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What is Atoned for in Baptism?

 A brother asks, "Why do some leave the faith?”

It’s a vital question.

The Bible is full of examples showing that doctrines of men attract far more adherents than does the truth of God. 

Adam and Eve were the first examples. They departed from the truth that "God's word" of warning would bring death upon themselves and the entire race of man if they transgressed;  they departed into obedience to their own desires.

Jesus in Matthew 15: 7-9  quoted Isaiah 29: 13 referring to the fact that Israel, with the presence of God and His wonders in their midst,  had departed from the pure word of God into the commandments or precepts of men.  It was made clear throughout the New Testament that after Jesus and his apostles were gone from the earth,  that the believers would "turn away their ears from the truth, and be turned unto fables," that is, to "lies and things wherein is no profit" (see Jeremiah 16: 19;  Acts 20:  29-30;  I Timothy 4: 1-3, 12, 16;  2 Timothy 4:  1-3,  Luke 18: 8).

Many times the reasons for men departing from pure truth into apostasy are made clear. Some examples follow:

1.  Men love darkness rather than the light of truth (John 3: 19-21).

2.  Men, as grievous wolves enter in, desired to draw away disciples after themselves (Acts 20: 29-30).

3.  Men view themselves as God, rather than giving glory to God and his truth (2 Thessalonians 2:  1-17).

This terrible thing happened in the Body of Christ over a hundred years ago after brethren had taught the pure truth of God for the first forty years.  They correctly taught that atonement related to both "the inherited condemnation from Adam" as well as their own personal sins.  This began with John Thomas and continued for nearly half a century.

Solid proof of the possession of that truth is found in The Christadelphian, Volume 15 (1878), page 225, where the editor, a leading brother, wrote : "G.A.B.  (C): Legally, a man is freed from the Adamic Condemnation at the time he obeys The Truth of God and receives the remission of sins;  but literally the physical effects remain till "this mortal" (that is, this being, possessing the Adamic condemned nature)  is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming ...."

However, that same leading brother six years later, in a debate, took the position that in baptism, there was atonement only for personal sin, and had nothing to do with any other factor whatever.   

In answer to question number 406, that brother remarked, "Blood shedding is never spoken of except in connection with actual sin."

That was a complete reversal of his early teachings and the teachings of the entire brotherhood.   The brother excused his departure from earlier teachings in question numbers 727-728 when he stated, "My views are much more matured now than they were then, much more certain and definite...."

That was an admission of a change in doctrine.  We must keep in mind that Scripture always describes apostasy as a departure from truth into error, never a departure from error into truth.

The Bible shows that the beliefs of the majority have always been at odds with the truth, while the truth has always been held by a minority, causing  the Apostle in Luke 12: 32 to refer to the believers as "a Little Flock." 

That smallness was also to exist at the time of the return (Luke 18: 8).  It is much more advantageous to belong to a small group holding the truth than to belong to the huge number of apostates holding the errors of apostates. 

We must know that scripture warns us that departures were surely coming because of the reasons stated above.  In addition to that, we must make certain that we are part of the "little flock” (those holding the truth of God), rather than being a part of the vast majority who depart into apostasy as so many have done.

As proof that something more than personals sins is included in the ritual of baptism, the Apostle Paul in Romans 6: 3-6 shows that in the act of baptism, there is the symbol of the destruction of the "body of sin" (Verse 6). 

That certainly refers to something other than personal sins. 

Colossians 2: 11-13 is in complete harmony with that truth.  In verse 11, Paul confirms to the brethren that in "being buried with him" (Christ), there is "putting off the body of sin."  The margin says to omit the word “the sins of,” because men – the translators of the scriptures – added those words. Paul didn't write them.  I

It is vital to notice also Verse 13, "having forgiven you all trespasses." 

Verse 11 gives proof of the atonement for the body of sin, while Verse 13 gives proof of the forgiveness of personal sins

Therefore, two principles receive atonement in baptism, not just the one thing that is claimed by apostasy.  Colossians 3: 9 agrees with Paul's words here, for in baptism, there is "putting off the old man,” which is one thing, and number two,  'putting off his deeds.”  In that, there is putting off the body of sin, and the forgiveness of personal sins, not just the forgiveness of personal sins, like those in apostasy claim.     Wayne R. Tanner


 I go to Prepare a Place for You

In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so,

I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.

John 14:2 

The passage in John 14: 2 is thought by many to teach the apostate doctrine of heaven-going for the righteous.  If one isolates the passage and considers it apart from the harmony of scripture it would seem to be saying exactly what the apostasy believes and teaches.

 However, the first question we need to consider is the question of what the righteous are promised as to their residence for eternity. 

Not one passage in scripture promises heaven to the righteous. It is vital to know and consider Proverbs 10: 30 which declares, "The righteous shall never be removed, but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth." 

Some Bible students mistakenly teach that the Hebrew term "mot" translated "removed" in this verse means to be shaken, as in to have their faith shaken.  However, 2 Timothy 4: 3-4 speaks of the fact that many "will turn from the truth unto fables."  Also, I Timothy 4: 1-2 teaches that false teachers will cause some to "depart from the faith."  Certainly, such persons will have their faith shaken.  Therefore, that cannot be the meaning of Proverbs 10: 30.

 As proof of the above, we must consider Psalm104: 1-5 where we read that, "God laid the foundations of the earth that it should not be removed forever." In this passage, the Hebrew term "mot" is again translated "removed."  If the term means "to be shaken" as some claim, Isaiah 2: 19, 21 and Haggai 2: 7 are contradicted, for in those passages God declares He will "shake terribly the earth." 

                         Where will the righteous spend eternity? 

 Psalm 37:29 answers this question as it declares "The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever."   Jesus agreed with that declaration when he also declared in Matthew 5: 5, "Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth,”

 Before we conclude the meaning of Jesus' words "I go to prepare a place for you.” we must consider John 13:  33, “Little children, yet a little while I am with you.  Ye shall seek me; and as I said to the Jews, where I go ye cannot come, so now I say to you.” Jesus had told the Jews that same thing in John 7: 33-34.  Would it not be strange indeed for Jesus to prepare a place for the Apostles and others in a place to which they cannot come?

Regarding the place where the righteous are to spend eternity, Psalm 37:29 and Matthew 5: 5, have clearly declared that it will be on the earth.  Therefore, we ask, How will the ascent of Jesus to heaven prepare a place for the righteous to spend eternity on the earth?

The answer is clear. Only Jesus has obtained the nature of his Father. He is our forerunner as to gaining immortality (Hebrews 6: 20). Through the effort of Jesus, sitting at the right hand of his Father, making intercession for us (Romans 8: 26, 27, 34; Hebrews 7: 25), those accounted worthy will through Jesus' efforts, find a place in the "book of remembrance" (Malachi 3: 16), and in the "book of life" (Revelation 20: 12). 

Those accounted worthy of immortality will be partakers of the divine nature (2 Peter 1: 4), and be equal to the angels (Luke 20: 36) with their bodies fashioned like unto Jesus' body (Philippians 3: 20-21).  In that perfect condition, the redeemed will spend eternity on the earth (I Corinthians 15:  24-28).

Jesus' ascent to heaven as the mediator between God and man was a necessity, for without his presence in heaven making intercession for us, salvation for anyone would not be possible.  Therefore, his presence in heaven is for the purpose of preparing a great multitude of redeemed ones that cannot be numbered (Revelation 7: 9).  That entire great multitude will inherit the earth forever.  Jesus ascended to heaven in order to make that fact a possibility. 

Another fact that makes impossible the idea that the apostles and other righteous ones will spend eternity in heaven, is the fact that Jesus assured the apostles (Matthew 19: 27-28) that in the regeneration when He returns, the twelve apostles will judge the 12 tribes of Israel fulfilling God's promise to Israel that God would "restore her judges as at the first" (Isaiah 1: 26).  Since the twelve tribes of Israel will be mortal inhabitants on the earth (Ezekiel 37:  21-28;  Acts 1: 6-7),  the twelve apostles will not likely be their judges from heaven, for Jesus assured his followers that heaven was a place to which they "could not come" (Psalm 115:16; John 13:  33).

John 14: 3 settles the matter, for Jesus continued, "And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." Therefore, if he comes again, he will be on the earth again (and will receive them to Himself there).

Regarding the time of his return it is written of him:  "And the Lord shall be king over all the earth; in that day shall there be one Lord and his name one"(Zechariah 14: 9).

       “He shall have dominion from sea to sea and from the river unto the ends of the earth" (Psalm 72: 8).        Wayne R. Tanner   

 

Is the  Holy Spirit a “Person?”

Question:  Who is the Father of Jesus? In order to obtain an answer to this question, one must choose between Apostate error and Gospel truth. 

Apostate Error

In 2 Timothy 4: 3-4, the inspired Apostle Paul prophesied that believers would “turn away their ears from the truth, and turn unto fables,” that is, to things that were not true.  After the last of Jesus’ apostles had died, a number of Pagan philosophers were immersed and brought their pagan errors into “Christianity” with them.  Thus, the fables of Paganism were adopted by those who had turned unto fables.

By the years 312 to 324 A.D. so-called “Christianity” became the religion of the Empire that had become the fourth power of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, that is, Rome.  In 325 A.D. a Church council was held in the city of Nicaea, and The Nicene Creed was adopted by the Church as then constituted.

That Creed can still be called up on the computer today.  That Creed changed the truth of the oneness of God into the doctrine of the Trinity, a doctrine that declared that God was comprised by three individuals:

1.     God the Father

2.    God the Son

3.    God the Holy Spirit. 

That was a complete departure from the “truth of God” that Jesus and his apostles preached early in the Gospel dispensation.  In fact, the Apostate doctrine of the plurality of God turned the understanding of God’s truth into a great mass of confusion.

As an instance of that fact, let us ask the Trinitarian, which of the three Gods of his concept was the Father of Jesus?  Of course, he will answer that “the Father” was the Father of Jesus. 

Yet, the Nicene Creed denies that understanding, when compared to the words of the angel in Luke 1: 26-35.                                                                                                                                           

We must recall that when Mary asked the angel how it was to come about that she would conceive a child when she had not lain with any man,  the angel told her “The Holy Spirit will come upon thee,” and would cause her to conceive a child without the presence of any human male.  Therefore, according to Trinitarian error, the so called “Person of the Holy Spirit” caused the conception of Jesus, rather than the so called “God the Father.” 

Therefore, the first person of Trinitarian belief, (“God the Father”), is denied as being the father of Jesus Christ. Rather, the third Person of the so called Trinity would be his father. 

Is it not now obvious what the meddling of Apostate teachers does to the harmonious truth of God?

When Jesus declared in John 5: 30 that He sought to do His Father’s will rather than His own,  such Trinitarian error makes him obedient to the “Person of the Holy Spirit” rather than to “the Father,” the first Person of the Trinitarian God. 

What terrible error the doctrine of the Trinity forces upon its adherents.  Every passage where Jesus referred to his Father is caused to be a reference to the Third Person of a Trinity, rather than to Him who is actually the Father of Jesus, as the gospel teaches us.     

Gospel Truth

  The Truth of God teaches us the there is one God (the Father), and that the Holy Spirit is a reference to His unlimited power and influence.       

The words of the angel in Luke 1: 35 declares that in the conception of Jesus, that the Holy Spirit would come upon her; that the power of the highest (the Father), would overshadow her.  This tells us that “The Holy Spirit coming upon her” meant that the power of the Father would overshadow her. No, the Holy Spirit is not a person, rather, it is “the power of the highest, that is, the Father of Jesus Christ.”

   In Job 27: 3, Job speaks of God’s spirit being in his (Job’s) nostrils.  Can anyone imagine a person being in anyone’s nostrils?  The passage surely speaks of the “POWER” to breathe as in Genesis 2: 7. The word for “power” here is ruach, or breath – H7307 (Strong).

   Also, a number of passages speak of the Spirit of God being “IN A PERSON.” Again, can anyone imagine the person of the Holy Spirit so-called, being “inside a man?”

  In Acts 10: 38, we read of God “anointing Jesus with “the Holy Spirit and power.”  Can anyone imagine God putting the Person of the Holy Spirit on Jesus’ head?  No! The passage speaks of God putting his Spirit into Jesus, causing God’s power to activate Jesus, for the Holy Spirit is the power of God, by which Jesus did every miracle.   

   In Isaiah 44: 24, God speaks of having Himself stretched forth the heavens; and also spreading abroad the earth. In Job 26: 13 and Jeremiah 10: 12; 32: 17, we are told that God did these things both by His “Spirit” and by his “power.”  It is again proven that the “Holy Spirit” is “God’s power” that emanates from Him.

   In John 16: 13-15, Jesus promises to send the Holy Spirit to his disciples after his departure into heaven. In verse 13, Jesus uses the pronoun “he” which causes many to understand that the “Holy Spirit” is a person.  When we realize that the Holy Spirit is God’s power, we realize that Jesus was promising to send God’s power to them, and that the pronoun “He” is in reference to God himself. 

   In John 3: 16 we read,  “God so loved the world, that He (singular) gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Was this reference to the imaginary Person of the “Holy Spirit” (to the supposed Person of Jesus’ Father)?

All the way through John the 17th chapter Jesus addressed the “Father.”  In Verse 1, Jesus refers to Him Who was the Father of the Son of that verse.  This proves that it is an error to believe that the Holy Spirit is a “separate Person” from God who “overshadowed” Mary.  If the God to whom Jesus is praying, is the Father of Jesus, then the angel’s words to Mary in Luke 1: 35 do not mean what the Trinitarian’s error would lead one to believe. 

   The verse was simply saying that God, who possessed “the Power of the Highest,” would send His power to cause Mary to conceive and bear the Son of God.  That power referred to is the Holy Spirit throughout the entire Bible.  If the term “Holy Spirit” is reference to a “Third Person” of “the Holy Trinity” as is erroneously believed, serious problems exist throughout the Bible.   It does not refer to another person, but rather to the Power of the Father Himself.                        Wayne R. Tanner

 

  

An Everlasting Inheritance for Israel

Genesis 13: 15, 16

Brethren everywhere look around the world at conditions that are current in the world.  We surely realize that everything that is going on in the world in which we live was foretold by God and His prophets (including Jesus), to be events that would be taking place as God brings to an end the world that exists today. 

We are thrilled to ponder the new world that will replace this present, evil world as wonderful changes transpire.

God, for over 6000 years, has been disappointed with the worlds that developed and disappeared since His creation of them 6000 years ago.   As a matter of fact, as God prepared to speak to Noah in Genesis chapter 6, He revealed in Genesis 6: 6-8 that the severe wickedness that had developed caused God to repent of having created man upon the earth.  Therefore, God decided to destroy that evil world that had developed.

In 2 Peter the 3rd chapter we see God inspiring Peter to refer to the "world" before the flood as "heaven and earth" which constituted "the world."  In the words of Peter, three different "worlds" are noted. 

1. The world before the flood,  

2. The heaven and earth (world) which is now, reserved unto fire; and

3. The new heaven and earth (world) wherein dwelleth righteousness for which we look, and which God has promised. 

We can be certain that God has not, and does not "LOVE" the first two worlds, or He would not reserve them to destruction by water and fire.

Yet, the world of apostate Christendom views John 3: 16 and the statement that God so loved the world... "as evidence that God loves this present, evil world of lust, rebellion, and idolatry.” 

No, God does not love the world that now exists, for he warns us in I John 2: 15-17 to "love not the world, nor the things of the world, for those things are not of God, but of the world.” God has been working toward this perfect world referred to in I Corinthians 15: 4-28; 2 Peter 3: 13) for six thousand years. 

This wonderful world of righteousness will soon be established upon the earth. 

God, immediately after six days of creation, showed that He was very attentive to the matter of a kingdom, for before the first sin occurred, God told Adam in Genesis 1: 28 to subdue the earth and rule over it. 

Sin delayed that purpose, and God has subjected mankind to six thousand years of evil rule by man.  Finally, He decided to create a kingdom among the descendants of Abraham.  Sadly that kingdom rebelled against God and taught the doctrines of men instead of God’s truths (Matthew 15: 8).  However, God kept working toward a perfect kingdom ruled by a perfected Man, his Son Jesus.  The coming kingdom of Jesus is shown in scripture to be destined to be planted upon the restored kingdom of Israel and based on the promises made to Abraham.

(1)   It is noteworthy that throughout all generations from Abraham until the time of Jesus, this promise to Abraham was and still is "The Hope of Israel." All of the prophecies of God since Abraham have been based on God’s promise of God to Abraham.  The fundamental oracles of God have never departed from this expectation. 

God knew this in advance for we are told in Acts 15: 18, "Known unto God are His works from beginning to the end."

Again, the gospel of Jesus Christ has been based on the promises of God to Abraham.

After the kingdom of Israel came to an end, God sent his angel Gabriel to Mary to advised her of the birth of the Son of God who would one day restore the kingdom of Israel. However, the doctrinal expectations of almost all of the world of religion (except in the body of Christ), is almost totally devoid of any expectation that the kingdom of God is to be the restored “Kingdom of Israel” (Matthew 19: 27-29; Isaiah 2: 2-5).

As the angel Gabriel spoke to Mary regarding the impending birth of Jesus, the sole purpose of Jesus is shown to be related to God's promise to Abraham, for the angel said to Mary: "He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the highest, and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Father David... and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end." (Luke 1:  32-25) 

(2)   It is also noteworthy that after the resurrection of Jesus,   Jesus spent forty days with his apostles "speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God" (Acts 1:3).  As we ponder this, we must keep in mind that even the men of Israel recognized and confessed that there was no one in Israel who ever taught as this man did (Mark. 1: 27-28).  Now, consider that this one Teacher, with ability and capabilities above every other man, taught concerning the "kingdom of God" for forty days. Can we doubt that the apostles, after forty days, clearly understood what Jesus had taught them for forty days?

Therefore, let us now consider that this master of all teachers, as Jesus was known to be, was clearly understood; for his words and works were God's word and works (John 14;10).  After he had taught them for forty days concerning the kingdom of God, and just before he ascended to the right hand of his Father in heaven, they asked him,  "Wilt thou  at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?" 

WHAT?  Are we to understand that after Jesus taught them those truths for forty days, that his apostles misunderstood what Jesus taught them?   What Jesus taught them, was that Israel was still in the purpose of God, and their question to him was based on Gospel truth.  Yes! These facts verify that the “hope of Israel” was still very much alive and well.  The preaching of the gospel of Christ that was preached to the nations included the Hope of Israel (Acts 24: 14-15;  Acts 28: 20).

Also, at the Council of Jerusalem recorded in Acts 15, James, the blood brother of Jesus, quoted Jesus regarding the purpose and promise of Jesus: "I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again its ruins, and I will set it up." 

This shows that the gospel of Jesus Christ that the apostles were sent forth to preach, proclaiming the plan and purpose of God, included the re-gathering of Israel, for the throne of David never had anything to do with any nation other than Israel (Romans 4: 13). 

Let us also keep in mind that Abraham understood that the promise from God specified him as the heir of the world, not just Israel (Romans 4:13).  Therefore the world-wide kingdom of God was to begin with the kingdom of Israel and grow to cover the whole world (Daniel 2: 35-44).  Also, Paul, in his epistle to the Hebrews reminded them that even though Abraham died having never received the promises, he surely saw them afar off in the future (Hebrews 11: 13; Acts 7: 1-8; John 8: 51-18).

 

Prophecy and the Promises and Purpose of God

We should be aware that the subject of the kingdom of God is the basis of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The kingdom of Christ, when it is established, will be the kingdom of Israel restored (Acts 1: 6; Luke 1: 31-35).

As we ponder the prophetic factor concerning the scattering and re-gathering of Israel,  we are aware that God knows the end from the beginning (Acts 15: 18).  

Therefore,  God knew when He made the promise to Abraham what would happen at any time during the 1400 years of the history of the kingdom of Israel; as well as what would be His response to Israel’s rebellion. He even knew all of this as events took place in the Garden of Eden.

With all of this in our awareness, we are well aware of the fact that the world of Christianity boasts of multiple millions of “Christians.” Yet, almost none of the groups of "Christians” have as their doctrines anything to do with the restoration of the kingdom of Israel.  Practically none of them support the doctrine of “the hope of Israel.”  Only a few of us teach the eternity of the kingdom of Israel. 

The doctrine of the Apostasy teaches “heaven” as the eternal home of the righteous.  Yet, Proverbs 10: 30 declares that "the righteous will never be removed, but the wicked will not inherit the earth."   

Question: "Since the righteous will never be removed, who is this that the apostasy claims will inherit heaven?  Surely the wicked will not do so.

The world of the apostasy looks to John 3: 16 as the basis of their hope, not really knowing what it does say.  They believe when they ponder, "God so loved the world,” that God dearly loved this present evil world which included churches with apostate teachings, as well as 7000 years of lustful addictive people. 

Would God instruct us to love the world of the present which is described as the apostle writes in I John 2: 15-17? 

That world is to "pass away."  It is reserved unto fire (II Peter 3: 7). 

The world God loved is described in II Peter 3: 13 – the heaven and earth wherein dwelleth righteousness.  Revelation 3: 14 says Jesus is the firstborn of that world, meaning he is the first one redeemed from among men and made immortal, as shall all future inhabitants of the world wherein dwelleth righteousness.

 Nothing was a Surprise to God

The apostasy of Israel was known by God from the very beginning, and certainly right after the Exodus out of Egypt. In Deuteronomy 28 God warns Israel as to what would happen to her in the event of apostasy and disobedience. Verse 64 foretells the scattering of Israel, which was to happen in the event of her disobedience, so this proves he foreknew of her unrighteous future course, and the punishment that was to follow, and the final re-gathering of her as an everlasting, recovered wife.

Most religions will respond to the above, with, “Do you mean that old, evil nation who apostatized from God and murdered his Son?  Are you telling us that that evil nation will again be a nation blessed by God?” They ask: What do you think A. D.70 was about? The correct answer bewilders most folks. The truth is that A.D.70 was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Jesus in Luke 21: 34 where Jesus foretold, "they shall fall by the edge of the sword and be led away captive into all nations, and Jerusalem would be trodden down of the Gentile UNTIL the time of the Gentile were fulfilled."

   Notice the word "UNTIL," just as the “until” in Matthew 23: 37-39 and Zechariah 12th chapter which shows every household of Israel mourning for Jesus when they see the nail prints in his hands. Also, what of the "until”of Ezekiel 21: 25-27?

Question:  Does God always fulfill His prophetic promises? 

Most folks will agree that He does.  Therefore, we ask, “What of Isaiah 1: 26, in which God promised Israel he was going to restore her judges as at the first?”  He certainly has not done so yet.  Jesus, in Matthew 19: 27-28 did show his certainty of such a fulfillment, for he promised his twelve apostles they were going to be those very, restored judges.  That event is yet in the future, but it is certainly a dependable promise!

How about Isaiah 9: 6-7?  "Unto us a child is given, unto us a son is born... of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David and upon his kingdom from henceforth forever... ." 

 We must consider the fact that no one can tell us when Jesus ever sat on the throne of David, and when peace was present in abundance that was to last forever, and whether peace is a fact today.  Also, Ezekiel 36th and 37th Chapters and the vision of the Valley of Dry Bones show the two tribes re-joining with the ten tribes, and emphasizes verses 21 and 22 which foretell both the scattering and the re-gathering in two verses; "I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, to which they are gone... and I will make them one nation upon the mountains of Israel, and one king shall be king to them all ; and they shall be no more two nations, neither shall they be divided into two kingdoms any more at all." 

Let us consider Micah 5: 2 and its information, that Jesus should be born in Bethlehem, and the fact of Jesus bringing Israel to peace and safety as seven shepherds and eight principal men are raised against the invader, which is surely the time when the Lord with his saints comes to Israel's rescue (Zechariah 14: 5).

Then there are chapters three, and chapters thirty one through thirty three of Jeremiah,  all of which demand the presence of Israel back in the land, a fact that has not been seen for the last 2000 years until today. 

Also, Zechariah 14: 1-9 which relates that when Jesus, after rescuing Israel, is "king over all the earth." 

Consider also the building of the new, millennial temple in Ezekiel chapters 40-49 with the sacrificial system restored to natural Israel as he rules over them according to the prophecies of God's word  (Zechariah 6: 13-14).

Yes,  the “Kingdom of God” is the restored “Kingdom of  Israel” which will grow to fill the whole earth, as Jesus is given the throne of his Father David, to rule over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there shall be no end” (Luke 1: 32-33).             Wayne R. Tanner

In the Regeneration

(Matt. 19: 28)

        As indicated in the above title, Jesus used the term “regeneration” as he answered Peter’s question regarding the expected reward for having forsaken their families and their possessions in order to follow Jesus.  It is not difficult to discover the meaning of the term Jesus used in his answer to Peter.  Let us ponder the terms “generate” and “regeneration” and seek to discover the meaning of Jesus’ answer to Peter.

       The word “regeneration” clearly has reference to something that ceased to exist but would come back into existence.  Let us now examine the words “generate” and “regenerate” from Webster’s dictionary: 

       “Generate: 1. To produce; to bring into being.” 

       “Regenerate: 1. Spiritually reborn, 2. Renewed; restored; reformed

       3. To cause to be spiritually reborn; 4. To bring into existence again.” 

Jesus’ answer to Peter makes several revelations that give strong evidence about that which is to be regenerated according to prophecy. Two important factors are mentioned in the verse:

 “Jesus sitting on the throne of his glory” (Matthew 26: 31).

 “The twelve apostles sitting on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.” 

       Both of the above-mentioned factors reveal the fulfillment of two prophesied promises regarding the restoration of the kingdom of Israel:

The seed of David (Jesus) sitting on David’s restored throne (2 Samuel 7: 13; Ezekiel 21:  26-27); Luke 1: 32-33; Acts 15: 16)

The restoration of Israel’s judges (Isaiah 1: 26).

How well these passages prove beyond doubt the prophecies that relate to the restoration of the Kingdom of Israel, which was the “kingdom of God” (2 Chronicles 29: 23). 

Also, how fitting that after Jesus spent forty days with his disciples, teaching them of the things concerning the kingdom of God, that they should ask him, “Wilt thou at this time restore again the kingdom to Israel?”    

Teaching them of the coming Kingdom of God was to teach them of the restoration of the kingdom of Israel, for the future Kingdom of God is but the restored kingdom of Jacob (Israel).  The angel who wrestled with Jacob changed Jacob’s name to Israel (Genesis 32: 28; 35: 10).  For the angel to say “House of Jacob” to Mary was to say “House of Israel.”

       Yes, Luke 1: 32, Matthew 19: 28, and Acts 28: 20 clearly verifies God’s intention to reestablish His kingdom as He restores the kingdom of Israel which grows until it covers the whole earth (Daniel 2: 35;  44;  Psalm 72: 8; Zechariah 14: 9). 

The House of Prayer for All People

(Mark 11: 17; Isaiah 56: 7)

Notice: in Mark 11: 17, as Jesus drives away those who were selling animals and fowl at the temple in Jerusalem, he remarks in verse 17, that the temple is destined to be the “house of prayer for all nations.” 

Until now the temple in Jerusalem has been only for worship by Israelites.  Therefore, it should be clear that, as the restored kingdom of Israel grows to fill the whole earth, several changes will take place in Israel.

A great and high mountain will be newly created (Matthew 4: 8; Ezekiel 40: 2; Isaiah 2: 2; Zechariah 14: 5, 10-11).  An earthquake is to form a 40 mile-long valley from which all the material from the small mountains forms a great, high mountain around which will exist the house of prayer for all people.  That temple will possess two rows of buildings that stretch a full mile in all directions in order to accommodate the whole population of the earth.

Two rivers are to leave that temple with one flowing into the Dead Sea; the Dead Sea is healed so that it can support life. (Ezekiel 47th Chapter).

All people will be required to go to Jerusalem to worship and keep the holy days (Zechariah 14: 16-21; Isaiah 2: 2).

       Isaiah 2: 2-4 speaks of the above order of things.  Verse 2 refers both to the mountain and to the Lord’s house with all nations flowing into it. 

Jeremiah 3: 17 speaks of Jerusalem being the throne of the Lord in those days.

Therefore, Jerusalem shall be the capital of God’s worldwide kingdom, for the law shall go forth from Zion; and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

 Thus, the question of Jesus’ disciples in Acts 1: 6 will be answered, for Jesus will have restored the kingdom to Israel.  From that time and forever, Jerusalem will be the capital of the worldwide Kingdom of God (Jeremiah 3: 17).

       Matthew 15: 8-9 and 23: 37-39 speak of the evil of the nation, for which their kingdom was dissolved and the people scattered.  Isaiah 60: 18-21 and Chapter 61 along with Ezekiel  36: 25-38 speak of the righteous existence of the restored nation under God.                                Wayne R. Tanner   Published July 18, 2018 

The Kingdom is at Hand

Matthew 3: 2; 4; 17, 23 

       It may seem strange that two thousand years ago, both John the Baptist and Jesus declared that the kingdom was at hand, meaning the kingdom is near. Yet, two thousand years later, the kingdom of God still has not been established.   We must realize that the Gentiles were not being offered the kingdom at the time John and Jesus declared the “kingdom is at hand,” for the “middle wall of partition” between Jews and Gentiles was still in place (Ephesians 2: 14).  Not until Acts 13: 46 did the apostles “turn to the Gentiles” as had been prophesied (Isaiah 65: 1-2; Isaiah 49: 6; Romans 10:20-21.

       When Jesus sent his disciples throughout the cities of Israel (Matthew 10: 5-6), he instructed them not to go to the Gentiles, but only to Israelites, because the

“wall of partition” had not yet been removed.   

It was not until after Jesus was in heaven at his Father’s right hand, that the disciples turned to the Gentiles for a people of the name.

       Therefore, the pronouncement,  “the kingdom is at hand” was spoken only to members of the nation of Israel who were still under the law.  In Matthew 23: 37-39,  Jesus assures the Israelites that he often offered to gather Israelites together “under his wing” as does a hen protects her chicks, but the Jews refused.

Therefore, since the Jews refused Jesus’ offer to restore their kingdom, the time of the “hope of Israel” (Acts 28: 20 – meaning the restoration of their kingdom), was delayed for a future generation. 

       We are now at the very door of that time.  In Luke 17:20-25, Jesus was asked, “when the kingdom of God should come?” He answered in Verse 25, “… first, he (the Son of man) must suffer many things and be rejected of this generation.”                                                                             

       Therefore, Jesus himself declared that the kingdom of God would be established in a future generation, instead of the time of his first advent.  Amos 9: 11-12 and Acts 15: 15-17 declare that the throne of David, from which Jesus is to rule the entire earth, would be set up at the return of Jesus to the earth, so that the residue of mankind may seek after the Lord (Acts 15: 17).

       In 2 Samuel 7: 12-15, God made a promise to King David, saying that after David was sleeping with his fathers, God would raise up a future descendant of David who would both build a house for God’s name and that God would establish the throne of his kingdom forever.  Peter, on the day of Pentecost, declared that God’s promise to David referred to Jesus (Acts 2: 30).   

       Appropriately, as the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary to tell her of the impending birth of Jesus, he assured her (Luke 1: 32-33) that God would give Jesus the throne of David (which was fallen) and “that Jesus would rule over the house of Jacob) (or Israel: Genesis 32: 28), and of his kingdom there would be no end.”

       Jesus himself was quoted by James, his brother,  assuring us that he would return and build again that throne of David and that he “would set it up” (Acts 15: 16-18). 

Therefore, we are given the assurance that the setting up of the kingdom of God awaits the return of Jesus to the earth as he promised his disciples in John 14: 3. 

       A problem exists for many Bible students in John 14: 2, 3 as Jesus tells his apostles he is going to his Father’s house to prepare a place for his disciples. 

Many Bible students mistakenly believe that Jesus was going to heaven to prepare a place for his disciples in heaven.  It is a fact that in John 13:33, Jesus had informed his disciples, just as he had told the Jews in John 7: 24 and 8: 21, that where he was going “they could not come.”  Many Bible students fail to understand Jesus statement  “I go to prepare a place for you.” 

        Those who are blessed with understanding are aware that Proverbs 10: 30 declares that the righteous shall never be removed from the earth.  Therefore, it is surely a fact that Jesus being at the right hand of his Father to intercede for us, prepares us to receive the place we are to inherit.   

Jesus tells us of the place we are to inherit, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth” (Matthew 5: 5) Without Jesus at the Father’s right hand to make intercession for us (Hebrews 7: 25), no place would ever be available for anyone to inherit.

       We should not be confused by John 13:36, which Jesus addressed to Peter, saying “thou shalt follow me afterwards.”  They had “followed him for three and a half years during his ministry, and Jesus assured them that when he returns, they would follow him again throughout eternity.  Jesus never invited them to follow him to heaven, for Proverbs 10: 30 says, “the righteous shall never be removed, but the wicked shall not inherit the earth.”

       Also, John 3: 13 declares “And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man who is in heaven.” 

That is as true today as it was in the day it was first written.        

Yes, the kingdom was at hand for the Jews in Jesus’ day, for he offered to restore their kingdom to them (Matthew 23: 37-39).  However, their answer was, “we will not have this man to reign over us.”                                                                                       

      Today, the kingdom is at hand for both Jews and Gentiles, for everything that was foretold to be happening at the return of Jesus to the earth is happening at this very moment.  This generation has been marked for the “set time” to favor Zion (Psalms 102: 13).  Let us have our lamps trimmed and full of oil.  We should be eager to go out to meet him.  May we all thrill to hear, “Come ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:  34).       Wayne R.  Tanner  

      Putting off the Body of Sin

Colossians 2:11 

In Colossians 2: 11 the Apostle Paul, inspired by God (I Corinthians 7: 40), makes a statement regarding the results of the baptism of the believers in the city of Colosse.  The passage as it appears in the text today reads: "In whom ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ," (meaning the cutting off of Christ in his death). 

 The Colossian brethren had been crucified with Christ in their baptism as Colossians 2:12, 13 shows, as well as does Romans 6: 3-6. It is important that we be aware that the New Scofield edition, as well as the Scofield "Study System" Bible, say of Colossians 2: 11, "omit the sins of.

 It is also a fact that the Revised Standard Version reads: "In him also you were circumcised with a circumcision made without hands, by putting off the body of the flesh in the circumcision of Christ."  The Revised Standard Interlinear Bible reads exactly the same way in both the Greek and the English.

 The Emphatic Diaglott reads: "By whom also you were circumcised with a circumcision not done by hand, by putting off the body of the flesh, by the circumcision of the Anointed."  The Greek reading in the passage is exactly the same as in the English.

 It is worthy of note that on Page 523 of Volume VI of Adam Clarke's Commentary states: "The words twn amartiwn, of the sins, are omitted by (reference garbled), and several others; also by the Coptic,  Ethiopic, Armenian, Vulgate, and the Atala; also by Clement, Athanasius, Basil, Cyril, and several others. Also, Griesback has omitted them."

 Therefore it is easy to see that the Apostle Paul clearly stated to the brethren at Colosse that in baptism the brethren had actually, in a symbolic way, put off the "body of the flesh."  In verse 13 Paul declared that God had "forgiven you all trespasses.”  If Paul had stated in verse 11 what some translators claim, then it would not have needed to be said in Verse 13 as did Paul. This indicates Paul knew he had not made the statement that they had "put off the body of the sins of the flesh," as Verse 11 is made to read today.

 The Apostle Paul had taught the same truth to the brethren at Rome as Romans 6: 3-6 demonstrates. Due to the fact that in Christ's sacrifice, he was both put to death and buried. He then rose from the tomb on the third day. Therefore, baptism represents the sequence of events experienced by Christ as he suffered for his and our redemption (Romans 6: 3-5-6).  In Romans 6:  6 Paul taught the Romans brethren the same truth,  that he taught the brethren at Colosse in Colossians 2: 11-13. That is, that baptism had  an effect on the body of the flesh, which is said in Romans 6: 6 to be "a body of sin." The forgiveness of personal sins belongs to Colossians 2: 13, not to Verse 11.  If Paul had said that in Colossians 2:  11, he would not have needed to say it again in Colossians 2: 13.

 What fact is to be recognized by the phrase "body of flesh," or "body of sin?"  In what way is our body a "body of sin?"  The answer is that what takes place in the mind is as much a part of any sin as is the very act itself. 

Jesus remarked in Mathew 15:18-20 that every sin that can be committed comes from the heart, or from within.  Galatians 5: 17-21 says also that every possible sin is "the work(s) of the flesh," while James 1:13-15 informs us that sin is the result of the "lust of the flesh;" and as a result of that lust, sin is committed and death is the result of sin, all of which comes from within a man. 

Thus, we are a body of sin, and the source of sin is as obnoxious to God as is the very act of sin itself. Therefore, God requires atonement for the source of sin as much as for the act itself.  Romans 6: 3-6 and Colossians 2:11-13 is proof of that fact.        Wayne R. Tanner

 Is Atonement only for Personal Sin?

It is not unusual to encounter the erroneous claim that sin is only an act in violation of a commandment of God, and, that atonement needs to be made only for an act of disobedience to God of which a person is guilty.

 If this is so, the faithful Bible student must become very bewildered when he encounters the following in God's requirements:

 1.  Leviticus 16: 16 "And he shall make an atonement for the holy place because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation, that remaineth among them in the midst of their uncleanness."

 Notice that the holy place needed an atonement. Could that be for its own personal sin? How could an inanimate object or place commit personal transgression? The reason it needed atonement was for two reasons – reasons that were not the fault of the holy place. The reason is stated to be for their (the people's) "uncleanness" and "their transgressions in all their sins."

 How was Israel in possession of both uncleanness and transgression in their sins? It is truth that not one Israelite ever existed that was not born of a woman, and God declared repeatedly that no man has ever been born of a woman who was not unclean  (Job 14: 4; Job 15:14; Job 25: 4).  That was the source of the uncleanness, meaning the Sanctuary was in the midst of thousands of unclean persons who were unclean because of having been born of a woman;  in addition, all of them had committed trespasses.

 Both conditions required a need for atonement, not just their personal sins.  Why would not atonement have been needed by the persons who were themselves unclean by birth if uncleanness was caused even by being in the midst of such persons?

 In verse 17, we see the need for all persons including the priest, needing atonement for both uncleanness as well as personal sins.

 In Leviticus 16: 18-19 we see that an inanimate altar had to have an atonement made for it. What could an inanimate altar have done that could be labeled a personal sin?  Away with such claims as some dare to make! See also verse 33 where all these truths are stated again.

 Then refer to Leviticus 12: 1-7.  Here a woman, not said to be unmarried at all, bears a child.  She needs atonement for bearing "a body of sin," even though she committed no sin by bearing the child; and the child needs an atonement even though it committed no sin in being born.  All this was required even when Mary gave birth to Jesus in Luke 2:  21-24.

 Then refer to Leviticus 14th and 15th Chapters.  It must be noticed that nowhere in either of these two chapters, is there any mention of the leper having leprosy because of anything – any transgression – that he had committed against God or against God's law.

 Also even after the leprosy was cured, the leper still had to be cleansed by the atonement.  Repeatedly through that chapter, he who has been cured of leprosy is still "he that is to be cleansed." That statement is made regarding him who must be cleansed by atonement because of having become defiled by the disease.  No uncleanness is allowed in contact with God or with His holy things. An atonement has to be made for all uncleanness whether that which needs atonement is a person or something inanimate.

 Paul advised the believers in Romans 15: 4 that the things written in former times (the Old Testament), were written for our learning.  If we have not learned these things that were shown to us, we have failed to receive that which God gave us for that purpose.

 From the lessons set forth in all these provisions, all Bible students should know before making a covenant with God, that they themselves are unclean by being born of a woman; and are further unclean by our own sins.  Atonement must be made for both reasons of defilement before covenant with God is acceptable to Him. Colossians 2: 11-13  makes that same point very well.

 In addition to all these truths being taught to us from God Himself, we owe our thanks to Robert Roberts, for he once penned this truth for our learning in his magazine, The Christadelphian, volume  15 (1878): "Legally, a man is freed from Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives remission of sins ; but actually its physical effects remain until  "this mortal" (that is, this Adamic condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming..."

 How clearly did he teach us that not only does the candidate for baptism legally "put off the body of the flesh (or sin) but that he is also forgiven all trespasses.  By such is the truth of God so clearly taught,  and such truths beckon us to be partakers of the divine nature, and equal unto Jesus and the angels of God (II Peter 1: 4;  Luke 20:  35-37;  Philippians 3:  20-21).

                                                                                                         Wayne R.  Tanner

What is the Soul?

         Many people of the religious world believe that "the soul” is an immortal part of man that cannot die.  The Bible knows nothing of such an entity, for such a thing is not described once in the entire Bible.  Some think Matthew 10: 28 teaches that doctrine.  It will be advantageous for the reader to read Matthew 10:  28 in the Emphatic Diaglott, and also to compare the passage with Luke 12: 4-5.  It is easy then to see that Jesus was not at all teaching what the mistaken folk think Jesus was saying.  

So what is the Bible soul?  We can get a clear message from Genesis 2: 7:

         "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul."  Therefore, from the above we see that whatever the soul is, it did not come down from heaven and enter into the man.  That which was made of dust, as soon as life entered into it, became a living soul.  That which was dust, prior to having life breathed into it was not yet a “living soul.”

            It was, however, a living soul as soon as life entered into it

The Apostle Paul taught the same truth by inspiration from God in I Cor.  15: 45.  Paul in that passage wrote: "The first man Adam was made a living soul." 

          Notice that neither of these verses in Genesis nor 1 Corinthians 15: 45 say that Adam "received” a living soul, but both say that he became a living soul. 

At this point,  it needs to be realized that in the Hebrew of the Old Testament,  the word "soul"  comes from the Hebrew term ”nephesh.” The term “nephesh” is translated:

Soul 428 times.

Life 119 times.

Body 7 times.

Beast 2 times

Desire 5 times.

Mind 15 times -showing the soul is the man with a mind, or with the senses.

Person 30 times.

Creature 9 times, even speaking of animals and fishes: Gen.  1: 20, 21, 24; Gen.  2: 19, 9: 9: 10, 15, 16 ;  Leviticus 1:  46;  Gen.  9: 10, 15, 16;, Leviticus 11: 46. Also in other ways as well.

 In the New Testament "soul” is translated from the Greek “psuche” and is translated:

Soul 58 times.

Life 40 times.

Mind 3 times, showing the soul is the man himself, having a mind, or with the senses.

Truths Relating to the Soul

Souls are born – Exodus 1: 5;  Genesis 46: 18, 26

Souls eat – Leviticus 7: 18, 20, 25, 26, 27; Leviticus 17: 12, 15.

Souls breathe, they have breath (Ecclesiastes 3:  19).

Souls Die – Numbers 23: 10; Joshua 10:25, 30, 32, 35, 37, 39, 40; 11: 11;

Matthew 26: 38; Judges 18: 2, 20, 27; Job 7: 15; Psalm 22: 20, 29; Psalm 78:50.

Souls Go To The Grave - Job.  33: 18; Psalm 16: 10 ; Psalm 30: 3; Psalm 49:15; Psalm 89: 48; Isaiah 38: 17;Acts 2: 31.

 There is no consciousness in the grave (Ecclesiastes 9; 5, 10; Ecclesiastes 3: 17, 20; Psalm 6: 5; Psalm 146:  3-4; Psalm 115: 17.

Both men and animals have "Spirit" or breath.

The term "Spirit" comes from the Hebrew “ruach” in the Old Testament:

Genesis 7: 15; 21-22.

The phrase "immortal soul" does not occur one time in the Bible.

The Bible shows clearly that mankind awaits the day when all souls (or faithful men and women) are changed from mortal to immortal (1 Corinthians 15: 53-58).                               Wayne R. Tanner                 

 What is Death?

In the Bible record, we are informed that man became a living soul.  The Bible does not say that he was given a soul (Genesis 2: 7). The soul that sins, dies (Ezekiel 18: 4, 20).

 The angels of God told Adam that if he ate of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, he would surely die (Genesis 2: 17).

 So, just what is death?

 Mistaken theologians will nearly all answer that "death" is “to leave your body and go to heaven to live with God and the angels.”

 Let us imagine for a moment that the angels of God agree with that belief.

 Let us imagine Adam responding to the angel with this question with these words: "You tell me, that if I eat of that tree, I will die." My question is, "What is it to die?"

 The angel answers: "Why Adam, to die, is to leave your body and go to heaven to live with God and with us angels in perfect happiness and peace. That will be your punishment if you disobey."

 Adam:  “Then what is the result if I obey and do not eat of that tree?”

 The angel:  “Well, if you obey, you will stay here and work in the garden all day every day.”

 Adam:  “My goodness, I like the punishment for disobedience a lot more than I like the reward for obedience.  I think I will eat of that tree right now, for I do want the punishment for sin.  It is much better than the reward for righteousness.”  So Adam steps over and eats of the tree.  Do we see the folly that the fables (II Timothy 4: 1-4) of the apostate beliefs present?

 Is the punishment of death a better choice than the obedience of eternal life for obeying?

 Going to heaven to live in eternal happiness is certainly a reward’ and should be classed as "a friend to man." 

 However, the Bible says that death is mankind's enemy and that death is due to be destroyed (I Corinthians 15: 24-28).  Indeed, it is the last "enemy" to be destroyed (I Corinthians 15: 26). 

 If the churches are right, God will be destroying the most beloved friend that mankind has. But God tells us that to destroy death, is to destroy man's worst enemy

Also, Revelation 21: 1-4 declares that destroying death is to wipe away the tears from all eyes.  Can we not see how some theologians have wandered into apostasy and foolish error while denying the truth of God? 

What is the Truth About Death?

(The Angels Know This is so!)

 Please refer to Ecclesiastes 3: 17-21, where the destiny of man is clearly stated. Then, ponder Ecclesiastes 12: 10 where God tells us that the conclusions of Solomon were words of truth. Now turn back to chapter 3. Beginning in verse 17 we see that Solomon is discussing the exact sameness of the deaths of both men and of beasts. In verse 19, he writes that just as do the beasts die, so do men die

 In verse 20 he says "they all go to one place" – both men and the beasts.  Where do they go?  Consider that Ecclesiastes 9: 6 and 9: 10 declare “there is no consciousness in death.”  Apostates think they have proof of their false doctrine in verse 21 where they think God inspired Solomon to say the spirit of man goes upward, while the spirit of the beast goes downward to the earth.

 NO!  God did not inspire Solomon to say that both man and beast go to the same place in verse 20, and then say in verse 21 that they go to different places!  We should never accuse God of such inconsistency.  In verse 21 Solomon asked, WHO KNOWS SUCH A THING?"  It is a known fact that originating out of Egypt there were many doctrines that were apostate theories.   There were philosophers there that believed and taught the immortality of the soul, and heaven-going at death – doctrines which were denied by God Himself.  Therefore, Solomon asked, “WHO KNOWS such a thing?” as the spirit of the man going upward, and the spirit of beasts that go downward. In other words, he is pointing out the falsity of that theory!

 In Verse 10, writing to those servants of God with white garments (verse 8), Solomon writes, that "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, no wisdom IN THE GRAVE WHITHER THOU GOEST."

 In Isaiah 38: 1-19, God sent the message to king Hezekiah that Hezekiah was going to die and not live.  Now, if Hezekiah believed the apostate doctrine that death sends the dead off to heaven to live with God and His angels in peace and everlasting happiness, why did he go all to pieces and desperately pray to God to give him longer life, even fifteen more years? 

 God heard his plea and gave him fifteen more years to live.  Please read Isaiah 38: 16-20 and see how relieved and thankful he was.  Does anyone think that he was so relieved that he was not going to heaven to live with God and His angels?  There is not one hint in the whole chapter that death would have sent him off the heavens.  The truth about what death would have done to him makes us understand why the threat of death upset him so desperately.  It is the truth of God that Adam was sentenced at his death to return to the dust from which he was taken (Genesis 2: 19). 

 It is also true that the sentence that passed upon Adam passed on to all his descendants (Romans 5: 9, 18).  Hezekiah knew very well that in dying, he was not going to continue to exist, but that “his breath would go forth, that he would return to the dust and in that very day his thoughts would perish” (Psalms 146: 3-4).

 Psalms 146: 3-4 also clearly tells us what death is.  Compare that passage with Genesis 2: 7 and it is obvious that death is the reverse of being created. Moses by inspiration says that in death, a man's breath goes forth, he returns to the earth, and in that very day, his thoughts perish,"  for there is no knowledge or wisdom in the grave” (Ecclesiastes 9: 10).

 Teaching that death means to go to heaven is to teach the doctrines of men instead of the doctrines of God.  In Isaiah 29: 13 and Matthew 15: 8, the Bible declared that the Jews, having taught doctrines of men instead of the truths of God, caused the Jews to worship in vain.  Why would it be any different when theologians do the same thing?  The servants, the believers of God, teach the doctrines of God and reject the doctrines of men.                                                               Wayne R. Tanner

 A Priest Forever After the Order of Melchisedec

Q & A

          Question:  In Hebrews chapter 7 we read of the man Melchizedek, who met Abraham who was returning from his battle with the kings – that he had no father nor mother, nor a beginning of days.  It does not make sense that any man since Adam has had no father nor mother nor a beginning of days.  Can this be explained in a way that it can be understood? (A fellow student)

         Answer:  This passage has for a long time been a problem for many Bible Students.  As pointed out in the question above, no man (except Adam) has existed on the earth that did not have a father and a mother, as well as a beginning of days.

         It will help if we understand that in this 7th Chapter of the epistle to the Hebrews, the Apostle Paul is showing the superiority of the Melchizedek order to which Jesus had ascended over the Levitical order that existed all the days of Israel, and with which all Israelites were familiar. Also, all that is said in verse 3 pertains to the Melchizedek "order" that both Jesus and Melchizedek had received from God.

         Notice the word "descent" in verse 3 which is associated with the terms "father" and "mother," which Paul says does not pertain to the Melchizedek order.  All that is said in the chapter speaks of the difference between the Levitical and the Melchizedek orders.

         As we delve into this, we must bear in mind that Melchizedek was a king/priest of the Melchizedek order  (Genesis 14: 18; Hebrews 7: 1-2; Zechariah 6: 12-13).  Literally, verse 3 declares that Jesus did not receive his king/priest position by inheritance from Joseph and/or Mary.

         Paul is here pointing out that during the times of Israel when the Levitical order was in force,  both the kingship and the Levitical priesthood "descended" (was inherited) from one's father or mother to the next king or to the next priest (Hebrews 7: 5 - 6).  When Aaron died, his son became the high priest.  Likewise when the king or queen died, their offspring became king or queen. This is true in all nations ruled over by the Royal system.   However, the Melchisedec king/priest Order was not by descent from father or mother; instead, a man is made a Melchizedek king/priest by means of an oath from God (Hebrews 7: 20-22).

         Paul makes further reference to all this again in Hebrews 8: 4, 6.  Because the old covenant was faulty, Jesus now is the Priest (verse 4) of a "better covenant" into which even Israel will enter during the kingdom age.  The reference to the better, Melchizedek covenant verifies that Paul is clearly comparing the Levitical order and the Melchizedek orders, showing the superiority of the "better covenant" (the Melchisedec order)  over the lesser Levitical order.

         A very thought-provoking fact is made known by the inspired apostle in Hebrews 7: 3.  Not only does Paul state that the Melchizedek king/priest order is not by descent from father or mother, he also declares the order had no beginning of days or end of life. 

         In other words, it has always existed

         We are aware that even the earth had a beginning, so long ago that God "stretched forth the heavens that pertain to this galaxy, alone;" and that He "spread abroad the earth by Myself" (Isaiah 44: 24).  Therefore, the Melchizedek priesthood always has existed, even before the earth was formed; and even before the angels of God in heaven existed, for God formed the "heavens and the earth alone" and "by Himself" – before there existed any of mankind (Isaiah  44: 24). 

         Sometimes angels seem to have carried out such works. 

         Obviously, this heaven and earth had a beginning, but the Melchizedek order has not had a beginning (Hebrews 7: 3), for it has always been.

         The Melchizedek king/priesthood is administered by God through whomever He appoints as the Melchizedek king/priest.  We have to wonder, "Of what benefit was such an order if there was no one over whom to administer such an order in the far, distant past?"  Does this not cause us to wonder about the possibility of life in more ancient galaxies other than the galaxy in which we live?  Over whom has the Melchizedek order been administered forever, if life has only existed in this one Milky Way galaxy since the time when God formed the earth by Himself?  The answer will no doubt be revealed to us when this mortal puts on immortality (I Corinthians 15: 53-54; Luke 20: 35-36; II Peter 1: 4).

         Also, Paul's main point, is that Jesus was made a king/priest "forever" by that "oath" from God (verses 20, 21, 28), for Paul says, “The Lord hath sworn and will not repent;" also ... "Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Psalm 110: 4; Hebrews 7: 17, 21). 

         No one can be a priest forever if he is mortal, as all members of the Levitical order were.  Jesus was qualified to be "a priest forever" because “He continueth forever" and has "the power of an endless life" (Hebrews 7: 16, 23-26).  It was the Melchizedek order that was without the beginning of days or an end of life, for that Order is of God. It has been forever, and will always continue to exist.

         Again, throughout this 7th chapter of Hebrews, the Apostle Paul demonstrates the superiority of the Melchizedek order (temporal) over the Levitical order (eternal), showing that the Melchizedek king/priest does not inherit his position by descent from father or mother (as was true under the Law of Moses) but by an oath from God, by which he was appointed to that position, and abides in that position forever.            

                           Wayne R. Tanner

 

                                                                                                               

                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

                                                                                                                

 



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