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God's Word Five

I present God's Word as best I can, and leave the results to God!

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Certain Christian intelligentsia of the present dispensation, even though saved and in a position to understand the Word of God, too often seek spiritual discernment in the light of worldly wisdom rather than through comparing “scripture with scripture” and looking to the indwelling Spirit to lead them “into all truth”.
(John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13)

Numbers in Bible Defined
By BibleStudy.org

• The Number One

There can be no doubt as to the significance of this primary number. In all languages it is the symbol of unity. As a cardinal number it denotes unity; as an ordinal it denotes primacy. Unity being indivisible, and not made up of other numbers, is therefore independent of all others, and is the source of all others. So with the Deity. The great First Cause is independent of all. All stand in need of Him, and He needs no assistance from any. "One" excludes all difference, for there is no second with which it can either harmonize or conflict.

• The Number Two

We now come to the spiritual significance of the number Two. We have seen that One excludes all difference, and denotes that which is sovereign. But Two affirms that there is a difference -- there is another; while One affirms that there is not another!

This difference may be for good or for evil. A thing may differ from evil, and be good; or it may differ from good, and be evil. Hence, the number Two takes a Two-fold coloring, according to the context.

It is the first number by which we can divide another, and therefore in all its uses we may trace this fundamental idea of division or difference.

The Two may be, though different in character, yet one as to testimony and friendship. The Second that comes in may be for help and deliverance. But, alas, where man is concerned, this number testifies of his fall, for it more often denotes that difference which implies opposition, enmity, and oppression.*

* Like many other words; e.g., the verb "prevent" meant originally for one to get before another. But because whenever one man got before another it was always to the hindrance and hurt of that other, the word gradually took on the meaning to hinder, and thus testifies of man's fall. So with the word simple: it meant originally sincere, open, honest. But in man's judgment, anyone who so acts is a fool. Hence, man soon came to use the word simple as denoting a very foolish person! So in the French with the word chef, which means "chief." But as man makes "a god of his belly" he who can best gratify its lusts has a unique claim to this word.

• The Number Three

In this number we have quite a new set of phenomena. We come to the first geometrical figure. Two straight lines cannot possibly enclose any space, or form a plane figure; neither can two plan surfaces form a solid. Three lines are necessary to form a plan figure; and three dimensions of length, breadth, and height, are necessary to form a solid. Hence three is the symbol of the cube -- the simplest form of a solid figure. As two is the symbol of the square, or plane contents (x2), so three is the symbol of the cube, or solid contents (x3).

Three, therefore, stands for that which is solid, real, substantial, complete, and entire.

Three kingdoms embrace our ideas of matter -- mineral, vegetable, and animal.

When we turn to the Scriptures, this completion becomes Divine, and marks Divine perfection or completeness.

Three is the first of four perfect numbers.

• Three denotes divine perfection;
• Seven denotes spiritual perfection;
• Ten denotes ordinal perfection; and
• Twelve denotes governmental perfection.

Hence the number three points us to what is real, essential, perfect, substantial, complete, and Divine. There is nothing real in man or of man. Everything "under the sun" and apart from God is "vanity." "Every man at his best estate is altogether vanity" (Psalm 139:5,11, 62:9, 144:4; Ecclesiastes 1:2, 4, 2:11, 17, 26, 3:19; 4:4; 11:8; 12:8; Romans 8:20).

• The Number Four

We have seen that three signifies Divine perfection, with special reference to the Trinity: The Father, one in sovereignty; the Son, the second person, in incarnation and salvation, delivering from every enemy; the Holy Spirit, the third person, realizing in us and to us Divine things.

Now the number four is made up of three and one (3+1=4), and it denotes, therefore, and marks that which follows the revelation of God in the Trinity, namely, His creative works. He is known by the things that are seen. Hence the written revelation commences with the words, "In the beginning God CREATED." Creation is therefore the next thing -- the fourth thing, and the number four always has reference to all that is created. It is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created; while six is the number of man in his opposition to and independence of God. It is the number of things that have a beginning, of things that are made, of material things, and matter itself. It is the number of material completeness. Hence it is the world number, and especially the "city" number.

The fourth day saw the material creation finished (for on the fifth and sixth days it was only the furnishing and peopling of the earth with living creatures). The sun, moon, and stars completed the work, and they were to give light upon the earth which had been created, and to rule over the day and over the night (Genesis 1:14-19).

Four is the number of the great elements—earth, air, fire, and water.

Four are the regions of the earth—north, south, east, and west.

Four are the divisions of the day—morning, noon, evening, and midnight. Or in our Lord's words, when He speaks of His coming at evening, midnight, cock-crowing, or in the morning (Mark 13:35). We are never to put off His coming in our minds beyond tomorrow morning.

Four are the seasons of the year—spring, summer, autumn, and winter.

Four are the great variations of the lunar phases.

• The Number Five

Five is four plus one (4+1). We have had hitherto the three persons of the Godhead, and their manifestation in creation. Now we have a further revelation of a People called out from mankind, redeemed and saved, to walk with God from earth to heaven. Hence, Redemption follows creation. Inasmuch as in consequence of the fall of man fall creation came under the curse and was "made subject to vanity," therefore man and creation must be redeemed. Thus we have:

1. Father
2. Son
3. Spirit
4. Creation
5. Redemption favor

These are the five great mysteries, and five is therefore the number of GRACE.

If four is the number of the world, then it represents man's weakness, and helplessness, and vanity, as we have seen.

But four plus one (4+1=5) is significant of Divine strength added to and made perfect in that weakness; of omnipotence combined with the impotence of earth; of Divine uninfluenced and invincible.

• The Number Six

Six is either 4 plus 2, i.e., man's world [4] with man's enmity to God [2] brought in: or 5 plus 1, the grace of God made of none effect by man's addition to it, or perversion, or corruption of it: or 7 minus 1, i.e., man's coming short of spiritual perfection. In any case, therefore, it has to do with man; it is the number of imperfection; the human number; the number of MAN as destitute of God, without God, without Christ.

• The Number Seven

We come now to the great number of spiritual perfection. A number which, therefore, occupies so large a place in the works, and especially in the Word of God as being inspired by the Holy Spirit.

In the first part of this book we have enlarged somewhat on the importance of this number in Nature and in Grace, so that we need not here repeat many of the interesting facts already given.

As a number the actual word and number "Seven" is used as no other number is. Seven and its compounds occur in multiples of seven in the Old Testament.

Seven occurs 287 times, or 7 x 41.

"Seventh," the fractional part, occurs 98 times, or 7 x 14.

"Seven-fold," occurs 7 times.

The above three numbers together are of course a multiple of seven, but a very remarkable one, 287 + 98 + 7 = 392, and 392 is 72 + 73, or 8 times the square of seven (72x8).

Then again seven, in combination with other numbers, is remarkable, such as Fifty and seven, a Hundred and seven, etc. There are 112 of these combinations, or 7 x 16.

"Seventy" occurs 56 times, or 7 x 8.

"Seventy," in combination with other numbers, occurs 35 times, or 7 x 5.

It is, however, when we come to consider its significance that the true glories of its spiritual perfection are revealed.

We have just seen that six is the number which is stamped upon all things human, as being emphatically the number of man. The two numbers, 6 and 7, are further discussed in its own chapter.

Seven, by Itself

But now turning to the number Seven, we must first consider the meaning of the word.

In the Hebrew, seven is shevah. It is from the root savah, to be full or satisfied, have enough of. Hence the meaning of the word "seven" is dominated by this root, for on the seventh day God rested from the work of Creation. It was full and complete, and good and perfect. Nothing could be added to it or taken from it without marring it. Hence the word Shavath, to cease, desist, rest, and Shabbath, Sabbath, or day of rest. This root runs through various languages; e.g., Sanscrit, saptan; Zend., hapta; Greek, hepta; Latin, septem. All these preserve the "t," which in the Semitic and Teutonic languages is dropped out; e.g. Gothic, sibun; German, sieben; English, seven.

It is seven, therefore, that stamps with perfection and completeness that in connection with which it is used. Of time, it tells of the Sabbath, and marks off the week of seven days, which, artificial as it may seem to be, is universal and immemorial in its observance amongst all nations and in all times. It tells of that eternal Sabbath-keeping which remains for the people of God in all its everlasting perfection.

In the creative works of God, seven completes the colors of the spectrum and rainbow, and satisfies in music the notes of the scale. In each of these the eighth is only a repetition of the first.

Another meaning of the root shavagh is to swear, or make an oath. It is clear from its first occurrence in Genesis 21:31, "They sware both of them," that this oath was based upon the "seven ewe lambs" (Genesis 21:28-30), which point to the idea of satisfaction or fulness in an oath. It was the security, satisfaction, and fulness of the obligation, or completeness of the bond, which caused the same word to be used for both the number seven and an oath; and hence it is written, "an oath for confirmation is an end of all strife." Beer-sheba, the well of the oath, is the standing witness of the spiritual perfection of the number seven

(See Bible Study Org. - Numbers in Bible Defined, #7 for more examples.)

• The Number Eight

In Hebrew the number eight is sh'moneh, from the root shah'meyn, "to make fat," "cover with fat," "to super-abound." As a participle it means "one who abounds in strength," etc. As a noun it is "superabundant fertility," "oil," etc. So that as a numeral it is the superabundant number. As seven was so called because the seventh day was the day of completion and rest, so eight, as the eighth day, was over and above this perfect completion, and was indeed the first of a new series, as well as being the eighth. We consider the connection between 8 and 7 in another section.

Eight by Itself

7 plus 1 equals 8.  Hence it is the number specially associated with Resurrection and Regeneration, and the beginning of a new era or order.

• The Number Nine

The number nine is a most remarkable number in many respects. It is held in great reverence by all who study the occult sciences; and in mathematical science it possesses properties and powers which are found in no other number.*

* Among others may be mentioned (1) that the sum of the digits which form its multiples are themselves always a multiple of nine; e.g., 2 x 9 = 18 (and 1+8=9); 3 x 9 = 27 (and 2+7=9); 4 x 9 = 36 (and 3+6=9); 5 x 9 = 45 (and 4+5=9), etc., etc.; and so with the larger numbers: 52843 x 9 = 475587 (and 4+7+5+5+8+7=36, and 3+6=9). (2) The sum of its multiples through the nine digits = 405, or 9 times 45.

It is the last of the digits, and thus marks the end; and is significant of the conclusion of a matter.

It is akin to the number six, six being the sum of its factors (3x3=9, and 3+3=6), and is thus significant of the end of man, and the summation of all man's works. Nine is, therefore, the number of finality or judgment.

The Number of Finality or Judgment

The number of finality or judgment is committed unto Jesus as "the Son of man" (John 5:27; Acts 17:31). It marks the completeness, the end and issue of all things as to man -- the judgment of man and all his works.

• The Number Ten

It has been already pointed out that ten is one of the perfect numbers, and signifies the perfection of Divine order completion, commencing, as it does, an altogether new series of numbers. The first decade is the representative of the whole numeral system, and originates the system of calculation called "decimals," because the whole system of numeration consists of so many tens, of which the first is a type of the whole.

Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.

• The Number Eleven

If ten is the number which marks the perfection of Divine order, then eleven is an addition to it, subversive of and undoing that order. If twelve is the number which marks the perfection of Divine government, then eleven falls short of it. So that whether we regard it as being 10 + 1, or 12 - 1, it is the number which marks disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.

There is not much concerning it in the Word of God, but what there is, is significant, especially as a factor.

• The Number Twelve

Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule. The sun which "rules" the day, and the moon and stars which "govern" the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year.

Twelve is the product of 3 (the perfectly Divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, the number of what is material and organic) multiplied equalling 12. 

While seven is composed of 3 added to 4, 3 multiplied by 4 equals 12, and hence denotes that which can scarcely be explained in words, but which the spiritual perception can at once appreciate, viz., organization, the products denoting production and multiplication and increase of all that is contained in the two numbers separately. The 4 is generally prominently seen in the twelve.

Bible Study Org. - Numbers in Bible Defined 

Links like the following are found throughout this website.  They take one to Word Documents in my computer which has virus protection.  They are safe to open!

God’s Word is true, which confirms that upon faith in Christ,
He, by means of the Holy Spirit, permanently indwells us
and will most assuredly use us,
as we become increasingly under His control
(also known as being “filled with the Spirit”
[Ephesians 5:18]
, comparable to letting the “word of Christ”
dwell in us
[Colossians 3:16]
as we “walk in Him” by faith [Colossians 2:6]
). 
This is a position given to us by the grace of God
and is to be simply believed, apart from any emotion. 
We indeed are emotional beings, but as for what God has said,
we must simply believe and proceed on that basis;
not on how we feel about the matter.
~ Charles Strong

Great White Throne Judgment
By Got Questions

The great white throne judgment is described in Revelation 20:11-15 and is the final judgment prior to the lost being cast into the lake of fire. We know from Revelation 20:7-15 that this judgment will take place after the millennium and after Satan, the beast, and the false prophet are thrown into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:7-10). The books that are opened (Revelation 20:12) contain records of everyone’s deeds, whether they are good or evil, because God knows everything that has ever been said, done, or even thought, and He will reward or punish each one accordingly (Psalm 28:4; 62:12; Romans 2:6; Revelation 2:23; 18:6; 22:12).

Also at this time, another book is opened, called the “book of life” (Revelation 20:12). It is this book that determines whether a person will inherit eternal life with God or receive everlasting punishment in the lake of fire. Although Christians are held accountable for their actions, they are forgiven in Christ and their names were written in the “book of life from the creation of the world” (Revelation 17:8). We also know from Scripture that it is at this judgment when the dead will be “judged according to what they had done”
(Revelation 20:12) and that “anyone’s name” that is not “found written in the book of life” will be “thrown into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

The fact that there is going to be a final judgment for all men, both believers and unbelievers, is clearly confirmed in many passages of Scripture. Every person will one day stand before Christ and be judged for his or her deeds. While it is very clear that the great white throne judgment is the final judgment, Christians disagree on how it relates to the other judgments mentioned in the Bible, specifically, who will be judged at the great white throne judgment.

[Note:  The editor of this site believes the first judgment, of all saved, dead and alive, occurs at the end of the rapture, at the Judgment seat of Christ, where Christ determines who of the saved receive the soul aspect of salvation as opposed to who of the saved suffer loss.  The second is the sheep and goat judgment, which is another judgment of the saved.  Never are saved and unsaved judged together.  The third is the Great White Throne Judgment of the unsaved at the end of the millennium.]

Some Christians believe that the Scriptures reveal three different judgments to come. The first is the judgment of the sheep and the goats or a judgment of the nations (Matthew 25:31-36). This takes place after the tribulation period but prior to the millennium; its purpose is to determine who will enter the millennial kingdom. The second is a judgment of believers’ works, often referred to as the “judgment seat [bema] of Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:10). At this judgment, Christians will receive degrees of reward for their works or service to God. The third is the great white throne judgment at the end of the millennium
(Revelation 20:11-15). This is the judgment of unbelievers in which they are judged according to their works and sentenced to everlasting punishment in the lake of fire.

Other Christians believe that all three of these judgments speak of the same final judgment, not of three separate judgments. In other words, the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15 will be the time that believers and unbelievers alike are judged. Those whose names are found in the book of life will be judged for their deeds in order to determine the rewards they will receive or lose. Those whose names are not in the book of life will be judged according to their deeds to determine the degree of punishment they will receive in the lake of fire. Those who hold this view believe that Matthew 25:31-46 is another description of what takes place at the great white throne judgment. They point to the fact that the result of this judgment is the same as what is seen after the great white throne judgment in Revelation 20:11-15. The sheep (believers) enter into eternal life, while the goats (unbelievers) are cast into “eternal punishment”
(Matthew 25:46).

Whichever view one holds of the great white throne judgment, it is important to never lose sight of the facts concerning the coming judgment(s). First, Jesus Christ will be the judge, all unbelievers will be judged by Christ, and they will be punished according to the works they have done. The Bible is very clear that unbelievers are storing up wrath against themselves (Romans 2:5) and that God will “give to each person according to what he has done” (Romans 2:6). Believers will also be judged by Christ, but since Christ’s righteousness has been imputed to us and our names are written in the book of life, we will be rewarded, but not punished, according to our deeds. Romans 14:10-12 says that we will all stand before the judgment seat of Christ and that each one of us will give an account to God.

Got Questions - Great White Throne Judgment

• Three denotes divine perfection;
• Seven denotes spiritual perfection;
• Ten denotes ordinal perfection; and
• Twelve denotes governmental perfection.

A reading suggested by Carol Miller, The Trickster's Lovely Consort Queen.
The Judgment Seat of Christ
By Leonard Ravenhill of
Ravenhill Org.

"..for we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ."  (Romans 14:10 KVJ)

I want to tell you a story about when I was a young boy going to school. You know, I didn't mind school too much, but in those days I was very envious of the school Captain. His name was Renton, and he sat just across the aisle from me. He was the best soccer player in the school and that's what I wanted to be. He was the best at cricket, and I liked cricket. He was the best runner we had, and I liked running. He was not only an excellent athlete, but a very good artist as well. And on top of all that, he was the smartest guy in the whole school.

If I could ever save up my stomachaches, I'd save them until the day before the final exam. But my mother was smart. She knew I was saving them up. I don't know how she knew, but she always did. I'd get up that morning and say, "Oh mother, I don't feel good at all. I think I should stay home today." But she'd always say, "You can stay home tomorrow - but not today." But staying home tomorrow wouldn't do me any good because today was the day of the final exam. Today was the day of judgment!

I know Renton never felt like that because whenever we had a test, as soon as the questions were put down on the board, he would get his paper and dash through them. He was through the first two or three subjects before I'd even gotten the thing read. He and another fellow used to say, "Oh boy, exams!" They knew they'd be first and second in the class when the grades came out, and so they were excited about taking the test. Final exams didn't scare them. These boys were always at the top. They were not afraid of the Day of Judgment. They were not afraid - because they were prepared for it.

QUALITY NOT QUANTITY

For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.  According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building upon it. But let each man be careful how he builds upon it.  For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ.  Now if any man builds upon the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each man's work will become evident; for the day will show it, because it is to be revealed with fire; and the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work.  (I Cor. 3:9-13)

The above scripture is talking about the day all believers will stand before the Lord. When every follower of Jesus will account for his life and his deeds before all of heaven itself. Notice what it says very carefully, "...the fire itself will test the quality of each man's work." Not how much work, but rather what kind of work. Not the quantity but the quality. This scripture is speaking of your whole life's work. In other words, your life's work can be wood or hay or straw -- or it can be silver, gold, or costly stones. And on that day, the fire will put it to the final test. What fire? The Bible tells that God is love, but it also tells us that He is a consuming fire as well. (Heb. 12:29)

Paul continues by saying, "If any man's work which he had built upon it remains, he shall receive a reward. If any man's work is burned up, he shall suffer loss; but he himself shall be saved, yet so as through fire." (I Cor. 3:14-15) This illustration would be extremely significant to the people of Corinth that Paul was speaking to, because not too long before this was written, their whole city was devastated by fire. They all knew firsthand what damage fire could do. When the fire swept through Corinth, every house that was built out of wood, hay, or straw, was devastated and left in ashes. But the more wealthy people there had houses built with beautiful pillars of granite, and some even had houses built totally out of marble. These houses made of costly stones were still standing after the fire swept through, though they were obviously very badly scorched.

YOUR LIFE INVESTMENT

Let's visualize it another way. One man is given $10,000 and he invests it in wood - maybe some lovely mahogany. So this man's entire life work is made out of wood. It's very beautiful, but when the fire goes through it, what do you have? All you have is ashes, maybe up to your ankles, and that's all there is left. The next man is given $10,000 and he invests it in hay. Another man given the same amount invests all of it in straw. Does that sound foolish? Well, people do it every day. Why? Because if you put $10,000 into hay or straw, it looks like you are getting a lot for your money. You could probably buy half the straw in Texas for $10,000, but, boy, you're going to have a mess when the fire gets to it. Instead of ashes to your ankles, or ashes to your knees, it'll be up to your nose maybe. But that's what some lives are going to be like: wood, hay, stubble - then ashes.

Now let's look at a few people who made much wiser investments. There's a man over here who has $10,000, and he invests it in gold. (He won't get much at $400 an ounce, will he?) The next man invests $10,000 in silver, and another man invests the same amount in costly stones. Each of the six men I've just spoken of had the same amount of money, but they all chose different things to invest it in. Now, we are talking about your life's work. Do you get the picture? Our whole life, from the very moment we begin to witness for Christ, including all of our service and our labor for Him, is going to be tested by fire. We must be very careful to make wise investments, or in the end, all that will be left is ashes.

ETERNAL VALUE

Will our life's work stand the test of the fire when we come before the Lord? Will it have lasting eternal value - or will it end up in ashes? There's an interesting difference between wood, hay, straw - and gold, silver, and costly stones. Wood, hay, and stubble are found above the ground. They catch the eye, just like many people's ministries do. They are quite plentiful and easy to find. On the other hand, silver, gold, and precious stones are found below the ground. Nobody sees them - again, like many people's ministries. They're not just lying around in a field somewhere for anyone to pick up. They are much harder to come by; in fact, it takes a lot of hard work to get them. That's why they are so expensive. They are of much higher quality than many other things, and much more rare too. Again, it's the quality, not the quantity that sets their value. Many things are difficult in the Christian life, but we should desire to acquire those things which will hold their value, not only on earth, but in heaven as well.

MINISTRY AND MONEY

Every person's life, including all of his ministry, is going to pass through the fire. There's a lot of public ministry that's going to go down in flames on that day, my brothers. The fire is going to take the big showy life of every man and burn it until only a bunch of ashes is left. I'm tired of seeing these fellows begging for money on television. I believe every dime that comes into any ministry will need to be answered for before the Judgment Seat of Christ one day. Jesus talked about these men who'd go and take widows' houses. (Luke 20:46-47) Well, that's what many are doing now. And they're not satisfied that you give while you're living, they ask you to hand over your house and all the rest to them in your will. They're going to give an account to God in that day, but I believe we're also going to give an account.

A brother was telling me this week that when he got baptized and went down into the water, he suddenly realized that he had his wallet in his pocket. Not many wallets get baptized! We kind of say, "Lord, You look after my sins. I'll look after the rest." You'll give an account to God for every penny you've earned since you became the property of Jesus Christ. He doesn't just take your sins - He takes all of you.

Oh yes, many may want to get filled with the Holy Ghost and get a bank balance, but how many of you are big enough to say, "Lord, in this crucial hour in human history, let me fill up with the sufferings of Christ"? Can He share His sorrow with you? Are you prepared to challenge demon power and say, "Listen, I've moved into the place where the Apostle Paul was when he said, I glory in tribulations and necessities and reproaches'"? Watch out though, because if you're going to get mature in God, all the dwarfs around you will criticize you and sneer at you and say, "Trying to be holier than the rest of us, huh? So you don't have time for basketball or going to see a baseball game?" No, maybe you don't, but that's nobody's business but yours and God's.

Do you get so near to the heart of God that you share His grief over the world and over the backslidden church that we have today? One of the most famous preachers in the country recently called at nearly midnight and said, "I've come to this conclusion: God Almighty has already taken His hand off America - for the simple reason that we've had so much light and we've rejected it!" It's not only true that we live in a world of bankrupt politics, we live in a world (this is the most tragic part of all) of a bankrupt church.

WILL CHRISTIANS BE JUDGED?

I heard a woman say not long ago, "Well, praise the Lord. I'm glad I don't have to account for anything when I go to heaven. There is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Wait a minute, you can never isolate a scripture by itself. There's no condemnation for our past sins, and I'm sure we are all mighty glad of that. But God was always saying to Israel, "Remember when thou wast a bondsman in Egypt...remember your sin...remember your iniquity."

You might say, "It doesn't say the Christians are going to be judged out of the books." Yes, I think it does. Where? In Malachi (Mal. 3:16). It says that God has a Book of Remembrance, and I think it would do you good before you go to bed every night this week to ask God, "What did You put in Your book today for my life?" It doesn't have to be some outward act. You can worship God on a tractor. It may not be the best way, but you can do it.

The Bible says that "we shall all stand before the Judgment Seat of Christ" (Rom. 14:10 KJV). I think that scripture means just what it says.

THE HOLY DEAD

A hymn writer says,

"From earth's wide bounds and ocean's farthest coast, through gates of pearl, stream in a countless host, singing Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, Hallelujah."

All the saints of all the ages are going to be there. There's another old hymn and probably not very many of you could recite it, but I'll bet most of you know the chorus: "Oh, when the saints go marching in." You know, they dance to that every night down in New Orleans. They shuffle their feet along Bourbon Street and have a great time, but that song is not for them, it's for the REDEEMED. It says, "When the saints go marching in." The saints will march into heaven in a multitude which no man can number.

I can't wait to see all the saints of all the ages. Man, I'll be thrilled to look at Isaiah and Jeremiah and those major and minor prophets. We'll be looking around and saying, "Hey, there's Abraham. I didn't think he'd look quite like that." But he's going to be there, all right. And just think of seeing Matthew and Mark and Luke and John and everybody in Acts. Won't it be wonderful to see those men who walked with Jesus!

Let's think about Paul for a moment. He gave his intellect to God. He wrote about 14 epistles and traveled all over Asia Minor. He was lashed at the post 195 times. He was in weariness, and fastings, and pain, and tribulation, and distress, and famine, and nakedness. He was subjected to false brethren and to perils of the deep. What do you think his reward is going to be for living a life like that?

GRACE is free, but REWARDS are not free.

You might say, "But you're talking about works." Sure I am - because God did. Jesus did!

COSTLY STONES

Silver, gold, precious stones. What are the precious stones? When I read that, I think of the breastplate that was on the priests in the Old Testament. It was divided by four rows of stones - three stones in each row. Each stone was different. Each stone stood for the name of one of the 12 tribes of Israel. The priest wore the breastplate over his heart as he went into the Holy Place to pray for the sins of the people. How do you handle this? Do you enter the holiest place of all to make intercession for the sins of the people? Do you enter into intercession at all? This is only possible through the blood of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit.

Intercession is our job now. We don't need to send a priest into the Holy of Holies. We can go ourselves! The New Testament tells us that we are all priests - that we are a part of the Royal Priesthood (I Peter 2:9). Do you wonder why the world is poor and sick outside? Because we really don't know how to pray, that's why! Because we're satisfied that we've left our lousy living and we don't drink or lust or damn ourselves every day. We're Christians now...and we're so content and so happy and so satisfied.

SILVER

The silver ... what is the silver? I guess you can interpret it in different ways. But I like to think of the scripture in the book of Proverbs that says,

"The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver" (Proverbs 10:20). I believe that the silver may signify the words that we speak. I believe that God has an eternal record of every word we have spoken since we've been saved. That may be embarrassing. Oh, we won't be ashamed of the good things we've said, but what about our idle words? You know, the gossip, the slander, the criticism, the prejudice. What about the time when somebody upset you and instead of being quiet, you just spilled out everything that was on your heart at that moment? And can you think of all the awesome words we've preached to thousands of people over the years? We're going to answer for every word - and the fire is going to be put to them. Will they be wood, hay, or stubble - or will they abide the fire?

GOLD

What is gold a sign of? I believe it's a sign of our devotion to God. If I could have a small melting pot here, I'd put your $10,000 worth of gold in it and melt it down. What happens when you burn gold? Nothing! It just changes from solid to liquid, but you don't reduce it. Can you see all the saints standing in heaven? And there's Leonard Ravenhill - standing before Christ whose eyes are filled with holiness. The whole place is breathing holiness. There in the presence and the majesty of an awesome God, the record of my poor life is read before all the saints of all the ages. And He puts the fire to my devotional life. Am I just a good showman? I sure like to preach because God called me to preach. I don't care how I preach, and I don't care whether you believe me either. I'm not responsible for that. I preach out of my heart all I believe, and I'd die for it. But say, am I just a showman? What's my secret life like?

I've said it many times and I'll say it again - no man is greater than his prayer life. I don't care how big his organization is. Let me live with a man awhile and share his prayer life, and I'll tell you how tall I think he is, or how majestic I think he is in God. What's your devotional life like right now? Would you like Gabriel to hand down the book of your devotional life for the last month so it could be read out loud at church this Sunday? The gold is going to be tried through our devotional life.

GREAT MEN OF PRAYER

You'll discover this: The men that have been the most heroic for God have been the men with the greatest devotional life. America has produced some of the greatest prayer warriors in the world. John Hyde was one of them. I knew someone who had prayed with him, and they said it was just awesome when this man went into prayer. There's a little book out on him called "Praying Hyde" that would be well worth your reading.

Edward Payson, better known as praying Payson of Portland, was another great prayer warrior. He used to kneel at the side of his bed and pray, and pray, and pray. When they washed his body for burial, they found great big pads on his knees like a camel has. Tradition says that James had camel's knees, but it's a living fact that Payson had them. When they were washing him, somebody said, "What abnormal knees. They're heavy with callouses." That's because he used to pray at the side ofhis bed with energy - and he wore two grooves about six or seven inches long into that hard floor where he used to pray and make intercession.

One day I was in the Bible School of Wales and there was dear Mrs. Rees Howells. (Her husband was dead now.) We stood on the terrace and she turned and said, "Do you see the room there?" I said, "Yes, I see that room." "That door?" "Yes." "Daddy (meaning her husband) went through that door at six o'clock in the morning and he stayed there until six o'clock at night every day for 11 months except the one day that his mother died."

Let's preview eternity and look at all the apostles and all the saints of all the ages. Look, there's Charles Finney with his amazing revivals. There's William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army. There's John Wesley. Here are all the great heroic figures we've all read about, and they are all watching while the book is handed down and somebody's going to read the record. Would you volunteer and say, "Well, I'll be happy to read my record to this multitude"?

Suppose I say, "Gabriel, hand me the record for the year of 1724." When I open the book to that year and go to the "B's," I find the name, David Brainerd. He was a young American who died at the age of 28. All he possessed was a cowhide that he wore with a rope tied around it. He used to ride over the Susquehanna River to follow the Indians. David had a severe case of tuberculosis and only weighed about 95 pounds. I remember reading his diary once. He said, "I got up this morning and the Indians were still committing adultery and drinking and beating their tom-toms and shouting like hell itself. I prayed from a half hour after sunrise to a half hour before sunset. There was nowhere to pray in the Indian camp. I went into the woods and knelt in the snow. It was up to my chin." No, he didn't have a heater with him or anything else. He was just there in the frigid snow, tuberculosis and all. He continued, "I wrestled in prayer until a half hour before sunset, and I could only touch the snow with the tips of my fingers. The heat of my body had melted the snow." What amazing intercessory prayer!

Well, God pity us. We can't even get people into our churches to pray, and we have velvet cushions on the seats and nice stuff on the floor so our darling little knees won't get hurt. David Brainerd, Praying Payson of Portland, John Hyde, and Rees Howells - when God puts the fire to their devotional life, I don't think there will be anything lost. It won't be wood, it won't be hay, and it won't be stubble.

TRUE JOY

I'm embarrassed to be part of the Church today because I believe it's an embarrassment to a holy God. Most of our joy is clapping our hands and having a good time and then afterwards we talk all the nonsense of the world. We're overboard on laughter and happiness. There's an old saying in the world, "Laugh and the world laughs with you." I change it and say, "Laugh and the Church laughs with you, but weep and you weep alone." Because there isn't enough real joy in the house of God, we need entertainment. Entertainment is the devil's substitute for joy. Because there isn't enough power in the house of God, people are always looking for something to take its place. We point the finger at the world, but we need to turn to the Church and say we'd better all get sackcloth and ashes and humble ourselves and say "Almighty God!" When I see the Church in the New Testament, they didn't have stately buildings or paid evangelists or a lot of money. (They couldn't get on television and beg!) But I'll tell you what they did - they turned the world upside-down!

Have you ever seen the little plaque that reads, "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last?" Well, that's not what the poet wrote. The poet wrote this: "Only one life, 'twill soon be past, only what's done for Christ will last. And when I am dying, how happy I'll be, if the lamp of my life has been burned out for Thee." Do you think all Christians die happy? Not on your life! Some of them die as miserable as sinners. Why? Because they've misused their time and wasted their lives. Many of you have laid dying on a hospital bed and prayed, "Lord, if You would only spare me, I'll do this, that, or the other." Well, have you done it?

I discovered this poem the other day and I want to share it with you.

His Plan For Me

When I stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ
And He shows His plan for me,
The plan of my life as it might have been
Had He had His way - and I see
How I blocked Him here, and checked Him there,
And I would not yield my will,
Will there be grief in my Savior's eyes,
Grief though He loves me still?
Would He have me rich and I stand there poor,
Stripped of all but His grace,
While memory runs like a hunted thing,
Down the paths I cannot retrace.
Lord, of the years that are left to me
I give them to Thy hand
Take me and break me and mold me,
To the pattern that Thou hast planned!
       ~Author known only to God

The only thing that will tie me in victory continually, through the blood of Christ, is that I give Him my adoration and my tribute every day. It's more than my service. It's more than giving money. But I need to love Him, magnify Him, and adore Him. I need to take Him, as it were, by the feet and worship Him. If we will do this, then we will experience real joy and lasting happiness.

CROWNS, CROWNS, CROWNS!

I don't believe there will be any envy in heaven, but I could remind you that there are at least five crowns to be given in reward. Paul says the Lord will give him a crown of righteousness, which he says the Lord will not only give to him, but to all those who love His appearing (II Tim. 4:8). There's a crown for the martyrs - those who have died and those yet to die. Crowns, crowns, crowns! We won't all be the same in heaven. There will be great distinctions there. When you see a political convention, you see people holding up signs from California or somewhere. Well, maybe there will be signs in heaven. "These are the Prayer Warriors." "These are the Great Sufferers." "These are the Travailers." "These are the Missionaries." "These are the Failures." All kinds of people are going to be listed in that Great Day. There will be great distinctions between people in heaven.

There was a little woman in Ireland who had two shops. She paid all the family expenses with what she made from one shop and she saved all the money that came in from the other shop for missions. She ended up sending four of her children to the mission field and she financed each one of them. Man, she's going to have a reward some day, isn't she? Because she was doing it as unto Him!

Take a look at the dying thief. Oh, he'll be in heaven all right because Jesus said he would - but he wasted his life. Then look at John Wesley for example. He was saved soundly when he was 35 years of age, and he served the Lord for the next 53 years. You couldn't think that the dying thief, a man who got in at the last tick of the clock, is going to have the same reward as John Wesley, could you? Wesley made an awful lot of money. Do you know what he did with it? He built orphanages and churches. He printed Bibles and hymn books. There was no time wasted in his life. He was methodical and systematic. He went to dinner with the greatest man in English literature and the man said, "Now you've finished dinner, let's fold our legs under the table and have a nice time of conversation." Wesley said, "I'm sorry, I have to go." "But it's not yet nine o'clock, why are you going?" Wesley said, "I have an appointment in the morning at four o'clock." "At four o'clock tomorrow morning?" "Every morning of my life," he said. "With whom?" "With God." He disciplined his life. He disciplined his body in eating. He disciplined his hand in his pocket. He'll stand at the Judgment Seat of Christ...an awesome prospect for any of us. "We ought to live every day as though we've come out of another world into this world - but with the power of that world still upon us. We should live and speak and move in that power, and have our whole being in Jesus Christ!"

THE FRAGRANCE OF WORSHIP

I heard the story for years, about the woman who came to Jesus with an alabaster box of ointment, before I understood it - before I realized that she came for one reason only. She came to worship Jesus. How do I know? Because she brought the most sacrificial gift she had and because she never said a word while she was there. How do I know? Because she didn't wash His feet with water, but with her tears. She didn't dry His feet with a towel, but she dried His feet with the hair of her head. And she poured out that costly fragrance and then wiped His feet. So what happened? The fragrance she poured out on Him came back on her.

Do you wonder why your life isn't more fragrant? It's because you don't take time to be holy. You don't take time to be with Jesus. Because you think all the knowledge you get at Bible school is enough. Oh no, God isn't going to measure your intellect. He's going to try your life with His fire. Did you get up this morning and thank God you were pure? Did you thank Him that He broke that devilish fever you used to have for sniffing cocaine or something? Are you really glad you're not a prostitute anymore, but now you're a part of the Bride of the Lamb instead? Are you glad He removed your bad temper and all those creepy horrible things that used to master you?

I think again of a statement A. W. Tozer made to me once. He said, "Len, you know, we'll hardly get our feet out of time into eternity that we'll bow our heads in shame and humiliation. We'll gaze on eternity and say, 'Look at all the riches there were in Jesus Christ, and I've come to the Judgment Seat almost a pauper.'" For God had not only given us Jesus Christ - He has with Him freely given us all things (Rom. 8:32).

A DIFFERENT PEOPLE

I remember crossing a square in the city of Bath in the 1940s. I saw two very fine young ladies - well, one was a young lady and the other was only a girl. They were beautifully dressed and as they marched across that square I thought, "There's something different about those girls." Then I discovered that they were princesses. It was our present Queen of England, Queen Elizabeth, and her sister, Margaret. They were part of English royalty, and you know, there was a dignity about them very different from anybody else who walked there. Well, as Christians, we are part of GOD'S Royal Family, and it should be evident to all that we meet that we are a different type of people. If we can't live as a different people on this earth, we've no right to live here. We shouldn't be affected by changing customs or changing styles or changing opinions, or whether the stock market goes up or down, or whether the clouds are gathering for war. Those things don't make any difference. We ought to live every day as though we've come out of another world into this world - but with the power of that world still upon us. We should live and speak and move in that power, and have our whole being in Jesus Christ!

BAPTISM OF OBEDIENCE

That final day is going to be awesome. Have you figured how you'll get on when you stand there? You and I will stand there alone on that day and be judged for every aspect of our lives - for our praying, our giving, our talking, and our doing. I still believe in the majesty of that eternal court, with the King of kings and the Lord of lords and the Judge of judges. You see, there's no possibility of any rehearsal, and what's more, there's no possibility of any repetition. Because, again, this is the Final Judgment, and to some God will say, "Come, ye blessed," but to others He'll say, "Depart from Me." No, it's not so simple to be a Christian after all. It's a majestic thing.

We ought to live our lives conscious of eternity - ready to be cut off at any moment. If you were to stand before the Lord at this very moment, would you like your life story read by all the millions in eternity? None of the outcasts of hell are going to be there. Won't it be wonderful - or will it? Or do you think you might shrink a bit when you hear now God used David Brainerd or John Wesley or some little washerwoman that had a life of intercession?

There's no burden too heavy, or no situation too hard for the one that you love. If we are love-controlled, love-motivated, and love- energized, it will be all right when we stand up there, because if there's anything about love - it's obedient. We need to become a people who are baptized with obedience. We need to be submissive to the total will of God, not concerned about human opinion, and not asking for more to spend on ourselves. We need to say, "Oh God, I want this life of mine to glorify You, so that when I stand in Your awesome presence," as John says, "I shall not be ashamed at Your appearing" (1 John 2:28).

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Copyright (C) 1994 by Leonard Ravenhill, Lindale, Texas - Ravenhill Org.

The Judgment Seat of Christ by Leonard Ravenhill

The following Word Document is Safe to open:

What is the Heart?
By Got Questions

First, we’ll state the obvious: this article is not about the heart as a vital organ, a muscle that pumps blood throughout the body. Neither is this article concerned with romantic, philosophical, or literary definitions.

Instead, we’ll focus on what the Bible has to say about the heart. The Bible mentions the human heart almost 300 times. In essence, this is what it says:

the heart is that spiritual part of us where our emotions and desires dwell.

Before we look at the human heart, we’ll mention that, since God has emotions and desires, He, too, can be said to have a “heart.” We have a heart because God does. David was a man “after God’s own heart” (Acts 13:22). And God blesses His people with leaders who know and follow His heart (1 Samuel 2:35; Jeremiah 3:15).

The human heart, in its natural condition, is evil, treacherous and deceitful. Jeremiah 17:9 says, “The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” In other words, the Fall has affected us at the deepest level; our mind, emotions and desires* have been tainted by sin—and we are blind to just how pervasive the problem is.

*[Editor's Note:  Mind, emotions and desires make up our soul, which is still in darkness.  See in this site Key of Three / Hope of Glory Class Documents LINK, Make-Up of Man and Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller.]

We may not understand our own hearts, but God does. He “knows the secrets of the heart” (Psalm 44:21; see also 1 Corinthians 14:25). Jesus “knew all men, and had no need that anyone should testify of man, for He knew what was in man” (John 2:24-25). Based on His knowledge of the heart, God can judge righteously:

 “I, the LORD, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings” (Jeremiah 17:10).

Jesus pointed out the fallen condition of our hearts in Mark 7:21-23:

From within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, arrogance and folly. All these evils come from inside and make a man unclean.

Our biggest problem is not external but internal; all of us have a heart problem.

In order for a person to be saved, then, the heart must be changed. This only happens by the power of God in response to faith. “With the heart one believes unto righteousness” (Romans 10:10). In His grace, God can create a new heart within us (Psalm 51:10; Ezekiel 36:26). He promises to “revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).

God’s work of creating a new heart within us involves testing our hearts (Psalm 17:3; Deuteronomy 8:2) and filling our hearts with new ideas, new wisdom, and new desires (Nehemiah 7:5; 1 Kings 10:24; 2 Corinthians 8:16).

The heart is the core of our being, and the Bible sets high importance on keeping our hearts pure:

 “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

Got Questions - The Heart

The Identity of Both the Political Power and the Harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

The identity of both the political power and the harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6 is, more often than not, associated with “Rome” --- viewing matters as “a revived Roman Empire” forming the political power, and “the Roman Catholic Church” forming a religious power within the political. However, neither identity-view is correct.

The Church has never departed from ideology coming out of the Reformation concerning the interpretation of this part of the book of Revelation. Almost five hundred years ago the Reformers generally saw everything as “Roman” in these three chapters — a Roman political power and a Roman Catholic religious power, often viewing the Pope as the Antichrist.

And, aside from viewing the Papacy in this manner (though some Christians still do today), this whole interpretative ideology has remained essentially unchanged since the time of the Reformation.

Suffice it to say, ideology associating either the political power or the harlot with “Rome” was wrong at the time of the Reformation, and it remains just as wrong today. In short, that part of Christendom following either or both parts of this interpretation has been wrong for almost five hundred years concerning that which is taught in these three chapters in the book of Revelation.

The book of Revelation, as any other part of Scripture, must be understood and interpreted in the light of Scripture. Material in this book must be understood and interpreted contextually, and the entire book rests upon that which is previously revealed in the Old Testament.

Seeking to identify the political power as a revived Roman Empire has absolutely no basis in Scripture. The book of Daniel is usually referenced, but this book identifies this final form of Gentile world power as other than Roman.

And seeking to associate the harlot with the Church of Rome, as well, has absolutely no basis in these three chapters, or elsewhere in the book, or in other Scripture. In fact, the book of Revelation clearly identifies the harlot, and this identification is completely in line with and rests upon that which is previously revealed in the Old Testament.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Time of Jacob's Trouble, Back Cover and/or The Time of Jacob's Trouble by Arlen Chitwood 

The following Word Document is Safe to open:

Middle East Peace
How? When?
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

An intractable Middle East problem faces man today, one that can only become worse and worse with the passage of time, Until…

The reason for the problem is the existence of an Israeli nation in the midst of mainly Moslem nations — a nation presently comprised of some 6,000,000 Jews who have returned to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob before it is time for the Jewish people to return.

The “Jewish people” have returned to the land in unbelief, prior to repentance, prior to their conversion, and while the house still lies desolate (Exodus 12:1ff; Daniel 9:24-27; Matthew 23:37-39).

The “manslayer” (KJV: slayer) has returned to the land of her possession before Christ completes His high priestly ministry, apart from availing herself of the ransom (Numbers 35:1ff).

God, in time past, because of the Jewish people’s continued disobedience, extending over centuries of time, uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations to effect repentance through persecution at the hands of the Gentiles.

And, out among the nations, the Jewish people possess a promise (seen numerous places in Scripture) that when repentance is forthcoming, God will hear from heaven and act in complete accord with His promise (cf. Exodus 1:8; 2:23-25; 3:1ff; Leviticus 26:14-42; Deuteronomy 30:1-3; 2 Chronicles 6:24-27; 7:12-14).

Until repentance is forthcoming, God will not act. God will act with respect to a deliverance of His people only after His purpose for uprooting them from their land and driving them out among the nations has been realized. God’s Word is crystal clear on the matter.

In this respect, what is an unrepentant and unconverted Israeli nation doing back in the land? And what are the ramifications of the Jewish people being back in the land under existing conditions?

The preceding is what this book is all about — not what man may think, but what Scripture has to say. Numerous facets of the matter are covered from different passages of Scripture, with a particular emphasis on the beast and the harlot in Revelation 17:1-19:6.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace How? When?, Back Cover and/or Middle East Peace How? When? by Arlen L. Chitwood 

Being Filled with the Holy Spirit
By Charles Strong of Bible One

Although the mandate of Scripture for every Christian is to be “filled with the Holy Spirit,” as seen in Ephesians 5:18b (“. . . be filled with the [Holy] Spirit”), it is a process and goal often misunderstood by Christians, both laity and clergy or student and professor alike.

There are those who believe it is a “second act” of God bestowed upon His children, much like that of being “born again [from above]” (John 3:3), the grace-gift of salvation that God bestows on any person who will “believes on the Lord Jesus Christ”(Acts 16:31) — which is to say anyone who by faith alone accepts the payment for sin that only Jesus Christ could and did pay at Calvary — and is thereby instantly and permanently “passed from [spiritual] death into [spiritual] life” (John 5:24). And once this “second act” occurs, the Christian is empowered to speak in an unknown spiritual language and/or enabled to perform miraculous healings, both unsupported by correct interpretation of Scripture.

Then there are those who believe the “filling with the Holy Spirit” is bestowed on the believer the moment he “believes on the Lord Jesus Christ,” but which can be taken from him when there is unconfessed sin in his life, also unsupported by correct interpretation of Scripture.

So the question remains, “What does it mean to be filled with the Holy Spirit?” And to properly understand the answer, one should first properly understand God’s complete plan of redemption for man, a brief outlay of such follows.

(For a comprehensive study of God’s complete plan of redemption for man [spirit, soul, and body], see Bible One - Charles Strong's Bible Facts Little Understood by Christians and/or Bible Facts Little Understood by Christians in this site.)

The Christian life and all that pertains to it is a product of God’s grace (His unmerited favor toward mankind). God’s plan of salvation for man, unlike what many in Christendom teach, is actually a three-fold prospect, i.e., salvation of the spirit, salvation of the soul, and salvation of the body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12).

In brief:

1. Salvation of the spirit is the one-time and never to be retracted gift of eternal life to an individual. It is totally based on the Person (Deity) and work — atoning sacrifice on the cross of Calvaryof Jesus Christ. It cannot be associated with any merit or self-effort by man. And it can only be apprehended (entered into through a “birth from above”) by faith (a genuine willful act of trust) alone. To put it succinctly, salvation of the spirit, which is normally referred to by fundamental Christianity by the general term “salvation,” is by faith alone in Christ alone (Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

2. Salvation of the soul, at times addressed insufficiently as “sanctification” within theological presentations within Christendom, and although is based on the person and work of Jesus Christ, is that part of man’s composition that represents his life lived as a Christian, which connects him to the material world, and which is adjudicated at the Judgment Seat of Christ with only millennial varieties in view
(James 1:21; Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:8-9; Matthew 16:24-27; 24:13).

3. Salvation of the body, which any Christian can easily understand, takes place subsequent to his placement of faith in Christ’s finished work on the cross for his eternal (spirit) salvation. The body continues to exist in a state of degradation (i.e., death), only to be redeemed (saved) at its resurrection
(1 Corinthians 15:48-54).

At the salvation (of the spirit) experience a person is instantaneously and permanently subject to several actions of and by the Holy Spirit.

• The believer is baptized (immersed) into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit, which is in fact his unification with Jesus Christ. (Matthew 3:11; Mark 1:8; Acts 1:5; 1 Corinthians 12:13; Galatians 3:27)

• The believer is indwelt by the Holy Spirit, i.e., the Holy Spirit in whole takes up residence within the believer. (John 14:7; Romans 8:9; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19; Galatians 4:6; 1 John 2:27; 3:24)

• The believer is sealed with and by the Holy Spirit. This is the believer’s assurance (“guarantee”) of eternal security. (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30)

• The believer is granted one or more spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit, which is/are to be used in God’s service. (1 Corinthians 12:4-11)

These actions of and by the Holy Spirit are permanent, never to be retracted under any circumstances by God or nullified by man. In addition with these permanent actions of and by the Holy Spirit, the Holy Spirit is available to the believer to lead and guide, and, in fact, work through the believer in the Christian life.

The believer really only has two choices after the salvation experience. He may attempt to live for Christ under his own power (self-efforts and works), which (self) righteousness is “as filthy rags” in the sight of God (Isaiah 64:6) and will only produce “human good” (works) that are characterized in Scripture as “wood, hay and straw” to later be consumed by God’s fiery judgment; or, he may live being filled with the Holy Spirit and thereby produce “divine good” (works) that are characterized in Scripture as “gold, silver and precious stones,” which will not be consumed by God’s fiery judgment and for which he will be rewarded (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

To live for Christ under one’s own power will be severely self-defeating when the Christian appears before the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10; Revelation 22:12); and issues and determinations at that time will exclude him from being a part of the “bride of Christ,” excluding him from ruling and reigning with Christ in His millennial kingdom. On the other hand, to be filled with the Spirit, to allow Christ to live through Him; the Christian will fare well at Christ’s Judgment Seat, will become part of Christ’s bride and will rule and reign with Him during the coming millennial kingdom (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 19:7-9).

The Holy Spirit and His works were present at the Creation, were prevalent throughout the Old Testament and will be a permanent part of the Christian throughout eternity. Even though the Holy Spirit initiated a unique ministry toward the believer (permanently baptizing, indwelling and sealing) at Pentecost, He temporarily filled individuals prior to this time (Luke 1:15).

What is the filling with the Holy Spirit?

The words “fill” or “full” as they relate to the Holy Spirit and the believer come from the Greek word pleroo, which in essence means to be completely influenced and empowered by. In effect it is a condition that exists when the Holy Spirit controls a believer both inwardly (his thoughts and motives) and outwardly (his actions). A person who is filled with the Holy Spirit evidences the “fruit of the Spirit,” which is “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Galatians 5:22-23).

Some of the phraseology used in the New Testament that represents the concept of the fullness with the Holy Spirit follows:

• Filled with/of the Spirit (Luke 1:15; 4:1; Acts 2:4; 6:3; 7:55; 11:24; 13:9, 52, Ephesians 5:18)

• Led by/of the Spirit (Luke 4:1; Galatians 5:18)

• Walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16; 5:25)

• Moved by the Spirit (2 Peter 1:21)

• Walk in Christ (Colossians 2:6)

• Christ dwell [be at home or “full residence”] in your heart (Ephesians 3:17)

The Key

For certain, Christians are commanded to be “filled with [‘walk in’] the Spirit” (Ephesians 5:18; Galatians 5:16-25), but to properly understand this requires one to “compare Scripture with Scripture.” Comparing Ephesians 5:18-20 with its companion passage in Colossians 3:16 reveals that to be “filled with the Spirit” is comparable to (the same as) letting “the Word of Christ dwell in you richly.”

To say it in another way, the more we allow God’s Word to permeate us (i.e., the more of it we take in, the more we believe what God says about a matter, and the more of it we put into practice [James 1:22]), the more we are transformed by it (Romans 12:2), the more God’s Spirit can influence our thoughts and actions, the more we are able to “walk” in Christ (Colossians 2:6), and the more we are able to focus on Christ (the Author and Finisher [Perfecter] of our faith [Hebrews 12:2]) until Christ is formed in us (Galatians 4:19). This is essentially what Christ meant when, as He was praying for His disciples, He said, “Sanctify (set apart [to holiness]) them by Your truth, Your Word is truth” (John 17:17).

Simply put, the filling with the Spirit is the degree in which the Christian absorbs God’s Word throughout his life, i.e., receives and believes it. As he reads, studies, and believes God’s Word; the more he is transformed by the Word, resulting in Christ being formed in him.

Again, how is the Christian filled with the Spirit? There is only one way. Since there is a unique and definite link between Jesus Christ, the living Word of God, and the written (God-breathed) Word of God (the One reflecting the Other), the Christian is to immerse himself in the “implanted Word,” which will transform him progressively to spiritual maturity, as he obediently works out his own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), and the eventual salvation of his soul, the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). The comparison between the companion passages of Ephesians 5:18-20 and Colossians 3:16 confirms that a Christian is “filled [controlled] with the Spirit” when “the Word of Christ dwells in him richly.”

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (lit. God-breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete [mature], thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. (Romans 12:2)

What impedes the filling with the Holy Spirit?

The filling with the Holy Spirit in any believer can only be impeded or hampered by sin. When the believer, who always has the God-given ability to exercise choice, selects to sin against God, he thereby quenches (Greek: sbennumi, to extinguish; to dampen, hinder or repress) and grieves (Greek: lupo, to cause sorrow or emotional pain to) the Holy Spirit. This in effect limits the Holy Spirit’s influence in the believer’s life. In other words, the Holy Spirit when confronted by willful sin in the believer withdraws His ability to empower and lead the believer.

For this, there is only one remedy:

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9)

To confess sin is not penitence. It is calling sin what it is, to own up to it, not making any excuse for it. When a Christian who recognizes that he has sinned against God takes responsibility for it before God, then God immediately forgives it. And regarding the sin, the believer should make every effort to never return to it.

Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking,
as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow thereby,
if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
(1 Peter 2:1-3)

Bible One - Charles Strong's Being Filled with the Holy Spirit

[Also reference in this site Holy Spirit – Ministries and Filling! and Biblical Prayer, a Grace-Gift from God.  Also The Holy Spirit is a Person.]

God and Time
By Compelling Truth - An Outreach of Got Questions

The Bible describes God's relationship to time in several places. Psalm 90:4 says, "For a thousand years in your sight are but as yesterday when it is past, or as a watch in the night." 2 Peter 3:8 says, "…with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." Isaiah 57:15 says that God "inhabits eternity."

When we say things like "God is timeless" or "God has no beginning or end," we are trying to explain God in terms of a dimension by which He is not constrained. God created time.

In our universe time is basically linear. We go forward at a fairly steady rate, give or take allowances for velocity and gravity. We cannot go back in time, and we cannot experience more than one instant at a time.

God does not have this limitation. He does not live within the semi-linear timeline of our universe. He experiences every moment of time all at once. It is similar to the creator of an animated film. While the film is running, the characters experience life one cel (the sheet on which animations are drawn) at a time as it flickers past the light. But the animator lives in a dimension where all the cels exist at once, and he can view them all at will.

(Editor's note: Another similarity might be DVDs created for each and every person showing one's life from birth to eternity.  The creator can run the DVD backwards, forward, pause, etc.)

Understanding this gives us a better understanding of God's power in our lives. He was able to create the world in six days because days do not confine Him or His work (Genesis 1). He was able to choose who to save before the ages began (2 Timothy 1:9) because He created the ages. And He is able to select good works for us to do ahead of time (Ephesians 2:10) because He can see everything that will ever happen in human history and exactly how we can be the most effective to use that history to bring people to Him. When He says He has a "plan" for us (Jeremiah 29:11) that plan is based on His perfect knowledge of all of history, present, and future. When we don't trust His plan, it is the ultimate foolishness – like ignoring the advice of a perfect GPS because we think we know a better route.

God's timelessness is part of His perfection. He has no need of growth or development or any of the other benefits linear time gives us. He also has no temporal beginning or end. He has neither our need for time nor our time-related limitations, which is just another example of why we can trust Him with our short temporal lives.

(An appreciated commentary by Charles Strong of Bible One, one of my five mentors:  When one reviews the nature and attributes of God [e.g., omniscience, omnipotence, etc.], one soon realizes that God exists everywhere [omnipresence], in the past, present, and future.  Granted, beings with such limitations as we have are unable to truly understand and appreciate this concept; but then, we aren’t divine.  The fact is, God has always experienced what we are experiencing now.  I believe a key passage/verse is Isaiah 57:15, which states that God “inhabits eternity,” and eternity has no limits, before, now, or hereafter.  To be sure, and as you said, “everything that happens on earth has already happened in God’s time.”  God can simply NOT be surprised!

Also an appreciated commentary by another of my five mentors, Carol Miller of Key of Three - My Life Ministries by Mark and Carol Miller:  Marsha probably remembered to mention it to you, but if you want to study sovereignty of God and free will of man, study Romans 9 and Romans 10 back to back.  Just read along with e-Sword by Rick Myers or Blue Letter Bible with some of their good commentaries.  The classic book The Sovereignty of God by Arthur Pink is awesome.  But it leaves us needing to have another book on The Free Will of Man, in my opinion, because some people can never get the two into a reasonable balance.

At times that subject is prominent in a chapter I am teaching, and I have that "railroad track" illustration that the Lord gave me to use many years ago when I taught it in Community Bible Study.

It is a railroad track consisting of two rails as the two truths that run parallel. At an up-close exposure, the two rails of the track look quite definitely stationed equidistantly apart from each other, each very firm, and they run side by side out into the distance, or future.  But when one looks at the two rails of the track as they come together out in the distance at the horizon, they are as one and are indistinguishable.  That's how God sees them. He exists in infinity and eternity and can see how they come together.  The railroad ties keep the rails apart at equidistance.   They are the many excerpts and parts of God's Word that speak of first one of those two concepts and then the other.  They are set firmly in between the two rails and they keep the two from coming together and colliding along the course of our lifetime.  The train is our life, and it must run on two tracks at once with the weight equally distributed in order to keep balanced and not turn over. If we try to run on the track of free will of man only, we will be caught up in the flesh and in striving and will become discouraged and give up, because it all depends on us and making the right choices or decisions.  If we try to run on sovereignty of God alone, we will devolve into inertia and will feel like something of a robot, and we will miss the leap of faith and all the excitement that comes from stepping out on what we believe to be God's indicated direction through the Spirit.  We have to understand and walk in both of those essential doctrines.  Then we can have peace that God is completely in control, but He is allowing us to partner with Him in this exciting adventure of faith. He is growing us to think as He thinks and move as He would move.  When we come to the end of our journey, we will see that He led us all the way.  He kept us from death when we were dying or from slipping into hell, because He always knew we would choose Him and really walk with Him if He saved us.  He knows the end from the beginning.  He helps us discover it, one railroad tie at a time, and travel straight into His arena where we will see it all just the way He always did. [This idea is original with me.  God gave it to me.])

Compelling Truth – God and Time

The Truth About the Crusades
By eNews of K-House

Many people, including President Obama, has tried to make a “moral equivalence” argument that Christianity has been just as violent as Islam and he has to go back one thousand years to do it, back to the Crusades.

Carole Hillenbrand’s book The Crusades: Islamic Perspective - Amazon (Edinburgh University Press, 1999) sets out to sensitize Western readers to Muslim views about the Crusades, in the belief that this will lead to greater understanding between the West and Islam.

In the late 1990s a “Reconciliation Walk” was organized by a group of Christian organizations and individuals. It consisted of thousands of Christians who marched along the route of the First Crusade all the way to Jerusalem, apologizing as they went for the actions of those early Crusaders over nine hundred years earlier.

The reconciliation walkers reported that “in towns and villages, people spilled out of their houses and applauded the team as they passed.” One walker reported the response from people in Beirut:

If you did this in London or Sydney, you would expect a cynical response. The response from the people on the streets [of Beirut], particularly the Muslims, has been warm. The first word I have heard is “good.” If there were such a word as “uncynical” that [would] be the way to describe it.

Michael Karam, a Lebanese writer, painted this incident in a different hue in The Times article, “Let’s forget the Crusades”:

The Reconciliation Walkers are terribly sincere and terribly out of their depth. Their words tell us more about where they are from than where they are going… We Lebanese see them as dabblers concerned with something that has been overtaken by many other, worse horrors during the past millennium. Yet in the best Lebanese tradition, they will be received with honour, listened to, offered coffee and sent on their way.

In order to take an unvarnished look at the Crusades, one needs to look at several factors that precipitated these military campaigns by Christians.

What were the Christian crusades?

First of all, the crusades should not be referred to as the “Christian crusades.” Most of the people involved in the crusades were not truly Christians, even though they claimed to be. The name of Christ was abused, misused, and blasphemed by the actions of many of the Crusaders.

Second, the crusades took place from approximately A.D. 1095 to 1230 in response to specific actions taken by Muslims against Christian lands. The actions taken by many of the Crusaders were not Christian in any way and the Bible does not teach as a general principal that one needs to hate or kill non-believers.

Third, the crusades were responses to Muslim invasions on what was once land occupied primarily by Christians. From approximately A.D. 200 to 900, the lands of Israel, Jordan, Egypt, Syria, and Turkey were inhabited primarily by Christians. Once Islam became powerful, Muslims invaded these lands and brutally oppressed, enslaved, deported, and even murdered the Christians living there. In response, the Roman Catholic Church and “Christian” kings/emperors from Europe ordered the crusades to reclaim the land the Muslims had taken.

Motives for the Crusades

The Saljuq Turkish victory over the Byzantines at Manzikert in 1071, with subsequent territorial gains in Asia Minor, caused widespread consternation throughout the Christian world. The Byzantines, who had long followed a defensive strategy in their conflicts with their Muslim adversaries, looked for help from their fellow Christians. An urgent appeal for help was sent by the Byzantine Emperor to the Pope in Rome. It should be noted that relations between the Eastern and Western Christian empires had long been strained, so such an appeal points to the sense of panic felt within Christian ranks.

But there were other factors that contributed to the emergence of the Crusades. The loss of the holy sites in Jerusalem centuries earlier had been a bitter pill for Christian authorities to swallow, and they had never given up hope of recapturing the city where Jesus was crucified. Indeed, despite the loss of Jerusalem to Muslims, Christian pilgrimages to the Holy Land had developed.

However, in the middle of the eleventh century, Muslim harassment of, and attacks upon, Christian pilgrims had increased in frequency. Lambert, a chronicler of the German pilgrimage of seven thousand people in 1064–65, recorded the following account:

When the pilgrims were just a short distance from Rama … they were attacked by marauding Arabs… Many of the Christians, thinking they might rely on their religion for assistance and salvation, had trusted in God’s protection rather than in weapons. They were, as a result of the first attack, brought down by many wounds and robbed.… The other Christians did their best by throwing stones … not so much to drive away danger as a desperate measure to escape imminent death.

So piety was a motivating force for such pilgrimages, as well as for certain participants in the ensuing Crusades. A belief in eternal reward justified a concept of holy war, and this proved to be a powerful attraction for many who joined the Crusades. The twelfth-century writer Guibert of Nogent clearly believed the crusading motive was primarily a quest for eternal salvation:

“What has driven our knights thither is not ambition for fame, for money, for extending the boundaries of their lands … God has instituted in our time holy wars, so that the order of knights and the crowd running in their wake … might find a new way of gaining salvation.”

Some other motives had less of a spiritual dimension. Military campaigns always brought with them promises of wealth and plunder. Motives of personal ambition also came into play, as did hopes for trading opportunities. Once again, Hallam expresses both the complexity and diversity of motives according to different groups who participated in the campaigns:

Complex though their motives were, it is easier to understand why knights joined the First Crusade than to explain the participation of hordes of peasant … The theme of Jerusalem was all-important to them. They undertook the expedition not as a military campaign but as a pilgrimage, an important feature of 11th century life.

The First Crusade (1096–99)

The First Crusade was precipitated by a statement by Pope Urban II in September 1096:

Anyone who sets out on that journey, not out of lust for worldly advantage but only for the salvation of his soul and for the liberation of the Church, is remitted in entirety all penance for his sins, if he has made a true and perfect act of confession.

Ironically, this promise of eternal reward for participating in holy war is strongly reminiscent of a similar call in the Qur’an at Sura 3:158:

And if ye die, or are slain, Lo! It is unto Allah that ye are brought together.

There are two significant differences though. First, the Christian call for holy war was made by a human pope and as such was subject to challenge by later theologians. The Muslim call to jihad, however, is cemented within the Qur’an for all time. Second, the doctrine of holy war has now largely fallen into disuse in Christian circles, whereas jihad as a military concept is still widely practiced by some Muslim groups.

Subsequent Crusades

Many crusading campaigns followed on from the first. These crusades have many aspects in common.

The Second Crusade lasted from 1147 to 1149 and was launched in response to the loss in 1146 of the Crusader principality of Edessa to Muslim attackers. Pope Eugene III called for a new crusade to recover the lost territory:

We enjoin you in the name of the Lord and for the remission of your sins … that the faithful of God, and above all the most powerful and the nobles act vigorously to oppose the multitude of the infidel … and strive to liberate from their hands the many thousands of our brethren who are captives.… We accord them that same remission of sins that our predecessor Pope Urban instituted.

Again there is a promise of forgiveness of sins associated with the campaign. This crusade ended in a failed attempt to capture Damascus.

The Third Crusade lasted from 1189 to 1192 and was launched after the fall of Jerusalem to the Muslim warrior Salah al-Din (Saladin) on October 2, 1187. Saladin’s armies had also captured Acre, Beirut, Sidon, and other prominent Christian strongholds.

Pope Gregory VIII called for a crusade on October 29, 1187, in similar terms to the calls of his predecessors. Some land was recaptured, including Acre in July 1191 after a two-year siege, but not Jerusalem. It was to remain under Muslim control for over seven hundred years.

The loss of Jerusalem and the tentative hold the Crusaders had on the recaptured land led to an increase in the frequency of subsequent Crusades.

In 1198 Pope Innocent III issued a call for a crusade to consolidate Christian territory in the Holy Land and offered an indulgence:

All those who take the Cross and remain for one year in the service of God in the army shall obtain remission of any sins they have committed, provided they have confessed them.

The resulting Fourth Crusade lasted from 1202 to 1204. From a Christian perspective this was one of the most disastrous. Events took an unexpected turn due to political intrigue and power struggles. The crusading knights eventually directed their campaign not against Muslim adversaries but against the Byzantine Empire itself, because of Western suspicion at seeming Byzantine willingness to compromise with Muslims. Constantinople was attacked and captured by Crusader forces, and a Western ruler was put on the Byzantine throne.

Pope Innocent III was furious at the conquest of Constantinople. He bitterly rebuked the papal legate who accompanied the Crusaders:

It was your duty to attend to the business of your legation and to give careful thought not to the capture of the Empire of Constantinople, but rather to the defense of what is left of the Holy Land and, if the Lord so wills, the restoration of what has been lost.…

How can we call upon the other Western peoples for aid to the Holy Land … when the crusaders having given up the proposed pilgrimage, return absolved to their homes; when those who plundered the aforesaid empire turn back and return with their spoils, free of guilt?

After such a development, subsequent crusading campaigns were tainted. Further Crusades took place, but they were unsuccessful. Little by little the various Crusader strongholds fell to Muslim armies, often with great brutality. A chronicler described a Muslim raid on Sidon (Saida) in 1253:

When [the Saracens] heard the report (a true one) that the king had sent no more than a very small contingent of good men to fortify the city of Saida, they marched in that direction.… The Saracens poured into Saida and met with no resistance, for the town was not completely surrounded by walls. They killed more than two thousand [sic] of our people, and then went off to Damascus with the booty they had gained in the town.

The year 1291 witnessed the end of the crusading venture with the fall of Acre, followed by the loss of the last remaining coastal towns.

An Assessment

The Crusades were characterized by savagery and intolerance. But it was mutual mistreatment, following on from centuries of bloody conflict, massacre, and Muslim imperial expansion. The victims of this recurring cycle of conflict were Muslims, Christians, and Jews. Likewise, the perpetrators were both Muslims and Christians.

Ancient Criticisms

Criticism of the Crusades among Christians is not a recent phenomenon. Indeed, there was a vigorous debate during the time of the Crusades, as recorded by Humbert of Romans, who wrote a response to critics of crusading in the late thirteenth century:

“There are some … who say that it is not in accordance with the Christian religion to shed blood in this way, even that of wicked infidels. For Christ did not act thus.… [But Christianity] must be defended when necessary from its enemies by the sword.”

It should be remembered that the Crusades were a link in the chain of history. They represented the response of the Christian world to the earlier Islamic expansion and to the loss of the Byzantine territories in the Middle East and North Africa. They do, of course, raise substantial moral issues, but consideration of these should not be divorced from the historical context.

For Christians, there is much to apologize for in the Crusades, but they in no way can be used to justify the brutality and carnage that is taking place in the world today in the name of Islam.

K-House eNews by Chuck Missler - The Truth About the Crusades 

Eagerly Expecting — an Overcomer’s Trait
By Charles Strong of Bible One

This article concerning the Greek word, apekdechomai (referring to an enthusiastic expectation of a coming event) is centered on the outlook that will characterize “overcoming” Christians.  Scripture speaks of the opportunity of a Christian progressing to the status of an “overcomer” in various ways throughout the New Testament; and also, defines the benefit of this achievement, but never as direct as the following passage:

Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:11-12)

It is assumed that the reader has a biblical understanding of what is to be an “overcomer” as is depicted by the Word of God, which is a Christian living a righteous life (who indeed is “filled with” [controlled by] the Holy Spirit [Ephesians 5:18], who walks “in Jesus by faith” [Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7]) that will result in the “salvation of his soul” at Christ’s Judgment Seat, a determination that will result in his inclusion in the “Bride of Christ,” allowing him to reign and rule alongside Christ during the Messianic Era — the thousand year millennial reign of Christ over the earth.

Should the reader not have an understanding of “soul-salvation,” it is recommended that he read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood, a book that may be also found in its entirety at Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, a portion of the website Bible One.

(To avoid any rash misconception [jumping to an incorrect assumption]) regarding the author’s view of the doctrine of redemption of man, the author of this article affirms an unswerving belief that the foundation of salvation for mankind is anchored in the grace-gift from God, the work of Christ on the cross of Calvary, which may only be obtained by faith in Christ.  Furthermore, the author of this article affirms unswervingly that once a person obtains salvation by faith in Christ, such can never be retracted or nullified by man or God.

Having stated this, the reader should also understand that Scripture presents man as a tripartite being, consisting of spirit, soul, and body [1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12], and indicates that each portion/aspect of man may ultimately achieve salvation in a different manner and/or time frame.  Such is made clear in the previous recommended book reference.)

The Greek word, apekdechomai (Strong No. 553), a composite word (575, 1551), means to “expect fully, eagerly (enthusiastically, excitedly, fervently, etc.) look or wait for (something).”  Within the New King James Version of the Bible (NKJV), and when referring to the degree of expectation that should characterize a devoted Christian regarding an important facet of Christian life, the word is translated “eagerly.”  It represents an attitude that will dominate, transfix, and fervently fascinate a person each day of his life.

There are five passages of Scripture that utilize six verses, which use the Greek word,  apekdechomai, designating one who is “eagerly waitingfor a specific event, a condition that should characterize every Christian — and most certainly will if one is to be anovercomer.”  But what is truly exceptional regarding these various passages is that they all speak of the same unique expectation — the fruition of one’s soul-salvation.

In the following passages the translation of apekdechomai in each passage has been enlarged and highlighted by the author of this article:

Romans 8:16-25

The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,

and if children, then heirs — heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God.

For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it in hope;

because the creation itself also will be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body.

For we were saved in this hope, but hope that is seen is not hope; for why does one still hope for what he sees?

But if we hope for what we do not see, we eagerly wait for it with perseverance.

1 Corinthians 1:4-8

I thank my God always concerning you for the grace of God which was given to you by Christ Jesus,

that you were enriched in everything by Him in all utterance and all knowledge,

even as the testimony of Christ was confirmed in you,

so that you come short in no gift, eagerly waiting for the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ,

who will also confirm you to the end, that you may be blameless in the day of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 5:5

For we through the Spirit eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.

Philippians 3:20-21

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.

Hebrews 9:27-28

And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,

so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many. To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time, apart from sin, for salvation.

These passages of Scripture reveal the eager anticipation by Christian overcomers for the return of Jesus Christ, an event that will conclude their educational (child-training) process by and through the Word of God, resulting in their adoption as firstborn sons of God, possessing the right to occupy positions of power and authority alongside Christ in His millennial kingdom, the restoration of their part in the purpose (regality) for man’s creation, thus, the salvation of their souls.

To fully understand that which Christian overcomers now eagerly anticipate (i.e., their coming firstborn status), it is recommended that the reader access God's Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood, which may be viewed in its entirety at the following internet link:

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God's Firstborn Sons – a selection from Bible One.

(God presently has two firstborn Sons — Christ [Hebrews 1:6] and Israel [Exodus 4:22-23].  Christ is God’s firstborn Son through procreation [John 3:16], and Israel is God’s firstborn son through adoption
[Romans 9:4].  And God is about to bring into existence a third firstborn son through adoption — the Church [Romans 8:14-15, 19, 23]).

“Sonship” implies rulership.  Only “sons” hold regal positions in God’s kingdom — past, present, or future.  That’s the way God established matters in the beginning, and that which God has established in this respect never changes.

Angels alone (sons of God because of creation) have ruled throughout God’s kingdom in time past (both over this earth and elsewhere in the universe).  But, with man’s creation — an entirely new order in the universe, an individual created in God’s image, after His likeness — a change in the order of rulers within God’s government was made known.  Man was created for regal purposes (Genesis 1:26-28); and, though sin subsequently entered, resulting in a ruined creation (Genesis 3:1ff), God did not and will not change His mind concerning the reason He brought man into existence (Romans 11:29).

The whole of man’s salvation has this high end in view, whether salvation past (the spiritual birth, presently possessed by all Christians) or salvation present and future (the saving of the soul, not presently possessed by Christians but awaiting realization).  Man has been, is being, and is about to be saved for a revealed regal purpose.

A new order of “sons” is about to be brought forth (Romans 8:19; cf. Hebrews 2:5).  And only then will God’s purpose for man’s creation (in the beginning) and His reason for man’s subsequent salvation (following his ruin) be realized.  (Taken from God's Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood)

Christian overcomers have the most exciting and fulfilling future ahead of them.  It is no wonder that each day of their temporal existence is overflowing with a most eager anticipation of coming events.

Bible One - Charles Strong's Eagerly Expecting — an Overcomer’s Trait

The Way of Life Summarized
By Gary Whipple

The “way of life” is to enter the first gate of salvation (positional grace) through faith (in Christ).

Then, through surrender of self and by a continuous faith, enter the strait gate of “standing grace” (Christ in you).

This reciprocal indwelling produces spiritual fruit in the believer’s life and qualifies him to run the race of the narrow path that leads to life (millennial life). This race can only be finished by the one who has a Christ-controlled life and whose eye is on the “mark of the prize of the high calling” (Phil. 3:13-14).

This high calling prize demands a striving on the part of the runner to “get out of the way of himself” and let Christ win the race through him. This is made possible by continuously feeding on the meat of the Word, which automatically changes the runner inwardly.

(See in this site The Metamorphosis about changing within.)

The obstacles of this race are tribulation, and temptation. They are allowed by God in order to strengthen the faith of the runner, which in turn gives patience, experience, and hope. Through this striving, it is Christ that crosses this finish line through us, and enters into the strait gate of the “bridal chamber and wedding feast.”

(See God's Path to Glory Plan DIAGRAM in this site.)

Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture 

The following Word Document is Safe to open:

Redemption of Man, From Creation to Now
By Charles Strong of Bible One

(Note: This document, which stems from specific enquiries by Christians regarding the salvation of Jews [Part 2], is presented primarily to offer a concise reply [Part 3] concerning that issue.  Nevertheless, a comprehensive understanding of the matter will largely depend on one’s acceptance and adherence to the contents of Part 1.)

Part 1

Of all the areas of doctrine covered by Holy Scripture, which are interpreted and instructed diversely by the various denominations comprising Christendom, the one propagated as the “redemption or salvation of man” is most significant. Indeed, within evangelical circles, those who strongly believe in the infallibility of Scripture, both (Old and New) Testaments, the focus on how God allows man to obtain eternal security and bliss, his eternal destiny, is considered fundamental in achieving spiritual understanding and life. Furthermore, this doctrine among Christians is unquestionably the subject of controversy and division between sincere and studious individuals and groups.

The elements of this doctrine most often center on two key biblical issues, that of “faith” (belief or trust) and “works” (acts of righteousness). Whereas one body believes “faith alone” is the crucial and only component insuring one’s path to heaven, another maintains that the answer can only be found in “faith plus works.” Then again, there are multiple positions on the direction and type of faith and works comprising man’s path to heaven, not to mention the concepts of irrevocability and/or permanency pertaining to each.

But all agree that there is no other more important doctrine in all of Scripture concerning mankind. It is the foundation of all else within God’s Word. For if one doesn’t understand and act upon the doctrine of redemption/salvation as God has put it forth in His Word, nothing else will eventually matter.

It is to this “end” (or better, to this “starting point”) and its progression — the issue of God’s redemption plan for man is significantly more complex and extraordinary, indeed more amazing and marvelous, than Christendom understands and sanctions — that this website exists and continues to enlighten those who sincerely hunger for the “meat” of the Word of God.

God’s redemption plan for man is revealed at the very beginning of God’s Holy Book, within the initial verses of the first chapter of the book of Genesis. It continues to be revealed throughout the Old Testament in various types, and is fully exposed in and by the anti-types within the New Testament. There are many reasons why Christians fail to comprehend the intricacies and components of God’s redemption plan for man, not the least of which is the incessant influence by the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4; 1 Peter 5:8) over those who should advance in spiritual maturity, but instead remain in their carnal state (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).

Additionally, many, if not most Christians fail to realize that man is a tripartite (3-part) being composed of spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12), made in the image and likeness of God
(Genesis 1:26-27) who is also a tripartite Being (Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), and that redemption/salvation affects each individual part in a different way and at a different time. Indeed, man’s redemption/salvation is a past, completed act (Ephesians 2:8-9), a present, continuous work (1 Corinthians 1:18), and a future, inherited possession (Hebrews 1:14). But until this is realized by a child of God, under the leadership and tutorage of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13), he is destined to view the matter in limited scope, seeing only conflict and discord in many passages of Scripture that deal with the redemption of man.

And out of this conflict and discord rises the varying and differing positions regarding God’s redemption plan for man that are prolific throughout Christendom. On the other hand, if one will choose to spend the time and effort to investigate the matter, utilizing the resources available on this website while depending completely upon the one and only true Teacher of Scripture, he will most certainly come to a comprehensive understanding of God’s redemption plan as it pertains to man; one that will harmonize all passages of Scripture, one that will greatly promote spiritual growth, and one that will engender deep and genuine spiritual well-being.

To this end, this goal, the following plan is suggested.

It is recommended that the reader study the following documents (books), all of which are in-depth commentaries by Arlen L. Chitwood [Arlen Chitwood's Lamp Broadcast] and which may be drawn in total from these website links:

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Redeemed for a Purpose

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Let Us Go On

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's So Great Salvation

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom

There are many other excellent books/commentaries that one may take advantage of in this study, all of which may be accessed from their links, which are posted on the homepage of the website.

In brief, the above commentaries will coherently reveal that redemption/salvation of man is composed of three aspects, addressed in Scripture as salvation of the spirit, salvation of the soul, and salvation of the body, all of which emanate from the hand of God and which prepares man for the purpose for which he was created in the first place — to rule, have dominion, over God’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28) — the purpose/goal from which man spiritually fell at his beginning.

(Man was created for a purpose that had to do with regality; and fallen man has been redeemed with this same purpose in view. Salvation has been provided for fallen man in order that God might bring man back into the position for which he was created in the beginning.

Accordingly, the gospel message, the good news seen throughout Scripture, has two facets — the good news concerning the grace of God, and the good news concerning the glory of Christ:

1) The Gospel of the Grace of God is a message dealing with Christ’s past, finished work at Calvary. It is the message of the Cross; it is a message surrounding the shedding of blood; it is a message surrounding death; and it is a message that is to be proclaimed to the unsaved — to those “dead in trespasses and sins.”

The reception of this message — man believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, who died in his stead — results in eternal salvation.

2) The Gospel of the Glory of Christ is a message encompassing Christ’s present work but culminating in and dealing more specifically with His future work. It is a message surrounding present Christian living, with a view to that which lies ahead. And, encompassing Christ’s present work as High Priest, the gospel of the glory of Christ [as the gospel of the grace of God] is also a message surrounding the shedding of blood [Christ’s shed blood now on the mercy seat in the heavenly sanctuary]. But now matters surround Christ’s glory and that of bringing many sons to glory with Him.

The reception of this message — redeemed man exercising faithfulness to his calling — will result in an individual being accorded the honor and privilege of ascending the throne with Christ in His kingdom when He returns in all His power and glory.

Distinctions between the preceding two messages must be clearly understood if an individual would properly understand the whole of the salvation message in Scripture.

 [Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Redeemed for a Purpose])

Once the above is realized by means of a proper study of Scripture, one then will realize that the preponderance of Holy Writ pertains not so much to the eternal salvation of man (spirit-salvation), which is no less foundational and critical, but mostly about the coming kingdom of Christ and how one may participate therein (soul-salvation).

So for one to truly understand and appreciate the remainder of this document, it is strongly recommended that one read the above mentioned documents (books), all of which may be viewed in their totality from the links provided.

Part 2

Recently, the following inquiry was passed on to this writer, which relates to the salvation of the Jews, then and now.

You have said before that you would be willing to research questions that we might have. :) One came up in Sunday School yesterday that we need help with:

We are wondering about salvation for the Jews, and if it may have been possible through the sacrificial system even during Jesus' day. It would seem that they WERE saved by the blood placed on the doorposts before they came out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea. Yet Korah and others died for disobedience in the wilderness. So they seemed to have lost their reward and not entered the Promised Land, but were eternally saved....?

But in Jesus' century, if Paul had died before his Damascus Road experience, would he have been saved?

Another thing, In John 8:24, Jesus told the Jews, "I said therefore to you, that you shall die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am He, you shall die in your sins." The entire chapter 8 is about Jesus and his confrontation with the Pharisees, and Jesus seems to be saying that they are damned because they do not believe He is who He is telling them He is. If they are damned, why didn't the sacrificial system they grew up following work for their salvation?

I have asked this question of several people, and so far have only come up with a blank stare. Perhaps Charles or Arlen have some input on this, if you don't already have an answer.

Thank you so much for looking into this when you have some time.

The above generated a concise reply from Arlen L. Chitwood [Arlen Chitwood's Lamp Broadcast] which follows.

Part 3

Salvation in Scripture

All the ramifications of the different issues raised in your couple of e-mails are addressed in several of my books, mainly in Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Acts to the Epistles, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Signs in John’s Gospel, and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons.

All three of these books have been revised, though I’m not sure that you have the revisions for all three on your website. The first two revisions are on my site (Arlen Chitwood's Lamp Broadcast); the revision for Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons has not been uploaded to the site yet. You might have the revised version on your site though.

Covenants

[Editor's note: The seven covenants are Adamic (Genesis 3:15) [some divide Adamic into Edenic (Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17) and Adamic],  Noahic (2 Peter 2:5), Abrahamic (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18), Palestinian (Deuteronomy 30:1-10), Mosaic (Deuteronomy 11 ff.), Davidic (2 Samuel 7:8-16) and New (Jeremiah 31:31-34).]

On the salvation issue in Scripture, first of all it would probably be best to forget the two divisions of Scripture (Old Testament & New Testament) and simply see Scripture as one continuous book. “Testament” is simply another way of saying “covenant” (Greek: diatheke [translated both “testament” and “covenant” in the New Testament, King James Version]; Hebrew: Berith [translated almost exclusively “covenant” in the Old Testament, King James Version]), and Scripture is not a covenant per se. Rather, all Scripture is a revelation from God to man.

Aside from the preceding, beyond Genesis 12 (Abrahamic Covenant), covenants are made with Israel (Romans 9:4). No covenant has been made or ever will be made with the Church.

The Old Covenant (Mosaic, inseparably associated with the Abrahamic) was made with Israel; and the New Covenant, replacing the Old, will be made with Israel. Both have to do with the theocracy, as do all covenants made or to be made with Israel (Davidic, Palestinian, New).

None of the covenants have anything to do with eternal salvation. All are made with a people already saved. And, in reality, all could be classed as “The Magna Charta for the Kingdom,” with the Mosaic having to do with the rules and regulations governing the people of God in the theocracy.

Creations, Sonship

Nor do “creations” — the Adamic (Genesis 1:26-28), the old creation in Jacob (new at the time [Isaiah 43:1]), or the new creation in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) — have anything to do with salvation. Nor does “sonship” have anything to do with salvation.

(“Sonship” has to do with creation. Adam was God’s son because of creation [Luke 3:38]. This status did not change following the fall. Israel is God’s son because of creation [firstborn son because of a subsequent adoption] and remains God’s son [God’s firstborn son] today, in an unsaved state. And Christians are God’s sons because of creation as well [new creations in Christ, still separate from salvation (nothing about death and shed blood in “creation”), though occurring at the same time].

To further illustrate the point in relation to salvation, note that all angels are God’s sons because of their individual creation, and that position remained unchanged in relation to Satan and his angels following their fall [Genesis. 6:2]. All angels remain God’s sons today — fallen or unfallen.)

Nor, in the first two creations (Jew and Gentile), can a person move from one creation to the other. That is, a Gentile cannot become a Jew (he can do no more than become a proselyte); nor can a Jew become a Gentile. And the reason for that is simple: Both have to do with the physical man. That which is physical simply cannot change.

The third creation, of course, is formed from the first two. A Jew or a Gentile becomes a new creation in Christ through “belief.” And a person can move from one creation to the other in this respect because the spiritual man rather than the physical man is involved.

Believing Jews or believing Gentiles remain in their respective creations physically (that cannot change; again because it is physical), but both can become new creations in Christ — Christians — spiritually.

As well, since “the physical” is involved with Jews and Gentiles, the creation can be passed from father to son through procreation. But such cannot occur at all for Christians, for “the spiritual” is involved — a realm where man cannot operate, a realm that has nothing to do with natural procreation.

Salvation in One Book

Now, with all of that in mind, let’s look at the salvation issue in one Book, not two Testaments, for the salvation issue never changes throughout Scripture.

The whole of the matter is set forth and established in an unchangeable manner in the opening chapters of Genesis. The manner in which God would restore ruined man (i.e., “dead in trespasses and sins”
[Ephesians 2:1]), a ruined creation, was set forth in these opening chapters of Genesis; and no change can ever occur. And the matter was established perfectly in the beginning.

The first thing we read relative to the restoration of a ruined creation is: the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, light came into existence, and God formed a division between the newly existing light and the remaining darkness (Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]). And the latter — the remaining darkness — would tell you that there is something more to the restoration of a ruined creation, foreshadowing man’s salvation, than that which is primarily seen by and through events on day one (something that is seen in events on days two through six, with a view to the seventh day).

Thus, the divine work seen on day one foreshadows God’s work pertaining to man’s eternal salvation (a beginning restoration of ruined man). And the divine work seen beyond this (in days two through six, a continuing restoration of ruined man) foreshadows God’s dealings with saved man in relation to the seventh day, which Scripture later reveals is related to the saving or loss of the soul, the life, of a man who has passed from death unto life.

But, let’s stay mainly with the work on day one. Note something though in passing. Once God had finished with His work on the first day, He didn’t go back and re-deal with anything from this day. Rather He began to deal with that which was remaining, as it pertained to the complete restoration of the ruined creation seen in that which is foreshadowed by God’s work during the subsequent five days.

Thus, exactly as in the type, God does not go back and re-deal with saved man relative to anything having occurred in his passing from “death into life” (John 5:24). Rather, He now deals with man on the basis of that which has occurred (but not relative to that which has occurred), having to do with dispelling the remaining darkness, with a view to the seventh day.

Now, moving from this initial information in Genesis 3; 4, we see several things pertaining to that which was initially occurring on day one in Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]. In Genesis 3, man falls. Now another ruined creation is involved. And how does God restore a ruined creation? The answer, of course, along with the purpose for restoration, is seen back in the opening thirty-four verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-34) — that which is foreshadowed by God’s restoration of the ruined material creation.

In Genesis 3 a man acts (Adam, typifying Christ 4,000 years later, partook of the fruit of the tree, bringing about the fall; Christ, in complete conformity to the type, became sin, to effect redemption [2 Corinthians 5:21]). Then a clear inference to death and shed blood are introduced later in the chapter by and through God clothing Adam and Eve with animal skins (by and through the fall they had lost the covering of Glory).

(Note again that man at this point is not placed completely back in the position that he had occupied before the fall [a restoration of the covering of Glory, which, in subsequent Scripture, is seen restored only on the seventh day].)

Then in Genesis 4, more information is added. Man, seen acting in the previous chapter, would be the one to die and shed his blood (Cain slaying Abel, Israel slaying Christ). And putting all of this together from these four chapters, the complete salvation picture is seen, a picture that never changes.

Eternal salvation is a divine work, performed by a Man (who has to be God), with death and shed blood involved. All fallen man can do is simply receive that which has been done on his behalf. Nothing more can enter into the matter.

And note again that once man passes from “death into life,” God’s dealings with man then move to that which lies out ahead. God never again deals with man relative to the salvation that he presently possesses.

In that respect, note the absurdity of saying that a saved man can lose his salvation. How could he lose something that he had nothing to do with obtaining, particularly since God is no longer dealing with him relative to the matter?

Now, I’ve spent a lot of time on this for the simple reason that these foundational truths pertaining to salvation are needed in order to understand the subject at hand — salvation as seen later in Scripture, particularly as it is seen in the camp of Israel on both sides of Calvary.

Events in Genesis 22 or Genesis 37 further illustrate and provide additional information for that which is seen in the opening four chapters of Genesis, but let’s move on to Exodus 12.

In this chapter we have that which is previously illustrated from several types in Genesis brought together in the institution of the Passover. A lamb from the flock was to die in a vicarious manner in the stead of the firstborn in the family. And a lamb dying in this manner, with the blood caught and properly applied, as the sacrifices or other types seen back in Genesis, pointed to the Paschal Lamb dying at Calvary, shedding His blood.

Now, the question: Did God recognize death and shed blood, in relation to man’s eternal salvation, in all these sacrifices throughout man’s 4,000-year history preceding the events of Calvary? Certainly He did! After all, He is the One having instituted them, with man only carrying out that which God had previously instituted.

All of these sacrifices were inseparably associated with the One actually slain before man even fell, or before one sacrifice was ever even offered. Christ was “slain from the foundation of the world” (Revelation 13:8), which takes matters back to the beginning of the restoration of the ruined earth, preceding man’s creation, in Genesis 1:2b (Revelation 13:8). In reality, all of the Old Testament sacrifices foreshadowed an event that God looked upon as having already occurred (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15; Isaiah 48:3ff).

At the time Christ was here on earth, the Jewish people were still sacrificing the passover lamb. In this respect, the Jewish people at Christ’s first coming could only have been just as saved as the Israelites during Moses’ day, or anyone else, having availed themselves of God’s provision during succeeding years or during the preceding 2,500 years of human history.

These Jews in view at Christ’s first coming would have been those who were having a part in the sacrifice of the paschal lambs year after year (which could only have been the nation at large, else Christ could not have come to this nation and dealt with them relative to spiritual values, offering to the Jewish nation the kingdom of the heavens).

Salvation on Both Sides of Calvary

Now let’s look at both sides of Calvary and the re-offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel after Christ’s ascension. Again, bear in mind that which is stated in Revelation 13:8.

(But first a word about events in John 8: Don’t try to read saved-unsaved issues into this chapter. Christ was dealing with saved Jews being brought forth from below rather than from above, doing the work of Satan rather than the work of God.

The issue in this chapter, as the issue in the book as a whole, is not eternal salvation. Rather, the issue has to do with the message being proclaimed to Israel at that time, which pertained to the kingdom.)

Question: Jews rejecting Christ, responsible for the events of Calvary, were they saved or unsaved? Then another question: If saved — which they, of course, were — did that status change once the Paschal Lamb had died, with God then no longer recognizing animal sacrifices as before, nullifying their salvation?

How could it change? God has previously established and recognized animal sacrifices in this respect; and, according to the original type in the opening two chapters of Genesis, or any other type, once the man had passed from “death into life,” God never again dealt with the person on that basis again. All of God’s dealings with the person, beyond availing himself of the blood sacrifice, were now focused on that which lay ahead, never on that which was lying behind.

Had not the status of these Jews remained the same (i.e., just as saved following Calvary as they had been before Calvary), there could have been no re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, as seen throughout the book of Acts. And had God continued to recognize animal sacrifices beyond Calvary, the re-offer of the kingdom could conceivably have continued indefinitely (as long as Israel remained in a position to, and continued to, sacrifice the paschal lambs year after year).

But, following Calvary, God recognized only the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb, not the sacrifices of paschal lambs as before. And, on the basis of Revelation 13:8, one might say that God, in reality, had recognized only the sacrifice of the Paschal Lamb since before man fell, though seen and foreshadowed in all the other paschal lambs slain up to Calvary.

Thus, the re-offer of the kingdom could remain open as long as a saved generation of Jews remained on the scene (not Christians, but saved Jews [individuals still rejecting Christ; thus, they could not have been new creations in Christ). But once this generation had passed off the scene, there could be no continued re-offer of the kingdom.

The preceding is why the re-offer ceased after some thirty years (from 33 AD to about 62 AD). The saved generation of Jews was rapidly passing off the scene, leaving unsaved Jews to replace them. And that having spiritual values could not have been offered to individuals separated from spiritual values.

And, aside from the preceding, a new entity had been brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected.

(By way of summation, note the Jews saved on the day of Pentecost, or Paul saved enroute to Damascus. Neither account should be thought of with respect to eternal verities. Along with Jews reached throughout the book of Acts, both should be thought of in the sense of the conversion of individuals already saved, i.e., saving the saved [like past and present aspects of salvation, with a view to the future, seen in the lives of Christians today].

The preceding is evident from that which is stated in Acts 2:38 on the day of Pentecost. And it would be somewhat absurd to think of Paul, a zealous Pharisee, not having previously availed himself of God’s sacrificial provision.

Also, on another note, unsaved Jews today [and it has been this way for over 1,900 years] are looked upon exactly as unsaved Gentiles relative to eternal salvation. Both have to be saved exactly the same way — through faith in the Paschal Lamb who died — not through faith in some unknown coming Messiah, etc. The matter is exactly as stated in Acts 4:12:

Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.

In this respect, there are only two types of people in the world today — Saved [Christians] and Unsaved [Jews and Gentiles].)

The preceding should address the issues raised. Again, refer to the three books that I mentioned at the beginning.

Bible One - Redemption of Man by Charles Strong

Lake of Fire, Reason for Creation of

The lake of fire was not prepared for man. Rather, it was prepared “for the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:41]. It was prepared for those who had rejected God’s supreme power and authority, as Satan sought to exalt his throne [Isaiah 14:13-14]. Thus, in this respect, the lake of fire is connected with regality.

And man, created to replace Satan and his angels, finds his connection with the lake of fire on exactly the same basis. Saved man, ignoring the very reason for his salvation [which is regal], will find himself associated with the lake of fire during the Millennium [an association connected with all that the lake of fire implies]. And unsaved man, ignoring salvation and the reason for man’s creation [which, again, is regal], will find himself associated with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages following the Millennium [an association connected with all that the lake of fire implies].

The Reality of God
By Charles Strong of Bible One

Is the concept of God a sane and intelligent idea?  Is God actually real?  If so, why does man not see, hear or have the ability to touch Him?  Could it be that man’s difficulty in seeing and understanding God is the direct result of man’s suppression of truth in and by his own unrighteous conduct?  The answer to this is in the affirmative, as seen in the book of Romans:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress [lit. “hold down”] the truth in unrighteousness,

because what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them.

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse,

because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Professing to be wise, they became fools,

and changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image made like corruptible man--and birds and four-footed animals and creeping things.

Therefore God also gave them up to uncleanness, in the lusts of their hearts, to dishonor their bodies among themselves,

who exchanged the truth of God for the lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen. (Romans 1:18-25)

Upon man’s creation as is seen in the initial chapters of the book of Genesis, God allowed man to enjoy a relationship with his Creator that included some if not all of man’s senses.  Unfortunately, due to man’s suppression of truth by his rejection of God’s Word, i.e., God’s specific warning referring to “the tree of the knowledge of good and evil” (Genesis 2:16-17), God apparently withdrew man’s ability to routinely experience God by means of his senses.

Although God has chosen throughout history to allow exceptions to the above rule, man fundamentally is subject to a physical world with its four space-time dimensions of length, width, depth and time; while God continues to dwell in the spirit-realm, a dimension totally foreign to man’s physical laws and limitations.

For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy . . . .
(Isaiah 57:15a)

God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth. (John 4:24;
cf. 2 Corinthians 3:17)

Unlike man, God is not bound by space and time even though He took on these limitations when He expressed Himself in and through the person of Jesus Christ approximately 2,000 years ago.  Jesus [the] Christ, who was God (2nd Person of the Holy Trinity) in flesh, was voluntarily subject to the limitations of His physical body, including both suffering and death — but for a distinct purpose, i.e., to pay the penalty for man’s sin [specifically, “spiritual death” (i.e., separation from the Father) on the cross
(Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34), also represented by His “physical death” at that time], to effect man’s redemption.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . .

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)

But made Himself [Christ] of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men.

And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. (Philippians 2:7-8)

But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor, that He, by the grace of God, might taste death for everyone.

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. . . .

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil . . .
(Hebrews 2:9-10, 14)

But once Christ Jesus the Man passed from death to life, having effected His resurrection from the tomb, He no longer was bound by the limitations of flesh.  This was evident in His appearance to His disciples and later to Thomas and the disciples as seen in John 20:19-28, both times passing through the walls of a sealed room.  Subsequent to these supernatural visits, Christ was seen ascending through the atmosphere up to heaven before His disciples (Acts 1:9-10).  The point being is that once Christ was free of the flesh, He returned to employing those faculties that can only relate to Divinity.

You may have heard that no one throughout history has had such an incredible impact upon mankind as Jesus Christ and His Holy Word.  And though this is indeed true, the reality is far greater.  No person, no system, no movement has ever offered answers and solutions to the myriad questions and mysteries that revolve around this earth, the universe in which it resides and mankind as a whole.

Not only does Holy Scripture clearly describe the Author of all that exists, it also defines its direction and all that has relevance to it.  It tells where we came from, where we are going and the various paths from start to finish.  More than this, it provides a moral structure the likes of which far supersedes the normality of man.  And unlike all other moral or religious systems, it is solely a structure of grace based supremely on faith alone — something that could never have originated in the mind of man.

And should one strictly insist on the secular outlook regarding all that exists and which revolves around man — the extreme complexity of the human body, the enormity of empty space within each existing atom yet each holding tenaciously together, the intricacy of human kind in general and the enormity of an arranged and methodical universe — then the only logical answer for it all can only be found in God and His Holy Word.

Yes, without a doubt, God — the God of the Bible — seen visibly in Jesus Christ — is real.  And to all who by faith accept this fact, the following passage of Scripture should have special meaning:

Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” (John 20:29)

Bible One - Charles Strong's The Reality of God

The following is an excellent tool for those who desire to teach the "meat" of the Word -- the hope of glory in the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Salvation by Faith or Works or Both
By Charles Strong of Bible One

Content:

Foreword

Within the spectrum of Christian dogma and the multiple thousands of local churches, institutions, and organizations adhering to it, there has always been disagreement as to (1) the effectual manner a person must employ to secure salvation, i.e., eternal life and (2) how secure it is once obtained.  Essentially, there are two schools of thought comprising this issue, as follows:

1) Salvation is strictly a grace-gift and can only be obtained by a decision of faith alone [to believe] in Christ alone — a position based solely upon the work of Christ upon the cross.  Once obtained, it is absolutely non-reversible by man or God.  It should also be noted that many believe that once a person declares such faith, his life will evidence “good works;” otherwise, his salvation was never valid, i.e., executed appropriately, in the first place.

2) Salvation is a process achieved by faith (often employing the confession of sins and a promise to make Christ the Leader of one’s life) and works — or in some cases by works alone — starting with one’s submission to baptism. 

And this continuing process can only be completed when one passes on from this temporal life; therefore, at any time, depending on one’s conduct (works), it may be reversed (i.e., abolished, cancelled) with the possibility of being regained should one’s conduct be properly reestablished.

Where all who hold these views agree is that all persons are sinners in need of salvation, that is, unless “salvation” is achieved there is no eternal hope, as per the following:

. . . for we have previously charged both Jews and Greeks [Gentiles] that they are all under sin. (Romans 3:9b)

As it is written: “There is none righteous, no, not one; there is none who understands; there is none who seeks after God. They have all turned aside; they have together become unprofitable; there is none who does good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12)

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

For the wages of sin is [spiritual] death . . . . (Romans 6:23a)

But the Scripture has confined all under sin . . .(Galatians 3:22a)

Both doctrinal positions affirm that the basis for their creed is found in the Holy Bible, an enigma to be sure, since the passages of Scripture held by one school of thought appear to contradict the passages held by the other. 

Note the following passages of Scripture, which contenders of these two positions use:

1) Salvation by grace through faith.

But as many as received Him [Christ], to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name. (John 1:12)
 
That whoever believes in Him [Christ] should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. . . . He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. . . . He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.
(John 3:15-16, 18, 36)
 
 And this is the will of Him who sent Me [Christ], that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.  Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life. (John 6:40; 47)
 
And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:30-31)
 
Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man [Christ] is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. (Acts 13:38-39)
 
And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:30-31)
 
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. . . . . being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation [satisfaction] by His blood [death], through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.   Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith apart from the deeds of the law.  (Romans 3:22-23a, 24-26, 28; cf. 4:16; Ephesians 1:7; Colossians 1:14; 1 Timothy 2:6; Hebrews 9:12; 1 Peter 1:18-19; 1 John 2:2; 4:10)
 
For if Abraham was justified by works, he has something to boast about, but not before God. For what does the Scripture say? “Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness.” Now to him who works, the wages are not counted as grace but as debt. But to him who does not work but believes on Him [Christ] who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness. (Romans 4:2-5)
 
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. (Romans 5:8-9; cf. 1 Peter 3:18; 1 John 1:7; 3:16; 4:9-10)
 
For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23; cf. Romans 17; 21)
 
For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son, Jesus Christ] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isiah 53:6, 9, 12; Romans 5:19; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:22, 24; 1 John 3:5)
 
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2:16; cf. 3:11, 24, 26; Ephesians 2:8-9)
 
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that [one’s salvation is] not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9; cf. Ephesians 2:5; Galatians 2:16; 3:11, 24, 26; Romans 3:20, 27-28; 4:2; 9:11; 11:6; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5)
 
For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive by the Spirit. (1 Peter 3:18; cf. Romans 5:6; Colossians 1:21-22; Hebrews 9:26, 28)

2) Salvation by faith and works or works alone.

Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life, to which you were also called and have confessed the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. . . . Let them do good, that they be rich in good works, ready to give, willing to share, storing up for themselves a good foundation for the time to come, that they may lay hold on eternal life. (1 Timothy 6:12, 18-19)
 
Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. (Hebrews 2:2-3)

But Christ as a Son over His own house, whose house we are if we hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end. . . . For we have become partakers of Christ if we hold the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end. . . . And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.  (Hebrews 3:6, 14, 18-19)

Therefore do not cast away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may receive the promise: “For yet a little while, and He who is coming will come and will not tarry. Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:35-39)

Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14)

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him?. . . Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. . . . But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?   Do you see that faith was working together with his works, and by works faith was made perfect?. . . You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. . . . For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also. (James 2:14, 17, 20, 22, 24, 26)

[Jesus Christ] whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:8-9)

Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 1:10-11)

For if, after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, they are again entangled in them and overcome, the latter end is worse for them than the beginning. For it would have been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than having known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered to them. (2 Peter 2:20-21)
 
And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. . . . Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12, 14) those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12, 14) those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. (Revelation 22:12, 14)

Although it appears that there is contradiction between the previous two positions as are outlined in their relative passages of Scripture, it is granted by both camps that salvation from an eternity apart from God is the most important doctrine of Holy Writ pertaining to mankind.  And should one not get this doctrine “right,” then little matters as to the rest of doctrinal issues.

This being the case, how does one explain such contradiction as appears in the Word of God?  To this, the following factors, when appropriately considered, clarify the issue.

1) The Composition of Man
2) The Original Language of Specific Passages of Scripture
3) The Three Aspects (Phases) of Salvation
4) The Purpose for Man
5) The Use of Types and Antitypes in Scripture
6) The Central Message of the New Testament
7) The Purpose of the Comings of Christ
8) The Context of Each Passage of Scripture

An exposé of these factors will be presented, followed by a conclusion to this matter.

(The fundamental rule of proper Scripture interpretation, which underlies all that will follow is that only the Holy Spirit can reveal the correct meaning and application of any passage of Scripture, a factor requiring one’s complete submission to and faith in God the Holy Spirit for this to take place [John 14:26; 16:13].)

The Composition of Man

Contrary to the teaching of a multitude of religious groups that recognize only two aspects (facets, parts) of man’s composition, i.e., material and immaterial (assuming the “spirit” is the same as the “soul”), God’s Word is not imprecise regarding the issue, clearly stating that man is a triune being — composed of a “spirit” and a “soul” and a “body.”

This tripartite makeup of man is plainly distinguished in the following passages of Scripture.

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

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

Although in Scripture there may be some similarities of treatment assigned to spirit, soul, heart, and mind; the student of the Word may be assured that the distinction between the “spirit” and the “soul” is never confusing, each word (spirit [pneuma]; soul [psuche]; body [soma]) when used as part of the composition of man is precisely and unambiguously utilized, as may be seen not only in the previously stated two passages of Scripture but also in the following:

And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up His spirit. (Matthew 27:50; cf. Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30)

And they stoned Stephen as he was calling on God and saying, “Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.” (Acts 7:59)

But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:39)

Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)

Receiving the end of your faith — the salvation of your souls. (1 Peter 1:9)

The tripartite nature of man reflects the tripartite nature of God, as is pointed out by Arlen L. Chitwood in his book, Salvation of the Soul [which may be accessed in its entirety at Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul or Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood] as follows:

The first chapter of Genesis reveals that man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God.  The word translated “God” in the Hebrew text of this statement is Elohim.  This is a plural noun, which, in complete keeping with related Scripture, would include all three members of the Godhead — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit (e.g., cf. John 1:1-3).

Since Elohim is a trinity, for man to be created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, he too must be a trinity.  Unlike the dichotomous animal kingdom (created apart from the “image” and “likeness” of God) possessing only bodies and souls, trichotomous man (created in the “image” and “likeness” of God) is a triune being.  Man not only possesses a body and a soul, but he also possesses a spirit as well.

Jesus is Elohim manifested in the flesh; and having been made in the “likeness” of man (but apart from man’s fallen nature), He, as man, must also be a trinity (John 1:14; Philippians 2:7).  This tripartite nature of Christ, in whom “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9), was clearly revealed at the time of His death.

At this time Jesus yielded up His spirit, which went back into the presence of His Father in heaven (Luke 23:46; cf. Ecclesiastes 12:7; Acts 7:59); His soul went into Hades, the place of the dead, housed inside the earth at that time (Acts 2:27); and His body was removed from the Cross and placed in Joseph of Arimathaea’s [Audio] tomb (Matthew 27:57-61).  This threefold separation persisted until the soul and spirit re-entered the body at the time Christ was raised from the dead.

Thus, God, Elohim, is a trinity; Jesus, Elohim manifested in the flesh, is likewise a trinity; and man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of Elohim, can only be a trinity as well.  Accordingly, a complete redemption provided by the triune God must, of necessity, pertain to man as a complete being.  Man’s complete redemption must encompass spirit, soul, and body.

And to understand the complexity of God’s salvation for man, it must be understood in relation to each part of man.  Again, as Chitwood says:

Man is a tripartite being comprised of spirit, soul, and body; and the salvation of man within its complete scope (past, present, and future) pertains to the salvation of man with respect to his complete being.  In the study of Scripture it is revealed that each of these three parts of man is subject to salvation at different times.  Thus, to understand salvation in its complete scope, one must first understand certain things about man’s tripartite nature.

The Original Language of Specific Passages of Scripture

As previously noted, the Greek words for “spirit,” “soul,” and “body” are quite distinguishable.  And in Scripture they are never confused, each conveying an interpretation and application different from the other.  Then, there is the existence of those passages of Scripture within our English translations where a translation (although possible) of these words only clouds the conveyed meaning.  For example the Greek word for “soul,” which can be translated “life” is used, as follows:

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life [Gk. psuche: soul] will lose it, but whoever loses his life [psuche] for My sake will find it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul [psuche]? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul [psuche]? For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:24-27)

Another example of how a study of the original language, e.g., Greek, will clarify one’s interpretation of “salvation” is the actual meaning of the words normally translated “eternal life.” Note the following by Chitwood from his book, Search For The Bride by Arlen Chitwood:

Further, salvation associated with regality, which has to do with the earth, is dealt with in Scripture centrally in relation to one age — the Messianic Era, lasting 1,000 years [seen numerous times in Scripture, particularly in John’s gospel, as occurring on the seventh day, the earth’s coming Sabbath (the seventh millennium dating from Adam)].  At times, the ages beyond are in view, though not necessarily relative to salvation per se [e.g., in Luke 1:33, “forever” should literally be translated, “with respect to the ages”;  or in Revelation 1:6, “forever and ever” should be translated, “with respect to the ages of the ages”].

But the central thrust of that to which Scripture points is not upon the ages.  Rather, it is upon one age — the Messianic Era.  This central thrust of Scripture was set at the very beginning of Scripture, within a septenary structure established in the opening verses of Genesis [Genesis 1:1-2:3] — a day of rest following six days of restorative work, pointing to a 1,000-year period of rest following 6,000 years of redemptive work.  These opening verses set the pattern for the way in which God would structure all subsequent revelation.  And the whole of Scripture, structured in this manner, must be understood accordingly.

Salvation by grace through faith [salvation of the spirit], though it relates not only to the Messianic Era, but to all the ages beyond, is really dealt with in Scripture in a more restrictive sense.  It is dealt with in Scripture exactly the same way Scripture deals with the whole of the matter surrounding salvation, whether dealing with past, present, or future aspects of salvation.

Scripture, in accord with the septenary pattern set at the beginning, focuses issues relating to salvation [or anything else in Scripture] on the Messianic Era, the coming Sabbath of rest awaiting the people of God
[Hebrews 4:1-9].  Scripture deals very sparingly with issues beyond the Messianic Era; and, accordingly, Scripture deals with the salvation issue — whether past, present, or future aspects of salvation — exactly the same way.  Scripture deals very sparingly with salvation in relation to the ages beyond the Messianic Era [eternity], though the salvation that man presently possesses extends into and covers all of these ages.

The preceding is why the thought of an age or why the Greek word for age can be used in the New Testament in connection with man’s presently possessed eternal salvation.  And this is really the case throughout Scripture, not only in the New Testament but in the Old Testament as well, for neither the Hebrew text of the Old Testament nor the Greek text of the New Testament contains a word for “eternal.”  Both use words that have to do with a long period of time or with an age, but not with eternity [Heb., olam; Gk., aion or aionios].

The salvation of the soul [having to do with present and future aspects of salvation] is another matter though.  The salvation of the soul has to do with the Messianic Era alone, not with the ages beyond.  Thus, unlike the salvation of the spirit, the whole of the matter is covered when Scripture relates the salvation of the soul to the Messianic Era.  Issues surrounding the salvation of the soul, unlike those surrounding the salvation of the spirit, do not extend beyond the scope of time seen in the septenary structure of Scripture.

Then there is the case where the tense of certain verbs are not clearly translated in some English translations of the Bible, which also clouds the issue.  Mr. Chitwood addresses this issue in the first chapter of his book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Ch. 1, clearly seen in the next section of this document.

The Three Aspects (Phases) of Salvation

(Taken from Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. (1 Corinthians 1:18)

Are they [angels] not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit [lit. “for the sake of the ones about to inherit”] salvation? (Hebrews 1:14)

“Salvation” in the Word of God is spoken of in three tenses — past, present, and future:

 1)  Christians have been saved.
 2)  Christians are being saved.
 3)  Christians are about to be saved.

The previously quoted verses provide examples of how Scripture deals with each of these three tenses or aspects of salvation.

In Ephesians 2:8-9, salvation is a past, completed act.

In 1 Corinthians 1:18, salvation is a present, continuous work.

In Hebrews 1:14, salvation is a future, inherited possession.

Since the Word of God presents salvation in a framework of this nature, it is vitally important in Scriptural interpretation to first ascertain to which of these three aspects of salvation any given passage pertains.

In the past aspect of salvation, dealt with in Ephesians 2:8, the words in the corrected text, “you have been saved,” are a translation of two Greek words that form what is called in the Greek text a “periphrastic perfect.”  The “perfect” tense refers to action completed in past time, with the results of this action extending into present time and existing in a finished state.  The “periphrastic” construction places additional emphasis on the present, finished state and refers to the persistent results during present time of the past, completed work.

Salvation in this verse is wrought by grace through faith, accomplished completely in past time, and is the present possession of every believer.  This present possession, in turn, constitutes an active, continuing, ever-abiding salvation.

The eternal security of the believer cannot be expressed in stronger terms than the periphrastic construction of the perfect tense in Ephesians 2:8, for the present results of the past action, in this case, can only continue unchanged forever.

However, in 1 Corinthians 1:18, dealing with the present aspect of salvation, things are presented in an entirely different light than seen in Ephesians 2:8.  Rather than the verb tense in the Greek text referring to a past, completed act, the tense refers to a present, continuous work.  The former has already been completed, but the latter has yet to be completed.

Then, in Hebrews 1:14, dealing with the future aspect of salvation, matters are presented in a completely different light yet.  The wording in the Greek text of this verse refers to something that is about to occur.  Nothing is past or present; the reception of this salvation, in its entirety, is placed in the future.

Further, the salvation referred to in Hebrews 1:14 is not only to be realized in the future, but it is also an inherited salvation.  And the thought of inheritance further distinguishes the salvation in this verse from the salvation previously seen in Ephesians 2:8, for the salvation that Christians presently possess is not an inherited salvation.

Rather, our present salvation was obtained as a free gift during the time we were alienated from God.  And, as aliens (outside the family of God), we were in no position to inherit salvation, for inheritance in Scripture is always a family matter.

In the Old Testament, “sons” were first in line to receive the inheritance, with “daughters” next.  If there were no sons or daughters in the immediate family, the inheritance was passed on to the nearest family member or members, designated by the law of inheritance (Numbers 27:8-11).

Consequently, an individual had to be a family member before he could be considered for the inheritance, which, during the present dispensation, is restricted to “children” or “sons” of the Owner.  That’s why the statement is made in Romans 8:17, “. . . if children, then heirs . . . .”  And that’s also why in Hebrews 1:14 that an inherited salvation pertains to those who have already been saved, those who are no longer alienated from God but are presently family members.

In this respect, the complete scope of salvation — past, present, and future — has a beginning point, with an end in view.  It involves the Spirit of God breathing life into the one having no life, effecting the birth from above.  And this has been done with a purpose, an end, in view.  This has been done so that the Spirit can take the one who now has spiritual life and perform a work in the life of that individual, with a view to an inheritance that will be realized at a future time.

Thus, one should immediately be able to see the importance of proper distinctions being drawn and observed in the realm of these three aspects of salvation.  And depending on how one approaches and deals with the different salvation passages in Scripture, either of the difficulties can be avoided on the one hand or insurmountable problems can result on the other.

The Purpose for Man

God’s purpose for man is seen at man’s creation in the initial chapters of God’s Word, a purpose that underlies God’s all-encompassing plan of salvation for man.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

God’s purpose for man upon his creation was to “have dominion” over the earth, to “subdue” it.  And this purpose for man has not changed in God’s overall plan, as is stated in Search For The Bride by Arlen Chitwood:

Man was created in the beginning to rule and to reign (Genesis 1:26-28).  But, through Satan’s deception (through the deception of the incumbent ruler, whom man was created to replace), man fell from the position in which he had been created.  And in this fallen state man found himself in a position wherein he could not realize the purpose for his creation.

But God provided redemption for His fallen creature.  And the redemption that God provided can only have, for its ultimate goal, man being placed back in the position for which he had been created in the beginning.  Thus, the whole of the matter surrounding salvation in Scripture (salvation past, present, and future) is seen relating centrally to that future time when man will be placed back in the position for which he was created in the beginning.

The fall was with a view to removing man from this position; and, accordingly, redemption (the whole of the matter — past, present, and future) can only be with a view to placing man back in this position (something that can be clearly seen in Scripture when viewing the whole of God’s redemptive plans and purposes).  Thus, regality forms the crux of the entire matter surrounding both man’s fall and God’s subsequently provided redemption for fallen man.

The Use of Types and Antitypes in Scripture

(Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Study of Scripture, Ch. 8or  8) Types and Antitypes in this site. )

Then He said to them, “O fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken:

Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?”

And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. (Luke 24:25-27)

Now these things were our examples [Now these things happened as types for us], to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted . . . .

Now all these things happened to them for examples [Now all these things happened to them for types]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [the ages] are come.  (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11)

Three things above all else must be adhered to in the study of Scripture:

1) A person must recognize that all Scripture is God-breathed.
2) A person must begin where God began.
3) A person must study Scripture after the fashion in which it was written.

God gave His Word to man through man in a particular manner:

. . . holy men of God spoke as they were moved [borne along] by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21b)

The manner in which God revealed Himself, His plans, and His purposes in His Word (a God-breathed revelation, penned as the Spirit moved men to write) is what makes Scripture different from all other writings.  Scripture stands in a category solely by itself, completely alone; and all other writings stand in a completely separate category (ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Study of Scripture, Ch. 1 or 1) Foundational Prerequisites in this site).

Then, in the process of giving to man, through man, the God-breathed Word, at the very outset God set forth a skeletal structure covering the whole panorama of revelation that was to follow, along with foundational building material.  And if a person would understand Scripture correctly, he must begin where God began and follow that which God has set forth, after the manner in which He Himself structured and established the matter.

The person must follow the skeletal structure and build upon this structure after the manner in which God Himself began and subsequently set matters forth, establishing them in a particular manner throughout.  At any point in the whole of Scripture, any teaching must have a connection with and be in complete agreement with the God-established skeletal structure and subsequent foundational material set forth at the beginning (ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Study of Scripture, Ch. 2, "2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture," Ch. 3, "3) Beginning and Continuing," and Ch. 4, "4) Building on the Foundation").

Then, it must be recognized that God structured His revelation to man after a particular fashion, alluded to in Luke 24:25-27, 44 and stated in so many words in 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.  Scripture not only deals with a completely accurate history of certain events surrounding God’s dealings with the earth, angels, and man, but biblical history has been recorded after such a fashion that it is highly typical as well.  God has established His primary means of teaching, not through history per se, but through inherent types seen in history, pointing to antitypes seen in later history and/or prophecy.

The manner in which God revealed Himself to man is as stated in 1 Corinthians 10:11a,

Now all these things happened to them for examples [Now all these things happened to them for types]. .

The reference is to events during Moses’ day, drawing from the wilderness journey of the Israelites.  But the reference would, of necessity, have to go far beyond simply the specific events listed in verses one through ten, preceding the statement in verse eleven.  In the light of other Scripture, as becomes increasingly evident when one views the whole of Scripture, the reference would have to be enlarged to encompass not only all biblical history during Moses’ day but all biblical history beginning with Genesis 1:1.

That would be to say, God has structured His revelation to man after a fashion in which not only true, correct history is presented but this history is presented in such a manner that it is highly typical in nature.  And Scripture, within this highly typical structure, is jam-packed with spiritual significance and meaning.

God, within His sovereign control of all things, brought matters to pass after such a fashion (within the history of the earth, angels, and man) that He could, at a later time, have these events to draw upon in order to teach His people the deep things surrounding Himself, His plans, and His purposes.  And this would be accomplished mainly through types and corresponding antitypes.

Thus, God draws not so much from history per se as He does from the spiritual content set forth in the historic accounts — the great spiritual lessons, taught mainly from types pointing to corresponding antitypes.  Anyone can understand facts within revealed biblical history (saved or unsaved man).  This would pertain more to the letter of the matter.  But only saved man can go beyond the letter to the spirit of the matter
(2 Corinthians 3:6-16).  Only the saved can understand the spiritual lessons drawn from history.  Only the saved can look within biblical history and see spiritual content (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

For the unsaved, things beyond the simple historical facts are completely meaningless.  They can neither see these things nor know them.  Spiritually, they are dead; and these things are “spiritually discerned.”  They can view Scripture only from a “natural [‘soulical’]” standpoint (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Anyone can understand facts within revealed biblical history (saved or unsaved man).  This would pertain more to the letter of the matter.  But only saved man can go beyond the letter to the spirit of the matter (2 Corinthians 3:6-16).  Only the saved can understand the spiritual lessons drawn from history.  Only the saved can look within biblical history and see spiritual content (1 Corinthians 2:12-16).

For the unsaved, things beyond the simple historical facts are completely meaningless.  They can neither see these things nor know them.  Spiritually, they are dead; and these things are “spiritually discerned.”  They can view Scripture only from a “natural [‘soulical’]” standpoint (1 Corinthians 2:14).

But for the saved, the matter is entirely different.  They, by/through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ, have been made spiritually alive.  The Spirit has breathed life into the one having no life; they have “passed from death to life.”

And they have this same Spirit — the One who gave the Word to man through man — indwelling them to lead them “into all truth” (John 16:13-15; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19-20; 1 John 3:24).  Accordingly, the saved possess the ability to see beyond the facts of history and view the spiritual lessons inherent therein.

This is what is meant by “comparing spiritual things with spiritual.”  It is within this facet of Scripture that man can see the things that “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard . . . .”  It is within this facet of Scripture that “God has revealed them to us by his Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God” (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

And it is within this complete, overall thought, as previously stated, that one finds the whole of biblical history forming types that are fraught with spiritual significance and meaning.  This is the manner in which God has structured His Word.  It has been given to man after this fashion, and if man would properly understand that which God has revealed in His Word, he must study it after the fashion in which it was given and recorded.

The Central Person of Scripture

Viewing Scripture after the preceding fashion, a complete word picture is presented of the central Person of Scripture — the Lord Jesus Christ.  This word picture begins in the opening chapter of Genesis and continues uninterrupted until the Living Word Himself appears on the scene 4,000 years later.  In this respect, the Old Testament forms a complete introduction to and revelation of the One who would appear on the earth, intervening in the affairs of man, 4,000 and 6,000 years beyond the creation of man in Genesis 1.

This is really the underlying thought behind Christ’s rebuke of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, following His resurrection.  They didn’t know the spiritual content of their own Old Testament Scriptures, though they undoubtedly would have been familiar with the letter of the matter, the historical facts.  Had they known the spiritual content of the historical facts, they would, in turn, not only have known the exact identity of the person standing in their midst but they would also have known exactly what had occurred, was occurring, and would yet occur.

But “their eyes were restrained [their vision was ‘held back’]” (Luke 24:16).  Insofar as these things were concerned, they were spiritually blind.  Though spiritually alive and capable of understanding spiritual truth, these two disciples hadn’t seen the true spiritual content in their own Scriptures; and, consequently, their own resurrected Messiah was a stranger in their midst, with the events surrounding Calvary and the glory to follow involving things which they didn’t understand at all.

This is the reason Christ referred to the two as not believing “all that the prophets have spoken.”  They should have known that Christ would appear a “first time” to suffer prior to a later appearance to enter into His glory.  That which they had witnessed (His sufferings), were witnessing (the results of His resurrection), and that which lay ahead (His glory), were all foretold in minute detail, time after time after time, by the Old Testament prophets (all whom God had used to pen the Old Testament Scriptures, making them known in the types
[e.g., Genesis 22-25; 37-45] and through other means [e.g., Isaiah 52-54; Zechariah 12:10; 13:6; 14:1ff]).  And these disciples should have known these things, but they didn’t know them (Luke 24:25-26).

Thus, in order to instruct these disciples (revealing Himself to them, showing them what had happened, was happening, and would yet happen), Christ went to the one God-revealed account covering the whole of the matter, an account that had been in the possession of the Jewish people for hundreds of years.  He went to the Word given to man through man by the Holy Spirit over a period of about a millennium (from approx. 1445 to about 400 B.C.), beginning with Moses (i.e., the writings of Moses).

And Christ began exactly where the Spirit had begun 1,500 years before when He began giving the Word through man to man.  Christ began at revelation given through Moses.  Then He moved on to revelation given through other prophets.  And by so doing, Christ “expounded to them [the two disciples] in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).

Then later that day, when Christ “took bread, blessed and broke” the bread before giving it to these two disciples, “their eyes were opened and they knew Him” (Luke 24:30-35).

Their eyes were opened because they, at that time, had come to know certain things that the Old Testament Scriptures taught concerning Israel’s Messiah.  And that which allowed the two disciples to put these things together in a correct framework and see them after a correct fashion was evidently triggered by Christ breaking bread, blessing it, and giving it to them, exactly as He had done in the presence of the twelve disciples immediately before His crucifixion (Matthew 26:26-29; cf. 1 Corinthians 11:23-26).

Christ is the “bread of life” (John 6:33-35), referred to by the use of “bread” at various times throughout the Old Testament (for example, the manna, or the bread on the table in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle).  Christ was the One whose body, as the Bread, had been broken; and the bread being given to the two disciples following Christ breaking it pointed to the true Bread from heaven having been broken (or, as in the case of the bread being broken and given to the twelve preceding Calvary, about to be broken) on their, and our, behalf.

(Note the Lord’s Supper, observed by Christians today — breaking bread, and drinking from the cup.  Observing the Lord’s Supper by Christians today pictures exactly the same thing seen in Christ breaking bread in the presence of these two disciples.  A drinking from the cup, of necessity, would have had to be absent at this time because of that which Christ had told His disciples a few days earlier, in Matthew 26:29:

. . . I will not drink of this fruit of the vine from now on until that day when I drink it new with you in My Father’s kingdom.

The preceding statement points forward to that day seen in the typology of Genesis 14:18-20, when Christ comes forth as the Great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek, with “bread and wine,” to bless the descendants of Abraham through Isaac, Jacob, and Jacob’s twelve sons, the nation of Israel.

Observing the Lord’s Supper by Christians today shows “the Lord’s death till He comes”
[1 Corinthians 11:26]. In this respect, Christ, before breaking bread and giving it to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection, had previously asked them:

Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory? [Luke 24:26]

And Christians today, breaking bread and drinking from the cup, are to see matters exactly the same way — the broken bread and the cup, pointing to Christ’s past sufferings, are to be followed by His future glory.  The past sufferings are seen in Isaiah 53, and the future glory is seen in Genesis 14, with both seen numerous other places throughout the Old and New Testament Scriptures.)

And the two disciples seeing Christ Himself do this — the One whose body had been broken for them, as the bread had been broken — and having had Christ, immediately prior to this, instruct them from the Old Testament Scriptures (relating, among other things, the sufferings of Christ, which had just occurred), they were then able to put all of it together.  It was at this point that “their eyes were opened,” and it was at this point that “they knew Him.”

They, at this point, knew the Christ of the Old Testament, the One standing in their midst.  They, at this point, knew the One spoken of “in all” of the Old Testament Scriptures, beginning with Moses.

(Note the statement concerning “the rulers of this age [referring centrally to the Jewish religious leaders]” in 1 Corinthians 2:8 who had “crucified the Lord of glory” [Acts 2:23, 36; 3:14-15].  Had they previously gone beyond the letter into the spirit of that which the Old Testament reveals concerning Christ — had they known the things from the Old Testament Scriptures that Christ revealed to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus — Scripture clearly states that “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.”

It is clearly revealed that the religious leaders in Israel knew Christ’s identity [cf. Matthew 21:38-39, 45; John 3:2], which accounts for their actions.  But they didn’t know Him in the sense spoken of in 1 Corinthians 2:8 [note the context of the verse], else, as stated, they would not have crucified Him.)

1) How Much of the Old Testament?

How much of the Old Testament deals with the person and work of Christ?  And how much of the Old Testament is typical in nature?  The two questions do not cover the same scope.  The former is more extensive than the latter and is really all-inclusive.  However, the typical nature of Old Testament Scripture is far more extensive than many may realize or are prone to admit.

How though can one know the extent of typical teachings in the Old Testament Scriptures?  The answer to that is very simple.  Scripture itself reveals the extent.

a) Christ in the Old Testament

Christ, dealing with the two disciples on the road to Emmaus, “expounded to them in all the scriptures [the Old Testament Scriptures] the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27).  Note that it is not “in the scriptures all” but “in all the scriptures . . . .”  The simple statement is made that “all the scriptures” — all of the Old Testament Scriptures — are about the person and work of Christ.  He can be seen on every page and in every part of Scripture on that page.

But, the way Christ is presented in the Old Testament Scriptures is in the spirit rather than in the letter of the manner in which Scripture has been structured.  Insofar as Old Testament history is concerned, that would be to say, Christ is really not seen in the strict letter of the historic account per se.

A person can read Old Testament history from one end to the other and never see the person and work of Christ within that history (cf. 2 Corinthians 3:14-15).  In this respect, the person would be reading the letter of Scripture, failing to see anything beyond.  In order to truly see the Christ of the Old Testament, a person must see beyond the letter to the spirit.

Christ is seen mainly within the inherent types set forth by the historic accounts rather than in the actual historic accounts themselves.  All Old Testament history is, after some fashion, about the person and work of Christ; but this same history must be “spiritually discerned,” “comparing spiritual things with spiritual”  (1 Corinthians 2:13-14).

And this can be illustrated after several fashions at the very beginning of Scripture.  The first verse in Scripture forms a direct statement concerning the work of the triune Godhead in creation; and, looking beyond the direct statement, this verse is also the beginning point in the overall type encompassed in Genesis 1:1-2:3. 

Accordingly, Christ is revealed at the very beginning of Scripture, in the opening verse, after this dual fashion.

In the beginning God created . . . .”  The word “God” is a translation of the Hebrew word Elohim, a plural noun which, in complete keeping with related Scripture, would include all three members of the Godhead — God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit.

Everything that exists in the material universe came into existence “by [‘through’] Him [the Son]”; and apart from Him “was not anything made that was made [i.e., apart from the Son, not one thing that presently exists was (or could have been) brought into existence].”  It was all done through the Son, present with the Father in the beginning (John 1:1-3; cf. Colossians 1:16-17).

Then in verses two and three of the opening chapter of Scripture there is a ruin of the creation (Genesis 1:1) and a beginning restoration.  And in a type-antitype structure — going beyond the letter to the spirit, as it would pertain to the ruin and beginning restoration of man (a subsequent ruined creation [Genesis 3]) — the Spirit moving (Genesis 1:2b) and God speaking (Genesis 1:3) are based on death and shed blood, ultimately and finally on death and shed blood through the finished work of the Son on Calvary, 4,000 years beyond the historic-typical account.

In this respect, the typical reference is to the manner in which God restores ruined man — via death and shed blood — based today on the Son’s finished work at Calvary.  The Spirit moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence (reference the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Egypt to Canaan, Ch. 7, Ch. 8).

Moving on to Genesis 2, Christ and His bride can be seen in the person of Adam with his bride.  Eve was formed from a part of Adam’s body, as the bride of Christ (the bride of “the second Man,” “the last Adam” [1 Corinthians 15:45-47]) will be formed from a part of His body.  And as Eve was presented back to the first man, the first Adam, to complete Adam and to reign as consort queen with him, so will it be with the second Man, the last Adam.  The bride will be removed from His body and be presented back to Christ to not only complete Christ but to reign as consort queen with Him (Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 2:10).

Then in Genesis 3, Adam partook of sin to effect Eve’s redemption, as Christ became sin to affect our redemption.  The first man, the first Adam, found his bride in a fallen state and followed the only avenue open to bring about her redemption.  And the second Man, the last Adam, did exactly the same thing.  He found His bride in a fallen state and procured her redemption through the only means available, through an act that had been predetermined in the eternal council chambers of God before the ages even began (Hebrews 1:2-3; Revelation 13:8; cf. Romans 5:12-14).

Then Genesis 4 provides additional details, commentary, to that which is previously revealed in chapter three.  In this chapter Cain slew Abel, pointing to Israel, 4,000 years later, slaying Christ.  One brother slew the other brother in both type and antitype.  The blood of Abel cried out “from the ground” (Genesis 4:10), but the blood of Christ speaks “better things than that of Abel” (Hebrews 12:24).

And on and on one could go with Old Testament history after this fashion.  Exactly what portions of the Old Testament Christ called to the attention of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus is unrevealed.  He may have called their attention to Joseph, who first suffered prior to being exalted over all Egypt (a type of the world); or He may have called their attention to Moses, who suffered rejection by his brethren prior to their acceptance of him; or He could have called their attention to any other account or place in the Old Testament.  It is all about Him.

Note that Stephen, in Acts 7, singled out parts of the preceding two types (singled out events in both Joseph’s and Moses’ lives) as he revealed, to Israel’s religious leaders, Christ’s identity from the Old Testament Scriptures (Acts 7:9-42).  And, Stephen using the Old Testament Scriptures in this correct manner, caused powers in both the heavens and upon earth to react.  On the one hand, the Son, through an opened heaven, is seen standing (rather than sitting [Psalm 110:1]) at His Father’s right hand; and, on the other hand, the Jewish religious leaders being addressed stoned Stephen (Acts 7:54-60).

Suffice it to say that Christ, in Luke 24, could have referenced any account in Old Testament history and, through this account, revealed things concerning Himself to these two disciples.  We can only know that He did reference different historic accounts in the Old Testament (and possibly Old Testament prophecies and/or statements in the Psalms or Proverbs [cf. Acts 7:44]), beginning with Moses; and, from these accounts, He revealed things concerning Himself to these disciples, especially as these things pertained to His past sufferings and His future glory (Acts 7:26).  And, as a result, in the subsequent breaking of bread, “their eyes were opened” (Acts 7:31).

b) Types in the Old Testament

Though all of the Old Testament is, after some fashion, about Christ, not all of the Old Testament is typical in its structure.  Types have to do with history, not with the book of Proverbs, most of that seen in the Prophets, or in many of the Psalms (the latter though, particularly the Psalms and the Prophets, at times, deal with history, in which types can be seen).

The statement, “Now all these things happened to them as examples [‘types’] . . . .” (1 Corinthians 10:11; cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6), refers to recorded events in Old Testament history.  And, as previously stated, though the contextual reference is only to a select number of events during Moses’ day, the statement concerning types in connection with Old Testament history could, by no means, be limited only to these contextual references.  It must be looked upon as far more extensive than this.

In fact, drawing from Luke 24:25-27, 44, one can arrive at only one conclusion concerning the extent of typology in connection with Old Testament history.  It must be looked upon as all-inclusive, for all of the Old Testament Scriptures are revealed to be about the central Person of Scripture, Jesus the Christ.

The story of Joseph (ref. Genesis 37-45), for example, is about the Person and work of Christ, though there is no direct statement in the New Testament specifically stating that Joseph is a type of Christ.  But, comparing Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11, one can be drawn to no other conclusion.

And so it is with numerous other portions of the Old Testament.  Though no direct statement may exist in the New Testament specifying that a particular person or event forms a type of Christ, dealing with some facet of His person and work, that becomes meaningless in the light of Scriptures such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.

It also becomes meaningless when one sees and understands that God, by His very nature, would, of necessity, be completely consistent concerning how He structured all of Old Testament history.  He simply did not, He would not, He could not, structure part in one way and part in another way, particularly in the light of sections of Scripture such as Luke 24:25-27, 44 and 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11.

In the preceding respect, and in the light of these sections of Scripture from Luke and First Corinthians, it becomes clear that any Old Testament historic account, of necessity, has to do, after some fashion, with the person and work of Christ (past, present, or future); and this has been accomplished centrally through the inherent typical nature of Old Testament history, established by a Sovereign God, in perfect keeping with Scripture’s own direct statements and internal evidence.

All of this becomes self-evident when one begins to study Old Testament history after the fashion in which it was written.  The whole of Old Testament history, so to speak, begins to come to life and open up as one views the Scriptures after the fashion in which God clearly reveals, in His Word, that they were written.

(Aside from the preceding, any segment of Old Testament history has to do with one part of a complete whole — one part of the complete Word, forming the complete Old Testament canon.  And this complete Word [the complete Old Testament] was made flesh in the person of the Son.

There is the written Word, and there is the living Word; and the two cannot possibly be separated from one another, for the latter is simply a full manifestation of the former, in flesh, which would include the subsequent New Testament revelation as well.

In this respect, approaching the matter from another perspective, the question could be both asked and answered:  “What part of the Old Testament is not about Christ?”  And the answer:  “No part, simply because the Old Testament [not part, but all] was made flesh in the person of the Son.”

That which is stated about or inherent in One [the written Word (John 17:14)] can be stated about and would be inherent in the Other [the Living Word (John 1:1, 14)].  For example, if perfection is seen in One [in Christ], then perfection must exist in the Other as well [the Scriptures].  And the reasoning behind that would emanate from the fact that the living Word is simply a manifestation, in flesh, of the written Word.)

2) Structure of the New Testament

But is typology limited to Old Testament history?  What about the New Testament?  Is it also highly typical in nature?

The passage already under consideration in Luke 24:13ff would perhaps address the issue about as well as any other part of the New Testament.  There is nothing stated about this section forming a type, but it does.  And the fact that it does is so evident that a person with any spiritual perception at all can’t fail to see it.

Events in Luke 24 occur on the third day, dating from Christ’s crucifixion (Luke 24:21), and have to do with the eyes of blinded Jews being opened through Christ personally appearing in their presence and revealing Himself to them.  This section of Scripture can only refer to one facet of the person and work of Christ.  It can only refer to that future day when Christ appears in Israel’s presence — with Israel, as the two disciples in Luke 24, blinded (Romans 11:25) — and reveals Himself to the nation (Romans 11:26; 2 Corinthians 3:14-16).

And events of that future day will parallel events in Luke 24:13ff with respect to time as well.  These events will occur after two days, on the third day.  That is to say, they will occur after two thousand years, in the third one-thousand-year period (cf. Hosea 5:15-6:2; 2 Peter 3:8).

Israel will not know Christ in that future day, exactly as the two disciples on the road to Emmaus didn’t know Him; and He will reveal Himself to the nation exactly the same way that He revealed Himself to these two disciples.

Christ, in that future day, will call the nation’s attention to their own Old Testament Scriptures — Scriptures that relate the entire story, from one end to the other — and He will reveal Himself to the nation from these Scriptures, exactly the same way that He revealed Himself to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus in the historic account.

And exactly the same thing will occur in that future day that occurred in the type.  Christ will appear in the antitype of Melchizedek, with bread and wine (Genesis 14:18-20; cf. Matthew 26:26-29), to bless Abraham and his descendants.  And as there was a breaking of bread in the type, there will undoubtedly be a breaking of bread in the antitype.

Then Israel will recognize her Messiah, spoken of throughout the very Old Testament Scriptures that will have been in the possession of the Jewish people for almost two and one-half millennia, with parts of these Scriptures having been in their possession for almost three and one-half millennia.  At that time — at the full end of Daniel’s Seventy Week prophecy — Israel’s blindness will be lifted, and a nation will be brought forth in a day (Isaiah 66:8; Romans 11:26).

Another facet of the matter can be seen in Paul’s conversion in Acts 9:1ff.  And, interestingly enough, Paul stated in 1 Timothy 1:15-16 that his salvation experience was “a pattern [Greek, hupotuposis, referring to ‘an original pattern,’ ‘a prototype’] to [‘of’] those who are going to believe on Him [on Jesus Christ] for everlasting life.”  That is to say, the manner in which Paul was saved forms an original type of the manner in which others will be saved at a later time, forming the antitype.

Paul was saved through Christ personally appearing and revealing Himself to him, which is not the manner people have been saved throughout the present dispensation following Paul’s conversion.  But this is the manner in which Israel will be saved at a future time, when Christ reappears to the nation.  And it is this future event to which Paul’s salvation experience, in a God-ordained type, relates.

Paul was saved as a type of the future salvation of Israel.  He, at this time, understood the letter of the Word but not the spirit of the Word.  There was a veil over his eyes, which was “done away in Christ” (2 Corinthians 3:14).  And so will it be with Israel in the antitype yet future.

There is a reading of the letter of the Old Testament in the synagogues today, as in Paul’s day, which leaves the “veil untaken away.”  Paul, typifying Israel in this respect, was blinded for two days (the veil was over his eyes for two days), with the blindness (the veil) being removed on the third day (Acts 8:9; cf. Genesis 42:17-18; Esther 4:16-5:1; Matthew 27:63; Luke 24:7, 21, 46).

(Paul, prior to the events surrounding his conversion in Acts 9, was part of a redeemed nation, comprised of individuals spiritually alive and capable of understanding spiritual truth, to whom the kingdom of the heavens was being re-offered.  And individuals receiving this message were being saved, delivered, with respect to that which was being proclaimed — Christ’s kingdom and glory — not with respect to eternal salvation, as someone spiritually dead would have been saved then or today.  Those Jews receiving the message at the time of Paul’s conversion, which would include Paul, were already saved in this respect.

The same thing, as it relates to eternal salvation, could be said about the two disciples on the road to Emmaus.  They had received the message proclaimed by the Messianic King; Paul hadn’t.  But, as matters relate to eternal salvation, there was no difference.  Paul, prior to his conversion experience in Acts 9 was just as saved in an eternal respect as these two disciples were following their reception of the message proclaimed by the Messianic King.  Or, to state matters another way, Paul was no more saved in an eternal respect following events in Acts 9 as he was before these events.

There are two aspects to the salvation message seen in Luke 24:26.  There is an aspect having to do with Christ’s past sufferings and an aspect having to do with Christ’s coming glory.  This would be seen in Christendom today as the gospel of the grace of God [reflecting upon the first part of Luke 24:26] and the gospel of the glory of Christ [reflecting upon the latter part of this verse (cf. 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:8-9)]).

Relative to Israel’s coming conversion [foreshadowed by both types], both types would have to cover the whole panorama of the matter, for Israel today, unlike Israel at the time of Christ’s first coming, is spiritually dead.

Israel, yet future, will first be made spiritually alive, saved, delivered, through that which is seen in the first part of Luke 24:26 [Christ’s past sufferings]; then they will be saved, delivered, in relation to that which is seen in the latter part of this same verse [Christ’s future glory].

(For additional information pertaining to Israel’s spiritual condition at the time of Christ’s first coming, refer to From Acts to the Epistles by Arlen Chitwood.)

The Jewish people must see beyond the letter to the spirit.  They must see the One concerning whom Moses and the prophets wrote.  They must see their Messiah in their own Old Testament Scriptures, something that will occur when Christ returns and reveals Himself to them after this fashion — first as the Paschal Lamb, then as the Messianic King.

And so it is with New Testament history.  The New Testament has been structured after the same fashion as Old Testament history.  It was given through Jewish prophets by the same One who gave the Old Testament Scriptures through Jewish prophets; and it has an evident inherent typical nature, established by the same sovereign God who first structured the Old Testament after this fashion. 

The Central Focus of Scripture

As all Scripture revolves around a central Person, all Scripture also revolves around a central focus, which has to do with the central Person.  Scripture concerns itself with time, and, in the main, this time has to do with the 7,000 years portended by the seven days opening Scripture.  And, within this time, there is the thought of creation for a purpose, redemption for a purpose, and God’s work throughout the 6,000 years covering the present age (Man’s Day) for a purpose.

The purpose surrounding man’s creation has to do with the seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period; so does the fall, and so does redemption; and so does God’s work throughout the six days, the 6,000 years of Man’s Day.  The whole of Scripture moves toward that coming seventh day, a pattern established in the skeletal outline set forth at the very beginning.

Thus, the central focus of Scripture looks to that seventh day when the central Person of Scripture will be revealed in all His glory to bring about that for which man was created in the beginning and for which he has been redeemed.  The Son is to exercise dominion over one province in His Father’s kingdom — for a revealed purpose (1 Corinthians 15:24-28) — and man is to have a part in this dominion.

In this respect, biblical history, within its established historic-typical framework, becomes largely prophetic within its scope of fulfillment.  Biblical history, in this respect, revolves around the central Person and the central focus of Scripture.  And the central Person and the central focus of Scripture are so inseparably related that at times they are spoken of either in synonymous terms or both are understood to be in view though only one is mentioned.

Examples of both facets of the matter can be seen in Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45 and Hebrews 12:1-2:

1) Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45

The Stone, “cut out of the mountain without hands,” in one respect refers to Christ and in another respect to the kingdom of Christ.

The Father will give the Son “dominion, and glory, and a kingdom” (Daniel 7:13-14).  He will be the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” in the kingdom.  He, as the King, as the Stone, will be the One who personally smites the image at its feet (Revelation 19:11-21).

But Daniel 2:44-45, interpreting verses thirty-four and thirty-five, also refers to the kingdom of Christ itself breaking in pieces and consuming all the kingdoms comprising the one world kingdom of that day (cf. Revelation 11:15).  The Stone, after smiting the image, will become “a great mountain” and fill the whole earth.

In this respect, the King of the kingdom is not to be thought of apart from His kingdom.  All the various facets of His person and work, set forth in detail throughout Old Testament Scripture, have an end in view; and that end is the day when He will rule and reign over the earth.

Christ’s finished work at Calvary and His present work as High Priest — foretold in the Old Testament — have the same end in view.  The Savior, who is presently exercising the office of High Priest, was born King (Matthew 2:2).  And the coming King and His Kingdom, in the overall scope of the matter, become inseparable; and this is the reason they can be spoken of in synonymous terms, as in Daniel chapter two.

2) Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2, in the light of other Scripture, presents the same picture.  In this section of Scripture a person is told to look “unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.”

The thought from the Greek text is literally to look “from [from the things in the surrounding world system, the present kingdom under Satan], to Jesus . . . .”  But yet other Scriptures exhort us to look from this present world system “to the mountain [signifying the coming kingdom of Christ (Isaiah 2:2-4; Daniel 2:35)]” (cf. Genesis 13:10-12; 19:1, 17).

Are we to look to Jesus?  Or are we to look to the Mountain?  The correct biblical answer would center on the thought that a person, within a proper biblical perspective, cannot look to One apart from looking to the Other.  That would be to say, in a proper biblical perspective, we cannot really look “from, to Jesus” apart from seeing Him in connection with His coming kingdom; and, conversely, we cannot really fix our eyes on “the mountain,” the kingdom, apart from seeing the King of the kingdom.

When Hebrews 12:2 states, “Looking from, to Jesus . . . .” the thought would have to include, as well, the same thing contained in the remainder of the verse.  Christ, . . . for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame [considering it a thing of little import in comparison to the joy set before Him], and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The “joy that was set before Him” had to do with that day when He would rule and reign (cf. Matthew 25:21, 23).  Christ had His eyes fixed on that day as He endured present sufferings; and we are to fix our eyes on the One who left us an example, after this same fashion, as we endure present sufferings.

Christ, at the time of His sufferings on Calvary, had His eyes fixed on the coming kingdom, the day of His exaltation and glory.  And that is exactly the place — the same place — we should have our eyes fixed as we look “from, to Jesus” during present sufferings.

He left us an example that we “should follow His steps” (1 Peter 2:21).  His eyes were fixed on that which lay ahead.

And, as has been demonstrated, in the true biblical sense of the command, there can be no such thing as a Christian fixing his eyes on Jesus apart from seeing both the King and His Kingdom.

The Central Message of the New Testament

(Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 13.)

Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)

The Word of the Kingdom — the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 13:11, 19, 24) — is the central message of the New Testament.  Whether studying the gospels, the book of Acts, the epistles, or the book of Revelation, an individual will be studying Scriptures dealing centrally with a message pertaining to the kingdom.

The person understanding this message will possess a proper foundation to build upon as he studies different parts of the New Testament.  However, if this message is not understood, the converse of the preceding will be true.  That person will possess an improper foundation to build upon; and his studies throughout any part of the New Testament will, accordingly, be adversely affected.

This is why an individual instructed in the Word of the Kingdom can be likened to the householder in the text.  Not only will he be able to go to the Scriptures and bring forth things that areold” (things he has already seen and understood) but he will also be able, from the things that are “old,” to begin seeing and bringing forth things that are “new” as well (things he has not previously seen and understood).

And, according to the text, he will be able to do this because he has been “instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven.”  He now possesses a key to the Scriptures; a key that will open numerous passages of Scripture to his understanding, passages that otherwise would have remained closed.

Such an individual, as he studies and learns new things about the Word of the Kingdom, will progressively find himself being able to, more and more, take the “old” and see and understand that which is “new.”  And the more that person comes into an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom, the more he will see Scripture opening up to him in this fashion.  The latter, in this respect, is inseparably linked to and dependent on the former. 

This is what an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom will do for an individual in his quest for knowledge of Scripture.  And, though this has been the experience and testimony of numerous Christians, this is not simply what they might have to say about the matter.  Rather, this is what the unchangeable Word of God has to say about the matter.

 The Word of God clearly reveals that a person instructed in the Word of the Kingdom can go to the Scriptures and bring forth out of this storehouse of unlimited treasures “things new and old.”  But by the same token, apart from an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom, though an individual may be able to see and understand certain truths, the same situation referred to in Matthew 13:52 simply doesn’t exist.

The preceding will explain why this whole realm of teaching lies center stage in Satan’s attack against the Word during the present dispensation.  An understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the key to a proper understanding of Scripture as it relates to Christians, and Satan knows this.  He knows that if he can corrupt or destroy that which will open the door to a proper understanding of the numerous other Scriptures bearing on the subject, he can best accomplish the purpose for his present work among Christians.

Satan’s efforts toward this end are something easily seen in the first four parables in Matthew 13.  These four parables present a chronology of Satan’s work as he seeks to subvert the Word of the Kingdom, and this chronology covers the progressive results of his work in this respect throughout the entire dispensation.

Satan’s attack in the first parable, the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23), was seen to be against those hearing the Word of the Kingdom.  He sought to stop the matter at that point, preventing individuals from understanding this message and subsequently bringing forth fruit.  Four types of individuals are seen responding to the message, with Satan being successful in his attack against three of the four.  Those seen in the first three of the four categories fell away and bore no fruit.  But Satan’s attack against those in the fourth category proved to be unsuccessful.  They heard the Word, received and understood the Word, overcame Satan’s attack, and bore fruit.

Then the next parable, the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), centers on Satan’s attack against the ones bearing fruit from the previous parable.  Satan placed those with a false message (false teachers) in the midst of those bearing fruit, seeking to subvert the message and stop that which was occurring.  That is to say, he sought to corrupt the true message by introducing a false message.  And this was done with a view to stopping that which had resulted from a proclamation of the true message.  This was done with a view to stopping those Christians who were bearing fruit from doing so.

Then the next parable, the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32), shows that which happened in Christendom over the course of time during the dispensation because of this false message.  The mustard seed germinated and took a normal growth for a while.  But then something happened, which caused it to take an abnormal growth and eventually become a tree.  And after this abnormal growth had occurred — after the mustard bush had become a tree, something that it wasn’t supposed to become at all — the birds of the air (ministers of Satan, seen in the first parable [Matthew 13:4]) found a lodging place therein.

And the fourth parable, the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33), completes the picture.  The false message introduced near the beginning of the dispensation is likened to leaven placed in three measures of meal (“three” is the number of divine perfection, and “meal” is that which is used to make bread.  Leaven [a corrupting substance] was placed in the meal [resulting in corruption in the bread]).  And this leaven would continue to work (this false message would continue to permeate and corrupt the true message) until the whole had been leavened (until the whole had been corrupted).

This is the revealed direction that Christendom would take relative to the true message concerning the Word of the Kingdom following the introduction of the leaven, following the introduction of a false message concerning the Word of the Kingdom.

These four parables together show a history of Christendom throughout the dispensation in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.  This message — the central message of the New Testament — was universally taught throughout the churches during the first century.  But the introduction of a false message resulted in changes.  Christendom itself took an abnormal growth; and this abnormal growth was such that the false teachers eventually found themselves welcomed within that which they, through their false message, had corrupted.

Corruption though didn’t stop at this point.  The working of the leaven continued, and it would continue until this false message had permeated all of Christendom.  This corrupting process would continue, according to the text, “till the whole” had been leavened.

And, viewing the matter solely from the standpoint of that which can be seen in the world today, what has been the end result of the working of the leaven?  As the dispensation draws to a close, where does the Church find itself today?

The answers are easy to ascertain.  All one has to do in order to see and understand that which has happened is to go into almost any church of the land (fundamental and liberal alike) and listen for any mention of things having to do with the Word of the KingdomA person will listen in vain.  Because of the working of a leavening process that is in its final stages, the true biblical message surrounding Christians and the coming kingdom is practically nonexistent throughout Christendom today.

This leavening process recognizes no bounds or barriers.  Fundamental Christendom finds itself just as permeated with the leaven, as it relates to the Word of the Kingdom, as does liberal Christendom.  From the theology schools to the pulpits of churches to the pews in these churches, the whole of Christendom finds itself in exactly the same state insofar as that which is revealed throughout the first four parables in Matthew chapter thirteen is concerned.

Many of the fundamentalists, not understanding the true nature of the leavening process, look upon themselves as having escaped this corruption.  But such is not the case at all.  Insofar as any understanding and proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom is concerned, the fundamental groups find themselves in exactly the same state as the liberal groups.  They find themselves permeated through and through with exactly the same corrupting leaven.  There is absolutely no difference between the two groups in this respect.  Neither understands nor proclaims this message.

Seminaries — fundamental and liberal alike — are training students in everything but the one message that will open the Scriptures to their understanding.  And these same seminaries are turning out graduates who are filling the pulpits of churches with a message completely void of any reference to the Word of the Kingdom.  These seminary graduates don’t know the truth of the matter, and, as a result, their entire ministries are negatively affected.  The various flocks that the Lord has entrusted to their care are not being properly fed; and, in reality, for the most part, Christians under their ministries are slowly starving to death.

Christians throughout the churches today are simply not hearing the one message, above all other messages, which they should be hearing.  And the reason is given in the first four parables of Matthew chapter thirteen.  The working of the leaven over almost two millennia of time has produced a corruption extending throughout Christendom that has all but destroyed the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom.  And, as a result of this corruption, the Bible, for the most part, remains a closed book for the vast majority of Christians.

The preceding is why a person, untrained in the theology schools of the land, but understanding the Word of the Kingdom, often has a better grasp of the whole of Scripture than many of those who are teaching in the theology schools.  The person having an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom possesses a key to Scripture that a person without this understanding does not possess.  He can go to the Scriptures and bring forth things both “new and old”; but the same thing cannot be said for those who lack this understanding.

Why?

Why will instruction in the Word of the Kingdom open the Scriptures to a person’s understanding like nothing else?  Why is an understanding of this message so vital if a person is to possess a correct and proper grasp of Scripture?  The answer could be looked upon in a twofold respect.  

First, an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the only thing that will provide the true biblical picture surrounding the purpose for the Christian life.  Why did God bring the new creation “in Christ” into existence?  Why is God taking an entire dispensation to do a work among the Gentiles?  Why is the Holy Spirit presently in the world performing a work among Christians?

And second, an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the only thing that will provide the true biblical picture surrounding direction for the Christian life.  What is the goal toward which everything moves as it pertains to the new creationin Christ”?  What is the spiritual warfare about?  What is the race of the faith about?  What will be the end result of victory or defeat as it pertains to the warfare or the race?

An understanding of the Word of the Kingdom will answer questions surrounding the Christian life unlike anything else in the Word of God.  This is the only thing that will present the complete biblical picture in its correct fashion.  Only out of this teaching can all the issues surrounding the Christian life be properly addressed, and only out of this teaching can one find the true motivation for Godly Christian living.

But, if all the preceding is true — and it is — then why is this message so fought against in Christian circles today?  It would appear that acceptance rather than rejection would be the norm.

Such though is not the case at all.  Rather, with rare exceptions, rejection is invariably the norm.  And the reason is seen in the working of the leaven in Matthew 13:33.  The negative attitude of Christians toward the Word of the Kingdom is simply the end result of a work of Satan that has been going on for almost 2,000 years.

1)  Purpose of . . .

The overall picture of the Word of the Kingdom in the New Testament begins with the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel in the gospel accounts.  Israel spurned this offer, the offer was taken from Israel, and an entirely new entity was then brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected
(Matthew 21:33-43; 1 Peter 2:9-11
).

The one new man, the new creation “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17; Ephesians 2:15) was brought into existence to bring forth fruit where Israel had failed.  And, since Israel had spurned the offer, God, in relation to this one new man, turned to the Gentiles.  God set aside an entire dispensation, lasting two days, 2,000 years, during which time He would perform and complete a work with an entirely new creation.  And this would be accomplished by removing “a people for His name” from among the Gentiles, though with “a remnant according to the election of grace [believing Jews]” being included (Acts 15:14; Romans 11:5).

And, in order to carry out His purposes surrounding this new creation, God sent the Holy Spirit into the world.  Throughout the present dispensation, the Spirit of God is in the world performing a work in the antitype of that which is seen in Genesis 24.

As Abraham in this chapter sent his servant into the far country to procure a bride for his son, God has sent the Holy Spirit into the world to procure a bride for His Son.  And, as in the type, so in the antitype — the search occurs among those in the family.  The Spirit of God is conducting His search among those comprising the one new man, for this one new man forms the body of Christ, and the bride is to be taken from the body
(cf. Genesis 2:21-25; 24:2-4, 9; Matthew 22:14).

And also as in the type, once the search has been completed, the bride will be removed.  As Rebekah was removed from Mesopotamia, so will Christ’s bride be removed from the earth; as Isaac came forth to meet Rebekah, so will the Son come forth to meet His bride; and as Rebekah went with Isaac to his home, where she became his wife, so will the bride go with Christ to His home, where she will become His wife
(Genesis 24:61-67; 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17; Revelation 19:7-9).

2)  Direction for . . .

The goal toward which everything pertaining to the new creationin Christ” moves is exactly the same as the goal set forth in the beginning, in the opening two chapters of Genesis.  The point out ahead toward which all things move is the earth’s coming Sabbath, foreshadowed by the Sabbath in Genesis 2:1-3, which followed six days of restorative work (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

And it matters not whether one is viewing the reason for the existence of the one new man, the reason for the present dispensation, or the reason for the Spirit of God having been sent into the world, the point toward which everything moves is always the same.  It has to be the same, for this is the way matters were set forth and established at the beginning of God’s revelation to man (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

And properly understanding the spiritual warfare and the present race of the faith is contingent on properly understanding things surrounding the goal that lies out ahead.  It is contingent on properly understanding the reason God has brought the one new man into existence, the reason God has set aside an entire dispensation to deal with this new man, and the reason God has sent His Spirit into the world to perform a work during the dispensation.

Christians are engaged in a warfare against powerful spirit beings in the heavens, which is part and parcel with the race of the faith in which they find themselves engaged; and whether Christians do or do not understand all the various things about this warfare and race, Satan knows every one of these things all too well.  And he is ever lying in wait to defeat the Christian in the warfare or sidetrack him in the race.

And the end result will be either victory or defeat.  An individual will either overcome in the warfare and race or he will be overcome.

And note what is at stake in either victory or defeat — the greatest thing God could ever design for redeemed man.  The Spirit of God is presently in the world opening the Word of God to the Christians’ understanding, calling their attention to one central fact — They are being offered positions as co-regents with Christ in His kingdom, forming the bride that will reign with the Son as consort queen.

That’s what is at stake.  And knowing this, is it any wonder that Satan, very early in the dispensation, set about to accomplish the things outlined in the first four parables in Matthew chapter thirteen?  Is it any wonder that he has done and continues to do everything within his power to corrupt and destroy the true message surrounding Christians and the coming kingdom?

From Genesis to Matthew to Revelation

As previously seen in this book, several things must be kept in mind when studying the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen.  The first four were given outside the house, by the seaside; and the last three were given after Christ had re-entered the house.  This fact, often overlooked, is significant beyond degree if one is to understand these parables correctly.  Then, a chronology is seen in the parables that carry the reader from the beginning of the present dispensation to the future Messianic Kingdom.

As previously shown, the first four parables (given outside the house, by the seaside) present a history of Christendom as it relates to the Word of the Kingdom; and this history covers the entirety of the dispensation.  To understand why conditions in Christendom are as they presently exist, one has to go back in history and follow the course of events leading into the presently existing situation.

And going back in history after this fashion can only be done one way.  It can only involve going to the Scriptures to see what the Word of God reveals about the matter, not what the various Church history books written by man reveal.  All of man’s writings on Church history might as well be categorized as “secular” insofar as this aspect of Church history is concerned.  That which man has written simply doesn’t deal with Church history in this respect, though this is the main crux of the matter seen within the way Scripture deals with the subject.The earliest period of Church history is dealt with in the book of Acts, following the inception of the Church.  This period covers that time when the kingdom was being re-offered to Israel (from 33 to 62 A.D.).  And accordingly, the message seen throughout this book centers on the proffered kingdom.

The epistles (some written during the Acts period, some following) deal centrally with the same message seen in Acts — one having to do with the kingdom.  These epistles simply form different facets of instruction written to Christians surrounding the same central message.  And these epistles, as the book of Acts, provide information surrounding early Church history.

Both the book of Acts and the epistles deal with the Church during the first century only.  But there are two places in Scripture that deal with a history of the Church throughout the dispensation.  One is in the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen, before the Church was even brought into existence; and the other is in Revelation chapters two and three, at a place in the book where the Church is seen being dealt with at the judgment seat in the heavens following the dispensation (though the record itself was given during the early years of the dispensation and has to do with a history of the Church during the dispensation as well).  Thus, one complete history is seen in Scripture at a point preceding the dispensation (Matthew 13), and the other is seen in Scripture at a point following the dispensation (Revelation 2; 3).

In Matthew chapter thirteen, before the dispensation began, a history of the Church — in relation to the Word of the Kingdom — is seen in the first four parables.  And, in Revelation chapters two and three, at a point in the book that follows the dispensation, a history of the Church — in relation to the Word of the Kingdom — is seen in the seven letters (seven epistles) to the seven churches.

The first presents a history of the Church in relation to the Word of the Kingdom from the perspective of the Lord using parables; the second presents a history of the Church in relation to the Word of the Kingdom from the perspective of the Lord using epistles to seven existing churches in Asia.  But both show exactly the same thing.  The Church is revealed to have begun one way (a mustard bush, an entity laboring for Christ’s sake [Matthew 13:32; Revelation 2:2-3]), but the Church is seen ending another way (a tree, a completely leavened entity, one neither cold nor hot, one described as “wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked”  [Matthew 13:32-33; Revelation 3:15-17]).

Then, all of this is intimately connected with God’s original structure of His Word at the beginning.  The parables in Matthew 13 and the seven epistles in Revelation 2; 3 are structured after a fashion that is in complete keeping with the way God set matters forth at the very beginning of His revelation to man, in the opening chapters of Genesis.  And this is easy to understand, for the latter rests upon and is inseparably linked to the former.

Scripture begins with a foundational framework upon which the whole of subsequent Scripture rests — six days of restorative work (a restoration of the ruined material creation, with man created at the conclusion of this work, on the sixth day), followed by a seventh day of rest, a Sabbath day.  And the preceding relates the story of the whole of Scripture beyond this introductory framework.

Man, following his creation, fell.  And he, through this fall, became a ruined creation, bringing about not only his own ruin but the ruin of the restored material creation once again as well.  And God, following this ruin, again set about to perform six days of restorative work — which this time had to do with both man and the material creation.  And this latter restorative work will be followed by a seventh day of rest — a Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God, the coming Messianic Era (Hebrews 4:4-9) — in exact keeping with the pattern set forth at the beginning.

Each day in the former restoration was twenty-four hours in length, including the Sabbath; and each day in the latter restoration has been/will be 1,000 years in length, including the Sabbath (cf. Matthew 16:28-17:5; 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:1-8).

All of Scripture beyond the foundational framework in the opening two chapters of Genesis rests upon and forms additional information for this framework.  And it matters not whether one is dealing with the framework set forth at the beginning or with subsequent Scripture, all restorative work can be seen moving toward the same goal — a coming Sabbath of rest.

(Note also that exactly the same septenary structure beginning the Old Testament in the opening two chapters is seen in the opening two chapters of the gospel of John as well [which, in this respect, should be the gospel beginning the New Testament, paralleling Genesis beginning the Old].

As well, with respect to everything moving toward the seventh day, the subject matter is the same throughout both books.  In Genesis, this is accomplished mainly through the use of types; and in John, this is accomplished mainly through the use of signs.

The former [Genesis] has to do with the restoration of a ruined material creation, occurring over six days of time, with a seventh day following [a day of rest following]; the latter [the gospel of John] has to do with the restoration of another ruined creation, ruined man, occurring over six days of time, with a seventh day following [a day of rest following].

Thus, if the gospel of John occupied its proper place in the Canon of Scripture — set at the beginning of the four gospels — each Testament would be introduced by this septenary structure.)

Then, with the preceding in mind, note the first four parables in Matthew chapter thirteen.  Events in these parables form one facet of a commentary on that which occurs during the two days immediately preceding the Sabbath, which covers the entire present dispensation.  And, viewing events in the remaining three parables, which move beyond the present dispensation and progress on into the Messianic Era, it’s easy to see and understand how all these parables move toward this same goal — the same goal set forth at the beginning of Scripture, the coming Sabbath.  Everything moves toward this goal.

And exactly the same thing can be seen in the seven epistles to the seven churches in Revelation chapters two and three.  This sequence of epistles simply forms another facet of a commentary on that which occurs during the two days immediately preceding the Sabbath.  And, from the overcomer’s promises, along with that which is revealed in Revelation chapters one and four, it’s easy to see and understand that all of this (exactly as the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen) has to do with the Church in relation to the Word of the Kingdom and the coming Sabbath.  Again, everything moves toward this goal.

Thus, it should be a simple matter to see that anything in the New Testament that has to do with the Church centers on things having to do with the coming kingdom.  And though man may write his history books completely separate from this message, Scripture centers its revealed history of the Church completely by this message.

During the first century, Christians would have understood a history of the Church in keeping with Scripture, for the Word of the Kingdom was universally taught throughout the churches of the land.  Today though, the situation has become completely reversed.  Because of the working of the leaven over almost two millennia of time, the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom has become so corrupted that two things are evident:

First, a Church historian wouldn’t know enough about the Word of the Kingdom to even include it within his account in the first place, much less ascribe to this message a central place in his account.

Second, even should a Church historian write about the matter, Christians wouldn’t be able to understand that which he was writing about.  Because of the working of the leaven over almost two millennia of time, the truth about the Word of the Kingdom has become so corrupted that it would be completely alien to their way of thinking.

And that’s where we are in a supposedly enlightened twentieth century Christendom, immediately preceding Christ’s return for the Church.  We’re living during a time when there is far more material available for Bible study and research than has ever existed in the history of the Church — everything from the extensive computer study and research programs to new books being printed every day.  But we are also living during a time when the birds of the air are freely lodging in the branches of the tree, with its roots sunk deep into the earth, where the leaven has almost completed its work.

Warning

The parables in Matthew 13 thirteen deal far more extensively with the negative than they do with the positive.  More space is given in the first parable to those who fail to bring forth fruit than is given to those who do bring forth fruit (in three of the four parts).  And the emphasis in the second, third, fourth, and seventh parables is on different facets of this same work of Satan as well.  Only the fifth and sixth parables, which have to do with Christ’s redemptive work as it relates to the earth and to His bride, form an exception.

Thus, the central thrust of these parables is seen to be far more negative than positive.  These parables have to do centrally with exposing the work of Satan throughout the dispensation in relation to the Word of the Kingdom, along with revealing where this will lead, both during and following the dispensation.

As the dispensation draws to a close and Satan’s corrupting work nears its final stage, the whole matter goes almost completely unrecognized in Christendom.  And the reason for this is easy to see and understand.  The leavened state of Christendom is being viewed by those who have themselves been adversely affected by the leaven.

They are, in this respect, as were the two disciples on the Emmaus road who were walking alongside the resurrected Christ and didn’t even recognize Him.  Their inability to recognize the Christ of the Old Testament Scriptures — the Word that had become flesh, the Old Testament Scriptures that had been manifested in a Person — resulted from their inability to properly understand these same Scriptures.  It was only after these Scriptures had been opened to their understanding, followed by Christ breaking bread, that their eyes were opened.

And Christians today, viewing a leavened Christendom and not seeing or understanding its true condition, are simply not viewing matters from a correct biblical perspective.  Their inability to recognize the true condition of the Church stems from their inability to understand that which Scripture reveals about the matter.  And, if their eyes are to be opened to the truth of the existing situation, such will occur only through the truth of the Word being presented to them and being accepted by them.

But will such occur during the present dispensation?  Will the truth about the coming kingdom ever be proclaimed in such a manner that it will be accepted, allowing the eyes of Christians to be opened?

One here and one there will hear and understand the message, but not the Church at large.  Conditions can only continue to deteriorate in the latter respect.  Such was assured — the pattern was set — when the woman placed the leaven in the three measures of meal.  And conditions can only continue to deteriorate, until the whole has been leavened.

The Purpose of the Comings of Christ

(Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 1)

John the Baptist appeared as the forerunner of the Messiah at His first coming, as Elijah will appear as the forerunner of the Messiah at His second coming.  A prophecy that had to do with Elijah was applied to John the Baptist (cf. Isaiah 40:3; Matthew 3:3); and John was said by Jesus to be Elijah, with a condition applied to the statement (Matthew 11:13-14).

The passage in Isaiah, applied to John the Baptist, is set in a context surrounding Messiah’s coming at a time when Israel repents and the nation is healed (Matthew 11:1-5).  This, of course, didn’t occur during or following John’s appearance, though the prophecy was applied to John.  This will occur only following Elijah’s appearance as the forerunner of the Messiah (Malachi 4:1-6).

Christ’s statement concerning John being Elijah carried the condition, “if you will receive.”  That is to say, if the nation would have received the message, Elijah, rather than John, would have appeared at that time as the forerunner of the Messiah.  The latter was conditioned on the former.  God though, in His foreknowledge, knew what Israel would do and sent John the Baptist as the forerunner of Christ at His first coming instead of Elijah.

John the Baptist was the Elijah of his day, as Elijah will be the John the Baptist of his day.  And the two men are so closely associated with one another that the prophecy applying to Elijah at Christ’s second coming in Isaiah 40:3 could be applied to John at Christ’s first coming in Matthew 3:3.

1.  Ministry of John, Jesus, and the Twelve

John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness of Judea with a single, simple message:  “Repent: for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand” (Matthew 3:2).  This was a message directed to the nation of Israel, calling for national repentance, with a view to the Jewish people holding the scepter, with their Messiah, within the heavenly sphere of the kingdom.

The kingdom was “at hand [had ‘drawn near’]” because Messiah was present.  The King of the kingdom — the One destined to replace Satan as the ruler over this earth — was present; and the scepter could, at that time, have passed from the hands of Satan and his angels into the hands of Man, conditioned upon Israel’s repentance.

Israel was being offered regal positions with the nation’s Messiah, in a heavenly realm; but there was a condition.  The nation had to repent.  The nation had to change its mind.

This was the totality of the message proclaimed by John.  It was a call for the nation of Israel (the entire nation) to change its mind, with a view to the Jewish people occupying regal positions with the nation’s Messiah in the heavenly sphere of the kingdom.  Satan and his angels would be put down, and Christ and the repentant nation would move in and take the kingdom.

However, things didn’t go in this direction, and John eventually found himself in prison.  Then Jesus took up the same message, which, under His ministry, was accompanied by miraculous signs — signs having to do with the kingdom, which centered on physical healings.

Jesus went throughout all Galilee doing two things:  1) “preaching the gospel of the kingdom,” and 2) “healing all manner of sickness and all manner of disease among the people” (Matthew 4:12, 17-25).

The message concerned the proffered kingdom, and the healings were miraculous signs intimately and inseparably connected with the message being proclaimed.  Israel was sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head,” and healing for the nation was in the offing, conditioned upon the nation’s repentance.

All of this — Israel’s condition and that which could and would occur following Israel’s repentance — was set forth in detail numerous places in Old Testament prophecy.  But one section of the numerous prophecies will suffice to illustrate the point — a section of Isaiah’s prophecy.

Note how Isaiah opened his prophecy.  He began by describing Israel’s present condition:

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters:  they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they have gone away backward.

Why should you be stricken any more?  You will revolt more and more:  the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint.

From the sole of the foot even unto the head there is no soundness in it; but wounds, and bruises, and putrefying sores:  they have not been closed, neither bound up, neither mollified with ointment. (Isaiah 1:4-6)

Then Isaiah continued his prophecy by describing Israel’s healing.  He went on to describe what the nation could have, if…

Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes; cease to do evil;

Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow.

Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

If you are willing and obedient, you shall eat the good of the land. (Isaiah 1:16-19)

And, beyond that, Isaiah concluded a section of his prophecy by describing conditions in Israel following the time of the nation’s repentance and healing:

And I will turn My hand against you, and thoroughly purge away your dross, and take away all your tin [paralleling “dross,” undoubtedly referring to metals in an impure sense].

And I will restore your judges as at the first, and your counselors as at the beginning: afterward you shall be called, the city of righteousness, the faithful city . . .

And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it.

And many people shall go up and say, “Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem.”

And He shall judge among the nations . . . . (Isaiah 1:25-26; 2:2-4a)

Ah sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evildoers, children that are corrupters:  they have forsaken the Lord, they have provoked the Holy One of Israel to anger, they have gone away backward.

Why should you be stricken any more?  You will revolt more and more:  the whole head is sick, and the whole heart is faint.

Christ’s message to Israel, along with the message of the Twelve whom He later commissioned
(Matthew 10:1-8) — in complete keeping with Isaiah’s prophecy (among numerous other Old Testament prophecies) — was simply a call for the nation to repent, with a view to healing and the nation being established in her God-ordained position in the kingdom (Exodus 19:5-6).  The healing of an individual constituted a sign for the Jewish people to visibly behold, showing them what could happen to the entire nation, if . . .

“Repentance” on the part of Israel was the sole condition in the message proclaimed to the nation by John, Jesus, and the Twelve:  “Repent: for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand.”  Then, following national repentance, healing would occur.

The Jewish people were to change their minds about their prior attitude towards God’s commandments
(Isaiah 1:19; cf. Leviticus 26:3ff; Deuteronomy 28:1ff).
  They had previously disobeyed that which God had commanded.  And because of this disobedience, Israel had not only failed to fully occupy her God-ordained position in the Old Testament theocracy but the day came when this theocracy ceased to exist; and, in connection with the end of the Old Testament theocracy, Israel found herself in captivity and scattered among the Gentile nations.

(The northern ten tribes were carried into captivity by the Assyrians about 722 B.C., and the southern two tribes were carried into captivity by the Babylonians about 605 B.C., beginning the times of the Gentiles.  And a few years later the Shekinah Glory departed from the holy of holies of the temple in Jerusalem, ascending to heaven from the Mount of Olives, marking the end of the Old Testament theocracy.)

And even during the time Christ was on earth, though a remnant was back in the land, the nation remained under Gentile dominion.  The times of the Gentiles, which began during the days of Nebuchadnezzar, continued then, as it still continues today.  John opened the message to Israel concerning the proffered kingdom, Christ continued this message following John being cast into prison, and the Twelve later also carried this same message to Israel.

And, though numerous Jewish people heeded the call and repented, the nation as a whole refused.  The nation as a whole refused to change its mind relative to disobedience, something which had marked the history of the nation throughout centuries of time.

2.  Israel’s Climactic Rejection

Events surrounding the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Israel, beginning with John and continuing with Jesus and the Twelve, reached an apex in Matthew 12.  However, the apex reached was not one of acceptance on the part of the nation.  Rather, it was one of rejection.

In this chapter, Christ healed a man on the Sabbath (Matthew 12:9-13), pointing to Israel’s coming healing on the Sabbath (the seventh millennium, the coming Lord’s Day, following the six millenniums comprising Man’s Day [cf. Numbers 19:11-12; Hosea 5:15-6:2; Matthew 17:1-5]).  And, following this miraculous sign, “the Pharisees went out, and held a council against Him, how they might destroy Him” (Matthew 12:14).

The Pharisees (along with the Scribes) — fundamental, legalistic religious leaders — were, by far, the largest of the religious parties in Israel.  And, occupying this position, they sat “in Moses’ seat” (Matthew 23:2), controlling the religious life of the nation.

These controlling religious leaders were the ones who followed Christ about the country, seeking, at every turn, to counter both His message and the miraculous signs He was performing.  And, in this chapter they reached an apex in their rejection by not only rejecting the manifested sign of a man being healed on the Sabbath (pointing to Israel’s healing on the Sabbath) but by subsequently holding a council concerning how they might be able to do away with the One having performed this sign.

Then, later in the chapter, Christ healed a man possessed with a demon, who was both blind and dumb
(Matthew 12:22); and the Pharisees, in their rejection of the manifested signs, reached a terminal point.  They attributed the power behind the manifestation of this miraculous sign to Satan (Matthew 12:24).  And doing this after they had rejected the sign pertaining to Israel being healed on the Sabbath, along with subsequently seeking to do away with Christ, was the final straw.

These signs were being performed through the power of the Spirit (in completely keeping with the way God performs His works [cf. Genesis 1:2b]); and the Pharisees, attributing Christ’s works to Satan, committed what was called by Christ, “the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 12:31).

The Pharisees had previously done the same thing (Matthew 9:34), but here the setting is different.  Here it follows their rejecting the sign of the Sabbath and their attempting to do away with the One having performed this sign.  Israel’s religious leaders, at this point, had gone beyond what could be allowed.  And Christ stated, relative to that which they had done:

Therefore I say to you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven men, but the blasphemy against the Spirit will not be forgiven men.

Anyone who speaks a word against the Son of Man, it will be forgiven him; but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it will not be forgiven him, either in this age or in the age to come. (Matthew 9:31-32)

For all practical purposes the kingdom of the heavens was taken from Israel at this point in Matthew’s gospel, though the announcement was not made until later (Matthew 21:43).  And it was at this point in Christ’s ministry that a major change occurred.

The Scribes and Pharisees, immediately after Christ told them that they had committed a sin having far-reaching consequences, had the effrontery to ask Christ for an additional sign (Matthew 9:38).  They had rejected all of His previous signs, even attributing the power behind the last one to Satan, and now they asked for something that they had previously rejected time after time.

This was little more than a personal affront, further seeking, by any means possible, to discredit the One performing these signs (as they had previously attempted to do).  But Jesus, knowing full-well their thoughts, responded with the only sign that would now be given to them — the sign of the prophet Jonah, pointing to His coming death, burial, and resurrection rather than to the kingdom (Matthew 12:39-40).

Then Christ described the condition in which the nation of Israel, because of the actions of their religious leaders, now found itself.

The men of Nineveh would rise up in judgment and condemn this generation, for they had repented at the preaching of Jonah.  And One greater than Jonah was standing in Israel’s midst, calling for the nation’s repentance, but to no avail (Matthew 12:41).

The queen of the south would, likewise, rise up in judgment and condemn this generation, for she had come from the uttermost parts of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon.  And One greater than Solomon was standing in Israel’s midst, One whom the Jewish people wouldn’t hear (Matthew 12:42).

The nation was to be left in a desolate condition, wherein the Jewish people would walk through dry places, seeking rest, and find none.  And, should the people comprising this nation persist in their disobedience, particularly relative to any attempt to bring about a change in their state themselves, conditions would only become worse.  Their latter end would be “worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43-45; cf. Leviticus 26:18-31).

And this is the setting for Christ’s departure from the house, His going down by the seaside, and His beginning to speak in parables in Matthew 13.

Christ’s Actions, Continued Rejection

The seven parables in Matthew 13 present a sharp change in God’s dealings with the nation of Israel.  Heretofore, events surrounding the proffered kingdom had been strictly Jewish in nature, but now something completely new and different in relation to this kingdom is introduced.  These parables have to do with the kingdom of the heavens as it pertains to individuals separate and distinct from the nation of Israel.

Before He began to speak in parables, Christ went “out of the house, and sat by the seaside” (Matthew 13:1).  The first four parables were spoken outside the house, down by the seaside (Matthew 13:3-9, 18-33).  Then Christ went back “into the house” (Matthew 13:36) and gave three more parables (Matthew 13:44-50).

The use of “house” and “seaside” is fraught with meaning.  The “house,” from which Christ departed, and later reentered, is a reference to the house of Israel (Matthew 10:6; 23:38); and the “seaside,” to which Christ went, is a reference to the Gentiles (Jonah 1:12; 2:10; Revelation 13:1).

Thus, within the symbolism of that which is stated, the Lord left Israel (departed the house), went to the Gentiles (sat by the seaside), and gave four parables.  Then the Lord returned to Israel (went back inside the house) and gave three additional parables.

The kingdom of the heavens — about to be taken from Israel at this point in Matthew’s gospel — would have been taken from Israel prior to the time of the occurrence of events revealed in the first four parables, spoken outside the house.  And the last three parables, though spoken back inside the house, could, not really pertain to Israel per se.  Because of the subject matter — the kingdom of the heavens, having previously been taken from Israel — these parables would have to still pertain to those outside the house, associated with the seaside (note that there is no mention of Christ leaving the seaside [leaving the Gentiles] when He reentered the house [returned to Israel]).

In this respect, the first four parables would concern the Lord’s dealings with a people other than Israel, associated with the Gentiles; and these dealings would have to do with these people in a particular realm — in relation to the kingdom of the heavens.

Then, the last three parables, because of the continued subject matter (the kingdom of the heavens), would have to continue the continuity of thought from the first four.  And further, though spoken back inside the house, these parables really cannot be Jewish in nature (for, again, they deal with the kingdom of the heavens — a sphere of the kingdom in which Israel could no longer have a part).

All seven parables have to do with events during time that elapses following the Nobleman’s departure “into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom,” and with events during time that terminates with His “return” after receiving the kingdom (cf. Luke 19:12ff).  There is nothing in these parables that occurs before Christ’s departure from the Mount of Olives (Acts 1:9), events depicted in these parables occur almost entirely during the time of Christ’s absence (Psalm 110:1), and events in these parables will be concluded immediately following Christ’s return (Revelation 19:11ff).

These parables — centering around a message pertaining to the kingdom of the heavens — have to do with an offer of the kingdom to a people other than Israel, following the removal of the kingdom from Israel (cf. Matthew 21:33-43; 1 Peter 2:9-10).  These parables have to do with the message pertaining to the kingdom of the heavens during and following the present dispensation, and these parables conclude with events surrounding Christ’s return (after He, the Noblemen in Luke 19:12, has received the kingdom from the Father [cf. Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 11:15; 19:11ff]).

The course of the dispensation is depicted in the first four parables, and the last three have to do with concluding events (directly related to that previously revealed in the first four) that will not only bring the age to a close but also usher in the next age, the Messianic Era.

Thus, the Lord reentering the house is not an act that places an emphasis on His dealing with Israel once again.  Rather, the emphasis remains where it is seen in the first four parables.  Nor is there any mention of Christ leaving the seaside when He goes back inside the house.  And the significance of this is seen in the fact that His prior dealings with the Gentiles (first four parables) would continue.

Israel is reintroduced because that dealt with in the final three parables cannot be accomplished apart from God dealing with the Jewish people once again.  But the emphasis in these three parables continues from the same place in which it was seen in the first four parables.

(Briefly stated, all seven parables in Matthew 13 form a continuous discourse having to do with the kingdom of the heavens being offered to a group other than Israel.  The people of Israel had rejected the proffered kingdom, and the kingdom was about to be taken from Israel, with a view to a separate and distinct entity [the Church] being called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel rejected
[Matthew 21:33-43].

In the first four parables, Israel is not in view.  These parables have to do with God’s dealings with this new entity, separate from Israel, during a time in which Israel is set aside; but in the last three parables, Israel is brought back into view.  And God begins to deal with the nation once again, with a view to two things:

1) concluding His dealings with Israel [something not seen in these parables but seen numerous places in related Scripture], and

2) concluding His dealings with the new entity brought into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel rejected [the central issue seen in these parables].  Because of Israel’s connection with certain concluding events, Christ had to go back inside the house before delivering the last three parables.

The first four parables have to do with the course of Christendom during the present dispensation [the course of the period during which God is removing from the Gentiles “a people for His name” (Acts 15:14)], with Israel set aside; and the last three parables have to do with events occurring after God resumes His national dealings with Israel, following the removal of the Church from the earth and God turning once again to Israel.  But the Church, though having been removed from the earth before events in these last three parables begin to occur, is still the central figure seen throughout these parables. 

The setting for the last three parables is the coming Tribulation and events surrounding Christ’s subsequent return.  And, though the Church will not be on earth during the Tribulation, this period really has just as much to do with the Church as with Israel.

The Tribulation, along with being “the time of Jacob’s trouble” [Jeremiah 30:7], will be the time when redemption [future not past] of the inheritance awaiting Christ and His co-heirs will occur.  And this future redemption, having to do with the inheritance will also include the bride — already having been redeemed, past — who, through this future redemptive act, will become Christ’s wife.

This entire sequence of events, along with related events that usher in the Messianic Kingdom, is depicted in the last three parables.  And, in this respect, the last three parables simply form a chronological continuation and conclusion to the events depicted in the first four parables, with all seven parables forming a history of Christendom in relation to the Word of the Kingdom, extending from the time of the Church’s inception on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D. to that future time when the Church is present, with Christ, in the Messianic Kingdom.)

The Context of Each Passage of Scripture 

It should go without saying that context must always be considered before one derives a proper interpretation of God’s Word.  And although this is true throughout God’s Word, it is most critical when coming to an understanding of which aspect of God’s redemption plan for man is being addressed in any passage of Scripture.

Probably the most notable example of Scripture misinterpretation when this rule is ignored, which is prevalent throughout Christendom from local Bible classes to many of its finest theological institutions, is the interpretation that the book of Hebrews, along with its five distinct warnings, is directed to “professing” Christians (i.e., those who have not actually placed their faith in Christ); when, in fact, this is one of the most detailed instructional manuals specifically addressed to Christians and is centered on the salvation of the soul.

For the reader to gain a truly enlightened concept of using this principle as it applies to the book of Hebrews, it suggested that he review the book, Let Us Go On by Arlen Chitwood, which may be acquired from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Let Us Go On.  

The following is the “Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Let Us Go On, Foreword” from this book:

There is a logical progression in thought as one moves through the five major warnings in the book of Hebrews.  And all of the warnings are directed to Christians alone, centering around the same subject matter — Christians either realizing or failing to realize the salvation of their souls/lives, synonymous with Christians either realizing or failing to realize the rights of the firstborn; and this salvation, realizing these rights, has to do strictly with the position that Christians will occupy in the coming Messianic Era (Hebrews 6:12, 18-20; 10:36-39; cf. James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:9).

In the first warning, the salvation set before Christians is called, so great salvation, and is specifically stated later in the epistle to be “the saving of the soul.”  This is the greatest thing God has ever designed for redeemed man, for it centers around man being removed from the earth, placed in the heavens, and occupying the throne as co-heir with theheir of all things” (Hebrews 1:2-2:5; 10:39; cf. Hebrews 3:1).

Then the second warning outlines the route that one must travel during his pilgrim journey if he would one day come into a realization of so great salvation.  The route carries one from Egypt to Canaan.

Spiritual lessons are drawn from the historic account of the Israelites under Moses, forming the type.  And these spiritual lessons are seen in the antitype surrounding the experiences of Christians under Christ.  The Israelites under Moses had been called out of Egypt and were being led toward an earthly land, wherein their calling was ultimately to have been realized.  And Christians under Christ have been called out of the world and are being led toward a heavenly land, wherein their calling is ultimately to be realized.

With these things in mind, the third warning then continues with one major overriding thought:  Let Us Go On! (Hebrews 6:1).  The thought has to do with moving from immaturity to maturity;  and this maturity, contextually, centers around Christians coming into a knowledge and understanding of the things surrounding the land set before them, for a revealed purpose.

In other words, so great salvation has been set before Christians (warning one), and the route that Christians must travel to realize this salvation has been well marked (warning two); then, with these things as an established background, the writer exhorts Christians to go on to a mature knowledge and understanding of those truths that God has revealed concerning the land set before them (warning three).

Entering into that land and realizing the rights of the firstborn therein is the goal of the Christians’ calling.  And pressing toward this goal or any goal apart from knowing and understanding certain things about the goal, or things which may lie in the pathway, preventing one from reaching the goal, would be unheard of.

This is easy to see from the manner in which Christians are commanded to array themselves for the spiritual warfare in Ephesians 6:11ff, for they cannot properly array themselves apart from a knowledge and understanding of that which lies out ahead.

The “helmet of salvation,” for example, is identified as the “hope of salvation” (cf. Ephesians 6:17; 1 Thessalonians 5:8); and the “hope of salvation” has to do, not with the salvation that Christians presently possess, but with the salvation of the soul (Hebrews 6:12, 18-19; 10:36-39), which is the central message of the book of Hebrews.

The “helmet of salvation” cannot be possessed apart from a “hope” based on knowledge and understanding.  But it is only one part of the armor, and the possession of other parts of the armor require a similar knowledge and understanding surrounding the goal of the Christians’ calling.  And, apart from being properly arrayed for battle after the fashion revealed in Ephesians 6:11ff, Christians will suffer defeat time after time and ultimately fail to realize the goal of their calling.

Drawing from the previous two warnings in order to understand the third is the progressive manner in which the things in this book, Let Us Go On by Arlen Chitwood, have been structured; and this is also the progressive manner in which any correct exposition of Hebrews 5; 6 must be viewed.

Scripture must be understood in the light of Scripture.  There is first the near context, and there is then the far context.  The near context, in this case, takes one back to the previous two warnings; and the far context takes one to the various other related points in Scripture throughout both the Old and New Testaments.  One must compare “spiritual things with spiritual” if he would come into a correct knowledge and understanding of the things that God has revealed to man in His Word (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

Conclusion of the Matter

Unquestionably, within Christendom today, there exists a very large and bewildering confusion over the method whereby one may obtain “eternal salvation,” and, for that matter, what “eternal salvation” actually means.  Many believe it is achieved through faith, others believe it is a product of works, and still others combine the two to achieve such an end.

Upon a thorough study of God’s Word, as has been outlined in this document, the conclusion of the matter is that salvation is achieved both by faith and works, depending upon which aspect of His redemption plan for man is addressed, i.e.,

(1) Spirit-salvation (an instantaneous passing from “death to life”) is strictly achieved by means of a decision of faith in Christ, based totally (only) upon Christ’s finished work on the cross in the place of anything that man can do; and, is completely unchangeable — can never be altered or withdrawn by man or God — insuring a person an eternity with God in the ages to come.

(2) Soul-salvation (a progressive, continued work by the Holy Spirit within man, which leads from spiritual immaturity to spiritual maturity) is strictly achieved by means of one’s faithful consumption of God’s Word, applying it to one’s temporal life (e.g., works); which, may assure one’s eventual participation in Christ’s rule during the coming Messianic Era — the coming thousand year reign of Christ over the earth.

(3) Body-salvation (the transformation of the body) will be strictly achieved by God in accordance with His schedule after one's temporal life, resulting in the body being conformed to Christ's glorious body
(Philippians 3:21).

Bible One - Charles Strong's Salvation by Faith or Works or Both

Cain & Able Foreshadowed Israel & Christ
Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, Ch. 2.

Therefore, indeed, I send you prophets, 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,
 
that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah, son of Berechiah, whom you murdered between the temple and the altar.

Verily I say unto you, all these things shall come upon this generation.

O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!
 
See! Your house is left to you desolate;

for I say to you, you shall see Me no more till you say, “Blessed is He who comes in the name of the LORD!” (Matthew 23:34-39)

When Christ came the first time, He appeared to Israel and offered the kingdom of the heavens to the Jewish people, based upon national repentance.  The message was very simple:

Repent [the entire nation], for the kingdom of the heavens is at hand. (Matthew 3:1-2; 4:17; 10:1-7)

The theocracy could have been restored (cf. Acts 1:3-7); and though only the heavenly aspect of the kingdom was being offered to the nation at this time, any realization of the heavenly would have necessitated a realization of the earthly as well.  One cannot exist in its fullness in this respect apart from the other.

Israel, at Christ’s first coming, was viewed as sick, “from the sole of the foot even to the head” (Isaiah 1:4-6).  Supernatural signs were being manifested — supernatural healings of individuals, supernatural provision (Matthew 4:23-25; John 2:7-10) — pointing to that which the entire nation could experience and have if the nation would repent.

(“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].
 
The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo.  Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)].  Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”
 
The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind.  And that is really all that the word means.

The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.

Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent?  He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief.  But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind.  The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.)

The message proclaimed to Israel during Christ’s earthly ministry was God through one Son calling His other son to acknowledge that which had been done, and repent (cf. Exodus 4:22-23; Hosea 11:1; Matthew 2:15; Hebrews 1:6).  But the other son refused, and the story of Cain and Abel in Genesis 4 began to be fulfilled in the antitype.
 
One son rose up against the other Son, and slew Him.  As Cain rose up against Abel and slew him, Israel rose up against Christ and slew Him.  And as the blood of Abel cried out “from the ground,” the blood of Christ “speaks better things than that of Abel.” (cf. Genesis 4:10; Hebrews 12:24).
 
Then the story continues from Genesis 4.  Cain’s punishment for this act was something that he looked upon as greater than he could bear.  He was to be driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth, he was to be a “fugitive and a vagabond . . .  on the earth [a fugitive moving from place to place across the face of the earth, with no permanent home]”; and, in this condition, he would find himself at the mercy of those upon the earth.
 
Others would seek to slay him, but would be unable to do so.  God, in spite of that which Cain had done, would not only supernaturally protect Cain, but He would judge those who did seek to slay him (Genesis 4:13-15).
 
And this is exactly what has happened to the Jewish people over the centuries since they slew their Brother.  Israel has been driven from the Lord’s face out upon the earth (among those “without God,” dwelling in the tents of Ham and Japheth [cf. Genesis 9:26-27; Ephesians 2:12]).
 
Israel has been scattered among the nations — a fugitive, one guilty of blood, with no permanent home (cf. Deuteronomy 28:64-67) — and Israel, in this condition, has been placed at the mercy of these same nations.

Bible One - Cain & Able Foreshadowed Israel & Christ

The following Word Document is Safe to open:

The Christian Experience — Its Initiation and Progression
By Charles Strong of Bible One

In the beginning God created man (mankind) in His own (trichotomous) image for a specific purpose, to have “dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth” (Genesis 1:26; cf. Genesis 1:28).  But man’s act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden brought about dire consequences from the hand of God, the spiritual death (separation from God) of man and the degradation of earth’s impeccable animate and inanimate order.

And it is from this condition of spiritual death that man (on an individual bases) must emerge, i.e., regain spiritual life, in order to recover/possess the purpose for which God created him. 

And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.” (Genesis 2:16-17)

So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate. She also gave to her husband with her, and he ate. (Genesis 3:6)

And you He made alive, who were dead in trespasses and sins . . . even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved). (Ephesians 2:1, 5)

The Initiation

The requisite purpose for Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, coming to earth was to be the propitiation (Gk. hilasmos – the means of covering and remitting, i.e., satisfying God) for the sins of mankind.  Christ accomplished this purpose on the cross of Calvary by taking on and becoming man’s sin so man could obtain the righteousness of God.  While on the cross Christ paid the penalty for all of sin by suffering the extreme punishment and judgment of God the Father (spiritual death, i.e., being separated from [forsaken by] God the Father) for a period (several hours) of time.  Christ’s work on the cross was total, complete, and, in His own word, “finished.”

And He [Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. . . . In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:2; 4:10; cf. Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17)

For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isaiah 53:6; Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24)

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45- 46)

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

And the only way a person may apply Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross for the benefit of his personal salvation (i.e., to regain spiritual life) is by making a conscience decision to receive it by faith (plus and/or minus anything else [e.g., self-works]), i.e., placing his trust solely in Christ and His work on the cross for his personal eternal salvation.  This would be an instantaneous act (conscious decision) — not a prayer, a dedication, a promise, or any form of outward demonstration — that is taken when after hearing and understanding God’s grace-gift of salvation (the key to the restoration of eternal life), a person decides to place his faith completely and solely in Christ for his personal eternal salvation.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . .”  (Acts 16:30-31a)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

The author of this document believes there are many throughout all levels of Christendom who have been informed that salvation is to be obtained by means of a series of steps, i.e., faith plus works (e.g., confession of/turning from sins, specifically worded prayers, administration of baptism, etc.), who are indeed saved, but would only be due to their faith in Jesus Christ — a decision made prior to the exercise of any other “proffered requirement.”

Please note the following from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith, Foreword:

Eternal salvation is by grace (that which God is able to do completely apart from human merit) through faith (by believing on God’s Son [Ephesians 2:8-9]), and it is based entirely upon the finished work of Another (John 19:30).  Nothing that man has done, is presently doing, or will ever do can have anything to do with his eternal destiny.  Man can do no more than receive by faith that which has already been done on his behalf.
 
This is why Scripture states:

“. . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . .” (Acts 16:31)

This statement is in response to a question in the preceding verse:

“. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

And within another frame of reference, the response to this question could only be, “Nothing!”  This would have to be the response simply because there is not one single thing left for unsaved man to do (nor could he do anything if something were left, for, he is spiritually dead and incapable of acting in the spiritual realm [Ephesians 2:1, 5]).

It is of interest to note that the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and the answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” only appear together one place in the entire Bible.  Scripture is filled with information concerning redemption, but Acts 16:30-31 is the only place, from Genesis to Revelation, where the question concerning eternal salvation is asked and answered in so many words* [added: *so precisely].

Thus, within a completely biblical framework, if the question in Acts 16:30 is asked, there can be only one answer:  “Believe . . . .”  Man’s ideas, thoughts, comments are of no momentGod has spoken, and that’s the end of the matter.

John 3:16 is often called “the gospel in a nutshell” by individuals seeking to draw attention to the overall salvation message stated in its simplest form in Scripture.  God, because of His love for fallen man — who had been created in His image, after His likeness, for a purpose (Genesis 1:26-28) — “gave His only begotten Son [1 Corinthians 15:3], that whoever believes in Him [Acts 16:31] should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Everything, in its entirety, to procure man’s salvation was done by Another.  It had to be accomplished by Another, for, as previously stated, the one being redeemed was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), totally incapable of acting on his own behalf.

Christ is the One who died, Christ is the One who performed the work to procure man’s salvation, and God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.

When Christ cried out from the Cross in “a loud voice” near the ninth hour, “It is finished” (Luke 23:46; John 19:30), He used one word in the Greek text — Tetelestai — that could be better translated, “It has been finished.”  Tetelestai is a perfect tense usage of teleo, which means “to bring to an end,” “to complete.”  And the perfect tense refers to action completed in past time, with the results of that action extending into and existing during present time in a finished state.

All of the work surrounding man’s redemption that Christ had come to perform had, at that point in time, been completed.  This was the announcement that Christ made, in “a loud voice”; and, because of that which was involved in the announcement, there was then no longer any need for Him to continue His sufferings on the Cross.  Thus, immediately after He cried out, “It has been finished,” He “gave up the ghost [KJV, lit., ‘He breathed out’ (He expired, willingly relinquishing His life)]” (Luke 23:46).

The work of Christ at Calvary, from the point He cried out, “It has been finished,” has existed in exactly the same finished state in which He proclaimed it to exist at that time.  It has existed as a work completed in past time that extends into present time (in a finished state) and that will extend into all the ages comprising eternity ahead (in the same finished state).

Nothing can ever be added, and nothing can ever be taken away.  That is to say, nothing can ever change relative to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

That’s the way God’s procurement of man’s salvation had to occur.  Once Christ’s work had been finished, that’s the way His work had to always continue to exist — in a finished state — throughout both time and eternity.

Because of Christ’s finished work, salvation is extended to man “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1); and apart from Christ’s finished work, there is no salvation.

He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already [lit., ‘has already been condemned’ (a perfect tense — condemned in past time because of unbelief and presently living in that condemned state)], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

It is utterly impossible — and foolish to even consider — that finite man, “dead in trespasses and sins,” could add one thing to or take one thing from the finished work of the infinite God through His Son.

All man can possibly do is simply receive, by believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf.

The Progression

Unfortunately, many, if not most individuals who have secured eternal life, never advance from their spiritually infantile status as “babes in Christ,” a condition that the apostle Paul faced with the Corinthian believers.

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal, as to babes in Christ.  I fed you with milk and not with solid food; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able. (1 Corinthians 3:1-2)

The human author of the book of Hebrews faced the same dilemma with those (Christians) to whom he wrote:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the Word of righteousness, for he is a babe. But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

Within Christendom, most local churches, including those that are evangelical, do not emphasize (teach) the solid food (meat) of God’s Word; rather, it is the milk of the Word that is presented over and over again from the pulpits.  Even in their various “Sunday school” and Bible classes, there is constant repetition of the rudimentary doctrines and almost never a presentation of the insightfulness and gravity contained in the boundless depths of God’s Word.

The very role of the pastor according to his Scripture-title (seen primarily in the original language of the text)  is to be a pastor-teacher (Ephesians 4:11), one who will honor the instruction that Christ gave Peter, to feed (solid food) Christ’s sheep (followers), for this reveals a pastor’s love for Christ (John 21:15-17); and, it is only by maturing in the Word of God that a Christian will be able to discern the reality of spiritual matters within and without, will be protected from the influence of Satan, and will be able to achieve spiritual sanctification (i.e., to be set apart to God).

For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God. (Ephesians 6:17)

I [Christ] have given them [Christ’s followers] Your [God’s] Word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one [Satan].  They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.  Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth. (John 17:14-17)

While most Christians relish complacency apart from the solid food (meat) of God’s Word, reflected by their lives of shallow spirituality, they apparently are unaware that such behavior will have dreadful consequences once they pass through the veil of physical death to eventually appear before their Creator. 

No, they will not lose their “eternal salvation” (spirit-salvation); but, they will find that their temporal lives apart from the depth of God’s Word, resulting in a life of unfaithfulness and few or no good works (Colossians 2:6; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 2:10) has resulted in their failure to obtain soul-salvation (Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9) when they stand before Jesus Christ at His Judgment Seat.

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.  (2 Corinthians 5:10)

. . . For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. . . . So then each of us shall give account of himself to God. (Romans 14:10, 12 [10b])

But he who does wrong will be repaid for what he has done, and there is no partiality. (Colossians 3:25)

Now if anyone builds on this foundation [faith in Jesus Christ] with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw,  each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward.  If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:12-15)

It is indeed most unfortunate that most Christians labor under the misconception that once they pass from this earth they will live an eternal life of bliss somewhere within the borders of heaven.  They toil upon this earth with little to no understanding (due to their lack of interest and effort) of the coming Messianic Era, the thousand year reign of Christ over the earth, a period of time in which they could have occupied regal positions (reward) in Christ’s administration over His kingdom, but instead will be relegated (suffer lose) to an area outside of the light (outer darkness) — a thousand years of anguish and agony.  This will be the result of their loss of soul-salvation, which will affect their participation in Christ’s coming kingdom — for 1,000 years.

(To understand God’s comprehensive plan of redemption for man — both spirit-salvation and soul-salvation — the reader is strongly advised to read the following works by Arlen L. Chitwood:  Salvation of the Soul, Redeemed for a Purpose, So Great Salvation, and Judgment Seat of Christ; all of which [and much more] may be freely obtained in their entirety from Bible One by Charles Strong.)

Bottom line, the “Christian Experience” is to have a beginning (spirit-salvation), a righteous continuation (progression) based on the Word of God (soul-salvation), and a glorious conclusion in regality (participation as part of the “Bride of Christ” during the Messianic Era) for one thousand years — before the beginning of the eternal ages that will follow when,

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. (Revelation 21:4)

And a Christian’s failure to achieve the full scope of all that is available, which has its basis in the sacrifice of Christ on the cross of Calvary, is sad beyond reason.

And behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to give to every one according to his work. (Revelation 22:12)

Bible One - Charles Strong's The Christian Experience — Its Initiation and Progression

Adoption, Redemption of the Body
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

“The adoption” is spoken of in Romans 8:23 as being synonymous with “the redemption of our body”:

“. . . waiting out adoption, [namely] the ransoming of our body” (Lenski)

“. . . patiently awaiting son-placing, the redemption of our body” (Wuest)

And since “the adoption” and “the redemption of our body” are synonymous in this respect, the matter cannot possibly be a reference to that which will occur at the time of the resurrection and rapture at the end of the present dispensation, as commonly taught.  If the redemption of the body were to occur at this time, all Christians would be adopted into a firstborn status.  And this would be completely contrary to any Scriptural teaching surrounding adoption, for “sons” alone [those whom God presently recognizes in this capacity, as seen in Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 4:6-7; Hebrews 12:5-8], not children, find themselves in a position to be adopted [ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, pp. 25-33].

If the redemption of the body/adoption does not occur at the time of the resurrection and rapture, then when does it occur?  And exactly what is involved in this future redemption/adoption?

Romans 8:14-23 connects this future redemption/adoption with being “glorified together” with Christ and with “the manifestation of the sons of God.”

Then, in this same respect, note how these things have been put together in Philippians 3:20-21:

For our citizenship [Greek: politeuma, “commonwealth,” “political sphere of activity”] is in heaven [“heavens”]; from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

who will transform our lowly body [lit., “our body of humiliation”], that it may be conformed to His glorious body [lit., “His body of glory”], according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself. (Philippians 3:20-21)

The thought from the preceding two verses has to do with the Christians’ future regal position in the heavens, following Christ’s return; and it has to do with occupying this position in a “body of glory,” like unto the body presently possessed by Christ, not in the “body of humiliation” presently possessed by Christians.

There was a time when this same humiliation presently seen in connection with the Christians’ body was also seen in connection with Christ’s body.  Note the quotation from Isaiah 53:7-8 in Acts 8:32-33:

. . . He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and as a lamb before its shearer is silent, so He opened not His mouth.
 
In His humiliation His justice was taken away, and who will declare His generation? For His life is taken from the earth.
(Acts 8:32-33)

(The Greek word translated “humiliation” in Acts 8:33 [tapeinosis] is the same word translated “lowly” in Philippians 3:21 [also in the Septuagint translation of Isaiah 53:8].  “Humiliation,” as in Acts 8:33, is the correct translation of the word.)

The preceding reference from Acts has to do with the events surrounding Calvary.  Christ, following His being stripped of His garments and arrayed as a mock King, was again stripped of His garments and impaled on a cross.  Reference is made in all four gospels to His garments being removed prior to the crucifixion (Matthew 27:35; Mark 15:24; Luke 23:34; John 19:23-24).  Christ was lifted up in this manner, after His garments had been removed (except for perhaps an inner tunic), exposing His uncovered flesh for all to see (Psalm 22:16-18).

The time of the humiliation spoken of in the text was the time when two things occurred:  (1) His judgment was “taken away,” and (2) His life was “taken from the earth [i.e., He was cut off from the land of the living].”  The former could only have to do with regal activity and the latter with His death.

Christ had come over three decades prior to the events surrounding Calvary as “King of the Jews,” “in the likeness of [or, ‘in the resemblance of’] sinful flesh” (Matthew 2:2; Romans 8:3).  And upon the cross, this body of flesh was exposed for all to behold.  It was a body that, in all outward appearance, was like that which man presently possesses.  It was a body that bore a likeness to that of all other men in their bodies of sinful flesh and, consequently, a body connected with humiliation.

To properly understand that which was involved in relation to Christ’s body at the time of His first coming and in relation to man’s body both prior to and following that time, one must go back to the fall and see exactly what occurred in relation to Adam’s body at the time he partook of the forbidden fruit.

When man sinned in the garden in Eden, the complete being of man — spirit, soul, and body — became in a fallen state.  God had commanded Adam concerning the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, “you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Genesis 2:17).

After Satan had deceived Eve into eating of the fruit of this tree, she then “also gave to her husband with her, and he ate.”  Immediately following this, “the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked.”  Then, in a vain effort to cover their nakedness, “they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves coverings” (Genesis 3:1-7).

At the time of the fall, Adam and Eve lost something; and it is clearly stated in Scripture that both immediately recognized this fact.  That which they lost could only have been a covering of pristine glory that had previously clothed their bodies, for they, following the fall, found themselves in a twofold condition:  (1) naked and (2) separated from God.

God is arrayed in a covering of “light,” connected with “honor and majesty.”  And man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, could only have been arrayed in a similar manner prior to the fall.

Bless the LORD, O my soul! O LORD my God, You are very great: You are clothed with [“you have put on”] honor and majesty.

Who cover Yourself with light as with a garment, who stretch out the heavens like a curtain. (Psalm 104:1-2)

Recognizing the loss of this covering, realizing that they were naked, explains why Adam and Eve, immediately following the fall, sought to clothe themselves.  They tried to replace the covering that had been lost with a work of their own hands, with fig leaf coverings.  And then, apparently realizing the utter inadequacy of this covering, they, in their fallen state, sought to hide from God.

God, finding Adam and Eve in this condition, completely rejected the works of their hands.  God completely rejected their feeble efforts to atone for their own sin through seeking to replace the covering of pristine glory with fig leaves.

Then, to bring His fallen creature back into a right relationship (although not in complete keeping with their previously unfallen state — something still future even today [and, as will be shown, something in connection with the redemption of the body]), God provided a covering consisting of animal skins (Genesis 3:21).  This necessitated death and the shedding of blood; and herein lays basic, unchangeable truth concerning the state of fallen man and the means necessary to effect his redemption.

Unredeemed man is a fallen creature, alienated from God; and two things are necessary to effect his redemption: (1) divine intervention, and (2) death and shed blood.  These truths have forever been set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis and can never change.

(Two different words are used for “naked” in the Hebrew text of Genesis 2:25 [before the fall] and Genesis 3:7 [after the fall].  In the latter [Genesis 3:7], the word has to do with absolute nakedness, but not so in the former [Genesis 2:25].

Remaining within the way a person dressed in the East at the time Moses wrote Genesis, and at later times as well, the word used relative to nakedness pertaining to Adam and Eve preceding the fall [Genesis 2:25] could be used to describe a person clothed in a tunic [inner garment] but lacking the mantle or cloak [outer garment].  In the preceding respect, prior to the fall, Adam and Eve were clothed in the Glory of God but had yet to possess the regal outer garments worn by kings [fulfilling the reason for man’s creation — to rule the earth (Genesis 1:26-28)].

Then, following the fall, no longer clothed in the Glory of God, Adam and Eve were no longer in a position to be further clothed in regal garments, realizing the purpose for their creation.  They, apart from the inner garment [the Glory] could not wear the outer garments [royal apparel].

Adam, prior to the fall, never wore regal garments or held the scepter.  In this respect, he never moved beyond the description given in Genesis 2:25 — a “naked” condition, “nakedin relation to the reason for his creation [lacking the outer regal garments].

Thus, if man, now separated from the Glory, is to ever fulfill the purpose for his creation, God must act.  Redemption has to occur; and this, of necessity, has to include the complete man — spirit, soul, and body — with a view to not only a restoration of the Glory but to regality beyond this restoration.)

Flesh in Scripture is spoken of in synonymous terms with sin (e.g., Romans 8:1-13; Galatians 4:23; 5:16; 6:8; 1 Peter 3:21; 1 John 2:16).  But, in actuality, there is nothing inherently wrong with flesh.  Flesh is sinful only in the sense in which Scripture uses the expression, which must relate back to and have to do with the fall.  God created man in a body of flesh; Christ appeared in a body of flesh, which He still has today and will continue to possess throughout eternity; and the whole of mankind, as well, will live in bodies of flesh throughout eternity — a type of body that God designed for man in the beginning.

Flesh is referred to as sinful and spoken of in synonymous terms with sin when it is not covered in the manner which God originally covered flesh and intended that flesh remain covered.  And the removal of this covering at the time of the fall, because of sin, provides the connection between flesh and sin, existing today.

Thus, Christ coming “in the likeness of sinful flesh” is simply a reference to His coming apart from His body being enswathed in Glory.  And, in this respect, the height of His humiliation could only have occurred following His being arrayed as a mock King when His naked body, apart from the covering of Glory originally enswathing man’s body, was exposed on the cross for all to behold.

Christ could not have worn regal garments at this time, for there was no covering of Glory.  Christ, as Adam following the fall, lacked the inner garment; He lacked the covering of Glory.

And, apart from this covering of Glory, which would have allowed regal garments to be worn, “judgment,” was not Christ’s to render.  Consequently, it was taken from Him.

Then, another — Pilate, a Gentile ruler (exercising power during the “Times of the Gentiles,” a time existing because of Israel’s past disobedience, extending over centuries of time) — was allowed to execute judgment upon Christ.  And, as a result of this judgment, Christ was “led as a sheep to the slaughter,” with His “life” then taken away.

With all these things in mind, in the light of that stated in Romans 8:15-23 and Philippians 3:20-21, it should be a simple matter for anyone to see what is involved in the adoption, the redemption of the body.

Christ, at the time of His resurrection, was not raised in a glorified body.  Christ’s body, following His resurrection, was still void of the covering of Glory.  Christ’s body was not enswathed in a covering of Glory until at least forty days following His resurrection, when He ascended and “a cloud” received Him out of the disciples’ sight (Acts 1:9), an apparent reference to His being “received up into glory” (1 Timothy 3:16).

In this respect, until His ascension, Christ still appeared exactly as He had appeared since the time of His incarnation — in a body of flesh, void of the Glory.

Note the differences in His appearance to the two disciples on the Emmaus road following His resurrection and His appearance to Paul on the Damascus road at a time following His ascension.  In the former appearance, it is evident that the two disciples noticed no visible difference between Christ’s outward appearance and that of any other Jewish man of that day.  However, following His being “received up into glory,” that changed dramatically.  When Christ appeared to Paul in a body enswathed in Glory, Paul was blinded by His outward appearance, by light that he later described as occurring at “midday” and being “above the brightness of the sun” (Acts 9:3-9; 26:12-15).

(Note the similar description of Christ in Revelation 1:16, where He is seen at a yet future time in the role of Judge — a time when “judgment” cannot be and will not be taken from Him: “. . . out of His mouth went a sharp two-edged sword, and His countenance was like the sun shining in its strength.”)

In like manner to Christ’s resurrection, Christians will not be raised in glorified bodies either.  The bodies of Christians will not be enswathed in Glory until events following the judgment seat, for it will be there that decisions and determinations will be made surrounding Christians relative to their having been shown qualified or having been shown disqualified to occupy positions with Christ in the kingdom.  And only those having been shown qualified to occupy these positions will enter into events surrounding the adoption, the redemption of the body, and the Glory.

If a person takes the redemption of the body back to the time of the fall — which is exactly where it must be taken, for something happened to the body at this time, necessitating redemption — he can come to only one conclusion.  “The redemption of the body” has to do with placing man back in the position that he occupied prior to the fall and, in this position, allowing man to realize the reason for his creation, which is regal.  This is the way matters are set forth in Romans 8:15-23 and Philippians 3:20-21.

The word “change” in Philippians 3:21 (referring to changing our body of humiliation) is a translation of the Greek word metaschematizo, which refers to an outward changeAn inward change — described by the Greek word metamorphoo (Romans 12:1-2 [translated, “transformed”]) must have previously occurred, else there can be no outward change at that future time when Christians having previously been shown qualified find themselves enswathed in Glory, with their bodies “conformed toChrist's body of Glory (Philippians 3:21).

Thus, the adoption, the change in our body of humiliation, the redemption of the body, occurs at a time following the resurrection and rapture.  This will be the capstone of all that proceeded, placing man back in the position that Adam occupied before the fall, though with regal garments.  And, accordingly, it will precede and anticipate Christ’s millennial reign.

God's Firstborn Sons and Christ - God’s Firstborn Son in this site may also be of interest.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, Appendix

The following Word Document is Safe to open:

See the following The Church, God's Son from Arlen Chitwood’s Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, Ch. 3 for more detail.

“Signs” in Scripture always have to do with two things: Israel, and the kingdom.

The Church, God's Son
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us.

For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God. . . .

For we know that the whole creation groans and labors with birth pangs together until now.

Not only that, but we also who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, eagerly waiting for the adoption, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:18-19, 22-23)

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17)

Christians, because of creation, are seen in Scripture as “sons” of God, with the adoption yet future.  And following the adoption of Christians, God will have a third firstborn son — a corporate or national son, as Israel.

God presently has two firstborn Sons — Christ and Israel.  And He is about to bring into existence a third firstborn son — the Church.  Only then can God’s purpose for man’s creation, six millennia prior to that time, be realized.

“Sonship” portends rulership; only “sons” can occupy regal positions in God’s kingdom.  That’s the way it has always existed in the angelic realm, prior to, at the time of, and following man’s creation.  And, once man had been brought into existence, for the regal purpose revealed at the time of his creation (Genesis 1:26-28), that’s the way it had to exist in the human realm as well.

In the human realm though, something additional was subsequently revealed.  Not only must the one holding the scepter be a son, but he must, more particularly, be a firstborn son.  Within the human realm, only firstborn sons can rule in God’s kingdom.

That’s why Scripture places such a heavy emphasis upon Christ not only occupying the position of God’s Son but that of God’s Firstborn as well.

Note how the author of Hebrews brings both to the forefront in the first of seven Messianic quotations in chapter one of the book:

You are My Son, today I have begotten You. (Hebrews 1:5a; cf. Psalms 2:7)

Then, following a Messianic quotation dealing with the Father-Son relationship (Hebrews 1:5b), reference is again made to Christ as God’s Firstborn preceding the remaining five Messianic quotations:

But when He again brings [lit., “And when He shall again bring”] the Firstborn into the world . . . (Hebrews 1:6a; cf. 2 Samuel 7:14).

And even in a passage such as John 3:16, attention is called to God’s “only begotten Son,” a direct reference to not only Christ’s Sonship but to His Firstborn status.

(The statements to this effect in both the opening verses of Hebrews and John 3 should be expected.

The opening verses of Hebrews form the manner in which The Spirit of God arranged seven Messianic quotations, introducing the subject matter in the book.  The Holy Spirit, when He moved the author of this book to pen the recorded words, arranged these seven Messianic quotations from the Old Testament in such a manner that Christ’s Sonship and His Firstborn status as God’s Son would be brought to the forefront at the beginning, forming the foundational basis for all that follows.

Then, John 3:16 forms a part of Christ’s discourse to Nicodemus, where the subject matter begins through referencing the coming kingdom, responding to Nicodemus’ question about the signs being manifested (John 3:2-5).  “Signs” in Scripture always have to do with two things: Israel, and the kingdom.  And it would be in complete keeping with the subject at hand to continue the thought portended by Nicodemus’ question surrounding “signs” into the latter part of the discourse, which is exactly what is seen.)

Within the family relationship, Christians are referred to as both children and sons.  And the two are closely related but are not really the same.

All Christians are referred to as “children” (Greek: teknon), but Scripture does not use “sons” (Greek: huios) in the same all-encompassing manner.  Though all Christians are “sons” because of creation,  the New Testament use of the Greek word huios, referring to Christians through this means, appears only within contexts which are both regal and where Christians are seen actively progressing toward the goal set before them.  In this respect, the word is used relative to Christians in complete keeping with that which “sonship” portends — with rulership.

Children, Sons, Adoption

In the New Testament epistles (both the Pauline and the general epistles), Christians are referred to as “children [teknon] of God” and “sons [huios] of God” about an equal number of times.  They are referred to as “children of God” in Romans 8:16, 17, 21; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1, 2, 10; 5:2.  And they are referred to as “sons of God” in Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 4:6, 7; Hebrews 12:5-8 (the word “sons” alone, rather than “sons of God,” is used in the latter reference; but a Father-son relationship is in view throughout, showing God dealing with Christians as His sons).

In all three sections of Scripture where Christians are presently referred to as “sons,” adoption is also in view.  In both Romans and Galatians, in the Greek text, the word huiothesia (the word for “adoption [son-placing]”) appears in the context of the verses where Christians are referred to as “sons” (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5).

And in Hebrews, adoption is seen in the context as well, though from a different perspective.  It is seen following the verses referring to Christians as “sons” (in Hebrews 12:16-17— verses forming the heart of the fifth and final major warning in the book, dealing with Esau [the firstborn] forfeiting his birthright).

In the antitype of the account pertaining to Esau forfeiting his birthright, the thought of adoption would have to be brought into the picture, for Christians must not only be sons but they must be firstborn sons to realize the rights of the firstborn that Esau in the type forfeited.  And the only way Christians can be brought into this position is through adoption.

(Aside from Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5, the only other place in the New Testament where the Greek word huiothesia is used relative to Christians is in Ephesians 1:5.  And the use of this word early in the book of Ephesians is in complete keeping with how the subject matter of the book is introduced in this first chapter — a future “redemption” and “inheritance,” in connection with the “mystery” revealed to Paul [Ephesians 1:7, 9, 11, 14, cf. Ephesians 3:1-6; 4:30], to be realized “in the dispensation of the fullness of times” [Ephesians 3:10].  These interrelated things are presently being made known, “by [‘through’] the Church,” to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” [Satan and his angels], which accounts for the warning and instructions concerning the spiritual warfare at the close of the book [Ephesians 3:9-11; 6:10ff].

As in any New Testament epistle, the central subject seen in Ephesians is not salvation by grace, though that subject is dealt with in the book.  Rather, the central subject has to do with the things seen in the opening chapter, which introduce the things about to be developed in the book — things pertaining to Christians in relation to the coming kingdom of Christ.  And if this epistle, or any New Testament epistle, is not studied after the manner in which the epistle is introduced, the central message of the epistle will be lost to the reader.)

Thus, Christians are referred to as “sons” only in sections of Scripture where adoption is in view.  Both sonship and adoption place matters within a regal setting; and Christians, in all three passages where adoption is dealt with, are seen actively moving toward the goal set before them — the adoption of sons and being brought into a realization of the rights of the firstborn.

On the other hand, Scripture refers to Christians as “children” within a regal setting as well, but not with respect to adoption.  This is the main difference concerning how the two words are used in the New Testament epistles.  It is sons who are adopted, not children.

(In Romans 8:16-17, 21, the Greek word for “children” [teknon] is used in a context with the Greek word for “sons” [huios].  And an inheritance, an adoption, and a manifestation of sons are seen in the passage [with huios alone used relative to the latter two (Romans 8:16-17, 21, teknon appears in connection with present Christian activity, with a view to the coming day of Christ [Romans 8:16].  And in 1 John 3:1-2, 10; 5:2 the context shows the same thing as seen in Philippians 2:15-16.

Teknon is used in these verses to depict present Christian activity, with a view to the hope set before Christians, Christ’s future appearance, and being shown as an overcomer in that coming day.)

Thus, there is the central distinction between the way in which “children” and “sons” are used in the New Testament.  Both are used in regal settings, with the latter used more specifically in connection with the rights of the firstborn.  Both can be used of Christians today; but, only “sons” is used when adoption is in view.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, Ch. 3

The following commentary by Gary Whipple may be of interest and is Safe to open:

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See the Seven Messianic Quotations that follow.

Seven Messianic Quotations
A Key to Understanding the Book of Hebrews
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

“The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Ephesians 3:9-11).

Introducing the subject matter in the Book of Hebrews through different quotations from the Old Testament is strictly by Divine design.   There are “seven quotations” having to do with Christ in His coming glory.  “Seven” is a number which refers to the completion of that which is in view; and these seven quotations present a complete, composite Messianic portrait of Christ, setting the stage for that which follows.

If a person would properly understand the message in the Book of Hebrews, he must understand the opening verses of the book in their correct perspective, for these verses can only be looked upon as forming an introductory key to the remainder of this book.  With this in mind, note these seven Messianic quotations:

Sonship, Heirship, Rulership

The first two quotations in Hebrews 1 center around Christ’s Sonship, with the preceding mention of heirship (Hebrews 1:2-4) forming the basis for these two introductory statements:

“For unto which of the angels said he at any time, ‘Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee’?  And again, ‘I will be to him a Father, and he shall be to me a Son’?” (Hebrews 1:5; cf. Psalm 2:7; II Samuel 7:14).

Christ is the “appointed heir,” the Son Who, by inheritance, has “obtained a more excellent name” than angels (Hebrews 1:2, 4).  “Sonship” implies rulership, and, as God’s Son, Christ is the One destined to exercise the rights of primogeniture and rule the earth with “a rod of iron” (cf. Psalm 2:7, 9).

Though angels are “sons of God” (because of their individual creation), God has not spoken after the fashion revealed in Psalm 2:7 and II Samuel 7:14 relative to angels.  He has spoken after this fashion relative to His Son, Jesus, alone (Hebrews 1:5ff).

The Messianic nature of these two quotations cannot be questioned, for both appear in Messianic settings in the Old Testament.

Verses on either side of Psalm 2:7 have to do with Christ during the Messianic Era.  Psalm 2:6 states:

“Yet have I set my King upon my holy hill of Zion.”

And Psalm 2:8-9 state:

“Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen [Gentiles] for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession.

Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter’s vessel” (cf. Revelation 2:26-27).

The quotation from II Samuel 7:14 was spoken in a dual sense.  It was spoken in a near sense concerning David’s immediate successor, his son, Solomon; and it was spoken in a far sense concerning David’s greater successor, his greater Son, Christ.

And the Father-Son relationship relative to the kingdom and the throne are in view in both instances (II Samuel 7:12-14a, 16).  The greater Son is the One to Whom God will give “the sure mercies of David [lit., ‘the holy things of David’]” (Acts 13:34b; cf. Acts 13:33).

The seven quotations from the Old Testament in the first chapter of Hebrews are thus:

1) Introduced with Messianic statements (Hebrews 1:2-4).

2) Begin with Messianic verses (Hebrews 1:5).

3) Continue with Messianic verses (Hebrews 1:6-13).

4) Lead into that which can only be Messianic in its fulfillment (Hebrews 1:14ff).

Return of God’s Firstborn Son

The third quotation refers to that future time when “the firstbegotten [‘the firstborn’]” will again be brought into the inhabited world (Hebrews 1:6a), continuing the thought of Sonship and the rights of primogeniture from the previous verse:

“And again, when he bringeth in the firstbegotten into the world [lit., ‘And when He shall again bring the firstborn into the inhabited world’] he saith, ‘And let all the angels of God worship him’” (Hebrews 1:6; cf. Deut. 32:43 [LXX]; Psalm 97:7).

A distinction is made here between Jesus and angels insofar as Both being “Sons” but only One possessing the “rights of primogeniture” is concerned.  The rights of the firstborn (Gk., prototokia) are reserved for firstborn (Gk., prototokos) sons.  The two Greek words are closely related, referring to two inseparable things — position, and rights within that position.  And no angel can come within the scope of either one.  That is, no angel is a firstborn son, in line to inherit the rights of the firstborn.

Rather, at this time, the angels of God will worship the Son (Hebrews 1:6b).  Sons of God will worship God’s firstborn Son after He comes into possession of the rights of the firstborn; and since only God is to be worshipped (cf. Matthew 4:10; Revelation 19:10; 22:8-9), the One Whom angels will worship at this time must Himself be God.  And this is a fact specifically stated in a later Old Testament quotation in Hebrews, chapter one where the Father says to the Son, “Thy throne, O God…” (Hebrews 1:8).

“And of the Angels”

The fourth quotation continues the thought of angelic ministry, and contextually this angelic ministry must be looked upon as a ministry surrounding the Son during the Messianic Era:

“And of the angels he saith, ‘Who maketh his angels spirits, and his ministers a flame of fire’” (Hebrews 1:7; cf. Psalm 104:4).

The one hundred fourth Psalm, from which this quotation is taken, reveals a number of things about the Creator and His creation (the earth, angels, and man).  Thoughts in this Psalm move all the way from the creation of the earth in the beginning (Psalm 104:5) to the coming Messianic Era (Psalm 104:31, 35).  Angelic ministry, thus, within this Psalm, could refer to a ministry occurring in the past, the present, or the future.

In passages such as Luke 2:9, 13 (referring to angelic ministry surrounding Christ’s birth), such a ministry is past; in Hebrews 1:14 (referring to angelic ministry surrounding Christians in the world today), such a ministry is present; but in Hebrews 1:7 (referring to angelic ministry surrounding Christ in His kingdom), such a ministry is future.
 
“But unto the Son”

The fifth quotation refers to the Lord with His co-heirs seated upon His throne, holding the sceptre, during the coming day of His power:

“But unto the Son he saith, ‘Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever: a sceptre of righteousness is the sceptre of thy kingdom.

Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows [‘companions’]’” (Hebrews 1:8-9; cf. Psalm 45:6-7).

The duration of time in which the Son rules (the time during which He sits on the throne and holds the sceptre) is said to be “forever and ever [throughout the endless ages, eternal in duration].”

Christ will sit on His Own throne in the new Jerusalem above the earth during the Millennium and, with His “companions [co-heirs],” rule the earth for 1,000 years.  But during the eternal ages beyond the Millennium, Christ will sit alongside His Father on “the throne of God and of the Lamb” (Revelation 22:1, 3), which will be in the new Jerusalem on the new earth.  Universal rule will emanate from this throne, Christ’s “companions” will continue to rule with Him, and in this sense Christ’s rule with His saints can be said to last “forever and ever” (cf. Revelation 11:15; 22:5).

The Same, Yesterday, Today, and Forever

The sixth quotation refers to the eternity of Christ within both a historic and prophetic setting:

“And, ‘Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands:

They shall perish; but thou remainest; and they shall all wax old as doth a garment;

And as a vesture shalt thou fold them up, and they shall be changed: but thou art the same, and thy years shall not fail’” (Hebrews 1:10-12; cf. Psalm 102:25-27).

These three verses appear near the end of the one hundred second Psalm and, in this Psalm, are addressed to God (as were the words in the previous quotation from Psalm 45:6-7).  However, the writer of Hebrews, being “moved by the Holy Spirit [the One Who originally moved the Psalmist to pen these words],” applies these verses also to the Son.

There is no stronger language in the New Testament concerning the Deity of Christ than the first chapter of Hebrews.  It was the blood of God which was shed on Calvary (Acts 20:28), and God (“Thy throne, O God…”), in the person of His Son (or, as in Hebrews 1:2, “in Son [literal rendering]”), is the One Who will rule the earth during the coming age.  He was present and co-equal with the Father in the beginning.  “All things” were brought into existence through Him (John 1:1-3).  “All things were created by [‘through’] him, and for him.  And he is before all things, and by him all things consist [i.e., He upholds ‘all things by the word of his power’ (Hebrews 1:3)]” (Colossians 1:16-17).

Hebrews 1:10-12, quoting Psalms 102:25-27 (which appears in a Messianic setting in the Psalm [cf. Psalms 102:16, 21-22] and is quoted in a Messianic setting in Hebrews), presents Christ as both The Creator at the time the heavens and earth were brought into existence and The Destroyer at the time the same heavens and earth will pass out of existence (cf. Genesis 1:1; Isaiah 65:17; John 1:3; II Peter 3:10-12).  And though change occurs in the creation, the Creator remains unchanged, for He is “the same yesterday, and today, and forever” (Hebrews 13:8).

“Sit on My Right Hand, Until…”

The seventh quotation, as the first quotation, is preceded by a reference to angels once again:

“But to which of the angels said he at any time, ‘Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool’?” (Hebrews 1:13; cf. Psalm 110:1).

The writer of Hebrews terminates his seven quotations from the Old Testament at the same point that the Apostle John terminates his seven overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3.  Both the Father’s and the Son’s thrones are in view in both instances.

In Hebrews, the Son has been invited to sit alongside His Father, on His Father’s throne, until His enemies are made His footstool.  Then He will sit on His Own throne.  In the Book of Revelation, in the last of the overcomer’s promises, reference is also made to the Son being seated on the throne with His Father; and the promise is given to overcoming Christians that they will one day be allowed to sit with Him on His Own throne (Revelation 3:21).

Thus, the introductory verses in Hebrews, presenting a complete, composite Messianic portrait of Christ, terminate with a view to Christ ascending the throne and holding the sceptre, fulfilling these verses.  And this logically leads into the same subject matter that the Apostle John in Revelation chapters two and three deals with — others (companions, overcomers) ascending the throne and occupying positions as co-heirs with Christ in that coming day.

The five major warnings in the Book of Hebrews and the seven overcomer’s promises in the Book of Revelation, in this respect, have to do with the same thing.  They are both Messianic in their outlook and are directed to the saved, not the unsaved.

They both have to do, not with the salvation which we presently possess, but with the salvation of the soul.  It is the overcomer (Revelation 2; 3) who will realize so great salvation (Hebrews 2:3) and be allowed to ascend the throne as a companion with God’s Son during the coming age (cf. Hebrews 1:8-9, 14; 3:14; Revelation 3:21).

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Seven Messianic Quotations

Man was created in the beginning to rule and to reign. And though only a part of saved mankind will have been brought back into a position to occupy the throne at the beginning of the Millennium (with the tree of life [*the fruit gives one the wisdom and knowledge necessary to rule] made available to them at this time), at the end of the Millennium the whole of saved mankind will be brought back into this position (with the tree of life made available to them at this time). ~ Arlen Chitwood

*Added by Pat

The Central Message of the New Testament
(Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 13)
By Charles Strong of Bible One

Then He said to them, “Therefore every scribe instructed concerning the kingdom of heaven is like a householder who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” (Matthew 13:52)

The Word of the Kingdom — the message surrounding the kingdom of the heavens (Matthew 13:11, 19, 24) — is the central message of the New Testament.  Whether studying the gospels, the book of Acts, the epistles, or the book of Revelation, an individual will be studying Scriptures dealing centrally with a message pertaining to the kingdom.
 
The person understanding this message will possess a proper foundation to build upon as he studies different parts of the New Testament.  However, if this message is not understood, the converse of the preceding will be true.  That person will possess an improper foundation to build upon; and his studies throughout any part of the New Testament will, accordingly, be adversely affected.
 
This is why an individual instructed in the Word of the Kingdom can be likened to the householder in the text.  Not only will he be able to go to the Scriptures and bring forth things that areold” (things he has already seen and understood) but he will also be able, from the things that are “old,” to begin seeing and bringing forth things that arenew” as well (things he has not previously seen and understood).
 
And, according to the text, he will be able to do this because he has beeninstructed concerning the kingdom of heaven.”  He now possesses a key to the Scriptures; a key that will open numerous passages of Scripture to his understanding, passages that otherwise would have remained closed.
 
Such an individual, as he studies and learns new things about the Word of the Kingdom, will progressively find himself being able to, more and more, take the “old” and see and understand that which is “new.”  And the more that person comes into an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom, the more he will see Scripture opening up to him in this fashion.  The latter, in this respect, is inseparably linked to and dependent on the former. 
 
This is what an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom will do for an individual in his quest for knowledge of Scripture.  And, though this has been the experience and testimony of numerous Christians, this is not simply what they might have to say about the matter.  Rather, this is what
the unchangeable Word of God has to say about the matter.
 
The Word of God clearly reveals that a person instructed in the Word of the Kingdom can go to the Scriptures and bring forth out of this storehouse of unlimited treasures “things new and old.”  But by the same token, apart from an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom, though an individual may be able to see and understand certain truths, the same situation referred to in Matthew 13:52 simply doesn’t exist.
 
The preceding will explain why this whole realm of teaching lies center stage in Satan’s attack against the Word during the present dispensation.  An understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the key to a proper understanding of Scripture as it relates to Christians, and Satan knows this.  He knows that if he can corrupt or destroy that which will open the door to a proper understanding of the numerous other Scriptures bearing on the subject, he can best accomplish the purpose for his present work among Christians.
 
Satan’s efforts toward this end are something easily seen in the first four parables in Matthew 13.  These four parables present a chronology of Satan’s work as he seeks to subvert the Word of the Kingdom, and this chronology covers the progressive results of his work in this respect throughout the entire dispensation.
 
Satan’s attack in the first parable, the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23), was seen to be against those hearing the Word of the Kingdom.  He sought to stop the matter at that point, preventing individuals from understanding this message and subsequently bringing forth fruit.  Four types of individuals are seen responding to the message, with Satan being successful in his attack against three of the four.  Those seen in the first three of the four categories fell away and bore no fruit.  But Satan’s attack against those in the fourth category proved to be unsuccessful.  They heard the Word, received and understood the Word, overcame Satan’s attack, and bore fruit.
 
Then the next parable, the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), centers on Satan’s attack against the ones bearing fruit from the previous parable.  Satan placed those with a false message (false teachers) in the midst of those bearing fruit, seeking to subvert the message and stop that which was occurring.  That is to say, he sought to corrupt the true message by introducing a false message.  And this was done with a view to stopping that which had resulted from a proclamation of the true message.  This was done with a view to stopping those Christians who were bearing fruit from doing so.
 
Then the next parable, the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32), shows that which happened in Christendom over the course of time during the dispensation because of this false message.  The mustard seed germinated and took a normal growth for a while.  But then something happened, which caused it to take an abnormal growth and eventually become a tree.  And after this abnormal growth had occurred — after the mustard bush had become a tree, something that it wasn’t supposed to become at all — the birds of the air (ministers of Satan, seen in the first parable [Matthew 13:4]) found a lodging place therein.
 
And the fourth parable, the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33), completes the picture.  The false message introduced near the beginning of the dispensation is likened to leaven placed in three measures of meal (“three” is the number of divine perfection, and “meal” is that which is used to make bread.  Leaven [a corrupting substance] was placed in the meal [resulting in corruption in the bread]).  And this leaven would continue to work (this false message would continue to permeate and corrupt the true message) until the whole had been leavened (until the whole had been corrupted).
 
This is the revealed direction that Christendom would take relative to the true message concerning the Word of the Kingdom following the introduction of the leaven, following the introduction of a false message concerning the Word of the Kingdom.
 
These four parables together show a history of Christendom throughout the dispensation in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.  This message — the central message of the New Testament — was universally taught throughout the churches during the first century.  But the introduction of a false message resulted in changes.  Christendom itself took an abnormal growth; and this abnormal growth was such that the false teachers eventually found themselves welcomed within that which they, through their false message, had corrupted.
 
Corruption though didn’t stop at this point.  The working of the leaven continued, and it would continue until this false message had permeated all of Christendom.  This corrupting process would continue, according to the text, “till the whole” had been leavened.
 
And, viewing the matter solely from the standpoint of that which can be seen in the world today, what has been the end result of the working of the leaven?  As the dispensation draws to a close, where does the Church find itself today?
 
The answers are easy to ascertain.  All one has to do in order to see and understand that which has happened is to go into almost any church of the land (fundamental and liberal alike) and listen for any mention of things having to do with the Word of the KingdomA person will listen in vain.  Because of the working of a leavening process that is in its final stages, the true biblical message surrounding Christians and the coming kingdom is practically nonexistent throughout Christendom today.
 
This leavening process recognizes no bounds or barriers.  Fundamental Christendom finds itself just as permeated with the leaven, as it relates to the Word of the Kingdom, as does liberal Christendom.  From the theology schools to the pulpits of churches to the pews in these churches, the whole of Christendom finds itself in exactly the same state insofar as that which is revealed throughout the first four parables in Matthew 13 is concerned.
 
Many of the fundamentalists, not understanding the true nature of the leavening process, look upon themselves as having escaped this corruption.  But such is not the case at all.  Insofar as any understanding and proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom is concerned, the fundamental groups find themselves in exactly the same state as the liberal groups.  They find themselves permeated through and through with exactly the same corrupting leaven.  There is absolutely no difference between the two groups in this respect.  Neither understands nor proclaims this message.
 
Seminaries — fundamental and liberal alike — are training students in everything but the one message that will open the Scriptures to their understanding.  And these same seminaries are turning out graduates who are filling the pulpits of churches with a message completely void of any reference to the Word of the Kingdom.  These seminary graduates don’t know the truth of the matter, and, as a result, their entire ministries are negatively affected.  The various flocks that the Lord has entrusted to their care are not being properly fed; and, in reality, for the most part,
Christians under their ministries are slowly starving to death.
 
Christians throughout the churches today are simply not hearing the one message, above all other messages, which they should be hearing.  And the reason is given in the first four parables of Matthew 13.  The working of the leaven over almost two millennia of time has produced a corruption extending throughout Christendom that has all but destroyed the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom.  And, as a result of this corruption, the Bible, for the most part, remains
a closed book for the vast majority of Christians.
 
The preceding is why a person, untrained in the theology schools of the land, but understanding the Word of the Kingdom, often has a better grasp of the whole of Scripture than many of those who are teaching in the theology schools.  The person having an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom possesses a key to Scripture that a person without this understanding does not possess.  He can go to the Scriptures and bring forth things bothnew and old”; but the same thing cannot be said for those who lack this understanding.

Why?

Why will instruction in the Word of the Kingdom open the Scriptures to a person’s understanding like nothing else?  Why is an understanding of this message so vital if a person is to possess a correct and proper grasp of Scripture?  The answer could be looked upon in a twofold respect.
 
First, an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the only thing that will provide the true biblical picture surrounding the purpose for the Christian life.  Why did God bring the new creationin Christ” into existence?  Why is God taking an entire dispensation to do a work among the Gentiles?  Why is the Holy Spirit presently in the world performing
a work among Christians?
 
And second, an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the only thing that will provide the true biblical picture surrounding direction for the Christian life.  What is the goal toward which everything moves as it pertains to the new creationin Christ”?  What is the spiritual warfare about?  What is the race of the faith about?  What will be the end result of victory or defeat as it pertains to the warfare or the race?

An understanding of the Word of the Kingdom will answer questions surrounding the Christian life unlike anything else in the Word of God.  This is the only thing that will present the complete biblical picture in its correct fashion.  Only out of this teaching can all the issues surrounding the Christian life be properly addressed, and only out of this teaching can one find the true motivation for Godly Christian living.
 
But, if all the preceding is true — and it is — then why is this message so fought against in Christian circles today?  It would appear that acceptance rather than rejection would be the norm.
 
Such though is not the case at all.  Rather, with rare exceptions, rejection is invariably the norm.  And the reason is seen in the working of the leaven in Matthew 13:33.  The negative attitude of Christians toward the Word of the Kingdom is simply the end result of a work of Satan that has been going on for almost 2,000 years.

Warning

The parables in Matthew 13 deal far more extensively with the negative than they do with the positive.  More space is given in the first parable to those who fail to bring forth fruit than is given to those who do bring forth fruit (in three of the four parts).  And the emphasis in the second, third, fourth, and seventh parables is on different facets of this same work of Satan as well.  Only the fifth and sixth parables, which have to do with Christ’s redemptive work as it relates to the earth and to His bride, form an exception.
 
Thus, the central thrust of these parables is seen to be far more negative than positive.  These parables have to do centrally with exposing the work of Satan throughout the dispensation in relation to the Word of the Kingdom, along with revealing where this will lead, both during and following the dispensation.
 
As the dispensation draws to a close and Satan’s corrupting work nears its final stage, the whole matter goes almost completely unrecognized in Christendom.  And the reason for this is easy to see and understand.  The leavened state of Christendom is being viewed by those who have themselves been adversely affected by the leaven.
 
They are, in this respect, as were the two disciples on the Emmaus road who were walking alongside the resurrected Christ and didn’t even recognize Him.  Their inability to recognize the Christ of the Old Testament Scriptures — the Word that had become flesh, the Old Testament Scriptures that had been manifested in a Person — resulted from their inability to properly understand these same Scriptures.  It was only after these Scriptures had been opened to their understanding, followed by Christ breaking bread, that their eyes were opened.
 
And Christians today, viewing a leavened Christendom and not seeing or understanding its true condition, are simply not viewing matters from a correct biblical perspective.  Their inability to recognize the true condition of the Church stems from their inability to understand that which Scripture reveals about the matter.  And, if their eyes are to be opened to the truth of the existing situation, such will occur only through the truth of the Word being presented to them and being accepted by them.
 
But will such occur during the present dispensation?  Will the truth about the coming kingdom ever be proclaimed in such a manner that it will be accepted, allowing the eyes of Christians to be opened?
 
One here and one there will hear and understand the message, but not the Church at large.  Conditions can only continue to deteriorate in the latter respect.  Such was assured — the pattern was set — when the woman placed the leaven in the three measures of meal.  And conditions can only continue to deteriorate, until the whole has been leavened.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 13

Also see Salvation by Faith or Works or Both and Five Parables regarding the Kingdom in this site for additional commentary on this subject.

The Seven Parables of Matthew 13
Excerpts from The Central Message of the New Testament by Charles Strong of Bible One and Dragnet / Separation / Furnace of Fire / Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast.

An understanding of the Word of the Kingdom is the key to a proper understanding of Scripture as it relates to Christians, and Satan knows this.  He knows that if he can corrupt or destroy that which will open the door to a proper understanding of the numerous other Scriptures bearing on the subject, he can best accomplish the purpose for his present work among Christians.
 
Satan’s efforts toward this end are something easily seen in the first four parables in Matthew 13.  These four parables present a chronology of Satan’s work as he seeks to subvert the Word of the Kingdom, and this chronology covers the progressive results of his work in this respect throughout the entire dispensation.
 
Satan’s attack in the first parable, the parable of the sower (Matthew 13:3-8, 18-23), was seen to be against those hearing the Word of the Kingdom.  He sought to stop the matter at that point, preventing individuals from understanding this message and subsequently bringing forth fruit.  Four types of individuals are seen responding to the message, with Satan being successful in his attack against three of the four.  Those seen in the first three of the four categories fell away and bore no fruit.  But Satan’s attack against those in the fourth category proved to be unsuccessful.  They heard the Word, received and understood the Word, overcame Satan’s attack, and bore fruit.
 
Then the next parable, the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43), centers on Satan’s attack against the ones bearing fruit from the previous parable.  Satan placed those with a false message (false teachers) in the midst of those bearing fruit, seeking to subvert the message and stop that which was occurring.  That is to say, he sought to corrupt the true message by introducing a false message.  And this was done with a view to stopping that which had resulted from a proclamation of the true message.  This was done with a view to stopping those Christians who were bearing fruit from doing so.
 
Then the next parable, the parable of the mustard seed (Matthew 13:31-32), shows that which happened in Christendom over the course of time during the dispensation because of this false message.  The mustard seed germinated and took a normal growth for a while.  But then something happened, which caused it to take an abnormal growth and eventually become a tree.  And after this abnormal growth had occurred — after the mustard bush had become a tree, something that it wasn’t supposed to become at all — the birds of the air (ministers of Satan, seen in the first parable [Matthew 13:4]) found a lodging place therein.
 
And the fourth parable, the parable of the leaven (Matthew 13:33), completes the picture.  The false message introduced near the beginning of the dispensation is likened to leaven placed in three measures of meal (“three” is the number of divine perfection, and “meal” is that which is used to make bread.  Leaven [a corrupting substance] was placed in the meal [resulting in corruption in the bread]).  And this leaven would continue to work (this false message would continue to permeate and corrupt the true message) until the whole had been leavened (until the whole had been corrupted).
 
This is the revealed direction that Christendom would take relative to the true message concerning the Word of the Kingdom following the introduction of the leaven, following the introduction of a false message concerning the Word of the Kingdom.
 
These four parables together show a history of Christendom throughout the dispensation in relation to the Word of the Kingdom.  This message — the central message of the New Testament — was universally taught throughout the churches during the first century.  But the introduction of a false message resulted in changes.  Christendom itself took an abnormal growth; and this abnormal growth was such that the false teachers eventually found themselves welcomed within that which they, through their false message, had corrupted.
 
Corruption though didn’t stop at this point.  The working of the leaven continued, and it would continue until this false message had permeated all of Christendom.  This corrupting process would continue, according to the text, “till the whole” had been leavened.
 
And, viewing the matter solely from the standpoint of that which can be seen in the world today, what has been the end result of the working of the leaven?  As the dispensation draws to a close, where does the Church find itself today?
 
The answers are easy to ascertain.  All one has to do in order to see and understand that which has happened is to go into almost any church of the land (fundamental and liberal alike) and listen for any mention of things having to do with the Word of the KingdomA person will listen in vain.  Because of the working of a leavening process that is in its final stages, the true biblical message surrounding Christians and the coming kingdom is practically nonexistent throughout Christendom today.
 
This leavening process recognizes no bounds or barriers.  Fundamental Christendom finds itself just as permeated with the leaven, as it relates to the Word of the Kingdom, as does liberal Christendom.  From the theology schools to the pulpits of churches to the pews in these churches, the whole of Christendom finds itself in exactly the same state insofar as that which is revealed throughout the first four parables in Matthew 13 is concerned.
 
Many of the fundamentalists, not understanding the true nature of the leavening process, look upon themselves as having escaped this corruption.  But such is not the case at all.  Insofar as any understanding and proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom is concerned, the fundamental groups find themselves in exactly the same state as the liberal groups.  They find themselves permeated through and through with exactly the same corrupting leaven.  There is absolutely no difference between the two groups in this respect.  Neither understands nor proclaims this message.
 
Seminaries — fundamental and liberal alike — are training students in everything but the one message that will open the Scriptures to their understanding.  And these same seminaries are turning out graduates who are filling the pulpits of churches with a message completely void of any reference to the Word of the Kingdom.  These seminary graduates don’t know the truth of the matter, and, as a result, their entire ministries are negatively affected.  The various flocks that the Lord has entrusted to their care are not being properly fed; and, in reality, for the most part,
Christians under their ministries are slowly starving to death.
 
Christians throughout the churches today are simply not hearing the one message, above all other messages, which they should be hearing.  And the reason is given in the first four parables of Matthew 13.  The working of the leaven over almost two millennia of time has produced a corruption extending throughout Christendom that has all but destroyed the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom.  And, as a result of this corruption, the Bible, for the most part, remains
a closed book for the vast majority of Christians.
 
The preceding is why a person, untrained in the theology schools of the land, but understanding the Word of the Kingdom, often has a better grasp of the whole of Scripture than many of those who are teaching in the theology schools.  The person having an understanding of the Word of the Kingdom possesses a key to Scripture that a person without this understanding does not possess.  He can go to the Scriptures and bring forth things bothnew and old”; but the same thing cannot be said for those who lack this understanding.

The preceding are excerpts from The Central Message of the New Testament by Charles Strong.

The following are excerpts from Dragnet / Separation / Furnace of Fire / Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood.

 Both are in this site.

The last of the seven parables in Matthew 13, the parable of the net, begins by briefly mentioning events occurring throughout the present dispensation (Matthew 13:47); then the parable in the three succeeding verses (Matthew 13:48-50) immediately moves to and centers on events occurring at the end of the age, after the dispensation has run its course (seen in the first four parables: Sower [Matthew 13:1-9], Tares Matthew 13:24-30], Mustard Seed [Matthew 13:31-32], Leaven [Matthew 13:33]) and after the inheritance has been redeemed and the bride has become Christ’s wife (seen in the fifth and sixth parables: Hidden Treasure [Matthew 13:44], Pearl of Great Price [Matthew 13:45-46]).

The “dragnet that was cast into the sea” (Matthew 13:47) is a reference to God’s work among the Gentiles throughout the present dispensation. The “sea” refers to the Gentiles, and the “dragnet” cast into the sea, drawing from the sea (cast out among the Gentiles, drawing from the Gentiles) refers to God working among and removing from the Gentilesa people for His name”  (Acts 15:14).

After Israel had rejected the proffered kingdom of the heavens, another nation, separate from Israel, was called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected (Matthew 21:33-43; 1 Peter 2:9-11). A nation, which was neither Jewish nor Gentile, was called into existence to be accorded the opportunity to bring forth fruit where Israel had failed. And this new nation, comprising a new creation “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17), was to be taken from both of the prior two creations — from both the Jews and the Gentiles — though mainly from the Gentiles.

God set aside an entire dispensation, lasting two days, 2,000 years, during which time He would remove from the Gentiles “a people for His name,” though “a remnant according to the election of grace [believing Jews]” was to be included as well (Romans 11:5). And, according to the parable of the dragnet, the removal of these people had to do with the kingdom of the heavens.

This removal is likened to a dragnet which was cast out among the Gentile nations, and those removed from the Gentiles via the dragnet (becoming part of the new creation “in Christ”) are seen being removed for a purpose. Their removal has to do with the kingdom of the heavens. Their removal is with a view to their occupying positions in the proffered kingdom, the kingdom previously rejected by and taken from Israel.

Thus, the removal from the sea itself is not the central subject of the parable. Rather, this information was given in order to introduce the central subject — the purpose for their removal from the sea.

All three of the parables that Christ gave after He had reentered the house draw from previous events — events occurring either before or during the present dispensation — but these parables center on events occurring after the dispensation has run its course. These parables have to do centrally with events occurring at the very end of the age, during and immediately following the time when God completes His dealings with Israel.

Events in these parables occur during the Tribulation and during the time immediately following Christ’s return. In this respect, they occur during the last seven years of Man’s Day and at the very first of the Lord’s Day, which immediately follows (during Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week [Daniel 9:24-27] and during the seventy-five days immediately following, seen at the end of Daniel’s prophecy [Daniel 12:11-13]).

Events in the last of the three parables given back inside the house (parable of the dragnet) chronologically follow events in the preceding two parables (parables of the treasure and pearl). As previously stated, events in all three of these closing parables are seen in a chronology of this nature. Each of these parables begins by referring to events in past time. But the central subject of each parable is not about these past events. Rather, the central subject of each parable rests on these past events and has to do with future events, events occurring after the dispensation has run its course.

All three of these parables have to do with the kingdom of the heavens, and all three have to do with events that move toward the same revealed goal — the end of the age and the beginning of the next age, the end of Man’s Day and the beginning of the Lord’s Day.

The Separation

Those removed from the sea during the present dispensation (Matthew 13:47) are seen being dealt with at the end of the age after a revealed fashion. They are seen being separated into two main categories and then dealt with according to the category in which they had previously been placed (Matthew 13:48ff).

Once those removed from the sea via the dragnet have been brought to “shore,” the picture in the parable relates a separation of “the good” from “the bad.” And once separated, the good are gathered into vessels, but the bad are cast away (Matthew 13:48). Then the next verse reveals how this will be accomplished — carried out by angels (Matthew 13:49).

Exactly the same picture was presented earlier in this sequence of parables, at the end of the second parable, the parable of the wheat and tares. There was a harvest, followed by a separation of the wheat and the tares. The tares were bound in bundles to be burned, but the wheat was gathered into the Master’s barn (Matthew 13:30).

And after the Lord had gone back inside the house, prior to giving the last three parables, He gave the explanation to that which had occurred at the close of the parable of the wheat and tares, which would be the same as that occurring at the close of the three parables that He was about to give:

Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness. (Matthew 13:40-41)

The preceding two verses parallel the two verses under discussion in the parable of the dragnet (Matthew 13:48-49). These verses reveal a separation of “the wheat” from “the tares,” a separation of “the good” from “the bad.” And this separation will occur at “the end of the age.”

(Events occurring at the end of the age, depicted in both the parable of the wheat and tares and the parable of the dragnet, are the same. These two parables simply present two different pictures of the same thing.

Note that the things depicted in these two parables do not have to do with events at Christ’s judgment seat. The things depicted in these parables have to do with subsequent events, occurring at least seven years later, which are based on previous decisions and determinations rendered at the judgment seat.)

1) Subject of the Parables

Bear in mind that the parables in Matthew 13 — all seven of them — have to do with the kingdom of the heavens. They have nothing to do with salvation by grace through faith (though salvation, with respect to eternal verities, would be alluded to several places in these parables [e.g., in the last parable through a removal from the sea]).

Salvation by grace through faith is simply not the central subject seen throughout these parables. And when these parables deal with a separation (as seen in the second and seventh parables), along with the results of this separation, everything stated must be taken at face value and related to the subject at hand.

And whether or not this lines up with man’s ideologies or his doctrinal statements in the realm of eschatology (it usually doesn’t) is of no moment whatsoever. An omniscient God, who sees and knows the end as well as He sees and knows the beginning, has spoken. He has established these parables, structured them a certain way, and placed them in a particular order and place in His Word. And that which God has established, along with the manner in which He has established it, is the end of the matter.

In the closing parable, God Himself has revealed to man the end of all that which had been dealt with in the preceding six parables. There will first be a separation of those taken from the sea. This separation will occur at the end of the age (which will follow events surrounding the judgment seat and the subsequent marriage festivities of the Lamb), it will be carried out by angels, and it will occur in relation to entrance into or exclusion from the kingdom.

Thus, the subject of all seven parables centers on the proffered kingdom of the heavens. This subject is given at the beginning of each parable, something that cannot possibly be missed. And this subject must be kept in view throughout these parables; else the parables cannot be properly understood.

2) Those Being Dealt with in the Parables

Those being dealt with throughout the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen, as seen in previous studies, are the saved alone. Scripture doesn’t deal with the unsaved in relation to the message that pervades these parables — a message pertaining to the kingdom of the heavens. The unsaved are always dealt with only in relation to the message of salvation by grace through faith, never in relation to the message of the kingdom. The message of the kingdom is for the saved alone, something that can be aptly illustrated from any of the seven parables.

But note the closing parable in this respect. Those dealt with in this parable are seen being removed from the sea via a dragnet that had been cast out into the sea. That is, within the symbolism used, the parable pictures individuals being removed from the Gentiles; and their removal is for a revealed purpose — a purpose that, for part of them, would not be realized.

They were removed from the sea strictly on the basis of their having been in the dragnet. And, once removed, they were no longer associated with the sea. That would be to say, once removed; they were no longer associated with the Gentiles.

Thus, their removal from the sea is a metaphorical way of saying that they had been removed from the Gentiles. And, if removed from the Gentiles, within the time-frame seen in the previous six parables, there’s only one group with which they could possibly have then been associated — the “one new man” (Ephesians 2:15). They had become part of the new creation “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

A person is a Jew, a Gentile, or a Christian. And any terminology that fails to clearly distinguish between these three creations — e.g., “Jewish Christian,” “Gentile Christian,” “professor” (as opposed to “possessor”) — emanates from man, not from the Scriptures. Scripture sees the matter as completely black or white, never as a gray area lying between any two of the three. A person is either a new creation “in Christ,” or he is not. And, if he is not, then he has to be either a Jew or a Gentile.

The matter is that simple. And if this were understood, along with understanding that all of the parables in Matthew chapter thirteen are about the kingdom of the heavens, there would be far less confusion when interpreting these parables.

(Though Scripture makes a clear distinction between Jew, Gentile, and Christian, Scripture sometimes refers to believing individuals removed from the Jews or the Gentiles through reference to their national origin — “Jew” and “Gentile” [e.g., Acts 28:28; Romans 1:13, 16; 2:9-10; Galatians 1:16; 2:2; Ephesians 3:6, 8]. This was something seen during the re-offer of the kingdom to Israel [33-62 A.D.], allowing an identifying distinction to exist between believing Jews and believing Gentiles.

But Scripture never refers to such individuals as “Jewish Christians” or “Gentile Christians,” for Scripture never brings two of the three creations together in this manner. And when “Jew” or “Gentile” is used after this fashion, the context is always very clear that those being referenced are individuals removed from the Jews or the Gentiles, not Jews or Gentiles per se.

For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Study of Scripture, Ch. 6, or “6) Jew, Gentile, Christian” in this site.)

And, in keeping with the preceding, Scripture never pictures a mixture of saved and unsaved individuals through the use of a metaphor such as that seen in the parable of the dragnet — individuals removed from the sea, removed from the Gentiles. The picture explains itself, if allowed to so do.

(A similar picture is presented by the seven churches in Revelation 2; 3. Christians alone are being referenced and dealt with throughout the messages to all seven churches. Referring to the Church as comprised of the unsaved, or both saved and unsaved individuals, would be an oxymoron.

The word “church” is the translation of a Greek word that means called out [Greek, ekklesia, a compound word from ek, “out” and kelsis, “to call”]. Only the saved have been called out; only the saved can comprise the Church.)

All in the dragnet had been removed from the sea, and all those who had been removed from the sea were no longer associated with that which the sea represented. They were no longer associated with the Gentiles. Rather, following their removal, they were associated with an entirely separate and distinct creation — the new creation, “in Christ.”

And their removal, along with everything that followed, was with a view to the kingdom of the heavens. Eternal verities are not seen in the matter at all. They can’t be seen. Such would be an impossibility. The matter surrounding their eternal destiny was settled at the time they were removed from the sea. And, had it not been settled, there could have been no removal. They could only have remained in the sea.

The Furnace of Fire

Only one group of individuals — though separated into two classes — could possibly be in view through the use of the expressions, “good” and “bad,” or “just” and “wicked” (Matthew 13:48-49). All had been removed from the sea; all had been removed from the Gentiles. Thus, no room could possibly exist for an inclusion of unsaved individuals in this parable. By the very nature of the subject matter (the kingdom of the heavens) and those being dealt with in this parable (those removed from the sea), only the saved could possibly be in view.

And, viewing that to which this parable refers, these saved individuals are seen being dealt with on the basis of prior decisions and determinations — decisions and determinations having previously been made at the judgment seat. And these decisions and determinations, emanating from the judgment seat, will have been based on prior faithfulness to one’s calling (judgment will be on the basis of “works,” but the works being judged will have resulted from faithfulness, or unfaithfulness [1 Corinthians 3:12-15; cf. Hebrews 11:17-19, 31; James 2:21-25]).

But seeing the saved alone being dealt with in this parable presents major problems for numerous Christians, for some of those in the parable are cast into “the furnace of fire.” And these same Christians, who would never consider thinking along the lines of Christians being cast into such a place, are invariably forced into an erroneous position, resulting in an erroneous interpretation. They are forced into the position of seeing saved and unsaved individuals (“good” and “bad”) being dealt with in the parable, along with seeing these individuals being dealt with in relation to eternal life or eternal damnation.

The preceding though is simply not what Scripture has to say about the matter. Scripture is clear that the parable deals with the saved alone, and these saved individuals are dealt with in relation to the coming kingdom. And the fact that those described as “bad” and “wicked” are cast into “the furnace of fire” must be understood within this framework. It must be understood within the framework of both those who are being dealt with and that which is being dealt with — Christians, and the kingdom.

Thus, to deal with this parable on the basis of eternal verities, with the unsaved being cast into the lake of fire, is completely outside the scope of the subject matter seen in any of these seven parables. Such a teaching, derived from these parables, is both textually and contextually wrong. Any thought of dealing with any of these parables after this fashion, from a Scriptural standpoint, could not even be open for discussion.

If the text is dealt with in a literal sense, apart from metaphors, only one possible conclusion can be reached. At the end of the age a segment of the saved, a segment of Christians, are going to be cast into what is called in this parable, “the furnace of fire.” And that is exactly what Christ had previously stated within His explanation of the parable of the wheat and tares:

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
And will cast them
[i.e., the offensive and lawless ones, the tares in this parable, those doing the works of Satan] into the furnace of fire: there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”. (Matthew 13:41-42)

Or, note the same thing in the parable of the dragnet:

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,
and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:49-50).

So, exactly what is being dealt with through these two references to “the furnace of fire”?

Should the expression be looked upon in a literal sense, referring to an actual furnace of fire? Or, is this a continuation of the metaphorical language seen earlier in the parables, describing something related to but apart from a literal understanding of the reference?

When a person begins studying related Scripture having to do with “Gehenna,” “outer darkness [lit., ‘the outer darkness’]” and “the lake of fire” he will find exactly the same teaching as seen in these two parables. That which is seen in Matthew 13:42, 50 is not something peculiar to the parable of the wheat and tares and the parable of the dragnet. Rather, it is merely part of the same teaching seen so many places elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. John 15:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Hebrews 6:7-9; 10:26-31; Jude 1:20-23).

In this respect, note how teachings concerning Gehenna, the outer darkness, and the lake of fire appear in Scripture.

1) Gehenna, the Outer Darkness

Gehenna is an Anglicized Greek word (Geenna in the Greek text) used twelve times in the New Testament. The word appears eleven times in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5) and once in the epistle of James (James 3:6).

Christ alone used the word in the gospel accounts. And He always used the word in contexts having to do with entrance into or exclusion from the kingdom of the heavens.

Then, in James, the word appears in a text having to do with the tongue — “. . .it [the tongue] is set on fire of hell [‘Gehenna’].” And, though the word is used in a somewhat different sense in James, it appears within a context having to do with the saving of the soul and the coming kingdom (James 1:12, 21; 2:5, 14-26; 5:7-8, 19-20).

Gehenna (Geenna) is the Greek word for Hinnom from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Hinnom was the name given to a valley south of Jerusalem during Joshua’s day, named for the son of a person whose name was “Hinnom” (Joshua 15:8; 18:16).

And, though this valley was used at times as a place where human sacrifices were offered during Old Testament days (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31), the valley was no more than the place where the refuse from Jerusalem was discarded at the time Christ was on earth.

(The word, Hinnom, has simply been transliterated in the English text of the Old Testament; but the same thing has not been done with Gehenna [Geenna, for Hinnom] in most English texts of the New Testament. Rather, in most versions, Gehenna [Geenna] has been translated “hell” each of the twelve times that it appears in the New Testament, resulting in confusion.)

Thus, Gehenna, at the time Christ and James used the word, was simply the name of the place where those in Jerusalem discarded their refuse. Even dead bodies (criminals, etc.) were, at times, cast into this place; and the fires burned continuously.

In this respect, Christ was doing no more than referencing a place where the refuse from the city of Jerusalem was discarded. And James was associating the misuse of the tongue with this same place.

Remaining within the gospel accounts, being cast into Gehenna always carries an identical association and meaning. Textually, in the gospels, being cast into Gehenna is always associated with separation from regality within Christ’s kingdom. It matters not which of the eleven references a person checks, he will find exactly the same thing each time. Gehenna is never used in the gospel accounts in a context dealing with the unsaved and eternal verities. Rather, the word always appears in texts set within contexts having to do solely with the saved in relation to the coming kingdom.

And “outer darkness” is used exactly the same way in the three instances in which the expression appears, all in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). The use of outer darkness is simply another way in which the Lord dealt with the same issue among the same group of people (the Jewish people, in relation to the proffered kingdom).

Viewing the matter from one perspective, those denied positions with Christ in His kingdom will find themselves in the place where the refuse from the city was discarded, outside the city. Viewing the matter from the other perspective, those denied positions with Christ in His kingdom will find themselves in a place separated from the One who said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). With respect to occupying a position with Christ in His kingdom, they will find themselves in a place outside, a place associated with darkness instead of light — the darkness outside.

The use of Gehenna and outer darkness (the outer darkness) are simply two metaphorical ways that Christ used to call attention to the same thing.

(These expressions — Gehenna, the outer darkness — were used in the gospel accounts during and immediately following that time when the kingdom of the heavens was offered to Israel at Christ’s first coming. With Israel’s rejection of the proffered kingdom, the kingdom was taken from Israel and an entirely new entity [the one new man “in Christ”] was called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected [Matthew 21:33-46; 1 Peter 2:9-11]. And with these events brought to pass, Gehenna and the outer darkness, as previously used relative to the Jewish people, would now be used relative to Christians.

These expressions are used in Scripture relative to the recipients of the proffered kingdom [the kingdom of the heavens], whether Israel in past time or Christians during the present time.)

2) The Lake of Fire

The description of “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” in Revelation 21:8 is another way in which Scripture deals with the same thing again. The “lake of fire” in this passage is described as not only the place where unsaved man from the previous chapter (Revelation 20:11-15) will spend eternity but also the place where Christians who do not overcome (the world, the flesh, and the devil) during the present dispensation will find themselves during the coming dispensation. And this, of course, would be the same as Christians being cast into the furnace of fire” in Matthew 13:42, 50.

The same thing is seen in the second of the seven overcomer’s promises in Revelation chapters two and three. These two chapters record seven short epistles to seven churches, and there is an overcomer’s promise at the end of each epistle. “To him that overcomes . . . .” “He that overcomes . . . .” (Revelation  2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21).

These epistles are addressed to saved individuals (those in a position to overcome); and the Lord has set rewards, compensations, prizes before these individuals as an incentive, encouragement for them to run the present race of the faith in a manner that will allow them to overcome rather than being overcome.

And each of the overcomer’s promises is millennial in its scope of fulfillment. That in view through overcoming, or not overcoming — as the case may be — will be realized during the 1,000-year Messianic Era alone.

The fact that these are millennial in their scope of fulfillment can be illustrated quite easily. Note the promises to two of the seven churches in Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21. No such scene as presented in these verses will exist beyond the Millennium.

Christ and His co-heirs, beyond the Millennium, will no longer rule over the nations, as this rule is pictured in Revelation 2:26-27. Rather, the Gentiles comprising these nations will be brought into positions of rulership themselves with Christ and His co-heirs, as this rule extends beyond the earth, out into the universe (Revelation 22:2, 5). And the Son, beyond the Millennium, will no longer sit on His own throne, as seen in Revelation 3:21. Rather, He will sit on “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” from whence universal rule will emanate (Revelation 22:1, 3, 5).

It is the overcomer’s promise to the church in Smyrna that has to do with the lake of fire, something that can only be millennial within its scope of fulfillment. That is, the conditions alluded to for the non-overcomer in this promise will exist for the duration of the Messianic Era, not throughout the eternal ages beyond.

Scripture deals with millennial rewards and/or loss, never with eternal rewards and/or loss. This should be easy enough for anyone to understand, for if rewards are eternal, so is loss of rewards. And loss of rewards involves an association with death (Romans 8:13), something that Scripture clearly reveals will be done away with at the beginning of the eternal ages beyond the Millennium (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4).

The overcomer’s promise to those Christians comprising the church in Smyrna reads,

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:11;  cf. Revelation 20:6)

There is a clear implication in this promise that those who do not overcome will be hurt by the second death. And any attempt to take this promise and make it mean something other than what it clearly states serves only to destroy the promise, something that the Lord sounded a solemn warning against (Revelation 22:18-19). The promise that those who do overcome will not “be hurt by the second death” would be meaningless unless this promise is taken at face value and allowed to mean exactly what it says, clearly implying that those who do not overcome will “be hurt by the second death.”

The “second death” in the book of Revelation is associated with the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). And those who do not overcome are going to have their part in this lake of fire (Revelation 2:11). That is, they will be hurt by the second death by having a part in the lake of fire.

Revelation 21 moves beyond the Millennium into the eternal ages, and the first six verses provide the complete story concerning conditions as these ages begin. Note the words, “It is done,” in the first part of verse six (Revelation 21:6). This is the translation of a verb in the perfect tense in the Greek text, indicating that the matter has been brought to completion and presently exists in that finished state.

Then, beginning with the latter part of verse six and continuing through verse eight (Revelation 21:6-8), overcoming and/or being overcome are again, for the last time, dealt with in this book. And this takes a person back to the same place seen in chapters two and three (Revelation 2; 3).

Then, the remainder of the book is simply a commentary for the eight verses that open and begin this section. First, a commentary is provided for the first part of this opening section. Revelation 21:9-22:5 forms a commentary for this part of the section (Revelation 21:1-6a), which has to do with conditions beyond the Millennium. Note how this commentary in chapter twenty-two closes: “. . . and they shall reign forever and ever [throughout the endless ages]” (Revelation 22:5).

Then, the remainder of chapter twenty-two (Revelation 22:6ff) forms a commentary for the second part of this opening section, which has to do with conditions before and during the Millennium (Revelation 21:6-8 [6b]).

And this will explain why, outside the gates of Jerusalem during the Messianic Era, one will be able to find “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:15). This information is given to shed light on and provide additional detail for verses in the preceding chapter (Revelation 21:7-8), and the information in these verses in the preceding chapter was given to shed light on the previous overcomer’s promises, particularly the one to the church in Smyrna dealing with “the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

To distinguish between millennial and eternal conditions in this respect, note that those outside the gates during the eternal ages will be the Gentile nations, as the New Jerusalem rests on the new earth (Revelation 21:24-27); but those outside the gates during the preceding Messianic Era, with the New Jerusalem in the heavens above the earth, will be the non-overcomers (Revelation 22:14-15). And the place that they will occupy is described at least four other ways in Scripture — through the use of Gehenna, the outer darkness, the furnace of fire, and the lake of fire.

The picture surrounding an association between Gehenna and the lake of fire appears unmistakable. As Gehenna was the place of refuse for the earthly city of Jerusalem, the lake of fire is seen as the place of refuse for the heavenly city of Jerusalem. And as Gehenna was on the opposite side of the city from that side where God dwelled (south, as opposed to north [cf. Leviticus 1:11; Isaiah 14:13]), thus will it be with the counterpart to Gehenna in the heavenly Jerusalem. The lake of fire is used with respect to a place completely apart from Christ and His rule. And those “hurt by the second death” are seen occupying this place during the 1,000-year Messianic Era.

(Why does Scripture associate non-overcoming Christians with the lake of fire in relation to Christ’s millennial reign, in this manner? The answer would be the same as the reason why Scripture associates the unsaved with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages of eternity, following the Millennium.

The lake of fire was not prepared for man. Rather, it was prepared “for the devil and his angels” [Matthew 25:41]. It was prepared for those who had rejected God’s supreme power and authority, as Satan sought to exalt his throne [Isaiah 14:13-14]. Thus, in this respect, the lake of fire is connected with regality.

And man, created to replace Satan and his angels, finds his connection with the lake of fire on exactly the same basis. Saved man, ignoring the very reason for his salvation [which is regal], will find himself associated with the lake of fire during the Millennium [an association connected with all that the lake of fire implies]. And unsaved man, ignoring salvation and the reason for man’s creation [which, again, is regal], will find himself associated with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages following the Millennium [an association connected with all that the lake of fire implies].)

But, relative to Christians and the coming kingdom of Christ, is Scripture dealing with something literal? Or is Scripture dealing with metaphors?

Note how Scripture uses metaphors to deal with this same thing elsewhere. In John 15:6 and Hebrews 6:8, saved individuals are spoken of in a metaphorical sense, where a burning with fire is referenced. And the context both places has to do with either bearing fruit or not bearing fruit, which is exactly the same thing seen in the Matthew thirteen parables. Or, as the matter is expressed in Revelation chapters two and three, either overcoming or being overcome.

And the negative side of the matter is expressed at least two other ways in Scripture — being cast into Gehenna (a reference to the place of refuse outside the city walls of Jerusalem at this time; Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 23:15, 33) or being cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

Overcoming or not overcoming and being unhurt or being hurt by the second death in Revelation 2:11 is expressed a slightly different way in Romans 8:13:

For if you [a reference to ‘brethren’ in Romans 8:12] live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Whether Gehenna or outer darkness in Matthew, a burning with fire in John and Hebrews, being cast into a furnace or lake of fire in Matthew and Revelation, or suffering death or being hurt by the second death in Romans and Revelation, different facets of exactly the same thing are in view. All of these are used in contexts showing that they have to do with saved people in relation to fruit bearing and the kingdom.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is plain that these are simply different ways of expressing the same thing. And since a literal casting into outer darkness, Gehenna, or a furnace or lake of fire could not possibly be in view (for these different places could not possibly be looked upon as referring to the same place in a literal sense), it is evident that metaphors are being used throughout.

But relative to the unsaved and the lake of fire, this is simply not expressed in other ways in Scripture as it is with the saved, leaving no room for any thought other than understanding the matter as literal, not metaphorical.

Aside from the preceding, it is clear that all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike, will be in the kingdom. This is seen in type in Genesis chapters eighteen and nineteen (Genesis 18; 19). Both Abraham and Lot, in the final analysis, are seen on the mount (a “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom). But note the stark difference in the place that each occupied. Abraham stood before the Lord, where he had always stood (Genesis 18:22; 19:27). Lot though found himself in a place separated from the Lord, in a place where he also had always stood (Genesis 19:1, 30).

The Kingdom

For the overcomers though — something not really dealt with in the parable of the dragnet, though dealt with in the previous explanation to the parable of the wheat and tares (Matthew 13:43) — conditions during the Millennium will be entirely different. The promise to the overcomers is that they will not be hurt by the second death, they will be allowed to ascend the throne with Christ, and they will rule as co-heirs with Christ over the nations (Revelation 2:11, 26-28; 3:21).

Christ and His co-heirs (who will form His wife, His consort queen) will rule over the redeemed inheritance, and this rule will last for 1,000 years. It will last until Christ and His co-heirs have put down “all rule and all authority and power.” It will last until all enemies (which includes death) have been put “under His feet” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28).

It is at this time that Matthew 13:43 will be fulfilled:

Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear let him hear!

Dragnet / Separation / Furnace of Fire / Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood.

The following is Safe to open:
Also the following Word Document is informative on parables, and is safe to open:
MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM by Gary Whipple.docx MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM by Gary Whipple.docx
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Peter is not the rock referenced in Matthew 16:18.
The Greek words for Peter and for rock are similar, but the meanings are different. The first, petros, means a stone or loose rock; the second, petra, means rock, such as a rocky ledge. So what Jesus really said was “you are Peter (stone), and on this rock I will build My church.” He did not say He would build His church on a stone, but on a rock.

Rock: Deut 32:4.  See also 1 Sa 2:2;  2 Sa 22:2; Ps 62:2; Ps 78:35, 1 Cor 10:4.

“It is Finished” at the Cross
By Charles Strong of Bible One

On the cross at Calvary, Christ said,

. . . “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30b)

The obvious question is: “What is finished?”

To a great many throughout Christendom the answer is that Jesus was referring to the suffering and sacrifice of His physical life prior to and upon the cross, which He endured for all mankind.  Indeed, He did experience great physical suffering prior to and upon the cross for and by others, but that was not what He referenced when He declared “It is finished.”

If Christ was only speaking of the physical aspect of His dilemma, He would then be no different than multitudes throughout history that have suffered and died at the hands of others, for others.  Indeed, it could be argued that down through the corridors of time many have experienced more pain, torture, and cruelty in their path to an involuntary death.

So the physical aspect surrounding Christ’s crucifixion, although significant, was not the critical feature of it; and, was definitely not that which was declared “finished” by Him near its end.  In fact, that part of it (i.e., that which was connected to temporal/physical life) came to an end subsequent to His remarks.

This being the case, it is sad that many — in fact the majority — within Christendom, when speaking of the crucifixion, are only aware of the physical aspect of it.  Sadly, they believe Christ’s physical suffering surrounding the cross is what the crucifixion is all about; that His physical suffering was in fact the purpose for Christ’s coming in human form to earth.  When they say it is Christ who died for man in order to procure salvation for all, they most always refer to His physical death.  Yet, they are so completely wrong!

It is clear that Christ did in fact die for mankind:

But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:15; 1 Thessalonians 5:9-10)

It is true that there are many passages of Scripture referencing the “blood of Christ” as that which has provided man the avenue back to God, e.g., Acts 20:28; Romans 3:25; 5:9; Ephesians 1:7; 2:13; Colossians 1:14, 20; Hebrews 9:12-14; 10:19; 1 Peter 1:2, 18-19; 1 John 1:7; Revelation 1:5, etc.), but what the student of the Word needs to understand is that such expressions are God’s way of referring to death — the passage of life.

For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul. (Leviticus 17:11)

And according to the law almost all things are purified with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no remission. (Hebrews 9:22)

To focus on Christ’s physical death is to miss the purpose of His coming in the form of human flesh entirely.  His physical death, as was the case with the various substitutionary animal deaths in the Old Testament, foreshadowed (type to antitype) a more substantial truth, which was the purpose for His coming.

The Purpose of Christ’s Coming

Jesus Christ came in the flesh because of the condition of man.  To be exact, He came to make certain that anyone “by choice” could be able to escape this “condition.”

The question then is: “What was and continues today, the condition of man?”

In the “beginning” God created man to have dominion over (rule) the earth.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Then God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply; fill the earth and subdue it; have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” (Genesis 1:26-28)

God created man (Adam) in a specific fashion, with a spirit, soul, and body (1 Thessalonians 5:23), after the triune image of Himself. Upon his creation, Adam was given a specific mission, to have dominion over (rule) the earth and its creatures.

Regarding this mission, God took a rib from Adam and made a “helper comparable to him,” whom he called “woman” and later named “Eve.”  She was taken out of man, and speaking of her he declared she was “bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh.” So that when she was presented to man, he was then complete (Genesis 1:26-28; 2:21-24; 3:20).

Both man and woman were to rule together, forming an unchangeable principle established by God.  Man could not rule alone; rather, he could only rule as a complete being.  This principle of union and rulership was a type that would later be born out in the antitype of Christ and His bride (a discussion for a later time).

But circumstances, initiated by Satan, led Eve and Adam down the path of sin, which then placed man — this complete being — into a “fallen state,” one in which he was spiritually separated from his Creator.

(Scripture declares that the “wages of sin is death,” a state of being indicating “separation from life.”  When man sinned in the Garden of Eden, he surely died, but his death (separation) was not physical; it was spiritual—he was separated from God, a condition that has been passed on to his ancestry throughout all of history [Genesis 2:17; Romans 5:12, 17, 21; James 1:15].)

Because of this the Creator then took measures to keep man from eating the “tree of life,” which would have placed man in a perpetual fallen state of sin, spiritually separated from God.

(See The Tree of Life and The Tree of Life in Genesis, Proverbs, and Revelation in this site.)

Man’s condition at this time, which continued down through history, passed on through the blood of every progenitor, was one in which he was “dead in trespasses and sins,” destined to be eternally separated from God (Romans 5:12, 17; 1 Corinthians 15:21-22; Ephesians 2:1, 5; Colossians 2:13).

In his fallen state, man was (is) incapable of overcoming this condition — incapable of doing anything to satisfy God so that he may be forgiven and brought back into spiritual unity with his Creator.  Because of this, and this alone, Jesus Christ came to execute a substitutionary sacrifice for man that would satisfy God (appease His wrath regarding sin) and bring man back into a spiritual relationship (unity) with His Creator.

That which was “Finished” on the Cross

That which was “finished” on the cross of Calvary was that substitutionary sacrifice for man that would satisfied God and made it possible for anyone to reestablish a personal, spiritual relationship with God the Father, the Creator.  It was a sacrifice, which only the Son of God could perform.  But it was not His physical death that accomplished this objective; although, such (His physical death) pictured it.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him [Christ] the iniquity of us all. (Isiah 53:6)

Who [Christ] Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree [the cross], that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness — by whose stripes you were healed. (1 Peter 2:24)

. . . He [Christ] has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself. (Hebrews 9:26b)

Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us . . . . (Galatians 3:13a)

For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21)

On the cross, in line with His purpose for coming, Christ in the flesh took upon Himself the sin (all the sins) of man and, in some mysterious way (God only knows) became that sin in order that God’s judgment (punishment) could be administered for and to it.  This Christ did for and in the place of man, so that anyone who might accept His sacrifice “by faith” could become the “righteousness of God” in Christ.

This most merciful and gracious gift (sacrifice) by Jesus Christ for man took place over a period of time in which God the Father forsook (deserted, separated Himself from) His Son, indicated by the darkening of the earth, and which placed Christ in such agony over the separation that He cried out to His father in obvious pain.

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.

And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46; cf. Mark 15:33-34)

But the good news for man is that in that limited period of time in which God the Son was separated from God the Father, a period that would take man an eternity to match, came to an end, which was exactly what Christ referred to when He declared, “It is finished.” 

And because God the Father is now satisfied with and over the sacrifice of His Son for all of man’s sin, man may now by faith — and faith alone in Christ alone — be spiritually united back to his Creator.

A Past, Completed Action

The eternal salvation of man, a total grace-gift by God to man, is solely based on a past, completed action by Jesus Christ on the cross of Calvary.  It cannot be added to by God or man; it cannot be altered in any way.  It can only be accepted by faith (believed, trusted, relied upon), a voluntary act (decision of the will) by man.  And once the decision of faith is made, it can never be reversed by man or taken back by God.

Possibly, it cannot be expressed more clearly than what Arlen L. Chitwood stated in his book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith, Foreword, which follows:

The message surrounding the gospel of the grace of God is given in very simple terms in Scripture.  In fact, it is so simple that man often misses it.  And any person, missing the one true message given by the infinite God and drawing from his own finite wisdom and knowledge, invariably — he can’t help but so do — ends up with a corrupted salvation message.
 
The salvation message, that which makes salvation possible for fallen man, is clearly stated in 1 Corinthians 15:3:
 
.
. . Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.
 
The one key thought in the salvation message is death and shed blood (e.g., Genesis 3:21; 22:8, 13), which is what God requires (Exodus 12:13; Hebrews 9:22).  And the one key word in the salvation message is believe (e.g., John 1:12; 3:15, 16), which is also what God requires (John 3:18).
 
The Lamb has died, His blood has been shed, and all that is left — all that can possibly be left — for man to do is simply believe that which has already been done on his behalf.
 
Eternal salvation is by grace (that which God is able to do completely apart from human merit) through faith (through believing on God’s Son [Ephesians 2:8-9]), and it is based entirely upon the finished work of Christ (John 19:30).  Nothing that man has done, is presently doing, or will ever do can have anything to do with his eternal destiny.  Man can do no more than receive by faith that which has already been done on his behalf. 

This is why Scripture states:

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . . (Acts 16:31)

This statement is in response to a question in the preceding verse,

Sirs, what must I do to be saved? (Acts 16:30)

And, within another frame of reference, the response to this question could only be, “Nothing!”  This would have to be the response simply because there is not one single thing left for unsaved man to do (nor could he do anything if something were left, for, he is spiritually dead and incapable of acting in the spiritual realm [Ephesians 2:1, 5]).
 
It is of interest to note that the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”, and the answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” only appear together in one place in the entire Bible.  Scripture is filled with information concerning redemption, but Acts 16:30-31 is the only place, from Genesis to Revelation, where the question concerning eternal salvation is asked and answered in so many words.
 
Thus, within a completely biblical framework, if the question in Acts 16:30 is asked, there can be only one answer: “Believe . . . .”  Man’s ideas, thoughts, comments are of no moment.  God has spoken, and that’s the end of the matter
 
John 3:16 is often called “the gospel in a nutshell” by individuals seeking to draw attention to the overall salvation message stated in its simplest form in Scripture.  God, because of His love for fallen man — created in His image, after His likeness, for a purpose (Genesis 1:26-28) — “gave His only begotten Son [1 Corinthians 15:3], that whosoever believes in Him [Acts 16:31] will not perish, but have everlasting life.”
 
Everything, in its entirety, to procure man’s salvation was done by Christ.  It had to be accomplished by Christ, for the one being redeemed was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), totally incapable of acting on his own behalf.
 
Christ is the one who died, Christ is the one who performed the work to procure man’s salvation, and God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.
 
When Christ cried out from the cross in “a loud voice” near the ninth hour, “It is finished” (Luke 23:46; John 19:30), He used one word in the Greek text — tetelestai — that could be better translated, “It has been finished.”  Tetelestai is a perfect tense usage of teleo, which means “to bring to an end,” “to complete.”  And the perfect tense refers to action completed in past time, with the results of that action extending into and existing during present time in a finished state.
 
All of the work surrounding man’s redemption that Christ had come to perform had, at that point in time, been completed.  This was the announcement that Christ made, in “a loud voice”; and, because of that which was involved in the announcement, there was then no longer any need for Him to continue His sufferings on the cross.  Thus, immediately after He cried out, “It has been finished,” He “gave up His spirit [lit., ‘He breathed out’ (He expired, willingly relinquishing His life)]” (Matthew 27:50; Mark 15:37; Luke 23:46; John 19:30).
 
The work of Christ at Calvary, from the point He cried out, “It has been finished,” has existed in exactly the same finished state in which He proclaimed it to exist at that time.  It has existed as
a work completed in past time that extends into present time (in a finished state) and which will extend into all the ages comprising eternity ahead (in the same finished state).
 
Nothing can ever be added, and nothing can ever be taken away.  That is to say, nothing can ever change relative to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.
 
That’s the way God’s procurement of man’s salvation had to occur.  Once Christ’s work had been finished, that’s the way His work had to always continue to exist — in a finished state — throughout both time and eternity.
 
Because of Christ’s finished work, salvation is extended to man “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1); and apart from Christ’s finished work, there is no salvation.

He that believes on Him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already [lit., ‘has already been condemned’ (a perfect tense)], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

It is utterly impossible — and foolish to even consider — that finite man, “dead in trespasses and sins,” could add one thing to or take one thing from the finished work of the infinite God through His Son.  All man can possibly do is simply receive, through believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf.

Concluding Remarks

Although the bases of salvation for man rests exclusively in that which Christ “finished” on the cross, the reader should understand that application of God’s comprehensive redemption program for man is multi-faceted.  This is not to say that once a person makes a faith-decision in Christ for his eternal future he must do something additional in order to secure it, because he doesn’t.  A faith decision in Christ will assuredly secure one’s eternal destiny.  So how is God’s redemptive program multi-faceted?

Prior to the beginning of the eternal ages there will be a thousand years involving Christians who will either (1) be alongside Christ as His bride ruling over the earth; or (2) be apart from Him in a darkness outside of the light during the Messianic Era.  And although one’s eternal life will be secured by the “finished” work of Christ, a Christian’s participation or non-participation in the Millennial Reign of Christ will have been based on the results of a Christian’s record at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10, 12).

To adequately understand God’s comprehensive, multi-faceted redemptive plan for man, the reader is advised to read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen L. Chitwood, which may be accessed in its entirety at Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.

Gog and Magog Wars occur after the Tribulation
Excerpts from The Time of the End by Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

These conditions don’t exist today; nor can they exist anytime before or during the Tribulation.

The use of “Gog” [referencing a prince] and “Magog” [referencing a land], used together in Ezekiel 38:2, cannot possibly refer to Russia, with Russia leading armies of subsequently named nations against Israel during the Tribulation, as is usually taught.  Contextually, it is evident that the reference must be viewed in line with the same type of reference seen in Revelation 20:8, where “Gog and Magog” refer to “the nations which are in the four corners of the earth.”

Note that there is nothing in the New Testament that is not found after some fashion in the Old Testament, with the New Testament drawing from the Old Testament in this respect.  And Revelation 20:8 can only draw from Ezekiel 38:2, though the time element and battle are different.

Ezekiel 38; 39 have to do with the princes [kings, captains, mighty men] leading armies from the nations of the earth against the re-gathered Jewish people, with the “King of kings, and Lord of lords” in their [Jewish people] midst.  The fact that only a few Middle East nations are mentioned is immaterial [Ezekiel 38:5-6, 13].  That is also true relative to a mention of “the kings of the east” in Revelation 16:12, which, if one keeps reading, he finds that “the kings of the earth and of the whole world” [Revelation 16:14] are in view in a larger respect.

Ezekiel deals extensively with the restoration of Israel (Ezekiel 36; 37), the destruction of Gentile world power (Ezekiel 38; 39), and Israel in the land during the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48).
 
The latter part of chapter thirty-six (Ezekiel 36:17-38) deals with the reason for the dispersion of the Jewish people, their national conversion, and their restoration to the land.  All of Ezekiel 37 then provides more information concerning their national conversion and restoration to the land.  Then Ezekiel 38; 39 have to do with the destruction of Gentile world power once they have been restored to the land, with these two chapters ending at the same place as the previous two chapters — Israel in the Messianic Era, as seen more in detail in Ezekiel 40-48.
 
That events in chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine can occur only after Israel has been restored to the land, following the Tribulation, is evident from things stated in these chapters.  For example, conditions seen in Ezekiel 38:8, 11-12; 39:12 (cf. Ezekiel 38:23; 39:21-23) cannot possibly exist before that time.  These conditions don’t exist today;
nor can they exist anytime before or during the Tribulation.
 
And, in the parallel account in Revelation 9:15-18 (cf. Ezekiel 39:4-20), the slaying of the “third of mankind” at the hands of the two myriads of myriads would undoubtedly have to do with the armies themselves rather with mankind in general (ref. Ezekiel 38:21; cf. Judges 7:22; 1 Samuel 14:20).
 
Then chapters forty through forty-eight present Israel in the land during the Messianic Era, following their restoration to the land and the destruction of Gentile world power.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Time of the End, Ch. 32, or the The Great Supper of God in this site.

The following document is Safe to open:

What does the Bible say about gay marriage / same sex marriage?
By
Got Questions

While the Bible does address homosexuality, it does not explicitly mention gay marriage/same-sex marriage. It is clear, however, that the Bible condemns homosexuality as an immoral and unnatural sin. Leviticus 18:22 identifies homosexual sex as an abomination, a detestable sin. Romans 1:26-27 declares homosexual desires and actions to be shameful, unnatural, lustful, and indecent. 1 Corinthians 6:9 states that homosexuals are unrighteous and will not inherit the kingdom of God. Since both homosexual desires and actions are condemned in the Bible, it is clear that homosexuals “marrying” is not God’s will, and would be, in fact, sinful.

Whenever the Bible mentions marriage, it is between a male and a female. The first mention of marriage, Genesis 2:24, describes it as a man leaving his parents and being united to his wife. In passages that contain instructions regarding marriage, such as 1 Corinthians 7:2-16 and Ephesians 5:23-33, the Bible clearly identifies marriage as being between a man and a woman. Biblically speaking, marriage is the lifetime union of a man and a woman, primarily for the purpose of building a family and providing a stable environment for that family.

The Bible alone, however, does not have to be used to demonstrate this understanding of marriage. The biblical viewpoint of marriage has been the universal understanding of marriage in every human civilization in world history. History argues against gay marriage. Modern secular psychology recognizes that men and women are psychologically and emotionally designed to complement one another. In regard to the family, psychologists contend that a union between a man and woman in which both spouses serve as good gender role models is the best environment in which to raise well-adjusted children. Psychology argues against gay marriage. In nature/physicality, clearly, men and women were designed to “fit” together sexually. With the “natural” purpose of sexual intercourse being procreation, clearly only a sexual relationship between a man and a woman can fulfill this purpose. Nature argues against gay marriage.

So, if the Bible, history, psychology, and nature all argue for marriage being between a man and a woman—why is there such a controversy today? Why are those who are opposed to gay marriage/same-sex marriage labeled as hateful, intolerant bigots, no matter how respectfully the opposition is presented? Why is the gay rights movement so aggressively pushing for gay marriage/same-sex marriage when most people, religious and non-religious, are supportive of—or at least far less opposed to—gay couples having all the same legal rights as married couples with some form of civil union?

The answer, according to the Bible, is that everyone inherently knows that homosexuality is immoral and unnatural, and the only way to suppress this inherent knowledge is by normalizing homosexuality and attacking any and all opposition to it. The best way to normalize homosexuality is by placing gay marriage/same-sex marriage on an equal plane with traditional opposite-gender marriage. Romans 1:18-32 illustrates this. The truth is known because God has made it plain. The truth is rejected and replaced with a lie. The lie is then promoted and the truth suppressed and attacked. The vehemence and anger expressed by many in the gay rights movement to any who oppose them is, in fact, an indication that they know their position is indefensible. Trying to overcome a weak position by raising your voice is the oldest trick in the debating book. There is perhaps no more accurate description of the modern gay rights agenda than Romans 1:31, “they are senseless, faithless, heartless, ruthless.”

To give sanction to gay marriage/same-sex marriage would be to give approval to the homosexual lifestyle, which the Bible clearly and consistently condemns as sinful. Christians should stand firmly against the idea of gay marriage/same-sex marriage. Further, there are strong and logical arguments against gay marriage/same-sex marriage from contexts completely separated from the Bible. One does not have to be an evangelical Christian to recognize that marriage is between a man and a woman.

According to the Bible, marriage is ordained by God to be between a man and a woman (Genesis 2:21-24; Matthew 19:4-6). Gay marriage/same-sex marriage is a perversion of the institution of marriage and an offense to the God who created marriage. As Christians, we are not to condone or ignore sin. Rather, we are to share the love of God and the forgiveness of sins that is available to all, including homosexuals, through Jesus Christ. We are to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15) and contend for truth with “gentleness and respect” (1 Peter 3:15). As Christians, when we make a stand for truth and the result is personal attacks, insults, and persecution, we should remember the words of Jesus: “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own. As it is, you do not belong to the world, but I have chosen you out of the world. That is why the world hates you” (John 15:18-19).

Got Questions - What does the Bible say about Gay Marriage? 

An Outline Of The Story Of Jesus Using Maps

The Land of Palestine at the time of Jesus of Nazareth, when, in J B Phillips words - Earth became a visited planet

Map 1 - The Travels of Jesus as a Child and Young Man c 6BC-AD27

[1] c 6BC - The Birth of Jesus at Bethlehem (Luke 2:4-7)
[2] Jesus is taken as a baby to Jerusalem for presentation at the Temple (Luke 2:22)
[3] c 4BC - Joseph and Mary take Jesus from Bethlehem to Egypt to escape the "massacre of the infants" by Herod the Great (Matthew 2:13-18
)
[4] c 3BC - Joseph returns to Palestine from Egypt, but discovers Archelaus (a brutal man, later deposed) is now ruler of Samaria and Judea. The family settles in Nazareth in Galilee (Matthew 2:19-23)

Anno Domini or Christian Era

[5] c AD6 - The 12 year old Jesus travels from Nazareth to Jerusalem with his family, and stays behind in the Temple (Luke 2:41-46)
[6] c AD6-27 - On his return to Nazareth (Luke 2:51) according to tradition, Jesus stays for the next 20 or so years, and follows in his father's footsteps as a carpenter
[7] c AD27 - Jesus travels from Nazareth to the River Jordan to be baptised by John the Baptist (Matthew 3:13
)

Map 2 - The Travels and Acts of Jesus in Year One of His Ministry c AD27-28

OPENING EVENTS

1] Jesus, now about 30 years old (Lk 3:23) travels from his home-town of Nazareth in Galilee
[2] At the River Jordan, possibly near Bethany-across-the-Jordan, he is baptised by John the Baptist (Mt 3:13; Mk 1:9)
[3] He goes in to the Judean Desert or wilderness to face the devil's temptation (Mt 4:1; Mk 1:12; Lk 4:1)
[4] At the River Jordan, near Bethany-across-the-Jordan, or Bethabara (Jn 1:28), and according to John's Gospel, Jesus calls his first five disciples (Jn 1:35). These include Philip, Andrew, and Simon Peter all from Bethsaida in Galilee (Jn 1:44)
[5] Jesus returns north to Galilee with his disciples (Jn 1:43), and at a wedding in Cana, changes the water into wine - his first recorded miracle (Jn 2:1)
[6] He continues on to Capernaum, on the northern shore of the Sea of Galilee with his mother, brothers and disciples, and stays there a short time (Jn 2:12)

EARLY MINISTRY IN JUDEA, SAMARIA and GALILEE

[7] He travels south to Jerusalem for the Passover - the first one mentioned in the Gospels (Jn 2:13). There he drives the money-changers from the Temple for the first time (Jn 2:14). He also meets the Pharisee, Nicodemus (Jn 3:1)
[8] Jesus leaves for the countryside of Judea where his disciples baptise believers (Jn 3:22)
[9] Jesus and his disciples continue northwards from Judea (Jn 4:3), passing through the territory of Samaria (Jn 4:4). Near Sychar, Jesus meets the Samaritan woman at the well (Jn 4:5). Many Samaritans believe in him (Jn 4:39), after which he continues on to Galilee (Jn 4:43)
[10] He reaches Galilee (Mt 4:12; Mk 1:14; Lk 4:14; Jn 4:45), and back in Cana heals the official's son who lays sick in Capernaum (Jn 4:46)
[11] Jesus returns to his home-town of Nazareth, and preaches in the synagogue (Lk 4:16). He is rejected for the first time (Lk 4:28
)

Map 3 - The Travels and Acts of Jesus in Year Two of His Ministry c AD28-29

[1] Jesus moves to Capernaum (Mt 4:13; Mk 1:21; Lk 4:31). According to the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus call his first disciples - perhaps only now to full-time service (Mt 4:18; Mk 1:16; Lk 5:1). In Capernaum he heals the madman in the synagogue (Mk 1:23; Lk 4:33) and Peter's mother-in-law of her fever (Mt 8:14; Mk 1:29; Lk 4:38)

FIRST PREACHING TOUR OF GALILEE

[2] Jesus travels throughout Galilee, preaching and healing (Mt 4:23; Mk 1:39), including the leper (Mt 8:2; Mk 1:40; Lk 5:12).
[3] Returning to Capernaum (Mk 2:1) a paralysed man is healed (Mt 9:2; Mk 2:3; Lk 5:18) and Jesus calls Matthew (or Levi) the tax-collector to be a disciple (Mt 9:9; Mk 2:14; Lk 5:27)
[4] Jesus travels from Galilee south to Jerusalem for a Jewish festival - possibly the Second Passover identified in the Gospels (Jn 5:1). At the Pool of Bethesda he heals the crippled man (Jn 5:2)
[5] Returning north to Galilee, Jesus heals the man with the shrivelled hand (Mt 12:9; Mk 3:1; Lk 6:6) and many others (Mt 12:15; Mk 3:7)
[6] On a hillside in Galilee, probably near Capernaum, he selects his twelve apostles (Mt 10:1; Mk 3:13; Lk 6:12) and delivers the Sermon on the Mount (Mt 5:1). In Luke's report Jesus comes down from a hillside to give the Sermon (Lk 6:20)
[7] Back in Capernaum, (Mt 8:5; Lk 7:1) Jesus heals the Roman centurion's servant (Mt 8:5; Lk 7:2)

SECOND PREACHING TOUR OF GALILEE

[8] Jesus continues preaching and healing in Galilee, and in Nain brings the widow's son back to life (Lk 7:11)
[9] Accompanied by the twelve apostles and some of his women helpers, Jesus continues his second Galilee tour (Lk 8:1)
[10] He sails across the Sea of Galilee (Mt 8:18; Mk 4:35; Lk 8:22) and calms a storm (Mt 8:24; Mk 4:37; Lk 8:23). Landing in the region of the Gerasenes (Mk 5:1; Lk 8:26) or Gadarenes (Mt 8:28) in Gentile Decapolis - the Ten Towns or Cities, Jesus heals the madman in the story of the Gadarene Swine (Mt 8:28; Mk 5:2; Lk 8:27)
[11] Sailing back across the Sea of Galilee (Mk 5:21) Jesus lands at "his own town" of Capernaum (Mt 9:1). Here he raises Jairus' daughter from the dead and heals the woman with the haemorrhage (Mt 9:18; Mk 5:22; Lk 8:41
)

Map 4 - The Travels and Acts of Jesus in Year Three of His Ministry c AD29-30

THIRD PREACHING TOUR OF GALILEE

[1] Jesus travels from Capernaum to "his own native town" of Nazareth ( Mk 6:1)
[2] In Nazareth, he is rejected for a second time (Mt 13:54; Mk 6:1)
[3] He continues through Galilee (Mt 13:58; Mk 6:6) and sends out the twelve apostles to preach the Gospel (Mt 10:5; Mk 6:7; Lk 9:1)
[4] The Twelve return to Capernaum from their mission (Mk 6:30, Luke 9:10)
[5] From Capernaum, they go off by boat with Jesus to a quiet place (Mk 6:32) near Bethsaida (Lk 9:10). Here he feeds the 5,000 (Mt 14:14; Mk 6:33; Lk 9:11; Jn 6:5)
[6] The disciples return across the Sea of Galilee (Mt 14:22; Mk 6:45), Jesus walking on the water to join them (Mt 14:25; Mk 6:48; Jn 6:19). They land near the Plain of Gennesaret and Jesus heals many people there (Mt 14:34; Mk 6:53)
[7] From Gennesaret they make their way back to Capernaum (Jn 6:24) and Jesus teaches about the Bread of Life (Jn 6:26)

JESUS PREACHES AND HEALS IN SYRIAN-PHOENICIA, ITUREA and TRACHONITIS, THE DECAPOLIS

[8] Jesus retires from Galilee to the region of Tyre and Sidon in Syrian-Phoenicia (Mt 15:21; Mk 7:24) where he heals the daughter of the Gentile Syrophoenician woman (Mt 15:22; Mk 7:25).
[9] He leaves Syrian-Phoenicia via Sidon for Galilee (Mt 15:29) but travels through the Decapolis (Mk 7:31).
[10] In the Decapolis he heals the deaf and mute man (Mk 7:32) and feeds the 4,000 (Mt 15:32; Mk 8:1)
[11] Reaching the Sea of Galilee, he crosses by boat to the Magadan/Dalmanutha region (Mt 15:39; Mk 8:10). There the Pharisees and Sadducees ask for a sign from heaven (Mt 16:1; Mk 8:11)
[12] Continuing on to Bethsaida, a blind man is healed (Mk 8:22)
[13] Jesus now travels from Galilee, north to Caesarea Philippi in Iturea and Trachonitis, where Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ (Mt 16:13; Mk 8:27)
[14] Continuing on from Caesarea Philippi possibly further north towards Mount Hermon, three of the disciples see Jesus Transfigured in the presence of Elijah and Moses (Mt 17:1; Mk 9:2; Lk 9:28). On his return, Jesus heals the boy with epilepsy (Mt 17:14; Mk 9:14; Lk 9:37). Other traditions place the Transfiguration to the south, on Mount Tabor. The epileptic boy would then have been healed in the Galilee area.
[15] In Galilee (Mt 17:22; Mk 9:30) in Capernaum (Mk 9:33), Jesus pays the Temple Tax with a fish! (Mt 17:24). Then to avoid the dangers in Judea, he remains in Galilee (Jn 7:1)

LATER MINISTRY IN JUDEA

[16] Jesus leaves Capernaum and Galilee for the last earthly time (Mt 19:1; Mk 10:1) and heads for Jerusalem (Lk 9:51; Jn 7:10). Travelling by Samaria, he heals the ten lepers (Lk 17:11) but is rejected in a Samaritan village (Lk 9:52)
[17] Arriving in Jerusalem for the Feast of the Tabernacles in the Autumn of c AD29 (Jn 7:10), Jesus forgives the woman caught in adultery (Jn 8:2) and heals the blind man who is taken before the Sanhedrin (Jn 9:1)
[18] During his travels in Judea, Jesus visits Martha and Mary in Bethany (Lk 10:38), returning to Jerusalem for "Hanukkah", the Feast of Dedication in December c AD29 (Jn 10:22)

THE LAST FEW MONTHS - c AD30

[19] Jesus withdraws to Bethany-across-the-Jordan (or Bethabara "where John had first baptised"), and into the province of Perea, and stays for a while (Jn 10:40)
[20] Following the death of Lazarus, Jesus returns to Bethany near Jerusalem, and raises him (Lazarus) from the dead (Jn 11:1).
[21] Because of threats to his life, Jesus withdraws to Ephraim to the north of Jerusalem (Jn 11:54)

HIS MINISTRY IN PEREA (MODERN JORDAN)

[22] He then crosses the River Jordan and works in Perea (Mt 19:1; Mk 10:1). There he blesses the little children (Mt 19:13, Mk 10:13; Lk 18:15) and speaks to the rich young man (Mt 19:16; Mk 10:17; Lk 18:18)

THE FINAL JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM

[23] Jesus now travels towards Jerusalem for the last time (Mt 20:17; Mk 10:32; Lk 18:31). Passing through Jericho he heals one (or two) blind men (Mt 20:29; Mk 10:46; Lk 18:35) and converts Zacchaeus the tax collector (Lk 19:1).
[24] Reaching Bethany (Jn 12:1) the home of Lazarus, Mary and Martha, Jesus is anointed by Mary either now (Jn 12:2), or later (Mt 26:6; Mk 14:3) after his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1; Mk 11:1; Lk 19:29; Jn 12:12)
[25] During the Easter week, Jesus returns to Jerusalem each day after staying overnight in Bethany on the Mount of Olives (Mt 21:17-18; Mk 11:11-12;19; Lk 21:37
).

Map 5 - The Galilee Area where Jesus Preached and Healed During Much of His Three Year Ministry

HIS TRAVELS and ACTS

Map 6 - The Miracles of Nature of Jesus

Year One - c AD27-28
[1] Cana - Water into wine
Year Two - c AD28-29
[2] Sea of Galilee - The first miraculous catch of fish
[3] Sea of Galilee - Calming the storm
Year Three - c AD29-30
[4] Near Bethsaida - Feeding the five thousand
[5] Sea of Galilee - Walking on water
[6] Region of the Gerasenes - Feeding the four thousand
[7] Capernaum - A fish pays the Temple tax!
The Last Week in Jerusalem - Spring c AD30
[8] Bethany to Jerusalem - The cursed fig-tree that withers way
After the Resurrection
[9] Sea of Galilee - The second miraculous catch of fish

Map 7 - The Healing Miracles of Jesus

Year One - cAD27-28
[1] Cana - The officials' dying son
Year Two - c AD28-29
[2] Capernaum - The madman in the synagogue
[3] Capernaum - Peter's mother-in-law's fever: Jesus also heals many others that evening
[4] Galilee - Jesus continues preaching and healing
[5] Galilee - The leper
[6] Capernaum - The paralysed man
[7] Jerusalem - The invalid at the Pool of Bethesda
[8] Galilee - The man with the shrivelled hand
[9] Galilee - Jesus continues healing many
[10] Capernaum - The Roman centurion's servant
[11] Nain - Raising the widow of Nain's dead son
[12] Galilee - The dumb (and blind) man
[13] Region of the Gadarenes - The madman (or men) and the Gadarene swine (or pigs)
[14] Capernaum -The woman with the haemorrhage, and the raising of Jairus' daughter
[15] Galilee - Two blind men and the dumb man
Year Three - c AD29-30
[16] Gennesaret - Jesus heals the sick
[17] Tyre-Sidon Region - The sick daughter of the Syrophoenician woman
[18] The Decapolis - The deaf and dumb man
[19] Bethsaida - The blind man
[20] Caesarea Philippi - The epileptic boy
[21] Samaria - The ten lepers
[22] Jerusalem - The man born blind who goes before the Pharisees
The Last Months - c AD29-30
[23] Perea? - The crippled woman
[24] Perea? - The man with dropsy
[25] Bethany - Lazarus raised from the dead
[26] Jericho - The blind men near Jericho
The Last Week in Jerusalem - Spring c AD30
[27] Jerusalem - Healing the severed ear of the High Priest’s servant

Map 8 - The City of Jerusalem and its Eastern Approaches

Map 9 - The Movements of Jesus During His Last Week in the Jerusalem Area Spring c AD30

THE SUNDAY BEFORE EASTER

[1] From the area of the two villages of Bethphage and Bethany, Jesus makes his triumphal entry into Jerusalem (Mt 21:1; Mk 11:1; Lk 19:29; Jn 12:12).
Each night he returns to Bethany (Mt 21:17-18; Mk 11:11-12, 19; Lk 21:37)

MONDAY TO THURSDAY

[2] Jesus concludes his confrontations with the religious establishment, often in Jerusalem and the Temple area. The plots to arrest and have him killed progress (Part 21). He describes the end-times and his return (Part 22); is possibly anointed at this time at Bethany (Part 23); and Judas Iscariot decides to betray him (Part 24)

THURSDAY EVENING AND NIGHT

[3] In the "Upper Room" (Mt 26:17; Mk 14:12; Lk 22:7) Jesus holds the Last Supper (Mt 26:20; Mk 14:17; Lk 22:14) and the apostles receive the bread and wine as his body and blood (Mt 26:26; Mk 14:22; Lk 22:19)
[4] After the Last Supper, Jesus and his disciples cross the Kidron (or Cedron) Valley just outside Jerusalem, to the western edge of the Mount of Olives (Mt 26:30; Mk 14:26; Lk 22:39; Jn 18:1). There in the Garden of Gethsemane as he prays, the disciples fall asleep (Mt 26:36; Mk 14:32; Lk 22:40)

GOOD FRIDAY

[5] Jesus is arrested in the Garden of Gethsemane (Mt 26:47; Mk 14:43; Lk 22:47; Jn 18:3) and taken to the High Priest's Palace (not the Temple) for questioning (Mt 26:57; Mk 14:53; Lk 22:54; Jn 18:13). He then appears before members of the Council or Sanhedrin (Mt 26:59; Mk 14:55; Lk 22:66)
[6] The members of the Sanhedrin escort Jesus to the Judgement Hall or Praetorium (the Roman governor's residence, probably in the Antonia Fortress) for interrogation and sentence by Pontius Pilate (Mt 27:2,11; Mk 15:1; Lk 23:1; Jn 18:28)
[7] Pontius Pilate sends Jesus to Herod's Palace, the Jerusalem residence of the Jewish tetrarch of Galilee and Perea, Herod Antipas, for further questioning (Lk 23:6)
[8] On being taken back to Pontius Pilate (Luke 22:11) in the Antonia Fortress, Jesus is sentenced to death (Mt 27:26; Mk 15:15; Lk 23:24; Jn 19:16). He is also flogged and tortured
[9] - Jesus is taken from the Judgement Hall to Golgotha or Calvary - the Place of the Skull (Mt 27:31; Mk 15:20; Lk 23:26; Jn 19:16) where he is crucified (Mt 27:35; Mk 15:24; Lk 23:33; Jn 19:18
)
Place of the Skull - "Golgotha" in Aramaic and Hebrew. "Calvary" = Calvaria, or "skull" in Latin

Map 10 - The Appearances of Jesus to His Followers, including Stephen and Paul, after His Resurrection

There is no complete agreement by the various commentators on precisely how many different appearances Jesus made to his disciples

GOOD FRIDAY

[1] Golgotha or Calvary - Jesus is taken from the cross and placed in the garden tomb (Mt 27:57; Mk 15:42; Lk 23:50; Jn 19:31)

EASTER SUNDAY IN AND AROUND JERUSALEM

[2] The Garden Tomb - Jesus appears to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb (Mk 16:9; Jn 20:11)
[3] The Garden Tomb - To Mary Magdalene and the other Mary (the mother of James the Younger and Joses - Mk 16:1) as they hurry from the tomb (Mt 28:8)
[4] The Garden Tomb - To Peter (Lk 24:34; "Cephas" in 1Co 15:5)
[5] The Road to Emmaus - To two disciples on the Emmaus road later in the day (Mk 16:12; Lk 24:13)
[6] The Upper Room - To the apostles in a house in Jerusalem (Luke 24:36; Jn 20:19). Possibly the Upper Room where the Last Supper was held; Thomas was absent according to John 20:24.

A WEEK LATER

[7] The Upper Room - To the eleven apostles, including Thomas in a house; probably the same house as [6] (Jn 20:26; possibly Mk 16:14)

OVER THE NEXT WEEKS IN GALILEE

[8] The apostles go to Galilee (Mt 28:16a); there Jesus appears to seven of them fishing on the Sea of Galilee (Jn 21:1)
[9] Jesus appears to the apostles on a mountain and gives his great commission to preach the Gospel to the world (Mt 28:16b)
[10] More than 500 disciples in Galilee (1Co 15:6)
[11] To James, his brother (1Co 15:7)

ASCENSION DAY NEAR JERUSALEM

[12] To the apostles on the Mount of Olives (Olivet), near Bethany, as he ascends to Heaven (Lk 24:50, Acts 1:12)

AFTER HIS ASCENSION

[13] To Stephen as he is stoned to death in Jerusalem (Ac 7:55)
[14] To Paul on the road to Damascus (Ac 9:3; 26:13; 1Co 15:8)
[15] To John in a vision on the island of Patmos (Rev 1:10
)

Map 11 - Locations where the Original Apostles Preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ According to Various Ancient traditions

OUTLINE OF THE STORY OF JESUS USING MAPS
From J B Phillips’ Translation of the New Testament

The Lord’s Prayer
Matthew 6:9-13
By Charles Strong of
Bible One

Although there is a commentary-document entitled “Biblical Prayer” on my website,  what is most often referred to within Christendom as “The Lord’s Prayer” (Matthew 6:9-13 [Luke 11:2-4]) is not covered in the document, a model prayer that incorporates essentials that our Lord would have Christians address in their prayer life.

This prayer is given by Christ while He was seated on a mountain teaching His disciples, a discourse often referred to as “The Sermon on the Mount,” which is a lengthy dissertation that deals with entrance into or exclusion from the “kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 5; 6; 7).

The “kingdom of the heavens” is the heavenly portion of Christ’s 1,000 year reign over the earth, i.e., His Millennial Kingdom, which will be established after the seven-year tribulation period upon the earth — a relatively brief period of time that is preceded by “The Rapture” (Christ’s return in earth’s atmosphere to retrieve the living and the dead who have believed in Him, an event that takes place at the end of the present dispensation of grace [1 Thessalonians 4:13-17]).
 
Additionally, during the time between “The Rapture” and the establishment of Christ’s kingdom, each raptured Christian will face a record of his life as a Christian before Jesus Christ at His Judgement Seat.  At this time a judgment and determination will be made either authorizing or disqualifying the Christian for participation within Christ’s kingdom of one thousand years.  Those qualified will rule and reign with Christ, but those not qualified will live in “outer darkness” (lit. “outside of the light”) while experiencing great reflection and sorrow over a life lived in violation of God’s Word, for the one thousand years.  (Disclosure:  The editor of this site [KKK] made some changes in the wording of this paragraph.)

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (11) Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . . (2 Corinthians 5:10-11a)

But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. (Romans 14:10; cf. Colossians 3:25; Hebrews 10:30)

It is during this period of instruction on the mountain that Jesus warns his disciples against allowing hypocrisy to characterize their spiritual lives as to their charitable deeds (Matthew 6:1-4), their prayers (Matthew 6:5-15), and their fasting (Matthew 6:16-18) — all activities of a Christian’s life before God performed either publicly or privately.

As to prayer, Jesus first stated the following in Matthew 6:5-8:

And when you pray, you shall not be like the hypocrites. For they love to pray standing in the synagogues and on the corners of the streets, that they may be seen by men.  Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly.

And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words.

Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him. 
(Matthew 6:5-8)

Here Christ confirms that prayer should be a private communication, an expression of one’s praise and needs before God, which should never be expressed (flaunted) before others in order to acquire their attention and admiration.  And this malady of prayer-hypocrisy is as evident today, as it was then.  One need only attend almost any local Christian church to witness members who routinely make it a practice to pray loud and long at various times during the service.

And should this not be sufficient, then there is always a “prayer meeting,” where one may suitably exercise his/her flair and stamina in conversing with God.  Unfortunately, such presentations may only be for the recognition and approval of other members within the congregation; and, therefore, may be quite worthless to the originator of the supplication.

As to this manner of “public prayer,” Jesus assures His disciples that the only “reward” one who prays in this manner will receive is recognition from man, not God.  On the other hand, should a Christian ensure his prayer is conducted secretly before his Father (God), then his Father (God) will reward him openly (lit. publicly).

Christ also confirms that the use of “vain repetitions” during prayer, which only serve to extend the length of prayer for the endorsement of others is erroneous and unnecessary, since God “knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”

It is then in Matthew 6:9-13 that Christ instructs His disciples to pray in the following manner:

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name.
Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.
And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
(Matthew 6:9-13)

And although this prayer is repeated from memory and in unison by participants in various religious meetings, or by individuals within one’s prayer regiment, the elements should not be considered “vain repetitions” as mentioned in Matthew 6:7; that is, as long as the one praying consciously understands the meaning of each element and purposely recites it. 

This is a companion passage to Luke 11:2-4, in which is Christ’s answer to the disciple’s request, “Lord, teach us to pray . . . .”  It is the only time where Jesus personally outlines specific elements of prayer.  Each element is quite specific and indicates a facet of one’s spiritual life that every Christian should recognize and address when talking with God.

Each will be considered, as follows:
________________________________________________________________________

Matthew 6:9

In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed [Gk. hagiazo, to venerate, to make holy; i.e., to recognize and admit to God’s holiness] be Your name.
________________________________________________________________________

Prayer is to be addressed primarily to God the Father.  Although there may be no harm in addressing a prayer to Jesus Christ or the Holy Spirit, this would be outside the pattern set by Christ in His “model prayer.”  The use of the word “Father” denotes a relationship, which is the permanent bond between God and man that exists once a person is “born again” (i.e., spiritually, “from above”) by faith alone in Christ alone.

From the “birth from above” experience onward, an eternal, personal and loving relationship exists between the believer and God.  From that point on he may and should call God his Father, recognizing that God is indeed his spiritual Relation, the Almighty and Holy One who is sovereign over the universe.

The believer’s prayer should begin with worship, ascribing praise and honor to his Heavenly Father.
________________________________________________________________________

Matthew 6:10

Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.
________________________________________________________________________

The believer should specifically pray for the return of Jesus Christ to earth to establish His Millennial (1,000 years) Kingdom, just as the apostle John prayed, “Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus!” in Revelation 22:20.  The fulfillment of this prophetic promise is what all believers should daily look forward to in eager anticipation
(1 Corinthians 1:7; Philippians 3:20).  In fact, the thought of Christ’s return should be a modifier of every Christian’s actions throughout his life.
________________________________________________________________________

Matthew 6:11

Give us this day our daily bread.
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After putting God first in prayer, the believer is to acknowledge his dependence upon God for his daily needs, both physical and spiritual.  Just as the “children of Israel” in the wilderness looked to God for daily manna from heaven, the child of God during his sojourn on earth is to look to his Father for all temporal and eternal needs.  Just as a person by faith placed his trust in Christ for his eternal salvation, he is subsequently to place his faith in Him for his needs in his temporal life, trusting Him for sustenance in both his physical and spiritual growth (Matthew 4:4; John 6:33, 35, 48).

As [by faith] you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so [in like manner] walk [by faith] in Him, (7) rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7; cf. Hebrews 12:2)

The undergirding reality of the Christian life is the fact that Jesus Christ is personally the “Bread” that alone will supply spiritual strength and well-being for the Christian during his temporal tenure, if he will only avail himself of this marvelous Manna from heaven.

For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world. . . . (35) And Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:33, 35)

This truth is underscored by Christ Himself in His prayer to God the Father in the 17th chapter of the book of John.

Sanctify [set apart spiritually] them [Christians] by Your truth. Your Word [Jesus Christ, John 1:1, 14, the Living Word, who is revealed in the written Word] is truth. (John 17:17)

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Matthew 6:12

And forgive us our debts [Gk. opheilema, morally a fault, i.e., trespass, sin], as we forgive our debtors [those who trespass, sin against us].

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This does not refer to “judicial forgiveness” from the penalty of sin, which was permanently obtained by faith in Jesus Christ and based solely upon Christ’s substitutional sacrifice on the cross of Calvary.  It refers to “parental forgiveness,” which is necessary for continued fellowship with God the Father.

The person who makes the decision to accept Christ by faith alone is born again [from above]; and, at that moment is baptized into the body of Christ (Romans 6:3; 1 Corinthians 12:13, 27), is indwelt by the Holy Spirit
(1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:19) and is eternally sealed by/with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14; 4:30).  At the point of one’s decision of faith in Christ, his eternal salvation is secured and is non-retractable by man or God.

But the believer, who still has the “sin nature” within, can make wrong decisions by giving in to the old nature rather than submitting to the voice of the Spirit, thereby “quenching” the Holy Spirit and hindering his fellowship with God (1 Thessalonians 5:19).

To restore this fellowship and the ability for control by the Spirit, the believer is to confess (acknowledge, own up to) known sin in his life.  Upon doing this, the promise of God is that instantly the sin is forgiven (1 John 1:9) — resulting in the reestablishment of control by the Spirit in the believer and the restoration of his fellowship with God.

But there is also a principle expressed in this element of “The Lord’s Prayer” that is further explained by Christ in Matthew 6:14-15, which is that Christians should forgive others their trespasses.  Indeed, Christ makes this quite clear in a parable to the apostle Peter in Matthew 18:21-35, which is that God expects His children to forgive others who seek their forgiveness as He has forgiven them.  If the believer is unwilling to forgive others of their trespasses, then the Heavenly Father will be unable to forgive the believer his trespasses.

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Matthew 6:13a

And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. . . .

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A believer is not wrong to ask of his Heavenly Father for “smooth sailing.”  This is only natural and is to be expected.  Even Christ was troubled when the time came for Him to face the cross.  Although God will not personally tempt anyone (James 1:13), He will allow Satan to test His children, to undergo trials, adversity and affliction from time-to-time in order to refine them, to encourage them and to strengthen their faith in Him.  God has promised that He will not allow His children to be tested beyond what they can bear (1 Corinthians 10:13).

The believer should always understand that Satan  — the “serpent” (Genesis 3:4), the “devil” (Matthew 4:1; 1 Peter 5:8)), the “tempter” (Matthew 4:3), the “wicked one” (Matthew 13:19), the “ruler of darkness
(Ephesians 6:12), the “prince of the power of the air” (Ephesians 2:2), the “prince of this world” (John 14:30), the “god of this age” (2 Corinthians 4:4), the Christian’s “adversary” — “walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

Without God’s permission, Satan cannot touch a believer.  But for various reasons — out of fellowship, spiritual testing, etc. — God may allow Satan to have access to a believer.  It is proper for a believer to ask God to deliver him from Satan on a daily basis.  This should be the prayer of any Christian who desires to be kept from sin by the power of God.

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Matthew 6:13b

. . . . For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen

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This last phrase of The Model Prayer is omitted in the Roman Catholic and many Protestant Bibles since it is not in many manuscripts; however, it is in the majority of ancient manuscripts and it is totally consistent with all other Bible doctrine.  This doxology is a perfect ending to the prayer, and the believer should always express his recognition and worship of God Almighty as the Originator of all that is holy and eternal.

Bible One - Charles Strong's The Lord's Prayer

Exodus and Revelation
By Arlen Chitwood Lamp Broadcast

As events in Genesis and the gospel of John parallel one another (ref. the author’s pamphlet, “Genesis and John by Arlen Chitwood”), events in Exodus and John’s book of Revelation parallel one another as well.  In this respect, “Exodus” could be called the Apocalypse of the Old Testament.

The complete book of Exodus (minus Exodus 2 [an aside in the book], relating Moses’ birth and the first eighty years of his life) parallels events that begin in Revelation 6 and continue into the first part of Revelation 20.  However, as will be shown, each book provides an abundance of detailed information not seen in the other book.

The Assyrian, Past and Future

Exodus begins, from a typical standpoint, where Revelation 6 begins — with Israel in the Tribulation, subjected to an Assyrian ruler.

In the historical setting in Exodus, the Assyrians had previously conquered Egypt and were ruling the nation at this time (cf. Exodus 1:8; Isaiah 52:4; Acts 7:17-18).  Thus, the Assyrians, not the Egyptians, were the ones ultimately persecuting and seeking to destroy the Jewish people (Exodus 1:10ff).

Then, the coming world ruler in the book of Revelation is referred to a number of times in the Old Testament as “an Assyrian,” in complete keeping with the type in Exodus (Isaiah 10:5; 14:25; 23:13; 30:31; 31:8; Hosea 11:5; Micah 5:5-6).

And there is a reason why this man is referred to as “an Assyrian” in this manner.  According to Daniel’s prophecy, he will arise out of the territory covered by the northern part of Alexander the Great’s kingdom, which was Assyria (as the kingdom was divided among his four generals following Alexander the Great’s death).

Territory covered during modern times by this division of the kingdom would include parts of northern Iraq, Syria, Iran, and Turkey).  This man will arise out of this part of the world, conquer three kings (the rulers over the other three parts of Alexander the Great’s kingdom following his death), and then rule the world through a ten-kingdom Middle East confederacy of nations.

(Reference to the preceding is seen in Daniel 7:23-25; 8:8-14, 21-25; 11:3-4, 21-45 [cf. Psalm 83:1ff; Revelation 13:1ff; 17:8ff].  The future Assyrian, coming out of the northern division of this kingdom, must control the complete kingdom — not just the northern division — in order to become the world ruler seen in the fourth part of Daniel’s image [Daniel 2] or the fourth great beast [Daniel 7].

Thus, of necessity, he must conquer the other three parts of the kingdom, taking control of the complete empire that had existed under Alexander the Great.  This is the only way that he can become world ruler.  He must control the complete Babylonian kingdom depicted by the third part of the great image and the third great beast.

[In that coming day, when this is fulfilled, these three kings will be seen as still present, for the entire first three parts of the image will be seen as still existing (these three parts of the image have to do with a Babylonian kingdom that has never been destroyed, only conquered).  The whole of that depicted by the image (all four parts) is seen living, in a composite respect, at the time of its destruction (cf. Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45; 7:11-12).

Thus this man can conquer the remaining three parts of Alexander the Great’s kingdom, for, as part of the complete image, they can only be seen as still present when he appears on the scene.]

The preceding is one of numerous reasons why Rome can’t be seen having any part in the matter in either history or prophecy.  In relation to that which is revealed by the great image and great beasts, the future kingdom of Antichrist [the future Assyrian’s kingdom] emanates from, not a prior Roman kingdom, but Alexander the Great’s Babylonian kingdom.

This future Assyrian’s kingdom begins at and continues from this point in the sequence covered by the great image and the great beasts, becoming the fourth and final part of the great image [the “legs of iron” and the “feet part of iron and part of clay”], the fourth and final great beast [the “dreadful and terrible” beast].

For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Time of the End, Ch. 24 [“The Beast — In the Book of Daniel” in this site]; or refer to the author’s two pamphlets, “The Great Image, Great Beasts by Arlen Chitwood, Part 1, Part 2.”)

Structure of the Two Books

Though each book covers the complete panorama of events occurring during the same time that is seen in the other book, each book covers these events in a different manner, with numerous events seen in one book being either more complete or less complete than in the other book.  And, in this same respect, some events seen in one book are not seen at all in the other book.

Thus, additions to a developing word picture from one book can be derived from the other book, forming a more complete picture.

(None of the sixty-six books in Scripture can be overlooked with respect to providing information of a similar nature to the preceding, with everything moving toward that coming seventh day, the Messianic Era.  Each book will provide some data not seen in any of the other books.  And only when all of the revelation in the different books is seen together and understood after the manner in which God structured the material can the complete picture be seen, exactly as God has revealed it and desires man to see it.)

That which is seen in both Exodus 1 [ff] and Revelation 6 [ff] begins at the same place — the Israelites subjected to an Assyrian ruler.  In the type, this subjugation has to do with the Israelites in “Egypt”; in the antitype, this subjugation has to do with the Israelites in that which “Egypt” typifies, the world.

The latter-day Assyrian in the book of Revelation will rule a worldwide kingdom.  He is seen aspiring to this position when the first seal of the seven-sealed scroll is broken in the opening two verses of Revelation six (Revelation 6:1-2), and he is seen coming into this position when the second seal is broken in the next two verses (Revelation 6:3-4).  And at this time he will turn upon and seek to destroy the Jewish people from off the face of the earth.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Time of the End, Ch. 10, Ch. 11, or Taking the Scroll, Breaking the Seals and Seals, Trumpets, Bowls in this site.)

This section in the book of Revelation (Revelation 6:1ff), after beginning at the same point as the book of Exodus (Exodus 1:8ff), provides detailed information about Israel and the nations during the Tribulation (something that is dealt with in both books with respect to Israel being brought to the place of repentance by and through persecution at the hands of the nations).

In Exodus though, as is previously seen, this is dealt with very sparingly compared to Revelation.  Rather, Exodus, in its type-antitype structure, in the latter part of chapter three (Exodus 3), moves all the way to events that will occur in connection with Israel and the nations at the end of the Tribulation, after Israel has been brought to the place of repentance.

These events will occur in connection with and following Christ’s return, as they occurred in connection with and following Moses’ return in Exodus.  As well, in the type, they occurred preceding the establishment of the theocracy (the kingdom) in the camp of Israel; and in the antitype they will occur, they must occur, preceding the restoration of the kingdom to Israel.

It must also be understood that the book of Revelation, rather than being written in chronological order, is structured like much of the rest of Scripture.  A complete panorama of events is often given, followed by commentary.  Scripture begins this way in Genesis, and it ends this way in Revelation.

In the preceding respect, Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation is seen three different places in that section covering the Tribulation and the time immediately following (Revelation 6:14-17; 14:14-20; 19:11-21).

(For more information on the preceding structure of Revelation, refer to the author’s pamphlet, “The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood, Part 4,” or The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom in this site.)

Moses’ Return, Christ’s Return

When Moses returned, Aaron met and accompanied him when he appeared with signs before Israel’s religious leaders.  And this time, unlike before, he was accepted (cf. Exodus 2:11-14; 4:29-31).

Then Aaron accompanied Moses when he appeared in the Assyrian Pharaoh’s presence with the message that God had commanded he deliver (Exodus 5:1ff):

. . . Thus says the LORD: “Israel is My son, My firstborn.   So I say to you, let My son go that he may serve Me. But if you refuse to let him go, indeed I will kill your son, your firstborn.” (Exodus 4:22-23).

When Christ returns, He will be accompanied by both Moses and Elijah (Matthew 16:28-17:5; reference the author’s pamphlets, “The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood, Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4”, or The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom in this site).  Both men will evidently be very instrumental in events with Christ, having to do with Israel and the nations at the time Christ returns (as both will have had to do with events pertaining to Israel during the previous first half of the Tribulation [Revelation 11:3-12; cf. Zechariah 4:1-14]).

Elijah’s prophesied ministry to Israel (Malachi 3:1-3; 4:5-6) — having to do with that which is seen over 2,800 years ago on Mt. Carmel (1 Kings 18:39), bringing about belief on the part of the entire nation in that which was previously recorded by the prophets — can occur only at a time following Christ’s return (for belief of a nature that Elijah will once again effect in the whole camp of Israel is not seen occurring in Scripture until this time).

Then Moses, very likely, will accompany Christ into the Assyrian ruler’s presence to announce exactly the same thing that he and Aaron announced to the Assyrian Pharaoh in their day.  And when the future Assyrian refuses to heed this statement and warning, God will possibly use Moses to execute judgments upon the Assyrian’s kingdom, exactly as He did in history (Exodus 5:1ff).

The end result of the matter can only be belief on Israel’s part through Elijah’s ministry and a further decimation of and an ultimate end to the Assyrian’s kingdom, occurring possibly through Moses’ ministry.

Once Israel and the nations are respectively brought to these two places, that which is foreshadowed in the first of the seven Jewish festivals in Leviticus 23:1ff (the Passover) can occur, with that which is foreshadowed in the remaining six festivals subsequently occurring (Exodus 12:1ff; reference the author’s pamphlet, “The Seven Jewish Festivals by Arlen Chitwood or The Seven Jewish Festivals in this site”).

The fulfillment of that which is foreshadowed in this first festival will bring about two things:

The salvation of the entire Jewish nation when they appropriate (through belief) the blood of the Paschal Lamb that they slew 2,000 years ago.

An ultimate end to the Assyrian’s kingdom, seen in the national death of the firstborn in relation to Satan’s governmental rule through the nations.

In one respect, this is where the transfer of power actually occurs — Satan’s firstborn slain on the one hand, with the rebirth of a nation relative to God’s firstborn on the other hand. 

Then that which awaits God’s firstborn is a removal from a worldwide dispersion, as occurred in a removal from Egypt in the type. 

And that which awaits Satan’s firstborn is complete destruction, as seen in the destruction of the Assyrian Pharaoh’s armed forces in the Red Sea in the type (cf. Exodus 14:13-31; Revelation 19:17-21).

Beyond that, in the type, there was the giving of the Law (the old covenant), which was the instructions pertaining to the tabernacle and its worship and the establishment of the theocracy (upon completion of the tabernacle, with the Glory indwelling the Holy of Holies), all occurring at Sinai (Exodus 20-40).

And beyond that, in the antitype, there will be a  new covenant made with Israel, along with a restoration of the theocracy — a restoration of the Glory in a temple that Messiah Himself will build (Jeremiah 31:31-33; Ezekiel 37:26; 40:1ff; Zechariah 6:11-13).

Bible One – Arlen Chitwood’s Exodus and Revelation, Moses and John, Ch. 2

The 24 Elders Casting Their Crowns are ANGELS

Revelation 4:10-11

the twenty-four elders fall down before Him who sits on the throne and worship Him who lives forever and ever, and cast their crowns before the throne, saying:

"You are worthy, O Lord, To receive glory and honor and power; For You created all things, And by Your will they exist and were created."

It would make absolutely no sense whatsoever to understand these twenty-four elders as referring to a segment of redeemed man.  Man couldn’t possibly be crowned at the time of events in Revelation 4; 5, else he would be crowned before Christ is crowned [note that Christ is to wear the crown that Satan presently wears, which Satan will still be wearing at this time].  Also, man is to wear the crown he receives, not relinquish it before God’s throne as seen being done by the twenty-four elders.

Also, the Greek word translated “elders” in Revelation chapter four is presbuteroi, the same word used for “elders” in the Church in the New Testament epistles. The word refers to older ones [relative to that being dealt with]. In the Church, the reference is to older ones in the faith; in Revelation chapter four, the reference is to older ones in the governmental structure of the earth [evident since they are crowned, seated on thrones, with the government of the earth being the only government which could possibly be in view].

The preceding alone would prevent the twenty-four elders from being viewed as men, necessitating that they be viewed as angels. Man, at this point in the book, has yet to even come into such a position; angels, on the other hand, have held positions of this nature since time immemorial.

Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne

Also see Because of the Angels.

God’s Sovereign Control
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

God exercises sovereign control over all things.  Nothing takes God by surprise, for nothing occurs apart from His sovereign control.  And God’s ways are quite different than man’s ways (Isaiah 55:8-9).  God sees the future the same way that He sees the past — as being present (Ecclesiastes 3:14-15).  God views matters from the perspective of an eternal present.  And, to effect His plans and purposes, with His omnipotent power and sovereign control of all things, God can move men and nations as one might move pawns on a chessboard.

God’s plans and purposes, made known in the Old Testament, invariably take a course that man might find unimaginable and would find unattainable.  And one such course of action that God will use, made known in the Old Testament and brought to pass in the book of Revelation, has to do with the counterpart to God’s Christ — Satan’s Christ.

God will have raised this man up to accomplish His plans and purposes, and this man will be little more than a pawn in His hands.  God will use this man as a chastening rod in order to bring His plans and purposes regarding Israel to pass.  This man, who will seek to destroy Israel, will be the person whose actions God will use to bring about Israel’s deliverance — something that is seen in different places in the Old Testament and is fully opened up and revealed in the book of Revelation.

God will use this man to that end, though once matters have been brought to a conclusion, God will express extreme displeasure with this man’s actions and then judge this man for his actions — a judgment completely commensurate with his actions.

From The Beast — In Revelation in this site.

Seventy Years, Four Hundred Ninety Years
AFTER 70 Years, AFTER 490 Years, NOT BEFORE
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

And this whole land shall be a desolation, and an astonishment; and these nations [the southern kingdom, Judah, and the surrounding nations] shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years.

And it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished, that I will punish the king of Babylon, and that nation, saith the Lord, for their iniquity, and the land of the Chaldeans, and make it perpetual desolations

For thus saith the Lord, That after seventy years be accomplished at Babylon I will visit you, and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the Lord, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will harken unto you.

And ye shall seek me and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.

And I will be found of you, saith the Lord: and I will turn away your captivity, and I will gather you from all the nations, and from all places whither I have driven you, saith the Lord; and I will bring you again into the place whence I caused you to be carried away captive (Jeremiah 25:11-12; 29:10-14).

Because of the continual disobedience — “continuous” in many instances — of the Jewish people over centuries of time, God, true to His Word (Lev. 26:14ff; Deut. 28:15ff), eventually uprooted His people from their land and drove them out among the nations.

And God acted after this fashion for one central purposeto effect repentance on the part of His people. Through persecution at the hands of the Gentile nations, repentance, resulting in restoration, would ultimately be effected.

The northern ten tribes were uprooted from their land first and carried away captive into Assyria, beginning about 722 B.C.; and the southern two tribes were subsequently uprooted from their land and carried away captive into Babylon, beginning about 605 B.C. And with the Babylonians having previously conquered the Assyrian Empire (with both kingdoms bordering one another, lying east and northeast of Israel), the carrying away of the southern two tribes into Babylon essentially left all twelve tribes together, as captives estranged from their land, residing in the same part of the Gentile world.

The Seventy Years

Dating from the beginning of the Babylonian captivity, God promised that after seventy years had passed, He would do two things:

1) “Punish the king of Babylon” (brought to pass through the conquest of the kingdom by the Medes and Persians at the end of the seventy years [Jer. 25:11-12; Dan. 5:1-31]).

2) “Visit you (the Jewish people in Babylon), and perform my good word toward you, in causing you to return to this place” (God, in accordance with His Word, restoring the Jewish people to their land [Jer. 29:10-14]).

That is to say, after seventy years had elapsed — but ONLY AFTER, NOT BEFORE — the kingdom of Babylon would be dealt with, and God would remember His numerous promises to His people pertaining to restoration (a healed people restored to a healed land).

This is what Daniel had read about and understood at this time in Dan. 9:1-2. Daniel had read about and understood these things through the writings of Jeremiah the prophet (translate “books” [Dan. 9:2 NIV] as “writings”). And, as seen through his actions at this time, Daniel evidently had also read about and understood from other writings (Moses and other Prophets) that repentance on the part of the Jewish people must precede God visiting his people and restoring them to their land (e.g., Lev. 26:40-42; II Chron. 6:24-27; 7:12-14).

Daniel, knowing that the seventy years had run their course (along with the Babylonian kingdom having fallen to the Medes and the Persians), set about to seek the Lord’s face “by prayer and supplications, with fasting, and sackcloth, and ashes” (Dan. 9:3).

Daniel then began to confess his own sins and those of the people, detailed throughout the next sixteen verses (Dan. 9:4-19).

Thus, one thing which was necessary for the Jewish people to be restored to their land had occurred (the end of the seventy years); and Daniel, as an individual, was bringing to pass the only remaining thing necessary (repentance, confessing his own sins and those of the Jewish people).

How far repentance of this nature extended beyond Daniel is unrevealed. Nonetheless, God opened the door at this time for a return of the Jewish people from Babylon back to the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. And though only remnants returned, mainly at two different times — the first under Zerubbabel, the second under Ezra — God, true to His Word, effected a restoration of His people after the seventy years had run their course.

Most of the Jewish people, over time, had seemingly settled down in the world and chosen to remain where they resided — in the Babylonian kingdom, now ruled by the Medes and the Persians.

The Four Hundred and Ninety Years

Toward the end of Daniel’s prayer and supplication, while he was still praying, the angel Gabriel interrupted him. Gabriel had been sent at the beginning of his prayer and supplication in order to reveal to Daniel a period of time subsequent to the seventy years — a longer period of time involving the Jewish people, having to do with the same thing as the seventy years (Dan. 9:20-23).

This latter period was seven times as long as the period which had just elapsed — four hundred and ninety years rather than seventy years (Dan. 9:24-27); and it would only be at the end of this subsequent, longer period that all of the Jewish people scattered throughout the Gentile nations would be brought to the place of repentance and restored to their land.

And, according to the Prophets, as these four hundred and ninety years were brought to a close — exactly as at the close of the seventy years — there would be a latter worldwide kingdom of Babylon, with the Jewish people scattered throughout this kingdom.

(Four hundred and eighty-three of the full four hundred and ninety years are now past, leading to the events surrounding Calvary at Christ’s first coming. And at this time, God, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in the prophecy and set Israel aside for a dispensation, during which time the Spirit was sent into the world [already in the world, but now given a new commission] to call out a bride for God’s Son.

And the Spirit’s work in this respect, in the antitype of that seen in Gen. 24 [between the time of the death of Abraham’s wife (Gen. 23) and Abraham again taking a wife (Gen. 25)], would be performed among those forming a new creation brought into existence at this time, the one new man “in Christ.”

Then, at the end of the Spirit’s work in the preceding respect, God would remove this new man and resume His dealings with Israel, with time covering the remaining seven years being fulfilled.

And it will be during and at the end of these last seven years that the Jewish people will once again reside in and be restored back to their land from a Babylonian kingdom [in complete keeping with the types].

For additional information on the preceding, see “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks” in this site.  Also see Search for the Bride by Arlen Chitwood.)

And exactly the same promises and the same thing seen at the end of the seventy years in Jeremiah and Daniel will occur at the end of the four hundred and ninety years in Daniel.

1) The king of Babylon in that day — the final king of Babylon, Antichrist — will be “punished” (Isa. 63:1ff; Joel 3:9ff; Rev. 19:11ff).

2) God, through His Son, will “visit” His people, perform His “good Word” toward them (fulfill His promises), causing a healed people to return to a healed land.

That is to say, after a full four hundred and ninety years have elapsed — but ONLY AFTER, NOT BEFORE — the kingdom of Babylon will be dealt with, destroyed; and God will, at that time, remember His numerous promises to His people pertaining to restoration, both the people and the land.

In That Day, Not the Present Day

As there was a return of a remnant of Jews from the Babylonian captivity in history, there has been a return of a remnant of Jews from a worldwide dispersion during modern times — occurring since May 14, 1948, when Israel declared statehood. And though both were/have been allowed by God and numerous parallels exist, they really are not the same type restoration at all.

Israel, in history, had completed God’s required seventy years in Gentile captivity (Jer. 25:11-12; 29:10-14). Israel, today, has not completed God’s required four hundred and ninety years in Gentile captivity. Seven years yet remain (Dan. 9:24-27).

Israel could not return in history until God’s required time in Gentile captivity had run its course; nor can Israel do so today.

The restoration of a remnant in history was under God’s direction, at His command; the restoration of a remnant today has been the result of a Zionistic movement, under man’s direction and command. God simply will not allow the Jewish people to return from their present dispersion among the Gentiles, under His direction and command, until the full time covered by the four hundred and ninety years has run its course. To state otherwise would have God acting contrary to His revealed Word, an impossibility.

A rather strange situation though exists in the world today. Most of the Bible students and Bible teachers studying about or giving any thought to Israel’s place in God’s economy, both present and future, attempt to see and teach that God is dealing with Israel relative to a restoration to the land and that the land is being healed during a time before the end of the four hundred and ninety years, before the Jewish people are brought to the place of repentance. But God’s dealings with the Jewish people after this fashion didn’t occur during the seventy years in Jeremiah, and God’s dealings with the Jewish people after this fashion are not going to occur during the four hundred and ninety years in Daniel either.

God’s requirements in both places can only be seen to be the same. Both could/can occur only following the full time in view (seventy years, four hundred and ninety years), and both could/can occur only following repentance.

Then, aside from the preceding, attempting to see and understand that which has been occurring in the Middle East and the world at large since May 14, 1948 as God restoring the Jewish people and their land in accordance with His numerous promises presents a dispensational problem. God is not, He cannot be, dealing with Israel in this respect today. Israel has been set aside while God, through His Spirit, calls out a bride to reign as consort queen with His Son in the coming kingdom. God will turn back to and deal with Israel ONLY AFTER the Spirit has completed His work in this respect, ONLY AFTER the present dispensation has run its course. And of course numerous other things as well are out of line with popular thought today, both among Christians in the world and among Jews both in Israel and those still scattered among the nations.

1) The house of Israel — a reference to the people, their capital city, the Temple, and the land (all inseparably related) — has been left desolate. And the one who will complete this desolation, bringing it to an apex, has yet to appear (Dan. 9:26-27).

2) He (Antichrist) will appear only when time covering the last seven years of Daniel’s prophecy resumes, and he will bring the desolation in view to an apex toward the end of this time, during the closing days of Daniel’s prophecy (reference Chapters 1 and 2, “Your House Left Desolate” [Parts I, II], in the Author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, How? When?, Ch. 1 and Ch. 2).

Healing for the Jewish people and their land will occur only AFTER two days, on the third day. It will be only AFTER two days, on the third day (AFTER 2,000 years, in the third 1,000-year period), that all three of God’s firstborn Sons — Christ, Israel, and the Church (following the adoption) — will be raised up to live in His sight.  That occurring in the Middle East today is occurring near the end of the second day, not on the third day where it MUST occur (refer to Appendix III, “Three Days and Three Nights,” in the author’s book, Israel — What Does the Future Hold? by Arlen Chitwood or Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, How? When?, Appendix I).

1) Israel, the slayer typified in Num. 35, can avail herself of the ransom only AFTER a certain time (avail herself of the cleansing [atonement] seen in Num. 19, cleansing from contact with a dead body, the body of the nation’s Messiah.

2) The time for this cleansing is seen in a two-fold manner in Num. 19. This cleansing can occur ONLY on the third or seventh day (three days dating back to the crucifixion, or seven days dating back to Adam), and it can occur ONLY following the death of the high priest (which can only be a reference to Christ’s completion of His present priestly ministry in the sanctuary, preceding that time when He comes forth as the great King-Priest after the order of Melchizedek [refer to Chapters 7 and 8, “Time of Israel’s Restoration” (Parts I, II), in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, How? When?, Ch. 7 and Ch. 8]).

(Along with the erroneous teaching that God is restoring an unbelieving and unrepentant Jewish people and their land today, there is a related erroneous teaching that God will first restore His people to their land in unbelief prior to their national conversion.

Such a teaching is derived from Scriptures such as Num. 35 or Ezek. 36:24-32, attempting to align these sections of Scripture with Israel’s national conversion rather than with cleansing following their conversion [e.g., during Moses’ day, a cleansing of the people for sin occurred through Aaron’s work in the sanctuary, following the death of the firstborn in Egypt; or, note in Christendom today, a cleansing of the people for sin occurs through Christ’s present work in the heavenly sanctuary, following His finished work at Calvary].

According to any Scriptures dealing with the subject, Israel’s national conversion occurs FOLLOWING Christ’s return BEFORE the Jewish people have been restored to their land. This, for example, is seen in the type during Moses’ day, or in the order of the fulfillment of the seven festivals in Lev. 23. Thus, Israel’s national conversion [fulfilling the first Jewish festival, the Passover] will occur while the Jewish people are still scattered among the nations; the cleansing, which many are confusing with the former, occurs subsequent to Israel’s national conversion, after the Jewish people have been restored to their land [having to do with activities occurring on the second and sixth of the Jewish festivals — the festivals of Unleavened Bread and Atonement; ref. The Seven Jewish Festivals in this site.)

1) The Jewish people cannot be restored UNTIL they have acquired the ALL wealth possessed by the Gentiles.

2) Jacob, in the type (Gen. 28:15-31:3), as the Jewish people today, tried to return to the land before he had acquired all of Laban’s wealth (Gen. 30:25ff). But he couldn’t. The heavens remained closed, and God did not speak to Jacob during the entire time of his exile, not until he had acquired all of Laban’s wealth and not until it was time for him to return.

THEN… And ONLY THEN… (Gen. 31:1-3).

The Jewish people today have returned to the land through MAN’S EFFORTS in a Zionistic movement, DURING their time of exile, BEFORE acquiring all of the Gentile’s wealth, BEFORE the time God speaks to them in this respect.

When God restores His people to the land, it will occur during His time, not during their time. And they will be restored through Divine power, not man’s power, never to be uprooted again (Amos 9:11-15).

The remnant presently in the land has been restored BEFORE the time through other than Divine power; and they, having been restored in this means, will, of necessity, be uprooted from their land once again (Matt. 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; Rev. 12:6, 14ff [refer to Chapter 7, “Time of Israel’s Restoration,” in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, How? When?, Ch. 7]).

Israel’s restoration can occur only following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation, which will be AFTER the full four hundred and ninety years have run their course (refer to Chapters 3, 4, “Moses and Elijah in That Day” [Parts I, II], in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Coming in His Kingdom, Ch. 3 and Ch. 4 or see The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom, Part III, Part IV in this site).

The seven Jewish festivals in Lev. 23 form what could be called, “The Prophetic Calendar of Israel,” and none of these festivals has been fulfilled insofar as Israel is concerned. And they must be fulfilled in a sequential order, following Christ’s return (e.g., the first festival is the Passover; Israel has slain the Lamb, but they have yet to apply the blood). Thus, the very first of the seven festivals remains unfulfilled (refer to Appendix 2, “The Seven Jewish Festivals,” in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's We are Almost There, Appendix 2 or The Seven Jewish Festivals in this site ).

As previously stated, prevalent thought in Christian circles today relative to the restoration of the Jewish people to the land in the Abrahamic covenant has to do with a false teaching concerning that which has been occurring in the land of Israel and the world at large since May 14, 1948.

To date, some 6,000,000 Jews have returned, and large parts of the land have been reclaimed for agricultural purposes.

Most Christians involving themselves in the matter today — many referring to themselves as “Christian Zionists” — erroneously look upon that which has been occurring since the spring of 1948 as God progressively restoring the Jewish people and their land in accordance with His numerous promises in the Old Testament to do so.

In this respect, the whole of the matter is rather amazing — though not relative to the Jewish people returning to the land in the Abrahamic covenant, for a remnant (which, as we know today, will have resulted from Zionism) must be in the land when Antichrist appears on the scene. Rather, the amazing part has to do with the vast numbers of Christians, who should know better, completely misunderstanding what is happening and, resultantly, making a mistake of this magnitude, one with far-reaching, negative ramifications.

It is amazing that ANY Christian with an open Bible would make this mistake, though understandable because of the working of the leaven in Christendom over two millenniums of time, resulting in few Christians today studying Scripture after the manner in which it has been written and structured (Matt. 13:33). But what can perhaps be seen as even more amazing than the preceding is the fact that MOST of the Christians involving themselves in this facet of Biblical studies are making this mistake, though again somewhat understandable for the reason previously given. And this is not something minor in Biblical studies. Rather, this is something major, very major. This is something which can only have a dire, negative impact upon a Christian’s outlook and understanding of the present and future place which the Jewish people occupy in God’s economy.

Then, part and parcel with the preceding, are the numerous pastors and Bible teachers caught up in this false ideology who are misleading the masses. It’s not a pretty picture when one begins looking at what’s presently happening in this respect in Christendom, but that’s how matters exist nonetheless.

Until That Day…

To provide a current, up-to-date example of what is really happening in the Middle East relative to Israel and the nations, showing how Scripture handles and reflects on the matter rather than how all too many of those who should know better are trying to handle the matter, note that which has been and continues to occur in that part of the world today.

The Middle East, for sometime, has been unraveling, so to speak; and that can be seen even more so with events of each passing day, with this unraveling, this coming apart, now beginning to spill over into and affect Europe in a negative manner. And from there, of course, it can only eventually affect the world at large in a similar or related manner.

As this is being written (September 2015), ISIS, with its continuing reign of terror, now has existing cells scattered over a good part of the war-torn Middle East (e.g., a four-year-old civil war in Syria), fostering persecution (often ending in death) and economic hardship. And masses of people — mainly Moslems — are fleeing the Middle East by whatever means they can find.

They are traveling by boats on the Mediterranean, walking across land routes in different nations, and are heading toward parts of Europe, overwhelming sections of Europe by their very numbers. Then there is the Iranian nuclear problem, with different opposing and often warring segments of the Moslem religion (mainly Sunnis and Shiites) thrown into the mix.

Then, of course, there is Israel — the only nation with a God — situated in the midst of all this turmoil.

All is seemingly quite uncertain in one respect. Though, in another respect, there is ONE THING that can be know for certain.

One can know for certain that THE WHOLE OF THE MATTER is only going to get worse, far worse.

Why?

It is very simple and can be answered in two very concise, short, to-the-point statements:

1) Israel, the nation through which God views and deals with the entire matter (ref. the article in this site, “The Pupil of God’s Eye”)!

2) The Prophets, those through whom God spoke in time past!

Israel’s very presence in the Middle East is the catalyst for, essentially, the whole of what’s occurring.

And, the Prophets have spoken, with their words being FINAL!

The present existence of a Jewish nation in the Middle East (which is made up largely of humanists, atheists, and agnostics), BEFORE the full end of the four hundred and ninety years, is nothing more or nothing less than the Jewish people rising up and seeking to emancipate themselves from exile, apart from their Messiah, establishing a Jewish nation themselves, entirely through natural means, in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Jewish people have sought to do this BEFORE the time by re-entering a desolated house, seeking to effect a healing of the Jewish people and their land themselves, through natural means. Then, not only is the preceding true, but, by doing this, the Jewish people have not only opened the door for but guaranteed that God’s judgment upon the nation, to ultimately bring about repentance, would be intensified seven-fold (Matt. 12:43-45; cf. Lev. 26:18ff [ref. two articles, “Zionism by Arlen Chitwood” and “Last State Worse Than the First by Arlen Chitwood”).

And God uses the Gentile nations to bring about judgment of this nature upon His people. In this respect, the turmoil existing among the nations in the Middle East can be addressed in a very simple manner, made known millenniums ago by the Prophets. It all has to do with God’s plans and purposes for Israel and the nations. It has to do with bringing to pass that which it will ultimately take to bring Israel to the place of repentance, in order that through the Jewish people, all of the Gentile nations — even the very nations fostering anti-Semitism today, some to the extent of seeking Israel’s very destruction — can not only be evangelized by but be blessed through Israel.

And God is going to allow matters to increasingly go to the extremes that it will ultimately take in order to bring this to pass.

The Biblical Picture

The Biblical picture of that currently occurring in the Middle East can be seen in the opening verses of the Book of Jonah.

An unrepentant Jonah, out of the Lord’s will and seeking to distance himself from the presence of the Lord, booked passage on board a ship headed in the opposite direction from where the Lord had told him to go. And Jonah, in this condition, was asleep down in the hold of the ship when God caused the sea to become so tumultuous that the very ship itself, with all those on board the ship, was about to be destroyed (Jonah 1:1-5).

This storm arose for one multifaceted reason and purpose alone.

It arose because of Jonah. God’s prophet was out of place, and the storm arose in order to rectify the situation (Jonah 1:6-12).

Jonah must be dealt with and brought to the place of repentance, bringing Jonah to the place where he would then do as God had commanded. And bringing about repentance was something which could happen only one place, not on the ship, but in the sea. Jonah MUST be cast from the ship into the sea.

(“The sea” in Scripture is used as a metaphor for the nations (also, the place of death); and “the ship” could only be seen as a reference to the land of Israel, for that is the only place on earth where one could reside and be seen as other than out among the nations, other than in the sea.)

The preceding is the type. Now note the antitype — Israel in the land today and that which, according to the type, MUST occur. A disobedient and unrepentant nation, following in Jonah’s footsteps, resides in the land — on the ship — today. And exactly the same thing is occurring among the nations, particularly those nations surrounding Israel, as occurred in the sea during Jonah’s day. The sea raged in the type, because of Jonah; and the sea is raging today in the antitype, because of Israel. In the type, the sea raged to the extent that the ship was about to be destroyed; and the beginning of exactly the same thing, to be climaxed during the coming Tribulation, can be seen in the Middle East today.

And whether type or antitype, the reason for the tumultuous condition was/is the same — a disobedient and unrepentant Jonah running from the presence of the Lord, and a disobedient and unrepentant Jewish nation following suit in the land today.

The Biblical Solution

Do you want to know what’s about to happen? The type will relate the complete story. And if you think it’s bad now, just wait!

It can only become worse with time, with no one being able to do a thing about the matter (Hosea 5:14). The type relates this, and the antitype must follow the type in exact detail.

Again, the whole of what is presently occurring and will yet occur in the Middle East has one catalyst, and God is bringing all of this to pass in order to rectify an existing situation.

As long as a disobedient and unrepentant Jonah was on board the ship, out of the Lord’s will, the sea raged. And the sea raged to the extent that the ship was about to be destroyed.

And matters can be NO DIFFERENT in the antitype.

As long as an unbelieving and unrepentant Jewish nation is in the land, turmoil can only exist among the Gentile nations, particularly those nations surrounding Israel in the Middle East.

And this turmoil, as the raging sea during Jonah’s day, can ultimately be no ordinary turmoil. It can ultimately only be the same type turmoil seen in the tumultuous sea during Jonah’s day, described in Matt. 24:22:

And except those days should be shortened [days during the coming Tribulation just out ahead, the last seven years of the full four hundred and ninety years], there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake [for Israel’s sake] those days shall be shortened.”

(For additional information on these days, refer to the author’s book, Distant Hoofbeats by Arlen Chitwood.)

God, exactly as in the type, is about to pull out all stops in order to bring His plans and purposes for mankind to pass, plans and purposes to be effected through Israel.

In the type, bringing about His plans and purposes had to do with a Jewish prophet, ultimately bringing to pass salvation and blessings for the Gentile city of Nineveh.

And in the antitype, bringing about His plans and purposes has to do with the nation of Israel, which will ultimately bring to pass salvation and blessings for the Gentile nations of the earth.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to these two articles, “The Turbulent Middle East by Arlen Chitwood, Pt. 1 and Pt. 2”].

Also, note something which some individuals would see as a problem with respect to all of this.

As Jonah in the type had to be removed from the ship and cast into the sea, Israel in the antitype has to be removed from the land and driven back out among the nations. God dealt with Jonah only in the sea, as He will deal with Israel only out among the nations [this is the place where He had previously driven Israel, to deal with the nation in this manner — the “place” which He will also have “prepared” for Israel yet future, during the Tribulation (Rev. 12:6, 14)].

The seeming problem would emanate from God having dealt with Israel in the land after this fashion numerous times in the Book of Judges, along with similar dealings at Christ’s first coming. But note a major difference between the nation both times in history and the nation today. The nation in the land both times in history found itself under Gentile dominion and control; the nation in the land today is not under Gentile dominion and control.

Thus, the nation presently in the land is left without recourse. This nation either has to be brought under Gentile dominion and control or be uprooted and driven back out among the nations; and Scripture states that the latter will occur [Matt. 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; Rev. 12:6, 14ff]. Then, out among the nations, God will deal with Israel [the whole house of Israel, not with just those in the land today] exactly as He dealt with Jonah in the sea, with the ultimate results in the antitype occurring exactly as seen in the type [Jonah 2:1ff; Jonah 3:1ff].)

(Reference The Pupil of God’s Eye and Distant Hoofbeats in this site for additional commentary.)

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The Reign of the Servant Kings
By Joseph C. Dillow
A Review-Summary-Outline

(Editor's Note: Overall I'm in agreement with this commentary, but with exceptions as noted within commentary.)

Foreword
 
The Arminians, in their exegetical approach to certain problem passages, viewed the loss of a believer’s salvation as a real possibility for those who fail in a consistent walk with Jesus Christ.  On the other hand, the Calvinist with a consistent biblical theology maintained that believers in Jesus Christ could never lose their eternal salvation.  It may very well be that in both systems, Calvinism and Arminianism, there has been a reductionistic error committed in understanding the meaning of salvation—by emphasizing one aspect of salvation at the expense of another.
 
The concept and meaning of salvation in the Scriptures is multi-dimensional.  There is a past aspect—justification, deliverance from the penalty of sin, and a present aspect—sanctification, deliverance from the power of sin, and a future aspect—glorification, deliverance from the presence of sin.  Although a believer can never lose his justification salvation, there are dimensions of glorification salvation that may be lost or gained if we take seriously passages such as Romans 14:10, 1 Corinthians 3:15, 2 Corinthians 5:10, and 2 John 1:7-8.  The opportunity of reward, on the other hand, with its glories of ruling and reigning with Jesus Christ in His coming Kingdom, are presented in the Scriptures as a great motivation for holy living in the present.
 
Earl D. Radmacher, Th.D.
Western Seminary Phoenix
Scottsdale, Arizona
January 1992
 
Preface
 
What do we make of a man who claims to have placed his trust in Jesus Christ but whose present life-style is a complete contradiction of the faith he once acknowledged?  The Westminster divines had the ready answer that he was never a Christian to begin with, because the ultimate test of the reality of faith is perseverance in the faith.  The Remonstrants, on the other hand, speaking from the Arminian tradition, viewed the matter differently.  To them . . . it was also possible that he was genuinely born again but, due to his falling into sin or unbelief, lost his justification.
 
Is there a view of these warnings and other in the New Testament which maintains, with the Calvinist tradition that justification can never be forfeited and at the same time, allows, with the Wesleyans, that justification and sanctification are not inextricably united and that there is indeed something conditional in the believer’s ultimate destiny?
 
The answer to that question is yes.  The danger is not loss of heaven but loss of our reward there and severe divine discipline in time.  The issue of whether or not the saints will necessarily persevere and whether or not true faith is indestructible is a complex interpretive issue involving numerous passages in the New Testament, indeed one’s whole system of theology as well.  An entire view of the Christian life is under consideration in the following chapters.
 
Throughout this book I refer to the merit which the believer can obtain by means of his good works.  That God chooses to reward us according to our works, but not because of them (it is not because of a strict legal relation whereby the believer by his works places God in his debt), is an act of pure grace, not of debt.  (Editor's Note: "Good [righteous] works" are works of the Holy Spirit working through us, not works of "self".}
 
Joseph C. Dillow
Vienna, Austria
15 January 1992
 
Prologue
 
A universal tragedy had occurred.  The Morning Star, known as Lucifer (Isaiah 14:12-17), God’s perfect one, full of wisdom and beauty (Ezekiel 28:12), the angelic being whom God had appointed as ruler over the ancient cosmos (Ezekiel 28:14), . . . had fallen.  The prophet Ezekiel paints a picture of divine grief in his woeful description of this betrayal (Ezekiel 28:11-19).  Lucifer had been given everything.  Yet he became proud (Ezekiel 28:17; 1 Timothy 3:6).  He concluded that God’s gifts were more important than the giver, that dependence upon God and obedience to His revealed will were not necessary.  He became the Satan, God’s adversary.  He was cast to the earth, and the earth was judged (Ezekiel 28:17).  At that time the earth, from which he ruled and upon which he lived (Ezekiel 28:13), became without form and void (Genesis 1:1-2).
 
But God had a plan on how to reestablish rule over the earth, which was completely foreign to His angelic hosts and Satan himself.  [Editor's Note: Satan, God's fallen son, and always ruled the earth and still does.  Satan's fear is loosing that rule; consequently he does everything God allows to save his rulership.]
 
What is the significance of man?  Man was to rule!  He was the lesser creature who would be crowned with glory and honor.  The glory, honor, and sovereignty which the Satan had stolen by exercising his independence and unbelief would be regained by the inferior creature living in servanthood and faith!  “. . . he who is least among you all — he is the greatest”  (Luke 9:48).
 
God intends to humble the proud and independent in a unique way.  He intends that the lower creature, man (created lower than the angels and hence lower than Satan), achieve the highest position (“. . . all things in subjection under his feet,” Hebrews 2:8).  “For He has not put the world to come, of which we speak, in subjection to angels” (Hebrews 2:5).  Out of the least, God will bring the greatest.  It was as “man” that the Savior defeated the enemy.  It was as “man” that He silenced the principalities and powers.  It will be as “man” that He will reign over the future kingdom of God upon this earth.
 
It is a glorious reign of servant kings which extends to “all the works of His hands” (Hebrews 2:7) -- this may suggest that one day mankind will rule the galaxies!  The lion will lie down with the lamb, universal righteousness will reign, and there will be no war.  Disease will be abolished, and the world of Satan will be placed under the rule of the Servant King and His companions (Hebrews 1:9).
 
Consistent with His divine purpose, God chose to establish His kingdom through the elevation of an obscure and insignificant Semitic tribe, Israel.  That future glory falls to those followers of Christ both within Israel and within His Church, who, like their Master lived on earth, live in dependence and obedience.
 
The controlling principle of the biblical philosophy of history rests in the precept of “the second before the first.”  God often chooses the “nothings” of the world to confound the “somethings” (1 Corinthians 1:26-27).  Only in this way is the self praise of man destroyed.  It is a pervading characteristic of the whole course of redemption that God chooses the younger before the elder, sets the smaller in priority to the greater, and chooses the second before the first (not Cain but Able and his substitute Seth; not Japheth but Shem; not Ishmael but Isaac; not Esau but Jacob; not Manasseh but Ephraim (Genesis 48:14); not Aaron but Moses (Exodus 7:1); not Eliab but David (1 Samuel 16:6-13); not the Old Covenant but the New (Hebrews 8:13); not the first Adam but the last Adam (1 Corinthians 15:45).  The first becomes last and the last becomes first (Matthew 19:30).  The great nations are set aside (Dan 2:7ff; Romans 1:24, 26, 28), and God elects to establish His purpose through two insignificant mediums, the Israel of God (the believing remnant of the last days) and the body of Christ (the invisible Church).
 
It is here that the beauty and symmetry of the divine plan became evident.  Not only did God purpose to elevate the role of a servant and the disposition of trust, but He gave His Son, the Second Man and the Last Adam, as a savior.  He who is of the essence of God became a servant (Philippians 2:7-8).  And in this way, living by exactly the opposite set of principles from the Satan, He achieved higher glory (Philippians 2:9-11).
 
Those who would rule with Him must find their lives in the same way:  “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).  The future rulers of God’s creation must, like their King, be servants now.  Unlike the Satan and his modern day followers, they will have no desire to be lord over their subjects.  Instead, like their Lord, they will desire only to serve those over whom they rule (Matthew 20:25-28).
 
Instead of disobedience there will be servanthood, to God and to others.  The second Adam put it this way, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. . . . Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” (Matthew 5:3-5).
 
We are to become the servant kings.  That is our destiny — the glorious privilege of reigning with Messiah is the final destiny of man.  In the eternal plan, only those who strive to be servants can now qualify for this great future privilege then.  In order to be “great” in the kingdom of heaven, to rule there, we must first become humble like a little child (Matthew 18:4).  “The greatest among you will be your servant.  For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted” (Matthew 23:11-12).
 
If God’s eternal plan revolves around demonstrating the moral superiority of humility and servanthood, it is of the utmost importance that we learn this lesson now.  All Christians are not servants, and only those who are will be great in the kingdom. 
 
Many who have begun lives of discipleship have not persevered.  They risk forfeiture of this great future.  But we are “partakers (Gk. metochoi) of Christ, [only] if we hold our confidence firmly to the end” (Hebrews 3:14).  All Christians will be in the kingdom, but tragically not all will be co-heirs there.  [Editor's note: All Christians, both overcomes and non-overcomers, will be in the kingdom, but in starkly different places (Revelation 2; 3).]
 
It is by losing our lives that we find our ultimate significance.  Each act of service is not only an expression of God’s eternal purpose but it is preparation and training for our final destiny.

Reign of the Servant Kings by Joseph Dillow

(For additional commentary on non-overcomers and the second death see Hurt By the Second Death and Sheep and Goats in this site.)

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God’s Seven Covenants

The Bible speaks of seven different covenants, four of which (Palestinian, Mosaic, Davidic, New),  God made with the nation of Israel.

The Adamic Covenant can be thought of in two parts:

The Edenic Covenant (innocence) and the Adamic Covenant (grace) (Genesis 3:16-19).

The Edenic Covenant is found in Genesis 1:26-30; 2:16-17. The Edenic Covenant outlined man’s responsibility toward creation and God’s directive regarding the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

The Adamic Covenant included the curses pronounced against mankind for the sin of Adam and Eve, as well as God’s provision for that sin (Genesis 3:15).

The Noahic Covenant was an unconditional covenant between God and Noah (specifically) and humanity (generally). After the Flood, God promised humanity that He would never again destroy all life on earth with a Flood (see Genesis 9). God gave the rainbow as the sign of the covenant, a promise that the entire earth would never again flood and a reminder that God can and will judge sin (2 Peter 2:5).

Abrahamic Covenant (Genesis 12:1-3, 6-7; 13:14-17; 15; 17:1-14; 22:15-18). In this covenant, God promised many things to Abraham. He personally promised that He would make Abraham’s name great (Genesis 12:2), that Abraham would have numerous physical descendants (Genesis 13:16), and that he would be the father of a multitude of nations (Genesis 17:4-5). God also made promises regarding a nation called Israel. In fact, the geographical boundaries of the Abrahamic Covenant are laid out on more than one occasion in the book of Genesis (Genesis 12:7; 13:14-15; 15:18-21). Another provision in the Abrahamic Covenant is that the families of the world will be blessed through the physical line of Abraham (Genesis 12:3; 22:18). This is a reference to the Messiah, who would come from the line of Abraham.

Palestinian Covenant (Deuteronomy 30:1-10). The Palestinian Covenant, or Land Covenant, amplifies the land aspect that was detailed in the Abrahamic Covenant. According to the terms of this covenant, if the people disobeyed, God would cause them to be scattered around the world (Deuteronomy 30:3-4), but He would eventually restore the nation (Deuteronomy 30:5). When the nation is restored, then they will obey Him perfectly (Deuteronomy 30:8), and God will cause them to prosper (Deuteronomy 30:9).

Mosaic Covenant (Deuteronomy 11). The Mosaic Covenant was a conditional covenant that either brought God's direct blessing for obedience or God's direct cursing for disobedience upon the nation of Israel. Part of the Mosaic Covenant was the Ten Commandments (Exodus 20) and the rest of the Law, which contained over 600 commands—roughly 300 positive and 300 negative. The history books of the Old Testament (Joshua–Esther) detail how Israel succeeded at obeying the Law or how Israel failed miserably at obeying the Law. Deuteronomy 11:26-28 details the blessing/cursing motif.

Davidic Covenant (2 Samuel 7:8-16). The Davidic Covenant amplifies the “seed” aspect of the Abrahamic Covenant. The promises to David in this passage are significant. God promised that David's lineage would last forever and that his kingdom would never pass away permanently (2 Samuel 7:16). Obviously, the Davidic throne has not been in place at all times. There will be a time, however, when someone from the line of David will again sit on the throne and rule as king. This future king is Jesus (Luke 1:32-33).

New Covenant (Jeremiah 31:31-34). The New Covenant is with the nation of Israel. God promises to forgive sin, and there will be a universal knowledge of the Lord. Jesus Christ came to fulfill the Law of Moses (Matthew 5:17) and create a new covenant between God and His people.

Beyond Genesis 12 (Abrahamic Covenant), covenants are made with Israel (Romans 9:4). No covenant has been made or ever will be made with the Church.

The Old Covenant (Mosaic, inseparably associated with the Abrahamic) was made with Israel; and the New Covenant, replacing the Old, will be made with Israel. Both have to do with the theocracy, as do all covenants made or to be made with Israel (Davidic, Palestinian, New).

None of the covenants have anything to do with eternal salvation. All are made with a people already saved. And, in reality, all could be classed as “The Magna Charta for the Kingdom,” with the Mosaic having to do with the rules and regulations governing the people of God in the theocracy.

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The Salvation Moment
In What Precise Instant is a Person Saved?
By Charles Strong of Bible One

The words “salvation” and “saved,” as used in Scripture mean “deliverance,” any type of deliverance — physical, bodily healing, spiritual, etc.  But this composition will only address it as used in the procurement (attainment, acquisition) of eternal life.  You may have never considered the issue of precisely when it occurs as a person pursues it.  In fact, you may conclude that a pursuit of this nature can only be an exercise in futility; that such an exercise cannot possibly benefit anyone’s knowledge and appreciation of biblical doctrine.

But, you would be wrong.  Why?  Because if one understands this reality — the precise instant a person is saved — it will elucidate exactly what one must do to obtain eternal life, which will significantly clarify various passages of Scripture and assist in determining the invalidity of various proffered formulae pertaining to the matter.  For instance, a review of the myriad programs and websites fostered by evangelical Christian ministries throughout the world, which reflect a host of sequential steps that a person should take in order to procure eternal life, may often only confuse a person seeking to know God’s will concerning the matter.

Many of these ministries stipulate that one should “repent” of (i.e., turn from) one’s sins as part of the “acquisition formula.” They endeavor to prove this point with a few passages of Scripture taken from the gospels and the book of Acts.  Unfortunately, most of these ministries publicize an interpretation of “repentance” that is quite contrary to the true meaning of the word in the original languages (Hebrew or Greek) from which the concept is derived.  Furthermore, their interpretation of “repentance” is contrary to its application within Scripture — primarily a word directed toward the Jewish people requiring that they turn from their disobedience toward God.

“Repentance” and the use of the word in Scripture is, more often than not, misunderstood [e.g., unsaved individuals often called upon to repent prior to believing (some attempt to make repentance and belief synonymous or inseparable); or, in a similar respect, seeing the call for Israel to repent in the gospel accounts and in Acts as a call to the unsaved].

The word “repent” is a translation of the Greek word, metanoia, or in its verb form, metanoeo.  Both are compound words [the preposition meta (meaning, “with”) prefixed to words derived from vous (meaning, “mind”)].  Thus, these compound words, in their base sense, mean “with the mind.”

The word [either noun or verb form] refers to doing something with the mind, and that which is referenced through the use of this word has to do with changing one’s mind.  And that is really all that the word means.

The Jewish people in the gospels and Acts were called upon to change their minds relative to their continued disobedience, which would lead to a change of actions, etc.

Relative to salvation today, does an unsaved person have to repent?  He does if he has to change his mind about Christ before he can believe, though most today would probably have to make up their minds rather than change their minds prior to belief.  But either way, it is believing that saves a person, not making up or changing one’s mind.  The latter would only place a person in the position where he can believe and be saved.  (Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Middle East Peace, How? When?, Ch. 2)

Then again, if “repentance” is understood as the turning or forsaking of one’s sins as a foundational step to believing in Christ, a step always noted as prior to one’s belief in Christ, the concept would be a complete deviation from Scripture.  Why?  Because it precedes the complete “formula” advocated by these ministries for the procurement of eternal life and is therefore a step taken by the person when he is still “lost.”  Nowhere does Scripture teach that a person who is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) can turn from (forsake) sin, a possibility that exists only for those who are empowered by the Holy Spirit, i.e., those who are already “saved.”

True. Many attempt to circumvent this logic by declaring that “repentance” and “faith” are “two sides of one coin,” that one cannot exist without the other; but, frankly, this explanation does not logically, or scripturally, hold up.  And it certainly doesn’t comply with the true meaning of the word (repent, repentance) in the original languages.

In like manner, many inappropriately utilize a passage in the tenth chapter of Romans (Romans 10) to specify that one must “publicly confess Jesus as Lord of their life” before one can be certain of eternal life.  The argument is also advanced by many of Calvinistic persuasion that one who has become a child of God (procured eternal life) will without fail evidence a righteous life.  But this argument is invalid in light of the various times Peter, most certainly a child of God, failed to evidence a proper (righteous) attitude or manner of living (Matthew 26:33-34, 40, 43, 69-75; Galatians 2:11).  Then again, if a Christian must without fail evidence righteous living, then there would be little use or reason for 1 John 1:9, a verse specifically addressed to Christians for when they sin.

There is also the step often advanced by many of these ministries that one should pray to God (or Christ) in a certain way in order to procure eternal life.  And again, not only can this be interpreted as a “work of man,” but nowhere in Holy Writ can such be understood as key to the procurement of eternal life.  True, many endeavor to use the twentieth verse of the third chapter in the book of Revelation (Revelation 3:20) to prove one must “invite” (“open the door”) Christ into their life for salvation; but, again, this would be a serious misinterpretation of the passage, a passage addressed specifically to individuals already saved (Christians) who need to achieve the status of “overcomers.”

And if a prayer to God is the key to procuring eternal life, then at what point in the duration of the prayer is the “deal sealed,” i.e., transformed into a child of God — at the beginning of the prayer, in the middle of the prayer, or at its end?

When one considers the various formulary positions advanced by different evangelical ministries regarding the procurement of eternal life, it is no wonder that one becomes hesitant regarding how one is to actually achieve it.

But there is clarity in God’s Word, as delineated below.

The requisite purpose for Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, to come to earth was to be the propitiation (Gk. hilasmos – the means of covering and remitting, i.e., satisfying God) for the sins of mankind.  Christ accomplished this purpose on the cross of Calvary by taking on and becoming man’s sin so that man could obtain the righteousness of God.  While on the cross Christ paid the penalty for all of sin by suffering the extreme punishment and judgment of God the Father (spiritual death, i.e., being separated from [forsaken by] God the Father) for a period (several hours) of time.  Christ’s work on the cross was total, complete, and, in His own word, “finished.”

And He [Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. . . . In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 2:2; 4:10; cf. Romans 3:25; Hebrews 2:17)

For He [God the Father] made Him [God the Son] who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Corinthians 5:21; cf. Isaiah 53:6; Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 2:24)

Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land.  And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” (Matthew 27:45-46)

So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit. (John 19:30)

And the only way a person may apply Christ’s substitutionary work on the cross for the benefit of his personal salvation (i.e., to procure eternal life) is by making a conscious decision to receive (accept) Christ and His work on the cross apart from anything else for the purpose of procuring (securing) it, period!  Such a decision can only be made by (through) faith (plus absolutely nothing else [self-works]).  This would be an instantaneous internal conscious decision — not a prayer, a dedication, a promise, or any form of outward demonstration that may be taken after one hears and understands God’s grace-gift of salvation (a work that can only be performed by the Holy Spirit [John 16:7-11]).  It can only be an internal, conscious decision to place one’s faith completely and solely in Christ for one’s eternal life — prior to any outward, following demonstration of this fact.

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.  For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.  He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)

But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name. (John 20:31)

And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . .”  (Acts 16:30-31a)

For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. (Ephesians 2:8-9)

Yet, even without this clarity on the issue, many are saved throughout the world.  There are many throughout all levels of Christendom who have been informed that salvation is to be obtained by means of a series of steps, i.e., faith plus works (e.g., confession of/turning from sins, specifically worded prayers, administration of baptism, etc.), who are indeed saved, but that would only be due to their faith in Jesus Christ — a decision made prior to the exercise of any other “proffered requirement.”

Please note the following from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith, Foreword:

Eternal salvation is by grace (that which God is able to do completely apart from human merit) through faith (by believing on God’s Son [Ephesians 2:8-9]), and it is based entirely upon the finished work of Another (John 19:30).  Nothing that man has done, is presently doing, or will ever do can have anything to do with his eternal destiny.  Man can do no more than receive by faith that which has already been done on his behalf.

This is why Scripture states:

“. . . Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved . . . .” (Acts 16:31)
.
This statement is in response to a question in the preceding verse:

“. . . Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30)

And within another frame of reference, the response to this question could only be, “Nothing!”  This would have to be the response simply because there is not one single thing left for unsaved man to do (nor could he do anything if something were left, for, he is spiritually dead and incapable of acting in the spiritual realm [Ephesians 2:1, 5]).

It is of interest to note that the question, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” and the answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved,” only appear together one place in the entire Bible.  Scripture is filled with information concerning redemption, but Acts 16:30-31 is the only place, from Genesis to Revelation, where the question concerning eternal salvation is asked and answered in so many words.

Thus, within a completely biblical framework, if the question in Acts 16:30 is asked, there can be only one answer:  “Believe . . . .”  Man’s ideas, thoughts, comments are of no moment.  God has spoken, and that’s the end of the matter.

John 3:16 is often called “the gospel in a nutshell” by individuals seeking to draw attention to the overall salvation message stated in its simplest form in Scripture.  God, because of His love for fallen man — who had been created in His image, after His likeness, for a purpose (Genesis 1:26-28) — “gave His only begotten Son [1 Corinthians 15:3], that whoever believes in Him [Acts 16:31] should not perish but have everlasting life.”

Everything, in its entirety, to procure man’s salvation was done by Another.  It had to be accomplished by Another, for, as previously stated, the one being redeemed was “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), totally incapable of acting on his own behalf.

Christ is the One who died, Christ is the One who performed the work to procure man’s salvation, and God is satisfied with His Son’s finished work.

When Christ cried out from the Cross in “a loud voice” near the ninth hour, “It is finished” (Luke 23:46; John 19:30), He used one word in the Greek text — Tetelestai — that could be better translated, “It has been finished.”  Tetelestai is a perfect tense usage of teleo, which means “to bring to an end,” “to complete.”  And the perfect tense refers to action completed in past time, with the results of that action extending into and existing during present time in a finished state.

All of the work surrounding man’s redemption that Christ had come to perform had, at that point in time, been completed.  This was the announcement that Christ made, in “a loud voice”; and, because of that which was involved in the announcement, there was then no longer any need for Him to continue His sufferings on the Cross.  Thus, immediately after He cried out, “It has been finished,” He “gave up the ghost [KJV, lit., ‘He breathed out’ (He expired, willingly relinquishing His life)]” (Luke 23:46).

The work of Christ at Calvary, from the point He cried out, “It has been finished,” has existed in exactly the same finished state in which He proclaimed it to exist at that time.  It has existed as a work completed in past time that extends into present time (in a finished state) and that will extend into all the ages comprising eternity ahead (in the same finished state).

Nothing can ever be added, and nothing can ever be taken away.  That is to say, nothing can ever change relative to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

That’s the way God’s procurement of man’s salvation had to occur.  Once Christ’s work had been finished, that’s the way His work had to always continue to exist — in a finished state — throughout both time and eternity.

Because of Christ’s finished work, salvation is extended to man “without money and without price” (Isaiah 55:1); and apart from Christ’s finished work, there is no salvation.

He who believes in him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already [lit., ‘has already been condemned’ (a perfect tense — condemned in past time because of unbelief and presently living in that condemned state)], because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:18)

It is utterly impossible — and foolish to even consider — that finite man, “dead in trespasses and sins,” could add one thing to or take one thing from the finished work of the infinite God through His Son.

All man can possibly do is simply receive, by believing on the Son, that which has already been done on his behalf.

When a person makes that internal, conscious decision to believe on (trust in) Christ for his personal eternal salvation, it is in that “precise instant” that he procures eternal life, becomes a child of God.  And you may be assured that God is completely aware of that decision when it occurs; and, instantaneously acts upon it.

Personal Experience

This writer recalls the “precise instant” he was saved (procured eternal salvation) back on December the 25th of 1959 at approximately 2:00 o’clock in the morning.  The night before, he tried to link up with a friend who he thought was attending a local evangelical church.  Seated in the auditorium but failing to see his friend, he was hesitant to leave because the service had started.

The minister put forth how one could be saved, but the writer just couldn’t understand the concept of faith without works as the means for salvation.  Even when a number of Christians attempted to reiterate the means to salvation to the writer, he simply could not comprehend that it was a matter of faith without subsequent works.

It was only after the writer finally located his friend that night (a friend who most certainly didn’t “act like a Christian” during much of his life of frivolity and misdeeds) and inquired of him regarding the issue of salvation that he finally understood it.

When he was seated in his friend’s car, he asked his friend how a person could be saved “only by faith.”  Upon this, he noticed an immediate change take over his friend who then proceeded to explain the issue.  Although his friend presented the issue no differently than those who previously explained it that night at the church, the issue “all of a sudden” became very clear to the writer.  Here was someone who certainly did not reflect an admirable Christian life, but who indeed knew he was saved.  The crystalline thought emerged — one can only be saved through faith in Christ and His work on the cross, not by any other means.

Later, during the early morning hours on that Christmas morning while the writer lay on his bed in his home in that south-Texas town, he made the decision to trust only in Christ for his personal salvation, even though he didn’t know all the theological details on how Christ took his sins and paid the price for them.  He simply looked up to the ceiling (in his mind, heaven) and told God that he was now placing his total trust in Christ for salvation.

Was the writer saved when he versed that prayer?  No!  He was instantly saved prior to it when he made the conscious decision to trust in Christ.  He turned over and then went to sleep feeling no emotion or relief.  But from that day forward he was never the same.  God was now part of his life and his spiritual transformation continued on from that point in time.

Postscript

Without question there appears to be a vast amount of confusion regarding the means whereby a person may be “saved.”  But then this should be clearly understood by Christians who realize that there is an “adversary the devil [who] walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour” (1 Peter 5:8).

One primary way Satan accomplishes this confusion among those who read God’s Word is to blind them to the doctrinal distinctions between the initial offering of the proffered kingdom to the nation of Israel, an offering promulgated by John the Baptist and Jesus Christ based on “repentance” (Matthew 3:2, 17), and the offer of eternal salvation to all occupants of earth (John 3:16-17; 20:31) based only on a conscious decision of “faith in Christ alone.”

The confusion that exists when a student of the Word endeavors to combine the various passages of Scripture regarding these two doctrinal issues only increases when he further fails to understand the tripartite composition of man (spirit, soul, and body [1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12]) and how the complete issue of eternal salvation affects each part.  When a person attempts to apply the distinctly different passages of Scripture applicable to the separate components of man to the same salvation issue, it is no wonder that various and opposing ministries and denominations emerge.

Further confusion arises over the “security of the believer” when one fails to understand the distinctions mentioned above.  But when one accurately compares Scripture with Scripture under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit (John 14:26; 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:13), “rightly dividing the Word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15), the confusion will disintegrate and clarity and confidence will most assuredly flourish.

For lucidity on these doctrinal issues, it is recommended that the reader access and investigate the following websites:

Bible One by Charles Strong
Arlen Chitwood's Lamp Broadcast

Finally, should you, the reader, upon reading this composition have any uncertainty regarding your personal eternal salvation, you need only consider and reply to the following question:

Do you solely trust (have faith in) Jesus Christ and His sacrifice on the cross for your personal salvation?

If you can honestly say “yes” to this, you may be assured of your eternal salvation.  It makes no difference if you can recall the exact time you first made such a decision (many individuals experience this at a very early age); it only matters that you confidently know it is real….now.

And if this would be the very first time that you decide to completely and solely place your trust only in Christ and His work on the cross for your personal salvation, then you may be assured that you have now experienced the “precise instant” of your personal eternal salvation.

Bible One - Charles Strong's The Salvation Moment

Epignosis / Mature Knowledge / Super Knowledge

Christians cannot have a clear, exact and mature understanding of God unless Jesus Christ reveals it to them.  The Greek word translated “reveal” in our text is “apokalupto” and it means “to remove a veil or take off the cover."   The noun is “apokalupsis,” which means a “disclosure or revelation.”  We say “apocalypse or apocalyptic”.  Jesus clearly states that He grants revelation to certain Christians according to His will.  He accomplishes this through the Word and the Holy Spirit.

What is this mature knowledge that reveals the hidden things of God? Luke states that he wrote his account of our Lord’s ministry “so that you might know (epiginosko) the exact truth about the things you have been taught” (Luke 1:4).  The mature knowledge of God and His Son comes from His Word.  Paul prays for the faithful at Ephesus . . . “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and of revelation (apokalupsis) in the knowledge (epignosis) of Him” (Ephesians1:17).  Wisdom and disclosure comes with this mature knowledge.

Again, Paul prays for the Christians at Philippi . . . “And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge (epignosis) and all discernment, so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless for the day of Christ” (Philippians 1:9-10).  This mature knowledge nurtures and grows love (agape).  This mature knowledge recognizes the precious things of God.  It prepares a Christian for the judgment of His Church and the selection of His bride.

Again, Paul prays for the faithful at Colosse . . . “For this reason also, since the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge (epignosis) of His Will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so that you may walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, to please in all respects, bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge (epignosis) of God; strengthened with all power, according to His glorious might, for the attaining of all steadfastness and patience; joyously giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in light” (Colossians 1:9-12).  This mature knowledge gives wisdom and understanding. Without this mature knowledge a Christian cannot enter the narrow way (gate) nor produce good fruit.

This mature knowledge must be active and ever growing.  It gives strong roots to the faith and the hope of our honored position in His coming Kingdom. Please note that in all three prayers Paul uses the word “may.”  Christ reveals this knowledge only to those who keep seeking, keep asking, and keep knocking.  It is for the obedient and faithful disciple.  “Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge (epignosis) of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge (epignosis) of Him who called us to His own glory and excellence” (2 Peter 1:2-3).  This knowledge given to His faithful provides the means to achieve glorious life in His Kingdom.

Excerpts from Three Types of Bible Knowledge in this site.

(Aside:  One of my mentors, Gary Whipple, no longer with us, defined epignosis as "super knowledge.")

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A Darkness on the Outside
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

A particular place of darkness outside, but contiguous to, a particular place of light.

The expression “outer darkness” only appears three times in Scripture, and all three are found in the gospel of Matthew (Mat. 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). Luke, in his gospel, alludes to outer darkness in a parallel reference to Matthew 8:11-12 (Luke 13:28-29 ASV) but does not use the words. He simply reduces the expression to “without” (ASV).

In the Greek text, both Matthew and Luke use the compound word ekballo, which means to “cast out” (ek, “out”; ballo, “to cast”). Following the use of this word, the place into which individuals in these passages are cast is given in both gospels.

In the gospel of Matthew, the place where individuals are cast is described as “into outer darkness [lit., from the Greek text, ‘into the darkness, the outer,’ or as we would normally say in an English translation, ‘into the outer darkness’].”

(In the Greek text there are definite articles before both the noun and adjective, with the adjective following the noun — “the darkness, the outer.” In a construction of this nature, by a repetition of the article, there is an emphasis placed on the adjective, “outer.” It is not just any darkness, but a particular darkness. It is a particular place of darkness outside and contiguous to a particular place of light.)

Then, in the gospel of Luke, the place where individuals are cast is described as “without,” or “on the outside.” That is, by comparing Matthew’s account, they are cast “without,” or “on the outside” of a place of light; and this place, in the gospel of Matthew, is described as a place of darkness.

Accordingly, many Christians in that day will find themselves in the darkness outside the lighted banqueting h