! Read more!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

EXPOSING ERROR

by A.M. Kisly

We are seeing a tidal wave of false teachers who have been given the green light to spread their poisonous doctrines because of a deafening silence among many Bible believers. Church congregations are being taken over by wolves in sheep’s clothing who are perverting biblical truth and ravaging the flock of God, leading many to their destruction.

Jesus stood face to face with false teachers and called them out publicly.  Matthew 12:24, "O generation of vipers, how can ye, being evil, speak good things? for out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh."

In 1 John 4:1-6, we are warned:

1 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.
Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.
They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error. 

Apprising Ministries recently posted a really great article written by Dr. Harry Ironside called, Exposing Error: Is it Worthwhile?  I really felt it was worth a re-post!
Read more!

Saturday, March 9, 2013

The Cross Is Not Necessary?



by A.M. Kisly

The warning against false teachers.


Christ said, “Beware of false prophets which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.” (Matthew 7:15). For every true prophet calling people to the narrow way that leads to life, there are a multiplicity of false prophets calling people to the broad way that leads to destruction. Christ’s warning [about false teachers] was not new. Deuteronomy 13:1-5 documents the presence of false teaching during the days of Moses. In Isaiah 30:9-14 chronicles its existence in the kingdom of Judah.

There are many warnings about false teachers in Scripture.

In 2 John 7 - John said, Many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ cometh in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

And in the Book of Romans chapter 16:17-18 - Paul said, I beseech you, brethren, mark them who cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ but their own body, and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the innocent.”

And the blasphemers keep blaspheming, such is the case of Emergent Church leader Tony Jones.

In a recent blog post, Apostate Emergent Leader, Tony Jones, who, by the way, uses the term Christianity on his website as a means to deceive,  answered a write in question from a young lady who had a difficult time understanding how a loving God would allow His Son to suffer and die on the cross for the sins of mankind.

You won’t believe the response!


Read more!

Monday, March 4, 2013

The HARBINGER – HOAX or HISTORY? Part Three

~ ~ By James Fire


As we continue in our examination of The HARBINGER, it’s vital to understand that the only nation that God has established a covenant with is Israel. Any covenant of God is that which the LORD Himself initiated and established, both in its terms and application. No nation can take it upon them selves to make a covenant with God, nor do we find any biblical precedent that exemplifies such an idea.


WHAT’S THE FUTURE HOLD – FOR AMERICA and ISRAEL?


To assume that America had inherited in some way, the beneficiary aspects of the covenant that God made with Israel, we would by necessity have to fulfill the covenant agreement geographically, as God spoke specifically concerning “the land” and its parameters:
“The extent of the geographical boundaries of the promised land is very specific and must be understood literally. To do otherwise is to spiritualize God’s promises and turn the historical text into an allegory.
"America’s founders were therefore biblically wrong on several counts. Those founders who may have held even an early form of Anglo-Israelism were wrong. Those who held an American covenant view were wrong."
Cahn never denies Israel in her present state as being the work of God, nor does he assert that Israel has no future; he simply doesn’t acknowledge any of this in his novel. Israel on her own merit is conspicuous in its absence in this book!The HARBINGER leaves ancient Israel lying in ruins and then jumps forward to twenty first century America, which does not include the whole story – a very important part of the story, in the context of judgment. It would be difficult to overstate just how serious this issue is.
“One significant problem is that the author fails to mention any of God’s unconditional promises to Israel concerning the land, descendants, and blessings . . . because [there are] many biblical promises that speaks of Israel’s assured future restoration after judgment.”
This would seem to suggest that Israel has forfeited her place in God’s eternal plan of the ages (and so now, its America’s turn?).

Cahn would not need to deviate from his exposition very far in order to bring these scriptural truths to the fore; in fact, he could use the very same chapter from Isaiah that is the basis of his book!


ISAIAH 9: 6 - 10
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
7 Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars
.


The coming Messiah will rule over the house of Israel at His second advent and the government will be established by Him and His reign will be forever (and EVER!). These are precious promises for the future of Israel that Cahn never even (briefly) touches on, and instead, focuses on America (which even if we are restored, after a time of repentance, is only a temporary nation that will not outlast this old Earth, or the nation of Israel which will find a future upon the New Earth and New Jerusalem!).


THE NINE HARBINGERS – The mystery of this story revolves around nine engraved discs from thousands of years ago; a tenth disc is given to Kaplan as a sign that he is appointed as a “watchman on the wall” to sound the alarm of America’s coming judgment and to call her to repentance before God’s final judgment is unleashed against her.


Originally used [for the purpose of this story] to warn Israel of impending judgment, these same discs were then employed to warn America of their own judgment. These discs are a literary device used by the author to convey the idea of incremental warnings of coming judgment, but while the discs are fictitious – as is much of the story – Cahn states that “what’s contained in the story is real.”
Yet how ‘real’ are they? Certainly these discs prove quite convincing as Cahn paints a prophetic picture, but what he doesn’t do is present all of the facts which would paint a different picture entirely. This we shall see as we follow David James along as he uncovers these things for us.


The FIRST HARBINGER: The BREACH –

~ Fact Concerning Israel: God removed His hedge of protection from Israel which allowed the Assyrians to attack the nation.

~ Claim Concerning America: God removed His hedge of protection from the United States, which allowed the terrorists to attack on 9/11
.


The term “hedge of protection” is used in two cases only in the Old Testament, once concerning Job (Job 1:10) and Israel (Isaiah 5:5); when addressed in the New Testament (Matt. 21:33; Mark 12:1) it’s in reference to the nation of Israel. While God can erect a “hedge of protection” anywhere, and with any one He wants, because He is sovereign and able to do so, there is no such indication anywhere in Scripture that He has in fact, placed such a “hedge” around any other nation other than Israel, including the United States.

Thus any claim that God has placed a “hedge of protection” around America is invalid, and if such a hedge never existed, then it could not be breached.
Furthermore, if that hedge was breached, then why aren’t there more attacks from the enemy on American soil, even though many dozens of attempts have been made since 2001? An average of about fifty five attempts daily or approximately 20,000 per year!

Terrorist statistics on U.S. soil

As David James has stated: “So on what basis does someone suggest that God has removed His hedge of protection – if such a thing even exists for any nation but Israel? Or would Cahn now need to say that God has put the hedge back into place? Cahn’s theory aligns with neither the biblical evidence nor with the contemporary evidence of current events.”


America has been attacked before, according to the findings of David James: Pearl Harbor of course (an American territory), and then the following year, Japanese occupation of two Aleutian Islands in Alaska (U.S. property); more than a century earlier (when America was a more righteous nation than perhaps ever before?) the British captured Washington D.C. and burned to the ground. In 1920 a TNT bomb on Wall Street killed 35 people (believed to be the work of Bolshevist and anarchist terrorists); Puerto Rican nationalists in 1975 claimed to be responsible for a bomb in New York City that killed four and injured more than 50 people. In 1993 the World Trade Center was bombed by foreign nationals (Al Qaeda was suspected) with the intent of taking down both towers (killing six and injuring over one thousand).


David James continues: “It becomes clear that any event could be interpreted any number of ways when the literary context doesn’t provide the exclusive framework for interpretation. It is this method of handling the biblical text that so frequently exposes Christians to the challenge of the well-woven cliché ‘Well, that’s just your interpretation.’ [Or even the New Age-friendly expression: ‘That’s your truth’].


Because of the fact that Cahn has inundated his story with countless details and facts, its easy for the reader to assume that it is factual indeed, and all the facts. Yet it behooves the careful student of Scripture to make sure the facts are truly representative of the truth, and especially in light of Scripture where scriptural suppositions are made.


The SECOND HARBINGER: The TERRORIST –


~ Fact Concerning Israel: The Assyrians who attacked the Northern Kingdom of Israel employed some tactics that would today be labeled terrorists.

~ Claim Concerning America: Multiple direct links between the 9/11 al Qaeda terrorists and the ancient Assyrians demonstrate that the historic fulfillment of Isaiah 9:10 is repeating itself
.


To make a more solid connection between the nation of Israel and America, Cahn necessarily had to provide a convincing argument that 8th century Assyrians were terrorists and thus linked (via their descendents) to 9/11:

[KAPLAN] “The Assyrians were terrorists?” I asked.]

[The PROPHET] “As much as any people have ever been. Terrorism is defined as the systematic application of terror, violence and intimidation to achieve a specific end. Terror as applied science – this was the dark gift of the Assyrians gave to the world.”

We are led to believe that the Assyrians more or less invented terrorism, according to Cahn, but is this so? What about the Moabites, Ammonites, Canaanites, the Philistines, the Egyptians and the Edomites? What about Babylon??

Certainly the Assyrians employed particularly savage tactics when it came to war, and prisoners of such (cutting off opposing hands and feet; piercing iron hooks through jaw bones, etc.) but to say that they created such horrific methods in brutal warfare is simply not true.

Why is it necessarily the case that Isaiah 9:10 in regards to Israel and her enemies – and how this supposedly ties into the terrorist attacks on 9/11 is limited to ONLY this instance? Israel has had a LOT of enemies (more so today than ever!) and such episodes of enemy attacks have been recorded in prophetic Scripture (as early as Gen. 15:13); why then, if there really is a valid connection between these two nations, have such prophecies not found a parallel between them?


Another instance of making a connection that really isn’t there:


[KAPLAN] “Assyria is Iraq?”

[The PROPHET] “It’s the same land.”

[KAPLAN] “The nation under judgment… is drawn into conflict with the land of Assyria… ancient Israel… and now America.”

[The PROPHET] “And American troops were now walking the same earth on which the feet of the Assyrian soldiers had once marched. And among those watching them pass by were those who could still claim to be the descendants of ancient Assyrians.”

[KAPLAN] “Their actual flesh-and-blood descendants?” I asked.

[The PROPHET] “Yes,” he replied. “And who knows but that the veins of the 9/11 terrorists did not also flow with the blood of the ancient Assyrians?”

[KAPLAN] “So ancient Israel, in it time of judgment, was drawn into war with Assyria, which is now Iraq.”
[The PROPHET] “Yes,” he answered.

[KAPLAN] “And now America was drawn into a war with the land of Assyria – Iraq.”

“Who knows” said the Prophet “but that the veins of the 9/11 terrorists did not also flow with the blood of the ancient Assyrians?” Who does indeed know? Yet by posing this question in this way, Cahn leads the readers to make an unfounded conclusion. Where is there a connection between Assyria or modern day Iraq and the Al Qaeda militant terrorists who were based rather in Afghanistan?


Al Qaeda ties to more than 70 nations, and while there is a representation of this terrorist group in so many Middle East countries, Iraq is not a prominent location for such. They reside mostly in Afghanistan, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia and other nations – not Iraq.

Viewing Al Qaeda and It's Global Presence


The majority of Assyrians today are Christians not Muslims any way, comprising about 95% of the population (having been reached with the Gospel by the apostles Thomas, Bartholomew and Thaddeus themselves.


Visit Ninevah.com for more of this and learn Who Are The Assyrians.



Cahn attempts a linguistic connection with the ancient Assyrian language, Akkadian, and the language spoken by the terrorists of 9/11; and while it is true that Akkadian was still a language used by Assyrian people in ancient times, and neo-syriac Modern Assyrian later, a transition towards the Aramaic language became the second official language as early as 752 B.C.


“Assyria’s attacks on Israel happened years after the transition to Aramaic were well underway, even though Akkadian was still spoken and incorporated into localized Aramaic,” states David James.


However, to use such thin lines in an attempt to make strong connections between an ancient language and modern usage of such by terrorists in the 20th century; Cahn also points out (validly) that the Assyrian people were “children of the Middle East” as were the terrorists holds no water whatsoever. They are a Semitic people, but so is also Israel.


The THIRD HARBINGER: The FALLEN BRICKS –


~ Fact Concerning Israel: Clay Bricks were originally used as the primary building material for the city walls, houses, and most other structures.

~ Claim Concerning America: Bricks fell from buildings when the World Trade Center collapsed
.


Again, what is recorded in Scripture, and what has actually transpired at the WTC on 9/11 has such tenuous association, that these threads must be ‘stretched’ in order to make connections, and Cahn does so as shall be demonstrated.


David James: “In both The Harbinger and the documentary, The Isaiah 9:10 Judgment, Cahn emphasizes that the significance is that the buildings fell – and this forms the parallel to the destruction at the hands of the Assyrians. However, as tragic as it was, only a relatively few buildings fell on 9/11 – not an entire city, let alone an entire nation.”


There is really no correlation between what happened to ancient Israel and what transpired on 9/11. True, the Pentagon was struck, but it was not an attack on our entire military defenses.
The buildings of ancient Israel that the Assyrians destroyed were composed of bricks – not stone or metal; however in the WTC, the buildings were constructed with “little or no masonry”.


Did Bricks Really Fall From The Towers?


A nearby brick building with a steel and concrete superstructure survived in much better condition.


David James once again: “However, with no intent to minimize the tragedy in any way, it must be recognized that compared to the utter devastation in ancient Israel, there was relatively little destruction in New York City. The small number of bricks that fell in 2001 was inconsequential – not at all comparable to what happened in the eighth century BC.”


Ancient Israel suffered the destruction of their entire northern kingdom; New York City suffered the loss of two enormous buildings amidst some few others – this can hardly be considered a prophetic parallel.


The FOURTH HARBINGER: The TOWER –


~ Fact Concerning Israel: Israel’s leaders demonstrated a spirit of defiance against God with their declarations that the destroyed city would be rebuilt with no thought of repentance.

~ Claim Concerning America: America’s leaders followed exactly in the footsteps of Israel’s leaders when they declared that the destroyed WTC towers would be rebuilt
.


Israel knowingly defied their God and thumbed their noses at their enemies as well; this is evident in the text of the ninth chapter of Isaiah:


ISAIAH 9: 8-14

8 The Lord sent a word into Jacob, and it hath lighted upon Israel.
9 And all the people shall know, even Ephraim and the inhabitant of Samaria, that say in the pride and stoutness of heart,
10 The bricks are fallen down, but we will build with hewn stones: the sycomores are cut down, but we will change them into cedars.
11 Therefore the LORD shall set up the adversaries of Rezin against him, and join his enemies together;
12 The Syrians before, and the Philistines behind; and they shall devour Israel with open mouth. For all this his anger is not turned away, but his hand is stretched out still.
13 For the people turneth not unto him that smiteth them, neither do they seek the LORD of hosts.
14 Therefore the LORD will cut off from Israel head and tail, branch and rush, in one day
.


Yet the American leaders were not defying God, as can be readily seen when one views the various news clips and articles in context; true – they were misapplying the passage from what was intended by those who made such defiant proclamations, but as a means of comfort and solace to the American people. However, Cahn has attempted to make his case, that this is exactly what they were doing.


”He contends that America’s leaders,” says David James, “were proudly and arrogantly acting in defiance of God when they spoke of rebuilding. Through the Prophet [in the story], the author cites those he says were defiant when they used the phrase, ‘We will rebuild’.”


[The PROPHET] “From the mayor of New York City in the wake of the attack: ‘We will rebuild . . .’

“From the state’s governor: ‘We will rebuild. And we will move forward.’

“From the state’s junior senator: ‘We will rebuild . . .’

“From the city’s mayor at the time of the rebuilding: ‘We will rebuild, renew, and remain the capital of the free world.’

“From the President of the United States: ‘We will rebuild New York City.’

“One way or another, each leader would end up proclaiming the same words of defiance proclaimed thousands of years before by the leaders of ancient Israel.”


“In the documentary Cahn says,


[Jomathan Cahn] ‘We’ll rebuild New York City. We’ll rebuld Ground Zero. We rebuild better than . . .’ again and again and again, without anything of repentance, that’s the key. So it becomes something of pride and arrogance – about we’re going to show the world, but we’re not turning to God at all.’”
David James recollects in his book the event of Obama visiting Ground Zero and writing on one of the steel girders, ‘We remember. We rebuild. We come back stronger!”


Cahn comments: “On June 14th two of the mysteries of The Harbinger, foreshadowed in the book came true. Obama went to Ground Zero … [and] wrote … ‘We Remember. We Rebuild. We come back Stronger!’
“Now the words and the tower have been joined together in reality – and the one who did it was the president of the United States. One subtle difference in the words is that the vow is spoken in the future tense. But now the words inscribed on the towers are in the present tense. In other words, they not only speak of the defiant vow, but of the fact that the vow is being fulfilled. This constitutes another ominous sign.”

Using the word “fulfillment” indicates by both Cahn and World Net Daily (that supports, promotes and is in agreement with Cahn’s writings and presentations of The Harbinger), that this is a matter of fulfilled prophecy from Isaiah 9:10 not just for ancient Israel but also for modern day America.
The claim is made that various leaders in America spoke their words of rebuilding in defiance of God, but in the context of what was said, these statements were in fact in defiance of America’s enemies (the terrorists of 9/11 and those that supported them).


Then the Prophet of The Harbinger states that it wasn’t merely the words proclaimed in themselves that was the problem, but rather “the spirit and the motive behind the rebuilding”. Yet, how could motives of these leaders or those committed to rebuilding could be known by Cahn or anyone else unless they were specifically asked what it was that they did mean by such statements?


As David James states: “It is one thing to make an observation and report what someone said; of course they said what they said. As Cahn notes, that’s a matter of public record. It’s quite another thing to assign motives without specific knowledge of what someone was thinking or what was going through someone’s heart. The Bible calls that judging and warns against it in very strong terms (Matt. 7:1-2).”


Mr. James observes further: “[Cahn] argues that in spite of what they said, the intention of each of America’s leaders was to be defiant. Yet later in the book, when discussing John Edwards and Tom Daschle in the context of the eighth and nineth harbingers, he tries to make his case that in spite of what they said and in spite of what they intended, they were being defiant. In this case Cahn argues that context and intention are everything, but in that case, he assures the reader that context and intention mean nothing. He attempts to make the same point in both places but with contradictory logic. He cannot have it both ways.”


Mr. James likewise points out the faulty logic of Mr. Cahn regarding the ‘tower harbinger’ and the American leaders who addressed the issue in public. Cahn asserts that these leaders failed to repent on behalf of the nation that they represent; however, since these were secular, political leaders and not spiritual leaders, they could represent no one (but themselves). Could these men have known that this was a judgment of God and that the LORD expected repentance from them? Could they possibly have drawn the conclusion that just as God judged Israel for their defiance, that God would likewise judge them for their own defiance of Him, which Cahn unjustifiably asserts?


Cahn leans heavily on a particular translation of Isaiah 9:10, from what is called the Septuagint (A Koine Greek version of the Old Testament created in Alexandria in late 2nd century BCE) rather than the more commonly used Masoretic text. In the Septuagint, the verse from Isaiah reads:


“The bricks are fallen, but come, let us hew stones and fell sycamores and cedars and let us build ourselves a tower.”

David James comments: “It’s impossible to say whether or not it was in the Hebrew text used by the translators of the [Septuagint]. It is also impossible to say that these were the words of Isaiah himself. Therefore, it almost certainly should not be used as a technical linguistic argument to prove a point such as this one.”


What is most telling is that Cahn quotes only the latter part of Isaiah 9:10 in the Septuagint, but not the earlier part. Had he done so, his readers would understand that this version expresses Israel as the one who cut down the sycamores and the cedars in order to build, rather than the Assyrians in wanton destruction, which would destroy his later arguments for the sixth and seventh harbingers.


David James concludes: “It is extremely misleading and highly questionable methodology to pick one phrase out of a translation in order to prove a point when the passage as a whole has a very different meaning. The Word of God should not be handled in this manner, and one’s audience should not be misled with such a dubious tactic.”


Thus we have completed David James review of four of the nine harbingers. In the next article we shall resume this review and examine the remaining five and see what can be truthfully known of these matters. Until then, remain in the grace and truth of God which is by Jesus Christ our LORD!
Read more!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
ReferenceTagging.tag();