Saturday, March 25, 2017

The Greek word translated "prize" is brabeion, and occurs in two passages.

1 Cor. 9:24 Run all, but one receiveth the prize.

Phil. 3:14 I press toward the mark for the prize.

(According to a mark, I press toward the prize, literally.)

The word prize is derived from brabeus, the judge at a public game who assigns the prize. Brabeuo, to preside at the games, occurs in Colossians 3:15 where it is translated "rule" and katabrabeuo also found in Colossians 2:18, means "to defraud or deprive of a prize, to so manage affairs that the umpire shall pronounce against the contestant". In Colossians the thought is not so much that of being cheated of the reward, but of failing to attain unto the required standard. The atmosphere of 1 Corinthians 9:24 and of Philippians 3:14 is that of the arena, and the race course.

Philippians 3:10-14 reveals a series of steps toward the goal in view.

FIRST STEP - "THE POWER OF HIS RESURRECTION"

When the Apostle cried, "that l may know Him and the power of His resurrection" it is this aspect of resurrection that he has before him. He knew the historic fact, he knew its fundamental character for all doctrine, he knew all preaching and all faith was vain without it, but he also realized that there was a personal and experimental side to the fact of resurrection that had a peculiar bearing upon the great theme of the Philippian epistle. Let us follow the Apostle in his quest.

1. That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection.

2. The fellowship of His sufferings.

3. Being made conformable unto His death.

4. If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead.

It will be seen that this fourfold subdivision falls into an introversion.

A  That I may know. Power. Resurrection Something to attain

B Fellowship of His sufferings               Something to

B Conformity to His death                    endure in the process

A If by any means I might attain Resurrection The Consequence.

It is evident that the prayer "that I may know Him" speaks of a knowledge that is deeper than either that which is historical or even doctrinal. A person may be said "to know" when a subject has simply come within the sphere of his perception, and where this aspect of knowledge is intended, the Greek word oida is used, a word that is derived from eido to see, or perceive by means of the senses. This knowledge, however, is not deep, it lies near the surface of things. To know as represented by the word ginosko implies insight, acquaintance and personal relationship. It is this word ginosko that the Apostle uses in Philippians 3:10. Relation with the object is readily seen in such passages as "Who knew no sin", "I had not known sin". The special use of the word "know" in Matthew 1:25 and Luke 1:34 shows how intimate this knowledge is considered to be. In Philippians 3:10 the Apostle was not seeking fuller information about the Person or the History of Christ; he was not concerned about the number of prophecies that were fulfilled by His advent, he desired a closer, more intimate acquaintance, a personal relationship even though it involved suffering and shame; he desired a fellowship and a conformity.

When the full meaning of knowledge is perceived, we can the better understand how it is that it stands at the very dividing of the ways in Genesis three, and will be the great and glorious possession of the redeemed in the ages to come (Isa. 11:9). This intimate, personal knowledge of Christ, if taken in its widest scope, is so vast, that like the love of Christ "it passeth knowledge". Here in Philippians 3:10, the Apostle's desire is focussed upon one aspect of His great work, "the power of His resurrection". Even so, we must remember that he has given evidence in other epistles that he was acquainted with this mighty power. He speaks of this in Ephesians 1:19; Eph. 3:7, Eph. 3:20 and Eph. 6:10, in relation to believing, ministry, answer to prayer, and Christian warfare, but here, in Philippians, he has something more in view. He desires to attain unto the resurrection of the dead (a term that awaits examination) and he perceives that this is only possible by a descent with Christ, comparable in his limited degree, to the great humiliation and exaltation of Philippians 2:6-11. The great Sacrifice which the Saviour came to offer, and which underlies the whole plan of salvation, was completely accomplished when He died "the just for the unjust". For this purpose He had been born and to make this offering "a body had been prepared Him". In this great act the believer can have no share. It was done "for" him.

Moreover, in making this offering He laid down His life voluntarily, "no man taketh it from ME" He declared. To this, however, man's wickedness and enmity added the cross, the shame and the sufferings, and in these added aspects of His great sacrificial work, the believer may have some fellowship. Christ is said to have suffered "being tempted"; to have learned obedience by the things which He "suffered"; of being reproached, to have suffered "without the gate" (Heb. 2:18, Heb. 5:8, Heb. 13:12). Peter speaks of Christ suffering for us, and thereby "leaving us an example", associating this suffering with that endured by the believer who with a clear conscience takes unmerited evil patiently, and actually telling him that in these things he can "follow His steps". It will be found that this is the character which attaches to the sufferings of Christ in the N.T. In these sufferings the believer can be a "partaker" (2 Cor. 1:5-7,1 Pet. 4:13).

The reader will expect a reference to the Apostle's statement that he filled up "that which was behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh" (Col. 1:24). It should be noted that here the word is not pathema, but thlipsis often rendered "tribulation" (Eph. 3:13, Rev. 7:14), and in many passages associated with future glory as a consequence. The Apostle desired to have "fellowship" with these sufferings of Christ, and because of this, he also desired a deeper acquaintance with the power of His resurrection; without such power, fellowship with Christ's sufferings would be suicidal.

SECOND STEP - "THE OUT-RESURRECTION"

Resurrection is not only a blessed hope, it is inescapable. The unjust as well as the just, they that have done good, and they that have done evil, those who form the Body of Christ, and those who stand before the Great White Throne, each and every one of the seed of the woman, Jew or Gentile, must be raised from the dead. The fact that the Apostle could preface his reference to resurrection in Philippians 3:11 with an "if" after having expressed his complete surrender to the grace of God in Christ, is of itself an indication that he is not speaking of the fundamental doctrine of resurrection.

"If by any means I might attain unto". No ambiguity attaches to the original here, the R.V. makes but one alteration, the exchange of "may" for "might". The simple way of "putting the condition" is attained by using the particle ei, as in Philippians 1:22. In the passage before us ei is combined with the adverb pos "how", and so means "if somehow". The word eipos occurs but four times in the N.T. and in every case the contingency is very real, the possibility of failure is stressed. The passages are:

"If by any means they might attain to Phenice" (Acts 27:12).

"If by any means now at length, I might have a prosperous journey" (Rom. 1:10).

"If by any means I may provoke to emulation" (Rom. 11:14).

"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection" (Phil. 3:11).

The grafting of the Gentile, as a wild olive, failed to provoke Israel to emulation. The attempt to reach Phenice, ended in shipwreck. The original of Philippians 3:11 reads eipos katanteso eis, the original of Acts 27:12 reads eipos dunainto katantesantes eis. The differences are purely grammatical, katanteso being singular, and katantesantes being plural, and the added word dunainto being the addition of the word meaning "be able".

The experiences of the Apostle recorded in Acts twenty-seven and twenty-eight must have left an indelible impression upon his mind, and as he penned the words, "if by any means I might attain unto the resurrection", he knew, that there was the possibility of failing to arrive, just as surely as the venture to attain unto Phenice met with such disaster. In the verse following, he emphasizes the fact that he had not "already attained" but that he "followed after" , still further adding "brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended". Now it is certain that Paul could have entertained no doubt concerning his standing in grace and his acceptance in the Beloved, his hope like an anchor was sure, and if he used words that express contingency and uncertainty, then it is morally certain that he was not speaking of the hope of the believer. In verse 14, he reveals that his uncertainty was related to a "prize", and this attitude of mind he had already exhibited in relation to the same theme in 1 Corinthians 9:24-10:13. The "resurrection", therefore, that was the object of the Apostle's desires here in Philippians 3:11, for which he suffered and was willing to endure, must be something equivalent to "the first resurrection" of Revelation 20:4-6, or the "better resurrection" of Hebrews 11:35. The words "first" and "better" stand visible for all to read in the passages cited, but neither the A.V. nor the R.V. use any such qualifying prefix in Philippians 3:11. The A.V. reads:

"If by any means I might attain unto the resurrection of the dead".

The R.V. reads:

"If by any means I may attain unto the resurrection from the dead",

but that is all the difference that there is between the two versions. The reader will by this time be desirous of consulting the original, and to this we accordingly turn. The Received Text reads ten exanastasin ton nekron "the out-resurrection of or from the dead", the Critical Texts read ten exanastasin ten ek nekron "the out-resurrection, that which is out from dead ones". In order to appreciate the intention of the Apostle here, it will be necessary to review the teaching of the N.T. on this great question of resurrection. Two sects divided the religious beliefs of Israel into conflicting camps, the Sadducees and the Pharisees. Of the Sadducees it is written that they say "there is no resurrection" (Matt. 22:23). When the Saviour challenged the faith of Martha concerning the resurrection of her brother Lazarus, she replied in the language of the common creed of the day, "I know that he shall rise again . . . at the last day" (John 11:24). The simplest statement concerning the resurrection is that given by the Apostle before Felix and the Sanhedrin, a belief which Israel and the believer could share "and have' hope towards God which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust" (Acts 24:15). Here in the words anastasin nekron we have the most elementary form in which the resurrection of the dead can be expressed, a form used by the Pharisees, and by Paul, by the sister of Lazarus and by the common people, for the Apocrypha, written long before Christ, contains the words anastasin eis zoen "a resurrection unto life".

It is, therefore, somewhat disconcerting to read in Mark 9:10 of the disciples that they questioned one with another, "what the rising from the dead should mean?" Are we to understand that the very disciples who had been selected to witness the Transfiguration on the mountain, were not so mature in their faith as an unconverted Pharisee? Did Martha outstrip the Apostles in this article of faith? Once again, therefore, we must turn to the actual words as recorded in the original before attempting a conclusion. The words that troubled the disciples were those used by the Lord when He said, "till the Son of Man were risen from the dead," ek nekron anaste, "risen OUT FROM dead ones".

It is the presence of this word ek that caused the questioning. It was something additional to the common creed. It was this resurrection ek nekron that declared Christ to be the Son of God with power (Rom. 1:4). The first to rise out from the dead was Christ, as Paul testifies in Acts 26:23.

"That Christ should suffer, and that He should be the first that should rise out from dead ones".

We now take one further step forward and discover a reference that is nearer to the form found in Philippians three, tes anastaseos tes ek nekron in Luke 20:35.

"But they which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world, and the resurrection that which is out from dead ones".

Here it will be observed that not only have we words similar to those used in Philippians 3:11, but a similar context - "accounted worthy to obtain". Believers can be accounted worthy to obtain that age and the out-resurrection, they may be accounted worthy to escape the dreadful things that are coming on the earth and to stand before the Son of Man, they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name; and the persecutions which they endured were a manifest token of the righteous judgment of God, that they may be counted worthy of the Kingdom of God, for which they suffered (Luke 20:35, Luke 21:36, Acts 5:41, 2 Thess. 1:5).

The word "obtain" in Luke 20:35 is used by the Apostle in 2 Timothy 2:10, "that they may also obtain that salvation which is with eternal glory", where the context associates "suffering" with "reigning", and in Hebrews 11:35, "that they might obtain a better resurrection" which is an obvious parallel with the "out resurrection" of Philippians 3:11.

While Paul was sure of the "hope" of his calling, he could not be sure of attaining unto the "prize" of this same calling, and associated with that prize is the special resurrection, the out-resurrection and the desire for conformity unto the death of Christ, which we have been considering.

In the verse following, the Apostle makes it very clear that this uncertainty is legitimate, and one or two added words are employed in making this fact clear. "Not as though I had already attained", ("not that I have already obtained" RV.), "either were already perfect" ("or am already made perfect" RV.), "but I follow after" ("but I press on" RV.).

"If that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus" ("if so be that I may apprehend that for which also I was apprehended by Christ Jesus") (Phil 3:12 R.V.). The A.V. repeating the word "attain" in Philippians 3:12 gives a continuity to the Apostle's argument, but as two very different words are employed katanto in verse 11, and lambano in verse 12, the RV. is preferable. The change from "attaining" to "obtaining" moreover, reveals a change in the Apostle's objective. He sought first to "attain" to the out-resurrection, and then subsequently to "obtain" the prize. This comes out clearly when we remember that lambano "obtain" occurs in 1 Corinthians 9:24-25, "one receiveth the prize", "they do it to obtain a corruptible crown".

It is, moreover, evident from the Apostle's language, that one who "obtained" the prize, could be considered as "perfect". Here the Greek word teteleiomai "I have been perfected" awaits the triumphant teteleka "I have finished" of 2 Timothy 4:7, where once again we have the race course, the conflict, and the crown. The reader will recognize that in both of these Greek words, there is the common root tel which means that the "end" has been reached, the race run. Telos "end" (Phil. 3:19) gives us teleo "to reach an end, and finish" (2 Tim. 4:7); and so teleioo "to make perfect" (Phil. 3:12), and teleios "perfect" (Phil. 3:15). The Apostle said, "I follow after," and what he sought for was that he might "lay hold of" that for which he had been "laid hold of" by Christ. Meanwhile his "confidence" in Philippians one and his "diffidence" in Philippians three give us the two sides of truth that present a perfect whole.

THE THIRD STEP - THE PRIZE ITSELF

The figure of a race, a conflict with a crown or prize at the end is used by the Apostle in more places than one. If this "prize" is something for which we have been apprehended by Christ, then if for no other reason, than to please Him, we should get to know what it is and how it may be obtained. While it is right for every believer to sing:

"Not for weight of glory, not for crown or palm,
Enter we the army, raise the warrior's psalm
But for love that claimeth, lives for whom He died",

it is also right for every believer to believe what God has said regarding "the prize" that is attached to our "High Calling", as it is right that we should understand the High Calling itself. When one has perceived the riches of grace that characterize the calling of the Mystery, there is a temptation which is very strong, to put out the hand to save the ark of God, and to deny the possibility of "reward" in the Prison Epistles at all, lest by so doing the character of unmerited grace should be impaired. While sympathizing with this regard for grace, we must nevertheless resist it, for we have a higher regard for "truth" of which grace is a part, and truth demands that we shall allow a rightful place in the dispensation of the Mystery to the undiluted meaning of "crown", "prize" and "reward".

Let us turn to the epistle to the Colossians, an epistle which stresses the fact of the believer's "completeness" in Christ, and observe what it says concerning this aspect of revealed truth. First, in chapter two the Apostle gives a warning against that attitude of mind that "beguiles of the reward".

"Let no man beguile you of your reward". The word that demands attention here is katabrabeuo. Kata means "against", and brabeuo means to be a judge or umpire, and so to assign the prize in a public game. Brabeuo occurs in Colossians 3:15 where the peace of God is said to "act the umpire (rule) in your hearts", a precious thought.

Brabeion is a prize. It is found in 1 Corinthians 9:24 and Philippians 3:14, "the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus". We are, therefore, not without guidance as to the subject of this section. It has to do with the prize. Now Colossians, whilst running very parallel with Ephesians, has much in its central section that bears upon Philippians.

Philippians is the epistle of the "prize" and the "perfecting", and if we look at Colossians one we shall find under the idea of being "presented" the two aspects of truth set forth by Ephesians and Philippians. We shall distinguish between that which can never be lost, and that which may be lost, and return to Colossians two with clearer views:

The first presentation.

"In the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in His sight" (Col. 1:22).

The second presentation.

"Warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom, that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus" (Col. 1:28).

The first presentation rests solely upon the finished work of Christ; the second involves the idea which is found in the word "perfect", of pressing on to the end. In the first no effort of our own could ever present us "holy"; in the second we stand in need of "warning".

Satan does not waste his energies in attempting to deprive us of our acceptance in the Beloved. "Your life is hid with Christ in God". Scripture nowhere says: "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take away thy life" but it does say: "Hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown" (Rev. 3:11). Satan was permitted to touch everything belonging to Job except his life.

The same is true of all the redeemed. There is a prize to be won, a crown to be gained, but no man is crowned, except he strive lawfully. If, therefore, Satan can turn the saint away from the fulness of Christ, and get him occupied with other means and ways, be they ordinances, days, feasts, meats, drinks, false humility, neglect of the body, unscriptural mediators, or any other thing save "holding the Head", then the prize is lost, the saint dishonoured, and above all the Saviour robbed, for what is a crown to us, but an added crown to Him?

"Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God: and whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance; for ye serve the Lord Christ. But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons" (Col. 3:22-25).

"The reward of the inheritance". In this phrase is the key to the Apostle's object in writing the epistle. The Colossian believers, being members of the Body of Christ, were already potentially "seated together in heavenly places in Christ"; already "accepted in the Beloved"; already sure of their presentation, "holy and unblameable and unreproveable" in the sight of God. Already the Apostle had said, "giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light" (Col. 1:12).

Words cannot make clearer the assured position of the believer nor the completeness of this acceptance. Nevertheless, before the chapter is finished we have found Paul "warning" and "teaching" that he may "present every man perfect in Christ Jesus", and also at the close of the epistle we find Epaphras praying for the selfsame thing (Col. 4:12). As it is evident that neither Paul nor Epaphras have any doubt that what has already been written of the saints as to standing in Colossians 1:12-13 and Col. 1:22 remains unalterably true; it becomes necessary to distinguish between the common "inheritance of the saints in light", for which all believers have been made meet, and "the reward" attaching to that inheritance, which was associated with individual faithfulness. That is the "prize attached to the high calling" which, as in Philippians three, is associated with "perfecting" (Col. 1:28, Col. 4:12).

We must distinguish between that "holy, and unblameable, and unreproveable" position which is ours because of the offering of "the body of His flesh through death", and the possibility of being blamed and reproved for the things done in service. If we "try the things that differ", we shall see that "hope" is on a basis of pure unalloyed grace, which excludes all possibility of either gain or loss, running or serving; and that the "prize" is on a basis of reward, given only to those who strive lawfully. Knowing these distinctions we shall be saved a multitude of vexations, and moreover not be found false witnesses of God, for without doubt, He teaches us that membership of the One Body and participation in its one hope is entirely outside the range of attainment on our part. And with equal certainty He assures us that the prize of the high calling, the reward of the inheritance, and the crown of righteousness, fall within the category of attainment. True, nothing but grace will avail, but it is grace used. The reason for the Apostle's assurance that our life is hid with Christ in God, is that we might know that life is not in question. He does not say in Colossians 2:18, let no man beguile you of your life, or membership, or position: these are never in question. But he does echo the words of another dispensation and say, "take heed, that no man take your crown".

The word translated "wrong" in Colossians 3:25 is translated "hurt" in Revelation, where it speaks of being "hurt of the second death". Reward or forfeiture belong to both contexts.

In 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 the Apostle enlarges upon this figure of the race and the crown, supplementing his own inspired figures by the "ensamples" provided by Israel in the wilderness (1 Cor. 10:1-13). Grace is emphasized in the epistles of Paul written before Acts twenty-eight as an examination of Galatians and Romans will demonstrate. No single chapter repudiates the flesh and its efforts more strongly than does 1 Corinthians, chapter one, yet the Apostle sees no incongruity in stressing in the same epistle with equal emphasis the running of a race, the fact that only one receives the prize, and the necessity for discipline and temperance on, the part of all who enter the lists, with the final warning, that he himself could possibly become "disqualified" (adokimos 1 Cor. 9:27, not "castaway"), even as with many of Israel even though redeemed out of Egypt the Lord was not "well pleased" (endokeo 1 Cor. 10:5).

In the last epistle Paul wrote, he speaks not only of the association of "crown" and "running the race" in connexion with himself, but applies the same principles to "all that love His appearing" (2 Tim. 4:8); at the same time he distinguishes very clearly between the unalterable position of those who "died with" Christ, as compared with the condition attached to "reigning with him" (2 Tim. 2:11-13). Life with Christ is one thing, reigning with Him is another.

We trust the passages which have been brought before our notice make it clear that the doctrine of Prize, Crown and Reward is by no means absent from the epistles of the Mystery. We can, therefore, return to the passage in Philippians three, which speaks of the "prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus", assured that we are examining a passage of Scripture that applies with undiminished force to ourselves.

"Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended, but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth to those things which are before, I press toward the mark, for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus" (Phil. 3:13-14).

Forgetting . . . I press". What things did the Apostle wish to "forget"? What things if remembered would hinder his running and spoil his chances for the Prize? It cannot refer to the fact that Paul was once a Pharisee and an enemy of the Gospel, for this is remembered with deep appreciation of grace in 1 Timothy 1:11-16, and urged upon the remembrance of Timothy himself in 2 Timothy 1:3; 2 Tim. 3:10-14. In Hebrews twelve, in connection with "running the race that is set before us" the Apostle urged his readers to "lay aside every weight", which turns us back to Hebrews six where he says, "leaving the word of the beginning of Christ, let us go on unto perfection" . The Hebrews were hindering their ability to run the race that was set before them, and to go on unto perfection, by clinging to the doctrines and practices of a dispensation that had passed.

So, even although the Philippians were called to salvation and the preaching recorded in Acts sixteen, and referred to in Philippians 4:15, they must nevertheless beware of bringing over from the Pentecostal dispensation which had now fallen into abeyance, doctrines and practices which were once right and proper, but now obsolete and hindrances. They must "forget the things which are behind". For the Apostle himself, the things that were "behind" would embrace all that he had counted loss for Christ's sake, and for each one of us, there will be a similar and personal assessment that we alone can make. From the prison where the Apostle was held on the Palatine Hill at Rome (Phil. 1:13) he would hear the shouting and the cheering of the multitudes as they encouraged their favourite charioteers in the circus maximus. Paul, though a prisoner, was also a charioteer, he too had a "mark", he too "stretched himself forward" as the racer did in the tests.

Clement of Rome, who is probably the same person as is mentioned in Philippians 4:3, associates the "prize" brabeion, with Paul's Apostolic career. "St. Paul (he says) gained the brabeion of endurance, having worn chains seven times for Christ (probably an allusion to the seven rounds of the racecourse before the final run up of the mark)."

From this Greek word for "prize" brabeion, some think the English "bravo" is ultimately derived. Coming to the prize itself. Are we to understand the Apostle to teach:

1. The prize, that is to say, the high calling of God?

2. The prize, that is to say, the upward call?

3. The prize which is attached to the high calling of God?

If the Apostle is allowed to speak for himself, then the prize brabeion is equivalent with a crown, both words being used in 1 Corinthians 9:24-27 and both words being used in connection with a race or a conflict. Katabrabeuo is "to beguile of reward", A.V., "rob you of your reward" R.V. (Col. 2:18), and ho brabeus was the judge who assigned the prizes at the games, an umpire or an arbitrator. It is exceedingly difficult to find support from any passage of Paul's epistles, to suppose that the prize was itself the high calling. Just as "the reward OF the inheritance" in Colossians 3:24, means the reward attached to an inheritance already assured by grace (Col. 1:12), so the prize OF the high calling of God, means the prize which is attached to the high calling already received and entered by grace.

There is, however, an objection to be considered here. The word translated "high" is ano, an adverb, and as adverbs qualify verbs, "calling" must be adverb, and if so, the passage means "the prize of the summons on high" and refers, say some, to a special exemption from death granted to those who attain unto the out-resurrection. While it is true that ano is an adverb, it is not true that in Greek adverbs qualify verbs only, as can be demonstrated by the use of this very word in Paul's writings. "Jerusalem which is above" (Gal. 4:26), uses ano to qualify the noun Jerusalem; "seek those things which are above" uses the phrase ta-ano "the above things", so Philippians 3:14 employs ano to qualify the noun "calling". Klesis is not a verb and cannot be translated other than "a calling or vocation". It is used eleven times in the N.T. and ten of the occurrences are found in Paul's epistles. Ephesians 1:18; Eph. 4:1, Eph. 4:4 and 2 Timothy 1:9 will indicate the way the word is used by the Apostle.

It was Sir Robert Anderson who said, that those who translated Philippians 3:14 "the upward call", meaning a future "summons on high", rarely complete the quotation. Paul does not say "the prize of the high calling of God", what he says is "the prize of the high calling of God which is IN CHRIST JESUS". The out-resurrection segregates the believer who has obtained the prize, but is not itself the prize for which the Apostle was running. When at the last he could say "finished", he then speaks not in generic terms of a "prize" but in specific terms "a crown", which he also associates with "reigning together" in the second chapter of the same epistle (2 Tim. two and four).

THE FOURTH STEP

"THE MARK" set before those who would be "perfect" (Phil. 3:17-21).

The majority of commentators see no difficulty in the accepted translation of Philippians 3:15, "let us therefore, as many as be perfect", or if they had any problem, the difficulty is left unexpressed. Most take the word "perfect" here to mean "mature" as contrasted with "babes" and immature, and in other contexts this is quite true (Heb. 5:14). If, however, we look back to Philippians 3:12, where the Apostle says of himself that he was not already "perfect" or "mature" , we shall have a difficulty in accepting the usual rendering of verse 15. If Paul was not then "perfect" who among the Philippians or his readers down the ages could hope to be? Further, it reflects upon the intelligence of the Apostle to make him say in verse 12 that he was not "mature" yet at verse 15 to continue his argument with the word "therefore" and assume that nevertheless both he and others were at the same time "mature" or "perfect".

It is an axiom that requires no demonstration to prove that a thing cannot both be, and not be, at one and the same time. Conybeare and Howson sense the difficulty saying "the translation in the A.V. of teteleiomai (verse 12) and teleioi by the same word, makes Paul seem to contradict himself" and their wayout of the difficulty is to translate verse 15 by "ripe in understanding". This, however, only conceals the difficulty from the English reader. Perhaps the best translation is by Macknight where he translates Philippians 3:15, "As many, therefore, as WISH TO BE perfect". Osoi oun teleioi contains no verb. The "be" is supplied in the A.V. to make sense. If we must supply a verb, why not keep the unity of the Apostle's argument? Why make him contradict himself within the space of three verses? Why accuse him of using a term in two different meanings without the slightest warning to the reader? "As many as would be", or who "wish to be perfect", makes all clear and straightforward. All who would emulate the Apostle's desire and eagerness, must emulate his "mind"; they must be "thus minded" and we have only to go back to the opening of the great argument in chapter two, to realize that the Apostle is turning back to the "mind that was in Christ Jesus". The Received Text reads at verse 16:

"Nevertheless, whereto we have already attained, let us walk by the same rule, let us mind the same thing".

The use in the A.V. of the word "attain" in Philippians 3:11-12 and Phil. 3:16 to represent three different Greek words, has robbed the English reader of the means to appreciate the transition of thought in the Apostle's argument. We have already observed that in verse 12, the word should be "obtain", we now draw attention to the original of verse 16, where phthano is the word translated "attain". Dr. Bullinger's Concordance and Lexicon here says, "phthano, to come or go before another, to be beforehand with, to overtake, outstrip; to come first". It is this word that is found in 1 Thessalonians 4:15 and translated "prevent" which is from the Latin provenio "to come before". The recognition of this Greek word "to outstrip", while it brings us closer to the Apostle's language, makes the suggested translation offered by some untenable, "but whereunto we have outstript, walk in the same". While it is of the very nature of a race that competitors should endeavour to outstrip others, the race set before the believer would appear to the worldling as though the prize was awarded to the last man in rather than the first.

The Great Example of chapter two, appeared at all points to be giving away advantages. His humble follower Paul, pursued the prize while at the same time counting all things loss. Whoever won a race, and "esteemed the affairs of others, of far more importance than his own" (Phil. 2:3)? In this competition there is no thought of elbowing the weak brother out of the way, but rather of losing place and pace while we pause to help him on to his feet. The Apostle exhorted the runner to "lay aside every weight" yet at the same time revealed that the law of Christ called upon every entrant "to bear one another's burdens". This somewhat paradoxical state could obtain only in the realm of grace. The hymn expresses something of this quality when it says:

"Through darkness and defeat,
He won the mead and crown;
Trod all His foes beneath His feet
By being trodden down".

Some MSS. omit the words "by the same rule, let us mind the same thing". Others omit the word "rule"; yet others omit "let us mind the same thing". Many critics take it for granted that the reference to the "rule" has crept in from Galatians 6:16, which is a gratuitous piece of criticism. The "rule" kanon refers to "the white line by which the course in the stadium was marked out, including the whole space between the starting-place and the goal, and that those who ran out of that space did not contend lawfully. The runners, in endeavouring to pass one another, were in danger of going out of that space". Aquila uses the word kanon in his Greek version of Job 38:5. The Apostle taught the Ephesians that the spirit of wisdom and revelation was given "in the acknowledgment" of Christ, so here in Philippians the Apostle says, "I follow along the mark" kata skopon dioko, "and as many as would be perfect" and obtain the prize, they too will "think this". There are other things, such as the observance of one day above another, or the eating or not eating of certain foods, in which there will be considerable differences of opinion, but provided that all press on in the right spirit, God will reveal these things to such. We are to be "strivers together" for the faith, but not strivers with one another (Phil, 1:27, Phil. 2:3).

The Apostle has, by his exhortation, thrown the believer back upon the example both of the Lord and of himself, he now proceeds to enforce the need for observing this example both positively, "be followers together of me" and negatively, "and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample" (Phil. 3:17). The words of verses 18 and 19 are a parenthesis, the whole passage being constructed as follows:

Examples

A 17 Positive Be followers together of me. . . us for an ensample

B 17 Negative Mark them which walk

B 18, 19 Negative Their end-destruction

A 20,21 Positive Our citizenship Is In heaven . . . we shall be changed.

Five things are enumerated by the Apostle when speaking of those whose example was to be avoided.

1. They were enemies of the cross of Christ (see Heb. 6:6, Heb. 10:29).

2. Their end was destruction (or "Perdition" as Heb. 10:39).

3. Their god was their belly (as Esau, Heb. 12:16).

4. Their glory was in their shame.

5. They minded earthly things.

It is impossible to believe that a church of so high a spiritual standard as that of the Philippians could need a solemn warning not to follow a worldly crowd, yet at first sight such a list as that given above does not seem of possible application to a believer. Let us examine them a little more closely, and start with the last named "who mind earthly things". It will be conceded after a moment's thought, that the unsaved man of the world has no option, he can mind nothing else;

Philippians 3:15-19 is a section complete in itself, and the word phroneo "mind" occurs in it as follows:

A Phil. 3:15 As many as would be perfect (one thing, to hen verse 13) be thus minded

B Phil. 3:15 Otherwise (heteros) minded

A Phil. 3:16 Whereto... outstripped others. . . mind the same thing (to auto)

B Phil. 3:19 Who mind earthly things (ta epigeia).

It will be seen that those who mind earthly things are in correspondence with those who think differently from the Apostle in his single-eyed effort to attain the prize. "Earthly things" therefore need not mean things positively sinful, but things that come in between the runner and his goal; "every weight" as Hebrews twelve suggests. "Earthly things" are in the original ta epigeia (Phil. 3:19). "Things on the earth" are ta epi tes ges (Col. 3:2). "Earthly things" are spoken of in John 3:12, James 3:15, 1 Corinthians 15:40, 2 Corinthians 5:1 and in Philippians 2:10 and Phil. 3:19. In each case, "earthly things" are set over against "heavenly", "from above" and "celestial". Those who may have been persuaded that the "earth" not "heaven" is the sphere of blessing for all !he redeemed should heed this warning. "Our citizenship is (huparchei) in heaven".

Those, therefore, who mind earthly things, are those who do not act in accordance with their heavenly citizenship (Phil. 3:20) and whose example and teaching will "beguile" them of their reward. This must be shunned by all who seek the prize of the high calling.

The example of Abraham, as set out in Hebrews 11:8-16, who desired a better country, "that is, an heavenly", can be added to that of the Apostle here. If the last of the list of five things to avoid can describe those who are believers, let us return to the head of the list and ponder again the dreadful words, "the enemies of the cross of Christ".

James declares that friendship with the world makes one "the enemy of God" (Jas 4:4), but will it be denied that such friendship is possible to a child of God? One may become an enemy in the eyes of another by telling him unpalatable truth (Gal. 4:16), and enmity can be 'exhibited and maintained by a middle wall of partition (Eph. 2:15). A believer can, therefore, by adopting some attitude make himself an enemy of the truth for which the cross of Christ stands.

To many, the cross of Christ is seen only in an evangelical light, the central testimony to unsaved sinners. To those who see no further than this aspect of the cross, those referred to in Philippians 3:18 cannot possibly be believers. To those who have examined the place which the cross occupies in Paul's testimony and have seen its essential message to the believer who is already saved, the warnings of these verses will present no problem. We have demonstrated the many ways in which the epistle to the Hebrews runs parallel with that to the Philippians, and the only reference to the cross in that epistle is found in Hebrews 12:2, in direct connection with "running the race which is set before us". This is the last reference to the cross in the New Testament, the earliest references (Matt. 10:38, Matt. 16:24) which relate to the cross, speak also of discipleship and future reward. Paul uses the doctrine of the cross to counter the fleshly wisdom of the Corinthian believers (1 Cor. 1:17-18; 1 Cor. 2:2), he teaches the Galatian believers that by the cross the world and its boasting are repudiated (Gal. 5:11; Gal. 6:12, Gal. 6:14), and that the emancipation of the believer, together with the complete reconciliation of the One Body, are accomplished by the cross of Christ (Eph. 2:16, Col. 1:20; Col. 2:14).

Those who are "otherwise minded" and whose associations with the world and the flesh run in opposition to the "one thing" that characterized the Apostle's testimony, would be, though believers, "enemies" of all that the cross of Christ stood for, and so become examples for the Philippians to shun.

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1 Kings 8:27
But will God indeed dwell on the earth? behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?
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Good Newsflash

Did you know that The Great Mystery or Secret was hid in God from Ages and Generations until it was first revealed to the Apostle Paul?  Ephesians 3:9 states "And to make all {men} see what {is} the fellowship of The Mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:"  Click to read more.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

1. In John 16:12,13 we read, I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth is come, He will guide you into all truth . Does this refer to the administration of the mystery?

In Eph 3:1-4 the apostle Paul makes it clear that it was by a special administration of the grace of God that he was the sole recipient of the gospel of the mystery which he might give to the Gentiles. Down in verse 8 he speaks of himself as less than the least of all saints, but that he should make known the administration of the mystery. The 12 had a part in the administration of promise. They are to sit with Christ in the millennium and judge the nations of the earth and evangelize them. The Church of the mystery has no such mission. The 12 have their names written in the foundations of the New Jerusalem which is to be here on the earth. There were things that the 12 could not bear to hear at that time, but which had reference to further truth in the administration of promise. There was a perfection to be attained in that administration as well as in the other. They were to be given all the truth that they would need to proclaim the coming of the King and His kingdom during the period of the Acts.

2. Some claim that the term Israel refers to the 10 tribes and that Jew refers to Judah (with Benjamin and Levi). Is this true?

The Word of God makes no such distinctions. This is another example of men bending the truth to fit the lie. The 10 tribes were in Persia at the time of Esther, yet in that book they are called Jews 6 times. Our Lord came to the lost sheep of the house of Israel, according to His own words. But some would have you believe that the 10 tribes were in Ireland at that time. Did the Lord go to Ireland seeking them? Paul said he was a Jew (Acts 22:3) yet he was of the tribe of Benjamin. Our Lord Himself was a Jew (John 4:9) while Nathaniel called Him the King of Israel (John 1:49). If you use the concordance, you will find many more examples.

3. I still have a little difficulty about the deity of Christ. Where does He come out and say that He was God?

May I ask, Where did the Lord ever come out and say that He was the Messiah of Israel? The signs and the testimony were sufficient and those who could read the OT and see the signs had all the testimony they needed. It is the same with the deity of Christ. Every attribute of God is also attributed to Him. So where is the difficulty? There is no lack of proof, but there is a great lack of belief. That was also Israel's trouble. As for Scripture references look at John 1:18, John 5:18-27, John 8:23-24, John 10:30-38, John 20:28, Eph 3:9 and there are many others.

4. If people do not really die, then why did the Lord say, Because I live, ye shall live also (John 14:19)?

It was not God that said, Ye shall not surely die, but Satan (Gen 3:4). All in Adam do die. Man's only hope for survival is in resurrection. All in Christ will be made alive. He is the first fruits of them that slept. No hope is given for those outside of Christ.

5. Does the Holy Spirit indwell the believer of this age, those in the administration of the mystery? If so, why?

Yes. The Spirit Himself beareth witness with our spirit (new nature within), that we are the children of God. Although found in Romans 8:16 this statement is undispensational, truth for all time. Verse 9 tells us that if we do not have the spirit, the new nature, we are none of His. And verse 11 tells us that there is a quickening here and now in our bodies, in our lives, that comes from this indwelling spirit. So it is this indwelling Spirit that seals the believer (Eph 1:13) and it is this indwelling Spirit that can be grieved (Eph 4:30). It is by this indwelling Spirit that God can make The Church, the temple, which is the body of Christ, His habitation (Eph 2:22). The vain and foolish philosophies of the Gnostics of course would have no place for this doctrine.

6. What is this mystery in Romans 16:25 which had been hid since the ages began?

This is not the mystery that had been hid in God from ages and generations which you will find in Colossians and Ephesians. The context of this verse reveals that it is the mystery of Christ which Paul is preaching to the Romans. The mystery of Christ began with the creation in Gen 1:1 of which we find later He is the Creator. Eph 3:3-5 tells of the mystery of Christ. It was known to the sons of men in past ages. But not as fully as when Paul finishes the Word of God, the canon of Scripture, showing Christ to be Head of The Church which is His body. Romans 16:26 tells that this mystery of Christ is manifested by the Scriptures of the prophets. Now the prophets of Eph 4:11 had not written Scriptures at this time of writing. A part of the mystery of Christ is well set forth in Isaiah 53. In fact all the Scriptures speak of Him and further reveal the mystery concerning Him. And in Romans, Christ is brought out as a federal head in contrast to Adam, showing that by Adam came sin and death, but the hope of resurrection by Jesus Christ. So Romans 16:25 tells nothing about the great secret or mystery which had been hid from ages and generations in God that the Salvation of God is now sent to the Gentiles.

7. What is the gospel of the grace of God in Acts 20:24?

It is the gospel of the uncircumcision that we find mentioned in Acts 15 and also in Gal 2:7. It is the good news that the Gentiles could become a part of the congregation of Israel and partake of their blessings (Romans 15:27) without being under the law. So in that early church the Jew walked by law, the Gentile by grace.

8. What gospel must one preach today lest he be accursed (Gal 1:9)?

No one can be accursed today for preaching any so-called gospel. For one to be accursed, he had to be subject to the law. Israel and the law are set aside today and so no one has been accursed for about 1900 years. Where there is no law, no sin can be imputed. We are under grace today.

9. Why at the end of the prophecy of Jonah does it speak of over 120,000 children and then mention much cattle? What can be the connection?

God definitely said by the mouth of Jonah that He was going to destroy Nineveh in 40 days. There were no conditions or if's about it. But the people, including the king, believed God and they repented. So God in mercy and kindness did not do what He said He was going to do. No one can find fault with a judge that will excuse one at the bar thru mercy. We have 2 other instances of like doing by the Almighty. Adam did not die the day he ate of the fruit, and God did not destroy Israel and make a nation from Moses and his family as He said He would. The sentence was lifted in mercy each time. But there is something there to connect the children and the cattle. In Ecc 3:19,20 we see that in dying there is no difference between man and beast, and they go to the same place. But we also find in Deut 8:3 that even though man was barred from the tree of life, he can live by faith, by believing what God has said. These children were not yet old enough to believe unto life, so like the cattle they would have no resurrection.

10. What does repentance have to do with salvation? What is it?

According to the usage of the word, it means a change of mind, and that for the better. We cannot read any more than that into the word. It does not occur in John's gospel which is the great salvation book for the human race today. But it is obvious that if a man believes, he has changed his mind from unbelief. However, the word repentance is used much more in the case of those who belong to God and rarely of those who do not believe. It was Israel that was called to repent for the kingdom of heaven was at hand. Today this word has lost much of its original meaning and most folks think it means penance. But the word penance cannot be found anywhere in the Bible. It is not there.

11. Did Paul write any epistles while in the prison at Caesarea?

There is no evidence that he did. And there is strong evidence that he did not. When Paul's testimony was not received at Jerusalem, the Lord said to him, Depart; for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. This cannot be said of Caesarea, for it was not far from Jerusalem. Paul's ministry was in Asia, Europe, and ended at Rome.

12. Can it be true„that God will raise up the unbelievers in their original bodies, punish them, and then destroy them?

Resurrection or raising up these people would be an act of creation. Does God create sin or sinners? Would that be according to His attributes? Furthermore why should He punish them? They were slaves of sin and could not help themselves. Also 2Cor 5:19 tells us that Christ died for their sins and no trespasses are imputed. So there is no reason for punishment. The question is just this; What part would this play in redemption?

13. It says in 2Cor 5:18 that all things are of God. Does this include sin and death and also Satan himself?

In the verse before, it says that old things have passed away for the believer and that all things have become new. So all things that are of God are these new things. Never neglect the context. If all things were unlimited, as some suggest, then we can go back to Ecc 1:2 and prove that all things are vanity. But in that case it is the human labors referred to in verses 3-8 that are vanity. Always look for the antecedent.

14. What does the Bible say about birth control?

Nothing, absolutely nothing. There are some things written in 1Cor 7 which seem to pertain to the subject, but it is in view of the coming tribulation and is in keeping with what is revealed in Matt 24:19. After Acts 28:28 Paul advised the younger widows to marry and no longer spoke of the coming distress which was postponed.

15. How did the tradition get started that the church began at Pentecost?

Rome said so. There is no other evidence either historical or Biblical.

16. Some say that Paul never proclaimed the kingdom of God, but preached only the mystery. What is the evidence?

Paul was told first of all by the risen Lord to preach the things which he had seen (Acts 26:16). What he had seen was what the 12 and others were doing. So if Paul preached only the mystery, then we will have to say the same of the 12 and also of Stephen whom Paul heard. In Acts 17:7 the men of Thessalonica heard Paul preach and reported that he preached another King instead of Caesar. Evidently Paul was preaching the kingdom, the same as the 12, up to Acts 28:28.

17. Did not Paul begin a new ministry when he turned to the Gentiles in Acts 13:46? Was not this the beginning of the church?

If you read the next verse you will find that Paul quotes from Isaiah 49:6 for his authority to turn to the Gentiles. Then this was no mystery or secret hid from ages and generations.

18. What was the purpose of the ministry of Peter in the house of Cornelius?

We must note some things that are not true in order to appreciate that which is true. Nothing is said about Cornelius attending temple or synagogue. All we know is that he was a centurion at the head of an Italian band of soldiers and that he was devout, feared God, gave alms to poor Jews, and prayed to God always. This sums up all we know about him. Even after his experience at the preaching of Peter there is nothing said about him, whether he went to the temple or synagogue or whether he ever joined with the band of Christians at Jerusalem or elsewhere. With that out of the way, we can see that this was a preparation for Paul and his ministry to Gentiles during the Acts period of time.

19. How shall I choose a church or place of worship to attend?

In John 4 you will find that this was also the question of the Samaritan woman. And what was the answer? But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him. So today worship has no place designated, but the quality is stressed. It is to be a true spiritual worship. What better place to start it than in the home?

20. You have said that John was preaching to Israel only. What proof do you have for saying that?

Acts 13:24.

21. What would be the condition of our country if there had been no churches? Have they not been a great force in keeping our civilization?

We have a great many people today who have gotten all mixed up and they equate civilization and salvation. There are many ministers today dedicated to the task of saving our society at any cost. We have the do-gooders who want to improve the world and the old nature of man so that he will finally reach the peak of evolution and become as God and be fit for heaven. It is true that the churches have improved and preserved a moral tone of our civilization. But that does not save men. Billy Sunday once said, "There is no difference between the up-and-out and the down-and-out. They are all out." That is right. So we cannot say how many would have been saved today without the churches. Many are being saved in spite of them. We do not know how much of the message of salvation would have been preserved in the families of our country if there had been no churches. We just cannot answer your question, for there is no way of knowing. Conditions might have been better or they might have been worse as far as true worship is concerned. Speculation is useless.

22. What are the basic differences between the kingdom and the church?

The kingdom is a part of the promise made to Abraham and pertains primarily to Israel; but The Church is made up of nations without any distinctions. The kingdom will have a King; The Church has a Head. The kingdom is to be here on the earth where David's kingdom was with Jerusalem as the great world center; The Church has its place in the heavenlies. The kingdom has laws; The Church walks by grace. In the kingdom there is a promise of a bride; but The Church is the body of Christ of which He is the Head. But there is one great common truth; all are saved by grace.

23. Is it true that the nation Israel must repent before the Lord can set up His kingdom?

From the human standpoint, Yes. For prophecy tells us that they will mourn and that they will say blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord. From God's standpoint, the day cannot be hastened. He will come in the fullness of time.

24. It is said in Rev 1:7 that when the Lord comes every eye shall see Him. Does this mean that all people of all ages will be there to see?

This is a figure of speech, synedoche, where a part is used for the person. Only those who have eyes and can see with them when He comes will see Him. Dead folks cannot see. And some living folks may be blind. They will not see either. We have a similar figure in Ph’p 2:10 where at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow, and every tongue confess that He is Lord. This points to a time farther on than that in Revelation. But it will all be voluntary and only the living and the resurrected will do it. No one will be forced to bow. There are many other Scriptures in which this figure can be found.

25. Is not Christ reigning as King now in the heavens and will not this rule continue? How come some say that he is coming down to earth again to Jerusalem and rule over the nations here?

At the present time Satan and his angels are in the heavens. They will be cast out in the midst of the last week of the 70 weeks determined on Israel (Dan 9:24). This is described in Rev 12:9. So it is patent that Christ is not supreme ruler in the heavens now, but rather that He is hid (Col 3:3), and that whenever Christ is manifested in the heavens the members of His church (not the bride) will be manifested with Him (Col 3:4): That is the hope of The Church of the administration of the mystery. But Christ will come and reign on the earth on the throne of His father, David. In Acts 1:6 the apostles wanted to know if the kingdom was going to be set up at that time. Now since the kingdom is primarily of Israel and they are to be a blessing to the nations of the earth, how will the Lord and Israel reign over the earth as pictured in Psalms 2 if they are in heaven? It is wise to take what the Word says instead of trying to force some private interpretation upon it, or change it.

26. Was the prophecy of Joel fulfilled at Pentecost and the kingdom established there and then?

No, the prophecy has not been fulfilled yet. At Pentecost the Spirit was not poured out upon all flesh in Mt. Zion and Jerusalem. There were many Roman soldiers that did not even know about it. There were no wonders in heaven and signs in the earth at that time. There was no change in the sun and the moon. True, Peter spoke of it as the last days when these things should happen, but many years later John says that he is in the last days (1 John 2:18), and Peter many years later speaks of the last days as still future (2 Peter 3:3). At Pentecost Peter mentions the prophecy of Joel merely to show that what was working in the apostles was the same Spirit as Joel spoke about. Peter did not say that Joel's prophecy was being fulfilled. The Lord's house was not established (Isaiah 2) but was totally destroyed shortly later. David's throne has not been occupied by Christ yet. No kingdom was set up and the apostles set on thrones.

27. What is a mortal sin?

It is a sin unto death (1John 5:16). Under the law, murder was a sin unto death. In the case of Ananias and Sapphira lying unto the Holy Spirit was a sin unto death. In 1Cor 11:30 Paul speaks of some who sin and are sickly, and some even died. That was a sin unto death. Mortal sin was never spoken of a Gentile. It was to those under the law. Today the law is not in effect, so we see no examples as above among Christians.

28. Should a Christian go to war?

When Jews who had hired out as soldiers came to John at the Jordan, he baptized them, but never told them to quit the army. Our Lord healed the son of a centurion, but never told this man to quit warfare. Peter was in the house of Cornelius, but there is no record that he told Cornelius to leave the army. No Scripture can be quoted for either side, except that we are to be subject to the powers that be. One who is in the will of the Lord and trusts Him, will have no difficulty with the question. The Lord will put him where he wants him, whether it be on the battle front or in some peaceful occupation. Such questions as this are from the fearful and unbelieving.

29. Can Satan leave hell and wander on the earth at will?

There is no Scripture that says or even hints that Satan was ever in hell or ever will be. At the present time he is just where he has always been from the time of his creation. Some day he will be cast down from that position in heaven to the earth with no power to ascend to heaven again. Hell is for those who are made of the dust of the earth. Satan is not such a creature.

30. What about men taking upon themselves the title of Reverend?

This word occurs in Scripture just once, Psalms 111:9. It is used of the name of God. It is blasphemous for man to take to himself that which pertains to God and His holy name.

31. Did our Lord wear long hair when here on the earth among men?

No. Unless a man were a Nazarite, it was a shame for him to have long hair (1Cor 11:14). Our Lord was not a Nazarite, for a Nazarite was not permitted to drink wine, and our Lord did.

32. Can a Christian become wealthy?

There is no reason why he cannot. Of course those who take the story or parable of the rich man and Lazarus as literal, make it mandatory that one has to get rid of all personal property and beg if he is to be saved. But there is no premium on poverty in God's Word. Abraham was wealthy and was a friend of God. David was wealthy and he was a man after God's own heart. Isaac and Jacob both were wealthy. Solomon had much wealth. And Joseph who buried the Lord was reputed to be the wealthiest Jew of the time. Wealth can be a curse, and it can be a blessing. But poverty can make a man steal. We have wealthy men today who have contributed much to the spread of the gospel.

33. I hear that you teach that there are two churches instead of one. Is this true?

Why not read what we write and see for yourself? From time to time we have written about the 7 churches in Asia. We have recognized that there was a church in the wilderness (Acts 7:38). We have taken note of the fact that the Lord was going to build His church on a rock (Matt 16:18). And besides these were the churches at Rome, Corinth, and many other places to which Paul addressed letters. But it is noteworthy that after Acts 28:28 the word church is never in the plural and it is The Church, not A church. And every church is a body. So today there is one body (Eph 4:4), One Church.

34. According to 1Cor 16:1 should there be a collection taken up in the meeting each Sunday?

There is one collection only in this passage. It is for the saints at Jerusalem. These saints were believing Jews. This one collection was to be taken up on the first of the weeks. The word day is not in the Greek. This is the first week after the Passover. Paul would then take up this collection and carry it with him to Jerusalem.

35. What is this resurrection in Php 3:11?

The out resurrection from among the dead is the prize of the high calling and is for those who have remained faithful and suffered like unto the suffering of Jesus Christ. Paul is saying he is not sure if he will attain to it so as to show it is a prize for believers that suffer and remain faithful to the end and to contrast it with other hopes and resurrections taught by the apostle. In Hebrews 11 he does speak of some who attained to a better resurrection. But they were of a different administration. It is not the resurrection that is the result of believing and obtaining everlasting life. For that is by faith, and not by attainment. By 2 Timothy Paul is confident of attaining the prize and also knows his life shall soon end by the hands of his captors.

36. I have heard, life defined as union with Christ and death as separation from Christ. Does this fit the Scriptures?

Try it for yourself. Read Romans 6:1-10 and use these definitions for life and death. Does this fit?

37. I notice that in the records of the baptism of our Lord in Jordan, that it says that He came up out of the water. Does this mean that He was immersed in the water?

Not necessarily. A river flows, as a usual thing in a bed, for water seeks the lowest level possible. So to get into the river it was necessary to go down into the water and to get out, meant going up out of the water.

38. Who are the other sheep of John 10:16?

The word other is allos which means others of the same kind. Since Israel are the sheep and these are of the same kind, they cannot be Gentiles. That fold ceased to exist at Acts 28:28. There is no fold now. But God will deal with Israel again some day and then there will be another fold and other sheep, not the same ones of this fold in John 10. The present era is between the folds. For, other references to these sheep, see Matt 22:9,10 and 24:31. Are not these all the same?

39. How is it that you teach Pauline doctrine, but do not advocate the Lord's table (1Cor 10 & 1l)?

We do not teach Pauline doctrine for the simple reason that there is no such thing. Paul preached 4 separate gospels during his ministry. In 1Cor 10 and 11 Paul is writing to Jewish believers whose fathers had crossed the Red Sea (10:1). And the feast he is talking about is the Passover which was observed in the homes, not in public. This feast was a supper, observed in the evening, never at morning or noon. These 2 chapters cannot be used for a proof text in support of the observance of the heathen Baal's supper which had been taken up by Christendom.

40. I wonder why that Satan is usually pictured as a black man with horns, hooves, and a tail, when it says in 2Cor 11:14 that he is transformed into an angel of light. What did he look like when he appeared in the garden to Eve?

The popular conception of Satan is really a picture of Nimrod, the great rebel of Babylon. It is told in the legends that he killed a wild bull of extraordinary strength and fierceness. He is supposed to have taken the horns of the bull and made himself a headdress. It did not take the artists long to add the hooves and the tail (always pointed as a spear) and you have the concept of Nimrod the great hunter of his fellow men. We are told in Ezekiel 28 that Satan was created as a covering cherub and when he appeared to Eve it was as the Nachash (shining one). So to Eve he did appear as a great and shining angel, one to revere and believe. No snake deceived Eve.

41. Why do you persist in using the King James version when there are so many modern ones that are more easily understood and which do not use obsolete words?

There are a number of reasons for retaining the Authorized Version. Many concordances would be useless, there would be difficulty with lexicons and the like for they are mostly founded on the AV. It is a sample of the best English of the past centuries. And no modern version can express the holiness and majesty of God as it does. It presents no difficulties to those who have been brought up in Christian homes where the Bible was read and prayers made. Neither does it present any difficulties to one who knows God. But the Bible will remain a closed book to the ungodly no difference what version it may be in. We are very suspicious of versions, for all too often they reflect some man's private belief which may be partial unbelief. None yet has surpassed the Authorized Version which also has the benefit of putting many words in italics where there were no corresponding Greek or Hebrew word in the original manuscripts. It is also one of the earliest English translations and although not perfect does contain less license to private doctrines and added words.

42. Who should keep the Passover?

All circumcised Israelites. It was to be eaten in the home. There was to be no leaven in the house. No manner of work was to be done on the day it was observed. Do not forget that this is all about the kingdom and not The Church. The children of the household were to ask why it was observed and the master of the house recited the story of the exodus from Egypt. The law never made any provisions for any uncircumcised to observe it. See Ex 12:47-49. It was in force till the end of Acts, where The Church began.

43. Should I put something into the collection plate when 1 go to a church?

Most certainly, yes, unless you are the type of person that would slip under the side of the circus tent to avoid paying admission. If you go for the show, then pay your share. Jonah paid his fare, even when running from the Lord (Jonah 1:3).

44. What is the meaning of Gal 2:20? How can one be dead and yet alive?

Christ is our life, we have no eternal life of ourselves. Christ is our supply. Holding Him we have nourishment ministered. This is the fact concerning ourselves as His own, a fact we are required to acknowledge against the background of our own death. He has accomplished for us our death to the end that He may now abide in us. The one has first to happen before the other can be. This is the meaning of the words: I have been crucified with Christ; yet I live; and yet no longer I, but Christ liveth in me (Gal 2:20). But for an acknowledgment that we, as to our human life, are mortal we can never believe that we are accounted to have died with Christ. Those of our fellow-brethren who hold that the soul of man is immortal may use the term that they died with Christ - but they cannot in actuality believe that they did die. They cannot envisage the truth that, as to their human life, they are accounted to have ceased to be.

45. Paul expected to be among the living at the rapture (1Thes 4:15-17; 1Cor 15:51,52). Is this rapture still Paul's hope, even though he died and will be among the dead believers of that time?

The rapture is only for the children of promise, primarily Jews but also Gentiles who became the children of Abraham by faith from Acts 10 to Acts 28:28. It has to do with the kingdom here on the earth. The rapture is just a little trip up into the air (not heaven) to meet the Lord as He comes with clouds of angels who will execute judgment as He sets up His kingdom seated on the throne of David in Jerusalem. Since the husbandman is to be the first partaker of the fruits, then Paul must surely have a part in the administration of the mystery which was entrusted to him to proclaim. Therefore he will have an earlier resurrection than that at the coming of the Lord and will be manifested with Him in the heavenly places.

46. Matthew 8:11 seems to indicate that Gentiles from the East and the West will have a part in the kingdom, but not from the North and the South. Is there any explanation for this?

There is no explanation that we can give at this time except the suggestion that it may be that the Russians and the Egyptians will not have a part in it. That could also include Lebanon and Syria. But this is only a guess. These nations might be all changed around by that time. But it is something to think about. The Word is exact and there is good reason for these words being written. The prophecies will be plain to all when fulfilled.

47. If the 70 weeks of Daniel 9 begins at the dedication of the temple, 1 always thought it had its beginning with the decree of Artaxerxes or Astyages in 454 B.C. Can you explain your position?

Very briefly, you will find 2 distinct prophecies in Daniel chapter 9. The first one is in verse 24 and speaks of the second advent of the Messiah. Note that 70 weeks are determined upon the people and the city. This cannot begin with the decree for the simple reason that the people are not in the city till about 49 years (7 weeks) later. So the 70 weeks determined on the city and the people must begin about the time of the dedication of the temple or 405 B.C. It is not hard then to figure that the coming of the Messiah to set up His kingdom would have been AD. 85. However the course of the city and the people did not run to this end, but the people were set aside at Acts 28:28 and since then have not been a people. The city was destroyed in 70 AD. Now if the people were cut off at the end of Acts, about A.D. 63, then there are about 3 weeks yet to run till the coming of the Messiah. We do not know when this prophecy will be resumed. Now the 7 and 62 weeks after the going forth of the decree brings us to A.D. 29, the date when Messiah was cut off. That has been completed.

48. Does Genesis 6:3 indicate that God will not always strive with men,. but that one can cross a deadline where there will be no more conviction by the Holy Spirit and they are forever lost?

Man, in this verse is Adam in the Hebrew: The verse means that God is getting weary of striving with Adam, for Adam (like others) is erring. See note in Companion Bible. So Adam is given another 120 years to live and he died at the age of 930. So we can take it that Adam was 810 years old when God finally made up His mind not to put up with him.

49. Is there any escape from hell once one is in it? If so, how?

The common notion of hell is far from what the Word says that it is. It is sheol in the Hebrew and occurs 65 times in the OT. It is translated hell 31 times, grave 31 times and pit 3 times. The RV is consistent in that it renders it sheol each time. It could be translated grave all 65 times and not mar the meaning. In the NT hades is used 11 times. It is also used in the LXX to translate sheol. So it is the same thing. It is translated 10 times as hell and once as grave. Gehenna does not enter into this discussion, for although it is translated hell, it is the city dump outside of Jerusalem. Neither does Tartarus enter in either. The grave or hell is a place where people are dead and live not again till resurrection (Rev 20:5). Our Lord was in hell 3 days and 3 nites. He came out by resurrection and was the first fruits of the great harvest that is still to come forth. Death and hell are to be destroyed (Rev 20:13,14). So all go to hell or the grave at death. Those who have everlasting life will escape by resurrection.

50. What is the difference between the gospel of the kingdom and the gospel of the grace of God?

The former includes the latter in one sense. The gospel or good news of the kingdom was first proclaimed by John the Baptist, the Lord Himself, then the 12, and finally the 70, this being before the death of Christ. Then the apostles were further instructed as to the kingdom and this was the gospel preached by all up to Acts 28:28. The gospel of the grace of God began in the house of Cornelius, about 9 years after Pentecost. This was the only instance that Peter preached this gospel. None of the other 11 preached it at any time. And about 17 years after Pentecost Paul began to preach the gospel of the grace of God at Antioch to the Gentiles (just as Peter did) and continued it till the end of Acts. But in every instance Paul was careful to preach the gospel of the kingdom to the Jew first, and then turned to the Gentiles and preached to them the gospel of the grace of God, which meant that they could partake of all the spiritual blessings of Israel without keeping the law (being circumcised, keeping feasts, and the rituals). The same salvation (not eternal life) of the kingdom was at that time for both Jew and Gentile, but to the Jew first.

51. What is the preaching of Jesus Christ according to the revelation of the mystery (Romans 16:25)?

In this context we learn that the mystery that is in view is one that had been hushed since the ages began. So it is not the administration of the mystery which was hid from ages and generations and had its plans made before the ages began. This mystery, that had been hushed had been made known by the prophets as the context tells us, so it is not the mystery of Ephesians and Colossians. Also this mystery in Romans is made known to all nations for the obedience of faith. In the structure outline of Romans this is explained by the same words appearing in 1:1-5. It is the preaching of Jesus Christ as the Son of God, but connected with His being the seed of David. So then this is kingdom preaching and declares Jesus Christ not only the anointed one or Messiah, but truly the Son of God.

52. In what sense, if any, did works ever save?

Basically we have all through the Bible record the revelation of life as the gift of God, received by faith and in no connection whatsoever with works. But on that life we find based at least two salvations or lines of blessing. One is the promise made to Abraham. At least the kingdom aspect of the administration of promise has much to do with works as the sermon on the mount will indicate. Also Mark 16:16 adds that when the kingdom was being preached to Jews only, they must believe and be baptized in order to be saved. From 1Cor 3 we may infer that good works of themselves did not save, but could be burned up and the worker saved as by fire. When works were connected with salvation, they were for the most part specific rather than general. But today we have a salvation revealed in Eph 2:8-10 which is obtained by faith only. This salvation is a creation unto good works, not of works.

53. I am puzzled by Mark 13:32. Does this take away from the truth of the deity of Christ?

This passage says, But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father. This has been a favorite verse for those who deny the deity of Christ. But it may be that it does prove His deity. He knows that no man knows the day and the hour. He knows that the angels in heaven do not know the day and the hour. Does not this knowledge indicate deity? And what if He does not choose to know? Deity can forget or remember at will. He can forget our sins. That we cannot do. If the Lord chose not to know the time, then that was His business and we have no right to question Him.

54. Is glory a place?

If at any time it answers the question, Where?, then it is a place. Whenever the question of place comes up with any terms, this is a good question to ask. If it designates where something is to be or to happen, then it is a place. But you will note when you look up the word glory in the concordance that it is not always used the same. It may speak of the glory of God. It may speak of the glory of Christ. And there are other usages. In the mystery of godliness in 1Timothy 3:16 it says that He was received up into glory. This answers the question of Where?, and is definitely a place. You may try other passages with the same method.

55. What is dispensational truth?

It is the body of truth, doctrine and practice, that is for a particular household of God. Some dispensational truth may be common to both dispensations. Some truth may be peculiar to its own particular dispensation. For instance, citizenship in the heavenly places is peculiar to the dispensation of the mystery. On the other hand, a part in the new Jerusalem is peculiar to the dispensation of promise. The word chosen is common to both, but time of choosing makes the distinction. The choice of some is before the overthrow, and the choice of others since the overthrow. This is where the workmanship of right division comes in.

56. What is meant by falling from grace?

You probably refer to Gal 5:4. In the first place this epistle to the Galatians is written to the members of the administration of promise, and especially to the Gentile members who had been grafted into the blessings of Israel and the kingdom. To these Paul had preached the gospel of the grace of God, that they might receive all the benefits of the administration of the promise without being circumcised and keeping the law. But there were Judaizers who were convincing some of these Gentiles that they must be circumcised and keep the law. So Paul says to them, For I testify again to every man (Gentile) that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you (Gentiles) are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. So to fall from grace was to leave the grace principle or gospel and go back to circumcision.

57. Was the crossing of the Red Sea literal, or was it just a figurative story?

If it was just a story, then we fail to see the point. If it was just a story, then how did the few million Hebrew slaves get out of Egypt?

58. What does it mean to be baptized with the Holy Ghost? Acts 1:4,5.

At Pentecost the apostles were baptized with the Holy Ghost in fulfillment of the promise in Luke 24: 49. They received power from on high. This power enabled them to speak in languages and perform many miracles. This was in connection with those who proclaimed the kingdom. It was not in any way connected with The Church. See The Giver and His Gifts by E. W. Bullinger for further light.

59. Can Gentiles partake of the New Covenant?

Jer 31:31 plainly states that the New Covenant is to be made with the house of Israel and the house of Judah. This is again quoted in Heb 8:8. This is with Israel, not The Church or the Gentiles. The Gentiles do have a promise (Eph 3:6; 2Tim 1:1; Tit 1:2). But Gentiles have always been strangers from the covenants of promise (Eph 2:12).

60. In Acts 20:27 Paul declares that he has shown the whole counsel of God, yet we are led to believe that the mystery which was later proclaimed had been hid from ages and generations and that Paul did not know it there in Acts 20. How can we reconcile these?

If you will look at Eph 1:9 and 11 you will see two words used which do not mean the same thing. One is counsel, and the other is purpose. Paul did not say that he had proclaimed the whole purpose of God, but God's counsel (in accordance with the purpose then revealed). But when a new purpose or further purpose was made known, then there was a counsel or working out of that purpose as you see in Ephesians one. Be careful with terms.

61. What are the gates of hell in Matthew 16:18?

Since no explanation is given in that place, we must then go back to the OT which the disciples at that time had. In Isaiah 38:10 we read, I shall go to the gates of the grave. Have the gates of death been opened unto thee? or hast thou seen the doors of the shadow of death? (Job 38:17). Thou that liftest me up from the gates of death (Psalms 9:13). Can this be resurrection from the grave? And we read in Psalms 107: 18, And they draw near unto the gates of death. Now going back to the passage in Matthew, we must conclude that the doors of the grave or hell cannot hold His church when He calls. They will come forth from the state of death.

62. If being born again in John 3:3 means resurrection, then what does it mean in 1Peter 1:23?

The same word is not used in these two passages. The latter means begotten (See margin in Companion Bible). So we must conclude that there can be no rebirth or resurrection without a begetting by the Word of God. Try using begotten in John 3:6 and see what the meaning is. Further study is needed in this subject.

63. Is it true that "ALL Paul's early epistles are addressed to Gentiles." References, such as Romans 11:13; 1Cor 12:2; Gal 4:8; and 1Thess 2:14, are given to prove the point. Can you give more light on this?

There is little doubt that Paul's first epistle was Galatians. And it appears that it was written to the Gentile Christians of Galatia. But at the same time it is evident that he wrote Hebrews, and that epistle is not to Gentiles at all! Romans 2 is to the Jewish believers, verse 17 emphasizing it. Chapters 10 and 11 of 1Cor are to those whose fathers crossed the Red Sea. Surely they must have been Jews. The fathers of the Gentiles never crossed the Red Sea. You will note in these chapters the directions for keeping the feast (the Passover) which was never lawful for Gentiles to keep.

64. Must the Roman empire be revived?

For many years we have heard this debated, but really have never yet found a Scripture which would indicate that this must be true. We are open to any proof anyone may offer for this, but we are afraid it is merely a tradition someone started.

65. How can every knee bow confessing Christ Lord, to God's glory, unless reconciled? (Philippians 2: 10,11).

Lest any be misled, we must emphasize the fact that reconciliation is not life nor is it salvation. The definition is given in 2Cor 5:19. It means that a work was accomplished so that the sins of the world are not imputed against it. This is good news for those who do not have life, for it gives them access to God to receive the precious gift of everlasting life. Those that have this life shall live. And in resurrection, they will be given knees which they can bow, and be given tongues with which they can confess. But those who do not have life and will never see life (John 3:36), but remain in the dust of the earth, will never have knees or tongues.

66. What does it mean in Philippians 2:12 where it says we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling?

It is well to consider what salvation is before making any applications. It does not say that we are to work out our everlasting life. To equate salvation and everlasting life will only get us into confusion. And somebody has said that confusion is ignorance. When our Lord said to the woman of Samaria that salvation was of the Jews, He was not talking about everlasting life. By faith the Samaritans or any other people could have life. Peter recognized this fact in Acts 10:43. Israel had a salvation to work out. It was that they were to be a priestly nation and make known to the nations the name of Jehovah. They were promised the blessings of the kingdom. To them pertained the preaching of the kingdom. All this was their salvation and they were expected to work it out. And so when the salvation of God was sent to the Gentiles in Acts 28:28, it does not mean that they are then to obtain everlasting life. Their salvation was the administration of the mystery with all its hopes and blessings. This they were to work out.

67. What is the meaning of 1Timothy 1:8?

This verse states that the law is good if one uses it lawfully. There is law today, but not in the sense of the Mosaic law given at Sinai, although that law did reveal the righteousness of God and man's utter inability to attain unto such a state of holiness. But the law or will of God is given to us in the last seven epistles of Paul in the form of exhortations and the like. This is a good thing for us providing we do not attempt to use it as a means of boasting in the flesh. We can walk worthy of our vocation or calling, but there is nothing to brag about, for such a walk is where Christ lives in and acts thru us.

68. What is the difference between eternal life and everlasting life?

They both translate the same phrase in the Greek. However God alone can have eternal life for He has no beginning or end. His children do have a beginning and are given everlasting life through the works of His Son.

69. Your teaching seems very queer. How can Christ be King of kings on the earth and at the same time be Head of a church which is His body in heaven? This is absurd, is it not?

For finite beings such as you and I, this would be impossible and therefore absurd. But if Christ were deity, God manifest in flesh, then He is the Infinite and could appear in as many different places and forms as He might choose.

70. Was Christ a soul after the resurrection?

Psalms 16:10 says, Thou wilt not leave My soul in hell; neither wilt Thou suffer Thine Holy One to see corruption. This is quoted in Acts 2:27 by Peter, and part of it is quoted in Acts 13:35 by Paul. Christ went to hell just as have all others who have lived and died on this earth. But His soul was holy and so did not see corruption. It was raised from the dead. If He was a soul before death, then He was a soul in resurrection.

71. I have heard it said that God is acting in grace today to all the world, and that if He does not act in grace, He does not act at all. Is this according to the Scriptures?

In theory, this is but another version of universal reconciliation or salvation. It just happens that the Redeemer in the Hebrew is also the Avenger. The redemption of Noah and his family brought vengeance on the wicked world of that time. The redemption of Israel from Egypt brought vengeance on Pharaoh and his hosts. The very fact that God loves His people makes Him hate their enemies. We are told that Buddha loves everybody. He sits and does nothing about it. But that is not our God. His grace is for those that will partake of it. His wrath abides on others (John 3:36).

72. I am a little mixed up. It speaks of the inheritance of God in the heavenlies in Ephesians 1:18, and in Colossians 1:12 it says that we are made meet to be partakers of the inheritance in the holiest in light. However Ephesians 5:5 indicates that one may lose this inheritance. How is this?

The Church has an inheritance, even as did Israel. Individuals may lose it, even as many thousands of Israel lost their inheritance.

73. In Psalms 1:5 it says that the ungodly would not stand (arise) in the judgment, and that this meant no resurrection for the unbelievers. Somebody said that this word stand did not mean resurrection. Can you answer this?

A lot of people are quick to set forth their own ideas as gospel truth, but err, not knowing the Scriptures. You will find this word quwm (koom) on page 1101 of the Englishman's Hebrew Concordance. There is a long list of the places where used, but one or two will suffice. See Job 14:12; Psalms 88:10; Isaiah 26:14. You can also check this with Strong's concordance. The word number is 6965. This is what Scripture says.

74. Do you believe in the verbal inspiration of the Bible? If so, then how would you translate sheep and vine and the like for people who know nothing of these things? After all, is not the Bible just the words of men?

The Bible time after time claims to be the Word of God. If it is not, then it is false and should be thrown out altogether. It would even be dangerous if it were just the words of men. But look at Psalms 12: 6, The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. God has spoken in man's language to man, but He does not use those words carelessly as man does. And the fact that some might not understand some of the terms used is no excuse to make any changes in the Word of God. How many understand love? How many comprehend the term righteousness? We who are teachers have to teach what these things are. And so it is up to a man to teach what a sheep or a vine is when speaking to the Eskimos. Some tribes do not know what a home is. It is up to Christians to teach and to show these what a home is. We must not tamper with the Scriptures. But we must remember that All Scripture is given by inspiration of God and is profitable...

75. What is the sin mentioned in Hebrews 12:1?

It is the sin of unbelief. That is the root of all other sins. Self-will nourishes it.

76. It seems strange that Rahab the harlot should be so well spoken of in the Bible. Why?

In this day when men think that respectability is Christianity, this does pose a real question. But Rahab was saved by faith and not by any moral qualities she may have had. So we can say that she was a sinner saved by grace. People who do not know the love and power of God cannot understand His works. Our Lord was criticized because He kept company with publicans and sinners. God is able to take the worst sinner living today and make a saint of him. But men with all their do-good programs and reformation cannot do this.

77. Why don't we hear more about Jobs wife?

She was not much good as a wife. When Job was in trouble and grief, she was no comfort. All she had to say was that he should curse God and commit suicide (Job 2:9). God did not see fit even to put her name in Scripture. The same with Lot's wife.

78. Why did God have a program of healing in the apostolic times and not have it today?

During the time covered by Acts, the kingdom was still at hand. If any at that time would have been careful to study Daniel 9, they would have been able to set the date of the Lord's second coming and the setting up of His kingdom. It would have been A.D. 85, just 490 years from the dedication of the temple after the exile (405 B.C.). With that near coming at hand, it would be fitting that those who believed and entered into the kingdom would be alive and ready to meet the King at His coming. So the sick were healed and the dead raised during the time that the kingdom was in view. But when the kingdom was postponed at Acts 28:28, the gifts of the Spirit ceased. The two days of Hosea 6:2 must intervene before Israel will be raised and come into their kingdom. Resurrection and being manifested with Him in the heavenlies is the hope of the members of The Church which is His body today. A resurrection at about the time of the great white throne of judgment is the hope of those who have everlasting life, but no adoption (See Job 14:12 and compare with Rev 20:11). Thus we can see that there is no gifts of healing and the like today.

79. How about the common teaching that the church is Spiritual Israel? Is it true?

I am afraid that we will never be able to find the expression Spiritual Israel in the Bible. It is not there. History tells us that this expression originated with a man by the name of Origines. He was a Greek writer and teacher of the third century. It was a theory that God was forever thru with the Jew and now all the blessings and covenants had been transferred to the church. A few years later the Emperor Constantine saw in this a great chance to improve his position as ruler. This would make a fine basis for a church-state, making war in the name of and with the aid of religion, for ritual, pomp, splendor, and ecclesiastical theatricals. We have on hand today the tragic results of that lie, that theory, which has caused to much bloodshed and misery in centuries past. And if we are not careful, organized religion will again take over and rule the world. Then there will be great tribulation.

80. Is water baptism essential for the remission of sins?

Isaiah had a coal of fire laid upon his mouth, which in touching his lips took away all his iniquity and purged all his sins. Our Lord spoke to many during His earthly ministry, remitting their sins without baptism. The members of The Church of the administration of The Mystery are not under law, and they today have redemption through His blood, and the forgiveness of sins. They have only one baptism and this is explained in Col 2:12,13 as being identified with Christ in His death, burial and resurrection, even to a quickening with Him with the accompaniment of forgiveness of sins. No water baptism is mentioned in connection with The Church. It is a part of the law and the kingdom of Israel. But there are even now those who claim that they are Jews (Rev 2:9; 3:9)

81. It would seem that Romans 2:14 proves that man did not have a fall, but by nature does the things of the law. How do you see it?

The epistle to the Romans has suffered much at the hands of its friends, the commentators and the expositors. It is a case of being very careful to read the address on the envelope, to find out to whom the apostle is speaking. This epistle is written to the church at Rome which was made up of Jewish and Gentile believers. The man spoken to in verse 1 of chapter 2 is seen to be the Jew (see verse 17). When we read Galatians we see that the Gentile believers in the churches were not subject to the law of Israel. This is also brought out in the council at Jerusalem (Acts 15). So here in Romans 2:14 Paul is reminding the Jewish believers that the Gentile believers did by nature (the new nature in the believer) the things contained in the law. This would only be natural, for the law did contain the righteous requirements of God for His people. This does not say that the Gentiles observed the ritual of the law. That was settled in Acts 15:24-29.

82. There is a great deal of mention of the book of life in the Revelation. There seems to be a danger of being blotted out of it. How can one know his name is in this book?

This is another example of carelessly reading the Word. The book of life is mentioned about 7 times in the Revelation. Once it is called the Lamb's book of life (21:27). This might give us a clue. But the best explanation for it is given in Daniel 12:1. The names written in the book are those of Daniel's people, that is, Israel. So we do not look for the names of Gentiles to be written in that particular book. The Revelation is about Israel, their tribulation, and the overcomers. It is possible that there might be a book for the Gentiles, but you will find that elsewhere.

83. Do we today have need of the Advocate mentioned in 1John 2:1?

Under the law, men were judged by the law (Romans 2:12) and those that do not have the law cannot be judged by it. Where there is no law, sin is not imputed and therefore there can be no summons to court or a charge made against the sinner (see 2Cor 5:19 and Romans 5:13). Those under the law prayed that they might be forgiven as they forgave others. But we who are under grace are to forgive others freely because we have been forgiven (Eph 4:32). We have no need of an Advocate today, for we have forgiveness of sins (Eph 1:7 & Col 1:14).

84. What was the spiritual condition of the rich young ruler when he came to the Lord and asked what he should do to inherit eternal life?

This young man who must have been a "somewhat" in the synagogue was already a believer. He recognized the Lord as the Messiah, the King of Israel. His request was what he must do to have a place of importance in the kingdom. The reply of the Lord was very similar to His words in Matt 19:29. It meant the forsaking of everything in the world for His name's sake. The price was too high for this man.

85. Did Paul continue establishing churches or assemblies after Acts 28:28?

There is no record that he did. Neither is there any record that such churches or assemblies were in existence after Acts 28:28.

86. What part, or parts, of the gospel of John are truth for this administration?

In the first place, we do not use the term "this administration." If the administration of The Mystery is meant, then John's gospel is not to or for it. But John's gospel is truth for today. So many are misled by the expression "this administration," thinking it means this age or time in which we live and that it means a way in which God is dealing with mankind today in general. God does have a special way of dealing with the administration of The Mystery, a church already seated in heavenly places. But for the rest of humanity today, John's gospel applies (John 3:16). There is no administration teaching for today in this gospel. That which applies today and which is for Gentiles (the Jews have been set aside, 1:11), is 1:1-18; 3:13-21; and 3:31-36. The reason for the writing of the gospel is given in 20:30,31. There are some short explanations through the book for Gentile readers, and then the last 2 verses of the book are up-to-date.

87. Should those who are Christians gather together at some place for worship today?

It may be that the word worship is somewhat overdone these days. Even in Israel, the temple was the designated place of worship. The Synagogue was not a place of worship, but a place to teach the Scriptures and also as a court where men might be tried under the law and penalties meted out. Paul knew this very well, for he had been beaten in the Synagogues many times. In the epistles written after Acts 28:28 the word worship occurs just once. That is in Ph'p 3:3 where Paul says, For we are the (true) circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. This is an echo of John 4:23 where the Lord said to the woman of Samaria, But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshiper shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth. That worship has nothing to do with a place, a priesthood, nor a ritual. It is natural for those who love the Word and the One of whom it speaks to gather together, but we have no such command today. Leaders often wish it and even pretend it so they can get a following and a big collection.

88. Do you believe that there are 2 bodies?

In the administration of The Mystery there is 1 Body (Eph 4:4). In the administration of promise there was 1 body (1Co 12:13). Whether that included all believers I cannot tell. It may have been just the church at Corinth. So there was one body, and there is one body. But they are not the same. The first was of Israel with an earthly hope. There is one now of Gentiles already seated in heavenly places. The first was to minister to the nations of the earth. There is one now making known the manifold wisdom of God to principalities and powers in heavenly places. We are aware that most of Christendom does not know much about right division and the mystery.

89. I am curious about Acts 17:11. What was it that Paul told the Bereans, and what Scriptures might they have looked up to see if it was so?

You have done well to stop and ask such a question. Not many have done that. In the same chapter, in verses 2 and 3, you will find what Paul preached; And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them (the synagogue of the Jews), and three Sabbath days reasoned with them out of the Scriptures, opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus-whom I preach unto you, is Christ. So it is clear that Paul was preaching and arguing from the Scriptures that Jesus of Nazareth was indeed their Christ and Messiah, the King of Israel. In verse 7 his enemies charge him with saying, that there is another king (than Caesar), one Jesus. The theme of their Scriptures, the OT, is of the coming kingdom and the King. And this is what the Bereans found. Paul was not preaching the administration of The Mystery. Even if he had, they could not have verified his message from the Scriptures they had, for it was a subject that had been hid in God from ages and generations (Eph 3:9; Col 1:26). Be sure to check this.

90. How can we know that the "voice" in Isaiah 40:3 refers to John the Baptist?

The Holy Spirit inspired Matthew to write of John the Baptist, For this is He that was spoken of by the prophet Esaias, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. This is quoted from the reference you gave. Also you will find that a messenger is to be sent to proclaim the coming of the Lord, the God of Israel (Mal 2:16,17; 3:1-4). This is the same Lord and God referred to in your text. Not only does John the Baptist fulfill the place of the messenger, but Jesus of Nazareth is the Lord and the God of Israel whose way is to be made straight. Christ is Jehovah.

91. Could it be that Philippians 2:9-11 refers to the man, Jesus, who is another creature or a god?

In this reference it is plainly stated that the highest name possible is given to Jesus of Nazareth. That name is found in Psalms 7:17, the first of 36 places it occurs in the OT. It is Jehovah-Elyon, or, Jehovah the Most High God. There is no name above this one. If Jesus of Nazareth was not Jehovah, the Most High God, then our Bible is wrong, not inspired, and can not be trusted. We might just as well throw it out and lean on our own understanding. Here is a further quotation from Isaiah 45:23, I am God, and there is none else. I have sworn by Myself, the word is gone out of My mouth in righteousness, and shall not return, That unto Me every knee shall bow, and every tongue shall swear. In this same context it is made plain that there is no other Savior. However Satan still is saying, Yea, hath God said! We find our directions made clear in 2 John 9,10, Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ (what the Word testifies of Him) , hath not God ...If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed. Just remember, the greatest of sins is unbelief.

92. What is the meaning of Romans 9:6 where it says, " For they are not all Israel, which are of Israel." Does this have to do with the true seed?

The true and the false seed are not in this context. Rather, the downfall of Israel and the blessing of the Gentile believers is the subject of chapters 9-11 here in Romans. Paul is making it plain that the true Israel of God is not all made up of the descendants of Israel, but also includes Gentiles. In his first epistle, Paul said to the Gentile believers, And if ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise (Gal 3:29). In verse 9 of the same chapter we read, So then they which be of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham. Now keep in mind that this is in the administration of promise, not The Mystery. Israel is still first.

93. Did John the Baptist have a message and a baptism for Gentiles?

There is no record that he did. In fact, there was no ministry to Gentiles in the NT until the day that Peter went to the house of Cornelius in the city of Caesarea (Acts 10 entire).

94. There is much talk these days about Moses being married to a black woman, and also that Philip preached to a colored man of Ethiopia. Do these have any bearing on truth for today?

None that I can think of. Zipporah was the wife of Moses. She was the daughter of a priest in Midian. His name was Reuel, Raguel, or Jethro. The Midianites were children of Abraham by his second wife, Keturah, and so would be the same race and color as Moses. Since Midian was in Arabia, a part of the land of Cush, she would be a Cushite by nationality, but a Midianite by race. So what? The eunuch, to whom Philip spoke, is not. said to be an Ethiopian, but from Ethiopia. He had the Scriptures and had been to Jerusalem to worship. So we must conclude that he was a Jew that was a slave in high position with the queen of Ethiopia. This would correspond with the condition of Daniel in the court of Nebuchanezzar and later in the court of Darius the Mede. I might add that the queen of Sheba was very probably not of Ethiopia, as tradition says, but queen Hatshepsut of Egypt (Sheba meaning south).

95. What is meant by the evil day in Ephesians 6:13?

There is a chance that at some time during the truth of the administration of The Mystery there may come a time of tribulation or trial upon those who dare to speak this truth. The spiritual failure and barrenness we see in Christendom today can well lead to such a condition.

96.  Are we to approach the throne of grace in prayer today as indicated in Hebrews 4:16?

The word throne does not appear in any of the epistles Paul wrote after Acts 28:28. It is not found in the gospel of John which was also written this side of Acts. Throne has to do with a King and a kingdom. There is no place for a throne in The Church. In the plural, it occurs in Col 1:16, but it is concerning thrones, dominions, and the like in heaven and earth, not the throne of God.

97. In Romans 6:14,15 it speaks of not being under the law, but under grace. Was not the Jew still under the law then?

Yes, the Jew was still under the ceremonial law, known as the law. But in the reference you gave, there is no article. Under faith, love, and grace, the Jew was no longer subject to the moral law. The moral law is contained in the last 5 of the 10 commandments. You can readily see that if one loves his neighbor as himself, then this moral law is made void. It is rather a strange thing to say that law is for the lawless. But that is right. The Gentile believers in Rome had the new nature and so did the things of the law, even though they never had it (Romans 2:14). Romans 13:8,10 shows that love is the fulfilling of the law (the moral law).

98. According to Ephesians 3:2 is not this the age or administration of grace?

No. This verse tells us that a special administration of grace was given to Paul that he might preach the gospel of the administration of The Mystery. Just notice how Paul follows this statement up in verses 7 & 8. Compare with Col 1:25 where he speaks of his ministry being an administration of God to him. The next verse speaks of this ministry as The Mystery.

99. When did water baptism cease to be the rule for God's people?

The apostles and Paul baptized with water in the Acts era. Paul makes it known that after Acts 28:28 there is one baptism (Eph 4:5) and in Col 2:12 this baptism is described as being identified with Christ in death, burial and resurrection. So we must conclude that water baptism ceased at the end of Acts.

100. Is it true that two distinct purposes of God are revealed in the Bible?

Yes that is true. (1) There is a distinctive purpose revealed concerning Israel, the kingdom, and the earth program (not connected with powers in the heavens). The kingdom phase culminates in the coming of the King, the rapture of His people, Israel, and the setting up of the kingdom. (2) There is another distinctive purpose revealed after Acts 28:28 which has to do with the Gentiles (nations) and this in connection with heavenly places and heavenly beings. This is The Church. All believers outside these two distinctive purposes from Adam till now will have their part with the dying malefactor in paradise (the new earth). This groups all believers into 3 groups, but with 2 spheres of blessing, the earth and the heavens.

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