Month: June 2014

KEEPING BALANCE

KEEPING BALANCE

suffer3“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body” (II Corinthians 4:8-10).

A man to whom [God] is a reality keeps his balance, because the living center of his life is spiritual. He cannot be upset, nor shaken. The same hard knocks come to him as to others, but he reacts to them by the central law of his life. He suffers deeply, but he does not sour. He knows frustration, but he goes right on in his kindness and faith. He sees his own shortcomings but he does not give up, because a power rises up from his spiritual center and urges him to the best.

Joseph F. Newton (1876-1950)
This I Believe

I Live, Ergo I Suffer

I Live, Ergo I Suffer

sufferingGod put each and every one of us on this third rock from the sun for at least one reason. Two of mine are not only to suffer, but to endure that suffering for the duration of this wicked and awesome and treacherous and grace-filled and nasty eon in which God’s own Son appeared on the scene, and through Him—justification and reconciliation for all humanity. Imagine that? Something so magnificent as Jesus’ death, entombment and resurrection happening in the very same time period as my hard life. It can only be the handiwork of Someone so Omniscient.

Do you want to hear something crazy? God calls suffering “a gift” (Phil. 1:29). Trust me, it doesn’t feel like a gift when you’re smack dab in the thick of it, so sometimes I fight it. I kick and scream against the bonds. I shake my fists at Him, or I would if I still had fists. Did I forget to mention that I have a rather visible disability? Yes, ’tis true. I was born with a debilitating skin disease which, in turn, paved the way for several bouts with squamous cell carcinoma (an aggressive form of skin cancer) which, in turn, led to me becoming a multiple amputee.

So I do worse than fist-shaking. I curse. I get depressed and angry and curse, then Abba embraces me. I wail crocodile tears and my Maker presses my head against His chest. I bitch and moan, quite literally, and He lets me exhaust myself, then gives me something to laugh about. Or marvel in. Do you see it yet? Do you see how this dance with Father works? The Christ life is a life of contrasts—whenever I am weak, then I am powerful (II Cor. 12:10). Simple as that. It’s a beautiful picture really. It’s a peaceful reality once you are convinced of what He’s got up His sleeve. I envision Him waking up in the morning (silly I know, since He never sleeps), yawning (at least He doesn’t have morning breath), stretching and saying to His celestial attendants something like “Hmm?” and taps His scruffy chin. “Why not let’s make My beloved daughter, Sheryl Crow, writhe in utter failure today so my Son, Christ Jesus, can be magnified in her defeat, thus raising her from the ash heap? Yes, let’s do!”

And by the end of the day I am huddle in my power wheelchair, worshipping the One Who loves me so much that He intimately conforms me into the image of His Son [Phil. 3:10], and this short but sweet prayer gushes forth:

O Captain, my Captain! I am Yours, and You are mine.

Then the battle rages on. He keeps me weak, I keep on enduring, and I do it as unto the Lord—cursing all the way.

~Sheryl Crow

 


 

Footnote: This has been my experience and only a sampling at that. Each one of you has your own trials and woes. I want to encourage you to draw close to Father during these times. Just be yourself—get real with Him. All His heart desires is to spend time with you, and for you to want to get to know Who He really is—the God of Scripture, not the God of any religion (Christianity included). And it’s perfectly fine to cuss and cry with the One Who knows you better than you do, and loves the whole package. I cried while writing this. I cried because suffering is painful. Suffering sucks and pain is my constant companion. But it doesn’t end here. Keep your eyes peeled on LargerHope.org for the rest of the story, “I Suffer, Ergo I Live.” And don’t just take my word about the cursing thing, click on this link: http://www.martinzender.com/ZWTF/ZWTF2.15.pdf and check out the August 31, 2013 newsletter, “The Case of Cussing Christians,” or if you prefer, go to www.martinzender.com, click on ZWTF Archives and scroll down until you find this issue. It’s a $#@*% eye-opener!

 

 

PAUL'S PERFECTION EPISTLES

PAUL'S PERFECTION EPISTLES

0e2435793_1378060787_sermon-grace-titlePaul’s perfection epistles are emphatically the truth for the present. The Ephesian letter, being addressed to all believers in Christ Jesus, in contrast with the Circumcision, who hardly knew Him by this title, is the ranking revelation for the members of the joint body of Christ. Here first are revealed those secrets which distinguish this administration from all others. Never before has the celestial destiny of the present ecclesia been declared. All the other Scriptures deal with the elementary and immature, but here we find perfection. God’s purpose had been only partially made known before and seemed confined to earth. But in this final transcendent revelation His ultimate universal goal is first revealed.

 

~A. E. Knoch

from Concordant Commentary

Testimony – Chris Schlack

Testimony – Chris Schlack

I ran across this online.  Chris Schlack gives his testimony of how the teaching of eternal torment affected his life, how he discovered Paul’s Gospel, and then how he tried to disprove the salvation of all before coming to believe it.

 

CURRENT DELUSIONS

CURRENT DELUSIONS

NEW BIRTH—NEW CREATIONimages2

Subjects which have been under consideration over a long period of time, acquire their own well-known terms. Often the mere discussion of a question conveys the idea that all is clear and plain and further enquiry superfluous. Should the subject have been misunderstood, it is difficult to correct matters, for the familiar terms and their surroundings are not readily driven from the mind.If the misunderstanding of the question arises from an erroneous background, then we have confusion, and correction becomes a real problem. Such a difficulty hangs around the new birth. So fundamental do evangelicals consider the new birth, that any suggestion which calls for enquiry is deemed to be the mark of apostasy. Enquiry is furthermore hampered, because figures which ought to be distinguished may have some features of similarity, and so two subjects remain mixed, leaving us without clear knowledge of either.

NEW BIRTH NOT UNDERSTOOD BEFORE

Nicodemus is not the only teacher who is ignorant on this topic. Unfortunately, the ignorance of the present day arises from a different cause than that of Nicodemus. Today great emphasis is placed on the necessity for regeneration, whereas Nicodemus did not understand it to be a requirement for entry into the kingdom of God at all.

Nicodemus thought that physical relation with Israel was sufficient for the kingdom; he did not recognize the necessity for a spiritual renewal, and yet the Scriptures, of which he was a teacher, plainly stated such to be the case.

The present position is almost worse, for we do not realize that the teaching presented to Nicodemus and Israel is radically different and distinct from that given to the nations through the apostle Paul. We suppose the new birth to be the truth of the evangel of God, and so we continue to be modulated by this figure and lose the greatness of the revelation through Paul, which greatness is characterized by comparing it with the future new creation.

THE LORD JESUS AND PAUL DISTINGUISHED

At the outset of our enquiry, let us then discriminate that which the Lord Jesus proclaimed to Israel: the kingdom of God. What He said of it, we must retain in the context that He gave it. Paul preached to the nations the evangel of God’s grace, gathering the saints who are the ecclesia which is the body of Christ. All that the Lord Jesus said, His words as well as His figures, accords with the object of His mission to Israel and finds its correspondences in the Hebrew prophecies, which relate to Israel’s establishment as God’s holy nation on earth. But what Paul says has a more extensive horizon and deals first with blessings among the celestials for the saints, yet also develops matters related to the universe outside the earth.

Israel’s blessings, then, are upon the earth; they focus Messiah’s glory on this terrestrial scene. The blessing’s of the ecclesia are celestial and focus Christ’s greater glories, related to His allotment of the universe. Birth is the figure which conveys to us what makes Israel’s sons fit for the earthly, millennial sphere. But creation is the figure necessary to indicate the new and radical features of the ways of God which are not centered in Israel.

With these distinctions made plain, we are ready to consider the difference between the figures, and at the same time to develop their respective connections and the revelations which range along with them.

DETAILS OF THE NEW BIRTH

The new birth is crystallized in the familiar words: you must be born anew (John 3:7). Our elaboration of it must be sought either in the words of the Lord Jesus, of those who heard Him, or in the Hebrew revelation. It was a matter which Nicodemus ought to have known and taught to Israel, for the prophets had much to say regarding it. Actually it is the new covenant stated in a few words. What the new covenant brings to Israel is the measure of the significance of the new birth.

A detail of the words you must be born anew, which is usually ignored, is that the word you is plural; this is not the only case where the plural pronoun is of importance in guiding the understanding. The plural speaks of the nation of Israel and not of individuals. An example is seen in Matthew 5:14: You are the light of the earth. So also the words of John 3:7 indicate that it is Israel’s sons as a whole as a nation, which must be born anew. The prophet Isaiah speaks of a nation born at one time (Isa.66:8).

THE KINGDOM OF MESSIAH A RENASCENCE

The establishing of Israel in the kingdom of God was the basis of the Messiah’s ministry to them. He refers to the time when He, the Son of Mankind, will sit on His glorious throne, as the regeneration, or more suitably as the renascence. The import of such a feature indicates that birth illustrates matters regarding the kingdom on the earth, of which Israel is the chosen center.

Entrance into the kingdom is by the new birth. This is the truth insisted upon to Nicodemus, one of Israel’s teachers. It is the truth which applies to Israel only within the scope of the promises, confined to them alone. It is not truth for the present administration.

SIGNIFICANCE OF TEACHING THE NEW BIRTH

The particular significance of the new birth is its intimation that physical relationship with Israel is insufficient; there must be spiritual regeneration, for the children of the flesh are not the children of God. Israel’s sons require a new spirit; the stony heart must be taken away and replaced by a new one. So will Israel walk in Jehovah’s statutes and keep His judgments. This earthly glory is pledged and promised to Israel, and they enter it by the new birth.

God’s eonian covenant brings them all these blessings. It is the new covenant which God makes with His earthly people. The blood of Christ is its basis. This is the particular aspect of Christ’s death as it refers to Israel’s position, outlined in the prophets and the so-called gospels. We should not import into the teachings of the Lord, or the Twelve, the significance which the apostle Paul reveals as attached to the cross. Such things are not in the evangel of the kingdom; the new birth is not related to justification or conciliation, which subjects are exclusive to the ministry of Paul to the nations.

BAPTISM AND NEW BIRTH

Repentance and baptism are the leading features of the proclamation of John the baptist, of the Lord Jesus, and of the Twelve, and they are related to the new birth. In fact, the elements of the new birth are water and spirit, and these are the mediums of baptism. John announced that he baptized in water for repentance, but He Who is coming after him, will baptize in holy spirit. Here we have the causes of the new birth; the water of baptism finds its counterpart in holy spirit which fits its subjects for entry into the kingdom.

THE FIGURE EXPLAINED

The new birth fits for a life on earth during the millennium. It rejuvenates the faculties during that time when Israel is established in the kingdom. It is a renewal in kind, enabling the flesh to walk in the statutes, ordinances and judgments of God. Thus it is a provisional matter in His ways, and produces children of God whom He will edify and lead to the maturity of sons, in readiness for the new creation and God’s ultimate uniting of the universe.

Humanity has much to learn and discover, and Israel’s regeneration is one of the factors which will contribute to the peoples of the earth coming to know and understand God.

THE IMPORT OF THE NEW CREATION

The new creation is quite a distinct matter from the regeneration. The latter proceeds by the avenue of youth whereas creation produces the adult. It gives sons to God, sons of whom the norm is Christ. The significance of this creation is what makes the difference, and from the context in which we find this figure used, viz. the ministry of the apostle Paul, we perceive that it fits for another sphere than that of the new birth. It brings about the radical change necessary for earth-born humans who will have a celestial destiny; the subjects of which will require powers and capacities far superior from those possessed at present, and they will receive them because they are new creations in Christ.

NOT EXPLAINED IN THE OLD TESTAMENT

The new creation will eventually embrace heaven and earth. On rare occasions new heavens and a new earth were mentioned by Israel’s prophets, but into any details they did not go. Even in the Unveiling we have only the barest outline, though it is made plain that the present heavens and earth pass away. Peter also tells of this and shows such things to refer to the day of God, whereas Israel’s blessings through the new birth are confined to the day of the Lord of the Hebrew Scriptures and the Unveiling.

AN INSTALMENT OF THE NEW CREATION

The present economy and the evangel related thereto, produce the ecclesia which is Christ’s body. It is the first instalment of the new humanity which comes by the new creation. This portion of the new humanity is now being created in righteousness and benignity of the truth. It requires that we put off the old humanity, for the truth of the evangel shows that the saint, who is a new creation in Christ, really no longer belongs to the race of which Adam is the head.

IN CHRIST

It will be perceived that the new creation is “in Christ.” It is the present spiritual counterpart of the period which comes after the regeneration of Israel in the day of the Lord. By the blessing of being a new creation we skip the deviousness of the childhood of the new birth and receive the maturity of adultness. These facts of the future new creation fit the figures of our faith as found in the Ephesian epistle, and do indeed confirm the necessity that we correctly partition the word of truth.

CONCILIATION AND THE NEW CREATION

Further examination of the subject of the new creation shows us that it is the accompaniment of the conciliation, just as the new birth was associated with repentance and baptism. And if we follow the conciliation closely, we shall learn much of the deep things of God. Israel’s religious ascendancy passes with the coming of the day of God. And we understand that conciliation will then be possible on earth as it has been earlier in the heavens. It could not become a fact of earth whilst Israel intruded between God and the remainder of humanity as in the day of the Lord. And there is a valid reason for this, for the greater and more radical truths around the death of Christ are not in point in the day of the Lord. At that time the blood of Christ dispenses its virtue in making possible the new covenant to Israel. This is the limit of blessings to the present earth. But the new creation is possible, because in the death of His Son God achieved greater things than a covenant with His people Israel.

THE WORD OF THE CROSS

Justification is possible because of Christ’s death, but justification, though a glorious and fundamental matter, and contributing to the new creation, is not exclusive, being quite a necessary matter in every connection. But the conciliation is especially for the new creation. To us in this economy it has precious blessings for our delectation, but these treasures are not for Israel, for that nation does not enter the blessings of the conciliation, resulting from the death of God’s Son. Nor does it attain to the deeper meaning of the word of the cross; that divides between the old creation and the new creation; also between the old and the new humanities. The cross obliterates all the features of the old humanity. Through the cross the old humanity was crucified with Christ. The cross sets aside circumcision and removes the barrier with the uncircumcision. Sin’s flesh and all its connections are gone, having been crucified at the cross. A new humanity which accords with God is thus a possibility, and it finds its basis, not in the death of Christ, nor in the blood of Christ, nor the death of God’s Son, but in the word of the cross, which applies the crucifixion to humanity. The old humanity and all its features are no more; they were crucified and rendered inert.

SUMMARY

The new birth is for Israel and the millennial blessings of the day of the Lord. The new creation is for the present economy and finds its counterpart in the day of God, when conciliation receives its fuller fruits in heaven and earth. The full fruition is at the consummation, when the just award to Christ by God reaches out to its fullest limits.

By – E.H.C.
THE BODY OF CHRIST'S DISTINCT PURPOSE

THE BODY OF CHRIST'S DISTINCT PURPOSE

book1imagesIt is assumed almost universally that the “Church” of the present dispensation is at once “the Body of Christ” and “the Bride.” Traditional theology, unscriptural hymnology, amazing disregard for correct interpretation, intolerant zeal for dogmatic human opinions together with careless, defective instruction, have united for generations in perpetuating a phase of teaching possessing no foundation in or authority from Holy Scripture and perpetrating a system that plunges multitudes of believers in dire confusion concerning the plan, purpose and program of God for “the church which is His Body” as distinct from the Divine purpose concerning another outcalling known as “the Bride, the Lamb’s wife.”

“The Bride of Christ” is absolutely unknown to Scripture. Not appearing in Scripture, the term should find no place in the believer’s thought or vocabulary.

“The Bride” is absolutely unknown to the terminology of the “Prison Epistles.”

Robert A. Hadden
Christian Fundamentals Magazine
(July 1931)

IN DEFENSE

IN DEFENSE


0e2435793_1378060787_sermon-grace-title
We are glad to note that the subject of reconciliation is receiving some of the consideration which it deserves. While we shall steadfastly refrain from all debate, we consider it but just and loving that we should not ignore those who present Scriptures in order to disprove our message.

A recent answer in Things to Come (Jan. 1913) gives this clear statement as to the meaning of katallassoo conciliate: “changing the relation of one person or thing towards another.” Apokatallassoo, however, is defined as complete or absolute conciliation on God’s side only. “It is He who is conciliated by the atonement of Christ and not ourselves….We are convinced that the interpretation of the word “reconciliation” which connects it with two parties is a misunderstanding;….”

In answer to this we need only quote Col.1:20,21: “Seeing that it delights all the fullness to reside in Him and through Him to reconcile the universe unto Him (peace being made through the blood of His cross) whether that upon the earth or that in the heavens. And you, being once estranged and enemies in your mind, in wicked deeds, yet now He reconciles….” God’s side, the conciliation, is expressed in the phrase “peace being made.” This was “through the blood of His cross.” This is, however, only the basis of the reconciliation which is to be effected “through Him.” That the reconciliation here spoken of is more than God’s attitude is made doubly sure by the statement “And you…He reconciles now.” The statement “He reconciles you” cannot mean God. The Colossians it was who were changed from being estranged and enemies. Reconciliation is on man’s side also. Conciliation is never “unto Him” for He it is Who is conciliated. Reconciliation is “unto Him” because the change is in us. That God is conciliated is admitted. That the Colossians were reconciled is evident. Therefore we conclude that apokatallassoo reconciliation includes both parties.

When conciliation is mutual, the Greek strengthens the simple word conciliate with a preposition, much as we change conciliation to reconciliation. When both parties were once on friendly terms, but both are angry, then they prefixed the preposition dia through, aptly describing the change from friendship through reconciliation to friendship again.

But far different is the case between the sinner and God. We never were His friends and He is not now our enemy. He is conciliated and we receive it (Rom.5:11). In such a case apo from is prefixed to signify our change from enmity to amity.

That God was not conciliated by “the atonement of Christ” but rather by “the death of His Son” (Rom.5:10) we have elsewhere pointed out (see No.2, page 84).

The usage of the Word of God denies that reconciliation is confined to a change on God’s side. It includes our reception of that change and will be extended to the whole universe.

That which has been destroyed during the eons is not annihilated but will be raised and reconciled at the consummation.

 

UNSEARCHABLE RICHES FOR FEBRUARY, 1913 BEING THE THIRD NUMBER OF VOLUME FOUR

 

-Author Unknown

Peace Is Inevitable

Peace Is Inevitable

But let us awake from the sickening nightmare of man’s imaginings and let us wing our spirits to God’s glorious consummation. Here is a vision worthy of the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Sin, sorrow, suffering, estrangement—all these are but memories which, in the divine alchemy of that blessed era, will sweeten every sweet cup and illumine love itself. Not sin triumphant, with its bitter fangs buried even in that blessedness. Ah, no. Sin will be absent, yet subservient—the chiefest condiment of sinless bliss.

Once all was perfect, ere Satan fell or man rebelled; and all shall be perfect once again. Man has been God’s enemy; yet through this very enmity He will draw mankind far closer to Himself than otherwise could have been.

And the zenith of that sublime perfectness will be—not innocence or friendship’s chain unbroken—but reconciliation, perfect and complete. A universe in harmony with God! O, who would not feast his eyes on such a sight.

– A. E. Knoch

 

THE RICH MAN & LAZARUS

THE RICH MAN & LAZARUS

Luke 16:19-31

The purpose of this article is to clear up one of the sources of twisted doctrine that is propagated by Christianity today.  The picture that I attempt to paint comes from input from Scriptures as seen through the eyes of several credible authors.

The story “Dives & Lazarus” originated in the Talmud (a book of Jewish Traditional Ceremonial Law), as pointed out by Alan Burns, Dr. E.W. Bullinger, Dr. C. I. Scofield, Dr. Loyal F. Hurley, and Julie Ferwerda, etc.  Throughout the Holy Scriptures, the Hebrew “Sheol” equates to the Greek “Hades”, and means the UNSEEN, where all souls vanish awaiting resurrection, & judgment.  Jonah prayed to God while in the belly of the great fish, “here I am in Sheol”.

It was the Talmud that invented the idea that Sheol/Hades comes in 2 parts: 1) “eternal torment” under the earth, for lost sinners (selfish rich people, & omits the resurrection  –  because they are immortal, and their “souls” don’t die), and, 2) “eternal comfort” (Abraham’s bosom) for saved people.  Dives is a Latin word for “rich” man.  These are NOT Scriptural concepts.

It is well known that there was no printing press until 1450 a.d.  Original Greek Scriptures were Uncial, and there were no spaces between words, no verse or chapter numbers.  These were all separated by human beings over time.  This involved not a few major errors that remain today.  The Greek word roots that comprise “Religion” are DREAD-TEACH: a system that scares people into rendering obedience, and financial support to itself.

In Luke 15:3 Jesus told the crowd (Pharisees, scribes, tax collectors/publicans, and sinners) THIS parable, not THESE parables.  This parable consists of 5 stories  –  the 5th story being that of our topic.  The religious twisters (2Pet 3:16) say that this had to be LITERAL and not a parable because no other parable named its individuals (Lazarus & Abraham).  Mrs. Ferwerda points out in “Raising Hell” thatLazarus is the Greek translation of the Hebrew nameEliezer (Abraham’s faithful Gentile steward from Damascus) Gen 15:2.  What a coincidence that Jesus, when speaking to a crowd of Jews, would conclude this parable with a well known tale from their own history.  The first 3 stories relate to God’s love for the lost (coin, sheep, prodigal).  The last 2 stories relate to the condemnation of Israel’s stewards who failed to share their God & his blessings with others.  And they say it must be literal, because it isn’t called a parable  –   but neither was “Jotham’s  parable” in Judges 9:8, where the trees elected a king.

Suggested reading:  http://www.concordant.org/expohtml/HumanDestiny/lazarus1.html

 ~ Ken Whittemore