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The Church, by forsaking the Word (progressively brought about by the working of the leaven), 
has allowed a friendship with the world to ensue (cf. James 4:4; I John 2:15-17), sealing its own fate in one respect;  and the world, having disarmed the Church, has sealed its own fate in another respect.  

A worldly Church, A Churchly World
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

THE CHURCH – THEN AND TODAY

2,000 Years of Church History – What Has Happened?

During the early years of the Church, attention was focused on an inheritance in a heavenly land to which Christians had been called.  This was the central message proclaimed throughout Christendom during that time.

But today, attention in Christendom — all Christendom, so-called fundamental and liberal circles alike — is centered elsewhere;  and the true message concerning a heavenly inheritance awaiting Christians is seldom, if ever, heard.

So what brought about the change from the way things were to the way things presently exist?  Scripture reveals exactly what happened.

The Way Things Were

The Bible is a book dealing with redemption.  But the Biblical scope of redemption doesn’t stop with man passing “from death unto life” (John 5:24).  Rather, it goes on to also include “that which is really life [literal translation]” (I Timothy 6:19).  The former has to do with the gospel of the grace of God, and the latter has to do with the gospel of the glory of Christ.  And Scripture, as a whole, concerns itself far more with the latter than with the former, for Scripture has been written to the saved, not to the unsaved (I Corinthians 2:9-14).

Scripture begins this way (the framework set forth in the six and seven days in Genesis 1; 2 [ref. the author’s book, The Study of Scripture, Chs. 2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture, 3) Beginning and Continuing and 4) Building on the Foundation, in this site.]), necessitating that Scripture remain this way (which it does).  It is man who has turned the matter around and has not only placed the emphasis at a point where Scripture does not place it but has also either minimized or completely done away with teachings surrounding the point where Scripture does place the emphasis.

Note, for example, Paul’s dealings with the Church in Ephesus.  He spent three years teaching them.  But what did he teach them?  That’s revealed in Acts 20:17-38 when Paul called the elders of this Church together for the last time that he would be with them.

Paul, referring to that which he had previously taught them, began with “the gospel of the grace of God” (Acts 20:24).  But he didn’t remain there.  He then referred to his prior proclamation of “the kingdom of God” (Acts 20:25).  And both of these together constituted “all the counsel of God” (Acts 20:27).

God purchased the Church (with the use of “Church” viewed in a complete sense, as in Matthew 16:18) “with his own blood,” and the elders in Ephesus were exhorted by Paul to “feed” those in the Church over which they had been placed (Acts 20:28).

(There are manuscript variances in Acts 20:28 relative to whether Theos [God], Kurios [Lord], or both words together [both Theos and Kurios] should appear in the text — i.e., God’s blood, the Lord’s blood [referring to Christ], or the blood of both the Father and His Son.

There is manuscript evidence for each of the three renderings, though most grammarians and translators, who study these things, usually see more evidence for the use of Theos [God] alone, with the translation as it appears in the KJV [also in the NASB and NIV].  In the final analysis though it would really be immaterial which of the three manuscript variances was followed, for the Son is God manifested in the flesh.

The time that the paschal lambs were being slain throughout the camp of Israel on the 14th day of the first month of the year in 33 A.D., “in the evening [lit., ‘between the evenings,’ understood to be between 3 and 6 P.M. (Exodus 12:6)] was the time when the Paschal Lamb was slain.  This was the time when God died.  This was the time when God purchased the Church with His Own blood.)

And the elders, called to feed Christians in the Church, which had been purchased by the very blood of God would, of necessity, have to move beyond teachings surrounding the simple gospel of the grace of God.  Contextually, in this passage, it would have to involve things surrounding “the kingdom of God.”

And, in conjunction with that, contextually, it would involve commending them to God and to His Word — that which could build them up in “the faith” so they might one day realize the inheritance to which they had been called (Acts 20:32).

Paul, in Acts 20:17ff, exhibited exactly the same qualities which Peter exhibited in his second epistle.  Paul had previously spent three years teaching the Christians at Ephesus, and that which he taught them centered around the Word of the Kingdom.  Then, when he called the elders of this Church together for his last time with them, he still called their attention to teachings surrounding the Word of the Kingdom, though these were things that he had spent three previous years teaching them.  This is how important he considered this overall teaching to be.

And Peter, writing his second epistle and calling attention to this same message, stated that he was going to always keep these things before the Christians to whom he wrote, though they had previously been taught these things and were established in these truths.  As long as he remained alive he was going to stir them up by calling these things to their attention (2 Peter 1:12-18; 3:1-2; cf. 2 Peter 1:1-11).

Many Christians in the Church today would look upon anyone proclaiming the message surrounding Christ’s return after this fashion as “fanatical,” or as someone who has “gone to seed on Christ’s return.”  But that’s not the way Scripture presents the matter at all.

This was the central message Paul (et al.) proclaimed, and this was the way that the Holy Spirit moved him to structure his epistles (et al. also;  e.g., Hebrews and Jude have been structured this same way).  Accordingly, this was a message not only constantly proclaimed but well known and understood throughout Christendom during Paul’s day (Colossians 1:5-6, 23-28).

Note, for example, the Book of Ephesians:  As elsewhere throughout the Word of God, there are references in the epistle to the gospel of the grace of God (e.g., Ephesians 2:8-9), but almost the entire epistle concerns itself with things surrounding the gospel of the glory of Christ.  The epistle concerns itself, in the main, with that which is stated in Ephesians 2:10, giving the purpose for man’s salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9).

This is what the inheritance in Ephesians 1 has to do with;  this is what the mystery revealed to Paul in Ephesians 3 has to do with;  and Ephesians ends with details concerning the present warfare against those in the land of our inheritance and how we are to array ourselves for the battle at hand (Ephesians 6).  And between these points, in other parts of the epistle, one will find the same central teaching.

And, in this respect, it’s interesting that the Church in Ephesus appears first among the seven Churches in Revelation 2; 3.  The Church in Ephesus sets forth an example of the way that the Church existed at the beginning of the dispensation (knowledgeable about the present spiritual warfare, the Christians’ future inheritance, etc.).

But then things began to happen, as seen even in the Church in Ephesus, which left its “first love” (Revelation 2:4).

Then, the Church appears at the end of the dispensation in a completely different setting, a condition resulting from the Church initially leaving its “first love,” seen in the seventh and last of the Churches in Revelation 2; 3, the Church in Laodicea — described as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:14-21).

That Which Happened

So, What happened?  A woman placed leaven in the three measures of meal.  That’s what happened.  And Christ stated that the leaven would do its damaging work, “till the whole was leavened” (Matthew 13:33).

This depicts a work by Satan very early in the dispensation.  The approximate time when this was done can be known through observing that even during the first few decades of the existence of the Church things were beginning to go awry.  The Church in Ephesus had left its “first love” (Revelation 2:4), and false prophets (Christian teachers, elders, proclaiming a message contrary to the Word of the Kingdom — apostates) were beginning to appear in the Churches (II Peter, Jude).

This all occurred within the first forty years of the Church’s existence, and the leaven took the Church down over the next several centuries until the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom had all but disappeared.  By the fourth century A.D., during the days of the Roman Emperors Constantine the Great and Theodosius I, the Church had so completely lost its true focus that the unthinkable eventually happened.  The Church merged with the State.

In the year 380 A.D., Theodosius I issued an edict that made Christianity the exclusive state religion;  and by the year 395 A.D., Christianity had become recognized as the official and only religion of the Roman Empire — something which could not have occurred apart from almost three centuries of the working of the leaven from within.

The Church, called to inherit in another land (a heavenly), had settled down in the land (an earthly) from which it had been called;  the Church, called to rule and reign in a future kingdom (under Christ), had merged with the powers in the present kingdom (under Satan).

A 1,000-year period of darkness then engulfed the Church, awaiting the Reformation under Martin Luther, along with succeeding events.

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 5, Parable of the Mustard Seed and Ch. 6, Parable of the Leaven.)

The Reformation itself though had nothing to do with a restoration of truths surrounding the gospel of the glory of Christ.  The reformers were concerned centrally with the simple gospel of the grace of God.  It was only in later years that men began to look beyond the simple message of salvation by grace through faith — beyond that set forth in Genesis 1:2-5 to that set forth in Genesis 1:6-2:3.

But even then there was no restoration of these truths.  There was only a bringing of them to light again, with one Christian here and one Christian there understanding and receiving the truth of the matter.

The leaven had centered its attack at this point, it had done its damaging work, and the only thing which remained was for the leaven to complete its work.

And this is why, when the Son of Man returns for His Church, He will not find “the faith” being proclaimed by elders in the Churches of the land.  The whole will have been leavened.  Those in the Churches will be talking about everything but the central message of Scripture.  And the dispensation will end with the Church — the complete Church — in the condition depicted by the Church in Laodicea.

The Way Things Are

We’re in the final days of a dispensation in which the leaven has been working for almost two millenniums.  The Church at the end of the dispensation is to be completely permeated by the leaven, and this has particular reference to the message surrounding the Word of the Kingdom.  This is the message Christ will not find being proclaimed in the Churches at the time of His return.

And, if a person wants to see exactly where we are in relation to that day through the working of the leaven alone, all he has to do is go into practically any Church of the land and listen to the message being proclaimed from the pulpit.  He will listen in vain for any mention of that which is not only the central message which Scripture directs to the saved but also the central message which was proclaimed and understood throughout Christendom during the early years of the Church — namely that Christians have been purchased by the blood of God for a purpose, to be realized during the Messianic Era, then during the ages beyond. 

Will conditions in Christendom improve?  Can matters be turned around?

What does Scripture say?  Scripture is not only the sole Word on the subject but the final Word as well.

Scripture states that “the whole” will be leavened;  and Scripture further states that, as a result, the Son of Man is not going to find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return (Matthew 13:33; Luke 18:8).

So don’t look for an end-time revival.  It’s not coming!  Scripture foretells total apostasy within the Church instead (the complete Church standing completely away from “the faith”).

Thus, matters can only get worse.

THE CHURCH IN THE WORLD

The Condition of the Church in the World Today (Seen from Several Perspectives, O.T. & N.T.)

“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.

And Aaron said unto them, Break off the golden earrings, which are in the ears of your wives, of your sons, and of your daughters, and bring them unto me…

And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf:  and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.

…and the people sat down to eat and to drink, and rose up to play” (Exodus 32:1-2, 4, 6b).

The type in Exodus deals primarily with Israel at the end of the Jewish dispensation and immediately beyond (at the end of Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy [fulfilling the last seven years of the previous dispensation, the Jewish dispensation] and immediately beyond), and a secondary application would be seen in the type dealing with the Church at the end of the present dispensation and immediately beyond.

Scripture presents the same bleak picture pertaining to both Israel and the Church at the end of their respective dispensations — a condition in which Israel presently finds itself, which will continue on into and through the Tribulation (Daniel’s Seventieth Week, ending the Jewish dispensation);  and a condition in which the Church as well presently finds itself, which will also continue to the end of the dispensation.

Two Places in the New Testament

To depict the picture pertaining to the Church as it currently exists, since Exodus 32 is being dealt with, we’ll begin doing it from Exodus 32:1.  Then we’ll go to Matthew 13 and Revelation 2; 3 to provide some complementary, additional information to help complete the picture.

Christ, following events seen at His first coming, resulting in the necessity of the Church being brought into existence (a new entity called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected, which had been taken from Israel — the proffered kingdom of the heavens), has gone back into the Mount, back to heaven (cf. Matthew 21:33-45; 25:14ff; Luke 19:12ff).

And He is going to remain in the Mount, for a complete period of time, exactly as Moses remained in the Mount for a complete period of time in the type (Exodus 24:18; Deuteronomy 9:9).

Prior to the end of that complete period of time (forty days in the type, 2,000 years in the antitype), when Christ returns for the Church, exactly as in the type, the Church will be seen in the same state as Israel before Moses came down from the Mount. 

And though this would not normally be seen and recognized in today’s Christendom, the Church presently existing as Israel existed at the foot of the Mount during Moses’ day can be easily and clearly shown.

There are two places in the New Testament where a succinct, overall history of the Church throughout the dispensation is seen.  And this history is seen from God’s perspective, not from man’s.

One account was given during Christ’s earthly ministry in Matthew chapter thirteen, and the other account was given by John, in the second and third chapters of the Book of Revelation following Christ’s ascension.

And the two accounts present matters from the same perspective, centering on that which would occur in Christendom throughout the 2,000-year dispensation relative to the proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom, along with why this would occur.

The Matthew Thirteen Parables

The first four parables in Matthew 13, recording the first of the two accounts of the history of the Church in the New Testament, have their setting in the previous chapter.  In Matthew 12, Christ had performed a number of supernatural signs, which had been rejected by the religious leaders and consequently the people at large.  And this rejection had gone to the point of ascribing the supernatural power through which these signs had been performed to Satan (Matthew 12:9-30).

Then after Christ stated a number of things pertaining to the consequences of this rejection and blasphemy (Matthew 12:31-45), a rejection which had reached an apex in Christ’s ministry, matters move into that seen in chapter thirteen, which begins:

“The same day went Jesus out of the house and sat by the seaside.

And great multitudes were gathered together unto him…” (Matthew 13:1-2a).

The picture is that of Jesus, because of the type rejection which He had previously experienced, leaving the house (the house of Israel) and going down by the seaside (going to the Gentiles).  This not only sets the stage for the parables about to follow but anticipates the mention of the Church in Matthew 16 (Matthew 16:18) and the announcement concerning the kingdom (the proffered kingdom, the kingdom of the heavens, the heavenly sphere of the kingdom) being taken from Israel and being offered to an entirely new entity in Matthew 21:43 (previously introduced in chapter thirteen and then identified in chapter sixteen).

Then in Matthew 13, the first four parables present the complete history of this new entity throughout the dispensation relative to the proclamation of that which had been rejected by Israel, taken from Israel, and offered to this new entity.

And the parables carry the reader from the point of fruit-bearing at the beginning of the dispensation to a completely leavened Church at the end of the dispensation.

Both the fruit-bearing and the leavening process have to be understood in relation to the subject matter at hand, the Word of the Kingdom — which is not only the announced subject matter in the chapter but the subject matter seen contextually as well.  The work of Satan and his angels, by sowing tares among the wheat (second parable [Matthew 13:24-30, 36-43]) and eventually taking Christendom into the very realm which Satan and his angels occupied (world government among the nations (third parable [Matthew 13:31-32]), not only stopped fruit-bearing but ultimately brought matters into the state seen in the fourth parable (Matthew 13:33) — a completely leavened Church.

And note once again the subject matter in these first four parables, along with who is being dealt with (the subject matter and identity of the one being dealt with are seen both textually and contextually).  The subject matter has to do with the work of Satan and his angels in relation to the Word of the Kingdom, and this work is seen being done among Christians throughout the dispensation.

Thus, these four parables present a history of Christendom throughout the dispensation, from God’s perspective, not man’s.  And this history has to do with that which Satan and his angels would be allowed to accomplish throughout 2,000 years of Church history in relation to the proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom among Christians — complete, total corruption.

(For additional information, refer to the author’s book, Mysteries of the Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood or in Word format Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom.  Also Mysteries in the New Testament in this site is related to the subject.  Also The Seven Parables of Matthew 13Five Parables regarding the Kingdom and Dragnet / Separation / Furnace of Fire / Kingdom.)

Revelation Chapters Two and Three

These two chapters in the Book of Revelation present a dual word picture.

The central word picture presented is that of the removal of the Church and the appearance of Christians before Christ’s judgment seat at the end of the dispensation, seen in chapter one (Revelation 1:10-18).  Then the subsequent two chapters (Revelation 2; 3) simply continue with the same subject matter from chapter one and present different facets of this judgment, both negative and positive.

But, continuing on into Revelation 4, beginning at the same place seen in Revelation 1 (the removal of the Church at the end of the dispensation, the rapture), it appears evident that there is a secondary word picture seen in chapters two and three as well.

These two chapters not only present the Church before Christ’s judgment seat but present a history of the Church throughout the dispensation, beginning with the Church in Ephesus, which left its “first love” (Revelation 2:4), and ending with the Church in Laodicea, which is seen as “wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

And all of this is relative to the same thing previously seen in the Matthew thirteen parables — relative to the proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom among Christians throughout the dispensation.  It can be no other way, for the latter account of Church history throughout the dispensation must be in complete agreement with the former account.

And this can easily be seen throughout the account.  There is an overcomer’s promise to each of the seven Churches in the seven short epistles making up these two chapters, and it is evident that these overcomer’s promises are millennial in their scope of fulfillment.

That is to say, though presented from a different perspective, everything is exactly the same as previously seen in the first four parables of Matthew chapter thirteen, which move toward the same goal.

The work of Satan and his angels attacking the proclamation of the Word of the Kingdom is the subject matter throughout, whether in Matthew chapter thirteen or in Revelation chapters two and three.  And that which Satan and his angels are allowed to accomplish is the same in both — taking matters in Christendom from fruit-bearing, to leaving one’s first love, to seeing total and complete corruption existing in the Churches of the land.

(For additional information, refer to the author’s books, Judgment Seat of Christ by Arlen Chitwood, and in this site The Time of the End, Ch. VII, Crowns Cast Before God’s Throne.)

Satan and His Angels

The introduction of Satan in Scripture, in Genesis 3:1ff, in association with the first man, the first Adam, presents an individual well-versed in the ways of God and that which God had said.  And exactly the same thing is seen in his interaction with the second Man, the last Adam in Matthew 4:1ff, or anyplace else in Scripture where Satan’s activities are seen.

Satan uses the Word;  and he knows full-well how to use the Word in a deceptive manner, evident at the beginning in Genesis 3:1ff, establishing a first-mention principle at this early point in Scripture on how Satan will always appear.  He will always appear in a deceptive manner, and he will always, after some fashion, use the Word of God in his deception.

In this respect, God has His deep things, and Satan has his deep things (I Corinthians 2:10; Revelation 2:24).  Satan uses the Word in this manner to counter that which the Word actually has to say, centering his attack upon the Word of the Kingdom (cf. II Corinthians 4:3-6).  And, to accomplish his purpose through the preceding means, Satan appears, as “an angel of light,” and his ministers “as the ministers of righteousness” (II Corinthians 11:13-15).

Thus, if you want to find Satan and his ministers, don’t go to the entertainment centers of the world.  Go where the Word is being proclaimed.  And don’t look for Satan and his ministers the way that they are often depicted.  Rather, look for those advocating what may appear to be messages associated with light and righteousness, not with messages associated with darkness and unrighteousness.

Look for Satan and his ministers occupying the chair of Bible in colleges and seminaries;  look for them occupying the pulpits of the Churches of the land on Sunday morning, Sunday night.

They occupy these places to make certain that the one message Satan doesn’t want proclaimed is not proclaimed.  And how well Satan and his ministers have succeeded over time can easily be seen from the almost universal absence of this message from the Bible colleges, the seminaries, and the pulpits of the Churches of the land today.

And because, over time, the deep things of God have become so watered down with the deep things of Satan, the Churches have been left so emasculated that they have had to invite the world into the Church to maintain some semblance of attendance — their music, their message, their inclusion of entertainment, etc.  Conditions have become so bad that one often doesn’t know what is Christian and what is the world.

Thus, if an individual wants to see “the world” in which Satan and his angels dwell, the best place to look today would not be in the world’s entertainment centers but in the Churches.  That seen out in the world in which we live is not really the world in its true form, i.e., a form with respect to that associated with the central work of Satan and his angels.  For this, today, look in the Churches instead.

CHRISTIANS AND THE WORLD

The Biblical Relationship of Christians to the World

“I have given them thy Word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil [‘the evil one’].

They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth” (John 17:14-17).

Christians live in a world governed and controlled by Satan and his angels.  It is a world in which Satan and his angels continue a rule which they have held since time immemorial, since a time preceding Satan’s fall, along with one-third of his original contingent of angels ruling in lesser positions of power under him.  And this, in turn, would date back to the time following the creation of the heavens and the earth when God appointed and placed Satan and his angels in the positions of power which they, since that time, have occupied (cf. Ezekiel 28:14-19; Daniel 4:17ff; Romans 13:1).

Then, since man’s creation and fall 6,000 years ago — an individual created in God’s image, after His likeness, created to take the sceptre in the stead of Satan and his angels (Genesis 1:26-28 [though the fall, requiring redemption, has delayed man from occupying this position]) — Satan and his angels, continuing to rule, have carried out this rule through fallen man, through rulers among the nations (Daniel 10:12-20).

And since the bringing into existence of the nation of Israel over two millenniums following man’s creation  (descendants of Jacob, a special creation, separate from the nations), the rule of Satan and his angels through fallen man has been restricted to the Gentile nations.  Israel’s ruling angel is Michael, with undoubtedly a large contingent of angels ruling under him.  And Michael, with his angels, is not part of Satan’s kingdom (Daniel 10:21).

(Ref. the author’s book, “The Most High Ruleth by Arlen Chitwood,” for a more complete, overall picture of the preceding.  Also in a Word format see Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Most High Ruleth.)

A World Which Hates Christians

The preceding, according to John 17:14, describes a world which hates Christians, for a revealed reason — a world presently governed and controlled by Satan and his angels.

Something though is evidently wrong in today’s world, for there is no presently existing hatred between the world and Christians.  The world and Christians appear to get along with one another just fine.  The conflict described in Scripture, for all practical purposes, simply doesn’t exist in today’s world.

So, what is this all about?

The answer is simple.  All a person has to do is read the first part of John 17:14, then take a look at Christendom in the world today.  And doing so, that person can know, solely from a Scriptural standpoint, what is wrong.  He can know, solely from a Scriptural standpoint, why Christians are not hated by the world today.

Note the verse again:

“I have given them thy Word;  and the world hath hated them…”

The world either hates or does not hate Christians, the world either gets along with or does not get along with Christians, on one basis alone — the Word.  Christians holding to the Word, proclaiming the Word, will not find the world to be their friend.  On the other hand, Christians not holding to the Word, not proclaiming the Word, will have no problem with the world.  The two can walk hand-in-hand.

Stated another way, there can be no such thing as Christians holding to, proclaiming the Word, and, at the same time, being loved by the world.  And the inverse of that would have to be equally true.  The world would have no basis for hating Christians not holding to the Word, not proclaiming the Word.

The base for the whole of the matter is singular.  It’s the Word, the Word, the Word, nothing else.  It’s not aids to devotions, it’s not so-called Christian music, it’s not anything connected with any type so-called Christian activity.  Rather, it’s the WORD, with that being the end of the matter.

Why?

The “why” of the world’s hatred for Christians holding to and proclaiming the Word is very simple.  Satan could only have an extreme hatred for what the Word reveals about where matters are headed.  Satan is the god of this age (II Corinthians 4:4), he and his angels rule through and control the nations, and the nations could only follow suit concerning what the Word has to say about that which the future holds for Satan, his angels, and unsaved man under his control and sway.

But, if the Word is removed, then nothing is left.  Apart from the Word, there would be no basis for an existing enmity between the world and Christians.

Again, it’s the Word, the Word, the Word, nothing else.

So, What Has Happened?

The Church and the world find themselves today at the very end of a 2,000-year dispensation in which God has been dealing with the new creation “in Christ.”  Israel was set aside for a dispensation, a new creation was called into existence, and the Spirit of God has been performing a special and particular work throughout the dispensation.  He has been calling out a bride for God’s Son, who will reign as consort queen with Him — co-heir over all things — following Satan and his angels being put down.

Satan and his angels know these things, which form the heart of the message to be proclaimed by and heard in the Churches of the land today.  But how many Christians know anything about or have ever even heard these things proclaimed?

The answer to that question will explain the “why” of the problem presently existing throughout Christendom.

1)  In Christendom

In the chronology of Church history, as depicted in the first four parables of Matthew chapter thirteen, or in the letters to the seven Churches in Revelation chapters two and three (the only two places in the N.T. where this complete history is revealed), the Church at the end of the dispensation is seen in two descriptive ways:

1) As completely leavened (Matthew 13:33).

2) As wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked (Revelation 3:17b).

In the latter, the Church has been deceived into believing that it is “rich, and increased with goods, and have [has] need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17a).  Yet, the state of the completely leavened Church at the end of the dispensation is seen by God in a completely opposite respect.

Why is this the case?  The answer, part and parcel with the working of the leaven, is very simple.  The Church has progressively strayed from the pure, unadulterated proclamation of the Word (John 16:9-11), the Church has progressively gone the way of the world, and the world has won the Church over.

Accordingly, the world has disarmed the Church, stripping the Church naked of the armor which God has provided (Ephesians 6:11-17 [again, note the end result of this “naked” condition in Revelation 3:17b]).

If a person doesn’t believe that this is the case, all he has to do is open his eyes and look around.  There is no hatred between the world and the Church;  and it is difficult to know whether we have a worldly Church or a Churchly world — probably both.  Equally difficult is to know where one begins and the other ends in the world today.

2)  In the World

The world though, by disarming the Church, has sealed its own fate.  In a respect, the nations comprising the world, through disarming the Church, have committed genocide.

The Church, possessing the Word, believing and proclaiming this Word, is in possession of a restraining power for all which exists among the nations.  But a disarmed Church, having ignored the Word, is another matter entirely.

Note how such a Church is aptly described in Matthew 5:13-16.

The Church, in this passage, can be seen as the “salt of the earth” which has “lost his savour” and is now “good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.”  The Church can be seen as the “light of the world,” though now “put under a bushel.”  And, occupying this position, there is no longer a shining light which can glorify the “Father which is in heaven.”

The restraining power of such a Church is gone.  And apart from this restraining power, there is nothing withholding the god of this age from taking the nations under his control and sway to heretofore unseen depths of degradation — e.g., homosexuality and same-sex marriage running rampant, uprisings in nations worldwide, etc.

The Church has allowed this to occur on the one hand;  and the world, under Satan, has brought it to pass on the other.  And the end result will be far from anything that anyone might desire.

3)  The End of the Matter

The principle pertaining to the whole of that which exists is seen in II Thessalonians 2:3-12.  This passage, dealing with an already working “mystery of iniquity,” has to do with things which will occur, yet future, after an existing restraining power has been removed.

(For information on the presently existing restraining power referenced in II Thessalonians 2:6-7, refer to the author’s pamphlet, “Antichrist Cannot Appear Until… in this site.)

Once this restraining power has been removed, the man of sin (the Antichrist) is going to be revealed, one “whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders.”  This man, seated on Satan’s throne, will take the nations of the earth, including Israel, to the very brink of complete destruction (Matthew 24:22; Revelation 13:2).

And, leading into this man’s rise, paving the way for him to put the finishing touches on all seen happening in the world today, is the worldly Church no longer holding to or proclaiming the Word, opening the door for the world under Satan and his angels to become fully engaged in the madness seen all around us.

The world, spiritually speaking, is dead;  and the Church, the only means through which the world could possibly find life during the present time, for all practical purposes, has become like the world.  And the same fate awaits both (I Corinthians 11:31-32).

Note from the preceding two verses that it is possible for Christians who do not judge themselves during the present time to one day be judged by the Lord after a fashion that they will be “condemned with the world.”  For the Christian, this would have to do with his calling, with millennial verities in view;  but for the world, without life or a calling, this could only have to do with eternal verities.

And that brings matters back to the existing problem.  The Church, by forsaking the Word (progressively brought about by the working of the leaven), has allowed a friendship with the world to ensue (cf. James 4:4; I John 2:15-17), sealing its own fate in one respect;  and the world, having disarmed the Church, has sealed its own fate in another respect.

How much worse will it become on both fronts before the Lord steps in and removes the Church?  Only time will tell.  But when the Church is removed, and the existing flicker of light, though under a bushel, is gone — with nothing but darkness and death remaining — things will begin tumbling completely out of control.

And you don’t want to be here.

But you will be if unsaved.

And you don’t want to be among Christians at Christ’s judgment seat, “condemned with the world.”

But you will be if…

See A worldly Church, A Churchly World by Arlen Chitwood  in pdf format.

A worldly Church by Arlen Chitwood.docx in Word Document is SAFE to open and print.

Also the following in this site may be of interest:  The Preaching of the Cross and The Spiritual Warfare

Scripture has been written to the saved,
  not to the unsaved.
(I Corinthians 2:9-14)

For whatever reason I've always tried to find and understand
 "the BIG picture" of most anything encountered. ~Pat

Why did God Create Man?
God's Plan, Exceedingly Oversimplified!
 What I call "the BIG picture."

God's angel, Satan, God-appointed ruler of the earth, desired rulership over the entire universe, like God.  He, and 1/3 of all the angels under him, rebelled against God to gain that rulership.  (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-16)

God reacted by making the earth uninhabitable -- without form and void. (Genesis 1:1-2a)

God then restored the earth and created man, and man's wife, to replace Satan and his angels who continue to rule the earth (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]; Isaiah 45:18)  Remember, the earth had been brought into existence for a purpose – “to be inhabited,” (Isaiah 45:18) and Man, likewise, had been brought into existence for a purpose, which is regal (Genesis 1:26-28).

God made man [Adam], and man's wife [Eve], to rule the earth together.  God required the earth be ruled by man and his wife (Genesis 1:26-28).  In the antitype Christ is the man and overcomers (Revelation 2:7, 11, 17, 26; 3:5, 12) His wife.

God began preparing Adam and Eve -- make them ready (Revelation 19:7) -- to rule.  Before completion, Satan interceded and enticed Eve to sin.  Since Adam could not rule without Eve, Adam sinned also (Genesis 3:1ff).  Had Adam and Eve eaten of the tree of life, not the tree of good and evil, they would have received the wisdom and knowledge to rule and therefore be ruling the earth now (Proverbs 3:13-18; Revelation 2:7).

God then began a restoration process for fallen man, exactly as He had for the earth (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]); but man was not faithful [as Adam and Eve weren't], not even national Israel, who is God's wife. So God placed His Son on earth as the Living Word with the focus on Jewish repentance first and salvation of the Gentiles second (Romans 1:16; 2:5-16). The Jews refused the offer (Matthew 23:37; John 3:1-3) and God, following His Son’s resurrection, set them aside (Matthew 21:43; 28:19; Acts 13:46; 18:6; 28:28).

Fifty days following His Son’s resurrection, God established "a new creation" at events surrounding Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff).  Those at Pentecost, all saved, became "new men in Christ" [called / saved] and out of the called some will be chosen [called out of the called (saved)] to become Christ's wife.  Christ's wife will rule and reign with Christ during the 1,000 year rest, the Millennial Kingdom, which is the same plan as for Adam and Eve before they fell (1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:15).

Jesus' works of shedding blood and dying for our sins, brought grace into play.  To be spiritually saved by grace, one has only to believe and receive Jesus' works on the cross -- becoming "a new man in Christ."  No works of man are required since Jesus' works on the cross satisfied God. 

Believing and receiving Jesus' works places one in a position to enter and run the race for a future inheritance.  The winners will receive that awaiting inheritance -- become Christ's wife to rule and reign as co-heirs with Christ in His Millennium Kingdom (Philippians 3:13-14).

However, without a continuing impartation of spiritual truth flowing into one's saved spirit, one remains immature and fleshly [carnal], following the fleshly impulses of their soul.  Therefore, one spiritually saved must be controlled by the Holy Spirit, not the soul, necessitating a moment-by-moment filling of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit must have His way relatively ungrieved in the life of the spiritually saved so he/she can fulfill his/her role in God's plan: 

Qualifying the spiritually saved [new man in Christ] for the awaiting inheritance -- salvation of the soul - leading to ruling and reigning with Christ (Romans 12:1-2; Colossians 3:16; Galatians 2:20).

Those spiritually saved who through self seek to bring about this change will always affect outward change rather than inward change.  At the time of the birth from above the Holy Spirit began a work that He will continue until the Judgment Seat.  No works on the part of the spiritually saved can help the Holy Spirit effect this change.

When there are enough overcomers (those qualified and ready to rule) to replace Satan's angels, all Christians will be raptured to appear at the Judgment Seat.

At the Judgment Seat, the place all those spiritually saved appear, each is judged by the amount of 'righteous fruit' they have allowed the Holy Spirit to produce through them.  Those with enough righteous fruit to please Christ will be "out-resurrected" to rule and reign with Christ, as His wife, in His Kingdom.  Those without enough righteous fruit will be sent to 'outer darkness' during the time of His Kingdom, one millennium, 1,000 years, before entering eternity.

Gold, silver, precious stones vs. wood, hay, straw.  (1 Corinthians 3:11-15)

God will then bring about the Tribulation, causing Jewish repentance and restoration so that during the millennium all blessings to the nations will flow through Israel.  Satan and his angels will have been put down and replaced by Christ and his wife, as planned for Adam and Eve before they fell.

Thus, the central purpose presented in Scripture surrounding man’s redemption is that man might ultimately occupy the position for which he was created — to rule and to reign over this earth.

Reading Crowned Rulers —Christ, Christians, in this site, adds to the understanding of Why did God Create Man?.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:  God, Why did, Create Man, - God's Plan, Exceedingly Oversimplified.docx

(Remember: Satan and his angels presently rule the earth, and will until Christ's Second Coming.  See Satan, Great Enemy of Christian Life!,  Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Acts to the Epistles, Foreword,  The Most High Ruleth and Redemption, Marriage, Regality in this site, also related to this subject.

Others are Bible One - Charles Strong's God’s Original and Ultimate Purpose for Man ,  Arlen Chitwood's  Saved for a Purpose and definitely the following Saul and David Type/Antitype.

The following Word Documents add to the subject and are SAFE to open and print: Without Form and Void, Tohu Wavohu, by Arlen L. Chitwood.docx and Tree of Life, The, In Genesis, Proverbs, and Revelation, by Arlen Chitwood.docx.)

Saul and David Type/Antitype:

The entire sequence of events depicting Saul and David typifies great spiritual truths concerning Satan and Christ.  
 
Just as Saul was anointed king over Israel, Satan was anointed king over the earth.
 
Just as Saul rebelled against the Lord and was rejected, Satan rebelled against the Lord and was rejected.
 
Just as David was anointed king while Saul continued to reign, Christ was anointed King while Satan continued to reign.
 
Just as David did not immediately ascend the throne, Christ did not immediately ascend the throne.
 
Just as David eventually found himself in a place removed from the kingdom (out in the hills), Christ eventually found Himself in a place removed from the kingdom (heaven).
 
Just as David gathered certain faithful men to himself during this time (anticipating his future reign), Christ is presently gathering certain faithful men to Himself (anticipating His future reign).
 
Just as the day came when Saul was put down, the day will come when Satan will be put down.
 
Just as Saul’s crown was taken and given to David, Satan’s crown will be taken and given to Christ.
 
And just as David and his faithful followers then moved in and took over the government, Christ and His faithful followers will then move in and take over the government.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:  Saul and David — Satan and Christ by Arlen Chitwood.docx

(1 and 2 Samuel - See Crowned Rulers — Christ, Christians and Man and the Universe! in this site.  Also Saul and David / Satan and Christ Typology)

*******

Aside by Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

There is an existing universe which God not only brought into existence but one over which He also exercises absolute, sovereign control. And the Bible is God’s revelation to man concerning His actions in the preceding respect, especially as these actions relate to the earth and to man.

Man is a latecomer in the universe. He was created after God’s creation of the physical universe, after God’s creation of angels, and after God’s government of the universe had been established and was in full operation. Man’s existence dates back only six millenniums, and he was brought into existence for the specific purpose of replacing a disqualified provincial ruler in God’s kingdom, one who had been ruling for a prior unrevealed period of time.

Man was created to replace the ruler whom God had, in the beginning, placed over the earth (Ezekiel 28:14). This ruler, Satan, who, because of his rebellion against God’s supreme power and authority, disqualified himself (Isaiah 14:12-15). And man was subsequently brought on the scene to take the sceptre and, along with the woman, rule this one province in God’s kingdom in the stead of Satan and his angels (Genesis 1:26-28).

Thus, matters surrounding man’s subsequent fall and redemption both revolve around the reason for his creation — “…let them [the man and woman together] have dominion…”

Satan knew why man had been created, and he immediately set about to effect man’s disqualification (through disobedience), as he himself had been disqualified — an act which, if successfully accomplished (as it was), would allow Satan (though disqualified) to continue holding the sceptre (Genesis 3:1ff; cf. Luke 4:5-6).

And redemption, remaining within the same framework of thought, simply has to do with God providing a means whereby He could not only bring man back into a right relationship with Himself but also a means whereby He could ultimately bring man into a realization of the purpose for which he had been created (Genesis 3:15; cf. Hebrews 2:5).

This is the manner in which Scripture not only begins in the Book of Genesis but also concludes in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 22:1-5). And all intervening Scripture must be viewed and understood within this same framework.

Scripture clearly attests to the fact that the “world [‘inhabited world’] to come” will not be placed “in subjection” to angels (Hebrews 2:5).  Man is the one to whom power and authority will be delegated.

This is clearly seen by and through the action of the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:10, removing themselves from their thrones (Revelation 4:4) and casting their crowns before God’s throne.  Their activity can only be with a view to the fact that the government of the earth, at this point in the sequence of events depicted in the book, is about to change hands.

Purpose for the Present Dispensation
By Arlen Chitwood of 
Lamp Broadcast

A principle of divine government set forth in the type of Saul and David shows the necessity of an incumbent ruler, although rejected, continuing to reign until replaced by his successor.  The government of the earth is a rule under God by and through delegated powers and authorities.  In this respect, Satan rules directly under God (though a rebel ruler), and a great host of subordinate angels rule with him.

Even though Satan and his followers have been rejected, they must continue in power (as Saul and those ruling with him) until replaced by Christ and His followers (as when David and his faithful followers took the kingdom).  God will not, at any time, allow conditions to exist upon the earth in which there is no divinely administered government by and through delegated powers and authorities.  Even though the government of the earth is in disarray today, because of Satan’s rebellion, it is still under God’s sovereign power and control (Daniel 4:17-34).

The present dispensation is the time during which the antitype of David’s faithful followers being gathered to him occurs.  As during David’s time, so during the present time — there must be a period, preceding the King coming into power, during which the rulers are acquired, called out.  David’s men were the ones who occupied positions of power and authority with him after he took Saul’s crown.  Thus will it be when Christ takes Satan’s crown.  Those who are being called out during the present time are the ones who will occupy positions of power and authority with Him during that coming day.

Satan will be allowed to continue his reign until God’s purpose for this present dispensation has been accomplished.  Then, he and those ruling with him will be put down, and an entirely new order of rulers will take the kingdom.  Christ will enter into the position previously occupied by Satan, and Christians will enter into positions previously occupied by angels ruling under Satan.

And since Christ (replacing Satan) will wear the crown presently worn by Satan, it only naturally follows that Christians (replacing subordinate powers and authorities) will wear crowns presently worn by angels ruling under Satan.  All of these are crowns that neither Christ nor Christians can come into possession of until Satan and his angels have been put down at the end of the Tribulation.

Angelic Rule About to End

The originally established angelic rule over the earth has continued uninterrupted since the beginning, preceding man’s existence on the earth.  However, with the creation of Adam, God announced that a change was in the offing.  Man, an entirely new creation, made after the image and likeness of God, was brought into existence to take the governmental reins of the earth (Genesis 1:26-28).  But the first man (the first Adam), through sin, was disqualified, necessitating the appearance of the second Man (the last Adam) to effect redemption and the ultimate realization for man’s creation.

The price has been paid, but redemption includes far more than that which presently exists.  Redemption includes the complete man (body, soul, and spirit), it includes the earth (presently under a curse), and the goal of redemption will be realized only when man has been brought into the position for which he was created (ruling over a restored earth).

Scripture clearly attests to the fact that the “world [‘inhabited world’] to comewill not be placed “in subjection” to angels (Hebrews 2:5).  Man is the one to whom power and authority will be delegated.

This is clearly seen by and through the action of the twenty-four elders in Revelation 4:10, removing themselves from their thrones (Revelation 4:4) and casting their crowns before God’s throne.  Their activity can only be with a view to the fact that the government of the earth, at this point in the sequence of events depicted in the book, is about to change hands.

These twenty-four elders can only be a representative group of heavenly beings (angels) who, up to this time, had held positions within a sphere of governmental power and authority relative to the earth.  And at this point in the book, by and through the action of these elders, the way will be opened for God to transfer the government of the earth from the hands of angels to the hands of man.

Man was created for a revealed purpose, which had to do with regality.  Man was formed from a part of the earth, to rule the earth.
The Most High Ruleth 
A study about world government — past, present, and future.
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
(Book written, 1993, revised 2004)

Foreword

Scripture begins with a very brief, succinct statement concerning God’s creation of the material universe:

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)

God, at a point in time, brought the material universe into existence.  Then God established a perfect form of universal government, allowing Him to exercise absolute, sovereign control over the whole of His creation.

God placed angels, whom He had also previously created (cf. Job 38:6-7; Ezekiel 28:14-15), in appointed positions to exercise delegated power and authority within His government.  That would not only be true of the province upon which man presently resides (the earth) but of innumerable other provinces (undoubtedly multiplied billions) that God created, forming the innumerable galaxies (again, undoubtedly multiplied billions), which comprise a material universe of a size that can only stagger one’s imagination.

But the creation of man, though created for regal purposes, follows God’s creation of angels, the material universe, and the establishment of His universal government.  Man, a latecomer within God’s creative activity, was brought into existence to replace one of God’s provincial rulers, one who had rebelled against divine power and authority.  And man was created on the province (the earth) over which this ruler (Satan) had not only originally been placed but a province that he continued to govern following his fall.

(A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, though disqualified, must continue holding the scepter until his replacement is not only on the scene but ready to assume the scepter [reference the account of Saul and David in the books of 1 & 2 Samuel, and see Saul and David Type/Antitype in this site].

In this respect, though disqualified to hold the scepter, Satan [with his angels] could only continue holding the scepter until God had not only brought forth his replacement [man] but had deemed his replacement qualified and ready to ascend the throne.)

Thus, man was created for a revealed purpose, which had to do with regality.  Man was formed from a part of the earth, to rule the earth:

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion [Hebrew: radah, let them “rule”] . . . . (Genesis 1:26; cf. Genesis 1:28; 2:7-8)

Then man’s fall, recorded in Genesis 3, was directly related to the purpose surrounding his creation.  And, beyond that, God providing a means of salvation for fallen man was (and remains today) also directly related to the purpose surrounding his creation.  The reason for and goal of salvation have to do with man one day occupying the position for which he was created.

That is to say, the purpose surrounding man’s fall (effected by Satan) had to do with his being brought into a position in which he could not assume the scepter, allowing the incumbent ruler to continue on the throne; and the purpose surrounding man’s redemption (effected by God) had to do with his one day being brought into a position where he could assume the scepter.

Thus, regality pervades the whole of the matter.  God rules over all, angels rule under God, man was created to replace a disqualified angelic ruler, and man’s fall and redemption result from and have to do with the reason for his creation.

And, since the ultimate victory will be the Lord’s, man will one day replace the disqualified, incumbent ruler.  “The gifts and calling of God are without repentance [without a change of mind]” (Romans 11:29).  God is not going to change His mind concerning the reason He called man into existence.  Man will one day rule the earth in the stead of angels, realizing the reason for his creation in the beginning (Hebrews 2:5).

God’s Redemptive Plan, the concept of “salvation” as seen in the Word of God, which incorporates His original purpose for man, i.e., dominion over the earth, is considerably more complex than simply the saving of a person for eventual residence in “heaven” in the hereafter. 

Salvation – Gift of Grace and/or Reward for Works
By Charles Strong of 
Bible One

The title of this presentation may be confusing, since it apparently presents the possibility of one or two ways of classifying the concept of “spiritual salvation” as presented in Holy Scripture, particularly the New Testament.  But if the student of God’s Word believes that the Greek words utilized in the New Testament translated “save,” “saved,” and “salvation” refer only to one form of the matter, he then should be confused, not only by the above title, but by the multitude of passages in the New Testament regarding the subject.

Actually, the New Testament Greek words translated “save” and “saved” (Gk. sozo) and “salvation” (Gk. soteia, soterion) are words that are utilized over a broad range of both material (temporal) and eternal matters.  In order for one to know the nature and effects of salvation when it is spoken of in Scripture, one should study the matter in a particular fashion.

The truth is that the “spiritual salvation” available to man from God incorporates distinctly different aspects of the matter, which if seen as one, can only produce confusion to the reader of Scripture.  Hence, within Christendom, there are a wide range of denominations and doctrinal positions regarding the subject, e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism.  And unless one comprehends and appreciates the different aspects of “spiritual salvation,” he will remain confused over the many apparently contradictory passages of Scripture and the many opposing denominational teachings.

To properly overcome this confused state, it is recommended that the student of the Word of God should understand and utilizes the following when studying the Word:

1) God’s Purpose for Man.
2) The Composition of Man.
3) Key Principles of Biblical Interpretation.

A utilization of these truths will then assist the student of God’s Word to thoroughly comprehend and appreciate “God’s complete redemptive plan for man.”

(It should be understood that this subject is extensive, the theme and scriptural proofs of which run throughout the entire Bible; therefore, this message will only cover some of the “high points” and passages of Scripture.  It is designed to whet your appetite for additional and more resolute study in God’s Word.)

1)  God’s Purpose for Man

We learn of God’s purpose for man in Genesis 1, which purpose has never changed.  In fact, most if not all doctrines contained in the Word of God have their origin in the book of Genesis, which is why Genesis is an appropriate place to start when one wishes to study the Word. 

God’s purpose for man upon his creation was for man to “have dominion” over the earth and God’s other creatures, as seen in the following:

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)

And God’s purpose for man has never changed.  It remains as true today as it was upon its initiation.  Why?  Because it is anchored in God’s immutable (unchanging) nature, as is referenced in the following passages of Scripture:

God is not a man, that He should lie, nor a son of man, that He should repent. (Numbers 23:19a)

For I am the LORD, I do not change. (Malachi 3:6a)

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. (James 1:17)

God intends for man to replace Satan as the “ruler of this world” (John 12:31; 14:30), the position Satan was designated to lose when he attempted to exalt himself over God (Isaiah 14:12-14).  So Satan, understanding God’s purpose for man and intending to prevent it, influenced man (Adam, in the garden of Eden) to sin and thereby suffer death, both immediate spiritual death and eventual physical death, along with the devastation of the earth (Genesis 3).

But unlike Satan’s fall in the heavenlies, God initiated a plan of redemption both for man and the earth.

2)  The Composition of Man

God made man in His image (Genesis 1:27), a concept encompassing several attributes.  But it essentially means that God is three persons in One (i.e., One in essence who reveals Himself in and through three Persons - Father, Son, and Holy Spirit), which is to say God is a tripartite Being.  And in accordance with this tripartite image, God created man as a tripartite being.  He is spirit, soul, and body; and, it is important to understand that the spirit is not the soul, as some may teach.  This is clearly seen 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 [body], and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)

3)  Key Principles of Biblical Interpretation

Principle Number One

The core (primary) principle that one should understand pertaining to correct Biblical interpretation is actually a composite, a union of three essential components revealed in the Word pertaining to the reception and comprehension of ultimate Truth.

First Component

It must be recognized that all Scripture is God-breathed.  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.

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God (Gk. theopneustos – God breathed), and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness. (2 Timothy 3:16)

Knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:20-21; cf. Luke 1:70; Acts 3:18)

Second Component

There is and can only be one true Guide and Teacher of Bible doctrine, which was revealed by Christ while in “Bethany” with His disciples just “before the feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that His hour had come that He should depart from this world to the Father” (John 12:1; 13:1), as follows:

But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come. (John 16:13)

And this was reiterated by the apostle John, as follows:

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you know all things. . . . But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him. (1 John 2:20, 27)

When studying the Word of God, a Christian must understand that the Holy Spirit and He alone can properly and completely reveal the correct interpretation of any passage of Scripture.  No human being, including the author of this document, is infallible.  This being the case, each student of God’s Word should sincerely and totally recognize and look only to the Helper (lit. Comforter), the Spirit of God, for the correct understanding of Holy Writ.

This is not to say that the Spirit does not utilize man (ministers or their networks) in the distribution of the truth, but it is to say that one’s dependence must solely be directed toward God the Spirit in order to be able to truly ascertain fact from falsehood.

Third Component

The primary quality that man may possess according to God’s Word is faith, the ability to take God at His Word, to simply and utterly believe what God has to say about any matter.  In other words, God expects man to trust Him; failure to trust (to believe) Him was in essence the first sin by man (Genesis 3:1-7).  Scripture is replete with the concept of faith as it pertains to the relationship between God and man, and it is the only means in which one may activate and receive the instruction from the Spirit of God.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Principle Number Two

One must understand that all of the Bible, both Testaments, are about one Person, the Word of God, God manifest in the flesh, Jesus the Christ, and His relationship, His connection to man.  Such is expressed appropriately by Arlen L. Chitwood in the Foreword to his book, The Study of Scripture, as follows:

When studying the Scriptures – whether the Old or New Testament – one is studying about Jesus the Christ, whom God has “appointed Heir of all things” (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:2).  There is nothing in the New Testament that is not seen after some fashion in the Old.  The New Testament is simply a revealing, an unveiling, of God’s Son, as previously introduced in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Jesus” is the Word made flesh,” referring, in an inseparable sense, to both the Old Testament Scriptures and to God becoming “flesh” in the person of His Son.  “Jesus” is not only God manifested in the flesh but the Old Testament Scriptures manifested in the flesh as well.

There is “the written Word,” inseparably identified with “God,” and there is this same Word manifested in the form of “flesh,” with life and inseparability seen throughout.

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

He was in the beginning with 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 1:1-2, 14)

Thus, “studying Scripture,” one is simply studying about God’s Son.  And note that the Word became “fleshafter all of the Old Testament had been penned but before a single word of the New Testament had been penned.  In that respect, one would have to conclude that there is nothing in the New that is not seen after some fashion in the Old, else God’s Son, the Word becomingflesh,” would have been incomplete at the time of His incarnation.

Then, in John 1:14, the Word becoming “flesh” is seen in connection with two things:

1) Christ’s Glory.

2)  Christ’s Sonship, God’s Firstborn (“sonship” implies rulership, and it is firstborn sons who rule in the human realm).

All of this can only take one back to the beginning of God’s revelation of His Son, back to the opening verses of Genesis.  That which God desires man to know about His plans and purposes, which He will bring to pass through His Son, begins at this point.

And everything from this point forward is regal.  Everything has to do with God’s Son, God’s Firstborn, who has beenappointed Heir of all things.”  And everything moves toward that day when God’s Son will come forth in all His Glory and realize this inheritance.

Principle Number Three

One must understand that God presented His Word after a particular fashion, one in which the various truths of His Word are revealed and clarified by various examples (types) throughout His Word.  Again, in his book, The Study of Scripture, Arlen addresses this subject, as follows:

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 as examples [Greek, tupos, types; “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 1 Corinthians 10:1-10, preceding the statement in 1 Corinthians 10:11a.  In the light of other Scripture, as becomes increasingly evident when one views all 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).

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."

But as it is written: Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him. But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, yes, the deep things of God.  For what man knows the things of a man except the spirit of the man which is in him? Even so no one knows the things of God except the Spirit of God.  Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.  These things we also speak, not in words which man's wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:9-13)

And it is within this complete, overall thought, as previously stated, that one finds all 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.

(Aside by Pat:  The following Word Document, which is Safe to open, contains over 50 pages of types/antitypes:  Types and Antitypes Two.docx

Also, aside, If of interest, is a list of biblical trichotomies I've gathered so far [199 Trichotomies to date], click on the following Word document: Trichotomies of the Bible.docx with Scripture Links.)

Principle Number Four

In addition to all of the above, when studying a particular doctrine within the Word, one must always consider the context of (that which surrounds and is relative to) the passage under consideration.

God’s complete redemptive plan for man

To understand God’s complete redemptive plan for man, one should view it as encompassing all elements of man’s tripartite (spirit, soul, and body) nature, for God’s salvation applies to each element in a different but cohesive manner.  Therefore, this text will briefly consider each. 

(Keep in mind that often the student of God’s Word commits the error of attaching the same meaning to a word or phrase in the Word “across the board,” regardless of context, which leads to much confusion and apparent contradictions in the student’s mind regarding doctrine.  This is especially true in regards to the subject of “salvation,” i.e., God’s redemptive plan for man.  Once a person appreciates the difference in the manner in which Scripture portrays redemption as it pertains to each of the “parts” [spirit, soul, and body] of man, the mental confusion and apparent contradictions will vanish.)

Salvation is a tripartite doctrine.  A Christian has been saved, is being saved, and will be saved.  This multilateral (three-part) doctrine is often partitioned and described as justification, sanctification, and glorification.  Each has to do with a different part of tripartite (spirit, soul, and body) man.  It is unfortunate that these aspects of salvation are often ignored, misinterpreted, misapplied and/or combined, birthing doctrinal error.  So, let’s examine each.

Spirit Salvation

Most of the emphasis by the Church (Christendom – the Body of Christ ) pertaining to the subject of salvation is focused on the redemption of man in regards to his eternal existence, which is his “justification” based solely on the finished work of Christ (His sacrifice) on the Cross of Calvary and is therefore presented in Scripture as a totally free “gift” from God (free in the sense that it costs man nothing; but was not “cheap,” costing God the death of His Son) – a gift that may only be obtained by faith apart from any merit (works) of man, which is represented by the following:

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. (John 3:16)

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)

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)

(Without going into detail, it should be understood that the grammatical construction in the original language used in verse eight portrays a salvation that was totally accomplished on the Cross by Jesus Christ and which extends into the present in a finished state for all those who appropriate it through faith.)

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And let him who hears say, “Come!” And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely. (Revelation 22:17)

This is the salvation of the spirit, and it is for the purpose of saving man from the penalty of his sin and giving him eternal life (life throughout the ages).  By this, man has been saved.  It is a salvation that is totally complete and can never be retracted or nullified by man or God.  It is a salvation that is obtainable by faith alone in Christ alone (Acts 16:30-31).  Furthermore, it is a salvation that will extend throughout eternity, i.e., the countless ages to come, which will follow Christ’s millennial (thousand year) reign upon and over the earth.

Yet, this doesn’t mean that there will be no consequences for sin committed by a Christian during this (temporal) life, for the Bible is very clear that a Christian is free to choose and thereby able to walk “according to the Spirit,” or conversely, walk “according to the flesh” (Romans 8:1-8).

To walk according to the Spirit is to by faith (Colossians 2:6) allow the Spirit to control your life and thereby produce spiritual fruit, which will result in benefits in this life and in the millennial kingdom to follow (Revelation 20:4).

To walk according to the flesh is to allow the old “sin nature” to control your life (Romans 7:23-25; 8:1-11), which results in no spiritual fruit or benefits, now or later.  God’s Word is clear to the Christian – he will give an accounting of his life at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 14:10), which will result in rewards or lack of rewards (1 Corinthians 3:11-15).

(For an inclusive treatment pertaining to this issue, please read the book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ.)

It is in light of this coming judgment of Christians (which has nothing to do with eternal matters) that the apostle Paul said, “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11a) and issued 6 distinct warnings to Christians (not so-called “professing Christians”) throughout the book of Hebrews.

The fact is that there is much for the Christian to lose by a life that is conducted according to the flesh, as well as there is much to gain for a life conducted according to the Spirit.  And this all centers on the “salvation of the soul.”

(For an inclusive treatment pertaining to the salvation of the spirit, please read the book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith.)

Soul Salvation

The word “soul” (from the Greek word that means “life”) as used in the New Testament refers to the “life principle” or “life force” of man.  Whereas the “spirit” of man is that element in which he is able (upon its activation at the “new birth” by the Spirit) to connect to or unite with God, the “soul” is the seat of his emotions and intellect, which animates his physical body during this lifetime and will do the same in the next (millennial) “age.”  And it is in connection with this coming age (Messianic or Millennial Age) with which the “soul” is concerned.

Just as Christ was raised from the dead in a physical body and in which He will continue throughout all eternity, so also will man continue in a resurrected physical body, animated by spirit rather than by blood, throughout all eternity.  It will then be this quality that the Christian will have the ability to personally and intimately know God (who is spirit), i.e., by his physical connection with Christ.

And this physical life in connection with Christ must first start in the coming Millennial Age – a literal 1,000 year reign by Christ relative to the earth.  It is in this coming age that the rewards garnished at the Judgment Seat of Christ by the Christian’s faithful and fruit-producing life during this (temporal) lifetime will materialize.  This will be the salvation of one’s soul, which will then satisfy God’s purpose for man, which was established when He created man, i.e., to have dominion over the earth.

This salvation operates in the present continuous tense.  Unlike the completed past tense salvation of the “spirit,” this salvation reveals a present and continuous work, which begins at the moment the spirit is saved and continues until it ends at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  In Scripture this salvation is the salvation of the soul that is amply represented throughout the New Testament, of which the following scriptural passages represent:

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)

For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved . . . . (2 Corinthians 2:15)

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, by which also you are saved [Gk: being kept safe], if you hold fast that word which I preached to you – unless you believed in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

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)

This is the sanctification process of the believer that evolves either in a positive or negative manner throughout his physical life, depending upon whether or not he lives for himself (gains his soul/life) during his temporal existence, or lives for Christ (loses his soul/life).  If he “gains his soul” here, he will lose it there.  If he loses his soul for Christ’s sake here, he will gain/find it there (Matthew 16:24-27).

A Christian who loses his soul at the Judgment Seat of Christ because of his disobedience in this life will lose his rewards, which will be manifested in loss of his future quality of life during the millennial reign of Christ upon earth.  He will either be chosen to rule and reign with Christ in the coming kingdom, or be excluded from ruling in it by the side of Christ. 

By living “according to the Spirit,” he will either gain great power and ability to produce great works, or, by living “according to the flesh,” he will lose his ability and power to accomplish any future works whatsoever (Matthew 25:28, Romans 8:5-8).

To put it another way, “soul salvation” has to do with an inheritance that the “child of God” (a position established at “spirit salvation” by faith in Christ) may obtain (or lose) by the quality of his life subsequent to “spirit salvation” – which may or may not result in being a co-heir and co-ruler with Christ during the Messianic Era.  Again, the Word is quite clear that if the Christian suffers (endures) with Christ, he will indeed reign and rule with Christ.

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. (Romans 8:17)

This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, we shall also live with Him.  If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. (2 Timothy 2:11-12a)

Soul salvation is what the Christian must be concerned with over all other doctrinal matters, since it will determine your condition throughout the coming age. The Christian  will either be within a position of favor, which means co-heirship and co-rulership with Christ, or, he will be in a position of disfavor – for 1,000 years.  But once the age has run its course, the Bible then indicates that all tears and pain and “former things” will pass away (Revelation 21:4).

Body Salvation

Having considered the past and present tenses of salvation pertaining to the nonphysical aspects of tripartite man, the third aspect of salvation is future tense and involves the physical body, which saves it from the results and presence of sin.

This salvation of the body will occur at the Rapture of the Church (John 14:1-3), both facts amply described by the following passages of scripture:

So also is the resurrection of the dead. The body is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption.  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.  It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. . . . And as we have borne the image of the man of dust, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly Man. (1 Corinthians 15:42-44, 49)

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. (Philippians 3:20, 21)

But I do not want you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning those who have fallen asleep, lest you sorrow as others who have no hope.  For if we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so God will bring with Him those who sleep in Jesus.  For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep.  For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.  Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.  (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. (1 John 3:2)

According to Scriptures, all of the Church, i.e., those believers living in the period from the Cross to the Rapture, will be raised from the dead or translated in order to appear before the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 2:6; 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Ephesians 6:8; Colossians 3:24-25 Revelation 22:12), to be followed by the thousand year Messianic Era.

Conclusion

Hopefully, it has become clear that God’s Redemptive Plan, the concept of “salvation” as seen in the Word of God, which incorporates His original purpose for man, i.e., dominion over the earth, is considerably more complex than simply the saving of a person for eventual residence in “heaven” in the hereafter.

Hopefully, it has become clear that “soul salvation” has everything to do with the consequences for the way Christians live their temporal life, to be eventually faced at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the result of which will last a very long time (1,000 years).  Such is a very grave matter.

In fact, it is the consideration of the consequences connected to “soul salvation” that will give meaning to the following verse of Scripture:

The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. (Psalm 111:10a)

In any case, this is why the salvation of God, as seen in the Word, is both a gift and a reward, depending of course, which aspect of it is being considered.

Bible One - Charles Strong's Salvation – Gift of Grace and/or Reward for Works

See Zip, Zero in this site or the following Word Document is SAFE to open and copy:  Zip, Zero Works.docx 

Man was created to rule in the stead of Satan's angels.

Man Created for What Reason?
Taken from Various Commentaries, mostly Arlen Chitwood's

Man was created for a specific purpose, revealed at the time of his creation. Immediately following the restoration of the ruined earth (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]) — a ruin resulting from Satan's previous aspirations to "be like the most High" (Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19) — God created man to rule the restored domain, in the stead of Satan (Genesis 1:26-28).  And man was not to rule this restored domain alone.  The woman — made from a part of the man and given back to the man for "a helper," in order that the man might be complete — was to rule alongside the man as consort queen, with the man ruling as king (Genesis 1:26).
 
God, prior to creating man, reflecting on the purpose for man's creation, made the statement: "...let them [the man and the woman together] have dominion" (Genesis 1:26).  If man was to rule, then the woman had to rule with him.  Both had to rule together, else there could be no rule.  This is a principle that God, not man, established at the time God created man; and the principle cannot be violated.
 
Thus, the “first man,” Adam, could occupy the position for which he had been created through one means alone.  He could occupy this position only as a complete being.  And for Adam to rule in this manner, Eve — who was bone of his bones, and flesh of his flesh (Genesis 2:23) —had to rule with him.  Eve, because she was a part of Adam's very being, completed Adam; and the two of them ruling together — the king, with his consort queen — was the only way Adam could rule the earth and remain within the guidelines that God had established.
 
Understanding this principle will shed light upon numerous things seen in the opening three chapters of Genesis (Genesis 1; 2; 3).  Why did Adam, though not deceived, partake of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil following Eve partaking of this tree?  The answer is the same as the reason why Christ, who knew no sin, was made "sin for us" when He found His bride in the same condition in which Adam found Eve (Genesis 3:6; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Timothy 2:14).
 
Adam could not rule apart from Eve; and Eve, following the time when she had eaten of the forbidden fruit, was no longer in a position to rule with Adam.  Thus, Adam could not have fulfilled the purpose for his creation had he not acted exactly as he did.  Adam acted with a view to Eve's redemption, in order that he, as a complete being (Adam, with Eve), might one day fulfill the purpose for man's creation.
 
Nor can the “Second Man,” the “Last Adam,” rule apart from a wife.  He, as the “first Adam,” found His bride in a fallen state.  And He acted in complete accord with the established type, with a view to exactly the same thing seen in the type.  He Who knew no sin was made "sin for us," with a view to both He and a redeemed wife one day taking the scepter and ascending the throne together.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Christians live in a world governed and controlled by Satan and his angels.  It is a world in which Satan and his angels continue a rule, which they have held since time immemorial, since a time preceding Satan’s fall, along with one-third of his original contingent of angels ruling in lesser positions of power under him.  And this, in turn, would date back to the time following the creation of the heavens and the earth when God appointed and placed Satan and his angels in the positions of power that they, since that time, have occupied (cf. Ezekiel 28:14ff; Daniel 4:17ff; Romans 13:1).

Then, since man’s creation and fall 6,000 years ago — an individual created in God’s image, after His likeness, created to take the scepter in the stead of Satan and his angels (Genesis 1:26-28 [though the fall, requiring redemption, has delayed man from occupying this position]) — Satan and his angels, continuing to rule, have carried out this rule by and through fallen man, by and through rulers among the nations (Daniel 10:12-20).

And since the bringing into existence of the nation of Israel over two millennia following man’s creation  (descendants of Jacob, a special creation, separate from the nations), the rule of Satan and his angels through fallen man has been restricted to the Gentile nations.  Israel’s ruling angel is Michael, with undoubtedly a large contingent of angels ruling under him.  And Michael, with his angels, is not part of Satan’s kingdom (Daniel 10:21).

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Following the creation of the heavens and the earth, God placed Satan (in his unfallen state) in the position of provincial ruler over the earth, along with a great host of angels occupying various positions of power and authority under him (Genesis 1:1; Ezekiel 28:14-15; cf. Matthew 25:41; Ephesians 6:12; Revelation 12:4). But, at a point in time following Satan’s fall and disqualification (which would be following the accompanying ruin and subsequent restoration of the earth, recorded in Genesis 1:2-25), another provincial ruler was brought on the scene to replace the incumbent ruler. But the earth’s second provincial ruler was not of the angelic creation. Rather, an individual created in the image and likeness of God was brought on the scene to take the reins of government (Genesis 1:26-28).

The first provincial ruler, Satan, is not only presently holding the scepter in a rebellious fashion, but his kingdom can only be in disarray. Two thirds of the original contingent of angels, which God appointed in the beginning to rule with Satan (Revelation 11:4), refused to go along with him in his vain efforts to exalt his throne. Thus, the remaining one-third can only fall far short of the number of angels that God had originally decreed necessary to properly rule the earth.

Man was created to rule in the stead of Satan and his angels. But man, because of his fall, finds himself occupying a position alien to that for which he was created. He can now only rule under the one he was created to replace.

Thus, certain things within the present structure of the earth’s government are completely out of place, and they will remain out of place until the end of the present age. At that time, Satan and his angels will be put down, Christ and His co-heirs will take the kingdom, and a God-ordained number of rulers will once again occupy positions of power and authority.

But without faith [apart from believing that which God has revealed] 
it is impossible to please Him [to please God] . . . . (Hebrews 11:6a)

Faith
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
Excerpt from 4) Building on the Foundation in The Study of Scripture in this site.

“Faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter (Romans 10:17).  Thus, walking by faith is walking in accordance with that which God has said; living by faith is living in accordance with that which God has said.

And it all comes down to this:

To act, “by faith,” in any realm of life, one must know and understand that which God has said relative to the matter at hand.  In other words, such a person must be conversant with the Word of God; and the more conversant he is with this Word, the better equipped he will be to act “by faith.”

The pilgrim walk is a walk solely “by faith,” never by sight.  There is only one hope for victory, and that is a continuous walk by faith, with one’s eyes fixed on the goal out ahead.

There will be attacks by Satan time after time after time throughout the Christian life, and the only recourse that Christians possess to assure victory is a knowledge of the Word of God, an ability to use the Word, and an adherence to that which the Word states.  Otherwise defeat can only be inevitable, with the Christian being overcome by the enemy rather than overcoming the enemy.

And that’s why the salvation of the soul — having to do with a participation with Christ as co-heir in events occurring on the seventh day — cannot be realized apart from a realization in one’s life of that which is portended by events on days two through six in the Genesis account.  The journey from day one to day seven can be successfully accomplished only by traveling through days two through six.

Days two through six lie between days one and seven in a parallel respect to the Red Sea and the Wilderness lying between Egypt and Canaan.  No route exists that carries one directly from the beginning point to the end point without passing through that which lies between.  All six of the days must be passed through to reach the seventh day, as the route extending from the death of the Passover Lamb in Egypt through the Red Sea and the Wilderness must be traversed in order to reach the land wherein one’s inheritance lies.

This is the revealed way that God has outlined for man to travel.  And as there is only one revealed way of eternal salvation (man made alive spiritually), there is only one revealed way in which redeemed man can traverse the pilgrim path if he would one day realize the salvation of his soul.

One Way!  One Way!  That’s it!  There is no other!

The following Word Document adds to this commentary and is SAFE to open:  Two Primary “F” Words (Fear and Faith) of Christianity by Charles Strong of Bible One 2.docx

The New Testament is simply a revealing, an unveiling, of God’s Son,
as previously introduced in the Old Testament Scriptures.

Studying the Word of God
By Charles Strong of Bible One
 
The following is a list of principles and understandings one should embrace in the study of the Word of God (Scripture).  Several have been taken from Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, The Study of Scripture (in this site), a work that is often referred to in this document and a work all students of the Word should read, digest, and use when studying (as opposed to casual reading) the Word of God.

It must also be noted that the study of God’s Word is a commission intended strictly for Christians, i.e., those who have placed their faith solely in Jesus Christ for their eternal salvation, for the Word must be spiritually discerned, a process that only Christians may exercise.

These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual.  But the natural man [non-Christian] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they [the things of the Spirit of God] are spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:13-14)
 
Additionally, Scripture is provided specifically for Christians for their learning, to provide them with instruction in proper conduct for and throughout their earthly sojourn:
 
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. (Romans 15:4)
 
Now all these things happened to them as examples, and they were written for our admonition [instruction], upon whom the ends of the ages have come.  (1 Corinthians 10:11)
 
The Word of God consists of 66 books, 39 (Genesis through Malachi) in the Old Testament and 27 (Matthew through Revelation) in the New Testament.  And the version of choice, which will primarily be used throughout this document when Scripture is quoted, is the New King James Version (NKJV).  This writer believes it to be the most accurate translation of the original languages from which both Testaments are derived; although, he finds no fault in the use or study of any other version.

Furthermore, the following paragraphs taken from the book, The Study of Scripture, previously mentioned, are particularly noteworthy:
 
When studying the Scriptures — whether the Old Testament or the New Testament — one is studying about Jesus the Christ, whom God has “appointed Heir of all things” (Luke 24:25-27; Hebrews 1:2).  There is nothing in the New Testament that is not seen after some fashion in the Old.  The New Testament is simply a revealing, an unveiling, of God’s Son, as previously introduced in the Old Testament Scriptures.
 
“Jesus” is the Word madeflesh,” referring, in an inseparable sense, to both the Old Testament Scriptures and to God becoming “flesh” in the person of His Son.  “Jesus” is not only God manifested in the flesh but the Old Testament Scriptures manifested in the flesh as well.
 
The whole of Scripture is about Jesus the Christ.  And the whole of Scripture moves toward a seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period, when God’s firstborn Son, God’s Christ, will come into possession of His inheritance, and, with Israel [presently God’s firstborn son (Exodus 4:22-23)] and the Church [to be revealed as God’s firstborn son in that coming day, following the adoption (Romans 8:14-23; Hebrews 12:22-23)] will realize that which is seen in the opening chapter of Genesis at the time of man’s creation — “. . . let them have dominion [Hebrew: radah, ‘rule’; ‘. . . let them rule’]” (Genesis 1:26, 28).
 
There are no shortcuts to the study of Scripture.  Coming into a knowledge of the Word of God takes time and effort; and it is a continuous, lifelong process that one never completes.
 
A person progressively comes into a knowledge of the Word over time as he applies himself to study.  The Word of God is received into his saved human spirit; and, within this process, the Holy Spirit takes the Word and leads that individual “into all truth,” “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — comparing Scripture with Scripture (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — leading him from immaturity to maturity.
 
Principles & Understandings
 
Death to Self with Complete Dependence Upon the Sufficiency of the Word and the Holy Spirit as the Primary Teacher of the Word
 
The primary principle, the one that overshadows and underlies all others, is a confidence, the strong conviction, that God alone is the Author of His Word and is therefore the primary Teacher of His Word.
 
All Scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed], and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:16-17)
 
(The words, “given by inspiration of God,” are a translation of the one word in the Greek text, theopneustos, meaning “God-breathed.”  This is a compound word comprised of Theos [“God”] and pneuma [“breath” in this particular usage and also the word used for “Spirit” in the New Testament — the Holy Spirit, man’s spirit, and the use of spirit in general; also “wind” in John 3:8])
 
Arlen Chitwood in his book, The Study of Scripture, states the following:
 
That which is meant by and the implications of Scripture being God-breathed are given in a somewhat simple manner in Scripture, but one has to look at and compare related parts of both Testaments before he can really begin to see and understand that which is involved.  A person has to reference passages in both Testaments, studying passages from one in the light of passages from the other.  He has to compare Scripture with Scripture, i.e., he has to compare “spiritual things with spiritual.”

Note first of all Hebrews 4:12a:
 
For the Word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword. . . .
 
Now, the question: Why is the Word of God “living,” “powerful,” and “sharper than any two-edged sword”?  The answer: Because of its origin.  The Word is “theopneustos”; the Word is “God-breathed.”

But, what does that mean?  And why is the Word “living” because of its origin?  This is where one has to go back to beginning points in the Old Testament and find the first mention in Scripture of God bringing a matter to pass through the use of His breath.

This is necessary not only because of the need to compare Scripture with Scripture but also because of a principle of biblical interpretation, called, “the First-Mention Principle.”
 
This principle has to do with unchangeableness, and it centers on an unchangeable structure of the Word given by the unchangeable God.  Because of the inherent nature of the Word, the first time a subject is mentioned in Scripture, a pattern, a mold is established at that point that remains unchanged throughout the remainder of Scripture.

Remaining within this principle, the first time one finds the breath of God mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 2:7, in connection with life imparted to man; and, consequently, at this beginning point, this verse connects life with the breath of God after an unchangeable fashion.  God formed and fashioned man from the dust of the ground, but man was not created alive.  Life was subsequently imparted through God breathing into man’s “nostrils the breath of life,” resulting in man becoming “a living being [soul, KJV].”

Thus, at this point in Scripture the unchangeable connection between God’s breath and life is established and set.  Only God can produce life, and any time life is produced beyond this point it must always be through the one means set forth at the beginning, revealed in Genesis 2:7. . . .
 
Then there is the inseparable connection between the Spirit (the Pneuma) and the Word:
 
For prophecy [referring to written revelation (v. 20)] never came by the will of man, but holy [set apart] men of God spoke as they were moved [borne along] by the Holy Spirit. (2 Peter 1:21)
 
The Word is “God-breathed,” and thus “living,” because of the Spirit’s inseparable connection with the Word.  He is the One who gave the Word to man through man, and He is the One presently in the world to guide man “into all truth” through the use of this Word (John 16:13).

The Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) is not only the One who gave the Word after this fashion in past time, but He is also the One who effects man’s regeneration after a similar fashion during the present time.  It is the present work of the Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) in man’s regeneration that produces life (there must be breathing in for man to pass “from death to life” [cf. Genesis 1:2; 2:7; John 3:6-8; 5:24]).   And the Pneuma (Spirit/Breath) not only produces this life (based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary), but He presently indwells the one to whom He has imparted life in order to lead and guide that person into an understanding — from immaturity to maturity — of the God-breathed Word that He Himself previously imparted to man through man.

Thus, it is the breath of God producing life in unregenerate man today, through the instrumentality of the Spirit, based on the Son’s finished work.  And that new life is nurtured and sustained by a continued work of the Spirit, through the use of that which is itself the breath of God, and, accordingly, living.

The Holy Spirit uses only that which is living to nourish and nurture that which has been made alive.  Spiritual growth from immaturity to maturity requires spiritual nourishment, which is derived from only one source.  There’s no other way for spiritual growth to occur.
 
That’s why pastor-teachers have been exhorted to “Preach the Word,” and that’s why Christians have been exhorted to “study” this same Word (2 Timothy 2:15; 4:2).  A person’s ability to function in the spiritual realm is inseparably connected with that person’s knowledge of and ability to use the Word of God.

It’s the WORD, the WORD, the WORD!  Christians have been given nothing else; nor do they need anything else.
 
To come to a place of complete dependence upon God the Holy Spirit, one must die to self, a requirement that is expressed by Christ to His disciples in the following:
 
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross [symbol of death], and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” (Matthew 16:24-25)
 
This principle applies to every aspect of the Christian life; and, frankly, because it is directly associated with spiritual maturity, it seldom comes to (or is applied by) each Christian.  This being the case, it is often overlooked when one studies Scripture.  Essentially it means one must believe that to live a life pleasing to Christ, which includes the comprehension of His Word, one cannot depend on (trust, have faith in) himself, but must totally trust God to lead him in all matters throughout his life.
 
Regarding the study of Scripture, infallible information that is the sole product of God (2 Timothy 3:16), Christ made it quite clear that the Holy Spirit is its ultimate Tutor, as follows:
 
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)
 
However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 16:13-14; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:13 [quoted above]; 2 Peter 1:20-21)
 
It should be noted that the implementation of this principle in the study of Scripture is not to disparage or eliminate instruction given by and through human instructors (ministers, professors, academics, etc.) and their recorded material (commentaries, concordances, dictionaries, etc.) within Christendom, for God does indeed utilize such to carry out His will.
 
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers [lit. pastor-teachers], for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head — Christ — from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love. (Ephesians 4:11-16)
 
Nevertheless, it is the distinct responsibility of the Christian, as he reads and listens to others pertaining to the interpretation of Scripture passages, to place his trust (faith) solely in God the Holy Spirit to bring him to ultimate truth.

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6)
 
All Scripture, both Testaments, is Primarily about One Person — Jesus the Christ
 
The entire Word of God is predominantly about one Person, God the Son — Jesus the Christ (the Anointed One, i.e., the Messiah) — as He is related to the creation of all aspects of earth, in the creation of man, and with the redemption of both.
 
Then He [Jesus Christ] said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!  Ought not the 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)
 
Jesus Christ, God’s “only begotten Son,” is not only uniquely the Creator and Restorer of “the heavens and the earth,” but He also sustains it.
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was in the beginning with God.  All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. . . . 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 3:1-3, 14)
 
To me, who am less than the least of all the saints, this grace was given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ, and to make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the ages has been hidden in God who created all things through Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 3:8-9)
 
For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17)
 
God . . . has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. (Hebrews 1:1-3 [1a])
 
Both the Old and New Testament Constitute One Continuous, Complete Revelation from God
 
The New Testament and the Old Testament, a unified revelation given by God to man over a period of about 1,500 years by means of some forty different Jewish writers, must be studied together, for they are interlinked with each other — the Old Testament leads into the New after an inseparable fashion.   Both reveal His plans and purposes in relation to the human race, the earth, and the universe at large.
 
Arlen L. Chitwood, in his book, The Study of Scripture, states the following:
 
In this respect, one Testament (Old or New) must be understood in the light of the other (Old or New), apart from precedence given to either.  It is no more or no less valid to interpret the Old Testament in the light of the New as it is to interpret the New Testament in the light of the Old.  One is to be interpreted both in the light of itself (other parts of the same Testament) and in the light of the other (the New in the light of the Old, or the Old in the light of the New).

The interpretative method laid down in Scripture is very simple:
 
. . . not in words that man’s wisdom teaches but that the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. (1 Corinthians 2:13b)
 
One part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) is compared with another part of the Word (at any point in the Old or New Testaments) under the leadership of the indwelling Spirit.
 
Then, again, many of the distinctions that Christians often view between the Old and New Testaments simply do not exist.  A basis for calling the two parts of Scripture by these names could be derived from verses such as 2 Corinthians 3:6, 14; but to see one Testament as Jewish and the other as Christian, as is often done, is about as far removed from biblical reality as one can get.

The word “testament” is a translation of the Greek word for covenant (diatheke).  The word appears thirty-three times in the New Testament, and, in the King James Version (KJV) of the Bible, it has been rendered “covenant” twenty times and “testament” the other thirteen (cf. Hebrews 9:4, 15).  Either translation is correct so long as one understands that the thought has to do with two different covenants.

And confusion often arises at this point through the erroneous thought that the new covenant has been made with the Church.  That simply is incorrect.  Covenants are not made with the Church.  They never have been, and they never will be.

Since the call of Abraham 4,000 years ago, God, within His covenant relationship to mankind, concerns Himself with one nation alone — the nation of Israel (Romans 9:4).  The old covenant was made with the house of Israel during the days of Moses, and the new covenant will be made with the house of Israel when the One greater than Moses returns (Hebrews 8:7ff; cf. Jeremiah 31:31ff).

During the interim, Christians are ministers of the new covenant in the sense that the shed blood of Christ is the blood of this covenant, and the entire basis for any Christian’s ministry has to do with this blood — blood shed at Calvary, presently on the mercy seat in the Holy of Holies of the heavenly tabernacle (Matthew 26:28; 2 Corinthians 3:6; Hebrews 9:14-22).  But the fact remains.  The new covenant has not been — nor will it ever be — made with the Church.

The new covenant will replace the old, and it will be made with those in possession of the old.  And, apart from being ministers of the new during the interim (for the blood has been shed, and this is the basis for all ministry during the present time), the Church has no more to do with the establishment of the new covenant than it did with the establishment of the old covenant.

Thus, when one talks about “New Testament doctrine,” “New Testament theology,” etc., the expressions cannot extend beyond the thought of doctrine or theology that has for its basis the shed blood of Christ; and this is something that cannot be understood at all apart from the Old Testament.
 
Revelation surrounding the shedding of blood for the remission of sins begins in Genesis 3, immediately following man’s fall; and the entire Old Testament sacrificial system that followed pointed toward the One — of whom the prophets spoke (cf. Isaiah 53:12; Zechariah 12:10; 13:6) — who would one day come and take away “the sin of the world” by the sacrifice of Himself (John 1:29).

The foundations have been established in the Old Testament, and both Testaments together comprise one continuous, complete revelation of all the various facets of the person and work of Christ.  And the only way one can grasp the complete picture is to look at the whole of Scripture after this fashion.
 
To Properly Understand Scripture One Must Start at Its Beginning
 
God has established His comprehensive revelation to mankind, i.e., Scripture, in accordance with the structural formation of every process known to man.  Whether it be the erection of a building, the writing of a book, the establishment of a business, or the cognitive conceptualizing of a procedure, i.e., there must be a beginning leading into a framework.  And it should go without saying that to build without a foundation is futile.
 
In all aspects of life, a foundation must always precede that which follows, that is, if any sense will be made of “that which follows.”  That is exactly how God has structured His Word.  Over time He has not only established His Word through various Spirit-led human authors, but  has also utilized man to arrange it in a specific order, an order that has a beginning, a foundation, which leads into a framework that can only be properly understood if one understands its foundation.
 
This is to say that under the influence of the Holy Spirit, God’s Word is arranged with a “beginning,” (the book of Genesis), which leads into its framework (from Exodus through Revelation).  And unless the student of the Word understands the opening passages in Genesis, he will never fully understand that which follows.  For the superstructure must rest on the foundation, lest it collapse.
 
Arlen L. Chitwood in his book, The Study of Scripture, puts it this way:
 
So, the question:  Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?

The question, in connection with the background material, is really self-answering.  Where and how did God begin when He revealed His Word to man?
 
God began, at the outset of His Word, by setting forth a skeletal framework of the whole panorama of that which He was about to reveal; and His subsequent revelation would be the sinews, flesh, and skin to cover the bones forming the skeletal framework. 
 
Or, to state the matter another way, God began, at the outset of His Word, by laying a foundational structure, upon which the whole framework of His revelation to man would subsequently be built.
 
Now, back to the question, Where and how does one begin a study of the Word of God?

There’s only one place and one way to begin.  A person must begin at the beginning.  A person must begin where the foundation has been laid.  A person must begin where the skeletal framework has been given.
 
In short, a person must begin where God began.  If one begins elsewhere, he will have nothing upon which to build the structure; he will have nothing upon which to attach the sinews, flesh, and skin.
 
And herein lies the very reason for the vast confusion that presently exists in theological circles today.  Christians have failed to begin with the foundational structure.  They do not know and understand the structure of the Word, set forth at the beginning.  And, as a consequence, they have no bones upon which to place the sinews, flesh, and skin; they have no foundation upon which to build. . . .
 
The beginning point was given through Moses.  The foundational outline, the skeletal framework, was set forth at the very beginning, in the opening section of Genesis.  And it is here that one must begin if he is to begin correctly. 
 
He must understand the foundational beginning of the matter first if he is to properly understand that which is subsequently built upon the foundation.
 
The Beginning of Scripture Establishes the Basis—Its Septenary Arrangement — that Affects the Understanding of All that Follows
 
The beginning, i.e., the foundation, of Scripture is established in the opening verses of chapters one and two in the book of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:2), the historical account of God restoring a ruined creation in six days, followed by a day of rest. Understanding this seven day period of time, i.e., this septenary (consisting of or containing “seven”) arrangement, as it relates to God’s plan and purpose relative to mankind is fundamental in the study of Scripture.
 
Arlen L. Chitwood in his book, The Study of Scripture, states the following:
 
Scripture begins in Genesis with:
 
The creation of all that exists (Genesis 1:1).
The ruin of one part of that creation (Genesis 1:2a).
The restoration of that one part (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).
The creation of man to rule the restored domain (Genesis 1:26-31).
God then rested “from all His work” that he had “created and made” (Genesis 2:1-3).
 
These opening verses of Genesis provide not only one complete section of Scripture but also the foundational structure upon which the whole of all subsequent Scripture is built and must be understood.  There is a creation, a ruin of one part of that creation, a restoration of the ruined portion occurring over time covering six days, and then God rests on a seventh day.
 
And to illustrate how these verses establish the foundation for the whole of Scripture, note events surrounding man’s creation, his ruin, the time that God takes to restore man, and that which will occur following man’s restoration.
 
It has all been set forth at the very beginning.
 
God took six days to restore the ruined material creation (ruined because of the sin of the incumbent ruler, Satan [Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:14-19]); and God, in accord with the pattern that He Himself established at the very beginning, is presently taking six days to restore two subsequent ruined creations — man, and the material creation once again (both ruined because of the sin of the one created to take the scepter, ruined because of man’s sin [Genesis 3:1-7, 17-18; Romans 8:20]).  And then, in accord with the pattern established at the beginning, God’s restoration will be followed by a seventh day, which will be a day of rest (Genesis 2:1-3; Hebrews 4:4, 9).
 
Each day in the former restoration and rest was twenty-four hours in length, as seen by the expression “the evening and the morning” on each day (Genesis 1:5, 8, 13, 19, 23, 31; 2:2, 3);  but each day in the latter restoration and rest (foreshadowed by the former) is one thousand years in length (Genesis 1:14-19; Matthew 17:1-5; 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:5-8).  Just as God restored the ruined creation at the very beginning in six days comprised of twenty-four hours each, He is going to restore the two subsequent ruined creations in six days comprised of one thousand years each.  Then, just as God rested for one twenty-four-hour day at the completion of his restoration work in Genesis, He is going to rest for a one-thousand-year day at the completion of His subsequent restoration work.
 
Accordingly, the whole of the latter restoration and rest is set forth in foundational form at the very beginning.  The six days of work and one day of rest foreshadow six thousand years of work and one thousand years of rest.  And this covers the whole of God’s revelation to man (save for several brief instances of events either preceding or following the 7,000 years, given so man can properly understand and place events occurring during the 7,000 years within their proper perspective).
 
Thus it is easy to see and understand how all Scripture following Genesis 1:1-2:3 must relate to this opening section of Scripture, which forms the foundation.  The whole of Scripture, as this opening section, covers events relating to restoration and rest during six and seven days (six and seven thousand years).  The latter is patterned after the former;  and to properly understand the latter, one must have a proper understanding of the former.
 
A solid foundation must first be laid (Genesis 1:1-2:3) before a stable superstructure can be built (Genesis 2:4ff).  And note that any stable structure must always rest on its foundation.
 
God didn’t place Genesis 1:1-2:3 at the very beginning of His revelation to man, structuring the material in these verses after a certain fashion for man to ignore; nor would God expect man to begin his study of Scripture elsewhere.  Rather, the opposite is true.
 
God structured the opening section of His revelation to man after a particular fashion, for a reason; and man is to begin where God began and follow the structure that God established.
 
There remains therefore a rest [Sabbath rest] for the people of God (Hebrews 4:9).
 
Hebrews 4:1-11 deals with a rest that will be realized by “the people of God” during the seventh millennium dating from the restoration of the earth and the creation of man in the first chapter of Genesis.
 
Teachings surrounding this rest, textually and contextually, viewed from the standpoint of the way matters are outlined in the book of Hebrews, are based on three portions of Old Testament Scripture:
 
1. The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and later under Joshua (Hebrews 3:2-19).
 
2. Reference back to God’s work and subsequent rest during the seven days of Genesis chapters one and two (Hebrews 4:4).
 
3. The Sabbath given to Israel that the nation was to keep week after week following six days of work (Hebrews 4:9).
 
The experiences of the Israelites under Moses, and later Joshua, during a past dispensation form the type; and the experiences of Christians under Christ during the present dispensation, leading into the coming dispensation, form the antitype
 
Then teachings surrounding a rest lying before both the Israelites in the type and Christians in the antitype are drawn from the rest that God entered into following six days of work in Genesis 1; 2. 
 
And the Sabbath was given to the Jewish people to keep, ever before them, throughout their generations, that foreshadowed by events in the opening two chapters of Genesis (cf. Exodus 20:8-11; 31:13-17).

Teachings drawn from the opening two chapters of Genesis form the key to the entire matter, and a correct understanding and interpretation of these opening chapters is not something that should be taken lightly.  Scripture is built upon a structure that is laid down in these two chapters, and an individual’s understanding and interpretation of numerous things throughout the remainder of Scripture will be governed by his understanding and interpretation of this opening section of Scripture.

If one understands these opening verses correctly, he will understand how God has structured His revelation to man, allowing him to grasp numerous things that he could not otherwise understand.  However, if one fails to understand these opening verses correctly, the opposite will be true.  He will not have gone in a correct direction at the beginning, which can only reflect negatively on his understanding of related matters in all future studies.

The preceding, for example, is the reason many individuals fail to see the proper relationship of the Sabbath rest in Hebrews 4:9 to God’s rest following six days of work in Genesis 2:2, 3 (cf. Hebrews 4:4).  They attempt to relate this rest to something that Christians enter into during the present day and time, which is a time prior to the seventh day, a time not even in view.  Or this is the reason many individuals attempt to understand 2 Peter 3:8 in the light of Psalm 90:4, when, contextually, 2 Peter 3:8 must be understood in the light of the septenary structure of Scripture, introduced at the beginning, in the opening two chapters of Genesis (cf. 2 Peter 1:16-18; 3:5-7).

One MUST FIRST understand that which is revealed at the beginning.  This is the KEY.  Only then can an individual be in a position to move forward and properly understand the remainder.
 
To Arrive at a Correct Interpretation of Scripture One Must Understand the Use of Types and Antitypes Throughout Scripture
 
The use of types and antitypes throughout Scripture is immense, which is one reason why Scripture may only be properly understood and interpreted by Christians under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer.
 
The initial portion of Chapter 8 in Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, The Study of Scripture, states this principle of Bible in a most adequate fashion, as follows:
 
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 (ref1) Foundational Prerequisites in this book).
 
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. Chapters 2-4 in this book:  2) The Septenary Arrangement of Scripture3) Beginning and Continuing4) 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 as examples [Greek, tupos, types;  “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 1 Corinthians 10:1-10, preceding the statement in 1 Corinthians 10:11a.  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).
 
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.
 
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 the opening chapter of Genesis.
 
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.
 
To Arrive at a Correct Interpretation of Scripture One Must Understand the Use of Figurative Language and Parables Within Scripture
 
The use of figurative language and parables within Scripture is yet another reason why Scripture may only be properly understood and interpreted by Christians under the tutelage of the Holy Spirit, who indwells every believer.
 
Frankly, to adequately understand the use of figurative language and parables within Scripture, this writer strongly recommends that the reader access Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, The Study of Scripture, and read 9) Parables, Figurative Language (for that matter, all chapters should be read).
 
Nevertheless, the following from that chapter is presented, as follows:
 
Parables and figurative language (metaphors and other types of figurative expressions) are often thought of somewhat together, for parables usually employ a number of figurative expressions.  But, whether appearing together or not, neither ever appears alone, apart from related Scripture.
 
Parables reflect on previous Scripture.  They are given to explain, add further light to previously revealed truth.  And the figurative expressions employed in parables or elsewhere in Scripture are always used after such a fashion that either the context renders them self-explanatory or they are explained in other portions of Scripture.
 
Individuals in the Western world do not normally think or express themselves in parabolic or figurative fashions nearly as much as individuals in the Eastern world.  It is quite common for those in the East to speak somewhat in parabolic senses or use figurative language extensively, but less common for individuals in the West.  In this respect, it sometimes becomes more difficult for those in the West to grasp certain things in Scripture when it comes to parables and figurative language than those in the East, who tend to automatically think along these lines.
 
Parables and the use of figurative expressions — as the use of types in Scripture — form different methods of the way God gave His revelation to man.  Parables and figurative expressions form necessary parts of this revelation and are given after particular God ordained fashions, in order to form the complete canon of Scripture, exactly as God would have it exist. They form integral parts of Scripture — parts of the whole — apart from which other portions of Scripture cannot be properly understood.
 
Then, putting it all together, one can, so to speak, run all the checks and balances he wants to run through “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — whether parables, figurative language, types, etc. — and he will always end up with the same uniformity and consistency throughout.  He must, for he is dealing with a divine revelation which, in actuality, has only one Author;  and this revelation emanated from an infinite, omniscient mind wherein nonuniformity and inconsistency cannot exist.
 
And that will speak volumes when it comes to the interpretation of parables, figurative language, and types.  These simply form different methods that God used to communicate His Word to man; and the inexhaustible nature of that which is dealt with in the Word of God is no different in parables, figurative language, or types as it is in any other part of the Word.
 
Any part of the Word forms just as much a part of the Word as any other part.  Parables, figurative language, and types must be looked upon after this fashion, for the whole of Scripture forms one complete, divine revelation — given “in various ways [in many ways] . . . in time past” (Hebrews 1:1) — which can only be perfect, to the minutest detail, in every respect.
 
Closing Comments
 
This writer believes there may be other cogent principles and understandings, which a person should adopt as he studies God’s Word; for instance, Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, The Study of Scripture, contains the following three chapters that could well qualify in this respect:
 
Chapter 5   5) Ages and Dispensations
Chapter 6   6) Jew, Gentile, Christian
 
Nevertheless, the above will suffice for this writing.  Yet this writer would be remiss not to include the following remarks by Arlen L. Chitwood near the end of book, The Study of Scripture:
 
Because of the vast difference that separates the thoughts and ways of the infinite God in the heavens far beyond our solar system from those of finite, fallen man on the earth, man’s thoughts and ways have been left completely out of the equation when it comes to making God’s will and purpose known.  Man’s commission in this respect is very simple.
 
Man has been commanded, “Preach the Word . . . .” (2 Timothy 4:2).  He has been commanded to proclaim that which God has stated about the matter, not that which he thinks or might like to state about the matter.  He has been commanded to proclaim that which has forever been “settled in heaven” and given to man, which has emanated from an infinite, omniscient mind.  He has been commanded to proclaim that which is immeasurably “higher” than anything man could possibly come up with in an eternity of time, separated to the extent of God’s separation of the heavens from the earth (Psalm 12:6; 119:89; 138:2).
 
Thus, this restricts the content of preaching solely to that which God has revealed in His Word.  Man is simply to proclaim that which God has given to man through man.
 
And what man may think about the matter — either about that which God has revealed, or about proclaiming that which God has revealed — is of no moment whatsoever.  We are dealing with the Creator on the one hand and the creature on the other, with the infinite and with the finite, with the One who can’t fall and with the one who has fallen.
 
The Word has been given, and the instructions concerning this Word are very clear.  It is this Word and this Word alone which is to be proclaimed.
Finally, this writer strongly recommends that each reader carefully read Chapter 11) The Goal of Arlen L. Chitwood’s book, The Study of Scripture, to bring the whole matter together, to fully understand God’s purpose and plan for mankind.

The thought of a ruined condition of the earth succeeding its original creation is required by the typical view [that is, the earth’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration forms a type of (foreshadows) man’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration. ~~ F. W. Grant

Without Form and Void
Tohu Wavohu
By Arlen Chitwood of 
Lamp Broadcast

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.

And the earth was [hãyethã ‘became’] without form and void [‘But the earth became tohu wavohu’]; and darkness was [hãyethã ‘became’] upon the face of the deep…” (Genesis 1:1-2a).

The words tohu wavohu [t–hû wãv–hû] are translated “without form and void” in the KJV English text (“formless and void,” NASB; “formless and empty,” NIV; “waste and void,” ASV.  Strong's H922 is tohu bohu.) These two Hebrew words are used together only two other places throughout all of the Old Testament — in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23. And both of these passages present a ruin of that previously seen existing in an orderly state.

In Isaiah 34:11, Edom (Isaiah 34:6) was destined to become tohu wavohu (translated “confusion” and “emptiness” [KJV], “desolation” and “emptiness” [NASB]).

And in  there is a comparison of that which had previously occurred relative to the earth in Genesis 1:2a to that which was about to occur relative to the land of Israel.

The land of Israel was about to become tohu wavohu. That is, as seen in Jeremiah 4:23-28, God was about to do the same thing to the land of Israel (cf. Genesis 1:14-22) that He had previously done to the earth in Genesis 1:2a. And the reason for both of these actions — that which God had done to the earth, and that which He was about to do to the land of Israel — was the same. Sin had entered (sin on the part of Satan in the former, and sin on the part of the Jewish people in the latter).

And, in complete keeping with this type understanding of the use of tohu wavohu in Isaiah 34:11 and Jeremiah 4:23, Isaiah 45:18 (where the Hebrew word tohu is used, translated “in vain”) clearly states that God did not create the earth (in Genesis 1:1) in the manner described in Genesis 1:2a.  Isaiah 45:18 states that God “created it [the earth] not in vain [not ‘tohu,’ not ‘without form,’].”

Thus, if Genesis 1:2a is to be understood in the light of related Scripture bearing on the subject (which it must be [cf. Psalm 12:6; Isaiah 8:20; 28:10; 1 Corinthians 2:13]), there can be only one possible interpretation — the ruin of a prior existing creation (from Genesis 1:1), because of sin. The earth from verse one “became” tohu wavohu.

The ruin seen in both Genesis 1:2a and Jeremiah 4:23, for a purpose, is with a view to eventual restoration. And the restoration seen in the continuing text of Genesis 1:2 (Genesis 1:2 -25) and in the overall passage of Jeremiah 4:23ff (Genesis 1:27b), as well as in related Scripture (e.g., Isaiah 35:1ff), is also for a purpose.

Then, the whole of subsequent Scripture is perfectly in line with this type understanding of the opening section of Scripture. The whole of subsequent Scripture is built on a septenary structure, with the foundation established and set in an unchangeable fashion at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

That is to say:

The heavens and the earth were created, there was a ruin of the material creation (because of sin), God took six days to restore the ruined creation, and He rested the seventh day.

Man was created on the sixth day, man fell into a state of ruin (because of sin), God is presently taking six days (6,000 years) to restore man, and God will rest the seventh day (the seventh 1,000-year period [cf. 2 Peter 1:15-18; 3:3-8]).

And the latter restoration, patterned after the former restoration, is what the whole of Scripture is about. The whole of Scripture is about the same thing initially introduced and established in an unchangeable fashion in the opening thirty-four verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

The whole of Scripture is about the creation of man, his ruin, his restoration over a six-day period (over a 6,000-year period), followed by a seventh day of rest (a seventh 1,000-year period — the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God [Hebrews 4:9; cf.Hebrews 4:3-4], the Messianic Era).

As previously stated, man would have been expected to understand this opening section of Scripture after the preceding fashion at the time it was written. And subsequent Scripture simply verifies the correctness of the way man would have been expected to understand this opening section at that time, apart from other revelation.

(Note one thing about the restoration in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b] which should be understood. This restoration could only have been a complete restoration. No trace of “the world that then was” [the world preceding the ruin seen in Genesis 1:2a], or the subsequent ruined earth [in Genesis 1:2a], can be seen “in the heavens and the earth, which are now.”

A complete restoration would have removed all traces of anything having to do with “the world that then was” or with that world during that time when it lay in a ruined state. That is to say, geology today cannot show evidence of any type pre-existing creation or a ruin of that pre-existing creation, for a complete restoration — the only type restoration possible through the Divine work seen in Genesis chapter one — would have removed all traces of a pre-existing creation and ruin.

In this respect, all that exists in the present secular world of history and science — e.g., the complete fossil record, the dinosaurs, topographical formations such as the Grand Canyon, etc. — would all have to be placed this side of the restoration seen in Genesis 1:2-25 [2b] , within time covered by “the heavens and the earth, which are now.”

That which occurred during and resulted from the Noachian Flood, 1,656 years following the restoration of the earth [Genesis 6-8], along with later topographical changes on the earth during the days of Peleg [born 100 years after the Flood (Genesis 10:25)], must be looked to for an explanation of numerous things of the preceding nature, not to a world lying in ruins in Genesis 1:2a, or to a world existing prior to that time.)

Viewing the whole of Scripture, the correct interpretation of the opening verses of Genesis can be clearly and unquestionably presented and understood through:

1) The manner in which the Hebrew words from Genesis 1:2a, tohu wavohu, are used elsewhere in     Scripture (interpreting Scripture in the light of Scripture [Isaiah 34:11; 45:18; Jeremiah 4:23]).

2) And the typical nature of Old Testament history (I Corinthians 10:6, 11), which has been set forth in a very evident Divinely established septenary arrangement.

And these opening verses, providing the Divinely established basis for that which follows, must be understood accordingly.

The Bible is a book of redemption; and only a correct view of the opening verses of Genesis can reflect positively, at the very outset, on God’s redemptive message as a whole — the restoration of a ruined creation, performed in its entirety through Divine intervention, for a revealed purpose.

An incorrect view can, on the other hand, only have negative ramifications. Creation alone, apart from a ruin and restoration of the creation, fails to convey the complete message at the outset of the Word; and Restoration alone (viewing the opening verse as other than an absolute beginning), apart from a record of the preceding creation and ruin, likewise fails to convey the complete message at this opening point in Scripture.

It is as F. W. Grant stated years ago relative to the existing parallel between the creation and ruin of the earth and the subsequent creation and ruin of man:

“The thought of a ruined condition of the earth succeeding its original creation…is… required by the typical view [that is, the earth’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration forms a type of (foreshadows) man’s creation, ruin, and subsequent restoration].”

Accordingly, the opening verses of Genesis cannot deal strictly with Creation; nor can these verses deal strictly with Restoration. Either view would be out of line with the whole of Scripture, beginning with the central theme of Scripture, the message of redemption.

The only interpretative view which will fit — at all points — within the Divinely established septenary arrangement of Scripture (which has it basis in these opening verses) is:

Creation (an absolute beginning, and a perfect creation [Genesis 1:1]).

A Ruin of the Creation (Genesis 1:2a).

A Restoration of the Ruined Creation (Genesis 1:2-25 [2b]).

Rest (in the type - six twenty-four-hour days of restorative work, followed by a twenty-four-hour day of rest; in the antitype - six 1,000-year days of restorative work, followed by a 1,000-year day of rest [Genesis 2:3]).

Lamp Broadcast - Arlen Chitwood's Without Form and Void

The following Word Document is SAFE to open:  Without Form and Void, Tohu Wavohu, by Arlen L. Chitwood.docx

Also see in this website Seven Days and The Chemistry of the Blood.

Paul’s ministry dealt mainly, not with the gospel of the grace of God, but with the gospel of the glory of Christ.  And, correspondingly, this is also the reason that the emphasis in all of his epistles is, likewise, on the gospel of the glory of Christ rather than the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul’s Gospel,  the Mystery
The Good News that Paul Had Been Called to Proclaim
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

The word, “gospel,” as it is used in the New Testament, means good news, glad tidings.  And the type of good news, glad tidings in view MUST ALWAYS be determined from the context.

Then, the term “salvation,” as seen throughout Scripture, both Testaments, always refers to deliverance.  And the type of deliverance in view, as when the gospel is in view, MUST ALWAYS be determined from the context as well.

But, a major problem in relation to the gospel and salvation exists throughout Christendom today.  Bible students, far more often than not, when they see the words “gospel” and/or “salvation,” think of only one thing, regardless of the context — the simple gospel message having to do with Christ’s death and shed blood, and salvation from eternal damnation.

However “salvation” in Scripture, having to do with the “gospel,” with “good news,” has past, present, and future aspects — I have been saved [Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians. 2:8-9], I am being saved [1 Corinthians. 1:18; James 1:21], and I am about to be saved [Hebrews 1:14; 1 Peter 1:9].  And the context MUST ALWAYS be referenced to ascertain which of these three aspects of salvation, which of these three aspects of the gospel message, is being dealt with in the passage.

And when one does this, he will find, FAR MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, that present and future aspects of the gospel, of salvation, are being referenced, not the past aspect.

Thus, one can immediately see that something major is wrong in Biblical interpretation when only the past aspect of the gospel and salvation seemingly come to mind when the words appear in Scripture.  A large part of Scripture is being erroneously dealt with [actually, above eighty percent of the times “salvation” or “the gospel” is referenced], resulting in erroneous interpretation on the one hand and the door being closed to correct interpretation on the other.

Then, there is “Paul’s gospel,” which is inseparably related to the mystery revealed to Paul.  And Paul’s gospel, along with the mystery revealed to him, are part and parcel with the way that the gospel and its salvation message are seen throughout much of the New Testament.

And, the preceding is what this article is about, showing how Scripture deals with the entire matter.

To begin, note the following verses and sections of Scripture relative to the gospel and the gospel’s salvation message, with ALL of these verses and sections pertaining to present and future aspects of this gospel and its message:

In the day when God will judge the secrets of men by Jesus Christ, according to my gospel. (Romans 2:16)

Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began. (Romans 16:25)

For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for you Gentiles

if indeed you have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which was given to me for you,

how that by revelation He made known to me the mystery (as I have briefly written already,

by which, when you read, you may understand my knowledge in the mystery of Christ),

which in other ages was not made known to the sons of men, as it has now been revealed by the Spirit to His holy apostles and prophets:

that the Gentiles should be fellow heirs, of the same body, and partakers of His promise in Christ through the gospel,

of which I became a minister . . . . (Ephesians 3:1-7a).

For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

And you became followers of us and of the Lord, having received the Word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. (1 Thessalonians 1:5-6)

To which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ..

Therefore, brethren, stand fast and hold the traditions [the handing down of information] which you were taught, whether by word or our epistle. (2 Thessalonians 2:14-15)

The epistles (Pauline and general epistles, including Hebrews) were written by at least five — probably six — different men (the author of Hebrews being unknown), and certain individual, distinguishing qualities and characteristics of the writers can be seen in their writings.

In Paul’s case, his extensive use of the word “gospel” — how and why he used the word — forms a major trait that makes his writings different from those of any other writer of a New Testament book.  Paul, for evident reasons, appeared almost obsessed with this word, using it FAR MORE EXTENSIVELY than any of the other writers.  And he used the word both alone and by and through qualifying it various ways (e.g., “gospel,” “gospel of God,” “gospel of Christ,” etc.), usually referring to the same facet of the gospel, though possibly with different emphases.

Paul’s writings comprise slightly less than one-third of the New Testament, but of the one hundred thirty-two times that the word “gospel” appears throughout the New Testament — in both its noun and verb forms (euaggelion and euaggelizo respectively) — almost two-thirds of these occurrences are found in the Pauline epistles.

The word appears twenty-three times in the four gospels, seventeen times in the book of Acts, six times in the general epistles, and three times in the book of Revelation.  But Paul used the word eighty-three times throughout his epistles.

Why did Paul use this word so extensively?  The writer of Hebrews only used the word twice; James didn’t use the word at all; Peter only used the word four times; John didn’t use the word in either his gospel or his epistles, though he used it three times in the book of Revelation; and Jude didn’t use the word in his epistle.

And beyond that, what was Paul referring to when he used this word?  As previously seen, the word “gospel” simply means good news.  What was the good news to which Paul referred?

Invariably, people want to associate the word “gospel” with only one thing — the good news pertaining to Christ’s finished work at Calvary.  They see the word “gospel” in Scripture, and this is what invariably comes to mind.  And, looking at the word after this fashion, they seek to understand any portion of Scripture where this word appears solely in the light of the gospel of the grace of God.

And, interpreting Scripture after this fashion, they usually end up with a perversion, for the word “gospel” is used far more often than not — particularly in the Pauline epistles — referring to good news other than Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

And erroneously understanding the word “gospel” to refer to Christ’s finished work at Calvary, in a text where it doesn’t, will not only do away with that which the text does deal with but it will also often result in a perversion of the message pertaining to the simple gospel of the grace of God.

An example of the preceding would be the manner in which 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is usually understood.  The word “gospel” appears in the first verse, and all four verses are usually looked upon as referring to the same thing — the gospel of the grace of God.  But both the text and the context reveal that such an interpretation is not correct at all.

Paul used the word “gospel” in connection with that which is stated in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 4; but it is evident that this has no reference to the gospel of the grace of God.  Salvation in these verses is spoken of as an ongoing process in the lives of those to whom he was writing, and it is also spoken of as something which can be lost.  Neither would be true relative to the gospel of the grace of God that Paul had proclaimed to them “first,” referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:3 (referred to apart from the use of the word “gospel”).

And when individuals combine these four verses and attempt to make everything pertain to the gospel of the grace of God, the truths referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 4 are always done away with; and the gospel of grace, referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:3, is often corrupted (by bringing elements [from 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 4] over into this message, where they do not belong).

And the manner in which this passage is normally handled would be true numerous places in the Pauline epistles when the context is ignored and the word “gospel” is made to refer to something which the text doesn’t refer to at all.

(1 Corinthians 15:1-4 is dealt with in a more extensive manner later in this article, following some preliminary material, allowing the passage to be better understood from a contextual respect.)

Paul’s extensive use of the word “gospel,” particularly his extensive use of this word to refer to something other than the gospel of the grace of God, goes back to his experiences at the outset of his ministry.

Before Paul ever launched out on the ministry to which he had been called — to carry the good news rejected by Israel to the Gentiles — the Lord took him aside and taught him all the various things about the message that he was to proclaim.  And after this, as Paul went about fulfilling his calling, it was only natural for him to use the word “gospel,” meaning good news, to refer to the good news (which the Lord had personally taught him) that he had been called to proclaim to Christians throughout the Gentile world.

This “good news” had to do with the mystery revealed to Paul by the Lord (evidently after he had been taken to Arabia, then into heaven [2 Corinthians 12:1-7; Galatians 1:11-17]).  It had to do with believing Jews and Gentiles being placed together in “the same body” as “fellow heirs [‘joint-heirs’]” (Ephesians. 3:1-11);  and these Jewish and Gentile believers (Christians), together, possessed a “hope” relative to one day occupying positions of honor and glory with Christ in “His heavenly kingdom” (cf. Colossians 1:25-28; 2 Timothy 4:17-18; Titus 1:2; 2:11-13; 3:7).

And Paul referred to the good news pertaining to this message as “my gospel” (Romans 16:25), “our gospel” (2 Corinthians 4:3), “the gospel of the glory of Christ” (2 Corinthians 4:4), “the gospel of God” (Romans. 1:1; 2 Corinthians 11:7), “the gospel of Christ” (Romans 1:16; Galatians 1:7), etc.  Then, numerous times Paul simply used the word “gospel” alone to refer to this good news (Romans 1:15; Galatians 1:6).

The fact that the mystery had been revealed to Paul, with Paul called to carry this message to Christians throughout the Gentile world, is the reason why he used the word “gospel” so often in his epistles.  It was only natural for him to refer to the message which he had been called to proclaim through the use of a word which meant “good news,” for the message was good news.

For the unsaved, Christ’s finished work on Calvary was “good news.”  As unsaved individuals, this was the BEST NEWS that they could ever hear.

But once they had been saved, then they were to hear the “good news” about why they had been saved.  And, as saved individuals, this was, as well, THE BEST NEWS that they could ever hear.

And Paul’s ministry centered on the latter, not the former.  Paul’s ministry centered on proclaiming that which the Lord had revealed to him following his conversion.  And the message contained therein dealt with the reason an individual had been saved (cf. Deuteronomy 6:23); and it was THE BEST NEWS redeemed man could ever hear, which was why Paul let nothing stand in the way of his proclaiming this message.

This “good news” had to do with the greatest thing God could offer redeemed man — positions as co-heirs with His Son, from a heavenly realm, in the coming kingdom.  To reference words that the writer of Hebrews used, it was “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3).

And Paul’s repeated reference to the message pertaining to this offer as “good news” is one of the distinguishing characteristics of his writings.

Paul’s Use of the Word “Gospel”

As stated at the outset, the manner in which Paul used the word, “gospel,” meaning good news, MUST ALWAYS be understood contextually.  Paul did not use this word as it is used, almost without exception, in theological circles today — as a reference only to the gospel of the grace of God.  Rather, Paul used the word, time after time, as a reference to the good news that had been delivered to him by “the revelation of Jesus Christ,” following his conversion (Galatians 1:11-12).

And, as previously stated as well, Paul used the word, FAR MORE OFTEN THAN NOT, as a reference to the main crux of his ministry — the good news pertaining to that which is encompassed within the mystery, which had been delivered to him, which he, in turn, had been called to proclaim to Christians throughout the Gentile world (Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:25-29).  And the Christians to whom Paul ministered would have easily understood his use of the word “gospel” from the context of that which he had either said or written.

This central thrust of Paul’s ministry becomes self-evident as one reads through the book of Acts and the Pauline epistles.  Paul proclaimed both the gospel of the grace of God and the gospel of the glory of Christ, but he proclaimed the good news pertaining to the grace of God with a view to his then being able to proclaim the good news pertaining to the glory of Christ.  Paul explained to individuals how they could be saved, with a view to subsequently being able to explain to them why they had been saved.

For example, note how plainly the matter is outlined in Paul’s final message to the Christians in Ephesus, by their elders (Acts 20:24-32).  Or, for that matter, note also how plainly the matter is outlined in Paul’s epistle to the Christians in Ephesus (Ephesians 1:7ff; Ephesians 2:1ff; Ephesians 3:1ff).  And a similar structure can be seen in other epistles, not only in the Pauline epistles but in the general epistles as well.

But, because of an existing confusion in the dual nature of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4 in this respect, attention will again be called to this passage in order to illustrate the point.  As previously noted, this passage is invariably used erroneously by Christians, not in a dual sense, but in a singular sense — as a reference only to the gospel of the grace of God.

This passage though begins with the gospel of the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:1-2), then briefly moves back to the gospel of the grace of God (1 Corinthians 15:3), and then comes back to where it began, to the gospel of the glory of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:4) — providing the complete gospel message, covering past, present, and future aspects of salvation.

Paul, in this passage, began with the central message that he had been called to proclaim; then he briefly moved back to the message of the gospel of the grace of God, which, of necessity, must be proclaimed first to the unsaved; then he came back to the message that is to be proclaimed to individuals once they have heard the gospel of the grace of God — the central message that he had been called to proclaim throughout the Gentile world.

Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand,

by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you--unless you believed in vain.

For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures,

and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4).

The problem emerges when a person attempts to not only make Paul’s reference to “the gospel” in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 a reference to the gospel of the grace of God but make that which is stated in these verses pertain to his entire statement pertaining to the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4.

It is the “death” of Christ ALONE that pertains to the gospel of the grace of God.  The “burial” and “resurrection” of Christ move beyond this and have to do with things pertaining to the continuing good news, the gospel of the glory of Christ.

Note the type of beginning in Exodus 12.  “Death” alone is seen in this chapter.  “Death” had been decreed upon the firstborn, but God provided a way for this death to be carried out in a vicarious manner.  And it is exactly the same today.  “Death” has been decreed upon the firstborn, but God has provided a way for this death to be carried out in a vicarious manner (1 Corinthians 15:3).

In the type, this was done through the death of paschal lambs and the proper application of the blood from these slain lambs.  In the antitype, this is done exactly the same way.  The Paschal Lamb has died in the stead of the firstborn, but the blood must be applied (by believing [Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9]).

“Burial” and “resurrection” though move beyond this in the type (the Red Sea passage and emergence from the Sea on the eastern banks [cf. 1 Corinthians 10:2; Colossians 2:12; 3:1ff]).  And it is exactly the same in the antitype (1 Corinthians 15:4).

I Corinthians 15:1-2

I Corinthians 15:1-2 refer to the good news (the gospel) that Paul had previously proclaimed to those in Corinth, which they had accepted and upon which they presently stood.  This good news had to do with present and future aspects of salvation (not past, as seen in the gospel of the grace of God), it had to do with holding fast to that which had been proclaimed (with the possibility that there could be loss), and it had to do with Christians in Corinth either believing or not believing the message with reference to a purpose (or cause) in view.

The present and future aspects of salvation in this gospel are shown by the words, “by which also you are saved [lit., ‘…you are being saved’]”; holding fast to the message proclaimed is shown by the words, “if you hold (are holding) fast the word which I preached to you”; and believing or not believing the message with reference to a purpose in view is shown by the words, “unless you believed in vain [lit., ‘…believed apart from a purpose’ (or, ‘…believed without a cause in view’)].”

The present and future aspects of salvation have to do with the salvation of the soul (cf. James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:4-9).  The eternal salvation that we presently possess — the salvation of the spirit, wherein man passes “from death to life” (cf. John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1, 5) — places man in a position where he can realize the salvation of his soul.  And these two aspects of salvation must always be kept completely separate, one from the other.

The thought of Christians holding fast to those things in the message being proclaimed can be seen in the second and fourth warnings in the book of Hebrews.  The same word appearing in the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 15:2 appears twice in the second warning (Hebrews 3:6, 14) and once in the fourth warning (Hebrews 10:23).  Holding fast in the second warning is with reference to “the heavenly calling” and “the hope” set before Christians (Hebrews 3:1, 6); and holding fast in the fourth warning is with reference to this same hope — “the confession of our hope” (Hebrews 10:23-25).

Then, the thought of Christians believing without a purpose (or cause) is a reference to the fact that a person has been saved for a revealed purpose — a purpose seen, in its entirety, in the gospel of the glory of Christ.  And that purpose is the same as the purpose pertaining to man’s creation in the beginning — “let them have dominion” (Genesis 1:26, 28).

Man has been saved with a view to his one day occupying a position of power and authority with Christ in His kingdom, which has to do with realizing the present aspect of salvation at a future date — the salvation of one’s soul.

Believing without a purpose (or cause) in verse two leads a person nowhere.  An individual has been saved for a purpose, which can be seen and understood only through believing the gospel that Paul referred to in the previous verse; and this is a purpose that can one day be realized only through presently governing one’s life accordingly, set forth in verse two.

I Corinthians 15:3-4

Note the way I Corinthians 15:3 begins.  Paul’s statement in verse three is NOT AT ALL a continuation of his subject matter from I Corinthians 15:1-2.  And this is really self-explanatory; Paul states this in so many words.

I Corinthians 15:3 begins, “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received . . . .”  That which he is about to reference is something that he had delivered to them first (prior to delivering the good news that he had previously referenced, in I Corinthians 15:1-2), and this is something that he had also received (that is to say, he had received this in addition to the good news referred to in I Corinthians 15:1-2).

The message that Paul delivered to those in Corinth first can be seen by going back to 1 Corinthians 2:1-2:

And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.

For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. (1 Corinthians 2:1-2)

Paul, when he first went to Corinth, couldn’t begin with a message pertaining to the gospel of the glory of Christ, referred to in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2 (and also in 1 Corinthians 2:1, preceded, as in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, by a proclamation of the gospel of the grace of God [1 Corinthians 2:2; 15:3]).

When Paul first went to Corinth, he found a city filled with unsaved Gentiles.  And he had to first minister to those in Corinth on this basis.  He had to first proclaim the simple message pertaining to the gospel of the grace of God to them.  He had to begin with “Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  He couldn’t begin elsewhere.

But, once individuals had believed, once individuals had passed “from death to life,” then Paul could move beyond this message.  And this is exactly what he did.  Paul spent one and one-half years in Corinthteaching the Word of God among them [among those who had been saved under the preaching of the simple message pertaining to the gospel of the grace of God]” (Acts 18:11; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:3ff).

And this is why Paul, in 1 Corinthians 15:1-2, could allude to these things by simply calling their attention to “the gospel [‘the good news’] which I preached to you . . . .”  They would know exactly what he meant, for he had previously spent an extensive period of time teaching them things pertaining to this gospel.  And they would also understand the distinction when he moved back in time and referred the gospel of the grace of God that he, of necessity, had proclaimed to them at the very beginning (1 Corinthians 15:3).

And, though moving back in this manner, Paul was then able to easily come back to the place where he had begun — referencing things pertaining to the central message that he had been called to proclaim throughout the Gentile world (1 Corinthians 15:4).

The Mystery

The mystery” revealed to Paul, “hid in Godfrom the beginning (the beginning of the ages), of necessity, forms an integral part of the Old Testament Scriptures.  There is nothing in the New Testament that does not have its roots in one or more places in the Old Testament.  The New is simply an opening up and unveiling of that which is drawn from foundational material previously set forth in the Old, drawn mainly from the types (cf. Luke 24:25-27, 44; 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11; Ephesians 3:9-11; Colossians 1:16-18, 25-27).

And, aside from the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, the New Testament has to do mainly with one major facet of Old Testament revelation:

The New Testament, in this respect, has to do mainly with all the various things pertaining to the heavenly sphere of the coming kingdom — first, as these things pertained to Israel; and then, as these things presently pertain to the one new man “in Christ.”

“The mystery” was revealed to Moses first, though remaining a mystery, remaining veiled.

Then, some fifteen centuries later, God took Paul aside (evidently to Arabia [the same country to which he had previously taken Moses to reveal things pertaining to the theocracy], then into heaven [2 Corinthians 12:1-7; Galatians 1:11-17]); and, in the person of His Son, God opened up and unveiled various things that He had previously revealed to Moses and other Old Testament prophets (cf. Luke 24:25-27).

(A “mystery [Gk., musterion, meaning, ‘a hidden thing,’ ‘a secret’]” in the New Testament can be defined as something previously hidden in Old Testament revelation but now revealed [cf. Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:4-5].

Contrariwise, a mystery CAN NEVER be thought of as a reference to something not found at all in previous revelation, for, again, there is nothing in the New Testament that does not have its roots in one or more places in the Old Testament.

Thus, a “mystery,” pertains to something dealt with in previous revelation [seen mainly in the types] but not opened up [or fully opened up] to one’s understanding until a later point in time [seen mainly in the antitypes].

And the opening up and unveiling of a mystery [such as the mystery revealed to Paul following his conversion] could occur only through Divine intervention.  Only the same person who had previously established the mystery [via revelation, through one or more of the Old Testament prophets] could open up and make known the mystery [via revelation, to one or more of the New Testament writers].

And, in Paul’s case, this can be seen by and through that which he himself testified concerning how he came into possession of a knowledge of the message that he had been called to proclaim among the Gentiles.  The Lord Himself took Paul aside, then moved Paul into His presence, and personally taught him — One-on-one — the message that he, in days ahead, was to proclaim to individuals [Christians] and groups of individuals [churches] out among the Gentile nations.

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself personally opened up and explained things to Paul that had previously been revealed through Moses and the Prophets [Galatians 1:11-18; Ephesians 3:1-11; Colossians 1:20-28; cf. Luke 24:25-27]; and Paul had been called to take these truths and proclaim them to the one new manin Christ” out in the Gentile world, in both verbal and written form.)

Progressive revelation of this nature can be seen in Peter’s reference to angels desiring “to look into” things pertaining to the salvation of the soul, things that the Spirit moved him to write about, and things intimately associated with the mystery revealed to Paul (as in 1 Peter 1:3-11).

These angels could only have previously seen, in the Old Testament scriptures, that which was being opened up and unveiled to Peter (and others).  These were things that they desired to know more about; but, apart from the later revelation, which opened up and provided additional light on these things, the saving of the soul in connection with sufferings and glory could be little understood.

Thus, “the mystery” revealed to Paul was simply an opening up and an unveiling of things that had lain in the bosom of an existing revelation — a revelation wherein the roots of all Biblical doctrine lie.

And, as previously stated, it lay centrally in the types, which God had established in the beginning.  Then, the various types that deal with the bride of Christ, and thus “the mystery,” do so in different ways.

For example, Genesis 2 deals with the bride being removed from the body; Genesis 24 deals with the bride being taken from the family; Genesis 41 and Exodus 2 deal with the bride being taken from among the Gentiles.  And there are numerous other types as well, which, together, deal with all the various facets of the matter.

Further, “the mystery” has to do with revealed truth surrounding believing Jews and believing Gentiles — forming one new man “in Christ” (where there is neither Jew nor Gentile) — being heirs together, “of the same body.”  It has to do with “Christ in you [lit., ‘Christ being proclaimed among you’], the hope of glory” (cf. Ephesians 2:12-15; 3:1-11; Colossians 1:24-28).

Note how “the mystery” is explained in so many words in the book of Ephesians — a book centering on Christians one day realizing an “inheritance” in heavenly places (Ephesians 1), a sphere presently occupied by the incumbent rulers, Satan and his angels (Ephesians 6): “How that by revelation He made known to me the mystery . . . . (Ephesians 3:3).

That the Gentiles [believing Gentiles] should be fellow heirs [with believing Jews], and of the same body [forming the one new man ‘in Christ’], and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel [which, contextually, could only be the gospel of the glory of Christ, NOT the gospel of the grace of God]” (Ephesians 3:3, 6 [3a]; cf. Ephesians 2:11-15).

And a type that, among other things, would have to do with Jews and Gentiles together in one body would be the account of Caleb and Joshua’s experiences, beginning in Numbers 13 and extending through the book of Joshua.  The name “Caleb” means dog, and the name “Joshua” means salvation.

It was the “Gentiles” who were looked upon by the Jews as dogs, for whom salvation was provided through the Jews (John 4:22).  And Gentile believers, with Jewish believers, are destined to realize an inheritance together in a heavenly land, just as Caleb and Joshua realized an inheritance together in an earthly land (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:23-10:11).

And though God, in the beginning, designed various Old Testament types to reveal these things, once He had called the one new man “in Christ” into existence and Israel had rejected the reoffer of the kingdom, these things had to be opened up and further revealed to those comprising this new creation.  Apart from such an opening up and unveiling, God’s purpose for the present dispensation and the place that the Gentiles would occupy in this purpose could not be properly understood (cf. Acts 10:45-48; 11:15-18; 15:12-18).

This is the reason that the Lord took Paul aside shortly after his conversion and provided extensive instruction concerning this whole overall matter, for these things comprised the heart of the message that he was to carry to individuals out in the Gentile world.

And this is the reason that Paul’s ministry dealt mainly, not with the gospel of the grace of God, but with the gospel of the glory of Christ.  And, correspondingly, this is also the reason that the emphasis in all of his epistles is, likewise, on the gospel of the glory of Christ rather than the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul's Gospel, the Mystery pdf by Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

The following Word Document complements the subject at hand and is SAFE to open and print:  Mystery, The, by Arlen Chitwood.docx

The Whole of Scripture Summarized:
Creation - Ruin - Restoration - Rest

“In Christ” is the key expression involving the one new man. This is a positional standing, wrought through a baptism (an immersion) in the Spirit, which occurs at the same time that the Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, on the basis of the Son’s finished work at Calvary.

In Christ
By Charles Strong of Bible One

The existence of the one new man “in Christ” could not be just another creation, separate from Israel and the Gentile nations. The new creation had to be both Abraham’s seed and Christ’s body.

This new creation had to be the former (Abraham’s seed) because the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, as the earthly, could not be inherited by individuals who were not of Abraham’s seed. Blessings during the Messianic Era are to flow out to the Gentile nations from both heavenly and earthly spheres, and Scripture is very clear that blessings of this nature can flow out to the Gentile nations after this fashion only through Abraham’s seed (Genesis 12:2-3; 22:17-18).

Then this new creation had to also be the latter (Christ’s body), for the bride who is to reign as consort queen with Christ from heavenly places is to be taken from His body (cf. Genesis 2:21-24; Romans 5:14; 1 Corinthians 15:45-49; Ephesians 5:22-32).

And, along with the preceding, this new creation could be neither Jew nor Gentile, though it had to be removed from one or both of the former creations. And, in this case, as the second creation (Jew) was removed from the first (Gentile), the third creation (Christian) was/is removed from the previous two (both Jew and Gentile).

Fifty days following His Son’s resurrection, God established this creation at events surrounding Pentecost (Acts 2:1ff). Events on this day occurred in connection with a Jewish festival portending the fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy and with individuals being filled with the Spirit in keeping with Joel’s prophecy (Acts 2:4, 14-21; Joel 2:28  [For more detailed commentary see Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's From Acts to the Epistles, Ch. 1]).

But this is the point as well where God began a work, through His Spirit, which also included the Gentiles (note the words “all flesh” in Joel 2:28 and Acts 2:17). And though there was a re-offer of the kingdom to Israel during about the first thirty years of this new dispensation (in keeping with a beginning fulfillment of Joel’s prophecy [cf. Joel 2:28-32; Acts 2:16-21]), with the message “to the Jew first,” the message was now “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” (Romans 1:16; 2:9-10).

The latter is why God chose and called Paul about five years following Calvary. Paul was chosen and called forth to proclaim the message to “the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel” (Acts 9:15; Galatians 2:2, 7).

Apart from a new creation, the message could not have been “also to the Greek [‘Gentile’]” after the manner seen (Gentiles brought in after such a fashion that they found themselves associated with heavenly positions in the kingdom). There was a baptism, an immersion, in the Spirit (Acts 1:5); and, aside from its connection with Joel’s prophecy in Acts 2:4 (because the kingdom was being re-offered to Israel), this immersion in the Spirit that occurred on the day of Pentecost in 33 A.D. could only have been the same as the Christian experience today — bringing into existence the one new man “in Christ” on that day (cf. 1 Corinthians 12:13; Ephesians 2:15).

(Note that those baptized [immersed] in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were not unsaved individuals. The immersion in the Spirit had nothing to do with eternal salvation then; nor does it have anything to do with eternal salvation today. The work of the Spirit relative to eternal salvation — salvation by grace — was set forth in an unchangeable manner at the beginning, in Genesis 1:2-5 [2b], Genesis 2:7; 3:21; 4:8-10; and, accordingly, this work of the Spirit has always been the same.

Salvation by grace is affected through the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood. The baptism [immersion] in the Spirit is something additional [peculiar to the present dispensation], which, today, could only have been seen as occurring in conjunction with and at the same time as the Spirit’s work surrounding salvation.

One produces life [the Spirit breathing]; and the other brings about the new creation [immersion in the Spirit], placing the person “in Christ.”)

In this respect, the bringing into existence of the new creationin Christ,” the beginning of the present dispensation, or the beginning of the fulfillment of the antitype of Genesis chapter twenty-four ([Genesis 24] the Spirit’s search for a bride for God’s Son) can only be placed in Acts chapter two [Acts 2].

But aside from the preceding, and looking at the matter as it has existed throughout the present dispensation, a Jew or a Gentile can become a new creation “in Christ” simply by believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:30-31). Through believing, as the Spirit breathes life into the one possessing no life, he passes “from death unto life.” And the person — whether Jew or Gentile — is, at the same time, immersed in the Spirit, allowing him to occupy a positional standing “in Christ.” The person becomes a new creation, in the spiritual realm under discussion; and, within this realm, he is no longer associated with his prior creation (whether Jew or Gentile).

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)

If he were a Jew prior to the time of belief, he ceased to be a Jew. He relinquished his national identity and became a new creation “in Christ.”

Old things [having to do with the old creation in Jacob] have passed away,” and “all things [having to do with the new creation ‘in Christ’] have become new.” The latter part of the verse should literally read, “. . . behold, he has become new [i.e., he has become a new creation].”

On the other hand, if he were a Gentile prior to the time of belief, exactly the same thing occurred as happened to a believing Jew. He relinquished his national identity and became a new creationin Christ.” And 2 Corinthians 5:17 applies to him in exactly the same fashion as it applies to a believing Jew.

Both believing Jews and believing Gentiles become part of the one new manin Christ,” where there is neither Jew nor Gentile. And together they become “fellow-heirs [in relation to heavenly promises and blessings], and of the same body [Christ’s body]. . . .” (Galatians 3:26-28; Ephesians 2:13-15; 3:1-6).

A Jew, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among a nation destined to one day realize earthly promises and blessings. But, by so doing, he comes into possession of a higher calling. He now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (1 Peter 2:9-10).

A Gentile, relinquishing his national identity, relinquishes his place among the nations without God and without hope (Ephesians 2:12). Thus, by so doing, he simply comes into possession of a calling, having possessed no previous calling. He, as the believing Jew, now finds himself part of a nation destined to one day realize heavenly promises and blessings (Ephesians 3:5).

And this has all been made possible because, being in Christ [who is Abraham’s Seed],” individuals are looked upon as being “Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise [heavenly, not earthly]” (Galatians 3:16, 29).

“In Christ” is the key expression involving the one new man. This is a positional standing, wrought through a baptism (an immersion) in the Spirit, which occurs at the same time that the Spirit breathes life into the one having no life, on the basis of the Son’s finished work at Calvary.

Thus, the matter surrounding the new creation “in Christ” is spiritual, and the matter surrounding the prior two creations (in Adam, in Jacob) is physical, or natural. The first two creations can be passed from one generation to the next via the natural birth, but the latter creation cannot. The latter is spiritual, completely separate from the natural, and it must be experienced on an individual basis through believing on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Accordingly, the Spirit’s work in the individual — breathing life into the person on the one hand and bringing about the new creation on the other — results in no change in the physical. Paul, a new creation “in Christ,” could also refer to himself as “an Israelite” (Romans 11:1; 2 Corinthians 11:22), “a Jew” (Acts 21:39; 22:3), and “a Hebrew” (2 Corinthians 11:22; Philippians 3:5). The former (the Spirit’s work) had to do with his identity through being in Christ,” associating him with that which was spiritual, that which was from above; and the latter (natural birth) had to do with his identity outside of Christ, associating him with that which was natural, that which was from below.

(Note that the old sin nature is associated only with the latter [the natural], never with the former [the spiritual]; and being born from above, brought forth out of God [John 1:13; 3:3; 1 Peter 1:3, 23; 1 John 3:9; 5:1] is associated only with the former [the spiritual], never with the latter [the natural].)

Within a type-antitype framework, the former [the spiritual] had to do with “Isaac” and the latter [the natural] with “Ishmael” — individuals typifying the man of spirit and the man of flesh respectively, which cannot co-exist harmoniously or after an inseparable fashion with one another (cf. Genesis 21:9-10; Galatians 4:22-31). That’s why there can be no such thing as a Jewish Christian or a Gentile Christian, for that would be placing Ishmael and Isaac together, as a single entity.

Rather, there are Jews, Gentiles, and Christians; and that’s the way it must remain, with each of the three creations looked upon as separate and distinct from one another.

Excerpt from Bible One - Charles Strong's Bible Facts Little Understood by Christians in this site.         

Also see 6) Jew, Gentile, Christian in The Study of Scripture, by Arlen Chitwood, in this site.

Salvation by grace is affected through the Spirit breathing life into the one having no life, on the basis of death and shed blood. The baptism [immersion] in the Spirit is something additional.  Those baptized [immersed] in the Spirit on the day of Pentecost were not unsaved individuals. The immersion in the Spirit had nothing to do with eternal salvation then; nor does it have anything to do with eternal salvation today.  One produces life [the Spirit breathing]; and the other brings about the new creation [immersion in the Spirit], placing the person “in Christ.”

With the movement of the Spirit, using the God-breathed Word, man's spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul.  The “soul” remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why “the natural [Greek:  psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man” cannot understand “the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

The Spirit Separated from The Soul
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Hebrews 4:12 reveals a division being effected by the Word of God between man’s “soul and spirit.”  And this is a teaching drawn from the very opening verses of Genesis (as seen earlier in this same section in Hebrews 4 relative to the “rest” set before “the people of God” [Hebrews 4:4, 9]).  The Spirit of God moves in Genesis 1:2b and God speaks in Genesis 1:3.  In relation to man’s salvation, it is at this point (in what would be seen as the foundational type) that a division is made between man’s “soul and spirit” (in what would be called the antitype).

In the type, the Spirit of God moved, God spoke, and light came into existence.  Genesis 1:2-3 [2b] records the initial act of the Triune Godhead in bringing about the restoration of the ruined material creation, an act in which the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit each participated (note that nothing can come into existence apart from the Son [John 1:3]).

In the antitype, within the framework of man’s salvation experience, the matter is identical.  There must be an act of the Triune Godhead, for this is how God worked to restore a ruined creation in the Genesis account, establishing an unchangeable pattern for a later work.  The Spirit of God moves, God speaks, and light comes into existence.  The matter is that plain and simple.

Everything is based on the Son’s finished work at Calvary.  The Spirit moving and God speaking are both based on that which occurred almost 2,000 years ago.

When the Son cried out from the Cross, “It is finished,”  He meant exactly that [a perfect tense is used in the Greek text, referring to action completed in past time and existing during present time in a finished or completed state — lit., “It has been finished,”] (John 19:30; cf. Luke 23:46); and when the Word of God reveals that we have a salvation of divine origin, based entirely on the Son’s finished work, the Word of God means exactly that as well.

When man sinned in the garden, he died spiritually; and when unregenerate man, “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1), is made alive today, he is made alive spiritually.  The movement of the Spirit (Genesis 1:2b) and God speaking (Genesis 1:3) in order to restore the ruined creation are seen, in relation to ruined man, as simultaneous events.  It is the Spirit using the God-breathed Word to effectually perform a supernatural work in unredeemed man.  It is at this point — through the inbreathing of God — that life is imparted to the one previously having no life.  God breathes into dead man (the Spirit using the God-breathed Word, based on the finished work of the Son, the living Word), and man is “quickened [‘made alive’]” (Ephesians 2:1, 5).

At this point, light shines “out of darkness” (2 Corinthians 4:6), a division is made between the light and the darkness (Genesis 1:4), and the darkness has no apprehension or comprehension of that which is light (John 1:5;  1 Corinthians 2:14).

It is at this point in man’s salvation that the spirit is separated from the soul.  The “spirit” in unsaved man is dead.  It is a part of the totally depraved man, with his “body of . . . death,” in which there dwells “no good thing” (Romans 7:18, 24).  With the movement of the Spirit, using the God-breathed Word, man's spirit is made alive and, at the same time, separated from his soul.

The “soul” remains within the sphere of darkness, which is why “the natural [Greek:  psuchikos, ‘soulical’] man” cannot understand “the things of the Spirit of God” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  That which remains in the sphere of darkness can have no apprehension or comprehension of that which has shined out of darkness.  There is a God-established division between the spirit and the soul that cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).

Note: The Study of Scripture in it's entirety is in this site which includes 4) Building on the Foundation.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:  Spirit Separated from The Soul.docx

Eternal salvation is always taken care of before man enters into judgment.

Response to an Inquiry
By Charles Strong of Bible One

“If you were God/Jesus what would you consider to be a true believer (first fruits) and how would they behave as a mature Christian?” ~Ray's Question

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Ray,

Thank you for visiting my website.  Should you be curious about my background, there is a brief “Personal Testimony” link at the bottom of my home page; or you may just click on the following link: Bible One - Charles Strong's Personal Testimony.

As to your inquiry, my reply would be as follows.  First, I should of course admit that no Christian is able to place himself in God’s (or Jesus’) place; but still, he can have an opinion coached in his understanding of the Word.  Mine would take the following track.

The only criteria for being a “true believer” (i.e., Christian) is “personal faith in Jesus Christ for one’s personal eternal salvation,” which, means that the person has come to the position of realizing his lost condition, has come to the understanding that Christ paid the penalty for his sin, and has made a definite decision to trust in Christ and His work on the cross for his personal eternal salvation (John 3:16-18; 20:31; Acts 16:31; 2 Corinthians 5:21; Galatians 2:16; 3:22, 26; Ephesians 2:8-9; etc.).

But all of us need to realize that once a person “believes on Jesus Christ,” he, just as he embarked on physical life, is a “babe” (immature) in Christ; and, should therefore grow or progress toward spiritual adulthood.  Not to do so, which is a situation that may apply to any “true believer,” can only mean one will continue in a carnal (controlled by the “flesh” – the “old man” – the “sin nature” that all Christians embody) state, similar to the Corinthians (1 Corinthians 3:1-3).  To exist in this “spiritual state” does not disqualify the person as a “true believer,” it only indicates he is an immature true believer.  And to so continue will have consequences at the Judgment Seat of Christ (Romans 14:10; 2 Corinthians 5:9-11; etc.) –consequences pertaining to the coming Millennial Kingdom of Christ (1,000 years), not for the eternal ages that will follow this period of time.

Of course, even mature Christians can stumble spiritually, i.e., commit sin (e.g., Peter [Mark 14; Galatians 2:11]), but which may then be “confessed” (i.e., when one admits to it and takes responsibility for it) and immediately forgiven (1 John 1:9).

But as one studies the Word with an “open mind” (and this is key), he will unfailingly progress toward spiritual maturity.  And, as this is done, he becomes more like Christ in his love for God and all brethren.  As a “mature” Christian, his walk will be in the Spirit (you might compare Ephesians 5:18-20 with a companion passage in Colossians 3:16) as he exhibits the “fruit of the Spirit” (Galatians 5:22-23), which is also a walk of “unity” (Ephesians 4:1-3), of “love” (Ephesians 5:2), of “light” (Ephesians 5:8, 11), and of “wisdom” (Ephesians 5:15-17).  In short, it will be a walk of faith in Jesus Christ “rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith” (2 Corinthians 5:7; Colossians 2:6-7).

I must emphasize, such spiritual maturity can only come as one studies the Word (which is today’s manifestation of Christ) with an open mind.  Such will lead to the “salvation of the soul” (Hebrews 4:12; 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9; James 1:21 [cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23]), which is a “salvation” quite different from one’s eternal salvation, i.e., applicable only in regards to the coming Millennial Kingdom.

Should you wish to check this out, please read Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood which may also be accessed on my site Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.

Well, Ray, I hope I’ve given you something to seriously think upon.  I thank our Lord for your quest for truth.  Please feel free to write me anytime.

In Christ,

Charles

Bible One by Charles Strong

Why does Christ Judge the Spiritually Saved and What does He Judge?

[Note:  Salvation is composed of three aspects/facets: Spiritual salvation, Body salvation and Soul salvation .  The following commentary does not include salvation of the Body which occurs at the Rapture.]

But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his coming. (1 Corinthians 15:23)

Bear one thing in mind about judgment. No man [saved or unsaved] will ever appear in judgment to determine his eternal salvation [of the spiritual aspect of salvation] or eternal damnation. The question surrounding eternal salvation of the spirit is always taken care of before man enters into judgment, and this matter will not be an issue at any future judgment. Every man will be resurrected “in his own order [‘in his own company’ (whether a company of [spiritually] saved individuals, or a company of unsaved individuals)]”, and every man will be judged in the company in which he is resurrected.  ~Arlen Chitwood 

Once spiritually saved, always spiritually saved:

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16)

For by one Spirit we were all baptized [reborn] into one body [body of Christ]—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into [partake of] one Spirit." (1 Corinthians 12:13)

The baptism by the Holy Spirit is the work of the Spirit which incorporates the believer's spirit into the body of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:13). Our spirit is reborn into the body of Christ. By this spiritual birth we receive spiritual salvation, becoming His children—a relationship that can never be changed since a birth can never be undone.   This new birth also makes us a new creation, a new creature that cannot go back to being the old creature ever again.  A butterfly after emerging from the cocoon cannot return to being a caterpillar.  Also once a man has been spiritually saved, God never deals with him on the basis of his eternal salvation again.  To do so, God would have to go back and deal with His Son’s finished work — an impossibility. In other words, once spiritually saved, always spiritually saved.  Eternity in heaven is guaranteed!

The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, (Romans 8:16)

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:17)

Therefore you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God. (Galatians 4:7)

God's reward to the spiritually saved is His becoming their inheritance.  Or as Paul puts it, “heirs of God".

The rapture:

For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. (1 Thessalonians 4:16)

Then we [spiritually saved (in Christ)] who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 4:17)

This removal of the spiritually saved from the earth is commonly called “the rapture" and includes all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike.

The Lord Himself is seen descending from heaven, though not coming all the way to the earth. Christ, after descending to a place above the earth, will “shout [lit., ‘issue a command’].” The voice of the archangel (Michael) will sound, and a trumpet will be blown.

Resulting from Christ’s command, the spiritually saved dead [first death] will be raised. Christ, Who is “the resurrection, and the life” (John 11:25), must be present to give the command in order for the dead to be raised (cf. John 5:28-29; 11:25, 43).

Then, living spiritually saved [in Christ] will die [first death - instantaneously with being caught up] and be caught up [raptured] together with resurrected [dead] believers [spiritually saved] to meet the Lord in the air and taken to the Judgment Seat. [Keep in mind that the spiritually saved's spirit is saved before the rapture, but not his/her soul.]

For God has not destined us for wrath, but for obtaining salvation [soul] through our Lord Jesus Christ, (1 Thessalonians 5:9

1 Thessalonians 5:1ff clearly shows that the rapture (1 Thessalonians 4:13-18) will include all Christians [spiritually saved], both faithful and unfaithful. Both are seen together at the judgment seat with faithful Christians experiencing “soul salvation” and unfaithful Christians experiencing “sudden destruction,” “wrath” (1 Thessalonians 5:3, 9).

Those raptured have already received spiritual salvation through God's grace!  The salvation referenced in 1 Thessalonians 5:9 logically has to be an additional aspect of salvation, and that aspect is called soul salvation.

Judgment:

So why a judgment after the rapture? Obviously not to determine which of the spiritually saved go to heaven.

“For we must all [spiritually saved] appear before the judgment seat of Christ; that every one [spiritually saved] may receive the things done in his body, according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord [Where? Note the context. This terror occurs at the judgment seat (cf. Hebrews 10:30-31)], we persuade men…” (2 Corinthians 5:11a)

The division of Christians [those spiritually saved] into faithful or unfaithful, according to Scripture, occurs at the judgment seat following the removal [rapture] of all the spiritually saved from the earth [just prior to the tribulation].

[Keep in mind that this judgment is of all the spiritually saved, not the unsaved who will be judged at the Great White Throne at the end of the millennium before eternity.]

Conclusion:

The believers' [saved] initial aspect of salvation [spiritual] occurs when their spirit is regenerated [born again] and the Holy Spirit enters and becomes one with their spirit, commonly referred to as salvation of the spirit.

"I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be [abide] with you forever; (John 14:16)

that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you and will be in you. (John 14:17) 

But obviously there is another element of salvation awaiting some of the spiritually saved at the Judgment Seat. 

This awaiting aspect of salvation is not a gift like salvation of the spirit. It is based on works of faith which can only be produced by the Holy Spirit working through us after we have received salvation of the spirit.  It can be lost.  It is not assured, but must be “worked out” over the lifetime of the spiritually saved.

So then, my beloved, just as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your salvation with fear and trembling; (Philippians 2:12)

for it is God who is at work in you both to will and to work, for His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13)

This aspect of total salvation is referred to as salvation of the soul.  The saved soul will be granted reward.  The soul not saved will suffer loss — but not the loss of eternity in heaven.

So what are these rewards for the saved soul?

If we endure, we will also reign with Him; If we deny Him, He also will deny us; (2 Timothy 2:12)

and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him. (Romans 8:17)

[As previously stated in regards to salvation of the spirit, all the spiritually saved are rewarded with God becoming their inheritance.]

The reward awaiting the spiritually saved, who are qualified to assume greater responsibility, is being chosen as heirs of the kingdom and joint-heirs with the Messiah in the Millennial Kingdom.  The qualified [for the inheritance] will receive soul salvation and will rule and reign with Christ in the future Millennium Kingdom [1,000 years] that commences immediately after the tribulation.

See Confusion about Salvation in this site.

For additional information on Salvation of the Soul and the Millennial Kingdom:

Mark and Carol Miller: Key of Three / Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller and The Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller

Arlen Chitwood: Lamp Broadcast by Arlen Chitwood and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Sheep and Goats are Metaphors, Ch. 6

Also see To Be Hurt By . . . . and Sheep and Goats in this website.

Charles Strong: Bible One by Charles Strong and Bible One - Charles Strong's Your Coming Judgment

Gary Whipple: Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture is available for purchase at Gary Whipple's Books - Schoettle Publishing.]

Sources for this commentary:

The above links plus:

e-Sword: e-Sword by Rick Myers where Rick's free software can be downloaded.

BBC: e-Sword Downloads

Most Christians have been taught wrong for years — not necessarily concerning how to be saved, but concerning the purpose for salvation and that which lies ahead for redeemed man. And because this erroneous teaching pertaining to salvation has become so ingrained within their way of thinking, 
attempts to present salvation from the correct Biblical perspective are usually met with askance looks,
opposition, or antagonism on almost every hand. 

Saved for a Purpose
A Purpose Which Has to Do with Regality
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Man has been, is being, and will be saved for a revealed purpose. There is a revealed goal in view; and, relative to salvation (past [Ephesians 2:8-9], present [I Corinthians 1:18], or future [Hebrews 1:14]), that goal is always the same in Scripture, regardless of what aspect of man’s salvation is in view.

That goal is the same for the whole of man’s salvation — spirit, soul, and body. That goal has to do with man being placed back in the position for which he was created in the beginning, and that position will be realized during the Messianic Era.

(This is the manner in which Scripture presents salvation throughout, with the unchangeable foundational pattern set in the opening verses of Genesis.

The inhabited world to come will not be placed in subjection to angels, as the present world [Hebrews 2:5]. This is the message seen throughout Scripture.

A new order of Sons is about to be brought on the scene [Romans 8:18-23] — Christ and His co-heirs.

And, from a Scriptural standpoint, man’s salvation centers on that coming day when this new order of Sons holds the sceptre and rules the earth.)

Man invariably deals with salvation in relation to eternity and going to heaven. Scripture, on the other hand, doesn’t do this. Scripture presents the matter in a completely inverse fashion. Scripture deals with salvation centrally in relation to the Messianic Era and the kingdom of the heavens. Heaven (the present dwelling place of God) and the eternal ages beyond the Messianic Era are mentioned at times, but not relative to salvation in the same sense that man relates them to salvation.

Man is not going to spend either the Messianic Era or the eternal ages which follow in the place known today as heaven. And, in relation to the eternal ages which follow the Messianic Era, God is not going to dwell in this place either. God is going to dwell on the new earth throughout the ages comprising eternity.

And even when Scripture does deal with saved man in heaven (e.g., Christians following death, or Christians following the rapture) matters are always completely consistent with the way Scripture elsewhere deals with saved man. If future time comes into view, Scripture references things pertaining to the Messianic Era, not the ages beyond.

In several instances though, the Messianic Era is connected with and seen as the first of these ages (e.g., Luke 1:33; Ephesians 2:7); but other Scripture, adding details, shows that a sharp distinction exists between the Messianic Era and the ages beyond (e.g., cf. Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 22:1, 3).

The Messianic Era, Ages Beyond

During the Messianic Era, man will dwell either on a restored earth or in the heavens above this restored earth, with there being a Jerusalem above and a Jerusalem below (capital cities both over and on the earth, with Christians [along with certain Old Testament and Tribulation saints] inhabiting the city above, and Israel inhabiting the city below). During this era, there will be a rule from the heavens over the earth. And this rule, as today, will originate with God in heaven and progress through rulers placed in the heavens in relation to this earth.

Today, this rule progresses from God through Satan and his angels (though rebel rulers), who reside in the heavens above the earth. But during that coming day this rule will progress from God through His Son and His Son’s co-heirs, who will reside in the new Jerusalem above the earth.

A rule of the preceding nature, from the heavens over the earth, must continue during the Messianic Era, for this is the manner in which God established the government of the earth in the beginning. Such a rule must continue as long as the earth remains, which will be until the end of the Messianic Era — to the full end of the seven days, the 7,000 years, set forth in the beginning (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

A rule from the heavens over the earth (one province in God’s kingdom) is not only the way in which God originally established the government of the earth but the way in which He evidently established His government throughout all other parts of the universe as well (all other provinces in His kingdom). And this can never change in relation to any one province, for “the heavens do rule” (cf. Daniel 4:25-26).

Thus, God’s Son, with His co-heirs, must rule throughout the Messianic Era in exact accord with the way God established the government of the earth in the beginning. Such a governmental rule will have to continue during this time, for the present earth will not pass out of existence until the end of the Messianic Era (Revelation 21:1-5).

God’s Son, with His co-heirs, will rule over the earth for 1,000 years — the earth’s coming Sabbath, foreshadowed by the seventh day in Genesis 2:1-3 (cf. Exodus 31:13-17; Hebrews 4:1-9). They will rule for 1,000 years to effect order where disorder has prevailed for millenniums in one province in God’s universe. And once order has been restored, the kingdom will be delivered up to God the Father, that God might be “all in all [i.e., permeate all, be ‘everything in all things’].”

Then, once order has been restored and the kingdom has been delivered up to the Father, the present heavens and earth will be destroyed. A new heavens and a new earth will be brought into existence, and the new earth will become the place in the new heavens (as the earth today, suspended at a point in the heavens) from whence universal rule will emanate. God will move His throne to the new earth, the Son will sit with His Father on this throne (called “the throne of God and of the Lamb”), and saved man will exercise power from this throne as well (II Peter 3:10ff; Revelation 21:1ff; 22:1-5).

Regality, the Earth, the Universe

Therein lies man’s destiny, not going to heaven per se. Man’s destiny has to do with regality, the earth, and the universe — first, ruling over this present earth from the new Jerusalem above the earth (during the Messianic Era); then, ruling out in the universe from the new Jerusalem on the new earth (during the ages which follow).

Salvation in Scripture is always dealt with in relation to the scope of Scripture; and Scripture deals centrally with everything moving toward a seventh day, a seventh 1,000-year period.

Events during this coming day, the Messianic Era, must be brought to pass first. And therein lies the reason why Scripture deals with man centrally in relation to this time, with the ages beyond seldom being in view (regardless of which aspect of salvation is being dealt with — past, present, or future).

Only following the Messianic Era can the ages which lie beyond this era be brought into view in all their fullness. During the present time they are briefly dealt with in Scripture so that man can have some understanding of God’s plan for the ages, where the whole of the matter — 6,000 years, followed by a 1,000-year Messianic Era — will eventually lead. But only following the Messianic Era will matters move beyond that dealt with extensively in Scripture. Only then will God begin to open up and fully reveal that which will occur during the period which man thinks of today as eternity.

And the manner in which Scripture presents this whole matter — particularly as it relates to man’s salvation — has become very difficult, practically impossible, for most Christians to see and grasp.

These Christians have been taught wrong for years — not necessarily concerning how to be saved, but concerning the purpose for salvation and that which lies ahead for redeemed man. And because this erroneous teaching pertaining to salvation has become so ingrained within their way of thinking, attempts to present salvation from the correct Biblical perspective are usually met with askance looks, opposition, or antagonism on almost every hand.

When that depicted by the woman placing the leaven in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33 occurred very early in the dispensation (which concerned an attempt on Satan’s part to corrupt all Biblical doctrine having to do with the Word of the Kingdom), anything related to the Word of the Kingdom began to be adversely affected. And this working of the leaven, of necessity, would extend even into the Biblical scope of salvation by grace.

This would have to be the case because of the inseparable connection salvation by grace has with the Word of the Kingdom. It is man passing “from death unto life” which places him in a position where he can realize the salvation of his soul.

And matters become even more negative surrounding the relationship which salvation by grace has with the kingdom through the message of those advocating Lordship Salvation.

Those proclaiming this message take things having to do with the Word of the Kingdom and seek to bring these things over into and apply them to the message of salvation by grace (i.e., things having to do with present and future aspects of salvation are removed from their respective contexts and applied to things having to do with past aspects of salvation). And, through this means, those proclaiming this message not only remove the message pertaining to the coming kingdom from view but they do two other things in the process.

They both destroy the Word of the Kingdom and corrupt the message of salvation by grace.

Interestingly enough, those who proclaim the message of salvation by grace correctly, but ignore the Word of the kingdom, and those who proclaim a lordship salvation message (who, through this means, destroy one message and corrupt the other) form two major groups in Christendom today. Those from these two groups remain at almost complete odds with one another on the message of salvation by grace; but when it comes to correctly relating this message to the kingdom, it can only be said of both groups that they have been similarly, adversely affected by the same leavening process which is rampant in the Laodicean Church of today (Revelation 3:14ff).

Saved for a Purpose by Arlen L. Chitwood.docx, a Word Document which is SAFE to open and print, or in pamphlet form, Arlen Chitwood's Saved for a Purpose, designed for printing on letter size paper, both front and back; then folded into pocket size fit.

If it had not been for Christ, there would have been no feast;
if it had not been for the Holy Spirit, there would have been no guests. 

During the Messianic Ageruled by Christ and His wife from the heavens through a parallel earthly rule by Israel, Christ and His bride will displace Satan and his angelic rule upon taking back the inheritance of the earth that was lost by the First Adam during the Fall in Genesis.  Christ and His bride who then will become His wife will rule from the heavens while Christ with a restored Israel will rule upon the earth. 

Parable of the Wedding Guests [Feast]
Excerpts from Charles Strong's Bible One Topical Bible Studies titled 
Parable of the Wedding Guests
(Includes commentary by Arlen Chitwood of 
Lamp Broadcast.)

Editor’s note: A parable is a simple story used to illustrate a moral or spiritual lesson, as told by Jesus in the Gospels.

Matthew 22:1-14

Mat 22:1  Jesus spoke to them again in parables, saying,
Mat 22:2 
"The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a wedding feast for his son.
Mat 22:3
  "And he sent out his slaves to call those who had been invited to the wedding feast, and they were unwilling to come.
Mat 22:4
  "Again he sent out other slaves saying, 'Tell those who have been invited, "Behold, I have prepared my dinner; my oxen and my fattened livestock are all butchered and everything is ready; come to the wedding feast."'
Mat 22:5
  "But they paid no attention and went their way, one to his own farm, another to his business,
Mat 22:6
  and the rest seized his slaves and mistreated them and killed them.
Mat 22:7
  "But the king was enraged, and he sent his armies and destroyed those murderers and set their city on fire.
Mat 22:8 
"Then he *said to his slaves, 'The wedding is ready, but those who were invited were not worthy.
Mat 22:9
  'Go therefore to the main highways, and as many as you find there, invite to the wedding feast.'
Mat 22:10 
"Those slaves went out into the streets and gathered together all they found, both evil and good; and the wedding hall was filled with dinner guests.
Mat 22:11 
"But when the king came in to look over the dinner guests, he saw a man there who was not dressed in wedding clothes,
Mat 22:12 
and he *said to him, 'Friend, how did you come in here without wedding clothes?' And the man was speechless.
Mat 22:13 
"Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, and throw him into the outer darkness; in that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Mat 22:14  "For many are called, but few are chosen."

This parable is about the coming kingdom of Christ and who will participate (rule) in it.  Christ will rule with His bride (the faithful) at His side, but those who have been chosen (who have passed the Judgment Seat of Christ with sufficient divine good works) will also reign and rule, although in lesser positions, along side of them.  While those who are only able to be classified as the called (those saved without sufficient divine good works) will suffer outside in obscurity (no positions of rulership) during the kingdom age.

The cast-out guest represents those who are called (who are saved) but who fail to produce sufficient works of righteousness (garment) during their temporal life, all which will be revealed at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  They therefore will not be of the chosen, i.e., those who in fact will have a proper “garment” (righteous works; spiritual fruit) after appearing before the Judgment Seat and who will be the properly attired guests at the wedding who will be seated in order of priority relevant to their works.  The bride of Christ will be those to which all classifications apply—the called (saved by faith) and chosen (with many righteous works) and faithful (with the most righteous works—the highest order of those who have believed in Christ).

This commentator [Charles Strong] has grown to see the expression “kingdom of heaven” in a clearer light. For instance, the phrase in the Greek is plural, and is best expressed as the “kingdom of the heavens.”  And this would be in line with both

(1) the plural promise of the kingdom contained within the covenant initially made by God to Abraham as articulated by the passage in Genesis 22:17, in which God promises to multiply his descendants “as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies;” and

(2) the structure of God’s rule over the earth in which there is a heavenly administration, which is presently occupied by the god of this world (Satan) and those angels that followed him in his fall; and an earthly administration, which is composed of all earthly rulers who have been permitted by God to occupy rulership positions throughout the world.

The coming kingdom of Christ that will last a millennium will be composed of two segments: 

(1) an earthly portion, which will be administrated by Israel as the fulfillment of God’s promise to Israel from the very beginning; and

(2) a heavenly portion, which although offered to Israel by Christ during His earthly ministry, was rejected by Israel and subsequently “given to a nation bearing the fruits of it” (Matthew 21:43) — that nation being those “in Christ” who are a “holy nation” and who are neither Jew or Gentile, but Christian (1 Peter 2:9; Galatians 3:28; Colossians 3:11).

This dual aspect of God’s rule over the earth in this age, i.e., the permitted rule by Satan and his cohorts from the heavens through a parallel earthly rule; so in like manner will the earth be ruled.  The fact that upon the redemption of the inheritance, as set forth in the type as seen in the book of Ruth, the Christ’s bride automatically becomes His wife is expressed quite competently by Arlen L. Chitwood, as follows:

During the Messianic Age, ruled by Christ and His wife from the heavens through a parallel earthly rule by Israel, Christ and His bride will displace Satan and his angelic rule upon taking back the inheritance of the earth that was lost by the First Adam during the Fall in Genesis.  Christ and His bride who then will become His wife will rule from the heavens while Christ with a restored Israel will rule upon the earth.

The future marriage of Christ and His bride will occur exactly in accord with the type set forth in Ruth chapter four (Ruth 4), not in accord with the way things are done in the modern world, whether in the East or in the West.  As Boaz purchased Ruth through the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance, so will Christ purchase His bride through the process of redeeming a forfeited inheritance (forfeited by the first Adam in Genesis chapter three [Genesis 3, cf. Romans 8:20-22]).  And, as Ruth automatically became Boaz’s wife through this redemptive process, so will it be with Christ and His bride.  The bride (having previously been revealed at the judgment seat) will automatically become Christ’s wife through His redemption of the forfeited inheritance.

1.  Redemption Completed

The redemption of the forfeited inheritance is seen occurring in Revelation chapters six through eighteen (Revelation 6-18).  The seven-sealed scroll in Revelation chapter five (Revelation 5) contains the redemptive terms for the forfeited inheritance (the earth), and chapters six through eighteen (Revelation 6-18) reveal the seals being broken and these terms being carried out (ref. Taking the Scroll, Breaking the Seals.)

Then, in chapter nineteen (Revelation 19), after the terms set forth in the seven-sealed scroll have been carried out, after the inheritance has been redeemed, the bride is seen as Christ’s wife.

“Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to Him:  for the marriage [‘marriage festivities’] of the lamb is come, and His wife has made herself ready.

And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white:  for the fine linen is the righteousness [‘righteous acts’] of saints.

And he said unto me, ‘Write Blessed are they that are called to the marriage supper [or, ‘marriage banquet, feast’] of the Lamb.’  And he said unto me, ‘These are the true sayings of God’” (Revelation 19:7-9; cf. Revelation 21:9).

And note the reverential awe and excitement in heaven surrounding the redemption of the forfeited inheritance, which allows this statement concerning Christ’s wife to be made.  The twenty-four elders, along with the four living creatures, “fell down and worshipped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen; Alleluia” (Revelation 19:4).  Then “a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all you His servants, and you that fear Him, both small and great” (Revelation 19:5).  Then a voice was heard, described as that of “a great multitude… many waters… mighty thundering, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigns” (Revelation 19:6).  And even John, having seen all this, could do little more than fall at the feet of the one showing him these things (Revelation 19:10).

Thus, the book of Revelation, up to this point in the book, centers far more around the Church in heaven than around Israel and the nations on the earth.  This book begins with the Church removed into heaven and judged, followed by the twenty-four elders casting their crowns before God’s throne (Revelation 1-4).  Then it continues with the search for One found worthy to loose the seals of the seven-sealed scroll — containing the redemptive terms of the forfeited inheritance (Revelation 5).  And, in succeeding chapters, covering Daniel’s unfulfilled Seventieth Week, the book deals with the inheritance being redeemed, with the bride then being seen as Christ’s wife at the end of this redemptive process.The redemption of the inheritance in chapters six through eighteen (Revelation 6-18) has to do with the domain which Christ and His wife, His consort queen (Revelation 19), will rule over during the succeeding Messianic Era Revelation 20).  And it is in the preceding respect that events in these chapters really have to do far more extensively with the Church than with Israel, though the Church will be in heaven when these events unfold on earth.

(Note Revelation 5:1-7  in the light of events surrounding the nearer kinsman and Boaz in Ruth 4:1-8.  The Father, in possession of the seven-sealed scroll, will be unable to redeem the inheritance [Ruth 4:1-4].  It would mar His Own inheritance.  These redemptive rights will have to be passed on to the Son [Ruth 4:5-8].)

2.  The Marriage Festivities

When Scripture deals with the “marriage” of Christ and His bride, as in Revelation 19:7-9, the reference is always to festivities surrounding the marriage, not to a marriage itself.  There will be no marriage per se, as we think of marriage in our modern-day culture.  There wasn’t one in the type, and there won’t be one in the antitype either.  And this is an easy matter to see in both the type (Ruth 4) and the antitype (Revelation 5-19).

The wedding festivities surrounding the marriage of God’s Son will occur in heaven following the redemption of the forfeited inheritance, for the entire redemptive process must be carried out before the bride can become Christ’s wife.  And this can be clearly seen from the context of Revelation 19:7-9, where these festivities are mentioned.  In this passage, these festivities are seen occurring immediately following the redemption of the forfeited inheritance (Revelation 6-18) and immediately preceding Christ’s return to the earth (Revelation 19:11ff).

Near the end of Christ’s earthly ministry, He gave a parable concerning a whole panorama of events surrounding these marriage festivities.  And this parable was given within the framework of the offer of the kingdom of the heavens, first to Israel, then to the Church.

A.  The Parable [Wedding Guests (Matthew 22:2-14)].

This parable begins with a King arranging all the various festivities for the wedding of His Son, a royal affair (Matthew 22:2).  Then, following these preparations, the King sent forth His servants to call those who had been invited; but they wouldn’t come (Matthew 22:3).

Another call was issued, but those who had been invited still wouldn’t come.  And not only did they ignore this second call, but they made light of the whole matter, even going so far as to mistreat and kill those extending the offer (Matthew 22:4-6).

And when the King heard what had happened, His anger was such that He sent forth His armies to both destroy those individuals and to burn their city (Matthew 22:7).

Then, the call was sent forth to an entirely different group of individuals.  Some from this group heeded the invitation, but others paid little to no attention.  And, in the end, two types of individuals are seen — “both bad and good.”  Those spoken of as “bad” hadn’t prepared themselves to attend the wedding festivities, and they, resultantly, didn’t possess wedding garments; but those spoken of as “good” had prepared themselves, and they, resultantly, did possess wedding garments (Matthew 22:8-10).  (See (1) The parable of the wedding feast. in this site for a different interpretation of the meaning of the "good and bad.")

And the end result of this invitation is then presented.  Those who had heeded the call and had made proper preparations, possessing wedding garments, were allowed to participate in the marriage festivities.  But those who had disregarded or had rejected the call, not having made proper preparations, not possessing wedding garments, were not allowed to participate in the marriage festivities.  They were not even allowed within.  Instead, they found themselves in the darkness outside (Matthew 22:11-14).

B.  That to Which the Parable Refers

The parable of the marriage festivities in Matthew 22:2-14 covers the whole panorama of that seen in the New Testament, from Matthew chapter one (Matthew 1) through the first half of Revelation chapter nineteen (Revelation 19).  This parable covers God’s complete dealings, throughout the New Testament, with both Israel and the Church in relation to the kingdom of the heavens; and it extends up to and includes the marriage festivities in Revelation 19:7-9, preceding the Messianic Era.

The kingdom of the heavens (with a view to the wedding festivities, seen in the parable) was extended to Israel through the gospel accounts, Israel rejected the offer, and the kingdom was taken from Israel (Matthew 21:33-43).  Then, another entity (the Church) was called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected (Acts 2:1ff; cf. Matthew 16:16-19).

But, as in the parable, there was a re-offer of the kingdom to Israel, something seen throughout the book of Acts.  The one now in possession of the kingdom (the infant Church) reoffered it to Israel, beginning in Acts 2.

However, as in the parable, rejection again occurred; and the servants extending the offer were mistreated, and even killed (Acts 4:17-21; 5:40-41; 7:54-60).  And, because of this, the same thing again occurred as seen in the parable.  Between 66 and 70 A.D., Titus and his Roman legions were allowed by the Lord to come against the Israelites in Jerusalem after a manner that resulted in both the destruction of the people and the burning of their city.

The call was then extended only to those seen in the parable as other than the Jewish people, those out in “the highways,” Christians.  This part of the parable is covered in the New Testament by the epistles, though some of the epistles were written during the Acts period when the offer was still open to Israel (for the offer was also open to Christians, as well, throughout this period).  And, as in the parable, some Christians would heed the call, others wouldn’t.

(The epistles — all of them — center on the offer of the kingdom of the heavens to Christians during the present dispensation.  And the central subject of all the epistles has to do with various facets of information surrounding this offer.)

And, as in the parable, the end of the matter will witness some Christians prepared to attend these festivities and others unprepared to attend.  Proper or improper preparation is given in both Matthew 22:10-12 and Revelation 19:7-8.  It has to do with possession or non-possession of a wedding garment.

Those properly dressed will be allowed to participate in the festivities, looking forward to that which lies ahead — the Son’s coming reign over the earth, with His consort queen.  But those improperly dressed will be denied entrance into these festivities and left in the darkness outside, with nothing to look forward to during the Son’s coming reign, for they will occupy no place in His kingdom.  They will occupy no place among those forming the Son’s wife, His consort queen.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom

(Excerpts from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Parable of the Wedding Guests.) 

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:   Parable of the Wedding Guests Matthew 22 1-14.docx

The Bible is a book of redemption; the restoration of a ruined creation, performed in its entirety through Divine intervention, for a revealed purpose.

The Study of Scripture
One of Arlen Chitwood's [
Lamp Broadcast] outstanding books!

[Note: While being taught the soul aspect of salvation by Mark and Carol Miller, the Holy Spirit gave me the burning desire to dwell in this aspect of God's Word. The one book, other than the Bible, that gave me the most comprehensive view of the overall Word was Arlen Chitwood's book The Study of Scripture in this site.  Being one that approaches most subjects from the overall view before details, Arlen's book has played a major role in my understanding the Kingdom Truths, the soul aspect of salvation. I found it to be one of those books that requires study, but I highly recommend reading!]

Introduction

There are no shortcuts to the study of Scripture. Coming into a knowledge of the Word of God takes time and effort; and it is a continuous, lifelong process that one never completes.

A person progressively comes into a knowledge of the Word over time as he applies himself to study. The Word of God is received into his saved human spirit; and, within this process, the Holy Spirit takes the Word and leads that individual “into all truth,” “comparing spiritual things with spiritual” — comparing Scripture with Scripture (John 16:12-15; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13) — leading him from immaturity to maturity.

However, though there are no shortcuts, there are correct ways to look upon and study Scripture that will pay huge dividends. And that’s what this book, The Study of Scripture, is mainly about.

A person can study Scripture from an incorrect perspective throughout his life and not really learn that much about it. On the other hand, a person can study Scripture from a correct perspective and, over time, learn a great deal about it.

For example, one MUST understand that Genesis 1:1-2:3 forms a foundational framework upon which the whole of the remainder of Scripture rests. This is fundamental and primary, which is the reason a person reading this book will find so much time spent relating the whole of Scripture to that which is revealed at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.

Then understanding such things as how and why God divides mankind as He does (Jews, Gentiles, and Christians), or understanding the ages and dispensations as they relate to these divisions of mankind, becomes fundamental and primary with respect to properly understanding the relationship between the foundational framework (Genesis 1:1-2:3) and the remainder of Scripture (Genesis 2:4ff)

Everything is tied together after some fashion, and the more one sees and understands different things about Scripture from a correct perspective, the more all things throughout Scripture simply and naturally fall into place. And the inverse of that is equally true, for the latter is dependent on the former.

(Note: The Study of Scripture in it's entirety is in this site.)

 Each Christian is as full of the Holy Spirit as he/she wants to be.

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 Wordresulting in Christ being formed in him. 

Sin - What the Spiritually Saved can do to Sin Less!

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 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)

**(Aside by Pat:  The seal and the earnest [guarantee] can be likened to a real estate transaction.  The seal is similar to being qualified [opportunity] to purchase the property.  The earnest guarantees that the property is set aside waiting for your completion [closing] of the transaction! [Ephesians 1:13-14])

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 Biblical Prayer, a Grace-Gift from God and The Holy Spirit is a Person.]

[The Chemistry of the Blood in this website may be of interest.]

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

[Note: The following is excerpted from Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture available for purchase at Gary Whipple's Books - Schoettle Publishing.]

Crucified with Christ:

“For I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God” (Galatians 2:19).

When one trusts in Christ’s finished work on the cross, he becomes dead through the law and to the law. To illustrate this, let’s suppose a criminal who has been convicted to die in the state’s electric chair, dies of a heart attack before he is executed. Here, he would be dead to the law, but not through the law. “To the law” means that the law has no power to judge and punish one who is dead. “Through the law” means that the sentence of the law (death) was carried out. Thus, only if the criminal is executed by the state, is the law satisfied. For then, he would have died through the law and as such would be dead to the law.

Now, let us suppose that another criminal was executed and died through the law, but the next day he was reported as being alive and walking down a street in the local village. What could the sentencing judge do? Could he have him executed again to satisfy the law? The answer to this would have to be no! This is because the criminal had already satisfied the law by dying through the law. Therefore, the judge would be obligated to count him as “judicially dead” to the law, even though he was alive.

This is exactly what happens to the believer when he first believes. He dies through the law. That is, God counts him as dying with Christ on the cross. Therefore, since he has died through the law he becomes dead to the law (the law having no power over him as to sin’s penalty). For the law cannot judge a dead man. Yet one will say, “But I am alive. How can I be dead?” The answer is that you are “judicially dead.” That is, God counts you as literally dying on the cross in Christ even though you are “practically alive.” This is what Paul meant when he said

“...I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

To be filled with a new ingredient a cup must be emptied of the old.
As we are filled with Him, we are emptied of us.

 We must come to good works by faith, and not to faith by good works.

mystery in the NT is a fact never previously known by man, which man could never learn apart from divine revelation, but which has now been revealed. The mysteries of the kingdom are hitherto unknown truths concerning the kingdom in its interim form. The very fact that the kingdom would have an interim form had been a secret up to now.

Purpose of the Parables
By Believer's Bible Commentary

Mat 13:10  And the disciples came, and said unto him, Why speakest thou unto them in parables?
Mat 13:11  He answered and said unto them,
Because it is given unto you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given.
Mat 13:12  For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath.
Mat 13:13 
Therefore speak I to them in parables: because they seeing see not; and hearing they hear not, neither do they understand.
Mat 13:14 
And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Esaias, which saith, By hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and shall not perceive:
Mat 13:15 
For this people's heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Mat 13:16 
But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.
Mat 13:17  For verily I say unto you, That many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which ye see, and have not seen them; and to hear those things which ye hear, and have not heard them.

Commentary:

Mat. 13:10   The disciples were puzzled that the Lord should speak to the people in the veiled language of parables. So they asked Him to explain His method.

Mat. 13:11   In His reply, Jesus distinguished between the unbelieving crowd and the believing disciples. The crowd, a cross-section of the nation, was obviously rejecting Him, though their rejection would not be complete until the cross. They would not be permitted to know the mysteries (secrets) of the kingdom of heaven, whereas His true followers would be helped to understand.

A mystery in the NT is a fact never previously known by man, which man could never learn apart from divine revelation, but which has now been revealed. The mysteries of the kingdom are hitherto unknown truths concerning the kingdom in its interim form. The very fact that the kingdom would have an interim form had been a secret up to now. The parables describe some of the features of the kingdom during the time when the King would be absent. Some people therefore call this “the mystery form of the kingdom”— not that there is anything mysterious about it but simply that it was never known before that time.

Mat. 13:12   It may seem arbitrary that these secrets should be withheld from the multitude and revealed to the disciples. But the Lord gives the reason: “For whoever has, to him more will be given, and he will have abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has will be taken away.”  The disciples had faith in the Lord Jesus; therefore, they would be given the capacity for more. They had accepted the light; therefore, they could receive more light. The Jewish nation, on the other hand, had rejected the Light of the world; therefore they were not only prevented from receiving more light, they would lose what little light they had. Light rejected is light denied.

Mat. 13:13   Matthew Henry compares the parables to the pillar of cloud and fire which enlightened Israel while confusing the Egyptians. The parables would be revealed to those who were sincerely interested but would prove “only an irritation to those who were hostile to Jesus.”

So it was not a matter of whim on the Lord's part, but simply the outworking of a principle which is built into all of life -- willful blindness is followed by judicial blindness. That is why He spoke to the Jews in parables. H. C. Woodring put it so: “Because they did not have the love of the truth, they would not get the light of the truth.” They professed to see, that is, to be familiar with divine truth, but Truth incarnate stood before them and they resolutely refused to see Him. They professed to hear God's Word, but the living Word of God was in their midst and they would not obey Him. They were unwilling to understand the wonderful fact of the Incarnation; therefore, the capacity to understand was taken from them.

Mat. 13:14-15   They were a living fulfillment of the prophecy of Isa. 6:9-10. Israel's heart had grown dull and their ears were insensitive to the voice of God. They deliberately refused to see with their eyes. They knew that if they saw, heard, understood, and repented, God would heal them. But in their sickness and need, they refused His help. Therefore, their punishment was that they would hear but not understand, and see but not perceive.

Mat. 13:16-17   The disciples were tremendously privileged, because they were seeing what no one had seen before. The prophets and righteous men of the OT had longed to be living when the Messiah arrived, but their desire had not been fulfilled. The disciples were favored to live at that crisis moment in history, to see the Messiah, to witness His miracles, and to hear the incomparable teaching which came from His lips.

e-Sword by Rick Myers where Rick's free software can be downloaded.

e-Sword Downloads

This parable refers to Christ's visible return to earth as Messiah-King.

Parable of the Wise and the Evil Servants
By Believers Bible Commentary

Mat 24:45  Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season?
Mat 24:46  Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.
Mat 24:47 
Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all his goods.
Mat 24:48 
But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming;
Mat 24:49 
And shall begin to smite his fellowservants, and to eat and drink with the drunken;
Mat 24:50 
The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for him, and in an hour that he is not aware of,
Mat 24:51  And shall cut him asunder, and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Believer's Bible Commentary:

Mat. 24:45-47   In the closing section of this chapter, the Lord Jesus shows that a servant manifests his true character by how he behaves in view of his Master's return. All servants are supposed to feed the household at the proper time. But not all who profess to be Christ's servants are genuine.

The wise servant is the one who is found caring for God's people. Such a one will be honored with vast responsibility in the kingdom. The master will make him ruler over all his goods.

Mat. 24:48-51  The evil servant represents a nominal believer whose behavior is not affected by the prospect of his Master's soon return. He begins to beat his fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunkards. Such behavior demonstrates that he is not ready for the kingdom. When the King comes, He will punish him and appoint him his portion with the hypocrites, where people weep and gnash their teeth.

This parable refers to Christ's visible return to earth as Messiah-King. But the principle equally applies to the Rapture. Many who profess to be Christians show by their hostility toward God's people and their fraternization with the ungodly that they are not looking for Christ's Return. For them it will mean judgment and not blessing.

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A servant within a household in the world today may or may not submit to his master’s wishes,
but such submission has nothing whatsoever to do with his being or not being a servant.
It has to do with his being a faithful or an unfaithful servant!

Five Parables That Are Taught by Our Lord Jesus Christ to Show the Structure of the Coming Kingdom of Heaven

Excerpted from Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture, Ch. 9, available at Gary Whipple's Books - Schoettle Publishing.

[Note: Some grammar changes have been made, but not context!]

Parables with Links

In order for the reader to receive knowledge and wisdom from these five parables, it will be important to remember that each parable can reveal truth from four different sources.

(1) From the order in which they are given in the Word.
(2) From the truths given in the details of the parable itself.
(3) From the truths that are revealed as they interact with another.
(4) From obvious omission of information from within their contents.

Four of the five parables presented are recorded in the gospel of Matthew. This is so, because Matthew was written to show the coming kingdom, as well as the coming king (Jesus Christ). The fifth is found in the gospel of Luke.

PARABLE OF THE WEDDING FEAST
(MATTHEW 22:1-14)

This parable is the first in the order of those recorded in Matthew. The occasion for it is found in the preceding chapter (Matthew 21). Here we find Jesus announcing that the kingdom of heaven would be taken from Israel and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof (Matthew 21:43). Although this prophetic announcement did not come about immediately, it nevertheless prepared the way for the introduction of the mostly gentile church recorded in this first parable.

Before we begin with its interpretation, two things must be kept in mind. First, the kingdom had been proffered to Israel based on a national repentance. This was the purpose of the preaching of the “gospel of the kingdom” by John the Baptist and by Jesus (Matthew 3:2; 4:17). If the leaders of Israel had repented and brought forth national fruit, Israel would have had the privilege of being in the kingdom with all spiritual blessings. Instead they became a nation set aside with only future earthly blessings given to them through the unconditional Abrahamic covenant. Individually, they could be saved and become a member of the church and the bride, however, as a nation (Israel) they lost this privilege when they rejected and slew Jesus as the heir of the vineyard (see parable of the vineyard in Matthew 21:33-40), and as the chief corner stone (the king - see Matthew 21:42).

Secondly, the kingdom that Israel lost is shown to be given by Jesus to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. This is a holy nation and is identified by Peter as the church (1 Peter 2:9-10). Notice that the kingdom was not given to this nation based on salvation only, but rather on works after salvation (Matthew 21:43b). Thus not all Christians will be privileged to rule and reign with Christ over the kingdom, but only those who produce spiritual fruits. With this in mind we have a key to all the five parables that will be expounded upon. All five parables are based on works showing salvation of the soul, not the spirit.

The Parable

“And Jesus answered and spake unto them again by parables, and said, (2) The kingdom of heaven is like unto a certain king, which made a marriage for his son, (3) And sent forth his servants to call them that were bidden to the wedding: and they would not come. (4) Again, he sent forth other servants, saying, Tell them which are bidden, Behold, I have prepared my dinner: my oxen and {my} fatlings {are} killed, and all things {are} ready: come unto the marriage. (5) But they made light of {it}, and went their ways, one to his farm, another to his merchandise: (6) And the remnant took his servants, and entreated {them} spitefully, and slew {them}. (7) But when the king heard {thereof}, he was wroth: and he sent forth his armies, and destroyed those murderers, and burned up their city. (8) Then saith he to his servants, The wedding is ready, but they which were bidden were not worthy. (9) Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage. (10) So those servants went out into the highways, and gathered together all as many as they found, both bad and good: and the wedding was furnished with guests. (11) And when the king came in to see the guests, he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment: (12) And he saith unto him, Friend, how camest thou in hither not having a wedding garment? And he was speechless. (13) Then said the king to the servants, Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast {him} into outer darkness; there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. (14) For many are called, but few {are} chosen (Matthew 22:1-14).

The Interpretation

This parable speaks of God the Father planning and preparing a marriage supper for His Son, Jesus Christ. The supper will be in heaven in honor of His Son’s wedding to His bride (not in view in this parable). We are told that Israel was invited to be the “wedding guest” at this supper. God had sent a special invitation to them by His servants (the prophets) to bid them to come. However they refused to come. Then He sent a second invitation (probably by the apostles) and they again refused by making excuses and also made light of the invitation. Some of them even took the servants of God and treated them badly to spite God and then slew them. Because of this God became angry, withdrew His invitation, and sent His armies to destroy those that were invited. This army was the Roman army under Titus, who in A.D.70 destroyed Jerusalem and scattered the Jews into all the nations of the world.

This part of the parable, which is now historical, points out the prophetic accuracy of the coming kingdom and to Israel’s original place in it. It is this writer’s belief that God’s plan called for Israel to be the “wedding guests.” This is so because Israel was the Lord’s brethren according to the flesh and as such could not be the bride. This is born out in a study of typology in the Old Testament that clearly sets forth the bride of Christ as a Gentile bride. As examples the brides of Isaac, Moses, and Joseph, who are types of Christ, all had Gentile brides. In view of this Israel could have none-the-less held a high ruling position in the coming kingdom as the “wedding guests.” This position of rule would have allowed them to rule over the cities of the millennial earth. Instead they rejected this privilege by rejecting the king. However the faithful ones of the Old Testament will be there (Matthew 8:11-12) in the capacity of “the friends of the bridegroom.” Precisely what their rank of rule will be is not known.

This parable continues to teach that after Israel was rejected by God, He sent His servants to the highways (places outside the city of the Jews) to invite anyone they could find both bad and good. The parable, at this place, begins to teach that anyone could be invited to the marriage supper, other than national Israel. This means a mixture of people from other nations (Gentiles and Jews) could be saved. It introduces the beginning of the church and teaches the plan of salvation as it went out to all the nations of the world. This was done through the Apostle Paul’s ministry and the countless numbers of evangelists and pastors, as well as the witness of the saved. All these are the “servants” of Matthew 22:8.

It is important to notice that the invitation was by grace and without works. This is the reason that the “good and the bad” were invited. Thus, by grace through faith anyone could be saved, no matter what kind of life they may have lived (Ephesians 2:8-9). All the hearer had to do was to accept the invitation to come (believe). However we learn in this parable that after they were saved and then raptured (arrived in heaven), they were to have on a wedding garment in order to enter the marriage supper. This garment represents the righteous works, or fruit of the Christian, after he was saved. We learn this by comparing it to the wedding garment of the bride of Christ. In Revelation (Revelation 19:7-8)  the bride’s wedding garment is called the “righteousnesses [plural] of the saints” which speaks of the righteous works of those chosen to be in the bride. Therefore the wedding garments of both the bride and the wedding guests represent the spiritual fruits from their lives.  (See Parable of the Wedding Guests in this site for a different interpretation of the meaning of the "good and bad" and Part II for “called and out-called.”)

When the king (God) came in to see the wedding guests, He saw one there without a wedding garment on and He asked him why this impropriety had occurred. Since he had no answer, the king commanded that he be bound hand and foot and cast into the outer darkness. In considering this scene we must first see the fallacy of those who teach that this man was not saved. To do this one must ask hisself these questions. If this one was lost, then why was he raptured into heaven? More importantly, why did he go inside to the wedding feast? Secondly, if the lost can do no work in order to be saved, why is God saying to this speechless man that he failed to provide for himself a wedding garment (which was fashioned by righteous acts)? To understand this questioning of God we must look at the type found in the Jewish wedding of the first century. Here all invited guests had to provide for themselves a special wedding garment in order to enter the wedding feast. They were not handed out at the door by the host. Thus the wedding garment signified works. Yet, in spite of this clear teaching, the teachers of today still insist on presenting this man as one who was never saved. They reason this as such since he was bound hand and foot and cast into “outer darkness” (Matthew 22:13).

For years Bible teachers and preachers have insisted that “outer darkness” is hell, when in fact it is not! The Greek interpretation of this expression gives it two definite articles, i.e., “the darkness the outer.” This puts the emphasis on the second “the,” making it to say “darkness outside of light.” To understand this further, the Greek word for darkness here is the word “skotos,” which means shade or obscurity. Therefore, those who are cast out of the glory of the kingdom will be in the shade just outside of the light, which will be a place of obscurity for a thousand years.

This place of obscurity is a place where one will suffer loss and as such will “weep and gnash his teeth.” Once again false teaching tries to use this expression to prove that this man was cast into hell, when in fact the Bible nowhere tells us that lost people in hell will weep and gnash their teeth. Since this expression refers to the grief of one who has lost something, then only saved people who lose their rewards have grief. Lost people, on the other hand, have nothing to lose and therefore do not grieve in hell, but rather curse God. A good example of this is seen in the terrible judgments that God will send on the earth during the “great tribulation.” You might say this is hell on earth, yet earth dwellers will not weep or gnash their teeth, but rather refuse to repent and instead blaspheme God (Revelation 16:9, 11).

Only saved people, who will have lost their reward, will weep and gnash their teeth in sorrow. Only after one thousand years, during which time God will refuse to heed their cries, will He raise them up and out of obscurity and wipe away all tears (Revelation 21:4). In this first parable which concerns itself with the first division of the coming kingdom, Our Lord draws our attention to those who will be in the kingdom (wedding guests) as opposed to those who will be cast out (those who will lose their rewards). He calls them “the called” (Gr. ‘kletos’ meaning the invited or saved) and “the chosen” (Gr. ‘eklektos’ meaning those chosen out of the saved). He further tells us that of the saved there will be many, whereas of the chosen there will be only a few (Matthew 22:14). In the second parable we will see that He further divides a group out of the chosen in order to reveal the “bride of Christ.” These will be called the “faithful”. 

For Satan’s present kingdom organization see Organizational Set-up of Satan’s Rule over the Earth in this site.  Also see God's Transition of Satan's Kingdom to Christ's Kingdom in this site and the following Word Document in my computer is informative on parables, and is SAFE to open:  MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM by Gary Whipple.docx

THE PARABLE OF THE FAITHFUL AND WISE SERVANT
(MATTHEW 24:45-51)

This parable is the first kingdom of heaven parable recorded in the Word after the parable of “the wedding feast.” Therefore its purpose is to teach the second stage of the organization of the coming kingdom. Whereas our first parable revealed the dividing of the “chosen from the called,” this parable will reveal the dividing of the “faithful from the chosen.”

The events recorded between these two parables represent approximately two thousand years in time. They portray the prophecy of our Lord’s judgment upon Israel, and its fulfillment (Matthew 23; 24:1-31. In this section of scripture He tells Israel that their temple would be destroyed, that their land would be desolated, that they would be hated and persecuted by all nations and that they would suffer under antichrist during the coming great tribulation. All this was to happen before His return as their Messiah.

In Matthew 24:32 Jesus discontinues speaking to Israel and begins to speak once again to the church beginning with the parable of the fig tree. It is worthy to note that all parables given by Jesus are for the church to understand and not Israel. The reason for this is that without the Holy Spirit Israel could not understand them. Thus when Jesus did speak to Israel in a parable, He did so for the benefit of the church, knowing that Israel could not understand its meaning (see Matthew 13:10-15).

Here in Matthew 24:32, just before the parable of “the faithful and wise servant,” our Lord gives to us two major signs that points to the rapture of the church. The first is the parable of “the fig tree” (Matthew 24:32) which teaches that national Israel will return to their land in the last days before the coming of the Lord. The second sign is the sign of Noah which speaks of the wicked conditions of the world just before Christ’s return (every thought and imagination was continually evil (Matthew 24:37). In this section He also speaks of the coming rapture by prophesying that some people will be taken away (will disappear) as opposed to others being left (Matthew 24:40-41). Finally He emphasizes to the church to watch and be ready for His coming (Matthew 24:42-44). This readiness is the theme of our next parable, “the faithful and wise servant.”

The Parable

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (46) Blessed {is} that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (47) Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all His goods. (48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; (49) And shall begin to smite {his} fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for {him}, and in an hour that he is not aware of, (51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint {him} his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:45-51).

The Interpretation

In our last parable we saw the selection of the chosen which are those that are called out of the called. In this parable we will see a higher selection called the faithful which are those that are selected out of the chosen (cf. Revelation 17:14b).

It would be well for the reader to keep in mind that the “faithful” have two ranks within their groups making a total of three major ranks within the coming kingdom (two for the faithful [the bride], and one for the chosen [the wedding guests]). As we will soon discover, those believers who have the word “faithful” in their title given to them by the Lord, will rule from the two highest ranks and will probably be called the “bride of Christ.” The higher of these two ranks will apparently be for those who have the title of “the faithful and the wise,” whereas the rank just below this is for those with the title of “the good and faithful.” The parable before us now teaches of the higher of these two ranks...the “faithful and the wise.”

Our Lord begins this parable with a question, as if He is searching to find those who will qualify for this highest position in the kingdom. Apparently, there will not be many qualified applicants. To qualify, one must be wise and faithful. This means that they must have the higher knowledge (epignosis), and be faithful in teaching others of this knowledge until death or the rapture comes.

This search begins in Matthew 24:45 with our Lord looking for those whom He can place over His household (church, Bible classes, etc.) to give them meat in due season (Matthew 24:46). These should be the pastors of churches, but sadly there are only a few out of the thousands in these last days who will qualify for this rank. It seems that most modern day pastors are trained in the seminaries to become professional ministers, and as such have never had much interest in learning the Word of God. Therefore it is here, just before the coming of the Lord, that Jesus is looking for faithful and wise pastors and Bible teachers who are able to give meat, whom He can place over His households. Whom will He find and appoint as a faithful steward (Luke 12:42)? The professional, twentieth century pastor will not qualify. He only knows milk. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to know that we are living in the “due season,” which is the time just before the return of the Lord. It is no wonder that our Lord puts this in a question form. Who is wise? Who is faithful? Who will give meat?

Then in Matthew 24:46, our Lord informs us that at His return, He will make those servants, whom He finds faithfully teaching the meat “rulers over all His goods.” Luke records this as “rulers over all that He has” (Luke 12:44).

This highest position in the kingdom (ruler over all He has) was apparently seen and understood by the mother of the Apostles James and John, when she asked Jesus to “grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom” (Matthew 20:21). However, Jesus answered in Matthew 20:23, “to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but {it shall be given to them} for whom it is prepared of my Father.” These verses of Matthew show us that this highest position is not only a reward for the “wise and faithful,” but also is for those who have been elected by the Father to be so. The fact that the Father is mentioned here is suggestive that all ranks won will be eternal. That is, they will extend from the kingdom of the Son (one thousand years) into the kingdom of the Father (the eternal ages, 1 Corinthians 15:24; Matthew 13:43).

In Luke’s gospel, we read that the “wise and faithful” are called “stewards.” Contrary to the popular use of this word in the modern church, people who give their time and money are not known scripturally as stewards, even though they have been faithful in what God has told them to do. The word “steward” in the Greek is “oikonomos,” which means a house-distributor, manager or overseer of the mysteries of God, i.e. to faithfully distribute to God’s household the mysteries or meat of the Word (kingdom truths) of God (1 Corinthians 4:1). Along with this the scriptures record that it is required that a steward be faithful in this task (1 Corinthians 4:2).

This brings us to the second part of this parable recorded in Matthew 24:48-51. Here God warns of terrible judgments that will come on the wise and faithful if they apostatize (fall away). The interpretation of these judgments will be given in a later chapter when the reader will be better prepared and equipped to accept them.

For Satan’s present kingdom organization see Organizational Set-up of Satan’s Rule over the Earth in this site.  Also see God's Transition of Satan's Kingdom to Christ's Kingdom in this site.

THE PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS
(MATTHEW 25:1-13)

This is the third parable in our series of five that teaches the organizational structure of the kingdom. It was recorded and placed in the Word immediately after the parable of the “wise and faithful steward.” With this position in the Word and its title it will soon become obvious to the reader that God is giving additional and consequential information about the bride of Christ.

The first thing noticeabe is it does not teach any new ranks of rulership, but rather “the basic on which the bride will be selected.” This is very precious in God’s eyes since He wants all who will understand it to attain unto the bride.

The Parable

“Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. (2) And five of them were wise, and five {were} foolish. (3) They that {were} foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: (4) But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. (5) While the bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. (6) And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bride groom cometh; go ye out to meet him. (7) Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps. (8) And the foolish said unto the wise, give us of your oil; for our lamps are gone out. (9) But the wise answered, saying, {not so}; lest there be not enough for us and you: but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves. (10) And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with him to the marriage: and the door was shut. (11) Afterward came also the other virgins, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us. (12) But he answered and said, Verily I say unto you, I know you not. (13) Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of man cometh” (Matthew 25:1-13).

The Interpretation

This writer in years past, in his beginning studies of the Word, interpreted the five wise virgins of this parable as those who were saved and the five foolish as those who were lost. Then, as he began to grow in the knowledge of scripture, he soon discovered this was utterly false. Today most conservative pastors and Bible teachers persist in believing and teaching this false but popular view. Still others, not necessarily in the conservative group of Bible teachers, preach a different false view that presents the wise as representing the church and the foolish as representing Israel. Before we begin to expound on this parable’s correct interpretation it will be helpful to the reader to see these two false interpretations exposed in the light of the Word.

In the first false view of this parable:

(1) Ten in typology is always emblematic of ordinal perfection or all of whatever is in view. In this parable it means all of the saved people of the church age. All will be raptured. All will be in heaven. On the other hand the number five in Bible typology always is emblematic of grace, and wherever you find it you will find the grace of God working.

(2) Five is also made up of numbers three and two. Three speaks of manifested deity, i.e. the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and two the minimum number of witnesses the law required to establish a truth (1 Kings 21:10; Matthew 26:60; Revelation 11:3). Thus, by God’s use of the number five to identify both groups, He is declaring that they are all saved by grace through faith in the One who finished the work on the cross. God placed His stamp of approval on this work by raising Jesus up on the third day which was witnessed to and confirmed to us by the Holy Spirit and the Word.

In the second false view of this parable the foolish virgins cannot be Israel for two reasons:

(1) Israel is never pictured as a virgin but rather the adulteress wife of God the Father (Jeremiah 3:8). The word virgin means a maiden or one who is unmarried. This implies that she is clean and chaste and is qualified to become a bride.

(2) Where the church is the bride of Christ, Israel is the wife of God, and as such cannot be raptured with the church. In our parable we will see that both groups, the “wise and the foolish,” are raptured.

In Matthew 25:1 the expression “kingdom of heaven” is used to inform us that its contents deal with rewards and not initial salvation. This expression should be literally translated “the rule of the heavens [plural] over the kingdom” that is upon the earth. Moreover it begins when the ten virgins are raptured (go forth to meet the bridegroom). Notice in Matthew 25:1 all of the virgins had lamps with oil in them.

However in Matthew 25:3-4 we see a major difference between the two. The foolish took no oil with them, i.e. they took oil in their lamps, but no extra oil in separate vessels. Contrary to this the wise had a double portion of oil (first portion in their lamps and a second portion in vessels or skins). Oil in the scriptures is always an emblem of the Holy Spirit. Thus all ten were saved, i.e. had received by faith the knowledge (gnosis) of Christ, which is the first portion of oil. However the five wise virgins had a double portion of oil, which is emblematic of the full knowledge (epignosis) of the kingdom truths. Therefore these verses give us a historical view of the church in the first century. Many in that church knew the kingdom truths and as such were called the wise.

Matthew 25:5-7 reveal all the church period beyond the first century and ending at the raptemiahure. Here the bridegroom tarried and they all went to sleep (slumbered and slept during the dark ages). The Greek word for “slumbered,” which is connected to the wise, is “nustazo” which means to nod the head or be half-awake and half-asleep. This describes the condition of the wise during the time of the church age and up until the time of the rapture. That is they were not totally asleep to the kingdom truths. Contrary to this the Greek word for “slept,” which is connected to the foolish, is “katheudo” which means to lie down and go fast asleep. This then describes the condition of the foolish as it pertains to the kingdom truths throughout the past nineteen hundred years to end at the rapture. It is a perfect picture of the church today.

In Matthew 25:6  the midnight cry was heard. This midnight cry is indicative of the voice of the Lord at the rapture and is not a figure of speech representing the 19th century preachers preaching the Second Coming. The word “midnight” is always used as a type in scripture to establish two coming events: the “choosing of the bride of Christ” and the “judgments of God.”

To understand the choosing of the bride we must first study the typology that teaches of the relationship between Boaz and Ruth. In Ruth 3:1-10 Boaz is presented as a type of Christ in the choosing of His bride. This happens after his field has been harvested (type of the rapture) and brought to the threshing floor for the purpose of separating the wheat from the chaff (type of the Judgment Seat of Christ). However, before this occurs, Ruth (a type of the bride of Christ), a Gentile and near kinsman of Boaz, was instructed by Naomi (a type of the Holy Spirit through the Word) to go to Boaz while he was at the threshing floor during the night and to ask him to become her kinsman redeemer (this included marriage). Further Naomi instructed her that before she went she must first cleanse and anoint herself (type of all sin having been confessed and the obtaining of a double portion of the Spirit). Then she was told to go and lie at the feet of Boaz and do whatever He says. This action shows in type form the faithful and wise who have knowledge of the kingdom. This is so because the feet of Boaz are a type of the feet of Jesus which is emblematic of His coming kingship when He will dispose of Satan and judge the nations (Romans 16:20; Isaiah 63:6; Revelation 1:15; Revelation 19:15). Finally, the scripture tells us that this happened at “midnight” which shows that Ruth, representing the bride of Christ, was spiritually awake (watching for the coming of the Lord) while the other maidens (the rest of the saved) were asleep. Thus the choosing of the Gentile bride of Christ will occur immediately after the midnight cry (the rapture of the church).

Secondly, the word “midnight” is also used in the Old Testament in connection with judgment. The judgment of God on Egypt was at midnight (Exodus 11:4; 12:29). Egypt is not only a type of the world, but specifically the world during the coming great tribulation. Therefore, since the judgments of God fell on Egypt at midnight, so will they fall on the world during the great tribulation. Midnight then is used in this parable as a type of the time of the end which includes the rapture, the choosing of the bride and judgment on the earth.

Now, returning to the parable of the ten virgins, we see in Matthew 25:7-10 the events that will occur in heaven after the rapture. Their purpose here is to lead us to identify and understand that which is needful for the believer to enter the marriage chamber. Here the five foolish virgins recognized that they were not ready to meet the Lord when they trimmed their lamps and instead discovered that their lamps had gone out (Gr. “were going out”). Thus they asked the wise virgins to share with them that portion of oil that was in their vessels (skins). However the wise refused their frantic request for two reasons. First, if the oil were shared, then no one would have enough to enter the marriage chamber. Secondly, it was a different kind of oil that could not be given away and had to be bought. Therefore, as the first portion of oil represented the sealing of the Holy Spirit in the salvation of their spirits, so the second portion represents the power of the Holy Spirit in the coming salvation of their souls. As the first portion is freely given the moment one believes, so the second portion must be bought by trading. For as the first portion of oil is for eternal life (entrance into heaven), so the second is for millennial life (entrance into the kingdom of heaven). In our text the foolish virgins did not realize this truth until it was too late. They had been fast asleep to spiritual truth (Gr. ‘epignosis’) while being satisfied with just being saved (Gr. ‘gnosis’).

The text declares that “they all arose (all ten were raptured)” and then trimmed their lamps (to prepare themselves for the wedding). We get a better understanding of this when we discover that the lamp represents the Word of God in their lives, the oil the Holy Spirit that has sealed them and the wick that part of their lives that should be burning itself out as a witness. All ten virgins in our parable trimmed their lamps (attempted to fill their lamps with the double portion of oil). However, the five foolish virgins were too late. They had no oil with them to trim their lamps.

To get a better appreciation of the word “trimmed,” we need to study the only other place in scripture that it is used.

“And Mephibosheth the son of Saul came down to meet the king, and had neither dressed [Heb.’asah’] his feet, nor trimmed [Heb.’asah’] his beard, nor washed his clothes, from the day the king departed until the day he came {again} in peace” (2 Samuel 19:24)

Here in 2 Samuel God is showing us a type of the Second Coming of Christ. From this we can learn the full connection of the word “trimmed.” In this type we see David’s victorious return to Jerusalem. He had before left the land (type of Jesus going back to heaven) when his people had rejected and forsaken him and joined themselves to another king (type of Satan’s kingdom). At his coming again he finds Mephibosheth (type of the five foolish virgins) not ready to meet him. Mephibosheth had not dressed his feet (no witness in his walk), trimmed his beard (no witness in his talk) or washed his clothes (no confession of sin). All these are types of “not putting in order (Hebrews ’asah’)” his walk, talk, and making clean his righteous garments from the sins of the world.

Specifically he had no witness or confession that David was the king and that he would return one day. We see this in his failure to trim his beard. The word “beard” in the Hebrew is the word “sapham,” which means “lip piece” (or that which draws attention to the upper lip, i.e. language or his witness). In addition he had no witness in his lifestyle, i.e. walk. For he failed to dress (Hebrews “asah,” same word for trimmed) his feet. To add to this, the expression nor washed his clothes” means the failure to confess his sins (see 1 John 1:9). Furthermore Mephibosheth had earlier eaten at the king’s table which shows in the type that he had been saved and had special privileges of love. However, after the king left, he did not prepare for his return from the day he left until the day he came again in peace. This shows that Mephibosheth in this type did not have the double portion of the Spirit and as such had no “hope” (anticipation of his return). With this Old Testament type we can fully understand the plight of the five foolish virgins. They were saved, had the gift of the Holy Spirit (first portion of oil), but had not prepared themselves for the Second Coming. If they had bought the second portion of oil (epignosis), they would have known to make themselves ready and to watch for Him. In Matthew 25:9 of our parable the foolish virgins were told that they must go and buy from those who sell in order to obtain this second portion of oil. The meaning of this verse is a mystery to the popular Bible expositor. He cannot conceive of the scripture telling the five foolish virgins, whom he thinks are lost, to go and buy salvation, when Ephesians 2:9 declares salvation to be without works.

However, the second portion of oil is not salvation (gnosis), but rather the full discernment (epignosis) of the Word, which pertains to the inheritance. To buy and sell means to sell daily a portion of your life in order to buy more of this wisdom and full discernment of the Word (strong meat). This can be described as one who is willing to lose more of his life daily in order to receive more of the higher knowledge of the Word (double portion of the Holy Spirit).

This price is not only a daily surrender and commitment to the Lord, but also a willingness to labor in the Word. Jesus Himself referred to this when He said, “he that loses his life for my sake will find it.” Alternatively, to put it another way, “he that sells portions of his life daily, can replace it by buying portions of the Word” (double portion of the Holy Spirit). When one begins to buy this double portion he comes to understand that it is the “gold that cannot be destroyed,” “the wedding garment itself (righteous works)” and “spiritual eye-salve” to give one even deeper insight into the Word (Revelation 3:18).

We see the conclusion of this parable in Matthew 25:10-12. While those five foolish virgins went to buy, the bridegroom came and the five wise virgins (those who were ready) went in with Him to the marriage. Afterward the foolish came and knocked on the door to the bridal chamber begging to be let in, but the Lord replies that He does not know them (does not recognize them as being a part of the bride).

The key to this parable is in the last verse. Here our Lord does not tell the foolish virgins that they need salvation, but rather to watch for His coming. This necessitates making themselves ready by buying and trading for the second portion of oil. In addition, with the setting of this parable next to the parable of the “faithful and wise,” we understand that it is an extension to that parable, teaching the basis on which a believer will be chosen as a part of the bride of Christ. By putting both parables together we learn that he must be faithful unto the end and he must be wise. Finally, this wisdom that he must have is revealed as being the double portion of the Word (the Holy Spirit).

For Satan’s present kingdom organization see Organizational Set-up of Satan’s Rule over the Earth in this site.  Also see God's Transition of Satan's Kingdom to Christ's Kingdom in this site.

THE PARABLE OF THE FAITHFUL AND WISE SERVANT
(MATTHEW 24:45-50)

This parable is the first kingdom of heaven parable recorded in the Word after the parable of “the wedding feast.” Therefore its purpose is to teach the second stage of the organization of the coming kingdom. Whereas our first parable revealed the dividing of the “chosen from the called,” this parable will reveal the dividing of the “faithful from the chosen.”

The events recorded between these two parables represent approximately two thousand years in time. They portray the prophecy of our Lord’s judgment upon Israel, and its fulfillment (Matthew 23; 24:1-31. In this section of scripture He tells Israel that their temple would be destroyed, that their land would be desolated, that they would be hated and persecuted by all nations and that they would suffer under antichrist during the coming great tribulation. All this was to happen before His return as their Messiah.

In Matthew 24:32 Jesus discontinues speaking to Israel and begins to speak once again to the church beginning with the parable of the fig tree. It is worthy to note that all parables given by Jesus are for the church to understand and not Israel. The reason for this is that without the Holy Spirit Israel could not understand them. Thus when Jesus did speak to Israel in a parable, He did so for the benefit of the church, knowing that Israel could not understand its meaning (see Matthew 13:10-15).

Here in Matthew 24:32, just before the parable of “the faithful and wise servant,” our Lord gives to us two major signs that point to the rapture of the church. The first is the parable of “the fig tree” which teaches that national Israel will return to their land in the last days before the coming of the Lord (the fulfillment of this actually began in April 1948 [Note:  Arlen Chitwood believes the parable of the fig tree and the days of Noah have to do with Israel and the nations during the Tribulation, not today, and I believe he is right-on.  See Cast Outside into Outer Darkness in this site and 'find' fig tree]). The second sign is the sign of Noah which speaks of the wicked conditions of the world just before Christ’s return (every thought and imagination was continually evil [Genesis 6:5]). In this section He also speaks of the coming rapture by prophesying that some people will be taken away (will disappear) as opposed to others being left (Matthew 24:40-41). Finally He emphasizes to the church to watch and be ready for His coming (Matthew 24:42-44). This readiness is the theme of our next parable, “the faithful and wise servant.”

The Parable

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? (46) Blessed {is} that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing. (47) Verily I say unto you, That he shall make him ruler over all His goods. (48) But and if that evil servant shall say in his heart, My lord delayeth his coming; (49) And shall begin to smite {his} fellow servants, and to eat and drink with the drunken; (50) The lord of that servant shall come in a day when he looketh not for {him}, and in an hour that he is not aware of, (51) And shall cut him asunder, and appoint {him} his portion with the hypocrites: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” (Matthew 24:45-51).

The Interpretation

In our last parable we saw the selection of the chosen which are those that are called out of the called. In this parable we will see a higher selection called the faithful which are those that are selected out of the chosen (Revelation 17:14b).

It would be well for the reader to keep in mind that the “faithful” have two ranks within their groups making a total of three major ranks within the coming kingdom (two for the faithful, i.e. the bride and one for the chosen, i.e. the wedding guests). As we will soon discover, those believers who have the word “faithful” in their title that is given to them by the Lord, will rule from the two highest ranks and will probably be called the “bride of Christ.” The higher of these two ranks will apparently be for those who have the title of “the faithful and the wise,” whereas the rank just below this is for those with the title of “the good and faithful.” The parable before us now teaches of the higher of these two ranks...the “faithful and the wise.”

Our Lord begins this parable with a question, as if He is searching to find those who will qualify for this highest position in the kingdom. Apparently, there will not be many qualified applicants. To qualify, one must be wise and faithful. This means that they must have the higher knowledge (epignosis), and be faithful in teaching others of this knowledge until death or the rapture comes.

This search begins in Matthew 24:45 with our Lord looking for those whom He can place over His household (church, Bible classes, etc.) to give them meat in due season (Matthew 24:46). These should be the pastors of churches, but sadly there are only a few out of the thousands in these last days who will qualify for this rank. It seems that most modern day pastors are trained in the seminaries to become professional ministers, and as such have never had much interest in learning the Word of God. Therefore it is here, just before the coming of the Lord, that Jesus is looking for faithful and wise pastors and Bible teachers who are able to give meat, whom He can place over His households. Whom will He find and appoint as a faithful steward (Luke 12:42)? The professional, twentieth century pastor will not qualify. He only knows milk. In fact, he doesn’t even seem to know that we are living in the “due season,” which is the time just before the return of the Lord. It is no wonder that our Lord puts this in a question form. Who is wise? Who is faithful? Who will give meat?

Then in Matthew 24:46, our Lord informs us that at His return, He will make those servants, whom He finds faithfully teaching the meat “rulers over all His goods.” Luke records this as “rulers over all that He has” (Luke 12:44).

This highest position in the kingdom (ruler over all He has) was apparently seen and understood by the mother of the Apostles James and John, when she asked Jesus to “grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on thy right hand, and the other on the left, in thy kingdom” (Matthew 20:21). However, Jesus answered in Matthew 24:23, “to sit on my right hand, and on my left, is not mine to give, but [it shall be given to them] for whom it is prepared of my Father.” These verses of Matthew show us that this highest position is not only a reward for the “wise and faithful,” but also is for those who have been elected by the Father to be so. The fact that the Father is mentioned here is suggestive that all ranks won will be eternal. That is, they will extend from the kingdom of the Son (one thousand years) into the kingdom of the Father (the eternal ages, 1 Corinthians 15:24; Matthew 13:43).

In Luke’s gospel, we read that the “wise and faithful” are called “stewards.” Contrary to the popular use of this word in the modern church, people who give their time and money are not known scripturally as stewards, even though they have been faithful in what God has told them to do. The word “steward” in the Greek is “oikonomos,” which means a house-distributor, manager or overseer of the mysteries of God, i.e. to faithfully distribute to God’s household the mysteries or meat of the Word (kingdom truths) of God (1 Corinthians 4:1). Along with this the scriptures record that it is required that a steward be faithful in this task (1 Corinthians 4:2).

This brings us to the second part of this parable recorded in Matthew 24:48-51. Here God warns of terrible judgments that will come on the wise and faithful if they apostatize (fall away). The interpretation of these judgments will be given in a later chapter when the reader will be better prepared and equipped to accept them.

For Satan’s present kingdom organization see Organizational Set-up of Satan’s Rule over the Earth in this site.  Also see God's Transition of Satan's Kingdom to Christ's Kingdom in this site.

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS
(MATTHEW 25:14-30)

Continuing in the order in which they were given, this fourth parable teaches the qualifications of those who will rule from the second highest rank in the kingdom structure. Like those who will rule from the first rank (the wise and faithful), these also will have the title of “faithful” in their names. They will be called the “good and faithful.”

The Parable

“For {the kingdom of heaven is} as a man traveling into a far country, {who} called his own servants, and delivered unto them his goods. (15) And unto one he gave five talents, to another two, and to another one; to every man according to his several ability; and straightway took his journey. (16) Then he that had received the five talents went and traded with the same, and made {them} other five talents. (17) And likewise he that {had received} two, he also gained other two. (18) But he that had received one went and digged in the earth, and hid his lord’s money. (19) After a long time the lord of those servants cometh, and reckoneth with them. (20) And so he that had received five talents came and brought other five talents, saying, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me five talents: behold, I have gained beside them five talents more. (21) His lord said unto him, Well done, {thou} good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (22) He also that had received two talents came and said, Lord, thou deliveredst unto me two talents: behold, I have gained two other talents beside them. (23) His lord said unto him, Well done, good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things. Enter thou into the joy of thy lord. (24) Then he which had received the one talent came and said, Lord, I knew thee that thou art an hard man, reaping where thou hast not sown, and gathering where thou hast not strawed: (25) And I was afraid, and went and hid thy talent in the earth: lo, {there} thou hast {that is} thine. (26) His lord answered and said unto him, Thou wicked and slothful servant, thou knewest that I reap where I sowed not, and gather where I have not strawed: (27) Thou oughtest therefore to have put my money to the exchangers, and {then} at my coming I should have received mine own with usury. (28) Take therefore the talent from him, and give {it} unto him which hath ten talents. (29) For unto every one that hath shall be given, and he shall have abundance: but from him that hath not shall be taken away even that which he hath. (30) And cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 25:14-30).

The Interpretation

Like the parable of the wedding feast this parable defies interpretation when the popular view of the outer darkness is taught. Most teachers, including the fundamental conservative group, believe and teach this place to be hell. Contrary to this the scriptures teach that outer darkness is a place of obscurity just outside of the light outside of the kingdom and is not hell. It could be the fourth level of the kingdom structure correlating with the fourth level of this present “kingdom of heaven” ruled over by Satan.

When a Bible teacher insists on making outer darkness hell, then one of two things happens: The parable refuses to be interpreted in the light of all of the Word, or the teacher must deny three cardinal doctrines of the Word. These are eternal security, grace and the Judgment Seat of Christ.

Consider this:

(1) If we, in this parable, interpret “the outer darkness” as hell, then we have to admit that one of Christ’s own servants (the third one) lost his salvation, i.e. Christ’s own servant was cast into outer darkness (hell).

(2) On the other hand if we assign all of Christ’s servants in this parable as being lost in order to preserve the doctrine of eternal security, then in this course of interpretation we deny two other doctrines. The first doctrine being that all lost men are servants of Christ, and the second that one must produce works in order to be saved (trade his talents for gain).

(3) Finally, if we interpret “outer darkness” as hell in this parable, we make the doctrine of the Judgment Seat of Christ a general judgment for all of the lost and the saved (which is not taught anywhere in scripture).

Once we recognize that which scripture has to say about “the outer darkness,” the parable is then easily interpreted. Here are its components:

The man traveling into a far country is Jesus before He went back to heaven; His own servants are certain believers out of all of the church period; His goods that He leaves are His own personal possessions (epignosis, or full discernment of the kingdom of heaven). Thus the talents are empowered portions of His personal possessions given through the double portion of the Spirit to produce specific works; the return of the man (Jesus) to reckon with them is the Judgment Seat of Christ. The two servants that gained talents by trading represent those Christians that will enter into the kingdom of heaven and be rulers over “many things,” whereas the servant who hid his talent in the earth and did nothing represents those who will lose their reward and be cast into obscurity for one thousand years.

The teaching of this parable is to an elected group, i.e. those of the church who will gain epignosis (above knowledge). Like the parable of the “faithful and wise servant,” whom Christ made ruler over “all that He has” (the highest level of rule in the coming kingdom), this parable shows Christ giving His goods to those who have been elected to rule over “many things” (from the second highest rank of rule in the coming kingdom).

The goods that He gives are His own personal goods (Gr. ’huparchonta’) which include property or possessions (kingdom truths). The giving here is not the giving away of these properties and possessions but rather the “placing of them under a steward (householder) for care and gain.”

He gives one servant five talents, another two talents and another one talent, according to their own several abilities (Gr. ‘idios dunamis’ meaning private and separate force). Here Christ does not give spiritual gifts, but rather that which empowers the gifts that the believer already has. This relationship then shows a partnership between the Holy Spirit and the believer. The outworking of this double portion of the Spirit through the empowered abilities of the believer is for the purpose to gain more talents (a wise man wins souls [Proverbs 11:30]). However, this outworking cannot occur until the elected believer comes to realize the Holy Spirit provides the power and wisdom of the double portion of oil (“epignosis” from the Word), while the elected believer provides his personal gifts and commitment (“several ability”).  Also this outworking cannot occur until the elected believer comes to rest in the power of the Holy Spirit who will produce this work through him (Philippians 2:12-13).

The three servants here speak of believers who have a variety of abilities to minister to others through the Word. Some have more ability than others. In our parable two out of the three servants received the same reward, even though one had five talents and the other had two talents. This is a principle of the Judgment Seat of Christ which says all believers will be held accountable for that which was given to them. Since both servants in this parable received talents on the basis of their abilities and both gained a double amount of that which was given, then both would receive the same reward. Here our Lord rewards both servants by giving them the title of “good and faithful servant” and inviting them to enter the joy of the Lord for the purpose of ruling over “many things.”

The “joy of the Lord” in this parable speaks of Christ’s coming kingship over the earth (Hebrews 12:2) and the "entering in" speaks of having a part of that rule with Christ. The key to where these believers will rule and reign in the kingdom is found in the word “faithful.”

Because this word appears in the title that Jesus used to address them, they are counted as being in the “faithful” who will be selected out of the “chosen” (see Revelation 17:14). Moreover, since they are not a member of the highest rank of the faithful, they must be those who will fill the second highest rank.

Like the other parables the order in which this parable was given has great significance. It was placed in the Word just after the parable of the “ten virgins.” This shows that it is interpreted in the light of the five wise virgins and the double portion of the Spirit. Without this knowledge we would be unable to understand the meaning of the talents (epignosis) here.

This brings us to the third servant who was cast into “outer darkness.” When his time came to be judged by the Lord, he accused the Lord of being “hard” by wanting him to accomplish impossible tasks, i.e. “reaping where thou hast not sown” and “gathering where thou hast not strawed.” This servant then represents all believers who will arrive at the Judgment Seat of Christ without any acceptable works because they found the work of God on earth impossible for them to do.

In studying this servant’s life in the light of the other two servants we see that his problem was in failing to understand the partnership between God and himself. He did not know that his talent was to be taken to the marketplace for trading, not to the fields for harvesting.

Here is the key to understand this. We are not to produce works for God through our own self-efforts, but rather allow Him to produce His own works through us as we rest in Him (by faith). God wants us in the marketplace daily (the Word) in order to trade portions of our life for more of the double portion of oil, i.e. the Holy Spirit (talents or ‘epignosis’). He also wants us to exercise our personal abilities by placing those talents received in the bank (the Holy Spirit) and then trusting the Holy Spirit to do His own work through us with that talent, i.e. make “spiritual interest.” This activity in the marketplace and the bank speaks of gaining knowledge and wisdom, and then producing fruit through its interest. Apparently this is what the other two servants had done and as a result gained other talents. God simply said to the one servant who hid his talent, “Why didn’t you give my talent to the exchangers (put my money in the bank) so that when I arrived I would have gained my talent with interest?”

Our Lord called this servant a “wicked” and “slothful” (Gr. ‘poneros’ and ‘okeros’ meaning hurtful and tardy, i.e. lazy) and took his talent away and gave it to the one having ten (a principle of loss at the judgment seat). Then the Lord had this servant bound hand and foot (removal of all future service for a thousand years) and cast into “the outer darkness,” thus showing that he would be worthless during the millennium.

(Dear reader, as we complete this parable study, let us challenge you to take the talents that God has given you [epignosis] to the marketplace [the place where you exercise your several abilities and trade your present life for more]. There deposit them in the bank of the Holy Spirit and then rest while He produces His own interest through your life. This means that whatever God has called you to do you should do it by the personal abilities of your outward man, while the inward man sits down [rests] in Christ. By doing so you wait on Him to supply the needed power to accomplish His own task and to get His own results. God will never be pleased with our own self-efforts in attempting to do His work. He only honors His own works that He produces through us while we are resting [trusting] in Him.)

For Satan’s present kingdom organization see Organizational Set-up of Satan’s Rule over the Earth in this site.  Also see God's Transition of Satan's Kingdom to Christ's Kingdom in this site.  For more on Outer Darkness see Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Ch. 21, and in this site Fate of Non-Overcomers in Outer Darkness and Cast Outside into Outer Darkness.

Also the following Word Document in my computer is informative on parables, and is SAFE to open and print:  MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM by Gary Whipple.docx

THE PARABLE OF THE POUNDS
(LUKE 19:12-27)

This is the final parable among five that are used by our Lord to show the structure of the kingdom. It was given to show the lowest rank of rule in the coming kingdom, as well as the levels of obscurity below it. There are a total of four classes of people within this parable, with only three being discussed here. The fourth will be discussed in a later chapter.


The Parable

“He said therefore, A certain nobleman went into a far country to receive for himself a kingdom, and to return. (13) And he called his ten servants, and delivered them ten pounds, and said unto them, Occupy till I come. (14) But his citizens hated him, and sent a message after him, saying, We will not have this {man} to reign over us. (15) And it came to pass, that when he was returned, having received the kingdom, then he commanded these servants to be called unto him, to whom he had given the money, that he might know how much every man had gained by trading. (16) Then came the first, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained ten pounds. (17) And he said unto him, Well, thou good servant: because thou hast been faithful in a very little, have thou authority over ten cities. (18) And the second came, saying, Lord, thy pound hath gained five pounds. (19) And he said likewise to him, Be thou also over five cities. (20) And another came, saying, Lord, behold, {here is} thy pound, which I have kept laid up in a napkin: (21) For I feared thee, because thou art an austere man: thou takest up that thou layest not down, and reapest that thou didst not sow. (22) And he saith unto him, Out of thine own mouth will I judge thee, {thou} wicked servant. Thou knewest that I was an austere man, taking up that I laid not down, and reaping that I did not sow: (23) Wherefore then gayest not thou my money into the bank, that at my coming I might have required mine own with usury? (24) And he said unto them that stood by, Take from him the pound, and give {it} to him that hath ten pounds. (25) (And they said unto him, Lord, he hath ten pounds.) (26) For I say unto you, That unto every one which hath shall be given; and from him that hath not, even that he hath shall be taken away from him. (27) But those mine enemies, which would not that I should reign over them, bring hither, and slay {them} before me” (Luke 19:12- 27).

INTERPRETATION

The reader should have no difficulty understanding this parable if he understood the parable of the talents. The major difference is that whereas the fourth parable deals with three servants, this parable deals with ten. Moreover, whereas the fourth parable emphasizes the second portion of the Spirit (epignosis), this parable speaks only of the first portion of the Spirit (gnosis).

At the beginning we recognize Jesus Christ as the nobleman who went into a far country to receive a kingdom. This occurred when He ascended to heaven, sat down at the right hand of His father and began His “high priestly” duties. However, before He left He did three things. First He called His ten servants. This means He saved all of those who will be saved. Secondly He gave unto them ten pounds, or one pound to each of the ten servants. The number ten means “all.” It is the number God uses to identify all those who will be saved during the church period. The ten pounds however represents that which Christ gives to every Christian equally -- the Holy Spirit (first portion of oil). Thirdly our Lord tells them in the parable to occupy till He comes. The Greek word for occupy is “pramateuomai” which means to busy oneself with trading. Therefore the teaching of this parable is that every believer is too busy himself with trading the pound in order to gain more pounds.

On the return of the nobleman (the Second Coming of Christ) he called together His servants in order for them to give an account of their pounds (the Judgment Seat of Christ). Out of the ten our Lord reveals the judgment of three of these servants. The first gained ten pounds, or ten times that which was given to him. He was called “good servant” (not good and faithful as in the parable of the talents) and was given the authority over ten cities. The second gained five and likewise was called a “good servant” and was given authority over five cities. The third offered the same excuse as the one servant in the fourth parable (Talents) and as a result lost all power to rule in the kingdom.

A careful examination between this parable and the fourth parable will show a marked difference between the two. Whereas the servants of the fourth parable were given a special power (second portion of oil) in accordance to their own abilities, all of the servants of the fifth parable had equal amounts of power (the first portion of oil) based on the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Whereas the two servants of the fourth parable received the same reward, those of the fifth parable received different amounts of rewards. The reason for this is the two servants of the fourth had talents given to them based on their abilities (one five, the other two) yet they both doubled their amount by trading. Contrariwise the servants of the fifth parable all had the same amount (one pound each) with one gaining ten pounds and the other five pounds. The result of which shows that both gained reward in direct proportion to their work.

The five and ten cities awarded to the two servants of our fifth parable represent the rulership over territory in the coming kingdom. Those who will rule such cities under Christ will rule from the third level (third highest from the top) in the kingdom structure. They are the antithesis of the third level of Satan’s present kingdom which is identified in Ephesians 6:12 as “rulers of darkness” (or world rulers in obscurity).

Now let us compare the two servants who each lost his reward (the servants of the fourth and fifth parables). In the fourth parable the servant hid his talent in the earth, whereas in the fifth parable the servant hid his pound in a napkin. The Greek word for napkin is “soudarion” which means “sweatcloth.” With this notable difference we learn that the servant of the fourth parable refused to do any work whatsoever (hid his talent in the ground), whereas the servant of the fifth possibly hid his pound (the first portion of oil, i.e. Holy Spirit) in his own self-efforts (represented by his sweatcloth) in an attempt to produce the work himself. Like the servant of the fourth parable this servant never learned that the Lord wanted him to take his pound to the bank (the Holy Spirit) and let it earn interest, i.e. let the Holy Spirit (the pound) do the work through him by faith. Thus his outward man should have been a witness in this life, while his inner man rested in the Holy Spirit to supply the power of his witness.

In addition the unprofitable servants of each of the parables are called by different titles from God. For whereas the unprofitable servant of the fourth parable was called “wicked” and “slothful,” the unprofitable servant of the fifth parable was called only “wicked” (not slothful). The reason for this will be readily seen in the work that each was to perform. For whereas the servant of the fourth parable did nothing (no works), not even self-works, the servant of the fifth parable worked. He was not lazy. He just worked in his own efforts, i.e. man-made church programs. Thus the wicked and slothful servant was given a greater punishment for no works in contrast to the wicked servant who worked in his own efforts. For whereas the servant of the fourth parable was bound hand and foot and cast out of the kingdom, the servant of the fifth parable was left unbound, but excluded from the kingdom. It is the belief of this writer that both servants will be in “the outer darkness,” or obscurity (possible in the fourth level of the kingdom structure). A place of no reward, power or worth. A place where they can only be spectators of the kingdom rather than participants in it for one thousand years. The obvious difference between these two servants is that one servant is bound and the other is left unbound. The reader may ask why Jesus didn’t use the term “the outer darkness” here in Luke? The answer is that this term is peculiar to Matthew only. The three times it is mentioned in scripture are all in Matthew.

As this section of study culminates we pray that the spiritual eyes of the reader have been opened in these parables and that he may order his life to be lived in the light of these truths. The church of the twentieth century largely does not believe in the coming kingdom, and as such is busily trying to establish its own kingdom of God through the organization of the church and its own efforts. They point to their evangelization, their church building programs, their great amounts of money and their self-programs of getting great numbers of people. With this they are saying “...we are increased with goods and have need of nothing” (Revelation 3:17b). And all of the time they are hiding their pound in their own self-efforts (sweat cloth) in order to gain self-glory and the riches of this world.

From chapter 7 of Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture, also The Way of Soul Salvation in this site, the reader learns of a second gate and a narrow path (Christian race course). This is the gate that opens into “standing grace,” whereby we are to run the race that God has set before us by faith! A race in which God does all of the work through us by His Holy Spirit, and as such receives all of the glory for Himself. When one learns to live his Christian life this way, then even his thoughts will be established by God (Proverbs 16:3):

Commit your works to the LORD, And your thoughts will be established. 

The following Word Document is informative on parables, and is SAFE to open and print:  MYSTERIES OF THE KINGDOM by Gary Whipple.docx

 The following is a simple summary of the above five parables in a Table format!

From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.

Is the Bible truly God's Word?
By Got Questions

There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin!

The answer to this question will not only determine how we view the Bible and its importance to our lives, but also it will ultimately have an eternal impact on us. If the Bible is truly God’s Word, then we should cherish it, study it, obey it, and fully trust it. If the Bible is the Word of God, then to dismiss it is to dismiss God Himself.

The fact that God gave us the Bible is an evidence and illustration of His love for us. The term “revelation” simply means that God communicated to mankind what He is like and how we can have a right relationship with Him. These are things that we could not have known had God not divinely revealed them to us in the Bible. Although God’s revelation of Himself in the Bible was given progressively over approximately 1500 years, it has always contained everything man needs to know about God in order to have a right relationship with Him. If the Bible is truly the Word of God, then it is the final authority for all matters of faith, religious practice, and morals.

The question we must ask ourselves is how can we know that the Bible is the Word of God and not just a good book? What is unique about the Bible that sets it apart from all other religious books ever written? Is there any evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word? These types of questions must be seriously examined if we are to determine the validity of the Bible’s claim to be the very Word of God, divinely inspired, and totally sufficient for all matters of faith and practice. There can be no doubt that the Bible does claim to be the very Word of God. This is clearly seen in Paul’s commendation to Timothy:

“… from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:15-17).

There are both internal and external evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word. The internal evidences are those things within the Bible that testify of its divine origin. One of the first internal evidences that the Bible is truly God’s Word is seen in its unity. Even though it is really sixty-six individual books, written on three continents, in three different languages, over a period of approximately 1500 years, by more than 40 authors who came from many walks of life, the Bible remains one unified book from beginning to end without contradiction. This unity is unique from all other books and is evidence of the divine origin of the words which God moved men to record.

Another of the internal evidences that indicates the Bible is truly God’s Word is the prophecies contained within its pages. The Bible contains hundreds of detailed prophecies relating to the future of individual nations including Israel, certain cities, and mankind. Other prophecies concern the coming of One who would be the Messiah, the Savior of all who would believe in Him. Unlike the prophecies found in other religious books or those by men such as Nostradamus, biblical prophecies are extremely detailed. There are over three hundred prophecies concerning Jesus Christ in the Old Testament. Not only was it foretold where He would be born and His lineage, but also how He would die and that He would rise again. There simply is no logical way to explain the fulfilled prophecies in the Bible other than by divine origin. There is no other religious book with the extent or type of predictive prophecy that the Bible contains.

A third internal evidence of the divine origin of the Bible is its unique authority and power. While this evidence is more subjective than the first two, it is no less a powerful testimony of the divine origin of the Bible. The Bible’s authority is unlike any other book ever written. This authority and power are best seen in the way countless lives have been transformed by the supernatural power of God’s Word. Drug addicts have been cured by it, homosexuals set free by it, derelicts and deadbeats transformed by it, hardened criminals reformed by it, sinners rebuked by it, and hate turned to love by it. The Bible does possess a dynamic and transforming power that is only possible because it is truly God’s Word.

There are also external evidences that indicate the Bible is truly the Word of God. One is the historicity of the Bible. Because the Bible details historical events, its truthfulness and accuracy are subject to verification like any other historical document. Through both archaeological evidences and other writings, the historical accounts of the Bible have been proven time and time again to be accurate and true. In fact, all the archaeological and manuscript evidence supporting the Bible makes it the best-documented book from the ancient world. The fact that the Bible accurately and truthfully records historically verifiable events is a great indication of its truthfulness when dealing with religious subjects and doctrines and helps substantiate its claim to be the very Word of God.

Another external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the integrity of its human authors. As mentioned earlier, God used men from many walks of life to record His words. In studying the lives of these men, we find them to be honest and sincere. The fact that they were willing to die often excruciating deaths for what they believed testifies that these ordinary yet honest men truly believed God had spoken to them. The men who wrote the New Testament and many hundreds of other believers (1 Corinthians 15:6) knew the truth of their message because they had seen and spent time with Jesus Christ after He had risen from the dead. Seeing the risen Christ had a tremendous impact on them. They went from hiding in fear to being willing to die for the message God had revealed to them. Their lives and deaths testify to the fact that the Bible truly is God’s Word.

A final external evidence that the Bible is truly God’s Word is the indestructibility of the Bible. Because of its importance and its claim to be the very Word of God, the Bible has suffered more vicious attacks and attempts to destroy it than any other book in history. From early Roman Emperors like Diocletian, through communist dictators and on to modern-day atheists and agnostics, the Bible has withstood and outlasted all of its attackers and is still today the most widely published book in the world.

Throughout time, skeptics have regarded the Bible as mythological, but archeology has confirmed it as historical. Opponents have attacked its teaching as primitive and outdated, but its moral and legal concepts and teachings have had a positive influence on societies and cultures throughout the world. It continues to be attacked by pseudo-science, psychology, and political movements, yet it remains just as true and relevant today as it was when it was first written. It is a book that has transformed countless lives and cultures throughout the last 2000 years. No matter how its opponents try to attack, destroy, or discredit it, the Bible remains; its veracity and impact on lives is unmistakable. The accuracy which has been preserved despite every attempt to corrupt, attack, or destroy it is clear testimony to the fact that the Bible is truly God’s Word and is supernaturally protected by Him. It should not surprise us that, no matter how the Bible is attacked, it always comes out unchanged and unscathed. After all, Jesus said,

 “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away” (Mark 13:31).

After looking at the evidence, one can say without a doubt that, yes, the Bible is truly God’s Word.

Got Questions - Is the Bible truly God's Word?

Logos are thoughts expressed in writing or speech, i.e., words are thoughts, written or spoken, which must be interpreted by the one reading or hearing those words.

Logos!

G3056
Logos n. (loh’-gos)

From G3004; something said (including the thought); by implication a topic (subject of discourse), also reasoning (the mental faculty) or motive; by extension a computation; specifically (with the article in John 1) the Divine Expression (that is, Christ): - account, cause, communication, X concerning, doctrine, fame, X have to do, intent, matter, mouth, preaching, question, reason, + reckon, remove, say (-ing), shew, X speaker, speech, talk, thing, + none of these things move me, tidings, treatise, utterance, word, work.

Total KJV occurrences: 330

Logos are thoughts expressed in writing or speech, i.e., words are thoughts, written or spoken, which must be interpreted by the one reading or hearing those words.

Logos n. (loh'-gos) From Greek: word, reason, discourse, from legein to speak.

Signifies in classical Greek both "reason" and "word."  The translation "thought" is probably the best equivalent for the Greek term since it denotes, on the one hand, the faculty of reason, or the thought inwardly conceived in the mind; and, on the other hand, the thought outwardly expressed through the vehicle of language,  written or spoken.

A Greek philosopher named Heraclitus first used the term Logos around 600 B.C. to designate the divine reason or plan which coordinates a changing universe. This word was well suited to John's purpose in John 1.

Thoughts [logos] must be interpreted:

Hermeneutics n. (hur-muh-noo'-tiks) (used with a singular or plural verb) The theory and methodology of interpretation, especially of scriptural text.  The branch of theology that deals with principles of interpretation of words, using exegesis while keeping in mind words are an outward expression of thoughts (logos)!

Exegesis n. (ek-si-jee' seez) Gk. An explanation or critical analysis of text (especially text [scripture] of the Bible) using hermeneutics.

Eisegesis n. (ahy-si-jee'-seez) Gk. An interpretation of a text (as of the Bible) by reading into it one's own ideas (adj. eisegetical).

Theology n. (thee-ol'-uh-jee) From Greek theology: theo [God] + logy [logo].  The study of the nature of God and religious truth; rational inquiry into religious questions.  Theology is a set of intellectual and emotional commitments with regard to God and man which dictate one’s beliefs and actions. It's intellectual in that it provides for a reasoned study and defense of one’s beliefs about God. It's emotional in that it approaches the subject as humans with deep subjective commitments to personal experiences and feelings about God.

Apologetics n. (uh-pol-uh-jet'-iks) (used with a singular verb)  The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines by the systematic use of reason.  Religious apologetics is the effort to show that the preferred faith is not irrational, that believing in it is not against human reason and that in fact the religion contains values and promotes ways of life more in accord with human nature than other faiths or beliefs.
What is THE Logos?

Logos is the Greek term translated as “word,” “speech,” “principle,” or “thought.” In Greek philosophy, it also referred to a universal, divine reason or the mind of God.

In the New Testament, the Gospel of John begins, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1-4). Here it is clear that the “Word” or Logos is a reference to Jesus Christ.

John argues that Jesus, the Word or Logos, is eternal and is God. Further, all creation came about by and through Jesus, who is presented as the source of life. Amazingly, this Logos came and lived among us: “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:14).

John’s Gospel begins by using the Greek idea of a “divine reason” or “the mind of God” as a way to connect with the readers of his day and introduce Jesus to them as God. Greek philosophy may have used the word in reference to divine reason, but John used it to note many of the attributes of Jesus. In John’s use of the Logos concept, we find that

-Jesus is eternal (“In the beginning was the Word”)
-Jesus was with God prior to coming to earth (“the Word was with God”)
-Jesus is God (“the Word was God.”)
-Jesus is Creator (“All things were made through him”)
-Jesus is the Giver of Life (“In him was life”)
-Jesus became human to live among us (“the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”)

Further, the opening of John’s Gospel carries a striking resemblance to Genesis 1:1.

In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him…” (John 1:1).

(The corresponding theme of “light” is also used in both Genesis 1 and John 1.)

Logos is used in many ways, yet in John’s Gospel Logos is a clear reference to Jesus, the God who both created us and lived among us. Logos became a theological term important to Christians in the early church and remains a concept of significant influence today.

Now a new emotion swept over the jailer. His fears of losing his job and perhaps his life gave way to deep conviction of sin. He was now afraid to meet God in his sins. He cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:29-30)

What must I do to be Saved?

My favorite:  Now a new emotion swept over the jailer. His fears of losing his job and perhaps his life gave way to deep conviction of sin. He was now afraid to meet God in his sins. He cried, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:29-30)

This question must precede every genuine case of conversion. A man must know he is lost before he can be saved. It is premature to tell a man how to be saved until first he can say from his heart, “I truly deserve to go to hell.”

The only people in the NT who were ever told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ were convicted sinners. Now that the jailer was thoroughly broken up over his sins, he was told: “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” (Acts 16:31)

There is no suggestion here that his family would be saved automatically if he trusted Christ. The meaning is that if he believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, he would be saved, and his household would be saved in the same way.

 “Believe ... and you will be saved, and let your household do the same.”

Many people today seem to have difficulty knowing what it means to believe. However, when a sinner realizes he is lost, helpless, hopeless, hell-bound, and when he is told to believe on Christ as Lord and Savior, he knows exactly what it means. It is the only thing left that he can do!

Aside:

Salvation by grace, carried to the unsaved, is the presentation of this simple gospel message.  The unsaved are to be told “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 2:1-2; 15:3).  Christ has paid the penalty for sin.  The work of redemption has been accomplished on man’s behalf, and God is satisfied.  Provision has been made for unredeemed man to be saved by receiving that which Christ has done on his behalf.  And he does this by simply believing on the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 16:31).

Redeemed (saved) man, on the other hand, is to hear an entirely different message.  He is to be taught the reason for his salvation.  He is to be told that Christ has gone away “to receive for Himself a kingdom”; he is to be told that during the time of his Lord’s absence he is to be busy with the talents and pounds that the Lord delivered to and left in charge of His servants (Christians); he is to be told that a day of reckoning is coming; he is to be told that the Lord will return to judge His servants on the basis of their faithfulness in carrying out His business during His time of absence; and he is to be told that the outcome of this judgment will determine every Christians’ position in the coming kingdom (Matthew 25:14-30; Luke 19:11-27). 

And it is within this overall message to the saved that one finds the salvation of the soul taught in Scripture, not within the message of salvation by grace, proclaimed to the unsaved.

Christians have a dual citizenship - on earth and in heaven - and
our citizenship in heaven ought to make us better people here on earth.

-0-

Zip

Nada

Nothing

No works required

Just Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ

And experience God's gift of grace which

guarantees one a heavenly eternal life and

presents one the opportunity to run the race

For the prize of ruling and reigning

With Christ As his bride

In the millennium! 

(Note:  Works are required for both Spirit and Soul Aspects of Salvation, just not works of "self".  Works for the Spiritual Aspect were fulfilled by Jesus on the cross.  Works for the Soul Aspect are being performed by the Holy Spirit on a daily basis for those who have received the Spiritual Aspect and are allowing the Holy Spirit to produce righteous works through them.)

Entering the Kingdom is the prize for running and winning the race.
We must run to win.

It is Finished!
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

When Christ cried out from the Cross, “It is finished” [John 19:30], it is the same tense used in Ephesians 2:8 relative to man’s eternal salvation, based on Christ’s finished work at Calvary “. . . you have been saved . .  .”   A person having believed on the Lord Jesus Christ has been saved in past time, based on a finished work in past time.  Both man’s salvation and the finished work that makes this salvation possible exist during present time in a finished state.  And, since that is the case, man’s salvation is just as secure, complete, and unchangeable as the finished work upon which it rests.

This is the reason why that once a man has been saved, God never deals with him on the basis of his eternal salvation again.  To do so, God would have to go back and deal with His Son’s finished work — an impossibility.     At this point in time, everything has been finished, completed; and, accordingly, everything related to man’s eternal salvation can only continue to exist forever in that same finished state.  All of God’s dealings with saved man can only have to do with present and future aspects of salvation [with the Messianic Era in view], never with the past aspect of salvation [with eternal salvation in view].

(Excerpted from Silence in Heaven (3), in this site.)

Hebrews, Jews, and Gentiles Origins
By Got Questions

"Who are the Hebrews?"

The Hebrews are peoples descended from Abraham. The origin of the word Hebrew is thought to come from the proper name “Eber,” listed in Genesis 10:24 as the great-grandson of Shem and an ancestor of Abraham. Another etymology traces the original root word back to the phrase “from the other side”—in that case, Hebrew would be a word designating an “immigrant,” which Abraham certainly was (Genesis 12:1, 4-5).

From Shem, through Arpachshad and Shelah, came Eber, the eponymous ancestor of the Hebrews; and Eber’s descendant, through Peleg, Reu, Sereg, and Nahor, was Terah, the father of Abram and his brothers Nahor and Haran. It becomes clear that, if “Hebrews” are “descendants of Eber,” then others besides those of Abraham’s line could possibly be included (see Genesis 11:10-26).

Today, a “Hebrew” is usually thought of as any member of a group of ancient people who traced their lineage from Abraham though Isaac and Jacob. And that is how the Bible uses the term. In fact, Abraham is the first person called a “Hebrew” in the Bible (Genesis 14:13). After 400 years in Egypt, the Hebrews were recognizable as a distinct people group (Exodus 1:19). The Philistines in Canaan used the term “Hebrews” (1 Samuel 29:3); Jonah identified himself as “a Hebrew” (Jonah 1:9); and, hundreds of years later, Paul was still using the same identification (Philippians 3:5).

Abraham’s grandson Jacob’s name was changed to “Israel” (Genesis 35:10), so Jacob and his descendants could be called the first “Israelites.” Jacob’s fourth son was named “Judah,” and his descendants were called “Judahites” or “Judeans.” Later, the name “Judean” was shortened to “Jew.”

Technically, Jews are Israelite Hebrews from the region of Judea—they come from Abraham (a Hebrew) and Jacob (an Israelite), through Judah (a Jew); thus, strictly speaking, all Israelite Hebrews are not Jews. After Solomon’s death, the nation of Israel split into two kingdoms: in the Northern Kingdom were the “non-Jewish” Hebrew Israelites (descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob through ten of his sons); and in the Southern Kingdom were the “Jewish” Hebrew Israelites (descendants of Jacob’s other two sons who lived in Judea). This represents a very narrow definition of terms, however. In common usage, Jews, Israelites, and Hebrews are all words referring to God’s chosen people, the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Got Questions - First Hebrew?

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"Who was the first Jew?"

Part of the difficulty with this question is the fact that the word Jew does not occur in the Bible until 2 Kings 16:6 KJV and 2 Kings 25:25 in most other Bible translations. In those instances, the Hebrew word would likely be better translated “men of Judah.” The word Jew is much more commonplace in the books of Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. The usage of the word Jew in those books helps explain the origin of the word and why it was used.

The answer to the question “Who was the first Jew?” depends on what exactly is meant by the word Jew. Originally, God’s chosen people were known as the Hebrews. Later, after they settled in the Promised Land and formed a nation, they were known as the Israelites. The term “Jew” did not come into use until after the ten northern tribes were exiled to Assyria and Judah was exiled to Babylon. In the later stages of the captivity (Esther) and in the early stages of the return to the land of Israel (Ezra and Nehemiah), the tribe of Judah was dominant. The word Jew developed as a shortening of the word Judah. But the word Jew was used as a descriptor for more than just the tribe of Judah. The dominance of the tribe of Judah in the return to the Promised Land resulted in all of the Israelites, people from all 12 of the tribes, being referred to as “Jews.”

So, who was the first Jew? If by “Jew” we mean “Hebrew,” Abraham was the first Jew. If by “Jew” we mean “of the tribe of Judah,” Judah was the first Jew. If by “Jew” we mean “the first person in the Bible to be referred to as a Jew,” the nameless Jews in 2 Kings 16-25 were the first Jews. Generally speaking, people today use the term Jew to refer to “a person who is of the chosen people of Israel.” With that in mind, Abraham should be considered the first Jew.

Got Question - First Jew?

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"When did the separation of humanity into Jews and Gentiles occur?"

Although there is no direct mention of the time when the Jews and Gentiles became separated, there are two primary lines of thought. First, some view the separation occurring with the descendants of Adam and Eve. According to this view, the chosen line of Seth was always separate from the rest of humanity. Therefore, Seth’s descendants were considered “Jews,” while the rest of humanity were considered Gentiles. Second, some view the separation of Jews and Gentiles as occurring with Abraham, when God formally chose Abraham to be the father of His chosen nation.

It is clear that there was always a chosen line of ancestry. This is evident from the fact that the Book of Genesis only gives the genealogy of Seth (although Cain’s genealogy is mentioned briefly), ignoring all the other descendants of Adam and Eve. The line of Seth is traced all the way to Noah (Genesis 5), then Abraham (Genesis 11), then the 12 sons of Jacob (Exodus 1), then through the reigns of all the kings of Judah (1 and 2 Kings). When we arrive at the time of Jesus, the chosen line of Seth reaches its ultimate goal in the birth of the Messiah (Matthew 1; Luke 3). So, yes, there was always a chosen line, but that does not mean there has always been a separation of Jews and Gentiles. Until the time of Abraham, and then fully outlined in the time of Moses, the chosen line was not commanded not to intermarry with the rest of humanity.

It seems, then, that the formal separation of Jews and Gentiles did not occur until God called Abraham to be the father of His chosen nation, Israel (Genesis 12). Many view Abraham as the first Jew, even though the precise term Jew did not come into use until after the return from exile when the tribe of Judah (“Jew”-dah) was dominant. However, since Abraham’s son Ishmael was not of the chosen line, and since Abraham’s grandson Esau was not of the chosen line, a more accurate placement of the division of Jews from Gentiles would be with Jacob, whose name was changed by God to Israel (Genesis 32:28). All of the descendants of Jacob, through his 12 sons (the fathers of the 12 tribes of Israel), were members of God’s chosen nation. Therefore, it seems most biblically sound to place the division of Jew and Gentile at Jacob, the father of Israel.

What was God’s purpose in separating Jews from Gentiles? God’s desire for the Jews was that they would go and teach the Gentiles about Him. Israel was to be a nation of priests, prophets, and missionaries to the world. God’s intent was for Israel to be a distinct people, a nation who pointed others toward God and His promised provision of a Redeemer, Messiah, and Savior.

Got Questions - Jews and Gentiles Separated

God has set Israel aside for a dispensation; and He is, today, dealing with the one new man “in Christ,” not with Israel. 

Gentiles, Jews and the New Nation
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

There is absolutely no place in Christendom for distinctions to be made between saved Jews and saved Gentiles. Both are new creations “in Christ,” part of the one new man, wherein distinctions between those comprising this new man cannot exist [Galatians 3:26-29; Ephesians 2:11-15; 3:1-6].

But in Christendom today, completely contrary to Scripture, certain individuals from both groups [from saved Jews, and from saved Gentiles] attempt to form distinctions between the two groups.

For example, there are congregations of saved Jews calling themselves “Messianic Jews” or “completed Jews” [both misnomers], distinguishing themselves from saved Gentiles. And there are groups comprised of saved Gentiles who look askance at saved Jews, somewhat forcing these saved Jews to meet together in separate places, often forming the previously mentioned “Messianic congregations.”

All of this — by saved Jews or by saved Gentiles — forms no more than vain attempts to build up a middle wall which has been broken down by Christ Himself [Ephesians 2:14].

And, as well, there is absolutely no place in Christendom for the new creation “in Christ” to go back to the old creation in Jacob [cf. Isaiah 43:1, 7; 2 Corinthians 5:17] and attempt to bring things from this old creation over into the new [cf. Matthew 9:16-17].

God has set Israel aside for a dispensation; and He is, today, dealing with the one new man “in Christ,” not with Israel. And for the one new man to go back to Israel [a nation set aside] and bring things having to do with this nation over into things having to do with the one new man [the Law, forms, ceremonies, etc.] is not only completely out of place but it serves to break down distinctions which God established between the two creations, adding to an already existing confusion.

Excerpt from Rapture Part II in this site.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:  Gentiles, Jews and the New Nation.docx

Perhaps the greatest evidence today of Christ's resurrection is the work that he is still doing in the lives of everyday people.  In the name of Jesus, people are still being healed emotionally and physically and spiritually by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.

Evidences of Jesus Christ's Resurrection!
K-House eNews by Chuck Missler

"I claim to be an historian. My approach to Classics is historical. And I tell you that the evidence for the life, the death, and the resurrection of Christ is better authenticated than most of the facts of ancient history ..." ~ E. M. Blaiklock, Professor of Classics, Auckland University

The Resurrection of Christ is the most powerful event in history.  It has affected the last 2000 years of history and politics, from peasants to kings to nations.  Christianity has spread across the entire world, into every country and into a vast number of ethnic groups and languages. Billions of people have experienced the life-giving, healing, forgiveness and freedom offered by God because Jesus Christ conquered death and rose again from the grave.

The apostle Paul wrote in 1 Corinthians 15:12-22 that without the resurrection of Christ, the Christian faith is useless. "And if Christ be not raised," Paul wrote to the Corinthians, "your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished. If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable."

There are many skeptics who disregard the resurrection of Jesus Christ of Nazareth as a fable.  However, the evidence for Jesus' resurrection is extremely strong, even to the point of converting some who sought to disprove it:

The Empty Tomb: Though well-trained Roman soldiers guarded the tomb of Jesus Christ, it was empty 3 days after Jesus' death as Jesus had repeatedly foretold (Matthew 12:40, Mark 8:31).  The guards had fled (a death penalty offense). The massive stone had been rolled away, and the body was gone – and was never produced by the enemies of the Christians.  The linen grave clothes in which the Jews bury their dead were still in the tomb, undisturbed. From the Jewish historian Josephus to a compilation of 5th-century Jewish writings called the "Toledoth Jeshu", even Jewish sources and traditions admit that the tomb was empty.  The body was never found.

Living Witnesses:  There were a multitude of witnesses who saw Jesus Christ alive after his death.  The disciples, the travelers on the road to Emmaus and a number of women all spoke to Jesus alive. Thomas doubted until he was able to put his fingers into Jesus' wounds (John 20:26-27).  He later spread the Gospel all the way to India.  The apostle Paul tells of 500 people to whom Jesus appeared at one time, most of whom were still alive and available for questioning when Paul wrote his letter  (1 Corinthians 15:6).  When several people testify in a courtroom that they witnessed an event, and their accounts are found consistent with each other, their testimony is considered factual information.  Jesus Christ was seen alive many times by hundreds of different people over the course of forty days after his death (John 20-21, Acts 1:3).

The Disciples:  Christ's followers, who had been fearful and who had run away when Jesus was arrested, were completely changed after the Resurrection and became courageous witnesses.  Peter, who had denied knowing Christ when recognized by a simple servant girl, became the powerfully bold leader of those who had seen Christ alive, speaking to the thousands gathered in Jerusalem for the Feast of Shavuot – Pentecost.  A person may die for a lie if they do not know it is a lie.  But people do not give their lives up and face severe persecution to spread a lie they themselves invented.  The fact that the disciples willingly suffered beatings and persecution and death is strong evidence that they had actually witnessed the resurrection they refused to stop telling people about.

Saul of Tarsus:  A devoutly religious Pharisee, who persecuted the Church and had Christ's followers thrown in prison, Paul had his life absolutely changed by his encounter with Christ.  He became a devoted follower of Christ himself, spreading the Gospel throughout Turkey and Greece in the face of beatings and shipwrecks and imprisonment and, finally, execution.

"If the New Testament were a collection of secular writings, their authenticity would generally be regarded as beyond all doubt."  ~ F. F. Bruce, Manchester University

Skeptics' Arguments Against the Resurrection:

The Hallucination Theory claims that the witnesses who met the resurrected Jesus were all "seeing things" - they were hallucinating.  However, this goes against common sense as well as psychological principles. Five hundred people do not all hallucinate the same thing.  Jesus appeared to many people at many different times.  Also, the body was never produced.

The Swoon Theory argues that Jesus did not die – that he simply fainted from loss of blood and exhaustion.  However, this also goes against common sense.  The Romans were professionals who severely whipped Jesus, hung him on a cross, and then stabbed him in the side with a spear to make sure he was dead. He was in the grave for three days, wrapped head to foot in a burial cloth, without food or water or medical treatment.  When he appeared to his disciples he was completely whole and healthy and his appearance inspired awe and worship that lasted throughout the rest of the disciples' lives.

The Disciples Faked the Resurrection:  Discouraged, fearful fishermen and former tax collectors, whose teacher had been viciously murdered, were in little position to take on a detachment of trained Roman soldiers guarding the tomb.  They would have had to create a fantastic plan in order to fight off or bribe the professional soldiers, raid the tomb, unbind the grave clothes from Christ's body, take the body away, and hide it where nobody would ever find it. The Roman soldiers faced death if they failed in their guard duty, and the disciples had little money for bribing anybody.  Many people would have had to be involved in the conspiracy, and all those involved would not only have known the truth, but would know that they were risking meeting the same fate as their recently crucified leader. And what purpose could it possibly serve, if Jesus were dead?  They would have had nothing to gain.  Their leader was gone and they would have only faced persecution and death for their invented resurrection story.

And again, the disciples' attitudes completely changed after the Resurrection and especially after Pentecost. They became bold and courageous in spreading their message, fearless of beatings or imprisonment. They never sought to fight Rome or to establish any position or kingdom or authority for themselves.  They had nothing to gain, physically speaking.  They simply went about the known world, telling their story in spite of persecution and suffering, poverty and ridicule. Their message quickly spread across the Middle East and Europe and even into Asia without any military conquest or political support involved - and in spite of strong opposition. Only belief and hope based in the reality of their experiences would have produced such dedication in the lives of Christ's followers.

Perhaps the greatest evidence today of Christ's resurrection is the work that he is still doing in the lives of everyday people.  In the name of Jesus, people are still being healed emotionally and physically and spiritually by the same power that raised Jesus Christ from the dead.  Sinners are being freed from the burden and pain and shame of sin – sometimes immediately, sometimes after long years of steady work by the Holy Spirit in their lives.  Hearts are being mended and lives are being turned around.  The best evidence today is the faithful follower of Christ who can say,

 "He saved me, and I am not the person I used to be" just as the apostles testified 2000 years ago.

K-House eNews by Chuck Missler - Evidences Of Jesus Christ's Resurrection

The Holy Spirit indwells all believers (John 14:17; Romans 8:9) and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). For a believer to become unsaved, he would have to be "un-indwelt" and detached from the Body of Christ.  Or as Carol Miller might say, "You can't put a raw egg back into it's shell after it's removed." 
Saved Once, Saved Always?
By Gary Whipple of Beyond the Rapture

Once a person is saved are they always saved? When people come to know Christ as their Savior, they are brought into a relationship with God that guarantees their [spiritual] salvation as eternally secure. Numerous passages of Scripture declare this fact.

Romans 8:30 declares, "And those He predestined, He also called; those He called, He also justified; those He justified, He also glorified." This verse tells us that from the moment God chooses us, it is as if we are glorified in His presence in heaven. There is nothing that can prevent a believer from one day being glorified because God has already purposed it in heaven. Once a person is justified, his salvation of the spirit is guaranteed - he is as secure as if he is already glorified in eternity.

Paul asks two crucial questions in Romans 8:33-34 "Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us." Who will bring a charge against God's elect? No one will, because Christ is our advocate. Who will condemn us? No one will, because Christ, the One who died for us, is the one who condemns. We have both the advocate and judge as our Savior.

Believers are born again (regenerated) when they believe (John 3:3; Titus 3:5). For a Christian to lose his salvation, he would have to be un-regenerated. The Bible gives no evidence that the new birth can be taken away.

The Holy Spirit indwells all believers (John 14:17; Romans 8:9) and baptizes all believers into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:13). For a believer to become unsaved, he would have to be "un-indwelt" and detached from the Body of Christ.

John 3:15 states that whoever believes in Jesus Christ will "have eternal life." If you believe in Christ today and have eternal life, but lose it tomorrow, then it was never "eternal" at all. Hence if you lose your salvation, the promises of eternal life in the Bible would be in error.

For the most conclusive argument, I think Scripture says it best itself, "For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord" (Romans 8:38-39). Remember the same God who saved you is the same God who will keep you. Once we are saved we are always saved. Our spirit salvation is most definitely eternally secure!  Our soul salvation requires us to run the race and be an overcomer!  Soul salvation is not a given!

We have no merit before God. But God, in His mercy, has chosen to author a faith in the hearts of His sheep which, when combined with the sacrificial death and blood atonement provided by the Good Shepherd, results in salvation of the spirit. 

What is Saving (salvific) Grace?
By 
Got Questions

Scripture says that grace is unmerited assistance from the Lord which is necessary “because by the works of the Law no flesh will be justified in His sight” (Romans 3:20), so He gives us His assistance: “But now apart from the Law the righteousness of God has been manifested . . . the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all those who believe” (Romans 3:21-22). Grace also results in our justification by what is called the “means of grace.” The means of grace are those things, like prayer and reading the Bible, which appropriate God’s grace into our lives. For example, according to Acts 20:32, the word of God builds us up and gives us an inheritance among those who are being sanctified. Second Corinthians 9:8 (2 Cor. 9:8) also shows that God’s grace is what enables us to do good deeds. Grace is understood to describe the act of God giving man that which man does not deserve. Grace and mercy (which is the act of God sparing man from the punishment which he does deserve because of his sins) are the major components of what the Bible calls “salvation.”

The phrase “saving grace” fits nicely with the concept of our worth being found only in Christ. He is that “redeeming factor” that makes us acceptable. We have nothing in ourselves that will commend us to God (Romans 3:10-11). And if we are fundamentally unacceptable to God, and if all our righteousness and good works are like a “filthy garment” in His sight (Isaiah 64:6), we will ask, along with Jesus’ disciples, “How can we be saved?” Jesus replied, "What is impossible with men is possible with God” (Luke 18:26-27). The Bible tells us that through belief in Christ—belief in His perfect life (which was fully acceptable to God) and His substitutionary death for His sheep (John 10:11)—we will be saved. Therefore, our “saving grace,” or that which makes us acceptable, is Christ Himself. His work on the cross is what saves us and not our own merit. He is the only thing about us that makes us acceptable to God. He Himself is our worth in God’s sight.

Simply put, saving grace is a grace that saves us, and the only grace that can save anybody is the grace which is applied to the spirit through faith in Christ (Ephesians 2:8). His work is the only merit we have, and His work is our spirit salvation. Be careful of the pitfall here: it is easy to think that, by our faith, we contribute in some small way to our salvation. After all, Christ’s merit must be “applied” to us by faith, and it seems our faith is coming from us.

But, don’t forget Romans 3:10-12 which says that none of us seeks after God and Ephesians 2:8 which says, “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that (faith) not of yourselves, it is the gift of God.” Hebrews 12:12 also tells us that Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith, so our faith itself and our ability to believe and accept His grace is just another gift from God.

To sum up, we have no merit before God. But God, in His mercy, has chosen to author a faith in the hearts of His sheep which, when combined with the sacrificial death and blood atonement provided by the Good Shepherd, results in salvation of the spirit. The saving grace of the sheep is that they are loved by the Shepherd and that He has laid down His life for them, to give them eternal life.

Got Questions - Saving Grace

The best mathematical equation I have seen:
1 cross + 3 nails = 4 given!
 

When a Christian is told to be “ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you [1 Peter 3:15],” he is to be open about the matter, he is to exhibit plainness of speech, he is to be bold and courageous as he expresses himself, and he is to take pride in the matter, for he has something to boast about. 

Salutations by Apostle Paul
By Charles Strong of Bible One

The word “salutation” refers to “a word or phrase serving as the preface or introductory greeting in a letter or speech.” And in the epistles authored by the apostle Paul, the salutations are quite similar in nature. A suitable example follows:

To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 1:7)

A list of the other salutations is at the end of this document. But an interpretation of the nature of the chief element within these epistles and its application to Christians follow.

Content:

Nature

All of Paul’s letters contain two elements, which he avows to the benefit of the letter’s recipients. One is “grace,” the other “peace.” In addition to these two, Paul adds “mercy” to the recipients of three of his letters. But in all, “grace” appears to be the foundational element.

As it relates to Scripture, “grace” is probably best defined as “God’s unmerited favor toward man.” In the Old Testament grace is extended by God toward the entire human race embodied in Adam and Eve, a grace that in time is refused by most of mankind.

(Editor's note:  Also see Bill Gothard's commentary as follows:

Grace is given to every person.

Everyone in the world is given sufficient grace to respond to the light of conscience and of the Gospel. This point is emphasized in Titus 2:11–12:

“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.

See Grace and Faith in this site.)

Still, God endeavored to offer the personification of His love, kindness, and compassion toward mankind to His chosen people, Israel, with the intent that Israel would be a blessing to all mankind (Genesis 12:1-3).

In the New Testament the epitome of God’s grace toward the human race is depicted in His personal sacrifice, that of His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ, on the cross on Calvary. And this grace-act of God (the sacrifice [payment for sin] that could only be accomplished by Christ on the cross, providing an efficacious avenue for man, who is “dead in trespasses and sins” [Ephesians 2:1], to achieve an irreversible condition of eternal life) may only be obtained by a willful act (decision) of faith, apart from any good works (Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

This grace, accepted by faith, insures the individual a permanent peace [lit., rest and comfort in the individual’s relationship] with God as to his eternal state.

Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. (Romans 5:1)

Once a Christian comes to the realization that salvation is both an instant act (spirit-salvation) and an on-going process (soul-salvation) that pertains to his entire being, he then may mature in his spiritual life in order to affect the eventual salvation of his soul, which will result in his present (temporal) peace and his eventual rulership in Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom upon the earth.

Application

The grace and peace that Paul refers to in his salutations is directed only to Christians, those who have already experienced the grace and resulting peace that is derived from their one-time willful act of faith in Christ (Romans 5:1). But once a person is eternally saved (spirit-salvation, an irreversible past salvation that depends wholly upon the work of Christ), he is then to have “access by faith into this grace,” which will result in the “hope [lit., confident expectation] of the glory of God” (resulting in a present peace) that is depicted by the second verse in the fifth chapter of the book of Romans:

through whom [Christ] also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)

Christians are to understand that the comprehensive redemption plan of God for man is multi-faceted, which affects all aspects of man’s tripartite (three-part) nature of spirit, body and soul.

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)

Man is a tripartite being comprised of spirit, soul, and body; and the salvation of man within its complete scope pertains to the salvation of man with respect to his complete being. In Scripture it is revealed that each of these three aspects of man is subject to salvation at different times (past, present, and future). Thus, to understand salvation in its complete scope, one must first realize that man is a tripartite being. It is only then that the God’s comprehensive plan of salvation for man becomes clear, a plan that will then clarify the seemingly contradictory and confounding passages of Scripture throughout the New Testament on the issue.

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. Consider the following three passages:

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)

In Ephesians (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.

Regarding these three passages of Scripture, please note the following from Salvation of the Soul, a book by Arlen L. Chitwood which may be read in whole from its link on the home page of Bible One by Charles Strong:

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 difficulties can be avoided on the one hand or insurmountable problems can result on the other.

Again, it is important to note that once a person becomes a Christian by placing faith in Jesus Christ, he or she can never become “unsaved.” His ultimate destiny is sealed by the Holy Spirit and guaranteed (2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30); although, to completely please God, he must come to an understanding that he is also saved for a purpose, which is analogous to the purpose of man’s creation (Genesis 1:26-28), to have “dominion” [rulership] over God’s province, which will indeed resume upon the establishment of Christ’s kingdom when He returns to earth (Revelation 19:11-20:6). And this possibility of rulership, during the coming Messianic Era, involves the salvation of the soul, a concept that is indeed discussed in Scripture.

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 [Christ] 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)

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)

. . . 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 [8b])

Once a Christian comes to the realization that salvation is both an instant act (spirit-salvation) and an on-going process (soul-salvation) that pertains to his entire being, he then may mature in his spiritual life in order to affect the eventual salvation of his soul, which will result in his present (temporal) peace and his eventual rulership in Christ’s coming Millennial Kingdom upon the earth.

This is in fact the end result referred to by the phrase “hope of the glory of God,” which comes from a standing in the grace recorded in Romans 5:2. And to properly understand this “hope,” it is suggested that the reader carefully consider the following selection from Arlen Chitwood’s Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Appendix II.

That “blessed hope” is not Christ’s return per se [particularly not His return for Christians at the end of this present dispensation, as is often taught]. Rather, that “blessed hope” has to do with the “glorious appearing [lit., the ‘appearing of the glory’] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” [Titus 2:13], a glory that will not be revealed until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation.

The Hope
The God-Provided Encouragement, Motivation

According to 1 Peter 3:15, Christians are to “always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear.” This is called, in introductory verses to the book, “a living hope”; and it is made possible through “the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3). Christ lives, and those “in Christ” are being called to live, beyond resurrection, in glory with Him.

Hope in 1 Peter is associated with “an inheritance” (1 Peter 1:4), a future salvation” (1 Peter 1:5 [“the salvation of your souls”; 1 Peter 1:9]), and “honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:7;  cf. 1 Peter 4:12-13).

When Christ appears, Christians will appear with Him in glory; and it is different facets of this entire matter — ruling as co-heirs with Christ, realizing the salvation of their souls — concerning which Christians are exhorted to always be ready to provide a response to anyone who asks “a reason of the hope” that lies within.

In Hebrews 6:11-12, the “hope” to be held by Christians is laid out in a very simple fashion: that “through faith and patience [present]” they would be able to “inherit the promises [future].”

Exercising “faith” is simply believing that which God has to say about a matter, resulting in the person who exercises faith acting accordingly. Hebrews chapter eleven (Hebrews 11) is the great chapter on faith, toward which everything in the preceding part of the book builds:

By faith Abel . . . By faith Enoch . . . By faith Noah . . . By faith Abraham . . . .”

Then Hebrews chapter twelve (Hebrews 12), immediately following, forms the capstone to the whole matter. The fifth and last of the five major warnings comes into view — a direct reference to the rights of the firstborn (all the warnings have to do with these rights, though viewed from different facets of the overall subject) — and Christians are exhorted to run the race set before them after such a fashion that they will one day be accorded the privilege of realizing these rights.

Exercising “patience [lit., ‘patient endurance’]” has to do with the manner in which one runs the race (cf. Hebrews 12:1). This is a race of the faith (1 Timothy 6:12; Jude 1:3), to be run continuously for the entire duration of the Christian life. This is a race over the long haul — not one for sprinters, but one for marathon runners (though the runners may be called upon, at times, to sprint in the race). And Christians are to properly pace themselves so that they will be able to victoriously complete the race.

The “inheritance,” which is out ahead is the object of a Christians’ hope; and one day realizing that which God has promised is, within the text, to be wrought by and through patient endurance in the race of the faith. Both “faith” and “patient endurance” are inseparably linked after this fashion with the subject at hand — inheriting the promises.

Hebrews 10:23-25 presents a companion thought. In verse twenty-three, Christians are told, “Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering.” And the whole idea, contextually, behind Christians assembling together today (Hebrews 10:25) is to “consider one another” and “to stir up [one another to] love and to good works,” with this hope in view.

Christians are to assemble together to discuss that which lies out ahead, pray for one another, and exhort one another; and they are to do this “so much the more,” as they “see the Day approaching [that coming day when their hope will be realized]” (Hebrews 10:24-25).

This is that “blessed hope” in Titus 2:13, which is to be a purifying hope. And Christians are exhorted to “live soberly, righteously, and godly, in the present age,” with a view to one day realizing this hope (Titus 2:12).

(That “blessed hope” is not Christ’s return per se [particularly not His return for Christians at the end of this present dispensation, as is often taught]. Rather, that “blessed hope” has to do with the “glorious appearing [lit., the ‘appearing of the glory’] of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ” [Titus 2:13], a glory that will not be revealed until Christ returns at the end of the Tribulation.

The construction of the Greek text would necessitate the previous understanding of the verse. In the Greek text, the “appearing of the glory” is a further explanation and description of that “blessed hope”; also in the Greek text, in the latter part of the verse, the construction of two other parts of the verse is the same: “Savior Jesus Christ” is a further explanation and description of “our great God.”

With this in mind, the verse could be better translated as follows:

Awaiting that blessed hope, which is the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior who is Jesus Christ.

And this “hope” surrounds the thought of Christians having a part in Christ’s glory at this time — a central teaching of the book of Titus.)

The thought of “rejoicing” (as in Hebrews 3:6; cf. Philippians 1:26; 2:16), rather than being derived from the meaning of kauchema, appears to be derived more from the result of what this word means. That is, kauchema means “to take pride in something,” resulting in the person having “something to boast about”; and “rejoicing” would emanate out of the person being placed in this position.

With Confidence and Rejoicing

Christians are to hold fast the hope set before them after a revealed twofold fashion — with confidence and rejoicing (Hebrews 3:6). The word “confidence” is a translation of the Greek word, parresia, meaning “to be bold, courageous, open, or plain” about a matter; and the word “rejoicing” is the translation of the Greek word, kauchema, meaning “to take pride in something,” resulting in the person having “something to boast about.”

Parresia is used a number of times in the New Testament in the sense of being “open” or “plain” about matters, with nothing being hidden. Jesus spoke openly and plainly to His disciples and the people of Israel (Mark 8:32; John 16:29; 18:20), though, because of the nation’s rejection of Him, the day came when He “no longer walked openly among the Jews” (John 11:54). And it was because of this same rejection that Jesus had previously begun to teach through the use of parables (Matthew 13:10-15).

Parresia is also used in the New Testament a number of times in the sense of being “bold” or “courageous” about matters. Peter and John, standing before Annas the high priest, and others, exhibited “boldness” as Peter spoke; and those hearing Peter “marveled,” recognizing that both men exhibited these qualities because “they had been with Jesus” (Acts 4:5-13; cf. Acts 4:31).

Then Paul, at the end of his epistle to the Ephesians, requested prayer on his behalf: “that utterance may be given to me, that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel” (Ephesians 6:19).

(Note that the thought of “openness” or “plainness” would also have to be included within the idea conveyed by “boldness” in the preceding passages [cf. 2 Corinthians 3:12; 7:4; see also Philippians 1:20; 1 Timothy 3:13; Hebrews 4:16].)

Then the word kauchema (translated “rejoicing”), or the verb form of this word (kauchaomai), is also used a number of times in the New Testament. The word is translated three different ways in Scripture (KJV) — “boast,” “glory [used in the sense of ‘boast’ or ‘pride’],” and “rejoice” (cf. Romans 2:23; 4:2; 5:2; 2 Corinthians 1:14; 5:12; 9:3).

The thought of “rejoicing” (as in Hebrews 3:6; cf. Philippians 1:26; 2:16), rather than being derived from the meaning of kauchema, appears to be derived more from the result of what this word means. That is, kauchema means “to take pride in something,” resulting in the person having “something to boast about”; and “rejoicing” would emanate out of the person being placed in this position.

Christians are to set their course straight and hold it there, not deviating; and they are to hold their course, after this fashion, “firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6), allowing them to one day realize that which Scripture refers to as “so great a salvation,” the salvation of their soul.

Firm unto the End

When a Christian is told to be “ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you [1 Peter 3:15],” he is to be open about the matter, he is to exhibit plainness of speech, he is to be bold and courageous as he expresses himself, and he is to take pride in the matter, for he has something to boast about.

He has been extended an invitation to ascend the throne with “the King of kings and Lord of lords” to rule as co-heir with Him in His kingdom.  He possesses the hope of having a part in what Scripture calls, “so great a salvation” (Hebrews 2:3), which is the greatest thing God has ever designed for redeemed man.

And this is what Christians are to be open and plain about.  They are to tell it exactly as it is, regardless of what others may say or think.  And they are to be bold and courageous as they tell it as it is, knowing that they have something of incalculable value, something they can boast about (cf. Matthew 10:32-33; 2 Timothy 2:10-13).

Christians have been saved for a revealed purpose, which has to do with future regality, as co-heirs with Christ in the kingdom.

Christians are to set their course straight and hold it there, not deviating; and they are to hold their course, after this fashion, “firm to the end” (Hebrews 3:6), allowing them to one day realize that which Scripture refers to as “so great a salvation,” the salvation of their soul.

(See Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Appendix II)

The proper Christian life is totally a life of grace, that which provides the “birth from above” (spirit-salvation) by an act of faith; and, that which may be achieved by continued faithfulness resulting in the salvation of the soul.

And this grace is what Paul refers to in his salutations.

The following is a list of the other salutations of the Apostle Paul:

1 Corinthians 1:2-3
To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the church of God which is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in all Achaia: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Galatians 1:1-3
Paul, an apostle (not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father who raised Him from the dead), and all the brethren who are with me, to the churches of Galatia: grace to you and peace from God the Father and our Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philippians 1:1-2
Paul and Timothy, bondservants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi, with the bishops and deacons: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Colossians 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, to the saints and faithful brethren in Christ who are in Colosse: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Thessalonians 1:1
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

2 Thessalonians 1:1-2
Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, to the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1 Timothy 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ, by the commandment of God our Savior and the Lord Jesus Christ, our hope, to Timothy, a true son in the faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:1-2
Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, according to the promise of life which is in Christ Jesus, to Timothy, a beloved son: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:1, 4
Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of God’s elect and the acknowledgment of the truth which accords with godliness . . .  to Titus, a true son in our common faith: grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our Savior.

Philemon 1:1-3
Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, to Philemon our beloved friend and fellow laborer, to the beloved Apphia, Archippus our fellow soldier, and to the church in your house: grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Bible One - Charles Strong's Salutations by Apostle Paul

Nothing will bring Him more joy
and nothing will bring you more spiritual joy, strength, and endurance
than to study His Word (Bible doctrine) and grow in the knowledge of God. 

Learning God's Word and No Less!
By Charles Strong of Bible One

You have received Jesus Christ as your personal Savior by faith alone (Ephesians 2:8-9) and you are a “child of God” (Romans 8:16; Galatians 3:26), so what’s next?  What is the most important thing you can do to insure your success as a Christian in living a spiritually productive and joy-filled life?

Although there are a number of different activities important to the Christian life, there is none more important than learning God’s Word (Bible doctrine).  Just as you were born into your physical life and had to take physical nourishment to grow into a physically mature adult, it is even more important as a “born from above” (John 1:12-13; 3:3) child of God to take spiritual nourishment in order to grow into a spiritually mature adult.

It is God’s desire that you study God’s Word (Bible doctrine) so that you may grow from childhood to maturity in your spiritual life (Ephesians 4:13-15; 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14; 1 Corinthians 3:2; 14:20).  Without the application of Bible doctrine, the Holy Spirit is unable to nurture you to spiritual adulthood (John 16:13-14; 17:17).  And God specifically directs you to study Bible doctrine to show yourself approved unto Him (2 Timothy 2:15).  Nothing delights God more than when His children “walk in truth” (2 John 1:4; 3 John 1:4), and God’s Word is truth and the means by which He sanctifies (purifies) us (John 17:17; Psalm 119:9, 11; Ephesians 5:26-27; Philippians 2:14-16).  Bible doctrine provides us joy (Jeremiah 15:16) and hope (Romans 15:4).  Bible doctrine is essential if we are to be protected from Satan’s attacks (Ephesians 6:17).  Bible doctrine protects the believer from false teachings (Acts 17:11; Ephesians 4:13-14; Titus 1:9; 2 Peter 2:1-3).  Bible doctrine provides spiritual illumination and understanding (Psalm 119:105, 130; Hebrews 4:12).  Bible doctrine is the basis for a true witness (Colossians 3:16).  Bible doctrine serves as a sin-cleansing agent (Psalm 119:9).

Remember that you started your Christian experience by faith and faith came by hearing and hearing by the Word of God (Romans 10:17).  According to Christ, you are not to live by bread alone but by every word that comes from God (Matthew 4:4).  Jesus would have you know Him better, so remember that He is the Word of God (John 1:1, 14; Revelation 19:13).  He would have you “walk in the truth,” so remember that He is the Truth (John 14:6).  There is no better way to learn the “mind of Christ” (1 Corinthians 2:16) than the study of Bible doctrine.  Learning Bible doctrine is our Lord’s way to insure that you are productive in your Christian life (2 Timothy 3:16-17; John 15:5-8).

In this age and as Christians, we are more fortunate than all the saints who have gone before us.  We have God’s inspired and infallible written Word (2 Timothy 3:16; 1 Peter 1:25; 2 Peter 1:21).  If we avail ourselves of it, we have a better chance of knowing and understanding our Lord and Savior, even more than the apostles who walked with Him when He was physically alive on this earth.  Nothing will bring Him more joy and nothing will bring you more spiritual joy, strength, and endurance than to study His Word (Bible doctrine) and grow in the knowledge of God.

Referenced scriptures follow in order:

Ephesians 2:8-9—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.

Romans 8:16—The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.

Galatians 3:26—For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus.

John 1:12-13—But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

John 3:3—Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."

Ephesians 4:13-15—Till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ.

1 Peter 2:2—As newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby.

Hebrews 5:12-14—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.

1 Corinthians 3:2—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 14:20—Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature.

John 16:13-14—However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.  He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is Mine and declare it to you. (John 17:17b—.  .  . Your word is truth.)

2 Timothy 2:15—Be diligent [study] to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

2 John 1:4—I rejoiced greatly that I have found some of your children walking in truth, as we received commandment from the Father.

3 John 1:4—I have no greater joy than to hear that my children walk in truth.

John 17:17—Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth.

Psalm 119:9, 11—How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. . . . Your word I have hidden in my heart, That I might not sin against You!

Ephesians 5:26-27—That He might sanctify and cleanse her with the washing of water by the word, that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish.

Philippians 2:14-16—Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.

Jeremiah 15:16—Your words were found, and I ate them, And Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.

Romans 15:4—For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.

Ephesians 6:17—And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God.

Acts 17:11—These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.

Ephesians 4:13-14 (see above)

Titus 1:9—Holding fast the faithful Word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict.

2 Peter 2:1-3—But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.  By covetousness they will exploit you with deceptive words; for a long time their judgment has not been idle, and their destruction does not slumber.

Psalm 119:105; 130—Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path. . . . The entrance of Your words gives light and understanding to the simple.

Hebrews 4:12—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.

Colossians 3:16—Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Psalm 119:9—How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word.

Romans 10:17—So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God.

Matthew 4:4—But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'"

John 1:1, 14—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.

Revelation 19:13—He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

John 14:6—Jesus said to him, "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.

1 Corinthians 2:16—For who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him? But we have the mind of Christ.

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

John 15:5-8—I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.  If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.

2 Timothy 3:16 (see above)

1 Peter 1:25—But the word of the LORD endures forever. . . .

2 Peter 1:21—For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.

Bible One - Charles Strong's Bible One and No Less

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).

Carnal Man
By Charles Strong of
Bible One

. . . but as to carnal, even as to babes in Christ. (1 Corinthians 3:1b)

The Greek word translated “carnal” is sarkinos sar’-kee-nos.  This is a form of the word sarx, which means “flesh.”  Sarkinos (fleshly) is the opposite of pneumatikos new-mat-ik-os’ (spiritual).  The carnal Christian is “fleshly” as opposed to “spiritual.”  He is one who allows himself to be controlled by his soul rather than by the indwelling Holy Spirit. He, as the soulical man (the unsaved man), follows his personal emotions, feelings, and desires.

He, however, unlike the soulical man, has been born from above and is capable of grasping spiritual truth.  But, unlike the spiritual man, this truth is not being received.  Thus, the carnal Christian, without an impartation of spiritual truth flowing into his saved human spirit, remains immature and fleshly, following the fleshly impulses of the soul.

(The use of “flesh” or “fleshly” in the preceding respect would be a direct allusion back to that which occurred in Eden at the time of the fall.  Man, following his fall, possessed a body that was no longer enswathed in a covering of Glory, with the exposed flesh openly demonstrating this fact.  This is what is meant by Christ coming “in the likeness of sinful flesh” [Romans 8:3].  Christ came to earth in a body not enswathed in the Glory of God.

This was the crux of the ignominy (disgrace) and shame surrounding the events of Calvary.  Not only was Christ’s body of flesh [apart from the covering of Glory] arrayed in a mock regal manner [with a robe and a crown of thorns], but He hung on the cross without even His Own garments to cover His body, for all to behold that which had been wrought by sin 4,000 years earlier — nakedness, and death [Matthew 27:27-36].

There is nothing wrong with “flesh” per se.  Man was created in a body of flesh, Christ presently has a body of flesh, and both God’s Son and man will live in bodies of flesh forever.

But, though there is nothing wrong with a body of “flesh,” there is something wrong with a body of flesh that is not enswathed [wrapped] in the Glory of God.)

Within the scope of that which God reveals about the impartation of spiritual truth to redeemed man alone lies the great lesson concerning unredeemed man’s relationship to the Word of God.  It is utterly futile for unredeemed man to either himself attempt to understand the Word of God or for redeemed man to attempt to teach him the Word of God.  Scripture is “spiritually discerned,” and a man must be born from above — be made alive spiritually, which places him in a position where he can exercise spiritual discernment — before he can understand the things of the Spirit of God.  The soulical (unredeemed) man, completely alienated from God — spiritually dead and in no position to exercise spiritual discernment — cannot understand spiritual things, and they appear to him as no more than “foolishness” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

Herein also lies the reason why the things of the Spirit have been hidden from the “wise and prudent,” but revealed to “babes” (cf. Matthew 11:25).  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 theminto all truth” (John 16:13; 1 Corinthians 2:9-13).

And, although those Christians who seek spiritual discernment in this manner may often be looked upon as great spiritual leaders, theologians, expositors, etc., they, in the final analysis, cannot understand these things.  Such individuals can only be sadly lacking in the very realm where they are held in high esteem.

While at the same time, “babes” (Greek: nepios nay'-pee-os), those who are still on the milk of the Word and have not grown enough to even partake of solid food), through the leadership of the Spirit of God — as they compare “scripture with scripture” and look to the Spirit to lead theminto all truth” — can invariably be brought into an understanding of these things. 

They, through turning to the Word and looking to the Spirit for discernment and leadership, can understand more about these same spiritual truths than the “wise and prudent” who turn to places other than the Word and either ignore or reject the Spirit’s discernment and leadership.

(Excerpts from: Bible One - Charles Strong's The Pathway to Spiritual Maturity and the Coming Glory.)

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print: Carnal Man by Charles Strong of Bible One.docx

The most significant enlightenment I experienced during their study was the beginning to understand God’s entire redemptive plan for mankind; the distinct difference between spirit, soul, and body salvations; and the true significance of the “word of the kingdom.”  Pat

My "Thank You" Letter to Mark and Carol Miller!
May 19, 2011

Hi Mark, aka The Trickster, and Carol, The Trickster's lovely Consort Queen!

My love for you guys is limitless and adequate words to properly express that love fail me.  Not only do I love you because of your roles in changing my life, but also because you govern your lives according to God's Word.  You guys are truly giving Paul a "run for his money!"

As you already know, my past is one of despicable sin.  Most any sin you name I've committed, although I've never killed anyone -- even though I've wanted to, and on a couple of occasions tried to. 

Having been saved, baptized and become a church member at the age of 17 years, I was mentally sure of spending eternity in heaven.  I had faith my end would be in heaven and thought my level of sin would only determine whether I would be in the first or back pew, or somewhere in between.  All I had to not do was violate God's Ten Commandments!  To not do I found impossible, but not until the age of 25 years did I become what I call a vile sinner.  It all started with a sexual encounter outside of marriage, after being a virgin when entering that first marriage.  I was hooked.  Then came the booze and unsavory places.  Enough of my earthly "cavorting" least it sound boisterous – for it's something I regret and confess for forgiveness each day! 

Marsha, my Main Squeeze and genuine blessing from God, who has not a bad bone or thought in her body, upon our moving here, began immediately to fit into this community.  She's a people person!  While Pat, then and now, is not comfortable around groups of people.  Marsha became a student of your Key of Three Bible study, I think introduced to your study by Randy and Donna Wallis.  It appears that during that study you guys, including Marsha, saw an opportunity for The Trickster to do his thing!

Yes, you, Dr. Miller, being my doctor for whom I have great respect, offered to discuss with me in the privacy of your home a medical problem.  I felt that act, in itself, humbling!  While discussing this problem, you, Dr. Miller, became, unknown to me, The Trickster. You made me an offer that I couldn't justify refusing!  You knew all my time was that of leisure and a valid excuse to decline your offer was not likely.  There I was, out on a limb.  You guys would be making a sacrifice, not me!  A sacrifice of your time for a peon like me!  The Trickster had struck!  I was overwhelmed and bound!

(Note: Carol, later I learned that you and Marsha were in on the trickery!  You were with Marsha at the same time knowing what The Trickster was up to.  Isn't that right?)

Time for the first Saturday morning session (March 6, 2005) came and the "creeks didn't rise," so I had no excuse not to show!  I didn't want biblical lessons, but here was this prominent doctor and his consort queen, a lovely consort queen, who were willing to give me their precious private time – on a Saturday much less – and I had nothing to give in return other than hearing their teachings.  That made me even more obligated to meet and listen!  (Marsha was also applying her typical subtle pressure!)

Every nerve in my body stirred that Saturday morning, before and during that first lesson.  I had to really concentrate to override my nerves. 

(A shrink diagnosed one of my problems to be caused by perfectionism!  That was laughable because the only things I ever came close to perfecting were sins!)

Your teachings were much different from what I anticipated, nothing like my Bible course in college.  A full understanding of what you guys were teaching escaped me at first, but I knew it contrasted the philosophy of "just don't sin!"  Your approach to overcoming sin was of exceptional interest!  Something I truly needed!

After a few sessions everything started to fit in place.  Your lessons became easier to understand.  I began to "get it!"  Again, your presentation of positive actions I might take, instead of negative actions I must avoid, caused mucho interest.  For the first time I could envision possibly living according to God's Word!  I understood how to be proactive!  Get in the Word!  And I became filled with hope!   (June, 2005 appears to be about the time I must have received epignosis, or as Gary Whipple called it, super knowledge.)

Your revealed septenary arrangement of the Bible had a big impact also!  And that all scripture not only reveals Gods plans and purposes for the ages, but also moves toward one age -- the Messianic Era.  Voila, that's when salvation of the soul became relatively clear to me and I discovered a desire to study God's Word in earnest.

As previously noted, I thought spiritual salvation was already mine because I believed and, consequently, my spending eternity in heaven was a given.  My next step was to understand everything required to win my awaiting inheritance, soul salvation, not a given.  I entered the race!

Possibly the best way to express what I learned from you guys about salvation of the soul is by writing out a prayer I pray most daily:

Lord, thank You for humbling Yourself and coming to this earth as God's Living Word, bringing with You Your gift of spiritual salvation.  I understand this gift not only assures us who believe in Your incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection will spend eternity with You in heaven, but also positions each of us who believe with the opportunity to enter the standing grace gate and run the race for an inheritance from You. 

Lord, I'm running this race with the hope of surrendering to Your Holy Spirit so He may produce righteous fruit through me, so when standing in front of You at the Judgment Seat You will reward me with Your glory of calling me good and faithful servant and out-resurrect me into Your Kingdom where I will rule and reign with You as a coheir during Your Messianic Age.

Dear Lord, I understand that Your God breathed Word not only reveals Your plans and purposes for the ages, but can also build me up to receive an inheritance from You.  To attain this inheritance, Lord, I understand that I must believe, have faith in God and be governed by His Word.  I understand, Lord, that faith comes from hearing and hearing comes from Your Word.  There is no limit to the heights I may attain in the realm of faith, for there is no limit to the depths of your revelation to me.

As Mark and Carol teach Your Word and the Holy Spirit's Anointing dwelling in me interprets their teachings, please also empower my mind to remember and be able to recall their teachings.

Lord, the more I'm in Your Word, Lord, the more I realize what a vile sinner I am.  But I know, Lord, that if I confess my sins, which I do, you are faithful and just to forgive me my sins and cleanse me of all unrighteousness.

In Your name, Lord Jesus Christ, I pray!  Amen!

For me that prayer is sort of a summary of what you guys have taught me and what I have learned from my study of the Word -- results of your evoking in me the desire to study the Word! 

I'm so blessed to have been chosen by God to receive the desire and epignosis necessary to understand the Kingdom Truths!  Would you believe a sinner like me would be chosen from the called?  And, Carol, you and The Trickster, not only initiated it, but also followed through to make sure I understood these truths through your Hope of Glory study!  I'm truly, truly blessed to have you guys as friends and biblical mentors!

Mark, Carol, God Bless you both!

Pat 

Additional comment as of April 5, 2015:

The most significant enlightenment I experienced during their study was the beginning to understand God’s entire redemptive plan for mankind; the distinct difference between spirit, soul, and body salvations; and the true significance of the “word of the kingdom.”  My spiritual growth, which has resulted from this understanding, has been major.  Not only do I now understand the unity of God’s entire Word, but I now have great hope towards Christ's coming kingdom upon this earth.

I pray God will protect me from myself and, for however long He will permit, will use me to point the saved to soul-salvation.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and copy and you'll find there's a little added to the letter:  Trickster and His Lovely Consort Queen letter.docx

Freedom prospers when religion is vibrant
and the rule of law under God is acknowledged.

 My Five Mentors and their Websites plus ……!

The following is a response to a request for more information on Arlen Chitwood's books.

I’m pleased you have requested information on Arlen Chitwood and Charles Strong, two of my five mentors, the first two being Mark and Carol Miller who introduced me to the soul aspect of salvation.

Arlen has written many books and all of them are excellent for learning what I call the ‘kingdom truths’.  His books provide insights into building oneself up in faith with a view toward occupying ruling positions with Christ in the coming Millennial Kingdom.  He’s detailed and ties everything together, making his books easy to understand.  I find when I come across something I don’t understand, I just keep reading and he clears everything up.  He never leaves me hanging.

Arlen does not solicit money for his books or website, but I found he will accept money and therefore send him money regularly, and additional monies upon receiving his free books.

He has become someone I consider my friend.  Wish I could tell you what I know about his interesting and exciting personal life, but my lips are sealed per his request.  I can say that his introduction to the ‘kingdom truths’ is much like another of my mentors, Gary Whipple, who sadly has passed away, leaving his lovely wife Nellie.

Mark and Carol introduced Marsha and me to Gary and Nellie.

Okay, now to the info on pamphlets, etc.

Arlen’s website is Lamp Broadcast by Arlen Chitwood, his scripture index Arlen's Scripture Index.  Arlen’s book The Study of Scripture  gave me the foundation for the proper understanding of the scriptures and is in this site.  Really opened my eyes.

One can go to his website to review his many books and pamphlets.  I added his scripture index because it’s something you might miss.  Very handy for finding which book specific scripture can be found.

You can also go to Charles Strong’s website Bible One where Arlen’s books are availed in Word format.  You have immediate and full access to most of Arlen’s books from the links on his homepage.  The books are presented in MSWord and therefore are easy to print out or read page to page.

Charles is another of my mentors and introduced me to Arlen’s work.  Charles lives in Harlingen, TX, and has an interesting testimony.  You can read about much of his life on his website.  More importantly, his site is the place to go for comprehensive commentary on most any Bible subject.  His is my ‘go to’ site for answers.  I reference his work often.  In addition, you can contact him by email at cstrong@rgv.rr.com , and become part of his mailing list if desired.  Neat guy!

One of Gary Whipple’s books is also available on Charles Strong’s site Beyond the Rapture by Gary Whipple  In my opinion a must read!  

Gary also wrote The Matthew Mysteries which is an excellent read. Both of his books can be purchased from Schoettle Publishing at Gary Whipple's Books - Schoettle Publishing.  

My first mentors, Mark and Carol Miller, introduced me to the ‘kingdom truths,’ also called the ‘Key of Three.’  They have a website [you’re probably aware of it, but if not] titled Key of Three - My Life Ministries by Mark and Carol Miller.  Also the The Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller, which includes Key of Three Lessons AUDIO, is in this site. These are very informative commentaries explaining the kingdom!  If it were not for these two mentors I would still be carnal -- ‘Self’ trying to stop sinning instead of allowing the Holy Spirit to ‘work through me’ to produce righteous fruit thereby sinning less and less the more I’m filled with the Holy Spirit. 

You can see pictures of my five mentors at KKK My Five God's Word Mentors in this site. 

Hope the length of this email wasn’t too much for you, but when I have an opportunity to reference one mentor, I just have to reference all five of them!  After all, they started and help keep me on the path running the race to win the awaiting inheritance!

Pat 

Doorway to Inheritance of the Great Salvation!
By Gary Whipple of Beyond the Rapture

All men who live during the church age (from the cross to the rapture) and possess saved spirits will one day

be caught up at the “rapture of the church” (1 Thessalonians 4:13-17)

to have their works tested at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10).

Those whose works pass the fiery test of God (1 Corinthians 3:10-15a)

will have their souls saved (James 1:21)

and, as a result,

will have a part in the “out-resurrection” (Philippians 3:11),

receive a reward and inherit millennial (age) life.

On the other hand, those whose works are burned up will

suffer the loss of their soul and, as a result,

lose their reward and inheritance.

Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and experience God's gift of grace
which guarantees one a heavenly eternal life and presents one the opportunity to run the race
for the prize of ruling and reigning with Christ as his bride in His future Millennial Kingdom.

Hope of Glory
By Mark and Carol Miller of My Life Ministries

The Kingdom of God the SON

1. This Kingdom is a future Kingdom where Christ will reign for 1000 years over the earth.

2. This Kingdom was known in the Old Testament as the Messianic Kingdom. In the New Testament it is known as the Kingdom of Heaven, The Kingdom of God, and the Millennial Kingdom.

3. Entrance depends on having a saved soul - gaining reward at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

4. It is associated with the “hope of glory,” which is to rule and reign with Christ for 1000 years. (Colossians 1:27; Romans 5:2)

to whom God willed to make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)

through whom also we have obtained our introduction by faith into this grace in which we stand; and we exult in hope of the glory of God. (Romans 5:2)

5. The hope of being able [qualified] to enter this Kingdom is a great incentive to run the Christian race (Hebrews 12:1) and to “press on toward the goal for the prize.”

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, (Hebrews 12:1)

[Pat's note:  Notice Paul is counseling those "in Christ" to become ones with Christ "in them".  Also my belief is the glory we hope for is the Glory of God.]

Scripture:  Luke 19:17-19;  Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3-5;  Daniel 2:44; 7:13-14, 22;  Isaiah 9:6-7;  32:1-4, 15-20;  Zechariah 14:3-9;  Revelation 20:4-6;  Isaiah 11; 52; 54; 60; 62; 65;  Isaiah 17-25;  Matthew 19:28-30;  Hosea 6:1-3, 11;  Zechariah 8; 9:10; 13;  Hosea 2:14-23; 3:4-5;  2 Samuel 7:16;  Psalm 89:3-4, 11-37, Hebrews 12:28.

Jesus Uses Parables to Teach the Kingdom of Heaven:  Hebrews 2:3; Matthew 13:19, 24, 31, 33, 44-45, 47; 20:1; 25:1, 14.

Key of Three / Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller, The Kingdom of God!

Also see The Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller which includes Key of Three Lessons AUDIO in this site.

The following Word Document is SAFE to open and print:  Hope of Glory, Understanding Your, by Mark and Carol Miller, MASTER.docx

Understanding the Word!
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

The God-breathed (theopneustos theo-new-stos) Word reveals not only God's plans and purposes within the framework of the ages but is also able to build up a person and give him an inheritance within the one age toward which all things move – the coming Messianic Era (Acts 20:32).

For a person to be built up he must believe God and govern his life accordingly.  To do this he must begin at the point of finding what God has stated, for "faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17).

There is no limit to the heights a person can rise in the realm of faith, for there is no limit to the depths of God's revelation to man!

(A summary from The Study of Scripture by Arlen Chitwood paraphrased.)  

The following is from Mark and Carol Miller's Key of Three Study.

Key of Three / Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller

The Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller

Make-Up of Man!
By Mark and Carol Miller of My Life Ministries

(SPIRIT-SOUL-BODY)

                Scripture:  1Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12-13; Genesis 1:27

SPIRITGod Conscious: We communicate with God through our spirit -- (Romans 8:16) The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of GodAdam’s spirit dies -- (Genesis 2:17)  but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat from it you will surely dieDeath passed to all men -- (Romans 5:12) Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinnedThey tried to cover themselves -- inadequately -- (Genesis 3:6-7)  When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable to make one wise, she took from its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her, and he ate. Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together and made themselves loin coveringsGod’s provision -- (Genesis 3:21) The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife, and clothed them. (Hebrews 9:22)  And according to the Law, one may almost say, all things are cleansed with blood, and without shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

SOUL or Life (Gr. Psuche):   Self Conscious         Composed of Mind, Will and Emotions

BODYWorld Conscious      Five senses: Sight, Hearing, Smell, Taste, and Touch

Key of Three / Hope of Glory Class Documents LINK:

The Hope of Glory by Mark and Carol Miller

Aside:  The most significant enlightenment I experienced during their study was the beginning to understand God’s entire redemptive plan for mankind; the distinct difference between spirit, soul, and body salvations; and the true significance of the “Word of the Kingdom.”  My spiritual growth, which has resulted from this understanding, has been major.  Not only do I now understand the unity of God’s entire Word, but I now have great Hope towards Christ's coming Kingdom upon this earth.  ~ Pat

The saving of one's soul is through the metamorphosis --
the indwelling Spirit taking the implanted Word
and effecting spiritual growth from immaturity to maturity.
 

The “way of life” is to enter the first gate of salvation 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” (Philippians 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.

The Way of Soul Salvation!
By Gary Whipple of Beyond the Rapture

A spiritual pathway begins in every believer’s life the moment he is saved and ends at the Judgment Seat of Christ. This is the way that every believer must travel if he desires to have his soul saved. However, in order to begin this journey on the path, there are two gates that must be entered. The first gate is salvation of the spirit (already entered into by every Christian), and is called the gate of “Positional Grace.” The second gate is the salvation of the soul (not yet entered into by most Christians) and it is called “Standing Grace.” Finally, at the end of the path, which ends at the Judgment Seat of Christ, the believer must qualify to enter a third gate, which this writer calls the gate of “Ruling Grace.” It is this gate that opens into the “bridal chamber.”

This adventure also has some pitfalls along the way for the believer to avoid. One such pitfall is a wide and attractive gate that is usually found just inside the first gate of salvation (Matthew 7:13b). This wide gate has its own broad and appealing road that beckons and entices Christian travelers to enter and follow. However, the Bible tells us that this broad road can only lead to destruction (loss of rewards) and warns us that it is a clever device of Satan set up to keep every believer from entering the second gate and then walking the narrow path that leads to life (the salvation of his soul).

The believer who ignores this wide gate and broad way, however, will learn that the narrow path by which he is to travel will be marked out in scripture, and is likened to a spiritual race track which every believer should be running (compare 1 Corinthians 9:24-27; Philippians 3:13-14; Hebrews 12:1-2). The “admissions gate” to the racetrack (the first gate) and the “qualification gate” to the race itself (the second gate) must be entered before the race can begin. Finally at the race’s end (the Judgment Seat of Christ) the believer may enter the third gate, which is the “winners circle” (the inheritance) if he has run a successful race.

The following scripture marks out the first two gates and the path that leads to this winner’s circle.

“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ:” [The first gate] “(2) By whom we also have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God.” [The second gate] “ (3) And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; (4) And patience experience; and experience hope: (5) And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us [the pathway]” (Romans 5:1-5).

THE FIRST GATE

In verse 1 (Romans 5:1) of our text, God shows us the first gate; the gate of admissions...the gate of justification. This gate speaks of the Christian’s past tense salvation that was bought by the shed blood of Jesus Christ on the cross. This was an experiential work of grace in his life and occurred the moment he believed. Thus when he entered in through faith, the believer experienced “the salvation of the spirit” and “peace with God.”

This first gate is also called the gate of “positional grace.” This is so, since everyone who enters it is positioned in Christ, who guarantees the believer eternal life that can never be lost.

THE SECOND GATE

Then in verse 2 (Romans 5:2) God shows us the second gate. This gate opens up into a present tense work of grace that is presently available to all Christians. This is that continuing grace of God that is given on a moment-by-moment basis to the believer for the purpose of the “saving of his soul."  It is effected through the Word, and the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, our High Priest. It is through this continuous grace that the believer can stand (depend on the Lord for all things) and rejoice in the hope of the glory of God, which is the highest expression of a matured faith.

This second gate is called “standing grace.” No one can enter this gate, or even see it, until he has been saved. Once he sees (has spiritual knowledge of) this gate and then enters it experientially, his life is said to be in the state of “standing grace.” Standing grace is a continuing grace, received by those who are continuing to grow spiritually. However, it is also the kind of grace that a believer can fall from many times in his life because of sin (Galatians 5:17). But when he falls, he may return and enter in again and again by confession and repentance of his sin (1 John 1:9). Standing grace is “experiential grace” that enables the believer to stand or rest on the ground that has already been won by the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. It is the “enabling grace” that makes possible all that is needed for the “salvation of the soul.” It makes a believer “perfect [mature] and entire, wanting nothing (James 1:4b).”

But notice that “standing grace” shows us the path to walk and gives us opportunity to win rewards. Also, it enumerates the rewards to be won; it teaches us how to win rewards; it makes secure this privilege; it gives us strength and courage to persevere. Rewards themselves are by standing grace. When one enters this doorway of grace, he will experience a continuing “peace of God;” a peace of God “that passeth all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), and a peace of God that rules (acts as a referee) in all matters of decision in our lives (Colossians 3:15).

According to verse two, this grace and peace of God causes us to “rejoice in the hope of the glory of God.” What is this rejoicing? It is the expression of a Christian who is having his soul saved. He rejoices in hope that he may share in the glory of Christ at His coming. Hope, however, is different than faith. Hope says “you may, or may not,” where faith says “you already have.” Here, Paul is not telling us to hope in the rapture, since all who are saved will be automatically raptured, and may be assured of this by faith. But rather, he is telling us to hope in the revelation of Christ (this will occur seven years after the rapture), when He returns in glory to rule over the earth. Those who hope to be a part of this glory, are those believers who are living under this grace (present continuous tense) and whose goals are to have their souls saved when He appears in His glory. This is what is known as the blessed hope (Titus 2:13). Hope then is a great anticipation for the coming kingdom. It says “I hope that I may have a saved soul in order to share in this glory” Therefore, I follow after and patiently wait, “...for we are saved (salvation of the soul) by hope....”(Romans 8:24).

A Comparison of the Two Gates

There are two different experiences of grace represented by these two gates. They are as follows:

(1) Whereas, the grace from the first gate saves you from the penalty of the law, the second saves you from the             works of the law.
(2) Whereas, the first gate is connected to the sealing of the Holy Spirit, the second is connected to the fullness of          the Holy Spirit (Note: fullness of the Spirit is equated with the fullness of the Word: Compare                                      Ephesians 5:18-19  with Colossians 3:16).
(3) Whereas, the first gate speaks of the Holy Spirit living in, you, the second speaks of the Holy Spirit living                    through you.
(4) Whereas, the first gate speaks of “peace with God.” The second speaks of the “peace of God.”
(5) Whereas, the first gate speaks of a new life, the second speaks of a continuous abundant life.
(6) Whereas, those who have entered the first gate but not the second may be trying to live their own lives for                Christ, those that have entered both gates have ceased from their own efforts letting Christ live through them.

These two gates can also be compared to each other in accordance to the rest that each gate gives to those who pass through them. Consider this scripture:

“Come unto me, all {ye} that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28-29).

(1) Whereas, the rest that is given in the 28th verse, speaks of “salvation of the spirit” (the first gate), the rest that is found in verse 29 speaks of the “salvation of the soul” (the second gate).

(2) Whereas, the rest given through the first gate is the result of salvation, the rest found through the second gate is a result of obedience and discipleship.

Unlike that which many evangelists preach, a lost man cannot “give his life to the Lord.” He can only believe! However, a saved man can give his life to the Lord (enter the second gate) and when he does, he will find a second rest. Then, from this second rest, (trusting in Christ for all things) he can look forward to the third rest, which is the coming kingdom of Christ (Hebrews 4:1).

In summary of these principles, the new believer must consider the costs, in striving to have his soul saved. He must be willing to lose his life (soul) here for Jesus’ sake, in order to gain it there in the kingdom. Once he is willing to pay this price, he may experientially enter the second gate by faith gained from the Word of God. This faith will give him the victory necessary to lay aside all prevailing wickedness and to cleanse his spiritual ears to hear God’s Word (meat doctrines) that have already been engrafted in him at the new birth.

Likewise, this strong faith that he will daily receive, live in, have joy and rejoice in, will cause him to become an overcomer in all tribulation and temptation that may enter his life. This in turn will give him patience, experience and then hope that can provide a life that is mature, entire, and wanting in nothing; a life that experiences the love of God shed abroad in his heart; a life (soul) that is being saved with the opportunity to receive the inheritance at the Judgment Seat of Christ, and a life that is qualified to rule and reign with Jesus Christ over the millennial earth.

Beware of the Wide Gate and Broad Way!

Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide {is} the gate, and broad {is} the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: (14) Because strait {is} the gate, and narrow {is} the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).

Here our Lord warns us for the first time of another gate and path (called the wide gate and the broadway) which is not revealed in Romans 5. It is an additional gate and path which is located between the first two gates (and sometimes along the pathway) and is emblematic of the way to worldly success, power, freedom and riches (saving the soul for this life). The big difference however, is that this new gate and path leads to destruction (total loss of rewards). It is the way of the world, the flesh, and Satan. It attracts carnal believers in great numbers who are satisfied to be saved only, while living as they please. It also attracts all believers under legalism (efforts of self), as well as those believers who have never grown to see the second gate and path that leads to life (salvation of the soul).

Contrary to what others preach, this wide gate and broad way is not the road to hell for the lost. Jesus preached it to His disciples (the saved) in the “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew 5:1-2). Here, He warned them, and us, not to enter into the wide gate with the broad way. He did this by contrasting it with the strait gate and narrow way, in which He invited all of the saved to enter. This strait gate and narrow way then, is the same as the second gate and path in Romans 5. By entering in, the believer will be walking the narrow way that leads to life (the salvation of the soul).

How to Enter the Second Gate

This question then may be asked. How do I enter into this second gate (standing grace)? The answer is, the same way that you entered the first gate. As there through the first gate you were saved through faith, so it is here you can be saved by faith (faith comes by hearing and applying the Word of God). As there, you surrendered through faith, so it is here you should continually confess your sins, continually lay down all desires and actions of the not as yet saved soul, continually deny yourself by yielding your life by faith. As there you laid down your weapons against God and surrendered through faith, so it is here that you surrender every aspect of your life to Christ... your personal, financial, business, leisure, secret ambitions, desires and thoughts. And, with nothing hidden from Christ, allow Him to fill and control your very being as your Sovereign. As there, you made Him Savior of your life, so it is here that you make Him owner of your life. As there, you were not saved until you believed you were, so it is here that you will not have entered into this standing grace until you believe that you have so entered.

Perhaps the reader is now saying, “Where do I get such a strong faith?” May we remind the reader again that the answer is found in Romans 10:17, which says “...faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” All faith comes from the Word of God. The problem is that most do not read it. And those that do, do not hear much of it.

This verse in Romans 10 gives us a spiritual principle that says, “all faith is given in direct proportion to the amount of the Word that one hears.” How does one learn to hear? By studying those doctrines of the Word that pertain to the “salvation of the soul”.  Those doctrines that are meat and strong meat.

THE PATH

After the two gates have been entered into by the believer, he must then walk the path (or run the race) that will mature his faith (verses 3 - 5 of our main text). This is necessary since the salvation of the soul and all rewards are based on how much one’s faith was matured in this lifetime. There are four basic steps that must be continually experienced on this pathway of life. First, God allows tribulation and temptation (testing) to enter our lives in order to test and strengthen our faith. This causes us to become “overcomers” (Romans 5:3; James 1:2). Secondly, this tribulation works patience in our lives (not giving up); then this patience brings experience (maturity through the meat doctrines); then experience makes hope which experiences the love of God (Romans 5:3-5; James 1:3). Finally, this hope continually purifies the one having it (1 John 3:3).

Unfortunately, there are probably very few Christians in the world today that know about and are taking advantage of this “standing grace” and spiritual walk. A daily experiential grace that gives joy, hope, and a rejoicing far beyond the understanding of today’s popular, carnal Church.

Those who enter through and live beyond the second gate produce works that are acceptable to God, the reason being twofold. First, they have ceased from their own works, recognizing they cannot please God with works of the flesh. And secondly, they trust in God to produce His own works through them. These are those, whose souls (lives) are dominated by their saved spirits, while their unredeemed souls are being saved. This is living under standing grace.

Most Christians never get any farther than the first gate, and as such live a legalistic life. This was the problem of the Galatian church. They were all saved but trying to live their lives under law, i.e. to help God through the efforts of their own activities of the flesh.

THE THIRD GATE

Now that we know of the “way of salvation” symbolized by two gates and a path, God now wants to show us the “end of our walk” symbolized by one more gate of grace. The writer calls this gate “the gate of ruling grace,” because all who will be allowed to enter it, will be given a grace sufficient to rule and reign with Christ. We judge from scripture that this gate (also called a door) will be in heaven at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Presently, no one has entered it, nor can they enter it until after the rapture of the Church, when we all will stand before the Lord at that great tribunal. Those that have their souls saved will be allowed to enter this gate of grace and experience the out-resurrection unto the inheritance. This third gate is found in the following scripture:

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able” (Luke 13:24).

The reader will notice that there are two strait gates in scripture. One gate we have already reviewed in Matthew 7:13-14. Then, there is this other example mentioned here in Luke. Most Bible teachers teach that these two gates are the same gate, but they are not. They are instead two separate gates.

Consider this: Whereas, the strait gate of Matthew is the second gate of Romans 5:2, the strait gate here (of Luke) is a third gate, which has not been previously viewed in our study. The great difference between the two gates is this: Whereas, the Matthew gate is entered into by an invitation, the Luke gate is entered into by striving (Gr. agonizomai meaning to agonize or contend). Whereas, few will experience entering into the Matthew gate, many will seek to enter into the Luke gate, and shall not be able to (not having a saved soul).

It is the entering into the Luke gate that symbolizes the end of the Christian race and reward in the coming kingdom. However, in order to enter into it, one must first enter into the Matthew gate (second gate) and run the narrow way (the way of salvation) of tribulation, patience, experience, and hope.

The Third Gate and the Judgment Seat

Now for the final gate of grace (strait gate in this particular case) which will be placed at the Judgment Seat of Christ, Jesus says in Luke 13:24 to strive to enter this one. Since striving is work, this verse of scripture cannot be talking about the first or the second gate, as these are entered through and by faith respectively. This striving then, is characteristic of a runner who is running to win a race. This means he is already on the race track (way of salvation) striving to be the first to cross the finish line (third gate) in order to win the prize.

Jesus says further that there will be some on this race track, or way of salvation, who “will seek to enter in and shall not be able to do so.” These are those Christians who possibly have passed through the first and second gate (strait gate), are on the pathway, are being fed with meat, know about rewards and the coming kingdom, but fall away before they reach the finish line and are finally found failing to enter the third gate.

Paul expresses this striving (Gr.’agonizing’) in his own ministry when he likened his own life as one who was in a race. In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 he admonishes us to run the same race he was running. Here he uses the Grecian games of that day to illustrate how we should run.

Those that ran in the games and won received only a crown made from laurel leaves, which would soon fade away. But with the race our Lord wants us to run, we can win a heavenly crown that cannot fade away. As there in the Grecian games, the athletes mastered their bodies to win a physical race, so it is here He wants us to master our bodies to win a spiritual race. Notice that Paul used the word strive in verse 25 (1 Corinthians 9:25) and then continues by saying he is in a serious race and a serious boxing match. He tells us he is not shadow boxing, but has a real opponent, and in order to win, he has to keep his body under subjection. Then he says something very interesting in verse 27b (1 Corinthians 9:27b)...”lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway [Gr. ‘adokimos’ translated disapproved].” Paul was not concerned with losing his salvation since that is by the righteousness of Christ, but rather his soul. Here he says, it is possible for me to preach to others and still be disapproved at the Judgment Seat of Christ.

The Prize of the High Calling...Through the Third Gate

“Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended but {this} one thing {I do}, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, (14) I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14).

In these two verses, Paul once again uses the analogy of the race. Here, he tells us that he is not counting on himself as having already apprehended (won the race). In light of this, he is saying he will not be concerned over his past works, good or bad. Instead, he will forget about them and press on toward the mark (the third door) for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus (the out-resurrection into the inheritance). Similar to a physical foot race, the mark (third door) is the finish line. In verse 11 of this chapter (Philippians 3:11), he tells us what this high calling is. Here, in the King James Version of the Bible, it is called the resurrection, but in the Greek, the word “resurrection” is prefixed with the Greek word “ek” which means “out-resurrection.” This is not the same word that is used for the rapture since those who will be raised there will not have worked (or strived) for it. All who are saved will be automatically raised at the rapture, including Paul. Therefore, verse 11 speaks of a resurrection that must be won; a resurrection that can only occur after the rapture. It was so important to Paul that he was willing to lose all things (verse 8) that he might win this high calling. In the light of this prize (verse 14) and where it will be won, verse 11 then could rightly be interpreted as follows: “If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection out from among those who have been raised from the dead” This then, is an out-resurrection from all who are assembled at the Judgment Seat of Christ. Those who win this spiritual race having their soul saved will experience this higher lifting up (entrance through the third door) and will receive glorified bodies as well as inherit the Great Salvation.

The Kingdom of God is Behind the Third Gate

“Strive to enter in at the strait gate: for many, I say unto you, will seek to enter in, and shall not be able. (25) When once the master of the house is risen up, and hath shut to the door, and ye begin to stand without, and to knock on the door, saying, Lord, Lord, open to us; and he shall answer and say unto you, I know not whence ye are: (26) Then shall ye begin to say, We have eaten and drunk in thy presence, and thou hast taught in our streets. (27) But he shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity. (28) There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out. (29) And they shall come from the east, and from the west, and from the north, and from the south, and shall sit down in the kingdom of God” (Luke 13:24-29).

In light of Jesus’ teaching in verse 22 (Luke 13:22), someone asked Jesus, “are there just a few that will be saved?” (Luke 13:23). His answer was, “strive to enter in...” Since one cannot have his spirit saved by works, Jesus is speaking then of a different salvation. That is, the salvation of the soul, which will be accomplished by entering into the strait gate. Notice the difference between this strait gate and the one of Matthew 7:13. Whereas, Matthew’s strait gate has a path that leads to life, Luke’s strait gate has no path and as such represents the end of the path. Whereas, there are no works connected to Matthew’s strait gate in order to enter through it (faith only), there are works attached to Luke’s gate (strive to enter), and they must be accomplished in order to enter.

Knocking on the Third Gate

Jesus further shows us this same gate, or door, in the 25th verse of our text, and tells us that it leads to the Kingdom of God in verses 28 and 29. The scene here is in heaven, not on earth. The door that is finally shut by the master of the house is the door to the bridal chamber and the wedding feast. Those that are knocking to get in are not lost people, but rather Christians who in verse 24 were seeking to enter in but were not able. Here, they are standing outside of the door (after the rapture and judgment seat) knocking and calling Jesus Lord and crying to be let in. Jesus answers “...I know you not whence ye are:” Now, Jesus is not saying, “I don’t know you.” God knows all things. Neither is He saying, “you are not saved,” since they were raptured and in heaven calling Jesus Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3). But rather he is saying, “I do not recognize you as belonging to that group inside of the door.” It is then, in verse 26, that they will begin to try and prove their worthiness to be let in. They remind Jesus they are saved by saying we have eaten and drunk in Your presence (Christian fellowship) and You taught in our streets (family and church). But Jesus will say the second time “I don’t recognize you as being apart of this group” “...depart from me, all ye workers of iniquity” (legalistic works that satisfied the soul between the first two doors).

The Bridal Chamber Behind the Third Gate

In verses 28 and 29 of our text, God shows us those believers who will finish the race in this life, and will cross the finish line, and will enter the third door (gate) of “ruling grace” and into the “kingdom of God.” This beautiful picture shows the bridal chamber and wedding feast. In verse 28, God shows us the “friends of the bridegroom” in the persons of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all the prophets (John the Baptist being the last of the prophets and called the friend of the bridegroom in John 3:29). Then, in verse 29, He shows us the mostly “gentile bride of Christ” (the “overcomers” of the church) who comes from all of the nations of the world to sit down in the kingdom of God (at the wedding feast).

A Wedding Garment to Enter the Third Gate

“Let us be glad and rejoice and give honor to him: for the marriage of the lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [Gr. plural ‘righteousnesses’] of saints. And he said unto me, Write, Blessed are they which are called unto the marriage supper of the Lamb. And he saith unto me, These are the true sayings of God” (Revelation 19:7-9).

Here our Lord gives us a closer look at the bridal chamber and the qualification for entering into it. Verse 7 tells us this qualification is readiness, i.e. “His wife (bride) hath made herself ready.” And the way she made herself ready was done by allowing Christ to produce spiritual works (the actual wedding garment) through her, the bride.

This garment then, represents the righteous works of the saints, and its name is the righteousnesses (plural works) o