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

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Opening the Seventh Seal
Depicting Final Judgments Following Christ’s Return
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

“And when he had opened the seventh seal, there was silence in heaven about the space of half an hour.

And I saw the seven angels which stood before God;  and to them were given seven trumpets.

And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer;  and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with the prayers of all saints upon the golden altar which was before the throne.

And the smoke of the incense, which came with the prayers of the saints, ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

And the angel took the censer, and filled it with fire of the altar, and cast it into the earth:  and there were voices, and thunderings, and lightning, and an earthquake.

And the seven angels which had the seven trumpets prepared themselves to sound…

 And I saw another sign in heaven, great and marvellous, seven angels having the seven last plagues;  for in them is filled up the wrath of God…

And I heard a great voice out of the temple saying to the seven angels, Go your ways, and pour out the vials of the wrath of God upon the earth…”(Revelation 8:1-6; 15:1; 16:1).

The preceding verses have to do with a sequence of judgments occurring in the Book of Revelation once the seventh and last seal of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 has been broken, which reveals the seven-trumpet and seven-vial judgments.  And, as will be shown, the seven trumpet judgments and the seven vial judgments are two depictions of the same judgments, not different, sequential judgments.

Most commentators see the trumpet judgments occurring first, then the vial judgments sequentially following, for this is the way that they see them laid out in the book (Revelation 8-11 [the trumpets], then Revelation 15; 16 [the vials]).  In this respect, these same commentators usually attempt to see one complete, continuous sequence of events depicted throughout Revelation 6-19, which is where the mistake is made.

The Book of Revelation is simply not structured in a sequential manner of this nature;  nor is a good portion of Scripture which precedes structured in such a manner, particularly when one views matters from a typical standpoint.

Sequences of events are depicted, but the book will often drop back and cover the same events from another vantage point or cover other events occurring during the same time.

In this respect, note that Christ’s return is seen three places in Revelation 6-19 (depicted different ways in each place):

1)  In conjunction with the breaking of the sixth seal (Revelation 6:12-17), immediately before the trumpet judgments of the seventh seal (Revelation 8:1ff [though information concerning the 144,000 and the results of their ministry lie between, in Revelation 7, providing introductory information for later dealings with the 144,000 in Revelation 12; 14 {14a}]).

2)  Immediately before the vial judgments of the seventh seal (same place as previously seen before the trumpet judgments), at the end of Revelation 14:14-20, with the sixth and seventh vial judgments depicted in these verses in connection with His return (Revelation 15; 16).

3)  And then again at the end of Revelation 19:11-21 (with only the judgments seen in the sixth and seventh trumpets, the sixth and seventh vials, depicted following the third and last mention of Christ’s return [as previously seen in Revelation 14 {b}]).

It is evident that a sequence of events can be followed at this point in the book (seen from comparing Scripture with Scripture in the book, along with going back to the type in Exodus [i.e., in a respect, running all the checks and balances which Scripture provides]).  And this sequence of events which one can follow at this point in the book shows that the entirety of the judgments revealed when the seventh seal is broken (trumpets/vials) occurs following Christ’s return.

(When Christ returns, He will be accompanied by Moses and Elijah, along with His mighty angels.  Numerous judgmental events will occur when He returns [events continuing from those having previously occurred during the Tribulation and now brought to completion, with Christ personally present].

These events are seen in the overall type in Exodus 4-14.  Moses will have a part in one aspect of the matter, Elijah in another, and angels in another.

For information on the preceding, refer to The Son of Man Coming in His Kingdom and Two Men at the Empty Tomb in this site.  Or, for a more exhaustive treatment, refer to The Time of the End, Chs. 8-19, also in this site.)

To say that the trumpet judgments and vial judgments are different judgments, as most commentators do, can easily be shown to be incorrect.  They both have to do with exactly the same thing (the first trumpet and first vial, the second trumpet and second vial, etc);  and, as previously noted, they can only both occur at the same time following Christ’s return (not only clearly shown in the Book of Revelation in each instance but clearly shown as well from the single series of judgments in the type in Exodus).

And they will evidently occur during the seventy-five-day period seen at the end of the Book of Daniel — which could only be a period of time set aside for the numerous, revealed events which must occur between the time of Christ’s return and the beginning of His 1,000-year reign.

Note what one finds when comparing the trumpet and vial judgments:

1) First trumpet and vial — both have to do with the earth.

2) Second trumpet and vial — both have to do with the sea.

3) Third trumpet and vial — both have to do with the rivers and fountains of waters.

4) Fourth trumpet and vial — both have to do with heavenly bodies.

5) Fifth trumpet and vial — both have to do with darkness throughout the kingdom of the Beast.

6) Sixth trumpet and vial — both have to do with the great river Euphrates.

7) Seventh trumpet and vial — both have to do with a full and complete end.

Note that the sounding of the seventh trumpet and the pouring out of the seventh vial not only both depict the same scene but also the finality of the matter with regard to that scene (Revelation 10:1-7; 11:15-19; 16:17-21).  And it would be impossible to have two finalities in the preceding manner but yet somehow see them as depicting something different.

(A perfect tense is used in the Greek text of Revelation 16:17 regarding the completion of the vial judgments — “It is done [lit., ‘It has been done,’ or ‘It has been brought to pass’].”  And though the perfect tense is not used regarding the completion of the trumpet judgments in Revelation 10; 11, it’s clearly evident from the text that all judgment having to do with the seven-sealed scroll is past.

The perfect tense is used to indicate past action presently existing in a finished state.  This is the same tense Christ used in John 19:30 when He cried out from the Cross, immediately before He willingly relinquished His life, immediately before He breathed out, “It is finished [lit., ‘It has been finished’]”;  or, this is the tense used in Ephesians 2:8 referring to one’s presently possessed eternal salvation, “For by grace are ye saved through faith [lit., ‘For by grace you have been saved through faith’]…”)

The “Old Man” did Not Die with Christ, but was
Crucified with Christ!

In the continuing aspect of salvation [present, to be realized in the future], the salvation of the soul, death and shed blood are, as well, required.  But now it is death in relation to the individual.  Now it is the death of the old man.

"Crucifixion" could be used and understood in more than one respect.  Christ was crucified hours before He died.  The old man has been crucified with Christ, but is the old man dead?  Compare Romans 6 and Colossians 3.  The old man could only be very much alive, though to be kept affixed to the cross, in the process of dying.
 
The old man would be associated with that remaining in darkness, the new man with that no longer in darkness.  And the darkness itself is not gradually changed or ever done away with.  The darkness remains, unchanged, until . . . Revelations 22:5.

Redemption of Man
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

Relative to man’s redemption, no difference exists today from that which existed in Eden almost 6,000 years ago.  The whole panorama of salvation, past, present, and future — spirit, soul, and body — requires death and shed blood throughout.  God’s requirements were set at the beginning, they were set perfect, and, accordingly, no change can ever occur.

In the past aspect of salvation, the salvation that we presently possess [having to do with man’s spirit], the death of God’s Son and His shed blood are required [Christ’s finished work at Calvary].

In the continuing aspect of salvation [present, to be realized in the future], the salvation of the soul, death and shed blood are, as well, required.  But now it is death in relation to the individual.  Now it is the death of the old man [cf. Romans 6:1-13; Colossians 2:12; 3:1-10]; and, as well, it is also Christ’s shed blood as before, but not His blood relating to His finished work at Calvary;  now it is His blood on the mercy seat in heaven; now His work as High Priest is in view [cf. John 13:4-12; Hebrews 4:14-16; 9:11-12; 1 John 1:6-2:2] — a work on behalf of those presently being saved [a present divine work, which has to do with the saving of the soul].  And this present work can occur only because those presently being saved have “passed from death to life” [past aspect of salvation] and can now be dealt with in the spiritual realm.

And the redemption of the body, as seen in Romans 8:23 [not to be confused with the resurrection of the body], has to do with the future adoption into a firstborn status and is part and parcel with the salvation of the soul.

All is based on and requires death and shed blood.

[Ref. the author’s books, Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood and God's Firstborn Sons by Arlen Chitwood (the Appendix) or Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God's Firstborn Sons, Appendix for more information on the preceding.]

Relative to the redemption of the earth, as well, no difference exists today from that which existed in Eden.  This is evident from comparing the past redemption/restoration of the pre-Adamic earth with the future redemption/restoration of the post-Adamic earth.

When God brought about a judgment upon and a subsequent restoration of the pre-Adamic earth, man did not yet exist.  His creation occurred following the redemption/restoration of the earth.  Thus, man did not fit into the equation, and God could redeem/restore the earth simply on the basis of His past judgment of sin by reducing the earth to a ruin, as occurred before man’s creation.

Once man appeared on the scene though, reducing the earth to a ruin once again [judgment, allowing for redemption] was no longer sufficient in and of itself, as before.  Judgment now must not only befall the earth but man upon the earth as well.  And, as with man’s present redemption, death and shed blood must be involved in the future redemption of the earth in this respect, for not only is man now inseparably involved but this future judgment will befall man, not the earth.

“Judgment” upon the earth itself is past.  This judgment occurred almost 6,000 years ago, in Genesis 3:17-19 [with the absence of death and shed blood, as also seen in the previous judgment of the earth in Genesis 1:2a].  But judgment upon those dwelling on the earth, now inseparably connected with a redemption of the earth, by and through judgment, is still future [and this part of the earth’s judgment, resulting in redemption, will necessitate death and shed blood (for death and shed blood must exist where man is involved, else there can be no redemption)].

Note how this is set forth in Revelation 5 following a search for One worthy to take the scroll and break the seals on the scroll.  Christ was the only One found worthy — in heaven, on earth, or under the earth — to take the scroll from His Father’s right hand, break the seals of the scroll, and bring about the earth’s redemption by and  through judgment upon the earth-dwellers [Revelation 5:1ff].  And doing this, He is seen acting in two realms [providing the reason why He was the only One found worthy, for He was the only One who could act in these two realms] — as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” effecting judgment [Revelation 5:5] and as “the Lamb that was slain,” effecting redemption/restoration [Revelation 5:6, 9, 12-13; 6:1], which will occur through judgment.

This redemption/restoration of the earth will occur at the end of the 6,000 years.  And this is what is so vividly described in Revelation 6-19, which results from the breaking of the seals of the seven-sealed scroll introduced in Revelation 5.

Redemption of the domain — the earth — was provided for the first man, the first Adam, prior to the time that he was to reign; and redemption of the same domain will be provided for the second Man, the last Adam, prior to the time that He is to reign.

Children, Sons, Adoption
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

Within the family relationship, Christians are referred to as both children and sons.  And the two are closely related but are not really the same.

All Christians are referred to as “children” (Greek: teknon), but Scripture does not use “sons” (Greek: huios) in the same all-encompassing manner.  Though all Christians are “sons” because of creation,  the New Testament use of the Greek word huios, referring to Christians through this means, appears only within contexts which are both regal and where Christians are seen actively progressing toward the goal set before them.  In this respect, the word is used relative to Christians in complete keeping with that which “sonship” portends — with rulership.

In the New Testament epistles (both the Pauline and the general epistles), Christians are referred to as “children [teknon] of God” and “sons [huios] of God” about an equal number of times.  They are referred to as “children of God” in Romans 8:16-17, 21; Philippians 2:15; 1 John 3:1-2, 10; 5:2.  And they are referred to as “sons of God” in Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; 4:6-7; Hebrews 12:5-8 (the word “sons” alone, rather than “sons of God,” is used in the latter reference; but a Father-son relationship is in view throughout, showing God dealing with Christians as His sons).

In all three sections of Scripture where Christians are presently referred to as “sons,” adoption is also in view.  In both Romans and Galatians, in the Greek text, the word huiothesia (the word for “adoption [son-placing]”) appears in the context of the verses where Christians are referred to as “sons” (Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5).

And in Hebrews, adoption is seen in the context as well, though from a different perspective.  It is seen following the verses referring to Christians as “sons” (in Hebrews 12:16-17— verses forming the heart of the fifth and final major warning in the book, dealing with Esau [the firstborn] forfeiting his birthright).

In the antitype of the account pertaining to Esau forfeiting his birthright, the thought of adoption would have to be brought into the picture, for Christians must not only be sons but they must be firstborn sons to realize the rights of the firstborn that Esau in the type forfeited.  And the only way Christians can be brought into this position is through adoption.

(Aside from Romans 8:15, 23; Galatians 4:5, the only other place in the New Testament where the Greek word huiothesia is used relative to Christians is in Ephesians 1:5.  And the use of this word early in the book of Ephesians is in complete keeping with how the subject matter of the book is introduced in this first chapter — a future “redemption” and “inheritance,” in connection with the “mystery” revealed to Paul [Ephesians 1:7, 9, 11, 14, cf. Ephesians 3:1-6; 4:30], to be realized “in the dispensation of the fullness of times” [Ephesians 3:10].  These interrelated things are presently being made known, “by [‘through’] the Church,” to “the principalities and powers in heavenly places” [Satan and his angels], which accounts for the warning and instructions concerning the spiritual warfare at the close of the book [Ephesians 3:9-11; 6:10ff].

As in any New Testament epistle, the central subject seen in Ephesians is not salvation by grace, though that subject is dealt with in the book.  Rather, the central subject has to do with the things seen in the opening chapter, which introduce the things about to be developed in the book — things pertaining to Christians in relation to the coming kingdom of Christ.  And if this epistle, or any New Testament epistle, is not studied after the manner in which the epistle is introduced, the central message of the epistle will be lost to the reader.)

Thus, Christians are referred to as “sons” only in sections of Scripture where adoption is in view.  Both sonship and adoption place matters within a regal setting; and Christians, in all three passages where adoption is dealt with, are seen actively moving toward the goal set before them — the adoption of sons and being brought into a realization of the rights of the firstborn.

On the other hand, Scripture refers to Christians as “children” within a regal setting as well, but not with respect to adoption.  This is the main difference concerning how the two words are used in the New Testament epistles.  It is sons who are adopted, not children.

(In Romans 8:16-17, 21, the Greek word for “children” [teknon] is used in a context with the Greek word for “sons” [huios].  And an inheritance, an adoption, and a manifestation of sons are seen in the passage [with huios alone used relative to the latter two (Romans 8:16-17, 21, teknon appears in connection with present Christian activity, with a view to the coming day of Christ [Romans 8:16].  And in 1 John 3:1-2, 10; 5:2 the context shows the same thing as seen in Philippians 2:15-16.

Teknon is used in these verses to depict present Christian activity, with a view to the hope set before Christians, Christ’s future appearance, and being shown as an overcomer in that coming day.)

Thus, there is the central distinction between the way in which “children” and “sons” are used in the New Testament.  Both are used in regal settings, with the latter used more specifically in connection with the rights of the firstborn.  Both can be used of Christians today; but, only “sons” is used when adoption is in view.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, Ch. 3

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.

God is never seen ruling provinces in His universe in a direct manner.
Rather, He is seen ruling through or in conjunction with others (angels and man).
 In the case of angels placed over provinces, such as Satan placed over the earth,
 He rules through these angels.
 In the case of Israel, His wife in the Old Testament theocracy,
 He ruled in conjunction with man

Types and Antitypes
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

"Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

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

Jesus, revealing Himself to the two disciples on the Emmaus road following His resurrection, used one means alone. He simply called their attention to the Word of God, opening the Scriptures to their understanding. He began with Moses and progressed to the other prophets, revealing “unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:27). And later that day, when He broke bread in their presence — because of His having previously revealed Himself through the Scriptures — “their eyes were opened” (Luke 24:28-31).

The clear statement is made that all of the Old Testament Scriptures are about the person and work of Christ. The Old Testament Scriptures form one continuous revelation concerning that which God, not man, has to say about the matter; and God has provided this revelation of His Son through structuring His Word after a certain fashion.

The Old Testament Scriptures not only provide an account of true history, but, through this history, these Scriptures also provide an account of all the various facets of the person and work of God’s Son — past, present, and future. And the latter has been accomplished through God structuring Old Testament history after such a fashion that Scripture becomes highly typical in nature.

The Old Testament Scriptures form the beginning point. This is where God set the matter forth first. And, accordingly, any correct study surrounding anything which God has revealed about His Son — which would include everything in Scripture (Colossians 1:15-19) — must begin where God began with the matter. Such a study must begin in the Old Testament.

And, not only must such a study begin in the Old Testament, but the Old Testament Scriptures must be viewed after a certain fashion. They must be viewed after the fashion in which they were written. They must be viewed after the fashion in which God structured His Word after a typical fashion. Only through so doing can man come into a correct understanding of that which God has revealed.

Place and Importance of Types

Typology is the great unexplored mine in the Old Testament. Studying the types will open the door to an inexhaustible wealth of  information which God has provided, information necessary to properly understand God’s revelation to man. On the other hand, it goes without saying that ignoring the types, as so many have done, will produce the opposite result and leave this door closed.

Note Paul’s statement concerning this matter in his first epistle to the Christians in Corinth:

“Now all these things happened unto them for ensamples [Gk. tupoi, ‘types’]: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world [Gk. aionon, ‘ages’] are come” (I Corinthians 10:11).

I Corinthians 10:11 draws from a context (I Corinthians 10:1-10) which refers to the history of Israel, extending from events immediately following the death of the firstborn in Egypt to the overthrow of an entire accountable generation in the wilderness, save Caleb and Joshua (Exodus 12 - Deuteronomy. 34).

However, the thought of events occurring as types in I Corinthians 10:11 must, of necessity, encompass a much larger scope than this one segment in the history of Israel, which it does. Christ’s statements in Luke 24:25-27, 44; John 5:45-47, along with the evident structure of Old Testament history, leave no room to question the fact that all of Old Testament history must be viewed as highly typical.

Old Testament typology begins, not with the death of the firstborn in Exodus 12, but with the account of the creation of the heavens and the earth in Genesis 1. Biblical typology begins at the point where Biblical history begins.

God, in the beginning, created the heavens and the earth. And at a later point in time, the creation, because of an act of Satan, was reduced to a ruin. Then, at a still later point in time, God set about to restore this ruined creation over a six-day period. And He created man on the sixth day, following the completion of the restoration. God then rested on the seventh day (Genesis 1:1-2:3).

This entire account in the opening verses of Genesis is fraught with significance and meaning. The account has not only been arranged in a typical fashion but it has been set in a septenary structure as well. The entire 7,000-year history of man can be seen in these verses through the manner in which God structured His Word at the very outset. Beginning with the creation of the heavens and the earth, the whole of that which God revealed throughout all of subsequent Scripture can be seen in four parts:

Creation (Genesis 1:1),

Ruin (Genesis 1:2a),

Restoration (Genesis 1:2-31 [2b]), and

Rest (Genesis 2:1-3).

(This typical account with its septenary structure [Genesis 1:1-2:3] actually forms the foundation upon which the whole of subsequent Scripture rests. And all subsequent Scripture, seen in its true light in this respect, merely forms a commentary on that revealed at the beginning, in Genesis 1:1-2:3.)

In Genesis 3, the original type of the coming Redeemer is set forth in the act of Adam after Eve had sinned. Adam partook of that associated with sin (fruit from the same tree which Eve had partaken of, the tree of the knowledge of good and evil) in order to bring about Eve’s redemption; and this was done with a view to both Adam and Eve one day being able to partake of the tree of life together.

The Last Adam, Christ, was made “sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him” (II Corinthians 5:21; cf. Romans 5:14; I Corinthians 15:45). And, in complete accord with the types, this, as well, was done with a view to Christ and His bride one day being able to partake of the tree of life together.

Then Genesis 4, providing additional commentary on that revealed in chapter three, sets forth the death of Abel at the hands of Cain; and this forms a type of the death of Christ at the hands of Israel.

Genesis 5; 6; 7; 8 set forth the generations of Adam, followed by the Noachian Flood. Two individuals stand out prominently in the latter part of the genealogical record:

Enoch, the seventh from Adam, and Noah, the tenth from Adam.

(“Seven” and “ten” are numbers that Scripture uses to show completeness.  “Seven” shows the completeness of that which is in view [used as God’s number in this respect], and “ten” shows numerical completeness.)

Enoch, at the end of one complete period of time, was removed from the earth before the Flood.  Noah, at the end of another complete period of time, was left on the earth to pass through the Flood.

“The Flood” is a type of the coming Tribulation.  “Enoch” typifies the one new man “in Christ” (comprised of all Christians), who will be removed at the end of the present dispensation, at the end of one complete period of time.  And “Noah” typifies the nation of Israel, which will be left on the earth to pass safely through the Tribulation, “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7) — completing the last seven years of the previous dispensation, at the end of another complete period of time, with a new beginning, the Messianic Era, to follow.

Genesis is the book (Genesis 14:18) in which we are first introduced to Melchizedek, a king-priest in Jerusalem. And Melchizedek typifies Christ in His coming glory as the great King-Priest in Jerusalem.

It is in Genesis that we find Scripture forming detailed dispensational structures several places. One such place — covering events extending from the birth of Christ to the Messianic Kingdom — can be seen in Genesis 21-25.

And Genesis is the book which contains one of the most complete overall types of Christ to be found in the Old Testament — the life of Joseph, beginning in Genesis 37.

“No one, I suppose, who has ever thought upon it, can doubt that this history [that of Joseph] is typical.” -- Andrew Jukes

Note Jesus’ statement, followed by Luke’s comment, after Jesus had suddenly appeared in the midst of His disciples in His resurrection body:

Now He said to them, "These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures (Luke 24:44-45).

During His earthly ministry, Jesus often drew from Old Testament typology to teach spiritual lessons concerning Himself. He drew from things surrounding the tabernacle, and from various experiences of the Israelites: “I am the door” (John 10:7, 9); “I am the bread of life” (John 6:35, 48-51); “I am the light of the world” (John 9:5). Jesus told Nicodemus that the serpent lifted up in the wilderness foreshadowed that which was about to happen to the Son of Man, Who must also be lifted up (John 3:14). In response to the Scribes and Pharisees request for a sign, Jesus declared that the experiences of Jonah foreshadowed things which He would experience (Matthew 12:38-41). Note also His reference to Solomon in this same passage (Matthew 12:42).

Referring to conditions which would prevail upon the earth immediately before His return, Jesus called the disciples’ attention to the days of Noah and the days of Lot (Luke 17:26-32). Events during the days of these two men typify events which are presently beginning to occur on earth, events which will come to full fruition immediately preceding Christ’s return.

Then during the latter part of His ministry Jesus taught by parables. And many things in these parables can be properly understood only in the light of the Old Testament types and symbols.

John the Baptizer referred to the position which Christ occupied in relation to an Old Testament type when he said, “Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). Paul spoke of this same truth when he declared Christ to be “our passover” (I Corinthians 5:7).

The writer of Hebrews derived the major portion of the teachings in his book from Old Testament typology, and this book cannot be properly understood apart from viewing material in the book in a type/antitype framework.

Hebrews 3; 4 are built around the wilderness journey of the Israelites. And the key to a correct interpretation and understanding of Hebrews 6:4-6 is to be found by paralleling that which is stated in the passage with a type-antitype treatment of Hebrews 3; 4.

In Hebrews 5; 6; 7 Melchizedek is mentioned nine times; and, in the light of that revealed about Melchizedek in the Old Testament, the things stated about Melchizedek in these chapters can only be Messianic in their scope of fulfillment (cf. Genesis 14:18-19; Psalms 110:1-4).

In Hebrews 8; 9; 10, the tabernacle with its Levitical priesthood and sacrificial system is said to be a “pattern” (Gk. tupos, “type” [Hebrews 8:5]). And in Hebrews 11; 12, numerous Old Testament individuals who typify some aspect of the work of the triune Godhead in the history of Israel or in the life of the Christian are set forth.

Extent and Purpose of Types

The extent of types in the Old Testament would have to be classed as inexhaustible. Many times a complete type can be found in a single verse; other times complete types can be found in several verses taken together, or in an entire chapter; and other times complete types can be found in several chapters taken together, or in an entire book viewed as a whole. No portion of Old Testament history can be placed outside the scope of Biblical typology. Events in the Old Testament are true history fraught with types and meanings.

The Old Testament is written in such a manner that God has interwoven prophetic types into historic events. No proper study of either the Old or New Testaments can ignore types and antitypes. Accordingly, a basic value of any Bible commentary, particularly one dealing with Old Testament history, would have to be that commentary’s treatment of types and antitypes. The reason for this is very simple: The Old Testament is highly typical. The New Testament is simply the Old revealed. Thus, within the Biblical framework of correctly teaching and understanding the Word of God, types and antitypes MUST occupy a prominent place.

Jesus said,

“Search the scriptures…they are they which testify of me…

For had ye believed Moses, ye would have believed me: for he wrote of me” (John 5:39, 46; cf. John 1:45).

The Scriptures to which Jesus referred in John 5:39 were the Old Testament Scriptures. Not a single book of the New Testament had been written at this time. Man’s failure to understand the extent and purpose of types in the Old Testament stems from his failure to heed the words of Jesus:

“Search the scriptures [the O.T. Scriptures]…they are they which testify of me.”

The word for “search” in the Greek text implies a close examination, a thorough search, and the word is used in this passage in the sense of a hunter stalking game, who directs all his attention to marks which will lead to the quarry. An individual searching the Scriptures in this manner will fix all his attention on the Scriptures, closely examining and thoroughly searching every aspect of this revelation. The folly of those who refuse to dwell deeply in the Word can immediately be seen. Such Christians are not only robbing themselves of great spiritual blessings, but, if occupying teaching positions, they are also robbing others of these same blessings.

When Jesus met the two disciples on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection, He reprimanded them for not believing ALL that the prophets had written. And, as previously seen, He then began at “Moses and ALL the prophets,” and “expounded unto them in ALL the Scriptures the things concerning himself” (Luke 24:25-27).

The specific statement is made in Luke 24:27 that ALL of the Old Testament Scriptures are about Christ. If one has a mind for the things of God, according to this verse, he can turn to any portion of the Old Testament and study about Christ. ALL of the Old Testament Scriptures — beginning with Moses — constitute a complete revelation of Jesus Christ. The record of creation, all subsequent events, and all individuals, together, form the complete Old Testament revelation which God gave to man concerning all the various facets of the person and work of His Son.

The Son was with the Father in the beginning. Apart from Him not one thing which presently exists came into existence. Or, for that matter, neither does it continue to exist (cf. Genesis 1:1; John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16-17). The entire Old Testament — Genesis through Malachi — is about Him. Then, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us…” (John 1:14a). From that point, the New Testament continues to be a revelation of God’s Son.

And the last book in the Bible — the Book of Revelation, the Revelation of Jesus Christ — is the capstone of all previous revelation, arranging in final and complete form the summation of all things which were previously revealed, beginning with “Moses and all the prophets.”

When the late Dr. M. R. DeHaan, near the close of his ministry, began to study and arrange material for a series of radio messages, entitled, Portraits of Christ, he was amazed by what he found. In the introduction to a book which was later published from this series, entitled, PORTRAITS OF CHRIST IN GENESIS, Dr. DeHaan states:

“At first the publication of a book entitled ‘Portraits of Christ’ was intended to be a study of portraits of Christ in the entire Bible. However, as I began to collect material, I realized what a hopeless task I was undertaking, and so I next limited it to portraits of Christ in the Old Testament. Again, I had not gone very far when I realized that this too was a Herculean task which could hardly be done in one volume, or even many volumes. As a result, it was shortened to ‘Portraits of Christ in the Pentateuch,’ the books of Moses. Then, finally, after completing but one chapter, I realized that I could not even begin to discuss thoroughly the portraits of Christ in the first book of the Bible alone, the Book of Genesis.

After many years of Bible study, I was amazed at the volume of material and subject matter in the Book of Genesis alone, which was the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ. The last book of the Bible opens with ‘the revelation of Jesus Christ,’ and this may well be taken to be the title of the entire Bible, from the very first verse of Genesis, chapter one, until the close of the Book of Revelation. It is one continuous, progressive revelation concerning the Altogether Lovely One, the Son of God, and the Son of Man.”

Fundamentals of Types

A basic, fundamental rule to remember about types is the rule of “first mention.” The first time a type is recorded in Scripture the pattern is set. Once the pattern is set, no change can ever occur. Later types will add information and cast additional light on the original type, but the original was set perfect at the beginning and remains unchanged throughout Scripture.

Another fundamental rule to remember about types is in the area of “doctrine.” It is often taught that types are given merely for illustrations, and doctrine cannot be taught from types. Suffice it to say, types are far more than mere illustrations, and in the area of doctrine it would be well to ask a question, followed by a statement: “Who said doctrine cannot be taught from types? Certainly not the Scriptures!”

(“Doctrine” and “teaching” are translations of noun and verb forms of the same word in the Greek text — didaskalia and didasko.  “Teaching” is “doctrine”; “doctrine” is “teaching.”  And if “teaching” cannot be drawn from the types, of what value are the types?

Doctrine/teaching can be drawn from either or from both together.  Because of the very nature of the origin of both — through God’s sovereign control of all things — there can be absolutely no difference between the two in this respect.  Both could only have been designed and put together with the same perfection that exists within the Godhead.

The types form a part of the Word that was made Flesh.  To see imperfection in the types is to see imperfection in the Word made Flesh; to see perfection in the Word made Flesh is to see perfection in the types.)

One overall thought though should suffice to quell any ideology that doctrine/teaching cannot be drawn from the types:  Who made [designed] the type?  And who made [designed] the antitype?

Types and antitypes are exact replicas of one another. The antitype is an exact imprint or duplicate of the type. The tabernacle was formed in exact detail, in every respect, to an existing tabernacle in heaven, “according to the pattern [Gk. tupos]” given to Moses in the mount (Hebrews 8:5). The “print [Gk. tupos] of the nails” in the hands of Christ were exact imprints of the nails which had been driven into His hands (John 20:25). The truth about Biblical doctrine and types is that since the antitype is an exact imprint or duplicate of the type, doctrine can be taught from either. No distinction, one from the other, can be made in this realm.

Another fundamental rule to remember is that types, contrary to common belief, “DO NOT break down.” To say that types break down is to say that types are imperfect. God established types, and He established these types perfectly. Types break down only in the minds of finite man. If a man knew all there were to know about any particular type, that type could be followed to its nth degree and never break down.

NOTHING happened in a haphazard manner in the Old Testament. EVERYTHING occurred according to a Divine plan, established before the creation of the heavens and the earth (Hebrews 1:3; Ephesians 3:11). And events throughout the Old Testament happened as “types” in order that God might have these events and experiences of individuals to draw upon, allowing the Spirit of God to use these events and experiences to instruct Christians in the deep things of God.

Types are as accurate as mathematics.”  — F. B. Meyer

The following Word Document, which is Safe to open, contains over 50 pages of types / antitypes.
Types and Antitypes.docx Types and Antitypes.docx
Size : 115.033 Kb
Type : docx

Satan's Corruption of Marriage
(Excerpt from Taking the Scroll, Breaking the Seals in this site -- editor's title added)
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Principles pertaining to marriage in the human realm and non-marriage in the angelic realm in relation to the government of the earth presents an interesting thought surrounding the co-habitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men in Genesis 6:1-4 [angels in the kingdom of Satan taking wives from the female lineage of Adam and his progeny, something that apparently began very early in man’s history (Genesis 6:1-2)].  A corruption of the human race could only have been Satan’s goal, with probably more than one facet of corruption in view.  And these facets of corruption would have a single purpose — to prevent man from ascending the throne and fulfilling the reason for his creation in the beginning.

Not only would there have been an effort to prevent the appearance of the Seed of the woman promised at the time of man’s fall [Genesis 3:15] but there would have been an effort to corrupt and destroy that which God had established in the beginning concerning the manner in which man was to conduct appointed regal activities, through a husband-wife relationship.  And an effort to prevent the latter would have been brought to pass through a corruption of the husband-wife relationship by the recorded co-habitation between fallen incumbent rulers and fallen female members of God’s new entity that had been created to rule.

This same thing can subsequently be seen occurring in a homosexual manner among those in the land covenanted to Abraham and his seed during the days of Abraham and Lot [Genesis 18; 19; Jude 1:6-7], along with a heterosexual manner once again among those in this same land during the days of Moses [Numbers 13:31-33].

Is it any wonder that God eventually stepped in during Noah’s day, bringing about a worldwide flood [Genesis 6:11ff]?  or during Abraham and Lot’s day, utterly destroying the cities of the plain [Genesis 19:24ff]?  or during Moses’ day by telling His people to go into the land and, “with a mighty destruction,” do away with all of the nations therein [Deuteronomy 7:1-2, 16, 22-24]?

And, with the rapidly changing mores of man concerning homosexuality during the present day and time, is it any wonder that God is about to once again step into the affairs of the human race, bringing about a climactic end to the whole of the matter, ultimately placing man in the position for which he was created in the beginning?

As it was in the days of Noah . . .

Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot. . .

Even so will it be in the day when the Son of Man is revealed. [Luke 17:26a, 28a, 30].

Note an ironic situation existing in the world today regarding the preceding.  The United States and Russia are currently recognized as the world’s two superpowers.  The former has a history associated with God and Christianity, the latter with atheism.

But it is not the nation associated with atheism that is pushing Satan’s homosexual agenda; rather it is the nation associated with God and Christianity.

The latter is the nation picking up and seemingly leading the way where the cities of the plain during Abraham's day left off, not the former [in fact, homosexuality is unlawful in Russia (a nation associated with atheism is the one following biblical guidelines in this realm, not the nation associated with God and Christianity)].  The latter, not the former, is the nation today following one of the sure paths to national suicide [not only from a biblical standpoint but seen throughout man’s secular history as well].  And the latter, not the former, is the nation whose actions run completely contrary to the reason God established marriage between a man and a woman in the beginning.

When and how will all of this end?  That’s the simplest question in the world to answer:

All of this will end when and how Scripture states that it will end.  And Scripture is quite plain about one thing.  That day when God will once again step into the affairs of the human race and bring about these changes is almost upon us.

Who was Laban in the Bible?
By Got Questions

The Bible first mentions Laban in Genesis 24:29. Laban was the brother of Isaac’s wife, Rebekah. Abraham had sent his trusted servant back to his home country to find a wife for Isaac among his relatives (Genesis 24:2–4). When the servant found Rebekah, he made the purpose of his visit known, and she ran and told her father’s household the news. Her brother Laban came out to welcome the servant and invited him to stay with them.

Laban was involved in the decision to allow his sister to travel to a foreign land and marry a man she had never met (Genesis 24:50, 55). Laban may have been the eldest son in his family, as the Bible records specifically that he played the role of host to Abraham’s servant and had the right to voice an opinion on his sister’s future (Genesis 24:29, 50, 55).

We near nothing more of Laban until many years later when Isaac and Rebekah send their son Jacob back to those same relatives to find a wife (Genesis 28:1–2). Jacob returned to his mother’s homeland and met Laban’s daughter Rachel, with whom he fell madly in love (Genesis 29:18). Laban promised to give Rachel to Jacob if he would work for him for seven years (Genesis 29:19–20).

However, Laban proved to be as duplicitous as Jacob himself. After Jacob had served the time agreed upon, Laban tricked Jacob and switched brides on the wedding night. When Jacob awoke the next morning, he found he had spent the night with Laban’s older daughter, Leah (Genesis 29:25). Infuriated, Jacob demanded an explanation. Laban replied, “It is not our custom here to give the younger daughter in marriage before the older one. Finish this daughter’s bridal week; then we will give you the younger one also, in return for another seven years of work” (Genesis 29:26–27).

Laban continued to connive throughout his and Jacob’s twenty-year relationship (Genesis 31:38). However, God blessed Jacob because Jacob was His choice to carry on the covenant He had made with his grandfather Abraham (Genesis 28:11–15). Genesis 31:1–3 indicates that Laban’s sons were jealous of Jacob because of how much God had prospered him. They said, “‘Jacob has taken everything our father owned and has gained all this wealth from what belonged to our father.’ And Jacob noticed that Laban’s attitude toward him was not what it had been. Then the Lord said to Jacob, ‘Go back to the land of your fathers and to your relatives, and I will be with you.’”

Fearful that Laban would take his wives, children, and everything he had, Jacob fled in the night, taking what he owned. However, unbeknownst to Jacob, Rachel had stolen her father’s household idols (Genesis 31:19, 34). When Laban learned of the departure of Jacob and his family, he pursued them. He caught up with them, and he rebuked Jacob for sneaking off. Then the idolater Laban demanded the return of his pagan images. But Jacob knew nothing of Rachel’s theft, and he scolded Laban for accusing him. Laban never found his idols.

The last mention of Laban in the Bible is after he had rebuked Jacob for disappearing without notice. After their exchange of angry words, Laban suggested that they make a covenant (Genesis 31:44). This overture appears to have been motivated by fear that Jacob might return to harm him (Genesis 31:52). Although there is no indication that Laban worshiped the Lord, he did hold a healthy fear of Him and invoked the name of Jacob’s God in forming the covenant between them (Genesis 31:49–50). Laban and his son-in-law shared a meal, and then Laban kissed his children and grandchildren and returned home.

After Laban said good-bye, Jacob and his family were free to continue their journey to the land God had given them. Whether he knew it or not, Laban's trickery played a large part in God’s plan for humanity, as his grandsons would grow up to become tribal eponyms of eight of the twelve tribes, known as Israel (Genesis 49:28; Revelation 21:12).

The sons born to Leah:

Reubensee, a son (Genesis 29:32), Simeonhearing (Genesis 29:33), Levijoined (Genesis 29:34), Judahpraise (Genesis 29:35), Issacharhire (Genesis 30:18), Zebulundwelling (Genesis 30:20)

The sons born to Rachel:

Josephadding (Genesis 30:24), Benjaminson of the right hand (Genesis 35:18)

The sons born to Bilhah, the handmaid of Rachel:

Danjudge (Genesis 30:6), Naphtaliwrestling (Genesis 30:8)

The sons born to Zilpah, handmaid of Leah:

Gad a troop or good fortune (Genesis 30:11), Asherhappy (Genesis 30:13)

Jacob's twelve sons (in order of birth), Reuben, Simeon, Levi, Judah, Dan, Naphtali, Gad, Asher, Issachar, Zebulun, Joseph and Benjamin, become the ancestors of twelve tribes, with the exception of Joseph, whose two sons Mannasseh and Ephraim, who were adopted by Jacob, become tribal eponyms (Genesis 48).

Light vs. Darkness

In Genesis 1:4 a division is made between the light and the darkness:

And God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

Light then shines “out of darkness”:

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. (2 Corinthians 4:6)

And the darkness has no apprehension or comprehension of that which is light:

This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.  (John 1:5)

But the natural man [unsaved] does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. (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”:

For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells; for to will is present with me, but how to perform what is good I do not find.

O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?  (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”:

But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.  (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).

The soul [darkness], that remains in us, sins, not the spirit [light].  To say the spirit in us can sin is to say Christ can sin, because those of us who are saved are “in Christ”.  We are part of His body:

Whoever abides in Him does not sin. Whoever sins has neither seen Him nor known Him.

Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God.

We know that whoever is born of God does not sin; but he who has been born of God keeps himself, and the wicked one does not touch him. (1 John 3:6, 9; 5:18)

In summary, we saved must endeavor to make the soul [darkness, old man] in us die.  To do this we must, as a continuous process, be filled with the Holy Spirit.  Today’s filling will not do for tomorrow.  The amount of dying of the soul [darkness, old man] in us is 'inversely proportional' to the amount of filling of the Holy Spirit. The more we're filled with the Holy Spirit the more of the soul [darkness, old man] dies in us.  Therefore the more filled we are of the Holy Spirit the more the Holy Spirit works through us instead of self [soul, darkness, old man] working through us.

In this website, KKK God's Word One, see Holy Spirit – Ministries and Filling! for commentary on how to be filled with the Holy Spirit.

A Woman, A Dragon and A Male Child are Metaphors

In Revelation 12, three main metaphors are used — one to describe “Israel” (a woman), one to describe “Satan” (a dragon), and one to describe “the 144,000” (a male child, that the woman brings forth near the middle of the Tribulation). All three metaphors are identified in the chapter, and the manner in which the male child is identified not only connects this metaphor with the 144,000 but it also provides the connection that the 144,000 have with the two witnesses in the previous chapter, in Revelation 11.

(The male child, in commentaries and other studies on the book of Revelation, is usually identified as “Christ.” But this identification is not possible. Note that Israel brings forth the male child in Revelation 12 after all seven heads of the beast in Revelation 13 have been crowned, with diadems, which cannot occur until near the middle of the Tribulation [Revelation 12:3-5]; Israel brings forth the male child shortly after Satan and his angels have been cast out of the heavens onto the earth, which, contextually, will occur near the middle of the Tribulation [Revelation 12:4-5]; and Israel brings forth the male child shortly before Antichrist breaks his covenant with the nation and the Jewish people flee for their lives [Revelation 12:5-6, 13ff].)

The identities of all three metaphors in Revelation 12 are easily seen. The woman can be identified with “Israel” several ways. One way would be through statements made about her fleeing into the wilderness (Revelation 12:6, 14; cf. Matthew 24:16ff). And the dragon is specifically stated to be “Satan” (Revelation 12:9).

(Note that Satan and the kingdom of Antichrist are spoken of in an inseparable manner in this chapter
[Revelation 12:3-4], which is easy to understand from that which is revealed about Satan and Antichrist in the next chapter. After Antichrist comes into the power that he sought by riding out on a white horse in Revelation 6, Satan gives to this man “his power, his throne [giving him regal power over the earth], and great authority” [Revelation 13:2b; cf. Luke 4:5-6].)

(See Souls Under the Altar, Mystery of The Woman and A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child in this site for additional commentary.)

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 chapter one has to do with;  this is what the mystery revealed to Paul in chapter three has to do with;  and the epistle 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.  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 chapters two and three.  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 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 (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. 

(See The Seven Parables of Matthew 13, Five Parables regarding the Kingdom and Dragnet / Separation / Furnace of Fire / Kingdom in this site.)

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) and eventually taking Christendom into the very realm which Satan and his angels occupied (world government among the nations [third parable]), not only stopped fruit-bearing but ultimately brought matters into the state seen in the fourth parable — 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.)

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 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 28:14ff; 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 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.)

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 two pamphlets, “Antichrist Cannot Appear Until... (Part I) (Part II)”.)

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…

Christians and Politics
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

A HEAVENLY CALLING, INHERITANCE

Israel's Calling is EARTHLY, but the Christians' is HEAVENLY

(Christians are being urged on practically every hand to involve themselves in the political structure of this present world system.  Politicians single out and make appeals to particular groups of Christians, they speak in Christian colleges, in Churches, and numerous ministers throughout the land urge their people to become involved.

What is this all about?  Are Christians to involve themselves in the political structure of this present world system?

If so, Why?  If not, Why not?

Answers to those questions are what the two parts of this article are about.)

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ.

According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:

Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children [sons] by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will…

Having made known unto us the mystery of his will, according to his good pleasure which he hath purposed in himself.

That in the dispensation of the fulness of times he might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven, and which are on earth, even in him.

In whom also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will” (Ephesians 1:3-5, 9-11).

Christians have a heavenly calling, a heavenly hope, a heavenly inheritance, a heavenly citizenship, heavenly blessings, and they are confronted with an ever-present heavenly battle against the present rulers who occupy the heavenly land to which they have been called (Ephesians 1:3; 6:11-18; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 3:1; I Peter 1:4).

The one book in the New Testament which, in its overall structure, possibly sets forth that facet of truth dealing with the Christians’ relationship to the heavenly land better than any other is Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians.  Paul used the expression “in heavenly places [lit., ‘in the heavenlies’]” five different times in the six chapters of this epistle.  Two of these times, the Christians’ position in the heavenlies is in view (Ephesians 1:3; 2:6);  two other times, the position of Satan and his angels in the heavenlies comes into view (Ephesians 3:10; 6:12);  and the other time, the position of Christ at the right hand of God, also in a heavenly place, is in view (Ephesians 1:20).

The Christians’ Position — In the Heavens

Revelation in Paul’s letter to the Ephesians begins by revealing blessings awaiting Christians “in heavenly places [‘in the heavenlies’] in Christ,” and terminates by revealing a present warfare confronting Christians against “spiritual wickedness in high places [‘the spirit forces of wickedness in the heavenlies’]” (Ephesians 1:3; 6:12).

The heavenlies, wherein blessings are to be realized in chapter one, and the heavenlies in which the enemy presently resides in chapters three and six, must be looked upon as one and the same.

The Christians’ positional standing is “in Christ” in the heavens where God Himself dwells;  but, contextually, the spiritual blessings in view are to be realized by Christians as they move in, conquer, and dwell in the heavenly land held by the enemy in chapter six.  In this respect, there are heavenly blessings for present victorious engagements of the enemy, and there are heavenly blessings awaiting victorious Christians in that coming day when the enemy will finally be dislodged from the land.

Contextually, the blessings in chapter one are associated with the “adoption” (Ephesians 1:5), the “dispensation of the fulness of times” (Ephesians 1:10), the “inheritance” (Ephesians 1:11, 14, 18), and the “wisdom and revelation in the knowledge [Gk., epignosis, ‘mature knowledge’] of him” (Ephesians 1:17).  Such blessings to be realized by Christians are, thus, intimately associated with the heavenly land to which they have been called;  and the entire matter is projected out into the coming age, but not to the exclusion of the present dispensation.

The present spiritual warfare in the heavenlies is with a view to the coming age, but spiritual blessings await the victors during both present and future time.  There can be no future occupation of the land apart from a present warfare against the enemy;  and the blessings extend throughout both eras.

Ephesians moves progressively from chapter one into things relative to eternal salvation and the revelation of the mystery in chapters two and three.  Believing Gentiles have been placed together in the same body with believing Jews.  God has broken down the “middle wall of partition” by creating one new man, where there is neither “Jew nor Greek” (Ephesians 2:8-16; cf. Galatians 3:28).

Believing Jews and believing Gentiles, together in one body, forming the one new man, then become “fellowheirs” of the heavenly promises and blessings in view (Galatians 3:6; cf. Galatians 3:29).  The very purpose for an individual’s salvation is to be realized through the reception of the inheritance introduced in chapter one and continued in chapters two and three.

The Christians’ association with the heavenlies is presently being made known to the “principalities and powers in heavenly places [‘in the heavenlies’]” “by [‘through’] the church” (Ephesians 3:9-10).

God is making known to the incumbent rulers in the heavenlies that they are about to be replaced;  and He is making this known through the ones who are destined to occupy these positions, the ones presently engaging the enemy in the heavenlies.

Ephesians then continues by exhorting Christians to walk worthy of their high calling (Ephesians 4:1ff) and revealing the need for pastor-teachers in the Church (Ephesians 4:11-16).  Pastor-teachers have been placed in the Church to lead Christians into a mature knowledge of, contextually, their calling in relation to the heavenlies.

Christians are to know about the blessings awaiting them in the heavenlies, the coming dispensation, the inheritance, the mystery, etc.  And to make this known, in the strict Biblical sense, is the primary task of pastor-teachers.

The latter part of chapter four and the first part of chapter five continue with thoughts and exhortations concerning walking worthy of one’s high calling;  and this is followed by related material in the latter part of chapter five and the first part of chapter six concerning the relationship of husbands and wives, children and parents, and servants and masters.

Then, at the conclusion of the epistle, in the latter part of chapter six, the crux of the entire matter comes into view.

Beginning in Ephesians 6:10, the Apostle Paul says, “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might.”  The engagement with the enemy now comes to the forefront in the epistle.  The enemy is revealed, and the proper armor with which the Christian is to clothe himself is given (Ephesians 6:12-17).

The Christians’ Warfare — In the Heavens

There is a battle to be fought, and there is a victory to be won.  This battle not only requires extensive preparation but also the correct armor;  and pastor-teachers in the Church are to see that Christians placed under their care become properly equipped to engage the enemy in the battle at hand (cf. Ephesians 3:10-11; 4:11-16; 6:11-18).

Going forth to battle, one’s loins are to be girded with truth (showing truthfulness, earnestness, and sincerity in the conflict).

A person is to have on the breastplate of righteousness (showing a righteous manner of living).

His feet are to be shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace (showing that the messenger properly understands and is able to proclaim both present and future aspects of salvation).

He is to take the shield of faith (showing faithfulness to act in the realm God has commanded).

He is to put on the helmet of salvation (showing a hope relative to a future salvation [the salvation of the soul]).

And he is to take the sword of the Spirit (showing an acquisition of the Word of God).

Only in this fashion can a Christian stand in a victorious manner against “the wiles of the devil.”

(Ref. The author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Ch. 4, The Whole Armor of God, for a fuller discussion of Ephesians 6:14-17.)

One’s faithfulness in the entire realm of proper preparation is the primary prerequisite.  As in Jude 1:3, one is to “earnestly contend for the faith [i.e., ‘earnestly strive for (with reference to, in the good contest of) the faith’].”  He, according to the parallel passage in I Timothy 6:12, is to “Fight the good fight of faith [lit., ‘Strive in the good contest of the faith’]”;  and, in this manner he is to “lay hold on eternal life [lit., ‘lay hold on life for the age’ (a future salvation, to be realized during the Messianic Era, associated in the text with his calling)].”

The words translated “contend” in Jude 1:3 and “fight” in I Timothy 6:12 are from epagonizomai and agonizomai respectively in the Greek text.  Note that the only difference in these two words is the prefix “ep” in Jude (this is the preposition epi [‘upon’] prefixed to the word [the “i” is dropped when epi is prefixed to a word beginning with a vowel]).  Epi, used in this manner, intensifies the meaning of the word, providing the translation, “earnestly contend [‘earnestly strive’].”

Agonizomai is the Greek word from which our English word “agonize” is derived.  The word could more properly be translated “strive,” as in Luke 13:24 and I Corinthians 9:25.  Every muscle is to be strained, every effort is to be expended, in the “good contest of the faith.”

In Jude 1:3-5 this contest is associated with entrance into the land to which Christians have been called, drawing from the type of the Israelites under Moses;  and the false teachers in these verses are seeking, through that which they are teaching, to mislead and thus prevent Christians from entering this land (ref. the ten unfaithful spies during Moses’ day and the results of their message).

However, Christians following the admonition in Jude 1:3 need not fear the false teachers in Jude 1:4, nor fear being numbered among the unfaithful in Jude 1:5.  Such Christians will experience victory after victory in the battle and partake of rich spiritual blessings which the Lord has reserved for His conquerors, both now and in the coming age.

Seated on the Throne — In the Heavens

Dare to be a Caleb!  Dare to be a Joshua!

Rewards for those who so govern their lives will be the same as Caleb and Joshua’s — present victory, and the ultimate possession of one’s inheritance (Joshua 13:7-14; 19:48-50).

As Christ is today seated with His Father on His Father’s throne, He is inviting Christians to one day sit with Him on His Own throne (Psalm 110:1; Revelation 3:21), which will be located in the heavens — located in the place from which Satan and his angels rule today, with Christ and His co-heirs replacing Satan and his angels in that day.

Christ, having a reign both from the heavens and upon earth in that day, will rule from His Own throne with His co-heirs in the heavens and from David’s throne in Israel’s midst on earth (Joel 2:27-32; Luke 1:31-33; Revelation 3:21).  And these two thrones should NEVER be confused with one another.

Israel’s calling is earthly, connected with David’s throne;  the Church’s calling is heavenly, connected with Christ’s Own throne.  And overcoming Christians will sit with Christ on His throne in the heavens, not with Him on David’s throne on earth.

DEFILING ONE’S HIGH CALLING

Christian Involvement in the Affairs of this World

And he brought us out from thence [the Israelites under Moses, brought out of Egypt, in the type;  Christians under Christ, brought out from this world, in the antitype], that he might bring us in, to give us the land which he sware unto our fathers [brought into an earthly land in the type;  brought into a heavenly land in the antitype]” (Deuteronomy 6:23).

In the central Old Testament type, alluded to in the preceding reference, having to do with the Israelites under Moses, earthly Gentile nations dwelling in an earthly land were in view.

The antitype though, as it pertains to Christians under Christ, has to do with a heavenly land and the rulers therein.  Rather than Gentile nations in an earthly land, it has to do with Satan and his angels in a heavenly land — the incumbent rulers over the Gentile nations on the earth, ruling from a heavenly realm.

Christians have been called to a heavenly land presently occupied by Satan and his angels.  And their warfare is there, against Satan and his angels, not here against the earthly rulers.  As Israel’s warfare was against those dwelling in the land to which the nation had been called (an earthly land), so is the Christians’ warfare against those dwelling in the land to which they have been called (a heavenly land).

That’s why Ephesians 6:12 states:

For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places [‘against spirit forces of the evil one in heavenly places’].”

This is a spiritual battle which is specifically stated to not be against “flesh and blood” opponents, but against the spirit forces of Satan in heavenly places.  And Christians concentrating their efforts in the spiritual warfare against the correct enemy in the correct realm, apart from distraction, is exactly what Paul had in mind in II Timothy 2:4-5:

No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life;  that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully [i.e., according to the manner which God has revealed in His Word].”

Lawful, Unlawful Warfare

A Christian expending his time and energy in the wrong realm — which often involves a warfare against the wrong enemy in this realm (i.e., a warfare against “flesh and blood” opponents on the earth rather than against “spirit forces” in the heavens) — is not striving lawfully.  It is impossible to overcome in the warfare in which Christians are to be engaged if one becomes wrapped up in “the affairs of this life.”

That’s why Christians will not be crowned apart from striving lawfully.  They will have separated themselves from the only place where one can overcome and gain the victory — the spiritual warfare;  and if any warfare was carried on at all in their lives, it could only have been against the wrong enemy in the wrong realm (again, separate from the only enemy and realm where one can overcome and gain the victory).

And warring against the wrong enemy in the wrong realm is something being carried out among Christians today on a scale which encompasses, after some fashion, almost the whole of Christendom (e.g., Christians opposing governmental leaders among the Gentile nations, who all hold positions under Satan and his angels in the present kingdom of the heavens [cf. Daniel 10:12-20]).

(Note Appendix I at the end of this article for an overview of Satan’s present rule among the Gentile nations and what involvement in the political structure of the present kingdom under Satan would actually involve.)

Christians, not understanding the true nature of the spiritual warfare have turned things completely around, have found themselves warring against “flesh and blood” opponents, and have placed their crowns in jeopardy.

Why is this the case?  Why is something of this nature — completely contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture — so prevalent within Christian activity today?

The answer can be seen through viewing what has happened, in the antitype, relative to the commission which Moses gave the twelve elders from the twelve tribes before they were sent into the land of Canaan.

That is, the answer can be derived through:

1) Understanding how the elders under Moses were supposed to heed his commission during a past dispensation, in the type.

2) Then, seeing what has happened when this same commission is supposed to be heeded after exactly the same fashion by elders under Christ during the present dispensation, in the antitype.

In the type, the twelve elders which Moses sent into the land were told to go up a certain way, and that way would lead them up into the mountain (Numbers 13:17).  Then, while in the mountain, they were to learn everything they could about the land and the inhabitants therein.  And, after learning all they could, they were to bring back word concerning their findings to the people in the twelve tribes.

The message of the twelve was to involve the strength of the people dwelling in the land, how the Israelites could move in and overcome them, all the various things about the land itself, etc.  In other words, they were to find out everything they could about the kingdom — both the present kingdom under Satan and the anticipated future kingdom under God — and they were to proclaim these things to the people of Israel upon their return.

This message would provide knowledge about the hope set before them — that of going into the land, conquering the inhabitants, and realizing an inheritance therein.  And this knowledge would not only provide them with an incentive to move out and be victorious over the inhabitants in the land, but it would also provide them with information concerning how this was to be accomplished.

Then, bringing this over into the antitype, the elders, the pastor-teachers, those whom God has called to lead and feed His flock, all have a central commission.  They have been commissioned by the Lord to look to the land and go up a certain way, which will lead up into the mountain.  And, once on the mountain, they are to find out everything they can about the things of the mountain and then proclaim these things to those under their ministry.

This is central!  Everything in the pastor-teachers’ ministry should revolve around this, for it involves the hope set before every Christian, which centers around the very reason for their salvation.

And the only place which God has provided for those whom He has called to go up into the mountain and learn these things for this particular purpose is His Word.

Looking to the land and going up a certain way, which will lead up into the mountain, is looking to and delving into those things in the Word having to do with the kingdom.  And, so doing, the person is to traverse the Word from one end to the other, learning all he can about the complete scope of the kingdom.

Then he is to take this message to the people, providing them with a knowledge of the hope set before them — that of going into the land, conquering the inhabitants, and realizing an inheritance therein.  And this knowledge will not only provide them with an incentive to move out and be victorious over the inhabitants of the land, but it will also provide them with information concerning how this is to be accomplished.

But…

But a major problem exists.  The elders under Christ — the leaders whom God has placed among His people, the pastor-teachers — have not followed the command in Numbers 13:17.  They have not looked toward the land and gone up a certain way, which leads up into the mountain.

They, not having followed the Lord’s command, don’t understand the true nature of the spiritual warfare, how it is to be fought, what is at stake in the fight, and all the various things about the kingdom — both present and future.  Not having been there themselves and not understanding these things, they can’t bring back a message to those under their ministry concerning that which is there, the hope set before Christians, all the various things about victory over the enemy, etc.  Such would be impossible.

And the pastor-teachers’ failure to heed the Lord’s commission after this fashion has produced far-reaching ramifications seen throughout Christendom.

Christians, because of the failure of pastor-teachers in this realm, are not knowledgeable concerning the various facets of the Word of the Kingdom.  And this is the reason so many Christians find themselves wrapped up in “the affairs of this life” and, within such actions, often also find themselves engaged in a battle against the wrong enemy in the wrong realm.

This is the reason that numerous Christians find themselves involved in the political structure of this present world system, often encouraged by their religious leaders to do so — that is, find themselves involved in Satan’s present kingdom rather than looking to the Lord and His coming kingdom.

Or, referencing the overall typology of I, II Samuel, involvement of this nature would be comparable to David’s faithful men during his time of exile (1 Samuel 19:1ff; 1 Samuel 22:1-2) leaving their place with David, going back to Saul’s kingdom, and involving themselves in his kingdom.

(Note Appendix II at the end of this article for a succinct overview of the typology of Saul and David in I, II Samuel.)

And what will be the end result of the present state of Christendom (which is not far removed, though after a different fashion, from that of the Israelites at Christ’s first coming after the Scribes and Pharisees had finished their work)?  It was given by Christ Himself, almost 2,000 years ago, before the Church had even been brought into existence.

Because of the working of the leaven which the woman placed in the “three measures of meal” (apparently very early in the dispensation) — which will work until “the whole” has been leavened (Matthew 13:33; cf. Matthew 16:6), resulting in the “lukewarm” condition in Christendom at the end of the dispensation (Revelation 3:14-21) — Christ asked:

Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith [‘the faith’] on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).

The expression, “the faith,” is peculiarly related to the Word of the Kingdom (cf. I Timothy 6:12-15, 19; II Timothy 4:7-8; Jude 1:3);  and the way in which the question is worded in the Greek text indicates that a negative response is anticipated.  The Son of Man is not going to find “the faith” on the earth at the time of His return.  He will not find the true message surrounding things pertaining to the kingdom being taught among Christians in the Churches at this time.

Why?  Again, because the pastor-teachers have not heeded the Lord’s commission.  They have not looked toward the land and gone up a certain way, which leads up into the mountain.  They know little to nothing about the land and its inhabitants;  and, resultingly, the people under their ministry know little to nothing about these things either.

And that’s where we are.  That’s the way matters surrounding the Word of the Kingdom exist during the closing days of the present dispensation.

Will conditions improve?  Not according to Scripture!  In fact, according to Scripture, deterioration will continue.  Matters will only become worse, for “the whole” is to be leavened.


APPENDIX I

THE RULE OF SATAN AND HIS ANGELS

From what realm do Satan and his angels presently rule?

It is clear from both Old and New Testament Scriptures that they rule from a heavenly realm over the earth.  Satan and his angels have access to the earth and rule through the Gentile nations on the earth (Genesis 6:2-4; Job 1:7; 2:2; Daniel 10:12-21; I Peter 5:8; Jude 1:6), but they themselves do not rule on the earth.

Daniel 10 presents certain insights into how the present kingdom of Satan is structured, along with the location of those administering power and authority in this kingdom.

In Daniel 10, a heavenly messenger who had been dispatched to Daniel on the earth from that part of the heavens where God resides and rules (“the uttermost parts of the north [a superlative in the Hebrew text]” — the northernmost point in the universe in relation to the earth [Isaiah 14:13 ASV]) was detained at a point enroute.  This messenger was detained in the heavens above the earth by “the prince of the kingdom of Persia.”

Then Michael was dispatched from heaven, and the messenger remained there with “the kings of Persia” while Michael fought with the prince of Persia for his release (Daniel 10:13).

The picture presented is that of powerful angels in the kingdom of Satan ruling the earth from a heavenly realm (a heavenly realm in relation to the earth) through counterparts in the human race on earth.

There was a prince (ruler) of Persia in the heavens, and there was a prince (ruler) of Persia on the earth.  Then, in the heavens, there were lesser rulers associated with Persia (the kings of Persia);  and the same would have been true in the earthly kingdom (cf. Daniel 2:39; 5:28-31; 7:5; 8:3-6, 20).

Then beyond that “the prince of Greece” is mentioned — another heavenly ruler, the angelic heavenly ruler over the Grecian kingdom on earth (Daniel 10:20).

And the reason why attention is called to this heavenly ruler is easy to see and understand.  Daniel, throughout his book, deals with the kingdom of Babylon, from the days of Nebuchadnezzar to the days of Antichrist;  and Daniel 10:20, “…the prince of Greece shall come,” anticipated that day when Alexander the Great in the Grecian kingdom on earth would conquer the kingdom of Babylon under the Medes and the Persians (cf. Daniel 2:39; 7:6; 8:7-8, 21-22).

Thus, there is not only a breakdown of powers in the heavenly kingdom under Satan corresponding to a breakdown of powers in various earthly kingdoms under fallen man but there is also a shifting of powers in the heavenly kingdom corresponding to a shifting of powers in the earthly kingdoms.  In this respect, any person occupying a position of power in any Gentile earthly kingdom during the present age is merely occupying a position of power under Satan and his angels, as they rule from the heavens through counterparts on the earth.

(Note that the nation of Israel is the lone exception among nations on earth whose rulers presently hold positions of power and authority under fallen angels in the kingdom of Satan.

The prince over Israel is Michael [Daniel 10:21], an angelic prince in the heavens who is not numbered among those ruling in Satan’s kingdom, as Israel is not numbered among the nations [Numbers 23:9].

And Michael, undoubtedly, has a great host of angels ruling with and under him, as Satan has a great host of angels ruling with and under him.

The whole of the matter is a rule by angels from two places in the heavens through individuals from the human race on earth — one through the nation of Israel, the other through all of the Gentile nations.)


APPENDIX II

SAUL AND DAVID
SATAN AND CHRIST

The complete story of Scripture, as it would pertain to Satan, Christ, Christians, Israel, and the nations was foreshadowed typically by the account of Saul and David in the Books of I, II Samuel.

Saul was anointed king over Israel (I Samuel 10:1);  but Saul disqualified himself by refusing, as God had commanded, to destroy the Amalekites and all of their possessions (I Samuel 15:1ff), though Saul continued to reign.  And Saul would continue to reign until the one whom God had chosen to replace him was not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.

Then, note that which the type, thus far, foreshadows:

Satan was anointed king over the earth (Ezekiel 28:14);  but Satan disqualified himself through seeking to extend his rule beyond his God-appointed position (Isaiah 14:13-15), though Satan continued to reign.  And Satan would continue to reign until the One Whom God had chosen to replace him was not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne.

In the type, shortly after God rejected Saul as Israel’s ruler, God had Samuel anoint David king over Israel (I Samuel 16:10-13).  There were then two anointed kings in Israel.

But David didn’t immediately ascend the throne.  Rather, he eventually found himself in a place out in the hills, separated from Saul and his kingdom.  And, during this time, certain faithful men joined themselves to David and remained out in the hills with him (I Samuel 22:1-2).

The day though eventually came when David was ready to ascend the throne, possessing a contingent of faithful men ready to rule with him.  Then, Saul was put down, his crown was taken and given to David, and David and his faithful men moved in and took over the government.

In the antitype, after God had rejected Satan as the earth’s ruler, God anointed His Son King over the earth (Psalms 45:6-7, 16; Hebrews 1:8-9; cf. Matthew 2:1-2).  There were then, and there are today, two anointed Kings over the earth.

But God’s Son, as David in the type, didn’t immediately ascend the throne.  Rather, as David, Christ finds Himself in a place of exile, separated from the kingdom.  And, as in David’s case, certain faithful individuals join themselves to Christ during this time, remaining in the place of exile with Him (Matthew 16:24-27; John 14:1-3; I John 2:28).

The day is near at hand though when matters will continue exactly as seen in the type.  Christ, in that day, as David in his day, will be ready to ascend the throne, possessing a contingent of faithful followers to rule with Him.  Then, Satan, as Saul, will be put down, his crown will be taken and given to Christ, and Christ, with His faithful followers, will move in and take over the government (II Samuel 1:1-16; 5:3, 4; Daniel 7:13-14; Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21; 19:11ff).

Prophets
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
Excerpt from 5) Ages and Dispensations in this site.

The reference to God’s “prophets” in Luke 1:70 and Acts 3:21 should be understood in a somewhat broader sense than the word “prophet” is usually thought of today.  The word appears quite often (about 150 times in the New Testament) and is used as a title given to the person whom the Lord had chosen to communicate — “announce,” “declare” — His message to the people; and the message did not necessarily have to be prophetic per se for the title “prophet” to be used of the messenger.

This title is used referring to those chosen at different times to declare the will and purpose of God by/through either a written revelation or an oral expression.

It is used of individuals preceding the existence of the nation of Israel (Jude 1:14), of individuals in Israel (Matthew 23:37; Luke 24:27), of individuals in the first century Church prior to the completion of the canon of Scripture (1 Corinthians 12:28; 13:9-10; Ephesians 4:11), and of individuals in Israel once again yet future (Joel 2:27-28; Revelation 11:3, 10).

In this respect, all of those chosen to write portions of the Word of God, beginning with Moses and ending with John, could be called “prophets.”  And others, such as Enoch or Noah who communicated the message of God in an oral manner to the people of their day — though they were not chosen to write particular sections of Scripture — could also be looked upon after this same fashion (cf. 2 Peter 2:5; Jude 1:14).  In fact, this word, in its strict Scriptural usage, could be used to refer to certain individuals all the way back to and including Adam himself.

(The first recorded statement by Adam, which concerned an existing relationship between himself and Eve, has far-reaching ramifications.  It has to do with “a great mystery” that God desires His people to know and understand, for it concerns an existing relationship between Christ and the Church.

The former forms the type and the latter the antitype, and this mystery can be seen in its correct proper perspective only by viewing both the type and antitype together [cf. Genesis 2:23-24; Ephesians 5:21-32].)

The age in which Jesus lived at the time of His earthly ministry is, thus, not only seen in Scripture as extending forward to the beginning of the Messianic Era but it is also seen as extending back to the beginning of man’s existence on the earth.  Comparing the different ways aion (age) is used in Luke 1:70; John 9:32; Acts 3:21; 15:18, a person can arrive at only one conclusion.  The present age, looking back in time, covers the entire period of the “prophets,” which, of necessity, would have to include not only Enoch (who “prophesied” over 1,500 years prior to the appearance of Moses [Jude 1:14]), but also Adam.

The Future Kingdom
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
Excerpt from 7) Heavenly and Earthly in this site.

Satan and his angels are to be put down, and Christ and His co-heirs are to take the kingdom.  That is the clear testimony of Scripture, beginning in Genesis and concluding in Revelation.  The matter will occur after exactly the same fashion set forth in Daniel 4:17.

. . . By the decree of the watchers, and the sentence by the word of the holy ones, in order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will . . . . (Daniel 4:17)

The Most High will one day give the kingdom to His Son (Daniel 7:13-14; cf. Revelation 11:15), Satan and his angels will be put down (exactly as Nebuchadnezzar in history was put down, for that will be “the decree of the most High” [Daniel 4:23-31]), and the Son will then take the kingdom and rule, holding the scepter.

At that time God will place redeemed, qualified individuals in positions of power and authority as co-heirs with His Son (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32; Matthew 20:23); and Christ, with His co-heirs, will hold the scepter (cf. Psalm 2:6-9; Revelation 2:26-27).

Christ’s co-heirs will have previously been shown qualified at the judgment seat; and following the Father positioning these co-heirs on the throne with His Son, Christ and His co-heirs (who will form His wife in that day) will then rule the earth from His throne in the heavenly Jerusalem for 1,000 years.

Israel will have been restored to the nation’s earthly land, and the kingdom covenanted to David will have been restored to Israel.  David’s throne will have been given to Christ; and He will rule from this throne on the earth as well as from His own throne in the heavens.

Thus, Christ will have a dual reign during the Messianic Era.  And it will be after this fashion that Christ will exercise power and authority over the earth for 1,000 years.

Christ’s rule from the heavens will involve His co-heirs (His wife), who will exercise power and authority with Him over the nations.  And Christ’s rule on the earth will involve the Jewish people (the restored wife of Jehovah) who will also exercise power and authority with Him over the nations.

Accordingly, the Gentile nations, in this manner, will be governed from two realms during this time — heavenly and earthly; and blessings will flow forth through Abraham’s Seed from both realms (cf. Genesis 12:3; 22:17-18; Romans 9:4-5; Galatians 3:16, 29).

And the object of Christ’s rule after this fashion will be to bring order out of disorder, to effect a cosmos out of a chaos.

All rule and all authority and power” must be put down; “all enemies” must be put “under His [under Christ’s] feet,” even “death.”  And when “all things shall be subdued unto Him [unto Christ],” the kingdom will be “delivered up” to “God, even the Father” in order that “God may be all in all [‘God may be all things in all of these things’]” (1 Corinthians 15:24-28, KJV).

This is what the whole of Scripture, beginning in the opening verses of Genesis, anticipates; and to bring the matter to pass, the Son, in conjunction with His co-heirs in the heavens and the nation of Israel on the earth, will rule the earth for the duration of that seventh day — for 1,000 years — foreshadowed by the seventh day seen at the very beginning, in Genesis 2:1-3.

The Trinity
By Charles Strong of Bible One
 
Note:  Acknowledgment and appreciation is extended to Chuck Missler (of K-House) and his studies pertaining to this subject, which are used in part within this document. 
 
Preface
 
The term trinity is not found in the Bible, but it is used to designate a definite Bible doctrine, not unlike the terms rapture, omnipresent, omniscient, substitutionary, eschatology, incarnation and others.   The doctrine of the Trinity refers to the divine essence (nature) of God who reveals Himself in three distinct Persons.  These three Persons are the (1) Father, (2) Son and (3) Holy Spirit.  These three are separate and yet are one, i.e., one God who manifests Himself in three distinct personalities.  It does not necessarily follow that the three Persons of the Godhead are different in function; since it will be shown later in this study that all three share not only the same attributes but the same functions (works).  Yet, they are three distinct and unique personalities.
 
The Trinity is not subject to rationalistic apologetics, i.e., it cannot be understood by the rational processes of the human mind.  Bible students and scholars attempt to express the concept using various models, e.g., white light made up of three primary colors or water which can exist as ice, liquid or steam, but such models eventually fail to adequately represent God as three distinct Persons, yet One.  The Trinity or Godhead cannot be known by reason alone but may only be understood by revelation and accepted by faith.

But to the truly scientific and objective mind there are many facets of the physical world that defy rationalization.  Considering such concepts as “evolution” or “dimensionality,” it takes more “faith” to accept the “world view” than the “Biblical view.”
 
The Bible (God’s revelation) is a composition of 66 books written by 40 different inspired human authors from vastly different backgrounds over several thousand years, yet with one integrated and consistent message.  One aspect of this message is that plurality coexists with unity in the Godhead.  This is where many of today’s sects and cults go astray, not to mention major religions such as Islam.  And since the term religion has surfaced, it is well to understand that Christianity is not a religion.  It is a union or relationship with a Person, Jesus Christ.  In fact, the primary focal point of all Scripture is the person and work of Jesus Christ, the promised Messiah.
 
Old Testament
 
The Bible reveals that there is only one God.  This truth is made clear in the first commandment (Exodus 20:1-2).  It is clearly expressed in Deuteronomy 6:4:

Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is One! 

And in Isaiah 45:5-6:

I am the LORD, and there is no other; there is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me, that they may know from the rising of the sun to its setting that there is none besides Me. I am the LORD, and there is no other.

There are two Hebrew words that are translated “one” in the Old Testament.  The word, which corresponds to “unique,” (a non-plurality quality) is yahidh.  The other word is ehadh, which does not preclude distinguishable entities or plurality.
 
The Hebrew word translated one in the above reference out of the book of Deuteronomy is ehadh, which does not exclude having plurality within it.  It is the same word used in Genesis 2:24, wherein God declares that man and woman by coming together become “one flesh.”  So it is seen by the use of ehadh to refer to Himself in the above passage in Deuteronomy that God reveals His plural nature.
 
There are three names used in the Old Testament that are translated God.  They are (1) Elohim—used 2700 times in the Bible, (2) YHWH and (3) Adonai.  Although it is obvious that these three names apply to God the Father, it is also important to note that they all apply in various references to the Son (Isaiah 6:1-3; 9:6; 45:21; Psalm 68:18) and the Holy Spirit (Exodus 31:3; Judges 15:14; Isaiah 11:2).  Therefore it is unwise for the Bible student to conclude that any one of these names will always apply uniquely to only one Person of the Godhead.
 
The name Elohim, because of its grammatical ending of “im” (similar to the plural terms of cherubim and seraphim), indicates plurality.  Yet it is always used with a “singular verb,” an apparent grammatical error since the noun doesn’t agree with the verb.  This construction is introduced in Genesis 1:1, “In the beginning God [plural noun Elohim] created [singular verb bara] the heavens and the earth.”  This form of construction was not used by the Holy Spirit in the transcription of God’s Word by mistake.  In was intended to reveal the plural nature of God.
 
This usage is correctly carried over into the English translations of the Bible.

Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness . . . .” (Genesis 1:26)
 
Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us  . . . .” (Genesis 3:22)
 
Come, let Us go down and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. (Genesis 11:7)

Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?”  . . . (Isaiah 6:8)

Two other passages in the Old Testament indicate the plurality of God by the use of a plural noun in reference to Him, even though these nouns are not shown as plural in the English versions of the Bible.  They follow.

Remember now your Creator(s) in the days of your youth, before the difficult days come, and the years draw near when you say, “I have no pleasure in them.”  (Ecclesiastes 12:1)
 
For your Maker(s) is your husband, The LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth. (Isaiah 54:5)

Chuck Missler of K-House reveals in his teaching of the Trinity that a two-letter Hebrew word, consisting of the first (aleph) and last (tau) letters of the Hebrew alphabet is used in various places within the Old Testament, yet without being translated into the English versions of the Bible.  He indicates that some Hebrew scholars think that this combination is used to represent a preposition or as a connector to modify a word.  He points out to his audience two specific examples where this isn’t the case, Genesis 1:1 and Zechariah 12:10.   He suggests that one may conclude that the meaning of this usage is the equivalent to the designation “the first and the last,” a name applicable to Jesus Christ in the New Testament (Revelation 2:8).  If he is correct, and this author believes him to be so, then the following two passages take on excitingly new meanings.

In the beginning God (Aleph and Tau) created the heavens and the earth.    =     In the beginning, the First and the Last [Jesus Christ], created the heavens and the earth. (Genesis 1:1)
 
. . . then they will look on Me (Aleph and Tau) whom they pierced     =     then they will look on Me, the First and the Last [Jesus Christ], whom they pierced. (Zechariah 12:10)

Not only is this is a very strong indication of Jesus Christ within the Old Testament, but it further confirms the concept that “plurality coexists with unity” in reference to God.
 
New Testament
 
There are several instances in the New Testament where all three persons of the Godhead come together in one passage of Scripture, e.g., the baptism of Jesus Christ, the issuance of the Great Commission, a benediction by the Apostle Paul and a proclamation by the Apostle Peter.   They follow.

When He had been baptized, Jesus came up immediately from the water; and behold, the heavens were opened to Him, and He saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting upon Him.  And suddenly a voice came from heaven, saying, “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  (Matthew 3:16-17)
 
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit . . . . (Matthew 28:19)
 
The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. Amen.  (2 Corinthians 13:14)
 
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.  (1 Peter 1:2)

If this was all the New Testament had to say on the subject, it would be enough; yet, the New Testament also reveals that all three Persons of the Godhead are designated as God
 
The Father is God, which is uncontested.
 
The Son is God.

Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:23)
 
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. . . .  And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:1, 14)
 
Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, because He not only broke the Sabbath, but also said that God was His Father, making Himself equal with God. (John 5:18)
 
Jesus said to them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.” [And God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Thus you shall say to the children of Israel, ‘I AM has sent me to you.’”] (John 8:58 [Exodus 3:14])
 
I and My Father are one. (John 10:30)
 
. . . . Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. (Romans 9:5)
 
Who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God. (Philippians 2:6)
 
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn [a term of position signifying priority and sovereignty] over all creation. (Colossians 1:15)
 
For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. (Colossians 2:9)
 
Looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)
 
Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His Person . . . . (Hebrews 1:3)
 
And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (1 John 5:20)

The Holy Spirit is God.

But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5:3-4)
 
No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him . . . . [And when He (Holy Spirit) has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment . . . .]  (John 6:44 [John 16:8])
 
Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. (2 Corinthians 3:17)

The plurality of the one God as evidenced in Holy Writ (Bible) is incontrovertible.  The fact that the Bible clearly reveals that the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit are each and together the one and the same God, even as they are each distinct Personalities, is indisputable.  Admittedly, the mechanics of how this plurality exists in unity is quite incomprehensible to the human mind.  This doctrine is most certainly of “faith,” not “reason.”
 
God’s Word further demonstrates the fact that the Godhead is composed of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.  The Trinity is shown by both the attributes of God and His works.  The following passages of Scripture will show that many of the attributes and works attributable to God are also attributable to both the Son and the Holy Spirit.  They will only be listed for the student of this subject to look up and confirm.

The Attributes of God

Eternal Existence
 
Father         Psalm 90:2
Son             Micah 5:2; John 1:2; Revelation 1:8, 17 (Isaiah 41:4)
Holy Spirit   Hebrews 9:14
 
Holiness
 
Father     Revelation 15:4
Son         Acts 3:14
Holy Spirit Inherent in His name, “Holy Spirit”

(Note:  A strong case may be made in the original languages that the triple use of the word “holy” in Isaiah 6:3 and Revelation 4:8 refers to all three persons of the Godhead.)

Omnipotent (All powerful)
 
Father          1 Peter 1:5
Son              (2 Corinthians 12:9)
Holy Spirit    Romans 15:19
 
Omniscience (All knowing)
 
Father        Jeremiah 17:10
Son            Revelation 2:23
Holy Spirit  1 Corinthians 2:11
 
Omnipresence (All present)
 
Father        Jeremiah 23:24
Son            Matthew 18:20
Holy Spirit   Psalm 139:7
 
Truth
 
Father         John 7:28
Son             John 14:6; Revelation 3:7
Holy Spirit   1 John 5:6
 
Benevolence
 
Father         Romans 2:4
Son             Ephesians 5:25
Holy Spirit   Nehemiah 9:20
 
The Works of God
 
The Creation of the Universe
 
Father          Psalm 102:25
Son             John 1:1-3; Colossians 1:16
Holy Spirit   Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13

(Note:  “Elohim” is plural for all three in Genesis 1:1.)

The Creation of Man
 
Father        Genesis 2:7
Son            Colossians 1:16
Holy Spirit   Job 33:4

(Note:  Plural nouns for God in Ecclesiastes 12:1 and Isaiah 54:5.)

The Incarnation
 
Father         Hebrews 10:5
Son             Philippians 2:7
Holy Spirit   Luke 1:35
 
The Death of Christ
 
Father         Psalm 22:15; John 3:16; Romans 8:32
Son             John 10:18; Galatians 2:20
Holy Spirit   Hebrews 9:14
 
The Atonement
 
Father         Isaiah 53:6, 10
Son             Ephesians 5:2
Holy Spirit   Hebrews 9:14
 
The Resurrection of Christ
 
Father         Acts 2:24; Romans 6:4
Son             John 2:19; 10:17-18
Holy Spirit   Romans 8:11; 1 Peter 3:18
 
The Resurrection of Man
 
Father         John 5:21
Son             John 5:21
Holy Spirit   Romans 8:11
 
The Inspiration of Scripture
 
Father         2 Timothy 3:16
Son             (1 Peter 1:10-11)
Holy Spirit   2 Peter 1:21
 
The Indwelling of Believers
 
Father         Ephesians 4:6
Son             John 17:26; Colossians 1:27
Holy Spirit   1 Corinthians 6:19
 
The Sanctification of Believers
 
Father         Jude 1:1
Son             Hebrews 2:11
Holy Spirit   1 Corinthians 6:11
 
The Eternal Security of the Believer
 
Father         John 10:29
Son             John 10:28; Romans 8:34
Holy Spirit   Ephesians 4:30

One may appreciate, at least to a small degree, the vast abyss between the mind of God and the mind of man by considering how difficult it would be to explain to a tribe in the deep interior of Africa who has had no exposure to the outside (industrial) world the workings of television or a Boeing 747.  The chasm between God and man in the realm of knowledge and understanding is far greater.  It is as extensive as the chasm between the infinite and the finite.  Because of this immense and immeasurable gulf between God and man the Trinity can only be a fact of divine revelation, and not of human reason.
 
The bottom line is that God’s Word clearly teaches that God is God, Jesus Christ is God and the Holy Spirit is God.  God is one in essence (nature), yet three distinct Persons, in revelation and in the performance of His will.  God the Father orchestrated His plan, Jesus Christ enabled His plan and the Holy Spirit executed His plan.  This of course is over simplification, since any of the three Persons of the Godhead also performed all three functions.  In any case the doctrine of the Trinity is fundamental to Christianity.  A diligent study of the Bible shows it to be accurate, factual, irrefutable, incontrovertible, incontestable, undeniable, indubitable and unassailable….and any other similar adjective of like kind the reader of this study may wish to apply.
 
HOLY (Father), HOLY (Son), HOLY (Spirit) is our ONE GOD!

Christian Directional Mind-Set
By Charles Strong of Bible One

But Jesus said to him, “No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:62)

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Therefore, leaving the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, let us go on to perfection [lit. completeness, maturity]. . . . (Hebrews 6:1a)

The directional mind-set that every Christian should embrace, employ and support is clearly articulated by Jesus Christ in Luke 9 and the apostle Paul in Philippians 3, as noted above.  One’s mind-set is that which reflects attitude, disposition, intention and inclination – the path to which one is committed to travel throughout life.

It has been this writer’s experience that progress and improvement in one’s life can only be when one looks forward in life, not forgetting the past or any previously valid lessons, but certainly not allowing memories to encumber one’s constructive growth.  This is why this writer has always and firmly believed, and has said many times to others, that all that really matters, all that really can be altered for the good, are the present and that which follows.  It simply profits no one to “hang-on” to the past.

In the spiritual realm this is particularly true, especially as it relates to the basis for one’s thoughts then actions.  Prior to believing in Jesus Christ, a decisive action of the will creating the “birth [life] from above” in one’s spirit, which is instantly secured by the Holy Spirit’s permanent “indwelling” (John 14:17; 1 Corinthians 3:16; 1 John 2:27), “sealing” – the believer’s “guarantee for redemption” (Ephesians 1:13-14; 4:30; 2 Corinthians 1:22), and “immersion (baptism) into the Body of Christ (1 Corinthians 12:12-13; Galatians 3:27-28),” an individual could only function in the “flesh” (i.e., a condition influenced by the “god [Satan] of this age” [2 Corinthians 4:4]).

Subsequent to one’s “birth from above” a person has a choice, to live in the past, allowing the “flesh” to have dominion over one’s life, or to forge ahead, allowing the Spirit of God to influence and empower (Ephesians 5:18) one’s thoughts and actions, a process, a spiritual goal that may only be achieved as one absorbs and allows the “Word of Christ” to “dwell” (take root and live) within one’s mind and heart (compare Ephesians 5:18-20 with its companion passage Colossians 3:16).

To follow this path of spiritual maturity would be in stark contrast to the spiritual condition of the believers with whom the apostle Paul came in contact when he visited the “church (assembly, local body of believers) of God . . . at Corinth” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2), as seen in Paul’s words:

And I, brethren, could not speak to you as to spiritual people but as to carnal [fleshly], as to babes [immature persons] in Christ.  I fed you with milk [basics of the Word] and not with solid food [the meat of the Word]; for until now you were not able to receive it, and even now you are still not able; for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? (1 Corinthians 3:1-3; cf. 1 Corinthians 14:20; Ephesians 4:14)

Sadly, this is also the condition of most of the local churches within Christendom today.  This deteriorating condition was forecast by Christ as He sat in a boat speaking to “great multitudes” who had gathered “by the sea” along with His disciples, as seen in Matthew 13.  And although this writer is most certainly no model of one who has achieved complete spiritual maturity, for the path toward this end for him has been long and continues on, even he understands the apparent evidence of mediocracy of spirituality within Christendom as it is seen on every hand throughout Christendom today.  Instead of concerted efforts to feed the children of God with the Word of God, the vast numbers of local church ministers, so-called “Christian” television programs, and other “Christian” efforts through the broad tentacles of social media mostly center on messages around shallow platitudes, emotional appeal, and financial gain.

As to the proper definitive form of spiritual care by ministers and ministries for Christians, Scripture reveals the following:

So when they had eaten breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me more than these?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You." He said to him, “Feed My lambs.” He said to him again a second time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” He said to Him, “Yes, Lord; You know that I love You.” He said to him, “Tend [Gk. poimaino – shepherd – to feed and care for) My sheep.” He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of Jonah, do you love Me?” Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, “Do you love Me?” And he said to Him, “Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You.” Jesus said to him, “Feed My sheep.” (John 21:15-17)
 
Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd [feed and care for] the church of God which He purchased with His own blood. (Acts 20:28)

And He [Christ] Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some 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 [mature] 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. (Ephesians 4:11-14)

Shepherd [feed and care for] the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; and when the Chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the crown of glory that does not fade away.  (1 Peter 5:2-4)

To put it succinctly, it is rare to find any minister or organization today that will faithfully and concertedly bring a young (immature) Christian to a state of spiritual maturity through the judicious presentation (feeding, teaching) of the “meat” [solid food] of God’s Word.  This being the case, most Christians have little foundation and encouragement to adopt the correct directional mind-set as has been stated by Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul in the passages of Scripture seen in the beginning of this article.  Rather, most only take the “easy road” of carnality (fleshly desire), instead of the “noble road” of “forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, [and pressing] toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

Sadly, most find themselves to be as those to whom the apostle Paul addressed in 1 Corinthians 3:1-3 (previously quoted), as well as to those whom the writer of the book of Hebrews addressed:

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

For the reader to properly understand the framework elaborated in Scripture designed to advance a believer in Christ from a spiritual state of immaturity to one of maturity, he needs to first understand the composition of man, i.e., his physical and spiritual make-up designed by God at the time of man’s creation when earth was renovated from its previously fallen state as seen in the early chapters of the book of Genesis.

(The opening two chapters in the book of Genesis, contrary to what is taught throughout most of Christendom, do not record the creation of the earth and the surrounding Universe.  They actually record the restoration of a prior ruined creation.  Should the reader wish to meticulously explore this truth, it is suggested that he read 2)  The Revelation of Jesus Christ (2) in this site.)

Man was created in the “image” and “likeness” of God (Genesis 1:26-27).  God reveals Himself throughout Scripture as a tripartite Being, One who reveals and expresses Himself in and through three distinct Personalities – the Father, the Son (Jesus the Christ), and the Holy Spirit.  God is One in essence (nature), yet three distinct Persons, in revelation and in the performance of His will.

(Should the reader wish to read a more detailed account of the concept of the Trinity as it is supported in Scripture, it is suggested that he read The Trinity in this site.)

Man, created in the “image” and “likeness” of God, is also a triune person, composed of a “spirit,” a “soul,” and a “body.”

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)

For lack of a better explanation, the “spirit” is that part of man that enables a spiritual link with God, the “body” is that part of man that is physically linked with material surroundings, and the “soul” is that part of man encompassing his reasoning and communicative abilities that enables man to apprehend (comprehend) spiritual truths, which will allow him to mature spiritually and will culminate in his reign with Christ in the coming Messianic Era.

(The reader should understand that the writer’s supposition of the “soul” is most likely deficient, but it is based on the fact that Scripture definitely and specifically speaks to Christians about “soul salvation” [James 1:21; Hebrews 10:39; 1 Peter 1:9], which, although is not linked with a person’s eternal salvation, it is determined at the Judgment Seat of Christ [1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11] and when successfully achieved is realized by the whole person being able to reign with Christ during the Messianic Era [2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4].)

In addition to man being tripartite in composition, he was also given self-will, the ability to self-determine and choose between different courses of action, which was also typical of the “image” and “likeness” of God.  This being the case, the “image” and “likeness” of God in man encompassed both a tripartite and self-determining reality.

After God created man, both male (Genesis 1:26-27) and female (Genesis 2:21-23), a choice was made to violate God’s will, His specific instructions, which resulted in:

1) Man’s death – the instantaneous death of his “spirit” (his connection with God), which then left his “soul” in “total darkness” (i.e., without any spiritual influence), along with the progressive (through time) death of his body (Genesis 2:17).

2) The deterioration of the earth (Genesis 3:1-19).

The Beginning

The beginning of the Christian journey for any person is anchored solely in Jesus Christ and His work alone, which may be accessed solely by one’s willful act of faith in Christ and what Christ alone has done, i.e., accomplished on the cross of Calvary on behalf of the entire human race.  Only through Christ’s propitiatory sacrifice is it possible for persons to be “alive who were dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1; Colossians 2:13).

But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood [i.e., His death], through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed, to demonstrate at the present time His righteousness, that He might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus. (Romans 3:21-26)

Therefore, in all things He [Jesus Christ] had to be made like His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. (Hebrews 2:17)

And He [Jesus Christ] Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world. (1 John 2:2)

In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. (1 John 4:10)

The word propitiation, as seen in Romans 3:25 above, speaks of Christ’s expiatory (atoning) death (i.e., His spiritual separation from God the Father during a three hour period on the cross of Calvary [Matthew 27:45-46; Mark 15:33-34] and which was “finished” [lit. “totally completed”] on the cross [John 19:30]) for the redemption of mankind, a death which totally satisfied God and His judgment toward sin.  It is by and through the death (a circumstance represented by the “shedding of blood” [Leviticus 17:11; Hebrews 9:22; Ephesians 1:7; Matthew 26:28; Acts 20:28]) of Christ that God demonstrates the mercy of His justifying grace to the sinner who believes – “faith” being the sole condition on man’s part (Acts 16:30-31; Ephesians 2:8-9).

Upon a person’s willful act of faith in Christ, the following is true, expressed by Arlen L. Chitwood in the appendix (“Salvation – Spirit, Soul”) in his book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith, Appendix:

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 two that cannot be crossed over (cf. Luke 16:26).

(Note that the preceding forms a foundational part of the reason why Christ becoming one’s Lord [cf. Luke 6:46] cannot be an integral part of salvation by grace.)

The Journey

Once a person has been “born from above” by the Spirit of God, resulting from an act of faith in Jesus Christ, he is then faced with the responsibility to take an “upward” spiritual journey.  The journey, if taken, will transport him from an “immature” person (“babe”) to a “mature” person in Christ.  But just as he had the God-given ability to either choose or reject Christ from the very beginning, as a Christian he also has the God-given ability to either spiritually forge ahead or remain in a carnal (fleshly) spiritual state.  If he selects to go ahead, utilizing the same principle of faith, receiving assistance (power) from the Spirit of God, he will consistently absorb the ever-deepening truths of God’s Word, which will insure mature spiritual growth resulting in the salvation of his soul and his participation with Jesus Christ during the coming Messianic kingdom.

The remainder of this section will be taken from Chitwood’s book mentioned above, but dealing with that which is subsequent to a person’s “birth from above” by and through “faith in Christ” – the salvation of the soul.  The book, which compares man’s spiritual birth and subsequent journey to God’s restoration of a prior ruined creation (the earth), may be reviewed in its entirety by activating the following link: Salvation by Grace through Faith by Arlen Chitwood.

The preceding process is the manner that God uses to deliver the spirit from its fallen state, resulting from Adam’s sin.  And because the spirit has been delivered, there can once again be communion with God.  Man can now comprehend spiritual things, and there can now be a progressive, continued work by the Spirit of God within man so that he can ultimately be delivered to the place that God has decreed that he occupy at the end of six days, at the end of six thousand years.

Within the framework of the type in Genesis 1, this is the very first thing that is foreshadowed.  This had to be set forth first, for man has to first be made alive — he has to first pass “from death to life” — before anything else in the restorative process can occur.

Thus, this is foreshadowed at the very beginning of the six days that God, in accordance with the established pattern, would use to bring about man’s complete restoration — spirit, soul, and body (cf. 1 Thessalonians 5:23).

To briefly illustrate how God’s complete restoration of man is patterned after God’s complete restoration of the material creation in Genesis 1, note three things:

1) Where the complete restorative process began (on day one, as previously mentioned).

2) That which occurred on each succeeding day (two through six).

3) Where the whole of the restorative process was leading (the seventh day, the Sabbath, a day of rest following six days of work [Genesis 2:1-3]).

Within the type-antitype framework — pertaining to man’s salvation in the antitype — that which occurred in the type on day one (Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]) pertains to the salvation of man’s spirit, and that which occurred in the type on days two through six (Genesis 1:6-25) pertains to the salvation of man’s soul, with the entirety of that which is revealed leading to the seventh day (Genesis 2:1-3).

The salvation of the spirit is an instantaneous event where one passes “from death to life,” but not so with the salvation of the soul.  It is a progressive event.  It is an event that begins at the point one is made alive spiritually, and it will not be completed and realized until the end of that which is foreshadowed by the six days of restorative work — 6,000 years of restorative work.

(The issues of the judgment seat of Christ at the end of the present dispensation – which will occur at the end of the six days, at the end of the 6,000 years – will have to do with issues surrounding the salvation [or loss] of the soul / life.  It will be at the judgment seat – not before – that man will realize [or fail to realize] the salvation of his soul / life.

Note that issues of the judgment seat can have nothing whatsoever to do with man’s presently possessed eternal salvation, which has to do with his spirit.  It is only on the basis of man’s presently possessed eternal salvation that he can be dealt with in relation to fruit bearing [having to do with his soul / life], both during present time and at the judgment seat.  And the findings and determinations of the judgment seat, in this respect, will have to do with the salvation or loss of his soul / life, which, in turn, will determine his place and position in the coming kingdom of Christ.)

Since the salvation of the spirit cannot occur apart from an exact duplication in the antitype of that which occurred in the type during day one of the restoration in Genesis 1:2-5 [2b], it should be evident that the salvation of the soul and its relationship to that which occurred on days two through six must be looked upon the same way.  The latter must follow the pattern to the same degree as the former.  There can be no difference in this respect.

And since this is the case, note what occurred on days two through six in the restoration of the ruined material creation in Genesis.  Then, to see the overall picture of that which must be done to bring about the salvation of redeemed man’s soul, these same events can be viewed in relation to God’s present continuing restoration of man, a subsequent ruined creation.

Events on days two and three (as events on the first day) have to do with divisions.  On the second day God established a division between the waters (Genesis 1:6-8), and on the third day He established a division between the dry land (with its vegetation) and the waters (Genesis 1:9-13).

Then events on days four through six belong together as another unit, depicting things beyond the divisions previously established.  On the fourth day God placed lights in the heavens to give light upon the earth (Genesis 1:14-19), on the fifth day He created birds that could soar above the earth and marine life that could move throughout the depths of the sea (Genesis 1:20-23), and on the sixth day He created the land animals, which included great creatures capable of roaming the earth (Genesis 1:24-25).

And, as previously noted, the entirety of God’s restorative work relative to the material creation in Genesis foreshadows the whole of God’s restorative work relative to man today.  After man has “passed from death to life,” wherein the spirit is separated from the soul – wrought entirely through divine intervention – redeemed man finds himself in a position and condition where a continued divine work not only can occur but must occur if he is to realize the salvation of his soul.  And only through this continued divine work can the whole of God’s restorative work, as it pertains to man, be realized.

(Man, as the material creation, must be completely passive in relation to the salvation of the spirit [he is dead, rendering him incapable of acting]; and man, as the material creation [“And the earth brought forth . . . .”] must be active in relation to the salvation of the soul [he now has spiritual life, allowing him to act in the spiritual realm].  But, as in the restoration of the material creation, the entire salvation process [spirit and soul, and ultimately the body] is a divine work.  “Salvation is of the Lord” [Jonah 2:9].

For more information on the preceding, refer to the author’s book, The Time of the End, Appendix 3  Faith and Works.”)

Events occurring during the first three days in Genesis 1 would point to elementary things or the basics in one’s spiritual life and growth.  Events occurring during day one (Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]) would point to a division between the soul and the spirit, having to do with the impartation of life.

Then events occurring during days two and three (Genesis 1:6-13) would point to divisions and distinctions as one begins to progressively grow within the framework of the new life brought into existence on the first day.  One would learn to distinguish between the soulical and spiritual, spiritual and carnal (fleshly), Jew, Gentile, and Christian, the dispensations, etc.

Only when one learns the divisions and distinctions depicted by that which was brought to pass on days two and three is he in a position to move on into the things depicted by that which was brought to pass on days four through six (Genesis 1:14-25).  On these three days, light was restored to the sun and moon (day four, Genesis 1:14-19); sea life and the birds of the air were created (day five, Genesis 1:20-23); and then God created all the living creatures that roam the earth, followed by His creation of man (day six, Genesis 1:24-27).

That which is depicted by the work of the Triune Godhead during these three days points to things beyond elementary truths in the antitype.  After one has passed “from death to life” and has been instructed in the elementary truths (days one through three – after he has grown to a degree in his Christian life – he can then begin to view with understanding deeper spiritual truths of the Word.  He can then begin to view with understanding those things in the Word depicted by events on days four through six (Genesis 1:14-25).

An individual in this position can begin to sink deep shafts down into the Word and mine its treasures.  He can look into the Word and understand that which is depicted by the lights in the heavens.  He can, in the true sense of the Word, “mount up with wings as eagles . . . run, and not be weary . . . walk, and not faint” (Isaiah 40:31), as he scales the heights; or he can scale the depths of the Word, as the sea creatures plunge to the depths of the sea; or he can roam through the Word, as the land creatures roam the earth.

Christian maturity and spiritual victory – bringing to pass the salvation of the soul – go hand-in-hand.  And the entire process of God’s restoration work throughout the six days is with a view to that which lies beyond, on the seventh day.  It is with a view to the Sabbath rest awaiting the people of God.

The Prize, the Hope

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)

Make no mistake, there is a “prize” reserved for Christians who select to adopt and continue in the proper directional mind-set, to look not to the past but to that which is “ahead” as they “press toward the goal” [from “immaturity” to “maturity”] set before them.  The human author of the book of Hebrews likened the pursuit for this “goal” to a “race.”

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The apostle Paul, realizing that his time on earth was drawing to a close, who had remained faithful in his press “toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus,” who had “finished the race [and] kept the faith” resulting in the salvation of his soul, defined (but not totally) the prize he had been pursuing.

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure is at hand. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. (2 Timothy 4:6-8)

Paul was prepared to face Christ at His judgment seat and to receive the verdict of the quality of his Christian life on earth, which could be positive, resulting in definite “reward,” or negative, resulting in definite “loss.”

For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone's work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone's work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire. (1 Corinthians 3:11-15; cf. 2 Corinthians 5:9-11, Romans 14:10-12; Colossians 3:25)

And as a Christian, you may be assured that you too will face “the righteous Judge [Christ] . . . on that Day [of Judgment], which although will not affect in any way your eternal salvation (of the spirit), will most surely reveal what you will either gain (salvation of your soul) or lose due to your Christian life upon this earth.

The prize to which you are challenged to earn (yes, I said “earn”) is also defined as “the hope” to which all Christians should and must aspire, the salvation of their souls.  The remainder of this study will be a brief dissertation by Arlen L. Chitwood regarding “the hope” – taken from the second appendix to his book, Salvation of the Soul, a book strongly recommended to the reader, which may be obtained by activating the following link: Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Appendix II.

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 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 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 Hebrews 10:23, 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.)

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.

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,” 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.

Watch & Stand Fast in the Faith
By Charles Strong of Bible One

One evening recently, as this writer was considering the myriad reasons underlying his desire to experience the return of Christ, reasons stemming from the pains and limitations of “old age” to the countless and demonstrable evil manifestations throughout the world as seen daily through the proliferation of mass media, the following thoughts crossed his mind:  Christ never promised an easy road in living for Him!  Quite the contrary!  All He promised was difficulty, hard times and suffering.

(This truth may be confirmed by reviewing the following passages of Scripture:  Matthew 5:11-12; 16:24; 23:34; Luke 6:22; Acts 5:41; 14:22; Romans 5:3; 8:17; 2 Corinthians 12:10; Philippians 1:29; 2 Timothy 2:12; 3:12; James 1:2-3, 12; 1 Peter 3:14; 4:14.)

And with this in mind, this writer couldn’t help but come to the conclusion that Christ expects His children to stand firm against the onslaught by Satan and his minions, a position reflecting deep gratitude for all that Christ has done and continues to do for mankind, in addition to exhibiting the only means in which a Christian can achieve the salvation of his soul, i.e., become an “overcomer,” one who will qualify at Christ’s Judgment Seat to participate as part of the “bride of Christ” and rule and reign with Christ during the coming Messianic Era.

In summation, this writer couldn’t help but realize that he was being somewhat childish and spineless in his outlook and life for Christ, a shameful position indeed.  But on the positive side, it was this evaluation that led him to a wide expanse of Scripture passages revealing the correct stance each Christian should adopt and maintain throughout his mortal life, chief of which would be expressed by the apostle Paul.

The apostle Paul when writing to “the church [assembly] 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” (1 Corinthians 1:2) ended his letter in a positive manner in which he included the following emphatic instruction:

Watch, stand fast in the faith, be brave [mature], be strong. (1 Corinthians 16:13)

In this one verse is God’s expectation for every Christian during his lifetime, the elements of which follow and are best explained by Scripture:

1) Watch (perceptive, discerning, sensitive [to spiritual matters])

Watch therefore, for you do not know what hour your Lord is coming. (Matthew 24:42)

Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming. (Matthew 25:13)

Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. (1Thessalonians 5:6)

Preach the Word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. . . . But you be watchful in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry. (2 Timothy 4:2, 5)

2) Stand fast (firmly grounded and with endurance [in spiritual matters])

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. (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)

(An examination of this passage within its context reveals that Paul is speaking specifically of the “salvation of the soul” – a salvation applicable only to Christians [those in permanent possession of eternal life based solely on the work of Christ and obtained solely by faith in Christ] and which has consequence only during the coming Messianic Era [the thousand year reign of Christ over the earth, which will be instigated at His soon return])

Only let your conduct be worthy of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of your affairs, that you stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel. (Philippians 1:27)

Therefore, my beloved and longed-for brethren, my joy and crown, so stand fast in the Lord, beloved. (Philippians 4:1)

For now we live, if you stand fast in the Lord. (1 Thessalonians 3:8)

3) In the faith

There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called in one hope of your calling; one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all. (Ephesians 4:4-6)

I tell you that He will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless, when the Son of Man comes, will He really find [the] faith on the earth? (Luke 18:8)

(This is simply a description of the same conditions that Christ had called attention to several decades earlier during His earthly ministry:  “. . . when the Son of Man comes, will He really find faith [‘the faith’] on the earth?” (Luke 18:8b).  And the manner in which this question is worded in the Greek text designates a negative response.  The Son of Man will not find “the faith” (an expression peculiarly related to the Word of the Kingdom) being taught throughout the churches of the land at the time of His return.

The Word of the Kingdom, taught universally throughout the first century Church at the eginning of the dispensation, will be completely absent in teachings throughout the Church at the end of the dispensation.  Instead, in some quarters (possibly “many”), that more closely aligned with the “doctrines of demons” will be taught (1 Timothy 4:1-3; ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 7, "Doctrines of Demons," which follows in the next commentary).  The working of the leaven throughout the dispensation (fourth parable) will have gradually wrought this change, bringing this change to a terminal point, leaving Christendom completely leavened in relation to the Word of the Kingdom at the end of the dispensation. [Taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 10].)

So then [the] faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is [resting] in you?unless indeed you are disqualified [lit. rejected]. (2 Corinthians 13:5)

For by grace you have been saved through [the] faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. (Ephesians 2:8)

And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some 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 [mature] 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)

Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law but by faith in Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Christ Jesus, that we might be justified by faith in Christ and not by the works of the law; for by the works of the law no flesh shall be justified. (Galatians 2:16; cf. Galatians 3:11, 24)

4) Be brave – Gk. literally mature

5) Be strong – Gk. literally be strengthened

Standing – a Matter of Faith

2 Corinthians 1:24
Not that we have dominion over your faith, but are fellow workers for your joy; for by faith you stand.

Romans 11:20
Well said. Because of unbelief they were broken off, and you stand by faith. Do not be haughty, but fear.

1 Corinthians 15:1
Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received [by faith] and in which you stand [by faith].

2 Corinthians 5:7
For we walk by faith, not by sight. (cf. Colossians 2:6)

Colossians 2:6
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord [by faith], so [in the same manner] walk in Him. (cf. 2 Corinthians 5:7; Ephesians 3:17)

Standing Armor

Ephesians 6:13-18
Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.

2 Corinthians 10:4
For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds.

Regarding the weaponry (i.e., “the whole armor of God”) mentioned by Paul in Ephesians 6 (above), the following is taken from Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Spiritual Warfare, Ch. 3:

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Proper Preparation

God has placed pastor-teachers in the Church to lead Christians from immaturity to maturity in the faith, and the revealed reason is given in Ephesians 4:14:

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.

In the epistle of Ephesians, instruction provided by pastor-teachers would, of necessity, have to center on:

1) One’s positional standing “in Christin the heavenlies (Ephesians 1:3, 20).

2) The “inheritance” awaiting Christians (Ephesians 1:11, 17-18).

3) The very purpose for one’s salvation (Ephesians 2:6-7).

4) The “fellowship [‘dispensation’] of the mystery” (Ephesians 3:1-11).

5) The necessity for maturity in the faith (Ephesians 4:11-16).

6) The necessity for being filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20).

7) The spiritual warfare at hand (Ephesians 3:10; 6:10ff).

Concluding his epistle with the exhortation, “Put on the whole armor of God” (Ephesians 6:11), the writer uses similar wording in the Greek text to that which he had used in Ephesians 4:14. 

This earlier verse (Ephesians 4:14) concerns proper preparation through spiritual maturity in order to avoid being led astray by the “cunning craftiness” of those who “lie in wait to deceive” (KJV).  And the later verse (Ephesians 6:11) concerns one being clothed in “the whole armor of God” in order that he might be able to “stand against the wiles of the devil.”

The thought in both instances has to do with a settled plan, a systematic strategy used by those who have set about to deceive and lead Christians astray relative to matters surrounding their calling, as revealed in Ephesians; and Christians, in both instances, are to be properly prepared for such deception.

Instruction is progressive throughout Ephesians (and elsewhere in Scripture), and the concluding exhortation in Ephesians 6:10ff is really for Christians who have attained an element of spiritual maturity in their lives.  This is very evident from what is stated in the passage.

There can be no such thing as a spiritually immature Christian being “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” (Ephesians 6:10); nor can there be any such thing as a spiritually immature Christian being able to properly clothe himself in “the whole armor of God” and “stand against the wiles of the devil” (Ephesians 6:11).  Spiritually immature Christians have little to no understanding of the warfare, much less how to properly clothe themselves.

This can be easily demonstrated from an Old Testament type, which is the central type in the Old Testament dealing with this subject – the Israelites under Moses at Kadesh-Barnea, in a position to go in, take the land, and realize an inheritance therein. 

The march from Egypt to Kadesh-Barnea was by way of the wilderness of Sinai, where detailed instructions from the Lord were given to the people of Israel through Moses.  And when the Israelites subsequently reached Kadesh-Barnea, spies were sent into the land ahead of the nation to gather information concerning the land and the inhabitants therein.  These spies spent forty days and nights in the land, traversing it from one end to the other, and returned not only with information concerning the land and its inhabitants but with actual samples of the fruits of the land itself.

The people of Israel had received the Word of God at Sinai.  They had then heard the report concerning the land and the inhabitants therein, and they had tasted the actual fruits of the land at Kadesh-Barnea before thought was given to entering the land and combating the inhabitants.  That is, the people of Israel had been led from a rudimentary knowledge of their salvation in Egypt (through death and shed blood, where the death of the firstborn occurred by means of a substitute) to a mature knowledge concerning God’s plans and purposes relating to the nation at Kadesh-Barnea (where a revealed inheritance lay before the people). And the entire matter had to do with the Israelites going into the land, warring against the inhabitants, being victorious over the inhabitants, and realizing God’s purpose for the nation, within a theocracy.

And that which this overall type foreshadows, seen in the antitype today (cf. 1 Corinthians 10:6, 11; Hebrews 3; 4), is exactly the same.  Growth from immaturity to maturity in the Christian life is likewise for a purpose (Hebrews 5), and that purpose has to do with being able to achieve victory over the enemy and to one day realize an inheritance in a heavenly land within a theocracy (Hebrews 6; 10; 12). 

Christians are to be fully capable of clothing themselves in the whole armor of God that they might be able to “withstand in the evil day.”  The word “withstand” is a translation of the Greek word anthistemi, which is a compound word comprised of anti (“against”) and histemi (“to stand”).  Thus, the thought, beginning in Ephesians 6:10, is to be “strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might [note where one’s strength lies – not in himself, but in the Lord]”; and in conjunction with an exhibition of this type of strength, one is told, “Put on the whole armor of God,” for only by so doing will he be able to firmly stand against the settled plan, the systematic strategy of Satan, holding his ground and giving no place to the enemy.

1)  Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth (Ephesians 6:14a)

Following the events of the Passover in Egypt during the days of Moses, 3,500 years ago (Exodus 12:1ff), the people of Israel were to be led out of Egypt in order to realize an inheritance in another land.  They were to be removed from Egypt and established in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.  And the people of Israel were to be established in this land in the position of God’s firstborn son (the nation that God recognized as possessing the rights of primogeniture).  As God’s firstborn son, Israel would be the ruling nation within a theocracy, and the Gentile nations would then not only be ruled by Israel but these same nations would also be blessed through Israel (Genesis 12:2-3; 22:17-18; Exodus 4:22-23; 19:5-6).

Exactly the same things apply in relation to Christians, except a heavenly land is in view.  Christ has died, His blood has been shed; and the firstborn has died vicariously, through the provided Substitute.  And, exactly as in the type, an inheritance in another land is in view.

That is to say, an individual has been saved for a revealed purpose, and that purpose in the antitype is the same as seen in the type.

Then He brought us out from there [out of Egypt], that He might bring us in [into the land to which they had been called], to give us the land of which He swore to our fathers. (Deuteronomy 6:23)

Christians, from a typical standpoint, have been saved in Egypt (a type of the world) to realize an inheritance in Canaan (a type of the heavenly land to which they have been called).  That is, Christians have been saved in the world in order to one day be established in a heavenly land as God’s firstborn son (that “holy nation” that God recognizes as possessing the rights of primogeniture [Hebrews 12:23; 1 Peter 2:9]); and as God’s firstborn, Christians will rule as co-heirs with Christ, within a theocracy.  The Gentile nations will not only be ruled by Christ and His co-heirs but these same nations will also be blessed through Christ and His co-heirs (Genesis 22:17-18; Ephesians 1:3; Philippians 3:20; Colossians 1:5; Hebrews 3:1; 1 Peter 1:4).

(Spiritual blessings in that day can and will flow not only from Christ and Israel on earth [Christ seated on David’s throne, in the midst of the Jewish people] but through Christ and His co-heirs in the heavens as well [Christ seated on His own throne, with His bride], in complete accordance with Genesis 12:3; 22:17-18. 

And this can be true because all those associated with Christ in this manner [both on earth and in the heavens] will be of the seed of Abraham [Galatians 3:29], the seed through whom God has decreed that all spiritual blessings are to flow.)

The Israelites in the type had been led from Egypt through the wilderness to the borders of the land of Canaan at Kadesh-Barnea.  They were in possession of the Word of God received at Sinai, they had heard the report of the spies who had traversed the land of Canaan, and they had tasted the actual fruits of the land that the spies had brought back with them.  The Israelites had moved from a simple knowledge of the rudimentary things surrounding the death of the firstborn in Egypt to an extensive knowledge concerning the plans and purposes of God for the nation (which centered on the land of Canaan and the purpose for Israel’s calling).

In the terminology of Scripture, the Israelites had moved from a state of gnosis (“knowledge”) to a state of epignosis (“mature knowledge [especially as it related to the things surrounding the purpose for their calling]”).  They were now ready to enter the land, combat the “giants” inhabiting this land (Numbers 13:32-33), and possess the land in accordance with their calling and God’s promise.

Their seeming inability to conquer the “giants,” who were far stronger, was to be of no consequence.  They were to recognize that the battle belonged to the Lord (1 Samuel 17:47) and that circumstances were not to be viewed from a naturalistic standpoint but from a divine viewpoint.  They were to know that the enemy could not be overcome within their own strength (Numbers 14:42-45) but, rather, through the strength of the One dwelling in their midst.

Such was the attitude exhibited by Caleb and Joshua (two of the twelve spies) as they sought to present the truth of the matter to a people who had been troubled by the preliminary report given by the spies concerning the land and its inhabitants (Numbers 13:26-30).  And this is what is in view in Ephesians 6:14 when Christians are told to have their waists “girded . . . with truth.”

Truth” in this passage is not a reference to the Word of God.  A person clothing himself to enter the conflict with the inhabitants of the land wherein his inheritance lies occurs, as in the type, at Kadesh-Barnea when he enters the conflict, not back in Egypt.  At this point, the person properly clothing himself could only have previously moved from an immature understanding of the Word to one that would allow him to grasp various things about the spiritual warfare at hand.  That is, such a person would not only be in possession of the Word but he would be in possession of an understanding of this Word, particularly as it relates to things surrounding the battle for the land and Christians ultimately holding regal positions therein.

Taking and using the Word already in one’s possession is seen later, in Ephesians 6:17, not at this point in the instructions, in Ephesians 6:14.

Truth” in this passage is a reference to entering the conflict after the same fashion Caleb and Joshua were exhorting the people to enter the conflict during their day:

"Let us go up at once, and possess it; for we are well able to overcome it.” (Numbers 13:30)

Truth” with which one enters the conflict, in this respect, is sincerity, earnestness as the person goes forth, relying upon the Lord (“. . . be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might” [Ephesians 6:10]).

One has to, first of all, be sincere and earnest about the conflict in which he finds himself engaged.  This battle isn’t something that one can enter after any type of frivolous fashion.  There is a systematic, well-planned effort on the part of Satan to bring about a Christian’s defeat; and a Christian, to be victorious in battle, must exhibit the same type of attitude as manifested by Caleb and Joshua.

(The “giants [Hebrew:  nephilim, ‘fallen ones’]” inhabiting the land during Moses’ day were the offspring of a cohabitation of the sons of God with the daughters of men – the offspring of a cohabitation between fallen angels in Satan’s kingdom and female members of the human race.  Thus, the battle set before the Israelites for possession of the land, as the battle set before Christians for possession of a land today, involved things beyond the natural, requiring God’s supernatural intervention on behalf of His people.)

2)  . . . having put on the breastplate of righteousness (Ephesians 6:14b)

The girdle is the first piece of armor mentioned in Ephesians 6; and a warrior arraying himself for battle was to put the girdle on first, for other pieces of the armor were attached to the girdle.

The breastplate, the next piece of armor mentioned, was normally attached to the girdle in both the front and the rear, making the girdle necessary for the breastplate to be held firmly in place.

The thought is that there must first be a “Caleb and Joshua” type of attitude on the part of the Christian before going beyond this point in properly clothing himself.  One must first have on the girdle of sincerity, earnestness and truthfulness before the breastplate can be properly affixed.

It is a simple thing to see that the breastplate can have nothing to do with the righteousness of God that has been imputed to every believer.  The righteousness of God is a righteousness with which God clothes us at the point of salvation, as He clothed Adam and Eve with animal skins following their fall (requiring death and shed blood). 

The righteousness in view in Ephesians 6:14 is a righteousness that the Christian himself is to put on.  It is a righteousness to be put on by the one already in possession of the imputed righteousness of God.

This is the personal righteousness mentioned in Revelation 19:8, associated with the wedding garment.  This garment is made up of “the righteousness of saints.”  The word “righteousness” is plural in the Greek text and should be translated “righteousnesses,” or “righteous acts.”  These are the justifying acts referred to in James 2:21-25. 

A man is first justified by faith (Romans 5:15-18), being clothed in the righteousness of God (spoken of in a singular sense – one justifying act [performed by Christ]); and the man is then to be justified by works (James 2:24), clothing himself by righteous acts (spoken of in a plural sense – justifying acts [performed by the one already justified by faith, justified through the act of Another]).

Righteous acts performed by Christians simply have to do with exercising faithfulness within the scope of one’s particular calling, fulfilling his particular responsibility as a servant in the Lord’s house.  And, as one exercises faithfulness, waiting upon the Lord, righteous acts will be the natural outworking of faithfulness as the person follows the leadership of the indwelling Spirit.

That is to say, in relation to that which is seen in Ephesians 6:14, after one exhibits the proper attitude toward the battle at hand, he is then to exercise faithfulness as a servant in the house.  Such will result in works, righteous acts, allowing that person to have on (he will have put it on himself) the breastplate of righteousness and allowing that person to one day be clothed (actually, he will one day clothe himself) in the wedding garment.

(For the proper relationship that faith and works occupy in relation to one another, refer to the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Ch. 5, “Faith Made Mature,” and Appendix I, “Faith and Works.”)

3)  And having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15)

Note the emphasis in Ephesians 6:11, 13-14 relative to standing as one goes forth to battle: “to stand” (Ephesians 6:11), “withstand [lit. ‘stand against’],” “to stand” (Ephesians 6:13), and “Stand” (Ephesians 6:14).  One must have solid footing to stand upon.  Both feet must be firmly planted, “having shod your feet with the preparation [‘readiness’] of the gospel of peace.”

There are two aspects to the gospel in Scripture.  One appears in connection with “peace with God,” and the other appears in connection with “the peace of God.”

Peace with God” comes about through justification by grace through faith, as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9. “Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).  This peace results from one being placed upon the foundation, with the most sure, steadfast footing possible, apart from which there can be no conflict.

However, distinctions between “peace with God” and “the peace of God” are not what is in view in Ephesians 6:15, for availing oneself of the proper footwear (for both feet) is something that, contextually, occurs following salvation.

In a parallel passage to that which is in view, the latter part of Romans 10:15 states,

How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!

The feet are seen as the vehicle of transportation for the messenger, as he goes about proclaiming good news concerning peace.  Within the overall scope of the good news, as previously stated, there is a facet of the message having to do with “peace with God” (for the unsaved [Romans 5:1]) and there is a facet of the message having to do with the “peace of God” (for the saved [Philippians 4:5-7]).  The contextual emphasis in Romans 10:15 though has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved.

Exactly the same thought is in view regarding the armor in Ephesians 6:15.  Having one’s feet properly shod has to do with proper preparation relative to the good news concerning peace, as it pertains to the saved, exactly as seen in Romans 10:15; and this would be based on the person already having “peace with God,” as seen in Romans 5:1.

The messenger’s feet being properly shod shows a proper preparation of the messenger as he goes about proclaiming this message concerning peace.  And this message of peace would have two facets – the peace of God now (having to do with the present aspect of salvation, the outworking of the saving of the soul), culminating in a future peace when the Prince of Peace is Himself present (having to do with the future aspect of salvation, when the salvation of the soul will be realized).

4)  Above all, taking the shield of faith . . .  (Ephesians 6:16)

The weakness of the average Christian is lack of faith, wrought through the neglect of prayerful study and meditation in the Word of God.

“Faith” is simply believing God, and God speaks to us today through His Word.  This is the reason that “faith comes by [‘out of’] hearing, and hearing by [‘through’] the Word of God” (Romans 10:17).  We find what God has to say about a matter in His Word; and we can then either exercise faith by believing that which He has said, or we can fail to exercise faith through unbelief.

Caleb and Joshua at Kadesh-Barnea exercised “faith.”  They believed that which God had to say about entering into and possessing the land of Canaan (Exodus 2:24-25; 3:7-8; 6:4-8; 13:5, 11, 19; Numbers 13:30).  However, the remainder of the nation, led astray by the “evil report” presented by the other ten spies, failed to exercise “faith.”  They didn’t believe God concerning entrance into the land, and they even went so far as to consider appointing a new leader (someone other than Moses) and returning to Egypt (Numbers 13:31-14:4).

Exactly the same thing confronts Christians today: Will you exercise faith concerning that which God has to say about entrance into the land (in line with that manifested by Caleb and Joshua)? Or, will you fail to exercise faith concerning that which God has to say about entrance into the land (in line with that manifested by the remainder of the nation)?

Caleb and Joshua possessed “the shield of faith”; the remainder of the nation though didn’t possess this shield.  The “shield of faith” is put on by and through simply believing that which God has to say concerning entrance into the land.  It is put on by trusting the Lord to see you safely through the conflict with the world-rulers of this present darkness, resulting in your realizing an inheritance in the land during that coming day.

Possessing the shield of faith would be synonymous with earnestly striving with respect to the faith in Jude 1:3 or striving in the good contest of the faith in 1 Timothy 6:12.

5)  And take the helmet of salvation . . . (Ephesians 6:17a)

This is something that a person already in possession of salvation is to, himself, put on; and it is to be put on in view of a warfare.  Thus, it can be easily seen that putting on “the helmet of salvation” has to do with things beyond that which is foreshadowed by the death of the firstborn and application of the blood in Egypt.  Continuing with the type, it has to do with being properly arrayed (by having arrayed oneself) at Kadesh-Barnea, with a view to entering the land and combating the giants.

1 Thessalonians 5:8 reveals that “the helmet of salvation” is the hope of salvation:

But let us who are of the day [Christians waiting and watching for their Lord’s return (1 Thessalonians 5:6-7)] be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love and for an helmet the hope of salvation.

The “hope of salvation” is a reference to the salvation that will be revealed at the time of Christ’s return – the salvation of the soul.  The “hope” is something that may or may not be realized (cf. Luke 23:8; Acts 16:19; 27:20).  And the salvation of one’s soul, inseparably connected with hope, has to do with realizing an inheritance as God’s firstborn son in the land to which Christians have been called – something that Christians, individually, may or may not realize. 

A Christian can forfeit his inheritance and lose his soul, which itself has nothing to do with his presently possessed eternal salvation.  Again, bear in mind, this is something (as seen in the type) that occurs at Kadesh-Barnea and beyond, not something that occurs back in Egypt.

One clothes himself with the helmet of salvation – the hope of salvation – in view of achieving victory over the inhabitants of the land to which he has been called.  His hope is that of being victorious – being an overcomer – and one day being privileged to ascend the throne and rule as co-heir with Christ in this land.

This is a hope that results in purification in a believer’s life and is a hope that should be on the lips of every believer, as a ready testimony surrounding the purpose for his salvation (1 Peter 3:15; 1 John 3:3).

(See the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Ch. 6, “Hope, Inheritance, Salvation,” for a more comprehensive discussion of this subject.)

6)  . . . and the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God (Ephesians 6:17b)

A Christian having his waist “girded with truth,” having on “the breastplate of righteousness,” having his “feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace,” taking “the shield of faith,” and having on “the helmet of salvation” is then to take “the sword of the Spirit” – the Word of God – as he goes forth to combat Satan.  After being properly arrayed in all the other revealed fashions, he is then to take the one thing that God has provided as a weapon to be used against the enemy.

2 Timothy 3:16 in the KJV reads,

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . .

The words, “given by inspiration of God,” are a translation of one Greek word, Theopneustos, meaning “God-breathed.”  This is a compound word comprised of Theos (“God”) and pneuma (“breath” in this particular usage [this is 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]).

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 one Testament, then passages in the other.  He has to compare scripture with scripture, i.e., he has to compare “spiritual things with spiritual” (1 Corinthians 2:13).

First note Hebrews 4:12:

The Word of God is quick [lit., alive], and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword . . . .

Why is the Word of God “alive,” “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 “alive” 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 all subsequent Scripture.

Remaining within this principle, the first time one finds the breath of God mentioned in Scripture is in Genesis 2:7, where life was imparted to man by and through God’s breath.  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 soul.”

Thus, in Genesis 2:7, the unchangeable connection between God’s breath and life in relation to man 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.

There is nothing more powerful at a Christian’s disposal than the Word of God.  It was this Word that Satan chose to use against Christ in the wilderness, and Christ used this same Word as He countered Satan (Matthew 4:1-11).

And going forth, properly arrayed for battle, using the Word as a weapon against the world-rulers of this present darkness, a Christian, at the same time, is to constantly be “praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints” (Ephesians 6:18).

If the provided instructions are followed, victory after victory in the present spiritual warfare will ensue.  But, if the provided instructions are not followed . . . .

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Why Must Christians Stand?

Christians should understand that they are in a continuous spiritual warfare.  The following passages of Scripture speak for themselves:

1 Peter 5:8-9
Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.  Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.

Matthew 7:15
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

Matthew 24:5, 11, 24
For many will come in My name, saying, “I am the Christ,” and will deceive many. . . . Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. . . . For false christs and false prophets will rise and show great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.

Acts 20:24
Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, “You must be circumcised and keep the law” – to whom we gave no such commandment. (cf. Acts 15:1, 5)

Acts 20:30
Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves.

Romans 16:17-18
Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them.  For those who are such do not serve our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple.

2 Corinthians 2:17
For we are not, as so many, peddling [lit: corrupting] the Word of God; but as of sincerity, but as from God, we speak in the sight of God in Christ.

2 Corinthians 11:12-15
But what I do, I will also continue to do, that I may cut off the opportunity from those who desire an opportunity to be regarded just as we are in the things of which they boast.  For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no wonder! For Satan himself transforms himself into an angel of light.  Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also transform themselves into ministers of righteousness, whose end will be according to their works.

Galatians 6:1-9
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.  As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.

Philippians 3:2
Beware of dogs, beware of evil workers, beware of the mutilation!

2 Thessalonians 2:3
Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition.

1 Timothy 4:1-2
Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron.

2 Timothy 3:1-5
But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come: For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

2 Timothy 4:3-4
For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables.

2 Peter 2:1
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.

2 Peter 3:3
Knowing this first: that scoffers will come in the last days, walking according to their own lusts.


1 John 2:18
Little children, it is the last hour; and as you have heard that the Antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come, by which we know that it is the last hour.

1 John 4:1
Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

2 John 1:7
For many deceivers have gone out into the world who do not confess Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.

Jude 1:4, 18
For certain men have crept in unnoticed, who long ago were marked out for this condemnation, ungodly men, who turn the grace of our God into lewdness and deny the only Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . how they told you that there would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts.

Concluding Remarks

A review of the passages within this study should cause one to come to the following conclusion, which is that Christians, who will most assuredly and perpetually be sought out and attacked by Satan and his minions during this (temporal) lifetime, will only be able to successfully survive spiritually, i.e., achieve the salvation of their souls, if they take the courageous position of standing firm in the faith, a station of spiritual maturity that may only be obtained as one studies and absorbs the meat (i.e., “Word of the Kingdom”) of God’s Word.  By so doing, Christians will be able to dress in “the whole of armor of God” and be able to routinely defeat evil on every hand; and, one day soon, be able to be rewarded by Christ at His Judgment Seat (1 Corinthians 3:12-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10).

Doctrines of Demons and Ministry of the Spirit Today
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Doctrines of Demons

The “doctrines of demons” in the text from 1 Timothy 4:1-3 would involve a counterfeit parallel to the truth presented in the Word of God.  God has His deep things, and Satan has his deep things (1 Corinthians 2:10; Revelation 2:24).  And the latter, as it is presented in Scripture, is simply a corruption of the former.  It is taking the former, remaining within the same framework as the former, and producing a counterfeit, a corrupted parallel.

For example, Scripture begins with a foundational framework (Genesis 1:1-2:3), providing an unchangeable pattern for the whole of that which God was about to lay out in His Word (Genesis 2:4ff).  And Satan begins at the same point, providing a corrupted parallel to that which God has laid out in His Word (cf. 2 Peter 3:3-8).

Satan not only has his corrupted parallel relative to salvation by grace through faith (Genesis 1:2-5 [2b]), but he has his corrupted parallel relative to present and future aspects of salvation as well — the salvation of the soul (Genesis 1:6ff).  And, as God in His Word places the emphasis on present and future aspects of salvation (not only in Genesis 1:1-2:3, but also in the remainder of Scripture), so does Satan in his counterfeit parallel.

And, as God in His Word reveals a specific goal for man’s salvation (not only in Genesis 1:1-2:3, but also in the remainder of Scripture), Satan seeks to entirely corrupt this teaching in his counterfeit parallel.

Satan places the emphasis where God has placed the emphasis, and he seeks to set forth a counterfeit at the same points God has set forth the truth (cf. Isaiah 14:13-14).  He has taken God’s truth and introduced error in his efforts to mislead the masses.

(A good counterfeit will approximate the original as closely as possible; and, as with any good counterfeit, it is easier to mislead the masses in this manner [cf. 2 Corinthians 11:13-15].)

Then note that God’s Word is directed to the saved, not the unsaved.  The unsaved are “dead in trespasses and sins” and cannot understand this Word (Ephesians 2:1; cf. 1 Corinthians 2:14).

And so it is with Satan and his counterfeit parallels.  These counterfeit teachings have been designed for those who have “passed from death to life” (John 5:24).  Those “dead in trespasses and sins” are in no position to understand spiritual issues — whether “corrupted” (emanating from Satan) or “uncorrupted” (emanating from God).  Both fall completely outside the realm of the natural (the soulical).

Such a corruption of the truth, received by the saved, can easily be seen in the text from the book of 1 Timothy (1 Timothy 4:1-3), where Paul sounded a warning.  Paul foretold a departure from “the faith” where some Christians would begin giving heed to “deceiving spirits” rather than to God’s Word; and these deceiving spirits would teach that which was untrue, specifically referred to in the text as the “doctrines of demons.”

These Christians’ spiritual awareness would become seared (Greek: kausteriazo;  English, “cauterize” — to burn, as with a hot iron, to the point of destroying that which is being burned), resulting in a departure from “the faith.”  And, relative to “the faith” from which they had departed, they would begin proclaiming that which is false, that which is in line with the “doctrines of demons.”  They would begin proclaiming a message opposed to that which the Word of God had to say about two things:  (1) Marriage, and (2) Meats (1 Timothy 4:1-3).

The subject of “marriage” points to a work occurring during Man’s Day (the truth surrounding the matter established before and at the time of man’s creation), which would be brought to fruition and realized in the future Lord’s Day; and “meats” has to do with that part of biblical doctrine that centers around this overall subject (1 Timothy 4:6, 13, 16).

And those which are seen being misled in 1 Timothy 4:1-3, “in latter times” by “deceiving spirits,” resulting in their proclaiming “doctrines of demons,” are seen, “standing in the way of marriage . . . .” (literal thought from the Greek text [1 Timothy 4:3a]) and are referred to as apostates.  Further, a misleading of individuals after this fashion is presented in a very specific and limited sense in Scripture.  It is presented specifically as and limited to an apostasy from the faith — nothing more, nothing less.

1)  Apostasy from the Faith

“Apostasy” has to do with standing away from a position previously held, and “the faith” is an expression that encompasses the whole of a specific part of the Word of God (actually, the central teaching) — “the Word of the Kingdom.”  The Spirit of God, revealing through Paul the central message that Christians were to be taught, explicitly singled out that which would occur “in latter times” in Christendom relative to this central message.

In short, there would be a departure from this central message; and that which is associated with the doctrines of demons would, instead, be taught.

a)  Apostasy

The word “depart” in 1 Timothy 4:1 is a translation of the Greek word, aphistemi, which is the verb form of the noun, apostasia.  And apostasia is the word from which our English word “apostasy” is derived.  The English word “apostasy” is simply an Anglicized form of the Greek word apostasia.  Accordingly, to understand that which is meant by “apostasy,” the Greek word needs to be referenced.

Apostasia is a compound word comprised of apo and stasisApo means “from,” and stasis means “to stand.”  Thus, the literal meaning of the word is “to stand from,” or “to stand away from.”  An apostate, in the true sense of the word, is simply someone standing away from, departing from, a position previously held.

In 1 Timothy 4:1, the departure from the previously held position is specifically stated to pertain to “the faith.”  That is, seducing spirits, promulgating the doctrines of demons, are seen leading individuals adhering to “the faith” (of necessity, Christians, not unsaved individuals [1 Corinthians 2:14]) away from this position.

b)  The Faith

The central thrust surrounding the truth of the matter, derived from the Word of God, has to do with “the faith.”  And the central thrust surrounding that which is false, derived from the doctrines of demons, also has to do with “the faith.”  One emanates from “the deep things of God,” and the other emanates from “the depths [lit., ‘the deep things’] of Satan” (1 Corinthians 2:10; Revelation 2:24).  The former is the Truth; the latter is a corrupted, counterfeit parallel to the Truth.

The expression “the faith” is peculiarly related in Scripture to the overall scope of the Word of the Kingdom, to the mystery revealed to Paul, to the gospel of the glory of Christ, to the salvation of the soul.  This is the manner in which the expression appears in numerous New Testament references — in the Gospels, in the book of Acts, and in the Epistles (both Pauline and General).

Christ, during the course of His earthly ministry, at His first coming, looked 2,000 years ahead to His second coming, and, through a question, called attention to a solitary fact concerning the central message of the New Testament.  Christ asked, “. . . when the Son of Man [a Messianic title] comes, will he really find faith [lit., ‘the faith’] on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).  And the manner in which the question is worded in the Greek text designates a negative answer.

The Son of Man will not find “the faith” being taught in Christendom at the time of His return.  The leaven that the woman placed in the three measures of meal in Matthew 13:33 (having to do with the doctrines of demons) will have taken care of that.

Now, if the expression, “the faith,” refers to that which is held by fundamental Christendom today (the whole of man’s categorization of fundamental doctrines; e.g., the virgin birth, the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, salvation by grace through faith, etc.) — as commonly taught — then a major problem exists.

Fundamentalism, in the preceding respect, is presently a major force in Christendom; and “the faith” would be something held to and proclaimed throughout a rather large segment of Christendom.  Thus, if “the faith” is to be understood as a reference to the body of biblical doctrines, as held by those recognized as “fundamental Christians,” then conditions in Christendom are such that Christ cannot return during the present time.  Fundamentalism of this nature is presently alive and well in Christendom.  In fact, it is actually a growing force in numerous quarters.  Millions of Christians in this country alone would fall within the mainstream of fundamentalism and adhere to this body of biblical doctrine.

But the preceding is really neither here nor there, for, when one looks to Scripture for its own definition of “the faith,” something completely different is seen.  Scripture uses this expression in a very limited sense.  Scripture uses this expression in contexts having to do with the Word of the Kingdom, not in contexts having to do with the complete body of fundamental doctrines of the Christian faith.

Doctrines of “the faith,” in the preceding respect, in actuality, represent that which man has attempted to categorize as he has looked at the Scriptures, not doctrines seen through allowing Scripture to interpret Scripture.  And it is the latter alone, not the former, which allows man to look into the Scriptures and view matters from the way God has recorded them in His Word.  There is a vast difference in viewing Scripture from the preceding two vantage points, especially when it comes to dealing with “the faith.”

To take the biblical expression, “the faith,” and attempt to identify it with man’s categorization of doctrine (a list of biblical doctrines) is the height of folly in Scriptural interpretation.  Scripture is always to be interpreted in the light of Scripture (1 Corinthians 2:9-13).  And this is exactly the way in which the expression, “the faith,” must be understood.

Scripture must be allowed to explain that which is meant by the expression.  It is an expression that is used over and over in Scripture.  And the interesting thing is that Scripture not only clearly explains how this expression is used, but it does so in numerous instances.

Paul, for example, in his first letter to Timothy, following his warning concerning the apostates, said:

Fight the good fight of [the] faith, lay hold on eternal life [lit., ‘Strive in the good contest of the faith, lay hold on life for the age’], to which you were also called . . . . (1 Timothy 6:12)

And, in Paul’s second letter to Timothy, a similar usage is again seen:

“I have fought the good fight [lit., ‘I have strived in the good contest’], I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.

Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness . . . .” (2 Timothy 4:7-8)

Or, when Jude sought to write an epistle relative to the “common salvation [the good news concerning salvation by grace through faith, a subject which none of the epistles centers on],” the Spirit of God led him to write on an entirely different subject.  The Spirit of God led Jude to write an epistle exhorting Christians to “earnestly contend [lit., ‘earnestly strive’] for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints [the good news concerning salvation in relation to the coming glory of Christ, something seen as central in the subject matter of all the epistles]” (Jude 1:3).

The words “fight” (1 Timothy 6:12), “fought” (2 Timothy 4:7), and “contend” (Jude 1:3) are translations of the same word in the Greek text — agonizomai, the word from which our English word, “agonize,” is derived.

In Jude though, the word has been intensified through the writer prefixing the Greek preposition epi to the word, forming epagonizomai.  Thus, the correct translation would be, “earnestly strive . . . .”

In all three of the preceding passages, the thought, through the use of agonizomai, has to do with straining every muscle of one’s being relative tothe faith.”

In the first two references (from 1, 2 Timothy), the picture is that of an athletic contest.  Christians are to strain every muscle of their being in the present race ofthe faithin which they find themselves engaged.

Then Jude, in the face of apostasy relative to “the faith,” still remaining within the thought of an athletic contest, intensified the word.  Jude, because of apostasy among Christians relative to “the faith” — Christians giving heed to deceiving spirits, teaching the doctrines of demons (something also spoken of by Christ, Paul, and Peter) — intensified the thought of striving in his exhortation.  He, in essence, exhorted Christians, while running the race of “the faith,” to be especially and particularly on guard because of the apostates.

And it is apparent that Jude intensified this word, with a view to the apostates, because of the specific nature of apostasy, because of the realm in which the apostates had centered their teachings — seeking to mislead Christians relative to “the faith,” seeking to draw Christians away from the central teaching of Scripture.  The “doctrines of demons,” promulgated by the apostates, is the most dangerous and deadly teaching that has ever been proclaimed or ever will be proclaimed in Christian circles.  And, because of this, Jude exhorted Christians to strain every muscle of their being in the race of “the faith.”

The preceding would form only a few examples of the way in which the expression, “the faith,” is used in the New Testament.  Other examples would be the conversion of priests in Israel during the reoffer of the kingdom, who were then “obedient to the faith” (Acts 6:7), disciples exhorted “to continue in the faith” relative to entrance into the kingdom (Acts 14:22), Paul proclaiming “the faith” which he had once sought to destroy (Galatians 1:23; cf. Ephesians 6:16; Philippians 1:27; Colossians 1:23; 2:7; 1 Thessalonians 5:8; 2 Thessalonians 1:4, 11; 1 Timothy 1:2, 18-20; 5:8; 6:10, 21; 2 Timothy 2:18; 3:7-8), and the usage of the expression in the general epistles (cf. Hebrews 12:2; James 1:3; 2:14, 17-18, 20, 22, 26; 1 Peter 1:7, 9).  “Faith” is articular in the Greek text in each of the preceding references.

Thus, there is a uniform usage of this expression throughout the New Testament.  And, though it doesn’t have to do with the body of biblical doctrine held by those forming “fundamental Christendom,” it does have to do with a body of biblical doctrine.  It has to do with that body of biblical doctrine rejected by Christendom at large — liberals and fundamentalists alike.  It has to do with that body of biblical doctrine referred to in various ways in Scripture — the Word of the Kingdom, the mystery, Paul’s gospel, the gospel of the glory of Christ, etc.

2)  Marriage, Meats

Foundational principals and biblical doctrine surrounding the marriage relationship have forever been set forth in the opening chapters of Genesis.  And, any time one finds the man and the woman together beyond this point — whether during Man’s Day or during the coming Lord’s Day — rulership is in view.  Or, to present the truth of the matter from another perspective, turn the statement around.  Any time one finds rulership in view beyond the opening chapters of Genesis (relative to man), a husband-wife relationship must also be in view.

This is why Israel is seen as the wife of Jehovah in the Old Testament theocracy — a wife later seen as an adulterous wife, resulting in God divorcing Israel — with God then, of necessity, ending the Old Testament theocracy (cf. Jeremiah 3:1-14; Ezekiel 9:3; 10:4, 18; 11:22-23).  And this is why, before a theocracy can be established on the earth yet future, Israel has to be cleansed and restored to her former place, as the wife of Jehovah.  A Husband-wife relationship must exist at this time.

This is also why Christ is to have a wife yet future.  If Christ is to reign over the earth as the second Man, the last Adam, He must have a consort queen to reign with Him.  This is why a marriage must occur prior to the time He reigns.  A Husband-wife relationship must exist at this time.

And further, this is why the husband-wife relationship today, during Man’s Day, is dealt with in Scripture in connection with an heirship together (1 Peter 3:7).  There is a present reigning in life, seen in the marriage relationship; and this is at the heart of that which Paul refers to as “a great mystery” relative to “Christ and the Church” in Ephesians 5:21-33.

There are two books in the Old Testament that bear the names of women.  One is “Ruth,” and the other is “Esther.”  And, interestingly enough, no one knows who wrote either book.  But the book of Ruth presents one aspect of this overall matter, and the book of Esther presents the other.

The book of Ruth has to do with a Gentile who marries a Jew, with a redeemed inheritance in view.  Ruth, in her marriage to Boaz, sets forth truths surrounding Christ and His wife yet future.  And the entire book of Ruth sets forth the overall scope of the matter from beginning to end, with the husband-wife relationship being brought to the forefront in the end.

The book of Esther then presents the matter as it relates to God and Israel.  Esther was a Jew whom King Ahasuerus (who was not a Jew [note that it is God’s Son who is a Jew and will so remain throughout eternity, not the Father]) had taken as his wife following the former queen’s (Vashti’s) refusal to fulfill her role as the king’s wife (Esther 1:9ff).  Then the remainder of the book revolves around Israel in the latter days (Haman typifying Antichrist), the end of Gentile world power, and Israel restored to the nation’s rightful place as the wife of Jehovah (Esther 2:17ff).

(For additional information on the preceding, refer to the author’s books, Ruth by Arlen Chitwood and Esther by Arlen Chitwood.)

Thus, the whole of that seen in the marriage relationship beyond Genesis 1:26-28 (along with that revealed in Genesis 2) rests on these foundational verses in Genesis.  The husband-wife relationship today has its basis in the past (Genesis 1:26ff) and points to the future (Revelation 19:7ff).  And whether it is Israel on the earth or the Church in the heavens, there can be no future reign over the earth apart from this relationship existing between God and Israel and between Christ and the Church.

Ministry of the Spirit Today

Understanding the preceding will allow one to clearly understand that which God revealed concerning Israel and the Church in Genesis 22; 23; 24; 25 .  In these four chapters, God, through Moses, revealed things concerning both the wife of Jehovah and the wife of Christ; and this was based on that which is revealed in the first three chapters of Genesis, but with a view to the goal of the matter in the future Lord’s Day.  And God set all of this forth long before He brought either Israel or the Church into existence (cf. Isaiah 46:9-10).

The ministry of the Spirit during the present dispensation is seen in Genesis 24, fifteen hundred years before it even began.  Events in this chapter — Abraham sending his servant into the far country to obtain a bride for His son, typifying God sending the Spirit into the world to obtain a bride for His Son — occurred following the offering of Isaac (Genesis 22) and the death of Sarah (Genesis 23), but before the remarriage of Abraham (Genesis 25).

That is to say, the ministry of the Spirit during the present dispensation occurs following the events of Calvary (Genesis 22) and the setting aside of Israel (Genesis 23), but before the time God restores Israel as His wife (Genesis 25).  And further, the ministry of the Spirit in the world today, as seen in the type in Genesis 24, is clearly revealed to be that of obtaining a bride for God’s Son.  And, in line with the preceding, any facet of the Spirit’s work during the time of His mission — whether it be among the unsaved (effecting life, based on the finished work of the Son) or among the saved (leading saved individuals “into all truth,” from gnosis to epignosis [from immaturity to maturity]) — must center around His revealed mission, as seen in Genesis 24.

The reason why God sent the Spirit into the world to accomplish such a mission is easy to see and understand if one keeps in mind the God-established issues surrounding the husband-wife relationship.  The Son must have a wife if He is to reign.  And Christians as well — anticipating the Son’s reign — cannot reign apart from this same relationship.

The coming millennial reign of the Son will be a theocracy wherein God the Father will have a wife on earth (seen in the type in Genesis 25) and the Son will have a wife in the heavens above the earth (a wife presently being procured through the work of the Spirit, seen in the type in Genesis 24).  And in order for any individual from the human race to rule and reign in that coming day, that person will have to be a part of either the wife of Jehovah on the earth or the wife of the Son in the heavens.  There can be no rule and reign for anyone — man, or God’s Son — apart from this established, Husband-wife relationship.

The preceding is why “marriage” and “meats” are singled out in 1 Timothy 4:3.  The marriage relationship today is based on that which God established in past time, and reflects on that which will ultimately be brought into full fruition during future time.  And it matters not whether the word “marriage” in this verse is understood in a literal sense (referring to the marriage relationship today) or in a spiritual sense (referring to Christ and His wife yet future), the same thing is still being dealt with.  A husband-wife relationship today is based on that which God established in the past and directly reflects on that which He will bring to fruition yet future.  It directly reflects on Christ and His wife yet future.

And the preceding is why any corruption of the marriage relationship by man (adultery, homosexuality, etc.) is dealt with so severely in Scripture.  Any deviation from that which God established is a corruption, with far-reaching ramifications.

Marriage, as established by God, has to do with regality; and this regality is to be realized in its ultimate sense during the coming Messianic Era.  All of man’s corruptions are simply offshoots of Satan’s attempted, multi-faceted corruption surrounding the whole panorama of biblical doctrine (“meats”) pertaining to the marriage relationship.

Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Mysteries of the Kingdom, Ch. 7, Doctrines of Demons

The Sons of God Are The Rulers in God’s Kingdom
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

“Sonship” implies rulership (cf. II Samuel 7:12-14; Matthew 3:17; 4:3-8; 17:5; II Peter 1:17). Sons alone occupy positions of rulership within God’s kingdom. That’s the way it has always been, that’s the way it presently exists, and that’s the way it will always continue to exist.

Satan — The Present Ruler

Satan, the incumbent ruler over the earth (the ruler whom God placed over the earth in the beginning, the only ruler this earth has ever had), is a son of God; and angels ruling under him are also sons of God.

Angels are sons of God because of special creative acts of God. And an angelic rule of the nature which Satan holds is seemingly not peculiar to just this earth, one province in God’s kingdom. This is a form of rule which evidently exists on provinces throughout God’s kingdom, not only in our own galaxy but in other galaxies created and placed throughout the entire universe over which God exercises governmental power and sovereign control (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7).

Satan is “the anointed [‘messianic’] cherub,” placed by God “upon the holy mountain of God,” though one day to be cast out of this “mountain [this kingdom]” (Ezekiel 28:14-16).

(The “cherubim” [singular, “cherub”] are first mentioned in Scripture in connection with the earth’s government, establishing a first-mention principle, and, resultantly, showing an unchangeable way in which angels designated by this name are seen throughout Scripture.

Cherubim are first seen in Scripture guarding the entrance to the garden in Eden following man being driven from the garden because of sin [Genesis 3:24]. They were placed as guardians to prevent man from reentering the garden, in his fallen state, and eating of the tree of life — the tree which would have provided [and will yet future provide] the wisdom and knowledge for man to rule and reign over the earth.

And a “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom [cf. Isaiah 2:1-4; Daniel 2:34-35, 44-45; Matthew 17:1-5]. Satan, in his unfallen state, was given a kingdom [this earth]; and he was placed, by God, as the messianic angel [the ruling angel] over this “mountain,” this kingdom [Ezekiel 28:14].)

Satan though, the appointed ruling angel over one kingdom in the universe, rebelled against the One Who had placed him in this position. He sought to “exalthis throne and become “like the most High,” i.e., he sought to place himself in a position where he could rule all the kingdoms of the universe rather than just the one kingdom over which he had been placed (Isaiah 14:13-14). And, as a result, judgment was pronounced upon Satan (Isaiah 14:15-17; Ezekiel 28:15-19), and his kingdom was reduced to a state of complete ruin (Genesis 1:2a).

But Satan himself and the angels who accompanied him in his rebellion continued to reign, though over a ruined kingdom. A principle of Biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler, though he may have disqualified himself, continue to hold his position until his God-appointed successor is not only on the scene but ready to assume the reins of governmental power and authority (e.g., the account of Saul and David in I Samuel 15-II Samuel 1).

God has reserved to Himself the right and power to remove one ruler and position another within His kingdom after this fashion (Daniel 4:17-32; 5:17-21) — a right and power which Satan sought to usurp.

Man — Created to Rule

Scripture opens with one brief statement concerning God, in the beginning, creating the heavens and the earth; and this is followed by one brief statement concerning the earth being reduced to a ruined state (Genesis 1:1-2a). Then Scripture continues with a detailed account (though brief) of how God restored the ruined province within His kingdom over a six-day period at a later point in time (Genesis 2-25 [2b]).

And immediately following the restoration of the ruined province, on the same day that God completed His restorative work, He created man, for a revealed purpose. The material creation was restored with a view to man’s creation, and man was created for the purpose of replacing the disqualified, incumbent ruler, Satan (Genesis 1:26-28).

But, though the first man, Adam, was present — a son of God, because of God’s special creative act (a position which Adam had to hold in order to fulfill the purpose surrounding his creation [cf. Luke 3:38]) — God didn’t immediately remove Satan and place Adam on the throne. Rather, God allowed the fall to occur, leaving the man disqualified (along with his descendants, who would be sons of Adam [not sons of God], begotten in Adam’s fallen image and likeness), allowing Satan to continue holding the sceptre. And this was for purposes involving God’s Son, the second Man, the last Adam (Genesis 3:1ff; I Corinthians 15:45-47).

Then, 4,000 years later — at the time of Christ’s baptism at the hands of John — God said of the second Man, the last Adam, “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased” (Matthew 3:17). And this announcement had to do with the matter at hand — Christ’s position in relation to the earth’s government.

Immediately after the Father had declared Jesus to be His “beloved Son,” the Spirit led Jesus “into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil” (Matthew 4:1ff). Where the first man, the first Adam, had failed, Jesus, as the second Man, the last Adam, showed that He wouldn’t, and really couldn’t, fail. Jesus demonstrated, to the incumbent ruler, that He, as God’s Son, was fully qualified to take the sceptre.

This was the crux of that which occurred in the temptation account, seen at the very outset of Christ’s ministry; and this was why the temptation at the hands of the incumbent ruler centered around two things:

1) Satan questioning Jesus’ Sonship (“If thou be the Son of God…”).

2) Satan offering to Jesus all the “power” and “glory” associated with “the kingdoms of the world,” which God had “delivered” unto him, contingent on Jesus falling down and worshipping him (cf. Matthew 4:3-9; Luke 4:3-7).

The Coming Manifestation of a New Order of Sons

For the past 3,500 years God has had two firstborn Sons, Israel and Christ (Exodus 4:22-23; Hebrews 1:6). And the main thought behind this standing, in relation to both Sons, concerns the rights of the firstborn.

Israel became God’s firstborn son when the nation was adopted during Moses’ day, but Jesus has been God’s firstborn Son from eternity.

The rights possessed by firstborn sons in the Old Testament were threefold — regal rights, priestly rights, and the right to receive a double portion of the father’s goods. The first¬born was to be the ruler of the family (regal rights), the spiritual head of the family (priestly rights), and receive a double portion of the father’s goods when the inheritance was divided.

Israel is God’s firstborn son because of a special creative act, followed by adoption. Jacob was a special creation of God, and God adopted the nation descending from Jacob through his twelve sons (Isaiah 43:1; Romans 9:4). And, possessing a national firstborn status of this nature, Israel was (and remains today) in line to exercise national kingly and priestly rights in relation to the Gentile nations of the earth.

Israel was to rule the nations, and the nations were to be blessed through Israel; and, originally, Israel was to realize this status through occupying both heavenly and earthly positions in the kingdom — giving Israel a double portion.

Christ though is God’s firstborn Son after an entirely different fashion. He has been God’s firstborn Son from eternity. He is spoken of as “the firstborn of every creature [‘of all creation’]” (Colossians 1:15), “the firstborn from the dead” (Colossians 1:18; cf. Revelations 1:5), and “the firstborn among many brethren” (Romans 8:29). Christ is the Son above all sons, seated at the right hand of Power in the heavens.

And this is the Son Whom the Father begat, Who showed that He was fully qualified to take the earth’s sceptre, and then paid redemption’s price so that man could be placed back in the position for which he had been created; this is the Son Who offered Israel positions with Him, ruling from the heavens, following that time when His Father would give the kingdom to Him and remove the in-cumbent ruler; and this is the Son Who today, through the Spirit, is offering these same positions (rejected by Israel) to Christians.

And though God presently has these two firstborn Sons, with a view to these two Sons one day exercising the rights of primogeniture, God will, before these Sons exercise the rights of the firstborn, bring into existence a third firstborn son. God’s firstborn son Israel has forfeited the right to rule and reign from the heavens over the earth (though still retaining earthly regal rights), and God will one day bring into existence another firstborn son to occupy these heavenly positions.

Christians, as the Israelites, form a special creation, though an entirely different type creation (II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 3:26-29). And, because of this special creation, with sonship involved, Christians, as the Israelites, can one day be adopted as firstborn sons.

Christians are presently seen as both “children” and “sons” (e.g., Romans 8:14-17; positions in which they cannot rule), but they will one day be adopted as “firstborn sons [a position in which they can, and will, rule]” (Romans 8:18-23). God will then have a third firstborn son (Hebrews 12:23), with this son having been adopted for the same purpose that Israel was adopted — to realize the rights of primogeniture.

During the Messianic Era, God’s firstborn son, the Church, will rule from the heavens over the nations of the earth; God’s firstborn son, Israel, will rule on the earth, over the Gentile nations; and God’s firstborn Son, Jesus, will have a dual reign, ruling both from the heavens on His Own throne and from the earth on David’s throne.

The entire creation — “made subject to vanity [i.e., rendered unfit (because of Adam’s sin, resulting in the curse) to fulfill the reason for its restoration]” — presently groans and travails in pain, awaiting “the manifestation” of these Sons (Romans 8:18-23). And the day when this manifestation will occur is not far removed.

Antichrist Cannot Appear Until…
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Parts I and II

Part I

That Presently Preventing this Man’s Appearance

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ [‘the Day of the Lord’] is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [‘the apostasy’] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition:

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;  so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:  only he who now letteth will let [‘he who now hindereth will hinder’], until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:1-9).

That seen in II Thessalonians 2:6-7, preventing the appearance of “the son of perdition” (the Beast, Antichrist), has been an enigma to numerous Bible students over the years, though it shouldn’t be.  Exactly as seen in other passages of Scripture, presenting similar problems for many (e.g., I Timothy 2:12-15; Hebrews 6:4-6), understanding and interpreting Scripture contextually and in the light of related Scripture can only shed a flood of light on the subject.

God simply has not stated things in His Word which cannot be understood through the method which He has provided — comparing Scripture with Scripture.  And the converse of that is equally true.

But, comparing Scripture with Scripture, one invariably finds himself involved in the numerous ways God has structured his Word (Hebrews 1:1-2), which would have to include things such as types and often metaphors and signs.  And a person simply cannot interpret Scripture in the light of itself apart from recognizing and utilizing this structure, understanding and interpreting the Word accordingly.

I Thessalonians

First, let’s note the whole of that which has preceded in I Thessalonians, leading into that then dealt with in II Thessalonians.  Then we’ll center more on the text and immediate context in II Thessalonians 2, working from there out into other related Scripture.

I Thessalonians could be summarized as a dissertation to those in “the church of the Thessalonians” relative to the contents of Paul’s gospel, with the word “gospel” (Gk., euaggelion), as it is used throughout the epistle (used seven times), referring to this particular facet of the overall gospel message (I Thessalonians 1:5; 2:2-3, 8-9; 3:2, 8).

Paul’s gospel, having to do with “the mystery” revealed to him at the outset of his ministry (Galatians 1:11-12; Ephesians 3:1-6), was a message to the saved, not the unsaved.  It had to do with the continued good news one was to hear after he had heard and responded to the gospel of the grace of God (e.g. the gospel of grace seen in Ephesians 2:8-9, with the continuing aspect of the good news, corresponding to Paul’s gospel, seen in Ephesians 2:10).

(For additional information on Paul’s gospel, refer to the author’s pamphlets titled, “The Mystery by Arlen Chitwood,” “Paul's Gospel by Arlen Chitwood,” and “Paul and the Gospel by Arlen Chitwood.” Note also that the word “gospel” in the epistles is used far more often relative to the gospel of the glory of Christ [that aspect of the overall gospel message which Paul referred to as “my gospel,” “our gospel” (cf. II Corinthians 4:3-4, NKJV, NASB, NIV)] than it is used relative to the gospel of the grace of God.)

This aspect of the good news is introduced in I Thessalonians 1:5 as “our gospel,” setting the stage for the use of the word gospel throughout both epistles.  And, as Paul referenced this aspect of the good news different ways in Romans 1 (“gospel of God,” “gospel of his Son,” “gospel of Christ” [Romans 1:1, 9, 15-16; cf. Romans 2:16; 16:25]), he does the same thing in I Thessalonians (“gospel of God,” “gospel of Christ,” “good tidings [‘gospel’] of your faith” [I Thessalonians 2:2, 8-9, 3:2, 6]).

Note II Thessalonians 2:14 pertaining to the content of Paul’s gospel:

“Whereunto he called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Then note the crux of the message, emanating from a proclamation of this good news which Paul was writing about to those in this Church, as seen in I Thessalonians 2:11-12:

“As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children.

That ye walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory” (cf. I Peter 5:6-10).

This then merges into a section on the rapture and that which lies beyond the rapture relative to the Son’s coming kingdom, seen in the latter part of chapter four and the first part of chapter five (I Thessalonians 4:13-5:10).  Then, the remainder of the book has to do with Paul’s closing remarks.

II Thessalonians

The second epistle to the Thessalonians simply continues from where the first left off, beginning with two types of Christians at Christ’s coming, at the end of the Tribulation.  I Thessalonians left off with matters surrounding the rapture and subsequent accounting of Christians, preceding the Tribulation (I Thessalonians 4:13-5:10), wherein these two types of Christians had been seen — the faithful, who had heeded Paul’s exhortations;  the unfaithful, who had failed to heed these exhortations.

For one (the faithful), removed from Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day, “salvation” awaited;  for the other (the unfaithful), removed from Man’s Day into the Lord’s Day, “wrath” awaited (I Thessalonians 5:1-9).

Then II Thessalonians chapter one begins with events occurring at a time at least seven years later, following the Tribulation, following Christ’s return.  And again, two types of Christians are seen.

The faithful are seen realizing an inheritance, realizing the “salvation” of I Thessalonians 5:9, in “his kingdom and glory” (II Thessalonians 1:5 and II Thessalonians 1:10-2:1);  and the unfaithful are seen being denied an inheritance in His kingdom, realizing the “wrath” of I Thessalonians 5:9 (II Thessalonians 1:6-9).

(To understand the preceding any other way, as so many do, [e.g., seeing I Thessalonians 5:1-10 and II Thessalonians 1:5-12 dealing with the Tribulation and saved-unsaved issues during and following the Tribulation, or see I Thessalonians 5:9 and II Thessalonians 2:1 dealing with the rapture], is to throw about any type sound Scriptural interpretation one can think of to the winds — plain reading of the text, contextual, comparing Scripture with Scripture, etc.

When this is done on a scale which encompasses almost the whole of Christendom — which is exactly what is currently happening — is it any wonder that Today’s Christendom finds itself described in the words of Revelation 3:15-17, because of that seen in Matthew 13:33?)

With the preceding in mind, note how II Thessalonians 2:2ff continues from the way that the book is introduced, drawing from the whole of Paul’s prior message to the Thessalonians in his first epistle.

In II Thessalonians 1, Paul projects matters, as it relates to Christians, out into the Messianic Era (with the groundwork having been laid in his first epistle to the Thessalonians).

Then moving into II Thessalonians 2, someone had evidently spread false information among the Thessalonians relative to the matter at hand (via “word ”or “letter,” as from Paul), making the Christians in Thessalonica believe that they were presently in the Lord’s Day, leaving them quite confused.

(The Day of the Lord, the Lord’s Day [II Thessalonians 2:2, “the day of Christ” should be translated, “the Day of the Lord”], has always been in existence, but not on earth.  The Lord’s Day begins on earth only at the end of Man’s Day, at the end of the Tribulation following Christ’s return.  This is the manner in which the matter is set forth anyplace this is dealt with in Scripture [e.g., Joel 2:1ff; 3:1ff; Zephaniah 1:7-18].

This is why, in I Thessalonians 5:2 and Revelation 1:10, that Christians removed from the earth in the rapture, removed from Man’s Day, will find themselves in the Lord’s Day.

And the widespread, erroneous teaching that the Lord’s Day overlaps the last seven years of Man’s Day is one of the main causes of the numerous false teachings in I, II Thessalonians, among other places.)

Now, with the preceding in mind, note that II Thessalonians 2:2ff deals with the Lord’s Day on earth, not in the heavens.  The Thessalonians had evidently been taught that they were now in the Lord’s Day, in the Millennium.  And nothing about existing conditions matched that which was supposed to exist on earth, where they still resided, during that future day.  Understandably, they could only have been confused.

Paul begins straightening matters out by calling attention to two things which must occur before the Lord’s Day could exist on earth — things, with related events, which had not yet occurred.

An apostasy must occur first (“a falling away” [II Thessalonians 2:3 KJV], is from apostasia in the Greek text, meaning “apostasy”), and the man of sin (the one who will sit in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God) must also be revealed first (II Thessalonians 2:4).

Neither of these had occurred.

“The mystery of iniquity” (II Thessalonians 2:7), which could only relate to Christians (ref. Part II of this pamphlet series), was already working.  But this must reach a final stage, which, according to related Scriptures, would be complete apostasy (cf. Matthew 13:33; Luke 18:8; Revelation 3:14-20).

And, as previously stated, the man of sin must be revealed, along with an outworking of the things stated about him (II Thessalonians 2:3-12).

Only then could the Lord’s Day exist on earth.

Then Paul stated that there was one thing, in conjunction with the apostasy, which must occur before the man of sin could be revealed, allowing Man’s Day to subsequently end and the Lord’s Day to begin on earth.

And that one thing is spoken of as something presently in existence which held back the appearance of the man of sin (II Thessalonians 2:6), something which had to be removed before the man of sin could be revealed (II Thessalonians 2:7).

But, at what point during the Tribulation will the man of sin be revealed — seen by his actions at the beginning (Revelation 6:1-2), or seen by his actions starting in the middle (Revelation 6:3-4)?

Things spoken of in II Thessalonians 2:3ff about the revelation of the man of sin have to do with events occurring in the middle of the Tribulation and extending throughout the last half (Matthew 24:15ff).  But, within the revealed mannerism which he will exhibit in that day (II Thessalonians 2:4, 9 [4a]) there appears to be an allusion to his actions throughout the Tribulation.

But all information on a subject is not given one place in Scripture, which is why Scripture must be compared with Scripture in order to begin seeing a more complete picture.  These and other related things will be developed in following Part II, which will center on that which is preventing any present revelation of this man.

Part II

That Presently Preventing this Man’s Appearance

“Now we beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together unto him,

That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ [‘the Day of the Lord’] is at hand.

Let no man deceive you by any means:  for that day shall not come, except there come a falling away [‘the apostasy’] first, and that man of sin be revealed, the son of perdition:

Who opposeth and exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is worshipped;  so that he as God sitteth in the temple of God, shewing himself that he is God.

Remember ye not, that when I was with you, I told you these things?

And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.

For the mystery of iniquity doth already work:  only he who now letteth will let [‘he who now hindereth will hinder’], until he be taken out of the way.

And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders” (II Thessalonians 2:1-9).

Central, Overall Message to the Thessalonians

Paul’s first epistle to Christians forming the Church in Thessalonica had to do with the central message which he had been called to proclaim to Christians throughout the Gentile world.  Paul referred to this message as “my gospel,” “our gospel,” connecting it with “the mystery” which had been revealed to him at the outset of his ministry.  One was part and parcel with the other (I Thessalonians 1:5; cf. Romans 2:16; 16:25; Galatians 1:11-12; Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:23-28).

In the first three and one-half chapters of I Thessalonians (I Thessalonians 1:1-4:12), Paul dealt extensively with things pertaining to this central message which he had been called to proclaim, which is “Christ proclaimed among you, the hope of glory” (correct textual reading of Colossians 1:27b [note an inseparable connection with “the mystery” in Colossians 1:26-27a]).

Then, beginning toward the end of chapter four and continuing into chapter five (I Thessalonians 4:13-5:10), Paul dealt with the rapture and succeeding events (clearly seen in other related Scriptures to occur before the Tribulation) — showing two types of Christians removed from the earth at the end of the dispensation (faithful and unfaithful [those who had heeded his exhortations and warnings, and those who hadn’t heeded these exhortations and warnings, seen in I Thessalonians 5:1-9]), with events surrounding the judgment seat in view.  And the remainder of the book simply forms Paul’s closing remarks for his first epistle.

Then, in his second epistle to the Thessalonians Paul began at a time following the Tribulation, continuing from his first epistle.

And the Tribulation is not seen in these events concerning Christians both preceding and following the Tribulation, for Christians have nothing to do with the Tribulation.  Rather, the Tribulation is “the time of Jacob’s trouble,” with Israel and the nations in view, not the Church.

The thrust of Paul’s opening remarks in his second epistle, covering all twelve verses of the first chapter (II Thessalonians 1), has to do with the place which Christians will occupy in the future kingdom of Christ, following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation.

Some, the faithful, will occupy positions of glory and honor in Christ’s kingdom, seated on the throne with Christ as He exercises power over the nations, realizing the “salvation” spoken of in I Thessalonians 5:9 (II Thessalonians 1:5 and II Thessalonians 1:10-2:1; cf. Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21).

Others, the unfaithful, will occupy places of shame and disgrace and have no part in Christ’s kingdom.  They will not be privileged to ascend the throne with Him as He exercises power over the nations, realizing instead the “wrath” spoken of in I Thessalonians 5:9 (II Thessalonians 1:6-9; cf. Revelation 3:15-17).

Then chapter two (II Thessalonians 2) begins with a continuing statement from the closing verses of chapter one (II Thessalonians 1), remaining within the same subject matter — faithful Christians “gathering together unto him” at the time of His return at the end of the Tribulation. This was Paul’s way of introducing a dissertation to correct erroneous teaching which had found its way into the Church in Thessalonica, purporting to have come from him (II Thessalonians 2:2ff).

(It is commonly taught that the “gathering together unto him” in II Thessalonians 2:1 has to do with the rapture.  And a lesser number of Christians try to see the rapture taught in the third verse of this chapter through a rather strained usage of the Greek word apostasia, using the thought of “departure” for the meaning of the word and then trying to apply it to the Church being removed at the end of the dispensation.

Though “departure” is the idea behind the meaning of the word apostasia [literal meaning, “to stand away from”], attempting to see the rapture in either of these opening verses of the second chapter [II Thessalonians 2:1, 3] is clearly both textually and contextually wrong.  And this can easily be seen by simply reading both in the light of their contexts.

Again, Scripture must be interpreted in the light of Scripture.  A failure to do this, attempting to see the rapture in either of these two verses, has done away with any correct understanding of these verses.  And, as a result, interpretation is negatively affected elsewhere in the chapter.

In the preceding respect, along with not understanding the overall picture beginning with I Thessalonians 1, it is little wonder that Bible students have trouble understanding and identifying that which presently exists in II Thessalonians 2:6-7, preventing the appearance of the man of sin.)

That Preventing the Appearance of Antichrist

Aside from the “falling away” (‘the apostasy’), which, contextually, could only be a concluding work of “the mystery of iniquity” (II Thessalonians 2:3, 7 [KJV]), the passage centers on something unnamed that is preventing the revelation of the man of sin, the son of perdition.  And that being referenced (which, contextually, could only be associated with the apostasy) must be removed, taken out of the way, before this man can be revealed.

An interesting feature of the matter is that Paul didn’t need to identify that being referenced, for those in Thessalonica already knew what he was talking about (II Thessalonians 2:6), needing no explanation.

But the same thing cannot be said of Bible students today.  Most of them have trouble with this, and many of them simply leave it alone, not knowing what to do with it.

(Most Bible students today, seeking to explain what Paul was referencing, which the Thessalonians understood, attempt to see the Holy Spirit as the restrainer.

They do this, to a large extent, on the basis of the Greek text’s usage of both neuter and masculine words to reference the restrainer [neuter in II Thessalonians 2:6, masculine in II Thessalonians 2:7].  And “Spirit” is a neuter word in the Greek text, though the Spirit, at times, is spoken of in a masculine respect [e.g., John 16:7-11].)

But is this the way that those in Thessalonica would have understood the matter?  If so, Why?

Instead of surmising about the matter though there is a much better way to answer these questions, which will, as well, leave us with the same mind-set as those in Thessalonica almost 2,000 years ago.

In this respect, answers are, in reality, quite easy to come by.  Those in Thessalonica understood what Paul was teaching;  but few Bible teachers today do so, which is where the problem lies.

Those in Thessalonica understood the content of Paul’s gospel, seeing the message throughout as a message to the saved relative to the coming kingdom of Christ.

Bible students today, almost without exception, see Paul’s gospel as simply another way to reference the gospel of grace, seeing the message throughout I, II Thessalonians as dealing largely with saved-unsaved issues, intermixed with a message to Christians, though not a message in keeping with the content of Paul’s gospel at all.

Paul’s gospel had to do with a message to those who had already heard and responded to the message of the gospel of the grace of God.  It had to do with a message concerning Christian faithfulness, with a view to the coming kingdom of Christ.  It had to do with the purpose for the present dispensation — the Spirit sent into the world to call out a bride for God’s Son, with a view to the bride ascending the throne with Christ during the coming age.

In the preceding respect, Paul’s gospel, as seen dealt with throughout I Thessalonians, had to do with the antitype of Genesis 24 (with I Thessalonians forming a commentary on this chapter), set between the death of Abraham’s wife (Genesis 23) and Abraham again taking a wife (Genesis 25).

Paul’s gospel had to do with God sending His Spirit to the earth to find and procure a bride for His Son, Jesus (as Abraham, in the type, sent his eldest servant into the far country to find and procure a bride for his son, Isaac).

And the whole of the matter in the antitype occurs exactly as in the type.  The Spirit’s search for and procurement of a bride for God’s Son occurs following Israel being set aside (looked upon as dead [John 11:1ff]) but before God restores and remarries the adulterous wife that He divorced.

In the type, following Abraham’s servant procuring the bride, the servant removed the bride from the far country (accompanied by maidens, riding on evidently the same ten camels in the servant’s possession when he had come into the far country to search for and procure the bride [ten showing completeness all went forth to meet Isaac, as all Christians will go forth to meet Christ]).

And in the antitype, following the Spirit’s procurement of the bride, the Spirit will remove the bride from the earth (remove all Christians, with the bride revealed at the judgment seat).

In the type, Isaac came forth to meet his bride;  and, in the antitype, Jesus will come forth to meet His bride. The preceding is seen in I Thessalonians 4:13ff and can only be an inseparable part of Paul’s gospel.  And when God’s purpose for the present dispensation has been completed and the Spirit removes the bride, there will then be NOTHING to prevent the man of sin from being revealed.

Until this occurs, he CAN’T be revealed;  after this occurs, NOTHING will stand in the way of his being revealed.  And since the whole of the matter is seen in Paul’s first epistle to the Thessalonians, there was no need for any type explanation to those in Thessalonica concerning what Paul meant by something holding back the revelation of this man in II Thessalonians 2:6-7.  He had already told them in his first epistle.

Thus, that which is holding back the revelation of the man of sin is more than just the removal of the Spirit.  It has to do with the Spirit completing His dispensational work and removing the bride (which, as well, clearly shows a pretribulational removal of Christians).

God works with set times, set ways, particular individuals, nations (Israel, and the nations through Israel) through which His plans and purposes are worked out and brought to pass.

Things referenced in II Thessalonians 2:1ff have to do with two different set times in this respect — a removal relative to one, and a revealing relative to the other.

And until these set times arrive, NEITHER can occur;  but when these set times arrive, BOTH must occur.

The Holy Spirit is a Person
By Got Questions - The Holy Spirit is a Person

Many people find the doctrine of the Holy Spirit confusing. Is the Holy Spirit a force, a person, or something else? What does the Bible teach?

The Bible provides many ways to help us understand that the Holy Spirit is truly a person—that is, He is a personal being, rather than an impersonal thing. First, every pronoun used in reference to the Spirit is “he” not “it.” The original Greek language of the New Testament is explicit in confirming the person of the Holy Spirit. The word for “Spirit” (pneuma) is neuter and would naturally take neuter pronouns to have grammatical agreement. Yet, in many cases, masculine pronouns are found (e.g., John 15:26; 16:13-14). Grammatically, there is no other way to understand the pronouns of the New Testament related to the Holy Spirit—He is referred to as a “He,” as a person.

Matthew 28:19 teaches us to baptize in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This is a collective reference to one Triune God. Also, we are not to grieve the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 4:30). The Spirit can be sinned against (Isaiah 63:10) and lied to (Acts 5:3). We are to obey Him (Acts 10:19–21) and honor Him (Psalm 51:11).

The personhood of the Holy Spirit is also affirmed by His many works. He was personally involved in creation (Genesis 1:2), empowers God’s people (Zechariah 4:6), guides (Romans 8:14), comforts (John 14:26), convicts (John 16:8), teaches (John 16:13), restrains sin (Isaiah 59:19), and gives commands (Acts 8:29). Each of these works requires the involvement of a person rather than a mere force, thing, or idea.

The Holy Spirit’s attributes also point to His personality. The Holy Spirit has life (Romans 8:2), has a will (1 Corinthians 12:11), is omniscient (1 Corinthians 2:10-11), is eternal (Hebrews 9:14), and is omnipresent (Psalm 139:7). A mere force could not possess all of these attributes, but the Holy Spirit does.

And the personhood of the Holy Spirit is affirmed by His role as the third Person of the Godhead. Only a being who is equal to God (Matthew 28:19) and possesses the attributes of omniscience, omnipresence, and eternality could be defined as God.

In Acts 5:3-4, Peter referred to the Holy Spirit as God, stating, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied just to human beings but to God.” Paul likewise referred to the Holy Spirit as God in 2 Corinthians 3:17-18, stating, “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

The Holy Spirit is a person, as Scripture makes clear. As such, He is to be revered as God and serves in perfect unity with Father and Son to lead us in our spiritual lives.

[The following in this site may be of interest:  Holy Spirit – Ministries and Filling!  and  Being Filled with the Holy Spirit.]

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.

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.

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).

(For an inclusive treatment pertaining to the salvation of the soul, please read the books, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Redeemed for a Purpose, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Let Us Go On, and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Spiritual Warfare.)

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 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.

Received or Turned Away "DOES NOT" Refer to the Rapture
Excerpt from Bible One – Arlen Chitwood’s Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Ch. 10
Matthew 24:40-44 is NOT The Rapture
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

"Then there will be two men in the field; one will be taken and one will be left.

"Two women will be grinding at the mill; one will be taken and one will be left.

"Therefore be on the alert, for you do not know which day your Lord is coming.

"But be sure of this, that if the head of the house had known at what time of the night the thief was coming, he would have been on the alert and would not have allowed his house to be broken into.

"For this reason you also must be ready; for the Son of Man is coming at an hour when you do not think He will. (Matthew 24:40-44)

"But keep on the alert at all times, praying that you may have strength to escape all these things that are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man." (Luke 21:36)

The words in the text, “one will be taken and the other left,” are often misunderstood by expositors.  And through this misunderstanding, some mistakenly teach that these verses refer to the rapture, with one removed from the earth and another left behind on the earth.  This though is not at all what is in view.

The mistake comes from thinking that the ones left remain in the field or at the mill, while the others are removed from these places.  Reference to the Greek text, the context, and parallel Scripture though will show that this cannot possibly be the case.  These verses reveal the Lord’s dealings with two Christians who will be in the field and two other Christians who will be grinding at the mill (representative individuals, places, and occupations) when He returns to reckon with His servants; and this reckoning will occur, not in the field or at the mill, but before the judgment seat of Christ in heaven following the rapture.  The time and place of this reckoning are always the same in Scripture.

The word “taken” (Matthew 24:40-41) is a translation of the Greek word paralambano.  This is a compound word comprised of para (“beside,” or “alongside”) and lambano (“to take,” or “to receive”).  Thus, the word goes a step beyond just simply taking or receiving.  It is taking or receiving the person alongside or to oneself (cf. Matthew 17:1; 20:17 where paralambano is used).  This would be the word used referring to the reception of an individual as an “associate” or a “companion,” which is actually what is involved in this passage.

Then, the word “left” (Matthew 24:40-41) is a translation of the Greek word aphiemi, which is used in an antithetical respect to paralambano.  In the light of the way paralambano is used, aphiemi could possibly best be understood by translating the word, “turn away.” 

That which is involved in this passage has to do with Christians before the judgment seat either being received in an intimate sense or being turned away in an opposite sense.

And the parable of the Householder and His servant, which immediately follows, is given to help explain these things.  These verses are not referring to the rapture at all, but to faithful and unfaithful Christians in different walks of life as they appear before the judgment seat in heaven.

Reference to the parallel passage in Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse shows this same thing:

Watch therefore, and pray always that you may be counted worthy to escape all these things that will come to pass, and to stand before the Son of Man. (Luke 21:36).

Some expositors have also taken this verse as a reference to the rapture (usually those attempting selective rapture); but, again, such is not correct.  This verse is actually the parallel in Luke’s gospel for not only Matthew 24:40-44 but also for the three parables that follow, covering the remainder of the Christian section of the discourse (the parable of the Householder and His servant [Matthew 24:45-51], the parable of the ten virgins [Matthew 25:1-13], and the parable of the talents [Matthew 25:14-30]).

Again, reference to the Greek text, the context, and related Scripture will show exactly how this verse is to be understood.  The main problems in translation and interpretation lie in the words “that you may be counted worthy” and “escape all these things.”

The words, “that you may be counted worthy,” could be better translated, “that you may prevail over [in the sense of being strong and winning a victory]”; and the words, “escape [lit., ‘escape out of’] all these things,” refer back to the immediate context, dealing with “surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34-35).  This verse is, thus, exhorting Christians to watch and pray relative to deliverance from involvement in the ways and practices of the world (Ephesians 6:18; cf. Ephesians 6:10-17).

Weymouth, in his translation of the New Testament, captures the correct thought from the Greek text about as well as any English version presently available (also see the NASB):

Beware of slumbering; at all times pray that you may be fully strengthened to escape from all these coming evils, and to take your stand in the presence of the Son of Man.

Note also Wuest’s “Expanded Translation”:

But be circumspect, attentive, ready, in every season being in prayer, in order that you may have sufficient strength to be escaping all these things which are about to take place, and to stand before the Son of Man.

The words “watch” and “pray” are in a present tense showing linear (continuous) action in the Greek text.  The thought is that of Christians continually watching (always being alert, on guard) and continually praying for the strength necessary to escape out of the ways and practices of the world.

“Escape out of” is the translation of an aorist infinitive in the Greek text, showing deliverance viewed as eventual (i.e., viewed as the result of Christians continually watching and praying).  And, viewed as a whole (as in Weymouth’s translation), this deliverance would occur on particular occasions at different times.

Contextually, this deliverance is not a one-time event (as the rapture), but repeated occurrences (as in Wuest’s translation).  And the goal of the entire process is Christians ultimately being privileged to “stand before the Son of Man.”

(Aorist and present tenses in the Greek text are often misunderstood and misused.  In fact, a lot of false doctrine has resulted from a misunderstanding and misuse of these tenses.

The word “aorist” is simply an anglicized Greek word, aoratos, which means “unseen,” “invisible” [aoratos is the word horatos, meaning “to see,” negated by the prefix “a,” making the word aoratos mean just the opposite — “not to see”].  And this word, used relative to “tense” in Greek grammar, refers to the “action” of the verb [unseen action].

Action in the aorist tense is presented simply as occurring, without reference to its progress [which, from the verb itself, cannot be seen].  And this action, seen contextually, can be very linear [continuous, occurring over time] or punctiliar** [occurring at one or more points in time].

[A misunderstanding and misuse of the aorist tense usually occurs by attempting to see what the meaning of the name of the tense itself clearly states can’t be seen — action occurring, which is invariably and erroneously viewed as punctiliar.

This action is represented on paper [in grammar books] by a dot, simply because it can’t be seen to describe the type of action (whether linear or punctiliar).  And this dot is what often misleads people, thinking that punctiliar action is being described by the dot, which isn’t the case at all].

On the other hand, the present tense, where action is seen, serves to show both linear and punctiliar action.  The general rule is that if punctiliar action is not shown by the context, then linear action is to be understood.

For example, “believes” in John 3:15-16 is the translation of a present participle in the Greek text; and, except for the context [John 3:14], the word in both verses would be understood in a linear respect.  The context though shows that both words are to be understood as punctiliar i.e., simply believe at a point in time, not keep on believing [it was look and live in the type (John 3:14), and it is, as well (it cannot be any other way) look and live in the antitype (John 3:15-16)].

Then note “believes” in Romans 1:16, also the translation of a present participle in the Greek text.  But this time the context doesn’t show that the present tense is to be understood any way other than linear.  Thus, the thought presented in the verse would be to keep on believing, keep on exercising faith [note, contextually, that this verse has nothing to do with eternal salvation; rather, it has to do with belief, faith, exercised by those who are already saved].)

Standing before, or in the presence of, the Son of Man in the passage from Luke’s account of the Olivet Discourse (Luke 21:34-36) is synonymous with being received in an intimate manner by the Lord in the parallel section in Matthew’s account of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:40-44).

The thought is presented another way in Psalms 24:3-4:

Who may ascend into the hill of the LORD? Or who may stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who has not lifted up his soul to an idol, nor sworn deceitfully.

Psalm chapter twenty-four is a Messianic Psalm; and the expression, “to stand before the Son of Man” in Luke 21:36, is Messianic as well.  Ascendingthe hill [referring to the ‘kingdom’;  note Psalms 2:6] of the Lord” or standing “before the Son of Man” are reserved for “associates” or “companions” who will rule as co-heirs with Christ (cf. Hebrews 1:9; 3:1, 14;  “fellows” [Hebrews 1:9, KJV] and “partakers” [Hebrews 3:1, 14] are translations of the same Greek word [metochoi], which could be better rendered, “associates” or “companions”).

(A similar statement to that which is seen in Luke 21:36 is seen in God’s promise to those in the Church in Philadelphia, in Revelation 3:10 — “I also will keep you from the hour of trial.”

For information on this verse (Revelation 3:10), refer to Chapter 10, “A Pillar, A City,” in the author’s book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Judgment Seat of Christ, Ch. 10.)

SAVED GENTILES ON BOTH HIS RIGHT AND LEFT HANDS (Title by Editor)
From Prophecy on Mount Olivet 
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Contents
 

Chapter 23

THOSE ON HIS RIGHT HAND

Then the King will say to those on His right hand, “Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:

for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was thirsty and you gave Me drink; I was a stranger and you took Me in;

I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me.”

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?

When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?

Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?”

And the King will answer and say to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.” (Matthew 25:34-40)

When Christ returns to the earth it will be as “King of kings and Lord of lords.”  Christ, at His first appearance, at the time of His incarnation, was born “king of the Jews” (Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:2); and He will return to exercise that position at His second appearance (Revelation 19:11-16).

Completely unlike His first appearance — “in the likeness of sinful flesh [without the covering of Glory that man had lost in Eden 4,000 years earlier]” (Genesis 3:7; Romans 8:3) — Christ will reappear with a body enswathed in Glory, clothed in regal garments, with many diadems on His head (the type crown showing regality); He will reappear as “the Lion of the tribe of Judah,” not as “the Lamb of God”;  He will reappear as the rightful King, as “He judges and makes war,” not as One to be ridiculed and arrayed as a mock King by existing powers (cf. Psalm 2:1-12; 24:1-10; 110:1-7; Matthew 27:27-31; Luke 24:26; John 1:36; Revelation 5:5-7; 19:11-16).

Christ will not only reappear as “King” but He will have in His possession the kingdom that He had gone away to receive.  Christ’s reappearance after this fashion will mark the beginning of climactic events pertaining to God’s plans and purposes, which date back in time to the period prior to man’s existence upon earth.

In Scripture, the enacting of God’s plans and purposes as they pertain to man are looked upon as occurring at two different times preceding man’s creation — “before the foundation of the world,” and “from the foundation of the world” (cf. Matthew 13:35; 25:34; Luke 11:50; John 17:24; Ephesians 1:4; Hebrews 4:3; 1 Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8; 17:8).

The word “foundation” is the translation of the Greek word, katabole, a compound word which literally means “to cast down” or “to throw down” (kata means “down,” and bole means “to cast” or “to throw”).  The manner in which this word is used in a general sense in the expression, “foundation of the world,” could describe God’s past act of casting or throwing down the world (i.e., creating the world) out in space.

However, katabole appears to be used in a more specific sense in Scripture, referring to God’s subsequent act of restoring the ruined creation in Genesis 1:2bff rather than His initial act of creating the earth in Genesis 1:1.  In this respect, matters mentioned in the verses where this expression is used would refer to God’s actions regarding His Son and man at two different times in history, following the creation of the heavens and the earth:

1) “Before [Greek: pro] the foundation of the world” (before the restoration of the ruined creation, in eternity past, which could be any time between the creation [Genesis 1:1] and the restoration of the ruined creation [Genesis 1:2bff]).

2) “From [Greek: apo] the foundation of the world” (the time of the restoration of the ruined creation [Genesis 1:2bff], when God began counting 7,000 years of time in relation to His Son and man as it pertained to regality and this earth).

Thus, God’s plans and purposes as they pertain to His Son and man had their beginning in eternity past.  The kingdom prepared for saved Gentiles “from the foundation of the world” in Matthew 25:34 had been planned in the eternal council chambers of God at a time “before the foundation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4-10).  Prior to God’s restorative work delineated in Genesis 1:2bff, in eternity past, the ages were planned around the preordained activity of the Son; and the Messianic Era is the climactic age in a series of ages.

(At least three ages would be in view — one pre-Adamic and two post-Adamic.

At least one age [possible more] would have preceded man’s creation.  During this time, Satan was placed as ruler over a newly created earth, his fall occurred, and the subsequent ruin of his kingdom followed [Genesis 1:1-2a; Isaiah 14:12-14; Ezekiel 28:14-15].

Then one age covers Man’s 6,000-year Day, beginning with the restoration of the ruined earth for man and man’s subsequent creation on the sixth day [the one brought forth to replace the incumbent ruler, Satan].

Man’s fall though delayed, for 6,000 years, the purpose for man’s creation being realized, during which time God is performing a redemptive work relative to man [in order that man might one day realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning].

Then, the last age in this succession of ages is the 1,000-year Messianic Era, during which time God’s plans and purposes for His Son and for man will be brought to fruition, which is the goal seen realized at the termination of all three sections of the Olivet Discourse.

For additional information on “ages,” particularly as distinguished from “dispensations,” refer to 5) Ages and Dispensations and Dispensations As Distinguished from “Ages” in this site.)

God’s preordained activity as it pertains to the ages relating to man, along with the earth, is referred to in Ephesians 3:11 and Hebrews 1:2, and the respective contexts of these two verses leave no room to question that which is in view.  Both point to the same thing — a succession of ages, terminating with an age in which the “restoration of all things” will occur (Acts 3:21; cf. Acts 1:6).

Ephesians 3:11 should literally read,

According to a plan of the ages which He formed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

And Hebrews 1:2 should literally read,

Has in these last days spoken to us in the person of His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through whom also He made the ages [formed the ages after a pattern in accord with the pre-planned activity of the Son within these ages]” (cf. John 1:3; Colossians 1:16-18).

Verses leading into Ephesians 3:11 have to do with the mystery revealed to Paul and the purpose for the present dispensation; and verses following Hebrews 1:2 have to do with God bringing His Son into the inhabited world once again, but this time to exercise the rights of primogeniture as His firstborn Son.

The whole of Scripture moves toward a climactic age in which a new order of Sons will rule the earth for the express purpose of bringing all things under subjection to Christ, anticipating the eternal ages beyond (Romans 8:19; 1 Corinthians 15:24-28).  This plan was conceived and enacted “before the foundation of the world,” and the kingdom — the central focus of the plan — was prepared “from the foundation of the world.”

ORDER AND BASIS OF JUDGMENT

The Gentile section of the Olivet Discourse is normally looked upon by premillennial students of the Word as pertaining to a general judgment of all the Gentiles surviving the Tribulation — both saved and unsaved, living at the time Christ returns — with the works of those being judged revealing their saved or unsaved status.  A judgment of this nature though is not what is taught either in this text or anywhere else in Scripture.  Such a judgment would be completely out of line with the teaching of Scripture not only on salvation itself but on the timing and basis of all future judgments pertaining to man.

Salvation is by “grace through faith,” and man’s works can have no part in the matter. Salvation is based entirely on the finished work of Christ, and man must be completely passive.  Man cannot perform works to be saved, to stay saved, or to show that he has been saved.  If he could do any one of these three, then works would have entered into an area where works cannot exist, and salvation would cease to be by grace through faith (Romans 11:6).

Insofar as judgment is concerned, neither can “a general judgment” exist within the framework of that which Scripture reveals.  “The saved” must always be judged first (1 Peter 4:17), requiring a separation of the saved from the unsaved preceding judgment.  A general judgment — both the saved and the unsaved called before Christ at the same time to be judged — would violate this principle.

Then again, future judgments in Scripture can have nothing whatsoever to do with eternal salvation or eternal damnation.  One’s eternal destiny will always be a settled, closed matter before the person stands in the presence of Christ to be judged at a future date, with judgment relative to one’s acceptance or rejection of Christ having already occurred.

John 3:18 makes this very clear:

He who believes in Him is not condemned [judged]; but he who does not believe is condemned [judged] already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

The issue surrounding one’s eternal destiny can never be raised at any future judgment, for judgment relative to this matter will have already occurred in past time.  God judged sin in the person of His Son at Calvary, and this judgment affects both the believer and the unbeliever in the same passive sense.

It is not possible for a believer to ever be brought into judgment where issues surrounding his eternal destiny come into view.  Sin has already been judged vicariously in God’s Son, and God is satisfied.  The believer possesses the imputed righteousness of Christ (Romans 5:15-18; 2 Corinthians 5:21), and the penalty for sin has already been paid on his behalf (Romans 6:23).

Nor can the unbeliever, as well, ever appear in a future judgment where issues involve his eternal destiny.  Though he is completely outside the efficacy of Christ’s vicarious act, judgment relative to the matter at hand (judgment upon sin at Calvary) has already occurred.  This is why John 3:18 clearly places the judgment of the unbeliever in past time.  Everything is based on Christ’s past, completed work and God’s judgment of sin within the scope of this completed work.

An unbeliever is looked upon within the framework of the entire matter in the same passive sense that the believer is viewed.  A vicarious judgment for sin occurred in past time; and even though the unbeliever is outside the scope of this vicarious act, he is looked upon as having already been judged since the judgment for sin has already occurred.

To bring any individual — saved or unsaved — into judgment at a future date where even one issue involves matters surrounding his eternal destiny would be to judge once again that which God has already judged.  Thus, every future judgment — pertaining to the saved and the unsaved alike — can only involve issues completely separate from one’s eternal salvation or eternal damnation.

INHERITING THE KINGDOM

The key word to acquire a proper understanding of the judgment of living Gentiles when Christ returns is the word “inherit.”  Those Gentiles placed at Christ’s right hand (the hand of “power,” symbolic of strength and force [Genesis 48:17-19]) and dealt with first are said to inherit a kingdom prepared for them “from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34).

The issue at hand in Christ’s judgment of saved Gentiles (all, both those placed at His right hand and those placed at His left hand) at the end of the Tribulation is clearly inheritance, not eternal life.

Gentiles placed at both His right hand and His left hand will be judged on the basis of “works” relative to realizing or being rejected for an inheritance in the kingdom.  And the reason they can be judged in this manner is because they will have already been judged on the basis of the work of Another — on the basis of Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

1)  INHERITANCE AND FAMILY RELATIONSHIP

In the Scriptural framework, inheritance 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 passed to the nearest family member or members designated by the law of inheritance (Numbers 27:8-11).

In the New Testament, insofar as Christ, Israel, and the Church are concerned, it is “Sons” alone that are in view, more specifically firstborn Sons.  It is God’s firstborn Sons who will come into possession of the inheritance and exercise the rights of primogeniture.  And these rights will begin to be exercised in the Messianic Era by and through God’s firstborn Sons ruling over the Gentile nations.

Firstborn Sons hold their positions either through relationship (Jesus and His relationship to the Father — God’s only begotten firstborn Son) or adoption (Israel and the Church [Israel was adopted in time past, and the Church is yet to be adopted]); and firstborn Sons hold (or, as in the case of the Church, will hold) their respective positions in view of one day exercising power and authority following their coming into possession of the awaiting inheritance.

Inheritance within the kingdom to be realized by saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation though has nothing to do with exercising the rights of the firstborn.  Nothing is said in Scripture about God adopting Gentile nations, as He adopted Israel (or as He will adopt the Church).  National adoption among the nations of the earth belongs to Israel alone (Romans 9:4).

Thus, inheritance as it pertains to firstborn Sons and inheritance as it pertains to the saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation would have to be looked upon in different respects.  Exactly what position saved Gentiles will occupy in the kingdom is unrevealed.  They are said to inherit the kingdom and reign with Christ (cf. Matthew 25:34; Revelation 20:4), though evidently not as firstborn sons.

The nations of the earth coming out of the Tribulation and populating the millennial earth will be ruled by, reached with God’s message, and blessed through Israel.  And Gentiles inheriting the kingdom at the beginning may very well have a part, under Israel, ruling and reaching the nations with God’s message.

Then again, the Gentiles inheriting the kingdom could occupy a similar regal place on earth under Christ and His co-heirs as they rule the nations from the heavens.

The matter though is unrevealed.  And the preceding has been set forth only as possibility for thought, nothing more.

2)  INHERITANCE AND SALVATION

Contrary to what is often taught, the word “inheritance” never appears in Scripture as a synonym for the salvation that we presently possessEternal life is one thing, and inheritance is something entirely different; and confusion abounds when proper distinctions are not made.

The offer of “eternal life” is reserved for those outside the family; and the offer of “an inheritance” is reserved for those within the family (“. . . if children, then heirs . . . .” [Romans 8:17]).  One is a free gift, but the other requires merit.  One is non-forfeitable, for it is based on the finished work of Christ; but the other can be forfeited, for it is based on actions of the individual family members.

Consequently, inheritance in Scripture is connected with eternal life only to the extent that one has to first be in possession of eternal life before he can be in line to receive the inheritance.

There is though a salvation that is inherited (note that the word “salvation” is used in a much broader sense in Scripture than just a reference to eternal life [as is the word “gospel,” as well]).

For Christians, salvation in connection with inheritance has to do with exercising the rights of the firstborn during the coming age.  It has to do with the saving of the soul, the saving of the life (cf. Matthew 16:24-27; Hebrews 1:14-2:5; 10:35-39; 1 Peter 1:9-11).  Coming into possession of this salvation will be synonymous with coming into possession of an inheritance in the kingdom as Sovereigns.

An inheritance for saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation though, as previously noted, will be a different matter.  There is nothing in Scripture that would connect their inheritance with sonship and positions of sovereignty of a nature sonship would portend; nor is their inheritance referred to in Scripture in the sense of a salvation or deliverance, as is the Christians’ inheritance.

Saved Gentiles living at the time Christ returns, who enter into an inheritance in the kingdom, will have endured to the end of the Tribulation and be “saved [physically delivered]” out of that period (Matthew 24:13-14).  They will then realize an inheritance of some unrevealed type in the kingdom.

3)  INHERITANCE AND MERIT

Matthew 25:34-40 clearly attests to the fact that inheritance is based on the righteous acts of individuals in the family (works of the redeemed) rather than the righteous act of the Head of the family (the finished work of Christ on Calvary, allowing redeemed individuals to occupy a place in the family).  And this same teaching regarding “inheritance” is covered elsewhere in Scripture by showing the possibility that one’s inheritance can be forfeited by improper conduct, seen in the parables in the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:40-25:30) through a failure of household servants to properly carry out the responsibility entrusted to them by the Householder during His time of absence.

As in the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse, both positive and negative aspects of the matter are dealt with in the Gentile section of the Discourse.  The positive side is seen by and through Christ’s dealings with those on His right hand, and the negative side is seen by and through His dealings with those on His left hand.

But, again, detail of the nature seen in Christ’s prior dealings with Christians is not seen in His dealings with the Gentiles in Matthew 25:31-46.  One can rest assured though that within God’s perfect justice and righteousness there will always be a just recompense in His Son’s judgmental dealings with mankind — within both positive and negative aspects of these dealings — for Christians on the one hand and saved Gentiles on the other.

Scripture abounds with information concerning Christ’s dealings with Christians in that coming day; particularly with warnings concerning that which awaits household servants who fail in their responsibility to properly handle that which the Householder entrusted to them during His time of absence.

Failure in this realm will result in a forfeiture of the rights belonging to firstborn sons.  Such Christians will have forfeited their birthrights and thus the inheritance belonging to the firstborn.

In this respect, Scripture provides two classic examples of individuals who forfeited the rights belonging to the firstborn and consequently forfeited their inheritances.  One example can be seen in the actions of Esau, and the other in the actions of Reuben.

And these things occurred “as examples [‘types’]”; and they have been recorded “for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the ages have come” (1 Corinthians 10:6, 11).

These events occurred within God’s sovereign control of all things in order that He might have these accounts to draw upon to teach Christians deep things within the mystery revealed to Paul concerning the inheritance awaiting firstborn sons.

Esau, Isaac’s firstborn, forfeited his birthright to satisfy a fleshly gratification.  He sold his birthright for a single meal (Genesis 25:27-34).  When it came time for the father to bestow his blessing on the firstborn, Jacob was the one who received the blessing, not Esau.  Esau had forfeited these rights; and once forfeited, they were irretrievable.

After Isaac had blessed Jacob as firstborn, Esau tried to get his father to change his mind and bless him as well.  But his efforts were to no avail.  The father’s blessing had already been bestowed upon Jacob, and the forfeited rights of the firstborn were gone forever (Genesis 27:26ff; Hebrews 12:14-17).

Then, a forfeiture of these same rights is seen in events surrounding Jacob’s firstborn son.  Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, was in direct line to inherit the rights of primogeniture; but because of one grave sin committed during his life, Reuben forfeited these rights.  Reuben’s sin, resulting in the forfeiture of his birthright, was sexual impropriety of a nature that dishonored and shamed his father:

. . . Reuben went and lay with Bilhah his father’s concubine; and Israel heard about it . . . . (Genesis 35:22b)

As a consequence, Reuben’s birthright was divided among three of his brothers.

The tribal rulership was bestowed upon “Judah,” the priestly office was bestowed upon “Levi,” and the double portion of the father’s estate was given to “Joseph.”

The tribe of “Judah” became heir to the kingly line, the tribe of “Levi” became heir to the priestly line, and the tribe of “Joseph” inherited the double portion, realized through Joseph’s two sons (Ephraim and Manasseh), who each received a full inheritance (1 Chronicles 5:1-2).

The preceding reveals the proper Scriptural distinctions between being a member of the family on the one hand and being in line to receive an inheritance on the other.  Though Esau and Reuben forfeited their inheritances, they remained sons within the family.

And it is the same for a Christian.  Becoming a member of the family, being born from above, places one in a position to inherit.  The Christian as a child of God is an “heir”; and the Christian as a son is awaiting the “adoption” in order to realize the inheritance (Romans 8:14-23).

Christians have been saved for the purpose of one day exercising the rights of the firstborn, seated on the throne with Christ.  However, as in the cases of Esau and Reuben (historical accounts forming types, set forth as warnings for Christians), these rights can be forfeited; but also, as in the cases of Esau and Reuben, such a forfeiture can produce no change in one’s family relationship.

Understanding these distinctions will allow one to see exactly what is in view when Christ calls attention to entering into an inheritance because of merit at the time He judges saved Gentiles following His return.  Note that Christ will say to these Gentiles,

“Come, you blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world” (Matthew 25:34). 

And this will be said because of works performed following their salvation (Matthew 25:34-36).  They will have merited this right because of their previous positive treatment of Christ’s brethren (Matthew 25:40).

Thus, the works of these saved Gentiles are clearly associated with an inheritance in the kingdom, not with eternal life — an impossibility.  To teach, as many do, that Gentiles appearing before Christ in Matthew 25:31ff will show by either their works or their lack of works a saved or unsaved status not only does violence to biblical teachings concerning salvation by grace but it completely obscures that which is being taught in Matthew 25:31-46.

Good works or a lack of such works can never have anything to do with showing one’s saved or unsaved status.  Man’s works, after any fashion, either before or after a person is saved, can never enter into the realm of One’s eternal salvation.  The finished work of Christ alone is seen in this realm.

Christians appearing before the Judgment Seat of Christ will be judged on the basis of works in relation to an inheritance in the kingdom; and saved Gentiles appearing before Christ following His return will be judged after this same fashion in relation to the same thing.  The issue of one’s eternal destiny can occupy no place in either one of these judgments or in any other future judgment.

CHRIST’S BRETHREN

Gentiles being judged at the time of Christ’s return will be individuals from the nations of the earth saved during the immediately preceding Tribulation.  They will have been saved mainly as a result of the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangelists called forth by God to proclaim the “gospel of the kingdom” to the nations of the earth during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation.  These Gentiles will also be those who escaped the wrath of Antichrist as he sought their destruction, along with the destruction of Israel.

Satan’s final, climactic effort to thwart God’s plans and purposes, established in eternity past, “before the foundation of the world,” will be carried out through Antichrist.  Satan, following his being cast out of the heavenly realm from which he presently reigns, will give to a man (the Antichrist, the beast — actually, his son [Genesis 3:15]) “his power, his throne, and great authority.”  He will give to Antichrist that which he previously offered to Christ (cf. Luke 4:5-6; Revelation 13:2).

And through this man, seated upon his throne, Satan will do everything within his power to prevent a future manifestation of the kingdom of Christ.  In this respect, he will turn his attention toward both the Sovereigns (God’s firstborn Sons, with his wrath vented particularly against Israel during the Tribulation) and those having anything to do with any of the Sovereigns (saved Gentiles befriending Israel during those days, destined to realize an inheritance in the kingdom as well), for man inheriting the kingdom will mean an end to Satan’s rule.

The book of Revelation, from chapter six through the opening verses in chapter nineteen, relates events that will occur on earth during the seven-year Tribulation.  This portion of Scripture, though relating some events that will occur during the first three and one-half years of this period, is given over almost entirely to events beginning in the middle of the Tribulation and extending throughout the last three and one-half years, followed by the return of Christ at the end of the Tribulation.  Consequently, this is the section of Scripture to which one must go in order to properly understand certain things about Christ’s judgment of the Gentiles on the basis of their activity during the Tribulation.

The most instructive portions of Scripture in this respect are Revelation chapters seven, twelve, and fourteen.  These chapters deal with the 144,000 Jewish evangelists who will proclaim the gospel of the kingdom throughout the world during the Tribulation, with the innumerable multitude of Gentiles who will be saved as a result of their ministry, and with Satan’s efforts to prevent or hinder everything associated with their ministry.

(Ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Ch. 2 and Ch. 3, where events in Revelation 7; 12; 14 are discussed.  Also, for a fuller discussion see 21)  A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child, and 26)  The One Hundred Forty-four Thousand in this site.)

Satan and his angels, immediately following their being cast out of the heavens onto the earth near the middle of the Tribulation, will direct their attention toward Israel.  The reason given in Scripture is because Israel, at that time, will be about to bring forth the 144,000 evangels (a first-fruit of the nation [Revelation 14:4]), who will carry the message of salvation and the coming kingdom to the Gentiles throughout the earth during the last half of the Tribulation; and Satan will seek to destroy the 144,000 as soon as they appear, seeking to prevent the proclamation of this message (Revelation 12:4).

His efforts though will be in vain.  The 144,000, after they are brought forth, will be supernaturally removed from the earth to escape Satan’s wrath (this is the reason they are seen in heaven in Revelation 14:1-5) and shortly thereafter will be sent back to the earth to deliver their message during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:5, 17).

Satan, immediately following the removal of the 144,000 into heaven, will then vent his wrath upon the nation of Israel.  God though will supernaturally intervene and prepare (or will have already prepared) a place in “the wilderness [the mountainous terrain of the land of Israel]” for the Jewish people, to which a remnant will flee, where they will remain safe from Satan’s wrath for the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation (Revelation 12:13-16).

Elsewhere in the world, anti-Semitism will become rampant.  Jews will come under the sentence of death, and conditions will deteriorate far beyond those seen in Europe during the years 1939-1945.  Many Jews though, as in Europe during the World War II years, will survive this time.  These are the ones who will be re-gathered “from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other” by angels at the time Christ returns.  And the shortening of the days of the Tribulation will occur first and foremost for these particular Jews (Matthew 24:22, 31).

The Israeli nation presently existing in the Middle East, from which the remnant fleeing into the mountainous terrain of the land will come (cf. Matthew 24:16; Revelation 12:6, 14), comprises only a part of world Jewry (about two-fifths).  The majority of Jews reside outside the land today, and the majority will probably still be outside the land when Antichrist appears.  This segment of Jewry will remain scattered throughout the world during the Tribulation, with those Jews presently in the land (approaching 6,000,000 today) being uprooted in the middle of the Tribulation and scattered out among them (save for the remnant which will escape to a specially prepared place in the land that God will have prepared for them).

And the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will proclaim their message to Gentiles throughout the world where Jews presently reside and where Jews in the land of Israel will be driven when Antichrist enters with his armies in the middle of the Tribulation (Matthew 24:14; Mark 13:10).

“Christ’s brethren” in Matthew 25:40, 45 are the Jewish people (Genesis 37:14, 16-17; 45:1-4); and the treatment extended to Christ’s brethren by Gentiles would evidently refer to treatment extended to Jews other than the remnant escaping into the mountainous terrain of the land of Israel.  This remnant of Jews will be in a specially prepared place and be supernaturally protected by God Himself.

The situation for Jews scattered throughout the earth in that day can only be viewed as grave beyond description.  They will be hunted, killed, and sold as slaves throughout the Gentile world (Isaiah 14:2; Joel 3:7; Matthew 24:9); and numerous saved Gentiles worldwide will befriend these Jews, along with befriending the 144,000 Jewish evangelists proclaiming the gospel of the kingdom.

The mark of the beast will be given during this period, and no one will be able to “buy or sell” apart from having received this mark.  But those receiving the mark will find themselves under a far greater condemnation (Revelation 13:15-17; 14:9-12).

Two-thirds of the Jews throughout the earth will die during this time, along with an innumerable host of saved Gentiles (Zechariah 13:8; Revelation 7:9-17).  Saved Gentiles befriending both saved and unsaved Jews being hunted and killed will undoubtedly find themselves in similar straits as well (e.g., note that which awaited those aiding Jews during WWII in Europe).  This will be a time when matters surrounding saved people befriending Christ’s brethren will be quite different than they are today.

(According to present figures regarding the world’s Jewish population, about twice as many Jews will be slain in less than half the time as were slain in Europe by the Third Reich during the years 1939-1945 [they will be slain during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation, but note a shortening of these days for the sake of the Jewish people (Matthew 24:22)].

The Third Reich had trouble disposing of 6,000,000 Jewish bodies over the space of about seven years, building giant crematoriums and burying others together in common, mass graves.  Far more horrific conditions can only exist in this one realm alone during the last three and one-half years of the Tribulation.)

We’re really not given details concerning how Gentiles under the sentence of death who cannot purchase food or trade after any other fashion in the commercial world will be in a position to befriend Jewish people in similar straits.  The prevalence of anti-Semitism during this period — placing Jews in an altogether different position than Gentiles — would possibly provide one explanation (ref. “Anti-Semitism,” in Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Appendix 1 in this site).

For a segment of Jewry, the type of ministry that the 144,000 Jewish evangelists will have would possibly provide other thoughts surrounding the problems Gentiles will have befriending Jews in that day.  These Jewish evangels will be in the public eye and have to travel about; and in the course of their travels they will have to acquire food and lodging, at times in unfamiliar surroundings. 

They will be carrying on a ministry during extremely difficult times — times unlike anything ever seen in man’s 6,000-year history; and God will use saved Gentiles (saved as a result of the ministry of the Jewish evangels), occupying a different position relative to the public, to befriend, minister to, these Jews in order to insure the worldwide proclamation of their message.

One though does not need to understand all the details of the preceding matter.  It falls our lot only to believe that which God has revealed.  The facts as given clearly state that saved Gentiles will befriend, minister to, Jews during the Tribulation; other saved Gentiles though will not do so.  And at the time of Christ’s return all of these Gentiles will be judged on the basis of their prior treatment of the Jewish people, with a view to an inheritance in the kingdom.

Genesis 12:3a states,

I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you . . . .

And this statement concerning Abraham and his descendants through Isaac and Jacob, which God gave Abraham 4,000 years ago and, through His Spirit, moved Moses to record 3,500 years ago, sets forth the fundamental principle in Scripture that will govern the judgment of saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation.

They will be blessed because they had been a blessing to the Jewish people.  And, further, it will be revealed to them that the treatment that they extended to “Christ’s brethren” was actually treatment extended to Christ Himself, for Christ, as well, is a descendant of Abraham.  In this respect, Christ will say to saved Gentiles in that day,

“Inasmuch as you have done it to one of the least of these My brethren, you have done it to Me.”

This is a statement resting on an unchangeable principle that is no less true today than it will be in that coming day.

Chapter 24

THOSE ON HIS LEFT HAND

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels:

for I was hungry and you gave Me no food; I was thirsty and you gave Me no drink;

I was a stranger and you did not take Me in, naked and you did not clothe Me, sick and in prison and you did not visit Me.”

Then they also will answer Him, saying, “Lord, when did we see You hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to You?”

Then He will answer them, saying, “Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.”

And these will go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into eternal life. (Matthew 25:41-46)

Contrary to common, widespread interpretative views on Matthew 25:31-46, the only time Christ will deal with unsaved Gentiles when He returns to the earth — preceding His actual 1,000-year reign over the earth, with His co-heirs — will be when He treads the winepress at what is commonly called the battle of Armageddon.  Christ’s judgment of Gentiles, as seen at the end of the Olivet Discourse, when He returns and sits on the throne of His Glory, will be with saved Gentiles alone, not with both saved and unsaved Gentiles.

And this judgment, as any other judgment at this time, will be with the kingdom in view.  This judgment, as any of the other judgments, will have to do with either realizing an inheritance in the kingdom or being rejected for an inheritance in the kingdom.  And the basis of this judgment will be the previous actions of those being judged, whether they ministered or didn’t minister to Christ’s brethren, the Jewish people, during the Tribulation.

Those having ministered to the Jewish people during the previous Tribulation will realize an inheritance in the kingdom; those who didn’t minister to the Jewish people during the previous Tribulation though will be turned away, rejected for an inheritance.

In this respect, the matter will be very similar to that which is seen in Christ’s previous dealings with Christians at His judgment seat, as seen in the four parables covering the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse (Matthew 24:40-25:30).

In the first of these four parables, one is received alongside, and another is turned away.  And receiving alongside or being turned away is seen, in a subsequent parable, to be with a view to the kingdom that the Nobleman had gone away to receive (Luke 19:12).

The same thing is seen in the judgment of saved Gentiles.  The ones on His right hand will be received in the same manner as seen in the previous parable (actually, all four previous parables, all covering different facets of the same thing) — received alongside;  and the ones on His left hand will be turned away, as also seen in this parable (again, in all four parables).

Being received or being turned away in this manner has to do with the same thing previously seen in these parables.  It has to do with an inheritance in the kingdom, which will be realized by some and not realized by others.

The Kingdom in View

Everything surrounding Christ’s return is seen having to do with the kingdom that He had gone away to receive.  When Christ returns, between the time His feet touch the Mount of Olives and the time He and His co-heirs ascend the throne and reign (Zechariah 14:4, 9), numerous things, of necessity, will have to occur.

At the time Christ returns, Satan will still be in power, with Antichrist seated on His throne; an unconverted Israel, which Satan will still be seeking to destroy, will still be scattered among the nations; and the Gentiles, saved mainly as a result of the ministry of the 144,000 Jewish evangels, who survived the Tribulation, will still be scattered throughout the nations of the earth as well.

Christ will deal with Israel first, relative to conversion, repentance, and restoration to the land, as well as calling the nation before Him in Judgment; and everything will be with a view to the kingdom.

Then the incumbent powers must be removed from their positions, which is what is seen in Revelation 19:17-20:3 (allowing Christ and His co-heirs to take the scepter and reign).  The beast and false prophet will be dealt with first (Revelation 19:20), the armies of the beast (led by the kings of the earth [Revelation 19:21]) will then be dealt with, and then Satan himself (which can only include his angels as well) will be dealt with (Revelation 20:1-3).

Christ will then deal with the saved Gentiles, both those surviving the Tribulation in Matthew 25:31-46 and those having been slain during the Tribulation (Revelation 7:9-17; 20:4-6); and His dealings with these Gentiles, as His dealings with the Jews, will be with a view to the kingdom.

In short, everything surrounding Christ’s return will have one thing at the forefront: the kingdom that He had gone away to receive.

Gentile nations, comprised of unsaved Gentiles surviving the judgments of the Tribulation, will enter into the Millennium and populate the millennial earth.  And not only will they enter into this time in natural bodies, capable of procreation, but atmospheric conditions will once again be of a nature that man can, as in the antediluvian world of Noah’s day, live for hundreds of years, even for the entire duration of the Millennium, in a natural body (ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Ch. 9).  Thus, the population of the earth, over time, can only increase, evidently dramatically.

(The common thought and teaching that only saved Gentiles will enter into the Millennium is based on a misunderstanding of Matthew 25:31-46, attempting to make this section of Scripture teach a judgment of all the Gentiles at the time of Christ’s return, both the saved and the unsaved.

This though is not what Matthew 25:31-46 or any other section of Scripture teaches.  The millennial earth, at the very beginning, will evidently be populated by unsaved Gentiles, forming nations, occupying different geographical locations throughout the earth.)

Israel will be placed at the head of the nations here on earth, with the Jewish people realizing their calling.  A converted Jewish nation will not only rule over the Gentile nations but will send the evangels out, worldwide, to reach the Gentiles with God’s message; and God will bless the nations through Israel (Genesis 12:1-3; Isaiah 43:7-11; Jonah 1:2ff).

(As the 144,000 of Revelation 7; 12; 14 began carrying God’s message to Gentiles worldwide during the last half of the Tribulation [forming a first-fruit of the nation], the entire nation will continue this task during the Millennium [forming the main harvest].)

Then, in the heavens, Christ and His co-heirs will rule the nations as well, which will evidently be through representatives here on earth.  And this could possibly be accomplished through saved Gentiles, those seen on Christ’s right hand in Matthew 25:34-40, who realize an inheritance in the kingdom.

(The present kingdom under Satan is structured after the preceding fashion.  Powerful angels in Satan’s kingdom rule from a heavenly sphere through men in corresponding positions of power here on earth [Daniel 10:12-20].  In this passage from Daniel, there is both a “prince of the kingdom of Persia” and “kings of Persia” [evidently lesser rulers under the prince] in the heavens, which would correspond to both the main ruler and lesser rulers under him who ruled over the Persian kingdom here on earth.

Governmental power and authority originates in the heavens — “Heaven rules [KJV: “the heavens do rule]” [Daniel 4:26b] — and progresses from rulers in the heavens through rulers on the earth.  Governmental powers throughout the Gentile nations possess corresponding governmental powers in Satan’s kingdom in the heavens in this fashion.  Powers in the heavens rule through these corresponding powers on the earth.  Or, to turn that around, the powers on earth govern under these corresponding powers in the heavens.

This is the manner in which the government of the earth is presently structured, which is also the same manner in which the government of the earth — all of the Gentile nations — will be structured yet future, though under Christ and His co-heirs rather than Satan and his angels.

There is one exception to the preceding — the government of the nation of Israel, for Israel isnot reckoning itself among the nations” [Numbers 23:9].  Israel, though possessing a government of the same type, with powers in the heavens ruling through powers on earth [it must, for “the heavens do rule”], rules separate from powers in Satan’s kingdom.  Israel’s ruling angel in this respect is Michael, separate from Satan’s kingdom [Daniel 10:21].

And, as previously noted, the coming kingdom of Christ can only be established after the same fashion, with Christ and His co-heirs ruling from heavenly places through corresponding powers among the nations here on earth.  This though would be over the Gentile nations alone [note that overcoming Christians have been promised power over the nations, not over Israel (Revelation 2:26-27)].

The twelve apostles would seem to be the lone exception, having been promised power over the twelve tribes of Israel [Matthew 19:27-29].  And, since other rulers over Israel will be needed in the heavenly sphere of the kingdom, these positions may very well be filled by Old Testament saints who qualified to rule from the heavens prior to this part of the kingdom being taken from Israel [cf. Matthew 8:11-12; Luke 13:28-29; Hebrews 11:8-16].)

“Eternal Life” and “Everlasting Punishment”

All judgments preceding the Millennium have the kingdom in view.  But the wording of Matthew 25:41, 46 — those on Christ’s left hand going away into “everlasting punishment,” in “everlasting fire”; or those on His right hand entering into “eternal life” — would appear to clearly teach something different.  Such though is not the case at all.

There is a translation problem to begin with, and once this has been straightened out and the whole of the two parts of Matthew 25:31-46 are viewed together, along with being viewed in the light of related Scripture, particularly the larger context of the Olivet Discourse — comparing Scripture with Scripture — the matter becomes quite clear.  In fact, when this is done, it becomes impossible to teach that which is almost universally taught in this passage (i.e., a judgment of both saved and unsaved individuals, with eternal verities in view [eternal life and/or eternal damnation]).

1)  The Translation Problem

The translation problem lies in the words “eternal” and “everlasting” in Matthew 25:41, 46.  In the English translation, “eternal life” is used relative to all those on Christ’s right hand, and “everlasting punishment” is used relative to all those on His left hand.

Eternal” and “everlasting” in these verses are both translations of the Greek word aionion, which is the adjective form of the noun aion.  Both words mean the same thing, which is a meaning other than “eternal,” though the words could be thought of in the sense of “eternal” if the context permits.

But this is not the case at all in Matthew 25:31-36.  Contextually, in this section of Scripture, the word aionion could not possibly be understood as “eternal” or “everlasting.”

(Neither the Hebrew text of the Old Testament nor the Greek text of the New Testament contains a word for “eternal.”  Olam is the word usually translated “eternal,” “everlasting,” or “perpetual” in English translations of the Old Testament; and aion [a noun] or aionios [the adjective form of aion] are the words translated “eternal” or “everlasting” in the New Testament [aidios, an older form of aionios, used only two times and meaning exactly the same as aionios, is the only exception (Romans 1:20 and Jude 1:6)].

Olam, aion, and aionios all have to do with “a long period of time,” which, if the context permits, can refer to “eternity” [e.g., the aionios God in Romans 16:26; cf. Psalm 136:1ff].  But the words standing alone, apart from a context, cannot be understood as “eternal.”

Context is the all-important factor to ascertain the length of time in view when these words are used.

Aion and aionios are usually thought of and used numerous times in the New Testament in the sense of “an age.”  And a usage of this nature is even brought over into English.  For example, the English word “aeon [or ‘eon’]” is derived from the Greek word aion.

The only way in which the Greek text can express “eternal” apart from textual considerations is by a use of aion in the plural [e.g., Luke 1:33; Hebrews 13:8, referring to “the ages,” i.e., ages without end, which would comprise eternity] or a double use of aion,  in the plural and articular both times [e.g., Revelation 1:6; 4:9-10, referring to “the ages of the ages,” again, ages without end].

And the use of aionios in Matthew 25:41, 46, referring to an inverse of that seen in Matthew 25:34 [failing to realize an inheritance in the kingdom] can only be understood as “age-lasting.” It can only be understood as referring to the outcome of a judgment of unfaithful saved Gentiles coming out of the Tribulation.

A judgment of the unsaved, with eternal verities in view, could not possibly be the subject at hand in Matthew 25:41, 46.  First, the context will not permit such an understanding of these verses; and second, inheritance in the kingdom, contextually in view, would limit this judgment to the saved alone.  Note Romans 8:17:  “And if children, then heirs . . . .”

“Sheep” and “goats” (Matthew 25:32-33), can only be understood contextually as a metaphorical way of describing two classes of saved individuals, similar to the parable of the wheat and the tares in Matthew 13:24-30.  The unsaved and eternal verities simply cannot be in view in either passage.  Rather, in both passages, only the saved, with a view to an inheritance or non-inheritance in the kingdom, can be in view.)

2)  The Complete Text Itself

The problem seen with the common, erroneous interpretation of Matthew 25:31-46 when viewing the complete text has been alluded to in the previous data concerning aion and aionios.  That which is seen in this section of the Olivet Discourse is a judgment of saved Gentiles at the time Christ returns, with the kingdom in view.  Yet, the translation, “eternal” in connection with those on Christ’s right hand and “everlasting” in connection with those on His left hand, completely removes matters from the issue at hand.

(The kingdom in view throughout the Olivet Discourse is the coming 1,000-year reign over the earth, when Christ and His co-heirs will sit on the throne as seen in Revelation 3:21, “My throne [Christ’s throne],” and rule over the present earth.

The kingdom as it will exist beyond that time — after the destruction of the present heavens and earth [the heavens associated with the earth, not the universe as a whole] and a new heavens and new earth have been brought into existence, with power emanating from “the throne of God and of the Lamb” [2 Peter 3:10ff; Revelation 22:1, 3] — is another matter.

The kingdom in view when Christ and His co-heirs reign over the earth from “My throne” has to do with the government of this present earth and will last for 1,000 years.  This is the kingdom in view throughout all three sections of the Olivet Discourse, with the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3 having to do with this 1,000-year kingdom alone.

And, to enlarge upon the preceding, this is the kingdom in view anyplace in Scripture — Old Testament or New Testament — where promises have been made to Israel or to Christians regarding the kingdom.  All distinctions for faithfulness and unfaithfulness — whether relative to Jews, Christians, or Gentiles — have to do with this 1,000-year period alone, not with the eternal ages.

The kingdom in view beyond the Millennium has to do with the new heavens, the new earth, and with power emanating from “the throne of God and of the Lamb” [which can only be universal in nature]; and this continuing facet of the kingdom will be eternal in length.

Refer to Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Prophecy on Mount Olivet, Conclusion for additional details on the preceding.)

The translation in the English text in Matthew 25:34, 46 has made “inherit the kingdom” (Matthew 25:34) synonymous with “eternal life” (Matthew 25:46) for those on Christ’s right hand, which cannot be true at all.  Realizing an inheritance in the kingdom can only be equated with “life for the age,” never with eternal life, which is exactly how the Greek word aionios, used with “life,” should, contextually, be translated and understood.

And, in like fashion, contextually, “everlasting punishment” should be properly translated “age-lasting punishment.”  That which those on Christ’s left hand receive would be the antithesis of that which the ones on His right hand receive.  Instead of realizing an inheritance in the kingdom, they would be rejected for this inheritance; and, instead of possessing life for the age, they would realize the opposite, expressed in a slightly different way in verse forty-one — “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting [aionios, ‘age-lasting’] fire . . . .”

3)  Comparing Scripture with Scripture

To understand that which is meant by “age-lasting fire,” one of the best places to begin is with the overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3 and see the same thing befalling non-overcoming Christians (also seen in a different fashion in the four parables in the Christian section of the Olivet Discourse).  And this can be seen in the second of the overcomer’s promises, in the message to the Christians in the church in Smyrna, in Revelation 2:11b:

. . . He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death.

Not being hurt or being hurt by the second death is in connection with overcoming or not overcoming.  The promise that the one overcoming will not be hurt by the second death in Revelation 2:11 clearly portends the opposite for the non-overcomer.  That is, the overcoming Christian will not be hurt by the second death, but the non-overcoming Christian will be hurt by the second death.  And the whole of the matter is in relation to realizing or not realizing an inheritance in the kingdom, not with eternal life.

The expression, “the second death,” appears three times in Revelation chapters twenty and twenty-one (Revelation 20:6, 14; 21:8), where it is used in connection with judgments of both the saved and the unsaved and where it is, as well, associated with “the lake of fire” in connection with the judgments of both the saved and the unsaved.

And in the light of Revelation 20:4-6; 21:7-8, which deal with the saved in connection with overcoming or being overcome, referencing the second death, Revelation 2:11 can mean only one thing:

Overcoming Christians, as stated in Revelation 2:11, are not going to be “hurt by the second death.”  But the inverse of that has to be equally true as well, for the promise carries a clearly implied warning.  Non-overcoming Christians are going to be “hurt by the second death,” defined in Scripture as having “their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death” (Revelation 21:8b).

“Fire” in Scripture is associated with the judgment of the saved as well as the judgment of the unsaved.  And though the Christians’ works will be tried “by [‘in’] fire” at the judgment seat, this is not synonymous with Christians having a part in “their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”

Rather, at this judgment, Christians will be shown to have either overcome or to have been overcome, with the carrying out of decisions and determinations made at the judgment seat occurring at a time following these events.  And it will be at this time, following judgment, that non-overcoming Christians will be “hurt by the second death,” which is associated with the lake of fire.

(Note in the judgment of the unsaved in Revelation 20:11-15 that the second death and the lake of fire enter into the matter only following judgment.  The second death and the lake of fire come into view only following decisions and determinations pertaining to the judgment of the unsaved.

And it will be the same for the saved preceding this time.  They will first be judged.  Only then, only following the decisions and determinations pertaining to their judgment, does the second death and the lake of fire come into view.)

A)  THE OVERCOMER’S PROMISES

The word “overcome” is a translation of the Greek word nikao, which means “to conquer” or “to gain a victory over.”  The thought inherent in the word nikao (or nike, the noun form of the word) always means to be victorious in a contest or conflict.  The “overcomers” are the conquerors, the victors; they are the ones who will have successfully run the race of the faith; they are the ones who will have conquered the numerous encountered obstacles along the way.

There are seven different overcomer’s promises in Revelation 2; 3, and each promise is millennial in its scope of fulfillment.  That is, these promises will be realized by overcoming Christians, or they will fail to be realized by Christians who have been overcome, during the 1,000-year reign of Christ after Christians have had their works tried “by [‘in’] fire” at the judgment seat.

(There can be no such thing as Christians being hurt by the second death beyond the Millennium, for Revelation 21:4 plainly declares that there will be no more death during this time.  Former things of this nature will have passed away.

Nor can the Son invite Christians to sit on “My throne” [the seventh and last overcomer’s promise; Revelation 3:21] beyond the Millennium, for He will not be seated on this throne at that time.  Instead He will be seated with His Father on “the throne of God and of the Lamb” [Revelation 22:1, 3].

During the Millennium, regal power over the earth will emanate from the Son’s throne above the present earth.  But during the ages beyond, regal power over the universe will emanate from the throne of God and of the Lamb on the new earth.)

Christians have been saved with a view to being overcomers and bringing forth fruit.  This matter comprises the very heart of the message that is to be proclaimed to Christians throughout the dispensation.  Israel has been set aside during this time, and God is calling out another people — a separate and distinct people — “for His name,” taken mainly from among the Gentiles (Acts 15:14).

Those whom God is presently dealing with comprise an entirely new creation, which is neither Jew nor Gentile, forming one new manin Christ.”  And God is extending to individual members of this one new man, to Christians, the privilege of overcoming and bringing forth fruit, with a view to their occupying positions as joint-heirs with His Son in the heavenly sphere of the coming kingdom.

God has set aside an entire dispensation for this purpose, and judgment at the end of this dispensation will reveal man’s response to this privilege.  Some Christians will be shown to have overcome, possessing works comparable to “gold, silver, precious stones”; but other Christians will be shown to have been overcome, possessing works comparable to “wood, hay, straw.”

The overcomers will, at that time, inherit the promised blessings of Revelation 2; 3; but those shown to have been overcome will be denied these blessings.  This is the subject matter dealt with in the opening three chapters of the book of Revelation.

B)  BEING HURT OF THE SECOND DEATH

That which is in view concerning a non-overcoming Christian one day being hurt of the second death following decisions and determinations at the judgment seat, as previously seen, is explained later in this same book.  The second death for the non-overcomer is having a “part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8); and having a part in the lake of fire is explained by and through God’s dealings with the unsaved in the previous chapter as being “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

And seeing individuals cast into “the furnace of fire” in Matthew 13:42, 50 is simply another way of expressing the same thing.

(The parables in Matthew 13 deal with the Kingdom of the Heavens and fruit bearing, not with eternal salvation.  Thus, the subject matter has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved.

Further, in Matthew 13:1, Christ going out of “the house” [a reference to Israel] and down by “the seaside” [a reference to the Gentiles], the one new manin Christ” [about to be brought into existence at the time these parables were given] is seen throughout the first four parables.  In this respect, those gathered out of Christ’s kingdom, which “offend” and “practice lawlessness,” who are cast into a furnace of fire, can only be identified as saved individuals.

Also, this casting into a furnace of fire in Matthew 13:42, 50 occurs before the Millennium.  The unsaved cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:15 occurs following the Millennium.  They are not the same.)

But is the second death, being cast into the lake of fire, something that will be carried out in a literal sense?  Or, is Scripture dealing with metaphors at this point?  And, if the latter, what about the unsaved being cast into the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium, in Revelation 20:11-15?

If one is literal, would not the other have to be literal as well?  Or, if one is metaphorical, would not the other have to be metaphorical as well?

C)  ALLOWING SCRIPTURE TO INTERPRET SCRIPTURE

In John 15:6 and Hebrews 6:8, saved individuals are spoken of in a metaphorical sense, where a burning with fire is referenced.  And the context both places has to do with either bearing fruit or not bearing fruit, which is exactly the same thing that is seen in the Matthew 13 parables.  Or, as the matter is expressed in Revelation 2; 3, it has to do with either overcoming or being overcome.

And the negative side of the matter is expressed at least two other ways in Scripture — being cast into Gehenna (a reference to the place of refuse outside the city walls of Jerusalem at this time; Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 23:15, 33) or being cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

Overcoming or not overcoming and being unhurt or being hurt by the second death in Revelation 2:11 is expressed a slightly different way in Romans 8:13:

For if you [a reference to ‘brethren’ in Romans 8:12] live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Whether Gehenna or outer darkness in Matthew, a burning with fire in John and Hebrews, being cast into a furnace or lake of fire in Matthew and Revelation, or suffering death or being hurt by the second death in Romans and Revelation, different facets of exactly the same thing are in view.

All of these are used in contexts showing that they have to do with saved people in relation to fruit bearing and the kingdom.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is plain that these are simply different ways of expressing the same thing.  And since a literal casting into outer darkness, Gehenna, or a furnace or lake of fire could not possibly be in view (for these different places could not possibly be looked upon as referring to the same place in a literal sense), it is evident that metaphors are being used throughout.

But relative to the unsaved and the lake of fire, this is simply not expressed other ways in Scripture as it is with the saved, leaving no room for any thought other than understanding the matter as literal, not metaphorical.

Aside from the preceding, it is clear that all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike, will be in the kingdom.  This is seen in the type in Genesis 18; 19.  Both Abraham and Lot, in the final analysis, are seen on the mount (a “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom).  But note the stark difference in the place that each occupied.

Abraham stood before the Lord, where he had always stood (Genesis 18:22; 19:27).  Lot though found himself in a place separate from the Lord, in a place where he also had always stood (Genesis 19:1, 30).

“Everlasting [‘Age-Lasting’] Fire”

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting [age-lasting] fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

As has been shown, similar verses to the preceding are used different places in the New Testament relative to non-overcoming Christians.  And, with this in mind, understanding how these verses are used, the matter concerning how that which is stated in Matthew 25:41 relative to those on Christ’s left hand is to be understood should be evident without further comment.

(Why does Scripture associate non-overcoming Christians with the lake of fire in relation to Christ’s millennial reign, in the manner previously seen [which would be the same for those on Christ’s left hand in Matthew 25:41]?  The answer would be the same as the reason why Scripture associates the unsaved with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages of eternity, following the Millennium.

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

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

THE END SEEN FROM THE BEGINNING
Lessons from 4,000 Years ago, Unheeded today
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

“Now Sarai Abram’s wife bare him no children:  and she had an handmaid, an Egyptian, whose name was Hagar.

And Sarai said unto Abram, Behold now, the Lord hath restrained me from bearing.  I pray thee, go in unto my maid:  it may be that I may obtain children by her.  And Abram hearkened to the voice of Sarai” (Genesis 16:1-2).

“Remember the former things of old:  for I am God, and there is none else;  I am God, and there is none like me,

Declaring the end from the beginning; and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure” (Isaiah 46:9-10).

God sees the end from the beginning, and He has structured His Word in this manner, not only at the beginning but numerous places throughout.

Both Testaments begin exactly the same way, with John’s gospel occupying its proper place beginning the New Testament — “In [the] beginning God…” (Genesis 1:1a);  “In [the] beginning was the Word…” (John 1:1a).

As well, each book beginning each Testament relates the complete story — from the beginning to the end — in the opening two chapters of each, relating exactly the same story, though from different perspectives (Genesis 1:1-2:3; John 1:1-2:11).

Then, the remainder of each book, providing commentary for the beginning of each book, as well, relates the same story, told two different ways (“types” in Genesis, “signs” in John [cf. Hebrews 1:1-2]).  And beyond this, throughout each book, there are numerous beginning points which take matters to the same end.

The preceding is simply the manner in which God has structured His Word throughout.

The remainder of this article, seeing God reveal the end from the beginning, has to do with 4,000 years of human history, with the seed of Abraham at the beginning point (the birth of Ishmael and Isaac) and the seed of Abraham today (the descendants of Ishmael and Isaac 4,000 years later).

And, as will be shown concerning the matter, God reveals the end from the beginning (revealed during Abraham’s day at the time of and following the birth of both Ishmael and Isaac).

Then, as will also be shown, man, relative to the whole of the matter, too often does two things:

1)  Fails to learn from history, repeating the same mistakes.

2)  And, if he can foul things up, he probably will.

God’s Way, Man’s Way

God has an affinity for ALWAYS doing things a particular way.  God uses unchanging patterns which He Himself established.  He uses numbers, metaphors, types, signs, parables, etc.  And the manner in which He uses each is not only consistent but fraught with significance and meaning, with each just as much a part of God’s revealed Word as any other part of the Word, revealed after any fashion.

Then, God’s complete word picture of that which He has revealed to man concerning His plans and purposes can be seen ONLY ONE WAY.  This complete picture, exactly as God gave it, can be seen ONLY through taking all the different parts which God gave at different times and ways and putting all of them together in a proper manner, in exact keeping with how God has structured His Word.

Now, with the preceding in mind, note the previously referenced account in the Word pertaining to Abraham and his seed.

Four thousand years ago God called Abraham out of Ur of the Chaldees, making certain promises to him concerning a seed and a land.  Abraham was to have an offspring, and through this individual God would bring forth a nation which would be established in the land to which Abraham has been called, the land of Canaan.  And through this nation all the other nations of the earth would be blessed (Genesis 12:1-3).

Once in the land to which He had been called, following a trip to Egypt and then back to the land, the years began to pass without God fulfilling His promise concerning a seed.  Throughout this time, ten years in the land, Sarah remained barren (Genesis 16:1-3).

Sarah, realizing her apparent inability to bear children, approached Abraham with a plan to help God fulfill His promise concerning Abraham having a seed to continue his lineage.  Abraham, with Sarah’s blessing, would go in unto Sarah’s Egyptian handmaid (possibly previously acquired while in Egypt), have a child by Hagar, and God’s promises could then be fulfilled through this child.  And this is what Abraham did, resulting in the birth of Ishmael.

Abraham was eighty-six years old when Ishmael was born, and this is followed by thirteen silent years in Scripture (Genesis 16:16-17:1).

Then, when Abraham was ninety-nine years old, God reappeared to him and revealed that the time had arrived for His promise from years earlier to be fulfilled.

God revealed to Abraham that about this time during the following year Sarah would bear him a son, whose name was to be called “Isaac.”  And all which God had previously promised to Abraham would be fulfilled through this son.

Then, beyond that, this would be a miraculous birth.  Sarah was beyond the age of childbearing.  Everything about this birth would be of the Lord’s doings, not man’s (Genesis 17:1ff; 18:1ff; 21:1ff).

But the birth of Isaac, though fulfilling God’s promise concerning a seed, was far from the end of the matter.  Fifteen years earlier Abraham and Sarah had tried to help God fulfill His promise by turning to Egypt for help (to Hagar, an Egyptian).  And Scripture is quite clear about those who go down to Egypt for help (Isaiah 31:1), a statement which could only be intensified in Abraham and Sarah’s case, for they were trying to help God fulfill His promise through that of Egyptian origin, i.e., through that of the world (cf. I Samuel 15:9-28).

And the preceding is the clear reason why today, 4,000 years later, the Middle East is aflame.  The descendants of Abraham, the Jewish people, have done exactly the same thing that Abraham and Sarah did by going to Hagar.  And the descendants of Abraham through Hagar — the Ishmaelites — not only fill the Middle East today but are the bitter enemies of the descendants of Isaac.

In one respect, it is the continuing story of Abraham’s tent, with its occupants.  There was evidently peace in the tent as long as Ishmael was in the tent alone, for fourteen years.  But once Isaac was born, the trouble began;  and it has continued, unabated, for 4,000 years (Genesis 21:1ff).  The descendants of Ishmael and the descendants of Isaac, during Man’s Day, simply CANNOT peacefully co-exist together.

Nor are they supposed to do so.  God’s promises to Abraham are in view, and the son of the bondwoman has no part with the son of the freewoman in these promises.  Rather, he is to be cast out (Genesis 21:8-12), though this awaits God taking care of matters at the time of His Son’s return.

The Continuing Problem

In the meantime, the problem continues, with no one being able to do anything about it (Hosea 5:13-14).  But to foster the problem, a corresponding and an inseparable problem exists;  and, this problem, as previously stated, is one paralleling Abraham and Sarah going to Hagar, causing the problem.

As Abraham and Sarah sought to help God fulfill His promise concerning a seed, the descendants of Abraham, in modern times, relative to God’s promises concerning the Jewish people and the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, have done EXACTLY THE SAME THING.  They have taken it upon themselves to help God fulfill His promises, and they have done this through the arm of flesh, which is going to Egypt for help.

And, beyond the preceding, over the intervening years, the Jewish people have done this with the blessing and help of numerous Christian leaders — who have misled the masses — believing and teaching, COMPLETELY CONTRARY TO SCRIPTURE, that this is a work of God.

World War II, with 6,000,000 Jews slain through the Third Reich’s attempt to produce a Jew-free Europe, produced the catalyst for that which occurred three years later — the existence, after almost 2,000 years in the diaspora, of a recognized Jewish State in the land of Israel (the Nation of Israel today).

The nation was small at first, but over almost seven decades since that time, Jewish people from all nations have streamed into Israel.  And today some 6,000,000 Jews, about two-fifths of the world’s Jewish population, dwell in that land.

So, what can possibly be wrong with the preceding, and how can this be likened to Abraham and Sarah trying to help God fulfill His promise concerning a seed?

The answer is very simple.  God drove the Jewish people out among the nations to effect repentance through Gentile persecution.  And God has promised that He would one day regather His people back to a healed land, with the promises in the Abrahamic Covenant being fulfilled.

But this would occur ONLY AFTER His purpose for driving His people out among the nations had been fulfilled. This would occur ONLY FOLLOWING repentance on the part of the Jewish people out among the nations.

Then beyond the preceding, Scripture is quite clear that repentance will be brought to pass ONLY through Gentile persecution during the coming “time of Jacob’s trouble” (Jeremiah 30:7-9), with the Jewish people’s restoration and a healing of their land occurring ONLY FOLLOWING MESSIAH’S RETURN, following “the time of Jacob’s trouble” (Leviticus 26:38-42; Matthew 24:29-31).

But note what has occurred.  The Jewish people have risen up, sought to emancipate themselves apart from either repentance or their Messiah, and return to their land — an unhealed people in an unhealed land.

In essence, they have done exactly the same thing which Abraham and Sarah sought to do — HELP GOD FULFILL HIS PROMISE.

In history, this type thing resulted in 4,000 years of trouble, arriving at where matters exist today — the Middle East aflame because of the presence of the Ishmaelite nations on the one hand (a people who are not even supposed to be there, but are there because of Abraham and Sarah’s actions) and the presence of a Jewish nation in their midst (which is not even supposed to be there either, but is there because of a man-made Zionism).

Solution to the Problem

But God is about to take care of matters, exactly as He did during Abraham’s day.  As the time for Isaac’s birth had not arrived when Ishmael was born, the time for Israel’s return to her land had not arrived when statehood was declared May 14, 1948.

During the coming “time of Jacob’s trouble,” God is going to allow the man of sin to uproot the Jewish people, destroy their cities, their land, slay a tenth of those in the land in the process, and either lead captive or drive the remainder back out among the nations (Isaiah 6:9-13; Joel 3:6; Luke 21:20-24).  And there, out among the nations with the remainder of world Jewry, exactly as God had previously decreed, He will then deal with them relative to repentance.

That is what’s in store for the Jewish people in the very near future.  And, as seen in the long-reaching effects of Abraham and Sarah’s attempts to circumnavigate God’s plans and purposes, so will it be in Israel’s present attempts to circumnavigate God’s plans and purposes.  Scripture, several places, speaks of the furnace during that day being heated sevenfold (Leviticus 26:18-31; Daniel 3:17-25; Matthew 12:43-45).

Then, the future for Israel following this time is as bright as God’s promises.  God Himself, personally, will bring matters to pass, through a Divine work, in His way and time, not through man’s efforts, in his way and time.

God’s Remedy for Spiritual Immaturity
By Charles Strong of Bible One

(This document centers on Jesus the Christ (lit. “Messiah”) and the entire tripartite redemptive plan of God for mankind, a key aspect of which is largely absent throughout Christendom today. It is replete with an abundance of scriptural references which can serve as a suitable Bible study lesson plan for any Christian Bible study class. 

The underlining of specific words in passages of Scripture is for emphasis)

God’s inspired (living) Word emphasizes the necessity for continuous spiritual growth in both the understanding of and implementation of God’s will and purpose for mankind.  No Christian is exempt from this mandate, as seen in the following passages of Scripture:

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.  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 12:1-2)

Brethren, do not be children in understanding; however, in malice be babes, but in understanding be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20)

Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Corinthians 7:1)

That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:17-18)

For this reason I bow my knees to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height — to know the love of Christ that passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God. (Ephesians 3:14-19)

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 [epignosis - full-knowledge] of the Son of God, to a perfect [lit. full-grown, mature] 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. (Ephesians 4:11-14)

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus. Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind . . . . (Philippians 3:13-15a)

For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might, according to His glorious power, for all patience and longsuffering with joy. (Colossians 1:9-11)

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. (Colossians 2:6-7)

Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God . . . For this is the will of God, your sanctification . . . that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor . . . For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:1, 3-4, 7 [3a])

Who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge [epignosis – full knowledge] of the truth. (1 Timothy 2:4)

Let no one despise your youth, but be an example to the believers in word, in conduct, in love, in spirit, in faith, in purity.  Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. . . .  Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all.  Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you. (1 Timothy 4:12-13, 15-16)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

But you must continue in the things that you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.  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, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Timothy 3:14-17)

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away.  For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him. (Hebrews 2:1-3)

For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.  For everyone who partakes only of milk is unskilled in the Word of righteousness, for he is a babe.  But solid food belongs to those who are of full age, that is, those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:12-14)

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 . . . you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. (1 Peter 2:1-2, 5)

Therefore, beloved, looking forward to these things, be diligent to be found by Him in peace, without spot and blameless . . . but grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.  (2 Peter 3:14, 18a)

A person enters the family of God through spirit-salvation, otherwise known as the “new birth” or the “birth from above,” which is apprehended by a one-time decision in which he accepts solely by faith God’s grace-gift of eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:8-9), which is based entirely upon the vicarious (substitutionary) penalty-payment made by Jesus Christ on the Cross of Calvary (Isaiah 53:6; Galatians 3:13; 2 Corinthians 5:21; 1 Peter 2:24) — a transaction that is irrevocable by either God or man (John 6:37; 10:27-28; 2 Corinthians 1:22; 5:5; Ephesians 1:13-14).  This expression of the will, a non-meritorious act God requires man to execute for personal eternal redemption, is most succinctly stated by Paul and Silas to the Philippian jailer’s inquiry (“Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”), which was “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved “ (Acts 16:30-31; see also John 1:12; Acts 10:43).

At this discretionary junction, when a person who is “dead in trespasses and sins” is made spiritually “alive” (Ephesians 2:1), he enters the family of God as a spiritual infant, a child who experientially knows almost nothing of God’s Word.  And this is due to the fact that before his spiritual birth, “the natural man 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] are spiritually discerned” (1 Corinthians 2:14).  This fact argues forcefully against what some evangelicals promote as “Lordship Salvation,” which is the dual requirement to “make Christ Lord of one’s life” in addition to “believing in Him” in order to obtain eternal life.  Upon being born from above, the infantile Christian does not know what it means for Christ to be Lord of his life and he has no concept of the path to this lofty goal.  Making Christ “Lord of one’s life,” unlike the instantaneous act of spiritual birth, is a continuous and progressive process of sanctification (being set-apart) that will dominate the Christian throughout his entire temporal life should he choose to engage in it.

The venture down the pathway of sanctification is classified in Scripture as soul-salvation (Matthew 10:39; 16:25; 16:24-27; Mark 8:35; Luke 9:24; 17:33; John 12:25 [“life” and “soul” are used interchangeably in the New Testament, both stemming from the same Greek word, psuche]; Hebrews 10:39; James 1:21; 1 Peter 1:9), which is separate from spirit-salvation  (John 3:6-7), a distinction made by the Holy Spirit (the Greek words for “spirit” and “soul” are never used interchangeably) as this is necessary regarding the tripartite nature of man (1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12). 

Spirit-salvation is eternal in scope and is based solely on the work of Christ on the Cross and which can never be lost; whereas soul-salvation is strictly millennial in scope, is based solely upon a Christian’s perseverance (faithfulness) in faith-based works during his Christian life, and is a salvation that can be lost through neglect (Hebrews 2:3), which is the subject of the various warning passages in the book of Hebrews.  And whereas spirit-salvation is determined and settled by the person’s decision of faith in Christ during temporal life, his soul-salvation is determined by issues and determinations (based upon his works) made at the Judgment Seat of Christ subsequent to his temporal life (Matthew 16:24-27; 1 Corinthians 3:11-15; 2 Corinthians 5:10-11a; Romans 2:3-11; 14:10; Galatians 6:7; Colossians 3:24-25; Hebrews 10:23-31; Revelation 2; 3; 22:12) and which is then extended throughout the Messianic Era, the millennial reign of Christ over Earth.

(For a comprehensive comparison of spirit-salvation to soul-salvation the following two books by Arlen L. Chitwood are recommended: Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation by Grace through Faith.  Another excellent book on the subjects is Bible One - Gary Whipple's Beyond the Rapture.)

A Christian’s soul-salvation is directly proportional to his spiritual growth, that is, it is directly related to his spiritual maturity.  The first cannot be achieved without the second.  Spiritual maturity is absolutely essential if the Christian is to please God in this life, to obtain his soul’s salvation at the Judgment Seat of Christ, to be part of the Bride of Christ.

(As in the type, the bride of the First Adam was taken from his body [Genesis 2:21-23] , so it will be in the antitype, the bride of the Second Adam will be taken from His body [Romans 5:14b; 1 Corinthian 15:45-49; Philippians 3:11], and to ultimately rule and reign with Christ as His wife and consort queen during the coming Messianic Era [2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 19:7-8; 20:4-6])

But sadly, if one will understand and accept the lessons of the parables relayed by Christ, as recorded in Matthew 13, which pertain to the “mysteries of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:11), i.e., the acquisition of the “word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19) doctrine from then until now; it will become apparent to him that spiritual maturity will not be the norm during the last days of the Church dispensation.

(It should be noted that there is a distinct difference between gnosis [knowledge] and epignosis [full or mature knowledge] of the Word [Ephesians 1:7; 4:13; Colossians 1:9-10; 2:2; 1 Timothy 2:14; 2 Timothy 2:25; 3:7; Titus 1:1; Hebrews 10:26; 2 Peter 1:2-3].  The former applies to a fragmentary understanding of it; the latter to a clear and mature [comprehensive] understanding of it.  The former relates to the “milk” [elementary] doctrines; the latter to the “meat” [advanced] doctrines [Hebrews 5:12-6:2].  The former speaks to spirit-salvation; the latter to soul-salvation, which involves an understanding of God’s comprehensive program of redemption pertaining to the purpose and future of man — the “word of the kingdom.”)

An understanding of this key doctrine of God’s Word, i.e., the “word of the kingdom,” is nearly non-existent in Christendom today.  And because of this, most Christians lack the additional motivation that always accompanies this truth, which can be most efficacious toward the achievement of more advanced stages of spiritual growth.  Indeed, to come to an understanding of the “word of the kingdom” normally reflects a plateau of doctrinal awareness that is associated with proper advancement along the spiritual path of maturity.

The question is, as is reflected in the title to this study, what is God’s remedy for spiritual immaturity?  And to this writer the answer is summed up in the following passage of Scripture:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith [lit. the faith], who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (Hebrews 12:1-2)

The key to spiritual growth (maturity) is encompassed in the words, “looking to Jesus, the Author (lit. Originator) and Finisher (lit. Perfecter) of our faith.”  For it is only as we look to Christ are we able to “lay aside every weight, and the sin that so easily ensnares us,” permitting us to “run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  The apostle Paul says it in similar fashion:

But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (Romans 13:14)

My little children, for whom I labor in birth again until Christ is formed in you. (Galatians 4:19)

As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. (Colossians 2:6)

Quite clearly, Christianity is all about Christ.  He was the instrumental Person of the Trinity who created man, the very objects to which Christianity encompasses (Genesis 1:2b; Psalm 33:16; John 1:1-3, 10, 14; Ephesians 3:9; Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 1:2).  Christ was the One in whom God the Father expressed and continues to express His pleasure (Isaiah 42:1; Matthew 3:17; 12:18; 17:5; Mark 1:11; 2 Peter 1:17).  Christ alone became sin for us that we may become the righteousness of God in Him (2 Corinthians 5:21).  The Holy Spirit never focuses His attention upon Himself; the Holy Spirit will only testify of and glorify Christ (John 14:26; 15:26; 16:13-14).  And it is Christ alone by whom Christians will be judged; and, upon passing this judgment will rule and reign with Christ as His Bride and consort queen during the coming Messianic Era (2 Timothy 2:12; Revelation 20:4-6).

Yet there is extensive and pervasive efforts throughout Christendom, particularly in so-called evangelical circles, that would have the believer in Christ look elsewhere for spiritual growth, to the Holy Spirit, to emotional gyrations, to the local church, to self-effort in the adoption of a system of taboos (do’s and don’t), which is nothing more than legalism, all of which eventually leads to a state of pride and a certain “falling away” from true spiritual growth.  Indeed, while it is popular for Christians (and non-Christians) to proclaim the name of God in realms of religion, secularism, and politics; the name of Jesus Christ is often taboo, to be avoided as one would a plague.

Yet, in all matters of this life, it is Jesus Christ alone to whom the child of God must look if spiritual growth to maturity is to be achieved.  A Christian should avoid following a litany of rules prescribed by a religious organization or seeking what many incorrectly believe to be a “second act of grace,” i.e. the baptism of the Holy Spirit (in accordance with Scripture, this takes place at a person’s “birth from above,” when the Spirit baptizes [immerses] the believer into the Body of Christ in addition to indwelling and sealing the believer, a one-time transaction never to be repeated or reversed [John 7:39; 14:16, 17; Romans 5:5; 8:9, 15; 1 Corinthians 1:22; 3:16; 6:19; 12:13; 2 Corinthians 6:16; Galatians 3:28; 4:6; Ephesians 1:13-14; 2:21-22; 4:30; 1 John 3:24]).  Instead, he is instructed to look to and walk in Christ until Christ is formed within him.

So how does the Christian look to Christ?  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 and the eventual salvation of his soul.  In fact, a 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)

The following (indented) exegetical discussion of Romans 12:2, taken from Salvation of the Soul by Arlen Chitwood (pages 59-61), is particularly noteworthy to the topic of this study:

Following the command in Romans 12:2, “Do not be conformed to this age,” the Christian is commanded to be “transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The Greek word translated “transformed” is metamorphoo.  This is the word from which the English word “metamorphosis” is derived.  This word refers to an inward change brought about completely apart from the power of the individual himself.  The individual Christian is powerless to bring about this metamorphosis.

In 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, Satan is said to be “transformed into an angel of light” and his ministers “transformed as the ministers of righteousness.”  In the Greek text the word “transformed” is not the same in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 as it is in Romans 12:2.  The word used in 2 Corinthians 11:13-15 is metaschematizo, referring to an outward change; and, textually (2 Corinthians 11:13), this change is brought about through an individual’s own power.

Satan, thus, seeks to counterfeit the work of the Spirit by substituting an outward change in place of the inward change.  And the nature and source of this pseudo change often go unrecognized.

Christians who seek to bring about the change of Romans 12:2 themselves will always effect a metaschema (outward change) rather than a metamorphosis (inward change).  At the time of the birth from above the Spirit of God began a work in the Christian that He will continue “until the day of Jesus Christ” (Philippians 1:6).  No effort on the part of Christians can help the Spirit of God effect this change.

Man’s way finds man actively involved, seeking spirituality through either quitting certain things or doing certain things, subsequently producing a metaschema.  But God’s way finds man passive, and God performs a work in the individual, ultimately producing the metamorphosis.

The endless list of “do’s” and “do not’s,” taboos formed by Christian groups; invariably have to do with a metaschema, not a metamorphosis.  Any effort on the part of Christians to help the Spirit of God bring about the transformation of Romans 12:2 will always result in pseudo-spirituality.  God’s way is an inward change accomplished through the power of the Spirit, not an outward change accomplished through the power of the individual.

Note according to the text how this inward change, the metamorphosis, takes place:  “. . . be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  The word “renewing” is a translation of the Greek word anakainosis; and the action of the preceding verb (“transformed”) directs attention to a continuous renewing process, one which is to keep on taking place.  In 2 Corinthians 4:16 we are told that “the inward man is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] day by day.”  This renewing process is to keep on taking place day in and day out for the entire duration of the pilgrim walk here on earth.

Then, Colossians 3:10 reveals how the renewing of the mind is accomplished:

And have put on the new man, which is renewed [lit. ‘is being renewed’] in knowledge after the image of Him that created Him.

Note the word “knowledge” in this verse.  The regular Greek word for “knowledge” is gnosis, but the word used in Colossians 3:10 is epignosis.  This is the word gnosis (knowledge) with the prefix epi (upon).  Epignosis, thus, means “knowledge upon knowledge,” i.e., “a mature knowledge.”  The word translated “renewed” is a past participle of anakainoo (the same word used in Romans 12:2 and 2 Corinthians 4:16) and could be better translated, “being renewed.”  The only way a Christian can acquire this mature knowledge, which allows the Spirit of God to work the metamorphosis in his life, is through receiving the living Word of God into his saved human spirit.

Christians must allow God to continue “breathing in” life.  The living, God-breathed Word must be allowed to flow into man’s saved human spirit or there can be no metamorphosis.  The renewing of the inward man “day by day,” through receiving “the implanted Word,” producing the metamorphosis in one’s life, is the manner in which the salvation of the soul is presently being effected.

As previously seen, receiving “the implanted Word” in James 1:21 and 1 Peter 2:2 is preceded by “laying aside” everything opposed to purity (ref. Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul, Ch. 3).  It is the same with the metamorphosis in Romans 12:2.  The words, “do not be conformed to this age [lit. ‘stop being conformed to this age’],” appear prior to the words, “be transformed by the renewing of your mind.”  Those “in Christ” are commanded to remove themselves from that which lies “in the evil one” prior to receiving “the implanted Word,” which will effect the metamorphosis in their lives.

Thus, Romans 12:2; James 1:21; and 1 Peter 2:2 all teach the same thing relative to laying aside everything opposed to purity prior to receiving “the implanted Word, which is able to save your souls.”

As is evident, the entire point of this study is to direct Christians to the Person of Christ alone in regards to their quest to achieve spiritual maturity.  It is only as we look to Christ, in the same fashion (by faith) that we became united to Him, that we are able to “walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6) down the road of spiritual growth.  And the only way we are able to look to Him is through immersion into the living (God-breathed) written Word.

Achieving spiritual maturity is the responsibility and duty of every Christian; and, the only remedy for spiritual immaturity is to look to Christ in all matters during our temporal life.  When you ask what Christ would do in any situation, you may always know if you have studied the Word, “the mind of Christ,” and thereby have grown to a deeper friendship with the One who paid your sin-penalty on the Cross of Calvary.

For “who has known the mind of the LORD that he may instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ. (1 Corinthians 2:16)

Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 2:5)

No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from My Father I have made known to you. (John 15:15)

Let us all follow Paul’s example:

Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.  Therefore let us, as many as are mature, have this mind; and if in anything you think otherwise, God will reveal even this to you. (Philippians 3:13-15)

(For a more comprehensive treatment of this subject, please see “Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Implanted Word and Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's The Breath of God.)

In That Day
A Future Day, Seen throughout the Prophets
By Arlen Chitwood of
Lamp Broadcast

“In that day I will raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof;  and I will raise up his ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old.

That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the Lord that doeth this.

Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that the plowman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed, and the mountains shall drop sweet wine, and all the hills shall melt.

And I will bring again the captivity of my people of Israel, and they shall build the waste cities, and shall inhabit them;  and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine thereof;  they shall also make gardens, and eat the fruit of them.

And I will plant them upon their land, and they shall no more be pulled up out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord God” (Amos 9:11-15).

The expression, “in that day” (Amos 9:11), is used numerous times throughout both the major and minor Prophets.  And, it would go without saying, “that day” could only reference a future day set in contrast to the day in which the Prophet wrote and used this expression.

But what future day, or possibly what different future days, do the prophets have in mind through the use of this expression?  And that, of course, is ALWAYS to be determined by the context each time that the expression is used.

However, observing the context each time, one will find, more often than not, a particular, singular usage.  In this respect, one will find that this expression is usually seen peculiarly related to ONLY ONE THING AND ONE TIME, not many different things and times.  The Prophets, continually, used this expression to reference events pertaining to Israel and the nations beyond Man’s 6,000-year Day, at the beginning of and during the Lord’s 1,000-year Day.

And this can easily be shown numerous places in the Prophets, beginning with Isaiah, where this expression appears far more times than in any other book.

Man’s Day, The Lord’s Day

Certain distinctions between Man’s Day and the Lord’s Day (the Day of the Lord) need to be established to properly understand what day and/or time is being referenced by the expression, “in that day.”  And one of the best ways to do this is to deal with the septenary structure of Scripture.

God has an affinity for numbers, and He established and set forth a septenary structure for His Word at the beginning — in the first thirty-four verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:3).  Accordingly, this septenary structure forms a foundational base for everything which God revealed from that point forward, throughout all of the Old Testament.

And the New Testament, in complete conformity to the Old Testament, forming commentary on the Old Testament, begins exactly the same way (provided one recognizes that the Gospel of John should begin the New Testament, not Matthew’s gospel).  John’s gospel not only begins the same way Genesis begins, showing a septenary structure, but it also parallels Genesis throughout (the types in Genesis paralleling the signs in John).

In the preceding respect, the same septenary structure opening Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:3) is seen opening John (John 1:1-2:11).

(For more information on the preceding, refer to either the author’s article, “Genesis and John!” or the author’s book, “Signs in John's Gospel“ and “Signs in John's Gospel Links” in this site”)

Attention has been called to this septenary structure beginning both Testaments in order to show the foundational basis for the length of both Man’s Day and the Lord’s Day.  And this, in turn, as previously alluded to, will form a foundational basis to properly understand and deal with the expression, “in that day,” as seen throughout the Prophets.

“Six” is man’s number, and “seven” is God’s number.  Exactly as foreshadowed in the foundational framework in Genesis 1:1-34 (“six” having to do with events during Man’s Day, “seven” having to do with events during the Lord’s Day), or the parallel section in John’s gospel (dealing with that foreshadowed in Genesis), God is again taking the same numerical time for the same completed purpose — the restoration of a subsequent ruined creation, ruined man, followed by a day of rest.

The ruined creation in Genesis was restored for man over six days time (man’s number), with God resting on the seventh day (God’s number).  Then, the preceding restoration, set perfect in the beginning, foreshadowed how God would subsequently restore ruined man, a subsequent ruined creation.  And this was/is all carried out through an established, unchangeable pattern concerning how God restores a ruined creation, set forth in this manner at a time preceding man’s creation and ruin.

Then, the opening two chapters of John’s gospel (John 1; 2), dealing more specifically with ruined man (e.g., John 1:29-36), cover the same septenary structure and end at the same place — with man, on the seventh day, restored and realizing the purpose for his creation, six days earlier, 6,000 years earlier.

Thus, each day in the restoration of the material creation in Genesis, followed by a day of rest, foreshadows 1,000-year days in the restoration of man (six days, 6,000 years, forming Man’s Day), followed by a 1,000-year day of rest (the Lord’s Day, the Messianic Era).

The whole of Scripture, accordingly, is built on this framework — Man’s Day lasting for six days, 6,000 years, and the Lord’s Day lasting for one day, 1,000 years (cf. II Peter 3:3-8).  And, exactly as seen in the foundational type in Genesis, the two NEVER, NEVER, overlap one another in Scripture — i.e., Man’s Day NEVER continues into any part of the Lord’s Day;  NOR is the Lord’s Day EVER dealt with back in any part of Man’s Day.

The six and seven days ARE NOT dealt with that way in the opening verses of Genesis, the opening verses of John, or anyplace else in Scripture.  Events occurring on the sixth day have no part in events about to occur on the seventh day;  nor do events occurring on the seventh day have any part in events which previously occurred on the sixth day.

ALL THINGS foreshadowed by the foundational type MUST be in complete keeping with ALL THINGS previously established in the foundational type.

In this respect, contrary to much popular thought among Bible teachers — teaching that the Lord’s Day (which, as will be shown, is the time referenced by “that day” in numerous texts) begins at a time during the last seven years of Man’s Day (Daniel’s Seventieth Week, the Tribulation), continuing from that point throughout the Tribulation and the ensuing Millennium — the Lord’s Day DOES NOT, IT CANNOT, begin until after Man’s Day has run its course.

The Lord’s Day can begin ONLY AFTER six days, ONLY AFTER  6,000 years, ONLY AFTER the Tribulation.  This is the way matters are set forth anyplace in Scripture where the subject is dealt with.

The Prophets — “In That Day”

A great deal of error in Biblical studies can be avoided if one knows and understands the simple basics set forth in the first part of this study.  And this would be even more so the case when studying the different Prophets use of “in that day,” for “that day” in the Prophets, when used relative to a future end-time having to do with Israel and the nations, INVARIABLY refers to events occurring in the future Lord’s Day.  “That day,” used in this respect, can NEVER have anything to do with events occurring during Man’s Day (e.g., with events occurring either today or during the Tribulation, the last seven years of Man’s Day).

Note a scattering of references pertaining to “that day”:

One would normally begin with Isaiah in this respect, but before going to Isaiah and working forward through a number of Prophets, note a few things out of the small three-chapter Book of Zephaniah.

In this small book, there are twenty-two references to future time.  As well, in this book, “in that day” is consistently used as a reference to “the day of the Lord” (cf. Zephaniah 1:9-14; 2:2-3; 3:11, 16-20).

With this connection between “that day” and “the Lord’s Day,” note a number of corresponding references in Isaiah.

Isaiah 2:1-4 references the millennial Kingdom, beyond Man’s Day, in the Lord’s Day.  And three subsequent verses in this chapter (Isaiah 2:11, 17, 20) use the expression, “in that day,” referring back to the time depicted in these opening four verses. Then note the subsequent usage of this same expression a number of places throughout Isaiah, all, contextually, referring to conditions immediately preceding or during the millennial kingdom, in the Lord’s Day, exactly as in chapter two (Isaiah 4:1-2; 11:10-11; 12:1, 4; 19:16, 18-19, 21, 23-24; 24:21; 25:9; 27:1-2, 12-13; 28:5; 29:18; 31:7; 52:6). Then note the same thing seen in a number of the other Prophets (Jeremiah 30:8; Ezekiel 38:14, 18; Hosea 2:16, 18, 21; Joel 3:18; Amos 9:11; Zechariah 2:11; 3:10). “That day” in the preceding passages, references a time beyond Man’s Day, in “the Lord’s Day,” during which concluding events and judgments surrounding Israel and the nations will occur.  And these events and judgments will occur following Christ’s return and lead into His millennial reign.  This is the reason why the expression, “in that day,” in some Scriptures refers to a time of judgment and in other Scriptures to a time of peace and rest. The latter follows the former, but the former, of necessity, must occur first.

Christians — “In That Day”

Numerous Bible teachers today, it seems, are quick to look at current events and attempt to relate them to Biblical prophecy, particularly events pertaining to Israel and the nations emanating out of Israeli statehood almost seventy years ago, May 14, 1948.

They view events pertaining to Israel, the nation’s land, and the surrounding Gentile nations during these past seventy years and attempt to align certain events with different Old Testament prophecies having to do with God regathering His people back to their land.  And the closing five verses of Amos are often referenced in this respect.

These verses from Amos tell of a time (“in that day” [Amos 9:11]) when God will regather His people back to their land, NEVER to be uprooted again.  But to relate these verses, or really any other verses dealing with Israel’s restoration, to what has been occurring in the Middle East since the spring of 1948 is completely out of line with any Scripture dealing with the subject.

The Jews in the land today (some 6,000,000, about two-fifths of world Jewry) have sought to emancipate themselves apart from their Messiah, leaving an unhealed people in an unhealed land (a house left “desolate” [cf. Daniel 9:27; Matthew 12:43-45; 23:37-39]), in unbelief, before repentance. And, according to the clear teaching of Scripture, these Jews will be uprooted from their land in the middle of the Tribulation, their cities destroyed, and they will either be slain or driven back out among the nations where God will then deal with them, along with the remainder of world Jewry, relative to repentance (cf. Leviticus 26:31-33; Isaiah 6:11-13; Daniel 9:26; Matthew 24:15ff; Luke 21:20ff; Revelation 12:6, 14).

Beyond that, all of this has happened and will happen BEFORE “that day,” seen in Amos 9:11-15 or any other place in Scripture where the subject is dealt with.

In God’s septenary arrangement of His Word, established perfect in the beginning, a person simply CANNOT place events of one day in those of another day.

(For additional information on the Jewish people in the Land of Israel today — that which is about to befall them, along with the remainder of world Jewry — refer to the author’s articles, “How Long, Until…” and “The Woman in Revelation [Revelation 12; 17; 19].”)

TRUTH
By Charles Strong of Bible One

Truth — the concept, the quality, the reality, — is paramount to a balanced and contented life, a life anchored in stability and moral strength.  Without the foundation of truth, there can only be physical and emotional disruption and pain.  The existence of truth assures forward direction and enhancing progress, whereas its absence creates distraction and disorder.  To put it in other words, truth is uniquely and inimitably fundamental to a state of well-being in any existing relationship, in any situation or plain of existence, with God or with humans — the ultimate quality of a proper, a beneficial, and a rewarding life.

The essential concept of “truth” is anything that represents fact, i.e., that which is totally trustworthy and which exists in reality, substance and information that cannot be refuted.  Yet, today, it is most unfortunate that such is rare within most all facets of society, e.g., personal relationships, politics, advertising, media broadcasts, economic opportunities, and religion.  And it is regarding the latter that this study is directed, because if this aspect of life is correct, all else can and should appropriately follow.

The term “truth” represents “that which actually exists” and “that which is communicated.” The first would be creation itself, e.g., space, substance, and time.  To deny such is futile.  The material and laws that make up the Universe are indeed true.  They exist, they are real, and any attempt to refute such leads to absurdity.

“Truth” stems solely from God (Exodus 34:6).  His truth is eternal (Psalm 117:2).

And the LORD passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abounding in goodness and truth.” (Exodus 34:6)

For His merciful kindness is great toward us, and the truth of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD! (Psalm 117:2)

Furthermore, since God is true, so is His Word — it is real, permanent, and absolute (Psalm 119:160; cf. John 17:17; 2 Samuel 7:28; Psalm 43:3; 119:142, 151).  Scripture is the very Word of truth and is to be handled correctly (2 Timothy 2:15).  And central to Scripture is the gospel — God’s good news for mankind — which indeed is true (Galatians 2:5, 14; 5:7; Ephesians 1:13).

The entirety of Your Word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. (Psalm 119:160)

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth. (2 Timothy 2:15)

. . . that the truth of the gospel might continue with you. (Galatians 2:5b)

God’s Word became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ.  He indeed was truth incarnate, the One who unequivocally stated that He was centrally “the Truth” (John 14:6), for He was “the Word” [clear expression] of God who was “full of grace and truth” (John 1:1, 14, 17).

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (14) 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 [lit. complete, to the brim with] grace and truth. (17) For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. (John 1:1, 14, 17)

. . . the truth is in Jesus. (Ephesians 4:21b)

Not only in God’s time was God’s Word manifest in the flesh, but it was given in written form by means of the Holy Spirit through chosen men prior to and after the time of its manifestation for the benefit of mankind.

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 1:21)

All Scripture is given by inspiration of God . . . . (2 Timothy 3:16a)

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)

God’s Word, inscribed and in the flesh, has always been “the Truth” for the salvation of man:

1) Salvation of the Spirit — eternal salvation based solely on the work (sacrifice) of Christ on the cross — salvation that emanates from the grace of God that is grounded in and based solely on Christ’s payment for sin while on the cross at Calvary, which may only be apprehended by faith in Christ (never by any work/s of man) and which, when received by faith, can never be withdrawn or nullified by man or God.

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

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. (Romans 10:17)

In Him you also trusted, after you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. (Ephesians 1:13)

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. (Ephesians 4:30)

2) Salvation of the Soul — an inheritance that may only be achieved by a Christian who faithfully follows Christ during this temporal life, a salvation that may only affect his entrance and participation with Christ during His Millennial Kingdom reign of 1,000 years over the earth — reserved for those Christians who achieve spiritual maturity (sanctification) via God’s Word and who thereby produce “good works” for which they were “created in Christ Jesus.”  And although a primary aspect of this salvation is “faith,” it is the quality of a Christian’s faithful works, credited at Christ’s Judgment Seat, which will secure his placement in the coming Kingdom, a placement that will be forfeited should a Christian remain “carnal (‘babes [spiritually immature] in Christ’) and devoid of “good works” during this lifetime.

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. (25) For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. (26) For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (27) For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.” (Matthew 16:24-27)

Therefore we make it our aim, whether present or absent, to be well pleasing to Him. (10) For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (11) Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men . . . . (2 Corinthians 5:9-11a)

Now the just shall live by faith; but if anyone draws back, My soul has no pleasure in him.” (39) But we are not of those who draw back to perdition, but of those who believe to the saving of the soul. (Hebrews 10:38-39)

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)

You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. (James 2:24)

Sanctify them by Your truth. Your Word is truth. (John 17:17)

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

3) Salvation of the Body — that which the Christian will experience subsequent to his appearance and evaluation at the Judgment Seat of Christ.  For a fairly detailed treatment of this aspect of man’s redemption the reader is advised to access and study the appendix section (Adoption, Redemption of the Body) of the book, Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's God’s Firstborn Sons, Appendix.

(Note:  Man is a tripartite being composed of spirit, soul, and body [1 Thessalonians 5:23; Hebrews 4:12].  Scripture addresses the salvation of each.  To study this complete redemptive doctrine more thoroughly, it is recommended that the reader read Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.)

In addition to the “actuality of existence” as truth, Scripture lays great emphasis on the necessity of communicating the truth.  To put it another way, God would have man to strictly and always tell the truth.  Scripture is quite firm on this issue. 

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor. (Exodus 20:16; cf. Deuteronomy 5:20)

You shall not circulate a false report. Do not put your hand with the wicked to be an unrighteous witness. (Exodus 23:1)

You shall not steal, nor deal falsely, nor lie to one another. (Leviticus 19:11)

Deliver my soul, O LORD, from lying lips and from a deceitful tongue. (Psalm 120:2)

He who speaks truth declares righteousness, but a false witness, deceit. (Proverbs 12:17; 14:5)

Therefore, putting away lying, let each one of you speak truth with his neighbor, for we are members of one another. (Ephesians 4:25; cf. Colossians 3:9)

In this regard, the opposite of telling the truth is to tell a lie, an act that God hates.

These six things the LORD hates, Yes, seven are an abomination to Him: (17) a proud look, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood, (18) a heart that devises wicked plans, feet that are swift in running to evil, (19) a false witness who speaks lies, and one who sows discord among brethren. (Proverbs 6:16-19; cf. Proverbs 19:5, 9; cf. Zechariah 8:16-17)

“And like their bow they have bent their tongues for lies. They are not valiant for the truth on the earth. For they proceed from evil to evil, and they do not know Me,” says the LORD. (Jeremiah 9:3; cf. Isaiah 59:4)

. . . no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:21b)

Finally, it is your responsibility and privilege to represent, to live by, and to always tell the truth.  If your reputation is one where others declare that “your word is your bond” and that “your handshake is better than a contract,” you are most blessed.  In this day and age where a lie is preferred over the truth (at every level), you would be a rarity. 

Be absolutely truthful to, with, and for Jesus Christ and you will not be disappointed when you stand before Him at His Judgment Seat!

For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad. (2 Corinthians 5:10)

The Existing Kingdom
Past, Present, and Future

Excerpt from Acts, Between the Gospels and the Epistles in this site.

Satan, in his unfallen state, at a time in eternity past, was placed over the province upon which man presently resides — over the earth.  And a great host of ruling angels were placed in subordinate positions of power and authority with him.

The day came though when Satan became dissatisfied with his appointed position and rebelled against God’s supreme power and authority.  He sought to “exalt” his throne above all the other God-appointed provincial rulers (angels ruling over other provinces [worlds similar to the earth] elsewhere in the universe) and “be like the most High” (Isaiah 14:13-14).

Because of this act, rather than exalting his throne, Satan became disqualified to rule even the province over which he had been placed.  And this necessitated his subsequent removal, with another being appointed to take his place.

But God didn’t immediately act in this respect.  Rather, God allowed Satan to continue holding his position, for a time.

(A principle of biblical government necessitates that an incumbent ruler continue to hold his appointed position until his replacement is not only on the scene but ready to ascend the throne and hold the scepter [something seen in the account of Saul and David in the Books 1 and 2 Samuel].)

Satan’s reign though, following his rebellion against God’s supreme power and authority was quite different than it had been before that time.  Two-thirds of the angels originally holding positions of power and authority over the earth with him refused to have a part in his actions.  Only one-third followed Satan (Revelation 12:4), and this left him with a disrupted power structure in the government of his kingdom, completely out of line with that which God had originally established.  And not only did a ruin of this nature exist in the governmental structure of his kingdom, but the physical state of his kingdom was reduced to a ruined condition as well (Genesis 1:2a).

But the day came when God restored the physical kingdom and created man to replace the incumbent ruler.  The physical creation was restored over a six-day period, and man was created on the sixth day to “have dominion” — the dominion that Satan and his angels possessed (Genesis 1:2-28 [2b]).

Satan, knowing why man had been created, immediately sought a way to bring about man’s disqualification.  And this is what he accomplished through man’s fall, an act that, for the time, prevented man from ascending the throne and which allowed Satan to continue holding the scepter.

Following man’s fall, Satan and his angels ruled over a restored province, though under a curse because of man’s sin (Genesis 3:17-18; cf. Romans 8:19-22).  But God, far from being finished with man at this point, had only begun to work out His plans and purposes as they pertained to man and one ruined province in His kingdom.

Redemption was to be provided in order that man, at a future point in time, could realize the purpose for his creation in the beginning.  Man, a creation quite different than angels, created in the image and likeness of God, was to be redeemed; and, as God originally intended, man was to one day hold the scepter in Satan’s stead (cf. Hebrews 2:5).

The Bible is a book of redemption, and this redemption encompasses far more than just man’s eternal salvation through faith in God’s provided Redeemer.  It encompasses bringing redeemed man back into the position for which he was created.  The purpose surrounding man’s redemption is the same as the purpose surrounding man’s creation in the beginning — “let them have dominion” (Genesis 1:26-28).

And from the point of the fall in Genesis 3 to the point of this dominion being realized by man in Revelation 20, all of God’s redemptive purposes in Scripture are seen to move toward this end.  They are all seen to move toward man one day possessing dominion over the earth, in the stead of Satan and his angels.

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, man must, one day hold the scepter, but in God’s time.

In the meantime, Satan and his angels continue to occupy the throne, continuing to rule from a place in the heavens over the earth.  But the day is coming when there will be “war in heaven.”  Michael and his angels will fight against Satan and his angels, and Satan and his angels will be “cast out,” anticipating Man — namely Christ and His co-heirs — taking the kingdom and occupying these positions, exercising power and authority over the earth (Revelation 12:4, 7-10; cf. Revelation 2:26-27; 11:15; 19:11-20:6).

(See Why did God Create Man? and Man Created for What Reason? in this site for additional commentary.)

Subjects

Those on His Left Hand

Being Hurt of The Second Death

That which is in view concerning a non-overcoming Christian one day being hurt of the second death following decisions and determinations at the judgment seat, as previously seen, is explained later in this same book.  The second death for the non-overcomer is having a “part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” (Revelation 21:8); and having a part in the lake of fire is explained by and through God’s dealings with the unsaved in the previous chapter as being “cast into the lake of fire” (Revelation 20:15).

And seeing individuals cast into “the furnace of fire” in Matthew 13:42, 50 is simply another way of expressing the same thing.

(The parables in Matthew 13 deal with the Kingdom of the Heavens and fruit bearing, not with eternal salvation.  Thus, the subject matter has to do with the saved, not with the unsaved.

Further, in Matthew 13:1, Christ going out of “the house” [a reference to Israel] and down by “the seaside” [a reference to the Gentiles], the one new manin Christ” [about to be brought into existence at the time these parables were given] is seen throughout the first four parables.  In this respect, those gathered out of Christ’s kingdom, which “offend” and “practice lawlessness,” who are cast into a furnace of fire, can only be identified as saved individuals.

Also, this casting into a furnace of fire in Matthew 13:42, 50 occurs before the Millennium.  The unsaved cast into the lake of fire in Revelation 20:15 occurs following the Millennium.  They are not the same.)

But is the second death, being cast into the lake of fire, something that will be carried out in a literal sense?  Or, is Scripture dealing with metaphors at this point?  And, if the latter, what about the unsaved being cast into the lake of fire at the end of the Millennium, in Revelation 20:11-15?

If one is literal, would not the other have to be literal as well?  Or, if one is metaphorical, would not the other have to be metaphorical as well?

Allowing Scripture to Interpret Scripture

In John 15:6 and Hebrews 6:8, saved individuals are spoken of in a metaphorical sense, where a burning with fire is referenced.  And the context both places has to do with either bearing fruit or not bearing fruit, which is exactly the same thing that is seen in the Matthew 13 parables.  Or, as the matter is expressed in Revelation 2; 3, it has to do with either overcoming or being overcome.

And the negative side of the matter is expressed at least two other ways in Scripture — being cast into Gehenna (a reference to the place of refuse outside the city walls of Jerusalem at this time; Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 23:15, 33) or being cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

Overcoming or not overcoming and being unhurt or being hurt by the second death in Revelation 2:11 is expressed a slightly different way in Romans 8:13:

For if you [a reference to ‘brethren’ in Romans 8:12] live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Whether Gehenna or outer darkness in Matthew, a burning with fire in John and Hebrews, being cast into a furnace or lake of fire in Matthew and Revelation, or suffering death or being hurt by the second death in Romans and Revelation, different facets of exactly the same thing are in view.

All of these are used in contexts showing that they have to do with saved people in relation to fruit bearing and the kingdom.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is plain that these are simply different ways of expressing the same thing.  And since a literal casting into outer darkness, Gehenna, or a furnace or lake of fire could not possibly be in view (for these different places could not possibly be looked upon as referring to the same place in a literal sense), it is evident that metaphors are being used throughout.

But relative to the unsaved and the lake of fire, this is simply not expressed other ways in Scripture as it is with the saved, leaving no room for any thought other than understanding the matter as literal, not metaphorical.

Aside from the preceding, it is clear that all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike, will be in the kingdom.  This is seen in the type in Genesis 18; 19.  Both Abraham and Lot, in the final analysis, are seen on the mount (a “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom).  But note the stark difference in the place that each occupied.

Abraham stood before the Lord, where he had always stood (Genesis 18:22; 19:27).  Lot though found himself in a place separate from the Lord, in a place where he also had always stood (Genesis 19:1, 30).

“Everlasting [‘Age-Lasting’] Fire”

Then He will also say to those on the left hand, “Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting [age-lasting] fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matthew 25:41)

As has been shown, similar verses to the preceding are used different places in the New Testament relative to non-overcoming Christians.  And, with this in mind, understanding how these verses are used, the matter concerning how that which is stated in Matthew 25:41 relative to those on Christ’s left hand is to be understood should be evident without further comment.

(Why does Scripture associate non-overcoming Christians with the lake of fire in relation to Christ’s millennial reign, in the manner previously seen [which would be the same for those on Christ’s left hand in Matthew 25:41]?  The answer would be the same as the reason why Scripture associates the unsaved with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages of eternity, following the Millennium.

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

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

The Seven Parables of Matthew 13

THE FURNACE OF FIRE

Only one group of individuals — though separated into two classes — could possibly be in view through the use of the expressions, “good” and “bad,” or “just” and “wicked” (Matthew 13:48-49). All had been removed from the sea; all had been removed from the Gentiles. Thus, no room could possibly exist for an inclusion of unsaved individuals in this parable. By the very nature of the subject matter (the kingdom of the heavens) and those being dealt with in this parable (those removed from the sea), only the saved could possibly be in view.

And, viewing that to which this parable refers, these saved individuals are seen being dealt with on the basis of prior decisions and determinations — decisions and determinations having previously been made at the judgment seat. And these decisions and determinations, emanating from the judgment seat, will have been based on prior faithfulness to one’s calling (judgment will be on the basis of “works,” but the works being judged will have resulted from faithfulness, or unfaithfulness [1 Corinthians 3:12-15; cf. Hebrews 11:17-19, 31; James 2:21-25]).

But seeing the saved alone being dealt with in this parable presents major problems for numerous Christians, for some of those in the parable are cast into “the furnace of fire.” And these same Christians, who would never consider thinking along the lines of Christians being cast into such a place, are invariably forced into an erroneous position, resulting in an erroneous interpretation. They are forced into the position of seeing saved and unsaved individuals (“good” and “bad”) being dealt with in the parable, along with seeing these individuals being dealt with in relation to eternal life or eternal damnation.

The preceding though is simply not what Scripture has to say about the matter. Scripture is clear that the parable deals with the saved alone, and these saved individuals are dealt with in relation to the coming kingdom. And the fact that those described as “bad” and “wicked” are cast into “the furnace of fire” must be understood within this framework. It must be understood within the framework of both those who are being dealt with and that which is being dealt with — Christians, and the kingdom.

Thus, to deal with this parable on the basis of eternal verities, with the unsaved being cast into the lake of fire, is completely outside the scope of the subject matter seen in any of these seven parables. Such a teaching, derived from these parables, is both textually and contextually wrong. Any thought of dealing with any of these parables after this fashion, from a Scriptural standpoint, could not even be open for discussion.

If the text is dealt with in a literal sense, apart from metaphors, only one possible conclusion can be reached. At the end of the age a segment of the saved, a segment of Christians, are going to be cast into what is called in this parable, “the furnace of fire.” And that is exactly what Christ had previously stated within His explanation of the parable of the wheat and tares:

The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
And will cast them
[i.e., the offensive and lawless ones, the tares in this parable, those doing the works of Satan] into the furnace of fire: there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth”. (Matthew 13:41-42)

Or, note the same thing in the parable of the dragnet:

So it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come forth, separate the wicked from among the just,
and cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
(Matthew 13:49-50).

So, exactly what is being dealt with through these two references to “the furnace of fire”?

Should the expression be looked upon in a literal sense, referring to an actual furnace of fire? Or, is this a continuation of the metaphorical language seen earlier in the parables, describing something related to but apart from a literal understanding of the reference?

When a person begins studying related Scripture having to do with “Gehenna,” “outer darkness [lit., ‘the outer darkness’]” and “the lake of fire” he will find exactly the same teaching as seen in these two parables. That which is seen in Matthew 13:42, 50 is not something peculiar to the parable of the wheat and tares and the parable of the dragnet. Rather, it is merely part of the same teaching seen so many places elsewhere in the New Testament (cf. John 15:1-6; 2 Thessalonians 1:5-10; Hebrews 6:7-9; 10:26-31; Jude 1:20-23).

In this respect, note how teachings concerning Gehenna, the outer darkness, and the lake of fire appear in Scripture.

1) Gehenna, the Outer Darkness

Gehenna is an Anglicized Greek word (Geenna in the Greek text) used twelve times in the New Testament. The word appears eleven times in the three synoptic gospels (Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 10:28; 18:9; 23:15, 33; Mark 9:43, 45, 47; Luke 12:5) and once in the epistle of James (James 3:6).

Christ alone used the word in the gospel accounts. And He always used the word in contexts having to do with entrance into or exclusion from the kingdom of the heavens.

Then, in James, the word appears in a text having to do with the tongue — “. . .it [the tongue] is set on fire of hell [‘Gehenna’].” And, though the word is used in a somewhat different sense in James, it appears within a context having to do with the saving of the soul and the coming kingdom (James 1:12, 21; 2:5, 14-26; 5:7-8, 19-20).

Gehenna (Geenna) is the Greek word for Hinnom from the Hebrew text of the Old Testament. Hinnom was the name given to a valley south of Jerusalem during Joshua’s day, named for the son of a person whose name was “Hinnom” (Joshua 15:8; 18:16).

And, though this valley was used at times as a place where human sacrifices were offered during Old Testament days (2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31), the valley was no more than the place where the refuse from Jerusalem was discarded at the time Christ was on earth.

(The word, Hinnom, has simply been transliterated in the English text of the Old Testament; but the same thing has not been done with Gehenna [Geenna, for Hinnom] in most English texts of the New Testament. Rather, in most versions, Gehenna [Geenna] has been translated “hell” each of the twelve times that it appears in the New Testament, resulting in confusion.)

Thus, Gehenna, at the time Christ and James used the word, was simply the name of the place where those in Jerusalem discarded their refuse. Even dead bodies (criminals, etc.) were, at times, cast into this place; and the fires burned continuously.

In this respect, Christ was doing no more than referencing a place where the refuse from the city of Jerusalem was discarded. And James was associating the misuse of the tongue with this same place.

Remaining within the gospel accounts, being cast into Gehenna always carries an identical association and meaning. Textually, in the gospels, being cast into Gehenna is always associated with separation from regality within Christ’s kingdom. It matters not which of the eleven references a person checks, he will find exactly the same thing each time. Gehenna is never used in the gospel accounts in a context dealing with the unsaved and eternal verities. Rather, the word always appears in texts set within contexts having to do solely with the saved in relation to the coming kingdom.

And “outer darkness” is used exactly the same way in the three instances in which the expression appears, all in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30). The use of outer darkness is simply another way in which the Lord dealt with the same issue among the same group of people (the Jewish people, in relation to the proffered kingdom).

Viewing the matter from one perspective, those denied positions with Christ in His kingdom will find themselves in the place where the refuse from the city was discarded, outside the city. Viewing the matter from the other perspective, those denied positions with Christ in His kingdom will find themselves in a place separated from the One who said, “I am the light of the world” (John 8:12). With respect to occupying a position with Christ in His kingdom, they will find themselves in a place outside, a place associated with darkness instead of light — the darkness outside.

The use of Gehenna and outer darkness (the outer darkness) are simply two metaphorical ways that Christ used to call attention to the same thing.

(These expressions — Gehenna, the outer darkness — were used in the gospel accounts during and immediately following that time when the kingdom of the heavens was offered to Israel at Christ’s first coming. With Israel’s rejection of the proffered kingdom, the kingdom was taken from Israel and an entirely new entity [the one new man “in Christ”] was called into existence to be the recipient of that which Israel had rejected [Matthew 21:33-46; 1 Peter 2:9-11]. And with these events brought to pass, Gehenna and the outer darkness, as previously used relative to the Jewish people, would now be used relative to Christians.

These expressions are used in Scripture relative to the recipients of the proffered kingdom [the kingdom of the heavens], whether Israel in past time or Christians during the present time.)

2) The Lake of Fire

The description of “the lake which burns with fire and brimstone” in Revelation 21:8 is another way in which Scripture deals with the same thing again. The “lake of fire” in this passage is described as not only the place where unsaved man from the previous chapter (Revelation 20:11-15) will spend eternity but also the place where Christians who do not overcome (the world, the flesh, and the devil) during the present dispensation will find themselves during the coming dispensation. And this, of course, would be the same as Christians being cast into the furnace of fire” in Matthew 13:42, 50.

The same thing is seen in the second of the seven overcomer’s promises in Revelation chapters two and three. These two chapters record seven short epistles to seven churches, and there is an overcomer’s promise at the end of each epistle. “To him that overcomes . . . .” “He that overcomes . . . .” (Revelation  2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 21).

These epistles are addressed to saved individuals (those in a position to overcome); and the Lord has set rewards, compensations, prizes before these individuals as an incentive, encouragement for them to run the present race of the faith in a manner that will allow them to overcome rather than being overcome.

And each of the overcomer’s promises is millennial in its scope of fulfillment. That in view through overcoming, or not overcoming — as the case may be — will be realized during the 1,000-year Messianic Era alone.

The fact that these are millennial in their scope of fulfillment can be illustrated quite easily. Note the promises to two of the seven churches in Revelation 2:26-27; 3:21. No such scene as presented in these verses will exist beyond the Millennium.

Christ and His co-heirs, beyond the Millennium, will no longer rule over the nations, as this rule is pictured in Revelation 2:26-27. Rather, the Gentiles comprising these nations will be brought into positions of rulership themselves with Christ and His co-heirs, as this rule extends beyond the earth, out into the universe (Revelation 22:2, 5). And the Son, beyond the Millennium, will no longer sit on His own throne, as seen in Revelation 3:21. Rather, He will sit on “the throne of God and of the Lamb,” from whence universal rule will emanate (Revelation 22:1, 3, 5).

It is the overcomer’s promise to the church in Smyrna that has to do with the lake of fire, something that can only be millennial within its scope of fulfillment. That is, the conditions alluded to for the non-overcomer in this promise will exist for the duration of the Messianic Era, not throughout the eternal ages beyond.

Scripture deals with millennial rewards and/or loss, never with eternal rewards and/or loss. This should be easy enough for anyone to understand, for if rewards are eternal, so is loss of rewards. And loss of rewards involves an association with death (Romans 8:13), something that Scripture clearly reveals will be done away with at the beginning of the eternal ages beyond the Millennium (1 Corinthians 15:26; Revelation 21:4).

The overcomer’s promise to those Christians comprising the church in Smyrna reads,

He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes shall not be hurt by the second death. (Revelation 2:11;  cf. Revelation 20:6)

There is a clear implication in this promise that those who do not overcome will be hurt by the second death. And any attempt to take this promise and make it mean something other than what it clearly states serves only to destroy the promise, something that the Lord sounded a solemn warning against (Revelation 22:18-19). The promise that those who do overcome will not “be hurt by the second death” would be meaningless unless this promise is taken at face value and allowed to mean exactly what it says, clearly implying that those who do not overcome will “be hurt by the second death.”

The “second death” in the book of Revelation is associated with the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). And those who do not overcome are going to have their part in this lake of fire (Revelation 2:11). That is, they will be hurt by the second death by having a part in the lake of fire.

Revelation 21 moves beyond the Millennium into the eternal ages, and the first six verses provide the complete story concerning conditions as these ages begin. Note the words, “It is done,” in the first part of verse six (Revelation 21:6). This is the translation of a verb in the perfect tense in the Greek text, indicating that the matter has been brought to completion and presently exists in that finished state.

Then, beginning with the latter part of verse six and continuing through verse eight (Revelation 21:6-8), overcoming and/or being overcome are again, for the last time, dealt with in this book. And this takes a person back to the same place seen in chapters two and three (Revelation 2; 3).

Then, the remainder of the book is simply a commentary for the eight verses that open and begin this section. First, a commentary is provided for the first part of this opening section. Revelation 21:9-22:5 forms a commentary for this part of the section (Revelation 21:1-6a), which has to do with conditions beyond the Millennium. Note how this commentary in chapter twenty-two closes: “. . . and they shall reign forever and ever [throughout the endless ages]” (Revelation 22:5).

Then, the remainder of chapter twenty-two (Revelation 22:6ff) forms a commentary for the second part of this opening section, which has to do with conditions before and during the Millennium (Revelation 21:6-8 [6b]).

And this will explain why, outside the gates of Jerusalem during the Messianic Era, one will be able to find “dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie” (Revelation 22:15). This information is given to shed light on and provide additional detail for verses in the preceding chapter (Revelation 21:7-8), and the information in these verses in the preceding chapter was given to shed light on the previous overcomer’s promises, particularly the one to the church in Smyrna dealing with “the second death” (Revelation 2:11).

To distinguish between millennial and eternal conditions in this respect, note that those outside the gates during the eternal ages will be the Gentile nations, as the New Jerusalem rests on the new earth (Revelation 21:24-27); but those outside the gates during the preceding Messianic Era, with the New Jerusalem in the heavens above the earth, will be the non-overcomers (Revelation 22:14-15). And the place that they will occupy is described at least four other ways in Scripture — through the use of Gehenna, the outer darkness, the furnace of fire, and the lake of fire.

The picture surrounding an association between Gehenna and the lake of fire appears unmistakable. As Gehenna was the place of refuse for the earthly city of Jerusalem, the lake of fire is seen as the place of refuse for the heavenly city of Jerusalem. And as Gehenna was on the opposite side of the city from that side where God dwelled (south, as opposed to north [cf. Leviticus 1:11; Isaiah 14:13]), thus will it be with the counterpart to Gehenna in the heavenly Jerusalem. The lake of fire is used with respect to a place completely apart from Christ and His rule. And those “hurt by the second death” are seen occupying this place during the 1,000-year Messianic Era.

(Why does Scripture associate non-overcoming Christians with the lake of fire in relation to Christ’s millennial reign, in this manner? The answer would be the same as the reason why Scripture associates the unsaved with the lake of fire throughout the endless ages of eternity, following the Millennium.

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

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

But, relative to Christians and the coming kingdom of Christ, is Scripture dealing with something literal? Or is Scripture dealing with metaphors?

Note how Scripture uses metaphors to deal with this same thing elsewhere. In John 15:6 and Hebrews 6:8, saved individuals are spoken of in a metaphorical sense, where a burning with fire is referenced. And the context both places has to do with either bearing fruit or not bearing fruit, which is exactly the same thing seen in the Matthew thirteen parables. Or, as the matter is expressed in Revelation chapters two and three, either overcoming or being overcome.

And the negative side of the matter is expressed at least two other ways in Scripture — being cast into Gehenna (a reference to the place of refuse outside the city walls of Jerusalem at this time; Matthew 5:22, 29-30; 23:15, 33) or being cast into outer darkness (Matthew 8:12; 22:13; 25:30).

Overcoming or not overcoming and being unhurt or being hurt by the second death in Revelation 2:11 is expressed a slightly different way in Romans 8:13:

For if you [a reference to ‘brethren’ in Romans 8:12] live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Whether Gehenna or outer darkness in Matthew, a burning with fire in John and Hebrews, being cast into a furnace or lake of fire in Matthew and Revelation, or suffering death or being hurt by the second death in Romans and Revelation, different facets of exactly the same thing are in view. All of these are used in contexts showing that they have to do with saved people in relation to fruit bearing and the kingdom.

By comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is plain that these are simply different ways of expressing the same thing. And since a literal casting into outer darkness, Gehenna, or a furnace or lake of fire could not possibly be in view (for these different places could not possibly be looked upon as referring to the same place in a literal sense), it is evident that metaphors are being used throughout.

But relative to the unsaved and the lake of fire, this is simply not expressed in other ways in Scripture as it is with the saved, leaving no room for any thought other than understanding the matter as literal, not metaphorical.

Aside from the preceding, it is clear that all Christians, faithful and unfaithful alike, will be in the kingdom. This is seen in type in Genesis chapters eighteen and nineteen (Genesis 18; 19). Both Abraham and Lot, in the final analysis, are seen on the mount (a “mountain” in Scripture signifies a kingdom). But note the stark difference in the place that each occupied. Abraham stood before the Lord, where he had always stood (Genesis 18:22; 19:27). Lot though found himself in a place separated from the Lord, in a place where he also had always stood (Genesis 19:1, 30).

(See Souls Under the Altar, Mystery of The Woman and A Woman, a Dragon, a Male Child in this website for additional commentary.)

Also note how “a mountain” is used in a metaphorical respect in Isaiah 2:1-4 to depict not only Christ’s kingdom but lesser kingdoms on earth in that coming day — “the mountain of the Lord’s house [Christ’s kingdom] shall be established in the top of the mountains [all the subordinate world kingdoms, referred to in this respect later in the verse through the use of ‘hills’].”

Or, Daniel 2:35, 44-45, as Revelation 11:15, shows the matter after a slightly different fashion. In these sections of Scripture, the kingdom of Christ alone is seen, with all of the lesser world kingdoms seen as forming part of the worldwide kingdom of Christ.

In Daniel 2:35, 44-45, Christ is seen smiting the final form of Gentile world power at the time of His return (which will be a worldwide power under the Beast, Antichrist). And “a great mountain” is used to depict the kingdom of Christ as it will exist following the destruction of that depicted by the image. Then Revelation 11:15 simply states the same thing at the same time, apart from the use of metaphors:

“The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ, and He will reign forever and ever,” (Revelation 11:15 NASB).

Bible Timeline
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Old Testament

All Dates are Approximate

Before Time In the Beginning was the Word John 1

Before 4000 BC The Creation   Genesis 1

Before 4000 BC The Garden of Eden  Genesis 2

Before 4000 BC The Fall of Man   Genesis 3

Before 3000 BC Cain kills Abel   Genesis 4

Before 3000 BC From Adam to Noah   Genesis 5

Before 2500 BC Wickedness Provokes God's wrath Genesis 6

Before 2500 BC The Great Flood   Genesis 7

Before 2500 BC The Flood Subsides  Genesis 8

Before 2500 BC Covenant of the Rainbow  Genesis 9

Before 2500 BC Shem, Ham and Japheth  Genesis 10

Before 2100 BC Job's Suffering and Faith  Job 1-42

Before 2100 BC The Tower of Babel   Genesis 11

2091 BC God Sends Abram to Egypt  Genesis 12

2090 BC The Famine in Canaan  Genesis 12:10

2085 BC Abram and Lot Part Ways  Genesis 13

2085 BC Abram Promised Many Descendants Genesis 13:14

2084 BC Abram Rescues Lot   Genesis 14

2081 BC God's Covenant with Abram  Genesis 15

2081 BC Sarai and Hagar   Genesis 16

2080 BC Ishmael Born   Genesis 16:15

2067 BC The Covenant of Circumcision Genesis 17

2067 BC God Promises the Birth of Isaac Genesis 18

2067 BC The Destruction of Sodom  Genesis 19

2067 BC Abraham, Sarah and Abimelech Genesis 20

2066 BC Isaac Born   Genesis 21

2064 BC Hagar and Ishmael Sent Away  Genesis 21:8

2057 BC The Treaty at Beersheba  Genesis 21:22

2054 BC The Offering of Isaac  Genesis 22

2030 BC Death and Burial of Sarah  Genesis 23

2026 BC Isaac Marries Rebekah  Genesis 24

2006 BC Birth of Jacob and Esau  Genesis 25

1991 BC Death of Abraham   Genesis 25:5

1978 BC Esau sells his birthright  Genesis 25:29

1977 BC Isaac and Abimelech  Genesis 26

1929 BC Jacob Gets Isaac's Blessing  Genesis 27

1928 BC Jacob Flees to Laban  Genesis 28

1928 BC Jacob's vision of a ladder  Genesis 28:10

1928 BC Jacob Serves Laban  Genesis 29

1921 BC Jacob Marries Rachel  Genesis 29:28

1921 BC Jacob and His Sons  Genesis 30

1916 BC Rachel Bears Joseph  Genesis 30:22

1908 BC Jacob Leaves for Canaan  Genesis 31

1906 BC Jacob Wrestles with God  Genesis 32

1906 BC Jacob Meets Esau   Genesis 33

1906 BC Jacob Settles in Shechem  Genesis 33:18

1906 BC Shechem Defiles Dinah  Genesis 34

1906 BC Jacob Returns to Bethel  Genesis 35

1906 BC Jacob Named Israel   Genesis 35:10

1906 BC Descendants of Esau  Genesis 36

1903 BC Rachel Dies   Genesis 35:18

1898 BC Joseph's Dreams and Betrayal Genesis 37

1898 BC Joseph Sold into Slavery  Genesis 37:25

1898 BC Tamar deceives Judah  Genesis 38

1898 BC Joseph Prospers Under Potiphar Genesis 39

1889 BC Potiphar's Wife Accuses Joseph Genesis 39:7

1889 BC Joseph Imprisoned   Genesis 39:20

1887 BC The Cupbearer and the Baker's Dreams Genesis 40

1886 BC Joseph Interprets Pharaoh's Dreams Genesis 41

1886 BC Joseph Put in Charge  Genesis 41:33

1886 BC Seven Years of Plenty Begin  Genesis 41:47

1875 BC Famine Begins   Genesis 41:53

1875 BC Joseph's Brothers Sent to Egypt Genesis 42

1875 BC Simeon Detained by Joseph  Genesis 42:24

1875 BC The Return with Benjamin  Genesis 43

1875 BC Benjamin and the Silver Cup  Genesis 44

1875 BC Joseph Reveals His Identity  Genesis 45

1875 BC Joseph Sends for Jacob  Genesis 45:9

1875 BC Jacob and Family to Egypt  Genesis 46

1875 BC Jacob to Goshen   Genesis 47

1859 BC Jacob's Illness   Genesis 48

1859 BC Jacob's Blessing and Death  Genesis 49

1859 BC The Burial of Jacob   Genesis 50

1806 BC The Death of Joseph  Genesis 50:26

1800 BC Jacob's Family Stays in Egypt  Exodus 1

1700 BC Israelites Multiply in Egypt  Exodus 1:6

1600 BC Israelites Oppressed by New King Exodus 1:8

1539 BC Pharaoh's Order to Kill Firstborn Exodus 1:22

1525 BC The Birth and Adoption of Moses Exodus 2

1486 BC Moses Flees into Midian  Exodus 2:11

1446 BC Israelites Groan in Slavery  Exodus 2:23

1446 BC Moses Sent to Deliver Israel  Exodus 3-6

1446 BC The Ten Plagues on Egypt  Exodus 7-12

1446 BC The Exodus Begins   Exodus 13-18

1446 BC The Isreaelites At Mount Sinai  Exodus 19

1446 BC Moses Receives the Commandments  Exodus 20

1446 BC Moses Receives the Law  Exodus 21-24

1446 BC Preparations for the Tabernacle  Exodus 25-31

1446 BC The Golden Calf and Moses' Anger  Exodus 32

1446 BC The Journey Resumes  Exodus 33-39

1445 BC The Tabernacle is Erected and Filled  Exodus 40

1445 BC Laws for Sacrifices and Offerings  Leviticus 1-7

1445 BC Aaron and His Sons Consecrated  Leviticus 8; 9

1445 BC The Sin of Nadab and Abihu  Leviticus 10

1445 BC Laws of Purity   Leviticus 11-19

1445 BC Punishments and Regulations  Leviticus 20-22

1445 BC Feasts and Jubilee   Leviticus 23

1445 BC Census, Tribes, Duties  Numbers 1-6

1445 BC Tabernacle Dedication  Numbers 7-10

1445 BC The People Complain  Numbers 11; 12

1445 BC The Twelve Spies   Numbers 13

1445 BC People Murmur at the Spies' Report   Numbers 14; 15

1426 BC Korah's Rebellion   Numbers 16

1426 BC Aaron's Staff Buds   Numbers 17

1426 BC Priests, Red Heifer, Cleansing  Numbers 18; 19

1407 BC Water from the Rock at Meribah  Numbers 20

1407 BC Aaron's Death   Numbers 20:22

1407 BC The Bronze Snake   Numbers 21

1407 BC Balaam and the Angel  Numbers 22-25

1407 BC The Second Census  Numbers 26

1407 BC The Daughters of Zelophehad  Numbers 27

1407 BC Joshua Chosen to Succeed Moses  Numbers 27:18

1407 BC Special sacrifices and holy days  Numbers 28; 29

1407 BC Vows of women   Numbers 30

1407 BC Conquest of Midian   Numbers 31

1407 BC Division of Transjordan  Numbers 32

1407 BC Summary of Israel's Journey  Numbers 33

1407 BC Apportionment of Canaan  Numbers 34

1407 BC Borders and Cities of Refuge  Numbers 35

1407 BC Zelophehad's Daughters Marry  Numbers 36

1407 BC Psalm of Moses   Psalm 90

1407 BC Moses' Summary of Israel's History  Deuteronomy 1-4

1406 BC Recapitulation of the Law  Deuteronomy 4:44; 31

1406 BC The Song of Moses   Deuteronomy 32

1406 BC Moses Blesses the Twelve Tribes  Deuteronomy 32:48

1406 BC Blessings of Moses   Deuteronomy 33

1406 BC The Death of Moses  Deuteronomy 34

1406 BC God Commissions Joshua  Joshua 1

1406 BC Rahab Welcomes the Spies  Joshua 2

1406 BC The Israelites Cross the Jordan Joshua 3-5

1406 BC Conquer of Jericho and Ai  Joshua 6- 8

1405 BC Kings Join against Israel  Joshua 9

1405 BC The Sun Stands Still  Joshua 10

1405 BC Northern Palestine Defeated  Joshua 11; 12

1399 BC Land allotted among the Tribes  Joshua 13-22

1375 BC Joshua's Farewell Address  Joshua 23; 24

1375 BC Micah's Idolatry   Judges 17

1375 BC Danites Settle in Laish, Take Micah's Idols  Judges 18

1375 BC A Levite's Concubine Degraded  Judges 19

1375 BC Israelites Defeat the Benjamites  Judges 20

1375 BC Wives for the Benjamites  Judges 21

1374 BC Israelites Capture Jerusalem, Hebron  Judges 1

1374 BC Israel Rebuked and Defeated  Judges 2

1374 BC Israel's idolatry and Servitude; Othniel  Judges 3

1334 BC Eglon    Judges 3:12

1316 BC Ehud    Judges 3:15

1235 BC Deborah and Barak   Judges 4

1235 BC The Song of Deborah and Barak  Judges 5

1169 BC Gideon and the Midianites  Judges 6-8

1140 BC Naomi, Ruth and Boaz  Ruth 1-4

1129 BC Abimelech Conspires to Become King  Judges 9

1126 BC Plot against Abimelech  Judges 9:22

1126 BC Abimelech is Slain   Judges 9:50

1118 BC Tola, Jair    Judges 10

1100 BC Birth of Samuel   1 Samuel 1

1100 BC Hannah's Song   1 Samuel 2

1097 BC Jephthah's Covenant with the Gileadites  Judges 11

1090 BC Jephthah, Ephraim, Ibzan, Elon, Abdon  Judges 12

1090 BC Israel Oppressed by the Philistines   Judges 13

1075 BC Samson's Marriage and Riddle   Judges 14

1075 BC Samson Burns the Philistine Crops   Judges 15

1075 BC Samson and Delilah  Judges 16

1070 BC Battle of Shiloh   1 Samuel 3

1070 BC Philistines Take the Ark  1 Samuel 4; 5

1070 BC Philistines Return the Ark to Israel   1 Samuel 6

1070 BC Ark brought to Abinadab's House  1 Samuel 7

1050 BC Israelites Repent at Mizpeh  1 Samuel 7:3

1043 BC Saul Becomes King   1 Samuel 8-10

1042 BC Saul Defeats the Ammonites   1 Samuel 11; 12

1041 BC Saul's War with the Philistines  1 Samuel 13

1041 BC Jonathan's Miraculous Victory  1 Samuel 14

1028 BC Saul's Disobedience and Samuel's Rebuke 1 Samuel 15

1024 BC Samuel Anoints David at Bethlehem 1 Samuel 16

1024 BC David Kills Goliath   1 Samuel 17

1015 BC Jonathan's Friendship with David  1 Samuel 18

1014 BC David Protected from Saul  1 Samuel 19

1013 BC David and Jonathan's Covenant  1 Samuel 20

1013 BC David's Psalm of Deliverance  (1 Samuel 20) Psalm 59

1012 BC David at Nob and Gath  1 Samuel 21

1012 BC David's Psalm Fleeing Saul    (1 Samuel 21) Psalm 52

1012 BC David's Psalm Before Ahimelech   (Samuel 21) Psalm 34

1011 BC David's Psalm at Gath  (1 Samuel 21) Psalm 56

1011 BC Saul Slays the Priests of Nob  1 Samuel 22

1011 BC David's Psalms in the Cave    (1 Samuel 22) Psalms 57; 142

1011 BC David Flees Saul   1 Samuel 23

1011 BC David's Psalm at Keilah   (1 Samuel 23) Psalm 54

1011 BC David Spares Saul's Life  1 Samuel 24

1011 BC Samuel Dies   1 Samuel 25

1011 BC David Spares Saul a Second Time   1 Samuel 26

1010 BC David Flees to the Philistines  1 Samuel 27

1010 BC Saul and the Witch of Endor  1 Samuel 28

1010 BC Achish Sends David Away  1 Samuel 29

1010 BC David Destroys the Amalekites  1 Samuel 30

1010 BC Saul and His Sons Killed  1 Samuel 31

1010 BC David Mourns for Saul and Jonathan  2 Samuel 1

1010 BC David Made King over Judah  2 Samuel 2

1008 BC Civil War Between Abner and Joab   2 Samuel 2:12

1006 BC House of David Strengthened  2 Samuel 3

1005 BC Joab murders Abner  2 Samuel 3:22

1004 BC The Murder of Ish-bosheth   2 Samuel 4

1003 BC Genealogies of the Israelites  1 Chronicles 1-9

1003 BC Saul's Overthrow and Defeat  1 Chronicles 10

1003 BC David Reigns over All Israel   2 Samuel 5, 1 Chronicles 11

1002 BC David's Army Grows   1 Chronicles 12

1000 BC David fetches the ark  1 Chronicles 13

1000 BC David's Family Grows  1 Chronicles 14

1000 BC The Ark is Brought to Jerusalem   2 Samuel 6, 1 Chronicles 15

1000 BC David Plans a Temple  2 Samuel 7

998 BC David Defeats the Philistines  2 Samuel 8

998 BC David's Psalm of Victory   (2 Samuel 8) Psalm 60

998 BC David's Psalm of Zion   Psalm 15

998 BC David's Psalm of Glory to God  Psalm 24

998 BC David's festival sacrifice  1 Chronicles 16

998 BC Psalms of Praise   (1 Chronicles 16) Psalms 96; 105; 106

997 BC David Purposes to build a Temple   1 Chronicles 17

996 BC David Strengthens His Kingdom   1 Chronicles 18

995 BC David and Mephibosheth   2 Samuel 9

995 BC David Defeats Ammon and Aram   2 Samuel 10, 1 Chronicles 19

995 BC The Capture of Rabbah  1 Chronicles 20

993 BC David and Bathsheba   2 Samuel 11

991 BC Nathan Rebukes David  2 Samuel 12

991 BC David's Psalm of Repentance   (2 Samuel 12) Psalm 51

990 BC Solomon is Born   2 Samuel 12:24

990 BC Amnon and Tamar   2 Samuel 13

990 BC Amnom Killed by Absalom  2 Samuel 13:23

988 BC The Widow of Tekoa  2 Samuel 14

980 BC Absalom Recalled   2 Samuel 14:21

979 BC Psalms of David   Psalms 2-145 (Assorted)

979 BC Psalms of Korah    Psalms 42-44; 84-85; 87-88

979 BC Psalms of Asaph    Psalm 50; 73; 75-78; 80-83; 89

979 BC Psalms of Unknown Authors    Psalms 1-150 (Assorted)

979 BC David Forces a Census  1 Chronicles 21

979 BC Preparation for building the Temple   1 Chronicles 22

979 BC Preparation of Priesthood  1 Chronicles 23

979 BC Divisions of Levites   1 Chronicles 24

979 BC Preparation of sanctuary singers  1 Chronicles 25

979 BC Preparation of gatekeepers, treasurers  1 Chronicles 26

979 BC Preparation of government  1 Chronicles 27

976 BC Absalom's Conspiracy  2 Samuel 15

976 BC David Flees Jerusalem  2 Samuel 15:13

972 BC David and Ziba, Shimei  2 Samuel 16

972 BC Shimei Curses David  2 Samuel 16:5

972 BC David's Psalm of Thirst for God  (2 Samuel 16) Psalm 63

972 BC Hushai's Warning Saves David   2 Samuel 17

972 BC David Psalms of Deliverance  (2 Samuel 17) Psalms 41; 55

972 BC Absalom Slain by Joab  2 Samuel 18

972 BC Joab Comforts David  2 Samuel 19

972 BC Sheba Rebels Against David  2 Samuel 20

970 BC The Gibeonites Avenged  2 Samuel 21

970 BC David's Song of Deliverance  2 Samuel 22

970 BC David's Last Song   2 Samuel 23

970 BC David's Psalm of Steadfastness   (2 Samuel 23) Psalm 108

970 BC David Counts the Fighting Men   2 Samuel 24

970 BC David's last days   1 Chronicles 28; 29, 1 Kings 1;  2

970 BC David's Psalm of Salvation    (1 Kings 2) Psalm 37

967 BC Psalm for Solomon   (2 Chronicles 1) Psalm 72

967 BC Solomon Asks for Wisdom   2 Chronicles 1, 1 Kings 3

967 BC Psalm of Korah   (1 Kings 3) Psalm 45

967 BC Solomon's Wisdom   1 Kings 4

967 BC Solomon's Preparations for the Temple  1 Kings 5

966 BC The Building of Solomon's Temple  1 Kings 6

966 BC The Building of Solomon's Palace  1 Kings 7

966 BC The Ark Brought to the Temple  1 Kings 8

966 BC God's covenant with Solomon  1 Kings 9

966 BC Solomon Prepares for a Temple and Palace  2 Chronicles 2

966 BC Solomon Builds the Temple in Jerusalem  2 Chronicles 3

966 BC Temple Furnishings   2 Chronicles 4

959 BC Ark Brought into the Temple  2 Chronicles 5

959 BC Solomon's Prayer of Temple Dedication  2 Chronicles 6

959 BC God's Glory in the Temple  2 Chronicles 7

959 BC Psalms of Solomon   (2 Chronicles 7) Psalms 135; 136

959 BC Solomon's buildings   2 Chronicles 8

950 BC Solomon Psalm of Blessing  Psalm 127

950 BC The Proverbs of Solomon  Proverbs 1-29

950 BC The Words of Agur   Proverbs 30

950 BC King Lemuel's Proverb  Proverbs 31

950 BC Solomon's Song of Songs    Songs 1-8

946 BC Mutual Presents of Solomon and Hiran   1 Kings 9:10

946 BC The Queen of Sheba Visits Solomon,    1 Kings 10, 2 Chronicles 9

939 BC Solomon's Wives and Idolatry  1 Kings 11

937 BC Ecclesiastes Words of the Preacher   Ecclesiastes 1-12

931 BC Solomon's Death   1 Kings 11:40

931 BC The Kingdom is Divided  1 Kings 12; 13

930 BC Israelites Rebel against Rehoboam   2 Chronicles 10

930 BC Rehoboam's Reign over Judah   2 Chronicles 11

927 BC Rehoboam's sin   2 Chronicles 12

925 BC Ahijah's Prophecies against Jeroboam   1 Kings 14

913 BC Rehoboam's Wicked Reign  1 Kings 14:21

913 BC Abijam's wicked reign  1 Kings 15

913 BC Civil War against Jeroboam  2 Chronicles 13

913 BC Asa Destroys Idolatry  2 Chronicles 14

909 BC Jehu's prophecy against Baasha  1 Kings 16

895 BC Asa's Reforms   2 Chronicles 15

894 BC Hanani's rebuke   2 Chronicles 16

886 BC Elah, Zimri, Omri   1 Kings 16:5

874 BC Ahab's wicked reign   1 Kings 16:27

869 BC Jehoshaphat Succeeds Asa    2 Chronicles 17

863 BC Elijah Prays for Drought  1 Kings 17

863 BC Elijah Fed by Ravens  1 Kings 17:3

863 BC The Widow at Zarephath  1 Kings 17:7

863 BC Elijah on Mount Carmel  1 Kings 18

858 BC Elijah Flees Jezebel   1 Kings 19

858 BC Elisha Called   1 Kings 19:19

857 BC Ben-Hadad Attacks Samaria  1 Kings 20

857 BC Ahab Defeats Ben-Hadad  1 Kings 20:14

855 BC Ahab Takes Naboth's Vineyard  1 Kings 21

853 BC Israel and Judah against Syria  1 Kings 22

853 BC The Vision of Obadiah  Obadiah 1

853 BC Jehoshaphat Allies with Ahab   2 Chronicles 18

853 BC Jehosaphat's deeds   2 Chronicles 19

853 BC War with Ammon and Moab   2 Chronicles 20

852 BC Jehoram's Wicked Reign in Judah   2 Chronicles 21

852 BC Moab Rebels   2 Kings 1

851 BC Elijah Taken up to Heaven  2 Kings 2

851 BC Elisha Succeeds Elijah  2 Kings 2:12

850 BC Jehoram Meets Moab Rebellion   2 Kings 3

849 BC The Widow's Oil   2 Kings 4

849 BC Elisha Raises The Shunammite boy  2 Kings 4:8

849 BC The Healing of Naaman  2 Kings 5

848 BC Elisha Floats an Axhead  2 Kings 6

848 BC Elisha Promises Plenty in Samaria   2 Kings 7

847 BC The Shunammite's Land  2 Kings 8

841 BC Jehu Reigns in Israel  2 Kings 9

841 BC Jehu Kills Joram   2 Kings 9:11

841 BC Ahab's Family Killed   2 Kings 10

841 BC Baal Worshipers killed  2 Kings 10:18

841 BC Joash escapes Athaliah  2 Kings 11

841 BC Ahaziah Succeeds Jehoram in Judah   2 Chronicles 22

841 BC Jehoiada Makes Joash King  2 Chronicles 23

835 BC Joash Reigns Well   2 Chronicles 24, 2 Kings 12

835 BC The Word of the LORD to Joel   Joel 1-3

812 BC Joash Orders Temple repairs  2 Kings 12:6

812 BC Jehoahaz's wicked reign  2 Kings 13

796 BC Amaziah's good reign  2 Kings 14, 2 Chronicles 25

790 BC Azariah's good reign  2 Kings 15

790 BC Uzziah Reigns in Judah   2 Chronicles 26

766 BC The Words of Amos   Amos 1-9

760 BC Jonah Sent to Nineveh  Jonah 1-4

753 BC Hosea's Prophecies   Hosea 1-14

750 BC Jotham Succeeds Uzziah   2 Chronicles 27

742 BC Wicked Reign of Ahaz   2 Chronicles 28, 2 Kings 16

739 BC Isaiah Complains of Zion's Corruption   Isaiah 1-5

739 BC Isaiah's Vision and Commission  Isaiah 6

735 BC Isaiah's Prophesy of Immanuel  Isaiah 7

735 BC The Word of the LORD to Micah  Micah 1-7

734 BC Uriah and Zechariah  Isaiah 8

730 BC Isaiah Prophesies a Child Is Born  Isaiah 9

730 BC Isaiah Prophesies Judgments Upon Israel  Isaiah 9:8

730 BC Isaiah Prophesies Judgment on Assyria  Isaiah 10

730 BC Isaiah Prophesies The Root of Jesse  Isaiah 11

730 BC Isaiah's Joyful Thanksgiving  Isaiah 12

725 BC Isaiah Prophesies against the Nations  Isaiah 13-22

725 BC Isaiah's Valley of Vision  Isaiah 22

725 BC Isaiah's Burden of Tyre  Isaiah 23

725 BC Devastation on the Earth  Isaiah 24

725 BC Isaiah's Songs of Praise  Isaiah 25-27

725 BC Isaiah's Further Warnings  Isaiah 28-32

725 BC Isaiah Prophesies a King Shall Reign  Isaiah 32

725 BC Isaiah Declares God's Judgments  Isaiah 33; 34

725 BC Isaiah Declares the Joyful Will Flourish in Zion  Isaiah 35

725 BC Hoshea the Last King of Israel   2 Kings 17

722 BC Israel Led into Captivity  2 Kings 17:6

721 BC Strange Nations Transplanted into Samaria   2 Kings 17:24

716 BC Hezekiah's Good Reign  2 Chronicles 29

715 BC Hezekiah proclaims a solemn Passover  2 Chronicles 30

715 BC Idolatry is Destroyed  2 Chronicles 31

712 BC Hezekiah's Illness and Healing 2 Kings 20, Isaiah 38

711 BC Hezekiah Shows Treasures  2 Kings 20:12, Isaiah 39

711 BC Isaiah Prophesies Captivity and Restoration   Isaiah 40-66

701 BC Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem  2 Kings 18, Isaiah 36, 2 Chronicles 32

701 BC Korah's Psalms of Refuge     (2 Chronicles 32) Psalms 46-48

701 BC Hezekiah's Prayer   2 Kings 19, Isaiah 37

697 BC The Vision of Nahum   Nahum 1-3

687 BC Manasseh's Wicked Reign  2 Kings 21, 2 Chronicles 33

640 BC Josiah's good reign   2 Kings 22, 2 Chronicles 34

638 BC The Word of the LORD to Zephaniah   Zephaniah 1-3

627 BC The Call of Jeremiah  Jeremiah 1

627 BC Jeremiah Declares Judah Forsakes God  Jeremiah 2-6

627 BC Jeremiah's Message at the Temple Gate  Jeremiah 7-10

625 BC The Oracle to Habakkuk  Habakkuk 1-3

622 BC Jeremiah Proclaims God's Covenant   Jeremiah 11; 12

621 BC Josiah Prepares for Temple Repair   2 Kings 22:3

621 BC Hilkiah finds the lost Book of the Law   2 Kings 22:8

621 BC Josiah Celebrates the Passover   2 Kings 23, 2 Chronicles 35

609 BC Jehoiakim's wicked reign  2 Chronicles 36

609 BC Jeremiah Proclaims Covenant Is Broken   Jeremiah 13-20

609 BC Jeremiah Prophesies against Egypt  Jeremiah 46

609 BC Jeremiah Prophesies against Philistia  Jeremiah 47

605 BC Daniel Refuses the King's Portion  Daniel 1

604 BC Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar Dream  Daniel 2

601 BC Rebellion of Jehoiakim  2 Kings 24

597 BC Jehoiachim exiled   2 Kings 24:10

597 BC Zedekiah reigns in Judah  2 Kings 24:18

594 BC Jeremiah Prophesies against Moab  Jeremiah 48

594 BC Jeremiah Prophesies against Ammon  Jeremiah 49

593 BC Ezekiel's Prophecy at Chebar  Ezekiel 1

593 BC Ezekiel's Calling and Instruction  Ezekiel 2

593 BC Ezekiel Eats the Scroll  Ezekiel 3

593 BC Ezekiel Foretells Siege of Jerusalem  Ezekiel 4; 5

593 BC Ezekiel's Vision of the End  Ezekiel 6;  7

592 BC Ezekiel's First Temple Vision  Ezekiel 8-19

591 BC Ezekiel Sees God Refuse the Elders  Ezekiel 20

591 BC Ezekiel Prophesies against Jerusalem  Ezekiel 21; 22

591 BC Ezekiel Prophesies against two Sisters  Ezekiel 23

588 BC Siege of Jerusalem Begins  2 Kings 25

588 BC Jeremiah's Conflicts   Jeremiah 21-33

588 BC Jeremiah Prophesies Judgment on Judah  Jeremiah 34 - 45

588 BC Siege of Jerusalem Begins  Ezekiel 24

587 BC God's Vengeance on Ammon and Edom  Ezekiel 25

586 BC The Fall of Jerusalem  2 Kings 25, Jeremiah 52

586 BC Psalms of Desolation  (Jeremiah 52) Psalms 74; 79

586 BC Jeremiah Prophesies against Babylon  Jeremiah 50; 51

586 BC Jeremiah's Lamentations  Lamentations 1-5

586 BC Ezekiel Pronounces Judgment on Tyre   Ezekiel 26-28

586 BC Ezekiel Prophesies against Egypt   Ezekiel 29-32

586 BC Ezekiel the Watchman   Ezekiel 33

585 BC Ezekiel Explains Jerusalem's Fall   Ezekiel 33:21

585 BC Ezekiel Foresees Reproof and Restoration    Ezekiel 34-36

585 BC Ezekiel Sees Resurrection of Dry Bones   Ezekiel 37

585 BC Ezekiel Sees Future battle  Ezekiel 38

585 BC Ezekiel Sees God's judgment upon Gog   Ezekiel 39

585 BC Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego   Daniel 3

582 BC Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream  Daniel 4

582 BC Daniel Interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s Dream    Daniel 4:19

573 BC Ezekiel's Second Temple Vision   Ezekiel 40-48

539 BC Daniel Interprets Handwriting on the Wall    Daniel 5

539 BC Daniel Survives the Lions' Den  Daniel 6

539 BC Daniel's Vision of Four Beasts   Daniel 7

539 BC Daniel's Vision of the Ram and Goat  Daniel 8

539 BC Daniel's Prayer and Gabriel's Answer  Daniel 9

539 BC Daniel Comforted by the Angel  Daniel 10

539 BC Daniel Prophesies Overthrow of Persia  Daniel 11

539 BC Daniel Prophesies Deliverance for Israel    Daniel 12

537 BC The Proclamation of Cyrus   Ezra 1

537 BC The Exiles Return   Ezra 2

535 BC Temple Work Begins  Ezra 3

534 BC Adversaries Hinder Temple Work   Ezra 4

534 BC Artaxerxes Orders Work Stopped   Ezra 4:17

520 BC Tattenai's Letter to Darius  Ezra 5

520 BC The Word of the LORD by Haggai   Haggai 1; 2

520 BC The Word of the LORD to Zechariah    Zechariah 1-14

520 BC Temple Work Resumed by Darius' Decree    Ezra 6

515 BC Completion and Dedication of the Temple   Ezra 6:16

483 BC Queen Vashti Deposed  Esther 1

478 BC Esther Becomes Queen  Esther 2

478 BC Mordecai Thwarts a Conspiracy   Esther 2:21

474 BC Haman Seeks Revenge on the Jews   Esther 3

473 BC Mordecai Informs Esther of Haman's Plot   Esther 4

473 BC Esther Prepares a Banquet   Esther 5

473 BC The King Honors Mordecai   Esther 6

473 BC Haman Is Hanged   Esther 7

473 BC Xerxes' Edict on Behalf of Esther and Jews   Esther 8

472 BC Purim Instituted   Esther 9

472 BC Xerxes' Tribute to Mordecai  Esther 10

458 BC Ezra Journeys to Jerusalem  Ezra 7

458 BC Ezra Commissioned by Artaxerxes  Ezra 7:11

457 BC Families Return to Jerusalem with  Ezra Ezra 8

457 BC Ezra's reforms   Ezra 9

456 BC Ezra's Prayer About Intermarriage  Ezra 10

445 BC Nehemiah's Prayer for the Exiles  Nehemiah 1

444 BC Artaxerxes Sends Nehemiah to Jerusalem  Nehemiah 2

444 BC Builders of the Walls Named  Nehemiah 3

444 BC Builders Overcome Ridicule  Nehemiah 4

444 BC Nehemiah Abolishes Debt and Bondage  Nehemiah 5

444 BC Sanballat's Plot   Nehemiah 6

444 BC Completion of the Wall  Nehemiah 6:15

444 BC Census of Returned Exiles  Nehemiah 7

444 BC Ezra Reads the Law  Nehemiah 8

444 BC Israelites Fast and Repent  Nehemiah 9

444 BC Israelites Seal the Covenant  Nehemiah 10

444 BC People Settle in Jerusalem  Nehemiah 11; 12

432 BC Nehemiah Restores Laws  Nehemiah 13

430 BC The Word of the LORD by Malachi   Malachi 1-4

New Testament

All Dates are Approximate

6 BC Birth of John the Baptist  Luke 1, John 1:6

6 BC Augustus Taxes the Roman Empire  Luke 2

5 BC Birth of Jesus   Matthew 1, Mark 1, Luke 2:6, John 1:14

5 BC Visit of the Magi   Matthew 2

5 BC Escape to Egypt   Matthew 2:13

4 BC Slaughter of Infants   Matthew 2:16

4 BC Return to Nazareth   Matthew 2:23

8 AD The Boy Jesus at the Temple  Luke 2:41

26 AD John the Baptist Prepares the Way  Matthew 3, Mark 1:4, Luke 3, John 1:15

26 AD The Baptism of Jesus  Matthew 3:13, Mark 1:9, Luke 3:21

27 AD Temptation of Jesus  Matthew 4, Mark 1:12, Luke 4

27 AD Jesus Calls his First Disciples  Matthew 4:18, Mark 1:16, Luke 5

27 AD Wedding at Cana   John 2

27 AD Jesus Teaches Nicodemus  John 3

27 AD Jesus Testifies to the Samaritan Woman  John 4

27 AD Sermon on the Mount  Matthew 5-7

28 AD Instructions on Prayer  Luke 11

28 AD Jesus Ministers in Galilee  Matthew 8, Mark 2, Luke 4:14

28 AD The Pool of Bethesda  John 5

28 AD Jesus Lord of the Sabbath  Matthew 12, Mark 3, Luke 6

28 AD Jesus Answers John's Disciples  Matthew 11, Luke 7

28 AD Jesus Speaks Many Parables  Matthew 13, Mark 4, Luke 8

28 AD Jesus Heals a Demoniac  Matthew 8:28, Mark 5, Luke 8:26

28 AD Jesus Heals a Paralytic  Matthew 9

29 AD Jesus Sends out His Twelve Apostles  Matthew 10, Mark 6

29 AD John the Baptist Beheaded  Matthew 14, Mark 6:14

29 AD Jesus Feeds the 5,000  Matthew 14:15, Mark 6:30, Luke 9, John 6

29 AD Teachings on Clean and Unclean  Matthew 15, Mark 7

29 AD Peter's Confession of Christ  Matthew 16, Mark 8, Luke 9:18

29 AD The Transfiguration   Matthew 17, Mark 9, Luke 9:28

29 AD Greatest and Least in the Kingdom  Matthew 18

29 AD Jesus Sends out the Seventy-two  Luke 10

29 AD Jesus Teaches at the Feast of Tabernacles  John 7

29 AD The Woman Caught in Adultery  John 8

29 AD Jesus Affirms He is the Son of God  John 9

29 AD The Shepherd and His Flock  John 10

30 AD Jesus Speaks More Parables  Luke 12-16

30 AD Jesus Cleanses the Ten Lepers  Luke 17

30 AD Jesus Raises Lazarus  John 11

30 AD Final Journey to Jerusalem  Matthew 19; 20, Mark 10, Luke 18

30 AD The Triumphal Entry  Matthew 21, Mark 11, Luke 19, John 12

30 AD Closing Ministry in Jerusalem  Matthew 22 - 25, Mark 12; 13, Luke 20; 21

30 AD Thursday Before Passover  Matthew 26, Mark 14, Luke 22, John 13

30 AD Jesus Comforts His Disciples  John 14

30 AD Jesus the True Vine   John 15

30 AD Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit  John 16

30 AD Jesus' Intercessory prayers  John 17

30 AD Jesus' Betrayal, Trial, Crucifixion  Matthew 27, Mark 15, Luke 23, John 18; 19

30 AD Jesus' Resurrection   Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, John 20; 21

30 AD The Ascension   Acts 1

30 AD Matthias Chosen by Lot   Acts 1:12

30 AD The Holy Spirit Comes at Pentecost  Acts 2

30 AD Peter Heals and Preaches  Acts 3

30 AD Peter and John Arrested and Released  Acts 4

30 AD Believers Share All   Acts 4:32

30 AD Deaths of Ananias and Sapphira  Acts 5

30 AD Apostles Preach and Heal  Acts 5:11

31 AD Stephen's Speech, Stoning and Death  Acts 6; 7

31 AD Saul Persecutes the Church  Acts 8

31 AD Philip in Samaria   Acts 8:3

31 AD Simon the Sorcerer   Acts 8:9

31 AD Philip and the Ethiopian  Acts 8:26

34 AD Saul's Conversion   Acts 9

37 AD Peter Preaches to the Gentiles   Acts 10; 11

42 AD Barnabas Sent to Antioch  Acts 11:22

42 AD Peter Led from Prison by the Angel  Acts 12

44 AD Herod Agrippa Dies  Acts 12:20

45 AD James Writes his Letter  James 1-5

48 AD Paul's First Missionary Journey  Acts 13

48 AD Paul preaches in Pisidian Antioch  Acts 13:14

48 AD Paul and Barnabas in Iconium  Acts 14

48 AD Paul and Barnabas in Lystra and Derbe  Acts 14:8

48 AD Paul and Barnabas Return to Syrian Antioch  Acts 14:21

48 AD Return to Syrian Antioch  Acts 14:24

48 AD The Council at Jerusalem  Acts 15

49 AD Paul's Second Missionary Journey  Acts 15:36

49 AD Paul in Philippi   Acts 16

49 AD Paul in Thessalonica, Berea, Athens  Acts 17

51 AD Paul in Corinth   Acts 18

51 AD Paul Writes to the Thessalonians   1 Thessalonians 1-5

52 AD Paul Writes again to the Thessalonians   2 Thessalonians 1-3

54 AD Paul in Ephesus   Acts 19

54 AD Paul Writes to the Corinthians  1 Corinthians 1-16

54 AD Paul Writes to the Galatians   Galatians 1-6

57 AD Paul in Macedonia and Greece   Acts 20

57 AD Paul Writes to the Romans  Romans 1-16

57 AD Paul Writes again to the Corinthians   2 Corinthians 1-13

59 AD Paul Returns to Jerusalem  Acts 21-23

60 AD Paul imprisoned in Caesarea  Acts 24

62 AD Paul Before Festus   Acts 25

62 AD Paul Before Agrippa   Acts 26

62 AD Paul Sails for Rome   Acts 27

62 AD The Shipwreck   Acts 27:13

62 AD Paul Ashore at Malta  Acts 28

62 AD Paul Preaches at Rome  Acts 28:11

62 AD Paul Writes to the Ephesians  Ephesians 1-6

62 AD Paul Writes to the Philippians  Philippians 1-4

62 AD Paul Writes to the Colossians  Colossians 1-4

62 AD Paul Writes to Philemon  Philemon 1

63 AD Paul Writes to Timothy  1 Timothy 1-6

64 AD Peter Writes his First Letter  1 Peter 1-5

66 AD Paul Writes to Titus   Titus 1-3

67 AD Paul Writes Again to Timothy   2 Timothy 1 - 4

67 AD Peter Writes his Second Letter   2 Peter 1 - 3

68 AD Letter to the Hebrews  Hebrews 1-13

68 AD Jude Writes his Letter  Jude 1

90 AD John Writes his First Letter  1 John 1-5

92 AD John Writes his Second Letter   2 John 1

94 AD John Writes his Third Letter  3 John 1

95 AD John's Revelation on Patmos   Revelation 1-22

The Preaching of the Cross
Messages for Both the Saved and the Unsaved
By Arlen L. Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast
Parts

Part 1

For the preaching [KJV: message*of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. . . .

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. . . .

That your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.  However, we speak wisdom among those who are mature, yet not the wisdom of this age, nor of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the ages for our glory, which none of the rulers of this age knew; for had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. (1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:1-2, 5-8 NKJV)

(*With this one word-exception, the New King James Version of Scripture is utilized throughout this composition)

In Scripture, there is a preaching of the cross to the saved, and there is a preaching of the cross to the unsaved.  And the former is dealt with far more extensively in Scripture than the latter.

Salvation by grace through faith, having to do with the preaching of the cross to the unsaved, as seen for example in Ephesians 2:8-9, is NOT the main message of Scripture:

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)

Rather, the main message of Scripture is seen in what salvation by grace through faith allows and where it takes an individual.  Salvation by grace through faith, as seen in Ephesians 2:8-9 – a passing “from death to life” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1, 5) – takes an individual to that which is seen in Ephesians 2:10, which is another way of expressing the preaching of the cross to the saved:

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them. (Ephesians 2:10)

Twofold Nature of the Preaching of the Cross

No single book in Scripture deals principally with salvation by grace through faith, NOT John’s gospel (as thought by many), NOT any of the Pauline epistles, Hebrews, the general epistles, or any other book in Scripture, both Old and New Testaments.

Again, salvation by grace through faith, though usually dealt with extensively by man, is simply NOT the main message of Scripture.

ALL Scripture, after one fashion or another, deal principally with the preaching of the cross to the saved, not to the unsaved.  ALL Scripture is in line with the manner in which the matter was originally set forth in the opening thirty-four verses of Genesis (Genesis 1:1-2:3) – showing the manner and time in which God uses to restore a ruined creation (six days of time, with a view to a subsequent seventh day of rest, foreshadowing 6,000 years of restorative work, followed by 1,000 years of rest).

The first day’s restorative activity can only foreshadow God’s beginning restorative activity for ruined man (salvation by grace through faith).  And God’s continued restorative work during the subsequent five days can only foreshadow a continued restorative activity for man (things beyond salvation by grace through faith).  And ALL is with a view to a seventh-day of rest.

The preceding is not to undermine, in any way, the importance of the preaching of the cross to the unsaved, for a person can’t get to the preaching of the cross to the saved apart from beginning with the preaching of the cross to the unsaved.  Rather, attention is simply being called to the manner in which God has structured His Word relative to these two aspects of the preaching of the cross.

To illustrate from Genesis chapters one and two (Genesis 1; 2), it is to say that a person CAN’T begin with activity foreshadowed by day two in Genesis chapter one.  He has to FIRST go through that which is foreshadowed by activity on day one.  This is where he MUST begin, but he is NOT to remain in that which is foreshadowed by activity on day one.  Rather, he is to MOVE ON to that which is foreshadowed by activity on the subsequent five days, with a view to that which is foreshadowed by activity on the seventh day.

Note relative to the preceding that Jude sought to write an epistle dealing with salvation by grace through faith – the “common salvation” (Jude 1:3a).  But the Spirit of God would not allow him to write an epistle of this nature.  Rather Jude was moved to write on things beyond salvation by grace through faith.  Jude was moved to write an epistle exhorting believers to “contend earnestly for the faith” (Jude 1:3b).  And “the faith” is an expression peculiarly related to the Word of the Kingdom, part and parcel with the preaching of the cross to the saved (1 Timothy 5:11-16; 2 Timothy 4:7-8).

And this same thing can be seen in any other New Testament epistle, or any book throughout both Testaments.  The message of salvation by grace through faith can be found in practically any epistle or book, but it is NEVER seen as the main message.

The Preaching in View in 1 Corinthians 1:18; 2:1-8

First Corinthians 1:18 refers to the preaching of the cross in relation to two classes of individuals – those who are perishing, and those who are being saved.

The writer, Paul, places himself among those presently being saved.  He, and those referenced with him, had been saved (past [Genesis 1:2-5 {2b}; Ephesians 2:8-9]), they were being saved (present [Genesis 1:6ff; Ephesians 2:10]), and this was with a view to salvation, a seventh day rest (future [Genesis 2:1-3; Hebrews 4:4-9]).

They had been saved by/through the simple preaching of the gospel of grace; they were now being saved by/through the preaching of the gospel of glory.  And both have to do with the preaching of the cross, with a view to salvation being realized on the seventh day, in the Messianic Era.

Contextually, those perishing in the first part of the verse CANNOT possibly be a reference to unsaved individuals.  The subject at hand is the preaching of the cross to the saved, NOT to the unsaved.  Those perishing can only refer to Christians who are not moving beyond that which is foreshadowed by activity on day one in Genesis chapter one into that which is foreshadowed by activity on days two through six, or beyond that which is seen in Ephesians 2:8-9 into that which is seen in Ephesians 2:10.

Then, that which is seen in 1 Corinthians 2:1ff simply continues from chapter one, though from the wording and a statement in 1 Corinthians 15:3-4, a broader coverage of the preaching of the gospel is evidently now seen.

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 15:3-4)

When Paul first went to Corinth, he could only have found a city filled with unsaved Gentiles.  And a preaching of the cross to the unsaved had to occur first, which is seen in 1 Corinthians 15:3 – “Christ died for our sins.”  Salvation by/through this initial aspect of the preaching of the cross is by means of death and shed blood.  It has existed this way since man’s sin in Eden in Genesis 3, and no change can ever occur.

Then 1 Corinthians 15:4 carries matters beyond that which is seen in 1 Corinthians 15:3, moving into a continued preaching of the cross, a preaching of the cross to the saved, to those having “passed from death to life” through the previous preaching of the cross to the unsaved.

Note the basic, overall type beginning in Exodus 12 and ending at the conclusion of the book, in Exodus 40, or, in another respect, continuing to and ending in the book of Joshua.

Death and shed blood occurred while the Israelites were still in Egypt, a type of the world (death and shed blood of paschal lambs, and the proper application of this blood [on the door posts and lintel]).

This foreshadows Christ’s death and shed blood at Calvary, with a view to an unsaved individual still in the world (death and shed blood of the Paschal Lamb, and the proper application of His blood [by faith]).

This would be one aspect of that which is seen in 1 Corinthians 2:3, the initial part of the preaching of the cross.  But, as seen from verse eighteen in the previous chapter, or from the initial framework set forth at the beginning of Scripture, or in numerous places in Scripture that could be referenced, an individual is NOT to remain at this initial point.  And this is succinctly stated in the continuing verse in 1 Corinthians 15:4, pointing to burial, then resurrection.

Note the type once again in Exodus, moving beyond the thought of death, shed blood, and a proper application of the blood while still in Egypt.  This is followed by the march toward the Red Sea and the Red Sea passage (with all involved therein), the march to Sinai (with all involved therein), and the march to the land (with all involved therein).

All of this is fraught with typical significance and meaning.

In one respect it has to do with the unsaved during present time, and with Christians during both present and future time, taking Christians into the Messianic Era.

In another respect, it has to do with Israel’s future, beginning with their national conversion, and moving from there into events taking the nation into the Messianic Era.

Whether for the saved or the unsaved, matters begin at the cross, with crucifixion and death.

For the unsaved, activity surrounding the cross is the only thing in view.  There is a vicarious death, allowing the unsaved person, once saved, to be seen in two respects – as both “dead” and as having “passed from death to life” (Ephesians 2:5-7; Colossians 2:20; 3:1-10).

And from the preceding point, with the person now a Christian and seen as dead (vicariously), a burial is to occur.  And this burial is with a view to resurrection, both during the present time and on the third day, the third 1,000-year period, yet future.

Note the type in Exodus.  A vicarious death occurred while in Egypt by/through the death and shed blood of paschal lambs.  Then the dead were buried in the Red Sea passage and raised as they came up out of the Sea on the eastern banks.

At this point they were out of Egypt and separated from the things of Egypt.  The old man, connected with death, was to be left in the tomb, beneath the waters of the Sea; and the new man was now to walk in newness of life, with a view to a theocracy in a new land out ahead.

The theocracy can be seen as brought into existence at the end of the book of Exodus; and the Israelites’ entrance into the land, in possession of the theocracy, can be seen as realized in the book of Joshua.

ALL of this, typical of Israel yet future, is also typical of unsaved and saved man today.  Death occurs at the cross, the dead are to be buried (the waters of baptism), and the person is to be raised from the waters, with that which is associated with death left beneath the waters, in the tomb.

And ALL of this, exactly as in the type, is with a view to a removal from the world, walking in newness of life, and a kingdom out ahead to be realized in another land (a heavenly land rather than an earthly land, as with Israel).

ALL of this has to do with the preaching of the cross.  And one can easily see that matters DON’T move very far in Scripture if this preaching DOESN’T move beyond a preaching of the cross to the unsaved.

Part 2

Commentators invariably associate that which is seen in 1 Corinthians 2:1-8 with the preaching of the gospel of grace to the unsaved.  And, undoubtedly, the main thing facilitating this type of understanding of these verses is a failure to see any continuing aspect to the gospel message, i.e., a preaching of the cross to the saved as well.

Among most Christians today (years past as well), if the gospel message is mentioned – proclaiming the gospel – only one message invariably comes to mind, which has to do with a message proclaimed to the unsaved, not to the saved.

But, the manner in which the word “gospel” is used throughout the New Testament is quite different.  Referencing all usages of this word in the New Testament (the Greek word euaggelion, “gospel,” “good news,” appears about eighty times), a person will find that over four-fifths (closer to nine-tenths) of  the different times that this word appears, contextually, the word refers to “good news” OTHER THAN TO the gospel of grace.

But, despite this, Christians continue to see the usage of this word only one way in Scripture, having to do with only one message – a message to the unsaved.

Individuals seeing and understanding things in the preceding manner can only have major problems with the text from 1 Corinthians 2:1-8, particularly the last four verses (1 Corinthians 2:5-8), for NOTHING in any one of these last four verses can have anything to do with the preaching of the gospel message to the unsaved.  ONLY material pertaining to the saved can be in view throughout, which can only present major problems when trying to relate these verses to the gospel of grace.

And, this is no small thing, for individuals improperly understanding this passage, attempting to proclaim the simple gospel of grace from these verses, can only corrupt one facet of the gospel message and destroy the other.

With the preceding in mind, note a number of different things about 1 Corinthians 2:5-8:

A Mystery (1 Corinthians 2:7)

That which is in view in these verses is referred to as a “mystery,” having to do with God’s “power” and “wisdom,” seen in verses five through seven:  “the power of God” and “wisdom among those who are mature.”

And understanding how the word “mystery” is used in the New Testament will form a base for a correct understanding of this passage.

1)  Usage of “Mystery” in the New Testament

The word “mystery” is used twenty-seven times in the New Testament.

It is used one time in each of the three synoptic gospels, for the same event – the mysteries of the kingdom (Matthew 13:11; Mark 4:11; Luke 8:10).

It is used twenty times in the Pauline epistles.

Paul used the word numerous times to reference the gospel that he had been called to proclaim throughout the Gentile world (Romans 16:25; Ephesians 3:3-4, 9; 6:19; Colossians 1:26-28).

He used the word to reference Israel’s blindness, awaiting the fullness of the Gentiles, to be followed by Israel’s salvation (Romans 11:25-26).

And, among several other usages, Paul used the word to reference the coming resurrection of Christians and the corresponding removal of the living at the end of the present dispensation (1 Corinthians 15:51ff).

The word is not used in Hebrews or the general epistles, but it is used four times in the book of Revelation.  It is used of the seven stars (Revelation 1:20), of God (Revelation 10:7), and of the woman and the beast (Revelation 17:4-5, 7).

2)  Definition of a “Mystery”

A “mystery” in the New Testament does not have to do with something completely new, something not dealt with at all or unknown in the Old Testament (a misconception that is often taught concerning the meaning of the word).  This, of course, couldn’t be true, for there can be NOTHING in the New that cannot be found after some form in the Old.

If there was something in the New that could not be found after some fashion in the Old, note what this would do relative to perfection in the Word made flesh (John 1:1-2, 14) before a single word of the New had been penned.

Rather, a “mystery” in the New Testament has to do with an opening up and unveiling of something previously introduced and dealt with in the Old Testament.  A “mystery” has to do with additional revelation, commentary, on that which already exists in the Old Testament, allowing the Old Testament revelation to be fully opened up and revealed (e.g., note that a full revelation of the Son in the book of Revelation, which is the announced subject matter of the book in the opening verse [Revelation 1:1], allows the “mystery of God” [Revelation 10:7] to be correspondingly fully opened up as well, for Christ is God manifested in the flesh).

3)  Paul’s Gospel

Note in the preceding definition and coverage of the word “mystery” in the New Testament that the word is used in connection with Paul’s gospel a number of times.  And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, it is clear that the gospel that Paul had been called to proclaim had to do with the preaching of the cross to the saved, not to the unsaved (cf. Romans 2:16; 16:25; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 3:1-6).

The word “mystery,” associated with Paul’s gospel, is NEVER used in the New Testament in connection with the gospel of grace, only with the gospel of glory.

Also, in this respect, note “for our glory,” and “the Lord of glory” in 1 Corinthians 2:7-8).

The Rulers of this Age (1 Corinthians 2:6, 8)

A great deal of controversy exists among commentators over the identity of “the rulers” (KJV: “the princes”) referenced in 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8.  The Greek word translated “rulers” in the passage is archon, used of both men on earth and angels in Satan’s kingdom (Matthew 9:23, 34; John 3:1; Ephesians 2:2).  This same word was used by the Septuagint translators (Greek Old Testament) in Daniel 10:13, 20-21, verses referring to ruling angels in the heavens.

Then there is the related Greek word arche, meaning “beginning” (e.g., John 1:1), but sometimes used in the same sense as archon.  Both words mean “beginning,” and both words are used relative to “rulers,” “principalities,” with archon used more so than arche in this respect.

The way arche is used in both the books of Ephesians and Colossians though would be an exception to the preceding.  The word is used in Ephesians 1:21; 3:10; 6:12 and in Colossians 1:16; 2:10, 15, principally of angels in Satan’s kingdom in both books (human rulers are included with angelic rulers in Ephesians 1:21; Colossians 1:16; 2:10).  Then the word is used relative to rulers among men in Titus 3:1.

But, how is archon used in 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8?  Does the word refer to rulers among men here on earth?  Or, does it refer to rulers in Satan’s kingdom in the heavens?

Understanding two things – the subject at hand and what these rulers were failing to see in 1 Corinthians 2:5-8 – forms the crux of the matter; and, to properly understand the passage, these two things MUST be understood.

As previously seen, the subject at hand has to do with different things surrounding the preaching of the cross to the saved, not to the unsaved; and these rulers had failed to see and understand the full ramifications of Christ’s crucifixion.

That is to say, they saw no more than most Christians see today – nothing beyond a simple preaching of the gospel of grace, the preaching of the cross to the unsaved.  Had they seen what lay beyond the preceding – the preaching of the cross to the saved, along with the ramifications of this preaching – they would have done everything in their power to prevent the crucifixion (1 Corinthians 2:8).

Why?  The answer is not only very simple but the answer will also identify “the rulers of this age” in 1 Corinthians 2:6, 8.

Earthly rulers COULDN’T POSSIBLY be in view, for they have absolutely NOTHING to do with the subject matter at hand.  But Satan and his angels have EVERYTHING to do with it.

Results of the lone gospel of grace are of no danger to Satan and his angels.  An unsaved person being saved by means of the preaching of the cross DOES NOT place that person in a position to one day replace one of the angels ruling under Satan.  And these ruling angels would have known, from Old Testament Scripture, the ramifications of Christ’s finished work at Calvary in this respect.

The text (1 Corinthians 2:8) clearly indicates that the preceding was not something that they tried to prevent.  In fact, from events that transpired, Satan’s angels, ruling through the Roman rulers of that day (Daniel 10:12-21), evidently either caused or looked favorably on the crucifixion being carried out by the Romans on behalf of the Jews.

(Angels act under fixed laws in God’s kingdom, with their actions becoming the Lord’s actions [e.g., actions of angels and the Lord in Genesis 18; 19].

And, within Satan’s kingdom, “angels” form the gods of the nations [cf. 2 Chronicles 32:13-15; Psalm 96:5], with rulers in the Gentile nations conducting affairs under them [under their gods].  And it is evident from 1 Corinthians 2:8 that a form of this same fixed-law government exists in Satan’s kingdom between angelic rulers in the heavens and human rulers on the earth.

The manner in which the government of the earth has been established – patterned after God’s government of the universe – would leave both heavenly and earthly rulers EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE for the actions of earthly rulers, occupying positions of power under the heavenly rulers, as seen in 1 Corinthians 2:8.)

What Satan and his angels didn’t see and understand, which they would have tried to prevent at all costs had they known, was the same thing that angels outside of Satan’s kingdom also didn’t know, inquiring about the matter as seen in 1 Peter 1:12 (the saving of the soul [1 Peter 1:9-12]).

What they didn’t know had to do with a present and future salvation, having to do with the preaching of the cross to the saved.  This present aspect of salvation had to do with bringing man into a position where he could replace angels ruling under Satan, and the future salvation had to do with this present salvation being realized.

And it is plain to see how this would affect these angels and why they would have done everything within their power to prevent Christ’s crucifixion had they known these things.

The opening up of these things from the Old Testament, to both men and angels (Ephesians 3:1-11), awaited the apostle Paul, with this revelation given through him.  And it was this message that he carried throughout the Gentile world (Colossians 1:20-23).

Part 3

Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.  For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.  For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul?  Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul? (Matthew 16:24-26)

In the preceding verses, the word “life” appears twice in verse twenty-five and the word “soul” appears twice in verse twenty-six.  Both words are translations of the Greek word psuche, meaning either “soul” or “life.”  But, to avoid confusion, psuche should be translated and understood in a consistent manner in both verses, as either “soul” or “life.”

Within man’s triune being (body, soul, and spirit [1 Thessalonians 5:23]), the eternal salvation that he either already has or can have through faith in Christ has to do, during present time, with his “spirit” alone, not with his “soul” or “body” (John 3:6).

Salvation in Scripture is seen inseparably associated with the complete gospel message, the complete preaching of the cross, the complete man (spirit, soul, and body) comprising past, present, and future aspects of all.

We have been saved (past, having to do with the “spirit”), we are being saved (present, having to do with the “soul”), and we are about to be saved (future, having to do with the realization of the salvation of the “soul,” along with the “body”).

(For additional information on this subject, refer to the author’s book, “Salvation of the Soul” – at the following link: Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.)

Note that the text (Matthew 16:24-26) can only be dealing with saved individuals.  The unsaved CANNOT possibly be in view.  Spiritual values are involved, and spiritually the unsaved are dead (Ephesians 2:1, 5).  “Life” MUST first be imparted.  They MUST first pass “from death to life” (John 5:24).

No unsaved person could ever be told to deny himself, take up his cross, and follow Christ.

He could do the first part (deny self), though doing this could only have to do with the natural man, the man of flesh, and could NEVER result in spiritual values, his salvation, etc.  But he couldn’t possibly do the second part (take up his cross), for he has no cross to take up.  He, apart from Christ, is alienated from the cross.  And he couldn’t do the third part either (follow Christ), for the spiritual part of the man is dead, separated from Christ.

On the other hand, this verse relates EXACTLY what a saved person is supposed to do – MUST DO, IF,,, – with the next two verses providing commentary on the matter.

He is to deny himself, which has to do with the soul (the seat of the person’s emotions, feelings, desires).  He is to deny the fleshly impulses of the soul, keep them in check, in subjection to the man of spirit (cf. Genesis 16:9; 21:9-10; Galatians 4:22-31; 5:17-21).

Then he is to take up his cross.  Saved man, unlike unsaved man, has a cross, for he has been “crucified with Christ” (Romans 6:6).  The cross is the instrument of death, and saved man taking up his cross can only be seen as synonymous with dying to self, then living unto God in resurrection power (pertaining to the third day, the third thousandth yearas he follows Christ (Galatians 2:20; 5:24).

And, relative to the preceding, the Christian can only go in ONE OF TWO DIRECTIONS, as seen in verse twenty-five.  He can do as commanded in verse twenty-four and realize present and future aspects of the salvation of his soul; or, he can fail to do as commanded in verse twenty-four and fail to realize present and future aspects of the salvation of his soul.

There is NO MIDDLE GROUND on the preceding, and there are NO EXCEPTIONS.  ALL CHRISTIANS are included; NONE are excluded.

Now, note the context on both sides of Matthew 16:24-26 to see how the entire matter has to do with not only the preaching of the cross to the saved but where this takes Christians in the end who follow or do not follow the Lord’s instructions.

Context, Preceding Matthew 16:24-26

He [Jesus] said to them [His disciples], “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven”.,,, From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.  Then Peter took Him aside and began to rebuke Him, saying, “Far be it from You, Lord; this shall not happen to You!” But He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are an offense to Me, for you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.” (Matthew 16:15-17, 21-23)

There are two contrasting scenes in the preceding verses, both having to do with Peter.

In the first (Matthew 16:15-17), Peter, responding to the Lord’s question, was blessed, with his response associated with information received from the Father in heaven.

In the second (Matthew 16:21-23), exactly the opposite occurred.  Peter’s response was associated with Satanic activity here on earth.  And, because it was so far removed from God’s plans and purposes for man, Jesus told Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan!” (lit., “Get opposite me, Satan,” i.e., “Get away from me, for your opposition to the work that I am about to perform is of Satan, not of the Father” [cf. John 8:28-47]).

1)  Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah

When Jesus and His disciples came to the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, Jesus asked them, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?” (Matthew 16:13).  They responded with different names and thoughts, ranging from the ancient prophets to John the Baptist (Matthew 16:14).  Then Jesus, re-asking the question, made it very personal:  “But who do you say that I am?” (Matthew 16:15).

Then Simon Peter spoke up and gave the best response possible: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16).  And Jesus acknowledged the veracity and completeness of Peter’s response by saying, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 16:17).

Simon Peter, with that succinct statement, spoke volumes.  Everything was there regarding the proper identity of both Jesus on earth and the Father in heaven.

Jesus was declared to be “the Christ,” the One who would rule and reign, “the Son of the living God.”

Only “Sons” can rule in God’s kingdom.  But Jesus was declared to be a particular, specific Son. He was declared to be “the Son” of the One true and “living God,” completely separate from sonship and/or rulership associated with “the gods of the [Gentile] nations” (2 Chronicles 32:13-15; Psalm 96:5).

Matthew 16:15-17 presents the positive side of the matter, and seeing why, of course, is evident.  Now, note the negative side of the matter in the continuing verses in the gospel of Matthew.

2)  Get behind Me, Satan!

Following Peter’s statement concerning Jesus’ true identity and Jesus’ response regarding this statement, Peter, evidently because of the nature of that which he had stated about Jesus’ identity, remained foremost among the disciples when Jesus called attention to building His “Church” and “the keys of the kingdom of the heavens” (Matthew 16:18-19).

(For information on Matthew 16:19, refer to the author’s pamphlet, “Keys of the Kingdom” at Keys of the Kingdom by Arlen Chitwood.)

Then, Jesus seemingly moved in a direction away from Peter’s previous statement by charging His disciples “that they should tell no one that He was Jesus the Christ” (Matthew 16:20).  But this charge was not directing them away from that which Peter had just stated at all.  Rather, this charge had to do with directing their attention to that which He must now do in order to fully achieve the goal seen in Peter’s previous statement (Matthew 16:21).

Though the offer of the kingdom of the heavens remained open to Israel, as previously seen regarding something similar (Matthew 12; 13), matters moved centrally away from this offer to statements concerning Calvary and the Church.  And the events of Calvary are inseparably connected with the reason that the Church was brought into existence.

Note that far more exists concerning the events of Calvary than just a preaching of the cross to the unsaved.  The events of Calvary also allow for a continued aspect to the overall salvation message, seen in the continuing verses of this chapter in the gospel of Matthew (Matthew 16:24-26).

This is why, according to Hebrews 12:2, that Christ, “for the joy that was set before Him [the day when He would rule and reign (Matthew 25:21, 23)] endured the cross, despising the shame,” which is EXACTLY what Christians MUST DO as well if they are to have a part with Christ in that coming day (cf. John 12:24; 2 Timothy 2:4-12).

This is what Peter, opposing Christ’s impending work at Calvary, did not understand.  And this accounts for Christ’s sharp rebuke following Peter’s previous statement concerning Jesus’ identity.

Context, Following Matthew 16:24-26

For the Son of Man will come in the glory of His Father with His angels, and then He will reward each according to his works.  Assuredly, I say to you, there are some standing here who shall not taste death till they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom.  Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John his brother, led them up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them…. (Matthew 16:27-17:2a)

Then, following Matthew 16:24-26, the direction toward which all things in Scripture move is dealt with.  The continuing text takes one to the time of Christ’s return.  And, for Christians, “rewards” will be forthcoming at this time, something that will have previously been determined at the judgment seat (Matthew 16:27).

(The Greek word translated “reward” is misthos, and translating this word as “reward” could leave a wrong understanding of what is in view.  Misthos has to do with payment or wages for services rendered, one completely commensurate with the other.

Thus, there could be both positive and negative ramifications to the matter – much work, much payment; little work, little payment; no work, no payment.)

And, continuing with the text, “rewards,” payment for services rendered, is then seen to have to do with the coming kingdom.

Jesus declared that some of the individuals present, listening to Him, would not die until they had seen “the Son of Man coming in His kingdom” (Matthew 16:28).  And this is EXACTLY what three of them saw six days later, foreshadowing 6,000 years, when Jesus took Peter, James, and John “up on a high mountain by themselves; and He was transfigured before them....” (Matthew 17:1ff).

They didn’t see something like the Son of man coming in His kingdom (i.e., a fore view of that coming day).  They were moved ahead in time, 2,000 years, and saw EXACTLY what the text states.

As well, note that Moses and Elijah appeared [will appear] with Christ in His “glory,” talking with Him, speaking of “His decease which He was about to accomplish [or future, ‘did accomplish’] at Jerusalem” (Matthew 17:3; Mark 9:4; Luke 9:30-31).  And, seen in connection with the coming kingdom, the subject matter dealt with by Jesus, Moses, and Elijah is in PERFECT KEEPING with the overall scope of Christ’s finished work at Calvary.

(For additional information on Moses and Elijah accompanying Christ at the time of His return, “with his mighty angels” [2 Thessalonians 1:7], refer to the author’s book, Coming in His Kingdom at Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Coming in His Kingdom.)

And that’s what the dual aspect of the preaching of the cross is about, necessitating Christ’s finished work at Calvary for THE COMPLETE MESSAGE.

The initial part of the message has to do with “the unsaved,” bringing a person into a position where he can realize that which lies beyond.

And the continuing part of the message, having to do with “the saved,” has to do with man ultimately realizing the reason, purpose for his salvation.

And ALL has to do with the coming kingdom.

Part 4

So, as much as is in me, I am ready to preach the gospel to you who are in Rome also.

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek [i.e., “Gentile,” cf. Romans 1:13-14].

For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, “The just shall live by faith” [Habakkuk 2:4]. (Romans 1:15-17)

For the message [KJV: “preaching”] 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)

The gospel that Paul desired to proclaim to the Christians in Rome (Romans 1:15) is referred to as “the gospel of Christ” in Romans 1:16 and is associated with a continuing act of faith in Romans 1:17.

The “gospel of Christ” in this passage is a reference to the same message Paul called “my gospel” (Romans 2:16; 16:25), which he had been called to proclaim to Christians throughout the Gentile world (Ephesians 3:1-6; Colossians 1:20-23).  And calling attention to this message, regardless of the terminology used, is simply another way of referring to “the message of the cross” in 1 Corinthians 1:18.

Two Types of Christians in Romans

The first chapter of Romans divides itself into two fairly equal parts, dealing with two types of Christians, in relation to one central subject.

The first half of the chapter (Romans 1:1-17) has to do with faithful Christians in relation to the gospel message, the good news – though not that facet of the good news pertaining to the grace of God, but that facet of the good news pertaining to the coming Glory of Christ.

And the last half of the chapter (Romans 1:18-32) has to do with unfaithful Christians in relation to the same gospel message, the same good news.

1)  The Type of Christians Seen in Romans 1:1-17

The Christians described in the opening part of the chapter are, as Paul described himself, “not ashamed of the gospel of Christ”; or, using an explanation of that being referenced in the words “gospel” and “Christ” in the verse, a person could say that Christians of this nature are “not ashamed of the good news of the One who will rule and reign.”

There is really nothing about salvation by grace through faith in these first seventeen verses.  The verses, among related issues, have to do with “the seed of David” (Romans 1:3), declared to be “the Son of God with power [‘sonship’ has to do with rulership]” (Romans 1:4), with “obedience to the faith [‘the faith,’ an expression peculiarly related to the Word of the Kingdom]” (Romans 1:5), with the faith of Christians in Rome being “spoken of throughout the whole world” (Romans 1:8), and with Paul’s expressed desire to go to and proclaim this good news to the Christians in Rome, for a stated purpose – “that I might have some fruit among you also, just as among the other Gentiles” (Romans 1:10, 13; cf. Romans 1:15-16).

2)  The Type of Christians Seen in Romans 1:18-32

Then, with verse seventeen as a closing statement for the opening part of the chapter, the other type of Christians are presented.  And the type of Christians presented in this section, rather than exercising faith and looking forward to the salvation in view in verse sixteen, had, instead, through their unfaithfulness, been led into various types of disobedience and will suffer “the wrath of God.”

Exactly the opposite of that which is seen in the previous section is seen in this section.  And that becomes increasingly evident as one continues studying this section.

First of all, note the subject matter at hand.  The gospel of grace (having to do with the unsaved and one’s eternal salvation) is not the message Paul called attention to in various ways in the opening seventeen verses.  This has already been shown but will become more evident through progressive material in this article.

Then, to further illustrate that Christians alone can be in view throughout chapter one, note the words “knowledge” and “knowing” in verses twenty-eight and thirty-two.

Both of these words are translations of the Greek word epignosis (the verb form of this word is used in Romans 1:32 [epiginosko], meaning the same as the noun form in Romans 1:28).

In the Greek text there is the regular word for knowledge (gnosis); and there is an intensified form of gnosis, formed by the preposition epi (meaning, “upon”) being prefixed to the word (epi-gnosis, which has to do with a knowledge of something beyond a regular knowledge, i.e., some facet of a mature knowledge concerning the matter at hand).

And, according to 1 Corinthians 2:14, the natural man (which is all that the unsaved person possesses) can’t even come into possession of a type of knowledge described by gnosis (the Greek word used in this verse).  The reason, of course, is because he is spiritually dead.  He simply cannot understand spiritual things.

But the individuals in the latter part of Romans chapter one came into possession of a knowledge of that which is in view and described as epignosis.  How did they do this if unsaved?  They didn’t, for, according to 1 Corinthians 2:14, if unsaved, they couldn’t have even come into possession of a type of knowledge of that which is in view and described by the word gnosis, much less epignosis.

And, aside from the preceding, it wouldn’t make any sense whatsoever to see the first seventeen verses correctly (a message [Romans 1:15-16] having to do with faith [Romans 1:8, 16-17], in relation to fruit-bearing [Romans 1:13]), and then attempt to see the latter part of the chapter (Romans 1:18-32) dealing with the unsaved.  Scripture is simply not structured in such a fashion.

(Note that not every unfaithful Christian would fit into the category of those committing the sins mentioned in Romans 1:18-32, though many would [an ever-increasing number in the world today].

The division between these two types of Christians is on the basis of an exercise of faith.  One exercises faith, the other does not.

And, there is no middle ground in this realm.  Christians either find themselves among those described in the first part of the chapter or among those described in the latter part of the chapter, regardless of whether or not they are guilty of the sins named in the chapter.

He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad [Matthew 12:30; cf. Luke 11:23].)

The Power of God to Salvation

The “gospel of Christ” in Romans 1:16 and the “message [preaching] of the cross” in 1 Corinthians 1:18 – again, two ways of saying the same thing – are associated with GOD’S POWER in relation to salvation.

As clearly stated in both verses, quoting from Romans 1:16, this message is “the power of God to salvation for everyone that believes.”

Apart from the “gospel of Christ,” the “message [preaching] of the cross,” NOTHING ELSE has anything to do with, or can effect in any way, salvation for fallen man.  Christ’s finished work on the cross ALONE allows God to exercise His power in this respect.

And this exercise of power could only extend to any facet of the overall gospel message, connected with any part of God’s work regarding man’s salvation, initially foreshadowed in Scripture by His restorative work throughout all six days in Genesis chapter one.

In Matthew 28:18-20, prefacing a command to go into all the world and make disciples in all the nations, baptizing and teaching them (Matthew 28:19-20), Christ stated, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18).

The complete statement (Matthew 28:18-20), contrary to the manner in which it is usually handled, has to do with the same message seen in Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:18.  And this would be in complete keeping with the manner in which the overall salvation message is presented throughout Scripture.

(As previously seen in this article, the overall salvation message presented throughout Scripture is centrally a message to the saved rather than to the unsaved [ref. Part 1], with the preaching of the cross covering both [messages to both the saved and the unsaved], though the emphasis in Scripture ALWAYS centers on the preaching of the cross as it relates to the saved rather than to the unsaved.)

ALL AUTHORITY” given to Christ in Matthew 28:18 can only have to do with a proclamation of THE COMPLETE GOSPEL MESSAGE surrounding “the cross,” messages to both the saved and the unsaved.  Christ is the Savior, the One through whom God effects salvation, regardless of where a person begins with the message, whether to the saved or to the unsaved.

Christ is the One who performed a finished work on the cross, a work having to do with both the saved and the unsaved. He is the One in possession of “all authority,” seen in connection with the preaching of the cross to the saved in Matthew 28:18-20, which could only, as well, be seen in a broader respect – a prior preaching of the cross to the unsaved, effecting a passing “from death to life,” allowing a continued preaching of the cross.

There is simply NO SUCH THING as salvation being effected at any point in ruined man’s restoration – whether to the saved or to the unsaved – apart from the finished work of the Son on the cross and the power that He possesses, associated with this finished work.

This is seen as “the power of God” in Romans 1:16 and 1 Corinthians 1:18, but note the identity of the Son in relation to God.  The Son is God manifested in the flesh.  Thus, the Son’s power and His finished work on the cross is, as well, God’s power and His finished work on the cross.

One simply cannot be separated from the Other, as the written Word cannot be separated from the Word made flesh, or from God (John 1:1-2, 14).

God’s actions are ALWAYS in connection with His power, which are ALWAYS in complete accord with His revealed Word.  God simply WILL NOT act, exercise His power, in a manner contrary to that which He has revealed in His Word.

The Spirit of God, performing a restorative work in ruined man – whether saved or unsaved man – does this work ON ONE BASIS ALONE THROUGH ONE POWER ALONE.  The Spirit of God does this work on the basis of Christ’s finished work on the cross, the One in possession of “all authority.”

This is the why of verses such as Acts 4:12

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

There is NO SALVATION outside of Christ, for there is NO WORK of the cross OR AUTHORITY [POWER] outside of Christ.  ANY AND ALL work regarding salvation CAN ONLY have to do with Christ, His finished work on the cross, and His authority [power].

And the Spirit of God, effecting a work in man regarding salvation – whether saved or unsaved man – does that work SOLELY in connection with the finished work of God’s Son on the cross, exercising the Son’s power.

If an unsaved person thinks that he can circumnavigate Christ’s finished work and His power regarding salvation, that person had better think again.

Or, if a saved person thinks that he can circumnavigate Christ’s finished work and His power regarding an on-going work of salvation, that person had better think again as well.

Satan
By Charles Strong of Bible One
 
Introduction
 
This is a non-comprehensive study (essentially a scriptural outline) on the person of Satan.  It covers some of the appellations (designations and/or names) to which he is referenced, his power, his work, and his career as revealed in Scripture.  This mighty angel appears in the Bible with prominence, importance, and power second only to the God.  He is mentioned in Scripture as often as all other angels together.  He is revealed in history from its first page to its last and always he is presented as a most vital factor in the life and progression of men, of angels, and of the universe itself.  It is significant that Scripture traces with detail this archfiend from his creation, through his career, and on to his final judgment.  Such distinction is not accorded to any other angel; or, arguably, to any human being.
 
His Appellations (designations and/or names)

• Lucifer, son of the morning (name and title prior to his fall) — Isaiah 14:12
• Satan (resistor) — Job 1:6ff; Zechariah 3:1-2; Acts 26:18; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 12:9
• Devil (accuser, slanderer) — Matthew 4:1ff; Luke 4:6, 12; 9:42; John 8:44; 13:2; Ephesians 4:27; 6:11; Hebrews 2:14; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8;  Revelation 12:9; 20:10
• Serpent of old (implies guile, insidious deception) — Genesis 3:1ff; Revelation 12:9
• Angel of the bottomless pit — Revelation 9:11
• Abaddon/Apollyon (destroyer) — Revelation 9:11
• Dragon (implies his power) — Revelation 12:9; 16:13
• Belial (worthlessness) — 2 Corinthians 6:15
• Beelzebub (O.T. master of flies; N.T. prince of the demons) — 2 Kings 1:2-3, 6, 16; Matthew 10:25; 12:24
• Prince of the demons — Matthew 12:24
• Father of “the lie” — John 8:44
• Murderer — John 8:44
• Adversary — 1 Peter 5:8
• Tempter — Matthew 4:3
• The evil one — John 17:15
• The accuser of our brethren — Revelation 12:10
• The prince (ruler) of this world — Luke 4:31; John 12:31; 14:30; 16:11
• The prince of the power of the air — Ephesians 2:2
• The god of this world — 2 Corinthians 4:4
• Wicked (Lawless) one — Matthew 13:19ff; Ephesians 6:16; 2 Thessalonians 2:8

His Power

1. Upon his creation — Ezekiel 28:11-16

2. After his moral fall — Job 2:7; Isaiah 14:12-17; Luke 4:6; 22:31; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Hebrews 2:14

3. After his judgment at the cross — Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 5:5; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; 4:27; Ephesians 6:11; 2 Thessalonians 2:7-9; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:19

His Work

1. Relative to the unsaved — Isaiah 14:17; Acts 26:18; 2 Corinthians 4:3-4; Ephesians 2:2; Colossians 1:13; 1 John 5:19

2. Relative to the saved — Acts 26:18; 1 Corinthians 5:5; Ephesians 4:27; 6:11-18; James 4:7; 1 Peter 5:8-9; 1 John 5:19

3. Relative to truth — John 8:44

His Career

1. Past

a. He experienced a moral fall — Isaiah 14:12-17; Ezekiel 28:15; 1 Timothy 3:6
b. His judgment was predicted in Eden — Genesis 3:15
c. His judgment was accomplished at the cross — John 12:31-33; 16:11

(It should be noted that although Satan’s judgment was achieved at the cross, his sentence will not be fully realized until the future — Revelation 20)

2. Present

a. He reigns as a usurper (one who seizes and holds by force without legal right) today — 2 Corinthians 4:4; Ephesians 2:2; Revelation 2:13
b. He accuses Christians before God — Revelation 12:10
c. He fathers all who would be independent from God — John 8:44; Ephesians 2:2

3. Future

a. He will be cast out of heaven — Revelation 12:7-12; cf. Isaiah 14:12; Luke 10:18
b. He will be confined to the abyss for 1,000 years — Revelation 20:1-3, 7
c. Upon release from the abyss, he will lead armies against God — Revelation 20:8-9
d. He will finally be doomed to the lake of fire — Revelation 20:10

The Prime Principle of Christianity
By Charles Strong of Bible One

The word “principle” conveys what is a rule or tenet of any particular system, structure, or organism that, when activated or utilized, contributes to the opening or understanding and securing or establishment of the system, structure, or organism.  The word “prime” conveys that which “leads,” i.e., that which is foundational, the most significant, the most important.  To put it another way, the “prime principle” is the key that will unlock and enable that which otherwise would remain locked, i.e., unknown, confounded and unachievable.

The foundation of Christianity is indeed a mystery to this world system. It embodies and is solely based upon the revelation from the Living God, the Creator of all that exists.  It encompasses God’s plan for man, man’s fall from God’s plan, and God’s following and complete redemptive plan for man.  Yet, it remains a mystery for the “natural man” who is “dead in trespasses and sins” (Ephesians 2:1) and who “does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them” (1 Corinthians 2:14).

(This foundation is further discussed in an associated study entitled “The Pinnacle of Christianity,” which may be reviewed at the following link: Bible One - Charles Strong's The Pinnacle of Christianity.)

Utilizing only his own intellectual and scientific resources, man is unable to comprehend God and His eternal Truth regarding the foundational purpose and plan for the human race.  Man’s only hope, his only means, is to employ the key – the prime principle – that will unlock the mystery of God and His plan for man.

Indeed, if this crucial standard would have been exercised at the very beginning by Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, this world system would not have been transformed into a most horrific degenerate state.  So the question is, “What is the prime principle, the key to unlocking the truth of God and His Word for all mankind?”

The key, the prime principle that must be utilized for man to apprehend (understand and connect to) God is “to only believe (to accept or regard as true) what God has to say about a matter.”  This key may appear to be simplistic, but it is profound beyond man’s rational capacity.  To put it another way, one must solely exercise “faith.”  Although this may not comport with man’s intellect or worldly experience, it definitely is the only means for a person to connect with the Living God, his Creator.

Man was created in the “image” of God (Genesis 1:26-27), and the “key” [prime principle] discussed here is an extension of a most significant aspect of God’s “image” – the freedom (ability) to choose between opposing positions. Truthfully, a person’s actions do reveal what he or she believes.  If Eve would only have chosen to believe God, she would never have accepted and followed the words of the serpent in the Garden (Genesis 3).  The Fall of man would never have taken place and this world system would never have mutated into its present condition.  It all depended upon the foundational, the prime principle, which is to “believe (exercise faith in) what God had to say about a matter.”

When you think about it, nothing brings more honor and satisfaction to a father and mother than when their children believe what they tell them.  Conversely, when children reject the guidance and instruction of their parents, it most always brings forth disappointment and sorrow to the parents as well as damage and eventual discomfort to the children.

God’s Word, the Holy Bible, is a book containing God’s revelation to man, which can only be apprehended (understood) by and through faith.  The word “faith” conveys the concept that one simply and solely believes what God has to say about a matter, nothing more or less. It is the only vehicle that man can employ to please his Creator.  It is the only vehicle man can employ that will release the shackles of darkness that impair spiritual insight.  Once a person exercises faith, God will complete the transaction by granting him spiritual access and an avenue of increasing enlightenment.

Faith in Christ and His substitutionary redemptive work for man on Calvary’s Cross is the sole basis for man’s spiritual (eternal) salvation.  A person who is “dead in trespasses and sins” can only be made spiritually “alive” through the vehicle of faith, i.e., making the conscious decision to trust (believe) in Christ and His work on the Cross for his eternal salvation (Ephesians 2:1, 8- 9; John 3:16-18; Acts 16:30-31).  Nothing else will accomplish this most important spiritual transition, a transition that is everlasting, unalterable by man or God.

Subsequent to man’s spiritual salvation, the only way he will be able to achieve the salvation of his soul (sanctification), which only relates to his participation (or lack of it) as part of the bride of Christ during the coming Messianic Era (the thousand year reign of Christ upon the earth), is to walk by faith in Christ, the Word of God (John 17:17; Colossians 2:6; James 1:21).

(The comprehensive plan of salvation for man, a tripartite being consisting of spirit, soul, and body, may be acquired at the following link: Bible One - Arlen Chitwood's Salvation of the Soul.)

During this lifetime, a person only has one avenue that will connect him to God and allow his affective participation with God his Creator.  It is the avenue of faith, to actually believe what God has to say about a matter.  For this avenue to be effective it must be concretely based on “the Word of God,” which in written form clearly reveals the Living Word of God, Christ Jesus. 

Christians who seriously study and exercise faith (believe what God has to say about a matter) in God’s Word assuredly secure the “salvation of their souls” (James 1:21; Hebrews 10:38-39), which will insure their approval at the Judgment Seat of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:10), resulting in their participation with Him as His bride in the coming Messianic Era (Revelation 19:7; 20:4; 2 Timothy 2:12).

Finally, a few remarks should be made as to what indicates or reflects a proper faith (believing) in what God has to say about a matter.  Probably the best example of this is found in the deportment and behavior of the centurion as reported in Matthew 8:5-13.  Once the centurion informed Christ of his suffering servant and heard Christ state that He would “come and heal him,” the centurion expressed full confidence that all that Christ needed to do was to “only speak a word” and his servant would “be healed.”  To this, Christ declared, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!”  In other words, the centurion simply took a position of “rest” (comfort) in God’s Word.  He needed no further effort or demonstration.  He exercised no anxiety or continuing concern.  He simply knew that the Word of God was sufficient.  There was no need to be concerned about the matter.  When a Christian in faith asks God for an answer to a specific situation in his life, he should from that time forward take rest and not continue in doubt regarding the issue.  He should automatically know that God will most certainly respond appropriately regarding the matter at hand.

Such is the prime principle of Christianity.  Nothing else will lead to spiritual success.  The Bible is profuse with the concept.  The remainder of this document will list many, if not most, of the passages of Scripture dealing with faith, which hopefully the reader will absorb and utilize in further study and spiritual growth.

Passages of Faith

Genesis 15:6 (Romans 4:3, 9, 22; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23)

Psalm 37:3, 5

Proverbs 3:5-6

Jeremiah 17:7 (Psalm 2:12; 34:8; 125:1; 146:5; Proverbs 16:20)

Habakkuk 2:4 (John 3:36; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)

Matthew 6:30

Matthew 8:5-13

Matthew 8:26

Matthew 9:2

Matthew 9:22 (Luke 7:50; 8:48; 17:19; 18:42)

Matthew 9:28-29

Matthew 13:58

Matthew 14:31

Matthew 15:28

Matthew 16:8

Matthew 17:20 (Matthew 21:21; Mark 11:23; Luke 17:6)

Matthew 21:21-22

Mark 1:15b (Acts 20:21)

Mark 2:5

Mark 4:40

Mark 5:34, 36

Mark 9:23-24, 42

Mark 10:52

Mark 11:22-24 (1 Timothy 2:8; James 1:5-6)

Mark 16:16 (John 3:18, 36)

Luke 1:45

Luke 5:20

Luke 7:9, 50

Luke 8:12, 25, 28, 48, 50

Luke 17:5-6, 19

Luke 18:8

Luke 18:42

John 1:7, 12

John 2:23

John 3:14-18, 36

John 4:39, 42, 49-50, 53

John 5:24, 38, 46-47

John 6:29, 35, 40, 47, 69 (Matthew 16:16; Mark 8:29; Luke 9:20; John 1:49; 11:27)

John 7:38-39

John 8:24

John 9:35, 38 (Matthew 14:33; 16:16; Mark 1:1; John 10:36; 1 John 5:13)

John 10:24-28, 37-38

John 11:25-27, 40

John 12:36, 44, 46

John 14:11-12

John 16:8a, 9, 27, 31

John 17:20

John 20:29-31

Acts 2:21 (Romans 10:13-14a)

Acts 8:37

Acts 9:42

Acts 10:43

Acts 11:17, 21

Acts 13:38-39, 48 (Romans 3:28; 8:3; Hebrews 7:19)

Acts 14:23

Acts 15:7-9

Acts 16:30-31, 34

Acts 18:8, 27

Acts 19:4

Acts 20:21 (Mark 1:15)

Acts 22:19

Acts 26:18

Romans 1:8 (Colossians 1:3, 4; 1 Thessalonians 1:8)

Romans 1:16-17 (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 2:9; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)

Romans 3:21-30

Romans 4:1-25 (Genesis 15:6; 2 Chronicles 20:7; Isaiah 41:8; Romans 4:3; Galatians 3:6; James 2:23)

Romans 5:1-2

Romans 9:30-33 (Psalm 118:22; Isaiah 8:14; 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Luke 2:34; Acts 4:11; 1 Corinthians 1:23; 1 Peter 2:6-8)

Romans 10:8-11, 13-14a, 17 (Deuteronomy 30:14; Matthew 10:32; Luke 12:8; Acts 2:21; Romans 9:33)

Romans 11:20

Romans 12:3, 6

Romans 14:22-23

1 Corinthians 1:21

1 Corinthians 2:5 (2 Corinthians 4:7; 6:7)

1 Corinthians 13:2, 13 (1 Corinthians 12:8-10)

1 Corinthians 15:1-2, 11, 14, 17

2 Corinthians 1:24 (Romans 11:20; 1 Corinthians 3:5; 15:1)

2 Corinthians 4:13

2 Corinthians 5:7 (2 Corinthians 4:18; Ephesians 3:12, 17; 5:25; Hebrews 11:1)

Galatians 2:16 (Acts 13:38-39; Romans 1:17; 3:20, 22, 28; 8:3; Galatians 3:11, 24; Hebrews 7:18-19)

Galatians 2:20 (Habakkuk 2:4; Romans 1:17; Galatians 3:11; Hebrews 10:38)

Galatians 3:2, 5-11, 13-14, 22, 24, 26 (Habakkuk 2:4; Genesis 12:3; 15:6; 18:18; 22:18; Acts 3:25; Romans 1:17; 4:3, 9, 21-22; Philippians 2:12; James 2:23)

Ephesians 1:12-13, 15 (Colossians 1:4; Philemon 1:5)

Ephesians 2:8-9 (Romans 3:20, 24, 27-28; 4:2, 16; 11:6; Ephesians 2:5; 2 Timothy 1:9; Titus 3:5)

Ephesians 3:12, 17a

Ephesians 6:16

Philippians 1:25

Philippians 3:9

Colossians 1:4

Colossians 2:5-7, 12 (Ephesians 3:17; 2 Corinthians 5:7; Colossians 2:7)

1 Thessalonians 1:3, 7-8

1 Thessalonians 2:13

1 Thessalonians 3:6-7

1 Thessalonians 5:8

2 Thessalonians 1:3-4, 10 [3a]

2 Thessalonians 3:2

1 Timothy 1:3-5, 14, 16 [3a] (1 Timothy 4:7; 6:3-4, 10, 20; 2 Timothy 2:14, 16, 23; Titus 1:14; 3:9)

1 Timothy 2:8, 15

1 Timothy 3:13

1 Timothy 4:10, 12 (Titus 2:7, 15; 1 Peter 5:3)

1 Timothy 6:11

2 Timothy 1:5, 13 (Titus 1:9; Hebrews 10:23; Revelation 2:25)

2 Timothy 2:22

2 Timothy 3:15

Titus 2:2

Philemon 1:4-6

Hebrews 4:2

Hebrews 6:1, 12

Hebrews 10:22a, 38-39 (Hebrews 11)

Hebrews 11:1-40)

Hebrews 12:2 (Psalm 110:1; Luke 24:26; Philippians 2:8; Hebrews 1:3, 13; 8:1; 1 Peter 1:11; 3:22)

James 1:3, 5-6

James 2:14-26

James 5:15

1 Peter 1:6-9

2 Peter 1:1

1 John 3:23

1 John 5:4-5, 13

Revelation 2:19

“Never Again!” or “Yes, Again!”
The Prophets Have Spoken!
By Arlen Chitwood of Lamp Broadcast

Content:
 

FOREWORD

This book, "Never Again!" or "Yes, Again!" by Arlen Chitwood, is about Israel and the nations in the Middle East — a subject which has increasingly attracted the attention of many of today’s Bible teachers.  And an interest in and study about Israel and the nations is exactly as conditions should exist, for we can only be living very near the end of the present dispensation, portending the nearness of events which must transpire on the earth before Man’s 6,000-year Day ends (events concluding Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy, the time of Jacob’s trouble) and the Lord’s 1,000-year Day begins (the time into which Daniel’s prophecy leads, the Messianic Era).

But there is a problem, A MAJOR PROBLEM!

Numerous Bible teachers, rather than remaining with the Word, teaching that which the Word clearly states about Israel and the nations, often find themselves taking liberties with the Word, teaching things completely contrary to the Word.  And numerous Christians, who should know better, but don’t, are being misled on every hand.

The crux of the matter can be set forth in a twofold manner, asking two interrelated but antithetical questions:

1)  Is the present existing nation of Israel the result of God, since May 14, 1948, progressively fulfilling any or all of His numerous promises to one day restore the Jewish people to their land?

2)  Or, is this present existing nation to be seen and understood as something else, something completely separate from the fulfillment of any of God’s promises to one day restore His people to their land?

And how a person views this matter is no small thing.  Rather, this is something MAJOR, VERY MAJOR!

As will be clearly shown throughout this book, the correct Biblical position can only be seen in the second part of the preceding, not in the first part, though that seen in the first part is far more widely held and taught throughout Christendom by those dealing with the subject than that seen in the second part.

If a person sees and teaches that the existence of an Israeli nation in the Middle East has resulted from God, during the past sixty-nine years, progressively restoring the Jewish people to their land in accordance with any or all of His numerous promises to one day do so, he can only do this in the face of a huge volume of Scripture, clearly telling him that he has gone in a completely wrong direction.

(Numerous parts of this “huge volume of Scripture” are dealt with in different chapters of this book.  References to corresponding Scripture, not dealt with in this book, can be found in Chapter 8, “Seventy Years, Four Hundred Ninety Years,” in the author’s book, Israel – What Does the Future Hold? by Arlen Chitwood  Or, see the author’s article by the same title, Seventy Years, Four Hundred Ninety Years.)

A section of Scripture regarding Israel and the nations which many Bible teachers turn to as a base section in order to teach the things being taught is Ezekiel 37:1-14.  And they, more often than not, find themselves doing strange things with these fourteen verses. They invariably interpret the Lord’s Own interpretation in verses 11-14 (an interpretation of Israel’s restoration seen in vv. 1-10).  And they not only interpret the interpretation but they do this relative to current events.

They, through this means, attempt to see and teach that the present existing nation of Israel, at least after some fashion (different Bible teachers teach different things), is either a fulfillment or a beginning fulfillment of the restoration set forth in this chapter.

Then, error of this nature will always negatively affect an individual’s understanding of related Scripture, for that seen in related Scripture must then be made to align with the previous error.  In this case, contextually, an erroneous understanding of Ezekiel 37 throws a person completely off on any correct understanding of the following two chapters (Ezekiel 38; 39).

This though is only part of something MUCH LARGER.  Only three chapters from Ezekiel are being referenced, but Scripture related to that dealt with in these three chapters can be found throughout Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets.  And continuing to bring related Scripture elsewhere in line with previous error can only eventually result in large parts of the whole of prophetic Scripture being skewed, often beyond recognition.

But, to illustrate the point, note just the three chapters under discussion, seeing what going wrong in Ezekiel 37 does to a central area of interpretation in the succeeding two chapters (38, 39).

Events in the latter two chapters, to maintain the erroneous interpretation in chapter 37, must then be seen occurring during a time when they cannot possibly occur (during Man’s Day) and involving a people which they can’t possibly involve (the present Israeli nation), for the restoration seen occurring in chapter 37 is the same restoration referenced in chapters 38, 39 (Ezekiel 38:8, 11-12; 39:9ff).

And there is more, far more, in just these two chapters — things which are simply being glossed over, made to fit the erroneous interpretation in chapter 37 (ref. Chapters 18-20 following this FORWORD).

And that would somewhat illustrate the existing problem, which, far more often than not, results from error being taught by Bible teachers who deal with the subject.  Sound exegesis, paying attention to exactly what the text states, comparing Scripture with Scripture, allowing Scripture to interpret itself, is simply thrown to the winds.

The remainder of this foreword relates the only recourse to correct the existing situation.  But, for the most part though, matters have moved beyond the point where individuals would be able to or would even consider correction.  Many would not possess the necessary Biblical foundation to make corrections even if they wanted to do so.  Many would be too proud to do so.  Then many would have to re-vamp their entire ministry, re-doing sermons, written material, etc.

Few can or will do any of the preceding.  But there are, at times, individuals — one here and one there — who will look at the matter, study it out in the light of Scripture, and make the necessary corrections.

So, what does one do when finding himself in a situation of this nature?  He simply does what he should have done in the beginning, which would have prevented the existing situation.  He simply follows that which the Word has to say, allowing the Word to make corrections for him.

Note, in this respect, two verses out of the second chapter in John’s gospel:

“And there were set there six waterpots of stone…

Jesus saith unto them, Fill the waterpots with water.  And they filled them up to the brim” (John 2:6a, 7).

The preceding quoted verses are taken from the first of eight signs in John’s gospel.  The complete sign (John 2:1-11) foreshadows that future time following Israel’s national repentance, salvation, and restoration to their land when God again takes Israel as His wife (an adulterous, divorced wife restored).

This sign points to events which will occur on the third day through one means of reckoning time (John 2:1), or on the seventh day through another means (John 1:29, 35, 43; 2:1).  Both culminate at the same time — that time to which the sign of the Sabbath points (Exodus 31:13-17), seen in the initial, foundational structure in Genesis 1:1-2:3, upon which the whole of Scripture rests.  Both culminate at the end of Man’s Day, in the Lord’s Day, at the end of 6,000 years, in the seventh 1,000-year period, in the Messianic Era (ref. Appendix 2 in this book).

This first sign in John’s gospel foreshadows events which will occur not only following all seven seals of the seven-sealed scroll in Revelation 5 being broken but, as well, following the completion of all the judgments connected with these seals being broken.

This will be necessary because this scroll contains God’s redemptive terms for the inheritance (that territory [the earth] presently under Satan’s dominion and control, which is to come under Christ’s dominion and control).  And that foreshadowed by the marriage in John 2:1-11 is part and parcel with the redemption of the inheritance.

This takes matters to the time not only following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation but following that time when a repentant and converted Israel will have been regathered from the nations and restored to her land.  At this time, Gentile world power will come against Israel, be destroyed, and complete all the judgments of the seven-sealed scroll (which have to do with the time and events seen in Ezekiel 37-39).

The material in this foreword though is not about the overall nature of the first sign in John’s gospel.  Rather, it is about a vital teaching drawn from a statement in the sign: “Fill the waterpots with water.”

And the material is being used and presented in this manner to illustrate “the why” of an existing problem in Christendom.  The waterpots are not being filled with Water drawn from the Well, at least, NOT with pure Water.  And all too often they are being filled with things which have no connection or association with the Water in view.

Drawing from the Account

Jesus and His disciples had been invited to a wedding in Cana of Galilee.  Sometime following their arrival, the wedding party ran out of wine.  And Jesus set about to rectify the situation by commanding that the servants fill an existing “six waterpots of stone” with “water” (waterpots holding “two or three firkins apiece” [about ten to twenty gallons]).

Then note something and note it well!  The preceding is WHAT the servants were to do.  On their part, nothing preceded and nothing followed.  They were simply to FILL THE WATERPOTS WITH ”WATER,” and that was ALL they were to do.

Action beyond that point was entirely out of their hands.  DIVINE ACTION ALONE FOLLOWED.  It was Christ Who then continued the work, taking the water which had been poured into the six waterpots, changing the water to wine (John 2:8).

And this wine was not just any wine.  It was “the good wine,” which had been “kept…until now” (John 2:10).

This could only have been a type wine which man cannot make today, evidently similar to the type wine which man could have made prior to the Flood, but could no longer make following the Flood (because of changed atmospheric conditions produced by that which resulted in the Flood [cf. Genesis 9:20-21; Acts 2:15]).

But, more particularly, because of that which the sign foreshadowed (events regarding Israel on the seventh day, the seventh 1,000-year period), this could only have been the type wine which will be available during the future Messianic Era (cf. Isaiah 25:6; Joel 2:22; 3:17-18).

(For differences in wine which could have, can, and will be made during these three different periods of time, refer to Chapter IX, “The Days of Noah,” in the author’s book, Prophecy on Mount Olivet by Arlen Chitwood; refer also to Chapter VI, “The Wedding Festivities,” in the author’s book, Signs in John’s Gospel by Arlen Chitwood.)

Water

“Water” is used in Scripture referencing cleansing, pointing, for example, to great spiritual truths seen in the Levitical priesthood in the camp of Israel (bathing of the priests, the brazen laver in the courtyard of the Tabernacle [Exodus 29:4; 30:17-21; 40:12]) and in Christ’s present ministry in the heavenly sanctuary, as depicted by “water” in John 13:2-17.  And, correspondingly, Christ’s present high priestly ministry is in view through that seen in the way John opens his first epistle (John 1:1-2:2).

“Water” is also used in a metaphorical respect referring to the Word.

Note Ephesians 5:25-27 in this respect (cf. Titus 3:5):

“Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the Church, and gave himself for it;

That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word,

That he might present it to himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing;  but that it should be holy and without blemish.”

First though, there is the symbolism of the six earthen vessels into which the water was/is to be placed.  “Six” is man’s number, and man was created in the beginning, on the sixth day, from a piece of the earth which God took and used as He formed man.

Then, the symbolism seen in Christ’s command to the servants at the wedding in Cana in John 2:7, having to do with filling the six earthen vessels with “Water,” symbolizes a filling with the Word.

Thus, the earthen vessels into which the Water, the Word, was/is to be placed can only symbolize man, into which that symbolized by the Water is to be placed.

And it is not just any man which would be in view.  Saved man alone can be in view, for only saved man has a saved human spirit into which the Word can be placed, can be received.  That which is spiritual (the Word) simply cannot be placed/received into that which has no connection with spiritual matters, particularly as seen in the text — the earthen vessels filled “up to the brim.”

One (saved man) is completely incompatible with the other (unsaved man).  One is living, the other is dead (spiritually).  An individual MUST pass “from death unto life” (John 5:24; Ephesians 2:1, 5) before that seen in the symbolism of John 2:6-7 can occur in his life.  UNTIL THEN, everything is foreign and foolishness to such an individual (I Corinthians 2:9-14).

Now, note again that ONE THING and ONE THING ONLY is to be placed in the earthen vessels.  And, these earthen vessels, as seen in that from which this teaching is drawn, are to be FILLED TO THE BRIM WITH WATER, WITH THE WORD.

It is not the Word plus something, it is THE WORD ALONE!

The Word is the only thing living, completely compatible with and forming nourishment and sustenance for one’s spiritual life.  All else is non-living, incompatible with, and can furnish no nourishment for one’s spiritual life, only for his natural life.

Thus, if one wants to feed the spiritual man, it MUST be done by an intake of that which is itself spiritual — the God-breathed Word, given through the instrumentality of the Spirit.

Or, on the other hand, if an individual wants to feed the natural, anything other than the Word will suffice.

With the preceding in view, note how much of that being proclaimed to and written for Christians today — particularly what can often be found on so-called Christian web sites — falls into the category of the latter (something other than the Word) and not the former (the Word), material that CAN NEVER feed the spiritual man.

And this has been occurring for years, for decades.  Is it any wonder that we have a generation of Christians filling the Churches of the land who can’t tell their right hand from their left in a spiritual respect?

A generation of Christians is on hand whose lives are filled, not with the Word, but with about everything but the Word.  They don’t know the Word, leaving them unable to deal with matters as instructed in Isaiah 8:20.

“To the law and to the testimony;  if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them.”

And the reason that they can’t do this, leaving them an easy prey for the cults and about anything else that comes along, is because individuals whom God has placed in charge of the flock throughout the dispensation have, over the years, particularly during the latter years, not followed the command in II Timothy 4:2:

“Preach the Word…”

The waterpots have, over the years, been filled with something other than Water.

Those to whom the flock was entrusted in time past have “sown the wind,” with Christian leadership today, in many instances, negatively affected and following suit.

And Christians in the world today, near the end of the present dispensation, are reaping the end result.  They are reaping the only thing which could be reaped, “the whirlwind” (Hosea 8:7).

Wine

But, let’s look at the other side of the matter in order to complete the picture of that seen in Jesus’ actions at the wedding in Cana of Galilee.

Once Jesus’ instructions had been carried out, once the waterpots had been filled with Water, He then changed the Water to Wine.  And, again, not just any Wine, but “the best Wine.”

Now, note a few things and note them well!

THE ONE AND ONLY THING which the servants at the wedding were instructed to do was “fill the waterpots with Water.”  And that was it!  That was all!  They were not to go beyond this point!

Once they had filled the waterpots as instructed, they were to step aside.  They had done as instructed, and there was nothing more for them to do.  Actually, there was nothing more that they could do.

Then, bringing matters over into that being foreshadowed, the Lord’s servants today have been told to do ONE THING ALONE in the preceding respect:  “Fill the waterpots with Water”  “Proclaim the Word…” (any reproving, rebuking, exhorting, as seen in this verse [II Timothy 4:2], is to be done, over time, through proclaiming the Word).

Moving beyond that point is to be left entirely in the Lord’s hands, as the Spirit takes the proclaimed Word and effects results, changes the Water to Wine.

And it has to be THE WORD ALONE which is to be proclaimed, not the Word plus something, or something other than the Word.

The Spirit simply DOES NOT and CANNOT use that which is not Water, which is not the Word, to bring about changes.  He DOES NOT/CANNOT use that which is non-living to deal with that which is living.

The Spirit uses THE LIVING WORD ALONE to deal with individuals, either effecting life or nourishing and sustaining a life which has already been effected.

CHAPTER 18
THE WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL

DON’T Interpret the Interpretation

“The hand of the Lord was upon me, and carried me out in the spirit of the Lord, and set me down in the midst of the valley which was full of bones:

And caused me to pass by them round about:  and, behold, there were very many in the open valley; and, lo, they were very dry.

And he said unto me, Son of man, can these bones live?…

Then he said unto me, Son of man, these bones are the whole house of Israel:  behold, they say, our bones are dried, and our hope is lost:  we are cut off for our parts.

Therefore prophesy and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord God; Behold, O my people, I will open your graves, and cause you to come up out of your graves, and bring you into the land of Israel.

And ye shall know that I am the Lord, when I have opened your graves, O my people, and brought you up out of your graves,

And shall put my spirit [‘breath’ (cf. Ezekiel 37:5-11)] in you, and ye shall live, and I shall place you in your own land:  then shall ye know that I the Lord have spoken it, and performed it, saith the Lord…

After many days thou shalt be visited:  in the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste:  but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them…

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages;  I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, and having neither bars nor gates” (Ezekiel 37:1-3a, 11-14; 38:8, 11).

Bible students are often quick to take current events in the world and see a connection between these events and Biblical prophecy, especially if these events involve Israel.  And that is particularly true when it comes to Ezekiel 37-39.

Ezekiel 37 begins with Ezekiel placed in the midst of a valley filled with (human) bones, which were not only lifeless but very dry.  And that which the Lord wanted Ezekiel to see, a prophecy pertaining to Israel, continues with the bones coming together, sinews (tendons), flesh, and skin connected to and covering the bones, with God then breathing life into the untold numbers of individuals whom He had brought forth in this manner.  And these individuals are then seen standing upon their feet, “an exceeding great army” (Ezekiel 37:1-10).

So that there can be no mistake in interpretation, God’s Own interpretation of the scene is then given in the next four verses (Ezekiel 37:11-14).  That shown to Ezekiel had to do with God breathing life into “the whole house of Israel,” removing the Jewish people from the nations where they had previously been scattered, and placing them in a healed land.

The remainder of the chapter then has to do with the unity of the nation (no longer divided as seen following Solomon’s death) and the theocracy restored to Israel under a new covenant, with David their king raised up to reign over them (Ezekiel  37:15-28).

Then — textually, contextually, anyway one wants to look at the matter — chapters 38, 39 simply continue from where chapter 37 leaves off, showing another aspect of the matter, showing the destruction of Gentile world power following Israel’s restoration.

The restoration seen in chapters 38, 39 (Ezekiel 38:7, 11-12; 39:23-28) CAN ONLY BE the same restoration previously seen in chapter 37.

The entirety of that seen in these two chapters can occur ONLY FOLLOWING CHRIST’S RETURN at the end of the Tribulation.  These events occur “in that day,” in the Lord’s Day, NOT during the present day, during Man’s Day (Ezekiel 38:14, 18; 39:8, 11; ref. Chapter 9, "In That Day" in this book.

An Overview of Six Chapters

This chapter thus far has dealt only succinctly with material in three chapters, Ezekiel 37-39.  But these three chapters are a continuation from three previous chapters, Ezekiel 34-36.  And all six of these chapters form a unit in Ezekiel’s prophecy and should be studied together.

Chapters 34 and 36 deal, in a preliminary respect, with that seen being enlarged upon and dealt with more in detail in chapter 37, forming commentary for these two previous chapters.

And chapter 35 deals, in a preliminary respect, with that seen being enlarged upon and dealt with more in detail in chapters 38 and 39.

Ezekiel 34; 36; 37

Chapters 34, 36, 37 all deal with one central thing pertaining to future events surrounding Israel and the nations.  These chapters have to do with a succinct history of “the whole house of Israel,” ending with the Jewish people being removed from the nations of the earth in a healed condition and placed in a healed land.

Then, it is not just part of the nation but the complete nation, every Jewish person alive in that day, “the whole house of Israel” (Ezekiel 37:11).  And that seen in this respect in these three chapters CANNOT occur until a time yet future.

Events pertaining to Israel’s restoration in these three chapters can occur only in the order seen in the Jewish festivals (Leviticus 23), Biblical typology (e.g., Exodus 12:1ff), or just a plain reading of a section such as Matthew 24:30-31.

That is to say, the restoration seen in chapters 34, 36, 37 is A COMPLETE RESTORATION having to do with “the whole house of Israel,” which can occur ONLY following Messiah’s return at the end of the Tribulation.

There is NOTHING in this section of Scripture about any type return prior to this time (e.g., the Jewish people in the land today).  EVERYTHING has to do with this future restoration, followed by both Israel and the nations possessing a type knowledge not heretofore known prior to this time (Ezekiel 36:35-36; 37:13, 28; 38:14, 23; 39:21-29).

And the restoration in chapters 34, 36, 37 is EXACTLY THE SAME RESTORATION spoken of in chapters 38, 39 — a restoration occurring at the end of the Tribulation, following Messiah’s return, involving the healing of “the whole house of Israel,” both the people and their land.

(Note something not dealt with in the material thus far — the place which O.T. saints occupy in the matter.

Both O.T. typology and the order seen in the seven Jewish festivals [ref. Appendix 3 in this book] place the resurrection of O.T saints at a time preceding Israel’s restoration to the land;  and the dead [resurrected] return with the living.  In this respect, “the whole house of Israel,” as seen in Ezekiel 37-39, could ONLY be understood as “complete” when BOTH are present.

For additional information, refer to the author’s book, Arlen Chitwood's By Faith, Ch. 15, "The Resurrection of Israel".)

Ezekiel 35; 38; 39

These chapters, as Ezekiel 34; 36; 37, all deal with one central subject pertaining to future events surrounding Israel and the nations.  These chapters have to do with an invasion by Gentile powers once “the whole house of Israel” has been removed from the nations of the earth in a healed condition and placed in a healed land.

At this time, unlike today or during the Tribulation, the restored Jewish people are seen at this time as a people at rest, dwelling safely, without walls, bars, or gates, with their Messiah present [Ezekiel  38:11, 20-23; cf. Joel 2:27-32; 3;1ff]).  It is simply NOT POSSIBLE to place this scene at any time other than following the Tribulation, following Christ’s return.

Material in Ezekiel 35 — the base chapter, the chapter upon which chapters 38, 39 rest, forming commentary for that seen in chapter 35 — has to do with the destruction of Gentile world power immediately following the time matters are brought to a conclusion regarding the future history of Israel, as detailed in the other three chapters (Ezekiel  34; 36; 37).

Thus, events seen throughout all six chapters occur at the same general time and place — following Messiah’s return at the end of the Tribulation.

“Mount Seir” is referenced beginning chapter thirty-five, which was the home of the Edomites (cf. Ezekiel 35:2, 15; cf. Deuteronomy 2:5).

“Mount Seir” is referenced beginning chapter thirty-five, which was the home of the Edomites (cf. Ezekiel 35:2, 15; cf. Deuteronomy 2:5).  And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, note in Isaiah 34:1ff that “Edom” is used in a parallel text to represent all of the Gentile nations (Isaiah 34:1-8), which come under God’s judgment “in the day of the Lord’s vengeance,” because of “the controversy of Zion [‘the cause of Zion’].”

“Zion” is a synonym for Jerusalem, or is used referring to the Jewish people (Psalm 76:2; 126:1; Isaiah 1:26-27).  Thus, as clearly seen elsewhere in Scripture, God’s future judgment of the Gentiles at this time will center around their attitude toward and treatment of the Jewish people, something  clearly seen in the chapters under discussion in Ezekiel (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Ezekiel 35:4-15; 38:3, 18; Matthew 25:31-46).

This destruction of Gentile world power at the end of Man’s Day is seen over and over in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets (e.g., Genesis 11:1ff; 14:1ff; 19:1ff; Psalm 2:1ff; 83:1ff; Jeremiah 30:1ff; Daniel  2:37-45; Joel 2:1ff; 3:1ff; Zechariah 14:1ff).  This is the destruction seen in Isaiah 34:1ff, leading into the Messianic Era seen in the following chapter (Ezekiel 35:1-10).  As well, this is the same destruction seen in the parallel passage in Ezekiel 35:1ff, leading into the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48).

And this destruction, dealt with throughout Scripture, can clearly be seen, both textually and contextually, as the same destruction depicted in Ezekiel 38; 39, leading into the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48).

And there could be no possible problem seeing all nations represented by only certain powers mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2-6.  Note, for example, in Ezekiel 34:1ff and Ezekiel 35:1ff, that all nations are represented by one nation, Edom; and in Psalm 83:1ff, all nations are represented by ten named nations.

Also, in line with the preceding, “Gog, the land of Magog” (Ezekiel 38:2) — with “Magog” referring back to the descendants of Japheth, who was to be enlarged (Genesis 9:27; 10:1-2 [as well, note “Meshech” and “Tubal”]) — is used in Revelation 20:8 referring to “nations which are in the four quarters of the earth,” i.e., ALL nations.

Then note Joel 2:20 where reference is made to God destroying the “northern army” (an evident reference to Ezekiel 38; 39, where the main, lead power comes from the North), seen contextually in Joel as a reference to the destruction of all nations (Joel 2:1ff; Joel 3:1ff).

And this destruction in Joel, as in Ezekiel , occurs following Man’s Day, following Christ’s return (Ezekiel  3:16), in the Lord’s Day (Ezekiel 3:14 [which begins at the end of Man’s Day, with the Tribulation comprising the last seven years of Man’s Day]).

The Problem Today

The preceding is far from the way material in these chapters is invariably handled by Bible students today, particularly the three chapters dealing with explanatory material (chs. 37-39) on the three previous chapters (chs. 34-36).

The interpretation of Ezekiel 37:1-10 (Ezekiel 37:11-14) is quite clear, but numerous Bible students over the years (particularly since May 14, 1948) have looked at current events and have been quick to interpret the interpretation, seeking to align current events with Biblical prophecy.   And this has created all types of interpretive problems regarding Israel and the nations.

If an individual adds to the Lord’s Own interpretation, interpreting the interpretation in order to align things seen in Ezekiel 37-39 with events surrounding the existing nation of Israel in the Middle East, he might as well forget about properly understanding events pertaining to Israel and the nations in the end time.  One simply CAN’T follow error and arrive at truth.  Following error CAN ONLY result in additional error and misunderstanding.

CHAPTER 19
GOG, THE LAND OF MAGOG

Contextual Interpretation

The Lord’s Own Interpretation

Comparing Scripture with Scripture

“And the word of the Lord came unto me, saying,

Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him” (Ezekiel 38:1-2).

“And when the thousand years are expired, Satan shall be loosed out of his prison,

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle:  the number of whom is as the sand of the sea” (Revelation 20:7-8)

“The words “Gog and Magog” are only used together two places in all Scripture — once in Ezekiel 38:2, and once in Revelation 20:8.  And both refer to exactly the same thing, seen in two separate battles, separated by 1,000 years.

One battle occurs immediately before the Millennium, and the other occurs immediately following the Millennium.  Both battles have to do with Satanic-led Gentile armies, originating from the nations of the earth.  And both battles have to do with these armies being led against the Jewish people, beginning at Jerusalem.

As well, as will be shown, both battles occur when “the whole house of Israel” (all Jews) has been restored to their land, with their Messiah present, in the nation’s midst.

One battle occurs immediately before the Jewish people, with their Messiah, occupy the nation’s proper position relative to all the Gentile nations of the earth (at the head of the nations, with the nations being reached by and blessed through Israel).  And the other occurs immediately following the Jewish people, with their Messiah, occupying this position for 1,000 years.

Both battles have to do with EXACTLY THE SAME THING — final attempts by Satan to destroy the Jewish people, along with their Messiah.

The first will be led by a man seated on Satan’s “throne,” to whom Satan will have given his “power” and “great authority”; and the second will be led by Satan himself (Revelation 13:2; 19:19; 20:7-9).

Interpretation — Two Verses

Scripture is to be interpreted in the light of itself — contextual and comparing Scripture with Scripture, recognizing the different ways God has structured His Word (I Corinthians 2:9-14; Hebrews 1:1).

To begin, note that there is nothing in the New Testament which is not seen after some fashion in the Old Testament.  In that respect, the Old Testament is COMPLETE in and of itself, apart from the New Testament.  The New Testament can do no more than open up and further explain that which already exists in some form or fashion in the Old Testament, which is exactly what God designed it to do.

If the preceding were not true, the Word made flesh (John 1:1-2, 14) following the completion of the Old Testament but before a single word of the New Testament had been written would be incomplete.

And viewing both Testaments after this fashion, which is the only possible way that they can be properly viewed, the reference to and explanation of “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20:8 can only be seen as inseparably connected with “Gog, the land of Magog” in Ezekiel 38:2.  Strictly from a Biblical standpoint, there can be no other possible way to view the matter.

Then, viewing matters in this manner, it could only be said that Revelation 20:8 has been designed to help explain and shed further light on Ezekiel 38:2, and vice versa.  The two references are parallel, inseparable references.

Thus, “Gog and Magog” in Revelation 20:8 forms an expression which could only have been derived from and have a connection with ONE Old Testament verse — Ezekiel 38:2.  And when Ezekiel 38:2 and Revelation 20:8 are viewed together in this respect, it all becomes relatively simple and quite clear.  Another way to say this would be, when Scripture is compared with Scripture, it all becomes relatively simple and quite clear.

In Revelation 20:8, the expression is used in a synonymous respect, or a parallelism, to the two parts of the statement immediately preceding — “nations [Gog] which are in the four quarters of the earth [Magog].”  And with the expression used this way in Scripture’s own interpretation of the Scripture from which it was derived, strictly from a Biblical standpoint, it would not be possible to see Ezekiel 38:2 refer to other than the interpretation, to other than the nations of the earth as well.

The preceding, of course, has to do with contextual interpretation added to comparing Scripture with Scripture, further explaining Ezekiel 38:2 and Revelation 20:8.

(Note in Ezekiel 38; 39 that the name “Gog” is used to reference not only the nations but, at times, it is used as a synonym for the nations’ leader as well [cf. Ezekiel 38:2, 14-15; 39:1-5, 11].)

Interpretation — The Nations

To describe these nations in Ezekiel 38:2-6, five descendants of Japheth are listed — four sons and one grandson (“Magog,” “Meshech,” “Tubal,” “Gomer,” and “Togarmah” [Gomer’s son]).  Then three countries are mentioned (one Middle East, and two North African), forming a trilogy in relation to the descendants of Noah’s three sons (evidently referencing ALL nations, as in v. 2) — “Persia” (Iran [descendants of Japheth]), “Ethiopia” (descendants of Ham) and “Libya” (descendants of Shem).

Japheth, the eldest of Noah’s three sons, was to be “enlarged” (Genesis 9:27).  His descendants populated countries in the area north of Israel in the Black, Caspian, and Baltic Sea areas, extending into other surrounding countries (centrally, Europe, Russia, and the surrounding countries).

And a heavy emphasis on the descendants of Japheth in the prophecy would only be natural.  They were the ones who would populate a large part of the globe, with armies from a global population in view in Ezekiel’s prophecy.

But there is far more to the matter than just the preceding, pointing to armies from the four points of the compass, as seen in the counterpart to Ezekiel 38:2, in Revelation 20:8.  There are surrounding Scriptures to Ezekiel 38:2-6 which shed light on the matter as well.

(Note that when nations are mentioned with respect to the battle seen in Ezekiel 38; 39 [often referred to by individuals as “Armageddon,” a battle referenced over and over in Scripture (cf. Isaiah 63:1-6; Revelation 14:14-20; 16:14-16; 19:17-21)], there is always either one nation or several nations listed, representing ALL NATIONS.

Ezekiel 35 and Ezekiel 38; 39 are parallel sections, with the latter two chapters forming commentary on that previously seen in Ezekiel 35.  “Mount Seir” is referenced beginning chapter 35, which was the home of the Edomites [cf. Ezekiel 35:2, 15; cf. Deuteronomy 2:5].  And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, note in Isaiah 34:1ff that “Edom” is used in a parallel text to represent all of the Gentile nations [Isaiah 34:1-8], which come under God’s judgment “in the day of the Lord’s vengeance,” which has to do with that coming day seen in Ezekiel 38; 39.

And the same thing is seen in Psalm 83, where ten named nations seeking to do away with Israel [“ten,” showing completion, as well as Antichrist’s ten-kingdom confederation of nations] represent all the Gentile nations in that coming day.)

Interpretation — Context

In the chapter preceding chapters 38, 39 in Ezekiel (ch. 37), one finds the account of the valley of dry bones (Ezekiel 37:1-10), followed by the Lord’s Own interpretation (Ezekiel 37:11-14), with the remainder of the chapter taken up with millennial conditions once the Jewish people have been restored to their land (Ezekiel 37:15-28).

The valley of dry bones, in its entirety, has to do with “the whole house of Israel,” clearly seen in the interpretation.  And, since a restoration of “the whole house of Israel” is involved, the matter not only has to do with events following Messiah’s return at the end of the Tribulation but with events following Israel’s national conversion as well (ref. previous chapter in this book, “THE WHOLE HOUSE OF ISRAEL").

Scripture ALWAYS places Israel’s restoration, as seen in Ezekiel 37 (e.g., Deuteronomy 30:1-3; Matthew 24:29-31), at a time FOLLOWING the nation’s national conversion.

According to both typology on the subject and the order seen in the seven Jewish festivals (Exodus 12:1ff; Leviticus 23:1ff), the national conversion of Israel occurs while the Jewish people are still scattered among the nations.

In typology, the application of the blood of dead paschal lambs preceded the Israelites’ departure from “Egypt” (a type of the world) under Moses, with a view to an inheritance in a theocracy in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The antitype has to do with the Israelites still scattered among the nations (still in Egypt) when they apply the blood (by faith) of the Paschal Lamb which they slew 2,000 years ago.  ONLY THEN will they be led out by the One greater than Moses, with a view to an inheritance in a theocracy in the land covenanted to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

Relative to the seven Jewish festivals showing exactly the same thing in their orderly structure (ref. Appendix 3 in this book), the first festival is the Passover.  Again, Israel has slain the Lamb, but they must still apply the blood.  And this must be done FIRST, BEFORE anything else can occur (e.g., their being regathered from the nations, shown in the fifth festival — the feast of trumpets).

A major, two-fold mistake is often made in the interpretation of Ezekiel 37, which carries over into chapters 38, 39.  Individuals look at an Israeli nation in the land today and attempt to interpret the Lord’s interpretation of the valley of dry bones, reading current events into Biblical prophecy.  And, because of the inseparable nature of these three chapters, this mistake will negatively affect the interpretation of all three, presenting a completely wrong understanding of practically everything.

A restoration of the Jewish people is mentioned several places in Ezekiel 38; 39, a people dwelling safely and at rest (Ezekiel 38:8, 11-12, 14; 39:7ff).  And, to properly understand these two chapters, a person MUST see this restoration as THE SAME RESTORATION carried over from the previous chapter (ch. 37).  Actually, to see this restoration any other way, and remain Scriptural, would NOT be possible.

Then, Israel’s Messiah is seen as PRESENT with His people, in the land, when these Gentile armies come against Israel (Ezekiel 38:20), which necessitates a time following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation.

Then, beyond the preceding, the account itself tells the reader EXACTLY when this battle will occur.  It will occur “in that day” (Ezekiel 38:14, 18; 39:8, 11) — an expression which must be understood contextually, but more often than not refers to events in the Lord’s Day, which CAN’T begin until Man’s Day is over.

(Refer to Chapter 9, "In That Day" in this book.

Also, as seen in the previous chapter in this book [Chapter 18], note again that both O.T. typology and the order seen in the seven Jewish festivals place the resurrection of O.T saints at a time preceding Israel’s restoration to the land;  and the dead [resurrected] return with the living.  In this respect, “the whole house of Israel,” as seen in Ezekiel 37-39, could ONLY be understood as “complete” when BOTH are present.)

Interpretation —Additional Thoughts

Note a comparison of the valley of dry bones in Ezekiel 37 and the harlot woman in Revelation 17-19a.  Metaphors are used in both instances, the interpretation is given in both instances (Ezekiel 37:11-14; Revelation 17:18), and both present two different pictures of exactly the same thing — Israel’s current condition, a condition which will persist and reach its apex during the Tribulation, with restoration occurring following the Tribulation.

Remain with the context; you will come out ahead every time!

Remain with comparing Scripture with Scripture; you will come out ahead every time!

Remain with the Lord’s Own interpretation; DON’T attempt to interpret the interpretation; you will come out ahead every time on the former and end up in a sea of misinterpretation every time on the latter!

And DON’T attempt to interpret Scripture in the light of current events; you can only end up in a sea of misinterpretation every time!

CHAPTER 20
IN THE VALLEY OF HAMON-GOG

HAMON-GOG — “A MULTITUDE OF NATIONS”

END AND FINAL RESTING PLACE FOR GENTILE WORLD POWER

“After many years thou shalt be visited [Gentile powers previously referenced in Ezekiel 38:2-6 (ref. previous chapter, GOG, THE LAND OF MAGOG, in this book)].  In the latter years thou shalt come into the land that is brought back from the sword, and is gathered out of many people, against the mountains of Israel, which have been always waste:  but it is brought forth out of the nations, and they shall dwell safely all of them.

Thou shalt ascend and come like a storm, thou shalt be like a cloud to cover the land, thou, and all thy bands, and many people with thee.

Thus saith the Lord God;  It shall also come to pass, that at the same time shall things come into thy mind, and thou shalt think an evil thought:

And thou shalt say, I will go up to the land of unwalled villages;  I will go to them that are at rest, that dwell safely, all of them dwelling without walls, having neither bars nor gates,

To take a spoil, and to take a prey;  to turn thine hand upon the desolate places that are now inhabited, and upon the people that are gathered out of the nations, which have gotten cattle and goods, that dwell in the midst of the land” (Ezekiel 38:8-12).

Ezekiel 38; 39 are invariably (with few exceptions) looked upon by Bible students as revealing an invasion of the present existing nation of Israel by Gentile powers (usually seen as powers headed by Russia, including Middle East and North African nations).  And this invasion is seen occurring at a time immediately before or sometime during the Tribulation (most see the invasion occurring during the Tribulation).

But, in the light of the clear wording of the text itself (both chapters) and the context (chapters on both sides of the text), the common interpretation can only be seen as something quite flawed.

As will be shown, these two chapters have to do with Gentile powers coming against a restored Jewish nation, a nation restored following Christ’s return at the end of the Tribulation, following Man’s Day, during the Lord’s Day.  And, for a multiplicity of reasons, the restored Jewish nation referenced in these chapters CANNOT possibly have any type connection, after any fashion, with the nation presently in the land.

And the preceding can be clearly shown, in an unquestionable manner, from the text and the context of these two chapters in Ezekiel.

(Note that the heavens are closed relative to God’s dealings with Israel today.  God has, so to speak, stopped the clock marking off time in Daniel’s Seventy-Week prophecy while He deals with the one new man “in Christ.”  Only after God has completed His present dealings with this new man will the heavens once again open relative to His dealings with Israel, with time once again being counted in Daniel’s prophecy.

Thus, for this reason alone [and there are many others] the present existing nation of Israel in the Middle East CANNOT be a work of God, even in part, relative to the prophesied restoration of the Jewish people to the land [alone rendering it impossible for this nation to fit into Ezekiel’s prophecy].

[For information on the preceding, refer to Chapter VIII, “Seventy Years, Four Hundred Ninety Years,” in the author’s book, Israel – What Does the Future Hold? by Arlen Chitwood."  Or, see the author’s article by the same title, Seventy Years, Four Hundred Ninety Years.]

The present restoration of some 6,000,000 Jews to the land can only be a Zionistic work of man, wherein the Jewish people have taken matters into their own hands and have sought to effect an emancipation of the nation apart from either repentance or the nation’s Messiah.)

The Context

1)  Preceding Ezekiel 38; 39

The several chapters immediately preceding and leading into Ezekiel 38; 39 deal, to an extent, with the entire history of Israel (Ezekiel 34:11-31; 36:16-38; 37:1-28).

But, though the preceding references succinctly cover the complete history, or parts of this history, the emphasis throughout is ALWAYS on the outcome of this history — Israel’s future salvation, restoration, and cleansing — which can occur ONLY following Messiah’s return, following the Tribulation.

And the place which all of the Gentile nations will occupy in this complete history is seen as well.

Then, note that nothing in chapter thirty-five was listed among the preceding chapter references regarding Israel.  Material in this chapter has to do with the destruction of Gentile world power at the same time matters are brought to a conclusion regarding the future history of Israel, as detailed in the other three chapters (Ezekiel 34; 36; 37).

“Mount Seir” is referenced beginning chapter thirty-five, which was the home of the Edomites (cf. Ezekiel 35:2, 15; cf. Deuteronomy 2:5).  And, comparing Scripture with Scripture, note in Isaiah 34:1ff that “Edom” is used in a parallel text to represent all of the Gentile nations (vv. 1-8), which come under God’s judgment “in the day of the Lord’s vengeance,” because of “the controversy of Zion [‘the cause of Zion’].”

“Zion” is a synonym for Jerusalem, or is used referring to the Jewish people (Psalm 76:2; 126:1; Isaiah 1:26, 27).  Thus, as clearly seen elsewhere in Scripture, God’s future judgment of the Gentiles at this time will center around their attitude toward and treatment of the Jewish people, something  clearly seen in the chapters under discussion in Ezekiel (cf. Genesis 12:1-3; Ezekiel 35:4-15; 38:3, 18; Matthew 25:31-46).

2)  Following Ezekiel 38; 39

The nine chapters following Ezekiel 38; 39 (Ezekiel 40-48), concluding the Book of Ezekiel, have to do with Israel in the future Messianic Era, following God’s dealings with Israel and the nations as seen in the previous chapters.

These chapters have to do with millennial conditions — with the Temple, the priesthood, offerings, worship, and a tribal division of the land.

Thus, the chapters which precede simply provide information concerning Israel and the nations, leading into the Messianic Era.  And, as is evident from reading chapters thirty-four through thirty-seven, this information has to do mainly with Israel and the nations immediately following the Tribulation and Messiah’s return — with events which will evidently occur during the seventy-five-day period seen at the end of the Book of Daniel (Daniel 12:11-13).

The Text

Since events seen in the four chapters preceding chapters thirty-eight and thirty-nine (Ezekiel 34-37) have to do mainly with events occurring following Christ’s return, leading into the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48), why should the two chapters now under discussion (Ezekiel 38; 39) be looked upon as dealing with something different?

After all, numerous places in these two chapters call attention to events paralleling those seen in the previous four chapters.  These two chapters simply form an expansion of that dealt with in chapter thirty-five and alluded to different places in the other three chapters (Ezekiel 34; 36; 37).

That revealed in these two chapters is simply a detailed description of the destruction of Gentile world power following Christ’s return and following the completion of His dealings with the nation of Israel (following their national conversion, restoration to the land, and cleansing).

In short, that seen in these two chapters has to do with the same thing seen so many places in Scripture — a final summing up of matters regarding Gentile world power, preceding the Messianic Era, in what is commonly called “The Battle of Armageddon” (Revelation 14:14-20; 16:16; 19:17-21).

1)  Prevalence and Place in Scripture

This destruction of Gentile world power at the end of Man’s Day is seen over and over in Moses, the Psalms, and the Prophets (e.g., Genesis 11:1ff; 14:1ff; 19:1ff; Psalm 2:1ff; 83:1ff; Jeremiah 30:1ff; Daniel 2:37-45; Joel 2:1ff; 3:1ff; Zechariah 14:1ff).  This is the destruction seen in Isaiah 34:1ff, leading into the Messianic Era seen in the following chapter (Isaiah 35:1-10).  As well, this is the same destruction seen in the parallel passage in Ezekiel 35:1ff, leading into the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48).

And this destruction, dealt with throughout Scripture, can clearly be seen, both textually and contextually, as the same destruction depicted in Ezekiel 38; 39, leading into the Messianic Era (Ezekiel 40-48).

And there could be no possible problem seeing all nations represented by only certain powers mentioned in Ezekiel 38:2-6.  Note, for example, in Isaiah 34:1ff and Ezekiel 35:1ff, that all nations are represented by one nation, Edom; and in Psalm 83:1ff, all nations are represented by ten named nations.

Also, in line with the preceding, “Gog, the land of Magog” (Ezekiel 38:2) — with “Magog” referring back to the descendants of Japheth, who was to be enlarged (Genesis 9:27; 10:1-2 [as well, note “Meshech” and “Tubal”]) — is used in Revelation 20:8 referring to “nations which are in the four quarters of the earth.”

Then note Joel 2:20 where reference is made to God destroying the “northern army” (an evident reference to Ezekiel 38; 39, where the main, lead power comes from the North), seen contextually in Joel as a reference to the destruction of all nations (Joel 2:1ff; 3:1ff).

And this destruction in Joel, as in Ezekiel, occurs following Man’s Day, following Christ’s return (Joel 3:16), in the Lord’s Day (Joel 3:14 [which begins at the end of Man’s Day, with the Tribulation comprising the last seven years of Man’s Day]).

2)  As Seen in These Two Chapters

And, with the preceding in mind, note the same thing seen in Ezekiel 38; 39.

Gentile world power, as seen in these two chapters, will come against Israel at a time after the Tribulation, after the nation’s Messiah has returned, after Israel’s national conversion, after the Jewish people have been removed from the nations and restored to their land, and after the nation is at rest in the land, with the Lord present among His people.  THEN, and ONLY THEN, can that seen in these two chapters occur.

Note in Ezekiel 38:20 that Messiah Himself will be present (“…shall shake at my presence”), and in Ezekiel 39:8, this will occur in the future Lord’s Day, which, again, doesn’t begin until the end of Man’s Day and Messiah’s return (cf. Ezekiel 34:12, showing that the two times are the same).

(Also note the expression [or allusion to], “in that day,” in Ezekiel 38:14, 18; 39:8, 11. Refer to Chapter 9 "Never Again!" or "Yes, Again!" in this book.)

And since all of the things detailed in the preceding, clearly seen in Ezekiel 38; 39, can occur ONLY FOLLOWING MESSIAH’S RETURN, this alone would preclude any possible fulfillment of the prophecy until a time following the Tribulation.

Further, according to Ezekiel 38:11-12, these Gentile powers will come into the land against Israel at a time when the nation dwells safely, “having neither bars nor gates.”  And Israel cannot possibly be seen occupying such a position at any time between now and the middle of the Tribulation, when the present existing nation will be uprooted and driven back out among the nations.

Nor will the nation possess the wealth seen in these verses prior to the end of the Tribulation, when they return back to the land possessing the wealth of the Gentiles (cf. Genesis 31:1-3; Isaiah 60:5, 11; Ezekiel 38:12), with the Gentile armies coming into the land not only in an all-out attempt to, once and for all, destroy the nation of Israel (“They have said, Come, and let us cut them off from being a nation; that the name of Israel may be no more in remembrance” [Psalm 83:4]) but to recover the wealth which will then be in Israel’s possession (cf. Ezekiel 38:13; Revelation 18:15-21;  refer to Chapter 8 "Never Again!" or "Yes, Again!" in this book).

The overthrow of these Gentile armies in Ezekiel 39:17-20 is the same as that seen in Isaiah 63:1-4; Revelation 14:14-20; 19:17-21.  This overthrow occurs at the hands of Israel’s Messiah, present among His people (Ezekiel 38:20, 23);  and those overthrown are left in the open fields for the carrion birds of the air and the wild animals of the earth, with their remains then buried “in the valley of Hamon-Gog [‘the valley of a Multitude of Nations’]” (Ezekiel 39:4-5, 11-22).

And the end result of the whole of the matter has to do with both the house of Israel and the Gentile nations recognizing and acknowledging the true identity of the One in Israel’s midst (cf. Ezekiel 36:33-36; 37:25-28; 38:21-23; 39:23-29).

Nothing like any of the preceding can possibly occur until Man’s Day has run its course — until Israel’s Messiah has returned back to the earth, and a number of ensuing events have occurred.

The destruction of Gentile world power, as seen in Ezekiel 35; 38; 39, occurs not only in conjunction with all the things seen relative to Israel in Ezekiel 34-39 but following God’s dealings with His people relative to the nation’s conversion, restoration, and cleansing.

Then, the Messianic Era… (Ezekiel 40-48).

Arlen Chitwood's Books
The following links are to Arlen Chitwood's books as of 12/19/2017.