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* Bible Fundamentals 2018

The Definition of Metonymy

         Webster's definition: "Metonymy: Use of the name of one thing for that of another associated with it."

         Fact: That which does not exist cannot be considered to be a thing in any sense of the word.

         Therefore, that which does not exist cannot be referred to as metonymy. Webster does not define metonymy as the name of a thing that does exist, being applied to something that does not exist.

         There are those who wish to convince us that "sin in the flesh" is not a reality, but, (that it is merely) so-called by a phrase, because, as is claimed, it is metonymy for an actually committed sin. We are expected to believe that the definition of metonymy is to apply the name of a principle that does exist to a principle which does not exist.

        A book written by E. W. Bullinger entitled Figures Of Speech Used In The Bible, sets forth more than seventy pages of examples of metonymy. On each page, there are ten or more examples of metonymy in scripture; therefore, there are hundreds of examples of metonymy in the scriptures. In none of those examples is metonymy used in which the name of one thing that does exist, is applied to something that does not exist.  It is noteworthy that some students of the Bible teaching, seek to convince us that the phrase "sin in the flesh" (which they say does not exist), is given the name of "actual sin" as a metonymy. It is not possible for that which is a "thing," to be metonymy for that which is "not a thing."

         It is obvious that if "actual sin" is meant by the phrase "sin in the flesh," scripture is telling us the Jesus was sent in the likeness of "actual sin."

         However, it can be demonstrated that God clearly shows in His "logos of truth" that "sin in the flesh" is as real as is the actual act of sin; therefore "sin in the flesh" is as much "a thing" as is a personally committed sin.

         For instance, I John 3: 4 declares that "sin is the transgression of the law." It is a matter of truth that a desire to commit any sin is as much a transgression of God's law as is the actual committing of the act.

         We see this as we peruse the Ten Commandments of Deuteronomy 5: 6-21. The Tenth Commandment of Verse 21 forbids the "desire" for a neighbor's wife or any of his possessions. Therefore, the Tenth Commandment is transgressed as soon as the "desire" exists, even though the action of adultery has not occurred until a man actually acts out the taking of his neighbor’s wife (Verse 18). The same is true regarding all of the neighbor's other possessions.

A transgression of the law has occurred (Verse 21) when a man "desires" his neighbor's possessions. Yet the (active) transgression of Verse 19 has not occurred until he acts out the "desire" (Verse 19).[i] The "desire" actually occurs within the flesh; while acting out the "desire" takes place outwardly. To deny that "sin in the flesh" exists is to accuse God of telling an untruth just as did the serpent in Eden.

How can anyone do so without having the same fear as the serpent should have had?

         When Jesus declared in Matthew 15: 19 that every sin comes from within a man, was he denying, or was he confirming that sin exists in the flesh? How can it come from within if it does not exist within a man?  It has to take place there by the desire to commit the act, for "desire" takes place in the flesh; the "desire" to do wrong takes place in the heart or mind of a man. So it is with every imaginable sin (Galatians 5: 17-21; James 1:  13-15). No activity takes place before the "desire" to perform the action exists in the mind.

        Jesus again declares that the possession of a "desire" constitutes a sin in the flesh when he said in Matthew 5: 28:  "But I say unto you that whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart,” or mind.

         This is truly a description of "sin in the flesh" if there ever was one.  To desire to do a wrong thing is, in God's sight, the same as doing it, for Proverbs 23: 7 declares that "as he thinketh in his heart, so is he." Thus, anyone who dares to deny this truth had better recognize that he or she has repeated the sin of the serpent of Genesis third Chapter.  They should wonder what awaits them if they qualify to stand before the bar of justice.

          God has revealed these truths. If any man denies these truths, he will pay dearly for such a foolish endeavor. God has many ways of punishing wrong actions and beliefs.  They do not all have to come before the "judgment seat of Christ," as is evident from considering His punishments on the wrongdoers in Eden as well as many others during the past six thousand years.

 

Misleading Attempts

        In 1958 John Carter, the late Editor of the Christadelphian Magazine, along with Cyril Cooper, traveled to Australia in order to attempt to unite all the brethren of Australia under the Amended Statement of Faith

The attempt was largely successful except for the dozen or so followers of one brother who were strong in the truth. In the endeavor to influence those brethren to make the change to Amended doctrine, some misleading arguments were used that confused the brethren, causing them to see logic where there was no logic.

We, at this time, shall call attention to the matter of the misleading treatment of the matter of metonymy. 

         On Page 33 of John Carter’s book, Unity in Australia, he offers what he calls two examples of metaphor, meaning to compare one thing to another. By his treatment of "Mountains out of a Molehill," as well as "All flesh is Grass," he tries to show that "sin in the flesh" is metonymy; that is, calling one thing by the name of another thing. He fails to realize that to call "sin in the flesh" metonymy, one thing is being called by the name of another thing.

But both things have to exist for that to be so.

We have shown above that the aspect of desire transgresses the tenth Commandment as much so as the action which puts into activity the sins of theft and adultery. The possession of the desire to break the Tenth Commandment is as much a transgression of God's law as is the activity of  committing adultery or theft, thus breaking the seventh and eighth  Commandments (Deuteronomy 5: 21; Deuteronomy 5: 18-19). Therefore, God demonstrates to us the reality of both "sin in the flesh," and "personal sin."

         In that long paragraph on page 33, of Unity in Australia, Brother Carter then says: "We mustn't preach sin that dwells in us, which is a word used metonymically ...." Notice that John Carter tells us we mustn't do what God did through the Apostle Paul in Romans 7: 20, 23.[ii]  He does not tell us where scripture tells us that "sin in the flesh" is metonymy; but he does tell us what men say instead of what God says. 

God clearly demonstrated for us that the desire to sin is as evil in His sight as is the activity of committing sin in his sight. As for me and my house, we shall reject the sayings of men that deny the sayings of God Himself.

Wayne R. Tanner 

 



[i] The Apostle James defines this precise process, showing that “temptation,” occurring within a man or woman is the element that triggers active sin: “James 1:14.  “But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. 15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.” –Ed.

[ii] Bullinger, in his exhaustive reference book, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, referring to figures of speech on these verses only mentions two: Catachresis (p. 676) and Antanaclasis (p. 291) … neither of which are related in any way to metonymy. – Ed.

More Vital Doctrinal Error

 

About one hundred and fifty years ago God, through the work of John Thomas, revived the Ecclesial age by establishing a group who believed and taught the gospel of Jesus Christ.  The ecclesial age had been dormant for many years.

 

For nearly forty years there was harmony of belief throughout the Christadelphian Community and the solid sound of truth was heard emanating from the ecclesias of that community.  However, as has always happened in the six thousand years of the history of man, the private ideas of men began attempting to change doctrinal thinking within Christadelphia.

 

For at least forty years throughout Christadelphia, there was complete agreement that death came upon all men as a result of Adam having transgressed the Edenic law of God just as God had informed us in His word.  It was agreed for those forty years that in order to enter into peace and covenant relationship with God, atonement must be received for both unclean, sin nature; and for personally committed sins. This truth can be proven beyond doubt, for just a few feet from where the writer sits are the bound volumes of the Christadelphian  magazine from 1865 A.D. through 1900 A.D., as well as  all volumes of the Christadelphian Advocate from 1885 through 1914.

 

At that time, new and strange doctrines began to float across the waters of Christadelphia and Christadelphia became a divided community.  The followers of the Christadelphian magazine became known as the "Amended," for they changed their teaching and their Statement of Faith.  The other part of the division then became known as the "Unamended” for they continued in the same doctrine that was held by the entire community for the first forty years, and have continued to hold those doctrines until the present time.

 

The new ideas that began to float across the waters of the brotherhood concerned the matter of the descendants of Adam, and the condemnation that resulted due to Adam's sin and the effect that was passed to Adam's descendants. In Romans 5: 12, God declares through his servant Paul that:

 

       "...by one man sin entered into the world. and death by sin,

        and so death passed upon all men..."

Consequently, for the first forty years all brethren believed alike and preached that as a result of Adam's sin, all his descendants are mortal and subject to death. The new doctrine taught that the prompting to sin against God came to us from Adam, but the sentence of death was on us because we would ourselves sin as Adam sinned. We are asked to believe that where Paul declared "by one man's disobedience, many were made sinners" (Romans 5: 19), that he meant that because Adam sinned, we all also sin and bring death on ourselves.

 

The Christstadelphian magazine for 2002 Page 50 stated in paragraph 1: 

"Rom. 6: 23 reminds us that the wages of sin is death'  This follows directly from God's judgment on Adam, after his disobedience, as recorded in Gen. 3: 19 - 'till thou return to the ground; for out of it wast thou taken; and unto dust shalt thou return,' we do not die because of Adam's sin. (Emphasis mine).   His sin simply brought mortality into man's experience.  Rom. 3: 23 confirms 'that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God'.  We are responsible for our own failings and as such accept God's justice." 

The writer began his theory by quoting Romans 6: 23.  He would have been more qualified for the job before him, had he been aware that the wages for either sin, or for the gift of eternal life are to be paid "in the age to come" (Mark 10: 30;  Revelation 22: 12;  II Corinthians 5: 10).  Paul does not at all teach that men have died during the past six thousand years, because of personal sin.  Romans 5: 13-14 casts such ideas into oblivion.

 

We ask the reader to take particular notice of the statement "We do not die because of Adam's sin."  The only alternative to that is that we die for our own sin.  It is apparent that God knew that persons would take it on themselves to deny the truth that He Himself had expressed as He declared both sin and death was the result of Adam's sin.  Knowing this, He placed several safeguards to block the possibility of such error being believed by his faithful servants.  He well knew that His faithful servants would notice the contradiction to his plain truths and reject them. Sadly, thousands failed to notice the contradictions and have fallen into the trap of fundamental error.

 

The truth is that there was no law to transgress for 2600 years between Eden and the law of Moses (Romans 5: 13); He also declared that where there is no law, He does not impute sin. How can it be said that all those thousands who lived between Adam and Moses, died because of their own sin when in Verse 14 God declares that death reigned as a monarch over all those who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression?" 

 

The truth is, Adam broke an existing law. The thousands who died, could not have died for their own sins for there was no law to transgress, and God assures us that He does not impute sin where no law exists. God, by such irrefutable wisdom teaches us that we die because Adam brought sin and death upon the entire race.  Therefore, those who did not die for any sins of their own died because Adam sinned. We cannot deny such clear truth.

 

Here is a true and valuable point. We are told in Hebrews 2:14 that, Jesus was of our same nature, that through death he might destroy him that hath the power of death.  Therefore, Jesus was subject to death the same as we.  Will anyone say that Jesus was subject to death for a sin committed by Himself as is suggested, or as a result of Adam's sin?  Also, in what way was there sin in Christ, so that his death would condemn sin?  If there was no resident “sin” in Him, then He has not yet destroyed any sort of sin in his brethren, for it is still in every one of them.  But he did destroy it in himself and as a result, He is now in possession of the divine nature.

 

Notice the following statements which Paul wrote by inspiration: 

Romans 5: 1 – "...through the offense of one, many are dead..." 

Romans 5: 19 – "For by one man's disobedience many were ma be made righteous.”

 

Just as many will be made righteous, not by their own works; so also by one man's works, many were caused to be sinners, also not by their own works. 

 

Brother Roberts once understood this to mean that because Adam sinned, all

men were sinners, not by their own works, but by Adam's works.  Notice in Vol. 10 Page 320-321 of the Christadelphian (1873): 

"Jesus certainly was not immaculate, if by that he means incorruptible in nature, or, free from impulses in a sinful direction. He was not an actual transgressor. All the desires of the Adamic nature which he had in common with ourselves were kept in absolute subordination to the Father's will. But he partook of the flesh of sin (English version sinful flesh) and if that is what is meant by "a sinner by constitution," then he was a sinner by constitution. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin because they had nothing to do with the transgression. The nature of angels had nothing to do with the transgression, therefore," he took not on him the nature of angels;" but the seed of Abraham was the transgressing and condemned nature. Therefore he took on him the seed of Abraham, and was made, in all things, like unto his brethren."

 

Hmm!  Isn’t it a wonder how much Brother Roberts and Brother Andrew sounded alike, until someone departed into a new doctrine?  See Page 34, question Number 728 of the Roberts/Andrew debate in order to see who it was that admitted he had changed.

 

From all that is mentioned above, we need not wonder why NASU demands the statement for association with their fellowship, that "we are not guilty of Adam's sin."

 

It is a fact that there exists in their fellowship, the fundamental problems published by the Christadelphian magazine in February of 2002, P. 50, which declares, "We do not die because of Adam's sin."

 

If it is true that every person dies for his own sins, instead of the sin in Eden," then we have the following, problematic questions.

 

1.  Since God Himself declared that sin was not imputed between Adam and Moses, when there was no Law (Romans 5: 13), how is it that all who lived during those years did die, even though they did not transgress any law?

 

2.  Since people of that era could not sin after the similitude of Adam's transgression, how could all except eight souls perish in the flood of Noah's day?

 

3.  Is it not true that Romans 5: 14 informs us that death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them who had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, (that is, by breaking a law of God)?

 

4.  Also, we need an explanation as to why infants and other young children die when no chargeable sin has been committed by them in their very early youth.

 

If the erroneous claims suggested by the Christadelphian Magazine's article are true, how do we explain the deaths that took place during the 2600 years between the times of Adam and Moses, when God assures us in Romans 5: 13, there was no law to transgress?

 

"Let God be true..." (Romans 3: 4).

                                                                                  Wayne R. Tanner  April 8, 2017


Is There a God in Heaven? 

Looking around us throughout the world, and the mess that man has made of all things that exist, surely it must occur to us what a terrible, hopeless mess exists. IF Man is the only hope of better things that the world has, as the Apostle Paul once said, "... we are of all men, most miserable."  If the God of Israel, who comes to our attention in the Bible, does not exist, there is no hope of better things, and all things will continue to denigrate into nothingness. However, IF the God of Israel does exist there is a reason to hope and expect redemption from these awful conditions that are developing worldwide, as conditions of war, famine, and pestilence continue to envelop that world into nothingness. 

Therefore it is our purpose in this session to determine whether or not the God of Israel does exist, and whether the assurance of Scripture which promises a future utopia which is also termed "paradise,” is a reality for which we wisely hope. 

The Universe

Have any of us ever lain outside our homes, on our lawn or in a camping area gazing up into the heavens and allowed our thoughts to begin mentally searching the heavens? At such times the words of the psalmist in 19: 1-3 should come to mind: 

     "1 The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament His handiwork. 2 Day unto day uttereth speech; and night unto night showeth knowledge. 3 There is no speech nor language where their voice is not heard." 

At such times we should be astonished as we ponder the scientific lessons that are in our view as we look at the heavens and wonder about the number of stars (planets and galaxies and whatever) and wonder at their creation, and the number of them.

 For many years the scientists of the world have estimated that the universe contains about 300 sextillion stars. What a magnificent number.  We must ponder the number "sextillion." How great a number is that? A sextillion is a 1 with 21 zeros after it. But scientists do not estimate that there is one sextillion stars out there; they in fact, estimate that there are 300 sextillions of stars in the universe. 

Let us consider only the earth for a moment. How much soil matter – specifically grains of sand – are in the earth? It is impossible to even estimate since there is so much. Man cannot himself make one teaspoon full of such matter. Yet those who should know better try to convince us that such an unspeakable amount of matter came in being by way of a gigantic accident, "The Big Bang." Yet, there is no evidence of one teaspoon full of soil ever having been produced from an explosion. 

Only a fool says "there is no God" (Psalm. 14: 1; 53: 1). By the same token, only a fool would say that such an explosion produced enough matter throughout the universe to create 300 sextillion planets and constellations. Only the wise God and His angels could have created such an expanse as that which constitutes the universe. 

The Perfect Order

What should impress us to no end is the perfect order in such an expanse of 300 sextillion stars that exists in that order of things. Never do we hear of a terrible collision between hundreds or thousands of those sextillions of planets. Many times the space agency would plan to launch a satellite at or near one of those heavenly bodies. They have to know several months in advance at any given time where the target is going to be at some future time. The required transit time of a satellite often takes several months, even years, to arrive at the target. 

Let us briefly consider only the earth and its consistent orbit. It is the same with the whole universe. On January 1st of any year one can purchase an almanac or a calendar and check December 31st of that year or any other date, and note the exact moment on which the sun will rise and set. That is consistently the case.  

The orbits and other movements are so consistent that it always remains dependable to forecast the position of the earth and other parts of our universe on any day. No man is able to control those elements or to change anything about them. He must put all things with which he is involved into harmony with all things that are true about those sextillion heavenly bodies for they will forever remain in the control of this glorious God that is proven to exist.

Prophecy: Our Greatest Ally

The first prophecy we encounter as we begin to consider the word of the God of the Bible, is the six days of labor the God of Israel used in the days of creation six thousand years ago, followed by the Sabbath or day of rest. The entrance of sin into the world brought death and an end to the world of perfection toward which God had been working. 

As God began to work toward the redemption in His plan and purpose, we can see as we look backwards in time that God, by those six days of labor, was prophesying as to how long the work of redemption was to take. Again, it was six (millennial) days (II Peter 3: 8) followed by a day of rest, the kingdom age (Hebrews 3rd and 4th chapters). 

Let us note another prophecy involved in all of this. 

The Days of Noah

In Genesis 6th chapter where God begins to prepare Noah for the time of the flood which would end that present civilization, He informs Noah that Noah's preparation for that time (through which God would strive with "all flesh") would be one hundred and twenty years (Genesis 6: 3). Thus, for one hundred and twenty years, Noah preached to the world with no success; as God had said, the end came as that civilization was washed away into oblivion. 

However, under the Law of Moses (Leviticus 25: 10-13), God established in Israel's sight the truth that He was fashioning a system of years known as "Jubilee Years." Every fiftieth year was to be a year of Jubilee, of "freedom and release." It is a fact therefore that 120 Jubilee years gives us the number 6000.  Therefore, the truth of the matter is: Just as from the time God alerted Noah that at the end of 120 years, He would no longer strive with the works of the flesh in Noah's day, so would He at the end of 120 Jubilee years, cease to strive with the sinful flesh works of man that began six thousand years ago as man sinned and brought death and the sinful flesh nature upon the race. 

Abraham to the Exodus: 400 Years

In Genesis 15: 13-16 we read of God telling Abraham that his descendants (the Israelites) would be captive in Egypt for four hundred years.  Several portions of this narrative prove the existence of God. 

1. After Abraham was dead Joseph was sold into Egypt. A drought and famine drove Israel into Egypt for food where God by means of guiding Joseph into interpreting Pharaoh's dream (for which he was rewarded and became prime minister of Egypt), resulted in much food being stockpiled in Egypt and Joseph to be in control. After several years, under a new Pharaoh, the Israelites became slaves in Egypt just as God said they would. What man could have known this and foretold it so far ahead with such unerring accuracy? Not one man could have, therefore we know that God is there. 

 2.  Abraham lived around 2000 B. C. It took a number of years for Israel to become slaves in Egypt, so this brings us at least to 1800 B.C. Four Hundred years from 1800 B.C. brings us to 1400 B.C. or thereabouts. The Exodus is dated by both Scripture and human history at around 1440 B C. This prophecy with its fulfillment beyond doubt, verifies the existence of God. 

The End of the Diadem and Crown

Proves God Exists

God, at the first in Israel's kingdom, ruled the nation through "the Judges." Then Israel demanded a king to rule over them. God allowed this to happen and there follow as kings, Saul, David, Solomon, and Rehoboam on the throne of Israel which became known as the "throne of David."  A contest for the reign over Israel between Rehoboam and Jeroboam at around 930 B.C. caused the division of Israel dividing into ten tribes to the North and two tribes (Judah and Benjamin) to the south known as 1. The Kingdom of Israel and 2. The Kingdom of Judah. 

Scripture places before us the mind and declaration of God Himself concerning the end of the rule of Israel by Israeli kings in Ezekiel 21: 25-27, where He declared, "remove the diadem and crown" which kings wore. "I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more till he come whose right it is..." God first overturned the kingship of Israel when the nation divided into two nations, each with their own king. The second overturn was when he overturned the throne of the northern ten tribes, sending them in captivity to Assyria from which they have not yet returned. The third overturn was when God sent Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon to remove Judah to Babylon around 600 B. C. Never again, since those dates has Israel been under self rule until 1948; but she still was not governed by a king wearing a diadem and a crown, and still today is not, and it has been at least 2600 years since that diadem and crown were removed from Israel. However, she will be again be ruled by One wearing a diadem and a crown when Jesus returns and builds again the tabernacle of David and sets up the worldwide kingdom with Jerusalem as the capital (Acts 15: 13-18). This harmonizes with the prophecy of Hosea 6: 1-3. 

The Prophecy of Hosea 6: 1-3

This prophecy speaks of the fact that God had torn and smitten Israel by removing their kingdom from them; the events of that tearing are spoken about above, in the three overturns. The "two" and "three” days mentioned in the passage are interesting and deserves special attention. 

Never, throughout Israel's history, has God ever remedied Israel's hurt within two or three literal 12 of 24 hour days. Yet, Scripture does speak both of literal 24 hour days and of "millennial" days of 1000 years each, as time pertains to God (II Peter 3: 8). Remembering this, we take note of the fact that God is revealing to Israel that the tearing and hurting of Israel would extend completely through two millennial days  and into the third millennial day at which time Jesus will return to Israel and heal them. The final of the three "overturns" was around 600 B. C. That was over two millennial days ago.  It is now in the midst of the third millennial day and we see two of those 12 tribes of Israel now back in the land already, and prophecy is daily being fulfilled concerning them. When latter-day prophecy is completed and Ezekiel 20:37-40; 37:11-23 are complete, the prophecy of Hosea 6: 1-3 will be completely fulfilled. 

That all dovetails nicely, proving that there is a God in heaven. God was to save Judah first, then gather in the rest of Israel. (Zechariah 12: 7; Ezekiel 20: 37-40; 36: 11-22). 

Four Empires to Rule Until the End

 1.  Babylon - the golden city (Daniel 2: 38; Isaiah 14: 4) 

2.  The Silver Empire: Before capture of Babylon, Persia had gotten 5500 tons of silver. 

3.  Greece - The kingdom of brass. 

4.  Rome - The kingdom of iron.  No earthly empire replaced Rome. The iron empire was to be replaced only by God's kingdom which would destroy as the rock (Christ) crushes the ten toes of the iron empire, today known as The European Union. 

If a fifth earthly empire had replaced the iron kingdom, then we would have reason to doubt Bible prophecy. However, that prophecy has continued exactly as it was laid out, proving that there was a God in control of His word.

 The Appearance of Israel’s Messiah 

While Israel was captive in Babylon, God's prophet Daniel was given a prophecy revealing how long it would be until Israel's Messiah would be revealed to them. That revelation was given in Daniel 9: 24-27. The starting date of the relevant time period was to be the time in which a decree was given allowing certain of the Israelites to return to Israel and begin to rebuild Jerusalem and the temple that had been destroyed. Four decrees were given in all. Calculating the dates from three of those dates results in Jesus being either older or younger than he was at his crucifixion. The only one of those dates that correctly brings Jesus to 33 and 1/2 years old at his crucifixion is the decree that was given 457 B.C. The prophecy had specified that from the date of that decree to Israel's Messiah was to be 483 years. The term Messiah means "anointed" and Acts 10: 38 declares that God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power by the act of His baptism. We must also keep in mind that Jesus was born in 4 B. C. according to relevant chronology. Therefore, from 457 B. C. to 27 A. D. was the year in which Jesus was thirty years old, his age at his baptism (Luke 3: 23). Conclusion: God gave this prophecy and was able to see it through to completion with unerring accuracy. Therefore He exists in heaven, beyond a shadow of a doubt.

 The Name of Russia Specifically in Scripture 

We must take notice of the prophecy of the spelling of Rho, Omega, Sigma concerning Russia. Twelve hundred years after Ezekiel 38:1-2 was given, a nation whose name was spelled in the Greek as Rho, Omega, Sigma appeared to the north of Israel, exactly as had been prophesied. 

Matthew 24; Luke 21

Jesus, in this Mount Olive prophecy, in answering the three questions asked by his apostles in Matthew 24: 3, speaks finally of signs that would herald the time of his coming. At the time of his uttering of this prophecy, there was to be 1. A time of trouble like never before or afterward, and 2. the possibility of all life perishing from off the earth if God does not intervene.  Has this come to pass as uttered? At no time has the entire world had so much trouble as today.  

Further, 2000 years ago when the prophecy was given, a sword, or a lance was the most dangerous weapon around. But neither one could hurt anyone over 10 or 15 feet away, and only two or three persons at once.  Matthew 24: 22 reveals that 2000 years into the future, just before the time of his return it would be possible for nations to end all life upon the earth unless God should intervene.  Did that prophecy come to pass? Is that possible today?  Who could know 2000 years ago, that such terrible weapons would exist at the time of the end of the times of the Gentiles, and the time of the setting up of God's kingdom?

 Concerning man's ability to either be saved – or perish out of existence eternally – Hebrews 11: 6 says that anyone who comes to God "must believe that he is," or that He exists, in order to be acceptable to Him. We can either reject the knowledge that He exists and perish forever, or we can accept the knowledge that He exists and enter into the "way” He has appointed, and live forever just as God lives forever.      Wayne R. Tanner                                                                                                    

Things Hard to be Understood

Foreword

          [Note: This is a long article presented in multiple parts. It will require some extended length of time to study all these parts. Ed.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Our title “Things Hard to be Understood,” is drawn from the words of the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3: 15-16.  In those verses, Peter reminds the Hebrews to whom he was writing (1 Peter 1: 1), that Paul had also written to them, and that his epistles had contained “things hard to be understood.”  He adds that those things are wrested by various individuals, much to their destruction.

         It is a fact that there are a number of things in the scriptures that are difficult to understand.  Some of those difficult passages are a result of improper translation.  Some of them are the result a poor understanding of the matter and the false doctrines that have been established as a result of a misunderstanding.  There are instances of tampering with the word in order to cause a passage to say what God never intended it to say.  There are also passages hard to understand in the light of questionable beliefs concerning the matter.

When He Will Return from the Wedding

         In Luke 12: 36 the Greek term “analuo” is translated “return,” as in the sense of the bridegroom returning from his wedding.  Then in Philippians 1: 23, the translators have given us the translation of “depart” to be with Jesus.  How can one word have two opposite meanings?  Apparently, the translators had a fallacious belief in heaven going at death and ignored the true meaning of the word and gave us a translation that was in harmony with their beliefs rather than being guided by the true meaning of the word.

         Consider this!  If the apostles of Jesus had held the fallacious belief of following Jesus to heaven when they died,  they surely would have been mystified when Jesus told them in John 13: 33 “…Ye shall seek me; and as I said to the Jews, Where I go ye cannot come.”  Then, he assured them in John 14: 3 that he would return and receive them to himself.  John had also declared in John 3: 13 that Jesus is the only man who has ever gone from the earth to heaven.  Likewise God had inspired Solomon to write in Proverbs 10: 30, “The righteous shall never be removed, but the wicked shall not inhabit the earth.”  Jesus showed his agreement in Matthew 5: 5 when he declared, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.”                                                                   

         It is bewildering that apostates cannot accept God’s word as He has given it to us.  They cannot believe His truth that the righteous shall never be removed from the earth because their doctrine disagrees with God.  Their belief is that when a righteous person dies, they are immediately taken to heaven to be with God and His angels. 

         Let us stay aware that God punished Adam for his disobedience, declaring that Adam should return to the dust from which he was made (Genesis 3: 19).  He did not promise to bless him by taking him to heaven at death if he disobeyed God’s command.  We are informed in I Corinthians 15: 26 that death is the last enemy to be destroyed.  Apostates disagree and teach us that death is the greatest friend that mankind has.  Away with such error!  The serpent changed God’s words in order to advance the serpents own message.  We should not imitate that if we are true believers of God’s word.

         It is a fact that many cannot accept the truth of God that declares that the righteous shall never be removed (meaning ‘from the earth’), because of their false belief that many persons from the earth have died and gone to heaven.  There exists a group of so-called “Witnesses” who have changed God’s declaration that the “righteous shall never be removed,” so that it reads in their own translation, “The righteous shall never be shaken.”  By making such a change in translation, they make their own Bible tell a lie.  Below, quoted from their own translation, are passages in which their translation contradicts God’s own word. 

From their own translation they give us the following: 

Acts 20: 30: “And from you yourselves men shall rise and speak twisted things to draw away disciples after them.”

2 Timothy 2: 18:  their change of God’s wording has made their Bible declare an absolute lie for it declares regarding Philetus and Hymenaeus, “These (very) men have deviated from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already occurred; and they are subverting the faith of some.”

            Then, in 2 Timothy 4: 4: “And they shall turn away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories.”

          Imagine!  After their translation makes Proverbs 10: 30 declare that the righteous shall never be “shaken,” their version of the Bible in many places speaks of believers and followers of God who have been “shaken.” See also Revelation 2: 20-23 where a false prophetess caused spiritual fornication among believers.  More examples could be presented, but we shall be content with these.   

         Consider this:  the Hebrew term translated “removed” in Proverbs 10: 30 is translated from the Hebrew term “mot,” and is also translated “removed” in Psalm  104:5 where the term "shaken,"  or any other similar term would again speak a lie.  Ecclesiastes 1: 4 declares “the earth to abide forever.” 

Those who say that the term “mot” in this passage, means “the earth shall never be “shaken” need to explain the thousands of earthquakes that have shaken the earth for thousands of years.  We must accept God’s truth as He gave it to us.  The term “mot” means “removed,” and any change whatever changes God’s truth to a falsehood, thereby imitating the serpent that caused error to be believed, bringing about the fall of man in the beginning.  Yes, the Bible does contain a number of passages that have statements that “are hard to be understood.”  In the following, we shall address more of those examples.        

Having a Desire to Depart...

(Philippians 1: 23)

         In Philippians 1: 23 we see an example of violence being done to a passage, causing the passage to speak opposition to the truth of God. In not one passage from Genesis to Revelation is there an indication of anyone other than Jesus hoping to ascend into heaven.  Yet, the error of heaven-going is probably the major “fable” (2 Timothy 4: 4) of the world of religion today. 

Psalm 115: 16 declares, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath he given to the children of men.” 

Psalm 37: 11 declares,  “The meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace.”

Also Psalm 37: 29, declares, “The righteous shall inherit the land, and dwell therein forever.” 

         The tenor of Bible truth agrees with the above.  Yet, in spite of all Bible truth, the translators, who believed differently from the tenor of scripture have given us a translation of the Greek word “analuo” in Philippians 1: 23 that opposes the truth  of God.  In spite of the fact that the disciples were told in John 13: 33 that whereJesus was going “they could not come,” the translators make Paul seem to say that he wanted to depart and be with Christ.  The word they have converted to “depart” is the Greek term “analuo,” a word which is translated “return” in Jesus’ statement in Luke 12: 36 where he asks his followers “to be like servants awaiting their lord’s return from his wedding. How is it possible for a word to mean both “depart” and “return?”  It has to mean one or the other.  In Luke 12: 36, the term “depart” is impossible.  Jesus is clearly speaking of their lord’s return, and the servants opening the door for him.  

         Also, in Philippians 1: 19-23, Paul is in a strait between “living” and “dying” (verse 21). In verse 23, Paul declares that the “return” of Jesus, which is a clear and beautiful promise (John 14: 3; Acts 1: 11) is far better than either living or dying.” 

         The Emphatic Diaglott is the most correct translation of the Bible in existence.  Notice how Philippians 1: 23 is translated therein: “I am indeed, hard pressed by the two things; I have an earnest desire for the returning, and being with Christ, since it is very much to be preferred.”

         The above translation honestly portrays Paul’s use of the word to be in complete harmony with Jesus’ use of the term “analuo.”  Thus, the above translation harmonizes with the tenor of Bible truth, instead of being in harmony with apostasy, as in the present (AV) reading of Philippians 1: 23. 

Without Father, Without Mother

(Hebrews 7: 3)

         Hebrews 7th chapter contains a message that all Bible students for two thousand years have found very difficult to understand.  The chapter seems to be saying that the individual Melchizedek, who met Abraham in Genesis 14: 17-24, had no father or mother, (being) without descent, (having) no beginning nor end of days, nor end of life….”  It is a fact that only two persons have ever existed during the history of man, who had no human father or mother.  1. Adam was created, not born of a woman as are all other people.  2. Eve was formed out of one of Adam’s ribs.  Every other individual has been born of a human mother, and had an end of life, for death had passed upon the entire race (Romans 5: 12).

       It will help us to understand that from Hebrews chapter five through the balance of the epistle to the Hebrews, Paul is seeking to give the Hebrews proof that the  Law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8: 2), was superior to the Law of Moses in every way.  Paul’s reference to Melchizedek of old was showing the Jews how superior the Order of Melchizedek is when it was compared to the Levitical order under the Law of Moses.

         Notice the term “descent” in Hebrews 7: 3. Paul reminds the Hebrews that under the Levitical Order, when the priest died, the priesthood passed on to the dead priest’s son. Likewise when a king or queen died, their rulership passed on to a descendant. 

         The chapter goes on to show that a Melchizedek king/priest order descended upon an individual by a direct appointment from God (Verses 19-27), and not from a father or mother.  Only an immortal could possibly be a priest forever. Verses 19-22 makes that point. If we realize these truths, the 7th Chapter of Hebrews is not “hard to be understood” as it has been for two thousand years for all Bible students. It is the “order of Melchizedek” and not the person which is the subject that is in consideration in the 7th Chapter of Hebrews.  Jesus, when he became immortal, received an unchangeable “king/priest” position for eternity. 

The Glory that I Had With Thee

Before the World Was

         In John 17th chapter, just before his crucifixion, Jesus approached his Father in prayer.   In verse 5 Jesus remarked to his Father: “And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. 

         This remark by Jesus has led the apostate world to mistakenly believe that Jesus existed from the beginning ... long before he was born of the Virgin Mary. This mistake is the result of a faulty understanding of scripture. A lack of understanding of the foreknowledge of God leads to apostate doctrine.  It is written in Acts 15: 18, “Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the age.”  It is vital that we understand that from the beginning, God knew everything about his servants that would ever be known about them. Notice: In Jeremiah 1: 5 God said to Jeremiah, “Before I formed thee in the belly, I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb, I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations.”            

         Before Jeremiah even existed, God knew and experienced in his mind all that would ever be true of Jeremiah.  God, in advance experienced all that the feelings that the existence of Jeremiah would bring to him.  Also, in Genesis 17: 5 God told Abraham, “A father of many nations have I made thee.” It is a fact that Abraham did not have even one son yet. The only child born in Abraham’s house at that time belonged to a servant (Genesis 25:3).  Do we get the message from this?  God’s promises are so certain to be fulfilled, that when He makes a promise or forecast He often speaks of it as already being accomplished. 

         Notice what the Apostle Paul in Romans 4: 17, had to say about Genesis 17: 5:

“(As it is written, I have made thee a father of many nations), before him whom he believed, even God who giveth life to the dead, and calleth those things which are not, as they were”.  (Emphasis is mine).

         In other words, when God makes a promise or prophecy, the fact of fulfillment is so certain that He speaks of it as already a fact.  We see this in the case of Cyrus of Persia.  God’s remarks concerning what had not yet happened often were so certain that he uses the present and past tense, in His remarks around 800 B.C. when Cyrus did not exist until more than two hundred years later. 

         Notice: Isaiah 44: 28 and 45: 1 – “Who said of Cyrus, he is my shepherd, and shall perform my pleasure; even saying to Jerusalem, thou shalt be built, and to the temple, thou shall be laid”… “Thus saith the Lord unto his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have held, and subdue nations before him…”

         How revealing is this! God, in the above passages, speaks of Cyrus and the things he would perform, more than two hundred years before Cyrus existed, as though he already existed, all because of God’s foreknowledge of what would one day happen.  If God experienced pleasure from the deeds of Cyrus more than two hundred years before they happened, we should have no problem understanding God’s glory with the deeds of Jesus in advance of their occurrence.

         The psalmist in Psalm 139: 15-16 remarks that God knew long before he existed, all that would ever be known about him.

         So it was with Jesus.  God knew as he talked with Adam and Eve in Genesis 3: 15, and as He talked with Abraham, all that would ever be known about Jesus. He well knew that in four thousand years, Jesus would attain to God’s glory and ascend to God’s right hand. Yes, because of these truths, God did feel great pleasure about everything he foreknew about Jesus, what he would do, and what would transpire with him. John 17: 5 therefore, does not teach the pre-existence of Jesus. A clear knowledge of Bible truth gives the informed reader a different message than an apostate student derives from the passage. 

Before Abraham Was, I Am

(John 8: 58) 

         Once again, we come upon a passage that causes apostate students to fail to decipher the meaning of Jesus’ words. Such students have as much trouble understanding Jesus’ meaning as did the Jews as he spoke to them. The verses appropriate to Jesus’ message are verses 51 through 58. The verses that apostates feel are speaking to them are verses 56-58.  Verse 58 is explaining to the Jews how Abraham “saw his (Jesus’) day.”

         An appropriate question must be asked and understood before one can understand Jesus’ meaning.  What is the day of Christ? Was it far into the past from the time of this conversation?  A sound answer can be determined from Philippians, first chapter.

         Philippians 1: 6 – “Being confident of this very thing, that he that hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Christ.”

         Philippians 1: 10- “That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be

sincere and without offense till the day of Christ.”

         From these verses, it becomes obvious that “the day of Christ” was future from Jesus’ day, and is still future from the year 2019. It is the day when Jesus

shall perform the promises of God to God’s servants.

         The Bible declares that day not to have been at the time of Abraham’s day, for Paul declared in Hebrews 11: 13: “These all (from verse four through verse twelve) died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off, and were persuaded of them, and embraced them….”

         Realizing that two thousand years after the time of Abraham that the “day of Christ” still is a future event, it is obvious that Jesus did not mean that he lived at the same time Abraham lived. How could Abraham have seen four thousand years into the future? It would not have been necessary if Jesus were alive at the same time Abraham lived ... which the erroneous belief strives to establish.

         Jesus surely meant that he was present in such a way (in promise) that Abraham could “see” his future day when God would fulfill His promises?

         The promise of Genesis 13: 13-14 is surely the time referred to in the promise.  Galatians 3: 16 tells us that Jesus was the “seed” referred to in the promises.  That promise will be fulfilled when Jesus returns to earth and fulfills the promise.  Therefore, Jesus was noted there as the promised seed of Abraham, and together they will inherit the land promised which will include the whole earth (Psalm 72: 8; Zechariah 14: 9).  Through the eye of faith Abraham saw the future day of Christ, and was glad. 

         Yes, before Abraham, Christ was there as the promised seed who will fulfill all the promises of God, the Seed of the woman (Genesis 3: 15); the promised Seed of Abraham (Genesis 13: 13-14); and the promised seed of David (2 Samuel 7: 10-29). 

         Because of Christ in the promises they all saw the day of Christ which was thousands of years into the future. Had the Jews understood Jesus’ message, they would not have been so angry.  It is not hard to understand Christ’s meaning.  However, unbelievers of these last days misunderstand Jesus’ message as completely as did the Jews two thousand years ago.

         The sentence, “Before Abraham was, I am” is not a proper sentence.  The translators were doing their very best to associate Jesus with the “I am” of Exodus 3: 14.         

         In Exodus 3: 14, the angel did not say, “I am hath sent me.”  The term “Eyeh” is the Hebrew word which the translators have given the meaning of “I am.”  But the term actually means “I will be.” 

         The Hebrew phrase is, “Eyeh asher Eyeh.”  The term “Eyeh” occurs in verse 12 where God informs Moses, “I will be with you.”  The three words “I will be” are translated from the one word “Eyeh.” God meant that anyone I send on a mission, I am in them, just as he was in the angel (Exodus 23: 20-21). Moses was God (Elohim to Pharaoh Exodus 7: 1).   Exodus 24: 10 declares that the seventy elders of Israel “saw the God of Israel.”

         Yet, John 1: 18 declares that “no man has seen God at any time.”  The term “God” in Exodus 24: 10, is “Elohim” which is a plural word. God was in that angel, therefore a plurality of great ones was present.  To see the angel was to see God, for God was “in him” (Exodus 23: 21), just as Jesus said, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14: 9).  God was in Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 19), just as He was also in the angel.  

I Came Down from Heaven

(John 6: 38; John 3: 13)

         Does the statement that “Jesus came down from heaven” prove that Jesus once lived in heaven?   It is hard to be understood that Jesus literally descended from heaven, seeing that Luke 3: 23 through 38 traces the lineage of Jesus to Adam as declared by verse 38.  Since Jesus is said to be the second Adam (I Corinthians 15: 45), and Jesus is also said to be “the last Adam,” it absolutely is a fact that the last Adam did not precede the first Adam.

         Because of the fact that in John 6: 38 Jesus declares that he “came down from heaven,” apostate doctrine teaches that he had to have first been in heaven.  That is not necessarily true, for John 1: 6 declares that John the Baptist was sent “from God.”  

         God is in heaven, yet no one has ever set forth the doctrine that John had been in the physical presence of God prior to his appearance on the earth.  If we can discover how it can be said that John “came from God” then certainly, we have a strong clue as to how Jesus came from heaven without ever having existed in heaven.      

     John, before his birth had been prophesied to be destined to come into existence (Malachi 3: 1; Malachi 4: 5 with Matthew 11: 10).  John was also promised to an Israelite couple who were too aged to bear a child (Matthew 1: 18). 

         Therefore, it was due to the power of God being exercised on them that they conceived and gave birth to John.  He did not bodily descend from heaven into their midst. Therefore, John came from God in the sense that the power of conception descended from God, causing a couple too old to conceive, to conceive and bear a son,

         So it was with Jesus. He was foretold as coming into existence throughout the

Old Testament. Micah 5: 2 even foretold where Jesus would be born. Mary, a  virgin, in Israel had never known a man in order to conceive a child. The power of God descended on her, causing her to conceive miraculously as in the case of Elizabeth, and therefore Jesus was born.

         The beginning of the physical existence of them both was due to the power of the highest descending to earth and miraculously causing the births of both John and Jesus.  The power of God came from heaven causing the conception of both Elizabeth and Mary, whose conceptions were unlikely under existing circumstances. In that sense, both John and Jesus came from God in heaven. Therefore, Jesus came from heaven in the sense that the power of conception descended from heaven, entering into a virgin who had never known a man, causing her to conceive and bear a son (Luke 1: 35).

         Had Jesus existed prior to Adam as apostate Christians teach, then Jesus was and is not qualified to be the savior of mankind.  Only if he was “born of a woman,” was he qualified to be our Savior.  It is written in in 1 Corinthians 15: 21 that “As by man came death, by man also came also the resurrection of the dead.”

         A person who was something other than a man originally, cannot change into being a man for any reason. Galatians 4: 4 declares that the man Jesus, was “born of a woman, born under the law.”  No man ever became a man from another or a previous species.  Individuals only become a man by being born of a woman who is of the race of man.

         The inspired account of Galatians 3: 13 delivers a valuable lesson for us to consider.  According to that passage, Jesus could not have delivered the Jews from the curse of the law unless he also came under a curse of the law himself.  The verse says Jesus had to be one of them in order to deliver them.  They were all under the curse of the law.  He could not deliver them if he was not one of them in every sense.  He was one of those “under a curse of the law, as he was” (Deuteronomy 21:23). 

         The Apostle Paul declares in Galatians 3: 13: “Jesus hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us; for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree.”  

         Had Jesus not have been one of them in every way, he could not have redeemed them.  Had Jesus been pre-existent and of a different species, he was not one of us, and he could not have redeemed us.  It was a man who brought the curse upon the race of man, and it had to be a man that redeemed men from the curse.  An individual who had been of a different species entering into the reproductive system of a human mother, appearing to be born of her, is a masquerade ... and is not God’s manner of operation.  We have “one mediator between God and man (I Timothy 2: 5), the man Jesus Christ.” Paul did not say, the God Jesus Christ, but the man, Jesus Christ.  He had to be truly one of us in order to redeem us from the curse brought on by sin 6000 years ago.

Lay up for Yourselves Treasures in Heaven

(Matthew 5: 20)

         This passage and a few others have been the springboard of apostate fables.  Notice below, passages that lead many into apostate doctrine based upon error ...

         Matthew 5: 12 – “… great is your reward in heaven…”

         Matthew 5: 20 –“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt.”

         1 Peter 1: 4 – “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved for you in heaven.”

         The belief that such passages as those represent a reason for the hope of receiving rewards in heaven, is completely discredited by such passages below:

         Philippians  3: 20-21 – “For our citizenship is in heaven from which we look we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ…who shall change our vile body, that it might be fashioned like unto his glorious body.”

         Revelation 22: 12 – “And, behold, I come quickly (from heaven), and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.”    

         Also, in harmony with the above, consider Matthew 25: 31-46 where Jesus comes in his glory from heaven with his holy angels, and rewards both the righteous according to their works (Matthew 25: 32-40) and the wicked according to their works (verses 41-46). 

         This is all destined to take place on the earth, not in heaven, for the wicked would not be in heaven along with the righteous; and it is all said to be when Jesus “comes” with his holy angels.  If the righteous had not laid up treasures in heaven where their Savior has been for two thousand years, the rewards would not be there for him to bring with him when he comes.  Let us remember with gladness, the fact that the Apostle Paul spoke glowingly of the fact that we are waiting for “our house from heaven” (2 Corinthians 5: 1); not our house in heaven.  Not one passage from Genesis to Revelation speaks of the righteous receiving their reward in heaven.  It is written, “Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth (Matthew 5: 5). Also, “But the meek shall inherit the earth, and shall delight themselves in the abundance of peace” (Psalms 37: 29 . See also Proverbs 2: 21 and Proverbs 10: 30.

         It is an everlasting truth that if we lay up our worthiness for life, those acts are recorded in heaven, and Jesus will return suddenly and bring our treasures with him.  Not one passage in the Bible teaches that anyone (other than Jesus) will ever have ascended to heaven to receive a reward there.  He will come again, bringing our reward with him, and the righteous will never be removed (Proverbs 10: 30).

         The above is the meaning of the words of Jesus in John 14: 1-3.  Jesus went to heaven where he said to his disciples, “... ye cannot come” (John 13: 33).

         One might ask, “How would his going to heaven, prepare for his servants, a place on the earth?” 

         The answer is we desperately needed Jesus, the one Mediator between God and men at God’s right hand, to make intercession for us (Romans 8: 26-27; Hebrews 7: 25). No one will obtain redemption without the intercession of Jesus.  Therefore, the promise of inheritance of the earth that has been prepared for us (Matthew 25: 34) could not be fulfilled without the presence of Jesus at God’s right hand as our intercessor.   

He That Believeth in Me Shall Never Die

(John 11: 26; John 8: 51)

         The remark of Jesus to Martha in John 11: 26, “whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die,” was made as Jesus was assuring Martha that her brother Lazarus would rise again, pertained to the last days as Jesus returned.  Martha realized this (verse 24).  Therefore the remark of Jesus in Verse 26 pertained to the time of his return and pertained to the time of the resurrection of the dead as he returned from heaven. 

         I Corinthians 15: 51, and I Thessalonians 4: 17 reveal that there will be “believers in Christ” still alive at the time of his return from heaven.  Therefore, in John 11: 26, Jesus is saying that those alive and remaining at his return who believe in him would never die, but will put on immortality and incorruption without ever experiencing death.  This was his meaning also in John 8: 51, but the faithless Jews did not understand his meaning. 

         They brought up the matter that Abraham was a faithful “friend of God,” but he still died.  Jesus proceeded ahead and assured them that there were facts concerning him and his presence as the Seed of Abraham in the promise of Genesis 13: 13-14 that caused Abraham to look ahead four thousand years to see “the day of Christ” (Hebrews 11: 13).  The Jews completely missed his point entirely. 

I and the Father are One

(John 10: 30)

         The passage of John 10: 30 is completely misunderstood by the apostasy and leads to a “fable” as the Apostle Paul foretold in 2 Timothy 4: 4.  In about 99 percent of the religious (“Christian”) world, it is erroneously believed that the God of the Bible consists of three coequal Gods known as “the Trinity.”  Such a doctrine, again, imitates the lie of the serpent in Eden that denied the truth of God’s warning, and substituted his lie in the place of God’s truth. 

         Let us first consider God’s truth concerning how many persons constitute the God of the Bible. As Israel emerged from bondage in Egypt God set about to ascertain that Israel would not worship him as a plurality, as they had witnessed in Egypt.

         Notice: Deuteronomy 6: 4 – “Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord.”  Note:  In spite of God’s clear declaration, apostates seek to force their false belief into God’s word by pointing to the term “God” in the passage, saying “the term “God” is derived from the plural “Elohim.”  By this, they seek to hang onto an error that more than one God is clearly indicated by the term “Elohim.”

         In the library of this writer are two sets of encyclopedias published by Trinitarians, and they are honest enough to speak the truth concerning the existence of the plural in reference to God. 

         Notice:         

        From the Fairbarin’s Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. iii page 23 regarding “Elohim:” “It awakens attention to the infinite riches and inexhaustible fulness which are contained in the one divine Being.”           

         Note: It is disappointing, after reading the revealing truth, that Fairbarins state that they deduct the Doctrine of the Trinity; they feel is indicated in scripture. Yes, they turn away their ears from the truth (2 Timothy 4: 4).

         Also: from the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. ii p. 1254: “By far the most frequent form used by OT writers is the plural ’Elohim,’ but they use it regularly with singular verbs. And adjs. to denote a singular idea.  Several explanations have been offered of this usage of a plural term to denote a singular idea – that it expresses the fullness and manifoldness of the Divine nature, or that it is a plural of majesty used in the manner of royal persons.”

         Isaiah 41:14, 16, 20, “The Holy One of Israel.”  There are many more occurrences of this phrase in scripture.

         Isaiah 43: 11- “Beside me there is no savior.”

         Isaiah 44: 8- “Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God, I know not any.” (Notice that he does not say ‘beside us.’ Never is a plural pronoun used of God.)

         Isaiah 44: 24- “… I am the Lord who maketh all things; who stretched for the heavens alone; who spreadeth abroad the earth by myself.”  Never, ever, are plural pronouns used by God of Himself.  It is always “I” and “my,” and is never “we,” “us,” “our.”

         John 17: 3 – “And this is life eternal, they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.”            

         I Corinthians 8: 5 – Paul speaks to the world, “though there be many Gods and Lords …”

         I Corinthians 8: 6 – “ But to us (the believers) there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we in him.”

         How uncanny that God’s clear declarations regarding Himself and his Son, are disbelieved, and like the serpent of old, God’s truth is discarded and replaced by man’s own beliefs!

The Soul

         Like the serpent in Eden, the religious world disbelieves God, and insists that in the act of creation, the man received a soul that is a separate entity inside a man, a soul that is thought to be immortal and indestructible.

         Instead of that erroneous theory that opposes God’s truth, the divine writ declares in Genesis 2: 7 that: “And 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.”            

         The mistaken theory of man is that man received a separate entity into himself, an entity that cannot die.

         However, Ezekiel 18: 4, 20 declares “the soul that sinneth, it shall die.”  Also, in the 10th Chapter of Joshua, the Israelites repeatedly in every town, destroyed every single “soul” of man and beast, a truth that most men declare cannot be done.

         There is only one passage in scripture that seems to say that the soul cannot die.  That is Matthew 10: 28, and that passage alone does not speak the truth of God.  If one compares that verse with Luke 12: 4-5, a different message come forth.  Such a comparison says that men can kill God’s servants, but there is nothing more they can do to us.  Not so with God! God can either destroy us, or preserve us, a thing that mortal man cannot do.  Once anyone kills a servant of God, God can (1) either bring him/her back to life, and save them to eternal life, or (2) destroy them forever,  

         Thomas Williams, in his book The Great Salvation, on pages, 49-51 teaches us of Greek words that cause Matthew 10: 28 to teach basically the same message as Luke 12:4-5.  We will leave it to the reader to read Thomas Williams’ treatment of the passage and will go on to our final passage that we will cover in this work.                               

He That Hath Seen Me Hath Seen the Father

(John 14: 9)

         It is a fact that these words of Jesus in John 14: 9 are the basis of the false doctrine of apostate Christendom in believing that Jesus is part of that which is known as “God.”  When the truth of this matter is correctly known, it does no such thing.

         It is a fact that God was “in the angel” that he sent ahead of Israel as they left Egypt (Exodus 23:  20-2).  In Exodus 24: 10, Moses and seventy Israelites saw that angel upon Mount Sinai.  The passage says they “saw the God of Israel.  Yet John 1: 18 declares that “No man hath seen God at any time.”  Therefore, it should be obvious to every student of the word, that to see anyone in whom God has manifested himself is the same as having seen God, if God was “in” the one that was seen. 

         It was a fact that as men saw Moses before Pharaoh, they saw God, for Moses did not turn the stick in a serpent; God did.  It is the same throughout scripture.                                             

        It is the same with Jesus. 2 Corinthians 5: 19 informs us that God was in Christ, just as He was in the angel in Exodus. Exodus 14: 19 compared with Exodus 14: 24 proves that for the angel to look out of the cloud at the Israelites, it was for the Lord Himself to look out at the Egyptians, for the Lord was in the angel.

         Jesus did many wonderful things during the three and one-half years of his ministry.  Yet, he himself did not do all those things (John 5: 30). God did it all, through Jesus (Acts 2: 22).  It is vital to notice that the very next verse after John 14: 9 in which Jesus declared that to see him was to see the Father, Jesus explained that all that he had said or done, was God speaking and doing the works (John 14: 10).  Since Jesus could do nothing of himself (John 5: 30), his Father did all that was done, and said all that was said “through Jesus.” That is why it was to see God through the works of Jesus, for Jesus was not the speaker, nor the doer.  God was the speaker and the doer.  To see Jesus raise Lazarus, was to see God raise Lazarus, for Jesus, of himself was not able to raise him (John 5: 30; Acts 2:22).                              Wayne R. Tanner

                 

Babylon the Great is Fallen, is Fallen

    A question must be asked regarding the repetition of the term “fallen” in the title of this article.  We have heard the theory that repetition amounts to an emphasis upon a statement.  However, the scripture itself furnishes us with the correct answer.

    We address the answer by turning up Revelation 8: 13 where God says, “Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabitants of the earth….”  

We get the reason for this repetition as we examine Revelation 9: 12 and 11: 14 ... 

Revelation 9: 12 declares, “one woe is past and, behold, there cometh two woes more hereafter.” 

Then Revelation 11: 14 declares, “The second woe is past and, behold, the third Woe cometh quickly.”

    Therefore, by the three occurrences of the term “woe,” we are alerted that three “woes” were to come upon the earth.

    Another example occurs in Ezekiel 21:  26-27 where God prophesies, “I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, and it shall be no more….”

    Do the three occurrences of the word “overturn” just emphasize what God declared, or was the kingdom of Israel brought to an end by three different overturnings of the kingdom of Israel?

    As we ponder that question, we must recall that Israel was once a twelve-tribe kingdom.  After the reign of King Solomon, the unified kingdom was divided, forming two separate kingdoms, with king Rehoboam ruling over the two-Tribe kingdom to the south, and Jeroboam reigning as king over the ten tribes of Northern Israel. 

That was the first overturning of the throne in the kingdom of Israel.  

The second overturning occurred in 732 B.C. when God brought the nation of Assyria against the northern ten-tribe kingdom.  That throne was brought to an end, and those ten tribes never returned to Israel, but are scattered somewhere over the breadth of the earth. 

That was the second “overturning” in the Almighty’s movement to bring the kingdom of Israel to an end, never to be restored “until He comes whose right it is.”

    The third overturning occurred when in the era of 600 B.C.  as a result of evil in the southern kingdom of Judah; God brought the forces of Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon against Judah and as a result, the kingdom of Israel, by these three overturnings was brought to an end until He comes.

    For 2600 years, no portion of Israel has ruled over itself. Only the people of Judah have yet returned to their land.  The people have for all this time been ruled over by the other nations.

After their first return from Babylon as a puppet state, they were finally scattered again in 70 A.D. and for two thousand years no longer existed as a nation until 1948 A.D.  

Never, since 1948 has Israel been ruled over by a king.  Their rulers have instead been “prime ministers.” 

Therefore, it has proven to be true that “it (the throne of a king) “shall be no more until He comes whose right it is,” meaning Jesus. This proves that the repetition of terms in scripture actually means a repetition of events that were to come. 

Babylon ... is Fallen, is Fallen

    In 538 B.C. the empire of Babylon passed from the rulership of Nebuchadnezzar and his successors and the empire became the empire of the Medes and Persians.

Babylon was nowhere to be seen any longer, for it had come to its end. 

Let the reader ponder Isaiah 13th and 14th chapters, as well as Jeremiah 50th and 51st chapters, all of which will demonstrate the finality of the end of the empire belonging to Babylon.

    Perhaps the question will come to many minds as to how there can be a second “fall” of Babylon if the first “fall” was so final.

    The term “Babylon” has the meaning of “confusion. It will help if we recall that ancient Babylon was the center from which the pagan doctrines in opposition to God’s truth flooded the world. This indicates, therefore, that the confusion of religious belief had filled the world, and Babylon was the center of that confusion.

    The future of Nebuchadnezzar’s empire, according to the dream God had sent to Nebuchadnezzar, was to give way to three additional empires after Babylon. Rome was the fourth such possessor of the empire.

    Both the Apostle Paul and the Apostle Peter were put to death in Rome. Peter wrote two epistles to the “strangers scattered abroad,” meaning those who had become estranged from God and had been scattered abroad – that is, the Jews. 

    In I Peter 5: 13 Peter wrote to those scattered Jews, saying, “The church (ecclesia) that is at Babylon, elected together with you, greeteth you…”      

We ask, “How could there be an ecclesia in Babylon when ‘Babylon’ had ceased to exist nearly six hundred years before Peter’s epistle was written?” 

The answer is clear!  In the fourth regime that was to possess the empire, the second center of religious “confusion” had developed.

That was Rome.

Rome, after two thousand years, is still the center of doctrinal “confusion,” therefore still bears the designation of “Babylon.”

      Reconfirming this truth, in Jeremiah 25: 12-38, God describes the destruction of two separate Babylons.

  In verses 12-28, God speaks of the destruction of ancient Babylon (in its own locality, of course) under Nebuchadnezzar. Then from verse 31, God speaks of a later “Babylon” and gives details of matters that reach to the ends of the earth.

      Ancient Babylon had affected only the Middle East, and finally Europe. The latter entity of Babylon (or the home of religious “confusion”) affects all, “ ... unto “the end of the earth” (verses 32-33).

  Therefore, a second “center of confusion” would one day have to be dealt with, also with finality as before.

      Revelation 16: 17 through 19: 21 deal with the final, eternal destruction of the second entity of confusion, that is, the latter-day Babylon.

      Then cometh the end (of the millennial reign of Jesus and the Saints), when all authority is handed up to God, who will be all in all (I Corinthians 15: 24-28). At that time God himself shall wipe away all tears, and peace and perfection will fill the entire earth for all eternity! (Revelation 21: 1-8).              Wayne R. Tanner                                           

Before Abraham Was, I Am

 (John 8: 51-58) 

This portion of scripture is often thought to teach that Jesus literally existed prior to the time of Abraham.  The apostate religious world has long experienced the same problem as did the Jews of Jesus' day, in understanding what Jesus was saying in this portion of the divine word. 

First,  it is a fact that the translators all were infected with the pagan beliefs about which Jesus and the apostles warned us, and sought to influence us to identify Jesus with the "I am" of Exodus 3: 14. It is not widely known that the angel of the Lord did not say in that passage that he was "I am" as the passage now reads.  

The Hebrew term "eyeh" is translated "I am" in the translated passage and leads many astray as to what the Angel actually said.  In Exodus 3: 12 Moses is told by the angel, "I will be" (Eyeh) with you."  The faulty phrase which the translators give us in verse 14 is, "I am that I am."  The Hebrew phase was, "Eyeh Asher Eyeh"  which should have been translated "I will be who I will be," meaning "I will be whoever I choose to manifest myself."   

Some years ago in the Jerusalem Post, there appeared an article by a Jewish Rabbi which informed the Jews that the phrase was prophetic and really meant "I will be who I will be."  That truth is consistent with Bible doctrine from the beginning. 

We observe the truth of Exodus 7: 1, as Yahveh informed Moses, " I will make you Elohim to Pharaoh."  It was not Moses who turned the rod into a serpent; it was God who did so, as He performed the act through Moses. It was also God who executed all the plagues upon Egypt.  Moses had no power or ability to do anything himself, just as Jesus said of himself in John 5: 30.  It was God who did all that Jesus, or Moses are credited with doing (John 14: 10; Acts 2: 22). God was in Moses just as He was in the angel of his presence (Exodus 23: 20-23) and as he was in Jesus (2 Corinthians  5: 19). 

"Abraham saw my day"

“Your father Abraham rejoiced to see my day: and he saw it, and was glad.”  John 8: 56. The Jews misunderstood Jesus to be saying that he and Abraham lived at the same time, as their reply to Jesus in Verse 57 attests.  The apostasy of the world also fails to understand what Jesus was saying.  Jesus' phrase "my day" needs to be clearly understood.  The phrases "My Day" and "The Day of The Lord" are synonymous.  The "day of Christ" can be shown to be future from the time of Jesus' thirty-three years on the earth, just as it is still future from 2016, the year of this writing. Let us see ... 

In Philippians 1: 6,  Paul speaks of "good works," and Paul was confident that "good works" would be continued "till the day of Christ," which Paul clearly indicated was future from the time in which he was writing. 

Again in Verse 10, Paul remarks that the brethren would "be without offense "till the day of Christ." In this, Paul clearly showed "the day of Christ" to be a future event, even a time two thousand years into the future from his time.  That was the day Abraham saw and "was glad" when he saw it. 

Question:  How could Abraham have "seen" a day that was thousands of years into the future? Scripture clearly declares that Abraham did see that time. The phrase, "The faith of Abraham" makes that point, for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10: 17).  God had promised Abraham in Genesis 13: 13-14 that the time was to come when Abraham and his seed would possess the land forever. Galatians 3: 16 informs us that the “seed” in that promises referred to Christ, while verse 29 proclaims that all who are baptized into Christ become heirs of that promise along with Christ whose Body we constitute (Ephesians 1: 22-23; Colossians 1: 24). 

Hebrews 11: 4-12 names Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham and Sarah as people of faith.  Verse 13 speaks to the truth that Jesus proclaimed to the Jews when it proclaims:  All these died in faith, not having received the promises but having seen them afar off ...."

Yes,  just as Jesus testified, Abraham through the eye of faith saw Christ's day – that “day” when he will fulfill all the promises of God,  including the day Abraham was promised, would come; and he was glad because of what he saw (Romans  4: 19-21).

However, those few mentioned in Hebrews 11: 3-12 are not the only ones who saw that day afar off, for Hebrews 11:14-39 mentions a multitude of God's ancient servants who received not the promises (verse 39), but who, like Abraham,  through faith, saw that day afar off into the future.  Hebrews 11: 40 assures the servants of Jesus that all those ancient worthies and all the New Testament believers will receive the perfect nature at the same time. 

Before Abraham was, I am

The English words "I am" are from the Greek "ego eimi" (egw eimi). Jesus used that same phrase in John 4: 26, as he spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well. When she stated regarding him as the one that was to come, and that he would "tell them all things," Jesus stated,  "ego eimi”, or "I am he."  Therefore, in John 8:  58, Jesus is informing the opposing Jews, "I am he that was before Abraham."  We must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus is relating to the Jews how it was that Abraham "saw his day" (Verse 56).  

How was Jesus "before Abraham?"  We must never forget that God knows his works from the beginning of the age, and foreknew everyone integral to His plan and purpose.  God presented Jesus in Genesis 3: 15 as the seed of the woman; and in Genesis 13: 13-14 as the seed of Abraham.   In Psalm 139: 15-16 it is said that God saw the psalmist before he existed.  In Jeremiah 1: 5 God knew and ordained Jeremiah before he was conceived in the womb. God saw and held the hand of Cyrus hundreds of years before he existed (Isaiah  44: 28;  45: 1). In John 17: 5 we are told that Jesus had glory with God four thousand years before Jesus obtained that glory. 

Therefore, the entire truth regarding all that Jesus was ever to be, God saw from the beginning. "God speaks of things that are not yet, as though they already were" (Romans  4: 17) . Notice that with every individual mentioned above God said He had a relationship with them before they existed, for "known unto God are His works from the beginning of the age" (Acts 15: 18). 

So it was with Jesus, for he came into view as lambs were slain for the coats of skins (Genesis 3: 21; Revelation 13:8); and all the animal sacrifices, as Paul relates in the book of Hebrews, are typical of the shed blood of Jesus. He also comes into view in Genesis 3:  15, as the "seed of the woman" through whom redemption would come. He comes into view again in Genesis 13: 13-; Galatians 3: 27-29 as the seed of Abraham. God speaks of all the individuals of His plan and purpose as though He had a relationship with them before they ever existed because He "foreknew" them and the work that would be done through them. Therefore, Jesus was presented in promise to various individuals as their Redeemer long before he was born "in the fullness of time" (Galatians 4: 4). 

 Jesus, if he existed apart from descent from Adam, could not have qualified to be the Savior of man, for it is written, "since by man came death, by man also came the resurrection from the dead" (I Corinthians 15: 21).This statement includes all that the Savior was supposed to acomplish. 

Adam of old was the first "Adam" (I Corinthians 15: 45). Jesus was the Second Adam, who would reverse the effects of the work of the first Adam.  What irony that the second Adam is thought by some to precede the first Adam. What folly! Hebrews 2: 14-18 demonstrates how the redeemer was to be one of us, and like us in every way. A pre-existent individual entering into the reproductive system of a human female in order to seem to be born, is a masquerade, and cannot possibly be the method through which redemption was to occur. 

The Redeemer was to be a descendant of the first woman Eve (Genesis 3: 15). He was also to be a descendant of Abraham (Genesis 13:  13-14), and a descendant of  David (2 Samuel 7: 12-13) and the seed of a virgin of Israel (Isaiah 7: 14; Isaiah 9: 6-7).

If Jesus was before the first Adam, he was not descended from any one of the above.  Also, Jesus certainly would not have been of the seed of Abraham, IF he truly was (existed) before Abraham. This is how Abraham “saw” Christ’s day. All the promises pointed forward toward the day of Christ, which is still future, the day when all the promises of God are to be fulfilled (Philippians 1: 6, 10).   Wayne R. Tanner

Is Sin in the Flesh ‘Metonymy?’

In dealing with Amended brethren regarding the subjects of "sin in the flesh," body of sin," and so forth, the writer has always received the reply that the matter of sin within a person is a matter of metonymy.  It is claimed that the principle referred to does not refer to a principle that actually exists but that the term is "metonymy" for another principle. 

The definition of metonymy according to Webster is, "The name of one thing being applied to another thing," So we must ask, "Is the principle of ‘sin in the flesh’ a principle that actually exists, or is it just metonymy – a figure of speech?”

We begin our examination of this matter by pointing out that the violation of the Tenth Commandment of Deuteronomy 5: 21 concerns a sin that can be committed only within a person's mind, and the mind is within the flesh of man. The outward violation of the principle of the Tenth Commandment actually leads to the transgression of the Seventh and Eighth commandments of verses18 and 19: "thou shall not commit adultery" and "neither shalt thou steal." 

Both those principles are outward activities which come forth as a result of the "desires” which take place in the mind. When the Tenth Commandment ("thou shalt not desire thy neighbor’s wife ...") is violated, a sin within a man takes place, for whether or not the individual actually commits the act, the Tenth Commandment has been broken.

  It is a truth, as stated in I John 3: 4, that "sin is the transgression of the law." Therefore, to desire is to transgress God's law whether or not an individual continues on to commit the act that he desired to commit.

As we read the above, Proverbs 23: 7 should come to mind: "As he thinks in his heart, so is he."

Apparently, the "heart" here is metonymy for the mind, for no person thinks with his pumping heart, but with his brain. Let it also be realized that the heart and the mind are both real, existing parts of a man and both are in the flesh of man. It is also a fact that it is claimed that "sin in the flesh" does not exist. That which does not exist cannot be metonymy for something that does exist. Clearly, the message of Proverbs 23: 7 is:

1.  If a man harbors the "desire" to have his neighbor's wife, he is an adulterer at heart.

2.  If a man ponders the "desire" to have his neighbor's possessions, he is a thief at heart.

It should now be obvious that Jesus teaches the same truth as Deuteronomy 5: 21 and Proverbs 23: 7, when he declares in Matthew 15: 19 that: "For out of the heart proceed  (1) evil thoughts,  (2) murders, (3) adulteries, (4) fornications, (5) thefts, (6) false witness, (7) blasphemies."

Apparently,  the term "heart" is again metonymy, for the "mind" and the "heart"  both exist inside a man,  therefore, out of the flesh of man comes forth all seven of the above sins, according to God's Son Jesus, who brought grace and truth into the world (John 1: 17).  They have to be in the flesh of man if they come forth from that source, as Jesus says they do. Therefore, before they emerge as a committed act, they are literally "sin in the mind," or "sin in the flesh."

Therefore, two facts are obvious:

1.  A person cannot transgress the Seventh commandment without first transgressing the Tenth commandment which is a "sin in the flesh."

2.  A person cannot transgress the Eighth commandment without first transgressing the Tenth commandment which is a "sin in the flesh,"

Also,  how clearly does God reveal that sin is in the flesh of man when He declares in Jeremiah 17: 9: "The heart (or mind) of man is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked..."

It is beyond dispute that the condition described above is in the flesh of man.

Also, how very clearly does James, the brother of Jesus, declare those same truths in James 1:13-15: "But every man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust (desires) and enticed."

Question: Is the above the truth of God, or is it “just metonymy?”

The answer to that question tells us a volume of truth regarding some who seek to teach the word of God.

Here we must recall that the Apostle Paul tells us that Jesus was tempted in all points as we ..." (Hebrews 4: 15).  It must be remembered that the word, says "every man" is tempted by his own lusts or desires. Therefore, we learn much by perusing Matthew the 4th chapter. It is often thought that Jesus was tempted by another person in the episode. Therefore, we must ask, "would it have been a temptation to Jesus to be offered all the kingdoms of the world by any (other) man? No person other than God could have possibly given Jesus all the "kingdoms of the world."

Abundant testimony shows that Jesus is prophesied future possession of all the kingdoms of the world (Zechariah 14: 9). This verifies that Matthew 4th chapter is the mind of Jesus momentarily challenging Him ... resulting in the temptation of Jesus, with his newly acquired power, to cause those things to happen now instead of having to suffer for them.

However, Jesus immediately resisted the temptation with the forceful statement, "Get thee behind me Satan."

Jesus' first thought every morning was, “What can I do to please my Father" (John 4: 34).

Then we encounter the truth of God as given through the Apostle Paul in Galatians 5:17-21. Here, he tells us that every sin that can be committed is the result of "flesh lusting against the Spirit." That is resistance to a righteous life from within. Do we believe what God says, or must we seek to find out what we think He meant? God always said what He meant, and we do not have to search for what we want Him to mean. All through the passage from verse 17 to verse 21 we are told beyond a shadow of a doubt, that all eighteen of those sins mentioned by Paul are "works of the flesh."

Some men tell us they are not the "works of the flesh."

Who shall we believe – God? Or men? S

We see from Matthew 15: 1-9 what the results were of believing and teaching "doctrines of men” did to Israel. We shudder to think that anyone else will fall into that destructive pit.

The Apostle Paul repeatedly spoke of the "law of sin in his members" in Romans 7: 20, 23, and "the body of this death" in Verse 24.  Some deny what he said: but he was inspired to say it and it was the truth of God.

The Old Man, or the Body of Sin

The Apostle Paul in Romans 6: 3-6 is, by inspiration, defining the meaning of the act of baptism. Verse 6 verifies that in that ceremony we crucify the "old man," We do not make over the "old man;" we bury him and a new man arises (Ephesians 4: 22-24; Colossians 3: 9). The "old man" is crucified, put to death, that the (body of sin) might be destroyed, or "put off" (Colossians 3: 9).  If a "body of sin does not exist, as we are asked to believe, what is God referring to in Romans 6: 6?

Remember also that God uses the phrase "body of the flesh" in Colossians 2: 11, and says that the Colossian believer, by being buried with him in baptism, had put off the body of flesh.  Paul says again in Galatians 5: 17-21 that all eighteen of the sins he mentioned there are "the works of the flesh."

Paul is inspired in Romans 6: 6  to write that in crucifying and putting off the "old man,"  the "body of sin" (the old man) is symbolically destroyed." All of this truth from God must be ignored and denied in order to justify teaching the doctrine of metonymy for the phrase "sin in the flesh" that God uses (Romans 8: 3). 

It is truly a shame to be persuaded to believe a doctrine which is a clear departure from scriptural truth causing many to deny the truths that God declares.

Will someone among those who departed please define "the body" of sin that is destroyed as per Romans 6: 6, which is the "old man" that is "put off" (Colossians 3: 9)?

It is also a shame to deny the truths with which God revived the Ecclesial Age around 1850 A. D. 

Not twenty feet from where I sit, are the bound volumes of The Christadelphian magazine from 1865 to about 1900 A. D. One can demonstrate from those volumes, that from 1865 to the 1880s, the same truths were taught by nearly all brethren including Robert Roberts, who taught the same truth in his work, Twelve Lectures, of 1862, later named Christendom Astray

John Thomas began teaching these same doctrines around 1848.  However,  the time came when a powerful brother changed his views and created a different body of followers.

Robert Roberts, in the Andrew/Roberts debate, in his answer to question number 728 remarks that his doctrine of thirty years earlier was not as mature as his doctrine at the time of the debate.

That is an admission of having changed. 

For those thirty years, Robert Roberts believed and taught in harmony with those from whom he later led a departure.

Yes, a sin that occurs within the mind of a man is as real as a sin that occurs through the sinful actions of a person.  God considers that a man is guilty of the actions if he ponders them in his mind, for in his heart, he "desires" to do what he ponders.  As Robert Roberts believed and published in vol. 15, page 225 of the May 1878, The Christadelphian: "Legally, a man  is freed from the Adamic condemnation at the time he obeys the truth and receives the remission of sins; but actually its physical effects remain till "this mortal" (that is, this Adamic, condemned nature) is swallowed up in the life that Christ will bestow upon his brethren at his coming ..."

Fact:  A truth does not become an error only because one ceases to believe it.

In The Christadelphian of Oct., 1873, p. 461, Robert Roberts asks of Edward Turney:

"Why was Jesus "put to death in the flesh" of Adam?" 

Paul says it was that "through death he might destroy him that had the power of death.” If that ‘having the power of death' was not resident in his body, how could he "through death destroy it?”

And on the other hand, how could he be a body of the flesh of Adam without also having in himself that which had “the power of death?"

Robert Roberts continues on page 463: "Paul says, 'God hath made Jesus to be sin' (2 Corinthians 5: 21). How is this to be understood, if death, the wages of sin, had no hold on him? Was he not “made sin” in being made of a woman, a being who was mortal because of sin, and could only impart her own sinful flesh to any son begotten of her?

"Paul says (Hebrews 9: 28) that Christ will appear the second time without sin unto salvation. This is surely equivalent to saying that the first time he appeared was not without sin.  In what sense did he come the first time with sin if that sin was not sinful flesh, and the law of sin had no hereditary claim upon him?"

Finally, Robert Roberts continues: "Your theory compels you to teach that the flesh is not a sinful but a good thing. How do you reconcile with such a doctrine the continual disparagements of the flesh with which the Scriptures abound?  Thus 'if ye walk after the flesh ye shall die' (Romans 8: 13);  ' ... he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption’ (Galatians vi. 8); and ‘in my flesh dwelleth no good thing' (Romans 7: 18)."

Yes, we know Robert Roberts departed from all that truth. However, it is a fact that he once taught those truths that were indicated by his 85 questions.

Also, it was foretold as divinely inspired truth, that there would be a turning away from truth and turning unto fables (II Timothy 4: 1-4). 

It is clear who has done that.

It is also clear who has remained steadfast and immovable (I Corinthians 15: 58).

God inspired the Apostle Paul to write in Romans 8: 3 that "God sent forth his Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and for sin condemned sin in the flesh."

The fact of Jesus being sent in the "likeness of sinful flesh," speaks loudly of the truth that Jesus possessed in his flesh the capability to be tempted unto sin. The claim that he did not possess that capability robs him of the beauty of his strong character, and His will to resist that capability unto perfect obedience to his Father's will. Wayne R. Tanner, Bulverde, Texas USA    

Editor’s note: In addition to the excellent arguments set forth in the above article, it is also helpful to consult a well-established authority as to the nature of the phrase, “He condemned sin in the flesh...” as used in Romans 8:3 by the Apostle Paul.

We have in our library a volume written exclusively (and exhaustively!) on figures of speech in the Bible, called Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Explained and Illustrated, (Baker Book House, Grand Rapids (MI), reprinted 1968) and is a work which could have been compiled only by the expertise of an educated linguist such as the author, E. W. Bullinger, D.D.

Bullinger considers this phraseology of Romans 8: 3, on pp. 720-721 of this work. He classifies the phrase as the figure of speech “anacoluthon,” or non-sequence of thought.

In the entire work of more than 1100 pages, he mentions nothing in this verse as relating to “metonymy,” a subject to which he devotes extended consideration in pp. 538 to 608, dealing with this figure (metonymy) in all its permutations.

Indeed, he mentions no aspect of metonymy in Romans 8: 3 at all.

Citing Romans 8:3 in this specific example of anacoluthon, he writes this explanation of the figure:

“’For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh ...’ – Here, the argument breaks off to speak of what God has done – “God (by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin) did: namely, “He condemned sin in the flesh in order that the righteous-requirement (Greek: dikaioma) of the law might be fulfilled in us who walk not according to flesh (i.e., the Old nature) but according to spirit (i.e., the New nature).”

“The figure requires the conclusion – this thing was impossible for the Law to do, because it was weak through the flesh: i.e., man, owing to the corruption of his nature, could not keep the Law; and the Law was powerless, because it could neither pardon the transgressor, nor alter his nature. This defect was overcome by God, Who condemned sin in the death of His Son (who was the sin-offering personified). His People, therefore, having died with Him [in baptism], are discharged from the claims of the Law; and being now “in Christ,” fulfill in Him all its righteous requirements.”

In our minds, this analysis further strengthens the assertion that sin is a feature of the flesh of mankind and womankind – and that it had to be condemned IN the flesh of a Man (Jesus Christ) in order to remove the stigma which it carried, viz., death. <Editor>                                                                                  

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 unbelief 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. 

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 the unbelievers.  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, as those in unbelief 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 right.ous 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 Gospel error and Gospel truth. 

Gospel 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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