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* Bible Fundamentals 2020

An Inheritance Reserved for you in Heaven

 The Apostle Peter in I Peter 1: 3-5 penned the words in the above title. 

1Peter 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.”

His words are completely misunderstood by the apostate religious world.  To them, it seems that Peter speaks of an inheritance in heaven, a place where scripture assures us that no man has ever gone, and never will go (John 3: 13; Proverbs 10: 30).

       For instance, in John 13:  33 Jesus tells even his apostles, “Where I go, you cannot come.”

       In John 14: 3, Jesus promises his apostles that even though his going would prepare a place for them, he would come again to them and receive them to himself.

       A question is in order here.  How would Jesus’ going to heaven “prepare a place for his apostles?”  It is a clear Bible truth that in order to achieve salvation for His brethren, Jesus is said in Romans 8:34 to be at the right hand of God “making intercession for us.”

      Also, Hebrews 7: 25 declares that Jesus “ever liveth to make intercession for those that come to God through him.” That is why Jesus ascended to his Father’s right hand, in order to be a merciful and faithful high priest for his brethren.  Without Jesus at God’s right hand making reconciliation for us (Hebrews 2: 17), salvation would be an impossibility for anyone.

     As for the place that has been prepared for us, the Apostle Peter in 2 Peter 3: 13, declares, “Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, in which dwelleth righteousness.” 

     No wonder Jesus declared in Matthew 5:  5, “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”

      Jesus also said in Matthew 6: 20, “But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven where moth nor rust corrupt nor where thieves break through and steal.”

Those words, no doubt are mistaken to mean we are to go to heaven in order to get what we lay up in heaven.

      No!  Proverbs 10: 30 says, “The righteous shall never be removed, but the wicked shall not inherit the earth.” 

Since the righteous will never leave the earth (Psalm 37: 29) we do not lay it up in heaven expecting to go there to get it.

Rather, Jesus himself declares in Revelation 22: 12, Behold I come quickly, and my reward is with me, to give to every man according as his work shall be.”

If we have not laid up treasure in heaven, it will not be there for Jesus to bring with him when he comes.  No passage anywhere states that anyone will go to heaven to get it.  Jesus brings it to us when he comes. 

Surely that treasure includes having our names written in the book of life (Revelation 20: 12).

God records a very vital truth in Psalms 115: 16 when He declares, “The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s; but the earth hath he given to the children of men.        

In Luke 1: 32-33 the angel Gabriel promised Mary that the Lord God would give unto Jesus (her son) the throne of David (which was always in Jerusalem); and that he would reign over the house of Jacob (meaning Israel) forever and of his kingdom there would be no end. 

Jesus, in Revelation 3: 21 promises that all who overcome as he overcame “will sit with him in his throne” which is to be on the earth, not in heaven.  Jesus is also promised that his dominion is to be “from the rivers to the ends of the earth” (Psalm 72: 8).  It is difficult to see how apostates get “heaven-going” out of such language as that, unless it speaks of the new heaven and the new earth (2 Peter 3: 13).

God declared in Isaiah 45: 18 that “He had formed the earth to be inhabited.”

How ridiculous is the idea, that instead of leaving everyone on the earth, God sends everyone to heaven which is the Lord’s, instead of leaving them on the earth which is for the “children of men,” and was formed “to be inhabited.”

How important it is to know that God has declared that the righteous shall never be removed from the earth and that he has given the earth to the children of men. 

God never instructed men that they would ever go to heaven in order to get the treasure they have laid up in heaven.  God has clearly declared that for the righteous, Jesus will bring our reward from heaven for us when “he comes” (Revelation 22: 12).         Wayne R. Tanner

  

The Words of Thomas – What Did he Mean? 

The Disciple Thomas, upon seeing the resurrected and immortalized Jesus who he had seen crucified, and who he knew had lain in the tomb for three days and nights remarked,  “My Lord and my God” (John 20: 28).

The majority of the world’s religious population base their false belief in a God which they declare to be “co-equal and co-eternal” with each other.  The words of Thomas above are wrongfully thought to be a declaration of that falsehood.  However, if the words of Thomas represent that doctrine held by the apostasy, it is a contradiction of some things which were spoken by Jesus himself.

 As regards the “fable” that Jesus was equal to his Father, Jesus himself declared in John 14: 28, “I go unto the Father ... for my Father is greater than I.”  

Jesus also declared in John 5:  30:  “I can of mine own self do nothing, because my judgment is just, because I seek not mine own will, but the will of the Father who sent me.”

 It is also a Bible truth that it is asked by the Father’s angel, “Is anything too hard for the Lord?”

Again, in Jeremiah 32: 17 it is said of Yahveh Elohim,”… Behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and outstretched arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee.”

 Therefore, a reasonable question that members of the apostate, religious world should consider is, How can an individual who truthfully says of himself, “I of mine own self do nothing” (John 5: 30);  and  “my Father is greater than I,” be thought to be equal to Him of who it is truthfully said, “Nothing is too hard for thee?”

Jesus is Called God

 In Titus 2: 13 Jesus is referred to as “the great God.”  Again, in Hebrews 1: 8 we read, “But unto the Son he saith, thy throne, 0 God is forever.”   Again in verse 9, “Therefore God, even thy God hath appointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.” 

Therefore, the application of the term “God” was appropriate, for it is a truth God had made a promise to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob through that angel.  Therefore, God was IN that angel.

 It is a fact that the three instances above occur because of the fact that in cases where God manifests Himself in another individual, whether in a mortal of an immortal, the individual in whom God manifests Himself is referred to as “God” because of the fact that God is in that individual; and we read in 2 Corinthians 5: 19 that God was IN Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.  That is why Jesus is referred to in that way.  As proof of that fact, we now quote a number of instances where that is true.

In Exodus 3: 6 the angel of God (verse 1) said, “I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.  And Moses hid his face for he was afraid to look upon God.”

This was not Yahveh Himself talking to Moses, for verse 2 declares that it was an “angel of the Lord” who appeared to Moses in the flame of fire”  as does Acts 7: 30.  Notice that in Exodus 3: 6, the angel was referred to as the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. 

The answer is found in that this angel who was sent to Moses in regard to the descendants of Abraham, (the Israelites) is said to be God (verse 6).  Isaiah 63: 9 refers to that angel as “the angel of God’s presence,” and God was manifested IN that angel (Exodus 23: 21).  Therefore, again, he was the “angel of God’s presence and God had been “in him” as God made a promise to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob. That angel had come in the representation of God, therefore he was called God.

We see proof of that as we notice that in Exodus 24: 10 it is recorded that Moses and seventy Israelites “saw the God of Israel.”  Yet John 1:18 declares the “no man hath seen God at any time.”  Therefore, it is certain that Moses and the seventy Israelites only saw “the angel of God’s presence” who is spoken of as though he was God. 

Therefore, everything the angel did or said was the result of God doing the works and saying what the angel was heard to say.  This is exactly what Jesus said that God was doing with him,  that is, the words of Jesus were God’s word, and Jesus’ actions were God’s works (John 14: 10).  Therefore, to see Jesus was to see the Father who was doing the works through Christ (John 14: 9; Acts 2: 22).

Only One God

It is vital to know that Jesus himself declared in John 17: 3 that “this is life eternal to know the only true God (his Father).”  Also, the inspired Apostle Paul declared In I Corinthians 8: 5-6 that (in the world) there were “those who were called gods.“ However, in verse 6 Paul writes, “But to us (the believers) there is but one God, the Father….” 

In Ephesians 4: 6, “One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.”

Also, in Isaiah 44:8 God Himself asks, “is there a God beside me, yea there is no God, I know not any.”

Therefore, truth demands that the words of Thomas were not meant to identify Jesus as being God himself. We have seen that anyone in whom God manifests Himself is addressed as God, and God was IN Christ (2 Corinthians 5: 19).

Also, Thomas and all the apostles had seen Jesus put to death and knew that he was in the tomb dead for three days and three nights.  Yet here Jesus was, in Thomas’ sight, alive and a partaker of the divine nature. 

Thomas knew very well that Jesus in the death state, and could not have raised himself back to life.  Therefore, as he saw Jesus standing there alive again, that just as Jesus had told them over and over that the Father was “in him,” and that to see him was to see God (John 14: 9).

“Therefore, the words of Thomas in the passage acknowledge the unexpected presence of the immortalized Jesus, as well as the presence of Jesus’ Father in him to an extent such as never before.”   Wayne R. Tanner

 

“Unto Dust Shalt Thou Return”

 Question # 1:  As the above phrase is expressed as the Father’s condemnation of Adam’s transgression, we must ask: Is going to heaven and living forever with God and His angels, a reward; or is it a punishment for disobedience to God?

Question # 2:  Did God, in Genesis Chapter 1, promise Adam a blessing, or a punishment if he disobeyed Him?

Question # 3:  Did the reward of heaven-going pass upon Adam as a result of his disobedience; or did the punishment of death and the grave pass upon him because of his disobedience?

Question # 4:  Is death a friend of mankind; or is death an enemy?

Note:  I Corinthians 15: 26 declares that the one-thousand-year reign of Jesus and the saints, results in the last enemy (which is death) being destroyed from the earthIt is not Bible truth that the suffering of Jesus will result, in the end, of going to heaven, for the hope of going to heaven is not a Bible truth. It is rather the result of “turning from the truth unto fables” as II Timothy 4: 4 prophesied.

If death is such a blessing as the apostasy believes and teaches, we must all wonder why in Isaiah 38: 1-22, Hezekiah went into such a fit of mental anguish as the news came to him that he was going to die (verse 1).

Why was he not filled with joy at the news that he was about to ascend to God’s presence and live in blissful happiness forever as the apostasy would have us believe?  It is a fact that God responded to his pitiful plea to allow him to live longer upon the earth. 

The truth is that death is not the blessing that the apostasy would have us believe.

Death is actually the worst enemy that mankind faces upon this earth, the last enemy destined to be destroyed.

It is a truth that Jesus is the antitype of the “tree of life” (Genesis 3:22), and that He is declared to be in the paradise of God as the tree of life when it is established once again upon the earth in God’s future kingdom.  Those from this age who overcome will be blessed with partaking of Him as the tree of life and living forever (Revelation 2: 7). 

Why is that so, if we are already immortal and destined to go to heaven, as a result of Adam’s sin passing upon us?  Did Adam eat of the tree of life and pass such a blessing upon us all, in spite of being cast from the garden to prevent him from eating of the tree of life and living forever?   Away, with such doctrines of men (Isaiah 29: 13; Matthew 15: 9)!  

 It is true that the condition that passed upon Adam, passed upon all mankind (Romans 5: 12). 

We must take notice, and believe what God has shown us.  In passing the sentence upon Adam, God clearly reminded Adam that God had made him of “the dust of the ground” (Genesis 2: 7).  God, through the angel of His presence, said to Adam, “Dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.”  

Therefore, the undeniable truth is, that Adam was sentenced to return to what he was before he was formed into a man, that is, simply to the dust of the earth where there is no life or thoughts.

As Adam was created of the dust of the ground, as the dust was pulled together to create the man, was that dust aware of anything?  Were life and thoughts already active in that dust? Was the dust alive and able to think and talk?

Only after the man became a living soul, was there life and thought.  In Genesis 3: 17, God told Adam that the sentence he was passing upon Adam would result in Adam returning to the very condition that existed prior to the dust becoming a man.  That truth was that Adam would once again only be dust.  Again, such confusion is the result of the doctrines of men.

Never does the Logos of God ever teach a doctrine that sends men to the presence of God, when that sentence which was passed upon Adam overtakes a man. 

Let us examine the testimony of God as He describes the condition of a man or woman who has died.

Since Solomon is said to have the “wisdom of God” (I Kings 3: 28), at the beginning of his reign, we shall begin with his testimony in Ecclesiastes 3: 17-22.

Verse 19 – “That which befalleth man and beasts is the same.”  As the one dieth, so dieth the other.”

Verse 20- man and beasts “All go unto one place.

Verse 21- Many suppose this verse declares that the spirits of men go upward; and the spirits of the beast goes downward.

No! The verse is a question! Solomon had asked, “Who knows of such a thing?”  He had just declared in Vs. 21, “They both go one place.”

The Pagans believed that the “spirit” goes upward, but not believers of truth.

Does anyone suppose that beasts, when they die, continue to exist in heaven?  No! Psalms 49: 20 testifies that when the beasts die, they perish, that is, they cease to exist.

It also states clearly that even honorable men suffer the same fate! 

God inspired the Psalmist to write in Psalms 146: 4 of the sons of men who die: “His breath goeth forth, he returneth to his earth; and in that very day his thoughts perish.”

Ecclesiastes 9: 10 - Verses 8-10 are addressing servants of God as verse 8 shows, for it addresses those in white garments: “Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave whither thou goest.” 

Notice that this verse not only declares that believers go to the grave and not to heaven, but that no consciousness exists where they go. 

Verse 5 declares that the dead “know not anything.”                                                                                              

Psalm 115: 17-  “The dead praise not the Lord, neither any that go down into silence.”                                                                                    

I Corinthians 15: 17-18- “If Christ be not raised… then they also who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.”        

Comment:  If those in Christ had gone to heaven when they died, then they already had been redeemed and the need for Christ to have died and risen again could not affect them in any way. 

The truth is, as the inspired Apostle Paul, in Hebrews 11:  13 had declared,  “All these died in faith, not having received the promises, but saw them afar off.” 

Paul, in Hebrews 11: 40 declares that those who had died in Old Testament times would not be dealt with before all others of New Testament times are examined (at Christ’s Judgment Bema). 

The truth is that they are all awaiting the resurrection from the dead, all to be dealt with at the same time (Luke 14: 14: I Thessalonians 4: 16).  The redeemed will be invited to inherit the kingdom “prepared for them from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25: 34).  Thus, “the meek will inherit the earth and dwell therein forever” (Psalm 37: 29; Matthew 5: 5).

            Wayne R. Tanner

 

                                                                                                                                            

 

The Rich Man and Lazarus

Luke 16: 19-31 

The religious apostasy, having fulfilled 2 Timothy 4: 4 in turning from the truth unto “fables,” feels that this parable furnishes certain proof of their false doctrine of eternal punishment of the wicked in a burning hell. 

Therefore, prior to examining the doctrine set forth in these words of Jesus, the first task is to determine whether or not this portion of Scripture is a literal account ... or if it is a parable.  

First, exactly what is a parable? A parable is described by Webster as “a short story teaching an allegorical lesson.” Actually, the story that is narrated is not the lesson being taught. The story that is narrated is allegorical of a completely different, factual account. 

As proof of this, we should consider all the parables of Jesus in Matthew chapter thirteen.  Not one of those stories which Jesus narrates is the objective lesson Jesus is teaching those Israelites.  Again, every story Jesus narrates in that chapter is teaching a completely different subject than that which is narrated. 

It must also be proven whether or not Luke 16:19-31 is a factual account, or if it can be proven to be a parable.  As proof of the answer to that, we have only to consider again the parables of Matthew the thirteenth chapter. In verse 34 of that chapter, we find our answer.  Notice: “All these things spoke Jesus unto the multitude in parables, and without a parable spoke he not unto them.” 

Therefore we now have only to notice that in Luke 16: 14, as Jesus spoke the words of the narrative of the “Rich Man and Lazarus,” he was speaking to the Pharisees, who were always part of the multitude which Jesus addressed. Therefore, this is proof that Jesus delivered this narrative of Luke 16: 19-31 to a group of people who he never addressed except in a parable.  Therefore, Scripture clearly teaches that the account of the rich man and Lazarus is a parable. 

The Parable: Jesus begins, “There was a certain rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day.”  Who was it that God had actually clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously? The answer is given in Ezekiel chapter 16:8-14 where God is addressing Israel, reminding them that He had taken Israel as His chosen, covenanted one.  In verse 13, we find God reminding Israel what he had done for them.  Note: “Thus wast thou decked with gold and silver, and thy raiment was of fine linen, and silk, and embroidered work; thou did eat fine flour and honey, and oil; and thou wast exceedingly beautiful, and thou didst prosper into a kingdom.” (The kingdom was represented by the “purple” of the rich man’s purple clothing.) 

Now, someone may object that Ezekiel's sixteenth chapter is representing Israel as a beautiful woman, not as a man.  Let no one deceive himself with such reasoning. Throughout the entirety of scripture, Israel is referred to by both genders.  In Luke 1:33 Israel is referred to as “Jacob,” a man whose name was changed to Israel (Genesis 32: 8). In Ezekiel 16th chapter; Jeremiah 3rd chapter, and Hosea 2nd chapter Israel is represented as the rebellious wife of God.  It is not improper to refer to Israel by either gender. 

It is also especially noticeable that the “rich man in Luke 16: 24, 30, calls Abraham, “his father.”  Therefore, the “rich man” descended from Abraham. Also, in Luke 16: 29, 31, the rich man is told that his brothers have “Moses and the prophets,” and that they heard not Moses and the prophets.  Certainly, the writings of Moses and the prophets had no relevance to anyone other than Abraham’s descendants until Gentiles accepted the writings of Moses and the prophets. 

  However, Romans 15: 4 says that Moses and the prophets are for the “learning” of New Testament believers. Never were New Testament (Gentile) believers under the laws of the Old Testament or under the covenants of promise (but became familiar with them by their entrance into Christ by baptism (full immersion in water). 

New Testament “beggars” are representative of Gentiles who were without God and Christ and without hope in the world (Ephesians 2:12). They longed for and begged for the hope that Israel had possessed (Ephesians 2:1, 11-12). 

A problem for some apostates is that the rich man class (Israel) saw from “hades” (Luke 16:23), that the Lazarus (beggar) class was in Abraham’s bosom (meaning in the Abrahamic favor). Now “hades” is the Greek word for “grave” (I Corinthians 15:55).  When Israel died as a nation, they were said to be in their “grave” awaiting resurrection as a nation (Ezekiel 37:11-21). 

Israel has long resented Gentile “Churches.”  They feel that only the Hebrews have a favorable connection with God.  And, indeed, most Gentiles do not have a covenant relationship with God.  Only those in possession of the “Gospel of Jesus Christ’’ can be said to be in covenant with God, and therefore be in “Abraham’s bosom,” or in the Abrahamic favor (Galatians 3: 26-29).    Wayne R. Tanner

 

The Glory which I had with Thee before the World Began

(John 17: 5) 

The words of Jesus contained in the above title have resulted in very false teaching throughout the apostate world of religion. On the basis of these words of Jesus, many have concluded that Jesus is declaring that he existed “in glory” prior to the Garden of Eden. 

 There is much divine truth in this 17th chapter of John that alerts us to the fact that Jesus was not declaring any such false doctrine.

Again, there is much in this chapter that declares that Jesus use of the term “glory” in verse 5 is not a reference to the brilliant glow of  the divine nature (Matthew 13:43), but is a reference to the “glorious” truth of God which He purposes in Jesus.  As the truth of this, we should notice and be guided by Jesus’ words in John 17: 22.  Notice! “And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one, even as we are one.”

Jesus was still mortal at the time of John chapter 17, which was before his crucifixion.

At no time before his crucifixion, was Jesus in possession of the divine nature, therefore, he did not possess “divine glory.”  Therefore, the glory that Jesus had, and gave to his disciples, was not the glory of the divine nature. Like Jesus, until after his resurrection, none of the disciples of Jesus possessed the divine nature, and never did they shine forth like the sun (Matthew 13: 43).

Throughout this seventeenth chapter of John, the truth of God is referred to as “glory.”  Therefore, in verse five,  Jesus is asking his Father to finally fulfill in him the “glorious” purpose of God which God purposed in him from the beginning (John 1: 1, 14). 

God’s Foreknowledge

It may be objected that Jesus remarked that he had this glory with God “before the world was.”  Such a remark would betray a misunderstanding of much of God’s truth.  God often made it clear that He had foreknowledge of all future events and spoke of them in advance, as though they already existed.

We see this in Psalms 139: 15-16 where the psalmist declares that God saw the Psalmist’s members even “before they were formed.”

We see this again in Jeremiah 1: 5, that before “God formed Jeremiah in his mother’s womb, that God already knew him and had ordained him a prophet unto the nations”, in advance of Jeremiah’s existence.

In Isaiah 44: 28, God said of the Persian King Cyrus, three hundred years in advance of Cyrus’s existence, “… he is my shepherd.” Therefore, three hundred years before Cyrus existed, because of God’s foreknowledge, He declared “He IS my shepherd.”

Again, In Isaiah 45:1 God declares, “Cyrus, whose right hand I have held.”

That right hand of Cyrus did not even exist for another three hundred years after God had declared He had held Cyrus’s right hand.  What God purposes in the future, He speaks of His foreknowledge as though it was an event that already happened.  So it is with His foreknowledge of his “glorious” purpose in Jesus.

In Genesis, the type of the blood of “the lamb slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13: 8) covered the sin of Adam and Eve, yet it didn’t really happen, until four thousand years later (Hebrews 9: 15), as the blood of Jesus redeemed all the transgressions under the first Testament (Hebrews 9: 15).

All too often the Pagan world of religion searches for passages that can be made to fit their perceived, Pagan ideas instead of believing God’s word as He sets it forth.

Such pertains to the words of Jesus in John 17: 5 when Jesus made the statement that God has not yet bestowed divine glory onto Jesus until after his resurrection.  Yet Jesus speaks of “glory” that he already had, and that had given to the disciples (verse 22). Yet none of them yet had shone forth with divine glory as described in Matthew 13: 43. Therefore, Jesus’ reference throughout the chapter has to be a reference to the “glorious” truth of God, which He had purposed in and through Jesus the Christ. Wayne R. Tanner                                                                                                         

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