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A short sketch of the fundamental truths from Scripture

Introduction

This is but a short sketch of the fundamental truths from Scripture – it is not a detailed theology, although I have framed these learnings, mostly, in the usual theological groupings, nor is it a treatise of the truths of Scripture for that would fill many volumes. The following appear to me, a sinner saved by grace, to be fundamental to the walk of a Christian, who are born again and are in Christ. In keeping with the focus of the life-everlasting website, the purpose is to encourage Christians in their walk, help them correct error and to teach the truth. These words may also give a non-Christian a framework in order to understand the pattern of a Christian’s life, the basis of such a person’s actions and the reason of his or her belief.

Note about the Bible references

Although I have been very careful in choosing the Bible references as evidence of each statement there may be some mistakes. These I will correct in time.

Importantly I have not included a comprehensive list of all Scripture that supports a particular statement; but rather verses that either led me to the particular truth, or the most relevant, and in the case of the Gospels, usually the first reference, since in some cases the words or events are repeated once, twice, three or four times.

Bible also known as the Canon or Holy Scriptures

The Canon

The Scripture teaches that the Canon (which means measuring stick), usually referred to as the Bible (first use by Luke 4:18) or Scripture (which means writings), is the Word of God (1 Thes. 2:13). Jesus, speaking to Jews, uses the term “Word of God” to mean the written Law of Moses (Matthew 15:6) but this was before the New Testament was written.  

The Bible is divinely and supernaturally inspired (2 Tim 3:16) and is complete (2 Peter 1:3) in that we need nothing more for life or salvation. The Bible covers all situations a human may find him- or her- self in and answers all relevant questions of the past and future. It however does not include all the words of God (e.g. John 20:30, 31), and indeed some have heard words or seen things which they were not allowed to add to the Canon (e.g. 2Co 12:4; Rev 10:4).

The Canon holds the supreme place in the councils of God, whereby God honours his Word, above His name (Psalm 138:2). The Word of God is indestructible as testified by Peter who says:

Having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, through the word of God which lives and abides forever, because "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of the grass. The grass withers, and its flower falls away, but the word of the lord endures forever." Now this is the Word which by the gospel was preached to you.  (1 Peter 1:23-25)

The Scriptures are a direct revelation of God; it is by these words we are able to rightly interpret any other revelation of God. Jesus states that hearing Scripture is more important than seeing a miracle (Luke 16:31); in that hearing the words of Moses would be more important (persuasive) than seeing someone rise from the dead – the Jews believed neither when these events occurred (Romans 3:3; Hebrews 3:19).

It follows then that any interpretation of the Bible is by God, and therefore must be taken from the view-point of God – indeed it is the Holy Spirit who gives understanding (2 Peter 1:20, 21). The Bible contains the Truth and is inerrant; for God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18) which means the promises, tenants and ordinances of Scripture cannot be broken (John 10:35). Prophecy in scripture is a direct revelation of God, either past, present or future: these were not private thoughts of the author (2 Peter 1:20).

The purpose of the Bible to bring the knowledge of the gospel to all people (Romans 10:15), and to equip a saved person to do the work of God (2 Tim 3:17; 2 Tim 2:21). Thus the Bible sets out the creation of man and his fall, along with the relationship between man and God, and the personhood of Yeshua – who is God who took on the form of Man.

The amazing thing about the Bible is its consistency for although it was completed some 2000 years ago, and written over a period of 1500 years by approximately 40 authors in three languages not one part contradicts another. For instance, the doctrine and theology of the Pastoral Epistles is in accord exactly with that of the Law (Genesis – Deuteronomy). The reason for this is that the Scripture is God-breathed being authored by the Holy Spirit (2 Peter 2:20, 21). Any contradictions found are due to human’s inability to know the mind of God.

Truth

All truth is vested with God, for God cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Heb 6:18), thus all His words, actions and purposes are true (Psalm 25:10; 2 Sam 7:28). On the other hand, the heart of all humans is deceitful and extremely (desperately) wicked (Jeremiah 17:9).

Christ himself is Truth, being the “way the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

The truth is found in the Bible (Psalm 139:16; Dan 10:21; John 10:35; Rev 5:1) noting the Bible does not contain all truth[1]. Thus when the Bible speaks of matters of science it is always absolutely truthful, but it does not set out all, or indeed, many of the great precepts of science.

Truth is reality, and reality is truth; therefore all events either in the future or in the past must be interpreted by Truth: Jesus Christ. However, the Great Deceiver (Rev 12:9), Satan, attempts to cloud or distort the truth making a lie look like truth by sending evil men into the world, including into churches, to mislead many (Matt 24:5; see also 1 & 2 Timothy and 1 Peter etc).

Pride appears to be the principal enemy of truth (Psalm 59:12; Prov 8:13), with Paul warning Timothy that novice elders (1 Tim 3:6) are likely to fall due to pride; falling into the same sin that condemned Satan (Ezek 28:15-19).

Reading Scripture

The purpose of reading the Bible is to hear and comprehend what the Holy Spirit had to say to the audience of the verse, chapter or book the each author wrote. Its application today needs to be made in context of the New Testament and for each Book, the dispensation in which it was written sets the context for its application. Notably most of the Old Testament needs to be ssen through the lens of the original authors who were Jews. Applying a western modern lens can easily distort the true meaning of Scripture.

The Holy Scripture is not a mystery – it was written by ordinary men – some fairly illiterate such as the fishermen Peter (Matt 4:18) and John (Matt 4:21), but some were prime or high ranking ministers such as Nehemiah (Nehemiah 1:11) and Daniel who were very well educated and understood world politics (Dan 1:17; also Dan 7 etc.). Other educated and higher experienced men included Moses and Paul. In every case, each portion of the Canon was written by these chosen men to ordinary people including you and I: sometimes Israel, sometimes the all nations and sometimes an individual such as Luke’s writings, or the letters to Timothy and Titus, and many cases to specific churches such as those at Ephesus, or Corinth. I find this enlightening – it was written for ordinary people to read - thus Scripture was written to be easily understood. There are clearly figures of speech – in the same manner we used to day, metaphors, allegories and other literary devices, but in each case interpretable by the reader.  These must to be viewed in the context there were written.

Interpretation of the Bible

The Bible, or Scriptures as it is known, is useful for doctrine (telling us what is right), for reproof or rebuking (telling us what is not right), for correction (telling us how to get it right) and for instruction of training (telling us how to stay right) (2 Tim 3:16). Its words are powerful and dynamic – likened to something living – indeed the writer to the Hebrews states that “the word of God is alive and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword...” (Heb 4:12).

If one wants to know the true interpretation of scripture one needs to heed God himself in the same way David asked the Lord to teach him the ways of the Lord (Psalm 86:11). It is clearly apparent from the Psalms, at least, God will guide and counsel believers; He will instruct and teach the ways one should go (Psalm 32:8). In particular He will teach discernment between right and wrong (Isaiah 28:26). Wisdom is taught by God through His word - wisdom is the fear of the Lord (e.g. Proverbs 4, 7 and 8) and it is this facet of God that God himself will teach (Psalm 34:11). The Canon is the starting point, and of course, God will use life’s experiences to teach each believer.

Don’t make Scripture say what it does not, or put another way, where Scripture stops, we must also stop.

Therefore, start with the ordinary usual and natural (most basic) literal sense first, ALWAYS IN CONTEXT, and if this makes no sense then apply the correct literary device – which is always indicated.[2] This means the normal meaning of each word has its normal usage. Thus metaphors (i.e. figures of speech), need to be understood in their ordinary sense first, (e.g. the shepherd as a career of sheep) before its potential metaphoric use (in the case of shepherd; as Jesus Christ), is employed. And more importantly, the word ‘shepherd’ is only a metaphor in some contexts, and never alone (alone it is a noun).

Prophecy

Since Peter teaches that prophecy, in particular, is not of one’s own interpretation stating: “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation” (2 Peter 1:20, 21), a believer is behoved to find the interpretation of prophecy in Scripture as guided by the Holy Spirit. It is the latter a mature Christian has learnt – and thus actively listens for, and to, the Holy Spirit. This attribute of a Christian is set out seven times in the Letters to the Churches; in each the church in purview is told to listen and obey the Holy Spirit.

God (The study of God – Theology Proper)

There is one God

The Lord God Most High (Gen 14:18, 19, 20, 22; Psa 7:17), the true God; He is a living God, and the everlasting King (Jeremiah 10:10). There is only one God and He is one: He is Jehovah (known to Israel as Yahweh) (Deut 6:4). God is known through Christ as Father, and along with the Son and Holy Spirit forms the unity of the Godhead (John 14:16; 10:30).

There is one God (1 Tim 2:5) and no other (Deut 6:4; Isa 45:18; James 2:19), on whom the entire universe depends for its existence (Col 1:17).

No one has seen God, for man could not possibly look upon Him without dying (Exodus 33:19, 20), but God has been revealed to us in Christ Jesus (John 1:18). Scripture teaches that the Word [logos], who was with God and was God (from the beginning) (John 1:1), became a man (flesh) and dwelt on earth (amongst people) (John 1:1), send by God the Father (1 John 4:14) as the Saviour of the world (Luke 2:11) so we might know the Father (John 10:30; John 14:6; 1 John 5:20).

God is Three

The word trinity, meaning three, is not found in the Bible, but describes the three fold nature of the character of God. It shows that God is triune, a concept humans cannot understand, describing that fact that there is one God, the Lord God Jehovah  - YHWH (Genesis 15:2) who is God Most High (Genesis 14:22; Psalm 47:2), being God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. Thus God is known through the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s Son, as Father, revealed to us by the Holy Spirit. These three, Father, Son and Holy Spirit form the unity of the Godhead (Rom 1:20; Col 2:9), called the trinity; each with a specific role which can be seen in action in Psalm 2.

We see all three either speaking or being spoken about in the Bible. In Isaiah 42:1 the Father speaks of His Son (2nd person) and of the Holy Spirit, who is upon the Son (3rd person). A similar prophetic speech is made in Isaiah 61:1, but this time by the Son (the me in the verse) who refers to the Spirit of the Lord Jehovah who is the Holy Spirit, along with Jehovah – who is Father.  Other passages include Isaiah 48:12-16 (God is the speaker); 63:7-14 (here the Son is referred to as the angel of his presence, who is the Angel of Jehovah).  A more recent and striking revelation of the trinity was seen at the baptism of Jesus – where the Son is present, the Father Speaks and the Holy Spirit descends upon the Son (Matthew 3:16, 17). Jesus himself also speaks of three – himself, the Father and the Comforter who is the Holy Spirit, which was to come and indwell born again believers (John 14:16, 17).

God the Father

I do not have a well-developed concept of God the Father in my mind. I do know the propensity of the modern Christian to pray to ‘Father God’, which misplaces the title of God and its importance; He is not Father God, but rather, both God and Father, thus prayer should be to God our Father or God and Father (1 Thessalonians 1:1 etc.) or to Our Heavenly Father (Matthew 6:26, 32 etc.)

I note that the term ‘Father’ distinguishes God the Father from the Son (Yeshua or Jesus Christ) and from the Holy Spirit. God is Father, in that He is the only begotten father of the Messiah – Jesus Christ, a term John uses in John 1:14, 18, 3:16, 18, and can be found in the New Testament in Hebrews 11:17 and 1 John 4:9.

It was God the Father that created all things, over which He has placed His son, Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 8:6), and in this He is also addressed as the Father of Lights (James 1L17). He also created the angels (1 Corinthians 8:6) and who can be addressed as the sons of God (Genesis 6:1-4; Job 1:6; 2:1; 38:7). Being the creator, He is thus the Father of all things and in particular the Father of all people – referred to in Acts 17:29, Ephesians 3:14, 15 and Hebrews 12:9 – the father of our flesh, and in particular the Father of spirits, which form the core of humans. Israel knows God as the Father of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, thus the Father of Israel (Deuteronomy 32:6, in general; Hosea 11:1 etc. specifically of Israel).

To the Christian – the one saved by grace through Christ Jesus; God is the Father (John 1:12) – thus believers are called the children of God and refer to the saving nature of God; noting that God the Father created all people, but God the Father does not save all people, but rather offers salvation to all people (1 Timothy 2:4) – it is their choice whether to accept or reject God’s offer (Acts 17:30 etc.).

I have yet to explore the work of the Father, but the gospels clearly show that God the Father purposed the work of the Saviour (Jesus) during his time here on earth in that God the Father sent his son to do the work of redemption (John 5:24, 36, 37; 6:38 etc.).

Governance of God (Dispensations)

God applies His stewardship or oversight or administration (sometimes referred to His economy) to the world, which is varied according to the revelation He has made to mankind in order to achieve His purpose. In this His administration has changed from time to time; this forms the basis for dispensations.

The best meaning of the word ‘dispensation’, I have found is what C.C. Ryrie states, and here I paraphrase: “a dispensation is that of managing or administering a household.” They are distinguished from one another by different governing relations which God enters or establishes, and along with this there is a different responsibilities of mankind in each different relation. I accept Fruchtenbaum’s summary of the essence of dispensations[3]: 1) Israel and Church are distinct and separate; 2) Scripture is to be read ‘plainly’ – that any hermeneutic is ‘normal or plain’; thus, only where indicated is Scripture spiritualized or allegorised – take the plain reading unless it makes none- sense, and in this the true object of each dispensation can be understood,  and 3) the purpose of God is His glory (in which one finds salvation – Christ glorifies God in salvation).

Thus, dispensations describe well the counsels of the Almighty God in his dealings with mankind. We are currently governed under the dispensation of Grace.

The Holy Spirit (Pneumatology)

The Holy Spirit is the third member of the trinity and is called the Comforter or Helper by Jesus (John 16:7-15) or simply the Holy Spirit (e.g. Psalm 51:11). The Holy Spirit is the divine revealer of truth (2 Colossians 2:10); the one that uncovers (or unveils) truths hitherto unknown to mankind. In the New Testament, Jesus Christ did not have time to reveal all the necessary truths to his disciples; this was left to the Holy Spirit (John 16:12-14). The Holy Spirit however does more than uncover hidden truths, such as the mystery[4] of the Church. The Holy Spirit makes the meaning of those truths evident. We can say he illuminates the truth through the anointing of the Holy Spirit of all believers (1 John 2:20), thus we understand its meaning and can exercise its purpose. For a believer, the Holy Spirit makes known the meaning of the Bible (2 Peter 1:20, 21) and gives gifts (Romans 12:6; 1 Corinthians 12:7-11) to enable the promulgation of the truth and gospel.

The Holy Spirit glorifies the Lord Jesus Christ by convicting individuals of their sin, by regenerating, sealing, baptizing and indwelling the believing sinner permanently at the moment of conversion (John 3:16; Titus 3:5; 1 Cor. 6:19; Ephesians 1:13; Rom. 8:2, 4, 12, 13; 1 Cor. 12:13; 2 Cor.1:22).

A Christian is empowered by the Holy Spirit for godly living and his workmanship ordered (ordained) by God (Eph. 2:10). It is the Holy Spirit that convinces a Christian he or she is Christ’s (Rom 8:16) – he provides the assurance of salvation (2 Thessalonians 1:5).

Angels, Demons and Satan (Angelology, Demonology & Satanology)

Angels

Angels are spirit beings (and male) and act as messengers of God, who will keep you, guide you and at times instruct you (Psalm 91:11) if you are a child of God. These have, from time to time, taken on the form of man. There are a myriad of references to this e.g., Genesis 16 – the story of Hagar, and Judges 13:3 – the story of Samson, to name two. Man is not to worship angels for angels are the servants of the Most High God (Rev 10:10 and other places). They are not subject to death but will be subject to eternal punishment if they disobey God (Matt 25:41; Rev 20:10).

Angels live in heaven and for this reason Scripture often refers to them as angels of heaven (e.g. Matt 18:10; 24:36; Luke 22:43 etc.). They are arranged in a hierarchy. Michael is the chief angel referred to as the archangel, one of two angels named in Scripture (Dan 10:13), the other being Gabriel (Dan 8:15-27). The worldly representation of angels as beings being brightly clothed with wings is the antithesis of what Scripture describes. Only once do the angels appear to be wearing white – those sitting in the tomb of Jesus (John 20:12). Angels do not have wings.

Angels are not glorified human beings – all believers in Christ are made one with Christ when they enter heaven and receive a glorified body[5]. Nor are angels permanent or transient emanations of God, that is, some powerful force wielded by God, so often displayed in super-man or woman type movies. Angels are spirit beings created by God for His good pleasure – for His service and that of messager.

Satan and Demons

Satan is a real and intelligent created being (for an example see Job 1), a Cherub (See angels) and thus a creature, with emotions (is puffed up – 1 Timothy 3:6) and a will (Isaiah 14:13-14). He (being male) influences the power of men and women – which his names, titles and references describe (see below). He will appear in the final days as a counterfeit Messiah and in whom a vast portion of the world will trust and worship (Rev 13:11-14) leading to their destruction with their souls being thrown into Hell (Revelation 20:7-10).

The Bible states that Satan was the chief of angels, who sinned from the beginning (1 John 3:8) being full of pride (1 Timothy 3:6). He desired to be like God and thus against God (Isaiah 14:12; see all of Chapter 14 of Isaiah), deceiving one third of the angels (Rev 12:4), who followed him (thus are called demons). God cast Satan out of the ‘mountain of God’ – and Christ defeated him at the cross by overcoming death (Ezek 28:25-19; Rom 8:2; 1 Cor 15).

Satan will be judged in the last days. During the Messianic reign of 1000 years (Millennium) (Rev 20:2) he will be tied up. At the end of this period he will be then loosed for a short while to test the hearts of men, after which he will be cast into hell (Rev 20:7-10).

It was Satan which hell was prepared (2 Peter 2:4; Matt 25:41) including the lead angel called the deceiver, Satan or the Devil who had the power of death, but was defeated by Christ (Heb 2:14).

Names of Satan

General names

Satan is the most common name used and means adversary or the one who resists (God), epitomised in 1 Chronicles 21:1.

Devil, meaning accuser or slanderer first used in Matthew 4:1, and explained in Revelation 12:9 (being Greek).

Beelzebub (from the Hebrew) used in Matthew 10:25; 12:24, 27; Mark 3:22 and Luke 11:15, 18, 19. It is equivalent to the name of the King of Ekron and means the Lord of the Flies or Dung Heap.

Belial (2 Cor 6:15) means worthlessness[6]

Titles of Satan that describe his characteristics

Anointed Cherub (Ezek 28:14); Day-Star, Son of Morning[7] (Isaiah 14:12); Destroyer and in Hebrew is Abaddon, but in Greek he has the name Apollyon (Rev 9:11); Evil One[8] (Matt 6:13; John 17:15; 2 Thes. 3:3; 1 John 5:18-19); God of This Age, that is, the world’s ideology and philosophy (2 Cor 4:4); King of Babylon – thus controls the nation of Iraq, but may also mean nations in general (Isaiah 14:4); King of Tyre – thus controls the governments of the world (Ezek 28:11-14); Prince of Demons  - being the one third of the angels that followed Satan (Matt 12:24; Luke 11:15); Prince of the Powers of the Air – the current abode of Satan (Eph 2:2) and Prince of this World[9] (John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11).

Angel of Light (2 Cor 11:14); Accuser of the Brethren (Rev 12:10; see also Job 1:9-11)); Tempter, Deceiver (Rev 12:9); The Serpent (Gen 3:1-4), The Dragon (Rev 12:3 etc), a Roaring Lion (1 Peter 5:8); The spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience (Eph 2:2).

The Saviour – Jesus Christ (Christology)

The Lord Jesus Christ

As indicated before, no one has seen God, for man could not possibly look upon Him without dying (Exodus 33:19, 20), but God has been revealed to us through Christ Jesus (John 1:18; 2 Cor. 5:18 etc.).

The Word [logos] which we know as the Scripture was with God and was God from the beginning (John 1:1), became a man (flesh) and dwelt on earth (amongst people) (John 1:10) as the Saviour of the world (Luke 2:11) being send by God the Father (1 John 4:14)

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God (John 1:34), and second member of the trinity, and is thus God (Phil 2:6). He is the express image (i.e. exact copy or representation) of God (Heb 1:3) and is the brightness of God’s glory[10] (Heb 1:3b). He became man, that is put on flesh (1 Tim 2:5-7), by being born to a virgin woman (Gal 4:4), call Mary (Luke 1:27; Matt 1:23), after the Holy Spirit come upon her (Luke 1:35), and he was named Jesus (Matthew 1:21; Luke 2:21) by his parents Joseph and Mary (Matt 1:25) by the command of God. Jesus is the Son of Man[11] (e.g. Matt 9:6; Luke 9:22), the Son of God (Matt 16:16), a Jew from tribe of Judah who was a son of Israel (Luke 1:30-33).  He is specifically from the family of David (Luke 3:31, Mark 12:35), and the rightful heir to the throne of David (Isa 9:6, 7). He will rule from David’s throne after his people (Israel) have been dealt with, which occurs after the time of the Gentiles (Romans 9, 10 & 11).

God spoke in the past through the prophet, but most recently through his Son, who is the heir of all things (Heb 1:2).

Scripture states that the Lord Jesus Christ was before the foundation of the world (1 Peter 1:20), and is the beginning and the end; the ‘I AM’ (Exodus 3:14; John 8:58), thus he could tell the Pharisees that he was before Abraham (John 5:58). That is, Jesus Christ existed before the beginning of this universe and thus is eternal (Micha 5:2b; John 1:1; John 8:58; 1 Col 1:18; Hebrews 1:11).

The Lord Jesus Christ left his glory (he currently sits on the right hand of God, demonstrating his pre-eminence in all things – Matt 22:44-46) and became human (as in flesh[12]), a man, and a servant (Matt 20:28), obedient to the Father, even to death (Phil 2:8, John 5:30) in order to deliver us out of this evil world (Gal 1:4) who is under the power of Satan (1 John 5:19).

Jesus Christ (meaning the anointed one) is the promised Messiah (Dan 9:25, 26) and Saviour of the World (Acts 13:23, 1 John 4:14), foretold in the Old Testament. Leaving aside the analogies and types which speak of the Messiah, for instance David, the Old Testament clearly taught of the coming of the Messiah, and this Messiah was Jesus, which was understood at the time of Jesus.[13]

It was Jesus Christ that purged our sins (Hebrews 1:3c). I note that that sins are not forgiven, but rather people are forgiven (Col 3:13); sins are done away with (Romans 6:6)). Jesus Christ did this once for all and then sat at the right hand of God (Acts 2:33, 24; Hebrews 8:1). Also the Bible is clear that sins are not discounted, but rather each and every sin is accounted for by placing them against Christ, who pays the price in full (1 Peter 3:18), thus he has wiped the slate of a believer clean of  past, present and future sin (Col 2:14). The price he paid for our sin was death by crucifixion (1 Peter 2:24; Gospels), leading to separation from His Father (Psalm 22:1; Matt 27:46; Mark 15:34), and in doing so redeemed us with his own life (Gal 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18).

The Jews were waiting for the Messiah from the day of Abraham (John 8:56). But the first glimpse of the Messiah was shown to Adam after his fall (Gen 3:15), was foretold by Israel (Gen 49:10) and again by Balaam (Num 24:17). Moses looked forward to the day of the Messiah (Deut 18:18), which Jesus alluded to (John 5:46).

David’s throne is the throne on which the Messiah shall ascend (2 Sam 7:13) which will last for ever (Psalm 2:6). The Messiah is foreshadowed in the Old Testament for David was a type of Christ. David spoke much of the Messiah as did other psalmists e.g. Psalm 2, noting in this Psalm the Father, The Son and the Holy Spirit speak to each other (Psalm 2:6), Psalm 9, Psalm 21 and Psalm 40. Zion is spoken much of in the Old Testament as the place of reign of the coming Messiah – which is Jerusalem (Psalm 2:6). All these things the Jews looked forward to.

Prophecy of Christ’s suffering

The suffering and humiliation of Christ is clearly foretold; indeed, the Gospel, notably Matthew demonstrates the truthfulness of the prophecies and their fulfilment in Jesus Christ: see Psalm 22, Psalm 16, Psalm 40, and Isaiah 53 etc.

The Prophecy of Isaiah outlines the suffering of the Messiah for the sins of the people; he was to come to his own (Israel) and be rejected (John 1:11), he suffered for our sins:

He borne our grief, carried our sorrows; he was stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted and he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities and by this we can have peace, and by his suffering we can, through faith have our sins washed way (Isaiah 53).

The coming of Christ again

1.    Christ will come to gather the church – his bridge to himself

God will send Christ at an appointed time to receive the bride of Christ – the Church - to Himself (John 14:1-3), raising up those that that are His and are dead – they will receive new bodies, and God will change the living so their bodies are perfect like His (Matthew 24:36).

Christians wait for the coming day of Jesus in anticipation – they do not look for signs but rather busy themselves with the work of the Lord, but the Jews [non-believers in Jesus Christ] watch for the coming day; they demand a sign, but He will come as a thief to those that watch (for there will be signs for the second coming - Matthew 13 & 24 (i.e. verse 32), Mark 13 and Acts 2:19).

2.    Christ will come to judge the world

There is an appointed day when God will judge the world, that is, all people who have rejected His Son (Revelation 6:10). This occurs after those of Jehovah’s, i.e. the Church, is taken out of this world, at the rapture. I learn from Scripture that prophecy is to be read as occurring in the order it is written, and read as written.

The judgement will be in righteousness (Psalms 72:2) by Christ who will judge the dead, small and great (Revelation 20:12). All will give an account of himself to God (Romans 14:12), but the righteous (those saved by grace, who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ) will inherit eternal life (Romans 6:23) made possible (Ephesians 6:10-12) through the propitiation of Christ for our sins (Romans 3:24 - 25), and the wicked will be punished with everlasting destruction, being cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15) called hell (Deuteronomy 32:22).

The order of things (discussed in detail in the section called eschatology)

Christ first comes for his own at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4), after which seven years of tribulation occurs, although I know not the time between the rapture and the beginning of this tribulation[14] (Revelation 6 – 19, along with the prophecy of Daniel, Zachariah etc.) then there will be a thousand years of reign with Christ (the millennium) followed by the last judgement (Revelation 20) and a new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21 & 22).

Christ died for our sins

Christ died for our sins which is in accordance with Scriptures, having come in human flesh (incarnation) [his humanity is explained in the four gospels] approximately 2000 ago, and has put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself (Hebrews 9:26), in that he bore our sins in His body on the cross (1 Peter 2:24) referred to as ‘the tree’ in Scripture (Acts 5:30), becoming sin for our sake (2 Cor 5:21), suffering for our sins - the just (Christ) for the unjust (you and I) - that we might be brought to God (1 Peter 3:18). He became our righteousness in God (1 Cor 1:30) by dying on the cross, and this act is all-atoning (i.e. all covering), that is, all sin of an individual is dealt with – there is no sin except that of the rejection of Christ that cannot be paid for by Christ’s death.

The rejection of Christ as the Son of God is blaspheming the Holy Spirit. It is the Holy Spirit that convicts a person that the only way to be saved is to accept Jesus Christ – if one rejects Christ one cannot be saved, as the only path for redemption is through Christ (Mark 3:29). In essence the rejection says of the Holy Spirit that he is wrong. However, the blood of Christ is efficacious to the extent it deals with both the sins of omission (in ignorance, as codified by Moses[15]) and sins of commission (deliberate, as in when David had sexual intercourse with Bathsheba) such that the guilty conscious can be cleansed, which Aaron could not achieve (Hebrews 9:9).

As an example, scripture shows that although Paul, formally Saul, killed righteous men and women, and considered himself the most sinful person ever (1 Timothy 1:15), he was redeemed (Galatians 3:13) by the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:18, 19).

Since without the shedding of blood there is no remission – we remain in our sins forever if not redeemed (Hebrews 9:22) but with the blood of Christ there is remission (Hebrews 10:18). Christ has fulfilled this requirement for those that believe in him. I also note that this was not a class action – Christ died for each and every sin of a believer, for each and every individual believer (Leviticus 4:2 (individual), 4:13 (nation), 4:22 (ruler), 4:27 (common person) and 5:14 (trespass in ignorance), see also Numbers 15). That is, he dealt with every sinner’s sin individually on the cross (Hebrews 9:28). The book of Romans helps the understanding of this.

Christ rose from the dead and entered heaven, the Holy Spirit was sent as promised

Christ died due to being crucified, was laid in a grave in accordance to Scriptures (John 19:41) and rose again from the grave (i.e. from among the dead) three days later (Matthew 28:6; Acts 10:40; 1 Corinthians 15:20 and many more), raised by God (Acts 5:30) and a little later (50 days later) taken into heaven where now he is with God himself, seated on His right hand (Hebrews 1:3), as seen by Stephen (Acts 7).

I see from Scripture that Christ stated that if he were to leave this world another would come, called the Comforter, the Holy Spirit, being the third person of the trinity (John 16:7, also John 14: 14 and 26, John 15:26). I have learnt that this is indeed true and that the Holy Spirit indwells His people individually and collectively (Roman 8:9, 11; also John 16:7), so that we are the temple of God (1 Cor 3:16; Eph 2:21). This so seals the people of God, anoints them, with God’s love poured (shed: KJV) into our hearts. He leads us and is the guarantee of our inheritance. Proof of this is the fact we can cry Abba Father, as sons (Ephesians 1:13, 14). For this reason I HAVE ABSOLUTE ASSURANCE OF SALVATION – BECAUSE HE LIVES WITHIN ME! No other religious group has this assurance, and no other religious group, in particular the Moslems, can identify what their god did for them as an individual. The Lord God Most High dealt with my sin individually!

Prophecy on the nature of Messiah and his coming

The nature of the Messiah is shown in various portions of the Old Testament – especially the Prophets. Isaiah 11 shows him to be the king and ruler over the house of David in the time to come (Isaiah 11:1), and demonstrates the rightness of him being the heir to the throne, arising from the tribe of Judah (Micah 5:2), the rightful holder of the sceptre (See Psalm 45 & Isaiah 66). He was to come physically (Isaiah 40:10)[16], and as saviour (Isaiah 53), which also clearly foretold of his suffering for our sake.

The Old Testament is also very specific as to when, where and how he was to be born. For instance Bethlehem (Micah 5:2; Matt 2:6) was prophesied to be his birthplace, born into the tribe of Judah (see also Matthew 1 & Luke 3), at a time of great turmoil (Jeremiah 31:15 & Matthew 2:18), after the second temple was repaired (Haggai 2:9) etc. Jesus did not come into the world unannounced, but the prophets stated a forerunner would first appear (Malachi 3:1) - this was John the Baptist (see Matthew 3, John 1:19, Luke 3 etc.).

Heaven, Earth & Hell (Cosmology)

Creation of the Earth and the Heavens

God owns both the heavens and the earth (Genesis 14:19, 22; 24:2, 3); indeed he is the creator of the universe and all things in it (Genesis 1:1, 2:4; Isaiah 40:28, 42:5).

The very existence of all things depends upon God who created all things (Genesis 1:1, 2; Acts 14:15); being created by Him for His good pleasure (Col 1:16, 17). Indeed, that which exists was called out from nothing and they are maintained in their present state by God (Col 1:17).

The narration of creation is laid out in the Book of Genesis, which gives the manner and time the world and surrounding universe were created; in which it stated and it is a truthful saying, that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh (Genesis 2:2). However Scripture also states that to comprehend that God created all things (in six days) requires faith (Hebrews 11:3). That is, without faith in God, a person cannot comprehend the power of God and His ability to create the intricacies of the universe and maintain it.

God did not merely setup a set of conditions from which the universe evolved, but rather, on each of the six days of creation, God created each and every thing specifically (See Genesis chapter 1 with specific details on the creation of humans in chapter 2).

The Book of Genesis (Beginnings) states the world was created in six days, and on the seventh God rested (Gen 1 & 2). Scripture shows that man was created in the image of God, and was not a derivative of animal (Genesis 1-3).

Heaven

Heaven can mean a place as well as a generalised realm – for instance Daniel refers to God as the God of the heavens (Dan 2:44). Heaven is the abode of God (Psalm 14:2, 53:2, 115:3) and His angels (Matt18:10; Mark 12:25). Although heaven is the abode of angels they are sent from heaven from time to time for various purposes e.g. at the time Christ was being persecuted prior to being crucified to comfort him (Luke 22:43).

Heaven is where the saints (any person that believes in the Lord Jesus Christ and are saved) will spend eternity (Philippians 3:20) which in a few places is referred to as the “assembly of the saints” (Psalm 89:5; 89:7; 149:1).

Hell

There is much confusion about hell; both doctrinally and from various Bible translations that have rendered the Greek or Hebrew various ways.

There are two places of abode of the wicked: Gehenna and Hades (Greek) also called Sheol in Hebrew. Gehenna is not Hades (or Sheol – being the Hebrew, which is often translated grave or pit e.g. Isaiah 24:18). Hades is the grave of the dead-in-Christ, that is, those unbelievers that die today are sent to Hades awaiting final judgement (i.e. they are not yet in Hell). Essentially Hades is a prison – dark and gloomy (Jude 1:6) - of which Christ holds the keys (Rev 1:18) and where Christ went after his death to preach to the prisoners, to demonstrate that he had indeed conquered death (1 Peter 3:19).

The inhabitants of Hades, after being judged (Rev 20:13), along with and Satan, will be taken and cast into hell (Rev 20:14) - which is a lake of fire – and they will be there for ever (Rev 20:10). This means that death of the wicked does not lead to annihilation, but eternal punishment, as far as I understand.

Hell, which is the final or second death (Revelation 20:14), is not annihilation because Scripture attaches the conditions of ‘everlasting’ or ‘eternal’ (ζωὴν αἰώνιον) to those being sent to Hell (Matt 25:46; Revelation 20:10). Those that desire annihilation will not get it.

The purpose of hell (Gehenna), which is a lake of fire, is for fallen angels who have disobeyed God, including their leader, Satan (Rev 20:10), but now will include those that reject Christ. I found hell described in a number of places where the inhabitants will suffer much leading to weeping and gnashing of teeth (Matthew 13:42, 22:13 & 25:30; Luke 16:24).

Note that hell was not created for man but for Satan and his angles (Matt 25:41). God does not want anyone to suffer this punishment, but man has a choice – to obey God and live, or disobey God and die – i.e. be sent to hell (John 8:51).

Humans (Anthropology)

Being human

Humans and their purpose

Adam and Eve were created after the image of God by God (Gen 1:26, 27). They (Father & Son) first created a man who was called Adam (Genesis 2) and sometime later they created woman, from Adam, as a help-meet for Adam (Genesis 2:18).[17] Humans being created in God’s image have an intellect, capable of logic and reasoning, plus a capacity to be creative (as God is) and therefore are very different from animals. Unlike animals, God breathed life into Adam (Gen 2:7) – which means he gave Adam a soul[18] where his spirit resides – no other living being has a soul.

God created humans in His own image to give Him glory (Leviticus 10:3), thus the chief purpose of men and women is to glorify God (Psalm 86:9) and to worship Him, i.e. show God’s worth (Psalm 22:27).

All people must regard God as Holy, for He is holy (Leviticus 10:3 a, 1 Peter 1:15, 16). Men and women do this by worshiping the Lord God Most High (The Lord Jehovah) and Him only (Exodus 34:14), with reverence[19] and godly fear (Hebrews 12:28), and by obeying His commands (Deuteronomy 6:2; John 14:15, 21; 1 John 3:22).

Man was created to labour (work) and serve – the manner in which he served changed after the fall – when Adam sinned. The original work of man was given to Adam – he was set in the Garden of Eden to work in it (dress it) and to serve in it – essentially to exercise care over the garden (Genesis 2:15). After the fall, the effort in order to provide food was manifestly increased – much toil (i.e. hard work) was required. Failure would occur, such as droughts, and weeds and pests became enemies of man (Genesis 3:17, 18). This is the lot of all humans today – if one does not work hard, he will be left destitute. Christians are expected to work for their daily needs including food and shelter.

Humans also were given dominion over all living things (Genesis 1:28) – indeed God commanded Adam to subdue all things which means he could bring all things under his subjection. The initial work of Adam was naming the animals, demonstrating the dominion he had over them, for the person who names a thing has supremacy of that thing (whether child or animal)[20] (Genesis 2:19).

Free will

God clearly gave man free will, or at least, given permission for man to make certain choices freely, that is, the ability to freely choose [non-divinely], to do good or bad.[21] This is evident in the fall – Adam had a choice which he used to disobey God (Genesis 3). Satan apparently had the same free-will and also chose to disobey. However, Scripture itself does not speak of the “free will” of man. It does point out however the one-sidedness of free will of an unsaved man and the expectations of the saved man.

In the case of an unsaved man, a sinner, he is a slave to sin (Romans 6:17; Galatians 4:8), which means humans cannot move beyond their sinful nature on their own – there is no choice, apart from choosing faith in Christ (which is exercised by the Holy Spirit working upon a person), that will deal with the sin (the Old Testament testifies to this).  In the case of a saved man, he is a slave to Christ, and Scripture gives clear instructions to such a person to make right choices:

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.  (Romans 6:12-13)

Thus, on being brought to faith by the Holy Spirit, a person is no longer slave to sin, but rather he or she becomes a slave to Christ (Romans 6:18) and therefore must exercise choice for righteousness. This is a hard topic as it requires an understanding of salvation – the old nature is done away and we are provided a new nature (re-generated, or born again), and the sovereignty of God. For instance, whatever our state, no one has the power to change God’s plan; and thus no one has a true free will.

For a Christian it is important to note that our free will did not play a part in being saved – Christ did that. Paul corrects the false (and pride-full assumption) in this passage of the Letter to the Ephesians:

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.  (Ephesians 1:3-6)

And he puts this more bluntly to the Romans, when he writes about who will receive mercy:

So then it [salvation] depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy.  (Romans 9:16)

The real issue here, I find, is the heart is full of pride – we humans believe we can, and should help God, when we are totally incapable of doing so, being full of sin and unrighteousness (Romans 3:10-12) and furthermore, lacking the ability even to seek God (Ephesians 2:8-10).[22]

Being Christian

Living in expectation

Believers live with the hope and expectation of the imminent return of Jesus Christ in person. He will come first for His Saints resurrecting the dead then the living and then return with His Saints.  (John 14:1-3; 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18; Titus 2:11-14).

Sex, Marriage and the Family

God created men and women as two distinct sexes; He created them male and female (Genesis 1:27), first the male, which He called Adam, then He created Eve to be the help meet of Adam (Genesis 2:18). The ordnance of marriage pre-dates the Mosaic law, and is fundamental to all humans – a boy grows up, and leaves his mother and father to join together (Genesis 2:24; Psalm 127:3-5) with a woman (never a man; Lev 2013) and in this relation is permitted to have sex; indeed the Bible encourages this to occur (1 Corinthians 7). A marriage cannot be of the same sex, as the purpose of marriage is to have children (Gen 3:16). Furthermore, sex between two of the same sex is forbidden (Lev 20:13). The purpose of marriage is to provide a covenanted relationship between a woman and a man, who are encouraged to conceive children – a command given to Adam and Eve – where children are a blessing to any marriage – a heritage to the Lord (Psalm 127:3-5) - both to the parents and grandparents (Proverb 17:6).

The Scripture plainly teaches about sex and sexuality and indeed devotes a whole book to it (The Song of Solomon), in that a man is to have sex with his wife only and no-one else, and vice versa. Sexuality is expressed as masculine or feminine, although God has turned some over to un-natural expressions of sexuality, including homosexuality that marks these as un-believers (Romans 1:26). Condemnation of homosexuality is found in the Law and New Testament, along with having sexual intercourse outside of marriage or with a non-marriage partner (Leviticus 18:22, 20:13; 1 Cor 6:9; 1 Tim 1:10).[23]

The Lord Jesus Christ taught that even if one only thinks about having a sexual relationship with another to whom he or she is not married, this is a sin, and a contravention of the ten commandments (Matt 5:28). This also means that homosexuality is not ordained by God, and indeed the God uses strong imperatives that state such sexual unions are absolutely wrong in the sight of God and must be avoided (Lev 18:22, 23; 20:13). Homosexual relations are call unnatural in both Old and New Testaments (Romans 1:18-31, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 and 1 Timothy 1:8-11). The Bible teaches that marriage of a man to a women is the mechanism to avoid these unnatural unions – the Apostle Paul wrote that man who has a burning desire to have sex is to get married to a women (1 Corinthians 7:9).

Sex is forbidden with an animal (Lev 20:15), siblings, aunts or uncles, sisters- or brother-in laws, mothers (or father’s wife), children or daughter-in laws (Leviticus 20 and Deuteronomy 27).

Marriage rather than cohabitation is right, noting that having a sexual relationship with the opposite sex constitutes one aspect of an act of marriage as indicated by Jesus when dealing with a sinful women who had five husbands, being a prostitute to five men (John 4:16-18).

Cohabitation falls short of the Scriptural definition of marriage (where marriage's permanency is emphasised by Jesus in Matthew 19:5), where marriage is the life-long commitment of a permanent relationship – the becoming of one flesh (Matt 19:5).

I find that Jesus taught that even if one only thinks about having a sexual relationship with another to whom he or she is not married, this is a sin, and a contravention of the ten commandments (Matthew 5:28). I find that the Bible shows that marriage rather than cohabitation is right, noting that having a sexual relationship with the opposite sex constitutes in some way the act of marriage – this I found by reading the narrative of Jesus and the sinful women who had five husbands, being a prostitute to five men (John 4:16-18). I find that cohabitation falls short of the Scriptural definition of marriage (where marriage’s permanency is emphasised by Jesus in Matthew 19:5), where marriage is the lifelong commitment of a permanent relationship – the becoming of one flesh (Genesis 2:24) for the purpose of bringing forth children (Genesis 1:28).

Divorce

Divorce, in the sight of God, was only introduced due to the “hardness of men's hearts” according to Jesus (Matt 5:32), and in this I take that God does not like divorce, and further, this is alluded to ten times in the New Testament.

Scripture gives clear instruction who can apply for divorce and who in the divorced party cannot remarry (Matthew 19:7-8 and 1 Corinthians 7).

I found that divorce is to be granted to the abused partner; this abuse may be sexual, including having affairs outside of marriage (the traditional reason for divorce), but includes harm (of any kind) at the hand of the spouse. The Bible gives the example of an affair outside of marriage as being divorceable (Mark 10:4). To my mind this was due to abuse by the husband (usually), as the wealth of the man, in particular, would need to be shared with the mother of any offspring that resulted, thus denying the lawful wife full benefit of being married to the man, let along any mental harm resulting from the relationship becoming untrustworthy. It is abhorrent that some churches will allow divorce due to infidelity but not physical or mental harm; yet an affair is in all reality a mental and financial impost upon the spouse, all of which is a result from the hardness of the heart, according to Jesus.

A Christian abides in Christ

We are to abide in Him and he will abide in us. This I know because he has sent His [Holy] Spirit (1 John 4:12 – 13). Although we have been born again – that is we have a new nature, our old nature is still with us, and will be with us until Christ takes us home to heaven. It is our earthly nature that causes us to do what we want not to do (Romans 7:13 – 25), but Christ is just and righteous to forgive us, if we go to Him – no man can forgive our sin (1 John 1:8 – 9), only Christ.

The fear of the Lord is wisdom – Scripture speaks much on the importance of wisdom and the need to listen to her (e.g. Proverbs 4, 7 and 8). A person needs to be actively seeking to please God, fleeing or walking away from things that are against God – such as sexual immorality, greed, drunkenness etc. (1 Corinthians 6:9-10); and following after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness (Colossians 3:12). This can only be done by seeking wisdom and in the power of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 3:16). I find from passages in Proverbs, where wisdom is personalised, that it is wisdom that discerns my direction at life’s cross-roads. Left to self, with no guidance from the Holy Spirit, the trend is always towards corruption (Proverbs 7).

Ordinances of Christians

A true Christian desires to observe two ordinances commended by Christ, both signifying His death.

  1. Baptism into Christ is into His death (Romans 6:3). It symbolises our death (of the old self) and resurrection (of the new nature/self) in Him, and hence our need to walk in the newness of life from this point onward (Romans 6:4).
  2. The Lord’s Supper consisting of two symbols - bread and wine - are partaken so as to proclaim the name of the Lord Jesus Christ until He comes again for his Church (Corinthians 11:26 ). I learn from Scripture this is symbolic; Christ having done this in front of His disciples (Matthew 26:26), clearly showing that the bread was not his actual flesh (sarx in Greek) and the wine not his actual blood, but symbols of his flesh that we are to eat (John 6:55 – 56), being the Word of God (John 1:14) and blood, being that which Jesus shed for my sins, which washes me clean (Revelation 1:5, Hebrews 12:24).

Saints as a saved people

Here I note that saints are those that have had righteousness imputed them (see Hebrews 11) and have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as the Son of God – that is all Christians are saints. A Christian is one that has been saved from Hell by the Lord Jesus Christ.

A Christian is the one that has confessed with his or her mouth and believes that the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God (Acts 16:31), acknowledging that he or she is a sinner, deserved of death, and accepts Jesus’ offer of paying that price by accepting Jesus died and rose again for him or her – that one is a saved (Romans 10:9) and becomes known as a Christian (because that one is a follower of Christ). I found that Jesus did indeed pay the price of my sin – redeeming me from death in hell.

The Christian (one who has been saved by Jesus Christ, and is born again (John 3:7)) has been sealed with the Holy Spirit, which is a “guarantee against the day of our redemption” (Ephesians 4:30), and indicates that I have been set apart to God (Psalm 4:3); that is sanctified due to the offering of Christ (Hebrews 10:10) (which was once for all, noting the “all” being those that accept it), and that my life is to be blameless, holy (1 Peter 1:15 & 16), having been changed into His image (2 Peter 3:14).

Sin (Hamartiology)

The Fall of Man

All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

Sin entered the world by one man and because of this death also entered the world by this one man – Adam (1 Cor 15:21; Romans 5:12). This means the death did not occur before Adam who lived about 6000 years ago (Romans 5:14).  We find the fall of man referred to throughout Scripture:

"What is man, that he could be pure? And he who is born of a woman, that he could be righteous? (Job 15:14)

"Do you not know this of old, Since man was placed on earth, That the triumphing of the wicked is short, And the joy of the hypocrite is but for a moment?  (Job 20:4-5)

Truly, this only I have found: That God made man upright, But they have sought out many schemes."  (Ecclesiastes 7:29)

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned— for sin indeed was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come. (Romans 5:12-14)

For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. (2 Corinthians 11:3)

For Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression. Nevertheless she will be saved in childbearing if they continue in faith, love, and holiness, with self-control. (1 Timothy 2:13-15)

Punishment for sin: death

The punishment for sin is death (Romans 6:23; James 1:15).

Death occurs twice: where the first death is the separation of the body from soul – being the termination of life on this earth, and the second is eternal separation of the soul from God; that is, where the soul is separated from God by being cast into outer darkness, into the pit of everlasting fire, called hell (Revelation 20:14; Revelation 21:8).

The requirement to live is faith; the Scripture was explicit from the very beginning that without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6).  Thus Scripture is able to say that humans are appointed to die once, then after this the judgement (Hebrews 9:27); and for the believer his or her sin has been redeemed by the blood of Christ, and thus will be saved from the second death (Revelation 2:11).

The metric of salvation is determined by the extent (its magnitude) and awfulness of the event from which we are saved. Our salvation is as great as one can measure, because we have been saved from hell the worse possible event for any soul.

Substitution of God is idolatry

God has been substituted by people with many things – all dead and useless (Isaiah 44:9; Acts 14:15). In the Western world this is most often material things, and for this reason is called materialism.  Scripture teaches that materialism is covetousness, and covetousness is idolatry – the worship of that which is not true God (Col 3:5) - because it replaces the dependence of God upon man’s efforts; man is called upon to depend upon God (Jeremiah 17:5).

If God is substituted with something – whether physical or mental (knowledge, creative works etc.), that something is an idol and the person so doing is conducting idolatry. For instance Paul says - covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5) which means lusting after things that are not yours, is idolatry, something the Western world’s economy is based upon. Thus in the Western world, at least, if not most of the world, this most often is material things, but also includes power [influences], sex, beauty and food all of which can be called materialism. Typically this philosophy of life is underpinned by nihilism, where the possibility of truth is denied (Jude 1:4; Romans 1:25). The theory of evolution is idolatry, substituting God with ideology (thoughts of man); and thus materialism and nihilism has led to the development of doctrines that described the world without God, but Scripture teaches that God created all things (Genesis 1 & 2; Colossians 1:16).

Materialism can only lead to death – its own philosophy states that man comes into the world to compete with everyone else, at whatever cost, to accumulate wealth or riches at the expense of all others - then that person dies. This model teaches that there is absolutely no point to life other than material wealth or power (or influence0. The Bible states that such wealth will be squandered pilfered or rusted way (Matt 6:19). 

Scripture is very clear, from a parable of Jesus, that accumulate wealth might not be enjoyed by the person who accumulates it – death may intervene – such a man is called a fool (Luke 16:21), while the writer of the Book of Ecclesiastes shows how meaningless accumulation of wealth is – it is a vanity; worthless in the end (e.g. Ecclesiastes 4:8). In at least one sixth of the world God has been replaced with the idol called Allah by Moslems[24] giving them no assurance of salvation, and indeed they have no hope, for hope of salvation can only come from the Lord God Most High (Psalm 3:8; Lam 3:26 etc.).

Satan’s lie

Satan promulgates a lie that no-one will be judged, when in fact all will be judged, both Christian and non-Christian, Jew and Gentile. Not all judgement is judgement of sin, although sin contributes to all works or behaviours that are indicted. Romans 1:18 states: The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.

God treats each and every person as responsible people, responsible for their own decisions and actions. Those that reject the punishment of sin taken upon the body of Jesus Christ must bear the punishment themselves: And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world (1 John 2:2).

God also punishes nations for its treatment of His people, Israel, and Israel for rejecting Messiah (see Matthew 25:31-46). Indeed the criteria in the last judgement includes how an individual and nation has treated God’s chosen people – the Jews.

Salvation (Soteriology)

Salvation

Saved by Grace

From the very beginning I note that Scripture emphatically states that it is by grace a person (individual) is saved from eternal damnation[25] – there is nothing we can do, no works (or thing I can do) can save us from our sins: salvation is a gift from God (Ephesians 2:8, 9; Titus 3:3-6). Salvation is available to all (1 Timothy 2:3, 4) through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16). Indeed without faith it is impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Therefore, eternal redemption is available because of Him that purged all sins of those that believe such that God remembers their sins and iniquities no more (Isaiah 43:25; Hebrews 10:17; Hebrews 1:4). In Christ we are perfected forever (Hebrews 10:14), the old is done away and we are made new, that is regenerated (Romans 6:6; Colossians 3:9, 10; Titus 3:5), and because of this can now enter into the holiest place [i.e. into the presence of God the Father] by His blood, not possible before, which is a new and living way (Hebrews 10:19, 20). This means I can enter into the presence of God without fear.

Scripture states that we must be born of water and the Spirit; that is born again (John 3:5), which is possible through His word by faith. We need to be born again because there is no good thing in us (Romans 7:18) – the old nature is corrupt. This stems from the fact Scripture tells me that I can do nothing to save myself – the narrative of the Old Testament attests to this fact. I see that God loved us so much that he gave his only begotten [one and only] son to die for us (John 3:16). Any person believing on the Lord Jesus Christ will be saved (Acts 16:30, 31) - this is a choice people need to make. Those that do not avail themselves of this are naturally dead in sins (See Romans chapter 6 Ephesians 2:1) and will enter hell at the second death (Rev 21:8).

Through faith

Much of Scripture shows the fruitlessness the endeavours of man to make him- or her- self right before God (e.g. the Old Testament see for example Psalm 94:11).  Salvation comes through faith (Romans 3:28; Ephesians 2:8), trusting in the mercy of God, because only by faith can righteousness be imputed to a person, which has been the case since the beginning of the world (Romans 4:3). On believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, a person is re-born, or regenerated. Jesus taught this, recorded by the Apostle John in chapter 3 of his gospel, evidence by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in that person (1 Corinthians 6:19; Romans 8:11 and many other).

As a consequence of rebirth (an action of the Holy Spirit), the saved person will repent (Acts 2:38) and confess their sins to the Lord Jesus Christ who is just and righteous to forgive us our sins so that one will be cleansed from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Confession is more than a feeling, but needs to be done with the mouth (Romans 10:9). Hence one needs to admit one is wrong (a sinner) in the sight of God (Romans 14:11, 12), and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ you will be saved (1 Thessalonians 4:14; 1 John 1:9; 1 John 5:13 and many others).

To obtain salvation, a person must confess and believe (Romans 10:9, 10). This is done to God and not to man, because salvation is not achieved if one confesses to man for all men are sinful and none can save.

 “Conversion” or “being saved” means making a complete turnaround (repentance) and obeying God (1 Timothy 6:11) which means keeping his commands (1 John 2:3).  I note the converse is not true – attempting to keep God’s commands cannot save – the Old Testament makes this clear.  One needs to receive the Lord Jesus Christ into one’s heart through faith, and allow him to take control.

What is Faith

Overview

Faith is being sure of what we hope for - noting that only reality is true (Hebrews 11:1). Faith is the opposite to doubt, a fact Jesus talked of many times – he said “if you have faith and do not doubt” (Matthew 21:21). The Bible states that the “just shall live by faith” (Habakkuk 2:4), and points out that it is only by faith one can be saved. There is one and only one faith (Ephesians 4:5).

Faith is the essence of the requirement to please God (Hebrews 11:17-19).

The best example of faith can be found in Abraham who believed God when he was told he would be the father of a great nation (Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6, 9; James 2:23), yet when told to sacrifice his son, Isaac, did so obediently believing that God could raise Isaac up again (Hebrews 11:17; James 2:21). God provided a ram for him at the last minute (Genesis 22:11-13); in doing so it is recorded that his action was accorded him as righteousness. Of notes, was Abraham’s faith extended to knowing that even if he had sacrificed his son Isaac, he would have been raised again by God (Hebrews 11:17-19). But this was never God’s intent – it was a test, and testing is required to prove faith, as a black-smith ‘proves’ the steel by hammering it: indeed Scripture in many cases shows that this is a necessity (1 Peter 1:6, 7). The episode of Isaac was to 1) test Abraham and 2) demonstrate to the world what faith was, and 3) what God would have to do His son, Christ, in order to save the world.

Faith orders a person to trust someone else. Faith in Jesus Christ means a person following Jesus Christ by putting their faith and trust in him, and not knowing where one is going – in the same way a private follows a general’s order or a slave his master’s. This is not a problem because Jesus is totally trustworthy – he is the “way the truth and the life” (John 14:6).

If one could be saved by performing tasks or working hard, we would only boast about it, says the Bible (Ephesians 2:9).

Substance of faith

The Bible shows that faith is not from our ability to be able to do something, but in the ability of the provider: Abraham was to find that God was that provider and Abraham names God as the Lord Jehovah-jireh meaning Yahweh-who-sees-and-provides (Genesis 22:14).

Scripture is adamant that our faith must be rooted and grounded in the knowledge of God (Psalm 9:10).

Confession – can it save?

Confessing ones sins to a priest cannot save you, only faith can. Faith imputes righteousness to a person, which is explained in chapter 11 of Hebrews. The completer of our faith is Jesus Christ, in that the fulfilment of the amount owing in our lives (which is our life in full), owing due to our wilfulness and sinfulness, was paid in full by Jesus Christ (Hebrews 12:1, 2).

Justification

Justification is my true state before God, due to the work of Christ (Romans 5:9) which was freely given (Romans 3:24); that is His death, burial and of resurrection. "Having been justified, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:1). This means we have been accepted in full by God in that we have his full favour (in the language of old), and thus we can rejoice in the blessed hope.

One has said that we are justified judicially by God (Romans 8:33), meritoriously by Christ (Isaiah 53:11; Romans 5:19), instrumentally by faith (Romans 5:1) and evidentially [is shown] by works (James 2:14-26).

Justification can focus on being “just” (Romans 1:17), but has an emphasis on faith (Galatians 3:11) – obeying the law cannot justify a person, thus justification is by faith alone; but the action is active – one needs to live each and every day by faith (Hebrews 10:38, 39)

Justification has dealt with the past, present and future.

A new nature

After being brought to faith by the Holy Spirit, a believer is given a new nature that is no longer a slave to sin (Galatians 4:7); instead we become we become slaves to Christ (Rom 6:18). 

Sanctification

Justification is a change in position [dead to alive Ephesians 2:1]; sanctification the change in reality, a reality that upon justification a person is set aside (sanctified) in Christ (Romans 8:1, 2; Ephesians 2:13).

We are then sanctified by God the Father, by the blood and the atonement of Christ, and by the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 2:11; 10:10; 1 Peter 1:2). Thus we need to view justification as consequent upon sanctification. The purpose of sanctification is holiness; in order to live a blameless life (1 Thes. 4:3). Paul writes; “For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality…” (1 Tim 4:3; see also 2 Tim. 2:21). It is only upon salvation can a person even begin to lead a life holy and pleasing to God (Romans 12:1). It is something every Christian should seek God’s help in through the Holy Spirit, as Paul did for those he shepherded:

Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.  (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

However, it is noted that although perfection is desired it is un-accomplishable in this life (1 John 1:18) – the process is ongoing (Galatians 3:3). Indeed as one grows older and more mature in Christ, the wickedness of one’s life becomes more evident; we are always at constant warfare with the will of the flesh as Paul accounts in Romans 7.

Death and resurrection

The Doctrine of the Resurrection is the crux to the Christian faith – for without resurrection humans would be “most miserable or pitiable” (2 Corinthians 15:19). It is taught in Isaiah 26: 19; Daniel 12:2, 3; and Hosea 13:14 in the Old Testament and by John 5:25 - 29, and Revelation 20:4, 6, 11 – 15 in the New.

The Bible considers that life is in the blood (Genesis 9:4) in that the blood sustains life (Leviticus 17:14; Deuteronomy 12:23) – a body drained of blood is considered dead, thus a person without a heartbeat is dead.

Death and resurrection are real; but concern the soul more so than the physical body.

Death is the result of sin (Romans 5:12), where sin is disobedience of God. Sin is considered lawlessness by God (1 John 3:4) and is punishable by death; for the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23) and is the just reward for transgressions and disobedience against God (Hebrews 2:2).

On death the soul of the person passes either to Paradise (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Rev 2:7) and God’s presence (2 Cor 5:8; Phil 1:23) or to Hades; the former for those who have faith in Jesus Christ. Unbelievers at death suffer both physical and spiritual death and are sent to Hades waiting for final judgement (Revelation 20:13, 14). Physical death occurs when blood flow ceases and the body rots away to its component parts – dust (Genesis 2:7; 3:19; 1 Corinthians 15:49) – a process the Bible calls corruption.

The first to rise from the dead without seeing corruption was the Lord Jesus Christ – he died and rose again three days later, never to die again, the first to do so[26] (Acts 13:35-37). Thus the Messiah conquered death – and therefore Satan is no longer in control of death of the believer (Hebrews 2:9) but is in control of death for the unbeliever (Galatians 1:4; Colossians 1:13). For this reason Jesus was able to call himself the Resurrection and the Life. 

Christian saint, because they are in Christ, will also be raised to eternity, incorruptible and transformed, that is to a state that cannot die again with perfect minds and bodies (1 Corinthians 15:50-58; 1 Thes. 4:13-18) in the same way that Jesus was resurrected to glory in heaven never to die again (Psalm 2; Heb. 10:12; 1 Peter 3:22)

Old Testament believers (saints) will also be resurrected from Sheol (Psalm 16:10) – a confidence David had in the Lord, long prior to Christ providing the atonement required; these are resurrected after the tribulation (Daniel 12:11, 12; Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2).

Non-believers will be raised from the dead to judgement then cast into hell. This process is called the second death – which only pertains to unbelievers (Revelation 2:11, 20:6, 11-14).

Judgement of believers by the Messiah

Those saved in the Church age will have their work judged by the Messiah (Matthew 6:1-6; Matthew 7:26, 27; Romans 14:10-12; 1 Corinthians 3:10-15; 2 Corinthians 5:9, 10).

This judgement will test the quality of the works of believers, ascertaining the foundation on which they were conducted: the works (not the sins) of believers; that which are useless (bad) to be lost as if burnt. This judgement rewards believers according to the works they have done; bad works to be ‘burnt’, good works to be rewarded (recompensed) (Colossians 3:23, 24).

Judgement of Unbelievers (the heathen)

The bible refers to those that are unbelievers or as heathen (e.g. Matthew 6:7, 18:17) although many English Bible versions translates this as “nations” meaning people who do not know God. The judge will be the Messiah, who will judge unbelievers of all time; and in particular individuals who are not in the Book of Life[27] (Revelation 20:11-15)

To escape this judgement a person needs to have put their faith in God.

Assurance of Salvation

The depth of God’s Love

God the Father loved us so much that he sent His only begotten Son to die for us John (3:16)  and is magnified when compared with the awfulness of our waiting punishment – hell (Matthew 13:41,42; Matthew 24:51). Christ loved the church so much he willingly gave himself for her, so she could be sanctified and cleansed by the washing of water and by the word, so the He might present her to himself a glorious church holy without blemish (Ephesians 5:25-27).

The assurance of our inheritance

Scripture states that our inheritance is assured as we wait for Christ to return, and hence I will never perish, and I know that no person or power can remove or pluck me from the hand of Christ. The Bible states that a believer;

  • will not perish (John 3:16)
  • shall be saved by his life (Acts 16:30 – 31, Romans 5:10, Romans 9:10)
  • has the Holy Spirit indwelt in him or her (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 6:19, 20; Col 1:27)
  • has been sealed[28] by the Holy Spirit (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13, 4:30)
  • has the inheritance of heaven guaranteed by the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:14)
  • not be hurt by the second death (Revelation 2:11)
  • will by no means lose his reward (Mark 9:41)
  • will by no means cast out” (John 6:37)
  • neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand (John 10: 28-30)
  • will have peace with God (Romans 5)
  • not be condemned for there is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1)

The Church (Ecclesiology)

The Church is unique in history

The most practical example of revelation by the Holy Spirit is the Church. I learnt that the Holy Spirit revealed to the Apostle that the Church as a mystery, revealed in this present dispensation, being the Bride of Christ, whom Christ died for[29]. This was unique (Colossians 1:24-26) in that it comprises believers who are both Jew and Greek (or from other nations) and of every station of society – employer and employee, young and old (1 Corinthians 12:13).

The church or congregation [ekklsia] should be the pillar and ground of all truth (1 Timothy 3:15), having being built upon the foundation of the gospel, entrusted to the Apostles (1 Corinthians 3:10, 11; 1 Thessalonians 2:4) with Christ as the chief corner stone (Ephesians 2:20, 21) is bound to keep itself pure in doctrine and godly walk (1 Corinthians 5:11). This means the Church has a solid foundation – it will not sink into the miry clay because the corner stone will not give way. However, I note that the Church as Scripture describes is not evident much in the church congregations we see today.

In this I note we need to use care as to the terminology around ‘church’. The Universal Church is the set of all believers that are truly saved, and whose head is the Lord Jesus Christ, the Messiah. As a contrast, Christendom (often called “the church”) comprises anyone who calls him or herself a Christian, whether or not they are indwelt by the Holy Spirit (i.e. whether or not they are actually saved) (Roman 8:9, 11; also John 16:7).

The Church is a body (1 Corinthians 12) not an organisation, with Christ as its head (Colossians 1:18): in that it comprises those that have been born again – this is the Universal Church. Physically it comprises Christians, not as an organisation but as the body of Christ – in essence a fellowship that meet together.

Christians must meet regularly (Hebrews 10:25), which was the example of the early church, usually on the first day of the week, the Lord’s Day or Sunday (Acts 20:7, 18).  We do this not as obedience to the third commandment, but because we love the Lord our God with all our heart, mind and body. A group of only 2 or 3 meeting in Christ’s name is a congregation – the Holy Spirit will preside (and must be let to do so) over the meeting (Matthew 18:20). Some believe a local church must have a hierarchy: the Scripture does not teach such a doctrine, however, in order to have order (1 Corinthians 14:30) and to prevent false teaching (1 Timothy 6:2-5; Titus), having elders and deacons is the approach recommended by Paul to Timothy (1 Timothy) and Titus (Titus 1:5), and was the structure of the early church (Acts 6:1-6).

The Church was established on the doctrine of the Apostles (Ephesians 2:20), but more explicitly Paul demands that the church follow his example and doctrine to the letter e.g. 2 Timothy 1:3, 1 Corinthians 15:2) and not the dogmas of man.

Churches established on the doctrines and dogmas of man (i.e. by various churches) are false churches and will have no place at the marriage of the Lamb (Christ Jesus will sit down with all saints – that is Christians when the Church is taken to heaven in the last days), although some who are members of such false churches will be saved, ‘as by fire’ (1 Corinthians 3:15). I have found most, if not all the falseness, corruption and evilness of the modern churches is clearly outlined in the Letters to Seven Churches of Asia – The Revelation chapters 2 & 3.

No church or men can forgive sins – only Christ can because no man can clear his conscious of guilt (Hebrews chapter 9) – Israel, and in particular Aaron proved this beyond any doubt, which is in essence what the Old Testament proves.

The church no longer comprises Apostles or apostolic appointees. I find that at the completion of the Canon (i.e. the Bible) the church had all that it needed to fulfil its task – provided it listens to the Holy Spirit as the writer to The Revelation indicates. However, for order the church should appoint elders or pasters and deacons who are men that fulfil the obligations and specifications as indicated by the Apostle Paul, in particular, in the letters to Timothy and Titus. As a whole, the Church comprises the priesthood of all believers – there is no distinction between laity and clergy: indeed I find that there is no need to use these terms – all are priests and all are of the order of the holy priesthood (1 Peter 2:5).

The Church is distinct from Israel – it is neither Israel nor does it substitute Israel.

The Church is distinct from Israel for she (she because God refers to her as the bride of Christ) because the Canon explicitly states the church is neither Greek nor Jew (Romans 10:12, Colossians 3:11). The Council of Jerusalem (explained in Acts 15) accepted that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ did not need to become a Jew to be accepted into the congregation. Much more can be said of the false doctrine of substituting Israel with Church.

The Church is a hierarchy

The Church is a hierarchy – Christ is the head and no one can displace, replace, represent or substitute him. There is no vicar on earth that represents (or can represent) Christ – any that call themselves a vicar is a liar and deceiver (2 John 1:7, 2 Timothy 3:1-9, 2 Peter 3:3). They are never to be trusted – the blood of the martyrs still cry out the story of their deceit.[30]

The purpose of the Church

It is universal that the purpose of the Church is typically unknown among congregations, misrepresented by church leaders, and assigned duties for which she is neither equipped nor authorised to perform by God.  

The Church initial universal goal was to call out Gentiles for His name (Acts 15:17) demonstrating God is God of the whole earth, both Jew and Gentile. The number of Gentiles (remnant) is a defined number (Romans 11:25), and only once this number has been reached will Israel be saved (Romans 11:26). Israel has been blinded due to their disobedience – they are a useless vessel for the Lord, incapable of taking the name of the Lord to the lost. For this reason the Gentiles are being included in the Church, which provokes the Jews to jealousy (Romans 11:11-14). The Church, mainly comprising Gentiles are leading Jews to the Lord, and in doing so, the Church comprises both Jew and Gentile ().

A point missed most often is the Church sets about making known, in particular to world leaders, and thus to Satan, the manifold wisdom of the Lord:

[T]hrough the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places.  (Ephesians 3:10)

Another purpose of the church is based on the fact each believer in the Church is the habitation of God, and also the Church itself is the dwelling place of God (Ephesians 2:20-22) – making church believers unique in history – the Holy Spirit dwells within in and every person, and they therefore are call the temple of the Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 3:16; 6:19). Indeed the chief cornerstone, upholding the entire structure, is Christ built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit (Ephesians 2:22).

The Old Testament states God must be worshiped – he will be gloried by all people (Lev 10:3; Romans 14:11; Phil 2:20) and it follows that the Church’s purpose in the New Testament is also to bring glory to God as the Apostle Paul emphasises (Ephesians 3:20, 21).

The End Times (Basics of Eschatology)

Christ first comes for his own at the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4), after which seven years of tribulation occurs, although I know not the time between the rapture and the beginning of this tribulation[31] (Revelation 6 – 19, along with the prophecies of Daniel, Zachariah etc.) then there will be a thousand years of reign with Christ – the Messianic Kingdom as promised David (the millennium) followed by the last judgement (Revelation 20) then the new heaven and new earth (Revelation 21 & 22).

Theologically this is a pre-tribulation (rapture does not concern Christians), pre millennial view (the tribulation occurs before the millennial reign as Revelation states).  The Church, that is the Bride of Christ, does not face judgement, which is why I believe the church is removed from the world prior to the tribulation, which begins in Revelation chapter 5. I know this because Jesus as recorded by Luke states that some are able to escape all the things (judgements) that are to come (Luke 21:34-36). This is repeated by Paul in 1 Thessalonians, who states that we await the coming of Christ who will deliver us from the wrath to come (1 Thessalonians 1:10). I see that Paul repeats himself in the same book at chapter 5, where Christians are called the sons of light – that is the Church belongs to the light, not the time of darkness – the judgement. He reiterates that we escape judgement (1 Thessalonians 5:9). I can confidently say this, because the gospel is the message of hope – that is, Jesus Christ has paid my debt in full (I have been purchased with a price (1 Corinthians 6:20)), and hence the punishment arising from the judgement of my sins has been paid. The Holy Spirit was also able to say to the Church at Philadelphia (Rev 3:10) that they would be kept from the coming trial. I also have heard of no Father who makes his son’s bride pass through tribulation – Jesus did not allude to this either in the parable of the 10 young women (Matthew 25).

The issue many have here is that many do not understand that the Revelation chapters 4-19 is about the judgement of Israel then the nations (Romans 2:9) – resulting in those that hate God standing before the Son of God in judgement (Luke 21:36).

Life and everlasting life

There is everlasting life – for believers this is with the Lord and for unbelievers this is in hell; this is termed immortality. Although physical death occurs – there is an eternal continuous and conscious existence of the immaterial part of a human after the death of the body, called the soul. This is unexplainable by science, but well explained by Scripture. For a believer, a new body is provided at the rapture, and is explained by Paul as putting on immortality (1 Cor 15:53, 54).  In the Old Testament the term ‘gathered to his people’ use of a dead person means the person’s soul, such as Abraham’s were brought together with others who died in faith (Gen 25:17, 35:29 etc.).

There is no evidence to support the notion of annihilation; that is the total destruction of the soul; this is the view of atheists and many cults, and is the underpinning principle in the theories pertaining to evolution. The common mistake is to take the word destruction as meaning annihilation rather than to destroy the body. It never means destruction to the point of ceasing to exist (but rather the Greek means to be in a lost state[32]), and destruction to the point of non-existence is never applied to the soul in Scripture; albeit being lost for ever is applied to a soul sent to Hell.

Evidence from Luke 16:19-31 shows that a sinner (rich man in the story) was in torment, thus he existed and experienced the physical depravations of Hades, where his soul had been cast on account of his faithlessness.

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God

The Kingdom of God[33] is much confused by the church and most Christians who tend to blur their understanding of the Bride of Christ and Israel with the Messianic King. There is no doubt that God is King, and the universe is His. The question is, are we ruled as subjects in a kingdom, as subjects to a king? The answer is no; indeed Hebrews tells us that at this moment Christ is our High Priest who makes intersession before the Father for us (Hebrews 7:25; 9:11). Furthermore; 1) the kingdom is where the king is – Christ is in heaven thus not where we, his subjects, supposedly are,[34] and 2) a king occupies a throne; Christ is not on the throne. Christ is seated on the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:2), thus although near the throne, he is not upon the throne, but in the future, the long awaited Messianic Kingdom, promised to David (2 Samuel 7) will be established. All then will be ruled by the King – Christ Jesus, who will come in glory and sit upon his throne in Jerusalem (Psalm 48:1, 2; Matt 25:31[35]) and rule all people (Joel 2:1; 3:17).

The cosmos including this earth exists in the universal or eternal kingdom of God; this means nothing happens in this universe unless directed or permitted by God – all are under the sovereign control (i.e. will) of God (e.g. Psalm 10:16).

The spiritual kingdom

Jesus told Nicodemus that unless “one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God”. This kingdom is reserved for those that put their faith and trust in Jesus (John 3:16 etc). It is clear from this statement of Jesus that Nicodemus was not in this particular kingdom – since he says ‘unless’ meaning, that if Nicodemus does not through faith, seek God, he will not see the spiritual kingdom; he therefore was not in the spiritual kingdom when this conversation took places (and yet clearly he was in the Kingdom of God – God still rule the universe, thus there is a distinction between the spiritual kingdome and the Kingdom of God). And furthermore, this statement makes it unilateral – only those born again will see the spiritual kingdom. I note this kingdom always existed and the method to obtain has always been by faith – the Old Testament saints who put their faith in God were partakers of the spiritual kingdom (See Hebrews chapter eleven for examples).

Theocratic Kingdom of God over Israel

Israel was initially ruled by mediators by God beginning with Moses followed by judges who were replaced by a king chosen by the people (Saul who failed, 1 Samuel 15:28, 29), than by a king after God’s own heart (David – 1 Samuel 16), under a monarchical system. This system failed and was destroyed when the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in 587-6 B.C. At this point in time we see recorded in Scripture the Gentiles having been given rule of the Promised Land (in particular 2 Chronicles 36:22, 23). The Kingdom will not return to Israel until all Israel mourn whom they pieced (Zechariah 12:10).

Mysteries or secrets of the kingdom (Matthew 13:11)

This passage confuses many; ‘mystery; merely means unknown, for example; ‘it was a mystery to me until she told me how it happened’. Thus Jesus speaking to his disciples explains to them, through parables, what these mysteries or secrets were, which up to that point in time, had been kept hidden. It was required to be unhidden because Israel rejected her king (Matthew 12), and in particular the Messiahship of Jesus. This does not mean a new kingdom program, but rather mankind was to be subject to an understanding of the Kingdom of God, which Old Testament people were hidden from – it is merely one facet of the Kingdom. We find this explanation in the New Testament and in particular two letters written by the Apostle Paul; Ephesians 3:3 - 9 and Colossians 1:26‑27. The mysteries pertain to Christ (Eph. 3:3) and in particular to Gentiles (Eph. 3:6) and consist of the gospel (or good news of salvation) and the Church where believers – both Jew and Gentile - would be indwelt (and thus sealed) by the Holy Spirit (Eph. 1:13; 4:30; 2 Tim 1:14) by the grace of God to establish a body called the Church (Romans 12:5; Eph. 3:6), which Christ is the head (Eph. 4:15, 23) consisting of born-again believers of Christ (John 3:3, 7).

Messianic or Millennial Kingdom

I find that John the Baptist proclaimed the Messianic Kingdom was at hand (Matthew 3:2; 4:17), and which Jesus offered Israel (Matthew 10:7; Mark 1:14, 15) but Israel rejected her king; “’away with this man’, they cried out” (Luke 23:18; John 19:15), and thus they loss the Kingdom (Matthew 12:22-32). The Messianic Kingdom is well explained in the Old Testament – see Psalm 2; Psalm 72; Isaiah 9:6‑7; 11:1‑16; Jeremiah 23:5‑6; 32:14‑17; Ezekiel 34:23, 24; 37:24-28; Hosea 3:4‑5; Micah 4:6‑8; 5:2; and Malachi 3:1‑4.

Since Israel rejected her Messiah, the “time of Gentiles” has been in play. The Messianic Kingdom will once again be offered to Israel at the end of the Tribulation, when it will be accepted (Zechariah 12).

Israel, the Chosen People of God (Israelology)

That Jesus was a Jew escapes many people (Matthew 1; Luke 3) and furthermore the Bible up to the Book of Acts is mostly entirely about the Children of Israel - Jews[36], yet systematic theology does not separate out this important fact.[37]

Who is a Jew and who is a gentile?

A Jew is a person who is related to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob (whose name God changed to Israel), the founding Fathers of Israel (Genesis 12:1-3). It is from the Abrahamic Covenant that the definition of being a Jew can be found: they are a nation founded through the line of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and is a land and a people (Deuteronomy 6:10; 34:4), whose God is the Lord God Jehovah (Deuteronomy 6:4). Jews currently are scattered amount the nations, with a number residing in the Promised Land – called Israel. All other peoples are gentiles.

Note that a Jew who puts their faith and trust in Yeshua the Messiah, can call him or herself Christian – that is followers of Christ, or better, followers of Yeshua, but they remain a Jew – it is in their DNA; that is a Jew is genetically related to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. All other people are gentiles, whether followers of Christ or not.

Israel and the People of God

Israel are the chosen people of God; chosen through Abraham (Genesis 11, Genesis 13:15, 16; 15;4-5), Isaac (Genesis 17:19, 21; 26:2-5; 28:10-16) and Jacob (Genesis 25:26; 32:22-32) who God called Israel (Genesis 35:10), and with whom God has made a number of Covenants (Deuteronomy 6:10; 34:4); these Covenants stand today.

Indeed chapters 9 – 11 of Romans is devoted to this topic, along with many other passages noting in particular Romans 1:16 which says the gospel is to the Jew first, which therefore has a bearing on all non-Jews – including me.

Replacement of Israel has not occurred by the Church

Furthermore, it is a repudiation that the church has replaced Israel in relation to its blessings or any other matter including the covenants that pertain Abraham, Isaac & Jacob and David; this theology is untenable with careful reading of Scripture. The rejection of nation Israel of Messiah did not sever the covenants of Israel, but rather delayed them. Acts 1:6-7 indicates that the Kingdom of Israel will be restored but the disciples would not be told when. James was of the firm belief that Israel would be restored (Acts 6:15-17, which quotes Amos 9:11-15). The fervour of James’s response is compelling as is Paul in Romans 9-11; Israel still has a place in God’s economy. Thus I believe it is important to note Israel is still bound by a number of covenants (some conditional and some non-conditional) and these operate in God’s councils described by dispensations. That is a remnant of spiritual Israel remains who will evangelise the world as set out Revelation chapter 7.

Some important texts in Scripture

Whereas it is recognized that ALL Scripture is profitable that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work, I find the following give the essence of Scripture.

Verses

Genesis 1:1 (KJV)

In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

Deuteronomy 6:4 (KJV)

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God is one LORD.

John 3:16 (KJV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Chapters

Genesis 3 – the fall of man

The fall of man and the resulting sin that taints all flesh born of Adam

2 Samuel 7 – the coming Kingdom

The Covenant of David: (12, 13) When your days are fulfilled and you lie down with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring after you, who shall come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build a house for my name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever.

Isaiah 52:13 – 53:12 – the saviour of the World

Especially (53:10) Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him; he has put him to grief; when his soul makes an offering for guilt, he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days; the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

1 Corinthians 15 – the Gospel – Christ died for our sins

Especially “(3) For I [Paul] delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; (4) And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the Scriptures:

Romans chapter 8 – The righteousness of God prevails – we will not be separated from Christ Jesus

Especially: (38, 39) For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Hebrews chapter 10 – Christ died one for all

(10) And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

References

[1] The Bible is not a text-book for all things; it’s not a text book of science nor history, although it contains science and history; it is the word of God, written for His purpose.

[2] This being synonymous with a consistent literal, grammatico-historical hermeneutic approach to reading Scripture.

[3] He calls them the sine qua non of dispensationalisim. (See his Israelology; chapter VIII)

[4] The term ‘mystery’ in the Bible is not about superstition; but rather about a truth that was veiled or hidden, which in due course has been revealed (e.g. the church, Israel; Mark 4:11; Ephesians 1:9;  Romans 11:25) or will be (the new heaven and earth). These are mysteries for which humans could not understand (or know, being hidden) at the time, but will once unveiled. This is the language the Apostle Paul uses to the Church at Corinth – “I became a minister [to the Church] according to the stewardship from God which was given to me for you, to fulfil the word of God, the mystery which has been hidden from ages and from generations, but now has been revealed to His saints. To them God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles: which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” (Colossians 1:25-27).

[5] Also there is no separate class of humans who are called saints – all in Christ are saints; no human is made more blessed than another although all are given one or more of five crowns as rewards.

[6] First used in Deuteronomy as a noun

[7] The King James Version translates this as ‘Lucifer’ which is Latin for ‘day-star of the morning’’; the English should be a direct translation from the Hebrew – ‘morning star’.

[8] Corrupt, degenerate

[9] While Satan is the prince of this world, albeit temporarily, Christ the Messiah is the Prince of the Kingdom of God

[10] In the days of the temple, the brightness of God’s glory was represented by the Shekina glory that filled temple (Ezekiel 10:4, also Number 16:19 etc.). But as we learn from Hebrews – the temple was a shadow of what was to come – Christ Jesus himself (Hebrews 8:5).

[11] Matthew more than any other gospel writer uses the term “Son of Man”

[12] The entire chapter 6 of John’s Gospel concerns flesh, and the fact that Jesus Christ came the flesh.

[13] See the Gospels, especially Matthew 2.

[14] I suspect it will be soon after, because Jesus indicated that Christians are the salt of the earth preventing total decay – once the Church is removed, rapid decay will occur viz: “For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places.“ Matthew 24:7 

[15] This prophecy is to be read literally – see how Daniel read and interpreted the prophets. Also see.

[16] Compare Jeremiah 25:11 with Daniel 9:2.

[17] Note the inequality here; man is preeminent by virtue of how and when he was created which was prior to Eve (1 Tim 2:13).  Their roles are also different which was well articulated before the fall – Eve was to ‘help’ Adam, but there is no thought that Adam was to rule over Eve, however Adam was the leader. However, since Chapter 3 of Genesis both are fallen beings, and both need to be saved on the same basis – faith. In this they are equal and co-conspirators in the death of the savior.

[18] The KJV rightly translates … soul in Genesis 2:7

[19] Some translate as respect – see the parable of the vineyard for Jesus explanation: Mark 12:1-12.

[20] We see this many times; God renames Abram to Abraham, indicating His will being exercised, when God commended Abram to leave his home and go and live in Canaan – Genesis 12, and in another example, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon renamed Daniel, a captive from Jerusalem, to Belteshazzar (Daniel 1) etc.

[21] Note here that some Christians take umbrage that I say that a non-Christian can choose to do good. That a non-believer can do good is true; what a non-believer cannot do, is enough good to make him- or her- self right with God. Furthermore, the good being done cannot be done to please God (Romans 8:8), however, may be in God’s counsels to have exercised – for instance the choice of Cornelius (Acts 10:1-4), or a mother and father caring for their child; there is no line of sight from a non-believer to God for this to occur. The issue is that a non-believer may do good, but they will also always sin (Ecclesiastes 7:20).

[22] The false doctrine of free will to the extent that we chose God or not, originated with Satan based on the fact that the doctrine of "free will" salvation is a teaching that mimics the first lie told in the Garden of Edom. Satan suggested that Adam & Eve could be "be like God" if they so choose, and in doing so they determined the course of their own future independent of God's will. In likewise manner Satan is determined to corrupt the Church with a message of self-reliance and independence from God including that of grace and salvation.

[23] Those that have participated in forbidden sexual conduct can be saved (and go to heaven) if they believe on the Lord Jesus Christ (John 3:16-18), confess the name of Jesus with their mouth (Romans 10:9). Such a person comes under the commend of God and needs to obey the Lord God (John 14:15; 1 John 3, 4) – and such a person, convicted by the Holy Spirit of sin (John 16:8) will repent of their sin (literally meaning turning from the sin) (Acts 17:30;  2 Cor 12:21 b); and they will no longer practice sexual sin.

[24] Noting that Islam is a culture not a religion and hence it is impossible to separate “church from state” as they are one and the same in an Islamic country.

[25] Damnation is a strong word, no longer used by the English speaking world except as an expletive; it is too powerful and pricks the conscious because it pertains to the eternal punishment as a consequence of sin. In Australia people have lost their jobs and reputation for articulating the meaning of this word. Satan hates its use because it promotes the searching for salvation.

[26] Jesus raised Lazarus, but his corrupt body failed him the second time and he died again – he will be raised with the saints at the last times incorruptible (John 11:1-16).

[27] All people have their name in the Book of Life (Ps 136:16), but their name is blotted out if they reject the Messiah (Ps 69:28). The "other books" used include Lamb's Book of Life contains the names of born again individuals (Rev 13:8, 21:27).

[28] Some bibles use the term ‘earnest’; a very old word which better conveys what the term ‘sealed’ means. It means that a believer has been redeemed at cost, and the Holy Spirit has been given as a pledge for the full payment which is eternal life with Christ. (Eph 1:13, 14; Rom 8:23, 2 Cor 1:20).

[29] Letter to the Ephesians chapter 3 noting Ephesians 3:5 “it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets” And chapter 5: 21-32 noting Ephesians 5:32 “This is a great mystery, but I speak concerning Christ and the church”

[30] See Foxe’s Book of Martyrs e.g. at < https://ccel.org/f/foxe/martyrs/home.html > accessed 13 April 2020.

[31] I suspect it will be soon after, because Jesus indicated that Christians are the salt of the earth preventing total decay – once this is removed, rapid decay will occur viz: For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. Matthew 24:7 

[32] One place error is made is in interpreting Matthew 10:28 due often to lack of understanding of common Greek. Apollumi (ἀπόλλυμι) means “to put an end to”, “to ruin or put to death” or “to lose” – it does not mean to annihilate. One needs to be concerned about the one that will throw your soul into hell were it will be lost, not in the sense of not existing, but lost for the benefit of God’s enjoyment.

[33] Some differentiate Kingdom of Heaven from Kingdom of God, but in reality these are the same; compare Luke 22:17-18 (Kingdom of God), with Matthew 18:3; 19:14 etc.)

[34] Noting that non-believers are subjects of Satan, from whom a believer has been delivered (Colossians 1:13); that is at the point in time the earth is ruled by Satan, as Jesus said it would (John 14:30).

[35] This verse speaks of the beginning of His reign when he comes to judge the nations, and in particular, how they have treated His chosen people, Israel (Matt 25:44, 45).

[36] Genesis 1 – 11 is about mankind in general; the Book of Job is about a man, and the Prophecies of Jonah & Nahum is to the Gentiles of Nineveh (modern day Iraq) although the former is used by Jesus in his teaching to Israel about his coming death and resurrection (Matt 12:39-41; Luke 11:13).

[37] This however was remedied by Arnold Fruchtenbaum who introduced a new division to theology call Israeolology. The Missing Link in Systematic Theology.