For the creature was made subject to vanity

Ro 8:19 For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.
20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.

In the previous article I gave a definition for the Greek word translated vanity in Romans 8:20, from a Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet. Part of that definition is “transientness; morally”, and I cited Apostle Paul in Romans 7:18-21, to show that mankind, including the body of Christ is saddled with temporary and short lived morality. I have plenty of time to mull over the scripture verses and these verses give us a peek at the methodology God employs in His strange work in the world, Isa 28:21. Short lived morality is ultimately the cause of much suffering, pain and evil in the world. Eve and then Adam certainly exhibited short lived morality in the Garden of Eden when they both ate the fruit. Both knew that God prohibited eating the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil and that there were consequences involved with that action. But one might also point out that since they did not have the knowledge of good and evil, did they have the capacity to know that their actions were wrong? Was it due to vanity that Eve and then Adam disobeyed? God clearly states He created evil in Isa 45:7 and also states that the knowledge of good and evil is characteristic of both Himself and the Word of God, and that the possession of the knowledge of good and evil made man as one of them.

Ge 3:22 And the Lord God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:

As a side note the StrongNote Definitions embedded in the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear I download from the Internet, is equipped with the Strong’s Lexicon and is the source for the definition I am citing for vanity. I urge you to download the Greek and Hebrew Interlinear at http://www.scripture4all.org/download/download_ISA3.php It is a useful tool for studying the bible and allows you to view the actual Hebrew and Greek text as it appears in the manuscript. After a while the mistranslation of the Word of God which supports some of the doctrines of man, Eph 4:14, will become apparent. So let us take a look at why God subjected the creature to vanity and the implications surrounding that fact. And we will do so by using the scriptures. It would seem that pain, suffering, affliction and being saddled with short lived morality is all integral to the outcome of the manifestation of the sons of God. Someone who is immature and naive can hardly be expected to make sensible choices and these poor choices negatively impact themselves and others. I know that is certainly true with me in the past and sadly enough at times true today. You can’t put the cart before the horse, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. It also appears you cannot create a mature or perfect child of God without immersing them in a world filled with fellow human beings that also have short lived morality. Which contributes to a myrid of individual choices that results in various degrees of good and evil. Part of God’s purpose in Christ is to display His glory on the earth in the thousand year kingdom of God, Re 20:6. Which is where the subjection of all things under man’s feet, through Christ and his body, begins in earnest.

He 2:6 But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that thou art mindful of him? or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
7 Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:
8 Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him, he left nothing that is not put under him. But now we see not yet all things put under him.

Why are all things not put in subjection to man at this time? Because they have to be disciplined, trained and matured to assume that role.

Col 1:12 at the same time giving thanks to the Father, Who makes you competent for a part of the allotment of the saints, in light, CLV

1Pe 5:10 Now the God of all grace, Who calls you into His eonian glory in Christ, while briefly suffering, He will be adjusting, establishing, firming, founding you. CLV

James 1:12 Happy is the man who is enduring trial, for, becoming qualified, he will be obtaining the wreath of life, which He promises to those loving Him. CLV

The primary definition of the Greek word translated into the English word trial is “an experiment, attempt, trial, proving”. This same word is used in He 3:8, and many if not most of the Jews who were tried and tested in the wilderness erred in their hearts because they did not know God’s ways. God’s ways are to allow difficulties, afflictions, sufferings and tribulations to come mans way for character development,for maturity and for the development of fruit of the Spirit, Ro 5:2-5. Paul in another verse, states we are to endure hardness like a good soldier, 2Ti 2:3, which brings the analogy of Army boot camp to mind. In which men are being trained for war but the weapons of warfare the body of Christ is being trained in, are not carnal, 2Co 10:4, but spiritual. The start of thIs growth process is to stop childish behavior and becoming well acquainted with the scriptures. The Apostle Peter puts this way.

1Pe 2:1 ¶ Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
2 As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

What is our growth but growith in the fruit of the Spirit, Ga 5:22-23, Jas 5:7, 2Ti 2:6. When you have time, search the word “fruit” and read the scripture verses that come up in the New Testament that contain that word. All this growth in the fruit of the Spirit can only come about in a proper teaching environment designed by God for just that end. Does the end justify the needs? Of course it does but in the midst of it all it is easy to loose sight of the fact that God is making us with more godly character than we ever could achieve on our own.

Ro 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

I have spent many hours awake at night when I could not sleep and during daily walks contemplating scriptures, attempting to answer why God had to subject the creation to vanity in order to accomplish the manifestation of the sons of God. The short answer is that God needed a teaching environment wherein He could teach, instill and bring to fruition the fruits of righteousness in His immature offspring. This short answer, is akin to saying a car runs on gasoline. But let’s open the hood and look at the moving parts, so to speak. Let us look again at the definition for the word vanity in Romans 8:20. “Inutile, figuratively, transientness; morally, depravity.” Inutile means of no use or essentially useless. The question arises in my mind, when in time did God plan to subject the creation to vanity? When using a reference bible to look at the Romans 8:20 verse, Genesis 3:19 is cited. But in my mind, when reading the bible, one should always keep in mind that God knows the end from the beginning. As such, everything that happened in the past, happened because God intended for it to happen, or allowed it to happen so as to serve a purpose in His overall purpose in the earth.

Isa 46:10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure:

It states in Eph 1:4, that the body of Christ were known in Christ before the foundation of the world. Being found in Christ takes place at the first resurrection and is the manifestation of the sons of God mentioned in Romans 8:19. Since the manifestation of the sons of God is contingent upon man being made subject to vanity. It would seem to me that God’s intention to subject the creation to vanity was in the cards well before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the knowledge of good and evil. Since scriptures state that man in himself has not the power to obey the laws of God because the flesh is weak in Ro 8:3. And that the weak moral condition of man was apparently present in man from the very beginning. It appears man has been placed in a conundrum of sorts and the reasons why, are subtle but are for good reason.

2Co 4;6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.
7 But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

A little more light is shined on this concept a bit later in the same epistle when Paul entreats the Lord the third time to remove a “thorn in the flesh”.

2C 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
8 For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me.
9 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Are God and Jesus Christ egomaniacs that need to have mankind in abject subservience to themselves. No. Neither are the members of the body of Christ simply conduits for the power of God. They are to be in one accord with God and Jesus Christ and demonstrate the same godliness and holiness as they do, He 12:10. But man is carnal and before he will be allowed to rule and reign with Jesus, the flesh must die, which is the whole purpose of the cross. Let’s look at a few instances in the past of misconduct of previous sons of God.

Ge 6:1 ¶ And it came to pass, when men began to multiply on the face of the earth, and daughters were born unto them,
2 That the sons of God saw the daughters of men that they were fair; and they took them wives of all which they chose.
3 ¶ And the LORD said, My spirit shall not always strive with man, for that he also is flesh: yet his days shall be an hundred and twenty years.
4 ¶ There were giants in the earth in those days; and also after that, when the sons of God came in unto the daughters of men, and they bare children to them, the same became mighty men which were of old, men of renown.
5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

And of course Psalm 82.

1 ¶ « A Psalm of Asaph. » God standeth in the congregation of the mighty; he judgeth among the gods.
2 How long will ye judge unjustly, and accept the persons of the wicked? Selah.
3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy.
4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
5 They know not, neither will they understand; they walk on in darkness: all the foundations of the earth are out of course.
6 ¶ I have said, Ye are gods; and all of you are children of the most High.
7 But ye shall die like men, and fall like one of the princes.
8 Arise, O God, judge the earth: for thou shalt inherit all nations.

These instances are a prime example of the adage that power corrupts absolutely and absolute power corrupts absolutely. It would appear the sons of God of old were also subject to the lust of the flesh. Upon reflection it seems to me that the flesh and lusts of the flesh were a necessary part of the nature of mankind initially, in order to make man more survivable as a species. To have a powerful mutual attraction between male and female insures that man would be fruitful and multiply. To amass food, shelter and herd animals and other forms of wealth, even to the point of coveting and theft, would be consistent with traits that would insure survivability. Many aspects of the flesh would help make a species better able to survive, adapt and in the long run would also ensured that man would have dominion over the earth. And that was God’s intent, Ge 1:26. But after a certain point in time, in the development of man, when mankind increased in population to the point where they lived in towns and cities, laws and the rule of law became necessary. You have to view what God is doing in this earth with man, on a individual level and at a societal level. How do you weigh one’s own self interest against the interest of God and others in a society?

Mk 12:30 And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.
31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.

This of course does not come natural to man, as man was made carnal and can not please God, Ro 8:7. Man can only change by being taught, disciplined by God and by dying to the carnal nature God initially subjected all mankind to, Ro 8:3, 8:20. When you view the Old Testament in light of many of the verses in the New Testament, often times one can ask themselves why God allowed the vessels of wrath to oppose His will for so long? It would appear it was for educational purposes. In the first verse that follows, God wanted to make His power known in the earth and the second verse God uses past sin and rebelliousness of those in the wilderness for admonition to the body of Christ.

Ro 9:22 What if God, willing to shew his wrath, and to make his power known, endured with much longsuffering the vessels of wrath fitted to destruction:
1Co10:11 Now these things happened unto them for ensembles: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world has come.

Most all scriptures in the bible and the New Testament in particular are for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 2Ti 3:16. But for myself personally, the scriptures mirror the condition of my soul and spirit at different times in my life. Understanding and insight of scripture verses become instruments of change in my life in a timely and determined fashion by God. When you run into the brick wall of wanting to do the good but finding yourself doing that which is evil, as Apostle Paul describes in Ro 7:18-20. When you find that you greatly desire to overcome and lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset you, He 12:1. And then run the race with patience, but have difficulty doing so. This internal and external conflict exerting pressure on you, brings you closer to God. Brings you to the point where you start to increasingly come before the throne of grace for help in your many times of need, He 4:16. When you become acutely aware of the lack of strength within yourself. When you begin to hunger and thirst for righteousness. When you fear that you will come short of the glory of God. Then you are in a position where God can begin to teach you and develop fruit within you. It is stated that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, Proverbs 9:10. Perhaps that is the primary reason why God subjected the creation to vanity. A aspect related to this is briefly mentioned by Paul in 2 Corinthians and goes hand in hand with Php 2:12-13.

2Co 7:10 For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
11 For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter.

Even repentance to salvation is a work of God in our lives and involves inner turmoil and fear. In short it is God purifying our hearts by faith. A person could go overly long on this topic but before I finish let us again look at a few scripture verses in the book of Hebrews directly related to why the creature was subjected to vanity. So that life experiences and God Himself using those life experiences, could teach us to make mature choices in life based on love.

He 5:13 For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14 But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

He 12:11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Of course we should always emulate and keep our eye on the author and finisher of our faith, He 12:2 , and have the mind set of Jesus Christ to do the will of the Father. Who died in the flesh for us and his example encourages us to die to the flesh also.

He 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
8 Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered;

In the coming Kingdom of God, Christ will rule with a rod of iron with the body of Christ, Re 12:5, Re 20:6. But it will be a reign of righteousness. The fruit of the Spirit fully developed in the body of Christ will ensure that they will be mature, willing and perfect servants to Christ, mankind, and the purpose of God, Eph 1:10. We should all keep this in mind as we grow in the fruit of the Spirit and to humbly submit ourselves to the mighty hand of God working in our lives. The love of God in Christ Jesus entails our realizing the high potential God has in mind for us.

1Pe 5:6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time:
7 Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.

A roaring lion seeking whom he may devour

1 Peter 5:8-10 KJVS
[[8] Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: [9] Whom resist stedfast in the faith, knowing that the same afflictions are accomplished in your brethren that are in the world. [10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you .

Many times we cherrypick scripture verses out of context, then use them to draw certain spiritual meanings and lessons from these verses, and miss out on deeper meanings that otherwise could be acquired by reading them in context. Case in point is the oft mentioned phrase “your adversary the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour”. A deeper understanding may be had, by reading the verse in context and by study a definition of one of the words in a verse that follows. We are told to resist stedfast the devil in the faith. We are also told that being afflicted by the devil is the same afflictions accomplished in our brethren. The following definition of accomplished offers deeper insight.

Strong’s Number
G2005
Strong’s Definition
From G1909 and G5055; to fulfill further (or completely) that is execute; by implication to terminate undergo: – accomplish do finish (make) (perfect) perform (X -ance).
Thayer’s Definition
to bring to an end, accomplish, perfect, execute, complete
to take upon one’s self
to make an end for one’s self
to leave off
to appoint to, impose upon

A online Greek Interlinear renders G2005 like this.

TO-BE-beING-ON FINISHED

The the noun afflictions is the object of the verb G2005 and the meaning in that sentence is difficult for me to determine. G2005 is often in verses that relate to those in the body of Christ being completed, perfected or finished. I like how the Amplified Bible translates that verse.

1 Peter 5:9 | AMP
9 Withstand him; be firm in faith [against his onset–rooted, established, strong, immovable, and determined], knowing that the same (identical) sufferings are appointed to your brotherhood (the whole body of Christians) throughout the world.

This verse dovetails nicely with what is stated in the verse that follows verse 9.

1 Pe 5:10 KJVS
[10] But the God of all grace, who hath called us unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you .

A few more verses in other epistles that supply additional insight.

1 Thessalonians 3:3 KJVS
[3] That no man should be moved by these afflictions: for yourselves know that we are appointed thereunto.

The Greek word, G2347, which is translated into the English word afflictions in 1 Th 3:3, is also translated into tribulation in a variety of other New Testament verses. Most notably the following.

Colossians 1:24 KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

Granted, Apostle Paul is not specific in regards to who is behind these afflictions or tribulations. Or in many cases what exactly these afflictions and tribulations are, when he mentions these words in many verses in the New Testament. But since Suffering plays a role in our development as children of God, Satan appears to have a role in it. Part of which is this.

2 Corinthians 4:4-6 KJVS
[4] In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [5] For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. [6] For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

All things are of God, 2 Co 5:18. Is it ordained by God for Satan to blind the eyes to the gospel of those not ordained to see the light? You can not go beyond what is stated in the scriptures. The body of Christ was known in Christ before the foundation of the world, Eph 1:4. The Greek word for foundation has the meaning of something conceived. So before the world was conceived, those in the body of Christ, were known in him. This is a important point that theology conveniently ignores. There are reasons for that. Money, control of people and men building their own kingdoms in this world. God of course foreknew, predestinated and ordained all that goes on in this world directly or indirectly. To ignore this fact is to limit a limitless God. Keep this in mind as we move foreword.

Romans 13:1 KJVS
[1] Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

After reading Ro 13:1, one might ask if Satan is one of the powers ordained by God? Since he is the God of this world, and all things are of God, one would think so. It is commonly presented that Satan upset the apple cart of God’s perfect creation by enticing Eve and Adam to take a bite out of the fruit off the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Now granted, that act by Adam and Eve was in direct disobedience of God’s command. But the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil made mankind like God and the Word, Gen 3:22. All that was lacking in humanity at that point, was individual maturity in men’s decision making ability in relationship with God and with one another. This lack of maturity is due to the flesh, Ro 8:3. The maturity God has in mind for man is experiential and can only be achieved a couple of different ways. By observing life around us, by being taught/disciplined by worldly authorities. And if one is in the body of Christ, exercised by God’s chastisements in the decisions we make in life. All of which results in greater or lesser degrees of good or evil in this cosmos. Individual thoughts and actions result in good or evil. The following verses apply more to the body of Christ but in principle, apply or will apply in time, to all men.

Hebrews 5:13-14 KJVS
[13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
Hebrews 12:6,11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Both sets of verses mention righteousness, which is the end result of being justified and sanctified, Ro 3:20-24. But the not so obvious point that is being made, is that being made righteous, made perfect or mature, cannot take place without the interplay of good and evil in the world. God then needed to create a environment designed to mature and bring many sons into glory,He 2:10&11? Satan as the adversary, has a direct role in the process of the children of God being made mature. Again, this is not obvious due to the fact that Satan is often misrepresented as the perpetrator of evil in this world. A free agent who is intentionally derailing God’s purpose in the world. That is partly true but scriptures indicate there is more going on here than that simplistic representation of Satan. Evil again, is a result of individual choices and actions that are made by all creatures in God’s creation. Choices made by Satan, by sons of God, by Eve and Adam and by all of us. I remember one of my sons complaining to me about a big fine he had to pay. He got a ticket for one thing or another connected to his automobile. He did not pay the ticket for years and down the line it caught up with him and he was forced to pay it, but it was considerably more than the original fine. I told him he learned a valuable lesson. Pay tickets on time. Obey the law. I have often told my two sons, neither of whom the Lord has yet called, that life would teach them everything they needed to know, but they needed to pay attention.

Romans 13:1-4 ESV
[1] Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. [2] Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, [4] for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Now granted, there are varying degrees of good and evil. Just as there are varying degrees of maturity. Maturity is gained by guidance from our parents and from life experience and from the school of hard knocks. Sometimes God’s authorities on this earth punish you in various ways for infractions against the laws. And if you are a Christian, God chastises you based on a more stringent sets of law, the royal law of love, Ja 2:8, and for lack of holiness, He 12:10. The book of James has something to say about man being tempted or being put to the proof, as the Strong’s Concordance defines being tried.

James 1:12-16 KJVS
[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. [13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. [16] Do not err, my beloved brethren.

According to these verses in James, God does not tempt any man but the first chapter of Job records a interesting conversation between God and Satan while both were present at the divine council. God draws Satan’s attention to Job and by accentuating how blameless Job is, God provokes Satan into tempting Job with various trials.

Job 1:6-12 ESV
[6] Now there was a day when the sons of God came to present themselves before the LORD, and Satan also came among them. [7] The LORD said to Satan, “From where have you come?” Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking up and down on it.” [8] And the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, who fears God and turns away from evil?” [9] Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? [10] Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. [11] But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” [12] And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So Satan went out from the presence of the LORD.

Satan’s actions against Job, as the narrative progresses, extends to the point where Satan is allowed by God to torment Job directly by attacking his health.

Job 2:3-6 KJVS
[3] And the Lord said unto Satan, Hast thou considered my servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil? and still he holdeth fast his integrity, although thou movedst me against him, to destroy him without cause. [4] And Satan answered the Lord , and said, Skin for skin, yea, all that a man hath will he give for his life. [5] But put forth thine hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse thee to thy face. [6] And the Lord said unto Satan, Behold, he is in thine hand; but save his life.

I have read the book of Job many times and have come away with a couple conclusions. God proves to Job that he did not established his own righteousness. What is not so obvious is that godly character needs to be put to the proof by adversity, affection and suffering. A important fact to notice in this account, is that Satan required God’s permission to tempt Job and God limited Satan’s actions. Satan is ultimately not a free agent acting on his own. Nebuchadnezzar arrived at the same conclusion regarding himself as a free agent after God had him crawl on his hands and knees eating grass for seven years to humble him. Keep in mind that he was the absolute rule of the known world at that time but he was also God’s servant, Je 25:9. Perhaps that is why God chastised him.

Daniel 4:34-35 KJVS
[34] And at the end of the days I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the most High, and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation: [35] And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

This divinely inspired conclusion is very similar to what Paul writes in Romans, Ro 9:19-21. A situation Apostle Paul found himself in comes to mind, that is directly related to this subject matter of this article, which demonstrates God’s authority over a messenger of Satan

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 KJVS
[7] And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. [8] For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. [9] And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Who gave Paul this messenger of Satan to torment him is not made clear but again all things are of God. God gave all judgment to the Lord Jesus Christ, Jn 5:22. The Lord made this statement regarding Saul which is of interest.

Acts 9:15-16 KJVS
[15] But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: [16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

The gospels records many instances of the authority Jesus Christ had over devils and demons which are too numerous to list. Jesus Christ even instructed Satan to be quick in using Judas Iscariot to betray him.

John 13:26-27 KJVS
[26] Jesus answered, He it is, to whom I shall give a sop, when I have dipped it . And when he had dipped the sop, he gave it to Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon. [27] And after the sop Satan entered into him. Then said Jesus unto him, That thou doest, do quickly.

Another interesting episode in the gospels comes to mind, that at first glance seems unremarkable.

Matthew 4:1 KJVS
[1] Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

To have the Spirit lead Jesus into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil, demonstrates a certain degree of coordination between the Spirit and Satan in regards to time and place. When praying the Lord’s Prayer, we pray to the Father to be led not into temptation, Lk 11:4. There is of course a open conflict between the angels of God and Satan and his angels that emerges from the scriptures. The book of Daniel records one such instance, Da 10:12&13. Personally I view this conflict as real and necessary so as to allow evil to flourish in a controlled manner, so that the body of Christ and all creation to some greater or lesser degrees, achieve maturity due to having their senses exercised to discern between good and evil. In essence, you can’t make a omelet without breaking a few eggs. God apparently needs to immerse the members of the body of Christ in the crucible of suffering, affliction and temptation along with His Spirit poured in, in order to make the new creature in Christ, Ja 1:18. There is more at play here than that, but this article is complicated enough as is. A person can learn a lot when reading scripture by asking yourself questions. Why did God wait till the end of the age to cast Satan out of the third heaven to earth? Especially in light of the fact that both God and Jesus have the ultimate power and authority in heaven, Eph 1:20&21.

Revelation 12:10 KJVS
[10] And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and the power of his Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night.

The not so obvious answer is, that up until that point Satan had not completed his role as accuser of the brethren. The following definition of the Greek word translated into accuser is of interest, especially in light of the throne of God in the third heaven, and the proceedings that takes place there, He 4:16.

Thayer’s Definition
a. to accuse
before a judge: to make an accusation
b. of an extra-judicial accusation

Conversely we have advocate with God the Father who sits at His right hand.

1 John 2:1 KJVS
[1] My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

That is why it is important to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. I make a habit of saying the Our Father every morning for that reason. Satan’s role as accuser/adversary/prosecutor at the throne of God is necessary in the perfection of the body of Christ. And I admit, Satan’s role in this matter is not evident in a casual reading of scripture. But is apparent upon examination.

James 1:12-18 KJVS
[12] Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him. [13] Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man: [14] But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. [15] Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death. [16] Do not err, my beloved brethren. [17] Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning. [18] Of his own will begat he us with the word of truth, that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.

God cannot be tempted with evil, neither does he tempt any man. Does that mean God does not visit evils upon man? Part of the Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word chastening in He 12:5 is pasted below.

Strong’s Number
G3809
b. chastisement, chastening, (of the evils with which God visits men for their amendment)

The definition seems clear on who visits evils on man for their amendment but conflicts what is written in Ja 1:13. Perhaps the distinction is that God leads us into temptation rather than doing the evil Himself. The dialogue exchanged between God and Satan in the first chapter of Job again shows the finer nuances on how God performs his will on this earth. Is Satan’s role as the adversary/accuser completed when he is cast down from heaven as described in the 12th chapter of Revelation? From my perspective, his role as the accuser is no longer necessary, since the rapture of the body of Christ takes place at the seventh trumpet, Rev 10:7, 11:15. Keep in mind the three woes are linked to the last three Trumpets, and the third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12. At that point the body of Christ, if in fact that is who the man child represents, is without sin and made perfect/mature as the work of justification and sanctification is complete in every member.

Hebrews 9:28 KJVS
[28] So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.

To be honest, it is unclear in the above verse that the second appearance of our Lord that is mentioned, refers to when he meets the Saints in the air, 1 Th 4:17, or steps down on the Mount of Olives, Zec 14:4. But this of course has not happened yet. So in the meantime, Apostle John tells us to confess our sins, 1 Jn 1:9. Apostle Paul, in light of what I have just written, gives us insight on why we should do just that.

1 Corinthians 11:28-32 KJVS
[28] But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. [29] For he that eateth and drinketh unworthily, eateth and drinketh damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body. [30] For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep. [31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

Apostle Jude understood Satan’s role in God’s creation and is in agreement with what Apostle Paul wrote in Ro 13:1.

Jude 1:8-10 KJVS
[8] Likewise also these filthy dreamers defile the flesh, despise dominion, and speak evil of dignities. [9] Yet Michael the archangel, when contending with the devil he disputed about the body of Moses, durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee. [10] But these speak evil of those things which they know not: but what they know naturally, as brute beasts, in those things they corrupt themselves.

The Apostles understood that Satan is the god of this world, 2 Co 4:4, and understood his role as the accuser of the brethren. So then, a person can understand why Apostle Paul told the Philippians’s to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, Php 2:11&12. God knows what is in our hearts and minds and is growing the fruit of the Spirit in each and every member of the body of Christ. He allows any action He deems necessary in order for us to be qualified to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12.

Hebrews 12:28-29 KJVS
[28] Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: [29] For our God is a consuming fire.

What is being consumed is our flesh, and what is being grown in us is the fruit of the Spirit. What I see in scripture, is that all things are of God, and even though the struggle between good and evil is diverse and complex, it presents most individuals with a wide range of choices. The overall Matrix, if you will, exposes most all to a reality wherein they acquire varying degrees of maturity due to making choices and suffering the consequences of poor descisions and rewarded for prudent ones. A complex environment that could only come from the mind of God. Since Yeshua is the beginning and the end, everything in between ultimately leads to God’s desired end which fulfilles his purpose in Christ.

Ephesians 1:10 KJVS
[10] 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:

Who hath resisted his will?

Ro 9:18-19  Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth.
19  Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?

For who hath resisted his will? Indeed, who has resisted God’s will, and equally important why does He yet find fault? The omnipotence of God and the power He has over the individual, is further reinforced by analogy, a couple verses later in the 9th chapter of Romans.

Ro 9:20 Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed [it], Why hast thou made me thus?
21 Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?

Much of the Christian world believes in free will, and that God created man with free will, and is being held hostage, so to speak, by the very beings He has created. Common reasoning goes something like this, man was created with free will and God is more or less in damage control just trying to contain the evil that man is doing in the world. Granted, it is very hard to understand the mind of God, but the word of God give us a glimpse of how He thinks and operates, Jn 8:28, 2Ti 3:16, He 1:2. I have known Christians in the past who will argue that man has free will, even when shown those verses in the 9th chapter of Romans. They will point to a verse later in Romans and then promptly ignore other verses in the New Testament.

Ro 10:9  That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.

Some Christians proudly claim that they made the choice to accept Jesus as their personal saviour. But when comparing Ro 10:9 with the following verses, one can see that the salvation of a man is hardly based on free will, and the works or initiative of individual men.

Joh 15:16  Ye have not chosen me, but I have chosen you, and ordained you, that ye should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain: that whatsoever ye shall ask of the Father in my name, he may give it you.
Eph 2::8-9  For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
9  Not of works, lest any man should boast.
Php 1:29  For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on him, but also to suffer for his sake;
Php 2:13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Time and time again you run into the words ordained, predesignated, appointed and the like, in the New Testament. Only once in the New Testament does a specific Greek word that is translated into the English word inheritance appear and that is in Eph 1:11

AV Eph 1:11 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:

The Strong’s Concordance definition for the Greek word translated into the English word “inheritance”.

G2819  kleros  klay’-ros

probably from G2806 (through the idea of using bits of wood, etc., for the purpose; a die (for drawing chances);

by implication, a portion (as if so secured); by extension, an acquisition (especially a patrimony, figuratively).

KJV: heritage, inheritance, lot, part.

Personally I like the Concordant Literal New Testament translation of that verse.

CLV Eph 1:11 in Him in Whom our lot was cast also, being designated beforehand according to the purpose of the One Who is operating *all in accord with the counsel of His *will,

You’ve heard it said, that a person has a certain lot in life, and that is certainly true in biblical history. Note that God is “operating” all in accord with the counsel of His “will”. There are lumps of clay, humans, destined to be vessels of wrath and those, the children of promise, ordained to be vessels of mercy, Ro 9:20-21. You have the mystery of iniquity, 2Th 2:3-9,  playing out the roles assigned to them by God. You have those early apostate members of the church who were ordained of old for this condemnation in Jude 1:4. Two interesting question are asked in Ro 9:19.  Who has resisted His will? And why does he still find fault? What is not so obvious, when reading the bible narrative, is that no one has resisted God’s will, when in fact He exerts it. Look at what Nebuchadnezzar, ruler of the entire world in his day, and what he had to say after God had him crawling on his hands and knees eating grass, as a beast of the field for 7 years.

Da 4:34-35 ¶  And at the end of the days, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifting up my eyes to heaven, got back my reason, and, blessing the Most High, I gave praise and honour to him who is living for ever, whose rule is an eternal rule and whose kingdom goes on from generation to generation.
35  And all the people of the earth are as nothing: he does his pleasure in the army of heaven and among the people of the earth: and no one is able to keep back his hand, or say to him, What are you doing?

Job certainly came to the same conclusion concerning the trials God allowed into his life.

AV Jb 1:21 And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: the LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Or what Joseph had to say regarding his brothers selling him into slavery.

Ge 50:17-21  So shall ye say unto Joseph, Forgive, I pray thee now, the trespass of thy brethren, and their sin; for they did unto thee evil: and now, we pray thee, forgive the trespass of the servants of the God of thy father. And Joseph wept when they spake unto him.
18  And his brethren also went and fell down before his face; and they said, Behold, we be thy servants.
19  And Joseph said unto them, Fear not: for am I in the place of God?
20  But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.
21  Now therefore fear ye not: I will nourish you, and your little ones. And he comforted them, and spake kindly unto them.

The point being made is that all men are but bit players in their roles in life that God has assigned to them. Whether they are aware of it or not. But the answer to the second unanswered question is not so apparent. Why does God still find fault? As the potter, God takes lumps of clay, humans, and makes different vessels according to his design. Vessels of honor and vessels of wrath. And with both of these vessels, God of course finds fault, because irregardless of their roles in life, all have sinned and have come short of the glory of God, Ro 3:23. Even the vessels of honor, 1Pe 4:17. God finds fault, so as He can judge and correct the faults, in each individual vessel. Each individual, in their own ordained time, will be judged and saved, the majority of mankind at the white throne judgment. That is the point of it all. To judge the world in righteousness, Acts 17:31, through the Lord Jesus Christ. To what end?  So God can be all in all. God is love and we are to be holy and without blame before Him in love, Eph 1:4. Now, does this only apply to the body of Christ? The body of Christ is important in the plan and purpose of God but in order for God to be all in all, 1Co 15:28 , all have to be made perfect/mature in love.

1Jo 4:16  And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.

The not so obvious conclusion that can be drawn from this verse is that in order for God to be all in all, all have to dwell in love. One of the most definitive aspects of God, is that He is love, 1Jn 4:8. God intends to make man in His own image and likeness. In the previous two articles on this site we see that the acquisition of the knowledge of good and evil is part and parcel with this process?

Gn 3:22 & 24 And the LORD God said, Behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil: and now, lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live for ever:
24 So he drove out the man; and he placed at the east of the garden of Eden Cherubims, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to keep the way of the tree of life.

Man, when he was created, was immature and thus imperfect. Adam and Eve were easily led astray and enticed into disobedience in the Garden of Eden by the serpent and acquired the knowledge of good and evil. In like matter we are all created in a immature and imperfect likenesses of God. Since God is love, that is the very area that we all lack maturity in, 1Co 3:1-3. But God be praised, He will teach us how to love, 1Th 4:9. This spiritual maturity, of being able to love in the perfect or mature way, only comes about through much experience in our decision making in regards to good and evil, within our interactions with other people in our lives. Good and evil arises out of the heart of man and impacts the choices he makes in his life. So we need to grow in spiritual maturity.

Heb 5:12-14  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat.
13  For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe.
14  But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Note in verse 13, it mentions the word of righteousness. The word of righteousness, in a nut shell, is that we are to love one another, and to be holy and without blame before God in love, Eph 1:4. In the simplest of terms, good is love and evil is the absence of love in the heart of man. That which comes out of the heart of man, is what defiles a man, the lusts of the flesh, that Paul mentions in Galatians, are what defile a man, Mt 15:18-19, Ga 5:19-21. God’s goal for us in our life, is to gain maturity from interacting with the good and evil in life, some of which is due to the choices we make in life. Some from the choices of others and how those choices impact us. As we grow in maturity, we fall more in line with God’s will, and walk more in love. This maturity that comes from God, is also called the circumcision of the heart, Ro 2:28-29. Now, a apt analogy is raising children. Which many of us have done or are in the process of doing. These children live in a world that is comprised of people that are in the constant motion of making choices that are either good or evil or somewhere in between. A very complicated world, complicated by the fact that many of the people in this world do not aspire to live according to God’s law of love, Mt 22:37-40. As you raise your child towards maturity you seek to instill in them respect towards other people and respect for the law. As the child grows older, the challenges they face, within themselves and with other people in the world grow in complexity. Hurt, pain and suffering in the world is caused by other people and by the child themselves, due to the choices they make. Hurting and being hurt in a inescapable dance set in motion by God.

Ro 8:20-23  For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21  Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22  For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23  And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.

There is a observation made by some, that this earth and the life we live on this earth, was intentionally created flawed by God’s design. A necessary evil, that needs to be endured in order for the godly character to be developed and instilled in man. The perfection/maturity which God has in mind for all men. In order to do so, a learning environment was needed to be designed by God to that end, a school of hard knocks so to speak. Then God Himself teaches His creation to walk in love, the body of Christ first.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
[9] But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Take a look at the fruit of the Spirit in Ga 5:22-23. This fruit is cultivated and grown, not instilled in us at the point of our creation. The peaceable fruit of righteousness only comes about by God’s chastening us.

Heb 12:11  Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Jesus learned obedience by the things that he suffered, Heb 5:8, and unfortunately obedience can not be realized in any other way. It has to be tested, tried, and put to the proof. Part of loving a child and having them grow into maturity, a maturity that you know will insure peace and harmony in their life, is the willingness to discipline them for their own good and for the good of society. The thousand year reign of Jesus Christ is going to be a age of peace, righteousness and order. Where the law and the word of God is going to flow out of Jerusalem to the nations of the world, Isa 2:2-4. A perfected or matured body of Christ has been ordained to assist the Lord Jesus Christ in that reign. Ultimately, the end result being, that God is going to perfect/mature all men through Jesus Christ our Lord. Which apostle Paul was acutely aware of in his ministry.

Col 1:28  Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:

Not all men are going to be made perfect at once. A scripture verse that shines some insight into this, mentions the “second death”.

Re 20:6  Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years.

In Re 2:11, it further states that there is hurt/pain involved in the second death. One way or another, a man is going to die to the lusts of the flesh and that involves hurt, pain and suffering, because he who has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin.

1Pe 4:1 ¶  Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin;
2  That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

It is quite difficult for the human mind to encompass the enormity of what God is accomplishing in Jesus Christ. A large portion of mankind are oblivious, by design, to what God is doing and are going to pass through the white throne judgment and be judged and corrected at that time, 2Co 5:10, Re 20:11-13. The vessels of honor, the body of Christ, are judged and corrected while they live, in order to have instilled in them, the necessary godly character and fruit to rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Col 1:12, Re 20:6. They can be judged while they live because God views those in Christ, as dead in Christ, and as such, legally liable for judgment, Col 2:12 , Heb 9:27, 1Pe 4:17. The vessels of wrath, those under the law, were ordained to stumbled at the word, 1Pe 2:8 , and were fitted for ruin or loss, which is what destruction means in Ro 9:22.  Judas, a prime example of a person walking a preordained path, was ordained to betray Jesus, Jn 6:70-71, Acts 1:16 and Acts 2:23. Some have a preordained role in life and most others not overtly so, but like all, will be judged and corrected by God. All of creation was created within this complex mechanism designed by God to educate and mature all beings in His creation. These verses from the book of Romans express what God is doing most eloquently.

Ro 11:29-33  For God does not repent of His free gifts nor of His call;
30  but just as you were formerly disobedient to Him, but now have received mercy at a time when they are disobedient,
31  so now they also have been disobedient at a time when you are receiving mercy; so that to them too there may now be mercy.
32  For God has locked up all in the prison of unbelief, that upon all alike He may have mercy.
33 ¶  Oh, how inexhaustible are God’s resources and God’s wisdom and God’s knowledge! How impossible it is to search into His decrees or trace His footsteps! Weymouth

So at the end of the day, you have to ask yourself, if in fact any man has free will? A careful reading of the Word of God will show that man does not have free will.

Good good Father

I just downloaded a popular Christian song on my iPad. And decided to use the title of that song, as the title of this article. We do have a good good Father in heaven but the average Christian has some glaring misconceptions regarding our Father in heaven, and the love He has for us. Many Christians view our Father as a sugar daddy in heaven who is ready to showers us with material blessings. But the blessings a Christian receives in the New Testament are spiritual, Eph 1:3.

Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
[25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The transition in my mind in understand that we are being blessed with spiritual blessings rather than material blessings took considerable time. I live with moderate,and at times severe chronic pain, due to a spinal cord injury and four fused vertebrae in my neck. A large segment of organized Christianity does not teach that we are blessed with spiritual blessings, and early on following my injury the health and prosperity doctrines offered me hope of relief from pain and weakness. I have prayed, nearly on a daily basis, for healing of this condition for over 30 years. Even visited the San Marcos Healing Rooms a couple of times when wintering over with my sister Barb in Vista California. To be honest I have experienced periods of disappointment, depression, anger and bitterness towards God because I have not been healed and the long duration of this injury. Which has hardened my heart. The washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost, Titus 3:5, has frequently washed these negative emotions from my heart. Over the last 15 years of reading and studying scripture, I have come to a deeper understanding of the methodology God uses in saving the body of Christ by grace. Or as Acts 3:26 phrases it “turning away every one of you from his iniquities”. Apostle Peter said at the Jerusalem council that through grace our hearts are purified by faith, Acts 15:9&11. Apostle Paul told the members of the Philippians church something, which at first glance would seem unrelated to what Peter said.

Philippians 2:12-13 KJVS
[12] Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling. [13] For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

Since God, through Jesus Christ, is going to turn us away from our iniquities, there is a method that He uses which emerges from scripture. Ultimately this method involves purifying the heart on one hand and on the other hand eradicating the sin nature, the flesh, within us. Our Lord Jesus pointed out that the source of sin is the heart.

Mark 7:21-23 KJVS
[21] For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, [22] Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: [23] All these evil things come from within, and defile the man.

Patterns of sinful behavior are hard to change not only because of the deceitful nature of sin, He 3:12&13. But also because the flesh is too weak to follow the laws of God, Ro 8:3, and the laws of God are based on love, Ro 13:10. As such, it is necessary to have the indwelling of the Holy Ghost to effect change in a believers heart.

John 17:23 KJVS
[23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Scripture points to the fact that justification and sanctification are a ongoing process in a believers life. Both are dependent upon maturity. Both are by grace, and it is by grace we are saved through faith, Eph 2:8&9. We are sanctified through the offering of the body of Christ once for all, He 10:10, and the offering of his body, whose body we are, Eph 5:30, takes place on the altar outside the camp.

Hebrews 13:9-14 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. [14] For here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come.

As you see, the altar outside the camp is instrumental in establishing the heart by grace. And that altar is the place of sanctification, the place where the old man is destroyed, Ro 6:6. Sanctification is as much about the heart as justification is. We are justified by grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, Ro 3:24. So it is pretty hard to separate justification and sanctification because they both are by grace. I wrote a previous article based on the following verses.

Hebrews 3:8-10 KJVS
[8] Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness: [9] When your fathers tempted me, proved me, and saw my works forty years. [10] Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways.

God’s ways are to temper us in the furnace of suffering, affliction and for some persecution. Maturity and steadfastness can only gain by being challenged with adversity. We can only acquire obedience to the will of God and cease from sin through suffering, 1 Pe 4:1&2. From my perspective, the suffering and frustration of living with a spinal cord injury for all thirty plus years, has been necessary in purifying my heart through faith in Jesus Christ. And also bringing me to obedience to God’s will by ceasing to sin. After all, it is God that works in me the will to do His good pleasure, Php 2:13, through the washing of regeneration and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. The same God who also chastises me to partake of his holiness and acquire the fruit of righteousness, He 12:10&11. I often wonder if this long arduous ordeal I have gone through for 30 years plus has been really necessary. But then I only need to be honest and look back on the condition of my heart in times past. Which should be no surprise since the word of God has shown me.

Hebrews 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. [13] Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.

I can only hope I am near the finish of the race, He 12:1, which has been set before me and soon receive the crown of life, Ja 1:12. But I know that God will bring me to a state of maturity far exceeding anything I could have achieved on my own. So as one of the lyrics of the song states, He is perfect in all of His way. He is a good good Father.

With stammering lips and another tongue

1 Corinthians 14:21 KJVS
[21] In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord.

If you look at the above verse using a reference bible it will direct you to Isaiah 28:11&12. I included a few verses besides 11&12 for the sake of context.

Isaiah 28:9-13 KJVS
[9] Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. [10] For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little: [11] For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people. [12] To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear. [13] But the word of the Lord was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

First let me state that I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. It was a very powerful, life changing experience. I soon found that the church where I received the baptism of the Holy Spirit was too much centered around the law and Old Testament. In the Isaiah verses above line upon line, precept upon precept, to me clearly points to the law of Moses. The law was given because of transgressions until the seed, Jesus Christ came, Gal 3:19. The rest mentioned in verse 12 is the rest mentioned in Hebrews 4:10&11,which points to God, along with the sacrifice and offerings of Jesus Christ, doing the work of salvation in us, Php 2:12&13. And yet some of those who received the baptism of the Holy Spirit did not hear, verse 12, just as Paul wrote in 1 Co 14:21. They fall backward, are broken, and snared, and taken. Isa 28:9 is very similar to a couple verses in Hebrews, so much so I am surprised a reference bible does not refer them to one another.

Hebrews 5:12-14 KJVS
[12] For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. [13] For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. [14] But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.

Both verses in Isaiah and Hebrews point to the lack of moving on into sound doctrine and the lack of spiritual growth by the individuals these verses are written about. A wake up call to those not yet weaned from the milk, who are unskilled in the word of righteousness. There are no chapter divisions in the original bible manuscripts and pertinent information can be overlooked due to this fact. The 6th chapter of Hebrews is no exception.

Hebrews 6:1-3 KJVS
[1] Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God, [2] Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment. [3] And this will we do, if God permit.

If God permit! The real obstacle I see in the way of going on into perfection, according to the Isaiah prophecy, is the law, and laws of religious institutions. The taste not, handle not , holiness ordinances.

Colossians 2:20-23 ESV
[20] If with Christ you died to the elemental spirits of the world, why, as if you were still alive in the world, do you submit to regulations- [21] “Do not handle, Do not taste, Do not touch” [22] (referring to things that all perish as they are used)-according to human precepts and teachings? [23] These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

The last verse makes a crucial point. Denying the flesh alcohol, for a example, does not lead to self control in that area of your life. Only God correcting you and by dying to the lusts of the flesh can a person attain self control. Sound doctrine is understanding that being justified and sanctified is a function of grace, not of our works, Eph 2:8&9. Trying to observe the ten commandment and ordinances of religious institutions gets you no where because the flesh is too weak to observe these laws, Ro 8:3&4. We can only achieve the righteous requirement of the law by walking after the Spirit and allowing the Spirit to bring about these changes in our life. Most religious institutions do not want you weaned from the milk and may even be largely comprised of members who have not received the baptism of the Holy Spirit. But even churches whose members are Spirit filled may prevent their members from being weaned from the milk. In my mind it is difficult to separate justification and sanctification in regards to perfection as a Christian matures, because they both are due to God’s working us, Php 3:9-12, He 10:14. And both take place during the life of a believer. I used to enjoy woodworking before my neck pain made the activity too painful. I designed and made most of my furniture. Oak hutch, end tables, beds and assorted tables. The scriptures fit together in my mind and are linked by similar words and concepts, very similar to joining pieces of wood together to make a piece of furniture. Comparing spiritual things with spiritual, 1 Co 2:13. Scripture of course is more complicated and intricate. The words exercised and righteousness in He 5:13&14 are mentioned in another set of verses in Hebrews.

Hebrews 12:11 KJVS
[11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Now we are starting to get into the meat of sound doctrine. In order to mature as children of God we have to be disciplined. Let us look at the above verse in context.

Hebrews 12:4-11 KJVS
[4] Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. [5] And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: [6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [7] If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? [8] But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. [9] Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us , and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

The various forms of the word chastening, chasteneth that appear in the NT are translated from the Greek word paideuō, with it’s different suffix endings. It also appears in the following verses.

1 Corinthians 11:31-32 KJVS
[31] For if we would judge ourselves, we should not be judged. [32] But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world.

We see that being chastised is being judged by the Lord. And this chastening is a function of grace. Teaching in verse 12 below is translated from the Greek word paideuō.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

Being chastised is also linked to communion with the sufferings of Christ. Notice how similar Titus 2:11&12 is to 1 Pe 4:1&2. Being scourged by God is suffering, and we, just as our Lord, learn obedience from suffering, He 5:8.

1 Peter 4:1-2,12-13 KJVS
[1] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; [2] That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God. [12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Our being justified and sanctified is not all about suffering and being scourged. There is the washing by the water of the word, Eph 5:26 and the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. They both in fact may be different aspects of the same. Many years in the past the Spirit moved strongly on me when reading certain verses propelling me on to grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. That does not happen as often as in the past. In the last decade the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost has been more abundant in my life.

Titus 3:5-7 KJVS
[5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

The abundant washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost that is poured out on us is having communion with the Spirit of God, which results in joy and the strengthening of our inner man.

1 Thessalonians 1:6 KJVS
[6] And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:

Ephesians 3:16 KJVS
[16] That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man;

Colossians 1:11 KJVS
[11] Strengthened with all might, according to his glorious power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness;

The washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost has been literally keeping me close to God for the last 15 difficult years while living with pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury. I was paralyzed for ten days in 1984 but as I get older the pain and weakness has become more pronounced. The Spirit knows what is going on in our mind and hearts and about the time I start getting wore down and weary of my situation the washing and regeneration of the Holy Ghost moves over me even if I am disgruntled and not really seeking it. This washing often takes place when I listen to Christian music in the morning and think to give the sacrifice of the fruit of my lips giving praise and thanks to name, He 13:15. This washing is also the carrot that has offset the the stick of chastisements, that are aimed at my perfecting holiness in the sight of God, 2 Co 7:1. Paul writes the following verses about Spiritual gifts that Cessationist misunderstand.

1 Corinthians 13:8-13 KJVS
[8] Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. [9] For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. [10] But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away. [11] When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things. [12] For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. [13] And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity.

I think the the above verses point to the fact that the more a Christian matures and become more perfect, the less need their is in their lives for the Spiritual gifts operating in their lives. Those that received the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speak in tongues may in fact fail to go on into perfection, He 6:1, due to the fact they are never weaned from the milk, Isa 28:9. But as the verse states you can only go on into perfection if God wills it. I think that Apostle Paul’s admonishment to the Galatians church about the law would be a effective verse way to end this article. Especially for those who have the Spirit, speak in tongues, and want to go on to perfection.

Galatians 3:3 KJVS
[3] Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

That the heart be established with grace; not with meats

Hebrews 13:9-13 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

Peter makes a statement at the Jerusalem council which also contained two of the same words in the above verses, grace and heart.

Acts 15:9-11 KJVS
[9] And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. [10] Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? [11] But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

Notice that Peter said, through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, and part of the process of being saved is having the heart purified. Much of the whole focus of the New Testament regarding salvation, is involved with two words. Grace and the heart. Let’s look at another verse. Just about every Christian, young or old, can rattle this one off the top of their heads. But the 64,000 dollar question is, do they truly understand it?

Ephesians 2:8 KJVS
[8] For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

Most all Christians will agree that grace is the driving force behind God’s salvation of mankind through Jesus Christ, Ro 2:24. But in what manner does grace save us? That is what I intend to show you, using scripture. Apostle Paul wrote a very important verse that shows the fundamental problem mankind has with obeying the law of God. Remember Jesus himself said he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it, Mt 5:17. So let us look at what Paul had to say about the law.

Romans 8:3 KJVS
[3] For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh:

The flesh of man is too weak to obey the law, and understanding this fact is absolutely necessary when contrasting justification through the law or through grace. Man, by his own efforts, is incapable, too weak, of following the law. Largely because out the heart of man, emerges the varied lusts of the flesh that overwhelm a man, Ro 7:17. Jesus during his ministry, made a statement that sheds some light in this regard.

Matthew 15:19-20 KJVS
[19] For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies: [20] These are the things which defile a man: but to eat with unwashen hands defileth not a man.

Paul expands on this in great detail in the 5th chapter of Galatians. You would do well to read the chapter sometime, but for now I cherry picked two verses out of that chapter to make a point.

Galatians 5:13,16 KJVS
[13] For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another. [16] This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

Then, following this statement Paul outlines some of the lusts of the flesh and lists the fruit or fruits of the Spirit. The primary fruit of the Spirit is love. Paul describes love as the means by which we can be obedient to the law of God in the book of Romans.

Romans 13:9-10 KJVS
[9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Simply put, the heart of man needs to be brought to the point, by God, to love in this way. Paul in another epistle, states that brotherly love is taught to us by God.

1 Thessalonians 4:9 KJVS
[9] But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another.

Being taught by God is a function of grace and a verse written in another epistle by Paul expands on this theme.

Titus 2:11-12 KJVS
[11] For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, [12] Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

The Greek word translated into the English word teaching is G3811. It is used three times in the 12th chapter of Hebrews, two of which are in the following verses.

Hebrews 12:6,10-11 KJVS
[6] For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. [10] For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. [11] Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby.

Barnes’ Notes on the Bible has this to say about fruit of righteousness.
“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness – That which righteousness in the heart produces. The fruits, or results, will be seen in the life; and those fruits are – honesty, truth, charity, kindness, meekness, goodness. The wish of the apostle is, that they might show abundantly by their lives that they were truly righteous. He does not refer to liberality merely, but to everything which true piety in the heart is fitted to produce in the life.”

Barnes states it quite well. It would seem to be counter intuitive that the fruit of righteousness would be grown in man by God chastening them. But there is another aspect to grace that offsets being chastised, and is directly responsible for changing a man’s heart, which the following verses makes clear.

Titus 3:4-7 KJVS
[4] But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, [5] Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; [6] Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; [7] That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

I can attest that this is true and see it working in my own life. I have suffered pain and weakness due to a spinal cord injury since 1984. The last twenty years have been difficult. The last ten years exceedingly so, largely due to a increase of low back pain. The only thing that has kept my heart right before God, has been the frequent washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost. I have been chastised by God more than a few times. Chastisement, for me, has involved a large degree of mental suffering cause by the frustration wrestling with sin that dwells in me, Ro 7:20. The 31 years of suffering due a car accident, in which I severely damaged myself due to recklessness and irresponsibility, is at times hard to understand in the context of salvation. This whole trial by fire has been quite difficult for me but suffering is another aspect of the salvation process overlooked by many.

1 Peter 4:12-13 KJVS
[12] Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: [13] But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Paul puts it this way.

Philippians 3:9-10 KJVS
[9] And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: [10] That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

Weeks before the car accident that so drastically changed my life, a scripture verse kept running through my head often times when I daydreamed. I was boning hams at a local meat packing plant working 2nd shift. It is line work. By that I mean you stand next to a moving conveyor belt, in the same place for eight hours, cutting the bones out of a pig’s lower hip and thigh. Plenty of time to daydream. At odd times this one bible verse kept running through my mind, over and over for about a three week period before the accident.

Colossians 1:24 KJVS
[24] Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:

I did not know what it meant then, I only knew it was important. I know what it means now. Our hearts are purified through faith, Acts 15:9. So it stands to reason that the trial of faith, 1 Pe 1:7, is aimed towards the purification of our hearts. Suffering in its many forms plays a big role in this process.

1 Peter 4:1-2 KJVS
[1] Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; [2] That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

We suffer when God chastises and sometimes God uses evils in life to chastise us in order to instill the fruit of righteousness. I cannot honestly claim that the fruit of the Spirit and fruit of righteousness are one in the same, but think they are. There is also trials and afflictions ordained for us to endure, 1Thess 3:3. God’s ways are often not readily discerned. When God tries you, he is putting to the proof, that in which He is painstakingly instilling in you. The suffering, difficulties, afflictions and persecutions in life is also the fire of the sin sacrifice altar, outside the camp that burns up the flesh, He 12:11&13. We know Jesus was the lamb of God that was a sin sacrifice. His body is the church.

Ephesians 5:23 KJVS
[23] For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.

Jesus was without sin, but he became us in his role as a sin offering, in order that we might become the righteousness of God in him, 2 Co 5:21. I think the failure of today’s theology is it does not understand that the body of Christ is one with the altar mentioned in He 13:10. Sacrifice and altars of sacrifice were a common part of life for Jew, Christian and pagan alike.

1 Corinthians 10:16-18 KJVS
[16] The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the communion of the body of Christ? [17] For we being many are one bread, and one body: for we are all partakers of that one bread. [18] Behold Israel after the flesh: are not they which eat of the sacrifices partakers of the altar?

Jesus at one point made a statement that was responsible for turning away many of his disciples.

John 6:53-56 KJVS
[53] Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. [54] Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. [55] For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. [56] He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him.

This was pretty powerful language and those Jews who were listening knew it was against the law of Moses to drink blood or to eat off of the body of the sin sacrifice, plus what he said would smack of cannibalism. But the point Jesus was making, was that unless you received the Spirit of adoption and became a part of his body, and then have your flesh burned up and destroyed on the sin sacrifice altar, you would not rule and reign with him during the millennial kingdom. The phrase eternal life is a poor translation. Young’s literal translation properly translates eternal life this way.

Jn:54 he who is eating my flesh, and is drinking my blood, hath life age-during, and I will raise him up in the last day;

Another set of verses that point to this sin sacrifice altar is in Romans.

Ro 6:5 For if we have become planted together in the likeness of His death, nevertheless we shall be of the resurrection also,
6 knowing this, that our old humanity was crucified together with Him, that the body of Sin may be nullified, for us by no means to be still slaving for Sin,
7 for one who dies has been justified from Sin. CLV

I like this particular translation rather than the King James Version because of how the 7th verse is translated. The verb tense does not seem right in context with the tail end of the previous verse. One who dies has been “justified” is a more literal translation. The King James uses the word “freed” rather than justified in the seventh verse but the Greek word used, and its definition and usage follows.

Strong’s Number
G1344
Original Word
δικαιόω
Transliterated Word
dikaioō
Phonetic Spelling
dik-ah-yo’-o
Parts of Speech
Verb
Strong’s Definition
From G1342; to render (that is show or regard as) just or innocent: – free justify (-ier) be righteous.
Thayer’s Definition
to render righteous or such he ought to be
to show, exhibit, evince, one to be righteous, such as he is and wishes himself to be considered
to declare, pronounce, one to be just, righteous, or such as he ought to be
Usage by Word
justified (26), justify (4), justifieth (2), shall (2), was (2), being (1), by (1), freed (1), he (1), i (1), is (1), justifier (1), righteous (1)

As you can see, this Greek word has been translated most often into the English word justified in the New Testament. Being dead in Christ, Ro 6:5, is not the same as having our old man of sin nullified or destroyed. That takes place due to the offering of the body Jesus Christ, on the sin sacrifice altar, once for all.

Hebrews 10:10 KJVS
[10] By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all .

There are a couple aspects involved with being a member of the corporate body of Christ. First we are members of his body, his flesh and bones, Eph 5:30. There is also the aspect of being a part of the corporate body of sinful flesh, that we, the body of Christ possess, that needs to be destroyed, Ro 6:6. It is very hard to separate justification from sanctification because sin is only truly eradicate in our lives when the sin nature, the sin that dwells in us, Ro 7:17, is completely burned away on the sin sacrifice altar. And yet in He 13:9-13, which is a clear allusion to the sin sacrifice altar, starts out by stating it is good thing for the heart to be established by grace and not by meats. In essence our efforts, our works have little to do with our salvation. The heart is the problem, and the driving force behind sin.

Jeremiah 17:9-10 KJVS
[9] The heart is deceitful above all things , and desperately wicked: who can know it? [10] I the Lord search the heart, I try the reins, even to give every man according to his ways, and according to the fruit of his doings.

I think the problem in understanding justification and sanctification in relationship to each other, lies in viewing these concepts separately and in light of the types and shadows cast by the law and its various sacrifices and offerings. That is only true in a very broad sense.

Hebrews 10:1 KJVS
[1] For the law having a shadow of good things to come, and not the very image of the things, can never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect.

The first part of the tenth chapter of Hebrews is about sanctification. About our inclusion in the body of Christ as a offering for sin. In short perfection is attained only through the nullification of the power of the flesh over us, Ro 6:6. Insight can be gained by reading the definition of the Greek word translated into the English word “destroyed” in Ro 6:6.

Thayer’s Definition
to render idle, unemployed, inactivate, inoperative
to cause a person or thing to have no further efficiency
to deprive of force, influence, power
to cause to cease, put an end to, do away with, annul, abolish
to cease, to pass away, be done away
to be severed from, separated from, discharged from, loosed from any one
to terminate all

The flesh is not necessarily destroyed but it’s power over us is nullified, or rendered idle. This involves the heart being purified by or through a lifetime of faith, Acts 15:9. This may not seem obvious at first, but if we truly love God, we would be like Jesus, and always do that which would please the father, Jn 8:29. Paul touched on this in the seventh chapter of Romans.

Romans 6:17-19 KJVS
[17] But God be thanked, that ye were the servants of sin, but ye have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine which was delivered you. [18] Being then made free from sin, ye became the servants of righteousness. [19] I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

So, to me, the line gets blurred between justification and sanctification due to the heart being the prime motivator of sin. And in order for sin to be rendered idle in our lives, our heart needs to be purified/justified. Another reason the line between justification and sanctification is blurred is because Jesus is in us, and God is in him.

John 17:17,23 KJVS
[17] Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. [23] I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.

Justification in my mind is usually associated with God justifying and purifying the heart, Acts 15:9, wherein sanctification involves Christ being in us and we in him, and our communion in the offering of the body of Christ on the sin sacrifice altar. Since Jesus is in us, and God in him, the line of distinguishing between being justified and sanctified is blurred to the point of not being able to differentiate between them. Both God and Jesus Christ are involved in the salvation process which includes being justified and sanctified pretty much simultaneously, 1 Co 6:11. Both God and Jesus Christ in their own way bring us to the place where we are made perfect/mature in love.

Colossians 3:14 KJVS
[14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.

Rapture timeline

The scripture verses in the book of Revelation present a timeline for when the rapture takes place during the tribulation. There are sign posts/events along the way within the chapters of the book of Revelation, that mark when the rapture takes place. In regards to this timeline, it is important to always keep in mind that the three woes are linked to the last three Trumpets.

Revelation 8:13 KJVS
[13] And I beheld, and heard an angel flying through the midst of heaven, saying with a loud voice, Woe, woe, woe, to the inhabiters of the earth by reason of the other voices of the trumpet of the three angels, which are yet to sound!

The above verse establishes a linear chronology throughout the 8th-12th chapters of Revelation based on when these three woes transpire within the narrative. We know for a fact that the two witnesses give their testimony during the first 3 1/2 years of what is commonly called the tribulation, because of what is written in the following verses.

Revelation 11:3,7-13 KJVS
[3] And I will give power unto my two witnesses, and they shall prophesy a thousand two hundred and threescore days, clothed in sackcloth. [7] And when they shall have finished their testimony, the beast that ascendeth out of the bottomless pit shall make war against them, and shall overcome them, and kill them. [8] And their dead bodies shall lie in the street of the great city, which spiritually is called Sodom and Egypt, where also our Lord was crucified. [9] And they of the people and kindreds and tongues and nations shall see their dead bodies three days and an half, and shall not suffer their dead bodies to be put in graves. [10] And they that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them, and make merry, and shall send gifts one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt on the earth. [11] And after three days and an half the Spirit of life from God entered into them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon them which saw them. [12] And they heard a great voice from heaven saying unto them, Come up hither. And they ascended up to heaven in a cloud; and their enemies beheld them. [13] And the same hour was there a great earthquake, and the tenth part of the city fell, and in the earthquake were slain of men seven thousand: and the remnant were affrighted, and gave glory to the God of heaven.

These verses give us some very important details. The ministry of the two witnesses takes place before the first and second woe. The beast that ascends out of the bottomless pit, first woe (5th trumpet), kills the two witnesses. The second woe takes place when the great earthquake occurs in Jerusalem following the death and resurrection of the two witnesses. The seventh trumpet and third woe takes place shortly after the second woe.

Revelation 11:14-15 KJVS
[14] The second woe is past; and , behold, the third woe cometh quickly. [15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Apostle John writes a verse in the tenth chapter of the book of Revelation that is in harmony with Rev 11:15, and with a revelation given to Apostle Paul.

Revelation 10:7 ESV
[7] but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27. Apostle Paul was given a dispensation by God to preach the revelation of the mystery of God, which fulfilled the word of God, Col 1:25. A short word study on the word mystery as it appears in the New Testament is helpful if one is unfamiliar with this mystery. Paul writes of this mystery in the often quoted verses in the 15th chapter of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 KJVS
[51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

At the seventh trumpet the members of the body will receive their glorified bodies and rule and reign with Jesus Christ for a thousand years, Rev 20:6. Which will be God’s glory in the kingdom to come, 1 Th 2:12. A interesting aspect of the mystery of God, mystery of Christ, is that God has to make known to a individual, what is the riches of the glory surrounding this mystery. So many bible experts do not understand this mystery because it is not given for them to know.

Colossians 1:27 KJVS
[27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

The last trump/trumpet that sounds, is the seventh trumpet and that is when the mystery of God is finished.

Revelation 11:15 KJVS
[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

Many try to take the 12th chapter of Revelation and place it at the beginning of the tribulation, Rev 4:1, or at the sixth seal in support of a pre tribulation rapture theory. But again, the three woe that are linked to the last three Trumpets, makes that impossible. If in fact one views the man child as the body of Christ, and the man child caught up to the throne of God, Rev 12:5, as the rapture. The third woe is when Satan is cast down to earth, Rev 12:12, following the man child being caught up to the throne of God, Rev 12:5. And the third woe takes place shortly after the second, Rev 11:14. It is very easy to loose sight of the fact that the three woes are associated with the last three Trumpets, Rev 8:13, while reading the narrative within the 8th-12th chapters. Many also view the woman in Revelation 12 as Mary the mother of Jesus. But again, the three woes makes that also impossible since the three woes are linked to the last three trumpets. Then there are others who view the woman of Revelation 12 as Israel. Apostle Paul states that the mother of us all is Jerusalem above, Gal 4:26. Isaiah also states the mother is Zion, which is a synonym for Jerusalem, Isa 66:7&8. There are two seed of the woman mentioned in the 12th chapter of Revelation. The man child who is resurrected at the seventh trumpet, verse 5, and the remnant of the woman’s seed, verse 17, who Satan makes war against during the last 3 1/2 years of the tribulation.

Revelation 12:17 KJVS
[17] And the dragon was wroth with the woman, and went to make war with the remnant of her seed, which keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus Christ.

So you have two seed of the woman, one group resurrected/changed at the middle of the tribulation and another group that are on the earth during the final half of the tribulation. The woman flys into the wilderness for three and a half years. The wilderness is a place where one is tested and tried by God. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=724

Revelation 12:14 KJVS
[14] And to the woman were given two wings of a great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness, into her place, where she is nourished for a time, and times, and half a time, from the face of the serpent.

Rev 12:17 may in fact account for verses in other parts of the Bible that point to a post tribulation resurrection. Possibly the resurrection of the just and unjust our Lord mentions in the latter half of the 25th chapter of Matthew. If I were to speculate upon the difference between those in the man child and those mentioned in Rev 12:17, I would say the baptism of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 3:11-12 KJVS
[11] I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: [12] Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

This baptism is a powerful and memorable experience, and in my case accompanied by speaking in tongues. When in fact might the rapture take place in regards to the timeframe in the book of Revelation?

Luke 3:1-3 KJVS
[1] Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, [2] Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. [3] And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins;

Tiberius Caesar’s reign started in 14 AD, 15 years later the ministries of John the Baptist and our Lord started. The Lord’s ministry lasted for 3 1/2. Which places the crucifixion of our Lord in and around AD 33. There are two thousand year prophetic days, 2 Pe 3:8, before our Lord’s return at the start of the seventh day, which would place the start of the thousand year kingdom of God around AD 2033. Since the rapture, gathering of the Saints unto the Lord, is 3 1/2 years before 2033, Rev 10:7, that gives a rough target date of 2029 for the rapture, if not sooner, Mark 13:20. I for one, hope and pray sooner.

Hope of glory

Colossians 1:27 KJVS
[27] To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:

There are certain words used in the New Testament whose meanings are not well defined and precise when they appear in scripture verses. These words cover a lot of ground. Glory is one such word, and is hard to nail down exactly what it means from one verse to the next. The obvious question to ask is exactly what does the word glory mean in Col 1:27? So let us take a look at two definition found in the Strong’s Concordance from a iPad bible app that I write with.

Strong’s Number
G1391
Original Word
δόξα
Transliterated Word
doxa
Parts of Speech
Noun Feminine

Strong’s Definition
From the base of G1380; glory (as very apparent) in a wide application (literally or figuratively objectively or subjectively): – dignity glory (-ious) honour praise worship.

Thayer’s Definition
1. opinion, judgment, view
2. opinion, estimate, whether good or bad concerning someone
a. in the NT always a good opinion concerning one, resulting in praise, honour, and glory
3. splendour, brightness
a. of the moon, sun, stars
b. magnificence, excellence, preeminence, dignity, grace
c. majesty
1. a thing belonging to God
a. the kingly majesty which belongs to him as supreme ruler,
majesty in the sense of the absolute perfection of the deity
2. a thing belonging to Christ
a. the kingly majesty of the Messiah
b. the absolutely perfect inward or personal excellency of Christ;
3. the majesty
of the angels
as apparent in their exterior brightness
4. a most glorious condition, most exalted state
a.of that condition with God the Father in heaven to which Christ
was raised after he had achieved his work on earth
b.the glorious condition of blessedness into which is appointed and promised that true Christians shall enter after their Saviour’s return from heaven

The Thayer’s Definition does a excellent job of giving detailed definitions for the word glory based on context as this word appears in the New Testament. 4b of the Thayer’s Definition is, in my mind, the closest meaning for the word as it is used in Col 1:27. There are several verses that uses the word glory with a similar meaning as in Col 1:27, which would support the meaning I am ascribing to Col 1:27.

Ephesians 1:17-18 KJVS
[17] That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him: [18] The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,

As in Col 1:27, this verse in Ephesians is conditional. God the Father has to make known, give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of the riches and glory of the mystery, in the inheritance we have in Christ. Both verses are what I call mirror verses and essentially point to the same thing. A recurring theme throughout the New Testament is our hope in the resurrection. Our inheritance in Christ is to inherit the world with Abraham, Ro 4:13, Gal 3:16&29. This is exclusive to the promise seed in Christ and entails receiving a glorified body. The next two verses may have well been written one right after the other.

Titus 2:13 KJVS
[13] Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;
Philippians 3:21 KJVS
[21] Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

Apostle Paul goes in more detail of the changing of our vile body in the 15 chapter of 1 Corinthians.

1 Corinthians 15:41-43,50-52 KJVS
[41] There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory. [42] So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption: [43] It is sown in dishonour; it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness; it is raised in power: [50] Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption. [51] Behold, I shew you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, [52] In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Notice in verse 51 Paul uses the word mystery, which points to the very same mystery he mentions in Col 1:27. This mystery is Christ in you the hope of glory and Apostle John wrote of it in the book of Revelation.

Revelation 10:7 ESV
[7] but that in the days of the trumpet call to be sounded by the seventh angel, the mystery of God would be fulfilled, just as he announced to his servants the prophets.

I have wrote of this mystery in greater detail in other articles on this website. If I interested, a search on the word “mystery” in the search box in the upper right of the webpage can be made. But at the end of the day, God has to enlighten the eyes of a individual to understand the riches of the glory of this mystery of God and the inheritance we have in Christ.

1 Thessalonians 2:12 KJVS
[12] That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

The body of Christ receives a kingdom that cannot be moved, He 12:28, at the seventh trumpet.

Revelation 11:15 KJVS
[15] And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.

For the law made nothing perfect

He 7:19 For the law made nothing perfect, but the bringing in of a better hope did ; by the which we draw nigh unto God.

That better hope is Christ in you, the hope of glory, Col 1:27. The law could not make anyone perfect or mature spiritually, because the flesh is too weak to consistently observe the law, Ro 8:3. Paul wrote a epistle to the Galatians church because outside Jewish elements had approached the members of the church and preached that church had to adopt the law of Moses. If asked to sum up the Galatians epistle with one verse within it, it would be this verse.

Ga 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

A verse in Philippians further hammers this point home.

Php 3:3 For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.

Paul in another of his epistles refers to the law as the ministration of death and condemnation.

2Co 3:6 ¶ Who also hath made us able ministers of the new testament; not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter killeth, but the spirit giveth life.
7 But if the ministration of death, written and engraven in stones, was glorious, so that the children of Israel could not stedfastly behold the face of Moses for the glory of his countenance; which glory was to be done away:
8 How shall not the ministration of the spirit be rather glorious?
9 For if the ministration of condemnation be glory, much more doth the ministration of righteousness exceed in glory.

I have asked myself what was Paul specifically referring to, when he used the term “law” in his epistles. Certainly not the Ten Commandments. But the 7th chapter of the book of Romans clears up that misconception.

Ro 7:6 But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.
7 ¶ What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

Thou shalt not covet is the tenth commandment. The newness of the Spirit encompasses love of our fellow man. The newness of the Spirit would entail we forgive one another as we have been forgiven. It is a matter of what motivates our actions. A external law can’t change the inner nature of a man or a man’s heart but God can purify a man’s heart by faith, Acts 15:9. In the book of Colossians Paul put it like this.

Col 2:20 If you have died with Christ and have escaped from the world’s rudimentary notions, why, as though your life still belonged to the world, do you submit to such precepts as
21 “Do not handle this”; ‘Do not taste that”; ‘Do not touch that other thing”  — 
22 referring to things which are all intended to be used up and perish — in obedience to mere human injunctions and teachings?
23 These rules have indeed an appearance of wisdom where self-imposed worship exists, and an affectation of humility and an ascetic severity. But not one of them is of any value in combating the indulgence of our lower natures. Weymouth

Rules governing behavior, which try to enforce certain holiness standards, are often in the taste not, touch not, handle not variety. Often the person seeks to achieve holiness by sheer will power alone. But in actual practice these laws, and observing these laws, do nothing in combating or putting to death our lower natures, the flesh. But those with the Spirit of God, with the help of the Spirit, do mortify the deeds of the flesh, Ro 8:13. Only God, by His Spirit, can write His laws on our minds and put them in our hearts, He 10:16. Often it is called the law of love, James 2:8. The law of the Spirit of life in Jesus Christ makes us free from the law of sin and death. So the law is good, just and holy, Ro 7:12. It was added because of transgression, until the promised seed did come, Ga 3:19, which was Jesus. Israel of the promise was basically put into a holding pattern under the law, until the promised seed came, Ga 3:16-19. Apostle Paul in the book of Galatians makes these interesting statements.

Galatians 4:21-26,30 KJVS
[21] Tell me, ye that desire to be under the law, do ye not hear the law? [22] For it is written, that Abraham had two sons, the one by a bondmaid, the other by a freewoman. [23] But he who was of the bondwoman was born after the flesh; but he of the freewoman was by promise. [24] Which things are an allegory: for these are the two covenants; the one from the mount Sinai, which gendereth to bondage, which is Agar. [25] For this Agar is mount Sinai in Arabia, and answereth to Jerusalem which now is, and is in bondage with her children. [26] But Jerusalem which is above is free, which is the mother of us all. [30] Nevertheless what saith the scripture? Cast out the bondwoman and her son: for the son of the bondwoman shall not be heir with the son of the freewoman.

The covenant of the law from mount Sinai, is associated with the bondwoman Agar who is in bondage with her children and will not be heirs of the kingdom of God. Earlier in Galatians Paul makes this point.

Galatians 3:14 KJVS
[14] That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.

One should always keep in mind the fact, that if you have not the Spirit of Christ, you are none of his, Ro 8:9. I used to be fairly proficient at woodworking. I have made my beds, end tables and a myriad of other furniture over the years. My neck is too unstable to do much of anything anymore. I used mortise and tennon joints, dove tail joints, and frame and panel construction to build much of my furniture. Scriptures fit together, in my mind, like the various pieces of wood that form a bed, a hutch or a table. So when I read the blessings of Abraham in Gal 3:14, a couple verses out of the book of Acts came to mind.

Acts 3:25-26 KJVS
[25] Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed. [26] Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

I will briefly cover how the promised Spirit turns us away from our iniquities a bit later on. But first I would like to turn our attention to another matter. There are various books and studies centered around the law and the Old Testament tabernacle and sacrifices. Wherein the authors assign some spiritual significance and meanings to the tabernacle, altars, sacrifices and other various items contained therein, in regards to salvation. In my opinion, mistakenly so. The book of Hebrews contrast the Old and New Covenant. The High Priest in the Old Testament tabernacle in contrast with Jesus as High Priest of the New Covenant. It is a complex book full of persuasive language depicting Jesus to the Hebrews, as what he was, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world. Types and shadows with figurative language, in which to use a phrase from the Apostle Peter, the unlearned and unstable wrest with unto their own destruction, 2Pe 3:16. There are more than a few verses in Hebrews that point out how the Old Testament law, with its sacrifices, lacked any value towards perfecting those involved in that religious system.

He 9:7 But into the second went the high priest alone once every year, not without blood, which he offered for himself, and for the errors of the people:
8 ¶ The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:
9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience;
10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

One verse often used to lend credence to these books and studies covering the Old Testament tabernacle and the purposed spiritual significance of the structure, altars and various articles within, is He 8:5.

He 8:5 Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, as Moses was admonished of God when he was about to make the tabernacle: for, See, saith he, that thou make all things according to the pattern shewed to thee in the mount.

Moses was admonished by God to follow the pattern or model of the tabernacle he was shown on the mount. Some bible commentators suggest there is a additional meaning to the verse. That the tabernacle was a model of the layout in heaven. What is easy enough to fail to understand regarding that interpretation, at least from my understanding of scripture, is that if the Old Testament tabernacle reflected any aspect of heaven, it would reflect the status of mankind’s relationship with God, at that time. Mankind had no access to the third heaven at that time He 9:8&9, which did not change until Jesus Christ sacrificed himself and brought salvation and the reconciliation of mankind back to God.

Hebrews 9:23-24 KJVS
[23] It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these. [24] For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

See also He 10:19-23. Hebrews is a extremely complex book to understand and one should take care when using it to formulate doctrine. Many of the books and teachings regarding the Old Testament tabernacle, extrapolate meanings and insights, using types and shadows. The Old Testament tabernacle and High Priest are used as a type and shadows of the New Testament tabernacle and High Priest, Jesus Christ. Hebrews 10:1 states that the law was a shadow of the good things to come but not the very image of the things. As such you cannot draw direct parallelisms from the Old Testament law as a shadow of the good things to come. It took me many years and untold readings of the book of Hebrews to be able to understand a majority of the verses in that epistle. One set of verses whose full meaning eluded me for quite some time are these.

Hebrews 13:9-13 KJVS
[9] Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. [10] We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle. [11] For the bodies of those beasts, whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the high priest for sin, are burned without the camp. [12] Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate. [13] Let us go forth therefore unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach.

For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats! Justification by grace is concerned with the purification of the heart by faith, Acts 15:9. Those Levite priest who served in the Old Testament tabernacle, performing sacrifices for themselves and others, did not profit from the activities they preformed in the tabernacle. The service they preformed did nothing towards eliminating their sinful natures or the sinful nature of those they sacrifice animal for. Only the grace of God, due to the salvation of Jesus Christ, teaching, chastising us, along with the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost changes our hearts and makes us righteous and worthy for our inheritance, Titus 2:11-12, Titus 3:4-7, 1Co 11:32, Col 1:12. It is remarkable the additional insight which can often be gained from studying scripture verses that are well traveled and often cited. The above verse He 13:9 states it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace; not with meats, which have not profited them that have been occupied therein. As said, our hearts are being purified by or through faith, Acts 15:9, a lifetime of faith during which God works in our life justifying and sanctify us. Paul, regarding his countrymen, and by extension those who seek to establish their own righteousness by works, sums it up nicely in Romans.

Ro 10:3 For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

We are advised to go outside the camp and bear his, Jesus, reproach because we have no continueing city, He 13:13. The meaning of this is not readily apparent. But the reproach Jesus faced can be summed up nicely with this verse.

2 Corinthians 5:21 KJVS
[21] For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

Religious institutions can often times present themselves to their members, as a essential part of the salvation process. And the body of Christ, the church is, but if these institutions do not teach sound doctrine and promote the believer to establish their own righteousness, by observing the law and other manmade law, then they are little different than the tabernacle and temple of the Old Testament. The altar we, as Christians eat off of, is the sin sacrifice altar outside the camp, where the bodies of the animals used as sin sacrifices were burned. Where sanctification takes place, He 10:10, 10:14, 2:11. For more detail on this altar please read a previous article concerning this subject, if you have not already done so. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=178
But in short, our salvation is the work of God in our lives and is not a work of our fleshly efforts, Php 2:12-13. So it would seem obvious to me, that if a Christian wanted to go on into perfection, He 6:1, they would not look for spiritual significance in a religious system that was never designed to instill perfection. And that is still true today.

Ga 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me. [21] I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain.

They that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth

John 4:24 KJVS
[24] God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

I grew up in a Roman Catholic family and can remember at a very young age sitting in St. Anthony church, professing to God how much I loved Him and how I would try very hard to be good son. When the time came, I was excited about the approaching sacrament of Confirmation, largely due to the fact that the 2nd chapter of Acts was read to us in catechism. Tongues of flames appearing and the disciples speaking in tongues was a electrifying account for a young imaginative mind and the prospect of that happening to me, had me in a state of excited anticipation. The dry liturgy in Latin that followed was long, boring and fell far short of my expectations. I was somewhat bewildered and confused at that young age because my Confirmation/receiving the Holy Ghost lacked any meaningful divine experience on my part. I can honestly say the seed of agnosticism was planted in me that day and I just went through the motions of observing a life as a Roman Catholic, largely to please my mother. I had felt very close to God as a Father, prior to the Confirmation ceremony, but was uncertain afterwards. I knew there was a God but the truth of the Roman Catholic Church’s sacrament of Confirmation in light of the New Testament account was questionable in my mind. Around 20 years later I received the Holy Spirit and spoke in tongues. It was a powerful experience, that awakened in me a thirst for the truth of the scriptures. It has been 30 plus years since that experience, with much reading and searching the scriptures, in order for me to arrive at the truth of the Gospel. When you approach the scriptures you have to have the love of the truth. I believe, as the scriptures state, that God instills this love of the truth when you receive the Spirit of truth, Jn 16:13, Jn 18:37. Perhaps even earlier as my limited exposure to scriptures as a Catholic, gave me grounds to question the empty ritual of Confirmation. But in hindsight and to be fair, Jesus breathed on the disciples and said receive the Holy Ghost, before he ascended , Jn 20:22. The odd thing is, as I grew up and was instructed in the Roman Catholic religion, hell and the fear of eternal hell never really seemed a concrete reality for me. The notion of God consigning people to eternal torment did not seem to fit the God I felt so close to in my youth. I have been a loose cannon for most of my early adult life. I had two serious concussions in my early teens that perhaps were responsible for me being impulsive and reckless. I liked drinking and driving fast, took chances, and was more than ready to answer a dare if challenged. A few more concussions along the way and it seemed as if I was like a chip of wood being carried along in the raging river of life. I caused so much worry and grief for my poor mother, who was a staunch Roman Catholic. And when I received the Holy Ghost and related to her that I spoke in tongues in a different church, she really had no frame of reference for my sudden interest in God and the bible. But it bothered her I was not a Roman Catholic and I am certain she feared I would spend eternity in hell, due to not being a Catholic. I mean, let’s face it, the majority of Christian denominations do not have a clear understanding of scripture. If they run across a verse that does not agree with their denominational mindset, they ignore it. Perhaps one can say they were not given the love of the truth, not given eyes to see. It is written that many are called but few are chosen. Now, I can cite scripture verses for those last couple statements I made, but it occurs to me that anyone who reads this is likely familiar enough with bible verses to know this to be true. The truth is everything to a member of the body of Christ. So when God states something, through His son or other prophets and Apostles that He ordained and inspired, 2 Pe 3:2, He 1:1&2, it is the truth. So when the baptism of the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues is mentioned in scripture it is a truth of the gospel. When Paul writes to Timothy the following verse, it is the truth of the gospel.

1 Timothy 4:9-11 KJVS
[9] This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation. [10] For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe. [11] These things command and teach.

So what does verse 9 say? That what Paul is stating, is worthy for all, all acceptance. And he tells Timothy to command and teach that God is the savior of all men, period. If you don’t accept that fact, you don’t accept the truth of the gospel. I won’t cite the many scriptures that state that God is going to save all men at this time, because I have already written a article where I assembled many verses from the New Testament that state just that. http://www.justifiedfreely.com/?p=241 It is hard for me to understand why this obvious truth of scripture is not taught by the many Christian denominations that surround us. I read in a article online once, that religion down through the ages, assisted the ruling emperors, kings, and later on in history, elected governments, in maintaining a peaceful and orderly society by teaching a hell of eternal torment. In short, this doctrine was a societal control mechanism. The article said this doctrine preceded Christianity and traces itself as far back as early Egypt and Babylon empires. There is probably a good deal of truth to this, and the fear of eternal hell also has another benefit. It is responsible for a great deal of money placed in the collection plates over the centuries. This fear of torment was also instrumental in selling many a candle over the centuries by those people who were thinking they were shortening time spent in purgatory. Now, one might say that is a good thing. But conversely it has caused many a mother’s worry and fear for a wayward son, of which I was once number among. I wish I could take back the grief and worry I caused my poor departed mother in my youth. I can not honestly say how she viewed my receiving the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues. A good deal of the Christian world receives this testimony regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit and speaking in tongues with caution, skepticism and often with downright hostility. Even going so far as suggesting demons are involved. So I imagine my mother feared for my soul spending a eternity in fiery torment. But see how far Christianity has veered from the truth. How can a person be washed with the regeneration and renewal of the Holy Ghost and be justified, Titus 3:5-7, without the Holy Ghost? Now, do all speak in tongues, is a question asked by Paul, 1 Co 12:30. I would point out that in context, Paul could be referring to speaking in tongues as a spiritual gift, which may indicate that tongues as a gift, is not received by all. Which could be further reinforced later in the epistle.

1 Corinthians 14:5 KJVS
[5] I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying.

There is a interesting account of a Jew named Apollos in the book of Acts that I would like you to read.

Acts 18:24-28 KJVS
[24] And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. [25] This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. [26] And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them , and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. [27] And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: [28] For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ.

I usually don’t like to paste a large series of scripture verses at one time as the average reader can get lost in them, so to speak. One of the things I fear, is that the large number of verses I cite and use in my articles dissuades many from reading and understanding what I have to teach. Apollos was “fervent in the spirit” and taught many people the “way of the Lord” and had only known or received the water baptism from John the Baptist. Aquila and Priscilla took Apollos aside and expounded the way of God more perfectly. This account fails to mention Apollos receiving the Holy Ghost or speaking in tongues, but it does state he was fervent in the spirit. Spirit with a small “s”. I received the Holy Ghost at a Pentecostal church and they maintained that speaking in tongues was evidence of having received the Holy Ghost and was a necessary sign of being saved. At least that was the doctrine of the church I attended for a short time, presented as the truth. I remember at the time, I feared for my brothers and sisters spending eternity in hell. Several times in the book of Acts, men and woman are described as receiving the Holy Ghost and speaking in tongues. It is a simple matter of doing a word search on the word tongues in the book of Acts and reading the verses where the word appears, Acts 2:4&11, Acts 10:46 and Acts 19:6. But not every account of a person being called by the Lord in the book of Acts mentions speaking in tongues. Saul’s conversion on the road to Damascus does not mention that he spoke in tongues but he makes this statement in a epistle he wrote.

1 Corinthians 14:18 KJVS
[18] I thank my God, I speak with tongues more than ye all:

I can honestly say that according to the scriptures, a person cannot say with certainty, that a Spirit filled believer has to speak in tongues to verify that they have received the Holy Ghost. But, I would think receiving the baptism of the Holy Ghost would be a powerful, memorable, life changing experience. I ask you read the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians which outlines the spiritual gifts that are to operate in the body of Christ. And then read 1 Co 14:26-33 which gives guidelines on how the gifts of the Spirit should be used in a orderly manner. This is important in regards to the subject matter of this post. I have never been in a church which operated in this fashion. I have attended churches and other ministries that demonstrate some of the gifts of the Spirit. I have went to the San Marcos California healing rooms seeking healing my spinal cord injury several times and each time received a word of wisdom that guided my path. I have had the Spirit strongly impress scripture on me to the point where the verses were audible in my mind. I groan in the Spirit and pray in the Spirit quite often, Ro 8:26, Eph 6:18? I have not seen tongues and interpretation of tongues, prophesying, and the like taking place in a congregation but to be honest I have not gone to church much in the last 40 years. During the last two decades, chronic back pain when sitting makes most church chairs unsuitable for sitting in for extended periods of time. I have attended Assembly of God churches, Pentecostal churches and other charismatic churches and they operate similar to the Baptist and Evangelical churches. They have a pastor, a band, and a core group of leadership that, in retrospect limit over all group involvement. I attended and liked how the Plymouth Brethren churches operate, where anyone can speak and give a teaching or insight, but you have to be careful you don’t stray outside of doctrinal boundaries. And I wouldn’t think you should speak in tongues. After some thought, I have come to realize that the content and control of the message being presented, is being managed in most churches. You don’t want to talk about God saving all men, which is a third rail one does not touch in the majority of Christian churches today. We are told:

1 Thessalonians 5:19-20 KJVS
[19] Quench not the Spirit. [20] Despise not prophesyings.

The early churchs of Asia Minor were much less structured and encouraged the participation by all members in a orderly manner, in regards to the operation of spiritual gifts. And yet today most branches of Christianity believe in the cessation of spiritual gifts. They use part of the last verse in the 12th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the entire 13 chapter itself, as proof that the spiritual gifts have ceased.

1 Corinthians 12:31 KJVS
[31] But covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet shew I unto you a more excellent way.

The Greek manuscripts of the New Testament had no chapter headings in the individual books. These were added by the translators later on in history. Love is the more excellent way, and the 13 chapter of 1 Corinthians demonstrates that admirably. But the first verse of the 14 chapter of 1 Corinthians states the following.

1 Corinthians 14:1 KJVS
[1] Follow after charity, and desire spiritual gifts , but rather that ye may prophesy.

As you see the doctrine of the cessation of spiritual gifts is another example of the slight of hand and the cunning craftiness wherein man lies in wait to deceive, Eph 4:14. Spiritual gifts do have a role in the church today but they should operate in a orderly fashion as Paul outlines in the 14th chapter of 1 Corinthians. The denominations that do believe that spiritual gifts are in operation today, do not really follow a pattern of open participation as outlined by Paul in 1 Corinthians. So why is that? Is it because they want to bridle the Spirit of truth? Is it more about making money and being in control of people rather than the truth of the gospel? That may sound harsh but from my understanding of church history and scriptures themselves, this type division and apostasy started very early on in Apostle Peter and Paul’s days. I will just list a few verses that support this statement.

2 Timothy 4:3-4 KJVS
[3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.
Jude 1:4 KJVS
[4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
2 Timothy 2:17-18 KJVS
[17] And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; [18] Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.
2 Peter 2:1-3 KJVS
[1] But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. [2] And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of. [3] And through covetousness shall they with feigned words make merchandise of you: whose judgment now of a long time lingereth not, and their damnation slumbereth not.

I particularly like the phrase “make merchandise of you” and the way it hits the nail on the head. What strikes me as being important is the words of Apostle John,that are often cited but not in the proper context.

1 John 4:2-4 KJVS
[2] Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: [3] And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world. [4] Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world.

Verse 4 has very powerful and significant historical importance, in my eyes, in light of the apostasy that was already starting in the early church. Is the denial of the baptism of the Holy Ghost what John means when he writes “every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God.”? The mystery of God is Christ in you the hope of glory, Col 1:27, which is Jesus Christ come in the flesh. Greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world, points directly to the in dwelling Holy Ghost. If you examine the history of the Roman Catholic Church, the Reformation Churches and today’s Baptist and Evangelical Churches, they all are lacking the Baptism of the Holy Ghost as a powerful and meaningful experience in the life of a Christian. Form without substance, so to speak. I can remember asking the Roman Catholic nun after Confirmation, why I did not speak in tongues. I was given some obfuscated response that I can no longer remember, but essentially no answer to my question. Is today’s common doctrine of cessationism, a subtitle form of the antichrist spirit? Another hard question likely impossible to answer, is whether the gifts of the Spirit were operational throughout all of church history? If the spiritual gifts operated at all, it was likely a hidden underground movement. Or was the early and latter rain that James cited, a literal prophecy regarding the early church and the church that emerges in the last days, 2 Pe 3:8.

James 5:7 KJVS
[7] Be patient therefore, brethren, unto the coming of the Lord. Behold, the husbandman waiteth for the precious fruit of the earth, and hath long patience for it, until he receive the early and latter rain.

There are a lot of verses in the New Testament that many, if not all church denominations, ignore in some fashion or another. These words written by the Apostle Paul number among them.

1 Corinthians 14:37-40 KJVS
[37] If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. [38] But if any man be ignorant, let him be ignorant. [39] Wherefore, brethren, covet to prophesy, and forbid not to speak with tongues. [40] Let all things be done decently and in order.

Conveniently enough I just read these verses this morning from 1 Corinthians, that shines light on the importance of receiving the Holy Ghost.

1 Corinthians 2:7-16 KJVS
[7] But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom , which God ordained before the world unto our glory: [8] Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it , they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. [9] But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. [10] But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. [11] For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. [12] Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God. [13] Which things also we speak, not in the words which man’s wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual. [14] But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them , because they are spiritually discerned. [15] But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man. [16] For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him? But we have the mind of Christ.