FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY TO ISRAEL Part I

GOD’S FULFILLMENT OF PROPHECY TO ISRAEL SINCE THE TIME OF CHRIST

By

Thomas S. McCall Th.D.

We often hear of Bible prophecy as it relates to the First and Second Coming of Christ, which is very important, but there is much more Bible prophecy concerning what the Lord is doing between the two Advents of Jesus during the Church Age. These prophecies specifically pertain to God’s ancient covenant people, Israel, and His new covenant people, the Church. This article explains God’s preservation of, and promises to the Jewish people throughout the Church Age, in preparation for the ultimate restoration of Israel to its own Kinsman Redeemer, the Lord Jesus Christ. The prophecies will be grouped under two headings; first, those that have already been fulfilled during the Church Age, and second, the end time prophecies yet to be fulfilled during the Church Age.

Bible Prophecies About Israel Fulfilled During The Church Age

The Nation of Israel will be preserved intact until the Second Coming of Christ and through the Millennial Kingdom.

139709073-m-82168

Jeremiah 31:35-37

35 Thus says the Lord, Who gives the sun for light by day And the fixed order of the moon and the stars for light by night, Who stirs up the sea so that its waves roar; The Lord of hosts is His name: 36 “If this fixed order departs From before Me,” declares the Lord, “Then the offspring of Israel also will cease From being a nation before Me forever.”37 Thus says the Lord, “If the heavens above can be measured And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off al the offspring of Israel For all that they have done,” declares the Lord (NSAB).

The Lord said to Jeremiah that He would always view the Nation of Israel as His, no matter what the circumstances on this earth are, or what they have done.

Jerusalem would be the Cradle of Christianity

Acts 1:8

8 but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth (NASB).

Christ Himself prophesied all of this, and Israel played a large role in the creation of the Church. The Church began in Jerusalem, with thousands of believers on the Jewish holiday of Pentecost, and spread from there to the ends of the earth. The invitation to become believers in Christ joins each believer to the Church, and is still developing today. Humanly speaking, if the Jewish believers had not started the Church, there would never have been a worldwide church.

The Jewish Apostles Built The Church on The Foundation of Christ

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio Cir 1602-03

Doubting Thomas by Caravaggio Cir 1602-03

Ephesians 2:19 – 22

19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being the corner stone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, is growing into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together into a dwelling of God in the Spirit (NASB).

Paul explains in the book of Ephesians that the church is a bifurcated organism, composed of two parts: Jewish believers and Gentile believers. In effect, a church without Gentile believers is incomplete, and a church without Jewish believers is incomplete. They are like a bird with two wings, both wings necessary to enable the bird to fly.

The New Testament Was Written by Jews

Romans 3:1

1 Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? Great in every respect. First of all , that they were entrusted with the oracles of God (NASB).

The Oracles of God came to Israel

The Oracles of God came to Israel

Furthermore, God’s plan is that when He has a message for the human race, He has always had it written down by Jewish hands, both for the Old and New Testaments. Some say that Dr. Luke was a Gentile, but I am convinced that there are many cogent arguments to support the fact that Luke was a Jew. (A more detailed discussion regarding Luke’s Jewishness can be found on the blog article I wrote on this subject.[1]). Throughout its 4,000-year history, Israel has frequently been a “lost” nation, just like the rest of the nations who turned away from God. However, there has always been a minority, a remnant, in Israel that has looked forward in faith to the coming Redeemer Christ, or who have looked back in faith to the first coming of their Redeemer Christ.

A Remnant in Elijah’s Time

Romans 11:2-4

2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the scripture says about Elijah, how he pleads with God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have torn down your altars, and I alone am left, and they are seeking my life.” 4 But what is God’s response to him? “I have left for myself seven thousand men who have not knelt to Baal.” (NASB)

A Remnant in The Church Age

Romans 11:5-7

5 In the same way then, there has also come to be at the present time a remnant according to God’s gracious choice.6 But if it is by grace, it is no longer on the basis of works, otherwise grace is no longer grace.7 What then? What Israel is seeking, it has not obtained, but those who were chosen obtained it, and the rest were hardened (NASB).

The Bible declared that the Lord wanted the Gospel to be given to the Jews first throughout the Church Age. This was the priority of all evangelism during the Church Age, to the Jew first and then to the Gentile:

Romans 1:16

16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek (NASB).

The Lord’s desire prophesied in both Testaments was for the Gospel of Christ, in every generation, to be delivered to the Jews first, and then it would proceed out to the greater Gentile population. Regrettably, after the first century, this was rarely the case. The Church did not carry this out as the Lord desired.

The Synagogue Was the Natural Place For The Gospel to Be Taught

Acts 17:1-4

1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonian, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus whom I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.” 4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a great multitude of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women (NASB).

The Lord Jesus taught in the synagogues (Luke 4:15, 13:10; Matthew 4:23,13:10). The synagogue was an institution that developed during the Babylonian exile, and was a place where Jews gathered for worship, study, and prayer. For the exiles in Babylon it served as a replacement for the Temple. It grew in importance over the years, and by the time of Paul’s missionary journeys they populated the entire Roman Empire.

Judgment on Israel, Jerusalem and The Temple in 70 A.D.

Jerusalem under attack by Titus Vespasian Artist Poussin 1623

Jerusalem under attack by Titus Vespasian Artist Poussin 1623

Matthew 23:33-39

33 “You serpents, you brood of vipers, how shall you escape the sentence of hell ? 34 “Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city, 35 that upon you may fall the guilt of al the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, the son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar. 36 “Truly I say to you, al these things shall come upon this generation. 37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, the way a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, and you were unwilling. 38 “Behold, your house is being left to you desolate! 39 “For I say to you, from now on you shall not see Me until you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” (NASB)

There is no question that a terrible judgment fell upon Israel for not recognizing and accepting the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Redeemer. The Temple was destroyed and as a result the Jewish people have been scattered over the entire earth for hundreds and hundreds of years. Nevertheless, as the Bible tells us this judgment will not last forever. The end to the judgment will come when all Israel as a nation recognizes that the Jesus they despised has always been their true Messiah. They are not corporately ready to do that today. One must ask the question, what will cause them to do this? Sadly, it appears that the only thing that will accomplish this will be the awful experience with the future Antichrist and the Old Testament designation of the Time of Jacob’s Trouble, known in the New Testament as the Great Tribulation. Then, and only then, will Israel be eager, willing, and able to receive Jesus, and welcome Him as the one whom the Bible says will come in the Name of the Lord.

Persecution of Israel Throughout The World

Jesus further prophesied the following:

The results of what would happen to Jerusalem and Israel as a consequence of their rejecting His Messiahship as well as His redemptive kingdom.

Within 40 years the Romans would surround the capital, destroy the Temple.

The Jewish people would be scattered in captivity throughout the Gentile world.

Luke 21:20-24

20 “But when you see Jerusalem surrounded by armies, then recognize that her desolation is at hand. 21 “Then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains, and let those who are in the midst of the city depart, and let not those who are in the country enter the city; 22 because these are days of vengeance, in order that al things which are written may be fulfilled. 23 “Woe to those who are with child and to those who nurse babes in those days; for there will be great distress upon the land, and wrath to this people,24and they will fall by the edge of the sword, and will be led captive into all the nations; and Jerusalem will be trampled under foot by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles be fulfilled (NASB).

The Church Turns Against Israel With Replacement Theology

After the First Century, John Chrysostom, one of the early anti-Semitic Church fathers (349 – 407 A.D.), developed the theology that the Church has replaced Israel, and there is no future for Israel in God’s plan and purpose, resulting in the church turning against the Jewish people and becoming anti-Semitic.[2] This is in direct opposition to Paul’s prophetic warned using imagery of the Olive Tree as God’s blessing, and telling the Gentile believers not to become conceited and boast against the “natural branches”, since the natural branches are Israel who were chosen first to receive God’ divine blessing. Paul warned what would happen if they pursued such an erroneous doctrine:

Romans 11:17-21

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive, were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not be arrogant toward the branches; but if you are arrogant, remember that it is not you who supports the root, but the root supports you.19 You will say then, “Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.”20 Quite right, they were broken off for their unbelief, but you stand by your faith. Do not be conceited, but fear; 21 for if God did not spare the natural branches, neither will He spare you (NASB).

Abandonment of Jewish Evangelism by the Church

Romans 11:11

11 I say then, they [the Jews] did not stumble so as to fall, did they? May it never be! But by their transgression salvation has come to the Gentiles, to make them jealous (NASB, clarification added).

The purpose of salvation coming to the Gentiles during the Church Age was not to obliterate Israel. Rather, it was meant to cause the Jewish people to be amazed that Gentiles were coming to faith in the God of Abraham, that they believed the Jewish Bible, and were drawn to knowing the Jewish Messiah in order to receive eternal life through Him. This was to cause the Jews to want all these things themselves. But the Church turned its back on the Jew, and was even instrumental in the persecution of the Jews through much of Church history.

The Church rejected the Biblical teaching of the future of Israel by 500 A.D.

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Boticelli 1840

Saint Augustine in His Study by Sandro Boticelli 1840

The Carthaginian theologian Augustine at first was a Chiliast (premillennialist), but was converted to amillennialism, and by the time he visited Rome no longer believed in the future of Israel. He then popularized Replacement Theology, which replaces the Jews with the Church as God’s chosen people, and made it the dominant doctrine of Christianity to this day. This was in direct contradiction to the admonition to the Church about Israel by the Apostle Paul:

Romans 11:25-26

25 For I do not want you, brethren, to be uninformed of this mystery, lest you be wise in your own estimation, that a partial hardening has happened to Israel until the fulness of the Gentiles has come in; 26 and thus all Israel will be saved; just as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, He will remove ungodliness from Jacob.” 27 “And this is My covenant with them, When I take away their sins” (NASB).

CONTINUED IN PART II

[1] http://doctorwoodhead.com/was-luke-a-jew-or-a-gentile/

[2] Allen, Pauline, Wendy Mayer. John Chrysostom. London: Routledge, 2000.

Share on Facebook

The Earth’s Population in The Messianic Kingdom

People in The Messianic Kingdom

Who will live in the Messianic Kingdom (Millennium) at the end of the Tribulation? What will they look like? How many will there be? These are good questions, and Scripture supplies a lot of the answers.

During the Millennium there will be two people groups on earth: the Jewish people, and the Gentiles. Additionally, there will be two different types of bodies for the Millennial population, resurrected bodies and natural bodies.

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Peace By William Sttrutt Cir 1896 depicting Isaiah 11:6-7

Those going into the Messianic Kingdom in resurrected bodies will be:

  • The people who are in the Church from the first Pentecost until the Rapture (I Thessalonians 4:14-17; I Corinthians 15:54; Jude 1:14; Revelation 19:14).
  • Old Testament Saints (Isaiah 26:19).
  • Great Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4).
  • Possibly the 144,000 Jewish evangelists (to be described later).

Those going into the Messianic Kingdom in natural bodies will be:

  • The Jews who made it through the Tribulation.
  • The Gentiles who survived the Tribulation and the Lord’s judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

It is impossible to determine the population numbers of the Messianic Kingdom for these reasons:

  • Unknown number of the members of the Church for its entire length of time.
  • Unknown number of the Old Testament saints.
  • Unknown number of Tribulation Saints.
  • Unknown number of the Gentiles who enter the Kingdom.

The Jewish People in the Messianic    Kingdom

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century) oil on canvas Private Collection The Stapleton Collection Israeli, out of copyright

STC172909 A Rabbi tying the Phylacteries to the arm of a boy (oil on canvas) by Jewish School (19th century)

The present world wide Jewish Population stands at 13, 900,000

(2015, www.worldometers.info/world-population ). During the Tribulation two thirds (2/3), or 9,174,000, will die (Zechariah 13:8). That leaves 4,726,000 who will remain. This remaining 4,726,000 is known as “the remnant” because they made it alive through the Great Tribulation. Within this group, 144,000 will be “sealed” (Revelation 7:4). “Sealed” in the Greek is the word is sphragízō, from Strongs G4973, which means “to stamp (with a signet or private mark) for security” or “preservation from Satan (literally or figuratively, or possibly resurrected)” for the purpose of evangelizing the world for Christ during the last half of the Tribulation. The protection they have could have come from a resurrected body. 4,582,000 Jews with natural bodies remain. This is a minimum number of Jewish people going into the Messianic Kingdom.

The New Covenant With Israel

Jeremiah 31:31-34

31Behold, the days come, saith Jehovah, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah: 32not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt; which my covenant they brake, although I was a husband unto them, saith Jehovah. 33But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, saith Jehovah: I will put my law in their inward parts, and in their heart will I write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. 34And they shall teach no more every man his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, Know Jehovah; for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith Jehovah: for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin will I remember no more (ASV, 1901).

All the Jews going into the Messianic Kingdom will be converted and become connected to God. As Jeremiah said, God will place His law in their hearts and they all will know Him.

The Remnant will be Sinless

Zephaniah 3:13

13The remnant of Israel shall not do iniquity, nor speak lies; neither shall a deceitful tongue be found in their mouth; for they shall feed and lie down, and none shall make them afraid (ASV, 1901).

This verse clearly states that “the remnant” of Israel will be sinless in the Messianic Kingdom. They will do no iniquity, nor speak any lies, or utter any deceit.

Ezekiel 36:25

25And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. 26A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh. 27And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes, and ye shall keep mine ordinances, and do them. 28And ye shall dwell in the land that I gave to your fathers; and ye shall be my people, and I will be your God. 29And I will save you from all your uncleannesses: and I will call for the grain, and will multiply it, and lay no famine upon you (ASV, 1901).

 God says to the Nation Israel, “And I will sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you.” He also says that He will give them “A new heart also will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you”. He says He “will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes” which will create a sinless state in each Jew. None of this will be resisted by “the remnant” ,who now clearly believe in the Messiah.

Israel’s Population Will Increase in The Messianic Kingdom

Scene from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Scene from the 1956 movie The Ten Commandments.

Ezekiel 36:37-38

37Thus saith the Lord Jehovah: For this, moreover, will I be inquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them: I will increase them with men like a flock. 38As the flock for sacrifice, as the flock of Jerusalem in her appointed feasts, so shall the waste cities be filled with flocks of men; and they shall know that I am Jehovah (ASV, 1901).

 This text follows from the previous section, and explains that the national salvation of the Nation Israel will result in a population increase of Jews, all knowing the Lord. This increase must come from the remnant of 4.5 million who made it through the Tribulation because they will have the natural bodies.

Ezekiel 37:23

23neither shall they defile themselves any more with their idols, nor with their detestable things, nor with any of their transgressions; but I will save them out of all their dwelling-places, wherein they have sinned, and will cleanse them: so shall they be my people, and I will be their God (ASV, 1901).

 This is another affirmation that the Jews in the Messianic Kingdom will be sinless as the Lord will “cleanse them” and they will no longer defile themselves with idols, detestable things, or any other sins. As a result they will not participate in the Gog and Magog uprising led by Satan at the end of the Messianic Kingdom (Revelation 20:7-9).

 The Gentile People in the Millennial Kingdom

There will be three groups of Gentile people in the Messianic Kingdom:

  • Those who were part of the Church.
  • Those who were saved during the Great Tribulation.
  • Those who survived the Great Tribulation and the Lord’s judgment in the Valley of Jehoshaphat.

The Bible does tell us something of the number of Gentiles who will perish during the Tribulation. The present world population is approximately 7,300,000,000 (2015, www.worldometers.info/world-population). Combining the different verses of the book of Revelation, we learn that about 58% of the world’s population will die in the Great Tribulation:

 

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Roman Destruction of Jerusalem by David Roberts Cir 1850

Revelation 6:8

8 And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth (KJV).

This verse in Revelation describes what happens as the Lord Jesus opens the fourth seal of the scroll. It releases a figure that is named “Death and Hell” (in the Greek “Hades”) who rides the pale horse, and he kills 25% of the earth’s population, that is, about 1,825,000,000 people. Some of these will be Jews and are accounted for in the two-third reduction.

Revelation 9:15, 18

15 And the four angels were loosed, which were prepared for an hour, and a day, and a month, and a year, for to slay the third part of men…. 18 By these three was the third part of men killed, by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths (KJV). 

Here the “four angels” that are released to kill “by the fire, and by the smoke, and by the brimstone, which issued out of their mouths”, and an additional 33% die. Note that these “angels” are specifically prepared for this job to be done at a certain predetermined time. This happens during the sounding of the sixth trumpet judgment. This amounts to another 2,409,000,000 dead of the world’s population. Many more Gentiles will be killed at the Campaign of Armageddon, which are unquantifiable. Some of these will be Jews and are accounted for in the two-third reduction.

To summarize these figures so far:

Approximate Word Population Reduction

7,300,000,000   people in the world as of 2015

9,174,000   Jews who die during the Tribulation

1,825,000,000     25% who die in the fourth seal judgment

2,409,000,000     33% who die in the sixth trumpet judgment

3,066,000,000     Remaining, minus the unknown Campaign of Armageddon deaths

The Nature of the Two Bodies in the Messianic Kingdom

The Bible speaks of two types of human bodies that will be in the Messianic Kingdom, natural and resurrected, and Jews and Gentile will be present in both types of bodies.

Natural bodies do not need further explanation, but resurrected bodies do.

Resurrected Bodies

The very act of resurrection implies immortality in which we are raised to live forever.

The Resurrection of Israel in The Vision of Ezekiel by Francisco Collantes Cir 1630.

The Resurrection of Israel in The Vision of Ezekiel by Francisco Collantes Cir 1630.

 

The Doctrine of the Resurrection states that at death the human spirit is separated from the body (Genesis 3:19; Ecclesiastes 12:7; 2 Corinthians 5:8). A “resurrection” is an event where a dead body is raised to immortal life for an explicit purpose. This is different from somebody “coming back to life”. This doctrine is two-fold and pertains to (A) the resurrection of Christ and (B) the resurrection of humanity, including both saved and unsaved. In other words death does not end life it starts it!

In the Old Testament, the Doctrine of Resurrection is taught in Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2-3; Hosea 12:14. It was believed by the patriarchs, and revealed through the prophets (Genesis 22:5; with Hebrews 11:19; Job 19:25-27). The word “resurrection” itself does not appear in the Old Testament. It is usually described as dead men rising from the earth to life.

In the New Testament it is taught in John 5:25-29,I Corinthians 15:20-23; I Thessalonians 4:14-17; and Revelation 20:4-6, 11-15. This doctrine contains the implication of immortality, which means that they are raised to live forever. Christ was the first one to be raised from the dead with a resurrected body. Others were raised from the dead, such as Lazarus, had a normal body and physically died again later.

The Resurrection of the dead Believers occurs in five stages, beginning with 1 Corinthians 15:20-23:

1 Corinthians 15:20-23

 20But now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the firstfruits of them that slept. 21For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. 23But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. (KJV)

The rest of the stages of resurrection are described in other books of the Scripture:

  1. First, Christ rose from the dead (I Corinthians 15:2-23).
  2. Next will be the resurrection of the Church age believers at the Rapture. (I Thessalonians 4:16).
  3. Next will be the resurrection of the two witnesses in the middle of the Great Tribulation. (Revelation 11:11-12)
  4. Next will be the resurrection of Old Testament Saints (Isaiah 26:19).
  5. Last will be the resurrection of the Tribulation Saints (Revelation 20:4)

There is one more resurrection, and it is for unbelievers only. It happens after the one thousand year Millennial Kingdom on earth is completed, and none of these unsaved people will be in the Eternal Kingdom (Revelation 20:13).

 Our Bodies Change

These verses in I Corinthians 15:54-58 describe that the body changes from corruption to incorruption, and is the final victory over death:

From Godlikeproductions.com Artist unknown.

From Godlikeproductions.com Artist unknown.

I Corinthians 15:50-58 

50Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. 51Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, 52In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. 53For this corruptible must put on incorruption, and this mortal [must] put on immortality. 54So when this corruptible shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal shall have put on immortality, then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. 55O death, where [is] thy sting? O grave, where [is] thy victory? 56The sting of death [is] sin; and the strength of sin [is] the law 57But thanks [be] to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord. (KJV)

The nature of the glorified body is described here:

1 Corinthians 15:35-49   

35But some [man] will say, How are the dead raised up? and with what body do they come? 36[Thou] fool, that which thou sowest is not quickened, except it die: 37And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other [grain]: 38But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body. 39All flesh [is] not the same flesh: but [there is] one [kind of] flesh of men, another flesh of beasts, another of fishes, [and] another of birds. 40[There are] also celestial bodies, and bodies terrestrial: but the glory of the celestial [is] one, and the [glory] of the terrestrial [is] another. 41[There is] one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for [one] star differeth from [another] star in glory. 42So also [is] the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: 43It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: 44It is sown a natural body; it is raised a spiritual body. There is a natural body, and there is a spiritual body. 45And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam [was made] a quickening spirit. 46Howbeit that [was] not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47The first man [is] of the earth, earthy: the second man [is] the Lord from heaven. 48As [is] the earthy, such [are] they also that are earthy: and as [is] the heavenly, such [are] they also that are heavenly. 49And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly. (KJV)

 Believers have a glorified, incorruptible body. We have Christ’s Risen body as an example:

 Philippians 3:21  

21Who shall change our vile body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself. (KJV)

Some further information may be seen from the resurrected Jesus’ body, but we do not know what attributes are from the resurrection and which are attributed to His deity:

Resurrection by Giovanni Bellini cir 1475-79

Resurrection by Giovanni Bellini cir 1475-79

 

  • His voice was recognized as being the same one He had before His death. (John 20:16)
  • His physical features were recognized although not always immediately. (John 20:26-29)
  • It was a real body of flesh and bone since it was embraceable. (John 20:17; 27)
  • He was able to suddenly disappear. (Luke 24:31)
  • He could go through walls. (John 20:19)
  • His body could eat food. (Luke 24:41-43)

To summarize, a resurrected body will be:

  • A body of resurrection power.
  • A spiritual body.
  • A heavenly body.
  • An immortal body.

Conclusion

The population of the Messianic Kingdom will be made up of both Jews and Gentiles who will have either a resurrected body or a natural body. All will acknowledge Jesus as their King and Messiah. The Jews with resurrected bodies will consist of those who were in the Church, The Old Testament Saints, and those who were martyred because they will be believers in Jesus. The other Jews going into the Messianic Kingdom will be those who converted during the Tribulation and survived it. They will not have resurrected bodies but will be sinless.

Daniel E,. Woodhead

Reference

 

 

www.worldometers.info/world-population.

Share on Facebook

Select Departures From Biblical Orthodoxy in Christianity

Deception in Christianity

Artist Unknown

Artist Unknown

Matthew 24: 4-5

And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you. For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many (KJV). 

 

II John 7

For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist.

 

2 Timothy 4:3

For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but wanting to have their ears tickled, they will accumulate for themselves teachers in accordance to their own desires,

 

2Peter 2:1-22  

But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will also be false teachers among you, who will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing swift destruction upon themselves. Many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of the truth will be maligned; and in their greed they will exploit you with false word

 

I Timothy 1: 18-19

18 This command I entrust to you, Timothy, my son, in accordance with the prophecies previously made concerning you, that by them you fight the good fight, 19 keeping faith and a good conscience, which some have rejected and suffered shipwreck in regard to their faith.

 

Titus 2:1 But as for you, speak the things which are fitting for sound doctrine.

 

We are to Go out and Teach Regardless of the Environment!

 

Matthew 10: 16 “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves. But beware of men, for they will hand you over to the courts and scourge you in their synagogues;

 

II Timothy 3: 5

having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power.  Avoid such people.

 

Proverbs 9: 7-9

Anyone who rebukes a mocker will get an insult in return. Anyone who corrects the wicked will get hurt. So don’t bother correcting mockers;
they will only hate you. But correct the wise, and they will love you. Instruct the wise,
and they will be even wiser. Teach the righteous, and they will learn even more (NLT).

2 Corinthians 11:14


No wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light.

 Know Them By Their Fruit:

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

The Fall of Adam by Hugo van der Goes Cir 1479

One of the tactics of anti-Christian, religious based cults is their ability to “spin” negative incidents to give the target plausible deniability of various biblical doctrines. Efforts are designed to destabilize and undermine a subject’s basic consciousness, reality awareness, worldview, emotional control, and defense mechanisms. The subject is guided to reinterpret his or her Christian history and adopt a new version of belief. This seemed to be especially true when it came to the leaders of most of these new religions who are most often characterized as “prophets and apostles”. The cults make a person re-evaluate the most central aspects of their Biblical Christian beliefs, with a focus on their negative experiences in the Church.

The foundation of any cult is to make it difficult for a target to leave. They convey hurdles to leaving which are either real or imagined downfalls of exiting the cult. The cult’s goal is to increase the “leaving cost” of real or imagined downfalls one will incur if they leave the cult. For example, you can say once you become a “Genuine Christian” (their version), you are one for life. If you stray from their version of “Christ”, you are doomed to a Lake of Fire. The “leaving cost” is easy to see: Leave us and you will suffer. Since most churches do not teach the Bible as authoritative, the cult’s missionaries have a wide range of targets to aim at to destabilize a believer. Therefore when a local congregation or denomination removes the Bible as authoritative they enable the cult to prevail and make it politically difficult for people to leave: BEWARE!

One unbiblical tactic is where the preacher tells the congregation what they expect to hear. By continually appealing to their ego, boosting their pride, and self-esteem, as well as simply reassuring them that they are correct in what they believe; they lull the listener into believing their version of the “correct” ideology to accept. This results in a “GIVE THEM WHAT THEY WANT INSTEAD OF WHAT THEY NEED” mantra. Another tactic is to appeal to people’s laziness and intellectual complacency. They do not wish to be challenged and want to live according to what is important to them. Some who call themselves “Christian” prefer intellectual laziness, and even hide from learning anything about the Bible. As long as they know nothing about the Scripture they are happy with the skewed view the cult church teaches them because it seems correct even though they are swayed away from the truth.

Examples of Anti Christian Cultic Beliefs

Liberalism:

Liberalism in theology is similar to liberalism in politics. Both want to secularize their respective societies to match the Humanist tenets. They put their faith in evolution, historical relativism, progress through science, the “benevolent” state, and getting someone else’s money. To do this they must quiet the Bible fundamentalist and their revealed truth. The liberal refuses to believe the miracles of the Bible regardless of the evidence for them. Liberalism promotes Christianity without the Spirit or the power of God.

Modernism:

Modernism is a more subtle and increasingly popular idea to reframe the Bible in a way that makes Biblical writers present God according to their own superstitious world view.  The most prominent is the “Bible contains the Word of God, but is not the World of God.” This means that man wrote it and therefore it has no authority.  Modernists say “Glean the good stuff and don’t worry about the negative”.  For example, the Israelite’s tribal god was Jehovah, who is no different from the Canaanite’s tribal gods such as Moloch, Baal and others.  Of course at the time of Christ, paganism abounded with a firm belief in what we call mythology.  Relatively few pagans exist today that still worship Zeus, Ares and the other “titans”, however modern thinkers point to the fact that all deities of the day interacted with humans and produced half-god, half-human offspring.  So, they say Jesus is no different, he is just another myth that hung on long after the others fell pray to modernism.  they say people today no longer believe the old fairy tails and archaic religion of a mean God with a half-human son.   Jesus was about love, not judgment so let’s just forget all the “righteousness stuff” and accept anything that makes others happy.

Secularism:

According to secularists, Christianity and God should be forced out of everyday life and be kept behind the closed doors of the home or church where it belongs.  We see this attitude in our schools and now in our governments.  Secularism puts pressure on people to keep religion private and out of the public eye.  It is anti-evangelism and as a religion, has its own doctrine.

Universalism

Popular books like The Shack and other similar fictitious “Christian” books are promoting a theology called Universalism.  Universalism basically says since Jesus died for everyone, everyone will be saved.  The extreme brand of Universalism, called Ultimate Reconciliation, teaches that even Satan will be reconciled to God in the end.  Universalism’s appeal is that God loves everyone.  After all who doesn’t want a loving God?  Forgiveness comes without repentance and the Christian relationship with God is without discipline or strength of character.  If we all make it to heaven in the end, why bother living a Christian life?  This doctrine is more insidious than it seems and is affecting many people today – even if they do not know it by its theological name.

Politicalism:

Politicalism seeks to enforce certain religious viewpoints through political power, either in a church or secular government.  Those with this viewpoint cringe in fear when they hear a news story about Islamic fundamentalists wanting to force a country and its entire population to adopt Islamic religious law as the law of the land.  Yet they will do the exact same thing in America.   It is the idea that America is like Old Testament Israel and if we can just make enough Christian “laws”, God will bless us.  The problem is that there are no Christian nations – only Christian people.  If America was birthed with Christianity it was because she had Christians, not Christian laws.  When will the church learn that political power will not save a soul?  Yet if we save a soul, we will probably get that person to follow in the moral lifestyle we promoted in the first place. The Church- that is individual Christians – will have to deal with these issues more and more in the coming days.  If there ever was a time to “earnestly contend for the faith that was once delivered to the saints,” it is today.

Americanism:

This subject can be much misunderstood. We love America and are blessed that the Lord saw fit to place us here. We have the most freedoms of any nation on earth but we must be cautious to not place Americanism before our Christianity. Jesus said that He is the way the truth and the life (John 14: 6). He did not say that any country on this earth is to replace Him. Many that claim Christ as their savior seem to think that our salvation comes from the United States of America. For example, they believe that since the first amendment to the US Constitution provides religious freedom, all religions are equal. That is not what it says, here is what it says:

Amendment 1 – Freedom of Religion Ratified 12/15/1791.

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

 Cults That Promote Themselves as Genuine Christian

 

Anti-Christian Cults stealthily attack Christianity from a doctrinal viewpoint. So, those cults that are nearest to Christianity are viewed as just another denomination with some differences but are not considered destructive. We are led into believing that it is inappropriate to speak out against them because it causes division in the Body. We simply do not know enough about these different groups to adequately prepare to speak out against them and prevent others from embracing these corrupt theologies. We fall for the lies because we do not know the truth of the Bible and therefore the false doctrines of the Christian Cults. Dr. Donald Campbell expressed the problem very succinctly when he said, “When the gospel message is corrupted, the way of salvation is confused and people are in danger of being eternally lost.” [1]We must realize this and strive to warn of the dangers of the Christian Cult’s doctrine.

Mormonism:

Joseph Smith the founder was greatly influenced by his father, who searched for buried treasure using occult methods. His life changed in 1820 when he supposedly received a vision from God the Father and the Son, who told him that all other religions were an abomination, but that he was the prophet to bring restoration.

In 1823 another vision from the angel Moroni convinced Smith that God was calling him. Moroni said he would find some golden plates requiring translating. Smith discovered these plates, inscribed with what he called “reformed Egyptian hieroglyphics,” outside Palmyra, New York. He was able to translate them with a huge pair of spectacles that he called the “Urim and Thummim.” According to his story, between 1827 and 1829, he “translated” the plates, and in 1830 published The Book of Mormon. The plates were purportedly taken to heaven by Moroni.[2]

Many people flocked to Joseph Smith’s new theology. Within a decade he had thousands of followers. A principle reason for this rapid rise in popularity was Mormonism’s startling and distinct contrast with the beliefs of the Baptists, Methodists, Presbyterians, and various other Christian denominations. To begin with, Smith taught that most of the beliefs of Christianity were hopelessly corrupted, including the Bible, and this had been supernaturally revealed to him in order to restore “God’s truth”. The main attraction, however, was theological novelty. Today the Latter Day Saints (LDS) Church has taken a different tactic involving new name preferences (play down “Mormonism,” play up “Church of Jesus Christ”) and other strategies (create an image of being a part of mainstream Christianity through advertising campaigns). It’s working. After Islam, Mormonism is now the fastest growing religion in the world, although little has changed doctrinally from it’s novel beginnings.

  • Mormonism teaches that God has a physical body and lives on a planet near a star called Kolob.
  • He is but one of an infinite number of gods, each ruling over his own world located somewhere in the universe. Supposedly, each god has untold numbers of goddess wives who produce millions of spirit children. Amazingly, these spiritual offspring of god and his goddesses must then be birthed through physical beings (non-gods) on earth. This obtains for them the physical bodies necessary to become gods and goddesses, who create and rule over their own worlds.
  • Polygamy was a major part of Mormonism. It met the need for producing bodies for the spirit babies birthed by multiple mother goddesses. It is still practiced among some Mormon sects today. The Latter Day Saints’ focus on the family has more to do with the Church’s biblically unorthodox theology than with domestic well-being.
  • According to LDS teaching, Jesus was one of those spirit babies (as was his spirit brother Lucifer, who became Satan).
  • The conception of Jesus was unique but not virginal; God, who is physical, had intercourse with Mary.
  • Since producing children is critical to a Mormon male’s progression to godhood, Jesus had children through the women (the sisters Mary and Martha, Mary Magdalene) who accompanied him. Supposedly, he married them at the wedding feast of Cana.
  • Mormonism’s salvation accommodates nearly everyone in one “heaven” or another. The death of Jesus on the cross was redemptive only in that it provided physical resurrection (bodies) for all.
  • Obeying the commandments and performing Church duties and rituals are necessary in order to reach the Celestial Kingdom.
  • Those who fall short of such requirements may still enter in as Celestial servants, and, if not, they can abide in the Terrestrial Kingdom.
  • Moral non-Mormons may spend eternity in the Telestial Kingdom.
  • Hell is a purgatory-like place and is eternal only for those few who commit an “unpardonable sin,” such as apostasy. Nearly everyone has a chance to improve his eternal status after death.

We have opinion leaders and high-level politicians who are Mormons and as 1st Amendment Americans we accept them as just another denomination teaching the truth. Anyway there are many ways to heaven, aren’t there?

Christian Science:

Christian Science is not Christian in terms of biblical doctrine. Only the name itself is Christian. The idea of Christian Science came in 1866 when Mary Baker Eddy said she discovered the “Science of metaphysical healing”. She organized it in 1879 and it was founded on her book, “Science and Health (with Key to the Scriptures)” the last part of the title was added later.

  • They believe there is no such thing as sin, it is an illusion.
  • They believe there is no such thing as sickness, it also is an illusion.
  • They believe that sick people must be convinced that they are not sick, then they will get well, since sickness is an illusion and does not really exist.
  • There is no such thing as death, a person gets old and dies because they believe that is what is supposed to happen. This stems from the fact that they believe that the whole universe is an illusion.
  • Their god is not the personal God of the Bible. Everything is god and god is good. Therefore, there is no sin, disease, or death because all is god and god is good. The whole universe is falsehood – an illusion.
  • They claim that there is healing from Christian Science. Their method of healing is denying the disease itself, e.g., “I am not sick. I do not have cancer.” This is not prayer but simply talking out loud to yourself. In fact, Christian Science says that prayer to a personal God is a hindrance.
  • They believe women can become pregnant by a supreme effort of their own minds, a man is not needed for procreation.
  • Man is not made of the dust of the earth as in Genesis 2 because matter does not exist, therefore Eddy calls Genesis 2 “a lie”. They take her word over the Bible.
  • They believe that Jesus is not God, he was the highest human concept of the perfect man, but not to be worshipped.
  • They believe that Jesus was never tempted by the devil. Eddy says, “He was tempted by the false beliefs in His own mind.”
  • They believe that Jesus never died because death does not exist; He just thought He was dead.
  • They believe the blood of Jesus has no atoning value and since sin is an illusion we are not guilty.
  • They believe that salvation is deliverance from delusion and entrance into Christian Science.

Mary Baker Eddy claimed that her teachings guaranteed health; however, she suffered considerably at the end of her life, requiring large doses of morphine to cope with her pain.   [3]

Jehovah Witness:

Charles Taze Russell officially founded Jehovah’s Witnesses (JW), also known as the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society (with headquarters in Brooklyn, New York), in 1884. Originally called the Zion’s Watch Tower and Tract Society, or the Zion’s Watch Tower (1879), they officially adopted the name of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1931. In 1870, Russell originally denied the doctrine of Hell, and would go on to reject nearly every other Christian doctrine, as well as add many physically and spiritually dangerous doctrines of his own making. Many of these unique and bizarre teachings were to be found in his six volume series titled, Studies in the Scriptures.[4]

  • Source of Authority. JWs claim the Bible as their final authority, but Russell’s writings, especially Studies in the Scriptures,are considered “the light of the Scriptures.” JWs have their own translation of the Scriptures (New World Translation, published in 1961), which reflects the binding interpretations of the group’s leaders.
  • JWs believe that God is not a triune God, but only “Jehovah God” (Let God Be True, pp. 100-101); they teach that Trinitarianism is a belief in three gods, and thereby, Satan-inspired polytheism.Joseph Rutherford, the JW’s second president wrote: “… sincere persons who want to know the true God and serve him find it a bit difficult to love and worship a complicated, freakish-looking, three-headed God.” [5]
  • Jesus Christ.Since JWs do not believe in the Trinity, they also do not believe that Jesus is God in the flesh. They add the word “other” four times to Colossians 1:16,17, teaching that Christ was God’s first creation, i.e., the reincarnation of Michael the archangel created by Jehovah, rather than the Creator. The “Watchtower” teaches that Jehovah God created Michael the Archangel before the foundation of the world; Michael was His only begotten son by virtue of the fact that he was the only creature directly created by Jehovah. It was this created Michael who became the JW Jesus (i.e., a denial of the eternality of Christ). JWs say that “Since actual conception took place, it appears that Jehovah God caused an ovum or egg in Mary’s womb to become fertile, accomplishing this by the transfer of the life of his first born son (Michael) from the spirit realm to the earth”[6] Marvelously, Jehovah transferred the life-force and the personality pattern of his first born heavenly son (Michael) to the womb of Mary. God’s own active force, his holy spirit, safeguarded the development of the child in Mary’s womb so that what was born was a perfect human” [7] JWs also add an “a” in John 1:1, making the verse read, “the Word was a god” (which in essence, makes the JWs guilty of the same polytheism of which they accuse Trinitarians).
  • Use of Name Jehovah.JWs use the name “Jehovah” only for God (in order to distinguish between God and Jesus Christ), while failing to recognize that Jesus is the fulfillment of “Jehovah” in Isaiah 40:3 and Matthew 3:3.
  • Resurrection of Christ. JWs deny the bodily resurrection of Christ through their teaching that the body of Christ was annihilated by God — not risen — but rather a new one was created three days after His death. This they call the “resurrection” of Christ. Thus, Jesus was “resurrected” as a “glorious spirit creature” and does not now have a glorified physical body. Instead, they claim Jesus arose spiritually and only “materialized” at various times after His resurrection so He could be seen alive.

Seventh Day Adventism:

Ellen G. White plays a central role in the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) Church. One of the “27 Fundamental Beliefs” of the SDA Church is that Ellen White manifested the gift of prophecy and her writings are “authoritative” for the Adventist Church They say:

The Gift of Prophecy: One of the gifts of the Holy Spirit is prophecy. This gift is an identifying mark of the remnant church and was manifested in the ministry of Ellen. G. White. As the Lord’s messenger, her writings are a continuing and authoritative source of truth that provide for the church comfort, guidance, instruction, and correction.

According to Adventist leaders, the writings of Ellen G. White are “inspired” by the Holy Spirit in the same way as the Biblical authors were inspired. Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today. And the same as the messages of the prophets were received in old days, so her messages should be received at present times. The Following quote is directly from the Seventh Day Adventist Review and Herald October 4, 1928.

“Seventh Day Adventists hold that Ellen G. White performed the work of a true prophet during the 70 years of her public ministry. As Samuel was a prophet, as Jeremiah was a prophet, as John the Baptist, so we believe that Mrs. White was a prophet to the church of Christ today.”[8] Here are four practices that are divergent from the genuine teachings of Scripture:

  • Add to the BibleEllen Gould White is credited to have written 25 million words that are quoted by Adventists just like Bible Scripture. Adventists that have grown up in the church have familiar quotes that come to mind, but they often do not know if the imbedded information is from the Bible or Ellen Gould White.  Adventists have also taken to printing their own Bibles with the messages of Ellen Gould White hidden in the verses of Scripture.
  • Subtract from the person of Jesus Christ or His Deity. Ellen Gould White claimed Jesus did not come in the flesh when he walked the earth some 2000 years ago, as the Bible warns some evil people would do. Ellen Gould White also claimed Jesus was an Angel from Heaven.
  • Multiply the requirements for SalvationAdventists have published many hundreds of books that contain what they call “Testimonies”, which are full of thousands of commandments directed toward their members. If you do not follow these commandments, you are not following the counsels of God, the Adventists claim.  These books contain over 25 million words of Ellen Gould White, and it would take a lifetime to read them all. SDA members are expected to purchase and read as many of these books as possible, and they teach from these books in their Churches like most denominations teach from the Bible. One of the teachings of the Church is to not eat meat, in order to obtain Salvation Other doctrines they hide from new members are: eating pork causes leprosy. Wearing wigs damages the brain. Wearing bonnets indicates satanic control. Drinking coffee, tea or some soft drinks is a sin Having butter, eggs, or meat on your table keeps your prayers from reaching heaven
  • Divide the loyalty of the follower between God and other Christians.  Adventists claim all other churches are “Babylon” and will be lost when Jesus comes back to earth.  Adventists are taught to convert as many people to Adventism as they can, and quickly, because the people in other churches are lost. Adventists spend little time converting the truly lost because they spend most of their effort debating people in other churches, telling them they are in a fallen church and not in the true church, the Seventh-day Adventist Church.  Ellen Gould White also worked at separating people inside her church, teaching that church members should not pray for each other when they are sick if those sick people are not loyal tithe payers to their church.

Daniel Woodhead

End Notes:

[1] Campbell, D. K. (1985). Galatians. In J. F. Walvoord & R. B. Zuck (Eds.), The Bible Knowledge Commentary: An Exposition of the Scriptures (Vol. 2). Wheaton, IL: Victor Books.pg 591

[2] Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives. Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books. pp. 98–99

[3] Rusten, S. with E. Michael. (2005). The complete book of when & where in the Bible and throughout history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. pg. 388

[4] Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House. Pg. 600

[5] Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Let God Be True, Second Edition, Published by The Watchtower Bible and Tract Society, Inc. Brooklyn, NY USA 1946, pgs. 100-101

[6] JW Organization Web Site accessed February 20, 2015 http://www.jw.org/en/publications/books/bible-teach/who-is-michael-the-archangel/#?insight[search_id]=7251be95-903f-4bb1-818b-96eebd27beae&insight[search_result_index]=0

[7] Ibid. http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1102005134?q=Jesus+born+a+perfect+human&p=par

[8] Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college (p. 129). Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

 

Referenced Works:

 

Berry, Harold J. (1990) What They Believe, BTTB: pp. 51-70

Branch, Rick, Watchtower Bible and Tract Society,” (accessed February 20, 2015) (Watchman Fellowship Profile, 1993)

Cross, F. L., & Livingstone, E. A. (Eds.). (2005). In The Oxford dictionary of the Christian Church (3rd ed. rev., p. 870). Oxford; New York: Oxford University Press.

Eckman, J. P. (2004). The truth about worldviews: a biblical understanding of worldview alternatives (p. 4). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Books.

Funk & Wagnall’s Encyclopedia,

Grolier’s 1995 Multimedia Encyclopedia,

Lowery, K. (2007). Numbers in the Bible. In T. Cabal, C. O. Brand, E. R. Clendenen, P. Copan, & J. P. Moreland (Eds.), The Apologetics Study Bible: Real Questions, Straight Answers, Stronger Faith (p. xxxiv). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.

Martin, Walter, (1985) The Kingdom of the Cults. Published by Bethany House Publishers, Minneapolis, MN 55438

Morey, R. A. (1989). How to keep your faith while in college. Iowa Falls, IA: World Bible Publishers.

Morey, R. A. (1980). How to answer a Jehovah’s Witness. Minneapolis, MN: Bethany Fellowship.

Sin, Jack, Examining & Exposing Cultic & Occultic Movements. , “Focus on JWs,” April 2000, pp. 16-20.

Vonderlack, R. (1992). Russell, Charles Taze. In J. D. Douglas & P. W. Comfort (Eds.), Who’s Who in Christian history (p. 600). Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House.

Watchtower Online Library, Research tool for publications in various languages produced by Jehovah’s Witnesses accessed February 20, 2015

http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/h/r1/lp-e

Share on Facebook

Who is in Charge Anyway? What Does The Bible Say About This?

 

 Who is in charge anyway?

 

The Oracles of God came to Israel
The Oracles of God came to Israel

 

Does it seem like your life is just one set of observing, wondering eyes in the vast unintelligible series of events that occur in this world? Who can make sense out of it? We look out there and know that the things we see in the news, on the radio and over the Internet are just not right. The world seems to be out of control. Some say that our world leaders are in control. Some say there is a vast conspiracy underway to alter events to accommodate personal gain. Others simply observe the seemingly chaotic set of world events and say it is too difficult to even conceive that there is anybody in charge.

As crazy as things seem to appear, the God of the Bible tells us that He is in charge. One wonders if that is so why is He not fixing the situation? Is He in charge of world events? How do we know? Let’s look at a few verses in the Scripture to see what He has to say about this issue.

Isaiah 46:10

Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times [the things] that are not [yet] done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure

Daniel 4:35  

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth; and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

 Psalm 2:1-5  

Why do the nations rage, And the peoples meditate a vain thing?

The kings of the earth set themselves, And the rulers take counsel together, Against Jehovah, and against his anointed, [saying],

Let us break their bonds asunder, And cast away their cords from us.

He that sitteth in the heavens will laugh: The Lord will have them in derision.

Then will he speak unto them in his wrath, And vex them in his sore displeasure:

 Romans 14:11-12

For it is written, [As] I live, saith the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.

So then every one of us shall give account of himself to God.

Revelation 1:5-6 

And from Jesus Christ, [who is] the faithful witness, [and] the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him [be] glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

The Bible speaks of this frequently. If the Bible is true and reliable then the major questions of the world have answers.

 What Does the Bible say about itself?

Share on Facebook

Was Luke A Jew or a Gentile?

WAS LUKE A GENTILE?

By Dr. Thomas S. McCall

The Four Evangelists (with Luke on the left), by Abraham Bloemaert 1566-1651
The Four Evangelists (with Luke on the left), by Abraham Bloemaert 1566-1651

As we speak and teach the Word, we often mention that the whole Bible is a Jewish book, and that all the writers of the Bible, Old and New Testaments, were Jews.  Frequently, someone asks the question, What about Luke, wasn’t he a Gentile?  This has been taught throughout church history for so long and so consistently, that it is assumed without question it must be true.  However, when you study how this conclusion was reached by Biblical commentators, you realize how slender their evidence is.  The idea that Luke was a Gentile seems to be based more on tradition than any strong Biblical evidence.

IMPORTANCE OF THE QUESTION

It may not seem important whether or not Luke was a Gentile, but when you think about the magnitude of his work, the issue becomes truly significant.  By counting the pages written by Luke in both his Gospel and Acts, it is clear that Luke wrote more pages of the New Testament than any other writer, including Paul and John.  If Luke was a Gentile, then the Lord entrusted more pages of New Testament revelation to a Gentile than to any other writer.  This would be remarkable, to say the least.

Personally, as a Gentile Christian, I would love to have one of “our guys” as a writer in the cannon of Scripture, so I am naturally reluctant to find otherwise.  However, the evidence appears overwhelming to me that Luke was, in fact, a Jew.  The matter cannot be settled conclusively, because the Scriptures never specifically tell us Luke’s background, but the arguments for his being a Jew appear to far outweigh those for his being a Gentile.

ARGUMENTS FOR LUKE BEING A GENTILE

Usually, Biblical commentators simply assert that Luke was a Gentile, without offering any proof at all, as it is so universally believed.  Some commentaries, though, present arguments for sustaining the concept of the Gentile background of Luke.  Chief among these arguments are the lists from the Epistle to the Colossians.

THE LISTS IN COLOSSIANS

In Colossians 4, the Apostle Paul closes his letter by listing the various people who are with him as he writes the epistle, and some of those who are addressed.  In these lists Paul makes mention of some who are of “the circumcision” (Col. 4:10-11), and are, therefore, Jews.  Although it is not perfectly clear which men are referred to, they are presumably the previous three: Aristarchus, Mark and Jesus called Justus.  Paul apparently does not include Tychicus and Onesimus, mentioned before in verses 7-9, as being in the circumcision group.

Later in this same chapter, in verse 14, Paul refers to Luke, the beloved physician.  The argument is made that, as Luke is not mentioned in the list of those of “the circumcision”, he therefore must not be a Jew.  However, this is very slim evidence, indeed.  In the above reference, Paul is speaking of his fellow workers in the preaching ministry.  However, Luke was not ever described as being actively involved in the work of preaching, but was rather Paul’s personal physician and historian.  It would not be appropriate to put Luke in the list with those who were active in the preaching ministry, regardless of background.

Thus, there are reasons other than background why Luke would not be included in the list of “the circumcision.”  It is risky to build a concept on evidence which is so weak, and this is the strongest evidence in the Bible that those who believe Luke was a Gentile use to prove their point.

THE NAME AND PROFESSION ARGUMENTS

Proponents have also argued that the name Luke (Lucas) is, in itself, evidence that he was a Gentile.  However, the very names mentioned in Col. 4 as being in “the circumcision” are Gentile names: Aristarchus, Marcus and Justus.  Paul’s name itself is a Roman name, which he used throughout his ministry among the Gentiles, instead of his Hebrew name, Saul. In the same way Peter’s Hebrew name was Simon. The fact of the matter is that most Jews who lived in the Diaspora used two names:  one, a Jewish name, which was used in the synagogue, and the other a Gentile name which was used in business.  So Luke could well be the public name of a Jew who lived among the Gentiles.

Others have actually claimed that Luke’s profession as a physician would be evidence that he was a Gentile.  This would assume that there were no Jewish doctors in the Roman world.  Such an idea is preposterous.  Christ referred to physicians in Israel on several occasions:

“Physician, heal thyself…” (Luke 4:23)

“They that are sick have need of a physician…”(Matt. 9:12)

There is as much reason to believe that Jews were in the medical profession in ancient times as they are today.

Thus, none of the arguments supporting the idea that Luke was a Gentile are strong.  It is helpful, then, to turn to the arguments that Luke was a Jew.

ARGUMENTS FOR LUKE BEING A JEW

There are several arguments that support the idea that Luke was a Jew.  As has already been stated, there are no specific statements as to the background of Dr. Luke.  Therefore, the only way we can know anything about Luke’s background is from inferences in the Scriptures.

THE RULE: ORACLES GIVEN TO JEWS

Torah Scroll
Israel received the oracles of God

After showing the sinful condition of the Jewish people, explaining how the Jews are just as much subject to sin as are the Gentiles, Paul asks the question, “What advantage has the Jew?” His answer was “Much every way, chiefly because that unto them were committed the oracles of God” (Rom. 3:1-2).  The main advantage that Paul recognizes in the Jewish people was that when God gave revelation to the human race, He gave it to and through the Jews.  He did not utilize the Gentile people for this purpose.  This was the rule: that Jews were the vehicle for revelation.  If Luke was an exception, the burden of proof is on those who would claim that he is an exception.

Thus, one has to prove conclusively that Luke was a Gentile before one should abandon the clear rule about the Jewish writing of Scripture.  We must assume that Luke is a Jew unless the evidence is so overwhelming that we must conclude he is a Gentile.  As we have seen above, the evidence from the lists in Colossians is so weak that it does not meet that criterion.  Gentiles are blessed in many ways, especially during this Church Age, but God has never indicated that He has changed His rule of using only Jews to record His revelation.

TROPHIMUS, NOT LUKE, THE CAUSE OF PAUL’S ARREST

Dr. Luke was a constant companion of the Apostle Paul from the time that he joined the missionary apostle when he sailed from Troas to Europe.  Luke accompanied Paul on his fateful last return trip to Jerusalem, and was an eyewitness of the arrest of Paul in the Temple in Acts 21.  The crowd was greatly agitated by the presence of Paul in the Temple, and charged him with bringing Gentiles into the Temple precincts.  This was a crime punishable by death.  Luke explains that Paul never did bring any Gentiles into the Temple, but he was seen on the streets of Jerusalem with “Trophimus an Ephesian.”  Apparently, Paul brought Trophimus with him to Jerusalem so that the apostles and the mother church there could see first-hand the fruits of his labor among the Gentiles.  Even though the charge was false, they were able to spread the rumor among the people, and cause a near riot against Paul on the Temple Mount, and for this reason he was arrested.

The point is that, when the Jewish people wanted to accuse Paul of bringing a Gentile into the Temple, they chose Trophimus.  Why didn’t they choose Luke, who was also with Paul, and was an eyewitness to these events?  If Luke were a Gentile, it would have been far easier, and far more believable, to accuse Paul of bringing Luke with him into the Temple, rather than Trophimus.  The fact that Luke was not mentioned in the accusation is a strong indication he was not a Gentile.  Luke was with Paul on several occasions when they made the various trips to Jerusalem in order to report on their missionary efforts to the apostolic church.  The issue was never raised about Luke being a Gentile, although he was there in Jerusalem with Paul.

As Luke was not controversial when he traveled with Paul to Jerusalem and the Temple, our assumption must be that he was also a Jew.  Thus, there was no mention of Luke as a problem when Paul was arrested.

LUKE’S INTIMATE KNOWLEDGE OF THE TEMPLE

Temple Recreation at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem-Photo by Daniel E Woodhead
Temple Recreation at the Israel Museum in Jerusalem-Photo by Daniel E Woodhead

 

Another argument for the idea that Luke was a Jew is that he showed such an intimate knowledge of the Temple, more than any other of the Gospel writers.  When he described the announcement to Zacharias concerning the birth of John the Baptist, Luke went into considerable detail to describe the rotating selection of the Levitical priests for service according to their families.  He further described the position of the priest before the altar of incense, where the angel appeared to Zacharias (Luke 1:8-20).

The fact that Luke alone of the four Gospel writers gives this account, and he does so with such vivid detail, argues for his being a Jew, familiar with the Temple procedures.  One could even speculate that Luke might have been a Levite as well, as he knew so much about how the Temple operated.  Is it logical to assume, without question, that Luke was a Gentile, when he had such a clear understanding of the most intimate workings of the Temple, where no Gentile was allowed to go?

LUKE’S INTIMATE ACQUAINTANCE WITH MARY

Yet another argument is the striking intimacy that Luke had with the mother of Jesus, Mary.  He relates the story of the birth of Jesus primarily from Mary’s point of view, and then said that she hid these things “in her heart” (Luke 2:19, 51).  How did Luke, of all the Gospel writers, get so close to Mary that he was able to find out what she had hid in her heart?  As close-knit as the Jerusalem church was, and as difficult as it must have been for Gentiles to have gotten to the “inner circle” of the apostolic leadership, it seems highly unlikely that Luke could have gotten that close to Mary if he were a Gentile.

Actually, it appears that Luke might have served Mary for a time as her personal physician.  This is speculation, but how else could he have had such a close relationship with her, so that he could draw from her the details she had hid in her heart, and had discussed with few others?  Luke would have had the opportunity to consult with Mary on the occasions when Paul made his reporting trips to Jerusalem, and especially while Paul was in prison in Caesarea for two years.  Such access to the Jerusalem inner circle of believers would have been quite understandable if Luke were a Jew, but would have been most unlikely if he were a Gentile.

My conclusion is, then, that we must infer that Luke was a Jew.  The idea that he was a Gentile appears to be based on nothing more than wishful thinking and tradition.  The Biblical evidence strongly supports the position that Luke was a Jew, and we should always believe the Scriptures over tradition, when there is a conflict between the two.

Text reprinted with permission of

Thomas S. McCall Th.D

Artwork added by Daniel E Woodhead

Share on Facebook
1 2