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Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Land Promised to Israel Forever
by David Vaughn Elliott

As the Israelis and Palestinians battle over land that both claim as their own, American futurists (dispensationalists) side with the Israelis, claiming the Bible is on their side. Indeed, did not God promise Abraham: "All the land which you see, to you will I give it, and to your seed forever" (Gen. 13:15). Forever. "It is because of such verses," says futurism, "that Israel is again in their land today and must inhabit it during the coming millennium. Prophetic promises must be fulfilled."

But wait a minute. They tell us to expect the literal fulfillment of God's "forever" promise, right? Now, what if I would tell my bride, "I'm yours forever." Then I would live with her for 15 years. After that I go to live with another woman for 20 years. Finally I come back to my original bride and tell her, "Since I promised to live with you forever, here I am again." Does that make sense? Futurism says Israel must live in the Promised Land now, and then also during the millennium, in order to fulfill the "forever" promise. But what about nearly 1,900 years, from A.D. 70 to 1948, when there was no Jewish nation in Palestine? What happened to "forever" during nearly two millennia? 

Did God fail to keep His promise? We need to read the fine print. The promise had conditions! God never said that "forever" was unconditional. God never implied that Israel could behave as they pleased and still continue to claim the "forever" promise.

In fact, before Moses died, he solemnly warned the children of Israel: "When you shall beget children... and you shall have remained long in the land... and shall do evil in the sight of the Lord your God, to provoke him to anger... you shall soon utterly perish from off the land... and the Lord shall scatter you among the nations" (Deut. 4:25-27).

When Solomon built that magnificent temple, God told him: "If you shall at all turn from following me, you or your children... then will I cut off Israel out of the land which I have given them" (1 Kings 9:6-7).

Many such warnings could be cited. History shows that Israel did not heed the warnings and that God kept His word. In 722 B.C., God used the Assyrians to expel the Northern Kingdom of Israel from the Land of Promise, never to return as a political entity. Less than a century and a half later, God used the Babylonians to do the same to the Southern Kingdom of Judah. In the case of Judah, God told the people through Jeremiah that the captivity would be for 70 years. God had plans to bring the Messiah into the world and He needed Judah in their land to accomplish that. 

But then came the ultimate sin: the leaders of Israel, and Israel as a nation, rejected their own Messiah, the Son of God. Peter charged them on the day of Pentecost: "Him... you have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain" (Acts 2:23). The end result was the destruction of Jerusalem in A.D. 70, the removal of the Jews from Palestine, and the scattering of the Jews throughout the entire world -- just as God had warned. They did not return in significant numbers for nearly 1,900 years. 

"Forever" had conditions; and no matter what the Jews have done since 1948, they have already failed to have possession of Palestine, Canaan, the Promised Land "forever." No supposed possession of Palestine for "the millennium" can fulfill the "forever" promise. The historical fact remains that the Jews have not -- have not -- dwelt in Palestine "forever." Why did they not? Jehovah clearly attached conditions to the prophetic promise, and the children of Israel failed to keep those conditions. 
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Sunday, August 2, 2015

DID THE 1ST CENTURY CHURCH HAVE NEW TESTAMENT SCRIPTURES?   BY STEVE FINNELL

The prevailing thought of many is that since the Bible was not canonized until sometime between 300 and 400 A.D. that the church of Christ did not have New Covenant Scriptures as their guide for faith and practice. That is simply factually incorrect.

The Lord's church of the first 400 years did not rely on the man-made traditions of men for New Testament guidance.

Jesus gave the terms for pardon 33 A.D. after His death and resurrecting. (Mark 16:16) All the words of Jesus were Scripture.Jesus did not have to wait for canonization of the New Testament in order for His word to be authorized.

The terms for pardon were repeated by the apostle Peter 33 A.D. on the Day of Pentecost. (Acts 2:22-42) The teachings of the apostles were Scripture. The words of the apostles were Scripture before they were canonized.

The apostle Peter said the apostle Paul's words were Scripture. (2 Peter 3:15-16...just as also our beloved brother Paul , according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand,which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures...

The apostle Paul's letters and words were Scriptures when he wrote and spoke them. Paul did not have to wait for canonization to authorize his doctrine.

John 14:25-26 'These things I have spoken to you while abiding with you. 26 But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to you remembrance all that I said to you.

The words and writings of the apostles were Scripture and they did not have to wait for canonization to be deemed authoritative. The apostle did not use man-made creed books of the church or man-made oral traditions to teach the gospel of the New Covenant.

Did the early church have written New testament Scriptures? Yes, and they were shared among the different congregations. (Colossians 4:16 When the letter is read among you, have it read in the church of the Laodiceans and you, for your part read my letter that is coming from Laodica.) Paul's letters were Scripture and they were read in different churches.

They were New Testament Scriptures long before they were canonized.

WRITTEN

Matthew A.D. 70
Mark A.D. 55
Luke  between A.D. 59 and 63
John A.D. 85
Acts A.D. 63
Romans A.D. 57
1 Corinthians A.D. 55
2 Corinthians A.D. 55
Galatians A.D. 50
Ephesians A.D. 60
Philippians A.D. 61
Colossians A. D. 60
1 Thessalonians A.D. 51
2 Thessalonians A.D. 51 or 52
1 Timothy A.D. 64
2 Timothy A.D. 66
Titus A.D. 64
Philemon A.D. 64
Hebrews A.D. 70
James A.D. 50
1 Peter A.D. 64
2 Peter A.D. 66
1 John A.D. 90
2 John A.d. 90
3 John A.D. 90
Jude A.D. 65
Revelation A.D. 95
           
All 27 books of the New Testament were Scripture when they were written. They did not have wait until they were canonized before they became God's word to mankind.

Jesus told the eleven disciples make disciples and teach them all that He commanded. (Matthew 28:16-19) That was A.D. 33, They were teaching New Covenant Scripture from A.D. 33 forward. The apostles did not wait to preach the gospel until canonization occurred 300 to 400 years later.

THE WORDS OF JESUS AND THE APOSTLES WERE SCRIPTURE WHEN THEY WERE SPOKEN AND WRITTEN. THEY DID NOT HAVE TO WAIT FOR CANONIZATION TO BE THE AUTHORIZED WORD OF GOD.

MAN-MADE CREED BOOKS AND MAN-MADE ORAL TRADITION WAS AND IS NOT SCRIPTURE.


AS A MATTER OF FACT! When God said "Let Us make man in Our image, (Genesis 1:27) it was God's Word.  God's creation of  man was true before it  was canonized 4450 years later.  The book of Genesis was Scripture the moment it was written.  Man-Made oral tradition was not, nor will it ever be Scripture.

  

IS THE BIBLE THE FINAL AUTHORITY?   BY STEVE FINNELL


Is the Bible the final authority for the many denominations that claim to be followers of Christ? The truth is, most denominations do not use the Bible as their source for the final authority when it comes to faith and practice of the church. The majority of Christ following denominations use church catechisms, church statements of faith and other creed books as their final authority. The Bible is superseded by writings written by church leaders.

One thing that is certain, if denominations are stating different ways of being saved, they all cannot be correct. If you are searching for the absolute truth why would you not use the Bible and the Bible alone.

The only reason churches use catechisms and creed books is to explain away the clear teaching of Scripture that are contrary to their denominational doctrines. If catechisms and creed books are teaching the same thing as the Bible, then why would you need them? 

2 Timothy 3:15-17 and from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, fr training in righteousness; 17 so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.(New American Standard Version)

The truth about salvation and living the Christian life comes from Scripture inspired by God.

Church catechisms, creed books, and church board approved statements of faith are not Scripture, they are not the Bible, they not God's inspired word given to all mankind.

If all believers in Christ believed that the Bible and the Bible alone was God's authoritative message to men, there would be no denominations. There would only be the Lord's church. The church of Christ. There is only one body of Christ.  

Saturday, August 1, 2015

WHAT FOLLOWS REPENTANCE AND WATER BAPTISM? by steve finnell


What follows repentance and immersion in water? According to the apostle Peter, forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit follows repentance and baptism. On the Day of Pentecost Peter preached Jesus as Lord and Savior and then told them to repent and be baptized.

Acts 2:36-38 "Therefore let the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ." 37 Now when they heard this , they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let everyone of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.(NKJV)

What follows believing that Jesus is Lord and Christ, repentance, and water baptism? The answer is forgiveness of sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 2:38 And Peter replied, "Each one of you must turn from sin, return to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; then you also shall receive this gift, the Holy Spirit.(TLB-The Living Bible)

What follows repentance and water baptism?
Acts 2:38........for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (EXB-The Expanded Bible)

Acts 2:38 .......so that your sins will be forgiven; and you will receive God's gift, the Holy Spirit.(GNT-Good New Translation)

Acts 2:38......for the remission of sins, and you ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost.(KJV)

Forgiveness from sins and receiving the gift of the Holy Spirit follows faith, repentance, and immersion in water.

          


BAPTIST AND THE CHRISTIAN

(Dialogue continued)

GEORGE L. FAULL


Baptist::           Since we last talked I have thought a lot about you teaching that “baptism” is essential to salvation.” I’ve thought of some things that just kind of blow that idea out of the water. No pun intended.
Christian:         Okay, I am sure ready to listen and learn.
Baptist::           When you teach that you have to “be baptized to be saved,” you are teaching that you can earn your salvation.
Christian:         Well, why do you think a person is baptized?
Baptist::           You are baptized to get into the Church.
Christian:         So, in other words, you earn your way into the Baptist Church.
Baptist::           Well, no, that is not true.
Christian:         Now wait. If I say that one is baptized into Christ to be saved, you say that I am teaching that you can earn your salvation, but if you teach that you are baptized to get into the Baptist Church, are you not teaching that you can earn your way into the Baptist Church? Is that logical?
Baptist::           Well, baptism is simply the means of getting into the Baptist Church so it is not really earning your way into the Baptist Church.
Christian:         But if I say one is baptized into Christ, it all of the sudden becomes a work of merit to earn salvation. Is that what you are saying?
Baptist::           Well, kind of, I guess.
Christian:         Well, my mind won’t make such a great leap of faith as to believe there is a difference between one being a work of merit and the other not. There is no merit at all in being baptized into Christ. Salvation is merited completely by what Christ did on the cross. Salvation is only in Christ, so I was baptized into Him “where all the promises of God are. I am saved by what happened to Him, not what happened to me. There is no condemnation to those “in Christ.” If one is “in Christ, he is a new creature, old things are passed away and all things are made new.” The only way I know to be “in Christ,” is to be baptized into Him. Paul says,
`“For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ.”
Galatians 3:27
Baptist::           Well, we believe you are baptized to be a member of the Baptist Church.
Christian:         Yes, I know that is what you believe, but you do not believe you have to be baptized to get into Heaven.
Baptist::           No way.
Christian:         Well, I guess then that you believe it is easier to get into Heaven than it is the Baptist Church.
Baptist::           Huh?
Christian:         Well, if you do not have to be baptized to get into Heaven, but you do to be a member of the Baptist Church, it takes more to get into the Baptist Church than it does to get into Heaven.
Baptist::           Okay, I’ll admit that.
Christian:         I reckon you would have to, because that is what you believe. Let me ask you how you were saved.
Baptist::           I just said the “sinner’s prayer,” and asked Jesus into my heart.
Christian:         What is the “sinner’s prayer?” And what is this “asking Jesus into your heart?” I have never read that in the Bible. Where is that?
Baptist::           I don’t know but I’m sure it’s in there. Even the radio preachers quote it. Revelation shows Jesus standing at the door and knocking. You have seen the famous picture of Jesus knocking on a door without a latch.  He won’t barge in. He knocks and you have to let Him in.
Christian:         Well, I have looked and looked for “sinner’s prayer” and have never found it. The artist probably took his idea from the Revelation picture, but that is Jesus knocking on the door of the lukewarm church, not on an alien sinner’s heart.
Baptist::           Oh, my! I have never noticed that before.
Christian:         Let me ask you, how old were you when you were saved? And how old were you when you were baptized?
Baptist::           I was ten when I said the “sinner’s prayer,” and was saved, but I was twelve when I was baptized and joined the Baptist Church.
Christian:         So you were saved two years outside the Baptist Church?
Baptist::           Yes.
Christian:         So one does not have to be a member of the Baptist Church to be saved?
Baptist::           Oh, no! There are a lot of people saved that are not in the Baptist Church!
Christian:         Well, that is encouraging to know. So you don’t think that you have to be in the Church to be saved?
Baptist::           Oh, no! You don’t believe that you have to be in the Church to be saved, do you?
Christian:         Well, I believe, if you are saved, you are in the Church. On Pentecost, those that gladly received the Word were baptized and the same day there were added about 3,000 souls.
Acts 2:42 and 47, “42 And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers. 47 Praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
We believe the Lord adds you to His Church, not men.
Baptist:            Well, what kind of Church was it?
Christian:         Well, it is Christ’s Church. It is His body and by one spirit we are all baptized into one body.
I Corinthians 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether [we be] Jews or Gentiles, whether [we be] bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.”
Baptist:            So, you are saying, when you were baptized, you were added to the Church?
Christian:         Yes, we were baptized into Christ. We became a part of His body. When we were baptized into Christ, we were baptized into His death. We died with Him and arose with Him to walk in a newness of life.
Romans 6:4, “Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”
Baptist:            Well, let me change gears here. Paul specif-ically said,”Christ sent me not to baptize but to preach the Gospel.” It follows then that baptism has no part of the Gospel.
Christian:         It is true, Paul was sent to preach, not merely baptize. This is true, but let’s follow your logic. Since Paul was not sent to baptize, he was not sent to make Baptists, since you have said that it takes “baptism to make a Baptist.”
Baptist:            Now, that is not what I said.
Christian:         No, it is just the logical conclusion to your argument. Furthermore, if baptism is no part of the Gospel, then the Baptist Church is no part of the Gospel. It is not a Gospel Church since it takes baptism to make a Baptist. Will you admit to that?
Baptist:            You frustrate me.
Christian:         (Smiling)No, truth frustrates you. I have just been using your logic on your own doctrine.
Baptist:            Well, maybe so, but I am proud to be a Baptist!
Christian:         But you are not a Baptist, sir.
Baptist:            What do you mean, “I’m not a Baptist?” I have been a Baptist for twenty years.
Christian:         No, sir. I am sorry to tell you, but you are not a Baptist.
Baptist:            Now what do you mean by such a statement?
Christian:         You have been a member of the baptist Church for twenty years, but have you baptized any one?
Baptist:            No, you have to be an ordained minister to administer “baptism.”
Christian:         Then you are not a Baptist. A Baptist is one who baptizes. That is why John was called “the Baptist.” You have baptized no one, so how can you be called “a Baptist?”
Baptist:            Sir, you are playing word games.
Christian:         Not really. Is one who does not do plumbing a plumber? Is one who has never driven a nail a carpenter? Is one who has never preached a preacher? Are you, sir, really a Baptist, if you have never baptized?
Baptist:            Oh, boy!
Christian:         The Great Commission says, “Go, teach and baptize.” Baptist preachers do that, but you don’t. You do not obey the Great Commission.
Baptist:            You may have something there, but one needs to go to a minister to be baptized.
Christian:         You fellows are always talking about a man out in the dessert with no water to baptize them. Let me ask you this. What would happen if a man wanted to be baptized on an island with no ordained Baptist preacher present? How could he become a member5 of the Baptist Christ?
Baptist:            He couldn’t, but he does not have to be a member of the Church to be saved.
Christian:         But the Bible says that the Church is what is going to be presented without spot and blemish.
Ephesians 5:27, “That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.“
II Corinthians 11:2, “For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present [you as] a chaste virgin to Christ.”
I don’t know of anyone but the Church that is going to be saved, since He adds the saved to His Church.
Acts 2:42, “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.”
It is His Church which He purchased with His own blood.
Acts 20:28, “Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.” 
It is the purchased ones who are redeemed. It is the redeemed ones who are saved. Yes, I believed all saved persons are a member of His Church.
Baptist:            Well, you have given me something to think about. I think my arguments are sound in the overall, though.
Christian:         (Smiling, putting his right arm around him, replies,) We will have to talk again. In the meantime, I don’t think your arguments on baptism hold water. Pun intended.

And with that, they both laughed and ended company.

James 1:22 “But be ye doers of the word, and
not hearers only, deceiving your own selves.”

Friday, July 31, 2015

Does God Ever Change His Mind?
by David Vaughn Elliott

Does God ever change His mind? Listen to the words that the Lord put into the mouth of Balaam: "God is not a man, that he should lie; neither the son of man, that he should repent: has he said, and shall he not do it?" (Num. 23:19). Does this mean that whatever God predicts is sure to happen; that all of God's warnings and promises will be fulfilled -- unconditionally?

That's not how Jonah understood God's nature. When God told Jonah to prophesy doom upon Nineveh, Jonah fled. Why? "I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that you are a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and you repent of the evil" (4:2). And thus it happened. When Jonah did prophesy Nineveh's destruction, Nineveh repented and God relented.  

How did Jonah know that God might "repent of the evil"? I don't know; but the book of Jonah itself is a testimony to this truth. So is the word of Jeremiah: "If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good" (Jer. 18:8-10). "Repent of the evil... repent of the good." "Repent" means to change one's mind. Other versions render it "relent," "think better," "reconsider." 

God is not obligated to state these conditions every time He predicts a blessing or a disaster. Like Jonah, we should always keep in mind that God's mercy and justice can call for a change of plans. In Balaam's case, there was no reason to change. God had promised to bless Israel, and he surely would not "repent of the good" simply because the Moabites didn't like it.

In the case of Nineveh, no "if" is recorded. It may not always be easy to distinguish between a promise/warning with conditions and a prophetic prediction that has no conditions. It is essential to consider all the Scriptures that have a bearing on each prediction. 

Deut. 30 foretold that if Israel returned to God, God would "turn your captivity" (v 3). He promised to bless them abundantly, "if you shall... keep his commandments and his statutes which are written in this book of the law" (v 10). This "if" was predicated on their keeping the Law of Moses. However, there was another condition that was not stated at that time.

The promise in Deut. 30 is like a coupon you have in 2008 that expired in 2006. The coupon is no longer valid. So it is with the promise in Deut. 30. Israelis today cannot fulfill the "if" even if they want to. They have no temple in which to offer the prescribed sacrifices. Worse yet, if they were to demolish the Dome of the Rock and build a temple in its place, God would not recognize it. Jesus blotted "out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us... and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross" (Col. 2:14). At that moment, God tore the veil of the temple from top to bottom. From that moment, the Law of Moses was no longer valid. "For the priesthood being changed [from Levi to Christ], there is made of necessity a change also of the law" (Heb. 7:12). 

The promise of return with blessings based on keeping the laws in "this book of the law," is no longer valid. The promise has expired. As Paul told the Galatians, "Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; you are fallen from grace" (5:4). Any promise based on keeping the Law of Moses is out-dated, expired, of no value today. The way for Jews to be blessed of God today is the same as for all of us. "There is neither Jew nor Greek... for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you be Christ's, then are you Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise" (Gal. 3:28-29). Because of Jesus' death, God's requirements and conditions have changed. 
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

WHO IS THE HOLY FATHER? WHO IS THE CHIEF SHEPHERD? by steve finnell


Who is the Holy Father? Who is the Chief Shepherd? Who is the head of the church of Christ on earth? Catholics believe it is the Pope, do the Scriptures confirm that assumption?

THE CATHOLIC VIEW [Ref. www.ourcatholicprayers./com/prayers-for-the-pope.html]

O God, the Shepherd and Ruler of all Your faithful people, mercifully look upon Your servant [name of Pope], whom You have chosen as the chief Shepherd to preside over Your Church. We beg You to help him edify, both by word and example, those over whom he has charge, that he may reach everlasting life together with the flock entrusted to him. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.


Lord Jesus, shelter our Holy Father the Pope under the protection of Your Sacred Heart. Be his light, his strength and his consolation.

Holy Father


John 17:11 "Now I am no longer in the world, 

but these are in the world, and I come to You,

Holy Father, keep through Your name those

  whom You have given Me, that they may be

 one as We are. (NKJV)



Jesus called God the Father, Holy Father. Jesus

did not call the apostle Peter Holy Father. Only

God the Father deserves to be called Holy 

Father. To call the Pope or any man Holy Father 

is blasphemous.


1 Peter 5:4 and when the Chief Shepherd 

appears, you will receive the crown of glory that

does not fade away.(NKJV)


Jesus is the only Chief Shepherd. To call the 

Pope or any other man the Chief Shepherd is 

blasphemous.


Colossians 1:13-18.....18 And He is the head of 

the body, the church, who is the beginning, the 

firstborn from the dead, that in all things He 

may have the preeminence.(NKJV)


 Paul wrote this is AD 60. Paul said Jesus

Christ was the head of the church of Christ. To 

say that Peter was, or that the Pope or any 

other man is the head of the church of Christ is 

blasphemous.