Thursday, December 14, 2017
Worship belongs neither to doctrinal nor dispensational truth. Specifically, it belongs to the believer in every department of his life and witness, whether he be Jew or Gentile, whether his sphere of blessing be heaven or earth. While it will not be possible in this analysis to devote the space necessary for a full canvass of this mighty theme, the following notes may be of service.

The first occurrence of the word worship in the A.V. is in Genesis 22:5, the significance of which will be appreciated by all who realize how near to the heart of all doctrine is the great offering therein set forth in type. While the word worship does not appear earlier, the student of Scripture is very conscious as he reads Genesis 3 that the words of the Serpent, ye shall be as gods (God), would have been no lure to our first parents had true worship and its central significance been understood by them. Moreover, had Cain entered into the meaning of worship, as did his brother Abel, he might have enjoyed like acceptance with Abel, and have avoided the murderers curse.

Those who see in Ezekiel 28 something more than a reference to an ordinary King of Tyre, may perceive that an attack upon true worship, a usurpation of Divine prerogative, lies behind the judgment that caused the chaos of Genesis 1:2. Coming to the end of the Sacred Volume and viewing the crisis and conflict there depicted, it can be truthfully asserted that it is mainly a conflict between true and false worship. Worship lies in the forefront of the ten commandments and is found in every section of the inspired Scriptures. The heart of the redeemed responds to the call: O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our Maker (Psa. 95:6). Redemption, the gospel, prophecy, dispensational truth, are the outer court of the Temple of Truth, but the inner shrine, the goal towards which the whole purpose of the ages leads, namely, that God may be all in all, is the summing up in word and in fact of all that acceptable worship means.

A theme that is so near the center of all truth should therefore receive from all who love the Lord the most earnest and prayerful attention, for if we are right here, we have a corrective against all other evils, doctrinal, dispensational and practical. On the other hand, if we are wrong here, we may be wrong all along the line. In every argument or study it is a necessity that terms be defined. We must arrive at a clear, Scriptural understanding of what the word worship means and all that the term connotes. The inspired Scriptures were not given in our mother tongue, but in Hebrew, Chaldee and Greek, yet, upon examination, the English word worship itself will yield its quota.

The meaning of the word worship

The reader will not need a long explanation concerning the qualifying suffix, ship, which is used in such words as fellowship, discipleship, or in the less familiar form as in landscape. The word worship comes from the Anglo -Saxon weordhscipe, worth, or worthy, with the added suffix, and primarily means acknowledgment of worth, wherever found. Formerly the word worship was not so restricted as it is now, e.g., Wycliffe gives a startling rendering of John 12:26, If any man serve Me, My Father shall worship him!  a usage of the word that would now not be tolerated. In our A.V., however, we still read, thou shalt have worship in the presence of them that sit at meat with thee (Luke 14:10). The Church of England marriage service contains the words, to be uttered by the bridegroom, with my body I thee worship, yet, not idolatry, but recognition of the high place of honor in which the husband holds the woman who has given herself so wholly into his keeping is intended. We still speak of a magistrate as your worship, and of certain Guilds as a worshipful company, without transgressing either Bible teaching or good taste. In all these usages the primary meaning, worthy-ship, is retained. In every act of worship there is either expressed or implied the sentiment, Thou art worthy, and, commensurately with the advancing ranks in the scale of being and holiness of those to whom this recognition is addressed, will the worship offered grow richer, fuller and more exclusive.

All this however but skims the surface of meaning. The only words that can unfold the mind of God in this, and all other matters of truth, are the inspired words of Holy Writ. As we have commenced with the English, let us go back to the Hebrew by way of the Greek of the New Testament.

(1) Proskuneo. There is a superficial resemblance in this word to the Greek kuon, a dog, and some have given the primary meaning of the word as to crouch, crawl, or fawn, like a dog at his masters feet. But there is a sense of degradation about this figure, and it is entirely contrary to any Scriptural conception of worship that the Father seeks those who will crouch, crawl, or fawn to Him like a dog.

There is another word, unused in the Scriptures but used in classical Greek, namely kuneo, to kiss, and it is from this root that Cremer, Thayer, H. J. Rose in his footnote in the later edition of Parkhurst, and other lexicographers derive this word for worship. Proskuneo means properly to kiss the hand (towards) one, in token of reverence, to make a salaam (Thayer). Liddell and Scott give instances where kuneo, to kiss, is used in the sense of proskuneo, to worship. The Scriptures moreover associate kissing with worship. And Moses went out to meet his father-in -law, and did obeisance, and kissed him (Exod. 18:7). The word translated do obeisance is translated worship ninety -nine times in the Old Testament. Again, there is no doubt about the close association of the kiss with worship in the following passages: Yet I have left me seven thousand in Israel, all the knees which have not bowed unto Baal, and every mouth which hath not kissed him (1 Kings 19:18). Let the men that sacrifice kiss the calves (Hosea 13:2). If I beheld the sun ... moon ... and my heart hath been secretly enticed, or my mouth hath kissed my hand ... I should have denied the God that is above (Job 31:26-28). The marginal reading of Genesis 41:40, too, is suggestive. The A.V. reads, Thou shalt be over my house, and according unto thy word shall all my people be ruled. The word translated word here is mouth, the cause put for the effect, and be ruled the verb nashaq, kiss as in Genesis 48:10.

Omitting therefore the sense of the fawning of a dog, we can adopt the remainder of the definition given in Dr. Bullingers Lexicon: To prostrate ones self, after the eastern custom, to do reverence or homage to any one, by kneeling or prostrating oneself before him; (LXX everywhere for shachah, to bow down, to prostrate ones self in reverence.) Used therefore of the act of worship.

(2) Sebomai, sebazomai, eusebeo. The word just examined is used of the act of worship, whereas, these three words are used rather for the feeling associated with it. The meaning of sebomai is to stand in awe. It is never used in the epistles. Sebazomai occurs but once and that in connection with the worship of the creature (Rom. 1:25). In the Acts, sebasma is used once of the devotions of the Athenians (17:23), and once in all that is called God or worshipped (2 Thess. 2:4). While eusebeia, godliness, is used in the epistles, neither eusebeia nor eusebeo is there translated worship. Their bearing upon the question of present-day worship must be examined later.

(3) Latreuo means to serve for hire, and when related to God means to worship. It is used by Paul in Philippians 3:3.

(4) Therapeuo is generally associated with medical service, and is derived from therapeuein, to wait on. It is from an old Sanskrit root meaning to maintain or support. It occurs but once, namely, in Acts 17:25, neither is worshipped with mens hands which the R.V. translates serve.

(5) Threskeia. This word refers rather to ceremonial and ritual than the inner meaning of worship. It occurs in Colossians 2:18, where the word is used of the worshipping of angels and, in combination with thelo, it is found in Colossians 2:23, where it is translated will-worship. The Old Testament uses three words, two of which need not detain us long. Segad is Chaldee, and is used in Daniel 3, where it means to bow down, do obeisance, and abad, which is Hebrew, and found translated worship only in 2 Kings 10, where it speaks of the worship of Baal. The third word, shachah, is the equivalent of proskuneo. Just as tubes of oil-paint do not produce on the mind the same effect as a picture, so these words supply the material, but do not teach the true meaning of worship.

It must be our delight as well as our duty to use these materials, and under the guidance of the Spirit, to learn something of what is meant by the worship of God. The Hebrew words ebed, a servant, and abad, to serve, are familiar in such names as Obadiah (servant of Jah), and Obed (serving), the son of Ruth, and the father of Jesse.  The prophet Isaiah, also, has much to say of Israel, the servant of the Lord, and of the Coming One, Who is called My Servant, Whom I uphold (Isa. 42:1). Ebed is the Hebrew equivalent of the Greek doulos, a bond-slave, as in Romans 1:1.

The word shachah, worship, occurs upwards of one hundred and seventy times in the Old Testament while abad occurs upwards of two hundred and eighty times. With numbers of this magnitude, the amount of labor involved in determining the number of references in which serve and worship come together can only be appreciated by those who have actually carried out investigations of this kind. We will not, therefore, be dogmatic, but so far as we have investigated, it would seem that there is not a single passage in the Old Testament where serve and worship come together when the context is concerned with the worship of God. On the other hand, there are nineteen references where the two words come together in connection with the worship of other gods. We will not quote these nineteen passages in full, but the reader may like to have the references: Commands in the Law concerning serving and worshipping other gods Exod. 20:5; Deut. 4:19; 5:9; 11:16; 17:3; 29:26; 30:17. References to serving and worshipping other gods in the Prophets: 1 Kings 9:9; 16:31; 22:53; 2 Kings 21:3; 2 Chron. 7:22; 33:3; Jer. 13:10; 22:9; 25:6. In one passage a discrimination is made between worshippers of Baal, and servants of the Lord (2 Kings 10:23).

While these references were being considered, we had at the back of our mind the well-known words, thou shalt worship the Lord thy God, and Him only shalt thou serve. And yet these words did not appear in any of the passages we had collected! The reader will hardly need to be reminded that the words concerned occur in Matthew 4:10 in connection with the Lords temptation in the wilderness, but although the Saviour used the words, It is written, it must be admitted that no such text occurs in our Old Testament Scriptures. When we turn to the Septuagint Version, however, we find that Deuteronomy 6:13 is quoted word for word from that version, except for the one word worship.

In Matthew 4:10 the Greek word is proskuneo, but in the LXX of Deuteronomy 6:13 the Greek word is phobeo, fear, a correct translation of the Hebrew yare. We have here a problem of the first magnitude, but it comes more appropriately under the heading of Quotations from the Old Testament in the New Testament rather than under the simpler heading of Worship. It will perhaps suffice for the moment if we quote the words with which Appendix 107 of The Companion Bible opens: It is a fact that in quotations from the Old Testament the Greek text sometimes differs from the Hebrew.

The difficulties found in connection with this subject arise from our thinking and speaking only of the human agent as the writer, instead of having regard to the fact that the Word of God is the record of the words which He Himself employed when He spoke "at sundry times and in divers manners" ... denying the Divine Speaker and Author the right that is claimed by every human writer for himself.

Matthew 4:10 is included in a list of twelve such passages where the words of the quotation are varied by omission, addition, or transposition. In dealing with Satan, the Saviour adopted the LXX version with the substitution of proskuneo for phobeo, and the addition of the word only for His own wise purposes.

Coming back now to the general question, we must try to discover why the words serve and worship should be used together when idolatry is spoken of, but not so used when the object of the service or the worship is the true God. Can we truly worship God, if we do not serve Him? Can we hope that any service we render can be acceptable to Him if worship is absent? These are our problems, and we have found no solution to them in the writings of men. The answer, if it comes at all, must come from the same source that has provided the problem, the Word of God itself.

In Psalm 105:42 Abraham is called a servant of the Lord, but Melchisedec, who was a priest, and so connected with worship, is not so described. Moses, too, is called a servant (Josh. 1:1,2), but not so Aaron the priest. Joshua, the Captain of the Lords host, is referred to as the servant of the Lord (Josh. 24:29); but not so Eleazer the priest. David is given the title servant of the Lord (Psa. 18, title, and 89:3), but not Abiathar the priest. Eliakim, the master of Hezekiahs household, is called a servant (Isa. 22:20), as also is Isaiah the prophet (Isa. 20:3), but not Hilkiah the priest. The people themselves, both as Jacob (Isa. 44:1) and Israel (Isa. 49:3) are called the servant of the Lord, but their priestly office is reserved for a future day (Isa. 61:6). And even in the case of Christ Himself, Who is spoken of prophetically as My Servant (Isa. 42:1) and My Servant the Branch (Zech. 3:8), we have the testimony of Scripture that If He were on earth, He should not be a priest (Heb. 8:4).

Why, then, is there this consistent exclusion of service from the realm of worship? In spite, however, of this evident separation of the words worship and service when used of the Lord, it is clear that when the Lord promised Moses, ye shall serve God upon this mountain (Exod. 3:12), and when He commanded Pharaoh, let My son go, that he may serve Me (Exod. 4:23), the service concerned was largely an act of worship, for we read that Moses demanded of Pharaoh sacrifices and burnt offerings, that we may sacrifice unto the Lord our God (Exod. 10:25).

Again, the memorial of the Passover is called a service (Exod. 12:25,26), and the feast of Unleavened Bread (Exod. 13:5), but these are also called ordinances (Exod. 12:14, 17,24,43; 13:10). The care of all the instruments of the Tabernacle (Num. 3:7,8), and the ministry of Aaron and his sons were all service (Num. 18:7), as were the individual elements of this ritual such as the vessels (Exod. 27:19), the things of gold, silver, and brass, and the skins, linen, incense and oil (Exod. 35).

We have, therefore, to keep in mind two facts:
(1) Worship is not used with the word "service" when that worship is directed to God; it is only so allied when used of idolatry.

(2) On the other hand, the work of the Priests and Levites in connection with the sacrifices, prayers and other ceremonials relating to the tabernacle are freely called "service". The prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah have some searching things to say in connection with the service of the Temple.

In Jeremiah 7 we read: Trust ye not in lying words, saying, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, The temple of the Lord, are these (Jer. 7:4). And in the first chapter of Isaiah: Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto Me; the new moons and Sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. Your new moons and your appointed feasts My soul hateth: they are a trouble unto Me; I am weary to bear them (Isa. 1:13,14). And yet every item mentioned, temple, oblation, offering and feast, was Divinely appointed. Why then this revulsion? The answer is found in the chapters themselves. Israel had departed from the truth, and so in the eyes of the Lord their clinging to the externals of religion was but empty mummery. False gods did not demand purity and spirituality from their worshippers, and so their worship and their service could be named together; but with the true God, even a Divinely appointed ritual was all in vain apart from uprightness of heart. Even when the apostle acknowledges that to Israel pertained the service of God, this is limited to things according to the flesh (Rom. 9:3,4), and the epistle to the Hebrews, when speaking of ordinances of divine service under the Old Covenant, adds the words and a worldly sanctuary (Heb. 9:1). These things signified that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest. They were figures, shadows of good things to come: That could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings (baptisms), and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation (Heb. 9:9,10).

The mere observance of days, months, weeks and years, even though offered to the true God, is not far removed from the weak and beggarly elements of pagan worship (Gal. 4:8 -10). And the epistle to the Colossians associates the worshipping of angels and will-worship with ordinances that were cancelled at the cross, such as meat, drink, holy days, new moons, and Sabbath days.

Returning to Galatians, it is impossible to understand the apostles teaching in this mighty epistle, without a realization of the fact that the believer is free. Jerusalem on earth with its children is in bondage, but Jerusalem which is above is free. Perhaps we are at last drawing near to the solution of our problem. The word serve (abad) gives us the word bondage (Exod. 1:14), bondmen (Gen. 43:18), bondservice (1 Kings 9:21), servitude (2 Chron. 10:4), and servile (Lev. 23:7).

The reader will remember that in the observing of the feasts of the Lord and the Sabbaths, it is reiterated that ye shall do no servile work therein (Lev. 23:7,8,21,25,35,36). Servility and worship cannot be thought of together; servility is only fit service for the darkened heathen. So when the Lord demanded the release of His people that they might serve Him, He speaks of them as His son. This service of a son was hidden under a mass of observances, in connection with a covenant with which the Lord Himself found fault, a covenant which was imposed until the time of reformation, and destined then to pass away for ever. Is Israel a servant? is he a home born slave? asks Jeremiah (2:14). Alas, he was, and is, and will be, until the veil is taken away.

Worship, therefore, as practiced by such a people cannot be the real thing. The secret of true worship is revealed in the words of Christ. It will be neither in Samaria, with its mixed motives, nor in Jerusalem, with its Divinely appointed ritual. The true worshipper worships the Father. He worships in spirit, and in truth, and the Father seeketh such to worship Him.

It is entirely foreign to the thought of reverencing a Father that the sons should be cumbered with ceremonials and ordinances. Tabernacles, temples, sacrifices, priests, vestments, holy days, and the like all indicate that the worshippers are at a distance. Those that have access to the Father need none of these things.

We are grateful to have seen at least this amount of light upon the nature of true worship, even though much may still be hidden from our eyes. Neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem (John 4:21).

It is extraordinary at first sight to think that the Saviour condescended to discuss the matter of worship with a poor sinful Samaritan woman, but said nothing about it to the master of Israel, Nicodemus, who would have been so much better qualified to discuss the matter. When, however, we remember that the flesh profiteth nothing, that Nicodemus was no more able to appreciate the nature of true worship than the Samaritan woman, we recognize the workings of grace and with bowed hearts prepare to read once more concerning true worship in a truer frame of mind. The revelation of the Samaritan womans private life caused her to pause and to say Sir, I perceive that Thou art a prophet, but whether the sudden introduction of the highly controversial subject of worship was made by her in an attempt to prevent any further reference to her private life, or, whether being convinced both of her own sinfulness and the fact that she stood in the presence of One Who could enlighten her on such a subject, we may never know; possibly the womans motives, like so many of our own, were mixed.

Whatever be the truth of the matter, the Saviour most graciously allowed the new subject full scope, and the subsequent record made by John has provided us with, perhaps, the most comprehensive statement as to the nature of true worship that the New Testament contains. The thought uppermost in this womans mind was the correct place where worship should be offered. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship (John 4:20).

As readers of the New Testament unconsciously adopt the attitude of the Jew when thinking of the Samaritans, it may be useful to record a few outstanding features concerning them, especially those bearing upon the matter of worship. The Samaritans had four basic tenets of belief:
(1) That Jehovah alone is God.
(2) That Moses alone is the Law-giver.
(3) That the Torah (the five books of Moses) is the only divine Book, and
(4) Mount Gerizim is the only house of God.

The Samaritans observed the Sabbath and the rite of circumcision. They did not observe all the feasts of Israel, only Passover, Unleavened Bread, and Pentecost; the rosh hashanah, the commencement of the civil year (Lev. 23:24); yom kippur, the Day of Atonement, and the Feast of Tabernacles. Mount Gerizim was the holy place in the estimation of the Samaritans, and was spoken of with reverence, and always with some such title as the house of God, the house of Jehovah, the mountain of the world, Gods mountain, the Sanctuary, the mountain of the Divine presence. We can perhaps the better understand the words of the woman of Samaria when she said our fathers worshipped in this mountain. She had already claimed Jacob as her father (John 4:12), and knew of the coming of the Messiah (John 4:25). Before discussing the relative merits of Samaria and Jerusalem as the place where worship should be offered, the Saviour set both aside by saying: Woman, believe Me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father (John 4:21). By so replying, the whole matter was raised to a higher plane. It would have been easy to have cited passages from the Old Testament to prove that Jerusalem had been chosen by the Lord, but the Samaritan woman would have refused to accept this authority, for her Bible consisted only of the five books of Moses. The Prophets and the Psalms were rejected by the Samaritans.

Here, in the Lords attitude, we have a divinely given method when dealing with parallel problems.  The principle is true in dealing with such subjects as the gift of tongues, the various modes of observing the Lords supper, the controversies as to infant sprinkling v. adult believers immersion; into these controversies we have no call to enter, they lie on the other side of Acts 28, have no place in the present dispensation, and are legitimate controversies only among those that practise them. However, after having taken this high ground, the Saviour can now descend to details without adopting the attitude of a partisan. Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews (John 4:22).  In this utterance the Lord brings to light two essential elements in all true worship. First, knowledge which stands in severe contrast with blind tradition, superstition and unreasonable practices. Now knowledge in such matters as worship must come as a revelation, and while the Samaritans possessed the five books of Moses, they were denied the light and leading of the rest of the Old Testament.

Here therefore emerges another essential principle. True worship must be based upon revealed truth. This we can see is expressed negatively in Matthew 15, in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men (Matt. 15:9). Secondly, the Lord associated together worship and salvation implying that worship could not be understood, and would not be acceptable, apart from salvation. This salvation, said Christ, was of the Jews, because to them had been committed the oracles of God, to them pertained the promises and the covenants and the service of God, and most important of all, from them must come, as regards the flesh, the long promised Saviour.

True worship therefore is regulated according to Divine Revelation, is at the heart evangelical, and is intimately associated with the Person and Work of the Saviour. Judaism itself drew all its power from these sources. It was a divinely given religion of types and shadows, it was given only to one people Israel, it found its fulfillment in the Person and Work of the Saviour, Whose Person and Work alone made its rites, ceremonies, sacrifices and observances of any value.

But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship Him (John 4:23). On two occasions the Gospel of John records the statement the hour cometh and now is (John 4:23; 5:25), and once in a slightly different form the hour cometh, yea, is now come (John 16:32)Weymouth (New Testament in Modern Speech, Third Ed.) rightly translates John 16:32, the time is coming, nay, has already come, for eleluthen is the perfect of erchomai. In John 4:23 and 5:25, the original reads kai nun estin, which unfortunately Weymouth translates exactly as he does the different words of John 16:32. Kai nun estin can only be translated correctly by the words and now is.

How are we to understand this expression, and now is? In John 5:25 it is seen to be the present spiritual equivalent of the future physical resurrection. In John 4, however, the Temple at Jerusalem still stood, and the prophetic words your house is left unto you desolate had not been pronounced. In chapter 2 the Temple had been referred to as My Fathers house and even in the period covered by the early part of the Acts of the Apostles, it was not inconsistent, evidently, for Peter and John to go up to that Temple at the hour of prayer. It is therefore possible that what the Saviour said when He spoke to the woman of Samaria, was the hour cometh when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, but when John came to write this gospel, he was able to interpolate for the benefit of the reader the information that this hour had now come. For us today, the question of place so far as worship is concerned, has no meaning. Chapels and Churches are convenient meeting places where the saints can assemble, but if they know the Truth, whatever the architecture, and whoever it may be who made the building sacred, one of the hymns they will surely sing will be:
Saviour, wherever Thy people meet, There they behold Thy mercy seat; Wherever they seek Thee, Thou art found, And every place is hallowed ground. For Thou, within no walls confined, Inhabitest the humble mind; Such ever bring Thee where they come, And going, take Thee to their home.

What are we to understand by true worshippers? What are we to understand by worship that is in spirit and in truth? Alethes is used when truth as opposed to falsehood is in view. Thus in John 4:18 where it is translated truly. Alethinos is truth when opposed not so much to a lie, but as substance is opposed to a shadow. So we have such expressions as the true tabernacle (Heb. 8:2); the figures of the true (Heb. 9:24) obviously in contrast with the typical tabernacle and its furniture. So in Johns Gospel we read of the True Light, the True Bread and the True Vine as fulfillments and contrasts with their respective types. So true worshippers are not placed in contrast with idolaters, worshippers of false gods, but they are contrasted with Old Covenant worshippers whose worship was typical and shadowy which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation (Heb. 9:10).

The expression in spirit and truth without the preposition in repeated, should be taken as a figure of speech, known as hendiadys, where one thing is meant, but two statements are made, hence hen one, dia by means of, dys two, the one-by-means-of-two figure, truly, i.e. antitypically in Spirit.

Two reasons are given for thus worshipping the Father:
(1) He seeks such worship. This is a unique passage. No other passage of Scripture uses the word seek in this way. It is a common thing for worshippers to be bidden to seek the Lord, but here, it is the Father that seeks! If He thus seeks, shall He not find? If He thus finds shall He not be pleased? If He thus finds, must not blessing be the result? Is not therefore true worship near the heart of all true, acceptable and fruitful service?

(2) The second reason resides in the very nature of the God we would worship. God is Spirit. Pneuma ho theos. It is no more necessary to insert the indefinite article here and read God is a spirit than it would be to translate the similarly constructed passage of John 1:1 and read The Word was a God. To this Samaritan woman a statement concerning the essential Being of God is made that transcends every other revelation found in the Scriptures! All titles under which God is pleased to make Himself known in the Old Testament Scriptures are really gracious accommodations to our finite capacity to understand. The God Who is Spirit is beyond our powers of experience. We do not know the mode of being of One Who is not conditioned by time and space, Who is invisible, inaudible and intangible (John 1:18; 5:37).

Now if our Saviour had intended to teach this woman the essential nature and being of God, our comments would constitute a criticism of His Words, and we should stand condemned. He was teaching this woman, and all who will learn, not the nature of the Absolute and Unconditioned, but what the nature of that worship must be that is offered to, and is acceptable to, a Being of such a nature. To obtain but a glimpse of the Divine nature, is to forego for ever all the trappings of ceremonial, all rites and all observances as being essential to true worship.

A God who is spirit must be worshipped in spirit and in truth. In the Old Testament worship is offered to The Lord who is referred to as The Lord thy God. In the New Testament (The Revelation), worship is offered to God, and to Him that made heaven and earth, but here in John 4 it is the Father that is worshipped, it is the Father that seeks worship, and surely none but children can worship the Father, none but children can offer to Him His due. And will children who seek thus to render homage to a Father feel under any necessity to pay such reverence in a temple? Need such adopt priestly vestments? Need such perform an elaborate ritual? No title of God is so intimate, so near to the heart, so far removed from ritual and ordinances as the title Father and worship that is offered to Him in that capacity must of necessity participate in the same essentials.

The Service of a Son with the Father If we rigorously restrict our New Testament studies in connection with worship to the occurrences and usage of proskuneo, our task is practically ended. The reader however naturally expects that such passages as that of Philippians 3:3 or of Colossians 2:18,23 will be included. We must give these passages a consideration, for they are the only references to worship found in the epistles of Paul written after Acts 28, and so have distinct bearing upon the worship offered by the church of the Mystery. Before we consider these passages, let us pause and consider what lesson is intended for us, particularly in the fact that proskuneo is never once used in Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and 2 Timothy.

In the first place, Paul, the writer of these epistles, was fully acquainted with the use and occurrences of this word; for a reader of the Septuagint as he was, would be aware of its presence throughout the Law, the Prophets and the Psalms. In that version of the Old Testament proskuneo occurs nearly two hundred times. The omission of this word therefore is deliberate and inspired, and consequently both the fact of its omission, and the change suggested by the words substituted, challenge our deepest consideration.

First let us cite the passages that speak of worship in the Prison Epistles.

We are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh (Phil. 3:3).

Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels (Col. 2:18).

Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility (Col. 2:23).

Two out of the three references to worship in the Prison Epistles are seen to be negative; only one positive statement appears, namely Philippians 3:3, and even that in a context that is negative in intention and character. Having cited the passages, and knowing that proskuneo is not employed, we must now acquaint ourselves with the actual words in use.

The word employed in Philippians 3:3 is latreuo from a word that means in secular usage to serve for hire, but no such word is employed in the New Testament where hired servants are referred to. Some derive latreuo from la very much and treo to tremble, according to which see Malachi 1:6: If I be a master, where is My fear? or in Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling.

It is bad theology however that attempts to build doctrine upon Greek mythology, for Greek was a language employed by pagans before it was adopted by the Spirit of God as a medium for the Gospel. We are safe however if we use the LXX version to perceive what Hebrew words are translated by latreuo, and foremost among them we find the words abad and abodah. This word (latreuo) is employed in Exodus 3:12; 4:23 and similar passages. The Hebrew word means to serve as did Jacob (Gen. 31:41), and Israel (Exod. 1:14) to till and to dress the ground (Gen. 2:5,15), and the service connected with the Tabernacle (Num. 3:7). Moses is many times given the title Moses the servant of the Lord. Is Israel a servant? is he a home born slave? (Jer. 2:14) shows that service of a lowly and menial character can be intended as is the case where the word is used of Israel under Pharaoh and Nebuchadnezzar.

With this insistence upon service, we turn once again to Philippians, and notice that it opens with this very thought: Paul and Timotheus, the Servants of Jesus Christ, to all the saints in Christ Jesus which are at Philippi, with the Bishops and Deacons (Phil. 1:1). In this same epistle Paul uses the figure of service when he said of Timothy that as a son with the father, he hath served with me in the gospel (Phil. 2:22). It is moreover revealed in this epistle that Christ Himself took upon Him the form of a servant (Phil. 2:7); and Paul himself speaks of His willingness to be offered upon the sacrifice and service of your faith (Phil. 2:17).

Different words are used in these passages to speak of service, but whether it be latreuo, douleuo or leitourgia, they but emphasize various aspects of this common act. It is in Philippians that the exhortation comes to work out salvation with fear and trembling, and it is in Philippians that the Prize is in view. When we turn to the references in Colossians, we note at once that this reference to the Prize is before us. In Philippians 3:14 the word translated prize is brabeion and this word occurs in combination in Colossians 2:18, where the words let (no man) beguile you of your reward translate the verb katabrabeuo. The Colossians were warned that their reward would be in jeopardy by voluntary humility and by worshipping angels, which thought recurs in verse 23, where the apostle speaks of will worship, humility, neglecting of the body, yet of satisfying at the same time, the flesh.

The word used here in both Colossians 2:18 and 23 for worship is threskeia. This word is elsewhere translated religion, once by Paul when he referred to his past, saying that after the most straitest sect of our religion he lived a Pharisee; and twice by James (Jas. 1:26,27). We do not intend spending time in pursuing the meaning of Colossians 2:18 and 23 here, simply because when all is said and done these passages tell us what to avoid. Had the translators of the A.V. followed their usual practice they would have translated Philippians 3:3 We ... serve God in the spirit, which would have brought the passage into line with the emphasis upon service already noted. Again, had the translators followed their usual practice, we should have the words religion and religious observance in the second chapter of Colossians instead of the word worship. The Prison Epistles then, would not have contained the word worship at all, any more than they contain one single reference to a priest! This observation is a mere matter of fact, but such facts demand explanation.

If we ask why is worship (proskuneo) entirely absent from the epistles of the Mystery? we may hesitate to give an answer. If worship be worthy-ship it is possible that to walk worthy of our calling (Eph. 4:1), to have ones conversation worthy of the gospel of Christ (Phil. 1:27) and to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing (Col. 1:10) may take the place of the worship prescribed for earlier dispensations. Worship as presented in this epistle to the Philippians seems to be summed up in the words found in that epistle, serving, as a son (Phil. 2:22).

Wherever a true evangelical spirit has been manifested during the history of Christianity, it has been associated with the pulpit rather than with a priest, with the Opened Book rather than with altars, incense and ceremonial, and such by the mercy of God must our worship of the Father be and remain. With Unveiled Face

We have seen that proskuneo conveys the idea of obeisance, whereas latreuo (Phil. 3:3) does not of itself contain any idea of obeisance, but simply that of service. Latreia occurs five times in the Greek New Testament and each occurrence is translated service in the A.V. These are John 16:2, think that he doeth God service, Romans 9:4 and 12:1, the service (of God), your reasonable service, and Hebrews 9:1 and 6, ordinances of divine service and accomplishing the service (of God). Latreuo occurs twenty-one times, and is translated worship four times, and serve seventeen times.

Threskeia, the word used in Colossians 2:18,23, in the expression worshipping of angels and will worship, is best expressed by religious ceremonial and ritual. Suidas derives the word from a Thracian, Orpheus, who introduced religious mysteries among the Greeks. If this be true it would be very apposite, seeing that it is used in antagonism to the true Mystery divinely revealed to Paul as the prisoner of Jesus Christ. This derivation however we cannot press, it may be but an ancient speculation. It is evident from the Canon of the Council of Laodicea, held about a.d. 367, that some superstition regarding the naming of angels had crept into the church, and Theodoret maintained that this superstition had infected the church at Colosse. Whether the Colossians actually worshipped angels or whether the words of Colossians 2:18 mean that they adopted the religious attitude of angels remains to be seen. While threskeia is used outside the New Testament with a genitive, it is never so construed in the New Testament to denote the object of worship. Consequently Colossians 2:18 may mean the worship which angels offer, that is, that the Colossians were affecting such humility, that they did not approach God with the boldness of access and confidence which was theirs through Christ (Eph. 3:12). This presupposes that angelic worship was not characterized by such holy boldness.

We have, admittedly, little ground to work on here, but if we agree that the Seraphim of Isaiah 6 are at least as high in the spirit world as angels, if not higher, we shall be struck with the fact that when these holy beings stood in the presence of the Lord they used two of their six wings to cover their faces and two to cover their feet (Isa. 6:2). In contrast with this, as also in contrast with the veiling of the face of Moses under the old covenant, we have: Where the spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. But we all, with Unveiled face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Cor. 3:17,18). Here, the words open face of the A.V., are better translated unveiled face in order that the very real connection with the veil of verses 13,14,15 and 16 may be perceived (kalumma veil anakalupto open).

The law of Moses was ordained by angels in the hand of a Mediator (Gal 3:19); the law was received by the disposition of angels (Acts 7:53); the word spoken by angels was stedfast (Heb. 2:2). These passages are well known to every reader, but what may not be recognized is that these, and Colossians 2:18, are linked together by references to the transient character of the worship that is essentially associated with that law given by angels.

The worship that is acceptable under the terms of the dispensation of the Mystery is unrelated to time or place. We serve as sons and with unveiled face, having access with boldness.  We cry Abba Father, the worshipping and privileged utterance of sons and we serve Him in with emphasis on service as sons. This is in line with the true goal of Dispensational Truth and with the principle of Right Division, for they lead to where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God, and to our blood-bought access, acceptance and future manifestation with Christ in glory.

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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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  • The Word of God makes known The Lord Jesus Christ; Who declares to the Believer our Heavenly Father that we might know Him. God has revealed Himself not according to religious viewpoints but reveals Himself by the written Word.  The Light that illuminates our path makes it possible for all who are willing to walk with Him and to see His clear instructions to live victorious lives in Christian Faith and Practice.
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